Thursday, October 28, 2021


 Censorship always defeats it own purpose, for it creates in the end the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion.

— Henry Steele Commager, born in 1902

 Those annoying fake texts that purport to be from government agencies are about to be deleted permanently. Find out how.

    Scam text messages that pretend to be from the Australian Taxation Office or myGov are set to be all but a thing of the past. 

    Do No Originate List eradicates fake ATO, Centrelink, myGov and Medicare text messages

    A local employee of the Australian Tax Office has spoken candidly to The Advocate today about how one aspect of his job has him idling at the end of a dead-end street.

    For nearly 40 years, Deverell Slacks enjoyed playing ultimate frisbee with friends down in the French Quarter’s famous Jardins De L’amour on Rue de Putain.

    ATO Employee With ElectroLarynx Says Nobody Takes His Calls About Arrest Warrants Seriously

    Jun Au of DLA Piper Australia provides an overview of tax developments in Australia including the ATO’s response to the Glencore decision, improvements to the corporate collective investment vehicle regime and legal professional privilege.

    The Australian Taxation Office is auditing industry superannuation fund giant QSuper over a suspected $200 million franking credit stripping scheme that could result in members footing the bill for a record penalty.

    The revelations of the secret audit matter by The Australian Financial Review came as the Supreme Court of Queensland on Wednesday paved the way for the $120 billion super fund to charge members a new fee to pay any penalties or fines levied by regulatory agencies.

    Anyone with a laptop': How cyber criminals are getting smarter at stealing money

    Cyber-Attacks on Legislatures and  (ATO?) - House of Commons Soar by 358% in 2021

    Over 126 million malicious emails have been fired at House of Commons (HoC) inboxes this year, a 358% increase on the total figure for 2020, according to new figures from Parliament Street.

    The think tank obtained Freedom of Information (FoI) data from the UK parliament’s lower house, revealing a significant increase in potential threats over recent years.

    The number of emails blocked by HoC filters in 2018 was just 15.7 million in 2018, nearly doubling to hit 30.3 million in 2019, but then dropping again to almost 28 million in 2020.

    With 126.4 million malicious emails recorded up to September this year, Parliament Street reckons the total for 2021 could reach as high as 150 million.

    However, there are no data on how many if any threats slipped past filters during this time.

    Chris Ross, SVP international at Barracuda Networks, argued that the uptick in threats this year could result from attackers trying to target remote working civil servants via cloud infrastructure.

    “All it takes is for one well-placed email to be mis-clicked before an entire organization is facing a severe breach of customer or company information, or even being held to ransom,” he added.

    “Our analysis from 2020 revealed that public sector organisations are one of the biggest targets of ransomware attacks due to the sensitivity of the information stored on its servers, combined with the inherent weaknesses in some of their department’s security protocols.”

    Tessian CEO, Tim Sadler, blamed phishing for the surge in email threats.

    The increased use of outsourcing and short-term, temporary staff has eroded the capability of the Australian Public Service and allowed labour-hire companies to “pillage the public purse”, a Senate committee has found.

    The Second interim report: insecurity in publicly-funded jobs from the Select Committee on Job Security blamed the Coalition Government’s average level staffing cap for the over-use of temporary workers, whose hire came at a considerable mark-up to agencies.

    Outsourcing corrosive and costly to APS, says Senate committee report

    The US issued a “business advisory” about threats ranging from China’s ability to gain access to data stored on servers in Hong Kong to a new Chinese law that allows sanctions to be imposed on anyone who helps foreign nations enforce sanctions against Chinese companies and officials.

    US warns companies of risk of doing business in Hong Kong Biden administration issues advisory and fresh sanctions in latest effort to push back on China

    The Australian Taxation Office's deputy commissioner of superannuation, Emma Rosenzweig, more conservatively estimates the amount of unpaid superannuation is $2.5 billion.

    Ms Rosenzweig says that, over the past year, the ATO has hit employers with $240 million in penalties for not paying their workers' superannuation.

    A previous amnesty offered to employers to come clean has resulted in more than $858 million in liabilities being identified as owing since March 2020.

    So far, $796 million of that has been paid and $62.3 million is under agreed payment plans.

    However, the ATO's compliance action over the past year has not seen even one employer jailed.

    How millions of Australian workers are being ripped off by their bosses

    Former IRS Tax Advocate Employee Indicted for Tax Evasion and Tax Obstruction

    DOJ Tax announced here the indictment of Wayne M. Garvin, previously Supervisory Associate Advocate with IRS’s Taxpayer Advocate Service in Philadelphia.  The indictment on CL is here The indictment charges three counts of tax evasion (§ 7201) and two counts of tax obstruction (§ 7212(a)).  The counts relate to false deductions on income tax returns and submission of false documents during the civil and criminal investigations.  

    Are You Attracted to a Darker Form of Yourself?

    Research reveals the seductive dark side of similarity.


    How to identify narcissists at work—and when to avoid them

    Not all narcissists are the same, and understanding the differences can improve your work life.

    You hear a lot about narcissists at work—and most of what you hear is bad. There is good reason for that. Some narcissists can be absolutely destructive to your workplace. So, it is important to be able to distinguish between people who act with confidence and those who are narcissists. It’s also helpful to be able to determine whether you’re dealing with a toxic narcissist or a more benign variety.


    One of the big distinguishing features of narcissists is that they believe that they are special, and that information and influence should flow from them to the world rather than the reverse. As a result, narcissists will often act with great authority in situations and will typically display a lot of boldness and self-confidence.

    But, not all self-confident people are narcissists. So, how do you distinguish one from the other?

    A lot has to do with how much a person listens to others and incorporates other people’s ideas into their own with an acknowledgement that other people’s ideas and contributions have had an influence. Narcissists take the lion’s share of the credit for successes while passing the blame for failures on to other people (or to the situation). Narcissists will either ignore the ideas of others or co-opt them as their own

    To find the narcissists, then, you have to look past the brash exterior and really listen to how they treat others. Many self-confident people are comfortable listening to dissent, to taking suggestions, and to spreading credit. The narcissists generally bristle at dissent, ignore suggestions, and hoard the credit.


    How you want to deal with the narcissist in your midst depends on the breed of narcissist you’re dealing with. There are two broad types of narcissists. Grandiose narcissists are people who feel special, but have a strong enough sense of self that they are not deeply threatened by other people or their ideas. They don’t necessarily take other people’s views into account, but they don’t work actively to undermine other people. In fact, they often like to associate with other important people, because it reinforces their sense of how special they are. It shouldn’t be surprising that there are a lot of grandiose narcissists in visible positions like elected office, theater, and the C-suite in many organizations.

    Grandiose narcissists in the workplace need to be handled with a little care, but they aren’t particularly dangerous. You’ll be most successful working with them if you acknowledge how special they are and if you get them to think that the course of action you hope they take was their idea (and allow them to take the credit for it). It helps if you also visibly take some of their suggestions so that they see the influence they are having on you.

    Vulnerable narcissists are a different matter. Vulnerable narcissists have a fragile self-concept. They use the love and accolades of others to prop up their self-esteem. As a result, vulnerable narcissists will feel threatened when other people around them criticize them. They downplay the successes of others. They are happy to be seen with other powerful people as long as nobody says that those other people are more powerful or important.

    The danger with a vulnerable narcissist is that they will actively tear down people who make them feel threatened. They are also prone to fly into narcissistic rages in which they lash out at people who have criticized them or have otherwise taken the spotlight. They will also go to great lengths distance themselves from failures and will even revise the history of their role in failures to minimize the appearance that they contributed to a problem.

    When you work with a vulnerable narcissist, your life can be miserable. You may be the subject of tirades in the workplace. You are unlikely to get recognized for good performance, because the narcissist will take credit for your successes. You will get shouldered with the blame for failures—even ones you may not have played a part in.

    For all of these reasons, it is best to avoid having to work with vulnerable narcissists in whatever way you can. If you’re working for a vulnerable narcissist, transfer out. If you are working with one at a parallel level, try to minimize the interactions you have with them. And if you have a potential client or customer who is a vulnerable narcissist, think twice about whether you really want their business. Even if they’re being nice to you at the moment, the time will come when their ire will be directed at you—and it won’t be pretty.

    Twitter announced that it's acquired a chat app called Sphere, which was co-founded by British serial entrepreneur Nick D'Aloisio.

    Twitter buys chat app founded by a serial entrepreneur who sold his first start-up to Yahoo when he was 17

    New York Times op-ed:  I’m the President of the National Taxpayers Union. Be Careful With I.R.S. Reform., by Pete Sepp (President, National Taxpayers Union):

    Democratic lawmakers plan to boost the Internal Revenue Service’s enforcement authority to help pay for the spending package working through Congress. But while the I.R.S. needs more funding to fulfill its mission, the current version of the reform legislation would run roughshod over decades of taxpayer protections that were enshrined by huge bipartisan majorities. .

    John Deere, the Great Resignation, and the Revenge of the Essential Worker New Republic

    Democrats narrow scope of IRS proposal amid GOP attacks The Hill. Shocklingly, it emerges that new IRS checks on bank accounts with over $600 “in deposits or withdrawals” are a revenue-raising measure for “Build Back Better.” More: “[Republicans] expressed skepticism that the IRS would focus enforcement efforts related to the proposal on taxpayers making over $400,000, as the administration has indicated.” And rightly. You can bet those taxpayers move more than $10,000 through their accounts in a year. So why not raise the limit from $10,000 to, say, $100,000 by statue, instead of relying on an IRS press release to make policy? It’s a backdoor tax increase on the working class, which Biden promised not to do.

    Does the Gig Economy Mean We’re Going to Work Forever? Vice.: “Reverting to the historic norm.”

    Impaired semen quality, an increase of sperm morphological defects and DNA fragmentation associated with environmental pollution in urban population of young men from Western Siberia, Russia PLOS

    The Role of Probiotics in Mental HealthMedScape

    How I Became a Sick Person Ross Douthat, NYT. Affecting.