So, how much do we think he’ll get wrong in this?

Verso Books is to publish Dirty Secrets, an “explosive” new book from tax expert Richard Murphy, following the revelations from the Panama Papers.

Senior editor Leo Hollis acquired world English rights to the title from Carrie Kania at Conville and Walsh, and plans to publish in the UK and US this autumn.

Dirty Secrets argues that the extent the rich hide their wealth in tax havens has “wide-ranging and calamitous” effect on all of us, and tells readers “what we can do to fight this corrupt practice”.

Hollis said: “Richard is a world expert on this subject, he was one of the first people to highlight the dangers of tax havens. This will be an explosive book.”

Murphy is the head of Tax Research UK and the author of The Joy of Tax (Bantam Press).

The author said: “The tax haven world is changing fast, but there’s a risk that its dirty secrets will continue to undermine the world economy unless there is concerted action to save markets from the abuse the offshore world facilitates. This book will explain how and why capitalism must turn on tax havens to save itself from them.”

Also, do his book royalties turn up in Tax Research accounts so that we can see the tax he pays?

Bit of a disappointment

So urban decadence reaches rural Portugal: peanut butter Oreos.

Munch munch…..what the hell is this?

Ah, *reads packet* peanut butter flavour Oreos.

Back to spreading peanut butter on chocolate digestives it is then…..

Mencap has a slight problem here

Campaigners at the learning disability charity Mencap have called on an internet dating site to remove “hurtful” and “discriminatory” language.

They say OkCupid poses a shocking and offensive question as part of its screening process, asking: “Would the world be a better place if people with low IQs were not allowed to reproduce?”

Amy Clarke, who works for Mencap and has a learning disability, said: “I am very upset that OkCupid could ask a question about whether people with a learning disability should be allowed to have children. This is not OK.

“It is shocking and offensive.” By asking the question, she said, “they are making it seem like it is OK to say yes, which it is not”.

So, the actual question is part of their process to see whether people are compatible. The dating site asks you, are kittens cute, do unicorns gambol down sunbeams and should dim people have children. They then try to match you to people who share at least some of your views so that you’ve something to talk about inbetween bumping uglies.

So, rather choppy weather in teacup sort of thing to get offended about. But there’s rather more of a problem to this:

A mother of six with an IQ of 70 should be sterilised for her own safety, the Court of Protection has ruled.


The secretive Court of Protection will rule on the woman’s case on Tuesday, in a rare open hearing scheduled because of the overwhelming “public interest” in understanding the case.
She is due to give birth by caesarean section on Wednesday and could undergo an operation to sterilise her at the same time, if the court agrees.


The British Court of Protection says it needs further medical and psychiatric reports before it can rule on whether or not a 21-year-old woman with “significant learning disabilities” should be forcibly sterilized. The woman, identified as “P,” is scheduled to give birth to her second child this week via C-section. P’s mother, who currently cares for her daughter and grandchild, asked that the court order her daughter to be sterilized to avoid future pregnancies.

Whether or not this should happen is not my point here. That point being that the current law of the land already includes the option of sterilising people, in however exceptional the circumstances, for being too dim. And sorry folks, it’s entirely acceptable to ask whether the law of the land should be as it is or not. Whether as a survey about what the law should be or as a screening filter for those who wish to bump uglies.

We could run this the other way: abortion is generally legal in the UK. Would it be shocking and offensive to ask people whether they approve, disapprove, would never allow, whatever, one before people start to bump uglies?

Get over yourself you damn fool

After insulting and demeaning Mexican people for months and threatening to build an even bigger wall around their border with the US, Trump has come to realize that in order to defeat Hillary Clinton in November, he has to get Hispanic people to at least consider the possibility that he doesn’t despise them.

This led him to disreputable pandering – such as his recent decision to pose for a photo-op with a taco bowl. It’s a truly tall order, but this picture, co-starring a fried tortilla bowl filled with stuff (which Mr Trump probably thinks is the national dish of Mexico) is sure to go a long way toward bridging the divide.

The picture raises important questions as the undecided voter begins to weigh his or her options for the next president of the US. Join me as I try to answer some of these questions through a combination of blatant conjecture and schoolyard bullying, a method I like to call the Art of the Deal

American elections always feature candidates chowing down on whatever the local food is. You eat corn and some piece of a hog in Iowa, remember not to eat your pizza with a fork in New York and grin over your gumbo in New Orleans. This is just how it is done. Just as with French candidates having to munch through whatever piece of offal is the local specialty in that commune they’re standing in at the meet and greet.

Complaining about the one thing Trump has done which all politicians traditionally do is just whining.

Timmy elsewhere

City AM:

This is also the general reason for privatisation in a nutshell. Where increased profit is not the driving organisational force or incentive then the organisation is not straining those sinews to make us all collectively richer.

Given that we do like being collectively richer, therefore we should be privatising everything not entirely nailed down. Just to expose all to those bracing incentives which have, over the past couple of centuries, driven us from that peasant destitution to the current situation, where we have the luxury of pondering whether Countdown could survive in the cut throat world of the private sector or not. Or must be protected by the public service remit of a not for profit broadcaster.

Sell it, preferably yesterday.

Some friends doing some crowdfunding

What is Russia Insider?
A VOLUNTEER MOVEMENT – An alternative news publication, driven by regular folks and citizen journalists from all over the world, leading the fight for honest journalism taming the trillion dollar, co-opted corporate media beast.

We’re up to 15 paid staff now, still working out of our apt/office in Moscow. We’ve got over 300 volunteers from all over the world, publishing about 20 articles/day with blistering success.

Entirely barking mad of course but one of them is a mate of long standing.

Another attempt on “Your papers please”

Government measures making people prove their nationality or face prosecution risk damaging community relations and are discriminatory, critics have warned.

The Conservatives want to give police and immigration officers the power to order people who have been arrested to state their nationality and require those believed to be foreign nationals to produce their nationality documents, such as a passport.

Failure to do so within 72 hours would become a criminal offence under the policing and crime bill currently going through parliament.

There’s people out there who have no papers to prove that they are British. Some portion of the country doesn’t have a passport. And can you lay hands on your birth certificate? Which doesn’t, in fact, identify you anyway?

Not going to work, is it?

An interesting Jenner question

Caitlyn Jenner is to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated, the leading American sports magazine, dressed only in an American flag and sporting her Olympic gold medal in a rare acknowledgement of her previous life as a champion male athlete.

If she’s female, shouldn’t she be stripped of the medal for having competed in the wrong event?


Richard Murphy says:
May 4 2016 at 3:54 pm
But how do you know they verify them?

And why – this is an open ledger, or so I am told. So why is verification needed?

Because the mining is the verification?


So you confirm the credit is not recorded

OK then – tell me who owns it in that case

Because I promise you it exists – and don’t give me the BS about mining – that’s an economic charade in my view. No one needs to ‘mine’ to make this system work: it’s just a silly game and not remotely related to any economic fundamental. Someone gains from this process outside the system denying the capital it needs to be sustainable – who is it?

And then we get this gorgeousness:

Richard Murphy says:
May 3 2016 at 7:21 pm
Fiat money is backed by capital

It is? Umm, so, what’s that word “fiat” doing in there? And this is lovely:

Richard Murphy says:
May 3 2016 at 5:31 pm
I am sorry, but you are just wrong

The double entry for gold creation is:

What? We’re creating gold now?

And then this as the most gorgeous misunderstanding of the entire point:

James g says:
May 3 2016 at 9:58 pm
I think your argument is: money must be credit. Bitcoin is not credit. Therefore bitcoin can’t work as money.

The solution is that money doesn’t have to be credit. It can be a commodity. Problem solved. Payments then become as simple as transferring ownership of the commodity. This is how money worked throughout history.

Richard Murphy says:
May 4 2016 at 5:11 am
Tally sticks are sn unlikely feature of a modern economy

But that’s pretty much what the ledger is, tally sticks. And the argument is about whether they might be a useful addition to the modern economy.

Ritchie and campaign finance

So why Trump? I think the clue is in the name: his money has trumped everyone else. That and blatant and nasty populism. If ever there was evidence that money and good government are an unlikely mix then this is it.

Jeesus. Trump has raised less and spent less than just about everyone else in the race. Sheesh.

And all of this does, at least in part, fly in the face of what many seem to want. Look at the stories about Leicester City: one of the things that appeals to many about their success is that it has not been unduly bought. This is a relatively cheaply assembled team based on talent, team spirit and shared endeavour. Of course there are egos involved; it would be impoissible for it to be otherwise. But what has worked so well is the ability to work together.

The Trump approach and that of the libertarian right is the antithesis of this. That policy of self interest saps the spirit and destroys the collective will on which most things of value are built.


And the 0.2 Prof carries on

But all money is credit

Bitcoin is not credit

It cannot therefore be money

And it cannot meet the need for credit creation that any real money does

It is just nothing that it claims to be

Cowrie shells were used as money. Cowrie shells are not credit.

What he’s missing is that the definition used in one part of one argument is not the thing itself. Sure, we often equate credit and money. But that doesn’t not mean that something which is not credit cannot be money.

Good grief

A well-known actor who won an injunction to hush up claims he slept with a prostitute used by Wayne Rooney is reportedly to be named in the US today.
The married father, whose reputation as a family man has boosted his career as a world-renowned star, allegedly paid escort Helen Wood £195 for sex.
The millionaire then paid a firm of high-powered lawyers tens of thousands of pounds to stop his fans finding out.

I thought so many of us already knew that it was entirely out and about?

Although, since legally it isn’t please don’t try to drop the name in here.

Ritchie book review

By, not of:

The result is a work that feels dogmatic, however good the scholarship. It appears that its whole purpose is to suggest that no situation where taxing the rich more than the rest of the population can be justified now exists, or is ever likely to recur. But at no point is the fact that we actually now have regressive taxation for the richest justified, and the basis for modern compensatory payments is too lightly dismissed. Financial market failure, unjustified pre-distribution of income and wealth, the prevalence of rents in the modern economy and environmental justification for reducing consumption by a few are hardly mentioned.

The result is that there may be an argument implicit in this book, but not the one it presents.

I tend to think that you’ve got to be rather more than 0.2 of a Professor to give scholarship that lofty a dismissal.

Trying it on somewhat

Federal prosecutors in Brazil have filed a 155bn-real ($43.5bn) civil lawsuit against iron miner Samarco, and its owners Vale SA and BHP Billiton, for the collapse of a tailings dam in November that killed 19 people and polluted a major river.

$43 billion?

The total damages, they said, were calculated based upon the cost of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the United States. BP’s total pre-tax charge for that spill reached $53.8bn.