Well fancy that!

Tax Justice Network, looking at the effects of higher income tax rates:

Thompson remarks, based on extensive analysis of the evidence, and other examples of apparently selective use of data, that: “It seems that the prevailing orthodoxy that higher taxes reduce growth is so ingrained that contrary evidence cannot be recognised.”

Prevailing orthodoxy in physics is that gravity exists rather than that the Earth sucks. But for political reasons we’d prefer to insist that the planet is giving our feet a permanent blow job.

So there.

Expenses again

Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, spent almost £7,000 of taxpayers’ money on business class flights around the world while the Crown Prosecution Service headed towards crisis over Greville Janner and doomed trials of journalists.

Ms Saunders, who is paid £200,000 a year, flew business class to New York, Washington, Dubai and the Caribbean, and also jetted to Madrid, Rome and The Hague for publicly-funded trips while the CPS spent a year contemplating whether to prosecute Lord Janner.

Her expenses, which totalled £13,000 for a 12-month period, included £1,040 spent on taxis, with a single taxi ride that cost £102. Her trip to the Caribbean for an “official meeting” last September cost the taxpayer £3,105 for business class flights and hotels.

6 or 7% of salary as expenses? Seems pretty cheap really. and whether she actually needed to go to an “official meeting” in the Caribbean is unknown. But if you’re going to shift some 50 year old (don’t know, rough guess) transatlantic then you’d better cough up for business class if you want them to be able to do anything when they get there or back. Fine to stick ‘em cattle class on Ryanair for a couple of hours around Europe, but not for 6 or 7 in the air each way.

Starving authors in their garrets

The reality of being a writer has been laid bare in a new report highlighting the low earning many endure for their art.

A study, conducted by Queen Mary, University of London, showed just one in ten authors can afford to earn a living from writing alone, a drop from 40 per cent just a decade ago.

A typical professional writer, it found, earned just £11,000 annually; less than the minimum wage.

Yes, and? Writing books just doesn’t make money, except for those very few stars. Never has done by the way. Which is why everyone who does write them does something else as well: journalism often, but can and sometimes is anything at all.

My last annual royalty statement was £60 I think. Rather less than the daily wage of scribbling journalism. Always been that way too.

Idiot stupidity

A man who underwent gender reassignment to become a woman has lost his High Court bid to have his identity as father removed from his children’s birth papers.

The transgender father began gender reassignment back in 2012 and is waiting for a final operation to become female.

She claimed it was discrimination and a breach of her human right for respect to private and family life not to take the description “father” off the children’s birth certificates.

Identified only as JK she challenged the refusal of the Registrar General to alter the certificates to describe her simply as “parent” or “father/parent”.

Sigh. Some people just have a bit too much time on their hands, eh? Seems fair enough that the kiddies, conceived naturally before the knackers were taken off, get described as the children of said father really.

Well, obviously

Speaking in the magazine New in Chess about the lack of women playing the game, Short said: “Why should they [men and women] function in the same way? I don’t have the slightest problem in acknowledging that my wife [Rea] possesses a much higher degree of emotional intelligence than I do.

“Likewise, she doesn’t feel embarrassed in asking me to manoeuvre the car out of our narrow garage.

“One is not better than the other, we just have different skills. It would be wonderful to see more girls playing chess, and at a higher level, but rather than fretting about inequality, perhaps we should just gracefully accept it as a fact.”

Isn’t he getting stick for saying something so obvious though?

Blimey Ritchie!

First, HMRC’s estimate is just wrong. Tax avoidance is much higher than £3.1 billion, as I have argued. Even within the context of the HMRC report this figure is too low because it excludes disputes on legal interpretation, which appear to be tax avoidance issues by any other name. The HMRC estimate also excludes all of the tax abuse by companies like Google and Amazon, which are specifically not in their data as a matter of choice, which makes the figure both subjective, and unreliable. The true target the tax avoidance is, in my estimate, around £20 billion, although this would never be recoverable in full.

Well, quite. If you call obeying every jot and tittle of the EU and UK tax law on domicile of a corporation tax avoidance then you can come up with any number you think of, can’t you Ritchie?

He still tries to claim that Vodafone and Starbucks were avoiding for goodness sake.

So they’re monstering Jim Jepps now, are they?

Ms Bennett has been dating Mr Jepps for five years

Right…..

He quit the Socialist Workers Party in around 2003 and later joined the Greens.

So he’s an idiot then, SWPers always are.

In one post, seen by MailOnline, he joked that gay sex is not a sin ‘unless you do it really well or claim it on expenses’.

A J.O.K.E.

Not a great one, but mildly amusing perhaps.

In 2007, he tackled a news story about demands for music books written by a paedophile to be withdrawn, because the recorder lessons were used to groom victims.

Mr Jepps wrote: ‘We can burn these books as a public statement against the author (who is in jail for his crimes) or try to understand that whatever monstrous acts individuals commit they are still complex human beings for all that.

‘Good, evil, interesting and banal by turns – not devils who can taint everything they touch with evil.’

Err, yes, like when a SWPer can make an interesting point about the way that humans are complex and that some bits and output can be good, others bad. We all acknowledge this which is why we haven’t destroyed all of Eric Gill’s work.

According to the Sunday Mirror another posting included: ‘New Poll: Sex with pupils – good idea/bad idea? Personally I’m ambivalent and would appreciate any guidance.

‘It seems to me the sex offenders register is a sledgehammer to crack a nut sometimes. When you have a teacher who kissed a 17-year-old placed on the same register as Gary Glitter it does make you wonder how useful the list is, no matter how creepy that teacher might be.’

Quite so.

I do wonder sometimes what the Mail would say about me if they found this blog…..

Yes these people are entirely fucking stupid

Californians facing the prospect of endless drought, mandated cuts in water use and the browning of their summer lawns are mounting a revolt against the bottled water industry, following revelations that Nestlé and other big companies are taking advantage of poor government oversight to deplete mountain streams and watersheds at vast profit.

An online petition urging an immediate end to Nestle’s water bottling operations in the state has gathered more than 150,000 signatures, in the wake of an investigation by the San Bernardino Desert Sun that showed the company is taking water from some of California’s driest areas on permits that expired as long as 27 years ago.

OK. So, how much are they taking?

One key question will be how much water Nestlé is taking to create what one industry group delightfully calls “the quintessential hydrating beverage”. The company claims 700m gallons a year, or about what it takes to keep two golf courses green.

Hmm. In 2010 California water usage was 38 billion gallons a day.

2% of one day’s usage. 30 minutes usage in fact.

Err, that’s in one year Nestle takes what the rest of California uses in 30 minutes. 0.005% of total usage.

Yes, I think we can safely conclude that these protestors are entirely fucking stupid.

On unemployment for UK liberty

We’ve a thread here about unemployment and zero hours contracts and so on. Just to clarify for UK liberty and others.

Just about every economist, classical, neo-classical, New Classical, Keynesian, Marxist, the lot, will agree that involuntary unemployment is the result of the price of labour being higher than the market clearing price of labour. Thus the solution is to either lower the price of labour or to bring the market clearing price up to that price.

Why the prices are different is argued about. How to solve it all causes catfights.

Many things change that market clearing price: higher welfare payments will, ceteris paribus, raise that. The financial system falling over will, ceteris paribus, lower it. A property crash will lower it (for there’s a “wealth effect”. We see our wealth go up, we’re willing to spend more now, this increases the labour required to produce for our spending. Prices crash, the effect goes into reverse).

So, for example, in 2008/9, in Spain, vast property crash. There’s going to be a recession. Undoubtedly. And that means rising unemployment. what’s the solution? One might spend lots of borrowed money to boost the economy, raise the demand for labour thus bring the market clearing price up to current price of labour. Unless you can’t borrow any more that is. Or you might think that the price of labour should fall. Problems there: the existence of welfare puts a floor under wages. Also, people hate having their nominal wages cut (Keynes made this point forcefully). So, it has to be a mix of job changes (ie, people lose one job then get another at a lower wage), inflation (nominal wages stay static, real wages fall) and just general growth in productivity (the market clearing price will fall over time as labour productivity increases) to get there. Thus it can take, if direct action isn’t taken, many years to mop up that unemployment.

But the basic point remains. Involuntary unemployment is because the price of labour is too high for the market to clear. There’s no mystery here, no one thinks that a burst of unemployment is as a result of a burst of laziness. The only questions are why have the two prices changed and what in buggery are we going to do about it?

There’s a problem with being ruled by a multi-national technocracy

Rodrigo Rato, the former minister and IMF managing director who was briefly placed under arrest last Thursday, is reported to have amassed a personal fortune of at least €27 million (£19.5 million), including dozens of companies and a 44 per cent share of a luxury hotel in Berlin.

Mr Rato, who was economy minister in Spain’s Popular Party (PP) governments between 1996 and 2004 before a three-year stint as IMF chief, is being investigated on suspicion of concealing his wealth and tax evasion.

According to information leaked to the Spanish media by court sources, Mr Rato used a web of companies and over 70 bank accounts.

Which is that some parts of said multi-national produce a technocracy that is made up of rapacious bastards. Thieving rapacious bastards even. And the problem with the technocracy bit is that once such a system is in place we can’t get rid of them. For you don’t get to vote for a technocracy, nor vote against it.

Oh dear

After a last meal of hot dogs and caviar on board his private jet en route, the 78 year-old Taubman was duly incarcerated in a federal facility at Rochester, Minnesota,

Blimey. Hot dogs, yes, great food, but salty fish eggs? As Rod Stewart is said to have ordered, when first offered them, I’ll have mine boiled please.

How hugely amusing that it’s a journalist complaining about zero hours contracts

Great news: everyone can stop worrying about nasty, unfair zero-hours contracts because Iain Duncan Smith has rebranded them and made them sound nice. The Conservative work and pensions secretary thinks that the phrase “zero-hours contracts” is too negative, and wants to replace it with “flexible hours”. Did you see what he did there? It’s even better than Esther McVey’s “enabling hours”.

Because another interesting name for the practice could be “freelance contract” where you are promised no set amount of work, no guaranteed income, but only whatever scraps might be too much for the permanent staff to deal with. And swathes of the whole journalistic industry runs on these contracts as well.

Hmm

Last week, the director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders, announced that the now 86-year-old Janner would not be facing any charges on the grounds that he was suffering from dementia and therefore unfit to stand trial. It required the CPS to add that “this decision does not mean or imply that… Janner is guilty of any offence”. In turn, Janner’s family issued their own statement praising the man’s “integrity” before adding: “He is entirely innocent of any wrongdoing.”

However, in an exceptionally rare move, the CPS went on to detail the exact charges Janner would have faced had he been deemed well enough: the 22 sex offences, alleged to have taken place from 1969 to 1988, involving nine children and young adults then cared for in children’s homes. These ranged from indecent assaults to buggery. What’s more, Saunders admitted Janner should have been charged in 1991 and that there were two further missed opportunities in 2002 and 2007 when the “evidential test was passed”, meaning there was a realistic prospect of conviction.

He is undoubtedly innocent but it’s perhaps not a witch hunt.

Is satire, really, finally, dead now?

The original statement was that satire was dead when Nixon was elected: that’s from Tom Lehrer. Myself I think Kissinger getting the Peace Prize was a sterling moment. But, sorry, it ain’t dead yet:

President Barack Obama announced in his weekly address that he will travel to the Florida Everglades on Wednesday, which is Earth Day, to bring attention to the dangers of climate change.

That is, Barack Obama, the President, will travel with his own 747 Jumbo Jet, with an advance party in another, larger, cargo plane carrying his armoured limo (s), with a back up plane in the air just in case. In order to give a speech on how aviation emissions, among other things, threaten the fucking planet?

Umm, don’t they have a TV studio in the White House? Or maybe satire is finally dead?

Hmm

Motorists meeting up to commit sex acts at a popular dogging site are being detered after a fed up service station began filming them and showing their activities on large-screen televisions.

The Moto Hospitality service station in Penllergaer on the M4 near Swansea took action after woodland next to it was advertised on a specialist swingers website and became popular with people committing sex acts.

In a bid to discourage lewd behaviour it placed signs in its toilets warning it would send their images and registration numbers to the police and it placed cameras at its entrance which beam live footage to large screen televisions inside the complex.

Time for some social science research. Where do we apply for a grant?

Does this increases or decrease the incidence? Are those who prefer to shag without being filmed deterred in greater numbers than the true exhibitionists turn up to be filmed?

Our research grant would need to be large enough to include a number of comely maids in the research team. So as to, you know, be able to blend in with the crowd’s activities while….studying…..yes, studying.

Slightly missing the point about being Catholic here, aren’t they?

In an unprecedented move, more than 100 Catholic leaders in San Francisco have called on Pope Francis to remove the city’s archbishop over his “intolerant” views on abortion and gay marriage.

Several heads of Catholic schools, church volunteers and former board members of Catholic charities have sent an open letter to the local paper addressed to the Holy See, asking that it replace Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone with someone who shares their progressive ideas.

The open letter stated that the Archdiocese of San Francisco is threatened by Cordileone’s “single-issue agenda and cannot survive, let alone thrive and grow under his supervision” and that San Francisco deserves a leader focused on service and diversity.

But then San Franciscans have never had all that much contact with reality, have they?

How amusing

Darkly amusing, you understand:

The decision was described as “a disgrace” by one alleged victim who claimed the former MP was “being protected” because of his VIP status.

Leicestershire Police, which traced 25 potential victims during a two-year investigation launched in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal, said the CPS’s decision was “the wrong one” and the force is now taking legal advice on challenging it.

Greville Janner MP, as he was at the time, was interviewed by Leicestershire Police in 1991 after a former occupant of a children’s home accused him of abusing him for two years when he was aged between 13 and 15. The claims were made during the trial of another man who was later jailed for abusing more than 100 children.

When Ashcroft took ermine there was all sorts of rumpus and broohaha over whether he was actually tax resident in the UK or not. And shouts that if he wasn’t then he shouldn’t be wearing that stoat. And yet a few years earlier everyone stood around and cheered as a kiddie buggerer joined their Lordships.

Interesting how political beliefs influence things, isn’t it?

You, yes you! can pay to hear me speak!

How the Economics of Rare Metals Really Add up Jun 4, 2015 £15.00

The Register’s favourite economist and rare metals miner Tim Worstall will highlight the absurd economics underlying the technology industry by taking us on a journey around the world’s rare metal’s hotspots.

We keep being told that we’re about to run out of all these lovely tech metals and others. This is in fact incorrect. There’s no metal or mineral we’re going to run out of in any human timescale. The predictions of imminent Ecodammerung just aren’t correct, and Tim will show you why.

The doors will be open from 5.30pm, and we’ll be kicking off the talk proper at 7.00. After 40 minutes we’ll have break for whatever refreshments take your fancy. We’ll then have formal Q&A for another 40 minutes. It’s your event and we’ll head in direction the audience wants us to go.

After that, you’re welcome to stick around and continue the conversation as long as you want – or at least till closing time.

I believe there might be pork pies as well.