There’s a massive amusement here

Thirteen Russians have been criminally charged for interfering in the 2016 US election to help Donald Trump, the office of Robert Mueller, the special counsel, announced on Friday.

Mueller’s office said 13 Russians and three Russian entities, including the notorious state-backed “troll farm” the Internet Research Agency, had been indicted by a federal grand jury in Washington DC.

A 37-page indictment alleged that the Russians’ operations “included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J Trump … and disparaging Hillary Clinton,” his Democratic opponent.

That being this:

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, April 3— As President Clinton and President Boris N. Yeltsin of Russia began their first summit meeting today, Mr. Clinton presented the Russian leader with some $1 billion in American aid programs intended to support Russian democrats and spur the Western allies to make Russian reform their top foreign policy priority.

Among the new or expanded programs in the package were loan guarantees to build apartments for demobilized Russian soldiers; loans for Russian entrepreneurs; medical supplies, food and grain assistance; funds to help the Russian Government sell state-owned industries, and technical advisers to help repair pipelines and oil wells and begin exporting again.

Mr. Clinton said the package was intended to help promote free-market skills on a grass-roots level in both Moscow and the Russian countryside, so the movement toward democratic reform would continue no matter who governs in the Kremlin.

Clinton, B, intervened massively (and correctly but still….) in Russian politics. If Yeltsin hadn’t won then Putin wouldn’t be there now. Putin intervened and the allegation – among the more screaming nutjobs at least, the report and indictment don’t claim it at all – that thus Clinton, H, lost.

Why is it OK for us and not for them? And, B and H, isn’t it amusing?

Lie detectors don’t work

Lie detectors have been used to send 160 sex offenders back to prison, Ministry of Justice figures have revealed.

Probation officers have sent paedophiles and convicted sex offenders back behind bars after flagging up concerns about their behaviour or the answers they gave to the polygraph tests.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) started using lie detectors on convicted sex offenders in August 2014 and around 50 people are tested on the machines every month.

Officials have the power to send sex offenders back to prison if the results of the cross examination on the lie detectors trigger concerns for public safety.

Bit of a problem that, isn’t it?

Psychologically they can:

“The machine says you’re lying”

“Yes, sob, sob”

But other than that they don’t. Not the basis upon which we should be jugging people.

When a defence is not a defence

It came as Tim Cook , the Apple Chief Executive, said he did not understand the “ferocious” criticism the company had received and appeared to attempt to defend his organisation by insisting they did not murder babies.

Tim Cook, the chief executive, claimed critics motivated by an anti-aid agenda were “gunning” for Apple leaving the company “savaged”.

In an interview with The Guardian, he said: “The intensity and ferocity of the attack makes you wonder, what did we do? We murdered babies in their cots? All we did was make damn great phones and obey the tax laws.”

Noncey boy bollocks

But we err in presuming convenience is always good, for it has a complex relationship with other ideals that we hold dear. Though understood and promoted as an instrument of liberation, convenience has a dark side. With its promise of smooth, effortless efficiency, it threatens to erase the sort of struggles and challenges that help give meaning to life. Created to free us, it can become a constraint on what we are willing to do, and thus in a subtle way it can enslave us.

It would be perverse to embrace inconvenience as a general rule. But when we let convenience decide everything, we surrender too much.

Convenience as we now know it is a product of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when labor-saving devices for the home were invented and marketed.

The rediscovery of Calvinism, hard work is good for you.


So law is another thing he doesn’t know about then

Has a crime been committed? If crime is an affront to the accepted standards of society then, yes, that can be argued in both cases.

No, a crime is what the currently written law states is a crime.

Not DoublusPlusUngoodThink.

In contrast, did, and does, Jeremy Hunt knowingly cause harm by his actions? The answer is unambiguously yes in my opinion. This is because there is amply evidence to suggest that alternatives are available; that he knows of them and does nothing to act on them. He is, then, guilty of causing pain and loss of life when both could be avoided. It is not just his judgement that has erred; his actions have been informed by that judgement despite knowing what would happen.

Sometimes a little theorising helps.

Hunt is slowing the rise in the NHS budget. This is now a crime in RitchieUnThink.

BTW, if people can be charged with crimes for “bad” policy options when do we stick Ritchie in the Tower? For the crime against humanity of stupidity?

You think they waste our money this badly?

A former prostitute claimed last night that the Oxfam boss at the centre of the sex scandal regularly paid to sleep with her.

She said Roland van Hauwermeiren had sex with her twice a week for six months in Haiti – after the 2010 earthquake had destroyed her home and killed five members of her family.

The mother-of-one said the aid worker paid her between £70 and £140 each time, after initially meeting her on the street near his £1,500-a-month hilltop villa known as the Eagle’s Nest.

London prices in Haiti after the earthquake?

You think they spend our money that badly?

(Or, more likely, the Mail has the exchange rate wrong but still…..ah, no:’It went on for six months. I would go round twice a week and he would pay me 100 to 200 US dollars a time.)

Well, there’s abuse and abuse, you understand?

A leading children’s rights campaigner, who helped governments around the world tackle the issue of abuse, has been jailed for raping a 12-year-old boy.

Former UNICEF consultant Peter Newell admitted three counts of indecent assault and two counts of buggery and was sentenced to six years, eight months in prison.

His concentration upon no one smacking the bottoms of little boys may have had some prurience attached to it, no?

So new rules weren’t and aren’t needed then, eh?

More than 100 BBC presenters are facing tax bills that could run into hundreds of thousands of pounds after a former star lost her case against HMRC.

Christa Ackroyd earned more than the Prime Minister as co-host of the regional Look North programme on BBC One.

She was paid as a freelancer through a personal services company at the BBC’s request, but HMRC ruled that she should have paid the same level of tax as a BBC employee. Ms Ackroyd must now pay back £419,151.

If the current rules already catch such cases, what need for change?

And let us not forget something very important. Who is really going to face a tax bill? Well, the BBC as well, no?

For what service companies do is lower income tax a bit (the combination of corporation tax and dividend tax isn’t so different), employee national insurance disappears. But then so does employer national insurance, something with no cap at what, 13.8% of income? An amount the BBC is going to have to find, no?

This is the thing that really drove those personal service contracts and companies in the first place. BBC tax dodging.

Re a comment below:

She added that the £419,151 figure did not take into account corporation tax she had already paid through her personal service company. She is considering an appeal.


So, therefore, I remark:

The corporate form exists in its current guise to support an ethos. That is the cult of maximisation. I deliberately omit the word profit from that last sentence. What most managers realise is that they have no idea what profit is. And they also realise that they have no idea how to maximise it, even if they really understand profit. That is because those with any insight realise that doing so requires a knowledge of the future with a degree of certainty that is actually beyond us all. So what they instead do is suggest that other, easier to identify (and fulfil) goals be used as proxies for profit maximisation. Almost invariable that proxy is income growth. The maxim is simple. It is ‘if it’s bigger, it’s better’. And so from the false microeconomic idea of profit maximisation was the cult of growth born.

Amazing how little he knows about business really, isn’t it? People are endlessly cutting unprofitable lines of work. Something he complains about a lot actually.

As I tell my students, the whole of political economy is about the influence of power over the allocation of resources in society. The isomorphic model of corporate form is designed to deliver unaccountable power to a few at cost to many. As it has spread the consequences have become more obvious. But so too has the need for the consideration of alternatives, to which far too little attention has been paid. That’s because if the modern cult of microeconomics is good at anything it is good at crushing alternative thought. We’re all paying the price for that.

Guess that’s why everything should be concentrated into an even smaller group of managers, the State?

Seems entirely reasonable

Almost two thirds of Muslim women who marry in the UK are not legally wed because their Sharia ceremonies are not registered in law. The percentage is rising, with estimates suggesting there are as many as 100,000 people in unregistered marriages among the 2.7 million Muslims in the UK.

Civil registration — as with all other marriages in Britain — would provide couples, particularly women, with the protections and rights of family laws, ensuring that they face fewer “discriminatory practices,” a recent report commissioned by the government has concluded.

All marriages in England (at least) which are legal marriages are civil registered. Sure, often enough it’s the priest, vicar or rabbi doing the paperwork but that’s what is happening.

So, why not?

Note that this isn’t to try and have special rules for Muslims. This is to afford them the same rules as everyone else.

As several people have pointed out

Third, the charities need to reconnect with the public. It is easy enough to make the case for humanitarian aid when there are famines, floods and hurricanes, and that is reflected in the generosity with which people respond to disaster appeals.

But most of the Ggovernment’s aid budget is spent on longer term development work – and here voters are more sceptical about whether the money they are providing through their taxes is being spent well. Together, the development charities and the government need to be more vocal about where aid is making a difference, as well as more honest about where it has failed.

Trade, not aid.

One could even craft a policy here. IDA costs some £11 billion a year. That would make a nice little training fund for those temporarily displaced by unilateral free trade. So, why not do exactly that? The trade would lift more out of poverty in the first place, we get to say we’re spending it at home, on us. And we kill off Oxfam along the way. What’s not to like?

Note that this isn’t even supposed to be an economic policy (that would be just have the unilateral free trade anyway), it’s a political one.

Akin to the £350 million battlebus for the NHS of course.

Methinks Rees Mogg pere read some Mancur Olsen

The book’s 400-odd pages of near-hysterical orotundity can roughly be broken down into the following sequence of propositions:

1) The democratic nation-state basically operates like a criminal cartel, forcing honest citizens to surrender large portions of their wealth to pay for stuff like roads and hospitals and schools.

2) The rise of the internet, and the advent of cryptocurrencies, will make it impossible for governments to intervene in private transactions and to tax incomes, thereby liberating individuals from the political protection racket of democracy.

3) The state will consequently become obsolete as a political entity.

4) Out of this wreckage will emerge a new global dispensation, in which a “cognitive elite” will rise to power and influence, as a class of sovereign individuals “commanding vastly greater resources” who will no longer be subject to the power of nation-states and will redesign governments to suit their ends.

Point 1 is roughly Olsen’s thesis. That the state is the system by which special interests plunder us all.

2 and 3 are really Marx. The state of technology determines social relations. Change the tech and you’ll change the relations.

4 is just a reversion to Olsen but with different people using a different form of state and or governance to plunder.

There’s not, to be honest, a great deal libertarian about this.

Well, yes Mr. Eavis

Meanwhile, the Glastonbury festival founder, Michael Eavis, said he would continue to support the charity.

Speaking at the NME Awards on Wednesday night, he said: “We’ve raised millions through the years with Oxfam – six million quid and everyone’s said what a wonderful charity they are and we still support them.

“And for a few dodgy people – like with the NHS you get a few dodgy doctors and it doesn’t discredit the NHS, does it? So why should it affect Oxfam?”

And a few dodgy bankers shows that capitalism must be overturned, does it?

Well, yes and no

Oxfam refused to ban staff from using prostitutes saying it would “infringe their civil liberties”, a training manual has revealed.

The guidance, still available on the charity’s website, says that they “strongly discourage” their workers from paying for sex but a total ban would be “impractical”.

Freedom of contract does mean they can insist on the idea. As employees can refuse to sign such a contract.

There can also be a more general term, not to do anything illegal. Or to create disrepute for the organisation.


That Anglo Saxon Wave

The European Union will demand the right to raid financial services firms in Britain after Brexit and hand its regulators sweeping new powers, as Brussels moves to shackle the City of London with red tape after the UK leaves the bloc.

How colonialist that is. The natives can’t be trusted to run themselves, send the gunboats in.

You know, sovereign jurisdiction is sovereign or it ain’t…..