January 2019

Terrible indeed

Internal Zimbabwean police documents passed to the Guardian suggest the army has been responsible for murder, rape and armed robbery during the ongoing brutal crackdown in the southern African country.

Just goes to show what happens when you give the state lots of power.

A question

Being a woman in public life is not without challenge. Female MPs, athletes and actors are subjected to abuse on and offline.

I know why actresses are now called actors but I’m not sure why, in the past, we didn’t use the word athlettes. Is it just because we didn’t have any back when we were coining words?

A question

Why is it that when people propose US government health care it’s always Medicare for everyone and not Medicaid for everyone?

Might we have an admission here that government health care isn’t always lovely?

It’s an odd belief really

Where have 70% tax rates worked? In the USA, for a start….

The Spud doesn’t seem to know his history. Nor does the historian:

And here’s the problem. Hauser’s Law. Pretty much whatever anyone does the Federal tax take doesn’t rise above about 20% of GDP. And it’s not true that those high marginal tax rates of the 1950s did much, even anything, to get that tax take up.

There’s a reason why this is true as well. Taxation of incomes isn’t going to get you much more than that.

Erm, why?

Unlike plastic waste, there is a ready market for used tyres within the UK. They are – or were – compressed into tight blocks to make road foundations, embankments and drainage beds. It’s not the closed-loop recycling that should be applied to everything we consume, let alone the radical reduction in the use of materials required to prevent environmental breakdown.

Doesn’t rubber grow on trees? You know, it’s a renewable resource?

Other things that don’t work

“Buzzfeed is the most important news organisation in the world,” wrote Ben Thompson, a technology analyst closely followed by the Silicon Valley set.

By rejecting advertising in favour of advertorials distributed via the same social media channels as its journalism, Thompson believed Buzzfeed founder Jonah Peretti had created a new kind of media organisation that “perfectly aligned” the interests of staff and readers. With no need to write so-called clickbait to attract big audiences for advertisers, for the first time digital journalists would be completely free of commercial concerns.

That’s to rather miss the point of journalism, which is filling in the white spaces between the ads.

That we call them advertorials doesn’t change that the people paying want the audience to see them….

No, really, this is very interesting

England will have no new cases of HIV by 2030, Health Secretary says

That’s toss of course. Even if we limit the statement to no new transmissions within England as opposed to tourist activities etc. We don’t even manage that with measles let alone HIV. But this bit is fascinating:

“Today we’re setting a new goal: eradicating HIV transmission in England by 2030,” he will tell the event in London, pledging £600,000 of funding towards the efforts.

Technology marches on and now HIV transmission is a trivia, a rounding error on the state, even health, budget. That’s not bad as a change is it? We didn’t even know about it at all until 1981, had no treatments until the early 90s and now? Not that eradication, that’s not what I mean, but £600k? It’s trivia, isn’t it?

Yes, yes, of course, it’s not trivia for anyone who gets it etc. But as a public health problem…..

Suppose we can’t really call him a twat, can we?

Will Young has threatened to report The Grand Tour to Ofcom over its alleged “homophobic” content.

The pop star accused the Amazon Prime motoring show – hosted by Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond – of making “repulsive” jokes at the expense of the LGBT community.

During the latest episode of the show, the trio drive through Colombia, with Clarkson in a Jeep. His co-hosts suggests the vehicle is for gay people, with Hammond suggesting Clarkson needs a new grooming routine and a change of clothes.

He said: “Maybe some nice chaps. Suede but ventilated at the back.” Later, The Weather Girls’ hit It’s Raining Men plays from the Jeep’s stereo.

After raising concerns over the episode on Twitter, openly gay Young said on Tuesday evening he had received no response from Amazon, so industry regulator Ofcom “beckons”.

That’s a rather, erm, expansive meaning of the word homophobia, isn’t it? I mean sure, “hate the pooftie shirtlifters who’ll all get AIDs” might be something we’d prefer TV shows weren’t beaming into homes. But a very mild joke indeed about chaps?

Which, one should note, the point of which is that they are all ventilated at the back, that’s the difference between them and trousers anyway.

This sort of level of whining is as if the actress and Bishop stuff is anti-clerical. Or even luvviephobic.

He added: “Enough is enough and I’m pissed and fed up. I want Amazonprime and the producers of grand tour to meet young lgbt who want to kill themselves because of shaming and laughter and normalising of shaming homophobic narratives.

“Your time is up and it’s time to take a stand. Is there a legal case ? Who knows . ……. watch this space.”

Young, who rose to fame after winning Pop Idol, said the show was guilty of stereotyping.

He said: “I DON’T drive a Wrangler Jeep. I DON’T wear pink shirts . I DON’T wear arseless chaps. You can be honest and funny without this ridiculous ‘lad’ ooh being gay and let’s laugh about it mentality . It’s repulsive and how DARE you do it and put it out @PrimeVideo.”

Get a life matey.

How times changeth

With the 31 January self assessment deadline looming, a campaign group has highlighted statistics showing the ongoing unfair tax advantage available to self-employed business owners.

Figures from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) show that an employee earning £40,000 a year will pay £12,262 in tax. This is £4,556 more than a self-employed person who earns the same but has opted to incorporate as a self-employed company manager/owner. The overall rate of tax paid by self-employed manager/owners can be as low as 19%, far less than the 32% rate likely to be paid by an employee earning the same salary.

Ritchie’s gone from promoting such ideas in The Observer to condemning them now.

He used the system for far longer than he publicly approved of it, of course. In fact, he used until after he’d been paid to condemn it. Funny that.

Booking.com scam

I’m really pretty sure this is a scam:

“xxx said:

Hello this is host from uk booking.com in regards 29/3 booking.

the house you booked address: (xxxxxx) this house i got a some work need to be done that week.

I want a request you if you accept my offer that i can orrange you aultranative house in SAME area, SAME location. BIGGER size, and SAME price.

ill send you all nessessery details. If you dont like it also let me know then i can cencel your booking.

Please let me know soon as you can.

If possible please contact me through whatsaap massenger. My no xxxx

many thx”

Scam to collect cancellation fees it looks like to me.

Anyone got any bright ideas about Booking.com?

The assurance of the ignorance is really quite remarkable

But Murphy said it would be hard for the UK to replicate the Singapore model. “More than 80% of people live in government-owned housing so it does not need to tax people, it just charges rent. And many of its largest companies are also state-owned so, again, local taxes on profits do not matter as much as they do in the UK, because the government gets a large chuck of local profits anyway. It can offer low taxes and not have its revenues threatened. This is fundamentally different to the UK, where the government is dependent on tax.”

Amazingly, rent on public housing does not appear as a source of revenue in this estimation of Singapore’s income. The expenditure side of the budget shows significant appropriations to build the flats too. Oh, and Singapore doesn’t charge for the value of the underlying land in its state housing prices.

How much can you charge – or perhaps how much profit can be made – from rental housing if you’re not charging that land value? Not a lot I think is the answer, no? So public housing in Singapore is contributing how much to the general budget? If it’s not in fact a drain on it?