Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Labor has delivered a moderate budget that it hopes will "build the nation" by dedicating spending on health care, welfare and infrastructure while winding back the direct benefits to the nation's well-paid. The first Labor budget in 13 years has maintained the tax cuts promised during the election and will now means-test welfare and the controversial baby-bonus which rises to $5000 from June Swan on song ; WAYNE Swan's razor gang has identified $7 billion in savings next year alone; Treasurer Wayne Swan's first budget has been well received by economists but government forecasts for slower economic growth could be too low. Economists praise budget The numbers: What you'll get in the Budget's tax cuts (Google hunter and gatherer $38B investment plan to boost Aussie economy

Yes, Prime Minister: What's in store for Budget 2008? The PM sees public service in brighter light
Address to heads of agencies and members of senior executive service Rudd, a former bureaucrat himself, is — was — one of them. As the PM noted in his address, he has played all the main roles in Yes Minister: I have acted both as a Humphrey, as Bernard and now I'm the minister … So when Ken Henry, the secretary of the Treasury, looks at me through … highly intelligent glasses and says 'courageous, minister', I know the text and the sub-text …

the Hon Kevin Rudd MP, Prime Minister, speech, Canberra, 30 April 2008. "Members of the Senior Executive Service, I begin this morning by honouring the traditional owners of this land on which the Parliament now sits. Thank you for the efforts that each of you have made to attend this morning. I know that your workload has been unusually heavy in recent months. Alongside an exhaustive spending review process for the Budget, the transition to a new government means managing new priorities and new policies, and adjusting to new ministers and their offices. The leadership roles that each of you exercise require you to balance the day to day needs of government with longer term policy and planning; in short, the reactive versus the strategic. In the early days of a new government you face both enormous day to day demands while also needing to start implementing new policy platforms."

• Only half joking, senior public servants have been commenting on how much better the country has been running during the caretaker period, without an elected government running the show Running Show; [ All about to change; Yes, Prime Minister. All change for the public service]
• · The whole point of politicians and political parties declaring campaign donations is to show the public what's going on. They are meant to reveal who is giving what to whom, and to sound the alarm at the appearance of improper influence on individual MPs and governments Political donations: disclosure is all show and no tell ; Michael Booth's career began crashing in great, ghastly pieces around his ears. But, surprisingly, it was not on the day in 2006 when he was accused of academic misconduct, but on the day he claims he annoyed a minister. A Sydney researcher claims he paid a high price for offending a government minister
• · The 800 include many of Australia's biggest companies, which have given between $1525 and $543,000 each - and they face fines of $11,000 for each offence 800 face charges for donations ; Money went to party, not me, says Sartor
• · · Brotherhood of St Laurence - This report highlights key federal taxation areas requiring reform, with brief case studies illustrating the inequities, and presents a number of recommendations for a fairer system. The Brotherhood is urging the new federal government to examine options to create a fairer, simpler and a more efficient tax system that maximises economic and social participation. PDF version link ahead The case for change: a snapshot analysis of the Australian tax system ; As far as Budgets go, the bar was set pretty high on this one Swan plays Robin Hood in Budget that takes from the rich ; A COMPREHENSIVE review of the nation's tax system will be unveiled in Tuesday night's federal budget, Treasurer Wayne Swan says. Tax review to be unveiled budget night
• · · · How Boris triumphed in London by not being Boris Mayor ; You know, I have always had a soft spot for Cherie Blair. You may think I am mad, but I have resented the attacks on her, and suspected that it is to do with the jealousy that surrounds a successful, high-earning woman who possesses a mind of her own. Boris on his website on crime and London ; The curse or joy of the Spectator Melisa and Johnson
• · · · ·A revamped data warehouse is helping Victoria Police to reduce crime rates and has delivered AU$2 million in productivity benefits, despite a lack of initial budget planning which threatened to derail the project early on Victoria Police cut crime with data warehousing ; When Philip Hind joined the Australian Taxation Office as chief knowledge officer, the task of managing the organisation's data warehouse was widely viewed as a poison chalice. How did the ATO evolve to make its warehouse-dependent BI applications a critical enterprise tool?... How ATO found an antidote to the BI poison chalice
• · · · · · This Oscar-winning WWII drama puts devils, as well as angels, on the head of the pin The Counterfeiters ; After seven days, she announced the blog was an art project and she wasn't planning to kill herself. I wanted this blog to be about personal discovery … When a 24-year-old woman who called herself "90DayJane" launched a blog in February announcing she would write about her life and feelings for three months and then commit suicide, 150,000 readers flocked to the site. Some came to offer help, some to delight in the drama. Others speculated it was all a hoax. Your blog can be group therapy

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Dow Jones picks up my sentiments Good financial management is like fresh air, exercise and a healthy diet. Organisations need it every day to stay fit and to live a full and active life.

Isn't it peculiar that governments in South Australia and Tasmania are stoutly resisting cries for permanent corruption commissions to be established in those sainted states? It scarcely seems credible that they should resist such a terrific suggestion. A glance at the NSW model of corruption fighting should be enough to put any besieged government entirely at ease. Odd to fear watchdogs, as bark's worse than bite

Am I the only person to be surprised not by the complaints but by the lack of ambition Martin Wolf
This is not an example of public sector inefficiency as a result. It is an example of private sector greed and inefficiency.

Martin Wolf is one of the best respected economic commentators in the world. His column in the FT this morning is a classic. He argues that:
Am I the only person to be surprised not by the complaints [by the non-domiciled], which are predictable, but by their lack of ambition?
And he goes on, by arguing in absurdum, that if the non-doms arguments are right:
a) Everyone in the UK should be able to use the remittance basis and so pay tax on an optional basis;
b) There should be no tax on incomes over £100,000;
c) Because they generate so much wealth those earning over £100,000 should in fact have a negative tax rate;
d) Billionaires should be paid to come to the UK.
As his argument makes clear, no one has put forward such claims because they know that tax has to be paid by someone. What the wealthy want is that it is paid by anyone but them. As Leona Helmsley put it:
We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.
This is what the non-dom debate is about. But as Wolf puts it:
From long experience, I am deeply sceptical of special interest “the sky is falling” pleading. More fundamentally, I am opposed to this particular pleading because it is subversive of any enduring political compact among citizens. If we take the principle that successful people are too important and too mobile to pay tax to its logical conclusion, political community will collapse.
And as he concludes:
Yet the experience also shows that the case for a simple, neutral and stable fiscal system, which taxes the worldwide incomes of all long-stay residents on the basis of ability to pay, is overwhelming. As soon as one departs from that principle one enters in a maze of special pleading or invidious distinctions, in which failed ideas of industrial policy - subsidising winners through the tax system - return to the fore. If the application of that great principle means some rich people leave the country, so be it.
I agree. Entirely.
I also agree (and some should note this) with the simplification part of this argument. Getting rid of the domicile rule would be a great way to do that. But for once the professions seem quite opposed to simplification. Is it because they too think that only the little people should pay tax? I fear it is.

I agree. Entirely. [Everybody, listen to me, And return me, my ship. I'm your captain, I'm your captain. Although I'm feeling mighty sick. -- Mark Farner American Poet B. Flint AGE OF UNREASON ; ]
• · It's not going to be pretty at the Labor Party's state conference when Morris Iemma lines up to show who's in charge - Donations fuss driven by media dragons … Premier's power play; A man's home may no longer be his castle, but it could well end up being somebody else's castle - THE State Government plans to give its agencies and councils power to compulsorily acquire private land to re-sell to developers at a profit - or, if they choose, at a reduced price so the developers make even more money State can sell your home
• · When stainless steel corrodes - which it shouldn't but does - the result is especially catastrophic because the corruption works unseen, crumbling the core material while leaving its glorious surface unblemished. Nothing is visible, until that fateful instant when the bolt, cleat or cable gives way with a sudden hollow shudder. And calamity abounds. There are various theories on this chemical perfidy. Most involve pitting, from microscopic manganese inclusions that disturb the electrochemistry within, voluntarily rearranging the electrons without approval from head office, much as happens in political parties. Highly polished Carr a rust bucket in disguise; NSW Labor to reform political donations
• · · THE Opposition has accused the Government of contempt of Parliament by failing to disclose four documents containing criticisms of a deal to allow development on land that Planning Department staff had rejected as highly unsuitable. O'Farrell outraged at papers' absence; NSW Opposition leader Barry O'Farrell has marked his first anniversary in the job with a stinging attack on the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), accusing it of ducking tough State Government corruption claims. In an extraordinary outburst, Mr O'Farrell said the ICAC was a far cry from the fearless watchdog it was under previous commissioners Ian Temby and Barry O'Keefe. O'Farrell attacks watchdog
• · · · Duncan Hardie YOU only have to look at Duncan Hardie's sprawling faux Spanish villa in the Hunter's wine district to know this is a man who thinks big. Sweetwater Ridge is the realisation of the ultimate dream home for the chairman and founder of Hardie Holdings. Sweetwater was also the name the 57-year-old New Zealand-born speculator gave to another unlikely dream, a new city of 28,000 homes for 59,000 people, with a university and commercial centre thrown in. Paving paradise to save it; The Hardie Holdings subsidiary Eco Trades exhausted its bank of high-conservation land in 2006 when it agreed to hand over 7400 hectares of land to the state's national parks system. Developer moves on to Mid North Coast
• · · · · Hardie Holdings; Land-clearing blots no barrier to biobank plan - Environment ...
• · · · · · THE State Government dismissed advice from its own planners and allowed developers to clear valuable bushland to build housing estates away from existing towns and transport, after months of aggressive lobbying by developers. Secret files expose the sway of developers ; A FEDERAL Government move to expose the lobbying industry to greater public scrutiny has generated a backlash, with lobbying firms seeking changes. ; COMMUNICATING WITH
GOVERNMENT - A BUSINESS - Bruce Hawker. Managing Director. Hawker Britton Pty Ltd. On TUESDAY, May 13, 2008 George Orwell and the STATE GOVERNMENT FAMILIARISATION PROGRAMME ; ONE of the problems for long-term governments is that the past inevitably catches up with them. Hawker pops up in the spin doctors segment on Sally's show about once a month - If you’re in government – any sort of government – there are two things you could be doing: selling your programs or defending them. All of these are possible sources of juicy stories which can stop promising careers in their tracks.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

1,007 delegates gathered at Parliament House in Canberra this weekend for the Australia 2020 Summit How good would it be if we were our imagined selves and not our real selves? Australia's 2020 Summit

View from the floor: Vision for the future Republic, treaty and tax reform top the list
RADICAL tax reform, a push for a republic by 2010, a new bill of rights and a treaty between black and white Australia were among a swag of ideas flung onto the national agenda at Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's historic 2020 Summit yesterday.

Nation building recommendations floated by the 1000 delegates who gathered at Parliament House in Canberra included:
A move towards a republic within two years, as flagged by Home Affairs Minister Bob Debus. Delegates in the governance group originally agreed to a 12-year target but, when Mr Debus challenged them to commit to a shorter time frame, he was cheered and clapped. "I want us to say that we will proceed to a republic by 2010," Mr Debus said. Summiteers in the stream voted three to one to endorse the ambitious target.
Higher taxes on cigarettes and alcohol and a "fat tax" on junk food, to help fund more preventative health programs.

Strengthening Communities; [Fewer homes were built in NSW last year than any year since records began in the mid 1980s, figures from the Bureau of Statistics show Buyers scarce despite house shortages; Kevin Rudd's world tour might be over, but his fingerprints were everywhere this week Talking about a Kevolution ]
• · If Rudd takes just one of these observations to heart, this book will have been worthwhile Dear Mr Rudd;Olympic torch sizzles in Australia: Kevin Rudd has little option other than to go to the Olympics in Beijing or risk offending China. Protests will make China reluctant to lose face
• · A SYDNEY businessman is taking legal action after he was allegedly knocked unconscious three times by police and transit officers at Town Hall station. Mark Girvan - Brother of British lord sues over Sydney station assault; Google defies sceptics with 30% profit rise - Public trains The thrill of risking explicit exposure makes the naughty business wickedly arousing
• · · The State Government's promised power privatisation is hotting up with a Labor Party branch pushing to have Premier Morris Iemma and Treasurer Michael Costa kicked out of the party Move to sack Iemma, Costa on power sale; John Pilger gathers journalism's revelations that have shaken the world While everyday reportage tells us the who, what, when and where of events, it usually fails to chart the deeper, less accessible level that lies below - the how and why

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Time to head for the Blue Mountains and enjoy conversation with Dr Cope who is aware of the Depression we had to have ...

GEORGE Soros, billionaire, philanthropist and hedge fund legend, has characterised today's situation in global markets as the most severe since the Great Depression It is like Great Recession or Black Dog

Soros of Opes Best and Worst of Times
Soeey but Soros says house prices in the US, UK, Australia and elsewhere would continue to come under severe pressure. George Soros gives his ten cents’ worth on the global credit crisis and the paradigm shift needed to escape it. There is something rotten in the state of the markets

Even so, he noted, the financial crisis is beginning to have serious effects on the real economy, adding: The extent of that is not, in my opinion, yet fully recognised. All told, investors are facing the “worst financial crisis of our lifetime”, Mr Soros said. When some men speak the world listens. Mega entrepreneur and socially conscious George Soros just happen to be one such man.
The City of London faces a severe recession and the UK economy is set to follow the US into a sharp downturn, according to a gloomy prognosis from the billionaire financier George Soros.
Regulators have abandoned their duty by letting markets regulate themselves. It's because a market fundamentalist ideology has come to dominate the behaviour of market participants and market regulators over the past 25 years ... and the idea that markets are best left to their own devices became policy.
I have operated a hedge fund myself, said Mr Soros, whose famous bet against the British pound earned his Quantum Fund $US1 billion in 1992. I have never used the kind of leverage others have employed and some of them have not proven to be sustainable. In that regard, Mr Soros said he believed the amount of leverage that hedge funds and other players are using needed to be regulated. But, he said, that regulation should be done through the banks.

• The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What It Means Soros: It's like the Great Depression ; [The government is apparently guilty of trying to ensnare first time-buyers into negative equity by offering the banks the chance to swap their mortgage backed securities for government backed bonds. Or at least so says Alice Miles in today's Falling house prices are not a cause for alarm ; George Soros has made doom-and-gloom predictions for the U.S. economy – again. Naturally, it resulted in the New York Times dubbing him a prophet. NY Times Praises Soros as 'Prophet']
• · As if Australia’s financial regulators weren’t damaged enough, now we’ve Mick Gatto brazenly parading for the media as an alternative debt collector for creditors - This whole fiasco is extraordinarily damaging for the reputation of our financial markets. Bring on the Royal Commission - BURLY stand-over men, missing millions, a Maserati, forfeited passports and an international money hunt … the saga of Opes Prime is a plot writer's dream. John Khoury THE plot thickened further yesterday in the Opes Prime scandal ; About a dozen top-of-the-range Italian sport cars have been seized by the receivers of a company linked to the failed stockbroking firm Opes Prime in a quest to track down tens of millions of dollars for their main lender. In an operation that straddled Singapore and Australia, 10 to 12 of the luxury cars, thought to be Maseratis and Ferraris, were claimed by a team of investigators from Deloitte Corporate Reorganisation Deloitte Corporate Reorganisation.; Royal Stock THIS is the man underworld figure Mick Gatto probably wants to talk to in Singapore about the Opes Prime collapse. Investigators know that hundreds of millions of dollars in cash and shares were routed through a company registered in the British Virgin Islands but which operates from Singapore. That company, Riqueza BVI, is wholly owned by Jay Moghe, a former Opes employee who claims he had no control over the money flows. Mr Gatto wants to have words with Mr Moghe who claims to have already disclosed all he knows. Trying to untangle a perplexing plott
• · The investigation into the collapse of stockbroking firm Opes Prime has widened to include allegations that directors may have used a tax-haven registered company to support company share prices, thereby avoiding margin calls on their own accounts. Investigators have begun puffing apart thousands of transactions involving the Opes Prime directors private investment companies, Leveraged Capital and Hawkswood Investments, as well as a mysterious British Virgin Islands-domiciled company Riqueza, which was seized yesterday by administrators. Tax Virgins; Google and so many links to OOPS and Opes
• · · John Lindholm from corporate recovery specialist Ferrier Hodgson named British Virgin Island holding company Riqueza as a "linchpin" in investigations of the collapsed stockbroking company. Opes Prime was established in 2004, with three principals running the show: Laurie Emini, a financier who once worked for the ANZ Bank; Julian Smith, a stockbroker who started out in Britain; and Anthony Blumberg, who had worked in banking and finance for a number of big accountancy firms. Laurie Emini ; MELBOURNE'S underbelly surfaced in the foyer of Singapore's five-star Shangri-La Hotel yesterday, with Mick Gatto and two associates holding court in the lobby as several local "friends" kept unwanted guests at bay. Shangri-La Hotel
• · · · In this article you’ll get tips on how to make a strong first impression and answer interview questions, and you’ll learn the verbal and nonverbal communications you should employ and avoid so that you can ace the interview How to ace an executive level job interview ; Discerning what your prospective boss wants from you is a survival skill everyone should have, particularly in IT, where duties, responsibilities and expectations are frequently underdefined or unarticulated. What will your new boss really want?,
• · · · · The internet “was built without a way to know who and what you are connecting to”. That is bad enough in the private sector, where the only thing at stake is money. For dealing with government, it is potentially catastrophic. Technology can - just about - tell how an internet user got online. It can check the authenticity of passwords and logins, and validate smart cards or biometric checks. But such data, even if encrypted, can be stolen, borrowed, guessed or intercepted. Financial institutions and their customers are routinely defrauded by cybergangsters, and there is little legal basis for dealing with cybercrime. Identities are valuable and so are stolen - cybercriminals have been targeting individual internet users with spyware and phishing. But the huge databases held by governments would be a much bigger prize. Super Identity parade ; Swonk called it the "biggest inequality since the Great Depression. Not only are the rich getting richer, there are more of them, and those who are rich . Super bubble

Friday, April 04, 2008

I had already experienced the week from heaven so I was in good spirits for reading the draft of a new memoirs. Adam Shepard's SCRATCH BEGINNINGS, originally self-published and said to have sold 10,000 copies, in which the author, in a sort of "anti-NICKEL AND DIMED" experiment to see if the American Dream is still alive, with no concrete plan and nothing but $25 and a backpack, gets off a train in Charleston, SC, and spends 70 days in a homeless shelter, with the goal of having $2,500 and a place to live by the end of a year … NOT EATING OUT IN NEW YORK: A Year of Cooking at Home

Can we change the heart of politics? SOMETHING MISSING: Leaker hunt riles Speaker
On April Fools Day - D.D. McNicoll writes INDEPENDENT Speaker of the NSW Parliament Richard Torbay is on the warpath over the Iemma Government's latest clumsy foray into information control.

Torbay was gobsmacked when he learned late last week that Parliament House closed-circuit television footage had been handed over to Treasury officials without his consent. Treasury was on the trail of a leak, following a story in The Australian last Thursday by the paper's NSW political reporter, Imre Salusinszky. The story revealed there was only $16.5billion available for transport infrastructure spending between now and 2021, $12.5 billion of which has already been committed to a metro rail system for outer northwest Sydney. Salusinszky's yarn included comments from a seminar for Treasury bigwigs held in a Parliament House theatrette last Wednesday. NSW Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell is understood to share Torbay's concern about the precedent of using security footage to spy on public servants and journalists as they go about their business.
THE NSW parliament may have breached state and federal privacy laws by allowing its CCTV security footage to be used by Treasury officials chasing a media leak, according to a legal expert. NSW Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell told parliament yesterday: "Clearly this issue goes to the matter of freedom of the press, but also goes to the freedom of members of parliament. Are we now going to have CCTV footage released to the Government so that they can see who's coming to visit us?
In a statement yesterday, NSW parliamentary press gallery president Simon Benson said the use of CCTV footage to trace the source of a media story was unprecedented in the history of this parliament and constitutes an unacceptable development

Footage of truth; [Trolleys of Truth]
• · Commonwealth lobbyists will have to be registered for the first time in Australian history, publicly revealing all their clients, or they will be denied access to the Rudd Government. Tough new rules for lobbyists ; John Faulkner is Kevin Rudd's minister for integrity. He has been given the task of cracking down on influence peddling - money politics. Power and dirty, sexy money
• · Chairman Russell Tate said Hawker Britton was a good fit for STW Communications Group - Spin doctors keep spinning Bruce Hawker - the managing director of the firm, was once chief of staff to former NSW premier Bob Carr. The political donations disclosure regime may be a joke, but influential Labor players in Canberra are not laughing today. That's because Bruce Hawker, widely seen as the capital's go-to persuader and a key player in the Rudd government's elite, has got himself and his party in an awkward spot. Oops! Hawker embarrasses Labor ; In Canberra's corridors there is a scramble to get in step with the Rudd Government. Katharine Murphy reports on the high-stakes contest for political influence Lobbyists and the new balance of power; Many people and organisations want the attention of the Rudd Government. They all have messages that they want to whisper in its collective ear. Tips for Rudd's ear in a lobby
• · · WHEN police, lawyers, journalists and witnesses crammed into Brisbane District Court No.29 in late July 1987, no one knew what was to come. - FAMED corruption buster Tony Fitzgerald, QC, is heading a probe into the Melbourne arm of the Australian Tax Office after concerns over links between one of its senior investigators and underworld figure Mick Gatto. Players in a vast drama ; AN OLD Victoria Police detective training manual implores fledgling officers to develop contacts across all walks of life, including those they seek to arrest. A sound knowledge of local criminals can be acquired over a period of time. Always take the opportunity of conversing with local criminals when you see them. In the course of simple conversation, valuable information often slips out The manual says But in the modern world of law enforcement and government agencies — where the process is just as important as the result — his associations with influential underworld figures proved problematic for the "old school" ex-detective Old school
• · · · There are some areas of human life that should not be trusted to the market. Childcare is one. Hard headed corporations; Why was the public service so ineffectual in the face of an aggressively ideological Howard government?Learning from the past
• · · · · Mitch McCrimmon, Ivey Business Journal, March-April 2008, 4p. It may be like asking a football coach to remain quiet on the sidelines, but today's business leader needs to ask questions and listen. How to tame the alpha male leader ; William Malek & Venkat Narayanan, Ivey Business Journal, March-April 2008, 6p. This article describes why developing clarity around outcomes is fundamental to effective strategic planning/execution and decision making. Outcomes can be at four levels: organisation, portfolio, project and at the individual level. Why smooth execution depends on clear outcomes
• · · · · · Formulating strategy is a difficult task. Making strategy work - executing or implementing it throughout the organisation is even more difficult. Making strategy work: overcoming obstacles to effective execution ; Many managers indicate that their organisations are very good at starting projects, but not so good at finishing them. It may be tough to do, but maintaining priorities rather than shifting them at will is the way to ensure that projects will get completed. The project management paradox: achieving more by doing less

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I was once a stranger in Sydney, a long time ago ;-)

Today and after St Patrick and sT jOZEF'S NAME I feel like a veteran who has spent many Easters at June's place among so many lovely friends ..

I don't know you
But I want you
All the more for that
Words fall through me
And always fool me
And I can't react
And games that never amount
To more than they're meant
Will play themselves out

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you have a choice
You've made it now

Falling slowly, eyes that know me
And I can't go back
Moods that take me and erase me
And I'm painted black
You have suffered enough
And warred with yourself
It's time that you won

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you have a choice
You've made it now

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you have a choice
You've made it now
Falling slowly sing your melody
I'll sing along
Listen to this lovely song from Irish Czech haven Falling Slowly Falling slowly, eyes that know me And I can't go back Moods that take me and erase me ...

If it's my last breath: as certain as death Following the money
There’s a juicy little scandal unfolding in in Liechtenstein — whose national slogan might as well be “Why Pay Taxes?”

Spies, whistle-blowers and threats: tax haven is called to account
The day that Toytown went to war, the traffic stopped. For more than a week Liechtenstein (population 35,000) and Germany (population 82 million) have been locked in an extraordinary row involving spies, bankers, a whistle-blower with a shady past, a furious prince – and tens of thousands of well-heeled but anonymous tax evaders. From Britain, from the United States, but, above all, from Germany.

Revelations concerning payment by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) of £100,000 to Heinrich Kieber, a former Liechtenstein banker, for details of secret offshore bank accounts held by British taxpayers raises a serious moral dilemma about how tax evasion is combated in modern times.
During the 17th century the practice of rewarding informers was reviled by the common law, with Chief Justice Coke describing informers as "viperous vermin" who "vexed the subject for malice or private ends".
But the ending of the Star Chamber precipitated a paradigm attitudinal shift.
Writing in the 18th century, Jeremy Bentham described an informer favourably as a servant of the government employed in opposing the enemies of the State Certainly by the 19th century it was common practice for an informer to receive a moiety of any penalty recovered in a revenue matter.
In 1868 Parliament codified the position by empowering the Commissioners of Inland Revenue at their discretion to reward any person who informed them of the commission of a revenue offence.
The present law is wider and enables HMRC to pay a reward to any person "in return for a service which relates to a function of the Commissioners or an officer of Revenue and Customs

Haven of fears; [Helping evasion is distinct from legitimate tax competition. Monaco or Bermuda or Switzerland are fully entitled to set low rates of personal and business tax to attract wealthy individuals and companies to their jurisdiction. What is not acceptable is helping those who live elsewhere to evade the taxes that they owe Haven evasion ; Trounced on tax: raids aim to halt Europe's havens ]
• · Tax authorities tread fine line. Australian Financial Review, 06/03/2008, Editorials, page 78. Wealthy Australians with bank accounts in 'unco-operative' tax havens such as Liechtenstein and Monaco must be opening their copies of The Australian Financial Review with trepidation these days. The shield of tax haven bank secrecy is easier to pierce, and now the case of the stolen Liechtenstein bank records is taking on a life of its own….
We should not be too squeamish about this. Concealing income from tax authorities is blatant evasion without even the pretence of legal avoidance, and a serious crime that deserves to be prosecuted with the full weight of the law. But tax authorities must exercise their powers properly. And governments of rich countries need to accept that their high taxes make the tax evasion industry more lucrative. There appears to be a change in the political mood ; Helping evasion is distinct from legitimate tax competition. Monaco or Bermuda or Switzerland are fully entitled to set low rates of personal and business tax to attract wealthy individuals and companies to their jurisdiction. What is not acceptable is helping those who live elsewhere to evade the taxes that they owe List of tax havens
• · In the 1980s and 1990s, the public began to protest the large compensation packages executives were receiving. Average workers were struggling while executives got raises, even as the corporations they worked for failed. This disconnect between executive compensation and executive performance led Congress to attempt to curtail executive compensation. In 1980, the average CEO made 42 times the average hourly worker's pay. By 1990, the average CEO made 107 times the average hourly worker's pay. In 1993, Congress enacted tax legislation intended to rein in excessive executive compensation. However, in 2000, the average CEO made 525 times the average hourly worker's pay. Compensation amounts that executives receive since the enactment of the tax provisions are increasing dramatically, not decreasing. Money for Nothing and the Stocks for Free: Taxing Executive Compensation
• · · Linkage between tax and financial accounts is common in Europe, although it takes varying forms. This does not result in complete book-tax conformity, however, and recent developments in accounting may be increasing divergence rather than reducing it. Despite the strong arguments in favour of conformity, there are also good reasons for some divergences, meaning that the most likely outcome in any system, whatever the starting point, is partial convergence Financial and Tax Accounting: Transparency and 'Truth'
• · · · The next bubble must be large enough to recover the losses from the housing bubble collapse. How bad will it be? Some rough calculations. Bubble of black tulips

Monday, March 03, 2008

In 1906, the first Public Service Commissioner, Mr D McLachlan, observed that:
The great incentive, which is ever present to the businessman, is, by the very nature of things, absent in public administration. The department of the Civil Service which he administers (or assists in administering) is not his own; he suffers no personal loss; he enjoys no personal gain; and why should he bother? Why should he incur the odium of his subordinates by enforcing strict discipline and insisting on continuous and undivided attention to duty? Why should he addle his brain and burn the midnight oil in studying the literature of other nations for improved methods when he gets no special thanks for it, but probably finds himself in the end for little better off financially than if he had allowed things to drift along in the old way? These are the questions commonly put to himself by the perfunctory official and they constitute one very potent reason why Civil Service administration has not attained the high state of efficiency that the public interest demands'

On 01 Mar 2008 Alex Mitchell, New Free Kid on the Blog, writes | The Australian Financial Review | Alex Mitchell is the former state political editor of The Sun-Herald and former president of the NSW parliamentary press gallery. The Labor Party in NSW has bred a particular type of political animal, and they're running the show, argues Alex Mitchell. A state of disgrace

Beyond the surrealistic headline: Is Old South Wales: Ripe for a revolution? The battle to break Britain's crime lords
Career criminals used to treat a spell in prison as an occupational hazard, confident that they would soon be revelling in their ill-gotten gains. Now the police are seizing millions in assets, from racehorses to holiday homes. But are they making a dent in crime’s £18 billion annual bill?

Experienced policemen are hard to shock. You name it, they’ve seen it, bagged it or banged it up. In April 2005, however, squads from four Midland forces, making a crack-of-dawn “swoop” near Market Harborough, were treated to a sight which, as one officer puts it 2½ years later, “still makes my jaw drop”.
On the dot of half past six, 350 officers from Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire raided a number of local addresses, including seven on the Justin Park travellers’ site, where they had “reason to believe” some shady deals were being made. “Operation Lucky” was what they called it, and they couldn’t have chosen better. It didn’t take them long. In a scene reminiscent of Treasure Island, they dug into a traveller family’s garden and levered out a weighty, lozenge-shaped parcel trussed with gaffer tape. Their own video shows an officer tearing at it like a child on Christmas morning.

Experienced policemen are hard to shock. ; [Trust the Charitable cuases? £234bn of mortgages put in trusts supposedly for the benefit of good causes ; The spectacle of tax inspectors pursuing Germany's richest citizens may bolster faith in the rule of law Specter of haven not; Liechtenstein Germany paid for tax secrets Story of tax lives ]
• · Wollongong - Conman 'can't recall' impersonating ICAC officer Allegations of sex and corruption take centre stage ; It has bold proportions, amazing performance and the jaunty lines of broad-shouldered good looks. It is the power that won't corrupt. Grunt in the Gong: it's not all about sex
• · · The owner of the kebab shop where Wollongong power brokers met each morning at a so-called "Table of Knowledge" just wants the media to go away 'Table of Knowledge' kebab man stews ; Whatever happened to the real news? It now seems to come with helping or two of what can only be described as trivia or gossip. Selling out political celebrities
• · The US is notable among major nations in how little it has suffered in foreign wars. Shedding blood for liberty; 'The Australian' wears its heart on its sleeve and remains an ideologically-driven publication with a long history of campaigning behind it. Advocacy or analysis? A retrospective on 'The Australian'

Saturday, March 01, 2008

If you don't build your brand online, through either a blog, participation in social networks, or your own Web site, not only can people not find you, but you will have no way to portray your value and creativity.At the same time, he says that any job recruiter is likely to search for your online presence, and that means you want to make sure that your brand stands up to such scrutiny. Blog and be real - On the Job: Personal brand a big bonus in tough job time

For those who wish to understand the struggle in the Government's breast, Who Runs Britain is essential reading
They hadn't heard of hedge funds, monoline insurers or subprime mortgages, but Marx and Engels would have been unsurprised by the effects of the credit crunch and the market turbulence of recent weeks. In The Communist Manifesto's paean to the achievements of capitalism, they observed that its salient feature was "everlasting uncertainty and agitation" where "all that is solid melts into air" Spectrum of Spectrum on global scale

Who runs Britain?
The Super-rich and How They’re Changing Our Lives by Robert Peston

Surprise, surprise. As the bastions of the world financial system come crashing to the ground, a small voice cries from the ruin. It is that of the goddess, greed, assuring us she is still good.
In 2005, the retailer Philip Green paid himself £1.2 billion from his stores empire. He conduited it through his “offshore” wife to avoid tax and received a knighthood from Tony Blair. Last year, the 54 billionaires said to work in Britain were estimated to have paid just £15m tax on earnings of some £126 billion. Four thousand City employees received bonuses of £1m or more, and if any of them paid the 40% tax the rest of us pay they were mugs. Most will still receive the same bonuses today.

• Who runs Britain?? The Super-rich and How They’re Changing Our Lives by Robert Peston Is greed good for us? ; [Search and be real January 2008: Search Engine Land's Most Popular Stories; Eastern europe booming economy ]
• · Parliamentary Library Briefing Book; Key Issues for the 42nd Parliament. 1.Content Regulation; 2. Broadband Policy; 3. Media Ownership; 4. Communications overview: Media Dragon
• · Blog to note - Misconduct by Science
• · · Tax evasion is a global scourge. The "black" economy has, by some estimates, reached 10 percent of GDP in advanced countries and can top 70 percent in developing countries. And it is getting worse. Evading tax evasion

Sunday, January 06, 2008

I wish all my readers a very very happy and prosperous year ahead. I would like to thank all my linkers my linkers and especially Google engineers for their support and encouragement. Without which I do not think this blog would have been what it is today. ranking as #5 on Google and everywhere else …

This is one of the best comeback lines of all time. It is a portion of National Public Radio (NPR) interview between a female broadcaster and US Marine Corps General Reinwald who was about to sponsor Boy Scouts visiting his military installation.

FEMALE INTERVIEWER: So, General Reinwald, what things are you going to teach these young boys when they visit your base?

GENERAL REINWALD: We’re going to teach them climbing, canoeing, archery, and

FEMALE INTERVIEWER: Shooting! That’s a bit irresponsible, isn’t it?

GENERAL REINWALD: I don’t see why, they’ll be properly supervised on the rifle range.

FEMALE INTERVIEWER: Don’t you admit that this is a terribly dangerous activity to be teaching children?

GENERAL REINWALD: I don’t see how. We will be teaching them proper rifle discipline before they even touch a firearm.

FEMALE INTERVIEWER: But you’re equipping them to become violent killers.

GENERAL REINWALD: Well, ma’am, you’re equipped to be a prostitute, but you’re not one, are you?

The radio went silent and the interview ended. You gotta love the Marines!

PS: It has been the worst and the best of holliday seasons. Christmas Eve with Bawa and Dial Holly Day with Richard and June. Catching up with Gabbie and friends from Holland UK. Dinner with Michael Parkinson at Swell Bronte etc … even swimming in swelly seas with Mal at Bronte. But it also involved going to funerals and spending time at hospitals is something we had to do, but life must go on …

I have been sitting on this joke for quite some time. Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks did it too. He became rich really rich like us ;-)
… I drove by big houses and would wonder who lived there. What did they do for a living? How did they make their money? Someday, I would tell myself, I would live in a house like that. Every weekend I would do it. I worked jobs I didn't like. I worked jobs I loved, but had no chance of being a career. I worked jobs that barely paid the rent. I had so many jobs my parents wondered if I would be stable. Success and Motivation

Media Dragon denies they knew spinach was a performance enhancing drug
I'm rich, I'm sport and computer lover.I pick up on the web everything in which I recognize me. This is the world that sorrounds me ;-) Herewithin we detail the many schemes and scams by which our rich have become _incredibly_ rich, our poor poorer and the rest of us left struggling to get by

The internet retailer you choose just might, without disclosure, install software on your computer to snoop on your web browsing. Would you believe it could be one of the country’s oldest retailers Brian Krebs at the Security Fix blog has this story
“It’s a cold case 3500 years old”, are the opening words to this fascinating documentary. Ancient Egypt was the very center of world power, and managed through hieroglyphs to convey that rich history to us in the modern world. The Pharaohs and the dynasties are for the most part better documented than modern leaders. Our Presidents and their legacy lives on in the form of artifacts left in their usually very ornate tombs and pyramids.
• Cold River’s destiny. The book will read you … It’s a cold case 3500 years old ; It would be so nice if something made sense for a change 7 Surreal Urban Street Art Installation Projects: Brad Downey Brings Wonderland to Life
• · Warren Buffett has been all over the business press recently suggesting that the very rich, those on the Forbes 400 list, are taxed advantageously to the rest of the workforce. That it makes no sense that his tax bill as a percentage of income is lower than that of his secretary or housekeeper. Warren Buffett , Taxes and the Presidency ; In Internet nothing is created, everything is copied
• · · We're doing a series of astrological predictions for the 2008 Presidential candidates. War! Terror! Weirdness! Covering the War on Terror, War on Drugs and General Weirdness Death by 1000 Papercuts ; You spend too much time sat in your bedroom, on your PC Are you sure you couldn’t have found the time, Swallowed your pride and admitted your jealousy one of my city’s many front men
• · · · Now to some rubbish on the net … The Derrty Truth is updated daily with celebrity news and fodder for social commentary; Pages and pages filled with sleepless celebrity gossips, daily star tracks and latest photo shoots. Life should be too short for this … Thousand Gossips Blogs ; Our Bollywood covers all the latest happenings in Bollywood and does not indulge in tabloid journalism Our Bollywood

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

We are drowning in information
and starved for knowledge.

-John Naisbitt, Chairman of The Naisbitt Group

My favourite time of year is the period between Christmas and New Year. It's like a week of Sundays. No one expects any work to get done, the streets are empty, the pressure is off. Just getting dressed feels like an accomplishment Why I love Christmas

At this special time with family and friends I love stories that remind me of what’s important in life. It’s also about the power of friendship and of family…and maybe not taking life so seriously. The transnational family, nourished by email, chatrooms, long-distance calls and SMSs has increasingly become a feature of migrant communities. The Best Gifts Are Simply Love And Understanding

"I'm not saying it's The Da Vinci Code, but there are aspects to it that make you think of it. There's a lot of art, a lot of history and a lot of religion in it." Borders' Zan Farr says it's her "personal favorite" of the season. Cold River - Winter books preview: Warmth, fire and chills await book lovers this season

The harmonic richness of Newspaper Cold River Book Coverage, Ups and Downs A flood of reviews geared for 2008 V Grinch Stole Christmas
Chicago Sun Times books editor Teresa Budasi wrote about the Grinch Who Stole the Books Section, telling readers on Dec. 23 "the Books section in its current form will cease to exist after today," citing "the economic climate of the news business." Reduced weekly book coverage has been merged into the Sunday Show section of the paper, along with other arts and entertainment coverage.

As Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas celebrates its 50th anniversary -- complete with a new retrospective edition (Random House, 82 pages, $24.99) that includes 32 pages of commentary and archival images on the history of the Grinch -- the Books section in its current form will cease to exist after today.

How the Grinch stole the Books section ; On the other hand, next week the New Orleans Times-Picayune "will debut The Reading Life, which will feature expanded coverage of books and the New Orleans literary scene each week on the cover of Friday's Living section" instead of Sunday coverage. They promise "new features devoted to book clubs and reading groups, literary movers and shakers, and expanded bestseller lists." Reading Life: THE BELLS IN THEIR SILENCE
• · Bookish pessimists are elitist and wrong: the Internet is good for you. Stars in the Net sky ; Ever vigilant, the mass media dug into a critical social issue and rooted out the information in their never-ending quest to guarantee the people’s right to know. Oops! The media did it again; In Cold River The characters always want what they don’t have.
• · · Identity theft is something that has been around as long as fraud itself. A gram of caution is worth a ton of remedy ; “My house is just a huge expensive brick weighing me down”, writes a homeowner on a Swiss political blog. The Swiss are home free
• · · · Anorak of Cold River Links To Things: Best Of The Web; It was probably inevitable. As one of Tony Soprano's sidekicks observed in a classic episode of the TV series, the two most resilient sectors of the economy are organised crime and certain aspects of showbusiness. The aspects, that is, known as the world's oldest profession - now mixing it with the world's newest technologies Organised Crime ; The Minister for Ports and Waterways, Joe Tripodi, yesterday appointed Mr Greiner to develop a new system for accessing the port amid lengthy ship queues Greiner to tackle coal ship standoff