Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Nice Business You've Got There- Shame If Anything Were To Happen To It

People often think of the relationship between politicians and big business as being business corrupting politicians through the influence of their cash.

In actual fact the relationship seems to be more like a case of politicians seeking rent from business. Politicians know they control the ultimate levers of power and can in effect run a protection racket. As this piece on Microsoft in the late 1990s makes clear:

But it grated on Hatch and other senators that Gates didn't want to want to play the Washington game. Former Microsoft employee Michael Kinsley, a liberal, wrote of Gates: "He didn't want anything special from the government, except the freedom to build and sell software. If the government would leave him alone, he would leave the government alone."

This was a mistake. One lobbyist fumed about Gates to author Gary Rivlin: "You look at a guy like Gates, who's been arrogant and cheap and incredibly naive about politics. He genuinely believed that because he was creating jobs or whatever, that'd be enough."

Gates was "cheap" because Microsoft spent only $2 million on lobbying in 1997, and its PAC contributed less than $50,000 during the 1996 election cycle. "You can't say, 'We're better than that,' " a Microsoft lobbyist told me on Friday. "At some point, you get too big, and you can't just ignore Washington."
"You can sit there and say, 'We despise Washington and we don't want to have anything to do with them,' " the lobbyist said. "But guess what? We're going to have hearings about the [stuff] you do."

It's no shocker that lobbyists think companies should hire lobbyists. But so does Capitol Hill -- Orrin Hatch included.

In a 2000 speech to technology companies, Hatch called Microsoft "knuckle-headed and hard-nosed," according to Wired magazine. "I have given [Microsoft] advice, and they don't pay any attention to it." In that same speech, Hatch warned: "If you want to get involved in business, you should get involved in politics."
"The industry had an attitude that government should do what it needs to do but leave us alone," one Hill technology staffer complained to Business Week at the time. "Their hands-off approach to Washington will come back to haunt them."

After the Hatch hearings, Microsoft complied. Its PAC increased spending fivefold in each of the next two elections. In the 2010 elections, Microsoft's PAC contributed $2.3 million to House and Senate candidates. The PAC has contributed the maximum $10,000 to each of Hatch's last two campaigns.
I would regard the Leveson inquiry as of a similar ilk- News International's behaviour has undoubtedly been poor, but it is hard to believe the fact that Tom Watson- the leading MP behind the attack- is a noted loyalist of Gordon Brown is a coincidence. When he and other Labour MPs went beyond what had been dicussed at the committee and concluded that Rupert Murdoch was not a fit and proper person to run News Corp, it was similarly thuggish- if the press oppose us we try to sabotage their business.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Movie Review- Thor

Thor has hammer- hammer makes Thor strong.

Thor loses hammer- makes Thor weak.

Person who took hammer gives it back- makes Thor strong again.

The end.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

"Cannot Be Underestimated".

Surely they mean "over estimated" here.

A poll by the Belfast Telegraph at Sinn Féin's annual meeting last month uncovered majority backing for a handshake – and near-unanimous support for Mr McGuinness to offer regret for the suffering caused by the IRA campaign. The simple clutching together of those hands on Wednesday – hopefully in public – cannot be underestimated in its symbolism and significance.

It's a Guardian leader column as wellm so it is not just a rogue sub editor at work.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Carr Tax

Jimmy Carr is obviously a monumental hypocrite for seeking to avoid taxes while satirising people who avoid taxes.

That said who is worse for the British tax-payer, celebrities who aggressively avoid paying taxes on the one hand or a luvvie who diligently pays every penny asked of him, but whose work is largely funded by the tax payer in the first place?

Jimmy Carr makes close to 100% of his income privately and gives maybe 2% to the public coffers.

Compare him to a film director subsidised by the state who gets 100% of his livelihood from the public and gives 50% back.

It's not the Jimmy Carrs of this world who are depleting the public purse.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Lord Leveson Doesn't Understand Irony

From Lord Leveson:

The judge leading the probe into media behaviour threatened to quit after he was publicly criticised by a Cabinet Minister, senior Government sources claimed last night.
Lord Justice Leveson phoned Whitehall’s most senior mandarin and demanded that Education Secretary Michael Gove – who claimed the inquiry had created a ‘chilling atmosphere’ towards freedom of speech – should be gagged. In the angry call to Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood, the judge claimed that if Ministers were not silenced, his inquiry, set up to investigate phone-hacking by Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers, would be rendered worthless.
Silencing ministers is a great way to rebut allegations of assaulting free speech.....

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Sociopathy

I see that one of Mick Philpott's rivals for the title of most feckless father in Britain is also on a murder charge:

Jamie Cumming has 16 children by 14 women (which begs the obvious question of what the hell is wrong with those women?).

He may be innocent but just consider that the two most notorious baby-daddies in the UK are both currently being charged with murder- it does bear out the notion that having lots of children that you can't possibly support is a sociopathic trait and those who do it should be vilified and despised.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Drift.

As I understand it:

If Greece leaves the Euro then there will probably be a capital flight from other Eurozone countries, a series of financial collapses of institutions which own Greek deby and in the long run Greece will start to recover with a massively devalued Drachma.

If Germany and France commit to keeping Greece inside the Eurozone then Greece's economic and political malaise will drag on but they will be able to borrow with German backing. Greece's fiscal policy would be set in Brussels and Berlin for the forseeable future.

However given that we are talking about the EU here, what happens if nothing is decided at any point? If everything just continues as it is indefinately- with no actual decision one way or the other being made. As far as I can see that is what is likely to happen the Germans are not going to continue to throw money at Greece, the Greeks won't accept the massive levels of cuts that are necessary and the EU won't kick Greece out of the Euro.