Money Politics and Law


    Taking Stock

The purification of politics is an iridescent dream.

- Ingalls - Epigram

Have more than thou showest,
Speak less than thou knowest.

- Shakespeare - King Lear, Act I Scene 4

Oregon Democratic Senate candidate Tom Bruggere,
in describing his support for comprehensive health care during a candidates' forum,
said he supported "erection-to-resurrection" coverage.  He later amended that to "cradle to grave."

- News report

How Many Countries Are in the World? - That question is harder to answer than you might think...
The Old Phishing Hole - My personal experience with scams...
Loose Ends - Housing prices, the Kelo ruling, Jared Diamond, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act...
Something for Nothing - Consumers are called "eyeballs" because attracting your visual attention is the main force driving e-business.  When valued at $35 to $100 per eyeball, a Web site that sells products at a loss is still worth billions... (also gift club scams)
The Rules of Attraction - Very attractive men and women enjoy hourly earnings about 5% higher than those with average looks, even after adjusting for factors such as education...
Global Capitalism - Of the 100 biggest economic entities in the world, only ½ are nation states - the rest are corporations.  Where are they leading us? (also comparative advantage, interpreters at the European Union)
America's View of the World - "People want incredible amounts of space now," says a Houston architect.  "They come in and say, 'I want space for all my stuff, for my clothes, my skis, my junk'." - Craftsmanship?  Who cares?  (also what men want in a home, finally paying for what we've already got)
Tax Avoidance - The United States fails to collect about $US200 billion ($NZ490 billion) annually in income taxes because of Internal Revenue Service enforcement cutbacks and efforts by the wealthiest Americans to avoid taxes, a watchdog group says.  (also new tax plan proposal, worst ways to pay your tax bill)
Politics According to the Britney Spears Generation - Weinpost: If I could get one message to George W Bush from Scoobs, what should I tell him?
Scoobdoo1fan: take some time get used to being the prez dont rush into things  (also Bushisms, talking to god)
Tell me, who is the King of Norway, anyway?  "Clinton was ensconced in the "Royal Suite," - 3 bedrooms, each with fireplace, painted silk curtains and antiques, and 3 baths with gold fixtures and Jacuzzis.  Security in the most orderly capital in Europe became a formidable challenge..."  (also two unflattering photos of Hillary)
Direct Democracy - New interactive cable technology, tied to television, offers a chance to inject some ancient-Greek directness into tired and uninspiring democratic institutions...  (also electing the dead)
Drug-Growing Mother Loses Home - A woman began growing cannabis to finance a kidney replacement for her dying son.  She never made a cent of the money police said her crop could have been worth but was jailed for 8 months.  Her son died; now the Court has ordered forfeiture of her home under the Proceeds of Crime Act...  (also knowledge reduces drug abuse)
Seven Obituaries for Seven Unusual People - He was the only circuit court judge in South Carolina history to have had sex with a condemned murderess as she was being transferred from the women's prison to death row.  This was Sue Logue, the only woman in the state ever to be sent to the chair, but not before she'd been sent to the back seat of Judge Thurmond's car for a lively final ride...  (also von Bismarck, Peck, Corbett, Thurmond, Fiennes, Reynolds, Clark)
American Seniors Rack up Debt Like Never Before - Dee Rogers, 64, says she and husband Michael, 57, ran up about $63,000 in credit card bills - "just like a couple of spoiled kids."  Now seeking help from a credit-counseling agency, she says, "We'll get by, but we'll both have to work until we're dried-up raisins..."  (also social security)
Who'll Stop the Drain? - Reflections on the art of going broke...  (also lots of articles about credit card debt)
Bank Charges Can Make You Richer? - It turns out that people who don't use cards are losers from them, whereas some people who do are winners...  (also more credit card stuff including a history)
Bad News Offered Up on a Cushion of Words - The kind of news no one wants to hear:  "... The financial statements do not include any adjustments to the recorded amounts of assets and liabilities that may be necessary should the company and the economic entity not be able to continue as a going concern..."  (also bankruptcy, turtle trading, herding the market)
Contracts Count - Strictly speaking, a deal is a good thing.  It keeps men from killing each other over land, possessions and women.  The deal, especially the written and signed deal, is a form of protection, a compromise, an agreement between two individuals free to make it...  (also lots on jurisprudence)
Big Scary Monsters - "A slew of mortgage refinancings and other borrowing against the value of homes has put extra cash in the hands of consumers, enabling them to spend more than might otherwise have been expected in the face of a sharp economic slowdown..."
Why Living in a Rich Society Makes Us Feel Poor - If all those McMansions going up around you make your own house feel small, don't worry.  It's a perfectly normal reaction, and it has nothing to do with envy.  (also 20% of kiwis poor - by definition)
Suck It Up - "Salesmanship, advertising and money clearly triumph over artistry, craftsmanship, integrity and individual style..."  (also wealth distribution, is private property good or bad?)
The Boom Moves Along - The most noticeable feature of the American age pyramid is the bulge in the middle caused by the baby boom.  Since 1946, this group has been working its way up the pyramid, like a pig passing through the digestive system of a python...  (also if the earth were shrunk to the size of a village)
Money - What's been powering the US economy?  Conventional explanations based on the wondrous flexibility of their labour market don't convince, since those features haven't changed profoundly from the time when their major economic rivals were outgrowing them...  (also deficits, end of US superpowerhood?, drowning in debt)
Globalisation Killed the Old Politics - global horse-trading allows companies to find cheaper fiscal conditions and more favourable infrastructure.  Corporations now decide their investment, production, tax and residence sites, playing off one against another.  Top executives now live where it's nicest - and  pay taxes where it's cheapest...
The Paradox of Volatile Markets - Everyone makes money except you - that's the impression you get.  In every newspaper you read about IPOs and gurus who say watch your $10,000 investment grow to $1M in a year.  In the same paper you read of new companies that are stillborn and naysayers' claim most investors lose their $10,000 as well as their shirts.  Who can you believe?  Both, it turns out...  (also take stock in life, casino economy using other people's money to become millionaires)
Microsoft Stock - The single most lucrative product Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) sells is its own stock, receiving almost as much cash inflow from that as it does by selling goods and services...  (also tax hangovers from stock options)
Called to Account - Stock options, a favoured perk in Silicon Valley, must be deducted from US public companies' earnings under a long-awaited accounting rule.  (also destructive creation)
Fraud occurs when... -
An individual or an organisation intentionally makes an untrue representation about an important fact or event which is believed; the victim relies upon and acts upon the untrue representation and suffers loss of money and/or property as a result...


Lawyer's Spin - if a lawyer knows that his client is about to commit perjury, the lawyer is supposed to stop the client or to alert the court.  Also, a lawyer cannot legally enter a plea of not guilty for a client he knows has committed the crime.  However, many lawyers circumvent these rules by what is known as "The Lecture."  When a lawyer first meets his clients, it's not uncommon for him to warn them not to tell him more than he needs to know.  (also trusting brings success, how to change your name)
Thought Exercise - " should completely exempt the top 100 richest people from all taxes... also from most minor laws: traffic violations, that sort of thing.  But, if you kill them, you get all their money, and don't get prosecuted..."  (also metaphysics, asymmetric information, futarchy)
Thought Exercise #2 - Looking at the kinds of motivation that normally underlie murder readily substantiates the statistic that if it is a woman who has been killed, the killer is more likely to be a man who has been intimate with her than to fall into all the other categories of murderer combined...
Whistleblower Checklist - Am I sure that my motivations are to expose fraud for the right reasons and not just sour grapes, revenge, or public attention?...
The CIA wants me?!?  For what??  (also SIS, MI6, being married to a spy)
Rocking the Cradle: Contraception, Sex and Politics in New Zealand - Doctors were invited at a Eugenics inquiry to give evidence and solutions to "impaired health, low morality and insanity [which] descend to the offspring and are a continual drain upon the community."  (negative eugenics, eugenics in the US and in the 3rd reich)

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