Thursday, October 31, 2013

Communist Cuba, Business, Taxes

In Communist Cuba, the Tax Man Cometh - Business News - CNBC: ". . . Under the new tax system they will pay a 35 percent tax on their profits, but can take advantage of a myriad of deductions ranging from amortization and travel to sales taxes, insurance and environmental protection. Many smaller businesses will become cooperatives or be privately leased and taxed based on income. The state-owned Cuban National News Agency said Cuba had studied the tax systems of a number of other countries, including several with capitalist economies . . ."Like the reforms, it is a work in progress, a work that has barely begun and will take time to put in place," said a Western businessman who has worked in Cuba for almost two decades. But, he added, "this is of course a major step forward toward the 21st century and a modern state.". . ." (read more at link above)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Paying Americans the Least, Walmart

The 12 Companies Paying Americans the Least - 24/7 Wall St.: "1. Walmart - 
U.S. workforce: 1,400,000
CEO compensation: $18,131,738
Revenue: $446.95 billion
Net income: $15.70 billion
No. of U.S. stores: 3,868

The labor practices of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) have long received negative attention in the press, but that has not affected investors much. WMT’s share price rose more than 48% in the past five years. In 2008, Walmart agreed to pay $640 million in settlements of dozens of class-action lawsuits that claimed the company deprived workers of pay for time worked." (read more at link above)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Google Now, Efficiency

How Google Now can help you be more efficient | News | TechRadar: "Google Now is Android's take on Apple's Siri, the voice-powered search engine that understands human speech and delivers nearly instantaneous spoken results. But while the voice search is a big part of Google Now, it actually goes one step further and learns your day-to-day movements and web searches so it can deliver results it thinks will be useful to you. While it may sound hideously intrusive, it's actually rather beneficial. Upon waking it looks at traffic and figures out the best route for you to get to work. If you go travelling, it works out where in the world you are and delivers currency and translation options. It's all powered by Google's own search engine, and the best time to start using it is - appropriately enough - now." read more at link above

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Taxation, Theory, Reality

Taxation in Theory and Reality | Econ201 | Big Think: "The debate over the fiscal cliff has spawned a multitude of suggestions for reforming the tax system, including my own.  One possible reason for the wide range of proposals, even from mainstream economists, is that the recommendations of standard economic theory may be very different from what the American economy actually needs today. . . ." (read more at link above)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Google, Ireland, Bermuda, Dutch sandwich

‘Dutch sandwich’ grows as Google shifts €8.8bn to Bermuda - "In principle, multinationals such as Google that pay relatively little tax overseas will face big bills in the US when they bring their earnings back to the US. But Google has not provided for extra US tax because it intends to permanently reinvest $33bn of offshore profits outside the US. The new figures come from the accounts of Google Netherlands Holdings, which represents the “Dutch sandwich” part of the tax structure. It received €8.6bn in royalties from Google Ireland Ltd and €232.8m in royalties from Google’s Singapore operation. All but €10.4m of this was paid out to Google Ireland Holdings, a company that is incorporated in Ireland but controlled in Bermuda."

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Reconciliation, Cuba, Cubans

Reconciliation among Cubans is needed, will be difficult - Cuba - " . . . Dagoberto Valdes, a lay Catholic activist and magazine editor from western Pinar del Rio province, said reconciliation among all Cubans on the island and abroad will require truth, justice, forgiveness, inclusion and an education in civic ethics, among several factors. Asked if he would negotiate with current government officials, Valdes said yes, at the proper time, under the proper legal framework and with all the required pieces on the table.

“Without forgiveness, communism wins,” he added.

The “Second Conference on Reconciliation and Change: The German Experience,” at Miami Dade College was sponsored by MDC; FIU’s Cuban Research Institute; and the Cuba Study Group, a centrist non-government organization headed by businessman Carlos Saladrigas."

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Shard, Ruins, Architectural Sensibility

View photos at link below --

The Shard can eat its heart out – this is Britain's beauty | Simon Jenkins | Comment is free | The Guardian: " . . . . This worm at least appears to be turning. There are thousands of battered old buildings and rundown neighbourhoods that merit the Astley treatment, retaining the spirit of place that comes with the continuous occupation of land. Here is a ruin brought back into constructive use. Its celebration is the result of an architectural sensibility that honours the debt of the past to the future. Let us hope it is widely imitated."

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Ignoring Opportunity Cost, Risk

The Risk of Ignoring Opportunity Cost - Forbes: "For complex reasons rooted deep in the way our brains evolved over millennia, we tend to be hard-wired to fear losses more than we enjoy the prospect of gain. (That’s the root of the Nobel-prize winning concept prospect theory.) And, by and large, investors tend to disbelieve bull markets as they run. Which is perverse! And yet, most readers will agree that investors tend to be bullish when they should be bearish, and the reverse. So if stocks rise something on the order of 72% of all calendar years, folks are just going to be naturally bearish more often than not—and they’re going to downplay—likely to their detriment—opportunity cost as a risk."

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Abu Ghraib was no anomaly, Americans love to incarcerate people, torture inmates

Abu Ghraib was no anomaly, Americans love their prisons, and to incarcerate people, and to torture inmates -- that's why the US has the highest incarceration rate in the world (by far) --

L.A. County sheriff's jailer charged with assaulting 2 inmates - "The incident was among dozens of abuse allegations the Sheriff's Department began reexamining last year amid public criticism of jail conditions. Prosecutors charged Jackson, of Corona, with assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury, assault by a public officer and filing a false report in connection with two separate incidents. He is also accused of assaulting Cesar Campana, an inmate at the Compton courthouse lockup, in December 2009. . . .  Peter Eliasberg, legal director of the ACLU of Southern California, said he was pleased that the Sheriff's Department had taken action in response to his organization's complaints, but questioned why more hadn't been done when the incident first occurred. "Why wasn't this arrest made in 2011? The answer is, because very likely the first investigation was cursory, sloppy and a whitewash," he said."

Very likely, they really don't care. It's all part of the Bush-Obama Police State Culture and Mindset.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Overconfident, Narcissistic, Unreliable

The overconfidence problem | ZDNet: Twenge wrote the books 'The Narcissim Epidemic: Living in the age of entitlement' in 2010 and 'Generation Me: Why Today's Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled--and More Miserable Than Ever Before' in 2007 which gives a pretty clear overview of her perspective on this topic. I think Twenge is an important voice in our current febrile digital social life climate . . . An English CIO complained to me recently that most incoming fresh-out-of-college employees had the 'attention span of gnats', wanted to immediately take charge of projects without supervision and were generally very overconfident without the skills to back that up. Getting people to coexist and work together over time isn't easy - ask any middle manager in the trenches with a long list of time sensitive tasks to supervise getting done - and overconfident, noisy people who let you down has to be near the top of the list of frustrations.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Obama, Corporate tax credits, Last fiscal cliff deal

Tim Carney: How corporate tax credits got in the 'cliff' deal | "A Republican Senate aide familiar with the cliff negotiations tells me the White House wanted permanent extensions of a whole slew of corporate tax credits. When Senate Republicans said no, "the White House insisted that the exact language" of the Baucus bill be included in the fiscal cliff deal. "They were absolutely insistent," another aide tells me. (The White House did not return requests for comment.)"

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Youth Prisons, USA, Inhumane

Youth Today: ". . . But he was most affected when photographing in the Intensive Management Unit (IMU). “I explained I really needed to take pictures of the IMU and that I didn’t want to make it pretty. The administrator said ‘Yes,’ which really blew me away,” Davis recalls. “It was the most inhumane living environment I ever witnessed.” The IMU was usually locked down and “usually off limits,” Davis says. The IMU staff was just excited that someone else was visiting. The sharp-end of Davis’ visual memory is the hatches in the cell doors. “It is where [the kids would] get their food, mail and medical needs. That’s when the IMU really started to affect me emotionally. When I was working with them face-to-face in these institutions it wasn’t any different to working with kids anywhere,” Davis says.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Obama, The Fed, Hidden-tax heists

RAHN: Obama's hidden-tax heist - Washington Times: " .  . . What is new is the big tax on savings, again imposed by the Fed. By artificially holding down interest rates to lower-than-expected real market rates, the Fed is, in effect, expropriating interest income (an implicit tax) that savers normally would be expected to enjoy. This interest manipulation enables the government to fund its debt at less than what would be real market rates at the expense of savers, making the deficit appear much smaller than it really is. There also has been huge growth in the unseen “regulatory tax” over the past four years. A regulatory tax is the cost of regulation imposed on the productive sectors of the economy when the costs of the regulation exceed the benefits. The Obama administration continues to ignore legislative mandates, both on comment periods and cost-benefit analysis, for the tidal wave of new regulation that is hitting businesses — and individuals. . .  ."

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

India, Corruption, Land Records, Technology Fix

Indian program to computerize land records shows technology’s limits - The Washington Post: " . . . land ownership has long been controlled by corrupt bureaucrats beholden to powerful land mafias that dispossessed the downtrodden and spawned millions of disputes. In Karnataka, 10,000 village accountants presided over piles of stapled, crossed-out, erased and rewritten documents that had been revised so often it was nearly impossible to trace back how land was transferred — or stolen. Wealthy families routinely took land documents as collateral for usurious loans to the poor, Puttappa said. Upon default, they took the land, often illegally. Even if the loan was repaid, many would trick illiterate debtors into putting their thumbprints on sale documents they couldn’t read, she said. “You couldn’t even fight in the courts, because you didn’t have the records,” Puttappa said."

Reuters: World News

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The Register articles by Kieren McCarthy

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BuzzMachine - Jeff Jarvis


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