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Money | Anorak - Part 6

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Money in the news and how you are going to pay and pay and pay

Donald Trump and the cancer charity horror story

21st Century Bastards Donald TRump- action figures for the post-truth age

 

Occasionally you read something that shocks you. Forbes’ Dan Alexander has a story about Donald Trump’s son Eric and a charity golf event .

The real star of the day is Eric Trump, the president’s second son and now the co-head of the Trump Organization, who has hosted this event for ten years on behalf of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. He’s done a ton of good: To date, he’s directed more than $11 million there, the vast majority of it via this annual golf event. He has also helped raise another $5 million through events with other organizations.

Fabulous. Overlooking the grandstanding, doesn’t just one extra dollar raised make the entire thing worthwhile? Surely it does.

The best part about all this, according to Eric Trump, is the charity’s efficiency: Because he can get his family’s golf course for free and have most of the other costs donated, virtually all the money contributed will go toward helping kids with cancer. “We get to use our assets 100% free of charge,” Trump tells Forbes.

That’s not the case. In reviewing filings from the Eric Trump Foundation and other charities, it’s clear that the course wasn’t free–that the Trump Organization received payments for its use, part of more than $1.2 million that has no documented recipients past the Trump Organization. Golf charity experts say the listed expenses defy any reasonable cost justification for a one-day golf tournament.

Additionally, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which has come under previous scrutiny for self-dealing and advancing the interests of its namesake rather than those of charity, apparently used the Eric Trump Foundation to funnel $100,000 in donations into revenue for the Trump Organization.

Read it all on Forbes.

The wonder is that President Trump should know that charity can never replace government social assurance. Nothing and no-one has the financial capacity of the federal government. Contributing your celebrity to the cause is not enough:

Donations rise during good times and fall during bad; the $316 billion given last year is high, but it’s still less than any of the three years leading up to the last recession. It’s understandable that people would have less to give when times are hard, but happens to be the exact time when the need is highest. …

The food stamps program cost $78 billion last year, and Medicaid cost, $251 billion. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or what used to be called welfare, cost another $31 billion. Once the Obamacare exchanges reach something like full capacity in 2017, federal subsidies for insurance on those exchanges is projected to cost about $108 billion. And that’s before we even mention Social Security, which cost $773 billion in 2012.

So the idea that a reduction in these programs could somehow be made up for by an increase in private giving just doesn’t reflect reality.

Over to the President…

Posted: 7th, June 2017 | In: Money, Politicians | Comment


Man takes exquisite revenge on VERY LOUD business meeting in a coffee shop

When people use the coffee shop for business meeting that can be loud.  VERY LOUD. One man has exacted revenge:

 

Guy has perfect revenge on people having VERY LOUD business meeting in coffee shop

 

Spotter: @sehnaoiu, The Poke

Posted: 20th, May 2017 | In: Money, The Consumer | Comment


Lottery winner’s millionaire son sues parents for more money

Can love be measured in cash? Michael Dawes was given a pot load of cash by his dear old dad. But he reasoned that dad should have been more generous. The matter game before the Beak:

A man who was given nearly £1.6m by his father after he won £101m in the Euromillions has had his claim for more cash thrown out by a judge.

Best check the will.

Michael Dawes, 32, took his father, Dave, and stepmother Angie to court after they stopped giving him more money. He claimed the couple had promised to ensure he and his partner, James Beedle, 34, would never have to worry about money again.

All depends on how much they spend, right? A £1.6 million windfall – tax free because it’s a fit – is not a small sum of money. Spread over his working life – 18-70, say – and all things being equal, the sum gives young Dawes an equivalent income of  over £30,000 a year in today’s money. In April 2016 median gross weekly earnings for full-time employees were £539. Not too shabby, then, for young Dawes. Or he could invest the sum wisely and get more – something achievable by stashing the cash on multiple high-interest-paying current accounts and taking a long-term view on funds and shares.

So what did he do with the money?

Michael Dawes was given £1m by his father and stepmother soon after their win, but the judge said nearly all of it had been spent within a month.

Sound investments?

About £550,000 was spent on a house in Portsmouth, where Michael lived, but he also gave nearly £250,000 to friends and his partner’s family, and quit a well-paid IT job.

He quit his job? Dad had won big on a low-risk/high-reward activity. Why work when you can just ask?

At one point, the pair were spending up to £30,000 a month, including £1,000 a week on groceries.

And he wanted to be kept in the style to which he had become accustomed. But the judge dismissed his claim.

You can’t pick your family, but you can pick your numbers. Best of luck!

Posted: 19th, May 2017 | In: Money | Comment


He’s right: Jeremy Corbyn’s high income does not make him wealthy

jeremy corbyn money

 

Is Jeremy Corbyn a wealthy man? We don’t know. We haven’t seen his tax returns. All we do know is that he earns well. The UK average salary is around £27,000 a year. Corbyn earns more than £137,000  year. According to the Mirror, the pay gap is a “grotesque chasm between a rich one per cent and the other 99% of the country”.

Is Corbyn grotesquely rich? An annual income of £100,000 is enough to put you comfortably within the top 2% of all earners.

The Mail spots Corbyn speaking with Julie Etchingham on ITV’s Tonight show:

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has REFUSED to say that he is a wealthy man – despite earning more than £137,000…

He said: ‘I consider myself adequately paid, very adequately paid for what I do…. What I do with it is a different matter. I consider myself well paid for what I do and I am wanting to say to everyone who’s well off, make your contribution to our society.’

Ms Etchingham, 47, reminded him that people at home will be ‘shouting at the TV saying “of course you’re a wealthy man on a £137,000″‘.

But he replied: ‘No, I’m not wealthy because of where I put the money, but I’m not going into that.’

He’s right. Wealth is having a great deal of money, resources, or assets. We don’t know if Jeremy Corbyn is wealthy. We do know that he is paid well and his income affords him choices. Wealth inequality is not the same as income inequality. The two can be linked. But they are not cause and effect.

 

Posted: 15th, May 2017 | In: Money, Politicians | Comment


US tech titans mint millionaires as globalised business model pays off

When the web first boomed, the dream was to become a dotcom millionaire for running you own website. Now you can rich by working for someopne who built a website that went huge. The trick is to work for one that operates on a global scale and is based in the US. In “Tech titans pay $20bn in bonuses” The Times’ Danny Fortsun writes:

Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and Google’s parent Alphabet doled out a combined $20bn (£15.4bn) in share payouts last year, on top of the techies’ salaries, according to an analysis of stock market filings…

The $20bn bonanza equates to $29,850 for each of the quintet’s 670,000 employees. Last year Britain’s bankers and insurance workers took home £13.9bn in bonuses, an average of £13,400 per employee.

Well, quite. As Tim notes: “Global industry pays more in bonuses across the world than the one country sector of a global business.” If you’re tax efficient, the share price will rise leaving more money to dish out amongst friends and employees back at HQ.

What we don’t know is that bonuses the  Big Five’s UK-based workforce took home when compared to their colleagues in the USA, say, or Luxembourg?

Posted: 7th, May 2017 | In: Money, Technology | Comment


The Nomadic Gardener: this man will hire your garden to grow his vegetables in

 

Jim Kovaleski is the nomadic gardener, a doyen of “portable farming” at one point he hies your garden to grow his produce in.

This nomadic gardener travels between Maine to Florida gardening leased front yards. With a frugal lifestyle and revenues as high as $1.5K a week, he’s living the dream.

It’s win-win. You rent out your land for an itinerant worker to farm. You, the gardener and your land become useful and profitable parts of society. If the price of land is lowered because of this new industry, then good. Landu s the largest inout cost. Reduce that and we should rejoice.

Spotter: Kottke

Posted: 4th, May 2017 | In: Money, The Consumer | Comment


Nigerian spy chief had $43m dollars in his Lagos flat

Can it be that the bloke whose been emailing you all these years has been caught? Police in Nigeria have noticed Aoy Oke, the country’s National Intelligence Agency boss, after finding $43 Million in cash at his four-bedroom Lagos flat.

Police also found $36,000 worth of British pounds and $75,000 worth of Nigerian naira.

Nigeria’s anti-corruption body, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, said it suspected the funds were linked to unlawful activities.

 

ayo oke

“It’s amazing what you find down the back of the sofa”

 

Oke’s been suspended from his job.

Oke has’t yet made a public statement, but unnamed intelligence sources told local media there’s nothing to see here, and the cash was just being held for covert operations.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari isn’t buying it, and has suspended Oke pending an investigation. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will head the investigation and report back to Buhari with findings in two weeks.

Meanwhile, that email about a pressing need to deposit tens of millions of dollars into your Post Office savings account might not be all that far-fetched after all.

Spotter: Foreign Policy

 

Posted: 21st, April 2017 | In: Money, Strange But True | Comment


Google tax is not cheating tax on revenue

Most of us view the web via Google. The company makes huge amounts of money for showing adverts to internet users. But should it pay more tax? The Daily Mail says Google paid “just” £36.4million in UK corporation tax last year. This sounds like a lot of money. But the Mail’s says it’s not a lot when you see the figure in light of Google’s “£1billion in revenues” – i.e. turnover.

A politician is outraged. Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Susan Kramer thunders: “It is appalling that Google are still getting away with paying such a paltry amount of their total revenue back in taxes.”

Er, no. Revenues are not the same thing as profits. You’d think a leading politician would now that.

The Government describes Corporation Tax as a 20% on profit. Google made a pre-tax profit of £149m in the UK for the 12 months to the end of June 2016.

But accounts filed by Alphabet, Google’s parent company, show UK sales of almost £7bn. But Google’s UK sales are booked in the Irish Republic, where corporation tax is 12.5%. Ireland boasts of its favourable rates. The Republic of Ireland’s IDA seeks to secure inward investment. It produces this handy guide to its corporate tax rates:

 

google tax IDA ireland

 

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 1st, April 2017 | In: Money, Politicians, Reviews | Comment


Brexit brings an end to the Common Fisheries Policy’s bloodsports

Animal lovers should be delighted the UK is leaving the European Union. The UK’s farmers and fishermen tend to abide by the rules. What kind of reaction would there be if British farmers adopted the French habit of force-feeding geese to make foie gras? In 2013 it emerged that Spanish farmers were getting cash under the Common Agricultural Policy to rear bulls for bullfighting.

The latest news from Theresa May’s Brexit folder is that she’ll take Britain out of the Common Fisheries Policy. That’s the agreement that allows European fishing vessels to access waters six to twelve nautical miles from British shores.

The EU says the Common Fisheries Policy aims to ensure that fishing is “environmentally, economically and socially sustainable”. But the quotas, agreed under Ted Heath’s Tory government, allowed Britain’s fishermen 13 per cent by value of the new “common resource”. This led to the depletion of Britain’s fishing feet and the hideous fact that fishermen were forced on pain of law to return to the sea millions of dead fish for which they had no quota.

In 2015 fishermen targeting certain demersal species such as haddock, sole and plaice were told to “land all their catch”. From 01 January 2019, vessels of all gear types will have to land all catches of quota species and count the landings against quota. And: “Non-quota species such as gurnards, lobsters or pipefish can continue to be discarded. Prohibited species will have to be discarded.”

The landed fish – which the fisherman has caught and brought to land at no small effort and cost – can then be used as…landfill.

As for the alternative – and it’s hard to think of a worse one than throwing away tonnes of fish – the BBC notes, a 2016 House of Commons Library paper suggests the UK could allow foreign vessels to fish in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) – “Outside the EU, an EEZ extends 200 nautical miles (370km) off a country’s coastline, giving the state the authority to exploit and control the fish resources within this zone.”

Over to you, Theresa…

Spotter: Telegraph

 

Posted: 26th, March 2017 | In: Money, Politicians, Reviews | Comment


Europe’s robot sex brothel provides stiff competition for sex workers

The robots are coming! Well, not yet. But one day they will. The Daily Express says flesh and bone prostitutes have forced a mechanical sex parlour in Barcelona to shut. What the paper calls “Europe’s first sex robot brothel” is no longer open for business because women complained that the plug and play sex dolls were ruining their livelihoods.

We hear from Janet, a sex worker in city’s Raval district. “It is another strategy of the patriarchy that presents us as objects without rights or soul,” says Janet. “A privilege of the wealthy classes.”

 

lumidoll sex brothel

Live cam

 

For those of you uncertain if you were shagging an on-the-clock polymer sex doll or an on-the-clock woman, the Express tells its readers who have been on Stag dos, rugby club dinners and business trips to the Spanish city that the the house of ill repute was at 2 Baixada de Sant Miquel “in the Spanish city’s Gothic quarter, north of the cathedral”.

“The rooms are decorated with candles,” the paper noted in a previous story, “a single glass of cava and a bowl of strawberries, with pipped music that is similar to Michael Bolton. The TV also plays pornography.”

Yeah, that one. The one that shows Keeping up with the Kardashians on loop.

Posted: 22nd, March 2017 | In: Money, Reviews | Comment (1)


Unions are good because it’s hard to sack bad workers

There are many way to praise the public sector but in the Guardian you can read about a new one. In a story entitled ‘Do the maths’  Abi Wilkinson praises unions and the work they do securing workers’ rights and improved pay. All good, then. She tells us unions ‘save taxpayers money in the long run’.

‘Research undertaken on behalf of the Trades Union Congress found that, in the public sector, there are 8,000-16,000 fewer dismissals every year thanks to union reps,’ she tells us. Employers prevented from sacking staff they consider inefficient or slack is a good thing and makes sound economic sense. Who knew?

Not stopping there, she adds, ‘Recruiting and training new employees is expensive, and it’s estimated that £27m-£54m of public money is saved by reducing staff turnover.’

How on earth does it help productivity and efficiency if you create an environment wherein its very hard to get rid of failing workers?

Posted: 16th, March 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Money | Comment


The F-rating doesn’t give an F-word about movies

The movement towards creating explicit codes of behaviour for every aspect of life – especially the messy bits about sex –  welcomes the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), which is now using the ‘F-rating’ to signal films of a feminist type. This is “so [viewers can choose films that fairly represent women on screen and behind the camera.” It is “applied to all films which are directed by women and/or written by women and/or have significant women on screen.”

That part about ‘significant women’ opens up a few issues, not least of all when it comes to grot movies, especially the girl-on-girl sort. The F-rating might not be the best guide to family entertainment or indeed anything approaching entertainment of any strain. But, then, the F-rating is not about films; it’s about educating the masses and turning people – wonderfully complex humans – into quotas. The official F-rated website explains the vision:

‘The stories we see on screen need to be told by a broad spectrum of people to represent our diverse culture. Without change, we will train the next generation to only recognise white males as the protagonists and the ones in control of the cameras, scripts and budgets. As well as equality on screen and behind the camera, more female film critics from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities need to be welcomed into the industry so that opinion and feedback is balanced.’

It’s certainly not about viewers, many of whom are women. It’s about gender. The thinking is that female film fans go to the cinema not to seek escapism but to reaffirm their identity. You’re not watching them; you’re looking at yourself. But you’ve already got free use of Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook to gawp at idealised filmic versions of yourself, so why spend good money on watching a narcissistic film?

Note 1: If equality is the mantra, then the IMDb could look at itself. According to Wikipedia, the IMDb ‘originated with a Usenet posting by British film fan and computer programmer Col Needham entitled “Those Eyes”, about actresses with beautiful eyes.’ Col is a white male – and since he flogged the site to Amazon, a very rich one.

Note 2: Amazon is owned by Jeff Bezos, a rich white male. Amazon Inc. has 7 ‘Officers’. All are white. One is a woman. Amazon has 11 directors – 9 of whom are male. Should businesses get an F-rating, too – and if so would the IMDb warrant one?

Posted: 15th, March 2017 | In: Film, Money, Reviews | Comment


The North Face’s revenues v profits

More financial illiteracy in the Guardian (natch.), wherein we learn about those anoraks TV reporters love to wear:

It’s a sales pitch that has yielded big profits. The North Face reported annual revenue of $2.3bn last year, with 200 stores around the world.

Profit does not equal revenue. They’re not the same thing. The North Face is a thriving business controlled by the VF Corporation, which also owns brands like Vans, Reef, Timberland and Eastpak. To equate annual revenue with profit – negating all costs – is absurd.

As for which brands are doing best, the company’s report for 2016 tells us clearly:

 

the North Face profit

 

The profit margin across all brands for 2016 was 9.95%.

 

Posted: 7th, March 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Money | Comment


Uber driver are workers not employees and Travis Kalanick should drive

uber row

 

The video of Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick arguing with an Uber driver is all over the media. Kalanick is seen talking with Uber driver Fawzi Kamel. The conversation between the man Forbes estimates to hold a net worth of over £5.1billion and the mini-cab driver runs like this:

TK: Good to see you man, thank you.

FK: Good to see you too. I don’t know if you remember me but it’s fine.

TK: So we are reducing the number of black cars on the system over the next six months.

FK: Yeah it’s good.

TK: Yeah you probably saw it on the email.

FK: I saw the email, it starts in May. It’s all about the rating but you, you’re raising the standard and dropping the prices.

TK: We’re not dropping the price on black cars.

FK: Yeah but in general.

TK: We have to, we have competitors. Otherwise we’d go out of business. 

FK: But you have the business model in your hands, you could have the price as you want but you choose to buy everybody a ride.

TK: No, no, you’re misunderstanding. We started high end. We didn’t go low end because we wanted to, we went low end because we had to.

FK: Why? (Because of) Lyft?

TK: Yeah.

FK: That’s a piece of cake right there.

TK: No, it seems like a piece of cake because I’ve beaten them. But if I didn’t do the things I did, we would have been deep (inaudible).

FK: Why? We could go higher and more expensive.

TK: So here’s the thing. Luxe is in San Francisco so I have guys working on Luxe which will be 15 to 17 percent more expensive than black…

FK: But people aren’t trusting you anymore. Do you think people will buy cars anymore? We’ll buy them through Europe and invoice, nobody wants to buy a car. I lost $97,000 because of you. I’m bankrupt because of you. You keep changing every day.

TK: Hold on a second, what have I changed about black?

FK: You dropped the prices.

TK: On black?

FK: Yes.

TK: Bulls***. Bulls***.

FK: We started with $20. How much is the mile now, 2.75? 

TK: You know what, some people don’t like to take responsibility for their own s***. They blame everything in their life on somebody else. Good luck.

FK: Good luck to you too but I know you’re not going to go far.

Kalanick comes across as a greedy and rude swine.

Newsweek says this is just the latest episode in a company mired by a ‘dysfunctional culture, bad press, a sketchy financial outlook [and] dissatisfied employees’.

Is there a certain delight in hoping the mighty will fall? ‘Every time we take an Uber we’re spreading its social poison,’ says Laurie Penny in the Guardian.

Keep in mind she’s talking about catching a taxi when she writes:

What we’re dealing with here is a new class of bastard: the bro gone pro, the freewheeling post-Randian slimeball whose insecure sense of entitlement is the foundation of his business model… This matters because Uber is more than just a tech firm. It is a social engineering outfit masquerading as a tech firm… Here’s the awful truth: we have entrusted the reorganisation of our social infrastructure to the sort of people who shout at their subordinates and drivers and view women as a collection of parts. We do not owe these people our money or our admiration.

All that from hailing a car. And more!

It remains to be seen whether Uber will be damaged by the activist call for riders to please, for goodness sake, stop using this service. A great many people feel they have no option but to be complicit. Uber grew in the social sludge of American cities with patchy and precarious public transport provision and high unemployment. In areas where there are few late-running trains and taxis are unaffordable, taking an Uber home is the ethical equivalent of the greasy late-night kebab: you know it’s bad for you, but there’s a filthy, guilty pleasure in being able to meet your immediate animal needs. Your gut might make you answer for your midnight takeout, but it won’t kill you.

Using a service like Uber, however, is slow social poison. We are living in a socioeconomic reality whose driving philosophy can be accurately described by a sauced-up frat-boy in the back of a taxi, and we continue to venerate its winners. How much complicity can we tolerate before we get off this dodgy ride?

First world problems never got so important.

Another Guardian writer is conflicted. Sonia Sodha writes: ‘My finger has hovered over the delete button on more than one occasion. So far, I haven’t pressed it.’

And you thought President Trump had issues with that other button.

And then he looks at the fact – and gets them wrong:

The extent to which drivers are satisfied in the here and now is irrelevant to whether they are employees or self-employed in the eyes of the law, and the rights to which that entitles them. In a scathing ruling last year, an employment tribunal ruled that Uber drivers are, in fact, employees, because Uber exerts a degree of control over them – including dictating the price they can charge consumers – that should not exist between a company and its self-employed contractors.

Wrong. They are classed as ‘workers‘. Workers enjoy some of the rights of employees but not all. They also get a degree of flexibility, which many Uber river prefer.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 5th, March 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, Money, Reviews | Comment


Fake views: George Osborne on post-Brexit Protectionism

It’s not fake news – it’s just spin. In a story called ‘Project Fear is BACK’, the Mail spots former Chancellor and perpetual Remainer George Osborne warning that the UK leaving the European Union without trade deals would be the ‘biggest act of protectionism’ in British history.

Speaking at the British Chambers of Commerce annual conference in Westminster, Osborne opined:

“Let’s make sure that we go on doing trade with our biggest export market, otherwise withdrawing from the single market will be the biggest single act of protectionism in the history of the United Kingdom and no amount of trade deals with New Zealand are going to replace the trade that we do at the moment with our big European neighbours.”

What utter nonsense. Protectionism is about what you import not what you export.

If tariffs can be rebranded as protectionism, which is bad, why not allow free trade on goods traded with all countries? Mixing politics with trade is fraught with bias and agendas.

By way of an example as to how stupid things can get, the Economist told us:

FORD makes transit vans in Turkey, with passenger seats in the back. When the vans are shipped to America, the brand-new seats are immediately torn out and recycled.

Why? Because 46 years ago, Europe slapped tariffs on American chickens. America retaliated with a tax on European commercial vans.

To get round this, an American firm’s European factory adds passenger seats to its commercial vans so they can be classified as passenger vans, which attract a lower tariff. Then it trashes the seats once the vans are safely landed in Baltimore.

Sometimes the rules that make the least sense last the longest.

Unless you vote out of a trading bloc and trade the world as an open market.

 

Posted: 1st, March 2017 | In: Money, Politicians | Comment


Coffee-housing to win The World Series of Poker

We often hear of a poker face, but what of a poker mouth? Most of today’s tournament players try not to give anything away in the game’s cut and thrust. They sit still, stoic in baseball caps, hoodies and sunglasses. They only speak to state their move. It was very different at the 1973 World Series of poker, where the aim was to rile and unsettle opponents with ‘coffee-housing’, what would now be called ‘banter’. Get a reaction by irritating opponents and watch them go ‘on tilt’. Keep going and look for ‘tells’. These verbals unsettle and misdirect the other players. If used skilfully they can mask the talker’s own ticks and telltale signs.

It’s not civil. It’s not sportsmanlike. But it sure can be effective. Poker is a human game. Communication is not banned. Your noisy bluff can get your opponent to fold – which might be your only chance of winning the pot.

The 2016 WSOP Tournament Rules dealing with table talk are listed below:

113. Table Talk / Disclosure: participants are obligated to protect the other participants in the Tournament at all times. Therefore, whether in a hand or not, participants may not:
a. Disclose contents of live or folded hands.
b. Advise or criticize play at any time.
c. Read a hand that hasn’t been tabled.
d. Discuss strategy with an outside source while involved in a hand.
e. The one-participant-to-a-hand rule mentioned in Rule 111 will be enforced.

Special Exceptions:
1. A participant is allowed to mention the strength or content of his/her hand if no other participant in the hand will have a decision to make.
2. In heads-up events or when down to the last two participants in a Tournament, participants may speak freely regarding the contents of their hands.
3. The Floor Person reserves the right use his/her judgment to determine if one participant intentionally helped another participant. Participants who violate this rule are subject to penalty in accordance with Rules 40, 111, and 112.

116. Etiquette Violations: Repeated etiquette violations will result in the imposition of penalties assessed by the Tournament Staff. Examples include, but are not limited to, unnecessarily touching other participants’ cards or chips, body, or clothing, delay of the game, repeatedly acting out of turn, betting out of reach of the dealer, or excessive chatter. Excessive chatter includes, but is not limited to, talking or conversation that causes a disruption of participants who are in a hand.

The video hereunder of that 1973 series features Walter ‘Puggy’ Pearson ‘making a speech’, telling Bryan ‘Sailor’ Roberts: “I’m not trying to bust you now. I guess you trying to bust me, go ahead.” Roberts goes all in. He’s holding a flush. “Sailor, please have a hand,” says Pearson. “He can’t have one this big.” Pearson then reveals his pocket aces. Will Roberts cave in and fold? No.

The last card is served. Person gets lucky and scores a full house. Roberts’ flush is beaten.

 

Posted: 27th, February 2017 | In: Money | Comment


Blaming fat kids for the NHS ‘crisis’ is absurd

More new on fat people, society’s pariahs. The Telegraph has news:

Fat children, not the elderly, are fuelling the NHS crisis, a leading doctor has said.

Has anyone whose attended an NHS clinic or hospital been confronted by pods of fat children waiting to be treated? No, me neither. But Lord McColl of Dulwich, a  middle-aged non-fat former surgeon, thinks fat kids are to blame.

Th paper has form with fat-blaming. These are just two recent stories it’s featured:

If your child is fat then you are a bad parent

Why you never get over a fat childhood 

The Tele’s not alone in its assault on fat children. The Mail told its readers: “Fat children will ‘collapse the NHS’: Number of 11-year-olds weighing more than 15st DOUBLES in a year.”

The latest barb aimed at young bloaters is rooted in Lord McColl’s words to the Lords:

“It’s not so much the old people getting older – because old people have always been getting older. The difference in the last 30 years is the grotesque increase in young people getting fatter and fatter.”

What can be done? Narrow the hospital doors? Maybe we can wonder why at a time when lo-cal diets are all the rage and  TV news routinely features dire warnings on fat, people are getting fatter?

Lord McColl has repeatedly warned of an obesity epidemic, telling peers last year it was “killing millions, costing billions and the cure is free – just eat fewer calories”.

Eat less and the NHS will be saved billions. No need to invest at all, then. you need to starve them.

Posted: 10th, February 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Money | Comment


The Guardian seeks unpaid BAME workers for its ‘society of journalism’

“Young BME people! We know you need help getting into journalism. Come work for us for free!” tweets Marie Le Conte (@youngvulgarian). She spotted his great advert in the Guardian. The paper wants to give BAME journalists the chance to be unpaid workers. Although you BAMEs do get BFH – Bus Fair Home.

 

 

The Guardian BME jobs

 

Previously.

‘Join the fight against unpaid internships’ – say the Guardian.

Posted: 6th, February 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Money, Reviews | Comment


Brexit: get football agents to negotiate best deals for UK plc

The Government is advertising for trade negotiators. This might be the job to suit the country’s brightest and best football agents, the kind of people who understand that the day a client signs a contract is not the end of their role in matters. There is always the next deal and the next to arrange and sound out. The best agents work to protect their clients’ futures. They focus on the long-term. And they do their prep work.

One Guardian writer doesn’t get it. The top “post-Brexit international trade negotiator, tasked with sealing deals from North America to New Zealand”, will earn £160,000 a year or more, he tells us. And then he says this:

Critics also think the salary is a waste of money for the first two years of the five-year contract because the UK will be unable to reach agreements until the terms of divorce from the EU are finalised in 2019.

You can’t sign the deal until the trade window opens, but you can negotiate any deal before hand.

When looking for signs of idiocy it’s always useful to consult Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, who opines:

“Appointing a trade envoy on £160,000, who will be paid more than the prime minister, who cannot actually do their job for two years, shows how frankly stupid this government is being over Brexit.”

Tim, no. They can do their jobs. They can negotiate and daft agreements. They can showcase their talents. And when the trade window opens, they will have done their homework and be ready.

Posted: 29th, January 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Money, Politicians | Comment


No, FTSE CEOs do not take home 130 times the average wage

The Guardian’s take on finance continues to entertain. In “Here are six ways to achieve a truly ‘shared society’”, Frances Ryan turn to ‘Income Equality’.

She links to a Guardian article which states CEOs at FTSE 100 companies are paid “130 times more” than the median pay of other staff (source). But Ryan alters that to become: “FTSE 100 CEOs take home 130 times more than their staff.”

Surely not. What of tax on wages, which is progressive – the more you earn the more tax you pay? Tax rates are how society views pay. It might not be fair that the man or woman at the top earns lot more than the average toiler in a shareholder-owned entity, but to negate the effects of tax is absurd.

 

Posted: 14th, January 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Money | Comment


Fatcat bosses and the Daily Mirror’s shareholder problem

Who is the “Fattest of Fat Cats”. The Mirror leads with news that he’s banker Horta Osario. He earns £8.7m a year. But he’s just one of the “fatcat FTSE bosses”[who] will have raked in £28,200 each in 2017 – the same as the average worker will earn on the whole year.” The Mirror lists the fatsos raking in the dough. We see again Osorio (Lloyds Bank), Tony Pidgley (he founded “house building giant” Berkeley and is paid £23.3 million a year) and Jeremy Darroch (the £16.9m-a-year chief executive of Sky plc) and more.

 

daily mirror pay

 

The Mirror does not show that chief executive Simon Fox “saw total pay and benefits for the year [2015] rise to £2,349,000, compared with £1,678,000 in 2014″.

In 2012, the Guardian reported:

Trinity Mirror boss Simon Fox awarded £1.2m in less than four months – Newspaper publisher chief executive’s salary, benefits and shares were awarded between 10 September and end of 2012

His wage is above average.

On page 2, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady (the Mail says her deputy gets “£88,000 a year, 47 days holiday and a gold-plated pension”) says “even when they [fatcats] perform badly top bosses get huge rises and bonuses.”

Back to the Press Gazette’s report on Trinity Mirror and Simon Fox’s massive pay packet:

Regional and national newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror has announced operating profit down £16.4m to £82.2m for 2015 on turnover down £44.6m to £592.7m.

“Are bosses really worth 172 times a nurse or 145 times a teacher,” asks Dr Wands Wyporska of the Equality Trust.

Maybe the Mirror’s board can help provide an answer.

Of course, what the CEO of a big company gets paid might be none of our business. Their pay is down to the shareholders.

Posted: 4th, January 2017 | In: Money, Tabloids | Comment


Wages, inflation a Guardian reader’s cup of coffee: a journalist’s confusion

Journalists are notoriously bad at numbers. Writing in the Guardian, Patrick Collinson is talking about how things were better years ago.

The Bank of England governor told us this week there has been a “lost decade” of wage growth. But is the truth really a lot worse than that?

It turns out that the question is rhetorical. Collinson knows. He’s looked at his dad’s old tax returns:

In 1963-64 his pay as an accounts clerk in London was £1,357 a year. In today’s money that equals a little over £25,000 a year once inflation is taken into account.

Is it? Inflation is the percentage change in the value of the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) on a year-on year basis. The Office for National Statistics tells us: “The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) is the price of a representative basket of wholesale goods.”

Changes in the prices of goods bought and sold by UK manufacturers including price indices of materials and fuels purchased (input prices) and factory gate prices (output prices).

And there’s the Retail Price Index, a comprehensive measure covering goods and services bought by most households. And there’s the Consumer Price Index, of which the FT says:

On a particular day every month, thousands of ONS inspectors collect 110,000 prices for more than 650 goods and services in 150 places and over the internet. This basket of goods and services is based on a survey of the spending patterns of 6,000 households and is continually updated.

Since there is no such thing as a typical household – not everyone smokes, drinks, eats out, buys rail tickets or pays school fees or a mortgage – the inflation rate of each household will differ from the average.

People who spend a lot of their money on services – childcare, hairdresser visits and restaurants, for example – will have faced a higher inflation rate in recent years given the much larger rise in services inflation than goods inflation.

Inflation is measured by comparing the price of the same or comparable things over time.

Collinson continues:

In some ways that £25,000 doesn’t look so great. After all, someone working in a similar role with his level of experience at the time might expect £35,000-£40,000 today. But then look at what an income of £25,000 bought in 1963 in London.

And look at what it buys you now. Yeah, it buys you the same stuff. Collinson has compared wages by looking at inflation.

His granddaughter now works in the same city, London, for the same pay, £25,000. But what does an income of £25,000 buy you in 2016?

As Tim Worstall notes: “Well, actually, it buys you a basket of goods worth exactly the same as £1,357 bought you in 1963. Because that’s how we work out what the inflation rate is.”

Quite.

PS: The Guardian is appealing for cash. It wants readers to pay £5 a month to read the paper online. And in the Guardian’s world the desired £5 donation is “the price for a cup of coffee”. The headline of Collinson’s story: “Oh for the 1960s! People earned less but could afford more.”

Life was frothier than your expensive coffee back then.

 

Posted: 10th, December 2016 | In: Money, Reviews | Comment (1)


Jose Mourinho’s tax problems shame Manchester United and Chelsea

Jose Mourinho is “the rich one” in the Sunday Times’ look at the Manchester United manger’s financial affairs. The allegation is that “a complex offshore structure” has allowed Mourinho “to dodge tax on his image rights income”.

Is it all legal? We should suppose it is. But after the words “criminal investigation”, the paper looks at the cash – pots of it. The paper says since arriving in the UK in 2004 Mourinho has been paid – get his – £120m in salary. Much of that cash came from Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea. Perhaps the paper would be best served looking at the owner’s sources of income. In 2015, the Times Matthew Syed was scathing of the Russian:

The money that has bankrolled Chelsea these past 12 years, which has brought multiple trophies while sanitising the image of one of the most dubious individuals ever associated with British sport, was corruptly amassed

Back to the Mourinho, then, and his cash:

An investigation by The Sunday Times has found evidence suggesting that the Manchester United boss’s advisers misled the tax authorities in Britain and Spain during inquiries into more than £10m in earnings hidden through a Caribbean tax haven.

In an attempt to reduce his tax bill, Mourinho’s advisers appear to have fabricated more than £1m in costs run up by a British Virgin Islands shell company with no employees.

They also withheld from the tax inspectors the fact that Mourinho’s family were the true owners of the shell company.

The story is based on a “1.9-terabyte cache of data was originally handed to Der Spiegel, the German news magazine, by a whistleblower who does not wish to be named”. We are told why he’s leaked the data. “It is time to finally clean up football,” he says. “The fans have to understand that with every ticket, every jersey they buy and with every television subscription, they are feeding an extremely corrupt system that is only in it for itself.”

As is the way with big scoops of the past years – politicians’ expenses; the US embassy cables;  Hillary Clinton’ emails – the source is huge wad of data dropped on the media’s mat. It;s quickly packaged up as story of bad versus good. But how many of us see the Tax Man as a force for righteousness?

The paper notes:

It shows how the super-rich can employ highly paid advisers and lawyers to shield them from the tax laws that apply to everyone else. The public rarely gets a glimpse into this world. Until now.

Of course it all boils down to one thing: greed. But let’s not too be hard on Mourinho. Football relies on talent. The more talented the football name the more more they get. Revenues run to the workers. Jeremy Corbyn should enjoy that.

Whether or not Mourinho is overpaid or underpaid is neither here nor there. You could defend Mourinho by looking at the vast amounts of tax he has paid. You could say that a foreigner deciding to spend and invest his cash overseas is to be expected. You could see the taxman as an arbitrary force of state power.

What makes us curious is the power Mourinho enjoys. If the man who was indulged at Chelsea so long as he was winning – witness his hideous treatment of referees and Dr Eva Carneiro – is mired, it is not so much down to him as it is the clubs that stuck him on a pedestal and ignored and deflected criticism of odious behaviour that in any other industry would get him sectioned.

Mourinho’s people say they and he have done nothing wrong. But if he has cheated, the clubs that poo-pooed criticism of his antics and in so doing encouraged belief that he is free to exist outside the laws of acceptable behaviour, need to answer questions, too.

 

Posted: 4th, December 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Money, Sports | Comment


Camelot hackers make Daily Star readers worry more than most

The Star once more leads with Lotto news. And as ever it’s bad news. “Lottery site hacked, it could be you,” warns the front-page headline. The story goes that hackers have “stolen” the passwords of 26,000 people registered with the National Lottery’s website – “Dozens had email addresses and passwords stolen”. It looks like they did. But the theft did not occur on the Lotto site.

 

daily-star-lotto-hack

 

‘Experts say it could have “serious consequences” for those who use online bank accounts,” says the paper. Why the Star should lead with this story can have nothing to do with the fact that it’s owned by Richard Desmond – the Press baron who also owns the Health Lottery, a rival to the Lotto.

The Mirror has a slightly different angle on the same story:

Thousands of National Lottery players’ accounts are feared to have been hacked after Camelot confirmed “suspicious activity”. Around 26,500 accounts fear to have been compromised after the log-in details were accessed by a third party. Camelot claims it doesn’t believe it’s own system was hacked, but that the details were taken from elsewhere. It added that no money has been withdrawn or added to any accounts.

 

daily-star-lotto-hack

 

And in the Guardian, we get this:

About 26,500 National Lottery players are facing compulsory password resets on their online accounts after they were apparently accessed by cybercriminals.

Camelot, the firm that operates the game, said it had become aware of “suspicious activity on a very small proportion” of accounts, and it was now taking steps to understand what had happened. Logins may have been stolen from other websites where players use the same details, it said.

Far be it for us to stick up for the greedy, kak-handed so-and-sos at Camelot, but it’s useful to have all the facts.

Says Camelot:

We would like to make clear that there has been no unauthorised access to core National Lottery systems or any of our databases, which would affect National Lottery draws or payment of prizes. In addition, no money has been deposited or withdrawn from affected player accounts.We do not hold full debit card or bank account details in National Lottery players’ online accounts and no money has been taken or deposited. However, we do believe that this attack may have resulted in some of the personal information that the affected players hold in their online account being accessed.

The advice is to change your passwords and use different passwords for different products. And if you read the Star, look at least one other news source for the full story.

Posted: 1st, December 2016 | In: Money, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment