Weeknotes 1

I've been finding it hard to write anything lately, mostly because I can't seem to focus on one thing and I spend so much time reading much better written things from much cleverer people that I don't see any point to it. However, I do value the process of writing things out as a we of re-translating and it's something I've been doing for 7 or 8 years now so stopping would seem just farcical. I'm going to try out a 'bulletin' system where I can briefly outline a few points I've been thinking about recently to try and kick up a response and allow me to distill my thoughts.

1. US Elections - The Republican fallout. 

I did end up staying up until the very early hours last week to watch the US election and of course felt the same sigh of relief that most of the world felt when the US narrowly decided not to let Gordon Gecko's best but most maligned tribute band take office. Nice one.

But, coinciding with the publication of this XKCD chart, a nagging doubt about the future of the Republican party began to creep in. Ian Hislop quipped that the US has a 'right wing party, an extreme right wing party an the Tea Party' on Have I Got News For You, but when you truly consider the scope of partisanship between the Republicans and the Democrats it is actually a little concerning. We all know that to save the US economy Obama needs to win round the support of the House of Representatives who are still Republican dominated. It's now up to the Republicans whether they go full throttle on the crazy motors and allow the psychos and bigots who sealed their defeat this year a firmer grip on the reigns or whether right now there is a quiet cull within Republican ranks. Most indications would point to the latter.

2. Austerity Measures

I've never actually managed to find an example of where austerity measures have resulted in growth. They seem to buffer the public purse to some extent against a recession, especially important in welfare-heavy states like ours - where the public sector is in fact bigger than the private sector (a deadly paradox on it's own). We're seeing very few results as people being to talk about a 'Triple-dip recession.' And the IMF retracts it's belief in the healing goodness of cutting back on funds despite essentially butchering and raping most of the world's most long-suffering economies with impossible demands.

Also some nice reasoning here from Quartz.

3. Amazon, Google, Starbucks - consummate professionalism.

Representatives of Amazon, Google and Starbucks went in front of the Public Accounts Committee to explain why they don't make any tax. To surmise - the Amazon guy said he didn't know anything, about anything, really at all to do with his company. The Starbucks guy said that they only ever made a loss and have never made a profit and Google said that they didn't pay much tax but never broke the law.

It was pretty good and they all came away looking a bit silly but most importantly, they gave nothing away at all. Reminding me of two of my favourite clips of BBC television:

So while it's easy to criticise them for being buffoonish, it's a lot harder to notice that they got away with telling the Public Accounts Committee absolutely nothing about their dealings.