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Interesting Links for 27-02-2012

Original post on Dreamwidth - there are comment count unavailable comments there.

Kripke resigns as report alleges that he faked results of thought experiments

Best. Headline. Ever.

I had to look at it twice to make sure I read it right :->

PayPal has been puritanical for a while. About eight years ago one of my clients was running a dating site for gay men who wanted to meet other gay men who didn't want to use condoms.

PayPal forced him to stop accepting PayPal payments for subscriptions because they thought it violated their obscenity clause in their Terms Of Service.

Another client was running a site where dudes could post reviews of male escorts (mostly so that before they set up a date they could figure out if the guy was going to try to rip them off and/or actually looked like the photo in his add and/or had not photoshoped his dick pick) and PayPal cut his payment processor off as well.

Yeah, Dreamwidth had the same problem, which is why they don't accept Paypal.

Meanwhile they are happy to process payments for pretty much any get rich quick scheme or lose 30 pounds in 30 days diet rip off on the Internet.

They won't fund any firearm-related transactions, either.

I may start refering to myself as a Friend of Nicholas.

Edited at 2012-02-27 11:50 am (UTC)

I think the problem with benefit fraud is that no one actually knows how much there is, as these figures only reveal the ones that are caught, surely?

Anyone who lives in social housing will tell you that fraud is pretty rife. The flat I used to have in London was in a block of 52, with six on my floor. During the eight years I lived there, seven different tenants on that floor were fiddling their benefits. Three were single mothers that weren't single, two were subletting at enormous profits, and two were were working cash in hand whilst claiming benefits.

I reported both the subletters, but they weren't prosecuted, they simply lost the tenancies of the flats they were living in anyway, which is standard procedure and does nothing to curb what is a growing problem, and increasingly one of teh activitie sof organised crime rings.

My neighbour shopped two of the single mothers with partners. He was then harrassed, and flat was then burgled and trashed while he and his wife were at work. It was the only one of the interior flats that burgled in the whole time I lived there and he was told by the police that it had to be an inside job.

I find the discussion about this issue intensely frustrating, because the people who claim that the extent of benefit fraud is hugely exaggerated or some sort of evil Tory myth, aren't the ones compelled to live with it. I only shopped the ones I knew would not result in any comeback for me - and I could have moved out, as I was renting my flat from someone who had bought it.

The honest council tenants didn't dare raise any problems, because they knew it might result in them having to move and that would mean Southwark council taking months to relocate them to another estate (possibly one that was much less convenient for their jobs or their kids' schools).

In the school I just worked in, where each child costs the taxpayers of that county as much as a place at Eton, there were similar stories. The traveller boy I taught, who was one of the most well provided with expensive clothes and kit told the otehr boys he thought their families were suckers for working 'normal, loser jobs' and claimed - I suspect his Dad had been reading the Guardian, and appropriating the relevent language - that it 'wasn't part of traveller culture to pay taxes'.

Going back to when I worked in SOuth Wales at the end of the last recession, there was a huge EU-funded project to be bring tech production companies to the valleys. The Uni I worked in worked with WDA and other bodies to provide training for Japanese and Korean factories. These jobs paid very very well by local standrads, and our training programme was pitched at the long term unemployed - i.e. those who had been on benefits for over a year. We were deluged by enquiries by men on long term sickness benefits, who were not eligible for the scheme. They were quite open about the fact that there weren't suffering from the condition they were signed of with - usuaully depression or back trouble - but there had been so few job opportunities for so long, that they knew they would get significantly more money on sick bens, so that was what they had opted for. This was often with teh tacit collusion of teh benefits agency, because that took them off the unemployed register which wewre better for their statistcsm, and also meant they didn't have to keep sending these poor buggers on jobstart programmes etc that were of absolutely no use to them.

I have every sympathy for those men, given their circumstances, but significant numbers of general shirkers in much more affluent areas of the country switched to sick bens in the late 80s pnwards, when Jobcentres and benefits offices were combined, when there was a lot of pressure on them to demonstrate they were actually seeking work.

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So your definition of *work* is a bill that will result in disabled people like myself losing a third of our income? I've been through the bill and the new PIP descriptors and discovered that I'm going to lose the mobility component and a premium. Please forgive me for being so horrified at people who make statements like your last sentence. In my current state of mind I have you pegged as someone who buys into the Government's rhetoric and the Daily Mail's hate-mongering and just wants all poor and disabled people to fuck off and die. I could be wrong, I frequently am, but that's how I see you and anyone else who thinks people like me should lose 33% of our income at the moment.

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It's really easy actually. Just combine self-loathing with mental illness and several years worth of people telling me I'm worthless and a burden to society and it would be better if I were dead, add in some suicidal ideation and running out of medication and I can believe just about anything bad especially if it's going to impact negatively on me. Piece of cake really.

I'd like to add that DLA isn't an out-of-work benefit nor is it means-tested. In many cases it doesn't cover the outlay that disabled people have to pay to get on with their normal lives - the disparity between the care allowance and the cost of paying a professional carer being the most obvious example.

For some reason - I can't possibly think why - the Government keep including DLA alongside out-of-work benefits, reinforcing the idea that people who claim it are only disabled because they are out of work, and if they just got off their arses and got jobs, their disabilities would vanish. Never mind that there are plenty of disabled people who do work and/or study, or that there are thousands upon thousands of carers who would cost the government far more than is lost to fraud if they were paid fairly for the care work they do. It's much easier for the government to use the disabled as scapegoats, because it's so difficult for the genuinely disabled to fight back.

Also, many of the people who are falsely claiming incapacity benefit/ESA are doing so due to socio-economic factors caused by the previous Tory government (not that Labour helped). I'd recommend reading Dark Heart by Nick Davies (he of the phone hacking exposé) for a good background into why so many communities are messed up.


there was rather a lot of care work I refused, on the basis that it plain wasn't worth the c£10ph I made. Nowhere near. And I took a *lot* of bad clients.

the company I worked for eventually wrote up a Carers Charter, based purely on the level of abuse I received from their clients. My boss commented that it was effectively his way of apologising for the amount of shit he'd unwittingly put me through.

Losing that job was, psychologically, the best thing that ever happened to me.

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Yeah. I thought the comment about the first ammendment was telling: the constitution doesn't prevent anyone from infringing your speech, but the case where someone is a monopoly or a de facto monopoly is one where perhaps it should...

(With the obvious caveats that PayPal don't prevent you telling people in person, or of giving your ebook away for free, but it's still a significant problem that anyone has an nonaccountable stranglehold over anything published. If they have that power they cna shut down all sorts of stuff without a whiff of bad publicity, just by people thinking "I'd better not take the risk", if not at their own recognisance, at the suggestion of ill-thought-out and vandalistic government intervention.)

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Oh yes, exactly. I assume PayPal don't really care themselves (though they might), they're just playing it safe (either because they have to, or because it's a lot easier than trying to police what's ok where) which is very understandable, but doesn't necessarily lead to the most desireable effect on society.

Alternatives to paypal. There are more alternative in the comments.

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one might think it worth the relative expense of getting a small team to build the alternative web code, just to ensure, long term, that their business is not held hostage to a single payment portal.

especially given that PayPal appear to be getting worse by the month.

[I have no idea how that'd work in the real world - I am epically not a web dev]

There are additional concerns for any non-Paypal payment system that relies on a bank or similar. If a site was seen as primarily selling adult content (which Smashwords or Lulu aren't, but some of the "romance" story sites Paypal has forced to change their t&cs recently could be seen as) then that would put it into a high risk category for the bank or payment processing company, which would mean higher charges for payments, a possible annual fee to pay and a lot of hoops to jump through.

there are those among Labour who either have no appreciation of why they lost, or simply don't care.

and I'm now somewhat sickened by the extent to which my willingness to indulge Labour was based purely on belief in Brown.
there is, I have oft said, a limit to how wrong you can be before it comes crashing down around you. I can only hope people like Harman figure this out before they hand Cameron a decades majority.

meanwhile, I am driven further into the arms of the SNP - who at this point don't even have to prove their own case. They just have to not be anyone else.

Is this the bit where we post Cool Book Stories?

When I was fifteen, I persuaded my parents to spend a couple of hours driving across Italy when we were on a family holiday, so that we could visit an apparently picturesque spring that I'd read about in a letter by Pliny The Younger, written in the 1st century.

It looked exactly like he'd said, it turned out!

I did something similar with the Stannery Parliament in Devon, from The System Of The World. It was just as wet and unpleasant as the book said!

Steam on the underground: Hopefully not coal-fired, or a particular scene from Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged will stay in mind. :)

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