Tuesday, 31 January 2017

THE RICH AND TAX


What is it with the rich and paying tax? It never ceases to amaze me that Mr and Mrs Average are reasonably happy to pay their taxes. Most of the people I know will stand back and look at exactly what you get from the state and be happy to pay up. We do any way because if we don't the tax man is quickly on our case. I suppose Jo Average is much easier to chase than Mr Rich. We are quickly intimidated into paying what we owe. Yet the rich and the stinking rich find all sorts of ways to avoid paying taxes. Of course, they can employ the top accountants to help and they in their turn, manage to conjure up all manner of wheezes to get round the tax laws. Not only that, but many of these top accountancy firms who organize tax avoidance schemes still get government contracts and are asked to give the government advice. Seems loony to me.

How much do people need to live? How much can you spend in a lifetime? If you are making five million a year why would you want to avoid paying tax? Yet many who earn that sort of money and a lot more in some cases go out of their way to pay as little tax as possible. You would think that the sums paid to these greedy accountants would almost cover tax liabilities yet people still stash away huge sums in tax havens like the British Virgin Islands. Governments of all persuasions condemn these transactions and swear to do something about it but never do. How many chancellors of the exchequer have sworn to eradicate the practice and close any loop holes and actually do nothing. Are they complicit in the practice? Many of these very rich people make donations to the political parties and politicians fighting funds and this may have some baring on their supposed inability to plug the holes in the laws that allow this to happen.

Of course, politicians are known for their corruption, many are corrupt, although all would vociferously deny it, but being taken out to a top restaurant in London and schmoozed for an evening even if it is declared, is a form of corruption. Is it any wonder that populations are getting fed up with politicians. They don't do themselves any favors. The expenses scandal a few years ago is a classic example of politicians behaving badly and getting away with it. One or two of the very worst cases were publicly dealt with but the vast majority got away with their frauds, and sad to say, it is still going on to a slightly lesser extent may be, but still happening. Members of the public who do similar and are found out are prosecuted and land up with criminal records if found guilty. Well, plenty of MPs admitted their guilt and paid back money they had fraudulently obtained and that was alright! So when they state that they will pursue those who hide their fortunes abroad do we believe them? I don't think so.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

ISIS AND ITS FORM OF ISLAM – HOW CAN THE WEST COPE?

Suicide bombers are a problem the West can't hope to stop, it is the veritable elephant in the room. We call these people terrorists and to most civilized people they do terrorize and therefore are worthy of the name. But these people genuinely believe they are doing God's work. Their leaders, usually religious zealots, can persuade them that by killing themselves along with loads of other people, no matter what their religion, they are working for God and will go directly to heaven. What is it in Islam that these poor souls can be persuaded into such acts of stupidity to say the least. I don't hear a united Islamic voice stating that this is wrong and that in the Koran suicide is classed a deadly sin. Why not? I have tried to contact Islamic scholars, specifically Mona Siddiqui, a professor of Islamic studies at Edinburgh University but replies came there none.

It's not that there are just one or two of these people. Muslim zealots seem capable of persuading any number of usually young men and women to give up their lives to kill others. Furthermore, it does not seem to matter who gets killed in the action. In a random attack you may well be killing any number of your coreligionists. You might believe this would give pause for thought or even question. Here is one of the great difference between say skeptical believers and even devout Christians and Islam. In Islam children are taught from a very young age to accept the teachings of the Koran without question. To question them is blasphemous and, of course, blasphemy in Sharia law brings an instant sentence of death. Hence, to wonder whether you might have committed a sin and go directly to hell would never enter your mind if you have been told by a mullah you are doing the right thing. Often these are well educated people. There must be something in the Koran that allows this sort of thinking otherwise, one might wonder, how are they so easily persuaded. Nobody ever seems to question this particular aspect of Islam, hence, the elephant in the room.

Sunnis and Shias also seem to feel free to kill each other with gay abandon. These are both branches of Islam who differ only in the belief that someone different succeeded the Prophet. They commit mass murder shouting God is great. They bomb each others mosques, kill men, women and children all in the name of Islam and seem to think this is totally acceptable behavior. Is it any wonder that non Muslims sit back, roll their eyes in amazement, and wonder at the sanity of the people and/or the religion. After every atrocity (that's what we call it) political hands are wrung and they, the politicians, state it must be stopped but it can't be. How can you stop people doing what they believe is the true work of God and they really believe 100% that that is what they are doing. What is needed is all Muslim clerical leaders to come together and state outright that blowing yourself up along with others is a mortal sin and that they will burn in hell ever after. They need to state it constantly and loudly so that the youngsters that are being mislead will have some doubt about their religious superiors, and perhaps they might stop and think, but I can't see that happening.

In actual fact, while young Muslims can be persuaded by their superiors, and these are sheikhs, men of knowledge (supposedly), that not only are they following the Prophet but it is a holy thing to do and God will love them for it, there can be no end. Speak to any, what we may call, moderate Muslim, and he or she will tell you that this has nothing to do with Islam. But it has, it has everything to do with Islam. It is only done in Islam's name. When the IRA were bombing Britain, did they kill themselves blowing up others? The answer is a big no. So it was argument and logic and compromise round a table which resulted in an end to the outrages. This can't be done with Islamic zealots because there is nothing to talk about. According to them the Koran states that to kill infidels is not a sin and, for that matter, other Muslims who don't agree with them. It seems senseless to Westerners but we don't have the depth of belief that most Muslims do. Education in the West has taught people to think for themselves and that means question everything. Muslims are taught to question nothing in the Koran.

Islamic State would like everyone to believe they are going to establish a new Caliphate and that Sharia law will be the law of the land. The fact that it is austere in the extreme, brutal, medieval and treats its followers with complete contempt doesn't seem to bother Muslims of all nationalities who flock to their areas in Iraq and Syria to join them. However, the other great elephant in the room, and this is the biggest tusker of them all, and never spoken about, is the fact that whilst Christian leaders talk to top Muslims about how close their religions are and how they can live together in peace, if you believe that Christ is the son of God then there can be no further prophet. Therefore Islam is a heresy.