Wednesday, 4 June 2014

The greater the reward the higher the chances of fraud

It's nice to have the chance to write about law again after so many years away as a teacher. Having studied some criminology the motivation and history of dishonest people has never changed from day one. Basically you have three levels of individual. The leader, the one who is a psychopath and has no morals whatsoever, the follower, the one who either is pressurised into joining in from the combination of threats and rewards, or simply works to hide the fraud without benefitting directly, and the clean one who refuses to get involved and is often sacked or implicated as a whistleblower.

Having done a short survey of scientific and related fraud cases, the formula there is no different. The bell shaped curve of most people who wouldn't do it but a few at the end who always do, with more who will given the conditions, and it applies exactly the same to science as every other field. Why not? Scientists don't have an integrity field not present in all other areas, like everyone else they are human first and scientists second. The same spread of good and bad people and equal susceptibility to outside pressures. And in science with fierce competition for publication and ultimately maybe even a Nobel Prize the stakes become incredibly high.

So as a result we have a recent 21st century record of mainly internally administered discipline, but at the far end at least one court case as the system decided the fraud was too serious to overlook. I won't make this into a database of related cases as there's no shortage of those already, but a way to analyse and present the formula involved of scientific fraud, especially the major issue that nearly every guilty example was indeed peer reviewed. This is because peer review assumes honesty so was never designed for it. Therefore more garbage gets through and the general public simply assume it's genuine as they don't know how the system works, and takes a sharp eyed witness to call them for something not feeling right. I'll add some links at the end to see the details. But the main formula here is the greater the reward the greater the chance of fraud. Cut to America and the EU. They have spent billions of government (our) money on one thing in the last decade, climate research. That is where the big bucks are, and traditionally scientists have studied very hard, worked even harder, and like performers only the top few have done really well. The rest make a good living, but nothing like law or accountancy. They are partly teachers and partly researchers, and if not employed by the private sector have their salaries limited by public funds, which represent the great majority employed in universities.

Competing for grants means each project is funded, but the expenses and exact fate of the amount is barely followed, the money is for the research and expected to be used for it. If they produce the results then no one goes back and asks how many hotel rooms were paid for, it is assumed the money was spent on the research and whatever else was required to do so. This means roughly if they produce the results in the reasonable time, no one will check the hours they actually spent and whether £500 went on computer time, test tubes or a week's holiday. You get the drift. But the really big rewards are from fame, with the associated speaking fees and media appearances, like footballers. Get a major paper used by the government and you're a scientific celebrity. Some can charge many thousands for a single lecture and enhance their salary ten times or more from being the person who wrote that paper. The rarity with which they actually catch them out for faking either some or in some cases the entire material means the risks involved are almost zero. Which takes us nicely in a circle to the rule, the greater the reward the likelier the fraud.

Then imagine the protection required to maintain the golden goose laying its eggs. Climategate exposed the backroom mechanisms in both calling some experts in private on their cheating, which is obvious to their real peers who know exactly what they're doing and how they do it, and far worse the vast efforts they made to hide it when they did pick it up. Looking back on the famous frauds like Enron and Bernie Madoff which took years to discover, totally by chance after passing various investigations officially, it shows even though sharp eyes can spot the signs instantly the system itself takes years to decide to investigate the rare times it does (normally they are part of the fraud so the great majority go unchallenged), but with criminal prosecutions for Libor fixing, gold price fixing and doctoring police evidence at the very top in Hillsborough looking very far away, despite the confessions already being made and civil penalties collected in some cases, shows how unlikely anyone involved will ever be dealt with. Knowing this those with the will to do so realise they are almost certainly fireproof, and if ever challenged can usually get those same peers (like Lord Oxburgh who headed the Climategate investigation, who was part of the same community he was investigating) to get the result they want. With Libor, claims the banks only did it as they were ordered to makes perfect sense in two ways, firstly how can banks cheat the figures every single day for years without the slightest reaction, and secondly and more importantly, if any case went to trial then the perpetrators who gave the orders would be revealed, and the government would end up prosecuting its own civil servants at the very top. Imagine the effect on the voters. Even if the ministers themselves could protect themselves from direct implication the confidence would go down the toilet and people would rightly assume it wasn't just this lot but probably all of them.

It really doesn't take much to draw your own conclusions from here. The links below show the examples, the mechanisms involved, and the total absence of any scrutiny from peer review.

First US case of criminal science fraud

"My interest is in correcting the science and bringing this academic cheating to light," he said, "and maybe sending a message saying, 'You're being watched, and you shouldn't do it.'"

The case is: U.S. ex rel. Jones v. Brigham and Women's Hospital, et al, 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No: 10-2301

You can't get grants easily without cheating

Returning to my target of climatologists having the currently greatest temptations and largest protection system on the planet, here is the only parliament in the world prepared to question the IPCC and its entire system directly, albeit only the opposition in the form of the US Republican party, the only serious group on the planet not part of this dominant mindset.

US IPCC committee findings

 “Well, the IPCC does not perform science itself and doesn’t monitor the climate, but only reviews carefully selected scientific literature.”

Now what this is basically saying is the IPCC is the highest level of peer review, meaning it does not question the veracity of its studies (otherwise how would Greenpeace articles written to scare people to stop using fossil fuel, or fabricated figures about melting Himalayan glaciers which had never actually be measured pass the test?) but treats it all pretty much the same and with a built in agenda appears to either get a vast majority of similar material presented, or in the case of Richard Tol who actually wanted his own genuine findings to be used, reject them when they do not agree. So any claims of consensus or homogeneity are merely the effect of self selection and if the figures don't fit the first time do what the accountants are trained to do in the first year (I was there so I know), take the same figures and use them to present a profit or a loss depending if it's for the shareholders or the taxman. And as climatology isn't as tightly regulated as accounting then you needn't hold the figures over till the following year as you have to present them eventually, you can keep them under the carpet indefinitely. Warming they say is bad for the planet but bloody good for the career, so it has to be maintained, even when it isn't happening and not happening so much they can't even adjust it away. If global warming was as real as they claim, then if the temperature started falling they'd all be dancing in the streets, not claiming it must be hiding somewhere else. And as the majority of them claim it's in the deep ocean where it's impossible to physically measure but they still insist that's where it nearly all must be, we're back to the Himalayan glacier situation again, except in this case it's probably never going to be possible to measure the true figures. That wouldn't happen in a genuine area.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Which world temperature would you like sir?

We've already looked at the increasingly audacious adjustments added to the original data to make any temperature graph into a hockey stick, but now we have three competing temperatures altogether.

If you look at the one most people know here

There's also one with the peak a few years later, and both compete on equal terms, apparently depending on what the user wants to show, although clearly both can't be right.

Now we have an entirely new one which takes the same sources and shows a totally different result.

Clearly only one can be right, even if you then factor in anomalies or not (they make no difference), which layer of air measure or the surface (very little difference) or ground v satellite (negligible). And some are clever enough to combine some to avoid such glitches, but these three (which was only two until now) are now competing for primacy, even though it proves either they cannot measure temperature adequately, or far worse are deliberately altering the graphs as most people wouldn't know. That is a crime.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Economic fraud

Tying up earlier threads, here are as many examples as I can think of of governments making policies not for you and me, the majority, but minority vested interests, and if anyone else benefits it's only a coincidence as a passing benefit.

Low interest rates: Who gets to borrow at 0.5%, only banks, so by following qui bono, who benefits, this is solely to keep banks afloat and borrow for almost nothing and pay back almost nothing on their currently huge debts. The government also pay base rate so that goes for them as well. Around 70% of the people are net savers (including all pensioners as that is behind their pension rate as well) so that formula speaks for itself, we suffer for the benefit of banks.

Managed inflation: Believe them or not, inflation is a bad thing, always was and always will be. Like a fever our body needs to be a certain optimum temperature, as does the economy. Inflation is a fever, and who benefits from an economic fever? Borrowers, as the amount they borrowed is worth less. But look to the post above and you will see they are a minority, so by setting a target of 2% or any other positive rate of inflation the government deliberately want to skim 2% off the wealth of all its citizens who are not engaged in the sort of shady business which requires false growth through inflation to help it along.

Fake growth: Yes, Britain is growing again, but only because they include fake figures in it, ie inflation, borrowing and government spending. Yes, people will look taller in a photo if they stand on a box, but whether or not you can see it in the photo itself it is not really making them taller. Only increased capital, ie manufacturing, added value and infrastructure can grow an economy in reality, everything else is froth and the very fact they blatantly include it while all economists know the difference is to con the public to believe they are doing a good job and will vote for them again.

Immigration: Who benefits from immigration besides the immigrants, if economic (who most currently are) it means their country is in a dire state so who wouldn't work in a successful country especially when they can't even find work in their own? So the country spends hundreds of years building itself up since the industrial revolution, and then unlike most other developed countries opens its doors to nearly everyone and shows no sign or wish to reduce the number. Then besides the false accusations of racism (as many who oppose immigration are from all races besides white British) they pretend we need the workers and activity. But despite more pensioners living longer, most immigrants are not short term visitors but settle here and most remain for life. And what happens then, they get old as well so simply shift the present issue to the future when we'll have even more pensioners. But most immigrants from poor countries also vote Labour, so Labour opened the doors, and councils all get tax per head, so pack tighter and tighter densities 'as if they were getting the money themselves'. I say this but the fact so many do it implies there must be a very good reason for doing so, you can work out conclusions for yourself.

Of course there are only so many jobs vacant at any point in time, so if 250,000 new people arrive each year or so and the vacancies remain the same the result is obvious. But as currently they can get benefits if they can't find a job (which they generally won't much back home) why should they worry either way? But overall nothing besides the old policy from the 80s and before, which is still operated in many other countries today, of selective immigration up to an annual limit the country can cope with (you can't build new hospitals and schools to keep up otherwise etc) plus genuine refugees, will keep the economy from distortion from unpredictable and erratic workforces, and downward trend on wages due to increased supply of workers, especially unskilled who always make up the majority. Not to mention the local tension created of pockets of transposed towns and villages from elsewhere who often stick together and won't even learn English in many cases. But economically alone immigration should be selective and calculated not virtually at will. It is nowhere near as simple as the other issues here as it is a physical rather than economic issue directly, but with some very clear economic results, none of which are beneficial in total unless managed very specifically.

High house prices: Of course I have mentioned this as the flagship symptom of a growing decline to third world status. Unless you own more properties than the ones you live in you suffer from rising house prices, as Britain has gone from around the average house costing 3X average income to 10X. If you can't afford to buy a house then what else is worth having instead? Only property dealers profit, of course including banks, church authorities, property companies and investment companies, plus the new trick of foreign money launderers buying houses in London as no questions are asked and they get around 10% interest a year profit on average which forces the rest up accordingly. Everyone else sees their fixed income getting less and less as a result, and is the highest (but unrecorded) cause of inflation there is.

Taxing essentials: Direct taxation on fuel and energy, which in Britain is some of the highest in the world, means as everyone needs to be the same temperature (ask a doctor) they can't choose to turn the heating down, and as they all need the same minimum calorie intake the same goes for cutting down on food. Tax those and the poor then have less left over for everything else as we all need to eat and keep warm. So governments who tax fuel and energy when otherwise they would be affordable may as well be picking off a percentage of old and poor people by decree to die each year whether they do it directly or indirectly, as the results are known to kill thousands a year unnecessarily, as without the tax petrol at the very least would cost a fraction as much, and also free up billions back to the economy as transport costs would no longer be passed on to retailers as well as the direct costs to all users, public and private.

High income tax: This is a crime. Not by law as theft is legal when carried out officially, however hard someone has worked to rise a head and shoulders above their peers, their money represents longer at college, longer at work or more risks, or a combination of all three, assuming they acquired it legally which is another issue entirely. The incredibly simple and tested law of diminishing returns demonstrates after 50% then the total take reduces accordingly, so when Britain charged 98% in the 70s, and France just started with 75% for the top bracket, they already know the take will reduce for that band, and it is only a jealous and evil natured punishment, and discouragement to remain in the country. The combination of leaving, working less and hiding the money guarantees the state get less the more they tax above 50%, meaning they know they actually collect less and everyone else must pay even more, so why do it?

Carbon credits: This latest trick in the diverse portfolio of theft by stealth is the one example which is a proven crime, as they were created by Enron, used for a few years, and tried as a major fraud against the investors who actually believed buying future profits for energy sales and use could be predicted a year or more in advance, and used to present a healthy picture of profit to invest in a winning company. Except they were created to hide a massive hole in finances, and by the time the hole was filled and profits returned from legitimate trading, the interest generated by nothing, ie their alternative investment option of false assets attracted so much new money that became their main source of income until someone spotted it and it finally came to an end. Not content with creating such a repugnant illusion, before they were eventually busted the CEO Ken Lay met Bill Clinton and Al Gore, and they adopted it as the major weapon to gain even more money in the same way, in the guise of saving global warming, which has now made Al Gore a billionaire by paying his own company credits, proving my point. Meanwhile a decade or more after these taxes have been in place the CO2 they were claimed to reduce has continued rising at the same rate it has since they found it was, but the failure of the actual aim of the tax has never deterred a single country from continuing and increasing it, telling the people it was clearly too low so didn't work. And if people believe it it will continue rising forever while CO2 follows.