Senate Bill to OK Indefinite Detention of U.S. Citizens
Without Charge; Trial
|Written by Jack Kenny|
|Monday, 28 November 2011 15:30|
The bill could come to a vote as early as today, according to a bulletin issued by the American Civil Liberties Union. The legislation “goes to the very heart of who we are as Americans,” the ACLU statement said, describing the bill as having moved toward passage while most Americans were celebrating Thanksgiving and a long holiday weekend for millions of U.S. workers. “The Senate will be voting on a bill that will direct American military resources not at an enemy shooting at our military in a war zone, but at American citizens and other civilians far from any battlefield — even people in the United States itself,” the ACLU warned.
Labeled the National Defense Authorization Act, S. 1867 was drafted in secret by Senators Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) and approved in a closed-door committee meeting, according to the ACLU statement.
“I know it sounds incredible,” wrote Chris Anders of the ACLU’s Washington legislative office. “New powers to use the military worldwide, even within the United States? Hasn’t anyone told the Senate that Osama bin Laden is dead, that the president is pulling all of the combat troops out of Iraq and trying to figure out how to get combat troops out of Afghanistan too? And American citizens and people picked up on American or Canadian or British streets being sent to military prisons indefinitely without even being charged with a crime. Really? Does anyone think this is a good idea? And why now?”
If passed in its present form, the bill would give the President the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world. “The power is so broad that even U.S. citizens could be swept up by the military and the military could be used far from any battlefield, even within the United States itself,” Anders warned. Anders also noted that presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) voiced his concerns about the detention provisions in the legislation in a Republican candidates’ debate. Ironically, President Obama, who has frequently been criticized by libertarians of both the left and right for exceeding his powers as Commander-in-Chief, is opposed to the legislation and has threatened to veto it if it passes both houses of Congress. Both the Secretary of Defense and the Attorney General of the United States have called the indefinite detention provisions of the bill harmful and counterproductive. But Senator Lindsey Graham has praised those same provisions for saying “for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield” and that people can be arrested without charge or trial, “American citizen or not.” Freshman Senator Kelly Ayotte, a New Hampshire Republican, declared that the provisions are necessary because “America is part of the battlefield.”
Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) has offered an amendment to delete the indefinite detention provisions and “[set] up an orderly review of detention power,” Anders said. “It tries to take the politics out and put American values back in.” The provisions raise a great many political, sociological, and constitutional questions, including whether all of the “homeland,” formerly known as “the land of the free,” should be designated a battlefield and whether people arrested anywhere in the world, including here in the United States, should be considered “enemy combatants” even if they were captured nowhere near a scene of actual battle.
The ACLU is pressing Americans to contact their Senators and urge them to support the Udall amendment. “Senators need to hear from you, on whether you think your front yard is part of a ‘battlefield’ and if any president can send the military anywhere in the world to imprison civilians without charge or trial,” Anders wrote.
November 28, 2011
Barney Frank retiring from Congress
Multiple news sites are reporting that Barney Frank will announce today that he is not running for re-election. This comes as no surprise, because Massachusetts is losing one Congressional seat, and redistricting is adding conservative voters in New Bedford and other working class towns to Frank’s chi-chi Back Bay/Brookline true blue affluent constituency. Long the beneficiary of district boundaries drawn to favor a left winger, the ungracefully aging Frank has decided that the possibility of losing is so unpleasant that he would rather give up the fight.
Frank whose boyfriend was a senior executive at Fannie Mae when the morthgage bubble was created, served on the Finance committee, responsible for oversight of his boyfriend’s employer. He also bears joint responsibility for the disastrous Dodd-Frank Financial “reform” bill that left Fannie and Freddie untouched.
Frank used to be somewhat amusing in his younger days, when he was ready with a quip, sometimes even directed at fellow Democrats, as when he greeted the election of Michael Dukakis as governor of the Commonwealth with the memorable sentence: “Superman has been elected governor; unfortunately, the legislature (Democrat-dominated – TL) is made of Kryptonite.”
But in recent years, Frank has turned bitter. Perhaps it was the experience of having a different boyfriend running a gay prostitution ring out fo the apartemnet he shared. Or perhaps it was seeing that his financial “reforms” have brought ruin. Or perhaps he is just a bitter old man, disappointed in love, fat, and subject to the sort of ridicule he used to dish out.
It would not surprise me if MSNBC offers him a commentator job. He has quite a few IQ points on the rest of the on-air talent there.
November 28, 2011
The Fed Can Rescue Europe. Really?
J. Robert Smith
Not madness — no. Folly, plain and simple.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard speculates in the Sunday edition of London’s The Telegraph about the U.S. Federal Reserve riding to Europe’s rescue. Europe is facing a breathtaking debt disaster, and Evans-Pritchard floats the idea that Ben Bernanke and the gang at Fed have what it takes save Europe from itself.
Curiously, it wasn’t but an eye-blink ago that pundits were writing about the imperative for Germany to man-up and rescue it’s financially distressed neighbors (southern European countries, mainly) from a debt implosion. Given that the Germans aren’t too hep on the idea of bailing out their profligate compatriots — and may well be incapable of doing so — attention is turning to the U.S. as the white hat.
But, pray tell, given America’s huge debt ($15 trillion and climbing), where does Evans-Prichard think that the U.S. would get the money to rescue Europe? Ah, by printing more greenbacks in an attempt to inflate away European debt? Adding debt on top of debt in the U.S. in the vain attempt to stabilize Europe?
The trouble in Europe isn’t just debt. The trouble in Europe — like the trouble in the United States — are models of governance that lead to out-of-control spending, borrowing, and debt. Then put the E.U. in to the mix. The E.U. is highly centralized, political and bureaucratic-dominated “government” that has sought to impose one-size-fits-all policies on diverse nations, peoples, cultures, and economies. The E.U. was unworkable in concept, and it’s unworkable in practice — as it’s proving abundantly. Not to mention undemocratic.
There’s about to be a stupendous collapse in the attempt at European government and socialist-corporate models extant in most European countries. And a similar disaster awaits the U.S.
Statism is failing, and the elites are doing their desperate best in Europe to stave off collapse, hoping they can buy time to figure out how to preserve the existing systems and order of things. So why not try to offload the problem on the U.S.? The reasoning goes that U.S. will experience the blowback if Europe fails, so the U.S. needs to “save” Europe for its own sake.
Good luck. If pigs had wings, they’d fly, as the old saw goes. Europe’s beleaguered nations need reforms toward dramatically less government and free markets. Ditto the U.S.
Statists and their fellow travelers in Europe and America are at the end of the line. But they don’t want to face the harsh realities they’ve created and persist in worsening. Denial isn’t a river in Egypt; it’s a river that runs through Europe and right into the U.S.
More Blacks Supported Tea Party Movement Than Support #Occupy
Today the Washington Post reported that African Americans, who are 12.6 percent of the U.S. population, make up only 1.6 percent of Occupy Wall Street.
It’s too bad the Occupy Movement couldn’t be like the tea party.
An April 2010 Gallup poll found that 6% of tea party support came from non-hispanic.blacks.
Up twinkles for the tea party.
Where’s the NAACP?
Communist Party USA
American Nazi Party
Ayatollah Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran
Lisa Fithian (Left-wing anarchist – “What do I do? I create crisis.”)
President Barack Obama (“We are on their side.”)
Government of North Korea
Debbie Wasserman-Schultz Member of Congress/Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee
Louis Farrakhan Jew-hating leader of Nation of Islam
Revolutionary Communist Party
Bill Ayers Marxist/former domestic terrorist who said to Occupy Chicago, “Every revolution seems impossible in the beginning.”
David Duke Jew-hating former Grand Wizard the Ku Klux Klan
Hugo Chavez Communist ruler of Venezuela
Black Panthers Organization of radical black nationalists
Socialist Party USA
Nancy Pelosi Democratic House minority leader who said of the Occupy Wall Street protestors, “God bless them.”
Communist Party of China
Hezbollah Anti-Jewish terrorist organization
Stephen Lerner Militant labor activist/leading mastermind behind Occupy Wall
Street – “How do we take down the stock market?”
International Bolshevik Tendency
Van Jones Avowed communist/former senior advisor to Obama White House – “I’ll drop the radical pose to achieve the radical ends.”
Harry Reid Senate Majority Leader (D-NV)
International Socialist Organization
Frances Fox Piven Marxist professor/honored elder stateswoman of the Democratic party – “It’s okay to use violence.”
Source: video statement
Marxist Student Union
Gold drops amid rise in risk aversion
By Emiko Terazono
The rise in risk aversion spread to the yellow metal, which had been fluctuating in a band of $1,700 and $1,800 band for most of the month, having lost some its haven appeal of late.
On this story
- Rio chief adds to chorus of metals gloom
- Comment Growing doubts over Saudi Arabia’s supply stand-ins
- Fears of recession drive metals down
- North Sea oil field packs big punch for market
- Comment Exxon’s Kurd deal contradicts conventional wisdom
Bullion retreated along with other commodities to $1,682.80 a troy ounce in midday trading in New York, down 2.5 per cent from its last price on Friday.
“The market is very volatile at the moment,” said Anne-Laure Tremblay, analyst at BNP Paribas.
She noted that the Vix index – which measures volatility in US equities and is often dubbed Wall Street’s “fear gauge” – was up 8.8 per cent on Monday.
Rising volatility in stock markets was crossing over to commodities, affecting sentiment among gold investors. Other commodities shrugged off tight demand and supply fundamentals, losing ground on macroeconomic worries.
In the crude oil markets, ICE January Brent fell $1.14 a barrel to $106.40 and Nymex January West Texas Intermediary declined $1.90 a barrel to $96.77.
Copper for three-month delivery on the London Metal Exchange lost 3.4 per cent to $7,296.25 a tonne, in spite of news of a strong outlook for Chinese demand.
Morgan Stanley said Chile’s Codelco was looking to settle 2012 copper premiums – the price paid over the LME price – with Chinese consumers at $110 a tonne.
The level is a 4 per cent fall from 2011 but higher than the $90 a tonne premium settled in October with European buyers.
As the world’s largest copper producer, Codelco’s price agreements are regarded in the industry as a benchmark.
Analysts at Morgan Stanley said the outcome demonstrated tight market conditions and lack of supply growth in 2012 as well as suggesting that the producers and consumers of the metal had a more positive view on fundamentals than the market prices implied.
Also on the supply side, the strike at Freeport McMoran’s Grasberg mine in Indonesia, now in its third month, is expected to last until mid-December.
Aluminium fell 2.7 per cent to $2,072.50 a tonne and nickel declined 0.4 per cent to $17,675 a tonne. Tin for three-month delivery on the LME declined 3.7 per cent to $20,700 a tonne.
OECD highlights eurozone contagion risk
By Norma Cohen, Economics Correspondent
European leaders need to provide “credible and large enough firepower” to halt the sell-off in the eurozone sovereign debt market or they will risk a severe recession, according to the chief economist of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
The warning came as the organisation slashed its half-yearly forecasts for growth within the world’s richest countries, and said activity in Europe would grind to a near-halt.
On this story
- Hedge funds see global growth dipping
- In depth Eurozone in crisis
- China boost for UK growth plans
- Money Supply Britain’s growth potential
- Economic Outlook US jobs can offer comfort
On this topic
- Geithner calls for boost to growth
- Spectre of stagnating incomes stalks globe
- My perfect excuse the kids
- China becomes leading user of energy
IN EU Economy
Pier Carlo Padoan said that Europe’s leaders had so far failed to put in place firm plans to address concerns about sovereign debt sustainability, which threaten to destabilise the region’s banking sector and tip it into a severe recession.
“The scenario so far is that Europe’s leaders have been behind the curve”, Mr Padoan said. “We believe this could be very serious.” He said that leaders need to put in place firm plans for fiscal integration.
“Everyone should be clear that the euro is at stake and everyone should do what is needed to avoid the worst,” Mr Padoan said. While declining to single out any member state, Mr Padoan noted that Germany has had very clear benefits in the form of productivity improvements and a large surplus because of its participation in the common currency.
In its economic outlook, the OECD slashed its 2012 forecast for economic growth to 1.6 per cent for its 34 member states from 2.3 per cent six months ago and for Europe alone from 2.0 per cent to 0.2 per cent.
In the report’s introduction, the OECD notes that the global economy has deteriorated significantly since its previous report in May and that the euro area “appears to be in a mild recession”. However, “recent contagion to countries thought to have relatively solid public finances could massively escalate economic disruption if not addressed,” the report notes.
While there is some uncertainty about just how an unspecified “major negative event” might play out, what the OECD characterises as “a large negative event” – perhaps the break-up of the eurozone – “would likely send the OECD area as a whole into a recession, with marked declines in the US and Japan.”
In particular, the eurozone’s rescue fund, the European Financial Stability Facility, will need to be given the financial resources to make it a credible institution with sufficient firepower to stop the contagion from spreading.
“In view of the great uncertainty policymakers now confront, they must be prepared to face the worst,” the OECD said.
However, there is a potentially positive outcome if eurozone leaders do take the necessary steps for stability. This would come in the form of a pick-up in confidence among households and businesses that is likely to translate into a rise in demand and economic activity.
In the UK, growth is expected to contract slightly in the fourth quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012 and is not expected to pick up much until the fourth quarter of 2012.
For the year as a whole, growth is expected to be 0.5 per cent, down from 1.8 per cent forecast in May and for 2013 is expected to be 1.8 per cent. Unemployment is likely to rise to 9 per cent next year and stay there until at least the end of 2013.
Fannie and Freddie watchdog under fire
By Shahien Nasiripour in New York
The Federal Housing Finance Agency “too often” accepts assertions made by the mortgage financiers, which have been operating under a federal conservator since September 2008, the FHFA Office of Inspector-General said in a report to be released on Tuesday.
On this story
- US banks scale back mortgage collection
- Fannie and Freddie to cut fees and liabilities
- Setback for US mortgage refinancing plan
- In depth Freddie and Fannie
- In depth US foreclosure crisis
On this topic
In one case, the FHFA’s failure to properly examine Freddie’s procedures for determining how lenders repurchase soured loans probably saddled US taxpayers with billions of dollars in losses, the report said. In another, it said, the housing regulator readily accepted Fannie and Freddie’s justification for paying their top six officers more than $35m in compensation for 2009 and 2010, declining to consider other factors that may have led to lower pay-outs.
Those two cases are among a handful identified by the inspector-general as “sufficiently important to warrant greater involvement and scrutiny by the agency”, the auditor wrote in its report.
The FHFA “basically relies on the corporate governance process to resolve business decisions” at Fannie and Freddie, said Steve Linick, inspector-general. The agency relies heavily on the mortgage groups’ board of directors and tries to stay out of daily business decisions, preferring to only review the most important matters, Mr Linick said.
“The question is whether they are doing enough,” he said of the FHFA.
The US government has committed about $169bn to Fannie and Freddie to keep them solvent.
The FHFA did not respond to a request for comment.
The role of the state-backed US mortgage originators has come under the microscope
In previous audits, Mr Linick’s investigators have accused the FHFA of providing lax oversight and failing to detect costly foreclosure irregularities despite ample warning.
The unit at the FHFA that oversees the conservatorship – and therefore is responsible for big decisions at the housing groups – is staffed by just a handful of employees, Mr Linick said.
“They have a shoestring staff,” he said, adding that they oversee two taxpayer-owned companies that employ about 12,000 people and own about $5,000bn in mortgage-related assets.
The inspector-general said it had 48 investigations under way, ranging from alleged fraud by Fannie and Freddie employees to cases in which other institutions were potentially defrauding the mortgage financiers.
Mr Linick added that his agency was evaluating mortgage servicers – companies that collect mortgage payments and process foreclosures. Servicers have been accused of mistreating borrowers and wrongfully seizing homes.
Fitch warns of US downgrade over deficit
By James Politi in Washington and Michael Mackenzie in New York
The move aligns Fitch with other rating agencies that have already punished the US for the political gridlock that has prevented any long-term fiscal deal from emerging following months of negotiations in Washington.
On this story
- Deficit deal eludes Washington
- S&P under pressure over US credit rating
- S&P cuts US debt rating to double A plus
- Moody’s places US rating on review
- In depth US budget
On this topic
Standard & Poor’s downgraded the US in August to a double A plus rating with a negative outlook, while Moody’s Investors Service has preserved America’s triple A score but also imposed on it a negative outlook.
The latest blow to hopes of a long-term deficit reduction agreement in the US came last week when a special bipartisan panel of lawmakers – known as the supercommittee – failed to reach a deal to save at least $1,200bn from US deficits over the next 10 years.
“The failure of the [supercommittee] underlines the challenge of securing broad-based consensus on how to reduce the outsized federal budget deficit,” Fitch said in its note. “The negative outlook reflects Fitch’s declining confidence that timely fiscal measures necessary to place US public finances on a sustainable path and secure the US triple A sovereign rating will be forthcoming,” it said.
Fitch also warned that it would likely downgrade the US by the end of 2013 in the event of a “worsening of the economic and fiscal outlook” and the failure to reach a “credible deficit reduction plan”.
The reaction across markets was muted as the news came after equity markets had closed with solid gains. The yield on 10-year Treasuries was relatively steady at 1.97 per cent. So far this year, fears that the US might experience a debt crisis have been misplaced, with investors rushing into Treasury bonds as a safe haven compared with the turmoil in the eurozone. Nevertheless, there are concerns that at some point the US government debt markets could be in for a rude awakening.
Fitch said the negative outlook indicated a slightly greater than 50 per cent chance of a downgrade over a two-year horizon.
Calling the failure of the supercommittee a “missed opportunity”, David Riley, the primary analyst at Fitch, said: “After the election, we are looking to see what hard decisions are made to restore confidence in the long-run sustainability of US public finances.”
“If they are unable to do so, the rating will be downgraded,” he added.
Fitch has said the credibility of fiscal reform depends on tackling tax reform and changes to popular government programmes such as Medicare – which have so far been left untouched.
“Fitch’s action is a reminder of the need for Congress to reduce the country’s long-term deficit in a balanced manner and to avoid efforts that would undo the $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts negotiated last summer,” a US Treasury official said.
Financial system creaks as loan lubricant dries up
By Tracy Alloway
Whoosh! That’s the sound of up to $5,000bn worth of collateral draining from the financial system. And it is not a reassuring one.
“Collateral is the grease that oils the lending system,” says Richard Comotto of the International Capital Market Association. “If the grease starts to freeze or run out, the loan cogs won’t run as well.”
On this story
- FT Alphaville on the repo market
- Bank collateral drying up in rush for security
- Europe’s banks feel funding freeze
- Avoiding collateral damage for derivatives
- Comment Web of shadow banking must be unravelled
On this topic
Large banks typically reuse securities handed over to them by big investors such as hedge funds, insurers or pension funds. They do so by pledging the assets out through the so-called repo or securities lending markets, generating a return for themselves and their clients but, in the process, also helping to lubricate the global financial system.
Since the financial crisis, though, these “chains of collateral” have become much shorter, meaning securities including government or mortgage bonds are not being recycled through the system as much as they used to be.
While that might help reduce overall risk, by limiting leverage, it has important implications for the way the system works and the global economy.
Some analysts believe that this fall in collateral use could actually serve to increase “hidden” risk in the financial system as the market devises new ways of tackling the shortage.
Manmohan Singh, an IMF economist, says in a new working paper that there has been “a significant decline in the source of collateral”.
“Since collateral can be reused, the overall effect may have been a $4,000bn-$5,000bn reduction in collateral,” he says. That takes the estimated amount of collateral flowing through the system to about $5,800bn at the end of 2010, far below its 2007 peak of $10,000bn.
According to Mr Singh, the number of times a security is passed around the system has fallen from an average of three times before Lehman’s 2008 collapse to 2.4 times at the end of 2010.
“Intuitively, this means that collateral from a primary source takes ‘fewer steps’ to reach the ultimate client,” he writes in the paper.
One reason collateral use has fallen is that market participants are more vigilant about the creditworthiness of counterparties and how business partners might use collateral sent to them.
“Everybody is less trusting about the use of collateral,” says Fred Ponzo, founder of GreySpark Partners, a capital markets advisory business.
Financial institutions are also increasingly trying to manage risk by taking “haircuts” – clipping some of the value on assets being traded to add a bigger safety cushion.
That, in turn, limits the extent to which securities can be recycled just as the pool of available collateral is shrinking.
“There’s less and less high quality collateral and more and more demand [for collateral],” says Mr Commotto, who adds that even government bonds are being questioned as collateral as a result of the sovereign debt crisis in Europe.
More collateral is also being tied up at the world’s central banks, and especially at the European Central Bank, as commercial lenders turn to them for financing.
The ECB’s balance sheet has ballooned to more than €2,000bn as the region’s banks exchange their assets, such as bank bonds or bundled loans, in return for central bank funding.
The lack of financial lubricant has important consequences.
It may, for example, be one reason why businesses and households have not felt the full effect of monetary easing by central banks, analysts say. Financial lubricant is needed to transmit rate cuts and boost the economy.
“You’ve got a massive disruption of liquidity,” says Marc Ostwald, government bond specialist at Monument Securities. “The transmission mechanism for monetary policy breaks down if trust perceptions” disintegrate, he says.
Regulatory reforms, including new capital rule for banks and moves towards central clearing of derivatives trading, are expected to intensify the chase for “decent” securities, potentially clogging the system further by locking up more collateral.
One result of all this has been a boom in specialist collateral management services. So-called “collateral transformation” is being marketed to derivatives users as a way for them to obtain the cash or government bonds they will need for central clearing.
Liquidity swaps, where banks exchange illiquid assets for more liquid ones, are also being used by banks to help meet the new requirements on capital.
These kinds of services may help to keep the world’s financial plumbing in good running order. However, many market participants still expect demand for collateral to exceed supply.
Moreover, some argue that such services place a question mark over whether risk is being reduced or simply shifted around the system, potentially flowing into less regulated areas as it did before the 2008-09 crisis.
The concern over such flows is that the effect, should there be another bout of severe market turmoil, could be similar to the rise of the “shadow banking system”, which thrived on leverage in the run-up to the financial crisis and helped cause the huge losses at Lehman and others.
The decline in collateral “may entail some difficult choices for the markets and regulators”, says Mr Singh.
With McCain’s help the Senate will vote on stealing our rights to trial,
conviction before prison
As early as today the Senate could vote to strip us of our 6th Amendment rights!
In a move that would make Joseph Stalin proud, Arizona Senator John McCain has joined Michigan’s Carl Levin in crafting a section of a bill designed to take away our rights to face an accuser and have a fair trial before being placed in prison. A section of S. 1867 The National Defense Authorization Act bill, written by McCain and Levin would in effect give the President arrest powers. It would authorize the Chief Executive to order our military personnel to forcibly- if necessary- take any one, regardless of guilt or innocence, into custody without charges or a trial.
These “McCain – Levin” detainees could be held indefinitely with no due process or speedy trial.
The heart of the 6th Amendment reads as follows:
“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.”
What part of this wonderful document don’t these jerks understand?
The saddest thing is that we have to rely on a Democrat, Mark Udall of Colorado to kill this monster. He has announced he will offer an amendment to S.1867 that would delete it.
Outrageous treatment by our own government is why we fought our revolution against England. We have to contact our Senators and demand this section is deleted and never see daylight again. Use this link to reach your senator: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
To read more use these links:
‘Iran prepping al-Qaida for large-scale attacks’
JERUSALEM – In response to any future Israeli military strike on its nuclear sites, Iran has been training al-Qaida elements in the Egyptian Sinai desert on how to coordinate retaliatory attacks, a senior Egyptian security official told WND.
The al-Qaida attacks are meant to target both Israeli and Egyptian installations, the security official said, as part of an Iranian plot to widen any Israeli-Iranian conflict to involve other countries.
The Egyptian official said there is also information Iran has been working with Islamic Salafist groups in Jordan that are allied with al-Qaida.
Any Iranian cooperation with al-Qaida would underscore the dangers of Tehran obtaining nuclear weapons. The country has a history of using terrorist proxies, most notably Hezbollah in Lebanon, to carry out its bidding.
Secret Fed Loans Helped Banks Net $13 Billion
The Federal Reserve and the big banks fought for more than two years to keep details of the largest bailout in U.S. history a secret. Now, the rest of the world can see what it was missing.
The Fed didn’t tell anyone which banks were in trouble so deep they required a combined $1.2 trillion on Dec. 5, 2008, their single neediest day. Bankers didn’t mention that they took tens of billions of dollars in emergency loans at the same time they were assuring investors their firms were healthy. And no one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its January issue.Saved by the bailout, bankers lobbied against government regulations, a job made easier by the Fed, which never disclosed the details of the rescue to lawmakers even as Congress doled out more money and debated new rules aimed at preventing the next collapse.
‘Change Their Votes’
“When you see the dollars the banks got, it’s hard to make the case these were successful institutions,” says Sherrod Brown, a Democratic Senator from Ohio who in 2010 introduced an unsuccessful bill to limit bank size. “This is an issue that can unite the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street. There are lawmakers in both parties who would change their votes now.”
Read More at bloomberg.com By Bob Ivry, Bradley Keoun, and Phil Kuntz, blooomberg.com
Katyusha Missiles Fired from Lebanon at Northern Israel
by Elad Benari
At least four Katyusha missiles were fired from Lebanon into northern Israel overnight Monday.
Kol Yisrael Radio reported that the missiles exploded in two communities nearthe border with Lebanon. There were no reports of physical injuries but damage was caused to a chicken coop in one of the communities.
The IDF Spokesman said that IDF forces returned fire and said in a statement,“The IDF is treating this as a serious incident and wishes to emphasize that it sees the Lebanese government and the Lebanese army as responsible for theprevention of fire at Israel.”
The statement said that the IDF’s Northern Command is conducting an ongoing assessment in light of the events.
Channel 2 News reported that residents from the communities of Ma’alot and KfarV’radim reported hearing explosions in the area.
According to the report, a preliminary investigation indicated that the explosions came from the Lebanese side of the border.
In October of 2009, terrorists in southern Lebanon fired a Katyusha on the Upper Galilee. No one was wounded and no damage was reported. The IDF retaliated with half a dozen rounds ofartillery fire.
In August, a Lebanese army soldier opened fire on Israeli soldiers manning the northern border. It was the first incident at the border in a year.
Four Katyusha rockets from Lebanon hit northern Israel, gas tank struck
IDF responds to attack with artillery rounds; Israeli security services do not believe Hezbollah to be responsible for overnight attack, but rather a smaller faction.
The Israel Defense Forces responded to the rockets by firing artillery rounds. Police and IDF forces scanned the area in search of more rockets and were able to confirm that four rockets had struck.
The Northern District Police raised its level of alert, but did not issue instructions for northern Israel’s residents to enter bomb shelters, and no alarm was sounded.
The IDF called the incident serious and said it holds the Lebanese government responsible for stopping rocket fire.
Israel’s security services do not believe Hezbollah is responsible for the overnight attack, but blame a smaller faction instead, likely to be linked to the global jihad movement. Those operating with the global jihad in southern Lebanon are known to be Palestinians.
This is the first disturbance of its type in almost two years and the eighth since the cease fire ended the Second Lebanon War. So far, one Israeli has been wounded in those incidents.
The Israel Defense Forces responded to the fire with artillery directed at the source of the attack.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah hinted earlier this month that an Israeli attack on Iran or Western military involvement in Syria would lead to confrontation between Hezbollah and Israel. “I’m not issuing threats, but it’s plain to see that an Israel-American attack on Iran or military involvement in Syria will lead to a regional war,” Nasrallah said.
No organization has yet to take responsibility the rocket fire.
The Israeli-Lebanese border has been largely quiet in recent years, though some have worried about a possible spillover of tensions from a months-old revolt in Syria against President Bashar Assad and from a stiffening of Western sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.
Muslim Brotherhood Raising Jordan to Boiling Point
A growing reality of the nightmare of refugees from Iraq, from the Palestinian Authority (PA) and from Syria swarming across the borders to Jordan, along with the growingly influential Muslim Brotherhood, threaten the kingdom’s stability, researchers report.
“Within the Kingdom and across three of its borders, unfolding developments carry far reaching implications for the region in general and Jordan’s stability in particular,” according to Oded Eran of the Institute for National Securities Studies (INSS).
King Abdullah faced minor but unusual protests earlier this year, particularly from Bedouin and other Arabs who previously fled Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley during Arab-Israeli wars as well as under the PA regime.
Another ingredient in the boiling Jordanian pot is Iraq. “The U.S. final withdrawal from Iraq may cause anarchy there, which in turn will increase the flow of Iraqi refugees to Jordan,” Eran wrote.
“More than half a million people fled to Jordan in the wake of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, exacerbating economic demands and inflationary pressures,” he added. “Ongoing Sunni-Shiite tension may draw Jordan against its will into the conflict, as occurred in 2005 when a Jordanian suicide bomber killed 127 Iraqis in Hillah, mostly Shiites, approximately 100 km south of Baghdad.”
The violence in Syria already has spread across the Jordanian border. Syrian soldiers shot at a girl fleeing to Jordan earlier this week, and Jordanian forces rescued her and shot in the air. Last week, Jordanian soldiers arrested a youth for allegedly for helping Syrians to buy arms, and he died in jail, prompting street protests.
Thousands of Syrian protesters have flooded Jordan, and the success of the protest movement may fan flames in the kingdom. The Muslim Brotherhood stands ready to help this happen.
Although Jordan would be pleased with Assad’s demise if it weakens ties with Iran, “the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan has sided with the Syrian anti-government forces…puts King Abdullah in an awkward situation. The specter of Jordanian and Syrian Muslim Brotherhood cooperation no doubt raises concerns in the Jordanian palace.”
The monarch went so far as to say that “If I were in his [Assad’s] shoes, I would step down,” but after media reported that he was outrightly urging Assad to quit, the king backtracked.
Another huge threat to King Abdullah is the prospect of a Palestinian Authority unity government that would restore Hamas’s status in Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley.
Although Jordanian palace officials said that on the king’s recent visit to Ramallah, he discussed the proposal from a positive point of view, Eran noted, “A Fatah-Hamas joint platform of action, which may put an end to any prospect of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, would be viewed with great concern in Amman. The absence of any negotiations may drift into violent friction between Israel and the Palestinians with dire consequences for all concerned, Jordan included.
“The fear in Jordan of another wave of Palestinians fleeing a third intifada, in addition to fears from Syrian and Iraqi refugees, must surely cause sleepless nights in Amman.”
Campaign Life Coalition to Canadians: act now to stop euthanasia before it’s too late
Nov 28 17:21 EST
TORONTO, November 28, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Campaign Life Coalition president Jim Hughes has issued an urgent appeal for citizens to contact the Attorney General,
Mr. Rob Nicholson, asking him to safeguard Canadian law against assisted suicide and euthanasia, which is under attack from a court case in British Columbia.
On November 14th, the Supreme Court of British Columbia began hearing the Carter vs. Attorney General of Canada case. The suit was launched by the BC Civil Liberties Association on behalf of the family of Kay Carter, who died by assisted suicide at the Swiss Dignitas suicide center in January 2010, claiming that Canada’s provisions against euthanasia and assisted suicide are unconstitutional since they violate the “right” to die.
“Let me be clear. When we say ‘euthanasia’ and ‘assisted suicide’ we are not talking about pulling the plug on someone who is being kept alive artificially, with no hope of recovery,” Hughes explained.
“When you hear the terms ‘euthanasia’ and ‘assisted suicide’, we are talking about lethally injecting people. Legalizing euthanasia will empower doctors to kill their patients. That is, to murder them.”
“If the Court sides with the plaintiff,” Hughes observed, “the culture of death will further envelop and suffocate our nation in ways that are hard to believe, but predictable.”
A video accompanies Hughes’ appeal that shows how the legalization of euthanasia & assisted suicide in some European countries has led to killing the elderly without consent and to the euthanasia of children. “A slippery slope exists and has already played out as a nightmare in countries that chose to legalize,” Hughes said.
“We anticipate that the BC court decision will arrive in mid-January, and then it will go to the Appeals Court. Concerned citizens can’t wait for this case to wind its way through the appeals process! Your voice must be heard now!”
“Flood the office of Stephen Harper’s Justice Minister and Attorney General, Mr. Rob Nicholson, with your concerns. Say you want him to appeal this case all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, if necessary.”
Hughes noted that legislators have the right to push back against unelected, activist judges who attempt to circumvent legislation by declaring exciting laws against euthanasia and assisted suicide unconstitutional, or declaring that euthanasia is a form of medical treatment.
“Please email the Attorney General at email@example.com, and ask him to safeguard the law which protects us against assisted suicide and euthanasia,” Hughes exhorted. (NOTE: the video text given to Hughes included the incorrect email address. The correct address is instead shown on the screen.) “Not only that, but ask him to send a strong message to our judges by making a public pledge to fight against any court ruling that would legalize this form of homicide, including invocation of the Notwithstanding Clause as a last resort.”
Concerned citizens can add their names to a petition launched by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition of Canada urging the Attorney General of Canada to make the strongest
possible opposition to the legalization of euthanasia and/or assisted suicide in Canada.
The printed petition is available in French and English and can be downloaded from the EPC website here.
The online petition is available here.
The paper petitions need to be returned to EPC at the address on the petition by December 31, 2011.
Contact the Attorney General of Canada, Mr. Rob Nicholson, directly by email here (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone at 613-995-1547.
Watch the video of CLC President Jim Hughes’ appeal here.
NDP candidate wants to force ‘sensitivity training’ on Sun News over pro-family ad
|Patrick B. Craine||Mon
Nov 28 14:51 EST
TORONTO, Ontario, November 28, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The parent company of Canada’s Sun News chain has been targeted by a homosexual activist and former NDP candidate after it aired ads that were critical of teaching young children about “transgenderism” in school.
Toronto teacher Michael Erickson, who ran for the federal NDP in the May election, has launched a Change.org petition slamming Quebecor for running “transphobic” ads
by Charles McVety’s Institute for Canadian Values in October on its Sun News Network and in the Toronto Sun paper.
The ads, sparked by a Toronto District School Board policy forbidding parents to withdraw their children from pro-homosexual classes, featured images of young children pleading “Please! Don’t confuse me.”
“I’m a girl. Don’t teach me to question if I’m a boy, transsexual, transgendered, intersexed or two spirited,” the ad read.
According to Erickson’s petition, the ad “encourages viewers to gather together and fight for a world filled with hate, hurt and permanent labels – a world where some people are more human than others.”
“And Quebecor provided a grand public stage for this hurt and hate,” it adds.
Erickson is calling on Quebecor C.E.O. and president Pierre Karl Peladeau to correct the “hurt and hate” promoted by the ad, and urges the Canadian Broadcast Standards
Council and Advertising Standards Canada to take action against the company if Peladeau fails to do so by December 5th.
Measures proposed by Erickson include three hours of “sensitivity training” for employees earning more than $90,000, and a full-scale “equitable portrayal” audit to judge
the air time given to “trans, transsexual, transgender, two-spirited, intersex, bisexual, lesbian and gay people,” and to establish targets to improve their representation.
Erickson also wants Quebecor to direct the funds from the ad to a gay activist group, to give such a group two hours of free air-time, and to institute a one-year moratorium on circulating any ads by McVety’s organizations.
The petition had garnered less than 400 signatures as of press time.
McVety’s ad stirred controversy after it first ran in the National Post on Sept. 24th. The paper subsequently apologized, and pledged to donate the funds to a homosexual activist group.
Brian Lilley, host of the Sun News Network’s Byline, accused Erickson of “lawfare,” of aiming “to harass us into accepting his point of view and not allow any others.”
He said on his show Nov. 25th that Erickson is trying to “shut up” an opposing view “rather than fight back using his own words, asking to come on the show, [or] buying his own ad to counter the ad.”
“He wants money, free ads, control of our human resources and a ban on a potential client buying any ads from us for any reason or on any issue,” he continued. “It’s starting to sound like Michael Erickson, the NDP candidate and high school teacher wants to run this company.”
November 29, 2011
Hamas is No Peace Partner for Israel
In an article for Hudson New York titled “Hamas and Fatah: The Unity Government That Isn’t – and Won’t Be,” Khaled Abu Toameh explained that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad are in the enviable position of living in the West Bank out of harm’s way as it were from Gaza where Hamas is in control.
Under Hamas’ despotic rule, Gaza has become a powder keg that is waiting to explode. Hamas’ government is corrupt; the people of Gaza suffer daily under Hamas’ brutal tactics that are reminiscent of the Dark Ages; and Hamas continues to lob missiles into Israel while its leaders try to regain complete control of the Palestinian government in the West Bank and Gaza.
As recent talks leading up to the hoped for unity government between Hamas and Fatah collapsed, Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal told AFT that “Hamas is looking to focus its energies on popular resistance without giving up its right to wage armed struggle against Israel.” That says it all. Hamas was, is, and hopes to remain Israel’s avowed enemy. Hamas and its sponsors in the Muslim Brotherhood are totally committed to Israel’s annihilation. That should surprise no one since the Hamas Charter calls for armed struggle against Israel and for Israel’s elimination.
While the Hamas-Fatah unity government talks evaporate into thin air, Egypt is in the throes of a so called “democratic election” that the Muslim Brothers are expected to win handily. Ordinary Gazans anxiously await Egypt’s election results fearing that under even stricter Islamist rule living conditions in Gaza will become unbearable as Hamas and its Egyptian Muslim Brothers join hands in their quest to rid the Middle East of all vestiges of Israel’s presence. They believe that they will end up being the big losers and that the winners will be the corrupt warlords in Hamas who dominate their lives.
Since Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, weapons of all sorts have been pouring into Gaza through tunnels under the border crossing with Egypt. Following the collapse of Muammar Kaddafi’s regime in Libya, high-tech weapons including “advanced Russian surface-to-air missiles plundered from Libyan arsenals” have made their way into Hamas’ hands thus forcing Israel to speed up implementation of an airliner anti-missile defense system that’s designed to protect planes flying into an out of nearby Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv. When Egypt’s Muslim Brothers and Hamas unite, the world will finally realize what the Arab Spring has become. It may have started out as a popular uprising in Tunisia, but radical Islamists understood the movement correctly and quickly seized control of it in every Arab Muslim country where brutalized citizens dared to raise their heads.
Ironically, as Khaled Abu Toameh points out in his article, the West Bank is the safest place for Palestinians to be as Islamists take control of countries bordering Israel. They are safe there because the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) patrols the region, and they “know that the day Israel withdraws from the West Bank, Hamas will become so strong that it will seize control of the area in a matter of days or weeks.” That’s the story that the mainstream media refuses to tell, and it’s the story that useful idiots around the world refuse to recognize as they pour resources into Gaza – resources that are used primarily to acquire weapons and line the pockets of Hamas strongmen.
Neil Snyder is a chaired professor emeritus at the University of Virginia. His blog, SnyderTalk.com, is posted daily. His latest book is titled If You Voted for Obama in 2008 to Prove You’re Not a Racist, You Need to Vote for Someone Else in 2012 to Prove You’re Not an Idiot.
November 28, 2011
Race: The Ultimate Weapon of the Left
“If only Herman Cain were elected president — it would put paid to the issue of racism and excise it from our polity for good.”
I couldn’t believe my ears hearing this wistful nonsense from a good friend of mine. How could an otherwise intelligent and clear-eyed person be so naïve? How could he be so willfully blind to the obvious: that no matter what happens, until the progressive movement gives up its ghost (and I am not holding my breath that it will happen any time soon), race will be an ever-present hobgoblin of the American body politic? Here is why, as the aforementioned Herman Cain likes to say.
No sooner had Richard Nixon abolished the draft than the antiwar movement suddenly lost its steam and collapsed, exposing the true motivation of its participants. It became immediately apparent that the “revolutionaries” actually cared very little about the Vietnamese. The radical verbiage and Ho Chi Minh’s portraits brandished by the antiwar protesters served merely to disguise their reluctance to get in harm’s way for the sake of “a far-away people of whom we know nothing,” as Neville Chamberlain would have put it.
The revolutionary leaders, who had hoped to ride the antiwar movement to power by converting “the imperialist war into a civil war” (in the footsteps of the Russian Bolsheviks), had to go back to the drawing board and rethink strategy. The solution they hit upon had been suggested as far back as the 1930s by a noted Italian communist theoretician named Antonio Gramsci. Finding himself with a lot of time on his hands as he languished in Mussolini’s prison, Gramsci pondered deeply the precepts of Marxist theory and came to the conclusion that St. Karl was wrong: the working class was actually a bourgeoisie in the making and could be considered at best a tool of the revolution, but not its agent. Its lack of revolutionary zeal is particularly glaring in America, with its extraordinary economic dynamism and social mobility, where the popular saying “my son will own the factory where I work” reflects the genuine aspirations of the blue-collar segment of society.
According to the Italian communist, cultural hegemony was the only necessary and sufficient prerequisite of drastic social transformations. It followed that the intelligentsia, the sole truly revolutionary class, had to seize control of the leading cultural institutions — above all schools, academia, and the media. If the left succeeded in indoctrinating the populace and bending it to its will — if it subverted society from within until it rotted to the core and dropped in their lap like an overripe fruit, the revolutionaries would achieve their goal and seize power without firing a shot. And so the American left embarked upon what it called a Long March through the Institutions.
But if not the proletariat, who was to be the “grave-digger of capitalism”? If not class warfare, what was to be the animating principle of the revolutionary movement? The answer readily suggested itself. Slavery was the Cardinal American Sin, the indelible blot on the national conscience. Hence racial guilt, America’s Achilles’ heel, was chosen as the stalking horse of the coming revolution, the battering ram of the forces of progress storming the ramparts.
The formidable propaganda machinery of the left geared up for the gigantic task ahead. Racism was proclaimed to be the ultimate of vices and the greatest imaginable crime against humanity, expiation of the sin of racial inequality the only worthy goal of any conscientious human being. All social and economic issues were to be viewed through the racial prism; all societal ills were to be boiled down to the racial ingredient. Black nationalists were recruited as the left’s natural allies to keep the racial pot boiling and the racial wounds raw and suppurating.
Over the ensuing decades, the American people were gradually conditioned to view race as the end-all and be-all of the body politic. The tactic was highly successful. Ultimately, it carried an American of partial African descent, Barack Obama, to the White House.
So what happens in the (admittedly unlikely) event that Herman Cain wins the Republican nomination and then goes on to beat Obama in the general election? Would it quench the flames of racial antagonism frantically fanned by the progressives? Forget about it! How can the left be expected to give up its most effective weapon just because a black man of a conservative bent has supplanted their idol in the White House? Surrendering the race issue would mean a crushing defeat for the progressive agenda, centered as it has been on race all these past decades. It would be tantamount to unilateral ideological disarmament — and liberals are notoriously militant when it comes to their own power, even as they fervently advocate appeasement in foreign policy.
Too many interests are tied up in the politics of race. Would the progressive left meekly walk away from an issue that has been its most potent weapon lo, these many years? Would black politicians who have made a career out of racial grievances suddenly acknowledge that America has achieved spectacular progress in the area of race relations? Would they get down off their high horse to face the wrath of their constituents trained to blame all their misfortunes on racial discrimination and castigate guilt-ridden Whitey? Would race-hustlers like Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharpton, whose livelihoods depend on constantly stirring the racial pot, voluntarily step down from their soapbox and go looking for a more honest way of making a living? Would the race pimps, and above all the vast affirmative action bureaucracy, close shop and go off into the sunset? Yeah, right – when hell freezes over! They will fight tooth and nail to defend their turf and stop at nothing to preserve the richly rewarding status quo.
The assault on a conservative black president, naturally enough, would be led by the black auxiliary of the progressive army. They would proclaim that far from being a victory for the cause of racial equality, Herman Cain’s triumph is actually a setback for race relations; that Cain is not an “authentic” black; that he is a disgrace and a traitor to his race, an “Oreo” (black outside, white inside); that he is a “lawn jockey,” a stooge of the reactionaries; that he is “the racist Tea Party” in blackface, a minstrel.
But maybe black voters, entranced by the sight of another one of their own in the White House, will not listen to the voices of their “leaders.” If history is any guide, like hell they won’t. In 2004, running for the Senate in Illinois against Barack Obama, black Republican Alan Keyes got all of 8 percent of the African-American vote. To be sure, the Marylander Keys was successfully smeared as a carpetbagger (even though a similar accusation had done nothing to dim the prospects of Hillary Clinton running for the Senate in New York four years previously).
But did black Republican Lynn Swan, who has lived in his adopted state of Pennsylvania a lot longer than Barack Obama has in Illinois, do any better in the gubernatorial election in 2006? Running against the Democratic incumbent, Ed “Fast Eddie” Rendell, the highly accomplished Lynn Swan, a genuine Pittsburgh Steelers legend in football-crazy Pennsylvania to boot, managed to garner a paltry 13 percent of the black vote. The most successful African-American Republican politicians in terms of support in the black community, Ken Blackwell from Ohio and Michael Steele from Maryland, got just 20 percent of the black vote in their respective runs for statewide offices. In all cases, ideology handily trumped racial solidarity.
So it’s a safe bet that the black community would readily follow the lead of its self-appointed mouthpieces vilifying Herman Cain. The mainstream media would eagerly serve as the echo chamber of the critics, strenuously warning the public that the election of a conservative African-American in no way means that the end of racism is nigh. The evil has not been vanquished, the MSM will scream — the war goes on; the insidious enemy has merely changed his color, chameleon-like, the better to deceive the gullible. The situation is too dire to let our guard down; we must stay vigilant and redouble our efforts. Onward, progressive soldiers!
Like its feminist, green, and gay-rights counterparts, today’s civil rights movement is basically a willing tool of the far left. Once a genuine popular movement pursuing the honorable goal of equality, it has degenerated into an ideological/commercial enterprise designed to keep society in a state of perpetual penitence while paying lip-service to the plight of the black needy as a way of advancing the radical cause and securing enough handouts for the self-anointed “civil rights leaders” to support their opulent lifestyles.
In short, if Herman Cain were elected president of the United States, racial politics, far from waning, would, if anything, gain in intensity — and so would be the case if any other Republican wins the presidency, or even if Obama is reelected, for that matter. Whatever happens, the hardy perennial of race politics will survive and thrive. It is utterly unreasonable to expect the left to lay down its tools and walk away from a claim it has been mining with such spectacular success for so many years.
November 28, 2011
FATCA: A Ticking Time Bomb for the Economy
See also: Federal Reserve Shennanigans
Buried in an ostensible jobs bill signed by President Obama last year is a little-noticed job-destroying government regulation that threatens to trigger a massive outflow of capital from the American economy.
The U.S. economy is in bad shape. Many want the federal government to fix it — to end the deficits, create jobs, and get America back onto the track of growth and stability. President Obama came to Washington with great promises: to restore international respect for the United States and to bring back the jobs. When signing the HIRE Act of 2010 on March 18, 2010, President Obama said:
A consensus is forming that, partly because of the necessary — and often unpopular — measures we took over the past year, our economy is now growing again and we may soon be adding jobs instead of losing them. The jobs bill I’m signing today is intended to help accelerate that process.
Now the HIRE Act of 2010 contains a time bomb called FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act), which has indeed accelerated a process. Unfortunately that process is not job-generation, but job-destruction caused by an exodus of capital from the United States. Investment means jobs; a departure of investment capital means job losses. Thus, the HIRE Act is really the “FIRE Act.”
FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) is the brood of FBAR (Foreign Bank Account Report). FBAR requires that U.S. persons divulge foreign accounts to the Treasury Department, but few knew about or ever complied with it (see “When Government turns Predator“). To stanch the bleeding of U.S. capital into secret bank jurisdictions like the Cayman Islands and Switzerland, Congress introduced FATCA into law as part of the HIRE Act. FATCA requires that foreign financial institutions (FFIs) reveal the accounts of U.S. persons to the IRS. The FFIs will then have to collect tax withholdings for the IRS from these clients. If by January 1, 2014 the FFI is unwilling to reveal its U.S. clients’ accounts, the IRS will impose a punitive 30% withholding on all payments to the FFIs, on dividends, interest, and gross sales of stocks, bonds, and financial derivatives.
Let’s suppose that a foreign investor trades stocks on a U.S. exchange, but his broker is FATCA non-compliant. One day he buys 10,000 shares of XYZ at $25 per share, and the next day, he takes advantage of a nice uptick of $1.00 in XYZ and sells at $26 per share. He makes a tidy profit of $10,000. But because his broker is non-compliant, the IRS now withholds 30% — not of the profit, but of the gross proceeds of the sale! So the client now receives the sum of $260,000 minus 30%. The foreign investor is unhappy because his $250,000 investment has become $182,000. If he wants his money back, he must file a U.S. tax return.
No investor would accept such conditions. Hence, an FFI must either comply with the invasive regulations of FATCA or simply abandon the U.S. markets.
After some study, FFIs have warned that the costs of FATCA compliance will be in the hundreds of millions and likely in excess of whatever taxes that the IRS could gather through its enforcement (not that the IRS cares about that!). It is likely that many FFIs will simply choose to leave the United States, taking their clients’ money with them. In an open letter, “Farewell America,” Wegelin & Co., a private Swiss bank, cited their reasons for leaving the United States: excessive regulations, tax issues, and above all, the insolvency of U.S. government. Now add the expense of FATCA, and many other FFIs are going to follow Wegelin’s lead. American Citizens Abroad has cited Japanese and European FFIs as indicating a strong likelihood that they would pull out of the United States.
FFIs could also face privacy lawsuits from affected customers. Canada’s privacy laws, for example, may not permit banks to divulge clients’ account information, for compliance is voluntary. Thus, Canada and several other countries would probably require a change in their privacy laws before their FFIs could lawfully comply with FATCA.
FATCA’s enforcement of U.S. tax globally has resulted in serious alarm and backlash. FATCA is a clear violation of President Obama’s campaign promise on July 2007:
To renew American leadership in the world, I intend to rebuild the alliances, partnerships, and institutions necessary to confront common threats and enhance common security. Needed reform of these alliances and institutions will not come by bullying other countries to ratify changes we hatch in isolation. It will come when we convince other governments and peoples that they, too, have a stake in effective partnerships.
FATCA is an attempt to impose unilaterally the collection of U.S. taxes without consideration of the laws and the rights of sovereign nations, and that makes it bullying of the worst kind. In response, some FFIs are already turning away U.S. citizens and closing their existing accounts; their business is not worth the hassle anymore.
U.S. citizens abroad, numbering about six million, would normally be America’s goodwill ambassadors. But they have become angry because of the threat of excessive FBAR penalties. Those who thought they could ignore FBAR now dread FATCA, which will force their FFIs to tattle on them. An increasing number of Americans are renouncing their U.S. citizenship. The U.S. consulates have had so many requests for renunciation that they have started arranging group sessions, like the one at the U.S. Consulate in Toronto in October. Moreover, some Americans abroad have pulled all of their investments out of the United States and are also planning their vacations to non-U.S. destinations — not from anger alone, but also from fear that border guards will arrest them and that a computer system will soon link the IRS to border enforcement.
Richard W. Rahn writes in the Washington Post that FATCA has already sent foreign capital fleeing. He claims that the people running Washington are “mental midgets” unaware of how their policies affect the economy. He estimates that FATCA will cause the departure of an estimated $14 trillion of private foreign investment, destroying as many as 10,000,000 jobs in the United States.
By signing the HIRE Act with its FATCA provisions, President Obama has bullied our allies, penalized FFIs, alienated many American citizens, and seriously jeopardized any possibility of an economic recovery. Apparently, Mr. Obama’s ideological predisposition in favor of taxes and against wealth blinds him to a balanced approach to the economy and its problems. FATCA’s imposition on FFIs is hegemony of the worst kind. Foreign investors are interpreting FATCA as a sign of the desperation that often precedes the imposition of capital and currency controls. In an investment climate now dominated by fear, capital flight is inevitable. FATCA only ensures its arrival, and it will exaggerate its effects.
American Citizens Abroad reaches the following conclusions regarding the legislation:
FATCA legislation is predicated on the faulty assumption that foreigners throughout the world with no predisposition to favor the U.S. will react positively to its attempts to convert them into unpaid IRS agents. Faced with similar investment and personnel options without the legal jeopardy and financial risks, reasonable people will choose non-U.S. alternatives. FATCA implementation will constitute a major disruption of the entire international financial world as we know it today. Reasonable persons and entities will develop effective antibodies to this perceived infection, in ways too numerous and manifold to predict. What can be predicted is that the cumulative effect of this legislation will be a major blow to U.S. economic interests and prestige. At stake for the United States is the potential loss of trillions of dollars of investment, the opportunity for American companies and financial institutions to compete in a competitive global environment and the possibility for American citizens residing overseas to survive and thrive. In brief, the economic future of the United States.
In a time when government has caused what may be irreparable economic problems, we don’t need “help” like this. Mr. Obama, please stop helping us.
Peter W. Dunn blogs at the Righteous Investor.
Barack Obama is the most lawless, most extremely leftist president we’ve ever had.
How Radical is Obama? This Radical…
|- Warner Todd Huston Monday, November 28, 2011
Canada Free Press1
Barack Obama is very successful at one thing: the bait and switch. He stands before America presenting a picture of a hard-working moderate and claims that he wants to work with the Republicans to get things done. In reality he won’t even meet with them. He talks about compromise, but never offers any. He mouths kind words abut the business sector but uses his powers to make new regulations to destroy its profitability. In short, he’s a radical even though he doesn’t play one on TV. His modus operandi is to assume most voters are too stupid, lazy, or disinterested to compare his hope-n-change rhetoric with his actions.
Obama’s penchant for bypassing Congress and making radical changes to regulations in order to push his far-left agenda is a case in point. Obama’s push to radicalize the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and turn it from a non-partisan watchdog agency into a tool for Big Labor is a perfect example of how the President uses regulations to achieve what he and the far left cannot do with legislation. It is also an example of how he is trying to radically change America under the radar of most voter’s notice.
This month Obama’s far left, Big Labor controlled appointees to the NLRB are trying to push in a new rule on the fast track. That rule would take away much of the time that businesses currently have to prepare for the employees of their businesses to vote on whether or not they want to become unionized but would not take away any of the time that unions have to cajole employees to vote yes. This puts employers at a severe disadvantage.
The Wall Street Journal’s one paragraph explanation works well to inform of the crux of the matter.
Originally floated in June as a proposed rule-making, the plan would shorten to as little as 10 to 14 days the period between the time a union seeks an election to organize a work site and the election date. Under current rules, companies typically have five to six weeks to make their case to employees before the union holds a secret-ballot election. The Becker-Pearce putsch would give labor organizers months to quietly pitch workers, then give targeted companies less than two weeks to react and make their own case before a quickie election.
Those that stand against Obama’s constant favors to Big Labor — all for millions in campaign donations, of course — do have one short term weapon to stop this fast tracked attack on the business sector. The last remaining Republican appointee to the NLRB can resign.
If NLRB Commissioner Brian Hayes does this the board will not have enough members for a quorum and no further regulatory changes can be made until next year when Obama can begin to fill the board out anew.
But there is a further reason why Hayes might — and should — resign. Contrary to standing three-vote rule that has been an NLRB practice for several presidents, the two Democrats have said that they will push the rule through with only their two votes quite regardless what Hayes has to say about it. It is this lawless arrogance that has characterized every single appointee that Obama has installed throughout every board and agency in Washington over which he has power.
Even more arrogantly, the President’s extremists on the NLRB has even announced that they are going to deny Hayes the traditional 90-day period to review their rule and write a dissent. Obama’s power-mad extremists intend to simply pass the rule regardless of all the rules and practices of the very board upon which they serve. They just don’t care about the process.
Naturally, even as the President’s appointees are breaking rules right and left, Big Labor is saying that it is Hayes’ fault. The only guy on the board that is trying to keep the agency on track to obeying its own rules and history, the only guy trying to be fair is the one Big Labor is attacking.
It all goes to show that President Barack Obama is the most lawless, most extremely leftist president we’ve ever had.
November 26, 2011
You and I are politically well informed. But there are many Americans like my family who do not follow politics as closely as we do. Their political views are shaped by liberal media bias hit pieces, spin, and sound bites.
99.9 % of my family are Democrats because Marcus family traditional taught us the Democrats are “for the little guy.” Republicans are “rich white racists.” Liberal media and the Democratic Party jointly support and promote this silly, simple lie, which still wins the Democrats 95% of the black vote.
Let us begin with a parable.
Tale of Two Dads — School is Difficult and Little Johnny Wishes to Stay Home.
Little Johnny says, “Dad I don’t want to go to school. The kids are mean and the work is too hard!”
Liberal Dad replies, “I know just how you feel son. School was no picnic for me either. Stay home today.”
Conservative Dad replies, “Boy, you had better get your butt out of that bed and get ready for school. I’ll talk to the principal and your teachers to work out any problems. An education is vital to your future success and happiness. I’m forcing you to go to school because I love you!”
I am not suggesting Liberal Dad does not love his child. But Liberal Dad’s attempt to be his child’s friend rather than a responsible parent is a spineless choice all about making himself feel good.
Patently liberal. Most liberal thinking and choices are about making themselves feel good as opposed to truly helping the people they claim to feel great compassion towards.
Conservative Dad’s reply was that not of a friend, but a responsible loving parent.
Liberalism is a religion. Despite failing whenever implemented, disciples of Liberalism faithfully believe if they can spend a little more of “other people’s money,” they can bring forth their godless utopia where man is the ultimate authority. Atheists tend to embrace Liberalism.
Conservatism equals true/real compassion — rooted in common sense and honoring the human spirit. Conservatism celebrates achievement and a desire to be all one can be.
Liberalism is harmful and idiotic, while shrouded in so-called compassion. For example, teachers at an LA school wanted Ebonics to be acceptable speech for black students. They argued that speaking Ebonics was cultural and learning English was too difficult. They ignored the fact that black kids are not too stupid to learn to speak English correctly, and also the fact that an inability to speak English is economically stifling.
And yet, whenever compassionate conservatives suggest learning English be required, they are branded racist by liberals.
You would think a “Liberal” is someone who is easy going, embracing a live-and-let-live attitude. In reality, liberals tend to be HUGE control freaks — arrogantly thinking themselves compassionately and intellectually superior to us common folks. This makes them best qualified to dictate how we should live our lives. Liberalism birthed Political Correctness, which seeks to control what we are permitted to think, say, and do.
Unquestionably, America was founded on Godly principles. Liberals want all reference to God banned from government and the public square, while demanding we display great tolerance for every other religion. Am I saying liberals tend to be anti-Christian? Yes!
Liberals are notorious for setting rules for the rest of us while exempting themselves. They want the government to demand we drive little more than lawnmowers covered
with an auto body to “save the planet.” Meanwhile, they travel in limos and private jets.
In a nutshell, Liberals believe they know best. They use government to constantly invade our lives with new restrictions and controls. Government control hidden in Obamacare is the epitome of Liberalism.
I hope I have educated my family and others a little to the virtues of Conservatism and why it is best for all people.
© Lloyd Marcus
UN BACKS HAMAS,DENOUNCES ISRAEL
NEW BUILDING PROPOSAL ATTACKED
UPDATE: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is struggling to balance reactions of blame and rage over his government’s “humanitarian” prisoner swap with Hamas of 1,027 convicted Palestinian terrorists in exchange for release of solitary IDF hostage soldier Gilad Shalit – yet at the same time, he is taking furious new abuse from Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the UN for Israel’s alleged “UNACCEPTABLE and PROVOCATIVE ACTIONS” against Hamas and the Palestinians!
The UN “peace process” and Barack Obama pretends his policies in the Middle East seek freedom leading to peace. Yet his actions advance the power of murderous terrorists and violent factions spewing hate speech and incitement to genocide against Israel. And the UN is the #1 enabler and facilitator for this Jew-hatred in the world! Why are our tax dollars funding $7.7 BILLION to the UN?
It is incomprehensible. The UN is an anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, anti-American fever swamp of tyrannical and totalitarian states demonstrably inimical to justice, and overtly hostile to the survival of Israel as a Jewish state. The pro-Palestinian UN majority is now rabidly denouncing Israel’s continued planning for Jewish “settlements” in East Jerusalem, asserting that any new settlements run contrary to the call by the Middle East Quartet – the diplomatic group comprising the European Union, Russia, the United
Nations and the United States – on all parties to refrain from “provocative actions.”
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reiterated what he claimed to be the UN’s position that settlement activity in East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank is “contrary to international law and to Israel’s obligations under the Roadmap to a peaceful settlement of the conflict, and must cease.”
A several-year old settlement plan, Givat Hamatos with 2,600 new living units would be the first major new Jewish settlement since Netanyahu approved the construction of nearby Har Homar in 1997, during his first term as prime minister.
The proposal was taken off hold, and building plans were revived and submitted for a 60-day public comment period, a last step before a final vote on approval. The decision will be made by the Jerusalem municipal council where there is broad support for settlements.
After the extreme provocation by Hamas and the PLO of unilateral application to the UN for Palestinian statehood – in violation of Resolution 242 and the Oslo Accords – it should be no surprise whatever that Israel continues to maintain with settlements her demographic interests in her capital city, Jerusalem. The Palestinians and the UN seek to divide the Holy City and hand over large sections to the Muslims – who whenever they have had “stewardship” of Jerusalem precincts, grossly desecrated Christian and Jewish holy places.
In this entire recent UN-Palestinian “statehood” debacle, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is covering for the Obama Administration’s failure to protect Israel – by blaming the Jews. Two weeks ago, she attacked Jewish “settlement” building developments in the small town of Gilo, Israel outside Jerusalem:
“We believe that this morning’s announcement by the government of Israel approving the construction of (1,100) housing units in east Jerusalem is counter-productive to our efforts to resume direct negotiations between the parties,” Clinton told the Jerusalem Post at a news conference. “As you know, we have long urged both sides to avoid any kind of action which could undermine trust, including, and perhaps most particularly, in Jerusalem, any action that could be viewed as provocative by either side,” she added.
But the 1,100 Gilo settlements are not in east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians falsely claim as theirs. Gilo in fact is southwest of Jerusalem, nowhere close to east Jerusalem.
Palestinian Authority spokesman Nabil Abu Radina falsely claimed that Gilo was a unilateral effort on the part of the Israeli government to undermine legitimate efforts for a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rightly repeated his call for an “indivisible, eternal” Jerusalem as the Jewish capital. He called the Gilo project “nothing new” and said, “We plan in Jerusalem. We build in Jerusalem. Period. The same way Israeli governments have been doing for 44 years, since the end of the 1967 war.”
The Netanyahu government also noted in a statement at the UN that “Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish people; this is our heart. Jerusalem was the capital of the Jewish people when London was still a swamp…”
Tell Congress to DEFUND the UN, and let them know they will BE VOTED OUT OF OFFICE if they do not protect the indivisible, eternal Jerusalem as the capitol for Eretz Israel.
I implore you – STAND FOR ISRAEL and DEMAND CONGRESS DO THE SAME!
With denunciations like these, the United Nations aids and abets Obama and his pro-Muslim strategy, granting undeserved legitimacy to HAMAS, the
terrorist Islamic group, and to the Palestinian Authority headed by Mahmoud Abbas. And ultimately, any vote to add to the United Nations a new
member state that relentlessly calls for the elimination of the Jewish state, the death of all Jews, and that glorifies terrorism obviously makes all but the peace of the grave harder – not easier – to achieve.
While Hamas’s open calls for the genocidal slaughter of the Jews is politely condemned in some quarters (when this appalling but persistent fact is occasionally reported), it doesn’t seem to matter. Obama and the UN have accepted Hamas, in the position Abbas has taken on Hamas’ legitimacy as co-governing with the PLO within the Palestinian Authority. This should be utterly condemned and the Palestinian Authority isolated, shunned and DEFUNDED from all multi-lateral and diplomatic participation until they sever ties with known, self-avowed terrorist fronts like Hamas. Yet power-sharing with Hamas is fine with Obama and the UN, as witnessed when Abbas submitted to the
United Nations an application for “statehood.” This should be caution enough to the decent world that Israel stands in mortal peril from Obama.
Do I exaggerate? Take it from Abbas himself. Any responsible monitoring of Palestinian media reveals the duplicity and deception of the Palestinian Authority, even during moments of peace talks. For example, while portraying himself to the West as a man of compromise, Abbas said flatly last October that “we refuse to recognize a Jewish state.”
To cite a more classic example, the speaker of the Hamas parliament, Ahmad Bahr, called in April 2007 for the murder of Jews, “down to the very last one.”
This Palestinian “statehood” ploy is an outrageous betrayal and diplomatic assault against Israel that should never have advanced! It is a diplomatic failure by Obama unequaled in 63 years of the U.S. successfully repelling UN orchestrated anti-Israel abuse and attacks! What a travesty!
Abbas has relentlessly pressed his demands for a United Nations vote recognizing “statehood” for Palestine and although he has prevailed in insisting the UN Security Council expedite their decision to move forward his gambit to the credentials committee, AMERICAN PUBLIC OUTCRY AND FUNDING SANCTIONS THREATENED BY THE U.S. CONGRESS ARE HAVING AN EFFECT ON SLOWING DOWN THE PALESTINIAN BANDWAGON!
Any application for UN membership is considered by the Council, which decides whether or not to recommend admission to the 193-member General Assembly, which then has to adopt a resolution for the admission of a Member State.
Palestine, which currently has special, limited observer status at the UN, submitted the application for full membership allegedly “based on the Palestinian people’s natural, legal and historic rights” invoking UN Resolution 181 as adopted by the General Assembly in November 1947, authorizing the partition of Palestine.
However, the problem for the Palestinians with invoking Resolution 181 is that the UN General Assembly ALREADY partitioned Palestine into Jewish and Arab States, and these states have existed for decades – Israel, the Jewish state, and Trans-Jordan now known as Jordan, the Arab state.
Now the Palestinian Authority is acting to circumvent UN Resolution 242 and the Oslo Accords, which mandate bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians to resolve border and territorial disputes.
The future of Jerusalem, and indeed Israel’s very survival, may well still depend upon a United States veto in the Security Council – will pro-Muslim Barack Hussein Obama continue to refuse to uphold America’s moral, diplomatic, and strategic interests, or will he finally have AMERICA STAND WITH ISRAEL?
AND IF OBAMA CONTINUES TO PLAY A DOUBLE GAME, PANDERING TO THE ARAB WORLD, WILL CONGRESS INTERVENE?
407 Congressmen voted for House Resolution 268 which clearly reminds us WHAT U.S. LAW CURRENTLY SAYS:
“Resolved: That the House of Representatives … reaffirms the United States statutory requirement precluding assistance to a Palestinian Authority that includes Hamas unless that Authority and all its ministers publicly accept Israel’s right to exist and all prior agreements and understandings with the United States and Israel.”
This is to say that U.S. federal law already prohibits our taxpayer funding of the Palestinian Authority should they violate Res. 242 and/or the 1993 Oslo Accords, and join the Hamas terrorists to illicitly seek a rogue “state.” This is precisely what they have now done at the UN. American law requires defunding the Palestinians, and now that they have acted in violation of prior agreements, CONGRESS MUST DEMAND THAT U.S. LAW BE ENFORCED!
I implore you – STAND FOR ISRAEL and DEMAND CONGRESS DO THE SAME!
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