Jakuchu art from 1780 Japan

Eastern Europe is sliding off the cliff and the Swiss bankers will go with it since they lent a great deal of money to Eastern Europeans.  They also must stop being a tax haven for tax cheats in Germany and the US.  Kiss the Swiss banking system goodbye.  And Brown of England wants the IMF to track the world even closer, welcome to the New World Order.  And last week, the French and British nuclear subs had a collision and today, it is the Russian navy sinking a Chinese rice ship because the Chinese tried to evade Russian port authorities.


Gordon Brown seeks sweeping reforms to give IMF global ‘surveillance role’ | Politics |

Brown, in alliance with the Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd, wants to increase the funding of the IMF, speed up a review to give China and India clearer voting rights, and also give the fund powers to direct nation states to respond to its surveillance reports. He also wants to give the G20 a permanent secretariat, so making it a powerful body overseeing finance and largely eclipsing the G8.

The prime minister is meeting the IMF managing director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, on Wednesday, the pope on Thursday and the Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, on Friday, before joining a mini-summit of European G20 members France, Italy and Germany in Berlin hosted by Angela Merkel, the German chancellor. No 10 angrily denied suggestions that Merkel is lining Brown up to be a new IMF super-regulator. Some officials believe a cabinet member leaked the suggestion.

Brown wants the IMF to have more funds?  Um, last time I looked, England and the US were roaming the planet, begging for money.   Only if China and Japan want the IMF to have more funds, will it have more funds.  The US could give out more funny money to the IMF, of course.  But what we see happening is, Japan is LENDING the IMF US dollars from Japan’s FOREX reserves.  This money is still being used to keep the yen from shooting up to 60 to the dollar.  


The lure of giving China clearer voting rights isn’t enough, of course.  The US can still veto all the countries.  The IMF was designed this way after WWII because we were the major creditor nation back then.  Now, we are the biggest debtor nation.  


And he wants the G7 to turn into the G20?  HAHAHA.  End of story!  The G20 will work only if half of the G7 surrender to the upstarts.  Namely, China and India.  Also, what is this ‘G8’ stuff, anyway?  They invited Russia in but when Putin took over and began to clean up the immense mess created by the West looting Russia, the G7 got so pissed at him, they had many meetings which they openly called ‘G7’ meetings, excluding Putin.


The Swiss Bank UBS Is Set to Open Its Secret Files –

UBS, the largest bank in Switzerland, agreed on Wednesday to divulge the names of well-heeled Americans whom the authorities suspect of using offshore accounts at the bank to evade taxes. The bank admitted conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service and agreed to pay $780 million to settle a sweeping federal investigation into its activities.

It is unclear how many of its clients’ names UBS will divulge. Federal prosecutors have been examining about 19,000 accounts at the bank, but UBS ultimately may disclose the identities of only a few hundred customers.

But to some, turning over any names at all heralds the end of the secret Swiss bank account, whose traditions date to the Middle Ages…


Prosecutors suspect that from late 2002 to 2007, UBS helped American clients illegally hide $20 billion, letting them evade $300 million a year in taxes.

In a striking admission, UBS said that from 2000 through 2007, some of its private bankers and managers had “participated in a scheme to defraud the United States” and the I.R.S. by helping American clients set up and conceal offshore accounts. The scheme involved falsifying or not properly obtaining or filing certain tax forms required of both the bank and its clients.

UBS’s offshore private banking business once employed some 60 private bankers in Lugano, Zurich and Geneva. Prosecutors claimed UBS referred clients to lawyers and accountants who set up secret offshore entities to conceal assets from the I.R.S.

UBS urged some American clients to destroy records and to stash watches, jewelry and artwork that they had bought with money hidden offshore in safe deposit boxes in Switzerland. The bank also encouraged them to use Swiss credit cards so the I.R.S. could not track purchases. In a statement on Wednesday, Peter Kurer, the chairman of UBS, said that “UBS sincerely regrets the compliance failures in its U.S. cross-border business that have been identified by the various government investigations in Switzerland and the U.S., as well as our own internal review. We accept full responsibility for these improper activities.”



Switzerland’s fabled banking depended upon being the repository of ill-gotten wealth, protecting it from looted nations recovering stolen money.  It was, in short, a pirate operation.  Many nations want to close down these outside-the-box banking systems which are either located in small, mountain kingdoms or very small islands under the umbrella of some greater power like the infamous islands which declare fealty to the Crown of England, not Parliament.


One by one, these looting operations must be shut down.  They are a major cause of the present financial collapse.  For example, the UK and the US have been heavily impacted by Elizabeth II’s pirate island operations.  Taxes have not been paid by the very rich and they have forced the governments of both the US and UK to operate deep in the red.  As they evade taxes more and more, the financial situation for the US and UK deteriorates.  Both nations, together, owe the bulk of foreign-held government debt bonds.    Well over $10 trillion worth.  


Germany, in particular, is irritated by Swiss banks.  Hitler used Swiss banks to process stolen loot he got by terrorizing the Jews and conquering much of Europe.  He never attacked Switzerland because it was most useful for money laundering so Germany could buy important mineral imports.


So let’s bid adieu to the Swiss gnome community.


Govt To Waive Taxes On Sovereign Funds’ Interest Income

TOKYO (Nikkei)–The government will provide a tax exemption for interest accrued on the holdings of sovereign wealth funds, The Nikkei learned Wednesday. 

HAHAHA.  Toyota not only needs ZIRP loans from the Bank of Japan but also doesn’t want to be taxed on its wealth it has accumulated playing interest games.  As the poor get much poorer in Japan, the richest corporations on earth get to evade taxes even more.  The warping of the entire social net system of Japan is worsening, not getting better.  


True, most of Japan’s government debts are owed only to the Japanese.  But the ravaging of the working class is destroying the very thing that makes Japan, Japanese: no children=end of Japan as Japan.  The government is very fearful about this so they raise consumption taxes on the poor and make life even harder for them by forcing one third of the work force to be perpetual ‘part time’ workers who work full time and then are dismisses with no severance pay, whenever the rich industrialists don’t need them.


Eastern European Economies About to Explode in a Chain Reaction of Debt Defaults :: The Market Oracle :: Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting Free Website

Eastern Europe is about to blow. If it does, it could take much of the EU with it. It’s an emergency situation but there are no easy solutions. The IMF doesn’t have the resources for a bailout of this size and the recession is spreading faster than relief efforts can be organized. Finance ministers and central bankers are running in circles trying to put out one fire after another. Its only a matter of time before they are overtaken by events. If one country is allowed to default, the dominoes could begin to tumble through the whole region. This could trigger dramatic changes in the political landscape. The rise of fascism is no longer out of the question. 

“A ‘second wave’ of countries will fall victim to the economic crisis and face being bailed out by the International Monetary Fund, its chief warned at the G7 summit in Rome….But with some countries’ economies effectively dwarfed by the size of their banking sector and its financial liabilities, there are fears they could fall victim to balance of payments and currency crises, much as Iceland did before receiving emergency assistance from the IMF last year.” (UK Telegraph) 

Foreign capital is fleeing at an alarming rate; nearly two-thirds gone in matter of months. Deflation is pushing down asset prices, increasing unemployment, and compounding the debt-burden of financial institutions. It’s the same everywhere. The economies are being hollowed out and stripped of capital. Ukraine is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary have all slipped into a low-grade depression. The countries that followed Washington’s economic regimen have suffered the most. They bet that debt-fueled growth and exports would lead to prosperity. That dream has been shattered. They haven’t developed their consumer markets, so demand is weak. Capital is scarce and businesses are being forced to deleverage to avoid default. All of Eastern Europe has gotten a margin call. They need extra funds to cover the falling value of their equity. They need a lifeline from the IMF or their economies will continue to crumble. 

The many colored revolutions hosted by the EU and US are going to be blood-red, real revolutions pretty soon.  The former Warsaw Pact states thought they would be embraced by the West, not ruthlessly exploited by the West.  Russia figured out the obvious about 8 years ago.  


Now, the rest of the former communist states will be forced to do the same.  A mixed batch of tiny principalities will either become much smaller in size and greater in numbers or the teeming mess will be conquered by someone in the not-too-distant future.  The candidates for this are few and obvious: Germany or Russia or both.  They can’t allow total chaos broil right on their borders.


France no longer has the strength to do this.  The US is going bankrupt and Eastern Europe is very far from us.  England got rid of most of its naval capacity and is rapidly becoming a third world sea power.  True, they have a couple of nuclear subs, one of which smacked into a roving French nuclear sub.  So either nation can start WWIII if they wish.


But only Germany or Russia can invade and hold Eastern Europe.  History is crystal clear about this matter!


A Year After – by Nebojsa Malic


Just as the Serbs have been led by their noses for years with promises of a “better tomorrow” if they only comply with yet another set of demands coming from Brussels and Washington – only to wake up to even more demands tomorrow, and that promised future nowhere in sight – the Albanians of Kosovo have believed independence to be the panacea for all their problems. Having invested so much emotionally into wishful thinking, they are finding it hard to give up, even when confronted with reality.

Yet the reality is merciless. The “Independent state of Kosovo” exists only because the Empire carved it out of Serbia by force and maintained it for years on with NATO troops and millions of dollars in donations and loans. By now, however, even the most starry-eyed Albanian separatists must have noticed that things are not going well for the Empire, and that Barack Obama cannot change the laws of physics or economics with a few flowery phrases. Kosovo’s life support is running out.

Far from being inconceivable, it is increasingly likely that within the next year the Empire may have to abandon its various satrapies around the world in order to try and survive at home. At that point, all the countries and governments who exist solely thanks to Imperial force – or funding – will find themselves having to sink or swim on their own.

And the “Independent state of Kosovo,” an experiment now a year old, has all the buoyancy of a brick. 


The disintegration of Yugoslavia was criminal.  Instead of holding it together, NATO helped chop it into tiny, hateful principalities.  The Serbs were very cruel and stupid and the NATO side was venal and exploitive.  The people of Yugoslavia got the worst of all possible worlds. Worldwide


Russia Fired on Chinese Ship That Sank; Eight Missing 

Russia said its patrols fired on a Chinese cargo ship that sank off the far eastern port of Nakhodka last week, leaving eight sailors missing.

At least one coastal patrol boat fired on the New Star in a bid to stop it from reaching international waters after a court ordered it seized in a commercial dispute, Russian Federal Security Service spokeswoman Natalya Rondaleva said on state television today.

It wasn’t clear if New Star sank as a result of a storm or the Russian gunfire, said Captain Veniamin Ivanichev of the Marine Rescue Center in Vladivostok. China’sMinistry of Foreign Affairs today said it asked Russia to investigate the “mishap” and identify the cause as soon as possible.



China lodges urgent representation again to Russia on cargo ship sinking_English_Xinhua


China on Thursday again lodged urgent representations to the Russian Minister Counsellor to China in regards to the sinking of a Chinese cargo ship in Russian waters.

    The Sierra Leone-flagged vessel named “New Star” sank off the waters near Russia’s far-eastern port of Vladivostok on Sunday. Seven Chinese crew members were still missing.

    China paid great attention to media reports that the ship sank after a Russian Coast Guard cruiser fired at it, said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu in a news release.

    Jiang said China had urged the Russian side to spare no efforts to help search for the missing crew members and make thorough investigations to find out the causes of the incident as soon as possible.

    The Chinese embassy in Russia and consulate general in Khabarovsk also made representations to Russia at the same time, Jiang noted.

    “Russia attached great importance to China’s concern,” said Jiang, adding that relevant Russian department is investigating the conduct of law enforcement agencies involved in the incident and will inform China of the results in time.


Just like the US and Japan constantly squabble over the matter of our military sinking various Japanese fishing and domestic vessels, it is the same with Russia.  The murky story about a rejected cargo and the Chinese making a run for the high seas is a reminder of the sorts of naval messes of the 19th century.  


Indeed, modern shipping isn’t all that modern.  Many of the nations that now run the biggest trade fleets are those same nations that were locked out of naval operations for over 100 years.  So they are often following the older rules and resist modern rules.  This is true of the US, too.  Which is why we have to continually learn to obey international treaties and laws.


It will be interesting to see how this story turns out.   Especially since both parties are very prone to secrecy.





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    AP IMPACT: Jobless hit with bank fees on benefits

    By CHRISTOPHER LEONARD, AP Business Writer Christopher Leonard, Ap Business Writer – 2 hrs 46 mins ago
    Jobs Forecast Looks Gloomy Play Video ABC News – Jobs Forecast Looks Gloomy

    * NY job fair packed in tough economy Play Video Video:NY job fair packed in tough economy AP

    Recently unemployed engineer Arthur Santa-Maria poses for a photo Saturday, Feb. AP – Recently unemployed engineer Arthur Santa-Maria poses for a photo Saturday, Feb. 7, 2009 at a Bank of …

    First, Arthur Santa-Maria called Bank of America to ask how to check the balance of his new unemployment benefits debit card. The bank charged him 50 cents.

    He chose not to complain. That would have cost another 50 cents.

    So he took out some of the money and then decided to pull out the rest. But that made two withdrawals on the same day, and that was $1.50.

    For hundreds of thousands of workers losing their jobs during the recession, there’s a new twist to their financial pain: Even when they’re collecting unemployment benefits , they’re paying the bank just to get the money — or even to call customer service to complain about it.

    Thirty states have struck such deals with banks that include Citigroup Inc ., Bank of America Corp ., JP Morgan Chase and US Bancorp , an Associated Press review of the agreements found. All the programs carry fees, and in several states the unemployed have no choice but to use the debit cards. Some banks even charge overdraft fees of up to $20 — even though they could decline charges for more than what’s on the card.

    “They’re trying to use my money to make money,” said Santa-Maria, a laid-off engineer who lives just outside Albuquerque, N.M. “I just see banks trying to make that 50 cents or a buck and a half when I should be given the service for free.”

    The banks say their programs offer convenience. They also provide at least one way to tap the money at no charge, such as using a single free withdrawal to get all the cash at once from a bank teller . But the banks benefit from human nature, as people end up treating the cards like all the other plastic in their wallets.

    Some banks, depending on the agreement negotiated with each state, also make money on the interest they earn after the state deposits the money and before it’s spent. The banks and credit card companies also get roughly 1 percent to 3 percent off the top of each transaction made with the cards.

    “It’s a racket. It’s a scam,” said Rachel Davis, a 38-year-old dental technician from St. Louis who was laid off in October. Davis was given a MasterCard issued through Central Bank of Jefferson City and recently paid $6 to make two $40 withdrawals.

    Neither banks nor credit card companies will say how much money they are making off the programs, or what proportion of the revenue comes from user versus merchant fees or interest. It’s difficult to estimate the profits because they depend on how often recipients use their cards and where they use them.

    But the potential is clear.

    In Missouri, for instance, 94,883 people claimed unemployment benefits through debit cards from Central Bank. Analysts say a recipient uses a card an average of six to 10 times a month. If each cardholder makes three withdrawals at an out-of-network ATM, at a fee of $1.75, the bank would collect nearly $500,000. If half of the cardholders also call customer service three times in any given week, the bank’s revenue would jump to more than $521,000. That would yield $6.3 million a year.

    Rachel Storch, a Democratic state representative, received a wave of complaints about the fees from autoworkers laid off from a suburban St. Louis Chrysler plant. She recently urged Gov. Jay Nixon to review the state’s contract with Central Bank with an eye toward reducing the fees.

    “I think the contract is unfair and potentially illegal to unemployment recipients,” she said.

    Central Bank did not return two messages seeking comment.

    Glenn Campbell, a spokesman for Rep. Russ Carnahan , D-Mo., said the congressman would support a review of the debit card programs nationwide.

    Another 10 states — including the unemployment hot spots of California, Florida and South Carolina — are considering such programs or have signed contracts. The remainder still use traditional checks or direct deposit.

    With the national unemployment rate now at 7.6 percent, the market for bank-issued unemployment cards is booming. In 2003, states paid only $4 million of unemployment insurance through debit cards. By 2007, it had ballooned to $2.8 billion, and by 2010 it will likely rise to $10.5 billion, according to a study conducted by Mercator Advisory Group, a financial industry consulting firm.

    The economic stimulus plan signed by President Barack Obama this week will increase federal unemployment benefits by $40 billion this year. Subsequently, there will be more money from which banks can collect fees. The U.S. Department of Labor allows the fees as long as states create a way for recipients to get their money for free, spokeswoman Suzy Bohnert said.

    “Beyond that, the individual decides how to manage his drawdowns using the debit card,” she said in an e-mail.

    A typical contract looks like the agreement between Citigroup and the state of Kansas, which took effect in November. The state expects to save $300,000 a year by wiring payments to Citigroup instead of printing and mailing checks.

    Citigroup’s bill to the state: zero. The bank collects its revenue from fees paid by merchants and the unemployed.

    “If you use your card the right way, you’re not going to pay fees at all,” said Paul Simpson, Citigroup’s global head of public sector, health care and wholesale cards.

    But that’s not always practical.

    Santa-Maria, the laid-off New Mexico engineer, said he didn’t pay any fees the first time he was laid off, for several months in 2007. His unemployment benefits were paid by paper checks. He found a new job last year but was laid off again last fall.

    This time, he was issued a Bank of America debit card — a “prepaid” card in industry lingo — but he was surprised to learn he had to pay fees to get his money. He asked the bank to waive them. It said no. That’s when Santa-Maria called back to ask how to check his account online. He logged on and saw that the call cost him a half dollar. To avoid more fees, Santa-Maria found a Bank of America ATM at a strip mall and withdrew $80 at no charge. When he got back to his car, he decided to take out the rest of his money — $250 — and deposit it in his bank account.

    Afterward, Santa-Maria logged on to his account and saw a charge of $1.50 for two withdrawals in one day.

    New Mexico authorities bargained with Bank of America to get lower fees for unemployment recipients, said Carrie Moritomo, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Workforce Solutions. The state saves up to $1.5 million annually by not printing checks.

    Banks could issue unemployment debit cards with no fees for cardholders, but that would likely mean that states would have to pay more of the administrative costs, said Mark Harrington, director of marketing for Citigroup ‘s prepaid card services. If a state demanded no cardholder fees and could pay the difference, Citigroup might enter such a contract.

    “We would be open to that,” Harrington said. “We’re not looking to structure any programs where we would lose money, but we’re definitely flexible.”

    Simpson noted that the cards can save money for jobless workers who have no bank accounts. In the past, these people had to use corner check-cashing shops that charged fees as high as 2 percent, or $6 for a $300 check. Now, they can swipe their cards at McDonald’s, Wal-Mart or elsewhere for free.

    Kenna Gortler, a laid-off paper mill worker in Oregon, said her union is advising members to avoid the debit cards and sign up to get their benefits through direct deposit. More than 300 of her fellow workers have lost their jobs at the mill in the last three months , and horror stories about ATM fees and overdraft charges are starting to filter back to others who are just now signing up for their benefits.

    “It’s discouraging,” Gortler said. “People have limited funds and they don’t need to be giving money to the banks. They need to be keeping that money to feed their families and pay bills.”

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