Friday, May 10, 2013

Authorities Announce Tax Haven Investigation

Tax authorities in the U.S., Britain, and Australia today announced they are working with a gigantic cache of leaked data that may be the beginnings of one of the largest tax investigations in history.
The secret records are believed to include those obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists that lay bare the individuals behind covert companies and private trusts in the British Virgin Islands, the Cook Islands, Singapore and other offshore hideaways.
The hoard of documents obtained by ICIJ represents the biggest stockpile of inside information about the offshore system ever gathered by a media organization.
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service said in a statement the three nations “have each acquired a substantial amount of data revealing extensive use of such entities organized in a number of jurisdictions including Singapore, the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands and the Cook Islands.” 
It said the data “contains both the identities of the individual owners of these entities, as well as the advisors who assisted in establishing the entity structure.”
The statement said early analysis had uncovered information that may be relevant to tax administrations of other jurisdictions that they would be willing to share, at the request of other countries.
“This is part of a wider effort by the IRS and other tax administrations to pursue international tax evasion,” said IRS acting commissioner Steven T. Miller.
"Our cooperative work with the United Kingdom and Australia reflects a bigger goal of leaving no safe haven for people trying to illegally evade taxes.”
British tax authorities claim they have even more data than that unearthed by ICIJ.
The total size of the ICIJ files, measured in gigabytes, is more than 160 times larger than the leak of U.S. State Department documents by Wikileaks in 2010.
A statement from the British tax office puts the size of the data obtained by the three tax authorities at 400 gigabytes, compared to the 260 gigabytes gathered by the ICIJ.
“The 400 gigabytes of data is still being analyzed but early results show the use of companies and trusts in a number of territories around the world including Singapore, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and the Cook Islands,” the British tax office statement said.
“The data also exposes information that may be shared with other tax administrations as part of the global fight against tax evasion.”
Last month, the ICIJ and 37 media partners began reporting on more than 2.5 million files that include the names of thousands of American, Australian and British citizens as well as families and associates of long-time despots, Wall Street swindlers, Eastern European and Indonesian billionaires, Russian corporate executives, international arms dealers and a sham-director-fronted company that the European Union has labeled as a cog in Iran’s nuclear-development program.
The files leaked to ICIJ provide facts and figures — cash transfers, incorporation dates, links between companies and individuals — that illustrate how offshore financial secrecy has spread aggressively around the globe, allowing the wealthy and the well-connected to dodge taxes and fueling corruption and economic woes in rich and poor nations alike.
The records detail the offshore holdings of people and companies in more than 170 countries and territories.
The ICIJ publication sparked government inquiries, resignations and a new sense of urgency from European leaders to fight tax evasion. A few days after the articles ran, Europe’s five biggest economic powers — Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain — announced they would begin regularly exchanging banking and tax information as a way of identifying tax dodgers and other financial wrongdoers.
The stories we released in April are the first installment in an ongoing series.  More ICIJ reports will be published throughout the year as we continue the investigation with our partners.
The files illustrate how offshore financial secrecy has spread aggressively around the globe, allowing the wealthy to avoid taxes, fueling corruption and economic woes in rich and poor nations. The current banking crisis in Cyprus is one example of how the offshore system can impact an entire country’s financial stability. 
The ICIJ worked with 86 investigative journalists from 46 countries and used data mining software and old fashioned shoe leather reporting to unveil the previously hidden but thriving world of fraud, tax dodging and political corruption.  
To analyze the documents initially, ICIJ collaborated with journalists from The Guardian and the BBC in the U.K., Le Monde in France, Süddeutsche Zeitung and Norddeutscher Rundfunk in Germany, The Washington Post, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and 31 other media partners around the world.
 Among the countries included in the data are: Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kosovo, Latvia, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, and Venezuela.

California Sues JP Morgan for Fraudulent and Criminal Debt-Collection Practices

Wiki image
Activist Post

LOS ANGELES -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today filed an enforcement action against JPMorgan Chase & Co. (Chase) alleging that the bank engaged in fraudulent and unlawful debt-collection practices against tens of thousands of Californians.

The suit alleges that Chase engaged in widespread, illegal robo-signing, among other unlawful practices, to commit debt-collection abuses against approximately 100,000 California credit card borrowers over at least a three-year period.

“Chase abused the judicial process and engaged in serious misconduct against California credit card borrowers,” Attorney General Harris said. “This enforcement action seeks to hold Chase accountable for systematically using illegal tactics to flood California’s courts with specious lawsuits against consumers. My office will demand a permanent halt to these practices and redress for borrowers who have been harmed.”

From January 2008 through April 2011, Chase filed thousands of debt collection lawsuits every month in the State of California. On one day alone, Chase filed 469 such lawsuits in California. The Attorney General’s complaint against Chase alleges that, to maintain this pace, Chase employed unlawful practices as shortcuts to obtain judgments against California consumers with speed and ease that could not have been possible if Chase had adhered to the minimum substantive and procedural protections required by law.

“At nearly every stage of the collection process, Defendants cut corners in the name of speed, cost savings, and their own convenience, providing only the thinnest veneer of legitimacy to their lawsuits,” the complaint states.

Chase used California’s judicial system as a mill to obtain default judgments, the suit alleges, using illegal tactics to flood the state’s court system in order to secure default judgments and garnish wages from Californians.

The alleged misconduct includes:
  • Robo-signing: Chase illegally robo-signed various litigation filings, including sworn documents, declarations, and verified complaints, without reviewing the relevant files or bank records or even reading the documents before signing.
  • “Sewer Service”: Chase failed to properly serve notice of debt collection lawsuits against consumers while claiming they had been served as required by law. This practice, known as “sewer service,” deprives the consumer of any notice of the lawsuit.
  • Filing Irregularities: Chase haphazardly assembled its official legal filings. For example, Chase failed to redact consumers’ personal information in attachments to filings, potentially exposing them to identity theft and in violation of California law. In addition, when asking courts to enter default judgments against consumers, Chase consistently swore under penalty of perjury that the consumers were not on active military duty. In fact, Chase never checked. This deprived service members of important legal protections to which they are entitled while on active duty.
The suit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court and a copy of the complaint is attached to the online version of this release at Or click here to directly access the complaint.

Consumers who believe they have been victims of this misconduct may submit a complaint online at

If Cyprus Is the Bellwether, then Canada Is the Red Flag

Jeff Thomas, International Man
Casey Research

An intriguing article titled "Canada Includes Depositor Haircut Bail-In Provision for Systemically Important Banks in 2013 Budget" was recently published in SD Bullion.

The somewhat lengthy title offers all the information necessary, but for those who – quite understandably – may not be able to accept that they have just watched Canada tumble down the Cypriot rabbit hole, here is a bit more detail from the approved budget itself:

"The Government proposes to implement a bail-in regime for systemically important banks. This regime will be designed to ensure that, in the unlikely event that a systemically important bank depletes its capital, the bank can be recapitalized and returned to viability through the very rapid conversion of certain bank liabilities into regulatory capital."

Customer deposits could certainly fall under the label of "certain bank liabilities," and converting them into "regulatory capital" without permission is just a gentle way of describing confiscation. Though Canadian officials have denied that the term "certain bank liabilities" includes customer deposits, we must note that the government in Cyprus also promised that customer deposits would not be touched, only to renege on that promise at the onset of the crisis. Remember lesson #1 of the Cyprus debacle: "Do Not Trust Politicians."

As the recent events in Cyprus have been unfolding, each iteration has seemed to me to be not only logical, but almost predictable. As Jim Sinclair has recently been stating frequently, the EU has run out of options… The next step is confiscation.

There will, of course, be endless rhetoric and debate, followed by minor adjustments in method and percentage taken, but, ultimately, the powers-that-be have reached the confiscation stage. That is now carved in stone.

But at this point, if we are watching the horizon, we will spend less of our time mourning the fall of Cyprus and more of it anticipating which countries will be next in line.

Here, I confess, I have been surprised. There were quite a few countries that, logically speaking, might have been next. Canada was not even on my personal radar. This is not to say that it would not also be in the queue – only that I would have predicted its position in the queue to be quite a bit further back.

Those observing recent developments may have understandably been saying to themselves, "I realize that we live in difficult times and that, if I am to look after my family's future, I need to face up to the fact that we may be seeing dramatic change. But there are some things I can't accept, and one of those is the possibility that my savings could be confiscated by my bank. My government would never allow it!"

For those who very understandably may find this latest realization to simply be beyond the pale, it would be well to take a moment out to rise above the clouds for a bit of an overview at this juncture.

In most countries of what we grew up calling the "Free World," there has been a steady deterioration, particularly with regard to corporatism (the merger of state and corporate powers). One facet of that deterioration has been increasing legislation that allowed financial institutions to create Ponzi schemes with regard to lending, in which the bank goes broke in the end but the cost for the failure is passed to the taxpayer in the form of a bailout.

Put more simply, this means that after the fox has raided the henhouse, the government advises the public that the only way to save the situation is for the government to confiscate more hens from the farmers and give them to the foxes.

The public, desperate to return to "normal," will accept whatever the government says at this point, in the hope that it will all somehow turn out all right. Only a tiny percentage will be prepared to say, "We've been systematically raped and robbed by both our government and our banks, in full complicity with each other. It's high time I put what I have left in a sack and find a way to protect it on my own."

Those few who do so will turn to safe havens for wealth (however much or little that wealth may be). They may invest in overseas properties that cannot be confiscated by their own governments, buy precious metals and store them privately, and so on.

The objective will be simply to make it as difficult as possible for their governments to confiscate their wealth.

While there may be no guarantee that they will succeed, they would know that at the very least, they will not be the low-hanging fruit when their government enters the orchard to begin the picking.

However, as history shows, the great majority of the people of all countries will fail to act. They will watch in confusion as events unfold, as the banks continue to come up with schemes to further bilk the public of their wealth, while the governments assure the public that, "It's an emergency situation. We have to be willing to sacrifice a bit more to save the system, or we'll really be sorry." In the end, the majority of people will comply.

Cyprus is a bellwether of what is next for the world in general. A term has even already been coined for what is coming – a "bail-in." An event in which the public must accept that, in order to save the banks from collapse (which they have been told since 2008 is the absolute worst possible outcome), they must accept that they must make their "contribution" – confiscation of their deposits by the banks. First, it will be, say, 5%, then it will be announced that 5% didn't solve the problem and another transfusion will be needed. Then another.

Some people will figure out along the way that they are being robbed by both their government and the banks, working in concert, but most will regard that reality as impossible, as it has never happened before and surely can't happen now.

If Cyprus is the bellwether, then Canada is the red flag, showing that Cyprus is not an isolated situation. The damage wreaked by monumental debt is systemic, and it has taken place throughout the First World and beyond.

This latter statement will very likely be the most difficult to accept as reality. If so, here is something to consider: Canada has approved its bail-in on a national level just one week after a final decision was made in Cyprus. As we all know, the wheels of governments worldwide move slowly. The reader might ask himself whether he believes that the Canadian government has, in short order, approved its own bail-in, in reaction to the events in Cyprus. If this possibility is simply too far-fetched, he must accept that the plan for Cyprus has been known to the Canadian government for some time and that a similar bail-in for Canada has been in the works for a while. It was simply agreed that Cyprus would go first – to act as the litmus test.

If the reader finds himself agreeing that it is likely that the Canadian government had foreknowledge of the events in Cyprus, his next logical conclusion would be that other nations had the same foreknowledge and have very likely been getting their own ducks in a row.

Most countries in the First World have gone down the same road of monumental debt and have found that that road has led to a precipice. At this point, they have no other option left in their bag of tricks. They are all in the same boat and will play their last option – confiscation of wealth.

While many First World citizens think that events like those unfolding in Cyprus could never happen in their home country, the truth is precisely the opposite – and actions like the Canadian government's send a strong signal that the time to protect your wealth from governmental grabs is running out.

There are a number of diverse steps you can take to protect yourself and your wealth from being milked by your home government. Whether you're looking to stash some cash or precious metals in another country, interested in setting up an offshore LLC, or wanting to go completely international with your life and your assets, the comprehensive information in Going Global 2013 will provide you with sound strategies and trusted options for securing your financial future. Learn more and get started protecting your wealth today.

Stanley Druckenmiller: Bernanke Running The Most Inappropriate Monetary Policy In History. The Commodity Situation Is Deadly, And The Aussie Dollar Will Come Down Hard. I See Storm Coming, Bigger Than 2008

Stanley Druckenmiller – “Bernanke Running The Most Inappropriate Monetary Policy In History”

When three hedge fund titans all explain in words so simple a financial media channel morning show host can grasp that there is nothing behind this rally but smoke, mirrors, and a bearded academic, it seems more than a few people start to pay attention. Following Paul Singer and Kyle Bass [9], Stanley Druckenmiller “loves the market short-term, but hates it long-term,” since Bernanke is “running the most inappropriate monetary policy in history.” He warns, for it is a warning, that “markets will melt up,” until the Fed is forced to tighten. He recommends shorting the AUD, and sees the commodity super-cycle as over, because, “supply-demand… is deadly.” He also likes Google but not “tech companies that engage in financial engineering under advice of hedge fund managers.”

Stan Druckenmiller:
  • Decade of fast commodity demand is over
  • China leverage and misallocation of resources similar to US 2005-2008.
  • Bernanke running the “most inappropriate monetary policy” given circumstances in history
  • No bear market until the Fed changes monetary policy’
  • Sees Australian Dollar Coming Down ‘Hard’
  • Avoid commodity currencies in general
  • He likes Google; does not like other tech companies which engage in financial engineering under advice of hedge fund managers

DRUCKENMILLER: The Commodity Situation Is Deadly, And The Aussie Dollar Will Come Down Hard

Druckenmiller says the supply and demand situation in commodities is deadly (various commodity markets are dealing with supply gluts even as global growth is slowing), and he recommends shorting “commodity currencies” – like the Australian and Canadian dollars.
The last two years, Druckenmiller says, have shown that the commodity supercycle is over.
“The commodity supercycle is over. It is not a correction. Own currencies that benefit from LOWER commodities.” – Druckenmiller #irasohn

— Downtown Josh Brown (@ReformedBroker) May 8, 2013
Druckenmiller says short Australia on commodity bust. “we think australian dollar will come down and come down hard” #sohn2013 #nyp
— Kaja Whitehouse (@kajawhitehouse) May 8, 2013
Druckenmiller #sohn2013: “Supply-demand situation for commodities is deadly.”
— John Carney (@carney) May 8, 2013

Druckenmiller: I See Storm Coming, Bigger Than 2008

Kuroda Stimulus Backfires as Mortgage Costs Rise – Japan Credit
Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda’s stimulus policies are backfiring in the housing market, where mortgage rates are rising even as the central bank floods the financial system with cash.
Euro zone slump drags on, Chinese growth sags
Despite trillions in stimulus and almost zero percent rates, the bankers can’t restart the global economy. They broke it and now they can’t fix it.
Euro zone slump drags on, Chinese growth sags – Reuters
Latest China bailout reveals risk of local government’s hidden debts – Reuters
The New Normal For Fast Food: Price Cuts and Stagnant Sales

Same Day: Stock Market Sets New Record, Conversatives Say Obama Wrecked Stock Market

–On the same day that the stock market hits a new record high, conservative group Capitol Hill Daily, floats the idea of impeaching President Obama for ‘wrecking the stock market.’
–On the Bonus Show: Michael Jackson autopsy revelations, Lauryn Hill jailed over taxes, interesting population map, more…

Capitalism is killing our morals, our future: With global population exploding to 10 billion by 2050, that inequality gap will grow, fueling revolutions, wars, adding more billionaires and more folks surviving on two bucks a day.

Yes, capitalism is working … for the Forbes 1,000 Global Billionaires whose ranks swelled from 322 in 2000 to 1,426 recently. Billionaires control the vast majority of the world’s wealth, while the income of American workers stagnated.
For the rest of the world, capitalism is not working: A billion live on less than two dollars a day. With global population exploding to 10 billion by 2050, that inequality gap will grow, fueling revolutions, wars, adding more billionaires and more folks surviving on two bucks a day.
Over the years we’ve explored the reasons capitalism blindly continues on its self-destructive path. Recently we found someone who brilliantly explains why free-market capitalism is destined to destroy the world, absent a historic paradigm shift: That is Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel, author of the new best-seller, “What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets,” and his earlier classic, “Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?”
For more than three decades Sandel’s been explaining how capitalism is undermining America’s moral values and why most people are in denial of the impact. His classes are larger than a thousand although you can take his Harvard “Justice” course online. Sandel recently summarized his ideas about capitalism in the Atlantic. In “What Isn’t for Sale?” he writes:
“Without being fully aware of the shift, Americans have drifted from having a market economy to becoming a market society … where almost everything is up for sale … a way of life where market values seep into almost every sphere of life and sometimes crowd out or corrode important values, non-market values.”
Sandel should be required reading for all Wall Street insiders as well as America’s 95 million Main Street investors. Here’s a condensed version:

In one generation, market ideology consumed America’s collective spirit

“The years leading up to the financial crisis of 2008 were a heady time of market faith and deregulation — an era of market triumphalism,” says Sandel. “The era began in the early 1980s, when Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher proclaimed their conviction that markets, not government, held the key to prosperity and freedom.”
And in the 1990s with the “market-friendly liberalism of Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, who moderated but consolidated the faith that markets are the primary means for achieving the public good.”
Today “almost everything can be bought and sold.” Today “markets, and market values, have come to govern our lives as never before. We did not arrive at this condition through any deliberate choice. It is almost as if it came upon us,” says Sandel.
Over the years, “market values were coming to play a greater and greater role in social life. Economics was becoming an imperial domain. Today, the logic of buying and selling no longer applies to material goods alone. It increasingly governs the whole of life.”

Examples: New free-market capitalism trapped in American brains

Yes, it’s everywhere: “Markets to allocate health, education, public safety, national security, criminal justice, environmental protection, recreation, procreation, and other social goods unheard-of 30 years ago. Today, we take them largely for granted.”
Examples … for-profit schools, hospitals, prisons … outsourcing war to private contractors … police forces by private guards “almost twice the number of public police officers” … drug “companies aggressive marketing of prescription drugs directly to consumers, a practice … prohibited in most other countries.”
More: Ads in “public schools … buses … corridors … cafeterias … naming rights to parks and civic spaces … blurred boundaries, within journalism, between news and advertising … marketing of ‘designer’ eggs and sperm for assisted reproduction … buying and selling … the right to pollute … campaign finance in the U.S. that comes close to permitting the buying and selling of elections.”

Why should you worry? Capitalism breeds corruption and inequality

But the 2008 crash challenged our faith in free-market capitalism: “The financial crisis did more than cast doubt on the ability of markets to allocate risk efficiently. It also prompted a widespread sense that markets have become detached from morals.”
Then comes the big question: So what? “Why worry that we are moving toward a society in which everything is up for sale?” Two big reasons concern Sandel:

First, inequality: “Where everything is for sale, life is harder for those of modest means.” If wealth just bought things, yachts, sports cars, and fancy vacations, inequalities wouldn’t matter much. “But as money comes to buy more and more, the distribution of income and wealth looms larger.”
Second, corruption: “Putting a price on the good things in life can corrupt them … markets don’t only allocate goods, they express and promote certain attitudes toward the goods being exchanged.” Also “corrupt the meaning of citizenship. Economists often assume that markets … do not affect the goods being exchanged. But this is untrue. Markets leave their mark.”

Warning: Morals are new commodities auctioned to highest bidder

Sandel warns that our new dominating capitalist mind-set is crowding out “nonmarket values worth caring about. When we decide that certain goods may be bought and sold,” they become “commodities, as instruments of profit and use.”
But “not all goods are properly valued in this way … Slavery was appalling because it treated human beings as a commodity, to be bought and sold at auction,” failing to “value human beings as persons, worthy of dignity and respect; it sees them as instruments of gain and objects of use.”
Nor do we permit “children to be bought and sold, no matter how difficult the process of adoption can be.” The same with citizenship … jury duty … voting rights … “we believe that civic duties are not private property but public responsibilities. To outsource them is to demean them, to value them in the wrong way.”
Many things should never be commodities.

America transforms from mere market economy to new market society

Sandel’s core message is simple: “The good things in life are degraded if turned into commodities. So to decide where the market belongs, and where it should be kept at a distance, we have to decide how to value the goods in question — health, education, family life, nature, art, civic duties, and so on. These are moral and political questions, not merely economic ones.”
Unfortunately, we never had that debate during the 30-year rise of “market triumphalism. As a result, without quite realizing it — without ever deciding to do so — we drifted from having a market economy to being a market society.”
And “the difference is this: A market economy is a tool … for organizing productive activity. A market society is a way of life in which market values seep into every aspect of human endeavor. It’s a place where social relations are made over in the image of the market.” The difference is profound.
Not only did the debate never happen. It may never. Why? Because politicians aren’t up to debating values, may be pushing us past the point of no return.
Today’s “political argument consists mainly of shouting matches on cable television, partisan vitriol on talk radio and ideological food fights on the floor of Congress,” says Sandel, so “it’s hard to imagine a reasoned public debate about such controversial moral questions as the right way to value procreation, children, education, health, the environment, citizenship and other goods.”

Dysfunctional politicians pushing Americans past point of no return

Can we change? “The appeal of using markets to put a price on public values, is that there’s no judgment on the preferences they satisfy.” Debate is unnecessary. Markets don’t “ask whether some ways of valuing goods are higher, or worthier, than others. If someone is willing to pay for sex, or a kidney … the only question the economist asks is ‘How much?’ Markets … don’t discriminate between worthy preferences and unworthy ones.” Markets may never draw the line, but do politicians, in secret?
What is certain: Capitalism is eliminating moral values, as Nobel economist Milton Friedman and capitalism’s philosopher Ayn Rand had been preaching to the generation. As Sandel puts it: “Each party to a deal decides for him- or herself what value to place on the things being exchanged. This nonjudgmental stance toward values lies at the heart of market reasoning, and explains much of its appeal.”
But unfortunately, market capitalism “has exacted a heavy price … drained public discourse of moral and civic energy.”
The good professor is a great teacher, with only one glaring flaw in his logic: he’s too idealistic, too quixotic. You don’t have to be a fatalist to know that without a total economic collapse, market capitalists — including 1,426 billionaires, Wall Street bankers, hedgers, lobbyists and every other special interest getting rich off the new market society — will never voluntarily surrender their control over the American political system.
Rather, they will blindly continue down their self-destructive path with an absolute conviction they are divinely guided by the Invisible Hand of Adam Smith, and perhaps even God.
Meanwhile, we have no choice but wait patiently till the collapse, anxiously aware that our bizarre political system will just keep degrading America’s moral values, pricing, buying, selling, trading morals like commodities, because in the final analysis everything has a price and everyone has a price in our hot new exciting Market Society.
Paul B. Farrell is a MarketWatch columnist based in San Luis Obispo, Calif. Follow him on Twitter @MKTWFarrell.

HMRC launches fresh tax crackdown after it is handed largest ever tranche of data

HM Revenue & Customs is investigating hundreds of UK accountants, lawyers and professional advisors suspected of concealing assets in offshore tax havens for wealthy clients, following the largest leak of offshore data ever received by the UK tax authority.

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne visits Castle Precision Engineering in Glasgow, Scotland Chancellor George Osborne said: 'The message is simple: if you evade tax, we're coming after you'

HMRC said early analysis of the data, totalling 400 gigabytes, showed extensive use of complex offshore structures to conceal assets around the world, including Singapore, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and the Cook Islands.
The tax authority has identified more than 100 individuals benefiting from these structures, a number of whom are already under investigation for offshore tax evasion.
More than 200 UK accountants, lawyers and other advisors will also be scrutinised.
HMRC stressed there was nothing necessarily illegal about the structures.
Jennie Granger, HMRC commissioner, said: “These arrangements may be perfectly legitimate and may already have been declared to HMRC.
“However they may involve tax evasion, avoidance or other serious offences by taxpayers. What has to stop is using offshore structures to illegally hide assets and income."
Chancellor George Osborne said the data were “another weapon in HMRC’s arsenal".
“The message is simple: if you evade tax, we’re coming after you,” he said.
HMRC is working with the US and Australian tax authorities to investigate the data. It said it was unable to comment on the source of the data.
Phil Berwick, a partner at international law firm Pinsent Masons, said individuals with any doubts about the legitimacy of their tax arrangements overseas would be “spooked” by the announcement.
“This is a clear warning shot against accountants and other advisers that HMRC is going to come after them if they are involved in establishing offshore structures.
“HMRC is keen to clamp down on accountants and other advisers who they feel have overstepped the mark."
The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) said while it welcomed moves to clamp down on tax evasion, "we should never lose sight of the fact that it is a small number of people who are evading tax in these markets".
Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of taxation at ACCA, added: "The majority of accountants, lawyers and other professional advisers, as well as their clients, are not breaking any laws in these locations.
"There is a large gulf between what amounts to tax avoidance, which is within the law, and tax evasion, which is illegal."

Bix Weir – You Can’t Trust The Paper Price Of Silver and Time is Running Out To Get Physical

Bix Weir was back talking about the machinations behind the world’s rigged markets. Every day the paper price of gold and silver becomes less and less relevant. Soon the only thing that will matter is how much physical you’ve got in your pocket or in safekeeping. The market prices that you see plastered all over your tv screen and your computer monitor exist simply to make people believe that objective economic law and reality don’t exist. Which means that you cannot afford to be fooled by the algorithms. Physical metal equals truth!
Click Here to Listen

The Incredible Weight of Quantitative Easing

Skip the supposed theory and purpose of Quantitative Easing, and ask yourself what is its equivalent weight? Suppose we use the $85,000,000,000 per month that is officially acknowledged and round it to $1,000,000,000,000 per year and relate that $1 Trillion per year to items more easily understood:
  • What is $1 Trillion expressed in truckloads of one ounce Silver Eagles?
  • What is $1 Trillion expressed in truckloads of one ounce Gold Eagles?

  • What is $1 Trillion expressed in tons of $1 bills?
  • What is $1 Trillion expressed in kilos of heroin at “street value”?
  • What is $1 Trillion expressed in tankers of gasoline?
  • What is $1 Trillion expressed in cases of 18 year old single malt Scotch?
  • What is $1 Trillion expressed in days for the US government to spend it?

You see the general idea! Let’s not get bogged down in philosophical details or exact calculations; let’s just relate the annual quantity of dollars created to a few commodities we can more easily recognize.
  • $1 bills: Each bill weights about 1 gram, so 1 trillion bills weigh about 1,000,000 metric tons, approximately 1,100,000 tons. Assume a freight train can haul about 100 tons per car and a train is 200 freight cars. To haul the weight of 1 trillion dollar bills would require 55 individual trains with 200 cars each.
  • Heroin: Assume heroin retails for about $75 per gram. One trillion dollars will buy about 13,000,000 kilos of heroin. Assume 1.56 g/ml (Wikipedia) and that we pack the heroin in an ocean shipping container 40 feet long with a capacity of 67 cubic meters. By my calculations, it will take about 125 of those huge containers filled with heroin to equal in street cost $1 Trillion.
  • Gasoline: Assume a gallon of gasoline is $4 at the pump. Assume a tanker truck on the highway can move 10,000 gallons of gasoline. At that rate, it would take about 25,000,000 tanker trucks filled with gasoline to equal $1 trillion in gasoline. If those trucks were lined up on the highway allowing for 200 feet in truck length plus safety distance between trucks, the line of trucks would extend 940,000 miles or back and forth across the country over 300 times.
  • Scotch: Assume good Scotch at $100 per bottle or $1,200 per case. Assume we pack our expensive Scotch in 40 feet long ocean containers. With tight packing we can estimate about 1,600 cases per container. That makes each container worth, in round numbers, about $2,000,000; that means we would need 500,000 containers loaded with this scotch to equal the $1 Trillion per year in QE.
  • Spending: Assume the US government spends $3.7 Trillion per year. At that rate, the government spends $1 Trillion in about 100 days.
  • Silver Eagles: Eagles vary in price, but assume a current price is $30 per Eagle (one ounce of silver). Eagles come packed in “monster” boxes of 500 coins. Assume an 18 wheeler will transport about 50,000 pounds per load. At that rate, one load is about 1,600 “monster” boxes and worth about $24,000,000. The $1 Trillion of QE is the equivalent of over 40,000 trucks hauling Silver Eagles from the US Mint to your home, which is roughly 40 times the world’s annual mining production.
  • Gold Eagles: Assume a current price for a Gold Eagle is about $1,600. If our 18 wheeler can haul 50,000 pounds or around 800,000 ounces, then each truck load of Gold Eagles is worth about $1,250,000,000. The $1 Trillion in QE is equivalent to about 800 trucks filled with gold. It would be difficult to locate that much gold since that amount of gold is about eight times the world’s annual mining production.


Our current Quantitative Easing process is creating about $85,000,000,000 in digital currency each month or about $1 Trillion per year. Visualize the Federal Reserve policy as creating:
  • 55 long trains stuffed with $1 bills or one train of about 100 cars stuffed with $100 bills.
  • 125 large (40 foot) containers filled with heroin, calculated at “street value.”
  • Half a million large (40 foot) containers of good Scotch.
  • 8 times the world’s annual production of gold.
  • An unknown amount of inflation and consumer price increases.
About half a century ago we could buy a cup of coffee for $.15, gasoline for $.19, and a new car for under $2,000. What changed was the value of the money. We increased spending, budget deficits, national debt, and the money in circulation, and prices increased as a result. We have been warned!
And yes, It’s Going To End Badly.

Are We On The Verge Of Witnessing The Death Of The Paper Gold Scam?

The legal claims on physical gold far exceed the amount of physical gold that the banks actually have by a very, very wide margin. And right now the bankers are scared out of their wits because their warehouses are being drained of physical gold at a frightening rate. So what happens when their physical gold is gone but they still have lots and lots of people with legal claims to gold? When that moment arrives, it will represent the end of the paper gold scam. Many believe that the recent takedown of the price of paper gold was a desperate attempt by the bankers to put off that day of reckoning, but it appears to have greatly backfired on them. Instead of cooling off demand for precious metals, it has unleashed a massive “gold rush” all over the globe. Meanwhile, word has been spreading among wealthy families in both North America and Europe that they had better grab their physical gold out of the banks while they still can. This is creating havoc in the financial community, and at least one major international bank has already declared that it will only be settling those accounts in cash from now on. The paper gold scam is starting to unravel, and by the time this is all over it is going to be a complete and total nightmare for global financial markets.

From The Economic Collapse Blog:
For years it has been widely known that the promises that banks have made regarding their gold far exceed their actual ability to deliver, but we have never reached a moment of such crisis before.
Posted below are quotes from people that know precious metals far better than I do.  What these experts are saying is more than a little bit disturbing…
-CME President Terry Duffy: What’s interesting about gold, when we had that big break two weeks ago we saw all the gold stocks trade down significantly, we saw all the gold products trade down significantly, but one thing that did not trade down, was gold coins, tangible real gold. That’s going to show you, people don’t want certificates, they don’t want anything else. They want the real product.
-Billionaire Eric Sprott: So we see all of these paper (trading) volumes going through that bear absolutely no relationship to what’s going on in the physical markets. As you know I have always been a proponent of the fact that supply in the gold market was way less than demand, and by a very large factor. I think demand exceeds supply by at least 60%. The central banks are surreptitiously supplying that gold, and ultimately they will be running on fumes.
When we hear about the LBMA not willing to deliver gold, and JP Morgan’s inventories at the COMEX have gone from 2.4 million (ounces) down to 160,000 ounces, it just makes you realize that all of this paper trading means nothing. It’s the real physical market that you have to rely on.
-JS Kim: FACT #1: COMEX gold vaults were recently drained of 2 million ounces of physical gold in one quarter, the largest withdrawal of physical gold bullion from COMEX vaults in one quarter during this entire 12-year gold and silver bull. There has been speculation about the reasons that spurred these massive withdrawals of gold from COMEX vaults, but the most reasonable speculation is that no one trusts the bankers to hold on to their physical gold anymore, especially in light of Fact #2. Note below, that both registered AND eligible stocks of gold had heavily declined in recent months. Such an event signals a general distrust of the banking system from everyone holding gold in registered COMEX vaults.
FACT #2: One of the largest European banks, ABN Amro, defaulted on their gold contracts and informed their clients that they would only settle their gold bullion contracts in cash and not in physical. So much for the supposed legality of financial contracts as a “binding” contract. So whether Fact #1 caused Fact #2 or vice versa is irrelevant. What IS apparent is that the level of trust in bankers to safekeep physical gold and physical silver is disappearing, as it should be, and as it should have already been for years now. But truth always takes some time to catch up to banker spread lies and that is what is happening now. I have been warning people never to trust bankers in deals involving gold and silver for years now, as in this article I wrote nearly four years ago informing the public that the SLV and GLD are likely a banker invented scam as well.
FACT #3: Silver fraud whistleblower and London trader Andrew Maguire stated that the LBMA was having trouble settling gold contracts in bullion as well and stated that institutions that asked for physical settlement “were told they would be cash settled instead by a bullion bank.” In plain English, this is a default. So Andrew Maguire reported that the LBMA had already gone into default. In light of Fact #1 and Fact #2, the dominoes were starting to tumble and the house of cards that the bankers had built in gold and silver paper derivatives to deceive and hide the true fundamentals of the physical gold and physical markets from the entire world was rapidly starting to crumble. A financial earthquake of magnitude 2.5 was quickly threatening to evolve into one of the biggest financial earthquakes of all time in which the world’s confidence in all global fiat currencies would effectively have a well-deserved funeral.
-Jim Sinclair: I think the reality is the supply situation is extremely volatile at this point, and even discussing it is like rubbing a raw nerve to the people who are in charge. The amount of discussion on the subject of warehouse supply, supply that is represented by the gold leases, indicated to the central planners that the demand for physical was going to continue to effect the exchanges.
Although they did not expect any grandstand delivery, the mere continued draining of physical inventories was threatening the very functioning of the paper exchange. That threatening of the paper exchange and its ability to continue functioning is really taking off the blinders and revealing the truth behind the critical question, ‘Where is the gold?’
The question now is, ‘Where has the gold gone?’ Who has all of this gold? Because of the nature of gold leasing, all of this gold has been purchased and it has gone somewhere. The reality of the empty vaults reveal that the gold has gone missing.
-Ronald Stoeferle: We’re seeing this rush to physical gold not only in the retail market, but also for the institutional players…[it's] just overwhelming…I [estimate] a 130-to-1 [ratio of paper to physical gold]…and I think in the last week we were really close to [triggering] a default of the paper market.
-Gerhard Schubert, head of Precious Metals at Emirates NBD: I have not seen in my 35 years in precious metals such a determined and strong global physical demand for gold. The UAE physical markets have been cleared out by buyers from all walks of life. The premiums, which have been asked for and which have been paid have been the cornerstone of the gold price recovery. It is very rare that physical markets can have a serious impact on market prices, which are normally driven solely by derivatives and futures contracts…
I did speak during the week with several refineries in the world, of course including the UAE refineries, and the waiting period for 995 kilo bars is easily 2-3 weeks and goes into June in some cases. A large portion of the 995 kilo bars in the UAE goes normally into the Indian market, but a lot of the available 995 kilo bars are destined for Turkey, at this time. We heard that premiums paid in Turkey have reached anything between US $ 20 and US $ 35 per ounce.
-James Turk: Another indication of the demand for large bars is the huge drawdown in the gold stock in COMEX warehouses. It is noteworthy that COMEX reports show the drawdown is largely the result of dealers removing their inventory, their working stock. When that happens, you know the availability of supply is constrained.
What all of this means, Eric, is one thing. If the central planners want to keep the precious metals at these low prices, to meet the demand for physical metal they will need to empty more metal from central bank vaults, or borrow metal from the ETFs as some have suggested is happening. Otherwise, the central planners will have to step back and stop their intervention, thereby letting the price of gold and silver rise so that demand tapers off, bringing demand and supply of physical metal back toward some kind of balance.
We’ve seen this same situation several times over the last twelve years. It is what I have been calling a “managed retreat.” Despite the current weakness, I firmly believe we have again entered a critical period where the central planners will need to retreat once again in order to let the gold and silver prices climb higher.
-The Golden Truth: And then I get a call from a close friend in NYC last Friday.   His career has been in private wealth management in the private bank department of the Too Big To Fail banks.  He’s been looking for work and chats with old colleagues all the time.  He called my Friday and told me he just got off the phone with a very high level private banker from a big Euro-based TBTF bullion bank, but who was at JP Morgan until about six months ago.
This guy told my friend that there is a scramble by many very wealthy European families/entities to get their 400 oz bars out of the big bank vaults. He knows this personally, for a fact.  He said the private banker community is small over there and the big wealthy families all talk to each other and act on the same rumors/sentiment.  The Bundesbank/Fed and the ABN/Amro situations triggered this move.  He knows for a fact JPM tried to calm fears about 3 months ago by sending a letter to it’s very wealthy clients assuring them their bars were safe, in allocated accounts.  He said right now those same families are walking into the big banks like JPM and demanding delivery of their bars or threatening to take their $100′s of millions in investment portfolios to competitors.  His wording was “these people are putting a gun to the heads of private banks and demanding their gold.”
I know this information is good because I know my friend’s background and when he tells me his source is plugged in, the guy is plugged in. Not only that, my friend’s source said that there’s no doubt that someone like a John Paulson, not necessarily specifically him, but entities like him or it may include him, have held a gun to GLD and demanded delivery of physical in exchange for their shares.
Regarding the Bundesbank/Fed situation, recall that the Bundesbank asked to have some portion of its gold sitting – supposedly – in the NY Fed vault in NYC sent back Germany. The total amount is 1800 tonnes.  After behind the scenes negotiations, the Fed agreed to ship 300 tonnes back over seven years.  To this day, the time required for that shipment has never been explained.  Venezuela demanded the return of its 200 tonnes held in London, NYC and Switzerland and received it all within about four months.
And regarding the ABN/Amro situation.  ABN/Amro offered a gold investment account product that offered physical delivery of the gold in the investment account when the investor cashes out.  About a week before the gold price smash, ABN sent a letter to its clients informing that the physical delivery of the bullion was no longer available and that all accounts would be settled with cash at redemption.
I believe it was these two events that triggered the big scramble for physical gold by wealthy families/entities who were suspicious of the integrity of their bank vault custodial arrangement anyway.
So what does all of this mean?
It means that we are entering a period when there will be unprecedented volatility for precious metals.  There will be tremendous ups and downs as this crisis plays out and the bankers try to keep the paper gold scam from completely unraveling.
Meanwhile, nations such as China continue to stockpile gold as if the end of the world was coming.
According to Zero Hedge, Chinese gold imports set a brand new all-time record high in March…
Quite the contrary: as export data released by the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department overnight showed, Chinese gold imports in March exploded to an all time record high of 223.5 tons.
And the number for April is expected to be even higher.
Does China know something that the rest of us do not?
We are also seeing a rapid decoupling between spot prices and physical prices.  In fact, it is quickly getting to the point where the spot price of gold and the spot price of silver are becoming irrelevant.
For example, demand for silver coins has become so intense that some dealers are charging premiums of up to 30 percent over spot price for silver eagles.
That would have been regarded as insane a few years ago, but people are now willing to pay these kinds of premiums.  People are recognizing the importance of actually having physical gold and silver in their possession and they are willing to pay a significant premium in order to get it.
We are moving into uncharted territory.  The paper gold scam is rapidly coming to an end.  In the long-term, this will greatly benefit those that are holding significant amounts of physical gold and silver.

All Depositors Everywhere Should be Scared for their Money

Billionaires Dumping Stocks, Economist Knows Why

Despite the 6.5% stock market rally over the last three months, a handful of billionaires are quietly dumping their American stocks . . . and fast.
Warren Buffett, who has been a cheerleader for U.S. stocks for quite some time, is dumping shares at an alarming rate. He recently complained of “disappointing performance” in dyed-in-the-wool American companies like Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, and Kraft Foods.  
In the latest filing for Buffett’s holding company Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett has been drastically reducing his exposure to stocks that depend on consumer purchasing habits. Berkshire sold roughly 19 million shares of Johnson & Johnson, and reduced his overall stake in “consumer product stocks” by 21%. Berkshire Hathaway also sold its entire stake in California-based computer parts supplier Intel.
With 70% of the U.S. economy dependent on consumer spending, Buffett’s apparent lack of faith in these companies’ future prospects is worrisome.
Unfortunately Buffett isn’t alone.
Fellow billionaire John Paulson, who made a fortune betting on the subprime mortgage meltdown, is clearing out of U.S. stocks too. During the second quarter of the year, Paulson’s hedge fund, Paulson & Co., dumped 14 million shares of JPMorgan Chase. The fund also dumped its entire position in discount retailer Family Dollar and consumer-goods maker Sara Lee.
Finally, billionaire George Soros recently sold nearly all of his bank stocks, including shares of JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs. Between the three banks, Soros sold more than a million shares.
So why are these billionaires dumping their shares of U.S. companies?
After all, the stock market is still in the midst of its historic rally. Real estate prices have finally leveled off, and for the first time in five years are actually rising in many locations. And the unemployment rate seems to have stabilized.
It’s very likely that these professional investors are aware of specific research that points toward a massive market correction, as much as 90%.
One such person publishing this research is Robert Wiedemer, an esteemed economist and author of the New York Times best-selling book Aftershock.
Before you dismiss the possibility of a 90% drop in the stock market as unrealistic, consider Wiedemer’s credentials.
In 2006, Wiedemer and a team of economists accurately predicted the collapse of the U.S. housing market, equity markets, and consumer spending that almost sank the United States. They published their research in the book America’s Bubble Economy.
The book quickly grabbed headlines for its accuracy in predicting what many thought would never happen, and quickly established Wiedemer as a trusted voice.
A columnist at Dow Jones said the book was “one of those rare finds that not only predicted the subprime credit meltdown well in advance, it offered Main Street investors a winning strategy that helped avoid the forty percent losses that followed . . .”
The chief investment strategist at Standard & Poor’s said that Wiedemer’s track record “demands our attention.”
And finally, the former CFO of Goldman Sachs said Wiedemer’s “prescience in (his) first book lends credence to the new warnings. This book deserves our attention.”
In the interview for his latest blockbuster Aftershock, Wiedemer says the 90% drop in the stock market is “a worst-case scenario,” and the host quickly challenged this claim.
Wiedemer calmly laid out a clear explanation of why a large drop of some sort is a virtual certainty.
It starts with the reckless strategy of the Federal Reserve to print a massive amount of money out of thin air in an attempt to stimulate the economy.
“These funds haven’t made it into the markets and the economy yet. But it is a mathematical certainty that once the dam breaks, and this money passes through the reserves and hits the markets, inflation will surge,” said Wiedemer.
“Once you hit 10% inflation, 10-year Treasury bonds lose about half their value. And by 20%, any value is all but gone. Interest rates will increase dramatically at this point, and that will cause real estate values to collapse. And the stock market will collapse as a consequence of these other problems.”
And this is where Wiedemer explains why Buffett, Paulson, and Soros could be dumping U.S. stocks:
“Companies will be spending more money on borrowing costs than business expansion costs. That means lower profit margins, lower dividends, and less hiring. Plus, more layoffs.”
No investors, let alone billionaires, will want to own stocks with falling profit margins and shrinking dividends. So if that’s why Buffett, Paulson, and Soros are dumping stocks, they have decided to cash out early and leave Main Street investors holding the bag.
But Main Street investors don’t have to see their investment and retirement accounts decimated for the second time in five years.
Wiedemer’s video interview also contains a comprehensive blueprint for economic survival that’s really commanding global attention.
Now viewed over 40 million times, it was initially screened for a relatively small, private audience. But the overwhelming amount of feedback from viewers who felt the interview should be widely publicized came with consequences, as various online networks repeatedly shut it down and affiliates refused to house the content.
“People were sitting up and taking notice, and they begged us to make the interview public so they could easily share it,” said Newsmax Financial Publisher Aaron DeHoog.
“Our real concern,” DeHoog added, “is the effect even if only half of Wiedemer’s predictions come true.
“That’s a scary thought for sure. But we want the average American to be prepared, and that is why we will continue to push this video to as many outlets as we can. We want the word to spread.”

Doug Casey: 'We are living in the middle of the biggest bubble in history'

Kevyn Orr: Detroit Is In Worse Shape Than I Thought

Detroit's Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr. (Credit: Vickie Thomas/WWJ Newsradio 950)CBS Detroit
DETROIT (WWJ) - Detroit’s emergency manager says the city is bleeding much more red ink than originally thought. That’s what Kevyn Orr told WWJ City Beat Reporter Vickie Thomas in an exclusive one-on-one interview.
“The situation is severe,” Orr said. “It’s worse that we originally thought. It ain’t good.”  
With just 39 days under his belt, Orr is already putting the final touches on a draft of his 40-plus page financial report, which must be submitted to the state on Monday.
“I’ve been spending virtually every day from March 25 when I got here, looking at the city’s financials. This is an emergency. I’ve got 16 and three-quarters months to deal with it,” he said. “This is truly a financial emergency and we need to move with speed because frankly, we can’t be here in the same position next year.”
In the report, Orr uses charts and graphs to paint the bleak picture of the city’s finances, including over $15 billion in long-term debt and an accumulated operating deficit of $325 million.
“We’ve been collecting operating deficits at about $18 million to $20 million a year. That’s nobody’s fault, I think, frankly, the mayor and the council has done the best they can with what they have. The city has probably cut as much as it can cut to the bone now, and so its been trying to operate on the basis of borrowing short-term loans all the time,” he said.
Orr said he isn’t ruling out bankruptcy for the city just yet.
“Frankly, from my perspective, if I can accomplish what I need to accomplish without bankruptcy, I’d be elated,” he said. “I can’t guarantee that [bankruptcy won't happen] in the least, in fact, to a large degree that’s going to be dependent upon the positions of a lot of other stakeholders that they have in this, some of whom might prefer a court order to make them do the things they need to do.”

When governments rob banks

Source: Wash Times
Have you heard about a nation so in debt, it is seizing assets from the bank accounts of private citizens? On the other side of the world, a modern-day Greek tragedy is taking place now on the island of Cyprus that has implication here at home. This is especially timely as Americans grapple with a government that borrows 46 cents of every dollar it spends.
Consider the significance of the Federal Reserve announcement last week of its plan to maintain a policy of cheap debt — continuing its “stimulus” plans that camouflage a stagnant economy by purchasing $85 billion a month of a variety of forms of debt. Troubling elements of such a policy include the fact that American taxpayers own a larger and larger share of all mortgage-backed securities thanks to the government takeover of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Remember, these government service organizations were declared insolvent as recently as 2008 during the subprime housing crisis.
At some point, this shopping spree must come to an end. It did in Cyprus.
Cash-strapped Cyprus was drowning in debt and looking for a life raft. So officials decided to target private citizens, not simply for a tax increase, but for their personal assets. Accounts in that nation’s two largest banks were frozen as the government took the unprecedented step of considering whether to reach into private accounts for public debt.
Ultimately, the answer was yes. Those with smaller deposits suffered less but the savings of uninsured savers became fertile ground for desperate government officials.
In a struggling eurozone, Cyprus became the first country to hit up depositors to fund its survival. The Wall Street Journal reported: “Cyprus Popular’s uninsured depositors will probably take losses of as much as 80 percent of their holdings over the guaranteed limit of 100,000 euros; Bank of Cyprus depositors stand to incur losses of as much as 60 percent of their uninsured deposits, according to initial government estimates.”
Still, the problem did not originate with the Cypriot government; a get-rich-quick mentality in banking also caused havoc. The Bank of Cyprus made a play to appeal to international financial players who didn’t mind putting large sums of money in a small, island bank. No one considered it a serious problem to have cash within reach of a financially stressed government.
One can imagine that the Cyprus banking industry has suffered a deathblow as the accounts of its customers have been looted to keep the government afloat. While authorities have imposed restrictions on moving money, only a fool would want to throw good money after bad and add to their holdings. Cyprus should be a wake-up call for the world, especially as Canada has also considered such a move on private accounts.
Those taking comfort in the larger number of banks active in the United States should know that while 98.5 percent of all American banks are community banks, they hold only 12 percent of the banking assets. Megabanks, which make up only .21 percent of all banks, have 69 percent of all banking assets. Our economy also teeters on the brink of too-big-to-fail banks that could implode from too much debt. At this point in our national and personal conversations about debt, it is time to acknowledge that a terrible price eventually must be paid when too many resources are required to pay for past excesses.
Unlike the United States, Cyprus is tied to the confines of the European Union and the euro, making it impossible for that nation to print money without EU permission. Many so-called progressives have relied on the ability of the U.S. government to manipulate the money supply to deal with debt, but eventually, those options will come to an end. New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s famous quote that America “could owe an infinite amount of money,” implying that we don’t have to be overly concerned with our debt, will one day sound like insanity. For the record, we don’t have an infinite amount of taxpayers to support an infinite amount of debt.
Lessons can be learned by individuals in the United States who don’t want their assets seized through such drastic means:
Never deposit more money in any bank than the FDIC will insure. That is $250,000 per depositor per insured bank. If you are blessed with more resources than that, spread the money across reputable financial institutions.
Never put money in a distressed bank. Most of us have had our credit checked for major purchases by a bank or lending institution. You should return the favor by checking for more information on your bank.
Always consider all your investment options. Be sure to diversify and consider investing in a business where your money will go to work and is not so easily available to seizure.
The real question, however, becomes whether the federal government has learned anything from this Greek tragedy. Ultimately, the gap between resources and debt will be too large to fill, and our own government will consider all options — and all available resources — public and private.
Like the rest of the world, our government needs to learn to live within its means and stop piling up more and more debt on its citizens. Otherwise, the Cyprus banking disaster will be repeated here.
Chuck Bentley is CEO of Crown, a nonprofit business and personal finance policy and educational organization.

Consumers Snap Up Gold & Silver Jewellery

by GoldCore

Today’s AM fix was USD 1,469.50, EUR 1,118.68 and GBP 944.59 per ounce.
Yesterday’s AM fix was USD 1,454.00, EUR 1,108.74 and GBP 939.09 per ounce.

Cross Currency Table – (Bloomberg)

Gold climbed $20.60 or 1.42% yesterday to $1,472.60/oz and silver finished nearly unchanged -0.08%.
Jewellers across the world are seeing a surge in jewellery purchases because consumers are taking advantage of the price drop and purchasing investment pieces that will grow in value over time.
In the USA with Mother’s Day approaching this weekend, consumers like Whitney Court who would normally buy flowers instead wants to purchase something that won’t wilt: a silver necklace.

Silver in USD, 6 Months – (Bloomberg)

“I’d rather spend a little bit more money and get her something she can keep than something she’s going to throw away in a week,” Court said of her present for her mom on May 12th.
Over 1/3 of Americans plan to purchase jewellery as a Mother’s Day gift, according to a National Retail Federation survey, the highest percentage in the survey’s 9-year history. U.S. jewellery sales have increased from 67.3 billion in 2011 to $71.5 billion in 2012.
In Asia, families often use gold jewellery as part of dowries.  Chinese consumer Fang Yan made the journey to Macau to purchase gold jewellery but discovered all the large chunky bracelets were sold out.
Retail sales of gold across China increased three times in mid April when the price fell, according to the China Gold Association.
 Gold in USD, 6 Months – (Bloomberg)

In the Middle East, from Dubai to Qatar, locals and expats have been buying on the dip.
According to The Telegraph there are rumours that retailers have removed stock from the shelves in order to wait until the value increases.

Since gold bars are in short supply in the UAE investors are purchasing jewellery as a substitute.
Even though cities like Dubai and Qatar are renowned for their vending machines filled with gold bars, one consumer wrote to a Dubai newspaper that they were struggling to find gold.
“When my husband went to the Sharjah Gold Souq, known as Central Souq, the salesmen there said that they don’t have any in stock,” she commented.
“He also told my husband not to waste time, as no one is selling gold, even though they have it in stock. My husband checked in a couple more shops and they all said the same thing.”
Since the drop in value, some jewellery retailers in the Doha gold market have said their business has doubled.
An expat blogger Annabel Kantaria commented, “Someone wrote to another newspaper claiming that all the shops are in it together,” she said. “That’s all I’ve heard. I find it hard to believe they will have run out – it’s far more likely that they are refusing to sell.”
Although these are only rumours price collusion in markets is not a new concept.

Spielberg’s Hoax – The Last Days of The Big Lie – Debunking ‘The Last Days’

The Last Days of the Big Lie is a documentary which debunks the disgusting liars glorified as heroes and victims in the Steven Spielberg produced, Academy Award winning “Holocaust” documentary The Last Days.
The Last Days of the Big Lie uses Spielberg’s Oscar winning hoax as a jumping off point to debunk Spielberg’s USC Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation as well as the greater Holocaust Hoax.

Report: Ohio Is Illegally Throwing Poor People In Jail For Owing Money

‘The Americans Civil Liberties Union on Friday revealed that courts in Ohio are illegally throwing poor people in jail for being unable to pay off a debt.
In a report titled, “The Outskirts of Hope,” (PDF) the ACLU shines a light on a harrowing “debtors’ prison” system in Ohio — one that violates both the United States’ and the Ohio constitution. Ohioans are being jailed for “as small as a few hundred dollars,” despite the constitutional violation, and the economic evidence that it costs the state more to pay for their jail sentence than the amount of the debt.’

MI6 distributes ‘ghost money’ as bribes to Afghan warlords, drug cartels

08 May 2013 Britain’s foreign spying apparatus MI6 has been funneling tens of millions of pounds to corrupt officials in Afghanistan as bribes in a corrupt attempt to buy influence in the country. According to western media reports, MI6 is secretly spending UK taxpayers’ money in the form of ‘ghost money’ bribes in Afghanistan to prop up warlords and corrupt authorities… As for Syria, MI6 has already been training and providing equipment to terrorists fighting the popular government of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.