DaniMartExtras, Too

ALTERNATIVE NEWS NETWORK

REAL NEWS Dec. 23

Posted by Xaniel777 on December 23, 2011

TODAY IS : December 23, 2011

” Alternative News Stories gathered from all over the world and placed here for your awareness ! “

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TODAY’S NEWS : 

 

OCCUPY THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL SYSTEM– BREAKING NEWS RE THE 99% ACTIVATING THE NEW

From Benjamin Fulford

 The first historic trades within the new financial system have taken place!

The many global, independent trading networks all over the planet are rapidly connecting with each other, forming an infinitely expanding web of local and international commerce, exchange and trade.

People have woken up to the fact: for most of what we spend WE DO NOT NEED GOVERNMENT ISSUED MONEY.  In fact, so many different groups have been abusing the money system, it can no longer fulfil its original purposes, which were:

a)    as a medium of exchange

b)    as a unit of account, and

c)     as a store of value

It is the last of these that has led to systemic abuse and criminality, along with usury – the charging of interest.  Money stopped merely facilitating things (a job it can do supremely well) and started to be seen as value in itself – which is one reason why so much is out of circulation! The ‘value’ is being hoarded, availability manipulated, markets distorted.  No wonder the older religions all forbade usury – for they knew that the usurer and his schemes means that he always ends up owning everything, and tends to manipulate ruthlessly to that end.

There have been some interesting clues as to how this controlling and enslaving global finance system might be broken up.  In the 1980’s, in Canada, a man called Michael Linton named the first Local Exchange Trading systems (LETS), from which a number were established.  They then spread around the planet, but were largely ignored by anyone even remotely mainstream.  The system, in brief, means that you have a local, non-interest bearing currency, and members of the system trade together for all sorts of goods and services: up to 70% of everything you need can be acquired this way in a properly run system with enough members. See definition at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_exchange_trading_system

Then there were time banks, e-currencies…and many other innovations.  Over thirty years the expertise has spread to everywhere. For Time Bank description, see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_banking

One of the most sophisticated, just coming into full operation, is Liverpool, England-based TGL: see:  http://www.tgl.tv/

The first big clue to how these generic system types might be deployed was when Argentina got into trouble with the banksters, and threw out the IMF.  The nation was in deep financial crisis – but very quickly, LETS systems sprang up, so that the people that participated were not disadvantaged.  The same has happened recently in Greece.  One Greek man, interviewed for a You Tube piece, said of the emergence of LETS – “I am amazed: I can afford things I could never have bought before”.

In other words, this generic type of system leads to increased abundance – not what you might expect in the midst of what the media tends to paint as ‘siege economies’.  Meaning that people are real and can get on with it – while many aspects ofgovernment today are a variety of fictions, and fall apart under stresses that are also substantially of fictional making.

The upshot?  SYSTEMS LIKE LETS, AND MANY INNOVATIVE VARIANTS, ARE IN PROCESS TO TAKE OVER.  Just as things like computers have moved from huge, centralised systems to distributed PC’s on everyone’s desktop, the financial system is becoming distributed down to the level of community.  Indeed, these systems ARE the community level of the NEW GLOBAL FINANCIAL SYSTEM. The new System is literally everywhere already, spreading a like new knowledge to the 100 monkeys!

There is a lot of software for these systems, much of it available for free.  For a good list of examples, see: http://www.letslinkuk.net/software/

The new system’ developers know that people are ‘the gold’ that backs and assures this system’s success

As the groups link with each other the Products, services and reach of this network grows daily.

Many of the groups and systems are not listed here yet, for obvious reasons, however they soon will be. In the meantime, we suggest you look at the links above, then do a computer search for local exchange networks in your area and get involved.

In the (probably) trying times ahead, joining a LETS-type system IS ONE OF THE MOST POSITIVE FINANCIAL SURVIVAL STEPS YOU CAN TAKE

Software, electronic payment, credit, debit facilities and new currencies are all part of the range of technologies already operational in these new systems. All this and more is available for new groups to implement in all regions, countries, communities!

Details re access to all info will be made available in the next weeks.

Some of the exciting applications of the new financial systems include self funding of various communities and other initiatives, starting small and growing to include the, food, health, water treatment, education, new green power and other technologies, all waiting in readiness, for this ability to fund them, to arrive!

As stated, all are welcome, including those of the old regime, subject only to the simple credo of Inclusion, and operating for The Greatest Good of All.

Those of the old regime are invited to make contact, if they sincerely wish to cooperate.  Their resources, systems and networks will still be of value if they are contributed in alignment with the above philosophy. Alternatively, they may want to research the truth of what is reported here, ie, that this process of the establishment of and implementation of the new, ‘people’s financial system, IS happening, IS expanding, rapidly, and IS beyond anyone’s control, due to the fact that it is backed by some 200 million enlightened people!

If you have read and resonated with this article, please forward it to your personal contact list, post it on web sites you have access to, use it as a basis for publication, print it up and hand it out – or anything else you can do to spread the word.  You will be helping humanity move forward!

Contacts :  admin@intentiononeearth.com

PS Already we have had an expression of interest from the old system! 

END

The militarisation of ‘war on terror’ in the US

From Al jazeera

Ramzi Kassem

Ramzi Kassem
Ramzi Kassem is Associate Professor of Law at the City University of New York.

The National Defence Authorisation Act continues the onward march of the ‘war on terror’ through the American homeland.

 A cluster of provisions in the NDAA aims to keep the prison facilities at Guantánamo open indefinitely [EPA]

New York, NY – In an instructive coincidence, the passage of the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) by the US Congress came on December 15, 2011, the same day as the official start of US forces’ pullout from Iraq. One front in the US’ post-9/11 conflicts closed overseas, as another front seemingly opened at home. Now awaiting President Barack Obama’s signature, which will turn it into law, the NDAA would further entrench here at home some of the defining features of the United States’ extraterritorial campaign against political violence by non-state actors, continuing the onward march of the so-called “war on terror” through the American homeland.

For years, my students, my colleagues and I have been dealing with the realities of indefinite military imprisonment without trial, and of trial before untested and unfair military commissions. But we deal with those issues in the context of our work on behalf of our many non-citizen clients imprisoned outside of the US, at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and at Bagram Air Force Base, Afghanistan.

Together, the NDAA’s provisions keep Guantánamo open as a facility, while expanding within the US a set of practices and legal approaches that stem from the Guantánamo experiment. Of course, the Guantanamisation of the American justice-and carceral-system was already well underway. Since 9/11, lengthy and oppressive pre-trial detention conditions have become the norm in federal terrorism cases, along with draconian sentence enhancementsmeted out to convicts in such cases, and subsequent imprisonment under cruel Special Administrative Measures and in majority-Muslim Communications Management Units. But this legislation represents further, significant strides in that direction, and, notably, ones that are overtly military in character.

To be clear, the NDAA does not institute martial law for all in the US. But it would be foolish not to see that it lays a potential foundation for it in the future. Students of history, and those of us new Americans who have lived under military or militarised regimes – and that includes many Muslim Americans – will spot the kinship and recognise in this law some of the markers of authoritarian rule.

… the NDAA does not institute martial law for all in the US. But it would be foolish not to see that it lays a potential foundation for it in the future.

The legislation is plagued by textbook examples of poor and dangerously ambiguous drafting. Messy legislative writing is risky because some unfortunate soul(s) will potentially have to languish in military prison for years while American courts sort out the matter. Nonetheless, in light of the confusion and fears that this legislation has elicited, particularly in American Muslim communities, I thought it worth attempting a clarification of the proposed law’s contours, of what it adds to the landscape as opposed to that which it merely recycles, realising as well that, in so doing, some of the widespread concerns surrounding it would be bolstered, while others might be debunked.

Keeping Guantánamo open

A cluster of provisions in the NDAA aims to keep the prison facilities at Guantánamo open indefinitely (sections 1023, 1026, 1027, and 1028, among others). This is but the latest iteration of a sustained and joint effort by Congressional Republicans and Democrats alike to normalise the existence of Guantánamo as a prison site and to make it difficult, if not impossible, for any president to shut it down.

These sections of the NDAA extend for another year the prohibition on the use of US Department of Defence funds towards the construction or refurbishing of facilities to house Guantánamo prisoners within the US, or for the transfer or release into the US of Guantánamo prisoners. The provisions also renew certification requirements making it virtually impossible to release anyone from the island prison without a federal court order.

Although the law would carve out a waiver to the certification requirements for the first time, counting on a US politician to exercise that option might be naïve given the climate and overheated rhetoric surrounding all things Guantanámo. An irony among many is that there were no such certification hurdles to drop human beings into the endless Guantánamo ordeal in the first place. These provisions poignantly underscore how the entire Guantánamo system is an absurd one-way ratchet.

Codifying the law of Guantánamo

While the NDAA provisions discussed above mostly recycle and modify extant law, other sections break new ground, expanding the Guantánamo paradigm within the US.

The first provision, section 1021, purports merely to reaffirm the status quo under the 2001 Authorisation for Use of Military Force. However, by codifying for the first time the interpretation given that law by two successive administrations and the federal courts, Congress has effectively reinforced the status quo, perhaps placing it beyond the reach of pending lawsuits challenging the prevailing interpretations.

Prior to the NDAA, federal statutes did not explicitly provide for indefinite military imprisonment without trial, and they did not extend such authority to cover anyone who provided “substantial support” (undefined in the law) to al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or “associated forces” (also left undefined). The courts may have held as much in the last decade, mostly in the context of Guantánamo litigation, but this would be the first statutory expression of such authority, and its reach remains at best unclear owing to the NDAA’s characteristically deficient drafting.

The law’s architects included language stating that it did not “limit or expand the authority of the President”. But that is meagre consolation given this administration’s expansive view of its own authority under the AUMF. After all, Obama believes he can lawfully order the extrajudicial execution of US citizens overseas, and even underage US citizensmight be deemed legitimate targets. Military imprisonment pales in comparison.

Obama believes he can lawfully order the extrajudicial execution of US citizens overseas, and even underage US citizens might be deemed legitimate targets.

Moreover, it is unclear whether the detention authority this section spells out applies to US citizens, as long as they are not “captured or arrested in the United States”. That remains an unsettled question under the cases in this country, and this provision could be enlisted in that ongoing legal battle.

The next provision, section 1022, is frightening in far less subtle fashion. It mandates military custody without trial, or with a trial before the untested and fundamentally flawed military commissions, for anyone who (1) is a part of al-Qaeda or of an associated force that acts in coordination with or under the direction of al-Qaeda, and (2) participated in planning or carrying out an attack or attempted attack “against the United States or its coalition partners”.

Military custody without trial

While the NDAA states that it does not require military custody of US citizens who are alleged to fit its description, the law could still be read to allow military custody of those citizens. In other words, the US government may not be obligated to throw its citizens in a military brig under this law, but it might still enjoy that option.

The NDAA also exempts from military custody “resident aliens” – or Green Card holders – if they are arrested “on the basis of conduct taking place within the United States”. The upshot here is that military custody is mandatory under this law for all non-citizens who do not hold Green Cards, whether they are arrested within or outside of the US, as long as the US government alleges that they fit the law’s criteria.

It is equally mandatory for Green Card holders, captured in or outside the US, if the government alleges that some of the culpable conduct took place outside of the US. Leaving aside momentarily its possible impact on citizens and focusing exclusively on how it affects non-citizens, it is worth noting that dozens of cases that were brought against non-citizens in the civilian system after 9/11, including, prominently, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, would have been routed to the military under this provision.

Proponents of the provision, on the left and rightof American politics, emphasise that it allows the President to waive these new military custody requirements on a case-by-case basis. One problem they overlook, of course, is that the provision makes military imprisonment without trial the norm in certain cases. Obama would have to defend any waiver as a deviation from that norm, and pay the price for it politically. As the Obama presidency illustrates all too poignantly thus far, that would not be a likely choice. Moreover, even assuming the current president somehow developed the fortitude he has lacked so far to take principled positions on these issues, what guarantees that subsequent White House occupants would follow course? Would a President Newt Gingrich refrain from relying on these provisions? Would President Hillary Clinton?

While the NDAA states that it does not require military custody of US citizens who are alleged to fit its description, the law could still be read to allow military custody of those citizens.

At this juncture, it would border on the revisionist not to remind readers that indefinite detention of non-citizens in the US on mere suspicion of ties to terrorism is not unprecedented. Section 412 of the USA PATRIOT Act, hurriedly passed by Congress in the immediate wake of the attacks in 2001, unambiguously vests the Attorney General with that authority (which has not yet been employed). But under that scheme, a civilian official has to affirmatively exercise civilian discretion to place a non-citizen suspected of terrorism ties in indefinite-but still civilian-custody. Under the NDAA, the automatic default would be military imprisonment, and the civilian authorities would have to intervene with a waiver to interrupt that mechanism.

No one wants the NDAA

Even from the utilitarian perspective so oddly popular with liberties advocates these days, the fallout is potentially dramatic. Foreign allies, for example, will hesitate to extradite suspects to the US because of the possibility they will face indefinite military custody without trial or trial before the untested and flawed military commissions. The new law would also constrain US officials in their efforts. Under section 1029, for instance, the US Attorney General cannot bring a federal prosecution against certain categories of defendants without consulting first with the heads of the military and intelligence apparatus. Almost cavalierly, the NDAA contributes to the subversion of civilian supremacy over the military, a longstanding hallmark of American political history and tradition, and a vital structural feature of any open and democratic society.

Some may wonder how legislation like the NDAA remains acceptable, how it is even still possible a full decade after 9/11. The question is particularly perplexing seeing as no one in the vast American security and intelligence apparatus asked for or wanted the NDAA. In fact, the NDAA counter-terrorism provisions were opposed outright by the president’s chief counter-terrorism adviser, the Secretary of Defence, the Director of National Intelligence, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and a host of other military and security officials

It seems that no one wants the NDAA, except the politicians who have staked their careers on a war the public might think has ended with the death of Osama bin Laden. At a time when the US economy teeters on the brink of collapse, those elected officials want to ensure they can continue to score cheap political points by stoking the fires of fear, paranoia and prejudice.

Further enabling such legislation, on a deeper level, is its tacit subtext. What is understood by many, but left mostly unspoken, is that these laws would apply only to the most unpopular and reviled minority in post-9/11 America: Muslims. Acknowledging the danger looming ahead, a large coalition of Muslim American groups wrote a letter last week to the White House, urging a presidential veto of the legislation. Alas, it now appears inevitable that Obama will sign the NDAA into law, perhaps with a signing statement, an official interpretation of the law that would only bind his administration, rather than take political risks in an election cycle by vetoing the law altogether.

In the infamous Korematsu case, where the US Supreme Court approved the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, Justice Robert Jackson dissented, warning about the decision’s potentially long-lasting reverberations in terms that ring equally true in our context today. Regardless of how long they are left unused, or how selectively they are applied at first, laws such as section 412 of the USA PATRIOT Act, and now the NDAA provisions, “[lie] about like a loaded weapon ready for the hand of any authority that can bring forward a plausible claim of an urgent need”. While it may well be inescapable that the brunt of the NDAA will be borne initially by Muslims in the US, make no mistake: the threat in the long run is to the very nature of American government and to all who are subject to its authority.

Ramzi Kassem is Associate Professor of Law at the City University of New YorkHe supervises the Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility (CLEAR) project, which works to address the unmet legal needs of Muslim, Arab, South Asian, and other communities in New York City that are particularly affected by national security and counterterrorism policies and practices.

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Israel: UN Criticism of West Bank Violence ‘Disgusting’

Antiwar.com

From AntiWar.com

Officials Insist Europe ‘Irrelevant’ After Condemning Settlements

Officials within the Israeli Foreign Ministry expressed official outrage today at the United Nations Security Council for its effort to criticize the “price tag” attacks launched by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians.

“The whole debate was conducted in a disgusting manner,” insisted one of the officials saying that they “mentioned every mosque that was torched” during the debate. The resolution to criticize the violence was blocked by the United States.

But while the US blocking mention of Israel at the council is nothing new, they also blocked a criticism of Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank, and this earned public scorn from all 14 other members of the Security Council.

Israeli officials have warned the European Union that they risk becoming “irrelevant” after publicly criticizing the settlements, and the mention of the “price tag” attacks, a growing concern in Israel as the settlers have moved from burning mosques to attacking military bases, seems to have irked officials particularly

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

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TSA Responsible For Over 9,000 Unannounced Checkpoints In Last Year

Occupation of America set to expand with new funding

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com
Thursday, December 22, 2011

TSA Responsible For Over 9,000 Unannounced Checkpoints In Last Year Tsa viper csg1

The TSA has been responsible for over 9,000 unannounced “security checkpoints” over the last year alone, as the federal agency’s VIPR program expands to become a literal occupying army in the name of safety.

“The TSA’s 25 “viper” teams — for Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response — have run more than 9,300 unannounced checkpoints and other search operations in the last year. Department of Homeland Security officials have asked Congress for funding to add 12 more teams next year,”reports the L.A. Times.

The figure is completely independent from the federal agency’s role inside the nation’s airports, which costs taxpayers $5 billion a year, with the department having spent an additional $110 million in fiscal year 2011 for “surface transportation security,” while requesting a further $24 million for next year.

The extra money is being demanded despite the fact that there is “no proof that the roving viper teams have foiled any terrorist plots or thwarted any major threat to public safety,” according to the report, which also highlights how the TSA’s sniffer dogs are used to single out people for questioning if the dog smells the scent of the owner’s pets on their clothing.

The TSA is being used as a literal occupying army to ensure Americans who travel anywhere are constantly under the scrutiny of Big Brother, from highways, to train & bus stations, to NASCAR events, and even high school prom nights.

Back in October we reported on how Tennessee’s Homeland Security Commissioner announced that a raft of new “security checkpoints” would be in place over the Halloween period to “keep roadways safe for trick-or-treaters”.

Earlier that same month it was announced that Transportation Security Administration officials would be manning highway checkpoints in Tennessee targeting truck drivers.

After public outrage, the TSA attempted to neutralize the controversy by claiming that the inspections were carried out by State Troopers (the TSA agents were there to try to recruit truck drivers intobecoming snitches for the ‘See Something, Say Something’ campaign), and that the checkpoints were merely temporary.

In reality, the program was the latest phase of the TSA’s rapidly expanding VIPR program, under which TSA agents have been deployed to shake down Americans at everywhere from bus depots, to ferry terminals, to train stations, in one instance conducting pat downs of passengers, including children, who had already completed their journey when arriving in Savannah.

Free societies do not subject their citizens to random “security checkpoints” at which federal goons are given carte blanche to abuse the public.

2012 will see a renewal of our efforts to push for the total abolition of this disgraceful agency and the shame it has brought upon America’s reputation as the so-called leader of the free world.

Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a regular fill-in host for The Alex Jones Show.

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America’s Orwellian Police State Goes Live: US Citizen Convicted of Providing ‘Material Support’ to Terrorists

by John Glaser

Global Research

Antiwar.com

An American citizen from Boston suburb was convicted on Tuesday on terrorism charges, but the charges were loosely defined and the verdict may represent a significant blow to free speech rights.

Federal prosecutors claimed that Tarek Mehanna, 29, traveled to Yemen in 2004 with the hope of training as a terrorist and going on to fight American soldiers in Iraq. He failed to find any training camps, but returned home and allegedly promoted al Qaeda by writing about violent jihad against U.S. foreign policy on the Internet.

Mehanna and his lawyers instead claimed that he traveled to Yemen to receive training to become an Islamic scholar and that his writings on the Internet amounted to free speech.

“The charges scare people,” said J. W. Carney Jr., Mehanna’s lawyer and told reporters they would appeal. “The charges scared us when we first saw them. But the more that we looked at the evidence, the more that we got to know our client Tarek, the more we believed in his innocence.”

Post 9/11, the government has convicted many people on charges of “material support” to terrorists. But free speech advocates insist these are suffocating First Amendment rights and may grow to be even broader in the future.

Mehanna’s lawyers requested a jury instruction on First Amendment issues which included three points of instruction. The first reminded the jury of the right to hold views they regard as appalling. The second emphasized special protection for speech concerning public issues.

And the third explained the material support statute Mehanna was charged with, and makes clear: “To constitute a crime, the material support must be provided at the direction of the terrorist group, or in coordination with the terrorist group, or as a service provided directly to the terrorist group at its request. The statute does not prohibit someone from vigorously promoting and supporting the political goals of the group. This is considered independent advocacy, and is protected by the First Amendment.”

“The ACLU of Massachusetts,” read a statement by executive director of the Massachusetts ACLU Carol Rose, ”is gravely concerned that today’s verdict against Tarek Mehanna undermines the First Amendment and threatens national security.”

“Under the government’s theory of the case, ordinary people–including writers and journalists, academic researchers, translators, and even ordinary web surfers–could be prosecuted for researching or translating controversial and unpopular ideas. If the verdict is not overturned on appeal, the First Amendment will be seriously compromised.”

 Global Research Articles by John Glaser

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Bankers, Billionaires Try to Form Movement Against OWS

From Mother Jones

—By Asawin Suebsaeng

fat cat

“I got your job creation right here.” Matt Brett/Flickr

Whaddaya know? It seems the rich now want to eat the folks who want to eat the rich.Wrap your head around this Bloomberg report:

Jamie Dimon, the highest-paid chief executive officer among the heads of the six biggest U.S. banks, turned a question at an investors’ conference in New York this month into an occasion to defend wealth.

“Acting like everyone who’s been successful is bad and because you’re rich you’re bad, I don’t understand it,” the JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) CEO told an audience member who asked about hostility toward bankers. “Sometimes there’s a bad apple, yet we denigrate the whole.”

Dimon, 55, whose 2010 compensation was $23 million, joined billionaires including hedge-fund manager John Paulson and Home Depot Inc. (HD) co-founder Bernard Marcus in using speeches, open letters and television appearances to defend themselves and the richest 1 percent of the population targeted by Occupy Wall Street demonstrators.

If successful businesspeople don’t go public to share their stories and talk about their troubles, “they deserve what they’re going to get,” said Marcus, 82, a founding member of Job Creators Alliance, a Dallas-based nonprofit that develops talking points and op-ed pieces aimed at “shaping the national agenda…”

Several irate members of the Job Creators Alliance were interviewed for this piece and discussed how upset they are about Dodd-Frank, OWS agitators, and populist rhetoric coming from the left. “Instead of an attack on the 1 percent, let’s call it an attack on the very productive,” John A. Allison IV, a director of BB&T Corp. (BBT) and a professor at Wake Forest University’s business school, told Bloomberg. “This attack is destructive.”

The fact that hedge fund managers and politically active gazillionaires are trying to organize a forceful push-back against Occupy Wall Street isn’t all that surprising; what is somewhat surprising is how little Max Abelson, the author of the Bloomberg story, bothers to hide his disdain for his interview subjects. Virtually every dickish quote from a corporate counter-protester is undermined by the clause or sentence immediately following it. Read how the piece doubles as a crash course in unintentional lulz:

“If I hear a politician use the term ‘paying your fair share‘ one more time, I’m going to vomit,” said Golisano, who turned 70 last month, celebrating the birthday with girlfriend Monica Seles, the former tennis star who won nine Grand Slam singles titles.

Ken Langone, 76, [a] Home Depot co-founder and chairman of the NYU Langone Medical Center, said he isn’t embarrassed by his success.

“I am a fat cat, I’m not ashamed,” he said last week in a telephone interview from a dressing room in his Upper East Side home. “If you mean by fat cat that I’ve succeeded, yeah, then I’m a fat cat. I stand guilty of being a fat cat.”

It gets worse.

Peter Schiff, CEO of Westport, Connecticut-based broker- dealer Euro Pacific Capital Inc., is delivering the message directly. He went in October to Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan, where Occupy Wall Street protesters had camped out, with a sign that said “I Am the 1%” and a video camera.

“Somebody needs to do it,” Schiff said in an interview. Schiff, 48, disclosed assets of at least $64.7 million before losing the 2010 Republican primary for a Connecticut U.S. Senate seat, according to filings. He’s wealthier now, even though his taxes are “more than a medieval lord would have taken from a serf,” he said.  A clip from Schiff’s video was used in a Nov. 1 segment of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” in which comedian John Hodgman, wearing a cravat, called the wealthy a “persecuted minority.” He asked that the phrase “moneyed Americans” replace “the 1 percent.”

It keeps getting worse.

Capitalists “are not the scourge that they are too often made out to be” and the wealthy aren’t “a monolithic, selfish and unfeeling lot,” [Leon Cooperman, former CEO of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s money-management unit,] wrote [in a letter addressed to President Obama]. They make products that “fill store shelves at Christmas” and provide health care to millions.

Cooperman, 68, said in an interview that he can’t walk through the dining room of St. Andrews Country Club in Boca Raton, Florida, without being thanked for speaking up.At least four people expressed their gratitude on Dec. 5 while he was eating an egg-white omelet, he said.

To be fair, the Job Creators Alliance members are shown occassionally making valid points. For instance, the “few bad apples” argument really is worth acknowledging, for the same reason that a few America-denigrating ruffians at an Occupy gathering don’t automatically discredit the protest movement as a whole. I am, however, still having trouble putting my finger on what exactly the Alliance members’ quotes remind me of. A collective throwback to Gordon GekkoCharlie Sheen, post-Alex Jones interview? Have their lives devolved into one gigantic, overregulated episode of Ice Loves Coco? Or maybe they’re just quoting Total Frat Move:

END

9 Steps to Keep Your Assets Safe From an Out-of-Control Government

From Activist Post

Terry Coxon
Casey Research

By keeping all your assets in the country where you live, you commit, ahead of time, to ratify whatever policy your home government might adopt, no matter how objectionable, unreasonable or pernicious that policy happens to be. If the next new mandate is “Register today to get a nail pounded into your head,” you’re already signed up.

Americans, by and large, run all their affairs within the confines of the United States. The US economy is so large and so varied that it’s easy to assume that everything you want to do with your wealth can be done without crossing any borders. And people in the US, like people anywhere, live with the habits and attitudes developed over generations. They’re only human. In the case of Americans, those habits grew out of long experience with a government that was small and that generally practiced the rare virtue of following its own laws. In a happy exception to mankind’s experience with rulers, there was little to fear from it.

Stay at home is still the norm for Americans, but it’s a norm that is slowly fading.

Every billion-dollar tick of the government debt clock, every expansion of the government’s regulatory apparatus, every overreaching judicial decision made in the name of a compelling public need, every inversion of protection for citizens into license for the state and every intellectually tortured discovery of a new meaning in the Constitution’s 4,400 old words leaves a few thousand more people wondering how prudent it is to consign all their eggs to a single national basket. Encounters with high-handed IRS agents and eager TSA gropers do nothing to ease that concern. And for those who listen thoughtfully, the messages from our designated leaders and their would-be replacements only hurry the dawning sense of unease.

Specific worries include exposure to predatory lawsuits, especially claims that could draw extra go-power by association with politically favored causes or legally favored groups; fear of where income tax rates might climb; the prospect of losing a family business in a regulatory battle or simply through estate tax; the fragility of financial institutions that have operated for forty years with the assurance that the Federal Reserve would rescue them from any folly; the possibility that a government desperate to protect the dollar from collapse might impose foreign exchange controls or capital controls; the memory and precedent of the forced gold sales of 1933; and the thought that a government floundering in deficits might start pilfering from IRAs and other pension plans.

But beyond those particular worries and perhaps more important than any of them is the sense that from here on, anything goes. The politicians will do whatever they find convenient, because there is no longer anything to stop them – not an electorate that is jealous of its freedoms and certainly not the Constitution, which is now just a playhouse for judicial imagineering. No one can know what’s coming next from the government and the financial system it has fostered, but for many of us there is an awful suspicion that we are not going to like it.

Most Americans still have yet to stick a single financial toe across the border, but more and more are considering it. Many, perhaps millions of toes are now twitching at the thought. Their owners want to end their absolute dependence on what happens in the US. They want to prepare for whatever is coming down the road, even though they don’t know what it will be. They want to be as ready as possible, even though their worries can only guess at what’s ahead.

Because internationalizing your financial life means dealing with the unfamiliar, the project can seem more complex than it really is, so it’s best to start with the simplest measures, even if by themselves they don’t give you all the safety you’re looking for. Even from a simple beginning, what you learn with each step will make the next step easier to plan. Start with the first rung on theladder of internationalization. Then climb, at your own speed, to reach the right level of protection.

Rung 1: Coins in Your Pocket

Gold coins that you’ve stored personally give you something whose value doesn’t depend on the health of the US economy, doesn’t depend on any financial institution in the US and doesn’t depend on any US government policy. Gold coins are portable and hold their value no matter where in the world you might take them. They’re internationalization in a wafer. Safety cookies.

It’s best to buy the coins for cash, for maximum privacy. And there is a good reason to favor one-tenth-ounce gold Eagles. Gold coins mean readiness for troubled times; if you ever need to dispose of the gold in an informal market, it will be easier to do so with small-denomination coins that are widely recognizable and whose value matches the scale on which large numbers of people normally trade.

The premium on one-tenth-ounce coins (the price compared with the value of the gold content) is higher than on the larger coins – usually about 15% for the small coins vs. 5% for one-ounce Eagles. But the premium isn’t a dead cost, like a commission or bid-ask spread. The premium is a second investment; it’s what you pay for the packaging, and you can expect to recover it when you sell or trade. And in the circumstances when you would have the strongest reasons for thanking yourself for having bought some gold, the premium you paid will look like a bargain.

Rung 2: A Foreign Bank Account

On its own initiative, the IRS can freeze any bank account in the US without warning. The action might arise from mistaken identity, from an erroneous filing by some other taxpayer, from your failure to respond to an IRS notice in time or even from a postal error. And that’s what can happen without malice. Other government agencies have similar powers to act on their own, without giving you an opportunity to object in court. And any one of them might act against you for any of their specialized reasons – perhaps because someone resents your inattention to the needs of the migratory birds that visit your property or perhaps because someone thinks it would be fun to point to you as a terrorist, drug smuggler, arms dealer or child-porn merchant.

In principle, there are legal avenues for undoing a freeze or a seizure. But you’d need a lawyer, and being suddenly penniless could get in the way of hiring one.

A foreign bank account protects you from being trapped in such a nightmare. The US government can get to your foreign bank account eventually, because it can get to you. But a lightning seizure is very unlikely, because it would require a foreign government to override its own legal processes, which it generally wouldn’t be willing to do except in a grave emergency. So if your liquid assets at home were frozen, you would have cash outside the US to fund the legal cost of untangling the problem.

A foreign bank account is also a way to step back from the uncertainties of the US dollar, since the account could be denominated in another currency.

The US government has seen to it that Americans are no longer welcome customers at foreign banks. So forget about opening a Swiss bank account in your own name. However, if you apply in person (not by mail), you still can open a bank account in Canada. Be prepared to show your passport and to give the bank an original utility bill that confirms your place of residence.

Rung 3: Gold Abroad

The forced gold sales of 1933 were the work of an executive order signed by President Roosevelt. The purported legal basis for the order was the Trading With The Enemy Act, a legislative artifact of World War I. I have yet to find an explanation of how the authority for an order requiring Americans to sell their gold to the government at the government’s official price of $20 per ounce could be found in the Trading With The Enemy Act, but the fact that the enemy in question had gone out of business 15 years earlier didn’t seem to interfere with the legal logic.

The forced sale was a prelude to an increase in the official gold price to $35. The government’s reason for wanting that price rise was to gain leeway for a substantial, though limited, inflation of the dollar while keeping the dollar on the international gold standard. The forced sale was a way for the government, which operated in a political environment that still disfavored deficit spending, to capture the profit from the price rise. That profit would be a kitty for more spending without more borrowing.

Today there is no gold standard for the government to stay on. And deficit spending isn’t something politicians especially want to avoid; they’ve promoted it as a civic duty, to stimulate the economy. So the depression-era motives for a gold grab don’t seem to apply. Yet you can’t listen to a conversation between two gold investors without hearing the seizure topic coming up.

Are they just scaring each other? I don’t believe so. There are two potential motives for the government to again treat gold differently from everything else.

If the dollar’s slide in foreign exchange markets threatens to turn into a panic, the government might want to use gold sales to foreigners to mop up foreign-held dollars – in which case it might see a need to mop up the gold owned by its own citizens. That’s bad enough, but a second motive is a good bit nastier. At a visceral level, people who have centered their lives on government just don’t like gold. It’s an affront to the government’s authority to command and control and an insult to government’s supposed aptitude for solving economic problems. So disrespectful. From their point of view, every ounce purchased by an American is another tomato hurled at the political class. And the purchasers still constitute a tiny minority of the voting population. What could be more satisfying and convenient for the politicians than to kick sand in the face of gold investors for being such lousy citizens?

A new attack on gold ownership probably wouldn’t be a point-for-point reenactment of 1933. There are many weapons for mugging gold investors. It could be a prohibition on gold ownership coupled with a prohibition on sales of gold to foreigners. The only one left to buy would be the government, and being the only bidder, it would be a very low bidder. It could be a commandeering of privately owned gold, with token compensation like the $15 per day paid for jury duty. It could be a super tax, say 90%, on gold profits, which would get the job done slowly… or quickly if it were accompanied by a mark-to-market rule. Or it could be something none of us has thought of yet.

Not only can’t we know the shape of a future gold grab, we can’t know whether or how the rules would touch foreign-held gold. Owners of gold stored outside the US would be a minority of a minority.

Their gold wouldn’t be the low-hanging fruit – it would be higher up in the tree and more trouble to get to. That’s why, in a casino sense, gold overseas is a different bet and a better bet than gold at home.

Maybe it will turn out that storing gold overseas won’t matter at all, in which case a little effort will have been wasted. And maybe it will turn out to matter a great deal.

Rung 4: A Swiss Annuity

A conventional annuity contract is a device for accumulating investment returns and eventually converting the value into a lifetime income. The investment return on an annuity from a US insurance company is tax deferred until it is paid out to you. If you buy an annuity from a foreign company, tax deferral is available only if the annuity’s value is tied to the performance of a pool of investments (a variable annuity).

Swiss annuities have long held a special place in personal financial planning. Such an annuity is denominated in Swiss francs, i.e., it’s francs, not dollars, that are owed to you. The Swiss insurance industry has a perfect record; policyholders have never been hurt by a default. And a Swiss annuity comes with an element of protection from would-be lawsuit creditors.

The Swiss franc is, like every other modern-day currency, just a piece of paper. It’s not redeemable for anything, not even a piece of chocolate. But the Swiss National Bank has a remarkable record of restraint in issuing new francs, which means that the franc’s prospects for holding its value have long been rated better than for any other currency.

I believe that is still the case, despite the Swiss National Bank’s current policy of suppressing any further increase in the price of the franc. In September, in order to save export industries from being crushed by the franc’s rapid appreciation against other currencies, the Swiss National Bank announced that it would purchase euros without limit to enforce a minimum exchange rate of 1.2 francs per euro – which implies printing enough francs to pay for those euros. By itself, it is an inflationary move, but it’s not a suicide pact with the European Central Bank (the issuing authority for euros). If the ECB turns to a policy of rapid inflation, I would expect the Swiss National Bank at some point to decouple the franc from the euro and let the franc’s price rise. So owning some Swiss francs, whether directly or through an annuity, is still a good step toward internationalizing your financial life.

Under Swiss law, an annuity is protected from the owner’s creditors if the beneficiaries consist of family members or if the owner has made a beneficiary designation that is irrevocable. For an owner in the US, that protection is not an impenetrable barrier to the winner of a lawsuit, but it is a barrier, and it makes the annuity a less-than-ideal prize for an attacker.

Earnings that are accumulating in a Swiss annuity are not eligible for tax deferral for a US taxpayer. The advantages are currency protection, the reliability of Swiss insurance companies and a measure of asset protection.

Rung 5: Foreign Real Estate

Owning real estate in another country gives you a suite of protections that distinguishes it from other steps toward internationalization.

First, the property’s value will depend on economic conditions in the country you’ve chosen, not on what happens in the US. If the economy of the foreign country grows and prospers, there is likely to be a spillover effect on the market value of your house, apartment, farm or patch of land – regardless of what is going on in the US.

Second, a foreign real estate investment would be hard to digest for any future capital controls imposed by the US. New rules could compel you to repatriate the cash you have in a foreign bank; rules forcing you to liquidate your foreign real estate and bring the money home would be another matter. Selling real estate isn’t quick or easy. How does the government compel an unwilling citizen to do what an eager seller often finds difficult to accomplish?

Third, as a potential prize for a lawsuit attacker, foreign real estate is a stinker. Even if he wins a judgment against you, foreclosing on your foreign property would be difficult to impossible, since it would require the cooperation of the courts in the foreign country, about whose rules and procedures the attacker’s attorney probably knows nothing. But he does know that even if he persuades a court in the US to order you to sell the property, the inherent illiquidity of real estate would give you plenty of opportunities for foot-dragging.

Where to buy? The whole world is open to you… which can be a problem. So many possibilities and no obvious place to start. One approach is to think about where you’ve been that you’d like to visit again or about some place you’ve long wanted to see. Plan to spend a few weeks there. Minimize your hotel hours, to maximize your exposure to the rest of the locale. Try to meet Americans, perhaps expatriates, who know their way around the place and who can point you toward a real estate broker who won’t try to treat you as an out-of-town sucker.

Buying foreign real estate isn’t for everyone. It requires a big investment in time and effort, but it could repay you with an asset that is low on the list of things anyone might try to take from you.

Rung 6: A Foreign LLC for Investments

A limited liability company organized under the laws of a foreign country is easy to set up and not too expensive. To bring the company into existence, you (or a service you hire) would file a simple form with a government office in the country you’ve chosen and pay a small fee. Then you as the LLC’s Manager and you as the LLC’s owner would enter into an agreement (the “operating agreement”) that would be the company’s governing instrument.

As the LLC’s Manager, you would open a non-US bank account or brokerage account in the name of the LLC and transfer your personal cash and investments to that account. Again as Manager, you would make all the investment decisions.

For a US person, a foreign LLC can be a powerful door-opener. It is welcome at many banks and brokerage firms where you personally would be turned away. This enables you to keep a wider range of assets outside the US, which puts more wealth beyond the reach of any arbitrary bureaucratic action. It also gives you investment choices that aren’t available at home.

Access to foreign investments and overseas financial services is reason enough to consider using a foreign limited liability company. But it can do much more for you, although at the cost of some complexity.

Notice the fundamental difference between a foreign LLC and what is going on at the first four rungs of the ladder of internationalization. With the LLC, you no longer personally own the assets you are trying to protect; the company owns them. This makes the LLC a powerful device for reducing your family’s expose to gift and estate taxes. And with the right provisions in the operating agreement, it can provide strong protection against loss to any malicious lawsuit.

If you are the sole owner of a foreign LLC intended for holding investments, you can and almost certainly should file an election for the LLC to be treated as a disregarded entity (indistinguishable from you for income tax purposes). If your spouse or anyone else is going to share in ownership of the LLC, the company can and should elect to be treated as a partnership for income tax purposes.

Rung 7: A Foreign LLC for Business

A business that operates outside the US does even more than a portfolio of foreign investments to give you the benefits of internationalization.

By its nature, a foreign business lives in a different environment than a business in the US. Economic troubles at home might not touch it. If it’s a business that depends on your personal efforts, it’s even less attractive as a lawsuit prize than foreign real estate. Being foreign, it would be outside the range of capital controls in the US. And many of the financial institutions that might turn away an investment-owning LLC because it is owned by an American will welcome an LLC that makes or sells goods or services.

If you already have a business in the US that has foreign customers or foreign suppliers, you may be able to relocate the business’s non-US activities to a foreign LLC. Internet-based businesses are especially amenable to internationalization.

Locating your business in a low-tax or no-tax jurisdiction, if it is practical to do so, can reduce your overall tax burden. In many cases, a foreign LLC that operates a business should elect to be treated as a foreign corporation for US income tax purposes. That can allow the business to reinvest its earnings while it pays little in current taxes and you personally pay nothing.

Rung 8: An International Trust That You Establish

Establishing a trust outside the US is the strongest internationalization step you can take for yourself and your family. Doing so costs more than any other measure, but the costs needn’t be prohibitive if your goal is to move $500,000 or more into the safest structure possible. What you achieve is a very high level of protection from aggressive lawsuits, from potential capital controls and from the possibility of a gold seizure. The trust also puts your wealth in a far better environment for income tax planning and for estate planning.

To serve the purposes of protection and tax savings, an international trust is irrevocable (you can’t simply call the institution you’ve chosen as trustee and say you’ve changed your mind) and discretionary (meaning that the trustee has a responsibility to decide when to send a check to you or to any of the other beneficiaries you’ve included). Putting assets under the control of a trust company under such an arrangement is a big step. You’re not going to do it unless you’ve done the homework needed to understand how and why you can count on the trustee to handle the assets in the way you intend.

Getting the protection and tax savings of an international trust doesn’t require you to give up management control of the assets. The trust can be limited to owning just one thing – an LLC that you manage. The LLC owns all the investments, under your supervision as LLC Manager.
If you establish an international trust, it will be tied to you for income tax purposes. But at the end of your lifetime, it will completely disconnect from the US tax system. At that point, for the benefit of your survivors, it becomes…

Rung 9: An International Trust Someone Else Established

Being a beneficiary of an international trust established by someone other than a living US person is as good as it gets. It’s not linked to you by any transfers you’ve made to it, and you don’t have a determinable percentage interest in it (since it’s a discretionary trust). So until you actually receive a distribution, there is nothing for you to report, nothing for you to pay tax on and nothing a potential lawsuit creditor can hope to take from you. And, having no living connection to the US, the trust is as far beyond the orbit of any conceivable US gold seizure or currency controls as the former planet Pluto.

One Toe over the Line
It’s a long way from walking into the local coin shop and buying a few one-tenth-ounce gold Eagles to setting up a trust in a foreign country. But the distance isn’t nearly as great as you might imagine, and it will get shorter both in fact and in apprehension with each step you take.

As you move up the ladder, you’ll learn about the reporting requirements for US taxpayers. Rung 1 (gold coins in your pocket) entails no reporting, nor does Rung 8 until you actually receive a distribution. Rung 5 (foreign real estate) also is free of reporting requirements, at least for now. But under rules in effect now or soon to come, everything else covered in this article entails filing a form with the US government. The most reliable way to make sure that you stay within the rules, so that internationalization adds to your safety and not to your problems, is to let your accountant know what you are doing. Keep him informed, so that he can see to it that all the reporting requirements are satisfied.

END

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