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 Strategies & Market Trends | The Financial Collapse of 2001 and Beyond


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From: elmatador11/27/2011 2:37:37 AM
1 Recommendation   of 108205
 
Pacific Life spurs possible trade finance sea change
By Anthony Kim

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is developing guidelines for regulators that would eventually allow insurance companies to become major investors in trade finance, according to two sources at the industry group that declined to be named.

The shift, which would be a first for the trade finance industry as a whole, comes at a time when new regulations arising from “Basel III” threaten to constrain the lending ability of banks, which have traditionally been the only source of trade finance. And with roughly USD 6.5 trillion in assets under management, the US insurance sector could become major players in the trade finance space. However, these changes are not a direct response to the banking regulations coming into place.

Addition by Elmat:
John Ahearn, global head of trade at Citi, observes: “Those banks that are selling are taking enormous haircuts on some of these assets in order to get them off of their books. So people are looking at trade and asking – if it is such a great asset class then why is this happening? Why are banks putting their trade assets up for sale, or their export and agency finance businesses? Well, a lot of this has to do with the impact of Basel III.”

Discussions at the NAIC, a research and support organization comprised of insurance regulators, began last year after Pacific Life Insurance reached out to a state regulator about permitting trade finance assets as an investment for the major California-based life insurer as well as the insurance industry.

Pacific Life CFO and CIO Khanh Tran said the insurer became aware of the opportunity that trade finance as an asset class presented nearly a decade ago, when one of its subsidiaries enjoyed great success in that line of business. Returns were good and there were no defaults, he said, even through the market crash in 2007-2008. After several years of monitoring this business, Pacific Life launched a pilot program for the life insurance business around the end of 2009 and beginning of 2010, Tran said.

“Most people think of trade finance as perhaps lending to less than high quality borrowers,” the executive said. “The program we developed here is geared toward investment grade obligors.”

Trade finance can be loosely defined as the funds that enable the movement of goods and services across international borders. For example, a US company that is owed USD 5m for a large shipment of machinery to Brazil can receive an upfront payment of USD 4.8m from a bank for the accounts receivable. The company takes a discount on what’s owed to it but has immediate access to cash, while the bank waits for the buyer to make good on a the payment depending on the length of the contract.

This system is widely-expected to be disrupted by the above-mentioned Basel III banking industry regulations which will be phased in from next year. Traditionally, a bank would hold the trade-related debt on its books until it is paid off. However, the new regulations could make it more costly for banks to do so.

“If what we think is happening in the regulatory environment continues, then banks will scale back lending and by doing so it could potentially impact global trade,” said Robert Miller, a managing director for specialist investment manager Conning & Company. “In many ways, trade finance is a necessary enabling vehicle”

Conning has been active in providing comments to the NAIC regarding trade finance, said Miller. The firm has roughly USD 80bn in assets and has about 110 insurance clients that have expressed a great deal of interest in investing in trade finance, Miller said. Its aims are to expand its role as a third party asset manager and credit researcher for insurance companies.

Insurance companies ‘ideal’ trade finance investors

Insurance companies would be ideal investors in trade finance, Miller said. Trade has historically low default rates with annual yields comparable to investment grade corporate debt, Miller said. Trade finance is also usually lent on a floating rate basis, providing interest rate risk protection, and does not have the trading volatility of liquid corporate debt, he said.

While the NAIC is an organization comprised of insurance regulators, it is not a governing body. The insurance industry is largely regulated at the state level, but the federal government also has rules that the industry follows. That said, the NAIC has a lot of governing bodies to work with before it makes a formal recommendation. The group’s next annual meeting is in March, but it may make progress before then, said the two NAIC sources.

The response from the industry has so far been positive and the NAIC continues to make progress on developing recommendations and guidelines, the sources said.

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From: elmatador11/27/2011 2:46:45 AM
   of 108205
 
This weekend I'm looking into changes in Trade Finance and Project Finance as a result of Basel III.

If Trade Finance money dires up interborder commerce stops. Trade finance is one of the oldest forms of banking and despite its many attractive characteristics, has never taken off as an investment for money managers.
ft.com

If Project Finance stops Elmat pole climbing income source dries up too.

As banks get squeezed by Basel III capital requirements http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basel_III they are forced to get out of some sectors and sell out.

Last week I looked as banks pulled out of Eastern Europe in response to Basel III altjough they do not openly say that was the exact reason.

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From: elmatador11/27/2011 2:54:59 AM
   of 108205
 
At its core, trade finance is a loan that funds the sale or purchase of goods across borders. The structure of that loan can take many shapes – including letters of credit, factoring, direct lending and, in recent years, supply chain finance - but the practice is as old as banking itself, reaching back to ancient times. Kowit, a financial history enthusiast, pointed out that sections in the Code of Hammurabi lay out rules governing trade finance.

Unlike corporate debt, which has the tendency to fund speculative buyouts or be used for “general corporate purposes,” trade finance is almost always tied to a specific transaction – for example, the export of a couple containers of machinery from the US to China or the shipment of entire boat load of soy beans from Brazil to the US. In that sense, trade finance loans are both collateralized and self-liquidating. Once the sale is complete, the loan is paid off.

Global trade volumes are projected to rise to USD 150 trillion in 2030 from about USD 37 trillion last year, according to a June economic outlook report from Citigroup. In the US, the Obama administration announced in 2009 its aim to double the country’s exports in five years, bringing export volume to roughly USD 3.14 trillion by 2015. And nearly all of those transactions will need financing.

At the same time, Basel III, a set of new global banking regulations that start to phase in next year, could constrain the ability of traditional banks to finance the movement of goods across borders. The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, the governing body that sets the standards, allowed for slightly less restrictive capital requirements for trade finance in late October, but regulations governing other forms of banking – such as swaps – could impact the overall capacity of banks to lend to international trade transactions.

Federated Investors pitching trade finance strategy
By Anthony Kim

Trade finance is one of the oldest forms of banking and despite its many attractive characteristics, has never taken off as an investment for money managers.

Federated Investors, the Pittsburgh-based investment manager with around USD 350bn in assets, is aiming to change that dynamic. Robert Kowit, the firm’s senior vice president responsible for the trade finance initiative, said that Federated would pursue outside institutional investors for a trade finance strategy it has honed and perfected over the last six years.

At its core, trade finance is a loan that funds the sale or purchase of goods across borders. The structure of that loan can take many shapes – including letters of credit, factoring, direct lending and, in recent years, supply chain finance - but the practice is as old as banking itself, reaching back to ancient times. Kowit, a financial history enthusiast, pointed out that sections in the Code of Hammurabi lay out rules governing trade finance.

The traditional source of trade finance has been banks, with the large bulge bracket firms financing large military sales or massive commodity shipments while the smaller regional banks fund local manufacturers. And it has been an attractive asset class for banks.

Unlike corporate debt, which has the tendency to fund speculative buyouts or be used for “general corporate purposes,” trade finance is almost always tied to a specific transaction – for example, the export of a couple containers of machinery from the US to China or the shipment of entire boat load of soy beans from Brazil to the US. In that sense, trade finance loans are both collateralized and self-liquidating. Once the sale is complete, the loan is paid off.

And if there is a default, for example if a buyer refused to post payment for the shipped goods, the lender can simply sell those goods elsewhere to be made whole. But trade transactions rarely get to the point of a default, said Kowit. There are a number of safeguards that are normally put into place to protect the lender.

“The thing that makes trade finance so unique is the transactions are in place aimed at mitigating very specific slices of risk,” Kowit said. Insurance is taken out against the damage of the goods while they are being shipped, collateral monitoring agents are hired to look after the goods while they are being warehoused and back-up off takers are found in case the original buyer balks and refuses to pay, said Kowit. And every slice of insurance is paid for by the importer and exporter, not the lender, Kowit said.

Trade loans also have shorter tenors, decreasing the duration risk for investors. Depending on the sector, the average payment period runs between 90 to 120 days with longer transactions taking 18 months before they are paid off.

Even with the short duration, trade finance loans are usually lent on a floating rate basis, which can offer investors interest rate risk over time.

Default rate lower than all other forms of debt

Trade finance loans are historically considered safer investments and thus have narrower yields than leveraged loans or high-yield bonds. However, trade finance was actually yielding higher than leverage loans at the height of the market before loans started to sell off in 2007, Kowit said. Even so, the default rate for trade finance remained lower than all other forms of debt, he said, adding that the strategy’s returns have been good.

Between 2005 and 2009, only 1,089 trade finance transactions defaulted out of 5.2m transactions from nine leading international lenders, for a default rate of about 0.02%, according to a study conducted by the International Chamber of Commerce and the Asian Development Bank. This is comparable to the long-term average default rate for companies rated AA by S&P, according to a report by UK-based Equity Development in April this year.

Federated’s internally run strategy was up 2.06% for 3Q11, Kowit said. The strategy is up 5.43% year-to-date, up 6.95% for the one-year-trailing period and is up 6.95% since its inception in April 2010, he said.

So why, then, has trade finance never been a popular investment asset despite these advantages?

According to Kowit, the problem has always been “mechanical.” By this he was referring to the relatively large amount of paperwork documenting these transactions and the employees that keep track of that paper, otherwise known as the “back office” in the financial industry.

The business is not easily scalable, as well, Kowit pointed out. A firm can expand its capacity to analyze and invest in trade finance deals, but because many of these deals are small, additional employees can only expand investing capabilities so much. Compare analyzing a trade finance deal, which can often range in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, to the USD 200m minimum value that a typical CLO,analyst would put in place before looking at a deal.

A number of trade bankers who declined to be identified pointed to one key problem which had limited financial institutions’ enthusiasm for the business : the return on investment for the amount of time and work needed to build a sizable and high-yielding portfolio was insufficient. The idea of setting up a system has been around for decades, for sure, but has yet to take off.

Still, Federated Investors began pitching such a strategy to large institutional investors earlier this year. The firm’s biggest advantage, according to Kowit, is its years of experience in the field and the fact that it possesses a team that can monitor every aspect of these trade transactions. Over the last 12 months, Federated Investors has looked at 600 transactions, wrote up analysis on 150 of those and finally invested in about 100, Kowit said.

The new strategy is a version of one that the firm has been running internally since November 2005, which has been open only to its own portfolio managers, Kowit said. Federated Investors made the strategic shift this year to open the strategy to a broader group of institutional investors, including pension funds, insurers and mutual funds, Kowit said.

The strategy is diversified by sector and geography with some duration difference, he said. The firm also targets deals in the Libor + 400bps-600bps range, Kowit said. That is somewhat of a midpoint between the large high-quality deals that typically yield Libor + 60bps-90bps and the smaller high-risk loans that can be priced upwards 10% for less than one year paper, said industry bankers that declined to be named.

The strategic shift comes at an opportune time. Global trade volumes are projected to rise to USD 150 trillion in 2030 from about USD 37 trillion last year, according to a June economic outlook report from Citigroup. In the US, the Obama administration announced in 2009 its aim to double the country’s exports in five years, bringing export volume to roughly USD 3.14 trillion by 2015. And nearly all of those transactions will need financing.

At the same time, Basel III, a set of new global banking regulations that start to phase in next year, could constrain the ability of traditional banks to finance the movement of goods across borders. The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, the governing body that sets the standards, allowed for slightly less restrictive capital requirements for trade finance in late October, but regulations governing other forms of banking – such as swaps – could impact the overall capacity of banks to lend to international trade transactions.

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From: Snowshoe11/27/2011 3:06:54 AM
   of 108205
 
Golly...

Prepare for riots in euro collapse, Foreign Office warns
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/8917077/Prepare-for-riots-in-euro-collapse-Foreign-Office-warns.html

Recent Foreign and Commonwealth Office instructions to embassies and consulates request contingency planning for extreme scenarios including rioting and social unrest.


Greece has seen several outbreaks of civil disorder as its government struggles with its huge debts. British officials think similar scenes cannot be ruled out in other nations if the euro collapses.

Diplomats have also been told to prepare to help tens of thousands of British citizens in eurozone countries with the consequences of a financial collapse that would leave them unable to access bank accounts or even withdraw cash.

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To: Haim R. Branisteanu who wrote (83648)11/27/2011 3:53:41 AM
From: elmatador
   of 108205
 
Banking: China will take the slack.
Chinese lenders are emerging as a major source of funding in international project finance transactions.

Developers in various sectors in Asia, Africa, Australasia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas now routinely consider the option of using Chinese equipment with financing from Chinese lenders.


The most active Chinese lenders in financing projects outside China historically have been the Export-Import Bank of China and China Development Bank. In 2009 and 2010, these two institutions lent at least US$110 billion to developing countries, which was more than the World Bank. Both are state-owned policy banks indirectly focused on funding projects outside China. Policy banks were established to pursue macro policies of the Chinese government. However, China Development Bank is in the process of changing from a policy bank to a commercial bank.

Various other Chinese commercial banks have financed or considered financing international projects. The four largest Chinese commercial banks — the Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank and Agricultural Bank of China — are now four of the seven largest banks in the world by market capitalization.
Although the structure of Chinese banking is evolving and each Chinese lender has its own traits, there remains a high degree of uniformity in the approach of Chinese lenders.


Practical Considerations

Due to the very large size of Chinese lenders and because their networks are spread over a considerable area even within China, work on project finance transactions is conducted by various branches of each Chinese lender. Where a Chinese lender is providing an export credit facility to facilitate sale of Chinese goods in a project finance transaction, the branch of the Chinese lender involved will typically be the one that works most closely with the relevant Chinese vendor that is supplying the goods. This has the advantage that the branch will understand the relevant sector in which the Chinese vendor operates very well, but there is no one central team within the larger institution that acts as an experienced project finance desk.
The branch may be more familiar with financing of projects within China where some practices are very different. For instance, it is not unusual for Chinese lenders to require a completion guarantee for financings in China. More time may have to be spent with Chinese lenders — including time on the ground in China — educating them than with other international lenders.
The approval process for Chinese lenders can be more time consuming and structured than for other international commercial lenders. For instance, the Export-Import Bank of China and China Development Bank are usually only able to complete their final approval processes when all the contracts have been agreed. This means that the financing agreements will not be able to be signed as soon as they are agreed.
Chinese lenders will usually have the benefit of a Sinosure insurance policy in international projects where Chinese lenders are financing the purchase of equipment or other goods from Chinese manufacturers. Sinosure, which is short for China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation, is China’s policy-oriented insurance company specializing in export credit insurance.
Larger Sinosure transactions require the approval of the State Council, which is the executive arm of the Chinese government. This can potentially take a number of months.
The policies of the Chinese central bank — called the People’s Bank of China — remain of central importance for Chinese lenders. This is not necessarily a negative influence at present. The People’s Bank of China remains supportive of Chinese lenders lending overseas. The policies of central banks in many developed countries, such as implementation of Basel III, are forcing many western banks to reduce their lending.
Types of Projects Financed
Since the 1990s, projects have been financed within China across a range of sectors. The sectors include power, transportation, and mining and metals projects.
The first wave of Chinese lending outside China by Chinese policy institutions — the Export-Import Bank of China and China Development Bank — reflected Chinese government policy of using economic assistance as a key foreign policy tool. For instance, during 2009, China EXIM and China Development Bank provided US$60 billion facilities for oil to Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Russia and Venezuela that furthered the Chinese government’s aim of securing supplies of vital natural resources for the resource-hungry Chinese economy.
With Chinese lender entrance into the broader project finance market, Chinese lenders have been prepared to consider financing projects in developed countries as well as emerging market countries, including India, The Philippines, Oman, Botswana, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Guyana.
Chinese lenders are prepared to lend much higher amounts to a wider range of countries than other international lenders.
This difference is most marked with regard to various emerging markets.
For instance, China Minsheng Banking Corporation, which is a large commercial Chinese bank, earlier this year offered to provide a project finance facility for the development of a US$600 million alumina facility in Laos. This alumina facility is being developed by a joint venture of Orde River Resources of Australia and Non-Ferrous Metal Industry’s Foreign Engineering & Construction of China.
The project finance structures in which Chinese lenders are prepared to lend has significantly evolved during the last few years. Initially and for many years, Chinese lenders focused on lending to projects in China where the sponsors and other parties would be all Chinese or a mixture of Chinese and non-Chinese parties.
When Chinese lenders started to lend outside China, their initial focus was financing projects where most of the key parties were Chinese, but this has since evolved so they will now lend to projects where even only one party is Chinese (for example, where equipment is supplied by a Chinese vendor or there is a Chinese investor).
More recently, they have been prepared to contemplate lending to projects where none of the parties is Chinese. For instance, the Nakilat Phase III LNG project sponsored by Qatar Gas Transport required US$949 million in debt facilities for construction of 25 ocean vessels specially designed to transport LNG from Qatar’s North Field. Bank of China and China EXIM each provided a US$200 million facility as part of the US$949 million facilities. There are no Chinese sponsors, vendors or offtakers (although, like many others, Chinese parties do purchase LNG from Qatar).
However, it will remain an anomaly to see Chinese banks financing deals in which there is no other tie to China. For instance, at the end of 2010, CLP successfully refinanced US$288 million of the debt for the 1,320-megawatt Jhajjar coal-fired power project in India. This involved replacing some of the debt that was to be provided by Indian lenders with a Sinosure-backed export credit facility provided by China EXIM and China Development Bank together with another facility provided by other international commercial lenders. In this project, the construction contractor is the Chinese company Shandong Electric.
Diligence by Chinese lenders can take longer than for other lenders if the Chinese lenders have limited experience with the type of project.
Financing Terms
The availability of project finance facilities from international commercial lenders remains different from what it was before the financial crisis in the fall 2008.
In contrast, Chinese lenders continue to have the ability to provide very large facilities and are, therefore, able to fund deals alone or with a very small number of other lenders. This is a very important advantage in dealing with them and avoids the protracted and often difficult nature of a club or syndicated financing.
When lending outside China, Chinese lenders will generally expect their facility agreements to be governed by English law, and the terms and conditions of such facility agreements usually follow market practice within the London banking market.
One benchmark with which Chinese lenders are comfortable is the template financing agreements prepared by the Loan Market Association in London. These forms of agreements have been prepared taking into account the views of key parties involved in the London banking market in a manner that is meant to balance the interests of borrowers and lenders.
Chinese lenders are subject to the policies of the People’s Bank of China as well as, to a degree, those of other parts of the Chinese government. Compared to controls on international lenders in Europe and the United States, those in China are stronger overall. Indeed they may be more analogous to those in other emerging markets. For example, the Reserve Bank of India imposes various controls on the operation of Indian banks. To provide an illustration of such policies, recently the People’s Bank of China has started to promote lending in renminbi outside China, and this practice is likely to become more important as the ongoing re-evaluation of the US dollar and other major currencies continues.
Where the financing is linked to a Chinese equipment supply or other contracts, the terms of the financing will usually include certain terms that reflect this position. For instance, these terms may include a cap tied to the percentage of the Chinese goods that will be financed with the loan facility.
Chinese lenders often have a different risk perspective from other international lenders when considering projects. As a result, they can be more open to accepting solutions that would be more difficult for other international lenders to accept. For instance, on a recent bid for a North African power project, the European sponsors spent many months making limited progress negotiating with European banks, which were concerned about certain of the commercial aspects of the project. Finally the sponsors gave up and turned to Chinese lenders that agreed to provide financing in a matter of weeks, thereby enabling the sponsors to submit a bid in time.

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From: elmatador11/27/2011 4:14:45 AM
   of 108205
 
Europe is a key player in the provision of the letters of credit that are the financial lubricant of global trade and an essential tool of Australia's trade with China.

(Aussies feelling the heat now as Europe banking collapses)

"funding markets have frozen again right now in a post-Lehman style".

(yes, is Basel III the cause)

The direction that is being given by the political classes and the regulators to the European banks is that they have to increase their capital. Their response to that has been to deleverage rather than to raise new capital and thus one of the world's key sources of debt and trade finance has quite suddenly run dry of confidence and capital.

theaustralian.com.au

(why it always has to be me to keep pointing to the real issues in this Thread while the guys here discuss birds used for food?)

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To: Hawkmoon who wrote (83701)11/27/2011 4:32:30 AM
From: TobagoJack
   of 108205
 
Hm, are the nice enough homes transacting in ordos? Answer, yes.
Will the homes be occupied? Yes.
Did the speculators lose money? Yes.
Did the developers lose money? Possibly.
Did the banks lose money? Probably not.
Did the folks who buy at 60-70% discount save money? Yes.
Has progress been made? Certainly.
Are progress made without the sweat n tears of the pioneers? Generally not.
Are the mineralization in that part of the world real? Yeup.
Will the minerals be needed? Yes.
Are miners in Australia making 200k per annum in Australia? Yes.
Will the miners in ordos make some serious money over the next decade plus plus? Certainly.

What is the problem?

Cheers


In the mean time, just went through 270+ e-mails

Just read from stuffed in-tray


On 27 Nov, 2011, at 1:13 AM, F wrote:

Now, more than ever I am convinced that we are doomed.
Hard to believe.

F



On 27 Nov, 2011, at 1:06 AM, B wrote:

Sliding away. Joe Stalin or Chairman Mao would approve:

http://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security/senators-demand-military-lock-american-citizens-battlefield-they-define-being

While nearly all Americans head to family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving, the Senate is gearing up for a vote on Monday or Tuesday that goes to the very heart of who we are as Americans. The Senate will be voting on a bill that will direct American military resources not at an enemy shooting at our military in a war zone, but at American citizens and other civilians far from any battlefield — even people in the United States itself.

Senators need to hear from you, on whether you think your front yard is part of a “battlefield” and if any president can send the military anywhere in the world to imprison civilians without charge or trial.

The Senate is going to vote on whether Congress will give this president—and every future president — the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world. Even Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) raised his concerns about the NDAA detention provisions during last night’s Republican debate. The power is so broad that even U.S. citizens could be swept up by the military and the military could be used far from any battlefield, even within the United States itself.

The worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial provision is in S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act bill, which will be on the Senate floor on Monday. The bill was drafted in secret by Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) and passed in a closed-door committee meeting, without even a single hearing.

I know it sounds incredible. New powers to use the military worldwide, even within the United States? Hasn’t anyone told the Senate that Osama bin Laden is dead, that the president is pulling all of the combat troops out of Iraq and trying to figure out how to get combat troops out of Afghanistan too? And American citizens and people picked up on American or Canadian or British streets being sent to military prisons indefinitely without even being charged with a crime. Really? Does anyone think this is a good idea? And why now?

The answer on why now is nothing more than election season politics. The White House, the Secretary of Defense, and the Attorney General have all said that the indefinite detention provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act are harmful and counterproductive. The White House has even threatened a veto. But Senate politics has propelled this bad legislation to the Senate floor.

But there is a way to stop this dangerous legislation. Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) is offering the Udall Amendment that will delete the harmful provisions and replace them with a requirement for an orderly Congressional review of detention power. The Udall Amendment will make sure that the bill matches up with American values.

In support of this harmful bill, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) explained that the bill will “basically say in law for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield” and people can be imprisoned without charge or trial “American citizen or not.” Another supporter, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) also declared that the bill is needed because “America is part of the battlefield.”

The solution is the Udall Amendment; a way for the Senate to say no to indefinite detention without charge or trial anywhere in the world where any president decides to use the military. Instead of simply going along with a bill that was drafted in secret and is being jammed through the Senate, the Udall Amendment deletes the provisions and sets up an orderly review of detention power. It tries to take the politics out and put American values back in.

In response to proponents of the indefinite detention legislation who contend that the bill “applies to American citizens and designates the world as the battlefield,” and that the “heart of the issue is whether or not the United States is part of the battlefield,” Sen. Udall disagrees, and says that we can win this fight without worldwide war and worldwide indefinite detention.

The senators pushing the indefinite detention proposal have made their goals very clear that they want an okay for a worldwide military battlefield, that even extends to your hometown. That is an extreme position that will forever change our country.

Now is the time to stop this bad idea. Please urge your senators to vote YES on the Udall Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.




On 27 Nov, 2011, at 12:54 AM, F wrote:

Actually, this is one of the more disturbing symptoms of a declining society. Very sad for - I hope - all of us.

F



From: W
Sent: Saturday, November 26, 2011 11:38 PM
Subject: FW: The Economic Collapse

From: On Behalf Of The Economic Collapse
Sent: Saturday, November 26, 2011 6:06 PM
Subject: The Economic Collapse

The Economic Collapse

Black Friday Violence Worse Than Ever As American Consumers Fight Over Deals Crazed Animals
Posted: 25 Nov 2011 12:47 PM PST

We all knew that this was coming, didn't we? Each year Black Friday violence just seems to get worse and worse. What does it say about American consumers when they are willing to fight like crazed animals just to save a few bucks on cheap plastic crap made in China? Not that retailers are innocent in any of this. It certainly seems as though many of them purposely create wild situations on Black Friday where customers will rush like crazy people into their stores and nearly riot as they fight over discounted merchandise. The more Black Friday madness there is, the more of an "event" it becomes, and the higher the profits of the retailers go. This year there was more Black Friday hype than ever and there was also more Black Friday violence than ever. It is being projected that this year a record-setting 152 million Americans will go shopping between Thanksgiving and Sunday night. That may be good news for the big corporate retailers, but the shocking lack of character being displayed by American consumers all over the country this weekend is very bad news for the future of this nation.

Most Americans would agree that there is a tremendous amount of selfishness and greed on Wall Street, but as the videos posted below demonstrate, there is also a tremendous amount of selfishness and greed on "Main Street" as well.

This year, Black Friday violence included robberies, gunfire and shootings, but the most shocking incidents actually happened inside the big retail stores.

For example, as merchandise was being unveiled on Black Friday night at a Wal-Mart in the Los Angeles area, one woman actualy pulled out pepper spray and sprayed it at other customers that were gathered around her.

Did she do this because she felt threatened?

No, according to the Los Angeles Times, authorities say that the woman was just seeking a "competitive" edge.

It is being reported that at least 20 people were affected by the pepper spray.

The pepper spray incident just added to the wild and frenzied atmosphere inside that Wal-Mart last night.

The following is how the Los Angeles Times described the scene....

Employees attempted to hold back the scrum of shoppers and pick up merchandise even as customers trampled the video games and DVDs strewn on the floor.

"It was absolutely crazy," he said.

Another customer said screams erupted after about 100 people waiting in line to snag Xbox gaming consoles and Wii video games got into a shoving match.

Alejandra Seminario, 24, said she was waiting in line to grab some toys at the store around 9:55 p.m. when people the next aisle over started shouting and ripping at the plastic wrap encasing gaming consoles, which was supposed to be opened at 10 p.m.

"People started screaming, pulling and pushing each other, and then the whole area filled up with pepper spray," the Sylmar resident said.

Pepper spray was used at a Wal-Mart on the other side of the country as well. Over in Kinston, North Carolina an off-duty police officer used pepper spray as an unruly shopper was being subdued. Approximately 20 people (including some children) were affected by the pepper spray.

Most Americans are not really concerned over the fact that this country is rapidly heading into the toilet, but they sure will get worked up into a frenzy over some good deals. Just check out the following video that was filmed in California. In the video, a huge crowd can be seen storming the entrance of Urban Outfitters in the Thousand Oaks Mall on Black Friday night....

There are lots of other crazy videos of Black Friday madness on YouTube today as well. Just check out some of the following examples....

*In Fresno, California law enforcement authorities were barely able to keep a stampede at the entrance of one store from turning into a riot.

*In this next video, you can see people going absolutely crazy over memory cards at about the 1:20 mark.

*On Black Friday night, American consumers will riot over just about anything. For example, there was a huge panic over Tupperware at one Wall-Mart last night.

*Of course electronics is probably the hottest category in most stores on Black Friday night. In some areas, the fighting over video games became incredibly intense.

*Some of the worst Black Friday rioting goes on inside Wal-Marts. Just check out this shocking video of what happens inside a Wal-Mart on Black Friday night.

*Also, what happened last night at a Wal-mart Supercenter in Greenville, North Carolina, was nothing short of idiotic.

If this is how the American people will act just to save a few bucks on cheap plastic crap made in foreign countries, how are they going to act when the economy collapses?

If Americans will literally fight each other over saving 20 bucks, what is going to happen someday when millions of them don't know where their next meal is going to come from?

Thankfully the economy is still in good enough shape that most Americans can participate in these orgies of consumerism. But the reality is that the global financial system is in a massive amount of trouble, and it looks like we could be on the verge of another global financial collapse.

Do the American people have enough character to be able to deal with a full-blown economic depression?

In a recent article entitled "22 Signs That The Thin Veneer Of Civilization That We All Take For Granted Is Starting To Disappear", I commented on the declining character of the American people....

Instead of teaching our children to love and care for one another, we have taught them to be incredibly self-involved. Today, way too many Americans deeply love themselves, deeply love money and are deeply addicted to entertainment. Each new generation seems to be even more prideful, even more arrogant and even more violent. As a nation, we are losing our empathy for others, our compassion for the needy and our respect for the elderly. Our family units are breaking down and thousands of our communities are being transformed into hellholes.

Over the past several decades, the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world has enabled us to enjoy unprecedented prosperity. But it has been a "false prosperity", and it is frightening to think about what America is going to look like when the good times finally end.

The other thing that is really disturbing about Black Friday is the fact that the vast majority of the products that Americans are fighting over are made overseas.

As I pointed out recently, 23 manufacturing facilities were shut down every single day in the United States last year.

Since 2001, the U.S. has lost a total of more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities.

This country is bleeding jobs, bleeding businesses and bleeding wealth at a pace that is nearly impossible to fully grasp.

We are becoming poorer as a nation every single day, and yet Americans are seemingly more enamored with consumerism than ever before.

Most Americans could not care less about where something was made. The only thing that matters to them is how cheap it is.

It doesn't matter to them that a record-setting 2.6 million Americans slipped into poverty last year or that there are 10 percent fewer middle class jobs in America today than there were a decade ago.

We have become a nation that is so self-centered that it is hard to find the words to describe it.

Rather than caring about what is good for America, most of us only care about what is good for ourselves.

The madness that we see every Black Friday is just one more sign that our society is coming apart at the seams.

America has become a nation that is absolutely saturated with greed. Unfortunately, all of that greed is going to make the hard economic times that are coming much, much more painful.








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To: Haim R. Branisteanu who wrote (83676)11/27/2011 4:47:08 AM
From: TobagoJack
   of 108205
 
Just read from less stuffed in-tray

On 26 Nov, 2011, at 5:43 PM, HM wrote:

the whole thing will start in 2013: first a one-off tax on all offshore assets of 19-34% (depending on how long they have been undisclosed). then 26% withholding tax on all dividends, interest and capital gains.

http://www.pwc.ch/de/dyn_output.html?content.cdid=27158&content.vcname=newsletter_seite&collectionpageid=558&backLink=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.pwc.ch%2Fde%2Fpublikationen%2Fnewsletter%2Fbreakingtaxnews.html

i suppose the german account holders will act before that date. i guess the big money will move to singapore branches of swiss banks (and maybe still manage the whole thing from zürich). the retail customers might move to austria.



From: M
Sent: Saturday, November 26, 2011 3:58 AM
Subject: Comments - Week of November 28

Anyone notice this?
Is this new?
It would seem to me that many Germans would be taking a trip to Singapore now....
Or are the Germans running it through Cayman Companies to disguise their underlying domicile?

M


Oct 24 (Reuters) - Swiss officials met with their Greek counterparts on Thursday for initial talks about taxing money stashed away by wealthy Greeks in secret Alpine accounts.

Greece is eyeing a tax deal similar to the ones Switzerland has clinched recently with Germany and Britain to help plug the yawning hole in its finances that threatens the euro zone.

Strict secrecy has helped Switzerland build up a $2 trillion offshore financial sector, but in recent years the country has faced an international campaign against tax evasion as cash-strapped governments seek to boost revenue.

Michael Ambuehl, who heads Switzerland's State Secretariat for International Financial Matters (SIF) met with his Greek counterpart Ilias Plaskovitis in Berne, the SIF said.

"The aim is to regularise the assets held by Greek taxpayers in Swiss bank accounts in the past as well as to introduce a tax at source on future investment income,' the SIF said.

"Switzerland would forward the tax revenue to the Greek authorities on an anonymous basis."

The two government will decide in coming weeks on formally starting negotiations, the SIF also said.

Berne has struck deals with Berlin and London in recent months to regularise offshore assets of Germans and Britons via a withholding tax that allows banking secrecy to be preserved.

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To: TobagoJack who wrote (83720)11/27/2011 4:55:25 AM
From: elmatador
   of 108205
 
There are American citizens and there American passport holders. The law is not meant for John Smith who lives in Bethesda, MD: Its Muhammad and Mustafa who had got US passports.

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To: Follies who wrote (83680)11/27/2011 5:16:12 AM
From: Maurice Winn
2 Recommendations   of 108205
 
Yes, make sure you are in the right country. <Are you in Auckland? I plan to be there in April. We will be cruising up the east coast then renting a car and spending 2 or 3 weeks driving around the interior. Any suggestions? > You can't really spend 2 or 3 weeks driving around the interior of New Zealand. Maybe you are thinking of Australia which has an east coast for cruising up and plenty of interior for weeks or months of driving in.

If you are going to be in NZ, late Feb and first half of March are the best time. April gets a bit murky but is still pretty good much of the time.


Mqurice

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