Adonis Diaries

Archive for April 4th, 2009

No more Caches for Fiscal Evaders (March 27, 2009)

The financial havoc has generated another capital consequence.

All these tiny islands and tiny States that were the heavens of offshore companies where money were stashed away to avoid taxes are no longer safe havens.

The safe heavens were pressured to enact laws that permit any State government to investigate accounts that were immune under “banking secrecy regulations“.

There are five main regions were these safe heavens concentrated their activities.

First, the Caribbean islands of about 14 of them, singly or set of smaller islands, are: Turks, Caicos, Anguilla, and Montserrat (controlled by Britain), then Virgin Islands (controlled by the USA, then Aruba and Antilles (controlled by the Netherlands, then the Bahamas, Caimans, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominic, Sainte Lucie, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Grenada, Panama City, and Belize.

Second, in Europe we got the city of Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Isle of Man, Isles of Guernsey and Jersey, Gibraltar, Monaco, Saint Marin, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Cyprus, and Switzerland.

Third, in the Far East we have: Tonga, Vanuatu, Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Fourth, in the Arab Gulf we have: Dubai and Bahrain.

Fifth, in East Africa we have: Maurice, Seychelles Republic, Maldives, and then Liberia in West Africa.

For example, the Caribbean islands and particularly the Caimans has residency for 70% of hedge funds and manage about 2 $ trillion or 2,000 billions; Jersey Island is the prime British offshore center and managing 300 billions; Liechtenstein with 165 billions; Switzerland with two trillions of offshore money or the third of the world’s caches and which generate a third of the State’s income. The safe havens in the Virgin Islands are mostly invested in China.

Now most of these safe havens are in the process of regulating their financial activities because most States want the money of their citizens repatriated in order to be taxed.

The problem is that the fiscal laws in most States are so exorbitant and complicated that it is not worth repatriating any money. People are just waiting for lenient and simple fiscal laws to be enacted before they get the courage to transfer their money to their home states.

For example, taking into account penalties on bad faith (40%), interests in arrears, tax on revenue, social contribution and other rights and penalties a French citizen having one million dollars in Switzerland should expect to pay 1,300,000 dollars, far more than what he has saved in the safe haven.

France has evaluated to 20 billions dollars of lost revenue is fiscal fraud, which amount to the total budget for the department of Research and higher Education.

The case of Switzerland banking secrecy laws started in 1934. In 1932, France confiscated from the Commercial Bank of Bale ten books containing 2000 French clients; the socialist deputy Fabien Albertin divulged the names of the clients representing a wide spectrum of influential personalities from magistrates, to ministers, to deputies, and to bishops. The State of Switzerland reacted.

Only in 1998 did the wall of banking secrecy fall in Switzerland when the US exercised pressures to recoup 1.25 billions dollars saved by Jewish families during the Nazi period.

There are four criteria to categorize a State as a fiscal paradise:

First, absence or lack of fiscal laws;

second, lack of transparency;

third, the economy cannot support that much funds (basically, a post office State); and

fourth, refusal to exchange judicial and fiscal information.

Try to take a Nap

Siesta: Try it (March 27, 2009)

In many States, the siesta interval is official and sacred; commercial stores and public offices close from around 1 to 4 p.m. (give or take an hour) before resuming their jobs until eight.

Siesta means to sleep for an hour after lunch and relax in the shade until the heat of the day subsides.

In Africa, South and Central America, and Spain appreciate siesta resting period.

I recall that when my parents, working in Africa, visited us on summers forced siesta on us kids; it was a struggle to makes us just lay in bed. Kids would never feel the need for siesta. The rest of us should start experimenting with a resting period in bed after lunch.

Those that encourage napping for just 15 minutes because more than that it no longer beneficial… well, I don’t trust them; they either never tried a 15 minutes nap or they are trying not to alienate the Anglo-Saxon readers and maintaining their credibility.

A short nap sitting on a chair or a sofa is not what I have in mind. I recall that I had meetings with tenure track professors at 1 p.m. and they kept dozing during the meetings. I comprehended perfectly well their need for siesta but I could never reconcile insisting on scheduling meetings after lunch when they could enjoy a well deserved siesta.

Those who claim that daylight is reserved to working are hypocrites; they forget that since time immemorial the worker in the field used to sit under a large fig tree or grape vines and take well deserved naps under the shade.

Workers used to start before dawn and end their day at sunset, more than 12 hours work but they enjoyed extended breaks at meal times.

Those who regard employees taking naps as lazy workers are hypocrites: they simple want to exercise repressions.

I recall once during secondary school that I had barely a nap for 5 minutes after lunch (we lived at walking distance from school) and I woke up as if I slumbered in for three hours with dreams and all. That was an exception because it never recurred and that is why I can recall it so vividly.

Siesta or enjoying a nap means to lay in bed, having a blanket spread over your head, and closing your eyes and not feeling worried that you might sleep for two hours. How can anyone claim to nap when he is constrained with time and in tight schedule?

When it rains or it feels cold I enjoy a good two hours siesta with dreams; usually, I had started my day before 5:30 a.m. I realized that if I don’t take siesta within 15 minutes from lunch then I cannot sleep: it seems that my brain has recovered from the slumber of the meal and it is crowded with ideas to write down; all that I do is get in bed, cover my head with the blanket and close my eyes for an hour to rest my body; that goes also when I have a bowel movement because I feel too relaxed and good afterward and don’t need to fall asleep, even if I decide otherwise.

If you try a good one hour nap in bed then you find out that you are fresh and ready for productive eight hours of steady work. I blame those who have to succumb to the dictatorship of management for preventing well deserved naps.

I know that the afternoon tasks are the worst in accuracy, productivity, and good will. You have the impression that what the morning produced was the most essential and the remainder of the day work is an official incarceration, like school kids being punished for truancy.

I never trusted the professionalism of those who submit to drive more than 30 minutes to work and return to work immediately after lunch breaks; unless they can afford to rent a studio close to work for well deserved lunch breaks and isolation.

I am amused with all the funds extended to researchers for rediscovering the wheel that lunch naps go a long way to recovering sanity, health, and productivity.

Ye, stiff-necked Levantine. April 4, 2009

We Need you to Walk the Walk of the Free (April 2, 2009)

There are millions upon millions of Lebanese in the Diaspora.

Since the civil war in 1975, anyone who could borrow for a plane ticket immigrated.

In the city of Sao Paulo in Brazil there are more Lebanese descendents than all Lebanese citizens. Many boldly declared that they have cut the bridges and burned the ships, never to return to their homeland, as if infamy was a badge of honor.

This tiny land that was coveted by hundreds of Empires for its milk and honey; this land that exported to the world olive oil, wine, and dried fruit; this land that built cities and created the alphabet; this land that manufactured and roamed the seas and oceans and transacted with every people is reaching bottom.

This land of water and cool sources has no longer potable water.

International Zionism never relinquished its zeal to bust our doors and sap our energy and determination, even after being defeated twice in less than a decade.

This land that exported highly cultured and educated people is reduced to graduating sectarian, uncouth and poorly cultured new generations that barely can read or write.

We don’t want you to come and talk the talk of the sectarian.

We don’t want you to behave the pessimist and defeatist.

We need you to come and walk the walk of the free; to experience the harsh life of the brave, to participate in our miseries, to revolt and to change and reform a tiny Nation that led the world for millennia.

You in the Diaspora, you might have earned individual successes, medals, honors, or riches but you can never erase a tiny dot of the huge and ugly blotch that scars your forehead.

As long as your homeland is humiliated, shriveled, and under-developed among the nations then this scar will be prominent on your forehead and on your descendents’ because you bare a large part of the responsibility for our degradation and instability.

We need you to bolster the fainthearted who dream ever harder to inflating the rank of the Diaspora.

We need you to come and prevent those hot air arrogant bourgeois from taking away the weapons of the steadfast, brave, and resisting patriots.

“Ye, stiff-necked Levantine; ye the uncircumcised in heart, ears, and tongue. My curses are on you and your descendents in the Diaspora to the end of time.

Ye, blasphemous Levantine, wizen up; never dare take my curse lightly!”


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

April 2009
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