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New thug-like behavior from major banks becoming the norm

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It seems that the veil of civility and professionalism hiding the criminal antics of the big banks is now coming crashing down in an open display of blatant fascism and tyranny backed up by violence and threats to the average consumer wronged by them on a daily basis.

It has been reported from all around the country that the big banks are now openly engaging in far-flung conspiracies geared and designed to increase their financial bottom line at their customers’ expense, such as hitting people with finance charges and fees of sometimes $200 or more, orchestrating business client credit card chargebacks and debits withdrawing and removing tons of cash from their bank accounts without giving them enough time or due process to respond or provide proof of an authorized charge, coupled with credit card merchant services holding this type of ill-gotten cash for 90 days or more while allegedly collecting and keeping the ill-gotten interest skimmed thereon while it sits in their own escrow accounts, purposefully staffing their bank branches and customer service departments with un-trained, un- informed, rude, belligerent, arrogant, and frankly stupid staff, literally designed to make small problems worse, failing to obey stop payments or ACH transactions even if you pay for them, freezing or blocking access to your own accounts even for routine debit card or banking transactions, forcing you to have a very limited dollar amount daily withdrawal on your own money and your accounts, coordinating with the federal and state governments to sometimes penalize or report you criminally for exercising your God-given right to access and use your own hard-earned money, summarily canceling or closing your account while blacklisting you or your business within their own bank if you protest, but then also sharing any derogatory information with other banks even if the etiology of any problems with the bank was their own fault, and otherwise treating their customers in an overly paternalistic and arrogant fashion with regards to their customers’ own money, blocking and labeling them as “troublemakers” if they bother to complain or report their gross misconduct to the “relevant authorities” such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), whose high crimes and misdemeanors will be discussed later below in this article.

As was stated above, the CFPB was ostensibly created by the President Obama Administration to protect banking customers from predatory behavior from these big banks, but upon further scrutiny one finds that the most “bank protecting” administration in history under former Attorney General Eric Holder, would never create an agency or entity which could actually “help” the People against the tyranny of the Banks, until you actually observe and watch how the CFPB handles complaints by the average banking customer, and why they are going after small Pay-Day loan companies which actually assist the poor to pay their bills and buy food, and otherwise hang on for dear life.

When a pissed off banking consumer files a complaint with the CFPB online, it immediately goes to the bank itself. That’s when the magic happens – more often than not, the bank takes this complaint and proceeds to assign one of their countless high-powered, overly educated, obscenely paid in-house lawyers or big law firms to absolutely obliterate and destroy your complaint, using all sorts of arcane and esoteric banking law terminology, from both this country and others, in order to absolutely blow your complaint out of the water.

They don’t focus on what was morally, ethically, or even legally wrong about their conduct, they in fact simply regurgitate the countless myriad piles of unclear, inconclusive, and cleverly hidden banking laws and exceptions to show that, in fact, their unethical, immoral, and criminal banking behavior is completely and totally protected under the current state of the banking laws.

Since the big banks write the laws that regulate their own industry, which are then introduced and passed by their paid for and bought off congressional and senatorial “whores” in the US legislature, they clearly have the “home turf advantage,” since many of their defense lawyers spent a significant amount of time on Capitol Hill as interns and representatives actually jamming through and enacting these unfair and immoral banking laws in the first place, and are the only ones who know how to use all of the hidden and clandestine “loop-holes” in the first place.

Crimes and acts which would, on their face, absolutely horrify and shock the average banking customer from anywhere around the world, such as the specific acts and actions described above, are simply laundered, cleaned, ironed and pressed to present you with a nice clean, finished defense product, unfortunately without a nice little bow, and is evidently a governmentally-sanctioned and approved criminal act.

You are expected to swallow their response, and accept it and go away with your tail between your legs. To add insult to injury, this big bank then quietly etches and notates your full name, social security number, business tax ID number, address, and other confidential banking information, and blackballs and blacklists you from ever doing business with their bank again, and then proceeds to share this defamatory, slanderous, and libelous information with all of the other banks, thus rendering you unable to obtain another bank account, ever again.

You have now been relegated to “bankers no-mans land,” a stateless, vile creature doomed to walk the earth, clutching filthy dirty dollars in your hand, dropping coins here and there while dodging the IRS and law enforcement as a potential “terrorist” who must pay for everything with cash, having no records for any of your transactions for tax reporting purposes or accounting, or being outright refused service from vendors who will only accept a debit/credit card or check as payment for their services, and not cash.

This “banking blacklist,” akin to Dante’s Inferno, is the hell you have been banished to for ever questioning the banks, and their outright and totally shameless plundering of you and your hard- earned money.

And if you are truly stupid enough to protest further, you will invariably be reported to their banking security “thugs” who will promptly take you aside physically if you dare to enter a bank branch, or will call you on your personal cellphone from a blocked number threatening you with any number of physical, emotional, or psychological threats designed to keep you afraid, and keep you in line.

Such is the current state of the Rothschild Central Banking criminal empire, and it is only going to get worse, so long as “whitewashing” entities masquerading as regulatory agencies such as the cowardly and traitorous CFPB are manning the gates.

Rinse, lather and repeat for the FTC Antitrust Division and behemoth monopolies such as Google for whom they protect and interfere with investigation/prosecution for their myriad criminal acts against the People with search engine manipulation and other anti-trust violations, but that is another story, and grist for another article.

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Economy

The Blazing Revival of Bitcoin: BITO ETF Debuts as the Second-Highest Traded Fund

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It seems like bitcoin is as resilient as a relentless pandemic: persistent and refusing to stay down. Not long ago, the crypto-giant lost more than half of its valuation in the aftermath of a brutal crackdown by China. Coupled with pessimism reflected by influencers like Elon Musk, the bitcoin plummeted from the all-time high valuation of $64,888.99 to flirt around the $30,000 mark in mere weeks. However, over the course of the last four months, the behemoth of the crypto-market gradually climbed to reclaim its supremacy. Today, weaving through national acceptance to market recognition, bitcoin could be the gateway to normalizing the elusive crypto-world in the traditional global markets: particularly the United States.

The recent bullish development is the launch of the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF – the first Bitcoin-linked exchange-traded fund – on the New York Stock Exchange. Trading under the ticker BITO, the Bitcoin ETF welcomed a robust trading day: rising 4.9% to $41.94. According to the data compiled by Bloomberg, BITO’s debut marked it as the second-highest traded fund, behind BlackRock’s Carbon fund, for the first day of trading. With a turnover of almost $1 billion, the listing of BITO highlighted the demand for reliable investment in bitcoin in the US market. According to estimates on Tuesday, More than 24 million shares changed hands while BITO was one of the most-bought assets on Fidelity’s platform with more than 8,800 buy orders.

The bitcoin continued to rally, cruising over the lucrative launch of BITO. The digital currency rose to $64,309.33 on Tuesday: less than 1% below the all-time high valuation. In hindsight, the recovery seems commendable. The growing acceptance, albeit, has far more consequential attributes. The cardinal benefit is apparent: evidence of gradual acceptance by regulators. “The launch of ProShares’ bitcoin ETF on the NYSE provides the validation that some investors need to consider adding BTC to their portfolio,” stated Hong Fang, CEO of Okcoin. In simpler terms, not only would the listing allow relief to the crypto loyalists (solidifying their belief in the currency), but it would also embolden investors on the sidelines who have long been deterred by regulatory uncertainty. Thus, bringing larger, more rooted institutional investors into the crypto market: along with a surge of capital.

However, the surging acceptance may be diluting the rudimentary phenomenon of bitcoin. While retail investors would continue to participate in the notorious game of speculation via trading bitcoin, the opportunity to gain indirect exposure to bitcoin could divert the risk-averse investors. It means many loyalists could retract and direct towards BITO and other imminent bitcoin-linked ETFs instead of setting up a digital custodianship. Ultimately, it boils down to Bitcoin ETFs being managed by third parties instead of the investor: relenting control to a centralized figure. Moreover, with growing scrutiny under the eye of SECP, the steps vaguely intimate a transition to harness the market instead of liberalizing it: quiet oxymoronic to the entire decentralized model of cryptocurrencies.

Nonetheless, the listing of BITO is an optimistic development that would draw skeptics to at least observe the rampant popularity of the asset class. While the options on BITO are expected to begin trading on the NYSE Arca Options and NYSE American Options exchanges on Wednesday, other futures-based Bitcoin ETFs are on the cards. The surging popularity (and reluctant acceptance) amid tightening regulation could prove a turn of an era for the US capital markets. However, as some critics have cited, BITO is not a spot-based ETF and is instead linked to futures contracts. Thus, the restrain is still present as the regulators do not want a repeat of the financial crisis. Nevertheless, bitcoin has proved its deterrence in the face of skepticism. And if the BITO launch is to be marveled at, then the regulations are bound to adapt to the revolution that is unraveling in the modern financial reality.

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Economy

Is Myanmar an ethical minefield for multinational corporations?

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Business at a crossroads

Political reforms in Myanmar started in November 2010 followed by the release of the opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and ended by the coup d’état in February 2021. Business empire run by the military generals thanks to the fruitful benefits of democratic transition during the last decade will come to an end with the return of trade and diplomatic sanctions from the western countries – United States (US) and members of European Union (EU).  US and EU align with other major international partners quickly responded and imposed sanctions over the military’s takeover and subsequent repression in Myanmar. These measures targeted not only the conglomerates of the military generals  but also the individuals who have been appointed in the authority positions and supporting the military regime.

However, the generals and their cronies own the majority of economic power both in strategic sectors ranging from telecommunication to oil & gas and in non-strategic commodity sectors such as food and beverages, construction materials, and the list goes on. It is a tall order for the investors to do business by avoiding this lucrative network of the military across the country. After the coup, it raises the most puzzling issue to investors and corporate giants in this natural resource-rich country, “Should I stay or Should I go?”

Crimes against humanity

For most of the people in the country, war crimes and atrocities committed by the military are nothing new. For instances, in 1988, student activists led a political movement and tried to bring an end to the military regime of the general Ne Win. This movement sparked a fire and grew into a nationwide uprising in a very short period but the military used lethal force and slaughtered thousands of civilian protestors including medical doctors, religious figures, student leaders, etc. A few months later, the public had no better options than being silenced under barbaric torture and lawless killings of the regime.

In 2007, there was another major protest called ‘Saffron Uprising’ against the military regime led by the Buddhist monks. It was actually the biggest pro-democracy movement since 1988 and the atmosphere of the demonstration was rather peaceful and non-violent before the military opened live ammunitions towards the crowd full of monks. Everything was in chaos for a couple of months but it ended as usual.

In 2017, the entire world witnessed one of the most tragic events in Myanmar – Again!. The reports published by the UN stated that hundreds of civilians were killed, dozens of villages were burnt down, and over 700,000 people including the majority of Rohingya were displaced to neighboring countries because of the atrocities committed by the military in the western border of the country. After four years passed, the repatriation process and the safety return of these refugees to their places of origin are yet unknown. Most importantly, there is no legal punishment for those who committed and there is no transitional justice for those who suffered in the aforementioned examples of brutalities.

The vicious circle repeated in 2021. With the economy in free fall and the deadliest virus at doorsteps, the people are still unbowed by the oppression of the junta and continue demanding the restoration of democracy and justice. To date, Assistant Association for Political Prisoner (AAPP) reported that due to practicing the rights to expression, 1178 civilians were killed and 7355 were arrested, charged or sentenced by the military junta. Unfortunately, the numbers are still increasing.

Call for economic disengagement

In 2019, the economic interests of the military were disclosed by the report of UN Fact-Finding Mission in which Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) and Myanmar Economic Holding Limited (MEHL) were described as the prominent entities controlled by the military profitable through the almost-monopoly market in real estate, insurance, health care, manufacturing, extractive industry and telecommunication. It also mentioned the list of foreign businesses in partnership with the military-linked activities which includes Adani (India), Kirin Holdings (Japan), Posco Steel (South Korea), Infosys (India) and Universal Apparel (Hong Kong).

Moreover, Justice for Myanmar, a non-profit watchdog organization, revealed the specific facts and figures on how the billions of revenues has been pouring into the pockets of the high-ranked officers in the military in 2021. Myanmar Oil & Gas Enterprise (MOGE), an another military-controlled authority body, is the key player handling the financial transactions, profit sharing, and contractual agreements with the international counterparts including Total (France), Chevron (US), PTTEP (Thailand), Petronas (Malaysia), and Posco (South Korea) in natural gas projects. It is also estimated that the military will enjoy 1.5 billion USD from these energy giants in 2022.

Additionally, data shows that the corporate businesses currently operating in Myanmar has been enriching the conglomerates of the generals and their cronies as a proof to the ongoing debate among the public and scholars, “Do sanctions actually work?” Some critics stressed that sanctions alone might be difficult to pressure the junta without any collaborative actions from Moscow and Beijing, the longstanding allies of the military. Recent bilateral visits and arm deals between Nay Pyi Taw and Moscow dimmed the hope of the people in Myanmar. It is now crystal clear that the Burmese military never had an intention to use the money from multinational corporations for benefits of its citizens, but instead for buying weapons, building up military academies, and sending scholars to Russia to learn about military technology. In March 2021, the International Fact Finding Mission to Myanmar reiterated its recommendation for the complete economic disengagement as a response to the coup, “No business enterprise active in Myanmar or trading with or investing in businesses in Myanmar should enter into an economic or financial relationship with the security forces of Myanmar, in particular the Tatmadaw [the military], or any enterprise owned or controlled by them or their individual members…”

Blood money and ethical dilemma

In the previous military regime until 2009, the US, UK and other democratic champion countries imposed strict economic and diplomatic sanctions on Myanmar while maintaining ‘carrot and stick’ approach against the geopolitical dominance of China. Even so, energy giants such as Total (France) and Chevron (US), and other ‘low-profile’ companies from ASEAN succeeded in running their operations in Myanmar, let alone the nakedly abuses of its natural resources by China. Doing business in this country at the time of injustice is an ethical question to corporate businesses but most of them seems to prefer maximizing the wealth of their shareholders to the freedom of its bottom millions in poverty.

But there are also companies not hesitating to do something right by showing their willingness not to be a part of human right violations of the regime. For example, Australian mining company, Woodside, decided not to proceed further operations, and ‘get off the fence’ on Myanmar by mentioning that the possibility of complete economical disengagement has been under review. A breaking news in July, 2021  that surprised everyone was the exit of Telenor Myanmar – one of four current telecom operators in the country. The CEO of the Norwegian company announced that the business had been sold to M1 Group, a Lebanese investment firm, due to the declining sales and ongoing political situations compromising its basic principles of human rights and workplace safety.

In fact, cutting off the economic ties with the junta and introducing a unified, complete economic disengagement become a matter of necessity to end the consistent suffering of the people of Myanmar. Otherwise, no one can blame the people for presuming that international community is just taking a moral high ground without any genuine desire to support the fight for freedom and pro-democracy movement.

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Economy

The Covid After-Effects and the Looming Skills Shortage

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coronavirus people

The shock of the pandemic is changing the ways in which we think about the world and in which we analyze the future trajectories of development. The persistence of the Covid pandemic will likely accentuate this transformation and the prominence of the “green agenda” this year is just one of the facets of these changes. Market research as well as the numerous think-tanks will be accordingly re-calibrating the time horizons and the main themes of analysis. Greater attention to longer risks and fragilities is likely to take on greater prominence, with particular scrutiny being accorded to high-impact risk factors that have a non-negligible probability of materializing in the medium- to long-term. Apart from the risks of global warming other key risk factors involve the rising labour shortages, most notably in areas pertaining to human capital development.

The impact of the Covid pandemic on the labour market will have long-term implications, with “hysteresis effects” observed in both highly skilled and low-income tiers of the labour market. One of the most significant factors affecting the global labour market was the reduction in migration flows, which resulted in the exacerbation of labour shortages across the major migrant recipient countries, such as Russia. There was also a notable blow delivered by the pandemic to the spheres of human capital development such as education and healthcare, which in turn exacerbated the imbalances and shortages in these areas. In particular, according to the estimates of the World Health Organization (WHO) shortages can mount up to 9.9 million physicians, nurses and midwives globally by 2030.

In Europe, although the number of physicians and nurses has increased in general in the region by approximately 10% over the past 10 years, this increase appears to be insufficient to cover the needs of ageing populations. At the same time the WHO points to sizeable inequalities in the availability of physicians and nurses between countries, whereby there are 5 times more doctors in some countries than in others. The situation with regard to nurses is even more acute, as data show that some countries have 9 times fewer nurses than others.

In the US substantial labour shortages in the healthcare sector are also expected, with anti-crisis measures falling short of substantially reversing the ailments in the national healthcare system. In particular, data published by the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges), suggests that the United States could see an estimated shortage of between 37,800 and 124,000 physicians by 2034, including shortfalls in both primary and specialty care.

The blows sustained by global education from the pandemic were no less formidable. These affected first and foremost the youngest generation of the globe – according to UNESCO, “more than 1.5 billion students and youth across the planet are or have been affected by school and university closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic”. On top of the adverse effects on the younger generation (see Box 1), there is also the widening “teachers gap”, namely a worldwide shortage of well-trained teachers. According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), “69 million teachers must be recruited to achieve universal primary and secondary education by 2030”.

From our partner RIAC

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