Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Swiss Bank Uses Tricks to Help American Hide Billions from the IRS

A Swiss Bank has helped many Americans hide billions from the IRS. It may sound naive to connect paying taxes with patriotism, but the Americans who used Credit Suisse further exacerbated the distance between the one percent and poor Americans. After all, if you don't pay taxes you get to keep it all.
Right now, as I'm writing this, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on  Investigations is sharing a report that details the tricks and subterfuges the bank used to conceal the money Americans have, so they won't have to pay American taxes.
After this unbelievable litany of tricks, I don't understand how Credit Suisse is allowed to have a bank charter in the United States. Any country in this position should pull that charter immediately. If anyone thinks we need the Swiss more than they need us should have his head examined.

Some of the details defy comprehension. Americans were able to open accounts under the names of shell companies. Credit Suisse sent bankers surreptitiously from Switzerland to recruit rich Americans, so as to not leave a paper trail in the American division of Credit Suisse. They established banking offices at Swiss Airports so people could drop their money and then head to ski resorts.

Credit Suisse refuses to give the names of the Americans who have these accounts. They say Swiss law prohibits it. I say pull the bank's charter and let the bank disappear from American life. We have enough rich people not paying the taxes they deserve to pay because of loopholes in our tax laws. We don't need to have another bank helping America become a nation of have and have nots.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The New Face of Racism On College Campuses

The face of racism has changed on American campuses, from hatred to ignorance.
When I was at Syracuse University I dated a Chinese/American girl and a guy I once knew was dating an African American active in the civil rights movement. Because I was a townie I decided to take us to a bar that seldom saw Syracuse University students.
We had settled in when I was motioned over by someone I knew from high school. I had tried to integrate a high school fraternity and been roundly reviled for it, so this guy didn't mince words.
"The Oriental can stay, but if you don't get the nigger out of here, we're going to kill you," he said.
I reported this back to the table, and because we were  determined to show we wouldn't be cowed, we stayed there long enough to prove we weren't cowards. It wasn't pleasant but we emerged alive.
 Later that year a racist Southern governor, George Wallace, was welcomed on campus by students waving Confederate flags.
Later, when I became a professor at a university in which whites were a minority, I used to speak out on the use of the word "nigga" in rap. I would tell them about friends of mine who had suffered because of that word. I also told then that the white suburban kids who bought those albums would think it was alright to use the word.
Nowadays, the problem at American universities is affected by the fact students don't know how bad things used to be. Ignorance of the devastating toll of prejudice allowed a University of Michigan fraternity made up of whites and Asians to hold a party that revolved around coming "back to the hood."
I've seen students pulled over for DWB (driving while Black) and helped them deal with the way they're still regarded by many whites. Most whites in college don't have a clue and their ignorance of this world allows them to think they're in a color blind world where anything is OK to say. It isn't and with the presence of fewer African Americans at prestigious campuses, things are getting worse. Whites ought to understand that their classmates frequently come from tougher worlds than they inhabited growing up.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Japan, Which Denies Its Atrocities in World War II, Does Not Deserve Our Protection

Why should America have a strategic defense pact with Japan if they try to deny the horrific atrocities they perpetrated in World II. This includes enslaving Korean and Chinese women to provide sex for Japanese troops, the Rape of Nanjing and the Bataan Death March, in which American soldiers died from the cruelty of Japanese soldiers.
I once had a Japanese student who told me none of those things happened. Come to find out in Japanese schools none of these incidents were mentioned. Unlike Germany, which teaches about Nazi atrocities, Japanese deny what they did.
The Yasukuni Shrine holds the remains of Japanese war criminals. Last year a member of Shinzo Abe's cabinet paid a symbolic visit to it. This year Abe went himself. Abe's family includes a war criminal.
I've been to the memorial to the Nanjing Massacre. The details of this atrocity make you wonder how human beings could do things like this, from disemboweling to burying men and women alive. What happened to the Chinese population of Shanghai is equally disturbing. The Japanese created a phony explosion in Manchuria (Northeast China) so they could seize the three Chinese provinces to be the breadbasket for Japan. The Japanese press did not acknowledge that the explosion was set off by the Japanese themselves until 2007, a long way away from the incident in 1931.
The Koreans and Chinese have not forgotten how they suffered under the Japanese. These latest affronts make it impossible for me to support a defense treaty with Japan. I don't want  one American life shed for these people.
I taught in Germany and saw how an upright country acknowledges its past and learns from it.
Japan. on the other hand, can protect itself.

In what is, hopefully, an unrelated incident, libraries all over Tokyo have found copies of The Diary of Anne Frank destroyed. This diary depicts her Jewish family's attempt to survive the Nazis' occupation of the Netherlands. Anne Frank died at the age of 15 of typhus in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, a camp which also, by the way, was where some of my daughter's ancestors passed away.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Are Ethical Standards Irrelevant

Are ethics irrelevant?  If you look at what leading figures are able to get away with as long as they make money, maybe so. I'm going to be careful today and not talk about bankers, because my web traffic tells me people have moved on and are willing to accept anything done on Wall Street.
But Chris Christie and others are seemingly able to lie with impunity. My reading of Robert Gates' book, Duty, along with  George Packer's, The Unwinding, has convinced me that Vice President Biden is one of the slimiest characters that's ever been in government. My doctoral dissertation adviser, Michael Sawyer, who was Professor of Constitutional Law and Vice Chancellor of Syracuse University, told me Biden was caught cheating in law school. He also told me how someone we knew, Roger, had been used and dumped by Biden, a pattern Packer said was used over and over in Biden's career.
National statistics told me that every time I gave a test in college, seventy per cent of the students had already cheated before. Clearly we are not producing ethical adults in America and no one really cares.
I remember catching a student who claimed  as her own something written by Mark
Twain in 1895. She vowed to bring me down over this and showed no remorse.
The F stood, but defending it took a lot of time. The institution I was at had no interest in academic standards and would change a professor's grades after the semester was over.
Maybe everyone has decided to fold, but I hope not.
 As to the advantages, you only have to look to China's adulterated products and the fact businessmen there feel no guilt about hurting others in pursuit of a yuan. Hell, doing away with ethical standards may make it easier to compete with them. If that's what America really wants, who am I to stand in the way of progress.