A friend in Canada and I have just had an interesting discussion by e-mail. Allow me to paraphrase.

Did you know the U.S. government has decreed that the Internal Revenue Service require all non-U.S. financial institutions to report the financial holdings and transactions of any client born in the U.S.?

It’s no joke! There are cases of Canadians who were born in the U.S. and lived there for only one day, who now stand to lose all their property and life savings as penalties for failing to file U.S. tax returns for every year of their life.

The U.S. is apparently cracking down on international money-laundering for tax evasion (it seems domestic money-laundering is okay) thereby and abrogating the U.S. – Canada treaty. The danger lies in the IRS trying to apply rules retroactively — to a time when they didn’t exist.

The wider problem is the threat of expropriating foreign nationals. It’s not just Canadians that are affected, of course. Britain — and the rest of the world — may find that they’re being taxed to finance the U.S.’s mistakes.

Someone — I forget who — recently pointed out the irony: in the 18th century, England soaked its colonies by “taxation without representation” to pay for European wars, which led to the American Revolution. Now the U.S. is doing the same to the world to pay for its own mistakes.

The US has brought the financial markets of the world (admittedly with a lot of collusion) to their knees they are now trying to screw the last drop out of every ordinary Jack they can get at.

The history may be traced back to Reagan and Thatcher, when the financial “markets” — actually casinos — were deregulated and allowed to do whatever they please. Jane Jacobs’ “Dark Age Ahead” seems to be coming true on an accelerated modern time scale.

Things have come to a pretty pass when the headlines and sports pages are less violent than the business pages.

Business has always been down and dirty. Nowadays sport is just big business too.

Professional sport has always been big business.

I don’t remember Stanley Matthews making millions…

Speculation here is that the EU itself may collapse when the people realize that it’s hopelessly in hock to financial gamblers who’ve gone broke making foolish bets.

Foolish bets? No that’s letting them off the hook. It’s worse than that. These people were self-serving capitalists. They were on the take – rigging the tables in their own favour and they didn’t care as long as the laundry stayed hidden and when it came to light they lied about it.

In Canada there is a lot of concern emerging over violence in hockey now that evidence has become overwhelming of brain damage caused by concussions. Meanwhile, the financiers have been engaging in violence of their own, doing exactly what you say!

It was all predictable – even by someone as financially naive as myself. I remember saying the day ENRON blew, ‘This is the tip of one hell of a berg!’

We had street riots here in quite few cities earlier this year. Nothing to do with present policies of course! Huh! The politicians labelled them LOOTERS – well they should know!

“Looters” in the streets of Britain? How soon everywhere else? What do they have to lose?

I thought it was common knowledge – may it got a bit – lost – like the reporting of the Wall Street Protest…

I don’t sgree with theft but most of them just swallowed ‘the dream’ – everything can be yours! But it’s not a dream – it’s a fantasy – therein the difference between hope and lies. And who looted the pension funds? And what happened to them? They got RICH!

I was brought up differently from that and I am very thankful that I do not expect fame and riches to tumble into my lap. Real jobs, attainable goals, reasonable expectations – that’s what we need to get back to.

Hm… I was wrong to say that the gamblers have gone broke making foolish bets. The gamblers themselves have become rich by embezzling capital; it’s their institutions that have gone broke.

You’re right though – the “anarcho-capitalists,” as they’re sometimes called, have won the day. They dream of a return to the Middle Ages, where they’ll be kings and everybody else will be serfs.

I think that one day International Socialism (I’m not talking about communism) will have to take over from capitalism as a model or we will not survive the anarchy that ensues. Most of humanity is being exploited to make the few wealthy beyond what they can possibly use and so they spend thousands on the latest fashion/gadget/accessory while others lose their livelihood and many actually starve in war torn states run by despots. It has to stop – doesn’t it? Such decadence has always come a cropper in the past.

Good luck with the article. Borrow anything you like; die Gedanken sind frei, as the dissident song went — “thoughts are free.”

Hope so.