Showing posts from March 9, 2014

Edward R. Murrow, 60 Years Ago: Those Who ‘Keep Silent’ Share ‘Responsibility For The Result’

See the original story here.

[A thoroughly excellent reminder of the responsibilities that come with being a citizen in a free democracy. *RON*]

By Joe Romm, Think Progress, March 9, 2014

On March 9, 1954, Edward R. Murrow hosted “A Report on Senator Joseph McCarthy,” perhaps the most famous episode of his CBS show, See It Now. In this time of climate crisis and climate silence — Murrow is a reminder that at one time journalists spoke out on the greatest issues of the day:
This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthy’s methods to keep silent…. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of a republic to abdicate his responsibilities.

Drawing parallels between austerity in Greece and the Irish famine

Read the original article here.

[In the same way that the disastrously ignorant policies of England permanently poisoned its relationship with Ireland after the great famine, the disastrously ignorant austerity policies of the Troika (European Commission, European Central Bank & International Monetary Fund) risk permanently poisoning their relationship with the PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain). P.S. Trevelyan = First Baronet Sir Charles Trevelyan whose decisions greatly exacerbated the Irish Famine, and Trichet = Jean-Claud Trichet, former head of the ECB.*RON*]
Oxford economist comes close to drawing a thread between Trevelyan and Trichet
Chris Johns, Irish Times, Sun, Mar 9, 2014, 16:04

One of the more prominent critics of austerity is Oxford University Professor of economics, Simon Wren-Lewis. From a mildly left-wing, essentially Keynesian, perspective, Wren-Lewis has consistently argued that current European policies are not just mistaken in theory, they fly in…

Justice Advocates Challenge Power of Multinational Corporations

Read the original article here.

[Global corporations fight to nullify global laws. (Except "free trade" agreements, that is!) *RON*]

by Bryant Harris, Inter Press Service,, March 8, 2014

WASHINGTON - Advocacy and accountability groups are urging the U.S. Congress to enact new mechanisms that would allow it to hold multinational corporations accountable for rights infringements abroad.

At a congressional briefing on Thursday, legal experts and advocates from Amnesty International, the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) and Earthrights International proposed measures Congress could take to ameliorate corporate abuses abroad.
“International law itself requires a country to provide a remedy to individuals who are harmed by citizens,” ICAR’s Gwynne Skinner, an associate professor of law at Willamette University College of Law, told IPS.

“So we’re failing if we’re not providing any remedies to victims who are hurt by our citizens and of course…

Canada Approves Enbridge Line 9 Reversal: Tar Sands Crude to Flow to Montreal

Read the original article here.
[The NEB has approved a pipeline reversal scenario for Canada which is identical to the one that led to the Enbridge disaster on the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. *RON*]
 Ben Jervey, DeSmogBlog, March 9, 2014

Alberta’s tar sands crude has a new route east.

Canada’s National Energy Board announced on Thursday the approval of Enbridge’s request to reverse and expand a portion of the company’s Line 9 pipeline to allow for crude to flow east to Montreal, Quebec. This follows a July 2012 decision by the NEB to allow reversal of the western Line 9 segment from West Northover to Sarnia, Ontario. As a result, in the words of the NEB, “Enbridge will be permitted to operate all of Line 9 in an eastward direction in order to transport crude oil from western Canada and the U.S. Bakken region to refineries in Ontario and Quebec.”

Forex probes set to dwarf Libor cases

Read the original article here.
[The Big Banks are lawyering up Big Time in preparation to fight an investigation into their newest wrongdoings, which appear to be set to dwarf the Libor rate-rigging scandal. *RON*]

By Daniel Schäfer and Sam Fleming, Financial Times, March 9, 2014

The global probe into possible price rigging in foreign exchange markets has spawned a new industry centred on investigating the £5.3tn a day sector as regulators and global banks throw enormous resources at shedding light on the allegations.

At least a dozen authorities across the US, Europe and Asia are assisting in or conducting investigation against more than 15 banks to find evidence that traders have shared information about client orders and tried to move crucial forex benchmarks.

The myriad probes into the largest financial market in the world is expected trigger multibillion-dollar bills for fines and civil litigation and has prompted banks as well as regulators to put a vast number of internal and exter…

Redistribution and the Lesser Depression

Read the original article here.

[This indicates that redistributing wealth through taxation does not have a negative impact on economic growth. *RON*]
Paul Krugman, New York Times, March 8, 2014

I’ve finally gotten around to a careful read of the new IMF paper on redistribution and growth (pdf) — which concludes that there is no negative effect of redistributionist policies, at least within the range we normally see, and quite possibly a positive effect from the reduction in inequality. I like this conclusion, politically — which is a good reason to kick the tires, and I’ll present some cautions in a later post. For now, however, a quick-and-dirty piece of data analysis inspired by the paper’s method.

Ostry et al measure redistribution by the difference between the Gini coefficient (a measure of inequality) before and after taxes and transfers. The LIS project, with which I will soon be associated, has done this for a number of countries (pdf), so we can all do such exercises.

So what …

Access denied: Many info requests in B.C. continue to find no records

See the original article here.

["Information is the currency of democracy." Thomas Jefferson. "How can we have transparency and accountability if records aren't created in the first place?" Elizabeth Denham, Privacy Commissioner. See also B.C.'s freedom-of-information system by the numbers*RON*]
By James Keller, Canadian Press, Huffington Post, 03/09/2014

VANCOUVER - On a Tuesday morning last November, British Columbia Premier Christy Clark and Alberta Premier Alison Redford emerged from a meeting to announce a framework for energy projects straddling their provinces, patching up what had become a very public dispute over the fate of pipelines to the West Coast.

It was a significant announcement about an issue that had consumed B.C. politics — the sort of development that might involve, perhaps, writing something down.

But a freedom-of-information request asking for documents prepared for Clark before or after, such as briefing notes to prepare the premier…