Showing posts from August 1, 2014

IMF: Canada Would See Economic Boost From A Carbon Tax

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[The Harper government is being purposefully obtuse in its response, pretending that the IMF is calling for tax increases, whereas what they are in fact calling for is a shift in taxes away from people and on to carbon. *RON*]
By Julian Beltrame, CP / Huffington Post, 31 July 2014

OTTAWA - The International Monetary Fund says Canada and other countries can improve their economies and environment by hiking energy taxes — while cutting them on people and capital.

In a new book, Getting Energy Prices Right: From Principle to Practice, the IMF essentially endorses policies - at times advocated by the federal Liberals and NDP - calling for what some have termed a "green shift" in the taxation system. The Conservative government, however, has rejected carbon taxes.

The premise of the book is that while carbon-based energy was indispensable to economic growth during the past century, it has come with considerable costs.

The solution, the IMF says,…

Premier's LNG plans in trouble as major investor out of Kitmat LNG project

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[Apache bails out of the Kitimat project, the only one the BC government had given a full go-ahead. The news comes only one month after Premier Christy Clark took a tour of the Kitimat site to promote the LNG industry. Unfortunately it is extremely unlikely we will ever know why they have pulled out. *RON*]
Jenny Uechi, Vancouver Observer, 31 July 2014 
The future of a major LNG project in Kitimat has been thrown into uncertainty, after one of its main backers has decided to walk out. Houston-based Apache Corporation says it will leave Kitimat LNG, which was a joint project with Chevron.

"Consistent with the company's ongoing repositioning for profitable and repeatable North American onshore growth, Apache intends to completely exit the Wheatstone and Kitimat LNG projects," the company announced today in its second quarter report.

The news comes only one month after Premier Christy Clark took a tour of the Kitimat LNG site, and took …

A Grand Unified Theory of Terribleness: Moneylaundering by Banks, Terrorism, Genocide, and Tax Cuts

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[An excellent hypothesis worthy of further research. Stoller argues that, in the same way that the sale of plenary indulgences was a key source of funding for the medieval Church, governments with pathologically low tax rates are "licensing" banks to commit crimes by imposing large fines rather than sending people to jail. *RON*]
Matt Stoller, Observations on Credit and Surveillance, 31 July 2014.

Major multi-national bank BNP Paribas just pleaded guilty to money-laundering a little less than $200 billion over the course of the last ten years. According to New York Superintendent of Financial Services Benjamin Lawsky, “BNPP employees – with the knowledge of multiple senior executives – engaged in a long-standing scheme that illegally funneled money to countries involved in terrorism and genocide.”

Oh dear, that sounds awful.

So what happened to the employees who did this? 13 of them were fired, including 5 senior executives. According to …

CIA apologises for spying on Senate

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[This reminds me of when my son was four years old and got in trouble for disobeying his parents. He was crying and said, "I'm so sorry," and I asked, "Do you mean you're sorry that you're in trouble?" and he wailed "Yes!" *RON*]

By Geoff Dyer, Financial Times, 31 July 2014

The CIA has apologised to the Senate intelligence committee after it admitted spying on computers used by staffers to compile a soon-to-be-released report on torture by the intelligence agency.

John Brennan, director of the CIA, acknowledged that an internal investigation discovered CIA staff had breached an agreement with the Senate committee and had investigated the computers being used by staffers.

The admission follows a bitter public dispute between the CIA and the committee after its chair Senator Dianne Feinstein accused the agency of potentially violating the constitution by removing documents from the computers.

In an extraordinar…

The 'Too Big To Fail' Argument Took A Big Hit Today

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[The big banks rather desperately want privatized profit and socialized loss to become a permanent features of the financial scene. The important finding here is "that should credit risk perceptions increase, the funding advantage for large banks would reappear." As a group of Senators has said, "Wall Street lobbyists may try to spin that the advantage has lessened. But if the Army Corps of Engineers came out with study that said a levee system works pretty well when it’s sunny – but couldn’t be trusted in a hurricane – we would take that as evidence we need to act" *RON*]

Stephanie Yang and Elena Holodny, Business Insiders, 31 July 2014

For years, politicians and activist have been saying that the country's biggest banks are still 'too big to fail', in part because they get a funding advantage from the government.

Today, the Government Accountability Office released a study today on exactly what kind of impact tha…