Showing posts from September 26, 2014

Inside the New York Fed: Secret Recordings and a Culture Clash

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[On the corporatocracy and regulatory capture in action. A confidential report and a fired examiner’s hidden recorder penetrate the cloistered world of Wall Street’s top regulator—and its history of deference to banks. *RON*]

by Jake Bernstein, ProPublica, 26 September 2014

This story was co-published with This American Life, from WBEZ Chicago. Hear the radio version on these stations or download the episode now.

Barely a year removed from the devastation of the 2008 financial crisis, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York faced a crossroads. Congress had set its sights on reform. The biggest banks in the nation had shown that their failure could threaten the entire financial system. Lawmakers wanted new safeguards.

The Federal Reserve, and, by dint of its location off Wall Street, the New York Fed, was the logical choice to head the effort. Except it had failed miserably in catching the meltdown.

New York Fed President William Dudle…

Germany Puts Canada-EU Trade Deal On Hold: Reports

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[Thank goodness, this is a horrible trade agreement - giving away even more sovereignty to the corporatocracy. Harper truly believes these agreements will a key contribution to his 'posterity', so this announcement must get W-A-Y up inside his nose. *RON*]
The Huffington Post Canada, 25 September 2014

On the eve of a summit between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and European Union leaders, Germany has signalled it’s putting the Canada-EU trade deal on hold.

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) was supposed to be symbolically concluded on Friday after five years of negotiations.

But German economic affairs minister Sigmar Gabriel said Thursday the country will not sign the deal unless a controversial clause allowing companies to sue governments is removed, Reuters reported.

According to sources cited by German news service Deutsche Welle, Gabriel “pulled the emergency brake in Brussels, and prevented the completion of the …

5 Reasons B.C. Should Say No To The Site C Dam

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[A good crisp, on-point piece on one of the Liberal government's biggest boon-doggles. Forward the link to this article to your MLA. *RON*]
By Emma Gilchrist, DeSmog Canada, 25 September 2014

A recent poll found that only six out of 10 British Columbians have heard of BC Hydro's $8 billion proposal to build a third hydroelectric dam on the Peace River.

But the decision about whether to build the Site C dam will directly affect all of us -- from the implications for our electricity bills to the flooding of some of B.C.'s best agricultural land.

After more than 30 years on the books, the provincial and federal governments are expected to decide on the project by Oct. 22.

"I only want to build Site C if it makes the most sense for the people of the province," B.C.'s Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett told The Vancouver Sun on Sept. 10.

So, does Site C make sense for the people of B.C.?

Someday, B.C. will need more energy. &qu…

Harper's New Climate PR Campaign Is Downright Orwellian

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["Eliminating policy is to implement policy. Blocking and abandoning global negotiations is to lead global negotiations. Muzzling scientists is to have science inform decision-making. Working hard to increase carbon pollution is to decrease it. Black is white. Dishonesty is truth." *RON*]
Carol Linnitt, DeSmog Canada, Huffington Post, 25 September 2014

Facing criticism in the lead up to the U.N. Climate Summit, which prime minister Stephen Harper did not attend, the Harper Government released a new public outreach campaign through Environment Canada, praising the country's action on climate change.

The campaign points to four pillars of Canada's climate progress including efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, investing in climate adaptation, "world-class scientific research to inform decision-making," and international leadership in climate action.

Already critics are pointing to the apparent disparity between the E…

One Chart About Income Inequality That Will Make Your Blood Boil

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[A bit hyperbolic, but still good information on the rigged 'recovery' of the economy. *RON*]
By Ryan W. Neal, Policy.mic, 25 September 2014

This chart by Pavlina Tcherneva, an economics professor at Bard University, shows a simple yet shocking trend of how bad income inequality has gotten.

The graphic illustrates the distribution of average income growth during every period of economic expansion after World War II:

Halfway There: Why the Left Wins on Culture and Loses on Economics

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[Kazin basically argues that while the masses have largely come to accept and support somewhat abstract rights related to liberty and equality, despite a growing awareness of and concern over wealth inequality, their interest in social change ends at their pocket-book and paycheque. *RON*]
By Michael Kazin, Foreign Affairs, from the September/October 2014 Issue

Two big and important American social movements, both pioneered by the left, are heading in opposite directions. In recent years, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activists have scored one victory after another. Homosexuals now serve openly in the U.S. military and can legally marry in at least 19 states and the District of Columbia, and discrimination against them in other areas of public life is rapidly diminishing. At the same time, organized labor -- another (at least former) pillar of left-wing politics -- seems trapped in a downward spiral. Private-sector labor unions …

The End of Swedish Exceptionalism: Why the Elections Mark a New Era for Politics

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["Making up for the lackluster results of the conservatives and the left was the strong performance of the Sweden Democrats, a populist anti-immigrant party, which won 13 percent of the vote, more than double its share in the 2010 election." Inequality breeds xenophobia; Scandinavian social democracy has always depended, to some degree, on the remarkable ethnic homogeneity of the population. I've never heard that term, GAL-TAN, before, but it seems useful. *RON*]
By Bo Rothstein, Foreign Affairs, 18 September 2014

This week’s election marked the end of eight years of center-conservative rule in Sweden. In a sense, the victory of a loose coalition of the Social Democrats, the Left Party, and the Green Party was surprising, not least because the ruling coalition, led by the Moderate Party, has been hailed for successfully navigating the 2007­–08 global financial crisis and then generating respectable economic growth over the last thre…