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Showing posts from October 13, 2014

More Trade Agreements Won't Fix Austerity

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[Can you say "Amen" brother? *RON*]
Robert Kuttner, The American Prospect / Huffington Post, 12 October 2014

The U.S. economy is growing slowly and Europe's hardly at all. The stock market lurch last week is a belated acknowledgement that our two economies share a common affliction, and Europe suffers more seriously. The affliction is austerity.

And yet the main remedy being promoted by the U.S. government and its European allies is a trade and investment deal known as T-TIP, which stands for the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. According to the deal's sponsors, T-TIP would help stimulate recovery by removing barriers to trade and promoting regulatory convergence and hence investment.

The proposed deal is not popular in the U.S. Congress, which has to approve negotiating authority. The administration, say well-placed sources, hopes to cram through the necessary approval during the lame duck session of Congress after…

Germany's Austerity Obsession Could Take Down The Global Economy

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[Both the evidence against and the resistance to austerity continue to build. As the evidence accumulates it becomes increasingly clear that this is an ideology not a science or a sound policy. *RON*]
By Mark Gongloff, The Huffington Post, 13 October 2014

Austerity is the opposite of the gift that keeps on giving: It just keeps taking and taking.

Germany, the world's homeland for austerity obsession, is learning this firsthand. Its economy has hit a rough patch lately, likely worsened by its adamant refusal to spend just a little bit more money to keep things moving. This has Europe on track for itsthird recession since 2008, which has raised the threat of a global economic slowdown, which has rattled financial markets from Hong Kong to New York. Thanks, Germany! Thanks, austerity!

Germany last week reported its biggest one-month plunge in factory orders since the bad old days of the 2009 recession/depression, as you can see from this chart from

Postmedia could soon own almost every English newspaper in Canada. What could possibly go wrong?

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[Canadian democracy in action. The corporatocracy abhors competition and loves monopoly power. Soon we will only know what Paul Godfrey, President of Postmedia, wants us to know. And he only wants us to know what his backers and advertisers want us to know. *RON*]
By Emma Gilchrist, Tyee.ca, 6 October 2014

Postmedia has struck a $316 million deal to buy 175 of Quebecor’s English-language newspapers, specialty publications and digital properties, including the Sun chain of papers, according to a report in the Globe and Mail this morning.

If it passes regulatory hurdles, the deal will mark a step further down the path of media concentration in Canada.

What does this mean for Canadians in practical terms?

In Calgary, for instance, the Calgary Sun would be owned by the same company as the Calgary Herald. In Toronto, the Toronto Sun and 24 Hours would be owned by the same company as the National Post. In Ottawa, the Ottawa Sun would be owned by the same c…

LNG a chance, not a windfall, says BC throne speech

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[The back-peddling has begun. Don't allow them to get away with this. Bring this up with your friends and point out to them the lies and fantasies we've been sold by this government. Where has the windfall gone? Where is our Debt Free BC? *RON*]
By Andrew MacLeod, Tyee.ca, 6 October 2014

In today's speech from the throne the British Columbia government dialed down the expectations of the benefits from exporting liquefied natural gas.

"This is a chance -- not a windfall," said Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon in the speech that sets out the priorities for Premier Christy Clark's government. "It will not be simply given to us, but achieved after a lot of hard work."

The LNG industry is an opportunity that will provide things like the new hospital patient tower in Victoria, the one planned in Vernon, the law school at Thompson Rivers University, the cancer treatment centre at Kordyban Lodge in Prince George and 5,8…

Christy Clark's No Pro at LNG Poker

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[Energy giants gamble that marks from BC are ready to lose their money. *RON*]

By Bill Tieleman, 7 Oct 2014, TheTyee.ca

"In poker, good players win and poor players lose." -- Lou Krieger, poker player and author

Imagine being a lousy poker player facing some of the world’s sharpest aces and you see the odds that the B.C. Liberals will lose big money to get giant liquefied natural gas companies to invest here.

The only consolation for the government is that taxpayers will pay for the LNG players’ winnings.

This week the B.C. Legislature resumes sitting to table legislation setting the taxes on LNG exports and the environmental standards that will have to be met by the companies considering building extremely expensive plants to process exports to Asia.

And the B.C. Liberals are already losing at your expense, as expert LNG card players see a mark at the table with more money than skill.

Premier Christy Clark is desperate for a deal, having be…

Families No Longer First in BC, Says Children's Rep

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[Government and youth watchdog disagree on changes to child protection and services. "Families First" is yet another bag full of natural gas. *RON*]

By Katie Hyslop, TheTyee.ca, 9 October 2014

When it comes to protecting our most vulnerable children and youth, British Columbia's government can't seem to get it together.

That's the conclusion of a report the Representative for Children and Youth released this morning, auditing nine cross-ministry recommendations made between 2006 and 2013 -- seven of which were never implemented.

These include improvements to reporting on child outcomes, developing a comprehensive anti-child poverty plan for 93,000 kids living below the poverty line, creating a strategy for addressing child and youth mental health, and ensuring better outcomes for indigenous children who, despite making up just eight per cent of B.C. kids, represent over half of the minors in government care.

Just 72 per cent --…

Four Questions about LNG that Demand Answers

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[As BC's promised gas boom goes pffft, Premier Clark must come clean. *RON*]

By Rafe Mair, Today, TheTyee.ca

The entire question of LNG has reached a sorry pass indeed. The premier's policy seems to be crumbling before our eyes.

Let's not forget that Premier Clark and her Liberals pulled the 2013 election out of the jaws of defeat by promising a Liquefied Natural Gas industry to the extent of a trillion dollar addition to the economy, $100 billion into a "prosperity fund," an LNG plant built by 2015, and all of our debts paid off. We would be on easy street.

But the whole business on the eve of 2015 is at square one. There is no commitment by any company to build an LNG plant in British Columbia. That these election promises were preposterous, as I and many more expert than I said at the time, is patently obvious.

Now, the chickens have come home to roost. Negotiations with Petronas, the only LNG company apparently interested, …