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Showing posts from October 17, 2014

How Billionaire Oligarchs Are Becoming Their Own Political Parties

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[An amazing depiction of billionaires and their political advisors. Democracy is becoming a thing driven by money, hatred and fear. *RON*]

By Jim Rutenberg, New York Times, 17 October 2014

In August, Tom Steyer and seven campaign advisers sat in a small conference room in Coral Gables, Fla., trying to figure out how to save the world. Steyer, who is 57, has a fortune of roughly $1.5 billion, and his advisers were among the most talented political operatives in the United States. Steyer is especially concerned about climate change, and his immediate goal, the object of discussion that day, was to replace the sitting governor of Florida, Rick Scott, a Republican who has questioned the very existence of anthropogenic climate change, with Charlie Crist, the previous governor, whose environmental views hew more closely to Steyer’s.

The lead Florida strategist, Nick Baldick, was running through the campaign numbers. “There’s a problem here,” he said, br…

AIG Bailout Trial Bombshell III: Paulson Lied to Congress About TARP

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["It turns out this talk of buying toxic assets was all theater for the rubes from the get-go.  The Alvarez call notes and the related testimony make clear that the Fed and Treasury saw TARP as a way to inject equity into the banks. Yet the Fed and Treasury went to considerable lengths to make their toxic assets charade look plausible." See also Jacobin Magazine's Wall Street Isn't Worth It. *RON*]
By Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism, 17 October 2014

I’ve gone through only the first day of testimony from the AIG bailout trial, and we are already up to our third bombshell.

The first witness called by the plaintiff, Starr International (an investment vehicle controlled by Hank Greenberg), was Scott Alvarez, general counsel for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Part of the testimony covered a discussion that took place late in the evening of September 15, the day Lehman declared bankruptcy in the wee hours of the morning. The to…

Harper Government Promotes Canada's 150 Birthday More Than 2 Years In Advance

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[Governance via marketing and sound bites spells the death of democracy. "How much of this advertising will be going on in the lead-up to a federal election campaign?" *RON*]
By Bruce Cheadle, The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 15 October 2014




OTTAWA - The Harper government has launched a $4-million national ad campaign celebrating the fathers of Confederation and a country that has become "strong, proud and free" more than two years in advance of Canada's 150th birthday in 2017.

The national ad buy, which began airing last month, is part of some $7.2 million allotted to the Heritage department this year to promote the government's "Canada 150" campaign.

A spokesman for Heritage Minister Shelly Glover said it is important to remind Canadians of the people and events that led to Confederation, notably the Charlottetown and Quebec conferences of 1864.

"This anniversary is a key milestone on the road to…

Jean Chretien Backs Trudeau's Iraq Position, Criticizes Harper

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[Good comments by Chretien, though it makes me wonder when Trudeau will don his big-boy pants and say the statesman-like thing for himself without back-up from the adults. *RON*]
By The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 17 October 2014




TORONTO - Former prime minister Jean Chretien says he supports Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s decision to oppose Canada’s air combat mission in Iraq.

In a column for the Globe and Mail Friday, Chretien calls the deployment of fighter planes a “very marginal” response to the crisis caused by Islamic State militants.

Chretien writes that he believes the ‘‘best contribution Canada can make is by engaging in massive, not token, humanitarian assistance.‘‘

He says that is why he supports the position taken by Trudeau.

Chretien also recalled how in 2003, there was no louder critic than then-Opposition Leader Stephen Harper to his decision to keep Canada out of the Iraq war.

A wrong decision, such as that invasion, wrote…

Moody's warns Budget may lead back to austerity

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[One of the greatest mistakes made in the course of financializing the world was putting governments at the beck and call of these meaningless non-entities, the ratings companies, who are themselves only the tools and mouthpieces of the (drug cartel money laundering) big banks. *RON*]

Colm Kelpie and Gavin McLoughlin, Irish Independent, 17 October 2014

RATINGS agency Moody's has warned Finance Minister Michael Noonan's Budget may have been too soft and could ultimately lead to more austerity in the future.

Mr Noonan referenced Moody's in his Budget Day speech, outlining how it had upgraded the country's credit rating as the economy improved.

However, it has been less than complimentary about Tuesday's package of tax cuts and social welfare increases.

Moody's said the Government should have slashed the country's debt further.

And it signalled that by easing up, more austerity may be needed to meet future targets.

"The 2…

Bill Gates' solution to income inequality

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[A great illustration of the 'Davos Syndrome' - the idea that rich people know what they're talking about simply because they're rich. 1. A dollar spent on consumption is also a dollar invested in a business (by the glorious 'free market' no less). 2. Microsoft corporation is one of the world's largest cash hoarders - do as I say not as I do says Mr. Gates. 3. It makes far more sense to simply implement a truly progressive income tax without scores of loopholes. See also Trickle-Down Bill Gates-Style. *RON*]

by Chris Matthews, Fortune, 15 October 2014


The billionaire philanthropist wants to distinguish between the wealthy who are using their money for good and those who are merely consuming it.

It might not come as a surprise to many that Bill Gates, whom Forbes’ magazine ranks as the second wealthiest man in the world, doesn’t agree with the ideas of French economist Thomas Piketty.

It’s Piketty, after all, who made …

Income inequality at its highest in US since 19th century according to Yellen

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[The living standards for the majority of Americans are not "stagnant" - they're worsening. The idea that "education" will solve this - as opposed to, say, reversing Citizens United and reforming campaign financing - is laughable. *RON*]

Canadian Press / The Stock House, 17 October 2014

WASHINGTON _ Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen says the last several decades have seen the most sustained rise in income inequality in a century.

In a speech to a Boston conference on economic opportunity, Yellen says this problem is of great concern to her and she points to increased education and ownership of small businesses as two ways to deal with the problem.

She says that by some measurements income and wealth inequality are now at their highest levels since the 19th century. She says this is a result of significant income gains at the very top and stagnant living standards for the majority of Americans.

In her remarks, Yellen made no c…