Showing posts from November 26, 2014

Erdogan slams US 'impertinence' over Kobane

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[Erdogan is pretty well lost as a Western ally and, in any case, has no more feet left to put in his mouth. Turkish leader criticises Washington for pushing for help over Kobane when US earlier stood by amid Assad "massacres." *RON*]
Source: Agencies, Al Jazeera, 26 November 2014
Recep Tayyip Erdogan has slammed US "rudeness" over the Syrian conflict, exposing the extent of strains between Washington and Ankara just days after the Turkish president met with US Vice President Joe Biden.

Ties have soured in recent months over the reluctance of Turkish leaders to intervene militarily in the US-led campaign against the Islamic State In Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters, who have taken control of large swathes of Iraq and Syria.

Erdogan accused the US of being "rude" for pressuring it to help save the ISIL-besieged Syrian town of Kobane, which is within sight of the Turkish border.

Walmart Still Avoiding Paying $7000 Fine For Worker Killed By Black Friday Shoppers In 2008

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[And from the front lines of the class war... *RON*]
By Kate Cox, Consumerist, 25 November 2014

In 2008, a Walmart employee was killed when a mob of deal-desperate Black Friday shoppers tore the store’s doors from their hinges and stormed inside, trampling him to death. The chain was eventually fined $7000 for their role in the employee’s death — but six years and $2 million later, the world’s largest retailer has yet to pay up.

The fine was the result of an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which found that Walmart did indeed put employees at risk by failing to put “reasonable and effective” crowd management in place. When the fine — the maximum possible — was levied in May of 2009, Walmart had 15 days either to pay or to appeal.

The chain, which brought in over $475 billion in revenue last year, chose to appeal the $7000 fine. A year later, in 2010, they’d spent more than $2 million on the appeal. Their ar…

The Onion: Heavy Police Presence In Ferguson To Ensure Residents Adequately Provoked

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[As usual with The Onion, funny-ish and painfully close to the unspoken truth. *RON*]
The Onion • ISSUE 50•47 • Nov 24, 2014

FERGUSON, MO—Ahead of a grand jury’s decision over whether to indict officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, police in the city of Ferguson have reportedly heavily increased their presence this week to ensure residents are adequately provoked. “We’ve deployed additional officers throughout Ferguson in order to make absolutely certain that residents feel sufficiently harassed and intimidated,” said St. Louis County police chief Jon Belmar, assuring locals that officers in full riot gear will be on hand to inflame members of the community for as long as is necessary. “It’s absolutely essential that the people of Ferguson have full confidence that law enforcement is committed to antagonizing them every step of the way.” At press time, the Missouri National Guard was on standby with t…

Europe’s German Ball and Chain

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[That low, grinding noise you hear is the sound of the worm slowly turning... Merkel's response is to pimp for more free trade. *RON*]
Daniel Gros, Project Syndicate, 24 November 2014

Daniel Gros is Director of the Brussels-based Center for European Policy Studies. He has worked for the International Monetary Fund, and served as an economic adviser to the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the French prime minister and finance minister. He is the editor of Economie Internationale and International Finance.
BRUSSELS – A storm-tossed ship near dangerous cliffs needs a strong anchor to avoid finishing on the rocks. In 2012, when a financial storm engulfed the eurozone, it was Germany that kept the European ship off the shoals of financial disaster. But now Europe’s anchor has become a brake, hindering forward movement.

Of course, German Chancellor Angela Merkel acted in 2012 only when she could tell her domestic constituency that …

Keynes Is Slowly Winning

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[I, too, believe the worm is turning, albeit at a geologic pace. *RON*]
Paul Krugman, New York Times, 26 November 2014

Back in 2010, I had a revelation about just how bad economic policy was about to get; I read the OECD Economic Outlook, which called not just for fiscal austerity but for interest rate hikes — 350 basis points on the Fed funds rate by the end of 2011! — because, well, because.

Now, the OECD is calling for fiscal and monetary stimulus in Europe. It’s not the same people; the OECD has a new chief economist, Catherine L. Mann, whose excellent research has always been pragmatic in orientation (and who wrote her dissertation, way back when, under Rudi Dornbusch and yours truly.) But by selecting Ms. Mann the OECD was making a statement, and my sense is that the ground is shifting all around the world.

It has taken a while. In early 2013, with the infamous growth cliff at 90 percent debt and the case for expansionary austerity collapsing,…

Could a corporation use CETA investor-state to challenge the consequences of its criminal actions?

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[Our current and proposed international trade agreements may make it illegal for the Canadian government not to hire criminals for Public Works contracts, corporations are claiming, since this would constitute an unreasonable restriction on trade. *RON*]
By Brent Patterson,, 26 November 2014

This past March, the Harper government adopted federal procurement "Integrity Framework" regulations that state that companies convicted in Canada or internationally for offences such as fraud, bribery and extortion would be disqualified for a 10-year period from bidding on Public Works contracts. While the list of convictions in the legislation was reportedly expanded, a Public Works spokesperson also acknowledged that the old rules called for a permanent ban.

But now the Globe and Mail reports, "The authors [of a Canadian Council of Chief Executives report] warn that the Canadian rules could open the door to lawsuits by the companies,…

Fight for a $15 minimum wage in B.C. or for better job training?

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[Take your choice. Does raising the minimum wage = job losses?Higher minimum wage? Small business doesn't mind, A minimum wage hike could help employers too, 5 Right-Wing myths about raising the minimum wage, debunked. Although, if you go to the original article and read the comments, I'm pretty sure that Province readers don't want their equilibrium disturbed by the facts. *RON*]

By Sam Coopers, The Province, 26 November 2014

The BC Federation of Labour held a rally today to launch the Fight For $15 campaign to increase the minimum wage.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business says calls to raise B.C.’s minimum wage by 50 per cent will actually hurt low-income workers and small businesses.

On Tuesday the B.C. Federation of Labour launched its “Fight For $15” campaign, urging the provincial government to increase B.C.’s minimum wage from $10.25 to $15 per hour.

Supported by Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and First Nations lead…

OECD warns against austerity in the eurozone

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[Who is left supporting this outside of London and Berlin? The OECD joins the IMF in criticising austerity. See also The State of the Troubled Eurozone. *RON*], 26 November 2014

The OECD has thrown its weight behind the argument for relaxing budgetary policy, a position championed in the eurozone by France and Italy. The European Commission is due to publish its judgements on the member states' budget bills on 28 November.EuActiv France reports.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published its Economic Outlook on 25 November, in which it supports the position shared by Paris and Rome, just days before the European Commission's assessment of the budgets.

The international organisation painted a dark picture of the effects of austerity policies on the economic growth of the eurozone, warning of their limitations at a time when the recovery of the eurozone is still in the balance.

Budget consolida…