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Showing posts from February 3, 2015

JPMorgan To Pay $500 Million In Mortgage Settlement

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[In other words, they are paying out (.5/17.58=.028) less than 3% of the income they received from the sale of these near-worthless mortgage securities while denying all wrongdoing. *RON*]

By Jonathan Stempel, Reuters / Business Insider, 3 February 2015

NEW YORK (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co has agreed to pay $500 million to end more than six years of class action litigation over Bear Stearns' sale of $17.58 billion of mortgage securities that proved defective during the U.S. housing and financial crises.

The all-cash settlement was made public late Monday, and requires approval by U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain in Manhattan.

It resolves claims that Bear, which JPMorgan bought in 2008, misled investors when it sold certificates backed by more than 47,000 largely subprime and low documentation "Alt-A" mortgages in 14 offerings from May 2006 to April 2007.

Bear was accused of making false and misleading statements in offeri…

Syriza Official Vows to Kill EU-US Trade Deal as 'Gift to All European People'

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[This comes amid continued grassroots opposition to proposed trade deal: "TTIP is not really about opening up trade and harmonizing tariffs and regulations; it's about a race to the bottom, locked-in privatization, and a seismic shift in power away from people and their elected governments towards corporations." In case you wonder if this would really be a benefit, see also Stealing medicine from the sick and the poor*RON*]

by Andrea GermanosCommon Dreams, 2 February 2015

An official with Greece's newly elected Syriza party may have sounded the death knell for a proposed EU-U.S. trade deal that has faced a mountain of opposition from civil society.

The deal is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), now facing itseighth round of talks between negotiators this week in Brussels.

The TTIP, which would be the biggest trade deal ever, has been criticized as a corporate-friendly deal that threatens food and env…

Harper Should Not Brag About His Fiscal Reputation

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[You might want to share this one around... See also Deficit or not, Harper still failed to strengthen economy and create jobs*RON*]
Ralph Goodale, Huffington Post, 2 February 2015


With Canada's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) actually shrinking and despite having the worst economic growth record of any Prime Minister since R.B. Bennett, Stephen Harper seems keen to brag about the fiscal reputation of his Conservative Party. Well, let's take a close look.

To begin with, here's an interesting question: How many Conservative Prime Ministers in all of the 20th century presented Canada with balanced budgets?

Answer: Only one! It was Robert Borden in 1912. Like Mr. Harper, he inherited a surplus from his Liberal predecessor (Wilfrid Laurier) and, again like Mr. Harper, it was quickly gone.

On his first day as Prime Minister in 2006, Stephen Harper was handed a thriving economy that was growing at 3 per cent per year or better. Close to 3.5-…

Suicides in Greece surge over austerity measures: Study

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[Austerity kills: suicides rise by a third following introduction of austerity measures. *RON*]

MSM/GHN/HMV, Press TV, 3 February 2015

The number of people committing suicide in Greece has risen by a third after the government adopted austerity measures in June 2011, a new study shows.

Suicides in the debt-ridden country increased 35.7 percent following the implementation of the austerity program in comparison with the previous months, according to the study published in the medical Journal BMJ Open on Monday.

“Suicides closely followed the announcements of specific government economic programs in Greece, and grew to their highest levels in 2012 as economic austerity measures and public outcries accumulated in number and scale,” senior study author Charles Branas said.

The research also found that suicides among men rose 13 percent in October 2008, when the Greek economy entered a recession.

However, there was a sudden, but brief, 27 percent fall i…

Baird to resign as minister, not seek re-election

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[The Canadian corporatocracy in action, a bit more blatantly than usual. Collecting his reward - 30 pieces of corporate silver - John "I've got mine" Baird steps down. *RON*]
Angela Mulholland, CTV News, 3 February 2015
John Baird is expected to confirm he is resigning from cabinet and will not seek re-election Tuesday, as Canadians surprised by his departure wonder what is next for the globetrotting foreign affairs minister.

CTV News learned Monday night that Baird is leaving politics to take a job in the private sector. The move has surprised both Canadians and Baird's colleagues on Parliament Hill, but insiders say the timing of his resignation was likely strategic.

CTV's Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife says the minister hoped to wait to make the announcement, but the news was leaked, forcing his hand.

Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird takes part in a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. (Sean Kilpatr…

Mount Polley investigation: Whitewash follows tailings flood – culprits let off the hook

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[Nothing to see here, move along ($500 million in campaign contributions later). "The mere notion of 'design' implies human agency. Someone had to conduct the geological studies, interpret the data, and incorporate that into the engineering of the facility; just as human regulators were responsible for overseeing this process and verifying its implementation and evolving risks over the lifetime of the project. How one can attribute flaws to the design process but not to the people, companies and governments behind it is simply baffling." *RON*]

Damien Gillis, Common Sense Canadian, 1 February 2015

The recently concluded “independent” investigation into the Mount Polley tailings pond rupture essentially exonerates the various culprits in what was likely the worst environmental catastrophe in BC history. The report can only be seen as a whitewashing of the world record 25 million cubic metres of mine tailings and other debris swe…

Bitumen spill effects unknown: draft federal government report

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[Evidently the dog ate Harper's negative report on the consequences of bitumen spills, which has been kept under wraps since 2013 and had to be obtained by Greenpeace under freedom of information legislation. *RON*]
Bob Weber, The Canadian Press / CTV News, 2 February 2015

The federal government has been trying to hide legitimate concerns about the consequences of oilsands pipelines by keeping under wraps a report on the possible environmental threats such projects pose, critics say.

"We are being sold a bill of goods by this government," said New Democrat environment critic Megan Leslie.

"If this report has been around since 2013 and not been released, then it makes me think they must be trying to hide something."

The unpublished report on environmental threats from oil and bitumen pipelines says little is known about the potential toxic effects of oilsands products in oceans, lakes or rivers.

"In particular, resear…