Showing posts from February 18, 2015

The Next Syriza? As Greece Rejects Austerity, Meet the Activist Who Could Become Spain’s New PM

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[Good interview with Pablo Iglesias, head of the Podemos ("We Can") Party in Spain, which is showing signs of potentially forming the government. *RON*]
Aaron Maté, Amy Goodman, Pablo Iglesias, Democracy Now!, 17 February 2015

Talks between Greece and eurozone finance ministers over Athens’ debt broke down Monday when the newly elected leftist Syriza government rejected a deal to extend the terms of the current bailout. The Greek Syriza party was elected last month on a promise to roll back the crippling austerity measures in Greece’s international bailout. While Syriza has taken power in Greece, the grassroots party Podemos is also quickly gaining popularity in Spain, Europe’s fifth largest economy. On January 31, as many as 150,000 people rallied in Madrid to show support for the Podemos party, which translates into "We can." Podemos only became an official party last March, but a recent poll by El País found 28 percent of t…

Unbalanced hopes for the world economy

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[An important piece. It is futile to ignore the reality that we have an integrated global system. *RON*]

 Martin Wolf, Financial Times, 17 February 2015

Why is the dollar so strong? It has soared 25 per cent on a real trade-weighted basis in the past four years, evoking memories of ascents in the early 1980s and again at the turn of the millennium. In the previous cases, the result was a widening of trade and current account deficits. What might be the outcome this time?

The answer to the first question is that the US has far stronger demand, relative to potential output, than the other big economies — the eurozone, China and Japan. The answer to the second is that it will impose strong deflationary pressure and weaken demand for US output, making it harder to tighten policy than the Federal Reserve imagines.

As Daniel Alpert of Westwood Capital notes: “No economy is an island.” This realisation is what was missing from the analysis of the current …

B.C. BUDGET: Energy revenue decline expected

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[See also Confusing 'deficit elimination' with 'prosperity' -- and B.C.'s fading glory. *RON*]
By Tom Fletcher - BC Local News, TriCity News, 17 February 2015
B.C.'s natural resource revenue is forecast to decline 6.9 per cent in the coming year, mostly due to lower prices for natural gas, oil and electricity.

After gas drilling boom years, the province's revenue from Crown land tenures is expected to continue to decline slightly for two years. Excluding land tenures, natural resource revenue is expected to increase 7.6 per cent over the next two years due to increased forest stumpage rates and prices for coal and other commodities.

The province is forecasting no revenue from liquefied natural gas exports over the next three years, as investors continue to consider the multi-billion-dollar decisions that would get that industry off the ground in B.C.

Revenue from fees will continue to rise, with Medical Services Plan …

Eleven reasons the new B.C. Liberal budget is terrible

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["B.C. spends more every year providing tax credits to corporations than to low income individuals." It's good to read this article at this time since Finance Minister De Jong will be on all the news channels trumpeting his 'balanced' budget. Also notice how studiously our Families First premier avoids investing in families. And, lest we forget: B.C. Budget Balanced, But LNG Boom Nowhere To Be Seen*RON*]
By Iglika Ivanova,, 18 February 2015

1. Budget 2015 ends the claw-back on child support payments for single parents on welfare. This is estimated to put $13 million in the hands of some of the poorest British Columbians. It's a good step forward, but it is very, very small. $13 million is three hundredths of one percent of the provincial budget.

In contrast, the richest two per cent of British Columbians are getting 17 times more (or $227 million) with the phase out of the tax bracket at $150,000.

‘Anti-petroleum’ movement a growing security threat to Canada, RCMP say

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The corporatocracy requires that protests and actions that limit profit be defined as terrorism, which happens once government is fully 'captured' by corporate interests. Watch this Fifth Estate episode, Enemies of the State. *RON*]

Shawn McCarthy, The Globe and Mail, 17 February 2015
The RCMP has labelled the “anti-petroleum” movement as a growing and violent threat to Canada’s security, raising fears among environmentalists that they face increased surveillance, and possibly worse, under the Harper government’s new terrorism legislation.

In highly charged language that reflects the government’s hostility toward environmental activists, an RCMP intelligence assessment warns that foreign-funded groups are bent on blocking oil sands expansion and pipeline construction, and that the extremists in the movement are willing to resort to violence.

“There is a growing, highly organized and well-financed anti-Canada petroleum movement that cons…

Income Inequality Is a Sustainability Issue

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[It's impossible to say how representative the CEOs Meyer talks to are, but if even they recognize that the fundamental problem is that they are undercutting their own demand, whose interests are being met by the bankers and politicians (such as Harper and Clarke) that continue to push policies that promote more income inequality? *RON*]
Christopher Meyer, Huffington Post, 17 February 2015

In January, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini announced to employees that the company was raising its minimum wage from $12 to $16 per hour, and announced an improved health benefit for lower-income employees.

Why? "The turnover, lost productivity and recruitment costs that this should help address are significant. I'm willing to make this investment," he said. "I hope it benefits our employees, and we will learn how it helps our overall business. That is the nature of innovation versus just managing a business." This cost-benefit approach doub…

Why I have resigned from the Telegraph

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[Via Harry. Shining a bright light on the corporatocracy. The mainstream media are the 1% *RON*]
Peter Oborne, Open Democracy, 17 February 2015

The coverage of HSBC in Britain's Telegraph is a fraud on its readers. If major newspapers allow corporations to influence their content for fear of losing advertising revenue, democracy itself is in peril.

Five years ago I was invited to become the chief political commentator of theTelegraph. It was a job I was very proud to accept. The Telegraph has long been the most important conservative-leaning newspaper in Britain, admired as much for its integrity as for its superb news coverage. When I joined theTelegraph had just broken the MPs’ expenses scandal, the most important political scoop of the 21st century.

I was very conscious that I was joining a formidable tradition of political commentary. I spent my summer holiday before taking up my duties as columnist reading the essays of the great Peter U…