Showing posts from March 18, 2015

The Coming China Crisis

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[On over-production and bad debt in China. "Rapid private-debt growth threw Japan into crisis in 1991 and did the same to the United States and Europe in 2008. China may be next." *RON*]

Richard Vague, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, Spring 2015

On the morning of September 8, 2016, the Wenzhou Credit Trust, one of the many trust companies in China, went into default. The firm discontinued all new lending and suspended redemption and interest payments on its trust certificates, the equivalent of deposits made by its customers.

At the time, the failure didn’t seem all that unusual. A handful of trust companies—“shadow lenders” that make loans, often the riskiest ones, outside of China’s conventional banks—had done the same in recent years. But within a week, another trust company went into default, and the following week, so did seven more. Angry trust-certificate holders protested in Wenzhou and Chongqing but were quelled by police. Thos…

How did Netanyahu score such a decisive election victory?

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[The dynamics here were just like those of the BC election writ large. Polls showed people firmly opposed to the existing government. Then, mid-election, support swung back to Netanyahu as moderate voters leaned hard right, fearing that too much change (and a wimpy campaign by the more moderate opposition) would threaten a weak economy. The difference is that while in BC this might mean some oil spills, in the Middle East this might mean outright war. See also After Netanyahu Wins Israel Vote with Racism & Vow of Permanent Occupation, How Will World Respond? *RON*]

By Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz, 18 March 2015

For anyone who did not sleep last night, but spent the wee hours watching as television exit polls began slowly to give way to the actual results coming from the Central Election Commission, there was a surreal moment, sometime between 2 o'clock and 3 o'clock, when the floor seemed to give way under your feet.

In some ways it was v…

Negotiations with Greece Close to Breakdown as Budget Strains Worsen

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["Things are not looking good for Greece.... Greece seems to believe that the Eurocrats would not dare go this route, that the cost of not giving them new money is far too high for them not to relent. But so far, the Troika is not budging. The authorities are acting as if their commitment to austerity, in the form of structural reforms, is so deep that they are prepared to put the Eurozone at risk to enforce them." *RON*]
Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism, 18 March 2015

Things are not looking good for Greece.

When Greece and the Eurogroup signed a four-month deal delineating how Greece could get access to desperate needed, so-called “bailout” funds, our reading of the agreement was that it reaffirmed the so-called Memorandum of Understanding, meaning the structural reforms that were part of the IMF loan program. That was very much a minority view at the time.

It has proven to be correct. But Greece, which has a very different interpretation …

Stunning pictures of anti-capitalist protesters setting cars on fire and clashing with police outside the new ECB headquarters

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[I haven't posted all the photos here. Click above to see them all. These photos of the riot in Frankfurt arising from a protest against the ECB certainly show that public opinion about Eurozone economic policy is far from uniform within Germany. *RON*]

Canada Revenue Agency Cuts Misleading, Confusing Taxpayers, Liberals Say

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[I spoke with a man yesterday who said he received a pile of incomprehensible but vaguely threatening letters from CRA. It took him two days, on and off, to get through to anyone on the phone and, when he did, they said, "Oh just ignore those." I made an error on my tax return - fair enough, I owed them some money. But it took them nearly a year to send me a notice telling me so. Yet because it took them that long I also owed them a bunch of interest! They create tons of needless anxiety and the worse job they do the more money they make. And, while we're at it, whatever happened to those ba-zillion dollars in off-shore tax havens they were supposedly going after? That story certainly died a-borning. *RON*]
CBC / Huffington Post, 17 March 2015

The federal Liberal party's national revenue critic says Conservative cuts to the Canada Revenue Agency are hurting service and confusing taxpayers, leading to fines and lawsuits against th…

Chris Hedges on C-51: They have won, and it is up to us

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[Human rights and democracy or totalitarian corporatocracy and the surveillance state? "...this is a fight that in the face of the overwhelming forces against us requires us to find in all acts of sustained rebellion the embers of life, an intrinsic meaning that lies outside of certain success. It requires us to at once grasp reality and then refuse to allow this reality to paralyze us." Amen brother! See also: New poll results show support dropping for Bill C-51The more Canadians learn about the Conservative government's anti-terror bill, the more they disapprove. *RON*]
By Chris Hedges,, 17 March 2015

This is the speech Chris Hedges would have delivered at the Toronto protest against Bill C-51 on Saturday, if he had made it to the city in time. Weather delayed his plane, but was able to obtain the text of his address and present it here.

Hedges has spent much of his career working as a foreign correspondent …

Keep U.S. coal out of our sewer. It’s crap.

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[Fraser Surrey Docks and US coal companies want to dump coal waste into our sewer system, releasing heavy metals and chemical surfactants without a review or the presentation of any scientific evidence about the impact this has on human health and the environment. Click here to tell Metro Vancouver to deny a liquid waste permit for Fraser Surrey Docks. *RON*]

Desperate U.S. coal companies want a free ride through B.C. to get their toxic product to Asian markets. They’ve teamed up with Fraser Surrey Docks to push through a coal shipping proposal and their next step is getting permission to spew dirty wastewater from the proposed coal port into our public sewer system.

Metro Vancouver wants to hear from you before they decide on the permit, but we only have until April 9 to get our message across.

Fraser Surrey Docks can’t ship coal without this permit, so your comment could tip the balance to shut this proposal down. The decision is in the hands o…

Oil giants win $17M from Ottawa under NAFTA

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[You tell me: free trade or corporatocracy? And where did democracy go? Canada pays $17M after secret trade tribunal says it was 'unfair' of Newfoundland and Labrador to ask that Exxon Mobil and Murphy Oil re-invest some of their profits into the province where they're drilling. See also this one from January: NAFTA's Chapter 11 Makes Canada Most-Sued Country Under Free Trade Tribunals. *RON]

By: Les Whittington, Toronto Star, 13 March 2015

OTTAWA—Two U.S. oil giants have won $17.3 million in damages from Canada in a NAFTA investor-rights dispute over how much money the companies are required to invest in research and training in Newfoundland and Labrador.

ExxonMobil, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, and U.S.-based Murphy Oil complained to an international trade tribunal when a joint federal-Newfoundland and Labrador regulatory board said the corporations should spend millions of dollars more in the province in exc…