Showing posts from March 29, 2015

Elizabeth Warren Strikes Back as Citigroup Tries to Blackmail the Democratic Party

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[Lizzy unleashed. Watch the video. *RON*]

Posted on March 29, 2015 by Yves Smith on Naked Capitalism

An unusual move by a thin-skinned too big to fail bank, Citigroup, to slap down the finance-skeptic faction of the Democratic party appears to be backfiring.

Reuters reported on Friday that Citigroup was making clear its displeasure with the way Elizabeth Warren had been calling to its overly-cozy relationship with the Administration by threatening to withhold its customary bribe, um, donation to the Democratic party:

Big Wall Street banks are so upset with U.S. Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren’s call for them to be broken up that some have discussed withholding campaign donations to Senate Democrats in symbolic protest, sources familiar with the discussions said.

Representatives from Citigroup, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, have met to discuss ways to urge Democrats, including Warren and Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, to soften th…

Indiana Governor Won’t Say If ‘Religious Liberty’ Bill Will Be Used To Discriminate

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[I liked one reader's comment: "Tolerance is not a two-way street. Tolerating intolerance is functionally the same as intolerance itself. 'Oh, I'm not a racist. I just believe in tolerance, so I tolerate racists because refusing to tolerate their racism isn't very tolerant, is it?'" *RON*]

By Kay Steiger, Think Progress, 29 March 2015

Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN) defended a “religious liberty” law he signed on Sunday, saying that tolerance was a “two-way street” and the law was about protecting religious people from government overreach.

Pence had said he was going to appear on the Sunday news show to “clarify the intent” of the law. Instead, he refused repeatedly to say if the law would greenlight discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation in the state.

Pence told This Week host George Stephanopoulos it was “absolutely not” a mistake to sign the religious liberty bill into law. Pence dodged a question…

Texas city opts for 100% renewable energy – to save cash, not the planet

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[Georgetown, Texas decision not about going green: 'I’m probably the furthest thing from an Al Gore clone you could find,' says city official. It's got to mean something when a Texas barber talks like this: "They were just looking out for the cheapest deal; that's business. I don’t really think we should be relying too much on oil, even though they have to right now. That don’t last forever. Sun will, though. Long as the sun comes up, the wind will blow." *RON*]
Tom Dart, The Guardian, 29 March 2015
News that a Texas city is to be powered by 100% renewable energy sparked surprise in an oil-obsessed, Republican-dominated state where fossil fuels are king and climate change activists were described as “the equivalent of the flat-earthers” by US senator and GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz.

“I was called an Al Gore clone, a tree-hugger,” says Jim Briggs, interim city manager of Georgetown, a community of about 50,000 people…

MPs receive 2.3 per cent pay raise

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[Under an automatic yearly hike pegged on an average from private-sector contract settlements, MP base salaries will jump nearly $4,000 to $167,400. The Canada Pension Plan, by comparison, is tied to the cost of living, and only rose by 1.8% in 2015, with no "extras" thrown in. Of course, politicians like John Baird retire to land in cushy new jobs with the corporations whose interests he protected over those of Canadians during his term in office, in addition to the large pension we Canadians are now paying him, so I guess it all works out, right? *RON*]
By Tim Naumetz, 27 March 2015

PARLIAMENT HILL—MPs’ salaries will rise by a healthy 2.3 per cent on April 1, the day before they leave for a two-week recess.

Under an automatic yearly hike pegged on an average from private-sector contract settlements, MP base salaries will jump nearly $4,000 to $167,400.

That’s just the minimum.

More than half of the 308 MPs—a total of 177 MPs including com…

John Baird Lands Job As Special International Adviser To Barrick Gold

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["Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power."  B. Mussolini. Baird cashes in on favours done for the corporatocracy while in office. Canadian voters have a short memory, but you may recall this story from three years ago: Nigel Wright Conflict Of Interest Probe: Formal Investigation Underway. You might also note the connections of right-wing pundit Andrew Coyne to Aurea Foundation, founded by Peter Munk, head of Barrick Gold, who is also a major funder of free-market think tanks in Canada, including: The Fraser Institute, the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, the Frontier Center for Public Policy, the Montreal Economic Institute and the MacDonald Laurier Institute. See Andrew Coyne's Connections to Free Market Think Tanks; Disclosure Lacking. The happy 1% club. *RON*]
By The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 28 March 2015

TORONTO - Former foreign affairs minister John…

Russia's rich forego some luxuries but still back Putin

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[Diametrically opposed takes on the reactions of the oligarchs in Russia from Reuters and The Telegraph, see Russia’s oligarchs head for London as rouble collapses. *RON*]
By Elizabeth Piper, Reuters, 29 March 2015

(Reuters) - Russian model Alisa Krylova canceled her order for the latest Mercedes, spent New Year in Moscow rather than skiing in the Alps and now employs Russian staff rather than foreigners.

The former Mrs Russia and Mrs Globe beauty pageant winner is among Russia's super rich but even she and many of her wealthy friends are feeling the pinch from the economic crisis.

Driven into "a kind of hibernation", they are steering clear of celebrity parties and trimming spending to make up some of the millions lost to a weak rouble and a falling stock market.

But the enforced modesty has not yet driven the super wealthy out of Russia or against President Vladimir Putin, who has fanned patriotism during the Ukraine crisis and appea…