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Showing posts from April 25, 2015

The Asshole Factory

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[The only truly must-read piece I've seen this year. I've downloaded a sample chapter to my e-reader. Our economy doesn’t make stuff anymore. So what does it make? Assholes. *RON*]

Umair Haque, Medium.com, 21 April 2015


My good friend Mara has not one but two graduate degrees. From fine, storied universities. Surprise, surprise: the only “job” she was able to find was at a retail store.

Hey—it’s only minimum wage, but at least she’s working, right? And at a major-league, blue-chip company, An American icon; an institution; a name every man, woman, and child in this country knows; an historic company that rings of the American Dream the world over, besides. Surely, if nothing else, it’s a start.

Perhaps you’re right. Maybe it isn’t the start she always dreamed of…but at least it is one. If so…then awaits her at the finish?

What is Mara’s job like? Her sales figures are monitored…by the microsecond. By hidden cameras and mics. They listen …

Greece Talks With Eurogroup Hit “Complete Breakdown”

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[Is it already too late for sovereignty in the face of the banksters? "Greece was almost certain to continue to face harsh times, but the likely outcome looks to be particularly difficult. I wish the long-suffering Greek people the best of luck. They need it." *RON*] 

By Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism, 25 April 2015

We said as soon as Syriza was voted into office, in How Much Success is Syriza Likely to Have in Ending Austerity? that it was unlikely to prevail:
I see three stumbling blocks for the Greek negotiating position. The first is that there seems to be no overlap between what they want and the northern bloc is likely to be willing to concede…. Second is that the best idea that the Greeks have to square the circle of austerity v. the Greeks wanting a more pro-growth, more humanitarian solution, the so-called Modest Proposal, is not modest at all from the Eurozone perspective. While it is “modest” in that it works within the existin…

Cities and States Across the Country Are Paying Massive Secret Fees to Wall Street

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["Massive payouts to Wall Street are happening at the very moment politicians are demanding big cuts to retirees’ pension benefits." *RON*]

By David Sirota, In These Times, 23 April 2015


Massive payouts to Wall Street are happening at the very moment politicians are demanding big cuts to retirees’ pension benefits.

With so much money at issue—and with pensioners' retirement income on the line—scrutiny is long overdue.

California’s report said $440 million. New Jersey’s said $600 million. In Pennsylvania, the tally is $700 million. Those Wall Street fees paid by public workers’ pension systems have kicked off an intensifying debate over whether such expenses are necessary. Now, a report from an industry-friendly source says those huge levies represent only a fraction of the true amounts being raked in by Wall Street firms from state and local governments.

“Less than one‐half of the very substantial [private equity] costs incurred by U.S.…

The TPP: Toward Absolutist Capitalism

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[Trans-Pacific Partnership: the corporatocracy as global tyranny. "Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power." ― Attributed to Benito Mussolini. See also Obama Tries to Make His Bones Again with the Trans-Pacific Partnership*RON*]

By Lambert Strether, Naked Capitalism / Truthout, 25 April 2015

There are many excellent arguments against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), two of which — local zoning over-rides, and loss of national sovereignty — I’ll briefly review as stepping stones to the main topic of the post: Absolutist Capitalism, for which I make two claims:

1) The TPP implies a form of absolute rule, a tyranny as James Madison would have understood the term, and

2) The TPP enshrines capitalization as a principle of jurisprudence.

Zoning over-rides and loss of national sovereignty may seem controversial to the political class, but these two last points may seem con…

How Corporate America Invented Christian America

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[A great look at the current situation and its origins. I don't know if this is mentioned in the book as a whole, but this merger of Christian values with corporate values is also the perfect way to set yourself up against 'godless socialism.' "As men of God, ministers could voice the same conservative complaints as business leaders, but without any suspicion that they were motivated solely by self-interest." As Harper understands perfectly, truth is a deterrent to the relentless march of ideology. For the Canadian version, see The Armageddon Factor: The Rise of Christian Nationalism in Canada. *RON*]
By Kevin Kruse / Basic Books, AlterNet, 21 April 2015

The following is an adapted excerpt from Kevin Kruse's new book, One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America (Basic Books, 2015).

In December 1940, as America was emerging from the Great Depression, more than 5,000 industrialists from across …

Feds Propose 'Comply Or Explain' Policy For Gender Diversity

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[Interesting. "Canada's 20.8 per cent left it in ninth place." The corresponding number for the Conservative Party of Canada is 22.1 per cent, the lowest of all five parties in Parliament. Note also that this doesn't actually force corporations to comply, just spend more on (mainly women) communication flacks to 'explain' why they haven't done so. *RON*]
By Arielle Follett, The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 25 April 2015


OTTAWA - The federal government is aiming to increase the number of women on corporate boards across Canada by requiring companies to either put a gender diversity policy in place — or explain publicly why they don't have one.

The Harper government's latest budget included proposed changes to the Canada Business Corporations Act requiring all companies listed on Canadian stock exchanges to abide by the "comply-or-explain" disclosure model.

Proposed changes are also in the works to …

Haisla say documents show Enbridge Northern Gateway process flawed

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[More evidence, if it is needed, that Harper takes advice from no one. His own staff were told him the Aboriginal consultation process for the Enbridge proposal was inadequate. This, of course, was only learned through a freedom of information request. " The federal government declined to comment, citing the lawsuit.  A request for comment to Enbridge wasn't returned."  *RON*]

By The Early Edition, CBC News, 24 April 2015


Haisla say documents show Enbridge Northern Gateway process flawed 6:47

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Northern Gateway spokesman says lawsuit is premature

The Haisla First Nation has obtained documents through an access to information request, s…

Oil spill expert denies Coast Guard's claim about Vancouver fuel leak

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[The Harper government is so desperate to make it look like they didn't totally mess up that they are inventing 'good press' about the Vancouver spill. The reality of what Candito said? "...yeah, I would say to get [the] boom in the water around a vessel that’s berthed in a harbour like Vancouver where there’s presumably a lot of resources, it shouldn’t take 12 hours, right?” *RON*]

Sunny Dhillon, The Globe and Mail, 24 April 2015

A U.S. oil spill expert says he never described the Canadian Coast Guard’s response to a fuel leak on Vancouver’s English Bay as “exceptional,” despite the Coast Guard’s claim.

In fact, Steven Candito, president of the National Response Corporation, one of the largest oil-spill removal operations in the world, says the Coast Guard’s response may have been too slow.

The fuel spill was reported around 5 p.m. on April 8 by a person on a sailboat. The Coast Guard has said it did not recognize the seriousne…