Showing posts from July 23, 2015

The global economy is 'stagnant'

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["Caterpillar is seen as a bellwether of economic activity given that its machines are big, expensive, and used in the kinds of projects — highway construction, large housing developments, mining projects — to which companies and governments are likely to commit only if they're confident in the economic outlook and their financial standing." Glad to see that whole global neoliberal corporatocratic austerity thing is working out so well. *RON*]

Myles Udland, Business Insider, 23 July 2015

Caterpillar does not have a cheery outlook for the global economy.

In its second-quarter earnings report released Thursday morning, Caterpillar, a $48 billion international manufacturer of construction equipment and other heavy machinery, said the global economy was "stagnant."

Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman said in a release:
While economic conditions in the United States are modestly positive, the global economy remains relatively stagnan…

The numbers are clear. Harper economics lead to a Harper deficit.

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[I agree; all Harper knows to do is deny, blame others, and double-down on existing, self-defeating economic policies. *RON*]
By Louis-Philippe Rochon,, 23 July 2015

Chip in to keep stories like these coming.

Confirmation that federal government finances have fallen back into deficit raises more questions about Harper's image, now more myth than reality, as a sound economic manager.

A deficit of course was inevitable once you accept Canada has fallen into a Harper recession: negative growth and falling revenues make a deficit a sure thing. This comes as no surprise to many of us who had predicted as much.

But what is particularly troubling of course is the government's refusal to acknowledge the possibility of a recession, let alone the existence of a deficit. Yet, this is crucial if we have any chance to salvage this economic mess. The longer we wait to address the problem, the greater the possibility that it will become far worse.

Nathan Cullen says NDP could form coalition against Stephen Harper

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[First they say they will consider a coalition, then slap the Liberals in the face with "I think the Liberals lost their nerve last time and made a huge mistake"? What they should be doing is selecting a single NDP/Liberal/Green candidate to jointly support in each riding, the one with the best chance to win against the Conservatives, rather than splitting to the vote at election time, then cooperating after they lose. *RON*]

Canadian Press, CBC News, 23 July 2015
The New Democrats will look to form a coalition government with the federal Liberals if it means ousting Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives from power, says a prominent NDP MP.

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen said that while winning a majority in this fall's federal election is still his party's goal, ultimately the number-one priority is toppling the Tories.

"The Liberal voters that I know are as fed up with Stephen Harper as anybody," sa…

Big Internet providers must open fibre networks to competitors; CRTC

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[This is happening in the US and the UK as well. Small companies are still being hit with a hefty surcharge (of 30-40%), but this will help open up competition for ISPs. *RON*]

Terry Pedwell, Canadian Press / Montreal Gazette, 21July 2015

GATINEAU, Que. - Canada's small Internet service providers are promising "faster speeds, better service, affordable pricing" following a decision by the country's communications regulator that will force the big telecom firms to open their fibre optic networks to competitors.

The new requirement, announced Wednesday by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, will give independent ISPs access to much higher speed networks.

The move should also foster greater competition in the broadband Internet market, the CRTC said in releasing the decision.

"Large incumbent companies will now have to make their fibre facilities available to their competitors," the regulator sa…

UN raises concerns over Canada’s new anti-terror bill

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[So far there has been a Supreme Court Charter challenge launched against this legislation, as well as complaints by Human Rights Watch, now concerns are being expressed by the United Nations on human rights grounds. What was Harper's first clue that he's over-stepped? *RON*]
By Canadian Press, Global News, 23 July 2015

OTTAWA – The United Nations Human Rights Committee is raising concerns about Canada’s new anti-terror legislation, saying it could run afoul of the international covenant on civil and political rights.

The committee says it’s concerned sweeping powers in the law, known as C-51, do not contain enough legal safeguards to protect people’s rights.

The committee says while it appreciates Canada must take steps to protect against terrorism, the government should consider rewriting the law to ensure it complies with the international civil rights agreement.

Problems with C-51 are only part of a list of issues the committee is raisin…

Corporate tax-protection act passes, paving way for B.C.’s first LNG project

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[We've already seen that this massive corporate give-away is not enough for the liquid natural gas industry (see also LNG industry wants more from B.C.).  Christy Clark says, "People will look back on this debate … and see who stood where on what." She's got that right. She - who has yet to have a job plan that succeeded since she was elected - also has the nerve to say of the NDP, who oppose this, that "The No Jobs Party argued from the very beginning that it would never happen." *RON*]

The Canadian Press, Vancouver Observer, 22 July 2015

What was supposed to be a short, celebratory legislative session for a multibillion-dollar liquefied natural gas deal eroded for Premier Christy Clark’s government amid a horrific child abuse case and a long-running scandal involving her government’s firing of eight health researchers.

But in the end, lawmakers wrapped up the legislative session late Tuesday by passing the Liquefied N…

Oil Warning: Crash Could Be Worst in More Than 45 Years

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[Hello, Stephen Harper, are you listening? But this piece stretches things by saying that OPEC is the "market spoiler" because they continue to strongly produce - the US was grossly over-producing until less than a month ago - they are still over-producing, just a bit less so. *RON*]

Tom Randall, Bloomberg, 23 July 2015
Morgan Stanley has been pretty pessimistic about oil prices in 2015, drawing comparisons to the some of the worst oil slumps of the past three decades. The current downturn could even rival the iconic price crash of 1986, analysts had warned—but definitely no worse.

This week, a revision: It could be much worse.

Until recently, confidence in a strong recovery for oil prices—and oil companies—had been pretty high, wrote analysts including Martijn Rats and Haythem Rashed, in a report to investors yesterday. That confidence was based on four premises, they said, and only three have proven true.

1. Demand will rise: Yes

In the…

Morgan Stanley: Vast majority of US export coal uneconomic at current spot prices

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[So, let's get this straight. Demand for thermal coal exports is tanking. U.S. coal companies are declaring bankruptcy or watching their share prices plummet. And Fraser Surrey Docks still thinks it's a good idea to build a new port to export U.S. thermal coal? Something is wrong with this picture. If you think we should make better business decisions about how we use our port lands in B.C., you'll probably want to click here to sign this petition. See also: The death of US coal. *RON*]

By Rohan Somwanshi, SNL Financial, 21 July 2015

Approximately 80% of U.S. thermal coal exports and 98% of Appalachian metallurgical coal exports are uneconomic at current spot coal prices, Morgan Stanley concludes in a research report focused on the Australian coal supply chain.

Australia, meanwhile, is better positioned given its closer proximity to Asian markets, with Morgan Stanley estimating that only 15% of the country's met coal and 16% of i…