Showing posts from August 5, 2015

China’s Stock Market Collapse

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["Those who are looking only at Greece and the crazy behaviour of the European Union may well be looking in the wrong direction to identify the next big crisis as it comes." *RON*]
Posted By Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism, 5 August 2015

By Jayati Ghosh, Professor of Economics and Chairperson at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Cross posted from Triple Crisis

The recent rout in the Chinese stock market – and the Chinese authorities’ increasingly panicky responses to it that temporarily halted the decline – may not seem all that important to some observers. Indeed, there are analysts who have said that this is just the typical behaviour of a still immature stock market that is still “froth” in the wider scheme of things, and not so significant for real economic processes in China. After all, the Chinese economy is still much more state-controlled than most, the main banks are still state-o…

Alabama officer kept job after proposal to murder black man and hide evidence

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[Police officer says, among many other things, "That motherfucker right there needs a god damn bullet," resulting in a $35,000 out of court settlement to the prevent man from suing. Police chief Robinson said Middlebrooks "was disciplined" when the recording came to light, but declined to elaborate. Officer Middlebrooks continues on the payroll, on patrol in Alexander City, Alabama. *RON*]
Jon Swaine, The Guardian, 4 August 2015
A police officer in Alabama proposed murdering a black resident and creating bogus evidence to suggest the killing was in self-defence, the Guardian has learned.

Officer Troy Middlebrooks kept his job and continues to patrol Alexander City after authorities there paid the man $35,000 to avoid being publicly sued over the incident. Middlebrooks, a veteran of the US marines, said the man “needs a god damn bullet” and allegedly referred to him as “that nigger”, after becoming frustrated that the man was no…

Death of the Canadian dollar: The five stages of grief

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[The Canadian dollar hit its lowest level in eleven years (Harper has been PM for ten). Quote of the day: "Whether the economy goes up or down, people are still going to get a colonoscopy." Jason Donville, Donville Kent Asset Management. *RON*]

Michael Brand, Globe and Mail, 4 August 2015

Five stages

The Canadian dollar is under attack on several fronts, from the collapse in oil prices to the different paths being taken by central banks.

The loonie lost about 4 per cent in July, sank to below 76 cents U.S. at one point yesterday and again today, and won’t stop there, according to analysts who expect it to tumble further to about 73 or 74 cents.

The currency has been as low as 75.77 cents and as high as 76.30 cents today, trading below the 76-cent mark by late afternoon.

Here, then, are the five stages of grief for such an agonizing death:

This Is Stephen Harper's Last Campaign, Win Or Lose: New Book

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["If the Tories form a minority government, Harper is likely to wait a year before announcing his departure. Ibbitson writes. A majority would delay the announcement by a year. Harper would wait until midway through another four-year mandate to give a successor some leeway. If the Conservatives fall into the opposition benches after Oct. 19, Ibbitson writes that Harper will resign almost immediately." *RON*]

By Jordan Press, Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 4 August 2015

OTTAWA — The longest federal election campaign in modern Canadian history is ultimately to be Stephen Harper's last as Conservative leader, win or lose, a new book says.

The biography from Globe and Mail journalist John Ibbitson, simply titled "Stephen Harper," quotes people close to the prime minister as saying that Harper won't run again if the Conservatives win a government, whether minority or majority.

"Winning conditions were within reach if h…

Even the Father of Modern Libertarianism Criticized the Kind of Austerity That's Crushing Greece

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[European governments are demanding hardline right-wing economic policies that both the IMF and Milton Friedman cautioned against. Being to the right of Milton Friedman is a frankly difficult endeavor. Milton Friedman went public with concerns about imposing austerity on debt-ridden countries in return for loans. *RON*]

By Ben Norton / AlterNet, 23 July 2015

Chicago School economist Milton Friedman, an avowed anti-government crusader and founding father of the modern right-wing libertarian movement, warned against the austerity programs that are so popular today.

Friedman is widely recognized as a progenitor of the wave of neoliberalism that spread across the world in the 1970s and '80s and beyond, establishing the groundwork for the economic and political climate of today, manifesting itself in the form of Thatcherism in the UK and Reaganism in the US.

Although Friedman served as one of Ronald Reagan’s key economic advisors, the Democratic …

It is getting ugly in Canada

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[On the spin-doctoring of Harper the economist. In Calgary, home sales plunged 14% in July year-over-year; year-to-date, homes sales are down 25%. The Business Barometer Index of small business confidence dropped in July to 58.2, the worst level since mid-2009. One normally sees an index level of between 65 and 70 when the economy is growing at its potential. That’s what Statistics Canada has been confirming for months: on Friday, it reported that GDP in May fell for a 5th month in a row (it has shrunk in 6 of the last 7 months). The Canadian economy contracted roughly 1.8% annualized over the March-May period. See also: 5 signs of trouble for Saskatchewan's economy in oil slump. *RON*]

Wolf Richter, Wolf Street / Business Insider, 3 August 2015

“It’s an election about who will protect our economy in a period of ongoing global instability,” Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, announced on Sunday as he officially kicked off the campaign …

This new rule could reveal the huge gap between CEO pay and worker pay

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[Sent to me by my friend Harry, who points out the following quote: "The theory was disclosure would create embarrassment and lower pay. But that was based on the assumption that those who had asked for that kind of money were capable of that kind of embarrassment. And they weren't." *RON*]

By Drew Harwell and Jena McGregor, Washington Post, 4 August 2015
Thousands of public U.S. companies are likely to soon be forced to share a number many would rather keep under wraps: how much more their chief executives make than their typical rank-and-file employees.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to finalize on Wednesday a long-delayed rule forcing businesses to share their "pay ratio," a simple bit of arithmetic that would cast an unprecedented spotlight on one of corporate America's thorniest debates.

Once the pay-ratio rule is in place, millions of workers will know exactly how their top boss's payday co…

The TPP, The WTO, The 21st Century Global Trade Mess And The Poverty Of Nations

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[Thomas Hobbes would have recognized our world, and admired its First World corporatist leaders. *RON*]
Jean-Pierre Lehmann, Forbes, 3 August 2015

Here we are in 2015 and the global trade agenda is in a total mess. The 20th anniversary of the establishment of the WTO marks a narrative littered with missed deadlines, disappointments, and failed negotiations. The Doha Development Round is dead and has been for some time even though officially unacknowledged. Trade ministers continue to meet for regular rituals – next rendezvous Nairobi in December. For the WTO ministerial held in Hong Kong ten years ago, the public was warned to “calibrate their expectations” (really!). There is no need for such warnings for Nairobi, as the public has generally switched off: There are no expectations to calibrate.

As to the much-ballyhooed “mega-regionals,” the TTIP (Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) is stalled. The TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership), wh…