Showing posts from September 14, 2015

I'm On The Road!

[And I'm not taking my computer with me! So... no more postings until Saturday 19 September. Why? The photo is a hint. *RON*]

Credit Rating Agencies and Brazil: S&P as Neoliberal Enforcer

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[These financial ideologues drop the world economy to its knees: the ratings agencies are simply a tool of the global corporatocracy. If they see something they are in ideological agreement with - Enron shares, toxic subprime mortgage-backed securities - then they fall over themselves to rate them AAA. But if something looks a little off to their ideological sensors, woe betide the nation that does not toe to their neoliberal line. *RON*]
Posted on September 14, 2015 by Yves Smith

Yves here. Mind you, the rating agencies are far from the only neoliberal enforcers as far as emerging economies are concerned. But it is nevertheless instructive to compare an official rationale with data.

By Felipe Rezende, of the Department of Economics of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Originally published at New Economic Perspectives

So S&P has downgraded Brazil’s rating on long-term foreign currency debt to junk and lowered its long-term local currency sovere…

Scott Walker Is Committed to Making Your Life "Flexible"

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[As an employee if you ever hear your employer say they need 'flexibility' -- run. *RON*]

—By Kevin Drum, Mother Jones, 14 September 2015

Scott Walker has released a new plan to empower workers. Paul Waldman has the details, but I'll save you the trouble of reading if you just want the highlights. Here they are:
union bosses and the politicians they puppet....power to the people, not the union bosses....reduce the power of union bosses....big-government union bosses....big-government union bosses....Individuals should not have to pay union bosses....union bosses a legal monopoly over collective bargaining....mandatory dues to the union artificially high wages to union bosses.flexibility, choice, and innovation in the enterprise and workplace flexibility....flexibility to join a union or not....protect workplace flexibility....flexibility to balance work and life commitments....repeal any regulation that …

Next two years hottest, says Met Office

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[If you thought this year was hot... Though a few places that have really been suffering may get a bit of a reprieve for now. See also: Hot August Confirms That Long-Awaited Global Temperature Speed Up Is Here. *RON*]
By Roger Harrabin, BBC, 14 September 2015

The next two years could be the hottest on record globally, says research from the UK's Met Office.

It warns big changes could be under way in the climate system with greenhouse gases increasing the impact of natural trends.

The research shows that a major El Nino event is in play in the Pacific, which is expected to heat the world overall.

But it also reveals that summers in Europe might get cooler for a while as the rest of the globe warms.

The scientists confirm that in 2015 the Earth's average surface temperature is running at, or near, record levels (0.68C above the 1961-1990 average).

Ostracised, sacked … and even arrested: the fate of whistleblowers at the UN

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[The cases we've heard about recently from Central African Republic are, evidently, just the tip of the iceberg. Former employees say United Nations is failing to protect those who report corruption, malpractice or sexual abuse. *RON*]
Roger Hamilton-Martin, The Guardian, 14 September 2015

When a United Nations investigator reported the rape of a refugee in Sri Lanka, she did not expect the disclosure to force her into a decade-long legal battle with her employer.

Caroline Hunt-Matthes was ostracised and eventually ousted while on medical leave. She has still not secured redress after a decade fighting her case.

Her case was remarkable in duration but not in substance. Hunt-Matthes is by no means the first or only whistleblower to fall foul of the UN system. Indeed, her case highlights neatly one of the UN’s dirtiest secrets: that its staff are reluctant to report abuses or corruption within the organisation for fear of losing their jobs.

Tony Abbott's legacy: gaffes, broken promises and a hawkish foreign policy

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[How will Stephen Harper sleep with his bestest buddy gone, just days short of serving a relatively meagre two years as prime minister?! See also: Australian PM Tony Abbott ousted by Malcolm Turnbull. *RON*]
By Jonathan Pearlman, The Telegraph, 14 September 2015
Aside from its embarrassing brevity, Tony Abbott's period as Australian prime minister will probably be remembered for his no-nonsense leadership style, his reliable run of gaffes, and a capacity for dismantling opponents' policies rather than delivering his own.

In the lead-up to his decisive election victory over Labor in 2013, Mr Abbott became well-known for his slip-ups, such as referring to a female Liberal candidate’s sex appeal and his claim that no one can be "the suppository of all wisdom” (he presumably intended to say "repository").

He did nothing to assure critics who accused him of being a sexist and misogynist when he swiftly appointed a cabinet that in…

Former Harper Adviser Bruce Carson To Appear In Court Monday

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[Former Harper adviser and disbarred lawyer Carson is accused of demanding kick-backs from Aboriginal communities for bringing clean water to reservations, directing the money to his girlfriend, a then 22 year-old former employee of an escort service. *RON*]
By Terry Pedwell, The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 13 September 2015

OTTAWA- The federal Conservative election campaign will face yet another legal distraction Monday as the criminal trial of a former top aide to Prime Minister Stephen Harper begins.

Bruce Carson is set to appear in an Ottawa court on an influence peddling charge in connection with the proposed sale of water-filtration systems to aboriginal reserves.

The former senior adviser to Harper is also accused of three counts of illegal lobbying, charges which are expected to be dealt with at a later date, likely early next year.

The Carson case follows on the heels of the trial of Senator Mike Duffy, which forced the Tories off of t…

Fact check: Is Conservative spin-doctor Lynton Crosby really the worst?

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[Harper has hired a man ("The Lizard of Oz") who built his career on spreading hatred against refugees to steer the Conservative campaign in the weeks leading up to the election. By a massive coincidence, see also: Is Harper's warning of refugee security threats just cynical fearmongering?*RON*]
By Nora Loreto,, 14 September 2015

The claim: Lynton Crosby is an Australian campaign spin doctor who exploits divisive politics to win campaigns. How true is this?

Lynton Crosby, also known either as the Wizard of Oz or the Lizard of Oz, depending on who you ask, has been brought in to help boost Harper's campaign in the final six weeks.

American Media Freaks Out After Socialist Wins UK Labour Leadership

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[What will the reaction be should Bernie Sanders pull off a similar feat? *RON*]

By Adam Johnson / AlterNet, 12 September 2015

This morning, Jeremy Corbyn won the vote for Britain’s Labour leadership election - basically the equivalent to the American democratic party primary - in a blowout, garnering almost 60% of the vote while the runner-up, Andy Burnham could only muster 19% of the vote. Jeremy Corbyn, a self-described socialist, outflanked his opponents to the left on many issues, including militarism, immigration, unions - breaking ranks on a whole host of centrist orthodoxy that Labour had embraced since the mid-90's.

The American media, perplexed as to how someone labeled with the dreaded “s" word could not only capture a major party nomination but do so with the largest mandate in the history of the party, went into full smear mode:

First up, Reuters who led with tabloid “Karl Marx Admirer”:

Karl Marx admirer Corbyn elected UK o…