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Showing posts from January 9, 2016

World's Richest Lose $194 Billion In First Trading Week of 2016

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[See also: Dow Drops, Sliding at Close to Cap Worst-Ever Start to Year, and A frail global economy caught in China’s tumble (some good observations on the stock market's distrust of the opacity and honesty of information on the Chinese economy). *RON*]

Brendan CoffeyJack Witzig, Bloomberg, 8 January 2016
Amazon's Jeff Bezos, last year's biggest winner, lost the mostNumber of billionaires who shed more than $1 billion: 47
The world’s 400 richest people lost almost $194 billion this week as world stock markets began the year with a shudder on poor economic data in China and falling oil prices.

Forty-seven billionaires lost $1 billion or more during the worst week for U.S. stocks since 2011, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The combined drop was almost seven times the $29 billion lost in the first five trading days of 2015. The 400 people on the index had a combined $3.7 trillion at the end of the week, compared with more …

Arrest Governor Snyder

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[A great, sad letter from Michael Moore. CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION. *RON*]

FROM: Michael Moore

TO: Michigan Governor Rick Snyder

Dear Governor Snyder:

Thanks to you, sir, and the premeditated actions of your administrators, you have effectively poisoned, not just some, but apparently ALL of the children in my hometown of Flint, Michigan.

And for that, you have to go to jail.

To poison all the children in an historic American city is no small feat. Even international terrorist organizations haven't figured out yet how to do something on a magnitude like this.

Is $20 Oil A Possibility?

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[Mister Market has a meltdown: let's blame it on China. The oil companies continue to pump out useless oil that drive prices down and are actually going into the red in order to continue paying dividends: "...in the first half of 2015 spending, share buybacks and dividends exceeded cash flow for the oil majors by a combined $20 billion." *RON*]

By Evan Kelly, oilprice.com, 8 January 2016

The first week of trading in 2016 has gone into the books as the worst opening week in history. First of all, we'll look at some of the key figures from the oil and gas industry.



B.C. extends public consultation on grizzly and wolf hunt until January 31

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[Christy needs those grizzly pelts to mop up the oil spills and tailings ponds collapses. Clark announced a 'public consultation' over the Christmas holidays! Having been caught out on this, she graciously agreed to extend the period of public comment until 31 January, i.e., 3 weeks from now. Links for voicing your opinion are provided below. Here are two recent pertinent podcasts: Too many grizzly bears killed in B.C. to sustain populations, and Mountain caribou more at risk from logging than wolves. *RON*]

Vancouver Observer, 9 January 2016

The B.C. government has extended its public feedback period from December 31st, 2015 to January 31st, 2016, for two proposals to increase wolf and grizzly bear killing in the Peace Region.

Raincoast Conservation Foundation, which strongly opposes the grizzly and wolf hunt, criticized the provincial government for announcing public consultation during the Christmas holidays, but welcomed news that the …

Ratings Agencies Still Coming Up Short, Years After Crisis

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["Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?" This is important. In a damning report, the Securities and Exchange Commission says the credit rating agencies are still failing in their reason for being - validly assigning credit- and investment-worthiness. *RON*]

By Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times, 7 January 2016

The mistakes that led to the 2008 mortgage crisis can’t happen again, right?

Not so fast, particularly if you’re talking about credit ratings agencies like Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s. Eight years after these companies were found to have put profits ahead of principle when they assigned high grades to low-quality debt securities, some of the same dubious practices continue to infect their operations. That’s the message in the most recent regulatory report on the companies from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The credit ratings agencies played an enormous role in generating billions …

The Anthropocene: Hard evidence for a human-driven Earth

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[Man-made changes are bringing about a new epoch in planetary history. *RON*]
7 January 2016, PhysOrg.
The evidence for a new geological epoch which marks the impact of human activity on the Earth is now overwhelming according to a recent paper by an international group of geoscientists. The Anthropocene, which is argued to start in the mid-20th Century, is marked by the spread of materials such as aluminium, concrete, plastic, fly ash and fallout from nuclear testing across the planet, coincident with elevated greenhouse gas emissions and unprecedented trans-global species invasions.

An international group of scientists is studying whether human activity has driven the Earth into a new geological epoch - the Anthropocene. They ask: to what extent are human actions recorded as measurable signals in geological strata, and is the Anthropocene world markedly different from the stable Holocene Epoch of the last 11,700 years that allowed human civiliza…

How Mickey Mouse Evades the Public Domain

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[Disney has been by far the strongest player in the battle for copyright extension. Regardless of The Mouse, the benefits reaped by other corporations (e.g., pharmaceutical companies) because of their legal belligerence has meant higher prices for hundreds and thousands of articles of daily use. "The extensions are corporate welfare, plain and simple -- and they have caused a lot of harm to the general public." *RON*]
Zachary Crockett, Priceonomics, 7 January 2016


Mickey Mouse is, in the words of one copyright expert, “a fucking powerhouse.”

The lovable rodent, who sports bright red shorts, a pair of gigantic yellow shoes, and circular ears, has achieved, in his 87 years, what no other animated character has: He has won an Academy Award. He has spawned social clubs, theme parks, and every piece of merchandise imaginable. He has a worldwide brand awareness of 97% -- higher than Santa Claus. For his efforts, Forbes has dubbed him the world’…

Making the World Safe for Predatory Capitalism

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[Part of the problem is that it is not always reading apparent that you are buying a product or service that comes with an arbitration clause. If you come across one of those user agreements you normally quickly click "Accept" to, going "Yeah, yeah..." - try doing a one-second search next time for the word "arbitration." Where feasible, refuse to buy products containing arbitration clauses and let them know that this is why you are not buying their product or service. *RON*]
by Dean Baker, Counterpunch, 7 January 2016


You can’t live in the United States without hearing celebrations of capitalism and the wonders of entrepreneurship. People such as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are lauded for making it possible to buy low-cost computers to put on our desks or carry around. The wizards at Google made it possible to search the huge offerings on the web in a fraction of a second. And Jeff Bezos made an Amazon.com click the fir…