Showing posts from January 18, 2016

Jim Carr, Natural Resources Minister, Says Pipeline Plans Undeterred By Oil Prices

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[Yet, as usual, there is nary a whisper about the need for Canada to become anything more than a hewer of wood and drawer of water. See, also, the article describing the shift away from manufacturing to services, and the consequent crash in oil and commodities, two mainstays of the Canadian economy: These 12 slides from Albert Edwards predict the next global financial collapse.*RON*]
By Jordan Press, Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 18 January 2016

SAINT ANDREWS, N.B.— The sinking price of oil hasn't deterred the Liberal government from the ever-elusive goal of figuring out how to get Canadian energy to tidewater, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr.

Battered by the plunging price of crude, the market is now bracing for what experts predict will be a flood of Iranian oil after the United States and the European Union lifted economic sanctions against Iran.

Paired with the steady decline in the value of the Canadian dollar, the drop in commo…

Why Boredom Is Anything but Boring

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[Implicated in everything from traumatic brain injury to learning ability, boredom has become extremely interesting to scientists. The links to self-control ring true to me. *RON*]

By Maggie Koerth-Baker, Nature magazine, Scientific American, 18 January 2016

In 1990, when James Danckert was 18, his older brother Paul crashed his car into a tree. He was pulled from the wreckage with multiple injuries, including head trauma.

The recovery proved difficult. Paul had been a drummer, but even after a broken wrist had healed, drumming no longer made him happy. Over and over, Danckert remembers, Paul complained bitterly that he was just—bored. “There was no hint of apathy about it at all,” says Danckert. “It was deeply frustrating and unsatisfying for him to be deeply bored by things he used to love.”

A few years later, when Danckert was training to become a clinical neuropsychologist, he found himself working with about 20 young men who had also suffer…

Gold production has peaked at 3,155 tonnes

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[Unsurprisingly, gold bugs are happily predicting rainbows and unicorns. *RON*]

Ben Moshinsky, Business Insider, 18 January 2016

The price of gold could rise substantially this year, as a supply crunch takes hold.

Global gold production is expected to fall 3% this year, according to a report by Thomson Reuters' GFMS metals research team, cited by the Financial Times.

That would end a seven-year streak of rising gold supplies, which peaked in 2015 at 3,155 tonnes.

The decline is due to the fall in the gold price, which has dropped more than 40% from its highs in 2011.

This made gold a less profitable prospect for miners, who invested less in new gold projects.

These 12 slides from Albert Edwards predict the next global financial collapse

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[He is strong on two themes, both flowing from the fact that interest rates have been too low for too long. First: "Global growth is no longer enough to service global debt.... Translated, this means the banks that lent the most money with the least amount of reserves may go bust." Second: "But as the world shifts from buying more goods to buying more services, China is shifting its economy away from manufacturing and industry. Commodities prices have plunged as a result, along with the currencies of the countries that invested in them. This makes it more expensive to pay off debt denominated in dollars." *RON*]

Ben Moshinsky, Business Insider,  18 January 2016

On a cold Tuesday afternoon on January 12, about 950 financial professionals gathered in a hotel basement to hear terrifying theories on how the next financial collapse would come about.

It was hosted by Albert Edwards, an economist at Societe Generale who is the voice …

The Color of Surveillance

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[Race and the surveillance state. What an infamous abuse of power teaches us about the modern spy era. *RON*]
By Alvaro M. Bedoya, Slate, 18 January 2016
The FBI has a lead. A prominent religious leader and community advocate is in contact with a suspected sleeper agent of foreign radicals. The attorney general is briefed and personally approves wiretaps of his home and offices. The man was born in the United States, the son of a popular cleric. Even though he’s an American citizen, he’s placed on a watchlist to be summarily detained in the event of a national emergency. Of all similar suspects, the head of FBI domestic intelligence thinks he’s “the most dangerous,” at least “from the standpoint of … national security.”

Is this a lone wolf in league with foreign sponsors of terrorism? No: This was the life of Martin Luther King Jr. That FBI assessment was dated Aug. 30, 1963—two days after King told our country that he had a dream.

What’s the economic impact of the Iran deal?

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[In the wake of the Iran nuclear agreement the talk in the corporatocracy instantly turns to: Where can you make a buck? Apparently airlines. *RON*]

Hari Streenivasan, PBS News Hour, 17 January 2016

HARI SREENIVASAN: President Obama is calling the implementation of the nuclear disarmament pact with Iran a milestone achieved by being unafraid to negotiate with adversaries.

In remarks at the White House today, the president said the deal cuts off every single path Iran had to build an atomic weapon.

BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States: Under the nuclear deal that we, our allies and partners reached with Iran last year, Iran will not get its hands on a nuclear bomb.

The region, the United States, and the world will be more secure. Inspectors will monitor Iran’s key nuclear facilities 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Super-rich: 62 people own as much as half the world

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[Report by Oxfam calls for a crackdown on tax havens as the world's wealthiest hide $7.6 trillion from taxes. *RON*]

Al Jazeera, 18 Jan 2016
The world's richest 62 people now own as much wealth as half of the world's population, according to a report by the charity Oxfam.
Super-rich individuals saw an increase of 44 percent since 2010, taking their cumulative wealth to $1.76 trillion - equivalent to the total owned by 3.5 billion of the world's poorest people.

The UK-based charity on Monday also said tax havens were helping corporations and individuals to stash away about $7.6 trillion, depriving governments of $190bn in tax revenue every year.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Helen Szoke, Oxfam Australia's chief executive, said that there were no appropriate mechanisms to check if wealth was being shared appropriately.

"We believe there is a need for commitments from global business leaders and political leaders for major tax refo…

Worried about sub-$20 crude? Some sellers are already there

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[Some cargoes of heavy Mexican crude are trading for less than $13 a barrel, and downside price momentum for hard-to-refine grades looks set to intensify.... In the Canadian town of Hardisty, Alberta, buyers can pick up a barrel of crude known as Western Canadian Select SHRWCSMc2 - one of North America's largest heavy crude oil streams - for less than $15, while producers need a price above $43 to make money. *RON*]
By Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen, Reuters, 18 January 2016

An end to sanctions on Iran has driven global crude futures to 12-year lows and brought sub-$20-a-barrel oil in sight, although for some producers that is already a painful reality.

This unfortunate group sells some physical crude cargoes at prices that are closer to $10 a barrel, thanks to an abundance of the "sour" grades they produce and a consumer base that favors higher-quality "light" oils from other origins. (Graphic:

Producers of certa…