Showing posts from February 3, 2016

Global gas market braced for price war

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[I imagine Christy Clark will announce some huge LNG projects as soon as the price hits zero and we end up having to pay Indonesia to take it away. *RON*]

Jack Farchy, Financial Times, 3 February 2016

Could Gazprom be about to start a price war in the global gas market?

With the prospect of a wave of US liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies starting to hit the market later this year, energy investors fear the Russian state gas giant may adopt the same strategy in the gas market that Saudi Arabia has done in oil.

It may seem like a gas price war is the last thing that Russia, reeling from the impact of low oil prices, needs.

But analysts say that such a strategy may be economically rational for Gazprom: already low prices in the European gas market mean it could relatively easily push prices to a level at which it would be unprofitable to ship LNG from the US — and in doing so defend its market share in a region that accounts for the bulk of its profi…

NDP candidate Jodie Wickens victorious in Coquitlam-Burke Mountain byelection

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[We had a provincial by-election in the riding I live in yesterday and the NDP candidate won. So, one less Liberal seat in the legislature. "Jodie Wickens defeats BC Liberal candidate Joan Isaacs and the Green Party's Joe Keithley in provincial byelection." After our do-nothing MP James Moore quit, our existing do-nothing MLA Douglas Horne quit to try to take his place in Ottawa, and got wiped out in the general Liberal rout. Hence the by-election. *RON*]

Gary McKenna, Janis Warren, Tri City News, 2 February 2016

It was a horse race right to the bitter end but Jodie Wickens is the first NDP candidate to win in Coquitlam-Burke Mountain since the riding’s inception in 2009.

The polls were close for most of the night but Wickens started to pull away after 80 of the 90 ballot boxes had been counted. When the last votes were tallied, she was ahead with 3,562 (46.24%) over BC Liberal candidate Joan Isaacs with 2,936 (38.11%). Green Part…

Iraq's about to plunge off a fiscal cliff — and the consequences could be dire

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[Is Iraq inching toward rampant civil war? *RON*]

Armin Rosen, Business Insider, 2 February 2016

The plunge in oil prices is already having far-reaching effects on countries whose economies are dependent on oil exports.

But in Iraq, the stakes of cheap oil are even higher than in Saudi Arabia, which is instituting unprecedented taxation and austerity, or in Nigeria, which isnow asking for an $11 billion World Bank loan.

What little remains of Iraq's government and social order might collapse if oil remains in its current price trough — with dire consequences.

According to a Monday AFP report, Iraq is now selling oil at half of the country's apparent fiscal break-even price. Right now, Iraq is selling its oil at around $22 a barrel, half of what it would need to fetch for the country to be able to fund the upcoming year of government budgetary obligations, the report said.

Jimmy Carter calls US campaign finance ruling 'legalised bribery'

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[Plutocracy or democracy? Former president says 2010 Citizens United court decision has corrupted US politics. *RON*]

Matthew Weaver, The Guardian, 3 February 2016

Former American president Jimmy Carter has warned that US politics has been corrupted by billions of dollars of campaign financing following a supreme court ruling that he said legalised “bribery”.

He described the landmark 2010 Citizens United court decision, which equated campaign spending with free speech, as an “erroneous ruling”.

Speaking after the Iowa caucuses, in which Republican candidates spent $43m on TV advertising and Democratic candidates spent $16.8m, Carter said the domination of money in politics represented the biggest change since he was elected president in 1976.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I didn’t have any money. Now there is a massive infusion of hundreds of millions of dollars into campaigns for all the candidates. Some candidates like Trump can put in h…

Canada bullied into complying with U.S. demands in TPP

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["...the same outdated thinking from the 1980s is back on display from today's TPP proponents: Focus on aligning our domestic IP laws with the U.S. system and hope for the best. TPP needs to be assessed not for alignment to U.S. laws, but for the economic impacts colonial IP policies have on Canada." See also: Study: The Trans-Pacific Partnership Will Cost US a Half Million Jobs, Drag Down GDP. *RON*]
By Michael Geist,, 2 February 2016

This weekend, former Research in Motion co-CEO Jim Balsillie wrote a must-read opinion piece in The Globe and Mail on the TPP. Balsillie makes a compelling case for how Canadian IP policy has failed in light of decisions to consistently cave to foreign pressures:
"Starting in the 1980s, Canadian policy makers and politicians blindly bought the narrative lobbied by foreign corporations, first in the pharmaceutical industry and then across all sectors, that stronger IP protection would l…

Canadian Businesses Are World's Most Trusted; ‘Trudeau Effect' Sends Domestic Trust Soaring

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[It's been a while since Canadians have associated federal politics with trust and optimism. See also: Liberals To Repeal Controversial Tory Union Bills C-377, C-525. *RON*]
By Daniel Tencer, Huffington Post, 3 February 2016

They’re calling it the “Trudeau effect.”

Canadians’ trust in business, media, government and NGOs saw a sudden, sharp spike in the latest edition of an annual survey from public relations firm Edelman.

Edelman’s “Trust Barometer” also found that Canadian-based businesses are now the world’s most trusted among consumers worldwide, tied for first place with Sweden and Switzerland.

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Melanie Mark, NDP MLA, Is 1st First Nations Woman Elected To B.C. Legislature

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[Amazing that she is the first in 158 years! *RON*]
By Rhianna Schmunk, Huffington Post, 3 February 2016

Melanie Mark grew up in one of Canada's poorest neighbourhoods, bouncing around the social housing system while her mother struggled with addiction and her siblings lived in foster care.

Decades later, she's about to become the first indigenous woman to be elected to B.C.'s legislature in the province's history.

Mark, a New Democrat, snagged a seat in her party's stronghold of Vancouver-Mount Pleasant in a byelection Monday. She handily defeated Liberal Gavin Dew and Green candidate Pete Fry with over 60 per cent of the vote.

The mother of two will be replacing Jenny Kwan, who moved into federal politics as NDP MP for Vancouver-East last October.

Koch-Fueled Playbook Against West Virginia Working Families Exposed

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[Outlines the process the Koch brothers use, state by state, when pushing their neoliberal legislative agenda, in this case union-busting "right to work" legislation. *RON*]
By PRWatch Editors, PRWatch / Truthout, 3 February 2016

West Virginia Senate President Bill Cole's spokesman said Monday that Cole "will travel throughout West Virginia and beyond...." to talk about his legislative agenda that limits workers' rights.

And, boy, did he go beyond, according to David Gutman of the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Cole flew to a world far away from West Virginia when he traveled this weekend to the luxurious Esmeralda resort, which describes itself as creating "an atmosphere of luxury and relaxation unmatched" in Palm Springs, California, the winter playground of the rich and powerful like billionaire Charles Koch, who has an estate there.

The entire Esmeralda resort was reserved for the weekend by the billionaire Koch b…