Showing posts from February 9, 2016

Five reasons behind US bank stocks sell-off

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[The banksters are having a sad 2016. Answers? Their stocks were historically over-priced, interest rate increases didn't pan out, knock-on effects from low gas prices are creating greater credit risks for loans, rumours that Deutschebank wouldn't be able to pay its bond interest got people twitching, and when confidence in the general economy drops (can you say "China?") banks feel it first. *RON*]

Ben McLannahan, Financial Times, 9 February 2016

US bank stocks have suffered a brutal start to 2016. Out of the 90 stocks on the S&P financials index, just eight were in positive territory for the year at mid-morning on Tuesday.

Two of the biggest losers, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley, are down 27 per cent and 28 per cent respectively. Citigroup, also down 27 per cent, is now trading at just 6.5 times earnings, not far off its post-crisis trough of 5.9 times, reached during the depths of the European debt crisis five years a…

What’s Holding Back the World Economy?

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[There is always a concerted effort to blame something else, or to claim things are in fact hunky-dory, but the reality is that these problem arise from bad business fundamentals meeting equally bad policy. *RON*]

Joseph E. Stiglitz & Hamid Rashid, The Intercept, 8 February 2016.

NEW YORK – Seven years after the global financial crisis erupted in 2008, the world economy continued to stumble in 2015. According to the United Nations’ report World Economic Situation and Prospects 2016, the average growth rate in developed economies has declined by more than 54% since the crisis. An estimated 44 million people are unemployed in developed countries, about 12 million more than in 2007, while inflation has reached its lowest level since the crisis.

More worryingly, advanced countries’ growth rates have also become more volatile. This is surprising, because, as developed economies with fully open capital accounts, they should have benefited from the…

The Eviction Epidemic. Forced Out: For many poor Americans, eviction never ends.

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[A sad slice of life today. Welcome to the front lines of the class wars. *RON*]

By Matthew Desmond, New Yorker, 8 & 15 February issue.

Arleen Beale’s latest eviction began with a snowball fight. It was January of 2008, and Milwaukee was experiencing its snowiest winter on record. Arleen’s son Jori and his cousin were cutting up, packing powder tight and taking aim at the passing cars on Arthur Avenue. One jerked to a stop, and a man jumped out, chasing the boys to Arleen’s apartment, where he broke down the door with a few kicks. When the landlord found out about the property damage, she decided to evict. Arleen had been there with her sons—Jori was thirteen, Jafaris five—for eight months.

The day they had to be out was bitterly cold, but Arleen knew what would happen if she waited any longer to leave. Her first eviction had taken place sixteen years earlier, when she was twenty-two; she figured that she had rented twenty houses since turni…

TPP has already impacted Canadian law (and it's not even ratified yet!)

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[Political pressure to join TPP comes with further pressure to join a flock of additional treaties, many of which Canada has already acceded to, and some of which it vigorously opposed during early TPP negotiations. *RON*]
By Michael Geist,, 8 February 2016

The signing of the TPP in New Zealand provides a useful reminder that a potential ratification means committing to far more than just one (very large) trade agreement. One of the Troubles with the TPP is that theintellectual property chapter requires all countries to ratify or accede to as many as nine international IP treaties. In other words, the treaties within the treaty are a core part of the obligations that come with TPP.

Article 18.7 specifies that all countries have already ratified or acceded to three IP treaties: the Patent Cooperation Treaty, Paris Convention, and Berne Convention. More notably, there are as many as six additional treaties that must be ratified or acceded …

Canadian Federation Of Students Pushes Liberals To Spend $3.3B On Free College, University

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[It's free in Germany, and Canada currently gives away $25 billion per year in tax payers' money as welfare to the oil and gas industry. *RON*]
By Jordan Press, Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 8 February 2016
OTTAWA — Facing higher than average unemployment and a growing threat of bankruptcy, post-secondary students are lobbying the federal government this month for billions in new spending to help cover the cost of university and college education.

The largest organization for post-secondary students in Canada is calling on the federal government to fund university and college education the same way it does health care and enshrine it in legislation.

The Canadian Federation of Students used about 200 meetings in a week of lobbying on Parliament Hill to argue for a federal post-secondary education bill that would repurpose cash used for programs like the registered education savings plan into a $3.3-billion annual transfer for provinces t…

Vancouver Real Estate Agents To Be Probed For Fraud, Insider Trading

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[BC corporatocratic politics at its most pungent. You've got to love it. The Real Estate Council will be investigated by an "independent office" which will primarily be informed by a "group being set up by the Real Estate Council." See also: Surging real estate makes $2.3M for B.C. cabinet as affordability worsens and Vancouver Real Estate Just Had One Of Its Hottest Months Ever. *RON*]
By Laura Kane, Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 8 February 2016

VANCOUVER — The independent office charged with overseeing the British Columbia real estate market will investigate allegations of fraud and insider trading by some Metro Vancouver real estate agents, the provincial government said Monday.

Superintendent of Real Estate Carolyn Rogers will work with an advisory group being set up by the Real Estate Council of B.C. to look into concerns raised by media reports and opposition politicians, said B.C. cabinet minister Peter Fassbender…

Will the NDP take on corporate power? It's time to choose.

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[I've lost confidence in Mulcair. A new face is needed. Now that it cost him the election, he suddenly gets religion and shifts his priority from a balanced budget to income inequality? He's a professional politician who's primary concern is staying in power. If he suddenly claims he is Bernie Sanders, we're supposed to believe him? *RON*]
By Duncan Cameron,, 9 February 2016

Across Canada, NDP federal riding associations are meeting in preparation for an April 8-10 Edmonton convention, where there will be a leadership review.

In a January 22 statement, Tom Mulcair said the party needs to focus on income inequality.

The NDP leader cited links between poverty and ill health, and deplored the impact of social housing shortages on family well-being. His message pointed to inflated bank profits feeding outsized bonuses for bankers, and taxable income hidden offshore.

Prior to this statement Mulcair had made it clear he wants to …

Tanzania looks into geothermal energy

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[It's also believed that Canada has the potential to generate 5,000 MW of power from geothermal energy. Also note that: "As the fossil fuel industry gets $25 billion in subsidies each year and other alternatives have started to get support, the geothermal industry has been virtually frozen out of government support in developing the industry, CanGEA says." Yet Tanzania manages it somehow. *RON*]
ESI Africa: Africa's Power Journal, 9 February 2016
Sospeter Muhongo, minister of energy and minerals, orders the Tanzania Geothermal Development Company (TGDC) to begin drilling three holes in the Lake Ngozi area

Muhongo noted that neighbouring countries within the east African region including Kenya and Ethiopia are already exploiting geothermal power and has ordered the TGDC to start drilling by June this year, reports Business Week.

The minister said: “But in our case we do not have even one megawatt from this source, which is unaccep…