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Showing posts from March 12, 2016

The Goal of the Neo-Liberal Consensus Is to Manage the Decline

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[Finagling a soft landing for the declining expectations of the middle class is an important task of the one percent in the front lines of the class wars. Otherwise the peasants might rise with their pitchforks once low to zero growth rates become the new normal. *RON*]
By Gaius Publius, Naked Capitalism, posted by Yves Smith11 March 2016

Yves here. I anticipate that readers will debate whether decline is inevitable. My short answer is that with the caliber of leadership we have in the US and abroad, it’s hard to see how we escape it. And we may be too far along a bad trajectory to change course in a big enough way.

But Jospeh Tainter, in his classic study, he Collapse of Complex Societies, had to concede that some societies were able to pull themselves out of a downward path, yet offered no guidance as to why they were different, save that their ruling classes acted to ward it off. Tainter was likely unwilling to examine these cases because h…

Nobody Knows the Identities of the 150 People Killed by U.S. in Somalia, but Most Are Certain They Deserved It

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[Blind certainty in the divine right of America. *RON*]

Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept, 8 March 2016
The U.S. used drones and manned aircraft yesterday to drop bombs and missiles on Somalia, ending the lives of at least 150 people. As it virtually always does, the Obama administration instantly claimed that the people killed were “terrorists” and militants — members of the Somali group al Shabaab — but provided no evidence to support that assertion.

Nonetheless, most U.S. media reports contained nothing more than quotes from U.S. officials about what happened, conveyed uncritically and with no skepticism of their accuracy: The dead “fighters … were assembled for what American officials believe was a graduation ceremony and prelude to an imminent attack against American troops,” pronounced the New York Times. So, the official story goes, The Terrorists were that very moment “graduating” — receiving their Terrorist degrees — and about to attack U.S.…

BREAKING: The EPA Will Limit Methane From Existing Oil And Gas Facilities

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[That's okay. Christy Clark will continue siphoning off taxpayer dollars into the laughingly entitled "Prosperity Account" to show us how well she's doing with LNG, while the LNG market crashes and burns, and she eliminates our few remaining public services so she can smilingly announce yet another balanced budget. Election 2017, people. Meanwhile, the left hand of the Trudeau government evidently doesn't know what the right hand is up to: Catherine McKenna Should Reject LNG's 'Flawed' Report: Scientists. *RON*]

By Samantha Page, Think Progress, 10 March 2016

President Barack Obama, right, and Canada’'s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, stand to shake hands following their bilateral meeting at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Manila, Philippines, in November. The two leaders announced major climate actions Thursday in advance of the Canadian leader's first U.S. state dinner.

The EPA wil…

Canadian Household Debt Hits Record High, And Paying It Off Is Getting Harder

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[The lowering of rates - one may recall from the dim past - was done so corporations would invest in their businesses and hire people. Instead, all they've done is sit on trillions in cash and borrow cheap to buy back their shares, which raises share values and thereby increases CEO bonuses. Meanwhile, what is going to happen to average Canadians, in debt to their eyeballs, when interest rates invariably rise again? *RON*]
By Daniel Tencer, Huffington Post, 11 March 2016

The average Canadian household had a record $1.65 in debt for every dollar of disposable income in the fourth quarter of 2015, Statistics Canada says, up from around $1.64 in the previous quarter.

That's in part because debt is growing twice as fast as people's incomes. Household debt grew by 1.2 per cent in the quarter, while incomes rose 0.6 per cent.

That debt load is becoming harder to pay as well. Households on average used up 13.8 per cent of their disposable incom…

The Most Horrendous Lie on Wall Street

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[On the rape of the middle class by financial services. While you're at it, see It's time to confront Canada's five big banks. And, in the political version of the class wars: Louisiana Will Tax Its Poor To Fill Budget Hole Caused By Tax Cuts For The Rich. *RON*]

By Joshua Brown, Fortune, 7 March 2016


And House Speaker Paul Ryan is helping spread it.

There’s a horrendous lie being told by the brokerage industry and its army of lobbying groups. It goes something like this:

“Middle-class Americans are not worth serving if we can’t charge them egregious fees and sell them products that they do not need.”

They’re not using that exact language, but this is precisely what they’re saying. This message disgusts me personally and I’m in a unique position to comment on it professionally. As I documented in my book Backstage Wall Street, the business model of selling investment products to investors is hopelessly rife with conflicts.

Before Her Assassination, Berta Cáceres Singled Out Hillary Clinton for Backing Honduran Coup

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[Is this a progressive politician, or someone with dreams of empire? Henry Clinton and Hillary Kissinger on Latin American geopolitics. *RON*]
Amy Goodman & Greg Grandin, Democracy Now!, 11 March 2016


Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is facing a new round of questions about her handling of the 2009 coup in Honduras that ousted democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya. Since the coup, Honduras has become one of the most violent places in the world. Last week, indigenous environmental activist Berta Cáceres was assassinated in her home. In an interview two years ago, Cáceres singled out Clinton for her role supporting the coup. "We’re coming out of a coup that we can’t put behind us. We can’t reverse it," Cáceres said. "It just kept going. And after, there was the issue of the elections. The same Hillary Clinton, in her book, 'Hard Choices,' practically said what was going to happen in Honduras. This demonst…