Showing posts from July 30, 2016

Trudeau continues Harper assault on human rights

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[Behrens argues quite effectively that Trudeau is Canada's attractive, selfie-taking, Sunny Ways version of Hillary Clinton - The Lesser Evil. *RON*]
By Matthew Behrens, 29 July 2016

There's something about Justin Trudeau and his PR-spinning Liberal Team that reminds me of the Tennessee Williams character Harvey "Big Daddy" Pollitt from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Pollitt famously uttered the line:
"What's that smell in this room? Didn't you notice it, Brick? Didn't you notice a powerful and obnoxious odour of mendacity in this room?... There ain't nothin' more powerful than the odour of mendacity... You can smell it. It smells like death." Mendacity, for those without instant dictionary access, is a code word for behaviour that is disingenuous, two-faced, deceitful, hypocritical. In other words, a term that more and more Canadians will soon be applying to Mr. Trudeau, whose PR perfume will not be able …

Oil prices remain near April lows on ongoing oversupply

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[Bizarre. Do oil company executives simply live in Cloud-Cuckooland? They feel they can ignore with impunity the most fundamental law of the market system: supply and demand. Perhaps they believe they can become the next too big to fail industry? Ditto: Oil Rally Hopes Crushed As Inventories Hit All-Time High. *RON*]

By Henning Gloystein, Reuters / Business Insider, 28 July 2016

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Oil prices on Friday remained around April lows as slowing economic growth threatened to worsen ongoing oversupply of crude and refined products.

International Brent crude oil futures were trading at $42.78 at 0127 GMT (09:27 p.m. EDT), up 8 cents from their previous close. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was at $41.16, up 2 cents.

Brent hit its lowest since April in the previous session, at $42.56, while WTI hit a fresh low of $40.95 per barrel early on Friday, and both crude benchmarks are now down around 20 percent since their last peak …

How Much Do Shady Financial Practices Cost You, Exactly?

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[" get a figure somewhere between 13 trillion and 23 trillion dollars. That comes out to between $40,000 and $70,000 for every man, woman and child in the U.S. from roughly 1990 to 2005... We actually pay five dollars for every extra dollar that ends up in the pockets of bankers" *RON*]

By Lynn Parramore, Institute for New Economic Thinking, 22 July 2016

America’s financial system is broken for all but a few at the top — that much is plain. The rest sense that we are stuck on the minus end of some great financial formula, but given the complexity and size of Big Finance, it’s hard to pin down exactly why it happens and how it all adds up.

Enter economist Gerald Epstein of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has dived in and crunched the numbers, and the results are eye-popping. Epstein and his colleague Juan Antonio Montecino look at exactly how families, taxpayers and businesses get ripped off by dubious financial activ…

Canada Already Has An Interprovincial Trade Agreement: Our Constitution

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[Free Markets Über Alles! Except when not. Funny how seriously our premiers take our constitution and our free market talk except when it interferes with business interests. *RON*]
Howard Anglin, Huffington Post, 27 July 2016

Even before Canada's Premiers departed Whitehorse on Friday, media coverage was applauding a "ground-breaking" and "historic" agreement on internal trade within Canada.

Not so fast.

The official statement announcing a new "Canadian Free Trade Agreement" (CFTA) is only 191 words long and omits any of those pesky details where the devil is reputed to lurk. Already the whiff of sulphur can be detected in talk of "exception" to protect "local interests." Truly historic moments rarely come with caveats.

One key omission was immediately evident. When it comes to alcohol, the agreement will establish "a working group on alcoholic beverages, which will explore opportunities to i…

There's No Business Like the Arms Business

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[Selling weapons that create terrorists, boosting demand for weapons on both sides. And, from the "Liar, liar, pants on fire" department, see also: F-35 Jets: Liberals Pay $33M To Stay In Program, Despite Pledge Not To Buy Planes. *RON*]
By William D. Hartung, TomDispatch /. Truthout, 26 July 2016

When American firms dominate a global market worth more than $70 billion a year, you'd expect to hear about it. Not so with the global arms trade. It's good for one or two stories a year in the mainstream media, usually when the annual statistics on the state of the business come out.

It's not that no one writes about aspects of the arms trade. There are occasional pieces that, for example, take note of the impact of U.S. weapons transfers, including cluster bombs, to Saudi Arabia, or of the disastrous dispensation of weaponry to U.S. allies in Syria, or of foreign sales of the costly, controversial F-35 combat aircraft. And once…

1966: U.K. Bares Steps to Austerity

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[When they used the word "austerity" fifty years ago, notice that this meant freezes on rents, prices and dividends along with wages, and that it did not include government service cut-backs. *RON*]

By International Herald Tribune, 30 July 1966, re-posted by the New York Times, 29 July 2016.

LONDON — The Labour government today [July 29] proposed wage-price controls that will, in effect, give Britain a siege economy for up to a year, despite the risk of union revolt. Wages, prices, rents and dividends will be frozen under legislation that the government hopes Parliament will enact by mid-August.

There is no precedent in peacetime for these rigorous controls, and the measures more than fulfil forecasts of draconian steps to end Britain’s sterling crisis. Wage raises granted to some 6 million workers — about a quarter of the labor force — will be held back as a part of a program that will: 1) Freeze wages at the July 20 level until the end …