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Showing posts from September 19, 2016

A History of Violence

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[This has a ring of truth to it (as Jacobin pieces often do). Coverage of Venezuela is so ideologically driven from both the right and the left that it's very hard to know where reality sits. This article draws attention to what mainstream (right-wing, anti-Chávez) accounts of Venezuela's "peaceful" opposition leave out. *RON*]
by Gabriel Hetland, Jacobin, 11 September 2016
Our new issue, “Rank and File,” is out now. To celebrate its release, new subscriptions are discounted.

The media narrative is clear: peaceful demonstrators upset about a collapsing economy and political repression are fighting an oppressive state in Venezuela. The actual history, however, is more murky.

For more than a decade the Venezuelan opposition has used a variety of violent tactics to try to topple the country’s democratically elected government. An April 2002 coup deposed Hugo Chávez for forty-seven hours and led to multiple civilian deaths.

Violent pr…

Russia’s courting of Nicaragua concerns Washington

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[Hard to believe Ortega is still running the place after all these years! He certainly proved the truth of his famous pronouncement: "La revolucion no es una pinata!" Nicaragua is "the second poorest country in the hemisphere, raising concerns about its ability to sustain itself in harder times." I imagine Putin sees this as tit-for-tat: if the US can pee on the Ukraine's doorstep, I can make kissy-faces with Nicaragua. *RON*]

By Franco Ordonez, McClatchyDC, 15 September 2016

Russia’s cozy military relationship with Nicaragua, which is rapidly evolving into a single-party regime, is raising concerns in Washington.

Russia recently sold Nicaragua 50 tanks, won access to Nicaragua’s airspace and ports, and is building a law enforcement center near the Pacific coast.

The Obama administration is “closely monitoring” Russia’s presence in Nicaragua and is expressing concern about the lack of democratic space. The White House tried …

Liberals back away from setting tougher carbon targets

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["Many people, including Liberal politicians, criticized the targets set under former prime minister Stephen Harper." Climate change and the corporatocracy: Little Potato is still trying to out-Harper Harper. *RON*]
Laura Payton, CTV News, 18 September 2016
The Liberal government isn't going to update the Conservatives' carbon emission targets, despite calling them unambitious, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says.

In an interview with Evan Solomon, host of CTV's Question Period, McKenna said the previous government did nothing to reduce carbon emissions during its10 years in office, calling their targets "fake."

Heading into last year's Paris climate talks, McKenna repeatedly referred to the previous government's carbon emission targets as a floor and "not the ceiling" of what Canada should be doing.

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McKenna…

CEOs Can Now Be Prosecuted Like War Criminals at the Hague

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[I'd like to hope this will keep Canadian mining CEOs awake at night, but I will be seriously shocked if an actual case materializes from this. *RON*]

Telesur, 16 September 2016

The court's new focus on land grabbing and environmental destruction could help put a dent in corporate impunity.

The International Criminal Court announced Thursday it will now hold corporate executives and governments legally responsible for environmental crimes.

RELATED: Land Grabs Soar, Worsening Land Conflicts and Climate Change

The Hague court made explicit references to widening its approach to include land grabbing, which has allowed private corporations, with the help of governments, to take over large areas of foreign land to exploit natural resources. It will also prosecute for environmental destruction.

“Chasing communities off their land and trashing the environment has become an accepted way of doing business in many resource-rich yet cash-poor coun…

Canada working with EU on clarifications to save trade deal

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[Seeking to 'clarify' some of the more egregious sections of CETA, trade minister heads to Germany, Austria and Slovakia next week to try to persuade skeptics. See also: Over 300,000 Germans Protest EU Trade Deals With US and Canada, and even a key beneficiary of TPP doesn't back Obama any more - Blow for Obama's TPP as Vietnam parliament defers ratification. *RON*]

By Janyce McGregor, CBC News, 17 September 2016

International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland will head to a meeting of European trade ministers next week to negotiate a last-minute addition to the Canada-EU trade deal aimed at salvaging the pact.

Faced with growing concern about the European Union's ability to ratify the deal Freeland once called "gold-plated," Canada is collaborating on additional text to clarify its more controversial provisions.

The potential annex to the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) would not constitute a reopening…

Banking Group Finds Fed Stress Tests Likely Illegal

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[Lobbying groups issue 'findings' now? Well, in the Wall Street Journal, I guess so. Committee on Capital Markets report is the latest evidence some in the banking industry are contemplating a potential lawsuit. *RON*]

By Ryan Tracy, Wall Street Journal, 15 September 2016
A group that represents executives from some of the largest U.S. banks concluded in a paper that the Federal Reserve likely acted illegally in adopting central parts of its annual stress tests, the latest evidence that some in the banking industry are contemplating a potential lawsuit.

The Committee on Capital Markets Regulation, a nonprofit organization of academics and financial executives, was set to release the paper Thursday, and The Wall Street Journal reviewed a copy. The groups’ members include senior executives at big banks J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Wells Fargo & Co., and State Street Corp.

“We find that the Fede…