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Showing posts from May 25, 2017

Today's Trumpery

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Saudi Finance Minister: “I Wouldn’t Care If The Oil Price Is Zero”

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[Yves Smith's general impression is that the new Saudi king's views are wishful thinking. The House of Saud is immensely disliked by most of the Saudi Arabian populous, so it is definitely true that recent bouts of austerity have been greeted with open hostility. *RON*]
Haley Zaremba, OilPrice. Posted by Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism, 24 May 2017

Yves here. The ancient Greeks would probably warn the modern Saudis not to risk taunting the gods.

Due to our focus on finance and economics, we cover the Middle East only incidentally and mainstream media focuses on hot topics, like fighting in Syria, efforts to pressure Iran, and Israel v. Palestine. Yet the US recognises that Saudi Arabia represents a huge risk for US policy. The old King Abdullah, who died in 2015, was well liked. The former Crown Prince, now King Salman, by contrast, was unpopular and, to put it politely, seen as not up to the job of keeping the country stable as oil revenue…

Shave the Billionaire

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[America can barely bring itself to mildly fine its criminal banksters. Miraculously, Brazil is jailing its tycoons. *RON*]
STRANGE THINGS ARE HAPPENING IN BRAZIL: billionaires are going to jail. This includes Eike Batista, once the eighth-richest person in the world, who was arrested in January. Accused of paying $16.5 million in bribes, he was placed in a 160-square-foot cell with six other prisoners who shared a single fan and a single squat toilet and a single tap where the water turned on just a few times a day. His head was shaved—a standard procedure in Rio de Janeiro’s prison system, but one that came as a shock to those who remembered how he had once bragged on TV about his $30,000 wig. People used to call Eike the Donald Trump of Brazil. He kept a silver SLR McLaren in his living room.

In the past couple of years, two other Brazilians from the Forbes list have ended up behind bars: the construction tycoon Marcelo Odebrecht (convicted o…

Walmart's $237 Million Man: How Americans Subsidize Inequality

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[Corporate welfare queens and the American plutocracy. "Lore earned in a single week what a Walmart worker paid $11 an hour would have to work 199 entire years to match." Walmart pays its workers so little that huge numbers of them "are forced to rely on public assistance programs like food stamps, Medicaid, and subsidised housing." Average Americans pay what amounts to a hidden $6.2 billion "Walmart tax" -- and the only people who really benefit from this tax subsidy sit in Walmart's executive suites. *RON*]

Sam Pizzigati, Inequality.org | Truthout, 24 May 2017

How much does the typical employee earn at Walmart, America's largest private employer?

We don't know exactly and won't until next spring when corporations begin disclosing figures on their median -- most typical -- worker pay. Federal regulations that went into effect just before Donald Trump took office now require this disclosure.

Walmart e-…

A Moose Destroyed a Flowerbed Planted to Celebrate Canada’s Sesquicentennial

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[He or she ate a heck of a lot of tulips. At least we made it into Atlas Obscura! 😊 *RON*]
Cara Giamo, Atlas Obscura, 24 May 2017

Canada turns 150 years old this summer. To celebrate, the Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) Botanical Garden in St. John’s planned far ahead: Last October, they planted carefully selected red and white tulip bulbs, some in the shape of a maple leaf.

One local resident got a bit greedy, though, and wanted to enjoy the celebration alone. Last Thursday morning, May 18, staffers arrived to find the beds stirred up and the plants half-eaten. The culprit? A hungry moose.

“The moose munched on the entire red and white tulip display—Canada’s 150th maple leaf design and all!” MUN Botanical Garden posted on Facebook last week. Photos show several ransacked flowerbeds, with bulbs yanked up and leafs chewed to the ground. (One bed, slightly protected by stakes and netting, seems to have been spared.)

“It won’t be as magnific…

B.C. Liberals' Minority Government Confirmed After Final Count

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["The final result reinforces that British Columbians want us to work together, across party lines, to get things done for them." Christy Clark. With 43% of eligible voters deciding not to vote - the Liberals got 23.3% of eligible votes and the NDP got 22.7% - the message, for me, is that all parties are so bad that they've driven the electorate away from the polls. *RON*]
Dirk Meissner, Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 24 May 2017
VICTORIA — British Columbia entered a new stage of political uncertainty Wednesday as the final vote count from the May 9 election confirmed the province's first minority government in 65 years.

The Liberals finished one seat short of a majority, with 43 seats in the 87-seat legislature. The NDP has 41 seats and the Greens hold the balance of power with three seats.

The focus during the final count was in the riding of Courtenay-Comox, which the NDP won by 189 votes after holding a slim 13-vote lead o…