By Henry McRandall
U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke yesterday opined that government spending must be brought into line with government revenues. He was explicitly talking to Americans but implicitly also talking to Canadians and the citizens of other western industrial countries.
The perversity of Bernanke’s partisan political pronouncement was not just its stunning audacity.
The dire warning was perverse coming from an economic “guru” whose sociopolitical obtuseness and questionable econopmic acuiity contributed so greatly to the global economic meltdown.
It was perverse in the elitist nature of the post-depression prescription that it proffered.
And it was perverse in its assignment of culpability and responsibility for the meltdown and its ultimate resolution. read more »
Monthly Archives: April 2010
By Henry McRandall
By Henry McRandall
It may at first blush seem somewhat incongruous that Venezuelans are celebrating their bicentennial only 199 years after the country gained independence. But the reality is that it is the revolution that led to independence – begun in 1810 by Latin American liberator Simon Bolivar – that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has just finshed celebrating.
Born out of revolution, Venezuela was initially part of Gran Columbia, which included Venezuela, Ecuador and New Granada (which is today Colombia) and in fact only became fully independent in 1830.
But it is the initial Bolvarian Revolution that is most important here. It gave the common people of the South American region their first, brief taste of freedom. read more »
The big banks were in the news in Canada and the U.S. today, but for very different reasons in both countries.
In the U.S., Goldman Sachs CEO Larry Blankfein appeared before a senate committee to begin being grilled on his bank’s role in the U.S. and global economic meltdowns.
Just a few days ago, Goldman Sachs was charged with fraud over its activities in the dsiastrous American sub-prime mortgage market.
It appears that while hundreds of its executives were raking in multi-million-dollar bonuses, Goldman Sachs itself was raking in multi-billion-dollar profits from betting against the American economy. read more »
United States President Barack Obama has just finished delivering a speech on financial reform at a venue close to Wall Street and it would be instructive for all to heed his call for bank reform.
In fact, even the International Monetary Fund (the rightfully hated IMF) is now pushing for a global tax on bank currency transactions.
This renewed push comes hot on the heels of America’s six largest commercial banks and Canada’s big five banks all reporting multi-billion-dollar corporate profits.
Yet these are, at least for the American part, the same institutions that over the past 18 months have needed trillions of dollars in public bailouts.
These are the same institutions that have whistled Dixie as millions of jobs were lost because small business could not secure bank loans at any rate, let alone at reasonable rates.
And while the Canadian banks have allegedly not needed the same kind of public bailouts as their American brethren, they too have benefitted greatly from public largesse. read more »
In a move certain to drag the province back into the legal nightmare of the Nineteenth Century, the Liberal Ontario government of Premier Dalton McGuinty has abolished the final remnants of Legal Aid funding for civil matters.
It is a move reminiscent of the federal Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper – aided and abetted by Michael Ignatieff’s Liberal opposition – which not to long ago abolished a fund for Constitutional legal challenges by poorly funded grassroots organizations.
The goal of both moves was to make it harder for the poor and the working classes to access justice.
And the fact of the matter is that the entire judicial systems of Canada, Ontario and the other provinces and territories are already massively rigged to favour corporations and the rich over workers, consumers and the poor. read more »
Call it manslaughter. Call it negligent homicide. Or call the West Virginia mine disaster what it really was – mass murder in the name of higher corporate profits.
Masseyt Energy CEO Don Blankenship has bleated on all the news networks that the mine was safe to work in – according to all the regulatory experts.
But that is not what the record shows. It shows more than 450 cited safety violations at that mine in 2009, more than 50 of them considerwed to be very serious violations. It was also cited for safety violations more than 100 times this year, including 57 times in March.
Obviously, this mine was very unsafe and becoming more unsafe by the day. read more »
I have just finished watching a two-hour presentation on CNN called “I.O.U.S.A.: America’s Debt Crisis” and I must admit I was totally flummoxed by the economic obtuseness of the entire panel of NeoLiberal and NeoConservative “experts.”
CNN prides itself on being the American news network that gives equal time to the “left” and the “right,” or – as it might more accurately be depicted – the “right” and the “further right.” In reality, there simply is no “left” in the U.S. And, except for a brief period in the mid- to late-Sixties, there has been no “left” in the U.S. since the horrific McCarthy witchhunt of the Dirty Fifties.
Not that things are much different here in Canada. Sure, we do have the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois. We even have the Communist Party and the Marxist-Leninist Party. But the first two are no longer leftist and the latter two are not even viable.
So, instead, what passes for “fair and balanced” journalism in the U.S. and Canada is a dog-and-pony show between NeoLiberals and NeoConservatives. Any perspectives beyond those mirror-image reflections of unbridled corporate capitalism and its harsh corporate agenda are considered to be “beyond the pale” and not worthy of TV or radio time or newspaper space. read more »