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marmar's Journal
marmar's Journal
May 14, 2015

Elizabeth Warren’s Trade Deal Fears Confirmed: Canada Uses NAFTA to Challenge Volcker Rule

from Naked Capitalism:

Elizabeth Warren’s Trade Deal Fears Confirmed: Canada Uses NAFTA to Challenge Volcker Rule
Posted on May 14, 2015 by Yves Smith

In her attacks on Obama’s pending trade deals, Elizabeth Warren has argued that could undermine US financial regulations like Dodd Frank. The Administration has taken to trying to dismiss Warren as not knowing what she was talking about. More skillful defenders of the traitorous trade deals took the tact of saying that Warren could in theory be right, but the odds of her fears playing out were so remote as to not be worth worrying about.

In a long, careful article in the Nation yesterday, George Zornick explains even with the limited information that we have now about the contents of proposed treaties like the TPP and its ugly European step-sister, the TTIP, Warren’s worries are valid. For instance:

Like with TPP, we don’t know all the details of TTIP yet, but advocates have many fears. One is that the Federal Reserve’s plan to impose separate liquidity requirements on foreign banks might be scotched…

And it’s not just Dodd-Frank: the leaked EU proposal for TTIP has a provision that new regulations first be “analyzed” to determine if they have an unacceptable impact on trade. Americans for Financial Reform (AFR) worries that this could “impose a presumption that regulations must be judged on the basis of their trade impact rather than their effectiveness as public interest policies promoting financial stability.”

Keep in mind that by design, a substantial portion of Dodd Frank implementation was kicked down the road to allow lobbyists to have a second go at weakening it, with studies required before rules would be written. Significant portions of rulemaking have yet to be completed and would appear to be subject to the TTIP analysis requirement, giving the banking industry yet another change to gut legislation. .....................(more)


May 14, 2015

NJ Transit Considers 9 Percent Fare Hike, Service Cuts

NJ Transit is considering a 9 percent fare increase and service cuts in an effort to close a $60 million budget gap at the agency.

At Wednesday's NJ Transit board meeting the chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee, John Wisniewski, told the board the proposed hike would amount to a more than 55 percent fare increase in the past decade.

He told the board there are other ways to fund transportation, "Instead of relying on the hard working people of the state New Jersey to subsidize more failed policies" by the Christie administration, he said.

NJ Transit is the third-largest provider of bus and light rail transportation in country. ................(more)


May 14, 2015

Israel’s #BlackLivesMatter Moment?

from Dissent magazine:

Israel’s #BlackLivesMatter Moment?
Joshua Leifer ▪ May 10, 2015

[font size="1"]Ethiopian-Israelis protest police brutality in Jerusalem, April 30 (Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)[/font]

On April 26, Demas Fikadey was on his way home in Holon, a city south of Tel Aviv, when he was beaten by two Israeli police officers investigating a report of a suspicious package. In the attack, which was caught on tape, Fikadey can be seen standing next to his bike when one policeman begins to shove and then punch him. Another policeman joins, and the two wrestle Fikadey to the ground. Fikadey, an Israeli of Ethiopian descent and soldier on active duty, was in uniform when the two policemen assaulted him.

The video of the attack went viral on Israeli social media, sparking protests in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Demonstrators chanted “A violent officer needs to be in jail” and “Is our blood only good for your wars?” In Tel Aviv, heavily militarized police violently dispersed the protest, firing water cannons, stun grenades, and tear gas into the crowd of demonstrators who had gathered in Rabin Square. “What happened on May 3, 2015 in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv was not like anything I had seen before,” wrote Israeli journalist Hayim Bar-Zahav, who was at the protest. “In my twelve years of professional work, I had not seen police violence like what I saw in Tel Aviv’s central square.”

It was not simply the video that brought thousands of people into the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to voice their anger and frustration, facing off against police on horseback. “A soldier in uniform deserves to be respected and appreciated. But it’s not just that,” Getenet, an Ethiopian resident of Ariel, a West Bank settlement, told Haaretz. Ethiopian-Israelis face discrimination, police violence, and structural inequality. For many, the video represented a breaking point.

While the Israeli government is eager, in its public-relations material, to portray smiling Ethiopian-Israeli soldiers and professionals as members of a diverse and tolerant society, the country’s Ethiopian community remains vastly underserved. A report published by the Meyers-JDC Brookdale Institute found that 41 percent of Ethiopian-Israeli families are poor, compared to 15 percent of families in the general Jewish-Israeli population. Twenty-nine percent of Ethiopian-Israelis between the ages of 22 and 35 lack a high school education, compared to 7 percent of all Jewish Israelis in that age bracket. The youth unemployment rate among Ethiopian-Israelis is 30 percent, compared to 19 percent among all Jewish Israelis. ......................(more)


May 14, 2015

Robert Scheer and Chris Hedges: They Know Everything About You (pt II)

Truthdig editor in chief Robert Scheer and Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges discuss how data-collection began as a commercial enterprise that was eventually co-opted by the state - May 13, 2015

May 14, 2015

David Cameron's "V for Vendetta" Britain

from truthdig:

Less than a week into his second term as prime minister, David Cameron is set to introduce a series of tough new laws redefining what it means to be an extremist in Britain.

“For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone. It’s often meant we have stood neutral between different values. And that’s helped foster a narrative of extremism and grievance. This Government will conclusively turn the page on this failed approach,” states a briefing released by Cameron’s office.

Anyone expressing an ideology that the government views as “extreme” will be required to apply for permission to print or post to social media, and as part of the strategy, Cameron will fast-track powers to allow British police to vet the online conversations of those considered extremists. According to The Independent, the new package is expected to include:

• The introduction of banning orders for extremist organizations that use hate speech in public places, but whose activities fall short of proscription.

• New Extremism Disruption Orders to restrict people who seek to radicalize young people ..................(more)


May 13, 2015

Seems like Jets fans are rather enjoying Deflategate

(WaPo) New England should be basking in the glow of a Super Bowl title, but instead, the team and its fans are dealing with the fallout from the DeflateGate report, including a $1 million fine and loss of draft picks, as well as a four-game suspension for quarterback Tom Brady. But it comes as no surprise that whatever pains the Patriots is a sheer delight for Jets fans.

Some New Yorkers have already begun marketing T-shirts with Brady’s image and the message, “See You Later, Deflator.” And no less a figure than Suzanne Johnson, the wife of the Jets owner, tweeted out a smiling-face emoji with a link to an article about the Patriots’ punishments (she later deleted the tweet, but still).

Tuesday brought news of still more Gang Green schadenfreude. 12 billboards have appeared around New Jersey, all of them making fun of “Tom Shady,” and leaving no doubt as to the loyalties of those involved. .............(more)


May 13, 2015

Detroit: New Regional Transit Plan to Connect Major Cities Across 4 Counties

The Regional Transit Authority of Southeastern Michigan today announced plans for a regional transit system that would link Detroit, Ann Arbor, Pontiac, and Detroit Metro Airport across four counties for the first time in the area’s history.

“Southeast Michigan is one of the only major urban areas in the country without a viable, coordinated public transit system,” says Paul Hillegonds, chairman of the Regional Transit Authority of Southeastern Michigan. "If we are going to prosper in a 21st century global economy, we need to develop a transit system that better connects residents to jobs, schools, basic services, and the recreational and cultural assets we are blessed with."

Michael Ford, CEO of the Regional Transit Authority, says the so-called Building Equitable Sustainable Transit (BEST) plan will link Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, and Washtenaw counties by connecting the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority, the Detroit Department of Transportation, the Detroit People Mover, the M-1 Rail, and the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART).

Ford says there will also be studies of routes connecting Michigan Avenue from downtown Detroit to Ann Arbor, including a connection to Metro Airport; Woodward Avenue from downtown Detroit to Pontiac; and Gratiot Avenue from downtown Detroit to M-59.

A bus rapid transit line has been recommended that would run along the center of Woodward Avenue. An environmental review of the recommendation is in progress. Studies of routes on Michigan and Gratiot avenues are scheduled to be completed by March 2016. ........................(more)


May 13, 2015

Richard Wolff: Taboo Broken: New Critical Writing About Capitalism

Published on Apr 24, 2015
Richard Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus at University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a Visiting Professor at the New School University in New York. Wolff’s recent work has concentrated on analyzing the causes and alternative solutions to the global economic crisis. His groundbreaking book Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism inspired the creation of Democracy at Work, a nonprofit organization dedicated to showing how and why to make democratic workplaces real.

May 13, 2015

What a Conservative Victory in the UK Means for Everyday People

Published on May 11, 2015
Economist John Weeks says Tories appealed to voters with vitriol against welfare recipients and immigrants - more income inequality and tension with Scotland will come with the rise of the Right.

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