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CuriosityCat: Ukraine: Russia advances its creeping-federalization agenda

Ukraine: Doors open for Putin

Today, much to the surprise of some, a public agreement was announced by the US, Russia, EU and current Ukraine government, dealing with concrete steps to move the matter forward. The following is the full text of that agreement, with the most important part (in my view) bolded:

Geneva Statement of April 17, 2014The Geneva meeting on the situation in Ukraine agreed on initial concrete steps to de-escalate tensions and restore security for all citizens.

All sides must refrain from any violence, intimidation or provocative actions. The participants strongly condemned and rejected all (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Ukraine: Russia advances its creeping-federalization agenda

CuriosityCat: Ukraine: Some Commensense on Dealing with Russia

Putin’s Push: Reality versus Rhetoric

Congratulations to Thomas Graham, a senior fellow at the Jackson Institute, who was the senior director for Russia on the US National Security Council staff 2004-2007. He has shrewdly analyzed the Russian push under Putin, in its historical context, and outlined the steps that the West has to take to deal with Putin. Visa denials and economic sanctions, while nice sound bytes, are pretty meaningless. His views:

The way to stymie Russian expansion is not by denying visas and freezing assets of Russian officials and their business associates, the West’s current approach. Nor will (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Ukraine: Some Commensense on Dealing with Russia

Political Eh-conomy: Diagnosis, or into the privatization matrix (Canada Post, Part 1)

There is little doubt that Canada Post’s recently-announced plan to eliminate home delivery, raise prices and lay off thousands of workers is not aimed solely at streamlining operations, but is likely a prelude to future privatization of postal delivery in Canada. Canada Post is ripe for the picking: it is a profitable, socially-useful public enterprise with n updated, nation-wide infrastructure of retail outlets, other properties, vehicles and IT systems. One bad year in 2011, when the post office recorded a loss due in part to rotating strikes and a 2-week lockout, has been used to create an image of unsustainability (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Americanized Labor Policy Is Spreading in Europe – NYTimes.com

Americanized Labor Policy Is Spreading in Europe – NYTimes.com.

While most of the debate over Europe’s response to the financial crisis has focused on the budget austerity enveloping the Continent, the comparatively unheralded erosion of worker protection is likely to have at least as big and lasting an impact on Europe’s social contract.

Filed under: Austerity, Europe, Exploitation, Labour, Neoliberalism Tagged: Collective bargaining, European Union, Labour law, labour relations

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Converting principles to other people’s money #nlpoli

When Premier Kathy Dunderdale spoke to a St. John’s Board of Trade last May,  she claimed the federal government had tried to tie the federal loan guarantee on Muskrat Falls to the European free trade talks.

There’s no evidence that her claim is true, at least based on the selected documents Dunderdale released last week in the House of Assembly on the negotiations.

The documents actually show something else.

(Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Canada-EU CETA trade agreement has “troubling” elements: Yves Engler [VIDEO]

Yves Engler, a Canadian activist and author of The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper’s Foreign Policy, discusses the “troubling” elements in the Canada-EU CETA trade agreement.

The post Canada-EU CETA trade agreement has “troubling” elements: Yves Engler [VIDEO] appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Vale delays Long Harbour smelter… again #nlpoli

Earlier this year,  mining giant Vale was saying they’d start production at the new Long Harbour smelter in 2013, but after a meeting with Premier Kathy Dunderdale in Brazil,  the company won’t be ramping up until 2015.

That’s the news from VOCM on the weekend, although they didn’t report the actual news about the delay at Long Harbour.  VO just reported that Dunderdale met with Vale officials and that the start-up date was 2015, as if it had always been two years away.

The premier says she went down a few days early to meet specifically with Vale officials to get an update on the Long Harbour development and the Voisey’s Bay mine site.

She says Vale officials indicated that Long Harbour will start to ramp up in 2015, while they’re looking to go underground at Voisey’s Bay.

According to VOCM, the company officials are concerned about power supplies “in . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Vale delays Long Harbour smelter… again #nlpoli

LeDaro: EU foreign ministers at odds over Syria

Is U.S. going to be all alone in Syrian intervention?

The Disaffected Lib: Sure, the Iron Curtain Fell, But What’s Going Up In Its Place?

When the Berlin Wall came down it quickly led to the liberation of eastern Europe and the demise of the Soviet Union.

Western European leaders, egged on by the United States, pulled out all the stops to sign up eastern Europe into the E.U. and NATO.  America sought to drive the North Atlantic alliance right up to Russia’s borders.

It was a moment of triumphalism in Washington as Reagan and Bush Sr. were crowned with laurel wreaths for winning the Cold War.  Eastern Europe had been liberated, saved for democracy, or so we were told.  Maybe (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Five reasons Canada should NOT ratify a Canada-EU free trade agreement

By: Stuart Trew | Originally published by Troy Media, on April 26, 2013: Jock Finlayson of the Business Council of British Columbia recently wrote a column for Troy Media on the virtues of the Canada-European Union free trade deal. He listed five reasons why he thinks the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA, should [...]

The post Five reasons Canada should NOT ratify a Canada-EU free trade agreement appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Disaffected Lib: English as the Official Language of the European Union?

There’s a move afoot to have English declared the common language of the European Union and it’s a German who is pushing the idea.   Here The Guardian gives a pretty clear reason why a common language might be helpful when representatives of the constituent nations sit down to parlay.

Money talks, especially in Brussels. A billion euros are usually “mil milhoes de euros” in Portuguese, or a thousand million. In Spanish, likewise, “billón” means a million million, so billion is “mil millones de euros”. Confusingly, “billion” translates as “milijarde” into Croatian, or “miljard” into Dutch. When the French talk (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Excessive corporate rights in Canada-EU CETA trade deal unacceptable to Canadians and Europeans

Transatlantic Statement Opposing Excessive Corporate Rights (Investor-State Dispute Settlement) in the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) By Trade Justice Network | Feb. 5, 2013: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM and OTTAWA, ONTARIO and MONTREAL, QUEBEC – Labour, environmental, Indigenous, women’s, academic, health sector and fair trade organizations from Europe, Canada and Quebec representing more than 65 million READ MORE

CuriosityCat: Chancellor Merkel plumps for the domino theory over the ballast theory

Merkel and dominoes …

One of the fascinating things about high level crises like the eurozone one, is the role played by the men and women who have the power or lack the power to influence events. And the key person in the past five years or so is a woman some nicknamed The Iron Lady – Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany. Der Spiegel has a fascinating article describing her practical approach to the eurozine crisis, which includes this:

For months, Merkel wavered over whether or not Greece should remain in the euro zone. As recently as summer, she couldn’t decide

. . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Chancellor Merkel plumps for the domino theory over the ballast theory

CuriosityCat: Europe takes another big step towards the United States of Europe

United States of Europe?

Financial integration is one major step along the road towards eventual political integration into one massive new federal state, the USE (United States of Europe), and yesterday a significant move was made in this direction: Europe’s finance ministers have taken another major step towards closer integration, with a significant transfer of authority from national governments to the ECB, he says.

The EU had already agreed that the ECB would act as chief supervisor of eurozone banks. But the deal gives the ECB powers to close down eurozone banks that do not follow the rules. It also . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Europe takes another big step towards the United States of Europe

The Disaffected Lib: Cyprus, the European Union’s Dilemma

Cyprus, it seems, is the Cayman Islands of the Mediterranean.  Russian oligarchs are said to use it to launder their money.   And, for the European Union, the Cypriot-Russian connection complicates efforts to bail out the financially-str… . . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Cyprus, the European Union’s Dilemma

Canadian ProgressiveCanadian Progressive: The Nobel Peace Prize is slipping into irrelevance

by Brian Lee Crowley | Troy Media | Macdonald Laurier Institute My mother could have told you why giving the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union would produce such a predictable and deserved outpouring of derision. An aspiring writer, she took a creative writing course. One of the assignments was to describe a single [...]

CuriosityCat: Anglo-Franco-German ménage à trois: A Federal Europe or a confederation of Nation States?

The European Union

A struggle for the future of Europe is being waged right now by the politicians of the EU. 

Most of the fighting is being done by the leaders of France, Germany and Britain (the Big Three of Europe), with the other medium sized states putting the boot in every now and then but largely shouting encouragement from the sidelines. The big battle that is shaping up is over the contours of the future Europe. Germany: A tighter Union or Else: And the issue has been framed as a choice between two stark contracts: a move towards . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Anglo-Franco-German ménage à trois: A Federal Europe or a confederation of Nation States?

Canadian Progressive: Canadians oppose drug patent extension in Canada-EU trade deal: POLL

A new poll by Ipsos Reid, released today by the Council of Canadians and the Canadian Health Coalition, shows that what would otherwise be high support for a Canada-European Union free trade deal collapses on the issue of pharmaceutical drug costs, with 69 per cent of Canadians opposing a deal that would lengthen patent protections for brand name drugs. The two organizations are asking the provinces, whose trade negotiators are in Ottawa this week for another round of Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) talks, to insist on removing patent term extension and related pharmaceutical proposals from the EU trade deal. Failing to do

. . . → Read More: Canadian Progressive: Canadians oppose drug patent extension in Canada-EU trade deal: POLL

CuriosityCat: Putin prepares for a fistfight with the EU over Gazprom gas policies: Who will win?

In this corner, we have the former head of the infamous KGB, President Vladimir Putin, he of the rugged outdoor, macho activities. And in the other corner, we have the bureaucrats in Brussels, representing 500 million Europeans. In the middle, we have Russia’s most important company, the source of the bulk of the Russian government’s income tax revenue, Gazprom. Putin collars a tiger

Seconds are out of the ring, and the bell has been rung for the first round. There is no referee. I repeat: There is no referee. And the Queensbury Rules do not apply. Ask Ukraine and Belarus, . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Putin prepares for a fistfight with the EU over Gazprom gas policies: Who will win?

CuriosityCat: The Eurozone: George Soros is dead wrong

Lead or leave. Currency speculator George Soros laid down the law for Germany: change or get out of the way:

He warned that the split between creditor and debtor countries in the euro risked becoming permanent, with debtor nations condemned to low growth because they are forced to pay a high premium for access to credit. European union was liable to fall apart under the pressure, he added. George Soros

Soros singled out Germany as the country that should take responsibility for this “class divide” in the eurozone.

“In my judgment, the best course of action is to persuade

. . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: The Eurozone: George Soros is dead wrong

CuriosityCat: Eurozone: Move over politicians, here come the German Judges!

It’s not just the politicians who make decisions about how to rescue the foundering Euro: a Constitutional Court in Germany also has a say on the most important decisions: Germany’s Constitutional Court

Germany’s top court has rejected calls to block the permanent eurozone rescue fund – the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) – and the European fiscal treaty. Leader Angela Merkel called it “a good day”, while markets rallied in relief. But the Constitutional Court imposed conditions including a cap on Germany’s contribution, which it said could only be overruled by the German parliament. Another Hitler? The Role of the Constitutional . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Eurozone: Move over politicians, here come the German Judges!

CuriosityCat: European political leaders beat back international financial pirates

Mario Draghi, the president of the E.C.B., has managed to outflank some German opposition and gain approval for the European Central Bank to buy bonds of Eurozone countries, in an effort to save the Euro. ‘Super Mario’ Draghi

This is how the New York Times describes his deed: The European Central bank took its most ambitious step yet toward easing the euro zone crisis, assuming sweeping new powers to throw its unlimited financial clout behind an effort to protect Spain and Italy from financial collapse… Mario Draghi, the E.C.B. president, overcame objections by Germany and . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: European political leaders beat back international financial pirates

RedBedHead: Spain & The Madness of Europe

There’s a saying that defines madness as doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. By that criteria, it’s clear that the European Union’s response to the long and painful crisis unfolding on that continent is utterly and completely mad.

With the appearance a few years ago of a Greek sovereign crisis – it must be said for debt levels that weren’t much higher than those

Trashy's World: Be it resolved…

…that the European Union is dead… Or at best, on life-support. Discuss. Trashy, Ottawa, Ontario

CuriosityCat: Eurozone: The coming New Deal

Thank heavens for democracy! 

In a world taken to the brink of financial implosion because of lax regulations of financial institutions, incompetence of regulatory authorities, pure greed on the part of the stakeholders in our investment banking industries (banks, merchant banks, regulatory agencies, regulatory authorities, lawyers, auditors and the like) and politicians effectively bought by the financial industry (in the USA especially, and to a slightly lesser extent in the UK), and a reluctance by politicians to buck the system and institute proper reforms, the voters in France and Greece have taken a stand. They have said No to . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Eurozone: The coming New Deal