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by Editors — last modified Jul 29, 2015 01:12 PM
Contributors: Faiz Ahmed, JBB, Graham H. Cox, R. Dubois, JA Cox

Banks ask for more regulation to save them from Uber-like services | What's Left

by Editors (What's Left) last modified Oct 05, 2015 10:57 AM
Banks are asking for regulators to save them from new technologies that might undermine their profitable business models.

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In a move that can only be expected from financial organizations that drowned the global economy to save themselves, Banks who act as cheerleaders for anti-worker (and sometimes illegal) actions of companies like Uber are demanding to be saved from the same disruption.

A new report from McKinsey financial consultants shows that emerging technology companies are focused on inserting themselves where money transactions occur -- at the cash register. Banks currently get much of their profit from fees charged at points of sale, credit cards and car loans. McKinsey shows those profits could drop 40-60%.

The same pressures on banks are being felt in other industries as costs for services are reduced through insertion of technology that either replace workers or make it easy get around slow-to-evolve regulations. Financial service transactions are where banks gain 22 per cent return compared to just six per cent from holding and investing your money.

Hypocrisy, it seems, is not in a bankers dictionary.

More: McKinsey warns banks face wipeout in some financial services

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Trade deals break through as an election issue with TPP | What's Left

by Editors (What's Left) last modified Oct 05, 2015 10:58 AM
You know it has been a long campaign when the mainstream media is forced to talk about trade deals to have something new to say.

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You know it has been a long campaign when the mainstream media is forced to talk about trade deals to have something new to say. Fair trade campaigners have been trying to get the next generation of free trade contracts like CETA, TiSA and the TPP on the radar for years. While the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been a threat to Canadian jobs since negotiations started, concerns have been ignored by the corporate media. After all, for big business, Canada is a "trading nation" and therefore can only benefit from agreements that reduce our rights to regulate capitalism -- never mind the inequality those politicies have brought.

The long-time focus of socialists has been on the excessive limitations these supposed "free" trade deals place on all levels of government. However, the media does not like to talk about issues that do not fit into sound bites and trade agreements are the antithesis of a sound bite subject. In fact, even the current turn of events -- sparked by the NDP -- is not about the substance of the deals, but is about democracy and the Conservatives' disregard of it.

The argument is that the Conservatives have no right to sign a massive trade agreement that will limit future governments in the middle of an election campaign. Signing on now is on par with a six year old yelling "keepsies, no backsies" in a game of tag. It just does not wash when establishing law.

There are many reasons to be opposed to TPP including workers' rights, the environment, regulatory standards, restraints on procurement, intellectual property rights and copyright issues. However, most activists do not mind why we are talking about trade agreements so long as we are talking about them. Maybe the highlight on trade will bring some to understand that other agreements being negotiated all pose a similar threat as the TPP.

More: Don't agree to a TPP deal that threatens Canadian jobs

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ETUC Congress adopts emergency resolution on TiSA

by Graham H. Cox last modified Oct 02, 2015 02:11 PM
The adoption of the resolution is a clear sign that trade unions across Europe are united in rejecting any give away of the right to regulate and possibilities to maintain and/or develop universal access to quality public services.

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Syria army, allies prepares for major offensive in north | The Daily Star

by Faiz Ahmed last modified Oct 02, 2015 08:46 AM
"Two Lebanese sources told Reuters hundreds of Iranian troops had reached Syria in the past 10 days with weapons to mount a major ground offensive. They would also be backed by Assad's Lebanese Hezbollah allies and by Shi'ite militia fighters from Iraq, while the Russians would provide air support."

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David Cameron rules out slavery reparation during Jamaica visit | BBC

by Faiz Ahmed last modified Sep 30, 2015 04:58 PM
"The issue of former slave-owning nations compensating former colonies is a contentious one in the Caribbean ... One suggestion has been that the money could be provided in the form of debt relief. ... Mr Cameron announced £25m in British aid for a new Jamaican prison ... More than 600 Jamaican nationals are in UK jails but cannot be deported because of Jamaica's poor prison conditions."

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Open letter to Prime Minister David Cameron on the issue of reparations to Jamaica | The Gleaner

by Faiz Ahmed last modified Sep 30, 2015 03:18 PM
"You owe it to us as you return here to communicate a commitment to reparatory justice that will enable your nation to play its part in cleaning up this monumental mess of the empire. We ask not for handouts or any such acts of indecent submission. We merely ask that you acknowledge responsibility for your share of this situation and move to contribute in a joint programme of rehabilitation and renewal. The continuing suffering of our people, sir, is as much your nation's duty to alleviate as it is ours to resolve in steadfast acts of self-responsibility."

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Dr. Jamal Barzinji (1939-2015): In Memoriam | Counter Punch

by Faiz Ahmed last modified Sep 29, 2015 10:10 PM
"Leaders like Dr. Barzinji represent the best examples of Muslim leaders in the West ... The American Muslim community, but especially, its youth, who have since 9/11 been suffering enormously from societal alienation, government overreach, Xenophobic attacks, and Islamophobia, must follow in the footsteps of Dr. Barzinji, and learn about his life and sacrifices. They must look up to his example for inspiration and hope. When they do that they would learn that they need to seek knowledge to free their minds; that they must fight ignorance and Islamophobia with education and outreach; that they must stand up for their rights and speak out against injustice to be respected and empowered; that they must unite and stand for high principles and moral values against false promises and easy access to power."

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Jeremy Corbyn has given hope to my generation. Please don’t let the cynics take it away | New Statesman

by Faiz Ahmed last modified Sep 29, 2015 04:10 PM
"Right now, the last thing that young people need is for newspapers to adopt braying tones of avuncular chastisement. ... Jeremy Corbyn has given many of my generation hope for a better future and he could do the same thing for many more disadvantaged and disenfranchised young voters." Full story here.

Also see: Jeremy Corbyn says Britain 'can and must change' | BBC

"The thirst in the hall for him to do well was tangible. Some members of the party have wanted to hear a speech like this for years. And although he never really expected to be doing one of the most high-profile, hardest jobs in politics, if Jeremy Corbyn was nervous, he didn't show it. [T]he audience was pleased to see him, applauding for two minutes on their feet before he even said a word."
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Volkswagen scandal exposes big business | What's Left

by Editors (What's Left) last modified Sep 29, 2015 02:52 PM
The magnitude of the Volkswagen scandal can be boiled down to this: Volkswagen consciously installed software in some of its diesel-fuled models that would ensure cars would pass regulatory CO2 emissions standards, but only in the event of a test.

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Volkswagen, a prized and reputable car giant has for years been polluting the air we breathe in what is now known to be a scandal of deception and cheating of great proportions. 11 million vehicles world-wide have been affected. The numbers being floated as what Volkswagen could potentially face in fines are vertiginous.

At face value, the scandal has brought consternation to Germany's car manufacturer. Reactions from the public all over the world have been one of shock and awe: a cherished maker of cars had cheated consumers on two fronts: by installing spy software in their cars, and by skirting environmental regulations. On both accounts, Volkswagen faces a long road ahead to live them down.

Now, chances to expose big business in this way are few are far between. If anything, the Volkswagen scandal should confirm that "corporate accountability" is not backed up with adequate oversight from governments. As companies become bigger and more international, what is the proper way to avoid such deception and maintain international standards that respect basic principles of living together as a society?

More: Volkswagen Says 11 Million Cars Worldwide Are Affected in Diesel Deception

More: Volkswagen Scandal: Why Is It So Hard to Make Clean Diesel Cars?

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