Daily Archives: October 10, 2008

Alaska panel:Palin Abused Power In Firing


ANCHORAGE- A legislative committee investigating Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has found she unlawfully abused her authority in firing the state’s public safety commissioner. The investigative report concludes that a family grudge wasn’t the sole reason for firing Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan but says it likely was a contributing factor.

Investigator Stephen Branchflower, in a report by a bipartisan panel that investigated the matter, found Palin in violation of a state ethics law that prohibits public officials from using their office for personal gain.

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Global sell-off panic hits US


U.S. stocks plummeted this morning, for the eighth day in a row of ugly losses.

At 9:38 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 673 points to 7,905 after plunging 679 points on Thursday. The Nasdaq Composite Index tanked 75 points to 1,570, and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was down 45 points to 865.

The bloodbath came exactly one year to the day from the record closing highs for both the Dow and the S&P 500. The Dow is down 5,585 points, or 39%, from its all-time closing high of 14,198 and the S&P down 655 points, or 42%, from its peak of 1,565.

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Jobless rate at record 107,000 – Spinning the numbers


Statistics Canada has surprised economists and tossed a wild card into the federal election campaign, reporting that the Canadian economy generated a record 107,000 new jobs in September. However, almost all of the new jobs – 97,000 – were part-time. Listening to 680 News, you would think that all is fine. YOU DO THE MATH! Will be interesting to see how the politicians spin this one.

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Jack Layton is the ideal opposition leader


You can’t do your job as Leader of the Opposition. I don’t know what you’re doing running for Prime Minister. It’s a very unusual political situation when every voter knows even before the federal election that Canada’s next prime minister will be Stephen Harper. Like or loathe it, the Conservatives will be returned to power on October 14.

But two other important questions are far from decided – who will be Opposition leader and whether it will be a minority or majority government.

After last week’s debate and two years of Harper government one thing is very clear – the only real federal opposition in the House of Commons is the New Democratic Party. And the only real choice for Opposition leader is Jack Layton.

Liberal leader Stephane Dion is a smart, decent man. But Dion and the Liberals don’t stand up to Stephen Harper – they prop him up.

On 43 separate occasions in Parliament, Dion’s Liberals voted to keep Harper in power and accept his very conservative legislation.

By continually abstaining, the “Official Opposition” has abdicated its important role of serving the majority of Canadians who reject Conservative ideology.

But it wasn’t just fear of losing an election that led to the Liberals becoming Conservative Lite – they actually agree with Harper’s wrong-headed positions on many key political issues.

Dion and the Liberals support Harper’s massive $50 billion corporate tax cuts that reward companies which have eliminated more than 400,000 manufacturing and forest industry jobs since 2000.

And the Liberals and Conservatives want huge tax cuts despite the fact that Canada’s tax rates are already lower than many industrialized nations, including the United States, Germany, Italy and Japan.
And Canada also has a much lower Goods and Services Tax than most countries.

Dion and the Liberals joined with Conservatives to vote to extend till 2011 the deadly mission that sent brave Canadian troops into a hopeless situation in Afghanistan.

Dion and the Liberals say they want a “Green Shift” and carbon tax to protect the environment but oppose a proposed NDP moratorium on new Alberta tar sands oil projects – Canada’s biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

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Black Friday: markets suffer biggest loss in 21 years bracing for worse, and cry for help


 

Black Friday Stock Market Collapse

Black Friday Stock Market Collapse

If ever there was a setup for a Black Friday on Wall Street, this is it.

 

We can hope it doesn’t happen. But better that investors are realistic about the risks. Global markets and the world economy are at a dangerous point in this debt-fueled debacle, and anyone who says otherwise is a liar.

On Thursday the U.S. stock market suffered its seventh straight loss, and the 7.3% drop in the Dow Jones industrial average — down 678.91 points to a five-year low of 8,579.19 — was the biggest yet in this latest sell-off.

In other words, the get-me-out-at-any-price mentality is more intense than even a few days ago. Many people are morose, demoralized, desperate. They can’t take any more.

 

“Investors are in survival mode,” said Robert Bissell, chief investment officer at Wells Capital Management in Los Angeles. “Stocks of major companies are at ridiculous prices,” he said, but no one cares. “This is what panics are all about.”

Much of the selling now is forced: Hedge fund managers may not want to let stocks go at these prices, but their clients want their money back. Ditto for mutual fund managers, who are facing a surge in redemptions. Selling begets more selling.

 

VIVA Bus Drivers in York Region and the ATU


 

VIVA

VIVA

I am not sure if the union members of the ATU for VIVA are living in a cavern somewhere but there is a global economic crisis. This strike has gone on for long enough. It is time to GET BACK TO WORK and figure this out now! Viva is York Region’s express bus rapid transit service, supplementing YRT’s local services. York has contracted Veolia to operate its 90 Viva buses for about $20 million annually. I think we’ve had enough of this strike! It is time for transit to become a priority for our politicians. Make transit an essential service!

Time to make York Region Transit an essential service

Update: Hooray! The strike is over! A two-week strike by 170 Viva bus drivers in York Region is over. Drivers voted Friday to accept Veolia Transportation’s contract.

Harper admits he must act on the economy – The Fundemental Flip Flop…


BRIAN LAGHI , HEATHER SCOFFIELD and STEVE CHASE AND TARA PERKINS
Globe and Mail Update
October 9, 2008 at 10:48 PM EDT

OTTAWA, RICHMOND, B.C. and TORONTO — The federal government is moving to backstop the Canadian banks’ capacity to lend money in an acknowledgment that not even the country’s sturdy banking system is immune to the global financial crisis.

A plan originally earmarked for Friday morning would see the government assume some mortgages currently held by the banks by giving them to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp., a Crown corporation. In turn, the banks might receive CMHC paper – possibly bonds – against which they could use as collateral for their own loans from other banks.

In recent weeks, the big banks have faced a sharp rise in the cost of borrowing money in international markets to cover Canadian mortgages – a situation that puts them at risk of losing ever-increasing amounts of money on one of their core businesses.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and the banks say no bailout is on the table and the plan falls short of an intervention, but sources told The Globe and Mail Ottawa now recognizes the fast-changing economic landscape requires action to help the banks access cheaper funds to fuel lending.

With the double whammy of the last days of an election combining with the global economic slowdown, the federal government and senior bank executives are hypersensitive. The Conservative Party has been insisting throughout the election campaign that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. But in the past 24 hours a new reality has set in.

Mr. Flaherty, who is expected to be in Washington Friday at an emergency G7 session of finance ministers, had been preparing to make the announcement of a banking plan Thursday, but after word leaked Wednesday night, the plans were delayed, sources say, in an illustration of how important it is for the government to try to control the message.

Pressure from the banks is growing, with executives arguing their sector needs federal help immediately to ease their credit pressure.

Banks want it right now but the Harper government has to reconcile calls for immediate assistance with its insistence the Canadian banking system requires no extraordinary measures.

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