Monday, October 08, 2018

What exactly is the Bank of Canada?


The Bank of Canada Act was first created as a private bank in 1935. In 1938 The Bank of Canada was nationalized and has been wholly owned by the Canadian people ever since.  Let’s digest this for a moment.  The Bank of Canada is still wholly owned by the Canadian people.  Can any other nation in the entire world boast of such a thing? Well, a public sector bank can be classified as a public bank if more than fifty per cent is held by a government which is, of course, supposed to represent the people.  And there are a few of these kinds of public-private banks in countries like Germany and India. But are there other wholly owned public banks, with no private interest involved at all, like the Bank of Canada?

 

Not so much.  Well, there is at least one.  The People’s Bank of China.  Perhaps having their own public bank is one the reasons for their rapid rise in the financial world?  When the Chinese people themselves lend their government the money for all of the incredible infrastructure taking place in China at little or no interest? I think their public banking system has a lot to do with it.  If true, why aren’t we doing the same with our public banking system?  We have our own public bank but it isn’t being used for the purpose it was created for.  

 

Our public Bank of Canada was created for our government (the Canadian people) to be able to borrow for capital expenditures with little or no interest. Between 1938 and 1974, the Canadian government borrowed many times over from the Bank of Canada and financed debt-free big infrastructure projects like the construction of the Trans-Canada Highway, the St. Lawrence Seaway, airports and subways.  It was our public bank that largely paid for establishing Medicare and family allowances and still left Canada with little debt.  But in 1974 things changed drastically.

 

Under Pierre Trudeau the Canadian government stopped borrowing from our own public bank and started borrowing from private banks?  Why? Well, it seems that Trudeau came under the influence of the Bilderberg Group, and the Basil Committee that was spawned by the Bank for International Settlements which is the global bank for central bankers.    Their argument was that public banks created the money they loaned out, thus causing inflation, while private banks only recycled pre-existing money.  This was Milton Friedman’s idea.  Pierre Trudeau and his government bought it and it isn’t even true.

 

The respect banking specialist Ellen Brown puts it this way:  “The difference is simply that a publically owned bank returns the interest to the government and the community, while a privately owned bank siphons off the interest into its capital account, to be reinvested at further interest, progressively drawing money out of the productive economy”.   So in 1974 our powerful economic tool of using our democratic public banking system was yanked out of our hands by the Liberal Trudeau government of that time and placed into the hands and control of a cabal of foreign bankers.  We all know the obscene amounts of money the private banks are making now along with the obscene amount of power they have accrued to themselves accompanied by the obscene amount of debt that Canada and other nations have acquired under this neoliberal order.  So can anything at all be done about this now, or is it too late?  I don’t think it is too late because as more Canadians become aware that we still have a public bank although it has been temporarily and cruelly wrested from us, more eyes have been turning toward Canadian Courts.  Next time.









Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Will Canada's Public Bank Save Us?

I’ve talked about how the Petro dollar has been ruling the world of commerce since the 1944 Agreement of Bretton Woods which made the US more or less the world’s reserve currency.  At the time the US currency was backed by gold.  But in 1971 the US dumped gold and chose to use a fiat dollar with nothing to back it except the strength of its workers and the US military.  This meant that when nations wanted to trade with the US they must first buy US dollars. The buying nations were also encouraged to use US dollars to buy US bonds.  The US was strong, most of the other nations had been devastated by the Second World War. These nations desperately needed energy to rebuild. The US had the energy and know- how.  Thus the entire trading word fell under the tight grip of the American dollar that came to be known as the Petro dollar.


All of the wars in the Middle East and Africa, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria were all fought (and are still being fought) over their resistance to the Petro dollar and the US takeover of their oil fields.    People have died in the millions in the struggle to get off the Petro dollar and reclaim their country’s independence.  Ancient towns and cities have been leveled, entire countries such as Libya and Afghanistan are on their knees.   The citizens of these countries are left to try to find new shelters in mostly unfriendly lands where many have little in common with the values of modern European society.  The newcomers will have bread, but not roses. At least any time soon.  All this unimaginable suffering and there is more in the offering if the war hawks in the US have their way.  Currently in Syria there is a last ditch struggle going on by the US to stay in Syria.  For what?  To try to protect the Petro dollar.


But Syria wants to determine its own fate, joining with Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran.  They are all in the process of ditching the Petro dollar, or planning to, and using their own currencies.  This is the death knell for the Petro dollar being the world’s currency.  It will be only one of many currencies.  The US will fight to the death to prevent this.  Which is why they won’t leave Syria when they have no right to occupy a sovereign country that does not want them there.  But regardless of what happens in Syria the death of the Petro dollar is imminent.  What will that mean for the US?  So long awash in Petro dollars there will be a devaluation of US currency which will bring inflation.   And Canada?


There is one chance for Canada to escape devaluation and inflation.  Even though we Canadians may be financially glued bone to bone with the US, unlike most other nations (including the US) we have our own public bank.  Our public bank is not tied to any private banking systems including the Federal Reserve systems.  Why is Ottawa not using our public bank now that it would allow the Canadian government to borrow with little or no interest for public expenditures?  Next time.

Monday, September 03, 2018

Caveat emptor - Buyer Beware

 

We brought Trudeau. In return he bought us a pipeline. Well, Trudeau didn’t buy the Trans Mountain pipe line.  We did.


First, I want to say how proud I am of the First Nations people involved in the struggle against the Trans Mountain pipe line.  They were spectacular. They stood for all of us (or at least the majority of us).   And yes, so did the others on the blockade lines, especially the older women.  Been there, done that, so know how miserable it can be.  The federal verdict was a surprising and most wonderful federal ruling.   But there is, as always, a down side.  It seems that the Canadian people are now the proud owners of a $4.5 billion pipeline that probably will never be built.


Reasons?  The judge’s rulings have to do primarily with two things that weren’t done properly by Kinder Morgan.  There was the lack of a review on marine shipping (impact on sea life) and failure of duty to consult Indigenous people.  Are these two conditions likely to change if another company wants to buy in? I doubt it.  The whales and dolphins won’t disappear from the federal judicial view, and I think that Indigenous people, having spoken, won’t be struck silent by a “flipper”, as Trudeau called a potential buyer of the pipeline. I think we are going to be stuck with $ 4.5 billion debt that cannot retrace its steps and will have to be incorporated into the national budget.


Trudeau is actually in a very bad position.  If he doesn’t manage to flip the pipeline, it will remain his failed legacy forever.  And if, miracle upon miracles, he does manage to sell it, the protesters of all stripes, both First Nations and their supporters, will be waiting. 


As the old saying goes: Caveat emptor - buyer beware.

Monday, August 27, 2018

The tie that binds: Kinder Morgan and Justice K.M. Affleck

And just what is this tie that binds Justice K.M. Affleck and Kinder Morgan?  Why, the injunction, of course.  Like the one Justice Affleck handed out to Kinder Morgan on March 14, 2018 in order to shoo citizens away from protesting the trans-mountain pipeline on Burnaby Mountain.


‘On Burnaby Mountain’ has a musical ring to it.  It sounds like the title of a bitter- sweet country song.  But in reality what is happening there is just all bitter.  When the protesters gather there to try to protect the mountain they are handed Justice Affleck’s injunction.   This piece of paper annuls the protester’s right to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of equality under the law and the right to a fair trial.  All of this just in one or two pieces of paper?  This bit of paper being handed to an unknowing protester is capable of destroying all of the legal rights due every citizen under Canadian law?  Absolutely.  That’s why Justice Affleck and most of his brothers (that’s what judges call each other: brothers) issued the injunction in the first place.   To make the citizen protester helpless before the court.


Why do the BC judges do this?  To protect corporations from the anger of citizens who want the destruction of our earth and waters stopped. There is no other reason.  Justice Affleck did not have to give out the injunction to Kinder Morgan.  He could simply have told Kinder Morgan that if protesters were bothering their operation to call the police or the RCMP.  The police would then come, arrest the protesters, stand them before a judge, and a date would be set for their trial.  As the citizen protesters have obviously committed some kind of an infraction of the law, which is coded in the criminal code, as all legal infractions are, the citizen protester is afforded his and her legal rights under the law of the land.  But no.  Environmental protesters are placed into a special category, one that requires that all their legal rights be suspended.  This is the secret, unspoken agreement between our BC judges and corporations who claim and are granted, more rights than real citizens.


I would say to the protesters, yes, continue with the protests on the mountain but send some of the protesters into the city.  Why the city?  Because that’s where the judges are giving out these injunctions.  The justices of British Columbia should be picketed.  In front of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver.  A protest line there would be fruitful.  It is judges like Justice Affleck who unfailing serve their unspoken alliance with the corporations.  Instead of telling corporations to call the police when annoyed by citizens, they give out injunctions.  This makes protesting citizens legally trapped and helpless before the court, instead of confident of their rights under the constitution and the criminal code as all other citizens are.   And this is the main reason, in my opinion, that is hastening the environmental destruction of BC land and waters. And where is our honourable David Eby, the Attorney General, on this?  Next time.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

When Smoke Gets in Your Eyes




 

Don’t like it?  It’s at dangerous levels?  The smoke of burning wildfires is being brought to you courtesy of the BC justice system.  What a stupid thing to say, you might respond, if anything, it’s brought to us because something is wrong with logging practices coupled with climate change. Yes, those reasons, too.  Climate change is upon us and the frantic clear-cutting of public forests has created their own micro climates of tinder-dry forests and tree farms. The refusal by logging companies to clear out brush on their licenses by  employing systematic controlled burns ( as BC Indigenous Peoples did) certainly contributes to climate change and to the smoke from the burning untended forests we are currently experiencing. 

Another contribution to the wildfires in my opinion was the destruction of an early, active and effective environmental movement by grassroots people in BC (think Clayoquot) by an elitist take over by “professionals”.  The elitist leaders made a devil’s bargain with the BC government that if the government would preserve a large swath of land called the Great Bear Rainforest (and to be fair, it is a large swath of land) there would be no more “wars in the woods”.  In other words, give us this and you can do whatever you like to the rest of BC public forests. The result is the smoke and ash we are now all swallowing and coughing up.  But to the main point.

 

The crucial point is the legal framework that has allowed all of this environmental damage to happen. It is the complicity of the BC court system, including the Attorney Generals and the Crown, but specifically the BC judges who are supposed to serve us.  If these BC legal entities weren’t colluding with the logging corporations everybody (young and old alike) who could, would be outside these last days of August enjoying the sunshine and fresh air. This court collusion is so obvious and so predictable that I unabashedly call it corruption.  I am not accusing the justices of taking bribes from the logging companies, but honestly, the way the judges unfailingly serve the logging corporations they may as well be taking bribes.  They protect the corporations from the people by denying the people free speech, free association and fair trials for the ones who protest the destruction of our land.  How do they do this?  By giving out injunctions to any logging corporation who asks for one.  And it is these injunctions that prevent protesters from ever getting a fair trial.

These injunctions make the protester guilty of disobeying a court order (Contempt of Court) instead of being able to bring a defense of why they did what they did. The judges will only consider whether or not a judge’s order was disobeyed.  That’s it.  The judges don’t give a tinker’s dam about any protester’s reasons.  The irony is that the judges don’t have to give out the injunctions in the first place.  They have a choice of which legal process to apply, arrest by injunction, or arrest by the Criminal Code.  Of course they chose the injunction route in order to satisfy their CEO friends, and not the people.  The police in all other situations apply the Criminal Code and are supposed to take care of people who are causing a commotion and then it is simply a police matter. The people causing a commotion would be arrested and brought to trial.  But this would be a real trial and an accused’s reasons, under the law, must be listened to.

But BC judges friendly relations with CEO’s of corporations are more important to them than justice, or even whether or not our province burns to a cinder.  BC judges and attorney generals must be exposed for their corrupt use of injunctions or that is exactly what will eventually happen to this province.


Thursday, August 09, 2018

Libya, Petro dollar and Canada



 

What relevance does Libya have for us Canadians at the moment?  Libya is old news.  Yes, old fake news. At least the reasons we were given for the invasion of Libya were fake. We were told that Muammar Gaddafi was a vicious dictator who was massacring his own people as he cared nothing for them, and needed to be stopped on humanitarian grounds.  The troika to the rescue!

 

The troika is composed of the US, NATO and the EU (and their banks). It was a moment of regime change for them. Nothing else would do. Never mind that it was under Gaddafi’s leadership (for 41 years) that Libya came to be considered the most prosperous state in Africa, and the most liberal. Gaddafi shared the oil revenues of his country with his people. Libya had free education (through university), free universal health care, encouraged women’s rights, considered housing an absolute right and had free electricity for all. Does that sound like he didn’t care for his people? But it wasn’t these progressive things that twisted the guts of the Troika. It was the gold and silver Libya held in its treasury. Nestling there was 144 tons of gold and a similar amount of silver. I wonder what happened to all that gold and silver after Libya was sacked.  Does anybody know or has it just disappeared like various huge amounts of cash just vanish between US military contractors?

 

Never mind.  Let’s stick to our subject. Which was Libyan gold and silver. The gold amount was half of what the UK possesses.  However, Libya was 1/10 of the population.  And besides nationalizing the oil industry, Gaddafi was in the process of uniting other African countries with a plan to switch from using the Petro dollar to using their own gold backed currency to be called the gold African dinar.  So of course this had to be stopped.  Regime change was it.  War was it.  Whatever it took to keep the Petro dollar safe.

 

We are still at war with any country that tries to ditch the Petro dollar.  And we are fed the same idiot reasons for these wars.  Venezuela?  We are told it’s a rotten country, kills it people, and the government has to be taken out on humanitarian grounds. We are to  Ignore the reports of Nicolas Maduro trying desperately to lift his poor out of poverty, of trying to provide education and health care for everyone, of trying to create jobs in the face of the racist, sexist, raw super capitalist opposition of the troika. And this same mind set is behind the present non-stop dangerous, disgusting verbiage against Russia, Iran and China by the troika press. These three countries are in the midst of not just talking about ditching the Petro dollar, but are in the process of doing it.  The US led troika wants to start bombing them but has to be a little more careful about regime change.  And unless we Canadians feel smug, still lingering under some kind of an illusion about being peace keepers, Canadians were part of the first bombing missions over Libya.  More next time.