Monday, November 26, 2018

The Petro dollar collides with the Trudeau legacy

 

Now that there seems to be a pullback in a US shooting war with China we can take a deep breath and soldier on, unless of course, the Russia and Ukraine war of words over who controls the waters of the Kerch Strait starts World War Three.  Otherwise we can continue the exploration of how a simple change in the way our formally public Bank of Canada might be rescued from its capture by the international private banking systems.  As I have mentioned before, it was under Pierre Trudeau’s watch that our public banking system went private.  When it was public, all capital expenditures such as construction, highways, dams and railways were serviced at little or no interest by our public Bank of Canada.  This was what the bank was created for in the first place.  An excellent history of this transition from Canadian public banking to private banking is recounted  by Joyce Nelson in her book: Beyond Banksters, Resisting the New Feudalism.  This slender paper back volume is written with clarity in plain English.  For all who are curious about how our public bank was whisked out from under us by international financiers and replaced by the private banks that are swindling us daily, this is a valuable book.  It also informs us about an organization named COMER (Committee on Monetary and Economic Reform) that is affording us some hope of getting our public Bank of Canada back.

The Comer committee has launched constitutional challenges to the way that the Bank of Canada was arbitrarily changed from that of a public bank to one subject to the private international banking system.  In her book, Nelson tries to give Trudeau some slack by suggesting that he may not have been aware, or fully aware, of how this transitioning from public to private banking would affect the Canadian economy.  I rather disagree on this point.  Pierre Trudeau was a very smart man.  He must have known that the private international banking systems highly favoured austerity measures for the people. They even said so.   This would keep inflation in check, they claimed.  Now the private banks globally suck money from cut and demolished social programs that benefit ordinary people into their own coffers along with compound interest on the loans.  So how are the legal Comer challenges coming along?


Not so good, at least on the legal front. On May 31, 2017 Comer released a statement advising that the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear the case of the people who want our public banking system back as opposed to the blood sucking private international banks, on the grounds that it was a political matter. Okay, so let’s get political.  If more Canadians learn that we do have a public banking system that would release us from our ever growing public debt, wouldn’t they be in favour of getting this kind of banking system reinstated?  We should start asking politicians what they know about our history of public banking, and what do they think about trying to reinstate our public Bank of Canada.  And we might start with Justin Trudeau.  He is, at the moment, going down the rabbit hole of another kind of investment bank for public funds. Private, of course.  Like father, like son. Next time.


Monday, November 05, 2018

Money Talks but Petro Dollars Scream

 

And the US Petro dollars are beginning to scream frantically. Why?  Because they are being slaughtered.  By what, or by whom?  By increasing numbers of nations far and wide who are tired of endless US sanctions and threats of sanctions and are bolting out of the US dollar altogether.  The biggest bolters are Russia, China and Iran, following more timidly are India and Turkey.  Even some of the European nations are mulling over other possibilities rather than remaining glued to the US Petro dollar. More and more nations want gold backed currencies, not fiat paper from the US press that is so debt ridden it can hardly hold its head up.


China, which holds most of the US debt in US paper dollars, is hastily dumping as much of this debt as they can.  However, it is not as easy as it once was to get rid of US Petro dollars.  The US has to essentially buy back some, if not most, of its own debt.  Which is making the US very angry as this weakens the US dollar.  Yes, the US, including the president, his cabinet, both houses of Congress, the mainstream press and the corporate billionaire class along with  the international bankers are all ( with few exceptions) very, very angry at China .  They think China should not be allowed to have gold backed currencies that other countries are finding more attractive than their own increasingly troubled debt ridden fiat currency backed with nothing but military might.


But the US military might is something.  Something scary.  It has been this military might that has kept the US dollar strong.  When countries try to escape the hegemony of the US dollar they can expect to be bombed by the US military such as the countries of Libya, Iraq. Afghanistan, parts of Syria and the on- going nightmare of the Saudi backed carnage in Yemen.  But would the US in its final frustration and fear of failing to keep the US Petro dollar afloat as the world’s reserve currency actually physical attack China?


China thinks so.


Over the past week most of the world (except for the US, Canada, and the other national citizens who are ‘discouraged’ from having factual international news) has been learning that China seems to be preparing for a shooting war.  As reported by the Business Insider (Oct. 29th, 2018) and other international news outlets, China’s Commander-in Chief has ordered the military command to “concentrate preparations for fighting a war”. What has prompted this tough talk about war from the Chinese?  Is it the never ending US tariffs? Perhaps.  Or maybe it’s more about the US sending two US warships through the Taiwan Strait and also sending more US military hardware to Taiwan.  China is very touchy about Taiwan.  As Taiwan has always been part of China, China wants the Americans out.


The Chinese minister of Defense Wei Fenghe warned that the US should be beware of messing around with what the Chinese consider the right to their own territory.  He said that China would not give up one single piece of its territorial holdings and that “challenges to its sovereignty over Taiwan could led China to use military force”.


What do we Canadians hear of this in the Canadian press?  Nothing that I know of.  Or the mainstream US press?  Nothing.  We may be at the brink of war with China but we know nothing about it from our governments and national news sources.  Trying to prop up the Petro dollar is leading us all into social and environmental chaos. It has to stop.  We can stop it if we try.  We can try right here in Canada by insisting that our public Bank of Canada be returned to us so that we can be taken out of the madness of the struggle  to prop up the Petro dollar by sinking even deeper into the debt crisis.   Next time.


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.