Category Archives: Guest Post

Bill Black on Bank Fraud: The Wall Street Journal’s Choleric Rant about Cholera and Bank Fraud Epidemics

I was struck by the title of a choleric rant by the Wall Street Journal entitled “Banking in a Time of Cholera.”

The WSJ’s title is a play on words on the title of a novel, “Love in the Time of Cholera,” by Colombia’s greatest writer, Gabriel García Márquez (“Gabo”). The novel is set in a city that appears to be based on Cartagena, the city famous for being looted repeatedly by pirates. In this first of several columns responding to the WSJ rant I discuss its failed literary allusions and tie these failures to some of the WSJ’s analytical and factual errors that render their rant risible.

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Don Quijones: Spain’s Silent Reconquest of Mexico

With the ink still drying on Mexico’s historic energy reform, global oil and gas majors are salivating at the prospect of gaining access to one of the world’s largest and until recently most nationalized energy markets. One of those companies is the Spanish electricity giant Iberdrola, which expects to massively expand its operations in Mexico through increased investments of close to €1 billion.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: €1 billion is chicken feed in this age of inflated corporate balance sheets. Indeed, for some corporations such a sum is probably hardly worth getting out of bed for these days. However, in Mexico it can go a very long way, much further than it can in Europe or the US – especially when you have paid moles lobbying for your every interest at the highest level of government.

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How Can We Measure Media Power?

The potential for political influence is what most people think of when they talk about the power of the media. A new media power index, proposed in this column, aggregates power across all platforms and focuses not on markets but on voters. It measures not actual media influence but rather its potential. Using the index, the author finds that the four most powerful media companies in the US are television-based and the absolute value of the index is high. This indicates that most American voters receive their news from a small number of news sources, which creates the potential for large political influence.

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New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, the Whale Oil Blog, and International Organized Crime

A new book is causing a stir in New Zealand. It’s called “Dirty Politics“. From the blurb:

Early in 2014 Nicky Hager was leaked a large number of email and online conversations from Cameron Slater’s Whale Oil blog. Many of these were between Slater and his personal allies on the hard right, revealing an ugly and destructive style of politics. But there were also many communications with the prime minister’s office and other Cabinet ministers in the National Government. They show us a side of Prime Minister John Key and his government of which most New Zealanders are completely unaware.

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How Significant is the BRICS New Development Bank?

Yves here. Quite a few readers have contended that the commitment by the BRICS countries to create a developing country challenger to the World Bank represents a serious blow to the dollar hegemony.

While rising anger against the US use of its currency/banking system dominance to further geopolitical ends is well warranted, translating that into effective counter-measures is something else completely.

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Patrick Cockburn: Why Washington’s War on Terror Failed – The Underrated Saudi Connection

Yves here. While this is an informative piece, quite a few readers are likely to take issue with the notion that the war on terror is as failure. US foreign policy appears to be run by Saudi Prince Bandar and the military-survelllance complex, and the war on terror caper looks to be working out just fine for them. And the super wealthy and the domestic policy elites get the added bennies of having a political justification for full-spectrum-coverage of ordinary citizens’ activities and authoritarian policing.

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