China’s Louisiana Purchase: Who’s building a methanol plant on the bayou?

Al Jazeera investigates ties between Louisiana and the Chinese government in a proposed $1.85 billion methanol plant.

Al Jazeera, By Massoud Hayoun, January 26

This article is part one of a three-part series on China’s role in redeveloping southern Louisiana called China’s Louisiana Purchase.

St. James Parish, LA — A prominent Chinese tycoon and politician […]

After year of record profits, Dimon decries ‘assault’ on banks

Al Jazeera, by Tom Kutsch, January 14

“Banks are under assault.”

That was the resounding message from Jamie Dimon, CEO and President of JPMorgan Chase, in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, announcing a fourth quarter decline in profits for the nation’s largest bank.

“We have five or six regulators coming at us on […]

The Cartel: How BP Got Insider Tips Through a Secret Chat Room

Bloomberg, By Liam Vaughan, December 29

Halfway down a muddy, secluded road on marshland in suburban Essex sits Wharf Pool, a lake stocked with some of the biggest freshwater fish you will ever see.

A white sign with red lettering reads: “Private Syndicate: Strictly Members Only.” A metal gate, a barbed-wire fence and two CCTV […]

LEAKED: Secret Negotiations to Let Big Brother Go Global

The ugly ramifications of the Trade in Services Act (TiSA)

Wolf Street, By Don Quijones, December 25

Much has been written, at least in the alternative media, about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), two multilateral trade treaties being negotiated between the representatives of dozens of national governments […]

Obama hopes to enlist GOP in push for trade pact, despite Democratic resistance

Washington Post, By David Nakamura, December 26

President Obama is preparing a major push on a vast free trade zone that seeks to enlist Republicans as partners and test his premise that Washington can still find common ground on major initiatives.

It also will test his willingness to buck his own party in pursuit of […]

France Is About To Plunge Into Deflation

Business Insider, By Mike Bird, December 11

French inflation just sank to another five-year low, down at 0.4% in November, compared to the same month last year, leaving France even further away from the European Central Bank’s 2% inflation target.. Analysts were expecting a 0.5% figure.

But it’s even worse than that. France’s core inflation […]

Japan’s third quarter recession deeper than estimated

BBC, December 7

Japan’s economy shrank more than initially estimated in the third quarter of 2014, according to revised gross domestic product (GDP) figures.

The economy contracted by 1.9% in annual terms from July to September, well above a preliminary reading of 1.6%.

It also shrank 0.5% on a quarterly basis, compared with an initial […]

What do you call….?

It’s always been: “What do you call 100 lawyers at the bottom of the sea?” “A good start.”

What do you call 39 dead bankers?

[…]

The Downside of the Boom

North Dakota took on the oversight of a multibillion-dollar oil industry with a regulatory system built on trust, warnings and second chances. The cooperative approach doesn’t seem to generate results.

NYT -In early August 2013, Arlene Skurupey of Blacksburg, Va., got an animated call from the normally taciturn farmer who rents her family […]

US Federal Reserve Initiates Investigation of New York Federal Reserve

Value Walk, By Mark Melin, November 21

After press reports reveal more than a cozy relationship, but sharing of confidential documents, investigation called for on eve of Senate testimony on the issue

After a withering expose in The New York Times that showed bank regulators at the New York Federal Reserve sharing confidential information with […]

Senate Report: Banks Had Unfair Commodity-Market Advantages

Report Notes Deals Between Goldman, Deutsche and Others Drove Up Aluminum Prices

The Wall Street Journal, by Christian Berthelsen & Ryan Tracy, November 19

Washington — A U.S. Senate report on commodity-market activities at big Wall Street banks accuses the firms of being so powerful they were able to influence prices, gain trading advantages and […]

Thomas Merton Listening to the Rain

This, via Monksworks, from Thomas Merton:

Let me say this before rain becomes a utility that they can plan and distribute for money. By “they” I mean the people who cannot understand that rain is a festival, who do not appreciate its gratuity, who think that what has no price has no value, that what […]

Foreign exchange fines: banks handed £2bn in penalties for market rigging

Regulators in US and UK mete out record fines after finding a ‘free for all culture’ on currency trading floors at RBS, HSBC, Citibank, JP Morgan and UBS

The Guardian, By Jill Treanor, November 12

The corruption of the world’s biggest currency dealers was laid bare on Wednesday when regulators imposed £2bn of fines on […]

Americans Face Post-foreclosure Hell As Wages Garnished, Assets Seized

Reuters, By Michelle Conlin, Ocotber 14

New York – Many thousands of Americans who lost their homes in the housing bust, but have since begun to rebuild their finances, are suddenly facing a new foreclosure nightmare: debt collectors are chasing them down for the money they still owe by freezing their bank accounts, garnishing their […]

Slumming It

The gospel of wealth comes for Dharavi

The Baffler, By Daniel Brook, Baffler No. 25 (October? November?)

In a speech to the financial elite of India delivered in Mumbai in 2010, president Barack Obama opted for an unusual form of flattery. He saluted “all the Mumbaikars who get up every day in this City of […]

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