I know everyone is all in an uproar over chairs that were or were not thrown, arrests that were or were not made, death threats by those nasty, violent Bernie Bros, and whatever stupid thing Der Trump said lately. However, out in the world where the American election campaign isn't the primary thing on everyone's mind, a lot of bad crapola is going on. One of those bad things is the fact that the wildfires in Alberta (where oil from the the tar sands does roam) are still out of control:
Well over 1,700 firefighters are trying to get a grip on the blaze, which started May 1 near Fort McMurray.We have reached the point where national governments cannot deal with the ever worsening wildfires that the consequences of climate change have wrought. As for the residents of Ft. McMurray, the tar sands boom town that was evacuated two weeks ago, residents are being told that life as they knew it (i.e., before the fire) is not likely to ever return. That prophecy comes straight from the Premier of the province, Rachel Notley:
[A]s of Wednesday, the fire is still 0% contained, the Alberta Agriculture and Forestry department said.
Even worse: The blaze is marching east toward Saskatchewan and will likely reach the province Wednesday, Alberta wildfire official Chad Morrison said. [...]
The inferno could actually burn through the winter and into next year, University of Alberta wildfire professor MIke Flannigan said.
Premier Rachel Notley outlined her government’s long-awaited re-entry plan Wednesday, saying residents will soon be allowed to return to their homes in a phased, multi-day process starting with the least damaged areas.
However, she warned that residents will not be coming home to life as they left it. While essential food, power and urgent medical care will be available, other amenities such as clean drinking water and full hospital services will take longer to restore.
As well, the premier noted the entire plan is dependent on meeting several safety factors, including an end to the ongoing threat of the fire, reasonable air quality and functional traffic controls.
Lot of conditions on that return, aren't there. If I lived in Ft. McMurray, knowing my house and my job may very well have gone up in smoke, I'm not sure I'd want to return. But, what other options are available, assuming that a safe return to their homes can be assured despite the ongoing wildfire that destroyed their city. But not everything newsworthy involves "natural" (yes, I'm being sarcastic) disasters. For example, our financial system continues to be held hostage by a gang of criminal organizations.
Case in point: a lawsuit was filed yesterday alleging bid rigging in the Nine Trillion Dollar ($9,000,0000,000) Government Issued Bond market. Specifically, five banks, and by banks I mean Too Big To Even Think About Failing Banks (or as I like to call them the Insiders) - Bank of America (USA! USA!), Credit Agricole (France), Deutsche Bank (Germany, duh), Credit Suisse Group (Switzerland) and Nomura Holdings - have been sued in the U.S. District Court for Manhattan for rigging the prices and thereby defrauding their investors.
Bank of America Corp (BAC.N), Credit Agricole SA (CAGR.PA), Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN.S), Deutsche Bank AG (DBKGn.DE) and Nomura Holdings Inc (8604.T) were accused of secretly agreeing to widen the "bid-ask" spreads they quoted customers of supranational, sub-sovereign and agency (SSA) bonds.
The lawsuit filed ... by the Boston Retirement System said the collusion dates to at least 2005, was conducted through chatrooms and instant messaging, and caused investors to overpay for bonds they bought or accept low prices for bonds they sold.
"Only through collusion could a dealer quote a wider spread than market conditions otherwise dictate without losing market share and profits," the complaint said. "Defendants reaped millions of dollar(s) in profits at the expense of plaintiff and members of the class as result of their misconduct."
The proposed class-action lawsuit seeks triple damages, and follows probes by U.S. and European Union antitrust regulators into possible SSA bond price rigging.
Just for the record, let me note that of the five defendants (so far), only Nomura Holdings has not contributed to the Clinton Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative and/or the Clinton campaign, with the biggest contributor our own Bank of America, which not only paid Bill and Hillary Clinton over $1 Million in speaking fees between 2011 and 2014, but whose PAC, employees and family members contributed over $180,000 to Hillary's campaign committee alone, as of April 21, 2016, and whose Bank of America Foundation donated between $500,000 and $1 Million to the Clinton Global Initiative as of 2013.
Well, former Secretary Clinton has made it very clear that she has the toughest plan to deal with Wall Street, much tougher than Bernie Sander's goal to break up the big banks. So, I'm sure that despite the fact these Too Big To Fail Banks, whose level of fraud, illegality and corruption only got worse after our government bailed them out, she'll make another proclamation telling them to just "cut it out", since that worked so well the last time.
Does make me wonder, however, why these bid rigging, money grubbing, Wall Street hucksters keep funding her charitable organization, paying her and Bill tons of money for half hour speeches, and arm twisting their well compensated employees into donating to her campaign, if she is just going to bring the hammer down on them starting next year. Maybe they think she will continue the policies of the Obama administration, which has for the most part failed to indict any individuals for trashing the world's economy during his nearly eight years in office.
Or maybe they think that she'll follow the lead of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who is making an attempt to undermine the enforcement of stricter regulations on pay day lenders by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
Either these large banks know something we don't know, or maybe they are delusional and are throwing money at the Clintons hoping she won't do what she has promised to do if elected president. I guess we will just find out next year, assuming, as I'm sure all right minded people do, that she defeats Trump handily and the Democrats regain control of the Senate and perhaps even the House of Representatives. At least, that's what all the left leaning prognosticators tell me to expect.
Sure hope they are right. Just like I hope the poor people of Ft. McMurray someday soon (by early June or by the end of the summer, at least) get to return to their homes and begin the hard work of rebuilding their city. Hey, it's the season when hope springs eternal, or so the saying goes. Gotta have hope everything works out for the best, because I sure can't afford to pay for the influence these multinational corporations and billionaires are attempting to buy with the money they're pouring into the coffers of both Republican and Democratic candidates this year.