Today’s headlines being at home, starting with hints of a bubble brewing from CNBC:
A new wave of US mortgage trouble threatens
U.S. borrowers are increasingly missing payments on home equity lines of credit they took out during the housing bubble, a trend that could deal another blow to the country’s biggest banks.
And from Al Jazeera America, stuffing turkeys:
Hundreds of protests planned to mark Black Friday
Labor groups hope to capitalize on a year of controversy surrounding Wal-Mart and other big retailers
Bloomberg Businessweek covers harsh realities:
McDonald’s Worker Says She Can’t Afford to Eat at McDonald’s
For a piece on the potential economic and social consequences of raising the federal minimum wage in the latest issue of Bloomberg Businessweek, I interviewed several low-wage workers about how they manage. As we’ve learned from recent studies, they often rely on public assistance; sometimes they turn to their extended family and friends or charity. One told me she donates plasma when she needs a little cash; a second sleeps in her car. One, Shawndraka Mack, works full-time at McDonald’s, but noted she can’t afford to eat there.
From ThinkProgress, uncharitable politics:
Los Angeles Considering Proposal To Ban Feeding Homeless People In Public
The proposal will need to pick up more support among the 15-member Council in order to become law. If passed, though, Los Angeles would join a growing number of other cities that have banned or passed significant restrictions on charities attempting to feed the homeless, including Raleigh and Orlando.
From South China Morning Post, more allegations of banksters behaving badly — in this case, hiring the progeny of Chinese leaders as a wedge to opening doors for deals:
US expands China hiring probe to Morgan Stanley and Citigroup
US authorities are expanding their probe into the hiring practices of American financial institutions, with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) now looking into whether Morgan Stanley and Citigroup hired children of well-connected mainland officials with an intent to win business.
Meanwhile, mouth farts from blowviator via Salon:
Rush Limbaugh: The pope sounds like a Marxist
“This is just pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the pope”
Meanwhile, Rush might ponder this from the New York Times:
The Great Recession was the worst downturn since the Great Depression. And yet, throughout the recent decline and today’s sluggish recovery, conditions have never seemed as bad as they were in the 1930s. Breadlines, for example, have not been commonplace.
That may be about to change.
An encouraging sign, via Salon:
Breaking: Whole Foods strike wins Thanksgiving day off, workers say
“I think it will be disruptive, but that’s kind of the point,” says one of Chicago workers striking today
Canada next, with the Toronto Globe and Mail, and cross-border ties:
Canadian growth to accelerate but U.S. well-being still key: IMF
The IMF pegs Canadian growth at 2.25 per cent next year following modest growth of 1.6 per cent this year as exports and business investment “disappointed.”
Next, feet enter oral orifices, via Techdirt:
TPP Defenders Take To The Internet To Deliver Official Talking Points; Inadvertently Confirm Opponents’ Worst Fears
from the TPP-doesn’t-do-anything-opponents-claim-it-does,-except-for-all-this dept
Seeking friends in need, via EUbusiness:
France, Spain seek European push for jobs, growth
France and Spain’s leaders, both suffering in the polls as they grapple with feeble economies, united Wednesday in pressuring the European Union to do more to help boost activity and create desperately needed jobs.
BBC News takes us to Britain and austerian arrogance:
David Cameron defiant over tougher EU benefit plans
David Cameron has defended plans to toughen welfare rules for EU migrants, saying he was sending a “clear message” to people that the UK was not a “soft touch” for claiming benefits.
He said he shared public concerns about the end of work restrictions on Bulgarians and Romanians next month.
More Cameron Tory neoliberalism from The Independent:
David Cameron to lobby for support on migration restrictions at EU summit in Lithuania
From the London Telegraph, Mariano Rajoy scotches hopes:
Spanish PM: Independent Scotland would be kicked out of the EU
Scotland would be kicked out of the European Union if it voted for independence, the Spanish Prime Minister has said in a devastating blow to Alex Salmond’s claims membership would be seamless.
Sweden next, with a burgeoning bubble from TheLocal.se:
Swedes’ mortgage debt continues to swell
Swedes are borrowing money more than ever, data from Statistics Sweden revealed on Wednesday, as household indebtedness reached new heights.
The annual growth rate of household indebtedness was calculated to be 4.9 percent in October this year, a 0.1 percentage-point increase in one month. Statisticians at the state agency predicted that the increase will continue, and cited the upswing from 4.5 percent in January 2013.
TheLocal.se, planning ahead and raising hopes for Sweden’s braceros:
Swedish opposition to scrap migrant-worker law
The left-wing opposition stands ready to tear up the controversial Laval Law, which differentiates between domestic and foreign workers, if the Social Democrat party wrests power from the government in next year’s elections.
“Swedish collective bargaining agreements should apply in Sweden,” said party leader Stefan Lövfen on Wednesday at a press conference. “It does not matter from which country the employee comes from nor where the employer is registered.”
TheLocal.no covers a seminal embargo:
China blocks semen of hardy Norwegian Red
China has cancelled a project to import semen from the hardy Norwegian Red diary cow, in a move put down to continuing poor diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Holland next, and troubling news from DutchNews.nl:
Healthcare freedom of choice under threat, entire hospitals excluded
Health insurance companies are limiting patient access to some hospitals, and some policyholders will have to pay a contribution to be treated in hospitals with a better reputation, according to research by the AD and insurance comparison website Independer.
On to Germany and high hopes from Europe Online:
German consumer confidence hits six-year high
Consumer confidence in Germany hit a six-year high in December, a survey released Wednesday showed as retailers in Europe’s biggest economy are gearing up for the key Christmas shopping period.
The mood among German households rose to a bigger-than-forecast 7.4 in December from 7.1 in November, the Nuremberg-based market research group GfK said.
BBC News covers a done deal:
Deal reached on new government for Germany under Merkel
Angela Merkel will return as German chancellor for a third term under a coalition deal hammered out with her old Social Democrat (SPD) opponents.
Her conservative Christian Union (CDU/CSU) signed a 185-page agreement with the SPD entitled “Shaping Germany’s Future”
From Spiegel, making virtue of necessity in the peculiar German miracle:
Living Large on a Little: Campgrounds Go Residential in Germany
An increasing number of people are moving to German campgrounds permanently to save money. The little communities of motorhomes and trailers offer a comfortable yet affordable lifestyle that residents say they couldn’t find elsewhere.
TheLocal.de notes banksters behaving badly:
Watchdog probes gold and silver price-fixing
The German financial watchdog, BaFin, said on Wednesday it was looking into allegations of possible manipulation by banks in gold and silver price-fixing.
“In addition to the Libor and Euribor interest rates, BaFin is looking at other bench-marking processes such as gold and silver price fixing at individual banks,” the watchdog said in a statement.
From TheLocal.fr, righteous anger:
Outrage over €21million pension for French CEO
Plans to award the CEO of struggling French car giant Peugeot Citroen with a €21 million pension ($28.5million) has provoked uproar among trade unions, who have spent the last year battling in vain against factory closures and mass job cuts at the firm.
A culinary invasion with TheLocal.fr:
Burger King set to open 400 outlets in France
US fast food giant Burger King looks set to take a big bite out of the French market, after they announced this week they would be opening up to 400 new restaurants throughout the country.
And on to the Alps with Channel NewsAsia Singapore and more BBB:
UBS Paris office raided in Swiss tax fraud probe
French investigators on Wednesday raided the Paris headquarters of the local arm of Swiss bank UBS, which has been placed under investigation for allegedly helping rich clients hide money in undeclared accounts.
Spain next, with El País and a central bankster’s assurance:
Recovery continued at start of fourth quarter, Bank of Spain says
Spanish export sector remains buoyant with some signs of an improvement in domestic demand while salaries flatline
The London Telegraph reports a con:
Spanish government accused of pushing illegal homes to Britons
A register with details of Spain’s three million empty homes fails to flag all of those earmarked for demolition
From El País a singular act of resistance to the reigning neoliberal Popular Party:
Madrid Socialist leader resigns Senate seat over PP-linked judge
Gómez stages “act of rebellion” against privatization of public healthcare and carve-up of legal watchdog’s membership
The leader of the Socialist Party in Madrid (PSM), Tomás Gómez, on Wednesday announced he is resigning his seat in the Senate to “be consistent with” his principles. Gómez’s decision came in response to the national party’s pact with the Popular Party (PP) over the reshuffling of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ), by which Judge Francisco Gerardo Martínez Tristán will be elevated to the legal watchdog’s panel. Martínez sits on the 50-magistrate panel of the Madrid regional High Court that has been charged with deciding the fate of six of the region’s public hospitals, which the PP wants to privatize.
El País again, with neoliberalism in action:
More than 1.1 million students lose textbook grants
Families were receiving between 70-180 euros, depending on the schooling period and the region
Public subsidies for school book purchases have nosedived during the economic crisis. But according to a report from the Ombudsman’s Office, which notes a 45-percent drop in financing in the last four years, the crisis “explains but does not justify this reduction.”
The Portugal News takes across the border to yet another postal privatization, that essential plank in the neoliberal destruction of the commons:
CTT postal privatisation sees demand outstrip supply six times over
The demand for shares in the Portuguese post office CTT – Correios de Portugal outstripped supply 6.5 times according to information supplied by CMVM, the stock market authorities, to state holding company Parpública.
Italy next, with a Bunga Bunga booting from the New York Times:
Berlusconi Expelled from Senate in Italy
Having spent months manufacturing procedural delays or conjuring political melodrama in hopes of saving himself, Silvio Berlusconi on Wednesday could no longer stave off the inevitable: Italy’s Senate resoundingly stripped him of his parliamentary seat, a dramatic and humiliating expulsion, even as other potential troubles await him.
And TheLocal.it pledges allegiance:
‘Berlusconi will always be our leader’
Supporters of Silvio Berlusconi mourned his expulsion from parliament on Wednesday, with one declaring: “This is not finished!”
Thousands of Berlusconi’s fans travelled to Rome from all over Italy in a show of support, with waving Forza Italia flags and holding candle-lit vigils behind held outside his Rome residence.
From TheLocal.it again, more austerian reality:
Italy’s crisis leaves middle class struggling
With unemployment at record levels and some of the highest poverty levels anywhere in the EU, Italy’s economic crisis has left many formerly well-off Italians barely able to put food on the table.
Italy’s unemployment rate hit an all-time high of 12.5 percent in October, while thousands of those who are clinging onto jobs are on short-term contracts and often go unpaid for months.
An EU report in September said that Italy is the only large country in core Europe that suffers from “material hardships”, with one in ten Italians cutting back on basics such as heating and eating meat.
After the jump, ongoing Grecomeltdown, Russian baggage, Indian anxieties and opportunities, Southeast Asian land grabs and protests, environmental mayhem, and the latest Fukushimapocalypse Now!. . . Continue reading