economy

Brazil’s constitutional affairs committee in the Senate approved the PEC 55 constitutional reform to create a 20-year ceiling for federal spending on November 9.

The committee voted 19-7 and approved PEC 55, previously called PEC 241, which was proposed by coup-imposed President Michel Temer in a bid to cut Brazil's budget deficit.

Leonard Cohen, the Canadian singer-songwriter who died just two days after Donald Trump seized the White House, seemed to predict this moment.

In his dystopian song “The Future”, from the 1992 album of the same name, Cohen sang: “I've seen the future, brother: it is murder.”

“Things are gonna slide,” the famously dark singer suggested, “slide in all directions ... the blizzard of the world has crossed the threshold.”

One thing is crystal clear: Hillary Clinton is a failure. And so is the neoliberal establishment.

Even if Clinton had narrowly managedto defeat Donald Trump, she would still have lost. Her failure is not individual, however, but a failure of Clintonism, the Democratic Party, and decades of failed economic policies.

Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement declaring his intentions to “separate” from the United States in both military and economic relations should be welcomed, but it’s easier said than done. Hence the president’s constant “backtracking” on his statements.

Given the president’s inconsistency, the question is posed: What does it mean to be an anti-imperialist government today? And is lining up with China (and to a lesser-extent Russia) an anti-imperialist positioning?

The tribulations of major European banks, starting with “venerable institutions” like the Monte dei Paschi di Siena (the world’s oldest bank) and Deutsche Bank (Germany’s largest), have raised the spectre of a repeat of the crash of 2008 — a “Lehman Brothers times five” in the words of one market analyst.

Deutsche Bank has been found to be seriously under-capitalised, both according to the standards set under the Basel III international bank regulation standards and according to its own targets. The same goes for British giant Barclays.

Venezuela is again grabbing headlines in the media, amid allegations of lack of democracy and exaggerated accounts of nonetheless very real economic problems.

Much commentary puts the problems facing the country down to the alleged “failed populism” of Venezuela’s pro-poor Bolivarian Revolution. Last month, the New York Times even compared Donald Trump to Venezuela’s late socialist president Hugo Chavez in an article titled “What Hugo Chavez can teach us about Donald Trump”.

After a year of political turmoil, Venezuela turned a corner recently, at least according to an eye-catching October 21 op-ed in The Washington Post. Titled “It’s official: Venezuela is a full-blown dictatorship”, the piece claimed the country has become an “all-out, no-more-elections dictatorship”.

This is what things have come to.

The Greatest Democracy In the World™ is subjecting its people, and the world, to an election campaign to determine who gets to order new crimes against humanity, in which one candidate is a far-right, racist, woman-hating, tax-avoiding failed property mogul, reality TV star and serial sex offender, and the other is, by all available evidence, a robot built by Goldman Sachs.

The systematic police repression of African Americans that Black Lives Matter (BLM) has exposed has prompted Black athletes to express their solidarity. The latest has been the silent protests at sporting events initiated by Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for NFL team, the San Francisco 49ers.

His protest is simple. He kneels when the national anthem is played before games. In spite of attacks against him, other professional athletes have emulated his protest. Perhaps most significant has been the many high school players across the country who have joined in.

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