Assorted content to end your week.
- Paul Krugman draws a much-needed connection between austerity politics and Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine: What Smith didn’t note, somewhat surprisingly, is that his argument is very close to Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine, with its argument that elites systematically exploit disasters to push through neoliberal policies even if these policies are essentially irrelevant to the sources of disaster. I have to admit that I was predisposed to dislike Klein’s book when it came out, probably out of professional turf-defending and whatever — but her thesis really helps explain a lot about what’s going (Read more…)
Here, on how a narrow focus on pursuing a seemingly safe path to a bare majority government may have contributed to the B.C. NDP’s stunning election defeat this week.
Needless to say, there’s no lack of other commentary on the election, with Alice Funke, Sixth Estate, Michael Stewart, Paul Ramsey and Thomas Walkom all reaching conclusions relatively similar to my own. And while not a lot of observers can claim to have identified the problem in B.C., Dan Tan and Leftdog look to have earned at least partial credit.
[Update: Let's add David (Read more…)
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.
- Michael Babad takes a look at Bureau of Labor Statistics data on wages and employment levels – reaching the conclusion that the corporatist effort to drive wages down does nothing to improve employment prospects. But the absence of any remotely plausible policy justification hasn’t stopped the Sask Party from “modernizing” the province’s rules governing work by setting them back upwards of half a century.
- Meanwhile, Pat Atkinson rightly notes that the most important problem with the Cons’ push for temporary foreign workers is the “temporary” part. And Nicholas Keung and Dana Flavelle (Read more…)
Assorted content for your Sunday reading.
- Chrystia Freeland comments on the disproportionate influence of the super-rich in a democratic system which is supposed to value citizens equally: “I think most Americans believe in the idea of political equality,” Callahan told me. “That idea is obviously corrupted when in 2012, one guy, Sheldon Adelson, can make more political donations than the residents of 12 states put together.”
The Demos study draws in part on the quantitative research of Martin Gilens, a professor of politics at Princeton University and author of “Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in
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Razzle-dazzle, sis-boom-bah, balanced budgets, rah-rah-rah! Danielle Smith and the Wild Rosehip Tea Party yell squad cheers for Alison Redford’s Tory team’s worst plays on the field. The actual Alberta opposition may not be quite as illustrated. Below: Ms. Redford and B.C. Premier Christie Clark. Why are these two premiers smiling?
British Columbia and Alberta, Canada’s two westernmost provinces, have lots in common.
Both have economies that rely heavily on volatile natural resources, well-educated, diverse and generally socially progressive populations, and Westminster-style parliamentary legislatures in beautiful old buildings.
Both are also governed by irresponsible neoconservative coalitions with misleading names that
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: A Tale of Two Provinces: B.C. NDP and Wild Rosehip Tea Party show why opposition matters
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.
- Tim Harper writes about Scott Vaughan’s final report as the federal environmental commissioner: Scott Vaughan doesn’t have the profile of some of his contemporaries but as the environmental commissioner bowed out with a final report Tuesday, he reminded official Ottawa how much he will be missed.
Vaughan is leaving after five years of what he calls — in typical understatement — identifying “gaps” in the environmental policies of the Conservative government. More often than not, those gaps are more like chasms.
He also departs at a time when the environment and the economy
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This and that for your Thursday reading.
- There’s plenty of reason for concern about the departure of some of the few independent officers who have successfully held the Cons to account at times – with departing environment commissioner Scott Vaughan serving as only the latest example.
- But the more important story is less the presence of watchdogs than that of effective regulators – and the fact that the Cons have limited environmental enforcement to sporadic letter-writing campaigns gives us plenty of reason for concern no matter who’s in a position to point it out.
- Meanwhile, Luigi Zanasi
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links
Assorted content for your weekend reading.
- Tim Harper gets somewhat closer to the mark than most pundits in recognizing that any talk an NDP/Lib merger is neither timely nor particularly well-placed. But the “one more time” message is a little bit off: again, we’ve still run precisely zero election campaigns in which the NDP was treated as anything but a novelty party at the outset, which means that we should see 2015 as the start of a new opportunity rather than a continuation of previous trends. And both Barbara Yaffe and Lawrence Martin point out some of the reasons
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links