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Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

– Stephen Hawking discusses the urgent need to address inequality and environmental destruction as people are both more fearful for their futures, and more aware of what’s being taken away from them: (T)he lives of the richest people in the most prosperous parts of the world are agonisingly visible . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

– Lana Payne comments on the importance of the labour movement in ensuring that economic growth translates into benefits for workers: The findings of a study released this month by the Canadian Centre for Study of Living Standards, an Ottawa-based think-tank, reinforces why there is a “pervasive sense among . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

Northern Reflections: Calling The Kettle Black

We live in the Age of Misplaced Faith. A stunning example of what this means for ordinary people is CETA — the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. Murray Dobbin writes:

The federal government makes its own “reality” by crafting “facts” to fit its policy objectives — no matter how outrageous they are when put . . . → Read More: Northern Reflections: Calling The Kettle Black

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

– John McDonnell outlines a progressive alternative to neoliberal economic policy: The increasing automation of jobs, reduced dependence on carbon fuels, artificial intelligence and the so-called gig economy have provoked understandable anger among many workers whose jobs are under threat. More generally, concerns about the effect on the labour market are . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

– Branko Milanovic highlights the futility of pretending that market mechanisms will produce anything other than profit-oriented outcomes – and the observation represents an obvious reason not to put public services in corporate hands. And David Sloan Wilson (in introducing an interview with Sigrun Aasland) points out how Norway’s . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Afternoon Links

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

– Larry Beinhart argues that aside from the gross unfairness and economic harm from growing inequality, there’s a basic problem trusting the uber-rich to make reasonable decisions with massive amounts of wealth. And George Monbiot makes the case that even as he pretends to be an outsider, Donald . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Politics and its Discontents: Star Readers Speak Out On CETA

Recently, my newspaper of record, The Toronto Star, wrote what I felt was an uncritical endorsement of CETA. The part that especially disturbed me was this: In the case of CETA, the demonization focuses on one part of the agreement, involving a process for resolving disputes between investors and governments. The so-called Investor-State Dispute . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Star Readers Speak Out On CETA

Politics and its Discontents: Thomas Walkom on CETA

While it is disappointing to see that Wallonia has dropped its opposition to the CETA deal, thus paving the way for signing and ultimate ratification, all may not be lost, at least for the Europeans, according to Thomas Walkom. Morever, this imbroglio has brought forth some interesting facts, facts that again raise questions about . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Thomas Walkom on CETA

Politics and its Discontents: CETA: The Real Deal

While it looks, unfortunately, like the Belgian opposition to CETA is dissolving, it is perhaps instructive to understand the core of Wallonia’s concerns about it. While some of it revolves around the hit that some of its domestic industries will take if it is ratified, of much greater concern is the power it gives . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: CETA: The Real Deal

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

– Dani Rodrik discusses the growing public opposition to new corporate-dominated trade deals based on the lessons we’ve learned from previous ones: Instead of decrying people’s stupidity and ignorance in rejecting trade deals, we should try to understand why such deals lost legitimacy in the first place. I’d . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

The Canadian Progressive: CETA just imploded, future of the deal uncertain

The Council of Canadians calls the European Union’s failure to reach consensus on signing the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) an epic failure that makes the deal impossible.

The post CETA just imploded, future of the deal uncertain appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Politics and its Discontents: The Art Of The Deal: A Guest Post By John B.

In response to yesterday’s post about free trade, John B. provided a detailed commentary that derves a separate posting. Below is what he wrote:

Are any Canadians asking?

I find the current tap dance we are witnessing reminiscent of the public displays of angst and pretense of desperation by Mulroney and Burney a . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: The Art Of The Deal: A Guest Post By John B.

Politics and its Discontents: Free Trade Is Never Free

While it is beginning to look like International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland’s departure from CETA negotiations was more of a ploy than the end of talks, the hiatus at least gives Canadians the opportunity to once more reflect on its dangers, the same dangers that afflict other so-called free trade deals.

The fact is, . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Free Trade Is Never Free

The Canadian Progressive: Canadian academics’ open letter to Wallonia on CETA deal

Read Canadian academics’ letter to the Parliament of Wallonia and the people of Belgian. The academics expressed their support for Wallonia’s continuing rejection of the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement or CETA.

The post Canadian academics’ open letter to Wallonia on CETA deal appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

– Scott Sinclair and Stuart Trew applaud Wallonia’s principled stance against the CETA. And Joseph Stiglitz discusses the need to set up social and economic systems which actually serve the public good, rather than favouring corporate interests: Where the trade agreements failed, it was not because the US was . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Politics and its Discontents: This Is Good News

I’ll have more to say about this in the future, but for now, some good news for those who oppose free trade deals that sacrifice national sovereignty and jobs so corporations can be further enriched: Canadian Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland has walked out of negotiations to salvage a major trade deal with the European Union, . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: This Is Good News

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

– Mainly Macro offers a useful definition of neoliberalism, while highlighting its relationship to austerity. And Ed Finn writes that we shouldn’t be too quick to presume neoliberalism is going to disappear just because it’s proven to be harmful in practice – and that it will take a massive . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

– Peter Rossman explains why the CETA falls far short of the mark in accounting for anybody’s interests other than those of big business. And Dani Rodrik discusses the dangers of laissez-faire fundamentalism, particularly to the extent it threatens to undermine the foundation of a functional society: (T)he . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

– Ellen Gould comments on how the CETA and other trade deals constrain democratic governance – and the fact that corporate bigwigs are threatening any government which considers giving effect to popular opposition doesn’t exactly provide any comfort. Meanwhile, Scott Sinclair points out the dangerous effects of the . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

– George Monbiot discusses the importance of recognizing our social connections in making our political choices, rather than treating the world as merely a collection of unconnected individuals: It is not hard to see what the evolutionary reasons for social pain might be. Survival among social mammals is greatly . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Cowichan Conversations: European parliamentarian & CETA critic Jose Bove denied entry into Canada

Prime Minister Trudeau has some explaining to do and should apologize and invite him back.

So much for sunny ways. We wanted so badly to believe that Trudeau would be different.

Turns out French

Read more…

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Assorted content to start your week.

– Bruce Johnstone notes that rather than further attacking public services which have already been under siege throughout his stay in office, Brad Wall and his government should be looking to question Saskatchewan’s inexplicable giveaways to businesses: Well, if Doherty is looking for some “low-hanging fruit” to make our . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

The Canadian Progressive: Canada-EU trade deal undermines public interest regulation, workers: study

The Canada-EU trade deal, CETA, “will elevate the rights of corporations above workers and the environment and undermine government regulatory flexibility,” new study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives finds.

The post Canada-EU trade deal undermines public interest regulation, workers: study appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Politics and its Discontents: A Boost To The Spirit

Fifty years ago, Star Trek – The Original Series – began. As a young person at the time, I was quite enthralled by a series that depicted a time when humanity had apparently solved its myriad problems on Earth and had expanded outward to seek out new life and new civilizations. Although Earth was never shown, one was left with the distinct impression that it had evolved into the closest thing to a Utopia, where harmony and understanding prevailed. The series served as a soothing counterbalance to the tumultuous nature of the Sixties, with war, race divisions, crime and poverty being our reality.

I am far from the somewhat optimistic lad I was 50 years ago, but visiting Word On The Street always reminds me of the idealized world that Star Trek presented: thousands of people milling about, examining, buying and discussing books, a diverse crowd both racially and demographically, citizens engaged and knowledgeable about the world. A hint of Utopia, one I found uplifting in part due to the fact that graybeards like me, although quite sizably represented as we tend to be, were flanked by much younger people for whom knowledge, information and engagement on issues are also very important. it gives me some hope.

We spent three hours at The Star tent, and were fortunate to have arrived early enough for seats, as it turned out to be standing room only. I won’t bore you with the details of what was discussed, but I will mention the response I got to a question I asked of Chantal Hebert, Paul Wells and Bruce Campion-Smith (Ottawa bureau chief), who were discussing Trudeau’s first year in power. They suggested that with the ousting of Harper, many Canadians feet they can get back to their ‘normal’ lives for the next four years, given that the polarization and divisiveness of the old regime ended with Harper’s ouster. I asked if that is likely to continue, given that issues such as CETA and pipelines will likely prove controversial for the government. The answer that I got is one I am not sure I agree with. The feeling was that few people follow free trade agreements like Ceta, and that pipeline issues are primarily of concern to those living in British Columbia.

I hope they are wrong. Judging by the very large attendance at the greatly expanded Star tent, they may just be.

In any event, I leave you with this letter from today’s Star. Clearly, some people are thinking about the issues:

It’s not like we don’t know how trade deals work. And NAFTA is small potatoes compared to CETA and TPP.

While we sit complacently, the Liberals have dispatched Chrystia Freeland to save CETA from wavering European politicians faced with voters actively taking to the streets in displeasure about more compromise on jobs, services, taxes and the environment, all in the name of further enriching the 1 per cent.

Under the guise of global trade have we not lost enough well-paying permanent jobs and seen a decline in important services such as education and health to know we are getting taken to the cleaners, again? Are the unimaginable billions already hidden in tax havens not sufficient for the proponents of one sided trade deals?

Shame on the Liberals who promised change. Shame on Chrystia Freeland, author of Plutocrats: the Rise of the New Global Super Rich and shame on Canadians for not speaking up loud enough to be heard.

Nancy Stevens, Institute of Technical Trades, Toronto

. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: A Boost To The Spirit

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

– Scott Sinclair, Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood and Stuart Trew study the contents of the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. Sinclair and Trew also highlight why Canadian progressives should oppose the deal, while Howard Mann notes that the same criticisms, including a gross transfer of power to the corporate sector and the absence of any concern for developmental and environmental issues, apply to all of the new generation of corporate rights agreements. But the Council of Canadians notes that not only are the Trudeau Libs pushing ahead with every single trade agreement currently on the table, they’re also trying to lay the groundwork for a similar deal with China – even if it comes with both a blind eye to human rights violations, and an obligation to approve a tar sands pipeline.

– Bill McKibben examines how new climate data shows that we need a nearly immediate transition away from dirty energy in order to meet the Paris conference commitment to rein in global warming. And Seth Klein and Shannon Daub call out the new form of climate denialism – which pays lip service to the science of climate change, but attempts to detach it from any policy steps to improve matters.

– Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson argue that there’s no reason to keep hewing to neoliberal orthodoxy when decades of evidence show how it exacerbates inequality and harms health:

Even before the 2008 global financial crisis, neoliberalism was causing what the University of Durham’s Ted Schrecker and Clare Bambra have called “neoliberal epidemics.” As Schrecker and Bambra and many others have shown, income inequality has profoundly damaging and far-reaching effects on everything from trust and social cohesion to rates of violent crime and imprisonment, educational achievement, and social mobility. Inequality seems to worsen health outcomes, reduce life expectancy, boost rates of mental illness and obesity, and even increase the prevalence of HIV.
Deep income inequality means that society is organized as a wealth-based hierarchy. Such a system confers economic as well as political power to those at the top and contributes to a sense of powerlessness for the rest of the population. Ultimately, this causes problems not only for the poor, but for the affluent as well. 
Careful analysis of statistical data debunked the idea that stressed executives are at a higher risk for heart attacks. Now, it has debunked the 1980s myth that “greed is good,” and has revealed the extensive damage inequality causes. It was one thing to believe these myths decades ago, but when experience and all the available evidence show them to be mistaken, it is time to make a change. 
“Any man can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in his error,” said the Roman philosopher Cicero. Now that we know how inequality harms the health of societies, individuals, and economies, reducing it should be our top priority. Anyone advocating policies that increase inequality and threaten the wellbeing of our societies is taking us for fools.
– And Ashley Quan points out how a basic income could alleviate many of the harms caused by precarious financial situations.

– Finally, Thomas Walkom rightly notes that a federal crackdown on extra-billing under the Canada Health Act is long overdue. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links