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The Progressive Economics Forum: ROCHON: Harper in closet over the economy as Canada heads toward another recession

This guest blog post has been written by Louis-Philippe Rochon.

You can follow him on Twitter @Lprochon

Harper’s recent incarnation as an anti-terrorist crusader has caught many Canadians by surprise. Harper is spending considerable political energy beating the drums of war against terrorists, and introducing a far-reaching, and much condemned, bill aimed at restricting free speech, and increasing police powers. But could this move hide a more cynical purpose? Can there be an ulterior motive?

I think there is, and the reason is quite simple. It’s the economy. Seven years after the beginning of the crisis, and 4 years (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Rochon Asks: “Is the Canadian economy unraveling?”

In a recent CBC blog post, Louis-Philippe Rochon assesses the current state of the Canadian economy.

The link to the blog post is here.

Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon.

The Disaffected Lib: We’ve Already Entered the Counter-Stealth Technology Era

It’ll be years before the over-priced, overdue and underperforming F-35, stealth light-attack bomber, ever shows up in Canadian air force hangars but already the supposed magic of stealth is losing its lustre to the evolution of counter-stealth technology.

Ask yourself just what did we expect the countries obviously intended as the targets of our stealth supremacy to do except to work out ways of both copying it and defeating it.  We’ve been waving this “first strike” sword over their heads – Russia’s and China’s – for about 15-years now.  The Americans even war-gamed a dress rehearsal of a stealth sneak (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper Sells Us Out To China. Again.

Well now it's official. Now you can call him comrade Harper. Or Great Yum Yum or Dumb Dumb Leader.Or just Mr Sellout.Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government quietly signed a customs-sharing agreement with China without announcing it to the public, Global News has learned. And the move has experts worried about the consequences to Canada’s security.Read more »

Political Eh-conomy: Political Eh-conomy Radio: Climate deals and pipeline steals

Today’s episode is focused on the economics and politics of climate change, both more globally and locally.

To get a global perspective on the state of climate negotiations and the recent US-China climate deal, I speak with Leigh Phillips, a science writer and journalist who has written for Nature, the EU Observer and many other publications. His article on the China-US climate deal is here and he also has a book coming out early in 2015 so be on the lookout for that.

My second guest is economist and former head of (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: How to Militarize the South China Sea

China is seeking to bolster its military presence in the South China Sea and where better but in the vicinity of the hotly contested Spratley Islands.

The prestigious British military journal, Janes, believes China is upping the ante in the region by constructing an island to accommodate a joint air and naval base at the Fiery Cross reef.

Hong Kong media have reported that China intends to establish a military air base at Fiery Cross reef, something that will no doubt be a burr under the Pentagon’s saddle.

Cowichan Conversations: Bloomberg: Russia-China gas deals spell big trouble for Canadian LNG



Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Damien Gillis- Common Sense Canadian sent this along and it tells the story of how badly the Christy Clark BC Government has handled this from the get-go. The good news is that the potential profitability of fracking is negated by market forces, geography and sheer fantasy on the part of the BC Liberal government.

Imagine Putin sizing up Harper while Steve was mouthing off about Ukraine. The China-Russia gas deal was strategic, necessary and nuts BC’s and the rest of Canada’s fracking plans.

Now, finally, even Premier Christy Clark and her cheerleading pitchman Rich Coleman (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Apples and Mandarins

The logic of Fox commentators is, to say the least, difficult for an old fella like me to follow:

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Things Are Good: China and US Agree to Cut Emissions

The world’s largest polluters have agreed that they have a problem and they need to stop it. The USA and China have come to terms with the fact that they are the worst polluters and have both decided to take action using various policy tools and joint cooperation. This is important for many reasons, for one not only does this mean the largest economies will become more efficient and less damaging to the plant. Another reason is that smaller economies (looking at you Australia and Canada) copy American policy, so hopefully the climate change denying government elsewhere will wake up (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Alberta’s big problem is the same as Russia’s – so what’s Stephen Harper doing about it?

Keep those wells a-pumpin! Keep those oil prices low! Squeeze those Russkies! Uh … just a minute. … isn’t that bad for Alberta’s many varieties of Conservative? Below: Russian President Vladimir Putin, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Mr. Harper’s hero, Margaret Thatcher.

The Globe and Mail, tireless cheerleader for the Harper Government, was gloating Monday about the impact falling oil prices, a declining Ruble and the bite of Western sanctions are having on Russia, which, the Report on Business rejoiced, is being pushed toward the brink of recession.

Woo-hoo! That’ll teach those Russkies to try to keep NATO (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper’s Great Shabby Trip to China

Well it wasn't much of a trip, not the grand photo-op he was expecting.He never got his pandas.And as for those two caged Canadians they're still in a Chinese jail. China’s second-most powerful leader emerged from a meeting with Stephen Harper to say his country’s courts alone will decide what happens to two Canadians detained by Beijing on allegations of spying.Because although Stephen Harper claimed he raised the matter of human rights in his private meetings with the Chinese dictators, nobody could prove it, and if he did they ignored him.But still Great Leader did (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper’s Great Shabby Trip to China

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper’s Bizarre Missionary Mission to China

Well I see that Stephen Harper's visit to China has got off to a heavenly start. With our new Chinese overlords wanting to talk about business, now that Harper has signed the sellout FIPA deal, and they have us over a barrel for the next thirty years.While Lord Harp seems more interested in talking about crosses. Read more »

Political Eh-conomy: Political Eh-conomy Radio: Focus on China


The focus of today’s podcast is China: its development over the past several years, the situation of workers and unions as well as future directions. To get some perspective second largest economy in the world and one still expanding at breakneck, albeit slower, pace, I spoke with two guests: Minqi Li and Cathy Walker.

My first guest is Minqi Li. Minqi is professor of economics at the University of Utah and specializes in China’s economy and offers. He previously taught at York University in Toronto and received his PhD from University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

My (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper and the Great War Election

Well at least now we know what will be Stephen Harper's main weapon in the next election campaign.Until about a week ago it was going to be all about the economy.But now he will mount his armoured closet.And it will be all about WAR. Read more »

The Disaffected Lib: A Glimmer of Hope

It’s not much and it’s not nearly enough but there’s a rare glimmer of hope in the report that China’s coal consumption has fallen for the first time this century.

It’s not much, somewhere between 1-2% is all, but it sure beats the 5-10% annual increases that preceded it.

“The significance is that if the coal consumption growth we have seen in China in the last 10 years went on, we would lose any hope of bringing climate change under control,” said Lauri Myllyvirta at Greenpeace East Asia. “The turnaround now gives a window of opportunity.”Such a turnaround (Read more…)

drive-by planet: The Oliver Stone Rossiyskaya Gazeta interview: Ukraine, US media bias, Putin, MH-17 and more

American film director, Oliver Stone, recently gave a lengthy interview to the Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta. He is in the region helping to produce a documentary with the title Ukraine on Fire.

Excerpts from the interview showed up in various online publications but I just recently came across an English version of the whole deal on the website Russian Insider. It’s quite an extensive interview, so I’m posting parts of it that pick on some of the topics I’ve addressed on the blog… the Ukraine crisis, American interventionism, Western imperialism, Putin, misrepresentation of Russia by Western media being a few.

(Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: The Big Question Now is When?

Several years ago a non-governmental organization, the Global Footprint Network, came to my attention.  GFN’s purpose was to monitor the state of the biomass around the world on a global, regional and national basis.

GFN published this annual report marking what they called “World Overshoot Day.”  This was the date each year by which mankind was calculated to have consumed an entire year’s worth of renewable resources.

As the GFN graphic shows, mankind is now consuming renewable resources at roughly 1.5 times the natural replenishment rate.  Some like to say that we’re using one and a (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: The Umbrella Revolution and the Hypocrisy of the Harper Cons

It's an amazing sight, thousands of young pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, defying the old guard in Beijing. Daring to lecture them on the limits of power, in their own backyard.In the shadow of Tiananmen.The young members of the Umbrella Revolution, lighting up the darkness with their cell phones…Read more »

Bill Longstaff: Hong Kong—a people who actually care about democracy

North Americans don’t seem to care much about democracy. Canadians don’t, and our good neighbours the Americans don’t. We enjoy considerable freedoms along with our electoral systems of government, but our systems are hardly democratic, and it doesn’t seem to bother us. If it did, we would never tolerate them.

Observation of the American system suggests a plutocracy, not a democracy. A recent

The Disaffected Lib: The Climate Change Deal We Cannot Live Without

Just what does all this squabbling about greenhouse gas emissions really mean? What has to go into an effective climate change agreement?  What factors are in play?

Here, courtesy of, are a few charts that reveal a climate deal is both urgently needed and extremely difficult to craft.

First up, where we stand today.  Annex B countries are the wealthy nations that participated in the Kyoto Accords.  Non-Annex B countries, the poor nations and the emerging economic superpowers, now account for the lion’s share of global emissions.

Next is an illustration of per capita emissions.  While we’re (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

This and that for your weekend reading.

- James Meek observes that decades of privatization in the UK have eliminated public control over housing and other essential services – and that privatization takes far more forms than we’re accustomed to taking into consideration. And Rick Salutin offers his take on the latter point: Economist Mariana Mazzucato’s new book, The Entrepreneurial State, takes a bold step in “debunking” this fake construct. (Steve Paikin interviewed her on TVO this week.) She doesn’t just argue that public spending (on defence) was crucial in basic advances like computers and the Internet. That’s (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: It’s Called "Virtual Water"

Water-stressed Israel realized this year ago when it recognized that its exports of Jaffa oranges were really exporting “virtual water.”  It took scarce water to grow the orange and when it left the country for overseas markets it was full of water.

Fast forward to 2014 and drought-stricken California.  The BBC reports that California farmers are using billions of gallons of incredibly scarce water to grow alfalfa hay destined for China.

The southern Imperial Valley, which borders Mexico, draws its water from the Colorado River along the blue liquid lifeline of the All American Canal.It brings the desert (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Could America Break Its Own Bank on a Russian Anvil?

The sanctions being plastered on Russia by the US and her allies are already having a rebound effect, especially in Europe.  Russia is not only the major supplier of the natural gas the Europeans will need to get through this winter, it’s also a key market for their exports.  In these matters the EU and US are in different boats.  Another key difference is that American sanctions are more heavily weighted on depriving Russia of access to credit – loans.

Here’s the rub.  International finance is generally conducted in US dollars, the global reserve currency.  Throughout the post-WWII era that’s (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: India – Superbug Time Bomb

India is the worst but it’s not alone.  All of the emerging economic superpowers share the same problem – the abuse of antibiotics.

For India, it’s the result of a population coming into new wealth that still has just one doctor for every 1,700 people.  You get sick, you get pills, off you go.  Too often those pills are antibiotic.

Together with India, Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa account for 76% of the global increase in antibiotic use.

If the warnings we get from our medical establishment are accurate, these countries and their societies could be heading for real (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Happiness & Fulfillment

There are ten methods for meditating on the world, begins one scroll in the 1,300-year-old collection of Tang-dynasty sutras from Xian, China, that can lead us to happiness and fulfillment. I realize that sounds like the opening of a New Age piffle book, but the sutras were actually discovered in a cave near a Buddhist […]