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Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Simon Wren-Lewis connects the UK’s counterproductive austerity program to the lack of any wage growth. And Gary Lamphier observes that Alberta is serving as a case in point that jobs generated through public policy rigged in favour of the wealthy are no less precarious than any other type, while Erin Anderssen comments on the connection between public-sector work and greater wage equality.

- Adam Liptak writes that the First Amendment’s protection for speech – like so many other rights which have been redefined to suit the powerful – is now serving primarily (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: About that "Of the People, By the People, For the People" Business? Forget About It.

Proof positive that America is a corporatist state saddled with a “bought and paid for” Congress.

The big US banks have given the Democrats an ultimatum – silence progressives like Elizabeth Warren or we’ll cut off our funding.  Salon.com calls it “Wall Street’s political shakedown.“

If ever you doubted that our obscene campaign finance regime constitutes a form of legalized bribery, consider this: Reuters reports today that officials at top Wall Street banks recently convened to discuss how they could convince Democrats “to soften their party’s tone” toward the financial industry, and among the options now (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: A seat at the table

Richard Trumka’s address and the subsequent response panel at the Progress Summit have aptly addressed issues in trying to strengthen the grassroots of the labour movement. But Trumka’s focus on trade agreements also raises a related question which may not easily be dealt with at the grassroots level.

As I alluded to in this week’s column, governments are increasingly presuming that big businesses need to be at the table in all kinds of policy development which is even ancillary to the economy.

It may not be easy to tell our corporate overlords that they can’t have direct access to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Dennis Howlett reminds us that we can raise enough money to strengthen our social safety net merely by ensuring that a relatively small group of privileged people pays its fair share. And Seth Stephens-Davidowitz examines the glaring nepotism which festers in the absence of some policy counterweights.

- But Robert Kuttner offers seven reasons why the 99% keeps losing on policy grounds despite having the obvious theoretical ability to ensure reasonable political outcomes. In a similar vein, Sean McElwee discusses the connection between racism and poverty politics in the U.S.

- Meanwhile, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Michael Babad writes that we should be glad to see jobs being created in the public sector since the private sector is doing nothing to offer opportunities for Canadians. And Andrew Jackson discusses how Quebec’s progressive economic model has served it well, while offering an example which other provinces should be eager to follow.

- Konrad Yakabuski weighs in on the need for pharmacare to make an essential element of health care universally accessible. But while Brent Patterson agrees that we should be pursuing pharmacare, he also warns that ill-advised trade agreements may (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: The Three Eras of Canada’s Democracy or How We Got to Where We Are Today.

I first voted in the 60s and I’ve watched Canadian democracy evolve, not always in a good way, ever since.

I’ve witnessed three political eras in my lifetime.

There was an era of rights and freedoms, the years of Diefenbaker, Pearson and Trudeau.  Some might not realize it but Diefenbaker was a true champion of human rights.  Pearson brought Canada to the world stage as honest broker and peacekeeper.  Trudeau, of course, patriated the constitution and left us with perhaps the most important legislative enactment in our country’s history, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  That was the zenith of (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the need and opportunity to show some vision in our provincial budgeting and planning – even if the Wall government has no interest in bothering.

For further reading…- I posted previously on the Sask Party’s habit of locking Saskatchewan into ill-advised long-term contracts which serve nobody’s interests but the corporations involved. – Karri Munn-Venn discusses the UK Energy Research Centre’s report on which fossil fuels we can afford to exploint here. – Likewise, Ivan Semeniuk and Shawn McCarthy report on the Acting on Climate Change study showing how Canada can eliminate the use of non-renewable power (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Harvey Kaye discusses how the rich’s class warfare against everybody else has warped the U.S. politically and economically. And PressProgress observes that the Cons’ reactionary politics have produced miserable results for Canadian workers.

- Which isn’t to say the Cons plan to learn any lessons anytime soon, as James Fitz-Morris reports on the PBO’s report showing how little anybody stands to gain from the massive cost of income-splitting. And Frances Woolley points out the utter frivolity of other vote-buying tax baubles, while also lamenting how much time is being spent studying (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Jon Talton discusses how the increased automation of our economy stands to disempower workers and exacerbate inequality if it’s not combined with some serious countervailing public policy moves. Peter Gosselin and Jennifer Oldham comment on the broken link between productivity and wages. And Conor Dougherty and Quentin Hardy expose how employers are cheating employment laws by using game-style rewards for employees who overwork themselves.

- Meanwhile, Amien Essif points to Germany’s paid internship model as one way of ensuring people aren’t squeezed at their most vulnerable point while entering the workforce.

- Lucy (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- For those looking for information about today’s day of action against C-51, Leadnow and Rabble both have details.

- Meanwhile, CBC reports that a professor merely taking pictures on public land near a proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline site is already being harassed by the RCMP under current law. Tonda MacCharles notes that lawyers currently involved in dealing with classified-evidence cases have joined the call to rein in the Cons’ terror bill, while PressProgress points out that airlines are also raising serious concerns about the unfettered power handed to a single minister to dictate (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Following up on last week’s column, Frances Ryan laments the UK Conservatives’ choice to inflict needless suffering on anybody receiving public benefits: During seven weeks of undercover work at a universal credit contact centre in Bolton, Channel 4 journalists witnessed a farcical mess of centralised IT failure. But what really stood out were the underhand tactics DWP staff were found to use against claimants: from deliberately withholding hardship payments from people struggling after having their benefits sanctioned, to hiding the flexible fund put in place to pay for clothes or a (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On unwanted obligations

Mike McKinnon reports that austerity elsewhere isn’t being applied to continued seven-figure spending on a Lean tour. But it’s particularly worth noting how that particular money pit is still drawing Saskatchewan citizens’ money even as the provincial government cries poor at every other opportunity: The Saskatchewan government’s freeze on non-essential travel does not include costly trips to the United States for staff to be trained in Lean methods.

Seven of the so-called “Lean tours” were planned between Jan. 1 and Mar. 31, at a cost of $8,900 per person, per trip. With 20 people on each tour, the total cost (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Emily Badger discusses Robert Putnam’s work on the many facets of increasing inequality in the U.S.: For the past three years, Putnam has been nursing an outlandish ambition. He wants inequality of opportunity for kids to be the central issue in the 2016 presidential election. Not how big government should be or what the “fair share” is for the wealthy, but what’s happening to children boxed out of the American dream.

His manifesto, “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis,” will be published Tuesday. It places brain science, sociology (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Robert Reich discusses how outsized corporate influence in the U.S. has kept the general public from sharing in any nominal economic improvements: The U.S. economy is picking up steam but most Americans aren’t feeling it. By contrast, most European economies are still in bad shape, but most Europeans are doing relatively well.

What’s behind this? Two big facts.

First, American corporations exert far more political influence in the United States than their counterparts exert in their own countries.

In fact, most Americans have no influence at all. That’s the conclusion of (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Carol Graham discusses the high financial and personal costs of poverty: Reported stress levels are higher on average in the U.S. than in Latin America. Importantly, the gap between the levels of the rich and poor is also much greater, with the U.S. poor reporting the highest levels of stress of all cohorts. Of course ‘stress’ is a complex phenomenon, however: “Good” stress is associated with the pursuit of goals, while “bad” stress is associated with struggling to cope. Bad stress, which is associated with an inability to plan ahead, (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Pilger: Why the Rise of Fascism is Again the Issue

Richard Hughes- Political Blogger

John Pilger’s thorough examination of fascism from the German Nazis Holocaust through to the US led attacks on Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Kosovo,Vietnam, and the sorry list goes on.

Read about President Obama’s Tuesday ‘CIA’ kill list, the tie in with the evolution of US backed radical groups culminating in todays murderous thugs known as ISIS.

by JOHN PILGER

John Pilger

The recent 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was a reminder of the great crime of fascism, whose Nazi iconography is embedded in our consciousness. Fascism is preserved as history, as flickering footage of goose-stepping (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Bryce Covert weighs in on the IMF’s latest study showing a connection between stronger trade unions and greater income equality: While it can be hard to say for sure whether the decline in unionization is a direct cause of growing income inequality, they found that it is a “key contributor” to steep increases in income at the top, which holds true even after they controlled for other factors such as shifts in political power, labor market trends like the growing power of Wall Street and deindustrialization, and top marginal tax rates.

The authors (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson link inequality and climate change as massive problems which are generated by political choices (and thus amenable to correction through the political system): Rising inequality is no more natural than global warming. And just as with global warming, our biggest fear should be that it becomes increasingly self-reinforcing — not because of some “natural” economic process, but because economic power begets political power, which can be used to further increase economic advantage. Look around, and the evidence that this is a real threat abounds. To cite just (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Nora Loreto rightly challenges the instinct to respond to tragedy with blame in the name of “responsibility”, rather than compassion in the interest of making matters better: Blame is the projection of grief, sadness or fear. It is the projection of our own inadequacies; of our own feelings of, “oh god, that could be my kid” wrapped up in “thank god I’m a better parent than that.” It pretends that all things are equal, that all family situations are equal and all children are essentially the same.

But it’s malicious. Blame, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Sara Mojtehedzadeh reports on the work done by the Broadbent Institute and Mariana Mazzucato to highlight the importance of publicly-funded innovation: According to a 2014 report by the International Monetary Fund, Canadian companies have been accumulating “dead money” at a faster rate than any other G7 country, rather than reinvesting profit into things like human capital or research capacity — suggesting that the rewards of innovative success are being captured by an increasingly narrow sliver of society, even when public money may well have been an early catalyst for achievement.  But in (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Garfield Mahood and Brian Iler discuss the challenge facing charities as compared to the special treatment of businesses in trying to advocate as to public policy: (T)he solutions to many of society’s problems do not need more research and the criticism-free public education that the CRA permits. They cry out for advocacy and changed law. Unfortunately, the CRA only allows NGOs to spend 10 per cent of their income on policy advocacy and law reform. Thus a charity has to be substantial in order to be large enough to fund meaningful advocacy.

In (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to end your week.

- Simon Wren-Lewis nicely describes the austerity con (coming soon in extreme form to an Alberta near you): ‘Mediamacro’ is the term I use to describe macroeconomics as it is portrayed in the majority of the media. Mediamacro has a number of general features. It puts much more emphasis than conventional macroeconomics does on the financial markets, and on the views of participants in those markets. It prefers simple stories to more complex analysis. As part of this, it is fond of analogies between governments and individuals, even when those analogies are generally seen (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Jacques Peretti discusses how corporate elites rewrote our social contract in a concerted effort to the inequality we’re fighting today – and suggests it’s well past time to push back in the name of moral economics: Politicians have now, as then, conspired in their own diminishment — outsourcing foreign policy to Washington, saying there’s nothing we can do about global capitalism.

But it’s not up to them, it’s up to us to be uncompromisingly moral at a moment when the criminal immorality of 30 years of misguided economic policy has been revealed.

The (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Both Richard Bilton and Matthew Yglesias discuss Le Monde’s reporting on HSBC’s active participation in widespread tax evasion. And James Bloodworth rightly argues that we should see tax avoidance as socially unacceptable even if governments fail to do their job in ensuring that everybody pays their fair share: Indeed, who wouldn’t want to be tax efficient?

The answer very much depends on what sort of society you want to live in. Were the question phrased more honestly – i.e. bearing some relation to what the consequences of being ‘tax efficient’ are (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Scott Santens links the themes of health and equality by suggesting that we treat a basic income as a needed vaccine against poverty and all its ill effects.

- Erika Eichelberger and Dave Gilson highlight how U.S. corporations are siphoning money offshore to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. And Kate Aronoff warns us that the mindless extraction of profits is producing environmental and financial crises alike: Between debt and our slowly roasting planet, we’ll be lucky to walk away from the next 25 years with just one crisis. There (Read more…)