The Most Secretive Council Ever has comfortably assumed the mantle of The Most Secretive and Corrupt Council Ever. As I warned in a previous post, The Block was going to appoint someone’s friends to the Collus-PowerStream board – and do it both illegally and unethically. And last Monday, they told us they had done it. Fait . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Corruption, Collingwood & the Collus Board
And now, time to give credit to the Saskatchewan Party where it’s due.
Some people are justifiably anticipating that thanks to Donald Trump, self-dealing will be the word of the year to come. @MikePMoffatt @nutgraf1 I’m waiting for the OED to make “self-dealing” Word of the Year for 2017.
— Ian Gillespie (@IanRGillespie) November . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On advance opportunities
Ever get that uneasy sense of deja vu? That some ugly, undemocratic event you’re watching at council, some autocratic, conniving, secret and self-serving act is something you’ve experienced in the past? That those nasty breaches of ethics, those conflicts of interest, those ignored bylaws and broken trust are things you’ve already seen at the table? . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Corruption and conflict of interest
Like so many people all over the world, I sometimes can't decide what to call Donald Trump.Is he just a vulgar hustler who conned a nation into believing he was fit to be president? Or is he a deranged demagogue, or a budding fascist, or a would be dictator?Or all of the above?But at . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: Donald Trump and the Kakistocracy
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.
– Kevin Connor reports that the more Ontario voters are exposed to the realities of public-private partnerships, the more they’re turning against the idea – with a quarter or less of respondents seeing any upside to handing public services over to businesses. Tony Keller writes that Canada’s history of . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links
In my article in the Gazette, I caution the International Olympic Committee against undermining the World Anti-Doping Agency. Not everyone who stands up to you is your enemy, just as not everyone who flatters you is your friend.
Too many of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s ostensible sport partners appear to feel that the agency has betrayed them, by unmasking the ugly truths that lie behind the Olympic’s impeccable fictions.
Miscellaneous material to start your week.
– Vanessa Williamson writes that plenty of Americans want to see wealthy individuals and corporations pay their fair share of taxes – only to have that strong desire ignored by policymakers. And Joseph Stiglitz and Erika Siu discuss the glaring need for stronger tax enforcement around the globe.
– . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links
I joined the WADA Think Tank in Lausanne, as the agency grapples with state-sponsored doping. We are all careering towards a confrontation between the high ideals of sport and the low ruthlessness of some of the most powerful figures in global affairs. Which will prevail remains an open question.
. . . → Read More: Akaash Maharaj – Practical Idealism: The World Anti-Doping Agency Think Tank
This and that for your Sunday reading.
– Mary O’Hara notes that even a relatively modest and incomplete set of progressive policies has created some important movement toward reducing poverty. And conversely, Caroline Mortimer writes that child poverty is exploding under the Conservative majority government in the UK.
– Dean Beeby reports on the . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links
Assorted content to end your week.
– Henning Meyer interviews Tony Atkinson about the readily-available options to combat inequality – with the first step being to make sure people actually have a voice in the decisions which define how wealth and power are allocated:
So, if you dive into the potential solutions you seem to suggest institutional changes. You mentioned that public policy should aim at a proper balance of power amongst stakeholders; what exactly do you mean by this?
Well I think I should say first of all that my aim in writing the book was to try and dispel the sort of sense of inevitability about high inequality and therefore I was putting forward various ways of seeking to understand why it comes about and therefore how we can moderate it. And I think one of the things that has certainly happened is that institutions, like for example corporate institutions, companies, which used to have a broader view of their responsibilities, that they recognised that they had a responsibility in addition to that to their shareholders – also to their workers and to their consumers and their customers.
And I think it’s this broader notion of the social obligations of institutions and of course of individuals as well that we have responsibilities beyond both our own personal economic gains and losses. So I think that it’s part of a reaction that I have had to what seems to be a narrowing to a very much individual based self-interest which has come to emerge in the last two or three decades.
Okay, and then new ideas like Michael Porter’s shared value capitalism, they try to sort of, not revive the old dichotomy between shareholder and stakeholder models but try to align public and private interest in addressing some of the most pressing social and economic needs. Could that be one way of addressing these considerations?
Yes, I think in a sense part of the issues arise because we had in the post-war period some kind of balance of power between on the one side employers and the other side often trade unions or workers’ representatives. And that of course has shifted in quite a number of countries as a result of a number of things including, for example, the effect of privatisation resulting in reducing the power of trade unions to influence the behaviour of those institutions. So, I think we’ve seen a shift of power definitely away from workers towards capital, those who run firms.
So I think a number of proposals were designed to try and at least make sure that those interests of workers and indeed consumers should be represented. And a good example is provided by the negotiations with regard to trade agreements which seem to involve only one side as it were of that equation.
– And Van Jones writes that the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other trade deals are set up to block action against climate change.
– CUPE points out the leakage of massive amounts of revenue to tax havens and avoidance as a crucial factor in austerity politics. And Craig Wong reports on the latest increase in Canadian consumer debt as people borrow to try to make up for the lack of advancement in wages.
– Susan Ochs discusses Wells Fargo’s widespread fraud as yet another example of workers and consumers being punished for the misdeeds of high-ranking executives.
– Alia Dharssi continues her reporting on migrant workers in Canada by highlighting how recruitment agencies exploit workers who can’t stand up for themselves. And Chris Buckley argues that labour and employment laws in general need to be updated, particularly to protect people stuck with precarious work.
– Finally, APTN reports on the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal’s latest order requiring the federal government to stop discriminating against First Nations children – though the fact that two previous orders haven’t led to the government complying signals that the Libs’ in following through may be rather less than advertised. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links
This and that for your Sunday reading.
– Christopher Ingraham points out that while many luxuries are getting cheaper with time, the necessities of life are becoming much more difficult to afford:
Many manufactured goods — like TVs and appliances — come from overseas, where labor costs are cheaper. “International, global competition lowers prices directly from lower-cost imported goods, and indirectly by forcing U.S. manufacturers to behave more competitively, with lower prices, higher quality, better service, et cetera,” Perry said.
On the flip side, things like education and medical care can’t be produced in a factory, so those pressures do not apply. Compounding it, many Americans are insulated from the full costs of these services. Private and public insurance companies pay most medical costs, so there tends to be little incentive for individuals to shop around for cheaper medical care.
In the case of higher education, the nation’s massive student loan industry bears much of the upfront burden of rising prices. To the typical 18-year-old, a $120,000 tuition bill may seem like an abstraction when you don’t have to start paying it off until your mid-20s or later. As a result, the nation’s college students and graduates now collectively owe upward of $1.3 trillion
in student loan debt.
“Prices rise when [health care and college] markets are not competitive and not exposed to global competition,” Perry said, “and prices rise when easy credit is available.”
Hence, our current predicament. We can afford the things we don’t need, but we need the things we can’t afford.
– Alex Usher notes how one of the same cost pressures applies in Canada, as universities losing public funding are squeezing students for massive tuition increases. And Lindsay Kines reports that the Clark government’s decision to make life less affordable for people with disabilities in British Columbia has led to 3,500 people giving up their transit passes.
– Natalia Khosla and Sean McElwee discuss the difficulty in addressing racism when many people live in denial of their continued privilege.
– Paul Wells comments on SNC Lavalin’s long track record of illegal corporate donations to the Libs and the Cons.
– Finally, Gerry Caplan points out how Justin Trudeau is dodging key human rights questions. And Mike Blanchfield reports that the Libs’ willingness to undermine a treaty prohibiting the use of cluster bombs represents just another area where they’re leaving the Cons’ most harmful policies untouched. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links
I spent two days in the trade show at the AMO conference this week, looking at the booth across the aisle from me. It constantly reminded me of the opportunities for Collingwood this council has thrown away, of what great opportunities we have lost t… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Opportunities Collingwood has lost
In case you missed it, Clinton and the DNC are corrupt, and have been for a long time. They and their media partners have worked hard to keep Bernie Sanders from becoming the Democratic nominee for president. And still, he almost won in the primaries and caucuses. What could he have accomplished if the DNC … Continue reading The DNC Superdelegates Can Fix Party Corruption This Week →
. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: The DNC Superdelegates Can Fix Party Corruption This Week
Is corruption endemic in the political and economic classes? I joined TVOntario’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin, to discuss the extent and potential remedies to corruption in Canada’s public institutions. . . . → Read More: Akaash Maharaj – Practical Idealism: TVO’s The Agenda: A Culture of Corruption?
Assorted content to end your week.- Murray Dobbin is hopeful that we may be seeing corporate globalization based on unquestioned neoliberal ideology come to an end: There is no definitive way to identify when an ideology begins to lose its grip on the… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links
The Panama Papers starkly revealed that Britain’s Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies have become the venues of choice for the anonymous corporations that facilitate tax evasion, organised crime, and terrorist financing. Indeed, more than half … . . . → Read More: Akaash Maharaj – Practical Idealism: Huffington Post: An Open Letter from the World’s MPs to David Cameron
The Panama Papers starkly revealed that Britain’s Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies have become the venues of choice for the anonymous corporations that facilitate tax evasion, organised crime, and terrorist financing. Indeed, more than ha… . . . → Read More: Akaash Maharaj – Practical Idealism: An Open Letter from the World’s MPs to David Cameron
This and that for your Tuesday reading.- Tom Parkin writes about the growing divide between the lucky few who are siphoning wealth out of Canada, and the mass of people facing a precarious economic future. – PressProgress highlights much the same disti… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links
Human rights activist and author Craig Murray wonders why, for the western corporate media, the Panama leak is all about Russian president Vladimir Putin. “Do not expect a genuine expose of western capitalism,” he says. The post Corporate Media Gateke… . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: Corporate Media Gatekeepers Protect Western 1% From Panama Leak
This and that for your Thursday reading.- Nick Bunker points out that there’s much more to an economic recovery than nominal GDP – with labour’s share of growth serving as a particularly important indicator as to whether anybody is benefitting beyond t… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links
Assorted content for your weekend reading.- The Star-Phoenix calls for Saskatchewan’s election campaign to focus on the future rather than the past. And Paul Orlowski reminds us of the continued callous corporatism that’s in store if Brad Wall holds on… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links
A regular reader provided this comment to the preceding article. Hugh explains that the capture of BC’s public utility by selfish profiteers was a carefully considered manoeuvre. In the end, it will have given billions of dollars to Liberal friends and… . . . → Read More: In-Sights: Reader comment on BC Clean Energy Act
Here, pointing out that the Global Transportation Hub land flipping scandal highlights Brad Wall’s consistent willingness to hand out free money to business cronies – contrasted against his fight to avoid funding basic services like health and educatio… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: New column day