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ParliamANT Hill: ConservAntive SenAntor faces 31 charges

Inspired by this headline: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/mike-duffy-faces-31-charges-including-bribery-fraud-breach-of-trust-1.2709500

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Thomas Frank interviews Barry Lynn about the U.S.’ alarming concentration of wealth and power. Henry Blodget thoroughly rebuts the myth that “rich people create jobs”. And David Atkins goes a step further in discussing how hoarded wealth hurts the economy in general – with a particularly apt observation about how inequality erodes our social connections: It is not an accident that trust in major institutions has declined on a linear track with rising inequality. Study after study has shown that trust in our fellow citizens and in institutions at (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Simon Enoch discusses the costs of turning over a profitable system of public liquor stores to corporate control – as Brad Wall has finally admitted to wanting to do: A privatized liquor market is very likely to evolve into an ‘oligopoly’, where only a few corporations dominate and are able to exert monopoly-like power. Local, independent liquor retailers would likely find it difficult to compete. An oligopoly would have the supposed disadvantages of a monopoly, high prices and restricted supply, but lack the major advantage of public ownership, profits that flow in to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Joseph Stiglitz offers his suggestions (PDF) for a tax system which would encourage both growth and equality: Tax reform…offers a path toward both resolving budgetary impasses and making the kinds of public investments that will strengthen the fundamentals of the economy. The most obvious reform is an increase in the top marginal income tax rates – this would both raise needed revenues and soften America’s extreme and harmful inequality. But there are also a variety of other effective possible reforms related to corporate taxation, the estate and inheritance tax, environmental taxes, and (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Assorted content to start your week.

- Jim Stanford looks into the fine print of the Hudak PCs’ assumptions about corporate tax slashing and finds that even their own numbers show that most of the money gifted to corporations would be thrown away (emphasis added): On second reading there are other interesting aspects to the Conference Board simulation of corporate tax reductions.  The one that jumped out at me was their estimate of increased business capital spending after the tax cut (reported in Table 5, and the main driver of economic benefits in the simulation), reported in the fifth (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: What Would Jesus Occupy?

13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” John 2:13-16

Who would Jesus whip and flog?

Ask Occupy.

Happy (Read more…)

the disgruntled democrat: Thanks But No Thanks Quebec: Take My Ballot And Shove It

Well, I have decided not to vote in this charade of an election.  My principle reason is that my vote does not count — it is totally ineffective — because I live in a region where the same political party, the Quebec Liberal Party (PLQ), has taken all of the region’s seats for the last forty years.

Last election, I “lent” my vote to my wife and dutifully went down to the polls and voted strategically for the party that had the best chance of defeating the outgoing Liberal Member of the Quebec National Assembly, which at the time (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Say what? After 36 years, secret Alberta Tory slush fund comes to light

Senior Alberta Progressive Conservative Party officials and guards remove election campaign funds from the vaults of the “Tapcal Trust.” Actual PC party officials may not appear exactly as illustrated: Below: PC Party Executive Director Kelley Charlebois; Public Interest Alberta Executive Director Bill Moore-Kilgannon.

So, there’s this law in Alberta that allows the ruling Progressive Conservative Party to have a possibly huge and definitely secret slush fund, but makes it illegal for any other party to do the same thing.

What’s more, the fund’s been around for at least 36 years and no one’s uttered a squeak of protest, presumably (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Scandalous Senate and PMO appointments say Harper is unqualified to criticise Trudeau’s f-bomb

by: Obert Madondo | March 31, 2014

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau dropped the f-bomb when he addressed the crowd at the Fight for the Cure charity boxing match in Gatineau, Quebec, over the weekend.

“I’m going tell you, there is no experience like stepping into this ring and measuring yourself,” Trudeau said. “Your name, your fortune, your intelligence, your beauty, none of that fucking matters.”

The crowd reportedly cheered.

But, as usual, the Conservatives weren’t amused. Prime Minister Stephen Harper tried to capitalize on the expletive to score cheap political points.

“This is yet another example of Justin Trudeau’s lack of (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Stealing Democracy Part X: How Far Does The Rot Go?

There is no doubt any more that Bill C-23 is deliberately designed to enable the CPC (or other political parties) to engage in the kind of electoral fraud that the CPC has attempted, and been caught out at repeatedly in the past.  Worse, it goes so far as to politicize the staffing of voting stations.  None of this can end well. Consider the following list of malfeasance on the part of the CPC since 2006: The “In and Out” Fundraising Scheme (Money Laundering Fraud) 2006 Dean del Mastro is facing charges relating to campaign spending in 2008 Peter Penashue forced (Read more…)

LeDaro: Mike Duffy: The Rise and Fall – CBC Fifth Estate

                     Fitting caricature given his ego                     

It was a comedy, for real. Mike Duffy, the ultimate Ottawa insider, a cartoonish character who has become the leading symbol of Senate corruption, claiming living expenses for a cottage in Prince Edward Island he hardly occupied. The ultimate oversized sense of entitlement. He is a schmoozer who likes access to power, and has a giant ego to boot. A highschool dropout who made it big.

The documentary showed how Mike Duffy had been (Read more…)

the disgruntled democrat: Three Reasons Why This Anglo Is Thinking About Leaving Quebec: Breach of Trust, Loss of Confidence, Demographics

Truth be told, I have lived in Quebec for the last twenty years.  Last week, not much of a surprise, a poll revealed that about 50% of the anglophone and allophone respondents were thinking about moving out of Quebec.  Too bad I wasn’t contacted.  I would have loved to explain why.  So here goes.

For me, unlike many anglophones living in the Montreal region of Quebec, language is not the problem.  I live in Gatineau. I am fluently bilingual, as is my wife, as are my kids.  Communicating in French is something I do every day (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: The Media Corruption Trifecta!

It’s a trifecta of moral corruption!

Rex Murphy shills for Big Oil and Gas. Postmedia consigns its editorial control to the Oil and Gas Lobby[TM]. Postmedia, naturally, fires one of the best energy/environment reporters in the nation.

Film at 11.

Ok, it’s 11. Let’s drill down.

Journalists should declare when they receive money to speak at events. Sooooo many of them don’t. They think it’s OK because, shut up. But it’s a compromise to their credibility and can fuel speculation about conflicts of interest and bias. Many journalists pretend they’re objective. It’s humanly impossible to be objective. We all have (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: The Real Reason We Need to Get Rid of Corporate Media

Goodbye.

While I’m also sad that the Kamloops Daily News is closing, I think Warren Kinsella is over-simplifying a few things [see below] with respect to how the media climate will be affected by the closing of this for-profit business, earning shareholder value by producing mass media content, while sometimes allowing its corporate revenue-generating employees to produce some adequate-to-good journalism.

Let’s explore all this:

“Idiot bloggers, and idiot politicians, will continue to be happy about this sort of thing. The former will say the disappearance of the so-called MSM means more audience for them.” [read the rest of his (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Deflect, Spin, Misdirect: Preston Manning and the PMO

Apparently, Preston Manning must have received new orders from the PMO.  In yesterday’s Globe and Mail, we found Mr. Manning opining on the supposed issue of ethics in the Parliamentary Press Gallery.

The upshot of Manning’s arguments is that the whole Duffy affair wouldn’t have happened if the Parliamentary Press Gallery had a rule in place that prohibited members from taking a government appointment for five years after they leave the Press Gallery.

In short, “Hey look!  The problem is over there!”.

No Mr. Manning, your transparent and ridiculous attempt to direct attention away from the centre of the (Read more…)

Akaash Maharaj - Practical Idealism: Akaash Maharaj – News: Corruption Declared a Crime Against Humanity

Reuters reports on our efforts at the United Nations: There are some forms of corruption so grave, whose effects on human life, human rights, and human welfare are so catastrophic, that they should shock the conscience of the international community and mobilise the will of nations to act across borders. They are Crimes Against Humanity, and should be prosecuted in the highest national and international courts.

Akaash Maharaj - Practical Idealism: Akaash Maharaj – Huffington Post: The True Cost of Political Corruption

Every year, political corruption kills 140 000 children across the world, by depriving them of food, water, and medical care. My GOPAC parliamentary colleagues and I are at the United Nations UNCAC to bring the worst offenders before the bar of international law.

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Hassan Arif theorizes that a failure to identify and address growing inequality may have played a significant role in the rise of Rob Ford’s destructive anti-socialism: The Toronto of towering new condos, of downtown coffee shops and trendy restaurants and stores, is far removed from the Toronto of these low-income, suburban, and largely visible minority residents. A “plain-talking” politician who rails against downtown elites, against “slick talking lawyers”, “consultants”, and recipients of “research grants” appeals to those who feel left behind.…These concerns, about suburban alienation, about inequality, are concerns that need to (Read more…)

Akaash Maharaj - Practical Idealism: Akaash Maharaj: The Summit of Caribbean Parliamentarians

My address to the Summit of Caribbean Parliamentarians in Trinidad: Apartheid gave us some of colonialism’s worst crimes, yet the choice of people of conscience to stand against Apartheid gave us both Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress, and Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian National Congress…All of us are shaped by history, but as leaders in our respective societies, we can refuse to be prisoners of history.

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Miscellanous material for your Sunday reading.

- Sean McElwee highlights the fact that inequality is an avoidable result caused by policies oriented toward rewarding greed: The problem, then, is not machines, which are doing a great deal to boost productivity; the problem is that the benefits from increased productivity no longer accrue to workers. In a provocative paper earlier this year, Josh Bivens and Mishel argued that the gains for the richest 1 percent were due to “rent-seeking” behavior by CEOs and financial professions, not competitive markets. As John Kenneth Galbraith said, “The sense of responsibility in the financial (Read more…)

Akaash Maharaj - Practical Idealism: Akaash Maharaj: Fighting a Crime Against Humanity

My Huffington Post article: Political corruption kills 140 000 children annually, by depriving them of medical care, food, and water. Yet, far too often, the perpetrators of the most outrageous acts of corruption are able to use their illicit wealth and power to pervert the very laws and institutions that should call them to account. This past week, my GOPAC colleagues and I presented the United Nations UNCAC with a plan to bring them to justice.

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Richard Seymour comments on more and more draconian anti-protest laws which are being applied to attack public activism: To understand why this is happening, it is necessary to grasp the relationship between neoliberal austerity and popular democracy.

In a previous era, when neoliberal austerity was first being prepared in tandem with a racist, authoritarian crackdown, Greek political sociologist Nicos Poulantzas spoke of the “redeployment of legal-police networks” as a constitutive element in a new “authoritarian statism”. In this regime, formal parliamentary apparatuses would be retained even while substantive democracy was eroded. Stuart (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Ellen Roseman writes about the need to recognize the value of public services – and to ensure that they’re properly funded: Canadians value their high-quality public services, such as education and health care. Many understand that public services democratize consumption and help tame the market forces leading to income inequality.

Yet they still fall prey to the false promises of politicians who say tax cuts won’t change anything and may even improve their lives. In the book, economist Hugh Mackenzie urges readers to think their way through the day, making a note (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Hakan Bengtsson offers some useful discussion about the challenges facing Sweden’s social democratic system – as the same factors being used to prevent the development of a more equitable society in Canada and elsewhere are being cited as excuses to tear down the model many countries aspire to reach: The Swedish experience has shown that deregulation has not resulted in a considerable number of non-profit alternatives, as many people believed and which they used as an argument for change. Instead, it has meant the emergence of private companies, large corporate groups and venture (Read more…)

Paul S. Graham: Stephen Harper, Duffygate and the Cadman Affair: grounds for criminal charges?

According to the Canadian Press, “The prime minister’s chief of staff went to Stephen Harper for approval of a secret plan that would have seen the Conservative party repay Mike Duffy’s contested expenses and whitewash a Senate report, new RCMP documents suggest.”

According to the article by Jennifer Ditchburn and Steve Rennie, published today:

When the party balked at the ultimate total of Duffy’s $90,000 bill, however, Nigel Wright paid the bill himself — apparently without Harper’s knowledge. Harper has called that a “deception.”

But emails included in Wednesday’s new RCMP court filings quote Wright as getting (Read more…)