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Political Eh-conomy: Podcast: Inequality, global and Canadian

https://politicalehconomy.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/podcast150320-inequality.mp3

 

I have two guests to talking about inequality today. First up is Branko Milanovic, who speaks with me about global inequality as well as the rise of a global plutocracy. One of the world’s foremost experts on inequality, Branko is professor at the CUNY Graduate Centre, where he also heads the local affiliate of the Luxembourg Income Study Centre, former chief economist at the World Bank’s research unit and author of the The Haves and the Have-nots: A Brief and Idiosyncratic History of Global Inequality. He blogs regularly; it’s always interesting.

I’m also happy (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Don’t Be A Scared Tool

Here’s a song for radicalized Canadians to sing.

I’m white and scared (clap clap) They want my guns (clap clap) And veils are wrong (clap clap) Except on nuns! (clap clap)

“I’m white and scared (clap clap) you know it’s true (clap clap) I’m scared of terror (clap clap) Because I’m a tool (clap clap).”

— Hat tip to Jay Bird

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Does RCMP anti-environmentalist rhetoric make us safer?

Monday, March 16, 2015

An RCMP memo blasting Canadian environmentalists, including West Coast, as part of a harmful “anti-Canadian petroleum movement,” does not make Canadians safer. The blatant bias of the memo undermines “the principle of legitimacy” – the idea that fair, credible law enforcement agencies can increase compliance with the law.  

 

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Bill Longstaff: News flash—Western nation stands up to Saudis

Western nations may proclaim their virtue but when it comes to Saudi Arabia, they behave like whores. They posture their belief in democracy and human rights but genuflect before a kingdom that manifests contempt for both.

The allure of the desert sheiks is twofold: they sell lots of oil and they buy lots of guns. They have the largest reserves of conventional oil in the world and they are the

Democracy Under Fire: The Cons V The Courts!

Andrew Coyne wonders if the Harper Regiem is deliberately challenging the Courts with their various ‘unconstitutional’ pieces of legislation in order to get them to overstep their bounds and make a federal “not withstanding” exception to our charter more acceptable.

Not only is the government making no apparent effort to “Charter-proof” legislation, that is by seeking the advice of Justice department lawyers on its constitutionality in advance of its introduction, as it is required by law to do, it seems if anything to be taking advice on how to offend it. It is impossible to read the several dubious provisions (Read more…)

Larry Hubich's Blog: Connie – Anti-Terror Legislation – 22 Minutes

Democracy Under Fire: The Debate about the Debate has started!

With the Conservatives quietly considering a proposal to hold up to five regional televised debates in the upcoming federal election to contrast Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s experience with rookie Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau the debate about the debates has started. Hoping to exploit Trudeau’s shoot-from-the-lip style, some Conservative insiders believe Harper could benefit from additional debates.

In my opinion that very much depends upon how much said leaders (particularly Harper) are held to account for untruths and inaccurate assertions & allegations. One way to see that such things do not go unchallenged is to ensure that the “Hardest Working MP” (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: The Real Threat Facing Israel

No one expected Benjamin Netanyahu to win the gushing approval of the editorial board of Israel’s liberal newspaper Haaretz but they were decidedly unimpressed by their prime minister’s speech to part of the US Congress yesterday.  Their view is that Netanyahu deliberately avoided any mention of the real existential threat to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state – the ever expanding occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Israel’s insistence on ruling over millions of Palestinians in the West Bank who lack civil rights, expanding the settlements and keeping residents of the Gaza Strip under siege is the danger that threatens (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Doubling Contributions To The Tax Free Savings Account: Even Nastier Than Income Splitting

The Harper government gives five reasons why Canadians ought to be happy with its proposal to double the maximum contribution to the Tax-Free Savings Account. Examine each of its points more closely, however, and it’s clear that the TFSA carries far higher risks than rewards — for individual Canadians as well as for the economy as a whole.

Let’s unpack the government’s arguments one by one:

1. The TFSA helps people save

The evidence certainly doesn’t support this statement. TFSAs first saw the light of day in January 2009 at a time when the savings rate had already been climbing (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Legal Experts urge killing Police State Bill

Last week more than 100 Legal Experts wrote a letter Urging Parliament to Amend or Kill Anti-Terrorism Bill C-51 The legal experts from across Canada are urging all parliamentarians to “ensure that C-51 not be enacted in anything resembling its present form.” They argue, in an open letter published on the National Post, that the federal government’s anti-terrorism bill is a “dangerous piece of legislation” that has not been given due debate. The text of the preamble of the open letter is reproduced below:

Dear Members of Parliament, Please accept this collective open letter as an expression of the signatories’ (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: More Debates, Not Fewer Debaters

The unethical fools at the Broadcast Consortium will probably gladly keep Elizabeth May away from the debates this year too. Especially amusing is the Conservative spokes-tool saying more participants would make it a gong show. Mulcair wanting a debate focused on women, while angling to keep the only female leader out of the room, is special too.

What’s wrong with the Star and Robert Benzie to write an article about debate controversy and not even mention the Consortium considering blocking the Green Party again because they got away with it last election?

Why would it be up to the Conservatives (Read more…)

Paul S. Graham: Stop Bill C-51 #StopHarper

Introduced into Parliament on Jan. 30, 2015, Bill C-51 is an omnibus bill that will undermine constitutionally protected rights and freedoms of Canadians in the guise of combating terrorism. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s bombastic, saber-rattling YouTube video, published 2 days before the bill was tabled, set the tone. Essentially, Canada is under attack and the government will do whatever it takes to protect Canadians.

Critics of C-51 argue that it will criminalize speech, make it easier to arrest people who police think might commit an offence, share citizen’s private information between government departments without oversight, and allow the Canadian (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Harper History, Part 3 – First Con Minority

Jan 2006 – Sept 2008

In part three of our series examining the things that Mr Harper and his supporters have done that impacted our democracy we cover the period of “Canada’s New Government” tm which lasted 2 1/2 years before Harper declared it “dysfunctional” and called a new election in direct contravention of his own fixed election date legislation. It was highlighted by Harpers attempts to control the press and his refusal to answer anything but pre approved questions and the oppositions attempts to hold the government to account without bringing about an early election.

On 23/1/2006 the Conservatives (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: This is Canada. Of Course We Live In a Democracy. Right? Think Again.

Do you know the difference between liberal democracy and illiberal democracy? It can be a complex issue.  There are oodles of papers to read if you really want to get a handle on it but, for now, here’s a somewhat useful explanation taken from Wiki.

An illiberal democracy, also called a pseudo democracy, partial democracy, low intensity democracy,empty democracy or hybrid regime,[1] is a governing system in which, although elections take place, citizens are cut off from knowledge about the activities of those who exercise real power because of the lack of civil liberties. It is not an ‘ (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Harper’s Police State Law

Much has been written of lateabout the proposed C-51 ‘anti terror’ bill and I will not attempt to dissect it here given that we already know that it will be forced through the legislative process unchanged by the Harper Regime it is somewhat a futile exercise. It is important however to still understand what it means for Canadians who may express an alternative point of view to said regime or express their opposition to certain actions by peaceful protest. One of the few politicians whose views and opinions I respect, Elizabeth May,had this to say last week on (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Canada’s Flag is 50 on Sunday

In 1964, Liberal Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson formed a committee to resolve the issue, sparking a serious debate about a flag change. Out of three choices, the maple leaf design by George Stanley,[4] based on the flag of the Royal Military College of Canada, was selected. The flag made its first official appearance on February 15, 1965; the date is now celebrated annually as National Flag of Canada Day.

National Flag of Canada Day was instituted in 1996 by an Order in Council from Governor General Roméo LeBlanc, on the initiative of Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. In (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: ROCHON: Greece, Syriza and the Euro

This is a guest blog post from Louis-Philippe Rochon.

Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon.

What a tumultuous few weeks we witnessed in Greece. Though the victory of Syriza was ill-received in particular in Germany and the European Central Bank, it was nonetheless a resounding victory for democracy. This victory may now spill into other countries and give much credence in particular to the Spanish Podemos party.

Moreover, recent German threats to throw Greece out of the Euro zone only further masks what is increasingly becoming evident: the Euro is a flawed and poorly designed institution that condemns Europe and (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: In Government We Trust?

As I review the actions of the Harper Regime since coming to power for my Harper History Series, an undertaking that one must take in very small bites if one is to retain one composure and sanity, I have been thinking a great deal about the choices before us and why we support one lot over the others.

Whilst a great deal may rest upon what each individual or party says they are going to do or has done I am coming to the conclusion that TRUST may well be an increasing part of the reason to vote for one (Read more…)

Politics Canada: Stephen Harper: government of thugs

The current Canadian government is unlike any that has ever come before it and, let’s hope for the sake of Canada, any that is to come after. The Conservative government of Stephen Harper’s has operated in a way that puts power and holding on to power above all else. With no respect for parliamentary traditions or using parliamentary mechanisms for their intended purpose. Instead they use any means necessary to hold on to power (see the proroguing before parliament even started in 2008).

Stephen Harper’s is a government constantly at war. At war with anyone who opposes it. This is (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Seccareccia on Greece, Austerity and the Eurozone

Over at the blog of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, Ottawa U professor Mario Seccareccia has given an interview titled “Greece Shows the Limits of Austerity in the Eurozone. What Now?”

The interview can be read here.

The Disaffected Lib: What Neoliberalism Has in Store For You

click to enlarge

From Le Monde, a timely explanation of how disastrous neoliberalism continues to thrive despite an endless string of economic disasters and what it holds in store for you even as you continue to vote for those who practice it.  Hint. Neoliberalism is class warfare and it’s being waged in our own Parliament against us.

Even neoliberal proponents recognize that it is a crisis-ridden system. In his popular book Why Globalisation Works, Financial Times columnist Martin Wolf writes: “Between 1945 and 1971, in what might be called the “age of financial repression”, there had been only thirty-eight (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: What Neoliberalism Has in Store For You

The Disaffected Lib: Could Greece Become the Salvation of Western Democracy?

Greece is revered as the nation that gave mankind democracy.  Could it now become the nation that restored democracy to mankind?

Around the world, democracy has taken a pounding from the fist of neoliberalism.  Market fundamentalism and democracy are simply incompatible over time.  Neoliberalism promotes illiberal democracy, ultimately leading to political capture and the rise of plutocracy as the populace is steadily reduced economically and politically, their power quietly transferred to a select minority.

The Guardian’s George Monbiot writes that we’re witnessing “the sudden death of the neoliberal consensus.”  This he sees in the triumph of the Syriza (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Harper History, Part 2 – In Opposition

June 2004 – Jan 2006

This is the second of a series of monthly articles examining the actions of Stephen Harper and his Party colleagues both before and after his rise to power with particular emphasis upon words and actions that effect our democracy. This period is most notable for Harpers support for the concept of cooperation / coalition between opposition parties a concept which he was later to call undemocratic, the ‘in and out scheme’ re election funding and the Cadman affair of attempted bribery. It was but a small glimpse of things to come.

The Liberals were re-elected (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Balancing Act Important For Democracy

A guest artile by Jared Milne I’m currently reading Brent Rathgeber’s excellent book “Irresponsible Government: the Decline of Parliamentary Democracy in Canada”, which describes the methods that Canadian prime ministers have used to consolidate power in the Prime Minister’s Office, and force their Members of Parliament to follow all of their directions. MPs are now expected to only obey the prime minister, instead of keeping him and his Cabinet accountable the way Canada’s system of responsible government has traditionally required.

Many Canadians have been increasingly turned off by this system of top-down control. Samara, an organization dedicated to strengthening Canadian (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: ConCalls: DDM Calling For Mistrial! #RoboCon

Hapless Dean Del Mastro, the former Prime Ministerial Parliamentary Secretary is supposed to soon find out how long he’ll spend in jail away from his wife and baby child.

What's the difference between $21K and $20K? No kids, not $1000, it is a mistrial! #DelMastro #DDM pic.twitter.com/YPtKkOSmCd

— Far Side Peter (@FarSidePtbo) January 27, 2015