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Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Olga Khazan writes about the connection between lower incomes and obesity in the U.S. And Truthout discusses how poverty and other stressors can directly affect individual and communal genetics for generations: (A) study by researchers at University College London’s Institute of Child Health found that, thanks to epigenetics, children whose parents and grandparents were born into poverty can, themselves, carry the scars of that past poverty with them for the rest of their lives. That’s because children born to families who’ve lived generations in poverty inherit genes configured to help them (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the need to take downside risks into account in discussing industrial development – especially when our water, land and lives are at stake.

For further reading…- The CP and Jenni Sheppard report on the many warning signs which should have identified the causes of the Mount Polley spill before it turned a town’s water toxic. Stephen Hume rightly concludes that the spill can be traced to a lax regulatory culture. Alison Bailey’s report points out that similar ponds set up for larger mining projects could cause even more damage. And Nature Canada discusses the deliberate choice (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Ralph Surette highlights the dangers of a pollution-based economy which fails to account for the damage we’re doing to our planet and its ability to provide food for people: This is something to behold. A more-or-less hurricane in early July. Has anyone ever seen such a thing?

This is climate change, and it’s getting worse. And whereas the news of the day is about people with the power out, the long-term story is about the hit to agriculture, now and in future, here and worldwide — keeping in mind that farming is more (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Jim Armitage discusses how the privatization of public services in the UK is being mashed up with the principles behind subprime lending and debt bundling – leading to a bubble which promises to take down investors and the public alike.

- Dylan Matthews offers what would seem to be a natural conclusion about the simplest, most effective answer to poverty: As solutions to global poverty go, “just give poor people money” is pretty rock solid. A recent randomized trial found that Kenyans who received no-strings attached cash from the charity GiveDirectly built more (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Jonathan Freedland discusses how the UK’s Conservative government is forcing its poor citizens to choose between food and dignity: Cameron’s statement rests on the repeatedly implied assumption that the only people going hungry are those who have opted for idleness as a lifestyle choice, who could work but don’t fancy it. This assumption is false. The majority of poor households include at least one person who works. As Rowan Williams, the former archbishop of Canterbury, put it this week: “People who are using food banks are not scroungers who are cynically trying (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, questioning the Saskatchewan Party’s belief that meeting the province’s constitutional duty to provide correctional centre inmates with the basic necessities of life isn’t a “core” government function.

For further reading:- CTV reports on the label the Sask Party has applied to correctional food services (and the resulting privatization process) here.  – And once again, CBC reports here on the cautionary tale of Ontario’s highway maintenance – where public safety has been compromised in the name of outsourcing provincial services.

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Heather Mallick discusses what Canada stands to lose as Canada Post is made both more expensive and less functional. Ethan Cox suggests that what’s missing from Canada Post is a postal bank – which makes postal services elsewhere both more profitable, and more valuable for citizens. And the Star points out that the Cons have stood idly by while allowing the institution to fall apart.

- But then, post offices are the least of what the Cons have gone out of their way to portray as beneath them – as made clear by (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Paul Krugman writes about the right-wing belief that “freedom’s just another word for not enough to eat”: (Y)ou might think that ensuring adequate nutrition for children, which is a large part of what SNAP does, actually makes it less, not more likely that those children will be poor and need public assistance when they grow up. And that’s what the evidence shows. The economists Hilary Hoynes and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach have studied the impact of the food stamp program in the 1960s and 1970s, when it was gradually rolled out across the country. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Jacob Goldstein discusses how one-time, no-strings-attached funding for the poor in developing countries can produce lasting improvements in their standard of living – while also highlighting the need for longer-term development: A charity that gives away money, as opposed to, say, offering agricultural training or medicine, does seem a bit unusual. That’s partly because governments and philanthropists have emphasized solving long-term economic problems rather than urgent needs. But in the past decade it has become increasingly common to give money right to the very poor. After Mexico’s economic crisis in the mid-1990s, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Chrystia Freeland writes about the dangers of increased concentration of wealth – particularly when it bears at best a passing relationship to any worthwhile contribution to society at large. And CBC’s report on Peter Sabourin’s investment fraud highlights the fact that the tax havens which have allowed for extreme accumulation of wealth have also facilitated crime against anybody aspiring to join the elite.

- Toby Sanger provides a handy list of 12 problems with the Cons’ anti-union legislation.

- Pat Atkinson questions the Cons’ complete failure to ensure that Canadians can trust that (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Jason Fekete reports that the Harper Cons are taking the side of international tax evaders against other G8 leaders trying to implement an effective enforcement system. And CBC reports that the Canada Revenue Agency has repeatedly turned down the opportunity to access information about tax cheats based on a policy of not offering enforcement rewards.

- In the wake of revelations about the U.S.’ PRISM surveillance system (summarized by Mathew Ingram), Michael Geist warned that Canadians should be equally concerned about their privacy. And that observation looks particularly apt in (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Sunny Freeman reports on the Canadian Foundation for Labour Rights’ study into the effects of anti-labour legislation: The CFLR argues that [right-to-free-ride] laws would contribute to greater income disparity by undermining union strength and rights to collective bargaining, which they say leads to improved wages and benefits for employees.

The authors cited statistics suggesting that the wage premium for Canadian unionized workers over non-unionized employees in comparable jobs is between seven and 14 per cent. Workers in U.S. states that have adopted the laws earn an average of $1,500 less annually

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Cory Doctorow duly blasts the Harper Cons for meekly complying with an onerous copyright treaty which isn’t even in force. Which raises the question: if the Cons were really interested in demonstrating some independence as a response to the U.S. declining to rubber-stamp Keystone XL, wouldn’t this be the best time to show some backbone?

- Mike Blanchfield reports on the conclusions of the UN’s right-to-food envoy – including that the Harper Cons have managed to make food less accessible for Canadians through means ranging from the destruction of the long-form census

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Friday reading.

- Michael Moss writes about the amount of time and money spent by corporate conglomerates to push consumers toward eating unhealthy food: The public and the food companies have known for decades now — or at the very least since this meeting — that sugary, salty, fatty foods are not good for us in the quantities that we consume them. So why are the diabetes and obesity and hypertension numbers still spiraling out of control? It’s not just a matter of poor willpower on the part of the consumer and a give-the-people-what-they-want attitude on

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Saturday reading.

- Hamida Ghafour writes about the effect of tax avoidance by the world’s wealthy on the lives of the rest of the population – particularly when coupled with austerity pushed based on a lack of revenue: The OECD is a fierce defender of free-market capitalism. But Saint-Amans says politicians are realizing that rules set up in the 1920s need reform because allowing corporations and the very rich to hang on to huge amounts of wealth is bad for the economy. “When you have a political crisis, I am sad to say it, you . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

Accidental Deliberations: On abdications of duty

Shorter Gerry Ritz:If unscrupulous businesses want to fleece Canadian suckers consumers, far be it from we Conservatives to stand in their way. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On abdications of duty

Accidental Deliberations: On continued control

I’d certainly be interested to see some evidence that Conservative MPs are doing anything more than dispensing party talking points. But while there may be some better examples available, the contents of Jason Warick’s report this morning look to me to fall far short.

Let’s go point by point…

- At last notice, Con MPs weren’t allowed to present private members’ bills which hadn’t been vetted by Harper’s staffers. And from the fact the Cons are publicly lining up behind Rob Clarke’s bill to trash the Indian Act with nothing to replace it (as well as the fact that

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On continued control

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Barrie McKenna discusses the cost of public-private partnerships: Disturbing new research highlights some serious flaws in how governments tally the benefits of public-private partnerships versus conventional projects. Too little is known about how these contracts work, who benefits and who pays.

This week, public-private partnerships will take centre stage when the House of Commons operations committee resumes a series of hearings on P3s, stacked with witnesses who like them.

A P3 works essentially like leasing a car or TV, rather than paying cash up front. At the end of the day, governments pay

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links

Assorted material to end your weekend.

- Chrystia Freeland comments on the self-destructive nature of elite protectionism: (E)ven as the winner-take-all economy has enriched those at the very top, their tax burden has lightened. Tolerance for high executive compensation has increased, even as the legal powers of unions have been weakened and an intellectual case against them has been relentlessly advanced by plutocrat-financed think tanks. In the 1950s, the marginal income tax rate for those at the top of the distribution soared above 90 percent, a figure that today makes even Democrats flinch. Meanwhile, of the 400 richest taxpayers in

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- No, the aftershocks of an e. coli outbreak which has unfortunately given both Canadians and export markets reason for concern about the safety of some of our major food sources aren’t about to end simply because the Cons are again pretending everything’s fine. And the president of the union local representing XL Foods workers points out one of the major steps needed to ensure problems aren’t allowed to fester due to managerial neglect: Under the UFCW’s collective agreement, O’Halloran said, line workers can inform a supervisor only if they spot a safety issue,

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Murray Mandryk and Bruce Johnstone both thoroughly slam Gerry Ritz and the Cons for their food-safety negligence. But Johnstone hints at the larger issue: Ritz, for all his faults, is not the cause of this latest debacle. He’s merely a symptom of a bigger problem with the Harper government: specifically, it’s (sic) ideological fixation on smaller government, it’s (sic) blind faith in self-regulation and its tendency to micromanage every aspect of government policy.

- And Lana Payne reminds us why we should know better than to think there’s any merit to anti-regulatory

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Mitchell Anderson’s final report on Norway’s highly successful management of its oil resources puts Canada’s current philosophy to the test: Seen through this lens, how is Canada doing? Abysmally…:

1. Dependency. Even with our vast oil wealth, Canada currently relies on other countries for about 50 per cent of our supply — so-called “unethical oil” from the volatile Middle East. Proposals to pipe unrefined bitumen from western Canada to Asia will increase this dangerous dependence since Alberta will have to import vast amounts of condensate from the Middle East to dilute

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Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- David Olive comments on the world food crisis, making the point that what we’re lacking is some link between more-than-sufficient productive capacity and the nutritional needs of less wealthy people around the globe: (A) permanently higher price for oil spurred successful innovation to reduce our reliance on petroleum products in realms outside of transportation and energy, along with a determined effort to find new sources of oil in increasingly remote places.

The global food crisis, by contrast, has not made us think differently about how we produce and use the fruit of the

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your weekend.

- Yes, the usual caveats about trying to predict future commodity prices apply. But Stephen Maher’s warning about the effect of rising fuel and food prices is still worth keeping in mind: That shift doesn’t mean that North Americans are about to take meaningful steps to reduce the amount of carbon we put in the atmosphere, because politicians know that anything they might do to reduce carbon emission will hit consumers in the pocketbook.

Over the long run, though, if the scientists are right, we will have more extreme weather, food prices will go

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Jim Stanford discusses how Canadian right-wing parties are picking up on the most extreme anti-labour stances of the U.S. Republicans. But I do have to wonder whether the comparison between union dues and taxes is one that they’d particularly shy away from: isn’t much of the point to try to eliminate both as means of providing resources to achieve social ends?

- Meanwhile, Linda McQuaig explains why baby hippos and others have plenty of reason to be concerned about debt hysteria. And David Climenhaga points out that even from an economic

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links