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Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Deirdre Fulton discusses the UN’s 2014 Human Development Report, featuring recognition that precarious jobs and vulnerable workers are all too often the norm regardless of a country’s level of development or high-end wealth. And as Dylan Matthews points out (h/t to David Atkins), the lack of worker benefits from increased corporate wealth figures to make a guaranteed annual income into a logical solution: So here’s my takeaway: a negative income tax or basic income of sufficient size would, by definition, eliminate poverty. We still don’t know if there’d be much of a (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Katrina vanden Heuvel criticizes the U.S. Democrats’ move away from discussing inequality by in favour of platitudes about opportunity for the middle class. And while Matthew Yglesias may be correct in responding that the messaging change hasn’t resulted in much difference in Democratic policy proposals, it’s certainly significant when a political party makes the choice to take poverty and inequality off the table as a vital part of the argument for its policy consensus.

- Meanwhile, Stephen Elliott-Buckley reminds us that the 1% tends to get its way in policy debates (Read more…)

wmtc: federal court again rules in favour of health care and basic decency, against radical harper agenda

A few days ago, the Federal Court of Canada ruled that the Harper Government’s denial of health care to refugee claimants from certain countries is unconstitutional and cannot stand. In a surprisingly strongly worded statement Friday, the federal court ruled Ottawa’s cutbacks to health-care coverage for refugee claimants are unconstitutional because they constitute “cruel and unusual” treatment.

The decision was quickly lauded by many, including the Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care, the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers and Justice for Children and Youth — groups that, along with two refugee claimants, challenged the law.

Of course the Government plans to (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Chris Alexander and the Monstrous Cruelty of the Harper Regime

As I have mentioned before, the story of Chris Alexander reminds in some ways of the Oscar Wilde story The Picture of Dorian Gray.Where the portrait of the bright, boyishly handsome diplomat, morphs into something monstrous. After he sells his soul to the devil, or in his case Stephen Harper.And sure enough, in the latest chapter of Chrissy's descent into darkness, the picture grows even uglier. Read more »

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Carol Linnitt observes that the Canadian public supports a shift from fossil fuels to cleaner energy by a 76-24% margin – even as they overestimate Canada’s economic returns from oil and gas.

- Meanwhile, Alison takes a look at the spread of (primarily oil-funded) advertorials in Canadian media.

- Kate Heartfield writes that even if the Cons’ cuts to refugee health hadn’t crossed the line into unconstitutionality, we should still consider them to be unconscionable from a policy-making perspective: Even if you come away unconvinced of the soundness of the court’s conclusion, it (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Robert Reich discusses how a reasonable balance of economic and political power is necessary to any protection of meaningful personal freedom: In reality, corporate free speech drowns out the free speech of ordinary people who can’t flood the halls of Congress with campaign contributions.

Freedom is the one value conservatives place above all others, yet time and again their ideal of freedom ignores the growing imbalance of power in our society that’s eroding the freedoms of most people.…The so-called “free market” is not expanding options and opportunities for most people. It’s extending (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Gar Alperovitz suggests in the wake of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century that it’s long past time to reconsider who controls capital – and make a concerted effort to democratize that control: The name of the game — Piketty’s book fairly screams it — is capital: who gets to own it, benefit from it and derive political power from it. Accordingly, it may be of some interest to note that in significant part because of the pain and failure of our current reality, many of those local laboratories of democracy (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Thomas Frank discusses the corporate takeover of U.S. politics – and how even nominally left-oriented parties are willing to go along with the corporate position even as voters regularly demand something else: One of the reasons the phrase appealed to me, 17 years ago, was my belief back then that there was something essentially brutal about raw capitalism; if the nation was to suppress the regulations and the workers’ organizations that had tamed the beast over the years—even if we did so with the best of intentions—the economy would return quite naturally (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Bryce Covert rightly challenges the claim that poverty bears any relationship to an unwillingness to work – along with other attempts to blame the poor for their condition: In fact, the majority of able-bodied, adult, non-elderly poor people worked in 2012, according to a data analysis by economist Jared Bernstein. There were about 21 million non-disabled, poor adults that year, and about half of them, or 11 million, worked. Another 3 million didn’t work because they were in school. If those in school are taken out of the picture, 57 percent (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Rick Salutin discusses how corruption has become endemic in the global economy as an inevitable consequence of me-first values: You wouldn’t have those CEO pig-outs absent neo-liberalism’s moral model: get rich not just quick but hugely. As Kevin O’Leary loves saying, and CBC plasters on its promos: God put us here to get rich. Note it’s a public broadcaster where he barks that and no one contests it. (I consider Amanda Lang’s ripostes pro forma.)

Since there’s no counter model (excluding, maybe, the pope) it becomes almost embarrassing not to grab for (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Harper’s “racist” changes to health care for refugees has threatened lives

by: Adrienne Silnicki | First published by The Council of Canadians on June 12, 2014

Another June 16th, is almost upon and we’re once again offering our support and solidarity to incredible organizations like Canadian Doctors for Refugees who are organizing yet another day of rallies and protest against the racist and discriminatory cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program (aka health care for refugees).

This June 16th, the Council of Canadians will once again join health care professionals, lawyers, students,labour brothers and sisters, and civil society to yell “shame!” at a government that feels no shame in (Read more…)

OPSEU Diablogue: Two-thirds of Ontarians would vote for a strong health care platform — Nanos

It was a curious decision by the media conglomerate putting on the Tuesday’s leaders debate. Limiting viewer questions to six, you’d have thought one of them would have dealt with Ontario’s struggling health care system. As it was, health care … Continue reading →

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Health Insurance Is Becoming A Scam

I have long been suspicious of health insurance plans of any sort.  Even short term health insurance for travel seems to be written in such a way that it is weighted quite firmly in favour of the insurer than the insured.

Recently, three cases in Canada came to light that underscore the point. “They hold all the cards in their hand. It’s a poker game, and I don’t think we are the winners,” said Jean Tetiuk, of Toronto, whose $12,000 claim was rejected by CIBC. 

In each case, the medical emergencies abroad had nothing to do with any pre-existing conditions they (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…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Alex Usher Needs to Consider Taxation

My debate with Alex Usher on tuition fees continues, over at the Academic Matters web site. In my latest post, I make the case that Mr. Usher needs to consider Canada’s tax system when suggesting that reducing tuition fees is “regressive.”

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Bill Moyers interviews Richard Wolff about inequality – featuring Wolff’s observation that anybody trying to justify inequality as an inevitable byproduct of unregulated markets manages only to make those markets indefensible: Bill Moyers: When you say that there’s no economic argument that people should be kept at the– should not share in the gains of economic growth, the response is, “Well, that’s what the market bears.”

Richard Wolff: Well, you know, in the history of economics, which is my profession, it’s a standard play on words. Instead of talking about how the (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Alex Usher is Wrong on Tuition Fees

Earlier today, over at the Academic Matters web site, I addressed the issue of whether Canada’s current system of high tuition fees and means-tested student aid is in fact “progressive.” My post was a response to a Alex Usher‘s May 9 blog post. My blog post can be found here.

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Robert Reich calls out four fundamental lies used to push corporatist policies. But perhaps more interesting is the truth which no amount of concentrated wealth seems to be able to suppress: But the more interesting thing here is the memo’s concession of a hurdle AFP faces: That people support the idea of “taking care of those in need and avoiding harm to the weak.” That this is seen as a messaging problem is telling.… As it happens, the AFP memo is right. Majorities of Americans do see the economy as rigged for the (Read more…)

wmtc: dark times in canada, part 1: the lancet: the case against canada as a world citizen

I want to share two articles from well-respected venues reflecting on what’s happening to Canada now – where it is and where it may be going.

In The Lancet Global Health, one of the foremost medical journals in the world, there’s “A rising tide: the case against Canada as a world citizen”, Chris David Simms. It begins: A generation ago, Canada was perceived to be an exemplary global citizen by the rest of the world: it took the lead on a host of international issues, including the Convention of Child Rights, freedom of information, acid rain, world peacekeeping, sanctions (Read more…)

My journey with AIDS...and more!: April 30 revisited

Today marks eleven years since the beginning of events which form the basis of my autobiographical piece entitled Chopin, Roman Polanski and a cab. I will attempt to stay home after dark.

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Larry Bartels highlights how class plays a particularly large role in U.S. politics, as opinions about the role of government are particularly polarized based on income. And Paul Krugman notes that as a consequence, any demand to “stop class warfare” in favour of imposing the austerity preferred by the upper class amounts to a demand that lower-income citizens forfeit their right to be heard.

- Carol Goar discusses how poverty and inequality are serious barriers to access to health care in Canada, particularly when it comes to increasingly-costly prescription drugs: People with (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: More on the At Home/Chez Soi Study

Earlier this month, I blogged about the At Home/Chez Soi homelessness study prior to the release of its final report.

Today I’ve blogged again, this time about the contents of the final report itself. This second blog post, being rather long and nuanced, was written for the Homeless Hub. It can be accessed at this link.

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Duncan Cameron writes that Canada needs a new political direction rather than just a new government – and offers some worthwhile suggestions as to what that might include: The inter-generational bargain needs to be renewed. Today’s workers pay for their past studies and future retirement. Investing in youth and providing for retirement has social benefits and requires collective support. Much can done through a serious progressive income tax, but notable additional sources of revenue for student grants and other social spending exist. A financial transaction tax for instance could raise an estimated (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Livio Di Matteo discusses the wasted opportunity to improve Canada’s health care system through concerted national investments. And Ryan Meili asks who will provide future direction now that the Cons have scrapped the Health Council of Canada: Now we see the federal government making a bad situation worse by walking away from the process of rebuilding a national health system entirely instead of negotiating a more robust agreement with targets and timelines for innovation and cost-savings.

The elimination of the Health Council only further underlines this movement away from national planning for (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Andrew Coyne sees the powerful impact of local forces on nomination contests as evidence that grassroots democracy is still alive and well in Canada – no matter how much the Cons and Libs may wish otherwise: What’s common to both of these stories is not only the willingness of local candidates and riding associations to defy the powers that be but their obstinate insistence that these races should be what party leaders claim they are: open nominations. With any luck, this obstreperousness will spread. Thanks to redistricting, there will be other ridings where (Read more…)