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Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Adam Lent highlights the strong majority of respondents in the UK who see the political system as serving the powerful rather than the public. And Elizabeth Warren explains why the same conclusion applies in the U.S., while making the case that there’s room to improve matters simply by emphasizing the choices voters face: The system is rigged. And now that I’ve been in Washington and seen it up close and personal, I just see new ways in which that happens. But we have to stop and back up, and you (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Following up on yesterday’s column, Michael Harris offers his take on how Stephen Harper refuses to accept anything short of war as an option: Stephen Harper talks as if this is yet another of those good-versus-evil fables he is always passing off to the public as deep analysis and sound policy.

More honest and experienced minds make a more rational case. In the United Kingdom, the former head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove said that politicians are merely taking advantage of a distortion towards Islamic extremism. That distortion was branded on the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your weekend reading.

- Lana Payne examines the Cons’ economic record and finds it very much wanting: Inequality has deepened under Mr. Harper’s watch, job quality has declined, wages have stagnated, economic growth has been anemic, social protections have been reduced while corporate profits and CEO pay soar.…(E)mployment and labour force participation rates are lower today than they were in 2006, part-time employment is up, corporate taxes are significantly lower (22.1 per cent in 2006, 15 per cent today) business capital investment saw no increase and has been static at 19.1 per cent of (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Sunday reading.

- Eric Reguly examines Apple as a prime example of how supposed market successes actually reflect the private capture of public investments – and suggests the public should benefit financially from its investments which facilitate corporate growth: Apple is such a runaway success that its profits pile up like snowdrifts in the Rockies. At last count, Apple was sitting on $165-billion (U.S.) in cash and securities. That’s more than the GDP of Hungary.

What to do with the windfall?…Here’s another idea: Give the surplus cash back to the taxpayer.

It will (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- PressProgress highlights how the Cons’ stay in office has been marked by temporary rather than permanent jobs, while Kaylie Tiessen writes that precarious work is particularly prevalent in Ontario. And Erin Weir notes that more unemployed workers are now chasing after fewer job vacancies than even in the wake of the last recession.

- Kathleen Harris points out that the Cons’ attempt to label refugees as “bogus” based solely on their country of origin bears no resemblance whatsoever to reality, as numerous claims from the U.S. and other countries labeled as “safe” (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Jim Stanford writes that Tim Hudak’s combination of austerity and indiscriminate tax slashing represents a recipe for less jobs rather than more: Mr. Hudak’s initial policy agenda is mostly a recycled business wish list: cut taxes, cut regulations, pay for training, cut energy costs, free trade.  Its logic is 100% trickle-down economics: anything that’s good for business, must be good for jobs and for all of society.  There is no powerful stimulative or expansionary impetus coming from any of those 5 proposals (unlike some other policies being debated in this election, like (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Angella MacEwen takes a look at the large numbers of unemployed and underemployed Canadians chasing a tiny number of available jobs. And Carol Goar calls out the Cons and the CFIB alike for preferring disposable foreign workers to Canadians who aren’t being offered a living wage: If employers want to talk about the government’s abrupt about-face, that is legitimate. If they want an “adult conversation” about work and remuneration, they should be ready to answer some key questions: Why should they be exempt from market discipline? The law of supply and demand provides (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- The Star-Phoenix discusses how the Cons are systematically attacking the independent institutions which are necessary to ensure a functioning democratic system: When a handful of Conservative MPs from Saskatchewan attacked the integrity of the province’s electoral boundaries commissioners last year in an attempt to subvert the democratic process, it may have seemed to be a rogue act of an outlier group of politicians concerned with their electoral future.

But when you consider the tactics of the MPs, who accused Justice Ronald Mills and political scientist Prof. John Courtney on the commission of attempting (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Matthew O’Brien is the latest to pick up on the connection between pre-transfer income equality, redistribution and sustainable economic growth: Redistribution overall helps, and at least doesn’t harm, growth spells. That’s because the positive effects of less inequality add to or offset the negligible, or negative, effects of redistribution itself. When redistribution is in the bottom 75 percent, these positive effects are the only ones, and growth lasts longer. And when redistribution is in the top 25 percent, these positive effects make up for the negative ones from taxing-and-transferring so much—it’s a statistically (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Jim Stanford writes about the myth of a labour shortage in Canada: In this context of chronic un- and under-employment, it is jarring that so many employers, business lobbyists, and politicians continue to complain about a supposed shortage of available, willing, and adequately skilled workers. Employers routinely claim they can’t find qualified Canadians to perform even relatively straightforward jobs. They can’t entice Canadians to move from depressed regions, to areas with jobs. They can’t elicit desired levels of effort, discipline and loyalty.

According to this worldview, the biggest challenge facing our labour market (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- David Green asks whether decades of corporate insistence on “flexible” labour markets (i.e. ones which offer no stability for workers) have resulted in the improved wages promised at the outset: Increased wages are how we share the benefits of economic growth among a wide range of people in our society. It’s hard to see the fairness in policies that seek to stamp out wage increases wherever possible.

But this raises the second question – has the policy of increased labour market flexibility worked? Has it delivered a better life for most Canadians?

(Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Thomas Walkom writes that the Harper Cons’ much-hyped economic record in fact offers ample reason to demand a change in government: The Conservatives insist that the economy is their strong suit. And for a while it was. In 2011, voters bought Harper’s pitch.

But voter patience can last only so long. For too many Canadians, life is not improving. Income gaps are becoming more blatant. Wages are sluggish. Students are taking on massive debts to prepare themselves for jobs that, in the end, fail to materialize.

Those lucky enough to have jobs — (Read more…)

Leftist Jab: Hack Pundit of the Week: Jeffrey Simpson

Jeffrey Simpson is so knowledgeable, he doesn’t need to think

Leave it to the senior senile sages of Globe and Mail to cough up columns that exist only in the fantasies of the author’s feeble faculties. When Margaret Wente isn’t blaming women for their own kidnappings and rapes, it is to you, Jeffrey Simpson, that from failing hands we throw the torch of uninformed journalism. Be yours to

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- The National Post offers an excerpt from Susan Delacourt’s Shopping for Votes discussing the role branding played in the election of John Diefenbaker. And Jeffrey Simpson discusses the continued drift toward consumer politics.- But in commenting on the Nova Scotia provincial election, Ralph Surette reminds us what’s lost when voting decisions are made based solely on snap impressions rather than any effort to determine who’s capable of managing a government: There have been several televised debates. To anyone watching them from the point of view of substance rather than mere performance, Liberal (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Martin Lukacs offers up the definitive response to the Lac-Mégantic rail tragedy: The deeper evidence about this event won’t be found in the train’s black box, or by questioning the one engineer who left the train before it loosened and careened unmanned into the heart of this tiny town. For that you’ll have to look at how Lac-Mégantic was hit by a perfect storm of greed, deregulation and an extreme energy rush driving companies to ever greater gambles with the environment and human life.

It’s little wonder, then, that today’s oil and rail (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- The Broadbent Institute has released a new set of polling (PDF) as to Canadians’ values. And it’s particularly worth noting that even on the Cons’ signature issues such as tax cuts, austerity and crime – where millions upon millions of public dollars have been spent in a combined effort at branding and persuasion – 60% or more of respondents (including new immigrants) side with a more progressive option.

- But as Steven Shrybman notes in criticizing Jeffrey Simpson’s blase view of universal public health care, we still have our own Village working (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: The Harper Government lacks a strategic vision for Canada’s oil industry

400 parts per million …

Those Albertans who have voted for Harper’s Conservatives in election after election must be starting to wonder whether Stephen Harper and his Cabinet are the best choice for their main industry: oil. They should start to worry, because the Harper Tories are displaying yet again their incompetence when it comes to the really important issues facing Canada. They are fine for scurrying around, giving out little slices of taxpayers’ money to selected micromarkets, but when it comes to the really important things, they are sadly wanting.

The Meltdown Debacle Take the financial meltdown of 2007-2008. 

(Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: The Harper Government lacks a strategic vision for Canada’s oil industry

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Chrystia Freeland points out why productivity doesn’t provide an accurate picture of economic development if it merely results in increased inequality rather than shared benefits: Productivity and innovation, the focus of policy makers and business leaders, no longer guarantee widely shared prosperity. “Digital technologies are different in that they allow people with skills to replicate their talents to serve billions,” Mr. Brynjolfsson said. “There is really a drastic winner-take-all effect because every industry is becoming like the software industry.” Classical economic theory isn’t entirely wrong. The danger isn’t — as it was . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Jeffrey Simpson rightly notes that Alberta (like other resource-heavy jurisdictions) should be trying to diversify its revenue sources and economic development instead of relying on the one-time sale of publicly-owned resources to pay the bills. And Robyn Allan points out why we shouldn’t let oil barons pretend they need yet more concessions when it comes to pipeline construction: U.S. consumers are not benefiting at our expense. A benefit from lower-priced Western Canadian crude oil at the refinery gate in the U.S. is not passed onto U.S. consumers in the

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

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Sunday reading.- Michael Geist notes that even as the Harper Cons have done nothing but hand more free money to big pharma through ever more generous patent giveaways, the Supreme Court of Canada has offered a reminder of the … . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Evening Links

This and that to end your week.- Tavia Grant writes that at least one region of the globe – Latin America – is seeing some real progress in combating inequality. And the World Bank has some ideas to keep up the momentum:The bank still sees room for imp… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Evening Links

Alberta Diary: More files from the You-Heard-It-Here Dep’t

Jeffrey Simpson of Canada’s National Website ponders the topic of another column. High-profile national prognosticators may not appear exactly as illustrated. More files from the Déjà-Vu-All-Over-Again Dep’t at Canada’s National Website and the You-Heard-It-Here Dep’t at Alberta Diary : “Are storm clouds forming in Alberta Premier Alison Redford’s sunny skies?” “… Ms. Redford’s problem in … . . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: More files from the You-Heard-It-Here Dep’t

Politics and Entertainment: The citizen as consumer, as a mere "marketing target."

http://tinyurl.com/9nu7j9c

Under a neoliberal regime such as ours, anything – including your very soul – can be commodified. (Ask those members of the evangelical church to which OGL apparently belongs.) The very concept of consumer assumes a market. Yet we’ve naturalized the concept so unconsciously no one questions the term and the ideology on which it sits. This is where the Canadian mainstream media has failed us the most.  I’m trying hard to remember any occasion when a mainstream Canadian journalist has used the term “neoliberal.” Coyne, Gardner, Ibbitson, Simpson and the rest of the so-called centre

. . . → Read More: Politics and Entertainment: The citizen as consumer, as a mere "marketing target."

Alberta Diary: Files from the You-Heard-It-Here Department

Jeffrey Simpson of the Globe and Mail tries to remember when he first thought that thought. High-profile national prognosticators may not appear exactly as illustrated.

“It’s semi-official: The Enbridge Northern Gateway project is kaput!”

– David J. Climenhaga, Alberta Diary, July 19, 2012

“You heard it here: Northern Gateway’s dead”

– Jeffery Simpson, The Globe and Mail, Oct. 5, 2012

As Yogi Berra observed: “It’s déjà vu all over again!”

And for this the Globe wants us to pay extra for the profound insights found behind their paywall? Just asking.

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Michael Harris follows up on the previous activism to save the Experimental Lakes Area by noting that efforts to work with the Harper Cons are providing both divisive and disastrous: (J)ust a few months after the Death of Evidence rally, another event is playing out behind the scenes that is partly the way of the world and partly full-blown tragedy.  If those same scientists held a rally today, they would have to call it by another name. Judging from what is happening in that penumbral zone where idealism and power politics collide,

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