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Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Michael Harris writes that the Cons’ primary purpose while in power has been to hand further power and wealth to those who already have more than they know what to do with: These corporations and their political mouthpiece, the Republican Party, are Stephen Harper’s heroes. He has spent his entire political career marching Canada down the same corporate road that leads to oligarchy. He is less the prime minister of a country, than a super-salesman of corporate interests. That’s why his policies often look so wacky but aren’t. They do exactly what they (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Paul Krugman explains how one’s political values figure to affect one’s view of evidence as to the success or failure of a policy: (T)he liberal and conservative movements are not at all symmetric in their goals. Conservatives want smaller government as an end in itself; liberals don’t seek bigger government per se — they want government to achieve certain things, which is quite different. You’ll never see liberals boasting about raising the share of government spending in GDP the way conservatives talk proudly about bringing that share down. Because liberals want government to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Michael Harris observes that the Cons’ vote suppression tactics match the worst abuses we’d expect from the Tea Party: Stephen Harper would make a good governor of Arizona.

In addition to the lies and sleaziness his government has been serving up during its majority, its sickening reliance on marketing over truth, its dishonest use of technology in political matters, and its shameful abuse of language, the prime minister is blighting democracy in the name of political advantage.

When Stephen Harper gave Canada fixed elections dates, no one expected a whole lot more “fixing” (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Trish Hennessy’s latest numbers focus on the skills gap myth in Canada. And PressProgress documents a few of the Cons’ damaging public service cuts which kicked in yesterday, while Theresa Boyle reports on the end of Canada’s health care accords (featuring the observations of Roy Romanow on the end of meaningful federal participation in our health care system).

- Scott Stelmaschuk’s latest post fits nicely with the theme of yesterday’s comment on the importance of seeing politics first and foremost as a means of improving the world around us – rather than a (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Yves Smith notes that a short-sighted focus on returns for shareholders generally represents a poor allocation of resources even on the level of a single corporation – while also pointing out what that mindset does when shared across the business sector: As the Occupy Wall Street movement correctly recognized, the concentration of income and wealth of the economic top “one percent” of society has left the rest of us largely high and dry. Corporate profits are increasingly going to share buybacks or dividend distribution, but very little is going back into research and (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Nafeez Ahmed writes about the dangers of combining growing inequality and increased resource extraction: By investigating the human-nature dynamics of these past cases of collapse, the project identifies the most salient interrelated factors which explain civilisational decline, and which may help determine the risk of collapse today: namely, Population, Climate, Water, Agriculture, and Energy.

These factors can lead to collapse when they converge to generate two crucial social features: “the stretching of resources due to the strain placed on the ecological carrying capacity”; and “the economic stratification of society into Elites [rich] and (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Brian and Karen Foster question why steadily improving productivity has led to increasing stratification rather than better lives for a large number of people: (W)ith all the optimism, why hasn’t technological progress actually opened up a world where we all work, and we all work less? Why do we still have some people working overtime while others sit idle, wishing for employment? Why are we not seeing the spread of work-sharing schemes, where the duties of one job are divided into two or more jobs?

We have a government program that helps companies (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- The Star’s editorial board sees Canada’s woeful job numbers as a signal that it’s time for some economic management in the interests of people (rather than artificial manipulation of numbers): Economists used words like “dismal” and “ugly” for these results, and no wonder. Last year turned out to be the worst year for job growth in Canada since the recession of 2008-2009. And this was just the latest evidence that Canada’s recovery has stalled. The experts are even starting to speculate about a possible cut in interest rates – not the eventual (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Michael Katz looks back at how the U.S. abandoned its poor – and how that choice continues to affect people across the income spectrum today. And Michael Valpy discusses how Canada can and should avoid travelling any further down the same path – with his “Big Four” ideas focusing on mandatory voting, proportional representation, a guaranteed basic income and protections for vulnerable workers.

- Jeffrey Simpson describes the Cons’ narrow focus on about 10 per cent of the Canadian electorate in the lead up to the next federal election, while Andrew Jackson (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- In the course of grading Canada’s job market, Kayle Hatt traces the rise of precarious employment in both absolute and relative numbers – and notes that other countries haven’t seen the same type of move toward temporary employment encouraged by the Cons. And in a similar vein, Duncan Cameron rightly brands the Cons as the “bad jobs party”.

- Meanwhile, the lack of stability in any single job makes it all the more important to ensure that Canada’s retirement system provides for security even among workers who have been pushed from employer (Read more…)

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…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Nick Cohen writes that the corporate sector is home to some of the most dangerous cult philosophy in the world: (T)he language of business has become ever more cultish. In the theory of “transformational leadership”, which dominates the business schools, the CEO is a miracle worker. In Transformational Leadership, by Bernard Bass and Ronald Riggio, he is described, not by some gullible Forbes hack, but by two supposedly intelligent American academics. The transformational leader “inspires” his follower to “achieve extraordinary outcomes”, they say. He “empowers them” to “exceed expected performance” and show (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Paul Wells and Dan Lett offer roundups of today’s federal by-elections, while Chantal Hebert offers some advice to the candidates (whether or not they’re elected to Parliament today). And Murray Dobbin explains why there’s only one true progressive choice in Toronto Centre in particular: McQuaig’s Liberal opponent in the riding is Chrystia Freeland, a parachute candidate who is being touted as a progressive with deep concerns about inequality. Trudeau has tried to boost her profile by stating that he wants her in his “inner circle.”

The problem is that there is nothing (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- George Monbiot writes that corporate control over a political system may be a huge factor in limiting public participation – even as it makes a substantial counterweight all the more important: The political role of business corporations is generally interpreted as that of lobbyists, seeking to influence government policy. In reality they belong on the inside. They are part of the nexus of power that creates policy. They face no significant resistance, from either government or opposition, as their interests have now been woven into the fabric of all three main political parties in (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Tim Harper discusses Stephen Harper’s current list of distractions – with Rob Ford and his Senate appointees naturally topping the list. But sadly, while John Ivison may be right in noting that actual citizens are having trouble getting the Cons to bother administering federal programs, the combination of scandal and dishonesty doesn’t seem to be slowing down their anti-worker omnibus legislation in the slightest.

- On the Senate front, Scott Stelmaschuk compares the Duffy payoff and cover-up to the long-forgotten Chuck Cadman scandal – with the key differences in exposing the story being (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…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Assorted content to start your week.

- Frances Russell discusses the dangers of Stephen Harper’s authoritarian democracy. And Michael Harris takes note of Harper’s decision to mete out career executions to his own Senate appointees based on exactly the same evidence he once declared to be fully exculpatory.

- Dan Moutal points out Mike Tobis’ spectrum of positions on climate change as compared to how the issue is covered. And in a related story that doesn’t tend to receive anywhere near an appropriate amount of attention, CBC documents over a thousand Canadian pipeline safety incidents over the past 10 years, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Nadir Khan interviews Linda McQuaig about her choice to run for the NDP in Toronto Centre – and confirms that McQuaig’s commitment to progressive politics fits neatly with her participation in a caucus: NK : You mention that you’ve been outspoken and taken a strong stance on issues you care about. Certain research groups like Samara have found, through interviewing MPs, that MPs are surprised by how much party discipline is present in Parliament.

What are your thoughts on that? If you’re elected, do you see your outspoken and combative approach changing within the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Michael Harris offers a theory for the Cons’ handling of the Clusterduff – from their willingness to pay him off to their subsequent decision to cut him loose: Why were the CPC and the PM’s chief of staff willing to risk what would be an explosive scandal if the facts leaked out, as they did on May 14, 2013? The answer that seems most likely is this: To stop an audit into Senator Duffy trailing back into the 2011 election.

In the early innings of this story, Conservative strategists took the view (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- John Myles discusses the Cons’ war on evidence: The mandatory Census was the lifeblood of almost all social and business planning. It provided key data for studying things like income inequality and poverty since both low- and high-income households were required to report. The quality of Census data and the accessibility of the data to non-government users had improved exponentially since the 1970s. As a result, its importance as a tool for monitoring the effects of government policy was on the rise. Because it collected data on such a large sample (20 percent) (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- George Monbiot rightly challenges the attempt of corporate interests and their political sock-puppets to demonize anybody concerned about our planet’s future: Exotic invasive species are a straightforward ecological problem, wearily familiar to anyone trying to protect biodiversity. Some introduced creatures – such as brown hare, little owl, field poppy, corncockle and pheasant’s eye in Britain – do no harm to their new homes, and are cherished and defended by nature lovers. Others, such as cane toads, mink, rats, rhododendron, kudzu vine or tree-killing fungi, can quickly simplify a complex ecosystem, wiping (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Michael Harris nicely describes what the Cons are actually doing with power while pretending to be innocuous fiscal managers: The PM and his government are not good managers. The nauseating repetition of the claim that the Tories know what they’re doing with the country’s finances will not make it so.

They’ve pissed away more money than Madonna on a shopping spree — a billion on the G 8-20 meetings that put a dent in the world’s Perrier supply and little else.

They just plain lost $3.2 billion and the guy in (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Thomas Walkom, Dan Leger and Michael Harris write about the sketchy surveillance programs in place on both sides of the 49th parallel. But there may be an opportunity to make common cause with the 1% in criticizing constant intrusion on personal privacy, as both the U.S. and the U.K. have been caught using their data interception capability to spy on businesses and international allies.

- In any event, one can safely say that this is not the time when a smart government would introduce blanket secrecy for 11 government agencies. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Friday reading.

- Michael Harris tears into the Harper Cons for their compulsive dishonesty: Everything in the Westminster model under which we are supposed to operate depends on information, debate and verification — all of which are missing in ‘Harperland’, to use Lawrence Martin’s ringing coinage. Also missing is that high bar of behaviour known as being an “Honourable Gentleman”.

One of the few federal bureaucrats who stood up to Harper’s cult-conservatism was the lately-departed chief of the PBO, Kevin Page. He regularly challenged the phoney books and unsupported policy of this catch-us-if-you-can government — and (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that to end your weekend.

- Dave Coles introduces readers to the Cons’ latest attack on labour – with a backbencher’s private member’s bill again serving as an excuse to introduce unprecedent restrictions on union organization.

- Michael Harris suspects that the Cons’ attempt to delay any public review of their burgeoning Senate slush fund scandal by a referral to the Auditor General is doomed to fail. And Karl Nerenberg discusses exactly what the slush fund means – including the holes it highlights in Canada’s party financing system.

- Martin Regg Cohn rightly calls out Jim Flaherty for (Read more…)