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Politics and its Discontents: Amanda Lang Interviews Ed Broadbent

If you have as low an opinion of the CBC’s disgraced chief business correspondent, Amanda Lang, as I do, watch the following video. I think you will find that, with her absolutist questions typical of the extreme right and the intellectually deficient, she does not exceed expectations.

For Broadbent’s thoughts on how Harper has failed this country, click here. Recommend this Post

Parchment in the Fire: New IMF research: No evidence that labour market deregulation increases growth

New IMF research: No evidence that labour market deregulation increases growth.

Filed under: Austerity Tagged: Labor Market reform, neoliberalism

Politics and its Discontents: The Quiet Eloquence Of Harry Smith

His is a quiet eloquence that speaks far louder than all the braying our political ‘leaders’ engage in with abandon. Harry Smith, about whom I previously posted, is a man who has seen much during his long life. He has seen the worst that happens when society treats the majority of its people with contempt, condemning them to short lives of poverty, illness, and despair. He has also seen the best when society recognizes the obligations government has to the less advantaged through the construction of a comprehensive social safety net. It is the latter that he now sees (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: About that "Of the People, By the People, For the People" Business? Forget About It.

Proof positive that America is a corporatist state saddled with a “bought and paid for” Congress.

The big US banks have given the Democrats an ultimatum – silence progressives like Elizabeth Warren or we’ll cut off our funding.  Salon.com calls it “Wall Street’s political shakedown.“

If ever you doubted that our obscene campaign finance regime constitutes a form of legalized bribery, consider this: Reuters reports today that officials at top Wall Street banks recently convened to discuss how they could convince Democrats “to soften their party’s tone” toward the financial industry, and among the options now (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: The Three Eras of Canada’s Democracy or How We Got to Where We Are Today.

I first voted in the 60s and I’ve watched Canadian democracy evolve, not always in a good way, ever since.

I’ve witnessed three political eras in my lifetime.

There was an era of rights and freedoms, the years of Diefenbaker, Pearson and Trudeau.  Some might not realize it but Diefenbaker was a true champion of human rights.  Pearson brought Canada to the world stage as honest broker and peacekeeper.  Trudeau, of course, patriated the constitution and left us with perhaps the most important legislative enactment in our country’s history, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  That was the zenith of (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Contesting Capitalism in the Eurozone

In light of the new Syriza government’s difficult struggle against the German dominated institutions of the Eurozone, I’ve revisited a little known book published ten years ago by political scientist Richard Dunphy called Contesting Capitalism? Left Parties and European Integration (Manchester University Press, 2004). In the book, Dunphy charts out the trajectory of the European Far Left’s relationship to European integration. While at the time the book seemed to fly under the radar (this was just before the French and French rejection of the Lisbon Treaty in 2005 and the rapid accession of a number of new member states in (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: European Banks vs. Greek Labour

Filed under: Austerity Tagged: Austerity, Eurozone Crisis, Greece, neoliberalism

The Disaffected Lib: When Getting It Wrong No Longer Matters

In the age of neoliberalism ideology matters, not results.  Neoliberalism ensures there’ll always be another bus to drive into the next ditch.

Call it what you like, be it “market fundamentalism” or “free market capitalism,” neoliberalism works at cross purposes to democracy.  You know that business about government “of the people, by the people, for the people“?  There’s really no need for that sort of pap in the age of neoliberalism.

Neoliberalism displaces unruly democracy, the sort of thing that demands results and punishes failure, with an orderly form of corporatism where some things (Read more…)

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…)

Political Eh-conomy: Political Eh-conomy Radio: the left in Greece and Poland

https://politicalehconomy.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/podcast-150123-poland-greece1.mp3

 

I’ve been visiting family in Poland for the past few weeks so, fittingly, this week’s podcast deals with the situation of the left at two opposite ends of the European periphery: Greece and Poland. My first guest is Yanis Varoufakis, professor of economics at the University of Athens and candidate for SYRIZA in this Sunday’s parliamentary elections. Syriza is the main Greek left party and is poised to take the most votes, potentially even form a parliamentary majority, on Sunday. Yanis spoke with me about Greece’s economy on the eve of the elections and Syriza’s economic (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: What are Premier Jim Prentice and his three ‘agents of change’ planning for Alberta’s public service?

Alberta civil servants: do you get the feeling someone may have their eye on you? Below: Agents of change Richard Dicerni, Ian Brodie, Oryssia Lennie and Steve West.

Premier Jim Prentice says he intends to “reform” Alberta’s public service, fix its low morale, reverse its “shocking” turnover and deal with its other “very significant problems.”

He’s appointed a former senior federal civil servant and well-connected business professor to be his “agent of change,” along with a couple of right-hand persons to assist with this change agentry. Their work will start immediately.

Sounds way better, huh, than former premier Alison (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Tory income-splitting tax policy: It’s about creating and preserving gender inequality and making rich guys richer

Whew! This income splitting is a killer. Actual perfect families as seen by the Harper Government may not appear exactly like Canadian reality. Below: Queen’s University tax law professor Kathleen Lahey.

A fundamental purpose the Harper Government’s ideologically driven income-splitting tax scheme is to undermine women’s equality, Queen’s University tax law professor Kathleen Lahey told the Parkland Institute’s annual fall conference yesterday.

That’s a statement that may cause some readers to react with skepticism – but if you’re one of them, let me suggest it’s because you haven’t really been paying attention.

Dr. Lahey told a plenary session of the (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Political Eh-conomy Radio: Doug Henwood on US economics and politics

https://politicalehconomy.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/podcast-141114-doug-henwood.mp3

 

This week, it’s my great pleasure to present a feature interview with Doug Henwood — economic analyst, author of books including Wall Street and host of the wonderful Behind the News radio show and podcast that inspired this show. Doug always introduces his show by saying his guests will be “taking a look at worlds of economics and politics.” Today, I’ve turned the tables and asked him to take up this very task for the present-day US. The result is a wide-ranging interview on everything from the sluggish economic recovery to Obamacare, the changing character of elites, why (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Has Conservatism Become a Death Cult?

Some day our grandchildren will ask “why?”

They’ll want to know why their grandparents’ generation failed to act against climate change while there was still time to prevent their own generation from getting the worst of it.

That’s how they’re going to judge us; not by how bad, how dangerous, how punishing the environment they have to live in is but rather how much worse is it than it had to be.  And that’s what we’re doing now with our inaction on climate change.  We’re determining how much worse things are going to be for our grandchildren due to (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Capitalism Off the Rails

Those at the very top of today’s neoliberal, free-market capitalist, global economy see the writing on the wall – capitalism has just about run its course.

It’s hard to get your head around the idea, isn’t it?  It sure is for me.  Imagine, the economic model around which our society has been structured is bogus.  It is the product of 18th century economics, 19th century industrialism and 20th century geo-politics.  It worked for a couple of hundred years, perhaps right up until the early 70s, but it’s now dawning on us that it doesn’t work any more.  It’s lost its (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Political Eh-conomy Radio: Focus on China

https://politicalehconomy.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/podcast-141102-china.mp3

 

The focus of today’s podcast is China: its development over the past several years, the situation of workers and unions as well as future directions. To get some perspective second largest economy in the world and one still expanding at breakneck, albeit slower, pace, I spoke with two guests: Minqi Li and Cathy Walker.

My first guest is Minqi Li. Minqi is professor of economics at the University of Utah and specializes in China’s economy and offers. He previously taught at York University in Toronto and received his PhD from University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

My (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Will The Juncker Commission Continue To Entrench Neoliberal Policies?

Will The Juncker Commission Continue To Entrench Neoliberal Policies?.

A few days ago, the designated European Commission finally showed its true colours: It wants to make sure that its economic policy recommendations become enforceable. Deregulation of rent setting systems, adjusting the retirement age to account for life expectancy and increased flexibility in wage-setting mechanisms were mere recommendations in 2014. That is supposed to change now. Its instruments are the competitiveness pacts 2.0 and a separate budget for the Euro area, even though there is no legal basis for such a measure. A decision is going to be made at (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Listen Up. Does This Sound Familiar?

It seems to be an unavoidable part of neoliberalism – the sense of being ruled, not governed by consent.  It’s the degradation of democracy, the detachment of the rulers from the ruled that is paralleled by the compression of the political spectrum so that one party becomes largely indistinguishable from the others, all of them in service to the corporate state.

The good news and the bad news is that this modern political caste, grey suits stuffed with wet cardboard, inevitably spawns populist movements but they can either be more democratic or more authoritarian.  As we saw in (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Neoliberalism Has Made Us What We Are Today – And That Isn’t Pretty

Neoliberalism is a social, political and economic model best suited to those with psychopathic personality traits.

That, in any case, is the conclusion of Paul Verhaeghe, who dissects neoliberalism and what it has done to us in The Guardian.“Thirty years of neoliberalism, free-market forces and privatisation have taken their toll, as relentless pressure to achieve has become normative.”“..the financial crisis illustrated at a macro-social level (for example, in the conflicts between eurozone countries) what a neoliberal meritocracy does to people. Solidarity becomes an expensive luxury and makes way for temporary alliances, the main preoccupation always being (Read more…)

Writings of J. Todd Ring: Referendum On Scottish Independence: Why it matters to us all – no matter who we are or where we live

An excellent overview of the Scottish referendum on independence, which is happening today, was just pointed out to me by a friend – and, we should note that the referendum has great significance all around the world, and not only for the Scots. The article is well worth two minutes of your time to read, I […]

The Disaffected Lib: Restoring the Vox Populi

Some thoughts for this, Labour Day.The voice of the people.  Oh, how long has it been since that really meant anything?  In Canada and many other advanced countries, polls show that people are being governed without much if any regard to their views, their concerns.

It’s sort of like standing, waiting at the civic bus stop for a bus that just keeps passing you by.

Canadians want action on climate change.  Are they going to get it?  No. Canadians want action on inequality.  Are they going to get it?  Don’t be ridiculous.

The American people utterly loathe their federal (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Institutional Racism In Conservative Ideology

This post has been evolving for quite a long time.  However, in the last few days, a series of pieces have been published which bring together several threads of thought that I have been exploring for the last several years.  

There has long been a degree of bigotry and racism underlying modern day conservative ideologies.  At a glance, it appears to have its roots in the politics of religious literalism and the desire for simple, black-and-white explanations of the world in which we live.  My thinking on this matter has clarified enormously in the last few days.

The first (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: What Vestige of Democracy Remains in the Age of Neoliberalism?

Henry Giroux argues that we must perceive democracy as a culture and shake off the cloak of neoliberalism by which it has been subverted.  Excerpts from his essay, “Beyond the Spectacle of Neoliberal Misery and Violence in the Age of Terrorism”:

American culture is beset with what I want to call the spectacle of catastrophes, which move between the registers of transgressive excess and extreme violence, and in doing so exhaust their shock value, degenerating into escapist entertainment, while furthering a state of ethical and political paralysis given the widespread cynicism that has become the modus operandi of neoliberal (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Harper’s Reign Of Terror – A Closer Examination

While Stephen Harper’s attacks on charities have been followed here and elsewhere, the Star presents a good overview of how the offices of the CRA have been subverted by a vindictive regime that brooks no opposition to its neoliberal agenda.

The article begins with the egregious case of CoDevelopment Canada, a small Vancouver charity that works with its Latin American partners in helping to fund programs that assist the poor. Apparently, if that assistance threatens to upset the corporate status quo, a crime has been committed in Harperland.

One of CoDev’s Latin American partners is the Maria Elena Cuadra (Read more…)