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Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Sarah Ayres discusses the value of the social safety net as a matter of both social and economic policy: A significant body of evidence supports the view that, far from creating a so-called poverty trap, the safety net actually reduces poverty, increases economic mobility, and strengthens our national economy. Moreover, studies have shown that many antipoverty programs, especially those that target children, offer an excellent return on investment to taxpayers.…An analysis by the Council of Economic Advisers shows that when safety net programs are taken into account, the poverty rate actually fell from 26 percent in 1967 (Read more…)

OpenMedia.ca: Protect Our Privacy with our Letter to the Editor tool

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Highlight Link:  https://openmedia.org/privacy/letter

OpenMedia.ca: How Canadian companies can fight surveillance

Canadian Internet Service Providers are eerily silent when it comes to information about whether or not they have assisted ultra-secretive spy agency CSEC with their surveillance of law-abiding Canadians. Jon Penney discusses what Canadian companies can do to help fight surveillance.

Article by Jon Penney for The Citizen Lab

The Communications Security Establishment’s surveillance practices raise significant privacy concerns but full answers, transparency, or substantive reforms ensuring democratic oversight from either CSEC, or the Canadian Government, are not likely forthcoming. Canadians should also care about what to do in the meantime. Professor Michael Geist has recently posted about what average (Read more…)

OpenMedia.ca: Digital Journal: What will it take for CSEC spying to spark more outrage?

In this hard-hitting op-ed, George Arthur asks what it will take for Canadians to get answers about out-of-control spy agency CSEC.

Article by George Arthur for the Digital Journal

This is the question I am left with as I consider what it will take for Canadians to demand answers about the true operations of the spy agency that is set to move into the most expensive governmental building in the nation’s history.

According to the careers page for Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), “2014 promises to be an exciting year.” The organization is scheduled to move into “a newly (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Murray Dobbin points to the oil sector’s utter domination of Canada’s federal political scene. And Dr. Dawg sums up the problem: Briefly, the Harperium has now taken to grossly misusing the state apparatus to spy upon and intimidate citizens who dare to disagree with the Prime Minister. The RCMP and CSIS have been improperly deployed against perfectly non-violent folks who happen to oppose the development of the filthy, polluting Alberta Tar Sands—including a story-telling seniors’ group.

The cop-and-spook brigade have, as it turns out, been meeting in cabal with oil company execs, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Nora Loreto offers an important reminder as to why we contribute taxes to social well-being: (T)axes still pay for things we need. Everyone benefits from a universal system of healthcare. Everyone is touched by the birth of someone and nearly everyone will rely on the system in the moments that precede their death. These moments are expensive.…User fees exchanged for public services limits access; those who can pay are separated from those who cannot. The introduction of every new user fee will result in fewer people able to afford to access (Read more…)

OpenMedia.ca: The Day We Fight Back

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Highlight Link:  https://openmedia.ca/stand

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Sunday reading.

- Zoe Williams interviews George Lakoff about the need for progressive activists and parties to work on changing minds rather than merely pursuing an elusive (and illusory) middle ground: (T)he left, he argues, is losing the political argument – every year, it cedes more ground to the right, under the mistaken impression that this will bring everything closer to the centre. In fact, there is no centre: the more progressives capitulate, the more boldly the conservatives express their vision, and the further to the right the mainstream moves. The reason is that conservatives speak from (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Ian Welsh discusses the nature of prosperity – and the illusion that it means nothing more than increased economic activity: All other things being equal more productive capacity is better. The more stuff we can make, in theory, the better off we’ll be. But in practice, it doesn’t always work that way.

Part of the problem is due to hierarchies and inequality. Inequality is undeniably bad for us. The more unequal your society is, the lower the median lifespan. The more unequal the society, the sicker, in general. More heart attacks, much more (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Lana Payne calls out Stephen Harper’s hypocrisy in paying lip service to the problems with the use of disposable temporary foreign labour while expanding exactly that policy throughout his stay in power: The program was supposed to be a last resort for employers dealing with skills shortages and used in a truly temporary fashion to fill high skill gaps until Canadians could be trained for those jobs.

That has not been the case under the current federal Conservative government. Not only has the program been used as a source of cheap labour, it (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Pierre Brochu and David Green study the effect of minimum wage rates, and find a connection between a higher minimum wage and greater employment stability. But if there’s a choice between stable, well-paying work and precarious employment where job churn and wage reductions are seen as the norm, far too many policy-makers are choosing the latter – as Annie Lowrey notes that U.S. states are actively slashing benefits for unemployed workers to force them to grab desperately at whatever is available.

- Meanwhile, Juan Carlos Suárez Serrato and Owen Zidar offer (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- George Monbiot criticizes the UK Cons’ latest effort to outlaw any form of individual action or expression which might intrude upon the corporate bubble: The existing rules are bad enough. Introduced by the 1998 Crime and Disorder Act, antisocial behaviour orders (asbos) have criminalised an apparently endless range of activities, subjecting thousands – mostly young and poor – to bespoke laws. They have been used to enforce a kind of caste prohibition: personalised rules which prevent the untouchables from intruding into the lives of others.

You get an asbo for behaving (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s “letter to the Brazilian people”

“At the NSA, I witnessed with growing alarm the surveillance of whole populations without any suspicion of wrongdoing, and it threatens to become the greatest human rights challenge of our time,” says whistleblower Edward Snowden in this “open letter to the Brazilian people”, published by the Folha de S Paulo newspaper:

The post NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s “letter to the Brazilian people” appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

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…)

OpenMedia.ca: The Ryan and Amy Show tackles surveillance issues with a catchy music video

Check out this great video by The Ryan and Amy Show. Do you always feel like somebody’s watching you too? You can learn more about Canada’s largest pro-privacy coalition at https://OurPrivacy.ca

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Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Bob Hepburn writes that more Canadians approve of the idea of a guaranteed annual income than oppose it – even as the concept is all too frequently dismissed as politically unpalatable. And Stuart Trew points out that a majority of Canadians disagree with the corporate super-rights contained in the CETA and other trade agreements.

- But of course, blind support for corporate interests and opposition to a reasonable standard of living for all are neatly clustered in the Cons’ caucus among other places. And Carol Goar writes that Con MPs used a Parliamentary (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Toby Sanger highlights how the Cons (following in the footsteps of the Libs before them) have already slashed federal government revenues and expenses to levels not seen since the first half of the 20th century – even as they continue to call for more blood: Total federal government spending as a share of the economy is projected to drop to a 14% share of the economy by 2018/19.  This would be the lowest since at least 1948.  Because the government has tied the federal public service up in knots, actual spending will (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: STATEMENT: WikiLeaks’ Sarah Harrison on Edward Snowden Asylum

Here’s a statement by WikiLeaks journalist Sarah Harrison on NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s temporary asylum in Russia, granted in August.

The post STATEMENT: WikiLeaks’ Sarah Harrison on Edward Snowden Asylum appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Stephany Griffith-Jones points out the lack of any coherent argument against a Robin Hood tax on financial transactions – and the public support when political parties actually raise it for debate: Major financial sectors such as the United States, Hong Kong and South Korea already have FTTs which together raise tens of billions in revenue annually without causing economic damage. In the UK we have the very successful stamp duty, an FTT on share transactions that raises more than £3bn a year, of which 40% is paid by foreign-based investors and banks. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Andrew Coyne highlights the ultimate issue in the Cons’ Senate patronage, scandals and cover-ups: (I)f the prime minister sets the standard, then we are entitled to ask: Why has this standard been so inconsistent? On essentially the same set of facts, the senators in question have been held to three entirely distinct standards: total indulgence, in the first stages of their tenure, when they were viewed as assets to the party; total ostracism, since the scandal broke, when they had become political liabilities; and in between that strange interlude, at least with regard (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Civil Liberties Group Sues Spy Agency Over Illegal Spying On Canadians

The BC Civil Liberties Association has filed a lawsuit against Canadian spy agency ASEC, claims its surveillance of Canadians is unconstitutional.

The post Civil Liberties Group Sues Spy Agency Over Illegal Spying On Canadians appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Agence France-Presse reports that even the IMF has reached the conclusion that higher taxes on wealthy citizens are a necessary part of competent economic management – even as the Harper Cons and other right-wing governments keep trying to peddle trickle-down economics to everybody’s detriment.

- Susan Delacourt writes that political campaigns may have managed to jump ahead of corporate marketing in targeting messages to individual voters. But Stephen Maher is rightly concerned that both parties and governments alike are being run primarily based on a desire to create political fund-raising messages, rather (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Gordon Hoekstra reports on a study by British Columbia determining that Canada lacks any hope of containing the types of oil spills which will become inevitable if the Cons’ pipe-and-ship plans come to fruition. But once again, the Cons’ response is to make clear that they consider an ounce of self-delusion and denial to be worth a pound of cure.

- Meanwhile, the Star-Phoenix’ editorial board recognizes the desperate need for resource-rich provinces to handle their wealth responsibility: (P)rovinces such as Saskatchewan and Alberta are dipping ever deeper into their one-time resource revenue (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, following up on Alex Himelfarb and Jordan Himelfarb’s observations about the need to talk about the good we can do with tax revenue by noting the importance of making sure public money and authority aren’t diverted to private or corporate purposes.

For further reading…- CBC reports on Alberta’s exclusion of environmental groups from any project assessment processes, while Justice Marceau’s full ruling is here.- The Guardian reports on Canada’s spying against Brazilian leaders and businesses, as well as the Cons’ deliberate choice to foster cozy dealings between CSEC and the resource sector. And Alison fills in (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Blacklocks reports (PDF) on the abuse of a corporate tax credit which served as an “open bar” allowing businesses to have the public fund their basic operations. And it’s surely worth noting that after that abuse was identified, the Cons’ reaction was to cover up the resulting report in order to keep the bar open (with slightly watered-down drinks).

- Meanwhile, David Martin highlights the Cons’ attempts to break longstanding promises to public employees by slashing pension benefits after they’ve long since retired.

- And the Star’s editorial board laments the Cons’ (Read more…)