Posts from our progressive community

Sunny ways, continued

Dawg's Blawg - il y a 19 min 36 sec
First it was brokering the sale of billions of dollars of military equipment to the mediaeval torture-state of Saudi Arabia. Now the Trudeau Liberals are in court trying to deny compensation to three Canadians, Abdullah Almalki, Muayyed Nureddin and Ahmad... Dr.Dawg

Will Any Woman Do?

Politics and its Discontents - il y a 3 heures 12 min
There's a special place in hell for women who don't help each other.

So said the first woman to become the United States Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, at a rally for Hillary Clinton. Surely I am not the only one disgusted by the implication of that statement, that everyone woman has a moral obligation to support one of their own gender in her quest for the presidency, no matter how odious or inappropriate that woman might be:
While introducing Mrs. Clinton at a rally in New Hampshire on Saturday, Madeleine Albright, the first female secretary of state, talked about the importance of electing the first female president. In a dig at the “revolution” that Mr. Sanders often speaks of, she said that the first female commander in chief would be a true revolution. And she scolded any woman who felt otherwise.

“We can tell our story of how we climbed the ladder, and a lot of you younger women think it’s done. It’s not done,” Ms. Albright said of the broader fight for women’s equality. “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!”

Not to be outdone, veteran feminist Gloria Steinem got into the act, somewhat ironically, on Bill Maher's show:
Explaining how women tend to become more active in politics as they become older, she suggested younger women were just backing Mr. Sanders so that they could meet young men.

“When you’re young, you’re thinking, ‘Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie,’ ” Ms. Steinem said.

Realizing that this was potentially offensive, Mr. Maher recoiled. “Oh. Now if I said that, ‘They’re for Bernie because that’s where the boys are,’ you’d swat me.”

But Ms. Steinem laughed it off, replying, “How well do you know me?”Take a look, starting at about the 4:00 minute mark:

One hopes, as one does with men, that critical-thinking will determine how a woman votes, not gender-identification.

Recommend this Post

Stephen Harper and the Little Killer

Montreal Simon - il y a 5 heures 6 min

When most people think of climate change they probably think of images like this one.

A scorched earth, starving people, and wars over water.

But when I think of climate change I also think of this little killer.
Read more »

Upstream, Downstream

Northern Reflections - il y a 5 heures 26 min

At the end of January, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr announced new guidelines to evaluate the impact of new pipelines. Jason Maclean writes:

The new regulations stipulate that oil pipeline decisions will be based on science and traditional indigenous knowledge; the views of the public, including affected communities and indigenous peoples; and the direct and upstream greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that can be linked to pipelines.
During their press conference announcing the new regulations, McKenna and Carr repeatedly intoned that “Canada needs to get its natural resources to market in a sustainable way.”
When pressed about greenhouse gas emissions, McKenna told reporters that the guidelines included projections about both upstream and downstream emissions. And there is the rub:
While this is a notable improvement on the NEB’s steadfast refusal to consider either the upstream or downstream emissions of oil pipelines, the problem remains that most of the GHG emissions arising from a pipeline are downstream emissions. An environmental assessment that arbitrarily excludes downstream emissions effectively exports not only Alberta’s bitumen crude oil but also its ultimate emissions.
In terms of science, peer-reviewed analyses demonstrate that in order to have a better-than-even chance of keeping global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average, at least 85 per cent of Alberta’s remaining ultimately recoverable bitumen must remain in the ground. In one model, the percentage rises to 99 per cent.
No oil pipeline that will expand the extraction of Alberta’s unconventional oilsands can pass a scientifically valid climate test because any increase in unconventional oil production is incommensurate with efforts to limit average global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. This is the scientific standard that must be applied to the Energy East project proposal if the government’s assessment is to be trusted by Canadians.
Justin Trudeau has vowed to assist Alberta's ailing economy and to fight climate change. If those commitments mean seeing the Energy East Pipeline construction through to New Brunswick, it appears that Trudeau has vowed to square the circle.
It will be interesting to see if he can do that. That feat has been tried before -- but without much success.

On double majorities

accidentaldeliberations - sam, 02/06/2016 - 13:59
Nathan Cullen's proposal for party representation on the Parliamentary committee reviewing electoral reform has received plenty of attention. But it might actually go much further than advertised to validate the results of the committee's work and legitimize a more fair electoral system.

One can view Cullen's proposal as reflecting a proportional system for allocating committee seats. But it doesn't mean for a second that any change to Canada's electoral system would come about only based on that structure.

Whatever the committee comes up with will still have to be dealt with through legislation in a Parliament in which the Libs have a majority. And that means what Cullen has suggested would in fact serve to confirm the legitimacy of any new system under all plausible interpretations of the results generated by the current one.

By way of explanation, it's fairly clear that the range of options under serious consideration includes three primary types of electoral system. Two of them - first-past-the-post (to the extent it's seen as an option in light of the Libs' promise to scrap it) and ranked ballot - would both have resulted in Lib majorities based on 2015 voting patterns. (Of course, we don't have direct information about what voters' alternative preferences would have been in 2015. But even if one ignores the simulated results prepared based on alternative data, that's not a problem capable of being remedied without conducting an election under a different system.)

That leaves the proportional representation option, where the first-choice preferences of Canadian voters would indeed result in exactly the representation proposed by Cullen. And there could be a substantive complaint about legitimacy if what can be fairly criticized as a false majority under one system is used as the sole basis either for preserving that system, or for imposing another one.

Cullen's suggestion then responds to that concern. But I'll argue that it also implicitly answers the question of what beyond a bare Parliamentary majority should be required to make electoral reform legitimate beyond reasonable complaint.

As I've noted before, it would be utter folly to demand unanimous support among all parties or MPs before any change could be implemented. But one can fairly make the point that in assessing our electoral options, there's no reason to question the validity of a system which would be able to earn majority support in Parliament regardless of the structure in place at the time the election process is amended. (And similarly, there's no plausible basis to insist on retaining a system which can be replaced based on that multiple-majority support, no matter how much one party shrieks about wanting to preserve its advantages.)

Of course, it remains to be seen whether the Libs will follow through on Cullen's proposal. But if they do, it should ensure both a more inclusive discussion of Canada's electoral system, and a more legitimate result.

Saturday Afternoon Links

accidentaldeliberations - sam, 02/06/2016 - 13:27
Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Robert Atkinson discusses the need for corporate tax policy to encourage economic development rather than profit-taking and share inflation. And Jim Hightower notes that it's an anti-democratic corporate mindset that led to the poisoning of Flint.

- Stephen Tapp offers some noteworthy ideas to ensure the public can meaningfully discuss our federal government's fiscal choices.

- Steven Chase finds that a majority of the public would prefer that Canada prioritize human rights over profits in deciding whether or not to supply military equipment to Saudi Arabia. But in case anybody was under the illusion that the Libs were going to pay attention to either public opinion or their own promises, Robert Fife reports on their plans to extend and exacerbate Canada's combat operations in the Middle East.

- The Star rightly calls for an end to the Cons' legacy of secrecy. But there too, there's little reason to think the Libs are offering anything more than show and symbolism.

- Finally, Bruce Johnstone comments on the Saskatchewan Party's dishonesty when it comes to the state of Saskatchewan's economy and fiscal picture. And the provincial auditor's view that a big-money giveaway to land developers was "not a normal transaction" looks to reflect just one more set of shady choices.

A modern tragedy

Dawg's Blawg - sam, 02/06/2016 - 10:55
Remember when people asked about victims of domestic assault what appeared to be, on the surface, a reasonable question—“Why didn’t she just leave?” More and more people now recognize how fatuous the question is. Not only might there be financial... Dr.Dawg

Let The Debate Begin

Northern Reflections - sam, 02/06/2016 - 06:53


Last week, Chrystia Freeland signed the Trans Pacific Partnership. While doing so, she maintained that her signature was in no way her government's ratification of the accord. There would be, she said, extensive public consultation and debate before the Liberals made that decision.

Murray Dobbin writes that, if history is any guide, the consultation will be shallow and the debate short lived:

For many of us who have dealt in the past with the trade bureaucrats promoting these investment protection agreements, it is easy enough to suspect that Freeland is being deliberately misinformed by her own staff. There is no doubt that the Trudeau government is eager to portray itself as open to persuasion on the TPP. To bolster the position that they still might say no, the government has engaged in a flurry of consultations across the country and has made a point of inviting ordinary concerned citizens to send in questions and criticisms to Global Affairs Canada. Sounds good so far. But it is the execution that raises serious questions about how genuine the consultation will be.

First, the consultations reveal that the vast majority have been with groups supportive of these agreements: provincial government ministers, business groups, industry reps, universities, etc. Of 74 such meetings (as of Jan. 31) there have been just a handful with "students" (but no student council representatives who have actually studied the TPP) and a couple with labour -- the CLC and Unifor. There have been literally no meetings with NGOs that have actually taken the time to closely examine the TPP -- not the Council of Canadians, not the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, not any First Nations (whose solemn agreements with governments can be trumped by ISDS), nor any environmental groups.

The real bone of contention has always been the Investor Dispute Settlement Mechanism. And, again, if history is any guide, things do not look good:

Since NAFTA came into effect on January 1, 1994 it has been subjected to over 35 NAFTA investor-state claims. Nearly two-thirds of these have involved challenges to environmental protection or resource management. Canada has already paid out over $170 million in damages in six cases (lost or settled) and abandoned most of the "offending" legislation and regulations. We currently face additional corporate challenges totalling over $6 billion in potential penalties for NAFTA "violations" such as the Quebec government's decision to ban fracking under the St. Lawrence River.
It's pretty clear that these trade agreements are written to favour large countries with large economies -- specifically, the United States. It appears that the bureaucrats in Global Affairs Canada do not recognize that fact. But, if there is a clear rejection of the TPP among Canadians citizens then, perhaps, Canada will not ratify the agreement. Perhaps.

In any case, let the debate begin.

Rona Ambrose and the Con Pipeline Hysteria

Montreal Simon - sam, 02/06/2016 - 05:00

By the way Rona Ambrose and the Con zombies have been clamouring for the Energy East pipeline to be built NOW, you might think that if it isn't we're all doomed.

Even though that's nonsense. And considering the state of the planet one might argue that the opposite is the case.

So I'm glad to see that Justin Trudeau is telling her ghastly oil pimps to stop playing politics or chill out.
Read more »

The Complete History of Japan - In a Matter of Minutes

The Disaffected Lib - sam, 02/06/2016 - 00:17
It's fast, it's fun - and it's sort of accurate. The history of Japan. Sit back, relax, enjoy.

The Demolishing of Stephen Harper's Legacy (Continued)

Montreal Simon - ven, 02/05/2016 - 22:10

I can only imagine how Stephen Harper must be feeling as he watches his foul legacy slowly being demolished.

But it can't be pretty, and it must be painful. 

Everything he built is being knocked down, and so soon after he was defeated.

Barely two weeks ago he had to look on helplessly as plans for his massive memorial to himself in the heart of Ottawa were scrapped. 

And today it was the turn of the Mother Canada or Mother Harper monument to feel the sting of the wrecking ball...
Read more »

Musical interlude

accidentaldeliberations - ven, 02/05/2016 - 16:08
Iris - Closer To Real

It Isn't Just About Jobs

Politics and its Discontents - ven, 02/05/2016 - 14:07

Although we live in a time that seems to demand almost constant preoccupation with the economy and jobs, sometimes there are more important considerations, such as a country's moral standing. Right now, that moral standing is in jeopardy thanks to the apparent inflexibility of the Trudeau government on the Saudi Arabian armaments deal. While it is worth a tremendous amount of money ($15 billion), many are saying it's just not worth it.

A poll released today is instructive:
Nearly six out of 10 Canadians surveyed by Nanos Research for The Globe and Mail say they feel it is more important to ensure arms exports go only to countries “that respect human rights” than it is to support 3,000 jobs by selling weaponized armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia.Other countries are growing increasingly uneasy about dealing with the repressive Middle East kingdom that has little respect for human rights:
On Thursday, an all-party committee of U.K. MPs called for a suspension of British arms sales to Saudi Arabia pending a probe into Riyadh’s devastating military campaign in Yemen. A UN report last week said a Saudi-led Arab coalition has conducted “widespread and systematic” bombing of Yemeni civilians – killing more than 2,600.Germany’s Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel recently signalled Berlin’s increasing unease over arms deals with Riyadh, saying in January the government needs to review future shipments. In the past 24 months, Berlin has denied key applications for arms exports to Saudi Arabia, including several hundred battle tanks and G36 rifles.In Belgium, the head of the Flemish government, Minister President Geert Bourgeois, announced in January that he has refused an application for an export licence to ship weapons to Saudi Arabia and hinted he would continue to do so in the future.While the Canadian government is adamant about the deal going ahead, pollster Nik Nanos believes the poll results provide an opportunity "... for the Liberals to cancel, stop, delay or modify the transaction”.

The question yet to be answered is whether Trudeau, especially in this case, is willing to put his money where his rhetoric about collaboration and transparency is.Recommend this Post

Which Explains Why Assange Must Remain in the Ecuadorian Embassy.

The Disaffected Lib - ven, 02/05/2016 - 11:25

The Swedes say they want WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange brought to justice on sexual assault charges. Assange says it's a ruse intended solely to get him in American custody.

Who to believe? I'd put my money on Assange. The Danish government has revealed that it cooperated with the Americans in 2013 when they thought they had a chance at snatching another whistle-blower, Edward Snowden.

A US government jet was lying in wait in Copenhagen to extradite the whistleblower Edward Snowden if he had come to Scandinavia after fleeing to Moscow in June 2013, the Danish government has revealed.

The twin-engined Gulfstream aircraft, which had previously been used to fly Abu Hamza to the US from the UK, landed shortly before the FBI called on Scandinavian police forces to arrest Snowden and hand him over for extradition.

Søren Pind, the justice minister, wrote to Danish MPs (pdf): “The purpose of the aircraft’s presence in Copenhagen airport is most likely to have been to have the opportunity to transport Edward Snowden to the United States if he had been handed over from Russia or another country.”

It's pretty easy to spot the CIA Gulfstream. It's the twin-engine job sitting on the far side of the airfield with only a tail number for identification.

Galbraith on "What Ever Happened to Conservatives?"

The Disaffected Lib - ven, 02/05/2016 - 11:13
Political economist, James K. Galbraith, wrote The Predator State toward the end of the Bush/Cheney fiasco. In this book he dissects what today stands as our economic orthodoxy - globalization and free market fundamentalism.

Galbraith doesn't denounce the High Priests of modern neoliberalism - Hayak, Friedman et al - as charlatans. To the contrary he contends they all started out as true believers who just happened to catch the attention of Reagan, Thatcher and Mulroney who found this economic ideology entirely suited to their ideologies.

What Galbraith points out is that long ago even Friedman and his apostles realized they were wrong. Their theories were tried and they failed. They did not deliver the predicted outcomes even if, as critics argue, they never were more than wishful thinking.

The issue is not whether the great conservative ideas once had appeal or a foundation in reputable theory. The issue is whether they have a future. And on that point, there is general agreement today, largely shared even by those who still believe passionately in the conservative cause. The fact is that the Reagan era panoply of ideas has been abandoned as the intellectual basis of a political program. ...The economic conservative still reigns supreme in the academy and on the talk shows, but in the public realm, he is today practically null and void. He does not exist. And if he were to resurface today in the policy world offering up the self-confident doctrines of 1980, he would be taken seriously by no one.

... There is a reason, in short, that principled conservatives find themselves in the political wilderness once again: they belong there. They are noble savages and the wilderness is their native element. They do not belong in government because, as a practical matter, they have little to contribute to it; they are guilty of taking the myths they helped create too seriously, and to sophisticated people, that makes then look a bit foolish.

A Flawed Ideology that Became a Contagion that Infects Us to This Day.

...few politicians in either party have yet publicly divorced themselves from the Reagan Revolution, in particular from the idea of the free market. Politicians notoriously say what is convenient and act along different lines entirely, causing problems for those who try to write about their views in a careful and serious way. But perhaps on no other issue is this tendency more pronounced than in matters relating to the markets, a word one apparently cannot use in the United States without bending a knee and making the sign of the cross.

And here the political world is divided into two groups. The are those who praise the free market because to do so gives cover to themselves and their friends in raiding the public trough. These people call themselves "conservatives," and one of the truly galling thing for real conservatives is that they have both usurped the label and spoiled the reputation of the real thing. And there are those who praise the "free market" simply because they fear that, otherwise, they will be exposed as heretics, accused of being socialists, perhaps even driven from public life. This is the case of many liberals. Reflexive invocations of the power of markets, the "magic" of markets, and the virtues of a "free enterprise system" therefore remain staples of political speech on both sides of the political aisle. However, they have been emptied of practical content, and the speakers know it.

...the Left has been doing too little thinking of its own. Liberals have yet to develop a coherent post-Reagan theory of the world, let alone a policy program informed by the political revelations, world policy changes and scientific realities. ...In consequence, new economic issues emerging under the influence of pressing events are dangerously underexamined. These issues include war, climate change, energy supply, corruption and fraud including election fraud, the collapse of public governing capacity, the perilous position of the international dollar and the position of immigrants in American society. These issues form the crux of the future of economic policy ...but none of these issues is geting more than passing development as yet from those to whom liberals look for ideas.

Re-read that last passage and ask if you haven't felt that same way, particularly since the ascendancy of Stephen Harper. There are so many issues that should be shaping our national policy - economic, social, military and international - that seem discarded by those who chart our nation's path, those who today write our grandchildren's future.

It seems as though, with each grand trade deal (they're not "free" trade, nothing of the sort), we give up aspects of state sovereignty to the corporate sector until, eventually, the state becomes only partially governable without the acquiescence of the new multinational power partner. The political caste has enfeebled its ability to govern coherently by shackles it freely clasped to its wrists and ankles.

That may be the undercurrent that will lead today's government to yield to one more fetter, the Trans Pacific Trade pact. The best argument I've heard in favour of TPP is that while it won't do Canada much good, we'll be really buggered if we don't sign on, if we refuse to succumb.

We have allowed transnationals to become more than super conduits of trade. We have established them as political powers in their own right and, in the process, we are creating what Galbraith calls "the Predator State."

What If Assad Wins, What Then?

The Disaffected Lib - ven, 02/05/2016 - 10:48

Russia's intervention in Syria may have turned the tables in favour of strongman, Bashar Assad. Russian airpower has been pounding the daylights out of Assad's opposition, the rebels (our guys), the Kurds (also our guys) and the Islamists (al Nusra/ISIS - not our guys).

From Vice News:

With a healthy assist from the Russian air force, the Syrian military and its allies cut a key rebel supply line to Turkey on Wednesday, dealing a serious blow to the rebels in the country's north and getting closer to creating a chokehold that could turn the course of the war.

Regime forces and militias in two Shi'ite towns seized the midpoint of a strip of rebel territory running north of Aleppo, Syria's largest city and economic hub, to the Turkish border. Regime forces had launched a new offensive north of the city on Monday, according to pro-government and opposition sources. By Wednesday, they had come within a few kilometers of the two partially besieged towns of Nubl and al-Zahraa and their forces were able to converge on the rebels in the middle.

The vital rebel supply line from Aleppo City up to the Bab al-Salameh border crossing with Turkey has now been cut by the regime. Rebels and civilians told VICE News that intense bombing and shelling had taken a heavy toll on the local population; many fled north but were stranded at the still-closed border crossing, or had camped in surrounding farmlands.

The West, of course, isn't at war with the Syrian regime (Assad) although we are providing backing to the rebels in a half-assed way even as the rebels get the other half of their asses bombed to pieces by Russian warplanes. The fact that Russia is backing Assad and has those S-400 surface to air missile batteries in place pretty much guarantees that we, the West, won't be getting any deeper into this conflict - i.e. we're not going to take on the Russians for the sake of Syria. Besides, if we did get frisky with Russia, our forces in the Baltics would be overrun in about 3-days.
In Canada there are some, usually found in the shallow end of the gene pool, who insist Canada must be ass deep in the "fight against ISIS", whatever that is. These "whack-a-mole" warriors never have any viable solutions for defeating ISIS nor, to them, does that even seem relevant. Intellectually these characters are one ratchet away from embracing PermaWar.
ISIS isn't Syrian nor is it Iraqi. ISIS is in Libya, the sub-Saharan Sahel (Senegal), Tunisia, perhaps now Egypt. It is in south Asia (Afghanistan), possibly Pakistan too. It is in the Philippines and it is in Indonesia. Both Russia and China contend that ISIS has spread into their southern territories. All the King's Horses and All the King's Men don't seem to be causing ISIS too much grief.
ISIS represents a radical, fundamentalist strain of Islam which is not all that distinct from the radical form of Islam promoted by our entirely respectable Middle East ally, Saudi Arabia.
Here's a question: when was the last time a 500-pound high-explosive bomb or endless numbers of them defeated a radical, well-dispersed, decentralized and expansive ideology?
As for me, I'm with Harvard prof Stephen Walt. It's time to admit that the Emperor has no clothes. America has no viable Middle East policy. For us, it's like climbing into the backseat knowing the driver has a blood alcohol level of 2.8. Stupid, just stupid and not at all likely to end well.
We need to sit this war out and maybe the next two or three that are bound to sweep through the Muslim world. Remember, Rule #1 - don't fight wars you have no means or will to win.

Push Back Time: Mock #40DaysOfPreyers

Dammit Janet - ven, 02/05/2016 - 07:47
Among animals, predators seek the slow, the old, the sick. Among humans, street criminals target the frail, the encumbered, the solitary. Child sexual predators look for the lonely child, the "odd" child, the neglected child. Sexual predators focus on people they figure will be manageable, quiescent, compliant.

In short, predation requires vulnerability.

Of course, all predators make mistakes and take on "prey" who turn out to be stronger, louder, faster, and smarter than they thought. (The Ghomeshi trial comes to mind.)

The spring session of 40 Days of Harassment is set to begin on February 10. (It took me years to figure out that there are TWO of these bunfests a year. There's another in the fall.)

Organizers target particular abortion facilities (or non-abortion facilities, see Guelph below) for "prayer vigils," which amount to 40 days of non-stop harassment of clients and staff at often already-beleaguered clinics.

Let's call it what it is: bullying.

Let's refine that: it is self-righteous bullies preying on vulnerable people at what may be major crisis points in their lives.

Or in the case of abortion providers, preying on healthcare providers who daily face stalking, surveillance, and violence just for offering a safe, legal, common medical procedure. (See the recently published Living in the Crosshairs for first-person stories of what these heroic people go through.)

All predators expect a reward. Lions get a meal. Muggers get a wallet. Sexual predators get orgasms.

And anti-abortion predators get what we call martyrgasms. A strange satisfaction from shrieking epithets and threats at ordinary people going about their personal business.

Back in November, I said that here now in Canada we have the perfect opportunity to secure reproductive rights and access once and for all.

It seems to me this year's first anti-choice martyr-fest would be a good place to start.

Beginning with social media, let's use the tag #40DaysOfPreyers. (I'm not the coiner of that one; I'll reveal the author after I've gotten permission.) Other suggestions are welcome, like #StayOutOfMyUterus, #HandsOffMyCunt, #NoBullyInMyLadyBits, and the one I and others have been using for years, #40DaysOfHarassment.

Let's take photos of them and their dumb-ass signs and post them on social media and/or dedicate a Tumblr or somesuch to the effort.

Let's counter-demonstrate. I love this story from a couple of years ago about a couple in North Carolina who made witty and weird signs to mock regular preyers at a local clinic.

In Canada, Campaign Lie has targetted clinics in nine cities:




a hospital in Guelph, where apparently no abortions are performed.





In Saskatoon, they don't seem able to muster 40 days' worth of bullying and so are going for "40 Hours for Life in front of Saskatoon City Hospital."
The times will be from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon Monday to Friday, and 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm every day. Call 1-800-891-2070 for more information.
In the UK in 2011, pro-choice people responded with 40 Days of Treats. Bring snacks or little gifts to targetted clinics, donate to pro-choice causes. In short, respond to cruelty and bullying with kindness and support.

Let's push back. Let's reveal and mock these bullies for what all bullies are: pathetic losers with a weird hobby.

Who have no damn right to prey on vulnerable people.

DJ! will stay on this for all 40 days. Send photos, links, suggestions for hashtags.

Friday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - ven, 02/05/2016 - 07:08
Assorted content to end your week.

- Ben Oquist laments the fact that trickle-down economics and destructive austerity remain the norm in Australia no matter how thoroughly they're proven to fail. Alvin Powell discusses the burgeoning inequality of opportunity in the U.S. And an anonymous tutor to the super-rich writes that even they don't ultimately benefit from gross inequality or social exclusion:
Seeing the human side of the 1% has caused me to view them less as a faceless symbol of injustice and more as people with their own, sometimes relatable, struggles. The feelings that are evident – anxiety, disconnect, isolation – are universal. And that’s promising. Recognising the humanity in the “other” – even the “enemy” – does not mean I do not judge them, but it does give me a chance to transcend the inequality and start conversations about change.
Educational inequality, the housing crisis, economic poverty all have narratives of villains and victims, winners and losers. But, having slept with the “enemy”, I feel more sincerely than ever that when you live with vast, systemic disparity, no one truly wins. And while I don’t believe in the system that creates jobs like mine, tutoring the super-rich has been valuable. I now believe more strongly than ever in the potential of empathy between people from different backgrounds, with different outlooks. And as a result – ironically – more strongly than ever against the social segregation inherent in private schooling.  - Meanwhile, Alex Morash points out the need for far more coverage of inequality and poverty as part of economic reporting in order to start reversing the trend. And Carmela Fragomeni reports on Hamilton's lack of progress in trying to reduce poverty.

- Raksha Vasudevan highlights the need for a national food policy based on the importance of social health. And Nick Falvo examines what we could and should be doing to combat homelessness in Canada.

- Alison calls out the Trans-Pacific Partnership as setting up an economic casino where the house always wins, while PressProgress points to Bernie Sanders' argument as to how it will continue eroding the middle class. And Maude Barlow notes that after-the-fact amendments to Canada's latest agreement with Europe only look to further entrench corporate control.

- Finally, Michael Winship interviews Naomi Klein about the devastating effects of climate change which go far beyond the globe warming up.

Michael Harris On the Con Smearing of Justin Trudeau

Montreal Simon - ven, 02/05/2016 - 06:01

I was glad to see Justin Trudeau have the courage and the decency to visit Alberta, a province where so many Cons hate him with an intensity that borders on insanity.

I was happy to see him provide Rachel Notley with some badly needed support, and reassure the many suffering people in that stricken province, and the devastated oil industry, that help is on the way.

“I’m going to continually highlight that we’re all in this together as Canadians – that Alberta contributed tremendously to Canada’s growth over the past decade. And now that we’re facing challenging times here in Alberta, Canada will be there for them,” Mr. Trudeau told reporters.

So imagine how I felt to see the Con media in that province attack Trudeau like a pack of rabid zombies. 
Read more »


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