Posts from our progressive community

The Mulcair Solution: Fence-Sitting as Political Suicide….

Left Over - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 18:06
Quebec NDP MP Sana Hassainia defects over Mideast position

By Susana Mas, CBC News Posted: Aug 20, 2014 1:48 PM ET Last Updated: Aug 20, 2014 7:16 PM ET

 

 

 

Sad to say, the NDP has always waffled on this issue, and it’s one of many reasons I refuse to join the party or do any more volunteer work for campaigns…I will, also unfortunately, have to keep voting for them as there is no progressive alternative around…if the Greens ever cease kowtowing to the Tories, I might have to go there.May is the only ones with the guts to take a principled stand on the Israel-Palestine issue….

The fact that Mulcair has decided to take cheap shots at Hassainia’s  ‘attendance’  or comment that they tried to ‘accommodate’ her by allowing her to breastfeed in a private office is  so pathetic that I can’t think of anything that isn’t too vulgar to compare it with.

I can’t help but wish that she had  breastfed right from her seat in the house, that would have stirred things up! Suffice to say, I am disappointed (as usual) with the NDP, but sadly, not too surprised…

I’m guessing they are in panic mode because they have foolishly sat back and watched as Junior Trudeau went out and pressed the flesh, his gleaming smile and spit curls on the forehead charming the average disgruntled Tory voter (read: ex-Libs) and stealing all the thunder  garnered by the NDP in Quebec..

Mulcair is great in the House, no denying it; but  the average voter could care less…he is allowing the Cons and Libs to take the fight to him, instead of being out there  meeting the public, at least once in a while…and  this latest defection will help not at all…


Sorry, I've Been Kinda Busy...

Politics and its Discontents - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 16:36
That must be the reason that people like Transport Minister Lisa Raitt and her parliamentary secretary Jeff Watson haven't yet had time to read the Transportation Safety Board's damning report on last year's Lac-Mégantic train derailment that killed 47 people:



Recommend this Post

Is Obama Bombing the Right Targets?

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 13:56


Maybe Obama needs to expand the target list for his bombers trying to thwart Islamist extremists in Iraq.  Why not bomb a few royal palaces in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Gulf states?  These crown princes and sheikhs unleashed Sunni outfits like Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda and lavishly funded them for years. Many believe they're still funding them under the table.

What sanctions are being imposed on these prominent Arabs by the West?  None. Why not?  Because they're our friends, supposedly.  Or at least they sell us oil and buy our weapons.  But what kind of friend supports Wahhabists and Salafists? That would be an underhanded, double-dealing friend and that's no friend at all.

It's time our "friends" were handed the Butcher's Bill for their perfidy.  They've got oodles of weapons.  We saw to that.  They've got plenty of people to use them.  We trained those guys.  It's time we told our "friends" that it's on them now.  It's on them to intervene to defeat ISIS and hunt down Islamist terrorists wherever they have spread.

This is their mess.  They can damned well clean it up.  Or else we can just start leveling their palaces until they see the light.

Could Harper Deploy Troops Against Canadians?

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 13:13


I was taken aback by a post from Geoff Kennedy at Parchment in the Fire entitled, "EU Advisors Advocate use of Military Against Strikes and Protests | Global Research."

The thrust of this report is that military forces should be employed to defend the interests of the extremely wealthy from unrest among the masses.  The key author was professor Tomas Ries, currently with the Swedish Institute for International Affairs.  Geoff writes:

Ries sees the central threat to “security” in a violent “conflict between unequal socioeconomic classes in global society,” which were “in vertical asymmetric tensions in the global village.” Put simply, the main “security issue” is class struggle in the globalised world economy.

For the inevitable social, economic and political conflicts which would emerge from this inequality, he recommended that the EU enter a “symbiosis” with the global corporations. The power of these companies “in the areas of technology and economy is constantly growing, while they are also winning influence in other areas. But they need the state and the state needs them.”

With the financial crisis, the state had already fulfilled its part in the “symbiosis.” The population had been burdened with the banks’ debts, and the living conditions of the working class had been attacked and undermined.

As a consequence of these fundamental attacks on the social rights of the working class, according to Ries, social conflict will inevitably develop which would constrain important areas of infrastructure.

The rich had to be protected from the poor, the professor explained. Since “the percentage of the population who were poor and frustrated would continue to be very high, the tensions between this world and the world of the rich would continue to increase, with corresponding consequences. Since we will hardly be able to overcome the origin of this problem by 2020, i.e., the functional defects of society, we will have to protect ourselves more strongly.”

Ordinarily I would have written this off, putting it down to just more ravings of another Euro-crank.  However much of what Ries advocates is now being put into place in the United States. I wrote about this the other day in a post about America's Posse Comitatus Act which prohibited the deployment of U.S. military forces against the American people.

That's "prohibited" as in past tense.  The intent of the Act was quietly watered down by Bush-Cheney in 2006 when Bush persuaded Congress to enact an express authority for the use of military force on American streets:   "The President may employ the armed forces... to... restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition... the President determines that... domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of maintaining public order... or [to] suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy..."

Which leads me to wonder - if the Europeans are toying with it and the Americans have already put it in place, would our Divine Leader be reluctant to invoke The Emergencies Act, successor to The War Measures Act, to use military muscle to put down civilian unrest, say in the form of large scale opposition to the Northern Gateway pipeline?

The Act allows the prime minister, with a cooperative Governor General, to impose martial law in the event of, "public order emergency." The Harper gang are utterly intolerant of dissent, especially when it results in protest.  How far would protest have to go before our Constitutional Beelzebub declares it an emergency under the Act?  And, as for Harper's stooge in Rideau Hall, is there any reason to trust that he would defend Canadians against the excesses of our prime minister?  With deviants like Joe Oliver ready to denounce environmentalists as terrorists who are 'inimical' to the country and with CSIS (and presumably CSEC), the national police already in secret service to Big Oil we have a government that plainly sees those who stand opposed to its will as enemies of the state.

The Governor in Council is authorized to declare a public order emergency exists in the event of a "threat to the security of Canada" as defined in s,. 2 of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act:

“threats to the security of Canada” means
  • (a) espionage or sabotage that is against Canada or is detrimental to the interests of Canada or activities directed toward or in support of such espionage or sabotage,
  • (b) foreign influenced activities within or relating to Canada that are detrimental to the interests of Canada and are clandestine or deceptive or involve a threat to any person,
  • (c) activities within or relating to Canada directed toward or in support of the threat or use of acts of serious violence against persons or property for the purpose of achieving a political, religious or ideological objective within Canada or a foreign state, and
  • (d) activities directed toward undermining by covert unlawful acts, or directed toward or intended ultimately to lead to the destruction or overthrow by violence of, the constitutionally established system of government in Canada,
but does not include lawful advocacy, protest or dissent, unless carried on in conjunction with any of the activities referred to in paragraphs (a) to (d). Joe Oliver obviously had s. 2(b) in mind when he spoke of Canadian dissidents being under the influence of foreign organizations and when he declared dissenting Canadians "inimical (detrimental) to the interests of Canada."  That alone gives the game away. The Act itself is hopelessly vague on the powers of the government on declaration of an "emergency." Preamble to The Emergencies Act: WHEREAS the safety and security of the individual, the protection of the values of the body politic and the preservation of the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of the state are fundamental obligations of government; AND WHEREAS the fulfilment of those obligations in Canada may be seriously threatened by a national emergency and, in order to ensure safety and security during such an emergency, the Governor in Council should be authorized, subject to the supervision of Parliament, to take special temporary measures that may not be appropriate in normal times;

Operative sections:

17. (1) When the Governor in Council believes, on reasonable grounds, that a public order emergency exists and necessitates the taking of special temporary measures for dealing with the emergency, the Governor in Council, after such consultation as is required by section 25, may, by proclamation, so declare.
  •  (2) A declaration of a public order emergency shall specify
    • (a) concisely the state of affairs constituting the emergency;
    • (b) the special temporary measures that the Governor in Council anticipates may be necessary for dealing with the emergency; and
    • (c) if the effects of the emergency do not extend to the whole of Canada, the area of Canada to which the effects of the emergency extend.
  •  19. (1) While a declaration of a public order emergency is in effect, the Governor in Council may make such orders or regulations with respect to the following matters as the Governor in Council believes, on reasonable grounds, are necessary for dealing with the emergency:
    • (a) the regulation or prohibition of
      • (i) any public assembly that may reasonably be expected to lead to a breach of the peace,
      • (ii) travel to, from or within any specified area, or
      • (iii) the use of specified property;
    • (b) the designation and securing of protected places;
    • (c) the assumption of the control, and the restoration and maintenance, of public utilities and services;
    But the Act does embody certain protections.  The conclusion of the preamble states, "the Governor in Council, in taking such special temporary measures, would be subject to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Bill of Rights and must have regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, particularly with respect to those fundamental rights that are not to be limited or abridged even in a national emergency.  The Act also requires the emergency order to be brought before the House for consideration and debate.

    Harper would therefore be restrained by his arch-nemesis, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  Once again our last line of defence against our jackboot government would rest with the Supreme Court of Canada.  Knowing Harper the defiant would be spending a good bit of time in the Greybar Hotel before the court could intervene.




    Ridiculous

    Cathie from Canada - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 11:16
    Doesn't Canada's official languages commissioner have better things to do than investigate John Baird’s tweets?

    Is this the goal, to make the commissioner's office look ridiculous and trivial?
    If so, they're succeeding.

    Harper Northern Tour Caption Winners

    FFIBS - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 10:25

    Harper Nortern Tour 2014Thank you to all those who entered.


    Filed under: 2011 Election

    Wednesday Morning Links

    accidentaldeliberations - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 07:58
    Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

    - David Leonhardt offers a revealing look at the relative priorities of wealthier and poorer regions of the U.S. And Patricia Cohen discusses the disproportionate effect of inequality and poverty on women:
    It’s at the lowest income levels that the burden on women stands out. Not only are they more likely than men to be in a minimum-wage job, but women are also much more likely to be raising a family on their own.
    “Inequality is rising among women as well as men, but at the bottom, women are struggling with some dimensions of these problems that men aren’t, which is raising and supporting these families as single heads of households,” said Francine Blau, an economist at Cornell University.
    So while the number of families living on less than $2 per person per day doubled between 1996 and 2011, according to the National Poverty Center, it tripled among families headed by a lone woman.
    Wages are only one part of the problem, said Arlie Russell Hochschild, a sociologist at the University of California, Berkeley, whose 1989 book, “The Second Shift,” described how fathers rarely chipped in with housework and child care even when their wives were working full-time. She notes that as men’s economic opportunities decline, so do their marriage prospects. The increase in poor single mothers means that many of the lowest-wage workers are not getting any help in the second shift.- But while that example reflects market outcomes rather than policy choices, sometimes right-wing disdain for vulnerable people is actually made explicit. And Lizanne Foster exposes the B.C. Libs' apparent hostility toward special needs children - whose learning supports are being put on the chopping block as "wage benefits".

    - Andy Blatchford reports on the Transportation Safety Board's findings about the Lac-Megantic rail explosion. The Globe and Mail editorial board highlights the failure of Transport Canada to properly regulate an increasingly dangerous industry, while Paul Wells notes that the history of railway self-regulation extends back to the Libs' stay in power.

    - Meanwhile, in another prime example of the conflict of interest inherent in letting corporations (and their hand-picked consultants) regulate themselves, David Dayen discusses how the U.S.' big banks avoid public regulation by instead choosing their own investigators.

    - The Star points out that the Cons' obsession with austerity and deficits is entirely political. But it's also worth recognizing that any talk of balancing a budget is purely temporary: as soon as the red ink stops flowing for a year, their plan is to start slashing taxes again to make sure the federal government lacks the capacity to repair the Cons' damage. And David MacDonald charts the public revenue already lost to a decade and a half of corporate tax giveaways.

    - Finally, Marilyn Reid takes a look at how CETA fits into the Cons' general philosophy of suppressing wages and rendering work more precarious.

    Pros and Cons

    Politics and its Discontents - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 05:45


    Following up on Rona Ambrose's stout denial that the government's planned anti-marijuana campaign has anything to do with trying to undermine Justin Trudeau, along with Canadian doctors refusing to be part of a campaign that has become, as they describe it, political messaging, here are the perspectives of two National Post readers:

    Re: Health Canada Doesn’t Endorse Medical Use Of Pot, Ambrose Says, Aug. 19.

    The time for legalizing marijuana is long overdue. It strikes as more than a little hypocritical that the politicians in this country spend our tax dollars to bewail the evils of pot, while alcohol is given a free pass on being socially acceptable.

    It would be interesting to compare the harms caused by alcohol and marijuana. Should we start with tallying vehicular injury and death? Then we could calculate which substance contributes more to violent crime. Then look at which is more likely to cause social ills, such as broken families and spousal abuse. Then we could also measure the medical costs incurred on the health system by both substances.

    Every state in the U.S. that has fully legalized marijuana has reported only positive results — socially and economically. It is time that the politicians and the people benefiting from this draconian system of prohibition accept the facts.


    Robert Fitzpatrick, Sicamous B.C.

    Playing politics

    By refusing to take part in a Health Canada anti-drug campaign that will target young people, the doctors are showing their political bias in favour of Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, who supports legalizing marijuana use. Can’t they see that they have allowed their politics to prevent their informed opinion on discouraging marijuana use to be propagated?

    Jiti Khanna, Vancouver.Recommend this Post

    One Turn Deserves Another

    Northern Reflections - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 05:36

                                                                http://mypolice.qld.gov.au/

    The time has come, Lawrence Martin writes, for Michael Sona to name names. If he doesn't, the Harper party will get away with what was clearly an organized attempt to steal an election. In fact, what happened in the robocall scandal was standard Harperian practice. Consider the record:

    We have a party that got caught staging a deceptive phone campaign against Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, an act that the Conservative Speaker of the Commons called “reprehensible.” We have a party that first denied, then admitted involvement in a deceptive robocalls campaign involving a Saskatchewan riding redistribution dispute. A Conservative MP pointed the finger at senior party organizer Jenni Byrne, now the Prime Minister’s deputy chief of staff. We have a party that pleaded guilty in 2011 to Elections Act charges relating to exceeding spending limits in the so-called “in and out” affair from the 2006 campaign.
    Perhaps, facing five years in jail, Sona will pull the plug. It's clear that Elections Canada -- under Mr. Harper's appointee, Yves Coté -- has no intention of reopening his investigation into the 2011 election. That's exactly what the Conservatives want.

    It was those same Conservatives who turned on Sona. One turn deserves another.

    The Harper PMO and the Insane War on Justin Trudeau

    Montreal Simon - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 04:03


    Well you might think that Stephen Harper and his PMO gang might have better things to worry about than the Liberal leader's visit to Edmonton.

    Like the disastrous state of the Canadian economy which is only producing part-time jobs.

    Or how they're going to explain why they failed to prevent this totally preventable catastrophe.

    Or how they're going to dodge the beginning of the Mike Duffy trial on the same day that Parliament returns.

    But no, as this memo from the PMO shows, they have only one thing on their minds.

    The total destruction of Justin Trudeau. 
    Read more »

    Julian Fantino and the Continuing Con War on Canadian Veterans

    Montreal Simon - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 00:08


    I don't think I'll ever forget the sight of Julian Fantino running away from the wife of a wounded veteran who just wanted to speak to him.

    And how Jenifer Migneault finally threw up her arms in frustration and despair and shouted at the retreating minister:

    "We are NOTHING to you."

    It was so powerful, it stunned me like a concussion grenade.

    And how right she was.

    For what else is anybody supposed to conclude from this disgusting situation? 
    Read more »

    Today's flying pigs

    Cathie from Canada - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 21:27
    Flying pigs were in the news today.

    Justice Minister Mackay actually said that the Harper Cons are still considering tickets for pot possession and he expected us to believe it.

    Next we'll likely be told that the PMO is reconsidering letting federal research scientists talk about global warming and the CRA is finishing its coercive charity audits.


    Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

    accidentaldeliberations - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 19:10
    Cats in motion.



    The Con Regime and the Horror of Lac Mégantic

    Montreal Simon - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 16:54


    The report into the horrifying tragedy in Lac-Mégantic is out, and it couldn't be more devastating for the Con regime.

    A railway with a “weak safety culture” and a federal regulator that was asleep at the switch combined to bring about the worst accident in modern Canadian history, says a report by the Transportation Safety Board.

    For not only does the report blame the railway for not operating safely, it also blames the federal government for not doing enough to prevent that fiery holocaust.
    Read more »

    Harper's War on Charities is a War on All of Us

    The Disaffected Lib - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 12:07


    Never underestimate the scope and impact of the Harper regime's war to gag our charities. Oxford student and 2013 Rhodes Scholar, Joanne Cave writes in today's Times Colonist that the use of the CRA cudgel to silence charities by Harper & Co.is just the tip of the iceberg.

    The recent Canada Revenue Agency crackdown on everyone from Pen Canada to Oxfam — noting, quite appallingly, that “preventing poverty” isn’t an appropriate charitable aim after all — has Canada’s charitable sector wondering: When is enough, enough?

    And if you think the issues facing charities aren’t relevant to your life, think again — your local museum, soccer club, Alzheimer’s day program and national park preservation committee are likely registered charities.

    The fear-mongering culture created by such frequent political audits is, unfortunately, only the tip of the iceberg in how Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government has approached its relationship with the charitable sector. Prior to the 2010 G8 Summit, at which maternal health was a critical part of the agenda, federal funding for 11 Canadian women’s organizations was cut due to their pro-choice advocacy. Similar restraints have been placed on organizations in immigrant settlement services, environment and climate change advocacy and anti-poverty.

    While compliance with the CRA’s 10 per cent threshold for advocacy activities is important to prevent abuses to the system, such an audit culture drains the resources of small organizations and paralyzes their participation in the political process. I donate to charities, as do many other Canadians, because I want them to take a stand on issues I believe in.

    Federal funding, when it is available, is often short-lived for Canadian charities. Under Harper’s government, charities can increasingly get only project-based funding rather than ongoing, and decidedly less sexy, core organizational funding that enables long-term sustainability. By refusing to fund charitable organizations long-term, we assume that services such as food banks, counselling services, support groups and assisted recreation programs are not integral to the fabric of our society. 

    This creates what is often described as a “shadow state” in social policy — when government downloads the provision of services to charitable organizations as arm’s-length partners and uses policies, such as CRA’s political audit crackdown, to limit their independence and constrain their ideological stances. It paralyzes innovation, muzzles healthy political discourse and disrespects the fundamental role of charities in supporting our country’s most disadvantaged communities.

    The women’s sector — with which I am most familiar — is still reeling from policy and funding changes imposed several years ago. These changes included the elimination of a $1-million independent research fund on women’s issues, the restriction of all advocacy and legal reform activities for grant recipients (e.g. a women’s shelter advocating on issues pertaining to violence against women) and the removal of the word “equality” from the funding program’s goals.

    The CRA’s expanding audit culture is leading charities in a similar direction, but creates a confusing paradox: If charities can’t advocate on the issues that mandate their existence in the first place (a preventive approach) and can’t expect long-term government funding (a reactive approach), where will change come from?

    This kind of audit culture actively prevents the civic participation our democracy relies upon, silences the organizations we care about most and forces our thriving charitable sector to become unfairly apolitical. If this frustrates you, donate to charities whose advocacy activities you believe in as a sign of solidarity and support.

    Charities, you’re not alone. 

    Must Read - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Ferguson Is About Race But It's Also About Poverty in America

    The Disaffected Lib - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 11:44


    Check out Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's op-ed in Time Magazine, "The Coming Race War Won't Be About Race."

    KAJ argues that, if the Ferguson atrocity isn't to fade into another historical footnote, it's essential that it must be seen as not just another racial incident but also as class warfare.

    Those Shellfish Are Talking to You. Can You Hear Them?

    The Disaffected Lib - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 09:36


    The eastern Pacific, from the Bering Sea to northern California, has been one of the world's last remaining great fisheries.  It's a band of coastal ocean famous for its abundant salmon, cod, halibut and tuna but it's also known for its bounty of crab of several varieties plus shellfish including scallops, clams, mussels and oysters.

    Now a lot of that resource is at severe risk from our greenhouse gas emissions that are acidifying the ocean habitat.  The acid levels in our waters have increased by 30% since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.  That's the kiss of death for shellfish.

    Among the sea species most vulnerable to acidification are shellfish, because a build-up of acid in waters prevents species developing their calcium shells. Alaska’s salmon stocks are also at risk as one of the main ingredients of a salmon diet are pteropods, small shell creatures

    Jeremy Mathis, an NOAA oceanographer and a lead author of the study, told the 
    Alaska Dispatch News that whereas past reports had focused on the consequences of increased acidification on ocean species, the aim of this one was designed to examine the wider economic impact.

    “This is an economic-social study,” Mathis said. “It focuses on food security, employment opportunity, and the size of the economy.”


    Mathis said acidification is more likely in Alaskan waters than in many other parts of the world. He explained: “It’s all about geography. The world’s ocean currents end their cycles here, depositing carbon dioxide from elsewhere. The coastal waters of Alaska sit right at the end of the ocean conveyor belt.”

    The New York Times reports that billions of baby oysters – known as spat – are dying off the coast of Washington state in the Northwestern U.S.

    In May this year, the U.S. government’s major report on climate change, the 
    National Climate Assessment, said that waters off the north-west of the country are among the world’s most acidic.

    Jay Inslee, governor of Washington, says an industry worth $270 million is at risk. “You can’t overstate what this means to Washington,” he says.

    Inslee and many others in Washington State are fighting plans by the coal industry to build large coal ports in the region in order to export to China and elsewhere in Asia.
     

    Here's what we all need to bear in mind.  The Pacific shellfish are the miners' canary of ocean acidification.  When they die off it's the same, no it's actually worse, than the canary dying deep down in the mine.  Ocean acidification threatens all terrestrial life.  As paleontologist Peter Ward documents in his book, Under a Green Sky, ocean acidification can trigger a major extinction event.  It has in the past and it can again.

    Those dying shellfish are sending us a message.  When will we start listening?

    Sylvia Earle's Blue Mission

    The Disaffected Lib - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 09:12
    There's a terrific documentary, Mission Blue, that's now available on Netflix.  It's the life story of pioneering oceanographer and marine biologist, Sylvia Earle.



    From the time she took her science quest underwater in the sixties until today, Dr. Earle has witnessed the wholesale destruction of the most important natural resource we have - our marine ecology. 

    Mission Blue is a stark warning that we've put our oceans on the ropes and they won't take much more of our abuse.  We're remarkably complacent about this given that half the oxygen we breathe is generated by our oceans and fish remains the main protein source for the poorest on our planet. 

    Earle argues that we still have time to turn this around, to re-seed the world's oceans with marine life, if we can only find the political will to make it happen.  That would mean, at the very least, corralling the industrial fishing fleets responsible for collapsing global fisheries, one after another, as they "fish down the food chain."  They're already in a self-induced death spiral that ends with empty oceans.  Why would any sane government enable that?  Yet we do.

    It's a great documentary.  Check out Mission Blue.

    Surf's Up - On the Arctic Ocean

    The Disaffected Lib - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 08:57
    Well, it turns out every cloud does have a silver lining.  A major impact of climate change has been the rapid loss of Arctic sea ice.  The absence of sea ice, in turn, has led to the development of big waves which are, in their turn, contributing to the break up of the remaining sea ice.  But there is a silver lining to all of this.  The Arctic Ocean is now open for surfing.

    Tuesday Morning Links

    accidentaldeliberations - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 08:01
    This and that for your Tuesday reading.

    - John Abraham and Dana Nuccitelli discuss the worrisome spread of climate change denialism, particularly around the English-speaking developed world. But lest we accept the theory that declining public knowledge is independent of political choices, Margaret Munro reports that the Cons are suppressing factual scientific information about Arctic ice levels to avoid the Canadian public being better informed, while Tom Korski exposes a particularly galling example of their vilifying top scientists for reporting their results. And John O'Connor reminds us what's been done to anybody who's dared to speak out about the effect of unfettered tar sands development on local residents.

    - Jim Bronskill reports that Transport Canada had been directly warned that safety standard exemptions granted to MMA would put workers and the public at risk in advance of last year's explosion in Lac-Megantic. And Bruce Campbell offers another study (summarized here) as to how regulatory failure was behind the disaster.

    - Bloomberg reports that the U.S.' recovery has seen stagnant wages for most workers compared to gains at the top. And Henry Blodget highlights the even more glaring gap between corporate profits and earned incomes:
    There's no "law of capitalism" that says that companies have to pay their employees as little as possible. There's no law of capitalism that says companies have to "maximize short-term profits." That's just a story that America's owners made up to justify taking as much of the company's wealth as possible for themselves.

    Ironically, this short-term greed on the part of America's owners is likely reducing their long-term wealth: Companies can't grow profits by cutting costs forever, because their profits can't grow higher than their revenues. At some point, revenue growth needs to accelerate. But that won't happen until companies start sharing more of the wealth they create with the folks who create it — their employees.- Michael Butler examines the readily foreseeable effects of the leaked CETA text in detail - with particular emphasis on its potential damage to Canadian health care.

    - Finally, the Ottawa Citizen calls for a renewed investigation into Robocon in light of Michael Sona's conviction. And Lawrence Martin points out the most important question left unanswered by the finding that Sona was just one part of a larger scheme to defraud voters:
    The term “vote suppression” is a euphemism. When a member or members of a political party run an operation to prevent citizens from voting for another party, it’s tantamount to trying to fix an election result. It’s attempted vote-rigging.

    For corrupt political acts, you can’t get much worse. It’s certainly more egregious than abusing housing allowances or misusing government planes, the kinds of allegations that have brought down some prominent politicians lately.
    ...
    So who else was there? Was the operation carried out with the knowledge or input of any of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s top lieutenants? Will we ever find out?

    Mr. Sona, with whom I have had several conversations, did not testify at his own trial. But he is considering whether to come forward in coming weeks or months with what he knows about the whole sordid business. If it’s true that others were involved, he should name them.

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