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Tuesday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 09:03
This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Elizabeth Warren reminds us (PDF) that previous trade agreements were packaged with the same promises of labour and environmental standards being used to sell the latest versions - and that there's been no enforcement whatsoever of the elements of the deals which were supposed to protect the public.

- Kriston Capps discusses the unfairness of New York's property tax system which makes it easy for the obscenely rich to avoid paying their fair share. And Jon Stone notes that even following an election in which the Conservatives won a majority, UK voters are more concerned with fighting inequality than pushing growth for the few.

- David Roberts rightly warns that we're much further down the road toward catastrophic climate change than most people are prepared to admit. And Terry Macalister reports that Shell in particular is planning based on the assumption that we won't make any progress in reining in global warming.

- But the good news is that clean alternative energy sources are becoming far more readily available, meaning that we only need the political will to change our current balance of power. And Richard Littlemore writes that we're not lacking for businesses willing to offer renewable energy alternatives.

- Finally, the National Post slams the Cons for once again rewriting the law - in this case governing access to information - to suit their own political purposes. And the Star calls out the Cons' baseless terror fearmongering.

Reflections on McChesney: Problematics of Media Self-Regulation

JOE FANTAUZZI Thoughts about power - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 09:01
FULL DISCLOSURE: I worked as a mainstream news reporter between 2003 and 2012. News media goes where many cannot or will not. It infiltrates the halls of power, the courtrooms, protest sites, war zones and scenes of tragedy. It is, unquestionably, the source of much of the information used to inform and shape society. Its […]

A Recently Retired Government Scientist Speaks Out:

Politics and its Discontents - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 08:35
This is sad beyond words.
A recently retired Fisheries and Oceans Canada biologist says the muzzling of federal government scientists is worse than anyone can imagine.

Steve Campana, known for his expertise on everything from Great white sharks to porbeagles and Arctic trout, says the atmosphere working for the federal government is toxic.

"I am concerned about the bigger policy issues that are essentially leading to a death spiral for government science," he said in an exclusive interview.

"I see that is going to be a huge problem in the coming years. We are at the point where the vast majority of our senior scientists are in the process of leaving now disgusted as I am with the way things have gone, and I don't think there is any way for it to be recovered."Recommend this Post

What's That Sound I Hear?

Politics and its Discontents - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 06:17
Lesser morals might baldly accuse Stephen Harper of cowardice. Editorial cartoonists have a better way:

H/t The Toronto Star

Recommend this Post

Stephen Harper and the Great Failing Con War on Terror

Montreal Simon - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 05:24

I don't know if you've noticed, but Stephen Harper has suddenly stopped talking about the Great War on Terror, and the Great Terrorist Menace.

These days he wants to project a  kinder gentler image as a Great Friend of Children Leader.

So now almost every photo-op features a group of bored kids in the background...

But of course, there's a good reason for that. He is desperate.

And The Great War on Terror is going badly disastrously. 
Read more »

Targets Of Our Fellow Citizens

Northern Reflections - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 04:38


Bill C-51 has been passed by the House and is on track for speedy passage in the Senate. As it has from the very beginning, the Harper government is focused on aping the American experience. But, before we rush down that road yet again, we would be wise to consider what Chris Hedges recently wrote about the New American Security State:

A totalitarian state is only as strong as its informants. And the United States has a lot of them. They read our emails. They listen to, download and store our phone calls. They photograph us on street corners, on subway platforms, in stores, on highways and in public and private buildings. They track us through our electronic devices. They infiltrate our organizations. They entice and facilitate “acts of terrorism” by Muslims, radical environmentalists, activists and Black Bloc anarchists, framing these hapless dissidents and sending them off to prison for years. They have amassed detailed profiles of our habits, our tastes, our peculiar proclivities, our medical and financial records, our sexual orientations, our employment histories, our shopping habits and our criminal records. They store this information in government computers. It sits there, waiting like a time bomb, for the moment when the state decides to criminalize us.

The new security  state transforms all its citizens into snitches:

A state security and surveillance apparatus, at the same time, conditions all citizens to become informants. In airports and train, subway and bus stations the recruitment campaign is relentless. We are fed lurid government videos and other messages warning us to be vigilant and report anything suspicious. The videos, on endless loops broadcast through mounted television screens, have the prerequisite ominous music, the shady-looking criminal types, the alert citizen calling the authorities and in some cases the apprehended evildoer being led away in handcuffs. The message to be hypervigilant and help the state ferret out dangerous internal enemies is at the same time disseminated throughout government agencies, the mass media, the press and the entertainment industry. 
“If you see something say something,” goes the chorus. 
Alexander Solzhenitsyn provided witness to what happens in such as state:

His masterpiece “The Gulag Archipelago” . . . chronicles his time in Josef Stalin’s gulags and is a brilliant reflection of the nature of oppression and tyranny, describes a moment when an influx of western Ukrainians who had been soldiers during World War II arrived at his camp, at Ekibastuz. The Ukrainians, he wrote, “were horrified by the apathy and slavery they saw, and reached for their knives.” They began to murder the informants.

“Kill the stoolie!” That was it, the vital link! A knife in the heart of the stoolie! Make knives and cut the stoolie’s throats—that was it! 
That rationale for C-51 is that it protects us from the outsiders who seek to destroy us. But the reality is that the bill is aimed at those who the government deems the enemy within.

And, therefore, we are now the potential targets of our fellow citizens.

Election Day in Canada : The Rise of Voter Suppression

Creekside - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 03:56

The Script&Film Company's EDayFilm "Election Day In Canada: The Rise Of Voter Suppression" is travelling across Canada visiting communities where live and robocalls were made to record the stories of the electors Elections Canada has abandoned. It kicks off at 6:30pm tomorrow Wednesday May 20 at the main branch of Public Library in Guelph with a presentation and a fundraiser. Free admission. More deets here for an event on the 21st in Waterloo and then back again to Guelph on the 23rd - Guelph where an estimated 7,760 robocall attempts were made.
Because isn't it time we had some answers about what happened with the robo and live calls in 237 ridings right across Canada in the 41st federal election before we deal with more of the same again in the upcoming 42nd election this fall? 
In November of 2012, nine months after the robocall story really broke open nation-wide, Elections Canada commissioned and published a survey which reported that 85% of electors polled said the 41st election "was fairly run". Subsequent missives from EC show they never wavered far from this comforting conclusion, despite the commissioner's own final report on the termination of any further investigation stating that 27% of the complainants they investigated received fraudulent calls. 
So it's up to us now.  Support the film any way you can - with a donation, promoting it online, or organizing presentations in your community like the ones in Guelph.   
It really is up to us now.  .

The Cowardly Dodger Stephen Harper and the Great Con Debate Scam

Montreal Simon - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 02:25

It's frustrating to see that even some of my readers think that Stephen Harper's crass attempt to fix the party leader's debates might be good for progressives.

And are sending me comments like this one, with lots of periods in it:

Anonymous 2:29 AM!!!!!

So that I might read it slowly, and understand that hopeful belief better.

Even though I thought I had made it clear that Harper's plan, as might be expected, is just another grubby Con scam.

So. I. guess. I'm. going. to. have. to. be. even. clearer.
Read more »


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