Agrégateur de flux

Tuesday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - il y a 26 min 56 sec
This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Jeffrey Sachs writes about the need to shape a more moral, less exploitative economy. So needless to say, the Cons are instead working on promoting corruption.

- Mark Weisbrot discusses how the Troika's attempt to impose continued austerity on Greece in the face of public resistance can't be seen as much more than an attempt at coercive regime change. And John Nichols reports on just a few of the voices rightly lauding the refusal of Greece's electorate to go along with that plan.

- Scott Eric Kaufman talks to Erik Loomis about the systematic outsourcing of dangerous and abusive jobs to countries where workers have no means of improving their conditions. And Jeremy Nuttall reports that while the Cons are trying to reduce the reported numbers from the temporary foreign worker program, they're going out of their way to set up alternative channels for easily-exploited labour.

- Meanwhile, Nicholas Keung reports on the Cons' profiling and blanket rejection of Roma visitors from Hungary.

- Dan Leger highlights how the Cons are interested in imposing strict and arbitrary accountability requirements on everybody except themselves as the government in power. And Stephen Maher is right to note that the political system generally tends to operate under different rules than nearly any other activity.

- Finally, Gerald Caplan discusses how the Cons are essentially defined by their mean streak. And Michael Harris writes about the widespread disenchantment of one-time PCs and Conservatives in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Dear Crusty. LNG is Volatile. It Could Even Blow Up in Your Face.

The Disaffected Lib - il y a 1 heure 18 min

BC premier Christy Clark is in love - with British Columbia's natural gas reserves.  She sees it as a magical solution to pay off all of the province's debts and fund wonderful new projects and services.  She even imagines herself riding across northern BC on a unicorn sprinkling fairy dust wherever natural gas is to be found.

Uhh-uhh.  Crash. Thud.  Sorry, madam premier, to be the carrier of more bad LNG news (there's been a lot lately) but a new report says our own natural gas reserves may be a stranded asset if international action reaches an accord to limit global warming to 2C.

LNG projects allow gas to be compressed into tankers and sold around the world, making it key to hopes in the US, Canada and Australia of fully exploiting their gas reserves.

But the new analysis shows that if emissions are cut to keep global temperature rise below the internationally agreed target many LNG projects being considered will not be needed.

The report concludes that over the next 10 years $82bn of LNG plants in Canada would be surplus to requirements, $71bn in the US and $68bn in Australia, with the rest of the world, led by Russia and Indonesia, accounting for the remaining $59bn.

...The report is the latest to raise concerns that increasing action to cut carbon emissions, combined with falling renewable energy prices, will put some fossil fuel investments at risk. Carbon Tracker has pioneered this analysis, which has been backed by the Bank of England and the World Bank.

Another Fox Guarding The Hen House

Politics and its Discontents - il y a 2 heures 43 min

It is hardly news to suggest that the National Energy Board (NEB) is rife with bias favouring the energy sector. Half of its members are professionals from the gas and oil industries, and all but one was appointed by the Harper regime. But now it seems the government is not even trying to pretend that the Board exists for anything but the good of the energy industry.

Mychaylo Prystupa reports the following:
On Tuesday, Conservative Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford appointed Calgary engineering PhD Murray Lytle. "Dr. Lytle brings many years of experience in the oil, gas and mining fields and will prove to be a valuable asset for the National Energy Board as it continues to fulfill its mandate to ensure the safety and security of Canadians and the environment,” said Rickford in a statement.This appointment is especially egregious given Lytle's background, not just as a consultant and executive to the mining industry and former employee of Imperial Oil, but also as a Conservative Party volunteer:
The Chuck Colson Centre for Christian Worldview website says this about his past: "Mr. Lytle has been heavily involved in national politics (Canada) and is happy to have lived to see the fruition of that labour, and his small part in it, with the election of the ruling Conservative Party,” .An apparent admirer of theocracy, Lytle has this to say about God's special relationship with the United States:
From his perspective as a Canadian, Mr. Lytle thinks that the American experiment is alive and well - if somewhat fatigued from constant sparring. His understanding of history leads him to believe that God continues to extend His blessing to those who value and offer freedom to other bearers of His image. And no other culture offers that freedom in the abundance of the Americans and for this cause the United States is unquestionably the most creative society in the history of mankind.Such NEB appointments, to say the least, invite widespread cynicism:
Liberal Environment Critic MP John McKay said public confidence in the NEB has sunk so low that its chair, Peter Watson, just completed a 34-stop “national engagement” tour in an attempt to reverse that sentiment.

“I think he’s doing a national tour known as the ‘No, I’m not a lackey tour,’" said McKay.

"It’s extraordinary that the head of the board feels he has to go from one end of the country to the other... because clearly the NEB has lost credibility of the eyes of the public,” McKay said on Thursday.

“This appointment [of Lytle] just fuels the suspicion, even when they comply with the regulations, that they are beholden politically to Mr. Harper,” he added.
And here is Elizabeth May's take:
Green Party leader Elizabeth May said Harper’s spring 2012 omnibus budget bill fundamentally altered the environmental assessments of pipelines into an “absolute sham of a review process.”

The reforms removed the responsibility to do environmental reviews of oil pipelines from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA), and put it in the hands of the NEB, which “doesn’t have the credentials” to do the job said May.

She said the legal reforms also nullified the Species at Risk Act, the Navigable Waters Act and the Fisheries Act from the board's decisions on pipelines.

"So the pipeline ruling trumps all those laws. The NEB is now basically a pipeline approval agency."But perhaps the Harper regime is once again counting on something that has served them so well for so long: Canadians' apathy and ignorance. I guess this October's election will show if that faith continues to be well-placed.Recommend this Post

The Green Coalition

Northern Reflections - il y a 2 heures 51 min

In Canada, we think of a coalition as an arrangement between two political parties. But, Tasha Kheiriddin writes, there is a more fundamental coalition -- a coalition of voters. Such a coalition is forming -- a green coalition -- and it is looking for the party with the best chance of defeating Stephen Harper:

In an interesting piece in the Hill Times, polling analyst Eric Grenier discusses the rise of a coalition not of parties, but of voters, similar to the east-west alliances which propelled both Conservative and Liberal governments into power in previous elections. According to Grenier, the NDP is building a coalition of voter bases in British Columbia, Quebec, and urban centres in Ontario and the West – and that coalition could be enough to secure the keys to 24 Sussex Drive.
Green voters share common concerns:

Apart from dissatisfaction with the current government, and a general leftward tilt, two of the concerns that stand out are the environment and opposition to energy projects that could imperil it. From protests against Northern Gateway in B.C. to fears over the reversal of Line 9 in Ontario to anti-fracking movements in Quebec, all these constituencies share an antipathy to big oil and an affection for “green policies” such as carbon markets.
Tom Mulcair, Justin Trudeau and Phillipe Couillard  have tuned into their concerns:

Quebec Premier Phillippe Couillard says he see “very little value” in the Energy East project. And federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair is defending his decision to run for NDP leader rather than advise Prime Minister Harper, based on his environmental convictions, and the Tories’ lack of them.
While the economy is still voters’ top of mind issue, Grenier’s poll suggests that a coalition built between eastern and western green voters might be the ticket to ride for the NDP. 
And Kathleen Wynne has formed an environmental alliance with Couillard.

You would think that such voters would flock to the party which brands itself -- quite correctly -- as Green. But those who want to send the prime minister back to Calgary know that  Elizabeth May's party has the policies but not the infrastructure to form a government.

The question is, what party will these voters choose to speak for them? They know that, if they allow themselves to be divided, Stephen Harper will once again be Prime Minister of Canada.

Stephen Harper and the Mean Streak of the Con Regime

Montreal Simon - il y a 4 heures 41 min

There are so many reasons to despise Stephen Harper and his monstrous Con regime.

For what they have done to Canada, and what they might do to it if they are re-elected. 

But for me the main reason is what Gerald Caplan calls its mean streak. 
Read more »

Why Germany Has No Right to Inflict Pain On Greece

Montreal Simon - lun, 07/06/2015 - 22:10

Ever since the Greek debt crisis began no country has been more aggressive in demanding its pound of flesh than Germany, and its flinty chancellor Angela Merkel.

Merkel has made it clear that she wants the Greeks to be punished, not just for the money they owe, but also for having the temerity to vote for a left-wing anti-austerity government.

Even though no country has less of a moral right to inflict pain on Greece.

Not after what the Germans did to that country during the Second World War.
Read more »

It Doesn't Get Much Uglier Than This. Well, It Does, Eventually.

The Disaffected Lib - lun, 07/06/2015 - 19:09

The closer you look into the Greek economic fiasco, the more you'll see of a cautionary tale the rest of us need to absorb.  The Troika - the IMF, the European Commission and the European Bank - weren't just demanding austerity. They demanded the punishing impacts be placed entirely on the shoulders of the Greek people, not the elite.

Purple Library Guy kindly sent me links to this, from Counterpunch:

The Troika’s demand was for austerity to be deepened solely by taxing labor and reducing pensions. Its policy makers had vetoed Syriza’s proposed taxes on the wealthy and steps to stop their tax avoidance. The IMF for its part vetoed cutbacks in Greek military spending (far above the 2% of GDP demanded by NATO), despite even the European Central Bank (ECB) and German Chancellor Merkel agreeing to this.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker threatened to expel Greece from Europe, despite no law permitting this to occur. Let us see now whether he still tries to carry out his bluff, which has been echoed by right-wing leaders throughout Europe.

His retaliatory actions from an ostensibly non-political, non-elected office are not alone. The eurozone class war in support of finance against labor and industry is now open and in earnest. Instead of doing what a central bank is supposed to do – provide liquidity (and paper currency) to banks, ECB head Mario “Whatever it takes” Draghi forced them to shut down even their ATM machines for lack of cash. Evidently this was intended to frighten Greek voters to think that this would be their country’s future if they voted No.

Paul Krugman hinted at the creditors' male fides in his New York Times column this morning.
...In advance of the referendum, the European Central Bank cut off their access to additional funds, helping to precipitate panic and force the government to impose a bank holiday and capital controls. The central bank now faces an awkward choice: if it resumes normal financing it will as much as admit that the previous freeze was political, but if it doesn’t it will effectively force Greece into introducing a new currency.

...In the failed negotiations that led up to Sunday’s referendum, the central sticking point was Greece’s demand for permanent debt relief, to remove the cloud hanging over its economy. The troika — the institutions representing creditor interests — refused, even though we now know that one member of the troika, the International Monetary Fund, had concluded independently that Greece’s debt cannot be paid.

And then there's the bloated Greek defence budget, over 2% GDP, one of the highest in NATO.  This, again, is a clear giveaway of what the Troika has really got in mind.
Yiannis Bournous, the head of international affairs for Greece’s ruling Syriza party, heartily endorsed defense cuts as a way to meet the fiscal targets of Greece’s international creditors.

“We already proposed a 200 million euro cut in the defense budget,” Bournous said at an event hosted by the Center for Economic Policy and Research and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, referring to cuts in Syriza’s most recent proposal to its creditors. “We are willing to make it even bigger -- it is a pleasure for us.”

A German newspaper reported on Saturday that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had vetoed a compromise plan put forward by the European Commission that would have allowed Greece to substitute 400 million euros in pension cuts for equivalent military spending cuts.

Why would the Troika demand Greece accept a debt load they know full well it could never pay?  Why would they insist that crushing debt be placed squarely on the shoulders of ordinary, working Greeks?  Why would they block Greek government proposals to hike taxes on the wealthy and implement policies to stop their massive tax avoidance? Why would they veto a bankrupt nation's request to slash its bloated defence budget?  
If you believe the Troika when it claims that this is all about debt and responsibility and repayment, all of these gambits are more than counter-intuitive, they're madness.  But this isn't the work of mad people and it's not about the debt Greece owes or how it will repay its creditors.  It's something far more sinister than that, something that all people across the West need to understand.
This is nothing less than class warfare, capital versus labour, cloaked in a guise as transparent as the Reichstag Fire.  This is an experiment in coercive social engineering and, if it succeeds in Greece, it will be repeated again and again whenever the excuse, real or contrived, arises.  You can practically hear them humming the tune to Horst Wessel Lied.

A Tribe Called Red Ft. Buffy Sainte-Marie - Working For The Government 2015 mix

Metaneos - lun, 07/06/2015 - 17:28

Please, enjoy your day, everybody.
Edit: what did the share button on YouTube do to this post? I'm never using that function again.

Updating the blog

Metaneos - lun, 07/06/2015 - 16:54
I've been away from writing for perhaps too long.
I've been burned out. Events in my own life, combined with my pessimistic attitude regarding events ongoing in the real world have dampened my inner fire.
Alas, I've had no idea what to do with this blog, so I've been letting it sit, inactive. However, such is wasteful.
I want to write on everything, but I've been hesitant to do so with this blog. Therefore, I haven't been writing about anything. I suppose I'm terrible like that.
So, I'll change my mind, and do something new. I'll write on anything that passes fancy, whatever that colloquialism means. Which is what the former byline of this blog used to say, but I never heeded my own theme for this blog. Whatever. This time I mean it. I'll write about anything, now.

Thomas Piketty Rides to the Defence of Greece

The Disaffected Lib - lun, 07/06/2015 - 12:53
The noted French economist, Thomas Piketty, isn't mincing any words when it comes to defending Greece against its European creditors.  He drives home the point that bloody-minded hyper-austerity types like German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, aren't just wrong, they're utterly hypocritical.

...Piketty, who penned the blockbuster 2013 book on income inequality Capital in the Twenty-First Century, slammed conservatives who favor the economic austerity measures Germany and France are demanding of Greece, saying they demonstrate a “shocking ignorance” of European history.

“Look at the history of national debt: Great Britain, Germany, and France were all once in the situation of today’s Greece, and in fact had been far more indebted,” Piketty said. “The first lesson that we can take from the history of government debt is that we are not facing a brand new problem.”

Germany, Piketty continued, has “no standing” to lecture other nations about debt repayment, having never paid back its own debts after both World Wars.

...Piketty criticized the “infantile” moral uprightness of Germany, whose economic success upon reunification has led it to rebuke nations like Greece for being in similarly weakened financial states as Germany itself was in decades ago.

Piketty argued that the same debt relief accorded to Germany after World War II should be granted to Greece today.

“After large crises that created huge debt loads, at some point people need to look toward the future. We cannot demand that new generations must pay for decades for the mistakes of their parents,” Piketty said. “The Greeks have, without a doubt, made big mistakes. Until 2009, the government in Athens forged its books. But despite this, the younger generation of Greeks carries no more responsibility for the mistakes of its elders than the younger generation of Germans did in the 1950s and 1960s. We need to look ahead. Europe was founded on debt forgiveness and investment in the future. Not on the idea of endless penance. We need to remember this.”

Defence Contractors are like Leaking Sieves

The Disaffected Lib - lun, 07/06/2015 - 11:49
Critics of the uber-costly F-35 usually expect to hear some variation of "no bucks, no Buck Rogers".   In other words if you want the super secret, latest and greatest,  you have to pay top dollar for it.  In this case you're buying the sizzle and the steak.

About that secrecy business.  What if it's only secret to you, not to the country you might have to use it against?

Here's the thing.  That F-35?  There's a fuselage full of technological wizardry that ought to be really secret.  Loose lips sink ships, that sort of thing.  Its premium price tag reflects having something that the other guys don't have. What, then, is it worth if the other guys do have it?

Brace yourself.  A new report on cyber-security finds that major Pentagon contractors, including Lockheed Martin, have weaker cyber security even than already hacked outfits like Home Depot and JP Morgan Chase.

"You can write a contract requiring somebody to do something. The question is, how do you enforce it? And if it's broken, what are the penalties? That's what DOD is really struggling with," said Jacob Olcott, vice president of business development at BitSight Technologies, which rates firms’ susceptibility to hacks. "If you are the only organization that's building an F-35, there is only so much that the government can demand of you."When measured in aggregate, network controls at breached J.P. Morgan Chase and Home Depot, combined with the rest of the retail and financial sectors, rated higher than the top companies supporting the U.S. military, according to BitSight. Those firms include Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and 22 other defense contractors. 
What are you going to do if those same secrets that some contractor is selling you for billions of dollars already went out the back door, free of charge, long ago?

Chicago Violence Rises With the Heat of the Summer

LeDaro - lun, 07/06/2015 - 11:12
It looks that the U.S. is the most violent society in the western hemisphere. Why is to so? According to one estimate 12000 people are murdered every year in the U.S.

Chicago is one example. Rest of the country has similar incidences of violence.

"The figures can be numbing: There were more than 2,000 shootings in Chicago last year, and the city is on pace for more this year. The violence rises in the heat of summer. But beneath the sobering figures are personal stories, both of fear and resilience. NBC News' Tracy Jarrett spent time in Chicago to hear them." NBC

Krugman - Europe Also Won in Yesterday's Greek Bailout Referendum

The Disaffected Lib - lun, 07/06/2015 - 11:03
From my years practicing insolvency law, I was left stunned at the illogic in the demands that the creditors sought to impose on Greece.  The approach made no sense.  They demanded Greece accept a debt load it could never hope to pay off. They essentially wanted the Greek government to mortgage the very future of Greek youth, even those yet unborn.

It doesn't make any difference whether it's an individual, a corporation or a country - when it falls insolvent the best deal for creditors is always a workable deal and that means debt forgiveness, taking a haircut.  If Joe owes you a million dollars but he can only repay it at a hundred dollars a month, you have no more hope of recouping your money than Joe has of paying it.  Sometimes there is no deal.  Companies go under, their assets sold for pennies on the dollar of value. Countries can go in all sorts of predictable and unpredictable ways.

Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman writes that yesterday's No vote in Greece was a win not only for the Greek people but also for Europe itself.

...Europe’s self-styled technocrats are like medieval doctors who insisted on bleeding their patients — and when their treatment made the patients sicker, demanded even more bleeding. A “yes” vote in Greece would have condemned the country to years more of suffering under policies that haven’t worked and in fact, given the arithmetic, can’t work: austerity probably shrinks the economy faster than it reduces debt, so that all the suffering serves no purpose. The landslide victory of the “no” side offers at least a chance for an escape from this trap.

...In advance of the referendum, the European Central Bank cut off their access to additional funds, helping to precipitate panic and force the government to impose a bank holiday and capital controls. The central bank now faces an awkward choice: if it resumes normal financing it will as much as admit that the previous freeze was political, but if it doesn’t it will effectively force Greece into introducing a new currency.

...In the failed negotiations that led up to Sunday’s referendum, the central sticking point was Greece’s demand for permanent debt relief, to remove the cloud hanging over its economy. The troika — the institutions representing creditor interests — refused, even though we now know that one member of the troika, the International Monetary Fund, had concluded independently that Greece’s debt cannot be paid. But will they reconsider now that the attempt to drive the governing leftist coalition from office has failed?

...Unless Greece receives really major debt relief, and possibly even then, leaving the euro offers the only plausible escape route from its endless economic nightmare.
And let’s be clear: if Greece ends up leaving the euro, it won’t mean that the Greeks are bad Europeans. Greece’s debt problem reflected irresponsible lending as well as irresponsible borrowing, and in any case the Greeks have paid for their government’s sins many times over. If they can’t make a go of Europe’s common currency, it’s because that common currency offers no respite for countries in trouble. The important thing now is to do whatever it takes to end the bleeding.

Why the Leaked F-35 Flight Test Results Must Worry Lockheed.

The Disaffected Lib - lun, 07/06/2015 - 10:45
When word got out last week that Lockheed's uber-costly F-35 Joint Strike Fighter got its tail waxed by a 30-year old F-16 in air combat flight tests, it was a serious blow to the already troubled stealth light bomber.

Lockheed's American customers - the US Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps - probably weren't happy with the F-35s poor showing or that the information had leaked out but that's probably not Lockheed's real concern.

The timing of the leak couldn't be worse for Lockheed.  It comes just when the pressure is on for the manufacturer to firm up its foreign orders into confirmed sales.

Lockheed needs those foreign sales if it is going to meet American demands to get the unit cost of the F-35 under control.  Foreign orders are the key to lowering costs and that could make or break the Joint Strike Fighter programme.

The problem is that a lot of the countries that Lockheed and the Pentagon are counting on to buy this warplane are expecting it to replace their current aging fighters.  Smaller air forces can't afford to buy several different types of warplanes so they depend on getting what's called a multi-role fighter that can be called upon to do the gamut of missions - close support, tactical bombing, air defence and air to air combat.  That was what they had in their now aging fleets of F-16s and F-18s.  That's what's on offer in today's Eurofighter, Rafale or Griffen fighters.

However, if the F-35 can't best an aging F-16, those foreign customers are going to think twice about whether this F-35 is a multi-role fighter after all.  Lockheed's assurances that it is have now been thrown into doubt.  That's the sort of thing that makes people sit up and start asking hard questions.

Lockheed will say that there never was a realistic scenario where the F-35 would have to dogfight anyway.  If the F-16 was a threat, the F-35 would have used its sensor wizardry to launch an air to air missile to eliminate it before the F-16 even knew it was there.  That might even be true... if...

If the F-35 had a sophisticated electronic warfare aircraft trailing some 50-miles behind it picking out targets and feeding the data to the JSF, then the first strike missile scenario is plausible.  However in these smaller countries, those F-35s are going to have to go commando, using their own onboard radars to detect, track and attack their adversaries.  Stealth is right out the window and, with it, this fantasy about killing the enemy before he even knows you're there.  This is where you get into old fashioned dogfighting country and, as we now know, that's where the F-35 goes to die.

Just when Lockheed needs to get these allied air forces to sign on the bottom line, those potential customers are getting an eyeful of the F-35's limitations that, until now, has been carefully kept under wraps.

All it's going to take is for some country, like Canada, to decide that a real, head to head, fighter competition is necessary to force Lockheed to put its warplane here its mouth is.  I'm not sure Lockheed would even accept the challenge of a fly-off.

Euro-nomics: Greecing the skids

Dawg's Blawg - lun, 07/06/2015 - 10:03
Greece, sez the pundits, is facing an “uncertain future.” “Uncharted waters.” You betcha. But between the Devil and the deep blue sea (I know how to swim), I’d take the uncharted waters without hesitation. That’s what nearly two-thirds of Greek... Dr.Dawg

Monday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - lun, 07/06/2015 - 09:25
Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- David Dayen explains how fiscal policy intended to ensure growth for everybody is instead sending all of its benefits to the top end of the income scale - and thus failing to ensure any growth at all:
(L)et’s examine how central banks try to revive economies. They mainly try to lower interest rates in a variety of ways. This entices consumers to borrow cheaply, spurring more economic activity. Plus, consumers can refinance into lower interest rates on their current loans, saving them money that they could choose to spend. Without high returns from safe assets like Treasury bonds, investors push capital to business investment and other economic pursuits. And finally, banks with low borrowing costs can increase access to credit for individuals and small businesses.

Loose monetary policy has worked throughout recent history, but not since 2008. Take for example mortgages, the largest consumer financial product in the economy. Thanks to Federal Reserve actions, typical U.S. mortgage interest rates dropped from 6 percent to 3.3 percent from 2008 to 2013, even as the main federal funds rate was stuck at zero. Sufi uses this to discount the “zero lower bound” hypothesis as a cause of ineffective monetary policy: Through quantitative easing and other measures, the U.S. was able to reduce key consumer interest rates.

Yet housing didn’t contribute to economic growth in those years. That’s because too many households were locked out of accessing the low rates. They either lost their homes to foreclosure, or were “underwater,” owing more on their mortgages than the house is worth. As of March 2012, 70 percent of mortgage borrowers were paying interest rates of 5 percent or higher, even though the market rate was 3.8 percent.

The only people left to benefit from refinancing or purchasing mortgages were high-income earners with good credit scores, who have a lower “marginal propensity to consume,” meaning that they are more likely to save additional dollars than spend them. Citing research correlating high-debt households with higher propensity to consume, Sufi concludes, “The inability of heavily indebted borrowers to refinance has depressed spending.”
If too many people fall into debt anyway, then aggressive debt relief is the best way for the economy to bounce back, relieving this clog in the distribution of monetary policy benefits. As we know, the U.S. ignored this policy idea after the recession, using a poorly designed loan modification program that did little for homeowners on their biggest debt burden. Not only did that leave millions to suffer, but it helped cancel out central bank activities and stunted economic growth.

If you follow this logic, policies that reduce inequality would also help enormously. A family that earns a decent living doesn’t have to go into hock to keep up with their monthly budget. They therefore maintain a stronger balance sheet and lower debt burden when times are tough, and Fed policies can more easily reach them. Inequality spurs household debt, and household debt spurs financial shocks and longer economic downturns. Therefore, the challenge of reversing inequality doesn’t just affect those losing out in the modern economy — it affects every one of us. - Meanwhile, Tamara Khandaker reports on yesterday's Jobs Climate Justice rally aimed at fighting inequality and environmental degradation at the same time. And Stephen Leahy writes that we need to stop building new carbon-burning infrastructure in a matter of years to limit climate change to an even remotely manageable level, while Fiona Harvey highlights the OECD's research emphasizing the non-viability of coal power in particular.

- But lest we think the effort to ensure a cleaner, more prosperous future will go unopposed, Jenny Uechi reports on the oil industry's underhanded attempts to block climate change experts from even having a seat at the corporate table. And Mychaylo Prystupa finds that the Cons continue to put the job of regulating the resource industry in the hands of its executives, while Sue Bailey exposes the complete lack of knowledge as to how to contain the consequences of Arctic offshore drilling.

- Fred Hahn comments on the importance of keeping Hydro One and other critical infrastructure in public hands.

- Finally, Carol Goar writes about Dr. Stephen Hwang's efforts to identify and fight the social determinants of poor health.

It Sounded Like a Scene from Apocalypse Now

The Disaffected Lib - lun, 07/06/2015 - 08:53
They came at last light as I sat in my livingroom, reading.  It sounded like a helicopter assault straight out of Apocalypse Now and it went on for quite a while.  It didn't take long to put two and two together and realize this was a fleet of helos returning from fire fighting operations nearby over on the mainland.

The province operates a forest fire fighting training facility a few miles from my place and, of late, I've spotted helicopters sitting on their landing pads.  There are also commercial operators in the vicinity, some of them involved in helicopter logging.

Waited all day yesterday for our usual winds off the Pacific to blow our smoke canopy back to the mainland but the air has gone still.  Today the smoke that was higher in the sky yesterday has descended and tall fir trees that were green yesterday now have a greyish-hue.  So we wait and hope for the return of those cleansing breezes from the vast, forest-free Pacific.

Sid Ryan Has A Plan

Politics and its Discontents - lun, 07/06/2015 - 05:48
Given the odious, intrusive and likely unconstitutional nature of Bill C-377, the 'private member's' bill covered with the indelible palm prints of Stephen Harper that forces labour unions to publicly disclose how they spend their money, it would be surprising indeed if unions did not have a plan to fight back. Sid Ryan, president of the Ontario Federation of Labour, which represents 54 unions, has no intention of letting this blatant sop to the Tory base slip by unopposed.

In the following, Ryan explains what could be an effective strategy going into the October election:

Recommend this Post

The Centre Cannot Hold

Northern Reflections - lun, 07/06/2015 - 05:37

Stephen Harper told us that we wouldn't recognize Canada when he was through with it. These days, there are lots of Conservatives who don't recognize their party. In the wake of the party's rejection of Chess Crosbie's candidacy, Michael Harris writes, John Crosbie has been receiving phone calls:

When former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney calls from Rome to express sympathy and outrage that Ches Crosbie was blocked from running as a Conservative candidate in the 2015 federal election, you know the Conservative Party of Canada has a big problem.

Nor does that problem get any smaller, when former Conservative cabinet minister Jim McGrath calls to add his voice to the political maelstrom triggered by this blunder of epic proportions.

“The party has gone to hell,” he told his former cabinet colleague and fellow Newfoundlander.
And the elder Crosbie doesn't buy the line that the decision was entirely out of the prime minister's hands:

When asked about the prime minister’s hand in this, Crosbie replied, “There is no way that he didn’t know. It’s like the Duffy matter.”
The word is that Harper didn't enjoy the younger Crosbie's skewering of the Cowboy from Etobicoke. But Conservative candidate Kevin O'Brien once claimed that Harper had "no integrity." There is more behind the Crosbie saga:

A far more plausible reason is that Ches Crosbie looks like he would be headed to trial this September on a ground-breaking class action suit representing 1,000 clients in a case involving allegations of physical and sexual abuse at five Indian Residential Schools in Newfoundland and Labrador.

For historical reasons, indigenous people from Newfoundland and Labrador were left out of the compensation package for First Nations, and also from Stephen Harper’s 2008 apology for the Residential Schools. The Harper government denied responsibility for schools that opened before the province joined Confederation in 1949. 
It's one thing to apologize to Canada's First Nations. It's something else again to seek justice for them. Ches Crosbie will do just that. Justice is not in Stephen Harper's DNA. Long time Conservatives understand that.

That's why the Conservative Party is falling apart. The centre cannot hold.

Stephen Harper and the Last Monster Music Show

Montreal Simon - lun, 07/06/2015 - 05:00

The other night I wrote about Stephen Harper's disgusting attack on Tom Mulcair and Justin Trudeau at a Con BBQ at the Calgary Stampede.

Where he accused both leaders of being terrorist stooges, claimed they were out of it, that we were all in terrible danger of being beheaded in our beds or drowned in cages. And that only he could save us.

Which needless to say was simply appalling, and made me question his sanity again. And whether he's still fit to remain in office.

But what I didn't know was that ghastly performance was followed by another.
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