Agrégateur de flux

We Broke Through - And We're Here to Stay

The Disaffected Lib - il y a 6 min 24 sec

There was a great stir a couple of years back when atmospheric CO2 levels first spiked through the 400 ppm mark, a harbinger for ever more global warming to come. It was an on/off thing affected by seasonal change. It was - back then.

It's no longer an on/off thing. We've passed 400 ppm and we're going to stay past it for the rest of your natural life and then a bit more.

In the centuries to come, history books will likely look back on September 2016 as a major milestone for the world’s climate. At a time when atmospheric carbon dioxide is usually at its minimum, the monthly value failed to drop below 400 parts per million (ppm).

That all but ensures that 2016 will be the year that carbon dioxide officially passed the symbolic 400 ppm mark, never to return below it in our lifetimes, according to scientists.

September is usually the month when carbon dioxide is at its lowest after a summer of plants growing and sucking it up in the northern hemisphere. As fall wears on, those plants lose their leaves, which in turn decompose, releasing the stored carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere. At Mauna Loa Observatory, the world’s marquee site for monitoring carbon dioxide, there are signs that the process has begun but levels have remained above 400 ppm.
Now keep this to yourself. We don't want you telling Justin, not after he's just tossed a giant carbon bomb in British Columbia. And we wouldn't want to rattle him when he's about to rubber stamp our corrupt National Energy Board's approval of the Kinder Morgan bitumen pipeline. That would never do.

Welcome To the Age of the Id

The Disaffected Lib - il y a 21 min 24 sec
It's the sleaziest, most despicable and effective political weapon to be had. It's fear or, more specifically, fearmongering. It's gotten Donald Trump to the point where he's a serious challenge to Hillary Clinton for the presidency. It's worked magic for ambitious thugs in Europe and elsewhere.

If you take a look around the world right now, it’s hard to escape the feeling that
Donald Trump is the candidate who’s in sync with the zeitgeist. It’s a deeply depressing thought. But Clinton ignores it at her peril.

Much of the world currently finds itself in the grip of dark emotions. The democracies of the West seem to be suffering from a collective nervous breakdown. Anxiety about sluggish economic growth is fusing with fears about terrorism and migration to devastating effect. There’s a widespread sense that remote political elites are completely out of touch with the anxieties of ordinary voters.

In the United Kingdom, Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson deftly exploited these fears in their campaign to persuade Britons to leave the EU; Johnson has now become the U.K.’s foreign minister. France’s Marine Le Pen, who has made a career out of channeling resentment against immigrants, has a real shot at becoming her country’s next president. Hungary’s Viktor Orban has vowed to end liberal democracy in his country. Meanwhile, Germans have been voting in droves for a party called the Alternative for Germany, a nativist movement that’s been causing big headaches for Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Certainly some of reasons for the current populist revolt have to do with economics — the sense that an age of turbocharged technological change and free trade agreements has left too many behind. But purely economic explanations only go so far. What we’re seeing now around the world can’t always be reduced to rational thinking about economic self-interest.

Take that pesky fact that the illiberal surge has coincided in some countries with positive economic trends. In the U.K., one of the strongest pro-Brexit votes came from Cornwall, the county that has received huge amounts of EU subsidies. For voters there, worries about immigration and the loss of sovereignty to Brussels outweighed the potential damage to their pocketbooks. Poland has posted some of its region’s highest growth rates in the past two decades — but that didn’t dissuade voters from choosing a populist right-wing government with a disturbingly authoritarian streak last year. Clearly, growth wasn’t enough. The same goes for the Philippines, where a long-running economic boom has fueled a rise in crime, corruption, and government dysfunction, thus creating the perfect opening for Duterte.

Welcome to the age of the id. More than any other generation in human history, we currently inhabit a world of constant and unrelenting change, and many people are quite naturally responding with uncertainty and fear. They’re not looking primarily for someone who’s proposing rational policy fixes — they’re looking for security, reassurance, and trust, impulses that are all too often salved by strident promises of tribalism or nationalism.

In this world, voters are all too ready to reject the calm voices of reason and experience and to opt instead for a desperate leap into the arms of the demagogue, the leader who promises protection from all the messy turbulence of a world in constant flux. Voters gravitate to strongmen — and note that most of the leaders I’ve mentioned above are democratically elected — when they feel the need for protection: from change, from instability, from “the other.”

To his credit, our current prime minister has steered clear of the politics of fear. That was his predecessor's favourite flavour of political intercourse and it remains the stock in trade of upcoming Tories like Kellie Leitch. Yet the world serves as a powerful warning of what may be in store for Canadians if some effort isn't made at pushback. 

Couldn't They Have Placed a Conference Call?

The Disaffected Lib - il y a 51 min 24 sec
The timing couldn't have been much creepier. One day after the federal government announced approval of a major LNG "carbon bomb" in British Columbia, experts are gathering at the White House for the first, Arctic science ministerial meeting to focus on climate change and the far north.

America, thanks to Alaska is a genuine Arctic nation. I think Canada is too, eh? So, while we're tossing carbon bombs, the great minds in Washington are delivering a blunt message - "we've run out of time." Note that's not future tense. It's present tense as in, "we've run out."

In anticipation of the meeting, the Columbia Climate Center hosted a workshop in July in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund and other NGOs, which produced a white paper called 'A 5 C Arctic in a 2 C World.'

"We've run out of time," says Peter Schlosser, the centre's director and lead author of the paper.

Simply implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change — which was hashed out in a major international conference in late 2015 — will not be enough, he argues.

At some point we need to realize that Canada's government - yes, the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau - is caught in the throes of cognitive dissonance. It believes Canada can expand our fossil fuel production while pretending to cut greenhouse gas emissions. It's a joke, a lethal jest, but, then again, don't we all know that?
It's too bad Obama hasn't invited Justin to his party. Would a conference call have been too much to expect?



It Only Stokes Anger

Northern Reflections - il y a 2 heures 26 min


In what Lawrence Martin calls The Anglosphere, conservatism is in crisis. He writes:

In the United States, the conservative brand has gone from Dwight Eisenhower to Ronald Reagan, to George W. Bush, to Mr. Trump, who was on display in full floral gory or glory (take your pick) in Monday night’s presidential debate. Canada has gone from the moderate Toryism of John Diefenbaker, Robert Stanfield and Brian Mulroney to the vanquishing of Red Tories and the conservatism of Stephen Harper (with Toronto’s Rob Ford thrown in for bad measure). In Great Britain, the Conservatives are in the thrall of those who want to put up walls.
The brand is increasingly about identity tests and xenophobic strains. It is home to, if not climate-change deniers, then many who are close to it. It is soft on guns. Its appeal is to aging whites, to the prejudices of the less-educated, to religious fundamentalists. It’s a time-warp version of modernism, one many Canadian Conservatives apparently think they can thrive on.
Rather than building a big tent, conservatives have doubled down on their base:
In recent years, Canadian Conservatives have been like some of the others with their obsession with appealing to the party base, to the prejudices of the base, for milking it for everything it’s worth. In this sense, the crisis in conservatism reaches beyond Mr. Trump. The “base” fixation was rarely what it is now in these countries. The parties normally sought to broaden their pitch, not narrow it.
Democracy requires openness to ideas and to people who are not like you. But for modern conservatives, people who are not like them are considered  members of the elite. That's Donald Trump's pitch line. It was also Stephen Harper's line.
That mindset doesn't encourage renewal. It only stokes anger.
Image: pinterest.com

"A Bad Precedent"? You Betcha!

Dammit Janet - il y a 3 heures 41 min
Some follow-up to my post yesterday about the bungling around the approval of Mifegymiso (abortion pill) for inclusion in taxpayer-funded provincial healthcare plans.

The Globe and Mail is still on the story.

It seems that when Mifegymiso's manufacturer, Celopharma, began the long and winding (and politically stymied? remember, there were CONservatives in charge then) process, there were no costs associated with the Common Drug Review.
[Paula Tenenbaum, president of Celopharma] said that when the company began the Health Canada application process in late 2011, the Common Drug Review – which is a separate process, not run by Health Canada – was offered at no cost to pharmaceutical companies. “As a result, we did not budget for the $72,000,” she said. The company asked for a fee reduction or a two-year payment plan, but that proposal was rebuffed.

The Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH), which oversees the Common Drug Review, confirmed the fees only came into effect in September of 2014. (Ms. Tenenbaum said the full process would actually cost between $100,000 and $150,000; CADTH disagreed and reiterated the $72,000 figure.)

Brent Fraser, the vice-president of pharmaceutical reviews for CADTH, said on Tuesday that giving Celopharma a break on the fees could set a bad precedent.Here's the short version of drug approval works in Canada.

First, a new drug has to go through Health Canada's Health Products and Food Branch (HPFB), where it is assessed for safety, quality, and effectiveness.

How long does this take? Well, it's hard to say from the website's blah-blah.
HPFB has set internationally competitive performance targets for its conduct of reviews. The length of time for review depends on the product being submitted and the size and quality of the submission, and is influenced by HPFB's workload and human resources.This part of the ordeal was finally completed and the good news reported in July 2015.

Then Health Canada issues a monograph detailing who may prescribe it, with what training, and other restrictions. That link is from April this year, when abortion providers were getting worried about the folderol being proposed.

But getting provincial healthcare plans to pay for it is a whole other regulatory nightmare.

And of course, Quebec is slightly different.

Here's how it works in Quebec.

Authorization from Health Canada is the first step common to both Quebec and the rest of Canada.

In the rest of Canada, new non-cancer drugs go to Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) for what is called a Common Drug Review (CDR). Cancer drugs go to the pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review.
In Quebec, both cancer and non-cancer drugs go to the Institut national d’excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESSS).
Expert committees evaluate the new drugs.

If the drug’s therapeutic value has been established, INESSS then evaluates the drug based on four criteria: reasonableness of price charged; cost-effectiveness ratio; impact on the health of the population; effect on the basic prescription drug insurance plan.
Then provincial health departments decide whether to include it. In Quebec, the article notes, sometimes politicians have over-ridden recommendations to include very expensive drugs.

So. Celopharma entered the labyrinth in 2011 and budgeted based on the rules at the time. Health Canada took its sweet time to approve a drug that has been in use in France for 30 years and in the US for over 15 years.

Meanwhile, the independent agency, CADTH, that must review it before provincial healthcare plans will pay for it, slaps on some whopping big fees.

And CADTH can't give the company a break because it would "set a bad precedent."

The rules were changed in the middle of the game -- a game that Celopharma had zero control over -- and there's no relief offered?

This seems unfair to say the least.

There's got to be a way around this. In Australia, a Real Feminist PM, Julia Gillard simply ordered that the drug be listed on its taxpayer funded Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

I realize that things are done differently here, but surely our globally touted FeministPM™, with his gender-balanced cabinet and other meaningless fripperies of respect for women and their rights, could bloody well do something.

Unless of course this whole schmozzle has been engineered as a sleight-of-hand slap in the face to Canadian women, while keeping the Blue Liberals onside.

Whaaaat? I hear you say. Liberals saying one thing and doing another?????????

Wednesday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - il y a 4 heures 2 min
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Mariana Mazzucato makes the case for a progressive message of shared wealth creation:
A progressive economic agenda must have at its heart an understanding of wealth creation as a collective process. Yes, businesses are wealth creators, but they do not create wealth alone. Workers, public institutions and civil organisations are also wealth creators. Their collective actions can increase the investments required to drive long-run growth and productivity. But this will happen only if the private and public sectors find a way to share the risks and rewards of the 21st century.

This demands moving away from the idea that the public sector merely facilitates the private sector, or picks up the downside in an economy where the risks are borne by a “flexible” workforce and the rewards hoarded by corporate giants. Instead, we must consider how responsibilities can be shared for the bold investments that are needed. The current situation has led to an overly financialised private sector – with company profits being spent not on reinvestment, but on gimmicks to bolster stock options such as share buybacks – and to a public sector that is told to create the conditions for growth and let the private sector do the steering and profit-making.

Some separate economic from societal problems, stating that we must address the former before we can tackle the latter. But the future for progressives lies in advancing the two together. It is through applying our minds to societal and environmental issues that we can lay the foundations for future prosperity. The means is “mission-oriented” policy, where an objective – such as landing a human being on the moon or decarbonising the economy – can offer a fresh direction for the entire economy. Meeting challenges such as climate change by steering the economy in a green direction requires more than a “nudging” mentality. “Nudging” assumes business already wants to invest in new areas and merely requires incentivising through reductions in tax or regulations. But the animal spirits of business must be created, not assumed. This requires a more active market-shaping and market-creating framework that sparks business excitement about new investment. - George Monbiot is the latest to point out that if we have any hope of meeting the global climate targets set in Paris, we need transition away from extracting fossil fuels immediately. But Derrick O'Keefe reports that the future of our planet hasn't been considered important enough for the Trudeau Libs to hold off on approving a liquid natural gas climate bomb.

- Aditya Chakrabortty writes that the systematic degradation of working conditions and employee rights goes far beyond the sectors where they're most visible.

- Michelle Zilio notes that the recent fabricated controversy over Maryaf Monsef's country of birth serves mostly to highlight how capricious Canada's citizenship laws are. And Ian MacLeod highlights the federal Privacy Commissioner's latest annual report which finds an almost total lack of interest in protecting Canadians' personal information.

- Finally, Catherine Hall discusses how the shameful legacy of slavery is still echoing in the right's efforts to dehumanize minorities around the globe.

Another Religious Fanatic Joins the Con Leadership Race

Montreal Simon - il y a 5 heures 5 min


As if the Con leadership race wasn't bizarre or pathetic enough. 

With Kellie Leitch trying to stir up hatred against refugees and immigrants.

And Brad Trost trying to stir up hatred against gay Canadians.

Now another Con fanatic is joining the race.
Read more »

Donald Trump and the Big Polling Fraud

Montreal Simon - il y a 5 heures 17 min


Anyone who watched the Donald Trump Hillary Clinton debate knows who won. 

And it wasn't the Annoying Orange.

But don't tell that to the bloated demagogue, because he simply can't accept reality.

And spent the day after his humiliating defeat claiming victory.
Read more »

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

accidentaldeliberations - mar, 09/27/2016 - 18:24
Cats on the go.




But, Surely, That's the Whole Point

The Disaffected Lib - mar, 09/27/2016 - 13:44


The CBC's blaring headline, "Ottawa fails to protect law-abiding Canadians from security surveillance, watchdog warns."

The federal government is failing to protect the privacy of law-abiding Canadians under a sweeping new information-sharing regime, warns Canada's privacy watchdog.

The privacy commissioner said there was no proper evaluation before key parts of that law went into effect — and not enough oversight now to keep the new powers in check.

...Therrien warned the potential for large-scale sharing combined with technological advances could allow personal information to be "analyzed algorithmically to spot trends, predict behaviour and potentially profile ordinary Canadians with a view to identifying security threats among them."


I don't think the government or its surveillance apparatus sees itself as "failing" at anything. After all, how are they to know that we're really "law-abiding Canadians" without keeping an eye on us? Besides if you've got nothing to hide you've got nothing to worry about, eh?

Each of us is now just one big Facebook page to our government and its cohorts and it's logical that those who abuse your privacy will get increasingly more careful at covering their tracks.

It's pretty hard to give the prime minister's surveillance cadre the benefit of the doubt when they're so unwilling to afford us the same.

Abortion Access? Another slap in the face for Canadians

Dammit Janet - mar, 09/27/2016 - 10:46
Gee. You'd almost think that the gynoticians politicians don't want women to access the abortion pill, widely touted to improve access for people living in the wide swaths of remote, rural, and medically underserved Canada.

The Globe and Mail reported yesterday.
When the gold standard in medical abortion drugs finally becomes available in Canada later this year, the $300 cost of the pills will not be covered by most provincial drug plans, The Globe and Mail has learned.

The company that makes Mifegymiso has bowed out of an essential step on the path to public reimbursements for new drugs over the $72,000 price tag for a standard review of the medication’s cost effectiveness.

Provincial governments everywhere but Quebec say the company’s decision is preventing them from adding the two-drug abortion regimen to their list of publicly funded drugs, meaning women will have to reach into their own wallets or rely on private insurance to pay for Mifegymiso.This "essential step" is called the Common Drug Review.

Today the Globe published an editorial.
Already the victims of Health Canada’s glacial bureaucracy, and of its paternalistic view of their ability to safely administer prescription drugs to themselves, Canadian women waiting to be able to use the most commonly prescribed medical abortion treatment in the world woke up to a fresh slap in the face on Monday.The editorial recalls the ridiculously long and tortured approval process in Canada and points out that RU486, or mifepristone, been available since 1987 in France, since 2000 in the US.

The writers also note that abortion is a common medical procedure, with surgical abortion being delivered at no cost as part of taxpayer-funded Medicare.

This latest bad news – that women will have to pay for a medical treatment to which they have a right – is the last straw. Ottawa should find a way to waive the cost of the Common Drug Review and make Mifegymiso available for free as quickly as possible.
Want to see how a Feminist PM™ handled this situation?

Like this.

Julia Gillard's last act as prime minister included signing off on cabinet approval for slashing the cost of abortion pill RU486 to as little as $12.

Listing the abortion drug on the taxpayer-funded Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) will see the price of a medical abortion in Australia drop from up to $800 to just $12 for concession card holders from August 1.

Women not eligible for concessions will pay around $70 under the PBS.
This is what a Feminist PM™ looks like.


This is what a Fake Feminist PM™ looks like.

Give Justin a Break.

The Disaffected Lib - mar, 09/27/2016 - 10:45


Maybe I've been too hard on Justin Trudeau. Maybe, despite some troubling indications to the contrary, Canada remains a genuine, liberal democracy. Maybe, in the face of the gravest threat to civilization in the history of mankind, it's okay for our prime minister to look the other way. Maybe we're the problem, not him.

I've been pretty critical of this prime minister whom I've called "Slick" drawing the ire of some true believers. I called the last guy much worse - Shifty, the Prince of Darkness, Beelzebub. I think Slick is fair. The guy is a bit of a hustler, master of the photo op, form over substance.

The current prime minister began with great flair and promise. He showed he could do all the easy things, the "feel good" stuff, even if it was the low-hanging fruit. No problems there.

It was when it came to the hard stuff that he proved a disappointment.

The Saudi death wagons deal. He shamed Canada with that one even if it did elevate us, temporarily to be sure, to the 2nd largest weapons supplier to that den of murderous iniquity, the Middle East.

Then, for obvious partisan purposes, he had his legislative cadre back the Tory motion to censure BDS. Can you imagine his father putting up with that? Can you imagine his dad bending his knee to become Netanyahu's bootlicker?

Bill C-51 that completed Canada's transformation into a surveillance state. Yeah, he backed that bit of Harperian perfidy too. The Privacy Commissioner is giving the young whelp a caning over that one today.

Did I mention the TPP and CETA?

Then there's Canada's fossil fuel industry that, under Harper's petro-statehood, achieved both political and regulatory capture. Parliament still remains indentured to the fossil giants who have retained their control of the regulator, the National Energy Board, despite the current prime minister's election promise to clean house. His heel-dragging is so reminiscent of his immediate predecessor.

The biggie, of course, is climate change - the greatest threat to civilization in the history of mankind. We mocked Harper when he unveiled Canada's targets for greenhouse gas emissions. Harper richly deserved our contempt. He promised to reduce emissions by 30% of 2005 levels by 2030 while, like every government before his, doing bugger all to achieve that thin-gruel target.

But, of course, this is a new day and we're not bound by Harper's miserly targets any more. Sunny ways, my friends. Except the former prime minister's laughable targets are now the current prime minister's laughable targets and we're not even on track to meet that commitment. Hardy, har, har to you, sucker.

This issue, the most important, is also the most dangerous politically, especially to a prime minister who shuns the tough calls. Slick just does not seem up to this job.

There's a problem. Actually doing something that will curb Canada's greenhouse gas emissions to any significant degree is going to be painful. Like it or not, we've allowed our country to become a petro-state which creates all sorts of political and economic vulnerabilities. As reported in The Globe last February:

Last Friday, Environment and Climate Change Canada, as the federal department has been renamed, very quietly posted its latest GHG projections for 2020 and 2030. They aren’t good.

In 2020, emissions will hit 768 megatonnes of carbon dioxide – way above Canada’s target of 622. By 2030, they will have jumped to 815 megatonnes, compared with a target for that year of 524.

...Justin Trudeau came to power with a promise to cut GHG emissions and put a price on carbon. He made a show of attending the Paris climate talks in December, where he got a warm welcome. But that was the easy part. Now he has to find ways to reverse the runaway emissions train that Canada has been riding for years.

Decisions by some provinces to put a price on carbon, through taxes or a cap-and-trade system, should slow the increase in GHG emissions. Higher oil prices that reduce consumption might also help. But to produce the kind of sharp drop needed between now and 2030, Canada will have to amputate, not nip and tuck.

GHG emissions from the oil sands, for instance, will amount to half the increase in total emissions between now and 2030.

...The next four years in the fight against climate change will be critical ones. It’s put-up or shut-up time. Canada must finally meet its targets, while growing the economy at the same time. And it’s Mr. Trudeau who has to get that done.

There's your problem. Trudeau is going to have to wear this. Harper dodged this bullet. Trudeau either has to catch it with his teeth or find his own way to dodge it at the expense of Canada and future generations.
I do sympathize with Slick. It's no fun having to inflict real pain on a populace whose support you're going to need in just a few years time. It would be a different matter if there was some great groundswell from the public calling for strong action to sharply curb emissions only there isn't. Weaning an unwilling public off fossil fuels is going to leave a lot of people sullen or even angry. 
The government pretty much stands alone. It's got the environmentalists on one side and they're steamed at the pathetic reductions target and the even more pathetic efforts demonstrated by the government to date. On the other side it has a bunch of premiers, a couple whose provinces are economically dependent on the fossil fuel industry; it has the industry itself that has managed to embed itself both within the legislature and the national regulator; and it has a public that has shown scant interest in the sort of sacrifices that even the meagre targets would create. Can you define "double bind hypothesis"?
It's a hell of a predicament for a relatively spineless prime minister.



Harper's Folly Goes Back to Work

The Disaffected Lib - mar, 09/27/2016 - 09:35
No, it's not Mike Duffy and it's sure as hell not Bruce Carson or the gaggle of backroom miscreants. It's senator Patrick Brazeau and, after three years in exile, he's going back to work today.

Who Won?

The Disaffected Lib - mar, 09/27/2016 - 09:27


New York Times columnist, Dave Leonhardt, sums up last night's presidential debate succinctly:

He lied about the loan his father once gave him.

He lied about his company’s bankruptcies.

He lied about his federal financial-disclosure forms.

He lied about his endorsements.

He lied about “stop and frisk.”

He lied about “birtherism.”

He lied about New York.

He lied about Michigan and Ohio.

He lied about Palm Beach, Fla.

He lied about Janet Yellen and the Federal Reserve.

He lied about the trade deficit.

He lied about Hillary Clinton’s tax plan.

He lied about her child-care plan.

He lied about China devaluing its currency.

He lied about Mexico having the world’s largest factories.

He lied about the United States’s nuclear arsenal.

He lied about NATO’s budget.

He lied about NATO’s terrorism policy.

He lied about ISIS.

He lied about his past position on the Iraq War.

He lied about his past position on the national debt.

He lied about his past position on climate change.

He lied about calling pregnancy an “inconvenience” for employers.

He lied about calling women “pigs.”

He lied about calling women “dogs.”

He lied about calling women “slobs.”

So… who won the debate?

Tuesday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - mar, 09/27/2016 - 06:10
This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- John Quiggin argues that public services and corporate control don't mix - no matter how desperately the people seeking to exploit public money try to pretend otherwise:
Market-oriented reforms, particularly in the provision of human services like health, education and public safety, have begun with a working system and replaced it with a string of failed experiments.

Here are a few examples from recent news stories around the English-speaking world:
...
Sooner or later the advocates of reform will have to answer the Edison-Blair question: “What works?” And what works is traditional public provision. Through all of these failed experiments, the public sector, much-maligned and chronically underfunded, has carried on with the hard work of educating young people, treating the sick and providing the vast range of services needed in a modern society, on a the basis of an ethic of service to the entire community, and not merely those who can pay for premium service. - Similarly, Andre Picard discusses the importance of a stewardship model for medicine, rather than allowing health needs to be governed solely by profit motives. And Martin Regg Cohn points out how the social guarantees provided by the Canada Pension Plan are only increasing in importance as workplace pensions become less secure.

- Robin Sears notes that progressives need to acknowledge the importance of effective public management, rather than waving away legitimate criticisms of government spending. But I'll argue that at the very least, right-wing anti-government spin should also be met with some of the many examples of the even worse consequences of leaving key issues in private hands - whether through privatized programs, or through complete abandonment to the corporate sector.

- Jason Warick reports on Winona Wheeler's message that all Canadians need to take responsible for reconciliation with First Nations. Ashifa Kassam writes about Grand Chief Stewart Phillip's lack of interest in empty gestures. And David Akin reports that the Libs' first wave of housing announcements falls well short of meeting even the most immediate needs.

- Finally, Branko Milanovic theorizes that inequality tends to be cyclical based on past changes in the relative wealth associated with rent as opposed to labour. But while he offers some useful theories as to how inequality might be reduced in the future, there's plenty of need for public action to bring them about (particularly a political turn toward more progressive systems of taxes and benefits).

His Word Is Not His Bond

Northern Reflections - mar, 09/27/2016 - 05:30


Following last night's debate, NPR fact checked the statements of both candidates. It should come as no surprise that much of what Donald Trump says is patently untrue. Consider just a few examples:

Trump said, "You look at what China is doing for country in terms of making our product, they're devaluing their currency and there's nobody in our government to fight them."

According to Anthony Kuhn, NPR's International Correspondent, "In fact, over the past two years, Beijing has been selling off some of its roughly $4 trillion in foreign exchange reserves to prop up the value of its currency, the Renminbi or Yuan. This has contributed to a lower U.S. trade deficit with China. Beijing allowed the RMB to appreciate against the dollar for about a decade until 2014, leading the IMF to judge the RMB as fairly valued in May of last year."
Trump said,"Thousands of jobs leaving Michigan, leaving Ohio, they’re all leaving."

Marilyn Geewax reports, "Unemployment in Michigan is 4.5 percent; Ohio rate is 4.7 percent. Both are better than the national average of 4.9 percent." 
Trump said, "Under my plan I will be reducing taxes tremendously from thirty five percent to fifteen percent for companies, small and big businesses." 

Danielle Kurtseblen writes, "The conservative Tax Foundation estimates that his plan would reduce federal revenue by $4.4 trillion to $5.9 trillion over the next decade, which is a lot, but down from $10 trillion in his original plan.

Some of that could be offset by economic growth, but even using “dynamic scoring,” the foundation says the plan cuts tax revenue by $2.6 trillion to $3.9 trillion over 10 years. (The higher figure is if the 15 percent business tax rate is applied to “pass-through” entities.) The biggest beneficiaries of Trump’s tax cuts are the wealthy. The top 1 percent of earners see their after-tax income rise by between 10.2 percent and 16 percent. Overall savings would be less than 1 percent.
Trump claimed that he never called climate change a "hoax."

According to NPR, "Actually, Trump has called climate change a "hoax" on several occasions. He said on Meet the Press that he was joking about China's role. As PolitiFact noted: "On Dec. 30, 2015, Trump told the crowd at a rally in Hilton Head, S.C., 'Obama's talking about all of this with the global warming and … a lot of it's a hoax. It's a hoax. I mean, it's a moneymaking industry, OK? It's a hoax, a lot of it.' "

The original source for the “hoax” quote was a tweet Trump sent in 2012. He said the concept of global warming was created by the Chinese to make U.S. manufacturing noncompetitive. 
Take a look at the NPR link. Trump is a serial fabricator and a serial bankrupt. His word is not his bond.

Image: cnn.com

A Short Programming Note

Politics and its Discontents - mar, 09/27/2016 - 05:25

I'll be offline for the next few days as I go off on a small adventure with a couple of my retired buddies. If the weather cooperates, we will be viewing the night sky up north. If it doesn't, well, I don't know what mischief we'll get up to.

See you soon.Recommend this Post

The Night Hillary Clinton Demolished Donald Trump

Montreal Simon - mar, 09/27/2016 - 04:19


I must admit I was a bit worried,  deeply concerned, a nervous wreck before last night's debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

The bloated demagogue has been enjoying some momentum. Polls suggest the race  is now a dead heat.

And with just six weeks to go before the election, it was a critical moment.

But it turns out I shouldn't have worried, because Clinton left Trump looking like a big baby.
Read more »

Well, That Makes a Lot of Sense

The Disaffected Lib - lun, 09/26/2016 - 10:30


How do you get someone who is suicidal to change her ways? Wait, I know. How about 14-days in solitary confinement? Yeah, sure, a little mental torture should fix everything right up.

Military officials have sentenced Manning to 14 days in The Hole for her July suicide attempt. Manning was convicted on 3 counts of misconduct including interfering with the serenity of the glasshouse where she's serving her 35-year sentence.

During the hearing, which Manning said took four hours, she was not allowed access to an attorney or advocate. No publicly available record or transcript of the hearing exists apart from Manning’s own description.

Chris Hedges on Boycott, Divest, Sanction.

The Disaffected Lib - lun, 09/26/2016 - 10:12
It speaks volumes that Justin Trudeau's position on the Boycott/Divest/Sanction movement is in lockstep with Stephen Harper's. Those two and their parties are of one mind. Their kid sister, Elizabeth May, is with them even if her Green Party membership, for now at least, isn't.

Chris Hedges cuts through their bullshit on BDS.

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