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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

John Clarke and Bryan Dawe: Continental rift (in Guy McPherson's blog)

The current world economic train-wreck in about 3 minutes flat - very funny, and perhaps even more relevant now! Thanks for posting it, Guy!

Continental rift – Guy McPherson's blog.

Thomas Walkom: Eurozone cure could be worse than disease (in the Toronto Star)

"... in Berlin or Paris there is little sympathy for the unemployed of Madrid. They are, after all, Spanish. Not Germans or French. They are deemed to be the cause of their own troubles.

"We have seen this before. The last time was in the period after 1918 when the victorious Allies insisted that Germany and Austria bear the financial cost of World War I, a war that was deemed to be their fault alone.
...

"The dictatorship that resulted was predictable, as was the devastating global war that followed. Hard times drive people to embrace hard leaders.

...

"Don’t assume such things couldn’t happen again. Sometimes, history does repeat itself."

Full article: Canada News: Walkom: Eurozone cure could be worse than disease.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

J. David Hulchansky: The 99% know all about inequality (in the Toronto Star)

J. David Hulchanski is a professor of housing and community development at the University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. His research on income trends in Toronto is available at www.NeighbourhoodChange.ca.

"Toronto was a middle-income city in the 1970s: two-thirds of the city’s neighbourhoods were in the middle. The proportion of middle-income neighbourhoods has since fallen to less than a third.

...

"In nominally democratic countries, the mass of the population is recognizing that it is exploited by an empowered and emboldened kleptocracy (from the ancient Greek, rule by thieves). Instead of fair rules and regulations, instead of inclusionary and democratic policies and politics (rule of all, by all, i.e., democracy), instead of addressing injustices, we have grab-all-you-can-and-run attitudes, supported by public policy.

"Inequality is both the precursor and outcome of injustice."

Full article: The 99% know all about inequality.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Linda McQuaig: How to make inequality obsolete (in the Toronto Star)

"Even Adam Smith, considered the father of capitalism, favoured higher taxes on the rich, and seemed to have people like [Canadian Finance Minister Jim] Flaherty in mind when he warned that the “disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and the powerful, and to despise, or, at least to neglect persons of poor and mean condition . . . is . . . the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments.”"

Full article: McQuaig: How to make inequality obsolete.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Rick Salutin: Occupiers call for changing the agenda (in the Toronto Star)

"What they’re saying is: Change the agenda/change the channel. Saying anything less is inadequate because you could find a small piece mistaken for the whole. But saying that much is tricky precisely because there already is an agenda in place that keeps blocking and obscuring the demand to change it!"

Full article: Salutin: Occupiers call for changing the agenda.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Jack Quarter: Confessions of a 2 percenter (in the Toronto Star)

Jack Quarter is a professor and director of the Social Economy Centre, OISE, University of Toronto; his recent books include Understanding the Social Economy (University of Toronto Press), co-authored with Laurie Mook and Ann Armstrong.

"The Occupy Wall Street movement is located where it ought to be: the epicentre of the inequality mill. The problem is the system of those institutions and how they are allowed to function, not so much the individuals who populate them."

Full article: Confessions of a 2 percenter.

Jim Coyle: New Canadian Index of Wellbeing reveals how Canadians are really faring (in the Toronto Star)

"The Canadian Index of Wellbeing, a dozen years in the making, is intended to do what standard economic tools such as Gross Domestic Product cannot — namely, to measure not just the economy, but how people and communities, the environment and our democracy are faring.

"Roy Romanow, former Saskatchewan premier and chair of the CIW advisory board, told the Star the project puts “scientific underpinning” to a widespread, intuitive sense that though the GDP might rise, circumstances for the majority of Canadians have not been keeping pace.

...

"The GDP — that statistical star and the defining economic indicator for more than half a century — was never intended, its inventor said, to measure “the welfare of a nation.”

"For instance, spending on tobacco, war, cleaning up man-made disasters, building prisons — hardly measures of human progress — all cause the GDP to rise. Meanwhile, caring for an ailing relative, unpaid housework, volunteer work — all obvious goods — don't show up.

...

"By comparison, the CIW takes into account the complexity and interconnectedness of human society. It offers a deeper understanding of what constitutes social and individual good. It speaks about relationships, social isolation enjoyment of life."

Full article: Toronto News: New Canadian Index of Wellbeing reveals how Canadians are really faring.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Carol Goar: Suddenly, the politicians and bankers are listening (in the Toronto Star)

"It is notable that the Prime Minister has not gone as far as his finance minister or the bank governor. But he has let them get out ahead of him; that is unusual for a boss known for exercising iron control over members of his cabinet and public officials.

"Cynics dismiss the youth-led movement as leaderless, unfocused, badly organized and unlikely to have any impact. But it already has changed the conversation in Ottawa.

...

"The story is still unfolding. The demonstrations may fizzle out. They may splinter. They may turn ugly.

"Or as time goes on, they might prompt the silent majority to ask why there are many more losers than winners in the globalized, low-tax, cost-efficient economy that was supposed to boost economic growth and raise living standards."

Goar: Suddenly, the politicians and bankers are listening.

Tim Harper: PM’s big oil ‘no-brainer’ an emotional issue in U.S. (in the Toronto Star)

"U.S. ambassador David Jacobson maintained Tuesday that politics will not enter into the Keystone decision.

"He actually said it with a straight face."

Full article: Canada News: Tim Harper: PM’s big oil ‘no-brainer’ an emotional issue in U.S..

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Occupy Toronto protesters settle in at St. James Park (in the Toronto Star)

"... Jacob, 5, took refuge from the rain, drawing a multicoloured peace sign on the ground and listening to guitar jam sessions that included songs like John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

...

"“It’s very fun,” said Jacob of the atmosphere, going on to describe what the protest is about.

"“Because people are poor and because we’ve had enough of this.”

"It was the purest message of the day."

Full article: Toronto News: Occupy Toronto protesters settle in at St. James Park.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Toby Sanger: Don’t just occupy Wall Street, tax it (in the Toronto Star)

"... [Canadian Finance Minister Jim] Flaherty has some explaining to do: why did he push so hard and give billions in federal money for provinces to introduce the 13 per cent HST paid by individual consumers — the so-called 99 per cent — but is fighting so hard against a 0.1 per cent financial transactions tax on the financial industry?"

Toby Sanger is the economist for the Canadian Union of Public Employees. He previously worked as principal economic policy adviser for the Ontario Minister of Finance and as chief economist for the Yukon government.

Full article: Don’t just occupy Wall Street, tax it.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Heather Mallick: Being the leader of the free world is really, really hard stuff (in the Toronto Star)

"What I don’t get is why he threw away his Get Out of Jail Free card — his first two years with Senate-Congressional majorities — with both hands."

Full article: Being the leader of the free world is really, really hard stuff.

Read it and weep!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Thomas Walkom: Vague yes. But don’t discount Wall St. protests (in the Toronto Star)

"...There is palpable anger in the U.S. (less so in Canada).

"The ultra right-wing Tea Party movement is one result of this anger. It has pulled together deeply-seated American currents of populism, xenophobia, patriotism, individualism and racism to emerge as a powerful political force.

"It’s too early to say whether the Wall Streeters represent the nucleus of a comparable left-wing populist movement. But the elements are there."

Full article: Canada News: Walkom: Vague yes. But don’t discount Wall St. protests.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Naomi Klein: Keystone XL Oil Pipeline Controversy Shows How Wall Street Is Occupying U.S. Gov't (Reported in Democracy Now!)

Award-winning Canadian journalist and author Naomi Klein discusses "the cozy relationship between the White House, the U.S. State Department that is considering the proposed pipeline, and Keystone XL lobbyists."

Naomi Klein: Keystone XL Oil Pipeline Controversy Shows How Wall Street Is Occupying U.S. Gov't.

Robert Scheer: What Do They Want? Justice (in Truthdig)

"“Ultimately this is about power and greed, unchecked,” Jodie Evans [founder of Code Pink] told the Times’ Sorkin, and it is a protest that the columnist’s newspaper, along with the rest of a mainstream media that editorially enthused over the radical deregulation that unfettered Wall Street greed, should now honestly cover."

Full article: Robert Scheer: What Do They Want? Justice - Truthdig.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Chantal Hébert: Ruling reminds Tories no one above the law (in the Toronto Star)

"The Insite ruling is a strong reminder to the Harper government that its law-and-order agenda is not above the law itself.

"But it is also a reprimand for Tony Clement, a minister who has very much been on the ground zero of government-driven controversies over the past few years, first over the elimination of the long-form census and more recently over G8 summit spending.

"It was Clement who launched the 2008 federal vendetta against Insite in his days as minister of health. "

Full article: Canada News: Hébert: Ruling reminds Tories no one above the law.

Rumours of the demise of democracy may be premature after all!