Friday, October 03, 2014

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Following up on yesterday's column, Michael Harris offers his take on how Stephen Harper refuses to accept anything short of war as an option:
Stephen Harper talks as if this is yet another of those good-versus-evil fables he is always passing off to the public as deep analysis and sound policy.

More honest and experienced minds make a more rational case. In the United Kingdom, the former head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove said that politicians are merely taking advantage of a distortion towards Islamic extremism. That distortion was branded on the public consciousness by the 9/11 attacks. It has since been used to exaggerate all kinds of threats, ISIS being just the latest of them.  Dearlove correctly points out that fighting in Syria and Iraq is essentially Muslim on Muslim.

He thinks that governments and the media make a great mistake in sensationalizing the threat represented by ISIS because the oxygen of publicity actually encourages their excesses. It is, he says, time to move away from the distortion that 9/11 understandably created, time to regain our footing. It is an idea not without appeal.
Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau are right, plain and simple. The PM needs to make the case for war, if there even is one to be made. And he needs to make it to the Canadian people, not in an interview with the Wall Street Journal while in the offices of Goldman Sachs.

If he doesn’t hold a real debate, it will demonstrate that he is in the same headspace as Republican freshman Senator and presidential hopeful Ted Cruz. According to one wag, Cruz’s idea of foreign policy is part John Wayne and part Sarah Palin; “shoot first and don’t ask any questions.” Sound familiar?
- Meanwhile, Duncan Cameron summarizes how we reached the brink of war, while Scott Stelmaschuk offers a more detailed analysis. Rick Salutin makes the case for non-intervention rather than bombing. Jeffrey Simpson points out that the Cons' supposed rationale and strategy are based on nothing but wilful ignorance and wishful thinking. And Anthony Fenton reports that the Cons are already misleading the public about the scope of Canada's current involvement.

- Tim Dickinson offers a thorough look at the Koch brothers' toxic empire. And David Dayen discusses how a "benching" remedy can make sure a corporation doesn't merely treat the price of stalling and eventually settling regulatory proceedings as a cost of continuing to do improper business.

- Finally, the Economist discusses the growing disconnect between work and wealth (and associated rise of inequality). But it is worth going further than the Economist proposes in response: in fact, the lack of a link between individual work and incomes serves as a compelling basis to both collect more revenue on higher incomes which don't reflect work or merit, and to ensure that work isn't a precondition to participation in society through a guaranteed basic income.

[Edit: fixed typo.]

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