Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Jeff Spross argues that in addition to ensuring that employees are fairly paid for the overtime hours they work, we should also be pushing to ensure people aren't required to work as much to begin with. And Angella MacEwen points out that any spin about increasing wages is based almost entirely on a proportional increase in hours worked, rather than workers receiving any benefit from improved productivity.

- Meanwhile, Cory Doctorow highlights new research showing that the CEOs who manage to squeeze the most money out of businesses actually perform worse than the ones who aren't so focused on enriching themselves.

- Thomas Walkom writes that the Cons' much-trumpeted trade agreements are accomplishing nothing even on their own terms.

- Andrew Mitrovica duly slams anybody willing to take the uncorroborated word of the security state as a basis for reporting. John Baglow reminds us that the Libs aren't any better than the Cons when it comes to that tendency - as evidenced both by the star candidacy of Bill Blair, and their inexcusable cowardice in response to the Cons' terror bill. And PressProgress shows what happens when the Cons try to pretend C-51 is anything but a direct and unmitigated attack on Canadians' rights.

- Finally, Susan Delacourt comments on the connection between a first-past-the-post electoral system and the view that voters should be microtargeted for advertising rather than included meaningful policy discussions:
We still like to pretend that political parties are looking for a big, pan-Canadian victory, but the reality is that political success in this country has been built in recent years by finding the tools and tactics to do microtargeting effectively. Technology and big data have turned this strategy into a much more precise science for all parties.

In short, we all know now that rewards don’t go to the political players with the big picture; they go to the ones who think small. An election that required a 50-per-cent-plus victory in the popular vote, on the other hand, would force parties to seek broad, pan-Canadian appeal.
(I)f politics is about thinking small, government should be about thinking big. This is where Harper was on the right track on May 2, 2011 — promising to take an approach to government that he did not take to political campaigning, mindful of the needs and concerns of people who didn’t vote for the Conservatives.

It proved to be an over-ambitious promise, though. The past four years have been littered with examples of the politicized opposite: selective audits of charities seen as unfriendly to Conservatives, PMO press releases that sound an awful lot like party fundraising letters, cabinet ministers trotted out to slam court rulings or scientific findings that rile up the Conservative “base.” Pages and pages of tax provisions have been created to give “boutique” favours to microtargeted segments of the population — budgets for Dougies. Measures for Zoes? Not so much.

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