Thursday, July 23, 2015

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Brendan O'Neill writes that the UK Cons are following in Stephen Harper's footsteps by pushing the concept of thought policing. And George Monbiot rightly criticizes the gross inflation of supposed terror threats and simultaneous neglect of far more serious risks:
A global survey published last week by the Pew Research Centre found that while the people of North America, Britain, Australia, Japan, France and Germany see Isis as the greatest threat they face, most of the countries surveyed in poorer parts of the world – Africa, Latin America and Asia – place climate change at the top of the list. Even in Turkey (where, as the bombing on Monday suggests, the terrorist group is a real threat), more people said they were “very concerned” about climate change than they did about Islamic State. The nations least threatened by Isis rank this risk the highest. This is media-driven madness, an epidemic of transcontinental paranoia that governments are happy to foment and exploit.

Men such as Cameron, Tony Abbott in Australia and Stephen Harper in Canada won’t engage in generational struggles with real existential threats – climate breakdown first among them – for fear of alienating their sponsors. They have learned all the wrong lessons from Churchill’s legacy, seeking to invest themselves with belligerent glory while forgetting his ability at crucial moments to place the interests of the nation above the interests of his class.

So, as Hitler is reborn with a thousand faces, a new “struggle of our generation” emerges every six months, and all around us existential crises are ignored.
- Meanwhile, Jennifer Chevalier exposes the Cons' direct orders to the civil service to fabricate terrorism-related news for their political use, while Azeezah Kanji notes that even from the standpoint of addressing terrorism the Cons are deliberately avoiding naming the more plausible threats which come from their base. And the Star lauds the much-needed court challenge to C-51 while lamenting the fact that it's become law in the first place.

- Robyn Benson weighs in on the Cons' use of public money to bribe voters as an election approaches. And Anita Khanna and Sid Frankel write that we should expect all parties to be making clear how they'll fight child poverty, rather than limiting their focus to temporary goodies for swing voters.

- Susan Wright offers her take on the contrast between Rachel Notley and Brad Wall by pointing out what happened to the last premier who matched Wall's condescension.

- And finally, Henry Farrell sets out a useful general theory of Very Serious People.

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