Friday, December 21, 2018

Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Tom Parkin discusses the contrived war between the Libs' fake progressives and the Cons' phony populists:
In Canada, under Conservatives and Liberals, income polarization continues, social programs get cut, workers’ economic strength weakens, infrastructure is turned into a finance rent-seeking scheme and oil and gas companies get billions in subsidies — currently by a government that claims to be a global climate leader.

Not surprisingly, this might make some people believe the political-economic elite and the Canadian people aren’t on the same team.

There is, of course, a perfectly rational way out of the economic and political disaster foisted on us. The high cost of everyday life needs to be unwound using policy initiatives, including a public drug plan and childcare. We need to attack money laundering and tax housing speculation. Critical monopolies like power grids should be turned into ratepayer-owned co-ops. Public investment in infrastructure needs to be delivered on-time and on-budget by ending the finance of the finance sector. And the labour market should expand bargaining power for people, especially those who are precarious and with low income. The billions being spent on oil and gas subsidies should be reinvested in what’s being labelled a Green New Deal. We should seek international trade and diplomatic alliances with countries that share our social and democratic values. We should stop arming tyrants.

It’s a pretty obvious plan. But it doesn’t help the political and economic elite. So to replace the obvious solutions, we have political fakery — in two brands. And you better believe it. Or at least one of them.

Brand A pushes the fake populist narrative that refugees are today’s crisis, tax cuts for the rich will raise wages, and the oil and gas industry needs more public subsidies. Brand B sells the fake progressive line that things are great, ending racism is one call-out away, and life-changing investments in people are just around the corner.

But surely Canadians understand that, whether it’s Brand A or Brand B, fake populists or fake progressives, Conservatives or Liberals, their reality doesn’t change.
- And Lynne Fernandez writes about the real challenges facing Manitoba (in contrast to the trumped-up deficit fears being used by Brian Pallister as an excuse to slash social investments).

- Sara Peach offers some suggestions in conducting difficult but necessary conversations about the realities of climate change. Jonathan Watts writes about the risks of climate tipping points - but also points out that they signal the value of taking action. Robert Hackett and Philippa Adams point out how mainstream coverage of pipeline issues tends to freeze out any voices other than oil industry backers. Bonnie Heilman reviews the Just Transition summit which discussed how Saskatchewan can do its part, while Vanessa Williamson comments on France's Gilets Jaunes protests (as opposed to the astroturf Alberta knockoff) as an indication that the price of climate action can't be imposed solely on the working class.

- David Climenhaga examines the corporate funding behind a "protest" which served mostly to confirm how clueless Andrew Scheer is. And Dave Cournoyer calls out the recent spate of separatist blather as the toddler's temper tantrum that it is, while Mitchell Anderson notes that reality wouldn't be kind to any Alberta attempt to go it alone.

- Finally, Sarah O'Connor examines how the UK Cons' freeze of housing benefits seems positively calculated to force people out of their homes. And Brittany Shoot discusses the obvious link between soaring rents and increased homelessness.

No comments:

Post a Comment