Saturday, July 04, 2015

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Paul de Grauwe points out that the European push to force Greece into continued austerity is the most important factor holding back a recovery, as the country would be fully solvent if it were being allowed to borrow money on anything but the most draconian of terms. And Paul Mason criticizes the war that's been declared against the Greek public for trying to pursue democratic governance - while noting that the public's justified dissatisfaction isn't going away regardless of the result of the impending referendum.

- Sherif Alsayed-Ali responds to the news that the UK's intelligence agencies have been conducting illegal spying against Amnesty International - and it's worth noting that Bill C-51 will make Canada's sweeping powers and lack of oversight even worse than the UK's:
Our concerns about mass surveillance are not limited to human rights organizations, although this is already very worrying. Mass surveillance is invasive and a dangerous overreach of government power into our private lives and freedom of expression. In specific circumstances it can also put lives at risk, be used to discredit people or interfere with investigations into human rights violations by governments.

We have good reasons to believe that the British government is interested in our work. Over the past few years we have investigated possible war crimes by UK and US forces in Iraq, Western government involvement in the CIA's torture scheme known as the extraordinary rendition programme, and the callous killing of civilians in US drone strikes in Pakistan: it was recently revealed that GCHQ may have provided assistance for US drone attacks.

The obfuscation, secrecy and determination to avoid any meaningful oversight is worthy of a tin-pot dictatorship. It is time for serious public scrutiny of the behaviour of the British government. We need to know what surveillance programmes the government is operating, what spying they consider to be fair game, and why.
- Andrew Cohen sees the Cons' "Memorial to the Victims of Communism" as a monument to crass and destructive politics.

- Finally, Robin Sears highlights why the Cons' division and narrowcasting are doomed to fail as a strategy for building a natural governing party. And Thomas Walkom writes that the cult of personality around Stephen Harper is leading the Cons to shut out natural allies in the name of worshiping their leader.


  1. Kind of bizarre when you think about it--a cult of personality built around a guy without a personality.

    1. Indeed - in fact the post was going to include a parenthetical "or lack thereof" until I figured that would get a bit wordy.

      But I suppose from that starting point, the dangers of anybody daring to present a satirical version of him are more acute since Harper can't offer any competing impression of himself.