Saturday, February 14, 2015

On unclear motivations

Shorter Peter MacKay:
We should tremble in our boots at the possibility that the people plotting a mass shooting in Halifax might have been susceptible to motivation by religious fervour. But if they'd instead carried out their actual plan, we should be willing to write off the resulting deaths as the price of free access to guns.
Update: Anna Mehler Paperny has more.

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Cameron Dearlove laments the fact that Canada is failing to recognize and replicate other countries' successes in using the social determinants of health to shape public policy:
Today we know that social and financial inequities — particularly the experience of poverty — has a greater impact on our health than our healthcare system, genetics, even lifestyle choices. For a society facing spiking healthcare costs, the social determinants of health (things like housing, food security, social inclusion, early childhood development, employment, and working conditions) arguably present the greatest public policy opportunity since the creation of our social safety net, after the Second World War. While Canada is at the forefront of research in the social determinants of health, we are laggards in turning this research into healthy public policy — while Finnish babies benefit from sleeping in their care-filled boxes, Canadian children rest outside the box.

If the social determinants of health hold such promise, what are we doing locally, provincially, and nationally to apply these ideas? How do we rewrite conventional wisdom so that governments, institutions and communities are using the powerful social determinants framework to encourage longer, healthier, happier lives?
- Meanwhile, Donald Hirsch writes about the changing - and sadly spreading - shape of child poverty in the UK. And Barbara Howard offers a moment of perspective on how the disasters which some people can easily brush off cause far more problems for the working poor.

- Paul Krugman notes that the Republicans' tax policy continues to reflect little more than bare class warfare by other names in cutting taxes on the rich while raising them for everybody else.

- Heather Mallick traces the demise of Sun News to its constant bullying, while Christopher Waddell sees it as having been based largely on a failed attempt to game Canada's broadcasting system.

As an aside, others are asking how it is that a network seemingly set up to further the Cons' interests didn't actually get enough preferential treatment to survive despite its lack of merit. But I'll note that the government isn't the only force which could have kept the network afloat - and given the massive amount of money put into corporate communications, it's telling also that Canada's plutocrats didn't have any interest in footing the bill for a media outlet which seemed to fit their political interests.

- Finally, Craig Forcese and Kent Roach offer a detailed look at the contents of the Cons' terror bill. Thomas Walkom - who deserves plenty of blame as the media originator of the theory that no opposition party would oppose C-51 - is finally beginning to recognize that the NDP is in fact standing up for civil rights against the Cons' fearmongering. Stephen Maher talks to a former CSIS officer and finds even more reason for concern with what the Cons are trying to pull. And Don Lenihan writes that he sees the Cons primarily as having made Canadian politics more authoritarian rather than more conservative - though I'm not sure it's an either-or proposition.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Musical interlude

SkyPatrol - Folding Your Universe

Friday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to end your week.

- Simon Wren-Lewis nicely describes the austerity con (coming soon in extreme form to an Alberta near you):
‘Mediamacro’ is the term I use to describe macroeconomics as it is portrayed in the majority of the media. Mediamacro has a number of general features. It puts much more emphasis than conventional macroeconomics does on the financial markets, and on the views of participants in those markets. It prefers simple stories to more complex analysis. As part of this, it is fond of analogies between governments and individuals, even when those analogies are generally seen to be false by macroeconomists. So after the 2010 election (and to some extent before it) mediamacro had bought with barely a murmur the view that reducing the government deficit was the top priority. It even bought a second story, which was that the previous Labour government had played a large part in creating the deficit problem in the first place. Like all good myths this was based on a half-truth: before the recession Gordon Brown had been a little less prudent than he should have been: he had been too optimistic about tax receipts, and followed a fiscal rule that allowed his progress in reducing debt in the early years of the Labour government to be reversed in later years. But as the chart shows, the impact of this on the deficit was dwarfed by the influence of the recession, and the recession was the result of a global financial crisis. Despite this, mediamacro allowed the myth of Labour profligacy to go unchallenged.
The key question, when it comes to Osborne and the coalition, is about motivation. Was the turn to austerity in 2010 an unfortunate mistake caused by an understandable over-reaction to events overseas and an over-optimistic view of the effectiveness of QE? Has the government subsequently refused to acknowledge the mistake simply because, with the help of mediamacro, it thought it could get away with it? The IMF switched to supporting fiscal austerity in 2010 because of its mistaken interpretation of the Eurozone crisis. There are three problems with interpreting Osborne’s behaviour in the same way. First, unlike the IMF, he didn’t support fiscal stimulus even in 2009. Second, public investment was cut back sharply in 2010 and 2011 even though Osborne’s fiscal rule that the current budget must be balanced excludes public investment. Third, he is proposing to renew austerity after the election, even though we remain in a liquidity trap and there are serious risks to the recovery, and despite the fact that there is no sign today (unlike in 2010) of any government funding crisis. It is as if Osborne’s real priority was and still is to cut all forms of government spending, and as if the deficit was, and he hopes will remain, a convenient pretext to achieve that goal. It will be some time before economists settle on a number for the total cost of the austerity mistake, but a conservative estimate would be that, in total, resources worth around 5 per cent of GDP will have been lost for ever by delaying the recovery. That’s about £100 billion, or £1500 for each adult and child in the country.

If any other government department had wasted that amount, there would be a huge outcry from the media. Yet when it comes to macroeconomics, the media seems to play by different rules. It continues to misrepresent economic ideas even though it has access to academic expertise. Why is this?
Of course it is also the case that large sections of the print media have a political agenda. Unfortunately the remaining part, too, often seeks expertise among City economists who have a set of views and interests that do not reflect the profession as a whole. This can lead to a disconnect between macroeconomics as portrayed in the media and the macroeconomics taught in universities. In the case of UK austerity, it has allowed the media to portray the reduction of the government’s budget deficit as the overriding macroeconomic priority, when in reality that policy has done and may continue to do considerable harm.
- But even in the midst of publicly-induced economic stagnation with glaring human costs, the Cons can always find more money to throw at doomed resource extraction schemes.

- Oliver James sees the HSBC tax evasion scandal as just another example of the uber-rich not caring about the rest of us. And asked what he'd do as Prime Minister of the UK, Tony Juniper proposes working toward a more sustainable and more equal society in one fell swoop:
In our fast changing, uncertain and ever more volatile world, I’d seek to redefine what we believe are the best routes to energy and food security. Instead of seeing these aims best pursued through global free markets (which in any event are a myth), I’d focus on building strength at home. This would be achieved by protecting soils and pollinators and by setting the UK on a path toward having a wholly renewable and super efficient energy economy. Policies would deliberately encourage job creation and technological innovation in both these strategic sectors.
I’d treat inequality as one of the gravest and most corrosive threats to our freedom and society. I’d tackle this in part on the back of a "Green New Deal". This would provide economic stimulus and create quality jobs on the back of upgrading the country’s housing stock and building green infrastructure paid for from a new round of quantitative easing and through aggressive tax collection.
- Christine Saulnier argues that governments should be preventing payday lenders from exploiting people who lack access to financial services.

- Finally, Monia Mazigh rightly calls out Stephen Harper's attempt to override rationality with baseless fear.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

New column day

Here, on how the Saskatchewan Party's manipulative consultation designed to push liquor retailing into the private sector only managed to highlight the fact that our current system is working just fine.

For further reading, the consultation materials are here, including the survey results here (PDF). And even though those don't include the thousands of people who expressed their support for keeping liquor public, they indicate little interest in a larger number of retail locations or increased hours of availability - which of course represent the main difference in pursuing a plan aimed at letting private operators open up where and when they see fit.

As a bonus, I mentioned in the column that more than a few comments submitted with the survey called out the slanted nature of the questions. The below is far from exhaustive, but it offers a sampling of how even the people who took the time to engage in the government's process recognized that it was rigged from them outset:
I don't believe that the statement regarding health care and education is accurate, where would they get the resources without having the money from liquor sales. The profit each year that the government makes on liquor sales does go back into those areas. I don't believe that Mr Wall and "his government" will take any notice of what the public wants and will privatize stores because that is what he and "his government" have always wanted. I do not want the government owned stores privatized, if I did I would be living in Alberta!!!
This survey has an agenda. It was very, very poorly written if neutrality was the goal. I strongly suspect Sask Party interference in the question formation. It is guiding people to dismiss public liquor stores...

"Increasing the ability for the government to reinvest in other priorities (i.e. health care, roads, education, etc.)"

We PROFIT from these stores. This question implies they are a distraction. You invest in LBS, make profit, spend that on roads etc. Just... this was a disappointing experience. My voice feels unheard because I know it's written to trick people into making certain selections that actively work against their actual beliefs. Just a waste of time the way it's currently written. For shame.
I feel that our liquor stores are making money, the question of [priority] in spending is irrelevant!!
When detailing the idea of changing to a private liquor retailer, ensure to show the public how much profit was brought in by the current system and where the money went. For me to save $50 a year on alcohol vs having to increase my taxes due to less revenue is not that important.
There is nothing to indicate that the current public liquor stores are inefficient or losing money. The revenues that are earned support the building of roads, hospitals, and social services; it's important to share the risks of going to a private system with the public and the potential for increased taxes in order to fund those foundational community pieces. The issue of public liquor stores is a red herring; we need to focus on building a better province that has a sustainable future tax base. Our growth should be planned, sustained and something that we can count on...this issue is a kneejerk response to a non-existent problem.
I found this survey very biased towards private liquor stores. If you are going to ask for our opinions there should not be so many loaded questions. A few of the questions felt like i could not give an answer that was appropriate to my views.

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Elias Isquith interviews Mark Blyth about his book on the disastrous consequences of austerity, while Paul Krugman writes that austerity is particularly sure to cause economic destruction when combined with a push toward consumer deleveraging. And Bruce Campbell looks to Syriza as an example of how people have real political choices - even when parties try to tell them otherwise out of either corporate ideology or fear.

- CBC reports on Generation Squeeze's study showing the need for greater social spending to support young Canadians.

- But Angella MacEwen is rightly concerned that the Cons are instead (at least nominally) putting employment policy in the hands of someone whose stubborn refusal to let government play a positive role for citizens stands out even by Con MP standards.

- Finally, Ed Broadbent and Roy Romanow argue that our elected representatives need to defeat the Cons' terror bill:
CSIS has now been given powers to engage in the active disruption of activities that it believes threaten the security of Canada, a power that was once illegally exercised by the RCMP and which led to the creation of CSIS with the mandate to focuso exclusively n intelligence gathering – not to engage in activities that often would otherwise be illegal. As the recent unfortunate history of intelligence agencies in the United States and Britain shows, we should be wary of this expanded mandate for our country’s intelligence arm.
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world, including Canada. We cannot adopt a passive attitude toward it. We must invest in discovering terrorist threats and in stopping them. But national security also means defending our democracy, and that depends on holding the loyalty of citizens and maintaining their confidence in a just and stable government. This requires tolerance for diverse opinions, respect for personal integrity and timely and effective accountability for governmental conduct, including security operations. Shortchanging these will only weaken our strength as a nation – and our security.
And Stephen Lautens duly mocks Stephen Harper's apparent belief that he's defending Canada against the Loch Ness Monster from his closeted control centre - though I have to wonder whether Harper merely mistook "fear" for "fish" among the two leading types of mongering.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

On needless concessions

Shorter Dougald Lamont:
The only way to win against Stephen Harper's Conservatives is to let the Conservatives define both the significance of Stephen Harper, and what it means to "win".

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Jacques Peretti discusses how corporate elites rewrote our social contract in a concerted effort to the inequality we're fighting today - and suggests it's well past time to push back in the name of moral economics:
Politicians have now, as then, conspired in their own diminishment — outsourcing foreign policy to Washington, saying there's nothing we can do about global capitalism.

But it's not up to them, it's up to us to be uncompromisingly moral at a moment when the criminal immorality of 30 years of misguided economic policy has been revealed.

The free market doctrine is over, and there’s an open goal. A once in a lifetime opportunity to rewrite the rules. It doesn’t require another Labour manifesto, nor call to "revolution".

We need a thousand surgical strikes to our economic system – ideas already out there from teachers, health workers, economists, even the enlightened super rich – which add up to one big idea, called morality.

So be radical. Be like a banker. But do it for good.
- Meanwhile, Bryce Covert highlights the opportunity to offer solutions to inequality as the G20's finance ministers acknowledge the problem for the first time. But Mainly Macro notes that we should fully expect corporate interests to keep trying to warp the system in favour of further wealth accumulation - though Ian Welsh is optimistic that they'll fail in the effort.

- Nate Cohn notes that a new "parent agenda" - based on improved parental leave, child care and affordable education - offers somewhere to start in providing an alternative vision. And Will Hutton offers his suggestions to fix a broken economic system:
The problems in the British economy and society run deep. Put at its rawest, our private institutions do not provide sufficient public good to justify their unreformed autonomy. A democracy has both the right and the duty to ask tough questions of the effectiveness of all its institutions, public and private. To insist that private institutions can only be reformed if they provenly fail – as the current centre-right consensus insists – and that public institutions must, as far as possible, simulate private ones, is to accept that the only good order is private.

If there are no networks of reciprocal obligation, and no acknowledgement that human beings associate in a society they can construct, redesign and reform around those principles, then we are all reduced to atomistic consumers and workers – serfs who are no more than notations in the spreadsheets of companies and public bodies alike. Business, too, is part of this framework. Wealth generation is not some magic left to firms and individuals in their low-taxed private garden: it reflects how companies are owned, financed and incentivised within a framework of public law – and thus what risks are run and what innovation and investment is undertaken. Business is healthier in a healthier society: it cannot be blind to social obligations. There is of necessity an inter-relationship with the democratic state. Without this recognition politicians are turned into journeymen with no great purpose, and into the vacuum pour nationalists, populists and the weird. We can do better.
The starting point is to ensure the foundation of any capitalist economy – the company – works as it should, and that legally, constitutionally and culturally, companies are purposed to do what they can do so well. To argue for the reform of capitalist enterprise should not be interpreted as “anti-business”; rather it is to be anti-dysfunctional business. For at their best, companies are organisations of genius, solving problems, innovating and delivering great goods and services. They should not be allowed to degrade into instruments of stock market speculation, so that managers are governed by the new god – the share price – and the temptations of their own colossal self-enrichment.
- Meanwhile, Andrew Jackson makes the case for Canada's budgets to invest in public well-being, rather than slashing away at it.

- Finally, Nahanni Fontaine calls for Canada to take long-overdue steps toward genuine equality for indigenous women.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

On misappropriation

Shorter Don McMorris:
You might think that a publicly administered and funded consultation process would be intended to inform provincial public policy decisions, and that partisan platform development should be funded by a political party instead. But let me assure you that Brad Wall's government has no such scruples.

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Cats with toys.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Both Richard Bilton and Matthew Yglesias discuss Le Monde's reporting on HSBC's active participation in widespread tax evasion. And James Bloodworth rightly argues that we should see tax avoidance as socially unacceptable even if governments fail to do their job in ensuring that everybody pays their fair share:
Indeed, who wouldn’t want to be tax efficient?

The answer very much depends on what sort of society you want to live in. Were the question phrased more honestly – i.e. bearing some relation to what the consequences of being ‘tax efficient’ are – I suspect the answer would be rather different. After all, lessening your tax bill through financial acumen may be satisfying from a purely self-interested point of view, but depriving cancer patients of otherwise affordable medical treatment, or preventing a dementia sufferer from getting the care they require in old age – both of which are consequences of depleted treasury coffers – hardly cover a person with glory. To deploy the well-known phrase: taxes are what we pay for civilized society.
The law is the most important tool in tackling tax evasion, but the point about tax avoidance is that it often takes place within the law. The law must be tightened where possible, certainly, but a public shift in the way tax avoidance is viewed also needs to take place. Tax avoidance, either by companies or individuals, is as anti-social as drink driving, and like getting behind the wheel in a state of inebriation it can have devastating consequences. The left shouldn’t be shy in pointing that out.
[- Update:And Polly Toynbee points out that poor enforcement and minimal penalties only encourage tax evasion on the part of the less-scrupulous.]

- Meanwhile, Brian Stewart reminds us that any immediate reaction to corporate wrongdoing will quickly be reversed - with the Cons' willingness to go soft on bribery proving just the latest example. But Tim Stacey challenges the perception that we should defer to the wealthy based on the theory that their riches reflect merit rather than an extreme focus on limited self-interest.

- Jordan Brennan studies the connection between larger and more stringent trade agreements, and the growth of corporate power at the expense of the public.

- Finally, Jeremy Nuttall notes that Canada's economy is largely stalled due to the Cons' failed plan to turn unstable resource industries into our lone economic engine. And George Eaton offers an example from the UK which should be instructive in Canada - as economic projections show better outcomes under a government which is willing to borrow money to make needed investments, rather than one which obsesses over balanced budgets rather than human well-being during a downturn.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Elizabeth Renzetti makes clear that we can't count on one-time crowdsourcing to perform the same function as a social safety net:
This is the problem with the wildly popular new online world of what you might call misery fundraising: It semi-solves one small problem while leaving the system in ruins. Crowdfunding someone’s personal tragedy is the equivalent of fixing a broken arm, but closing the hospital.

It used to be that crowdfunding sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter were wonderful places to raise money for cultural projects – movies, plays, even the occasional potato-salad recipe. When the Morgentaler clinic in Fredericton was forced to close, it was able to raise enough money to reopen thanks to an online fundraising campaign. But lately, as the social safety net frays, the needy and desperate have turned to websites such as HandUp, GoFundMe and YouCaring to meet their basic needs. Needs that would have been met, even a couple of decades ago, by community or government services.

Take a look at some of the tales of woe on these sites, each one more miserable than the last: People who can’t afford rent, or shoes, or medical care. People who need bus money to get to work, or wheelchair vans, or help with tuition. Sometimes they’re looking to build memorials to lost children. These are not people looking for a week in Tahiti. And while it’s lovely to see the great generosity of donors, it’s also enraging to think that there are a vast number of people who have had to resort, in essence, to online begging. What should be the work of society is fobbed off onto goodhearted individuals with tablets.
- And Duncan Cameron writes about the social and infrastructure deficits which are being ignored in the name of austerity economics.

- Reuters reports on the Bank for International Settlements' conclusion that oil prices have far more to do with financial maneuverings than supply and demand - making it doubly dangerous to rely on oil revenue as part of a standard budgeting process. And Ralph Surette writes that any forward-thinking government should be moving toward more stable and affordable renewable options.

- Geoffrey Stevens points out Stephen Harper's attempt to erode trust in any safeguards against unfettered executive power. And Michael Harris reminds us what happens when trust breaks down between the public and the people and institutions who are supposed to pursue our interests.

- Finally, Dan Leger discusses the Cons' plan to turn the federal election into a non-stop fear campaign. And John Baglow writes that the Cons have given us plenty of reason to be afraid of fear itself.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

The more things change...

Tim Naumetz' comparison between the NDP's place before the 2011 federal election and its current position is worth a read. But what's perhaps more noteworthy is how little has changed.

Remember that the 2011 campaign was initially portrayed as a two-party race between the Cons and the Libs. And looking solely at party support numbers until midway through the writ period, that conclusion might have seemed justified.

(In that respect, the NDP is in a much stronger position now than four years ago. Even its worst recent poll results are well above the low-teens numbers which caused so many in the media to think Jack Layton would avoid a 2011 election at all costs. And all available Quebec polling suggests that at worst, dozens of seats will remain in NDP hands.)

Going into 2011, though, the NDP knew that factors beyond simple party support were working in its favour as the campaign began.

It could point to a significant advantage in leadership. Not only was Jack Layton more popular than his competitors to start with, but his political experience and development positioned him to win additional support as voters took a closer look at their options.

And it could point to a detailed set of policies developed over years of careful consideration and associated public trust on issues, in contrast to the Liberals' hastily-assembled set of campaign gimmicks.

Those proved to be important advantages for the NDP as it rose to Official Opposition status. And both are equally applicable now.

For all the adulation Justin Trudeau has received in some corners of the media, Tom Mulcair is at or near the top of leader rankings for net and overall approval. And as Thomas Walkom notes, the NDP's strong substantive platform for 2015 also includes plenty in common with the party's offering from the previous election.

Of course, none of the above is to suggest that the NDP is where it intended to be at the start of an election year. No doubt the hope after earning the role of Official Opposition was to be able to run from ahead rather than behind - and that looked entirely possible after Mulcair's post-leadership bump in the polls.

And we can't expect the other federal parties to be as unprepared for the NDP's winning strategy as they were last time - making their response an important unknown.

But if the main difference for the NDP since the last election cycle has been to exchange the element of surprise for a combination of Quebec support and incumbency advantages, that's surely not a bad tradeoff. And we'll find out before long how much the NDP can build on what it's already accomplished.

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Scott Santens links the themes of health and equality by suggesting that we treat a basic income as a needed vaccine against poverty and all its ill effects.

- Erika Eichelberger and Dave Gilson highlight how U.S. corporations are siphoning money offshore to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. And Kate Aronoff warns us that the mindless extraction of profits is producing environmental and financial crises alike:
Between debt and our slowly roasting planet, we’ll be lucky to walk away from the next 25 years with just one crisis. There is a common denominator behind our debt and what else is ailing us: capitalism. The point here isn’t to fear monger about the next financial crisis or speculate on how bad it’s going to be. The zombies are here, and it’s clear that they’re not doing the vast majority of people much good. Great zombie movies don’t focus on the lead-up to the apocalypse. They’re also not about analyzing the diverse array of structural and political factors that put them there. The question everyone wants to know is, “How do you beat the zombies?”
While some economists might have you believe that their choices are based on cold hard calculations, the choices of where to allocate money — especially in the wake of a financial crisis — are ideological. It’s not an ideology of evil bloodsuckers, but of a heartfelt, pragmatic belief that more resources should be controlled by fewer people. Similarly, zombies are driven by their physical need for brains. Are zombies evil? Certainly not, but their primary interest in the acquisition of brains is directly opposed to our own as people with brains.

Left unchecked, the zombies will inherit the earth; in some ways they already have. Confronting the zombie takeover of earth isn’t about convincing them they’re wrong: it’s about strategy and numbers. In the wake of the Great Depression, virtual armies of the newly unemployed cropped up around the country to demand jobs, food and basic human dignity. Mounting enough pressure, they forced FDR’s administration into enacting massive public works and relief programs with the New Deal, in the process laying the groundwork for the modern labor movement. Occupy Wall Street tapped into the public outrage at banks and corporations, creating one of the biggest movements of the last 30 years. With one of any number of crises just around the corner, it’s time to choose between the night of the living dead and a livable planet and economy.
- Meanwhile, Matt Stoller notes that a return to even the antitrust principles which applied until the 1980s would work wonders to ensure the business sector engages in at least some beneficial research and innovation, rather than acting solely to take the value of others' work.

- Joseph Stiglitz writes that Europe's response to Greece's vote against destructive austerity may tell us whether our corporate overlords are prepared to accept democracy in any form. But then, Michele Swenson and Dave Johnson both note that decades of free trade agreements - and particularly the newest versions - already offer a compelling indication that the public interest has been entirely eliminated from far too many policy options.

- Finally, Nelson Wiseman writes about the lesson Canada's opposition parties should take from the 2008 coalition - though I'll again observe that there's no reason they should hesitate to confirm in advance that it's worth cooperating to ensure a better government:
If the 2015 election produces another Conservative minority, the first lesson that should be drawn from the case of 2008 is that the opposition parties will be hard-pressed to bring down a minority government at a time and on an issue of their choosing.

If they pass the speech from the throne when the next Parliament convenes, they will give the government unconditional authority until it introduces a major spending measure. If the measure meets the opposition’s opprobrium, the prime minister knows he can repair to Rideau Hall once again to postpone and possibly avoid his government’s defeat as he did in 2008. He will ask for a prorogation or for Parliament’s dissolution and fresh elections. Given the history of his office and the record of his predecessor, the enfeebled Governor General will consent.

The corollary of this lesson is that in another Conservative minority situation, the opposition parties will have to act expeditiously and with greater resolve than they did in 2008. Expect negotiations on an alternative government to a Conservative minority to begin on election night and no later than the next day. A publicly acknowledged negotiation process by the Liberals and the NDP, if not the contents of the negotiations, will prepare the public for what may be coming.

The opposition parties did not do this in 2008 and they paid for it.