Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- David Sirota interviews Thomas Frank about the U.S. Democrats' obsession with educational achievement as a cure-all - and their consequent loss of touch with the large numbers of citizens suffering from economic policies which left them behind:
Sirota: What do you think that the Democrats didn't do right in the election, and even more importantly, what are they not doing right right now?

Frank: Look, you can talk about the tactical blunders and the things that brought them down: email scandal, or the premium increase in Obamacare, and all that stuff matters. The way I look at it is that this is a long-term problem. This is a culmination of a very long-term problem with the Democrats very gradually, but definitely, abandoning the interests of working-class voters, identifying themselves instead with a more affluent group, with the affluent white-collar professionals.

It starts in the 1970s with the Democrats removing organized labor from its structural position in the Democratic party, and then it goes up through Bill Clinton getting NAFTA done, the free trade deals that the Democrats have ... By the way, in my opinion, free trade or the trade agreements, I should say, was probably the issue that if there was one issue that really did Hillary in, I think that's what it was: the trade deals under the Clinton administration, Obama sort of dropping the ball on labor's various issues, doing these incredible favors for Wall Street while he blew off the concerns of union.

The ultimate evidence is what's happening with inequality. It gets worse and worse and worse every year. It's very easy to show how the Democrats have forgotten about organized labor, but what is really striking is the passion that they show for the knowledge industries, which includes Wall Street, Silicon Valley, big pharma, that sort of thing.
- Carole Cadwalladr interviews Al Gore about the connection between worsening climate change and big-money oil-sector propaganda. And Patrick Radden Keefe discusses the lack of consequences for financial elites even when caught in corrupt activities.

- Norman Farrell examines how B.C. policy under Christy Clark's Libs was designed solely to enrich her corporate benefactors - to the point where the natural gas industry was paid hundreds of millions of public dollars to extract resources for its own profit. But Martyn Brown points out how a Lib-friendly media is trying to saddle John Horgan with the blame both for Clark's failings, and economic realities far beyond provincial control. 

- Upstream's submission on a national strategy to fight poverty emphasizes the importance of prevention - both in addressing poverty and its health consequences.

- Finally, Noah Smith discusses how the payday lending industry serves only to make matters worse for the people already facing the most precarious financial circumstances. And Faiza Shaheen notes that in food as in financial services, sustainable options are becoming increasingly unavailable to residents of poorer neighbourhoods while unhealthy ones are proliferating.

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