Showing posts from October 22, 2016

The cult of the expert – and how it collapsed

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[But is this trend not simply an example of Trumpish, know-nothing, populist anti-intellectualism? *RON*]

by Sebastian Mallaby, The Guardian, 20 October 2016

Led by a class of omnipotent central bankers, experts have gained extraordinary political power. Will a populist backlash shatter their technocratic dream?

On Tuesday 16 September 2008, early in the afternoon, a self-effacing professor with a neatly clipped beard sat with the president in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. Flanked by a square-shouldered banker who had recently run Goldman Sachs, the professor was there to tell the elected leader of the world’s most powerful country how to rescue its economy. Following the bankruptcy of one of the nation’s storied investment banks, a global insurance company was now on the brink, but drawing on a lifetime of scholarly research, the professor had resolved to commit $85bn of public funds to stabilising it.

Chrystia Freeland Walks Out Of CETA Talks With Belgian Holdouts

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[Note that this is the same person who gave this TED talk on The rise of the new global super-rich: I also noticed a comment by Yves Smith about this on Naked Capitalism today: "Brexiteers seem to be pointedly ignoring that this does not bode well for the nice treatment they fantasize they will get once they hit the Article 50 red button." *RON*]
By Mike Blanchfield, Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 21 October 2016

Can Trudeau get away with killing electoral reform?

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[Start gathering your pumpkin seeds... *RON*]

Karl Nerenberg,, 20 October 2016

When a major party candidate for the U.S. presidency says he will not necessarily respect the result of the election there is a great hue and cry throughout the land, and quite legitimately so.

And what happens when a Canadian Prime Minister strongly hints he might walk away from one his most emphatic and unequivocal election promises?

Well, there has been some clicking of tongues, and a few expressions of somewhat-more-than-mild disappointment.

But should there not be a greater degree of concern, if not something approaching outrage?

For Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, the promise that the 2015 election would be the last one conducted under the current first-past-the-post system was not merely one among many casually offered campaign pledges.

Liberals avoid scrutiny for contentious cash-for-access fundraisers

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[He's bypassed the ethics commissioner, allowing him to decide personally whether his own party's fundraisers with corporatocrat lobbyists are ethical or not. Gosh, what do you think he'll decide? The suspense is killing me. *RON*]

Robert Fife & Steven Chase, Globe and Mail, 21 October 2016

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has handed the duty of enforcing new rules for lobbying and political fundraisers to a department that directly reports to him, meaning that exclusive Liberal Party fundraisers with senior cabinet ministers as the prize attraction escape the scrutiny of the ethics commissioner.
The Liberals have come under fire in recent days after The Globe and Mail reported on a cash-for-access fundraising system that uses cabinet members to draw big donations. This practice appears to violate rules Mr. Trudeau put in place last year.

The Office of Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson told The Globe on Thursday that Ms. Dawson cannot …

Liberal Pipeline Plan Isn't Going To Make 'Everybody Happy': Jim Carr

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[This, two weeks after Trudeau practically wept for the TV cameras over the Great Bear rain forest while taking the Royal Family on tour. *RON*]
Canadian Press, Huffington Post, 21 October 2016
OTTAWA — Two federal cabinet ministers danced around the issue of approving new oil pipelines at this week's climate conference in Ottawa, but both concede that Liberal policy decisions will upset some Canadians.

This week's C-51 hearings may have been flawed, but we made sure your message was heard loud and clear

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[Public consultation Trudeau-style: "...the public (including groups like ours) was given little over a week's notice for crucial consultations that will shape Parliament's approach to this highly controversial legislation... many of the people testifying said they found out about the hearing just that very day... The time for each speaker was limited to three minutes, after which they would turn off the microphone and proceed to the next testimony." *RON*]

Marie Aspiazu,, 21 October 2016

It's been a busy week on the privacy front, as we've been working hard to make sure your voices get heard on Bill C-51, the reckless, dangerous, and ineffective spying legislation passed by the previous Conservative government. This week we delivered your voices in both parliamentary and government consultations -- but we had move fast to ensure we could do so.

Here's why: less than two weeks ago, right before the Thanksgivi…