Smart Links 09 December 2011

Commentary on politics intruding on the health of women, bring pig to power, numbers that hide shame, the word game, Euro-elites, risky European banks, and a Canadian income challenge.

In the ‘fiction matters more than science’ category America still can’t accept birth control.

New Yorker – Obama’s Science Fictions
Nearly three years ago, Barack Obama vowed in his Inaugural Address to “return science to its rightful place” at the heart of a country that had suffered through eight years of the Bush Administration’s blatant opposition to the primacy of data and the idea of progress.

The other pig in Russian politics.

New York Times -- A United Russia? Far From It
A FEW months before this week’s parliamentary elections, around 10 of us gathered in a small room at the Andrei Sakharov Museum and Public Center, a place meant to honor freedom of thought, a place that no one visits.

The numbers game can't hide Canada's shame. Thanks to Simon of Victoria.

Reading the news coverage on Attawapiskat doesn't feel very healthy sometimes.

How the republicans have mastered the communication game.

Bloomberg -- Gingrich Uses Fog of Words to Cloud Our Memory: Jonathan Alter

Newt Gingrich is back in contention for the Republican presidential nomination partly because he understands the power of words, the pervasiveness of amnesia, and the dark art of making them work together.

The danger of Euro Zone Elites. Thanks to David of London.

The arrogance of eurozone elites could kill the European Union
Disaster in the eurozone will lead to a democratic crisis unless EU reforms have popular consent.

German banks on the run.

Spiegel -- Berlin May Have to Nationalize Giant Commerzbank
Europe's banks urgently need fresh capital to meet tougher EU rules, but they will have problems raising it amid the current crisis of confidence plaguing the euro zone.

Canadian income inequality, causes and dangers.

Globe and Mail -- Income inequality: deep, complex and growing
Good for the NDP leadership candidates for talking about income inequality in Canada.


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Twin Virtues: Inequality of Outcomes & Equality of Opportunity©

Twin Virtues

Ultimately, the most successful societies find the balance between the twin virtues of inequality of outcomes and equality of opportunity.

The new politics must marry the twin virtues of unequal outcomes and equality of opportunity.

When too few get too much everybody loses.

Feminism is about women living their lives on their own terms, marshalling the resources of the society to make that possible, and men embracing this as vital to a successful society and their own liberation.

Can it be that striving for equality of opportunity however imperfect the process not only benefits the individual but also creates benefits for the society that are unintended but wonderful?

Economics must be a 'moral enterprise' as much as politics claims to be. Economic outcomes need to be framed in terms of right and wrong not just efficiency if only because these often align in surprising ways that are good for society and the economy.

My vision of Canada is that any Canadian child from a family of limited circumstance can expect to have a chance at lifetime of unlimited opportunities.

Free trade is a wonderful thing. Time and time again economists have proven that free trade creates enormous wealth for each country 'on the whole'. Historians have shown that free trade is usually associated with rising political, social and cultural liberty. The perennial problem is that free trade always creates tremendous disruption for thousands even millions of individuals often concentrated in one geography, and where the state is idle, not investing in best in class instruments of social justice, free trade can be a permanent ticket out of the middle class, down, not up.

Tax policy should be founded on the principle of generating steady tax revenues sufficient to maximise environmentally sustainable economic growth in order to fund fair government.

Public policy should be designed to decrease inequality before the law and increase equality of opportunity.

Capitalism is not the problem; the problem is what we do with capitalism.

Content is always more difficult to argue than conspiracy.

Let the state regulate and the market operate (most things).

Welfare strategies are best designed as a hand up, not as a hand out.

Political debate should not be fact free fighting.

Explanation lasts longer than eloquence.

Always favour empowerment over dependency.

The most enduring public figures are embraced for the causes they fought for and not the concept of themselves they hoped others would remember them by.

Find your voice and don't be the echo of somebody else.

It is possible to operate on two different levels: the practical, cautious and conservative; and the realm of ideas, open, free, and radical.