On Greece's Path, Slavery's Evil, Turkey's Choice, Canada's Shame

Never has so much debt been owned to so many by so few.

Telegraph -- Greece must stop hoping for a miracle - it needs to leave the euro

‘The best way for Greece to relearn the importance of economic orthodoxy is for it to test to destruction its own monetary policy, its own tax system and its own-self imposed rules’.

Evil, evil, evil.

New York Times -- Finding a Slave Ship, Uncovering History

‘The trans-Atlantic slave trade that sent 12.5 million human beings in chains from Africa to the Americas — killing about two million along the way — has been described by the historian David Brion Davis as “one of history’s greatest crimes against humanity.”’

Eye on Turkey.

Project Syndicate -- Turkey’s Critical Election

‘In very few democracies could such a small shift in votes lead to outcomes as different as the ones that could result from Turkey’s general election on June 7. 

Canada’s shame. Be blind no more.

National Post -- Atoning for ‘cultural genocide’: Truth and Reconciliation Commission lays out its blueprint

‘Canada should establish a national watchdog agency to ensure the country truly atones for the “cultural genocide” committed in past decades against thousands of indigenous children forced into residential schools, says the special commission looking into the brutal history of that policy.’

Among the recommendations
 
National Council for Reconciliation
 
Although appointed by the federal government, it would be independent. Composed of aboriginals and non-aboriginals, it would report annually to Parliament and oversee Canada’s “post-apology progress on reconciliation.”
 
It would keep tabs on, for instance, on whether the federal government is boosting funds for aboriginal on-reserve education, whether aboriginal health indicators are improving, and whether the rate of “criminal victimization” of aboriginal people is declining.
 
The prime minister would be required to formally respond to the commission by issuing an annual “State of Aboriginal Peoples” report.
 
Child Welfare
 
Federal and provincial governments should commit to reduce the number of aboriginal children in child welfare. Funds should be increased to keep aboriginal families together where it is safe to do so.
 
Education
 
The federal government should repeal a section of the Criminal Code that allows teachers to use corporal punishment on students.
 
As well, the federal government should eliminate the “funding gap” that discriminates against aboriginal children on reserves. New federal legislation to improve aboriginal education should be drafted with the “full participation and informed consent” of aboriginal people.
 
Language and Culture
 
The federal government should enact an Aboriginal Languages Act to help revitalize and preserve aboriginal languages.
 
Residential school survivors and their families should be enabled to reclaim their names – changed by the residential school system – by waiving the administrative costs for five years associated with documents such as birth certificates, passports and driver’s licences.
 
Health
 
Governments should acknowledge the current state of aboriginal health care is a direct result of previous Canadian government policies, including residential schools. The federal government should set goals to improve aboriginal health, and also provide funding for aboriginal health centres to address the physical and harms caused by residential schools.
 
All levels of government should increase the number of aboriginal health care professionals. Students in medical and nursing schools should be required to take a course on aboriginal health issues, including the history of residential schools.
 
Justice
 
The RCMP should have clear independence to investigate crimes in which the government has an interest as a potential or real client in a lawsuit. Governments should also review their statutes of limitation so they do not rely on these to defend legal actions of historical abuse.
 
Governments should commit to eliminating the over-representation of aboriginal people in custody over the next decade.
 
The federal government should allow trial judges to depart from mandatory minimum sentences.
 
Public servants
 
Education should be provided to public servants on the history of aboriginal peoples, including the legacy of residential schools.
 
Churches
 
In recent years, all the churches – Catholic, Anglican, United and Presbyterian ­– that ran schools issued apologies. Unlike the three Protestant denominations, each of which had a single spokesperson, the Catholics issued apologies from individual dioceses or religious orders.
 
The commission urges the Pope to issue an apology similar to the one issued in 2010 to Irish victims of abuse.
 
Burials
 
Over the years, thousands of children died at residential schools. Many were buried in unmarked graves.
Governments should work together to get records on students who died and where they are buried. Families should be given information on where their loved ones were buried.
 
Business community
 
The corporate sector should commit to “meaningful consultation” with aboriginals and obtain “free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous peoples before proceeding with economic development projects.”
 
Oath of Citizenship
 
The federal government should amend the Oath of Citizenship for new citizens. In addition to swearing alliance to the Queen, new citizens would pledge: “I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada including Treaties with Indigenous peoples, and fulfill my duties as a Canadian citizen.”
 
Commemorations
 
The federal government should fund programs for commemorative projects around reconciliation, as part of its plans to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation.
 
It should also establish a statutory holiday, the “National Day for Truth and Reconciliation,” to honour the survivors.
And it should build a “publicly accessible, highly visible” Residential Schools National Monument in Ottawa.
 
 

 

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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.