I've always enjoyed Gérard Depardieu as an actor, but his most recent role, as an international tax dodger, is pure Academy Award quality. For those unaware of his theatrics, Depardieu left France last month in a huff over its proposed 75% income taxes on rich people. This is ironic: His surname in French sounds like it could mean "departure of God" in English.
A key challenge facing Republicans is that of moderation -- can they regain its luster and substance to capitalize on Americans' economic frustration? President Obama is ahead nationally and in swing states largely because Republican excess on the far right has put him there. If Republicans are determined to let abortion, apparent anti-immigrant bias and fuzziness on medicare define their conservatism they will be choosing the choppy seas of undulating radicalism as a base from which to win the bridge on the ship of state.
British Prime Minister David Cameron is demanding that his cabinet ministers essentially get in line like everyone else when it comes to upcoming Olympic traffic in London. In this case Cameron is being proactive and he is setting a good example in a time of restraint. Not only that, but it won't hurt his ministers to mix with the voting public; at the very least they will get to travel like the rest of us.
From a political economy perspective however, the important question is how these debates play out at the policy, and political level. Do what for most detached observers seem like good ideas actually stand up to pressures from lobbying exerted by interests that want to dilute, or further delay the introduction of these regulations (formally expected to be phased in from January 2013)?
Looking at the history of U.S.-Canadian relations, Harper appears to believe that progress in reducing economic barriers for Canadians has been faster and more profound when done bilaterally with the United States. It isn't deepening integration that Harper approaches with caution, but trilateralism.
As the economy took another nosedive this week, British Prime Minister David Cameron told the House of Parliament that our own prime minister had gotten "every major [economic] decision right." Stephen Harper returned the favor by lauding Cameron's handling of the British economy. The speech signaled the pair's unity going into the upcoming G20 summit in Cannes in November. It also sparked -- as our own Althia Raj reported -- a scramble by the NDP to make ties with the British Labor Party. In more home news, HuffPost and Indigo -- where our Editor-at-Large, Heather Reisman, is CEO -- have teamed up to observe this week's Banned Books Week. I'll be posting a different book each day that has been banned or challenged somewhere on the planet. Do your bit by choosing your own banned book, and reading it!
Maybe British Prime Minister David Cameron will light a policy fire under the Harper government while he's in Ottawa. His Big Society idea challenges citizens to get Big Government out of the way. But putting cost-cutting and community empowerment side-by-side can produce the perfect storm of political opportunism.
Following the riots that tore through the heart of Her Majesty's realm, Cameron came out swingin'. He told the world that England wouldn't tolerate this kind of behaviour. Now, if we could only get you this side of the pond to deal with the Vancouver riot, I'm sure things would move along a little quicker.
Taking Internet access from poor people should quell the fires of revolt. Soon, they'll respect their betters. They won't mind the bank bailouts, the crooked media that allegedly tapped people's phones, the hard-wired class structure that cuts down people with the wrong background, the wrong accent, the wrong education.