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A Puff of Absurdity: On Privilege

I saw Chris Hedges speak again at the Tommy Douglas Institute / Community Worker Program followed by smaller discussion groups.  I was so pleased that he doesn’t have a set speech for each book launch and that I was treated to an entirely different set of stories than the week previous.

Here’s just a bit on the smaller discussion group that followed his speech.

I spent a 30-minute break deliberating which topic to choose out of eight possible offerings.  One was on Aboriginal Perspectives, and I’m teaching Native Studies next year, so I was leaning that way, but then I (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Michael Schwartz and Kevin Young make the case for a greater focus on influencing corporations and other institutions first and foremost – with the expectation that more fair public policy will be possible if a dominant business sector doesn’t stand in the way. David Wessel points out that many states’ tax systems are set up to exacerbate inequality. And Matthew Yglesias notes that a typical set of slap-on-the-wrist fines against banks for massive market manipulations call into question whether the U.S.’ current regulatory structure is anywhere close to sufficient to protect (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Harper’s the muzzling of Canada’s federal scientists assailed

This week, Canada’s three major public sector unions protested the Harper government’s continuing muzzling of the country’s federal scientists.

The post Harper’s the muzzling of Canada’s federal scientists assailed appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Toby Sanger takes a look at Canada’s balance sheets and finds that both households and governments are piling up debt while the corporate sector hoards cash: (A)ll the recent handwringing over rising household and debt levels ignores one critical point: any one person’s financial liability is someone else’s financial asset. Across all the sectors in the economy (households, corporations, governments and non-residents) in the national balance sheet, net borrowing and lending all balance out to zero.

The rising income share of the top one percent has been startling (and also echoed in increasing (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Let’s Give Green Energy $5.3 Trillion This Year

What fraction of a decade would it take to completely get off fossil fuels [oil, gas, coal] and create a post-carbon energy/transportation infrastructure if the clean, green energy sector were publicly subsidized at $10,000,000 per MINUTE, or $5,300,000,000,000 [yes, that’s $5.3 trillion] for 2015?

Please, I dare you to attack me for the numbers. They don’t come from some tree-hugging enviro-hippie think tank. They come from the spinal fluid of neoliberalism: the IMF.

So, when people say it’s not feasible to get off carbon energy, let them know that worldwide, taxpayers are subsidizing them more than everyone in the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Matthew Yglesias points out that a particular income level may have radically different implications depending on an individual’s place in life, and that we can only address inequality by formulating policy accordingly: The median household income in the United States is about $52,000. So go ahead and picture a median-income household. What did you picture?

Did you picture a 25-year-old with a decent job who’s maybe worried about student loans but is basically doing okay? Or did you picture a married pair of 45-year-olds who are both full-time workers stuck in kinda crappy (Read more…)

A Puff of Absurdity: If I May But Touch His Garment

I went to see Chris Hedges speak last night.  His words brought forth a mix of devastation and elation, with some in the congregation compelled to applaud after every few sentences.  He’s a brilliant storyteller, and I could have listened to him all night.  It went far too quickly.

I had a chance to speak with him in the time it took him to sign my well-annotated copy of Empire of Illusion and my brand spankin’ Wages of Rebellion, and I regret not buying all of his offering in order to extend our conversation.  My voice actually shook a (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Harper’s effort to criminalize legitimate Canadian criticism of Israel is diabolical

Canadians have a moral obligation to revolt against Stephen Harper’s efforts to criminalize both legitimate criticism of Israel and support for Palestinians.

The post Harper’s effort to criminalize legitimate Canadian criticism of Israel is diabolical appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Canadian Progressive: Digging science: Citizens amplify knowledge about the natural world

David Suzuki on how affordable technologies are facilitating the growth of citizen science, environmental activism and “meaningful scientific pursuits”.

The post Digging science: Citizens amplify knowledge about the natural world appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- PressProgress weighs in on corporate Canada’s twelve-figure tax avoidance, while noting that the Cons’ decision to slash enforcement against tax cheats (while attacking charities instead) goes a long way toward explaining the amount of money flowing offshore. And Oxfam is working on its own Canadian fair tax campaign.

- Robert Frank highlights the complete disconnect from reality which results in most American millionaires claiming that they’re in the middle class, rather than representing a privileged few. And Stephen Gordon writes that there’s a similar sleight of hand at work in the Libs’ “middle (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Canadians for Tax Fairness crunches the numbers and finds that Canada is losing out on nearly $200 billion in assets being sheltered in tax havens. And David Kotz writes about the need for large-scale restructuring to address the glaring flaws in neoliberal dogma: Despite the resurgence of neoliberal ideas and policies, there is reason to be optimistic about the potential for progressive change in the years ahead. The efforts to revive and extend the neoliberal model cannot succeed in overcoming the current economic stagnation and restoring normal capitalist economic growth without which (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: How Do YOU Fight for Workplace Justice?

How do YOU define determination?

One of them gave birth the day before the vote. As soon as her baby was nursing properly and her bloodwork came back okay, she made the trip to the hotel to vote.

via Inside a union drive at The Trump Hotel | Toronto Star.

February 19, 2015 Looking for Heroes? (0) March 14, 2014 Don’t Tolerate Ignorance About the Minimum Wage (0) October 27, 2014 The Election-Eve Racist, Sexist Attack on Olivia Chow (0) December 17, 2013 Fried Squirrels (2)

Politics, Re-Spun: Sadistic Police and Their Entitlements

If you wonder why police are losing respect as a credible element in a peaceful, democratic, civilized society, watch this video [the slightly longer version is here].

Not only does a white shirt pepper spray an unarmed man at almost point blank range, watch what else happens.

The white shirt steps back a few steps after filling his face with pepper spray. Is he afraid of retaliation? From a man filled with pepper spray in his face? Another non-white shirt decides that the injured man, who is taking slow steps backwards, is a sufficient threat that to take (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: First Nation group and allies resist re-opening of Mount Polley mine

Secwepemc Woman’s Warrior Society leads a strong movement against the re-opening of Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley mines following catastrophic 2014 spill.

The post First Nation group and allies resist re-opening of Mount Polley mine appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Arjumand Siddiqi and Faraz Vahid Shahidi remind us how inequality and poverty are bad for everybody’s health: In Toronto, as elsewhere, the social determinants of health have suffered significant decline. As the report makes clear, the poorest among our city’s residents have borne the greatest portion of this burden.

These trends have affected the health of the poor in countless ways. They have constrained access to quality health care. They have increased susceptibility to harmful health-related behaviours, such as smoking. They have compromised the adequacy and stability of housing conditions. They have (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Shit Harper Did gives Conservatives taste of toxic debris from Vancouver oil spill [VIDEO]

Shit Harper Did warriors ambushed Industry Minister James Moore’s little party and rebuked the Conservatives’ “pathetic response” to the recent Vancouver oil spill.

The post Shit Harper Did gives Conservatives taste of toxic debris from Vancouver oil spill [VIDEO] appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Politics, Re-Spun: 5 Things You Must Know About the Internet and Social Entrepreneurs

No one knows for sure what a social entrepreneur is, or supposed to be, or whether it’s altruistic or a PR meme. “Disruption” is very trendy now, in terms of how to smash around organizations to make them better [or weaker, depending on your purpose]. No one reads anything on the internet anymore unless there is a list of things and they’re told how many items there are in the list. I don’t have anything else. Fnord. April 2, 2014 Honing In On Friday’s #WaveOfAction (0) February 7, 2014 Because You’re Not As Dumb As They Think You Are! (1) (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Paul Krugman laments how faith-based economics which value unmeasurable market confidence over any meaningful outcome continue to form the basis for disastrous austerity policies around the world.

- Bill Curry reports on the PBO’s latest study showing that the only reason the Cons are in a position to brag about a nominally balanced budget is their continued siphoning off of EI premiums which are supposed to be for the benefit of the many workers who have lost their jobs. And Andrew Jackson puts the Cons’ miserable jobs record in context.

- Meanwhile, (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: In Vancouver, Canada’s first annual Charter of Rights and Freedoms march

Canada’s first annual Rights and Freedoms March, a celebration of the anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, launches in Vancouver on April 17.

The post In Vancouver, Canada’s first annual Charter of Rights and Freedoms march appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on Brad Wall’s appalling admission that the Saskatchewan Party’s plan for a low-carbon economy is to move into Ontario’s basement rather than pursuing sustainable development in Saskatchewan.

For further reading…- Wall’s comments and other provincial positions in the lead up to this week’s premiers’ meeting can be found here. – Geoffrey Vendeville reported on the earlier cap-and-trade agreement between Ontario and Quebec. And Yasmine Hassan discussed the massive Quebec climate change rally.- The Saskatchewan greenhouse gas bill which has been passed but never proclaimed in force can be found here (PDF).- Joe Romm reports on (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: A roaring Week of Education on Harper’s police state Bill C-51

At least 50 online and offline activities are expected to be executed across Canada as the Week of Education on Harper’s police state Bill C-51 gathers momentum.

The post A roaring Week of Education on Harper’s police state Bill C-51 appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Politics, Re-Spun: Disaster Tourism at the English Bay Oil Spill

By Emily Griffiths

In the wake of the oil spill a few days ago, I set out this morning with my partner to see the aftermath first hand. I really didn’t want to go, because I don’t enjoy feeling depressed or enraged, but denial isn’t a healthy choice, either.

We arrive at English Bay around noon. It’s almost as if nothing has happened. It’s like any Saturday, folks are just out here, doing their thing; people jog, walk, or cycle along the seawall, a mass of tankers blocks the horizon. We know something’s up, though, as a helicopter hovers by (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Relocate Victims of Communism Memorial or Cancel Project

An online petition and prominent Canadian voices demand that the proposed Memorial to the Victims of Communism be relocated, or the project entirely.

The post Relocate Victims of Communism Memorial or Cancel Project appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Accidental Deliberations: The definition of privilege

Connor Kilpatrick is right to observe that while we should be willing to take note of privilege in many forms, we should be especially concerned with organizing to counter the grossly outsized influence of the very few at the top whose whims are typically allowed to override the common good.

But there’s a handy dividing line available to assess the difference. After all, there’s already been plenty of work done in sorting out who has the most influence on the U.S. political system.

On the best evidence available, any privilege associated with middle-class status or involvement in mass movement (Read more…)

wmtc: what i learned at the cupe library conference

What did I learn at the CUPE Ontario Library Conference?

Technically, nothing. If learning means encountering something new, then no, this was not a learning experience.

But learning must also mean living with knowledge, absorbing it, seeing your theoretical knowledge translated into action. Understanding new configurations of that knowledge. Digesting it, assimilating it into our sense of ourselves.

In that sense, I’m learning this union stuff every day.

So here’s what I “learned”. (I learned that people are still overusing air quotes!)

All libraries everywhere have the same problems. Staffing levels are too low. Full-time jobs are disappearing. Positions (Read more…)