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Politics, Re-Spun: What Does Post-Corporate Media Look Like?

I know you’re wondering. But it’s hard to imagine. Kind of like a fish imagining life without water. We’ve known corporate media for generations. Since the advent of psychology and marketing, the influence/manipulation of corporate media is ubiquitous. And not in a good way.

But let’s take a few moments to imagine the features of post-corporate media, where increasing the audience [by a variety of questionable, sensationalist means, sometimes] to increase ad revenue isn’t the goal.

Let’s start here with this:

The CBC. Mothercorp. Publicly funded, at arms length from the taxpayer funder. It has access to national radio and (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Cheap T-Shirts Keep Harper in Power

Whenever I read stories about corporations wanting to do the right thing, I never hold my breath. Clothing corporations, the sector where “sweatshops” originates, want us to believe they care. They don’t.

Read what nonsense they are trying to peddle to get us off their back for exploiting people so we can have cheap t-shirts. Then, hold your breath for this, scroll all the way to the bottom to see how it comes all the way back to keeping Stephen Harper in power.

Start here:

Shortly before Black Friday, H&M announced that it also plans to start paying 850,000 workers (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: The Real Reason We Need to Get Rid of Corporate Media


While I’m also sad that the Kamloops Daily News is closing, I think Warren Kinsella is over-simplifying a few things [see below] with respect to how the media climate will be affected by the closing of this for-profit business, earning shareholder value by producing mass media content, while sometimes allowing its corporate revenue-generating employees to produce some adequate-to-good journalism.

Let’s explore all this:

“Idiot bloggers, and idiot politicians, will continue to be happy about this sort of thing. The former will say the disappearance of the so-called MSM means more audience for them.” [read the rest of his (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Economic Growth? I Prefer Steady State

Economic growth suggests that infinite growth is possible. Even with a growing earth population and increasing climate breakdown, people still think we can continue growing.

I like using the seasons analogy to describe that human economic activity ought follow the cycle of seasons, with a steadying imperative. This is why I like the Steady State folks.: “ Perpetual economic growth is neither possible nor desirable. Growth, especially in wealthy nations, is already causing more problems than it solves. Recession isn’t sustainable or healthy either. The positive, sustainable alternative is a steady state economy.”

Here’s Kai Nagata’s excellent analogy (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: What’s Wrong with America, Billionaires and Corporations?

Riotously popular economist Umair Haque had a few interesting tweets about America, corporations and billionaires this week. [View the story "What's Wrong with America, Corporations and Billionaires?" on Storify]

December 30, 2013 How the Occupy Movement is Enriching People’s Lives (1) April 18, 2011 Embracing BC NDP Corporate Tax Increases (8) March 27, 2013 The Pidgin Picket, the Housing Crisis and the State (0) July 8, 2013 Terrace: Regulating Housing Dignity Is Far Easier Than You’d Think (0)

. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: What’s Wrong with America, Billionaires and Corporations?

Politics, Re-Spun: A Key Union Priority for 2014

Naomi Klein urges unions to join climate change fight

Many groups are calling for significant and sufficient action to address climate change, which is fantastic. But unions have not been loud enough. This is significant because they often have more money than many other progressive groups to fight for the social good, particularly when rapacious corporations and rampant consumerism are the core impediments to change.

This whole article is worth your time to read, but here are some key bits that should help you fix your focus for your union for 2014:

There is nothing more important than a healthy (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Diane Coyle offers a preview of Thomas Piketty’s upcoming book on inequality – featuring a prediction that absent some significant public policy intervention, we may see a return to 19th-century levels of concentration of wealth.

- Meanwhile, Murray Dobbin calls for 2014 to be the year of living consciously – including both a concerted effort to donate to fostering change, as well greater efforts to bring about change through our own lives.

- Veronica Bayetti Flores writes about the challenges in building movements which won’t leave people behind: I am so ready to (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Boxing Day Shopping

It’s never enough, is it?

Recommend this Post

Politics, Re-Spun: ACTION: Illegal Israeli Settlement Goods Sold at London Drugs

SodaStream boycott informational picket

Saturday, Dec. 21, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

London Drugs, Broadway @ Cambie, Vancouver

Below is a notice of an important event happening on Saturday in Vancouver. If something is labelled as “Made in Israel” but is really made in an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank of Palestine, where does it really come from? Nowhere that I would want to buy from. You?

I’m only as free as everyone is free. Don’t tolerate occupation. The boycott alternative information is here.

Nelson Mandela has died, but the memory of his commitment to universal freedom and (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Fixing Cyncial Corporate Media

How to inoculate yourself against cynical corporate media.

Corporate news media is not on our side. It is on the side of stoking fear, cynically eroding possibilities of a better, more robust democracy, and scaring us into obedience to corporations and government through sensational stories that undermine our happiness.

But we can fix this. And it’s not hard.

While crime rates have been dropping, media coverage of crime has increased. This creates buzz and sensationalism and higher ratings which translates into higher advertising revenue for corporate media. I don’t think we can fix this.

Corporate news media is also guilty (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Facebook Is the New AOL/Compuserve Big Brother

The evolution of the decay of Facebook privacy.

The late, great Neil Postman once wrote that we’d more likely voluntarily embrace the fascism of Huxley’s Brave New World than Orwell’s 1984. The corporate version of this is the crack-like addiction a billion people have to the Facebook.

But it’s worse than you thought, in terms of how they’re snooping on you.

Years ago, I wrote about how people left AOL, Compuserve and other full service “internet” portals when they learned that there was this huge real Internet thing out beyond their gated community. One of the ideas was that they (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Practice CrimeStop: You Are the New Terrorist

Balloons are a threat to civil order. The police must protect themselves from you with riot gear. You are a bad person.

You. You enemy of the state. You radical environmentalist. Or worker rights advocate. Or whatever cause you are promoting.

You. You are a threat to order. When you gather, you are a threat to civil order. You may escalate your activities to the criminality you harbour in your mind.

You. You are a threat to unquestioned profitability for the 1%.

Why? Because you think Walmart is a bad employer. And maybe even bad for the planet.

So this (Read more…)

In This Corner: Hello, Black Friday. Goodbye, Boxing Day.

It’s not very often that you see a full-blown change in the landscape happen right before your eyes, but I think we’ve just seen one.

The future, I think, is black … as in Black Friday.

You may have noticed that Black Friday shopping arrived with a vengeance in Canada this year. The daily newspaper (for you younger readers, a newspapers was a quaint news delivery service, popular in the 19th and 20th centuries) was stuffed with Black Friday flyers. Ad after ad featured Black Friday sales items.

Many of you may wonder exactly what Black Friday is, (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Men: Never 100% Responsible for Rape?

I have no words, at least I thought I didn’t.

It’s bad enough that men rape women, then modern culture shames women for wearing anything but a burlap sack.

I do not condone rape or sexual assault, but I think the male teens often so accused are not wholly to blame.

via Exhibitionist modern culture breeds excess | The Chronicle Herald. by Mary Bowen [whose 15 minutes I hope are now up]

Bring back the burka, Mary Bowen? Turns out you’re uninformed about this too. If only no one wearing a burka ever got raped. What a simple little universe (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Chemical Weapons in Syria? Merely a Pretext [Iran, Shhh.]

” It’s the Economy, Stupid.” [Or oil, or gas, or energy...]

If you think you know why Syria is happening [and happening NOW], you’re probably missing a number of the elements at play. Don’t expect western governments or the corporate media to enumerate these.

Sure, chemical weapons are horrible, but so are cluster bombs [called weapons of mass destruction in slow motion], which the USA has not abandoned. So we need to pay some mind to that hypocrisy.

Wars aren’t usually wars for better human rights, ideals and democracy. They’re always or almost always about power [even the (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: You Aren’t Sufficiently Critical of the #Media

You need to trust the media less.

Almost a year ago, and before the last US presidential election, Gallup determined that there has been a stunning decline in citizens’ mistrust of the media [see below].

It crossed over from mostly trust to not so much trust around 2004-2005. If you recall, the US imperialist invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan and the accompanying atrocities and war crimes were given a broad pass by the media. Thankfully, trust in media dropped by 10% then. Now there is a 20 point spread with mostly trusting plummeting to just 40%

That number (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: You Aren’t Sufficiently Critical of the #Media

Politics, Re-Spun: Labour Day 2013: Say Hello to the Pavement!

Workers in Canada and around the world have been under assault for decades, but most of our recent tactics to stop the bleeding have been ineffective. Are we lazy, complacent, overworked, obedient, compliant, subdued, afraid, docile, or fully tamed and intimidated by the one per cent?

If we don’t get a lot more of our boots on the pavement, and soon, our union density will continue to decline to an impotent level. Just look at the United States. Union density does not have to be zero for workers there to consistently lose against employers and anti-worker legislators. Density just has (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: The First Day of School, 2013: Beware!

Well, a new school year is about to begin, so it’s time to analyze just how much destruction the 1% will visit upon public education this year. Defunding, corporatization of curriculum, standardization of curriculum and experience, high-stakes testing, homogenization of experience…you know, the same old nonsense that drove me from teaching high school about a decade ago.

And it’s getting worse.

But who is is this vague 1%? Neoliberal governments and their “apostles,” which includes the BC NDP of the 1990s with some of their “reforms” as well as the usual suspects of the global power elite.

If the right-wing (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Are You Just Too Tired? We’ve Known Why for Decades

You actually do deserve a break today.

What ails us?

A large proportion of the total produce goes to a small minority of the population, many of whom do no work at all. Owing to the absence of any central control over production, we produce hosts of things that are not wanted. We keep a large percentage of the working population idle, because we can dispense with their labor by making the others overwork.

I wrote about that small minority on Thursday, all those tax havens. But we should also recall that hyper-consumption destroys our environment and wastes human effort (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Ice Crisis at the Poles: Ice, Ice, Baby

What continent is this, anyway? And why does it matter?

The arctic ice cap will be fully melting in the next few summers, likely.

There is a lake on top of the ice at the North Pole. Santa is getting worried.

“On August 26, 2012, the Arctic sea ice extent reached the lowest value observed during the satellite record.” We know this because scientist, real actual scientists, are studying this, using the Scientific Method[tm] that has been used for hundreds of years.

And as Antarctic ice shelves continue to break apart and slide into the ocean, ice that (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Is It Really That Hard to Imagine Cities Without Cars?

A blissful infographic of imaginative paradigm mechanics!

Probably. That’s why really creative paradigm mechanics are thinking outside the box-y sedans to figure out how we could reorient cities and movement in cities with a changed premise: no cars.

Imagine how much parking space we’d free up for human pursuits?

Imagine how much climate change aggravation we could minimize?

Imagine if we had enough transit to make cars in cities unnecessary?

Shuffle City looks at the new possibilities that could arise from cities transitioning away from cars with drivers to cars without drivers.

If cars were put into some constant flow (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: What Young People Are Teaching Us About Empathy

Click the chart to see more inspiring charts! Descending/increasing lines indicate less/more concern among different generations of high school graduates for the various ideas.

I have so much hope for the future. Sometimes I get bogged down by negativity, but that’s usually just circumstantial. It passes.

Much of my hope comes from observing young people. Teenagers who never believed they can’t change the world. Young adults whose careers/vocations are in the volunteer sector while their day job pays the bills [a work-life focus that, it seems, only aspiring musicians embraced in the past]. People who leave solid, reliable careers before (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Ikea’s Union-Busting Lockout in Richmond, BC Reaches Two Months

Is Walmart Ikea’s labour relations mentor?

Ikea, that family-friendly darling of home decor and Swedish innocence is trying to break its union, Teamsters Local 213.

They have locked out their Richmond, BC workers for two months now, while deciding to bargain in reverse: Start with a pathetic offer, then as time goes by, if locked out workers don’t come back, the concessions and contract stripping INCREASE!

Tia reviewed Ikea’s anti-social shenanigans when the lockout hit Day 17. Her piece detailed some of the issues and helped us understand what we can do to help the workers while Ikea tries to (Read more…)

Art Threat: The Art & Money Project

It’s no secret that money rules our lives.

I think what we’re now seeing is really the final and most ruthless stage of the integration of art and creativity into the capitalist market or, in other words, the final stages of art’s subordination to money.

But I think that almost all other ways of justifying art’s value are crumbling. When art was an elite commodity, say in the 19th century, artists and arts advocates used to be able to express art’s value in terms of some sort of transcendent humanism: art was the key to enlightenment, to compassion and sympathy, (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Profits Before People: Richmond Ikea Lockout Enters Day 17


Generating enough media spin to rival a jet engine at take off, the management and PR folks at Ikea Canada want you to believe that their poor little corporation is being held hostage by greedy, soulless union workers in Richmond.

Woe. Pity poor Ikea.

It’s tough being a multi-national corporation with a reputation for union busting, still more union busting and sundry human rights violations. It is also expensive to flog the entire planet with particle board, Allen Keys and horsemeat tainted foodstuffs. You can’t expect them to provide “coworkers” with a safe, fair and equitable place (Read more…)