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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…)

In This Corner: Gas prices soar! Media yawns.

The price of gasoline has soared in Edmonton in the past week, beginning with the traditional holiday weekend gouging, and continuing with another outrageous 6-cent a litre hike on Wednesday. Gas in Edmonton is now at $1.29 a litre; one month ago, it was at $1.04. That means a 50-litre fill-up now costs an extra $12.50 today than it did just 30 days ago.

Why have gas prices gone up so dramatically in so little time? Why are gas prices in Edmonton approaching all-time record highs? What possible justification is there for gas prices to jump, in (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Did Earth Day Not Quite Do It For You This Year?

Some years, Earth Day clicks for people in a profound way. I’ve spoken to a few who were distinctly non-plussed with how things didn’t come together for them and their dreams this year.

If you need some optimism for the rest of your week, check out this compendium. Pay attention to the ages of those in photos, and immediately scroll to the bottom to read what our dear Cascadian friends to the south got up to at U-Dub. What would that look like in your community?

Embrace peace, watch your footprint, look up for bald eagles, imagine the future you (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: The Pidgin Picket, the Housing Crisis and the State

The Role of The State in Gentrification, the Housing Crisis, and its Ability to Relieve or Maintain the Current Situation

by Rachel Goodine

Pidgin, a new fine-dining restaurant located on Vancouver’s Downtown East Side, moved in to the neighbourhood on February 1 of this year, prompting plenty of controversy. It’s located right off of East Hastings on Carrall Street, directly across from the notorious Pigeon Park. Many who do not live in the neighbourhood regard Pigeon Park as a drug haven, however for many residents the park is known as a gathering spot that hosts various festivals and street markets (Read more…)

Melissa Fong: Open letter to Canada Goose Haters

Open letter to Canada Goose Haters (Inspired from more than one instance- but you know who you are if you did make a comment and you are welcome to confront me about it- but it’s not JUST you- so don’t think you’re special in that way). Judgment. I am the last person who should write …

Things Are Good: Get Rid of Stuff, Do What You Love

Often we hear that spending on experiences make for a happier life than buying into consumerism. In concept it sounds great, but many people think that it’s hard to rejig their life to be focused on doing things rather than consuming things. This TED talk is about breaking free of that passive normality and living life to its fullest.

Art Threat: A visit to Josh Keyes’ dystopian zoo

If Josh Keyes’ paintings don’t take a bit of your breath away, I suggest you visit an optometrist. Each one sits as a stand-alone diorama, a moment caught in a fictional time, with beautiful realistic paintings of animals in a world so strange that it is most likely caused by human error.

While his work is often shown along with other surrealist artists gaining notoriety in the west coast pop-surrealism art scene, they carry a completely different message. His peers often site old fashioned cartoons as their inspiration, where Josh has been moved by ecological plights. Ever since first seeing (Read more…)

Earthgauge Radio: Earthgauge Radio January 17: Keith Stewart of Greenpeace and Alex Hebert of SwitchHop.com

Download: earthgauge-podcast-jan17-2013.mp3

Earthgauge Radio returns this week with Keith Stewart of Greenpeace who will tell us about the December 2011 letter he obtained through an Access to Information request from oil companies to the Harper government. As it turns out, what the oil industry wants, the Harper government gives – in this case, they wanted drastic changes to Canada’s environmental laws. And with the omnibus Budget Bills of the last year, we saw that Canada’s Conservative government was more than happy to oblige.

We also talk to Alex Hebert of SwitchHop to learn how you can reduce energy consumption

. . . → Read More: Earthgauge Radio: Earthgauge Radio January 17: Keith Stewart of Greenpeace and Alex Hebert of SwitchHop.com

Boreal Citizen: Ten NEWER Favourites

For the first blog post of the new year, I decided to keep things upbeat. Last year’s Favourites post was a big hit for some reason…maybe because we’re all secretly annoyed by Oprah. (Seriously, don’t give me the “happiness from within” speech on every show and then lavish your hysterical audience with mountains of your “favourite” consumer crap.) Ok fine, most of the stuff on my list is also stuff. But it’s good, quality-of-life-enhancing, environmentally responsible stuff. So here we go:

1. Birch Syrup: Oh sweet syrup of the birch tree…where have you been all my life? Ok, it’s

. . . → Read More: Boreal Citizen: Ten NEWER Favourites

Politics, Re-Spun: Listen to the December 2012 Politics, Re-Spun Panel on Human Rights and Consumerism

December 2012′s Politics, Re-Spun panel on Co-op Radio included Julie McArthur, Alnoor Gova, Imtiaz Popat, Anna Davey, Kevin Harding and Stephen Elliott-Buckley discussing:

International Human Rights Day, experiencing “My Voice, My Right, My Voice Counts” Over-consumption, just consumption, Christmas consumption, sexism, quality of life, consumption as a proxy for enhancing our relationships and happiness. And we enjoyed thematically appropriate music by Dan Mangan and Tim Lawson,

Listen to the podcast here: itpc://dgivista.org/pod/Vista_Podcasts.xml

Or you can listen to the mp3 file here: http://www.dgivista.org/pod/2012.12.10.PRS.CoopRadio.mp3