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Bill Longstaff: Stephen Harper’s sad little world of fear

I have tended to think of Stephen Harper’s efforts to instill fear in Canadians as largely demagoguery. Governments creating a climate of fear to rally their people around them when they are in trouble is one of the oldest political gimmicks in the book. However, the more I observe Harper, the more I come to believe that he is truly a frightened man.

In an interview with Calgary Metro, he “

The Political Road Map: Buying a Gun

Right about now in America, a gun store owner is unlocking his door, a hot coffee sits by his cash as he begins a new day.  Not to long after, customers will begin pouring in to look at and begin the process of purchasing a gun.  No doubt that some if not the majority of these people will be doing so out of fear from yesterday’s tragic, yet increasingly common mass shooting in Oregon.  This fear that this gun owner, mainly like white and middle class, is experiencing though is not due to the atrocities that occurred, (Read more…) National Post: Public servant being investigated for writing and performing anti-Tory ‘Harperman’ song

An Ottawa federal scientist’s job is in danger after he recorded a song speaking out against the government’s politics of fear.

Article by Kathryn May, Post Media News at the National Post

An Ottawa federal scientist is being investigated for breaching the public service’s ethics code for writing and performing a highly political protest song to get rid of the Harper government.

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Things Are Good: Germs Are Everywhere, Don’t Worry About it

Recently, a study by Weill Cornell Medical College found that the New York City subway is filled to the brim with germs. They are plentiful and easily get on you, but don’t worry. Most of the germs are good for you and the rest are more or less harmless.

Over at CityLab they wondered then if all those odd things people do to avoid germs are worthwhile.

These “good” bacteria might come from food, remove toxins from the environment, or outcompete disease-causing pathogens lurking on surfaces. “That means more [bacterial] diversity, by the odds, would be a good thing,” Mason (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: How Did We Become a Land of Cowards?

Bill C-51 speaks to the cowardice that has taken hold of Canadian society at the instance of the fear-mongering federal government.  Conservatives and Liberals and, for that matter, a solid majority of the Canadian public support it.

What, some nutjob shoots somebody and so we need to turn the thumbscrews on the already dwindling rights and freedoms of all Canadians?  We’re following in the jackboot steps of the United States.  We’re becoming a land of cowards.

American pundit Ted Rall has a column in The Japan Times that should speak to all of us.

For a country that used to (Read more…)

Maple-Flavoured Politics: It Begins With Words

After his March 9, 2015 speech in Toronto to the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, Justin Trudeau took a lot of flack for his reference to the Komagata Maru, the St. Louis and “none is too many.” In the course of the 40-minute speech, he spoke expansively about the values of liberty and … Continue Reading

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: Why Some People Won’t Help and What You Should Do About It

Yesterday, I read an excellent blog post titled “Asking for Help” on the Caregiver Space.  The article is chock full of good ideas and practical advice.  It was the comments that got me thinking, though.  Many sounded like this:

What if no one asks if they can help? That’s my problem….. I’m here 24/7, if someone would ask if they could come stay here for a little while for me to get out, I might take them up on it, but nobody offers that….. It’s hard…’s been 3 years….. A lot of people say….call me if you need (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Ask Yourself, Have You Been "Tuned Up" Yet?

This breathes new meaning into the phrase “bored to death.”

Behavioural pschology suggests we may have been conditioned to submit to neoliberalism.  We have been made susceptible to manipulation and control.

Alfie Kohn, in Punished by Rewards (1993), documents with copious research how behavior modification works best on dependent, powerless, infantilized, bored, and institutionalized people. And so for authorities who get a buzz from controlling others, this creates a terrifying incentive to construct a society that creates dependent, powerless, infantilized, bored, and institutionalized people.  Similarly, researcher Paul Thorne reports in the journal International Management (“Fitting Rewards,” 1990) that in order to get people (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Whelp – Conversion time for me…

Religion plies its trade in fear. Thank you khaki dude for providing such a clear example.


Filed under: Religion Tagged: Fear, Humour, Psychology, Religion, Satan

ParliamANT Hill: Temporary ForAnt Workers have better work ethic, some employers believe

Inspired by this headline:

Politics, Re-Spun: Let’s Not Ban Books, Kamloops

Ban me? Burn me? Fear me?

OK, Kamloops, take a cool soothing breath while I take a short break today to not talk about the rebooting of the Occupy Movement in 8 days.

I know most of you in The Loops are doing just fine and that most of you are OK with literature, including that which challenges our comfort zone. After all, we revere Shakespeare and he was a crude, vulgar dude, when he wasn’t being extraordinarily profound.

But if you actually go through the process of banning The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the whole world of (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: The Stench of Fear

The smell of fear is real.  It’s detectable. 

It is said that higher predators can detect it and it triggers them to attack.  Even if they can’t smell it, they can surely read it in how we behave.  You encounter a cougar, turn and run, that cougar will be coming for you.  Chances are, showing that cougar your back will be your very last mistake.

In America, the rich folks seem to be on the verge of turning their backs and fleeing.  The smell of fear is definitely in the air.  AlterNet’s Lynne Stewart Parramore (Read more…)

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM: Overcoming Fear by Moving Forward

Recently, I came across a fascinating interview on YouTube.  It was The Times UK reporter John-Paul Flintoff speaking with the author of “Ghost Boy”,  Martin Pistorius.  Pistorius is a non-speaking wheelchair user with an incredible life story.  Flintoff wanted to know about a conversation that changed everything for Pistorius and it is that conversation I would like to talk about today.  But first, here’s a little about the book and the author: Published on Sep 23, 2013

They all thought he was gone. But he was alive and trapped inside his own body for ten years.

In (Read more…) . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM: Overcoming Fear by Moving Forward

350 or bust: Take Time To Renew Your Spirit

350 or bust: Take Time To Renew Your Spirit

The Disaffected Lib: Displaced Fear

 Conservatives are fear-driven.   Their minds work differently than ours, or at least they work differently than progressives’ minds. 

Brain scan research has found that rightwingers process information via the right amygdala, the centre of the brain’s threat response system.  Lefties perform the same process using the insula, a small part of the brain that functions quite differently.

According to neuroscientists who study it, the insula is a long-neglected brain region that has emerged as crucial to understanding what it feels like to be human.

They say it is the wellspring of social emotions, things like

. . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Displaced Fear

The Disaffected Lib: New Studies Confirm Conservatives are Fear-Driven

Sideshow Steve Harper understands the power of fear to distract and manipulate his supporters.   He conjures up images of threats and dangers and watches  his Conservative flock recoil in shock and terror.

Two new studies confirm the brain differences between conservative and liberal minds.

First, in the American Journal of Political Science, a team of researchers including Peter Hatemi of Penn State and Rose McDermott of Brown University studied the relationship between our deep-seated tendencies to experience fear—tendencies which vary from person to person, partly for reasons that seem rooted in our genes–and our political beliefs. What they

. . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: New Studies Confirm Conservatives are Fear-Driven

cartoon life: The Asteroid of Doom

Coming soon to a planet near you.

Filed under: art, digital, drawing Tagged: asteroid, Doom, extinction, fear

350 or bust: TED Talk Tuesday

Fascinating! Imagine you’re a shipwrecked sailor adrift in the enormous Pacific. You can choose one of three directions and save yourself and your shipmates — but each choice comes with a fearful consequence too. How do you choose? In telling the story of the whaleship Essex, novelist Karen Thompson Walker shows how fear propels imagination, [...]

Death By Trolley: The Grad School Gospels – Part 3: Academe Can’t Be Your Everything

The Grad School Gospels is a series of posts inspired by Dirk Hayhurst‘s The Bullpen Gospels. In the Bullpen Gospels, Hayhurst tells stories from his struggle to self-actualize through professional baseball. Inspired by Hayhurst and the many commonalities I noticed between the minor league track to the Majors, as he described it, and my experience in the grad school track to cognitive science professorship, I began the Grad School Gospels series.

As with Part 2 – Passion, Fear and Indifference – the present installment was inspired by a set of quotes from Hayhurst. After a few disappointing seasons Dirk

. . . → Read More: Death By Trolley: The Grad School Gospels – Part 3: Academe Can’t Be Your Everything

Death By Trolley: This New Year’s, Resolve to Stop Chasing Happiness

Many wisdom traditions encourage a path or process orientation rather than a destination or product orientation to living well.

Happiness makes for a poor goal.

It’s not particularly well-defined. What is happiness? How much happiness is enough to be happy with – to not eventually be let down by?

The steps to achieving it are not particularly well understood. Common paths attempted to achieve happiness include religiosity, conventional success, and family living.

Religiosity and piety offer no assurance of happiness. While religious people en masse tend to present as being happier than nonreligious people, there are plenty of religious people

. . . → Read More: Death By Trolley: This New Year’s, Resolve to Stop Chasing Happiness

Death By Trolley: The Grad School Gospels – Part 2: Passion, Fear and Indifference

In The Grad School Gospels: On Professional Baseball, Academia, and My Shared Experience with Dirk Hayhurst, I juxtaposed Hayhurst‘s pro baseball journey – which he recounts in his first book, The Bullpen Gospels – with my journey through academic psychology.

Several factors conspired to make our situations alike. We both laid most of our eggs in one basket, deriving identity, strength, purpose, livelihood and self-esteem from a single source. We were accustomed to success, praise and the ability to live indefinitely off of success in our chosen field. For a while this worked out swimmingly. Intrinsic passion and

. . . → Read More: Death By Trolley: The Grad School Gospels – Part 2: Passion, Fear and Indifference

THE FIFTH COLUMN: America The Ugly

With friends like this Romney doesn’t need enemies:

It’s enough to make an atheist want to believe in god so we can call on him to save us from them, but as they tell us, and so fervently believe, he is on their side, their vengeful hateful god.

Canada II: Why? Why? Why?

Gwynne Dwyer is obviously wondering why world powers are clinging to so much military capacity.

Defence Budgets and Cave Men For the first time in history, NO great power is planning to attack any other great power. War between great powers became economic nonsense more than a century ago, and sheer suicide after the invention of nuclear weapons. Yet the military establishments in every major

Progressive Proselytizing: Our fears of airplanes, and terrorism

Many of us have a fear of flying; it ranges from a mild discomfort to a paralyzing fear. For the most part, this fear is not rationally founded. On a per kilometer basis, flying is far safer than driving which usually elicits no fear among us at all. It is almost astonishing that flying actually is as safe as it is. Why then, are so many afraid of it?

The psychological reasons are varied, but there are three main aspects. Firstly, we have an instinctual fear of heights and falling, but not that much of a fear of traveling at

. . . → Read More: Progressive Proselytizing: Our fears of airplanes, and terrorism