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A Different Point of View....: Struggling to manage your life? Our destructive system is likely to blame.

I was dismayed by the comments of two women on CBC Toronto’s Metro Morning recently. The program deserves credit for planning throughout the week to deal with issues of stress and the fact that most people don’t have enough hours in the day to deal with important, often crucial, matters.

The two women were picked at random on the streets of downtown Toronto. They told the CBC horrendous stories about how difficult their lives are – from being unable to meet the needs of their children, to too much stress at work, not enough money for childcare, and having no time to themselves.

But, if like the two women, you’re under too much pressure in your life and you don’t have any free time, keep in mind it’s happening to just about everyone, and it’s not your fault. It has to do with the way the economic system we live under us putting the squeeze on most of us.

How serious is the problem? A poll conducted for the Heart and Stroke Foundation revealed that half those interviewed were unhealthy because of their lifestyle:

  • 44% of respondents said they had no time for regular physical activity.
  • 41% said healthy meals take too long to prepare. 
  • More than half (51%) said fast food outlets don’t have enough healthy choices. 
  • And almost a third (31%) said the time they would like to spend being active they instead spend commuting.  

These findings are of interest to the folks at Heart and Stroke because heart disease and stroke kills one in three Canadians and is the leading killer of women.

The two women interviewed by the CBC felt it was their fault that they couldn’t manage their lives better. Unfortunately, Canadians are poorly informed when it comes to understanding the big economic and political picture. So it probably would never cross their minds that the real issue is the economic system we’re now living under. 

Wait for it, and don’t be afraid: The problem is the out-of-control form of heartless capitalism we live under.

 Back in the 1960s and 70s we had what might be called “benevolent capitalism.” Money was more equally distributed than now. Most corporations felt they had an obligation to pay their taxes – well, at least part of their taxes. Both a university education and housing were cheaper. Powerful business and political leaders began to dramatically change the political-economic system in many Western countries in the early 1980s. A package of policies known as neo-liberalism – never before tested – was undemocratically imposed upon us.

A major component of the system, trickle-down economics filled the pockets of the rich and corporations with billions in cash. The incomes of ordinary folks began to stagnate.

The impact of those changes some 35 years ago on most people is well documented.  Both the rich and corporations now pay less in taxes. Many social service programs have been gutted. When governments didn’t have enough money to run the system because of the tax breaks for the rich, they imposed austerity on the rest of us. Unions were bashed into submission. Mainstream media succumbed to the powers of the corporate world.

While the wealthy made huge gains in their income, real minimum wages in Canada basically haven’t budged from almost four decades ago.

According to Statistics Canada, the average minimum wage in Canada was $10.14 an hour in 2013. And when you translate the 1975 equivalent into 2013 dollars, it was “almost identical” at $10.13.

The biggest study in recent years on the workplace was carried out by the National Study on Balancing Work and Caregiving in Canada in 2012. It found out that almost two-thirds of Canadians were working more than 45 hours a week – 50-per-cent more than two decades earlier. Work weeks were more rigid, with flex-time arrangements dropping by a third over the previous 10 years.

One consequence of both workplace and home stress is an increase in both serious short-term and long-term disability claims. Dr. Kevin Kelloway, Canada Research Chair in Occupational Health Psychology, says that almost all of the work insurance providers with whom has dealt with report that between 30 and 40 per cent of their claims are related to occupational stress via mental health or heart conditions.

If Canadians were better informed by a comprehensive education system and a socially responsible mass media, the two women interviewed by the CBC would understand that they and millions of other stressed-out people are not primarily responsible for the near chaos in their lives. We are told by mass media that if we end in a crisis situation, it’s our own fault and we need to buckle down and fix our problems.

But what is really to blame is a system that squeezes us more and more year after year.

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Contact Nick Fillmore at fillmore0274@rogers.com

. . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: Struggling to manage your life? Our destructive system is likely to blame.

A Different Point of View....: Are you exhausted? Struggling to manage your life? You’re NOT the problem – It’s the system

I was dismayed by the comments of two women on CBC Toronto’s Metro Morning recently. The program deserves credit for planning throughout the week to deal with issues of stress and the fact that most people don’t have enough hours in the day to deal… . . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: Are you exhausted? Struggling to manage your life? You’re NOT the problem – It’s the system

Dead Wild Roses: The Canadian Election – A Change of Government or a Changing of the Guard?

Canadians finally have decided that being in the vanguard of international Neo-liberal community isn’t so shit hot after all. The whole free markety/trickle-downy charade was looking dilapidated and tired; the fear-stick had been applied to the public, with such magnitude and frequency, that suddenly Conservative ideology seemed retrograde even quaint. How engaging are the grand . . . → Read More: Dead Wild Roses: The Canadian Election – A Change of Government or a Changing of the Guard?

Dead Wild Roses: The Canadian Election – A Change of Government or a Changing of the Guard?

Canadians finally have decided that being in the vanguard of international Neo-liberal community isn’t so shit hot after all. The whole free markety/trickle-downy charade was looking dilapidated and tired; the fear-stick had been applied to the public, with such magnitude and frequency, that suddenly Conservative ideology seemed retrograde even quaint. How engaging are the grand . . . → Read More: Dead Wild Roses: The Canadian Election – A Change of Government or a Changing of the Guard?

Dead Wild Roses: What the Hell Canadian Electorate?

I thought we had a plan. The plan was that we were going to give the NDP a crack at the levers of power because the other two parties have both repeatedly demonstrated their commitment to Neo-liberalism and the destruction of the rights of Canadians.

But look at the polls as of October 11th, . . . → Read More: Dead Wild Roses: What the Hell Canadian Electorate?

Dead Wild Roses: On Neo-Liberalism/Globalization – Chalmers Johnson

I’m almost done with Sorrows of Empire so I will stop deluging the blog with quotes, but I cannot forgo Johnson’s explanation of the mutating monster that Neo-liberalism is. I’d like to reproduce the entire chapter because it is that good, but instead we’ll look at how insidious neo-liberalism is when it comes to . . . → Read More: Dead Wild Roses: On Neo-Liberalism/Globalization – Chalmers Johnson

Dead Wild Roses: Climate Summit of the America’s – Nice idea.

Well you know it is important when Al Gore is in the house:

“Al Gore says there’s a “powerful voice” speaking out about climate change: Mother Nature.

Gore, citing “striking” examples of extreme climate-related conditions, said while scientists have long agreed climate change is real, the real environmental challenges facing people will drive change.”

What . . . → Read More: Dead Wild Roses: Climate Summit of the America’s – Nice idea.

mark a rayner | scribblings, squibs & sundry monkey joys: Academic Dumas-ery

Kane X. Faucher’s latest novel is a brilliant adaptation the classic Alexander Dumas tale of revenge, The Count of Monte Cristo. I’ve always loved the original, and Faucher’s book is a wonderful satire that cleaves to the original plot so … Continue reading →

Dented Blue Mercedes: “Instead, the official reiterated the government’s position that political parties and candidates, not Elections Canada, would be responsible for increasing voter turnout under Bill C-23.”

“Instead, the official reiterated the government’s position that political parties and candidates, not Elections Canada, would be responsible for increasing voter turnout under Bill C-23.”

That’s the altogether revealing comment that might have slipped past you in a Hill Times article last month which showed that a 2008 Elections Canada ad which was seemingly critical . . . → Read More: Dented Blue Mercedes: “Instead, the official reiterated the government’s position that political parties and candidates, not Elections Canada, would be responsible for increasing voter turnout under Bill C-23.”

Dented Blue Mercedes: “Instead, the official reiterated the government’s position that political parties and candidates, not Elections Canada, would be responsible for increasing voter turnout under Bill C-23.”

“Instead, the official reiterated the government’s position that political parties and candidates, not Elections Canada, would be responsible for increasing voter turnout under Bill C-23.”

That’s the altogether revealing comment that might have slipped past you in a Hill Times article last month which showed that a 2008 Elections Canada ad which was seemingly critical . . . → Read More: Dented Blue Mercedes: “Instead, the official reiterated the government’s position that political parties and candidates, not Elections Canada, would be responsible for increasing voter turnout under Bill C-23.”

RedBedHead: Norm Kelly v Rob Ford: The Right Wing Mayor Is Dead. Long Live The Right Wing Mayor!

Happier days for the populist right Well, it was indeed a circus at city hall yesterday. I wasn’t able to attend the performance live but did have the pleasure of watching some of it unfold via the miracle of the interwebs. Those Ford brothers sure know how to do a great imitation of The Sopranos – belligerent, bullying, pulling faces like a couple of 12-year old school yard pricks. Better . . . → Read More: RedBedHead: Norm Kelly v Rob Ford: The Right Wing Mayor Is Dead. Long Live The Right Wing Mayor!

RedBedHead: Norm Kelly v Rob Ford: The Right Wing Mayor Is Dead. Long Live The Right Wing Mayor!

Happier days for the populist right

Well, it was indeed a circus at city hall yesterday. I wasn’t able to attend the performance live but did have the pleasure of watching some of it unfold via the miracle of the interwebs. Those Ford brothers sure know how to do a great imitation of The Sopranos . . . → Read More: RedBedHead: Norm Kelly v Rob Ford: The Right Wing Mayor Is Dead. Long Live The Right Wing Mayor!

OPSEU Diablogue: A single question that could change how we approach population health

In all the talk about health care sustainability we lose sight of the fact that the interventions that cost the least and are likely to have the biggest impact on population health take place outside the confines of the Ministry … Continue reading →

RedBedHead: Ford Saga: Left Gives Cover To Right Wing Palace Coup

Cuts, what cuts? It’s all about bad behaviour photo credit: @HeartsOnTheLeft Not one word about cuts. Not one word about privatizing garbage collection. Nothing about his refusal to ever attend a single Gay Pride Parade. Zilch about his actual politics. No, everything is focused on his drinking, his drug use and his public displays of such activities. Oh, and in case you didn’t notice: he’s . . . → Read More: RedBedHead: Ford Saga: Left Gives Cover To Right Wing Palace Coup

RedBedHead: Ford Saga: Left Gives Cover To Right Wing Palace Coup

Cuts, what cuts? It’s all about bad behaviour photo credit: @HeartsOnTheLeft

Not one word about cuts. Not one word about privatizing garbage collection. Nothing about his refusal to ever attend a single Gay Pride Parade. Zilch about his actual politics. No, everything is focused on his drinking, his drug use and his public displays of . . . → Read More: RedBedHead: Ford Saga: Left Gives Cover To Right Wing Palace Coup

RedBedHead: Three Reasons Why Ford Should Stay

Everyone’s clamouring for Ford to resign: he lied, he smoked crack, he was wasted on the job, the city needs a competent administration. Balls, I say. I’ve seen competent administrations and I can say for certain in the present climate that a “competent administration” will focus its attention on further austerity and attacking those who resist austerity. Need I remind that the entire left wing . . . → Read More: RedBedHead: Three Reasons Why Ford Should Stay

RedBedHead: Three Reasons Why Ford Should Stay

Everyone’s clamouring for Ford to resign: he lied, he smoked crack, he was wasted on the job, the city needs a competent administration. Balls, I say. I’ve seen competent administrations and I can say for certain in the present climate that a “competent administration” will focus its attention on further austerity and attacking those who . . . → Read More: RedBedHead: Three Reasons Why Ford Should Stay

A Different Point of View....: Just winning next election not enough for Liberals or NDP

With the next federal election a little more than two years away, it is time we started asking the Liberals and New Democrats what kind of government they will deliver if either one could bounce the Conservatives from power.

It would be unwise to underestimate the Conservatives’ devious political smarts, but it increasingly looks . . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: Just winning next election not enough for Liberals or NDP

The Canadian Progressive: Thatcherism: A grand, failed economic experiment

By: Andrew Jackson | Broadbent Institute Admirers and detractors of Margaret Thatcher can agree that she will be remembered as one of the key political architects of our times. Along with her soulmate, U.S. President Ronald Reagan, she broke decisively with the post-war Keynesian welfare state and ushered in the still-enduring age […]

The post . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: Thatcherism: A grand, failed economic experiment

Dead Wild Roses: America’s Hugo Chavez – Certainly NOT Obama

I’m starting to like CounterPunch more and more. Go read the full article at their site as it is insightful and though provoking.

[…]

“As part of the national mythology many Americans, and likely nearly all liberals and progressives, accept the premise that policies designed to boost the fortunes of the already wealthy might . . . → Read More: Dead Wild Roses: America’s Hugo Chavez – Certainly NOT Obama

Dead Wild Roses: Defanging Feminism – Gail Dines

Gail Dines knocks this talk out of the park – Neo-Liberalism is exposed, and all the ill-effects that come with that particular set of toxic ideals. Some quotes from the video:

“There is no such thing as cheap labour, there is only labour that has been made cheap”

“Women perform 66% of the worlds work, . . . → Read More: Dead Wild Roses: Defanging Feminism – Gail Dines

RedBedHead: Spain & The Madness of Europe

There’s a saying that defines madness as doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. By that criteria, it’s clear that the European Union’s response to the long and painful crisis unfolding on that continent is utterly and completely mad.

With the appearance a few years ago of a Greek sovereign crisis . . . → Read More: RedBedHead: Spain & The Madness of Europe

Politics and Entertainment: a tiny glimpse into the ways our government serves the corporate and financial world, not the people of Canada

Some Key Areas Where Neoliberal Policy Undermines both the Industrial Economy and Canadian Democracy

Under the Harper Regime, the investor class is constantly being protected at the expense of the real industrial economy, for just about all policy decisions privilege both the financial sector, with its market-driven initiatives and debt-driven growth strategies, and of . . . → Read More: Politics and Entertainment: a tiny glimpse into the ways our government serves the corporate and financial world, not the people of Canada

Politics and Entertainment: James K. Galbraith: Inequality and Instability

More at The Real News

More at The Real News

More at The Real News

More at The Real News . . . → Read More: Politics and Entertainment: James K. Galbraith: Inequality and Instability

A Different Point of View....: Multi-talented Nova Scotia writer wins ‘neo-liberal’ contest!

And the winner of my media challenge contest is… Joan Baxter, a journalist, an award-winning author and anthropologist who lived and worked in Africa for 21 years.

I had felt for some time that journalists in the mainstream corporate media were being intimidated by corporate owners and the Harper government from writing about the government’s destructive . . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: Multi-talented Nova Scotia writer wins ‘neo-liberal’ contest!