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Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Coffee with Cicero

Can you imagine what it would be like today to be able to meet the Roman philosopher, Cicero, for coffee and spend an hour chatting? Or meeting up at a local pub and settling down to a beer or glass of wine? How great would that be to spend an hour with one of the […]

Joe Fantauzzi: Rob Ford’s Political Body

Toronto’s Rob Ford lives a political life. Both his bare existence and his public personae have taken on a politicization since he entered municipal governance. Plainly said, his weight and other biological issues have become just as political as his public life as “mayor” of the City of Toronto. The Ancient Greeks, such as Aristotle, had […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Common Sense

When men yield up the exclusive privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon. Thomas Paine, 18th century political activist and political philosopher, wrote that line. It struck me as particularly cogent in light of modern politics and the rise of fanatic, fundamentalist organizations: people who give themselves over to ideologies or […]

A Puff of Absurdity: Chomsky’s Forward to Albert’s Realizing Hope: Life Beyond Capitalism

In full:   (The book is here.)

“Throughout much of the world there is growing resistance to the severe harm that has resulted from the neoliberal policies of the past generation. Latin America has progressed farthest in overthrowing this harsh regime, in recent years largely freeing itself from the grip of Western imperial domination for the first time and beginning to confront some of its severe internal problems, though many remain, as revealed recently by the mass protests in Brazil. These protests are joined by many others throughout the world, responding to local attacks on elementary rights and sometimes (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Green initiatives for next term

Collingwood should be in the forefront for green initiatives in Ontario, not lagging behind. There’s no reason we should not be leaders in exploring new ways to reduce greenhouse gases, reduce our carbon footprint, promote sustainable and environmentally-friendly strategies, and reduce our energy costs. These will be some of my top goals for the 2014-18 […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Taoist Lessons for Politicians

Those who look down upon this world, will surely take hold and try to change things. So begins verse 29 of the 4th century BCE Chinese classic (Jonathan Star translation*), the Tao Te Ching. That verse suggests that those who feel themselves superior to the world and to others, who feel their actions, thoughts, views and beliefs are above […]

A Puff of Absurdity: Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century

I feel like I don’t have to read this one with all the press it’s getting. Maybe next summer.  This is the gist I’ve gotten so far:

 Michael Rozworski wrote a piece about it recently. In brief: the basic thesis of the book is that capitalism has a tendency towards the concentration of wealth in few hands.  And there’s a discrimination inherent in the system that ensures whites are better able to make it at least into the middle.

In Canada right now, our distribution looks like this: * the top 10% owns 58.2% of the wealth, up (Read more…)

A Puff of Absurdity: On Ethos – a 2011 Documentary

“Our ethos is all that we currently hold to be true. It is what we act upon. It governs our manners, our business and our politics.” –  Howard Zinn

Directed by Pete McGrain, and hosted by Woody Harrelson, this 68 minute film explores how we got here and what to do about it as we “fight for a new democracy.”   It’s nothing new, but it’s succinct and watchable, and divided into sections which is handy in a classroom.  My notes are below, after the film in its entirety.

Like in Go Further, which is a (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Machiavelli and Xenophon

Another piece posted on The Municipal Machiavelli this week; this time a short comment about Machiavelli and Xenophon, the ancient Greek writer who Niccolo referred to in The Prince and The Discourses: ianchadwick.com/machiavelli/machiavelli-and-xenophon/ This recent post was sparked by a review of a new book on Xenophon aimed at the business-management reader: Larry Hedrick’s Xenophon’s […]

Eh Types: Progressively Worse

Toronto seemed gripped in a mix of terror and disbelief yesterday. Rumours Wednesday night were a new poll would show Ford in the lead. Yesterday the poll while having Tory in front, had a significant bump for Ford. Panic ensued as though a raccoon army had arrived carrying signs that read “First Your Green Bins, […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: How to Run a Country

I’ve posted a review of Philip Freeman’s book, How to Run a Country on the Municipal Machiavelli site, here: ianchadwick.com/machiavelli/how-to-run-a-country/ Freeman’s work is a short (132 pages in a small format) book with a mix of English and Latin content derived from the writing of Marcus Cicero, thematically chosen around the topics of governance, politics […]

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Shockwaves #nlpoli

The day after the by-election in St. George’s-Stephenville East,  federal New Democratic Party member of parliament Ryan Cleary showed an interest in provincial politics some might find curious.

“The question is not how to stop NL Liberals,” Cleary tweeted, “but how to boost provincial New Democrats. Status quo not working.”

Status quo means Lorraine Michael’s leadership, of course.

Cleary’s right.  Lorraine’s leadership has proven to be a dismal failure.  Not only did she and her supporters fail to capitalise on the strong showing in 2011,  they’ve obviously failed to gain any ground as the support for the province’s Conservatives has collapsed.  The by-election on the west coast confirmed that the New Democrats under Lorraine are staying firmly where they were.  They aren’t losing ground, but they also aren’t growing, either.

(Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: The Politics of Lying, An Essay by Henry Giroux

When it comes to politics and lying the two seem to go hand in glove.  We’ve always considered politicians a bit shady, willing to bend the truth to suit their purposes.  Yet it can be difficult to distinguish outright lying from differences of opinion, selective perception, variances in grasp and understanding.  If I have no grounding in a topic and someone who does makes a claim that I find hard to swallow, I may suspect them of fiddling with the truth.  Historically, our best political leaders have used fibbing to build consensus or at least acceptance of their chosen policies. (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: To Inquire, or Not To Inquire, Don’t Ask The Question

The latest Coyne article seems to be self defeating in its thesis.

“It’s not evident what contribution another public inquiry would make,” opines Coyne.

For one thing, we could have an inquiry to demonstrate that for Coyne. Or we could for once listen to what First Nations people want out of the Canadian government, rather than what a mainstream newspaper columnist in Toronto wants for First Nations people. The act of the federal government doing what First Nations want over what white people in Ontario want, would be a step in the right direction to healing some of the rifts (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Wasteful Destruction in Gaza

The destruction of this apartment tower is ridiculous. How is it in any way acceptable for a state to destroy an obvious civilian complex with weapons of war?

We’re supposed to believe that the hundreds of occupants were all enemy combatants, and Israel is safer having made them homeless?

Christy's Houseful of Chaos » politics: the importance of “paid journalism” or my response to Sudbury wikileaks.

Something made me very angry today. I read an editorial in one of my local newspapers (The Northern Life). The editorial is defending one of the reporters against accusations made on an anonymous website that calls itself “wikileaks Sudbury.” Wikileaks Sudbury makes me very, very angry.

The Wikileaks article lacks anything convincing. Does it say anything beyond that we should take the anonymous person’s interpretation (what the blog wants to call a “lengthy investigation of many reports”) as so-called proof that Darren MacDonald is the on the city’s payroll? Where are the details? The point-by-point analysis (Read more…)

Susan on the Soapbox: Top Ten Reasons Why Jim Prentice’s “Term Limited” Government is a Bad Idea

Politicians are not tins of spork. The good ones don’t go bad just because they’ve been sitting around for a while.

Of all of the things that PC party leadership candidate Jim Prentice could have done to restore Albertans’ trust in government, imposing term limits on provincial MLAs was not one of them.

Under Mr Prentice’s “term limited” model MLAs will be limited to three terms (12 years) and premiers will be limited to two (8 years). All existing MLAs are exempt.

A wave of despair washes over Ms Soapbox as she struggles to compose herself and prepare a new (Read more…)

Joe Fantauzzi: The Militarization of Police: But Why?

Since the beginning of the year, several stories in high-profile mainstream media publications have examined what some find to be the increasing militarization of police forces in North America. In March, The Economist wrote a feature on the phenomenon noting that the use of tactical units, which are often armed with military-style weaponry such as so-called […]

A Puff of Absurdity: Diamond’s Collapse

A while back, Mound suggested I read Collapse by Jared Diamond, and I finally got to it. It’s a fascinating read particularly for anyone interested in ancient civilizations. Diamond explores what caused the destruction of various civilizations over the past couple millennia. What interested me, of course, is his final few chapters that clarify what this understand of the world can do for our own understanding of our current position.  These are my notes and thoughts as I read:

The Old Problem:  Overexploitation of Resources

“The processes through which past societies have undermind themselves by damaging their environments fall into (Read more…)

calgaryliberal.com: Shutting down the blog.

Turns out a job doesn’t leave much time for blogging. And a 65-75 hour a week job makes it even tougher to fit in the time to write. Also, I find I’m writing all day, every day. So the urge to write more all night too isn’t that much of a driving force. There is, after […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Ontario’s liquor sales conundrum

The C.D. Howe Institute released its report on beer and wine sales in Ontario, today, advocating for a more liberal approach and allowing beer and wine to be sold in other outlets, such as supermarkets and convenience stores. You can read the report here. I have a grudging respect for the C.D. Howe Institute, but […]

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Afternoon Links

This and that to start your weekend.

- Robert Reich discusses how the increasing concentration of corporate wealth and power is undermining the U.S.’ democracy, while noting that there’s only one effective response: We entered a vicious cycle in which political power became more concentrated in monied interests that used the power to their advantage – getting tax cuts, expanding tax loopholes, benefiting from corporate welfare and free-trade agreements, slicing safety nets, enacting anti-union legislation, and reducing public investments.

These moves further concentrated economic gains at the top, while leaving out most of the rest of America.

No (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Beginning of the End

Sixty years ago, the end began. It would take almost a full year for the Allies to batter the Third Reich into submission, but in the summer of 1944, the end was inevitable. All could see it. The combined might of the Allied armies was simply overpowering for whatever Germany had left to throw at […]

Cowichan Conversations: Pretend News vs Real News

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

The superficiality of much of the news provided by the corporate media is not only insulting, it is a conditioning mechanism. Latest figures out of the US (probably about the same in Canada) show the large corporate media outlets have lost 50 percent of their market share in 2013.

Have your news reading, watching, listening habits changed over the last few years?

The Common Sense Canadian: Why not enough ‘red tape’ = too much red ink: Mount Polley and the problem with de-regulation

CFAX 1070′s Ian Jessop interviews Damien Gillis on the Mount Polley mine disaster and consequences of the BC Liberals’ de-regulation policy on the environment and economy. Why not enough ‘red tape’ leads to too much red ink for shareholders and taxpayers. (Aug. 20 / 20 min)

The post Why not enough ‘red tape’ = too much red ink: Mount Polley and the problem with de-regulation appeared first on The Common Sense Canadian.