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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: Tricks of the mind

Reading involves bit of trickery. Mental trickery. It engages the imagination and fools us into thinking we are there within the book: nestled beside the author, or better yet, beside the characters. Immersed in the created world, floating through it like a ghost in a haunted house movie, or perhaps in the imagined flesh, interacting […]

Things Are Good: Live in the Now, Plan for Your Future Self

There are many things that make one happy, but what if our fundamental approach is wrong? Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert looks into other ways of thinking about happiness and the overall take we have on our self.

“Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished.” Dan Gilbert shares recent research on a phenomenon he calls the “end of history illusion,” where we somehow imagine that the person we are right now is the person we’ll be for the rest of time. Hint: that’s not the case.

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Bert Olivier is the latest to weigh in on Paul Verhaeghe’s work showing that the obsessive pursuit of market fundamentalism harms our health in a myriad of ways: What does the neoliberal “organisation” of society amount to? As the title of the book indicates, it is market-based, in the tacit belief that the abstract entity called the “market” is better suited than human beings themselves to provide a (supposedly) humane structure to the communities in which we live. But because neoliberal capitalism stands or falls by the question, whether profit is generated (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: TFWP: How Racist is Canada?

Here’s one way to tell how racist a person/nation is.

Have them read this excerpt and see if they fly into a rage about “those” people, or just come up with economic arguments to keep “them” out.

Hopefully, everyone you know will nod and say, “obviously!”

Since this is a chronically underpopulated country with an aging population and an inadequately sized consumer and taxpayer base for its geography and culture, there is no reason for Canada to make any of its immigrants anything other than permanent.

Those who say “Canadian jobs for Canadians” are right: We should continue to (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Class Warfare CAUSED Income Inequality, Not the Opposite

Horatio Alger mythology is designed to make us leave the 1% alone and shut the fuck up.

If you haven’t yet seen John Oliver’s amazing rant about the perils of inequality and how the rich shame us out of talking about it by suggesting we’re trying to invoke class warfare, you can see it below.

The truth is, income inequality doesn’t just happen one day, then the classes fight each other. Class warfare is what creates the conditions for income inequality.

But as long as the 1% can keep us from talking about class issues, we can say income inequality (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how personal and institutional stress make it more difficult for people to defend their interests – and on the need to respond to political strategies increasingly aimed at exploiting that principle to reduce public participation.

For further reading…- Again, Chris Mooney discussed the effect of stress on voter turnout here. And here’s a reminder that the desire to suppress voter participation tends to be the result of underlying discrimination.- See here, here and here for just a couple of the many reports on the devastating connection between poverty and personal stress.- And without (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Elevate the World from Mediocrity to Greatness? Lululemon? GMAFB

GMAFB

Capitalism dissociates us from each other.

It makes us embrace consumerism and individualism and erodes community and cohesion.

Yet, oddly, Lululemon’s mantra of elevating the world from mediocrity to greatness is about liberating us from those shackles. Oddly, based on Ayn Rand’s whacko philosophy [see below], we need to be liberated from such an environment that is imagined to be government-controlled.

I will pardon you for not laughing at the irony of this. It’s not funny. The hyper anti-government, anti-community, pro-individualism, pro-capitalism Ayn Rand crew fears government will turn us all into mediocre wastelands of human endeavor.

But if (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: When good people do bad things in groups

The headline is taken from a piece on Science Daily on a study about how groups change personal behaviour and morality. The study is reported on the MIT website. I’ve seen that change myself, many times over the years, and most recently locally. The study adds intelligence on the neurology of how such group activity changed people. […]

Politics, Re-Spun: Slut Shaming, And Other Idiocy

Welcome to the cusp of spring-summer.

Now that the weather is turning, the slut shaming and attacks on women’s clothing choices will ramp up.

In Labrador, 28 girls were sent home from school because their clothing contravened the dress code. They also sent home two boys whose shirts bared their shoulders. 47% of those voting on the CBC story’s webpoll supported the school’s decision.

But Memorial University professor Patricia Dold share some inconvenient truth about this:

Male students and teachers they apparently were distracting should be the ones under the microscope. … Dold said that the school should have an (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: The Protest and Popular Assembly (Plenum) Movement in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Get up to speed with this interview with Politics, Re-Spun contributor Jasmin Mujanovic on the protest and popular assembly (plenum) movement in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Bosnia’s protest movement is already receiving less media coverage, with some declaring the end of the ‘Bosnian spring’. But the causes behind the ongoing protests are complex, and neither the causes nor the protests have disappeared. Heather McRobie interviews Jasmin Mujanović.

April 15, 2014 Democracy Blooming at the Margins: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ukraine and Taiwan (1) December 25, 2013 Merry Christmas! (0) January 8, 2014 Come On, Let’s Really Increase Taxes on the Rich (0) April 30, (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: When Blog Comment Spam Goes Bad

You know you want it!

Someone really crossed the line from whoops, to nuclear codes.

One of the15,000 weekly blog spam comments that never make it to the human eyes stage on this website, accidentally made it through.

Sadly, it is a compendium of all the kinds of faux-sincere blog comments. Which is like Christmas for those who pay attention to the sociology of the internets.

Read at your leisure, and peril. Actual websites deleted to not encourage bad behaviour.

It becomes a mildly deranging mantra of ill. Kind of like neoliberal capitalism.

Push back!

Remember, Occupy Vancouver reboots at (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Poor Kids, Poor Families and Shame

“When Centennial’s students found out Seymour couldn’t hold a pyjama day because many students didn’t have pyjamas, they fundraised to buy every Seymour student a pair last Christmas.”

- When the Field Trip’s Too Pricey, Students ‘Self-Exclude’

BC’s disgusting and preventable child poverty crisis. Let’s stop coddling the rich!

When parents receive letters from their kids’ school asking for donations for playground upgrades or library books or technological devices, a certain segment of the population sighs, grows a few more grey hairs and dies a little bit inside.

Parents who are struggling financially cannot afford the luxury of even (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Occupying Homelessness?

Homelessness isn’t a policy thing regarding random people. It’s a thing for actual people. It’s not abstract, it’s in our face, yet we live in denial.

Clearly, I’m no brain surgeon. But if there are homeless people, a civilized culture would find a way to use a progressive tax system to house them. Simple.

Homelessness, however, is a magnet for reprobate poor bashers who are too greedy to part with their wealth [massive or otherwise] to solve a problem.

But guess what. Research shows it’s actually cheaper to simply house the homeless. Unless you secretly hate them, or are a (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Honing In On Friday’s #WaveOfAction

We need to think about two things for this Friday’s Occupy Movement reboot in the Worldwide #WaveOfAction:

When thinking about pursuing social, political and economic equality, what is the list of things we need to change, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally? Who do we need to build coalitions with to listen to them, support them, empower them; and who will convene the meetings?

And instead of wondering who’s got your back, figure out whose back you need to protect.

There are two days left. No rush, because Friday is just the start of the 3-month Wave that culminates on (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Random Terrorism From North American Police

Five police beat and kill Luis Rodriguez.

You know you’re living in an increasingly terrorized state when the police kill for no good reason. Sure there are extenuating circumstances, but that should lead to caution, not an impulse to deadly violence.

That impulse marks the increased tendency/willingness of the police to kill for no good reason, and an increasing tone of terror that emanates from those in authority.

Read who the police have unjustifiably killed lately:

In Vancouver, the RCMP killed a distraught man who at times was brandishing a stapler. But mostly he was just distressed. There have been (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Stop. Obeying. The. Rich. NOW!

Once upon a time, we were taught to envy and respect our “betters,” like the rich.

No more.

They’re taking our money and throwing us under the bus every day. And it’s not even just the super-rich or those in America, it’s the aspirational rich; they’re just as toxic.

This stops now, it’s time to ramp up the Occupy Movement again, and for good this time:

The super-rich of the 21st century no longer think that you and I are needed for their continued success.

And in some ways, they have given up on America, period.

As Paul Buchheit brilliantly (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Are You Also Sick of Politicians’ Childish Behaviour?

The language toward women can also turn vulgar. In an interview I conducted with the Hon. Sheila Copps, the former MP recalled being called a ‘slut.’ A female NDP MP wrote about a time when she heard a Liberal frontbench MP stand up to speak only to be called a ‘c*nt’ by a government backbencher.

Frankly, I’m sick of politicians and their supporters who try to defend heckling, dishonourable, childish behaviour in the legislature.

Pretty much the only excuse I hear these days is that it’s great political theatre that people like.

That’s nonsense. The evidence supports the opposite (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Don’t Tolerate Ignorance About the Minimum Wage

Now, stop tolerating ignorance! And smile, TGIF.

Hello.

It’s Friday.

For many people it’s TGIF. But for many people who aren’t even teenagers, the work week isn’t ending today.

We often THINK minimum wage is for the new entries to the job market. Maybe it was one day. Maybe just for one day.

But today? If it isn’t a living wage, it’s exploitative.

And if it is just minimum wage, we are likely not too accurate on who is suffering with these low wages.

Let’s take a peek:

It is not the stereotypical pothead living in their parents’ basement.

(Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: How to Influence Teenagers and other People too.

Working in behavioural education means that much of this stuff is old hat for me, but sometimes isn’t as common knowledge as I think it is for others, so lets review some the tricksy-hobbit ways P-sychologists work their magic. We’ll pick up midway though the article:

I asked Dahl what he does with his children when he wants to influence them.

His answer? He uses techniques from a clinical method called “motivational interviewing.” Motivational interviewing has proven effective in motivating behavior change in teens in difficult arenas, like drug and alcohol abuse, disordered eating, and risky sexual behavior. (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: How the Conservative Government Dishonours the Military

So Canada is leaving its occupation of Afghanistan.

I never liked the mission. I never liked the context. I never liked the propaganda. I never liked the transformation of some kind of Canada into this occupying Canada.

162 killed and 2,179 wounded? But here’s the very very hard question. Who is the government NOT counting? They are the people the government is actively disowning, to the shame of all of us.

I’ll tell you who some of them are:

They are the human casualties of our new flashy militarism:

they are the veterans whose pensions have been replaced with lump (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Do the Rich Think a Class War Isn’t Already Happening?

You’d think we were building guillotines. The rich, however, are starting to feel antsy and they want our pity and compassion.

Here are some of the ludicrous fears they are spilling out to the masses, to avoid a genocide against the rich:

It’s almost like there hasn’t already been a class war going on FOR GENERATIONS!

I’m going to underline the absolutely stunning, amazing and jaw-dropping parts. Get your pitchforks ready!

Why the rich are freaking out

By: Ben White

January 30, 2014 05:02 AM EST

NEW YORK — The co-founder of one the nation’s oldest venture capital firms fears (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Stop Listening to the Big Oil Spin!

Do the math. Please.

For a great long time, I’ve been talking about how we must dump the oil, gas, fracking, tankers, pipelines, coal…all the carbon-based energy systems because of climate breakdown [aka climate change, aka global warming, aka the greenhouse effect]. We need to transform our society to a post-carbon energy infrastructure.

The lie that there are billions in government revenue and 90 gazillion jobs just waiting for us all (sigh) is so incredibly compelling. But if you look at some data, like…facts, you might find some startling surprises that indicate that you’ve been swallowed whole by the carbon-based (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Lupita Nyong’o On Validation, For International Women’s Day

A sublime meditation on validation. Bravo!

…in which a young woman shares her adolescent anxieties and blossoms into a role model for us all.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Enjoy the whole clip here:

 

July 15, 2013 Fearing Kate MacEachern: The Latest Canadian Military Blunder (40) November 22, 2010 A Paradigm Shift is Happening! (0) October 15, 2013 BC’s Child Support Clawback Hurts Kids (2) December 26, 2013 Ending Homelessness: Easy If You Simply Care (0)

Politics, Re-Spun: Women: The Majority, Not a Media Niche

I couldn’t really fault you if you felt that only about 22% of humanity were women.

If we based it all on how frequently they are represented in politics and the media, we wouldn’t know they made up a 51-ish% majority.

This is why Cate Blanchett and Geena Davis have some words for us all.

And god[dess] help us if we try to contradict them:

Blanchett won an Oscar the other night. In her remarks she mentioned a truth that many people still don’t understand, offering gratitude regarding her film

“to the audiences who went to see it and perhaps (Read more…)