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Showing posts from September, 2011

Jean Crowder defends funding for the CBC

Below is a message from Jean Crowder, sent in response to my letter regarding the funding of CBC. Re-printed here with permission:
Good Morning,
Thank you for your recent correspondence concerning the future of CBC/Radio-Canada, and for your continued advocacy on behalf of a vigorous public broadcasting system. Heritage Minister James Moore’s recent musings about a 5% cut to CBC/Radio-Canada’s total budget represent the latest in a series of statements and actions which confirm his government’s ambivalence to public broadcasting.

In contrast, my New Democrat colleagues and I believe strongly in the importance of public broadcasting to help promote Canada's cultural identity and linguistic and regional diversity, both at home and abroad. Today’s unprecedented deficit may not permit immediate large-scale funding increases, but my colleagues and I are committed to provide stable, long-term funding for CBC/Radio-Canada, and to depoliticize the funding process by making …

Self-Esteem

I remember hearing something on CBC radio a couple of weeks ago, about or from a teacher, who said that marking students' work is fraught with conflict and difficulty because they feel entitled to get good marks from the institution their parents support with their dollars. The school, in an unregulated capitalist society is a commodity, and the teacher is a servant. Following this idea another comment claimed that self-esteem is something to be earned - that it was not a right or an entitlement.

So in this brief discussion where I cannot remember the program or cite the source, and for which I apologize, it seemed that entitlement and high self-esteem were linked. Maybe just by me, but the thought has remained even though the source has been forgotten.

Does high self-esteem threaten the quality of education and other social institutions? Certainly billions of dollars are spent in entertainment and advertising that tell us we are special and we deserve the best. And we are …

Challenging the Looming Threat of Fascism

In the alternative press there are many thoughtful articles and essays on the current state of this planet. Mostly, they target specific issues: democracy, health care, justice, poverty, homelessness, crime and the environment.

It's as though these issues stem from different sources, but when you read them day after day, you can't help but feel they are connected, leading to a vague feeling of dread. A disturbing sense that something much deeper and bigger is going horribly wrong, and that shadow, perhaps, belongs to the looming threat of fascism.

So what if we took on the big picture - the supposed cause, instead of the symptoms? 

Using a commonly posted list of fourteen defining signs of fascism (listed in black text), attributed to a Dr. Lawrence Britt, (whose bio is hard to locate and who may even be a fictitious character) I  suggest corresponding actions we can take to challenge them (in blue text). 

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism: <creation and documenta…

What has become clear to me since 9/11

9/11 mostly consolidated what I had suspected as I witnessed changes in media, politics and behaviour patterns since arriving in Canada in the sixties.

In the years since that day I have come to see two parallel operating systems and all that is reported in the public domain fits into one or the other of those two. Power-over and power-from-within. These systems govern our feelings and emanate out towards our thoughts, actions, and relationships. So it could be said that 9/11 has either clarified my beliefs or that I have become a victim of my own ideology.
Watching the evolution of leadership in North America, Canada and Europe, the wars and crises in the Middle East and Asia, I perceive that those who organized 9/11, those who organized the war in Iraq, the rise of the Taliban, the rise of the Nazi's, the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, and the illicit drug trade - are the same tribe. They may have different names and different ancestors and believe they have a …

Hope and Optimism

Hope and optimism requires our attention to the current state of affairs. The dark side of power.  That is, we need to look at the events that normally disturb the comfortable and lead the disturbed to despair and pessimism.  We need to address this relationship to our world, our place within it and find a way of being that challenges injustice.

Ish Teilheimer of Straight Goods,  reporting on a study that reveals a psychological difference between rich and poor (indicating that the rich don't see a need to help others, whereas the poor understand that they depend on mutual support) goes on to say "It's good to be loving, hopeful, and optimistic, but it's also important to point out that many of the bad things happening to people today are happening because some very wealthy people wanted things that way."

Wealth is power, and those who have power-over sometimes feel more secure by creating systems that make it very difficult or impossible for the masses to gain …