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Friday, July 27, 2012

How Will the 99% Deal with the Psychopaths in the 1%? (Alternet)

"We find ourselves in a situation where economic philosophies that celebrate selfishness can be implemented through a web of legal and financial tools that elevate and reward those individuals with psychological tendencies toward self-interest — the same people who also have a predisposition to game social contexts to their advantage regardless of impacts on others."

Full article: How Will the 99% Deal with the Psychopaths in the 1%?.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thomas Walkom: Slaughtering pigs, a never-ending horror (in The Toronto Star)

Thomas Walkom: Slaughtering pigs, a never-ending horror.

You know the old English farmers' saying, "Dogs look up to us, cats look down on us, but pigs is equal".

I am not sure I will look at a ham sandwich quite the same way after this..

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Judge orders two Government officials to be quizzed over Wikileaks documents about expelled Indian Ocean islanders (in Mail Online)

Full article: Judge orders two Government officials to be quizzed over Wikileaks documents about expelled Indian Ocean islanders.

Long overdue - this was horrendous behaviour by a national government - and they were almost completely successful in hiding this from the rest of the world.

The Disaffected Lib: Bitumen's Oh So Dirty Little Secrets

The Disaffected Lib: Bitumen's Oh So Dirty Little Secrets.

This is scary stuff! This is like the old puzzle: how do you put a price on a human life? Maybe we should start to ask: how do you put a price on a ruined ecology?

Opinion: Leave park in province’s hands (in The Toronto Star)

Editorial: Leave park in province’s hands.

Couldn't agree more! Given the federal government's abysmal record on the environment, why would we sell this provincial jewel to them - let alone give it away?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Rick Salutin on referendums in the Swiss political system (in The Toronto Star)

Rick Salutin's 4th article in his series on democracy: Referendums at heart of Swiss political system.

Umm, shouldn't it be "referenda"?

Harvard professor Michael Sandel examines ‘moral limits of markets’ in new book (in The Toronto Star)

"Couples can hire an Indian surrogate mother for $6,250. Or they can invest that money in the American insurance industry, where betting on the death of strangers is a $30-billion business. Investors receive higher returns the sooner the stranger dies — a morbid spin on the adage that time is money.

"Hunters can head to South Africa to kill an endangered black rhino provided they’re willing to pay $150,000 for the privilege. Or they can stay in Canada to kill a walrus for less than $10,000. Add a caribou, musk ox and polar bear and you’ll hit what hunting groups call the “Arctic grand slam.”

"If it’s citizenship you’re after, $500,000 buys the right to immigrate to the United States. Many countries have similar policies, including Canada, though the price is higher here.

"Even in prison, money matters. In some cities, prisoners can upgrade their cells with a nightly fee.

"These are the sort of unsettling examples in Michael Sandel’s new book, What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets."

Full article: Harvard professor Michael Sandel examines ‘moral limits of markets’ in new book.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sara Robinson: The New Totalitarianism: How American Corporations Have Made America Like the Soviet Union (AlterNet)

"One of the most striking things about our victorious corporations now is the degree to which they've taken on some of the most noxious and Kafkaesque attributes of the Soviet system -- too often leaving their employees, customers, and other stakeholders just as powerless over their own fates as the unhappy citizens of those old centrally planned economies of the USSR were back in the day."

Full article: The New Totalitarianism: How American Corporations Have Made America Like the Soviet Union.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

“The Global Minotaur”: A “Great Transformation” for our Times (Left Eye On Books)

“The Global Minotaur”: A “Great Transformation” for our Times.

Boris Stremlin, Visiting Assistant Professor at Manhattanville College, reviews Yanis Varoufakis’ “The Global Minotaur: America, the True Origins of the Financial Crisis and the Future of the World Economy”.

Annie Leonard's "The Story of Change" (The Story of Stuff Project)

If you loved "The Story of Stuff", here is another great web page and movie by Annie Leonard. This is incredibly important and should make us all sit up, take notice, and decide to flex our citizen muscles!

The comments are spot on too!

The Story of Change (The Story of Stuff Project)

Take the quiz to see what kind of changemaker you are!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Audrey Macklin: The government has not kept its word in the Omar Khadr case (in The Toronto Star)

"Don’t let the government make a fool of you. Canada is now directly and solely responsible for every day that Omar spends in Guant├ínamo Bay, and can bring this ordeal to an end anytime.

"That time is now."

Full article: The government has not kept its word in the Omar Khadr case.

Carol Goar: Scarborough shooting a missed opportunity to rethink tough on-crime approach (in The Toronto Star)

"Policy-makers have to listen to community groups, grassroots activists, church leaders and social agencies that know these kids and have programs that work. Treating them like pesky supplicants, who fail to understand the need to balance the budget, will produce a much bigger deficit — one that goes far beyond dollars — down the road."

Full article: Scarborough shooting a missed opportunity to rethink tough on-crime approach.

The Star's Joe Fiorito talking to James Sheptycki: "He said, “We’re not talking to these young men, the ones who have the world view that makes it ‘sensible’ to shoot other people. How can we change the mindset if we don’t talk to them? Let’s try to understand the subculture.”"

Fiorito: What we should ask about the Scarborough shooting

And The Star arguing for a ban on handguns:

"Collectors and pistol enthusiasts complain such a ban, delivered under a mandatory federal buyback program, would end their freedom to pursue a handgun hobby. They’re right. But balanced against that is the freedom of innocent people to enjoy life without being cut down in a hail of pistol bullets.

"That’s what killed Shyanne Charles, a generous and happy 14-year-old with a love of sports and music who happened to attend the Scarborough block party Monday night. No one’s pistol collection is worth that. If even one promising life like Shyanne’s, brimming with hope and potential, can be spared by outlawing privately owned handguns, a ban should be put into effect as quickly as possible."

Toronto shooting spree shows need for a handgun ban

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Global suicide 2020: We can’t feed 10 billion - Paul B. Farrell - MarketWatch

Global suicide 2020: We can’t feed 10 billion - Paul B. Farrell - MarketWatch

Rick Salutin on Proportional Representation and political parties (in The Toronto Star)

Part 2 of Rick Salutin's 6-part series on democracy: Democracy Disconnect, Part 2:Correcting Canada’s democratic deficit.

Christopher Hume: Stephen Harper is blind to science (in The Toronto Star)

"Ottawa has seen countless demonstrations over the decades, none more poignant or disturbing than what unfolded Tuesday when hundreds of scientists took to the street to protest what they call “the Death of Evidence.” ...

"Harper and his robo-ministers — especially Peter Kent in environment and Joe Oliver in natural resources — have been blunt: They will brook no opposition in their zeal to exploit the oilsands, build pipelines and empower the new robber barons.

"To see where this leads, look no further than Canada’s cities, where change appears first...."

Full article: Christopher Hume: Stephen Harper is blind to science.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Rick Salutin on Democracy: Thinking outside the box (inThe Toronto Star)

First part of a 6-part meditation on democracy: Democracy: Thinking outside the box.

"What if it [democracy] isn’t a specific thing, with a definition you can look up. Maybe instead it’s a general capacity or potential, built into us — like our capacities for language, musicality, love and so forth — which finds various ways to express itself, none “right” or inevitable? So that the idea would be to open the box occasionally — or the concept — and let it breathe."

Friday, July 13, 2012

Nicholas Pell: What the French Revolution Tells Us About Today's Activist Movements (in AlterNet.org)

"The lessons of the French Revolution -- that history is a process, that it’s possible to completely remake the world, that ordinary people can do this and that some people simply have a vested interest in the existing order -- are relevant today, perhaps more so than they were in 1789."

Full article: What the French Revolution Tells Us About Today's Activist Movements.

A meditation on what Bastille Day has to tell us about the success or failure of revolutions.

Mitch Potter: Canada is less energy-efficient than China, new study shows (in The Toronto Star)

Full article: Canada is less energy-efficient than China, new study shows.

The Harperites should be ashamed: Canada ranks even lower than the US, and both of them lower than China. The Chinese figures are strange though - and may be explained by this article by Minxin Pei.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Authors say locavores do more harm than good (in Grist.org)

Full article: Authors say locavores do more harm than good.

Claire Thompson of Grist.org interviews Pierre Desrochers on the book he coauthored called "The Locavore's Dilemma: In Praise of the 10,000-Mile Diet."

Strangely, I don't see a reference to what happens if our energy supplies reduce drastically. And people in New Zealand, which the authors refer to in glowing terms, are starting to realize that feeding people could well become a problem there.

Further, rather more sensible in my view, commentary on their book in The Toronto Star. Cardboard tomatoes, anyone?

Sara Robinson: Memo to the Right Wing: Put Up or Shut Up (in OurFuture.org)

Sara Robinson: Memo to the Right Wing: Put Up or Shut Up.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Psychopathy and the CEO: Top executives have four times the incidence of psychopathy as the rest of us (in The Toronto Star)

Full article: Psychopathy and the CEO: Top executives have four times the incidence of psychopathy as the rest of us.

Given that the world's most powerful nation is now arguably a corporatocracy, and that, "[if] we look at the corporation as a legal person, it exhibits all the characteristics of a psychopath using a personality diagnostic checklist by the World Health Organization", this article should really make us sit up and pay attention to where our so-called "democracies" are headed.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Heather Mallick: Global warming caused the heat wave that’s burning cities and destroying perfectly good hair (in The Toronto Star)

Heather Mallick bridges brilliantly from the global to the personal...

"Global warming requires communal work, not individuals crossing their fingers and hoping it never happens. This was impossible internationally, partly because of hidebound no-global-warming leaders like Stephen Harper, a resentful China and a skeptical U.S. But locally, there’s no other way."

Full article: Global warming caused the heat wave that’s burning cities and destroying perfectly good hair.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Rick Salutin: Canada’s crooked path from Confederation to today (in The Toronto Star)

"Who will speak for Canada when its federal government doesn’t? Maybe provincial and local governments who are closer to the realities people have to live with arising from these trade deals. We may be in a situation where a looser, more combative Confederation is good for everyone — just as a stronger federal government may have made sense at certain times in the past."

Full article: Canada’s crooked path from Confederation to today.