Monthly Archives: December 2010

Stephen Harper Destroys Canadian Democracy – Just in Time for the Holidays!

It has come to a point where voting in Canada is a complete waste of time and money.

Democracy is dead in the Great White North.

By making two new partisan Senator appointments, Stephen Harper has single-handedly destroyed all hopes of any kind of democratic representation in this country.  It no longer matters what party you vote for.  Even a majority from any of the opposition parties (technically impossible with the Bloc) would be confronted by a Conservative Senate that would block and deconstruct any efforts to bring up and develop new legislation.

Voting for representatives of the House of Commons, it would seem, is just another inconvenience in Canada that Stephen Harper has seen fit to eliminate as a right for all of its citizens.

However, it goes deeper:  since the top-level body of government is not elected and does not represent Canadian interests – just that of a very small minority of this country – the ability to use democracy at any level of government (provincial, municipal) is also undermined.  If you’re not a member of The Party, you won’t receive stimulus funds.  You won’t receive any kind of patronage.  Your community will fade into oblivion if you don’t side with Herr Harper.

These are the beginning of ugly days for Canada.

Our ruin and end are imminent.

There is a slightest of slight hopes:  actually playing Harper’s game and electing our own Senators.  Harper has always promised that if he is presented with elected Senators, he would appoint them.  Of course, we know that Stephen Harper is not a man of his word, so even this effort would be met with failure.

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Another Reason to Stay Away From Wal-Mart

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It’s easy to understand that Wal-Mart might issue the following tripe, but Janet Napolitano?

Shocking!

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Why Wikileaks Should be a P2P Network (and Not a Site)

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We’ve all heard about Wikileaks over the past few weeks and we’ve all been introduced to the owner of the site, Julian Assange.  We’re starting to hear details about his arrest, apparently for sex crimes (and by the time ‘they’ are done with him, we’ll all be believing that he had sex with pigs, too).

Unlike some people in this country and elsewhere who are calling for the ‘fatwa’ against Julian Assange (and why these people aren’t being fired, punished or reprimanded is beyond me), I believe that the intent of Wikileaks is more noble than vile.

The intent is to liberate information and to create a serious and adult conversation about diplomacy, foreign affairs and issues – yes – of national security.

That said, the concept should be taken to a new level.  WikiLeaks should become a tour-de-force in the P2P environment.

As mentioned, many people are suggesting that Julian Assange seems to be the only person on the planet who is capable of launching a web site that allows others to post and share confidential or unique information and he should be punished for being an ‘enabler’ of such breaches of security.

The reality is that Julian Assange is a nobody and unfortunately, he’s become a blackmailer.  Regardless, he’s taking the blows for the greater public and we should all step in to support the idea and not Assange, assuming of course, that we believe in information as a commodity that shouldn’t be locked in a vault somewhere.

The other issue that’s starting to rear it’s ugly head is the reminder that the Internet does not belong to ‘the people’.  It belongs to a small collection of elites that want to massage what we collectively do on a day to day basis.  They are not pleased with the release of documents that show that the world is dominated by an array of corporate cartels, including bankers, oil companies and other resource magnates.

Internet companies are starting to cut off the access to Wikileaks and most payment processing companies have ended the ability for people to make Internet donations to the organization.  As such, we should all consider boycotting Paypal and Mastercard for their cartel-like actions, but that’s a whole other story!

Within a few days, it’s very likely that Wikileaks will likely be no longer and the ‘threat’ of revealed information (and embarrassment) will be over.

However, if the information were shared across the entire Internet like a P2P file-sharing network, who starts or runs the network is no longer relevant.  What’s relevant is that the information is liberated, everyone around the world owns a chunk of the information and no one needs any money to keep it going because we’re all paying for it via our ISP subscriptions.

Of course, other information and sharing sites of this nature should also be converted to a P2P structure, where fragments of information are scattered across the digital universe, making it impossible for those that want hide their contempt towards society at large.

The War on the Middle Class: Sen Bernie Sanders

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It’s more than 13 minutes long, but worth every second:

The war on the middle class in the US, Canada and elsewhere is being wages every day against us.

Mainstream Media is Dead (aka “My Print Days Are Over”)

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In the world of media (and me being someone who’s involved with the media world), today is a big day for me.

I officially (and personally) have come to the conclusion that traditional mainstream media is dead.

Of course, if it’s not dead, it’s dying because it’s something that lay-people like me simply can’t afford to buy any more.

TV died for me nearly 10 years ago.  I couldn’t handle paying nearly $100 per month on crap, so I canceled our cable subscription (and I recommend you terminate your cable subscription as well.  In fact, we should start ‘cut the cord’ parties around the country).  Since then, we get most of our entertainment via rentals, the web and other means.

I hung on to print for some reason.  I haven’t bought a copy of the Globe for years and I’ve never bought the Sun or other junk related to the Sun chain.

That said, every weekend, I used to buy the Saturday and Sunday editions of the Toronto Star.  This was a few years ago and it was part of my routine.   Then, the Star raised their Saturday price to $3.50 per copy and I stopped buying it, keeping my weekend reading to Sunday only.

This morning, I walked the dog over to my regular Sunday Star box and imagine my surprise when the price of the paper had increase 67% to $2.50 per copy from $1.50.  In absolute terms, it’s not much, but I didn’t have enough change, so I turned around empty handed and started this blog post.  Once I’m done, I’ll cruise through Progressive Bloggers and a few other sites to satiate my Sunday routine.

By there’s a bigger thing happening here, isn’t there.  Mainstream media is dead to me.

It’s now no longer possible for them to spoon-feed their BS agenda via their mouth-piece and I’m feeling all the better for it.  In fact, as I think things through, I remind myself that no trees had to die today on my account so that I could skim through the entertainment or op-ed pages.

And I’m 42.  What’s happening with the kids who are half my age?  Sure, some are getting MuchMusic via their parent’s cable subscription, but my bet is that they’re starting to disappear even more rapidly from the pulse of mainstream into the wild world of web-based media.

The people who are twice my age or even one generation older are scared.  They own all of this junk and they’re no longer getting the regular residual income that they used to.  Sun taking a dive into specialty TV clearly shows that the management knows nothing about the future of media in this country or elsewhere.  They’ll waste millions trying to shout at an empty audience and we’ll all be the better for it because it’ll bring the Sun down sooner than we ever could have hoped.

Unfortunately, as they fail, they’ll run to the government with their palms wide open begging for billions and not mere millions.  The waste will be phenomenal and we will have to obstruct it and oppose it at any juncture.

For progressives to have a stake in any of this future, we have to capitalize on the volumes of traffic that they’re getting with their sites.  We have to start thinking about how we’re at the top of a massive opportunity to start guiding the conversation – and the body politic – in a direction that makes sense for all people and even the planet.

Rants need to be researched, diatribes will have to become discourse, but we have a chance to make this happen.

Some outlets are already on their way:

Huffington Post

The Tyee

Rabble

Media Coop (The Dominion)

Progressive Bloggers

The Real News Network

What other sites or aggregators do you know of that I can post on this blog or in future articles about the future of progressive media?