Tag Archives: progressive

Koch Konnections (aka “If They Can Do It, We Can Too!”)

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The Koch Brothers.

What can I say about them?

Anyways, they have made a commitment to connect the 1% as thoroughly as possible with a view to ensuring that Americans and people elsewhere are constantly barraged with messages about libertarianism, anti-government sentiments and opposition to any kind of labour / union efforts.

So … if they can, why can’t ‘WE’?

What are WE doing to integrate our associations, affiliations, money flow, donations, charities and other efforts related to the progressive message in Canada, the US and elsewhere?  How are we presenting a unified front against these people who, ironically, look at solidarity as the model for their own survival?

What are WE doing to educate people everywhere about what the needs of all of us and not just those who can donate millions to political campaigns?

What are WE doing to protect ourselves?

Canadian Progressive Media Alternatives

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I’m not so sure that the landing of the Huffington Post in Canada is the remedy we ‘progressives’ in this country need.  Last year, Arianna sold out to AOL, making it part of the mainstream.

I’m sure the Canadian version will be equally tame and ‘available’ to the priests of conservatism in this country.  Ultimately, who ever buys ads on the media, owns the media and Stephen Harper has the deepest pockets right now.

Progressives really MUST think in terms of media and the influence that the right has on everyday citizens.  We have to build an effective alternative media network that is financially viable, influential and that ultimately blocks the Conservatives out of the daily reading of all Canadians.

There’s the growing concept of ‘citizen media’, but we need an alternative to the alternative, something that is grass-roots based and respects the opinions of everyone and not just another site or aggregator of broadcasters that could care less about the ideas of … everyone.

We must also avoid linking to and creating content for mainstream media.  It’s essential that we shut them off.  We’re their power base.  Without US, they’re useless.  As a reminder, ‘they’ are Bell, Rogers, Quebecor, Shaw, Cogeco, Canwest in Canada and AOL, Fox, CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS etc in the US.  Online versions of ‘them’ are Google, Yahoo, MSN, Facebook, Twitter,

But I’m soap-boxing.  Once I get my act together, what I’ll do is start a stump on Wikipedia that provides the same list.

Anyways, until this kind of open media network is built and financially viable, we still have alternatives to the mainstream (albeit ones that are deep-seated in the traditions of talk-down editorial as opposed to speak-up from the masses):

And even more options in North America and the rest of the world:

Think tanks, advocacy groups and social institutions (mostly US):

And then there’s consumption.  What sites or companies, co-ops and other organizations do you shop from that make you feel good?  Are they local?  Fair-trade?  Organic?  All of the above?

So … it’s a good start, but many of you may agree that it’s not comprehensive.  What it all points to is that I’ve been feeling helpless following the election a few weeks ago, but there’s no need for that any more.  We own this country and we deserve to take it back, piece by piece if we have to.

I need some help with this because I think it’s the impetus we all need to gain control of the media landscape of this country.  Do you have links or stories related to progressive media in Canada?  Can you please share your thoughts on who else is doing innovative things here or elsewhere?

Do you have ideas about how we can aggregate all of the above into a truly progressive news feed and source for all Canadians and others who are interested in getting and sharing news without being blocked out or beat up by bossy editors?

Please … really, please … post your thought below.


Mozilla Drumbeat:  https://drumbeat.org/en-US/challenges/unlocking-video/full










It Ain’t Dying, It Be Dead

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It’s appropriate that The Progressive Economics Forum posted their article “Is Social Democracy Dying, Part I?” on Halloween.

I would, however, suggest a couple of tweaks to their delivery:  are progressive ideals dying and are they actually dead?

The reality is that the Tea Partiers and those few thousands of people who hide their desire for theocratic hegemony and racism under the shield of eliminating waste and getting rid of ‘big government’ are a small number, but they’re now calling the shots.

Their friends in high media places are giving this ‘rebellion’ substantially more air-time than it warrants and it’s helping to generate more mass than it ever should have.

Never before have progressive ideals looked like they were going to be completely washed away by fanaticism and blind selfish greed.

Where are the stories about successful peace-driven initiativesWhere are the stories about the Me to We kids who are helping shape the ideals of thousands of young citizensWhere are the stories about co-ops and other unique economic models (note: when I did a search on “ALBA”, all that came up was Jessica Alba), either here or around the globe to offer up optimism and hope that we’re actually moving in the right direction?

Progressive economic ideals and social democracy are dying because we’re letting them die.  We’re exhausted and we’re giving in to the very forces that will eventually take everything from us.

Are you ready for that?

We need an equivalent to the Tea Party that’s bubbling up in the US to counter this movement.  We need a progressive movement that will focus on educating and informing the public.  We need it now, or we’ll lose everything.

My answer to ‘why is there no political outlet for anger on the left’

Naked Capitalism poses a great question:  why is there no political outlet for anger on the left these days?

The author is looking at the US, but Canadian ‘lefties’ are in the same situation.

I have a few answers:

  1. Unprecedented levels of media concentration in the hands of the few;
  2. The left is paying the right, either in the form of iPad payments, cable bills, cell phones or 3-year contracts;
  3. Efforts by the media and media critics to paint the media as ‘liberal’ and ‘lamestream’, leading to an interesting ‘dumbing down’ process that affects all discussion, argument and efforts to move forward;
  4. The intentional campaign to smear all opposition as ‘radical’, ‘leftist’ or even ‘terrorist’ (landing many in jail and thousands of others on watch lists);
  5. Massive ongoing efforts to discredit those that commit their lives to the public service, from corruption scandals, to spending issues and mis-management of taxpayer dollars, to ridiculing basic salaries;
  6. Fragmentation on the left, rooted in a level of respect instead of demands to acquiesce (like the Cons did when they forced the Alliance and Reform MPs to ‘merge’);
  7. The inability of the left to create any kind of common voice, either via their own media outlets (which they would have to essentially start from scratch) or other means of communication.

The core of the issue lies with the very basic notion of propaganda and/or communications.

We don’t own the conversation.

Ironically, it’s been the right and – most importantly – the religious right that has been very effective at showing solidarity and unity, the very notions that should be at the core of the left.  They repeatedly use many voices to express a common theme and beat the crap out of progressives who are fragmented and appear confused when they have a crack at sharing an opinion on ‘public’ airwaves.

While reading some of the comments, I came to another epiphany, something the author is trying to evoke:  reading about rebellion is useless.  We no longer act.

How do we get people to act?  We are at the point of needing to panic, as the waves of Cons are just getting more maniacal and controlling.

Many people are stopping dead in their tracks out of fear.  How do we break those bonds that the Cons have placed on us?

Do we start canceling all of our cell phone contracts, cable bills and land lines and start pouring our savings into our own network?

Within a year, we’d have a hell of a lot of cash to invest if we actually made this crucial first step.

Who’s up for it?

Armageddon Factor: A Must Read

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I picked up “The Armageddon Factor” by Marci McDonald several months ago, shortly after it hit the book racks.

For those who are interested in Canadian politics, this is a must read.

McDonald explores many ideas in this book and the central theme that I drew out of her meticulous work is the idea that Canada is being run by a very small group of nihilists and self-righteous Christian propaganda experts.

Besides that, I came to three conclusions as I put the book down:

  1. It seems the Harper Conservatives could care less about legislation.
  2. Progressives are fucked.
  3. Canadians are as blind to Harper as the Jedi were to Palpatine / Darth Sidious.

It Seems The Harper Conservatives Could Care Less About Legislation

In reading this text and observing current events, I now see that Stephen Harper could care less about moving Canada in any direction when it comes to legislation.  Time and time again, the Conservatives have ruined their owned agenda and progress by proroguing government or timing actions so that it would be impossible to make them come to fruition before the end of a session.

All they really seem to want to do is maintain their hold on power while they pack little baby chirping Cons into the halls of federal offices, be they the halls of the Public Service, various commissions, the Senate, any level of judicial positions, all non-government organizations that are funded by the government and so on.

Even if a new progressive wave of political and media authorities get elected into office, the battles will last for decades as they do what they can to push Conservatives out of work and office.  It will prove to be a holy administrative terror that few will be able to erode.

To make matters worse, the media has not held the Conservatives to task on this mediocre legislative program, which means they’re either lazy or in cahoots.

Progressives Are Fucked

I’m sorry, but I have no other way to explain this nicely.

Another more polite way to suggest my opinion is to reflect on the fact that most progressives – by nature or definition of who they are and what they believe in, myself included – are not quite the ‘A-type’ when it comes to personality.

We don’t run newspaper chains, television stations or tight political campaigns.

We run on emotion, reaction and, in many cases, panic.

There is rarely a plan.  There is rarely a vision.  We fall for smokescreens and fail to see the big picture.

We need to learn from the lessons that Marci McDonald clearly spells out in the Armageddon Factor.

Case after case, she clearly identifies the driving interest, the tactics used to gain momentum and the key players involved and how they got things to the point of being some of the most influential organizations in Canada and the rest of North America.

Conservative ‘values’ are tied in to nearly every component of every day life that everyone (including progressives) is influenced by, including the media, judges, education, our communications infrastructure (you can’t have the Internet without selling out to Bell, Telus or Rogers), the military, foreign affairs, the UN and other institutions that affect our day-to-day activities.

Conservatives leverage the fragmentation that exists in every single progressive camp.  They belittle the bickering that goes on and on and on, while they push forward with single messages and memes that dazzle the general public.

If progressives are ever going to get anywhere in this country, we need to start a process of wearing down every politician in this country from the municipal level right up to the Senate.  We need a checklist and/or inventory of people that are available to cross-pollinate educational and investment opportunities.  We desperately need our own media that will tell the general population the truth about Canadian politics and the poison that Stephen Harper brings to the Hill.

Canadians Are Blind

Seriously.  While watching Star Wars III – the one Anakin becomes Darth Vader – the analogy seemed perfect.  For some reason, Canadians have completely blinded themselves to the reality that Stephen Harper and the Conservatives have only one thing in mind when it comes to Canada:  endless domination, despite their smaller numbers.  And that’s just the starting point.

As I’ve already suggested, most of the cause of this blindness is due to taking media messages at face value, but it’s also related to a very consistent and carefully crafted spin job that comes from the PMO every single day.

Apathy is Comfort – Action is Danger

How do we emerge from the mess that surrounds us?

Neither the Liberals nor the NDP have proven that they are capable of referring to a wider base of Canadian citizens to select their leader, nor do they effectively leverage today’s technology to develop a platform or array of positions that all Canadians want to support.

Our institutions have failed us as well and we need to build our own tools, again leveraging today’s technology.  It has to come from the ground up, preferably with our infrastructure.  If not, we’re just riding on the backs of people that will sting us to death when we’re not looking.  We have all kinds of online tools, like wikis, social tools and other platforms but even with aggregators like Progressive Bloggers, we still only seem to capture the hearts and ideas of the passionate and not the average citizen.

Since progressive-minded people represent the majority of Canada’s population, how do we create a tsunami wave of ideology that our politicians simply can’t ignore?