Posts from our progressive community

On incomplete care

accidentaldeliberations - Mon, 11/23/2015 - 14:52
Shorter Dustin Duncan:
I'm pretty sure a health care system can't do more than two things at a time. And for the ministry I'm overseeing, surgery is no longer one of them.

Just When I Thought Canada Was Short One Asshole

The Disaffected Lib - Mon, 11/23/2015 - 12:44

Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall popped up to let us know we're in no danger of running a rectum deficit anytime soon.

Wall served notice again today that he's going to be the climate change bad boy in Canada's federal-provincial contingent at the Paris climate summit.

Poindexter plainly doesn't like this talk about carbon taxes. Alberta premier Rachel Notley's carbon pricing plan announced yesterday seems to have Biff a bit worried. In Ottawa, premier Wall said he wouldn't support climate change measures that harmed the economy which, for Brad, is code for "fossil fuel exports." That pointy headed little bugger doesn't seem to understand that, if we extract, sell and burn the highest carbon fossil fuels there isn't going to be an economy especially if climate change brings sustained, severe drought to the Prairie.

Later on, Green Party leader Elizabeth May very diplomatically told CBC that she hopes Brad will benefit from next week's climate summit and will have an epiphany bordering on a religious conversion. Let us pray.

Don’t Send Us your Tired and Poor….

Left Over - Mon, 11/23/2015 - 11:28
More than 30 U.S. states refusing Syrian refugees on ‘shaky legal ground’ In wake of Paris attacks, governors of at least 31 U.S. states announce plans to bar Syrian refugees

By Matt Kwong, CBC News Posted: Nov 18, 2015 3:02 PM ET Last Updated: Nov 18, 2015 7:35 PM E

I am  so disgusted by US politics right now that I can’t believe I  could be any more embarrassed  by  Yankeeland than I already am…guess what?  Today I am angrier and don’t know where to channel it.

I was born in the USA of two American citizens who were just one  generation removed  from being  both refugees and immigrants…and I’m not alone.  I would have to  guess that almost all  Americans, leaving aside those who are First Nations and those who are black, whose ancestors had no options,  have immigrants in their backgrounds. No, I’m wrong, most  First Nations and Afro-Americans have immigrant ancestors as well, some unacknowledged, but nonetheless there..  I know they do, we all do..  No one can  argue the point.  The  American experience is rife with  cultural  ghettos and that  is true from  coast to coast, and with few exceptions, from  Canada to Mexico.  You are all children of immigrants, why deny the same status to those who need  help  now?

Is it fear?  Is it the ugly  Republican  penchant for spreading paranoia and race-baiting hate,  religious bigotry  or simply that these folks aren’t ‘white?’

My own family were one generation removed from both racial and religious hatred, ..paternally, Irish Catholics,  and maternally, Russian /Polish Jews…my ex-husband used to, as a joke, call me off-white (because of the Jewish connection, since his parents were Hungarian Catholics who were, ironically, also refugees to Canada in the  ’50’s, and unapologetic anti-Semites, themselves..)

The wheel never stops turning, nor  can any sane observer expect it to..but the fact that 30 States are unwilling to accept refugees of any sort is  beyond my capacity  for toleration..What on  Earth has happened to Americans?  Is  there no social progress. or social justice to be  had in that country at all, anymore?  Do the few  kind voices  get outshouted by the brainless howling  bigots?

It makes me weep to  think that I  could have  still been stuck there instead of  thankfully coming to Canada, not having to be embarrassed about  the  ugliness, denial and  narcissism  evident in the  country I was born in…and  who would have thought, even a few generations ago, that this would come to pass, that the country that grew and prospered with it’s burgeoning immigrant population would forget, so soon, what made it the  one time Promised Land for the rest of the world…now?


First snow

LeDaro - Mon, 11/23/2015 - 08:19
Looks winter is here already.

Breaking: Stephen Harper's Monstrous Patronage Scandal.

Montreal Simon - Mon, 11/23/2015 - 07:17

He was the the most disgusting leader of the worst criminal regime this country has ever known.

They lied, they cheated, they muzzled their opponents.

And now they're trying to cripple the Trudeau government with the worst patronage scandal this country has ever seen.
Read more »

The Real Weakness of the Rightwing. . .

kirbycairo - Mon, 11/23/2015 - 06:51
It seems that an increasing number of people are beginning to see the irony (and correlate hypocrisy) in the rightwing messaging around the issue of ‘terrorism.’ The right continually tells us that we have to be ‘strong’ and that we can’t be afraid of terrorism. They tell us that we have to go about our business (sometimes even literally – recall Bush telling us to go shopping after 911) and lead our normal lives because this is the way to beat the terrorists. Yet the entire rightwing narrative is about the very opposite; they are entirely driven by fear and are willing to change the very principles of our government and society in the face of a handful of terror related deaths.
But we are slowly seeing the emergence of different narrative and it is coming around the refugee issue. While our rightwing politicians are telling us to be afraid, to change everything about ourselves (thus essentially by their own standards letting the terrorists achieve exactly what they are aiming at), progressives are the ones really telling us not to change for terrorists, not to be driven by fear. A central element of this narrative is that we continue to take lots of refugees. Though this effort is motivated by a desire to do the right thing, it has the knock-off effect of doing exactly what the terrorists don’t want us to do. Because by not being driven by fear, by welcoming thousands of refugees countries like Canada can show that we are a welcoming society and not the anti-Muslim monsters that groups like ISIS tell their potential constituency we are.
This is exactly the kind of strategy that progressive need in their current struggle against the right. For far too long we have let the rightwing get away with portraying us as weak when exactly the opposite is true. The rightwing are the weak ones. They are weak because they are driven by fear, because they don’t have the courage to be straight-up and honest about their agenda, because they are willing to let a couple of relatively small terrorists attack undermine the principles of openness and freedom that we have worked so hard for, because they are too weak to compromise on anything, to ever admit they’re wrong, or to engage in actual discourse. That is real weakness!
Remember the old Lincoln quote that “no one stands as tall as when they stoop to help a child.” The real strength, the strength that the rightwing doesn’t have, is the ability to lend a helping hand when someone is trying to stop you, to stick to your principles in the face of hardship, to look for new solutions and take thousands of refugees when ISIS wants us to hunker down, abandon our principles, be driven by fear, and adopt our worst instincts of hate. The rightwing is quick to lower themselves to the very attitude of their supposed enemy. But progressives know better and it is about time that we demonstrate that we are the ones with real strengths – the strengths of acceptance, of love in the face of hate, of principle and hope in the face of fear, of discourse in the face of violence, and of helping the weak and vulnerable. Violence doesn’t take courage, hate doesn’t require bravery or determination, and anger doesn’t require will power. Anger fear and hate have always been the watchwords of the rightwing, not ours. The rightwing and the racists in this country are small, petty people who want to appear strong but are only guilty of peddling fear and weakness. When Harper and his cabal tried to generate fear of religious freedom to win an election, they were demonstrating their true weakness. They were so weak that they attempted to abandon hundreds of years of progress because they were trembling with fear in the face of one woman in a niqab. The rightwing are similar to the terrorists in this sense – it is not bombs and war that they fear; what they really fear is the effort it takes to accept, to cooperate, to embrace, to love, and to build.

As progressives we won’t embrace their fear and we won’t be turned aside. Brad Wall and Rona Ambrose and the rest of the cowardly lot may be shaking in fear in the face of 25 thousand refugees but I’m not.

Star Readers Respond To Toronto Police Thuggery

Politics and its Discontents - Mon, 11/23/2015 - 06:25

Whether justice will ever be achieved in the terrible death of Rodrigo Gonsalez or the vicious beating of Santokh Bola remains an open question. However, given some compelling video evidence, there seems little doubt in the minds of Toronto Star readers that something is seriously amiss within the Toronto Police Force. Here are some of their views:
Man sues Toronto police for $5M over violent arrest, Nov. 19

I recently had the opportunity to watch a number of officers violently and repeatedly assault Santokh Bola, an unarmed man who was posing no risk to the public, or the officers in question.

Toronto Police Service spokesman Mark Pugash later admitted that the individual in question was wrongfully arrested, and that he was discharged from custody without charges. It later became apparent that the young man, who was begging for his parents throughout the assault, was intellectually disabled.

The officers made no attempt to question the individual, ascertain his identity, level of awareness of the situation or threat to the officers and community. The TPS’s recent behaviour in relation to the disabled, mentally ill and other vulnerable individuals is shocking and disgusting.

These officers are disgusting, and a culture that legitimizes police brutality while further marginalizing the minority community and mentally ill is disgusting. Police officers do not have a right to assault citizens. Their job is to protect these vulnerable people from attack, not be their aggressors.

As a physician and care-giver for vulnerable people, especially intellectually disabled individuals, I find the conduct of the officers in question to be shameful. Police officers are not above the law. Please stop behaving as if you are.

Dr. Colin Blair Meyer-Macaulay, Pediatrics, B.C. Children’s Hospital, University of British Columbia

Mark Pugash says that “the context of the arrest is important.” Indeed it is. I was assuming that Mr. Pugash was referring to the fact that Santokh Bola, the man who was assaulted by the police, is (surprise surprise) a person of colour.

But no, as usual Mr. Pugash was busy making excuses for police violence, this time with the oh-so-familiar “his description matched that of a suspect.” From this, we are left to infer that police violence is A-OK if the victim is a suspect.

You know, Mr. Pugash, we have a name for a state where the police are empowered to make summary judgment and mete out punishment on the fly: a police state. I’m pretty sure that Canada isn’t one.

Scott Welch, Richmond Hill

To serve and protect? Why do we need so many mouthpieces cleaning up afterwards?

Recently a Brantford boy, come big-city-lawyer, filed a $5 million brutality suit against Toronto police. For innocent Santokh Bola, citizen video played like a Brown-shirt massacre. Wordsmiths usually clear officers criminally so why waste our taxes on SIU investigations? Money settles civil suits silently.

But silence deafens Brantford. Anyone recall the name of the cop who patrolled our kids and killed multiple times since 2006? Finally reopened last January, SIU investigations linger silently. How much must they feign blindness, those we trust to watch our watchers?

Richard Chmura, Brantford

What the heck is going on with our police? The video does not lie. Three cops beat the crap out of someone — pounded in the poor guy’s head, kicked him, then punched him some more. And, from what I can see, he was not even resisting arrest.

This is what one expects from “mall cops,” not from those who are specially trained, and paid very well, to enforce our laws. “To serve and protect” we’re told.

The police say that one has to consider the “context” of the situation before jumping to conclusions. Seriously? In what context is it OK for the police to beat someone up? I thought they were trained to subdue someone, not beat them up. This was not the G20 after all.

The fact that they arrested, and beat up the wrong guy, is to them, a minor detail. And they just got their budget increase, for what, higher insurance premiums?

Jeff Green, TorontoRecommend this Post

Tearing Down The Firewall

Northern Reflections - Mon, 11/23/2015 - 05:52


If you really want to know what the Harper years were all about, Andrew Potter writes, you have to go back to the letter which Harper and Tom Flanagan sent to Ralph Klein in the aftermath of the 2000 election:

Addressed to Alberta premier Ralph Klein and signed by six people (including Harper and his adviser at the time, Tom Flanagan), it was a plea for Alberta to take charge of its own future. The goal was for Alberta to carve out a place for itself in Confederation, using its existing constitutional powers, that would insulate the province from an “increasingly hostile government in Ottawa.” The letter’s proposals included creating a provincial pension plan (like the QPP); a provincial police force (like the SQ or OPP); collecting its own provincial income tax (as Quebec does); forcing Senate reform back on to the national agenda; and taking over complete provincial responsibility for health care.

Apart from this list, the letter demanded that Klein do whatever he could to reduce the transfer system that saw Alberta send $8 billion a year to other parts of the country. In its concluding paragraph, the letter says, “It is imperative to take the initiative, to build firewalls around Alberta, to limit the extent to which an aggressive and hostile federal government can encroach upon legitimate provincial jurisdiction.”
When Klein refused to take their advice, Harper decided to go to Ottawa and build the firewall from there:

Once you realize that Harper’s agenda was to build a firewall around Alberta from Ottawa, a lot of what he did while in power starts to make more sense. More specifically, a lot of what seemed like high-level ideology is revealed as simple tactics. A case in point is climate change. It is one thing to insist (as Harper rightly did) that Canada should not go it alone on emissions reduction. It is something else entirely to indulge in barely concealed denialism.  But once you realize that any comprehensive deal on emissions that would actually do anything worthwhile would involve leaving a lot of oil in the ground in Alberta, forever, then denialism becomes more comprehensible.
To protect Alberta, Harper had to shut down three sources which were essential to the proper functioning of the federation:

Data: It wasn’t privacy, as Tony Clement said, or freedom, as Max Bernier argued, that was the real rationale for killing the mandatory long-form census. It was to throw a whole lot of noise into the demographic signal that the census had been giving for decades. That is also why Statistics Canada as a whole was gutted over the course of the Harper years. Without accurate data, social planners are flying blind.

Expertise: No government in living memory has been as hostile to experts and to evidence as the Harper government. But as Laval economist Stephen Gordon recently argued, it wasn’t all forms of expertise and evidence that gave the Tories hives – plenty of their economic initiatives were rooted in the best available evidence. What the Tories were allergic to was expertise that steered the evidence in directions they didn’t want to go – “committing sociology,” in Harper’s wonderful turn of phrase. That is why scientists were muzzled, policy shops were shuttered and bureaucrats were ignored.

Money: Here is the meat in the sandwich. When it comes to social planning, the ultimate source of Ottawa’s power is the spending power. And this is where Harper had his greatest success. By the end of his tenure as prime minister, Ottawa’s spending, as a share of GDP, had fallen to levels not seen since the middle of the 20th century. And the spending that does remain is overwhelmingly devoted to either just keeping the lights on or takes the form of transfers to the provinces and individuals.
Harper’s policy genius here was the two-point cut in the GST, which currently costs the federal treasury about $12 billion a year. Harper’s political genius was the creation of an all-party and pan-Canadian consensus around the virtues of a balanced budget at that historically low level of federal spending.No data, no experts and no money. Starve the beast, but make it blind and deaf at the same time. This is Harper’s “Ottawa Firewall” in a nutshell.
Justin  Trudeau has moved immediately to restore data and expertise to government. Finding the money to make government function will be difficult, because neo-liberalism isn't dead. But it's beginning to look like Rachel Notley -- who introduced  her proposals to deal with climate change over the weekend -- is very much in favour of tearing down the firewall.

The Wonderful Humiliation of the Ghastly Ezra Levant

Montreal Simon - Mon, 11/23/2015 - 05:44

Gosh. It's not as if Ezra Levant hasn't been humiliated enough recently. 

His recent trip to Paris to try to convince the French to hate Muslims as much as him and his crazies do was a complete bust.

This trip has been depressing, because no one here is angry. They certainly aren't talking about -- God forbid -- letting people arm themselves. It's time for irrational hatred. It's time for vehement patriotism. This city needs a slap in the face.

And no doubt a devastating blow to the budget of his tacky shoe-string operation...
Read more »

Monday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Mon, 11/23/2015 - 05:02
Assorted content to start your week.

- Upstream offers a summary of the Canadian Institute for Health Information's latest report, with particular emphasis on growing inequality in health metrics due to social factors despite increased funding into the the health care system.

- Jamie Golombek is the latest to highlight how most Canadians - including workers on the bottom two-thirds of the income scale - will get nothing from the Libs' "middle-class" tax baubles. And Iglika Ivanova follows up on Statistics Canada's look at food bank use by pointing out that nominal economic growth in British Columbia isn't reaching the people who need it.

- Jill Lepore discusses how a political system can be distorted by an outsized focus on polls.

- Jodie Sinnema reports on the Alberta NDP's detailed climate change plan, which was unveiled yesterday in advance of the Paris conference. PressProgress points out that the plan has earned support from all kinds of sources. And Rick Smith explains why we should recognize it as a major progressive win, while Mike Hudema takes particular note of the end of indefinite tar sands expansion.

- And finally, Joshua Keep is hopeful about the ongoing Newfoundland and Labrador election campaign - and particularly the strong progressive position from the NDP in a campaign where stopping the right isn't a serious issue. 

Syria in Two Photos

The Disaffected Lib - Sun, 11/22/2015 - 23:27
Imagine this was your world

Turd Polishing During Topham Trial: Paulie Interviews David Lindsay

Anti-Racist Canada - Sun, 11/22/2015 - 19:50
During the Topham hate crimes trial the ended in Arthur Topham's conviction, Paulie provided nearly daily updates, both written and video, though it should also be noted that these same updates also carried a wee bit of spin. In one of the write-ups and video, he suggested the ceiling lights were proof of a vast Jewish conspiracy controlling the court system because... reasons.

He had planned on taking a photo of the ceiling as proof, but when he wasn't permitted to do so he threw a self-entitled temper tantrum in which he also complained about the court security.
Cue detaxer/sovereign citizen/freeman/freeman-on-the-land or whatever he calls himself these days, David Lindsay:

Read more »

Chrystia Freeland Challenges Bill Maher's Islamophobia

Politics and its Discontents - Sun, 11/22/2015 - 12:08
While Bill Maher likes to present his views as reasonable and moderate, he clearly fails to recognize the inflammatory nature of his remarks. Chrystia Freeland tries to point out they are are counter-productive, serving only to demonize Muslims, alienating them even further from the West.

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things i heard at the library: digital divide edition (#20)

we move to canada - Sun, 11/22/2015 - 11:00
In library school we talked a lot about the digital divide, the ever-increasing gap between those who have access to information and communication technology, and those who do not. Public libraries are one of the very few institutions that exist to bridge that gap, however imperfectly.

What does the digital divide look like on the ground? In my library, located in one of the lowest-income communities in Ontario (and in Canada), we see the digital divide in action every single day.

This week a family worked on a visa application for the United States. They had to come to the library first thing in the morning, so we could special-book them a computer, as the process would take much longer than a standard computer reservation. With intermittent staff help, they worked on their application for three hours. There was no way to download and save the application, and no paper version. When they tried to save and submit the application, either the computer or the site malfunctioned (we don't know which) and they lost all their work.

Two days ago I helped a couple, two refugee claimants, access their application for legal residency in Canada. Prior to arriving in Canada, they had no computer experience at all. Their application is only available online. I was able to offer one-on-one help for 30 minutes - very unusual - and the only reason they were able to accomplish what they needed.

Yesterday a girl asked for my help saving her homework and emailing it to herself. She waited patiently for help, while the time on her computer reservation ticked down. She did not have a USB stick. As I helped her save her work, her computer time ended. Our public computers wipe out all customer information with each login. Her homework was lost.

Lost homework is a daily occurrence. Almost all homework is accessed and completed online. Teachers are supposed to "confirm that students have access to the technology required for the homework assignment". Having a library card is considered adequate access.

Much frustration and heartbreak could be avoided if families invested in a few USB storage sticks and gave each child her own. But parents have no idea this is needed. We can't speak to the parents about this because they're not in the library. They are either at work or home with younger children. Their older children ask to use our reference-desk phone to call home when they need a ride.

Another daily occurrence: children who cannot find an available computer on which to do their homework. Our library has 22 public-use computers. We could double or triple that number and they would all be in use every hour of every day.

Provincial support exceeds Canada's Syrian refugee  target: immigration minister

LeDaro - Sun, 11/22/2015 - 10:42

Read more here:

Human history is full of wars and the atrocities which is the outcome of these wars. Will we ever learn that wars mostly create problems and do not solve them.?

I find Middle East situation very heart-breaking. CIA and MOSSAD are behind the current turmoil in the Middle East.

I am still struggling with the tablet. Sorry for all the mistakes I make.

But What Else Rhymes with "Nose"?

Dawg's Blawg - Sun, 11/22/2015 - 09:08
The recent brouhaha over whether or not the practice of “yoga” represents cultural appropriation is a deeper swamp than I care to wade into at the moment, thanks. I’ve been helping a friend in dealing with his own crisis of... Balbulican

Sunday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Sun, 11/22/2015 - 09:06
This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Louis-Philippe Rochon explains how higher taxes on the wealthy can be no less a boon for the economy than for the goal of social equality:
In fact, empirical analysis shows that while the relationship between higher taxes and economic growth is complex, there is no proof that raising taxes on the wealthy will lead to slower economic growth.  In fact, in many countries, including Canada, higher growth rates in the post-Second World War era have been associated with much higher marginal tax rates.
Between 1940 and 1980, the top marginal income tax rate in Canada was much higher, at well over 70 per cent. Despite these high rates, Canada's economy prospered. In other words, with a proposed new tax bracket in Canada of a mere 33 per cent, we are still far from reaching past levels, and even further away from levels that would be detrimental to tax revenues or even growth. We could increase it even higher with no repercussions on growth or even job creation, and the benefits of a less unequal wealth concentration could even have a positive effect on the economy.
(H)ow can we explain higher taxes on the rich and higher growth? It seems counterintuitive. Yet, it isn't, for two reasons. First, higher taxes on the top one per cent reduce income inequality. Many studies show that a more even (or less uneven) distribution of wealth and income contributes to higher spending and growth.

In the case of Canada, the higher tax rate for high-income earners is compensated by lower taxes on the middle class, who then will have more money to spend. Since the top one per cent save a higher proportion of their income, raising taxes for them won't affect their consumption, just their savings.

Second, by collecting more tax revenues, governments can spend more, and there is a definite and proven correlation between higher government spending and higher economic growth, despite all the non-Keynesian naysayers. The data is clear on this.- Juliette Jowit discusses the pathetic pace being made on the path toward gender pay equity. And Maureen Conway points out the need for both public policy and labour relations decisions oriented toward improved long-term outcomes - particularly given the glaring failure of short-term thinking over the past few decades.

- The Associated Press reports that a particularly egregious example of employer abuses is resulting in rare but well-deserved jail time for the perpetrator.
- Charles Mandel discusses John Brennan's observation that climate change is already (and will increasingly become) a major source of political instability, while David Roberts offers a useful analogy to gravity in assessing its effects. And Geoff Stiles offers a proposal as to how Canada can go from being a laggard to a leader at the Paris climate change conference.

- Finally, Doug Saunders writes about the importance of integration in order to combat extremism of all kinds. Tabatha Southey reminds us that hatred and ignorance between ethnic and religious groups only tend to reinforce each other. And John Cartwright notes that there's a particular need to speak out against bigotry in the wake of an election campaign where multiple parties including the deposed government deliberately stoked it for their political advantage.

Tony Clement, Deputy Chairman of the IDU

Creekside - Sun, 11/22/2015 - 08:19
 CBC reports on Con interim leader Rona Ambrosia's top shadow cabinet jobs yesterday,
"Tony Clement, who has virtually no international experience, having served as minister of health and president of the Treasury Board under Harper, will be the critic for foreign affairs."No international experience. Really, CBC? 

Here's Tony a couple of weeks ago at the International Democrat Union Committee on Foreign Affairs meetup in Marrakesh.  The IDU - an international alliance of some 80 centre-right and rightwing parties from around the world - has featured Tony as Deputy Chairman for a year now.

He's been Canada's representative as a vice chair at IDU, alongside now deceased Senator Doug Finley, Harper’s former bagman and in-and-out scheme campaign director, for years. 

Founding members of the IDU included Britain’s Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, then US Vice-President George Bush Sr, President of France Jacques Chirac, and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Until quite recently their photos formed the IDU front page :

Australian Prime Minister John Howard was chair for 12 years. This might explain how Harper came to recite verbatim a speech in support of George Bush's war on Iraq delivered just two days before by PM Howard, and why Harper's former chief of staff and election war room strategist Patrick Muttart travelled to Australia to learn and refine Howard's micro-targeting election techniques for use in four successful Conservative Canadian elections and later returned to Australia to work on their 2011 election campaign. 
On March 28 to 30, 2012, the IDU Standing Committee on Elections and Campaigns was hosted by the Conservative Party in Ottawa - one of the IDU's regular election technology seminars. In August 2014 Tony Clement hosted Pierre Poilievre's address on 'Democratic Reform' to a meeting of the IDU Executive held in Ottawa after the passage of the Fair Elections Act.
Last year NZ President John Key was asked to assume the IDU chairmanship by the prime ministers of Canada, Britain and Australia. 
From the IDU History page : 
"Through the IDU, member Parties can exchange policy ideas, assist each other to win the political argument, and to win elections. The IDU plays an essential role in enabling like-minded, centre-right parties to share experiences in order to achieve electoral success.A major event is also held every four years to coincide with the Republican Convention."This might not be what you mean by "international experience", CBC, but it certainly is what the Cons and the IDU mean by it.  And it wouldn't hurt you and other promedia, Linda Diebel excepted, to mention this international cross-fertilizing agency of rightwing electioneering at least once sometime in your news broadcasting lifetime. . 

Media Manipulation: Astroturfers And Propagandists

Politics and its Discontents - Sun, 11/22/2015 - 06:34
I have frequently written on this blog about the importance of critical thinking; it is truly the only way that we can navigate through the thickets of information with which we are constantly bombarded today. I have also admitted that it is an ideal toward which I strive, frequently falling short of the mark due to the cultural, political and social contexts within which I and everyone else interpret things.

One of the strengths of the Internet is that it gives all of us access to almost limitless information from a multitude of sources, one of the key methods by which we can evaluate what we hear and read about. Nonetheless, placing too much faith in only a few "trusted" sources, such as Wikipedia, can short circuit our quest for solid and deep thinking. As you will see in the following Ted Talk, investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson makes some very surprising observations about how both the old and the new media can manipulate us in ways we may not realize.

Wondering about the term astroturfer used in my title? Watch the video to find out its rather insidious implications:

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