Posts Tagged “Politics”

08w12:3 The Street on Welfare

by timothy. 3 Comments

Society has always benefitted from unpaid or underpaid labour; in the past it was blatant slavery, but when that became unfashionable (and unprofitable contrasted to the production offered by machines rather than muscles) the emphasis shifted to calling unpaid labour ‘volunteers’ and nowadays, the most obvious example of all, ‘interns’. But since it is so unpalatable to recognize this as a contemporary form of slavery, we euphemize it away, and consider that we don’t have a slavery class, although there are many people working for a legally determined absolute minimum wage. In other words, we had to be legally coercive to get people paid for basic services. So now it’s officially illegal to not pay people below a certain amount, but this amount is so low that it’s guaranteed to keep the recipient poor. That way, there’s a lot more money available (which could otherwise go to the volunteers, interns, and making the minimum a livable wage) to those in the upper levels of management.


(graph via Richard Florida’s Blog)

And when those in the upper levels of management over-reach, no problem. Privatize the profits and socialize the losses. As true in Canada as it is in the USA.

Meanwhile, I’m busy at my underpaid job and still carrying student loan debt on my account books from a decade ago.

– Timothy

The Street on Welfare | E. J. Dionne Jr.
“Never do I want to hear again from my conservative friends about how brilliant capitalists are, how much they deserve their seven-figure salaries and how government should keep its hands off the private economy. The Wall Street titans have turned into a bunch of welfare clients. They are desperate to be bailed out by government from their own incompetence, and from the deregulatory regime for which they lobbied so hard. They have lost “confidence” in each other, you see, because none of these oh-so-wise captains of the universe have any idea what kinds of devalued securities sit in one another’s portfolios. So they have stopped investing. The biggest, most respected investment firms threaten to come crashing down. You can’t have that. It’s just fine to make it harder for the average Joe to file for bankruptcy, as did that wretched bankruptcy bill passed by Congress in 2005 at the request of the credit card industry. But the big guys are “too big to fail,” because they could bring us all down with them.”

08w12:1 Obama's Speech

by timothy. 0 Comments

I’m linking to the Reddit link for its comment-thread, currently running at 689.

Obama Speech In Full: A More Perfect Union ( | Reddit



Text of the Speech on New York Times

08w10:3 Are you really that acquiescent in the United States?

by timothy. 1 Comment

 Tucker Carlson unintentionally reveals the role of the American press |
Glenn Greenwald
“Here was Power’s exact quote: “She is a monster, too –- that is off the record –- she is stooping to anything.” But the reporter who was interviewing her, Britain’s Gerri Peev of The Scotsman, printed the comment anyway — as she should have, because Peev had never agreed that any parts of the interview would be “off the record,” and nobody has the right to demand unilaterally, and after the fact, that journalists keep their embarrassing remarks a secret. […] Illustrating that point as vividly as anything I can recall, MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson had Peev on his show last night and angrily criticized her publication of Power’s remarks. Carlson upbraided Peev for her lack of deference to someone as important as Power, and Peev retorted by pointing out exactly what that attitude reflects about Carlson and the American press generally (via LEXIS; h/t Mike Stark):

CARLSON: What — she wanted it off the record. Typically, the arrangement is if someone you’re interviewing wants a quote off the record, you give it to them off the record. Why didn’t you do that?

PEEV: Are you really that acquiescent in the United States? In the United Kingdom, journalists believe that on or off the record is a principle that’s decided ahead of the interview. If a figure in public life. [empahsis Greenwald]”

07w51:4 Bush as a war criminal

by timothy. 0 Comments

Wow. Just in time for Christmas, Andrew Sullivan sounding like Noam Chomsky.

The torture tape fingering Bush as a war criminal | Andrew Sullivan
“Any reasonable person examining all the evidence we have – without any bias – would conclude that the overwhelming likelihood is that the president of the United States authorised illegal torture of a prisoner and that the evidence of the crime was subsequently illegally destroyed. Congresswoman Jane Harman, the respected top Democrat on the House intelligence committee in 2003-06, put it as simply as she could: “I am worried. It smells like the cover-up of the cover-up.” It’s a potential Watergate. But this time the crime is not a two-bit domestic burglary. It’s a war crime that reaches into the very heart of the Oval Office. Yes, it is Hollywood time. And the ending of this movie is as yet unwritten. “

07w49:3 Jeffrey Simpson on this morning's Current

by timothy. 0 Comments

Bali Conference – Canada’s Position | The Current
“Like most other governments around the world, Ottawa buys into the science of climate change — even if some of its members didn’t in the not-too-distant past. But Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Environment Minister John Baird are adamant that for Canada to commit to tough targets in an international agreement, major emitters like the United States, China and India have to sign on to the same program.

John Baird’s office declined our request for an interview. But for his thoughts on Canada’s stance going into Bali, we were joined by Globe and Mail political columnist Jeffrey Simpson. He’s also the co-author of Hot Air: Meeting Canada’s Climate Change Challenge and he was in Ottawa.”

// skip ahead to about 9:30 for the part referenced in the blurb above. I’m posting this because I appreciated what Jeffrey Simpson had to say.

07w46:3 Chomsky

by timothy. 0 Comments

Charlie Rose, 9 June 2006

Charlie Rose, 20 November 2003

Chomsky weighs in on 9/11 Conspiracy Theories |

Chomsky on Academic Freedom
(More audio clips from the academic freedom conference organized in support of Norman Finkelstein here. Another highlight is the speech by Tony Judt)

07w43:1 Fuck the Young eh?

by timothy. 0 Comments

Why is Vancouver eating its young? Nothing cool about that | David Beers
“Nowadays in Vancouver, if, like me, you are middle-aged and own your digs, it can seem cruel to invite younger adults over for dinner, a taunt to those whose incomes are relentlessly outstripped by real-estate inflation. Even worse, you begin to sense that you and your guests are on opposite sides of a political divide. You are, after all, a member of the generation that is asking the young to endure and solve global warming, but what have you done for them lately, besides pouring fine wines in a heritage home of the sort they can never aspire to have? Much as the real-estate windfall graced middle-aged Vancouverites like myself, rising resource commodities prices have helped B.C.’s Liberal government run surpluses in the billions of dollars for several years now. But, for the young, the same government has more than doubled university tuition fees since 2001. And it’s given its MLAs a fat raise while refusing to up the minimum wage to $10 from $8. To add insult, the Liberals let employers pay a ‘training wage’ of just $6 an hour to workers starting out, most of whom, of course, are young. Spiralling housing and education costs. Low entry wages, weak public transit, kids living on the street and greenhouse emissions spewing away. If these seem vexing “issues” to older people, the young tend to bundle them as “boomer legacies,” burdens unfairly shifted onto them, says opinion researcher Angus McAllister. Politicians ignore at their own peril this way that youth filter politics, he suggests.” [emp mine, obviously]

Raging against the tyranny of CanLit | Stephen Marche
“Now, in the middle of prize season and the authors’ festival, the differences between the two literary capitals couldn’t be starker to me. Brooklyn is so, so young and Toronto is so, so old: It felt like moving from a frenetic day care to an old folks’ home. […] Literature in Toronto is something your smartest aunt does once she’s cozied up in her favourite sweater. And the work therefore is less exciting. The popular novels here are generally ponderous, draped in sanctimony over suffering and history, melodramas in exotic settings. One thing you are not going to get out of a novel on the Giller list or indeed the best-seller list is a good laugh. […] Setting is everything in Canadian fiction. Plots don’t matter much. There are only a few plots anyway: recovering from historical or familial trauma through the healing power of whatever (most common); uncovering historical or family secrets and thereby achieving redemption (close second); coming of age (distant third place). The characters are mostly the same: The only thing that changes is the location of the massacred grandmother, what kind of booze the alcoholic father drinks himself into fits with, what particular creed is being revealed, in deft and daring ways, as both beautifully transcendent and oppressive. Innovation, whether in language or form, is a dirty word. […] If you think I’m being extreme, just look at recent comments by Ellen Seligman, the publisher of McClelland and Stewart, one of the most powerful people in Canadian publishing. Her response to the Giller list this year struck me as a devastating assessment of where we stand: “I don’t think prizes are necessarily for young writers,” she said in The Globe. It is a remarkable sentence. There are two ways to read it. 1) Young writers don’t write well enough to deserve prizes. 2) Even if they do write well enough, only old writers deserve attention. Because that is what the Giller is, a massive dollop of attention. Seligman says it openly: Only books written by old people are worth serious attention. The danger is that the Giller, like the CBC, will become just another institution for boomer self-congratulation.” [emp mine]

07w39:3 Matador

by timothy. 0 Comments

Rogue city agency trying to lay waste to Dovercourt streetscape |
Shawn Micallef
[quoting Christopher Hume:] “‘Truly, Toronto has lost its way. Truly, whatever our aspirations may be as a civic entity, they are fast being undone by a bureaucracy so out of touch with reality it’s frightening. And where are the councillors in all this? Does their silence signal agreement? Creeping suburbanization is one thing, but this is neanderthal.’

Then, the answer to Hume’s question – where are the councillor- was on Global News at six tonight when Adam Giambrone was asked about this and shrugged, saying a there is a need for parking in the area and he would support a motion to expropriate. He was repeating the position of Toronto Parking Authority president Gwyn Thomas who said as much to The Star earlier this week. […] But its legendary status and history (Leonard Cohen, Neko Case, etc.) are beside the point here and almost irrelevant because the city – our city – wants to expropriate and tear down a fine and sturdy piece of the urban fabric, located in one of the most desirable and valued neighbourhoods in North America, and turn it into twenty (20!) parking spots, spending $800,000 in the process (insulting to the owner, offensive to the rest of us who are enduring the current budget crunch and trying – so very hard – to believe and support the Giambrone side of things).

This is madness’.

From the Facebook Group Save the Matador discussion:

Sara O’Reilly wrote
at 3:23pm on September 26th, 2007
By the way – Adam Giambrone is Chair of the TTC – figure that one out. The chair of the TTC wants to making parking spots instead of encourage people to take public transit. Brilliant.

[emp mine]

Filmed at The Matador in 1992:

07w36:1 Gore Vidal

by timothy. 0 Comments


Things change. Goodreads as a website will be updated more frequently. I won’t be sending out an email for everything that goes up on the site – the email list might continue as a weekly or monthly digest of updates or I may stop using it entirely, we’ll see. It’s just I’m coming across stuff worthy of posting on a more frequent basis right now and it would be easier for me to post them right away – like any other blogger – than continue on something that began in the pre-RSS days, and when Goodreads was only meant to be an index of article links and not a blog.

Also, for the first time ever I exceeded my allowable bandwidth, resulting in an extra charge to the account. This is entirely the fault of offering downloadable audio. Now more than ever I’d appreciate a donation if you’d like to offer one.

TRUTH NOW: Interview of Gore Vidal | Linda Sutton

Gore Vidal (1993) | Late Night Live, ABC Radio

07w09:1 Chomsky, Hardt & Negri's Multitude, Poster Art and News

by timothy. 0 Comments


Hello. I have some news.

1. A week and half ago I updated the Goodreads website to take advantage of a WordPress backend, so take a look around if you’d like. Much easier to find and browse the back issues for example, and to see the list of selected content, to which this posting is making some substantial additions.

As well, the ability to comment is turned on, so if you have any thoughts, disagreements or whatever about the links, feel free to give me something other to process than comment-spam.

2. I was asked to be part of a panel talk on art criticism on Monday (26 Feb) at Gallery 1313 from 7-9. So come on by if you’d like.

Special Content
Today’s GR includes an article by Nadja Sayej on poster art that appeared in last weekend’s Globe & Mail. It is here for archival purposes since it’s something I both wanted to make available to future reference and to share with the mailing-list, since the G&M archives are both difficult to search and cost money to access.

This Goodreads also includes a Google Video compilation page featuring Noam Chomsky’s 1988 Massey Lecture, Necessary Illusions. Basically, somebody videoed his talks by filming still images of Chomsky on their screen while Chomsky’s lectures play on iTunes. I guess we’ll take what we can get.

I’ll admit that I put together this page rather quickly and haven’t yet sorted out whether the videos are in the correct order (I worked from how they were listed on Google Video) which is only to say that the layout may change a bit over the next few days.

The Friday before last was Noam Chomsky day at work: as I typed away at my computer, I streamed audio talks available from and particularly appreciated his 2006 Amnesty International Lecture delivered in Dublin. However, for whatever reason, the original mp3s were cut up into sections (I guess for bandwidth consideration) so I decided to reassemble them to make available from Goodreads. Below is both an mp3 and an indexed AAC file.

As well, the week before last I finished reading the Hardt/Negri book Multitude which I enjoyed far more than I expected to. Also available is an audio from Michael Hardt’s 2005 Ioan Davies Memorial Lecture Lecture at Toronto’s York University, The Politics of Love, Evil, and the Mulitude. Note that the clicking sound heard occasionally during the talk is of Hardt fiddling with his pen’s cap. – Timothy

———————-Poster Art———————-

Making art that sticks | Nadja Sayej

———————-Noam Chomsky———————-

Necessary Illusions | Noam Chomsky

The War on Terror | Noam Chomsky (AAC)

// Chomsky also appeared on a Dublin radio program after the lecture, and that conversation is available here:

The Life and Times of Noam Chomsky (Part 1) | Democracy Now!
The Life and Times of Noam Chomsky (Part 2) | Democracy Now!

The Foucault Chomsky Debate of 1971 | Google Video

And for something more interesting than vulgar politics:

Linguistics and Philosophy | Noam Chomsky
// I forgot where I found this originally, so I’m making a copy of my copy available rather than send you the unknown source. The website this is attached to, Radio Free Maine (obviously the orginal source from the audio’s intro) hasn’t been updated since 2003.

———————-Hardt & Negri’sMultitude———————-

The Politics of Love, Evil, and Multitude | Michael Hardt

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