Radio Freethinker

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Posts Tagged ‘James Moore’

RFT Ep 237 – World Federalist Movement Edition

Posted by Don McLenaghen on December 18, 2013

Download the episode here! 

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Don’s Rant:

I would like to start off with by introducing my readers with a new disease that maybe running rampant in the mansions of America. It is affluenza…the illness of having too much money and the power it grants people in an unequal society.

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It seem this term was invented when it was used as a defense in the trial of one 16 year old called Ethan Couch in Texas. Ethan one night got very drunk, 3 times the legal limit, took a truck from his dad’s business with some friends and ultimately plowed into a stranded vehicle killing 4 people and severely injuring several others.

The defendant’s lawyers came up with the defense that Ethan was not responsible because quote the teen’s parents should share part of the blame for the crash because they never set limits for the boy and gave him everything he wanted.

The psychologist who testified to this defense, later went on CNN to defend his diagnosis…He pointed out that the children of privilege suffer from improper moral education.

The term highlights the issue of parents, particularly upper-middle-class ones, who not only refuse to discipline their children but may protest the efforts of others — school officials, law enforcement and the courts — who attempt to do so.

Of course, if we take the parental supervision argument to its logical end, then children of the poor are also sufferers of…well if not affluenze and poverty-itus…parents working 3 or more jobs haven’t the time to morally instruct their children or properly punish them for transgressions.

Or let’s take it the other way, if the parents share in the responsibility, doesn’t that make them accessories to the crime and thus chargeable under the law?

What Ethan was sentenced to was 10 years probation to a “treatments” institution and become a ward of the state. First issue, is the place normally only deals with people for 45 to 90 days…10 years is a lot – A LOT longer and it is plausible that in a year or so, he will be returned to his parents custody.

What will he be doing there? Yoga, cooking lessons, equine therapy (riding horses), nutritional counselling, swimming, person therapy…and it costs $450,000 a year…which his parents are paying for.

Should there be a separate system of justice just because they have money…just because their family can pay for a 450,000 dollar a year rehab facility?

These parent have the money to send their son to a treatment facility…everything about this case has to do with wealth. From the team of lawyers they hired, the psychologist that invented affluenza to their ability to pay for the spa…er, treatment center he is being sent to.

Let’s compare it to the quote justice the rest of us live with. A 14 years old poor child who punched a guy who fell and hit their head and died from the fall, he was given a 10 years in juvie hall.

Now, here is the kicker folks…I kind of agree with this verdict. that another youth, who was convicted of murder was given a prison sentence…well, one thing the psychologist who invented affluenza said made perfect sense…if there is any way to prevent a child from entering prison, we should take it…I do not think that Ethan sentence was necessarily wrong, but that the poor child’s one was wrong.

That said, it is obvious that the justice system was not concerned with what was best for society but how much money it would cost the state…that it is not that Ethan avoided jail…that’s a good thing, it the innate inequality that this exemplifies.

This ties in nicely with another issue that has just occurred. Our own James Moore, Minister of Industry…while bragging about how wealthy Canadians are becoming…on must wonder what Canadians he palls around with, most of my friends are barely keeping afloat.

When asked about child poverty, he said it was a provincial issue and not a federal one…when pressed, he said “Is it my job to feed my neighbour’s child? I don’t think so”

He has apologized and said the comment was taken out of context…well, let’s listen to it in context…
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It’s the laugh at the end that brings us back home. The mindset that the idea of helping one’s neighbor…seeing society as more than just individuals…to think there is some shared community responsibility is SO out there that its laughable. Or so our current government seems to think.

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Affluenza may be a real disease but not of the individual but of society where a rich minority cannot even conceive the hardships of the poor majority.

Find out more:

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You first heard about the World Federalist Movement on the show when there events were mentioned in Skeptic Highlights. Then, you last heard about them when they sponsored an anti-vaccination event. Well, we finally invited them on the show to explain what they are all about.

I am joined by Vivian Davidson from the World Federalist Movement of Canada, Vancouver branch. We discuss what World Federalism is all about, what there goals are and why they sponsored THAT event.

A great discussion where we learn about a world parliament, a UN army (well, really peace-keeps taken to the next level), the importance of economic equality, and how the only way to solve global issues is with global democracy.

Find out more:

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Starving CBC to death

Posted by Don McLenaghen on May 20, 2012

The new budget announced by the Harper government will hit Canadians in several ways thanks to the new word of the day “Austerity”.  Austerity has failed in Ireland, failed in England, failed in Greece, Spain and Portugal…so it seems we will try it here because? Well, our government must technically be insane, based on the definition that if you try something that has been done again and again with the same result but you assume you will get a different outcome well you might be a redne…er insane.

Seth Klein of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives stated it best “None of these spending cuts are actually necessary.  A balanced budget could be achieved just one year later than Flaherty’s target, without inflicting any of the damage.”

BUT I will suspend my usual rant about whether we should be stimulating an economy during a recession…something all but the most ideologue Friedman-ittes recommend…no, I would like to look at what was cut and its potential impact on the skeptical community.

First, it is no secret that Harper personally and the conservative movement in general has always considered a corporate-independent source of news unacceptable or at least uncomfortable. To this aim, Harper has (and to be fair Paul Martin as Liberal finance minister and leader before him) constantly attempted to undermine the financial base of the CBC.

The CBC has gone from a completely publicly funded institution whose primary aim was to provide an independent source of news and promotion of the uniquely Canadian culture to an emaciated version of its goals.

As funding for the CBC was cut, the CBC has become more and more dependent on corporate advertising. It is not coincidental that as politicians have attempted to starve the CBC out of existence its ability to be both effective and independent of its advertisers has diminished.

In a line made famous by Grover Norquist I will paraphrase what has been attempted. They wish to shrink the CBC to a size they can drown it in the bathtub.

http://www.journaldemontreal.com/2012/04/09/caricature-10-avril-2012-2The worst effect this has on the CBC is not only the reduced funding but the unpredictability of such funding. Prior to the election Minister of Canadian Heritage James Moore stated that “We have said that we will maintain or increase support for the CBC. That is our platform and we have said that before and we will commit to that”.

Of course now that they no longer have deal with being a minority in parliament, this majority government doesn’t care. Harper’s group has shown time and again they don’t give a damn what the people want…what is best for Canada…their main, (dare I say) only concern is promoting their own agenda.

So, why should we care? I did say I would be taking a skeptical view of this issue. Well as Ethan has mentioned many times on the show before, his favorite CBC show…I suspect maybe one of his top 10 favorite show currently on, is Marketplace. Market place has taken some very tough stands that annoy corporations.

Now, as the CBC becomes more dependent on advertisers there will be pressure put upon shows like the CBC now airs to not ‘agitate’ its funding base. It is common operating practice for CTV and Global which has no show like Market Place or the Nature of Things…they know who pays the bills and jump to that master.

There is more than the independence angle. The CBC will be shedding almost 700 jobs. These are the people who do the interviewing and investigations around the world…or who will not be soon. The CBC’s ability to be a source of international independent (that is independent of other agencies like FOX news or CNN) is being destroyed. Soon the CBC will be a re-tweeter of news from other agencies or worse. Lacking the manpower to produce news, they will rely on a practice common in the USA now (and I suspect on our corporate news channels) where corporate press-releases and faux-news videos are broadcast as real news simply to fill the space and cut down on cost.

The loss of jobs also means whole regions of this country will lose their CBC presence, notably the Maritimes this time, after the prairies were decimated in previous budget cuts. We are a large county and one of the things that bound us together…created a Canadian identity was the CBC. As more and more of our voices are silenced, regionalism will grow and Canada will cease to be a culture but merely a warehouse repository for American/Asian raw materials.

And of course, let’s not forget the support the CBC gives to the Canadian arts. Regional programing like This Hour Has 22 Minutes…the Red Green Show…artist like the Barenaked Ladies, OLP, Nickelback would likely have never been if it were not for the CBC.  Now most ‘young’ people don’t think of the CBC as a cultural incubator…when was the last “hit” show produced by the CBC?

This is part of the fallout; the cutting of the CBC has been occurring since the Mulroney years…to live up to its mandate of serving public interest, the CBC first strangled its child “the arts”…in the hopes of keeping the rest of the broadcast family alive. Kids today don’t think of the CBC as entertaining because that role has already been cut to irrelevance; now the Harper government wished to finish the job…and it may well succeed if we remain silent.

Part of the problem is unreliability of the funding. The CBC never knows what its budget will be year to year. The CBC MUST play politics to ensure, or more often limit loses to, its budget. We could adopt a funding scheme like they have in the UK for the BBC.

In the UK every household watching TV must pay a licence fee…about 230$ a year. Canada, does not have the cultural history of such a licence, but a simple guarantee of a certain percentage of tax revenues as little as 0.08% or even a surtax could suffice. This would allow the CBC to know what it could expect long into the future and plan expenditures and development accordingly. It would also free it from both playing politics and being a target of politicians.

Why should we as skeptics care? As skeptics we rely on factual information from a variety of reliable sources. As Canadians we take pride in our culture. This is why we should care…why we should remember when the time comes to elect a Canadian government.

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