New website/blog: the view from where I live

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Maybe you’ve noticed, it’s been quiet around here for awhile.  Or maybe it’s been so quiet, you didn’t notice.

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The reason:  Recently I launched a new website and blog.  It’s here: http://michaelriordon.com/.

With creative help from Jess Posgate, finally it pulls together into one tidy place a maze of websites and blogs that have built up over the years, representing a range of my interests and work.

As the new site’s subtitle suggests – “the view from where I live” – it will still represent my work, but now it’s spectrum is broader, especially on the blog.  As you’ll see, I hope.

This morning, for example, I put up a post about tomorrow’s crucial referendum in Greece.  The blog is here: http://michaelriordon.com/blog/.

Stop by for a visit.

 

 

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Panic in the Palace

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Update on that Wednesday protest in Belleville:

C51 protestors, Belleville

Conservative MP’s office calls police on C-51 protesters for singing and being “noisy”.

Best comment, from Gary Magwood: “Daryl’s office called the police because we were ‘disruptive’, we were ‘noisy,’ and – here’s the best part – we were distracting the office staff from attending to constituents’ concerns. Now don’t you love that for double-speak? Aren’t we constituents?”

Which is exactly why so many Canadians regard Bill C-51 and its authoritarian authors as a threat to national security.

After participating in the Belleville protest, I reported having mixed feelings, even doubts, about its value.

Now I have none.

 

 

 

Went to a protest today

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Against what: A new federal bill, C-51, which smooths the road toward a police state in Canada. The bill is currently winding its way through Parliament.

C 51 protest

Photo: Canadian Press

After protests across the country and from many sources, the ruling Conservative regime has made a show of amending the bill.  Like paint slapped on a rotting house, the proposed changes will have minimal impact on the bill’s nightmarish potential.

So, today’s protest.

Where: At the Belleville constituency office of Daryl Kramp, the local Member of Parliament. He’s a Conservative, ie a Northern Republican, and he’s chairing the committee currently sliding the bill through Parliament. Kramp was absent from the Belleville office today, being rather busy in Ottawa.

Who: 40 – 50 people from the area who are alarmed enough by what they’ve learned about this bill to protest it in public. The rally was called on short notice, in response to the proposed ‘amendments.’

After a few decades protesting a panorama of injustices, bigotry, stupidity, greed, crimes against the earth, abuse of power, state terror and such, at today’s protest I experienced a familiar mix of reactions:

I believe it’s crucial to be here, to inform the powerful that some of us see through their lies, and care enough to resist their schemes to the extent that we can. On the other hand, knowing how power is constructed, I suspect our resistance is too little, too late. On the other hand, it’s crucial that we be here. On the other hand…

This mix, and the gradual shedding of illusions over years, eventually led me to stop going to protests like this one.  But then I was grateful that some people took the trouble to organize it, and that other people bothered to show up on a bright spring afternoon in the middle of a week. But then I know well enough that the real decisions are made far from here, in cabinet rooms and board rooms, by sociopaths in suits, over lunch.

Even so, how can I justify staying home in my comfortable, safe little cave, pretending that I accomplish anything that matters simply by writing?  And who knows what effect each of these acts of resistance might have?  The arrogant managers would have us believe they are oblivious to our protests, and nothing we do will make any difference.  But when they lie about practically everything else, why not about this, too?  Wouldn’t things be that much worse if we left them to their own devices?

It’s a dilemma.

What do you think?

 

 

Avoid gazing down.

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Planning a trip to the United States?

Be careful.  But not too careful.  TSA “Behavior Detection Officers” are watching, closely.

US TSA agentPhoto: AFP

As The Intercept reports, the US Transportation Security Administration’s new checklist of suspicious Behaviors is quite long.  A handy sampler:

  • exaggerated yawning
  • excessive throat clearing
  • widely open staring eyes
  • wearing improper attire for location
  • gazing down
  • exaggerated or repetitive grooming gestures
  • rigid posture
  • a bobbing Adam’s apple
  • arriving late for flight
  • and so on.

Remember: Avoid repetitive grooming gestures, excessive throat clearing, rigid posture, and – oh, just avoid all Behaviors, of any kind.

And welcome to the United States.

* For a short trip with eyes widely open into the murky depths of surveillance, see Bold ScientistsRead an excerpt here.  Scroll down to chapter 6, The Cloud.

Bold Scientists in Winnipeg

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Wednesday, March 25

1:30 pm.  Michael Riordon at the University of Winnipeg.  Room 5L25, Department of Geography, Lockhart Hall.  Map.

7:30 pm.  Michael Riordon at the McNally-Robinson bookstore, Grant Park, 1120 Grant Avenue.  In the Travel alcove.  Map.

Unspun science for dangerous times.

BTL BS poster, U of Winnipeg, March 2015