Democracy Gone Astray
Democracy, being a human construct, needs to be thought of as directionality rather than an object. As such, to understand it requires not so much a description of existing structures and/or other related phenomena but a declaration of intentionality.
This blog aims at creating labeled lists of published infringements of such intentionality, of points in time where democracy strays from its intended directionality. In addition to outright infringements, this blog also collects important contemporary information and/or discussions that impact our socio-political landscape.
All the posts here were published in the electronic media – main-stream as well as fringe, and maintain links to the original texts.
[NOTE: Due to changes I haven't caught on time in the blogging software, all of the 'Original Article' links were nullified between September 11, 2012 and December 11, 2012. My apologies.]
Friday, October 03, 2014
Deploying life in New York City today as a symbol of what he takes to be the improvement of almost everything everywhere, New York Times columnist David Brooks explains: “There has never been a time when there were so many interesting places to visit, shop and eat, when the rivers and the parks were so beautiful, when there were so many vibrant neighborhoods across all boroughs, with immigrants and hipsters and new businesses and experimental schools.”
As Canadians, we are incredibly lucky to live in a country with so much natural wealth, but we're taking that for granted. We're placing huge demands on the planets' resources, ranked 11th per capita in the world. If everybody in the world lived like Canadians, we would require 3.7 planets to meet our needs -- clearly, this is not sustainable.
There was no indication from the airline that the move was political, but Canada’s limited sanctions on doing business with Russia, enacted in the wake of the Ukrainian conflict, likely impacted travel between the two countries.
Then, a few minutes later, hospital leaders confessed that, in fact, the professionals hadn’t done what they had to do. The hospital had prepared for the possibility that Ebola would arrive in its emergency room. It had adopted a Centers for Disease Control screening checklist to identify patients with fever who had travelled from the region of West Africa beset by Ebola. (Full disclosure: my research center and I advised the C.D.C. on the design of its checklists.) The staff had rehearsed the event. And, on September 24th, when just such a traveller arrived, the triage nurse who saw him actually asked the proper questions and flagged in the medical chart that he was a potential concern for Ebola.
The strong language from the European Union, the biggest aid donor to the Palestinians who seek statehood in territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, echoes criticism from Germany, France and Washington.
The U.N. General Assembly approved the de facto recognition of the sovereign state of Palestine in 2012 but the European Union and most EU countries, have yet to give official recognition.
Stephen Harper has put Canada into the fear gear once more – just as his political toes are hitting bottom in the latest polls. According to the wizardly Frank Graves, hula-hoops are more hip than Harper.
After a perfunctory “consultation” with his caucus – (please remember this man doesn’t give a fiddler’s fornication about anyone else’s ideas or opinion) the prime minister will tell us today what Canada’s new Mission Implausible will be — this time in Iraq.
Newfoundland and Labrador Conservative Senator Elizabeth Marshall, chair of a special committee that has kept lines open to Mr. Ferguson since his office began its investigation of Senator expenses last year, told the Senate she will oppose the motion from Prince Edward Island Liberal Senator Percy Downe and argued it is up to the Commons to decide whether it wants its books under an audit inquiry.
Stephen Harper's heritage minister, Shelly Glover, says the Islamic State "are people who are violent and brutal and they have decapitated journalists, they have raped and brutalized women. That is all we need to know…" in order to start bombing. With respect, let me suggest what else we might need to know.
Defending his strict adherence to the plain text of the Constitution, Scalia knocked secular qualms over the role of religion in the public sphere as “utterly absurd,” arguing that the Constitution is only obligated to protect freedom of religion -- not freedom from it.
“I think the main fight is to dissuade Americans from what the secularists are trying to persuade them to be true: that the separation of church and state means that the government cannot favor religion over non-religion,” the Reagan-appointed jurist told the crowd of about 400 people.
We may, in fact, be too dumb for democracy.
David Moscrop, a Ph.D political science candidate at UBC, points out that modern democracy was built on the idea that citizens are rational and autonomous.
U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler ruled Thursday that the public should be allowed to witness arguments in the case, specifically pointing out that Justice Department attorneys waited "less than two weeks prior to the start of the long-scheduled hearing" to make their request.
Abbott said that Australian special forces troops would also be deployed on the ground in Iraq in an "advise and assist" capacity to support the Iraqi army in their battle against the militant Islamist group.
The United States has been bombing Islamic State and other groups in Syria for almost two weeks with the help of Arab allies, and hitting targets in neighboring Iraq since August. European countries have joined the campaign in Iraq but not in Syria.
We're still posting a new chart on the current state of income inequality every day over the next week. Yesterday's looked at how top tax rates dropped as top incomes rose.
In a report based on 500 interviews with witnesses, also said Iraqi government air strikes on the Sunni Muslim militants had caused "significant civilian deaths" by hitting villages, a school and hospitals in violation of international law.
"I would tell you that overwhelmingly most inversion deals have had a huge tax motivation in doing them. I can tell you this one didn't," the billionaire Berkshire Hathaway CEO responded when host Andrew Ross Sorkin asked if the deal was unpatriotic.
At a recent talk at the National Press Club in Washington DC, Daniel Ellsberg, who released the Pentagon Papers in 1971, says he believes there’s not one person in the Pentagon who would agree that President Obama can achieve his aim of destroying ISIS in Iraq and Syria with air strikes, along with training and arming local military forces.
FERGUSON, Mo. -- Nearly two months after police officer Darren Wilson gunned down unarmed teenager Michael Brown in this St. Louis suburb, protesters calling for Wilson's prosecution are still regularly being locked up by police, even when they are just standing on a public sidewalk in the middle of the day.
The problem isn’t that these governors failed to implement their promised panaceas of tax cutting, union busting and budget slashing, all in the name of economic recovery; some did all three. The problem is that those policies have failed to deliver the improving jobs and incomes that were supposed to flow from “conservative” governance. In fact, too often the result wasn’t at all truly conservative, at least in the traditional sense—as excessive and imbalanced tax cuts, skewed to benefit the wealthy, led to ruined budgets and damaged credit ratings.
A panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court in New Orleans stayed a lower judge's ruling while it considers the overall constitutionality of key portions of Texas' sweeping 2013 abortion law, which Republican Gov. Rick Perry and other conservatives say is designed to protect women's health.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has been slowly going the way of the other federal departments in our post-democratic Canada; they have gone from having the occasional nosebleed of odd policy, to having chronic influenza of misguided rulings, to now having a dead soul.
And the nature of this crisis, should it materialize, would likely give Canada front row seats to the economic carnage.
The U.S. labour group’s database shows Canadian CEOs on average earn 206 times as much as the average worker. That's the second-largest gap among the 17 countries surveyed.
“Canada was viewed always as a country that upheld human rights,” said Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde. “For Canada to be the only nation state to get up to make a caveat on the vote – that’s very telling.”
Here in Ontario, we have glimpsed the future, and it looks a lot like Austerity 2.0.
That's what Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne's mandate letters set out for her cabinet last week.
On the one hand, the premier is instructing her ministers to invest -- in poverty reduction, transit and transportation improvements, and (hopefully) job creation.
But, with those same letters, ministers are being told to hold the line on spending. Even after two years of her predecessor's austerity cuts, Wynne has instructed her cabinet to find $250 to $500 million in savings every year until 2017-18 -- her target to eliminate the province's fiscal deficit.
So, Austerity 2.0.