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.]

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Death of an Uninsured Florida Woman Is the Left's Obamacare Horror Story

An uninsured Florida woman who died last month from a treatable heart condition sparked a new kind of Obamacare horror story: the failure to expand Medicaid is killing people.

Charlene Dill, a 32-year-old mother of three, fell into what's known as the "coverage gap" — her $9,000 a year income was too much for Medicaid without Florida expanding coverage, and it was too little to get Obamacare subsidies. In his Orlando Weekly cover story "Falling Into the Gap", reporter Bill Manes makes clear who he thinks is to blame for her premature death. "Dill’s death was not unpredictable, nor was it unpreventable. She had a documented heart condition for which she took medication. But she also happened to be one of the people who fall within the gap created by the 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allowed states to opt out of Medicaid expansion," he writes. In other words, he argues, Dill died because of Florida's Republican government and partisan politics.

Island airport expansion nothing new, but gas guzzling CS100s go too far

Council’s decision Tuesday, April 1, to move forward with further study of Porter Airlines’ Island airport expansion plan isn’t the first time in the airport’s 80-year history that talk of getting bigger has brought political blood to a boil. 
The difference this time: it’s hard to overstate what a massive change the CS100s Porter is now proposing to fly out of Billy Bishop would represent in the airport’s development. 

How Anti-Jewish Jokes Hurt the Palestinian Cause

It happens every time I visit the U.S., and it’s happened increasingly over the last five years. I say I’m Palestinian (usually after trying out the less inflammatory “I’m from Jerusalem” and then being pressed for detail). There’s a pause, and then—“Oh, so... is it a problem for you that I’m Jewish?”

There it is. The assumption that because I am Palestinian, I harbor animosity toward Jews—and not just Israeli Jews, but all Jews, all the time, everywhere. It was one of the first questions I got asked when my new roommate met me at the beginning of my college career, and again as I mingled at my first-ever internship lunch. It was what made a Jewish kid switch seats and move across the room from me during a seminar—he was worried, I was later informed, about sitting next to a Palestinian. It’s happened time and again, yet it still takes me by surprise.

Canadian Auto Investment Almost Stagnant

Auto makers combined to invest nearly $18 billion US to expand their plants and increase capacity worldwide last year.

According to a new report by the Office of Automotive and Vehicle Research at the University of Windsor, none of that money was spent in Canada.

Canadian Auto Investment Almost Stagnant

Original Article
Source: CBC

RNC Chairman: Bring Back The Gilded Age

WASHINGTON -- Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus is now looking to overturn all campaign finance limits and maybe get rid of disclosure rules following the Supreme Court McCutcheon ruling that eliminated aggregate campaign contribution limits.

"I don’t think we should have caps at all," Priebus said on conservative Hugh Hewitt's radio talk show on Tuesday, according to The Washington Post.

Veterans Affairs, Feds Accused Of 'Inaction' And 'Inability'

OTTAWA - Veterans of bureaucratic battles over the treatment of ex-soldiers unleashed a scathing critique Tuesday of the Harper government's record.

Outspoken advocate Sean Bruyea, at the centre of a privacy scandal when his personal medical information was leaked, testified to a parliamentary committee that MPs have failed to hold the department of veterans affairs accountable and to demand recommendations from previous studies be implemented.

Pierre Poilievre Full Of Baloney When He Says Elections Boss Has Certain Powers?

OTTAWA - "Let us consider some examples of the new power the CEO seeks for himself. First, he believes, and I quote from his recommendation, that upon a request from the CEO, political parties be required to produce all documents necessary to ensure compliance with the Canada Elections Act. Let's examine this: it is difficult to imagine what power the CEO seeks here that he does not already have."

— Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre to Senate committee, April 8.

Here's Why the World Is Spending Less on Renewable Energy

The United Nations climate folks think global investment in renewable energy needs to hit $1 trillion a year by 2030 to keep global warming to an acceptable level. So it might seem disconcerting that in 2013, investment dropped for the second year in a row, down 14 percent from 2012 to $214 billion, according to new data released by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) at its annual confab in New York this week.

As investment fell, so too did the total amount of renewable energy being installed worldwide. That's down nearly 7 percent from 2012 to 2013.

What’s Behind the ‘Poor Door’?

Three and a half years ago, after living for more than a quarter-century in a rent-stabilized apartment in a ratty Greenwich Village tenement, my wife and I moved to a condo in downtown Manhattan. Conscientious ’60s veterans, we felt some anxiety about landing in the climes of privilege—honey, property is theft—but we got over it fast. This was cemented shortly after our arrival, when we were asked to weigh in on a pressing matter. At the time our building—formerly offices—was originally converted, it had three separate entrances: one for commercial space on the lower floors, another for rental apartments in the middle, and the last for the condos at the top. The rentals had been fairly quickly made into condos, and the question to be decided was whether the two residential lobbies should be combined into one, with potential savings on staff and electricity, and the possible production of new commercial space.

Darrell Issa Tries Tactic In IRS Probe Last Used In McCarthyism

WASHINGTON -- A new report by the Congressional Research Service finds that Rep. Darrell Issa's (R-Calif.) probe of the Internal Revenue Service is veering into territory last trod by Congress in the McCarthy era.

Issa, chairman of the House Committee On Oversight and Government Reform, has been investigating the IRS's botched scrutiny of tax-exempt groups -- most of them conservative, as well as a handful of progressive groups. He has suggested the White House may have been involved in targeting groups for IRS inquiry.

U.S. Corporations Now Hold Over $2 Trillion In Untaxed Profits Overseas: Study

WASHINGTON, April 8 (Reuters) - Foreign profits held overseas by U.S. corporations to avoid taxes at home nearly doubled from 2008 to 2013 to top $2.1 trillion, said a private research firm's report, prompting a call for reform by the Senate's top tax law writer.

"The new numbers ... certainly highlight what is one of the key challenges for tax reform. I do think there need to be some reforms in this area," Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden told reporters on Tuesday on Capitol Hill.

Poilievre launches attack on Mayrand

Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre has launched an all-out attack on Canada’s chief elections watchdog.

He is accusing chief electoral officer Marc Mayrand of opposing the controversial, proposed overhaul of elections laws because he wants more power for himself, a bigger budget and less accountability.

Moreover, Poilievre says Mayrand is making “astounding,” “amazing” and untrue allegations as he grasps at straws to defeat Bill C-23, the so-called Fair Elections Act.

Original Article
Author: Will LeRoy

Follow the Money, Part 3: Big Oil and Calgary's School of Public Policy

If it disseminates pro-free market studies like a right-wing think tank, and if it courts Big Oil money like a right-wing think tank, and if it recruits conservative scholars like a right-wing think tank, then it probably is a right-wing think tank. 
Except in this case, when it's a graduate school within an accredited public university: University of Calgary's School of Public Policy (SPP).
Can it be both? Does the University of Calgary's School of Public Policy (SPP) benefit from the University's reputation for scholarship and independent research and, at the same time, promote the oil industry through its research?

BC Libs Protect Farmland? Horse Manure!

"It functioned up until the election of this Liberal administration... politics has interfered and land is being removed and that is a serious, serious mistake." -- Former NDP premier Dave Barrett, Voice Of BC, June 29, 2005

Don't believe the BC Liberal government will "protect farmland" or "help farmers" -- its Bill 24 is all about continuing its attack the Agricultural Land Reserve, which began shortly after the party's 2001 election win.

Republican Slams Dems' Equal Pay Push As 'Condescending' To Women [

WASHINGTON -- Democrats' push for pay equity between men and women is "condescending," one of the top women in the House Republican leadership argued Tuesday, suggesting that the campaign for equal pay for equal work reflects a lack of understanding of women's contributions to the workforce.

Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.), the GOP conference's vice chair, made her comments flanked by her fellow leaders in the House at their weekly news conference, and suggested that the campaign for equal pay for equal work reflects a lack of understanding of women's contributions to the workforce.

Greenpeace asks Elections Canada to investigate Ethical Oil

Greenpeace Canada has asked the commissioner of Elections Canada to examine whether the Conservative Party is colluding with the pro-oil Ethical Oil Institute in violation of the measures in the Canada Elections Act that prohibit donations to federal political parties from corporations.

"It's clear there's cooperation (between Ethical Oil and the Conservative Party) there," Greenpeace Canada energy policy analyst Keith Stewart said. "What we're asking Elections Canada to investigate is whether there's been collusion, which would be illegal under the Elections Act."

CBC Job Cuts, Budget Reductions To Be Announced Thursday: Reports

CBC staff are preparing themselves for bad news Thursday when the broadcaster is expected to announce a major round of job cuts and reductions to services.

Insiders expect the cuts to hit the sales and news departments, but it’s CBC’s sports programming that will likely see the deepest reductions.

The broadcaster is scrambling to find a new business model after the devastating loss of NHL hockey, which moves to Rogers’ cable networks this year under a $5.2-billion, 12-year deal the telecom giant signed with the hockey league last year.

Narendra Modi, a man with a massacre on his hands, is not the reasonable choice for India

The world's biggest election began yesterday: one in which more than half a billion Indians are set to turn out to vote over the next six weeks. Polls suggest that the Congress party will take an unprecedented pummelling – which makes Narendra Modi, leader of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party, frontrunner to be India's next prime minister.

Modi bears a responsibility for some of the worst religious violence ever seen in independent India – but there's nothing like looking like a winner to attract apologists. And the standard apology for Modi comes in two parts. First, there is normally an acknowledgement that the chief minister of Gujarat bears some vague responsibility for the orgy of killing and rape that engulfed his state in 2002 – but, um, wasn't that all a long time ago? And hasn't he behaved himself since – or, as the FT put it yesterday, done his best to "downplay tensions" between Hindus and Muslims? This is followed by pointing to Gujarat's rapid economic development and an appeal: shouldn't the rest of India enjoy some Modinomics? Or, as Gurcharan Das, the former head of Procter & Gamble India, put it in a piece for the Times of India last weekend: "There will always be a trade-off in values at the ballot box and those who place secularism above demographic dividend are wrong and elitist."


Whatever else you do this week, carve out half an hour to read my colleague Ryan Lizza’s piece about Chris Christie and New Jersey politics. It’s Robert Penn Warren meets Carl Hiaasen on the west bank of the Hudson. By the time you get to the end of it, I bet you’ll find yourself asking the same question I did: How could we ever have taken this bully seriously as a Presidential candidate?

In an era when elected officials are about as popular as burglars and bank C.E.O.s, the answer is that Christie cleverly created a public persona as a plain-talking, non-ideological Honest Joe—an anti-politician, almost—and the media, or much of it, went along with the spin. Even President Obama, by embracing Christie on the Jersey Shore shortly after Hurricane Sandy struck, contributed to Christie’s image as a decent man stuck in a bad profession and a nutty party. (Obama had his own motivations, of course; in the last stages of a Presidential race, he was eager to be seen reaching across partisan lines and dealing with the storm.)

GOP Candidate Wants To Get Elected To Keep His Daughter From Learning Evolution

Aaron Miller, a Republican congressional candidate in Minnesota, said a big reason he's running is to end classroom instruction on evolution, according to the Mankato Free Press.

Miller, a hospital account manager and Iraq War veteran, said during the congressional district's Republican Party convention in Albert Lea on Saturday that Minnesota needs more religious freedom. He cited an incident in which his daughter was forced to learn evolution in school.

There Are 10 Times More Mentally Ill People Behind Bars Than in State Hospitals

Severe mental illnesses, like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, are brain diseases—biological conditions like heart disease or epilepsy. Yet in this country, the institutions most likely to be treating people with these illnesses are not hospitals, but rather jails and prisons.
According to a new report from the Treatment Advocacy Center (TAC), a nonprofit advocacy organization, the United States has fully returned to the 18th-century model of incarcerating the mentally ill in correctional institutions rather than treating them in health care facilities like any other sick people. In 2012, there were roughly 356,268 inmates with severe mental illnesses in prisons and jails, while only 35,000 people with the same diseases were in state psychiatric hospitals.