Asking someone at a party how much they make in a year might get you a weird look. Asking someone about their salary at work might get you fired. Seem unfair? Don’t bother complaining: Washington just once again reaffirmed the boss’s inalienable right to punish workers for talking about whether they’re being treated fairly.
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, April 18, 2014
A state investigation of five small tremors in the Youngstown area, in the Appalachian foothills, last month has found the high-pressure injection of sand and water that accompanies hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the Utica Shale may have increased pressure on a small, unknown fault, said State Oil & Gas Chief Rick Simmers. He called the link "probable."
The latest skirmish erupted Friday when the Supreme Court of Canada once again softened the Conservative government's tough-on-crime agenda.
In a unanimous 7-0 ruling, the high court affirmed that offenders can receive extra credit for time spent in custody before they are sentenced.
The National Security Agency knew of the existence of the catastrophic bug for at least two years and kept it a secret from the public and the cybersecurity community in order to exploit it, according to a bombshell report from Bloomberg News. However, the agency is denying the story.
On January 1, 2013, Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, became the largest city in the world to make mass transit free for its residents. While the effects of having done this are, of course, specific to the context of the city itself, it has shown that a major city can do it and that it is has been widely popular with its residents. It has also focused attention on a growing international movement of groups, activists and parties who feel that free mass transit in major urban areas is an important social and environmental goal to be worked towards in the near future.
The Central Intelligence Agency also issued erroneous claims about how many people it subjected to techniques such as simulated drowning, or "water boarding," according to the news service, citing conclusions from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report obtained by McClatchy.
A story in the April 10 National Post, based on leaked documents, showed Clark was contracted as chair of an RCI Capital Group international education subsidiary in Sept. 2007, two years after she originally left the BC Liberal government and was hosting an afternoon talk show on CKNW AM 980.
The Russian president's letter to 18 mostly Eastern European leaders, released Thursday by the Kremlin, aimed to divide the 28-nation European Union and siphon off to Russia the billions that the international community plans to lend to Ukraine. It was all part of Russia's efforts to retain control over its struggling neighbor, which is teetering on the verge of financial ruin and facing a pro-Russian separatist mutiny in the east.
WASHINGTON -- Who will benefit first from McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission? The Republican Party and the financial industry are already primed to take advantage of the Supreme Court's April 2 ruling.
The decision, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, ended longstanding aggregate limits on campaign contributions, which would have prevented a donor in this election cycle from giving more than $48,600 to federal candidates, more than $74,600 to political parties and PACs, and more than $123,200 overall.
The last three decades have witnessed a far-reaching transformation of the Canadian economy, politics and culture. Canada is not unique in experiencing this neoliberal transformation, of course, but it has been as dramatic, thorough and socially destructive here as almost anywhere else in the industrialized world. Even before that transformation began, Canada was hardly a model of inclusion, equality, and democracy. But in the latter years of the postwar expansion, Canada progressed both economically and socially. Living standards were improving quickly for most -- fuelled by rising real wages (which doubled in a generation), and a dramatic expansion of the social wage (including the introduction of national medicare, unemployment insurance and the Canada Pension Plan within six remarkable years, from 1965 through 1971). We were catching up to the U.S. economically (and surpassing it socially), escaping our traditional status as "poor cousins" to the North. And we carved a unique and somewhat independent role for the country in global economic, political and military affairs. This confidence, hope and momentum was symbolized by Canada's hosting of Expo 67 in Montreal, the year of the country's centenary -- officially opened with then-prime minister Lester Pearson's claim that it constituted "one of the most daring acts of faith in Canadian enterprise and ability ever undertaken."
And so the EITC, along with the parallel Child Tax Credit (CTC) aimed directly at supporting children within a household, are key pillars of both the White House budget proposal as well as the far-right counter-proposal of Representative Paul Ryan. While he rails against public assistance in general for supposedly destroying a “culture of work,” Ryan has praised the EITC as part of a conservative anti-poverty agenda, in which “federal assistance should not be a way station [but] an onramp—a quick drive back into the hustle and bustle of life.”
Jim DeMint, the former U.S. senator from South Carolina who now leads the conservative Heritage Foundation, went on a Christian radio show last week where he discussed the topic of slavery. He offered some rather unusual views on the subject of slavery while he was a guest on this show.
Well the reason that the slaves were eventually freed was the Constitution, it was like the conscience of the American people. Unfortunately there were some court decisions like Dred Scott and others that defined some people as property, but the Constitution kept calling us back to ‘all men are created equal and we have inalienable rights’ in the minds of God. But a lot of the move to free the slaves came from the people, it did not come from the federal government. It came from a growing movement among the people, particularly people of faith, that this was wrong. People like Wilberforce who persisted for years because of his faith and because of his love for people. So no liberal is going to win a debate that big government freed the slaves. In fact, it was Abraham Lincoln, the very first Republican, who took this on as a cause and a lot of it was based on a love in his heart that comes from God.
How was your Wednesday?
One committee alone, the Education and Workforce Committee in the House, shot down three of the big ideas, which were proposed as amendments to a GOP effort to kneecap unions. The chairman of that committee, Republican John Kline of Minnesota, dismissed his colleagues’ parliamentary maneuvering: “Today’s antics are further proof that Democrats have different priorities than working families.”
Pushing the terminology of democracy to its very limit, North Korea's parliament "re-elected" Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un as the head of the country's military body, Agence France Press reports on Wednesday. The announcement of Kim's victory was made by North Korean state media, which added that "all the deputies and participants in the session broke into stormy cheers of 'hurrah!', extending the highest glory and warmest congratulations to him."
NATO's top commander in Europe warned that the alliance could respond to the Russian military threat against Ukraine by deploying U.S. troops to Eastern Europe, but Putin's latest tactics suggest he may be aiming to secure Russia's clout with its neighbor without invading.