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, January 23, 2015

To Make Up For His Massive Tax Cuts, Kansas Governor Proposes Cutting Schools

Rather than retreat from the massive tax cuts that are crippling his state’s finances, Gov. Sam Brownback (R) wants to cut classroom funding for Kansas schools by $127 millionand push pension fund payments off into the future.
The defining characteristic of the governor’s various proposals for fixing the nearly billion-dollar deficit is that they will create larger problems down the road. The proposed budget would replace the state’s current financing formula for schools with block grants that districts could use as they see fit. But that flexibility masks a significant cut in classroom resources for a state that has already been accused by judges of falling hundreds of millions of dollars short of the bare-minimum level of education funding required by the Kansas Constitution.

Food-Cost Crisis In Canada's North: 'We Can't Pretend It Doesn't Exist Any More'

IQALUIT, Nunavut - Israel Mablick opens the door of his refrigerator and takes stock of its meagre offerings.

"This is all we have for food," he says, gesturing to the mostly empty shelves.

There is a small pot of leftover seal meat on the second shelf, next to a tub of margarine and a couple of slices of bread. There's juice, a bag of milk, some water and a carton of eggs, plus condiments and a small bag of shredded cheese.

We Sold What? Canada Signs Billion-Dollar Weapons Deal with Saudi Arabia

This much you know: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has sealed a multi-billion-dollar deal to buy light armoured vehicles from Canada.

Here's what you might not know: The Saudi regime is buying these vehicles not to defend the nation from foreign threats, but to protect the regime from Saudis -- from internal dissent and demands for reform.

Although both the Canadian and Saudi announcements of the deal early last year -- which is being offered up by Ottawa as a triumph for Canadian manufacturing -- were shy on detail, various reports say the LAV III light armoured vehicles, made by General Dynamics Land Systems Canada in London, Ontario, are not for the Saudi Arabian Army.

Trading shots in Iraq, twisting facts in Ottawa

Mr. Sneaky is at it again.

After telling Canadians with his most scrubbed, choir-boy sincerity that his latest war would feature aerial bombardment and no boots on the grounds, the country finds out differently.

Canadian soldiers had a firefight with the forces of the Islamic State. They were very much on the ground. With those 69 special forces members a stone’s throw from the front, who in their right mind could have failed to predict this outcome?

Now that everyone knows that Canadian special forces are on the front lines as bomb-directors and snipers, the next act in this bad opera is just as easy to predict.

House Passes Anti-Abortion Bill On Anniversary Of Roe v. Wade

On the 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court's landmark abortion rights decision in Roe v. Wade, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 242-179 to pass a bill that would codify a ban on federal funding for abortions.

The bill would prevent women from having their abortions covered by Medicaid; restrict a woman's ability to buy private insurance plans that include abortion coverage; and deny small businesses a tax credit, which they currently receive through the Affordable Care Act, if they include abortion care in their health insurance plans. It would also prevent the District of Columbia from using its own local funds to subsidize abortion care.

Supreme Court Upholds Auto Stop With No Traffic Violation

Ignorance of the law is no excuse - that is, unless you're a police officer. For the first time, in December, the Supreme Court upheld a traffic stop even where there was no traffic violation. The court, in Heien v. North Carolina, continued its steady erosion of the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.

In this case, an officer stopped a car that had only one working brake light, thinking that North Carolina law required two working brake lights. But the officer was mistaken about the law. Only one working brake light is required in North Carolina.

Although the court has upheld searches when an officer has made a mistake about the facts, the court has never before said an officer can stop someone due to a mistaken belief the person is committing a crime.

State of the Union 2015: Lethal, Predatory, Delusional

“Tuesday night, in his next-to-last State of the Union address,” writes Glen Ford, Editor of the Black Agenda Report, “President Obama flashed the suckers a bag of tricks that has no chance of passing the Republican-controlled Congress, but will allow his apologists to claim that the genuine, more progressive Obama is revealing himself in his final two years in office.”

“Of course,” continues Ford, “the final-years Obama could have accomplished his modest 2015 agenda, and much more, back in 2009 and 2010, when Democrats dominated both the House and the Senate and the Republicans were in despair and disarray. Which is precisely why Obama chose, instead, to put his party’s perishable congressional majorities at the service of bankers, Wall Street, private insurers and Big Pharma. Now that Democrats are the endangered species on Capitol Hill, Obama hangs a piƱata of subsidized community college education, additional tax deductions for child care, seven days paid sick leave, higher capital gains taxes on the wealthy, and billions in fees on casino bankers.

“On closer examination, his grab bag of bills and requests for legislation contains even less than advertized – a vapor-thin rhetorical veneer for a center-right presidency whose real accomplishment has been to re-inflate the Wall Street casino, flush the last vestiges of secure employment out of the economy, and put the imperial war machine back on the offensive. Corporate pundits describe Obama’s antics as an appeal to his party’s ‘base.’ In a world in which words actually mean something, a politician’s base would be composed of the people whose interests he actually serves, rather than those he victimizes. But, such logic does not apply in late capitalist America, where both parties cater to the needs of the moneyed classes; one, shamelessly, without inhibition, the other through deployment of talented liars like Obama.”

Continue reading here.

Original Article
Author: Alexander Reed Kelly

Joe Oliver Vows Balanced Budget In 2015 Despite Oil Prices

DAVOS, Switzerland - Finance Minister Joe Oliver says he will not budge from his plan to deliver a balanced budget come April, even with the recent decline in crude oil prices.

In an interview with The Canadian Press at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Oliver said Thursday he's rejecting suggestions that a small federal budget deficit would be economically acceptable and he insisted the government won't return to a deficit.

"We do not intend there be a deficit because we feel it's important to maintain confidence in the Canadian economy, to maintain confidence on the part of investors," Oliver said.

Canada's pay gap: Who gets paid more?

The Fraser Institute is really concerned that public sector employees might be making more than private sector employees. What is notable about the recent Fraser Institute report on public and private sector wages in British Columbia is that it does not seem particularly concerned with the reasons why there are variations in public and private sector compensation. The stated concern of the report is that public sector wages, benefits and job security should be more closely tied to private sector wages, benefits and job security.