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.]

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Why the Rise of Fascism Is Again the Issue

Again and again, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine and elsewhere, state lies to the public, with the help of corporate media, have allowed the United States to wage war abroad as a means to control other nations and their natural resources.

The recent 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was a reminder of the great crime of fascism. Its Nazi iconography is embedded in our consciousness. Fascism is preserved as history, as flickering footage of goose-stepping blackshirts, their criminality terrible and clear. Yet in the same liberal societies, with war-making elites urging us never to forget, the accelerating danger of a modern kind of fascism is suppressed; for it is their fascism.

This Billionaire Governor Taxed the Rich and Increased the Minimum Wage -- Now, His State's Economy Is One of the Best in the Country

The next time your right-wing family member or former high school classmate posts a status update or tweet about how taxing the rich or increasing workers' wages kills jobs and makes businesses leave the state, I want you to send them this article.

When he took office in January of 2011, Minnesota governor Mark Dayton inherited a $6.2 billion budget deficit and a 7 percent unemployment rate from his predecessor, Tim Pawlenty, the soon-forgotten Republican candidate for the presidency who called himself Minnesota's first true fiscally-conservative governor in modern history. Pawlenty prided himself on never raising state taxes -- the most he ever did to generate new revenue was increase the tax on cigarettes by 75 cents a pack. Between 2003 and late 2010, when Pawlenty was at the head of Minnesota's state government, he managed to add only 6,200 more jobs.

Glacial Melting In Antarctica Makes Continent The 'Ground Zero Of Global Climate Change'

CAPE LEGOUPIL, Antarctica (AP) — From the ground in this extreme northern part of Antarctica, spectacularly white and blinding ice seems to extend forever. What can't be seen is the battle raging thousands of feet (hundreds of meters) below to re-shape Earth.

Water is eating away at the Antarctic ice, melting it where it hits the oceans. As the ice sheets slowly thaw, water pours into the sea — 130 billion tons of ice (118 billion metric tons) per year for the past decade, according to NASA satellite calculations. That's the weight of more than 356,000 Empire State Buildings, enough ice melt to fill more than 1.3 million Olympic swimming pools. And the melting is accelerating.

Veterans Will Need To Verify Lost Limbs Every 3 Years, Instead Of Annually

OTTAWA - A wounded soldier who lost both legs in Afghanistan will have to verify his condition and the kind of support needed, including his wheelchair, to Veterans Affairs every three years, rather than annually under a policy change.

The revision was quietly unveiled in the House of Commons on Friday by Pierre Lemieux, parliamentary secretary to the veterans minister.

In addition, Lemieux told opposition parties that veterans who are required to complete these renewals under the veterans independence program will have six months to hand in the paperwork, considerably longer than under the current system.

'Low-Hanging Fruit' Comment By B.C. Premier Riles Up School Trustees, Teachers

B.C. Premier Christy Clark has aggravated school trustees — and once again motivated teachers to lash back on social media — by calling $54 million in district cuts "low-hanging fruit."

The recent provincial budget directed the 60 school districts in B.C. to slash $29 million this year, and another $25 million next year from their budgets.

Doubling contributions to TFSAs is simply pampering the privileged

The Harper government gives five reasons why Canadians ought to be happy with its proposal to double the maximum contribution to the Tax-Free Savings Account. Examine each of its points more closely, however, and it’s clear that the TFSA carries far higher risks than rewards — for individual Canadians as well as for the economy as a whole.

Harper government examines game-playing to motivate bureaucrats

The Harper government is looking at a whole new game plan for its workforce. Literally.

Senior bureaucrats are examining how so-called "gamification" – encouraging employees and citizens to play games for rewards – can improve motivation, engagement and problem-solving.

Gamification is a hot new concept in the corporate sector, as large firms such as Walmart use computer-based games to train workers at a fraction of the cost of old-style classroom learning. The technique is especially suited to a younger generation of employees with lifelong exposure to regular game-playing, especially on computers.

Stephen Harper and the niqab gambit

As home to big unions and even bigger government, Quebec is where conservatism has withered at the altar of the province’s almighty welfare state. At least, this has been the experience of the governing Conservatives, whose decade-long reign has come largely despite the electoral will of Quebecers.

Strange, then, that three of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s four visits to Quebec in less than two months were chock full of stump speeches and glad-handing, the kind of retail politics usually reserved for election campaigns. Stranger still: It seems to be working. One recent poll put the Conservatives in first place in Quebec City, with similar results in the swath of mostly rural regions west of the province’s capital city.


Five weeks after the city took extraordinary steps to free up more bed space for the homeless, the Salvation Army has announced it’s shutting down one of its downtown hostels.

The non-profit organization revealed last week that it will be closing its 124-bed Hope Shelter on April 15. The facility at McCaul and College has been operating for 40 years, and provides beds, meals, counselling, medical help and housing supports to men between 18 and 70 years of age.

Child Poverty Would Be Almost Twice As High If Safety Net Programs Didn't Exist: Report

Child poverty in the U.S. would be significantly worse if government assistance programs weren't in place, a new report suggests.

A study released on Wednesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, an advocacy group for low-income kids, found that without government support programs -- like food assistance, housing subsidies and tax credits -- the child poverty rate would swell from 18 percent to 33 percent.

Chicago Credit Downgrade Pushes City Closer To Fiscal Free Fall

CHICAGO, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Chicago drew closer to a fiscal free fall on Friday with a rating downgrade from Moody's Investors Service that could trigger the immediate termination of four interest-rate swap agreements, costing the city about $58 million and raising the prospect of more broken swaps contracts.

The downgrade to Baa2, just two steps above junk, and a warning the rating could fall further still, means the third-biggest U.S. city could face even higher costs in the future if banks choose to terminate other interest-rate hedges against fluctuations in interest rates. All told, Chicago holds swaps contracts covering $2.67 billion in debt, according to a disclosure late last year.