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.]

Monday, September 07, 2015

Netanyahu refuses to accept Syrian migrants into Israel, moves to construct fence to keep them out

JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday rejected calls from opposition politicians for Israel to accept refugees from Syria, saying that Israel was “a very small country that lacks demographic and geographic depth.” He also said that plans to construct a fence along the eastern border with Jordan would go ahead.

Israel has found itself in a somewhat paradoxical situation: Syria is an immediate neighbour, as are Lebanon and Jordan, countries that have taken in huge numbers of Syrians and share borders with Israel. Yet Israel has remained largely isolated and off the migrants’ path since Syria and Israel are technically in a state of war.

The Bloody Origin Of Labor Day

WASHINGTON -- Most people know Labor Day as an extra day off of work. Fewer know the holiday comes from a time when the government was offing workers.

It all started with a bad recession in the early 1890s that reduced demand for railway cars, prompting Chicago railway magnate George Pullman to lay off workers and reduce wages. Many of his workers went on strike. The sympathetic American Railway Union refused to handle Pullman cars, hampering commerce in many parts of the country.

GOP to attack climate pact at home and abroad

Top Republican lawmakers are planning a wide-ranging offensive — including outreach to foreign officials by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office — to undermine President Barack Obama's hopes of reaching an international climate change agreement that would cement his environmental legacy.

The GOP strategy, emerging after months of quiet discussions, includes sowing doubts about Obama's climate policies at home and abroad, trying to block key environmental regulations in Congress, and challenging the legitimacy of the president's attempts to craft a global agreement without submitting a treaty to the Senate.

Long-Term Canadian Expats Find Expensive 'Loophole' In Voting Ban

TORONTO — Long-term expats determined to cast a ballot for the Oct. 19 election have found a way to do so — against the wishes of the Conservative government and despite a court ruling upholding their disenfranchisement.

However, the method costs money, travel, and time, prompting some to argue the rules have effectively made their right to vote subject to financial ability.

Conservatives turf GTA candidates over urination incident, prank calls

The Conservative party stumbled into the GTA Monday as it was forced to boot two of its Toronto candidates, one for prank calls reportedly involving his faking orgasms and mocking mentally disabled people, another for being caught on videotape urinating in a mug when he was on a contract call as a repairman.

A party source told the Star that Toronto-Danforth candidate Tim Dutaud was dismissed Monday morning, as the party had determined that reports on social media of his activities were accurate.

Meet 7 Canadian expats who just lost their right to vote

This summer, as many as 1.4 million Canadians living abroad lost their right to cast ballots in the Oct. 19 federal election.
The reason? They're expats.
More specifically, they are Canadian citizens who have set up new lives outside their home and native land for more than five years.

Nine years of Harper, nine years of attacks on unions

Stephen Harper has been Prime Minister for almost a decade. In that time, the system of protections that have been put in place by decades of advocacy by labour organizations and unions has been partly dismantled.

"This government has been clear in its dislike of unions and collective bargaining," said Angella MacEwan, Senior Economist with the Canadian Labour Congress. "There has been no respect for the important role unions play in the workplace and in civil society."

The attacks have been extremely strategic. Ground Zero for these attacks has been the House of Commons, where piece after piece of legislation has taken aim at unions and collective bargaining.

Food Aid Was Just Cut To Refugees In Jordan. The Impact Could Be Deadly.

Around 200,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan received a text message from the World Food Program this week informing them that their food aid would be cut. The $14 refugees receive monthly from WFP is crucial for their survival.

Without this aid, refugees are now even more vulnerable than before.

Sarah Palin Says She Wants To Be Donald Trump’s Energy Secretary

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin says that if Donald Trump becomes president of the United States, she wants to be his Secretary of Energy.

As Palin was speaking with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday, the conversation shifted to a discussion of businessman and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who recently said that he would “love” to have her in his cabinet if he won the White House. When asked which position she would want in a hypothetical Trump administration, Palin was quick to answer: Energy Secretary.

What The Uber Economy Means For The Future Of Work

Rideshare service Uber is facing the possible rupture of its entire business model in a key case that could have even further reaching implications for the U.S. economy. Uber is facing accusations that it illegally misclassifies its drivers as independent contractors rather than employees, therefore ducking responsibility for a variety of schedule and wage protections afforded to employees.

The cab service’s court fight is indicative of an urgent and much broader question facing the country about what it will mean to “work” in the future –- and what the person directing that work owes to you to ensure that your labor brings you meaningful economic security.

Compassion can’t just be an election slogan

“The treatment of myself and my family, and more importantly my husband, is horrible. We have been dismissed totally from the beginning of this journey. Jacques’ sacrifice was never recognized and he has been long forgotten by them.”

— Joan Larocque, widow of Cpl. Jacques Larocque

When death and destruction come calling, survivors need all the help they can get.

Numbers Show BC's Special Needs Students Still Shortchanged

It's been a year since the longest strike in the history of B.C.'s public school system. A key outcome of that dispute was increased understanding of the phrase "class size and composition." During the strike, the public came to appreciate that teachers were fighting not just for better wages, but also for improved teaching and learning conditions.

The strike gave teachers an opportunity to explain how classroom conditions had deteriorated since the B.C. government gutted their contract in 2002 -- removing the limits on class sizes and the number of special needs students per class, while at the same time cutting funding for special education teachers and assistants. Not only had class sizes increased, they argued, but also the makeup of those classes had changed quite dramatically. In many different ways, teachers throughout the province asserted that these cuts meant that many more kids were failing to have their unique needs met.

Harper's Worst Offense against Refugees May Be His Climate Record

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is right about the Syrian refugee crisis, for all the wrong reasons. His government is being battered by outrage over Canada's wretched response to this humanitarian emergency. Our country of once-proud humanitarian leadership has so far admitted a mere 622 government-sponsored refugees when in past crises we admitted tens of thousands and were a better nation for it.

However, Harper correctly observed that no amount of charity and shelter would solve this dire situation. People are being displaced from their homes in the millions, and many more are on the way. His solution is more bombing of ISIS militants by CF-18s. In Harper's simplistic worldview, what the people of Syria really need is more explosives from the sky.