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.]
Saturday, November 14, 2015
From the moment of his majority victory in the 2011, Stephen Harper gave Canada governance without discussion. Harper democracy was a long line of unamended government bills forced through with as little debate as possible, with time allocations and committees controlled by the government’s majority. As a result, and at the first opportunity, Canadians threw him out on his ass.
“They’re going to have to take a look at this closely, see what has been negotiated and decide whether they want to pursue renegotiation of any element of the agreement,” said Mark Nantais, president of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association, which represents the Canadian units of the Detroit Three auto makers.
Now it's the Conservative Party of Canada's turn. The survivors belong to a tribe that sought and gained power by studying their adversaries' weaknesses, not their own. Introversion is not a Conservative talent, or they wouldn't have chosen an old guard ideologue like Rona Ambrose as interim leader. She will doubtless let both MPs and grassroots vent a lot, but they're likely to blame Stephen Harper and carry on in their old ways. So they might benefit from an adversary's advice, at least as much as from those within the tribe.
Asked if $21 a week is enough for food, the minister for social development Michelle Stilwell said, "I think certainly the comprehensive support system we have in place for individuals on income assistance and persons with disabilities helps support them in a multitude of ways."
For five years, Mohammad Saffari has worked as a bakery clerk at a Loblaws store in Montreal. He says he was told to change best-before dates on fresh or frozen bakery items such as cheesecakes, muffins and pastries that were weeks or months past the best-before date.
I'm sure you've heard the sad refrain: "We can't compete with online outlets that simply recycle the news content we've spent so much time and money creating."
Gohmert, who previously compared the treatment of marriage equality opponents to how Nazis persecuted Jews during World War II, argued that even Americans who don't believe in God should be able to see that same-sex relationships aren't natural, Right Wing Watch reports. He went on to suggest conducting a "totally secular" congressional study that would prove it, too.
“An act of climate denial.”
“Giveaway to big agribusiness.”
“A death warrant for the open Internet.”
As expert analysis of the long-shrouded, newly publicized TransPacific Partnership (TPP) final text continued to roll out on Thursday, consensus formed around one fundamental assessment of the 12-nation pact: It’s worse than we thought.
The text of the deal between Canada and 11 other nations, made public Thursday, says countries must allow the business-related cross-border transfer of information — including personal data — by electronic means.
Canada also has a side agreement with Japan that appears to protect the exports of British Columbia logs, a key sticking point between the two countries.
-- 1984, by George Orwell
Barack Obama originally ran for president as the anti-war candidate. Now, as his second term winds down, the two George W. Bush/Obama wars are winding up, with a third in Syria. U.S. military forces are deployed elsewhere around the globe, as in drone striking in Yemen and Somalia, adding to the global conflagration. The United States is engaged in endless war.
The GOP had initially pressed to include other bank-friendly measures in the highway bill, including a plan to hamstring the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and deregulate large banks. Those efforts were scrapped in favor of the more straightforward $17 billion payment.
The report, from PayScale, shows that women make 74 cents to a man's dollar in this country. That's even worse than official government data, which show that women make 78 cents for every dollar that men make.
US foreign policy in the 21st century has little to offer other than massive military power. Indeed, gone are the days when military might was used in order to "recreate the world in America's image." In the post-Cold War era, US military interventions take place in the absence of an overall strategic vision and with ideological justifications lacking force and conviction even among the United States' traditional allies. Little wonder then that military interventions, always illegal and unjustifiable, end up accomplishing nothing more than the creation of black holes, while giving rise in turn to new and ever increasing violent terrorist organizations bent on spreading their own vision of social and political order.
Describing Cheney as an "iron-ass" and Rumsfeld as "arrogant," the 91-year-old Bush told his biographer Jon Meacham that he believed his son's presidency was ultimately "hurt" by the two confidantes, both of whom have been viewed as wielding an unprecedented level of authority with then-President George W. Bush.
Multi-millionaire Toronto businessman Bill Morneau takes over the file at a critical time, as the economy struggles to rebound from the steep drop in the price of oil and other commodities.
On November 4, I gave a historical presentation on Canadian housing policy at theannual conference of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness. My slide presentation, which focused on pre-1964 Canadian social history, can be downloaded here.
Here are five things to know about pre-1964 history that set the tone for important developments in Canadian housing policy:
1. Prior to the 1940s, there was virtually no government-assisted housing for anyone at all in Canada.
In the early 1900s, if you were without work and needed help paying the bills, you typically had to rely on family or friends for assistance. In some cases, a social welfare agency might provide you with time-limited support (i.e. used clothing, food, fuel); in other cases, a local church might help you. But barring any of those options, you likely faced destitution.
The announcement of the most diverse and gender-equal cabinet in Canadian history is both wildly overdue and inspiring in and of itself. The fact that counterinsurgency warfare pioneer Andrew Leslie and the racist, civil-liberties-trampling Bill Blair were shut out is equally inspiring.
Seeing that society can be reflected in government is a good thing. It is especially good if it can raise expectations and lead people to demand that government reflect society in other, more significant ways...
The report, which found that the U.S.-led attack killed at least 30 people, describes in brutal detail the severity of the attack, noting that "patients burned in their beds" and that "medical staff were decapitated and lost limbs."
The "Pulp Fiction" director made headlines last month for an appearance at a demonstration against police brutality.
"I was under the impression I was an American and that I had First Amendment rights, and there was no problem with me going to an anti-police-brutality protest and speaking my mind," Tarantino said. "Just because I was at an anti-police-brutality protest doesn't mean I'm anti-police."
Yes, Kentucky—where cautious Democrats just clashed with extremist Republicans. In an exceptionally low-turnout election, in which two-thirds of eligible voters failed to cast ballots, the Republicans prevailed.
Social Security payments—for both retirees and people receiving disability insurance—are pegged to inflation, with the government calculating a cost-of-living adjustment, the percentage by which payments increase each year. But in recent years, with the economy still puttering only slowly upward following the recession, inflation has stalled, which has left Social Security recipients with no or minimal annual increases. 2016 is set to be only the third year since 1975 when Social Security won't get any cost-of-living increase, joining 2010 and 2011.
A new biography of the 41st president – Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey Of George Herbert Walker Bush – reveals that Bush Sr held Cheney and Rumsfeld responsible for the hawkish stance that “hurt” his son’s administration, Fox News reported on Wednesday.