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, February 24, 2017

House GOP quietly acknowledges that repealing Obamacare might raise spending

After eight years of bashing Obamacare, congressional Republicans still haven’t come up with a plan to replace it. They are, however, essentially unified in wanting to stop the Congressional Budget Office from estimating how much a repeal might cost.

While the media and most Democrats were focusing on the House of Representatives voting to weaken the Office of Congressional Ethics (a measure that was subsequently retracted), the larger document that the initiative was part of also prohibited the office from analyzing proposals to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Susan Collins Just Disgraced Herself at Jeff Sessions’s Confirmation Hearing

When Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III was rejected as Ronald Reagan’s nominee for a federal judgeship by the Republican-led US Senate Judiciary Committee in 1986, moderate Republicans cast the essential “no” votes.

All eight Democrats on the committee rejected Sessions—whose nomination was opposed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Urban League, the American Jewish Congress, the National Council of Churches, and the 185 coalition members of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. They were joined by two Republicans, Charles Mathias Jr. of Maryland and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, in refusing to recommend approval of the nomination. And Mathias joined the Democrats in effectively blocking the further progress of the Sessions nomination by voting against sending the nomination to the Senate floor without a recommendation.

Fox News Secretly Settled Bill O’Reilly Sexual Harassment Case: Reports

Fox News settled a sexual harassment case involving anchor Bill O’Reilly in the days following Roger Ailes’ departure from the network last summer, several news outlets reported.

Juliet Huddy, a former Fox on-air personality, alleged that O’Reilly “pursued a sexual relationship with her” in 2011, according to a letter from her lawyers obtained by The New York Times. first reported the settlement Monday.

It’s Time to Wade Into the Swamp of Right-Wing Media to Really Understand Their Twisted ‘Truths’

The media licensed the mountebank for his latest star turn, upgraded him, credited His Fraudulence with a talent for lying when they were not marveling at his blunt originality. They presidentialized him, accorded him their most fulsome praise (interesting!), oo-ed and ah-ed at the spectacle of his shiny performances, surely (you have to admit!) a little bit different from the boring same-old-same-old policy proposals (and wasn’t that refreshing!). There were the favors of commission, like granting him a wad of unpaid broadcast time greater than that received by all the other candidates put together; the puffball “interviews” which he deigned to phone in to slavering “news” personnel; their fascination with his appearances even as their cameras showed — Breaking News! — crowds staring at empty platforms.

Suspending the Rules: How Congress Plans to Undermine Public Safety

A handy rule of thumb in Washington is that the more pernicious the act, the more high-minded the title. Thus, last week, the House of Representatives approved the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2017, also known as the REINS Act. The bill would strip the executive branch of the power to issue significant new rules on topics ranging from air quality to food safety. In normal times, such a power grab by Congress would surely face a veto threat from the President, but, of course, these are not normal times.

The Uber-ization of the Canadian economy

Living in Singapore a few years ago, Drew Currah had a tough time finding tradespeople to fix his air conditioning and help him with an electrical problem. His challenge finding contractors, coupled with his job working for a firm that invests in U.S. Silicon Valley tech companies, helped him come up with a business idea.

He moved to Edmonton and, along with some friends, developed Trade Pros — a mobile phone app that allows people to post their repair and renovation jobs and contractors to bid on them.

Protests Erupt in Kentucky After GOP Supermajority Passes Extreme Anti-Choice, Anti-Union Bills

In Kentucky, hundreds of demonstrators packed into the Capitol building Saturday to protest the state Legislature’s passage of a slew of controversial bills, including an anti-union "right-to-work" law and extreme anti-choice legislation that bans abortions after 20 weeks and requires a woman to have an ultrasound before having an abortion. The surprise emergency legislative session Saturday came after Republicans seized a supermajority in the House of Representatives, giving the Republicans control of the House, the Senate and the governorship for the first time in Kentucky state history. On Saturday, the Legislature also repealed a law that had guaranteed higher wages for workers on publicly financed construction projects. We go to Louisville, Kentucky, for an update from Richard Becker, a union organizer with Service Employees International Union, and we speak with Lisa Abbott, a community organizer with Kentuckians for the Commonwealth.

Understanding the Right-Wing Media Alternate Universe and the Twisted 'Truths' They Report

I spent most of 2016 doing my duty as citizen, writer and educator aghast at the favors done for the unprincipled, incoherent, vicious, dangerous ignoramus Donald Trump by the business known as “the media,” formerly known as “the press” — an enterprise accorded privileges by the US Constitution on the quaint 18th-century belief that if the people are informed, they will make better judgments than if they are less so. Detailing the incomprehensions, incapacities, failures, inadequacies and airbrushings over the course of many months was not, for me, a feel-good exercise, but I judged it preferable to sitting at home griping, ranting and snarling to my family and friends while my mind exploded in the knowledge that the rudder was coming off the ship of state even if some last-minute reprieve might be granted.

The Most Loathsome Republican: McConnell Does the GOP's Dirty Work While All Eyes Follow Trump

As Senate Republicans make a mockery of Trump cabinet confirmation hearings this week by ramming as many appointees through as quickly as possible to avoid scrutiny, Americans are going to discover there are many shades of darkness in GOP-led Washington.

Trump, needless to say, is not merely the headline grabber-in-chief, as evidenced by his 3:27am tweet Monday smearing Meryl Streep, who had the guts while receiving a Golden Globe lifetime achievement award Sunday to remind viewers that not all U.S. citizens agree with Trump’s boundless bullying.

Army offensive tightens noose on rebel-held Douma

Health workers in a besieged rebel-held suburb of Damascus have said daily attacks by Syrian troops are stretching them to the limit, and many fear the fall of Aleppo has emboldened the government of President Bashar al-Assad to step up its offensive.