Dysfunctional democracies are provoking anger, confrontations, crises and conflicts for the following reasons:
- In many cases, the citizens of dysfunctional democracies are unable to decide who runs for office, who gets elected and what laws are passed because of obstacles erected to prevent them from doing so.
- Several of these obstacles, for example election laws in the U.S., result in the election of lawmakers, such as those who control the U.S. Congress, who represent only a minority of eligible voters and pass legislation that rarely represents the will of a majority of voters.
- According to extensive research, special interests, wealthy individuals, corporations and financial institutions tend to exert greater influence than voters over lawmakers’ legislative actions because they finance lawmakers’ electoral campaigns.
- Rogue lawmakers whose actions are not controlled by their constituents but by influential groups and wealthy campaign funders are contributing to the creation of increasing inequalities of wealth that enable a small percent of the population to acquire most of their nation’s wealth, while the rest of the population has little or no wealth and few if any opportunities to create wealth.
- Undemocratic political parties that control electoral machinery and do not allow competitive parties to take root prevent voters from setting party agendas and nominating and electing candidates of their choice, increasing the legislative disconnect between voters’ and lawmakers’ priorities.
Gov. Peter Shumlin delivered his third inaugural address Thursday, but disruptions were aplenty, as single-payer health care protesters entered the House chamber on multiple occasions. Read more about Health care protesters disrupt Shumlin's inauguration
James Petras recently published “Looking Backward, Looking Forward: 2014-2015”. What follows are my distillations of his positive and negative lists of events of 2014 and his 2015 speculations.
Positive Developments in 2014 Read more about James Petras on the Good, Bad & Ugly of 2014
On December 31, 2014 the US in the UN Security Council voted against a resolution to end Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem by 2017 and for a “comprehensive peace deal” to be reached by the end of 2015. Read more about Once Again w/ UN Veto US Dooms Palestine & Pisses on Intl Law
Earlier today, below a very evil-looking photo of a very rich Michael Bloomberg, Politico published a list of the top ten political donors of 2014. And much to the glee of conservatives, the two biggest spenders by a mile were hedge fund partner Tom Steyer and ex-New York mayor Michael Bloomberg — both supporters of predominantly liberal causes.
On the day after Christmas...
- In feudal times the lord of the manor would give boxes of practical goods such as cloth, grains, and tools to the serfs who lived on his land.
- Many years ago on the day after Christmas servants would carry boxes to their employers when they arrived for their day's work. Their employers would then put coins in the boxes as special end-of-year gifts.
- In churches, it was traditional to open the church's donation box on Christmas Day and distribute it to the poorer or lower class citizens on the next day.
Take your pick. Read more about Boxing Day
Re-Post of 12-8-13:
Oh little town of Washington,
how still we see you lie.
The crap -- a cheap and mean-filled heap --
as silent drones destroy.
In your dark hearts harbored
the everlasting ploy
through hopes and fears to millions here
serious fleecing to provide.
Obama, born of Oprah,
we gathered all around
to push Bush out forever,
a sick, destructive clown.
Alas, our dream aborted.
The Cheney course remains.
Obama’s charm at doling harm.
He’s master of the game. Read more about Re-Post: Oh Little Town of Washington
Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it: and Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail. Read more about Marley was dead.
Sounds a bit ominous,right? Then you read they are only removing it* because most people aren't even using (it is a time suck)**, and instead are leaving short messages via text or IM or other means. But this is only an imperceptible recession of the water from the surf line. Get ready for the coming tsunami. A communications sea change. Soon, few people will need or even have cell phones (except as data lines). Even now you can completely ditch all land lines and cell lines, and just use a wifi capable device for all your communication needs. A device that follows you or regulates your communication based on your preferences, "presence", schedule, and settings. Even an obsolete 3G Android smart phone could be repurposed to do all this, with the proper apps installed. Read more about Coca-Cola Disconnects Voicemail
It's a relief to have a diagnosis, but it would be even more relief to have a cure! So, while I don't have cellulitis, or the antibiotics are killing it, and the aches and pains have mostly gone away, I do have what looks like a bad case of poison ivy on my right, or typing hand. So I'm asking for poison Ivy cures! Read more about Common Household Remedies Request
This year I decided I was tired of coughing all winter from starting the fire in the wood stove by blowing on it, and getting all this horrible fine ash in my lungs. So I splurged on an excellent bellows: The Long John Bellows. It's made from wood, the bellows are suede, and the nozzle is copper, so I can direct the airflow right at the coals. There's no plastic. "Not a toy but a tool!"
So now my fire starts much quicker, I don't have to get down on my knees, and I don't have that horrible dry hacking cough so many Mainers have. Read more about Confession time: I love my bellows!
Business Insider, an interview with Twitter co-counter Evan Williams:
WILLIAMS: Yeah. Twitter is essentially a news service, and news is important for society, but personally I don't want to spend most of my reading time reading news. I get a lot more value out of other types of content and I think most people do as well. There's a natural urge to know what's going on. It's biological and it's social: What's new? What's everyone talking about? What's this shiny object? The vast majority of it isn't valuable to people and it may be even harmful, and that's well-reported, accurate news.
BUSINESS INSIDER: Harmful because it's misleading people or because it's taking up mindshare that could be used for better purposes?
WILLIAMS: It's creating anxieties that have no outlet. It's psychologically harmful. TV news is the epitome of this. Its whole goal is the raise enough anxiety that you tune in. It's not to inform or make society smarter. That causes us to have irrational fears about things that are extremely unlikely and highlights those instead of normal things that are actually harmful, like what you eat or watching TV news.