Nancy Bordier and Joseph M. Firestone
Most governments claim they are democracies because they hold popular elections. A large majority of their citizens who cast votes also think their governments are democracies.
But there are other criteria besides elections for determining whether or not a country has a functioning democracy -- or a failing democracy.
A major criterion, possibly the most important one, is whether voters actually control elections and their legislative consequences.
- Can voters decide who runs for office and set the priorities for the legislation their elected representatives pass if they are elected?
- Can voters freely run their own candidates? Or must they vote for candidates run by intermediaries like political parties or special interests?
- Do institutions like the U.S. electoral college and election authorities place limitations on voters' ability to run their own candidates by imposing requirements voters find it difficult or impossible to fulfill, such as collecting massive numbers of signatures, paying unaffordable fees, etc.? Read more about Overcoming Systemic Voter Disempowerment with a System Changing Technology
FLASH: In 2003 NBC newsman Brian Williams was NOT in a helicopter that was fired upon by an Iraqi Rocket-Propelled Grenade (RPG)!!!!
A lie that Mr. Williams has shared publicly and periodically over the last decade has been exposed.
Finally, the veteran who was on the ACTUAL attacked aircraft “had had enough” of what Christian Christensen labels “WAR PORN” in “The Shame of US Journalism Is the Destruction of Iraq, Not Fake Helicopter Stories”. The veteran called out Williams on FACEBOOK! Read more about Brian Williams’ War Porn & the Bigger, More Pathetic Picture
This paper, or pre-draft, or sketch, or whatever it is, started out with this title: "With The 12-Point Platform, this won't happen: An aristocracy of credentialism in the 20%." But then I realized I'd gotten in deeper than I thought -- one of those posts were the framework and the notes overwhelm the original idea -- and as it turns out its more noodling on set membership functions and identity politics. Nevertheless, the starting point is education, even if we end up somewhere else.
Except not! The post is too long, so I'm going to change my mind, and return to my original plan!
Previously we've urged this definition of conservatism:
What Is Conservatism and What Is Wrong with It?
Q: What is conservatism?
A: Conservatism is the domination of society by an aristocracy.
Q: What is wrong with conservatism?
A: Conservatism is incompatible with democracy, prosperity, and civilization in general. It is a destructive system of inequality and prejudice that is founded on deception and has no place in the modern world.
(The relationship or overlap between conservatism and neo-liberalism is a topic for another day.) Now, in the 20%, we can see an aristocracy developing based not on dynastic wealth, but by credentialled families and clans in the 20%. The Economist writes: Read more about With The 12-Point Platform, this won't happen: An aristocracy of credentialism in the 20%
No one can deny or minimize the horror of the recent video released in the media showing the early January immolation of a captured Jordanian pilot by ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
I have never used the words “cognitive dissonance” so frequently before Obama’s accession to the WH, but once again, those sirens are blaring and should be for the rest of you. The corporate media drive to "war and vengeance" fever among not only our population but now many riled others is burning hotly over this as it burned after the Charlie Hebdo killings. Read more about ISIS Like Al Qaeda Useful US Frankenstein Monster!
With The 12-Point Platform, this won't happen: Conrad Hughes Hilton III strutting around like The Compleat Asshole he has grown up to be
In the 12-Point Platform we advocate:
3. Tax the Rich
and we have also urged that one good reason for a steeply progressive effective tax rate is "for the psychological and spiritual well-being of the children of the rich themselves." Conrad Hughes Hilton III is one person who would clearly have benefited from the 12-Point Platform. He's an asshole, to be sure, but he's clearly troubled, and his family's inherited wealth is clearly part of the problem.
I'll spare you most of the detail on Paris Hilton's truly world-class in-flight meltdown, but here are some of the highlights. From NBC: Read more about With The 12-Point Platform, this won't happen: Conrad Hughes Hilton III strutting around like The Compleat Asshole he has grown up to be
With The 12-Point Platform, this won't happen: Handing over weapons caches to ticked-off locals who want to kill us
Andre Damon in “Obama’s ‘pro-middle class’ budget: Cut corporate taxes, raise military spending, slash Medicare” calls out Obama’s supposed populist, legacy-saving, proposed fiscal budget for 2016 and the NYT’s propagandizing of it as an “unfettered case for spreading the wealth.”
More Obama and corporate media bullshit. What else is new?
White House climate adviser John Podesta and Joseph Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, have discussed climate change in a recent meeting. An administration official told National Journal that the "administration has consistently reached out to the faith community, including Roman Catholics, to advance our common goal of protecting our planet."
Given that the 12-Point Platform has this plank:
10. End the Wars
I've come to the conclusion, with a sense of dawning horror, that I actually have to develop some views on defense policy.* Which is complicated. However, since we're now entering the budget season, it seems natural to take a look at the defense budget. And leaving aside from squillion-dollar anecdotes, like the F-35 boondoggle, what seems really remarkable, to my naive eye, is that the Pentagon doesn't actually know what it's sending that trillion dollar budget on. In contrast, Obama just decided to publish yearly physican payment data under Medicare. OK, fine, but how come the Pentagon gets a pass when it comes to "yearly contractor payment data," anyhow?** Seems like a double standard...) Foreign Policy:
The Pentagon has never been audited, despite having a budget larger than any other federal agency anywhere in the world. Despite a coalition spanning Ralph Nader to Grover Norquist, the agency has resisted the fiscal accountability requirements imposed by law on every other branch of the government. The Defense Department has for years slow-rolled demands to get its books in order, though now claims to be on the verge of readiness to have independent auditors come in to inspect and validate its accounts. But signs of dysfunction, waste, and corruption persist, and a complete audit during the next two years is not guaranteed.
"Never been audited." What could go wrong? Read more about To end the wars, end blowback. To end blowback, dismantle the self-licking ice cream cones
Connecticut University Faculty Say "No" To Neo Liberal Crapification of Course Content and Online "Blended Ed"
In the State of Connecticut there is pushback by professors against the effort to gut education out of the State University System in favor of privately-designed online crap courses. Read more about Connecticut University Faculty Say "No" To Neo Liberal Crapification of Course Content and Online "Blended Ed"
I'm starting to sense a consensus congealing:
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who is considering a 2016 presidential bid, said on Sunday it would require 10,000 American "boots on the ground" to stop the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Syria.
Coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria won't destroy the group, but do help in some regard, Graham said on CBS's "Face the Nation."
So there is a screw-up with scheduling of vip guests at the White House.
President Obama learns that the new King of Saudi Arabia, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Pope Francis are all waiting to see him at the same time.
Obama turns anxiously to a senior aide. “Whom do you think I should see first?”
The aide ponders and then confidently replies: “I would see the Pope first and get that out of the way. After all, with the Pope all you have to do is kiss his ring.” Read more about Political Joke
NY Post. Bratton Escalates and/or Formalizes Militarization of NYPD to deal with "counter terrorism protection" and "advanced disorder control." There will be "vehicles equipped with machine guns." This unit will be "operational by summer" (how conveninent!) and will be housed in NYPD's very own Counterterrorism Bureau. I had not known that one existed. Read more about NYPD Hyper Militarization Escalates with Bratton's "SRG" for Advanced Disorder Control