A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘democracy

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

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  • blogTO notes that yesterday was a temperature record here in Toronto, reaching 12 degrees Celsius in the middle of February.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly writes about the pleasure of using old things.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the death of Roe v Wade plaintiff Norma McCorvey.
  • Language Hat notes that, apparently, dictionaries are hot again because their definitions are truthful.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money considers if the Trump Administration is but a mechanism for delivering Pence into power following an impeachment.
  • Steve Munro notes that Exhibition Loop has reopened for streetcars.
  • The NYRB Daily considers painter Elliott Green.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes that North Carolina’s slippage towards one-party state status is at least accompanied by less violence than the similar slippage following Reconstruction.
  • Window on Eurasia warns that Belarus is a prime candidate for Russian invasion if Lukashenko fails to keep control and notes the potential of the GUAM alliance to counter Russia.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • blogTO notes that a Toronto family known for its Christmas lights display may be forced to ratchet back by city inspectors.
  • Centauri Dreams notes the apparent discovery of Kuiper Belt objects around white dwarf WD 1425+540.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to one paper examining the possible orbital inclination of Proxima Centauri b, and points to another one speculating about upper limits to the masses of other exoplanets orbiting P_roxima Centauri.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money links to interviews with different historians noting how close the United States is to a scenario from 1930s Germany.
  • The LRB Blog notes that the actions of the American deep state to undermine elements of the Trump Administration seen as potentially threatening will certainly also undermine American democracy.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw looks at reasons for the continuing gap in life outcomes between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer links to a paper looking at the effect of Huey Long’s populism on Louisiana’s economy, noting that he had little effect on the markets. This suggests that counting on the markets to reign in populists before the crash may be a mistake.
  • Strange Maps links to a map and history of the Gagauz of Moldova.
  • Torontoist looks at the continuing decline of live music venues in Toronto.
  • Towleroad notes the origins of Der Spiegel‘s cover art showing Trump with the severed head of lady liberty in a Cuban exile’s work.
  • Window on Eurasia notes differences between how Russians and Americans think about ethnicity and citizenship in their diverse societies.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • blogTO shares ten facts about Union Station.
  • Centauri Dreams describes possible ice volcanoes on Ceres.
  • Crooked Timber argues in favour of implementing a basic income before a universal income, on grounds of reducing inequality and easing the very poor.
  • The Crux shares an argument against dark matter.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze talks about nitrogen and oxygen in exoplanet atmospheres as biomarkers.
  • Far Outliers looks at intertribal warfare on the American plains in the 19th century.
  • The LRB Blog talks about critical shortages of translators, and funding for said, at official functions in the United Kingdom.
  • Language Log tries to translate the Chinese word used by the head of the Chinese supreme court to insult Donald Trump.
  • The Map Room Blog shares a map showing how particular areas of the United States are especially dependent on foreign trade.
  • pollotenchegg maps areas of relative youth and agedness in Ukraine.
  • Peter Rukavina looks at what happened to his Twitter stats after he quite.
  • Towleroad links to a new duet featuring Chrissie Hynde and Neil Tennant.
  • Window on Eurasia warns of a Russian invasion of Belarus and argues that Novgorod’s proto-democratic tradition no longer exists.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • blogTO tries to pit the west side of Toronto against the east side.
  • Centauri Dreams describes an inventive plan to launch a probe to rendezvous with Proxima Centauri.
  • Crooked Timber looks at the idea of civil society in the age of Trump.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper that aims to explore why Neptune-class exoplanets are so common.
  • Marginal Revolution notes an interesting history of Singapore.
  • The New APPS Blog links to a report suggesting that big data may have created President Trump.
  • The Planetary Society Blog reports on the latest plans for exploring Ceres.
  • Towleroad notes a rumoured plan to legalize anti-LGBT discrimination under Trump.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy has one take on Supreme Court obstructionism.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests Russians may accept pension reforms which will place the minimum age for qualifying for a pension for men above the average male life expectancy, and reports from St. Petersburg about a dispute over the ownership of a church.

[LINK] “Opposition accuses Trudeau of ‘betrayal’ as Liberals abandon promise of electoral reform”

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CBC News’ Aaron Wherry reports on the Liberal federal government’s abandonment of the idea of electoral reform. In an era of Brexit and Trump, I certainly see ways this could rebound badly on enthusiasm for conventional politics.

A new mandate letter issued to Minister of Democratic Institutions Karina Gould, released publicly on Wednesday, says “changing the electoral system will not be in your mandate.”

[. . .]

​”There has been tremendous work by the House of Commons Special Committee on Electoral Reform, outreach by Members of Parliament by all parties, and engagement of 360,000 individuals in Canada through mydemocracy.ca,” Trudeau writes in his letter to Gould.

“A clear preference for a new electoral system, let alone a consensus, has not emerged. Furthermore, without a clear preference or a clear question, a referendum would not be in Canada’s interest. Changing the electoral system will not be in your mandate.”

Gould was appointed minister last month, replacing Maryam Monsef.

“Our view has always been clear. Major reforms to the electoral system, changes of this magnitude should not be made if they lack the broad support of Canadians,” Gould told reporters at a news conference convened to comment on her new mandate letter.

“It has become evident that the broad support needed among Canadians for a change of this magnitude does not exist.”

Written by Randy McDonald

February 1, 2017 at 9:30 pm

[LINK] “Be very wary of Canada’s Trump-lite politicians”

In Spacing, John Lorinc warns his readers to beware of Trump-like politicians in Canada, and rightly so.

What kinds of thoughts, I wonder, were skittering through the minds of Conservative leadership hopefuls Kellie Leitch and Kevin O’Leary when they tuned in to the astonishing scenes of protest from around the world on Saturday?

When considering the tens of thousands of Canadians who marched in big cities (here, here, here, here and here) across the country, including those in Alberta, as well as the thousands more who flew down to Washington, did these two candidates think, “Hmm, perhaps I should proceed with caution?”

Or did they say to themselves, “Yes, I do believe this Donald Trump fellow is on to something…?”

As #45 embarks on his first days of, uh, work, it seems to me that the Tories should be reflecting carefully about whether he’s the wagon to which they want to hitch their fortunes. After all, what the world witnessed on Saturday was a gigantic, pink-hot ball of political energy that clearly doesn’t care about borders, mobilizes rapidly and won’t dissipate any time soon.

Leitch, really, barely belongs in this analysis: she is a fool — a sitting member of an electorally-successful government that was only defeated when it decided to abandon its assiduous courtship of suburban newcomer communities and instead embrace the sort of dog-whistle nativism that she’s decided to use as her brand.

O’Leary, who threw his fur-lined coat into the ring the day before Trump’s inauguration, bears more scrutiny because on the surface, his electoral appeal — a posturing reality TV star willing to call ‘em as he sees ‘em — is an attempt to repackage Trump’s celebrity for Canadian audiences.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 24, 2017 at 5:00 pm

[LINK] “The Nihilistic Purity of the Far Left Will Kill Us All”

Sammy Leonard’s angry essay on Medium condemning the temptation of too many people on the American left to opt for purity instead of practical politics has been widely circulating on my Facebook friends list. This is a good thing, since Leonard’s analysis is entirely correct. Condemning those politicians on the left who compromise as traitors and instead opting for politicians who cannot manage anything more than niche support is, far from a way to get people on the left elected, actually a very good way to get the right ensconced. Many of the fans of Bernie Sanders are particularly responsible for this, with their unfounded talk about the corruption of Hillary Clinton probably doing quite a lot to help this candidate lose in the Midwest and elsewhere. That the people who are immune from this criticism happen to be white men is, of course, not a coincidence.

For three months now I’ve been hearing people talk about resistance against Donald Trump. Time and again I’ve seen and heard people say that we should not normalize Trump or the putrid cabinet he’s assembling. I keep hearing that resistance would take bold and assertive action and I’ve heard people demand that the Democrats in Congress be at the forefront of the resistance.

Yet when Booker does just that in order to stop Sessions from having the power to set legal policy that will severely harm everyone who isn’t a white, heterosexual, Christian man he gets shat on for voting against a separate amendment that a) wasn’t going to pass b) was non-binding and c) would have undermined some of the drug provisions of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) that the Republicans are hell bent on destroying anyway. I’ve seen several people say that his vote on this one amendment completely invalidated his effort to stop Sessions and by extension resist Trump.

A lot of people have framed it as Booker rejecting Bernie Sanders (I-VT) amendment. Only the amendment was actually the work of Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) — Sanders was only a co-sponsor. Surprise, an old white man is taking all the credit for the work done by a woman. Not to mention that Booker and the other 12 Democratic Senators that voted against Klobuchar’s amendment voted in favor of a very similar amendment proposed by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR). Wyden’s amendment covered the same ground as Klobuchar’s, only there were greater safety provisions and fewer strings attached in his amendment than hers, and his amendment was also co-sponsored by Sanders (Wyden’s amendment was not passed either and the 51–47 vote was a direct partisan split). Speaking of Sanders, the man exposes himself as fraud and an absolute hypocrite every time he opens his mouth these days, and his large cult of rabid worshippers are the slimiest and most deceitful pieces of shit on this earth (and the ones most deserving of getting their heads bashed in). Notice that I wrote “cult of rabid worshippers” and NOT “supporters” because his supporters were at least willing to accept that Hillary Clinton won the Dem nomination, support her in the general election, and in many cases did the work necessary to make sure she would be elected.

But the large Bernie Bro/Zealot/Never Hillary cult made it clear that anyone who didn’t worship at the altar of Saint Bernie Sanders wasn’t a “real progressive” and therefore wasn’t worthy of their support unless they cleared an impossibly high bar. And they joined forces with an already established wing of far left purists for whom any Dem politician who rates less than 100% in their purity scale of select issues is a “neoliberal” and therefore justifies them to throw away their votes on crackpot third-party candidates so they can preen to everyone how “radical” or “revolutionary” they supposedly are and to try and shame people who consistently vote Democrat as ignorant and brainwashed sheeple. Yeah, I’m brainwashed for realizing that a system that often requires some level of compromise to move things forward renders 100% ideological purity useless and subsequently voting for whichever candidate in best positioned to effectively advance the issues I care about in a given election is the most prudent option. Yeah, I’m ignorant for realizing that this is a two-party system, no third party is going to magically rise overnight to save us, and the Democratic party is presently the only viable electoral vehicle for effective progressive action in America. Both parties ARE NOT THE SAME. Every politician takes corporate money because that’s the cost of doing business in American politics — even Bernie does — but only ONE Senator stood up to confront his colleague for the rights and safety of all Americans this week, and it WASN’T BERNIE SANDERS, IT WAS CORY BOOKER.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 20, 2017 at 3:30 pm