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.]

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Native American Languages Siletz Dee-Ni, Ashininaabemowin Facing 'Extinction'

 VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Many of the world's minority languages, some spoken by only a handful of speakers, are on the brink of extinction, and community activists and scientists are teaming to try to keep them alive.

One example is the Native American language Siletz Dee-ni, which was once spoken widely by native people in Oregon, but which now may be spoken fluently by only one man: Alfred "Bud" Lane.

"We're a small tribe on the central Oregon coast," Lane said via telephone here at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. "Like most small groups of people, our pool of speakers has been reduced over a period of time, until the 1980s when very few speakers were left. Linguists labeled it 'moribund.'" [Q&A: Dead Languages Reveal a Lost World]

But Lane and his community decided to fight back.

From the Fracking Front: 5 Noteworthy Narratives

The U.S. Department of Energy may have recently cut its estimates for natural gas reserves from the country's shale formations by 42 percent, but the volume of news coverage that high-volume hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking) -- what Time magazine called "the biggest environmental issue of 2011" -- continues to receive has not declined one bit. A lot of the latest news relates to President Barack Obama's election-year State of the Union comments touting the important role that natural gas development can play in the U.S. economy.

Whether you take the president at his word -- agree or disagree with his view or doubt his support for shale gas -- there are many other noteworthy narratives in the debate over whether "to frack or not to frack."

Here are five:

(1) Fox Arrest: A "shameful stain on this Congress"
On Feb. 1, Gasland filmmaker Josh Fox was arrested while attempting to record footage of a congressional hearing on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) investigation into groundwater contamination -- possibly caused by hydraulic fracturing -- in the town of Pavillion, Wyo. The arrest raises questions about open government and censorship. Fox, who was released later that day, was justifiably perturbed by the incident and the lack of transparency displayed in the People's House.
Also agitated by the arrest was Congressman Maurice Hinchey of New York, who continues to call for tougher standards to protect against the risks associated with the controversial natural gas drilling process. In his statement regarding Fox's arrest, Hinchey said:
This is blatant censorship and a shameful stain on this Congress. I stand by Josh's right to record this hearing. His arrest was a huge mistake.
This brouhaha may have died down somewhat but look for the issue of transparency to remain at the forefront at the federal level and in states like New York where a recent rally in the Capitol -- in which Fox participated -- called for an all-out ban of fracking.

'Gag order' in Internet snooping bill prevents Canadians from knowing whether personal information is handed to authorities

A "gag order" written into the government's proposed Internet snooping bill makes it an offence for telecommunication companies to tell customers whether their personal information has been handed over to investigators, police or government, according to one privacy lawyer.

The contentious and dense piece of legislation intends to make it easier for government and law enforcement authorities to get warrantless access to personal information of any Canadian using the Internet, under the pretence of protecting children from online predators.

The law would compel Internet service providers to hand over a person's name and home and emailing addresses to the government, RCMP, CSIS or even the Competition Bureau. But that individual has no right to know their information was tapped -- even long after an investigation has been closed.

The "gag order," as a leading privacy lawyer called it, is contained in Section 23 of Bill C-30. The paragraph is very technical and references provisions of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.

"Under that law, if an individual asks about a disclosure of their information, the commercial entity -- so in this case the telecommunications companies -- can not disclose it unless the RCMP, CSIS or whoever gives express permission. It would be an offence for the company to hand over that information," said David Fraser. "That's a gag order."

Clear cutting in Gatineau Park starts Monday

The Wakefield Spring and majestic old growth white pines of Gatineau Park need your urgent help!

Residents of Wakefield are continuing to fight the extension of Highway 5 between Chelsea and Wakefield which threaten old growth pine trees and the Valley Drive (Wakefield) Spring. The cutting of trees in Gatineau Park will begin on Monday. A5X, a group who is now leading this fight, was asked to remove all decorations by noon on Thursday. We need your help to save these trees and the Wakefield Spring!

The group and supporters will return to the park on Monday at 10 a.m. when cutting is scheduled to start. Some members of the group will sit up in some of the largest white pines to block the cutting. At the beginning of January, the group set up a camp in the forest off Brown Lake Road, just south of Wakefield.

If we can delay the cutting by even just a few months, we may be able to buy more time to stop the project. The cutting has to stop in early spring so that the trees are not cut when baby birds are in nests.

Over 3,000 people depend on the spring for their drinking water needs year round, while another 2,000 people use the spring seasonally. The West Quebec Post reported that "A federal assessment [which approved the extension] acknowledged [that no one knows the exact source of all the spring water ... ] The 1986 Quebec consultation did not look at hydrology." CBC has also reported, "Transport Canada performed a preliminary assessment and determined that the project -- which would involve lopping off a nearby hilltop -- could contaminate the aquifer." It is unclear how much water some residents will get from the new wells that are to replace a communal well in the path of the construction.

Community members are not opposed to an extension in principle. However, they are demanding a better environmental assessment and an altered plan that would save the old growth trees and the Wakefield Spring.

What you can do:

* Show your support to the tree-sitters on Monday! The location of where the cutting will begin remains unknown. Please check the AX5 website or Facebook page on Sunday evening for the exact location. The protest will begin at 10 a.m. so be ready to come out and let the Quebec government know you don't want the trees to be cut!

* Contact Jean Charest's office -- A sample French and English can be viewed at:
- Fax:418 643-3924 and/or 514 873-6769
- Email via the website:
- Tel: 418 643-5321 or 514 873-3411

Original Article
Author: Emma Lui

Online Piracy: Youth Shaping Future Of Online TV, Movies, Music

CHICAGO (AP) — Young people want their music, TV and movies now — even if it means they get these things illegally.

A recent Columbia University survey found, in fact, that 70 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds said they had bought, copied or downloaded unauthorized music, TV shows or movies, compared with 46 percent of all adults who'd done the same.
With such an entrenched attitude, what can be done about widespread online piracy?

Certainly law enforcement has gone after scofflaws like these, hitting them with fines and, in some cases, even jail time. Congress is considering controversial anti-piracy bills that would, among other things, forbid search engines from linking to foreign websites accused of copyright infringement. And there are lawsuits pitting media heavyweights against Internet firms — notably Viacom's billion-dollar litigation against YouTube.

But here's a radical notion to consider: What if young people who steal content weren't viewed as the problem?

What if they and advocates for maximum online access could persuade the entertainment industry to loosen its tight grip on its coveted, copyrighted material — quite the opposite of what the industry is trying to do right now?

"The real problem is not pirates downloading illegally, but a failure to innovate on the part of the content providers," says Steven Budd, a law student at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

Like it or not, that's how a lot of people of his generation view the situation. And some experts think they're gaining clout, as they insist on easy access to music and other content while the Internet world loudly protests anti-piracy legislation that it says unfairly puts the responsibility of policing piracy sites on search engines and other sites.

Eve Ensler Unveils "One Billion Rising"

2012-02-17-OBRisingHP.jpgIt hasn't exactly been a stellar start to 2012 for American women. Rick Santorum's theory that birth control is "harmful to women" would have Margaret Sanger spinning in her grave. Then there was Fox pundit Liz Trotta's question to those who have been raped in the military, "What did you expect?" The landscape has appeared dismally pre-1970.

The bright spot was the immediate and visceral reaction from women on the Susan G. Komen vs. Planned Parenthood imbroglio. It showed that social media is very much a force for organizing -- a point overlooked by Komen founder Nancy Brinker when she haughtily dismissed pushback as "Internet chatter."

Grasping the power of social media -- along with the need to decisively move forward -- playwright, activist, and feminist Eve Ensler has revitalized the terrain with her announcement on February 14 outlining the launch of the ONE BILLION WOMEN initiative. The yearlong action will culminate on February 14th, 2013, the fifteenth anniversary of V-Day. The goal is to have one billion women and men "dancing, striking, rising" across borders to demonstrate their demand to end the global violence against women.

Why one billion? The number is based on a computation from the United Nations statistic that one out of three women on earth will be beaten or raped in their lifetime.

On Valentine's Day, Ensler talked with reporters by telephone to present her plans for One Billion Rising, and to field questions. Just off a plane from Australia, she joked about being able to celebrate V-Day in two time zones.

One Billion Rising

It's 14 years since we started V-Day. We made a determination that we were going to end violence against women and girls. It was an audacious and almost absurd idea, but we committed to it. We believed we could change human consciousness and make the world a place where women were safe, free, equal, with agency over their bodies and futures. This determination fueled our work with urgency, possibility and wild creativity. It was not about magic (although uttering and hearing the word "vagina" has brought inexplicable transformations and occurrences). The work was practical and painstaking. Thousands of activists volunteered their time and talent and energy year after year. They put on theater that broke taboos, got some arrested, others censored, that raised money and attention. They did this at colleges, in churches, in Parliaments, in offices, in factories, in community centers. They did it in Ithaca and Islamabad, Manila and Manchester. In 140 countries. They did it in solidarity and collaboration with thousands of awe-inspiring local groups and leaders whose daily work was on the front lines in community shelters and hotlines, fighting for laws and policies, advocating and healing.

The work was about brave women survivors breaking their silence, telling their stores, risking their lives and helping others to do the same. It was about holding perpetrators accountable and ending impunity and speaking back to governments and international elites. It was about calling out racism and colonialism. It was about developing trust and partnerships with male allies. It was about putting the issue of violence against women smack in the center of the conversation, culture and media. It was about turning shame to strength and pain to power. It has been an extraordinary 14 years. There have been many victories.

Hundreds of thousands march against labour reforms in Spain

Hundreds of thousands of protesters were marching throughout Spain on Sunday in the first large-scale show of anger over new labour reforms that make it easier for companies to fire workers and pull out of collective bargaining agreements.

The country's main trade unions organized marches in 57 cities, beginning midmorning in Cordoba in the south and expected to end with evening marches in Toledo and Valencia, with a very large demonstration planned in Madrid from midday.

Union organizers said around a million people had marched by mid-afternoon, but official figures were not released.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government passed the package of reforms nine days ago in an effort to shake up a labour market seen as one of Europe most rigid and to encourage hiring in a country battling the highest unemployment rate in the eurozone, at nearly 23 per cent. Mr. Rajoy was overheard saying that the reform will “cost me a general strike.”

“If we want Spain to grow and create employment, we had to do what we've done,” Mr. Rajoy said at his Popular Party's annual congress in southwestern Seville on Sunday.

The government's sweeping changes allow Spanish companies facing dwindling revenues to pull out of collective bargaining agreements and have greater flexibility to adjust employees' schedules, workplace tasks and wages, as well as making it easier and less costly to fire workers.

“If the government doesn't rectify this, we will continue with an ever-growing mobilization,” said General Workers Union spokesman Candido Mendez.

Original Article
Source: Globe
Author: Harold Heckle 

Pro-Palestinian remark cut from Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird’s UN address

OTTAWA — A Canadian expression of goodwill toward the Palestinian people was left on the cutting-room floor when Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird addressed the United Nations General Assembly last fall.

Baird rejected early departmental drafts of his maiden address to the UN that said Canada is a “leading supporter” of the Palestinian people and outlined major spending that backed that assertion, The Canadian Press has learned.

Baird ended up delivering a much tougher address than envisioned by his speech writers, one that unequivocally emphasized Canada’s support for Israel — a position for which he makes no apologies and which has generated much criticism of the Harper Conservatives.

Copies of the draft texts of the speech, obtained under the Access to Information Act, show Baird used a radically reworked text when he represented Canada for the first time at the General Assembly on Sept. 26, 2011.

In his address, Baird drew a parallel with pre-Second World War appeasers of Nazi Germany, saying: “Canada will not accept or stay silent while the Jewish state is attacked for defending its territory and its citizens. The Second World War taught us all the tragic price of ‘going along’ just to ‘get along.’

America's Youth Uprising

The uprising of February 2011 made a single word, “Wisconsin,” not just the name of a state but the reference point for a renewal of labor militancy, mass protest and radical politics. But it did something else. It signaled that a new generation of young Americans would not just reject the lie of austerity. They would lead a fight-back that has extended from the Capitol in Madison to Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan and across the United States.

A remarkable transition has happened since Wisconsinites occupied their streets and their Capitol. Progressives have moved from despair to hope. Not to victory, but to a sense of possibility. That is the radical progress that students, young workers, rockers and rappers demanded from a political process too prone to cynicism and surrender—and it is the radical change they have made. To understand how radical, consider where things began.

Governor Scott Walker, a Republican narrowly elected in the GOP sweep of 2010, proposed just weeks after taking office to strip teachers and other public sector workers of the collective bargaining rights and union representation that provide the last thin layers of protection in an era of globalization, privatization, downsizing and deep cuts. The governor and his party had the upper hand, with control of both houses of the state legislature, a dysfunctional Democratic opposition, weakened unions, a pliant press and a right-wing machine funded by billionaires like Charles and David Koch.

Rick Santorum: Obama Agenda Not 'Based On Bible'

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum challenged President Barack Obama's Christian beliefs on Saturday, saying White House policies were motivated by a "different theology."

A devout Roman Catholic who has risen to the top of Republican polls in recent days, Santorum said the Obama administration had failed to prevent gas prices rising and was using "political science" in the debate about climate change.

Obama's agenda is "not about you. It's not about your quality of life. It's not about your jobs. It's about some phony ideal. Some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology," Santorum told supporters of the conservative Tea Party movement at a Columbus hotel.

When asked about the statement at a news conference later, Santorum said, "If the president says he's a Christian, he's a Christian."

But Santorum did not back down from the assertion that Obama's values run against those of Christianity.

Israeli Strike On Iran 'Not Prudent,' Gen. Martin Dempsey Says

WASHINGTON -- A military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities is "not prudent" at the present moment, America's top military official, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, told "CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS" in an interview set to air Sunday morning.

“It’s not prudent at this point to decide to attack Iran,” said Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in the interview.

"I think it would be premature to exclusively decide that the time for a military option was upon us," Dempsey added, according to early reports of the interview, noting that he sensed that increased sanctions were beginning to have an effect.

Dempsey's remarks come amid a rising tide of threats and speculation -- some of it media driven -- about the possibility that Israel might launch a military strike against Iran in an attempt to forestall that country's development of a nuclear weapon.

American intelligence assessments say that Iran would have the capability to build a nuclear bomb in the coming years, but it has not yet decided whether to do so.

How Canada is Complicit in Torture

As Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper took part in a rather productive trade mission to China this month, reports emerged that his government had directed the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) to use foreign intelligence information gathered on suspected terrorists that may have been acquired through torture.

The report stated that under extreme circumstances, CSIS may “includ[e] information based on intelligence provided by foreign agencies that may have been derived from the use of torture or mistreatment.” The irony, of course, is that this all emerged while the prime minister toured the very country his government had previously distanced itself from over endemic human rights violations.

Political opponents and civil society groups immediately condemned the government and questioned how such a directive impacts the overall quality of democracy in Canada. The official opposition critic for justice Jack Harris accused the government of “utter contempt” for the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom.

Yet Canada has a history of trading information with Asian governments often accused of using torture, including China, India and Thailand. Canada has signed official Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties with each country and has other treaties in the works. What isn’t common is how a reporter for the Canadian Press was able to acquire such knowledge without the veil of “nation security” blocking the access to information request.

Crossing the (Bottom) Line

In Canada, "business as usual" means putting profits ahead of the future of the planet and denying that climate change is a problem.

We’re not about to quit oil cold turkey. Does that mean we should continue with business as usual?

In Canada, “business as usual” means rapidly increasing oil-sands exploitation and selling the bitumen as quickly as possible to anyone who wants it. It means continuing to import half the oil we use, mostly from the Middle East, while shipping oil extracted here to other countries. It means continued tax breaks and subsidies for fossil-fuel companies while manufacturing and other value-added industries suffer because of our inflated petro dollar. It means low royalties and not putting away revenues for the future.

This could spell a bleak future: a failing economy as accessible oil starts to run out with few renewable-energy sources to replace it; the deteriorating health of citizens as water, air, and land become more polluted; and more droughts, floods, and water shortages as climate change increases.

Iran stops oil exports to Britain, France

Iran has halted oil shipments to Britain and France, the Iranian oil ministry announced on its website Sunday, a move seen as retaliation for the European Union's decision last month to ramp up sanctions designed to pressure Tehran into resuming talks on its nuclear program.

A statement posted the website gave no other details, but it appears to be part of a backlash against the EU for imposing a boycott on Iranian oil beginning in July. The 27-nation EU accounts for about 18 per cent of Iran's oil exports.

The announcement comes the same day that a team of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency went to Tehran for the second time in three weeks. Their visit is another attempt to break more than three years of Iranian stonewalling about allegations that Tehran has — or is — secretly working on nuclear weapons.

At the same time, Iran's Revolutionary Guard began two days of land military exercises to upgrade its capabilities to defend the country against possible external threats.

Commander of the Guard's ground forces Mohammad Pakpour said on comments posted on the force's website that the manoeuvres dubbed Valfajr, or Dawn, began Sunday outside the city of Yazd in central Iran.

World Bank nominees must come from emerging economies

With the American Robert Zoellick’s term as World Bank president drawing to a close, now is the time to acknowledge global economic reality and allow a developing country candidate to take the helm.

There have been calls for an open, merit-based selection process for the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund heads since the institutions were first proposed during the Second World War. At that time, the United States was the bulwark multilateralist that stopped John Maynard Keynes’s proposal that the institutions should be run by a U.S.-U.K. duopoly. The U.S. argued for a broader governance arrangement and won in light of overwhelming economic power. In spite of the multilateralist intentions that won out at Bretton Woods in the formal agreements, the “gentleman’s agreement” that was struck informally has let Europe head the IMF and the US head the World Bank virtually without a fight for more than half a century.

Just before the global financial crisis emerged, the G20 called for an “open, merit-based and transparent” presidential selection process. Like the shift from the G8 to the G20, economic power has shifted meaningfully towards emerging economies. As emerging donors become more important, the United States has become less of a sure thing in the multilateral realm. Last year's debacles over the budget ceiling and the recent withdrawal of funding from UNESCO (albeit on foreign policy grounds), as well as in aid initiatives for health and agriculture, have cast a shadow on American global leadership. The euro zone’s protracted problems are further proof that the G8’s once unequivocal leadership in world economic governance is on shaky ground.

U.S. gets a chance to size up China’s leader-to-be Xi Jinping

Forty years ago this week, U.S. President Richard Nixon was about to begin his historic journey to China. It was, as Nixon termed it, “the week that changed the world.”

This weekend, China’s smiling president-in-waiting, Xi Jinping, ended his high-profile week visiting the United States. It was a week that intrigued the world.

If the 21st century turns out to be when China rules the world, how will historians in the future remember Xi Jinping’s role?

This week’s American visit by the man who is expected to rule China for the next decade assumed significance well beyond the carefully crafted speeches. Xi, as China’s vice-president, is expected to become leader of the ruling Communist Party later this year and to assume the presidency in March of next year.

Like a “rite of passage,” it was an opportunity for Xi to become better exposed to American ways and to introduce himself to the American political and military leadership, climaxing in a Valentine Day’s visit with President Barack Obama. If Obama is re-elected in November, these two men will form the most important political relationship in the world for years to come.

Law and disorder: What Bill C-10 could mean for Canada’s native people

By his own reckoning, John Findlay has spent 25 of the past 33 years in jail. He has gone in and out of prison since his first arrest at the age of 17 – mostly for petty property crimes, sometimes violent, often committed after he had been drinking.

He tells me in a soft voice that he's a pretty tough guy. I believe him. There was the time he tried to wrench away a man's laptop in the street, and ended up stabbing him three times with a penknife. The victim survived; Mr. Findlay spent six years in Joyceville penitentiary. Then he was back on the street, much as before, a bundle of anger and fear.

“I didn't learn anything, being in prison all my life, except to hide my fear and deal with it through violence,” he says.

In 2010, he was about to take a plea offer for another stretch of “deuce less” (two years less a day) when someone steered him to the Toronto Gladue court, a special tribunal for aboriginal people. A year and a half later, he thinks he's gaining on his No. 1 goal: “to figure out how to live outside the Correctional Service of Canada.”

Honduras prison fire: Inmates awoke to a nightmare around them

COMAYAGUA, HONDURAS—Jose Enrique Guevara woke up to screams and a flash of heat from the fire about to engulf his prison bunk bed.

As flames devoured men around him and tore at his back, Guevara bolted for a corner, seeking to escape the conflagration. But the only door to the overcrowded barracks was locked.

“You can’t imagine what it’s like, knowing that everyone is burning, hearing and seeing how they cry as they’re eaten by flames,” said Guevara, 33, who was serving an 11-year sentence for auto theft in the Comayagua prison. “It all happened in seconds.”

As scores around him died, Guevara survived only by a fellow inmate’s act of heroism: the man picked up a bench and smashed the lock.

Only three of 105 inmates in Guehis dormitory survived the worst prison fire in a century. In all, 358 perished in the blaze that broke out just before 11 p.m. local time Tuesday, including a woman who had come to the medium-security farm prison to spend Valentine’s Day with her husband.

Peruvians take to the streets in Lima to protest mine developments

The deep lines and dark, tanned skin of Segundo Huaman’s face tell of a life spent toiling in the fields.

A potato, maize and barley farmer in Cajamarca, one of Peru’s northernmost regions, the 37-year-old took a rare trip to the nation’s capital this month.

But instead of riding the bus, Huaman and thousands of other residents of the primarily rural areawalked the 870-kilometre route south to Lima over an 11-day period.

The National March for Water and Life, as their journey became known, was the latest salvo in a series of fierce protests against the proposed Conga mine, a $5 billion gold and copper project in the heart of Cajamarca.

The joint project between Denver-based Newmont Mining Corp. and Peru’s Buenaventura, if allowed to go ahead, would be the biggest-ever investment in a Peruvian mining operation. An expansion of the companies’ Yanacocha gold mine, also in Cajamarca, the project aims to help Newmont meet its goal of producing 7 million ounces of gold and 400 million pounds of copper by 2017.

Ontario’s focus on all-day kindergarten ignores looming child-care crisis

The only program the McGuinty government ruled out cutting among the dozens targeted in last week’s Drummond report was full-day kindergarten.

Since he made it a cornerstone of his 2007 re-election campaign, Premier Dalton McGuinty has trumpeted the $1.5 billion initiative as the most important development in public education in a generation.

But as school boards across the province begin kindergarten registration for next fall — when half of Ontario’s 4- and 5-year-olds will be offered the full-day program — many parents and child development experts are begging the question:

What about the 0- to 3-year-olds?

Once touted as the most important developmental years in a child’s life, Queen’s Park seems to have completely forgotten them.

There has been virtually no provincial money to ease the mass exodus of kindergarteners from Ontario’s chronically underfunded daycare system. And now many centres are teetering on the edge of collapse.

What’s worse, the education ministry, which was handed the daycare file in 2010, has no long-term vision or plan for early childhood education and care in Ontario.

Bruce Springsteen Talks Occupy Movement, New Album

Bruce Springsteen said this week that his new album Wrecking Ball was inspired by an "angry patriotism" that drew fuel from the Occupy movement.

Speaking to a group of journalists at the Theatre Marigny in Paris, Springsteen described how the financial crisis, income inequality, and other hot-button political issues informed Wrecking Ball, which paints a picture of an America that has failed the working class.

"My work has always been about judging the distance between American reality and the American Dream--how far is that at any given moment," Springsteen said. Judging by the album's tenor, he believes the gap has only become wider in recent years.

In one song, "Easy Money," a down-on-his luck protagonist goes on a robbing spree out of desperation. "He's imitating your guys on Wall Street the only way he knows how," Springsteen said.

In "Shackled And Drawn," Springsteen sings that, "Gambling man rolls the dice, working man pays the bill/Still fat and easy on Banker's Hill." And the album's lead single, "We Take Care Of Our Own," features lyrics like, ""From the shotgun shack to the Superdome/ There ain't no help, the cavalry stayed home."

The idea of a wrecking ball "sort of seemed like a metaphor for what had occurred; it's an image where something is destroyed to build something new--the flat destruction of some fundamental American values and ideas that occurred, really, in the last 30 years," Springsteen said.

Rolling Stone has a more detailed analysis of the album's angry message.

In a later interview with The Guardian, Springsteen delved into detail about the current state of American politics, crediting the Occupy movement for shifting America's focus to the country's real economic problems: The Guardian reports:
Springsteen, 62, says he is not afraid of how the album will be received in election-year America: "The temper has changed. And people on the streets did it. Occupy Wall Street changed the national conversation – the Tea Party had set it for a while. The first three years of Obama were under them. "Previous to Occupy Wall Street, there was no push back at all saying this was outrageous – a basic theft that struck at the heart of what America was about, a complete disregard for the American sense of history and community..."

And even if the album is a bit more strident than Springsteen fans are used to, the star brushed aside concerns with a music-business truism: "You never go wrong with 'pissed off' in rock and roll."

Original Article
Source: Huff 
Author: -- 

Enemies, a hate story

It is impossible to ignore what is happening to us: Palestinian children die in an accident, and many Israelis are happy about it - and are no longer even ashamed of it.

The all-clear was sounded as soon as the news came that the school bus was Palestinian.

Only the most perceptive viewers of Thursday's accident - in which nine children and one adult were killed when their bus collided with a truck north of Jerusalem - could make the distinction. But something in the manner of the coverage intimated at it immediately.

Then the reports and images started flowing in. The coverage was workmanlike overall, if faceless and depersonalized. It is not difficult to imagine how such a horrific accident would have been treated had the children been Jewish: with a lot more blood and tears. There is no disputing that, as the Talmud says, "Every person is partial to himself" - and to his own people, we might add. One can also excuse the ridiculous way the Jerusalem-Ramallah road by Aram, near the north side of the capital, suddenly became "beyond the Israeli border," in the language of reporters - the Green Line springs to life when it suits us.

But what came next cannot be excused. The Internet roiled - not with the usual anonymous comments, the last refuge of boors and perverts. This time they revealed their names and their Facebook photos, spewing forth nauseating, hate-permeated racism that seemed to exceed anything seen here previously.

"Relax, these are Palestinian children," Benny Dazanashvili wrote on Twitter. To which Tal Biton responded, "It seems these are Palestinians ... God willing." Itai Viltzig offered up a prayer: "I hope every day there is a bus like this." Dozens, if not hundreds, of Internet surfers said a prayer of thanks - for the terrible death by fire of young children on a school field trip - and the responses were featured on the web pages of the prime minister and the Israel Police and the Walla! web portal.