The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts from the “Politics” Category

More Vulnerable Than We Think

Posted on January 18, 2019

Their stories weren’t of the tragic kind, but in listening to some of the 800,000 American government workers who have been living without a wage during the country’s longest government shutdown, one couldn’t help but feel for them.  They had done nothing to deserve such treatment, yet they are losing mortgages, selling their cars, prematurely dipping into their retirement savings, and, in some painful images, taking their kids out of college.  If there is a trait of tragedy about the entire thing, it is to be found in the partisan mess that is American politics at the moment and how political leaders have become so calloused to the plight of millions – even if those workers are the ones actually keeping the government going instead of…

Why Do Rich Nations Have So Much Poverty?

Posted on January 16, 2019

This is a vital question.  Given capitalism’s track record of generating more wealth in the last century than all the rest of history put together, why, then, do the richest nations continue to have poor people, poor families, and an overall growth in poverty rates? The answers to such queries are necessarily complex.  The rise of precarious employment that offers little in the way of benefits of financial security is an important development, as is the loss of bargaining power of workers in general.  With the “going global” movement among corporations in recent decades, big business has lost its connection with local communities and concentrates more on wealth creation in markets than on healthy economies and satisfied workers.  The lack of affordable housing and alarming rise in…

Is Democracy Done in America? Hardly.

Posted on January 14, 2019

Okay, so democracy is in real trouble in the United States, right?  It must be, since Washington has become radically divided and hyper-partisanship makes compromise impossible. The swamp not only remains, but is overflowing. And whether or not President Trump is found guilty in even just one of the numerous investigations swirling around him, and about him, the country can never be the same again surely?  Pew polls are a good place to start in thinking about this, simply because the organization is non-partisan and also because they’re highly reputed and have been doing it for a long time.   Let’s start with perceptions of the press?  In the “fake news” world south of the border, journalism is hugely denounced, correct?  Nope. Across all ages, Pew research discovered that…

Two Tales of a City

Posted on January 9, 2019

Actually, Charlottesville, Virginia is more like a large town.  But over two days in August 2017, that community became the focal point for tens of millions of viewers.  What happened over that 48-hour period showed social platforms at their best and at their very worst.  It remains an informative case study. For a number of months prior to that August period, racist supremacist groups had used Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to quietly organize and recruit supporters for an important event that became the Charlottesville riots.  Jason Kessler, a white supremacist leader, had been using a Facebook page as a rallying call for months.  To be sure, the leaders of the movement attempted to put the best face forward on social media, while they worked away behind the scenes at…

Rewiring People

Posted on January 7, 2019

Eight years ago next month, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg sat down and wrote a letter to his shareholders. In language that seemed so natural, so human, he laid out what Facebook had done for the world. “We believe we have created a greater number of stronger relationships between people, and that it helps people to get exposed to a great number of diverse perspectives.  By helping people form those connections, we hope to rewire the way people spread and consume information.” It all seemed to suit the times – an era when social media and emerging applications would bring communities and the world together.  Zuckerberg had made the commitment that Facebook would never grow into a company obsessed with revenue and profits.   None of this turned out to…

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