Lavold's Social Studies 30-1
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Sergei Skripal Is Latest Russian Dissident Attacked in U.K.

Sergei Skripal Is Latest Russian Dissident Attacked in U.K. | Lavold's Social Studies 30-1 | Scoop.it
Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent convicted of spying for Britain, is critically ill in a U.K. hospital.
Mr. Lavold's insight:
How can a country call itself a democracy when it assassinates dissidents both at home and abroad?
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Andrew Coyne: Germany’s political ‘crisis’ is not an example of proportional representation’s ills

Andrew Coyne: Germany’s political ‘crisis’ is not an example of proportional representation’s ills | Lavold's Social Studies 30-1 | Scoop.it
What is the direst possibility to have emerged in Germany's ‘crisis,’ the option from which even Merkel shrinks? That she might have to govern with — gasp! — a minority
Mr. Lavold's insight:
Electoral systems have pros and cons. Take a look at what is going on in Germany and think about what it might say about both first past the post and proportional representation. Of course, as this is a column, it represents the opinion of the author (and he has a strong bias), but approach the issue with an open mind. Do you think Coyne makes a good case?
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Return of the strongman: ‘It’s a perfect storm against democracy right now’

Return of the strongman: ‘It’s a perfect storm against democracy right now’ | Lavold's Social Studies 30-1 | Scoop.it
Authoritarian regimes are becoming more oppressive, and the world is seeing a rise of strongmen leaders in countries where it was thought democracy was taking hold
Mr. Lavold's insight:
Since the end of the Cold War in 1991, it has appeared that democracy has emerged victorious as the dominant political system in the world. In recent years, however, authoritarianism has taken over country after country. Even in democracies, authoritarian political parties and leaders are becoming increasingly influential. This article examines this phenomenon and why people seem to be rejecting democracy. 
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PressReader.com - Connecting People Through News

Connecting People through News. All-you-can-read digital newsstand with thousands of the world’s most popular newspapers and magazines. Vast selection of top stories in full-content format available for free.
Mr. Lavold's insight:
Democracy requires a free press. This is, without a doubt, true. Countries like Russia, claiming to be democratic (and appearing so due to regular elections) are questioned because their journalists are often punished for trying to criticize Putin's actions and thus hold him accountable to his citizens. The U.S. under Trump also appears to be trying to hamstring the free press - although not through punishment (despite attempts by the White House to limit CNN's access to the President due to unhappiness with its reporting), but through lies. In the few short weeks since his inauguration, Trump and his spokespeople have lied consistently and then excused themselves through claiming to simply be presenting 'alternative facts'. Read this article and think about what this means for the country which, up until now, was considered the globe's protector of liberal freedoms.
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China is struggling to keep control over its version of the past

China is struggling to keep control over its version of the past | Lavold's Social Studies 30-1 | Scoop.it
A battle is raging in the realm of historiography
Mr. Lavold's insight:
Totalitarian regimes often use the rewriting of national history as a means of maintaining control over their populations. Information is power - controlling information, therefore, permits the centralization of power. As you read this article, think about how the Chinese government is using its version of history to maintain its dominance over Chinese society and how this is a violation of liberal democratic beliefs.
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Canadian democracy is broken - Macleans.ca

Canadian democracy is broken - Macleans.ca | Lavold's Social Studies 30-1 | Scoop.it
But how to fix it? Columnists Andrew Coyne and Paul Wells debate the question.
Mr. Lavold's insight:
This is an interview with two prominent journalists dealing with a range of issues focused on problems that exist in the Canadian system of democracy. To what extent do you agree with their positions?
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Mark D. Jarvis & Lori Turnbull: Canadian prime ministers have too much power

Mark D. Jarvis & Lori Turnbull: Canadian prime ministers have too much power | Lavold's Social Studies 30-1 | Scoop.it
The winner of the prestigious Donner Prize, an annual award for the best book on Canadian public policy, was announced last night by Allan Gotlieb, chairman of the Donner Canadian Foundation, at a gala awards dinner at the Carlu in Toronto hosted by Don Newman, chairman of Canada 2020.
Mr. Lavold's insight:
One of the strongest arguments made against the Canadian political system is that it gives too much power to the Prime Minister, who can, through party solidarity, guarantee the passage of legislation in a majority government. This article proposes that this is a major problem that needs to be addressed.
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Canadian Parliamentary Review - Article

Canadian Parliamentary Review - Article | Lavold's Social Studies 30-1 | Scoop.it
Mr. Lavold's insight:
As we compare and contrast the American and Canadian systems of democracy, we need to look for the issues that divide the two systems and evaluate them. This article looks at both systems with a critical eye.
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Matt Taibbi on the Summer of the Media Shill

Matt Taibbi on the Summer of the Media Shill | Lavold's Social Studies 30-1 | Scoop.it
Matt Taibbi on why campaign 2016 won't just have lasting implications for American politics. It's obliterated what was left of our news media.

Via Mr. MacCollum
Mr. Lavold's insight:
The media is incredibly important in a healthy democracy - how else will the people know what their government and politicians are doing in order to hold them accountable? What happens when the media stop being objective and end up influencing the outcome of elections? This article tackles that difficult subject in light of the media's role in the current American presidential campaign.
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Mr. MacCollum's curator insight, August 15, 2016 5:34 PM
What role does the media play in an active democracy? One critic has some harsh words for what's happening.
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Donald Trump's ideology of violence

Donald Trump's ideology of violence | Lavold's Social Studies 30-1 | Scoop.it
Want to know why Donald Trump’s rallies are so violent? Just listen to him.

Via Mr. MacCollum
Mr. Lavold's insight:
This is sooooo scary. While comparisons to Hitler are certainly inaccurate, there are some similarities in the way that Trump appeals to certain demographics.
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Mr. MacCollum's curator insight, March 13, 2016 12:13 AM
Reading this article chilled me to the bone. I am at a loss for words about what is happening here.
Mr. MacCollum's curator insight, March 13, 2016 12:14 AM
Reading this article chilled me to the bone. I am at a loss for words about what is happening here.
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School District Halts Webcam Surveillance | WIRED

School District Halts Webcam Surveillance | WIRED | Lavold's Social Studies 30-1 | Scoop.it
A suburban Philadelphia school district is deactivating a webcam, theft-tracking program secretly lodged on 2,300 student laptops following allegations the device was used by administrators to spy on a boy at home. “I think given the concerns of parents and community members, I think we have a responsibility to at least take a pause and…

Via Mr. MacCollum
Mr. Lavold's insight:
Consider the violation of privacy inherent in what this school board is doing. 
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Mr. MacCollum's curator insight, December 17, 2014 12:50 AM

I talked about this in class a couple of weeks ago, it's an old story, but one that shows the extent to which peeking into personal lives has progressed. Should this be permissible in a democratic society?

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What ISIS Really Wants

What ISIS Really Wants | Lavold's Social Studies 30-1 | Scoop.it
The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it.
Mr. Lavold's insight:

This is an excellent article demonstrating the origins, beliefs and goals of ISIS (Daesh). Given the effects that this surprisingly small group of fanatics is having on our liberal democracy, it is important to try and understand what they are all about.

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Niqab ban at citizenship ceremonies unlawful, as Ottawa loses appeal

Niqab ban at citizenship ceremonies unlawful, as Ottawa loses appeal | Lavold's Social Studies 30-1 | Scoop.it
The federal government has lost its appeal of a lower court ruling that struck down a ban on wearing niqabs at citizenship ceremonies. The ruling comes in time for the woman at the centre of the case to take her oath and vote on Oct. 19.
Mr. Lavold's insight:

Should muslim women be required to show their faces in order to be sworn in as Canadian citizens? Harper thinks so... but the courts disagree. This issue reflects numerous liberal issues - freedom of religion, privacy rights, freedom of speech and security. What do you think?

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Analysis | What you can learn from watching North Korean soap operas

Analysis | What you can learn from watching North Korean soap operas | Lavold's Social Studies 30-1 | Scoop.it
Television in North Korea offers a different window into the Hermit Kingdom.
Mr. Lavold's insight:
This is a fascinating look at the use of television by the North Korean state. We have learned about the importance of indoctrination and propaganda in authoritarian regimes - this hasn't changed in Kim's totalitarian system. But the messages have. I think you will enjoy this article (and the accompanying video).
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Cohen: Why North Korea reminds us of the Cuban Missile Crisis

Cohen: Why North Korea reminds us of the Cuban Missile Crisis | Lavold's Social Studies 30-1 | Scoop.it
If there is a classic case study of nuclear confrontation, it is the Cuban Missile Crisis. In October 1962, the world came closer to Armageddon than at any time in history.
Mr. Lavold's insight:
The current show down between Trump and Kim Jong Un (North Korea) is extremely dangerous and shows the problems that come with having irrational leadership - the exact opposite of the type of rationality promoted by liberalism.
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Toronto school bans cellphones from class | Toronto Star

Toronto school bans cellphones from class | Toronto Star | Lavold's Social Studies 30-1 | Scoop.it
Earl Grey Senior Public School changes policy ‘to minimize distractions in the classroom’ for its Grades 7 and 8 students.
Mr. Lavold's insight:
People with a classical liberal (or libertarian) bent tend to see attempts by governing bodies to limit freedoms as being needlessly restrictive to personal freedoms. Modern liberals disagree, saying that people sometimes need to be regulated in order to prevent harm to themselves or others. This short article examines the decision by a Toronto junior high school to ban cell phones in class rooms. What do you think?
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Can You Spot Fake News? Don’t Be So Sure.

Can You Spot Fake News? Don’t Be So Sure. | Lavold's Social Studies 30-1 | Scoop.it
Socrates said, “I know that I know nothing.” That’s further than most people get.
Mr. Lavold's insight:
In the age of Trump, the importance of truth is becoming less and less. Fake news sites trumpet made-up stories which people believe without question. Why is this? One would think that, with greater ability to fact-check through the Internet, people would be less willing to simply accept what they are told. Yet the opposite is true. This story discusses the issue of why so many people accept what Kelly Conway calls, alternative facts.
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The Transformation of American Democracy to Oligarchy | Huffington Post

The Transformation of American Democracy to Oligarchy | Huffington Post | Lavold's Social Studies 30-1 | Scoop.it
The United States has the world's largest economy, is the most important contributor to scientific advancements, has the most powerful military and som
Mr. Lavold's insight:
The focus of this article is on the importance of money in the American political system and the effect it has on democracy in the United States. It is a ringing call to arms - do you agree?
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Canada's Prime Minister Wields Monstrous Power | The Tyee

Canada's Prime Minister Wields Monstrous Power | The Tyee | Lavold's Social Studies 30-1 | Scoop.it
Why are we scared to say it? Are we afraid of a truly democratic government?
Mr. Lavold's insight:
This is an opinion piece by someone who is very jaded by the Canadian system of, as he sees it, pseudo-democracy. His biggest concern? The power of the PM to control the elected representatives of the people.
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Analysis: U.S. may be entering age of political deadlock

Analysis: U.S. may be entering age of political deadlock | Lavold's Social Studies 30-1 | Scoop.it
The debt limit impasse in Washington, where a polarized Congress is struggling to avert an imminent U.S. default, points to a deeper crisis -- America may be entering an age of political paralysis.
Mr. Lavold's insight:
What happens when a political system based on compromise and cooperation becomes hyper-partisan? While the Canadian political system has been argued to make the PM too powerful, the American system, this article suggests, leads to political deadlock where important legislation (such as budgets) can't get passed. Where does that leave the people?
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Planned Alberta transmission line leaves landowners feeling powerless

Planned Alberta transmission line leaves landowners feeling powerless | Lavold's Social Studies 30-1 | Scoop.it
"Every morning I'm going to wake up and I'm going to see that tower. It's not right — why does the government get to tell us what to do?"
Mr. Lavold's insight:
One of the deepest disagreements between liberals and conservatives (the modern forms) is the degree to which the government should influence our lives. Liberals are accepting of government regulation in name of the common good (as long as it doesn't go too far), while conservatives believe that when governments introduce policies to force people to act in a certain way they are restricting personal freedom, which is unacceptable in a democracy. This article describes this controversy with reference to the Alberta government's decision to force farmers to accept the placement of giant power transmission towers on their land. 
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Traveling Through Venezuela, a Country Teetering on the Brink

Traveling Through Venezuela, a Country Teetering on the Brink | Lavold's Social Studies 30-1 | Scoop.it
Our reporter explores the country and its people in his first 30 days in the region on assignment for The Times.

Via Mr. MacCollum
Mr. Lavold's insight:
This is a fascinating article on a country that helped its people through major restrictions on economic freedom. It's all falling apart now - think about why and the implications for Canada and its mixed economy.
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Mr. MacCollum's curator insight, February 11, 2016 3:05 PM

Venezuela is a country that has, after a fashion, to provide for the many impoverished people in the nation. They did this by bringing in extreme restrictions on economic freedom. The results, now that the income from oil have largely disappeared, are not pretty. This is an excellent read on a country teetering on the economic brink.

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Explainer: Everything you wanted to know about electoral reform

Explainer: Everything you wanted to know about electoral reform | Lavold's Social Studies 30-1 | Scoop.it
Canadians like the idea of reforming the electoral system but no one can agree on exactly how. Campbell Clark outlines some of the options and explains​ which options appeal to the federal parties

Via Mr. MacCollum
Mr. Lavold's insight:
Everything you wanted to know about electoral systems and which one might work best in this country (and which ones might work best for which political parties!)
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Mr. MacCollum's curator insight, May 13, 2016 11:52 PM
You're all going in to diploma exams? You want to understand the voting system? Here's a recommended read. Outstanding explainer.
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The One Weird Trait That Predicts Whether You’re a Trump Supporter

The One Weird Trait That Predicts Whether You’re a Trump Supporter | Lavold's Social Studies 30-1 | Scoop.it
And it’s not gender, age, income, race or religion.
Mr. Lavold's insight:

We have studied authoritarianism this term - see how people who demonstrate authoritarianism like Trump and what this might mean for the upcoming American election.

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How will $15M for shelters help women in Alberta?

How will $15M for shelters help women in Alberta? | Lavold's Social Studies 30-1 | Scoop.it
It took three attempts before the young Edmonton mother summoned up the courage to leave her abusive husband for good. For four years Cara (not her real name) had walked on eggshells dodging the verbal, emotional and mental abuse.
Mr. Lavold's insight:

This is a great example of modern liberal government spending. What would be the response of the right to such use of tax dollars? 

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