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.]

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pastor Steve Youngblood Wanted To Slap Iowa Woman For Objecting To Anti-Gay Flyers In Church

A pastor went from bad to worse in his Iowa church after admitting he wanted to slap a woman in his sermon on October 7th.

Rev. Steve Youngblood of City Church in Burlington, Iowa had flyers displayed in the back of his church that urged voters to to remove Justice David Wiggins, an Iowa judge who had voted to legalize same-sex marriage.

Chilean Student Movement Awarded For Organizing Nation’s Largest Protests Since Pinochet Era

Today we look at the Chilean students’ movement, which led last year’s massive citizen democracy movement — the largest protests since the days of opposition marches to General Augusto Pinochet a generation ago. For more than a year, the movement has rallied hundreds of thousands in the streets of Santiago and other major cities to demand greater access to affordable university education, as well as deeper structural changes in Chile. The country has the highest per capita income in the region, but also one of the most unequal distributions of wealth. We are joined in our studio by two of Chile’s most recognizable student protest leaders: Camila Vallejo and Noam Titelman. They are in the United States, in part, to receive the 2012 Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award, which is given by the Institute for Policy Studies. It is named for the Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier and his colleague Ronni Karpen Moffitt, who were murdered in Washington by agents of the U.S.-backed Pinochet regime in September 1976.

Source: Democracy Now!
Author: ---

Big Electric Companies Behind 'Grassroots' Ad Campaign in Florida The dark money group Defend my Dividend is more Astroturf than grassroots

Since August, a dark money group called Defend My Dividend has spent nearly $90,000 running ads on South Florida TV stations warning seniors about a looming increase in the tax rate on dividends.

"You worked hard, saved for retirement, and dividends are a big part of it," says one of the ads, which Defend My Dividend has posted on YouTube. "But if President Obama and Congress don't act this year, tax rates on dividends will spike, almost tripling in some cases." Time is running out, the ad intones, as phone numbers for Obama and Congress appear on the screen.

Globe And Mail Paywall Upsets Readers Unwilling To Shell Out $20 A Month For News Site

The Globe and Mail's digital edition will disappear behind a paywall on Oct. 22, and many of the national daily newspaper’s online readers reacted with disappointment and hostility to what some see as an excessive subscription price.

Faced with years of declining ad revenue, newspapers around the world have been shifting to a subscriber-supported business model that sees online readers paying for access to the newspaper's website. The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal and The Times of London are among the papers that have made the switch.

Industry Canada Small Business Loan Revamp: Higher Costs For Businesses, Taxpayers

OTTAWA - Small business will pay more, the banks will earn more and taxpayers will lose more under an Industry Canada plan to revamp the rules for a troubled lending program.

The proposal, issued on the weekend after years of consultations, would bump up the maximum interest rate charged on federally guaranteed small-business loans by three-quarters of a percentage point.

Canada's Economic Diversity Takes A Hit: Oil, Gas And Mining Now Nearly As Big As All Of Manufacturing

A new report from Bank of Montreal predicts that oil-rich Alberta will lead the country in economic growth this year, yet another confirmation of Canada’s growing dependence on natural resources to fuel its economy.

Most Canadians understand how the country’s industrial mix has shifted over the last decade to become increasingly weighted toward oil, gas and mining, for better or worse.

Geoengineering experiment off B.C. coast called ‘blatant violation’ of UN rules

VANCOUVER - A private company has conducted what is being described as the world’s biggest geoengineering experiment off Canada’s west coast, dumping tonnes of iron into the ocean that may have triggered an artificial plankton bloom up to 10,000 square kilometres in size.

The experiment, which critics say is a ”blatant violation” of United Nations rules, involves controversial Californian businessman Russ George who teamed up with a First Nations village on Haida Gwaii to establish the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation to run the project.

Ottawa mum on ACOA official’s salary, expenses

MacAdam’s appointment revoked after investigation

OTTAWA — A former aide to Defence Minister Peter MacKay may still be receiving his six-figure government salary while taking French lessons, despite having his appointment revoked.

Kevin MacAdam is asking Canada’s federal court to save his job after an investigation by the Public Service Commission of Canada revoked his appointment as director of Prince Edward Island operations for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

Secret Debate Contract Reveals Obama and Romney Campaigns Exclude Third Parties, Control Questions

As President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney prepare for their second debate tonight at Hofstra University on Long Island, we speak with George Farah, author of "No Debate: How the Republican and Democratic Parties Secretly Control the Presidential Debates." The debate will feature questions from the audience that have been pre-selected by moderator Candy Crowley of CNN — a detail revealed when Time magazine published the contract secretly negotiated by the Obama and Romney campaigns and the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Source: Democracy Now!
Author: --

2012 Saw Warmest September On Record Across The Globe, Says NOAA

According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, the globe recorded its warmest September on record, tying with 2005 for the title. Global surface temperature records stretch all the way back to 1880. September marked the 331st straight month with above average temperatures, and the 36th straight September with a global temperature above the 20th century average.

The Commons: Not enough time to explain, so don’t bother trying

The Scene. Conservative MP Dan Albas, still new to this place and apparently not yet exhausted of all ideals, lamented last week that the 35 seconds allotted for each response in Question Period were not nearly sufficient to explain the obviously complicated matters of national governance. “While it is possible to ask a meaningful question in 35 seconds,” he explained, “I am certain most would agree that when it comes to governance, very few answers can be given in such a short timeframe.”

U.S. report on overcrowding prison populations a harbinger for Canadian prisons, say critics, experts

PARLIAMENT HILL—A new U.S. report on exploding federal prison populations is a harbinger of overcrowding and soaring costs in Canada’s federal and provincial jails because of a series of crime laws passed by the federal government since 2009, say Canada’s federal prison ombudsman, opposition MPs, and a prominent criminal defence lawyer.

A September report from the U.S. federal Government Accountability Office cited a 400 per cent increase in the population of federal prisons in the U.S. since the late 1980s and a jump of 50 per cent from 2000 to 2012 that was primarily attributed to longer offender sentencing lengths.

Why the Roma are fleeing Hungary and why Canada is shunning them

GYONGYOSPATA, HUNGARY—They called themselves a neighbourhood watch.

On March 1, 2011, at least 2,000 members of a right-wing paramilitary group called the Civil Guard Association for a Better Future rolled into this sleepy former coal-mining village 80 kilometres east of Budapest.

Wearing black uniforms and hats, they pledged to help police maintain law and order and stamp out “Gypsy criminality.”