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, December 25, 2012

Harper: Act now before Chief Theresa Spence dies

Chief Theresa Spence hasn't eaten in over 11 days. The weather has taken a big turn for the worse and her tent home on Victoria Island is far from ideal. With Christmas week upon us, there is a real danger that the war room gamers in the Prime Minister's office will think they can simply wait this one out. It would be a terrible miscalculation. Make no mistake, as Ottawa shuts down for the holidays, this hunger strike is entering a very volatile and high stakes phase.

Original Article

Oklahoma Planned Parenthood Deals Can Be Terminated: Judge

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A federal judge on Monday denied a request by Planned Parenthood to temporarily block Oklahoma from terminating a contract with the agency to provide nutritional services to low-income mothers.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot ruled that although the state's stated reasons don't seem to be sufficient cause for ending agreements with Planned Parenthood's three Tulsa-area clinics that have been in place for 18 years, the group's response to the state's concerns was insufficient enough to warrant ending the relationship.

The risks of the Harper Doctrine

Earlier this year, the term “Harper Doctrine” emerged in discussions of Canadian foreign policy, coined in a National Post article by Eugene Lang. Given the turmoil that has erupted over the effective killing of the F-35 fighter procurement, and the non-quite-Solomonic (columnist Andrew Coyne quipped that “everyone gets half a baby”) decision on the CNOOC-Nexen acquisition, it’s worth a look at what kind of doctrine could cause that kind of chaos. The answer seems to be: one that actually tries to project a Procrustean world view and make foreign policy fit into it, but at the same time appears to take every decision in isolation.

Attiwapiskat chief rebuffs Patrick Brazeau as Idle No More blockade of CN Rail line heads into fourth day

SARNIA, Ont. — A southwestern Ontario First Nation marched through the streets of Sarnia Monday — the fourth day of its blockade of a CN Rail line in the city.

The Aamjiwnaang First Nation said both the demonstration that began at Sarnia city hall and the ongoing blockade are part of the national Idle No More protests.

Idle No More: Chief Theresa Spence's hunger speaks to all of us

I woke up just past midnight with a bolt. My six-month-old son was crying. He has a cold -- the second of his short life -- and his blocked nose frightens him. I was about to get up when he started snoring again. I, on the other hand, was wide-awake.

A single thought entered my head: Chief Theresa Spence is hungry. Actually it wasn't a thought. It was a feeling. The feeling of hunger. Lying in my dark room, I pictured the chief of the Attawapiskat First Nation lying on a pile of blankets in her teepee across from Parliament Hill, entering day 14 of her hunger strike.

Ontario Nurses Association study on macroeconomic side effects of austerity

The Ontario Nurses Association has been publishing some awesome economic analysis over the last couple of years, highlighting the talents of their new economist and PEF member Salimah Valiani. Apart from a strong analytical and quantitative approach, ONA's recent research has been very refreshing in the emphasis it has placed on gender analysis and the unique features of caring labour.
heir recent paper on the contractionary macroeconomic side effects of provincial spending restraint is well worth reading. Austerity-boosters always ignore the self-defeating side effects of spending cuts in a context of generalized stagnation; as we've seen in Europe, austerity reinforces the same underlying macroeconomic problems that created the deficit in the first place. The full ONA paper is here:

Why is Stephen Harper afraid to look this woman in the eye?

After nearly two weeks without food, Chief Theresa Spence is finding out that there is nothing in an alleged democracy as ugly as oligarchy.

In a democracy, the political leadership is responsible to the people. In an oligarchy, it is responsible to the few — the elite who own most of the assets and wield the real power.

Idle No More: Women rising to lead when it's needed most

Chief Theresa Spence is now on Day 13 of her hunger strike. Too weak to leave the teepee she is living in on Victoria Island, a mere stone's throw from Parliament, she called for a round dance yesterday at 24 Sussex Drive in Ottawa, Prime Minister Harper's residence.

Throughout the duration of her hunger strike, Harper has maintained a chilly silence around the grassroots Indigenous movement now widely known as Idle No More, taking to Twitter instead to share his jokes about bacon with the Canadian electorate. What started as a string of emails between four Saskatchewan women back in November in protest of Bill C-45 eventually became a hashtag on social media, snowballing over time into a global movement for Indigenous rights.

First Nation blockade of CN track in Sarnia, Ont., appears peaceful

There seems to be no end in sight to the CN Rail blockade in Sarnia, Ont., by First Nations activists.

Protesters began a march at 11:30 a.m. ET on Monday, the fourth day of the blockade, from Sarnia's city hall to Highway 402 as part of the national Idle No More protests.

Rob Ford’s ouster must stand, Clayton Ruby argues in new filing

Mayor Rob Ford must be kicked out of office even if council never had the right to make him reimburse lobbyists, the opposing lawyer says in a new court filing.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Charles Hackland evicted Ford in November over a violation of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act. Ford won a freeze of the ruling until his appeal is decided upon, likely in January or February.

Syria Poison Gas Attack Reported By Activists In City Of Homs

BEIRUT, Dec 24 (Reuters) - Syria special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi discussed solving the country's conflict with President Bashar al-Assad on Monday, but the opposition expressed deepening frustration with the mission following what it called the latest massacre of civilians.

Underlining how rebels are taking the battle close to Assad's doorstep, the U.N. and Arab League envoy had to drive to Damascus from Lebanon on the eve of the meeting as fighting around the international airport made it impossible to fly in.

4 Firefighters Shot, 2 Killed At Webster, New York Fire Scene; Shooter Dead

WEBSTER, N.Y. -- Authorities say four firefighters were shot, two of them killed while responding to a house fire in western New York.

Officials in the town of Webster tell local media outlets that someone shot at firefighters around 6 a.m. Monday when they arrived at the scene of the blaze just east of Rochester.

FBI Investigated 'Occupy' As Possible 'Terrorism' Threat, Internal Documents Show

According to internal documents newly released by the FBI, the agency spearheaded a nationwide law enforcement effort to investigate and monitor the Occupy Wall Street movement. In certain documents, divisions of the FBI refer to the Occupy Wall Street protests as a "criminal activity" or even "domestic terrorism."

The internal papers were obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice fund via a Freedom of Information Act Request. The fund, a legal nonprofit that focuses on civil rights, says it believes the 112 pages of documents, available for public viewing on its website, are only "the tip of the iceberg."

Alberta Caribou Population: Trapper Laments Destruction Of Alberta Forest, Habitat

EDMONTON - Ken Cowles thought he'd found a refuge.

The longtime northern Alberta trapper had been chased from one area to another as he tried to stay ahead of the logging and drilling that ruined his other traplines. The section along the Little Smoky River east of Grande Cache seemed perfect — not pristine, but relatively untouched.

West Antarctica Warming Twice As Fast As Previously Believed: Study

OSLO, Dec 23 (Reuters) - West Antarctica is warming almost twice as fast as previously believed, adding to worries of a thaw that would add to sea level rise from San Francisco to Shanghai, a study showed on Sunday.

Annual average temperatures at the Byrd research station in West Antarctica had risen 2.4 degrees Celsius (4.3F) since the 1950s, one of the fastest gains on the planet and three times the global average in a changing climate, it said.