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.]

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Strange Case of Barrett Brown

In early 2010, journalist and satirist Barrett Brown was working on a book on political pundits, when the hacktivist collective Anonymous caught his attention. He soon began writing about its activities and potential. In a defense of the group’s anti-censorship operations in Australia published on February 10, Brown declared, “I am now certain that this phenomenon is among the most important and under-reported social developments to have occurred in decades, and that the development in question promises to threaten the institution of the nation-state and perhaps even someday replace it as the world’s most fundamental and relevant method of human organization.”

Meet the Conservatives Who Campaigned for Apartheid South Africa

In his recent visit to South Africa, President Obama credited Nelson Mandela and the anti-apartheid movement for inspiring him to get involved in politics. As Obama recounted in Dreams From My Father, he made his first political speech at Occidental College as part of the divestment campaign. When two white students in paramilitary gear pulled him off stage—in an act of political theater designed to reflect the oppression of blacks under apartheid—Obama said that “a part of me wasn’t acting, I really wanted to stay up there…I had so much left to say.” One of his friends recalled that he “showed no sign of being the orator who would become president nearly twenty-eight years later,” but that he had begun his journey.

David Cameron Refuses To Rule Out Accepting £8,000 Pay Rise

David Cameron has refused to say whether he would turn down the £8,000 pay rise being offered to MPs by the independent body that sets politicians' salaries.

On Thursday morning the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) proposed that MPs see their pay increase from £66,396 to £74,000 in May 2015.

Jailed Journalist Barrett Brown Faces 105 Years For Reporting on Hacked Private Intelligence Firms

Journalist Barrett Brown spent his 300th day behind bars this week on a range of charges filed after he used information obtained by the hacker group Anonymous to report on the operations of private intelligence firms. Brown faces 17 charges ranging from threatening an FBI agent to credit card fraud for posting a link online to a document that contained stolen credit card data. But according to his supporters, Brown is being unfairly targeted for daring to investigate the highly secretive world of private intelligence and military contractors. Using information Anonymous took from the firm HBGary Federal, Brown helped discover a secret plan to tarnish the reputations of WikiLeaks and journalist Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian. Brown similarly analyzed and wrote about the millions of internal company emails from Stratfor Global Intelligence that were leaked in 2011. We speak to Peter Ludlow, professor of philosophy at Northwestern University, whose article "The Strange Case of Barrett Brown" recently appeared in The Nation. "Considering that the person who carried out the actual Stratfor hack had several priors and is facing a maximum of 10 years, the inescapable conclusion is that the problem is not with the hack itself but with Brown’s journalism," Ludlow argues. He adds that the case against Brown could suggest criminality "to even link to something or share a link with someone."

Author: -

Secret Intelligence Court a Precursor to Tyranny

The current of awkward revelations concerning the clandestine or publicly misrepresented practices of the present and recent American administrations goes on. A long exposition in the New York Times and International Herald Tribune from July 8 concerns a widely unknown American secret court dealing with intelligence actions. The court decides whether certain actions are or are not legal, issues its rulings in secret and creates a new body of American law (or lawlessness, when it contravenes established public and constitutional law, which it is accused of doing). This is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

America’s Lowest Class

The homeless are a powerful example of economic injustice and the failure of all levels of government to provide for the nation’s poorest.

Yet Washington’s only response has been sequestration budget reductions that are cutting funds for housing—the best cure for homelessness—for more than 100,000, the majority of whom are families with children, mentally and physically disabled people and veterans.

Shell Canada's Jackpine Project Approval Recommended Despite Environmental Concerns

CALGARY - Alberta's energy regulator has recommended approval of Shell Canada's plan to expand oilsands production, even though it acknowledges the environmental impacts will likely be so severe and "irreversible" that new protected areas should be created to compensate for the damage.

A 413-page report contains an extensive list of recommendations and conditions for both governments and Shell (NYSE:RDS) and contains some of the most strongly worded language yet on the industry's growing environmental toll.

Carla Cheney: Walmart Fired Me For Reporting Dog Left In Hot Truck

A Walmart location in Kemptville, Ont., fired two employees in recent weeks for reporting customers who had left dogs in their vehicles, according to news reports out of Ottawa.

Carla Cheney says she was fired earlier this week after calling the police on a customer who had left their dog in their truck on a hot day. She is apparently the second place to have been let go over the issue in recent weeks.

Stephen Harper’s love for Canada’s colonial past

For all of his alleged political smarts, Stephen Harper is surprisingly out of touch with most Canadians when it comes to his fascination with Canada’s former days as a British colony.

In recent years, Harper has unilaterally imposed measures that reinforce an image of our prime minister as a man who loves our outdated colonial roots, loves the monarchy and loves all things British.

It’s an image that stands in stark contrast to how most Canadians want to see our country in the 21st century — independent, proud and one that has cast off its last ties to a foreign power.

How Canada's complex visa application deters would-be travellers

Have you ever seen civilians being mistreated? Ever worked as a hospital administrator? What does your sister do for a living?

These are the details the federal government wants from people applying for a visa to visit. Canada has the most complicated visa applications in the world, and it annoys half the planet.

Corporate money preventing all-out campaign to stop global warming

Highly regarded former Toronto mayor David Miller says he is "very excited" about becoming the new president and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund-Canada in September.

"They've made such a difference," Miller told The Toronto Star, "and to be part of an organization that knows how to make real change is a unique opportunity."

But there are questions about whether the WWF is effective in its work and, moreover, why the WWF and other members of the global environmental movement have made such little progress combatting the most serious threat to earth -- climate change.