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.]

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Bill S-4 Passes Senate, Despite Supreme Court Ruling Against Warrantless Access

The Supreme Court of Canada last week declared that access to telecom subscribers’ personal information requires a court warrant.

This week, despite a warning from Canada’s privacy commissioner, the Harper government is moving ahead with legislation that greatly expands warrantless access to subscriber data.

Exclusive: Inside the Koch Brothers’ Secret Billionaire Summit

Charles and David Koch wrapped up their annual summer seminar on June 16 in Dana Point, California, at the St. Regis Monarch Bay resort—a fitting location for two men whose combined net worth is more than $100 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The highly secretive mega-donor conference, called “American Courage: Our Commitment to a Free Society,” featured a who’s who of Republican political elites. According to conference documents obtained through a source who was in attendance, Representatives Tom Cotton (AR), Cory Gardner (CO) and Jim Jordan (OH) were present, as were Senators Mitch McConnell (KY) and Marco Rubio (FL). Cotton, Gardner and McConnell are all running for the Senate this year; Jordan for re-election in the House. Rubio is widely considered a major contender for a 2016 presidential run. According to the documents, the conference attendees discussed strategy on campaign finance, climate change, healthcare, higher education and opportunities for taking control of the Senate. (The draft agenda is available for viewing here.)

Up Close and Personal With George W. Bush’s Horrifying Legacy

The Iraq disaster remains George W. Bush’s enduring folly, and the Republican attempt to shift the blame to the Obama presidency is obscene nonsense. This was, and will always be, viewed properly as Bush’s quagmire, a murderous killing field based on blatant lies.

This showcase of American deceit, obvious to the entire world, began with the invented weapons of mass destruction threat that Bush, were he even semi-cognizant of the intelligence data, must have known represented an egregious fraud. So was his nonsensical claim that Saddam Hussein had something to do with the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, when in fact he was Osama bin Laden’s most effective Arab opponent.

Ebola Kills 7 In Liberia, Health Official Says

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — A health official says seven people believed to have the Ebola virus have died in recent days in the Liberian capital, in the first reported deaths in Monrovia.

Deputy Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah told The Associated Press on Tuesday that brings to 16 the number of people believed to have died from the virus in the West African country since the outbreak began.

The deaths are worrying because no new cases had been confirmed in Liberia in more than two months.

The outbreak appears to have begun in neighboring Guinea and has also spread to Sierra Leone. In all, the World Health Organization says nearly 250 people have died of the virus, which causes severe bleeding and high fever.

Original Article
Author: AP


The United States now faces the possibility of its third intervention in Iraq. On paper, the two earlier wars quickly achieved their military goals. In 1991, a muscular alliance of thirty-four nations, led by the United States, forced Iraq to withdraw from the tiny city-state of Kuwait in a mere six weeks. In 2003, President Saddam Hussein, after twenty-four years in power, fled Baghdad just three weeks after a token “coalition of the willing” invaded. Yet both wars were ultimately political failures, and the new challenge in Iraq may prove to be even deadlier, with sweeping regional repercussions. Given its deepening sectarian and ethnic divisions—and the absence of a cohesive or effective military—the modern Iraqi state may not hold. Neighboring Syria is already shattered, and the Middle East map—defined by European powers a century ago—may be redrawn, either de facto or formally. Globally, the jihadist threat has never been greater.

Nobody’s a Critic - Who holds journalists to account in Canada?

CANADIANS often lament our lack of an equivalent to Jon Stewart’s Daily Show (no, the Rick Mercer Report does not count), but that barely describes the dire state of media criticism in this country. The United States has NPR’s On the Media, Gawker, and numerous blogs and newspaper columns that dissect journalism from various perspectives; we have almost nothing comparable. The UK, beyond its cutthroat Fleet Street wars, has Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipeand the Media Show, both on the BBC. Australia has Media Watch on TV andMedia Report on public radio. Al Jazeera English has Listening Post. Media analysis is an established beat in almost every nation with a free press, and it’s a given that journalists must scrutinize our own profession as diligently as we would any other.

Harper’s foe isn’t the Supreme Court — it’s the Constitution

What a remarkable joke Stephen Harper continues to play on Canada: The law-and-order party is once again making it clear that it’s about as law-abiding as Bonnie and Clyde making a bank withdrawal.

Our desperado PM has done it again. The issue this time is the appointment of a new Supreme Court justice to fill a vacancy from Quebec. Judge Robert Mainville is apparently Harper’s pick this time, after a previous appointment from Quebec — Marc Nadon — was struck down as unconstitutional.

$100B Defence Spending Plan Laid Out For Industry

The Conservative government is proposing more than $100 billion in defence spending on a series of projects that would see the Department of National Defence get new fighter jets, rescue planes, helicopters, drones, ships, satellites, uniforms and even rifles.

The Defence Acquisition Guide is a list of more than 200 separate procurement projects the military hopes to undertake in the next 20 years. The guide is not a rock-solid program, but a road map of sorts for the Canadian defence industrial sector.

Hillary Still Doesn’t Get It on Iraq

The unfortunate re-eruption of warfare in Iraq will lead to many more questions for Hillary Clinton about her past support for the war—a rather unfortunate thing from her point of view, given the issue was a key reason for her 2008 Democratic presidential primary loss.

Iraq War Boosters Get Second Chance In Media Spotlight

NEW YORK -- In Monday’s Wall Street Journal, Paul Bremer criticized the Obama administration’s policy in the Middle East and argued that the United States needs to make “a clear commitment to help restabilize Iraq.”

Notably, Bremer’s op-ed -- “Only America Can Prevent a Disaster in Iraq” -- neglected to mention his own role in helping to destabilize Iraq following the Bush administration’s disastrous 2003 invasion. As U.S. presidential envoy to the nation, Bremer disbanded the Iraqi army at the beginning of the occupation, a critical blunder that was followed by years of sectarian violence.

America Is Globally Shamed For Its Pathetic Minimum Wage

America is treating its low-wage workers so badly that it's starting to get shamed by the rest of the world.

The International Monetary Fund on Monday cut its forecast for U.S. economic growth this year, warned of sluggish growth for years to come, and made a bunch of suggestions for getting America's economic house in order -- including raising the abysmally low federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

Iraq crisis: Barack Obama sends in US troops as Isis insurgency worsens

The Obama adminstration has ordered the urgent deployment of several hundred armed troops in and around Iraq, after the rampant insurgency in the country forced the first talks between the US and Iran over a common security interest in more than a decade.

Barack Obama discussed the crisis with national security team on Monday night after earlier notifying Congress that up to 275 troops could be sent to Iraq to provide support and security for personnel and the US embassy in Baghdad.

While Obama has vowed to keep US troops out of combat in Iraq, he said in his notification to Congress that the personnel moving into the region were equipped for direct fighting. In addition, officials told Reuters that the White House was considering sending a contingent of special forces to train and advise beleaguered Iraqi troops, many of whom have fled their posts in the face of the insurgency.

Social media mass surveillance is permitted by law, says top UK official

The true extent of the government's interception of Google, Facebook and Twitter – including private messages between British citizens – has been officially confirmed for the first time.

The government's most senior security official, Charles Farr, detailed how searches on Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as emails to or from non-British citizens abroad, can be monitored by the security services because they are deemed to be "external communications".