Mitch McConnell does not exactly fire the imagination. The Republican leader in the Senate is so much a cardboard cutout of a Beltway suit that his blandness inspired apopular Internet meme earlier this year. But what if McConnell's inscrutability is precisely why we should take a closer look at him? As powerful as he is -- he very well may be on the verge of becoming the Senate Majority Leader -- he has gotten oddly little attention over the years, in large part because he offers little superficial appeal for the color-seeking journalist. This is a grave error. After researching and writing a new e-book on McConnell's career, The Cynic, I've come to believe that he holds the key to understanding how our politics and government have come to such a low point. If you want to come to grips with the demoralizing, dysfunctional state of affairs in Washington, you must peer into that blank visage to see the five dark truths that lurk within.
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, September 18, 2014
President Barack Obama and John Kerry are assembling a coalition “of the willing” to deal with the self-proclaimed new Islamic Caliphate and its singularly bloodthirsty leader, again self-appointed, the Emir Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Harper suspended Commons committee reviews of Gascon’s Supreme Court appointment in June: House documents
Documents show that although Mr. Harper (Calgary Southwest, Alta.) scrubbed a House committee review in June of newly-appointed Justice Clément Gascon because there was “some urgency” in filling the position, the Prime Minister’s Office also suspected the review process had resulted in “breaches of confidentiality” during the 2013 elevation of Federal Court Judge Marc Nadon to fill a Quebec vacancy on the Supreme Court.
New official estimates of income and poverty from the Census Bureau released on Tuesdayreveal that, despite the economic recovery, massive inequality remains a big problem in the United States.
General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in his opening remarks he isn’t ruling out asking Obama for ground troops. “To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the president.”
The 2008 Land Operations conduct manual states that "indiscriminate harassing fire from Israeli artillery killed seven members of one family, including both parents and five siblings" during a military operation in the Gaza Strip in June 2006.
Under the guise of crafting trade agreements, big business -- which bankrolled many of those same elected officials -- is looking to impose provisions across the globe that open up government services to the private sector. Other language would limit the ability of democratic governments to regulate in the public interest. Simply put, corporations are looking to put their interests above the public's interests in an effort to further fatten their wallets.
Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate panel that the goal for American advisers is to help Iraqi forces with planning, logistics and coordinating military efforts by coalition partners to take out members of the Islamic State group.
Reports from Darrien Hunt's family that the 22-year-old was carrying a toy sword are not accurate, said Utah County Chief Deputy Attorney Tim Taylor.
"It wasn't plastic, it wasn't wood," Taylor said. "It appears to be a real samurai sword."
During the recent Israeli war on the Gaza Strip, a controversy broke out in Turkey about whether Turkish Jews were required to condemn Israel’s actions, as some pro-Palestinian Turks suggested.
Turkish Jewish intellectuals wrote in an open letter to the newspaper Hurriyyet [“Liberty,” Istanbul]:
“”Israel’s latest attack on Gaza led, once again, to cries of ‘Why does the Jewish community remain silent?’ A campaign was even launched that claimed that the Jews of Turkey bear responsibility for what Israel does in Gaza.
“No citizen of this country is under any obligation to account for, interpret or comment on any event that takes place elsewhere in the world, and in which he/she has no involvement. There is no onus on the Jewish community of Turkey, therefore, to declare an opinion on any matter at all.
“It is anyway not possible for a community of 20,000 to declare a unified opinion. No human community can be monolithic and the Jewish community is not. Its members include people of all kinds, with a great variety of views.”
Many Jewish organizations stigmatized the demand as Antisemitism.
For two years, 13-year-old Max stayed home while most children his age made their way to school in Quebec. Max and his mother applied to become refugees in Canada and while their application was in process, Max attended school. But when their application got denied, he was ineligible to go to public school for free and his mother would have to pay $5,000 to $6,000 per year. At the time, Max's mother, who cleaned houses to pay rent, could not afford the fees and so Max remained at home. Two years later, the family got their status and he attended school once again. However, advocates argue that being away from school has a long-lasting effect on the social and personal progress of undocumented children like Max.
The first court date for Sen. Mike Duffy — the affable television personality turned fiercely loyal Conservative partisan turned Tory black sheep and poster boy for the Senate scandal — is scheduled for Tuesday morning.
Duffy's not expected to be there, but the way in which the ensuing trial plays out could have major repercussions for Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative government ahead of next year's federal election campaign.
The Citizen reported Monday that air force technicians went through a Hercules on display at the National Air Force Museum of Canada in Trenton, Ont., in July 2012 because they needed navigational equipment for a similar aircraft still in use.
Those were the words of French President François Hollande at the outset of an international summit in Paris on Monday that's seeking a way to counteract ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
While the meeting brought together leaders from around the world, Middle East analysts say that given sectarian divisions and individual self-interest, forging a meaningful coalition with countries in the region will be very difficult.
The Demise of a US Group Backing Moderate Syrian Rebels Is a Bad Sign for Obama's Anti-ISIS Campaign
The Chinese government is to limit the use of imported coal with more than 16 per cent ash and 3 per cent sulphur from January 1, 2015, in a bid to improve air quality, especially in the major cities such as Beijing and around Shanghai.
Sexual assault is a major reason for the growing number of homeless female vets. In this particular case, the homeless woman was able to rebuild her life. I heard about it when I talked to her and two other female vets recently at a home provided by New Directions, a Los Angeles organization that offers substance abuse and mental health treatment, as well as transitional housing for homeless veterans or those at risk of ending up on the street.
Mr. Yap answered my calm questions about the government's spending patiently and courteously. Roof on BC Place? Good for the economy. Olympics? Good for the economy. Budget surplus? A sign government is making the right decisions for the economy. Give some of that surplus to settle the dispute? Well, $200 million isn't much in a $40-billion or so yearly budget.
That's exactly what happened to oil patch consultant Jessica Ernst. She is now suing the regulator, the Alberta government and Encana Corporation over the alleged contamination of her groundwater by the shallow fracking of coal seams in central Alberta nearly a decade ago.