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, August 27, 2015
When the deal is completed, members of Congress will be able to see the entire text without restriction before they vote on passage. But until then, legislators are operating under hyper-strict rules when they want to review the text, which is locked in a basement room of the US Capitol. Only certain congressional aides with security clearances can see the TPP draft, and only when the member of Congress is also present. Notes taken during these sessions can’t be taken out of the room.
B.C.'s oil and gas regulator said the earthquake was likely caused by hydraulic fracturing but "has yet to determine the cause of the event." Progress Energy reported the tremor on Monday. No damages were reported to the regulator.
The North was backing up an earlier threat to attack South Korean border loudspeakers that, after a lull of 11 years, have started broadcasting anti-Pyongyang propaganda.
Sure, such information might reveal an interesting detail of the housing market, but it is unlikely to be the major insight recent political discussions appear to assume. Indeed, this and an increase in the RRSP withdrawal limit for first-time home buyers are the solutions proposed by the party seeking re-election as our federal government -- showing how deficient current federal policy on housing insecurity and homelessness really is.
Born to a famous Canadian family, Frum left long ago to toil in the fertile vineyards of right-wing America, landing a White House job selling George W. Bush's war, and then permanent pundit status.
Now, like an ex-pat come home on vacation but oblivious to all the torn-down landmarks, he argues Canadians have no right to be angry at what Harper has done to their democracy.
Both the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers are filing a judicial review application and a statement of claim Thursday arguing that Bill C-24, the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, creates a “two-tier citizenship regime” that discriminates between dual nationals — born here or abroad — and naturalized citizens.
But there’s a clear driver to this scenario: Stephen Harper’s overall style and behaviour.
The plan to extend Pell Grant access in prisons is described as a “limited pilot program” authorized through a federal financial aid waiver program under the Higher Education Act. Incarcerated adults could apply for grants of up to $5,775 for tuition and related expenses, at college-level programs offered in prison facilities nationwide. Designed to allow for studying long-term effects of education on recidivism, the program moves toward restoring access to Pell Grants for incarcerated people, which Congress removed in the mid-1990s.
I became homeless in 2009 and out of necessity learned how to make the services administered through the Ocean County New Jersey Board of Social Services work for me. They included housing assistance provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), food assistance (SNAP) through the US Department of Agriculture, and cash assistance through the General Assistance program made available by the State of New Jersey.
Calgary Pride said on its Facebook page Wednesday that Joan Crockatt agreed to withdraw her application to march in the Sept. 6 event.
Crockatt, elected in Calgary Centre in 2012, faced criticism in social media in recent days for being allowed in the parade.
In a report released today on the risks the proposed bitumen pipeline poses to ocean environments, the Conservation Council of New Brunswick says noise from tanker traffic causes heightened levels of stress for the North Atlantic right whale, the most endangered large whale in the world.
The Liberal leader was first to be asked Wednesday morning to react to new developments at the trial of Sen. Mike Duffy.
A day earlier, Duffy's lawyer revealed that Harper's former legal counsel told police that Ray Novak, the prime minister's current chief of staff, knew Nigel Wright paid Duffy's expenses. Conservatives have maintained Novak was unaware of the scheme and a top spokesperson even said it would be "unfathomable" for Novak to know about the plan and not tell Harper.
Walker, the Republican governor of Wisconsin and one of many GOP presidential hopefuls, then goes on to outline an alternative plan that would do the exact same thing.
By scrapping President Barack Obama's 2010 health care overhaul, Walker's plan -- which the governor announced this week -- would take away health coverage from some unknowable share of the millions of people who have gained it under Obamacare. It promotes benefits like less regulation and less federal spending on health insurance, as well as cheaper coverage for some young and healthy people. But like all the other Republican “repeal and replace” plans that have appeared in the last few years, Walker's proposal never acknowledges the trade-offs and consequences of these changes.
John Gailus told B.C. Supreme Court that a stop-work order should be issued to halt the first phase of the nearly $9-billion hydroelectric project from proceeding along the Peace River.
For the past several days, Harper and his team have rejected evidence that suggested current chief of staff Novak was privy to his predecessor Nigel Wright's secret repayment of Sen. Duffy's contested expenses in 2013.
Wright's $90,000 cheque is at the heart of some of the 31 charges that Duffy is now facing.
But by that definition -- 20 years in political office -- the Conservatives have more than 20 MPs running for re-election who could wear the same label.
Mulcair, who is 60, first joined the NDP in his early twenties. He entered politics as a provincial representative in Quebec's legislature in 1994 and has been in the political arena ever since.
As Mike Duffy might put it: But wait -- there's more.
As things now stand, not one of the major parties is poised to form a majority government. It's assumed that if the Conservatives can hold on to a minority, Harper will continue to be prime minister. We may want to re-think that assumption.
"I do not think we had any idea the scale and scope of what the impact would be. I truly do not. This is beyond a medical issue. I think many of our young men and women have lost confidence in our country to support them."
Speaking in Toronto’s Etobicoke-Centre riding, Harper said Canadians expect to be protected from the worst type of criminals.
The Conservative government originally introduced the legislation this spring.
It proposed amending the Criminal Code to imprison offenders convicted of the “most heinous murders” and high treason for the rest of their natural lives.
The Conservatives say the legislation would address murders involving sexual assault, kidnapping, terrorism, the killing of police officers or corrections offers.
Harper will be travelling through southern Ontario this afternoon.
During a campaign stop in Toronto this morning, hecklers tried to shout down journalists posing questions to Harper about recent revelations at Duffy's criminal trial. After the event, one man expressed his frustrations to a group of reporters, calling one journalist a "lying piece of shit."
Local Officials Have Pushed To Criminalize Homelessness For Years. The Feds Are Starting To Push Back.
The effort draws on three different forms of federal power. Government attorneys are urging a federal court to strike down one local law criminalizing outdoor sleeping, which would create precedent that could be used elsewhere. The official federal homelessness task force is using its platform to discourage communities from cracking down on tent encampments, an act without the same bite as a court filing but one which is likely to be influential in the advocacy world.
Publicly, TransCanada, the company behind the embattled pipeline, insists it is still optimistic it will win the long-running standoff—not just over Keystone, but another pipeline project that has faced environmental opposition as well, Energy East. “We’re optimistic for both of our projects,” TransCanada spokesman Mark Cooper told the New Republic.
WASHINGTON -- When President Barack Obama took office, he promised to overhaul the nation's process for interrogating terror suspects. His solution: the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, or HIG, a small interagency outfit that would use non-coercive methods and the latest psychological research to interrogate America's most-wanted terrorists -- all behind a veil of secrecy.
Far be it from me to school Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the laws of supply and demand. He is, after all, the one who has extensively studied neoliberal economics.
But the Conservatives' plan to increase what first-time homebuyers can pull from their RRSPs for a down payment -- from a maximum of $25K to $35K -- would do nothing to help ease the unaffordability of housing. That's because an effective policy response either has to control prices (for example by means of a speculation tax), cool demand (by more tightly regulating speculative buyers), or increase the supply (by building more affordable housing). But a policy such as the one proposed, aimed at simply encouraging more demand, would only result in the bidding upof prices. That's how supply and demand works.
Many high-profile campaigns targeting Harper's record launched just before the writ dropped on August 2.
One of the highest profile national campaigns was from the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC). PSAC represents 170,000 government workers across Canada. PSAC members will be most directly affected by the outcome of the election; the stakes for them are high and personal.
The security intelligence review committee hearing will not be open to the public.
Overall spending on bonuses and performance pay for public service executives has risen from $43.8 million in 2006/07 to $72.4 million in 2013/14, the last year for which figures are available.
At the same time, the number of public service executives has risen 11.8 per cent – from 4,984 in 2006/07 to 5,576 in 2013/14. That is down from a high of 6,044 in 2010/11.
According to media reports, the Canadian government was among those expecting the talks to conclude, with officials lining up the corporate community to immediately express their support for the agreement.
That list includes veterans who don't like the closure of services offices or reductions in staff tasked with helping them navigate the benefits system.
Monday's newest second-class warriors were mostly Afghanistan veterans representing the organization Marijuana For Trauma, which seeks to help veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder with marijuana treatment.
“This is a huge, huge achievement and a significant advancement in terms of mental health issues,” said former Information and Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian, who in her final year as privacy watchdog took on what she called the “perplexing” and “indiscriminant” disclosure of suicide attempt incidents by police.
The group kicked off its efforts with a protest outside the Royal Canadian Legion branch in Fredericton as Stephen Harper made announcements to boost the number of military reservists in the next mandate.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said on Monday that his immigration proposals were "very similar" to those of the real estate magnate, who over the weekend released a tough new plan exclusively focused on enforcement and cracking down on unauthorized immigrants. Walker said that he, too, wanted to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, which is one of Trump's most controversial proposals.
They are told to forget the “poor habits” they learned at previous jobs, one employee recalled. When they “hit the wall” from the unrelenting pace, there is only one solution: “Climb the wall,” others reported. To be the best Amazonians they can be, they should be guided by the leadership principles, 14 rules inscribed on handy laminated cards. When quizzed days later, those with perfect scores earn a virtual award proclaiming, “I’m Peculiar” — the company’s proud phrase for overturning workplace conventions.
Vancouver journalist Shelby Thom was unceremoniously booted out of a Conservative Party rally attended by Stephen Harper simply for asking his supporters if they supported legalizing marijuana.
So it may simply be a coincidence that since the Conservatives won their majority, Harper has been acting a lot like Big Brother.
Titles like “The Fair Elections Act” and the “Jobs, Growth and Long Term Prosperity Act” reek of “newspeak”, the manufactured language in Orwell’s dark and pessimistic novel.
Oliver, who is also MP for the Toronto riding of Eglinton-Lawrence, can’t be a happy man these days: Canada has slipped into recession again, blowing a hole in his hopes of balancing the government’s budget for the first time since 2007.
Brace yourselves, Toronto!Craig B. Chandler's heading your way to campaign against Linda McQuaig, the NDP's candidate in the Toronto Centre riding, who is notorious here in Alberta nowadays for saying aloud that some of our Bitumen may have to stay in the ground if the planet is going to survive.
We don't hold to that point of view out here, if you must know, as Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives remind us on Facebook ever third or fourth minute. In fact, we find that saying things like that about our sand-impregnated oil is darned unfriendly! And that includes a lot of Alberta New Democrats, if you must know.