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.]

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

TPP No Boon to Public Purse, Says Taxpayer Group

An advocacy group for Canadian taxpayers says that a major, multi-nation trade deal reached today is a win for foreign companies, less so for local taxpayers.

Dennis Howlett of Canadians for Tax Fairness panned the Trans-Pacific Partnership, negotiated in secret among 12 member states, as a deal that could weaken Canada's economy and deplete tax coffers.

Harper turns 863,000 Canadians into second-class citizens

A First Nations teenager full of the righteous zeal of youth once pulled nationalistic rank on me while we sat around a fire drinking camp tea.

The late Chief Dan George intervened. He asked the kid how old he was, then he asked me how old I was — six years older than the teenager — then he told the kid with straight-faced irony: “He’s been here longer than you have.”

Dairy Prices Could Fall Thanks To TPP, Except In One Province, Professor Says

MONTREAL — Canadian consumers outside Quebec could see lower dairy prices from a new massive trade deal signed Monday, says an industry observer.

Retail prices could fall if dairy processors like Saputo (TSX:SAP) pass along savings from lower imported milk costs to consumers, says Sylvain Charlebois, professor of distribution and food policy at the University of Guelph's Food Institute.

Unifor Slams 'Outrageous' TPP Deal, Says It Will Cost 20,000 Canadian Jobs

TORONTO — Canadian auto workers' union Unifor predicts that 20,000 auto industry jobs could be lost as a result of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal announced today.

Under the deal, Canada's 6.1 per cent tariff on imported vehicles will be phased out over a five-year period.

And domestic content requirements — rules that dictate what percentage of a vehicle or auto part must be made within the TPP in order to be sold within the region tariff-free — will be slashed.

Danny Williams says Stephen Harper's tactics are borderline racist

Former Newfoundland and Labrador premier Danny Williams says some of the tactics of Conservative Leader Stephen Harper are borderline racist.

Williams, who led a Progressive Conservative government in Canada's most easterly province from 2003 to 2010, launched his latest scathing attack against Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada on Sunday during an interview with CBC News.

Zunera Ishaq cleared by court to take citizenship oath wearing niqab

The Federal Court of Appeal has denied the application for a stay of the Federal Court ruling in favour of Zunera Ishaq, clearing the way for her to wear a niqab during a citizenship ceremony.

Regulations have banned wearing of face veils at citizenship ceremonies, but Ishaq challenged the rule and won in Federal Court. On Sept. 18, the Federal Court of Appeal upheld that decision in a quick ruling from the bench. The federal government had sought a stay of the ruling and said it intended to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Legal Firm Defending Kim Davis Is Labeled A Hate Group

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Kim Davis' lawyer stood onstage in a Washington D.C. hotel and pointed to a photo on the screen. It showed 100,000 people packed into a Peruvian soccer stadium, Mat Staver told the crowd, all there to pray for the Kentucky clerk battling against gay marriage.

The crowd erupted.

It wasn't true.

Cruz: Letting Muslim Syrian Refugees Into The U.S. Is 'Crazy'

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — Republican presidential contender Ted Cruz says the Obama administration's plan to accept about 10,000 Syrian refugees is "nothing short of crazy."

The Texas senator told a Michigan crowd on Monday he thinks a "significant number" of refugees entering Europe are terrorists from the Islamic State group. He says it would be the "height of foolishness" to allow "Syrian Muslims" into the country.

Congressman Behind Planned Parenthood Assault Kept Paying Aide After Sexual Harassment Complaints

WASHINGTON -- A Republican congressman leading the fight to defund Planned Parenthood paid his chief of staff for nearly six months after at least three female staffers complained that the top aide was sexually harassing subordinates, according to four sources close to the situation.

The women told North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows about chief of staff Kenny West's behavior in March, sources said. At first, Meadows barred West from his D.C. office, but reassigned him to the district office and continued paying him. Meadows eventually sent West off with a sizable severance.

Here’s Why the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Is Just Plain Wrong

Republicans who now run Congress say they want to cooperate with President Obama, and point to the administration’s Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, as the model. The only problem is the TPP would be a disaster.

If you haven’t heard much about the TPP, that’s part of the problem right there. It would be the largest trade deal in history — involving countries stretching from Chile to Japan, representing 792 million people and accounting for 40 percent of the world economy – yet it’s been devised in secret.

Saudi Arabia Continues Hiring Spree of American Lobbyists, Public Relations Experts

Saudi Arabia is in the market for a better reputation in Washington, D.C.

In September alone, foreign lobbying disclosure documents show the Saudi government signing deals with PR powerhouse Edelman and lobbying leviathan the Podesta Group, according to recent disclosures.

Combat Vets Destroy the NRA’s Heroic Gunslinger Fantasy

Wayne LaPierre, the head of the National Rifle Association (NRA), has famously claimed that “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.”

Much of today’s opposition to stronger gun safety regulations rests on the gun lobby’s Hobbesian vision of self-sufficient, heavily-armed citizens standing up to vicious thugs. This Die Hard argument is constantly parroted by politicians and conservatives pundits. But the statistical reality is that for every justifiable homicide in the United States—for every lethal shooting in defense of life or property—guns are used to commit 34 murders and 78 suicides, and are the cause of two accidental deaths, according to an analysis of FBI data by The Washington Post.

Zakaria Amara, Toronto 18 Plotter Stripped Of Citzenship, May Have Had Privacy Breached

OTTAWA — Federal officials are investigating an apparent privacy breach involving an imprisoned terrorist who was stripped of his citizenship.

Zakaria Amara's receipt of a government letter informing him he no longer held Canadian citizenship was promptly reported in the media late last month and soon after confirmed by a Conservative cabinet minister in the middle of a closely fought election campaign.

Trans-Pacific Partnership Deal: 10 Questions On What It Does, Doesn't Do

ATLANTA — A historic new trade agreement was announced Monday, which is certain to prompt a spirited political debate in a number of countries — starting with Canada's election.

Here are 10 questions about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, answered:

Who's in it? Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore started the project years ago. The United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Vietnam, Australia, Peru and Malaysia are now joining, bringing the membership to 12 countries. More have expressed interest in entering later, including Colombia, Thailand and South Korea.

Why The TPP Is Not A Done Deal, And Why It May Never Get Done

Prime ministers and presidents around the world congratulated themselves Monday after coming to an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a "transformational" deal that, if ratified, would create the world’s largest free trade area, encompassing 40 per cent of the global economy, including Canada's.

Conservative leader Stephen Harper, in the midst of a re-election campaign, certainly wants to sell this as him bringing home a done deal, as something concrete accomplished.

Canadian auto union slams TPP trade deal; calls new content rules ‘outrageous’

TORONTO - The Canadian auto industry could shed as many as 20,000 jobs a result of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, according to autoworkers' union Unifor, as Canada's tariff on imported vehicles is rapidly phased out and domestic content rules are loosened.

The trade deal, announced Monday, will see Canada's 6.1 per cent tariff on imported vehicles phased out over a five-year period, giving Japanese automakers much quicker access to the Canadian auto market than the U.S. one.

Inquest begins into deaths of 7 First Nations youth in Thunder Bay

After a three-year wait, an inquest into the mysterious deaths of seven First Nations youth who lost their lives while living far from home as they attended high school in Thunder Bay begins Monday.

The broad inquest, presided over by Dr. David Eden, will be one of the largest ever to be held in Ontario. Teams of lawyers representing various interests are expected to call nearly 200 witnesses until March 2016.

Conservatives amend law to allow export of prohibited weapons to Israel, Kuwait

OTTAWA — Critics are raising an alarm over what they say is an ongoing erosion of government control over the export of Canadian military goods.

The Star reported Wednesday the Conservative government quietly amended the export law to permit Canadian shipments to Israel and Kuwait of prohibited weapons such as banned handguns or automatic weapons.

Notley says Harper’s criticism of Alberta NDP ‘make believe’

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said Tuesday Conservative Leader Stephen Harper’s suggestion the new Alberta NDP government is to blame for the province’s recession is “make believe.”

Ms. Notley said in an interview that the province’s fiscal problems have more to do with global forces and the policies of the previous Progressive Conservative government.

U.S. Government’s Bid to Train Overseas Security Forces Has Basically Been a Wash

When asking an expert how the U.S. government’s very expensive and time-consuming push to train security forces in other countries has fared, the last thing that government would want to hear is this kind of description: “Our track record at building security forces over the past 15 years is miserable.”

That’s straight from former military chief and U.S. ambassador in Afghanistan Karl W. Eikenberry, who delivered this bit of bad news to The New York Times on Sunday. Here’s more from that report: