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.]

Monday, January 25, 2016

Prison Watchdog Says More Than A Quarter Of Federal Inmates Are Aboriginal People

For the first time, more than a quarter of inmates in Canadian prisons are aboriginal people.

"The most current figure we have is quite shocking," said Correctional Investigator of Canada Howard Sapers, the country's prison ombudsman.

"In federal corrections, 25.4 per cent of the incarcerated population are now of aboriginal ancestry."


Light armoured vehicles like this are part of $15 billion contract.


It's like a scene out of George Bernard Shaw's anti-war play Major Barbara.

The Liberals have tried to downplay the sale of military equipment (a secret $15 billion blockbuster deal for light armoured vehicles, or LAVs, signed by the Harper Conservatives in 2014) to Saudi Arabia in the wake of that country's beheading of 47 people last week. But the matter of Canada's cozy relationship with that perennial human rights violator, and the boon that relationship has been for Canadian weapons makers, constitutes a major test of Justin Trudeau's foreign policy intentions.

Police Sweep Of Cellphone Data Violates Customers' Charter Rights, Ontario Court Rules

TORONTO — An Ontario court has ruled that Peel Regional Police violated cellphone customers' charter rights when requesting a broad swath of personal information from about 40,000 Telus and Rogers subscribers to help them with an investigation.

Telus and Rogers brought the Charter of Rights challenge before the court in 2014 after the police asked the companies for the cellphone information of tens of thousands of customers.

Ted Cruz Didn't Disclose Goldman Sachs Loan During Senate Campaign

Jan 13 (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz failed to disclose to the Federal Election Commission a loan from Goldman Sachs for as much as $500,000 that was used to help finance his successful 2012 U.S. Senate campaign, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.

The loan does not appear in reports the Ted Cruz for Senate Committee filed with the FEC, in which candidates are required to disclose the source of money they borrow to finance their campaigns, the newspaper reported.

Kansas Governor Cuts Off Planned Parenthood Funding

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has ordered state officials to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood and its affiliates through the state Medicaid program, a move the organization said on Wednesday it would challenge in court.

Brownback, a Republican, said in his state of the state address on Tuesday that he would direct the state health secretary to ensure that no taxpayer money go to Planned Parenthood, which he said trafficked in baby body parts.

Top Emanuel aides aware of key Laquan McDonald details months before mayor says he knew

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said he didn't understand the gravity of Laquan McDonald's shooting death at the hands of a Chicago police officer until just before the city settled with the teen's family last spring, and that he wasn't aware other officers may have falsified reports about the shooting until just after the video was released to the public.

But interviews, official city calendars and emails show in both cases the mayor's closest aides and City Hall attorneys knew much earlier than that.

Mosquito-Borne Illness Fueled by Climate Change Linked to Spike in Birth Defects in Brazil

Ever since the dawn of humankind, climate has been inextricably tied to human health. A stable climate and receding Ice Age were essential to the rise of modern civilization. From the physiologic stress of excessive heat, to the widespread failure of agriculture, in many and varied ways, the climate crisis is first and foremost an advancing public health crisis.

A hotter, more humid world is already becoming a world of more serious, virulent infectious diseases. West Nile, Lyme disease, dengue fever, Chagas, yellow fever, chikungunya, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Rift Valley fever, Japanese encephalitis and malaria are just a few of the many infectious diseases attacking more victims and spreading far beyond their previous geographic confines. Global temperatures aren't the only things that broke records in 2015. For example, the number of victims of dengue fever in Brazil reached 1.58 million, an all-time high, up from 78,000 cases in 1990. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently concluded that the number of annual cases of Lyme disease in the United States was 300,000 - 10 times higher than their previous estimates - and that the disease is spreading north into Canada.

The Rise of Shadow Banks and the Repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act

Prior to the 2008 financial crisis, the Federal Reserve had an important role - to solely act as a "lender of last resort" to traditional commercial banks. But during the crisis, the financial support was extended to many non-banking firms like money market mutual funds, the commercial paper market, mortgage-backed securities market and the tri-party repo market. Besides the extensive lending, non-commercial banks (also known as shadow banks) like Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers were first to fail, triggering one of the worst financial crises across the world.

Regulate Netflix In Canada? Cogeco CEO Says That Would Risk 'Censorship'

MONTREAL — Although he shares the frustrations about video on demand services like Netflix, Cogeco's chief executive says he's opposed to government intervention that could open the door to tighter supervision of the Internet.

Several cable companies have accused the U.S. company of reaping significant revenues in Canada without paying taxes and investing in telecommunications infrastructure.

Kevin O’Leary on NDP’s stunning win in Alberta: ‘It’s a horror movie unfolding’ Republish Reprint

Influential Canadian investor Kevin O’Leary has some blunt advice for international institutions in the wake of the Alberta election: Pull out.

“It’s a horror movie unfolding,” O’Leary said in an interview from New York where he is meeting investors, referring to the election of the New Democratic Party under Rachel Notley.  “Until we understand what the [oil and gas] royalties and taxes are there won’t be any material fund flows – it’s a disaster.”

The benchmark Canadian energy index retreated again Thursday, falling 1.56%, after the NDP won a majority in Alberta on Tuesday on pledges to raise corporate taxes and to set up a commission to review the royalty regime. Notley expects to make a decision on the commission’s findings within the first year of her rule.

Dickinson on O'Leary's Notley comments: He's the Donald Trump of Canada

Arlene Dickinson says Kevin O'Leary's recent comments on Alberta Premier Rachel Notley — calling for her resignation — are disrespectful to Albertans, who just seven months ago gave Notley a majority government.

Dickinson shot back against her former fellow Dragons' Den investor in an interview with CBC Calgary Wednesday.

O'Leary told a Toronto radio station Monday he would "invest $1 million in Canadian energy companies if, out of grace and for the absolute good of Canada, the premier of Alberta resigns."