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, November 19, 2016

Turkey Removes Two Dozen Elected Mayors In Kurdish Areas

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Turkey appointed new administrators in two dozen Kurdish-run municipalities on Sunday after removing their elected mayors over suspected links to militants, triggering pockets of protest in its volatile southeastern region bordering Syria and Iraq.

Police fired water cannon and tear gas to disperse demonstrators outside local government buildings in Suruc on the Syrian border as new administrators took over, security sources said. There were smaller protests elsewhere in the town.

Privacy Advocates Fear Bill C-51 Consultations Will Be Skewed

A Liberal government plan to hold public consultations on national security including changes to Bill C-51 is presented in a way that is biased in favour of police and other authorities, warns a privacy watchdog.

The controversial bill, also known as the Anti-Terrorism Act, has civil liberties groups concerned over how vaguely some aspects of the bill are worded and how easily it allows law enforcement to breach the privacy of citizens.

Why It Matters: Issues at stake in U.S. election

WASHINGTON — A selection of issues at stake in the presidential election and their impact on Americans, in brief:


The future of millions of people living in the U.S. illegally could well be shaped by the presidential election. The stakes are high, too, for those who employ them, help them fit into neighbourhoods, or want them gone.

Trump Doesn’t Want to Lead the Country—He Wants to Lead a Culture War

I was wending my way through the parking lot of a big-box store not long ago. A large, smoke-belching, unmuffled truck with the kind of mammoth tires one sees at demolition derbies hurtled into the lot and careened into a parking space some yards away. The sides of the truck were plastered with enormous political advertisements. “Make America Great Again,” the Trump banners read. (As the cloth furled and snapped and fluttered in the wind, however, it was “RUMP” and “RUM” whose guidance promised a return to gloryland.) The whole effect was bigger and more eye-catching than a float in a parade. The sight of it! The sound! Whether in approval or disapprobation, the entire geography of the parking lot reacted as one. Heads swiveled, eyes widened, mouths gaped.

Obama Promises Lame-Duck TPP Push Despite Uproar Over Pro-Corporate Provisions

A PROVISION THAT would let foreign corporations challenge new American laws and regulations has become the latest flashpoint in the battle over the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement, even as President Obama on Tuesday said he will renew his push for its passage in the lame-duck session of Congress.

Beijing warns US to stay out of South China Sea dispute

China has sent a coded warning to the United States to stay out of the South China Sea dispute after Beijing was again accused of building permanent structures on islands in the area.

Speaking after talks with rival countries at a regional summit in Laos, premier Li Keqiang said China wanted to work with other countries to “dispel interference” in the contested maritime zone.

Teachers Are Working for Uber Just to Keep a Foothold in the Middle Class

Matt Barry teaches history and economics to eleventh and twelfth graders at Live Oak High School, a public school in a suburb of San Jose, California. At 32, he’s in his ninth year on the job, teaching 35 students in each class. But Barry also has a second life that’s becoming increasingly common for American schoolteachers: He spends his after-school hours and weekends as an Uber driver in order to earn extra money.

Barry and his wife, Nicole, are both teachers, and each earns $69,000 per year, which should place them solidly within the middle class. If Silicon Valley hadn’t sprawled around them, that’s where they would be. But the explosion in wealth that has accompanied the tech boom has sent housing costs well beyond the reach of longtime working- and middle-class residents. In the town where Barry teaches, the median home price is $800,000, ensuring that the people who spend their days educating Live Oak students will never live near them. In Barry’s own neighborhood of Gilroy, a 20-minute drive from his school, the median home price is $650,000. When Barry’s child is born—Nicole is pregnant—the family will pay an additional $6,000 dollars in health insurance annually; if she takes time off, that will more than double, to $14,400.

Why is Trudeau following Harper's lead and giving special protections to powerful corporations?

Foreign investors -- including some of the world's wealthiest and most powerful corporations -- typically generate little public sympathy and aren't usually lumped in with groups deemed worthy of special protections.

So the Trudeau government, which is in the process of granting wealthy foreign investors extraordinary legal protections and access to public money, is probably hoping the public isn't paying much attention.

Russia's leading independent pollster declared 'foreign agent'

Russia’s main independent pollster has been declared a “foreign agent” after showing a drop in the ruling party’s popularity before a major vote.

Unless the Levada Centre, which began doing surveys in 1987, is able to appeal against the justice ministry’s ruling, it will be forced to close down due to the stigma of the label, said the director Lev Gudkov. The move comes less than two weeks before parliamentary elections.

The NSA’s British Base at the Heart of U.S. Targeted Killing

The narrow roads are quiet and winding, surrounded by rolling green fields and few visible signs of life beyond the occasional herd of sheep. But on the horizon, massive white golf ball-like domes protrude from the earth, protected behind a perimeter fence that is topped with piercing razor wire. Here, in the heart of the tranquil English countryside, is the National Security Agency’s largest overseas spying base.

Angela Merkel's party beaten by rightwing populists in German elections

Angela Merkel has suffered a sobering defeat in regional elections in her constituency of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, with her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) coming third behind the Social Democrats (SPD) and the rightwing populists Alternative für Deutschland (AfD).

Projections late on Sunday night saw the centre-left SPD on 30.5%, the anti-immigration AfD on 20.9%, and the chancellor’s centre-right CDU suffering its all-time lowest result in the eastern state, on 19%. Earlier this year, the CDU had looked like the party most likely to be tasked with forming the next government in the state.

Assad Regime to Besieged Aleppo: Surrender or Starve

Istanbul— Aleppo is under siege again. Once again, some 300,000 civilians in the rebel-held eastern part of the city must eke out their survival with no fresh produce and a dwindling food supply, in addition to the other perils of life for those in the Assad regime’s political opposition.

That means barrel bombs that destroy houses and bury their children, and missiles that destroy their schools, mosques, and hospitals.

Catastrophic, or merely awful? The hidden meaning of Brexit

The New Yorker cover illustration told one side of the Brexit story: A John Cleese avatar, in a bowler, clearly representing the Ministry of Silly Walks, steps off a cliff into an abyss.

From the other side, former Conservative Foreign Secretary William Hague soothed a Toronto audience with the bromide that all will be for the best once the markets quiet down and the U.K.’s partners adapt to the new reality.