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, May 25, 2011

The G-8’s Self-Serving Math

The final communiqu├ęs haven’t been written. But the word on the street is that when leaders of the Group of 8 industrialized countries meet in France this week, they will claim that wealthy countries have come close to fulfilling their 2005 promise to boost annual development aid by $50 billion by 2010. They are not even in the ballpark.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which keeps track of aid flows, said aid from rich nations in 2010 was $19 billion short of the promises made at the G-8 summit meeting in Gleneagles, Scotland, six years ago. Aid to Africa came in $14.5 billion short.
Yet the G-8 seems determined to fudge the numbers rather than admit to a broken promise. The accountability report published on the G-8 Web site last week inflates the aid figure by not accounting for the fact that a dollar today is worth much less than it was when the promise was made. By this accounting, annual aid from wealthy countries came about $1 billion short.

Full Article

Unemployment a scourge, OECD warns

Unemployment remains a blight on the global economy, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development said Wednesday, warning governments they must act lest high jobless levels become a longer-term scourge.

"Historically high unemployment remains among the most pressing legacies of the crisis," the 34-member OECD said in releasing its latest economic outlook.

"It should prompt countries to improve labour market policies that boost job creation and prevent today’s high joblessness from becoming permanent."

Widespread unemployment is affecting more than 50 million people in the OECD countries, the group said.

"Governments must ensure that employment services and training programs actually match the unemployed to jobs," the OECD urged.

Full Article

Harper to axe political subsidies

OTTAWA—Scrapping public subsidies of federal political parties will be a key plank of the Conservatives’ revised budget, which will be unveiled June 6 on Parliament Hill, the Conservatives confirmed Wednesday.

Stephen Harper’s new government, elected just last month, intends to move fast on its election vow to end the $2-a-vote annual subsidy, which pumps $27 million a year into party coffers, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told reporters.

The Conservatives have long opposed the measure and now armed with a majority mandate, they have the political heft to finally axe the subsidy.

Full Article

Netanyahu is the Main Obstacle to Peace

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech was warmly received by Democrats and Republicans in Congress on Tuesday. According to ABC News, he received 29 standing ovations during his address—four more than President Obama received during his State of the Union address earlier in the year. However, there was at least one dissenting voice inside the halls of Congress on Tuesday. Rae Abileah, a Jewish-American activist of Israeli descent with the peace group CodePink, disrupted Netanyahu’s speech. Standing in the congressional gallery, she yelled, “No more occupation! Stop Israel war crimes! Equal rights for Palestinians! Occupation is indefensible!” As she screamed, members in the audience tackled her to the ground, and undercover security forces later dragged her outside. She was taken to George Washington University Hospital where she was treated for neck and shoulder injuries. At the hospital, police arrested Abileah and charged her with disorderly conduct for disrupting Congress. Her protest came as part a week-long series of actions organized by CodePink called Move Over AIPAC. We speak to Abileah about why she used nonviolent civil disobedience to disrupt Netanayahu’s speech.


Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress Dashes Palestinian Hopes of a Just Mideast Peace Agreement

The future of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations remains in doubt after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address Tuesday before a joint session of the U.S. Congress. Netanyahu insisted Jerusalem will not be divided and that Israel’s internationally recognized 1967 borders are "indefensible." He also said Israel must “maintain a long-term military presence along the Jordan River” and condemned the recent Fatah-Hamas reconciliation deal. Netanyahu’s speech came five days after President Obama called for the creation of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, with mutually agreed land swaps. We speak with Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, secretary general of the Palestinian National Initiative. “Netanyahu yesterday blocked every possibility for negotiations for a two-state solution,” Barghouti says. “Practically, he took away any possibility for peaceful resolution, because he wanted to impose unilaterally the outcome on every issue... He wants us to live as slaves in a system of apartheid and segregation.”


Canada orders 1,300 smart bombs

OTTAWA — As the Libyan war enters its third month the Defence Department has quietly ordered more than 1,300 laser-guided smart bombs.

The department could not provide comment about the purchase of the 500-pound Paveway bombs, but sources confirmed the new stocks are for the Libyan campaign, to replace those already dropped and for future missions against the North African country.

No details were provided about how much the purchase will cost taxpayers.

Full Article

Study: Lawmakers Outperform on Stock Investments

A new study says Congress members routinely outperform the stock market in their personal investments. Researchers poured over some 16,000 stock transactions by around 300 lawmakers from 1985 through 2001, finding what they called "significant positive abnormal returns" of around six percent per year. The report speculates the lawmakers’ gains could stem from their ability to trade on non-public information and to vote in favor of their economic interests.