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.]

Friday, August 12, 2011

‘Communist movement’ hiding in NDP, Mammoliti warns

Showing no sign of backing down, Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti continued the war of words that has erupted since he vowed to ban “communists” from a Facebook page designed to elicit input on balancing the city’s books.

Calling up the National Post on Thursday to respond to comments made by a Marxist, Mr. Mammoliti read out three definitions of communism, including the one in Oxford Dictionary which describes it as “a theory or system of social organization in which all property is owned by the community and each person contributes and receives according to their ability and needs.”

“I’m going to say something that might be very controversial for the city, but it’s my view that the communist movement in Toronto is hidden, and it’s hidden through one of its major parties, and I used to belong to that party,” said Mr. Mammoliti, who was an MPP for the NDP party during the 90s.

Harper announces free-trade deal with Honduras

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras — Prime Minister Stephen Harper wrapped up his tour of Latin America on Friday by announcing that Canada has struck a free-trade deal with Honduras.

The development came as Mr. Harper visited the impoverished nation, where violence is common and the leftist president was deposed by a coup just two years ago.

Mr. Harper made the announcement after meeting with Honduran President Porfirio Lobo Sosa.

“Our government received a strong mandate to implement our ambitious job-creating free-trade plan that will benefit Canadians,” Mr. Harper said.

“A free-trade agreement with Honduras is a key part of our government’s agenda to open new markets for Canadian businesses, create new opportunities for our workers and contribute to Canada’s future prosperity.”

Critics have said the Mr. Harper government is moving too quickly to provide credibility to the current right-wing Honduran regime at a time when the country is still suffering human-rights abuses, poor treatment of underpaid workers and a high crime rate.

Israel defies U.S., approves another 1,600 settler homes near Jerusalem

Barely 48 hours after U.S. diplomats delivered a sharp rebuke to the Israeli government over its latest plans to build hundreds of additional housing units in settlements inside Jerusalem, the Americans got their answer: Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai announced Thursday that 1,600 more units would be built in a similar settlement area of greater Jerusalem, occupied by Israel in 1967.

The rebuff of the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama was jarring even by Israeli standards during the often tense Obama-Benjamin Netanyahu years.

Toronto mayor to city staff: take a buyout or face layoffs

Mayor Rob Ford issued a thinly veiled ultimatum to city staff on Friday: take a buyout or face layoffs.

“If they don’t take the package, what else do we have to do? We might have to lay ‘em off” he told Sun News Network during an interview in which he also criticized idle bureaucrats and vowed to sell off the city’s theatre and zoo assets.

Asked by host Sue-Ann Levy if he would invoke layoffs, Mr. Ford said, “I don’t know if we have a choice.”

London council moves to evict rioters

Public housing tenants in London are facing the possibility of eviction over their involvement in the riots and looting that tore through English cities this week.

Wandsworth Council in London's west has served an eviction notice on a council tenant whose son has appeared in court, charged over a riot at nearby Battersea.

The tenant and son are believed to be the first in the country to face the prospect of losing their council-owned home as a result of the riots.

Other councils including Manchester, Salford and Nottingham, as well as Westminster, Greenwich, Hammersmith and Fulham have threatened to take similar action.

UK riots: To understand is not to condone

"Tough on crime, tough on the causes of the crime" was the Blairite mantra in the run-up to the 1997 general election.

A comma had appeared where a full-stop once was. While the Conservative Party had been simply tough on crime, this new approach meant an area of policy traditionally dominated by conservatives became one which progressives could contribute to.

It was recognition that treating the symptoms of crime was not enough; that if the government was serious about reducing crime in the long-term, the causes must also be addressed. That the Labour Party did not do enough to address those causes is apparent to all, but it was nevertheless a position that appealed to the public.

The recent riots that have occurred in London and across Britain have led a number of commentators on the left and right, and indeed large parts of the general public, to question the worth of that comma.

Five Questions for Rick Perry

Texas Governor Rick Perry has joined the presidential race. His spokesman affirmed on Thursday that he plans to run and will make a formal announcement in his speech to the Red State convention in Charleston, South Carolina on Saturday. Perry has become a rock star in many conservative circles. Leading conservative pundits such as Rush Limabugh and William Kristol publicly asked him to run. Despite his mediocre approval ratings, national conservatives credit Perry with governing Texas as a right wing mecca: low taxes, few regulations to protect the environment, no mass transit, a bare bones social safety net, with guns and executions aplenty. (They also wrongly believe, a misconception Perry actively encourages, that Texas has experienced unusually strong economic growth and that it is attributable to Perry’s policies. As Brad Plumer demonstrated in The New Republic, neither claim withstands scrutiny.)

With his timely jump on the Tea Party bandwagon, his ostentatious religiosity, and his ability to draw upon his state’s plenitude of wealthy Republican donors, Perry will instantly join Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann in the top tier of GOP contenders. Poll already show him among the front runners; a CNN/ORC poll released Thursday has him in second, two points behind Romney.

The Catch-22 Recovery: We Need to Keep Gas Prices Low

Since May, the U.S. economy has struggled. From May through July, just 72,000 new jobs per month were created on average. Yet February through April averaged 215,000 per month. What killed the promising progress we were seeing earlier this year? A couple of factors are often blamed, but the biggest problem was rising gas prices. Even though they have been declining lately, this might not be the last time that this recovery is plagued by consumer sentiment plummeting due to the price at the pump. We could see gas prices create a sort of catch-22 that makes it difficult for the U.S. economy to stay on its feet.

12 Things Texans Know About Gov. Rick Perry That You Should, Too

Since 2006, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been boosting his conservative credentials, and now we know why -- he wants to be president. During this year's legislative session alone, Perry has taken on immigration, sanctuary cities, voter ID, women's reproductive issues, airport security, and, of course, the Obama administration, all national issues he can talk about in a national campaign.

Outside his home state, Perry might best be known for toying with the idea of secession. During the rise of the tea party, Perry told supporters at a rally in April, 2009, "We've got a great union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, who knows what may come of that." We're still not sure if Perry wants to run for president of the United States or president of the Republic of Texas.

Perry's disdain for the media rivals that of Sarah Palin, as evidenced by his avoiding reporters, eschewing televised debates, and even refusing to meet with the state's editorial boards during the last gubernatorial election. Unfortunately for the governor, he's going to need the media if he wants to run on a national platform. And he's never seen anything like the Washington press corps.

Birth Control Coverage for Everyone? Not So Fast.

The announcement last week that the Obama administration will require health insurance plans to cover preventative health care for women at no additional cost elicited whoops of joy from females all over the country. The idea that contraception will be fully covered was an especially celebrated point; Mother Jones blogger Jen Quraishi heralded the occasion as "a momentous day," and Jezebel happily noted that it was time to "kiss your co-pay goodbye."

Not everyone found the rule change so invigorating. That's because the new regulations contain a religious refusal clause, also known as a "conscience clause," exempting "certain religious employers" from having to cover the cost of contraception in employees' insurance plans if doing so would contradict the employer's belief system. The proposed conscience clause defines a religious employer as a nonprofit organization that "has inculcation of religious values as its purpose" and primarily employs and serves people who share its religious tenets. Religious groups say that language is far too weak and might force some religious institutions that don't want to provide birth control to women to do so anyway. Women's groups, meanwhile, are arguing that the language shouldn't be there at all.

The Next Debtpocalypse: Fiscal Meltdowns in the States

With the dust settling after the debt ceiling fight, Republicans—along with a few Democrats—are moving on to their next agenda item: blocking states from collecting millions in much-needed tax revenue from corporations.

The Business Activity Tax Simplification Act, or BATSA, passed out of the House Judiciary Committee in early July and is set to be taken up by the full House when Congress returns from its August recess. The bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), would forbid state and local governments in the 44 states that collect corporate income taxes from taxing a sizable chunk of corporate profits. How sizable? The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which scored a previous version of the bill in 2006, estimated that state revenue losses would explode to $3 billion annually within five years of enactment. Michael Mazerov, a senior fellow at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, says BATSA's current incarnation protects an even larger portion of corporate profits than the earlier bill, so state revenue losses could be even higher than the CBO projected. And here's the kicker: since no federal revenue is lost in the process, it's no skin off the backs of lawmakers in Washington.

Harper Honduras Visit Clouded By Human Rights Concerns

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica - Prime Minister Stephen Harper's trip to Honduras on Friday will be the first state visit by a foreign leader since the country was allowed back into the Organization of American States following a coup that ousted the country's leftist president.

Canada was one of the first countries to throw its support behind Porfirio Lobo Sosa, a wealthy rancher elected president of the tiny Central American country in November 2009, months after former leader Manuel Zelaya was disposed.

Since then, Canada has stepped up trade talks with Honduras, one in a bloc of four Central American countries that Canada has been conducting free-trade negotiations with for a decade.

Harper Government Austerity Plan: Economists Cast Wary Eye On Promise Of Budget Cuts

Despite renewed global economic unrest, Prime Minister Stephen Harper took a break from his trade mission to Latin America to affirm Ottawa’s promise to go ahead with $4 billion in annual spending cuts in a bid to eliminate the budget deficit by 2015. But the promise is meeting mixed reaction from economists, some of whom warn that cleaning up Canada’s balance sheet now is a risky play.

In an apparent bid to quell any doubts about whether Ottawa would re-think its deficit-slashing timeline, Harper told reporters Thursday that stimulus is not currently on the table.

“It continues to be our view that the Canadian economy will grow; it will grow gradually and slowly, along with the world recovery,” he said. “As long as those remain the circumstances, the policy mix of the government of Canada is the appropriate one.”

Censorship and safety: Health Canada and the nuclear information blackout

It was our uranium. It was mined on the shores of Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories. And in August 1945, it exploded over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, instantly killing thousands and leaving a legacy of radiation-related health effects. Fifty-three years later, in 1998, members of the Dene Sahtu First Nation of Great Bear Lake travelled to Japan. On behalf of their people and land, they apologized to the survivors of the atomic bombs.

Fast forward to Fukushima, the nuclear power plant that reached meltdown proportions after Japan's eastern coastline was pummeled by a massive, 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 . Aileen Mioko Smith, a Japanese anti-nuclear activist and director of Green Action, was in San Francisco when Fukushima exploded. Following her return, she observed the following: "The situation in Fukushima remains unstable and very dangerous. The status quo persists. The media are still ignoring citizen efforts, the TV programs are stacked with pro-nuclear spokespeople, and there are very few signs of real change. I worry about what will happen when the eyes of the world turn away from the Fukushima crisis, as soon as some other crisis erupts."

Governments must adapt to internet, not other way around

When the Cold War ended just over twenty years ago, it was convenient to think of it as democracy’s final triumph over tyranny, autocracy and every other form of government. With communism defeated, it seemed pretty obvious that the system left standing was the best one – the one we were always destined for and the one that every country should strive for.

It would be foolish, however, to think that the way we govern ourselves has stopped evolving. Our current system of democracy is by no means the be all and the end all of human governance. The same way that the printing press and a newly educated population forced the evolution of monarchies into republics centuries ago, so too is the internet now forcing governments of all stripes to grow, adapt and change. As people become further connected with advanced technologies, this movement will only accelerate.

Inside Harper’s big blue tent

They are incorrigible, these Harper Conservatives. Sooner or later, they’ll wind up right in your own backyard.

Mr. Robert Ford, of the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke, Ont., made that startling discovery on Aug. 2, when 700 federal Conservatives showed up for a garden party on his mother’s property. To Ford’s apparent surprise, one of his guests was Stephen Harper.

Ford recovered quickly, for he is the mayor of Toronto and these folks were, in fact, his invited guests. “My new fishing buddy,” Ford called Harper. They swapped tales about Ford’s prowess in landing a 39-cm smallmouth bass. Harper took the microphone and spoke briefly. He said Ford didn’t live up to his reputation because he refused to kill and eat the fish, although, to be honest, Ford never really struck me as a seafood lover. Harper said Ford did “something very important” by “cleaning up the NDP mess here in Toronto.” Since Harper is, by his account, cleaning up “the left-wing mess federally,” it was up to Ontarians to “complete the hat trick” by electing Conservative Tim Hudak as the province’s new premier this fall.

Take buyout or be laid off, Ford warns workers

Take the city’s buyout package now or you might be laid off later, Mayor Rob Ford warned 16,000 city workers who have so far spurned the effort to get them off the payroll.

Ford, appearing Friday morning on Sun News Network, was asked about layoffs in light of a Star story revealing that his administration now feels they are inevitable because of very low take-up of the city’s buyout offer.

“Now if they don’t take the package, what else do we have to do?” Ford said. “We might have to lay them off.”

Ford Canada asks Toronto councillor to remove company logo from Facebook page

A city councillor's Facebook page devoted to bolstering Ford the mayor has run afoul of Ford the carmaker.

Ford Motor Company of Canada has asked Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, an acolyte of Mayor Rob Ford, to remove its “Built Ford Tough” logo from a page the councillor started titled “Save the City..Support the Ford Administration.”

A spokesman with the carmaker told the Globe and Mail she had received about a dozen calls complaining about the unauthorized use of the logo on Mr. Mammoliti’s site, which he has vowed to protect from Communist incursions to wide ridicule and derision.

“We have sent a request to the Councillor asking that the logo be removed from the site and will follow up with the Councillor as appropriate,” said Ford of Canada communications manager Kerri Stoakley in an email.

As Texas Gov. Rick Perry Enters GOP Race, New Exposé Reveals His Close Ties to Radical Evangelicals

Republican Gov. Rick Perry of Texas is expected to announce his entry into the 2012 presidential race. Perry will make the announcement Saturday at a conference in South Carolina organized by Erick Erickson’s Early backers of Perry’s presidential run have heralded him as being behind the so-called Texas economic miracle, however many have questioned Perry’s economic claims in Texas. Questions have also arisen over Perry’s close ties to the radical-wing of the Christian evangelical movement. Last Saturday, Perry helped organize and spoke at a controversial seven-hour Christian prayer rally in Houston titled, "The Response: A Call to Prayer for a Nation in Crisis." While the prayer session drew 30,000 participants and received national press, little attention was paid to the Christian evangelicals Perry worked with to organize the event. The Texas Observer has just published an explosive article titled, "Rick Perry’s Army of God." It exposes how a group of radical Christians and self-proclaimed prophets from a little-known movement known as New Apostolic Reformation have been quietly pushing for Perry’s presidential bid. We speak with the Texas Observer’s Forrest Wilder.

Source: Democracy Now! 

Bipartisan "Super-Committee" Turns to Cutting Deficit With "Extraordinary" Powers

The bipartisan "super-committee" tasked with finding a way out of the U.S. debt crisis has been established, but what can we expect? On Thursday, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi named the final three members to the 12-person panel, split evenly between Democrats and Republicans. They will have until November 3 to recommend a plan to cut $1.5 trillion from the deficit over 10 years. We speak with Robert Borosage, founder and president of the Institute for America’s Future and co-director of its sister organization, the Campaign for America’s Future. Borosage says the committee’s authority is unique in Congress, with "powers [that] are quite extraordinary."

Source: Democracy Now!  

Cleaning Up Its Act

Canada lays out a plan to monitor the oil sands, but will the government act when the alarm sounds?

If you’re renting a house to a tenant who smokes, ensuring that you have a working smoke alarm might seem like basic due diligence – especially if the neighbours have told you repeatedly that they’ve seen flames and smelled smoke coming from the unit. But you’re unlikely to stop there – you’d probably demand some changes from the renter in order to prevent your asset from going up in smoke.

The Government of Canada is now facing a similar situation following its announcement of plans to implement a comprehensive monitoring system to measure the environmental impacts of oil sands development.

Budget Cuts Must be Transparent

The Conservatives must be held accountable to avoid ideologically driven cuts.

In January, I posted a blog entry with my advice to the current government on expenditure restraint.

During the final year or so of the Paul Martin government, I chaired the Cabinet Expenditure Review Committee, which found nearly $11 billion in savings over a five-year period. This is similar to the targets the current government has set for itself over the next few years.

The 2005 Expenditure Review Committee’s report, tabled alongside the 2005 budget, was designed to provide Parliament, and Canadians, with a complete picture of the planned cuts and efficiencies. We were proud of our efforts and pleased that all our savings in the public service were achieved through attrition.

However, in this regard, the current government is not off to a promising start.

Tory, Liberal attempts to root out former BQ members among NDP ranks similar to Cold War tracking of politicians like Tommy Douglas

PARLIAMENT HILL—A Federal Court judgment Wednesday that was critical of RCMP spying on the NDP’s founding leader Tommy Douglas sparked New Democrats to compare Cold War tracking of politicians and suspected communist sympathizers decades ago to Conservative and Liberal attempts to root out former Bloc Québécois members and supporters in their ranks over the past two weeks.

The ruling from Federal Court Justice Simon Noel ordered Library and Archives Canada to review its refusal to disclose hundreds of pages of RCMP intelligence archival material on Mr. Douglas, the CCF premier of Saskatchewan from 1944 to 1961, when he became the NDP’s first leader after it was formed that year.

Report gives Harper government a failing grade for transparency

It’s a good thing ‘Access to Information’ isn’t a class in school. If it were, Stephen Harper’s government would flunk — and flunk hard, according to a report from a prominent media advocacy group that awarded the prime minister an F- on the subject this week.

For the second year in a row, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression gave the prime minister’s government the lowest grade possible, saying it has taken longer than ever to access information on Mr. Harper’s watch and that the information they finally get is far more incomplete.

The new report, called Like Sheep to the Slaughter, says Canadians need to stay alert and protective of their right to freedom of information. It also points to specific examples of how Canadian media have been treated when trying to access information, such as when a Public Works bureaucrat moved to “unrelease” information to the Canadian Press.

Toronto drivers face hefty insurance hikes

Ashkan Alavi wants to know why he’s paying more money for less insurance.

The 44-year-old physicist expects to pay just over $1,500 this year in auto insurance premiums, up from nearly $1,150 last year.

Alavi has written to his Richmond Hill MPP to find out why his premium has risen 30 per cent from last year — despite auto insurance reforms that were meant to stabilize rates.

“I am a good driver, a clean driver. I have never made a claim in 18 years of driving,” Alavi said.

“So what did the government do? What was the reform for, if my premiums are not coming down?” Alavi said.

Ford poised to break promise of no layoffs

Mayor Rob Ford’s administration and senior city managers now believe significant layoffs of city staff are inevitable — an about-face from Ford’s campaign promise that there would be “no need for layoffs” to fix Toronto’s finances.

Last week, a grave-sounding city manager Joe Pennachetti told the Star his request for all departments and agencies to cut 10 per cent from their operating budgets “is very significant, and there will be staff reductions.”

He didn’t say if that meant actual pink slips, as opposed to attrition.

But sources within city staff and close to Ford confirmed this week that the directive to cut $380 million in spending, combined with what appears to be very low employee participation in the city’s buyout offer, make it virtually certain the mayor will ask council to pass a budget that pushes hundreds or thousands of gainfully employed city workers out the door.

Aggression during G20 rally ‘perpetrated by police,’ judge rules

A Toronto judge has ruled that “adrenalized” police officers acted as aggressors at a peaceful political rally that led to dozens of arrests during last year’s G20 summit.

“The only organized or collective physical aggression at that location that evening was perpetrated by police each time they advanced on demonstrators,” Justice Melvyn Green ruled on Thursday. He was referring to a demonstration at Queen St. and Spadina Ave. on Saturday, June 26, 2010.

Green stated police criminalized political demonstration, which is “vital” to maintain a “viable democracy.”

Green’s stern words echo widespread criticism of police during the G20, in which more than 1,100 people were detained in the largest mass arrest in Canadian history. A Toronto Star/Angus Reid Public Opinion poll conducted on the one-year anniversary of the G20 found a majority of Torontonians (54 per cent) now believe police response to demonstrations during the summit were unjustified.

U.S. Relies on Contractors in Somalia Conflict

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Richard Rouget,  a gun for hire over two decades of bloody African conflict, is the unlikely face of the American campaign against militants in Somalia.

A husky former French Army officer, Mr. Rouget, 51, commanded a group of foreign fighters during Ivory Coast’s civil war in 2003, was convicted by a South African court of selling his military services and did a stint in the presidential guard of the Comoros Islands, an archipelago plagued by political tumult and coup attempts.

Now Mr. Rouget works for Bancroft Global Development, an American private security company that the State Department has indirectly financed to train African troops who have fought a pitched urban battle in the ruins of this city against the Shabab, the Somali militant group allied with Al Qaeda.

FAA Funding Hinges On Partisan Fight Over Unions

WASHINGTON -- The clock is ticking for Congress to come up with a way to prevent another embarrassing shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Lawmakers have more than a month to go until funding runs out for the FAA. But with Congress only in session for one week of that month, and with lawmakers no closer to overcoming the same political disputes that partially closed the agency in July and left tens of thousands without paychecks, some Hill aides are starting to get nervous about the prospect of another shutdown.

"The FAA is going to expire on Sept. 16. That's in four weeks. The next three weeks are vacation," said a senior Democratic aide close to FAA negotiations. "We definitely have a problem."

U.S. Postal Service Proposes Cutting 120,000 Jobs, Pulling Out Of Federal Retirement, Health Care Plans

WASHINGTON — The financially strapped U.S. Postal Service is considering cutting as many as 120,000 jobs.

Facing a second year of losses totaling $8 billion or more, the agency also wants to pull its workers out of the retirement and health benefits plans covering federal workers and set up its own benefit systems.

Congressional approval would be needed for either step, and both could be expected to face severe opposition from postal unions which have contracts that ban layoffs.

Elizabeth Warren Gearing Up For Senate Run, Announcement To Come Post Labor Day

WASHINGTON -- Former Obama adviser and longtime consumer protection advocate Elizabeth Warren is moving toward a Senate run, several Democratic sources tell the Huffington Post.

The Massachusetts resident and Harvard Law School professor authored a post for an influential progressive state-based blog on Thursday afternoon pledging that she would not "stop fighting for middle class families." The article prompted a slew of speculation that Warren was poised to take on sitting Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.).

Another Texan for President?

HOUSTON -- There's a debate in Texas over whether or not Governor Rick Perry's prayer rally before 30,000 worshippers in a football stadium last Saturday was conceived to help launch his presidential candidacy. But there's little dispute about his prospects should he decide to enter the Republican field, as expected.

Most people here think he'll win.

Perry's appeal to Republicans is not hard to fathom. It has three distinct parts. The first, as the prayer rally demonstrates, is an overt religiosity that is sure to excite the social conservatives in the Republican base who feel neglected by the unrelenting focus on the economy. Perry casts the issue as a crisis of faith. "Lord,'' he told the crowd, "we see discord at home. We see fear in the marketplace. We see anger in the halls of government and, as a nation, we have forgotten who made us, who protects us, who blesses us.'' That message should resonate across the South and in states like Iowa, where religious conservatives dominate the party.

David Cameron, Meet Hu Jintao

In my article in the current issue (subscribe!) about this spring's abortive "Jasmine Protests" in China, I mention how hard the Chinese authorities cracked down on social media, as a way of thwarting protests before they happened and of apprehending would-be organizers. In certain parts of Beijing and other cities, text-message transmission -- a main means of Chinese communication -- was blocked altogether. The "real" versions of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are banned, and the Chinese counterparts were heavily interfered-with.

Obviously constraints on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and similar social media were hallmarks of autocratic response during the "Arab Spring" protests as well.

Did David Cameron not read a single foreign news story this past year? Did he have no idea what camp he was placing himself in, with his call to block social media as a way of controlling violence in England? ("When people are using social media for violence we need to stop them" etc. "Free flow of information can be used for good, but it can also be used for ill." During the Jasmine era, I read more or less those views, from Chinese officials, about the need to get tough.)