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.]

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Canada pledges another $227-million in aid to Afghanistan at Tokyo meet

Canada and other major donors sought to assure Afghanistan that development aid will not dry up when foreign troops leave the country by pledging billions of dollars through 2015, on the condition the money is not squandered through corruption or mismanagement.

Weariness after more than a decade of fighting, and exasperation over the inability or unwillingness of President Hamid Karzai’s government to tackle rampant corruption and graft, have weighed on the international community’s resolve to keep supporting Afghanistan.

Russia flooding: 150 dead after severe Black Sea storms

MOSCOW—The death toll rose to at least 150 on Sunday from severe flooding in the Black Sea region of southern Russia that turned streets into rivers, swept away bridges and inundated thousands of homes as many residents were sleeping.

President Vladimir Putin flew to the region and ordered investigators to determine whether more could have been done to prevent the deaths.

Stephen Harper Stampede-Week BBQ: Tories Well On Their Way With Campaign Promises

CALGARY -- Conservatives of varying, and sometimes combating, stripes gathered under a sweltering tent Saturday for Prime Minister Stephen Harper's annual Stampede-week barbecue in his Calgary riding.

Alberta Premier Alison Redford, whose Progressive Conservatives were elected in a majority government this spring, sat next to Harper at the head table.

The room applauded heartily when Redford was introduced, but not as loudly when her rival, Wildrose Party and opposition leader Danielle Smith, was asked to stand.

Morsi Orders Dissolved Parliament Return, Defies Military Leaders

CAIRO — Egypt's official news agency says the country's top generals are holding an "emergency meeting" to discuss the surprise decision by the president to recall the dissolved, Islamist-dominated parliament.

Last month, the then-ruling generals ordered the legislature dissolved following a ruling by Egypt's highest court that a third of the parliament's members were illegally elected.

The Middle East News Agency said the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces that comprises top military chiefs was meeting Sunday to "review and discuss the consequences" of President Mohammed Morsi's decision earlier the same day. An Islamist, Morsi is Egypt's first democratically elected president.

The generals took over from Hosni Mubarak when he stepped down nearly 17 months ago after a popular uprising. They formally handed over power to Morsi on June 30.

Original Article
Source: huffington post

Romney's Swiss Bank Account Criticized By Top Democrats

WASHINGTON -- Democrats repeatedly attacked Mitt Romney for his secretive offshore financial arrangements on Sunday, on the heels of a major Vanity Fair story detailing the presumptive Republican presidential nominee's Swiss bank account and various holdings in the Caribbean.

"He is the first and only candidate for U.S. president with a Swiss bank account, with tax shelters," Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "There is just no way to explain it."

Voter ID Laws Could Block Thousands From Voting

When Edward and Mary Weidenbener went to vote in Indiana's primary in May, they didn't realize that state law required them to bring government photo IDs such as a driver's license or passport.

The husband and wife, both approaching 90 years old, had to use a temporary ballot that would be verified later, even though they knew the people working the polling site that day. Unaware that Indiana law obligated them to follow up with the county election board, the Weidenbeners ultimately had their votes rejected – news to them until informed recently by an Associated Press reporter.

Tax-Exempt Groups Shield Political Gifts of Businesses

American Electric Power, one of the country’s largest utilities, gave $1 million last November to the Founding Fund, a new tax-exempt group that intends to raise most of its money from corporations and push for limited government. 

The giant insurer Aetna directed more than $3 million last year to the American Action Network, a Republican-leaning nonprofit organization that has spent millions of dollars attacking lawmakers who voted for President Obama’s health care bill — even as Aetna’s president publicly voiced support for the legislation.

Paul LePage, Maine Governor, Blasts Obamacare, Calls IRS 'The New Gestapo'

Maine Governor Paul LePage blasted the Supreme Court's health care ruling on Saturday, saying the "decision has made America less free."

"We the people have been told there is no choice," LePage said in his weekly radio address. "You must buy health insurance or pay the new Gestapo -- the I.R.S."

He specifically targeted the individual mandate, calling its classification as a tax the most "disturbing" portion of the ruling.

What kind of a mayor does this city need?

The evidence suggests that Rob Ford’s current term as mayor is done. His control over the city’s agenda started unravelling as early as last July, when his foul-mouthed fear of CBC comedians coincided with an all-night outpouring of opposition to his proposed service cuts at City Hall. Since then, things have only gotten worse, and this year has been one of consistent defeat for Ford. It’s possible to imagine he could become relevant again, but that would be a tough road: He’s been thrown under the streetcar, run over, and left behind.

Canadian Forces Overseas Missions: Troops Eager For New Missions, Canada's Top Soldier Walt Natynczyk Says

CALGARY - When it comes to future missions for the Canadian Forces, Canada's top soldier has to battle to keep his eager troops satisfied with staying out of major combat zones for now.

Canada's military presence in Afghanistan will come to an end once the current training mission concludes in 2014 and Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Walt Natynczyk acknowledges that's a disappointment for many soldiers, sailors and air personnel.

Oilsands Environmental Coalition Wants Alberta To Show Oilsands Recommendations Were Followed

EDMONTON - Environmentalists are trying to force the Alberta government to show it's followed through on previous recommendations to reduce the impact of oilsands mines before any more projects are approved.

The Oilsands Environmental Coalition has asked the regulatory panel examining Shell's proposed Jackpine expansion to check into the status of dozens of recommendations by previous panels.

Needle Exchange Ban: Abbotsford, B.C. Called On To End Needle Exchange Ban

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - Once a week, Jamie MacDonald walks down a quiet alley in this sprawling community in British Columbia's Fraser Valley, finds a familiar black SUV and picks up a package of clean needles, alcohol swabs and other supplies for injecting heroin.

MacDonald doesn't need the needles himself — although he's addicted to heroin, he smokes the drug — but he has friends who do.

Some veterans still seeing payments clawed back after court ruling

HALIFAX - Some of Canada's most severely injured veterans say they are still seeing their military pensions clawed back despite a court ruling that found the practice illegal and a decision by Ottawa not to appeal the ruling.

Veterans with debilitating injuries said they thought their payments would increase when the federal government announced in May that it wouldn't challenge the Federal Court decision on the so-called clawbacks.

Harper promises 'Canada will not slip back' at Stampede barbeque

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he is looking beyond the mandate of his current majority Conservative government and pledged to transform Canada into one of the world’s “next generation of economic powers.”

Mr. Harper told about 900 party supporters in Calgary on Saturday night that this country remains one of the world’s “rare exceptions” with a solid economy and on track to a balanced budget despite a now four-year-old global financial crisis that has crushed other nations.

Second senior says she had cataract surgery without sedation at Oakville Trafalgar Hospital

Prone to anxiety attacks, 65-year-old Fern Cooper suffered a particularly bad one a couple of weeks ago. She was undergoing cataract surgery on her right eye at Oakville Trafalgar Hospital, but without sedation.

She felt like she was suffocating while covered by a surgical drape sheet, with only an opening for her eye, she says. Trying to get more air under the sheet, she kept raising an arm. An anesthetist kept putting it back down.

Violent assaults in federal prisons on the rise

OTTAWA—It was a vicious slashing in the middle of the day, a deliberate blow struck by a prisoner gripping a cunning weapon.

The woman, a correctional officer of three years’ experience at B.C.’s Kent Institution, had just glanced down at a request form the inmate casually handed her.

The blade, possibly a razor hidden in a toothbrush, caught the guard at the top of her head.