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, July 25, 2012

Sandy Weill, In Stunning Reversal, Tells CNBC It's Time To Break Up The Banks

In a stunning reversal, a former big bank CEO who crusaded for policies that helped create the so-called "too-big-to-fail" banks now says we need to break up the banks.

"What we should probably do is go and split up investment banking from banking, have banks be deposit takers, have banks make commercial loans and real estate loans, and have banks do something that's not going to risk the taxpayer dollars, that's not going to be too big to fail," former Citigroup Chairman and CEO Sanford "Sandy" Weill told CNBC on Wednesday morning.

Coalition to parade premier puppets, urge talks on federal health spending

HALIFAX - A coalition of groups wants the country's premiers to push the federal government on public health care.

The Nova Scotia Citizens' Health Care Network says when the premiers meet in Halifax tomorrow and Friday, they need to address federal spending on health.

The health network and the Council of Canadians are joining a local theatre troupe to march 10 life-size puppets of the premiers from the library on Spring Garden Road to the waterfront in Halifax at one o'clock this afternoon.

They say the puppets represent their message, quote: "Don't be puppets. Stand up to Stephen Harper. Protect public health care."

Kyle Buott of the health network says Canadians are watching the meetings and expect the premiers to protect, strengthen and extend public health care.

Original Article
Source: global montreal
Author: -

This Conspiracy-Toting Conservative Blogger Could Be Headed to Congress

In mid-May, Texas Republican congressional candidate Wes Riddle posted a new note on his Facebook page. It was written by his spokesman, Garrett Smith, and it was dire. "The reasoning for President Obama's impeachment," Smith wrote, "begins with the fact that the State Department is giving away seven strategic, resource-laden Alaskan islands to Russia." According to the statement, Riddle—who has Rep. Ron Paul's endorsement and stands a good chance of winning in November if he can make it out of next Tuesday's runoff—believed that Obama's unprecedented giveaway included at least one island the size of Rhode Island and Delaware combined, "billions of barrels of oil" from offshore deposits, and unknown strategic advantages.

Right-Wing Gun Group: Was Aurora an Inside Job?

Here's the first right-wing conspiracy theory about the shootings that killed 12 people and injured dozens more at a midnight screening of the latest Batman movie in Aurora, Colorado, over the weekend.

All indications from the Aurora Police Department are that Batman gunman James Holmes acted alone, for reasons that have yet to be established. But Larry Pratt—the president of Gun Owners of America, a far-right Second Amendment group that's backed by prominent people like Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)—has a different theory. Pratt believes the timing of Holmes' rampage, which left 12 people dead and 58 wounded, seemed designed to coincide with the upcoming negotiation of the United Nations Small Arms Treaty. A press release sent out to radio bookers on Tuesday advertising Pratt's availability noted that, "In an article posted at The New American…one expert even outlined a theory that Holmes didn't act alone, but was possibly 'enlisted' to carry out his violent act." Pratt, the publicist stated, was free for interviews on Holmes' "impeccable" timing.

UK GDP Falls Again, Making This Britain's Longest Double-Dip Recession In 50 Years

Britain is in the longest double-dip recession for more than 50 years, as gross domestic product shrank by 0.7% between April and June, official figures revealed on Wednesday.

The fall in GDP came as a shock to the City - where predictions had been for a fall of around 0.2%.

Chancellor George Osborne said: "We all know the country has deep-rooted economic problems and these disappointing figures confirm that."

Mounties close ranks against the first woman to speak out about sexual harassment

How quickly they close ranks.

Eight months ago, when he was appointed commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Bob Paulson vowed to get to the bottom of the allegations of sexual harassment in the force to restore Canadians’ respect for the RCMP. “This situation cannot continue,” the veteran Mountie said. “I have asked for a comprehensive review of any outstanding complaints to satisfy myself that the allegations are being addressed, the complainants are being supported and the offenders are being dealt with.”

Canada must bring Khadr home without further delay

Omar Khadr marks a fateful anniversary this week: 10 years trapped within the Kafkaesque injustice of the U.S. “war on terror.”

On July 27, 2002, after a firefight in Afghanistan, he was taken into custody, held first for three months in Afghanistan and then at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Very soon after his arrest, Amnesty International wrote to the Canadian government, pressing for his rights to be protected. But a decade later, this 25-year-old Canadian citizen remains at Guantanamo Bay, and Canada has barely whispered a word of concern.

B.C. vows to block pipeline unless Alberta ponies up

As Canada’s premiers gather in Halifax, the quarrel between two Western leaders over the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline has reached a boiling point.

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark is threatening to block the controversial $6-billion project unless her province gets an unspecified “fair share” of the windfall, a cash call Alberta Premier Alison Redford is flatly rejecting.

The prime minister of Calgary

Riding two horses with one behind is a classic event in the tawdry rodeo of politics.

It is done by all politicians, it is a sign of political middle-age, and it is not without its perils.

Remember the Harper government’s old China policy, the one that political changeling and former Harper trade minister David Emerson once quipped was made in Tibet?

There was a time when Parson Harper presided over a morality-based view of “Communist China”, that iniquitous, one-party dictatorship that murdered its own students, threatened Taiwan, and trampled the rights of its citizens. The place that needed nothing so much as an improving lecture from you-know-who. The Bad China.

Poll helps explain Harper's tough crime stance

The Harper government was warned in an internal report earlier this year that many Canadians believe the criminal justice system is under-funded, too many young people are not being punished properly and jails are turning petty thieves into more "sophisticated" criminals.

The report, submitted in March to the Conservative government's influential central agency - the Privy Council Office (PCO) - was based on public opinion research conducted to gauge Canadians' views on key issues.

The government hired Harris/Decima, at a cost of $127,076, to do a national survey of 2,000 people and to hold focus groups at six places in January.

Elections Canada ‘not interested’ in immunity offer in Del Mastro case

OTTAWA — Elections Canada has rebuffed an offer to provide information about an alleged reimbursement scheme involving Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro’s 2008 election campaign, saying it doesn’t have the authority to give witnesses immunity from prosecution.

Toronto lawyer Allan Kaufman wrote to Elections Canada in June, offering details of reimbursements of campaign donations allegedly paid by Deltro Electric Ltd., a small Mississauga contractor owned by Del Mastro’s cousin, David.

Did Elections Canada mislead the Supreme Court?

Liberal Borys Wrzesnewskyj is not waiting for the Supreme Court's decision before firing another volley in his battle over last year's election in Etobicoke Centre.

The court is expected to rule next week on whether Tory MP Ted Opitz can keep the seat which he won by just 26 votes. Either way, though, Wrzesnewskyj says "difficult questions" surround what he calls "problematic" new evidence presented to the court at the last minute by Elections Canada.

Canadians have little confidence in governments to solve issues that matter most: study

An important new study reveals a potent disconnect between the issues that matter most to Canadians and their confidence that government can deliver.

From improving health care to balancing budgets, the more Canadians want to see things get better, the less they believe things will.

“There are many issues that are important to Canadians,” observed pollster Nik Nanos. “But there isn’t a lot of confidence in finding solutions.”

Kenney scorns B.C. 'toll gate' on pipeline

B.C.'s efforts to seek a larger portion of the oil pipeline pie do not serve the national interest, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney warned Tuesday.

Kenney, who met with the Times Colonist editorial board, said he does not support the provincial government's call for a larger share of the estimated $81 billion in tax revenue that would be generated if the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline is approved.

Rather than a 'Canadian Energy Plan,' an 'Energy Plan for Canadians'

A pan-Canadian Energy Plan is on the agenda of the Council of the Federation meeting this week in Halifax (July 25-27). It was going to be way-down on the priority list –- that is, of course, before B.C. Premier Christy Clark announced her government’s new position on the Northern Gateway Pipeline (NGP) and news of the $15 Billion bid by the Chinese government to buy Nexen –- a Canadian energy giant.

The idea of any kind of 'national energy plan' discussion happening would have been unthinkable only months ago, but something’s happened -- and I’m not talking about deadly and destructive weather. It's the massive (and growing) opposition to the NGP plan to pump oil from Alberta to the Pacific and lift the very popular 40 year-old moratorium on oil-tankers (B.C.'ers haven't forgotten Alaska's Exxon disaster). B.C. loggers, fishers, outfitters and property owners are being asked to take all the risks while big multinational oil companies will get all the benefits.

As goes California, so goes the nation!

As goes California, so goes the nation -- the nation in the normal scheme of things being what the world knows as the Good Ole U.S.A.

For many practical reasons that all of us instinctively understand up here north of the 49th Parallel, and even in those parts of Canada south of the 49th, as goes California, so goes Canada too.

I refer, of course, to the steep downward spiral in which the Republican Party finds itself in that large and populous West Coast state -- a place big enough to be a leading nation all on its own and home, arguably to the American image, if not the American soul.

Bibi’s choice

For Barack Obama’s administration, the report could not have landed at a more awkward moment, just as Washington is tightening sanctions on nuclear wannabe Iran and trying to press others to toughen up on Tehran. But then even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who initiated the study and appointed the three-person committee, seemed to take the equivalent of a political gulp by delaying, by two weeks, the release of the report recommending he legalize Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

How copyright rules silenced Romney

Copyright is too often described as a “divisive” issue. The truth is that aside from some people who are passionate about copyright reform and some industries that are passionate about copyright enforcement, there are many, many more people who couldn’t care less. To this bewildered majority, the “copyfight” can seem a bizarre and geeky policy debate locked in time, forever repeating talking points from 2000′s Napster vs. Metallica fracas.

May wants more Green MPs before 2015, not interested in party merger with Grits

OTTAWA—The Green Party of Canada will hold its convention next month in British Columbia, and leader Elizabeth May says her party’s focus is on winning more seats, not merging with another centre-left party.

“We think in different terms,” Ms. May (Saanich-Gulf Islands, B.C.) observed of her party after one year in Parliament. “We’re focused on electing more members of Parliament and looking at the issues we want to discuss before the next election.”

Conservatives expect Calgary Centre’s hotly-contested nomination race to be more competitive than the byelection

Federal Conservatives running for the party’s nomination race in Calgary Centre expect it to be more competitive than the byelection to replace former Tory MP Lee Richardson.

“The MP in Calgary Centre is a very valued position,” said Glenn Solomon, president of Calgary Centre’s Conservative riding association. The riding has been held by various conservative parties since it was created in 1966 and is considered a safe Conservative seat in a province where the Conservatives hold 25 of the province’s 28 seats. Mr. Richardson won the last election with 57.7 per cent of the vote and by a margin of 19,770 votes. The NDP hold one seat, there's one Independent Conservative, one vacancy, and 25 Conservatives in Alberta.

Competing bidders for radio spot donated money to Tory MP

A Conservative MP who serves as parliamentary secretary to the Canadian Heritage Minister raised thousands of dollars in political contributions from people involved in a high-stakes campaign to win a new Toronto radio licence.

Paul Calandra, the MP for Oak Ridges-Markham, attended and received money at two private fundraising parties that included people connected to two of the bids under consideration by the CRTC, which reports to Canadian Heritage.

Harper, McGuinty and Ford play the politics of death

For politicians, tragedy provides opportunity. This isn’t because political leaders are crasser than anyone else. But the nature of their business requires them to wring any advantage they can from disaster or risk being swamped.

This may help explain the otherwise inexplicable reaction of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford to last week’s Scarborough shootings.

Climate feedback faster than thought

Scientists have shed new light on one of the most important questions in climate science: the time lag between changes in temperature and changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels in the past.

Their findings suggest that feedbacks in the climate system – in which warming is linked to natural carbon dioxide increase, driving further warming – may operate faster than previously thought.

Canada Drought: NDP Warn Food Prices Set To Skyrocket With Dry Crops In Eastern Provinces

OTTAWA - Stand far enough away and the fields of Debra Pretty-Straathof's family farm appear green and lush.

But a closer look reveals parched earth littered with dead or dying leaves, and crops whose growth has been stunted by severe heat and drought.

Oilsands play big role in Redford's 'national energy strategy'

Alberta Premier Alison Redford nominated herself to champion the herculean task of spearheading a Canadian energy strategy, but on the eve of the annual summer premiers conference in Halifax, the B.C. government has made her undertaking that much more difficult.

Yesterday's announcement by B.C.'s ministers of the environment and aboriginal affairs sent a message to Alberta that Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline will have to overcome environmental and financial hurdles before the provincial government will allow the project to proceed.