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, August 05, 2012

Ontario tenants federation pushing for standardized leases

It’s the clause that has no claws, yet many landlords still use it, and many prospective tenants still fear it.

The infamous “no pets allowed” line is frequently inserted into lease agreements, sending many animal-owning apartment seekers scattering.

However, what some do not know is that the clause is void in Ontario. And it’s not the only one.

Does your lease say you can’t have overnight guests? Void. Obligated to pay a damage deposit? Void.

Kill or Capture

On September 30, 2011, in a northern province of Yemen, Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen and a senior figure in Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, finished his breakfast and walked with several companions to vehicles parked nearby. Before he could drive away, a missile fired from a drone operated by the Central Intelligence Agency struck the group and killed Awlaki, as well as a second American citizen, of Pakistani origin, whom the drone operators did not realize was present.

President Barack Obama had personally authorized the killing. “I want Awlaki,” he is said to have told his advisers at one point. “Don’t let up on him.” The President’s bracing words about a fellow American are reported in “Kill or Capture,” a recent and important book on the Obama Administration’s detention and targeted-killing programs, by Daniel Klaidman, a former deputy editor of Newsweek.

Las Vegas Sands Target Of U.S. Money-Laundering Probe, WSJ Says

CHICAGO, Aug 4 (Reuters) - Las Vegas Sands Corp, controlled by billionaire Republican donor Sheldon Adelson, is the target of a federal investigation into possible violations of U.S. money-laundering laws, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.

The Los Angeles U.S. attorney's office is looking into the casino company's handling of the receipt of millions of dollars from a Mexican businessman, later indicted in the United States for drug trafficking, and a former California businessman, later convicted of taking illegal kickbacks, the Journal said, citing lawyers and others involved in the matter.

New York City refuses to back officer who pepper-sprayed Occupy activists

On September 24, 2011, at an Occupy Wall Street demonstration at Union Square, one officer from the New York Police Department (NYPD) singlehandedly became the catalyst for the burgeoning Occupy movement.

That afternoon during an Occupy march, NYPD Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna ( a “white shirt” - indicating a rank of lieutenant or above) decided to pepper-spray a small group of female activists trapped inside an orange, mesh police net.

U.S. Sikh temple shooting an act of 'domestic terrorism'

Police in Oak Creek, Wisc., say seven people died in a shooting Sunday at a Sikh temple just south of Milwaukee.

At a late afternoon news conference, Police Chief John Edwards said his officers had “stopped this from becoming worse than it could have been."

Edwards said when his officers arrived one person was discovered "down" and the officer attending to the person was ambushed and shot several times but is expected to recover. A second officer then fatally shot the suspect.

Newspaper accounts of 1862 small pox epidemic show racism that led to devastation

Newspaper accounts of the 1862 small pox epidemic in the British colony that would become British Columbia:

March 18, 1862: The British Colonist newspaper confirmed rumours circulating for days that small pox has made its way north from San Francisco to the colony.

"The case is not considered a dangerous one by the attending physicians, although a consultation was held yesterday to determine its character," says the report on page 3.

Health expert a champion spender

So how about that high-flying health expert who whacked Alberta taxpayers for $487,000 a year in salary plus $346,000 in expenses in 3½ years at the Capital Health agency, then bonged eHealth in Ontario for over $75,000 a month as a consultant before getting hired as chief financial officer with Alberta Health Services? The Olympic magnitude of it inspires a certain awe.

I know, I know. It ended kind of badly when Allaudin Merali had to quit as CFO of AHS, at least one board member walked the plank and Health Minister Fred Horne is scrambling to save his own hide. And yes, taxpayers got soaked. But seriously, it is some kind of strange achievement. These people aren’t like us, are they?

Fitting the bill

IN another let-them-eat-cake moment in the political world, it's recently been revealed that Premier Christy Clark's office racked up close to half a million dollars on credit cards last year.

The figure is noteworthy, because it's twice what Clark's predecessor Gordon Campbell spent. Predictably, the premier's office defended the expenses as the cost of doing (and wooing) business.

Some of the expenses are justified; Airfare, for instance, is hard to argue with. But other items like expensive restaurant meals and visits to wineries are likely to raise more eyebrows.

Don't judge politicians on private beliefs

Premier Christy Clark has declared on what is described as a popular Christian TV show that it's the Bible that gives her courage to make "tough" decisions as our premier.

I missed her saying her piece because I'm not a regular viewer of 100 Huntley Street. But, as reported, it sounds like a piece that passeth understanding.

First of all, what persuaded the premier to appear on a show presenting "the amazing stories of people who have had life-changing encounters with God," according to its website?

Canada needs energy diversity: federal documents

OTTAWA — A dependence on fossil fuel resources is making the country vulnerable to a planetary “mega trend” toward low-carbon energy that “will affect the whole of Canada’s economy,” Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver was told in newly released internal briefing notes.

“While Canada has an enviable energy resource advantage, its future success cannot be taken for granted,” said the briefing notes. “It must make smart decisions now in order to get ahead of emerging challenges. The country will need to further diversify its energy sources, ensure that it has secure access to global markets and find ways to meet the growing demand for energy at home in ways that are environmentally sustainable and publicly acceptable.”

Climate Change Study Ties Recent Heat Waves To Global Warming

WASHINGTON — The relentless, weather-gone-crazy type of heat that has blistered the United States and other parts of the world in recent years is so rare that it can't be anything but man-made global warming, says a new statistical analysis from a top government scientist.

The research by a man often called the "godfather of global warming" says that the likelihood of such temperatures occurring from the 1950s through the 1980s was rarer than 1 in 300. Now, the odds are closer to 1 in 10, according to the study by NASA scientist James Hansen. He says that statistically what's happening is not random or normal, but pure and simple climate change.

Mitt Romney: Federal Reserve Should Avoid Stimulus

WASHINGTON -- Mitt Romney says the Federal Reserve shouldn't use new stimulus measures to boost the still-sluggish economy.

The Republican presidential hopeful says he doesn't think another round of stimulus would help the economy, arguing that previous measures didn't work.

Romney tells CNN's "State of the Union" in an interview scheduled to air Sunday morning that business incentives are preferable to more government intervention.

The Fed held off last week on taking further action to boost economic growth, but indicated those measures could be announced in the near future. The Fed also opted to keep interest rates near zero in an attempt to keep borrowing costs low.

Romney also doubled down on his vow to create 12 million new jobs during his first term, calling that goal realistic and achievable.

Original Article
Source: huffington post
Author: AP

Lindsey Graham: Harry Reid Is 'Lying' About Romney Not Paying Taxes

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) leveled a serious charge against his colleague Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Sunday, accusing the Senate majority leader of lying on the Senate floor when he said he’d heard Mitt Romney didn’t pay taxes for a decade.

“I’ve been around this town for a while,” Graham told Candy Crowley on CNN’s "State of the Union." “I actually like Harry. But what he did on the Senate floor is so out of bounds. I think he’s lying about it.”

Koch Brothers, GOP Mega Donors, Help Bankroll Religious Conservative's 2012 Efforts

A conservative group led by longtime political activist Ralph Reed has budgeted $10 million for a major 2012 election push to turn out the religious right and block a second term for President Barack Obama, a top executive with his organization told the Huffington Post.

The Faith and Freedom Coalition's effort, which will include voter registration drives at NASCAR races in Florida, Virginia and other key swing states, is part of a much broader attempt to reactivate millions of socially conservative voters to not only defeat Obama but help some favorite conservative congressional candidates.

Democracy as an end in itself

What do people mean when they talk about democracy? I'm not thinking of historians, politicians or philosophers; just people.

When I arrived in Tunis, where the Arab Spring began, which spread to Cairo and then was the model for Real Democracy Now in Madrid, which in turn inspired the Occupy movements everywhere, I was hustled by a driver into his taxi. I sat beside him. Neither of us had our seatbelts buckled.

Departing Alberta Health Services executive previously collected $1M severance

CALGARY — Health and opposition critics say they’re outraged the former finance boss for Alberta’s medical superboard — who stepped down over criticism of excessive spending — previously pocketed $1 million in severance and collects a sizable executive retirement package from the province.

Alberta Health Services is working out the terms of a severance package potentially worth six figures for Allaudin Merali after he exited the provincial health authority earlier this week.

Rewarding bad behaviour: Israel and the West

Israel has barely put a foot right with the international community since its attack on Gaza more than three years ago provoked global revulsion.

The right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu has serially defied and insulted foreign leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama; given the settlers virtual free rein; blocked peace talks with the Palestinians; intimidated and marginalised human rights groups, UN agencies and even the Israeli courts; and fuelled a popular wave of Jewish ethnic and religious chauvinism against the country's Palestinian minority, foreign workers and asylum seekers.

Texas drought, Europe heat waves are climate change in action: top NASA scientist

The relentless, weather-gone-crazy type of heat that has blistered the United States and other parts of the world in recent years is so rare that it can’t be anything but man-made global warming, says a new statistical analysis from a top government scientist.

The research by a man often called the “godfather of global warming” says that the likelihood of such temperatures occurring from the 1950s through the 1980s was rarer than 1 in 300. Now, the odds are closer to 1 in 10, according to the study by NASA scientist James Hansen. He says that statistically what’s happening is not random or normal, but pure and simple climate change.