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.]

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Tankers too risky for B.C. coastal environment: independent engineering report

The Enbridge Northern Gateway proposal to ship oilsands bitumen from Kitimat along the B.C. coast carries an unacceptable risk of a significant spill, according to an independent analysis by three professional engineers.

The engineers, who include two emeritus professors from the University of B.C., find that the risks of an eventual spill are too high through the expected 50-year lifetime of the project, “and the unrefined bitumen too toxic and hard to clean up to be acceptable for a pristine coastline.”

The independent analysis generally agrees with Enbridge’s estimate that a spill of a volume greater than 5,000 cubic metres will occur, on average, every 200 years.

Why we need unions

Happy Labour Day. Or not.

In these anti-labour times, the latest salvo comes from Ontario’s Liberal government, attacking both teachers and collective bargaining.

True, the province’s teachers are well paid — average for average, better than journalists, for example — although most people understand that well-compensated teachers providing good public education are a sound social investment. And true, the austerity measures Dalton McGuinty’s government has in mind for teachers, particularly with regard to banked sick days, are not entirely unreasonable.

Mulcair pushing past ‘Angry Tom’ label as NDP leader

OTTAWA — Criticized for his temper and potentially divisive centrist leanings during the NDP leadership race, Thomas Mulcair’s first five months in office suggest any misgivings about his leadership style may have been premature.

Insiders insist party unity is stronger than ever and while still sharp-tongued and stubborn — he balks at yet another question about his beard, and refuses to entertain the idea of a pro-sovereignty government in Quebec — Mulcair has enjoyed praise for both his success in the House of Commons and on the summer barbecue circuit.

In Defense of Assange

Noam Chomsky argues that Julian Assange deserves applause rather than denunciation and punishment.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been granted political asylum by Ecuador, but he remains holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. If he leaves the compound, he will be arrested and extradited to Sweden, where he faces allegations of sexual assault. Assange denies the allegations and claims they are part of an effort to get him to the United States to face more serious charges related to his work for WikiLeaks. High-profile defenders like Michael Moore and Oliver Stone have recently published editorials in support of Assange. Now, professor and activist Noam Chomsky weighs in.

John McCain’s Road Map to Eternal War

“The bullshit piled up so fast in Vietnam, you needed wings to stay above it.”—Apocalypse Now

We wrote about all of the outrageous lies perpetrated by Republican speakers on the second night of the convention. But none of these prevarications—and none of the speakers on the second night of the convention—not even the smirking nonentity that is Tim Pawlenty, nor the megalomaniacal governor of New Mexico, Susana “The little children vie to touch the hem of my garment” Martinez—approached the wild disingenuousness and genuine menace inherent to Senator John McCain’s address to the convention.

Kuwait Petroleum may invest $4B in Alberta's oilsands

Kuwait's state-owned petroleum company may be closing in on a $4-billion joint venture with Athabasca Oil Corp. in Alberta's oil patch.

On Friday, the Globe and Mail reported that the Kuwait Petroleum Corp. had signed a memorandum of understanding for an investment with the Calgary-based firm.

The newspaper quoted Kuwait's ambassador to Canada, Ali al-Sammak, as confirming a deal that he says should be finalized by October. "It’s a plus-or-minus $4-billion deal and in October they’ll be coming back to follow up what has been signed," the paper quoted al-Sammak as saying.

5 reasons to pay attention to the Quebec election

When the Quebec election was called at the beginning of August, it was in the shadow of protests by students caught in their own war over tuition, and allegations of corruption in the construction industry.

Economic storm clouds also hung over the province, and while they haven't cleared, the tuition fight and corruption allegations have not consumed the headlines as much as expected in the somewhat unusual, for Quebec, three-way race between Jean Charest's embattled Liberals, Pauline Marois's aspiring Parti Québécois and François Legault's upstart Coalition Avenir Québec.