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, September 23, 2012

Power, Pollution and the Internet

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Jeff Rothschild’s machines at Facebook had a problem he knew he had to solve immediately. They were about to melt.

 The company had been packing a 40-by-60-foot rental space here with racks of computer servers that were needed to store and process information from members’ accounts. The electricity pouring into the computers was overheating Ethernet sockets and other crucial components.

Tom’s thumb would stifle our economy

Would an NDP government impose a carbon tax?

The Conservatives are telling anyone who will listen that the answer is yes.

The notion was roundly mocked by the NDP because as we know, they would never impose a tax. They would, however, introduce a cap-and-trade system which would raise the prices of goods and services. So, the impact is the same as a tax hike.

Thousands of ‘Lost Canadians’ struggling to achieve citizenship stuck in legal quagmire

It was a remarkable exchange, caught on tape. Jason Kenney, Canada’s Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, was confronted in June by a 67-year-old woman to whom his department had denied citizenship, thanks to circumstances surrounding her birth. Circumstances that were not extraordinary.

Jackie Scott was born out of wedlock in England, to a Canadian soldier and his British lover, just before the Second World War had ended. She is a war bride child. Canada has thousands of them.

Economy might be softer than ‘soft’

This coming week, Canadians will get a clearer picture of just how far the economy has sunk into what TD Bank last week called a “soft patch” but may find that in fact it’s now stuck in a sinkhole.

Be forewarned, it doesn’t look good. With weakness widely expected in reports on both July retail sales Tuesday and overall economic growth Friday, one projection posits the economy actually contracted during the month and could be on track for a quarterly decline as well.

F-35 fighter jet: Is it the pinnacle of technology its creators claim?

It’s called the F-35 -- a fighter jet described by its makers, Lockheed Martin, as the “pinnacle of more than 50 years of fighter technology.” It may turn out to be the marvel of engineering its makers claim, but so far, its critics say, it hasn’t been proven.

W5 wanted to see the F-35 first hand at the Lockheed Martin factory in Texas -- kick the tires, so to speak -- and speak with company officials. Our request was refused.

Ottawa communications firm linked to federal departments and F-35 manufacturer

In early August, W5 contacted Lockheed Martin with a request for interviews and filming F-35 production facilities in Forth Worth, Texas.

Everything was going fine: Lockheed Martin promptly provided biographies for two executives and Canadian F-35 test pilot Billie Flynn for the interviews. The defense contractor invited W5 to its corporate chalet at the Abbotsford Air Show in BC where we would have been able to tape the interviews. Alas, there would be no F-35 at that show, and how could we do a program without one? No worries: “You’ll be able to see one for sure in Fort Worth,” Lockheed Martin assured us.

Feds spent over $750,000 in five-year court battle against vets' pension claim

OTTAWA - The Harper government spent $750,462 in legal fees fighting veterans over the clawback of military pensions, documents tabled in Parliament show.

Federal Liberals have been demanding to see a breakdown of Ottawa's legal costs in the class-action lawsuit launched by veterans advocate Dennis Manuge, of Halifax.

The response was tabled in Parliament last week, but Justice Minister Rob Nicholson refused to release an itemized count, invoking solicitor-client privilege.

Canada needs to boost manufacturing sector, Mulcair tells Alberta audience

EDMONTON - Canada needs to boost its manufacturing sector to make up for jobs that will be lost in oil refining, federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair said Saturday during the Alberta NDP’s annual convention at Crowne Plaza Chateau Lacombe.

Mulcair expressed concerns over the loss of potential manufacturing jobs in the proposed Northern Gateway and Keystone XL pipeline deals.

He said the Keystone pipeline, which would ship raw bitumen to the U.S. gulf coast, would represent the export of 40,000 well-paying jobs in upgrading, refining and transformation.

Adoration of Peter Lougheed moves beyond canonization into deification

With his state funeral yesterday afternoon, the official adoration of former Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed moved beyond canonization into deification.

If other Canadians happened to pause and listen to what was actually being said in Calgary’s 57-year-old Jubilee Auditorium, which was broadcast by the CBC, they could be forgiven for wondering if we Albertans had collectively taken leave of our senses.

I mean no disrespect for Lougheed with this observation. As has been said here before, he was an undeniably successful politician, far-sighted by the standards of any generation and surprisingly liberal in his economic views from the perspective of the positions held nowadays by his fellow Conservatives.

Amid rising tension, Chinese navy receives first aircraft carrier

China’s first aircraft carrier was handed over Sunday to the navy of the People’s Liberation Army, state press said, amid rising tensions over disputed waters in the East and South China Seas.

The handover ceremony of the 300-metre ship, a former Soviet carrier called the Varyag, took place in northeast China’s port of Dalian after a lengthy refitting by a Chinese shipbuilder, the Global Times reported.

The lie of cap and trade and politics

Parliament, as you may have heard, is back from its summer recess. Some late-breaking developments: The NDP would like to tax everything, and the Conservatives are big fat liars. No change, in other words.

The cause of this latest exchange of pleasantries is the Conservative accusation, which I promise you are going to hear six times a day until doomsday, that the NDP would impose a tax on carbon emissions if it were elected — a carbon tax, for short, or as the Conservatives would prefer you call it, a “tax on everything.” Why this is thought to be such a telling line is a mystery. The income tax is the ultimate “tax on everything” — every single thing you buy is paid for out of after-tax dollars — yet when the Conservatives had a chance to cut it they cut the GST instead.

Quebec Students Free Tuition: Student Group Advocates For Free Tuition Now That Hike Is Off The Table

MONTREAL - One Quebec student group says that with tuition hikes officially off the table, it will now champion the idea of free education.

The new Parti Quebecois government scrapped a controversial increase in post-secondary tuition fees this week and a hardline student group is now turning to free education as its long-term goal.

Feds On Collision Course With Courts Over Omnibus Crime Law

Federal New Democrat MP and justice critic Françoise Boivin is warning of growing tensions between the federal government and the courts, following a series of rulings that saw fit to deem the government's tough-on-crime agenda unconstitutional, four years after the legislation was first passed into law.

The Conservatives passed their first omnibus crime Bill C-2 – the Tackling Violent Crime Act – in 2008, effectively making changes to Canada's criminal code in an effort to "protect Canadians against those who commit serious and violent crimes."

Double Amputee Shooting: Matthew Jacob Marin, Houston Officer, Kills Man In Wheelchair, Police Say

HOUSTON -- A Houston police officer shot and killed a one-armed, one-legged man in a wheelchair Saturday inside a group home after police say the double amputee threatened the officer and aggressively waved a metal object that turned out to be a pen.

Police spokeswoman Jodi Silva said the man cornered the officer in his wheelchair and was making threats while trying to stab the officer with the pen. At the time, the officer did not know what the metal object was that the man was waving, Silva said.

Mitt Romney Fundraising Efforts Focus On California

DEL MAR, Calif. — Facing criticism that he's too focused on raising campaign cash, Mitt Romney is about to launch what advisers call an "intense battleground state schedule." But on Saturday, the Republican presidential nominee focused exclusively on courting donors in a state that hasn't supported a Republican presidential candidate in almost a quarter century.

Speaking to roughly 650 supporters gathered at Grand Del Mar, a luxury hotel north of San Diego, Romney said his campaign schedule has been hectic.