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, February 22, 2014

Fracking Foe Ernst: Alberta Regulator Not Immune to Charter

Lawyers representing oil patch consultant Jessica Ernst have argued in an appeal briefing that Alberta's powerful energy regulator not only owes a duty of care to landowners to protect groundwater, but cannot violate the nation's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Nor is the regulator, which oversaw the development of the oilsands and is now mired in a fracking controversy in the city of Lethbridge, immune to civil action.

Next Time Someone Argues For 'Trickle-Down' Economics, Show Them This

Conservatives like to say that "a rising tide lifts all boats." In other words, if an executive makes $20 million a year, his income will eventually trickle down into the rest of the economy and ultimately benefit poor people.

But that theory hasn't exactly proven true. The highest-earning 20 percent of Americans have been making more and more over the past 40 years. Yet no other boats have risen; in fact, they're sinking. Over the same 40 years, the lowest-earning 60 percent of Americans have been making less and less.


In July, 1980, when Moscow played anxious host to the XXII Olympic Games, Vladimir Putin was a young officer in the K.G.B. He had been attracted to that life by “romantic” dreams and Soviet spy films, he once said, and, while he was not the most studious young man, history was always on his mind. As Putin recounts in a book-length interview called “Ot Pervogo Litsa” (“First Person”), one of his grandfathers was a cook for both Lenin and Stalin at a dacha compound outside Moscow, and his family barely endured the nine-hundred-day Siege of Leningrad, during the Second World War. One of Putin’s brothers died of diphtheria during the Nazi blockade. The Soviet system, the one he pledged to serve as a spy, was what it was. “We lived in the conditions of a totalitarian state,” he told his interviewers after assuming the Russian Presidency, fourteen years ago. “Everything was closed.”

Police will have 'backdoor' access to health records despite opt-out, says MP

The database that will store all of England's health records has a series of "backdoors" that will allow police and government bodies to access people's medical data.

David Davis MP, a former shadow home secretary, told the Guardian he has established that police will be able to access the health records of patients when investigating serious crimes even if they had opted out of the new database, which will hold the entire population's medical data in a single repository for the first time from May.

Latest Health Care Flap Shows Media at its Most Boring

There's a reason why people hate politics in this country. Or, at least, a reason they hate reading about it: It's boring.

It's the same kind of boring that prevents all but the most desperate from getting off with bots in chat rooms. When you want to interact with a human being, and get a machine instead, it's pretty much always a disappointment.

New citizenship bill toughens rules, targets fraudsters, garners mixed reviews

OTTAWA – The federal government wants to triple the cost of citizenship, make it harder to become a Canadian citizen, toughen penalties for fraud, and regulate the citizenship consultant profession, in a move that’s drawing mixed reviews.

Dubbed the “first comprehensive reforms to the Citizenship Act in a generation,” Bill C-24 – the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act – was tabled Thursday in the House of Commons. It seeks to strengthen the value of citizenship, while reducing red tape and eliminating backlogs.

Conservatives' Fair Elections Act eliminates the referee, Marc Mayrand says

OTTAWA — Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand on Thursday lashed out at the Conservative government’s proposed changes to the elections law, saying the bill would “take the referee off the ice” and could make it harder for some voters to cast ballots.

In uncharacteristically frank remarks, Mayrand responded to suggestions of political bias against Elections Canada made by Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre, who said earlier this week that it was important that the referee of fair elections not wear a team jersey.

“The only jersey I think I’m wearing, if we have to carry the analogy, I believe is the one with the stripes, white and black,” Mayrand said, grimacing as a reporter paraphrased Poilievre’s remark to him.

Glenn Greenwald Will Basically Dare American Authorities to Arrest Him

Following several months of insinuation that he is a criminal or an accomplice to a crime, journalist Glenn Greenwald told Salon's Brian Beutler that he plans to return to the United States, essentially on a dare. "I’m going to go back to the U.S. for many reasons, but just the fucking principle is enough," Greenwald said. "On principle I’m going to force the issue."

It was actually a journalist who was among the first to publicly suggest that Greenwald should perhaps face criminal charges for reporting on files leaked from the NSA by Edward Snowden. In June, only weeks after the reports began, Greenwald appeared on NBC's Meet the Press, where David Gregory asked Greenwald: "To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn't you … be charged with a crime." "I think it's pretty extraordinary," Greenwald replied, "that anybody who would call themselves a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalists should be charged with felonies."

Energy East Pipeline Emissions Equal To 7 Million Cars: Study

EDMONTON - Building the Energy East pipeline to bring oilsands bitumen to eastern Canadian refineries would increase the industry's greenhouse gas emissions enough to wipe out all the gains caused by Ontario's elimination of coal-fired power plants, says an environmental think-tank.

Report author Clare Demerse of the Pembina Institute said that conclusion demonstrates that regulators should consider the proposed pipeline's climate impacts in hearings on the project.