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.]

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Declaration that Canada is walking away from resolving land claims

(Coast Salish Territory / Vancouver BC – April 3, 2014) Exactly one month after the Specific Claims Tribunal released its decision finding that the Williams Lake Band was wrongfully dispossessed of its village lands in Williams Lake over a century ago the Harper Government has taken decisive action to have the ruling overturned. On March 28, 2014, the Harper Government applied for a judicial review of the Tribunal’s decision at the Federal Court of Appeal, sending another clear signal that it has no intention of dealing fairly with First Nations in this country.

The Rockefeller Files: Ontario election and privatization

In April, the Ontario Liberal government appointed Bilderberg Steering Committee member Ed Clark (President/CEO of TD Bank Group) to lead a five-member council that will consider options to "optimize the full value" of provincial assets such as Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and Hydro One --potentially privatizing key electricity transmission and distribution assets.
That would be an astonishing move -- outdoing even the old Mike Harris vision -- and should be a primary focus of the Ontario election on June 12.

Harper's epic quest to hold back the tides of progress

Much has been said about Stephen Harper's paranoia, his ruthlessness, his Nixonian tendencies, his quickness to dump even the most dedicated loyalist who gets in his way -- and other assorted qualities that make him, at the very least, an undesirable person with whom to have a beer.
Relatively little has been said about his grandiosity. Only months after becoming prime minister in 2006, he showed it off in an overseas speech that attracted surprisingly little attention in Canada.

Key Conservative witness in robocalls trial said scheme was national in scope

GUELPH — The Crown’s star witness in the robocalls case wrote last year that the Conservative party was complicit in a national scheme in the 2011 election that it has blamed on local staffers.

Former Guelph Conservative campaign worker Andrew Prescott wrote the statement in July 2013 while he was upset over problems he was having getting accreditation from the party to attend the national convention in Calgary in November of that year.

Prescott never released the statement but did send it as a Facebook message to Michael Sona, who is on trial in Guelph for an Election Act violation in relation to a robocall that sent voters to the wrong polling station on May 2, 2011.

Escort: MacKay’s prostitution bill ‘will kill people’

OTTAWA – When Caroline Newcastle first posted a photo of herself on an escort website four years ago, she wore a green dress.

Then 23 years old and studying for an undergraduate degree in Quebec City, she was nervous. She had never traded sex for money, and the encounter wasn’t exactly what she was hoping for.

Caroline, who uses a pseudonym, was half naked within five minutes. The sex lasted the full hour she had negotiated. She felt it was too formal, too black and white. But it was work, she figured, and once she counted her money, she decided it wasn’t so bad.

Caroline’s second experience, a two-hour visit with a client, was better.

Texas GOP Platform Draft Endorses Gay Conversion Therapy

A draft of the Texas Republican Party's new platform embraces gay conversion therapy, arguing that it is a viable option for "patients who are seeking escape from the homosexual lifestyle."

The Texas GOP convention kicks off Thursday, and one of the tasks of delegates is rewriting the party's platform.

The current document, adopted in 2012, sharply condemns equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. There are multiple sections dealing with the issue, including language that reads: "We affirm that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country's founders, and shared by the majority of Texans."

Israel Advances 1,500 Settlement Homes In Response To Palestinian Government Formation

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel gave the final go-ahead Thursday to build nearly 1,500 homes in Jewish settlements, saying the construction was a response to the formation of the Palestinian unity government backed by the Islamic militant group Hamas.

The move triggered international criticism and deepened a rift between Israel and its Western allies. With Israel outraged at the world's embrace of the unity government, Israel's housing minister said the new construction was "just the beginning."

Israel has been sparring with its allies in Washington and Europe since Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas swore in the unity government Monday.

The Way to Stop Corporate Lawbreaking Is to Prosecute the People Who Break the Law

Today (Thursday, June 5) General Motors releases the results of its internal investigation about why it failed to respond to an ignition switch defect in millions of cars that has been linked to at least 13 deaths.

But who’s really to blame when a big corporation breaks the law? The government thinks it’s the corporation itself.


“What GM did was break the law … They failed to meet their public safety obligations,” scolded Sec of Transportation Anthony Foxx a few weeks ago after imposing the largest possible penalty on the giant automaker.

No Water, No Toilet Paper, No Tampons: How the US Treats Border Detainees

Alba Quiñones Flores started her period the first week that she was in the custody of US Customs and Border Protection. Every morning, a guard delivered sanitary napkins to her cell of 20 women—but only four or five pads for all of them. Quiñones couldn't scramble to the door fast enough to claim one. She'd injured her ankle crossing the Mexican border before CBP picked her up near Falfurrias, Texas, and she still hadn't received first aid. A CBP agent had thrown out the pills and insulin she needed to treat her myriad health problems, including hypertension, diabetes, migraines, anxiety, and convulsions. So Quiñones wound up using the same, single sanitary pad for her entire period. She tried to extend its life by covering it in toilet paper, but without success, and her pants and underwear became soaked in menstrual blood.

Prostitution Legislation Outlaws Purchase Of Sex, Targets Pimps: MacKay

OTTAWA - New legislation would criminalize the purchase of sexual services, crack down on those who benefit from prostitution and outlaw the sale of sex near schools and other places where children gather.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay says the "made-in-Canada" model targets johns and pimps while protecting the vulnerable.

The new prostitution-related offences are intended to reduce demand for sexual services, shield those who sell themselves from exploitation, and safeguard children and communities.

Government orders federal departments to keep tabs on all demonstrations across country

The federal government is expanding its surveillance of public activities to include all known demonstrations across the country, a move that collects information even on the most mundane of protests by Canadians.

The email requesting such information was sent out Tuesday by the Government Operations Centre in Ottawa to all federal departments.

“The Government Operations Centre is seeking your assistance in compiling a comprehensive listing of all known demonstrations which will occur either in your geographical area or that may touch on your mandate,” noted the email, leaked to the Citizen. “We will compile this information and make this information available to our partners unless of course, this information is not to be shared and not available on open sources. In the case of the latter, this information will only be used by the GOC for our Situational Awareness.”

Canada's 500,000 Leaky Energy Wells: 'Threat to Public'

A new University of Waterloo report warns that natural gas seeping from 500,000 wellbores represent "a threat to environment and public safety" due to groundwater contamination, greenhouse gas emissions and explosion risks wherever methane collects in unvented buildings and spaces.

The 69-page report on wellbore leakage cowritten by three expert UofW professors outlines a longstanding and largely invisible engineering problem for Canada's oil and gas industry.

It also calls for dramatic reforms in monitoring and regulation including greater engineering oversight of the cementing of wellbores and "doing it right in the first place."