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.]

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Domestic violence cases spike after immigration law amendment

The October 2012 amendment to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act was designed to deter immigration fraud; however, the proposed changes had earlier alarmed stakeholders who feared that these changes could compromise the safety of immigrant women.
According to social service providers, those early fears may be proving prescient, as some report an increased caseload of violence against women. This is a chilling development when the Canadian Women's Foundation website already cautions that every six days a Canadian woman is killed by her intimate partner.

How Did We Become a Society Suspicious of Science?

I grew up in the heroic age of American science and engineering. In my lifetime, the space program put men on the moon, the interstate highway system connected the continent, Salk and Sabin conquered polio, and computers went from room-sized behemoths to hand-held wonders. In my youth, America clearly led the world in its ability to conduct large-scale science and engineering projects. True, some of these projects were morally disturbing. The Castle Bravo test of March 1, 1954, a 15-megaton thermonuclear blast at Bikini Atoll, caused radioactive fallout to rain down on unsuspecting victims. Yet the nuclear tests also represented scientific and engineering expertise of the highest order.

Does ESPN Have Room for Free Speech and ‘Monday Night Football’?

“Freedom of the press,” as A.J. Liebling famously wrote, “belongs to the man who owns one.”

Bill Simmons found that out on Sept. 24 when ESPN suspended him for three weeks for calling NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a liar during his popular podcast, which was downloaded 32 million times last year.

But no, that can’t be true; surely the columnist knew the limits of his freedom well before his Goodell rant. Simmons, after all, has been suspended twice before by ESPN for controversial comments. Near the end of his spiel, you’ll hear Simmons say, “I really hope somebody calls me or emails me and says I’m in trouble for anything I say about Roger Goodell because if one person says that to me, I’m going public. You leave me alone. The commissioner is a liar, and I get to talk about that on my podcast.”

The Case for Senators Skipping Committee Hearings

Oh no he didn't! KHSB Kansas City reported on Wednesday that Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) skipped a Senate hearing on the Ebola virus last month, even while attempting to use the West African epidemic as a campaign wedge issue. This is part of a trend. On Monday, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported that Roberts had also "skipped the committee's hearings on avian flu in 2005 and 2006," but "did author a newspaper editorial in 2005 explaining why he was taking 'the threat of the bird flu very seriously.'"

Globalization Is Only a Good Thing If It Benefits All Groups of Society

The world has experienced rapid globalization in the last few decades. Both developed and developing countries are increasingly participating in globalization and becoming part of the global village. The world economy has increased significantly and countries all over the world, whether developed or developing, have seen the size of their national economies grow. Even though globalization has been beneficial for the world economy, it has led to the emergence of certain problems in different parts of the world and in both developed and developing countries.

Royal Canadian Navy's Combat Readiness Questioned In Internal Review

The Royal Canadian Navy is facing serious challenges to meet its combat readiness requirements, according to a review by the Department of National Defence.

The Chief Review Services Evaluation cites a range of issues, from a lack of maintenance staff to keep ships seaworthy to inadequate combat training.

The report finds that having a combat-ready navy is essential and consistent with the government's priorities.

Meet Canada’s newest ally — Bashar Assad

By joining the American-led mission against the self-declared Islamic State, Canada has come into an objective alliance with the Syrian dictator, Bashar Assad.

Not so long ago the Canadian government was pleased to denounce Assad as a butcher. Now we are part of his air force.

No government in the West will admit this, of course. When the Assad regime announced a few weeks ago that the U.S. government had given it advance warning of its first air strikes against Islamic State on Syrian soil, the State Department was quick to deny it.

The Iraq speech I did not get to give

I had thought that the debate on sending a military mission into Iraq would allow for me to make a 10-minute speech. Due to the motion for closure, I never had that chance. I had some rough notes of what I had wanted to say and decided to share them. Despite my deep doubts about the mission, the concern that the mission violates international law, and does exactly what the terrorists hoped we would do, I fervently hope to be wrong.

Who Do Copyright Laws Really Protect?

A lot can happen in 14 years. In that amount of time, we go from kindergarten to college age. We've lived just over 14 years since the turn of this millennia, and the Y2K scare probably feels like a distant memory.

Information wants to be free -- so it makes sense that when the first monopoly rights to information and knowledge were granted by the 1710 Statute of Anne (the world's first copyright law) they lasted for a reasonable 14 years. When the booksellers and publishers -- the Big Media entities of the day -- tried to extend their exclusive rights beyond 14 years, the English House of Lords firmly rejected them.

Slots on Ferries a Complicated Bet, Warned Finance Ministry

After Transportation Minister Todd Stone announced BC Ferries' proposal to put slot machines on its vessels last year, the finance ministry began compiling a list of concerns that ranged from the need to rewrite provincial gambling laws to the likely violation of the federal criminal code.

Records released to The Tyee in response to a freedom of information request show the finance ministry had a dozen "considerations" about the Nov. 2013 proposal, and that Stone had already taken the idea to cabinet without consulting the branch of the finance ministry that regulates gambling in the province.

Koch Brothers Reveal A Small Slice Of Their Political Donations

WASHINGTON -- Charles and David Koch have finally disclosed at least a small portion of the large contributions given to their political empire. According to a report filed with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday, each of the billionaire brothers gave $2 million to Freedom Partners Action Fund, a super PAC founded to influence the 2014 elections.

Obama, Not Bush, Is the Master of Unilateral War

Late in the summer of 2013, President Barack Obama pulled back from his announced plans to use unilateral military force against Syria and stated that he would instead seek Congress’s approval. “I believe our democracy is stronger when the president acts with the support of Congress,” and “America acts more effectively abroad when we stand together,” he said. “This is especially true after a decade that put more and more war-making power in the hands of the president … while sidelining the people’s representatives from the critical decisions about when we use force.”

Congress never authorized Obama to use force in Syria, and Russian President Vladimir Putin gave him an out by brokering a deal to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons. But Obama’s statement on the need for congressional consent, and the noted contrast with his predecessor, are nonetheless clarifying in their irony.

Abundant Natural Gas Won't Slow Climate Change, Study Says

WASHINGTON (AP) — Cheap and plentiful natural gas isn't quite a bridge to a brighter energy future as claimed and won't slow global warming, a new study projects.

Abundant natural gas in the United States has been displacing coal, which produces more of the chief global warming gas carbon dioxide.

Chris Hedges Takes On the ‘Global Culture of Violence’

On Sept. 28, Chris Hedges spoke at the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture’s Charley Horwitz Platform on the pervasive violence that characterizes our era and offered possible solutions. Watch Hedges deliver the full speech—titled “The Global Culture of Violence: What Is the Path to Peace and Justice?”—in the YouTube clip below.

Original Article
Author: Donald Kaufman

Police officer likely to win next month’s Yellowhead byelection, to join growing number of former cops in Conservative caucus

PARLIAMENT HILL—A retired Mountie who is virtually guaranteed to win the federal byelection next month in Alberta will become the ninth former or serving police officer elected to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s caucus—nearly half of all the police officers elected to Parliament since Confederation in 1867.

Ekos pollster Frank Graves says Mr. Harper’s (Calgary Southwest, Alta.) caucus police contingent, including as well two former police officers the Prime Minister named to the Senate, is a sign Mr. Harper is continuing to attempt to display his “bona fides” when it comes to the Conservative law and order crime agenda.

Ts’ka7 Warriors Burn Down Imperial Metals Ruddock Creek Mine Bridge

With much discussion with Elders Councils and around Sacred fires and ceremonies the Secwepemc Ts’ka7 Warriors have acted out their collective responsibility and jurisdiction to and in the Ts’ka7 area by deactivating the Imperial Metals Ruddock Creek mine road.

Imperial Metals Corporation never asked for or received free, prior and informed consent to operate in Secwepemc Territory.  The Imperial Metals Mount Polley mine disaster, in the area known as Yuct Ne Senxiymetkwe, the absolute destruction and devastation of our Territory has never been answered for.  No reparations have been made.    Instead Imperial Metals continues to force through another mine in our Territory while criminalizing the Klabona Keepers of the Tahltan Nation also exerting their jurisdictional and withholding consent from the same company.