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 06, 2015

Sarah Palin Auditions For Trump Cabinet, Urges Country To 'Speak American'

WASHINGTON -- In what could be a bid for a post in a future Donald Trump administration, Sarah Palin emerged out of the weeds on Sunday and urged the country to "speak American."

Republican presidential candidate Trump, who continues to dominate the polls in the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire, escalated his feud with rival Jeb Bush this week when he chided the former Florida governor for speaking Spanish on the campaign trail. Bush, who is bilingual and whose wife was born in Mexico, vowed to keep speaking Spanish whenever he feels like it.

Alberta’s oilsands workers lead a patch-work life

There’s lots of money to be made working in the Alberta oilsands.

But for Pierre Marier, who commutes from northern Ontario and earns upwards of $100,000 a year, it’s not exactly easy money.

“The money is good,” says the 42-year-old unionized welder. “But it comes at a price.”

Fox News Embarrasses Dick Cheney On Iraq And Iran

Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Sunday shrugged off the rapid growth of Iran's nuclear capacity during the Bush years, insisting that the American invasion of Iraq had curbed Iranian nuclear ambitions.

"There was military action that had an impact on the Iranians when we took down Saddam Hussein," Cheney said on "Fox News Sunday." "There was a period of time when they stopped their program because they were afraid what we did to Saddam we were going to do to them next."

Canada clears way for case against Chevron over 'Amazon Chernobyl'

Canada’s Supreme Court ruled Friday that Ecuadorian villagers and indigenous communities could sue Chevron Corporation in the Canadian province of Ontario over a decades-long contamination that environmentalists have dubbed the “Amazon Chernobyl.”

The plaintiffs, who include about 30,000 villagers and indigenous people, decided to go after the energy giant’s assets in Canada, Brazil and Argentina after the company contested a ruling by Ecuador’s highest court to pay $9.5 billion to clean up the contamination site.

"Nuisance" Evictions Target Domestic Violence Survivors

To an outsider looking in, Alice and James would have seemed like a typical Manhattan couple, both professionals and parents of one college-aged son. They had lived in their rent-regulated apartment for 25 years and, while James' name was the only one on the lease, it had never occurred to Alice to ask the landlord to add her name to the contract. That is, until James' drug addiction ramped up and things - jewelry, cash and bric-a-brac - started to vanish from the unit.

Alice eventually confronted James and according to her lawyer, William Gribben, his response was to slam her into a wall and threaten to push her out a window and kill her. "She escaped," Gribben told Truthout, and went to a friend's house. Then, a day or two later, Alice went to family court to request an order excluding James from the apartment so that she could return home. The judge refused, saying that because James was the only tenant of record, he could not help her.

UN Text Messages Over 200,000 Syrian Refugees: Food Aid To Be Cut Off

More than 200,000 Syrian refugees living in Jordan learned via text message that the U.N. food aid they rely on to survive is getting completely cut.

The World Food Program has been warning since as early as last summer that a funding crisis has stretched the organization thin, and has caused the group to cut back on resources it can offer Syrian refugees in Jordan. But refugees say the latest announcement caught them completely off guard.

The 'Ferguson Effect' Isn't Real, And The New York Times Shouldn't Act Like It Might Be

On Monday, The New York Times published an article on murder rates that was misleading at best, and fearmongering at worst.

"Murder Rates Rising Sharply in Many U.S. Cities," the headline screamed.

The lede was just as alarming. It spoke of "a startling rise in murders" this year in cities "across the nation," chief among them Milwaukee, where the increase was said to be "precipitous" -- 104 homicides in 2015 thus far, way above the 86 reported for all of 2014.

A Labor Day Worry: The Court’s Right-Wingers Are Sharpening Their Knives

We don’t officially celebrate International Workers’ Day on May 1 in this country, even though the worldwide holiday was originated to memorialize the Chicago Haymarket Square Riot of 1886 and the long and often bloody movement waged by American workers to establish the eight-hour workday. Instead, we hold a watered-down substitute, observing Labor Day on the first Monday of September. Each year, the commemoration grows more tepid and disconnected from the historical and current struggles of working people.

If the U.S. Supreme Court’s dominant Republican majority has its way when the panel’s new term commences in October, we might as well dispense with the holiday altogether, or at least drop the term “labor” from its title. Among the most important cases the court will consider when it reconvenes is Friedrichs v. California Teachers, which poses what some observers have called an “existential threat” to public unions and by extension to the entire labor movement.

The cost of mindless, heartless message control

Politics is defined by dialogue. Successful politicians know how to listen, to respond respectfully and through that dialogue, learn. Some Canadian politicians’ increasing fascination with steely message discipline at the expense of listening or respectful response is dangerous for democratic dialogue — and, often, for their own careers.

In 40 years of training candidates, leaders and corporate executives in communication one thing has always been true: merely pounding memorized lines into a student’s head is dumb, and sets them up to fail.

Harper's Canada has more than one refugee death on its hands

Undeserving people exploiting the generosity of a benevolent government. Cheating an application process. Taking advantage of welfare. Stealing our jobs. That is the image of “bogus refugees” that Canada’s Conservative government has spent years carefully cultivating. But a single photo of a drowned child has shattered all the stories meant to harden Canadians. 3-year old Alan Kurdi’s fate off Turkey’s shore has seared the reality of the refugee crisis into our consciousness and left Canadians stunned about our government’s complicity in the death of a child.

Secret OICs sign of a ‘sick’ PMO: Dion

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s use of secret orders-in-council is an indication of just how “sick” the prime minister’s office has become, says former Privy Council president Stéphane Dion.

“The prime minister’s office is a sick institution and we have to heal it,” the Liberal MP told iPolitics. “It is contagious for the entire government system.”

Canadian government spins web of lies over Syrian refugee tragedy

The Russia-hating minister of immigration of Canada has been caught in a string of lies in his efforts to defend Canada's miserable record of refusing refugee applications from Syrian victims of the civil war in that country.
Chris Alexander has suspended his re-election campaign in a Toronto region district in Canada's October 19 federal election following revelations that he turned down a refugee application delivered directly to him in March of this year on behalf of the Syrian family whose tragedy has just exploded into international news.