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 27, 2015

New Zealand Deports Man Who Would Have Been First Climate Change Refugee

The man who could have been the world's first climate change refugee just got deported from the country where he had been seeking refuge for the past four years.

On Thursday, the New Zealand government sent Ioane Teitiota back to his home island nation of Kiribati, which faces engulfment from rising sea levels and continuous storm cycles. The 811-square-kilometer island nation, located almost halfway between Hawaii and Australia in the Pacific Ocean, is home to just over 100,000 people.

Man Jailed For Unpaid Traffic Ticket Suffers 'Excruciating' Death In Cell: Lawsuit

The family of David Stojcevski, a 32-year-old man from Roseville, Michigan, who died in the Macomb County Jail last June after being arrested for failing to pay a $772 traffic ticket, has filed suit against the county for his wrongful death.

The suit claims deputies looked on via a 24-hour camera mounted in Stojcevski's cell as he withered away for 17 days, having been denied the medications he'd been prescribed (and was taking prior to his incarceration) to manage his drug withdrawal.

Pope Francis Elevates Dorothy Day’s Call For Economic Justice

"We must talk about poverty, because people insulated by their own comfort lose sight of it,” preached the visionary militant Dorothy Day, who forged the Catholic Worker Movement against war, economic inequality, racial discrimination, the neglect of refugees and the mistreatment of immigrants.

When Pope Francis talked about Day before the Congress of the United States, in one of the most anticipated speeches by a religious leader in modern times, he signaled an understanding that it is necessary to move the debate about economic justice away from kind words and toward genuine deeds.

You Can’t Fight Poverty With a Concert

The idea of world or global citizenship is an important one. At a time when so many of our most urgent challenges take a global form, it makes sense that the notion of citizenship should expand beyond narrow national interests and that people across the world should experience a sense of responsibility to those outside their local or regional communities. One of the most prominent uses of this idea currently is Global Citizen, an advocacy website and annual music festival. On September 26, Manhattan’s Central Park will be packed with tens of thousands of enthusiastic young people, eager to see artists such as Beyoncé, and just as keen to express solidarity with the world’s poor.

Get and Share the Harper Abuse of Power Compendium

The Tyee's list of abuses of power by the Stephen Harper government is now available as a free, downloadable PDF, readable on many digital tablets.

"Stephen Harper, Serial Abuser of Power," drafted by Tyee founding editor David Beers and contributors, showcases various assaults on democracy by the prime minister and his Conservative government over the past nine years.

Canada's Lousy Record on Gender Equality No Surprise, Advocates Say

When an internal Status of Women Canada report on gender equality in Canada was obtained by the CBC earlier this month, the only part that surprised Kate McInturff was how surprised everyone else was by its grim findings.

"There's nothing in the report that isn't readily available from Statistics Canada," said McInturff, director of Making It Count, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative's gender equality and policy initiative.

Canada negotiating TPP ‘as if there’s no election’: New Zealand trade minister

The Conservatives aren’t using the federal election as an excuse to delay reaching a final Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, according to New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser.

“The Canadians are negotiating as if there’s no election,” he said in an interview with the New Zealand Herald, published Wednesday. “Everyone is really trying.”

How A Government Shutdown Could Steal Food From The Poor

WASHINGTON -- Tens of millions of Americans could be left hanging at the grocery store if Congress can't reach a funding deal before the end of the month.

The Senate will vote on a funding bill Monday, but it's not clear what the House will do, since a faction of Republican members are so intent on shutting down a women's health services provider that they're also willing to shut down the government.

Why Greece Shut The Shortest, Safest Route For Migrants And Refugees

ATHENS, Greece -- As thousands of refugees arrived on Greece's shores this summer on their way to western Europe, and the harrowing images of young children who drowned in the Eastern Aegean Sea made headlines around the world, attention is shifting to Greece's land borders.

The record numbers of migrants and refugees arriving in Greece from Turkey by boat -- more than 2,500 on Wednesday alone -- are a recent phenomenon. Not so long ago, the shortest, and safest, route was the 125 mile land border that runs along the Evros river in northern Greece.

Fiorina Spins a New Lie, and Her Issues With Truth Look Compulsive

Late last week and over the weekend, Carly Fiorina was caught telling the same lie to FOX News' Sean Hannity, and Chris Wallace. On their shows, Fiorina maintained that even though Hewlett Packard goods were sold in Iran while she was CEO of the company, the SEC had performed a "thorough investigation" that "proved" she and other executives were cleared of having any knowledge of the matter.

Catholic Presidential Candidate Explains Why He Won’t Listen To Pope Francis

On the same day that Pope Francis spoke to thousands of people in Washington, D.C. about the need to fight poverty and climate change, Catholic presidential candidate Marco Rubio went on Fox News to explain why he disagrees with the Holy Father on the specifics of those issues.

Appearing on “Special Report,” Sen. Rubio (R-FL) told host Bret Baier that Pope Francis is “infallible” — but only on questions of morality.

Carly Fiorina Betrays The Central Unifying Principle Of Republican Constitutional Theory

Obamacare is unconstitutional.

There’s no belief that is more central to the Republican Party’s vision of the Constitution than this simple article of faith. Asking a Republican partisan to deny it is like asking a Christian to deny that Jesus is the Son of God. Such is the primacy of the unconstitutionality of Obamacare in the Republican faith.

New York Cops Are Jailing Handymen For Carrying This Common Pocketknife

A half-century-old law, enacted to prohibit the kind of knives that Nazi Germany used to distribute to paratroopers, is instead being used to arrest ordinary workers who carry pocketknives to use on the job. In one instance, a 53-year-old handyman spent six years in prison because police caught him with the kind of knife that’s readily available at stores like Auto Zone and Home Depot.

Canadian Retail Prices See Biggest Jump In A Decade, And Worst Is Yet To Come

Retail prices are rising at their fastest rate in at least a decade and there will be more price pressure ahead thanks to a falling loonie, analysts say.

Sticker prices in Canada have been rising at an annual rate of 6.3 per cent over the past six months, the fastest rate in records going back to 2004.

The 10 Most Important Lines From Pope Francis' Historic Speech to Congress

In a powerful speech to a joint session of Congress Thursday morning, Pope Francis pushed the United States to confront several political issues that tend to divide Republicans and Democrats, including immigration, climate change, the Iran deal, Cuba, poverty, and the death penalty. His speech noted that politics "cannot be a slave to the economy and finance." He didn't chastise any political party, and he, not surprisingly, had a clear but brief reference to opposing abortion. But overall, his address had a progressive cast.

Carly Fiorina’s Planned-Parenthood Distortions Get Worse

At the Republican debate last week, Carly Fiorina delivered what right-wing pundits deemed “the most affecting moment” of the night: a grisly description of undercover videos taken by anti-abortion activists during a sting operation against Planned Parenthood. “Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says, ‘We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain,’” Fiorina said, blinking forcefully with each syllable.

NYPD Expels Homeless People Encamped Near Pope Visit Site

New York police scattered about a dozen homeless people from the foot of a Harlem train station Wednesday ahead of Pope Francis’ visit to the city, which will include a stop at a Catholic school located near the long-standing informal encampment on 125th Street.

The school Francis is visiting is 13 blocks away. William Burnett, an advocate for the homeless, is dubious of the city’s rationale for sweeping the Harlem encampment, telling Newsweek that the city is “using [Francis] as an excuse” to drive the camp’s residents elsewhere.

Congress Is About to Find Out Just How Expensive Unintended Pregnancies Are

On Thursday, Senate Republicans will have their second chance in as many months to block federal money for Planned Parenthood. But defunding the country's largest women's health care network would come with a big price tag for taxpayers: According to a report released this week by the Congressional Budget Office, the move would end up costing an additional $130 million over the next decade.

Fiorina Super-PAC Makes Its Own Abortion Video

During the latest GOP primary debate on September 16, Carly Fiorina described a video that shows "a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain." Many news reports have pointed out that no such video seems to exist—it's not among the heavily edited Center for Medical Progress videos released this summer, nor is it anywhere else.

Ben Carson: The World Was Created in 6 Days. Literally.

Ben Carson, one of the top-tier contenders in the GOP presidential primary, has long been known as an ardent creationist. He has debated prominent scientists who defend evolution, and it's no secret that his advocacy of creationism springs from his deep faith in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, a Christian religion established in the mid-1800s. Creationism is a core belief for many Seventh-day Adventists, and one of the religion's founders, Ellen White, was one of the first purveyors of the notion that the Earth is merely 6,000 years old.

Want New Temporary Foreign Worker Data? Pay Up, Feds Say

Anyone who wants to know how many temporary foreign workers have come to Canada in the first half of 2015 will have to pay to find out, according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

The request for payment comes more than a year after Employment and Social Development Canada, a separate department, promised it would publicly post such data each quarter in a press release detailing changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

Here's How Much Pollution Volkswagen's Smog Scandal Produced

Volkswagen isn't going to get away with this. You don't (allegedly!) fake emissions data for a few million cars and just walk away. But what the German automaker's punishment will be, and how much it's going to hurt—those are still open questions.

The final decision will be up to lawyers at the US Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Justice. That latter agency has opened a criminal probe into the company's (alleged!) emissions software tampering shenanigans. But based on precedent and the outlines of what Volkswagen actually seems to have done, we can make a few predictions.

Finally Acknowledging the Obvious, Los Angeles Moves to Declare a State of Emergency on Homelessness

Campaign for a "Worker Bill of Rights" Puts ALEC in Spokane's Crosshairs

Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles have become the local-level vanguard in the fight for a $15-an-hour minimum wage, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced that he would be introducing legislation for a statewide $15-an-hour minimum wage ordinance, as well. Fourteen states have changed their minimum wage law since January 2014, though not all of them have approved minimums as high as $15. And apparently, it is a trend that transcends party lines for voters.