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.]

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Myth Of Busyness

In chapter five of “Through the Looking-Glass,” Alice finds herself in a dark shop, where she tries to purchase an egg. “I never put things into people’s hands — that would never do — you must get it for yourself,” the shopkeeper tells her. Alice, bewildered, asks herself “why it wouldn’t do?”

The shopkeeper has given her what Craig Lambert, a former long-time editor at Harvard Magazine, would call “shadow work,” the not-quite neologism that serves as the title of his latest book.*(Hover mouse for note.)

Kim Davis Gets An Award For Breaking The Law To Discriminate Against Gay People

WASHINGTON -- Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who went to jail this month for refusing to follow the law and issue a marriage license to a gay couple, was given an award at Friday night's conservative Values Voter Summit.

Tony Perkins, of the Family Research Council, presented Davis with a "Cost of Discipleship Award" that compared her with Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and Abraham Lincoln because, like them, she "pursued justice at great personal cost."

Harper defends Canada’s military vehicle contract with Saudi Arabia

OTTAWA — Stephen Harper is defending a major military deal with Saudi Arabia in the face of questions about pervasive human rights abuses in that country.

He says cancelling the contract could punish Ontario plant workers.

The issue arises as a young man, arrested at age 17 for protesting the Saudi regime, faces imminent beheading and crucifixion in a country known for crackdowns on opponents and the repressive treatment of women.

Stephen Harper promises 'tax lock' law to ban all increases

The Conservatives are promising a four-year "tax lock" law if re-elected on Oct. 19.

Speaking in Rivière-du-Loup, Que., Conservative Leader Stephen Harper revealed the plan to prohibit increases to federal income tax, sales tax and what he calls "discretionary payroll taxes," such as employment insurance premiums.

Prime Minister Harper, the magician, has turned Canada into Nigeria

Working internationally, I am often asked how the Canadian economy is responding to low oil prices, and how this is linked to national politics.

As the Canadian government abandons economic prudence in favour of a “tar sands above all” policy, the country increasingly feels like Nigeria where, as Kingsley Moghalu writes in this week’s Financial Times, "oil patrimony is the result of an unimaginative politics, one which assumes that government cannot do anything to enlarge a country’s economy, and that its only role is to divide the spoils. Politicians have therefore concentrated on rewarding their supporters — and as the [oil] bounty has diminished, that debate has become more and more bitter.”

Harper diminishes Canada's credibility with Muslim headgear farce

While Canadian party leaders prepared for the French language debate on Thursday and carefully calibrated their niqab messaging, Pope Francis met with President Obama, supped with the homeless, and addressed the U.S. Congress in Washington.

Urging legislators to act boldly on climate change, refugees and inequality, he said, "You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless pursuit of the common good. For this is the chief aim of all politics.”

Harper’s research station a ‘cloak' for Arctic oil push, says climate expert

An expensive remote Arctic facility, personally promoted by Prime Minister Stephen Harper as a "world-class” research station, is less about pure science, and almost entirely about pushing oil, gas and mining development in the rapidly melting north, says one of Canada’s top polar climate scientists.

"You couldn’t call this the ‘High Arctic Oil and Gas Development Centre’ because that of course would provoke national and international outrage," said professor Tom Duck, an atmospheric expert with Dalhousie University in Halifax, in an interview with the National Observer.

How Trudeau and Mulcair may hand victory to Harper

The insults, jabs and zingers were delivered with precision and laced with acid.

“Mr. Mulcair talks about having been Minister of Environment in Quebec,” Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said at one point, “but I was living in Quebec at that time and I remember he was talking about bulk water exports to the United States for Quebec and that’s certainly not something we are interested in.”

Jeb Bush Says Unlike Others, He Won’t Give African Americans ‘Free Stuff’

Speaking to a crowd of mostly white Republicans in South Carolina this week, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush mused on his strategy to win over African American voters.

“Our message is one of hope and aspiration,” Bush said at the East Cooper Republican Women’s Club annual Shrimp Dinner. “It isn’t one of division and get in line and we’ll take care of you with free stuff. Our message is one that is uplifting — that says you can achieve earned success.”

HIV Is Not a Murder Weapon: Racism and the Criminalization of AIDS

"HIV has [had] a negative effect on my life and my family. I never want anyone to have to go through this type of pain," Michael Johnson wrote in a letter to Truthout from his prison cell in rural Missouri.

In the 1980s, an HIV diagnosis amounted to a death sentence. Now, with access to the right medical care, someone with HIV can live as long as anyone else. So when Johnson comments on the negative effects of the disease, he's mostly talking about the stigma and laws that criminalize people who are HIV-positive.

At 23 years old, in July 2015, Johnson received a sentence of 30 and a half years in prison for allegedly transmitting and "exposing" others to HIV. He's now confined a thousand miles away from his family in Florida. That family includes his son, Michael Jr., who turns 4 in October, and whom he has not seen since he was first jailed in 2013.

Harper Lets Slip Eye-Roll After Elizabeth May Says He Sold Canada's Sovereignty To China

In an image that transcends language barriers, Stephen Harper was caught giving Green Party Leader Elizabeth May an epic eye-roll during the leaders' first French debate Thursday.

The moment caught attention on social media, even if it wasn't immediately clear to many what May said to irk the Conservative leader.

It turns out she was just making the small accusation that Harper sold Canada's sovereignty to China by approving the 2012 takeover of Calgary-based oil company Nexen by the China National Offshore Oil Co.

The public’s trust is taking a God-awful beating in this election

I’m beginning to wonder just how many whoppers Stephen Harper & Company will have to tell before the ballot question boils down to one, overwhelming issue.

No, not the economy — that Rubik’s Cube of BS all politicians manipulate at election time to torment the masses. Not the Trans Pacific Partnership final deal — which you can expect to see announced in the closing days of the campaign, with all the details kept as secret as the formula for Coke. And certainly not making the country safe from women in niqabs. No, the issue I’m thinking of is rather more old fashioned, reliable and widely understood: trust.

The Conservatives hold 13 seats in Atlantic Canada. They’re in danger of losing 10

Coast to coast: National Post columnist John Ivison is travelling across Canada to chronicle how election battles are unfolding by region, starting in Atlantic Canada.


The federal riding of South Shore St. Margaret’s stretches south along the rocky coast of Nova Scotia from Halifax to the lobster fishing village of Clarke’s Harbour, taking in such iconic landmarks as Peggy’s Cove and the historic port of Lunenburg.

Why is NRCan's fuel price report suspended during election?

They strive for facelessness, but for seekers of impartial facts, the people who make up Canada's professional public service comprise a national treasure.

Ultimately, serious research at some point usually leads to their door.

Anyone who knows where to look knows that the government's thousands of experts regularly produce data vital to understanding our economy and governance, and that they try, at least, to do it without fear or favour.

My Problem With the Pope

Pope Francis the Good is one truly uplifting presence on the world stage. Millions of us welcome and rejoice over his messages about helping those less fortunate, building tolerance and seeking justice -- all goals that could use reinforcing in almost every corner of this turbulent planet. Even for us Protestants, it's a good time to share the name Frances, by whatever spelling.

But the pope and I have a small disagreement.

Mike Huckabee Claims Refugees May Be 'Vicious People,' But That's Not The Dumbest Thing He Said

The day that Pope Francis asked Americans to respond humanely to refugees and other migrants, GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee dismissed the idea of being welcoming -- insisting it could lead to admitting "some of the most violent and vicious people on Earth."

In a radio interview Thursday, as noted by Buzzfeed, Huckabee had an idea for how the U.S. should keep out violent people: a vetting process. Luckily, the United Nations and the U.S. government have already thought of that.

The Sandra Bland Investigation Is In Trouble

WALLER COUNTY, TEXAS - On July 13, Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old black woman, was found dead in her jail cell in Waller County, Texas, three days after being arrested over a traffic stop gone wrong. Sheriff Glenn Smith, who oversees the county jail and had been fired from a previous job after allegations of racism and police brutality, promised an all-access, top-to-bottom investigation to uncover what happened to Bland. He set up an "independent" commission to review the sheriff's department. Smith tapped Paul Looney, a local criminal defense lawyer, to lead the probe and to pick the commission's other members.