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.]

Friday, October 02, 2015

PM’s mailbox brims with angry missives about anti-communism memorial

OTTAWA - Stephen Harper's mailbox is filling up with messages from Canadians upset about the concept, size, location and cost of a national memorial for victims of communism, newly released correspondence shows.

The prime minister has received dozens of handwritten letters, typewritten notes and emails from people — including Conservative supporters — who question the idea of a such a monument, especially just a stone's throw from the Supreme Court of Canada.

Conservatives out in front, new poll finds

With little over two weeks left before Canadians, the Conservatives have jumped out to a “clear lead” in public support, according to new results from polling firm Forum Research.

The survey of 1,499 Canadian voters has Conservative Leader Stephen Harper’s party ahead with 34 per cent support, compared to 28 per cent for the NDP and 27 per cent support for the Liberals.

Campaign cone of silence descends on Saudi Arabia arms deal

The definition of a "campaign issue" is elusive. Generally, it has to do with the self-interest of politicians and the reporters who cover them.

If the former think advancing a subject might mean more votes, they declare that "the people of Canada are concerned." Journalists then decide whether it'll sell papers, to use an old term. If the subject clears both bars, it's a campaign issue.

Exposed: Pro-Israel Modern-Day McCarthyites Are Going to Extremes to Slime Human Rights Activists

The Israel lobby is redirecting resources to a new project after its failure to stop the Iran nuclear deal despite spending an estimated $30 million to halt it. Following the defeat, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered a campaign against the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement that is spreading on American college campuses. The funding is flowing from donors closely linked to Netanyahu’s government. But the effort has almost instantly run into trouble. It is inspiring an atmosphere of incitement and intimidation, and the FBI is now investigating violent threats made against BDS activists.

Federal Judges Are Burned Out, Overworked And Wondering Where Congress Is

WASHINGTON -- It was Labor Day weekend and Lawrence O'Neill desperately wanted to get out of town for some downtime with his wife.

His mini-vacation didn't work out so well. As a federal judge on a busy California court in Fresno, O'Neill works up to 75 hours a week and at least one full day every weekend -- and that's just to keep up with his regular caseload. He ended up leaving town but worked the entire holiday weekend: finishing orders that needed to get out, taking care of administrative matters and responding to staff lawyers to keep cases moving along.

Majority Of Wisconsin Voters Have Had Enough Of Scott Walker

Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) was forced to drop out of the presidential race in September amid plummeting primary poll numbers. Now, the governor is experiencing another set-back in the polls -- this time with Wisconsin voters.

Sixty-two percent of the state's electorate doesn't want Walker to run for a third term as governor, according to a Marquette University Law School poll released Wednesday. Only 35 percent of voters expressed support for another run. Republican voters are much more enthusiastic about the idea, with 79 percent favoring an additional term.

Richard Glossip Is Granted a Stay of Execution by Oklahoma’s Governor

The execution of Richard Glossip was postponed Wednesday for 37 days, thanks to Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin.

Glossip’s case—discussed in depth here by Truthdig columnist Bill Blum—has drawn widespread attention, as activists and high-profile supporters continue to rally behind a man they believe is innocent and yet soon could be put to death.

What Kevin McCarthy’s Benghazi Gaffe Tells Us About the GOP

So now we know: One of the principal reasons Republicans spent so much public money investigating the tragic Benghazi episode was to bring down Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the likely successor to House Speaker John Boehner, told Fox News’ Sean Hannity explicitly on Tuesday night that the Clinton investigation was part of a “strategy to fight and win.”

We're Surrounded by Way More Chemicals Than We Thought, and These Doctors Say We're Screwed

A team of doctors, researchers, and clinicians from across the globe have teamed up to send a loud message to policymakers: More must be done to protect people from the toxic chemicals that endanger health—and soon.

The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), a group representing OB-GYNs from 125 countries, released a report detailing the detrimental health effects caused by even small exposure to common chemicals like the ones found in pesticides, plastics, and air pollution. The health problems are even greater for babies exposed in the womb, who face increased risks of cancer, reduced cognitive function, and even miscarriage or stillbirth.

Misbahuddin Ahmed Challenging Ottawa's Move To Revoke His Citizenship

OTTAWA — An Ottawa man serving time for his part in a homegrown terror conspiracy is asking a court to halt the federal government's attempt to strip him of Canadian citizenship.

In an application to the Federal Court of Canada, Misbahuddin Ahmed says the government is relying on unconstitutional provisions to revoke his citizenship.

Palestinian Flag Raised At UN For The First Time

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas raised the Palestinian flag at the United Nations for the first time on Wednesday with a promise that it will be raised soon in Jerusalem, "the capital of our Palestinian state."

More than 300 ministers, diplomats and well-wishers who crowded into the rose garden at U.N. headquarters where a temporary flagpole had been erected for the ceremony applauded his words.

Tories move to strip citizenship from Canadian-born terrorist

The Harper government is attempting to revoke the citizenship of a convicted terrorist who was born and raised in Canada, Maclean’s has learned—a first under a controversial new law that has triggered intense debate during the election campaign.

Saad Gaya, 27, is believed to be the only Canadian-born citizen (terrorist or not) to ever face the prospect of being stripped of his citizenship. Until now, there was no legal mechanism to undo what has long been considered an irreversible birthright.

Selling Canada out, one deal at a time

Since winning his majority, Stephen Harper’s government has signed or finalized 23 new trade or investment deals.

The right trade agreements can create opportunities for Canada. But the Harper government has seemed more interested in getting lots of deals than in making sure each is good for Canada’s economy.

Inside the Harper government's trashing of a research library

At first, the closing of the library at the Lethbridge Agricultural Centre looked methodical. Staff were informed of the closure in July. Then in early August they were told they could help themselves to items from the collection.

And then it all went south from there: in mid-August summer students began filling an extra-large dumpster with journals and reports. Reportedly, one scientist jumped into the dumpster to rescue a set of journals. Distressed staff began to select more and more books from the collection in order to rescue them.

Bill C-24: Harper Says Tories May Consider Stripping Other Criminals Of Citizenship

OTTAWA — A re-elected Conservative government might look to strip dual citizens of their Canadian citizenship if they commit other heinous crimes, Stephen Harper said in a radio interview Wednesday.

Harper was on The Andrew Lawton Show to talk about Bill C-24, a new law the Tories passed this spring that strips dual citizens convicted of terrorism of their Canadian citizenship.

Lawton asked Harper if he might strip other dual citizens in the future if convicted of other crimes, giving by way of example a serial killer, a rapist or someone who did something to children.

Calgary Mayor calls Harper’s position on niqabs and Syrian Refugees ‘dangerous’ ‘dog whistle politics’ and ‘disgusting’

Stephen Harper is playing a “dangerous” political game with his position on the niqab and “dog whistle politics” when he speaks about the Syrian refugee crisis, says Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

In an interview on SiriusXM’s “Everything is Political,” Nenshi told Evan Solomon that Harper’s decision to challenge the Federal Court of Appeal decision over the ability of a woman to wear a niqab during citizenship ceremonies is being done merely in the service of scoring political points.

Canada's TPP Talks In Odd Situation Due To Election Campaign

OTTAWA — Trade Minister Ed Fast says he won't be consulting with the opposition leaders on negotiations around a major Asia-Pacific trade deal, despite the government's own guidelines around how to operate during an election.

"We have consulted broadly, and the opposition parties, they are privy to information that is available to all Canadians," Fast said in Atlanta, where Canada and 11 other countries are trying to finalize the details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership this week.