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, October 05, 2015

 Bureau of Sex Slavery

I am thinking of the price list leaked out from the ISIS Sex Slave Market that included women and girls on the same list as cattle. ISIS needed to impose price controls as they were worried about a downturn in their market.

Forty- to 50-year-old women were priced at $41, 30- to 40-year-old women at $62, 20- to 30-year-old women, $82 and 1- to 9-year-old children, $165. Women over 50 weren’t even listed. They had no market value. They were discarded like milk cartons with past sale date markers. But they weren’t simply abandoned in some smelly dung heap of trash. First, they were probably tortured, beheaded, raped—then thrown into a pile of rotting corpses. I am thinking of a 1-year-old child’s body for sale and what it would be like for a hefty, sex-deprived, war-driven 30-year-old soldier to buy her, package her, take her home like a new television. What would he be feeling or thinking as he unwrapped her baby flesh and raped her with his penis the size of her tiny body?

Harper: If TPP Deal Is Reached, Canada Will Release Details

MONTREAL — It sounds like an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership is close — and when it's done, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper says he intends to disclose the details of what he's billing as the largest trade deal in history.

Harper says while the talks taking place in Atlanta have not yet wrapped up, he is receiving regular updates on what he calls "significant progress."

Liberals: Voting Irregularities Should Be Reported To Elections Canada, Party

OTTAWA — Federal Liberals are urging voters to report voter irregularities, such as misleading phone calls, to both Elections Canada and the party itself.

The Grits, who have also vowed to strengthen the Canada Elections Act if they form government Oct.19, have created a voter incident reporting system where Canadians can document election problems.

Conservatives Dominate 'Ten Percenters' Top-Spenders List

Nineteen of the top 20 MPs who charged taxpayers the most for bulk mailings belong to the Conservative Party, according to a report released by the Board of Internal Economy.

The report published Monday outlines expenditures billed to taxpayers during the first quarter of the 2015-2016 year. Government House leader Peter Van Loan topped the list, spending $11,892.19 on "ten percenters" in a three-month period between April 1 and June 30.

Trans-Pacific Partnership Talks Pushed To Take-It-Or-Leave-It Phase

ATLANTA -- A day of decision lies ahead for international trade talks as 12 countries must determine Sunday whether to tune out nagging individual worries in order to create the world's largest trade zone.

Ministerial meetings in Atlanta have dragged on three days longer than scheduled and it appears this might be the make-or-break moment for concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership here, and now, before the Canadian election.

Harper’s pot is ‘infinitely worse’ than tobacco assertion ‘misleading’ — health experts

Public health experts are slamming Stephen Harper’s assertion that marijuana is “infinitely worse” than tobacco, saying the remark has no basis in scientific fact.

The Conservative leader made the comment the morning after the final debate of the election campaign Friday night, during which he criticized Justin Trudeau’s proposal to legalize the drug.

This Is What The World's Largest Companies Are Making Off Their Employees

Marketing firm MVF Global has calculated the “true value” of employees around the world, and maybe not surprisingly there is a pretty large gap between what workers at the world’s largest companies are paid and what they're actually worth to the company.

Joyce Bateman, Tory Candidate, Lists Retired General Among 'Enemies' Of Israel

A Conservative incumbent sparked boos at a debate this week after reading out a list of Liberal candidates and volunteers she identified as "enemies" of Israel.

But those jeers reportedly turned to cries of "shame" when Joyce Bateman, running again in Winnipeg South Centre, got to Andrew Leslie, the Liberal candidate in the Ontario riding of Orléans.

Leslie is a retired Canadian Forces lieutenant-general who commanded troops during the war in Afghanistan.

In the Public Interest: Monsanto and Its Promoters vs. Freedom of Information

Next year, the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) will celebrate its 50th anniversary as one of the finest laws our Congress has ever passed. It is a vital investigative tool for exposing government and corporate wrongdoing.

The FOIA was championed by Congressman John E. Moss (D-CA), who strove to “guarantee the right of every citizen to know the facts of his Government.” Moss, with whom I worked closely as an outside citizen advocate, said that “without the fullest possible access to Government information, it is impossible to gain the knowledge necessary to discharge the responsibilities of citizenship.”

Kenney Says Tories Would Strip Every Convicted Terrorist Of Citizenship, If Only They Could

The Conservative party would strip all Canadians of their citizenship if they were convicted of terrorism offences but can't because of a UN convention, Tory incumbent candidate Jason Kenney said in an interview this week.

"Oh, yes. Oh, absolutely. If we did not have the legal constraint, then the legal principle of revocation for convictions of political violence against Canada, like treason, acts of war, terrorism, would lead to revocation of citizenship," he told CBC Radio's "As It Happens" on Monday.

Swastikas scrawled on Justin Trudeau's campaign signs in Montreal

As the federal leaders get set for their final debate tonight, vandals defaced Justin Trudeau's campaign signs in downtown Montreal with swastikas and Hitler moustaches.
The Liberals posted signs featuring a large image of Trudeau on major streets in the west end of downtown Montreal. On a 10-minute walk through the downtown core, half of the signs along this walking route included vandalism offering a glimpse at just how big the stakes are and how nasty this campaign fight in Montreal can be.

Incorrect voter information cards sent out to hundreds of Canadians

CBC News has learned that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people may have difficulty casting a ballot in this election after receiving incorrect voter information cards.

Elections Canada says there's a problem in various parts of the country.

Every day, I Discover a New Reason to Vote out Harper

When new Canadian leaders are elected, I try to keep an open mind and give them a chance before passing judgement. It seems to me that's the Canadian way.

Stephen Harper was no exception: in 2006, I actually looked forward to seeing where he would lead our country.

Northern Gateway Talks Left Out First Nations' Governance Rights: Lawyer

VANCOUVER — Two First Nations waging a court battle to overturn approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline project say federal officials refused to discuss their claim of decision-making power over ancestral lands.

Lawyer Cheryl Sharvit said the Nadleh Whut'en and Nak'azdli are not declaring the right to veto resource projects on traditional territories in British Columbia's Central Interior.

Murder, USA: Why Politicians Have Blood on Their Hands

Ten people were killed and seven wounded recently in a mass shooting at a community college in Roseburg, Oregon. Such shootings are more than another tragic expression of unchecked violence in the United States, they are symptomatic of a society engulfed in fear, militarism, a survival-of-the-fittest ethos, and a growing disdain for human life. Sadly, this shooting is not an isolated incident. Over 270 mass shootings have taken place in the US this year alone, proving once again that the economic, political, and social conditions that underlie such violence are not being addressed.

Conservative Heads Explode Over Kentucky's Bigoted County Clerk

Kim Davis, a clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky, has been dominating the news cycle all week with her stalwart refusal to do her job. Davis, who objects to same-sex marriage, has not been allowing her office to issue licenses to same-sex couples, claiming her personal religious belief about other people's relationships should trump the law of the land. Even though the Supreme Court has rejected her argument, Davis remains defiant, and on Thursday she was jailed for her actions.

How Harper triggered a First Nations legal war over Northern Gateway

The Harper government’s already strained relationship with First Nations that oppose oil sands pipelines is being put on trial this week.

Eight B.C. First Nations are in federal court to launch a legal attack on the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline. The coalition hopes to overturn Ottawa’s conditional approval of the project, which would deliver Alberta crude to B.C.’s north coast.

These Emails Show Monsanto Leaning on Professors to Fight the GMO PR War

For a blockbuster recent piece, the New York Times' Eric Lipton got a first look at a massive cache of private emails between prominent public university scientists and GMO industry executives and flacks. The emails came to light through a barrage of controversial Freedom of Information Act requests by U.S. Right to Know, which is funded by the scrappy, anti-corporate Organic Consumers Association.

The Curse of Totalitarianism and the Challenge of Critical Pedagogy

"Memory is the enemy of totalitarianism."—Albert Camus

The forces of free-market fundamentalism are on the march ushering in a terrifying horizon of what Hannah Arendt once called "dark times." Across the globe, the tension between democratic values and market fundamentalism has reached a breaking point. (1) The social contract is under assault, neo-Nazism is on the rise, right-wing populism is propelling extremist political candidates and social movements into the forefront of political life, anti-immigrant sentiment is now wrapped in the poisonous logic of nationalism and exceptionalism, racism has become a mark of celebrated audacity and a politics of disposability comes dangerously close to its endgame of extermination for those considered excess. Under such circumstances, it becomes frightfully clear that the conditions for totalitarianism and state violence are still with us smothering critical thought, social responsibility, the ethical imagination and politics itself. As Bill Dixon observes:

Netanyahu Glares At UN Members For 45 Seconds To Protest Iran Deal

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave U.N. leaders the silent treatment during his speech on Thursday to protest the Iran nuclear deal.

Lashing out at the U.N. General Assembly, which gathered in New York this week for its annual meeting, Netanyahu gave the body a stern glare for full 45 seconds.

Montreal's raw sewage to be dumped into St. Lawrence River as planned

The City of Montreal is going ahead with its controversial plan to dump eight billion litres of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River.

Pierre Desrochers, the chairman of the city's executive committee, said at a news conference Friday morning that emptying a major sewer interceptor into the river is the only viable option that will allow necessary construction work to be completed.

How Global Warming Makes Overcrowded Prisons Even More Dangerous

There is no population more captive to the effects of global warming than the incarcerated. And given the huge concentration of black and Latino prisoners in America, this is a classic case of environmental injustice, as these consequences fall widely on prisoners of color. A new study from Daniel W. E. Holt of the Columbia Law School's Sabin Center for Climate Change Law explains over 144 pages what the climate-change toll truly is on the two-million-plus bodies caged in our prison system.

As Governor, Jeb Bush Embraced His Inner “Veto Corleone”

As he campaigns for president, Jeb Bush has eagerly reminded audiences of the Godfather-inspired nickname he earned as Florida’s governor: "They call me Veto Corleone because I vetoed 2,500 separate line items in the budget," he proudly declared during the first Republican presidential debate in August.

To Bush and his supporters, the thousands of projects he ruthlessly slashed from the budget during his eight years as governor ushered in an era of fiscal restraint and transparency in Tallahassee. But critics say he whacked programs that would have helped the state's neediest residents and used his power to bring the legislature to heel, in some cases wielding his veto pen to punish lawmakers who crossed him.

How Justin Trudeau could get out from under the C-51 cloud

I have to admit it. Now that the dairy cows and tractors have left Wellington Street, I have finally seen the light on Bill C-51.

Just as Stephen Harper always told us, a new threat emerges practically every day. And so, on to the Barnyard Underground. Canadians need to be protected from marching milkers and John Deere tractors, and their socialist sod-buster owners. My God, these bovine Bolshies pooped up the nation’s capital and left it standing in pools of milk!

Toronto Tory candidate Joe Daniel questions ‘so-called’ refugees

OTTAWA—A Conservative candidate in Toronto has spoken out on “so-called” refugees fleeing Syrian violence, doubting the need of some for food and water, and criticizing Middle East nations for inaction on the crisis.

Joe Daniel, who recently stirred controversy for saying that a Muslim “agenda” was behind the stream of refugees into Europe, waded back into the issue on Tuesday at an all-candidates’ debate in north Toronto.

Premier's Personal Kenya Plans Involved Plenty of Government Staff Help

Premier Christy Clark's last-minute decision to take a family vacation in Kenya months after a terrorist attack sparked a flurry of emails between federal and provincial staff before the trip was cancelled.

In a 2013 year-end interview, Clark told reporters about plans for a Christmas holiday trip with son Hamish to help build a school in Africa.

Trans-Pacific Partnership: 6 questions answered

Trade ministers and senior negotiators from 12 Pacific Rim countries are holed up in intense talks in Atlanta, trying to reach an agreement in principle for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The ministers originally were scheduled to meet until the end of Thursday, but International Trade Minister Ed Fast told reporters he hasn't booked a return plane ticket yet.

Amazon Lashes Out At Competitors, Banning Apple TV And Chromecast

The war for your attention just became a bit more divided.

Bloomberg reported Thursday that Amazon's online store will stop selling Apple TV and Google Chromecast devices.

Why would Amazon do this? Simple: Google and Apple don't offer Amazon's video product on their devices, so Amazon's not offering those devices on its store.

Database names Conservative donors who are political appointees

OTTAWA—What do the head of the CBC, a former BlackBerry executive, and the president of The Asper Foundation have in common?

They can all find their names in a database compiled by left-leaning pressure group of political appointees who have donated to the Conservative Party.

Canadian-born Saad Gaya, convicted terrorist, targeted for revocation of citizenship

A convicted terrorist who was born and raised in Canada is asking a court to quash the federal government's attempt to strip him of his Canadian citizenship.

In an application to the Federal Court, Saad Gaya says revoking his Canadian citizenship would constitute "cruel and unusual treatment."