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.]

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Bernanke: More Execs Should Have Faced Prosecution For 2008 Financial Crisis

WASHINGTON, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said in a newspaper interview published on Sunday that more corporate executives should have been prosecuted for their actions leading up to the 2008 financial crisis.

Bernanke told USA Today that the U.S. Justice Department and other law enforcement agencies focused on investigating or indicting financial firms.

Pacific Rim trade deal reignites economy as election issue

OTTAWA—Canada’s wide-ranging but largely secret trade deal with the United States and 10 other Pacific Rim countries is reigniting questions about the economy, jobs and the country’s future just as Canadians get ready to vote.

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, whose government signed the 12-nation agreement two weeks before the election, lauded it as a long-term economic advantage that will open up growing export markets in Asia.

The Conservatives, the party for the manly man? Hardly.

I grew up surrounded by masculine archetypes: bush pilots, farmers, roughnecks and prospectors. To them, the “Marlboro Man” wasn’t some idealized version of manhood; he was a silly model in a clean shirt. These were tough men, worn and scarred, but scared of nothing. And they all voted Conservative.

There really wasn’t much choice. How could you support the other guys? The NDP were effete socialists and the Liberals were equally craven urbanites, frightened of their own shadows. Real men voted Tory.

Canada's Biggest Political Scandal You Never Heard Of

It's probably the biggest political scandal you've never heard of.

The tale involves Big Oil, millions of taxpayer dollars, call girls and someone the RCMP describes as "one of the prime minister's longest serving advisors": Bruce Carson.

And it largely took place at Stephen Harper's alma mater: the University of Calgary between 2009 and 2011 with a cast of industry CEOs as well as several Harper ministers and aides, including Nigel Wright.

Muslim convert attacked while wearing niqab in Toronto

Her roots in Canada stretch back through her francophone mother to the 1600s. Last week, wearing her Islamic face veil – the niqab, which has become a central issue in the federal election – she says she was trying to enter Shoppers Drug Mart at Toronto’s Fairview Mall when a man carrying a liquor-store bag blocked her path and then drove his elbow hard into her shoulder, in front of her two daughters, ages nine and four.

“It hurt, yo,” Safira Merriman, 30, said in a Facebook post describing the incident.

Another Big Pharma Company Forces Patients to Pay Sky-High Drug Prices

Another drug company has joined the likes of the recently exposed Turing Pharmaceuticals by jacking up prices of life-sustaining meds on extremely short notice. Remember this name: Valeant Pharmaceuticals International.

Lawyer’s lawsuit highlights Ottawa’s court clashes over Charter rights

Edgar Schmidt was once a lawyer earning $155,000 a year for the federal Justice Department, examining proposed laws for consistency with the Charter of Rights. But he felt uneasy about the way he was told to do his job, believing that officials in his own department – and the Justice Minister himself – were involving him in breaking the law. So he sued his employer.

Monday, in an Ottawa courtroom, his lawsuit against the Justice Minister, deputy justice minister and the department comes to trial, calling attention to an issue that has received little notice thus far in the federal election campaign: the Conservative government’s frequent clashes with the courts over the Charter of Rights.

Ottawa’s overhaul of health-care funding has left enormous ‘fiscal gap’ for provinces, PBO warns

The Conservative government is downloading billions of dollars of health-care costs on the provinces, says the parliamentary budget officer, making federal finances sustainable over the long term but leaving provincial governments to stare down severe financial pains in the coming years.

The PBO’s annual long-term fiscal sustainability report released Thursday says the Harper government’s decision to scale back the growth in Canada Health Transfer payments means provincial governments will increasingly struggle to afford health-care services for their citizens.

Ottawa spends $1.3-million fighting sick moms’ EI disability benefits lawsuit

The federal government has spent more than $1.3-million in legal fees to prevent new mothers who fell seriously ill while on maternity leave from collecting disability benefits in addition to the employment insurance that is paid to new parents.

A class action lawsuit was launched in Federal Court in 2012 by two Calgary women on behalf of an estimated tens of thousands of new mothers who were denied the EI disability benefits or dissuaded from applying for them. It is seeking more than $450-million in compensation.

Foreign sailors paid as little as $2 per hour while Canadian crews remain jobless: union

OTTAWA — The Seafarers International Union of Canada is preparing to take the federal government to court over the use of foreign sailors — some of whom are allegedly being paid as little as $2 per hour on internationally-flagged ships in Canadians waters.

The labour group, which represents unlicensed sailors in all of the country’s coastal waters, has been firing warning shots for a month over the growing refusal of shipping agents to hire Canadian crews — something to which the federal government has allegedly turned a blind eye.

A hero of peace meets a wall of indifference in Ottawa

I think it’s fair to say that Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish is not an “old-stock Canadian” — to borrow the phrase our oh-so-classy Conservative leader tossed out during last week’s debate.

Not done, Stephen Harper’s people also announced last week — at the urging, I’m sure, of his new campaign Merlin, Lynton Crosby — that Ottawa would seek a stay of a Federal Court of Appeal decision allowing a Muslim woman to wear a niqab while swearing the oath of citizenship. What’s the point of campaigning if you can’t shake loose a few thousand votes by ginning up a few tired old racist tropes?

‘This is disgusting and it is time for us to say stop it’: Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi blasts Tories’ niqab ban

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi lambasted the Conservative government for taking issue with women wearing the niqab during citizenship ceremonies, arguing it’s “playing with fire” and wasting taxpayers’ money.

Speaking to Evan Solomon in an interview on SiriusXM’s “Everything is Political,” Nenshi aired his frustrations over the ongoing court battle, launched by Stephen Harper’s government to prevent women from wearing face coverings, such as the niqab, during citizenship ceremonies.

For Stephen Harper, a stable upbringing and an unpredictable path to power

The impulse to seek clues and draw inferences about a political leader who stubbornly avoids self-revelation is all but irresistible.

To those plumbing the personality and shifting moods of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a traumatic moment from before his birth offers at least some explanation for what may have helped shape him.

In Moncton, N.B., in 1950, Harris Chapman Harper, a local community pillar, was married, raising two sons and serving as principal of Prince Edward School.

Yukon First Nations could decide who represents the territory

At the Yukon First Nation Forum for the Federal candidates held on September 29th, hosted by the Council of Yukon First Nations, it was a packed house of over two hundred people in beautiful downtown Whitehorse. All the political parties were represented, including the Conservative candidate. He has attended some but not all of the various debates held in the Yukon. This debate was broadcast on a First Nation owned community radio station, CHON-FM, and was live-streamed on YouTube. 
There were two introductions to the debate, one by the Chief of the Kwanlin Dun First Nation, Doris Bill, on whose traditional territory the forum was held. The other introduction was by the Grand Chief of the Council of Yukon First Nations, Ruth Massie. 

Unpublished Justice Department study critical of not criminally responsible law

An unpublished study by the Justice Department is critical of a recent Harper government measure that allows further restrictions on the freedom of people who've been found not criminally responsible of serious crimes, usually because of mental illness.

The $6,000 study was commissioned in March from Justice Richard D. Schneider, Canada's foremost expert on the legal troubles faced by mentally ill Canadians. It was obtained by CBC News under the Access to Information Act.

Putin Is Rewriting History. There Would Be No ISIS Without Assad.

Every week, we bring you one overlooked aspect of the stories that made news in recent days. You noticed the media forgot all about another story's basic facts? Tweet @TheWorldPost or let us know on our Facebook page.

According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the war in Syria is very simple: President Bashar Assad's regime is fighting the Islamic State militant group and associated terrorist organizations.

Maps Are The Ammo In The Information Wars Over Russia's Military Campaign In Syria

As Russian jets strike Syria for a third day, the information war about which groups Moscow is targeting and why fiercely continues.

Russia says it is bombing the Islamic State and various other "associated terrorist groups," which it declines to name. When Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was asked to explain who Moscow is referring to, he had this clarification Thursday: "If it looks like a terrorist, if it acts like a terrorist, if it walks like a terrorist, if it fights like a terrorist, it's a terrorist, right?"