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.]

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Transatlantic Trade Pacts The Target Of Massive Berlin Protest

BERLIN (AP) — Tens of thousands of people marched through downtown Berlin on Saturday to protest planned transatlantic free trade pacts.

Police said around 100,000 took part in the demonstration, while organizers claimed 250,000 turned out, banging on drums, chanting slogans and waving signs and flags opposing the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, with the United States, and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada.

Tory Ad Citing Allan Schoenborn Interfering With Justice System: Lawyers

VANCOUVER-- Stephen Harper is interfering with Canada's justice system in an election advertisement that unfairly puts the label "criminal'' on a father who killed his children while extremely mentally ill, say the man's lawyers.

In the minute-long radio ad, the Conservative leader references "the tragic story'' of Allan Schoenborn, who in February 2010 was found "not criminally responsible'' on account of a mental disorder.

Federal Election Advance Polls Report A Large Increase In Voter Turnout

OTTAWA — The opening day of advance polls brought out a big increase in the number of voters casting ballots ahead of the Oct. 19 election.

Elections Canada says it estimates some 850,000 people voted on Friday, the first day of advance polls.

The agency says that is a 26 per cent increase over the first day of advance polls in the 2011 election and a 90 per cent increase over the first day of advance polls in 2008.

There were long line-ups reported on Friday at polling sections.

There were concerns that the Conservative government's changes to election laws to tighten identification requirements could create snags for certain Canadians, but Elections Canada said it has been trying to ensure everyone who wants to vote would get a chance to do so.

Advance polls are open throughout the Thanksgiving weekend.

Original Article
Author: cp

Just 158 Families Provided Nearly Half the Financing for Early Efforts for the White House

An overwhelmingly older, white and male group of Americans who made fortunes in finance and energy and represent just 158 families gave $176 million—almost half of all the money raised so far—to mostly Republican presidential candidates in the early months of the race.

“Not since before Watergate have so few people and businesses provided so much early money in a campaign, most of it through channels legalized by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision five years ago,” writes The New York Times, whose investigation revealed the numbers.

Texas Cop Chokes 14-Year Old Student ‘For His Safety’

After apparently telling a cop to leave him alone, a black 14-year-old Round Rock High School student was grabbed by the throat and dragged to the ground by a police officer on Thursday, a video published by KXAN reveals. The police department claims the move was for the boy’s own safety.

Army Officer Recommends No Jail Time For Bergdahl

The U.S. military officer who headed a hearing in the case of accused deserter Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl recommended that the man held captive by the Taliban in Afghanistan should not be sent to a military prison, Bergdahl's lawyers said.

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Visger, the presiding officer at the so-called Article 32 hearing last month in San Antonio, also made recommendations in a memorandum this week for Bergdahl's case to be moved to the military equivalent of misdemeanor court, the lawyers said.

Three ways to cure the disenchanted

Between the Liberals and the Conservatives, the election is, as they say, too close to call. All the same the Decision Desk is ready to declare a winner: none of the above.

The Liberals are in the mid-30s in the polls, the Tories a couple of points behind. But if recent elections are any guide, 40 per cent or more of eligible voters will choose not to vote at all. Factor in the no-shows, and you can win a “majority” government in this country with the support of as little as 22 per cent of the electorate.

‘Targeted for extermination’: Harper says prioritizing Christian and religious minority refugees isn’t discriminatory

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Stephen Harper says his government’s policy of prioritizing certain refugees, primarily Christians and other religious minorities, isn’t discriminatory.

The government is merely prioritizing those Christians and other Muslim minorities — as opposed to Muslim Sunnis and Shiites — who are being targeted by the self-proclaimed Islamic State, Harper said this week.

Australian political strategist isn’t the Conservative’s sinister mastermind

Ever since it was reported a month ago that Stephen Harper had enlisted the help of Australian political strategist Lynton Crosby, the legend of the Wizard of Oz’s impact on our federal election has grown.

“We all heard about it – ‘breaking news, the Prime Minister has hired a guy whose job it is to get everyone upset about Muslims’ ” Rick Mercer said on CBC Radio this week, speaking for much of the chattering class. “And then, next thing you know, everyone was upset. Wow! He’s earning his money.”

Here's How Police Could End Up Making Body Cameras Mostly Useless

Moments before he died, Charly Keunang took a swing at a cop. This wasn't an ordinary jab or hook. In cell phone video filmed by a bystander in March, the 43-year-old homeless man can be seen spinning toward a group of Los Angeles police officers, arms flailing. He looks more like the Tasmanian Devil than Mike Tyson.

ISIS Makes Gains in Syria Territory Bombed by Russia

BEIRUT, Lebanon — The Islamic State registered significant gains on Friday in the area of northwestern Syria that Russian warplanes have been bombing, taking six villages near Aleppo and threatening to cut off an important route north to the Turkish border. Late in the day, there were reports that rebels had reasserted control in one village.

The Kremlin has said its military had entered Syria to fight the Islamic State, but the Russian forces have concentrated much of their firepower on insurgent groups aligned against President Bashar al-Assad, including the Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, and relatively secular groups like the Free Syrian Army. Rival insurgents say that the Islamic State, also called ISIS or Daesh, is taking advantage.

Independent MP Brent Rathgeber gives former Tory insider's take on the sins of Harper PMO

ST. ALBERT, Alberta
The only Independent candidate in Canada with any hope of winning on Oct. 19  gave a persuasive and troubling analysis last night of just how far the Harper Government has gone astray.
To hear former Conservative caucus member Brent Rathgeber tell it during an all-candidates' forum in the Edmonton-area commuter city of St. Albert, the country has become all but a dictatorship run out of a Prime Minister's Office with a defective moral compass.

China and Africa: Are the Good Times Over?

One of the prevailing media narratives of China's recent economic turmoil is the effect that it could have on emerging markets, particularly in Africa. Now that the Chinese economy is showing real signs of slowing, the story goes, Beijing will soon pull back on the billions of dollars in investments and purchases that it makes from commodity-exporting African markets.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Puts Democracy Up for Sale

For the past two weeks, farmers have protested against the loss of agricultural quotas, which might be jeopardized by the signature of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. In fact, the stakes are much more important than that. Just like in the lawsuit of $250 million by Lone Pine Resources, the ISDS clauses (Investor State Dispute Settlement) are giving foreign investors a de facto veto power over any laws and regulations put forward by an elected and legitimate government that wants to protect the interests of its citizens.