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.]
It is hard to convey the palpable relief that had wafted across the capital by lunchtime the day after the stunning collapse of the Harper regime. Like survivors of a long and bitter occupation, old friends greeted each other with silent wide smiles, and then fell into quiet reminiscence under the sun of a beautiful autumn day, sharing inflated war stories on their part in driving the barbarians from the gate.
Mounties received at least three warnings of potential terrorist attacks on uniformed officers before last year's shootings on Parliament Hill, yet the RCMP wound down extra patrols around the parliamentary precinct just days before the tragedy, newly disclosed documents show.
The RCMP unit that patrols Parliament Hill, which shooter Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, successfully stormed, was understaffed by at least 29 positions at the time of the attack.
The last of the young guns is riding to the rescue.
After declaring repeatedly that he was “not interested” in filling the void created by the decision of House Speaker John Boehner to quit—in the face of a threatened vote to remove him—Paul Ryan now says he will deign to accept the speakership.
He has asked that the job be handed to him on a silver platter. And with willing acquiescence from the mainstream conservative Tuesday Group and the more conservative Republican Study Group, as well as grudging support from the often uncompromisingly-conservative Freedom Caucus, the platter is prepared.
Justin Trudeau’s forthcoming legislative agenda could face roadblocks in the Senate, requiring his Liberal government to negotiate concessions with Conservative senators who hold the hammer of the majority in the upper chamber.
The Tories hold the most seats in the upper chamber and would be able to use that leverage to slow down legislation, force amendments or push their own private member’s bills up higher on the Senate’s agenda.
The Information and Privacy Commissioner has slammed the British Columbia government for deleting too many emails and has asked the RCMP to investigate whether a former ministerial assistant lied under oath.
"I am deeply disappointed by the practices our investigation uncovered," Elizabeth Denham wrote in a report released today, Access Denied: Record Retention and Disposal Practices of the Government of British Columbia.
The top donors to the B.C. Liberal Party in the past decade are a well-heeled corporate coterie.
The top 20, which gave nearly $10 million to the Liberals from 2005 to 2012, include a who’s who of the mining, forestry, retail investment and building sectors, according to a detailed database constructed by The Vancouver Sun from Elections BC information. There’s also representation from resource sector suppliers, the oil and gas sector and the auto sales sector.
When people come to recall the Harper government, the face they remember first may not be his. It may be one of the people he appointed to speak for him — his parliamentary secretaries, Dean Del Mastro, Paul Calandra and Pierre Poilievre. Two of the three are departed from public life, but their faces — cunning, caustic, old before their time — are burned into the public mind, glowing symbols of the culture that took hold at the top of the Conservative party.
Stephen Harper wanted an election on Canadian values. Canadians gave him one. Nearly 70 per cent said his values were not theirs.
He was hoisted on his own petard.
He arranged for the longest election in 140 years to disadvantage the opposition. It only gave Justin Trudeau the time to showcase his steady improvement. Better still, it exposed Harper’s nasty character and endless dirty tactics — the more Canadians saw of both, the more they were repulsed. They turned the election into a referendum on him. The moment that happened, he was done. Signs emerged of the impending Conservative collapse.
Paul Ryan wants to be Speaker of the House but he wants a coronation, not a contested election. Toward that end, he's orchestrating a campaign that makes him appear to be a bridge-builder between the so-called "establishment" and "Tea Party" wings of the Republican Party -- the only guy who can save the GOP from self-destruction. But only in the whacky world of today's Republican Party could Ryan be seen as a voice of reason or even, according to the party's Tea Party wing -- as "too far left," as the New York Times recently reported.
As the Conservative Party election machine was trying to drive an electoral wedge between Canadians by
persuading voters jihadi terrorists presented a serious and growing danger to Canada, another threat appears to have been brewing up right here in Alberta.
But instead of jihadist crazies, the death threats and ugly misogynist commentary directed at Alberta's NDP government, and in particular at Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, seem most likely to have been generated by "old stock Canadians" who subscribe to a particular social and political point of view. That is to say, the sort of Tea Party Tories who viscerally hate Liberals and New Democrats with equal and consuming passion.
Almost invariably, there is nobody less politically minded than somebody who gushes, "I'm a total political junkie!"
What they usually mean is that they are thrilled by the horse-race aspects of politics, the wheeling and dealing; they can't get enough of the panel shows that parse strategy and tactics without ever really getting into who will be affected by a particular set of policies, or how, or in whose interest they're being advanced. In this West Wing view of the world, triangulation and chess-playing are everything; the possibility of genuine political feeling among people who aren't already players is precluded.
When the 2015 federal election kicked off a couple millennia ago, the NDP was in an unprecedented lead. And yet not only did they lose their official opposition status, returning to third-party rump status, but they lost my parents, aging hippies who have been voting NDP since the late 1960s but went Liberal for the first time ever.
Yes, it was a strategic attempt to defeat the Conservative candidate, but they, the epitome of the progressive base, felt comfortable doing so because the Liberals moved toward them while the NDP moved away.
Holocaust experts are accusing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of rewriting history by claiming that Palestinians gave Hitler the idea for his genocidal campaign against European Jews.
Referring to attacks on European Jews before the official outbreak of World War II in 1939, Netanyahu said that the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, “instigated” the killings.
“Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jews. And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said, ‘If you expel them, they’ll all come here.’ ‘So what should I do with them?’ [Hitler] asked. [al-Husseini] said, ‘Burn them.'”
The Western Alienation narrative starts immediately.
Yesterday morning's print edition of the Edmonton Journal included a front-page political column wondering if Alberta has "frozen itself out of power in Ottawa?" The author's conclusion: probably.
At least that one put some of the responsibility on the right party, as it were.
Yesterday morning's post-Big-Event uniformed-person-in-the-street interviews on Edmonton CBC's morning drive program included several inarticulate speakers bemoaning Monday's federal election results and remembering how Pierre Trudeau most certainly wrecked Alberta's economy with the National Energy Program and therefore Justin Trudeau is bound to do the same thing.
With Justin Trudeau as our new prime minister, most Canadians are looking forward, projecting their hopes and fears on a future very different from the past. But let's take a minute to look at the past and consider how to prevent it happening again.
Like roughly 70 per cent of Canadians, I spent the last decade trying to figure out a man named Stephen Harper. (The other 30 per cent just liked him enough to vote for him.) The Tyee alone has mentioned him in well over 500 articles, seeking to understand the man's motives, politics, actions, and methods.
On Jan. 18, 2013, as the sun went down, Jeff Lockhart Jr. got ready for work. He slipped a T-shirt over his burly frame and hung his white work badge over his broad chest. His wife, Di-Key, was in the bathroom fixing her hair in micro-braids and preparing for another evening alone with her three sons. Jeff had been putting in long hours lately, and so the couple planned a breakfast date at Shoney’s for when his shift ended around dawn. “You better have your hair done by then,” he teased her.
CNN writer Sean Kennedy, who reports on Canadian issues and "observed the last federal election in Canada firsthand," penned a scathing commentary on Justin Trudeau's recent victory in the federal election.
In his story, "Justin Trudeau victory is bad news for U.S. conservatives," Kennedy writes that Harper's defeat by the "unprepared, gaffe-prone but well-coiffed" Trudeau was "to the detriment" of Americans and the world at large.
With the recent federal election grabbing the majority of the headlines, a significant threat to Canada's most treasured national program has been going largely unnoticed.
For many years, certain physicians and clinics have quietly been charging extra fees for health services. In some provinces, the frequency of such charges has been increasing. These include hidden charges for medications that are many times their actual cost or access fees of hundreds of dollars for examinations such as colonoscopies. Because these fees are for services that are covered by the health system, this is in effect extra-billing, a practice that is against federal and provincial law.
Despite the furor over Planned Parenthood on Capitol Hill—one that helped to oust a House Speaker, no less—House Republicans have made no progress in their efforts to defund the organization. Outside Washington, however, GOP-controlled states continue to invent new ways to undermine the women's health provider—and they are making headway.
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh thinks Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton is getting "sympathetic" treatment from the media because most of the journalists covering her are women.
During his syndicated radio show on Tuesday, Limbaugh referenced a Politico article titled "The Women In The Van," which profiles the largely female press corps covering Clinton's presidential campaign.
Starting today, three bills are being rammed through the Wisconsin legislature that will put the final nails in the coffin of our state's long history of clean elections and accountable governance.
The same group of GOP leaders who attempted to gut the state's open records law over the 4th of July weekend are now calling for secrecy in campaign spending and for dismantling the two major avenues for investigating political corruption.
What could go wrong?
Stung by the campaign finance probe into a "John Doe" criminal investigation into potentially illegal coordination between Governor Scott Walker and independent secret money groups, the Koch-ALEC cabal is on the warpath.
By endorsing the Conservatives for another term in government, some of Canada’s biggest dailies have betrayed both democracy and themselves.
Last week, papers owned by Postmedia Network Inc., the country’s largest English-language daily newspaper publisher, ran editorials with headlines such as “Conservatives are the most prudent choice,” “Let’s keep Harper’s steady hand on the helm” and “No change is best.”
The brothers, who took over the 21st Century Fox empire July 1, sit down together and open up about who's in charge, sister Liz, the new age of television and whether their rebellious spirit can create the next great media era.
It's Oct. 8, a scorching hot afternoon on the Fox Studios lot in Los Angeles, and it's been less than 24 hours since Rupert Murdoch made news by tweeting about Republican presidental candidate Ben Carson: "What about a real black President who can properly address the racial divide? And much else." The comment is being dissected, interpreted and mocked on television and online, just like nearly every move made by the legendary 84-year-old media mogul. But perhaps no Murdoch machination has been more analyzed than his plan to elevate his family members to succeed him atop 21st Century Fox, the television and film behemoth that includes the Fox network; cable channels Fox News, FX and Nat Geo; Fox Sports; a share of the Sky pay TV services throughout Europe; and thriving film and TV studios here in L.A.
The discussion about the economic impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on dairy farmers and auto workers has begun. But in Canada, an important discussion about the TPP is still waiting in the wings.
Across the world, specialists have raised concerns about the negative health impacts of the TPP. The former chief economist of the World Bank, Joseph Stiglitz, believes that the TPP will cost lives. In Australia, the Faculty of Medicine at the University of New South Wales reported significant health impacts such as the ability to regulate alcohol and food quality. And, the Faculty of Public Health Medicine, part of the UK's Royal College of Physicians, says that the TPP's sister trade deal could undermine the National Health Service through privatization and public health could be hobbled as trade is prioritized over health.
WASHINGTON — Justin Trudeau's first-day foray into international relations included informing the U.S. president that he'll carry out his campaign promise to withdraw from Canada's combat mission in the Middle East.
Without offering details on the timing of the bombing-mission scaledown or what role Canada might play next, Trudeau said the country would remain involved in other aspects of the fight against Islamist rebels.
A St. Louis-area community is on edge as a 5-year-old fire burning underneath a landfill threatens to interact with nearby nuclear waste, with potentially deadly consequences.
Residents in Bridgeton, Missouri, met in a packed church Thursday to discuss a solution to the growing problem that has county and school officials talking emergency evacuation plans, according to Fox 2 Now.
Following the insight of Hannah Arendt, a leading political theorist of mid-20th century totalitarianism, a dark cloud of political and ethical ignorance has descended upon the United States. (1) Thoughtlessness, a primary condition of authoritarian rule, now occupies a privileged, if not celebrated, place in the political landscape and the mainstream cultural apparatuses. A new kind of infantilism now shapes daily life as adults gleefully take on the role of unthinking children, while children are pushed to be adults, stripped of their innocence and subject to a range of disciplinary pressures that saddle them with debt and cripple their ability to be imaginative. (2)
REUTERS -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu provoked controversy on Wednesday, hours before a visit to Germany, by saying the former Muslim elder in Jerusalem convinced Adolf Hitler to exterminate the Jews.
In a speech to the Zionist Congress late on Tuesday, Netanyahu referred to a series of attacks by Muslims against Jews in Palestine during the 1920s that he said were instigated by the then Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini.
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — President Bashar Assad has traveled to Moscow in his first known trip abroad since war broke out in Syria in 2011, meeting his strongest ally, Russian leader Vladimir Putin. The two leaders stressed that military operations in Syria— in which Moscow is the latest and most powerful addition— must lead to a political process.
The surprise visit Tuesday reflects renewed confidence from the embattled Syrian president after Russia and Iran, another staunch ally, dramatically escalated their support recently as Moscow began carrying out airstrikes on Syrian insurgents and Tehran sent hundreds of ground forces.
Plenty of Canadians are celebrating that Stephen Harper’s autocratic and malicious rule has finally come to an end, and their sentiments are perfectly understandable.
But I hope those enthusiastic about the words “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau” will try to understand why some of us don’t feel like celebrating today, and why the defeat of the Harper Conservatives by the son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau rings hollow.
A few weeks before the last great international climate conference—2009, in Copenhagen—the e-mail accounts of a few climate scientists were hacked and reviewed for incriminating evidence suggesting that global warming was a charade. Eight separate investigations later concluded that there was literally nothing to “Climategate,” save a few sentences taken completely out of context—but by that time, endless, breathless media accounts about the “scandal” had damaged the prospects for any progress at the conference.
"They're treating him like he's a kid!" my friend's 19-year-old son said two weeks ago about Justin Trudeau's opponents, and the media, too. "Fuck them! He's 43." And then, last night, as Trudeau gave his victory speech on a barroom television screen in Vancouver, a 33-year-old city planner who migrated here from Iran offered her assessment. 'He looks like a Disney character. A Disney prince." In those two comments you have what so much poll sifting and policy analysis dedicated to the three main candidates missed this election. If most Canadians were ready for a change, then Justin Trudeau, even when he was running a distant third, especially when he was running a distant third, was perfectly cast for the part. The change, as we learned last night, was never about substituting one grizzled manager within the political class for another. The change was about one generation yielding to the next.
Until Prime Minister Stephen Harper lost his job in Canada's elections on Monday, he was part of a dwindling group of world leaders who've actively worked against climate progress on an international stage. With the Liberal Party's Justin Trudeau becoming the next prime minister, a significant roadblock to an international climate agreement in Paris in December is now clear.
A self-proclaimed "humanitarian superpower" where welcoming those fleeing war and oppression is ingrained as part of the national identity, the Nordic country has proudly taken in more refugees per capita than any other in Europe.
But now, with military barracks, ski lodges and camping huts already filling up, it is running of roofs to put over the heads of immigrants. The government is warning that tens of thousands of people may end up spending the Nordic winter in tents.
In defeat, Stephen Harper showed something he often lacked in power: grace.
He made his exit with grace towards both winners and losers. "The people are never wrong," he said.
Simultaneously, a party statement said the search is on for a new interim leader. And with that, Harper was gone, leaving no further doubt about the question the NDP posed to voters in their ads: "Had enough yet?"
OTTAWA — Here are five ways Stephen Harper left his mark on Canada.
1. Honed the use of political advertising:
Harper's use of political ads changed politics in two ways: he used it successfully to define and vanquish his opponents and to sell his own economic agenda. Remember Michael Ignatieff? The ads said he was "just visiting." Heard of him lately? Defining Justin Trudeau as "just not ready" didn't go as well, but the Liberal leader acknowledged the phrase in his own counterattack ad. Meanwhile, the NDP evoked dark images as it hit Harper hard for corruption and mismanagement. And did you know the government "economic action plan" helped pave that nearby road, renovate the local curling club, or refurbish a bridge? Yes you did, eventually, because the government spent millions telling you this in commercials and on billboards.
The stain of this shameful moment in Canadian journalism will never wash completely clean from the Globe and Mail and Postmedia. Not only did they tolerate the ugliest political episode in Canada's post-war era, they signed their names to it.
In the case of Postmedia newspapers across Canada, they sold their front page to it.
DENVER—The maniacal drive by the human species to extinguish itself includes a variety of lethal pursuits. One of the most efficient is fracking. One day, courtesy of corporations such as Halliburton, BP and ExxonMobil, a gallon of water will cost more than a gallon of gasoline. Fracking, which involves putting chemicals into potable water and then injecting millions of gallons of the solution into the earth at high pressure to extract oil and gas, has become one of the primary engines, along with the animal agriculture industry, for accelerating global warming and climate change.
Bernie Sanders showed his outrage about inequality at the Democratic Debate, and more and more Americans are understanding his message. Indignation is likely to grow with new data from the Credit SuisseGlobal Wealth Databook, which reveals the wealthy elite’s continuing disdain for the poor, for the middle class, and for people all around the world.
Here's something Canadians can think about as we head to the polls today: There was an election in Belarus last week.
In case you missed it, the incumbent, Alexander Lukashenko, was re-elected for a fifth term as president.
It wasn't even close. Lukashenko polled 83.5 per cent of the vote, his highest total ever. His two nearest rivals, both of whom were pre-approved by the president, received 4.4 and 3.3 per cent of the vote respectively.
Police “disappeared” more than 7,000 people at an off-the-books interrogation warehouse in Chicago, nearly twice as many detentions as previously disclosed, the Guardian can now reveal.
From August 2004 to June 2015, nearly 6,000 of those held at the facility were black, which represents more than twice the proportion of the city’s population. But only 68 of those held were allowed access to attorneys or a public notice of their whereabouts, internal police records show.
Two months after the New York Times published a damning investigation into its workplace culture, Amazon is fighting back.
In a blog post on Medium published Monday morning, Amazon spokesperson Jay Carney claims that the Times' reporters Jodi Kantor and David Streitfeld failed to check the accuracy of the anecdotes in the piece.
Donald Trump is a walking contradiction that still needs explaining. He's a first-time campaigner who's never held high office (or any office) but is trouncing accomplished politicians in the polls; an insult comedian who seems only more beloved by his fans with every wildly inappropriate remark; a habitual liar who somehow has a reputation of being unvarnished and candid. And he's running, with success that few would have ventured to predict, as a “populist billionaire”—a phrase used as early as 1988 by New York magazine and revived during his current run for the presidency. "I'm not a populist," Trump has averred, but the populist label still clings to him, in part because of own cultivation of his image as blunt-spoken man who echews elite refinement.
The single most disheartening thing about this long 2015 federal election campaign has been the silence among influential Conservatives about Prime Minister Stephen Harper's deplorable strategy of race baiting to create a wedge issue.
The prime minister rarely did this himself, of course, although his "old stock Canadians" crack came dog-whistle close. But no one with an ounce of sense can deny that the wholeniqab brouhaha -- self-evidently cynically generated by the Conservative Party's foreign consultants and domestic backroom boys -- was designed to do this.
We are all hearing the calls to tax the rich. The assumption being, if you are rich, you will pay a lot of tax, but is that always true?
Here is an example of a couple with a net-worth of $10 million who are set up to pay exactly $0 in tax in 2015.
Here is how they would do it.
Tom and Mary are a recently retired, 65-year-old couple, living in Vancouver. British Columbia isn’t the only part of Canada where a $0 income tax bill is possible, though — the dream is alive in Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Territories, too. In Ontario, they would have no tax, but would pay $1,500 for the health premium, which is essentially a tax.
It's election day and, at last, hope that what has to happen if this country is to recapture its integrity is actually about to happen: that Stephen Harper and his scurrilous despotism are about to get the heave.
If so, it will be just in time. The world is suddenly paying attention, and what it sees is not pretty -- one of the rocks of democracy and human rights in the world coming unstuck.