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, May 31, 2016
Hillary Clinton’s big donor problem isn’t going away: Her history of taking Wall Street cash exemplifies all that’s wrong in U.S. politics
“In politics nothing comes free. You have to write cheques in the American political system. I know the system. I had to work very hard. So I did as much as I could,” said Chatwal, who was co-chair for Hillary Clinton’s presidential exploratory committee in 2008. He continued: “I was interested in building a relationship between India and America… [So I] invested a lot of money in [Michael Dukakis]…But he lost the election because he failed in the debate. Then I thought, let me bet on [Bill] Clinton…I bet on [Clinton]. He became president. Already we were good friends like a family.”
Illogic is wonderful stuff as long as it generates political yardage and doesn’t upset the mental furniture.
Christy Clark gave $150,000 to a Haida Gwaii chief in business with her brother then forgot all about it
A donation that appears to have no paper trail, policy or even a record that the request for the donation was ever made. The donation went to a First Nations school in Haida Gwaii, that oddly enough is under federal responsibility not provincial, to complete a feasibility study on building a new gym for their school (it's worth noting that there had already been two of these studies done on the same school in the past 10 years paid for by federal funds).
Soon, you might be able to find one in the Oval Office.
Generally, presidential candidates tend to shy away from conspiracy theories. They involve a mixture of paranoia and gullibility that seems ill-suited for someone seeking access to America’s nuclear codes.
The investor Vinod Khosla wrote on Twitter that the “press gets very uppity when challenged”. And that these bad journalists need “to be taught lessons”.
Granted, the newly minted Republican nominee for president has long insisted that his is not himself anti-Semitic, and regularly points out that his daughter is a Jewish convert. Yet Trump has done little to quell a rising tide of anti-Semitism among his supporters since launching his campaign last year: Trump initially refused to disavow anti-Semitic Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, a Trump surrogate implied at a rally that Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders should convert from Judaism and “meet Jesus,” prominent anti-Semites went on radio shows to encourage their supporters to "get out and vote" for Trump, and a man was filmed leaving a Trump rally shouting in Cleveland shouting “Go to fucking Auschwitz.”
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee reportedly made the comments during a May 12 meeting with Ryan aimed at mending ties between the two top Republican leaders, Bloomberg reported, citing an unnamed source who was in the room. (Ryan has yet to endorse Trump.)
And with reason. Honesty underpins the function of our courts and our personal relationships, our electoral system, our healthcare operations and our workplaces. And in the world of truth-telling studies, a sub-field exists: These researchers examine what role, if any, gender plays in honesty.
The fund, called Eaglevale Partners, was founded by Chelsea Clinton’s husband, Marc Mezvinsky, and two of his partners. Blankfein not only personally invested in the fund, but allowed his association with it to be used in the fund’s marketing.
“We’re going to solve your water problem. You have a water problem that is so insane,” the presumptive Republican presidential nominee told a crowd filled with farmers in Fresno. “It is so ridiculous where they’re taking the water and shoving it out to sea.”
As a result, it is of special interest when Trump tries to address real issues and policies. This has happened only a few times, but it offers a glimpse into how woefully ignorant Trump is and how absolutely unprepared and unqualified he is to assume any kind of public office or hold any position of political power.
Republican leaders insist a deal can be struck soon to provide the money federal health officials say is needed to develop a vaccine. They also downplayed the risk of waiting a little longer, arguing existing money is available for the initial steps needed to help contain the virus while lawmakers resolve the larger funding fight.
If passed, the change would expand the reach of the FBI’s already highly controversial national security letters. The FBI is currently allowed to get certain types of information with NSLs — most commonly, information about the name, address, and call data associated with a phone number or details about a bank account.
But perhaps even more surprising is that even if the minimum wage were raised to $15 an hour — the level low-wage workers have been demanding in a constant flow of strikes and protests and the highest level supported by Democratic lawmakers — they would still be out of luck.
The bill’s author, Republican Sen. Bill Seitz of Green Township, wrote an op-ed this week about his motivation for pushing the measure.
It depends on which lawsuit you read. The company, valued at over $62 billion, changes its description of what it does depending on what best allows it to avoid regulatory scrutiny.
Why Trump’s attack on Susana Martinez matters: He proves again that unity isn’t his goal — only dominance over everyone
Lee Fang and Zaid Jilani report at The Intercept:
Wendy Sherman and Carol Browner, two of the representatives chosen by Clinton, work at the Albright Stonebridge Group, a “government affairs” firm that was created in 2009 through a merger with Madeleine Albright’s consulting company and Stonebridge International, a defense contractor lobbying shop.
These particles are calculated to cause around 3.3 million deaths a year worldwide—and most of this lung-penetrating murk is from fertilisers. Back in 1950, the world produced 20 million tons of artificial fertilisers, but farmers now spread on their fields every year around 190 million tons.
The following is excerpted from Vandana Shiva's foreword to Seed Sovereignty, Food Security:
On Tuesday, a spokesperson for Ontario's Crown prosecutors announced there would be no appeal of the acquittal of Sen. Mike Duffy, who had been found not guilty last month of 31 charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery.
Yesterday -- that is to say, for those of you who read this later, on Wednesday -- The Globe and Mail reported that former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper will now resign as MP for the Calgary Heritage riding and slip out the back door of the Parliament Buildings a final time.
The Globe's story, and all the coverage of the same story since, seems not to have mentioned the elephant in the Parliamentary chamber, that is, the simplest explanation of why the humiliated ex-PM was sticking around so long after the Oct. 19, 2015, federal election when he obviously didn't feel much like it. To wit: He needed to preserve his Parliamentary privilege long enough to avoid being called to testify about the shenanigans in the Prime Minister's Office back in the days when the boys in short pants were trying to get then-Conservative Sen. Duffy to stop embarrassing the Harper Government.
Will they stand by as the reactionaries who took power in Brasilia pivot closer to Western powers, glad to warm Dilma Rousseff’s seat at the BRICS summit in Goa, India in five months’ time?
Monday, May 30, 2016
That didn’t change after she found out she was pregnant in January. She didn’t tell her manager right away; she was worried about how it would be received, particularly at a company that has become somewhat known for taking action against pregnant employees over the years. “I didn’t tell anyone at the store because basically the culture I have seen there, they were not too forgiving of people if they had certain debilitations or injuries,” she said.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) found that while the State Department suffers from “systemic weaknesses…that go well beyond the tenure of any one secretary of state,” Clinton’s office — as well as that of her predecessors — have been recalcitrant in managing cybersecurity risks.
Now, reporting from Forbes alleges that Silicon valley billionaire and pledged Trump delegate Peter Thiel — who has referred to Gawker writers as “terrorists” — has been secretly backing the suit. The New York Times also reports that Thiel is bankrolling the case. The revelation adds a twist to a case already tied up in questions over freedom of speech, and has big implications for how critical press functions in an age of billionaires.
After replacing the head of the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) to review and overhaul the agency, which has long colluded with Chicago officers instead of holding them accountable, Emanuel wants to scrap the police oversight body altogether.
The United States is on track to spend more than $600 billion on the military this year—more, that is, than was spent at the height of President Ronald Reagan’s Cold War military buildup, and more than the military budgets of at least the next seven nations in the world combined. And keep in mind that that’s just a partial total. As an analysis by the Straus Military Reform Project has shown, if we count related activities like homeland security, veterans’ affairs, nuclear warhead production at the Department of Energy, military aid to other countries, and interest on the military-related national debt, that figure reaches a cool $1 trillion.
The above MSNBC clip captures Trump berating Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for allegedly “sleeping” through a very important call at three in the morning.
But a Wall Street Journal report published roughly three months after the fundraiser found the promised beneficiaries had apparently received just a “fraction of the promised money.” In recent days, reporters started pressing the Trump campaign for more details. When specifics weren’t forthcoming, a Washington Post reporter used Twitter to investigate whether any veterans groups had posted about receiving the money Trump purportedly raised. They found nothing.
The other, far more subtle nod in Harper’s direction will be taking place in Winnipeg, when Liberals hold their own gathering this weekend.
Guy Chevrette made the comment today in Quebec City ahead of the start of legislative hearings into a new bill seeking to regulate the U.S.-based company.
The former Parti Quebecois transport minister told reporters he thinks Uber will try and stall for time in order to impede the passing of the legislation.
Trump’s latest shot came Monday when he released an incendiary Instagram video that includes the voices of two women who accused the former president of sexual assault, underscoring the presumptive Republican nominee’s willingness to go far beyond political norms in his critique of his likely Democratic rival.