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.]

Friday, January 08, 2016

How the Bushes Misunderstood Cheney

We are probably too quick to declare any family that has produced more than one elected officeholder to be a political dynasty: many other democratic countries (India, the Philippines, Argentina) are far more dynastic than the United States. In 1979, the Kennedys were our leading political dynasty. Ted Kennedy was preparing to run for President, and many people thought it was inevitable that he would win.

Can Trudeau undo Harper's pattern of payouts to fossil fuels?

A damning new report has blown the lid on Canada’s support for fossil fuel industries, totalling nearly $3 billion per year, flying in the face of a G20 pledge to phase such subsidies out six years ago.

In 2013-14, federal support for fossil fuels under the previous Stephen Harper government amounted to at least $1.7 billion. A further $1.3 billion in provincial subsidies was kicked into the industry, according to a Nov. 12 report titled Empty Promises: G20 Subsidies to Oil, Gas and Coal Production co-published by the Overseas Development Institute and Oil Change International.

Trudeau orders oil tanker ban that could kill Northern Gateway

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a set of fossil fuel directives to his cabinet ministers Friday that included instructions to end oil tankers transits on B.C.’s northern coast — a move that observers say could finally kill the long embattled Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline proposal.

“This ban ends the dangerous Northern Gateway pipeline,” said ForestEthics campaigner Karen Mahon in Vancouver.

‘The Attacks Will Be Spectacular’

"Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” The CIA’s famous Presidential Daily Brief, presented to George W. Bush on August 6, 2001, has always been Exhibit A in the case that his administration shrugged off warnings of an Al Qaeda attack. But months earlier, starting in the spring of 2001, the CIA repeatedly and urgently began to warn the White House that an attack was coming.

The New Religion Of Choice For White Supremacists

On Monday, three Virginia men were charged with plotting to attack and bomb black churches and Jewish synagogues, reportedly with the goal of triggering a “race war” in the United States. Suspects Ronald Chaney and Robert Doyle, who FBI officials say are also plotting to kill a local jewelry dealer and rob an armored car, were outspoken white supremacists, bound by a common desire enact violence against Jews and African Americans.

IEA: Global Oil Oversupply Hits Record 3 Billion Barrels, No Letup In Sight

CALGARY — The latest outlook from the International Energy Agency shows little sign that the oil supply glut hitting prices and Canada's oil producers will let up soon.

The November report says global demand for oil is forecast to increase by 1.2 million barrels a day next year, down from an increase of 1.8 million barrels a day this year, as the short-term boost from low oil prices fades and "problematic'' economic conditions in countries like China persist.

The global lessons on xenophobic language and symbols from the 42nd federal elections in Canada

The actions of the main political players in Canada’s 42nd elections provides lessons that can instill both hope and fear for many parts of the world. The most important of the lessons stems from the appalling attempt by the former governing Conservative Part led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his cabinet to engage in xenophobic language and actions to drive voters away from the opposition parties. The focus of these politicians seemed to literally politically hunt one solitary woman who wanted to wear her niqab at the citizenship swearing ceremony after she had dutifully taken it off to identify herself in private. Only one other woman had sought the same desire. This was followed up with some of the most senior Cabinet ministers announcing a snitch line for Canadians to inform on “barbaric cultural practices”. These same actors promoted the fact that a poll commissioned by Harper’s own Privy Council indicated that the majority of Canadians may have supported the government on the niqab issue. It was never clear whether those polled were aware that had taken off the face covering prior to the ceremony to be properly identified.

James K. Galbraith on the Human Cost of Inequality in the Neoliberal Age

We live in an age of growing inequality: The policies of neoliberalism and the financialization of economic life have created a social order in which the rich are continually getting richer at the expense of everyone else. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that the middle class is shrinking in many Western societies, while there is a dramatic drop in the standard of living for the majority of the working population, the young and the retirees. It is also hardly surprising that the United States, with its free-market mentality and anti-social policy orientation, is leading the pack in rising inequality. The more than 46 million Americans who are living below the poverty line, meanwhile, are poor by global standards.

Sidney Torres' French Quarter Task Force Could Be A New Model For Future Policing

It wasn't until thieves broke into Sidney Torres' home that the New Orleans' businessman realized crime in the city was getting out of control.

The home invasion gave Torres' a first-hand account of the issues facing the city's affluent French Quarter neighborhood: emergency response times that took over an hour, a police department lacking the trust of its people, and a crippling hiring freeze on police officers.