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 22, 2016

A Dow-DuPont Merger Would Raise Big Questions

The news that Dow Chemical and DuPont, two of America’s oldest industrial corporations, are close to agreeing on a merger can hardly be regarded as big surprise. In recent years, both companies have been targeted by Wall Street hedge funds looking to make a score. And, a couple of months ago, DuPont appointed a new chief executive, Edward Breen, who is known as a deal maker, having disassembled the conglomerate Tyco International after its C.E.O., Dennis Kozlowski, was arrested and jailed.

Study: Scalia Better Off in “Less Advanced” Court

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—A new study conducted by legal scholars indicates that Justice Antonin Scalia would fare better if he served as a judge at a court that was “less advanced” than the United States Supreme Court.

According to the study, Scalia’s struggles to perform his duties in a competent fashion stem from his being inappropriately placed on a court that is “too demanding” for a person of his limited abilities.

Profit and Abuse at Homes for the Profoundly Disabled

Three years ago, it looked like the Florida agency that oversees care for children and adults with disabilities had finally had enough.

It filed a legal complaint that outlined horrific abuse at Carlton Palms, a rambling campus of group homes and classrooms near the small town of Mount Dora.

A man called “R.G.” was punched in the stomach, kicked, and told “shut your fucking mouth,” the complaint said. “R.T.” was left with a face full of bruises after a worker hit him with a belt wrapped around his fist. A child, “D.K.,” who refused to lie face down so he could be restrained, was kicked in the face and choked until, eyes bulging, he nearly passed out.

The Middle Class Is No Longer America's Economic Majority

There are now more low-income and high-income Americans combined than there are people in the middle class, a study released Wednesday found.

According to a Pew Research Center report, there were 120.8 million adults living in middle-income households and 121.3 million in lower- and upper-income households combined in early 2015, marking the first time in the center's four decades of tracking this data that the size of the latter groups has transcended that of the first.

Bank Crimes Pay: Under the Thumb of the Global Financial Mafiocracy

On Nov. 13, the United Kingdom's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) announced it was charging 10 individual bankers, working for two separate banks, Deutsche Bank and Barclays, with fraud over their rigging of the Euribor rates. The latest announcement shines the spotlight once again on the scandals and criminal behavior that have come to define the world of global banking.

Negative interest rates an option in Canada, Stephen Poloz says

Canada could theoretically follow the lead of other countries that have recently gone to negative interest rates in order to stimulate the economy, central bank governor Stephen Poloz told a business audience today after yet another drop in the loonie.

Speaking to the Empire Club in Toronto, Poloz said moving its benchmark interest rates below zero is something in the Bank of Canada's monetary policy toolkit that the bank may consider down the line.

Does the US Government Actually Regulate Pipelines?

While global leaders meet in Paris at the COP21 climate talks in an effort to rein in global greenhouse gas emissions, the fossil fuel industry continues with business as usual. In far west Texas, that means a proposal for a controversial high-pressure natural gas transmission pipeline in a state that already boasts 431,997 miles of pipelines - enough to stretch to the moon and most of the way back to earth.

Bell Appeals CRTC Ruling Forcing Company To Sell Fibre Internet Access To Small ISPs

Competition among providers could make ultra-high-speed fibre internet packages more affordable and give consumers more choice. But there likely won't be much of it anytime soon if Bell successfully appeals a ruling from Canada's telecom regulator.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission ruled in July that large telecom companies such as Bell must sell wholesale access to their fibre networks to independent internet providers. Those independent ISPs could then offer customers competing internet packages, theoretically forcing everyone to offer better prices and packages in order to win customers.

Stephen Harper ordered $554K in surveys in run-up to election

Former prime minister Stephen Harper's own department spent more taxpayer money on public-opinion polling in 2014-15 than any other, asking Canadians about niqabs, ISIS and the Senate as preparations for the October federal election kicked into high gear.

Newly disclosed figures show the Privy Council Office spent $554,000 to the end of March this year — more than twice the $250,000 it had originally budgeted — on surveys and focus groups.

Donald Trump Calls For 'Complete Shutdown' Of Muslims Entering U.S.

WASHINGTON -- Republican presidential hopeful and real estate mogul Donald Trump is calling for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States" following deadly terror attacks involving Islamic extremists in California and France.

"Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension," Trump said in a statement emailed to reporters on Monday.

Uruguay makes dramatic shift to nearly 95% electricity from clean energy

As the world gathers in Paris for the daunting task of switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy, one small country on the other side of the Atlantic is making that transition look childishly simple and affordable.

In less than 10 years, Uruguay has slashed its carbon footprint without government subsidies or higher consumer costs, according to the country’s head of climate change policy, Ramón Méndez.

Ontario Hydro Auditor's Report Finds Consumers Overcharged By $37 Billion

TORONTO -- Auditor general Bonnie Lysyk says electricity customers in Ontario have paid billions of dollars for the Liberal government's decisions to ignore its own planning process for new power generation projects.

The Ontario Power Authority's 20-year technical plan, which was updated every three years and reviewed by the Ontario Energy Board, would have offered protection to consumers, said Lysyk.

A Cop Faces Charges Of Serial Rape, Yet His 13 Black Accusers Are On Trial

The woman said she was high and walking alone when the cop stopped her. He searched her, she said, finding a crack pipe, which he told her to smash. Then he drove to her house and raped her on her own bed, keeping his gun belt on during the ordeal, she testified.

The witness is one of 13 black women who have accused Daniel Holtzclaw, 28, a former Oklahoma City police officer, of sexually assaulting them while on duty. Holtzclaw faces 36 counts, including sexual battery, forcible oral sodomy and rape. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Rahm Emanuel Denies Laquan McDonald Cover-Up In Op-Ed

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel strongly denied accusations that he covered up the police shooting death of Laquan McDonald and reiterated his commitment to reforming police practices in an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune on Friday.

Emanuel rebutted charges that he suppressed the police dashcam video from October 2014 showing a white officer firing 16 rounds into McDonald, a 17-year-old African American, so as not to harm his chances in a tough re-election a few months later.

Congress Moves to Sabotage the Paris Climate Summit

Don’t trust the United States: as the international climate summit in Paris grinds along, this is the message Republicans in Congress are trying to send the delegates. The logic, such as it is, of the claim is that merely by making it the House G.O.P. goes a long way toward proving its validity.

On Tuesday, at a news conference in Paris, President Barack Obama exhorted negotiators to keep in mind what is at stake at the summit. “This one trend—climate change—affects all trends,” Obama said. “This is an economic and security imperative that we have to tackle now.”