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 03, 2016

NSA and CIA Double Their Warrantless Searches on Americans in Two Years

FROM 2013 to 2015, the NSA and CIA doubled the number of warrantless searches they conducted for Americans’ data in a massive NSA database ostensibly collected for foreign intelligence purposes, according to a new intelligence community transparency report.

The estimated number of search terms “concerning a known U.S. person” to get contents of communications within what is known as the 702 database was 4,672—more than double the 2013 figure.

Prominent Democratic Consultants Sign Up to Defeat Single Payer in Colorado

INFLUENTIAL DEMOCRATIC CONSULTANTS, some of whom work for the Super PACs backing Hillary Clinton, have signed up to fight a bold initiative to create a state-based single-payer system in Colorado, according to a state filing posted Monday.

Coloradans for Coloradans, an ad-hoc group opposing single payer in Colorado, revealed that it raised $1 million over the first five months of this year. The group was formed to defeat Amendment 69, the ballot measure before voters this year that would change the Colorado constitution and permit a system that would automatically cover every state resident’s health care.

The Third Way: Share-the-Gains Capitalism

Marissa Mayer tells us a lot about why Americans are so angry, and why anti-establishment fury has become the biggest single force in American politics today.

Mayer is CEO of Yahoo. Yahoo’s stock lost about a third of its value last year, as the company went from making $7.5 billion in 2014 to losing $4.4 billion in 2015. Yet Mayer raked in $36 million in compensation.

Closing Polls and Slamming Doors: John Roberts’ Race-based Agenda

A sharp bone of contention in the contest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders is who cares more about the lives of African Americans. One area of concern is minority voting rights — last week, a conservative federal judge upheld a repressive North Carolina voter ID law, passed by Republicans, clearly aimed at suppressing black turnout. This provides yet another pointed reminder of why the supporters of both candidates should unite come November — to stop Chief Justice Roberts and his allies from further gutting measures to protect minorities.

World Press Freedom Day Is A Terrifying Reminder Of What Reporters Could Face If Trump Is Elected

If the way Donald Trump and his supporters have treated journalists during the campaign is any indication, the media will be anything but free if he wins the presidency.

World Press Freedom Day, commemorated on Tuesday, comes just days after a GQ writer was hit with a barrage of antisemitic attacks following the publication of an article that criticized Melania Trump’s skincare line. After Trump’s wife called Julia Ioffe’s piece “dishonest” and “disingenuous,” the journalist said she received phone calls threatening her life and messages referencing the Holocaust.

This Is What Would Happen If the Rest of the World Ate the Way America Does

If the rest of the world ate like Americans, the planet would have run out of freshwater 15 years ago, according to the world's largest food company.

In private, Nestlé executives told US officials that the world is on a collision course with doom because Americans eat too much meat, and now, other countries are following suit, according to a secret US report titled "Tour D'Horizon with Nestle: Forget the Global Financial Crisis, the World Is Running Out of Fresh Water."

Outlaw Chinese Steel

Forged with the despicable dividend of stolen trade secrets, priced with monopoly collusion, then traded with fraudulent labeling to dodge U.S. duties, steel from China violates every principle of capitalism. That’s in addition to defying both U.S. and international trade laws.

It’s outlaw steel. And last week, U.S. Steel Corp. asked the U.S. government to outlaw its import.

Panama Papers, What Now?

As strange and as sudden as it may be, thanks to the revelations by several international news sources concerning the magnitude of tax evasion facilitated by a Panamanian firm, elected officials and bank directors, often in collusion with each other, seem to have discovered a durable, well-organized offshore system of large-scale dubious deals.

Donald Trump is the nominee from hell: The early numbers are in, and they spell disaster for the GOP

From the sound of the pundits on cable news last night, the word on the street is that Trump is going to clean Cruz’s clock later today in Indiana.  But then this primary season had had its share of surprises, so who knows? Still, this is likely to be the last chance for the #NeverTrump movement to gain enough traction to stop Trump from winning on the first ballot. If so, that’s the game.

"Boots on the Ground" in Iraq: Here We Go Again

In September of 2014, President Obama went all the way around the block and back again trying to explain how the United States and its allies would destroy ISIS (also known as Daesh) without deploying soldiers. Airstrikes would do the trick. "No boots on the ground," he said.

After his proclamation, I wrote this:

    The fact that ISIS controls Mosul is not compatible with the idea that air strikes alone can accomplish the president's plan. Ground troops will be required to ultimately accomplish the stated goal, and since we seem to be in this applecart pretty much by ourselves, it isn't difficult to guess which uniform those ground troops will be wearing.

Lakota Lead the Fight Against the Dakota Access Pipeline

As the start of 2016 shatters last year's record as the hottest year in history, the Oceti Sakowin (Seven Council Fires of the Great Sioux Nation) once again find themselves on the front lines of the battle against the fossil fuel industry.

Members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have established a Spirit Camp at the mouth of the Cannonball River in North Dakota as a means of bringing attention and awareness to a proposed pipeline and act as an enduring symbol of resistance against its construction.

Bell's Buyout Of MTS 'Will Likely Mean Sharply Increased Prices'

The heads of Bell and MTS deny it, but consumer advocates fear the merger of the two companies will mean higher prices in Manitoba and an end to hopes of four major wireless carriers nationwide.

And at least one industry analyst says the deal poses enough of a threat to consumers to have a hard time getting government approval.

St. Albert Catholic school board has spent more than $367,000 to defend firing of transgender teacher

ST. ALBERT, Alberta

The St. Albert Catholic school board has spent at least $367,188 of taxpayer money to keep a transgender former teacher named Jan Buterman from ever working there again.

Whatever the Roman Catholic Church's doctrine is on the question of whether people should be able to transition from one gender to another -- and that's vague enough to argue this isn't a theological question, let alone a moral one -- it hardly seems like a good use of what are really public tax dollars.

Canadians need more than celebrity from Justin Trudeau

It was a night for nostalgia, the eighth and last White House Correspondents Dinner for U.S. President Barack Obama. The one-time Harvard Law Review editor and community organizer, a basketball-savvy president with worldwide appeal, was doing his final stand-up before the audience of media, political and Hollywood stars.

Obama opened his routine with reflections on how the office had changed him in eight years; he was no longer the young, impressive, bright light on the scene. Indeed, the president had recently been told to his face that this role was now being played by Justin Trudeau. Obama quipped, "I told Justin" that was simply not true.