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.]

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Once a Defender of Internet Freedom, Putin Is Now Bringing China’s Great Firewall to Russia

MOSCOW — The Kremlin has been searching for a solution to the Internet problem since 2011. Worried by Twitter and Facebook’s potential for mobilization after the Arab Spring and the protests against Vladimir Putin in Moscow in 2011, the authorities wanted to find a way to get social networks under their control.

The strategy the Kremlin soon came up with was based on intimidation rather than technology. Accustomed to dealing with a defined hierarchy and organizations that can be coerced by targeting bosses, the Kremlin chose to put pressure on companies rather than users. While the Internet filtering system introduced in 2012 remained porous and the number of government censors limited, every pretext was used to lure Internet giants into a private dialogue with the authorities. Frightened by the constantly updated repressive legislation, top-level officials of companies like Yandex and Google rushed to the Kremlin to talk and come to terms.

Duffy, Harper and the census — and the terrible price of paranoia

Only a nation of geeks could trigger the crash of a census website. That, at least, is what a lot of people seemed to assume after the StatsCan site flatlined on Monday.

Sure, we may be geeks … but apparently we’re trusting geeks, too. On Monday — which just happened to be the deadline for filing our annual tax returns — many Canadians were still keen to give the government even more information about themselves, overwhelming the StatsCan website with their replies to the 2016 census. “Here are all my receipts. Want my diary, too?”

Christy Clark Should Share the Wealth Premier's $50,000 pay top-up could do some real good

"I think members of the legislature, people who have to run for office, know the connection between money and influence on what laws get passed." -- U.S. Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Premier Christy Clark is paid $195,000 a year by taxpayers, but that's simply not enough money to get by on. So the BC Liberal Party gives her another $50,000.

Auditor General Blasts 'Major Gaps' in BC's Mining Oversight

To avoid more disasters like the 2014 failure of the tailings pond dam at Mount Polley mine, responsibility for regulating mining in British Columbia should be taken away from the ministry that also promotes the industry, concludes a new report from the province's auditor general.

"[The Ministry of Energy and Mines'] role to promote mining development is diametrically opposed to compliance and enforcement," wrote Carol Bellinger in the 109-page report "An Audit of Compliance and Enforcement of the Mining Sector."

Victim of doctor sex abuse outraged over treatment at College of Physicians and Surgeons

Ms. X has a name, a face and a story to tell of being sexually abused by a doctor.

Temerra Dixon wants you to know what happened to her in the hopes that people will get angry and loud enough to pressure the government to change the law so that doctors who molest their patients automatically lose their licences.

But up until now she was only known by a single letter — one of four female patients who were the focus of Dr. Javad Peirovy’s recent discipline hearing at the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Ex-NY State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver Sentenced To 12 Years In Prison

NEW YORK, May 3 (Reuters) - Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, for decades one of the state’s most powerful politicians, was sentenced on Tuesday to 12 years in prison for collecting millions of dollars in illegal kickbacks.

U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni said at a hearing in Manhattan federal court that she hoped the sentence would deter corruption among other politicians.

B.C. continues to neglect climate recommendations, favours LNG projects

As Trudeau's Liberal government meets its six-month mark of being in office, climate group the Pembina Institute is calling for a clear, comprehensive climate change test for Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) projects.

"Canada's federal government was elected last October on a platform that contained many environmental commitments. One of the most…hotly debated was their commitment to establish a pan-Canadian climate change framework," said Erin Flanagan, Program Director of Federal Policy at the Pembina Institute. "Since the government's election they have confirmed that working with the provinces and territories will be cornerstone to the federal approach on climate change."