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.]

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Top 25 Hedge Fund Managers Earned $13 Billion in 2015

As many companies lost billions of dollars or closed last year, the world’s top 25 hedge fund managers earned a total of $13 billion—more than the entire economies of Namibia, the Bahamas or Nicaragua.

The Guardian reports:

    Kenneth Griffin, founder and chief executive of Citadel, and James Simons, founder and chairman of Renaissance Technologies, shared the top spot, taking home $1.7bn each – equivalent to the annual salaries of 112,000 people taking home the US federal minimum wage of $15,080.

To the Next U.S. President, the Unlimited Power to Spy, Imprison and Kill

Remember when coups and assassinations were secretive and presidents were obliged to go to Congress, tell lies and ask permission to wage wars? Remember when torture, spying and indefinite imprisonment were illicit, when issuing signing statements to rewrite laws was rare, and when yelling “state secrets” to shut down legal cases was considered abusive?

For over two centuries, it would have been an outrage for the president to hold a meeting every Tuesday for the sole purpose of going through a list of names and picking out which men, women and children should be killed.

Donald Trump’s Scary, 12-Point Legal Agenda

Whatever additional consequences the upcoming presidential election may have, the vote will determine the future of the Supreme Court. You probably heard this admonition in 2008 and again in 2012, but this time you really should pay attention.

In fact, with the death of Antonin Scalia in February and the continuing stalemate in the Senate over the nomination of Merrick Garland—a centrist appellate judge—to succeed him, the court’s future is already up for grabs. Assuming that Garland’s nomination dies on the vine, the next president may get to appoint no less than four members of the nation’s most powerful judicial body.

New Documents Will Be Released on Former Trump Associate With Mob Ties

On Tuesday, the Associated Press prevailed in its legal fight to persuade a New York federal judge to unseal hundreds of documents allegedly pertaining to the criminal past of a business associate of Republican presidential contender Donald Trump. The documents, which could be made public as soon as Thursday, may shed light on one of the more colorful—and allegedly mobbed-up—individuals Trump has done business with during his long career in real estate.

Whenever Trump Gets Cozy With Bigots, His Campaign Cites Technical “Errors"

Every political campaign has its share of computer glitches and technical malfunctions, but for the Trump campaign, these sorts of bugs have a strange tendency to happen whenever white supremacists come up for discussion. Just how often has this been the case? More than you might think.

Mitt Romney Sees Only One Possible Explanation For Why Trump Won’t Release His Tax Returns

No stranger to questions about his taxes and wealth, former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Wednesday criticized Donald Trump’s decision to withhold his tax returns from the public, calling the move “disqualifying” and speculating that Trump is hiding “a bombshell.”

Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, on Tuesday told the Associated Press that he does not plan to release his tax returns — as is tradition for candidates for elected office — because he is being audited.

Merrick Garland Coolly Tells Congress He’s Never Been Overruled By The Supreme Court

Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland may give off the vibe that he’s an unassuming, middle-of-the-road candidate waiting patiently on Senate action regarding his confirmation.

Which he is. To date, it’s been more than 50 days since President Barack Obama nominated Garland to fill the seat of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, and Senate Republicans appear all but resolved to block his nomination so President Donald Trump can pick a “wonderful, conservative, good, solid, brilliant“ judge instead.

Trump Misses Deadline To Remove White Nationalist From Delegate List

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, missed the legal deadline to remove a white nationalist leader from the list of delegates his campaign submitted in California, state officials said Wednesday.

The Trump campaign initially denied reports that it had named William Johnson, a leader of the white nationalist American Freedom Party, as a delegate, then blamed a “database error” for his inclusion on its delegate list. But documents obtained by Mother Jones (where I used to work) show the candidate’s team emailed Johnson on Monday afternoon to congratulate him on his selection as a delegate.

The US ‘War on Terror’ Is Playing Right Into ISIS’s Hands

In brief, the “Global War on Terror” sledgehammer strategy has spread jihadi terror from a tiny corner of Afghanistan to much of the world, from Africa through the Levant and South Asia to Southeast Asia. It has also incited attacks in Europe and the United States. The invasion of Iraq made a substantial contribution to this process, much as intelligence agencies had predicted. Terrorism specialists Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank estimate that the Iraq War “generated a stunning sevenfold increase in the yearly rate of fatal jihadist attacks, amounting to literally hundreds of additional terrorist attacks and thousands of civilian lives lost; even when terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan is excluded, fatal attacks in the rest of the world have increased by more than one-third.” Other exercises have been similarly productive.