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, December 30, 2016

Now, really crank up heat on Russia

WASHINGTON — Vladimir Putin opted on Friday not to expel 35 American diplomats, following Thursday’s decision by the Obama administration to declare persona non grata that number of Russian intelligence operatives from the United States and take other measures in response to Russia’s interference in the recent election. The Kremlin chief may be trying to appear reasonable, seeking to limit the damage to U.S.-Russian relations with three weeks to go before Donald Trump, with his softer line toward Moscow, gets sworn in as president.

VLAD ALL OVER - Nigel Farage Praises ‘Mature’ Vladimir Putin Over Response To Barack Obama Sanctions

Nigel Farage has heaped praise on the “mature response” of Vladimir Putin after the Russian President opted for now not to expel US diplomats in response to Barack Obama’s sanctions.

The US President yesterday ordered 35 Russian officials to leave the US in reaction to Moscow-linked hacking of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party’s emails.

We live in a world where white supremacists get lucrative book deals

Breitbart technology editor Milo Yiannopoulos signed a $250,000 book deal with Threshold Editions, an imprint of publishing house Simon & Schuster, the Hollywood Reporter announced on Thursday. People are not pleased.

The book deal gives Yiannopoulos a new platform to amplify his hateful rhetoric and contribute to misogyny and white supremacy. Yiannopoulos rose to prominence as an editor at Breitbart, which former Editor-at-Large Ben Shapiro called “the alt-right go-to website… pushing white ethno-nationalism as a legitimate response to political correctness, and the comment section turning into a cesspool for white supremacist mememakers.”

The Republican New Year’s Resolution: Destroy Medicare

New Year’s is a time for resolutions. Consistent with this tradition, powerful Republicans have made clear that they are resolving, in the New Year, to dismantle Medicare, ending it as we know it.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has said that destroying Medicare is part of the Republican plan to repeal Obamacare, another Republican resolution for 2017. And Representative Tom Price, powerful chairman of the House Budget Committee, Ryan ally, and likely next Secretary of Health and Human Services, has explained that the Republicans will enact Medicare legislation in the first six to eight months of 2017, since it is probably too big a task to include it in the planned January repeal of Obamacare.

Donald Trump Praises Vladimir Putin: ‘I Always Knew He Was Very Smart!’

President-elect Donald Trump praised Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday afternoon, after the Russian leader said he would not expel any U.S. diplomats from his country.

Trump tweeted, “Great move on delay (by V. Putin) - I always knew he was very smart!”

Ontario’s top-billing doctors overcharged OHIP, Health Ministry audit suggests

The province’s 12 top-billing doctors — who received payments of between $2 million and $7 million in one year — are overcharging the Ontario Health Insurance Plan, documents obtained by the Star suggest.

A Health Ministry audit into their billing practices uncovered significant “concerns” about their claims to the taxpayer-funded plan.

Leaked Snowden Document Hints At Why Feds Are So Sure Russia Hacked Election

U.S. intelligence officials appear certain that Russia was responsible for interfering in the presidential election — though they haven’t fully detailed how they know. But a classified document leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden reveals that they’ve tracked Russian hacking before and that the information they gleaned may have helped this time around.

Russian hacking also occurred in the case of Russian journalist and American citizen Anna Politkovskaya, who was gunned down in 2006 in her Moscow apartment after writing articles critical of the Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Five men were convicted of her murder, but it’s still a mystery who ordered the killing.

FBI Analysis Fingers Russian Spy Agencies For U.S. Election Hacks

The FBI squarely blamed Russian intelligence services on Thursday for meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, releasing the most definitive report yet on the issue, including samples of malicious computer code said to have been used in a broad hacking campaign.

Starting in mid-2015, Russia’s foreign intelligence agency, the FSB, emailed a malicious link to more than 1,000 recipients, including U.S. government targets, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a 13-page report co-authored with the Department of Homeland Security. (

The Key to Putin’s Cyber Power

Michael McFaul, Barack Obama’s ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014, has a blunt assessment of the actions that his former boss took against the Russian government this week. The sanctions on Russian intelligence officers and organizations, along with the expulsion of Russian intelligence officials and closing of Russian compounds in the United States, is “not going to change” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s behavior, he told me shortly after the measures were announced. Obama’s retaliation—at least the retaliation that the U.S. government has made public—isn’t sufficient to deter the Kremlin from interfering in future U.S. elections, he said.

Brexit counterfactual What if the UK had voted to Remain?

LONDON — It seems a long time ago, that dawn in June, when the United Kingdom voted 52 percent to 48 percent to stay in the European Union.

Few, if anybody, at the time had talked about the possibility of a “Hard Remain.” To the contrary, many of the loudest voices in the campaign to stay, including then Prime Minister David Cameron, insisted that victory would be a continuation of the status quo, with the U.K. enjoying the pick-and-choose relationship it already has.

The Reason for Israel’s Hysterical Response to the UN Security Council Resolution

Since last week, we have seen a unique sequence of events, some unprecedented and others less so, that have brought the Palestine-Israel issue back to the fore. Last Friday, the United States abstained at the United Nations Security Council on Resolution 2334, thereby allowing it to pass when the 14 other members of the council voted for it.

Inequality Is Only Getting Worse

Donald Trump boasted that his election reflected the “voice of the people,” but it was mostly the voice of fear. And while ingrained racism and misogyny drove much of Trump’s support, his popularity reflected a massive sense of loss: real economic loss, perceived cultural loss, and anticipatory loss for their children’s generation. Just how “real” this decline actually has been, however, depends on where you stand, and where you’re falling from.

House GOP Response To Gun Sit-In Is ‘Putin-Like,’ Democrat Says

WASHINGTON ― Newly proposed rule changes by Republicans to fine lawmakers for future breaches of decorum on the chamber floor sound an awful lot like something Russian President Vladimir Putin would do, according to one House Democrat.

On a call with his colleagues Thursday, Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) called the move a “Putin-like” response to a sit-in Democrats staged earlier this year as they attempted to pressure Republicans for a vote on gun control measures.

GOP Readies Swift Obamacare Repeal With No Replacement Ready

The first major act of the unified Republican government in 2017 will be a vote in Congress to begin tearing down Obamacare.

But the euphoria of finally acting on a long-sought goal will quickly give way to the reality that Republicans -- and President-elect Donald Trump -- have no agreement thus far on how to replace coverage for about 20 million people who gained insurance under the health-care law.

White House Dares Trump To Roll Back Sanctions Against Russia

White House officials predicted Thursday that new sanctions being levied against Russia in retaliation for that country’s apparent hacking during the 2016 election would not be reversed by President-elect Donald Trump, despite Trump’s call for warmer relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

After he takes the oath of office in late January, Trump could unilaterally act to roll back the sanctions, which include expelling 35 Russian operatives and closing down two Russian facilities in the United States. But White House officials argued that if he did so, Trump would risk looking like he had caved to Russian interests.

House Republicans will ring in the new year with a plan to permanently cripple government

House Republicans think Washington is just too nimble and too able to respond to unanticipated complications— and they’ve got a plan to nip that problem in the bud.

The incoming House majority plans to schedule a vote on the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act (REINS Act) soon after new members are sworn in next Tuesday. A top priority of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the leading lobby group for big business, REINS would fundamentally alter the federal government in ways that could hobble federal agencies during periods when the same party controls Congress and the White House — and absolutely cripple those agencies during periods of divided government.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources deletes accurate climate science from agency webpage

A webpage run by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources used to explain to visitors that climate change is both occurring and is the result of human activity. Now, visitors to the same webpage will find false information claiming that the cause of climate change is still a matter of scientific debate.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the department, which is in charge of the state’s environmental policy, among other things, quietly scrubbed language from a page about the Great Lakes and climate change, striking out entire sentences about human contributions to climate change.