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.]

Saturday, December 31, 2016

How Russians Pay to Play in Other Countries

PRAGUE — For a brief moment, it seemed that the powerful adviser’s head might roll at the Castle. After he lost his long legal battle over a hefty state fine, the Czech president warned him to pay up or lose his post.

Then a guardian angel materialized from Moscow.

Lukoil, the largest private Russian oil company in an industry dependent on Kremlin approval, stepped in to pay the nearly $1.4 million fine owed to a Czech court.

Fascism, SB 1070 and the Arizonafication of the US

By signing Kris Kobach to his transition team, President-elect Donald Trump sent a message to the US. An architect of the notorious "papers please" bill, Arizona's SB 1070, Kobach stands to prepare the way for Trump's promise to deport 3 million migrants in his first year in office. While SB 1070-like bills were passed in other states around the US, it would likely have to be universalized through congressional legislation for such an increase of deportations to occur.

Rebels: Ceasefire 'void' if government bombing persists

Syrian rebel groups warned they would consider a ceasefire deal brokered by Russia and Turkey "null and void" if government forces and their allies continued to violate it.

Clashes and air strikes persisted in some areas since the ceasefire began on Friday, though the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, said on Saturday that the truce was still largely holding.

'More than 90%' of Russian airstrikes in Syria have not targeted Isis, US says

A large majority of Russia’s military strikes in Syria have not been aimed at the Islamic State group or jihadists tied to al-Qaida, and have instead targeted the moderate Syrian opposition, the US State Department said on Wednesday.

“Greater than 90% of the strikes that we’ve seen them take to date have not been against Isil or al-Qaida-affiliated terrorists,” said spokesman John Kirby.

The Winners and Losers in the New Syrian Ceasefire

Six years into the world’s grisliest war and worst humanitarian crisis, a ceasefire went into effect on Friday in Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin, its co-mastermind, admitted that it is “fragile.” Two previous ceasefires—in February and September—lasted only weeks.The odds are stacked against this one bringing an end to all the fighting, since it deals with only one of multiple wars inside Syria, which have so far killed an estimated four hundred thousand people. But the current initiative—brokered by Russia and Turkey with Iranian support—is different from past efforts. It signals big shifts in the basics of the Syrian tragedy.