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.]

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Hundreds flee fighting near Syria capital despite truce

Hundreds of civilians fled a mountainous region outside the Syrian capital on Sunday where government forces battled several insurgent groups, including one excluded from a recent nationwide ceasefire.

The Syrian military said some 1,300 people fled the Barada Valley region since Saturday. The region has been the target of days of air strikes and shelling despite the truce, which was brokered by Russia and Turkey and appears to be holding in other parts of the country, despite some reports of fighting.

Gunman Kills At Least 39 In Attack On Istanbul Nightclub

ISTANBUL, Jan 1 (Reuters) - A gunman opened fire on New Year revelers at a packed nightclub on the shores of Istanbul’s Bosphorus waterway on Sunday killing at least 39 people, including many foreigners, then fled the scene.

Some people jumped into the Bosphorus waters to save themselves after the attacker opened fire at random in the Reina nightclub just over an hour into the new year. Officials spoke of a single attacker but some reports, including on social media, suggested there may have been more.

The Return of Civil Disobedience

On December 6th, less than a month after the election, Vice-President Joe Biden, who was in New York to receive the Robert F. Kennedy Ripple of Hope Award, for his decades of public service, used the occasion to urge Americans not to despair. “I remind people, ’68 was really a bad year,” he said, and “America didn’t break.” He added, “It’s as bad now, but I’m hopeful.” And bad it was. The man for whom Biden’s award was named was assassinated in 1968. So was Martin Luther King, Jr. Riots erupted in more than a hundred cities, and violence broke out at the Democratic National Convention, in Chicago. The year closed with the hairbreadth victory of a law-and-order Presidential nominee whose Southern strategy of racial politicking remade the electoral map. Whatever innocence had survived the tumult of the five years since the murder of John F. Kennedy was gone.

Criminal probe reportedly targets Netanyahu for illegally accepting gifts

In what possible preview of similar issues that stand to mar President-elect Donald Trump’s incoming administration, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly dodging investigators who want to question him over allegations that he used his office for personal financial gain.

According to Israeli paper Haaretz, Netanyahu has been dogged by controversy since July, when Israel Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit announced his office would begin examining various allegations against the Prime Minister—including reportedly receiving gifts from business tycoons. Mendelblit maintained for months that the probe was only an inquiry, but announced Wednesday that he is upgrading it to a full-fledged criminal investigation, saying police will now be allowed to question Netanyahu.

Putin’s Real Long Game

A little over a year ago, on a pleasant late fall evening, I was sitting on my front porch with a friend best described as a Ukrainian freedom fighter. He was smoking a cigarette while we watched Southeast DC hipsters bustle by and talked about ‘the war’ — the big war, being waged by Russia against all of us, which from this porch felt very far away. I can’t remember what prompted it — some discussion of whether the government in Kyiv was doing something that would piss off the EU — but he took a long drag off his cigarette and said, offhand: “Russia. The EU. It's all just more Molotov-Ribbentrop shit.”

In Final New Year’s Message, Hollande Takes Subtle Jab At National Front

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande on Saturday warned against the risks of rising nationalism in his last New Year address ahead of the election of his successor next spring.

Hollande, who said this month he would not seek a second term in 2017, defended his legacy as president and addressed the policies of the anti-immigration and anti-euro National Front, whose leader Marine Le Pen is set to make it to the second round of the election, if recent polls are correct.

Russia: Talking war in times of economic crisis

When the sanctions hit Russia in 2014 and Moscow responded with a trade boycott, Irina found it funny that people started obsessing about the disappearance of gourmet cheese from stores.

The 32-year-old education researcher, who asked that only her first name be used, says she didn't feel the effect of the sanctions either in her everyday life, or in her cheese-buying habits.