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.]

Monday, July 10, 2017

The CPC's bringing back the abortion debate — bet on it

Justin Trudeau must have slept like a baby last night. 2019 is no longer the year of living dangerously as far as the Conservative threat to his regency is concerned.

Not only did the social conservatives retain control of the Harper Party, but in Andrew Scheer, the former PM (still thought to be a behind-the-scenes puppet-master by some) likely got the candidate he wanted. At the very least, he did not get an uppity progressive like Michael Chong — who defied him in the days of Harper’s flat-out authoritarianism — or the weak tea of an Erin O’Toole.

Angela Merkel: EU cannot completely rely on US and Britain any more

Europe can no longer completely rely on its longstanding British and US allies, Angela Merkel has warned – saying the EU must now be prepared to “take its fate into its own hands”.

Speaking after bruising meetings of Nato and the G7 group of wealthy nations last week, the German chancellor suggested the postwar western alliance had been badly undermined by the UK’s Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s election as US president.

Mike Huckabee and Israel’s Apocalyptic Temple Movement Set the Stage for a Summer of Holy War

Hours before the sun rose Monday morning, the former governor of Arkansas, presidential candidate and proud father of President Donald Trump’s press secretary, Mike Huckabee, set out on a politically provocative journey. Joined by 5,000 messianic Israeli settlers, Huckabee led an incursion under the armed guard of the Israeli army into the occupied West Bank city of Nablus to perform religious rituals at Joseph’s Tomb. By Huckabee’s side was Bezalel Smotrich, the fanatically right-wing member of parliament who recently unveiled his proposal to slaughter Palestinians who refuse to accept inferior status under Israeli apartheid rule.

Putin’s Shadow Cabinet and the Bridge to Crimea

In the spring of 2014, President Vladimir Putin delivered an address in St. George Hall, a chandeliered ballroom in the Kremlin, to celebrate the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. “Crimea has always been an integral part of Russia in the hearts and minds of our people,” he declared, to a standing ovation. Despite Putin’s triumphal language, the annexation presented Russia with a formidable logistical challenge: Crimea’s physical isolation. Crimea, which is roughly the size of Massachusetts, is a landscape of sandy beaches and verdant mountains that juts into the Black Sea. It’s connected to Ukraine by a narrow isthmus to the north but is separated from Russia by a stretch of water called the Kerch Strait. Ukraine, to which Crimea had belonged, viewed Russia’s occupation as illegal, and had sealed off access to the peninsula, closing the single road to commercial traffic and shutting down the rail lines.

GOP Congressman Declines To Say Whether Every American Is Entitled To Eat

Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) refused to say whether “every American is entitled to eat” and the food stamps program is the best way to ensure that they have the food they need.

NPR’s Scott Simon interviewed Smith on Saturday about the farm bill and President Donald Trump’s proposed cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps. In the president’s budget, the White House is seeking $193 billion in cuts to SNAP over 10 years, an amount equal to more than one-quarter of the program’s cost over that period.

Secret court rebukes NSA for 5-year illegal surveillance of US citizens

WASHINGTON — U.S. intelligence agencies conducted illegal surveillance on American citizens over a five-year period, a practice that earned them a sharp rebuke from a secret court that called the matter a "very serious" constitutional issue.

The criticism is in a lengthy secret ruling that lays bare some of the frictions between the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and U.S. intelligence agencies obligated to obtain the court's approval for surveillance activities.

America the cruel: While hedge fund managers pocket windfalls, kids lacking lunch money are shamed

These are hard times for America’s gold miners. They’re struggling to haul wealth out of the land, but seeing their pay dropping further and further down.

Take Bob Mercer, who’s been a top miner for years, but last year (which has been described as somewhere between lackluster and catastrophic) even Bob was down. He pulled in only $125 million in pay. Can you feel Bob’s pain?

Will Iraqi special forces get away with murder?

Will they get away with murder?

As the world absorbed the impact of images bearing witness to torture in the fight against Daesh, the leader of an Iraqi special forces unit with blood on its hands gleefully admitted to the worst, boasting that the disclosure of his “mistakes” will make him only more famous.

The staggering sense of impunity among at least some fighters that Canada and its coalition-partners have singled out for praise in the battle against Daesh (also known as ISIS) emerged early Friday, as Capt. Omar Nazar of the Iraqi Emergency Response Division took proud ownership of the damning evidence exposed in separate investigations by the Toronto Star and ABC News.

The NRA Would Like to Insure You Now

In March 2012, Joe Balistreri was visiting his parents in Foster City, a suburban community on the San Francisco Bay. Early in the morning, he heard the front doorknob rattle, followed by a commotion around the side of the house. Someone had jumped the gate. Balistreri woke his father and asked for a gun. In the dark, he confronted a tall stranger who had entered the house through an unlocked garage door. Balistreri fired three rounds, one of which hit the intruder, Patrick O’Neil, high in the chest, between the clavicles.

Comey rushed to close Clinton investigation for fear fake Russian intel would leak: Report

On Wednesday The Washington Post reported that former FBI director James Comey partially based his bizarre decision to unilaterally close the federal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server on a dubious document that turned out to be a fake created by Russian officials. Now CNN reports that Comey knew all along that the “intel” was false — but acted on it anyway.

Jeremy Corbyn Is Praised for Denouncing Failed ‘Global War on Terror’

Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn said Friday that “we must be brave enough to admit the war on terror is simply not working,” and called for a “smarter way” to cut the risks of terrorist attacks.

His speech in London comes as the U.K.‘s general election campaigning resumes after the deadly bombing in Manchester earlier this week and the same day as a bus attack in Egypt killed more than two dozen people.

Indigenous Alliance Launches Divestment Campaign Against US and Canadian Pipelines

Toronto, Canada -- It's imperative to create an alternative to harmful fossil fuel extraction, according to Grand Chief Derek Nepinak of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs.

Nepinak is a member of the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion, a coalition of 121 First Nations and other Indigenous tribes from across North America that are united against major projects stemming from the Alberta tar sands.

In its push for energy transformation, the Treaty Alliance's latest targets are the financial institutions currently funding major oil pipelines across Canada and the United States.

General Election Latest Polls: Tory Lead Over Labour Closed To Just Five Points

Theresa May’s lead over Jeremy Corbyn has been slashed to just five points, meaning the Conservative Party’s lead has crashed since the start of the election campaign.

An extraordinary YouGov poll for The Times puts Labour on 38 per cent of the vote, up three points since the end of last week. Meanwhile, the Conservatives were down one point to 43 per cent.

The Conservatives boasted a 23 point lead with the same pollsters a month ago.

For Conservatives, an opportunity wasted. For the NDP, an opportunity beckoning.

The Conservative leadership is like the night before Christmas for those who don’t believe in Santa Claus.

Which is just to say that not many people will be sleepless on Leader’s Eve. If anything is clear about politics these days, it’s that there is no Santa Claus.

For starters, your average Walmart greeter exudes more sincerity than contemporary political leaders. Trudeau and Trump come to mind, though they’re merely the latest in a long line of public people who have abused language to the point where they’re both like the boy who cried wolf.

Fox News ignores eyewitness account from its own reporter, buries GOP candidate’s assault charge

Fox News journalists were key witnesses to the violent incident that occurred on Wednesday in Montana involving Greg Gianforte, Republican House candidate in Thursday’s special election, and Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs. But you wouldn’t know it from watching Fox and Friends.

Minnesota Republican dodges question about tax havens by invoking Jesus

Pressed about her lack of support for an amendment that would close loopholes for offshore tax havens, a Minnesota Republican dodged the question in favor of talking about her religious beliefs.

Minnesota Rep. Abigail Whelan, a second-term House legislator from suburban Ramsey, was responding to a question from Democratic Rep. Paul Thissen early Wednesday morning about whether she thinks “benefiting people who are hiding money in Liberia is worth raising taxes on your own constituents.”

Theresa May’s Police Cuts Exposed By Manchester Bombing Army Deployment - Police Federation

Theresa May’s dramatic deployment of troops in the wake of the Manchester bombing has laid bare Tory police cuts, the leader of the Police Federation has declared.

Hundreds of soldiers were ordered onto the streets on Wednesday and given a very visible role in defending the Houses of Parliament, Downing Street and Buckingham Palace.

Embattled Michel Temer deploys troops to streets

Brazil's president ordered federal troops to restore order in the country's capital, Brasilia, after some ministries were evacuated during clashes between police and protesters seeking Michel Temer's ouster.

Temer is struggling to retain power after the release of a recording that appears to capture him approving hush money for a convicted former politician. Brazil's top court is investigating him for alleged obstruction of justice and involvement in passive corruption. The president is resisting calls to resign and has said he will fight the accusations.

Fake Russian intel on Lynch-Clinton collusion prompted Comey investigation into Hillary’s emails: report

A dubious Russian intelligence document that purported to show coordination between Hillary Clinton and the U.S. Justice Department, and prompted former FBI Director James Comey to disclose the bureau’s investigation into Clinton’s emails, was “bad intelligence” and “possibly even fake,” the Washington Post reports.

Brazil's president struggles to retain power as political crisis deepens

Thousands of protesters have called for Brazil’s president, Michel Temer,to leave office as he lost yet another key adviser amid a deepening political crisis.

Scuffles between police and protesters broke out as the demonstrations neared Congress.

Temer is struggling to retain power after the release of a recording that appears to capture him approving hush money for a convicted former lawmaker. The president is resisting calls to resign and has said he will fight the accusations. Brazil’s top court is investigating him for alleged obstruction of justice and involvement in passive corruption.

Philippine President Duterte eyes nationwide martial law

President Rodrigo Duterte has said martial law on Mindanao island could be extended across the Philippines, while the army fights Islamist militants.

Mr Duterte said insurgents had beheaded a policeman on the southern island. At least three other members of the security forces are reported dead.

Mindanao: Churchgoers 'taken hostage' amid Marawi siege

A priest and several churchgoers have been taken hostage by fighters in Marawi City, on the Philippine island of Mindanao, as thousands of residents fled ongoing unrest that prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law in the southern region.

As the violence continues, Duterte said on Wednesday that he will consider expanding his martial law order throughout the country "in order to protect the people".