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Religion, freedom and democracy in Egypt

Deacon Dodge has a couple of posts (here and here) about religion, freedom and democracy amid the turmoil of Egypt. [more inside]
posted by KMH on Feb 4, 2011 - 4 comments

"The Authoritarian Challenge to Democracy"

On January 13, 2011 Freedom House released ts findings from the latest edition of Freedom in the World, the annual survey of global political rights and civil liberties. According to the survey’s findings, 2010 was the fifth consecutive year in which global freedom suffered a decline—the longest period of setbacks for freedom in the nearly 40-year history of the report. [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor on Jan 27, 2011 - 8 comments

more of the same

Life after Capitalism - Beyond capitalism, it seems, stretches a vista of... capitalism: [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 25, 2011 - 33 comments

entrepreneurial paradise

In Norway, Start-ups Say Ja to Socialism - We venture to the very heart of the hell that is Scandinavian socialism—and find out that it's not so bad. Pricey, yes, but a good place to start and run a company. What exactly does that suggest about the link between taxes and entrepreneurship?
posted by kliuless on Jan 20, 2011 - 52 comments

I believe we can be better.

I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it. Barack Obama speaks in Tucson, Arizona.
posted by gerryblog on Jan 12, 2011 - 262 comments

India's law to promote access to political information has sad downside.

India's freedom of information act martyrs.
posted by maiamaia on Dec 27, 2010 - 10 comments

Irreducible Human Dignity

Need a little political philosophy? Why not try this conversation on economics, the human person and democracy between conservative Catholic legal scholar Robert George and the always fascinating African-American studies professor and philosopher Cornel West? [more inside]
posted by l33tpolicywonk on Dec 15, 2010 - 8 comments

Connectivity and the Diffusion of Power

Google’s Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen published this piece in the November/December 2010 issue of Foreign Affairs. It was a notable step up from the “Cyberspace and Democracy” article in the same issue. In any case, Eric and Jared address the same core questions I am writing my dissertation on so here’s my take on what they had to say.
posted by The Lady is a designer on Nov 16, 2010 - 18 comments

Excitement grows in Burma as Aung San Suu Kyi's release nears.

Aung San Suu Kyi is expected to be freed tomorrow.
posted by xowie on Nov 12, 2010 - 29 comments

American Worker Cooperatives

American Worker Cooperatives: a library, resource centre, startup guide, and map of over 200 industrial cooperatives. [via mefi projects]
posted by Fiasco da Gama on Oct 27, 2010 - 6 comments

Senatorial campaign representative assaults private citizen

Kentucky officials have identified the assailant in the face-stomping of a private citizen shortly before a debate between candidates for the office of Senator in the state of Kentucky. Contrary to initial reports which quickly dismissed the assault as the isolated acts of assorted private citizens, it has now been revealed that the gentleman curb-stomping the head of a MoveOn.org activist prior to the debate between candidates last night was none other than a county-level representative of the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Kentucky, Mr. Rand Paul.
posted by joe lisboa on Oct 26, 2010 - 351 comments

Public Policy, Political Organization, and the Precipitous Rise of Top Incomes in the United States

Winner-Take-All Politics [1,2] (PDF) - "The sources of American economic inequality are largely political – the result of deliberate political decisions to shape markets in ways that benefit the already-privileged at the expense of a more-or-less unaware public." (via bd) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Oct 21, 2010 - 47 comments

Tea Party and Me

Former president Jimmy Carter speaks about the similarities and differences between the political climate in the mid 1970's and the present rise of the Tea Party.
posted by reenum on Oct 1, 2010 - 20 comments

Le Carre on 'the Russification of Britain'

Ex MI5 / MI6 man John Le Carre talks to Radio4's Today program about his new book. He then goes on to talk about how the Muslim boogeyman is being used to erode democracy much more than the IRA ever was. [more inside]
posted by sodium lights the horizon on Sep 8, 2010 - 44 comments

Politics on the March

How broken is the Senate? George Packer asks in his New Yorker piece, "The Empty Chamber."
posted by Trochanter on Aug 8, 2010 - 44 comments

mad as hell

Dylan Ratigan's Howard Beale Moment (via se) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 19, 2010 - 35 comments

Four Economic Benchmarks We Need Now

With capitalism in crisis, can it be sustained or is it altogether outdated? As Umair Haque asks though, perhaps a better question is: "are organizations and markets making decisions that help make people, communities, and society better off in the long run, by allocating their scarce resources to the most productive uses?" [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 13, 2010 - 15 comments

Ruddrolled

As reported a few hours ago in The Australian, the right wing faction of the Australian Labor Party rolls on Rudd and a caucus meeting is scheduled for 9 tomorrow morning, where it's predicted that he'll lose the ballot. One senior party source said: "This crypto-facist made no effort to build a base within the party and now his only faction - Newspoll - has deserted him. He is gone."
posted by unliteral on Jun 23, 2010 - 59 comments

The Tea Party Jacobins

"The Tea Party Jacobins" is one of the better insights into the weirdness driving populist politics in America (and elsewhere) today. [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on May 12, 2010 - 50 comments

give up that dream

It is not our role to take power. It is our role to make the powerful frightened of us. And that's what we've forgotten. Give up that dream! Chris Hedges talks neoliberalism and neofeudalism, the civil rights movement, Camden, Obama, Clinton, Tea Parties, moral nihilism, inverted totalitarianism and corpocracy, NAFTA, welfare reform, health care, labor, poverty, Yugoslavia, post-industrial capitalism, economic crisis, imperial collapse, socialism, and democracy, among other things. [more inside]
posted by gerryblog on Apr 24, 2010 - 51 comments

Is the Tea Party phenomenon good for (American) Democracy?

Naomi Wolf (previously) in her essay "Tea Time in America", wrote: "...concentration of executive power has threatened America’s system of checks and balances and given the Federal government the authority to spy on citizens, withhold information, and aggressively arrest and even Taser protesters – or to hire private contractors to do so. In these circumstances, the Tea Party activists’ focus on supporting states’ autonomy – and even on property rights and the right to bear arms – can seem like a prescient effort to constrain overweening corporate and military power in national government." [more inside]
posted by blue funk on Apr 5, 2010 - 136 comments

Freedom of the Press vs. Israel's Military Secrets

An Israeli journalist, Anat Kam (23), has been under secret house arrest since December on charges that she leaked up to 1,000 highly sensitive, classified military documents suggesting the IDF breached a court order against assassinations in the occupied West Bank, to Ha'aretz reporter Uri Blau. A court-imposed gag order first proposed by the Israeli government and now apparently supported by Kam's lawyers is preventing media investigation and coverage of both her arrest and the charges of espionage and treason against her in Israel. Blau is reportedly now self-exiled in London, and negotiating his return with Israeli authorities. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 5, 2010 - 38 comments

America: Have vs Have-not

The Obama Coalition "These general findings suggest the possibility that the political strength of voters whose convictions are perhaps best described as Social Democratic in the European sense is reaching a significant level in the United States. With effective organization and mobilization, such voters are positioned to set the agenda in the Democratic Party in the near future."
posted by Glibpaxman on Apr 4, 2010 - 37 comments

Dictatorship in Newfoundland

In 1933 Newfoundland was a responsible, that is self governing, dominion on a par with Canada and Australia. To avoid a debt default the government suspended its constitution in favor of rule from the colonial office in London. After the second world war and a close referendum the the governments of the United Kingdom and Canada negotiated Newfoundland's ascension to Canada. The story boils down to a people losing their sovereignty due to a debt crisis. The Newfoundland Royal Commission report of 1933, the basis for the article and the actions it recounts is here. (The report is seeded with great-if-too-small pictures of Newfoundland from the 1930s and cool maps). [more inside]
posted by shothotbot on Jan 18, 2010 - 46 comments

a very long article

How America Can Rise Again by James Fallows
Is America going to hell? After a year of economic calamity that many fear has sent us into irreversible decline, the author finds reassurance in the peculiarly American cycle of crisis and renewal, and in the continuing strength of the forces that have made the country great: our university system, our receptiveness to immigration, our culture of innovation. In most significant ways, the U.S. remains the envy of the world. But here's the alarming problem: our governing system is old and broken and dysfunctional. Fixing it—without resorting to a constitutional convention or a coup—is the key to securing the nation's future. (via|previously)
posted by kliuless on Jan 6, 2010 - 61 comments

Who Wants to Be?

Who wants to be? is a democratic game show where the audience pools together prize money, then decides the rules of the game to ultimately decide what to spend the money on. Next week the show travels to the Copenhagen climate forum, and audience members can join remotely.
posted by yaxu on Dec 13, 2009 - 2 comments

George Soros on the Way Forward

Soros lectures
You can slog through the video, but I preferred the transcripts 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Nov 21, 2009 - 13 comments

The leader is not the architect of the system but its product.

"This is an America that has transferred its allegiance to spectacle, to pseudo-events, that no longer can determine what is real and what is illusion, that confuses how they’re made to feel with knowledge, that confuses propaganda with ideology, and that’s exceedingly dangerous. All totalitarian societies are image-based societies, and that’s what our society has become."
posted by plexi on Aug 16, 2009 - 127 comments

Obama's Iran Policy

The Making of an Iran Policy: Inside the Obama administration’s struggle with its biggest diplomatic challenge.
posted by homunculus on Aug 1, 2009 - 21 comments

Their vote counts too

It's important to remember that everybody in our great republic has an equally important voice. [via Reddit]
posted by Netzapper on Jul 22, 2009 - 21 comments

in a democracy, the ordinary citizen is effectively a king, but a king in a constitutional democracy, a king whose decisions are merely formal

Berlusconi in Tehran by Slavoj Žižek in the London Review of Books
posted by blasdelf on Jul 15, 2009 - 25 comments

A spectre is haunting Western academia

Slavoj Žižek recently gave five talks under the title Masterclass - Notes Towards a Definition of Communist Culture. It sez 'ere, "The master class analyses phenomena of modern thought and culture with the intention to discern elements of possible Communist culture. It moves at two levels: first, it interprets some cultural phenomena (from today’s architecture to classic literary works like Rousseau’s La Nouvelle Heloise) as failures to imagine or enact a Communist culture; second, it explores attempts at imagining how a Communist culture could look, from Wagner’s Ring to Kafka’s and Beckett’s short stories and contemporary science fiction novels." Audio of Zizek's talks and subsequent discussion is now online: Part I Utopias; Part II Architecture as Ideology; Part III Wagner’s Ring as a Communist narrative; Part IV Populism and Democracy; Part V Environment, Identity and Multiculturalism. Those who like to watch the beard in motion will find links to video of some of the talks posted here.
posted by Abiezer on Jun 22, 2009 - 29 comments

I have here in my hand a list...

40 million Iranians watched a "remarkable, no-holds-barred" and nationally televised debate between President Ahmadinejad (blog) and his rival, former Prime Minister Mousavi (Facebook). [more inside]
posted by msalt on Jun 4, 2009 - 48 comments

Mr. Lee's Greater Hong Kong

Prelude to Federation - Like a neocolonial SEZ (or TAZ) Paul Romer, not to be confused with David, posits "less developed countries contract with capitalist nations to set up Hong Kong's for them... that we rethink sovereignty (respect borders, but maybe import administrative control); rethink citizenship (support residency, but maybe import voice in political affairs); and rethink scale (instead of focusing on nations, focus on cities—on city states like Hong Kong and Singapore)." cf. neocameralism [1, 2, 3] [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 21, 2009 - 16 comments

Should Your Family Try This?

Consensual Living is an experiment in family democracy, where all family members are equally worthy of respect and participate equally in every decision. "When your child is unwilling to share her toy, instead of forcing, choose to listen and understand her point of view. Facilitate her need for playing with that toy, while helping the other child find something just as interesting. When your child skips dinner but is hungry before bed, instead of being frustrated, you can choose to share a quiet bowl of cereal and chat about the day. In each situation and the other unlimited examples out there, you always have the ability to choose joy and connection." Some are not impressed.
posted by Xurando on May 13, 2009 - 161 comments

Ayo Ghurkali

In a landmark defeat for the UK Government, the House of Commons has voted to allow all former and existing Ghurkas the right to live in the UK. [more inside]
posted by Happy Dave on Apr 29, 2009 - 70 comments

A New Thaw for Russia?

The global financial crisis has severely affected the Russian economy. The unstable situation in the country has contributed to a growing rift between Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev. As increasing numbers of Russians become disillusioned with Putin's promise of comfort and security in exchange for authoritarianism, Medvedev has shown some willingness to take the country in a more liberal direction. Some analysts, however, remain unconvinced.
posted by nasreddin on Apr 26, 2009 - 25 comments

X marks the spot; 700 million might

Between 16 April - 13 May the worlds largest democracy will go into action. Being India the logistics are mind boggling. Over 700 million eligible voters who will vote in over 700,000 polling stations for 1,055 political parties. The BBC goes on to explain what makes Indian elections special. University of Maryland has Forecasts and Analysis and Trends in Indian Election Politics has both insight and an interesting blog roll. As Indian Politics are more than usually corrupt and thuggish there is website dedicated to information about candidates with a criminal history. Sadly in spite of this great democratic exercise, repression of speech and miscarriage of justice will probably still be around for a while.
posted by adamvasco on Apr 3, 2009 - 6 comments

Writing Off Autocracy (?)

Twilight Of The Autocrats: Will the global economic downturn usher in a new era of democracy, or will things only get worse? [first link via]
posted by Inspector.Gadget on Mar 24, 2009 - 16 comments

Narendra Modi

India’s New Face. "Meet Narendra Modi, chief minister of Gujarat and the brightest star in the Hindu-chauvinist Bharatiya Janata Party. Under Modi, Gujarat has become an economic dynamo. But he also presided over India’s worst communal riots in decades, a 2002 slaughter that left almost 2,000 Muslims dead. Exploiting the insecurities and tensions stoked by India’s opening to the world, Modi has turned his state into a stronghold of Hindu extremism, shredding Gandhi’s vision of secular coexistence in the process. One day, he could be governing the world’s largest democracy." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Mar 11, 2009 - 12 comments

Science and the "Obama Restoration"

The Essential Parallel Between Science and Democracy. "[T]he restorative steps Obama has taken vis-à-vis science are praiseworthy not so much because they respect science as because they respect the grand institutions of democracy. This is no accident, because the very virtues that make democracy work are also those that make science work: a commitment to reason and transparency, an openness to critical scrutiny, a skepticism toward claims that too neatly support reigning values, a willingness to listen to countervailing opinions, a readiness to admit uncertainty and ignorance, and a respect for evidence gathered according to the sanctioned best practices of the moment."
posted by sarabeth on Feb 18, 2009 - 28 comments

Moyers, Greenwald and Rosen on politics and the media

Politics, the Press, and the Public. Bill Moyers speaks with Glenn Greenwald and Jay Rosen about the role of the establishment press in America’s dysfunctional political system.
posted by homunculus on Feb 7, 2009 - 18 comments

De la démocratie en Singapore

Economist Bryan Caplan is author of the best contemporary critique of democracy and democraticness (previously), and therefore the person I'd most like to visit Singapore and share his thoughts. He recently took a trip to this quasi-democracy lauded for both its pro-growth policies and its strong, competent government (and criticized for its repression and its draconian penal code). The trip to what is in some ways an economist's utopia allowed Caplan to think about the implications of his own writings, and the validity of Churchill's dictum on democracy. Here's what he had to say: [more inside]
posted by grobstein on Jan 19, 2009 - 19 comments

globalizing democracy

Today's featured article at Wikipedia concerns the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly: a proposed UN body which, according to its proponents, would eventually consist of representatives elected directly by the people of the world. Might this proposal be a viable plan for a more global expression of democracy? Or is it just one more Utopian vision of "world government" doomed to wither under the vociferous criticisms that such proposals seem, inevitably, to attract?
posted by washburn on Dec 18, 2008 - 21 comments

Washington to Obama

America has come a long way. There is the official version of history or the peoples' version. There are artifacts and rankings. They had some quirks and were occasionally men of their time. If you prefer audio or visual references those are available as well. Common knowledge has it that one GW was our first President but the title of first is under dispute. 230 years later another GW is making a run for worst. That is also under dispute by the nations best brains. For better and worse, the story of the Presidency is the story of America.
posted by Glibpaxman on Dec 4, 2008 - 24 comments

Obama and the Imperial Presidency

After the Imperial Presidency. "Will the new president and Congress undo the executive-power plays of the Bush era?"
posted by homunculus on Nov 9, 2008 - 83 comments

intimidating men of ordinary firmness

A man carrying a musket rushed at him. Another threw a brick, knocking him off his feet. George Kyle picked himself up and ran. He never did cast his vote. Nor did his brother, who died of his wounds. The Democratic candidate for Congress, William Harrison, lost to the American Party’s Henry Winter Davis. Three months later, when the House of Representatives convened hearings into the election, whose result Harrison contested, Davis’s victory was upheld on the ground that any “man of ordinary courage” could have made his way to the polls. The New Yorker looks at how we used to vote. [more inside]
posted by Durn Bronzefist on Nov 2, 2008 - 24 comments

John McCain and democracy

John McCain served on the advisory board to the U.S. chapter of an international group linked to ultra-right-wing death squads in Central America in the 1980s. As the head of the IRI, he helped finance coups against democratic governments in Haiti and Venezuela. Were those governments fairly elected? The 1984 elections were perhaps the freest and fairest in Nicaraguan history. Aristide...won the first free and fair election in the country’s history with 67 percent of the vote. In Venezuela, all of Chavez's victories in elections were monitored and certified by a variety of observers including the Organization of American States, the European Union and the Carter Center.
posted by shetterly on Oct 11, 2008 - 33 comments

The Supreme Court and America’s international relations

When Judges Make Foreign Policy. "In a globalized, post-9/11 age, decisions made by the Supreme Court are increasingly shaping America's international relations. When the next justice is appointed, our place in the world may well hang in the balance."
posted by homunculus on Sep 29, 2008 - 11 comments

An environmental movement for the Internet ecosystem

Time Capsule: the internet and E-democracy.Peoples’ lives now are as dependent on the Internet as they are on the basics like roads, energy supplies and running water. We can no longer take that for granted and we must advocate for the Internet politically, and support its vitality personally.” - Susan Crawford, University of Michigan School of Law. In recognition and memory of the beginning and continuation of the political internet, they have organized a Time Capsule of e-democracy's beginnings - everything from using e-mail to plead your friends to vote to flash animations that set the web alight. It is to be sealed on September 22. Help tell the story of internet politics.
posted by parmanparman on Sep 15, 2008 - 2 comments

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