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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

St. Paul Police say Democracy? No.

Amy Goodman Arrested! Amy Goodman, award-winning journalist and host of Democracy Now!, has been arrested after she tried to figure out why two of her producers had been arrested. Already people are responding. [more inside]
posted by history is a weapon on Sep 1, 2008 - 289 comments

Drowning

Can the Burmese people rescue themselves? A powerful piece by George Packer in the New Yorker on the recent history and current conditions in Burma.
posted by homunculus on Aug 20, 2008 - 32 comments

Disaster Capitalism

"Like the dotcom bubble, the disaster bubble is inflating in an ad-hoc and chaotic fashion." Journalist Naomi Klein discusses how corporations and governments are working together more closely than ever, using the mandate of catastrophe — whether natural or man-made — to further concentrate power in fewer hands, with less oversight: from illegal sales of American police technology to China to avert hypothetical tragedies during the Beijing Olympics, to the privatization of water supplies in post-tsunami Sri Lanka.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 17, 2008 - 50 comments

Persia

Persia: Ancient Soul of Iran. "A glorious past inspires a conflicted nation."
posted by homunculus on Aug 4, 2008 - 35 comments

Mapping Iran's Online Public: Politics and Culture in the Persian Blogosphere.

Mapping Iran's Online Public: Politics and Culture in the Persian Blogosphere. [more inside]
posted by chunking express on Jun 5, 2008 - 4 comments

Chinese democracy

Please Vote for Me (official site) is a documentary about Chinese third-graders electing a class monitor. [more inside]
posted by generalist on Jun 1, 2008 - 35 comments

HM The Queen v Associated Forces of Xenu

A 15-year-old in London is being prosecuted for holding a sign calling Scientology a "cult", during a peaceful demonstration (0:55-1:40). The teenager refused to back down, quoting a 1984 high court ruling from Mr Justice Latey, in which he described the Church of Scientology as a "cult" ... The City of London police came under fire two years ago when it emerged that more than 20 officers, ranging from constable to chief superintendent, had accepted gifts worth thousands of pounds from the Church of Scientology. The City of London Chief Superintendent, Kevin Hurley, praised Scientology for "raising the spiritual wealth of society" during the opening of its headquarters in 2006. Last year a video praising Scientology emerged featuring Ken Stewart, another of the City of London's chief superintendents via
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on May 21, 2008 - 128 comments

This complete breakfast: Feedback Loops

YouTube on YouTube . . .
posted by huckhound on May 20, 2008 - 11 comments

Griefing comes to First Life

BREAKING NEWS: Kasparov assailed by flying dong. Possible inspiration
posted by thirteenkiller on May 19, 2008 - 83 comments

Canada's Russian Revolution

It stands as one of the more unusual turning points of the Cold War, thanks mostly to the surprise appearance of several naked middle-aged women. Taking The Cure: How a group of British Columbian anarchists inspired democracy in Russia. [more inside]
posted by amyms on May 13, 2008 - 7 comments

The Gaza Bombshell

Vanity Fair has obtained confidential documents, since corroborated by sources in the U.S. and Palestine, which lay bare a covert initiative, approved by Bush and implemented by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams, to provoke a Palestinian civil war.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Mar 3, 2008 - 94 comments

An Internet Potemkin village

The Great Firewall of China (previously), the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, athlete bloggers (allowed for the first time by the IOC), visitors, and freedom in Beijing, 2008. [more inside]
posted by dawson on Mar 1, 2008 - 19 comments

Torture is a blunt instrument

Five myths about torture In a Washington Post column, Darius Rejali, author of Torture and Democracy, explains why five beliefs about torture are wrong. In a Harper's interview, he answers six questions. "Yes, torture does migrate, and there are some good examples of it both in American and French history. The basic idea here is that soldiers who get ahead torturing come back and take jobs as policemen, and private security, and they get ahead doing the same things they did in the army. And so torture comes home. Everyone knows waterboarding, but no one remembers that it was American soldiers coming back from the Philippines that introduced it to police in the early twentieth century." [more inside]
posted by Kirth Gerson on Feb 20, 2008 - 54 comments

Independent Kosovo? Why Not Vermont?

Kosovo is technically part of Serbia, but it's been governed by the U.N. since 1999, after NATO militarily intervened to stop Slobodan Milosevic's brutal suppression and expulsion of ethnic Albanian separatists. Now that it has declared its independence (with US support), the elephant in the room remains: Independent Kosovo? Why Not Vermont? "Why is statehood OK for some people but frowned on for others?" There is no internationally accepted standard for independence. "This is the great hole in democratic theory."
posted by stbalbach on Feb 17, 2008 - 83 comments

Congress 2.0

Opencongress.org is a website for keeping track of the U.S. Congress. (previously) But, now it also a social network. So, sign-up and see what your favourite Senator has been doing, track bills and, follow important issues. Then, share that information with your friends or write about it on your blog.
posted by geos on Feb 4, 2008 - 20 comments

"Many-Rule" is kind of vague.

ResetDOC asks: "What is democracy?" [more inside]
posted by anotherpanacea on Jan 16, 2008 - 8 comments

The Rise of China

The Rise of China and the Future of the West: Can the Liberal System Survive? "China's rise will inevitably bring the United States' unipolar moment to an end. But that does not necessarily mean a violent power struggle or the overthrow of the Western system. The U.S.-led international order can remain dominant even while integrating a more powerful China -- but only if Washington sets about strengthening that liberal order now." [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Dec 29, 2007 - 29 comments

The Imperial Presidency

Candidates on executive power: a full spectrum. Boston Globe reporter Charlie Savage, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his work on presidential signing statements, surveyed the major 2008 presidential candidates about their views on the limits of executive power. [BugMeNot, via Huffington Post.] [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Dec 26, 2007 - 18 comments

Privatize profit. Socialize risk.

Push Capitalism. Bill Moyers' interview with Dr. Benjamin Barber about the state of our modern capitalist society and how he believes capitalism threatens American democracy. PBS.org streaming video. [more inside]
posted by orelius on Dec 23, 2007 - 74 comments

limits

The dangers of living in a zero-sum world economy - naked capitalism reprints (with added commentary) an FT article by Martin Wolf on why it's vital for (civilised) society to sustain a 'positive-sum' world, otherwise: "A zero-sum economy leads, inevitably, to repression at home and plunder abroad." Wolf's solution? "The condition for success is successful investment in human ingenuity." Of course! Some are calling for more socialism, while others would press on to build more megaprojects. For me, at least part of the solution lies in environmental accounting and natural capitalism :P
posted by kliuless on Dec 19, 2007 - 42 comments

Repression in Burma

Crackdown: Repression of the 2007 Popular Protests in Burma.
posted by homunculus on Dec 9, 2007 - 32 comments

A Big Cheese for a Big Cheese

The Mammoth Cheese of Cheshire was the most unusual gift ever given to a President of the United States. In the aftermath of the "Revolution of 1800", the eccentric Baptist preacher John Leland decided to celebrate the presidency of Thomas Jefferson by convincing the predominantly Baptist farmers of Cheshire, Massachusetts to create a giant 1,235-pound block of cheese as a monument to small-"r" republicanism and religious freedom. [more inside]
posted by jonp72 on Dec 3, 2007 - 29 comments

Senator On-Line

Senator On-Line (‘SOL’) is a truly democratic party which will allow everyone on the Australian Electoral roll who has access to the internet to vote on every Bill put to Parliament and have its Senators vote in accordance with a clear majority view. They will be running candidates for the upcoming federal Upper House (Senate) elections.
posted by finite on Nov 15, 2007 - 28 comments

Newsfilter

“I will not let my country commit suicide,” says General Pervez Musharraf in an address to the nation, after declaring Martial Law, in Pakistan, yesterday night. Benazir Bhutto, who had earlier returned to the country to a large reception (and whose convoy was later attacked) along with former Prime Minister Nawaz Shariff, have condemned the act.
posted by hadjiboy on Nov 3, 2007 - 61 comments

Nader sues Democratic Party for conspiring against democracy

Yesterday, Ralph Nader sued the Democratic Party for conspiring to prevent him from running for president in 2004. The lawsuit alleges that defendants used “groundless and abusive litigation” to bankrupt Ralph Nader’s campaign and force him off the ballot in 18 states, and names as co-defendants the Kerry-Edwards campaign, the Service Employees International Union, private law firms, and organizations like the Ballot Project and America Coming Together that were created to promote voter turnout on behalf of the Democratic ticket. According to attorney Carl Mayer from the team that filed the suit, interviewed this morning by Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman, "what this lawsuit will do, and the importance of it is, is to set a precedent so that the two-party monopoly system that shuts out minor parties in a way that other Western democracies never do, that this will set a precedent to prevent this type of intimidation and harassment."
posted by finite on Oct 31, 2007 - 236 comments

The Unqualified Reservations of Mencius Moldbug

Unqualified Reservations is a fascinating ongoing commentary on society and governance in postmodernity. He's currently on about the pwning of Richard Dawkins, after writing about Mediocracy and Official Journalism. It might be best to first read his earlier posts in which he defines the self-invented terminology he's fond of using, like: Formalism, The Iron Polygon, Universalism, Neocameralism, and The Rotary System. [more inside]
posted by blasdelf on Oct 29, 2007 - 44 comments

Benazir's Homecoming.

Two-time Former Pakistani PM, Benazir Bhutto Returns After 8 years. The leader of a Pakistan's most progressive and liberal political party, but tarnished by serious corruption and money laundering charges, Benazir Bhutto landed in Karachi today welcomed by thousands, reminiscent of her return to take on a previous military dictator in 1986. Bhutto has recently lost popularity because she has sought a deal with General Musharraf and tried to obtain an amnesty from corruption charges. Can she use her thunderous return to overcome such setbacks and lead the second largest Muslim country again?
posted by Azaadistani on Oct 18, 2007 - 40 comments

Burma

Risking all: the Burmese jokers who laugh in the face of danger. In Burma (Myanmar), comedians are targets in the junta's war on words. [Via BB.] [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Oct 17, 2007 - 23 comments

The Common Good

Government is good. An unapologetic defense of a vital institution. [more inside]
posted by edverb on Oct 9, 2007 - 25 comments

Why Democracy?

Why Democracy? "In October 2007, ten one-hour films focused on contemporary democracy will be broadcast in the world's largest ever factual media event. More than 40 broadcasters on all continents are participating, with an estimated audience of 300 million viewers. Each of the broadcasters - an A-Z which includes everyone from Al Arabiya to ZDF - will be producing a locally-based seasons of film, radio, debate and discussion to tie in with the global broadcast of the Why Democracy? films."
posted by St Urbain's Horseman on Oct 5, 2007 - 21 comments

Bush the Dissident

Bush the Dissident. (WaPo) Background (and previously) here here here here and here.
posted by Avenger on Aug 19, 2007 - 45 comments

We know what's best for you.

An excellent example of the consequences of the Supreme Court's Gonzales v. Raich decision: today the United States House of Representatives voted down a bill which would have prohibited the DEA from targeting State-authorized medical marijuana dispensaries. Almost simultaneously, the DEA raided 10 medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles.
posted by mullingitover on Jul 26, 2007 - 68 comments

Turkey votes today

Secular or islamic society? Kemal Atatürk - the Father of modern day Turkey - is watching closely and so is it's secular minded military. Is the country inching closer to Islam or Democracy? A 90% (!) turnout of the 42 million voters is to be expected for this important decision. Al Jazeera has a insightful special covering the event.
posted by homodigitalis on Jul 22, 2007 - 44 comments

DeMMOcracy

MMORPG maker to create oversight committee of elected players -- The makers of Eve Online, are taking a bold step in combating charges (previously discussed here) of favoritism towards one of the dominant in-game groups: holding elections for player ombudsman who will be flown to Iceland to audit the company's practices and report back to the game's subscribers.
posted by uri on Jun 12, 2007 - 21 comments

The Myth of the Rational Voter

Why are American voters reluctant to support free market policies when professional economists have achieved near-consensus? Bryan Caplan of the Cato Institute investigates. (pdf)
posted by stammer on Jun 1, 2007 - 71 comments

Investigating Russia's NGO Crackdown

Russia's attack on independent voices. In 2005, Alexandra Poolos interviewed Russian journalist and human rights activist Anna Politkovskaya. Two years later, Politkovskaya is one of fourteen journalists murdered since Vladimir Putin came to power, and Frontline sent Poolos to Russia to investigate the Kremlin's crackdown on independent voices. She reports on voices struggling to survive -- the last independent newspaper, a persecuted Chechen activist -- amidst a booming economy and resurgent authoritarianism.
posted by Coherence Panda on May 18, 2007 - 5 comments

I am NOT a CROOK

40 lie dead, as General Pervez Musharraf tries to quash the judiciary of Pakistan, before the elections (pdf) to be held this year.
posted by hadjiboy on May 13, 2007 - 66 comments

Date with a Transvestite Spirit Medium

Burmese Daze: In which the author submits to the pleasures of a transgender spirit possession festival in Burma. [Via Disinformation.]
posted by homunculus on Apr 25, 2007 - 11 comments

Make Internet TV

MITV: A how to for internet video production, from the friendly people at the Participatory Culture Foundation (makers of the Democracy Player).
posted by signal on Apr 16, 2007 - 6 comments

Iran: the hidden power

The war in Iran has already begun. "Iran's leadership proclaims its confidence and ambition but it draws power from a western threat that enables it to target and crush grassroots protest." Opinion and analysis from the authors of Iran on the Brink.
posted by Abiezer on Apr 14, 2007 - 26 comments

Parties of God: The Bush Doctrine and the rise of Islamic Democracy

"While the West debates whether the Islamic world is ready for democracy, an equally appropriate question is whether the West is ready for Islamic democracy." Parties of God, by Ken Silverstein, is an interesting read on democracy in the Middle East.
posted by chunking express on Apr 11, 2007 - 50 comments

autogestion

When the fascists embargo, when the boss pollutes, when the economy collapses, when the club plans to close, heck, when you're too high-tech for hierarchy, perhaps it's time you considered launching a worker-owned cooperative (pdfs). Or at least getting to know one near you.
posted by ioesf on Mar 26, 2007 - 20 comments

The Must-Do List

The Must-Do List. The NY Times lists the administration policies that congress must reverse if it intends to undo the damage done to America by the Bush Administration.
posted by empath on Mar 4, 2007 - 17 comments

It appears...that the people of the United States prefer the Roman approach

Chalmers Johnson whose Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic is out today, provides something the CIA won't: a National Intelligence Estimate for the United States.
posted by inoculatedcities on Feb 6, 2007 - 44 comments

Madisonian Democracy without Madison Avenue

Deliberative Polling®, developed by Professor James S. Fishkin, is a technique which combines deliberation in small group discussions with scientific random sampling to provide public consultation for public policy and for electoral issues. Since deliberation is good for civic health, this model has also been floated as a fourth branch of government: Deliberation Day. This proposal has met with some criticism. (Many links are pdf.)
posted by anotherpanacea on Jan 22, 2007 - 13 comments

The Economist: The World in 2007

In 2007 there will be lots of anniversaries, the web will keep killing the television star, the popcorn will taste familiar, humankind will come closer still to achieving immortality, and text messaging will conquer Africa. And although the spread of democracy is stalling (don't worry however - the Swedes still win (pdf)), it's still down to George Bush.

The Economist: The World in 2007.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Dec 2, 2006 - 38 comments

beirut dispatch

Murder Update: "Syria's Lebanese allies are trying to undermine the Hariri investigation from within, and are expected to escalate their efforts very soon, maybe even this week."
posted by kliuless on Nov 21, 2006 - 8 comments

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