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another sham

Thought June 30th was a real handover of power to the Iraqis? In a series of edicts issued earlier this spring, Mr. Bremer's Coalition Provisional Authority created new commissions that effectively take away virtually all of the powers once held by several ministries. ... The new Iraqi government will have little control over its armed forces, lack the ability to make or change laws and be unable to make major decisions within specific ministries without tacit U.S. approval, say U.S. officials and others familiar with the plan.
posted by amberglow on May 26, 2004 - 19 comments

Mass Intelligence

The wisdom of crowds and the miracle of aggregation, arguably, are the reasons why markets and democracy work as well as they do. As New Yorker James Surowiecki explains in his new book, "consider the show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. When a contestant on the show is stumped by a question, he has a couple of choices in asking for help: the audience or someone he's designated as an expert. The experts do a reasonable job: They get the answer right 65% of the time. But the audience is close to perfect: It gets the answer right 91% of the time, even though it's made up of people who have nothing better to do than sit in a TV studio and watch Regis Philbin." The new, new tipping point?
posted by kliuless on May 25, 2004 - 25 comments

Democracy triumphs over conventional wisdom in India?

'In the event, it was a near-unanimous verdict for the politics of inclusiveness - economic, social and cultural - and against the rhetoric of divisiveness and xenophobia.' The 'stunning' victory of Sonia Gandhi's Congress (I) party in the world's largest democracy may force us to reconsider some of our preconceptions about India. To the headline writers in Britain and the US, it's the place that's 'stealing' jobs from the West (itself a simplification); to most Indian voters, though, the BJP's economic miracle doesn't extend beyond the major cities, serving to accentuate rather than alleviate the poverty gap. The verdict on the ground? That this is a vote against the limited capacity of globalisation to bring real change to developing economies. Some might accuse Indian voters of cutting off their noses to spite their faces, but for hundreds of millions of them, the BJP's promise of a 'Shining India' spoke of an entirely different world.
posted by riviera on May 13, 2004 - 14 comments

Increasing the vote virally

Strive for Five wants to infect the US with a voting virus.
posted by liam on May 6, 2004 - 2 comments

If the meek don't inherit the earth, they'll at least get a say in a fringe party's platform!

The Green Party of Canada's living platform is their party platform... in Wiki form! It seems that only party members are able to participate in the Wiki, but the rest of us are still able to rank a plank and vote for their platform's priorities in the next election. Once the election date is set, party administrators will form the input into some sort of rough fixed platform, but until then, it's "what real democracy looks like".
posted by DrJohnEvans on Apr 23, 2004 - 23 comments

9/11, for the future

The September Project -- On 9/11, libraries big and small will host events where citizens can participate collectively and think creatively about our country, our government, our community, and encourage and support the well-informed voice of the American citizenry. A Day of and for Democracy.
posted by amberglow on Apr 21, 2004 - 8 comments

Gift Hub

Gift hub - Connecting Funders, Active Citizens, and Advisors. Phil Cubeta, who is known to many as the weblog world's Happy Tutor (et al.), wants to stop just talking about philanthropy and actually do something. Now this a Corporate Guy that I actually respect. He's recently decided to 'go from satire to sermon, from noting problems to working for solutions,' and brought together some other smart and influential people to talk about philanthropy, activism, volunteerism, charity, social movements, civil society, and emerging democracy, and is one of the people organizing an Open Space for Giving Conference in Chicago. Can a webby philanthropic bridge be built between the chaotic, emergent ferment in the wired world and the world of corporate wealth? I don't know, but I wish him luck.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken on Apr 13, 2004 - 2 comments

Dictatorship.com

The web won't topple tyranny. "The myth that the Internet will utterly transform capitalism has died. The myth that the Web will destroy tyranny should perish as well." [Via /.]
posted by homunculus on Mar 28, 2004 - 18 comments

Bush's Speech on the Spreading of Democracy

Bush's Speech on the Spreading of Democracy This is a massive and difficult undertaking -- it is worth our effort, it is worth our sacrifice, because we know the stakes. The failure of Iraqi democracy would embolden terrorists around the world, increase dangers to the American people, and extinguish the hopes of millions in the region. Iraqi democracy will succeed -- and that success will send forth the news, from Damascus to Teheran -- that freedom can be the future of every nation. (Applause.) The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution.

Since this speech was posted earlier, I just thought it would be good if we are exposed to ideas from both sides.
posted by VeGiTo on Nov 10, 2003 - 88 comments

Chasing Karl

Wonderful system of government. Fake democracy, fake elections, fake political system surrounded by humbug and greedy lawyers. This allows business to get on with its tasks, buying candidates, a bribe here, a bribe there. An interview with Karl Marx.
posted by monju_bosatsu on Oct 30, 2003 - 13 comments

Spooks & State Took Dim View On Prospect For Iraqi Democracy

Democracy might be impossible, US was told
The CIA's March report concluded that Iraqi society and history showed little evidence to support the creation of democratic institutions, going so far as to say its prospects for democracy could be "impossible," according to intelligence officials who have seen it. The assessment was based on Iraq's history of repression and war; clan, tribal and religious conflict; and its lack of experience as a viable country prior to its arbitrary creation as a monarchy by British colonialists after World War I.
The State Department came to the same conclusion. "Liberal democracy would be difficult to achieve in Iraq," said a March State Department report, first reported by the Los Angeles Times. "Electoral democracy, were it to emerge, could well be subject to exploitation by anti-American elements."

posted by y2karl on Aug 14, 2003 - 60 comments

Attack of the Gores.

Al Gore calls the Bush administration on their lies, says he won't run but will pick a candidate in the near future. Insightful excerpt: "Robust debate in a democracy will almost always involve occasional rhetorical excesses and leaps of faith, and we're all used to that. I've even been guilty of it myself on occasion. But there is a big difference between that and a systematic effort to manipulate facts in service to a totalistic ideology that is felt to be more important than the mandates of basic honesty."
posted by skallas on Aug 8, 2003 - 69 comments

Keeping the Net Free

Saving the Net isn't just really about saving the net: the article is a great point of confluence on the issues of Intellectual Property, Property and Success as American values, as well as the future of the Internet as a true commons. Especially interesting is the observation that Presidential candidate Howard Dean's campaign contribution lead – raised via the Internet – is owed to a huge number of small donations, not to a small number of large special interests. If he's being bought, it's by his voters." [via Slashdot]
posted by weston on Jul 23, 2003 - 9 comments

Tending the Flame of Democracy

"Our nation can no more survive as half democracy and half oligarchy than it could survive 'half slave and half free'" (alternative non-PDF link). "Understanding the real interests and deep opinions of the American people is the first thing. And what are those? That a Social Security card is not a private portfolio statement but a membership ticket in a society where we all contribute to a common treasury so that none need face the indignities of poverty in old age without that help. That tax evasion is not a form of conserving investment capital but a brazen abandonment of responsibility to the country. That income inequality is not a sign of freedom-of-opportunity at work, because if it persists and grows, then unless you believe that some people are naturally born to ride and some to wear saddles, it's a sign that opportunity is less than equal. That self-interest is a great motivator for production and progress, but is amoral unless contained within the framework of community. That the rich have the right to buy more cars than anyone else, more homes, vacations, gadgets and gizmos, but they do not have the right to buy more democracy than anyone else."
Bill Moyers "tends the flame of democracy."
posted by fold_and_mutilate on Jun 11, 2003 - 75 comments

Crackdown in Burma

Aung San Suu Kyi, the democratically elected and rightful leader of Burma (Myanmar,) and the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was arrested by Burma's military government 9 days ago after a premeditated attack on her motorcade. The U.N. representative visiting Burma has not been allowed to see her. There has been a crackdown on the democracy movement, and Suu Kyi's arrest may signal a split within the military government. [More inside.]
posted by homunculus on Jun 9, 2003 - 31 comments

Coalition of the Shilling

The Coalition of the Shilling
Tired of killing Muslims, we are now trying to teach their survivors some democracy.
... this town shows virtually no interest in liberty, the Constitution, or democracy these days - except when prescribing them to those in far away lands.
... Don't be too hard on the Iraqis if they fall for it. After all, we did.


I may not agree with everything Sam Smith says but he does make some very good points about government and media today.
posted by nofundy on May 6, 2003 - 30 comments

Keepin' it real with Granny D!

Meet Granny D. She's walked, talked and cross country skied across America for campaign finance reform, sucessfully derailed a plan to open-air test the H bomb in Alaska, and she used her 93rd birthday party as a venue to protst the war. This week she's on the road again with Jim Hightower, Eric Alterman and others for the Rolling Thunder Democracy Tour. Arrest won't stop her... nothing will. "Fight like hell for your values and our common dream of brotherhood and sisterhood on this, our garden Earth."
posted by moonbird on Apr 27, 2003 - 5 comments

The Battle for American Science

Oh, God! Under the Bush administration there were a lot of things we had to forget, things like how democratic presidents get elected, how to sell democracy to undemocratic peoples, how to be free, patriotic, etc. Now, it seems, is the time to forget all about this menace to mankind: SCIENCE.
posted by acrobat on Apr 23, 2003 - 35 comments

Feudal States of America Democracy lost

The Feudal States of America? Timely article from Thom Hartmann called The Real War - On American Democracy. "Those of us who still believe in republican democracy would have "We, The People" make the decisions through representatives we've elected without the feudal influence of corporate money. We realize that "big government" is, indeed, a menace when it's no longer responsive to its own people, as happened in Germany and Russia in the last century - and is happening today in America under the neoconservatives."
posted by thedailygrowl on Apr 12, 2003 - 32 comments

Civil Disobedience-Thoreau

Civil Disobedience-Henry David Thoreau Nothing in here about blocking traffic but a very important historical document for our time. "The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it. Witness the present Mexican war, the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool; for in the outset, the people would not have consented to this measure.".................. ............ "A democracy, is a progress toward a true respect for the individual. Even the Chinese philosopher was wise enough to regard the individual as the basis of the empire. Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? Is it not possible to take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man? There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly. "
posted by thedailygrowl on Mar 21, 2003 - 10 comments

Blowback: The Cost And Consequences of American Empire plus War And Conflict In The Post-Cold War, Post-9/11 Era

Chalmers Johnson is an provocative proponent of the American Empire theory, indeed. Here are excerpts from his Blow Back: The Cost And Consequences of American Empire

I heard Johnson interviewed on Episode II, War And Conflict In The Post-Cold War, Post-9/11 Era of The Whole Wide World

The Cold War and its central conflict - the physical and ideological battles between the United States, the Soviet Union and their proxy states - imposed a certain logic and consistency on the world. Take that away and add the bloody wars in the Balkans, Africa and the Middle East in the ‘90s as well as the terror attacks and warnings of more recent times and you get a very confused picture of a world at war. Is this breaking storm in Iraq about oil, democracy, freedom, empire, culture, water, diamonds, modernizing Islam or nation building in the Middle East? Some, one or all of these things?

It was an excellent program and well worth your listen, either by RA now or mp3 later. (From listening to the radio)
posted by y2karl on Mar 13, 2003 - 15 comments

A 'minifesto' for the constitution of virtual, post-national states

The minimal compact: An open-source constitution for post-national states. "What sorts of arrangements of power between humans can account for the deep variation in beliefs and assumptions among the six billion of us who share this planet, while still providing for a common jurisprudence? What measures can be taken that enhance the common security without unduly infringing on the sovereignty of the individual?

I believe that a useful model for the desired structure can be found in the open-source or "free" software movement."


Our own adamgreenfield has been thinking about emergent democracy and the widening gap between power and politics, and has written a 'minifesto,' and would like some feedback. Democracy for the rest of us : fascinating, 'deep geek' stuff, and worth your time.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken on Feb 26, 2003 - 11 comments

Bloggers campaign for human rights

Campaign for Democracy and Human Rights in Iraq! Some hundred or so bloggers are sporting logos supporting democracy and human rights in Iraq, just twenty-four hours after a campaign was kicked-off by Dean's World blog publisher Dean Esmay. The campaign is supported by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, an activist umbrella group of pro-Democracy Iraqi organizations inside and outside of Iraq. It's a groundswell that will hopefully counter the anti-democratic and anti-Iraqi spirit of recent ANSWER demonstrations, and notable here because it's at this point strictly a blogworld phenomenon, but one that might actually have an effect in the real world. We'll see. Cyber-activism up until now has mainly been ineffective, and the feeling of many activists (cf. Barlow) is that it's more a distraction from real-world activism than an aid. Pro-democracy bloggers are a different breed from many traditional, trend-driven activists, and this might be the difference.
posted by BubbaDude on Feb 16, 2003 - 137 comments

U.S. suffocating reform in Iran?

Is the U.S. suffocating reform in Iran? "'Despite sporadic verbal concern with the condition of human rights in Iran, the U.S. is protecting and providing clandestine support to the right-wing conservatives in Iran,' says Sayed Ali Asghar Gharavi, a member of the banned but tolerated Iran Freedom Movement (IFM), the country’s leading opposition party. 'The U.S. government in no way favors the coming to power of the reformist groups in Iran and is secretly supporting the religious conservatives.' Government insiders in Iran allege that the deal, first proffered by British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, is simple: If the hard-liners quietly support the United States in Iraq, Washington will quietly support them. U.S. State Department officials declined to comment." It seems unlikely that the Bush administration would side with the mullahs, but considering the U.S.'s troubled history with Iranian democracy, it's not inconceivable. Perhaps this is why Michael Ledeen's cries of alarm aren't being heeded.
posted by homunculus on Feb 6, 2003 - 25 comments

Let the people decide.

Let the people decide. There's lot's of initiatives trying to push Direct Democracy, like Philadelphia II, as a solution to all of the problems inherent in the political process. A few places like Switzerland, ancient Athens, and some New England towns already have it that way. A lot of them want electronic and phone voting to pave the way. Is it possible, or was Machiavelli right to believe that politics is best left to the politicians. That's what the electoral college is for.
posted by destro on Nov 10, 2002 - 39 comments

Media Democracy Day

Media Democracy Day promotes a mass media system that informs and empowers all members of society. Media Democracy Day connects existing critical and creative media with active social movements, creating a coherent message for public attention and local and global action. It was October 18.
posted by botono9 on Oct 21, 2002 - 9 comments

Think of the children!

Think of the children! Is the crayon-toting lobbyist the next big thing in politics? Is this a legitimate political strategy or despicable behaviour on the part of the teacher? Charles Helwig at the University of Toronto has some evidence that elementary school age children have some understanding of democracy and freedom of speech and "can use those concepts to evaluate political systems". How old does a person need to be to voice an opinion? (via plastic)
posted by snarfodox on Sep 27, 2002 - 23 comments

The Trick Behind the Trick?

The Trick Behind the Trick? A great piece about the subtle and ongoing dismantling of democracy in America by the Bush Administration. What's so sad about this ongoing disaster is that there are no Republicans willing to stand up for liberty, when the last great speech by a President on our present danger was given by Eisenhower.
posted by minnesotaj on Sep 23, 2002 - 49 comments

Free Speech 101 -

Free Speech 101 - We must acknowledge that people who use force to suppress the opinions of others are committing assault not merely on other humans and on the basic promise of free speech, but on democracy itself.
posted by semmi on Sep 20, 2002 - 31 comments

Everything I Needed to Know about Life, I Learned from a Video Game

Everything I Needed to Know about Life, I Learned from a Video Game... Brad DeLong uses Sid Meier's CIVILIZATION 3 to teach his kids a valuable lesson about Democracy.
posted by crunchland on Sep 9, 2002 - 22 comments

Multiculturalism v/s Democracy

Multiculturalism v/s Democracy On this day in 1858, Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois and Abraham Lincoln, a Kentucky-born lawyer and one-time U.S. Representative from Illinois, began a series of famous public debates on the issue of slavery, during the course of which Lincoln said:

"They [Founding Fathers] meant to set up a standard maxim for free society which should be familiar to all: constantly looked to, constantly labored for, and even, though never perfectly attained, constantly approximated, and thereby constantly spreading and deepening its influence and augmenting the happiness and value of life to all people, of all colors, every where."

I argue that when a culture values slavery, when a culture is built upon a system of basic inequality, regardless of the reasons, that culture is incompatible with Democracy and the ideals of American society, and can not and should not be embraced by Americans. Is it possible that part of the anger at the US stems from the "spreading and deepening" influence of American principles, and not just at our economic and military mistakes?
posted by ewkpates on Aug 21, 2002 - 28 comments

Does Beer Really Equal Democracy Equal The U.S.A?

Does Beer Really Equal Democracy Equal The U.S.A? Max Rudin's somewhat wild assumptions only make this article of his more interesting. But is it true that beer in North America overtakes all the usual class, status and income boundaries? If so, it certainly sets it apart from Europe, where all the old preconceptions and habits still prevail and (at least in the Southwest) a glass of wine is always cheaper than a beer. So I guess the question here is: just how political can beer be? [As a chaser, the British expert Michael Jackson's list of the ten great beers of America seems authoritative and tempting, if a tad disloyal to the cask-conditioned real, live ales of England and Scotland...].
posted by MiguelCardoso on Jul 15, 2002 - 20 comments

"Trade with x only benefits the repressive government of x; it does not get into the hands of the people." How does the White House policy towards x make sense in light of Bush's statement that "Free trade supports and sustains freedom in all its forms. When we open trade, we open minds. We trade with x because trade is good policy for our economy, because trade is good policy for democracy"? Well that's because the first x refers to Cuba and the second x is for China. How's that economic engagement working out with China? Why don't we ask the Tibetans, Falun Gong or the Uighurs? Which foreign policy is the right way to go? Economic isolation or engagement?
posted by buddha9090 on May 16, 2002 - 17 comments

Bahrain bans Al Jazeera TV

Bahrain bans Al Jazeera TV Help me out on this one. Al Jazeera is said in the West to be very pro-Arab in all things. Now it is banned in a country that says it is moving toward becoming democratic (even allowing women to vote). Is there a contradiction in banning media as you move toward democarcy, or am I perhaps spoiled by my highschool teachers. NOTE: this is NO troll.
posted by Postroad on May 11, 2002 - 7 comments

H'Angus the Monkey

H'Angus the Monkey becomes Mayor of Hartlepool! He's the mascot of the local football team and won one of the UK's first direct mayoral elections. The people of Hartlepool got the nickname Monkey Hangers after a monkey from a wrecked ship was hung as a French Spy. Who says democracy's dead?
posted by brettski on May 3, 2002 - 7 comments

Venezuela's Chavez deposed

Venezuela's Chavez deposed with the military claiming control for now. The end of a sometimes cringe-inducingly entertaining era. What next? Civilian constitutional rule restored by lunchtime, or not? Will the strike end, allowing oil exports to resume?
posted by dhartung on Apr 11, 2002 - 11 comments

Experiences of voting in Zimbabwe

Experiences of voting in Zimbabwe - BBC News Online has a forum where it is displaying emails from Zimbabwe about voter's experiences in the current presidential poll. I think the BBC are using their status responsibly in providing direct information about the conditions there.
posted by adrianhon on Mar 10, 2002 - 7 comments

Democracy is expensive.

Democracy is expensive. A New York Times article examines the high costs of building the government infrastructure of a democracy, and suggests that they may be too high for a poor or war-torn country. I hope there's an alternative to "Live free or die".
posted by mattpfeff on Feb 24, 2002 - 7 comments

UK Parliament now offering live webcasts of debates.

UK Parliament now offering live webcasts of debates. Fascinating. Don't miss Prime Minister's Questions every Wednesday at 3pm GMT, it's always good for a few laughs. Would give some of the slower debates a miss though. Via The Register.
posted by mokey on Jan 14, 2002 - 8 comments

On the same day that a date was set for elections in Zimbabwe, the Commander of Zimbabwe's Defence forces warned that the military will not support a president who "reverses the gains of the revolution".

All this comes as draconian new powers are poised to be pushed through parliament by the Zanu PF party, despite being rejected earlier this week.
The Guardian's "The Weblog" site has many good sources for background information on Zimbabwe and its political troubles.
posted by davehat on Jan 10, 2002 - 9 comments

It's the Democracy, Stupid

It's the Democracy, Stupid Quick hit from Middle East expert Thomas Friedman on why democracy matters in the Middle East, and by extension why democracy-building is one of the US's best weapons there. Starts out with a news quiz: "Name the second-largest Muslim community in the world. Iran? Wrong. Pakistan? Wrong. Saudi Arabia? Wrong." (NYT link)
posted by cell divide on Nov 20, 2001 - 20 comments

Here's

Here's an interesting take on the whole western ideals v eastern ideals idea. The collapse of the Soviet Union as harbinger of the collapse of the west? Well, maybe not from the perspective of your average neo-libertarian. From the perspective of someone who didn't buy into the Enlightenment, from where springs both liberal democracy and marxism, then it may just look like one process. Interesting article from the 'Other Side of the Hill'.
posted by vbfg on Sep 17, 2001 - 4 comments

Meehan, Neal raise doubts on leadership of president

Meehan, Neal raise doubts on leadership of president - ``I don't buy the notion Air Force One was a target,'' said Meehan. ``That's just PR. That's just spin.''

Meehan office number... (202) 225-3411
posted by revbrian on Sep 14, 2001 - 74 comments

VoterMarch

VoterMarch organized marches on Washington DC and San Francisco on Saturday, May 19. Their mission is to restore democracy in the US by fixing the election system, among other things. These issues, including coverage of the march itself, are rather horrendously underreported in the media. This site is a great resource for filling the gaps in coverage of the major media channels.
posted by caveday on May 20, 2001 - 6 comments

So we think we're free?

So we think we're free? Bill Moyers tells us that we're in the grip of the mega-corporate media who know how to lavishly butter their own bread. And if we like jam? Too bad.
posted by caraig on Apr 22, 2001 - 3 comments

New book talks about democracy and the web.

New book talks about democracy and the web. The student newspaper that I work for reviewed the new book Republic.com, which talks about the potential problems that the Internet poses to democracy. Contrary the ideal of free information and exposure to new ideas on the Internet, the author concludes that in online communities, people choose to associate with people who share similiar opinions, which subsequently radicalizes their opinions and shuts them out to opposing voices. Food for thought.
posted by ktheory on Apr 6, 2001 - 10 comments

"The rules of this game were set by the people, underwritten by the people, financed or not."

"The rules of this game were set by the people, underwritten by the people, financed or not." Yet another opportunity for the British Observer to put the US newspapers to shame, with an closely-argued, even-handed reflection on the fun in Florida. "The system, full of inefficiencies and coagulations, may stink, but it is also a system which belongs to the voters who now complain so shrilly about it."
posted by holgate on Nov 19, 2000 - 2 comments

I know it's short notice

I know it's short notice but if you're in one of these cities, and agree that the popular vote of the people should be honored and upheld, there's gonna be a lot of spontaneous protests happening tomorrow afternoon.
posted by ZachsMind on Nov 10, 2000 - 19 comments

Wow!

Wow! Got to give it to the people in Yougoslavia... This is damn impressive and it looks like the end of Milosevic. Europe is almost completely democratic now!
posted by TNLNYC on Oct 5, 2000 - 16 comments

the debate is on

the debate is on and I've learned two things
posted by rebeccablood on Oct 3, 2000 - 57 comments

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