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 -
The wisdom of crowds
and the miracle of aggregation
, arguably, are the reasons why markets
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 -
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 -
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
. 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 -
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 -
Democracy might be impossible, US was toldThe 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 -
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 -
"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 -
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 -
Meet Granny D. She
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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:
[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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -