Tag Archives | Democracy

You Don’t Matter. House Votes for Monsanto’s Right to Deceive Consumers

'We know this: We can’t let this bill get through the U.S. Senate.' (Image: JustLabelIt.org)

‘We know this: We can’t let this bill get through the U.S. Senate.’ (Image: JustLabelIt.org)

This article originally appeared on Common Dreams. See more of Ronnie Cummins’ articles here.

On Thursday, 275 members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of H.R. 1599, the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act. By voting for the DARK Act, these politicians voted against truth and transparency, against science, against the more than century-old right of states to legislate on matters relating to food safety and labeling.

They voted against the 90-percent of Americans who are in favor of mandatory labeling of GMOs. They voted against the producers of non-GMO foods.

They voted against you.

Now that the DARK Act has been approved by the House, we’ll have to stop it in the Senate. We have to move fast—because Monsanto is desperate to pass a bill that preempts mandatory GMO labeling laws at the state and federal levels, before Vermont’s GMO labeling law takes effect next year.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Things that are not in the Constitution

rights endowed

Seems like every day there is a new story about something some politician is doing or saying that isn’t in the Constitution. Just in case you’re losing track of exactly how many things are not in the constitution, there is a list linked below. Some of the things that are listed are implied powers. Others are powers that congress adopted through the necessary and proper clause. Some of the things listed are not in the constitution and are government policies that are outright unconstitutional. Others aren’t listed because they are considered state powers. Lastly, lots of the rights listed as not in the constitution are powers protected by the 9th and 10th Amendments. I just wish that they had mentioned that the word “democracy” isn’t in the Constitution.

Have you ever heard someone say, “That’s unconstitutional!” or “That’s my constitutional right!” and wondered if they were right? You might be surprised how often people get it wrong.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Equality by Lot: A Brief Animated History of Sortition

This short animated clip offers a succinct history and explanation of how the ancient Athenians came to use sortition (the selection of random citizens through lottery to fill government roles). It questions whether or not such a system could be used in today’s modern world. Could this ancient practice help eliminate greed and corruption from the political arena by restoring the integrity and efficiency of the democratic process? As America gears up for yet another brutal election cycle, these are worthy questions to be asking…

This clip comes courtesy of the fantastic blog, Equality by Lot, and they have also transcribed the video:

What did democracy really mean in Athens? – Melissa Schwartzberg

Hey, congratulations! You just won the lottery. Only the prize isn’t cash or a luxury cruise. It’s a position in your country’s national legislature. And you aren’t the only lucky winner. All of your fellow lawmakers were chosen in the same way.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Voice of Openness: Does social media aid Democracy? [Debate]

Watch more videos on iai.tv

Social media had all the appearance of a democratic revolution, hailed after the Arab Spring as the power of the people. But there’s now a growing army of government and corporate propagandists seeking to control and influence opinion. Has social media become a threat to democracy? Or is it still the voice of freedom? Lyse Doucet, Carl Miller, Steve Richards and Caspar Melville discuss.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

American democracy is doomed

Via Vox

Via Vox.

Via Matthew Yglesias at Vox:

America’s constitutional democracy is going to collapse.

Some day — not tomorrow, not next year, but probably sometime before runaway climate change forces us to seek a new life in outer-space colonies — there is going to be a collapse of the legal and political order and its replacement by something else. If we’re lucky, it won’t be violent. If we’re very lucky, it will lead us to tackle the underlying problems and result in a better, more robust, political system. If we’re less lucky, well, then, something worse will happen.

Very few people agree with me about this, of course. When I say it, people generally think that I’m kidding. America is the richest, most successful country on earth. The basic structure of its government has survived contested elections and Great Depressions and civil rights movements and world wars and terrorist attacks and global pandemics.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Logical Space of Democracy: A Map

Finnish_Parliament

This was originally published on Philosophical Disquisitions.

John Danaher is an academic with interests in the philosophy of technology, religion, ethics and law. He blogs at http://philosophicaldisquisitions.blogspot.com.

Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms which from time to time we have tried. Granting this, we might be inclined to wonder what sorts of democratic decision-making procedures are possible? This is a question that Christian List sets out to answer in his paper “The Logical Space of Democracy”. In this post, I want to share the logical space alluded to in his title.

To do so, I need to briefly recap my previous post, which looked at something called the “democratic trilemma”. This trilemma is a generalised version of the Condorcet voting paradox. It applies to any collective decision-making procedure in which inputs (i.e.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

The Democratic Trilemma: Is Democracy Possible?

Nicolas_de_Condorcet

Marquis de Condorcet

This was originally published on Philosophical Disquisitions.

John Danaher is an academic with interests in the philosophy of technology, religion, ethics and law. He blogs at http://philosophicaldisquisitions.blogspot.com.

Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

You may have heard of the Marquis de Condorcet (Nicolas de Condorcet). He was an 18th century French philosopher, mathematician and social theorist. He was a champion of the Enlightenment, and a leading participant in the French revolution. He is probably most famous today for three things. First, his jury theorem which showed how, under certain conditions, majority voting can get us closer to the truth. Second, his voting method which proposed that winners of elections be determined by pairing each candidate against every other candidate and figuring out who won each of those contests. And third his voting paradox which revealed how majority preferences could be inconsistent if there were more than two candidates or options to be voted upon.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Selling ‘Peace Groups’ on US-Led Wars

Margaret Sarfehjooy and Coleen Rowley write at Consortium News:

“War is peace” double-speak has become commonplace these days. And, the more astute foreign policy journalists and commentators are beginning to realize the extent of how “liberal interventionists” work in sync with neocon warhawks to produce and sustain a perpetual state of U.S. war.

More and more “peace and social justice” groups are even being twisted into “democracy promotion,” U.S. militarism style. But rarely do we get a window to see as clearly into how this Orwellian transformation occurs as with the “Committee in Solidarity with the People of Syria” (CISPOS) based in Minnesota’s Twin Cities, a spin-off of “Friends for a Nonviolent World” (FNVW), steering its Quaker-inspired founding in nonviolence to promote speakers and essayists with strong ties to the violent uprising to topple the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad, resulting in a war that has already taken some 200,000 lives.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

This Is What Dollarocracy Looks Like

Dollar symbol gold.svg

Rugby471 (CC)

John Nichols (featured in Pay 2 Play!) writes “The 2014 election campaign was an exercise in dollarocracy, not democracy,” at The Nation:

In a democracy, citizens are in charge, votes matter and the governments that take shape after elections reflect the will of the people.

In a dollarocracy, money is considered “speech,” corporations are considered “people” and elected officials take their cues from the billionaires and corporate interests that write the biggest checks. Campaigns cost exponentially more from cycle to cycle (the 2014 price tag will exceed $4 billion for federal races and billions more for state, local, judicial and initiative and referendum contests), and government becomes reflective of the demands of donors.

But that is just the most obvious evidence of the crisis.

Dollarocracy is about a lot more than the money raised and spent in campaigns. It is about the collapse of meaningful journalism, resulting from the downsizing and closure of newspapers, the replacement of local news and talk radio programming with syndicated “content” from afar, the reduction in political coverage by local television news outlets, and the horse-race coverage and spin that tend to characterize national news programs on broadcast and cable television.

Read the rest
Continue Reading