Measures how a society ranks on a spectrum stretching from democracy to despotism. Where does your community, state and nation stand on these scales?
Tag Archives | Democracy
Via Common Dreams:
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In a move of high-tech civil disobedience, thousands of Israeli citizens are donating their right to vote in the upcoming parliamentary elections to their Palestinian neighbors via Facebook.
‘Real Democracy,’ so far has over 1,700 followers and is allowing Israelis to “donate” their votes for the Palestinian cause, giving their ‘second-class’ citizen neighbors an opportunity to participate in the general elections on Tuesday.
Agence France Presse reports:
As a Palestinian living in the West Bank, Mousa Maria has no legal right to vote in Israeli elections this week. But thanks to a protest initiative, an Israeli voter will be casting a ballot for him.
He’s participating in the “Real Democracy” project, a joint campaign launched by Israeli and Palestinian peace activists in which Israeli citizens “donate” their ballot to Palestinians.
Maria will be voting through Shahaf Weisbein for the Arab-Israeli party Balad. He asked Weisbein to vote for the party to show support for its embattled member Hanin Zoabi, who faced attempts to disqualify her from the Knesset last month.
Tom McNamara, writing at Counterpunch:
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“Democracies die behind closed doors” – Judge Damon J. Keith
For 15 years (1956-1971) the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) ran a broad and highly coordinated domestic intelligence / counterintelligence program known as COINTELPRO (COunter INTELligence PROgrams). What was originally deemed as a justifiable effort to protect the US during the Cold War from Soviet and Communist threats and infiltration, soon devolved into a program for suppressing domestic dissent and spying on American citizens. Approximately 20,000 people were investigated by the FBI based only on their political views and beliefs. Most were never suspected of having committed any crime.
The reasoning behind the program, as detailed in a 1976 Senate report, was that the FBI had “the duty to do whatever is necessary to combat perceived threats to the existing social and political order.” The fact that the “perceived threats” were usually American citizens engaging in constitutionally protected behaviour was apparently overlooked.
Alexis de Tocqueville was amazingly observant and had an outsider perspective of American democracy. He was a deposed French Aristocrat from Normandy whose ancestors had fought in the battle of Hastings. His parents narrowly escaped the guillotine during the French Revolution. He came to America initially to study the Penal system but ended up writing his magnum opus Democracy in America, instead. He believed that democracy was providential, nonetheless, he expressed ambivalence to it. He observed then, that in contrast to his home country, America was beginning its democratic experiment with more or less a blank slate, whereas in France it had to establish itself over the legacy of aristocracy. So he often contrasted and compared American democracy with aristocracy.
I think of writers of Tocqueville’s era – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Herman Mellville – as having greater social intelligence. They seem a lot more invested than today’s writers in what they believed made individual people tick.… Read the rest
Occupy the Debates is encouraging activists and critical thinkers in every American city to organize their own events around the Presidential debates this month, fostering dialogue and dissent. Already there are events scheduled in San Diego, Denver (with political comedian Lee Camp and live music by Junkyard Empire), and here in my own beautiful San Francisco, on Mutiny Radio:
We’ll not only be live-streaming the debates in our gallery space and on the air, but we’ll also open up our microphones to the public to rebut the Master Debaters, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Both of these politicians are renowned liars, who sit in denial of the voice of the people. Get live on the air with Mutiny Radio DJs for each of the debates in October, and make your voice heard against their campaign cash machines! Discuss the issues that most likely won’t be covered by either corporate candidate: public banking, suppression of protest, discrimination, net neutrality, climate change, the NDAA, and the drone program!… Read the rest
Greece is the hardest-working country in the EU! According to Greece. And only Greece. According to Britain, Germany, Spain, Poland, and the Czech Republic, it's the laziest country in Europe. Meanwhile, Germany is the most respected EU country, according to the Pew Global report, European Unity on the Rocks. And Greece appears to be living in a bizarro universe where 78% of its respondents held negative views of Germany. Three in five Greeks said their country had Europe's hardest working citizens. Half of the rest of the respondents from the other seven nations said Greece had the laziest workforce in Europe...
Feel great if you live in the Treasure State. Reports the AP via the Guardian:
Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia are backing Montana in its fight to prevent the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision from being used to strike down laws restricting corporate spending in political campaigns.
The states led by New York are asking the high court to preserve Montana’s state-level regulations on corporate expenditures, according to a copy of a brief written by New York’s attorney general’s office and obtained by the Associated Press.
The supreme court is being asked to reverse a state court’s decision to uphold the Montana law. Virginia-based American Tradition Partnership is asking the nation’s high court to rule without a hearing because the group says the state law conflicts directly with the Citizens United decision that removed the federal ban on corporate campaign spending. The Supreme Court has blocked the Montana law until it can look at the case…
Tom Matlack writes on The Good Men Project:
The web is abuzz with TED’s decision not to let a former Amazon.com investor make his case for middle-class job creation. Meanwhile Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg gets ready to watch his $20 or so billion become liquid when his company opens trading this morning. The French and Greeks have elected liberal leaders who campaigned against austerity as the answer to the Euro debt crisis. And here in the United States the general election is kicking into high gear with the Romney campaign releasing this ad yesterday in key swing states.
Let’s try to get a few things straight here before resorting to mud slinging.
1) Any way you slice it we have a debt problem threatening to kill us.
Government spending here in the United States and across much of the developed world is completely out of control. As of March 2012, debt held by the public was $10.85 trillion or approximately 70% GDP, while the intragovernmental debt was $4.74 trillion or approximately 30% GDP.… Read the rest