democracy

Occupy Movement Next Step

  • Posted on: 1 December 2011
  • By: statusquobuster

Occupy Movement: Next Step Convergence

Joel S. Hirschhorn

There is a growing convergence of thinking about where the US Occupy movement should go as a next step to turning its values, concerns and commitments into changing what most Americans see as broken government under control of corporate interests. When it comes to political and social movements, history shows us that they usually fail not because they disappear, but rather because they become marginalized, unimportant despite a core group of committed people and groups.

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Eli Pariser: Internet's democratizing potential is derailed by invisible algorithmic personalization

  • Posted on: 20 May 2011
  • By: deltadoc

"A squirrel dying in your front yard may be more relevant to your interests right now than people dying in Africa." - Eli Parser's paraphrase of Facebook's driving algorithm. 

I find TED Talks to be almost unfailingly signficant in some aspect of a given topic's presentation. That is the objective, after all, to use Internet power to inform the world of great ideas.

And, so, it's blunt non-irony to watch MoveOn's Eli Pariser calling the gatekeeping innovators of the Internet to task for having inverted that power. Instead, he says that a 'filter bubble' is fostering global myopia through a process that uses the hidden algorithmic analysis of individual web navigation patterns to personalize the websurfing experience.

Revolution Handbook for Americans

  • Posted on: 21 February 2011
  • By: statusquobuster

As recently presented, there is global respect for and use of the classic and brilliant work by Gene Sharp “From Dictatorship to Democracy.” It is credited for empowering many actions around the world to overthrow dictatorships, including recent actions in the Mideast. My thesis is that his ideas, strategies and tactics, a handbook for revolution, can and should be applied to the US where there is a form of corporate dictatorship operating.

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Al Jazeera English: Iraqis flee Cairo for safety in Baghdad

  • Posted on: 3 February 2011
  • By: luaptifer

Much of the world is absorbed in the transformative events taking place across Egypt, the 85 million-person leader of the Arab world.

So have we.  I have been unable to break away from the live stream video @ Al Jazeera English until I was forced to when the stream proved unavailable this morning and I had to search up an alternative real time source, at Youtube

I thought that it must be time to step back a bit, towards normalcy, and all of the things that pile up on top of the priority list which must come before volunteering effort here...until I saw the headline for this video, and found the need to post it.

Thank God for Al Jazeera English, I remember back when the US had such media!

Iraqis flee Cairo for safety in Baghdad

I hope for the best, safest outcome possible to the people of Egypt and Iraq, and one that leaves to people of each country a destiny they choose and make for themselves. 

That's Gerrymandering

  • Posted on: 14 June 2010
  • By: Connecticut Man1

From C4AF's Eric Loftke, that's Gerrymandering with a hard G:

Gerrymandering goes far to explain why dissatisfaction is so high, debate is so partisan and problems so unsolved. An elected official in a seat designed for safe reelection need do nothing else. Politicians in gerrymandered districts pick their constituents, not the other way around.

I especially like the scene with Peter Wagner of the Prison Policy Initiative describing a city council seat in tiny Anamosa, Iowa. The council member is elected with only two votes, his neighbor and his wife. Everyone else who makes up his districts is in a nearby prison. They can’t vote but they still count for purposes of political apportionment. Prison-based gerrymandering brings “representation without population,” Wagner complains.

I learned something else about gerrymandering. I’ve been saying it wrong, all these years (though I probably still will). It’s pronounced with a hard G, named after colonial era governor Elbridge Gerry, hard G, who redrew his state’s district lines in 1812 to secure party advantage. A period newspaper observed that the district map looked like a salamander, and dubbed it a “Gerry-mander.”

And with another Census recently behind us... A little reminder that s/he who controls redistricting controls the future of voting results to a large degree. Just ask Tom DeLay. Even if his efforts were pretty darned illegal when taken on its proven face value:

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American Disappointment

  • Posted on: 2 January 2010
  • By: statusquobuster

My anger has morphed into sadness, heartbreak actually. As the decade of zeros ends I see nothing but a tragic, historic and deadening American Disappointment, a terrible replacement for a once noble American Dream. The Great Recession was merely one symptom of the nation’s slide into slime, a quicksand created by the two-party plutocracy.

Student protestors arrested in Iran's "18th of Tir" speak to pro-democracy rally in Washington.

  • Posted on: 13 July 2009
  • By: luaptifer

On July 9, Iranians bravely commemorated the beginning of 1999 protests and VR recorded Iranian-Americans' solidarity rally in DC that day.  Watch their video record of the July 11 rally here.

This year's challenge of Iranian election results drew millions to the streets and vastly many more to venues across the Internet-connected world for news and support.  The revolution was tweeted: Google even released a new translator, Persian ALPHA, while on Facebook and Twitter, people of the global village watched and participated where possible, in the inspiringly massive and originally peaceful demand that the government deliver the democratic change they believed was due. 

The right to dissent is not so guarenteed by clerics who disagree, however, and scenes of students battling Basijis through the university gates emerged as new emblems of an older Iranian tradtion where students lead in protest against excesses of monarchs and mullahs.

This weekend's pro-democracy rally in Washington, DC was timed to promise solidarity of Iranian-Americans with the people of Iran while celebrating the 10th anniversary of students dying to defend another democratic essential, independent media.

On July 11, 2009, speakers drew straight lines from the student protests known as 18th of Tir to current events in Iran.  The rally featured personal messages from four former students arrested after the hardliner-controlled judiciary forced shutdown of a pro-reform newspaper on July 7, 1999.  Demanding removal of a ban that silenced the presses of reformist-Salam, demonstrations turned violent when a student in an attack by police.

Eventually, a week that saw major unrest spread to cities across Iran left at least three dead, scores missing, and hundreds detained by authorities.

Watch videos of the weekend anniversary rally below.

[CORRECTION: The July 11 event was not organzed by the Facebook group, Iranian-American Youth.]

 

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HONORING THE FALLEN: US Military KIA, Iraq & Afghanistan/Pakistan – June 2009

  • Posted on: 4 July 2009
  • By: jimstaro

Promoted. Originally posted 2009-07-04 10:16:58 -0400. -- GH

Dover 'Old Guard'
Dover 'Old Guard' team shoulders heavy burden

 

Iraq, Rapidly becoming the Forgotten War!! There have been 4,641 coalition deaths -- 4,324 Americans, 2 Australians, 1 Azerbaijani, 179 Britons, 13 Bulgarians, 1 Czech, 7 Danes, 2 Dutch, 2 Estonians, 1 Fijian, 5 Georgians, 1 Hungarian, 33 Italians, 1 Kazakh, 1 Korean, 3 Latvian, 22 Poles, 3 Romanians, 5 Salvadoran, 4 Slovaks, 11 Spaniards, 2 Thai and 18 Ukrainians -- in the war in Iraq as of June 4 2009, according to a CNN count. { Graphical breakdown of casualties }. The list below is the names of the soldiers, Marines, airmen, sailors and Coast Guardsmen whose deaths have been reported by their country's governments. The list also includes seven employees of the U.S. Defense Department. At least 31,354 U.S. troops have been wounded in action, according to the Pentagon. View casualties in the war in Afghanistan.

Iran one Last Time: Twitter Works Both Ways

  • Posted on: 19 June 2009
  • By: luaptifer

[Reposted with permission from Sibel Edmonds' blog 123 Real Change.]

Seeking Our Iranian Comrades’ Solidarity

Dear Activists in Iran:

We stand in solidarity with you and your movement against the alleged election fraud you’ve claimed. In return we hope you will reciprocate by supporting us in our struggle here in which we’ve been engaged for hmmmm…more or less eight years now – the following is an abbreviated list of our grievances:
 

"Capture the Flag"

  • Posted on: 31 May 2009
  • By: jimstaro

 

‘Capture the Flag: A Political History of American Patriotism’

The flag is not powerful in spite of its ambiguity; it is powerful because of its ambiguity. It has stood, at different times, for radical democracy, opposition to immigration, the abolition of slavery, unregulated capitalism, segregation, integration, and a hawkish war policy, among many other things.



Read a selection from the introduction of "Capture the Flag: A Political History of American Patriotism" by Woden Teachout

A winter wind swept across New York Harbor on a late after noon the day after Christmas in 1971. Tourists riding the last two ferries from Manhattan to the Statue of Liberty huddled against the bulkheads, sheltering themselves from the gusts. Among the passengers were clusters of long-haired adults in well used army-surplus clothing, looking for all the world like hippies taking in the world-famous landmark. The mission of these fifteen men, however, went far beyond tourism.

Immediately upon docking at the island, the men performed a quick reconnaissance. They wedged open a few doors and then took refuge from sight; some crouched behind the massive supporting columns in the base of the statue. Some found storage closets and tucked themselves away......................Read Rest Here


HONORING THE FALLEN: US Military KIA, Iraq & Afghanistan/Pakistan – April 2009

  • Posted on: 5 May 2009
  • By: jimstaro

Iraq, Rapidly becoming the Forgotten War!! There have been 4,603 coalition deaths -- 4,286 Americans, 2 Australians, 1 Azerbaijani, 179 Britons, 13 Bulgarians, 1 Czech, 7 Danes, 2 Dutch, 2 Estonians, 1 Fijian, 5 Georgians, 1 Hungarian, 33 Italians, 1 Kazakh, 1 Korean, 3 Latvian, 22 Poles, 3 Romanians, 5 Salvadoran, 4 Slovaks, 11 Spaniards, 2 Thai and 18 Ukrainians -- in the war in Iraq as of May 5 2009, according to a CNN count. { Graphical breakdown of casualties }. The list below is the names of the soldiers, Marines, airmen, sailors and Coast Guardsmen whose deaths have been reported by their country's governments. The list also includes seven employees of the U.S. Defense Department. At least 31,230 U.S. troops have been wounded in action, according to the Pentagon. View casualties in the war in Afghanistan.

 

HONORING THE FALLEN: US Military KIA, Iraq & Afghanistan/Pakistan – March 2009

  • Posted on: 6 April 2009
  • By: jimstaro

First Photos of Fallen Soldier Ends 18-Year Ban - 4.05.09

 

An airman stands next to the coffin containing the body of Air Force Staff Sgt. Phillip Myers as it is lowered from a plane upon its return to the U.S. at Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Delaware April 5, 2009. Myers, of Hopewell, Virginia, died April 4 near Helmand province, Afghanistan of wounds suffered from an improvised explosive device. For the first time since the Obama administration reversed an 18-year-old ban on news coverage of returning fallen soldiers, the military allowed media to cover to cover the arrival tonight of an airman killed in Afghanistan. Collapse (Joshua Roberts/REUTERS)

I wish to thank the families who allowed the press photo's showing the respect the fallen receive and the real cost of war!!

 

Iraq's Workers Unite as U.S. workers welllllllll........

  • Posted on: 17 March 2009
  • By: jimstaro

Look around you, what can one say, except possibly going further into lower wages, at least they wouldn't be stagnant as they have been for most for these past years.

And workers having a Voice, C'mon!!!

Iraqi unions announce new confederation

And where did this take place, wellll.... in Iraq, of all places:

People's Weekly World Newspaper, 03/17/09