Democratic thinking

Articles on democracy in the independent online media

October 29, 2005

Republican Neocon Cabal

Republican 'moderates' lashed out at the Republican neocon 'cabal' with special darts aimed at VP Cheney and Pentagon chief Rumsfeld.

New America some time ago purposefully became a sounding board for those hoping to take back the Republican party from its far right-wing crusading ideologues. Like Brookings for liberals and AEI for neocons, New America has aspirations of power for its people in new administration to come. And as activist think-tanks go it even enjoys mixing mainly conservative Democrats with liberal Republicans -- a very centrist approach in polarized Washington.

BUT there is a big BUT to New America's self-professed allegiance to serious and open discussion about what's gone so wrong with the current America. Even though the key Washington neocons are intimately linked to the Israelis in general and Ariel Sharon specifically; you'd never know this from listening to New America forums. Even though the neocons are primarily Jewish by religion, right-wing Zionists by ideology, and intimately tied to a number of leading American Jewish lobbying and propaganda organizations by politics, you'd never know this from listening to New America discussions. These crucial subjects are off limits at New America just like at other corporate and foundation sponsored think-tanks in Washington. There's the considerable fear factor operating here; and of course the money factor as well.

More here.

Brazil's diversion politics project

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has revived plans to divert part of the course of the Sao Francisco river to the sertao region, an area known for its dry, arid climate. Currently, the plan is estimated to cost 4.5bn reais (about 2bn dollars).

The project is to provide water via two main canals, which will be fed from various networks of rivers and reservoirs to four north-eastern states. Minister of National Integration Ciro Gomes declared that the project would change the lives of some 12m people, without hurting a single Brazilian.

However, there has been opposition to the project from riparian states and environmental activists, including a Catholic bishop from Bahia, Luiz Flavio Cappio. Cappio ended a hunger strike after 11 days when the government agreed to re-open debates about the matter. He said that the transposition “will demand huge resources that could be spent on other projects much closer to the reality of the people”.

More from WanabeHuman.

Iran vs Israel

As Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calls for Israel to be wiped off the map, Trita Parsi explains how the Islamic Republic and the Jewish state were not always enemies.

The question is whether his explosive remarks indicate a more aggressive Iranian policy against the Jewish state or whether they were merely another sign of Ahmadinejad’s inability to grasp the implications of his proclamations.

Full article here.

October 15, 2005

UK Secret Intelligence Service launches website

WanabeHuman is discussing the launch of the UK Secret Service website.

A new kind of democracy

In a new article called Democracy and openDemocracy Anthony Barnett and Isabel Hilton discuss the new world developments that point to change and a new solution for politics.

"Terrorism, fundamentalism, and neo-liberal globalisation each pose a challenge to democracy. openDemocracy intends to play a key role defending and deepening democracy."

Democracy in Nepal

Pro-democratic political parties in Nepal will actively boycott the parliamentary elections the king plans to hold within 18 months from now.

“The intention is not positive,” says Ram Chandra Poudel, a Nepali Congress leader, commenting on the recent royal announcement of Parliamentary elections within the year 2063 BS (that is to say, within 18 months from now). “So we have not taken this announcement positively. We will not participate in the election and we will not let that (election) happen.”

More from United we Blog!

October 08, 2005

Holocaust Day replaced with Genocide Day

New Order strikes again?

The UK Prime Minister Tony Blair’s advisers, appointed after the 7 July London bombings, are proposing to scrap "Holocaust Day" because it is regarded as offensive to Muslims.

The advisers want to replace it with a "Genocide Day" that would encompass the killing of all peoples everywhere. Some Muslim committee members raised the objection that "it gives the impression that Western lives are worth more than non-Western lives".

I am tired of hearing this same rant from Muslim "community leaders", whose thinly-veiled anti-Semitism must be resisted by all communities in the UK, Alya Shakir argues.

Personally I disagree with her view but you can make up your own mind by reading the full article.

October 06, 2005

Death, media, and the public

When media report wars or disasters, why are death tolls announced before bodies are counted? And what does this do to our democracy? Jean Seaton, author of Carnage and the Media, dissects the numbers game.

The road to nowhere

The Global Commission on International Migration's report set out to change minds about a key 21st-century challenge. An instructive failure, writes Gregory A Maniatis of the Migration Policy Institute.

The Global Commission on International Migration (GCIM), launched in December 2003, is an ambitious attempt to mobilise political and public attention on migration. It owes its existence primarily to the will of one man, Jan Karlsson, an admired former migration minister in Sweden. Try though he did, Karlsson could not persuade Kofi Annan to make this a United Nations initiative.

Gregory A Maniatis reports.

Anti-Muslim sentiment

Fmr. Army Chaplain James Yee on the Abuse of Prisoners at Guantanamo, His Wrongful Imprisonment and Anti-Muslim Sentiment in the Military.

DemocracyNow! is looking at the extraordinary case of Chaplain James Yee - one of the first Muslim Chaplains commissioned by the U.S Army. Yee was posted in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 2002, but less than a year after serving there, he was accused of espionage by the military and faced charges so severe, that he was threatened with the death penalty.

More here

October 01, 2005

War over the Net

The age of the internet has brought with it exciting, fresh ideas about the disintermediation of power and peer accountability. But who is responsible for the standards and functions of the network itself? Bill Thompson charts the history of internet governance, reflects on what has been lost as accountability passes from the hands of the geeks to those of the politicians and lawyers, and offers his proposal for redressing the democratic deficit.

Bill Thompson on The Democratic Republic of Cyberspace.

The postmodernism of despair

The combative cultural and political worldview of Northern Ireland’s working-class Protestant communities is not an atavistic residue but part of a complex response to the modern global condition.
Stephen Howe on mad dogs, Ulstermen and the crisis of Loyalism.