The Long Now has a good post on their blog summarizing the fate of Paul Romer’s Charter City initiative in Honduras. In short, it’s gone down in flames. Especially with the ideas and capital coming from N. America, this really shouldn’t surprise anyone. There’s a good core idea in Romer’s Charter City pitch, but it has to be more like an organic autonomous region and less like a maquiladora or a colonial outpost.
In Berlin, Pirates have won 9% of the vote, and now have 15 seats in the city-state’s legislature. This kind of gradual integration of supposedly “fringe” issues into mainstream politics is valuable, and also impossible in an electoral system like the US has.
Nobody from Wall St. but Bernie Madoff is going to jail. No wonder the banksters continue their trillion dollar white collar crime spree. They and their regulators are one in the same. Favorite quote from a congressional staffer: “You put Lloyd Blankfein in pound-me-in-the-ass prison for one six-month term, and all this bullshit would stop, all over Wall Street. That’s all it would take. Just once.” Meanwhile we jail a mom in Ohio for trying to send her kid to a better school across town.
It’s frustrating to feel like nothing you do matters. In isolation, we have very little effect on the world. It’s only in aggregate, by organizing with other people that large changes — social chain reactions — can happen. Sometimes it’s done purposefully, as in the case of universal suffrage or the civil rights movement. Sometimes we don’t even realize what we’ve been organized to do, as with our present efforts to terraform the Earth. A few weeks ago I was completely absorbed by the uprising in Egypt. I don’t watch live video much (and no TV), and I was glued to Al Jazeera, and temporarily subscribed to a dozen actively twittering people in Cairo. Then my sister sent me a link to a live hummingbird cam, which was jarringly disconnected from what I’d been immersed in, which looked more like this:
Congressional Research Service report on the implications of the Egyptian revolution for US foreign policy (pdf). Also has good background on the nature of our relationship with Egypt, including our ongoing aid package and political pressures.
A warning from the UN Development Project in 2002 describing the problems and frustrations of the Arab world. Chief among them western support for their oppressive dictatorships. It’s not like we didn’t know there was a problem here. We just chose to ignore it. America FTW!
UN Joint Statement on WikiLeaks – A pretty unequivocal statement from the UN to the effect that WikiLeaks’ activity is legal, and that the extrajudicial sanctions which have been applied to it are not.