democracy

Project Censored: Top 25 stories ignored by media in past year

Ok, this list should be pretty old news by now, but — by definition — the content of it is not. Because... it's simply not in the news:

The Top 25 stories ignored by media in past year (via Project Censored):

  • Future of Internet Debate Ignored by Media
  • Halliburton Charged with Selling Nuclear Technologies to Iran
  • Oceans of the World in Extreme Danger
  • Hunger and Homelessness Increasing in the US
  • High-Tech Genocide in Congo
  • Federal Whistleblower Protection in Jeopardy
  • US Operatives Torture Detainees to Death in Afghanistan and Iraq
  • Pentagon Exempt from Freedom of Information Act
  • The World Bank Funds Israel-Palestine Wall
  • Expanded Air War in Iraq Kills More Civilians
  • Dangers of Genetically Modified Food Confirmed
  • Pentagon Plans to Build New Landmines
  • New Evidence Establishes Dangers of Roundup
  • Homeland Security Contracts KBR to Build Detention Centers in the US
  • Chemical Industry is EPA’s Primary Research Partner
  • Ecuador and Mexico Defy US on International Criminal Court
  • Iraq Invasion Promotes OPEC Agenda
  • Physicist Challenges Official 9-11 Story
  • Destruction of Rainforests Worst Ever
  • Bottled Water: A Global Environmental Problem
  • Gold Mining Threatens Ancient Andean Glaciers
  • $Billions in Homeland Security Spending Undisclosed
  • US Oil Targets Kyoto in Europe
  • Cheney’s Halliburton Stock Rose Over 3000 Percent Last Year
  • US Military in Paraguay Threatens Region

Full list with more details here...

(via Boing Boing)

Why voting machines suck and undermine democracy [Update]

If there are electronic voting machines where you live, and you've ever considered using one of those... well, you should probably reconsider.

In this CNN report (M4V video, 13 MB) Avi Rubin explains why voting machines are a really, really bad idea. To quote some issues raised in the video:

  • There's no way for voters to verify that their votes were recorded correctly.
  • There's no way to count votes in a publicly viewable fashion.
  • Meaningful recounts are impossible.
  • Machines must be trusted not to fail (and we all know that computers never fail, right? ... right?).
  • The Diebold machines contain gross design and programming errors (a detailed analysis is available).
  • The quality of voting machines cannot be determined, because their code is proprietary (closed systems can never be trusted, especially so in such important scenarios)

The CCC Berlin has a very detailed analysis of the topic (German), with many links to further articles.

I'd recommend everyone to not use voting machines at all, but rather perform traditional pen-and-paper voting, if you value your vote... Also, make sure to inform relatives and friends about the risks of voting machines, and complain to your local responsible authorities, and ask them to remove these unreliable, insecure machines.

Update 2006-09-18: Just in case you thought that maybe you can trust the Diebold machines after all - their locks can be opened with a standard hotel minibar key.

(via The Lunatic Fringe)

Democracy Player 0.9.0 - one step closer to world do... a very cool Internet video/podcast application

Democracy Player 0.9 screenshot

Democracy Player 0.9.0 has been released yesterday, which has been announced in quite a number of places already, e.g. Boing Boing.

It's available for Mac, Windows, and Linux; if you're on Debian unstable the installation is as simple as apt-get install democracyplayer (I uploaded the new packages yesterday, they should have reached all mirrors by now).

If you want to know what this is all about, but you're reluctant to install yet another program, check out this screencast (MOV, 37MB) which shows the basic functionality and user interface and discusses some of the new features... I think you'll like it.

You can use it for all kinds of video blogs and podcasts, it'll download and play almost anything with an RSS feed.

Invoke 9/11

I stumbled over this video (5.2 MB) today, while watching videoblogs in democracyplayer (for which I'm preparing a Debian package at this very moment).

The video seems to be a bit older, and I have no idea who the original author is or what license applies to it. Anyways, it's funny, scary and very very true at the same time. Watch it.

Al Gore Speech on Unlawful Wiretapping, Imprisonment, and Torture by US President Bush

Al Gore

Al Gore, former vice president of the US, has given a very, very interesting and impressing speech on Martin Luther King Day a few days ago.

He states very clearly a huge number of (unlawful, illegal, or immoral) things the current US president Bush and/or his administration have done. For example:

  • illegal wiretapping of American citizens
  • illegal imprisonment of American (and other) citizens
  • illegal torture by the CIA
  • illegal kidnapping of people
  • suppression of free speech by threatening NASA scientists
  • and lots more

A quote of Al Gore, from a small Reuters summary of the speech:

We still have much to learn about the NSA's domestic surveillance. What we do know about this pervasive wiretapping virtually compels the conclusion that the president of the United States has been breaking the law repeatedly and insistently.

Transscripts are available from The Raw Story and the Washington Post, and there's also a full audio recording of the speech (MP3, 48 MB).

Although I'm not very political usually (or at least I don't write too much about it), this is really something I highly recommend listening to. I cannot imagine why a president of a democratic country can still be in charge, after all these things have become publically known...

(via Tim Pritlove)

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