Bush administration plans for "the world's wealthiest nations to declare their support for democracy in the Middle East" at the G8 Summit this week are backfiring. The declaration "has strained relations with several important allies in the Arab world," including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Morocco, Egypt and Pakistan.
In a move Australia's foreign minister decried as "outrageous and indefensible, utterly at odds with ... an open and democratic society," an American human rights monitor has been ordered to leave Indonesia.
The Boston Globe reports that the Democratic National Convention Host Committee's message has changed over the past month, from "Celebrate Boston" to "Let's Work Around It." "The desire to make the convention a community celebration is rubbing up against security precautions ordered for the first political convention since the Sept 11, 2001, terrorist attacks," the Globe writes. Protest restrictions at both the Boston Democratic and New York Republican conventions are raising concerns.
"Few would debate that the U.S.-led coalition needs some potent PR in Iraq," writes Clayton Collins.
As area residents and activists prepared to participate in a public hearing on DuPont Titanium Technologies' request to increase polluting activities at its plant outside Pass Christian, Mississippi, they had no idea they'd have a long wait before getting a turn to speak. "When they realized a handful of prominent supporters - including economic development directors, chamber boosters, bankers and several plant employees - had reserved the first hour and a half of floor time, the hundreds of concerned residents grew livid," reports Greg Harman.
Salon.com has published an excerpt from former right-wing journalist David Brock's new book, The Republican Noise Machine: Right-Wing Media and How It Corrupts Democracy. In an accompanying interview, Brock talks about how the conservative media "sets a climate and helps set parameters and helps form impressions. ...
"As Howard Rheingold, who literally wrote the book, Smart Mobs, says: 'Civilizations jump in complexity whenever a threshold for collective action is lowered. It's not just street protestors. It's science, democracy, markets, the way people meet and mate, the way people use cities and the way motor vehicles use roadways that are affected ... when mobile communication and pervasive computing enable new forms of collective action,'" Brad deGraf writes for AlterNet. "'Wikis' have become the participatory writing tool of choice, and have revolutionized online collaboration.
"A California elections panel examining computerized voting machines has unanimously recommended that machines using touch-screen technology be banned in some California counties," reports W. David Gardner.
The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression chooses April 13, the anniversary of Jefferson's birth, to issue its annual "Jefferson Muzzles" award to call attention to "those who in the past year forgot or disregarded Mr. Jefferson's admonition that freedom of speech 'cannot be limited without being lost.'" This year's awards included:
One year after the staged toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue in Firdos Square, the bloody violence in Iraq is reaching new peaks.