Posts Tagged ‘accountability’

So Long Privacy, Hello Transparency

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

Patsy politicians pandering to plutocratic priorities threaten to pilfer our precious privacy. Lousy legislation like ACTA, SOPA and now CISPA have come to the forefront of this fight, and these bills will all be, hopefully, crushed without mercy beneath  the feet of millions of vigilant citizens.

Still, as disheartening as it may be to hear, these exercises could ultimately prove pointless because privacy is fast going extinct. (more…)

Iceland: Beating the Drums of Freedom Once Again

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

The plucky little island in the North Atlantic ocean – Iceland – is once again showing the rest of the world how an engaged and empowered population should behave.

You might recall how, earlier this year, Icelanders stuck it to the mega-banks and drafted a new people-first constitution. Or how, as of last week, they became the first European nation to acknowledge the State of Palestine.

So what are these champions of freedom up to now? Well, they’ve arrested the ex-CEO of one of their failed banks, along with a top trader and broker.

Finally, some heads might figuratively roll for the over $80 Billion debt left behind from the collapse of Iceland’s three biggest commercial banks. What a refreshing change of pace from what we see in America, where banks directly hire police to suppress the well-earned scorn of the public.

Take note, people of the world. When we work together, we can take on these giant institutions. Be the change we need, and get involved in the movement towards a brighter future.

Corporations Seeking Immunity for Rape, Torture, Genocide

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Imagine what can happen when international corporations are no longer liable for committing heinous crimes against humanity. It’s a scary premise for any entity, let alone some of the world’s most influential and vehemently greedy institutions.

Yet that is precisely what is being ruled on right now in the US, where a split decision is due to be settled in the Supreme Court.

The case centers around Shell Oil subsidiaries that colluded with the Nigerian government to torture and execute individuals protesting against the companies’ oil exploration. Plaintiffs filed suit in a US district court under the Alien Tort Statute, which empowers federal courts to hear cases by “an alien” bringing a civil suit for wrongs committed “in violation of the law of nations.”

Last year, while ruling on the Citizens United bill, the Supreme court found the First Amendment does mean Corporations are considered people, opening the doors for unlimited political spending by business entities. Now, this same ruling might make international corporations financially liable for their actions.

Of course, given how much clout these mega-conglomerates yield, it won’t come as a huge surprise to see the Supreme Court affording corporations all the pros of personhood while shielding them from any cons – like facing repercussions for using mass murder as a business tactic.

Whatever comes of this ruling, it certainly shows us the direction the pro-corporatism people want to take our world. It is far more profitable when businesses get all the benefits the government offers, while at the same time skirting any accountability and shirking all responsibility to the world in which they exist.

This is why populist movements, like #occupy, are so essential. The pro-business side will continue to tirelessly and systematically stack the cards in their own favor at the expense of everyone else. Unless we fight tooth and nail right now, the hill we’re climbing towards a more just civilization could very well grow into a mountain right under our feet.

Wikileaks Up to their Antics Again

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Wikileaks – the web’s notorious whistleblower of secrets and leaks – is up to their antics once again as they are in the process of releasing millions of diplomatic cables from many of the world’s government agencies. While some call the leaks threats to national security, others are hailing it as a blow against corruption and secrecy.

See, transparency in government is a good thing. Nay, it is a GREAT thing.

Transparency is exactly what we need to shift power away from the hands of the leaders and into the hands of the public. Transparency keeps governments and politicians accountable to us – the public – and not the other way around. This helps prevents us from falling under the rule of dictatorships and totalitarian regimes.

Today, in the Information Age, we could have a completely transparent government should we just demand it and then make it happen.

For example, imagine being able to go online to see a exact breakdown of government budgets and spending, for any level of government. We could see exactly how much money is coming in, see salaries, follow every dime of taxpayer money, and see where the fat and corruption truly is.

Of course those who are living high on the hog wouldn’t want their pork barrels to be visible to the public, which is why when budgets  are released they only deal with broad numbers and obtuse figures to keep the public in the dark.

Transparency is a great thing for freedom and democracy, and for keeping a check on those in power. Kudos to Wikileaks for taking a risk and paving the way to a brighter, more open future for all.

Update – While Wikileaks initially said this leak would be 7x the size of the Iraq war release, it appears that they only have about 250,000+ cables to release.