Posts Tagged ‘government’

Demand Transparency

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

So many of the faults which plague systems of governance around the world could be solved if only we had the means to hold those in power accountable for their actions. And there is no better tool to do this than transparency.

Malevolence, corruption, cruelty… this things can only persist in the shadows. Out in the open, under the scrutiny of a watchful global eye, the weight of the world’s people will inevitably stamp out these injustices.

Imagine if cops and soldiers, while they were working, had to wear an always-on camera that streams the video to a publicly controlled database. The feed could be delayed, but will eventually be made – unaltered – to the public.

An ever watching lens could be doubly beneficial to police, helping to hold wrong-doers accountable while weeding  weed out abuses of power. The military could also be helped as streaming cameras ought to deter crimes against humanity, capture their acts of bravery, and show the public what the true face of war is.

Or suppose we demanded that governments account for every single dollar taxed and spent. Lay it all out for us online, make it easy to navigate and simple to understand – not because politicians and civil servants want to, but because we demand it. Mismanagement of funds and institutionalized corruption will be excised as it becomes glaringly evident as to who is taking far more than what they’ve earned.

The same goes for the US Healthcare system. Why not completely expose what’s been going on? It would be a great way to fix the problem. Institutionalized corruption. Collusion between health care elite, insurance companies and the government,  all maximizing personal profits at the expense of the public.

We have the technological means to make these things happen. The only reason it hasn’t arrived yet is because there isn’t enough will among the people.

Politicians? The Mainstream Media? Few of them are going to spearhead a ‘show everyone in the world what we are doing behind closed doors’ platform, so it’s up to the rest of us.

Spread the word, make our demand for transparency a part of everyday discussion.

FBI Wants Access to EVERYTHING

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

CNET has learned that the FBI is quietly pushing a plan requiring social-networking Web sites, providers of VoIP, instant messaging services, and Web e-mail to alter their code and ensure their products are wiretap-friendly. These so-called ‘backdoors’ would become mandatory should amendments to the existing CALEA wiretap laws be allowed to pass.

Yeah, because that’s just what we need for more security: a secretive government agency with unfettered access into our private lives. (more…)

Axe to Fall on Tories

Friday, April 6th, 2012

The Canadian government has been caught in a 25 billion dollar lie, and someone must be fired. But who will it be?

While many would like to see Stephen Harper take the blame, his natural greasiness will probably allow him to slip out from under the impending axe. Defense Minister Peter MacKay might not be so lucky, and who better than him to serve as the whipping boy.

No matter who takes the fall for this fiasco, their untimely departure will do little to restore the Conservative’s credibility with Canadians.

Passing expensive, unwanted and unnecessary crime bills, threatening the sanctity of our free Internet, enacting widespread electoral fraud and, now, straight-up deception with Parliament and the public alike.

If the Tories don’t get the boot after all this, we may as well just give them a license to bend us over at the waist.

Make Cops Wear Cameras

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Imagine if cops had to wear cameras where the video is streamed to a public database. How would they act with an unblinking and unbiased witness forever leaving them open to the people’s scrutiny?

Here’s my prediction: there would be less abuse of power. Police misconduct happens when they know they can get away with it. But under and ever-present eye to watch them, they’ll find it much harder to abuse the authority they’ve been entrusted with. (more…)

Insightful Imagery of the Day

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

Samuel Johnson once said that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. However, if your government no longer listens to the people and politicians are bought and paid for by corporations, dissent, like Howard Zinn says,  can be the highest form of patriotism. (more…)

Canadian Conservatives Consider Bolstering Big Brother

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

(Big Harper is watching you.)

Not one to shy away from the motto “Freedom is Slavery”, Stephen Harper and his conservative cronies have been drafting a new bill intent on making it easier for law enforcement agencies to peer into the private lives of Canadian citizens.

The bill deals with “lawful access” rules, giving police expanded influence for compelling Internet service providers to disclose customer information without a court order. The bill would also ban telcos from admitting that they have provided any such information.

Oh, great. That’s exactly what we need. More sweeping police powers. Why not install CCTV’s in everyone’s home while you’re at it, Mr. Harper?

No, actually don’t. That was just sarcasm.

We Canadians are doing fine already. Crime rates across the nation have been dropping for over a decade now. Sacrificing our precious civil liberties won’t likely help this trend.

The Conservative’s lawyers and lobbyists might be able to draft a bill that dances around the problem of being unconstitutional, but they’ll never prevent it from being unnecessary.

Wikileaks… Good Times

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Remember when Wikileaks released a bunch of classified documents and the establishment reeled from the threat of transparency? Man, that was sweet.  We should do that again.

Seriously, it was so exciting! One could almost feel the system changing with each step as the story unfolded. I miss those days.

What’s that? Wikileaks still has like 200,000 more classified cables to release, plus a whole backlog of dirt on some of the world’s biggest institutions? Nice! It seems more changes are on the way.

Did you also hear about the newly sprouted Wikileaks clones and mirrors? This means the struggle towards democracy and open government has never been stronger. Hooray!

Sure the fickle global spotlight seems to be moving on, but Cablegate is set to be remembered as a pivotal moment – a sign that the balance of power is shifting away from the few and into the hands of more and more people.

Here we go! More evidence to believe that a better world is sitting right upon our doorstep, and another reason to be optimistic for the future =D

Transparency for Peace

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

Empowering individuals and communities – shifting the power to the people – will continue to be one of the most important steps for ushering in a world of peace. When the world’s system is more in tune with the demands of the vast majority, we will have peace and prosperity for all people.

A great step we can take towards empowering ourselves is to demand more transparency throughout all levels of government and the political system. The more we can see the inner-workings of the system, the more we open up our leaders to public scrutiny, the less corruption and mismanagement we will have.

If we were to demand it, we could have a system that lets us know specific numbers, broken down by region, by city, by department, to know exactly where OUR money is being spent. It could be made widely accessible and easily searched so that all dollars coming in and going out could be tracked.

We could do the same for the electoral process. Knowing were campaign contributions were coming from, and being spent, would give great insight into knowing a politician’s agenda. For example, if Politician X was mostly funded by oil lobbyists and the NRA, we would expect Politician X to vote for pro-oil and pro-gun policies. Of course, if it were right out in the open, this kind of corruption would be hard to hide from the public, which is exactly the idea behind transparency.

Demanding such high-levels of transparency may seem extreme, and certainly frightening to the pork-barrel politicians whose pockets are lined by corporations and special interests, but steps in this direction would help us hold government officials accountable to the people they represent – you and me. The government should be afraid of the people, not the other way around.

Fortunately for us, and for the prospects of world peace, transparency has been consistently increasing throughout the world. The US has been pushing an Open Government Initiative. Citizens and bloggers armed with cell-phones cameras can break damning stories as they happen. Whistle-blower havens like Wikileaks expose corruption in corporations and governments alike.

Our world is becoming more open and increasingly tighter-knit, helping us to hold accountable the actions of those who hold power over us. The more transparency we have in our world’s system, the more power will reside in the hands of the people. The more power we have, the more we can make our world one of peace, equality and prosperity for everyone.