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The Green Train - Witness. Filmmakers: Rashed Radwan and Carmen Marques' Once upon a time Iraq boasted an extensive railway network criss-crossing the country.

The Green Train - Witness

But like so much else there, trains were a victim of the years of conflict and now only a skeleton service still runs. Sixty-one year-old Abdul Latif Salman has a unique connection to the railways and a personal history that mirrors the turbulence of recent decades. In his youth he was one of three drivers assigned to Saddam Hussein's private luxury train. He was later a prisoner of war in Iran for ten years and his son was killed by a bomb attack on a government building in Iraq. Today, Salman is a driver once again on the newly-revived passenger service running from Baghdad to the south.

Filmmakers Rashed Radwan and Carmen Marques' take us on a journey with him through the heart of modern Iraq calling at stations once thought to be shut forever, in communities that have been under siege for years. Special Reports. War No More. As Steven Pinker observes, we recall the twentieth century as an age of unparalleled violence, and we characterize our own epoch as one of terror.

War No More

But what if our historical moment is in fact defined not by mass killing but by the greatest levels of peace and safety ever attained by human­kind? The myth of the rational voter. The crisis raises legitimate questions about capitalism itself.

Homeless pearls...

Economists and Democracy by Dani Rodrik. Exit from comment view mode.

Economists and Democracy by Dani Rodrik

Click to hide this space CAMBRIDGE – I have been presenting my new book The Globalization Paradox to different groups of late. By now I am used to all types of comments from the audience. But at a recent book-launch event, the economist assigned to discuss the book surprised me with an unexpected criticism. “Rodrik wants to make the world safe for politicians,” he huffed. Lest the message be lost, he then illustrated his point by reminding the audience of “the former Japanese minister of agriculture who argued that Japan could not import beef because human intestines are longer in Japan than in other countries.” Weekend Musing: Direct Democracy and Voters -

Guest blogger Steven Spadijer, of Australian National University, continues with Part Two of his series on Direct Democracy.

Weekend Musing: Direct Democracy and Voters -

Part One is available here. Weekend Musing: Direct Democracy and Economics - Guest blogger Steven Spadijer presents a multi-part series on Direct Democracy to start off the Weekend Musing articles for 2012.

Weekend Musing: Direct Democracy and Economics -

In this first post he examines the empirical evidence, speficially the economic impact versus a “representative” democracy. The second post will confront the questions regarding the intelligence of voters, particularly the information-rich environment effect on voter knowledge and interest in politics. In the final post Steven will question if Australia should abolish the states and create something more akin to highly decentralised Swiss cantons. What is Direct Democracy?

Direct Democracy allows a prescribed number of citizens’ to veto an existing law or enact a constitutional amendment or statute independent of the legislature at a referendum. Hackgate, power elites and the limits of the “corruption” critique. Just days before the first revelations of hackgate started to emerge, I remarked to a left-wing friend of mine impatient at the failure of the causes we share to gain any wider traction, that it was nearly always “corruption” scandals involving elites rather than the power of reasoned critique which opened up a window for profound and lasting change.

Hackgate, power elites and the limits of the “corruption” critique

The observation stemmed from the insight of Robert Darnton, and other scholars of revolutionary France, that it was not so much the rational arguments of the Enlightenment philosophes, but the relentless attacks of the libellistes – the French gutter press - on the greed and depravity of Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette, which led to the French populace’s disillusionment with monarchy and ultimately the downfall of the ancien regime. More recently, we saw in Egypt, how the malfeasance of Mubarak’s government, as exposed by Wikileaks and others, played such an important role in spurring on the protesters. We are at a pivotal moment. Making the University a Police State. This weekend The Chronicle of Higher Education published an opinion piece by Michael Morris arguing that in the name of campus security campuses should start data mining all student internet traffic.

Making the University a Police State

Or as the not so subtle, fear mongering, almost fit for Fox News title says, “Mining Student Data Could Save Lives.” Morris’s article to put the matter bluntly is a phenomenally bad idea. Indeed his argument so ill conceived that it is difficult to know where to begin in exposing the problems. I even question The Chronicle’s choice to publish this piece. Yes, opinions are helpful for generating discussion, but a certain amount of competency should have to be cleared before The Chronicle is willing to co-sign your piece, even if done under the commentary section.

Let’s start by being clear on what Morris is calling for. Technologically Morris doesn’t know what he is talking about and ethically he equates himself with some of the world’s most oppressive governments. 'The Fate of an Honest Intellectual', by Noam Chomsky (Excerpted from Understanding Power) I'll tell you another, last case—and there are many others like this.

'The Fate of an Honest Intellectual', by Noam Chomsky (Excerpted from Understanding Power)

Here's a story which is really tragic. How many of you know about Joan Peters, the book by Joan Peters? There was this best-seller a few years ago [in 1984], it went through about ten printings, by a woman named Joan Peters—or at least, signed by Joan Peters—called From Time Immemorial. It was a big scholarly-looking book with lots of footnotes, which purported to show that the Palestinians were all recent immigrants [i.e. to the Jewish-settled areas of the former Palestine, during the British mandate years of 1920 to 1948]. And it was very popular—it got literally hundreds of rave reviews, and no negative reviews: the Washington Post, the New York Times, everybody was just raving about it. Well, he got back one answer, from me. University Inc. - corporate corruption of Research & HE - Beyond the Limits of Neoliberal Higher Education: Global Youth Resistance and the American/British Divide.

Naomi Wolf: Fascist America, in 10 easy steps. Last autumn, there was a military coup in Thailand.

Naomi Wolf: Fascist America, in 10 easy steps

The leaders of the coup took a number of steps, rather systematically, as if they had a shopping list. In a sense, they did. Within a matter of days, democracy had been closed down: the coup leaders declared martial law, sent armed soldiers into residential areas, took over radio and TV stations, issued restrictions on the press, tightened some limits on travel, and took certain activists into custody. They were not figuring these things out as they went along. If you look at history, you can see that there is essentially a blueprint for turning an open society into a dictatorship. As difficult as this is to contemplate, it is clear, if you are willing to look, that each of these 10 steps has already been initiated today in the United States by the Bush administration. It is my argument that, beneath our very noses, George Bush and his administration are using time-tested tactics to close down an open society. 1. 2.

Shock Doctrines. How to Stop a Multinational - Activate. @Google: Lawrence Lessig: Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress—and a Plan to Stop It. The New American Corporate State - The Strike and Its Enemies. The State of Statelessness - Henry Farrell. Under Three Flags: Anarchism and the Anti-Colonial Imaginationby Benedict AndersonVerso, 2006, 255 pp., $25 The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asiaby James C.

The State of Statelessness - Henry Farrell

ScottYale University Press, 2009, 464 pp., $35 On August 8, 1897, Michele Angiolillo, an Italian anarchist, shot Antonio Cánovas del Castillo, the Prime Minister of Spain. Cánovas had dominated Spanish politics for decades, even during periods when he was nominally out of office, helping shore up Spain’s tottering monarchy and its possession of Cuba and the Philippines through torture and wide-scale military repression. Spanish imperialism in the Americas died with him: Cuba and the Philippines soon drifted out of Spain’s sphere of control and into that of the United States. A century later, anarchists have largely given up on violence. While anarchism still inspires political action, anarchists do rather little to organize that action into a larger program for change.