October 19, 2012
Re "The good fight," Opinion, Oct. 15 I read with sadness Jim Newton's column on newspaper publisher Tim Crews' fight to gain access to public records. The term, public records, says it all: This is information that should be accessible to the public. The people grant powers to the government, not the other way around. We the people better pay attention when a decision like making Crews pay $56,000 for his public records request limits access crucial to maintaining an informed democracy, or we will soon find that our democracy is no longer informed or a democracy.
July 12, 2012 |
Under the new primary rules in California, the top two winners in a race go on to the general election, regardless of their party. Now the perverse result is that candidates of party A, which is overwhelmingly popular in their districts, must appeal to party B voters to win. ALSO: Photo gallery: Ted Rall cartoons Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s medical mystery mistake Poll: Is there a better way to break a...
July 4, 2013 |
Once the dust settles from Egypt's military coup Wednesday, the main victim won't be President Mohamed Morsi or the Islamists, who are survivors by nature. The real casualty will be democracy and people's faith in it. Egyptians will have lost their best chance at being an active part of their country's governance in more than 5,000 years. President Obama said he was "deeply concerned" about the coup. But the U.S. should also do some soul-searching; America's long relationship with Egypt's military has included funding, training and propagandizing, and many in Egypt can't help but feel that helped enable the coup.
September 16, 2012 |
Monday marks the 225th anniversary of the turning point of the world - the hinge of modern human history. On Sept. 16, 1787, kings, czars, sultans, princes, emperors, moguls, feudal lords and tribal chieftains dominated most of Earth's landmass and population. Wars and famines were commonplace. So it had always been. Democracies had existed in a few old Greek and Italian city-states, but most of these small-scale republics had winked out long before the American Revolution. While Britain had a House of Commons and a broad-based jury system, hereditary British kings and lords still retained vast powers.
December 17, 2011
Bill McKibben's Dec. 14 Op-Ed article decrying the influence of corporate money in Washington vis a vis the political battle over building the Keystone XL pipeline prompted several readers to say McKibben unfairly targeted those politicians who take the side of industry. One letter writer quipped that McKibben "writes an entire Op-Ed article about the corrupting influence of money in politics and never mentions the word 'union' once. " Reader Robert Helbing of Monrovia said big money influences all sides of a debate, including McKibben's own environmental activism: "Bill McKibben complains that oil company donations affect the votes of Republicans in Washington.
August 27, 2013 |
The events in Egypt are causing a great deal of moral and intellectual confusion in Western circles, preoccupied as they are with the concept of democracy (after all, ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was elected). Populist sentimentality abounds. I suggest, instead, judging events by the standards of constitutionalism - an ideology that asserts that human beings have certain unalienable rights that cannot be taken from them either by dictator or by the majority. Fareed Zakaria makes a good case for constitutionalism taking precedence over democracy in his book, "The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad.