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OPINION
June 30, 2012
Re "Political spenders now want secrecy," June 26 That transparency could somehow inhibit democracy is a dangerous idea, one that in fact threatens democracy itself. As if theU.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling - which essentially lets the political voices of a select few in this country rise drastically above all the rest - weren't undemocratic enough, now we need to maintain the anonymity of those voices as well? Why? Because if we don't, their companies might be boycotted and their phone lines might be bombarded with contrasting opinions?
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OPINION
April 6, 2014
Re "Even more money in politics?," Editorial, April 3 As an attorney, any remaining illusion I had that our highest judicial body decides cases on a nonpartisan basis is gone after reading the Supreme Court's decision in McCutcheon vs. Federal Election Commission. First, the tortured Citizens United finding in 2010 - that corporations have 1st Amendment rights similar to those of individuals - opened the floodgates for those who want to buy the government. After that, the Shelby County case gutted the Voting Rights Act, resulting in gleeful red states passing laws that prevent poor people and minorities from voting.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 13, 1999
Just a few bad apples, like the U.S. Congress, can give democracy a bad name. HOWARD BENSEN Woodland Hills
OPINION
March 27, 2014 | By Jonathan Zimmerman
A few years ago, I found myself sitting on an airplane next to a gentleman from Egypt. Talk quickly turned to the upheaval in his country, where the so-called Arab Spring was in full bloom. "We want a real democracy," he told me, "not like yours. " When I pressed him to elaborate, he shot back with a question of his own. "How many times have you voted," he asked, "when someone named 'Bush' or 'Clinton' wasn't running?" The answer, I sheepishly admitted, was once: in 2008. Before that - going back to 1980, the first year I cast a ballot - every single presidential ticket featured someone from one of those two families.
OPINION
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.
NEWS
July 12, 2012 | By Ted Rall
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...
OPINION
July 4, 2013 | By Emad Mekay
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.
WORLD
January 2, 2010 | Times Wire Services
Thousands of Hong Kong residents marched to the Chinese government's liaison office on Friday demanding that Beijing grant full democracy to the semiautonomous financial hub. Chanting "One man, one vote to choose our leader!" and clutching signs reading "Democracy now," the demonstrators set off from a crowded street in the heart of the central financial district. Some held aloft portraits of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, demanding his release after he was sentenced last week to 11 years on subversion charges.
OPINION
September 16, 2012 | By Akhil Reed Amar
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.
WORLD
March 30, 2013 | By Carol J. Williams
In the heady days of 1989, nondemocratic regimes fell like dominoes to the peaceful march of activists across Eastern Europe. Even China briefly appeared vulnerable to popular demands for a voice in how the country is ruled -- until the crackdown at Tiananmen Square. The spread of democratic rule was at its apex a decade ago, when many of Africa's strongmen went the way of the discredited European Communists. Free elections brought to power a new generation promising to wrest the continent from poverty.
OPINION
March 9, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
Myanmar, the country formerly known as Burma, has made substantial progress in the last few years, moving from military rule toward democracy, releasing political prisoners and freeing from house arrest Nobel Prize-winning democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi. However, the government has relentlessly continued its appalling treatment of the Rohingya population that lives in Rakhine state in western Myanmar. A Muslim minority in an overwhelmingly Buddhist country, the Rohingya are effectively denied citizenship unless they can meet onerous requirements, such as tracing their lineage back decades.
OPINION
March 5, 2014 | By David E. Hayes-Bautista
Thanks to a recent ruling from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, high school students in the Morgan Hill Unified School District south of San Jose won't be allowed to wear American flag T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo. That's too bad. The flags of both the United States and Mexico belong in any celebration of Cinco de Mayo, because it is, at its heart, a Mexican American holiday. The ban was instituted a year after hostilities broke out at Live Oak High School during a Cinco de Mayo celebration.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 28, 2014 | Times Staff and Wire Reports
Huber Matos Benitez, whose disenchantment with the Cuban Revolution he had helped lead brought him the wrath of Fidel Castro and 20 years in prison, died Thursday in Miami after a heart attack. He was 95. His death was confirmed by his grandson, Huber Matos Garsault. In 1952 Matos was a teacher and rice farmer in his early 30s when Gen. Fulgencio Batista led a coup that overthrew democratically elected President Carlos Prio Socarras. Hoping to restore democracy to his country, Matos took up arms against Batista's forces.
OPINION
January 9, 2014 | By Henri J. Barkey
Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, announced this week that she was giving up her campaign to unseat an incumbent U.S. senator in her father's home state of Wyoming. Her campaign had angered many as she had sauntered from her longtime home state of Virginia to Wyoming. She certainly is not unique. Today in America and around the world, families cling to power, passing the baton from one generation to another or from spouse to spouse. We have had two Bushes in the White House and one in the Florida governor's mansion.
WORLD
December 6, 2013 | By Robyn Dixon
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Nelson Mandela didn't coin the term "Rainbow Nation" or the phrase "Proudly South African. " But the optimism, determination and compassion of the country at its best owed everything to him. In recent years, however, South Africa under the leadership of the African National Congress that Mandela loved is often quite different - shoddy, corrupt and incompetent. In short, depressingly like other African countries betrayed by liberation movements. While life has gradually improved for many, problems once attributed to apartheid stubbornly remain.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 5, 2013 | By Robyn Dixon, Bob Drogin and Scott Kraft
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Nelson Mandela, who emerged from more than a quarter of a century in prison to steer a troubled African nation to its first multiracial democracy, uniting the country by reaching out to fearful whites and becoming a revered symbol of racial reconciliation around the world, died at his home Thursday. He was 95. Long before his release from prison in 1990, at age 71, Mandela was an inspiration to millions of blacks seeking to end the oppression of more than four decades of apartheid, and his continued incarceration spawned international censure of South Africa's white-minority government.
OPINION
November 24, 2013 | By Alexander Main
In June 2009, democracy, human rights and the rule of law were shattered in Honduras. Democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya was flown out of the country at gunpoint, and, in the days and months that followed, pro-democracy demonstrations were violently repressed and critical media outlets shut down. Elections organized a few months later under the coup regime did nothing to remedy the situation. Held in a climate of repression and boycotted by opposition groups, these elections were widely seen as illegitimate by many Hondurans and most governments in the hemisphere - with the notable exception of the United States.
OPINION
October 1, 2013 | By Neve Gordon
In the 2012 elections, J Street, the relatively new pro-Israel lobby whose stated purpose is to promote a progressive peace agenda in the Middle East, says its PAC disbursed more than $1.8 million to candidates from 26 states, thus helping eight Senate and 63 House hopefuls win their races. Among the winners are the chairs and ranking members of five committees, including the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Armed Services Committee, as well as chairs and ranking members of more than 30 subcommittees.
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