Creating subjects in Lavasa: the private city | openDemocracy


Through a process of devolution to private enterprises, a number of private cities are emerging across the Indian landscape. While private cities have been lauded by some as symbolic of a modern, global India, their impact on the nature of democracy and citizenship in the emerging city remains a contentious issue.

The picturesque city of Lavasa is located in the western hill range of India between the cities of Mumbai and Pune. Lavasa is an amalgamation of twenty villages encompassing seven hills and, on completion, will have an area of 100 sq km. The city is representative of a rapidly urbanising India, with one crucial difference – there is no democratic electoral process at the city-level. Lavasa is governed by Lavasa Corporation Limited (LCL), a private enterprise. This arrangement has resulted in a unique form of governance that challenges the notions of democracy and citizenship in the Indian context. 

Creating subjects in Lavasa: the private city | openDemocracy

Creating subjects in Lavasa: the private city | openDemocracy


Through a process of devolution to private enterprises, a number of private cities are emerging across the Indian landscape. While private cities have been lauded by some as symbolic of a modern, global India, their impact on the nature of democracy and citizenship in the emerging city remains a contentious issue.

The picturesque city of Lavasa is located in the western hill range of India between the cities of Mumbai and Pune. Lavasa is an amalgamation of twenty villages encompassing seven hills and, on completion, will have an area of 100 sq km. The city is representative of a rapidly urbanising India, with one crucial difference – there is no democratic electoral process at the city-level. Lavasa is governed by Lavasa Corporation Limited (LCL), a private enterprise. This arrangement has resulted in a unique form of governance that challenges the notions of democracy and citizenship in the Indian context. 

Creating subjects in Lavasa: the private city | openDemocracy

Sarah Stillman: The Use and Abuse of Civil Forfeiture


Forfeiting freedom one legal loophole at a time.

Sarah Stillman: The Use and Abuse of Civil Forfeiture

Sarah Stillman: The Use and Abuse of Civil Forfeiture


Forfeiting freedom one legal loophole at a time.

Sarah Stillman: The Use and Abuse of Civil Forfeiture

Glenn Greenwald’s partner detained at Heathrow airport for nine hours


So the family of journalists are terrorists now?

Excellent work Britain you are doing a great job protecting our freedoms…

Glenn Greenwald’s partner detained at Heathrow airport for nine hours

Glenn Greenwald’s partner detained at Heathrow airport for nine hours


So the family of journalists are terrorists now?

Excellent work Britain you are doing a great job protecting our freedoms…

Glenn Greenwald’s partner detained at Heathrow airport for nine hours

Inside the ‘ALEC Universe’ | Eye on ALEC, Q&A, What Matters Today | BillMoyers.com


One guy I was talking to, who was from one of these right wing think tanks was saying we need to curb Obama’s reckless power with these administrative regulations, and he wanted a federal constitutional amendment saying Congress has to approve federal regulations. I said, I don’t think most people are going to want to amend the Constitution for that. I don’t think that ignites people. Maybe it does on the far right, but most people don’t really care about that. And he said, “Oh, well, you really don’t need people to do this. You just need control over the legislature and you need money, and we have both.”

That sentiment was underscored so many times to me, that they don’t want people involved in the political process, or in the policy process. And that seems to be the intent in a lot of ways: You have a think tank in every state and all they do is come up with these very, very regressive policies, you have corporations who are going to benefit so they fund it all, and then you have the legislators as your foot soldiers to carry out the tasks.

This is terrifying. The illusion of freedom and democracy is collapsing before our eyes because it’s getting to the point where it isn’t even necessary for those with power to pretend any more. 

Something should be done.

But what?

Inside the ‘ALEC Universe’ | Eye on ALEC, Q&A, What Matters Today | BillMoyers.com

Inside the ‘ALEC Universe’ | Eye on ALEC, Q&A, What Matters Today | BillMoyers.com


One guy I was talking to, who was from one of these right wing think tanks was saying we need to curb Obama’s reckless power with these administrative regulations, and he wanted a federal constitutional amendment saying Congress has to approve federal regulations. I said, I don’t think most people are going to want to amend the Constitution for that. I don’t think that ignites people. Maybe it does on the far right, but most people don’t really care about that. And he said, “Oh, well, you really don’t need people to do this. You just need control over the legislature and you need money, and we have both.”

That sentiment was underscored so many times to me, that they don’t want people involved in the political process, or in the policy process. And that seems to be the intent in a lot of ways: You have a think tank in every state and all they do is come up with these very, very regressive policies, you have corporations who are going to benefit so they fund it all, and then you have the legislators as your foot soldiers to carry out the tasks.

This is terrifying. The illusion of freedom and democracy is collapsing before our eyes because it’s getting to the point where it isn’t even necessary for those with power to pretend any more. 

Something should be done.

But what?

Inside the ‘ALEC Universe’ | Eye on ALEC, Q&A, What Matters Today | BillMoyers.com

Chomsky: The U.S. Behaves Nothing Like a Democracy, But You’ll Never Hear About It in Our ‘Free Press’


I won’t say very much about the first, environmental catastrophe. That should be obvious. Certainly the scale of the danger should be obvious to anyone with eyes open, anyone who is literate, particularly those who read scientific journals. Every issue of a technical journal virtually has more dire warnings than the last one.

There are various reactions to this around the world. There are some who seek to act decisively to prevent possible catastrophe. At the other extreme, major efforts are underway to accelerate the danger. Leading the effort to intensify the likely disaster is the richest and most powerful country in world history, with incomparable advantages and the most prominent example of RECD – the one that others are striving towards.

Leading the efforts to preserve conditions in which our immediate descendants might have a decent life, are the so-called “primitive” societies: First Nations in Canada, Aboriginal societies in Australia, tribal societies and others like them. The countries that have large and influential indigenous populations are well in the lead in the effort to “defend the Earth”. That’s their phrase. The countries that have driven indigenous populations to extinction or extreme marginalization are racing forward enthusiastically towards destruction. This is one of the major features of contemporary history. One of those things that ought to be on front pages. So take Ecuador, which has a large indigenous population. It’s seeking aid from the rich countries to allow it to keep its substantial hydrocarbon reserves underground, which is where they ought to be. Now meanwhile, the U.S. and Canada are enthusiastically seeking to burn every drop of fossil fuel, including the most dangerous kind – Canadian tar sands – and to do so as quickly and fully as possible – without a side glance on what the world might look like after this extravagant commitment to self-destruction.

I know I keep sharing his work but it just seems so important.

A long transcript of a speech but worth reading all of it.

Chomsky: The U.S. Behaves Nothing Like a Democracy, But You’ll Never Hear About It in Our ‘Free Press’

Chomsky: The U.S. Behaves Nothing Like a Democracy, But You’ll Never Hear About It in Our ‘Free Press’


I won’t say very much about the first, environmental catastrophe. That should be obvious. Certainly the scale of the danger should be obvious to anyone with eyes open, anyone who is literate, particularly those who read scientific journals. Every issue of a technical journal virtually has more dire warnings than the last one.

There are various reactions to this around the world. There are some who seek to act decisively to prevent possible catastrophe. At the other extreme, major efforts are underway to accelerate the danger. Leading the effort to intensify the likely disaster is the richest and most powerful country in world history, with incomparable advantages and the most prominent example of RECD – the one that others are striving towards.

Leading the efforts to preserve conditions in which our immediate descendants might have a decent life, are the so-called “primitive” societies: First Nations in Canada, Aboriginal societies in Australia, tribal societies and others like them. The countries that have large and influential indigenous populations are well in the lead in the effort to “defend the Earth”. That’s their phrase. The countries that have driven indigenous populations to extinction or extreme marginalization are racing forward enthusiastically towards destruction. This is one of the major features of contemporary history. One of those things that ought to be on front pages. So take Ecuador, which has a large indigenous population. It’s seeking aid from the rich countries to allow it to keep its substantial hydrocarbon reserves underground, which is where they ought to be. Now meanwhile, the U.S. and Canada are enthusiastically seeking to burn every drop of fossil fuel, including the most dangerous kind – Canadian tar sands – and to do so as quickly and fully as possible – without a side glance on what the world might look like after this extravagant commitment to self-destruction.

I know I keep sharing his work but it just seems so important.

A long transcript of a speech but worth reading all of it.

Chomsky: The U.S. Behaves Nothing Like a Democracy, But You’ll Never Hear About It in Our ‘Free Press’

There will be No Secrets soon.


As each means of secrecy is crushed soon there will be nowhere to be free. Why do I feel more and more like a tin-foil hat wearing lunatic?

I don’t even use these services but I feel that it is important that they be allowed to exist. 

First it was Lavabit:

My Fellow Users,

I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit. After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations. I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision. I cannot. I feel you deserve to know what’s going on–the first amendment is supposed to guarantee me the freedom to speak out in situations like this. Unfortunately, Congress has passed laws that say otherwise. As things currently stand, I cannot share my experiences over the last six weeks, even though I have twice made the appropriate requests.

What’s going to happen now? We’ve already started preparing the paperwork needed to continue to fight for the Constitution in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. A favorable decision would allow me resurrect Lavabit as an American company.

This experience has taught me one very important lesson: without congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would _strongly_ recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.

Sincerely,
Ladar Levison
Owner and Operator, Lavabit LLC

Defending the constitution is expensive! Help us by donating to the Lavabit Legal Defense Fund

Then there was this about the Tor servers:

Two of the seven directory authority servers that the Tor Project uses to run its anonymous browsing service have been compromised, along with a new server that the project uses to host metrics and graphs.

The project’s organizers discovered the attack earlier this month and are advising users who run Tor nodes to upgrade to a new version of the software. However, the organizers said that there is no risk that the attackers could have matched Tor users to their browsing habits.“By design, Tor requires a majority of directory authorities (four in this case) to generate a consensus; and like other relays in the Tor network, directory authorities don’t know enough to match a user and traffic or destination,” Roger Dingledine, the original developer of the Tor Project wrote in an email this week.

“We’ve been very lucky the past few years regarding security. It still seems this breach is unrelated to Tor itself. To be clear, it doesn’t seem that anyone specifically attacked our servers to get at Tor. It seems we were attacked for the cpu capacity and bandwidth of the servers, and the servers just happened to also carry out functions for Tor.”

I need bunnies and ponies and alcohol.

There will be No Secrets soon.

There will be No Secrets soon.


As each means of secrecy is crushed soon there will be nowhere to be free. Why do I feel more and more like a tin-foil hat wearing lunatic?

I don’t even use these services but I feel that it is important that they be allowed to exist. 

First it was Lavabit:

My Fellow Users,

I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit. After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations. I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision. I cannot. I feel you deserve to know what’s going on–the first amendment is supposed to guarantee me the freedom to speak out in situations like this. Unfortunately, Congress has passed laws that say otherwise. As things currently stand, I cannot share my experiences over the last six weeks, even though I have twice made the appropriate requests.

What’s going to happen now? We’ve already started preparing the paperwork needed to continue to fight for the Constitution in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. A favorable decision would allow me resurrect Lavabit as an American company.

This experience has taught me one very important lesson: without congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would _strongly_ recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.

Sincerely,
Ladar Levison
Owner and Operator, Lavabit LLC

Defending the constitution is expensive! Help us by donating to the Lavabit Legal Defense Fund

Then there was this about the Tor servers:

Two of the seven directory authority servers that the Tor Project uses to run its anonymous browsing service have been compromised, along with a new server that the project uses to host metrics and graphs.

The project’s organizers discovered the attack earlier this month and are advising users who run Tor nodes to upgrade to a new version of the software. However, the organizers said that there is no risk that the attackers could have matched Tor users to their browsing habits.“By design, Tor requires a majority of directory authorities (four in this case) to generate a consensus; and like other relays in the Tor network, directory authorities don’t know enough to match a user and traffic or destination,” Roger Dingledine, the original developer of the Tor Project wrote in an email this week.

“We’ve been very lucky the past few years regarding security. It still seems this breach is unrelated to Tor itself. To be clear, it doesn’t seem that anyone specifically attacked our servers to get at Tor. It seems we were attacked for the cpu capacity and bandwidth of the servers, and the servers just happened to also carry out functions for Tor.”

I need bunnies and ponies and alcohol.

There will be No Secrets soon.

10 Million Americans Have Had Their Homes Taken Away by the Banks — Often at the Point of a Gun


Everyone to the Poverty Warehouse.

10 Million Americans Have Had Their Homes Taken Away by the Banks — Often at the Point of a Gun

10 Million Americans Have Had Their Homes Taken Away by the Banks — Often at the Point of a Gun


Everyone to the Poverty Warehouse.

10 Million Americans Have Had Their Homes Taken Away by the Banks — Often at the Point of a Gun

What WikiLeaks revealed to the world in 2010


  1. US Forces killing Reuters journalists in Iraq
  2. US Helicopter pilots gunning down 12 civilians
  3. US Ignoring Iraqi abuse of prisoners
  4. US hid real list of civilian deaths
  5. Clinton ordered spying on UN officials
  6. President Obama and GOP working together to kill Bush Torture probe.
  7. US stopped high court cases concerning Guantanamo and Extraordinary Renditions
  8. US Pressured Germany not to prosecute CIA officers for torture and rendition
  9. US leaders involved in general lying to American public
  10. Yemeni President lied about US origin of drone strikes.
  11. Obama administration fueled conflict in Yemen
  12. India tortured Kashmir prisoners
  13. UK trained Bangladesh police force that some accused of being a death squad.
  14. UK suppressed facts about US interests in Iraq.
  15. Pope Benedict refused to co-operate in child abuse probe.
  16. Revealed truth about Coup in Honduras
  17. China behind the Google Hack.
  18. US special forces working inside Pakistan
  19. Military knew about the dangers of engaging in Afghanistan

So those are a few things that we know now that we did not know before Wikileaks.

What WikiLeaks revealed to the world in 2010

What WikiLeaks revealed to the world in 2010


  1. US Forces killing Reuters journalists in Iraq
  2. US Helicopter pilots gunning down 12 civilians
  3. US Ignoring Iraqi abuse of prisoners
  4. US hid real list of civilian deaths
  5. Clinton ordered spying on UN officials
  6. President Obama and GOP working together to kill Bush Torture probe.
  7. US stopped high court cases concerning Guantanamo and Extraordinary Renditions
  8. US Pressured Germany not to prosecute CIA officers for torture and rendition
  9. US leaders involved in general lying to American public
  10. Yemeni President lied about US origin of drone strikes.
  11. Obama administration fueled conflict in Yemen
  12. India tortured Kashmir prisoners
  13. UK trained Bangladesh police force that some accused of being a death squad.
  14. UK suppressed facts about US interests in Iraq.
  15. Pope Benedict refused to co-operate in child abuse probe.
  16. Revealed truth about Coup in Honduras
  17. China behind the Google Hack.
  18. US special forces working inside Pakistan
  19. Military knew about the dangers of engaging in Afghanistan

So those are a few things that we know now that we did not know before Wikileaks.

What WikiLeaks revealed to the world in 2010

Sexy spring: How group sex will liberate Iran, China


GIven that I’m from the West I’m very disappointed that I am yet to attend or be invited to a sex party.

Sexy spring: How group sex will liberate Iran, China

Sexy spring: How group sex will liberate Iran, China


GIven that I’m from the West I’m very disappointed that I am yet to attend or be invited to a sex party.

Sexy spring: How group sex will liberate Iran, China

Liberty, Liberalism and Surveillance: a historic overview | openDemocracy


To be free we not only need to have no fear of interference but no fear that there could be interference. But that latter assurance is precisely what cannot be given if our actions are under surveillance. So long as surveillance is going on, we always could have our freedom of action limited if someone chose to limit it. The fact that they may not make that choice does not make us any less free, because we are not free from surveillance and the possible uses that can be made of it. Only when we are free from such possible invasions of our rights are we free; and this freedom can be guaranteed only where there is no surveillance.

 


I feel that with every post I get but one step further away from that green card I crave.

Liberty, Liberalism and Surveillance: a historic overview | openDemocracy

Liberty, Liberalism and Surveillance: a historic overview | openDemocracy


To be free we not only need to have no fear of interference but no fear that there could be interference. But that latter assurance is precisely what cannot be given if our actions are under surveillance. So long as surveillance is going on, we always could have our freedom of action limited if someone chose to limit it. The fact that they may not make that choice does not make us any less free, because we are not free from surveillance and the possible uses that can be made of it. Only when we are free from such possible invasions of our rights are we free; and this freedom can be guaranteed only where there is no surveillance.

 


I feel that with every post I get but one step further away from that green card I crave.

Liberty, Liberalism and Surveillance: a historic overview | openDemocracy

New threat posed to Shaker Aamer


So it seems that Saudi Arabia may be the rug under which the American Security Forces are attempting to sweep Mr. Shaker Aamer.

This seems to be a touch, what’s the word, inhuman?

New threat posed to Shaker Aamer

New threat posed to Shaker Aamer


So it seems that Saudi Arabia may be the rug under which the American Security Forces are attempting to sweep Mr. Shaker Aamer.

This seems to be a touch, what’s the word, inhuman?

New threat posed to Shaker Aamer

UK ISPs Enforcing “Opt-in” Porn Filtering From the End of the Year


If I ever return to the UK I will be opting in with great glee and lack of shame. Just to defend my right and others right to privacy of course…

UK ISPs Enforcing “Opt-in” Porn Filtering From the End of the Year

UK ISPs Enforcing “Opt-in” Porn Filtering From the End of the Year


If I ever return to the UK I will be opting in with great glee and lack of shame. Just to defend my right and others right to privacy of course…

UK ISPs Enforcing “Opt-in” Porn Filtering From the End of the Year

How I Feel Today.


“Whenever I get interviewed by The American Government I always feel that I’m one wrong answer away from getting a bag placed over my head and being bundled into a van to be taken for an extended stay in a facility with no windows to be beaten about the body with rubber tubing.”


The Secret police—the NSA, the CIA, et al—are by their very nature antithetical to those ideals, because openness and transparency about rules are essential to democratic public justification, and therefore to the legitimacy of state power. What must be secret cannot be fully democratic. One may well worry whether we can afford such a demanding standard of legitimate government in such a dangerous world. Perhaps we cannot. Perhaps it is foolish to be too good. But in that case we need to be clear-headed about it, and understand that secret police are a straightforwardly anti-democratic concession we make to a dangerous world. And we ought to accept that any strengthening of the powers of the secret police—especially the secret strengthening of the powers of the secret police—is a further blow to democracy and the legitimacy of our laws. The NSA’s digital dragnet is a silent coup. The filibuster is rain on election day.

The Economist (via azspot)

It does pose the question though, does The Economist think that the world is dangerous enough to give secret police free reign?

Surely the world can never be that dangerous and, if it is, perhaps time would be better spent working out why it is so dangerous and going someway to addressing those problems.

Would it be unusual to suggest that most people want a ready supply of food, water, shelter and human connection? That they want to do meaningful work that gives them self respect and the feeling of being a valuable member in the society in which they live? That they want freedom from persecution and torture and the right to engage and decide the things that affect them, their family and their community in a way that allows them to retain dignity and hope?

I guess I’ll never be a writer for The Economist because I just feel I don’t understand how the world really works.


The Secret police—the NSA, the CIA, et al—are by their very nature antithetical to those ideals, because openness and transparency about rules are essential to democratic public justification, and therefore to the legitimacy of state power. What must be secret cannot be fully democratic. One may well worry whether we can afford such a demanding standard of legitimate government in such a dangerous world. Perhaps we cannot. Perhaps it is foolish to be too good. But in that case we need to be clear-headed about it, and understand that secret police are a straightforwardly anti-democratic concession we make to a dangerous world. And we ought to accept that any strengthening of the powers of the secret police—especially the secret strengthening of the powers of the secret police—is a further blow to democracy and the legitimacy of our laws. The NSA’s digital dragnet is a silent coup. The filibuster is rain on election day.

The Economist (via azspot)

It does pose the question though, does The Economist think that the world is dangerous enough to give secret police free reign?

Surely the world can never be that dangerous and, if it is, perhaps time would be better spent working out why it is so dangerous and going someway to addressing those problems.

Would it be unusual to suggest that most people want a ready supply of food, water, shelter and human connection? That they want to do meaningful work that gives them self respect and the feeling of being a valuable member in the society in which they live? That they want freedom from persecution and torture and the right to engage and decide the things that affect them, their family and their community in a way that allows them to retain dignity and hope?

I guess I’ll never be a writer for The Economist because I just feel I don’t understand how the world really works.

Culture of Illusion – We Are Not Free.


Let’s forget the depressing sentiment of the title of this post for a while and embrace  the idea we are free by listening to this song by The Soup Dragons:

Don’t Be Afraid of Your Freedom.


https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/32795027/stream?client_id=N2eHz8D7GtXSl6fTtcGHdSJiS74xqOUI?plead=please-dont-download-this-or-our-lawyers-wont-let-us-host-audio

This is a photograph of a cell that I took when I was on Alcatraz.

This music is the sound that I imagine echoed in the head of the prisoner who sat for years in this cell waiting for Freedom or Death.


https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/32795027/stream?client_id=N2eHz8D7GtXSl6fTtcGHdSJiS74xqOUI?plead=please-dont-download-this-or-our-lawyers-wont-let-us-host-audio

This is a photograph of a cell that I took when I was on Alcatraz.

This music is the sound that I imagine echoed in the head of the prisoner who sat for years in this cell waiting for Freedom or Death.