Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Direct Democracy

The CHANGElings are out in force and full of HOPE. Finally the politicians are going to listen. Our Politician In Chief says so.
"I will open the doors of government and ask you to be involved in our own democracy again.
Well Mr. President Present (or absent as the case may be) we live in a Republic and in a republic the politicians don't have to pay any attention to the voters until election time. This has its good points and its bad points.

Of course the words of the Smartest President Ever™ have gotten the HOPERS all excited.
Hey, Changemakers. Welcome to the second half of the Ideas for Change in America project, where we aim to turn each of the 10 winning ideas from our competition into real legislative change.

First, some context. We began this initiative in response to President Obama’s call for greater citizen participation in government, and the outpouring of support has been overwhelming – including more than 675,000 votes on 7750 idea submissions in less than two months.

The competition has also received nationwide attention and a welcome response from the Obama administration. At the event we held at the National Press Club just before the Inauguration to announce the 10 winners, Macon Phillips, Director of New Media for the White House, formally accepted the ideas and said that “I can speak with authority that a lot of people in the transition were paying attention to the competition.”

This process demonstrated the intense interest the American people have in directly engaging with their own government, and potential power of distributed social action.
Yes. Wonderful distributed social action. I think distributed economic action undertaken by individual initiative works better.

And remember all that blather about working closer with our allies. Well it is not working the way it was supposed to.
A rift between the EU and US over how to deal with global trafficking in illicit drugs is undermining international efforts to agree a new UN strategy. The confrontation has been heightened because of suggestions that the US negotiating team is pushing a hardline, Bush administration "war on drugs", in contrast to the EU position which supports "Harm Reduction" measures such as needle exchanges.

Talks are said to be at breaking point in Vienna where representatives have gathered to hammer out a new UN declaration in time for a signing ceremony at a drugs summit in mid-March. Negotiations, which have been going on for three months, are due to resume tomorrow with no indication of a breakthrough.

At the heart of the dispute is whether a commitment to "harm reduction" should be included in the UN declaration of intent, which is published every 10 years. In 1998 the declaration was "a drug-free world - we can do it".

EU countries, backed by Brazil and other Latin American countries, Australia and New Zealand, say even with the best of intentions the world will not be drug-free in 10 years and some commitment to tackling HIV and addiction through needle exchange programmes and methadone and other drugs should be included.
I guess "Harm Reduction" is a better slogan than "a drug-free world - we can't do it". Evidently Mr. Obama still believes that after over 90 years of trying and failing that "Yes we can" must still be operative in the face of massive evidence to the contrary.

H/T Colleen McCool and Jerry Epstein of DPF Texas

Cross Posted at Classical Values

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