A Moscow judge has convicted three members of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot of hooliganism in a verdict that amounts to a defense of the Russian Orthodox Church’s apparent right to be shielded from criticism within its own walls.
“We are more than a nation in decline; we are a nation moving toward the bittersweet simplisms, policies and values of a new form of authoritarianism,” writes Henry Giroux, in an article adapted from his new book on America’s shift away from democratic values toward a rigid, market-driven uniformity.
Sen. Jim Webb is the first senior U.S. official in more than 10 years to visit Burma, triggering speculation that the White House may be trying to nudge the authoritarian regime there into a “new era of engagement.” The trip follows the recent ludicrous sentencing of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi to 18 more months of house arrest.
A new study mirroring the infamous 1963 Milgram experiment has suggested that humans will still follow authority’s beckon, even to the point of killing another person. The new report, timely considering the current debate around torture in the U.S., argues that it’s not that humans are bad, but that “a massive social influence [is] going on.”
If you thought U.S. democracy was a sham, consider a constitutional amendment passed by the Russian parliament Wednesday that lengthens the country’s presidential term from four years to six, paving the way for a certain Vladimir Putin to come back to power as president as early as next year.
As the official death toll climbs in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis, the Burmese government remains recalcitrant while survivors and aid workers continue to be frustrated by the slow movement of supplies to the country’s worst-hit areas.