Politics

Dear Prime Minister, The end of October is a critical moment for open government in the UK and beyond. The UK will publish its second open government National Action Plan, host the Open Government Partnership Annual Summit, and hand over the baton of chairing the OGP. We hope that the Government will mark this important occasion by announcing a series of ambitious commitments towards greater openness, building on the leadership shown at the G8 Summit. We welcome the emphasis that you have placed on the principles of open government both domestically and internationally and your ambition of becoming ‘the most open and transparent government in the world’. The true strength of your Government’s efforts will ultimately be judged by the level of new ambition in the commitments made and...
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Dear Mr. President, NIGERIA NEEDS YOUR LEADERSHIP Thank you for your continued efforts towards improving Nigeria. Though I have my opinion on the impact of your efforts, but that is not the purpose of this letter. Sir, as a citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, whose daily duty is to work with young Nigerians and ask them not to think of what Nigeria can do for them but what they can do to make Nigeria a better place, I have a problem. My problem is connected to the questions that I have had to struggle with over the years. One of the most popular is this: “You keep saying we should add value to Nigeria, but Nigerian rulers don’t care about us, so why should we care?” Recently, a student stretched this question further: “Sir, if President Jonathan truly had no shoes,...
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Dear Mr. Secretary: Psychologists for Social Responsibility (PsySR) is deeply concerned about the conditions under which PFC Bradley Manning is being held at the Quantico Marine Corps Base in Virginia. It has been reported and verified by his attorney that PFC Manning has been held in solitary confinement since July of 2010. He reportedly is held in his cell for approximately 23 hours a day, a cell approximately six feet wide and twelve feet in length, with a bed, a drinking fountain, and a toilet. For no discernable reason other than punishment, he is forbidden from exercising in his cell and is provided minimal access to exercise outside his cell. Further, despite having virtually nothing to do, he is forbidden to sleep during the day and often has his sleep at night disrupted. As an...
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Dear Nigel, I was concerned for you on the news the other nightExternal link . I’ve never seen you looking uncomfortable in front of the camera before. Answering questions about climate change with water all around you left you short of breath and a bit panicky, I thought. A pint in your hand would have helped settle the nerves. I’ll buy you one – it would give me a chance to talk through a couple of things (I’m with you on the straight glass thing by the way). You said to the journalist: “I have no idea whether CO2 emissions are contributing to climate change.” Well, I’m an academic at the Open University, a social scientist working with climate scientists and technology specialists, so I can help you with that one. In the mid 1980s it was agreed by governments and the top...
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Dear Mr. President, You recently hailed “Australian gun laws”. In doing so: you praised a government for forcefully removing all semi-automatic firearms from its populace, you admired the banning and confiscation of guns. We expect to hear that from a European leader. But not you. You’re the leader of America: the world’s first free country, the nation that has inspired many to be free, that has protected the freedom of others, that has spread more freedom than any other. I am an Australian and I must set the record straight. The “success” of the 1996 Australian gun reform is a myth. The only thing achieved was to take away the guns of the law-abiding, leaving only the criminals armed. Is this what you wish for America? In Australia, if a citizen has firearms...
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Dear President Obama: We love you. We respect you. We support you. We strongly supported your becoming President and have continued to support you through all the trying times. We continue to love, respect and support you. Mr. President, I write this letter with the greatest of respect and appreciation. I write this as an open letter because it is important that you know and all people know that we are not trying to stop you from coming to Selma at any time you want to come. Our door of welcome is always wide open to you. President Obama, based upon our true love and respect, we want you to know that the Bloody Sunday March is sacred. It was not Bloody Saturday or Bloody Monday or Bloody March 7th. It was Bloody Sunday. Therefore, the Bloody Sunday March must go on as planned on...
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Dear Wolf, My Fellow Jew, You looked distraught in your recent CNN interview with Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan. You had been “very disturbed” by a video from Al-Quds TV in which Hamdan, in Arabic (translation verified by CNN), stated: “We all remember how the Jews used to slaughter Christians in order to mix their blood with their holy matzot. This is not a figment of the imagination or something taken from a film; it is a fact acknowledged by their own books and historical evidence.” Incredulous that your interviewee would promulgate such medieval slander, you respectfully asked, “You believe that Jews would kill Christians to mix their blood to bake the holy matzot on Passover? Is that your belief, Mr. Hamdan?” You let him sidestep the question and rant for a couple minutes about...
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Dear Madhu ji, I was very excited when I learned you were coming to Ahmedabad and I was honoured that you expressed interest in possibly meeting with me. I was sitting with a journalist friend when I read your Tweet about visiting Ahmedabad and he told me you are a “pioneering feminist who did ground breaking work.” He also told me that in 2005 you signed a very strong petition calling for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s dismissal because of Modi’s role in the 2002 Gujarat riots. He also added that you have been very vocal on behalf of Kashmiri Pandits. After I witnessed the Gujarat riots in 2002, I returned to the United States—where I was born and raised—and I gave lectures for six months about the violence I saw. In each lecture, an audience member would inevitably shout...
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Dear folks, You guys are good. Real good. You are truly a force on World Wide Web and I tip my hat to you. That's based on my first hand experience of your work regarding our CNBC Republican candidate debate. After the debate, we put up a poll on our Web site asking who readers thought won the debate. You guys flooded it. Now these Internet polls are admittedly unscientific and subject to hacking. In the end, they are really just a way to engage the reader and take a quick temperature reading of your audience. Nothing more and nothing less. The cyber equivalent of asking the room for a show of hands on a certain question. So there was our after-debate poll. The numbers grew ... 7,000-plus votes after a couple of hours ... and Ron Paul was at 75%. Now Paul is a fine...
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Dear Tony Abbott, It’s been a year since I last wrote to you. I was very angry back then, but you’ll be pleased to hear that this letter is not being written in anger, but has much more of a triumphant tone than my previous correspondence. The reason for this turn in my mood has everything to do with the reversal in your political fortunes over the previous 12 months. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, you are incredibly unpopular. Looking back at my grievances with you in the past, I can see that much of my frustration about your behaviour was born from the fact that you were so obviously getting away with being a complete wanker while still managing to be elected Prime Minister of Australia. No matter how much I tried to tell people just how dangerous a prospect you were as a PM, and no...
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