May 01 2016

Land Of The Free? Harvard Study Ranks America Worst In West For Fair Elections | PopularResistance.Org

As if further proof could possibly be needed of the sorry state of the American electoral process, a new study just ranked the United States dead last in electoral integrity among established Western democracies.

The Electoral Integrity Project (EIP)’s 2015 Year in Elections report is an independent research project by 2,000 elections experts from Harvard University and the University of Sydney in Australia assembled to examine the world’s elections.

The EIP states that “the core notion of ‘electoral integrity’ refers to agreed international principles and standards of elections, applying universally to all countries worldwide throughout the electoral cycle, including during the pre-electoral period, the campaign, and on polling day and its aftermath. Conversely, ‘electoral malpractice’ refers to violations of electoral integrity.”

“The report gathers assessments from over 2,000 experts to evaluate the perceived integrity of all 180 national parliamentary and presidential contests held between July 1, 2012 to December 31, 2015 in 139 countries worldwide. These include 54 national elections held last year.

“Forty experts were asked to assess each election by answering 49 questions. The overall 100-point Perceptions of Electoral Integrity (PEI) index is constructed by summing up the responses,” Salon explained.

According to the EIP, U.S. elections scored lower than Argentina, South Africa, Tunisia, and Rwanda — and strikingly lower than even Brazil. Specifically compared to Western democracies, U.S. elections scored the lowest, slightly worse than the U.K., while Denmark and Finland topped the list.

But, while certainly revealing, the U.S.’ low ranking — which places the nation in the second, or “good,” tier and perilously close to the “moderate” third tier of five possible — could hardly come as a shock to Americans.

Indeed, the 2016 elections have proven the system so rigged, even those who’d previously still harbored illusions our democracy is fair, have begun to come to terms with the truth: the political establishment’s corporatist plutocrats choose their own to install in the White House every four years.

via Land Of The Free? Harvard Study Ranks America Worst In West For Fair Elections | PopularResistance.Org.

Apr 30 2016

The Devil Capitalism

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/04/29/the-devil-capitalism/

Apr 28 2016

New Report Shows Police Preparing For Rioting On A National Scale

Fascism doesn’t often sweep in overnight and take over some hapless nation’s government; rather, it gradually seeps into the cultural fabric — as is quietly taking place all around the globe, evidenced by an upsurge in sales of riot equipment that has gone largely unnoticed.

A new report from analysts with industry research group, Sandler Research, forecasts the Global Riot Control System Market for the next four years — but beyond a burgeoning market to parallel the expanding global police state, it appears world governments are also keenly aware of civilian discontent. Sandler predicts the market will have an annual growth of 3.5 percent, and makes a telling juxtaposition, emphases added, involving the United States:

Law enforcement agencies around the world are the biggest market for riot control systems. This market is expected to generate revenues of over USD 3.5 billion by the end of 2020. Countries such as the U.S., Iran, Egypt, Russia, China, and Thailand have started procuring riot control equipment and are investing heavily in [non-lethal weapons]. Moreover, special vehicles that are equipped with water cannon and reservoirs have been designed for security personnel, for use in areas of conflict to handle large crowds and demonstration. Demand for such equipment is expected to rise during the next few years.

via http://disinfo.com/2016/04/new-report-proves-police-preparing-for-rioting-on-a-national-scale/

Apr 28 2016

Inequality Will Increase Until There’s a Revolution | Bob Lord

Imagine, after a deep sleep, you suffered the fate of Rip Van Winkle and woke in the spring of 2040. What might you find?

Among other things, maybe a presidential candidate railing against America’s concentration of wealth. Except this time, it’s not the 1 percent that owns as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent — it’s the top hundredth of a percent.

Could it get that bad? Yes, quite easily. In fact, that nightmare is already on the way.

To see this better, take a step back in time. If you woke up 24 years ago, you could hear candidate Bill Clinton lamenting the fact that the top 1 percent owned as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent.

Today, as anyone who’s heard Bernie Sanders give his stump speech knows, it’s the top tenth of 1 percent who owns that much. That’s 10 times more concentrated — and it’s happened over just six presidential cycles. If the trend continues, the scenario I presented at the outset will be a reality.

Here’s another way to look at it: In 1992, when Bill Clinton first found America’s wealth concentration unacceptable, the average person in the top hundredth of a percent was about 1,100 times wealthier than the average person in the bottom 90 percent. By 2012, the most recent year for which statistics are available, that ratio had quadrupled, to approximately 4,500 times.

via http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/04/28/inequality-will-increase-until-theres-a-revolution/

Apr 28 2016

Meaning In A Silent Universe

http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/meaning-in-a-silent-universe

Apr 28 2016

Widespread loss of ocean oxygen to become noticeable in 2030s | Deoxygenation due to climate change threatens marine life

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/ncfa-wlo042716.php

Apr 28 2016

Σύνταξη στα 75 για τους σημερινούς 30άρηδες;

http://www.efsyn.gr/arthro/syntaxi-sta-75-gia-toys-simerinoys-30arides

Apr 28 2016

Likud Becomes a Regional Member of the European Parliament

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/04/27/likud-becomes-a-regional-member-of-the-european-parliament/

Apr 27 2016

God’s Red Pencil? CRISPR and The Three Myths of Precise Genome Editing

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/04/27/gods-red-pencil-crispr-and-the-three-myths-of-precise-genome-editing/

Apr 26 2016

The Ugly Truth Behind The South Korean Economic “Miracle” | The struggle to preserve Seoul’s architectural heritage

Some analysts point to alleged links between the South Korean authorities and the underworld. The military regimes were known for hiring local gangsters to quell student demonstrations, critics say. With the strengthening of the state over the years, the police have taken charge of such tasks. Ahead of the 1988 Olympics, the authorities forcefully evicted more than 700 thousand people, some of which were illegal tenants.

Experts are puzzled why the incumbent democratic government in South Korea is cooperating with organized criminals for forced evictions – a claim which cannot be substantiated.

In a research paper, Canadian sociologist Jonson Portieux writes that it has become increasingly difficult in a democratic South Korea to order evictions, as the government doesn’t want to risk offending the voters. To avoid this, the state has created a legal vacuum. The construction companies are allowed to evict illegal tenants by force, but at least 50 percent of the residents must agree to their plans. Often, however, these companies seek “private help” for these evictions, according to Portieux.

via http://www.dw.com/en/the-struggle-to-preserve-seouls-architectural-heritage/a-19215494

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