Chomsky Breaks it Down

Production schedule is still not back on track, but close. Thursday the topic will be Philippines and the war in Mindanao with a correspondant there. More details and research can be discussed this week as well.

But for now I’ll do another recommendation, Monday’s edition of DemocracyNow featured Noam Chomsky talking about what happens now after the elections. He points out alot of details that are regularly passed over or ignored when it comes to what happened in these latest elections. I recommend listening to at least that segment, if not the whole program.  Obviously there will be some mention of the first appointments from the Obama team and the questionable financial and political backgrounds of some of those individuals. But it also gets into money, besides the donations we heard so much about, where alot of the money for the democratic campaign originated and what it means for the incoming administration. Follow the money… I recommend listening to it.

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bm285 The Election Protection Wiki

With the US election upon us, there are many tools available on the internet where citizens can collectively report and monitor voting irregularities. The election protection wiki is one of these tools and on in this podcast interview Conor Kenny explains what the EPwiki is, why it exists, and what the longterm goal of the site is. We also go into detail of specific voting issues in specific parts of the United States.

epwiki.org

 

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ExCon and the Vote

Ever since the 2000 election in the United States, the fact that in many states ex-convicts are barred from voting, has become somewhat more known.  Rarely covered in the mainstream media, the few investigative reports done on the topic of voter fraud in places like Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004, revealed that in several cases, people were taken off of voter rolls and labeled as former convicts.

One related issue that even fewer reports or public figures are brave enough to bring forward is the policies in various US states that keep prisoners, parolees, those on probation and those once convicted of the most minor of offenses, from voting.  In 10 US states people who have served their sentences and are now out of prison, not on parole or probation, are kept from voting for life.  As incarcerated citizens are often stigmatized regardless of their crime or if they’ve already completed their sentence, it would seem the average citizen doesn’t care or see them as deserving of equal rights once they’re back in society.  Which translates to very little political pressure to change this policy that so many states have.

On a recent edition of The State We’re In, this was exactly the topic that was explored. Specifically the program looked into how ex-cons feel about not having that right. And, for those who do, what importance they give to having that right. What interested me most was when they briefly touched on studies that have shown that when ex-cons return to society and have their right to vote restored, this can have the effect of making them feel more part of society and responsible for what happens in their community.  Click the link above and listen to the segment, a very important question that hardly any people in positions of power are willing to ask.

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National Self Esteem

There is no shortage of blog posts and online commentary about the US elections right now.  Despite being dedicated to under reported news, today I’m going to add just a little more to this excessively covered, global concern.

There is this long tradition in the United States that during presidential elections, candidates constantly play the patriotic card and use variations of these slogans:

The US has the greatest workforce in the world.

The US is the greatest force for good in the world.

The US is the greatest country in the world.

Yet anyone who studies history or labor statistics will find plenty of evidence contrary to these statements. Actually you don’t even have to study anything, regardless of country, when you read those statements you should recognize they aren’t true.  Yet election after election, the two mainstream ruling parties say these three over and over.

Watching speeches and debates between Obama and McCain or Biden and Palin, all of them make sure to spew these empty lines as if they’re trying to appease some segment of the audience that despite all logic and facts to the contrary, want to believe this is true.

Thankfully there are countries in the world were candidates don’t do this. Smaller countries, older countries that have weathered mass destruction and extreme poverty, they don’t bother repeating mantras about being the best and the greatest in the world.  Even the Finnish national anthem is about being one nation among many great nations of the world.

I wonder if I will live to see a major candidate in the US that finally stops pandering to jingoism and a mass superiority complex.  Besides being inaccurate, these types of statements help validate and continue destructive and failed policies and practices. I also hope this tradition doesn’t spread further in the world. Of course nationalism is not simply an American phenomenon and it isn’t going to disappear. But this rhetoric of we are the best, we are always right, everything we do is good; if a country is ever going to get better and a candidate make a real change, this practice will have to end.

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