Hundreds of complaints reporting rigging and irregularities in the May 11 Pakistan parliamentary elections confirmed by EU election monitors have Pakistan youth outraged
May 17, 2013

Pakistan’s May 11 parliamentary elections have been hailed by the national and international observers as landmark and historic, but there have also been complaints of rigging and irregularities in the polls. Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) party defeated both the former ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and cricket star turned politician Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the polls, and Sharif looks poised to form the new government in Islamabad.

Though the PPP has conceded defeat without any major complaints, Khan’s PTI has accused Sharif and some other parties of rigging the elections. Earlier this week, Michael Gahler, the chief observer of the European Union’s elections observation mission (EOM), confirmed “serious problems in polling.”

On Thursday, May 16, the Pakistani election commission said in a statement that it received 110 complaints about voting irregularities. The commission ordered recounting of votes in nine constituencies in various parts of the country. It also set up 14 election tribunals which will look into the complaints. The tribunals are headed by retired judges and will have the authority to declare the results null and void if rigging complaints are proven to be correct. “The tribunals will be able to address the complaints to an extent only. There will always be people who won’t accept their decisions,” Amir Zia of the daily The News in Karachi told DW. Zia said that there were certain irregularities in the polls but the elections were generally quite free and fair.

Khan’s supporters do not agree. They have launched a campaign against “rigging” on the social media and have also taken to the streets in big cities like Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. The PTI supporters are posting evidence in the form of videos and photographs on Facebook and Twitter to highlight what they call massive rigging.

The PTI has particularly criticized the Karachi-based liberal Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) for allegedly rigging the elections in several areas of Karachi. The PTI has held several protest rallies against the MQM in Karachi, which has been the MQM stronghold for more than two decades.

Analysts say that the use of social media to report irregularities and express anger against alleged rigging should be seen as a sign of civil society, but it will also be misleading to think that the evolving social media in Pakistan is a mirror to the whole country. “It is a positive sign that in the cities like Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, rigging and mismanagement are reported and highlighted on the social media. But we must keep in mind that the social media in Pakistan is not used by most Pakistanis and is limited to the rich and the urban middle-class youth,” Jahanzaib Haque of the Express Tribune newspaper’s online edition told DW.

Many analysts in Pakistan believe that the perseverance of the Pakistani youth to make their politicians more accountable to the people is commendable and is a proof that democracy in Pakistan is evolving.

Source

Possibility of empowered left amid populist upswing in Italian elections
February 25, 2013

Italians voted for a second and final day in a general election on Monday with a surge in protest votes increasing the risk of an unstable outcome that could undermine Europe’s efforts to end its three-year debt crisis.

Opinion polls give the centre-left coalition led by former Industry Minister Pier Luigi Bersani a narrow lead but the race has been thrown wide open by the prospect of protest votes against austerity and corporate and political scandals.

"I’m sick of the scandals and the stealing," said Paolo Gentile, a 49-year-old Rome lawyer who said he had voted for the 5-Star Movement, an anti-establishment protest group set to make a huge impact at its first general election.

"We need some young, new people in parliament, not the old parties that are totally discredited," he said.

Most of the voters interviewed outside polling stations by Reuters on Sunday and Monday expected the next government would quickly collapse, thwarting efforts to end an economic crisis.

"I’m very pessimistic, I don’t think that whoever wins will last long or be able to solve the problems of this country," said Cristiano Reale, a 43 year-old salesman in Palermo, Sicily. He said he would vote for the far left Civil Revolution group.

A bitter campaign, fought largely over economic issues, has been closely watched by financial markets, nervous about the return of the kind of debt crisis that took the whole euro zone close to disaster and brought technocrat prime minister Mario Monti to office in 2011.

ANTI-EURO FORCES

"There are similarities between the Italian elections and last year’s ones in Greece, in that pro-euro parties are losing ground in favor of populist forces,” said Mizuho chief economist Riccardo Barbieri.

"An angry and confused public opinion does not see the benefits of fiscal austerity and does not trust established political parties."

(TPR NOTE: That’s because the only people who benefit from austerity are the rich. It’s one more way the rich are able to siphen money from the poor, creating wide-spread poverty and chaos, while collecting marginally higher numbers for themselves, which will never have an effect on their quality of life because they are already so rich that it doesn’t matter.)

Projections based on the vote count will be issued through the afternoon and the final result should be known late on Monday or early Tuesday.

An extremely close Senate race is expected in several battleground regions and this could delay the final result..

The election result is likely to be the most fragmented in decades, with the old left-right division disrupted by the rise of 5-Star, led by fiery Genoese comic Beppe Grillo, and by Monti’s decision to run at the head of a centrist bloc.

"It will be a vote of protest, maybe of revolt," said Corriere della Sera, Italy’s largest newspaper, on Monday.

It noted that for the first time the winning coalition is unlikely to get more than a third of the votes, making it harder to govern and likely opening weeks of complicated negotiations.

It is unclear how Grillo’s rise will influence the result, with some pollsters saying it increases the chances of a clear win for the centre-left, led by Bersani’s Democratic Party (PD), because 5-Star is taking votes mainly from Berlusconi.

After the first day of voting on Sunday, about 54 percent of voters had cast their ballots, a sharp fall on the level of 62.5 percent seen at the same stage in the last election in 2008.

If the trend continues on Monday it will confirm the disillusion of voters with a discredited political class.

CALL TO ARMS

The 5-Star Movement, backed by a frustrated younger generation increasingly shut out of full-time jobs, could challenge former premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PDL) party as Italy’s second largest political force.

"Come on, it isn’t over yet," was Monday’s front page headline in Il Giornale daily, owned by Berlusconi’s brother, a call to arms to get out the vote.

The 76-year-old Berlusconi, has pledged sweeping tax cuts and echoed Grillo’s attacks on Monti, Germany and the euro in an extraordinary media blitz that has halved the lead of the centre-left since the start of the year.

Support for Monti’s centrist coalition meanwhile has faded after he led a lackluster campaign and he appears set to trail well behind the main parties.

After drawing hundreds of thousands of supporters to its final campaign rally on Friday, Grillo has said he fears voting fraud to try to block a massive breakthrough, telling his supporters to wet the lead in the pencils they use to vote to prevent the crosses being rubbed out.

Whatever government emerges will inherit an economy that has been stagnant for much of the past two decades and problems ranging from record youth unemployment to a dysfunctional justice system and a bloated public sector.

If Bersani wins, it is far from clear that he will be able to control both houses of parliament and form a stable government capable of lasting a full five-year term.

Source

Chronicle of a Mexico without a presidentDecember 10, 2012
In Mexico, December 1, 2012, will be remembered as the day that an imposition was legitimized.
Enrique Peña Nieto — his name is often abbreviated in Mexico as “EPN” — took the reins of power in the context of deep indignation and amidst heavy state crackdown against crowds of protesters. A number of actions were planned in Mexico City to show the illegitimacy of Peña Nieto’s presidency, particularly given the unfair media attention he received and the electoral fraud that took place to ensure his victory.
On that day, Mexico’s historic center and the congressional buildings were a microcosm of the Mexican state as a whole. The Legislative Palace of San Lázaro, which houses Mexico’s Congress, appeared to be a giant fortress, deaf to the rubber bullets and tear gas grenades that the federal police fired at protesters. Nearby, thepresidential palace stood on one side of the Zócalo, the main square of Mexico City.
Across the street from the palace, Alameda central park had been turned into a battleground between protesters and police. The violence forced the“embroiderers for peace” — a group of artists who had gathered to display embroidered handkerchiefs that symbolized those killed or disappeared during former president Calderón’s six-year drug war — to withdraw from their peaceful protest.
Meanwhile, over televisions across the country, Mexicans participated in a society of  spectacle as they watched Peña Nieto’s inauguration. Just outside the media bubble, however, shouts of indignation rose in the streets. At a restaurant on 5 de Mayo Street, Peña Nieto’s voice declared from a television screen, “Two thousand one hundred and ninety-one days are sufficient to lay the foundation to make Mexico a prosperous country.” In the meantime, the repression continued in the historical center of the city, resulting in more than 170 arrests, and another hundred injured, many seriously. All of the violence and outcry occurred just feet from the media spectacle that protected the so-called “imposition.”
As EPN lifted his right hand and promised to protect the Constitution, the story of a Mexico without a president began. The inauguration was marked by discontent and indignation in the streets, juxtaposed against the sense of denial — “nothing to see here” — taking place in a presidential palace living in a media bubble.
“I will govern looking out for the well-being and prosperity of the union, and if I don’t accomplish it, may the nation demand it of me,” Peña Nieto declared in his inauguration speech.
This speech and the government-controlled narrative of the day’s event have been widely broadcast. But the story of the day’s protests tended to be suppressed and distorted by official propaganda.
Full article

Chronicle of a Mexico without a president
December 10, 2012

In Mexico, December 1, 2012, will be remembered as the day that an imposition was legitimized.

Enrique Peña Nieto — his name is often abbreviated in Mexico as “EPN” — took the reins of power in the context of deep indignation and amidst heavy state crackdown against crowds of protesters. A number of actions were planned in Mexico City to show the illegitimacy of Peña Nieto’s presidency, particularly given the unfair media attention he received and the electoral fraud that took place to ensure his victory.

On that day, Mexico’s historic center and the congressional buildings were a microcosm of the Mexican state as a whole. The Legislative Palace of San Lázaro, which houses Mexico’s Congress, appeared to be a giant fortress, deaf to the rubber bullets and tear gas grenades that the federal police fired at protesters. Nearby, thepresidential palace stood on one side of the Zócalo, the main square of Mexico City.

Across the street from the palace, Alameda central park had been turned into a battleground between protesters and police. The violence forced the“embroiderers for peace” — a group of artists who had gathered to display embroidered handkerchiefs that symbolized those killed or disappeared during former president Calderón’s six-year drug war — to withdraw from their peaceful protest.

Meanwhile, over televisions across the country, Mexicans participated in a society of  spectacle as they watched Peña Nieto’s inauguration. Just outside the media bubble, however, shouts of indignation rose in the streets. At a restaurant on 5 de Mayo Street, Peña Nieto’s voice declared from a television screen, “Two thousand one hundred and ninety-one days are sufficient to lay the foundation to make Mexico a prosperous country.” In the meantime, the repression continued in the historical center of the city, resulting in more than 170 arrests, and another hundred injured, many seriously. All of the violence and outcry occurred just feet from the media spectacle that protected the so-called “imposition.”

As EPN lifted his right hand and promised to protect the Constitution, the story of a Mexico without a president began. The inauguration was marked by discontent and indignation in the streets, juxtaposed against the sense of denial — “nothing to see here” — taking place in a presidential palace living in a media bubble.

“I will govern looking out for the well-being and prosperity of the union, and if I don’t accomplish it, may the nation demand it of me,” Peña Nieto declared in his inauguration speech.

This speech and the government-controlled narrative of the day’s event have been widely broadcast. But the story of the day’s protests tended to be suppressed and distorted by official propaganda.

Full article

Thoughts about the future of OWS with Captain Ray Lewis

What are you expecting of OWS on September 17?
I’m expecting one hell of a turnout, and that’ll tell me that this movement is still very much alive. That’s because the problems haven’t gone away. They haven’t even dissipated slightly. It’s the same amount of corruption and subsequently I don’t see people going away. 

How do you think the movement can grow in the upcoming months?
What I’m trying to do is get this occupation to grow by getting mainstream Americans to wake up and get involved. That’s one of the reasons for my sign, which advocates everyone to watch “Inside Job,” which is about the financial crisis. Once you watch this documentary, not only will you understand Occupy, you’ll be a full-fledged advocate. 

What kind of resistance do you hope to see with the upcoming election? 
One of my big things is advocating pacifism. I don’t like any kind of violence. I don’t even like civil disobedience, in taking the streets and stopping traffic, even though I participated in that. That’s why I was arrested, but I did that to show solidarity with the young people. But we have to be careful with any action that can be interpreted by mainstream America as that can make us look like trouble makers. 

What can be learned from OWS one year later?
Everyone has learned that there’s a movement afoot. It’s here. It’s going to stay and it’s going to stay until the problems disappear and that won’t be for a while. What people don’t realize is you need to be patient. As you get older you get more patient, but the young people didn’t have the patience and wanted to see changes quicker. You have to realize this is going to be a long tour and you have to stay the course.

Ray Lewis is a retired Philadelphia police captain who was arrested last November during an OWS action in New York City. 

- Graciela

Top 15 things Romney & Obama agree onSeptember 3, 2012
15. Although unemployment is the highest it’s been since the Great Depression, the federal government should NOT enact any sort of WPA-style program to put millions of people back to work. Under Democrat Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s, Depression-era unemployment was tackled head on by direct federal hiring to dig subways, build roads, schools, parks, sewers, recreational facilities and public buildings. Oblivious of this history, Democrat Barack Obama maintains that only the private sector can or should create jobs.
14. Medicare, Medicaid and social security are “entitlements” that need to be cut to relieve what they call “the deficit.” Republicans have been on record for this since forever, though they claim not to want to mess with the Medicare people already over 65 are getting. One of the first acts of the Obama presidency was to appoint a bipartisan panel stacked with “deficit hawks” like Republican Allan Simpson and Democrat Erskine Bowles to recommend raising retirement ages and cutting back Medicaid, Medicare and social security, and pass a law directing Congress to have an up or down no-amendments vote on its recommendations. Fortunately the “cat food commission”, as it was called, was deadlocked and offered none. But Obama and top Democrats, most recently House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi continue to express their readiness for some kind of “grand compromise” with Republicans on this issue.
13. Climate change treaties and negotiations that might lead to them should be avoided at all costs. The differences between them are only style. Democrats admit that climate change exists and is man-made, Republicans say it’s a myth. But both ignored the Kyoto protocol and Obama like Bush before him, has worked tirelessly to delay, derail and boycott any actual talks that might lead to constructive international climate change agreements.
12. NAFTA was such a great thing it really should be extended to Central and South America and the entire Pacific rim. Again, there are differences in style. On the 2008 campaign trail, Obama sometimes mumbled about renegotiating parts of NAFTA, and such. But even before the primaries were done, press reports had him assuring the Canadian government this was only campaign rhetoric, raw meat for the rubes. In four years he has pushed NAFTA-like “free trade” corporate rights agreements with South Korea, most of Central America and is now secretly hammering out something called the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.
11. Banksters and Wall Street speculators deserve their bailouts and protection from criminal liability, but underwater and foreclosed homeowners deserve nothing. Well, maybe not exactly nothing. Republicans think underwater homeowners deserve blame for forcing banksters to offer millions of fraudulent high-interest loans were then re-sold to investors around the world. Democrats think underwater homeowners deserve empty promises of help that never quite arrives for most of the foreclosed, the about-to-be foreclosed, their families and communities. But both agree on free money for banksters and speculators but no moratorium on foreclosures and no criminal investigations of mortgage and securities fraud.
10. Palestinians should be occupied, dispossessed and ignored. Iran should be starved and threatened from all sides. Cuba should be embargoed, and Americans prohibited from going there to see what its people have done in a half century free of Yankee rule. Black and brown babies and their parents, relatives and neighbors should be bombed with drones in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and similar places. The politicians and corporate commentators have a misleading name for this. They call it “foreign policy.” The realistic term for it is global empire.
9. Africa should be militarized, destabilized, plundered and where necessary, invaded by proxy armies like those of Rwanda, Ethiopia, Burundi or Kenya, or directly by Western air and ground forces, as in Libya. President Georgia Bush announced the formation of AFRICOM, the US military command for the continent which has officially swallowed all US civilian diplomatic presence. But only a black US president, even under the cover of “humanitarian war” could have invaded an African nation and openly dispatched special forces to Central Africa.
8. US Presidents can kidnap citizens of their own or any nation on earth from anyplace on the planet for torture, indefinite imprisonment without trial or murder them and neighboring family and bystanders at will. To be perfectly fair, there are distinctions between Republicans and Democrats here that don’t amount to differences. Republicans Cheney and Bush got their lawyers to say these things were OK and did them. Democrat Obama got Congress to enact “laws” giving these acts a veneer of fake legality, something a Republican probably could not have done.
7. Oil and energy companies, and other mega-polluters must be freed to drill offshore almost everywhere, and permitted to poison land and watersheds with fracking to achieve “energy independence”. The Republicans say “drill baby drill” but it seems only Democrats can chill out enough supposed “environmentalists” to make this happen. Obama campaigned on restricting offshore drilling four years ago, and reversed himself just before the BP oil disaster in the Gulf. The White House cooperated with BP in lying to the public about the extent of the disaster and has shielded BO from paying anything like the value of actual damages incurred to livelihoods, human lives and the environment.
6. The FCC should not and must not regulate telecoms to ensure that poor and rural communities have access to internet, or to guarantee network neutrality. Republicans have always been in favor of digital redlining, against network neutrality. Barack Obama claimed on the campaign trail he’d take a back seat to nobody in guaranteeing network neutrality. But he appointed as FCC chair a man who helped write the infamous Telecommunications Act of 1995, which gave away the government-built internet backbone to a handful of immensely powerful telecoms like AT&T and Comcast, and flatly reversed himself on network neutrality. The Department of Justice was forced to stop the ATT-T-Mobile merger by a storm of public outrage, but approved the Comcast-NBC deal.
5. Of course there really ARE such things as “clean coal” and “safe nuclear energy”. Again these are things Republicans have always pretended to believe. At the 2008 Democratic convention Democrat Barack Obama joined them, declaring he intended to be the president of “clean coal and safe nuclear energy.” Obama is building a wave of 33 nuclear plants across the country, the first two in mostly black and poor communities of Georgia and South Carolina where leaky existing nukes are causing cancer epidemics. The people know these things are myths. But Republican and Democratic candidates for office, all the way down to state and county officials seem not to.
4. Immigrants must be jailed and deported in record numbers. To be really fair, one should note that on this issue Republicans talk a mean game about sending them all back and jailing tens or hundreds of thousands along the way. But only President Obama has walked the walk, deporting over a million immigrants in his term in office, often with little or no due process and after housing many for months in atrocious privatized immigration prisons.
3. No Medicare For All. Forget about it eliminating the Medicare age requirement so that all Americans would qualify. Republicans never wanted Medicare even for seniors, let alone everybody. Six or seven years ago Illinois State Senator Obama was telling audiences that if they elected Democrats to Congress, the Senate and the White House, they’d get single payer health care. But once in office he excluded Medicare for All from the proposals on the table, and enacted a national version of Massachusetts RomneyCare, requiring everybody to purchase private health insurance or be penalized.
2. No minimum wage increases for you, no right to form a union, no right to negotiate or strike if you already have a union, and no enforcement or reform of existing labor laws. Again, Republicans have always opposed minimum wage laws. Obama promised to boost the minimum wage his first two years in office, while he still had majorities in the House and Senate. But he didn’t do this, or pass legislation beefing up the right to organize unions, which has been eroded under Democrat and Republican administrations alike.
1. The 40 year war on drugs must continue, and even mention of the prison state is unthinkable. There are 2.3 million people in US prisons and jails today, a per capita total that beats the world. Politicians of both parties wag their fingers in multiple directions. But as Michelle Alexander points out, if the US prison population were rolled back to say, only 1 million, the level it was about 1980, this would mean one million jobs, as contractors, sheriffs, cops, bailiffs, judges and functionaries of all kinds would have to go out and find real jobs.
Source
The illusion of choice at the voting polls…

Top 15 things Romney & Obama agree on
September 3, 2012

15. Although unemployment is the highest it’s been since the Great Depression, the federal government should NOT enact any sort of WPA-style program to put millions of people back to work. Under Democrat Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s, Depression-era unemployment was tackled head on by direct federal hiring to dig subways, build roads, schools, parks, sewers, recreational facilities and public buildings. Oblivious of this history, Democrat Barack Obama maintains that only the private sector can or should create jobs.

14. Medicare, Medicaid and social security are “entitlements” that need to be cut to relieve what they call “the deficit.” Republicans have been on record for this since forever, though they claim not to want to mess with the Medicare people already over 65 are getting. One of the first acts of the Obama presidency was to appoint a bipartisan panel stacked with “deficit hawks” like Republican Allan Simpson and Democrat Erskine Bowles to recommend raising retirement ages and cutting back Medicaid, Medicare and social security, and pass a law directing Congress to have an up or down no-amendments vote on its recommendations. Fortunately the “cat food commission”, as it was called, was deadlocked and offered none. But Obama and top Democrats, most recently House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi continue to express their readiness for some kind of “grand compromise” with Republicans on this issue.

13. Climate change treaties and negotiations that might lead to them should be avoided at all costs. The differences between them are only style. Democrats admit that climate change exists and is man-made, Republicans say it’s a myth. But both ignored the Kyoto protocol and Obama like Bush before him, has worked tirelessly to delay, derail and boycott any actual talks that might lead to constructive international climate change agreements.

12. NAFTA was such a great thing it really should be extended to Central and South America and the entire Pacific rim. Again, there are differences in style. On the 2008 campaign trail, Obama sometimes mumbled about renegotiating parts of NAFTA, and such. But even before the primaries were done, press reports had him assuring the Canadian government this was only campaign rhetoric, raw meat for the rubes. In four years he has pushed NAFTA-like “free trade” corporate rights agreements with South Korea, most of Central America and is now secretly hammering out something called the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

11. Banksters and Wall Street speculators deserve their bailouts and protection from criminal liability, but underwater and foreclosed homeowners deserve nothing. Well, maybe not exactly nothing. Republicans think underwater homeowners deserve blame for forcing banksters to offer millions of fraudulent high-interest loans were then re-sold to investors around the world. Democrats think underwater homeowners deserve empty promises of help that never quite arrives for most of the foreclosed, the about-to-be foreclosed, their families and communities. But both agree on free money for banksters and speculators but no moratorium on foreclosures and no criminal investigations of mortgage and securities fraud.

10. Palestinians should be occupied, dispossessed and ignored. Iran should be starved and threatened from all sides. Cuba should be embargoed, and Americans prohibited from going there to see what its people have done in a half century free of Yankee rule. Black and brown babies and their parents, relatives and neighbors should be bombed with drones in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and similar places. The politicians and corporate commentators have a misleading name for this. They call it “foreign policy.” The realistic term for it is global empire.

9. Africa should be militarized, destabilized, plundered and where necessary, invaded by proxy armies like those of Rwanda, Ethiopia, Burundi or Kenya, or directly by Western air and ground forces, as in Libya. President Georgia Bush announced the formation of AFRICOM, the US military command for the continent which has officially swallowed all US civilian diplomatic presence. But only a black US president, even under the cover of “humanitarian war” could have invaded an African nation and openly dispatched special forces to Central Africa.

8. US Presidents can kidnap citizens of their own or any nation on earth from anyplace on the planet for torture, indefinite imprisonment without trial or murder them and neighboring family and bystanders at will. To be perfectly fair, there are distinctions between Republicans and Democrats here that don’t amount to differences. Republicans Cheney and Bush got their lawyers to say these things were OK and did them. Democrat Obama got Congress to enact “laws” giving these acts a veneer of fake legality, something a Republican probably could not have done.

7. Oil and energy companies, and other mega-polluters must be freed to drill offshore almost everywhere, and permitted to poison land and watersheds with fracking to achieve “energy independence”. The Republicans say “drill baby drill” but it seems only Democrats can chill out enough supposed “environmentalists” to make this happen. Obama campaigned on restricting offshore drilling four years ago, and reversed himself just before the BP oil disaster in the Gulf. The White House cooperated with BP in lying to the public about the extent of the disaster and has shielded BO from paying anything like the value of actual damages incurred to livelihoods, human lives and the environment.

6. The FCC should not and must not regulate telecoms to ensure that poor and rural communities have access to internet, or to guarantee network neutrality. Republicans have always been in favor of digital redlining, against network neutrality. Barack Obama claimed on the campaign trail he’d take a back seat to nobody in guaranteeing network neutrality. But he appointed as FCC chair a man who helped write the infamous Telecommunications Act of 1995, which gave away the government-built internet backbone to a handful of immensely powerful telecoms like AT&T and Comcast, and flatly reversed himself on network neutrality. The Department of Justice was forced to stop the ATT-T-Mobile merger by a storm of public outrage, but approved the Comcast-NBC deal.

5. Of course there really ARE such things as “clean coal” and “safe nuclear energy”. Again these are things Republicans have always pretended to believe. At the 2008 Democratic convention Democrat Barack Obama joined them, declaring he intended to be the president of “clean coal and safe nuclear energy.” Obama is building a wave of 33 nuclear plants across the country, the first two in mostly black and poor communities of Georgia and South Carolina where leaky existing nukes are causing cancer epidemics. The people know these things are myths. But Republican and Democratic candidates for office, all the way down to state and county officials seem not to.

4. Immigrants must be jailed and deported in record numbers. To be really fair, one should note that on this issue Republicans talk a mean game about sending them all back and jailing tens or hundreds of thousands along the way. But only President Obama has walked the walk, deporting over a million immigrants in his term in office, often with little or no due process and after housing many for months in atrocious privatized immigration prisons.

3. No Medicare For All. Forget about it eliminating the Medicare age requirement so that all Americans would qualify. Republicans never wanted Medicare even for seniors, let alone everybody. Six or seven years ago Illinois State Senator Obama was telling audiences that if they elected Democrats to Congress, the Senate and the White House, they’d get single payer health care. But once in office he excluded Medicare for All from the proposals on the table, and enacted a national version of Massachusetts RomneyCare, requiring everybody to purchase private health insurance or be penalized.

2. No minimum wage increases for you, no right to form a union, no right to negotiate or strike if you already have a union, and no enforcement or reform of existing labor laws. Again, Republicans have always opposed minimum wage laws. Obama promised to boost the minimum wage his first two years in office, while he still had majorities in the House and Senate. But he didn’t do this, or pass legislation beefing up the right to organize unions, which has been eroded under Democrat and Republican administrations alike.

1. The 40 year war on drugs must continue, and even mention of the prison state is unthinkable. There are 2.3 million people in US prisons and jails today, a per capita total that beats the world. Politicians of both parties wag their fingers in multiple directions. But as Michelle Alexander points out, if the US prison population were rolled back to say, only 1 million, the level it was about 1980, this would mean one million jobs, as contractors, sheriffs, cops, bailiffs, judges and functionaries of all kinds would have to go out and find real jobs.

Source

The illusion of choice at the voting polls…

The electoral process has been hijacked by corporations. The judiciary has been corrupted and bought. The press shuts out the most important voices in the country and feeds us the banal and the absurd. Universities prostitute themselves for corporate dollars. Labor unions are marginal and ineffectual forces. The economy is in the hands of corporate swindlers and speculators. And the public, enchanted by electronic hallucinations, remains largely passive and supine. We have no tools left within the power structure in our fight to halt unchecked corporate pillage.
Protesters blockade Mexico’s biggest TV stationJuly 27, 2012
Thousands of protesters on Thursday blockaded the studios of Mexico’s most popular TV network, accusing it of biased coverage of the July 1 presidential election.
Shouting “Tell the truth,” the demonstrators, including students and union workers, stopped employees entering the offices of the Televisa studios in Mexico City although they allowed others to leave.

The protesters allege that Televisa supported Enrique Pena Nieto, who won the election by almost 7 percentage points over leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

The protesters promised to continue the blockade for 24 hours.

Televisa, which carried on broadcasting as normal, argues that it covered the election fairly and gave all candidates time on prime-time news shows.

Televisa is the world’s most popular Spanish language network and sells its soap operas around the globe.

Lopez Obrador has claimed that Pena Nieto paid Televisa for favorable coverage and bought votes. He has filed a legal challenge to the vote with an electoral tribunal, asking it to annul the ballot.

The tribunal has until September to rule on the accusations and officially declare Pena Nieto as president. It is widely expected to uphold the vote.
Source

Protesters blockade Mexico’s biggest TV station
July 27, 2012

Thousands of protesters on Thursday blockaded the studios of Mexico’s most popular TV network, accusing it of biased coverage of the July 1 presidential election.

Shouting “Tell the truth,” the demonstrators, including students and union workers, stopped employees entering the offices of the Televisa studios in Mexico City although they allowed others to leave.

The protesters allege that Televisa supported Enrique Pena Nieto, who won the election by almost 7 percentage points over leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

The protesters promised to continue the blockade for 24 hours.

Televisa, which carried on broadcasting as normal, argues that it covered the election fairly and gave all candidates time on prime-time news shows.

Televisa is the world’s most popular Spanish language network and sells its soap operas around the globe.

Lopez Obrador has claimed that Pena Nieto paid Televisa for favorable coverage and bought votes. He has filed a legal challenge to the vote with an electoral tribunal, asking it to annul the ballot.

The tribunal has until September to rule on the accusations and officially declare Pena Nieto as president. It is widely expected to uphold the vote.

Source

Thousands continue to march against election fraud in MexicoJuly 22, 2012
Thousands marched through Mexico City’s center on Sunday to protest what they called the “imposition” of the candidate of the old ruling party as the country’s new president.
Protesters carried signs accusing presumed President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto of electoral fraud and Mexico television giant Televisa of being a “factory of lies.” Opponents say Pena Nieto’s party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party, won the July 1 election through vote-buying and overspending, including paying major media outlets such as Televisa for favorable coverage.
"Mexico didn’t vote for fraud. Mexico wants a country that is honest and democratic," said marcher Marlem Munoz, 26, who studies dentistry at Mexico’s National Autonomous University. "What happened in the elections was a total mockery directed at the Mexican people."
The PRI has vehemently denied the charges and on Friday accused losing leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of trying to “disqualify the entire electoral process with lies.” Televisa also has denied charges of being paid for positive coverage.
Mexico City authorities did not immediately release an official crowd estimate, but the march appeared to draw far fewer people than similar protests before the election with as many as 90,000 participants. A July 7 march, the first after election, drew 50,000. The events have attracted people from a new student movement, “I Am 132,” and leftist groups supporting Lopez Obrador.
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Thousands continue to march against election fraud in Mexico
July 22, 2012

Thousands marched through Mexico City’s center on Sunday to protest what they called the “imposition” of the candidate of the old ruling party as the country’s new president.

Protesters carried signs accusing presumed President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto of electoral fraud and Mexico television giant Televisa of being a “factory of lies.” Opponents say Pena Nieto’s party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party, won the July 1 election through vote-buying and overspending, including paying major media outlets such as Televisa for favorable coverage.

"Mexico didn’t vote for fraud. Mexico wants a country that is honest and democratic," said marcher Marlem Munoz, 26, who studies dentistry at Mexico’s National Autonomous University. "What happened in the elections was a total mockery directed at the Mexican people."

The PRI has vehemently denied the charges and on Friday accused losing leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of trying to “disqualify the entire electoral process with lies.” Televisa also has denied charges of being paid for positive coverage.

Mexico City authorities did not immediately release an official crowd estimate, but the march appeared to draw far fewer people than similar protests before the election with as many as 90,000 participants. A July 7 march, the first after election, drew 50,000. The events have attracted people from a new student movement, “I Am 132,” and leftist groups supporting Lopez Obrador.

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Thousands protest Mexico’s president-electJuly 7, 2012 
Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched through Mexico City Saturday against the presidential election win of Enrique Pena Nieto, accusing him and his party of widespread vote-buying.
The marchers claim Pena Nieto, from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), “bought” his way to victory by handing out gift cards and securing paid favorable media coverage from the country’s two main TV networks.
"Out Pena, Mexico without the PRI!" the protesters chanted as the massive crowd made its way down the Paseo de la Reforma — a main thoroughfare in the capital — to the Zocalo, the city’s giant downtown square.
Mexico’s independent election authority on Friday ratified Pena Nieto’s victory in the July 1 vote, saying he bested his nearest opponent, leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, by more than six percentage points.
But many in this country of 112 million have refused to accept Pena Nieto’s victory, which marks the return to power of the PRI — the party that ruled for seven decades until 2000, amid accusations of rigged elections and repression.
"We would look really bad if Pena Nieto would take office and we did nothing," said Mara Soto, a 21 year-old student at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
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Thousands protest Mexico’s president-elect
July 7, 2012 

Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched through Mexico City Saturday against the presidential election win of Enrique Pena Nieto, accusing him and his party of widespread vote-buying.

The marchers claim Pena Nieto, from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), “bought” his way to victory by handing out gift cards and securing paid favorable media coverage from the country’s two main TV networks.

"Out Pena, Mexico without the PRI!" the protesters chanted as the massive crowd made its way down the Paseo de la Reforma — a main thoroughfare in the capital — to the Zocalo, the city’s giant downtown square.

Mexico’s independent election authority on Friday ratified Pena Nieto’s victory in the July 1 vote, saying he bested his nearest opponent, leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, by more than six percentage points.

But many in this country of 112 million have refused to accept Pena Nieto’s victory, which marks the return to power of the PRI — the party that ruled for seven decades until 2000, amid accusations of rigged elections and repression.

"We would look really bad if Pena Nieto would take office and we did nothing," said Mara Soto, a 21 year-old student at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

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