GOP’s Anti-Democratic Assault on Voting Rights

The Republican-led House in Georgia has passed a sweeping bill to make it harder to vote, in a move aimed to prevent Democrats from winning future elections. The bill limits access to absentee ballots, limits weekend early voting hours and curbs ballot drop boxes, among other provisions. Across the U.S., Republican lawmakers have introduced more than 250 bills in 43 states aimed at restricting voting access. Ari Berman, author and reporter for Mother Jones, says Republicans are “breaking democracy” with their push to restrict voting. “The Republican Party has no interest in appealing to a majority of Americans. Instead, they are doubling down on anti-democratic tactics so they can get a minority of votes but wield a majority of power,” says Berman.

we’re seeing it all across the country, how Republicans are breaking democracy. They are weaponizing Trump’s big lie to try to pass 250 new restrictions on voting in 43 states, which would be the biggest rollback of voting rights in decades. They are pushing extreme gerrymandering to try to keep power in the states and to try to take back the House in 2022. They are using the filibuster, so that 41 GOP senators, representing just 21% of the country, can block everything from a $15 minimum wage to legislation to restore the Voting Rights Act.

So, over and over and over, we’re seeing that the Republican Party has no interest in appealing to a majority of Americans. Instead, they are doubling down on anti-democratic tactics so they can get a minority of votes but wield a majority of power. And that’s a very, very dangerous phenomenon for American democracy.

— source democracynow.org | Mar 02, 2021

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Fear and silence in the ‘lucky’ country

Australia, once the land of the “fair go”, has collaborated with Guantanamo more closely than any other western government and is guilty of human rights abuses of its own.

National myths are usually partly true. In Australia, the myth of an egalitarian society, or “fair go”, has an extraordinary history. Long before most of the world, Australia had a minimum wage, a 35-hour working week, child benefits and the vote for women. The secret ballot was invented in Australia. By the 1960s, Australians could boast the most equitable spread of personal income in the world.

Today, these are forgotten, subversive truths. As schools are ordered to fly the flag (its Union Jack still mocking from on high), the maudlin story of Australian

— source johnpilger.com | john pilger | 7 Feb 2005

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The GOP Plan for Minority Rule Marches On

In 2018, Democrats swept every statewide race in Wisconsin, ending nearly a decade of Republican rule. “The voters spoke,” Democrat Tony Evers said after defeating incumbent Gov. Scott Walker. “A change is coming, Wisconsin!”

Not so fast. A month later, the GOP-controlled legislature convened an unprecedented lame-duck session to strip the incoming governor of key administrative and appointment powers and shorten the early voting period to dampen future Democratic turnout. Though their opponents had won more votes, Republicans believed only they were entitled to exercise power. “If you took Madison and Milwaukee out of the state election formula,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said of the state’s two largest and most Democratic cities, home to 850,000 people, “we would have a clear majority.”

In fact, they still did. Even though Democrats won 54 percent of votes cast for

— source motherjones.com | Ari Berman | Apr 2021

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Public Cost of Fukushima Cleanup Tops $628 Billion

The public cost of cleaning up the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster topped ¥4.2 trillion (roughly $628 billion) as of March, and is expected to keep climbing, the Japan Times reported on Sunday.

That includes costs for radioactive decontamination and compensation payments. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) will sell off its shares to eventually pay back the cost of decontamination and waste disposal, but the Environment Ministry expects that the overall price of those activities could exceed what TEPCO would get for its shares.

Meanwhile, the taxpayer burden is expected to increase and TEPCO is asking for additional help from the government.

— source commondreams.org | 2016

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A Black doctor died of Covid-19 weeks after accusing hospital staff of racist treatment

A Black physician died of Covid-19 weeks after she described a White doctor dismissing her pain and concerns about her treatment as she lay in an Indiana hospital. Dr. Susan Moore passed away on Sunday due to complications from Covid-19. The internist died about two weeks after she shared a video in which she accused a doctor at Indiana University Health North Hospital (IU North) of ignoring her complaints of pain and requests for medication because she was Black, even though she was both a patient and a doctor herself.

And despite her pain, the doctor told Moore he might send her home, she said, and he didn’t feel comfortable giving her more narcotics. “He made me feel like I was a drug addict,” she said in the video. “And he knew I was a physician.”

“You have to show proof that you have something wrong with you in order for you to get the medicine,” she said in the video. “This is how Black people get killed,” Moore said in the video, “when you send them home and they don’t know how to fight for themselves.”

Dr. Moore died last Sunday, just over two weeks after she posted the video.

facebook.com/susan.moore.33671748

— source edition.cnn.com | Dec 25, 2020

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Be proud of what you’ve achieved

Sydney Hyde Park, 20 March 2005:

The other day, the Aboriginal film-maker Richard Frankland said this: “When you’ve got a voice, you’ve got freedom, and when you’ve got freedom, you’ve got responsibility. Negotiating with politicians doesn’t work. You’ve got to change attitudes.” That’s the task for all of us here today. It’s not an easy one. In fact, many good people in Australia and other countries believe their voice cannot possibly be heard: that the forces of bigotry and violence are far too powerful.

And yes, they are powerful. John Howard can lie repeatedly to the Australian people and get away with it – it seems. There is no Labor opposition in federal parliament. They’ve become a bad joke, to the point where Kevin Rudd, the opposition spokesman on foreign affairs, refuses to say anything critical of the government that is not immersed in crude sophistry.

We also know that those who are paid to keep the record straight, who are meant

— source johnpilger.com | john pilger | 21 Mar 2005

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Suspicion Over EVM-VVPAT Manipulations

For a while now, concerns have been raised over the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and VVPAT (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) used by the Election Commission of India (ECI), with some claiming that they could be tampered with or were not reliable.

Adding to these concerns is a new piece of information revealed by former IAS officer Kannan Gopinathan, raising serious questions over the ECI’s claim that EVMs are stand-alone machines which are neither accessible remotely from any network nor can be connected to any external devices. However, with the introduction of VVPAT, these claims do not hold as these machines are apparently connected to laptops or symbol loading units (SLUs).

VVPATs were inducted into the electoral process in 2013 to provide an additional layer of scrutiny against possible EVM manipulation. They allow physical tallying of votes.

In a series of tweets, Gopinathan claimed that with the addition of the VVPAT

— source thewire.in | Himadri Ghosh | 18/Feb/2021

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How ‘great’ was the great oxygenation event?

Around 2.5 billion years ago, our planet experienced what was possibly the greatest change in its history: According to the geological record, molecular oxygen suddenly went from nonexistent to becoming freely available everywhere. Evidence for the “great oxygenation event” (GOE) is clearly visible, for example, in banded iron formations containing oxidized iron. The GOE, of course, is what allowed oxygen-using organisms — respirators — and ultimately ourselves, to evolve. But was it indeed a “great event” in the sense that the change was radical and sudden, or were the organisms alive at the time already using free oxygen, just at lower levels?

Prof. Dan Tawfik of the Weizmann Institute of Science’s Biomolecular Sciences Department explains that the dating of the GOE is indisputable, as is the fact that the molecular oxygen was produced by photosynthetic microorganisms. Chemically speaking, energy taken from light split water into protons (hydrogen ions) and oxygen. The electrons produced in this process were used to form

— source Weizmann Institute of Science | Mar 1, 2021

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UIDAI asks Hyderabad man to prove citizenship, alleges his Aadhaar could be fake

The UIDAI on February 3 sent a letter to Sattar Khan, a resident of Hyderabad raising questions on whether he was an Indian citizen. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) that oversees the functioning of Aadhaar in the country in a letter to Sattar claimed to have had received a complaint/allegation that he was not an Indian National, the letter did not specify who made the complaint. UIDAI alleged that according to the complaint Sattar had obtained the Aadhaar card through false pretences, making false claims and submitting false documents.

The UIDAI has asked Sattar to present himself before an enquiry officer at 11 am on February 20 at Balapur in Rangareddy district. He has been asked to provide necessary original documents to prove his Indian citizenship. If he is not an Indian National, he is to prove that he entered the country legally, the notice says. And if he failed to show up, the UIDAI would take a decision suo moto, the notice warns.

Its unclear how many such letters have been issued by the UIDAI so far. Muzaferullah Khan, Sattar’s advocate reasons that since UIDAI has orgainsed the inquiry at a function hall, there could be many more people turning up. “They have booked a function hall for the probe, it could mean there could be a lot of people who they have sent letters to,”he said. The lawyer intends to challenge the UIDAI in the Telangana High Court, questioning the authority of UIDAI to summon Indian citizens and question their citizenship.

— source thenewsminute.com | Mithun MK | Feb 18, 2020

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