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India’s ‘Assange’ crusades against corruption

Source: Al Jazeera

Arvind Kejriwal has shaken the political establishment with a string of accusations against top leaders and businesses.

In a country where accountability and transparency are often thought of as the first causalities of holding public office, Arvind Kejriwal, a mechanical engineer and former bureaucrat from Haryana, has blown the whistle on India’s corrupt.

In the last fortnight, he has released details and levelled charges four times against top Indian politicians and the country’s biggest business conglomerate. read more

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The Threat of a Stolen Election

Source: In These Times

Perhaps it’s because the U.S. Constitution does not guarantee Americans the right to vote. Perhaps it’s because election officials believe (or hope) that the public has forgotten what democracy means or what fair elections are all about. Perhaps both parties opportunistically seek an advantage through fraud. Perhaps people are simply stupid. Nevertheless, it remains an almost inconceivable screw-up: in many states, including critical swing states, government officials have not guaranteed that votes can be counted, either, in some cases, counted accurately or, in others, counted at all. The mechanics of U.S. voting systems, by international standards, languish at the level of a dismal third world failure. read more

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US Elections: America’s Dismal Choice

Source: Foreign Policy in Focus

With speculation now centered on how Superstorm Sandy’s impact may affect the U.S. election result, the final presidential debate, which focused on foreign policy, might seem like a distant event to American voters. But for the rest of the world, this was an event that mattered

As many pundits have noted, if the rest of the world were voting in the U.S. presidential election, the third presidential debate would probably have proceeded differently.

But since only about 200 million people on earth are eligible to vote for the man whose policies will impact all of us, the evening, as expected, turned into an exercise in imperial chest-thumping. President Barack Obama dredged up former Secretary of State Madeline Albright’s assertion that “America remains the indispensable nation” to remind American voters of what a great gift to the world their country is. Not to be outdone in extolling American exceptionalism, Republican candidate Mitt Romney told his compatriots, “This nation is the hope of the earth.” read more

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Hurricane Sandy Forces Climate Change on US Election Despite Fossil Fuel Lobby

Source: The Guardian Unlimited

Here’s a sentence I wish I hadn’t written – it rolled out of my Macbook in May, part of an article for Rolling Stone that quickly went viral:

“Say something so big finally happens (a giant hurricane swamps Manhattan, a megadrought wipes out Midwest agriculture) that even the political power of the industry is inadequate to restrain legislators, who manage to regulate carbon.”

I wish I hadn’t written it because the first half gives me entirely undeserved credit for prescience: I had no idea both would, in fact, happen in the next six months. And I wish I hadn’t written it because now that my bluff’s been called, I’m doubting that even Sandy, the largest storm ever, will be enough to make our political class serious about climate change. read more