Monday, November 24, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
The Development Assistance Research Associates (DARA) Humanitarian Response Index 2008 measures how effectively the world's 23 largest donors deliver aid. The United States ranked 15th in overall effectiveness and only 13th in the level of generosity measured by the size of its economy.
But it ranked near the bottom, 22nd, when it came to adherence to principles and guidelines established by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to ensure that political considerations don't exclude worthy recipients of aid.
DARA's findings reflect what it called the United States' use of humanitarian assistance to achieve military or political goals in eight crisis zones the group studied, including Afghanistan, Colombia and the Palestinian territories. . . read more
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Can socialist planning work?
With economic crisis sweeping the globe, many people are asking if there is a better way to organise society. Kate Connelly and Esme Choonara explain how a planned socialist economy might work.
Planning does exist under capitalism – but it takes place within individual firms rather than across society as a whole.
Capitalism is also extremely undemocratic. Even in the parts of the world where we get to vote for parliamentary representatives, we have no control over most economic decisions that shape our lives.
Because production isn't tied to what people need, crises occur where companies find that their products can't be sold. Karl Marx explained that capitalism is the first economic system where you can have a crisis of overproduction, rather than a crisis of scarcity.Socialist planning is about completely different priorities – producing for need, not for profit. It is impossible to determine what those needs are without extending democracy and involving the mass of the population in decision-making. . . . read more
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
A voter hotline set up by CNN to monitor polling problems received 56,000 calls, 22,000 of them being complaints. The most common problems concerned voter registration, absentee ballots going astray and voting machine malfunctions.
With the stakes high, there were reports of dirty tricks and legal battles, as well as what is now customary chaos at American polling stations. Voter intimidation, faulty machines, late poll openings, missing ballot papers and even the rain brought problems.
The voter who called the police said that one of the men told him: "A black man is going to win the election. We're tired of white supremacy."
Observers elsewhere in
In several states, election officials ruled that anyone in line when the polls close would be allowed to vote, causing the counts to drag on for hours.
Democratic voters in
In Florida, where officials have fought to escape their reputation as an international laughing stock after the Bush-Gore recount debacle eight years ago, there were still problems, with papers rejected by the counting machines when voters failed to fill in details on the reverse of their ballots.
Electoral officials were unable to set up a polling station at a church in
There was also evidence of voter fraud.
A blast of rain sweeping up the East coast disrupted voting in
Thousands had their wet papers quarantined in separate bins while they dried out before officials scanned them in again.
Eight years after he left the White House and seven months after she abandoned her own presidential bid, Bill and Hillary Clinton remained at the eye of the storm. Mrs Clinton attracted complaints for conducting an interview within feet of the polling booths, a violation of election law that bans electioneering 100 feet of voter booths.Extracted from Telegraph