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Daily Archives: October 12, 2022

Threats to the US Midterm Elections Have Been Building for Years

Freedom HouseThe festering problems that erupted after the last presidential election are still unresolved. “As the United States heads toward midterm elections on November 8, the political environment remains haunted by the coup attempt that culminated in a violent attack on the Capitol in January 2021. Social and mainstream media are overrun with narratives that preemptively cast doubt on the integrity of this year’s balloting by repeating false claims of a “stolen” 2020 election. While the courts found no credible evidence of large-scale fraud two years ago, the persistent claims have contributed to a trend in which state- and local-level election administration has grown more politicized, election officials face worsening harassment and intimidation, and some state legislatures have attempted to make voting more difficult in the name of electoral security. But the problems threatening US elections did not begin in 2020. They are part of a much older pattern of deterioration in America’s democratic institutions that must be addressed if the country is to meaningfully advance the cause of global freedom.

Through our flagship Freedom in the World publication, Freedom House has documented a significant decline in political rights and civil liberties in the United States over the past decade. In 2010, the country’s total score stood at 94 on the report’s 100-point scale, on par with other established democracies like France and Germany. In 2022, the United States still has an overall status of Free, but its total score has fallen to 83, placing it with less robust democracies like Panama and Romania…”

Report: Access to public records in Virginia cour

Courthousenews: “Traveling more than 1,000 miles over the course of five days, Courthouse News journalists visited 25 Virginia circuit courts to report on civil complaints filed in those courthouses. Their goal was to demonstrate what it would take to cover the public record of the Virginia courts by visiting each courthouse in person. The trip… Continue Reading

US Launches Promising Human Rights Reporting Tool

Human Rights Watch: “The United States Department of State is empowering ordinary people around the world to report human rights abuses by foreign security forces. On September 30, the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor launched a new reporting tool, the Human Rights Reporting Gateway, that gives the public a way to… Continue Reading

Misinformation Swirls in Non-English Languages Ahead of Midterms

The New York Times: ” More multilingual fact-checking groups are pushing back against misleading translations, manipulated images and outright lies that jump platforms and cross borders… Unsubstantiated rumors and outright falsehoods spread widely in immigrant communities ahead of the presidential election in 2020. That is happening again in the run-up to this year’s midterm elections,… Continue Reading

Google’s Project Starline Videoconference Tech Wants to Turn You Into a Hologram

Wired: “Our reporter tests out a “video booth” to glimpse the future of telepresence. Over the past several years, Google has been working hard to craft software experiences that make you feel like you’re present with another human being, even if they’re several time zones away. On one end of the spectrum is boring Google… Continue Reading

Federal Officials Trade Stock in Companies Their Agencies Oversee

WSJ [paywall] – “Hidden records show thousands of senior executive branch employees owned shares of companies whose fates were directly affected by their employers’ actions, a Wall Street Journal investigation found…The review spans 2016 through 2021 and includes data on about 850,000 financial assets and more than 315,000 trades reported in stocks, bonds and funds… Continue Reading

Almost 70% of animal populations wiped out since 1970, report reveals

The Guardian – Huge scale of human-driven loss of species demands urgent action, say world’s leading scientists. “Earth’s wildlife populations have plunged by an average of 69% in just under 50 years, according to a leading scientific assessment, as humans continue to clear forests, consume beyond the limits of the planet and pollute on an… Continue Reading