The 2016 elections: American democracy in shambles

Joseph Kishore, World Socialist Web Site

Behind the whole rotten process, the fundamental issues are covered up or ignored. The reality of American “democracy” can perhaps be summed up in the fact that, three weeks before November 8, the American military has launched a massive military escalation in the Middle East, and there is no significant discussion about the consequences in an election that is supposedly the principal means through which the population can affect policy.
The crisis of democracy is a product of the decay of American capitalism, overseen by a ruling class that is determined to advance a policy of war abroad and austerity at home—a policy that requires ever greater attacks on democratic forms of rule. Whatever happens on November 8, it will resolve nothing, and only set the stage for a protracted political crisis that can be resolved only through the independent intervention of the working class on the basis of a revolutionary socialist program.

Police departments are thinking about using drones armed with stun guns

Business Insider, via WSJ

Police officers could soon be adding a new weapon to their arsenal: stun-gun drones.

The idea of police using drones equipped with stun guns to catch criminals isn’t all that far-fetched. Stun gun maker Taser International has already approached some law enforcement officials about potentially using weaponized drones during encounters with civilians, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

“The idea for a community to accept an unmanned vehicle that’s got some sort of weapon on it might be a hurdle to overcome,” said Pete Simpson, a spokesman for the Portland police department.

Despite this, police use of robotic technology to deal with suspects is not without precedent. In July, the Dallas Police Department used a robot outfitted with explosives to kill a gunman who had shot and killed five police officers. It was the first time a robot was used by police to kill a suspect.

Prisoners across US on strike, demanding an end to free prison labor

Prisoners in at least 20 prisons across 11 states have been on strike for nearly three weeks, refusing to report to their prison jobs in what is likely the largest prison strike in U.S. history.

A group of inmates at Alabama’s Holman prison, the Free Alabama Movement called the work stoppage with the stated goal of ending prison slavery.

Prisoners on strike are calling for the repeal of an exception listed in the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which bans “involuntary servitude” in addition to slavery, “except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.”

I’ll write more later, but the links below will fill you in for now.

The Intercept

The Marshall Project – A Primer on the Nationwide Prisoners’ Strike