INDEPENDENT GLOBAL JOURNALISM: “Study Debunks Claims That Led to Bolivian Coup” / truthdig / Eoin Higgins ☮

A new study released by a pair of MIT researchers Thursday reveals that, contrary to claims from the U.S.-backed Organization of American States, there was no fraud in Bolivia’s October 20, 2019 elections—an accusation used by the OAS and others as a pretext for supporting the coup in the country that deposed President Evo Morales and replaced him with an unelected right-wing government.

Our results were straightforward. There does not seem to be a statistically significant difference in the margin before and after the halt of the preliminary vote. Instead, it is highly likely that Morales surpassed the 10-percentage-point margin in the first round. …

There is not any statistical evidence of fraud that we can find—the trends in the preliminary count, the lack of any big jump in support for Morales after the halt, and the size of Morales’ margin all appear legitimate. All in all, the OAS’ statistical analysis and conclusions would appear deeply flawed.

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PROGRESSIVE INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM: “Bolivia Dismisses LEGITIMATE Election” / The Young Turks / John Iadarola, Emma Vigeland, and Jayar Jackson ☮

“As Bolivia gears up for a do-over election on May 3, the country remains in unrest following the Nov. 10 military-backed coup against incumbent President Evo Morales. A quick recap: Morales claimed victory in October’s election, but the opposition protested about what it called electoral fraud. A Nov. 10 report from the Organization of American States (OAS) noted election irregularities, which “leads the technical audit team to question the integrity of the results of the election on October 20.” Police then joined the protests and Morales sought asylum in Mexico. The military-installed government charged Morales with sedition and terrorism. A European Union monitoring report noted that some 40 former electoral officials have been arrested and face criminal charges of sedition and subversion, and 35 people have died in the post-electoral conflict. The highest-polling presidential candidate, a member of Morales’s Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS-IPSP) party, has received a summons from prosecutors for undisclosed crimes, a move some analysts suspect was aimed to keep him off the ballot.”

CANNABIS: “Study Sheds Light on How Weed Fights Stress” / Secular Talk / Kyle Kulinski ☮

Scientists have identified a molecule in the brain that may help to protect the body from anxiety, and could help explain people’s use of marijuana in times of stress. In a study conducted in mice and published in Neuron, researchers looked at the molecule 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). This molecule is involved in a connection between the amygdala and frontal cortex. These parts of the brain are responsible for regulating emotions, memory and empathy, among other things…

PROGRESSIVE INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM: “War With Iran” / Chris Hedges ☮

The assassination by the United States of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, near Baghdad’s airport will ignite widespread retaliatory attacks against U.S. targets from Shiites, who form the majority in Iraq. It will activate Iranian-backed militias and insurgents in Lebanon and Syria and throughout the Middle East. The existing mayhem, violence, failed states and war, the result of nearly two decades of U.S. blunders and miscalculations in the region, will become an even wider and more dangerous conflagration. The consequences are ominous. Not only will the U.S. swiftly find itself under siege in Iraq and perhaps driven out of the country—there is only a paltry force of 5,200 U.S. troops in Iraq, all U.S. citizens in Iraq have been told to leave the country “immediately” and the embassy and consular services have been closed—but the situation could also draw us into a war directly with Iran. The American Empire, it seems, will die not with a whimper but a bang.

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PROGRESSIVE INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM: “Greg Palast on Bolivia Coup Against Evo Morales: US is Unhappy With Democracy in Latin America!” / Going Underground on RT with Afshin Rattansi ☮

We speak to the author of ‘The Best Democracy Money Can Buy’ Greg Palast on the coup in Bolivia against Evo Morales, the US’ motivations for the coup, the racism in Latin American right-wing politics, the regime attempt by the US against Venezuela and Nicolas Maduro and why the 2020 US elections will not be free elections.