The Sham Elections of the North Korean State

Every 5 years, all North Korans over the age of 17 are expected to vote in a democratic election in which 687 members of North Korea’s Supreme Peoples Assembly are elected to represent the North Korean people. Voters are handed a ballot with a single name pre-written upon it and are expected to place this supposed vote in a ballet box, however the ballet box is not enclosed for privacy, rather it is open and on display for all to watch as a persons peers submit their vote. This entire charade is pointless as there are no choices for voters, it’s merely an exercise to create the illusion of democracy for the international community. Perhaps the only positive which comes of this system is that there is no instability within North Korean families with opposing political ideologies as is the case with other democratic nations. Additional positive characteristics of this shameful display of democracy in action is that voters do not need to be familiar with candidates or their policies and platforms and they do not have to worry after having voted if they indeed chose the wrong candidate. The primary reason as to why these sham elections occur is because the North Korean government uses the process as a census to detect those who oppose the current status quo of the North Korean dictatorial political regime. Private voting booths are available but are treated with significant stigma as anyone who uses one in order to write in a candidate or perhaps a short message which is contradictory to the current administration of Kim Jong Un is subject to being questioned and arrested for the crime of “subversion of the North Korean political process”, something which would be unimaginable in most democracies. The entire operation is essentially a method of detecting and exposing dissenters. The 2014 election recorded a total turn out of 99.9% of the North Korean population

The Use and Misuse of the U.S. Constitution’s 5th Amendment and Canada’s Section 13 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Although Canada does not have a 5th Amendment like the U.S., it does have the ability to invoke Section 13 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees that “a witness who testifies in any proceedings has the right not to have any incriminating evidence so given used to incriminate that witness in any other proceedings, except in a prosecution for perjury or for the giving of contradictory evidence”. Although the 5th Amendment does not exist in Canada, a collection of laws that function as the same purpose do exist affording both Canadian and U.S. citizens the right to make no statement so as not to incriminate themselves when being questioned. An individual cannot use the 5th Amendment or Section 13 as an absolute and unwavering protectionary device from any statement however. Discretion is provided dependent upon whether or not the person being questioned reasonably believes that disclosure of information could be utilized in a criminal prosecution or that it could lead to other evidence that may be used against that person in the future. In the US, an individual who has been convicted of a crime and sentenced cannot invoke the 5th Amendment. When an individual is able to leverage the 5th Amendment, their silence or refusal to answer questions cannot be used against them in a criminal case meaning a prosecutor cannot argue to a judge or jury that the defendant’s silence implies guilt. In Canada, Section 13 only protects against the use to incriminate prior compelled testimony and is not valid against the use of testimony previously voluntarily supplied

Men Around the World Acting as the Primary Catalyst for Criminal Activity

5% of men in any given country are responsible for 60% of that nations crime. Violent criminals cost society a lot of money in respect to their victims medical costs, law enforcement time spent investigating and locating these individuals, judicial costs of a fair trial, and correctional facility costs which include housing, feeding, and providing for these people. Violent offenders cost the state between $1,500,000 – $36,000,000 (1.5 million – $36 million) each over the course of their lifetime. Rehabilitation at the point of incarceration has shown to be largely ineffective, as it is akin to pruning a weed, not removing it’s root. Researchers within the New Zealand Dunedin (pronounced “do-nee-den”) study found that if rehabilitation begins during adolescence, a persons chance of ending up imprisoned dramatically decreases

The Choice of February as Black History Month

In the 1920’s, black historian Carter Godwin Woodson chose February as Black History Month because it coincided with both Abraham Lincoln who emancipated all slaves, and Frederick Douglass’ birthday. The original focus of Black History Month was to illustrate black contributions to American life and to celebrate black excellence, however in contrast to this narrative, over the course of the past few decades, slavery and civil rights have become highly focused conversation points

Mid 20th Century Malaysian Head Hunters

The Iban people of Sarawak, Malaysia practiced head hunting until the middle of the 20th century. Iban warriors were infamous within the region for decapitating their conquered victims to save the head as a trophy. Heads were strung and hung together at the top of the loadbearing posts of the long houses which the Iban continue to live in during the modern day, housing up to 25 families in a single building. Every month the Iban light small candles or fires below the hanging skulls to keep them warm because if they do not, they believe the spirits of the vanquished enemies will come back to haunt the dreams of the Iban. This practice was used as a right of passage and milestone mark for young Iban men throughout history, with young warriors forced to kill an enemy within the jungle and then bring the head of that enemy back to their home in order to bless it for everyone in the community. It was also common practice for Iban women to carry these skulls up and down the veranda of the longhouse to signify celebration for the bravery of the males of their family

State Intervention to Impede New Disruptive Technologies Causing Change Throughout History

For centuries, governments have restricted inventions for fear of disruption with notable examples including the Ottoman Empire banning the printing press, the Chinese empire outlawing voyages of discovery, Pope Urban VIII imprisoned Galileo Galilei because of his ideas related to the position of the Earth within the universe, and Queen Elizabeth I prohibited weaving machines which would displace tapestry workers

The Problem of Corruption Within the Indian Judicial System

Of the total number cases of child trafficking which should be reviewed by the Indian Supreme Court, less than 0.001% are actually brought before the court and prosecuted. The problem however is not with the judicial system itself but rather with implementation of law enforcement as members of law enforcement often take bribes and victims frequently do not want to appear in court, sometimes being threatened by the same law enforcement officer who freed them from their captor as these officers want to continue to keep traffickers out of prison so that they can continue to generate income from their victims on a repeat basis. Law enforcement have been recorded as demanding bribes, meals, and the filling of their personal and/or professional patrol vehicles with fuel, from the families of missing children when these families appeal to them to try and find their missing loved one. When those in power are the direct beneficiaries of trafficking, the chance of the system as a whole changing is virtually non-existent. Compounding this, former victims of criminal offenses are often imprisoned after being freed which creates fear in victims when asked by higher authorities to comply with the judicial system which is yet another reason as to why trafficking goes on with near impunity in India and the Indian judicial system

The Practice of Cannibalism in Modern Day Papua New Guinea and Fijian Antiquity

In Papua New Guinea, there is a cannibalistic tribe referred to as the “Irian Jaya” who reside in West Papua. Despite cannibalism being illegal in Papua New Guinea, the practice has significant cultural and anthropological value to various indigenous peoples of the region, and because of this, cannibalism has been officially recorded to have occurred as late as 2012. Fiji was once referred to as the “Cannibal Isles” because of its fierce reputation for human consumption, despite the small island being isolated from the mainland of Papua New Guinea and separated by 3900 kilometers of Pacific Ocean

Textile Pollution of the Citarum River in Indonesia

The Citarum River (pronounced “chit-ah-rum”) in Indonesia is considered to be the most heavily polluted river in the world with over 400 textile factories situated nearby which choose to dump their industrial waste directly into the river itself, treating the river as a sewer system which carries away waste. The problem is so intense that the Indonesian military has been implemented to help clean up the area but corporations have resorted to dumping their waste products at night and because the unseen chemicals are the real threat to those living near the river, these companies are permitted to continue dumping as no one can definitively prove their culpability without scientific measurements which are difficult to ascertain as Indonesia is a developing country with few resources. Corporations have even begun to strategically place their waste pipes under water so that they can pollute with impunity as no one can physically see the pollution being dumped. Water darker than its surroundings, steam, bubbles, and froth are all key signs which activists use to spot these illegal port systems. It’s difficult to pin point which factories produce textiles for western companies as western companies virtually always refuse to disclose which factories they work with. Some of the largest corporations in fashion (e.g. H&M, the Gap, Levi’s etc.) have revealed their sources but even with this disclosure, some of these companies have been linked to factories within this region. Indonesia isn’t a top 5 global producer of textiles, so to say that Indonesia is part of an even larger problem, is an accurate statement. Most people who live near the Citaum River use the river for bathing, drinking, and/or cooking, and noticeable dermatological effects have been noticed by those living within the area. The primary problem with the Citarum River is with heavy metals (e.g. mercury, cadmium, lead, arsenic etc.). Long term exposure to these substances can cause neurological problems as brain function becomes permanently damaged. These heavy metals are so dire that they can actually lower the intelligence quotient of children who are developing and attending their education. 28,000,000 (28 million) people rely upon the Citarum River daily and eat foods (e.g. rice) irrigated with its waters. Human rights activists have engaged these corporations by physically blocking piping and ducts which have caused the affected corporations to start hiring mercenary criminals to follow and attack those known to be a part of this resistance. Western consumers are the primary cause and possible solution for this problem because if there are no clients willing to purchase the garments, the industry as a whole will shift, not because of political pressure or governmental oversight, but rather because of sales. The problem is not centralized in Indonesia as other developing countries (e.g. India, Bangladesh, China etc.) are equally negatively impacted

Captain James Morgan and the Rum Named After Him

The tiny island of Île à Vache, Haiti (pronounced “eel ah vash”) was the location Captain Henry Morgan decided to setup a base of operations to harass the French and Spanish who controlled the mainland. The British, French, and Spanish fought furiously 300 years ago for the spoils which came along with the conquer and colonization of the New World. Captain Morgan lives on in modern culture as the Captain Morgan rum manufacturer takes its image and name from this famous British privateer