Media across the world are literally transfixed by the spectacle of US elections. The Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton, Republicans vs. Democrats battle is captivating enough to distract public attention from other issues.
Democracy promotion has been a centerpiece of US foreign policy for over half a century since the days when President Woodrow Wilson crafted a new foreign policy that involved active democracy promotion. The implementation of the «beacon on the hill» concept presupposes that the United States would act as a model of excellence for others to follow is analogous to contemporary soft-power democracy promotion efforts. Lecturing on democracy is a distinctive feature of American foreign policy. Does the US really provide an influential role model for how elections should run in other countries? Is America really a shining example of real democracy? «Forbear to judge, for we are sinners all».
Domestic and international experts rate the US elections as the worst among all Western democracies. According to Electoral Integrity Project, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden are at the top of the ranking, while the US scores 62.
The report gathers assessments from over 2,000 experts to evaluate the perceived integrity of all 180 national parliamentary and presidential contests held between July 1, 2012, and Dec. 31, 2015, in 139 countries. The 2014 US congressional elections rank even worse, 65th out of 180 worldwide.
In May, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights issued the OSCE / ODIHR Needs Assessment Mission (NAM) Report to assess the pre-election environment and the preparations for the US election on November 8.
It notes that in America election observation is regulated by state law, which does not explicitly provide for international observers at odds with the 1990 OSCE Copenhagen Document.
The paper says some 4.1 million citizens that are residents of US territories are not eligible and some 600,000 citizens that are residents of the District of Columbia can vote in presidential elections but do not have full representation in Congress. Some 5.8 million prisoners and ex-prisoners continue to be disenfranchised due to prohibitive and disproportionate legal regulations or burdensome procedures for reinstating voting rights in a number of states, particularly affecting minorities.
Women are generally underrepresented in public office, holding some 20 per cent of seats in the outgoing Congress and some 25 per cent of seats in the state legislatures. Some OSCE/ODIHR NAM interlocutors noted concerns about negative stereotyping of women. They are also concerned over an increase in inflammatory speech targeting minorities.
The OSCE report also notes that there are no limits on campaign spending: no aggregate limit on how much an individual may contribute. Spending by independent groups can be exempt from disclosure requirements. Boundaries of the districts to elect representatives are redrawn in line with partisan interests which may result in uncompetitive races.
The paper adds to numerous publications devoted to irregularities of the US voting system. Indeed, there has a been a range of vulnerabilities in the conduct of American elections made public in recent years, recently, especially since the notoriously flawed ballot design in Florida in 2000.
There is a widespread suspicion of the role of money in politics. Regardless of their political affiliation, Americans agree that money has too much influence on the outcome of the vote, the wealthy have more influence on elections, and candidates who win office promote policies that help their donors.
The people think the country’s campaign finance system needs significant changes. Americans do not think donating money to political candidates is a form of free speech.
Electoral laws are unfair to smaller parties like the Green Party, favor the governing party, or restrict voter’s rights.
Gerrymandering of district boundaries to favor incumbents, waiting in line in excess of many hours, inaccurate state and local voter registers, insufficiently trained local poll workers, and the breakdown of voting machines are just a few example in the list of noticeable shortfalls. In 2014 serious problems with electronic voting were reported. The polling machines recorded a vote for the Democratic candidate when the screen was touched to cast a vote for the Republican.
In Texas the statewide voter registration system crashed, forcing many to complete provisional ballots when poll workers were unable to confirm voter eligibility.
The 2016 race is disappointing enough. There was reported confusion about new photo ID requirements and long lines.
The system of superdelegates is evidently undemocratic. For instance, this year Democratic superdelegates, who aren’t beholden to vote for a candidate according to the popular choice, could potentially sway the nomination. It caused discontent among rank and file party members who would prefer another candidate instead of Hillary Clinton. G.O.P. candidate Donald Trump called the delegate system «rigged».
Noam Chomsky, a famous American scholar and the author of Failed States, believes there is an enormous gap between public opinion and policy in the United States.
In the book What We Say Goes: Conversations on US Power in a Changing World he sets an example. In 2005, the Program on International Policy Attitudes did an extensive poll on what people thought the budget ought to be.
It turned out to be the inverse of the actual budget: where federal funding was going up, an overwhelming majority wanted it to go down. The public opposed increases in military spending overall and supplemental spending for Iraq and Afghanistan, which is going up even more now. Where the budget was going down—social expenditures, health, renewable energy, veterans’ benefits, the United Nations-right across the board, the public wanted spending to increase. US media kept this fact out of public eye.
«…when Americans with different income levels differ in their policy preferences, actual policy outcomes strongly reflect the preferences of the most affluent but bear virtually no relationship to the preferences of poor or middle-income Americans. The vast discrepancy I find in government responsiveness to citizens with different incomes stands in stark contrast to the ideal of political equality that Americans hold dear. Although perfect political equality is an unrealistic goal, representational biases of this magnitude call into question the very democratic character of our society», says Martin Gilens, the professor of politics at Princeton University and the author the author of Affluence & Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America.
«Now it’s just an oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or to elect the president. And the same thing applies to governors, and US senators and congress members», concludes former US president Jimmy Carter.
The US officials often recklessly accuse other countries of election tempering. There is a reason to believe they do it to obfuscate the real story of fraud and irregularities in their own electoral process. No doubt, America would do a better job of promoting democracy in other countries by setting an example to follow but it’s voting system is broken and needs to be fixed. Today the United States is definitely not in the position to lecture and teach others. It has a long way to go if it wants to become a real democracy.
By Alex Gorka
Source: Strategic Culture Foundation
The Imperial Anatomy of Al-Qaeda. The CIA’s Drug-Running Terrorists and the “Arc of Crisis”
As the 9th anniversary of 9/11 nears, and the war on terror continues to be waged and grows in ferocity and geography, it seems all the more imperative to return to the events of that fateful September morning and re-examine the reasons for war and the nature of the stated culprit, Al-Qaeda.
The events of 9/11 pervade the American and indeed the world imagination as an historical myth. The events of that day and those leading up to it remain largely unknown and little understood by the ...
“In fourteen hundred and ninety two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue….
Today, Christopher Columbus is celebrated as a mythical hero by some – complete with songs, poems, and fictional tales about his great adventure across the Atlantic to explore the majestic land that would eventually be known as the Americas. There are fifty four communities named after the explorer in the United States, including the District of Columbia. “Hail, Columbia” was the United States’ unofficial national anthem until 1931. A federal holiday, “Columbus Day,” is celebrated every second Monday in October.
Despite all of this, historians have begun to tear down the ...
Serbia today is a member-State of United Nations (U.N.), after the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was split into several nations during the early 1990’s when war broke out between Serbian General Milosevic and neighboring nations. After partition, Serbia is still the most powerful “state” of the former Yugoslavia.
“Kosovo”, the term used for the territory of southern Serbia, is de-jure recognised as a “state” by over 110+ “states”, but is not a “state” itself, as per the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States (1933), and is not a “state” at the U.N. where 2/3rd positive vote is ...
PRISTINA, Kosovo — It was the fall of 2000, just over a year after the end of the war in Kosovo, when two NATO military intelligence officers produced the first known report on local organized crime, painting the former political leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), Hashim Thaci, as having “established influence on local criminal organizations, which control [a] large part of Kosovo.”
The report, the existence of which has not been previously reported, was widely distributed among all NATO countries, according to former NATO sources interviewed by GlobalPost. And year after year as the nascent democracy of Kosovo struggled ...
Human Rights Day, December 10, 2016, we bring to the attention of our readers an important article published in 2002 on the record of US war crimes.
The issue of War Crimes emerged after World War I at the Versailles Conference, but it was not until the end of World War II that a more comprehensive definition of what constitutes war crimes was developed. First among new international conventions addressing war crimes was the 1950 Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal. Its fundamental premise was that the conduct of war in violation of international treaties was a crime against peace. Ill treatment ...
US-NATO military control of Kosovo serves several purposes for Washington’s greater geo-strategic agenda. First it enables greater US control over potential oil and gas pipeline routes into the EU from the Caspian and Middle East as well as control of the transport corridors linking the EU to the Black Sea.
It also protects the multi-billion dollar heroin trade, which, significantly, has grown to record dimensions in Afghanistan according to UN narcotics officials, since the US occupation. Kosovo and Albania are major heroin transit routes into Europe. According to a 2008 US State Department annual report on international narcotics traffic, several key ...
GR Editor’s Note: This incisive article was written on April 30, 2003, by historian and political scientist Jacques Pauwels. A timely question: Why Does Hillary Want War… ? And why do people support her?
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Wars are a terrible waste of lives and resources, and for that reason most people are in principle opposed to wars. The American President, on the other hand, seems to love war. Why? Many commentators have sought the answer in psychological factors. Some opined that George W. Bush considered it his duty to finish the job started, but for some obscure reason ...
For the first time since WW II, overt fascists hold real power in Europe. Radicalized ultranationalists. Anti-Semites. Hate-mongers.
Cold-blooded killers. Whitewashing high crimes. A puppet regime. America’s newest colony.
Mocking democratic values. Violating fundamental rule of law principles. Unaccountably.
Western leaders won’t explain. Nor will the media. Hard truths are buried.
Ukraine’s government usurped power forcibly. Putschist rule has no legitimacy.
Especially regimes waging war on their own people. Murdering them in cold blood. Committing horrendous human rights abuses.
Tolerating no opposition. Ruling by intimidation. Force-feeding neoliberal harshness on impoverished people. Making life unbearable overall. More on this below.
On December 4, Wall Street Journal editors published ...
One of the most confounding aspects of Donald Trump’s election as 45th President of the United States is that in the space of a year – indeed less than a year – a man with zero political experience has destroyed two of America’s most entrenched political dynasties: Bush and Clinton.
Just pause on this for a moment, and place it in the context of someone who when he first appeared on the political stage as a candidate for the Republican nomination was met with ridicule and scorn. Consequently, a mainstream media and liberal commentators for whom politics is an exclusive club, ...
Two decades later Bosnia is still suffering the consequences. ISIS has declared the Balkans the next front for the Islamic Caliphate, and in remote mountain villages, Muslims are already flying the ISIS flag.
Central Bosnia in 2015
Russia Insider (h/t Maksim) The Balkans is the latest arena where the West is trying to circumcise any attempt of Russia to regainits influence. This anti-Serbian resolution and initiative is the part of the broader strategy and the latest Western attempt to demonize Serbs and delegitimize pro-Russian Republic of Srpska (Serbian part of Bosnia) in an effort to forcefully centralize Bosnia and give the driving seat to ...
After the catastrophic attacks of September 11 2001 monumental sorrow and a feeling of desperate and understandable anger began to permeate the American psyche. A few people at that time attempted to promote a balanced perspective by pointing out that the United States had also been responsible for causing those same feelings in people in other nations, but they produced hardly a ripple. Although Americans understand in the abstract the wisdom of people around the world empathizing with the suffering of one another, such a reminder of wrongs committed by our nation got little hearing and was soon overshadowed by ...
On June 2, a few days before the California primary, Hillary Clinton gave up trying to compete with Bernie Sanders on domestic policy. Instead, she zeroed in on the soft target of Donald Trump’s most “bizarre rants” in order to present herself as experienced and reasonable. Evidently taking her Democratic Party nomination for granted, she is positioning herself as the perfect candidate for hawkish Republicans.
Choosing to speak in San Diego, home base of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, on a platform draped with 19 American flags and preceded by half an hour of military marching music, Hillary Clinton was certain of ...
On the 70th anniversary of Tokyo’s fire bombing, relatives are asking for a real tribute to its victims.
It was just after midnight when the rumble of B-29 bombers was heard, jolting Tokyo awake. The incendiaries that fell from their bellies, full of jelly petroleum, were like nothing anyone had ever seen.
They turned canals and rivers into flame and if the jelly stuck to you, it kept burning till flesh turned to bone. “The planes filled the sky like dragonflies,” recalls Michiko Kiyoka. “Everywhere you looked there were charred bodies.”
Today, Ms Kiyoka, now 91, will join a small group of elderly ...
According to news reports and to this appeal by Kristoferis Voishka, the pro-American government installed in Lithuania is persecuting Lithuanians who dissent from the anti-Russian propaganda that is driving Washington’s NATO puppets to war with Russia. Unlike their puppet government, Lithuanians understand that war with Russia means that Lithuania on the front line will be utterly destroyed, a result that would not bother Washington in the least, just as Washington is undisturbed when its forces obliterate weddings, funerals, and children’s soccer games.
What is Lithuania? To Washington it is a nothing.
Kristoferis Voiska runs an alternative Internet news site in LIthuania. Not ...
On February 17, 1941, almost 10 months before Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, Life magazine carried a lengthy essay by its publisher, Henry Luce, entitled “The American Century.” The son of Presbyterian missionaries, born in China in 1898 and raised there until the age of 15, Luce essentially transposed the certainty of religious dogma into the certainty of a nationalistic mission couched in the name of internationalism.
Luce acknowledged that the United States could not police the whole world or attempt to impose democratic institutions on all of mankind. Nonetheless, “the world of the 20th Century,” he wrote, “if it is ...
Last month was the 18th anniversary of the attack on the Serbian village of Kravica committed by Moslem forces from Srebrenica under the command of Naser Orić on Orthodox Christmas day, January 7, 1993. Several dozen villagers were killed in the attack, the remaining Serbian population was forced to flee to safety, and many homes were pillaged, demolished and torched during the several weeks that Kravica was forcibly occupied by neighbours from nearby Srebrenica. Regardless of arcane debates of who started the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, on a human level the attack on the village of Kravica and the ...
For years now, the Western elite have been incessantly pushing the slogan that ‘Assad must go.’ Under the pretext of removing an ‘evil’ dictator and helping the people of Syria, the West has been funding, arming and training an array of Al-Qaeda affiliated legions to force regime change in the country. Contrary to helping the people of Syria however, this has only worked to bring pain, misery and tragedy to Syria.
Even the former US Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel, admitted that the insistence on ‘Assad must go’ has “paralyzed” any rationale Syrian strategy. Whenever the West appears to have moved on ...
Since Soviet Russia’s 1991 dissolution, successive US administrations governed increasingly lawlessly and recklessly – Bill Clinton worse than his predecessors, Bush worse than him, Obama worst of all, at war with multiple invented enemies throughout his tenure – from inaugural day to the present.
A neocon Hillary Clinton presidency succeeding him risks the unthinkable – possible WW III. America’s rage for dominance, its wanting planet earth colonized, and increasing belligerence toward Russia and China points to eventual confrontation.
Unknown is to what extent, but when conflicts begin, they take on a life of their own. Starting them is easy, resolving them another ...
Andrew Gavin Marshall: “The Imperial Anatomy Of Al-Qaeda”
The Truth About Christopher Columbus
Illegal occupation of southern Serbia: Kosovo – Analysis
Kosovo’s Mafia: How the US and Allies Ignore Organized Crime
Kosovo: Heroin transport corridor
Ukraine: Fascist Dictatorship Masquerading As Democracy
Trump, Brexit And The Collapse Of The Liberal Order
The Disaster That Bill Clinton Created In Bosnia By Backing Muslims Against The Serbs
US Has Killed More Than 20 Million People in 37 “Victim Nations” Since World War II
Hillary Comes Out as the War Party Candidate
War Crime: Tokyo Fire Bombing 70th Anniversary, 100,000 People Died In A Single Night
Lithuanians Under Police State Attack And The World Under Washington’s Attack
Save Donbass People from Ukrainian Euromaidan Army
An American century of carnage: Measuring violence in a single superpower world
The Srebrenica Massacre: Some Victims Are More Equal Than Others
Western Imperialism ‘Must Go’
A Clinton Presidency: Humanity’s Worst Nightmare. Hillary’s “Rage for War”