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
We, the undersigned, are Russians living and working in the USA. We have been watching with increasing anxiety as the current US and NATO policies have set us on an extremely dangerous collision course with the Russian Federation, as well as with China. Many respected, patriotic Americans, such as Paul Craig Roberts, Stephen Cohen, Philip Giraldi, Ray McGovern and many others have been issuing warnings of a looming a Third World War. But their voices have been all but lost among the din of a mass media that is full of deceptive and inaccurate stories that characterize the Russian economy ...
Last Thursday, news reports were largely devoted to the March 22 Brussels terror bombings and the US primary campaigns. And so little attention was paid to the verdict of the International Criminal Tribunal for (former) Yugoslavia (ICTY) finding Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic guilty of every crime it could come up with, including “genocide”. It was a “ho-hum” bit of news. Karadzic had already been convicted by the media of every possible crime, and nobody ever imagined that he would be declared innocent by the single-issue court set up in The Hague essentially to judge the Serb side in the ...
President Donald Trump Monday, April 3, 2017, welcomed the Egyptian military dictator, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who assumed the title of Field Marshal after arresting and deposing the democratically elected President Mohamed Mursi in July 2013.
After the meeting Trump told the press: “We agree on so many things. I just want to let everybody know, in case there was any doubt, that we are very much behind President el-Sisi. He’s done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation.”
By “a fantastic job” Trump was apparently referring to the massacre of hundreds of innocent Egyptians in the aftermath of US-endorsed coup ...
Russia and its President, Vladimir Putin, a little more than a year ago, in July 2014 were the focus of attention in Europe and North America, accused, without a shred of forensic evidence, of shooting down an unarmed civilian Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine. The Russians were deemed out to restore the Soviet Union with their agreement to the popular referendum of Crimean citizens to annex into the Russian Federation and not Ukraine. Western sanctions were being thrown at Russia by both Washington and the EU. People spoke of a new Cold War. Today the picture is changing, and profoundly. ...
If the danger of the anti-Putin, anti-Russian disinformation propaganda campaign out of the Pentagon and promoted by the US corporate media weren’t so serious, the effort itself might be laughable. I did laugh.
In fact, listening last night to a discussion by an NPR host with a government spokesperson about the latest propaganda effort to blame the downing of a Malaysian jumbo jet over Ukraine on July 17, 2014 on Russia. After hearing the government official, whose name I didn’t catch, say that Dutch prosecutors had found “solid evidence” that it was a “Russian-made” BUK antiaircraft missile launched from “pro-Russian” rebel ...
Transcript of presentation by the author at the Conference of Independent Journalists’ Association for Peace, Vienna, Austria, May 2015.
This year the twentieth anniversary of the massacre in Srebrenica is being observed. On July 11 a huge spectacle will take place at the Srebrenica Memorial center specially constructed for that purpose. It will feature the presence of most of the rather insignificant individuals purporting to be political leaders in the region and the Western-dominated world. Their speeches, which never vary substantially, will be infused with the predictable platitudes.
I propose to deal with some aspects of the Srebrenica narrative from the standpoint ...
A new Foundation for the Study of Democracy (FSD) report is titled “War crimes of the armed forces and security forces of Ukraine: torture of the Donbass region residents.”
It provides graphic evidence of horrendous Kiev war crimes Western media ignore.
Earlier articles discussed Kiev’s dirty war. It deliberately targeted civilian neighborhoods, schools, hospitals and infrastructure.
It used of cluster munitions, white phosphorous and other chemical weapons, as well as cold-blooded murder of hundreds of captives.
Most were abducted civilians. They were brutally tortured, murdered and secretly buried. Eyewitnesses exposed the crimes.
FSD’s report provides more damning evidence of junta torture, inhumane and degrading treatment.
Over 100 former ...
The Harper government’s Bill C-51, or Anti-Terrorism Act, has been in the public domain for over a month. Long enough for us to know that it subverts basic principles of constitutional law, assaults rights of free speech and free assembly, and is viciously anti-democratic.
An unprecedented torrent of criticism has been directed against this bill as the government rushes it through Parliament. This has included stern or at least sceptical editorials in all the major newspapers; an open letter, signed by four former Prime Ministers and five former Supreme Court judges, denouncing the bill for exposing Canadians to major violations of ...
This last Friday it became public record that FBI Director James Comey reopened the Hillary Clinton email server investigation after repeatedly testifying before Congress and the world up to last July that he’d closed the case, after in his words not finding sufficient evidence of “any criminal wrongdoing” to indict her in spite of her four years as Secretary of State egregiously breaching our national security:’
-committing obstruction of justice and willful tampering with evidence,
-deleting 30,000 emails after receiving a court subpoena constituting destruction of evidence,
-not to mention repeatedly engaging in perjury before Congress and the FBI.
But obviously a federal investigation still in process in late June never stopped Bill Clinton’s illegal ...
15 June 2015 marks the 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta by King John at Runnymede. Magna Carta notably gave English “free men” freedom from arbitrary, non-judicial imprisonment, dispossession, outlawing, banishment or destruction by the ruler, a freedom that was variously progressively extended to all citizens and subjects in the Anglosphere over the next 8 centuries. However the US, UK, Apartheid Israel, and Australia have continued to grossly violate this freedom in the 21st century.
King John I of England reluctantly granted the Magna Carta ("the Great Charter") on 15 June 1215 after leading Barons had insisted on formal ...
Is your money that good? Will it buy you forgiveness? Do you think that it could?” (Bob Dylan, b 1941, Masters of War.)
On Tuesday 6th of September, twenty-four hour monitoring by Yemen’s Legal Centre for Rights and Development (LCRD) recorded the bombings by the Saudi led “coalition”, armed by the US and UK and advised by their military specialists, thus collusion and co-operation of both countries render them equally culpable for the carnage.
Yemen has a population of just 24.41 million (2013 figure) and according to the Rural Poverty Portal:
“ … is one of the driest, poorest and least developed countries in ...
Wednesday, December 5, 2012, the Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha advocated granting Albanian citizenship to all Albanians, wherever they reside. This statement was made during a visit of the city of Vlora where the independence of the Albanian state was declared, only 100 years ago. At the time Albania had just liberated itself from Ottoman rule.
This declaration follows a separate statement, collective this time, that Sali Berisha had made with his Kosovar counterpart Hashim Thaci a few weeks ago, promising the union of all Albanians. The place was, I must say, well chosen since the vast majority of the inhabitants ...
On October 12 the British media gave prominence to a three-hour foreign affairs debate that had taken place in the House of Commons the previous day. The Commons’ proceedings centred on allegations that Russia had committed war crimes in Syria and there were many insulting and purposefully offensive statements about Russia and its president made by almost all members of parliament who took part. The final speech was made by the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, and can be taken as reflecting the policy of the British government towards Russia.
The Guardian newspaper reported that “Making his frontbench debut as foreign secretary ...
In late November 2013, the 'Euromaidan' in Kiev began as a popular protest against a generalized state of corruption and cronyism in Ukraine. The spark that ostensibly ignited the protests was the inability of then President Yanukovych to sign an EU Association Agreement that would cut Ukraine's economic and military ties to Russia in favor of a closer relationship with the EU and NATO.
The EU had made the release of former Ukrainian prime minister and "gas princess" Tymoshenko a precondition for signing the agreement. But the fact that Tymoshenko was/is a convicted embezzler of state funds, combined with the rather ...
What does it mean when the US and British financial systems launder hundreds of billions of dollars of illicit funds stolen by world leaders while their governments turn a ‘blind eye’, and yet the very same Anglo-American officials investigate, prosecute, fine and arrest officials from rival governments, rival banks and political leaders for corruption?
What does it mean when the US government expands a world-wide network of nuclear missiles on bases stretching from Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, the Gulf States to Japan, surrounding Russia, Iran and China, while the very same US and NATO officials investigate and condemn rival defense officials from Russia, China ...
King Abdullah is being eulogized in the most unrealistic ways possible, from CNN designating him as a “reformer” to Chuck Hagel calling him “a powerful voice for tolerance, moderation and peace — in the Islamic world and across the globe.” Israeli President Reuven Rivlin takes the cake, however, by proclaiming that “his smart policy contributed greatly to Middle East stability.” None of these characterizations are true in any way, as Abdullah’s main legacy isn’t one of reform, tolerance, and regional stability, but of destruction, hate, and regional instability. Every contemporary Mideast problem except for the Israel-Palestine issue can be directly ...
Warning! Neocons Are Close To Starting a Nuclear War With Russia
Lincoln Ordered The Greatest Mass Hanging In America’s History
International Injustice: The Conviction Of Radovan Karadzic
President Trump Welcomes Egyptian Dictator – The “Butcher of Cairo”
The Syrian War of Imperialism
Putin Is Defeating More Than ISIS In Syria
US Propaganda Campaign to Demonize Russia in Full Gear over One-Sided Dutch/Aussie Report on Flight 17 Downing
The Srebrenica Massacre As Paradigmatic Media Spin
Impending Threat To Canadian Democracy: Harper Government’s “Anti-Terrorism Act” Isn’t About Terrorism, It’s A Torture Act
The Real Reasons Why FBI Director James Comey Reopened the Hillary Email Investigation
US, UK And Anglosphere: Human Rights Abuses And War Crimes Trash Magna Carta 800th Anniversary
The Unspoken War on Yemen
Greater Albania: A United States project against the Orthodox world?
Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation From Washington to London
Euromaidan: Anatomy Of A Washington-Backed Coup D’etat
Anglo-America: Regression and Reversion in the Modern World
A Royal Shame: Abdullah Leaves A Legacy Of Regional Militancy