tagged w/ Failed State
International commission warns of growing influence of money in politics and attempts to suppress voter turnout.
An international commission led by former UN chief Kofi Annan warns that the world's democracies, and the United States specifically, are being corrupted by the increasingly strong role of "uncontrolled, undisclosed, illegal and opaque" financing of political campaigns.
Protesters unveil a banner at the Lincoln Memorial in 2010 to protest the Citizens United ruling. The Annan report criticises the ruling for shaking Americans' confidence in the political process. (Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
The report by the commission, staffed with former world leaders and Nobel prize laureates, stipulated that powerful financial institutions and the surging influence of money in politics was harmful to both emerging and more developed democracies across the globe. "The rise uncontrolled political finance," warned the report, "threatens to hollow out democracy everywhere and rob democracy of its unique strengths".
The Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security is presenting its finding today in London.
Regarding elections in the US, the commission's report, Deepening Democracy: a Strategy for Improving the Integrity of Elections Worldwide, took special issue with the Supreme Court's ruling in the Citizens United case.
Citizens United has "undermined political equality, weakened transparency of the electoral process and shaken citizen confidence in America's political institutions and elections", the report said.
According to the Guardian, the report criticizes individual states "which have sought to introduce voter identification laws and other measures that have the effect of suppressing African American participation in the political process."
And the Guardian adds:
Vidar Helgessen, secretary general of International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, said that US system was cited as just one example of flaws in democracies worldwide. But, he said the US, as the most powerful nation in the world, had a responsibility to set an example.
"If a vast majority of citizens say the systems is undermining political equality and weakening transparency of the electoral process, then there is an issue of trust in the government," he said.
Political finance was an important issue which had not received the attention and reform it deserved, he said.
"We are seeing increasing inequality and we are in a global economic recession and it is an issue that will only grow. It is not only in new and emerging democracies that provide challenges and have elections that lack integrity"
The report cited a national survey this year by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University law school, which found a majority of people believe nominally independent Super Pacs to be a danger to democracy.
"Nearly two-thirds of Americans said that they trust government less because big donors have more influence over election officials than average Americans," the report said.
It concluded that, although Super Pacs must disclose their contributors and may not coordinate directly with candidates by law, in practice, "both constraints have been flouted".
The report, again with a global perspective, provides a comprehensive series of recommendations to strengthen electoral processes and norms in all nations. Specific measures include:
National Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) should create a global certification process to evaluate and grade EMBs on their professionalism, independence and competence, including a code of conduct
Urgent attention must be given to address the growing threat to democracy posed by financing of political campaigns, parties and candidates by transnational organised crime
Domestic election observers should commit to global standards through the Global Network of Domestic Election Monitors
A new transnational civil society organization - "Electoral Integrity International" - should be created to bring global attention to countries that succeed or fail in organizing elections with integrity
Governments and donors need to prioritise funding and political engagement throughout the entire electoral cycle of countries with problematic elections, supporting necessary dialogue and citizen participation as well as technical improvements
Regional organisations must create and communicate "red lines" of egregious electoral malpractice that would trigger immediate multilateral condemnation and sanction if crossedInternational commission warns of growing influence of money in politics and attempts... more
2 years ago
Friday 23 July 2010
by: Deb Weinstein, t r u t h o u t | Report
The five hundred million dollars in aid the US pledged to Pakistan this week is not the only backing the United States is providing the country considered an ally against terrorist elements. According to a statement by Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), the White House has increased its military commitment to Pakistan without Congressional oversight or approval. The White House's abuse of its authority, Kucinich says in his statement, "must stop." On Thursday evening, he and fellow House member Ron Paul (R-Texas) introduced a privileged resolution to pull US forces from the country. If Speaker Nancy Pelosi gives the nod, the Kucinich-Paul resolution will jump the line of items before the House next week, right before Congress breaks for its August recess.
Although American military support in Pakistan is not new, nor unreported, Kucinich's Friday statement bristles on two points - Kucinich claims that he and his peers learned about the troop upgrade via an article in The Wall Street Journal, and that the deployment is illegal according to the 1973 War Powers Resolution. The resolution Kucinich cites gives the Oval Office the right to send members of the military into "hostilities or imminent hostilities," but it is a power that comes with requirements. Among them: that the president consults Congress about such deployments "in every possible instance."
Kucinich also opposes the deployment on strategic grounds. "This increasing US military activity has little to do with protecting the United States and in fact is creating more enemies than it is defeating," he says, noting that the uptick comes "at a time when there are, according to the CIA, very few al-Qaeda members in that country."
Kucinich's objection to US troops in Pakistan is not without precedent, nor is his use of the privilege resolution. In December, he promised to introduce bills to remove forces from both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Kucinich introduced privilege resolutions to impeach then-President George W. Bush in 2008, and one in 2007 to impeach Vice President Cheney.Friday 23 July 2010
by: Deb Weinstein, t r u t h o u t | Report
The five hundred... more
Health insurer sued Maine to increase profits
Healthcare Watch is taking on WellCare, the health insurance provider that recently made headlines for alleged illegal actions such as coercing employees to lobby against healthcare reform. The put this video together to tell their side of the story. You can weigh in here.
Should Obama meet with the Dalai Lama?
Over on the Current News blog, Andrew posed the titular question in response to news that the White House asked the Tibetans to 'postpone' a meeting with the President. My take? I don't know what you're complaining about, Andrew. Obama's decision to postpone his meeting with the Dalai Lama only opens the door for you to spend more time with his Holiness. What are you waiting for? Weigh in on this story here.
California mulls legalizing marijuana
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"I believe that the new regime should apply to all bank holding companies that are more than just shells and their affiliates regardless or not whether they are considered to be systemic risks."
Bair's comments are striking a chord with community members who are tired of the "rewarded failure" approach, but we want to hear your thoughts, too. Add to the conversation here.
Apple sues someone because their logo looks like fruit
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="200" caption="It's Woolworths, not *that* Woolworths"][/caption]
Okay, I agree with all of the unjustified lawsuit claims on the basis that Woolworths and Apple couldn't be further from each other. On an unrelated note, whenever I read word "Woolworths" I can't help but think of John McConnell's mispronunciation of the store's name in the Coen Brothers' O Brother, Where Art Thou?, "And stay outta the Woolsworth!"
But, I have to say, if I were Woolworths I'd have to be loving this lawsuit. I mean, what better way to announce the five-and-dime's return? Oh wait, this is an unaffiliated Australian supermarket named after the original Woolworths. Nevermind. WTF Apple? Let Apple know how off-base they are over here. jh6wcyrsf5
Health insurer sued Maine to increase profits
Healthcare Watch is taking on... more