Posts Tagged ‘democracy’

Obama’s “promotion of democracy” leads to de facto support for Al Qaida in Syria and Neo-Nazis in Ukraine

March 1, 2014

Obama will go down in history as a follower rather than a leader, let alone the “leader of the free world”.

I have a theory that Obama’s indecision, his dithering and his aversion to risk of any kind has led to his actually supporting Al Qaida in Syria and is now leading him to help Neo-Nazis in the Ukraine. All in the name of promoting “democracy”. A quick strike in Syria was never on the cards in spite of all Obama’s bluster. He is incapable of taking any actions with such associated risk. Instead he supported the arming of rebel groups which are now being dominated by Al Qaida. His best option now – paradoxically – is that Assad manages to keep Al Qaida at bay. Remarkably the best chances for a real  “democracy” – eventually –  is now with Assad in power such that Al Qaida does not prevail. (And the example of “democracy promotion” leading to the rise and fall of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt should not be so soon forgotten. The Egypt with Sissi is not so different from Mubarak’s Egypt).

After Helping Arm Al Qaeda In Syria, US Government Says Al Qaeda In Syria A Threat To US

….. The Syrian Civil War is the epitome of a conflict that has no US national interest involved – neither side is allied with the United States nor is likely to ever be nor is there any vital security or even economic interest at stake.

But despite this total lack of relevance to the American people and country, the Obama Administration tried to enter the war. First there was an attempt to pretend the Assad government was a threat to the United States because it had chemical weapons, but then Assad agreed to remove the weapons. So then President Obama bypassed an American law to prevent arming terrorists to arm the “moderate” rebels within Syria.

Not long after Obama dodged the anti-terrorist law, the Al Qaeda faction of the Syrian rebels was in possession of the weapons Obama sent to Syria. So yes, after refusing to follow a law that was supposed to prevent arming terrorists, Obama ended up arming terrorists. Abysmally stupid does not even begin to describe this policy.

Now the supposedly “democratic” movement in Ukraine is being taken over by the Neo-Nazis. Obama is blustering again against Russia and the inevitable Russian intervention in the Crimea. He threatens that any Russian intervention will have “costs” – whatever that means. It is in part the US meddling in the Ukraine – ostensibly to promote “democracy” which has advantaged the Neo-Nazis and brought the Ukraine to where it is.

The Neo-Nazis of Ukraine

Reality on the ground in Ukraine contradicts the incompetent and immoral Obama regime’s portrait of Ukrainian democracy on the march.

To the extent that government exists in post-coup Ukraine, it is laws dictated by gun and threat wielding thugs of the neo-Nazi, Russophobic, ultra-nationalist, right-wing parties. Watch the video of the armed thug, Aleksandr Muzychko, who boosts of killing Russian soldiers in  Chechnya, dictating to the Rovno regional parliament a grant of apartments to families of protesters.

Read about the neo-nazis intimidating the Central Election Commission in order to secure rule and personnel changes in order to favor the ultra-right in the forthcoming elections.  Thug Aleksandr Shevchenko informed the CEC that armed activists will remain in CEC offices in order to make certain that the election is not rigged against the neo-nazis.  What he means, of course, is the armed thugs will make sure the neo-nazis win.  If the neo-nazis don’t win, the chances are high that they will take power regardless.

The Russians are already talking about another battle against the Nazis. It seems inevitable that Russia will now ensure its own influence in the Crimea with troops on the ground (even if they bear no Russian insignia). With 60% of the Crimean population being Russian (with 24% being Ukrainian and 12% being Tartars) there is little doubt that Russia will “respond” to calls for help from the Russian population and are already doing so. And once again – paradoxically – it could be Russian intervention in the Crimea which turns out to be the best defense against Neo-nazis exploting the US and Obama’s “promotion of democracy”.

NewsInfo: The newly-chosen prime minister of the Ukrainian southern region of Crimea on Saturday called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to help restore “peace and calm” to the Black Sea peninsula, amid a standoff with the new authorities in Kiev.

Crimea (Google Maps)

Crimea (Google Maps)

Qualifying democracy

September 7, 2013

Every “so-called” democracy defines suffrage in its own way. There are always some restrictions on who is permitted to vote. There is always a minimum age to qualify – but not a minimum wage. There is usually no maximum age either. Some mentally disturbed may be disenfranchised but there is no intelligence or knowledge requirement. Some civil servants or military personnel may be barred from voting.

In Party democracies, which individuals may be voted for is restricted by the parties. In countries practicing proportional representation, voters choose a party who each have their lists of individuals to be elected. The individuals are themselves chosen by party members in various ways. Once chosen representation is nearly always for themselves first, parties second, party supporters in their own constituencies third, party supporters in other constituencies fourth and non-supporters in their own constituencies only after that. “Block voting” is common – by ethnic or language affiliations or caste or tribe or community affiliations. Voters can be “bought” and are. Polls can be rigged and are.

Criminals may vote and may even be eligible to stand for election. Idiots and the ignorant have the same vote as the intelligent and the knowledgeable. Personal wealth is not a criterion in having the vote. A responsible person has the same vote as an irresponsible person. Lunatics may have the same vote as the sane. A mental cripple may have a better chance of exercising his vote than a physical cripple. A large tax-payer has the same vote as one who lives on hand-outs. “No taxation without representation”  it is said. Corporations usually pay more tax than individuals but they have no vote. Individuals who don’t pay tax don’t lose their vote. Those who are paid by the public purse have the same vote as those who provide the public purse.

“One vote for every person” is fundamentally inequitable.

And yet this is the “best” system we have.

McClatchy:

Two-thirds of Americans cannot name a single Supreme Court justice, former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor told the crowd that packed into a Boise State ballroom to hear her Thursday.

About one-third can name the three branches of government. Fewer than one-fifth of high school seniors can explain how citizen participation benefits democracy.

“Less than one-third of eighth-graders can identify the historical purpose of the Declaration of Independence, and it’s right there in the name,” she said. ….

It cannot be the optimum when representatives are chosen by a majority of the ignorant. Rule by a simple majority has already been discarded in the name of party politics and party lists and minority parties holding the balance of power.

I can’t help but think that if we are to improve the manner in which our democracies function then the “right to vote” has to be elevated in status , has to be “earned” and has to carry some duties. It is just too easy to be qualified to vote. Knowledge and intelligence must have some say in the matter. Being a giver or a taker must also have some say.

Or perhaps universal suffrage can give everybody a base vote with additional votes being earned by individuals for whatever a society values. For example, why not one vote at birth but only activated when some threshold of knowledge and/or intelligence is attained (not age)? A further maximum – of say 10 – votes to be earned by intellectual, service or economic achievements. And why not 10% of all votes for corporate tax payers?

Religion, democracies and the “restraint” which kept the death-toll to only 275

August 15, 2013

The numbers killed in Egypt were well over 250 yesterday. According to the Muslim Brotherhood the number could be as high as in the thousands. But half of Egypt approves of the actions of the security forces.

The US and Europe don’t really know how to react to the chaos in Egypt. The US  will still not acknowledge that they are dealing with a “military coup”. They have all “deplored” the violence but are secretly relieved that the Muslim Brotherhood was removed from power.  A strange view of democracy prevails – a blend of wishful thinking and a very flexible definition of what constitutes democracy and the values to be upheld. The West is willing to go along with the military actions – which of course they publicly deplore – if it can ensure that the Muslim Brotherhood is not voted into power again. So if it is mainly members of the Muslim Brotherhood who have been killed then perhaps it is time to express one’s regrets and just move on.

What nobody wishes to acknowledge is that Religions and Democracies do not – can not –  mix. With all the failings and weaknesses of democracies, “religious parties” still lead to a fundamental clash between the supremacy of the laws of the majority and the supremacy of the perceived – or proclaimed – laws of god (or gods). As long as any country permits political parties which are religious in nature, then any kind of real supremacy of the laws of the majority is not feasible. The fanatics of any religious political party always claim the over-riding demands of their gods and the supremacy of such demands whether to conduct jihad or to burn down mosques. And this applies to Egypt as well as to Israel or Indonesia or Malaysia or India or Sri Lanka.  Around the world, there are many more Islamist political parties than there are for other religions but there are plenty of “Christian Democratic” parties in Europe and in other countries. All of these religious parties – without exception –  are fundamentally opposed to – and have values inconsistent with –  the supremacy of the laws of man (only the majority of course) over the laws of their gods.

The Arab Springs will not lead to any real “democracies” in the Middle East and North Africa as long as inherently self-contradictory “religious, democratic parties” are around. For there is no religious party – in any country – which would accept that the laws of man could override the imaginary laws of their imaginary gods.

According to Reuters,

Egypt’s interim prime minister defended the government decision to storm pro-Mursi demonstrations on Wednesday. He says they had no choice after attempts at mediation with Mursi supporters failed. 

”When freedom of expression becomes terrorizing the public, carrying arms, blocking roads and violating public property — it is not freedom of expression. It becomes aviolation of the people and the people. For the government to continue to operate, it has to be respected. That’s why we had to take a stand and say this cannot continue. It should be stopped.”

Security forces shot and killed scores of people. By evening the death toll was well over 200 and the number injured was around 2,000. Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi praised the way forces handled the operation.

“I have to take this opportunity to thank the police because it has behaved with high levels of self-restraint. There were human rights observers and everything was publicized and there was filming. And it turned out that there were weapons and ammunition and other illegal material.”

Now under curfew Cairo’s streets were markedly different from earlier in the day. Asked how long the situaton could last el-Beblawi offered no specific dates, saying the state of emergency would go on for as short a period as possible. would go on for as short a period as possible, adding that the government is eager to restore democracy.

A democratic police state?

August 9, 2013

Being “democratic” has increasingly become the cloak under which the oppression of minorities can be carried out without much criticism. Though constitutions are supposed to enshrine the values and fundamental principles which protect minorities from excesses of the “majority” –  following the majority view is itself the cornerstone for an ostensible “democracy”. And every constitution has built-in mechanisms – usually more complex than just a simple majority vote – by which it can be amended to suit the wishes of the majority.

Which is what happened in Egypt where a democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood put in place a constitution which would have ensured the oppression of non-Muslim minorities. Which is what applies in Russia where the majority feel more comfortable with an authoritarian government. Which is what is happening in Libya after the overthrow of Gadaffi’s regime. Which was happening in Tunisia. Which is happening in Hungary. Which has just happened in Zimbabwe. Which is what threatens in Afghanistan.

But it also happens in well established democracies. Coercive and oppressive measures to be applied to minorities can always be justified in any democracy provided it can be shown to be the “majority” view as expressed by the “democratic institutions” in place. To oppress a minority for “the common good” is always possible and justifiable – even in a supposed democracy.

And so it is also in the US. Actions which are more reminiscent of a police state of the cold-war era can be and are justified because Congress – as a democratic institution – allows it. If it was the objective of the 9/11 terrorists to undermine the democracy of the US, then the US – under the cloak of its “War on Terror” – has itself achieved part of that objective.

Ladar Levison who is the owner of the encrypted email service Lavabit has been forced to cease operation. Presumably because Snowden used the service. He has this to say:

My Fellow Users,

I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit. After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations. I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision. I cannot. I feel you deserve to know what’s going on–the first amendment is supposed to guarantee me the freedom to speak out in situations like this. Unfortunately, Congress has passed laws that say otherwise. As things currently stand, I cannot share my experiences over the last six weeks, even though I have twice made the appropriate requests.

What’s going to happen now? We’ve already started preparing the paperwork needed to continue to fight for the Constitution in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. A favorable decision would allow me resurrect Lavabit as an American company.

This experience has taught me one very important lesson: without congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would _strongly_ recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.

Sincerely,
Ladar Levison
Owner and Operator, Lavabit LLC

The New Yorker writes:

As Kevin Poulsen and others have pointed out, our collective experience has prepared us to guess what is going on here: Levison got either a national-security letter “or a full blown search or eavesdropping warrant.” In the weeks since the Guardian and Washington Post first began publishing stories with Snowden’s documents, the picture of the National Security Agency’s domestic-surveillance practices that’s come together is different from the one most everyone held before we’d ever heard Snowden’s name. And it has left the Administration’s explanations of what it does and doesn’t do looking pretty spotty, and at times just false. …..

…. The extreme example that an unnamed official gave Savage is a search for a phone number the N.S.A. believes terrorists are using to call each other. What about a name? Could the N.S.A. read e-mails from members of the public if they simply discuss the case of someone the government has said is a threat? It sounds like it. This is dangerous; we already have Senators constrained from talking about what they know. We can’t all be afraid to ask questions; for a democracy, the most threatening thing would be the absence of such conversations. ….

The Egyptian Army as King Sean

July 4, 2013

The goings-on in Egypt and Gaza and North Africa where democratically “elected” leaders – albeit leaders who are undemocratic and Islamist – cannot get acceptance in the rest of the “democratic” world brings to mind the story of the Irish, socialist monarch.

Two Irishmen were sorting out the problems of the world in the pub – as one usually does in a pub.

After the sixth pint they had resolved the Irish Unification Issue, the Palestinian Issue, the Syrian Issue and the Chinese-Japanese Territorial conflict. But they were floundering when they came to the issue of Poverty and Starving Children. They could not agree even on what constituted Poverty. Could it be if or when you could not buy the fourth pint? 

This led to the seventh pint. And the eighth and the ninth and then suddenly Sean’s face lit up.

“Begorrah Mick”, he exclaimed. “I have it now! The solushun is simpul. All the wurld has to do is to moik me the King of the World”.

“And how will that help?” asked a skeptical Mick.

“It’s reely simpul,” explained Sean. “If Oi was the King of the Wurld, I would collect all the monny there was or ever would be and Oi would distribut it equally – but equally – to evry living pershun – Cathlick or not”.

Mick was still marshalling his many cogent arguments against this vision of King Sean when Sean continued. “And when I had spent all moine, why I would just do it all over again”!

The Egyptian military would recognise the solution.

Democracy by “free and fair” elections is by far the best alternative – provided of course that you can have another “free and fair” election if you don’t like the result of the first one.

And so on ad infinitum till you get the result you want.

Was European colonialism the force that spread democracy?

November 26, 2012

A new paper in the American Political Science Review suggests that European colonialism was the key driver in establishing democratic systems of government around the world. Only states which had strong established political structures prior to the colonial wave managed to resist colonial rule and/or  the establishment of “democratic” European institutions. According to the author, Jacob Gerner Harir of the University of Copenhagen,

”This could mean that perhaps we need to adopt a new view of the colonial era. Even though it led to massive exploitation and oppression of many people in the Third World, we can now see that it also contributed to the spread of democracy.”

There is a hint of defensiveness here, almost as if this work is also an attempt to justify the oppression and exploitation that was the main-stay of European colonialism.

(more…)


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