Monday, February 28, 2011

Politicians determine the rules of their own election game

An example: Canadian federal politicians, at least a majority of them, determine the electoral rules and laws for Canadian federal politicians.

Isn't this a blatant conflict of interest?

This apparent conflict of interest is defended in the Canadian Supreme Court Decision, Harper, 2004:

"Parliament had to balance the rights and privileges of all the participants in the electoral process. The difficulties of striking this balance are evident and, given the right of Parliament to choose Canada's electoral model and the nuances in implementing this model, a court must approach this justification analysis with deference." (pg. 4-5)

Why does Parliament have to strike a balance between competing interests, instead of simply abiding by core democratic values such as fairness as enshrined in the Canadian Constitution?

Though Parliament may have the right to choose the electoral model, why should it be allowed to decide the nuances?

If fairness is the key to electoral democracy, then isn't an egalitarian model the only correct electoral model?

The libertarian electoral model is based on unfairness of means for say, despite equal freedom of say.

Further in Harper, it states that "perception is of utmost importance in preserving and promoting electoral regime in Canada.... Electoral fairness is key. Where Canadians perceive elections to be unfair, voter apathy follows shortly thereafter." (Paragraph 82)

In other words, perception of fairness, rather than fairness itself, is of utmost importance. This is troubling because it means that an unfair electoral system is all right, as long as Canadians perceive it as fair.

Back to the first question, should the Canadian electoral laws be determined by a majority of federal politicians, which in turns favor dominant parties, status quo, and creates of conflict of interest based on deciding the rules of one's own electoral game? Should a judiciary committee or citizens committee determine the nuances of the Canada's electoral laws, in order to make the system as fair as possible for candidate and parties and voters?

Fair in terms freedom of say and equality of means for say.

In Canadian Constitutional law, there is an inherent conflict in the electoral legislation between freedom of expression and equality of say.

Every Canadian has freedom of expression, within limits, which is limited by an equality of say. No Canadian should have an unfair advantage in terms of political say. There should be an equal playing field for candidates and parties, and between voters.

Is it fair to restrict someone who has a greater means to influence and/or manipulate an election outcome?

Weakens freedom of expression, but creates an unfair system.

Premise--more media and financial power, more control of say. (In contrast, in dictatorships more military power and might, and ability and willingness to use it, more say.)

Enforce an equality of political say OR weigh competing interests as stated in Harper, and create a perception of fairness (though it does not really exist)?

Fairness versus perception of fairness?

* In the coming month, the FDA will be producing a barometer for electoral fairness in Canada and other countries. The barometer results will be posted on this site.

Harper Supreme Court Decision

Friday, February 18, 2011

Bahrain Government Crackdown on Peaceful Protests

Bahrain political establishment faces a public upheaval. Unlike in Egypt and Tunisia, the Bahrain government is using excessive force against peaceful protests. The situation may spiral into a civil war.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

US two party monopolistic system to blame for the US financial crisis

The Republicans and Democrats are two sides of the same coin. As outlined in the video below, neither of them are interested in budget cuts on US sacred cows such as the military. In 2008, Ralph Nader campaigned partly on budget cuts on US sacred cows, but he was sidelined by the US mainstream media.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Understanding Egypt through Sadat

France most advanced of 10 EU countries in terms of regulating public and private political news coverage

According to the article, "The Regulation of Public Broadcasters' News Coverage of Political Actors in Ten European Union Countries,” France is the most advanced in regulating political new coverage. Though even still, there is inherent bias in French regulatory policy by favoring the status quo (i.e. the government and opposition over other political organizations). For example, the French policy ensures fair coverage of political news coverage (by public and private broadcasters) three months prior to an election, but before this three month period is no regulation, and during an election, the regulation is based on equality of coverage (by public and private broadcasters) for political organizations.

Fair coverage is established by political parties’ representation in Parliament. Equality of coverage is based on equal coverage for political organizations.

In contrast, the US has no concrete regulation of private broadcaster political news coverage.

The Regulation of Public Broadcasters' News Coverage of Political Actors...

Friday, February 11, 2011

Egyptians Real Struggle and Challenge is Still Ahead

The resignation of Mubarak is the first step in the Egyptians struggle for a government/state which represents their will. There is no guarantee they will succeed though.

The Egyptian military has taken over, until elections are held likely in September. At that point, foreign intrusion, no different than the US support for Mubarak, may occur. Egyptians must guard against this intrusion, because it could result in a new dictator and/or a regime that is tied to the US establishment and other foreign interests. The best scenario for the Egyptians is an independent Egyptian government which most accurately reflects their will. They must guard against election fraud and exclusion of popular Egyptian movements/parties such as the Muslim Brotherhood. They must guard against foreign intrusion into the reforms of their Constitution.

Egypt Celebrates at Mubarak's resignation

Can Egyptians go further like in Tunisia, remove all of Mubarak's regime and start anew?!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Revolutions not for faint of heart...

Westerns should question their governments' support for regimes like Mubarak

For example, US governments over the past 30 years have ignored the dictatorship of Mubarak and various human rights abuses by his regime on the people of Egypt, while it gives about one billion in aid to the Mubarak regime each year. Then when the Egyptians have had enough, the US government starts talking democracy and freedom of expression and protest in Egypt.

If the people who comprise western goverments are not representative of core western values, why are they in power?   

Thursday, February 3, 2011

US Establishment Hypocrisy or not?

The US establishment preaches democracy and freedom of expression, while at the same pursuing its strategic interests which often times in conflict with its emphasis on democracy and freedom of expression.

Case in point. US governments for over three decades have supported Egyptian President Mubarak, despite him being a dictator and brutal on his people via the Egyptian police.

Can the US establishment espouse/have values of democracy and freedom of expression, while at the same time ignore them and even contradict when they are inconsistent with its strategic interests?

Should strategic interests, which are not life threatening, overcede one's core values? Should someone purse an adulterous relationship when it is convenient and stragetic, while professing values of commitment and loyalty?

We must conclude that the US establishment core value is self-interest, while democracy and freedom of expression is secondary or a means to an end.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Can Egyptians Ensure a Government which Represents their Will?

Egytians face the risk of their efforts being stolen by a foreign power like the US, whereby backroom deals determine both the composition and next Egytian government.

The people of Egypt must be resolute in ensuring that the current Egyptian government is completely removed and replaced with Egytians who represent the will of all Egyptians. Anything short of this outcome, will be a failure for the people of Egypt.