Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Racial Segregation 2.0

Americans are constantly being reminded of their accomplishments regarding civil rights and racial equality. This sudden surge of televised introspective into the progress the U.S. has made is due in large part to election of Barak Obama, and the recent deaths of prominent civil rights activists including Rosa Parks – the black woman who was made famous by her refusal to sit at the back of the bus, thereby sparking a year long bus boycott and bringing racial segregation to the forefront of the American conscience. After watching and reading numerous biographical segments about her life and the lives of other civil rights activists, I began to wonder if much has changed since the days of racial segregation. It is true that blacks are not being lynched any more, but is that really enough to congratulate our collective selves? After all, there is very seldom a day goes by without news of racially motivated crimes. If we are too quick to congratulate ourselves we would neglect to face the very ugly reality that racial segregation still exists and is as strong as it ever was. Contemporary western society is as guilty today of racial segregation as it was 60 years ago, because a necessary byproduct of economic segregation is racial segregation. Take a drive down any middle or upper class suburb in Calgary and you would be hard pressed to find any blacks. You would think they simply did not exist in this city, until, of course, you take a drive down to a low income area. All of a sudden it’s all pepper and no salt. Here is how I think it goes: if you are colored you are more likely to be poor. If you are poor, your children are more likely to be poor. Poor children are exposed to nastier things than rich children, because the schools they go to and the neighborhood they live in is filled with other poor children doing nasty things: drugs, sex, gambling, gangs, etc. Children exposed to these elements of society are more likely to wind up in jail, pregnant at sixteen, or addicted to drugs. These things tend to limit ones ability to procure the amount of money it would take to move to the middle class suburbs. As a result, these children will grow up and have children of their own who will be raised in the same perilous environment as their parents, thus perpetuating this cycle of racial segregation via economic segregation. One needs to look no further than the places a disproportionately high amount of American blacks are concentrated: prison, the army, the ghetto, and low paying jobs. It is no secret that blacks make up roughly 13% of the American population. This fact is not debatable. So why do they make up 50% of the prison population? Are they more predisposed to commit crimes than white people?  Absolutely. Poverty leads to crime, and crime leads to getting caught and winding up in jail. Why do they get caught? Because the police presence in poor (black) areas is much higher than it is in rich (white) areas. Some blacks slip through the cracks and defy virtually impossible odds to make it out of the low income areas and into the middle class suburbs. Many find a loophole by joining the army, because they will pay for College. As a result 25% of the U.S. army is made up of blacks, while only 13% of the American population is. That means that blacks are much more likely to get their heads blown off fighting an oil war so that rich white kids could gas up their SUV’s a little cheaper.

As a Canadian I am especially troubled by the North American Native reservation system that was setup hundreds of years ago supposedly for the sake of Native autonomy. Really? Upon studying the primary sources you will find that it was setup primarily because our founding fathers did not want the few natives that survived the smallpox they imported to the Americas living among them. Our legacy of systemic racial segregation is something we as Canadians cannot deny and have a well documented history of supporting. One might even argue that the present day reservation system in concert with the Department of Indian Affairs is guilty of promoting and propagating inequity and injustice, due to the squalor that many aboriginal people find themselves living in on reservations all over the country. All the while their Chiefs are some of the highest paid politicians in the country who are just as happy to take the billions of taxpayer dollars as the Government is in doling it out to buy their silence and cooperation.

What does all of this mean in the context of a fully functioning free and democratic society? To answer that question we must first ask: can a true democracy function where rampant and unchecked hyper-capitalism has allowed for the disparity of wealth to equal a disparity in political representation? Is it really any better that racial segregation based on skin color has been replaced by racial segregation based on income or a centuries old reservation system? Unless we attend to these issues and reform our democratic processes to first address and then mitigate the impact of the disparity of political representations, we will continue to find ourselves actively participating in a system which compounds and perpetuates segregation and injustice. Let us not congratulate ourselves too much, lest we forget there is much more to be done to promote true equality.  

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Update to the FDA Electoral Fairness Report on Canada

The recommendations in the FDA Electoral Fairness Report on Canada have been updated to include the following:

5. Canadian registered political parties should have member support of at least .5 percent from the voting population and have a national platform. The .5 percent threshold is a democratic means of limiting political access by unpopular political parties. The requirement of a national platform prevents interest and regional based political parties from having the same privileges as registered political parties. However, interest and regional based political parties would be allowed to be on electoral lists as long as they satisfy the .5 percent member support threshold.

(Sources: FDA auditors' ideas; Venezuela, Organic Law of Electoral Processes, Chapter II, Article 9-10, .5 percent declared member support either national or regional; Norway, Political Parties Act, Chapter II, Article 3(2), party registration based partly on public support from 5000 person who are eligible to vote; France, Organic Law No. 2011-410, representation on electoral list requires support from 500 elected officials at any level of government, and new political parties need $10,000 in donations in a 12 month period to receive public funding; Bolivia, Bolivian Law of the Electoral System, Act No. 26, political groups must represent at least 2 percent of vote in last election to be registered in subsequent election; New Zealand, Electoral Law 1993, to be registered political parties need at least 500 members; Egypt under Mubarak, Law No. 40 of the year 1977 Concerning the Political Party System and Its Amendments, ban on political parties which are based on religious, class, sectarian, categorical, or geographical basis. Note, countries with minimal barriers to entry for political parties like New Zealand, Canada, and the United States have various barriers within their electoral systems which favor significantly established and large political parties.)

2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Report on Canada

The following FDA podcasts are related:

Religion and Democracy Parts 2 and 3

Sunday, December 18, 2011

FDA Religion and Democracy Podcast (Part 3 of 3)

In this month's podcast and with reference to the 2011 FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Reports (found on slideshare.com), Mr. Stephen Garvey FDA founder and executive director chairs a seven person panel on the topic of what is the threshold to ban secular and religious based political parties in a democratic society? The panelists are given two minute opening statements and closing statements, and observers at the podcast are given an opportunity to share questions and comments with panelists. The panelists are comprised of Mr. Randy Tyson from the Center for Inquiry and scientist with the National Research Council of Canada, Mr. Artur Pawlowski member of the Christian Heritage Party of Canada and pastor at the Street Church Ministries out of Calgary, Alberta, Mr. Brian Seaman lawyer and research associate with the Alberta Civil Liberties Research Center, Mr. Adam Idris past director of the Muslim Council of Calgary and an active member of the Muslim Christian Dialogue, Mr. Lawrence Irwin pastor at the Centre Street Church in Calgary, and Ms. Lindsay Tetlock FDA researcher and auditor. For non-mainstream, insightful, and provocative discussion from people working in the field of international politics, listen in or download the FDA podcasts.

FDA Podcast on Religion and Democracy (Part 3 of 3)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Conservative Party of Canada's environmental policies consistent

The Conservative Party of Canada's environmental policies under the Harper Regime are consistent with what the FDA auditors saw in the party's environmental policies in the 2010 federal election: short sighted, narrow, and lack of interest. Also, the Conservative Party of Canada never ran on a policy of pulling out of the Kyoto Accord, nor did the Conservative Party consult the Canadian people via referendum on such a significant issue.

The Harper Regime without the consent of the Canadian people has pulled Canada out of the Kyoto Accord, slashed the operating budget of Environment Canada, and has laid off and silenced many of Environment Canada's scientists. (Please see one source of many below.)

In the 2010 federal election, the Conservative Party of Canada received 39.6 percent of the votes of those Canadians who voted, and 24.3 percent support overall from all Canadian voters. Yet, through the federal election laws, which the Conservative Party of Canada and the Liberal Party of Canada created over the last several decades, the Conservative Party of Canada received 54.7 percent majority of the Canadian Parliament. (In Canada currently, the majority of the members of parliament create Canada's federal electoral laws despite a clear conflict of interest.)

In the 2010 FDA Canadian Federal Election audit, FDA auditors gave the Conservative Party of Canada's environmental policies a score of 20 percent out of 100 percent. FDA auditors assessment of the Conservative Party of Canada's environmental policies are as follows:

"Conservative Party of Canada’s policies lack progressive vision, and they are contradictory by promoting more intrusion into the environment via snowmobile trails and increasing landowner rights. The score of 20 percent is justified by the fact that the Conservatives support two new national parks."
 
From the 2010 FDA Canadian Federal Election Audit Report, the Conservative Party of Canada's policy platform on the environment is as follows:

CONSERVING AND PROTECTING OUR ENVIRONMENT

We will conserve and protect our environment. We will work toward an agreement with provincial, regional, municipal, Aboriginal, and community stakeholders to establish a National Conservation Plan; facilitate the creation of new protected areas, National Parks, and National Marine Conservation Areas; make the land between protected areas more permeable to wildlife, and expand the use of digital and multimedia technologies to help connect Canadians to nature; and strengthen our efforts to restore degraded ecosystems
and reintroduce native species.

We will invest in the creation of Mealy Mountains National Park, in Newfoundland and Labrador.

We will also take action toward the establishment of a new National Park in the Rouge Valley, in the eastern part of the Greater Toronto Area. In establishing this new National Park, we will work toward an agreement with provincial, regional, municipal, Aboriginal, and community stakeholders. We will ensure that the rights and interests of farmers in the region are fully protected. We will also ensure that communities in the region remain free to address their infrastructure needs.

HUNTING ADVISORY PANEL TO THE MINISTER OF THE ENVIRONMENT

We must take action to protect endangered species. But all too often decisions have been made without input from the Canadians most directly affected, who have unique expertise in the conservation of our natural heritage.

We will establish a Hunting Advisory Panel, reporting to the Minister of the Environment, comprised of representatives of provincial and territorial hunters and anglers associations, to ensure government decisions are based on solid science and balanced advice.

STRENGTHEN PROPERTY RIGHTS

Property rights were omitted in drafting the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, however, leaving landowners without appropriate protection against unfair restrictions on the use and enjoyment of their property. Species at Risk Act provides for compensation for land-use restrictions intended to protect the habitats of endangered species, in practice compensation is virtually never granted.

We will strengthen the rights of landowners, by reviewing the Species at Risk Act with a view to ensuring that when compensation is owed, compensation will be paid.

IMPROVE AND EXPAND CANADA’S SNOWMOBILE AND RECREATIONAL
TRAILS

We will build on the accomplishment of improving 500 trails, through additional funding for upgrades and new trails.

The Conservative Party of Canada's policies on energy, which the Conservative Party received a 20 percent score out of 100 percent, are as follows:

SUPPORT FOR CLEAN ENERGY

Stephen Harper’s Government will continue supporting clean energy initiatives, to protect our environment and improve the quality of the air we breathe. We will support economically viable clean energy projects that will assist regions and provinces in the replacement of fossil fuel with renewable fuel sources. The criteria for
our support of a project will be whether it has a national or regional significance; has economic and financial merit and will significantly reduce greenhouse emissions.

In addition to the criteria noted above, our support for any clean energy project will be based on the principles of respect and equitable treatment for all regions of the country. We will also continue taking action on climate change we have a climate change plan, and it is working. As part of our ongoing efforts we will make new investments to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions – including an extension of the ecoENERGY Retrofit-Homes program. We will also provide additional support for research and development in clean energy and energy efficiency.

ACCORD ON QUEBEC’S OFFSHORE RESOURCES

Will allow the Government of Quebec to explore development of the Old Harry oil & gas field in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The result will be long-term job creation and economic growth in the regions of Quebec. We will implement the accord on Quebec’s offshore resources, by tabling the necessary legislation in Parliament.

FDA auditors assessment of the Conservative Party of Canada's energy policies are:

"Conservative Party of Canada’s policies are extremely vague and narrow. The score of 20 percent is justified on grounds of a few specifics such as the ecoEnergy Retrofit-Homes Program and development of Quebec’s offshore resources."

Harper Regime silences Environment Canada's scientists

2010 FDA Canadian Federal Election Audit Report

Monday, December 12, 2011

Threshold for Banning Political Parties in Democratic Society

In this month's podcast and with reference to the 2011 FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Reports (found on slideshare.com), Mr. Stephen Garvey FDA founder and executive director chairs a seven person panel on the topic of what is the threshold to ban secular and religious based political parties in a democratic society? The panelists are given two minute opening statements and closing statements, and observers at the podcast are given an opportunity to share questions and comments with panelists. The panelists are comprised of Mr. Randy Tyson from the Center for Inquiry and scientist with the National Research Council of Canada, Mr. Artur Pawlowski member of the Christian Heritage Party of Canada and pastor at the Street Church Ministries out of Calgary, Alberta, Mr. Brian Seaman lawyer and research associate with the Alberta Civil Liberties Research Center, Mr. Adam Idris past director of the Muslim Council of Calgary and an active member of the Muslim Christian Dialogue, Mr. Lawrence Irwin pastor at the Centre Street Church in Calgary, and Ms. Lindsay Tetlock FDA researcher and auditor. For non-mainstream, insightful, and provocative discussion from people working in the field of international politics, listen in or download the FDA podcasts.

FDA Podcast on the Threshold for Banning Political Parties

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Case of Omar Khadr Parts 2 and 3

In this second and third of three part interview, Stephen Garvey FDA executive director interviews Audrey Macklin, Professor of Law at the University of Toronto, on Omar Khadr's ordeal since being captured in 2002 by the United States Army in Afghanistan.

Professor Macklin sheds light on why the Canadian government under the Liberals and now the Conservatives failed to secure Omar Khadr's release from Guantanamo Bay. Also, Professor Macklin explains why Omar's ordeal impacts all Canadians.






Related FDA Report: Incumbency section on the Conservative Party of Canada:

2011 FDA Canadian Federal Election Audit Report 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Latin America's Renaissance

In a new FDA podcast and with reference to the 2011 FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Reports on Bolivia and Venezuela, Stephen Garvey, FDA executive director, interviews Dr. Maria Paez Victor about humanism and the Boliviarian/Latin American revolution. Dr. Victor provides in depth insight into Latin America humanism and the Bolivarian revolution. She argues that Latin America is going through its renaissance by freeing itself from colonialism and imperialism. Moreover, Dr. Victor points out that Latin American humanism emphasizes the interconnectedness of all living beings in a country, thereby transcends the one-dimensional profiteerism/consumerism of capitalism. Dr. Victor contends that the Latin American Bolivarian revolution is a necessary movement for the survival of all earthly life.

 Latin America's Renaissance

2011 FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Report on Venezuela

2011 FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Report on Bolivia 

Monday, December 5, 2011

FDA Electoral Fairness Report on the DRC

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) received an overall electoral fairness score of 3.75 percent. The scores means that the constitutional and legislative basis for Congolese democracy is bordering on complete unfairness. The FDA auditors reached consensus in all four sections of electoral fairness. The only identified elements of electoral fairness were the legislative basis for multi-political parties and freedom of voter choice. However, these elements are canceled out by significant elements of electoral unfairness. In all four of the electoral fairness sections, the Congolese state has shut off switches: the state can shut down media companies; the state can dissolve political parties; the state can dissolve political parties for violation of electoral finances; the state can silence voter say and expression on grounds of public order or morality. In addition, the Congolese media ownership concentration laws are canceled by the lack of transparency of media ownership. The Congolese electoral finance laws are canceled out by the lack of public transparency of political parties' finances. The state uses the vague terms of public order and morality to restrict freedom of expression and assembly, media ownership, and registration of political parties. In the FDA's opinion, the Congolese electoral system is authoritarian within a muddle, insignificant constitutional, electoral, and media laws which appear to exist only to satisfy international donors.

2011 FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Report on the DRC

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Case of Omar Khadr--FDA interview of Audrey Macklin (Part 1)

In this first of three part interview, Stephen Garvey FDA executive director interviews Audrey Macklin, Professor of Law at the University of Toronto, on Omar Khadr's ordeal since being captured in 2002 by the United States Army in Afghanistan.

Professor Macklin sheds light on why the Canadian government under the Liberals and now the Conservatives failed to secure Omar Khadr's release from Guantanamo Bay. Also, Professor Macklin explains why Omar's ordeal impacts all Canadians.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

DRC's electoral system receives 3.75 percent score out of 100 percent

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) received an overall electoral fairness score of 3.75 percent. The scores means that the constitutional and legislative basis for DRC democracy is bordering pn complete unfairness. The FDA auditors reached consensus in all four sections of electoral fairness. The only identified elements of electoral fairness were the legislative basis for multi-political parties and freedom of voter choice in who they vote for. However, these elements are canceled by significant elements of electoral unfairness. In all four of the electoral fairness sections, the DRC state has shut off switches: the state can shut down media companies; the state can dissolve political parties; the state can dissolve political parties for violation of electoral finances; the state can silence voter say and expression on grounds of public order or morality. In addition, the DRC's media ownership concentration laws are canceled by the lack of transparency of media ownership. The DRC's electoral finance laws are canceled out by the lack of public transparency of political parties' finances. The state uses the vague terms of public order and morality to restrict freedom of expression and assembly, media ownership, and registration of political parties. In the FDA's opinion, the DRC electoral system is authoritarian within a muddle, insignificant constitutional, electoral, and media laws which appear to exist only to satisfy international donors. (Democratic reform including multi-party elections is a requisite for mobilizing financial assistance. (Source: Africa Today 56:4 (Summer 2010), 52.))

The FDA Global Electoral Fairness Report on the DRC will be published shortly.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Democracy and Venezuela Podcast

In November 2011, Stephen Garvey FDA founder and executive director interviewed Mr. Leonardo Tovar on the current and future states of Venezuelan democracy. Mr. Tovar is a Venezuelan expatriate, who is completing a masters degree in public policy, and who was in Venezuela during the 2002 attempted coup d'état on Chavez's government. Among other things, Mr. Tovar discusses from a relatively neutral standpoint the polarization of Venezuelan society. This podcast is in contrast to the Dr. Victor interview on Venezuela on October 6, 2011, and the podcast is a supplement to the 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Report on Venezuela. Overall, Mr. Tovar provides a pragmatic outlook on the current and future states of Venezuela.

FDA podcast interview of Mr. Tovar on democracy and Venezuela

2011 FDA Global Electoral Fairness Report on Venezuela

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Religion and Democracy Podcast

In the Religion and Democracy podcast, FDA members and invited guests discuss whether or not religious based political parties should allowed to participate in elections as electable political parties.

Invited guests include Mr. Randy Tyson from the Center for Inquiry, Mr. Artur Pawlowski, member of the Christian Heritage Party of Canada and Christian pastor at the Street Church Ministries based out of Calgary, and Mr. Jim Blake, member of the Christian Heritage Party of Canada and Chairman of Concerned Christians of Canada.

Religion and Democracy (Part 2) will be taking place on December 6th, and it will explore the threshold for banning secular and religious based political parties.

Religion and Democracy (Part 1)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Jordan Receives 0 percent Score for Electoral Fairness

Executive Summary:

Jordan received an overall score of 0 percent for electoral fairness. The score means that Jordan's electoral system is completely unfair. FDA auditors could find no overall, free standing element of fairness in Jordan's electoral system. In the FDA's opinion, three key things define Jordan's electoral system: the Jordanian king is above Jordanian law; the kingdom restricts freedom of expression; and there is no public transparency of electoral finances. These elements, and others, cancel out all elements of electoral fairness in the Jordanian electoral system such as the guaranteed parliamentary seats for women, religions, and tribal minority, and caps on individual donations to political parties. Consequently, the Jordanian electoral system is undemocratic and part of the authoritarian control of Jordan by the king and his royal family. Progressive reform of the Jordanian electoral system must start with constitutional reform in which the king ceases to be above Jordanian law, the Jordanian Senate seats are determined by election rather than appointment by the king, and the king ceases to have the constitutional right to dissolve the Senate and Council of Deputies, postpone elections, and appoint cabinet ministers.

2011 FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Report on Jordan

Thursday, November 17, 2011

FDA Podcast on Religion and Democracy

Last night FDA members and invited guests met for the monthly FDA podcast. The topic of the podcast was whether or not religious based political parties should be allowed to participate in elections as electable parties.

The podcast will posted on itunes under the Foundation for Democratic Advancement shortly.

Here is an opinion piece on what transpired during the podcast:

Atheist perspectives on the FDA podcast

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Jordan's democracy on par with Bahrain, Syria, and Egypt under Mubarak.

On November 9th, the FDA audited Jordan's parliamentary electoral system, in which Jordan received a 0 percent score overall and 0 percent scores in all four sections of electoral fairness. The overall score means that FDA auditors could find no overall, free standing element of fairness in Jordan's parliamentary electoral system.

With no public transparency of electoral finances, restrictions on freedom of expression, and the Jordanian king above law, any element of fairness in Jordan's electoral system is canceled out.

The FDA electoral fairness report on Jordan will be produced shortly.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Egypt under Mubarak receives 0 percent for Electoral Fairness

Executive Summary:

Egypt's Arab Republic electoral system under Hosni Mubarak received an overall score of 0 percent for electoral fairness. The score means that Egypt's electoral system under Mubarak is completely unfair. FDA auditors could find no element of fairness in the four sections of the audit: political of content of media, candidate and party influence, electoral finance, and voter say. Through the legislated exclusion of particular Egyptian political parties, severe infringement of citizen freedoms and political and human rights, state control of media political content, and lack of public transparency of electoral finances, Egypt's electoral system under Mubarak is undemocratic. Any elements of fairness such as caps on presidential candidates' electoral expenditures and the equality of political content of state media during the election period are canceled out by more significant unfairness such as the state's ban on societies which are inconsistent with state ideology and national order, or the state imprisonment of journalists who question the financial integrity of government officials, or the state removal of political rights of any citizens who are convicted of making false statements in the news, or the state registration of only political parties which promote national unity and social peace, and support the Constitution, and thereby do not challenge Mubarak and the National Democratic Party's hold on political power.

2011 FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Report on Egypt

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Religion and Democracy in Egypt

Last night FDA auditors met to audit electoral fairness in Egypt under Hosni Mubarak.

The audit reached a point of contention from Article 3 of Law No.40 of the year 1977 Concerning the Political Parties System and its Amendments, which states,

"The state bans political parties which are based on religious, class, sectarian, categorical, or geographical basis, or on the exploitation of religious feelings, or discrimination because of race, origin, or creed."

FDA auditor #1 viewed Article 3 as fair, because religious based parties should not be part of democracy, because they are based on membership and thereby exclusionary.

Other auditors #2 viewed Article 3 as unfair, because it limits the electoral choice of the people and excludes political parties from the electoral process. Viz., the will of the people should be the ultimate decider of who governs society. If the will of the people wants a religious based party then that should not be circumvented.

Auditor #1 replied that religious based parties would lead to tyranny of the majority, and they would use religion as the sole basis for moral and ethical decisions and thereby discriminate against other religious groups and non-religious groups.

Auditors #2 responded that the Constitution and any bill of rights of the country are in place, in part, to protect minority interests. Also, the moral and ethical codes of a society are subjective whether they are religious based or not, and that many secular moral and ethical codes have their roots in religion.

If a religious based party respects the Constitution and fundamental human rights then why should the religious party be disallowed the opportunity of governing society?

In the case of Egypt, it states clearly in the Constitution that the country is Islamic:

Article 2
Islam is the religion of the State and Arabic its official language.
Islamic law (Sharia) is the principal source of legislation. (Source: Egypt Constitution of 1971, Amended 2007)

Why is it fair for Egypt (under Mubarak) to ban religious based parties?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Report on Afghanistan

Afghanistan received an overall failing score of 23.75 percent for electoral fairness. The score means that the constitutional and legislative basis for Afghanistan democracy is bordering on significantly more unfair than fair. A passing score is 50 percent. The Afghanistan score is only 6.25 percent lower than the score for the United States and 67 percent lower than the score for France. Out of 27 countries, Afghanistan ranks 17 for electoral fairness. Although Afghanistan democracy has elements of electoral fairness such as freedom of expression and assembly, advanced political rights for women and disabled persons, and regulation of mass media during the electoral period, these elements are more than offset by unfair elements. Within the core of Afghanistan's political system are severe favoring of wealthy Afghans and the privileged, educated Afghan tier of society. Opposition parties do not have a reasonable chance of forming government. The FDA believes based on its research and audit that the Afghan political system is set up to keep the Karzai regime in power, while on the surface may appear to be free, equal, and fair. Consequently, the FDA concludes that the Afghan political system is authoritarian within the shell of democracy.

2011 FDA Global Electoral Fairness Report on Afghanistan

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Media, Democracy, and Venezuela

On October 1, 2011, Stephen Garvey, FDA founder and executive director, interviewed Dr. Maria Piez Victor about media, democracy, and Venezuela. Dr. Victor, based out of Toronto, Canada, is a founding member of the "Louis Riel" Canadian Bolivarian Circle, has a Ph.D in Sociology from York University, and is an outspoken Venezuelan expatriate on President Chavez and Venezuelan Democracy. The interview is an hour and eighteen minutes in length, and covers a range of issues from international media malignment of President Chavez and the Venezuelan government, and US psychological warfare ongoing in Venezuela with the purpose of destabilizing the Venezuelan government and weakening its credibility with the Venezuelan people.

The FDA interview of Dr.Victor will likely adjust your view of Venezuela and the world.

FDA Interview of Dr. Victor

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Afghanistan Democracy a Shell Around Status Quo

A team of nine FDA auditors convened last night to audit the constitutional and legislative basis for Afghanistan's Islamic Republic electoral system.

The FDA auditors gave Afghanistan's democracy the following scores:

Political content of media: 50 percent

Candidate and party influence: 22.2 percent

Electoral finance: 0 percent

Voter say: 22.5 percent

Total audit scores: 23.75 percent (out of 100 percent)

Despite elements of electoral fairness such as restrictions on the political content during the electoral period and regulations to support women and disabled persons electoral rights and participation, Afghanistan democracy supports significantly wealthy Afghans and the privileged, educated class in Afghanistan.

The FDA auditors concluded that Afghanistan's democracy is a mere shell of democracy, within an authoritarian regime backed by America and its allies. The Afghan democracy is set up to maintain a regime in power favorable to the USA, while give the impression of a legitimate, fair democracy.

The FDA's report on Afghanistan will be posted on October 10th.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

FDA Research on the Afghanistan Electoral System

FDA research shows that Afghanistan democracy is similar to democracy in the Western countries that imposed it on the country: too much emphasis on freedom in the mass media, weak and unfair electoral finance laws, and favoring of candidates and parties with greater access to financial resources and that are more established. (France is an exception.)

Afghanistan democracy is contingent on the Afghan government through the Independent Electoral Commission and the Joint Electoral Management Body in terms implementation and enforcement of the electoral laws. Similar to Iraq's de-Baathification program, the Afghanistan electoral system is biased against the Taliban.

It is questionable that the Afghan government, an extension of US interests in Afghanistan since the government was first installed by the Americans and is allied to the Americans, is a reliable and trustworthy upholder and enforcer of the western influenced Afghan constitution and electoral laws. Beyond this point, it is questionable that the Afghan constitution and electoral laws really represents the will of the Afghan people since the framework for the constitution and electoral laws were imposed on Afghanistan.

On October 4th, FDA auditors will conduct a detailed audit of the Afghan electoral system to determine its electoral fairness score and rating.

FDA research on Afghanistan

2011 FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit on France 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Spain's democracy: a two party dictatorship

With reference to the FDA Report on Spain's democracy, FDA auditors determine that Spain's democracy unfairly favors parties successful in the previous election. The Spanish system, which has similarities to Canadian and American federal democracy, promotes a status quo through two parties, and thereby creates a narrow and unbalanced electoral discourse, and less informed electorate. Consequently, Spanish political society is deprived of progression and is vulnerable to corruption.

2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Report on Spain

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Spain receives a failing grade for electoral fairness

An eight-person FDA audit team met last night to audit electoral fairness in Spain's parliamentary monarchy electoral system.

After two hours of discussion, the FDA auditors gave Spain the following scores:

Political content of media (including broadcasters and the press):  53.75 percent

Candidate and party influence:  40 percent

Electoral finance:  11 percent

Voter say:  64.3 percent

Total:  42.25 percent (Rank: 6 out of 26 countries)

The Spanish electoral system has areas of electoral fairness including proportional representation and free public airtime to all registered parties. However, these areas are more than offset by legislated bias to parties successful in the previous election, weak regulation of the political content of media, and poor transparency of electoral finances.

Since the fall of the Franco dictatorship, the Spanish electoral system has had only two parties in power. (People's Party and the Spanish Socialist Worker's Party) In the FDA's opinion, the Spanish electoral system is legislated to produce a two party system (though not as significantly as the US federal system). Although such an approach maintains a status quo, the Spanish democracy is weakened by a narrow electoral discourse, which deprives Spaniards of electoral choice. An entrenched status quo can also undermine a democracy and society by stifling progressive ideas and allowing a minority to control the country.

An optimal democracy will encourage broad electoral discourse and create an equal playing field for registered parties.

The FDA Report of Spain will be completed by September 28.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Spain's Political System Similar to Canada's

Spain's parliamentary political system overall is similar to Canada's federal political system, in the sense that there exists in both systems significant unfair favoring of large, established political parties. Spain's regulation of the mass media and electoral finances, similar to Canada's, favors significantly parties sucessful in the previous election. And just like in Canada, the majority of Spanish parliamentarians determine the laws and regulations of the Spanish political system, which creates a blatant conflict of interest.

On September 21st, FDA audits will convene to determine precisely electoral fairness in the Spanish political system. A FDA electoral fairness audit report on Spain will then be produced on Spain.

FDA research on Spain

Monday, September 12, 2011

American Assumptions on Freedom Challenged

This article in the June 2011 issue of The Altantic suggests of the emergence of challenges to American assumptions on freedom. The FDA Report on Iraq does very this, by arguing that American federal democracy has too much emphasis on liberty at the expense of electoral equality and fairness. Unfortunately, in the opinion of the FDA, this flawed democratic model has been imported to Iraq.

Danger Falling Tyrants

FDA Report on Iraq

Friday, September 9, 2011

Iraq's federal democracy receives failing overall score of 35.25 percent for electoral fairness

In the 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Report on Iraq, Iraq's federal democracy received a failing overall score of 35.25 percent. The score is 5.25 percent greater than what the US federal democracy received (30 percent), and yet it is 56 percent less than what France received (91.25 percent).

Despite many elements of electoral fairness, Iraq's democracy is undermined by an overemphasis on electoral freedom and at the expense of electoral equality and fairness. In particular, the Iraq's media and electoral finance laws are severely deficient. The FDA recommends significant reform of Iraq's democracy in order to avoid the entrenchment of significant electoral inequality and unfairness like in the US federal democratic system.

2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Report on Iraq

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Freedom and Democracy (Part 2)

FDA podcast series #3 "Freedom and Democracy" (Part 2)

In this podcast with reference to the FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Reports, a five person FDA podcast team discusses the French Enlightenment, Simon Bolivar, modern Venezuelan democracy, and Bolivian democracy under Morales, in an attempt to come to a closer understanding of an optimal democracy. 

FDA Freedom and Democracy (Part 2)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

FDA Report on Bolivia's Democracy

Executive Summary: Bolivia received an overall score of 78.75 percent for electoral fairness. The scores means that the constitutional and legislative basis for Bolivian democracy is on the border of outstanding. The Bolivian electoral system has many progressive elements such civic and indigenous organizations have the same rights as political parties, and TV and radio markets are divided equally between private interest, government, and social and indigenous organizations. Also, there are caps on electoral propaganda on TV and radio, and only registered political organizations can produce election propaganda. However, the lack of caps on donations and candidate and party spending may favor wealthy candidates and parties through lack of caps on poster and billboard election propaganda and campaign events. Further, the progressive law for immediate removal of electoral advertisement and/or news in case of a claim of inaccuracy, for example, can undermine the electoral process by encouraging less than credible claims.

 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Report on Bolivia

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bolivia Scores High in the FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit

An eleven person FDA audit team gave Bolivia an overall score of 78.75 percent for electoral fairness. The score means that the Bolivian national electoral system is significantly more fair than unfair. Bolivia scores highest in the fairness and equality of voter say (86.6 percent), followed by political content of media (80 percent), electoral finance (79 percent) and candidate and party influence (69 percent).

Bolivia ranks 3rd in the FDA global audit on electoral fairness, behind Venezuela at 85 percent and France at 91.75 percent.

The FDA electoral fairness report on Bolivia will be published by August 30th.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Assad addresses the Syrian people

The FDA is closely monitoring the situation in Syria, and will be doing to comparative study on constitutional changes in the country. Moreover, on Tuesday, the FDA will be interviewing a Syrian dissident located in London, which will be uploaded to the FDA itunes page. 

Assad speech

FDA Report on Syria

Friday, August 19, 2011

Bahrain: Systematic Annihilation of Opposition

The Bahrain monarchy continues its assault on protesters, in a most systematic, calculated fashion. Where are the cries of democracy from Western governments??? Selective support of protesters means less than genuine interest in the people and democracy. 

systematic annihilation of opposition

FDA Report on Bahrain

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

Harper Government fueling Israel/Palestine Conflict





Syrians Protests--People's Voice--


Chileans Fight for Right to Education

Turkey Government Postpones Internet Censoring

FDA Helping to Encourage Democratic Advancement

Subject: Congrats, "Syria--2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Report" is hot on Twitter this hour
Sun, Aug 14, 2011 at 11:10 PM



"Syria--2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Report" is being tweeted more than anything else on SlideShare right now. So we've put it on the homepage of SlideShare.net (in the "Hot on Twitter" section).

Well done!

- SlideShare Team

We have your email address as fdadvancement@gmail.com.
Click here to unsubscribe from ALL SlideShare emails or here to adjust your email notifications........

FDA Report on Syria

Conservative's government pr push for dirty crude consumption

Interesting article on the Conservative government's promotion of the tar sands, and the US politics involved....  Again a disconnect is being shown between government and the people.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/aug/14/canada-tar-sands-keystonexl


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Haper government snubs Cuba, Venezuela, Bolvia etc.,

Harper government shows that ideology and arrogance guide them as they snub countries that don't fit the neo-liberalism mold.

Haper ignores countries

Neoliberalism blamed for UK riots

Interesting article which suggests that the increasing separation between the have and have not via the capitalistic system, is undermining democracy:

failure of neoliberalism

Friday, August 12, 2011

FDA Research on Norwegian Democracy

The FDA research on Norwegian democracy is posted:

FDA Norway Research

A team of FDA auditors will audit Norwegian democracy on Tuesday, August 16th. Based on the research results alone, Norwegian democracy appears to be very progressive and democratic.

A FDA report on Norway will be produced by August 19th.

What Canadians Should Know About Harper and the Conservatives

Two weeks prior to the 2011 federal election, the Foundation for Democratic Advancement (FDA) produced a non-partisan 226 page audit report on all federal registered political parties with a national platform barring the Bloc Québécois. The FDA electoral audit focused on a detailed background audit of the party leaders, audit of the visions and policies of the parties, and audit of the incumbency record of the Conservative Party. The nine-person audit team was diverse in terms of profession, gender, age and ethnicity.

The Conservative Party placed eighth out of twelve registered political parties, with an overall failing score of 43.8 percent (out of 100 percent). The FDA concluded that the Conservatives were worthy of insignificant representation (15 seats maximum) in the Canadian Parliament.   

In the federal election, the Conservative Party received a large majority (167 seats) based on 39.6 percent support from those Canadians who voted, and only 24.3 percent support from Canadian voters overall, including Canadians who did not vote.  (167 seats out of 308 seats equals 54.2 percent)

In 2011 as well the FDA conducted an electoral fairness audit of the Canadian federal electoral system, in which Canada received a 25.75 percent grade (out of 100 per cent) for electoral fairness. (To put this score in context, the US received a 30 percent score, Finland a 40.75 percent score, and France a 91.75 percent score.)  

The FDA concludes that if the Canadian electoral system was significantly more fair, the Conservatives would not have attained a minority government let alone a majority government. A more fair Canadian electoral system based on an equal playing field for registered political parties in terms of electoral finances, media access, and impartial media would have created a balanced, equitable Canadian electoral discourse, and thereby expanded Canadian electoral choice. In the FDA’s opinion, the Conservative majority is representative of an unfair democratic system (as documented in the FDA’s electoral fairness report), and a resulting misinformed and uninformed Canadian public, rather than the popularity of the Conservative party.

A summary of the FDA’s non-partisan electoral findings on Harper and the Conservative Party are as follows:

Background of Harper:  

59 percent score for suitability of being prime minister of Canada. The low score is reflective of Mr. Harper’s professional experience that entails brief work in the Alberta oil patch as a computer programmer and reporting for three major newspapers. Also, the FDA auditors found no evidence that Mr. Harper has ever volunteered. (The FDA uses volunteer experience as an indicator of commitment to public service.) The 59 percent score is reflective of Mr. Harper having an MA in Economics, 18 years political experience including prime minister in a minority government, and living his entire life in Canada. (In contrast and as an example, Elizabeth May received a score of 84 percent for very strong academic and professional backgrounds, 31 years of political experience, and 41 years of volunteer and activist experience.) 

Vision of the Conservative Party: 

40 percent score. The Conservative Party’s vision for Canada is restricted to the short-term, with emphasis on economic recovery, elimination of debt, and low taxes. The Conservatives’ vision statement is devoid of any vision of an ideal Canada or a Canada worth striving for (or at least a long-term vision the Conservatives are willing to share publicly).   

Incumbency Record of the Conservative Party: 

30 percent score. In the FDA’s opinion, the Conservative Party did not uphold Canadian values in their last term: as example, at the 2010 CITIES forum on endangered marine life the Conservatives blocked international attempts to protect the endangered polar bear (viz., the polar bear has become a universal, emotional symbol of the decline of northern regions; Canada has an established history of wildlife conservation starting with famous Canadians like Grey Owl); the Conservatives got Canada further embroiled in military conflicts in Afghanistan and Libya (when Canada could have abstained from direct participation like Germany in the case of Libya and the Netherlands which withdrew early from Afghanistan); the Conservatives did not secure the removal of its citizens from Guantanamo Bay unlike every other western country; and the Conservatives did not acknowledge publicly the Palestinians' right to their own state (viz., self-determination is a fundamental democratic right, which is enshrined in Article 1 of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: “All peoples have the right of self-determination…” Also, the 30% percent score reflects that the Conservative Party did not balance the federal budget, changed their position on the income trust tax, and increased Canadian overall debt. Furthermore, the FDA auditors think that the Bank of Canada had a larger role than the Conservative Party in guiding the country through the recent recession.  

Policies of the Conservative Party:  

Economy:  

80 percent score. In the FDA’s opinion, the Conservative policies are sound, comprehensive, relevant, and apply to all sectors of the Canadian economy. 

Taxes:  

70 percent score. The Conservative policies are comprehensive and relevant, and cover a range of tax credits with no increase in taxation. The FDA auditors question how the Conservative Party can balance the federal budget in four years without slashing significantly government programs.  

Energy:  

20 percent score. The Conservative policies are extremely narrow and vague, with only specifics on the ecoEnergy Retrofit-Homes Program and development of Quebec’s offshore resources. There is no direct mention of the Alberta tar sands and nuclear energy, and the Conservatives provide no specifics on “clean energies” (as opposed to renewable energies).

Environment: 

20 percent score. The Conservative policies lack progressive and practical vision, and they are contradictory by promoting more intrusion into the environment via more snowmobile trails and increasing landowner rights. The score of 20 per cent is reflective of the Conservative Party’s pledge to create two new national parks, while major environmental issues such as the endangerment of northern wildlife, global warming, nuclear waste, alternative means of transportation such as the electric car, depletion of fish stocks, contamination of lakes, bulk water exports, and oil and gas development in ecologically-sensitive areas are ignored and even promoted as is the case with the proposed Northern Gateway Oil and Condensate pipeline from Bruderheim, Alberta to Kitimat, British Columbia. 

Education:  

30 percent score. The Conservative policies lack passion for education and demonstrate no investment in the future of education. The Conservative Party does not address a number of educational issues such as increasing post-secondary tuition fees and recruitment of teachers. 

Health: 

20 percent score.  The Conservative Party health policies lack vision and relevance in dealing with Canada’s health care issues. There are no stated policies which address the increasing costs of prescription drugs and universal healthcare. However, the Conservatives support more doctors in rural areas and a commitment to deal with increasing wait times. 

Arts and Culture: 

10 percent score. The Conservative Party’s arts and culture policies are extremely vague and demonstrate a lack of interest and support for arts and culture. Moreover, the Conservatives do not mention their policy for the CBC. The score of 10 per cent reflects the Conservative support for the RC of Music national examination system and Canadian Periodical Fund. 

Domestic Security: 

60 percent score. The Conservative Party takes a top-down and power-oriented approach to crime. In the FDA’s opinion, the Conservatives do not understand the complexity of crime and its underlying sources. Moreover, the Conservative proposed terrorism laws threaten Canadian civil liberties. The 60 per cent score is based on the comprehensiveness of the Conservative surcharge policy for victims of crime.  

Foreign Affairs: 

60 percent score. The Conservative Party’s foreign policy is comprehensive and relevant with an emphasis on building the strength of the Canadian military. This policy likely shifts Canada into a more aggressive foreign military role which may not be in the better interest of Canadians. Also, the Conservatives do not address a number of foreign affair issues such as international aid, Middle East conflicts and revolutions, and the proliferation of nuclear arms. 

Democracy Reform: 

20 percent score. Though the Conservatives propose progressive reform of the Senate and elimination of party subsidies, they do not address significant electoral unfairness issues in the federal electoral system like partisan public and private media and severe inequality in electoral finance and broadcast laws. There is no demonstrated intent by the Conservatives to make the federal election system more equal and fair for all registered political parties, and thereby more democratic. 

Miscellaneous: 

60 percent score. The Conservative Party has very sound, progressive policies on First Nations transparency and fair regional representation in the House of Commons. Yet, at the same time, the Conservative are committed to using Canadian tax dollars to build a holocaust memorial (for the victims of the holocaust) and a communist memorial (for the victims of communism). 

In the FDA’s opinion based on its research and audit findings, Harper and the Conservative Party are unworthy of a majority government, and the fact that they received a majority is symptomatic of a flawed electoral system (due significant electoral inequality and unfairness) and the human factor through Liberals and Conservatives who over the last three decades have created the current electoral laws and regulations.

As indicated by the Conservative Party’s mediocrity (in the FDA’s opinion) and their majority government, a renewal and redirection of Canada’s democracy is necessary through both significant system reform and new representatives who are truly reflective of the will of Canadians as a whole.

Stephen Garvey is founder and executive director of the Foundation for Democratic Advancement.




Thursday, August 11, 2011

UK government battles its own people

Conservative PM Cameron for the UK announces new measures to combat public riots, such as social networking restrictions, curfews, and ban on face masks.

Are there larger issues in the UK, such as a disconnect between the people and government, inequality, and freedoms favoring minority groups?

Cameroon recently said that multiculturalism is a failure. What does this statement mean to the 7 million plus immigrants living in the UK?

Unemployment levels in the UK are presently at 7.7%.

As part of the FDA global electoral fairness audit, in late August, the FDA will be looking at the fairness of the UK electoral system.

Cameron's hard line 

UK Riots Fourth Day 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

FDA Podcast: Freedom and Democracy (Part 1)

Summary: In this month's podcast and with reference to the FDA's electoral fairness audit reports on 22 countries, an eight-person FDA team discusses freedom and democracy from philosophical, constitutional, and historical perspectives. Also, FDA members discuss the modern day usage of freedom and democracy, partly in relation to the G.W.Bush and Obama governments' foreign policies. For non-mainsteam, insightful, and provocative discussion from people working in the field of international politics, listen in:

FDA Freedom and Democracy Podcast

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Insightful documentary on the Bahrain upraising....


The FDA Electoral Fairness Report on Bahrain correlates with the brutal crackdown by the Bahraini authoritarian monarchy.The hypocrisy of western governments in ignoring the cry of the Bahraini people is inconsistent with western values, and demonstrate that western political systems are failing to produce representatives who truly represent the people. It must be remembered that western governments have supported Middle Eastern authoritarian and totalitarian regimes for decades and still do as is the case, for example, with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Yemen.

2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Report on Bahrain

Friday, August 5, 2011

Saudi Arabia--2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Report

Executive Summary: Saudi Arabia received a failing overall score of 0 percent for electoral fairness. The score means that the constitutional and legislative basis for Saudi Arabia's political system is completely unfair. Although there are elections in Saudi Arabia at the municipal level of government, they are irregular, and women are not permitted to participate as either voters or candidates. Also, the elected members of the 178 municipalities are offset by an equal portion of unelected members of the municipalities. Further, the municipalities have no power over the Saudi king and the executive and consultative branches of government. Underlying this political framework is the dominance of Islam and Sharia law as determined by the Sharia Religious Council, and whereby political parties are banned. The FDA auditors could find no element of electoral fairness in Saudi Arabia, and concluded that a country directed and guided by Islam and Sharia law is inconsistent fundamentally with democracy. The will of the people is replaced by the will of God as determined by the Saudi Sharia Council and the Saudi king and his royal family.

2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Report on Saudi Arabia

New Zealand--2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Report

Executive Summary: New Zealand received an overall score of 54.75 percent for electoral fairness. The score means that New Zealand's constitutional and legislative basis for its democracy is unacceptable. Despite many elements of fairness such as the distribution of public electoral monies based on popular support and proportional electoral mechanisms, New Zealand has extreme unfairness in laws and regulations on the media's and broadcaster's political content. Private media and broadcasters have no restrictions on their political content, and the state broadcaster (TVNZ) and radio (RNZ) were privatized on July 12, 2011. The political content issue impacted negatively the other electoral fairness sections. New Zealand needs to progress beyond unrestricted freedom of the media to restrictions on the freedom of the media in order to promote democratic plurality (like in France) and complete and balanced electoral coverage (like in Venezuela).
 
2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Report on New Zealand

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

New Zealand receives a 54.75 percent score for electoral fairness, and Saudi Arabia receives a 0 percent score for electoral fairness

On August 2nd, an eight-person audit team audited New Zealand and Saudi Arabia as part of the FDA global electoral fairness audit.

New Zealand received a passing overall score of 54.74 percent. The low score is reflective of the lack of restrictions on the political content of New Zealand media and broadcasters coupled with the July 12th, 2011 privatization of the public national broadcaster and radio.

Saudi Arabia received a failing score of 0 percent. The score is reflective of complete electoral unfairness, whereby the Saudi king and his royal family control the country through Islam and Sharia law.

The FDA Saudi Arabia and New Zealand reports will published on August 5th.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sweden--2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Report

Executive Summary: Sweden received an overall score of 34.5 percent for electoral fairness. The score means that Sweden's constitutional and legislative basis for its democracy is bordering on significantly more unfair than fair. Paradoxically, the shortcoming of Sweden's electoral system is the significant emphasis on political freedom, at the expense of political equality and electoral fairness. Swedish major media and broadcasters have no restrictions on their political content, and there are no laws and regulations on electoral finance. Consequently, media access and exposure and electoral finances are the dominant unfair features of the Swedish electoral system, and despite proportional distribution of public electoral subsidies and proportional allocation of parliamentary seats.


2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Report on Sweden

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sweden receives a failing overall score of 34.5 percent for electoral fairness

On July 26th, a six-person FDA audit team audited electoral fairness in Sweden. After a two hour session, the audit team gave Sweden a failing score of 34.5 percent. Although Sweden is very progressive in the proportional aspects of its electoral system and has fair and progressive distribution of state electoral subsidies, these elements of fairness and others are offset by extreme unfairness in Sweden's laws and regulations on the media's political content and electoral finance.

On July 29th, the FDA will release its audit report on Sweden.

2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Report in Azerbaijan

Executive Summary: Azerbaijan received an overall failing score of 25 percent for electoral fairness. The score means that Azerbaijan's constitutional and legislative basis for democracy is significantly more unfair than fair. Although there are elements of fairness in Azerbaijan's electoral legislation such as free air time and print space, and lottery mechanism to determine print spaces, this fairness is overshadowed by unfair restrictions on political content and electoral finances laws which favor significantly wealthy citizens, candidates, and parties. Under Azerbaijan's current electoral legislation, small and new political parties are at a severe disadvantage against large parties

2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Report on Azerbaijan

Monday, July 25, 2011

2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Report on Iran

Executive Summary: Iran received an overall score of 0 percent for electoral fairness. The score means that Iran's constitutional and legislative basis for democracy is completely unfair. FDA auditors found no overall elements of electoral fairness in Iran. Through severe state controls on political content, parties, and candidates, and with strict and severe enforcement, the Iranian system is authoritarian within a theocratic framework. The will of the Iranian people is replaced by the will of Islam and the Islamic Republic of Iran and its constitution. Citizens who oppose the Iranian state are restricted severely and face severe consequences including imprisonment and the death penalty. In the FDA's opinion, for Iran to move forward, the Iranian state needs to unite itself with the will of the Iranian people, or continue to face instability and disunity, and resulting reduction in individual and national harmony, productivity, and security.

2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Report on Iran

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Berwick's Manifesto

Below is a link to the Andrew Berwick's manifesto. Apparently, Berwick is extremely anti-Muslim and anti-progressive political movements such as the Norwegian Labor Party. Also, apparently Berwick felt alienated by the Norwegian political establishment and mainstream media.

On August 2nd, the FDA will conduct a Norwegian electoral fairness audit.

2083 A European Declaration of Independence

2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Report on France

France received an exceptional electoral fairness score of 91.75 percent. (A score of 50 percent is the minimum passing grade, and 100 percent is the maximum grade.) In the candidate and party influence audit section, FDA auditors could not find any unfairness, and thereby awarded France a 100 percent score for this section.

In terms of the FDA's global electoral fairness audit results, France overtook Venezuela in the number one spot with an overall score of 91.75 percent and Venezuela with a 85 percent overall score. Regardless both France and Venezuela have exceptional basis to their democracies.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

France overtakes Venezuela in the FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit

A nine person FDA audit team convened last night to audit France. The audit took two hours to complete.

France received the following scores:

1. Political content of media  82.2%

2. Candidate and party influence  100%

3. Electoral finance  90%

4. Voter say  95%

Total score: 91.75%

France overtook Venezuela in the number one spot of the FDA global electoral fairness rankings. The FDA Electoral Fairness Report on France will be published shortly.

FDA Research on France

FDA Electoral Fairness Report on Venezuela

FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Results as of July 20, 2011:

1. France 91.75% (A+)
2. Venezuela 85% (A+)
3. Finland 40.75% (F)
4. Lebanon 37.5% (F)
5. Denmark 35% (F)
6. Russia 35% (F)
7. Argentina 32.5% (F)
8. United States 30% (F)
9. Canada 25.75% (F)
10. Azerbaijan 24.25% (F)
11. Mexico 22.5% (F)
12. Tunisia (under Ben Ali) 10% (F)
13. Cameroon 2.5% (F)
14. Yemen (under Saleh) 1.25% (F)
15. Bahrain 0% (F)
15. Egypt (under Mubarak) 0% (F)
15. Iran 0% (F)
15. Libya (under Gaddafi) 0% (F)
15. Syria (under Bashar al-Assad) 0% (F)

Monday, July 18, 2011

2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Report on Bahrain

FDA auditors gave Bahrain an overall score of  0 percent for electoral fairnress. Though Bahrain's electoral laws have elements of fairness, they are canceled out by the kingdom's severe restrictions on political societies and political content, and the powerlessness of the elected Council of Deputies over the kingdom's executive branch.

http://www.slideshare.net/FDAdvancement/bahrain2011-fda-electoral-fairness-audit-report-of-bahrain

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Interesting Commentary on Democracy and Its Relation with Capitalism

These comments were copied from the GISXXI website and in regard to the article, "VENEZUELA: DEMOCRACY POLITICAL AND UNFAIR COMPETITION (Correo del Orinoco)"

http://translate.google.com/translate?js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&sl=es&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.gisxxi.org%2Farticulos%2Fvenezuela-democracia-politica-oposicion-desleal%2F&act=url

Comments

27 June, 2011
11:31 a.m. June 27, 2011
11:31 a.m. Federica Castellanos said Federica Castellanos said:

Based on this important part where you cite GISXXI say the liberal ideology of political democracy could only be made by the Bolivarian revolution and its commitment to socialism of the XXI Century are right as well which egalitarian democracy to guarantee economic, social and cultural features of political democracy as part of their model and practice. Democracy is not only an ethical political system which we should aspire to have a civilized society that can be considered as such. It is not only a system of coexistence based on freedom and respect.

27 June, 2011
11:46 a.m. June 27, 2011
11:46 a.m. Urdaneta Hermes said Urdaneta Hermes said:

I propose the shortest way possible, try to see the relationship between the degree of democracy in a society and daily living conditions of citizens. The quality of the political system affects the quality of life of ordinary people. The more and better democracy, better living conditions, even happier is the population of a country. This, again, may seem obvious to many of my colleagues, but it is not, repeat, for many citizens. To realize this, simply discuss in forums unrelated to the ideas, revolutionary, just talking to friends, relatives, neighbors, fellow-workers, is why we must continue to strengthen the Bolivarian revolution and supporting GISXXI to continue their studies every day give us tools for further analysis in this revolution.

27 June, 2011
24:19 27 June, 2011
24:19 Fabiana Gallegos said Fabiana Gallegos said:

Very good article, since we can not forget that with enough democracy, all ideas, all signs must be able known and proven to be equal, thus triggering the THUS likely to solve the problems of society.

27 June, 2011
11:34 p.m. June 27, 2011
11:34 PM Liberal Democrat said Venezuela: Venezuelan liberal Democrat said:

Lords liberal idealism is totally opposed to the Bolivarian revolution, liberalism is freedom, progress, respect for individual, private property, no re-election to public office, state control NO, DO NOT enter idealism in education, such as ETC ETC view is opposed to the Bolivarian revolution that Chavez and Fidel Castro himself said that is equal to communism. So this article is Artoo wanting to confuse the Liberal Democrats with the totalitarianism of the Bolivarian revolution. More respect for the Liberal Democrats that we never jalamecates more of a Bolivarian revolution.

29 June, 2011
8:20 a.m. June 29, 2011
8:20 a.m. Jesse Chacon said Jesse Chacon said:

Liberal Democrat Hello, thank you for your comment, in theory, liberalism is everything you say, but maximizing the value of private property makes that real political practice violated all principles, the logic of property is the tendency to concentration and from there his idealized freedom is reduced to the most disgraceful dictatorship of privilege, I invite you to read the article "Economy of 1%, 1% by 1%," Joseph Stiglitz Nobel Prize in economics 2001. That article describes the economic model frighteningly for the few that is consolidated in the United States imagine http://ve.globedia.com/stiglitz-economia-del-1-por-el-1-para-el-1- liberal ideal that you do not want that to Venezuela, right?

29 June, 2011
8:28 a.m. June 29, 2011
8:28 a.m. Jesse Chacon said Jesse Chacon said:

Liberal Democrat friend, finally I would say that historically the ideas of political liberalism has only been made by social choices, the Socialists are nurses of the real practices of freedom and beyond that established a critique and transformation conditions of inequality and anthropology of selfishness touted by economic liberalism, the grand launch of post-war Europe after the project was linked to socialist society, it is now when the economic liberalism of Europe takes the direction that the project begins to plunge them into deeper crisis. Just as in Venezuela, the Bolivarian socialist option and that has made structural changes to overcome inequality in just 12 years.

29 June, 2011
8:34 a.m. June 29, 2011
8:34 a.m. Jesse Chacon said Jesse Chacon said:

And to end liberal Democrat, in the political process as the re-election, which issues such as andidemocrática, remember that the heart of democracy is control and reversibility and the elected in Venezuela can vote and choose, as well can revoke the mandate, you have political freedom and respect for life, no opponent is massacred in the streets for his politics, the opposite of the previous cycles of fake democracy. The revocation was a farce in the fourth republic, imagine 40 years of bipartisanship. The revocation Was a farce in the fourth republic, imagine 40 years of bipartisanship. Anyway, the robustness of the political and democratic processes have been evaluated by external actors are not biased, but around this you can give a reasonable dialogue and listen to arguments, but you can not talk around matrices of opinion manipulated or speeches emotionalize no arguments. Thanks for your comments respectful and serious.

1 July, 2011
1:20 a.m. July 1, 2011
1:20 a.m. Munini Franco said Munini Franco said:

Participatory democracy can not be passive point. It is necessary to bring the revolutionary evengelio those corners darkened by violence, drugs and self-inflicted exclusion. And we must do now: it is the only time this group is disconnected from the revolution that was born just for them.
The unfairness of the opposition is not merely the result (and also shown) of the arrogant attitude of the wealthy economic sector and its partnership with the media and the empire. Not only is unfortunate: it is criminally dangerous, it opens the door to invasions and fratricide in a particularly aggressive phase of capitalism vulgar and just slows down to making arguments "legal" before attacking.
The vote is a good shelter, but votes are needed for this to remain so.
How do we prevent the disloyal opposition becomes government, if we let him away with using illegal weapons against us?

1 July, 2011
1 July 2011 11:19 p.m.
11:19 PM Jesse Chacon said Jesse Chacon said:

When Franco Munini in his commentary speaks of the "arrogance of the wealthy economic sector," we think it opens as a reflection on the unfairness of the opposition is directly proportional to the type of bourgeoisie that is set in Venezuela, which is a bourgeois rentier violates the basic principles of capitalist enterprise. Its very disrespectful to the basic rules of democracy (coups, no rule of law) is the disrespect for the rules of bourgeois enterprise focused on competition, on the contrary economic behavior is the hoarding, speculation, usury. Bourgeoisie is always looking for the shortcut and below, is a bourgeois trap closest to the mafia and the logic of accumulation.