Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Democracy on the Run - World Wide

Russia, Iraq and the United States

Russia
A senior adviser, Andrei N. Illarionov has resigned, saying: "Six years ago, when I took up this post, I devoted my work to creating the conditions for increasing economic freedoms in Russia," he said, according to the ITAR-TASS news agency. "In the last year it has become clear that not only has economic policy become different, but the economic model itself in the country has, too."

Mr. Illarionov also struck at the Kremlin's centralization of power and muzzling of critics. "There has been a change in the political regime," he said. "It is one thing to work in a partially free country such as Russia was six years ago. But it is quite another when the country has ceased to be politically free."

Iraq
The Sunnis continue the insurgency to protest their inability to resume the power they had under Saddam Hussein and the Shiites concentrate on squashing the Sunni insurgency. By any measure, the civil war is no longer a threat. It is here and now and the US has no strategy for ending it. See, just as an example of the many news stories coming out of Iraq, US-Shi'ite Struggle Could Spin Out of Control

The United States (1)
Prison inmates, who are not allowed to vote, are counted as residents, giving upstate, Republican districts undeserved representation. See: Phantom Voters. Highlights:

The first Constitution took for granted that enslaved people could not vote, but counted each slave as three-fifths of a person for the purpose of apportioning representation in Congress. This inflated the voting power of slaveholders and gave them much more influence in legislative matters than their actual numbers warranted. No American would knowingly tolerate such an arrangement today. But a glitch in the census that inflates the populations of some state legislative districts - thus exaggerating their voting power - has led to a contemporary version of that problem. It involves counting prison inmates in the district where they are confined rather than where they actually live. The Census Bureau could fix this problem in a heartbeat, so it needs to get a move on.

The United States (2)
Attemping to defend Bush's eavesdropping on American citizens, in the United States an op-ed piece in the NYTimes tortures the facts and has the gall to say that: The fact that the statutory language does not specifically mention intelligence collection, or that this matter was not raised by the White House in negotiations with Congress, or even that the administration had sought even broader language, all points recently raised by former Senator Tom Daschle, is irrelevant.

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