Democracy “Fever”

The ill-fated Iraq incursion and subsequent fiasco may be the source of more widespread problems than instability in the Mid East. Remember the neoconservatives (take a look here for a caustic appraisal of US neoconservatives)were promising that preventitive incursions like Iraq would not only root out malicious regimes but also present the opportunity to “create islands of democracy” in the world. Now, in contrast,  there is indisputable evidence as the Economist reports  that Democracy and freedom are taking clear steps backwards. And this is not just the near or completely failed states such as Somalia, Palestine, Georgia, and Sri Lanka – but major countries with short (Russia) or long histories (Venezuela) of democratic influence and trends.

Even the US itself is having serious voting problems with the 2000 Presidential election whose vote counting was terminated by a Supreme Court voting on strict political lines and whose “new” electronic voting machines have proven very vulnerable to hacking and tampering in contrast to the systems installed in Australia. And campaign financing, especially the presidential campaign,  is now close to a $2billion free-for-all with big money pouring in as “donors”seek to  gain influence well beyond one-man-one-vote. It should be no surprise that Wall Street, having touched off a Greedy Guts Itself recession, is the biggest source of campaign contributions for Democrats and Republicans alike as  the Wall Street Journal reports.

Now far be it for me to suggest that Wall Street feels the need to influence policy on such items as a)Financial Oversight of Markets given the major failure of Wall Street’s own Moodys and Standards & Poor to give good credit risk advice on subprime debt instruments or b)a frantic effort to make permanent the Bush Tax Cuts that have conferred disproportionate shares of the tax breaks to the the very wealthy or c) defense of the low rate of 10% taxation on Capital Gains versus the 30% average on Personal Income which is now the chief means of compensation and tax avoidance among Wall Street and executive elites. In sum, the US is wavering in its own cyclical way with keeping the flame of democracy brightly lit.

Perhaps its time for some prescriptive advice to all – take a fifth more of transparency in political processes and see what that does for your Democracy Fever.

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