Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Petitioning the U.N. to take up "public financing" of elections..in member states

The world is shaking under the confluence of enhanced muscle-flexing by Russia, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, North Korea as well as significantly expanding unrests/insurgencies in countries like France, Great Britain, Egypt, as well as the ever-present threat posed by radical terrorists, cyber-crimes, movement of money under the radar of law enforcement, national borders and even international crime-fighting agencies.

In addition to all of these memes, corporations, especially behemoths, for the most part make their own rules about transparency, accountability, and the provision of safe and health products and services.

The 24-7-365 news cycle, of course, keeps as much light on the multiple hot spots, irregular interventions into individual lives, and the competing interests of different jurisdictions, nations, states, and specific tragedies like mass abductions, street terrorist incidents, market fluctuations, impacts of tariffs, incipient trade deals as well as potential epidemics like ebola.

We have access to so much specific information, without either the necessary background for comprehension or the seasoned visual and auditory literacy that enables one to make reliable decisions about the trustworthiness of those talking heads who hold public office, or who aspire to such an office. Many of these talking heads, by design, are selected for their academic, professional expertise. University job vacancies seem to be significantly tilted toward maths and sciences, including the multiple applications of digital technology and algorithms. New devices, products, pharmaceuticals, vehicles, weapons, and their potential invasion into the lives of individuals, not to mention their invasion into the legal frameworks that have been designed for different centuries. Even new national food guides attempt to integrate the most recent research into what foods comprise a healthy diet, as do new insurance policy attempts to link life-style incentives.

Amidst this storm of ubiquitous flying data, now available in real time on hand-held devices (along with all of the entertainment currently available on record, and still being written) humans are now expected to make personal decisions that pit immediate needs against the survival of the planet itself under serious threat of global warming and climate change. At every moment every human faces choices that will make a difference in the shared future of every other human.

In a capitalist, globalized market system, as well as through the lens of human rights, humans are individual entities, identities, with rights and obligations. The legal systems in many countries are focused on the acquisition of evidence pertaining to the specific actions/words/ intentions of specific individuals. Both class action legal cases against governments, corporations and public entities are extremely costly and highly complex to mount. Additionally, whistleblowers, who attempt honourably and legitimately to bring forth evidence that challenges the actions/decisions/words/intentions of governments, corporations, public entities, almost invariably suffer an avalanche of power/money/pushback from the targets of their whistle blowing.

Further, as we all know, there is a dramatic, measureable flow of recently engineered profits to those investors, executives and their political agents who in  fact, control the political, legal, economic and banking system and their accompanying agendas. In most countries, in spite of the Paris Accord, many of the leaders among the “power elite” resist significant movements to combat climate change and global warming.

Their ‘status quo’ investment incomes and accompanying status far outweigh their commitment to the land, water, air resources of the planet. For example, the impasse currently playing out in Canada,  whereby the federal government purchases a pipeline from the private sector for $4.5 billion, while indigenous and climate activists take up physical positions to stop the movement of heavy equipment that would be used to develop such a project. Even political actors, in many jurisdictions, continue to favour the short-term “jobs” agenda, at the expense of the quality of air, water and land, needed for future generations.

Clearly, not only is there a significant divide between “have’s” and “have-not’s”; there is also a significant divide between nations and governments that persist in purchasing, resourcing and deploying fossil fuels to grow their economies, almost without regard to the impact of those fuels (toxic emissions) on the atmosphere, and their investors, bankers, political leaders and political institutions and laws which emerge from their collective initiative.

Money, it says here, dictates laws. And those with the money dis-proportionally impact the speed at which laws are introduced that are necessary to defend, protect and preserve the environment.

The abuse of power, by the most wealthy, and the best “connected” in nations  operating under various political ideologies, however, is not restricted to the demise of the environment. The abuse of power also extends to political opponents, in too many situations this includes teachers, journalists, writers and activists. Those with power, tragically, regularly abuse that power with what appears to be absolute immunity. They dissemble, lie, distort, refuse to take responsibility and buy their immunity, and their impunity. And their continued various abuses obviously ennoble even those in the culture with the least to lose, to up their own game of abuse.

Bullying, whether face-to-face, or via social media has risen dramatically. In the U.S. evidence in Virginia, for example, points to a significant rise in middle-school bullying in electoral districts where trump won in 2016. Putin, Ji, Kim Jung Un, Duterte, as well as populist, right-wing political leaders in Europe, are world leaders whose actions, words, and potential frighten many observers, in what is generally considered a world in chaos.
The spectre of a “world government” is being raised in some quarters, without much evidence or thought support for its likelihood. Relinquishing jurisdiction to a wider, regional, or global governance, as demonstrated by the recent turmoil among the EU, is not a move either preferred or even available to most political leaders. Even the United Nations, a creature of the post-war adjustments, labours under the weight of limited surrender of jurisdictions, competing interests even among potential and proven allies, the angst generated by an equitable and enforceable funding formula, the absence of a police force and military force, except those formed by volunteers from participating members.

The World Health Organization, the World Trade Organization, the IMF, the World Court, individually and collectively, represent what might be possible, given the shared consciousness of a global perspective in all quarters of the planet.

Unfortunately, most elected officials, under whose signatures and legislative/executive bills these global organizations exist, have, and to some extent are pressured into, a short-term, narrow-focused agenda, on which their individual elections are dependent. Democracy, irrespective of the degree of its penetration into the various electorates, and the commitment of the people to exercise its privileges, nevertheless, depends on the many strategies, tactics and funding mechanisms that apply in the plethora of jurisdictions currently attempting to implement its provisions.

However, similar to the global climate change/global warming’s pervasive impact on each human on the planet, a common shared resolution of the abuse of power, even in democracies, and certainly in autocracies and dictatorships, a mechanism to provide public funding for all democratic elections, complete with monitoring, supervision, enforcement and even imprisonment when proven abuse is evident would go a long way toward reducing, and in the long run potentially eliminating much of the evidence of the abuse of power by public officials, corporate executives and financial manipulators.

The United Nations, along with its declarations of “rights” for indigenous peoples, and along with the designation of specific sites as world heritage sites, as well as declaring voluntary commitments to the protection of refugees and asylum-seekers, could readily prepare a study of the potential pitfalls and obstructions to public funding of elections.
(MSNBC reports this minute, that the BREXIT vote in the British Parliament, has just failed by a vote of 432 to 202. The majority opposed is the largest negative vote in British history…so we can see, immediately, in real time, in every corner of the planet, the impact of a vote on an issue which impacts millions, within the UK, the EU and around the world.)

The world’s sense of discombobulation, epitomized by the vote in the British House of Commons, continues, unabated. Will violence ensue? Will there be a second vote? Will Europe and the UK work together to bring some order out of this chaos? Will the rest of the world support both parties in their search for a resolution? Will Russia celebrate jubilantly, having allegedly influenced the original vote?

The rise of “strong-man” rule, while seemingly so appealing in the short run to millions, so confused and fed up with the impending uncertainties on so many fronts, is clearly an immanent threat to good governance in many countries, supported as it currently is by wannabe ‘strong men’ even in nations like the United States. The restoration of the voices of ordinary people, in even hamlet and village, through enhanced communication access, including fibre optics, and especially through public financing of municipal, provincial and national elections.

And the voices of ordinary people, at the centre of the process, while not a guarantee of perfect and reasonable governance, could offer some confidence that the abuses of the oligarchs will be reduced, if not eliminated. The obvious restoration of public institutions for all citizens in each jurisdiction, like hospitals, schools, prisons, and transportation and communication facilities would more likely receive a favourable hearing and supportive legislation with the majority of ordinary people having and majority of the representatives.

We simply have to commit, individually, and collectively to follow the former head of U.S. counter-intelligence tweeting of the famous history typing exercise:

It is time for all good men (and women) to come to the aid of their country.”

Replace "country" with "countries".....in order to bring as wide and pervasive an application as possible of public financing of elections.


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