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Iraq elections in 3 weeks....

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
Been reading Riverbend's blog on the upcoming elections and she raises some fascinating points I didn't know before.

In addition to the Sunni boycott and the fact that no-one knows who to vote for because no-one knows who the candidates are - the candidates names are not disclosed to avoid assassination (?) - it seems that there is also now a thriving black market in voter IDs:

Quote:
Another problem is the selling of ballots. We're getting our ballots through the people who give out the food rations in the varying areas. The whole family is registered with this person(s) and the ages of the varying family members are known. Many, many, many people are not going to vote. Some of those people are selling their voting cards for up to $400. The word on the street is that these ballots are being bought by people coming in from Iran. They will purchase the ballots, make false IDs (which is ridiculously easy these days) and vote for SCIRI or Daawa candidates. Sunnis are receiving their ballots although they don't intend to vote, just so that they won't be sold.

And she raises another very disturbing point - apparently, on the voting cards, the gender of the voter, regardless of sex, is always labeled as "male".

Why ? This is fraud waiting to happen - but why did they allow it ?

Interesting question....
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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post #2 of 46
US want an election the sooner as possible, but it's not really possible right now.
Iraq is facing a very difficult situation, involving three figthing group :
- bandits
- extremist muslims (various groups)
- ex Baathists

For various reasons this people do not want this election to be a sucess.


It's also a shame that the Sunnit did not participate in this discussion. At a point, retarding the election to allow sunnit to participate was discussed. Yesterday, it ended. It means that a huge part of the Iraqi population will not participate in this vote.

It's may sound strange that there is no name in the list. But it's isnt if you consider that people are not really ready to commit suicide. Some days ago the governor of Bagdad was assinated, and there is no reason that this long list do not continue.

The whole Iraq situation is a mess, and I don't see how it would be possible to fix this soon.
post #3 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Powerdoc
US want an election the sooner as possible, but it's not really possible right now.
Iraq is facing a very difficult situation, involving three figthing group :
- bandits
- extremist muslims (various groups)
- ex Baathists

For various reasons this people do not want this election to be a sucess.


It's also a shame that the Sunnit did not participate in this discussion. At a point, retarding the election to allow sunnit to participate was discussed. Yesterday, it ended. It means that a huge part of the Iraqi population will not participate in this vote.

It's may sound strange that there is no name in the list. But it's isnt if you consider that people are not really ready to commit suicide. Some days ago the governor of Bagdad was assinated, and there is no reason that this long list do not continue.

The whole Iraq situation is a mess, and I don't see how it would be possible to fix this soon.

Yes, I think that the best solution right now is to call off the elections - Bush won't do this though as he would see it as backing down - and to have a form of what they had in Afghanistan, the 'loya jirga', a meeting of all the parties concerned.

This could very easily be done and the Sunnis might then participate but the US still wants final say on 'approving' candidates.

That is the real problem, not the insurgents or outside Islamists - the Iraqi people would deal with them in an instant themselves if they saw a real future.

Sad situation.
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
Reply
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
Reply
post #4 of 46
Quote:
Originally posted by segovius
Yes, I think that the best solution right now is to call off the elections - Bush won't do this though as he would see it as backing down - and to have a form of what they had in Afghanistan, the 'loya jirga', a meeting of all the parties concerned.

This could very easily be done and the Sunnis might then participate but the US still wants final say on 'approving' candidates.

That is the real problem, not the insurgents or outside Islamists - the Iraqi people would deal with them in an instant themselves if they saw a real future.

Sad situation.

Yes a coalition governement represanting all the communauty of Iraq will be a good thing.

But unfortunately as you mentionned it out, Bush want his election, to prove that he is bringing democracy in Iraq.
The sad thing, is that democracy is more than a simulacrum of election. It's a model of society (even if there is differents models of such societies). And you do not build it in a glance, especially after the chaos of a war and the end of a tyrannic regime.
post #5 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Powerdoc
Yes a coalition governement represanting all the communauty of Iraq will be a good thing.

But unfortunately as you mentionned it out, Bush want his election, to prove that he is bringing democracy in Iraq.
The sad thing, is that democracy is more than a simulacrum of election. It's a model of society (even if there is differents models of such societies). And you do not build it in a glance, especially after the chaos of a war and the end of a tyrannic regime.

You are right - and negotiations are the only way forward. That might as well happen sooner rather than later.

But I'm a bit worried about the situation now the elections loom. The elections are really the 'end of the road', it's where it all comes down to the wire - there's nowhere else to go after that.

If it fails I can't see anything other than civil war, nobody will have anything to hold on for, last chances will be gone forever. Unfortunately it seems that's the way it will go.
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
Reply
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
Reply
post #6 of 46
Isn't the UN running the election?
post #7 of 46
Quote:
Originally posted by Scott
Isn't the UN running the election?

I don't know, but It won't change my answer. I fear that nothing good come out from this election, but I did not wish it happen.
I have been wrong many times in my life, and I will expect it will be the case too. Unfortunately I have made some good predictions also.
post #8 of 46
I have been wondering...but admittedly haven't read much (have searched but unable to find anything beyond superficial articles)...what is the real structure of the new Iraqi government? Is it really a "democracy" (we ought to hope not)...or something that just looks like a demoracy (like the U.S. for example)?

Surely these guys aren't dumb enough to install a true democracy?
post #9 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Cuilla
Surely these guys aren't dumb enough to install a true democracy?

What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
Reply
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
Reply
post #10 of 46
Don't forget the pressure that Syria (who has recently strengthened its ties with Turkey) and Iran are directly putting on the situation.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

Reply

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

Reply
post #11 of 46
Quote:
Originally posted by segovius

Was that an intelligent answer? No..wait...doesn't appear to be.
post #12 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
Don't forget the pressure that Syria (who has recently strengthened its ties with Turkey) and Iran are directly putting on the situation.

Ok, I've recovered but this one nearly set me off again.

Tell you what, you explain to us all how and why they are doing that and which groups they are working through.
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
Reply
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
Reply
post #13 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Cuilla
Was that an intelligent answer? No..wait...doesn't appear to be.

No, you're right - but I wasn't digging at you. It's just that I do really believe they are that dumb - and of course it was quite funny.

Should have used just one smiley though - overcooked it
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
Reply
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
Reply
post #14 of 46
Quote:
Originally posted by segovius
No, you're right - but I wasn't digging at you. It's just that I do really believe they are that dumb - and of course it was quite funny.

Should have used just one smiley though - overcooked it

Well they probably are that dumb (they don't appear to be very good students of history so far)...I was debating (when I wrote) about whether it was a rhetorical question.

Still...I'm hoping they aren't putting in a true democracy...or we'll likely be back where we are now 20 years from now.
post #15 of 46
Quote:
Originally posted by segovius
Ok, I've recovered but this one nearly set me off again.

Tell you what, you explain to us all how and why they are doing that and which groups they are working through.


So they're not putting pressure on the situtation?


You can't be serious(?).

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

Reply

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

Reply
post #16 of 46
Why is that then. It would not be good to install a true democracy, because we know full well that if they are not a pretend democracy pandering to their US puppet masters, then it is quite likely that they will democratically elect a leader that will tell us to fuck off in the first instance?
post #17 of 46
Quote:
Originally posted by MarcUK
Why is that then. It would not be good to install a true democracy, because we know full well that if they are not a pretend democracy pandering to their US puppet masters, then it is quite likely that they will democratically elect a leader that will tell us to fuck off in the first instance?

A true, pure democracy will be a bad thing. It will lead to tyranny as opposed to freedom for the people of Iraq. This is exactly why the U.S. doesn't have this (and it always drives me nuts when otherwise intelligent people call us a democracy). We have a constitutional republic. We have a system that was designed with freedom in mind...not democracy...in fact the closer we have moved towards a true, pure democracy, the less freedom we have enjoyed.

Do a little research on democracies and you'll know what I mean.

It won't take too long...Google is your friend.
post #18 of 46
we can't have a discussion if you just resort to the go use google tactic. It contributes nothing except confirming that you are smug and arrogant. You know something about democracies that I don't. Fine. Provide evidence of it.

I'm beginning to think that you just want to argue anything I say, just for the sake of it.

[edit] oh that's right, edit your thread.
post #19 of 46
Quote:
Originally posted by MarcUK
we can't have a discussion if you just resort to the go use google tactic. It contributes nothing except confirming that you are smug and arrogant. You know something about democracies that I don't. Fine. Provide evidence of it.

Look, not trying to be smug or arrogant. This stuff isn't really hard to find is all I am saying. Democracies inevitably lead to tyranny. That is the reason. Have you ever heard the expression that succintly states "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch."?

Quote:
Originally posted by MarcUK
I'm beginning to think that you just want to argue anything I say, just for the sake of it.

You are free to think whatever you want. On this one you're wrong though.

Quote:
Originally posted by MarcUK
[edit] oh that's right, edit your thread.

Huh?
post #20 of 46
Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Cuilla
. Democracies inevitably lead to tyranny. That is the reason.
Huh?

I disagree with this statement.

Just compare democracies and dictatorship.
Even if democracies are far from perfect, I think that tyranny appear much more in dictatorship than democracies.

My point is to say, is that Iraq is not ready for democracy. The countrie has to have a culture of democracie. Otherwise the democracie will turn into a simulacrum of democracie : appearance of democracie, but corruption and mafia everywhere.
One of the best example of this simulacrum is in Russia.
post #21 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
So they're not putting pressure on the situtation?


You can't be serious(?).

I don't believe they are from my understanding but then it depends on what you mean exactly.

That's why I asked you to clarify. Show your hand...
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
Reply
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
Reply
post #22 of 46
Actually Chris,
Democracy in the city-state form led to tyranny only in the time of war/strife. Our republic is no different -- from the alien and sedition act to internment of japanese citizens to the patriot act. Nothing in our system intrinsically protects political minorities. Laws can be (and have been) passed that make even the expression of their ideas criminal acts etc etc...

Tyranny results from all forms of government when the people allow it...
"In a republic, voters may vote for the leaders they want, but they get the leaders they deserve."
Reply
"In a republic, voters may vote for the leaders they want, but they get the leaders they deserve."
Reply
post #23 of 46
Quote:
Originally posted by Powerdoc
I disagree with this statement.

That's fine, but history is on my side on this one.

Quote:
Originally posted by Powerdoc
Just compare democracies and dictatorship.
Even if democracies are far from perfect, I think that tyranny appear much more in dictatorship than democracies.

Not necessarily. In fact democracies often result in dictatorships. Germany was a good example (in recent history). Hitler was elected chancellor of Germany.
post #24 of 46
Quote:
Originally posted by hardeeharhar
Actually Chris,
Democracy in the city-state form led to tyranny only in the time of war/strife. Our republic is no different -- from the alien and sedition act to internment of japanese citizens to the patriot act. Nothing in our system intrinsically protects political minorities. Laws can be (and have been) passed that make even the expression of their ideas criminal acts etc etc...

Tyranny results from all forms of government when the people allow it...

Well, what you say has some truth. However democracies are at a greater risk of it. Much greater. We have seen this frequently...Nazi Gemany and the French Revolution are two classic examples. I'm certain I could find a few more without much trouble.

My point though was that people tend to (erroneously) view democracy as equal to freedom when this is clearly (from history) not the case.
post #25 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Cuilla
Well, what you say has some truth. However democracies are at a greater risk of it. Much greater. We have seen this frequently...Nazi Gemany and the French Revolution are two classic examples. I'm certain I could find a few more without much trouble.

My point though was that people tend to (erroneously) view democracy as equal to freedom when this is clearly (from history) not the case.

Yes, I would tend to agree but we have a slightly different circumstance here in that Bush has created a mythos of 'democracy' as a kind of brand, certainly a catch-phrase, and is hyping it up at every opportunity.

So the meaning has changed somewhat. The old-time dictators didn't play it like Bush - they were fiercely anti-democratic and didn't care who knew it, they had an attitude not dissimilar to yours re democracy in some strange way.
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
Reply
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
Reply
post #26 of 46
Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Cuilla
That's fine, but history is on my side on this one.



Not necessarily. In fact democracies often result in dictatorships. Germany was a good example (in recent history). Hitler was elected chancellor of Germany.

Wrong, when Hitler was elected, he killed the democracy and replaced it by a dictatorship.
No historian in the world, would never call nazi germany a democracy.

Democracy can be transformed in dictatorship, that's all.
post #27 of 46
Quote:
Originally posted by segovius
they had an attitude not dissimilar to yours re democracy in some strange way.

I don't know if mine is an attitude so much as a thoughtful, historical observation. Majorities tend to allow minorities to have rights at their own (the majority's) discretion. In Iraq this risk is even greater not so much because they do not have the culture of democracy (as some have suggested), but because there are clear (religious) factions in Iraq and one (my guess is the Shi-ites) will take control and exterminate the others.

If they take a different approach (and perhaps they will...again I have been unable to find anything other than superficial descriptions of what it going on over there)...a constitutional republic...similar to the U.S....where minority right are strictly/jealously protected, they will have much greater success over the long term (also less likely to become our puppet again...which I think will be good for them, the middle east as a whole, the arab world as a whole AND the United States.)

The result will be that not everyone gets what they want (which is usually control of other anyway)..but everyone will get freedom.

Regarding tyrannical tendencies in the U.S. ... I think that hardeeharhar is correct, but if we look more closely, you see that a) those are examples of when the country has acted more like a "democracy", and b) those things tend to swing back to freedom...though it might take some time.

To add to this, I think the U.S. is tending (or the past 50 years or so) more towards a democracy, and this concerns me. Some of the warning signs that citizens ought to be concerned with include increased governmental "efficiency"...and the populous' willingness to trade freedom for (short-term) "security".
post #28 of 46
Quote:
Originally posted by Powerdoc
Wrong, when Hitler was elected, he killed the democracy and replaced it by a dictatorship.
No historian in the world, would never call nazi germany a democracy.

Democracy can be transformed in dictatorship, that's all.

Which is my point.

( I didn't mean to say that "Nazi Germany" was a democracy...but that it emerged...quite easily and smoothly incidentally...from a demoracy and that Hitler was elected by a democracy. )
post #29 of 46
Quote:
Originally posted by segovius
I don't believe they are from my understanding but then it depends on what you mean exactly.

That's why I asked you to clarify. Show your hand...


Ugh! You're beating about the bush!

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

Reply

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

Reply
post #30 of 46
Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Cuilla
Which is my point.

( I didn't mean to say that "Nazi Germany" was a democracy...but that it emerged...quite easily and smoothly incidentally...from a demoracy and that Hitler was elected by a democracy. )

Now I understand what you mean

Weak democracies can potentially lead to dictatorships.
Now we agree, and yes there is tons of examples.
post #31 of 46
Quote:
Originally posted by Powerdoc
Now I understand what you mean

Weak democracies can potentially lead to dictatorships.
Now we agree, and yes there is tons of examples.

Okay...but how do you distinguish a "weak" democracy from all the rest?
post #32 of 46
I agree with Chris that democracy can lead to less freedom. Fareed Zakaria wrote the book Illiberal Democracy that makes this point.

I don't think democracy necessarily leads to less freedom, but it can. Just look at how Americans overwhelmingly voted to take away rights from gays this past election. That's why we need a non-political body like the judicial branch in the US, not coincidentally the target of those who want to take away people's right in the US (i.e., the social conservatives).

Anyway, I do think it's very probable that the Iraqis will elect an Iranian-style theocracy that will ironically be more anti-American and perhaps more dangerous than Saddam's regime was. Then what the hell do we do? Invade again?
post #33 of 46
Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Cuilla
Okay...but how do you distinguish a "weak" democracy from all the rest?

If you look at history, people who had elected Tyrants have been weak. Obviously when you look at Hitler political program, you can guess, that this man would not promote freedom around germany. But people voted for him. People where weak. By fear, and facility they voted for a populist.

In the reverse a strong democracy, is a democracy where there is people willing to fight for the respect of the individual rights, freedoom and democratic values.
Such people will never vote for a tyrant. Such people have been educated to this purpose. That's why I say there is a culture of democracy.
post #34 of 46
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
Just look at how Americans overwhelmingly voted to take away rights from gays this past election.

I think this statement mis-characterizes what happened. BTW...I am assuming you are referring to the nationwide rejection of state constitutional amendments on same-sex marriage. People didn't vote to "take away rights"...but voted to not grant new rights.

Now I don't intend to get into a debate on the merits of these actions...that isn't my point...I'm discussing process here.

These processes take time. These ballot measures were following the constitutional guidelines set forth in their respective states. If setup correctly...these consistutions should be difficult to amend (in my own state of Colorado it seems as if we are willing to put any amendment on the state constitution...like how this state voted...by a simple majority, to take rights from smokers. Nice.) It should be hard to amend the constitution (which is why I don't think any kind of "marriage" amendment will ever get added to the U.S. constitution...which I think is good, even though I personally believe that a God-ordained marriage is one between a man and a woman.)

Still, I somewhat agree with you that these might be examples of the U.S. behaving more like a democracy. I think the process of implementing legistlation (including amendments) should be hard to enact...if for no other reason than these tend to take rights away rather than protecting them. Most of the amendments to the U.S. constitution were designed to preserve freedoms and rights.

Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
That's why we need a non-political body like the judicial branch in the US, not coincidentally the target of those who want to take away people's right in the US (i.e., the social conservatives).

Well I disagree a bit here. What those critical of the judiciary (in this country) are (rightly) concerned with is the so-called activist judges re-writing laws from the bench...over stepping their congressional authority (laws are written by the legislative branch, interpreted by the judicial and enforced by the executive). I agree with this. Oh, and if you think the judicial system is "non-political", you;re not paying close enough attention.

Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
Anyway, I do think it's very probable that the Iraqis will elect an Iranian-style theocracy that will ironically be more anti-American and perhaps more dangerous than Saddam's regime was. Then what the hell do we do? Invade again?

Probably and probably.
post #35 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
Ugh! You're beating about the bush!

Ok, sigh - I'll ask you some questions then. Please answer in full detail:

1) What is Sistani's relationship with the Iranian Ulama and to what degree does his doctrinal position differ from that of his Iranian counterparts and why is this important for the Iraqi elections ?

Please assess the significance of your argument in the light of your contention that Iran is 'supporting' elements within Iraq.

Please don't get back to me unless it's with a full answer.

(That should give us some respite....)
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
Reply
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
Reply
post #36 of 46
Quote:
Originally posted by Powerdoc
If you look at history, people who had elected Tyrants have been weak.

Unfortunately, this is a rather subjective (and difficult to measure) characterization.

Quote:
Originally posted by Powerdoc
Obviously when you look at Hitler political program, you can guess, that this man would not promote freedom around germany. But people voted for him. People where weak. By fear, and facility they voted for a populist.

First, these things appear obvious now. Hindsight is 20/20. But I don't know if it was quite as obvious to the people of Germany at the time.

Second, I would suggest that this is the tendency of people in general, throughout history, with little exception. Maybe this means that people in general are "weak" (as you have decribed it). I'm willing to accept that explanation. All the more reason to severly limit their power (as majorities) in regard to minorities.

Quote:
Originally posted by Powerdoc
In the reverse a strong democracy, is a democracy where there is people willing to fight for the respect of the individual rights, freedoom and democratic values. Such people will never vote for a tyrant. Such people have been educated to this purpose. That's why I say there is a culture of democracy.

I think you have a more optimistic view than I do. The United States has, perhaps, the best modern example of "strength" in "democracy"...and it frightens me no end what would happen if we allowed a pure democracy run amok. Our latest Presidential election ought to serve as a great example. I think people voted out of fear more than any other reason.
post #37 of 46
Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Cuilla
Unfortunately, this is a rather subjective (and difficult to measure) characterization.



First, these things appear obvious now. Hindsight is 20/20. But I don't know if it was quite as obvious to the people of Germany at the time.

Second, I would suggest that this is the tendency of people in general, throughout history, with little exception. Maybe this means that people in general are "weak" (as you have decribed it). I'm willing to accept that explanation. All the more reason to severly limit their power (as majorities) in regard to minorities.



I think you have a more optimistic view than I do. The United States has, perhaps, the best modern example of "strength" in "democracy"...and it frightens me no end what would happen if we allowed a pure democracy run amok. Our latest Presidential election ought to serve as a great example. I think people voted out of fear more than any other reason.

Yes it's difficult to characterize what is weak and what is strenght.
But my point is that democracy is the sum of the people who belong in it.
If the people of a democracy do not respect the minorities, don't gave a shit about humans race, and are ready to opress a minoritie just because they are belonging to the majority, then it sucks.
For me this portrait is the portrait of a weak democracy.

Now as you point out, it's in practice very difficult to see what is a threat to democracy and what is not.
post #38 of 46
Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Cuilla
I think this statement mis-characterizes what happened. BTW...I am assuming you are referring to the nationwide rejection of state constitutional amendments on same-sex marriage. People didn't vote to "take away rights"...but voted to not grant new rights.

AFAIK, there wasn't a single gay marriage amendment or initiative on the ballot in any state. All of the initiatives/amendments defined marriage as hetero only, and they all passed. And some of them did take away rights that were already there - the one in Ohio, for example, put an end to civil unions that had already existed. The other ones took away the possibility of future rights, I guess you could say. But who knows, the Supreme Court could, as unlikely as it seems right now, interpret our constitution as allowing gay marriage, and then all of those state decisions would go up in smoke. That would be a perfect example of a non-democratic institution ensuring individual rights by over-riding a democratic process.
Quote:
Well I disagree a bit here. What those critical of the judiciary (in this country) are (rightly) concerned with is the so-called activist judges re-writing laws from the bench...over stepping their congressional authority (laws are written by the legislative branch, interpreted by the judicial and enforced by the executive).

As far as I can tell, in every single case criticized by the social conservatives - the overturning of Texas sodomy laws, the Massachusetts court saying gay marriage was a constitutional right, Roe v. Wade - it was about the courts reducing gov't "democratic" power and increasing individual freedom despite what majorities might have wanted.

That's really what "activist judge" means - a judge who interprets the constitution so broadly that he or she grants people more rights than social conservatives want people to have. I don't think there's a single instance of a judge taking away individual rights and being called activist. I'd be interested if you could find one.
post #39 of 46
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
AFAIK, there wasn't a single gay marriage amendment or initiative on the ballot in any state. All of the initiatives/amendments defined marriage as hetero only, and they all passed. And some of them did take away rights that were already there - the one in Ohio, for example, put an end to civil unions that had already existed. The other ones took away the possibility of future rights, I guess you could say.

You're right. I stand corrected.

Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
But who knows, the Supreme Court could, as unlikely as it seems right now, interpret our constitution as allowing gay marriage, and then all of those state decisions would go up in smoke. That would be a perfect example of a non-democratic institution ensuring individual rights by over-riding a democratic process.

Exactly right. And these things take time to work themselves out.

Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
As far as I can tell, in every single case criticized by the social conservatives - the overturning of Texas sodomy laws, the Massachusetts court saying gay marriage was a constitutional right, Roe v. Wade - it was about the courts reducing gov't "democratic" power and increasing individual freedom despite what majorities might have wanted.

These examples fit your definition...though Roe v. Wade could be possibly interpreted differently. (I don't really want to open that debate here and now...perhaps in another thread though.)

Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
That's really what "activist judge" means - a judge who interprets the constitution so broadly that he or she grants people more rights than social conservatives want people to have. I don't think there's a single instance of a judge taking away individual rights and being called activist. I'd be interested if you could find one.

Well, not sure I agree with this definition of activist judge...but I have to think about it a bit...and perhaps seek out some examples (as you challenge me to do.)

Secondly, I take a bit of exception with this statement:

"a judge who interprets the constitution so broadly that he or she grants people more rights than social conservatives want people to have"

I think a more general (and proper) wording would be:

"a judge who interprets the constitution so broadly that he or she grants people more rights"

Let's not turn this into a "social conservatives" thing. Social conservatives are not the only ones that want to restrict rights in this country. Andthey don't always want to restrict rights. The bottom line is about anyone that wants to restrict the rights of minorities.
post #40 of 46
Quote:
Originally posted by segovius
Ok, sigh - I'll ask you some questions then. Please answer in full detail:

1) What is Sistani's relationship with the Iranian Ulama and to what degree does his doctrinal position differ from that of his Iranian counterparts and why is this important for the Iraqi elections ?

Please assess the significance of your argument in the light of your contention that Iran is 'supporting' elements within Iraq.

Please don't get back to me unless it's with a full answer.

(That should give us some respite....)


I see, now we're going to go off and hide in semantics. Okay.

It is readily apparent that Syria and Iran (among others) are putting significant pressure on the Iraq situation. This is more of a regional fight for dominance than I first suspected. I don't understand the insistence that Iraq -- from WMD to "the insurgency" -- be spoken of as if it were in a vacuum.

This will go alot faster if you'd just agree with me.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

Reply

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

Reply
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