The Bottom Line
The daily Minyanville take on news, commentary and opinion from around the world:
"The Bush administration has earmarked $75 million dollars in emergency funding to promote democracy in Iran, in addition to $10 million already budgeted," according to the Asia Times. "The trouble is, potential recipients of the US largess reject it as "an insult" to Iranian people: they refuse to be perceived as subservient to a foreign government."
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Kevin Depew forms Democracy in America Marketing and National Investment Team
New York -- April 5, 2006 -- While accurately measuring public opinion can be a tall order in places such as Iran, many of those who have spoken out in that country so far say they are keen to maintain their independence, according to the Asia Times, and this includes turning away $85 million in American money to help promote democracy in Iran.
Closer to home, Minyanville's Kevin Depew has seized the unique opportunity afforded by the sudden availability of tax-payer financing to form the Democracy in America Marketing and National Investment Team (DAMNIT) to promote democracy in America. The group's sole function will be to secure a portion of the $85 million dollars in US government money aimed at promoting democracy, and then use that money to promote democracy in America.
"Democracy is not a product that we can import from another country," Depew said. "We have to prepare the ground for it so that a tree, let's call it a democracy tree, can grow and one day bear fruit."
Depew said US government money earmarked for promoting democracy in America could go a long way toward helping DAMNIT. "We have to work through the legal paths and logical channels available to us so that democracy, freedom and human rights are fully respected in this country," Depew said.
America has been plagued in recent years by allegations of improprieties in consecutive national elections. Also, the disclosure of serious voting booth security lapses and charges of rampant voter suppression has cast global doubt on the authority of the country's relatively new 200-plus-year-old constitution.
Mark Franklin's "Electoral Participation" study shows that the United States ranks 34th out of 36 countries measured in voter turnout in national lower house elections. Since 1960 the U.S. has also consistently trailed voter turnout in national general elections in Germany, Japan, Britain and India.
"Promoting democracy in America takes one thing," Depew said. "No, make that two things. Well, it takes more than two things actually because we will need a desk. And a phone. So, let's say five... seven... wait, we'll need car service too. Let's say 11, OK maybe 15 things if we get the money right away. Make it 25 things. It takes 25 things to achieve our goal. At least. Maybe a few more than 25 things, but not more than 50 things."
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