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US Elections – The UN-democratic Democracy!

Every democratic country tries to adopt a system that is as democratic as possible while at the same time protecting the interests of the ruling parties. We have that in European countries (including Ireland!) and we have the same in the US. But depending if you are on the winning side or on the losing side, some of these un-democratic rules can be particularly upsetting.

Most of us experienced this on Wednesday after the US Presidential election. It all happened in a country geographically far away and we were not even allowed to vote, but to think that it won’t affect us would be a big mistake. So the whole world had a stake or at least a keen interest in the US elections and the shock afterwards was HUGE. I don’t think I saw any non-election related Facebook message on Wednesday or Thursday.

It is bad news that a misogynistic, racist egomaniac who has not the slightest bit of political experience and who has frightening views in nearly every area from the use of nuclear weapons to climate change and from the building of a wall on the Mexican border to his opinion about Russia’s Vladimir Putin will become the new president and many couldn’t understand how the votes could get it so wrong.

But interestingly, the voters didn’t get it THAT wrong. A majority of voters voted for Hillary Clinton. Not a BIG majority but Hillary Clinton got 60,231,953 votes which is 47.7% and Donald Trump got 59,893,663 votes, which is 47.4%. So the difference is only approximately 330,000 votes, but it is a definite majority for Hillary Clinton on what the Americans call, the “popular vote”. The decider, however, is the “electoral vote” and that is a very odd system. The electoral vote was won by Trump with 289 votes versus Clinton’s 228 votes. (Michigan and New Hampshire are not finally counted yet, so another 21 votes have to be distributed.)

So the next president of the biggest democratic nation in the world is NOT the person that got most of the votes in a democratic election, but the person that only came second. ODD!

Have a look at this video clip here if you want to understand more about how the Electoral College concept works.

 

Democratic elections? Not in Ireland!?

After a long wait and some unnecessary game playing by the Taoiseach who – oddly enough – is the one who is allowed to choose the date of a General Election, the date has finally be announced for Fri 26 February 2016.

From now until 10 March, Ireland will be without a parliament and any laws that were intended but didn’t get to completion will have to started anew when the new Dail (parliament) will be formed in March,

In the next three weeks, all parties will try to convince you that you should vote for them and if you talk to their representatives, they will tell you what they will do in Ireland if and when they are in power. But the surprise might be big – or at least it SHOULD be big – when people will NOT find the possibility to vote for a party on their ballot paper on election day. Instead, you can only vote for one of 3-5 people in Ireland (depending on the size of your constituency it will be 3,4 or 5).

So, what’s up with that?

Well, in Ireland you can only vote for an individual and then you are totally dependent on the moods, abilities and personal wants of this individual. If your representative, the person you have voted for, gets elected, he/she can do whatever he/she wants for the next 5 years and you have no control anymore. If your representative was a member of Party X and that’s why you voted for him/her, but a day after being elected he/she leaves that party and either becomes a an independent (automatically with no influence) or joins another party, you just got the opposite of what you wanted. And it gets worse: If you vote for a candidate that does not get elected, it is possible that your vote will have absolutely no influence on the future composition of the parliament.

This is quite undemocratic!

If you could vote for a party and separately for an individual of that party, the risk would be reduced, but as long as all depends on that individual you have no democratic choice.

It is shocking that this system is still in place and if this was a South American or African state that had such a screwed up system, we would demand their system to be changed!

It has happened numerous times in the past that a TD (member of parliament) was kicked out of his/her party or decided to leave that party over issues that were not even current at the last election. So you would have never had a chance to discuss this issues with the candidate and then decide if you still want to vote for him/her. But after he/she was kicked out or has left, now your intended vote for Party X is not supporting that Party anymore.

Unless you support a party because your father and grandfather did, most people decide who to vote for based on promises this party makes before the elections, but because you never were able to vote for a party, you have NO way in Ireland to decide for or against the programme of a party.

Look into it and you will be amazed about the oddness and undemocratic-ness (that word SHOULD exist! ;-) ) of this system!
If you are interested into further details, have a look at Michael Marsh’s 24-page document, published by the Department of Political Science at TCD. The paper in PDF format is here.

Mick Wallace Stole Taxes!

According to a TV and newspapers, it seems to be clear that Mick Wallace knowingly underdeclared VAT. And in the year he did that or in the year his company went into liquidation, he increased his own salary from EUR 148,141 to EUR 290,000.
That creates an interesting situation, because people that bought apartments from Wallace paid VAT to him, which he was obliged to pass on to the Revenue Commission. Instead passing that money on, he kept it in his company. This sounds like clear theft!
Wallace now claims that he had intended to pay the tax at a later stage and only kept it to save his company and to save jobs. But it is very easy to claim that when you have been found out. There is a good possibility that he would nave never voluntarily given back the VAT. And even if he had genuinely planned to pay it back, it would be unacceptable because VAT belongs to the state, i.e. the tax payers and the state is not a bank for Wallace.

So, it all seems to indicate that he stole money from the state/the tax payers.

To makes things worse and to make his story even less credible, he increased his salary, so he used part of the VAT that he took from apartment buyers and stuffed it into his own pockets. To save the company? To save jobs? No way!

Should Wallace resign! Absolutely!

But we have to ask ourselves what a screwed up parliament we have in Ireland, if the other members don’t have any means to kick him out! …many even think he shouldn’t resign. Are they afraid they might sit in a glass house too and don’t want to be the first to throw the stone?

 
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