Obama's Latest Brilliant Idea: Soviet-Style Assassins to Supervise November Elections
Around the State
President Obama has invited a U.N.-affiliate, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), to "monitor" our nation's November elections.
Wait till you hear what bastions of democracy make up this esteemed outfit.
Among others, think Belarus, Kazakhstan, Serbia, Russia, and Ukraine.
Let's look at the last on that list first, shall we? Ukraine. Our election process could learn a lot from Ukraine ... about assassination.
In 2004, just a month before the Ukrainian presidential elections, the country's Soviet- ... uh, I mean Russian-backed -- head of state, Viktor Yanukovych, poisoned his opponent with the herbicide "Agent Orange." The glorified weedkiller failed to kill Viktor Yushchenko, but it did leave its mark -- literally. (See left the before, after and after plastic surgery photos of Yushchenko.)
Maybe that's the Ukrainian idea of an October Surprise. Yanukovych ended up losing that election, but he did win re-election in don't-ask-how fashion in 2010.
In other words, one of the countries monitoring our November elections (Ukraine) is governed by a would-be assassin (Yanukovych) whose regime enjoys the backing of a country (Russia) whose current president (Vladimir Putin) is a former KGB agent.
Did I mention Putin's Russia is also a member of the OSCE? So is the United States, by the way, but I have no idea why.
Apparently the U.N. agency OSCE has been "observing" our elections ever since the 2000 debacle, when Palm Beach County invented hanging chads and screwed up the George W. Bush-Al Gore election. Obama is just going along with the tradition, inviting nations with questionable-to-zero election tradition to serve as tasters at democracy's finest table. The question is, should he be going along with that tradition?
Just because we've been doing something stupid for 10 years, should President Obama? What is his excuse -- "George W. did it, so I'm doing it, too?" Is this the president's idea of "moving forward"?
The invitation to horn in on our elections didn't come directly from Barack Obama. The president only signed his approval after three liberal organizations asked for the internationals' help.
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the NAACP and the ACLU sent a letter to OSCE warning of “a coordinated political effort to disenfranchise millions of Americans — particularly traditionally disenfranchised groups like minorities.”
Catherine Engelbrecht, founder and president of True the Vote, a conservative-leaning group trying to eliminate election fraud, is fighting back: “These activist groups sought assistance not from American sources, but from the United Nations," she said. "The United Nations has no jurisdiction over American elections.”
Even more disturbing, the OSCE monitors won’t limit their observations to what goes on at the polls. According to Giovanna Maiola, spokeswoman for OSCE, “They are focusing on a number of areas on the state level, including the legal system, election administration, the campaign, the campaign financing [and] new voting technologies used in the different states.”
I asked Maiola if, in that case, the monitors would observe the Democratic shenanigans going on to copy 30,000 messed-up absentee ballots in Palm Beach County ... or would it be OK to disenfranchise voters who might not be minorities? She was going to find out but never got back to me by Monday's end.
For fun, let's look at the human rights and elections ratings of a couple of the countries sending at least one of the 44 monitors to the United States of America -- to keep our ballot process honest:
For Russia, 2003 was a particularly bad year. It was marked by further movement toward authoritarianism by President Vladimir Putin and the government. It signaled the consolidation of power and influence by a ruling elite dominated by former military and security service officers, who now occupy 25 percent of key government and legislative positions. In mid-2003, the country's last remaining independent television network was taken over by the government and replaced by an all-sports channel. Any stage for freedom has all but collapsed since then.
In Belarus, the media are particular targets. Recent example: On July 3, 2011, journalists were among the many citizens detained in Belarus protesting President Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s government. These protests, organized by the opposition group Revolution Through the Social Network, were held on Belarus’ Independence Day. The “clapping protests” marked by silence with periodic clapping every two to three minutes -- were an effort to avoid the brutal police beatings and arrests from shouting slogans that occurred at past demonstrations. Many journalists were detained during the protests, only to be released afterward and given set dates for trials.
Connie Mack -- as are we all -- is a little late in raising his fist to protest such an act of international trespass. But at least he's raising it.
“The very idea that the United Nations – the world body dedicated to diminishing America’s role in the world -- would be allowed, if not encouraged, to install foreigners sympathetic to the likes of Castro, Chavez, Ahmadinejad, and Putin to oversee our elections is nothing short of disgusting," said Mack on Monday.
Engelbrecht is right. The U.N. and its affiliates have absolutely no jurisdiction on U.S. soil.
Here's what pains me the most: According to a statement released by the OSCE, the "observer" mission is to ensure that U.S. elections comply with "international" standards.
If only we could be more like them ...
Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews or at (850) 727-0859.