Publius Pundit has a real coup of a post that is NOT (as of March 12, 2005, this link yields no US news stories only Senate office links and some foreign press) being reported in the MainStream Media. Apparently there is a new bill before the House and Senate named the "Advance Democracy Act". It was supported in a press conference by Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), and Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA). Here is a summary of some of the bill's key provisions (from Publius Pundit):
- "Declares that it is the policy of the United States to promote freedom and democracy as a fundamental component of U.S. foreign policy, to see an end to dictatorial and other non-democratic forms of government, and to strengthen alliances with other democratic countries to better promote and defend shared values and ideals.
- Establishes in statute the Under Secretary for Global Affairs with a strong mandate to promote democracy and fundamental freedoms; expands the duties of the Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor to specifically include democracy promotion; and enhances the Human Rights and Democracy Fund controlled by that Bureau.
- Establishes a new Office of Democracy Movements and Transitions and separate Regional Democracy Hubs to be points of contact for democracy movements and to promote democratic transitions and democratic consolidation, and creates a Democracy Promotion Advisory Board to provide outside expertise to the Department of State on democracy promotion and to conduct a study on the efficiency and effectiveness of current U.S. democracy assistance.
- Requires the Secretary of State to prepare an annual report on democracy that will include a specific action plan, developed in consultation with local organizations, individuals and movements, to promote and achieve transition to democracy in non-democratic countries.
- Provides for U.S. embassies to be “islands of freedom” and encourages U.S. ambassadors to promote democracy in non-democratic countries, including by meeting with representatives of democracy movements and speaking out on democracy and human rights in such countries, particularly at universities."
Here is a bipartisan effort to promote democracy abroad, encourage the State Department to fulfill President Bush's Inaugural address, and have embassies become an "island of freedom" and the MSM ignores it, though they were at the press conference. (See Publius Pundit's initial link of a blogger that covered the conference and how he got into it here. It is quite an intriguing read).