Sunday, December 26, 2010

FDA Assessment of Argentina



Argentina Political System


A federal republic multi-party state headed by the Executive in the form of a President, currently Cristina Kirchner, whose term is 4 years; incumbents are allowed to stand for 2 terms. Presidential duties are Chief of State, Head of the Government & Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.

The Presidential Electoral System – Two rounds voting is by party-list proportional representation (List PR).

Presidents and Vice-Presidents are elected directly through universal suffrage. To avoid a run-off, candidates must receive at least 45% or if the main candidate has 40% of the vote but is without a margin of 10%, then a 2nd round takes place.

The Vice-President, currently Julio Cobos is part of the Legislative and is President of the Senate. Cobos holds full power of the Executive when Kirchner is away from Office on State visits for example and can introduce legislation if so desired that runs contrary to that of the President.

Legislature made up of 2 chambers (bicameral):

Camara de Diputados, Chamber of Deputies or Lower Chamber consists of 257 members who serve 4 years the Chamber is elected by List PR. Half the seats are renewed every 2 years and are eligible to stand for re-election. However, party lists are closed. The threshold is 3% also 1/3rd of the parties candidates must be represented by women.

Senado or Senate formed of 72 Senators, representing the provinces and the autonomous Buenos Aires, sit for 6 years. The voting covers 23 provinces in addition to Buenos Aires with 3 seats available per electoral district. A 3rd of these seats are renewed on a 2 yearly cycle. The 3 seats are awarded thus, 2 to the party who gains the most votes and the 3rd going to the 2nd most voted for party.

The 25 provinces have their own electoral laws.

The Judiciary is kept independent of the Government and has 7 or 9 judges who sit in the Supreme Federal Court.


Main Parties

Political Parties – 713 Political Parties of which 34 operate at the national level.

Frente Para la Victoria (Front for Victory or FV) - Kirchner

Justicialist or Peronist Party (JP) – centrist, working class & labour unions

Union Civica Radical or Radicals (Radical Civic Union - UCR) – conservative, middle class

Propuesta Republicana (Republican Proposal – RP)

Coalicion Civico (Civic Coalition – CC)

Partido Socialista (PS or Socialist Party)

The turnout in both Parliamentary and Presidential elections has been 70% or above the last 3 elections, with impressive figures throughout a (still) considerably healthy voter participation when compared to the US and some European countries statistics. For more detailed voter turnout information since 1946 to date, please click on link: http://www.idea.int/vt/country_view.cfm?CountryCode=AR

Population (at 2009 election) – 40,913,583

Registered Voters (at 2009 election) - 26,098,546


Dangers

Argentina has generally moved on from the perceived “bad” old days of military coup and intervention when the Generals overthrew civilian government and formed a ruling Junta. The final straw was the loss of the Falklands War in the early 80’s that undermined the military rulers authority and legitimacy. When free elections took place, Alfonsin of the JP became President and slowly loosened the military’s size and power over the country. After successive civilian governments, the current state of the military is a much reduced Army. It consists entirely of volunteers and is kept busy and focussed on peace keeping and humanitarian operations with the UN around the globe.

The country has a recent history of social and economic problems which lead to civilian protest and unrest. If the population feels pressure of recession, inflation and job losses, they will protest and raise their voices in anger. This readiness to demonstrate can and has lead into conflict with the authorities in the form of mass dissent, riots and street battles. This lack of fear to take to the streets to voice displeasure could possibly be used by disgruntled and organised forces to destabilise any newly formed governments, especially those with a small majority or minority coalition administration. However, it seems an unlikely proposition due to the safeguards implemented by successive legislation since the Juntas.

The British Foreign Office – “Despite a strong recovery, the economic and political crisis of 2001-02 has left its mark, particularly in the form of increased inequality and poverty. With around 35% of the population living below the poverty line there are occasional outbreaks of social unrest and demonstrations, which at times turn violent. You should monitor local media and avoid planned demonstrations and public gatherings.”

There appears to be a decreasing turnout, trending downwards from the peak of 90%, 20 years ago. It would be interesting to be aware of the actual numbers for the 2011 election. Possible reasons for this lesser inclusion could be a general trend in democracies losing voters (?) Many democracies appear to suffer from voters voting for whom their parents voted for and may lack a questioning and breaking of habits, which if a voter becomes disenfranchised from their “usual” party may lead to them refusing to vote.

Political life in Argentina may be overly influenced by historical family tendencies, e.g. JP and the Peron family. A healthy democracy should have a fluid unencumbered input bereft of elites. Argentina politics, it can be argued, has been overly reliant on family ties. These embedded schisms have led to some divisive internal and traditional party politics with disparate factions growing within the traditional parties that have in turn caused splinter parties to form, e.g. the Peronist Party hybridising into various different parties, the Kirchner’s FV is an off shoot of the JP. This may have had adverse effect on the electoral population becoming less than enthusiastic in politics and whose expectations in the current parties are fading.

Corruption within Argentina is still a perceived problem with a cynical population who lack trusted opposition. Kirchner appears to favour governors who back her policies when distributing budget monies across the country, to the detriment of regions whose politicians and councillors have disagreed with her.

A Free and Fair Election?

Prospects are high for a clean election without interference from interested parties, although there does appear to be some interference with the media by the State with investigative journalists in particular at risk of intimidation.

The military is now more or less nullified and there does not appear to be militia or overly active organised cabals roaming the streets.

There is no discernable foreign influence in Argentina, however the country has access to newly found gas and oil fields that have led to recent economic deals with Russia and China. How the US views these developments is not certain.

From the research carried out and with the recent history of elections it would be a pretty certain that the next elections will be both free and fair. The mechanisms in place within Argentina seem to be both robust and without interference.

By Torben Attrup, FDA Manager and Researcher

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Assange Interview

In this interview, Assange touches indirectly on the frailty of democracy in the world, and the readiness of governments and political establishments to weaken public freedom of speech.

Assange interview

Thursday, December 9, 2010

What's Next for WikiLeaks and Assange???


The US establishment will ensure through whatever means possible that Assange is convicted and imprisoned indefinitely for dubious sex crimes. Moreover, the US Government will accuse WeakLeaks of possessing weapons of mass destruction, and having links to Al Qaeda. The US government will add WeakLeaks to its terrorist list and freeze its assets, and put the WeakLeaks executives on a CIA kill or capture list. Assange will be transferred to Guantanamo prison, where his legal rights will be denied, and he will be subject to daily torture.

Not far from the truth???

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Internet Censorship Becoming the Norm

WikiLeaks exposes the vulnerability of the internet to censorship. Can censorship of the internet by the political establishments of the world be stopped???

Growth in Internet Censorship

US Justice System, like US Corporations, Working to the Lead of the US Government

US Justice System Fails to Protect Basic Individual Freedoms

Support for Taliban Grows---as the US Faces Its Exit from Afghanistan

The US nation-building in Afghanistan and its attempt to restructure the Afghanistan politically is near an end, as the July 2011 withdrawal dates approaches. Foreign implantation of democracy by the US and other Western countries in Afghanistan has been a complete failure--as the corrupt Karzai government remains in power and the foreign implanted democracy structure is solely depended on foreign funding.

Support for Taliban

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ivory Coast a Foreshadow of Cameroon's 2012 Election?




Mbeki, opposition leader to the incumbent Ivory Coast government, won, apparently, the recent Ivory Coast Presidential election with 54% of the vote. However, an Ivory Coast top court ruled that Gbagbo, the incumbent President, was the winner of the election. Based on that ruling, Gbagbo has retaken governmental power over the country.

The situation may foreshadow the 2012 Cameroon Presidential election, in which Biya, the incumbent President for the last 27 years, has a firm grip on all aspects of the Cameroon government, including the Justice Department, and likely the Electoral Commission, or simply a fraudulent may result, avoiding the Ivory Coast dilemma.

However, it should be kept in mind, that peaceful transfer of power from one party to another, does not necessarily mean that a free and fair election took place. Many Western governments legitimize their own regimes based on this base standard. To establish fairness, one must look at how the election was conducted, including the conduct of the parties and nature of the election environment including financial contributions. Does every voter have fair say in which party takes power, or are a few, for example, have significantly more say through their political donations?


Trouble Facing Ivory Coast

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

US Government Demonstrates Its Disdain For an Informed Public


Freedom of speech one of the main pillars of democracy is slowly being eroded in the USA, as the US political establishment feels threatened. The US companies as such as Youtube, Amazon, and PayPal are quick to censor freedom of speech to appease the political establishment.


Case in point is WikiLeaks:

US Government Fuels Censorship of WikiLeaks

Under US Governmental Pressure, PayPal Censors WikiLeaks

Public Discussion



Is the Western bureaucratic standard of free, fair elections enough to gauge reasonably the health of democracy? Is a peaceful, transfer of political power through free and fair elections an indication of a healthy democracy?

The US has the means for a peaceful transfer of political power every four years through free elections, yet the US political system is dominated, monopolized by the Republicans and Democrats, and driven by money, which begs the question as to how fair is the US political system??

The FDA believes that the standard for democracy should entail more than free and fair elections with peaceful transfer of political power, by examining the nature of the elections, how informed the electorate is, how much choice the electorate has, how fair an actual election is etc.,


Comments:

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Public feedback

Matt writes that,

"Democracy is an illusion. We live in a society where politicians are pre-defined away from the eyes of the public and then when you do get to choose, it's between 2 or 3 highly rooted people. When did you last vote to send a shuttle into space or go to war? Government policy is dictated by the highly wealthy family run businesses. Selling diminishing resources, going to war, and putting humans second has always reaped the biggest profits. There is no such thing as 'ethical capitalism'. The federal reserve and the monetary system is, as David Harvey points out, meant to stagger along from one disaster to another. 1% of the worlds population holds 40% of the world wealth and as time goes by the wealth gap is going to get bigger and bigger. Unless people are educated that they are essentially working, paying and living to fund this 1%, we are as good as lost."

Can democracy have a meaningful role in the world for all people or is democracy condemned to be used by a small minority to control the world?

Can democracy be "of, by and for the people" or is democracy condemned to be, fundamentally, of, by, and for a small minority?

Video of David Harvey interview

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Right-wing Dutch Minority Government Holding on By One Seat



The Dutch minority government is anchored by anti-Islamist, Wilders, and his Freedom Party, and comprised also of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy, and Christian Democratic Appeal.

In the 2010 FDA Dutch immigration audit, Wilders and his Freedom Party received 20% (F) grade, the Mark Rutte and his People's Party for Freedom and Democracy received a 50% (D) grade, and the Maxime Verhagen, and his Christian Democratic Appeal received a 30% (F) grade. This right-wing government and its policies does not bode well for Dutch ethnic groups, in particular Muslims, and the fact that these parties were able attain power, suggests systematic failure in Dutch democracy.

2010 FDA Dutch Immigration Audit

Right-wing Dutch minority government

Freedom Party Faces Scandals

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Broad Perspective on the US (Its Version of Democracy) Now and in the Future

Has 2010 been a watershed year for Western politics or just a continuation of the move towards a neoliberalised system?

Mark LeVine Last Modified: 16 Nov 2010 11:09 GMT

It has been a strange political season. It began sitting in Istanbul with Swedish friends, digesting the news that the rabidly anti-immigrant Swedish Democrats had won an unprecedented 5.6 per cent of the vote in the country's parliamentary elections. Analysts immediately began to predict that the election would mark "an entirely new political landscape" and "the beginning of an era of sharper political division in Sweden".

Who would have thought that a mere six weeks later, pundits and analysts across the Atlantic would write almost identical words in the wake of the US midterm elections? Do these similarities point to a bigger story? Is 2010 proving to be a watershed year in politics in the West (we could add the historic defeat of the British Labour Party to this list, as well as elections in Greece in which the ruling Socialist Party pledged to impose unprecedented austerity measures)?

Or do the results reflect rather an underlying continuity in the generation-long evolution of Euro-American politics towards a fully neoliberalised system - one which supports the pursuit of unbridled wealth by elites while those with the most to lose conveniently spend their energy attacking immigrants, minorities and the poor - the system's ultimate victims?

Pointing East?

Coming only days after Turks had held an unprecedented constitutional referendum sponsored by a supposedly "Islamist" government, the contrast was striking. Turkey - more specifically, Istanbul - seemed like the future, while Sweden seemed to be moving towards an outdated model.

"Sweden is over. We're becoming America," several friends solemnly intoned.

But back in Sweden a few weeks later, the huge electoral victory of the Tea Party-infused Republicans in the US made it a bit hard to get worked up at the electoral "success" of its Swedish Democrat cousins.

Such facile comparisons between right-wing movements across the West confuse more than clarify the situation. Specifically, while the Tea Party and the Swedish Democrats, like their counterparts elsewhere in the West, have made the immigrant and particularly Muslim "threat" cornerstones of their rhetoric, their economic philosophies can contrast sharply.

The American Right wholeheartedly embraces lower taxes and government spending and increased militarism, while in Sweden or Denmark the far-right supports the preservation of the vaunted Scandinavian welfare state. Indeed, immigrants are attacked precisely as the biggest threat to its survival.

What is clear, however, watching the US election season unfold from Europe and the Middle East, is that the entire process - whether Barack Obama's lackluster job performance or the ease with which the corporate Right used the anger of millions of Americans to strengthen their power even more -represents the seemingly unalterable decline of the US from the hyper-power status it has enjoyed for the last 65 years to merely one of a group of major powers, none of whom unilaterally have the power to bend other countries to their will.

This was brought home with full force when Obama failed to secure any kind of favourable action to help trim the US' trade deficit and encourage US exports at last week's G-20 Summit in Seoul - something even the American press described as a "humbling" experience that reflected the US being "left out in the cold" in an unprecedented manner.

The fruits of globalisation from above

Many around the world are no doubt cheering at the loss of US power - both its ideological hegemony and military preeminence on the ground. It is worth remembering, however, that whatever its flaws - and they were many - the US in the post-war civil rights era offered a model of economic advancement, political democracy and equal rights that people around the world wanted to emulate (even if the US itself refused to grant them that privilege time and time again).

Under its leadership, the so-called "welfare states" of the Western world achieved historically high and widely distributed levels of prosperity across their societies. Of course, these systems arose out of the ashes of the Great Depression and World War II, and the long struggles for workers' rights that predated both by more than half a century. Corporations and governments redistributed wealth to workers because they had no choice but to do so in the post-war era.

But with the advances in technology, production and communications that enabled the birth of contemporary globalisation in the latter 1960s and the failure of the Soviet communist economic model, workers in the West lost much of their bargaining power while governments became increasingly allied to the corporate and banking elites.

The rise of "Thatcherism" and "Reaganism" in the late 1970s provided an ideological veneer that cemented the shift in power from states and middle class voters towards corporate elites, whose full blooming we have witnessed in the last decade. But the seeds were sewn at the moment of greatest prosperity, in the 1950s, when as President Eisenhower warned, a "military industrial complex" began to assert unprecedented power to shape both foreign and economic policy in the US.

As Andrew Bacevich demonstrates in his new book, The Warfare State, by the time the Vietnam War was in full swing the military and its corporate and political allies and patrons had developed an ideological-economic apparatus that ensured that the US economy would increasingly be shaped to serve its interests, regardless of the larger social and even strategic costs. This powerful coalition would ultimately claim the civil rights and economic justice movements among its primary victims, while the "endless war" of the last decade is merely the logical continuation of this decades' long process.

The rise of the neoliberal warfare system was also the moment when new forms of religious fundamentalism (or better, "neo-fundamentalism") emerged across the world. Whether Evangelical political Christianity, militant Salafi Islam or settler Judaism, such religious movements represent what French scholar Olivier Roy astutely describes as "holy ignorance", whereby religion and the larger secular culture no longer form the kind of organic whole in which each can temper the more destructive tendencies of the other. Such closed and hostile forms of religious and cultural belief and practice quickly entered into dangerous synergy both with militarism and the kind of ideology that celebrates personal and corporate aggrandisement.

Anarchy rules, or new beacons on the horizon?

The weakening of US power and growing assertiveness of once junior partners - such as Germany, Brazil and Turkey - on the world stage represents the return to a multi-polar, "anarchic" world system just when global unity is most needed to address humanity's pressing problems. Yet these three countries offer interesting lessons for how a new political-economic model could emerge to confront the challenges of the 21st century.

Both Turkey and Brazil have emerged out of decades of disproportionate military influence and even rule, as well as high levels of inequality, to enter periods of significant economic growth and political and human development. Lessening inequality, reining in the power of the military, increasing access to education for society's poorest members, have all been at the root of their success, and have brought them increased prestige on the global stage.

As important, both are in the midst of periods of cultural openness while beginning to address core historical problems - for example, in Brazil, slowing the rate of rainforest destruction, in Turkey opening space for discussing previously unmentionable issues such as the Armenian genocide and Kurdish rights - the continued avoidance of which would have become festering wounds dragging down the larger process of development.

Germany remains perhaps the healthiest of all the Western economies, having ridden out the global recession in better shape than most other advanced industrial democracies. In good measure this owes not just to its well-tuned industrial base, but to the continued acceptance by the country's political and corporate elites and the industrial working class of the need to accommodate broader societal needs rather than looking out for their narrower, potentially sectarian interests.

Of course all three countries face numerous problems, from the often flagrant racism against Muslims in Germany to even worsening corruption in Turkey. But at least there seems to be a kind of societal equilibrium in place - however contested from various quarters - to allow them to move forward as the US' political, economic and cultural disequilibrium continues to worsen.

Two sides of the past, and the future

Arriving in Berlin on November 9 - the anniversary of both the infamous Kristallnacht pogroms of 1938 and the fall of the Berlin wall 51 years later - put these two opposing directions in sharp relief. Here were the two sides of the project of modernity, one of its greatest triumphs and its darkest passenger, still engaged in the ongoing dance that thinkers as far back as Ibn Khaldoun have told us has always shaped the rise and fall of civilizations.

While Germans celebrated the historically unprecedented transformation of the last 65 years, a dark shadow lurked beneath the surface - specifically in the Berlin S and U-Bahn systems, where seemingly every other billboard was festooned with an ad for the global release - also on November 9 - of the new video game Call of Duty: Black Ops.

The game, which allows players to commit mass murder and political assassinations in a Cold War setting, is a troubling reminder of humanity's - better, mankind's, since most players are men - innate pleasure at engaging in wanton violence. However unthoughtful the release date, in a relatively healthy society like Germany such a game will likely do little to encourage increased militarism and violence.

But what about in the US, where both are in much greater supply? In a review of the game New York Times writer Seth Schiesel explains that it has made the Cold War a "cool event": "I wanted to try to assassinate Fidel Castro during the Bay of Pigs invasion again ... And pilot a gunboat through the Mekong Delta again, shooting up sampans while listening to Sympathy for the Devil. Black Ops glistens with such moments. The Cold War was never so much fun."

That this kind of utter historical amnesia, in which the deaths of millions of people, many of them at the hands or encouragement of the US, can be described as "fun" and "cool" by the US' (and once upon a time, the world's) paper of record, says just how far the US has sunk. The fact that this review could share the newspaper with a report on how the CIA helped Nazi war criminals enter and remain in the US in the name of Cold War science, and former President Bush cheerfully admitting that he had ordered the waterboarding of detainees, gives an even greater sense of aphasia at the descent of the country's political culture and moral compass.

And for those who might reply that Black Ops is merely a game that has no relationship to reality, I suggest visiting the quite chilling CIA kids' section of the CIA website, which offers a history geared towards school children that is utterly whitewashed of all the coups, murder, violence and oppression the agency has perpetuated over the years in the name of the "cool" Cold War.

It is hard to know how many young children visit this site. What is clear is that it reflects the ongoing historical amnesia in the US about the violence it has wrought that is at the root of the continued ideological and political power of the "warfare system". It is precisely this historical reckoning that was at core of Germany's post-war miracle and at the democratic development of countries like Turkey and Brazil.

Unless the US can achieve a similar level of self-awareness soon, there is little doubt that a future generation of gamers will relish playing video games in which the slow destruction of the US by forces foreign and domestic will be the coolest thing around.

Mark LeVine is a professor of history at UC Irvine and senior visiting researcher at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University in Sweden.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010

US and UK Encourage Censorship of YouTube

Freedom of speech, one of the main pillars of democracy, is being eroded on the internet. Why are not people allowed to make up their own minds, as to value of what someone else says? Why does Big Brother have to decide for you? These are serious questions which strike at the core of Western civilization.
The FDA is unclear on this issue. It would appear that the war between the US establishment and Islam is clearly in the internet domain.

View the video below, and decide for yourself whether or not censorship is warrented:

Al-Awlaki interview

Youtube Censorship

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Khadr Story demonstrates impotence of the Canadian Government to the Americans



Khadr, a Canadian citizen and Guantanamo prisoner for the last eights, was sentenced by US Milititary tribunnal 40 years for murder, but will only serve an additional 8 years of imprisonment due to a plea bargain prior to trial. Khadr was a child when he was first abducted by the Americans in Afghanistan. Unlike all other western countries with prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, the Canadian government did not secure his release, and knowingly allowed him to be subject to torture over those eight years.  


http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2010/10/20101031221056245624.html

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Money drives the US political machine


Unfortunately, the US political system, which is dominated by the monopoly of the Democrats and Republicans and characterized ubiquitous political influence and manipulation, is fueled by money. Most Americans are not wealthy. So the US political system favors a minority.


The 2010 US Congressional elections are on course to reach a new all-time high in political contributions, an estimated 4 billion in political contributions to both Senate and Congressional candidates.

Ironically, the US federal government is the most significant global supporter of its style of democracy, spending millions every year for example through the National Endowment of Democracy and International Republican Institute. Yet, by the same token, not surprisingly the US federal government is the most significant global supporter of its style of democracy, because of the US system's inherent bias to minority interests, and the US government's strong ability to control elections anywhere in the world through money.

US Congressional elections on course to reach new high in political contributions

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pending Sudan Referendum on the Status of (oil rich) Southern Sudan


An FDA associate, Mrs. Alice Killam, will be helping with the administration of the January 9, 2011, Sudan Referendum.

If the referendum results support southern Sudan succeeding from northern Sudan, a civil war or armed conflict may result from northern Sudan losing access to the rich oil deposits in southern Sudan.


http://www.iom.int/jahia/Jahia/media/press-briefing-notes/pbnAF/cache/offonce?entryId=28477

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Better Campaigner Wins Calgary Mayoral Election


Unfortunately, in western democracy, the better campaigner typically wins elections, and not necessarily the better representative of the people. Political influence and manipulation, an academic term, for political campaigning, was in full force in the Calgary mayoral election, as apparent frontrunners Higgins, McIver, and Nenshi competed for the lone mayoral position. Campaign signs, t-shirts, leaflets, sound bits were ubiquitous in Calgary over the last couple of months.

The FDA Calgary audit focused on the substance of each mayoral candidate, and ranked them accordingly. The mayoral candidates' campaigns themselves had nothing to do with the FDA audit. And the FDA results reflected the substance each candidate offered Calgarians, and not necessarily the views of the Calgary public as a whole.

The FDA ranked and graded the Calgary mayoral candidates as follows:

1. Jon Lord 57/100 57% (D+)
2. Barb Higgins 53.8/100 53.8% (D)
3. Naheed Nenshi 51.8/100 51.8% (D)
4. Richard McIver 43.8/90 48.6% (F)
5. Joe Connelly 42.7/90 47.4% (F)
6. Dan Knight 46.8/100 46.8% (F)
7. Barry Erskine 38/90 42.2% (F)
8. Bonnie Devine 29/100 29% (F)

Jon Lord is the FDA's better representative for Calgary, followed by Higgins and then Nenshi. All the candidates in the FDA audit had either a barely satisfactory grade or a failing grade.

Note, Gary Johnston, Oscar Fech, Sandra Hunter, and Amanda Lui were removed from the FDA audit, due to lack of information on these candidates. Hawkesworth, Stewart, and Burrows gave their support to Higgins, Nenshi, and McIver, and thus were removed from the final FDA ranking and grading.

The Calgary election results:

1. Naheed Nenshi
2. Richard McIver
3. Barb Higgins
4. Joe Connelly
5. Jon Lord
6. Barry Erkskine
7. Bonnie Devine
8. Amandu Lui
9. Sandra Hunter
10. Dan Knight
11. Oscar Fech
12. Gary Johnston

In reconciling the results, the FDA believes that the better campaigner won the Calgary election. Moreover, the FDA is concerned by the poor election results for Jon Lord, who was the FDA's better representative for Calgary based on the substance of his background, vision, and policies. Did the Calgary public and media take the time to become acquainted with Lord's background, policies and vision, or were they caught up in the campaigns of the so-called frontrunners?

Ironically, Nenshi ran on a campaign of "Better Ideas, Better Mayor." Yet, based on the FDA's audit findings, Hawkesworth had the better policy ideas (55%), followed by Higgins (52.5%), and Lord (51.8%). Nenshi scored a mere 41.4% for his claimed better policies. So does that mean Nenshi will concede the mayor position to Hawkesworth?

The disturbing aspect of Nenshi is that he demonstrated no sense of fiscal responsibility or tax relief for the public in his policies. In fact, his 8 so-called better ideas, did not address the City budget or City taxes. He received a 0% score for budget and tax policies. Considering the City of Calgary had a deficit of 60 million last year, and has a debt of about 3 billion, the next three years does not bode well for Calgarians. Through Nenshi the City debt will likely grow, and the City taxes will increase.

In final analysis, the Calgary public is responsible for who their mayor is. Hopefully, in three years, they will not be regretting that they did not take enough due diligence in deciding their mayor.

The Nenshi campaign reminds the FDA of the Obama campaign in 2008, in which it was based on a backlash to Bush, and the illusion that Obama would make things better for Americans. Obama's ratings are at an all-time low, the US deficit and debt have risen alarmingly, and Obama has failed on many campaign promises.

In economic hard-times and an increasingly unstable world, the FDA is amazed that the Calgary public would elect a candidate who in the opinion of the FDA could not be more worse for such conditions--no elected political experience, no budgetary and tax restraints, and policies of increasing government spending and cutting public expenses such as parking fees, and thus City Hall revenue.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Craig Burrows withdraws from Calgary Mayoral Race

With the sudden withdrawal of Craig Burrows from the Calgary mayoral race, the FDA made updates to its Calgary audit report:

As of October 17th, Burrows withdrew his candidacy for mayor, in favor of supporting the mayor candidacy of McIver. (Apparently, based on recent polls, Burrows felt his chances of becoming mayor was unlikely.)

So with Burrows no longer in the Calgary mayor race, the FDA audit results are adjusted to the following:

1. Jon Lord 57/100 57% (D+)
2. Barb Higgins 53.8/100 53.8% (D)
3. Naheed Nenshi 51.8/100 51.8% (D)
4. Richard McIver 43.8/90 48.6% (F)
5. Joe Connelly 42.7/90 47.4% (F)
6. Dan Knight 46.8/100 46.8% (F)
7. Barry Erskine 38/90 42.2% (F)
8. Bonnie Devine 29/100 29% (F)

Jon Lord is the FDA's better representative for Calgary, with a 3.2% margin over Higgins, and then followed closely by Nenshi and McIver.

The separation between Lord and Higgins comes down to Lord's stronger background, in which he received the FDA's highest grade for background (85%), while Higgins received 43% for her background. (The FDA's background audit entailed analysis of political, professional, and volunteer experiences.) Though Hawkesworth who had a background grade of 81.6% is now supporting Higgins, does not overcome the background discrepancy between Lord and Higgins, because only one person can be mayor. Yet Hawkesworth has the potential to be a valuable advisor to Higgins. Moreover, Burrows with a background score 70% would be less valuable to McIver who received a background score of 78.3%, and the same is the case for Stewart who received a background score of 43.3% and Nenshi a score of 48.3%.

Clearly, in terms of leadership, a key component of being mayor, Higgins has the most to gain from the support of Hawkesworth. In terms of policies, there is no clear advantage to Higgins, Nenshi, or McIver in terms of the support of Hawkesworth, Stewart, and Burrows. Though overall, McIver overtook Nenshi through his partnership with Burrows, and Higgins expanded her margin over McIver and Nenshi, and closed the gap on Lord.


To illustrate, the FDA combined the scores of the three teams of candidates:

Higgins/Hawkesworth   53.8/100   58.7/100  112.5/100  (56.25%)
Nenshi/Stewart             51.8/100   47.8/100     99.6/200  (49.8%)
McIver/Burrows            43.8/100      52/100     95.8/190  (50.4%)

Overall Scores and Ranking of Aligned and Non-aligned Candidates:

1. Jon Lord (57%) (D+)
2. Higgins/Hawkesworth (56.25%) (D+)
3. McIver/Burrows  (50.4%) (D)
4. Nenshi/Stewart  (49.8%) (F)
5. Joe Connelly 42.7/90 47.4% (F)
6. Dan Knight 46.8/100 46.8% (F)
7. Barry Erskine 38/90 42.2% (F)
8. Bonnie Devine 29/100 29% (F)

FDA's Calgary Mayoral Audit Report

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hawkesworth and Stewart withdraw Calgary mayoral candidacies

With the sudden withdrawal of Hawkerworth and Stewart from the Calgary mayoral race, the FDA made updates to its Calgary audit report:

As of October 14th, Hawkesworth withdrew his candidacy for mayor, in favor of supporting the mayor candidacy of Higgins, and Stewart withdrew his candidacy, in favor of supporting the candidacy of Nenshi. (Apparently, based on recent polls, Hawkesworth and Stewart felt their chances of becoming mayor were unlikely.)

So with Hawkesworth and Stewart no longer in the Calgary mayor race, the FDA audit results are adjusted to the following:

1. Jon Lord 57/100 57% (D+)
2. Barb Higgins 53.8/100 53.8% (D)
3. Craig Burrows 52/100 52% (D)
4. Naheed Nenshi 51.8/100 51.8% (D)
5. Richard McIver 43.8/90 48.6% (F)
6. Joe Connelly 42.7/90 47.4% (F)
7. Dan Knight 46.8/100 46.8% (F)
8. Barry Erskine 38/90 42.2% (F)
9. Bonnie Devine 29/100 29% (F)

Jon Lord is the FDA's better representative for Calgary, with a 3.2% margin over Higgins, and then followed closely by Burrows and Nenshi.

The separation between Lord and Higgins comes down to Lord's stronger background, in which he received the FDA's highest grade for background (85%), while Higgins received 43% for her background. (The FDA's background audit entailed analysis of political, professional, and volunteer experiences.) Though Hawkesworth who had a background grade of 81.6% is now supporting Higgins, does not overcome the background discrepancy between Lord and Higgins, because only one person can be mayor. Yet Hawkesworth has the potential to be a valuable advisor to Higgins.

Full Report of the FDA's Calgary Electoral Audit

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Results for the FDA's Calgary and Lethbridge Mayoral Audits

Disclosure: The FDA's audits are the non-partisan, objective opinion of the FDA, based on its research of the relevant candidates and its comparative evaluation based on the soundness of reasons. Every FDA score is supported by facts and reasons.
The FDA's assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors in the calculation of these results or inaccuracies in its research of the candidates.
In its opinion, the FDA is confident that the audit results are reflective of the quality of the candidates and their comparative ranking.

The FDA's Calgary Mayoral Audit Results:

Overall grade and ranking:

1. Bob Hawkesworth 58.7/100 58.7% (D+)
2. Jon Lord 57/100 57% (D+)
3. Barb Higgins 53.8/100 53.8% (D)
4. Craig Burrows 52/100 52% (D)
5. Naheed Nenshi 51.8/100 51.8% (D)
6. Richard McIver 43.8/90 48.6% (F)
7. Wayne Stewart 47.8/100 47.8% (F)
8. Joe Connelly 42.7/90 47.4% (F)
9. Dan Knight 46.8/100 46.8% (F)
10. Barry Erskine 38/90 42.2% (F)
11. Bonnie Devine 29/100 29% (F)

Analysis:

The FDA audit team reached consensus on all aspects of the audit scoring.

Only five of the eleven mayoral candidates audited received a passing grade. The passing grades of the five candidates were barely satisfactory, with Hawkesworth receiving the highest grade of 58.7% (D+).

Also, Hawkesworth received the highest overall policy grade of 55%.

The low mayoral scores are fairly consistent with other FDA audits such as the 2010 British General election audit and the 2008 Alberta provincial election audit:

2010 British Election Audit Ranking

1. Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrat 67.8% (C+)
2. David Cameron, Conservative 65.8% (C+)
3. Gordon Brown, Labour 63.4% (C)

2008 Alberta Provincial Election Audit Ranking

1. Wildrose Alliance 63.5% (C)
2. AlbertaLiberals 63.2% (C)
3. Social Credit 49.3% (F)
4. PCAlberta 43.6% (F)
5. Separation Party 43.1% (F)
6. Alberta’s NDP 41.8% (F)
7. Communist Party 26.8% (F)
8. Alberta’s Greens 20% (F)
9. Alberta Party 17.1% (F)

Though Jon Lord received the highest score for background (85%), when coupled with his vision and policies, it translated into him finishing in second, behind Hawkerworth who received the second highest background score (81.6%). In contrast, Barb Higgins received a score of 43.3% for her background, and yet she finished third place overall. The separation between Hawkesworth and Lord came down to Hawkesworth having slightly stronger policies. And the difference between Hawkesworth and Higgins came down primarily to Hawkesworth having a stronger background. And Higgins had more consistent policies than Burrows and Nenshi.

McIver though an apparent front runner in the local polls, had weak and inconsistent policies, and therefore, he received a failing grade.

Conclusion:

The audit results for the Calgary mayoral candidates are disappointing, since only five of the eleven candidates received a passing grade and the passing grades themselves were barely satisfactory.

Hawkesworth is the FDA’s better representative for Calgary. Though he is closely followed by Lord and then Higgins, Burrows and Nenshi.

The mediocre results do not bode well for the next three years of Calgary municipal politics.

The FDA recommends that the new Calgary mayor be given a limited mandate by the Calgary public through a minority percentage of the actual vote.


As of October 14th, Hawkesworth withdrew his candidacy for mayor, in favour of supporting the mayor candidacy of Higgins, and Stewart withdrew his candidacy, in favour of supporting the candidacy of Nenshi. (Apparently, based on recent polls, Hawkesworth and Stewart felt their chances of becoming mayor were unlikely.)

So with Hawkesworth and Stewart no longer in the Calgary mayor race, the FDA audit results are adjusted to the following:

1. Jon Lord 57/100 57% (D+)
2. Barb Higgins 53.8/100 53.8% (D)
3. Craig Burrows 52/100 52% (D)
4. Naheed Nenshi 51.8/100 51.8% (D)
5. Richard McIver 43.8/90 48.6% (F)
6. Joe Connelly 42.7/90 47.4% (F)
7. Dan Knight 46.8/100 46.8% (F)
8. Barry Erskine 38/90 42.2% (F)
9. Bonnie Devine 29/100 29% (F)

Jon Lord is the FDA's better representative for Calgary, with a 3.2% margin over Higgins, and then followed closely by Burrows and Nenshi.

As of October 17th, Burrows withdrew his candidacy for mayor, in favor of supporting the mayor candidacy of McIver. (Apparently, based on recent polls, Burrows felt his chances of becoming mayor was unlikely.)

So with Burrows no longer in the Calgary mayor race, the FDA audit results are adjusted to the following:

1. Jon Lord 57/100 57% (D+)
2. Barb Higgins 53.8/100 53.8% (D)
3. Naheed Nenshi 51.8/100 51.8% (D)
4. Richard McIver 43.8/90 48.6% (F)
5. Joe Connelly 42.7/90 47.4% (F)
6. Dan Knight 46.8/100 46.8% (F)
7. Barry Erskine 38/90 42.2% (F)
8. Bonnie Devine 29/100 29% (F)

Jon Lord is the FDA's better representative for Calgary, with a 3.2% margin over Higgins, and then followed closely by Nenshi and McIver.

The separation between Lord and Higgins comes down to Lord's stronger background, in which he received the FDA's highest grade for background (85%), while Higgins received 43% for her background. (The FDA's background audit entailed analysis of political, professional, and volunteer experiences.) Though Hawkesworth who had a background grade of 81.6% is now supporting Higgins, does not overcome the background discrepancy between Lord and Higgins, because only one person can be mayor. Yet Hawkesworth has the potential to be a valuable advisor to Higgins. Moreover, Burrows with a background score 70% would be less valuable to McIver who received a background score of 78.3%, and the same is the case for Stewart who received a background score of 43.3% and Nenshi a score of 48.3%.

Clearly, in terms of leadership, a key component of being mayor, Higgins has the most to gain from the support of Hawkesworth. In terms of policies, there is no clear advantage to Higgins, Nenshi, or McIver in terms of the support of Hawkesworth, Stewart, and Burrows. Though overall, McIver overtook Nenshi through his partnership with Burrows, and Higgins expanded her margin over McIver and Nenshi, and closed the gap on Lord.

To illustrate, the FDA combined the scores of the three teams of candidates:

Higgins/Hawkesworth 53.8/100 58.7/100 112.5/100 (56.25%)
Nenshi/Stewart 51.8/100 47.8/100 99.6/200 (49.8%)
McIver/Burrows 43.8/100 52/100 95.8/190 (50.4%)

Overall Scores and Ranking of Aligned and Non-aligned Candidates:

1. Jon Lord (57%) (D+)
2. Higgins/Hawkesworth (56.25%) (D+)
3. McIver/Burrows (50.4%) (D)
4. Nenshi/Stewart (49.8%) (F)
5. Joe Connelly 42.7/90 47.4% (F)
6. Dan Knight 46.8/100 46.8% (F)
7. Barry Erskine 38/90 42.2% (F)
8. Bonnie Devine 29/100 29% (F)



The FDA's Lethbridge Mayoral Audit Results:


Overall grade and ranking

1. James Frey 33.3/60 (55.5%) (D+)
2. Cherly Meheden 29.3/60 (48.8%) (F)
3. Kay Adeniyi 26.3/60 (43.8%) (F)
4. Rajko Dodic 18.3/50 (36.6%) (F)
5. Chris Spearman 19.8/60 (33%) (F)
6. Denis Carrier 13.6/60 (22.6%) (F)

Analysis:

The FDA audit team reached consensus on all the scores. All scores were supported by reasons, and consistent with the allocation of other scores. Though there is no percentage of error in this audit report, the FDA is confident its results are accurate reasonably, due to the objective nature of the audit and the comparative framework of the scoring.

All mayoral candidates, with the exception of Mr. Dodic, fully cooperated with information requests from the FDA.

Only one of the six mayoral candidates, James Frey, received a passing grade. Also, Mr. Frey’s passing grade of 55.5% is barely satisfactory.

Only James Fray and Cherly Medheden received passing grades for their policies.

Overall, the policies of the candidates were lacking comprehensiveness and scope.

Through Chris Spearman received the highest score for background (78.3%), it did not translate into him receiving the highest overall score.

The mediocre results are consistent with other FDA audits such as 2010 FDA Calgary Mayoral Audit (above).

Conclusion:

The audit results for the Lethbridge mayoral candidates are disappointing, since only one of the six candidates received a passing grade and the passing grade itself was barely satisfactory.

Moreover, Lethbridge municipal politics are troubled by very low voter turnout, as indicated by the 22.6% of eligible voters who voted in the 2007 Lehtbridge Municipal election. The very low turnout may be related to the quality of political candidates as may be indicated by this audit.

James Frey is clearly the FDA’s better representative for Lethbridge, with a 7% margin over Cheryl Meheden.

As in the case with the 2010 FDA Calgary Mayoral audit, the mediocre results do not bode well for the next three years of Lethbridge municipal politics.

The FDA recommends that the new Lethbridge mayor be given a limited mandate by the Lethbridge public through a minority percentage of the actual vote.

Full Report of the Calgary Electoral Audit

Full Report of the Lethbridge Electoral Audit

Monday, September 20, 2010

Afghanistan Parliamentary Elections Mired in Corruption and Misinformation


Despite Karzai's praise of the 2010 Afghanistan Parliamentary elections, there are serious questions being raised about fairness of the election. Moreover, there is a claim by the UN election authority that around 40% of the Afghanistan voting population voted in the Parliamentary elections, which is a significant increase from the 20% of Afghanis who voted in the 2009 Afghanistan Presidential election. This figure of 40% is hard to believe considering the war-time situation and resurgence of the Taliban, and may well be fabricated by the Karzai governments and its western allies, in order to create a greater sense of government legitimacy and political progress.


Regardless, considering the war-time situation, it is questionable why elections are even being undertaken in Afghanistan. Clearly, if democracy was at the forefront, elections would be postponed until the war had ended. The fact that this is not the case, suggests that the elections are being used by the Karzai government and its western allies to legitimize the US backed government.

Video of Corruption Surrounding Afghanistan Parliamentary Elections

Sunday, September 12, 2010

US Government Faces Responsibility For Example Set


The Obama administration's foreign excursions against Muslim countries like in Afghanistan and Yemen, using drone attacks, covert operations, full-scale invasions, and the US abuses at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghrib, and Bagram prisons, has set an example of intolerance for American citizens. The recent threatened Koran burning by American Pastor Terry Jones is reflective of that intolerance. In terms of democracy, the American politicians should be accountable to the same laws as its citizens, rather than have a virtual free reign in their foreign policies and conduct.

Having said that, Obama and his administration would be better off pointing the finger at themselves and their foreign conduct, than condemning the US pastor who has been shown a way of intolerance.

Obama's Inconsistent Perspective--Drone attacks and Koran burning

Saturday, August 21, 2010

FDA Audit of the Visions of Gillard and Abbot (2010 Australian General Election)



Vision:
What is the overall outlook/direction for the future of Australia, and to what degree does it represent the best interests of the people of Australia?

Julia Gillard (Australian Labor Party)

Together, Let’s move Australia forward

A Positive Plan to Move Australia Forward

As I’ve travelled around Australia, I've constantly been reminded of one thing: day in and day out, our people work for their families, their communities and their country, and they do so very hard.
Australians play by the rules, set their alarms early, get their kids off to school, and work hard to provide for their family.
This election I've worked hard to lay out a positive plan for the future of Australia.

It’s a plan to build a stronger economy, provide more jobs, provide better health, better education, invest in infrastructure, and ensure a fairer and more sustainable society for all.
I believe Australians deserve better than the backward vision that has been presented by Mr Abbott.
We’re better than that, we are a confident, optimistic people, and together, let’s show it this Saturday.

Only Julia Gillard has a positive plan to move our economy forward with business tax cuts, a National Broadband Network, and fully costed promises.

FDA Summary: build a strong economy together through business tax cuts, national broadband network, fully costed promises. Reactionary to Liberal party. No overall vision of what Australia represents now or in the future. No long-term vision.


Tony Abbot (Liberal Party of Australia)

Stand up for Australia. Stand up for real action.
End Labor’s waste and restore cabinet government
The Hon Tony Abbott Leader of the Opposition
Labor has wasted too much taxpayers’ money.
The Coalition won’t repeat Labor’s disastrous ‘pink batts’ program.
The Coalition will also stop the billions of dollars being wasted through the ‘school halls’ program, and cut spending on government advertising.
Bad processes produce bad decisions.
Unlike Labor where decisions are made without proper process or consultation, the Coalition will restore the decision-making processes of Cabinet to restore integrity to government decision-making.

FDA Summary: reduce government spending and restore decision-making process of Cabinet. No overall vision of what Australia represents now or in the future. Reactionary to the Labor party. No long-term vision.


Scores:   Gillard Abbot
                5/10   6/10


Rational for scores:

Gillard envisions a more active government with some financial responsibility, while Abbot envisions a reduced government with better decision-making. Both visions are short-term, and lack an overall vision for Australians. Moreover, both visions are promoting a stronger Australian government, but through different means—careful government expansion versus government contraction.

Australia is not a country onto itself. And the world economy is struggling in its recovery from a worldwide recession. Therefore, it follows that Liberal conservative is likely better in the short-term for Australians.

Both Gillard and Abbot’s visions were general to Australians and lacked a long-term, overall perspective. Therefore, their scores for vision are mediocre. Abbot received a higher score, because his vision with reduced government and better government decision-making is more reasonable considering the troubling global economy.


Overall Ranking:

Visions

1.Abbot 6/10 60%
2. Gillard 5/10 50%

The lower the grade, the less satisfactory the candidate is. The higher the grade, the more satisfactory the candidate is.

Analysis:

The Australian electoral audit was limited to vision, and therefore, the ranking of Abbot and Gillard is limited as well. However, the visions of the candidates, and their respective quality, should give a give reasonable idea as to what these candidates offer Australians, because vision represents what a candidate offers overall.


Conclusion:

Considering the low scores for visions for Gillard and Abbot, Australians should not expect much from these candidates.

Moreover, Australian democracy is dominated by a two party democracy made up of the Liberal Party of Australia and Australian Labor Party. Hence, the poor visions of Gillard and Abbot are amplified. (In the 2007 Australian General election for example , the Labor party won 43.38% of the vote, Liberal party 36.61%, and with the nearest other party, the National Party, 5.49%.)

Australians should strive to break the two-party hierarchy, thereby allow more parties, with differing perspectives, to have an opportunity to govern Australia.

In the context of the FDA audits for vision in the 2010 British General election and 2008 US presidential election, all the candidates had mediocre scores for visions, except for Nader who scored 100% and Brown who scored 70%.

However, Nader not being part of the US two-party hierarchy was sidelined in the US political process receiving only .5% of the US vote. Brown and his British Labor party lost the 2010 election, and his vision was offset by his poor incumbency record and the decline of the British economy. The British voters with little to choose from overall gave support to the short-term economic outlook of the British Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

Actual election results:

The 2010 Australia General Election resulted in a hung parliament, which means no party attained a majority of the seats in the Australian parliament. This result is consistent with the FDA audit, which shows the leading candidates, Gillard and Abbot, to be mediocre in terms of their visions for Australia. Moreover, a hung parliament will force the Australian Labor party and the Liberal Party of Australia to form coalitions with other parties and independents, thus allow greater representation of the Australian people and at the same time, weaken the Australian two-party hierarchical political system.

FDA 2010 Australia Vision Audit

Friday, August 20, 2010

US Democracy Promotion Reckless

US imposition of western style democracy to Afghanistan continues along a path of failure, as the war itself denies an environment conducive to fair elections, and the elections themselves are counter to the political beliefs and values of Afghans.

Upcoming Afghan parliamentary elections already failing

Thursday, August 19, 2010

David Harvey Says Capitalism Unviable


As the FDA did, David Harvey makes the case that the perpetual growth of capitalism is unviable, because there are limits to growth in the long-term. Also, there are significant environmental, political, and social costs from a growth based economic model. Harvey proposes a zero growth economic model.

His views on democracy lack the rigor of his economic analysis, whereby he says people just need to vote for parties which represent for example a zero growth plan. Just voting is easier said than done when the western political system is dominated by a political hierarchy, in which alternative parties are sidelined in the mainstream media.

Interview of David Harvey Part I

Interview of David Harvey Part II

Global economic growth

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Zeigeist Documentary Denounces Western Democracy



The Zeigeist documentary raises serious concerns about the state of western democracy, by arguing that western democracy is a means for political and social control through a corporatocracy, comprised of wealthy corporations, national and international banking institutions and dominant political parties and their candidates.

Zeitgeist: Addendum - 2008 by Peter Joseph

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Democracies More Prone to Politicians Who Lie?

"Because unlike their democratically elected counterparts, autocratic or totalitarian governments just do not have the same need for it because they do not seek public approval or ratings.

In fact, the more accountable they are to their citizens, the more sinister and dangerous are the leaders' lies.

By mere definition of their jobs and scrutiny of their parliaments, democratic and especially Western leaders generally have more leeway in foreign than domestic affairs, and tend to exercise it to solidify their leadership," Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera's senior political analyst. (August 4th, 2010)

Lies and Cover-up Behind the Afghanistan Occupation

Obama Being Challenged Over Putting an American on Hitlist

"The government is targeting an American citizen for death without any legal process whatsoever, while at the same time impeding lawyers from challenging that death sentence and the government's sweeping claim of authority to issue it," Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU, said.

Civil Liberties Groups Challenge Obama

American on American Hitlist

Monday, August 2, 2010

Obama's Afghan PR is Mind-boggling


Speaking on a Sunday morning television programme, Obama defended the war-effort, saying that the US was not trying to turn Afghanistan into a western-style democracy.

"What we're looking to do is difficult, very difficult, but it's a fairly modest goal, which is, don't allow terrorists to operate from this region," he said.

"That can be accomplished," he added. "We can stabilise Afghanistan sufficiently and we can get enough co-operation from Pakistan that we are not magnifying the threat against the homeland."


So the US government has spent nine years occupying Afghanistan and billions of dollars, and lost hundreds of American lives, during which it installed and supports an Afghan western style democracy, and the US government's only goal is to not allow so-called terrorists from operating in the Afghanistan region?

If the US government's goal is "fairly modest" as Obama says, then why after nine years is the American government facing defeat in Afghanistan and the US military is still in there? Why did the US need to occupy Afghanistan in the first instance? Combating so-called terrorism calls for occupation of a country?

The Taliban have declared publicly that they have no international aspirations, and that they would not allow their country to be used for attacks against the US. Moreover, the Taliban demand the following:

1. Complete withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.
2. Liberation of the country.
3. Establishment of an Islamic system in the country based on the aspirations of the people.
4. Rehabilitation, development and prosperity of the people.
5. Participation of all pious and talented Mujahid Afghans in the government from all racial groups.

Somethings don't make sense.

Could it be that the US government by occupying Afghanistan has only fueled hatred of the American government, and thereby the potential for more attacks on America, such as the recent Time Square attempted bombing and attempted bombing of a US airplane?

Could it be that the US government is in Afghanistan for other reasons, which Obama is unwilling to say, such as geo-strategic and geo-political reasons?

Why hasn't the US government looked at the root causes of so-called terrorism, and focused on those causes?

Out of Afghanistan--nader.org

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Troubling Perspective on Afghanistan--defeat by a declining superpower is hard to admit

Thursday, 29 July 2010 20:47 administrator

There are speculations that the ousted Gen Mc Chrystal’s successor, Gen Perraeus, who has been chosen by the mutual consent of the White house and Pentagon, would hit the mark in six month’s time, that is, break the Mujahideen resistance across the country and enable the Kabul puppet administration to stand up for itself accelerating part of the troops’ withdrawal process from the country in a way that it may not affect the remaining troops on the ground in Afghanistan.

Gen Petraeus, in his first statement after a month his arrival in Afghanistan, pointed out to his commanders on the ground that his presence in Afghanistan was to ensure the final showdown and decisive operation, but for that, they were left no chances in Afghanistan to achieve their goal.

The sequence of the events, if observed, David Petraeus, after two months of his taking charge of the command in Afghanistan, does not seem to have come up with unique military tactics and extraordinary warfare so as to succeed in restoring the losing morale of the US soldiers in Afghanistan.

Furthermore, the attacks of every type on US invading forces in the country, gunfights, ambushes, IEDs, sniper fires, rocket propelled grenades and other weapons have reached the record levels since Gen Petraeus took the charge of battle in Afghanistan.

According to the Pentagon data, the deaths bring the US soldiers killed in Afghanistan to 150 in June, taking death toll of the US forces to 170 since the beginning of July. As things stand, Gen Petraeus’ appointment to the post did not only spiral down the progress of the invading forces in the country but also had the US and its allies military bases, barracks, outposts, airbases and military and logistical convoys attacked by Mujahideen several times more than ever.

As a matter of fact, the only accomplishment Gen Petraeus has made so far is civilian casualties (mass murder), which has to be considered his new war strategy and tactics.

Regrettably, some 90 non-combatant defenseless civilians have been martyred in the US invaders’ blind bombardments in Helmand’s Kajak, Paktis’s Zurmat districts and in other parts of the country over the past two weeks.

It appears that Gen Petsaeus will continue working out such war strategies and tactics (civilian casualties or mass murder) in the coming time as the way things are, the US invading forces are no match for Mujahideen in every war front and battle zone throughout the country; furthermore, the US forces have lost morale on the ground which leaves the Gen Petraeus no any alternatives but to resort to carrying out his vicious and wicked war pans and tactics which are only causing further civilian casualties (mass murder) over and over again.

Gen Petraeus has to realize the fact that the civilian casualties will make things worse for the US invading forces and their allies in Afghanistan, and create growing resentment among Afghan masses for the invading forces, turning the ordinary people against the US invaders which will definitely work out in favor of Mujahideen.

The capture and handover of the US soldiers in Logar’s Charkh district on July 24 by ordinary people is a case in point. This shows a clear evidence of the Afghan masses’ strong hatred towards US invaders.

Gen Petraeus is reminded if the civilian casualties continue to increase in such an alarming rate, it is not unlikely that the masses would give a full vent on the likes of Gen Petraes, balancing the accounts, therefore, it is advisable to manly admit the defeat as Mc Chrystal put it bluntly by admitting that Afghan war is unlikely to win over.

To put it another way, further stay for the US and their allies in Afghanistan is the same as digging ones own grave.

There is a worldwide growing concern over the long-delayed Afghan war, the American nation and whole world read the Afghan war as a burden and defeatist signal, which is ,with each day passing, deteriorating rather than progressing, whereas the number of the anti Afghan war people is increasing in the West. Fearing the downfall, some of the Western countries have set deadlines for their troops’ removal from Afghanistan.

It is high time Gen Petraeus knew full well the ground reality that he has the command of the forces in Afghanistan whose morale has already been down and they have been mentally defeated seeing no power in them to stand the war against the Afghan Mujahideen. Under the circumstances, Gen Peraeus would reap the reward of his job in Afghanistan in the form of disgrace, regret and defeat. Insha Allah.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cameron's Pakistan Comment Demonstrates Poor Leadership


UK Prime Minister Cameron's comment while in Bangalore that "we cannot tolerate in any sense the idea that this country [Pakistan] is allowed to look both ways and is able, in any way, to promote the export of terror, whether to India or whether to Afghanistan or anywhere else in the world," reflects poor judgment on the part of Cameron.

To accuse another country publicly of promoting so-called terrorism is inflammatory, and demonstrates a biased, narrow-minded position.

If Cameron's intent is to distance Britian from Pakistan, he has done a great job.

Perhaps Cameron is heading in Blair's footsteps of being a blind follower of US hardliners?

The FDA did a detailed study on Cameron during the 2010 British election in which Cameron received a modest grade/rating of 65.8%. His comment is consistent with that grade.

Cameron's Comment Causes Angry Reaction

FDA Study Results on Cameron

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Afghan US War Diary from 2004 to 2010


The US War Diary is only as good as the information put into it. So readers should read with some scepticism as to what was left out, and what information was altered and/or fabricated.

Afghan Diary

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Canadian Conservative minority government self-serving and backward

In July letter to its members, the Canadian conservative rallied its membership by attacking the Liberal party for interest in forming a coalition with the NDP.

This criticism by the Conservative government of the Liberal party for wanting to form a coalition government is counter to the interests of Canadians and norms in Western democracies. The Conservatives criticism stems from attacking threats to their minority reign on Canadian political power.

The Netherlands for example has a healthy democracy of six viable political parties, and coalition governments are the norm.

In the United Kingdom, coalition governments are expected if a majority government comprised of a single party is not elected.

The value of a coalition government is that it forces parties to work together, allows greater expression of people's will through the coalition itself, and avoids weak minority governments.

Canadians should question whether the Canadian Conservative government is putting the people's interests first, when it attacks any attempt at forming a coalition which does not involve it.



In the Globe and Mail, September 9, 2009, Stephen Harper’s former adviser Tom Flanagan says the Conservatives will attack the Liberals for forming a coalition with the other opposition parties.
Mr. Flanagan admits that this Conservative election strategy is based on a falsehood:
“It doesn’t have to be true. It just has to be plausible.”

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Obama Banking/Finance Reform Expands Bureaucracy

The Obama Administration claims the enormous banking/finance reform benefits the people. Yet the reform will expand the public sector over the private sector.

US lawyers, rather than the people, stand to benefit

Monday, July 19, 2010

Muhammad Gul's Sets Out the Likely Future of Afghanistan



Ironically in his article, Gul makes it clear that the US and its allies must respect the democratic wishes of Aghans themselves for Afghan peace to move forward. So far through a puppet Afghan government, the US has ignored the will of the Afghan people, while at the same time claiming democracy promotion in Afghanistan.

US Defeat Sooner Than Later

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New Moratorium on Select Offshore Drilling in Gulf

Obama's new moratorium on select offshore drilling in the Gulf is a no brainer, because another oil spill would be a disaster upon a disaster, and likely sink the Obama administration.

The question one needs to ask, is why did the Obama Administration allow offshore drilling, deep and shallow, in the Gulf of Mexico to begin with? Is modest economic gains from US offshore drilling, worth the severe risk to the environment?

New Moratorium

French Veil Ban Limits Freedom of Expression


The French Veil Ban now passed in the lower house of parliament, represents further reduction in the freedoms of French citizens, by not allowing them to decide for themselves whether or not they want to wear a veil. Also, the Ban infringes on the right to freedom of religion, and awards extremist elements in France who are intolerant ethnic groups.

Whether an individual wants to cover his or her face in public or private should be his or her choice. The French government has no right to tell French citizens what to wear, unless what is being worn is harmful to the well-being of others.

Veil Ban Approved

French Veil Ban

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Australian Government Carves into Individual Freedoms


Australia's governments proposal to censore the internet weakens individual freedoms by giving the government more power to control what citizens come into contact with, instead of allowing citizens to do their own filtering.

Such government control measures are a threat to a people's democracy.

The Australian government would have less an impact on individual freedoms by helping to educate citizens about what internet content is acceptible and what is not.

Australian Big Brother Expands

Monday, July 5, 2010

Internal Conflict Formenting in the West

Article on the ongoing internal decline of the West, whereby the threat of Islam for example is a symptom rather than a cause:

New Western Civil Wars

More Trouble in the Horizon in Afghanistan

International Robbers and Afghan Underground Wealth

Saturday, 03 July 2010 17:41 -

Now when the American militants have loudly accepted their defeat in the Afghan battlefield with the realization of being unable to retain a single foot of land, they have started an International Satanic Game. In order to prolong the war, the American aggressors are persuading their allies for further stay in Afghanistan through political and monitory bribe.

While citing the American geologists’ report, the American General David Petraeus in an interview with ‘New York Times’ said that Afghanistan has precious deposits worth $ 1 trillion and if these are mined it will make Afghanistan an economically stable country. He also said that some of these deposits can be helpful in military field besides bringing economic profit.

The chat about mineral in Afghanistan by a top military general being involved in the Afghan War reflects the deep American interests in the underground wealth of Afghan people. In fact, it’s not his duty to share the details about minerals Afghanistan rather he is supposed to lead the occupation forces on their war front. Hence, the interest shown by David Petraeus reveals the secret Americans plans to loot the Afghan deposits of great important through contracts made by their puppets in Kabul.

Reliable sources also report that the big American companies and important business figures have shares in these contracts for looting the precious natural resources. The fact which essentially makes every Afghan worried is that the deposits of uranium lie in the areas where Americans have built huge bases as preplan to loot the Afghan wealth. Allah knows how many planes bound for Washington are loaded each day from these bases.

Sources inform the Americans have awarded permissions to the countries after taking surety of helping the American militants to a certain period. The analysts say that contracts for mining Afghan natural resources stand illegitimate and immoral in the situation where a puppet regime is in place while the occupation forces are furthering their war plans. In such conditions the Afghan masses and soldiers of the historical resistance reserves the right to bar them and save the Afghan wealth by making the heinous design of international looters and thief unsuccessful.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan

The US has to get out of Afghanistan; why not today?


Thursday, 08 July 2010 07:32 -

America and its allies have bogged in Afghanistan. Neither the war machinery nor their advanced technology can save them from the lethal end. Similarly, the so-called claims of peace and fake Jirgas are also not going to work. The efforts to remove the names from the United Nation’s blacklist are not creating soft corner in the hearts of Afghan Emirate’s leadership for the Americans.

Likewise, the change of faces in the American Military Command will not create a ray of hope for the Americans. In short the invading United States of America will suffer the most catastrophic military setback in its history.

The surprise attacks on Ningarhar Airport and huge military base in Kandahar by the Mujahideen in which dozens of invading soldiers and the puppet elements were killed besides destroying American helicopters and spy planes prove that the new appointments by Obama are insignificant. Despite the appointments of new faces, the sensitive bases and military barracks have become easy targets for the Mujahideen. The surrender of important American military bases has become no different from the retaking of common check posts by Mujahideen without any resistance by the enemies.

President Obama and his military advisers should realize the fact that they cannot stay in Afghanistan anymore. The morale of their soldiers is on the lowest; their generals are revealing the facts in order to avoid embarrassment in the future. They are declaring the Afghan war as illegitimate and a disappointment. Some of the generals have resigned while others are making excuses for going out of the war. The American political administration has nothing to say except that War should be ended at the earliest. If the war prolonged, no one will be able to save the United States from disintegration. Billions of dollars of expenses and millions dollars of current approvals can also not warranty the American invaders to escape from the historical defeat. No one can guarantee the survival of America unless and until the American rulers take the rational decision of ending the war, getting out of Afghanistan, shut their bases and respect the sovereignty, independence and Islamic outlook of Afghanistan. There are no chances of their success. This is why the analysts agreed that Afghan war resembles the Vietnam War. They say that the United States is facing the same situation of Vietnam War where the Majority American masses had opposed the war and took to the streets.

Today not only the American masses but the people from all around the world are staging protests against the American War in Afghanistan. The Afghan Masses are fighting along with the Mujahideen with the same spirit of Vietnamese masses who had fought alongside their freedom fighters against The US.

According to a recent survey, 85 percent of the Afghan masses support their Mujahideen brothers. The American invading soldiers had to undergo mental healing due to attacks on them during the protracted Vietnam War. Similarly, the depressed American military officers and soldiers are becoming mental patients in Afghanistan due to attacks by Mujahideen. The US had to bear economic loss during the Vietnam War, whereas their economic backbone has broken due to the Afghan war.

Now it is up to the American rulers to analyze the situation in the light of these facts. It is rational to do something earlier than what has to be inevitably done later with contriteness and regret . The work is to get out of Afghanistan and respect the national independence of Afghan masses.


Study says Afghan Government Corruption Increasing

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Black Hole of Afghanistan


The Obama Adminstration pursues stubbornly a failing war effort in Afghanistan, while the US economy struggles, including higher US public debt, now over $13 trillion. The US debt translates into over $42,000 owed by every American. (The figure does not include individual debt.) (Since 2001, US Congress has approved $345 billion for the US Afghanistan adventure. Moreover, the Obama administration's $33 billion request for Afghanistan was recently approved by US Congress, to pay for additional US troops.)

The rationale of the US two party dictatorship of the Republicans and Democrats is that Afghanistan is vital to US national security. Yet, the Taliban have stated repeatedly they have no international aspirations; they are only interested in Afghanistan sovereignty. Is the US establishment pursuing a geo-strategic agenda in Afghanistan, and secondly economic opportunities like the vast, untapped Afghanistan mineral wealth?

US Growing National Debt

US Money in Afghanistan

Attack on US Contractor in Afghanistan

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Some Canadians Rise up Against the G20


In the run-up to the G20 Summit, Canadians in Toronto riot and protest at the perceived dictatorship of the G20, whereby a few politicians representing large financial interests have the say over most people in this world. Are the people of the G20 countries really being heard? Are the G20 and G8 outdated gatherings? Should a new model be used which reflects the will of the people from G20 countries? Should politicians be forced to take polygraphs on annual basis to root out corruption (similar to the way Canadian police candidates are screened)?

Canadian Democracy Weakens Under Pressure

Violence at the G20 Summit

Building Violent Canadian Struggle?

Taiwanese Democracy Under Threat


A new free trade deal with China and Taiwan threatens to undermine Taiwanese democracy, through gradual absorption of Taiwan into China through increased trade.

Taiwanese people face the issue of increased economic prosperity at the expense of losing their independence.

The FDA did a study on this very issue, concluding that Taiwan is better off to protect its values and identity than succumb to increased economic prosperity.


FDA Report on Taiwanese Independence

China Threatens to Engulf Taiwan