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