HUMAN first, then a proud IRANIAN

This blog represents the way I see some of the most significant events impacting the world and its citizens. This blog also represents how I react to the events as a member of humanity with a voice, a determined voice that insists to be heard. The voice of an Iranian who loves his country but his priority is humanity; humanity without border. I will say what I want to say, when I want to say it, and how I want to say it, but I will never lie. I will also listen; I promise.

January 27, 2006

Cost of a few more seats too high

The Canadian elections are finally over. From 308 parliamentary seats, 124 have gone Conservative, 103 were taken by the Liberals, Quebec's regional party of BQ received 51, New Democratic Party (NDP) secured 29 seats and one has gone to an independent.

As it is clear, no single party has gained 50% plus one (155) seats in the new parliament and as a result, not a majority but a minority government will be formed. Although the power has shifted from the previous Liberal government with 135 seats in the previous parliament, to the new Conservative government, it will still be a minority government.

During the election campaigns, my favorite party, the NDP, adopted a wrong and bone-headed tactic in order to achieve the strategy of defeating the Liberals in the elections. But defeating the Liberals to what cost? To hand the power to the Conservatives? Oh, how silly and how irresponsible of the NDP! As I wrote here, constantly attacking the Liberals while letting the Conservatives (the main party with the possibility of defeating the Liberals) have a free ride and even take advantage of NDP's political immaturity, only served the Conservatives by hammering the Liberals even harder. By slogans such as "Liberals are corrupt and do not deserve your vote" which was a powerful statement (and was aligned with the Conservative slogans) and the silly and empty slogan of "Conservatives are wrong on issues", the NDP In fact pulled more votes away from the Liberals either to its own favor or in favor of the Conservatives. Although adding to the popular vote, this campaign policy not only did not help the NDP gain seats in vast majority of the ridings where the main race was between the Liberals and the Conservatives, it just gave more chance to the Conservatives who in many of those ridings defeated the Liberals with small margins; margins as low as 21 votes in one case.

Yes, sure, NDP is celebrating the fact that it has increased its number of seats in the new parliament from 19 to 29. But how much of a difference does this really make? How would this make NDP any more effective and influential than it was in the previous parliament? Not much. In fact, even less; lot less.

First of all, it is a known fact that the NDP has more in common with the Liberals. Historically, many of the good fundamental Canadian laws came to life with a Liberal minority government with the balance of power in the hands of the NDP; "The Charter of Rights and Freedom" and "The Universal Health Care Act" are amongst the main ones. And most recent example was the second Liberal budget in last summer which was positively modified in favor of the low income and middle income families and in favor of strengthening the Canadian social safety nets, in return for NDP's support and thus, getting passed by the parliament. In short, by pushing the Liberals in power, some good works could and did actually get done.

NDP's biggest mistake was made when it forced the minority Liberal government to fall after withdrawing its support of the government back in November 2005. It was wrong because NDP knew every well that the new election would not bring a NDP government to power, especially with stupid and passive campaign slogans such as "Conservatives are wrong on issues" which bore no weight and no substance. Secondly, this would only provide the opportunity for the Liberals to perhaps win even more seats and form a majority government in which the role of NDP would be diminished. Another possible outcome that could be seen at the time, was a new minority government, perhaps a Liberal or even a Conservative government. Any brainless idiot could see that another minority Liberal government would bring not much change, except about $300 million waste as a result of the elections cost. Even worse could be the possibility of a Conservative minority (something that is now a reality) which could be far worse because of the fact that the Conservatives are pro-American, pro-Iraq war, pro- Ballastic Missile Defence system and against Kyoto accord, and this is in addition to their dangerous social conservative policies.

Now, with these possibilities in mind, how on earth the NDP and its leader Jack Layton decided to trigger an election? What did he think he would gain?

Let me explain why NDP's influence is in fact less than it was before; in the previous parliament:

Regardless of the fact that NDP has much less in common with the Conservatives than with the Liberals, NDP does not effectively have the balance of power in its hand anymore. Even if the Conservatives want to pass a law in the parliament, they need at least 31 additional votes on top their own to make any laws. Since NDP has 29 seats, it is 2 seats short of the condition in which the Conservatives would desperately need the NDP's support. Unlike the other parliament in which there were 4 Independent MPs, the new parliament will only have one Indepebent, so even getting him on board will not help passing laws. Well, that goes for the NDP and its "victory".

Now, the other scenario is the Conservatives' need for the Liberal support in passing any legislation. Well, Liberal support (with its 103 seats) can easily allow the Conservatives to pass their proposed laws. This might not be easy for a while, as there is so much bitterness between the Liberal and the Conservatives as a result of the nasty election campaign, but it can eventually start happening when things start cooling down. In that case, who needs the NDP's support anyway!

The third possibility is the great influence that the Quebec separatist party (the BQ) will have, as they have the number of seats the conservatives would need to pass legislations. Regardless of the fact that many economical and social policies of the BQ are progressive and very similar to those of the NDP's, they will only make deals if things help them to walk toward separation of the French speaking province of Quebec from Canada.

Looking at all the possibilities of the events of months ahead and with this current election results, with the so-called NDP's gains, it is clear that the NDP has "successfully" shut itself out of the position of influence and has left everything to be decided by the Conservatives and the Liberals (or the BQ) and forcing the NDP to sit on the side and watch what happens and keep recounting the new number of the seats over and over again and feel "joyful" and "victorious" about it.

Considering the above, I do believe the NDP, the party I still like the most, had lost its priorities during the election campaign and with its immature campaign policies it has now given Canadians a grave disservice.


January 23, 2006

Beware of Pollsters!

The Canadian pre-election polls taken by research companies vary greatly from one to another. Some are constantly indicating (claiming) that the conservatives are in significant lead. There are also some indicating that the conservatives are in a lead, but not as much as suggested by others. To me, some are cooking the numbers, or somehow misleading the people who have been surveyed, and the people who are consuming the survey results.

The final results might show which one of these pollsters should be ignored in the future.:

Here are a couple of example that indicate the significant difference in the results ontained by two different forms.Here are the latest:

FromStrategic Councel:
Liberals: 27%
Conservatives: 37%
NDP: 17%
BQ: 11%
Greens: 6%

From SESResearch:
Liberals: 30%
Conservatives: 36%
NDP: 17%
BQ: 11%
Greens: 6%

I feel that the result from SES more reflects what is really out there. Remember, the so-called polls results can mislead people and somewhat give direction to the way some people actually vote.

We will see after the real numbers are in.

The elections are over. The real numbers are in. Here is the actual popular vote results (and number of seats):

Liberals: 30.2%: 103 seats
Conservatives: 36.3%: 124 seats
NDP: 17.5%: 29 seats
BQ: 1o.5%: 51 seats
Greens: 4.5%: None

Well, SESResearch numbers are almost right on. It is intersting that only a couple of days before the elections, Strategic Council was claiming that the gap between Liberals and the Conservatives was about 14% and that was when SESResearch was showing the gap as about 8%. As I siad somebody is deliberately doing something wrong in order to deceive people. Never trust the poll results only becasue they are coming from well-known research companies.

I hope to write more about the elections in near future.


January 21, 2006

GST cut; good or bad?!

Fully 29 per cent of voters surveyed in mid-January said they were more inclined to vote Conservative because of the GST (Good and Services Tax-Faramin) cut -- the single most powerful item tested, according to Decima Research.
I have a simple argument about and well, against the idea of GST cut: Let's first quickly look at a little background on this: In Canada, there is a 7 percent federal GST (Goods and Services Tax) on purchasing of many non-essential items (This is on top of the provincial sales tax which vary from province to province). The conservatives are offering to reduce this tax to 6 percent immediately after forming the government and by another one percent within five years thereafter. It is strange and disappointing to see 29 percent of the people are going to vote the conservatives for this single reason. First of all, it is understandable if a very high earner family likes the idea of reduction in the GST because they are the ones with the highest disposable income and highest purchasing power. They are the ones who are more likely to purchase expensive items and every one percent less tax could end of being a considerable saving on their purchases.

Now, let's see how this would affect a low income family:

There are tens of thousands of families in Canada who survive with less than $25,000 gross annual income. If we consider that a good chunk of what they make (Just over 2.4%) is deducted for Employment insurance (EI) and about 5% Canada Pension Plan (CPP), this would mean about $1800 of the income of the family is already deducted and paid towards EI and CPP. On top of this, obviously the family pays income taxes as well (which is also a combination of provincial and federal taxes). After all these deductions, the money left would be just barely enough to survive.

On the other hand, the conservative's claim that this reduction would be beneficial to everybody; regardless of their income, is nothing but a gross lie. A family with such a low income does not have a high purchasing power in first place and after all the deductions, the money that is left for them is almost just enough to buy food and groceries. However, food and groceries such as bread, fruits, milk, meat etc. Are already non-taxable items anyway. So this GST reduction makes no difference for a low income family at least as far as the groceries are concerned.

Also, low income families are generally renters and do not own their own houses or condominiums. And the other big chunk of their income is spent on rental payments, which are already not taxable. So, once again the GST makes no difference to them in regards to cost of renting.

So, just this quick look at the scenario reveals that the reduction in the GST leaves these families with only a few extra dollars in their pockets in course of a year and nothing more.

To different extent, this case can also be applied to the middle income families. And yes, based on that, they will be left with just a bit more in their pockets. And all this is happening while the rich and those who need the least, are ending up saving and benefiting the most.

Some might argue by saying that who cares how much the rich saves, even a few bucks in my pocket is better than nothing. But this idea ignores the fact that there is a much bigger case at stake: The combined result of this reduction (to the rich and poor) is less money in the hands of the government, and when the government has less money in its hands, that means there is less money to spend and that, in turn, means cuts in the public services and guess who needs those public services the most: The poor and the middle income. And when things get to this point, that's when the wave of fee-based services hit the shores and then is the time for many of these 29 percent who cannot be all rich and are those who are now favoring the GST cut, can realize how stupid and brainless they have been by allowing to be manipulated so easily by something which only sounded good but in fact was a disaster.


Conservatives for the rich

Tory (Conservative) tax plan ultimately favours well-off: experts
Of course it does. That's a no brainer.


January 20, 2006

Keep your mouth shut until after the elections

American conservatives have been asked to shut up until after Canada's January 23rd elections and do not comment about the elections as it might hurt Harper's conservatives.

WASHINGTON: There's an e-mail making the rounds of U.S. conservative groups, warning them not to talk to Canadian journalists before Monday's election for fear of scaring off voters and hurting Stephen Harper's chances..... .
Looks like they are well aware how much they are disliked by Canadians. Read the rest here.

Mr. Weyrich suggested to recipients of his message that "if the Canadian media calls, please do not be interviewed until Monday evening, at which point hopefully there will be reason to celebrate."
Mr. Weyrich, a veteran spokesman for the U.S. right, said in an interview he could not "verify" the e-mail. When it was suggested this was a non-denial denial, Mr. Weyrich snapped, "You can make of it whatever you wish."
It is already stinking. Read more.


January 18, 2006

American social conservatives (Republicans) are thrilled! No surprise there.

Of course they are. Why shouldn't they? With Stephen Harper in power, Soon, they might completely own Canada.

WASHINGTON — It's all about the chance for a new start. At the White House, there's cautious optimism about Conservative gains in Canada's election campaign.
Republicans view Stephen Harper's rising fortunes as a relief and a balm after so much bickering between the two countries under Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin.

(American-Faramin) Social conservatives are thrilled.... .

suggestion that he'd revisit the decision not to participate in President George W. Bush's missile defence program and has hopes he'd consider helping rebuild Iraq.. .

And Republicans understand, said analyst David Biette, that Canadian Conservatives are a different breed.... .

"You line them up on the political spectrum and they're not in the same place,'' said Biette, who runs the Canada Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
"They're not going to be a toady for America, that's for sure... ''

Yeah Yeah Yeah, and that's nothing but trying to reduce the suspecion of Candians towards the Conservatives and Stephen Harper and is to tell Canadians, "don't worry, they are not going to be our puppets. Vote for them", and when that happens, when Stephen is in power and shows his true face which is now well-hidden, it will be too late for Canada to get rid of himn so easily).

Harper would bring shame to Canada and feeling of "regained" ownership of Canada to the rightwing neo-conservatives in the US.

Disaster is nocking on Canada's doors.


January 14, 2006

Canadian elections: Strategic voting; right this time

I think the main-stream media in Canada has decided to go for the Conservatives in the upcoming January 23rd elections in Canada. For example, and this is only one of many examples, the other day I noticed this photo in the front page of the Toronto Star and also the Globe and Mail showing two little black girls with the Conservative Party's flag logo in their hands while presumably listening to Stephen Harper, the milder but smarter (call it more crook) version of George Bush in Canada, in the background. I am sure there were tens, if not hundreds, of other photos from the same speech event, but both papers had decided to show that particular picture. It is a known fact that Stephen Harper and his party is the most racist and anti-immigrant party (amongst the main parties) in Canada and is the party most concerned about the interests of the big corporations and rich people and attempts like showing that particular picture are not just coincidents. They are designed to portray Harper as a kind and caring man who is a friends of the immigrants; something that is absolutely untrue.

Having said this, I believe that in a critical time like this that there are significant systematic efforts to hand the power to "Canada's Republicans", the New Democratic Party (the NDP) has lost its priorities. I am fed up with the fact that Jack Layton, the leader of the NDP is still focusing on and attacking Paul Martin (the current Prime Minister and the leader of the Liberal Party). If Layton had his attention focused on Martin until two weeks ago, which was the case, it was in my opinion, a right and sound policy because Martin's Liberals were well ahead of the Conservatives and then the NDP should have tried to attract many left leaning Liberal voters who share many of the values of the NDP. But things have significantly changed during the last two weeks; Conservatives are now well-ahead of the Liberals and there is an increased possibility of the Conservatives taking the majority of the seats in the parliament and thus, forming the majority government in which case no party will be able to stop them from implementing their far-right wing agendas. Although I respect and admire Layton and the NDP as my first natural choice (in normal conditions), we cannot afford listening to Layton at this time. While he is right, he is wrong! He is right when he claims and brings so many reasons that the Liberals are no good, but he is wrong when he misses and leaves out the worse enemy of the ordinary people, the Conservatives. As I wrote to a paper recently (which was never published), in short this is what I am suggesting:

As a traditional NDP supporter, I have to disagree with NDP's leader Jack Layton that the Liberals and the Conservatives are the same; They are not. While, Liberals are far, very far from ideal, they have major differences with the Conservatives; at least in terms of social and especially foreign policies.

A simple comparison would reveal this difference: As is the case with the US now, Canada would have been receiving death Canadian soldiers in body bags from Iraq if Stephen Harper was the Prime Minister when US invasion of Iraq began. We would have been part of US's so-called missile defense system if Stephen Harper was the Prime Minister. We would not have been part of the much needed Kyoto environmental accord if Harper was the Prime Minister. We would have been part of the efforts; lead by the US, to weaken the UN if Harper was the Prime Minister. We would have been losing our hard-earned liberties;one by one as has been happening to the Americans under George Bush, if Harper was the Prime Minister. We would have been losing the respect we are enjoying now in the international stage if Harper was the Prime Minister. In short, we would haven been practically adapting all the neo-conservative policies of George Bush's America if Harper was the Prime Minister.

Americans have the first hand experience of what conservatism can do to a country and now are increasingly speaking out against it and denouncing it. The question for us, Canadians is that "do we want to go through the same path of failure?"

I urge my fellow NDPiers to look at the previous 2004 election results in their ridings; If the fight was clearly between the NDP and the Liberal candidates, definitely vote for the NDP as it obviously stands for the better and if the fight was between the Liberal and the conservative candidate with NDP candidate running distanced third, unless there has been a major development since then in favour of the NDP candidate, do not waste your vote; vote for the Liberal candidate . Meantime, I strongly urge the Liberal voters to vote for the NDP candidate in the ridings where the 2004 race was close between the NDP and the Conservative candidates and the Liberal running distanced third.

Remember, a minority liberal government with the balance of power in the hands of the NDP is the best possible scenario out of the current urgent situation in which Canada is at the edge of becoming another US in the north. Even a minority conservative government can be handled and prevented from imposing its rightwing agenda's, but a majority conservative will be devastating to Canada and what it stands for. The threat is serious and immediate; let us prevent this from happening otherwise we will regret as now are the Americans with Bush's gang in power.

I also urge my American friends who have experienced the devastation George Bush and his right wing party has brought to the United States to write to the editors of the Canadian papers, such as the above, to tell them of their experience. Conservative victory in Canada will embolden and rejuvenate the ground losing neo-conservatives of the US. Vast majority of Canadians do not want Canada to be transformed to something similar to Bush's America; but they are badly angry at the Liberals for their so many mistakes, especially in last couple of years. But Canadians just need to be reminded that The Conservatives in Canada are not much better than the Liberals and in fact if Liberals sometime have some good policies for the real people and not just the rich people, Conservatives are like the dedicated servants of the rich and that they are not much different than the Republicans in the US. If this massage gets out well, the Conservatives will have no chance of winning in this election.

Update: This site is basically providing a similar picture to what I have discussed in the post about Strategic voting. However even more specifically, it provides a guide based on the previous election results. Although Starategic voting will not work in where I live, I believe the guide in the above site will provide a good picture of where it might work. Take a look at it and please pass it on.


January 11, 2006


On the upcoming Canada's elections and even more relevant to the US elections:
This is Mouseland!


January 05, 2006

Robertson's brain "farted" again

Television evangelist Pat Robertson suggested Thursday that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke was divine retribution for the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, which Robertson opposed.
Another clear example of the stupidity of the religious extremists. They all share the same stupidity; only defined differenetly.


January 01, 2006

The "Happy New Year" is not so "Happy" for millions

Tens of thousands of prisoners in Kenya plan to skip their meal on Sunday to raise money for fellow Kenyans affected by food shortages.
Prisoners in jails across the country are hoping that by diverting funds for their meal to the charity Food Aid, it will help the starving.
Some 2.4 million people are threatened by severe drought across Kenya
.... .
Skipping a meal to help their fellow human beings! Given the condition they are in and the limitatios they face, that's really all they can do and what they are doing is a Nobel gesture. But if they can accept going hungry for the day, only in order to be able to take part in what is everybody's responsibility, then why can't we who most likely do not even need to go hungry at all, are not doing something? It is just a matter of giving a little to those who are in a desperate need for food. Chances are that we won't even notice any change in the day to day routine of our lives. Please give. Please give generously in anyway you can. Starvation is not just a word, it is a reality;A reality that is truly hurting people; people just like us, especially the children.

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