Sunday, November 25, 2012

One Canadian reason for Instant Runoff Voting, or at least Single Transferable Vote

I am looking at the last elections in Canada, which were in 2011 and they use First past the Post voting. Now, Stephen Harper is the Prime Minister, the Conservative Party's leader, and in the election he received 53.9% of the seats. The New Democrats under the late Jack Layton and the Liberals under Ignatieff both pulled the majority of the rest of the seats creating spoilers for each other across the country.

Wikipedia has really good information about the results in Canada in 2011,,_2011 and,_2011 and I recommend looking at the elections where no party received over 50% of the vote. Here is a summary table of the votes received in each of the provinces from there to see the clear change in representation with FPP as opposed to what the people want. I understand this isn't as detailed, but the link above gives detailed information, this is meant as a quick overview.

Across Canada, the Conservative Party received 39.6% of the vote, yet they received 53.9% of the seats.

Province Conservative NDP/Liberal/Green Conservative Seats NLG seats
Alberta 66.8 33.2 96 4
British Columbia 45.5 54.5 58 42
Manitoba 53.5 46.5 79 21
New Brunswick 43.9 56.1 80 20
Newfoundland 28.4 71.6 14 86
Northwest Territories 32.1 67.9 0 100
Nova Scotia 36.7 63.3 36 64
Nunavut 49.9 50.1 100 0
Ontario 44.4 55.6 69 31
Prince Edward Island 41.2 58.8 25 75
Quebec 16.5 43.5 7 93
Saskatchewan 56.3 43.7 93 7
Yukon 33.8 66.2 100 0
All of these are percentages from the links above.

Looking at a lot of ridings we get a similar picture on a fine scale. The majority of Canadians voted for either the Liberals or the New Democrats, but since they could choose only one candidate their votes were split and Canadians are stuck with Stephen Harper, even though 60.4% of Canadians voted for left-wing parties. The American election that just happened saw a similar result where 51% of Americans voted for their Democratic Representative candidate yet the Republicans are in full control of the House of Representatives due to Gerrymandering. In Britain which also uses FPP the Conservative Party received only 36.05% of the vote but received 47.08% of the seats. The list of British elections that year again shows a large number of seats with the majority of voters voting for either the Liberal Democrats or Labour but still the Conservative gets elected, in many cases the winner won less than 40% of the vote, with the majority going liberal. In the cases where the Liberal Democrats or Labour won, or the one case where the Green candidate was elected if there was redistribution with IRV nothing would change because they would receive the votes from the other left-wing party which means that there would probably be no difference in victor assuming people vote for the same first choice and fill their ballots out correctly which is usually not a problem in the democracies that use proportional representation.

This is an inherent flaw with First Past the Post Voting. It does not represent the majority. America, Canada, and Britain need to adopt Instant Runoff Voting or Single Transferable Vote for our elections so that we can have an accurate representation of what the people want in our democracies and see third party participation with neglected issues rise to give Democracy back to the people! A better choice would be to choose Single Transferable Vote though, which would make it so that third parties would more likely be represented which would increase the possibility that minority views could be heard in our legislatures. This is why even though there should be 17 or 18 Greens in Australia's parliament despite using the alternative vote there is only one Green in parliament. By making large districts with multiple winners as Fairvote proposes we could have third parties represented and vote for the candidates we want without having either a) a very long ballot or b) vote for the party instead of the individual which locks voters into boxes for which party they prefer regardless of candidate.

This is not just western nations too. Malaysia in 2008 saw again the same pattern of a large difference between the votes received and the seats attained between their two large coalitions in 2008 where the right wing got 50% of the vote but 63% of the seats and they also use FPP. India saw their largest coalition receive 37% of the vote and 48% of the seats, and their third largest coalition received 21% of the vote but only 7% of their seats still with the same system. In my opinion a difference over 10% between votes and representation represents a system failure. In the United States in 2012 the Republicans received 48% of the vote and 54% of the seats, while not as extreme as these other countries is also worth noting because it is across the 50% mark.

But is it really that much better with ranked voting? The data says yes. In 2010 the Labor Party received 50% of the vote and 55% of the seats in Australia. In 2009 in Germany the CDU received 33% of the vote and received 40% of the seats while competing against 4 other major parties all of whom received seats. In 2010 in Sweden the Social Democrats received 30.7% of the vote and received 32% of the seats. Australia, Germany and Sweden are just three examples of the larger trend where proportional representation more accurately represents the views of the People and are much better systems. This is why I think we need to move to Fairvote's plan after looking at how India, Malaysia, Britain and Canada's elections reflect our own so much in minority rule with the same inherently broken election system while Australia, Germany, and Sweden have very accurate representation of what the people ask for in their parliaments. To quote CGPGrey from youtube, would anyone accept a sport where there was a 10% chance that the loser could win? Of course not, and we shouldn't accept it in our elections.

Learn more at and CGPGrey's channel on youtube.
Here is a map of where different systems are used:

Monday, November 12, 2012

A summary of issues everyone in America can agree on

In this era of absolute political discord, we should not forget there are still a few issues that most Americans (and, frankly, most people in the world) regardless of political sway can agree on:
  • North Korea is a dangerous country that needs to be countered so that they can be reunified with South Korea. Foreigners have a responsibility to move the world to a point so the concentration camps can be closed.
  • China needs democracy.
  • Women's rights in the Middle East need to improve.
  • Turkey is a valuable ally to all freedom loving people.
  • There have been no wars in the European Union since its foundation.
  • Good things are happening in Scandinavia, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
  • The drug war has caused too much violence in Latin America. A solution is needed. (even though we might disagree on what should be done)
  • The budget should be balanced, though this is one of the most contentious subjects.
  • When surveyed, most Americans agree that we should have a more equal distribution of wealth and most don't fully comprehend the difference between the super rich and super poor.
  • Most Americans want at least a public option for health insurance.
  • Most Americans want less foreign involvement in the Middle East. Except big oil.

We aren't as divided as we think we are

Oh, apparantly according the IMF I was right about the Austerity crisis

Would you look at that, the IMF releases a report saying exactly what I posted here: way back in July.

I like being right. Now stop firing Greeks, stop firing Spaniards, and embrace economics. Just as I said, and just as the IMF agrees with me, not these far-right conservatives that think firing people will improve the economy.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Two-faced billionaires

I was just looking at opensecrets' information on individual donors and decided to look for Bill Gates, why not?

Here is how to get the information, search "gates" in the search box on and press enter. Click on individual donors.

There are a few different Gates profiles. First of all, there is his wife, Melinda, donating to the Democrats. Then a few of Bill Gates III, his wife Melinda Gates, and his father Bill Gates Senior donating to Democrats. Here are the people these three people donated at least $1,000 to:
  • $73,700 to the DNC Services Corp
  • $17,000 for Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
  • $12,000 for Democrat Suzan Del Bene who ran in their Washington district
  • $10,000 for President Barack Obama
  • $5,000 to Republican Representative Lindsey Graham of South Carolina from their Kirkland address.
  • $5,000 A donation to the Business Software Alliance
  • $5,000 to Republican PAC "The Freedom Project"
  • $5,000 for Republican Lindsey Graham
  • $3,750 for Democrat Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington
  • $3,500 for Democratic Representative Jim McDermott of Western Washington
  • $2,500 for Republican Dave Reichert who is running against Del Bene in their district
  • $2,500 for Republican Dean Heller
  • $2,500 for the "Every Republican is Crucial" PAC
  • $2,500 for Republican Senator John Thune of South Dakota
  • $2,000 for Republican Richard Lugar of Indiana
  • $2,000 for Republican Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Eastern Washington
  • $2,000 for Democrat Representative Adam Smith of Western Washington
  • $1,500 for Republican Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky
  • $1,250 for Republican Representative Roy Blunt of Missouri
  • $1,250 for Republican Representative Mark Crapo of Idaho
  • $1,000 for Democrat Senator Patty Murray of Washington
  • $1,000 for Democrat Representative Norm Dicks of Washington
  • $1,000 for Democrat Representative-elect Derek Kilmer of Washington
  • $1,000 for Democratic Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland
  • $1,000 for Democratic Minority leader Nancy Pelosi of California
  • $1,000 for Democratic Representative Rick Larsen of Washington
  • $1,000 for Democratic Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida

That is a grand total of $352,900 excluding donations under $1000 only including those that are on, have been disclosed, and are clearly from one of their addresses. There is also a $650 donation to Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts below that is not included in the total I give since it doesn't meet thethreshold I made.

Microsoft Inc sent $2,299,132 to Congress, split with about 2/3 going to Democrats and 1/3 going to Republicans. Whoever won would have listened to Microsoft to keep getting their support.

With $128,950 going to Democrats, and $223,950 going to Republicans it is clear who Bill Gates supports. I am more proud to say I use Ubuntu today than ever before!

Overturn Citizens United. Make publically run, publically financed, and publically accountable elections now!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Election Analysis, 2012

A successful election for the Democrats, and I am glad that Obama won by a huge margin and didn't need Ohio, Florida, or Virginia. I hope this will be his chance to really push to fix a lot of problems personally.
From a historical perspective this is an anomaly for several reasons. Many people looking back will study this past election. It is the first election without a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant. It is the first election where there are two Catholics, and the first Mormon. It has changed the dynamics of how our politics looks, at least as of the Friday following, with recently unprecedented speeches from the leaders of both major parties calling for compromise following two years of butting heads. Obama being elected as the economy is growing slower than we would like is a remarkable achievement.

With the last election being preceded by the taking over of the house it would have been very reasonable to expect Romney to win based just on this fact. That happened prior to Franklin Roosevelt being elected where the Democrats took over Congress 2 years prior to Roosevelt being elected after Republican domination, and two years prior to Harding being election in 1918-1920. It more resembles 1994-1996 when the Republicans took over Congress, but did not succeed in taking over the Presidency. Hopefully Obama will work better with Congress, because everyone remembers how Clinton and the Republicans got along (not).

Washington, Maryland, and Maine have approved gay marriage, and Minnesota has not made gay marriage unconstitutional. This is will become a trend and I am fully convinced gay marriage will be fully legal within 20 years.

More importantly on the House elections is that although a majority of voters voted for their Democratic candidates, the Republicans continue to control the house. This is a symptom of gerrymandering. With the Democrats increasing their share in the house the 2014 elections will be absolutely critical to Obama potentially fulfilling more of his goals.

On foreign policy, I don't expect many changes because their is consensus about Israel, the Arab Spring, China, Russia, Latin America, and other potential issues. There is disagreement about Iran, but I don't expect any action because of their ties with Russia. The Republicans talk a lot but with the nuclear weapons that Russia has and their vast resources, I don't expect any changes in their policy. With the relationship Russia and North Korea have, I don't expect to be saving the North Koreans any time soon. Everything depends on how the governments of China acts. If there is a Chinese Spring and their politics becomes democratic and the Republic of China comes back to Beijing in the next four years everything about global politics will change. We will gain a valuable ally and Russia will be left alone. North Korea will be in trouble (the people jubilant) and the economy of Vietnam and Laos will be in question. Tibet and Xianjiang will become independent which will change the geopolitics of the entire continent of Asia. If the Russian people say they want real democracy, not the pseudo-democracy they currently have, than again, the entire geopolitical world will be changed and North Korea, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Iran, and Syria will be left without friends. If both Russia and China move towards democracy everything in the world will be different with the governments of those five countries with close ties to Russia without foreign support. I expect we will leave Afghanistan, the graveyard of empires, and the entire relationship Pakistan has with us and India will continue to be extraordinarily complicated.

The fiscal cliff will be conquered I am sure because both Democrats and Republicans know the American people want them to fix the issues. If we fix the budget issue we will have a lot more money in 30 years once all the debt is paid to either diminish taxes, spend more on infrastructure, education, and health care, or both. The American people want a solution, our elected officials know this. The question is how fast will they find a solution to the problem, and if they postpone increasing the debt, how far in the future will that be? How will this effect the 2014 elections? All of that is uncertain. But one thing is certain, if the Republicans want to keep their jobs, they will need to compromise.

How will the referenda on no health care legislation play out in the courts? That is a blatant obstinate refusal to follow Federal law, and thanks to the 10th Amendment there is no way to know if they will stay in force and how they will effect Obamacare.

With unemployment falling and the stock market growing on average, there is no doubt the economy is improving, although not as fast as we would like without a doubt. Whether our government will find real solutions to this is another big question. The economy is getting better, the stock market is still a buyer's market and after the budget deal it will be even more so.

Democrats continue to lead Washington (my home state) and have taken over the legislature in Oregon, which is very important. The possibility of some liberal constitutional amendments is rising.

I am optimistic about the future, this election is one of the most fascinating in all of history. It will be used by people like myself to argue for election reform so that it is less likely that a party can win a majority of the people's vote but not get a majority of the seats in the House. Turnout was high, so the votes are valid for the opinions of the American people. Hopefully we can see reform sooner than later. Hopefully minor parties will work on this and get some seats in state legislatures to push for real reform in two years.

I hope that our two parties can work together, I hope they will look at the exit polls and take it into their political analysis. I also hope that the Democrats (who share most but not all of my viewpoints) will use any potential blockading by Republicans against them in 2014. Preferably though I would like to see them get along. A lot of people have talked about the hispanic vote and how that impact will be felt in the near future. Hopefully this can turn some solid Republican seats in the Southwest to solid Democrat seats in 2 years.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

How to Kill America

I am absolutely 100% convinced America will not be destroyed by China, gay marriage, alcohol, marijuana, hemp, meth, heroin, Communism, socialism, or terrorism. America will not be destroyed by Irish, German, Chinese, Japanese, or Mexican immigrants. America can only be destroyed by the American people. America will be destroyed when there is so much voter apathy towards the government that no one will vote, no one will care, no one will look at the issues, and all the major media outlets will be owned by private organizations that don't have the country's issues at heart. America will be destroyed when protest funded by billionaires are deemed "patriotic" and truly populist protests are shot at and not enough people care to shut down the system. America will die when the quest to find a balanced news source that gives the opinions of both parties all the time on contentious issues is so rare that it will be deemed impossible. America will be destroyed when science is ignored and religious extremism is considered factual. America will be destroyed when funding terrorist states is considered necessary but repairing aging infrastructure that is falling from age is not mentioned. America will be destroyed when the bill of rights (except the second half of the second amendment, none of this socialist free state nonsense, and the God ordained state rights, like Jim Crow, are followed) and habeus corpus is ignored and indefinite detention is the norm. America will only fail when the People don't care enough that they have lost their rights in endless shopping malls, more inefficient cars, dirt wages, and the freedom to work for whichever Fortune 500 company's affiliate you want (except of course owning your own business) is guaranteed, but their is no right to life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness. That is how to kill America.
This is why the Tea Party won in the house.
This is why African Americans and Hispanics usually turn out less.
This is why we have a split government.
This is why our disparity of wealth is the fourth most unequal in the world.

This is why while nation which have far lower GDPs and far lower GDP per capitas are building far more infrastructure and their economies are growing much faster.
That is why our economic growth rate is below where it has to be.
This is why most government contractors have gigantic  swarms of lobbyists who give campaign contributions in exchange for the People's tax dollars and get away with it.

This is why we ignored the Kurdish genocide, Darfur genocide, Holocaust, Great Purge, and Japanese Interment Camps, and supported Apartheid.

This is my biggest fear.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

After the Election

As I write this on November 3rd it is clear Obama is going to win according to most polls. It is also likely that the Senate will lean Democrat. Beyond this, the probability is that the House will lean Democrat. Here is my list of what I hope President Obama and the Democrats will do. and

Push harder for light rail investment in America. We have the rail lines, we don't use them efficiently. gives information on the cost-benefit of doing efficient rail transportation as opposed to other methods. We also need to improve the nationwide AMTRAK system and cover more cities. There is no reason Las Vegas, Nashville, Boise, and Columbus should not have AMTRAK. WE CAN DO BETTER! We need to expand to these cities that already have rail lines according to Google Earth and make it so people can efficiently get around the country. We are America, and Obama needs to be our next Roosevelt more than he already has been.

Obama needs to push for comprehensive immigration reform. Detainees should not be kept without due process and habeus corpus which currently happens. We need to fix the way that people become immigrants to make it faster, safer, less expensive, and easier. We need to bring back farm work visas that were repealed in the beginning of Bush II's term. That is the reason illegal immigration is even an issue. is an excellent graphic on why we need to reform immigration.

We need to push for renewable energy. We need to move to a hydrogen based economy. This needs to be the third highest priority for the next two years under this congress is setting out an outline on how to set up a domestic renewable economy for transportation, which can be done. and

We need to harness our renewable energy sources here in America of wind, solar, geothermal, wave power, and others. This is energy independence. This is what will power our hydrogen economy.

We need to fulfill our pulling out of Afghanistan to save a hundred billion a year. This needs to be then invested in the three development goals outlined above.

We need to reform our elections to make it so that our next elections can accurately reflect what Americans want. This will eliminate the spoiler effect and give third parties the chance to vote. A vote for president in California should have as much weight as a vote in Wyoming. and have the best information.

The Defense of Marriage must be struck down by the Supreme Court as soon as Obama gets his next appointment.

The tax code needs to be reformed to be progressive, tax capital gains as regular income. They don't deserve a 50% tax cut. People who make less than the cost of living should not pay income tax. People should get deductions for health care and education, until they become publically financed. This will stimulate the economy by increasing consumer spending from the middle class.

We need to expand access to 90 days visa free to more countries. Particularly citizens of Brazil, South Africa, Poland, Turkey, Georgia, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Croatia, Bahamas, Albania, Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Lesotho, Botswana, Swaziland, Namibia, British Overseas Citizens, and allow Cubans to visit the United States and Americans to visit Cuba. If Puerto Rico votes to become independent on Tuesday we need to make sure they can visit America visa-free. Visa waiver countries should not need pre-border clearance.

We need to push Europe towards abandoning Austerity and adopting Keynesian economics before the election next year.

Unemployment will continue to drop, by reforming the tax code it will probably go below 5%. All this needs to happen. Most of these will happen eventually. We need to start now.