Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Electoral Fusion under FPP: MMP replacement

How about we replace MMP with some "Electoral Fusion" under FPP? Basically, minor parties like the Greens can choose to endorse a party whose platform is sufficiently close enough to theirs. If no major party is close enough for them, they can run separate candidates, which would remind the major parties of the potential support they could have gotten if they'd included them.

I assume a fair amount of this sort of thing happened under FPP anyway. The coalitions are made before the election, not after, so you're know what you're getting. However, making it transparent like this will help appease the PR concerned people.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Another reason why MMP sucks

So, apparently, because Labour + New Zealand First + United Future + Greens abstaining equals more than 50% of the votes, that means that the Government actually has the support of the majority of the population?

That's another fallacy made by proponents of MMP. Apparently, if all the parties in Parliament joined in a "Grandest Coalition", the Government would have the biggest mandate ever - close to 100% of the population. Right? Or a Labour/National coalition would be supported by 80%?

Just because the numbers add up to a majority, doesn't mean the Government is actually the will of them.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Canadians overthrow Government in mass coup

OTTAWA - In a mostly bloodless coup led by millions of Canadians, the regime of Paul Martin's Liberals was overthrown.

The coup was led by political rival Stephen Harper. Harper had spent the last few weeks planning the coup, attempting to woe the population into tossing Martin from power. Martin, however, was well aware of the coup attempt, and subsequently tried rallying people of his own, in attempt to hold onto power. However, this was not successful.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Why MMP sucks

And no, this post is not so much a whinge on "being held to ransom by small parties". You'll find plenty of writing on that. This post is questioning on how proportionate proportional representation really is.

First off, we have the gaping hole in the fact that parliaments are inherently FPP. In fact, many things are inherently FPP. Games are FPP. Now, there are a few exceptions but if the All Blacks win 30-20 we don't usually go "Here, you played well, have 40% of a win". Any attempt to try to make the allocation of seats proportional does not realize that our democracy is not proportionational in any respect. If 55% of the population on average would vote "left" and 45% of the population voted "right", the distribution of seats is actually quite irrelevant. Around 65% of Governments will have a "left" majority, regardless of the system actually used. You're trying to get over 50% of the seats in your hands and then you have all the power - "winner takes all". In fact, proportional representation is likely to distort this even more, thanks to the "Winston effect".

We see that the number of seats doesn't actually matter in the case of power. New Zealand First lost almost half of its MPs from the 2002 election, yet Peters had substantially more power. Why? Because Labour was considerably stronger in the 2002 election, and thus had a lot more flexibility. It's a lie then, that proportional representation gives power any more proportionally. It's proportional in a twisted way... to how strong its potential coalition partners are, how close the election result is, how tactiful the party leaders are in "swinging", like Dunne and Peters. In fact, we should be thankful in New Zealand that our major parties together win a considerable majority of the vote, versus some European countries that have it far more fractured. This gives more and more control over the final shape of Government to the coalition negotiators, rather than the people.

Until we get a system that ensures that power in Parliament is not inherently FPP in the first place, MMP will never provide any proper "proportionality". Every now and then it may get it right... but just as well as other systems would have at the time. FPP and others may create situations where more than 50% of the country votes against the Government... but I'm willing to bet 50% of the country wouldn't have voted for this Government if it was running as a single party.

Edit: For an example of how crazy proportional representation can get (and this is not necessarily the most extreme example around, just one I've come across), see the 2003 Finnish Parliamentary Election. The top two parties got less than half of the vote added together.

Friday, January 20, 2006

bin Laden apologizes in latest tape for the "silly childhood spat"

In a shocking revelation, hunted terrorist Osama bin Laden has apologized for his "rash behavior". President George W. Bush also apologized, saying he feels "deeply sorry for the noble men and women who have needlessly died because a stupid little feud we've got going".

New information reveals that the entire reason behind 9/11 and the ensuing "War on Terror" was an incident in 1977, when it turned out Bush and bin Laden had a minor car accident when both were visting a nondescript European city. "It was his fault, too!" Bush cried indigantly, though he never gave much thought to it. bin Laden, however, was infuriated, as slightly more damage had been done to his car than Bush's, and vowed to "get even somehow".

9/11 was hardly his first attempt - he attempted to get revenge with Bush in the ensuing years, with escalating damages as each retaliated. Although the first exchange was quite tame, an exchange of "displeasure letters", it soon spun into far more dangerous territory, such as "dislike letters", "hate letters" and "loathing letters". By 1998, the letters had gotten so nasty that bin Laden decided to "turn the heat up a notch" and declare a jihad on the entire USA. "It was a bit too far, I'll admit, and I had no idea Bush would become President a couple of years later. But damnit, I was in a shitty mood that day, okay? But when Bush became President, I got even more pissed off."

bin Laden quickly revved up the scale of the "Attack America to Annoy Bush" project, later codenamed "Fly Planes into the Twin Towers". His plans came to fruition on September 11th, 2001. "Okay, I'm sorry for all the people that died. But for fuck's sake, this guy dented my car!"

Bush was right off the mark on that very day. "Osama feels pretty smug huh? Well, let's see how he feels when we *invade Afghanistan*! Don't feel so good now, punk?" Though he never let on to the American public, he couldn't let Osama stay in the lead. "It would have been too humiliating, I tell you."

Since 2001, a long string of retaliations between Bush and Osama have led to even more deaths, which they are both "deeply ashamed of". However, they highlight that it has "tamed down a bit recently". "I'm only killing around 50 people per attack now," Bin Laden is happy to report that. "That's real progress."

However, on this day they are pleased to report that "we're going to stop this right away. Too many of our people have been unnecessarily killed in our stupid little feud." It has been announced that the feud will be settled once and for all by a one-on-one fight to the death.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Jack Layton - Social Democrat speaks the truth, unwittingly

According to Jack Layton, leader of the NDP in Canada, the Conservative plan to cut GST isn't a good idea because other things will have to be altered to make way for it. He claims it "isn't a tax cut" since other things have to give.

Isn't that the whole flaw in redistribution? People think they're getting things, but they're really just getting things shifted around?

Monday, January 16, 2006

The black market - scourge of regulators

So "unhealthy" foods are being removed from schools?

I noticed that last year. I've never gotten around to it, but I may just do it this year, considering more antipathy for "sticky fingers" politicians.

It's a perfect entrepreneurial situation. Someone at school already does it, by selling cans of Coke. I might consider with the lollies that have been taken away (small enough). There's a market for it, willing suppliers can bring them. Simple.

If you go to a school or have a sibling that goes to school that has removed its "junk food" supply, take the free market approach. Even if it's not that profitable... pull a finger at the politicians.

So what does this result in? Eventually, punishment. So they're going to do what? Have bag searches? Encourage students to "dob them in"? This sounds like prohibition... the horrors of the evil "drug" sugar!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Prisoners can't bear losing their TVs

Prisoners voting Liberal in Canadian election

Oh dear, dear. Maybe they'll also lose their daily massages and vibrating armchairs.

Seriously, doesn't that article seem like a parody? It'd be something I'd expect to see on The Onion...

Saturday, January 14, 2006

The road to a fair society, UN style

Step 1:

The amount of child-labour in developing countries is disgusting. Being the good people we are, we need to stop this once and for all. Leading a team of UN workers, we are cracking down on exploitive employers. This will help us in our fight against poverty, shoving these countries into first world status within a year.

Step 2:

In an unrelated topic, the amount of child prostitution has rocketed up recently. We attribute it to the actions of sex tourists. The latest crackdown will give hefty penalties as well as an extensive screening process to stamp out the causes of poverty for good

Step 3:

In another unrelated topic, the amount of crime in third world countries, particularly juvenile, has increased substantially recently. While levels were always bad, it threatens to force the closure of many already struggling businesses, as their products are stolen by hordes of starving children.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Right to bear arms, perhaps something smaller?

People should be able to defend themselves. But the cost of this may be more damaging than the protection it provides - you're far more likely to shoot someone you know than an intruder with a handgun and all that. What if, instead of the simplistic "Just ban all guns" rhetoric, we did a trade off? You have the right to defend yourself - just with something far less likely to be lethal.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Buy Male Made & Keep Men Working!

Want to make a real difference to men all around the world? With the Government's new " Buy Male Made" campaign, you can! By purchasing products with the "Made by Males" sticker, you can ensure males get more jobs and ensure money stays in the Male Economy.

Females, however, are not being left out. To ensure equality of the sexes, a "Buy Female Made" campaign has also been announced. Now, females around the country can ensure women get a helping hand. By purchasing products with the "Made by Females" sticker, you can ensure females get more jobs and ensure money stays in the Female Economy.

Even if it does cost a bit more money to buy a product made by the same sex as you, remember, shopping is a political act. If you purchase something made by someone of the opposite sex, you'll hear a giant sucking sound of jobs moving sexes. This is only going to make your sex worse off, afterall. For example, a female buying a "Male Made" product will see that money shifted out of the female economy forever, because males don't buy female products for some reason...

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Why democracy doesn't work

There seems to be this idea that democracy perfectly represents exactly what the people want.

This is absurd. It assumes that by voting, people will choose what is best for everyone. However, just as a dictatorship fails as one selfish person makes decisions for everyone, democracy fails as millions of selfish people try to compete for carrots. Elections are nothing but an exercise in rent-seeking: this goes beyond campaign finance.

A second point is it assumes is that people know what's best for them. Now, this is a key point in libertarianism: and it is why pure democracy and pure free markets aren't the optimal solution. A situation can be improved with a slight change, some chocolate sprinkles to make it all better. Many reforms were done without a democratic mandate. With pure direct democracy, nothing would ever get done.

You can write a book on the number of market failures. You can't write a book on the number of Government failures, however: there are far too many. Democracy needs a sliver of dictatorship, libertarianism needs a sliver of authoritarianism, to really work. By sacrificing something minor, you can remove a major problem.

For instance, in the case of libertarianism, there's a big problem in the people who don't know what is best for them. These are the people, who given too much freedom, will destroy themselves and their families. So how can you solve this? By a blatantly non-libertarian method: central planning. Create a country from scratch that has high immigration requirements to ensure minimal damage from people who can't sustain the freedom. Why should potentially 99% of the population have all their freedoms restricted by the 1% who can't handle it? It's definitely unfair.

By adding a touch of the opposite extreme, you can vastly improve outcomes. Limit the power of the people sufficiently so they don't smother us, limit the power of the one so that person doesn't smother us.

Home, home again

What a wonderful holiday. It wasn't much of a holiday - the majority of it was driving and staying inside. Go outside (as in, outside the campgrond) briefly, twice. Sure rains alot down south.

Though, I did get a number of ideas. That's all good.

Friday, January 06, 2006

What are most peoples' political views?

There seems to be a myth that around half the population are "left-wing" and half are "right-wing". Despite the obvious inadequacies in this description anyway, it couldn't be further from the truth.

It seems the vast majority of people vote on two things.

1) Conservatism. Not "right-wing" conservatism, but preserving the status quo. Why is/was National so much more electorally successful than Labour? Because it doesn't do much. It keeps things how they are, basically. Labour has latched onto this lately, and has more or less preserved the status quo. Why did so many New Zealanders hate the 80s and 90s reforms? Because they were change. Few today actually want the changes to be reversed - that would just be more change. Labour, by not doing much, is trying to force National into the "changer" position, thus hoping to replace it as the "natural" party of Government, ie the status quo.

2) Helping themselves. The rich are "greedy bastards who want tax cuts because it benefits them". The poor are just as greedy, so are the middle class. Obvious when you check out polling numbers vs. income.

So what does this prove? We're all doomed? Probably. ACT is unpopular because it wants to change things. In Government, it will be unpopular. Even if after it gets booted from Governmnent, the changes stick around forever, they'd still have been unpopular.

Also seriously why ACT shouldn't merge with National. And a number of other things I can't bother pointing out.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Stephen Harper will be the next Prime Minister of Canada

It's been obvious for some time now. No, the Conservatives probably won't get a majority Government (though surprises always happen). But they never needed to. All they need to do is get 1 more seat. In the last term, Conservatives + Bloc Québécois = 154 seats, 1 short of a majority. In this current election, it seemed apparent that the Liberals would probably suffer, at least a little bit. Even if the Conservatives had a net loss of seats, if the Bloc gained a sufficient amount to overcome that, they could still form a minority Government.

Why would the Bloc support a Conservative Government? They are ideologically social democratic and would seem to fit more with the Liberals. However, the underlying goal of the Bloc is Quebec Sovereignty. While hardly supporting secession, Harper has indicated varying degrees of independance, such as representing itself at international functions. This seems like a promise that can be easily stretched further if Bloc support is necessary. While the Bloc probably won't get everything they want from the Harper-led Conservatives, they'll find it much harder to get anything out of the Martin-led Liberals.

It's in the interests of the Tories for Quebec to secede. Their greatest hurdle in winning power has always been the inability to win seats there. If Quebec no longer has any seats in the House of the Commons, a party will only need 120 or so seats for a majority, rather than the 155 it is now.

Apparently not

A bit too windy down south, I suspect.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Going away for some reason

I'll be going "down south" for about "five days". A good chance to explore the "great outdoors". Well, I don't see too much wrong with that. You should have a good house and crap holidays to make the holiday seem good, or a crap house and good holidays. I'm leaning towards the former, so I guess this works.

National should merge with Labour

I mean, come on. Many National voters, if National did not exist, would vote for Labour. So why not improve the centre's chance? (At this point, every single minor party would have merged with Labour or National anyway to improve the chances of that party, so there are no other options anyway).

Wouldn't that be just *great*? The party you support, always getting 100% of the vote!

Monday, January 02, 2006

I am a racist pig

I am racist pig. I am also a sexist, insensitive bigot… and so are all of you.

Have you noticed how rampant discrimination is in this divided country? I mean, I'm no hypocrite, but white supremacists are just tearing this place apart. Look a little further into the weavings of our society and I'm sure you'll notice the excessive prejudice that haunts us constantly.

If I were to become the Prime Minister of New Zealand, you would count on some sweeping changes. First off: radically reforming discrimination laws. This program, titled 'Operation Sensitise', will seek to remove hurtful items from our communities. A walk down any street will showcase millions of examples of these. Take a look at popular culture. Go count the number of females and non-whites in The Beatles. How about the All Blacks? Not a single female or physically challenged member. Supermodels? They are extremely unrepresented in the horizontally ample and aesthetically challenged. My program is going to change all of this, with absolute efficiency. Maybe.

The next step, after implementing all of that, is to install world class standards of recognizing correct, and incorrect specifications in our people.
The parents and older generations of today were brought up in an era where political correctness was not a concern. (What a shame). Racist attitudes were rife here and around the world until recently, when reforms have meant this ideas have had to change, or stay at home.

BUT, I wish to take this even further. If these ideas are spoken at home, there is the chance of potentially offending a trespasser or burglar dropping in. For the sake of that possibility, we must be considerate of all the feelings that could be hurt.
Naturally, we need a method of enforcing the correct behaviour in our citizens. Is it really so much to ask that children should be encouraged to turn their disgraceful parents into the authorities? Or that we install security cameras everywhere to ensure no laws are broken? Both of these methods are predicted to increase the number of criminals being caught by over 350%. Well worth the cost, do you think not?
Getting back to my point of correct specifications. I am fighting a war here, for us all to be equal. But remember, we are equal… but different. We are equal… thoug some are more equal than others.

Take feminism, which has been around for quite some time now, with courageous lesbians fighting for equality with their male oppressors. Equality… with those hopeless, pathetic forms of life they scowlingly call men. And they were right all along. Women are more equal and correct than men. Any study on differences between the sexes will gladly show all who care to look everything that females can do better than males. (And the rest isn't relevant).
But don't just think there's only one attribute of 'more-equality' in humans. Being a race of tolerant egalitarians, we recognize the valuable contribution each and every individual makes. However, in addition to your sex, you must also be of the correct race, the correct religion, the correct opinion and overall, be a correct member of society.

So congratulations. If you are a 32 year old Christian Maori women who agrees with everything I say and have nothing absolutely nothing distinguishing about you, you are the most correct person in the country.
Don't worry about the rest of you. I hate you all equally so.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Everybody loves kittens, including DPF!


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New Year

Whee, like it's any different from any other day. Just because it's a year since the last January 1st, doesn't make it special.