Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Potential upcoming elections with possible dates.

The following are the upcoming elections in 2020 that could hold my interest. Due to Covid-19, it is quite possible some of them may be rescheduled. 


20th - Sri Lanka
21st - Serbia
24th - Mongolia


5th - Croatia


22nd - Northern Territory (Australia)
?? - Falklands Electoral Referendum


6th - New Caledonia Independence Referendum
6th - Hong Kong Legislature
19th - New Zealand (plus Referenda)


11th - Lithuania
17th - Australian Capital Territory
25th - Chile Referendum
26th - Saskatchewan
31st - Queensland
?? - Georgia (country)
?? - Montenegro


1st - Belize
?? - North Macedonia


7th - Ghana
?? - Myanmar
?? - Bolivia
?? - Italy (Referendum)
?? - Singapore
?? - Jamaica

Note that there is no guarantee I am covering all of them, but the ones I do cover, will likely come from the above list. 

Saturday, May 23, 2020

My opinion - rebalancing taxes

Here in Ontario, and generally, across Canada, there are three major ways that governments take in taxes. Income taxes, Consumption or Sales taxes, and Property taxes.

At this time, the Federal government charges the most in Income tax. 15% is the lowest rate, and 33% is the highest (as of 2019). Ontario does charge income taxes, but its lowest rate is 5%, and its highest is 13%, roughly.

Sales taxes are mostly charged by the province (8%) vs the federal government (5%)

And property taxes, while they vary wildly, are charged by cities. Toronto for example charges 0.44% for its residential rate while the province charges 0.15% for education (roughly)

This means that, while multiple levels of government charge multiple taxes, that, in majority, most income taxes go to the feds, most sales taxes go to the province, and most property taxes go to the municipalities.

This needs to change.

The federal government has more power to be economically flexible than any province does. Due to its size, and its position as the 'national' government, it gets the best interest rates, and it can dictate fiscal policy. It is extremely flexible when comes to money, and can sustain and pay off a debt better than any other level of government.

Municipal governments are the opposite. They tend to be much weaker when it comes to economic flexibility. Provinces meanwhile are in the middle.

As such, I propose a change.

Income taxes should go, by in large, to municipalities. Both the Federal government, and Provincial governments, would collect income taxes, but cities should be collecting large amounts of income tax. This tax would be charged where it is earned. There would be rules for instances such as uber, where you may earn income in multiple municipalities, but for jobs tied to physical locations, the income tax would go to the municipality in which it is earned. This would help larger cities deal with the natural consequence of being the main employment hub for nearby areas, and the increase costs on infrastructure and public transit that this brings.

Consumption/Sales taxes meanwhile, would only see a slightly change. Just as all 3 levels of government would be now charging income tax, all 3 levels will take in sales taxes. In general, the current balance, with the provinces taking in the lions share, would remain as it is.

Property taxes, however, would now become Federal. Like the above, all three levels of government would be able to take in property taxes, but the federal government would charge the largest share. This will help to better balance rural vs urban needs, as we are constantly seeing rural government services wind down due to lack of money. Property taxes, charged on a single uniform federal rate, will re-balance the tax burden to discourage the endless suburban sprawl that has only recently slowed down thanks to tough provincial policies.

The overall tax take would not change, but how much of each tax is paid would likely see a shift. Property taxes would likely go up while income taxes go down. As such, those owning large amounts of property, or owning particularly expensive property, would end up paying more. The poor, weather rural or urban, would likely not see much of a change in terms of overall taxes paid, as the slight increase in property taxes would be offset by less income taxes. The rich however would see a rural-urban split, as the new more uniform property taxes will discourage more rural, and larger estate, in favor of smaller, more urban homes. Lower income tax rates on the rich in cities (fueled by the fact that cities tend to concentrate high-income earners, and thus, cities can afford to have lower income tax rates) would help attract them to the cities. Meanwhile the rural poor, who are often hurt by urban-friendly policies (such as counting a car against you when applying for welfare) will be helped by this re-balance

Friday, May 22, 2020

My Opinion - Trump

I generally like to steer clear of my opinion when writing posts here, but, I thought it might be time for me to start laying out where I stand on certain issues. As such, lets look at Donald Trump.

I am going to start by looking at his policies.

Immigration was his big policy, and this is the issue where I've most changed my views. Stories of farmers begging for temporary workers to be brought in from outside the country when tens, if not hundreds of thousands of recently unemployed workers sit nearby, have done what years of borderline racist conspiracy theories have failed to do - highlighted the problem with our current immigration system. It is not fair to the unemployed in the developed world to keep them out of an available job, and it is even less fair to the people we bring in from other countries, to force them to work jobs that are considered so awful, that nobody in the country will do it. What we really need to do is connect the unemployed with people looking for such labour.

Trade is another issue where there has been a massive change, and frankly, is also one I support. Like the above, it is about outsourcing work to other countries so we can get cheap goods. Trump is not all about closing off trade, but rather, re-balancing things to keep more jobs in the US. My own experience trying to get a job has lead to me agree that there need to be a re-balance of the low-skill and low-wage jobs back towards the developed world. In fact, it tends to be people in the low-skill workforce that support these policies, and the reason is obvious. When you can't get a job, and can't feed your family, something has gone wrong and needs to be fixed.

International affairs, related to both of the above, is another place Trump has made his mark. Again, it is a place I agree with him. He's stood up to China and told them to knock off the nonsense. Ever since Xi came to power in China, he has been acting in a tough and somewhat ruthless manner in foreign affairs. Trump is now showing him what a United States that does the same looks like. It is a country that does not "play nice." Trump is looking out not for the world, but for the USA, and frankly, that's what a good leader should do; look out for their own country. I admit that he takes it too far sometimes, and that a balance is key, a balance that many previous US Presidents have gotten wrong. The US in particular has been seen as the 'leader' of the world for some decades, and that has its own costs. Trump is finally saying that the US is not the 'leader' of the world, and is shedding those costs. Even though I am not american, I can respect that, and understand that, and support that.

Domestically, I find little I can agree with Trump on. One problem is that it tends to be domestic issues where he changes his mind every week. Frankly, I suspect he does not really care much about domestic issues (which is fine, everyone has their own policy focus, including your favourite political leaders) and so lets other power brokers under him (IE the Republican Party) make those decisions, knowing it keeps them happy and in line. One big problem is that a lot of his domestic agenda gets tied up with Trump-the-person. As such...

Lastly, I want to look at his personality.

Trump. Is a motherfucking asshole. And I don't use those words lightly. In fact, this is the first blogpost where I've ever said fuck. With good reason. Trump's personality is so disgusting and deplorable that he has no business in office, whatsoever. I would rather vote for the "Murder Teddy Party" whose entire platform is about murdering me, than someone as big of a dick as Trump. Frankly, I find myself unable to respect people who think that his bullying is not a problem, or, can be tolerated because he is able to provide X, Y, or Z. I think it's a huge part of why I've lost faith in democracy, lost faith in humanity, and now think humanity is not worth saving. When you vote for someone who will lie to your face, and then claim the very next day he did not do so despite being presented with video evidence to the contrary, you weaken society itself. You tell people that it is fine to lie, to cheat, to abuse the system, to abuse power, and to step on those weaker than you. You tell people that power is justification. You tell people that as long as you get what you want, you can do anything, no matter how malicious. You tell people that it is okay to abuse your power for your own personal gain. You enable those who use power for their own personal gain. You encourage people to use power for their own personal gain. Official power. Unofficial power. Societal power. Mental power. Physical power. Physical power like violence. You enable those who use violence to get what they want. You enable those who use violence to bend others to their will. You enable those who use violence to force their views on others. You enable force. You endorse force. You suggest force. You encourage force.

It's not a new idea. Force to get what you want. Tiberius Gracchus, Maximilien Robespierre, and Vladimir Lenin all supported it, and actually convinced their populations that it was a great idea. And it did lead to change. Drastic change. Caesar. Napoleon. Stalin.

So that is what I think of Trump. Like Gracchus, Robespierre, and Lenin; a man who has some good ideas, some ideas I support. And like Gracchus, Robespierre, and Lenin, a man who will lead to a new Caesar, a new Napoleon, or a new Stalin.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Election season could slowly start again

As nations start to better understand the impact that Covid-19 is having on various activities, we may start to see more and more places re-open to the idea of holding elections. I will, of course, cover this when it happens.

More importantly for this blog, my Twitter account has not been un frozen!

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Israeli government sworm in

Cabnet: (33)
14 Likud
12 Hosen
2 Labor
1 Jewish Home
1 Shas
1 Gesher
1 Derekh Eretz

36 Likud
15 Hosen
9 Shas
2 Labor
2 Derekh Eretz
1 Gesher
1 Jewish Home

16 Yesh Atid-Telem
15 Joint List
7 Yisrael Beiteinu
5 Yamina
3 Meretz
1 Labor

Labor has decided to split its members without kicking the rebels out of the party. 

Saturday, May 16, 2020

16MAY2020 update

Government inches closer to formation. The Jewish Home party has now joined the Likud faction, and thus gained a Cabinet position.

Such things have been complicated for me to explain before, so, I made a table to help make sense of it all:

Trends continue as last described (IE; FdI continues to slowly rise, and so forth)

Lastly, if you want to see a scarily realistic comedy about life in a small political party, go find youtube playlist "PLvE1s8x_e83hu35YrC2yJaSXX9TktsYBC" under "/playlist?list=" at "www.youtube.com"

It's a finnish comedy, and has subtitles, but too many of the jokes in it I've seen play out in my time in small parties here in Canada. I highly recommend it. 

Thursday, May 7, 2020

07MAY2020 updates and thoughts

Israel and Ireland are still waiting to form a government.

Ireland is taking the usual path, but slowly. FF, FG, and the Greens have all formed a basic agreement, and will be going into coalition together (unless something totally unexpected happens). The three parties have 37, 35, and 12 seats respectively, and took 22.2%, 20.9%, and 7.1% of the vote respectively. This is a total of 84 seats, and 50.3% of the vote. A key part of the coalition agreement includes a 7% reduction in greenhouse gases. This would still be a narrow majority, as the other members would hold a combined 75 seats (the speaker traditionally is not counted with either side). Within those 75 seats are 19 Independent members, many of whom already generally support the incoming government; thus with or without a formal agreement with these members, government will have a bit of extra elbow room on votes.

Israel is taking a non-traditional path. The coalition is ready and willing to take office, but the court is examining the deal itself. I tend to focus on places with systems similar to that in use in Canada, or the UK; and Israel clearly has a system that takes elements from elsewhere. As such, I won't pretend to fully understand all the nuance in what is going on, only that everything is expected to be settled by the end of the month, and the new government sworn in.

I am still, of course, keeping an eye on events elsewhere. One interesting thing that has caught my eye is that Lega in Italy is dropping in the polls during this crisis, and M5S is rising. Salvini is a much better 'salesman' than any of his opponents, and it seems quite likely that voters who drifted from M5S to Lega during their coalition government, are now realizing that M5S is still where they want to be, and that Lega is not what they expected. This thus puts the next election in play, as the combined M5S-PD-IV vote is hovering around 40%, while the Lega-FI-FdI vote is closer to 45%, meaning that smaller parties could determine the winner.

In Japan, the ruling LDP is down in the polls. Interestingly, unlike previous times they've dropped, the vote seems not to have gone to the main opposition party, and instead, is going to their coalition partners, Komei.

Beyond that, there are not many countries to follow. Canadian polling is useless without regional breakdowns; I do not follow US politics on the blog; the UK recently had an election and there is thus little point to covering what amount to small movements in the polls. The same is true for South Korea. I am following Germany, they just are not doing anything different from my last post. Info about Italy is above, as is Ireland, Israel, and Japan. South Korea voted recently, as did Spain. Norway, Iceland, does not vote until the fall of 2021. Sweden 2022. Denmark, Poland, Finland until 2023. Belgium until 2024. The Netherlands does go in the spring of 2021, but given the current situation, polling won't tell the whole story until the end of this year.

There are other countries that I'll peak in to from time to time, but in general, there's nothing exciting coming up. The little that is, has been delayed indefinitely.

Lastly, virus talk.

One thing to keep in mind is that one of the fastest ways to learn how to deal with the situation correctly, is by dealing with the situation incorrectly. This is how and why the longer this goes on, the more we learn what we can get away with. From what I understand, the virus spreads easiest among people who are crammed together indoors and talking. This means things like church, the theatre, going out for dinner, bars, and similar venues, are likely to remain closed for extended periods. While things like the barbers (only 2 people needed), outdoor sports (outside), the park (spaced out), and retail stores (little/no talking), are likely to re-open first.

Keep in mind, I am not a doctor by any means, and all of this is just what I've picked up from what I've read. I could easily be wrong.

Basically, the problem is being too close to people who have their mouth's open while there's no wind to blow anything away.

This includes a lot of social activities, but, means many social activities could resume.

One thing I also want to address is how "big" of a deal this is, and will be in hindsight. How "world-changing" will Covid-19 end up being when we look back decades from now.

My guess is that it will easily be on of the three top events since the end of WW2. Likely, it will top that list.

The collapse of the USSR had a major impact in many countries, but, there are others where it had little to no impact. The 9/11 attacks had a similar regional impact. The 2008 great recession is another possible candidate as well. Despite these, I think that in hindsight, Covid-19 will end up being seen as far more impactful in all sorts of various places across the world.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Personal: Why I've changed my views on immigration

At record unemployment levels, some (farmers come to mind) still demand bringing in people from out of the country.

That's it. It's just that simple for me.

Keep in mind that I am on disability, and have been unable to find a job for some time. This helps explain why. I have few to no useful skills; and as someone with Autism, likely need a bit more attention to help me get used to any new job. Additionally, I've never worked a physical job (the closest being fast food) and so would need even more help. It's quite likely that a lot of the unemployed who could work at these farms have some similarities.

That'd mean not only would the Farmers need to spend more time and effort getting us up to speed, but they'd likely have to pay us more too.

Instead, they wish to bring in workers they can mistreat and underpay.

Yea, Naw.

It never hit me before how widespread of a problem we had. These sort of actions help bring down wages at the lower end of the spectrum, and, help to encourage unemployment in the country.

Maybe it's about time we start to look at how to help those in our own country. Maybe it's about time we bring in programs to help people, financially, move from areas with high unemployment to areas with low unemployment. Maybe it's about time we ask ourselves who we, as a society, should focus on helping.

My views on other issues have no changed. Bernier is still insane. I'm not going to start backing the Tories, especially when many of their members are nuts. I will, however, start demanding that programs to help the less well off be moved way up the priority list for the parties I plan to support.

I'm on ODSP. There are those worse off than me. Want my vote? Tell me how you are going to help them, and give me ironclad guarantees they are your priority.