Saturday, November 21, 2020

Update for 21NOV2020

 Final NZ election results are in, and Labour won 50.01% of all ballots cast. 

65 - LAB - 50.01%
33 - NAT - 25.58%
10 - GRN - 7.86%
10 - ACT - 7.59%
2 - MAO - 1.17%
0 - NZF - 2.60%
0 - TOP - 1.51%
0 - NCP - 1.48% 
0 - ANZ - 0.99%

Very similar to the preliminary results. 

The Cannabis referendum was rejected 51.17% to 48.83%, while the Euthanasia referendum passes 65.91% to 34.09%. 

Japan has not seen polling in months; at least, not polling I can find in english, or, easily find in japanese. 

Israeli trends continue, but now Joint List has dropped a few seats. Unsure where those supporters are going, however, but they may have scattered among the other left parties. Yamina is, in some polls, only 3 points behind Likud. 

Polling is stable in Germany and Russia. Italy is fairly stable, with FdI ahead of M5S. Lega, however, seems to slowly be falling. 

Myanmar has re-elected the NLD, the party of Aung San Suu Kyi. She was once considered a champion of freedom and democracy, and her election victory 4 years ago was seen as the bringing of freedom to the country, however, her support of the Rohingya genocide has made many outside the country reconsider their support of her. 

Lastly, in Belize, the government has been tossed out. I have my eye on the region due to the court case before the ICJ regarding the border that could see half of the country handed over to Guatemala. The new Prime Minister seems to support the case going forward, while his party has a much more mixed stance on the issue. Results from the case are not expected before late 2022. 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Timeline, Nagorno-Karabakh

 March 11, 1985. Mikhail Gorbachev is named General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Under his leadership, the USSR would collapse, and with it, the countries of Armenia and Azerbaijan, then part of the USSR, would become independent countries. 

The Nagorno-Karabakh region was part of Azerbaijan, but, majority Armenian. It was an Autonomous Oblast, the same as Chechnya, and thus had special rights. Some in the USSR suggested it could become a part of any Independent Armenia. 

 The area had a long history, and was fought over after WW1 between the newly independent countries of Armenia and Azerbaijan, until Azerbaijan got the upper hand and gained control over the area.

During this period an important even happened called the Shusha massacre. The town, labeled on Google Maps as "Şuşa" or, as I will call it for the remainder of this post, Susa, was partly inhabited by Armenians, revolted, and as a result, Azerbaijani troops began killing Armenians in the city. At least 500 were killed. 

Eventually both nations would be annexed by the USSR, and the conflict became frozen in time.

February 20th, 1988, leaders of the soviet (council) of Karabakh voted to join Armenia.

March 10th, 1988, Gorbachev announces the borders would not change (and thus, Nagorno-Karabakh would remain in Azerbaijan)

From this point on, low-level conflict would be present in the entire area.

December 27th, 1991, Soviet troops withdraw from the area.

February 26th, 1992, the Khojaly massacre takes place. It saw up to 500 Azerbaijanis killed by Armenians. 

War Begins

February 27th, 1992. Armenian forces capture the city of Susa. 

May 5th, 1994. Ceasefire is called. 

The war, however, did not end. 

2008 - Martakert clashes

2010 - Clashes in a wider area, but in Martakert as well. 

2012 - Additional clashes occur, including clashes on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border outside of the disputed zone

2016 - Heaviest clashes to date occurred.

 This is where we enter the current conflict. Constant clashes occurring with occasional flare ups. 

August 4th, 2020. A massive blast rocks Beirut. More than a thousand Armenians from the city are re-located to the disputed zone. 

September 27th, 2020, an Azerbaijani invasion of the disputed zone begins. 

Note that I've included two maps showing the area. One is from the Soviet Union from before WW1, where I've drawn the borders, and the other, from a map I've done on Google maps. 

This would be the first time the boundaries would move since the 90s. Azerbaijan proceeded to push back the Armenians. 

Many Ceasefires would be called and broken, but that would all end in November.

November 9th, 2020. Azerbaijani forces take Susa. 

This put an end to the war, at least, for now. Not only does Susa have importance to both Armenia and Azerbaijan, but, it lies on the main road connecting the area to Armenia. 

It is unclear if this will lead to a lasting peace or not, but, what is clear, is that the new boundary better matches what both sides agreed to at Prague, with the largest change being Azerbaijani control over the southern portion of Nagorno-Karabakh, and the total evacuation of Armenian troops of areas between the Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia. 

It is thus likely that this will more or less lead to an end to the conflict. The only remaining question and point of possible future violence, is what happens to the new Nagorno-Karabakh (the area in orange on the google map). Should a free and fair referendum be held, even if all Azerbaijani refugees from the area return, it is quite clear the result would be joining with Armenia. Azerbaijan, however, may pack the area within the black line, but south of the orange line, with Azerbaijani citizens, and demand the area as a whole vote; or, it may simply block any vote at all and demand the area permanently remain part of Azerbaijan. Either would likely spark a renewed conflict for the region.

Regardless, the war, for now, is over. 

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Biden officially wins

Biden has officially been declared the winner by the media.

I'm planning a number of different posts; 

One that looks at what happens if a candidate passes away between the general election and the casting of electoral votes

One that looks at how the US worked before 1789, and, hence, why the Electoral College exists (spoiler: it has little to nothing to do with "small states", and, if anything, is the opposite) 

One that simply looks at the results (Dems may be down to 220-225 in the house, a majority, but a narrow one)

One that looks at what a Post-President Trump could do with his new found free time

And one that looks at raw vote totals from elections around the world

One or more of these may come out over the next few days, or, as unlikely as it may be, I might even do posts on other things and not look at any of these. 

Regardless, none of these ideas are anywhere near post-ready.

Thursday, November 5, 2020


 I want to tell you a story.

It's the summer of 2013. I'm casually looking at some data for an upcoming by-election. I notice one of the candidates names. A friend I had years ago in University. I call them up and ask him if he's the same guy that I knew, he said yes! He happened to be running for a party I generally support, so, I offered to help him campaign. One thing I wanted to do, was to Scrutineer. 

He said yes, and so on E-day, I got to go into a big room with the vote counters. I decided to Scrutineer the largest of the advance polls. 

And so there I was. Looking at a stack of papers on a table. Beside me was the guy in charge of the box, and across the table from him, the guy who would physically count it. Around the table was me, for the Green Party, a guy for the NDP, a guy for the Liberals, and a guy for the Conservatives. 

And we watched.

I saw every single ballot. That was, after all, the point. Before any of them could "count", we all could say something/veto. At one point, a ballot popped up where the X was so long it crossed a line between the PC candidate, and the Green candidate. As it passed by the Liberal was like "Whoa" seeing something off, and the count stopped. We all looked at the ballot. The Liberal looked about to speak but the Conservative said "Looks like a PC vote to me". the NDPer didn't say anything. the Liberal kinda scrunched his face and looked about to agree. I pointed and said "The X crosses in the PC box, its clear enough to be the intention of the voter was to vote PC" And the Liberal nodded, and then count went on with that vote counted as a PC vote. 

We got done quite quickly. Our counter was very good at what he does, and counted faster than I thought possible. Not, however, too fast for me to keep up. 

After the stack was done, we all agreed on the count, and the ballots in whole were counted a 2nd time just to be 100% sure the numbers all batched up. They didn't, we were all confused. So we went through it again and found one had become folded. We unfolded it, and counted again, and now everything matched perfectly. The counter announced the results to us and asked if we all agreed. The guy in charge of the box said he did. I said I did. The Liberal said he did. The Conservative said he did. and the NDPer said he did, and put out his hand to shake the Liberals hand. We then all shook hands, and that was that.

After that I went for drinks with the Candidate, his future wife, and his campaign manager. 

It's a fundamental part of our Canadian Democracy that someone from every party, representing every independent, has a fundamental right to physically see each and every ballot. 

This is not how things are done in the USA. 

I don't really understand how or why, but, apparently, so long as the parties have observers in the room, that's good enough. I've yet to see any occasion (where they show counting on TV) where anyone, except the ballot counter, can physically see the ballot being counted. 

It baffles me that a country can run its democracy like this, but, apparently this is how it is done. 

I don't agree with Trump on much of anything, but, when he says that Republican Party observers should be able to see the ballots, he is right. The US needs to adopt the Scrutineer system. The fact they do not already have it, is shameful. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

US Election. Counting. Part 1.

 I wanted to start by looking at where I was wrong with my last post

The Election-night numbers actually did look pretty much as expected. However. Trump did not declare a win until 2am, and, his declaration equivacated. 

By the next day (today) Biden had not pulled ahead in many places I expected. Florida and Pennsylvania in particular. This means fewer states than expected shifted on e-day. Additionally, the shifts in the states that did flip (Michigan and Wisconsin) were slower than I expected. 

Biden also made his declaration 2 hours earlier than expected, and, was very luke warm about victory.

It does not appear Trump will be making a statement tonight.

As a result, any protest, demonstrations, or violence, will be quite limited. 

We are also starting to get an early sense of the court cases. From what I can gather, it looks like Trump has a good chance of winning any Pennsylvania case, but won't won any case in Wisconsin, Michigan, or Arizona. Considering that I expect Trump to win the vote in Pennsylvania as-is, I do not expect any such suit to change the result. The same will be true for any Biden suits in Georgia or North Carolina. 

Instead, it may all come down to how Nevada votes, and, any Nevada related suits. Sadly, they do not plan to release any new results until noon tomorrow.

So, we wait.  

Monday, November 2, 2020

US Election, part 3

 Election night. November 3rd. 2020. Washington DC. Slightly before Midnight:

Donald Trump declares victory. The map looks like this:

The next morning:

Biden is up, having gained the lead in a few states, but, no moves are made by either side, beyond the expected complaining and threats. 

About 5:45pm:

Biden declares victory. The map looks like this:

About 7:15pm:

Trump, or, an important surrogate, threatens lawsuits. 

That night:

Protests, demonstrations, and violence. 

November 5th:

Any court cases will begin to materialize here. Sadly. I will need to actually see them to say what happens beyond this. Right now, I give 5-to-1 odds that the Supreme Court will unanimously throw out any Trump suit to throw out enough validly cast ballots to overturn the results. However, the exact composition of the suit may mean he could win. 

Sunday, November 1, 2020

US election, part 2

 I'd suggest everyone glance at this tweet, which says any ballot counting after election day will be challenged. 

I want to now explain the colours on the map I posted yesterday (still on the blog's front page as of this post)

Dark Red or Blue = Candidate will win these states.

Middle-Blue = Counting may continue after election day on ballots cast before election day; but, Biden may win by enough of a margin that, on election night, he wins these states anyway.

Light-Blue = Same as above, except, these states are closer, and, as such, Trump will lead in them on election night, and it will only be the next day where Biden will flip into the lead.

Lightest-Red = These two states, Texas and North Carolina, suffer from voter suppression. Among all ballots cast, more people will have intended to and thought they had cast a ballot for Biden, but due to legal trickery, Trump will end up officially winning these states. 

Light-Red = These states will be close, but, Trump is probably going to win them. 

What this means in context, in my final "part 3" post tomorrow.