Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The New Democracy - using a digital platform

MiVote recently commissioned Roy Morgan to research Australians' attitude to democracy.

The weighted survey of 1170 people asked four questions...

1. Can you name your federal member of parliament that represents your electorate?

2. Have you received contact from a representative of the government or their office regarding policy?

3. How likely are you to use an online platform for policy voting if one was available?

4. How likely are you to use a democratic platform that informs you before you vote, like  MiVote?

5. Results from the Roy Morgan research indicated:

66% of respondents had never been contacted by a member or office of local, state or federal government regarding policy issues.

61% of respondents were highly in favour of a platform that could support voting on policy issues.

34% of 18-24-year-olds and 45% of 25-34-year-olds were ‘Extremely’ likely to use an online voting platform like MiVote.

 Join and Vote Now - its free

Research commissioned by Democracy by MiVote, www.mivote.org.au. Roy Morgan Research Online Omnibus 2nd-7th February 2017, national sample n=1170.

Friday, February 17, 2017

MiVote - The New Democracy - Government by the People

Sick of all the political nonsense, politicians behaving badly, never having your voice heard and the mess the world is in?

Current Democracy is not  democratic.

Here is a new way.

MiVote launched in Australia in February 2017


Values & Vision

Welcome to an in-depth breakdown of the guiding and fundamental principles of the MiVote system.

How does it compare to the current Australian democratic system?

Actively protects democratic values within its constitution and operating model including complete transparency and accountability

Approaches issues with a solutions oriented, non-binary, non-adversarial, non-partisan and non-ideological frame of reference

All policy is determined by a vote and the majority position of the constituency on every issue

Provides objective and comprehensive information including multiple potential policy options to members on every issue

Bans corporate or institutional donations of any kind in its constitution

Operating model which restricts anyone from being a career politician and embeds meritocracy and transparency into the candidacy process

Requires members to be informed on every issue before they vote for the policy direction

The will of the people

MiVote is a unique political uprising which focuses on the voice and will of the people.

Supporters of MiVote believe that the role of the people in a democracy is to determine the direction of the country / state / region and that the role of the government is to deliver that destination - or as close as possible to it - given the complexities and challenges of a modern, globalised world.

That is, no longer should governments and politicians attempt to pitch policy and legislation but rather communicate the choices available to the country / state / region and the ramifications of those choices and then enact what the majority of constituents choose as their favoured outcome. Politicians would once again become the working class and the masses would assume their rightful democratic place as decision makers.

Fundamental Principles:

Non-ideological. Non-partisan. Solutions-oriented.

Our supporters come from all areas of the political spectrum and believe that no existing Party has the best solution to every issue and therefore a genuine ‘solutions oriented’ approach to policy and destination setting is the imperative.

No corporate donations.

MiVote does not solicit nor allow any corporate donations of any kind. All contributions and support come from individual citizens and all donations regardless of size are completely transparent.

No fixed positions.

MiVote has no fixed positions on any issue and commits to bringing each issue to all members to voice their opinion. All issues are accompanied by non-partisan, factual information related to the issue to assist the members in understanding the context of the issue and form their own opinions about the best course of action.

Refrain from commenting on Movement positions until the Movement has voted.

MiVote only has a policy position after voting by its members and a majority position has been reached. MiVote does not allow a simple majority for issue voting - a majority is considered to be 60% or greater.

Does not provide policy speculation.

MiVote does not provide policy speculation prior to member votes on issues but does provide final policy positions to members and the media including the voting results.

Reps must be voted in by members

All MiVote representative positions must be voted by members and all MiVote representatives at any level of government must adhere to the member majority position on all issues.

Limited 2 terms for reps.

MiVote representatives can not choose to become career politicians. No MiVote representatives elected to any level of government can serve more than 2 terms and must serve as mentors for newly elected representatives immediately after their retirement.

Lower voting age. No membership fee.

Membership of MiVote is open to every citizen above the age of 16 regardless of voting background, ideology or previous/existing party membership.

Vote on the policies that matter to you.

Members can vote on as many or few policy issues as they wish.

Vote via mobile app.

All voting, communication and dissemination of information will be coordinated via a highly secure online digital platform.

Value Positions:

MiVote is underpinned by some fairly basic value positions:

1. The People’s Voice.

Democracy was always intended to be for the will of the people. The cynical will decry the impracticality of a consultative model but technology now provides a mechanism for what democracy demands; that leaders who represent the community understand the desire of that community. MiVote Democracy has a simple but overwhelming and guiding ethos: politicians are, and will always be accountable to the people – us. They are our agents and are there to implement our desires and to always work in the interests of the whole society. The politician’s role is to implement our objectives and the peoples’ agenda.

2. An Informed Constituency.

True democracy is unattainable without an informed constituency. The will of the people can only fashion a world that represents their vision if they understand enough about the paths that are open to them and the destination to which each path leads. Democratically elected leaders are the instrument from which the will of the people is able to shape the environment. Informing the people is not just a requirement of political leaders, it is the fundamental requirement. An informed constituency does not imply that everyone needs to know about everything. Rather, people need to know how the democratic process to which they are entitled works; and they need to understand the facts, implications and choices they have on the issues that are important to them.

3. Transparency.

The most dangerous development of modern democracy is the lack of transparency between political leaders and their constituency. Save for some understandable diplomatic and security issues, there is no information that the constituency is not entitled to know or should not have access to. The very nature of democracy requires transparency. How can anyone vote for any representative if they are not privy to the information that leads to policy or where policy is intended to lead us? People can only determine where they want to go, by first knowing where they are.

4. Accountability.

The direct descendant of transparency is accountability. Politicians in modern democracies have mastered little but the art of obfuscation and denial. All great leaders want to be judged on their performance. All great leaders are buoyed by the challenges confronting them and the opportunity to demonstrate their capacity in a clear, transparent and accountable way. Democracy should provide for the ultimate test of performance as every few years the constituency has an opportunity to judge the incumbent leadership team on its performance. New democracy will see all political parties provide the constituency a list of unwavering deliverables that they can and then should be judged on. Gone are the days of ‘non-core promises’.

5. Elimination of Corporate Donations.

Financial contributions from corporations, lobby groups and industry associations must end for democracy to be revived. There is no more perilous and divisive luxury in the political system than the ability for wealthy vested interest groups to have unfair access to decision and policy makers. Corporate self-interest is the destroyer of political probity. That the gap between rich and poor is growing in Western capitalist democracies throughout the world is an indictment on the democratic system as it operates today. That there are some who espouse a view that a country’s success is determined by the strength of its most fortunate rather than its most vulnerable is as undemocratic a principle as could ever be conceived.

6. Equality of Opportunity & Meritocracy.

It is not possible to return to a more genuine model of democracy without a commitment to the concepts of equality of opportunity and meritocracy. A society that creates an environment in which every child has the same opportunity to succeed, and where that success is determined solely by capability rather than social status, inherited wealth, gender, race, religion or sexual preference, is destined to avoid a future rife with social injustice, poverty and rampant crime. Importantly, equality of opportunity should not be confused with equality of outcome.

7. A Secular Commitment.

We feel that religion has no place in policy creation and welcome members from all faiths and belief systems.

Why does MiVote matter?

There is nothing more fundamental to freedom and opportunity than for people to have self-determination. This means that people have an informed say about what happens to them and the world in which they live.

MiVote lifts policy direction out of an ideologically adversarial landscape and allows each issue to be addressed as a stand-alone conversation. Further, each constituent has the opportunity to represent themselves on an issue by issue basis rather than voting for a party based on their views of one or two issues and being stuck with a variety of positions they do not support.

We are all complex and multi-dimensional beings. Not all members of political parties believe exactly the same thing about every issue and policy area. How could they? MiVote is the only political model which allows people to truly represent their views across a broad spectrum of decisions that will affect their lives.

Further, the removal of corporate interests and lobbyists from the political decision making theatre is crucial in ensuring that all individual voices are heard equally and that one cannot gain greater access or control by virtue of their economic position. Being poor or poorer than someone else does not make you less worthy of consideration, does not make your opinion less relevant or less accurate.

How is MiVote different to our current system?

There is little similarity between the MiVote political model and the current operating system of current political parties.

Traditional political parties are environments which serve individual political interests and those seeking power for personal, commercial or ideological gain. MiVote is only interested in serving the interests of an informed citizenry, where everyone has a voice and every voice is equal.

MiVote believes in the long game and that understanding where we are going as a community is more important than winning votes in short term cycles. MiVote exists because there are many sides to every issue and every side deserves a voice and consideration. Underpinning the MiVote uprising is core belief that all people are equal, without condition or equivocation.

MiVote Process

The MiVote model is simple. For every issue of policy consideration, members experience the following activities:

1. Notification.

MiVote will notify you of an upcoming policy vote. You have the option to opt into the vote or opt out of it.

2. Info pack.

If you opted in, you will receive a digital information pack prepared by the MiVote research team – non-partisan professional research experts on a fact finding mission without the political bias. The digital information pack provides different frames of context for a particular policy issue. This may include an overview, reports, graphs, video, audio or other relevant material. Each member will have an opportunity to clarify the information prior to the vote.

3. Count down.

Each member will receive reminders counting down to the voting day / time.

4. Informed vote.

All members that opted into the vote will be required to open their information packs before they can register a vote. Assuming the information pack has been opened, they can vote on the frames that best represents the direction they would like policy to head.

5. Results.

MiVote representatives will refrain from commenting on Movement positions until the movement has voted. Within 48 hours of every vote, all members (whether they voted or not) will be notified of the result. Then the media will be informed of the movement’s policy position as it relates to proposed or existing legislation.

The framing of policy issues is imperative to genuinely representing the will of the people. The current system requires a constituency to vote on fixed positions, pre-determined by political parties with a specific ideological mindset. There is rarely, if ever, articulation of what the legislation or ideology might mean in the long term – consequences, both intended or not, are rarely analysed. Complex policy positions are diminished to marketing slogans and facts are often replaced with selective and supportive data analysis. MiVote is interested in the step that comes before writing legislation. MiVote wants to know where the majority of people want the legislation to take us. Should we take a humanitarian, globally pragmatic, quality of Australian life or national security approach to asylum seekers and what does each of these choices mean? Should the nation approach mining exploration from a commercial or environmental frame? What would each of these choices mean to Australia, jobs, the economy and our place in the world?

If for example, the majority MiVote members voted to take a humanitarian approach to asylum seekers, it allows the movement and any MiVote elected members of Parliament to address matters related to this issue (legislation, debate, negotiations) with a clear and focused position on delivering what its members have said they want. MiVote could never support any piece of legislation that was not supported by the majority of its informed and participating members.

Additionally, because each policy issue is addressed as a stand-alone issue, each member can consider each frame and vote on its merits. For example, a MiVote  member could be supportive of wide spread mining exploration AND marriage equality. The current system does not allow this individualistic alignment with specific policies.

Who is involved in MiVote?

MiVote is an initiative of Centre for the Future whose purpose is to make the world work for everyone. MiVote is part of a mindful uprising with a single thread of alignment that binds its supporters. Each supporter of MiVote believes the current system has outlived its usefulness and no longer delivers a governing model that acts in the best interests of all citizens equally.

Current advocates come from all parts of the political spectrum. Our supporters include former and current members of all major political parties, religious conservatives from numerous religions as well as atheists, bosses and workers, rural and city dwellers, rich and poor, young first time voters and senior citizens. We have current and former political participants, iconic Australian thinkers, academics, corporate leaders and are supported across the entire country.

If you care about where this country is headed, we care about your voice.

Author: Adam Jacoby – Director, Centre for the Future
Sponsor: Dr Richard Hames - CEO, Centre for the Future

To vote click here

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Monday, October 17, 2016


I am concerned about the angry and discontented people in the world - the hate and most of all the ignorance.

Click this link -  www.FactCheckOneNation.com.au.

The world seems to be running on a tide of emotion and picking on the Other - people who are different.

I set about researching the policies of One Nation for my common-sense told me they were wrong but I needed the documented proof which I found had already been done.  www.FactCheckOneNation.com.au.

Thank you to whoever saved me a load of research.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

How music and moving develop new brain pathways

Science News

October 5, 2016

Concordia University

Dance and music training have even stronger effects on the brain than previously understood -- but in markedly different ways, say researchers.

NeuroImage - A team of researchers from the the International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research, proves that dance and music training have very strong and differing  effects on the brain than previously understood.

The researchers used high-tech imaging techniques to compare the effects of dance and music training on the white matter structure of experts in these two disciplines. They then examined the relationship between training-induced brain changes and dance and music abilities.

"We found that dancers and musicians differed in many white matter regions, including sensory and motor pathways, both at the primary and higher cognitive levels of processing," says Chiara Giacosa, Concordia PhD candidate and the study's lead author.
In particular, dancers showed broader connections of fibre bundles linking the sensory and motor brain regions themselves, as well as broader fibre bundles connecting the brain's two hemispheres -- in the regions that process sensory and motor information --. In contrast, musicians had stronger and more coherent fibre bundles in those same pathways.

"This suggests that dance and music training affect the brain in opposite directions, increasing global connectivity and crossing of fibres in dance training, and strengthening specific pathways in music training," Giacosa explains. "Indeed, while dancers train their whole body, which has a broader representation in the neural cortex, musicians focus their training on some specific body parts, such as hands, fingers or the mouth, which have a smaller cortical representation in the brain."

'This work has major potential'

Interestingly, dancers and musicians differed more between each other than in comparison to the group of control subjects who had no extensive formal training in either field.

According to Giacosa, this can happen because a range of uncontrolled variables influenced the control subjects in different ways, making them more similar to one group or the other. "Contrary to that, our samples of dancers and musicians were specifically selected to be pure groups of experts, which makes it easier to differentiate between them."

Virginia Penhune is a professor and chair of Concordia's Department of Psychology and the study's senior author. She notes that this research deepens the current knowledge about how regions of the brain are connected in networks, and how these structural networks change with training.

"This work has major potential for being applied to the fields of education and rehabilitation," Penhune says. "Understanding how dance and music training differently affect brain networks will allow us to selectively use them to enhance their functioning or compensate for difficulties and diseases that involve those specific brain networks."

Some studies have already shown how music training at a young age can improve various cognitive skills, but dance has yet to be used in a similar way.

"Recent research has started to show some improvements with dance and music therapy in patients affected by Parkinson's disease and children with autism respectively, but much more can be done with these and other diseases," says Penhune.
Story Source:
Materials provided by Concordia University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
Journal Reference:
Chiara Giacosa, Falisha J. Karpati, Nicholas E.V. Foster, Virginia B. Penhune, Krista L. Hyde. Dance and music training have different effects on white matter diffusivity in sensorimotor pathways. NeuroImage, 2016; 135: 273 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.04.048

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Do You Complain a Lot?

I stumbled upon this article today so I am sharing it with the world. I have shortened it to make it easier to read.

The full article can be found here 

How Complaining Rewires Your Brain for Negativity



Research shows that most people complain once a minute during a typical conversation.

 Complaining is tempting because it feels good, but like many other things that are enjoyable - smoking or overeating - complaining isn’t good for you.

When you repeat a behaviour, complaining, your neurons branch out to each other to ease the flow of information to make easier to repeat that behaviour in future. You don't realize you’re doing it
 Your neurons grow closer together, and the connections between them become more permanent. Scientists describe this process as, “Neurons that fire together, wire together.”

Repeated complaining rewires your brain to make future complaining more likely. Over time, you find it’s easier to be negative than to be positive, regardless of what’s happening around you. This changes how people see you.

Complaining damages other areas of your brain as well

Research from Stanford University has shown that complaining shrinks the hippocampus - an area critical to problem solving and intelligent thought. Damage to the hippocampus is scary, especially when you consider that it’s one of the primary brain areas destroyed by Alzheimer’s.

Complaining is also bad for your health

When you complain, your body releases the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol shifts you into fight-or-flight mode, directing oxygen, blood and energy away from everything but the systems that are essential to immediate survival. Cortisol, raises your blood pressure and blood sugar so that you’ll be prepared to either escape or defend yourself.

The extra cortisol released impairs your immune system and makes you more susceptible to high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, strokes, infections and obesity.

Complaining is infectious

Since human beings are inherently social, our brains mimic the moods of those around us, this process is called neuronal mirroring, and the basis for empathy. However, this makes complaining a lot like smoking - you don’t have to do it yourself to suffer the ill effects. You need to be cautious about spending time with people who complain about everything.

Complainers want people to join their pity party so that they can feel better about themselves. Like inhaling the second-hand smoke you suffer the consequences.

The solutions to complaining

1.  Cultivate an attitude of gratitude.

Shift your attention to something that you’re grateful for. This reduces the stress hormone cortisol by 23%. Research conducted at the University of California, Davis, found that people who worked daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude experienced improved mood and energy and substantially less anxiety due to lower cortisol levels. When you experience negative or pessimistic thoughts think about something positive. Your positive attitude will rewire your brain

2.    Solution-oriented complaining

When you have something that is truly worth complaining about - poor customer service -  look for away to solve the problem in solution-oriented complaining. Think of it as complaining with a purpose.

Solution-oriented complaining should do the following:

Have a clear purpose

If you can’t identify a purpose, you probably just want to complain for its own sake.

Start with something positive

It may seem counterintuitive to start a complaint with a compliment, but starting with a positive helps keep the other person from getting defensive. For example, before launching into a complaint about poor customer service, you could say something like, “I’ve been a customer for a very long time and have always been pleased with your service...”

Be specific

When you’re complaining don't  dredge up every minor annoyance from the past 20 years. Just address the current situation and be as specific as possible. Instead of saying, “Your employee was rude to me,” describe specifically what the employee did that seemed rude.

End on a positive.

 If you end with, “I’m never shopping here again,” the person has no motivation to act on your complaint. You’re just venting, with no purpose but to complain. Instead, restate your purpose, as well as your hope that the desired result can be achieved, for example, “I’d like to work this out so that we can keep our business relationship intact.”

Bringing It All Together

Just like smoking, drinking too much, and lying on the couch watching TV all day, complaining is bad for you. Put my advice to use, and you'll reap the physical, mental and performance benefits that come with a positive frame of mind.

version of this article appeared on TalentSmart.

Friday, March 11, 2016

I am ashamed. Are you?

I am ashamed. Are you?

Last night I slept badly after a challenging day. Belatedly I learned the Western Australian State Gov. has made public protests illegal. This has turned us into a police state, is definitely not democratic and I am ashamed to let it happen

Then I learned NSW is doing the same. They cut down a row of 150 + year old Moreton Bay Fig trees with no regard to the taxpayers or climate change for that matter. This is not democratic either.

I watched a snippet of the debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders where they argued who was the most compassionate. It was disgusting. Meanwhile Donald Trump behaved like a 3 year old strutting about banging his chest and saying by his body language, 'look at me. Look at me.' The American people are letting one these twits be the leader of their country while still thinking they are the greatest nation in the world. It is farcical.  China and Russia think they are the greatest instead.

Even Australia thinks 'We're not so bad either, mate. Oi, Oi, Oi, Aussie, Aussie, Aussie.' Meanwhile we are showing little compassion or even common-sense towards asylum seekers. We are in fact causing them harm and I am doing nothing about. What we are doing is neither just nor humane.

Many of our politicians say they are Christian but from my learning during childhood what they are doing is definitely not what their leader Christ taught and it is not democratic as well. Thank their God I am an atheist.  But nevertheless I am still ashamed.

On AL JAZEERA last night I saw masses of refugees living in tents in the rain and mud with little food and no hope.  It is catastrophic. How these people must hate us. We send troops into their countries and bomb their homes and when they want - no, are desperate - for our help we are looking away. I am ashamed.

I climbed out of my sleepless bed last night and sent some money to Médecins Sans Frontières‎ : a futile attempt to assuage my guilt by association to this uncaring world but it didn't work. I am still ashamed.