CPP invests in for-profit US prisons

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/12/canada-pension-fund-invests-in-us-immigration-detention-firms

The Canada Pension Plan controls over $366 Billion dollars on behalf of 20 million Canadians. They’re investing our monthly contributions to make sure we have money at retirement. Naturally, everyone wants them to play it safe when investing that money.
But have you considered exactly what are they investing in?

The Guardian quoted a CPPIB spokesman, saying, “CPPIB’s objective is to seek a maximum rate of return without undue risk of loss. This singular goal means CPPIB does not screen out individual investments based on social, religious, economic or political criteria.”

When I read that I hear warning bells. Do they really mean they will take any lucrative investment, even if it’s an ethical quagmire?

The CPPIB’s own ethics statement is clear:

Source: http://www.cppib.com/content/dam/cppib/Who%20We%20Are/Governance/Policies/Responsible_Investing_Policy_August2010.pdf

tldr; only dollars matter; no screening of company ethics, only operations.

What drew my eye is their statement about about “private engagement.” This is the term used for conversations concerning ethical or moral issues with a company they are, or are considering, investing, in. The Board has decided they will never make these conversations public. Nor even acknowledge the conversations even occurred. They are also clear they refuse to bow to public pressure when deciding who and when to engage.

Let’s be real here — the practical effect is that these conversations do not occur. That they could choose to invest into such a morally repugnant enterprise as a for-profit prison says all we need to know about the usefulness of “private engagement.”

So to sum it up, all of the pension monies of millions of Canadians is being invested with absolutely no ethical considerations about how that money will be used.

Are we okay with this?

Can we develop a mechanism to trigger automatic, and public, engagement?

Why so few voters?

From the files of Seth Godin

It’s not an accident we’re disgusted. Politicians spend billions of marketing dollars to create the belief that voting is something that’s better to avoid.

They teach us that it’s not a responsibility we want to take. 
They make it feel like a hassle.

The solution is simple, fast and cheap. Show up and vote. Every time.

 I’m really excited to be building a way to make it really possible for people to do exactly that — participate in their own governance. 

A reaction to the Las Vegas massacre

I’m done pretending that watered-down appeals, wrapped in vacuous non-partisan platitudes, are what will move this project along. If you think guns make sense in modern society, move along. We don’t need, or want you on this project. 

The majority of Americans do NOT own guns. According to a 2005 Gallup Poll, only 30% of Americans own a gun (http://news.gallup.com/poll/20098/gun-ownership-use-america.aspx

Further, the majority of Americans want to live free from fear. (Sorry, but I have no 3rd-party research to corroborate that assertion. If you doubt the truth of it, again, please stopped reading this blog. Goodbye.) 
For those who stayed, this site presents technical solutions to making every voice heard in civic discourse. It is my conviction that if the real *majority* were heard from, gun ownership in America would start moving in the direction of the more sane countries of the world, that is, guns would be banished from general circulation.

After the sadness of Las Vegas, I am redoubling my efforts to bring this voting technology to the world. Sanity must be given a chance to reign. 

Liquid Democracy

I was just introduced to the Liquid Democracy project. The aim is similar to our own, they key difference being our focus on the ProxyAgent technology. Our expectation is to allow for most of the activity in the system to be direct voting, wheras Liquid Democracy is premised on using Delegates.

Fascinating stuff, and very encouraging to see, and learn from, other experiements in this space.


In the interests in safety and security, both the Free and Fair Voting Platform, and the ProxyAgent Voter Personalization tool will be open-source software. Open-source means that all of the is published and available to the public. In addition to what private individuals may do, the Free and Fair Vote organization will engage 3rd party consultants to audit the entire codebase on a regular basis. This scrutiny allows users of the system to have full confidence that the code

a) does exactly what it claims to do,
b) secures and protects their personal information, and
c) accurately counts and records all votes, and ensures the desires of voters is respected.



The ProxyAgent:

– Is an intelligent assistant
– Learns and remembers User priorities and preferences
– Can be granted special access to watch a User to learn more about them
– Can be queried by an automated voting system
– Can contact a User for instruction when it has low confidence in its answer to any particular question
– Knows how to ingest new data, compare to a User profile, and gain knowledge


Yesterday at lunch, I sat for a moment and watched a man at work. His task, just then, was to unload some parcels from his delivery truck, pile them high atop his shoulders, and carry the bundle up a flight of stairs to a second floor office.

It was spitting rain as he began. Before he carried the first load, the sun had beat back the dark clouds. By his third trip up the stairs, a fine mist was evaporating from the small puddles beside his truck.

His pace and stature suggested he had narrowed his world to this single task.

I looked back at the work in front of me, and considered how the Free And Fair Vote system would work for him.

The entire point of the system is to let people fully participate, but on their terms, and in a way and time most convenient to them.

As we both go about our daily lives, the politicians who govern us are making decisions that will affect us. Though done in “our name”, we’ve each had no direct in guiding our representatives to vote in our favour.

With a ProxyAgent loaded up to understand our preferences and priorities, we could know that our needs would be directly considered when comes time for group decisions.