Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Trump can't be impeached, sorry.

I said it before. Trump won, suck it up.

Some things still amaze me though. The extremely low voter remorse. People voted for this. The show, the controversy, the shake-up! They will follow and support Trump, scandal after scandal after scandal after scandal.
They'll ignore his openly sharing top secret "caveated" information and USA intelligence gathering techniques with Russian diplomats, in the White House, behind closed doors, with only Russian media present, right after firing the FBI director for investigating Trump's ties to Russia.

Which kind of sounds way worse than someone stealing insecure but not highly sensitive emails from Clinton.

Because it was intentional. Clinton's emails were stolen.

But what the hell, "Lock her up!"

I find it hilarious that the base just buy into whatever Trump says. Whatever the Republican leaders say, we'll follow, blindly, because they are the Religious right. The three times married, sexually assaulting, shady business bankruptcies and fraud scandals Religious right. Because abortion is wrong and religion is important, unless it's a non-Christian religion.

Back when George Bush was running for president. I remember a campaign rally where they chanted, "Flip, flop, flip, flop, flip, flop." As republican leaders gave examples of John Kerry changing his mind on various policies. To Republicans at the time, someone who changed their mind was the worst person in the world. "He's a ridiculous, pathetic, Flip Flopper!" Was the Republican quote of the day. And they sure didn't want a Flip Flopper when the steady hand of Bush was promising to stay the course.

And the big chant at Trump rallies was "Lock her up, lock her up." As Trump lowered himself to basic name-calling as he promised to bring crooked Hilary to justice for her careless use of a private email server. Trump even publicly asked for Russian help, help cyber-attack his own country to ramp up his rhetoric that crooked Hilary was unfit to be president.

Which is why he can't be impeached for his coziness with Americas most dangerous enemy. Because Trump openly stated his admiration for Putin. Trump openly asked for Russia's help during his speeches and campaign rallies. It was not hidden. It was not a conspiracy. It was out in the open for all of American voters to see and hear and process and help in their vote-decision-making process. Just like his bragging about sexual assaulting women. Just like his refusing to release his tax returns for whatever nefarious reason. Just like his bragging about not paying taxes because he's smart, and all of the other baggage that the cut-throat businessman brings to the table.

You can't impeach him because he was voted in without the caveats and expectations for him to do exactly what he is doing.

And they voted for him anyway. They voted for him to do exactly what he is doing, and reading between the lines, that is exactly what he said he was going to do.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

He won, accept it...

Almost a year ago, my last post indicated why Trump couldn't win the General Election. As it turns out, I massively underestimated how appealing a sexually assaulting, openly racist, women-degrading, lying, fraudster, bigot can be.

I don't quite understand what happened. I don't quite understand how a stream of blatently unethical news, tweets, quotes, snippets, and history was swept aside as people believed Clinton was worse because she sent some insecure emails.

A lifetime of public service, with the obvious political baggage that it entails, such as  occasionally coming down on the wrong side of history in the Iraq war vote, could hamper her that much.

But like it or not, he won. He is the president. Despite calls of illegitemacy, he is the next president of the United States.

Michael Moore claims he is illegitimate.

Sorry sir, you are wrong. He is legitimate, and here is why.

Yes, he lost the popular vote. Yes, there is a history of Republican gerrymandering of political boundaries to favour them. But, that is the system. You can't cry foul because the system is rigged. 

You can't win the Stanley Cup, or the World Series, or the Superbowl, without winning the final game. You can win every game of the season, you can dominate the games you won by huge margins, but, at the end of it all, if you lost the final game by a single point. You are not the victor. 

His second argument questions Trump's mental health. He may be right, but see above. He still won. A lot of people don't like that, are scared, present company included. But he won. The best we can do is obstruct, make fun, share the insanity on social media, criticize, complain, and go on with our lives knowing that the world is a lot less safe for at least another four years.

Moore's third argument says the Russians interfered. He is undoubtedly right, but, this was no secret. Trump asked them to hack the democrats. Trump most certainly knew the Russians had been hacking the Democrats. Trump openly spouted his love for Putin. 

So Putin and the Russians helped Trump. They have business ties. They have dirt on each other. But this was known. Trump did not try to hide his ties to Russia, aside from not releasing his taxes. Again, this is buyer beware, or voter beware. 

Americans in droves chose to vote for him, despite the giant question mark, the dark clouds, the shady business deals, the bankruptcies, the racism, etc, etc, etc, etc....

He is the legitimate winner because, despite all of those many, many, many, many, red-light warning signs, he was elected. Did I mention many...

They were no secret, and he made no attempt to keep them secret, in fact, he stated them publicly.

Just like Clinton had big businesses and lobbyists, and stakeholders propping her up, so did Trump. His biggest stakeholder may have been a hostile foreign enemy that is dangerous to American interests, who hold kompromat and used disenformazia to assist Trump.

He won, and just like a foolish buyer taking a risk on a used car bought from a shady dealer with a publicly known criminal record for fraud, and sexual assault. He still bought the car. Sucker.

And the FBI interfered with the election, disclosing a continuing investigation into Clinton (That went nowhere because she hadn't done anything wrong) while not disclosing the kompromat, and disenformazichstan, and Russian interference.

Yep, and the FBI said as much that it was nothing, again, just like the first time. If this hurt Clinton, while warning sign, after shock, after disaster, was spouted about and from Donald Trump. That's Clinton's fault for not stooping to the same lowball level.

Next was Rex Tillerson's appointment. Again, when you vote for something so questionable, you have to accept the consequences. Just like the guy who bought the lemon from the shady dealer. 

Trump's numerous felonies were known, or should have been known by any informed voter. Just like ignorance is no defense. 
"I didn't know it was illegal to drink and drive."
"I didn't know the speed limit wasn't 180 mph."
"I didn't know they guy I voted for was a racist, sexual offending fraudster."

Voters made the decision.

They chose Trump, despite his many KNOWN faults and conflicts of interest.

KNOWN being the key word here.

They knew, and they made the decision.

And just like that team that dominated the regular season, and the playoffs up until the final game, only to lose by a single point. Even though it was a lopsided playing field. Even though there was extremely questionable reffing. Even though they lost to a gloating, unsportsmanlike opponent. Even though the opponent distracted the ref when they scored the winning goal, or injured our best player, or used excessive trash-talking to throw us off our game.

The Democrats still lost.

We have no choice but to watch the victor traipse around, putting us down, bragging about his dirty, underhanded tactics, gloating, threatening, and doing what he does.

Because he won.

and we have to accept it.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Why Donald Trump Won't Win the General Election

Trump may be winning the Republican Primary, but let's break down America's electorate and see what his real chances are against a legitimate Democratic Candidate.

About 60% of Americans are white, and about 40% are non-white.

Considering Trump has been courting the Klu Klux Klan vote, eliminating the chance of getting 99.9% of black people votes, and further alienating Muslims and Hispanics by talking about building walls, banning Muslim travel, and big-brother monitoring Muslim segments of the American population.

I think it's saft to say pretty much the entire non-white vote will go against trump. So before he even gets out of the gate, he's got a 40% disadvantage and is fighting for the remaining 60% of the electorate.

Of those 60% of votes he might still get, nature would say that about half of those are females. While there may be a few females out there who are willing to overlook his demeaning, insult-laden, sexually objectifying views of their gender, I would wager to say that at least half (and this is an extremely low estimation) of white women would not vote for a man who is commonly perceived as a chauvinistic jerk.

So that leaves at most, 45% of the remaining electorate who don't yet feel alienated enough to actually consider voting for Donald Trump.

At this point, he has already lost. 55% to 45% - and that is assuming every single white male, and half of the white females are going to vote for him.

I predict that Trump's presidential bid will decimate the Republican party for a long time as it exposes the racist, uneducated, embittered segment of the American population willing to vote for him.

Exactly what amount of the remaining 45% of voters who might lean Republican will end up selecting Trump will inevitably expose just how damaged, racist, and bigoted the electorate can be.

I wouldn't be surprised to see the biggest landslide in American history as the Democrats take the White House.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Red Deer Criminals Reluctantly Agree to Reduce Violent Crime in Wake of Hospital Bed Crisis



In response to the shutting down of five operating rooms at the Red Deer Hospital, the Criminal Operators Working in and Around Red Deer Syndicate, otherwise known as "COWARDS," have reluctantly agreed to reduce violent crime in the city. The news is a welcome respite to the frustrated doctors desperate to ease the burden on Red Deer's "Critical Condition," operating room Crisis.


The March 1 flood initially forced AHS to shut down four operating rooms, until investigators surveying the damage last weekend found water had also penetrated a fifth surgery suite. Hospital staff say the presence of water in the walls can’t be tolerated in a sterile environment, as it carries a risk of mould and other infection control concerns.




Work on all five affected surgery suites is expected to begin this week.
"We are just trying to do our part to help our city," said Bubbles, (not his real name) a well known crystal meth dealer in town. "I'm putting off slashing at customers with a machete or breaking the legs of the drug addicts that don't pay me - for a little while anyway. Call it a rain check, but I think it's important to help out when the city needs a hand."

Meanwhile, Tyrone, a pimp who regularly gives severe beatings to the prostitutes under his downtown jurisdiction has promised to turn over his baseball bat and brass knuckles as he does his part in helping curb the operating room crisis.

Work on the hospital is expected to take anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months.


The hospital will have to function with just three working operating rooms, plus one surgery suite designed for urology procedures. The hospital is still accommodating all patients requiring urgent and emergency surgeries, but many non-urgent and elective surgeries are being rebooked.
As of Monday, 67 surgeries had so far been delayed, and while that number is expected to grow, the reduction in operations on Seriously Hurt Individuals Treated for Retribution Acts on ThemSelves, (SHIT RATS) is expected to decrease. 
With news from the Red Deer Satire Network.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Syrian Refugees - The Bigger Picture

Below is an excerpt from my book, Beach Buggy Safari. It was my first visit to Syria. The brief length of the chapter doesn't do my time there justice. I very much enjoyed my time in Syria, and thought the world of the Syrian people. It wasn't uncommon for another traveller to share stories of the kindness of the Syrians - how they would give them the shirts of their backs, feed them, invite them, and treat them as honoured guests - and these were complete strangers. This is only one of the factors that influences my desire to welcome Syrian refugees into Canada. I believe it takes a lot of fear, desperation, and bravery to abandon ones home and livelihood. I can only imagine what the feeling would be like to have lost everything. My loved ones, my belongings, my savings, my home, my community. 
It's sad to read the unwelcoming posts the internet, telling them to go back where they came from. Syrian refugees are terrified victims who have risked their lives, travelling by boat and truck and whatever to escape unspeakable terror.
I don't think people get that. I also honestly believe that refugees don't come to Canada as terrorists anymore than a person is born a terrorist. Our actions, as Canadians - the darkness of our xenophobia versus the light of our hospitality, will influence these people futures. How dark, or bright, these people's futures are depend as much on us as it does on them.

Excerpt from Syria

After the border post, my first vision in Syria was a massive welcoming billboard. On it, Syria’s dictator Bashar al Assad was dressed in military garb. He frowned down at newcomers with his thin moustache and angular nose. I then drove through the flat plains northwards before I arrived in Damascus.
Damascus, the oldest constantly inhabited city in the world, was confusing. It was like trying to navigate through spaghetti. There might have been one non-winding street in the city. Its uniqueness in the hairball formation of roads dates back to biblical times where it was known as, The Street called Straight. I quickly became so disoriented I didn’t know which direction I was travelling in.
I stopped where a group of teenagers had congregated outside of a billiards café and asked for directions to my hotel.
“I can show you the way,” one of them offered. “No, let me,” said his friend. The two of them climbed in, one on top of the other into the cramped passenger seat, and before long I was parked near my hotel, thanking them, and unloading my bags. They said no problem, and refused any compensation. "Our duty," they said.
            Damascus’s history is about as confusing as its winding streets. It had been built by empire after empire which had conquered the region, as though the central point in a multi-sided empirical tug of war.
            A remnant of the Roman and Turkish invasions is the numerous bath houses, known locally as Hammams. These ancient buildings, some more than a millennium old, could be found hidden in the cobbled alleyways that twisted through medieval two-and-three-storey neighbourhoods.
Throughout the Arab world, public bath houses play an important role in society. It’s where mothers go in search of potential daughters-in-law. A would-be-fiancée proves her domestic skills by offering to wash the older women. If she washed incompetently, not scrubbing enough, or going too slowly, it was a sign she wouldn’t be a good housewife.
The Hammam down the street from my basic hotel had a rounded doorway with the date 958 written on a plaque outside. I entered into its Persian-carpeted lounge. Elaborate, plush cushions and couches lined the walls. Stacks of towels were heaped behind the walnut service counter.
I paid for the full package, unsure of just what that entailed, and then stripped down. With one of my two towels around my waist, I pushed through a swinging door where a wave of cool, damp air greeted me. The smooth, grey stone walls had fist-sized holes like something out of the Flintstones. Other patrons sat on the floor, dumping jugs of water over their heads and lathering with their bars of soap. I copied them.
A wiry old man with strands of grey hair sticking out his ears opened a door and waved me into a separate room. I entered to see a high concrete table in the centre and two big bottles of green liquid soap on a chair.
This was my first such experience; being naked with another man that had the intention of touching me, and it was awkward. I lay face down on the table. The old man poured water and soap onto my back. Using course gloves, he scrubbed back and forth, everywhere, until my body was covered in lathering suds and my skin tingled. He then rinsed everything off with more buckets of warm water. The suds slid off the table and snaked down the drain. He repeated the same procedure two more time and then pointed toward the steam room. I took my towels, put my flip-flops back on and entered.
A middle-aged man with a dark moustache was perched high on a raised bench. He broke into a smile. “Welcome to Syria.”
His intense stare made me feel uneasy, as though a guy in the next urinal was trying to take a peek.
“Where are you from,” he asked, stretching his hand out in greeting. I hesitated before meeting it. “Canada.”
“I have a huge house here in Damascus,” he said, still holding the grip even though I tried to pull away.
“That’s nice.” I yanked my hand back and sat down opposite him.
“I prefer men,” he said.
“I prefer women.”
He continued as though I might change my mind. “Well, Westerners having open minds, right? You can come over to my place for dinner if you want?”
“No thanks.”
#
My only complaint about Damascus so far, aside from the overly forward homosexual in the Turkish bath, was the government. It felt as though a dark shadow lingered over the city. There was a sense that someone was constantly watching and listening, limiting where I could go and even what I could say. “Don’t talk about you know where,” other travellers warned me, referring to Israel.
The president’s picture was on the currency. His sinister face hung in every shop, and stared down from billboards. Some locals even had silhouette-like stickers on their car windows which showed the president wearing pimp-like sunglasses. Images of leaders hadn’t bothered me in other countries. Perhaps it was because they tried to appear regal and important. This president appeared menacing, like a coward empowered by the gun in his hand. With this in mind, I decided to move on to Lebanon.

Not far outside Damascus, cedar-forested mountains dominated the Lebanese landscape ahead. In the Syrian immigration office, I made sure to ask about the double-entry visa. “I don’t want to pay another seventy dollars. Can you make sure this is a double-entry visa?”

“Yes, yes, no problem.” said the uniformed official. “That’s fine. You don’t need another visa to get back into Syria.”

Final Note:

Other versions of this chapter talked about the amazing food I had in Damascus. Something that was very unexpected coming from Egypt and Jordan. Their international cuisine was a reflection of the numerous cultures that had invaded, occupied, or influenced the city over the millennia. 
The season approaches where the nativity scene is displayed in churches across North America. In case you forgot, it is about a Middle Eastern family desperate for shelter.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Terror Attacks - Let's Make Up Stuff and Blame it on the most Vulnerable, Downtrodden People in the World!


It's only been one day since the heinous terrorist attacks in Paris. Rumours of a Syrian passport found on or near one of the terrorists has sparked the xenophobic, anti-immigration rants blowing up around the internet. A convenient group to blame, some of the weakest, most downtrodden people in the world right now.

I have a problem with this.

The first question I ask myself is, is it plausible that Syrian Terrorists have infiltrated France?

Yes, it is possible that one or more of these terrorists are from Syria. They may also be from Canada, or Germany, or Belgion, or China for all I know.

Is it likely that they would blow themselves up and be carrying their passport so as to give the authorities a clue?

Hrmm, I don't know. I'm a little skeptical, but maybe.

Is it likely that the authorities would be sharing potential key evidence with the general public, such as a Syrian Passport found near one of the dead suspects at this early stage of the investigation.

Maybe, who knows.

Is it likely that anti-immigration, conspiracy nuts are floating around bullshit meant to stoke people's xenophobic fears.

I think this is very likely.

I've blogged intermittently on Syria since before the war began. There are plenty of great articles out there outlining how ISIS began, and it's modern roots. Trying to remember it all is like trying to remember every move you made in a Chess game.

I agree with Canada's Liberal government that our new role should be as a peacemaker in the region. A peacemaker between the Rebels and the Assad Regime, while playing a covert role to infiltrate, undermine, divide, weaken, and decimate ISIS.

By pulling out of the overt war, we can focus on being humanitarians, heroes, and helpers. We can focus on hope, and on doing the right thing. We can be something more.

Syrians are proud, good people. The time to bring them over to Canada is now. Before their desperation turns their souls darker. Before stealing out of desperation to live becomes second nature. Before the violence that their youth have been exposed to becomes part of their normal - the sad, criminal normal that afflicts too many refugees coming to Canada today.

I say this because Syrians, before being decimated by war, were some of the most generous, welcoming people in the world. They were generous to a fault. Now they are desperate and in need of help. Now that they are victims of ISIS, it saddens me to hear that they find themselves being treated with suspicion and racism because they come from the same place as the monsters do.

ISIS isn't trying to send their Jihadists dressed as refugees to cause terror elsewhere. They need all hands on deck in the Leviathin just to survive. Their media wing and propoganda is what inspires feeble, angry, foolish young men to commit terror acts inside their own countries. That's what we have to keep an eye on.

As much as seeing ISIS being blown into tiny, little smithereens would give us satisfaction. I know that dropping bombs and blowing them to hell will not eliminate them. It will just make us poorer, and if history is any indication, it may even make them stronger.

The best way to eliminate ISIS, or any hideous ideology, is to expose their lies and hypocrocy through peace and a better alternative. It's by telling the stories of the people hurt by their evil. The widows. The orphans. The injured, and the dead.

It's by showing how their victims are better than they are. How the victims fleeing their evil were saved by good people who do good things.

Canada can do better. Canada must do better.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Doug Ford Slams Trudeau's as Drama Teacher

I turned on the news today and found myself absorbed once again in the Canada Leadership Race.

Doug Ford gave an interview putting Stephen Harper's resume up against Justin Trudeau, saying Trudeau couldn't even be a floor sweeper in a major company that would hire Stephen Harper in a heartbeat.

How do their resume's stack up?

Liberal leader Trudeau spent a year as a drama teacher. According to Mr. Ford, that is a huge knock against him. He goes on to say that it makes him incompetent.

Let me go back to my grade ten Drama class. Who takes Drama class?

For me, in grade ten, it was every hooligan, shit disturber, troublemaker, and problem child in the highschool.

Each class was like an experiment in seeing how far they could push the teacher toward a mental breakdown, and on supply teacher day, it was like that but on steroids.

We were in a windowless, high-roofed room that was the remnants of a defunct metal-shop program. A fence blocked off a section - about half of the classroom - where big, clunky metal working machines sat and collected dust.

Almost every class, someone would sneak over to the lightswitch and turn off the light when the teacher wasn't looking.

Pitch darkness would ensue, and inevitably, a chair, or two, or three, would be tossed over the fence and ping-pong clatter around the metal machines.

When particularly mean spirited, a recycling bin, a garbage can, or some other clunky object would be pushed into the path between the sight-deprived supply teacher and the lightswitch, and you could hear the poor, blithering teacher stumbling and crashing his way from his desk to the lightswitch. Once turned on, the teacher would be met by a crowd of blank, innocent, bewildered stares.

So, who are drama teachers in my opinion? How would being a drama teacher impact someone's ability to lead?

Drama teachers inspire the imagination. They understand the importance of fun in education. They can deal with the most difficult students, and change their paths for the better. They can control a crowd of hyper, excited, difficult children (an important skill in parliamentary debates).

I could go on.

So Doug Ford's snide remark, Trudeau spent a year as a drama teacher and is therefore incompetent and should not lead the country is an insult.

An insult to everyone who admires an actor, an actor at some stage of his life likely inspired by a drama teacher.

An insult to everyone in the education industry who puts their heart and soul into teaching our children.

I understand that leaders can't choose their supporters. I think it shows just how stupid the Ford's are. Supporting Stephen Harper so loudly and arrogantly will likely do no justice to Harper's campaign.

It's a bit like gaining a few buffoon votes in exchange for a hundred voters running away from your party.

And then there's the comment that Stephen Harper's resume would be snapped up in a heartbeat to lead a major company.

I'm sure there's a lineup of companies waiting to hire someone who lost money in nine consecutive years after inheriting a surplus. They can't wait to put someone in charge who oversaw his country through two recessions. They are excited about his record of hiring competent, trustworthy people like Mike Duffy and Patrick Brazeau. They know he surrounds himself with bright, highly qualified people that aren't smart enough to talk for themselves or express their own opinions. They are excited about hiring somone who chopped the forward momentum of women in society, neutered scientific research, castrated the national media, created a tax-haven system inside Canada that encourages stock market manipulation. Who wouldn't want to be led by someone labelled a racist embarassment by numerous media outlets throughout the world.

Sounds like someone I'd hire - NOT.

I'd sooner hire a drama teacher.





































Friday, October 02, 2015

Is Citizenship Revocation Right for Convicted Terrorists.

Terrorism offends me as it does most sensible people.

When I first heard about revoking citizenship, my angry self cheered, "Yeehaw, stick it to the bad guy."

The more I thought about it, though, the more I came to the conclusion that Trudeau is right. We can't revoke the citizenship of a terrorist anymore than we can revoke the citizenship of a pedophile, or a murderer, or any other person whose behaviour offends mainstream society.

Why not?

Putting our hateful sentiments aside. What happens when you revoke someones citizenship and send them back to their home country?

1) The person heads back to their home country and remains a threat to their society, and potentially our society too. Borders aren't impervious to infiltration. Their infatuation with revenge and violence is now exported elsewhere and threatens other people, potentially us as well. We cannot check it. We cannot watch them. We cannot forgive them and encourage them lead healthy and productive lives, seeing the error of their ways. We are overcome with revenge and anger, and we let these feelings dictate our actions. In this case, we potentially make them martyrs and heroes, looked up to by other would-be terrorists as someone who tried, but failed, to attack the people they blindly hate. They are praised as someone who did hard time for "the cause." They are elevated in their circles of evil and potentially more dangerous than ever.

2) Our sensibilities over the last half century have seen us abolish the death penalty, torture, and abide by a doctrine that eliminates cruel-and-unusual punishment. As was witnessed in the Arar case, handing someone over to another country can have dire consequences. There is no guarantee the convicted terrorist would not be rearrested, tortured, or put to death after serving their time in Canada and being extradited to a country with a different moral code. In doing so, we are breaching their human rights.

To conclude. As much as terrorism and those who incorporate it into their belief system offends us, we must take the higher ground. That is the road that Trudeau took in the debate of citizenship revocation, even if he did not articulate it as best he could. It shows he can look beyond hate and revenge and choose the right path.













Monday, August 03, 2015

Six Dangers of Tax Free Savings Accounts

Tax Free Savings Accounts should be scrapped, indefinitely. Here's why.

1) A Tax break for the wealthy

A Tax Free Savings Account is a tax break for the wealthy. It encourages a smart wealthy person to spread their wealth, slowly, among their family members. If increased to $10,000 per year, a wealthy family of four would stow away $40,000 per year. (More if you include Registered Educational Savings Plans)

As someone who has to budget to make their monthly mortgage and car payments, saving $40,000 per year is a pipe dream. Even if I paid off my mortgage, stowing away $40,000 per year on my salary is $20,000 away from what I can ever afford - post-debt.

2) Pump and dump.

The ability to create tax bubbles, essentially blowing up someone's tax free accounts while draining their regular investment accounts encourage people to manipulate the stock market.

Someone experienced in stock market manipulation could effectively do this on a large scale for a group of clients. While there should be checks and balances in place to prevent such manipulations, it's hard to prosecute when there is a massive claw back in law enforcement to investigate or prosecute such transgressions.

What we have is a perfect recipe for mass tax evasion.

Here's how.

An investor gathers millions, even billions of dollars in clients accounts. They get their clients to invest in particular stocks in their TFSA. The investor then manipulates the people's non-TFSA accounts to buy the stocks at an inflated price from their TFSA accounts.

What starts out as a $10,000 in stock X in their TFSA and $10,000 cash in their taxable trading account becomes $10,000 + (manipulated sell price increase) in their TFSA and ($10,000 - planned loss) in their non-TFSA account.

To put it simply, it's like taking air out of one balloon to put it into another balloon. In this case, a tax free balloon.

But it doesn't end there. The perpetrator can now claim a "Tax loss," in their regular investment account, decreasing their real income taxes.

In the above way, a savvy, wealthy investor could gradually transfer their earnings into a TFSA to the point where they never have to pay a dime in taxes again.

3) Laissez-Faire turns to manipulation

The traditional theory of market forces is to leave it be. It's illegal to manipulate markets in any way. But that is exactly what Tax Free Savings Accounts do. They artificially encourage people to invest in the stock market. The result artificially boosts the stock market beyond what it's intrinsic value should be.

This is a dangerous precedent and goes against the principles investment economics.

4) Good bye tax revenues.

The wealthy and the upper middle class are the people who can afford to be taxed at a higher rate. In a country that runs deficit after deficit, creating tax havens for the people who can afford to pay a little more tax is bad.
Taxes on investment income are historically pretty low. You divide the capital gains by two and add it to your annual income. With the generous amount people can stow away in their TFSA's, what's being created is a future where such taxable investment income will shrivel more and more.

5) It's the people struggling to get ahead who need a break, not the people who are already ahead. Who will pay the difference? The poor and the people struggling to get ahead are the one's who will pay a bigger share in the end to make up the difference, while the wealthy enjoy their tax-free earnings.

6) It will be tricky to undo this mess.

When the government realizes that allowing people to have tax free havens isn't sustainable and they actually need to tax it, what happens to the TFSA's? People invested in good faith, thinking their money would be safe from the government's touch.



What Should We do?

Do we simply cap it? Whatever is in your account can be kept tax free, but nothing else. No more annual additions.

Do we scrap it? Tax Free Savings accounts are no longer tax free. They are regular accounts.

Those are really the only viable options. Any hybrid of partial taxation becomes too confusing.

I say scrap it.

I can't afford it anyway.


Sunday, August 02, 2015

Should the RCMP get a 10% wage increase?

In a recent Globe and Mail Article, the RCMP pay council put it to the Federal Government that RCMP members should get a 10% wage increase to recruit and retain the best employees.

They are wrong.

They are wrong because...

It should be 20%.

Here's why.

The RCMP need people. They need good people, very good people!

Let's take an RCMP member in Alberta. Most members in Alberta are from out of province.

The only province who consistently pays it's police forces less than the RCMP is Quebec.

The Ontario Provincial Police pay more. Most big city police forces pay more.

What's to stop an RCMP officer outside of Calgary, or Vancouver, or Edmonton, or Saskatoon, or Regina from walking away from the RCMP, joining the city force, and getting an automatic 10-15 % raise just for showing up to a different location to work.

What's to stop someone from Ontario from taking a raise so they can go back home and be closer to their friends and families.

Conversely, what police force wouldn't want someone with police training and policing experience to join them? They don't have to train the person, much. They get a prepared employee ready to work. All the benefits, and the only cost being their regular police salary.

If I ran a local police force, I'd be poaching such people. What they pay extra in salary, they save in training costs.

An RCMP officer might think twice about the move if they knew they were the best paid. If they knew they worked with the best people because they were the best paid.

Beyond what I've outlined above, the RCMP as an organization are responsible for a lot more than a typical police force. They spearhead the bigger projects, the nation-wide policing and law-enforcement initiatives. Anti-terrorism, anti-fraud, child exploitation, organized crime.

That's where the RCMP comes in. They need the smartest, the best, the leaders who can gel with the other police forces and be the link-up to help solve the complicated, national and international crimes.

If you want second rate recruits, go ahead, keep paying them like they are. If you want to create an organized, competent, specialized, and multi-faceted National Police Force, cough up the money to recruit, and just as importantly, retain them.

Friday, June 26, 2015

WHY WE NEED BILL C-51

It's fascinating what tidbits of information people grasp onto and accept as fact.

The NDP opposition, as I've watched them for years, oppose everything the sitting government does with zealous overreaction. Red face, smoke coming out their ears, oppose, oppose, oppose.

It doesn't matter if it's good policy or not. It doesn't matter if deep down they agree with it or not. Oppose, oppose, oppose.

This red-faced, smoke-from-the-ears opposition to Bill C-51 seems to have struck a note with the public. It's killing the Liberal Party.

The fact that Trudeau voted for it seems to have pushed the NDP into the lead, and NDP momentum is a dangerous thing, just ask the Alberta Conservatives.

The NDP is still enjoying their honeymoon with Alberta, a fact in itself which raises their popularity country wide. It's too bad the election is looming. Give the NDP a few years, and that shine will start to be coated in the soot churned out by the oil sands, coupled with the fact that a body of complete unknowns, and likely more than a few nincompoops ended up in power.

So how can Mr. Trudeau recover from his faux pas?

Whether Bill C-51 is right or wrong, in fickle voters minds, he took the wrong side.

Here is what I would do.

I would justify my vote for Bill C51 because I believe in exigent circumstances. I believe that imminent terrorist threats require a collaborative, concerted effort to thwart them.

In the same way that police can kick down a door down if someone is screaming, "Don't kill me," or, "Help," or shouting, "I'm going to kill you." Police can kick down the same doors when terrorist threats come upon their radar.

This means that police don't have to have someone guarding the front and back door, while another member rushes back to the detachment, spends two hours drafting a warrant, taking that warrant to a judge, who reads the warrant, signs it, and finally gives the police permission to enter.

Applying that logic to Bill C51. What Trudeau was effectively voting for was to extend exigent circumstances to encompass imminent and potential terrorist threats.

Just like police having the authority to kick down that door down to stop a violent offence from happening, bill C-51 provides law enforcement and national security with the tools to take on terrorists.

When it is believed that someone is plotting terrorist activities, and their detention is necessary to thwart those activities, and sharing private information between government agencies can disrupt that threat, they can act.

When these powers are exercised they should be scrutinized afterwards. There should be oversight. There should be a process for dealing with complaints and possible abuses of this authority. These are things that need to be worked out.

There is another reason we need bill C-51 though. It's the opposite to what the NDP are crying foul with Big Brother communism knocking on our doorstep.

The RCMP has been gutted by the Harper government. Their manpower is way below where it  needs to be to fight crime. The RCMP are overworked and underpaid. Good candidates, smart candidates, even good RCMP members are joining other police forces.

The RCMP was just charged under the Canada Labour Code, in part for being dangerously undermanned and dangerously overworked.

The fact is, the RCMP needs shortcuts. They barely have time to tie their shoes, let alone write up production orders and spend hundreds of hours on each potential threat that crosses their radar.

Plain and simple, with too few members to take on the crime out there, it's impossible, despite what the NDP would have you believe, to become a big-brother state.

The national security forces need a break. They need these shortcuts. They need this life-preserving legislation, to go from drowning in bureaucracy, to just gasping for air.


Friday, June 19, 2015

Should Canada Abolish the Senate?

What is the Senate anyways? 

Before looking it up, this is what I think it is.

A group of government appointed people, from a broad swathe of society, to debate legislature and provide sober second thought.

I looked it up, and that's pretty much what it is supposed to be.

The big criticism is that sometimes it gets filled with rubber-stamp government lackeys. It is a reward to people loyal to the government of the day. An easy ride, if you will.

I like to think the Senate should be made up of people of influence from inside and outside the public service. 

Some former judges, ex-police commissioners, military men, doctors, politicians from various levels. Ex-mayors, counsellors, well-regarded independent politicians.

Some heroes, ex-star athletes. 

Well regarded businessmen, if we can deem their hearts in the right place.

There should be rules for one to become a senator. Be debt free. Be of good standing. No criminal record. Pass a drug test and be prepared for random drug testing.

There should be a list of criteria, as passed by parliament, that the Senate should strive to attain in order to be diverse, just, and responsible.

In other words...

Not Mike Duffy, or Patrick Brazeau. 

Looking at these two, one has to wonder if Stephen Harper had some master plan to fill the senate with nincompoops in order to have fodder for it's abolishment.

It's abolishment would provide one less layer of government oversight. For those up in arms over bill C51 - less oversight is the greater evil if you ask me. Greater than letting our security services detain suspected terrorists.

Imperfect as the Senate may be. Incompetent as our current politicians have made it, it is a reflection of these politicians and their hiring decisions. Don't abolish the Senate. Reform the selection process.

I would like to see a healthy senate. Not some coke-head, strip-joint manager who beats up his wife. Nor some greedy, debt-laden journalist who gave soft soundbites to his conservative friends over the course of his journalistic career.

I want to see an ex-pro hockey player. I want to see the former head of an international charity. I want to see an ex-city police commissioner. A former mayor still held in high regard. A university professor, a former surgeon, an agriculturist, an environmentalist.

I'm sure we have some of those. Lets see what pieces are missing and put those people in the senate.

Not Harper's buddies. 

The second last word.

Did Don Meredith commit a crime?

The last word.

If you were to appoint someone to help oversee the biggest decisions being made in the country, who would you choose?

Thursday, April 09, 2015

The Orphans of Syria

BBC Beirut shared a heart-wrenching article on the refugees of Syria currently in Lebanon.

I was there twelve years ago, and the tricks are the same. Back then they were described as "Kurdish,"children. 

Back then, I didn't have children of my own. To me, the poor kids of Syria were what the locals of Beirut described them as, a nuisance.

As they were in Nairobi, and Addis Ababa, and Rabat, etc, etc.

Begging is a racket. But the writer of this article precludes some important questions. Has the war blown the problem of begging youth into new proportion? Is their a better way? Whether these children are war orphans or opportunists, children should have a youth. They should play, and have fun, and learn, and be children!

Perhaps if we documented the victims, if we showed their lives, their shattered childhoods of beatings and perpetual filth, their desperation. If we showed exactly how they got there. Maybe their suffering might leak into the conscience of would-be Jihadists. Maybe the results, not the bullshit heaven-with-forty-virgins results, but the real hell with forty-thousand orphans results, might sink in.

Maybe.

Just maybe.

A good propaganda video can take someone's zest for martyrdom...

And turn it into a zest to replace the maternal and paternal losses caused by such "Martyrs."

Instead of militant Jihadists, maybe we'll find some real heroes emerging.










Friday, January 16, 2015

The Apple Watch - One Critical Fault and How to Overcome it.

I predict the Apple Watch will not do well, unless they can overcome its critical fault.

The primary reason - daily charging. I currently own a Pebble Smart Watch. I've had it since they were first made available for order, about two years ago.

I paid $150 for it. At first it worked okay.

It eventually became clunky. Disconnecting frequently, not transferring data, and most recently, it's had battery life issues. I have to charge it every day if I leave the Bluetooth on. About every 3-4 days otherwise. Originally, in the first year or so, a charge lasted about four days with regular Bluetooth use.

Quite frankly, charging a watch every day is a pain.

The good things about the Pebble - when it's working.

1) I can read text messages.
2) The open source platform - thousands of developers made simple life hack programs to communicate through Bluetooth. From Golf Course distance apps, to running apps, to anything people could think up that one might want to share data and piggyback off the capabilities of their smartphone.
3) At first, the charge lasted about 4 days. A little longer would be perfect - a five day work week so one could charge it on the weekend.

Yes, the apple watch will pack in a few extras. Neat health apps like pulse rates and blood pressure. But the bare bones will remain the same. A device that communicates with your phone or other Apple devices.

The updates of stocks, or news, or text messages will certainly more robust and reliable than the inconsistent Pebble as Apple should communicate with Apple. A billion dollar company should ensure billion dollar programming.

But the one major problem remains.

Battery life. A watch should be affixed to the wrist. With all the chargeable devices needed nowadays, the Apple Watch becomes a boon to always be charging it.

The solution?

An external juice battery. Merely pop on a juice ring/band/cover for an hour or so, and charge it. Have a juice ring, pack, etc, for the office and for home.

Kickstarter anyone?

Since I have no engineering experience, I'll let the geniuses at Kickstarter, Indigogo et al piggy back off my creative epiphany. Perhaps you can send me a thank you card.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Inconvenience


You see a cruel authority figure inconveniencing your day.
You see an expensive charge that you can't afford.
At Christmas, credit card bills in the mail.
You can't afford to pay it, not now,
Why would the police do that?
Why do they do that?
Charge people.

It's because.
They know the aftermath,
High speed collisions, drunk drivers,
They smell the burning flesh, petrol, rubber,
They make notes, photograph the limbs, guts, decapitations
The carnage of babies and children and teenagers spread across highways.

But that isn't always the hardest job that they do. That job comes next.
Next, they call upon other detachments and ask for assistance.
"Please attend the following address and tell the residents,
With our sincerest condolences we inform you that,
Your daughter, or son, or mother, or father,
Were driving along the highway when,
A terrible collision occurred.
Police and ambulance,
They tried their best,
To save them.
But they're,
Dead!"

Denial.
Disbelief.
Acceptance.
Tears and anguish.
Hard on you, hard on them,
And the police, choking back tears,
Wonder if it could be have been prevented.
If only police had enforced more, just a little bit more.
If they went after speeders and drunk drivers a few more times,
If they wrote more violation tickets and pulled a couple more people over.

Could they have saved a life? Maybe save the next one? With a ticket?
How many impaired driving charges does it take to save one life?
How many tickets written, vehicles pulled over, stop checks?
How many charges does it take to save one life so that,
They don't have to knock on yet another door,
So they don't have to knock on your door.
In order to tell you the worst news.
That you have ever heard.
In your entire life,
Your entire life,
Devastated!

Charge people?
Why do they do that?
Why would the police do that?
You can't afford to pay it, not now!
At Christmas, credit card bills in the mail.
You see an expensive charge that you can't afford.
You see a cruel authority figure inconveniencing your day.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Profiling.

The buzzword of the day is profiling. Police do profile. They profile every day, and they will not stop, and they will not apologize  for it.   They profile people who act weird and sketchy. They want to watch those people. They profile cars with visible damage as being more likely driven by impaired drivers. They profile people with long criminal records because, lets face it, people with long criminal records are more likely to commit offences than people who have never been criminally charged in their lives. They profile young people, because old people don't commit as many crimes. 

If a police officer has a vehicle stop with a bunch of hari-krishnas in a van and it leads to a major drug bust, you can bet your ass the next time the cop sees a bunch of hari-krishnas driving around in a van, he's going to take a hard look at what they are doing!

Police might not be able to rhyme off exact statistics, but their experience shows them that young men steal more than old men. Boy Scout Leaders and Catholic Priests sexually abuse more little boys than Firefighters and street sweepers. People in the bad part of town steal, fight, rob, break stuff and do more drugs than people in the good part of town.

A cop who doesn't profile, is probably not a very good cop.

The more experience they have, the more they investigate, the more arrests they make, the more crime scenes they attend, the better they are at profiling.
 
There are people who profile for a living. They are called criminal analysts and it's their jobs to identify suspects based on criminal profiles.

A career thief who likes to break into houses by smashing a side window in the afternoon on a weekday. He then steals  electronics and women's panties. 

Suddenly a rash of those break and enters occur on a street he just moved onto.

Ding, ding, ding, ding.

Guess who the prime suspect is and guess how police came to that conclusion.

PROFILING!

How did it suddenly become such a dirty word?

Friday, December 05, 2014

Ferguson

Dear Ferguson.

Racism exists, but there is another problem in the United States. It's called stupidity. I don't know the exact details of what happened on that day where a three-hundred pound black convenience-store-robber died after attacking a policeman.



Please stop calling him an unarmed teenager, though. Technically I guess he was unarmed, but he was also a three hundred pound man. A man who had just manhandled the tiny clerk while robbing a convenience store. I don't know about you, but I don't know too many people, when being confronted by the police, physically attack the police officer.

You say tomato...

Unarmed teenager with his hands up/three hundred pound store-robbing police-assaulting criminal.

Yes there is racism in America. Excessive use of force by police does happen. Police also get attacked by violent criminals and have to defend themselves. Citizens, white, black, native, Chinese - whatever - do not have the right to resist arrest. Accused citizens have their right to fight the charges in court. They have the right to take wrongful police actions to account through complaints, through civil or even criminal investigations if warranted.

Based on the serious nature of the incident, this police officer had a trial to deem whether his actions were criminal. The jury believed the police officers testimony, which was consistent with witnesses on many accounts. The jury believed the police officer feared death or grievous injury and shot his attacker.

Now I understand that this particular violent criminal had a mother who is grieving her son. Here's a big surprise. Every violent criminal ever arrested in the history of mankind - also had a mother, and a father, and probably even a friend.

Every criminal in history had someone that loved them at some point in their life. There was probably good in them, as well as bad. On that day, a man doing very bad things was shot and killed. I just wish that the outraged public would stop pretending that the good side, the side where someone momentarily saw him raise his hands, perhaps when he realized beating a police officer and stealing cigars was wrong, or perhaps in preparation of launching his next assault.

If that's what really happened. Because, to be completely honest, I don't know every detail of what really happened. And neither do you. That police officer, from my limited knowledge, killed a criminal who was attacking him.

I know everyone out there would like to think that the police officer had lots of time to reflect on exactly what was happening and make rational, logical, perfectly sane decisions. He did not! He had split seconds! He made split-second decisions, in the midst of being physically attacked by a much larger man. In pulling out his gun, the police officer decided to use lethal force. His emotions were probably very high. He was probably angry, terrified, and determined to not be another name on a wall and sad police tragedy in the newspapers.

He's a different kind of tragedy, a victim of the media. An aggressive media who chose inflammatory headlines like "Unarmed Black Teenager Murdered by Police," instead of, "Dangerous robber killed after assaulting Cop." or, "Violent Criminal Shot and killed while Assaulting Police Hero."

So if you really feel that you must protest, because you're angry but don't really know why, please protest a real cause. Like global warming. Or violence against women. Or stupidity.

As seen below, a large, unarmed black men can't possibly be dangerous. At least his right hand was up, in fact, for someone to throw punches, at least one hand has to be up. A good fighter would have both hands up.

Perhaps "Hands up don't shoot," should be, "Hands up, I'm ready to punch you in the face now."




Police are human beings faced with extraordinary circumstances. They have to make split second decisions. They deal with violent people, drunk and high on drugs, suffering mental breakdowns, overcome with violent fits of rage. Sometimes these people are in possession of weapons.

Most police officers go their entire career without having to take someone's life. In the USA, there are approximately 765,000 sworn police officers in the country. That means a few things.

One - there are bound to be a few bad apples who shouldn't have become police. If you think of any career job you've had in your life, you're bound to come up with incompetent jerks who shouldn't have been there.

Some police suffer from extreme stresses. They have a gun and a badge and if you catch them on a bad day, their patience and thought process might be a little murky. They might get set off a little bit quicker than they should. They might snap.

At best, a little bit extra force might be used.

At worse, they might kill someone.

It's reality. It's people who live in a world of violence responding to violent people.

Sometimes a routine bar fight between complete strangers ends in a death.

Sometimes, if someone fights the police, the worst can happen.

Sometimes police make imperfect decisions. They are human. Watch this video of a police officer who shot someone. A human being faced with an impossible decision.





Nothing upsets me more than seeing people posting inflammatory anti-police stories like a pitbull ripping at the neck of it's victim. Ferguson, New York, hang the police.

Then, when called to task. When seeing the repercussions of their hatred spreading as police get assassinated by violent thugs, the same people say, "I was merely suggesting that police should be held more accountable."

People shared the same anti-police rants that helped radicalize those same violent thugs who murdered police officers. People shared biased hatred of authority figures who have a sworn duty to protect them. Such actions weren't calling for accountability, they were calling for a witch hunt.

The rules of engagement are simple. When a police officer lawfully tells a person to behave a certain way, obey those lawful commands, deal with the repercussions of any wrongdoing you are accused of, and move on with your life.

Disobey these rules of engagement and you might get hurt. Fight, and you may get badly hurt, or die.

Like the unfortunate bar fight between two complete strangers, where one punch kills the other.

Stupid decisions have consequences.

There are 400 police involved killings reported every year in the USA.

There are 11,000 impaired driving deaths in the USA every year.

There are 15,000 homicides every year in the USA.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Crime and Punishment

Cruel and unusual punishment.

That's the current buzzword associated with the 75 year sentence handed down on the Mountie murderer Justin Bourque.

The only thing I find cruel and unusual about the punishment is the fact that taxpayers have to pay a hundred grand a year to keep this jackass in jail. That's 7.5 million over the course of his sentence.

In fact, probably a lot more than that. A hundred thousand is a modest sum.

It's not the sentence I have issue with. It's the question of whether the death penalty is relevant any more. In Canada, in 1963, the death penalty entered a period of being commuted as a matter of policy. While death sentences could theoretically be carried out, they weren't.

Interestingly enough, On November 30, 1967, Bill C-168 was passed creating a five-year moratorium on the use of the death penalty, except for murders of police and corrections officers.

This was extended in 1973 and in 1976 the a narrow vote to abolish death penalty was a carried out, with an exception for certain circumstances under the Canada Defense Act. The act was upgraded in 1998 and the death penalty in Canada was abolished completely.

There has been one motion to reinstate the death penalty, which was defeated handily in parliament.

A discussion on the PROS and CONS of the death penalty can be found here.

The supreme questions I ask myself aren't, Does he deserve to die for what he did? Is the world a better place without him?
My answer to both of those questions is, yes, absolutely.

The three big questions I ask myself are...

Do I want to be the judge who sentences a man to death?
Do I want to be the man who carries out that punishment?
Would either of these make me a murderer?

Thursday, November 06, 2014

BLASPHEMER!

In a recent BBC article, it discusses an alleged blasphemer with mental health issues being murdered in Pakistan for uttering blasphemies.

Just something to note the next time you are surprised and say, "Oh my God!" Or holy #$%, or Jesus H Christ, or...

Blasphemy!

Moving along.

Rather than go on a rant about my thoughts on ISIS chopping people's heads off, or bludgeoning Blasphemers to death in Pakistan, or murdering soldiers on guard duty and storming the Canadian Parliament, or extremism in all it's ugly forms, I'll just share these videos.









Who needs to write a diatribe when these two videos pretty much sums up my thoughts on ISIS and other like-minded nincompoops.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Is Double Time Really Double Time?

Double bubble, double pounders! You're raking in the cash, right? Double your salary for overtime hours.

From a banking perspective, it sure is nice to have a huge paycheck come in every so often. A financial cushion to double down on the mortgage, or keep up with the cycle of bills, pay off the credit cards. Whatever your financial situation, the bonus money is pleasant.
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From an employer perspective, it might actually make sense to pay people double time instead of train, hire, teach, pay vacation, pay sick days, move people from place to place, pay into their benefits, their insurance, their glasses, their dentists, etc, etc, all the non-salary costs associated to hiring an employee.

For the government, the higher tax bracket that double time puts them in means the government ends up recouping bigger amounts back in taxes as well.

Just something to think about next time you say yes to double time. The paychecks are nice, but you might be saving your employer money in the long run. Not that helping the big man is a bad thing, unless they start to abuse it and it effects your well being.



There comes a time when you need to log those hours and take time off, separate and enjoy your passions in life. Blogging, for instance.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Harper Comes Out of the Closet.

While some members of parliament prepared a bold, if not desperate defense.




Our fearless leader was... definitely not fearless. 





Cowering in a closet as his followers stood ready to defend with weapons of opportunity, as the true heroes, the police and the Sargent at Arms, exchanged gunfire with a deranged madman on the front lines - and killed him.



 But alas, this was less a religious-inspired attack as it was a fringe criminal of society, mental health issues exacerbated by a history of drug abuse, devouring the chance religious garble of the day. 



Police deal with people like him on a daily basis. Obsessed that the government, or aliens, or big brother is tapping into their brains. Devouring propaganda that infests the internet like tiny forest fires flaring up on a dry summer day. Somehow a mix of drugs-meets-mental health-meets religious garble caused him to become dangerous.



 But there is more. Increasingly lax gun laws led this walking mental-health problem to possess a firearm - a feat made easier because restrictions on long guns have eased.



 Throw in some cutbacks, such as with drug rehab programs, mental health care, policing, criminal justice... Much of these budget cuts thanks to the same man who sat cowering in a closet.



 Now, a soldier lays dead, a nation shocked, and our leader finally came out of the closet - sorry for the slight to my gay friends.



One has to ask questions about gun laws, about mental health problems, about justice cutbacks, policing cutbacks... Could this have been averted?