Trump Goin’ Down

With all the testimony this week on Capitol Hill, believe it or not there are still pockets of republican law makers squealing with disbelief still that Trump is guilty as charged.  Jim Jordan may be the last man standing and late night stand up acts will certainly be targeting him for his formulation of logic. Devin Nunes was another Republican so stained in partisanship over facts that he thought that somehow by referencing “poor TV ratings” in an intelligence hearing he’d sway the argument. With all the history of Trump’s lies, deceit, attacks on the vulnerable, twitter tirades, spinning of a conspiracy theory (Obama’s birth), associations with criminals (Manafort for one), apparent deeds of sexual harassment according to some 16 women, countless civil court cases prior to Presidency, obfuscation of publicizing financial history (tax returns), personal attacks on citizens competing for presidential nomination, business intent to operate in corrupt Russia, Mr. Nunes somehow thought by referencing old newspaper headlines that conflating matters would help his defence of this sham of a man, Trump.    

It’s been a harrowing display of partisanship and very disappointing to witness this presidency along with Trump’s character to those who hold justice dear. It was a great experiment in populism projected onto the American people by voters contemptuous of being marginalized with powerlessness. Ironically, the man sent to Washington to address matters of the powerless has abused the power bestowed upon him and a lot of folks saw it coming including yours truly. 

 If one fails to exercise objective thought in the face of political philosophy in a democracy, there are implications. If one turns a blind eye, one will be caught. It may not be today or tomorrow, but the facts will emerge. A steadfast adherence to ideology is healthy but if the implementation of such ideology requires the suppression and disregard to basic values and human rights, then such implementation in democratic form will require a reset in order to extinguish such aberrant conduct. While the trait of loyalty has absolute merit in the context of executing team cause, blind loyalty tarnished with misdeed has inevitable negative consequences including collateral damage. As a result of this Trump debacle, it becomes apparent that the whistle blower provision worked and thankfully there was an American sharp enough to step forward for the good of country and his / her fellow patriot to out this reprehensible conduct of bargaining political gain with earmarked military aid.

Incredulously, there is still the remote possibility that Republicans will grasp at some kind of rationale for defending a no vote to impeachment if proceedings actually make it to trial in absence of Trump’s resignation. I am one conservative ideologue not blinded by partisan ideology but strident in articulating repercussions from being stubborn and outright indignant toward thoughtful discourse.    

Ron MacLean Bestowed U of A Honorary Degree

The University of Alberta is actually a pretty good school but continues to bestow honorary degrees. Despite Ron MacLean being a “good guy”, in my estimation he should not be awarded a “degree” from my Alma Mater if he has not earned it. Nor should have David Suzuki or any other recipient be awarded an “Honorary Degree”.

You see, the process of earning a degree requires work and sacrifice. One undertakes course work as an adult in pursuit of career knowledge. Course work may also entail studies of the humanities as supplemental to ones’ core discipline. In fact, at the end of a bachelor’s program, one is positioned to advance a discipline through post graduate studies and research. Those who make it through a Bachelor’s program have sacrificed finance in achieving a “parchment”, likely have undertaken debt, and have consequently have made a personal investment in their profession.  Awarding “honorary degrees” to individuals for accomplishments outside the realm of academic endeavour having not completed prescribed curriculum simply debases the degree and frankly offends those who sacrificed in actualizing the requirements set forth from day one. I speak for myself and obviously others but not all.

Do specific citizens deserve recognition aside from that obtained from community, family, and career compensation? Yes. I do not object to governments, charities, communities, and sports and arts associations from awarding its contributors. However; university honorary degrees are simply wrong.

The U of A will once again call me this year looking for a “donation”. Unfortunately, the first year student volunteering his / her time to make the call will be confronted with my indignant response. This individual in his / her youth and inexperience to much monetary and absolute in opinion will be perplexed that such a defined position will be taken.         

Kaepernick Debacle

Colin Kaepernick had a very good 2013 season with the San Francisco 49ers. It’s been tough to miss him through the news cycle since. Kaepernick rightfully latched onto the civil rights issue associated with the Rodney King incident and other precursors galvanizing support toward the Black Lives Matter movement. Unfortunately, he decided to use his celebrity as a football player on the sports field as a means for showing his support for the cause while connecting the matter with disloyalty toward his country. He got black balled and he should have seen that coming.  You see, employers in a free capitalist society have the right to hire based on their variables deemed important for success. Disloyalty toward country makes a character statement and potentially correlates with potential behaviour when it comes to “team interest”. When the going gets tough, are you going to fold up tent or fight within the means available to you under a constitution? He chose to whimper in the easiest form of protest conveniently available to him. I wish him well. He seems sharp and I suspect he will be able to translate his sporting competitiveness into another avenue of success.     

Why Ski?

If you live in Western Canada and you don’t have a winter sport…consider downhill skiing. Here’s why I enjoy it so much.

  • The Excitement

It’s outside of your routine and you’ll be amongst others like minded and keen in their pursuit of adventure

  • The Landscape

You’ll be astonished by the horizon draped in glaciated peaks as you take a moment having exited the mountain’s highest elevated lift.

  • The Comraderie

You’ll be trading stories about mountains, runs, conditions, and travel.

  • The Finesse

Carving the snow and negotiating terrain become objectives of pursuit. A skill set develops in the spirit of continuous improvement.

  • Natures Separateness

You will forget your day job. You will have escaped.

  •  Safety

Start with lessons and advance. There is no rush. You will not break a leg. Equipment offers protection.

  • Testing Comfort

Can you advance in terrain from season to season and challenge your fears?

  • Travel

Experience uniqueness in every mountain and every community

  • Family bonding

It’s something you guys can do together.

  • The Anticipation

No two ski trips will be alike.

A Word On Don Cherry

The man has always been a blow hard advocating violence on the ice while goading groups against one another whether it be the Players Association versus the NHL, Swedes vs Canadians, fighters versus non-fighters or referees versus players. It’s what Canadians have apparently wanted due to the ratings on Hockey Night In Canada’s first intermission for three decades. I for one have always seen him for what he is and that is a personality looking to bait fans from a pulpit that has always frankly been in place for him due to questionable decisions on every occasion when it’s time for executives to renew his contract. Politicizing the game of hockey on a Saturday night or talking player contracts when sitting in front of the TV with family has never made any sense to me. In spite of my admiration for Ron McLean he has always operated as a fuel hose for Don during the HNIC segment which in and of itself seemed dysfunctional. Am I surprised that Ron has been caught in the crossfire? No. He appeared to be nodding as usual while Cherry ranted about poppies and “you people” in spite of what I believe is not actually what’s in Ron’s heart. Frankly, this is what media executives should expect when ratings and a populous perception of a personality become superimposing variables in personnel decision making.

Now to the words themselves. Don believed in what he was saying. He believes that people on the streets of Mississauga are not wearing poppies like they used to and it’s obvious that the ethnicity of Mississauga and downtown Toronto has changed immensely over the decades because of immigration. I don’t think he’s wrong in what he’s said in reference to the prevalence of poppies given my experience in North East Calgary. I also believe that with every passing generation, memories will fade and the sense of sacrifice of WWI and WWII veterans will lessen irrespective of skin color. I absolutely witness forgetfulness in government policy particularly with respect to the infringement on freedom via tax and regulatory policy. Referencing people as “you people” is not politically correct and could be viewed as racist. The reference is distasteful as is his character which I came to perceive early on in his days as a commentator in stark contrast to the viewpoint of so many white men. This is his schtick pitting people up against each other. This is an 85 year old man with a limited time spot in order to articulate a message in which HNIC executives unfortunately have condoned simply by renewing his contract and having experience with his history for brashness and off-ice faceoffs. However; I still deem their apology sincere. BTW….still thriving from having cut off my cable TV in 2014.

Canadian History Almost Made Today

Denis Shapovalov had an opportunity to become the first Canadian male tennis player to win a Masters 1000 (most senior level professional tournament equivalent to a Grand Slam) Series event today matched up against the number one player in the world, Djokovic. BTW, we still call all these athletes that leave Canada due to high taxation levels here Canadian in spite of their departure to tax havens. They like to keep the warmth of our country in their heart while paying tax abroad. Few really call this fact into question with respect to any semblance of National allegiance. The athletes certainly aren’t to blame but it is interesting how we still like to dress them with the Maple Leaf and discount the lay of the land.  

What if Canadian star athletes decided to stay in Canada? Certainly, governments would benefit from a return of capital on any funding awarded to athletes in lieu of their elite athletic status during years of development. This is not to say that particular athletes don’t give back to Canada upon capturing success in ways other than a direct return of such government sponsored funding. Then there’s the direct taxation for domestic prize pools associated with Canadian events such as the Rogers Cup. Residents are expected to report their world wide income whereas non-residents to do not. In spite of tax credits awarded to residents for foreign tax paid, the high tax rates in Canada would most likely supersede tax credits.  Non-residents are expected to pay Canadian tax for earnings on Canadian soil.

Elephant In The Room – Interest Rate Variable

In all this hype from the media regarding Bank of Canada interest rate decisions, and with the charade performed in front of cameras by sharp dressed smooth talking regulators…..the fact is that a 0.25 “basis” point move is not going to make one iota of difference when chartered banks have been widening the differential between retail unsecured rates and the overnight rate unchecked. Alberta has an “ombudsman” to deal with parties feeling aggrieved by services administered by the province.

From the standpoint of making complaints against the banking system, you would turn to “The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions”. This agency claims to be “independent” and in the context of interest rate policy whereby any party feels aggrieved, this agency will turn to “usury law” in deliberating the matter of any perceived injustice in interest rate administration. Chartered banks still have lots of leeway available to them in the context of widening retail secured and unsecured rates. 

I’m afraid our media is asking the wrong question when facilitating a discussion of the huge headline made yesterday over at the Business News Network, “Canadians Drowning In Debt As 47% Struggle To Cover Costs: MNP”.

Kootenays Now Takes Economic Hit

Look out Fernie / Sparwood / Blairmore…you’re next. Teck laying off 500….and it’s yet to be reported exactly where the blue chip miner is going to apply its cuts. Their steel producing coal isn’t quite as appealing to the markets. Could it be time to start promoting golf courses and casinos with the forestry industry also in the doldrums? The sleepy towns of Cranbrook and Kimberley get by (barely) with the closing of Cominco years ago. This corner of B.C. is still holding on to some semblance of conservative values in the face of a rising industrial backlash but it could all be about tourism once the next movie star catches a glimpse of the Teck open pits fuelling rhetoric for light weight politicians.

Forty KM/HR Residential Speed Limit Committee

Last night while driving home from work, the main drag was congested so I took a residential route. Naturally, I slowed down to 30km per hour while driving through a playground zone. As is often the case, there was a pick-up truck right on my back bumper. I pulled over and let him pass. Tailgating is an epidemic and law enforcement isn’t interested in pursuing this infraction with tickets. Drivers will have a propensity for checking their rear view mirror to see how much closer the ahole is going to get when they should be keeping an eye out for for children.

Now, imagine driving through this zone at a crawl and then confronted with a new reduced 40km per hour limit after the playground zone instead of 50. People will be perturbed while now thinking about what they’re going to make for dinner or thoughts of being late to pick up the kids. Their focus will not be on driving as it would be at a reasonable speed of 50km per hour for the conditions.

One thing is for sure – if the residential speed limit is reduced to 40km / hr then a municipality will have more revenues from speeding tickets generated through camera catches that it would at a speed of 50 km /hr.

We would hope that child safety is the motivator for considering such a change but I’m suspect. The current residential speed limit has served Canadians well for decades. Current infractions on the books such as “failure to stop”, “crosswalk incursions”, “failure to stop in advance of a stop line”, “failure to signal” do not get enforced. , “Failure to turn into nearest lane”, “unsafe lane changes”, and “failure to give distance” don’t apparently get taught in driver’s school or are simply disregarded due to drivers understanding that sanctions against such poor driving habits will not be applied.

You have bloated bureaucracies in Canada looking for places to turn their attention when what they need to do is execute their current agenda with precision.

Lastly, you will have mothers who believe this is a good proposal. I suggest that strong parenting along with common sense supervision has worked for decades when it comes to children and traffic law.     

Election Night Take Aways

Canadians condone their national leader in obstructing justice by casting votes in his direction.  

Party leaders oblivious to work schedules (bed times) of Canadians by delaying speeches in spite of certainty of outcome and botching their coordination as possible foreshadowing of a dysfunctional minority government.

Failure of pundits to articulate platform of the big winner of the night – Bloc Quebecois, and table thoughts on the degree of their separatist intentions.

Jagmeet Singh obviously still self aggrandizing in his new found stature by speaking at nauseous lengths thanking everyone but his dog as folks sought some semblance of a coherent thought in line with his seat reduction.

 A broken country. You have Quebecers who want all the benefits of being in Canada yet vote like traitors to the nation. You have elite Ontarians daft in thinking we can pay our bills through a service driven economy while deficits and the debt accelerate. You have Maritimers fearful of losing their pogey. You have British Columbians split through a rural / urban dichotomy. You have the prairies tired of paying the bills watching politicians trumpet rhetoric with gold plated pensions. 

You have a pretty elaborate CBC set hosting like sixteen pundits paid by your tax dollars…all to tell you what you already know. One such pundit seemed compelled by the occasion to tell a losing MP that she loves her. Mayor of Calgary, Naheed Nenshi , shows up and actually made sense.

A vain Prime Minister with an embarrassing aloof speech attempting to sound statesman like in his boyhood manner. 

A sense that Andrew Scheer may lack the fire in his belly necessary to energize positive change.