Shifting From Protesting To Change

Drew Brees should not be the target of race issues when his only deed to apparently offend is to stand tall during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner. The race issue must be addressed at the ballot box and with legislative execution. The message has been delivered through protest. Now you must deliver administratively. You must work to effect change.  You have the right to organize. You have the right to raise funds. You have the right to appoint leadership toward the cause.

Additionally, you must vote. Your credibility is lost when you do not vote. Rates of voting in a democracy should be ninety-five per cent and not sixty. Apathy is not a good enough reason not to vote. Voting is most critical when one is most vulnerable.

Stop thinking that the sporting arena is where you think you’re going to affect change. Be bold. Write your legislators. Write your letters to the editor. Start your blog. Fundraise for your candidate. Chronicle the injustice. Challenge bigots for their statements. Showcase politicians whose votes align with oppression. Read the constitution. Examine case law and interpretations of judgments.  Support new protests with supplementary evidence. Request meetings with law makers through your organized association.   

Some Credit To Trudeau

He was asked the inevitable question about Trump’s speech on Monday night and whether not commenting would send a message. Apparently, the time count to respond was 21 seconds and then referenced shortcomings in Canada in addressing the plight of “racialized Canadians”. Is he afraid of Trump? He may be. You know that if he said what he feels, he would be brandished by Trump given Trump’s incessant child minded need to retaliate criticism with insults. You know there would not likely be any good to come from directed remarks. Hence; let’s credit him with the silence. See – this conservative just gave credit to a liberal. If I can do it…you can do it. 

U.S. In Decline

For those who didn’t see this all coming with the election of Donald Trump…..well here you go. If you elect a POTUS void of a moral compass accompanied by corrupt cronies and a propensity for bullying in the spirit of self interest you are going to get problems. If you complement the character of the man with an elected body who feels threatened by his tactics of persecution through retribution, then you’ve actually compromised the ideals of democracy. 

Protecting People From Themselves

Are civil liberties infringed upon when a non-physical discipline of therapy whether sanctioned by a professional body or not is restricted by a government? Is thought being regulated? These are the questions I have with respect to “conversion therapy” for those potentially confused by their sexuality who seek out a third party for consultation / therapy. What is a municipality doing in the minds of its citizens? Has psychological harm been perpetrated on an individual who has voluntarily sought conversion therapy sessions and has evidence of such harm been the motive for implementing a regulated restriction? Or, is it a repulsiveness in the minds of sexual minorities which is the motivating factor in leading authorities to take this matter up as an order of business?

Personally, I believe in peoples’ free will. If someone wants to seek out someone who he or she thinks can help them…then I believe they should be able to conduct their affairs in concert with their conscience so long as they are not hurting anybody. Here is the thing…..with this pending law, a government is telling an individual that the government thinks a person would be hurting oneself upon under-going the “therapy”. This puts the government in a position of thinking that it knows what’s best for an individual as opposed to the individual deciding what’s best for oneself.    

When I drive to work in the morning, I am encountering potholes. Next to my office is a fire station hosting firemen whose trucks travel this same road but fail to take up the pothole matter with their fellow civil servants in order to facilitate repair. This is why I pay taxes. I pay taxes for roads to be fixed and not to have politicians who serve me debate philosophy, witchcraft, sexual orientation, or the merits of conversion therapy. I don’t pay my civil servants to be my moral guide or the moral guide of someone who may be lacking in self esteem. Governmental over reach is going to cost me a trip to my auto repair shop to get my car’s front end fixed from unsuccessfully dodging potholes. Now that concerns me and should concern my city council. 

Editorials In Lock Down

Whenever I click an editorial on line and am prompted for a news subscription trial I come away thinking, “fat chance you’re going to get me to pay for this second rate opinion”. I harbour no ill will toward editorials in lock down and news outlets needing to fund their reason for being. I’ve just taken the opinion that since the internet company is taking a material payment from me monthly and I expose myself to the deluge of advertisements, I simply will not subscribe to one news outlet. Have you ever been frustrated by having cancelled a memberships with precise administrative protocol but then see the charge show up the following month? Exactly.

At the same time, it’s important to underscore the contribution which journalists make to society. Journalists ask questions which you don’t have time for because you are at work and tending to kids. Journalists serve you in that they isolate problems with government decision making which impact you. Journalists also expose injustices of humanity which would go otherwise unnoticed by those who can intervene.

There has been a new phrase coined recently – “fake news”. While there are degrees in quality of journalism largely because of the profit motive and stakeholder’s potential for bias, standards in journalism still exist and are being executed. To subjectively paint all journalists as compromised is simply irresponsible.

In fact, there has never been a larger role for journalists during this time in history when democracies are being administered more like “elected dictatorships” with ultra party partisanship and fear of voting ones’ conscience in elected houses as the new norm. Under these conditions in particular, the diligent reporter’s industrious efforts should be emboldened. In this light, I suggest to the journalism industry to lift your lock down of editorials for those of us suspicious of monthly credit card auto charges and appeal to us differently for your funding.   

Music and Dance Reminisce

My piano music book, “Pop Standards” by Hal Leonard has select classic pieces from the ‘70s. It’s sent me back on a childhood revisit this past weekend. As I write this I’m listening to the classic “Love’s Theme” by Barry White and Orchestra. The time was so innocent in many regards which was spawned by the music of the decade. There were so many happy (major keys) melodic songs. There was the one hit wonders. There were the indecipherable lyrics. There was the disco and Abba. There was Le Freak by Chic and Mike Oldfield, and “The Hustle”. There was Saturday Night Fever and Fleetwood Mac. There was Led Zepplin and Pink Floyd. There was the Eagles and Kiss. My sister was into Dick Clark’s American Bandstand and I actually saw the appeal although I was mostly playing baseball instead. The latter part of the decade had me thinking that dancing looked fun. I had no problem with it at all in spite of friends looking at me strange. There was the band “Heart” and the program “Midnight Special”.  I was enthralled.

The years 76 and 77 had me focused on Littlle League ball but I had memorized the lyrics to Hotel California. I had the album and played it all the time along with Kiss, Destroyer. With the move to Kamloops from Cranbrook in grade eight – I didn’t think twice when school dances came around. I went to them all and I danced to Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way”, Bee Gees – “Night Fever” and “Stayin Alive”.  There was Donna Summer, Blondie and Cheap Trick (Surrender), Foreigner, Journey, Asia, Trooper, and ELO. I was remarkably composed in refuting a friend’s insinuation that dancing wasn’t cool. I even overcame nerves and rejection in asking girls to dance.   

Free form dancing apparently is not in right now. It could all change again one day. Culture could go through another period of revitalization having gone through a pandemic and the realization that part of the soul’s earthly journey is one of connection through dance.            

Globe Reporting Of Flynn’s Exoneration

In spite of the bit being brief, it was balance reporting. The Globe however neglects to mention that Michael Flynn was in the business of deploying his experience and contacts and an ex-military officer to consult / lobby foreign diplomats. Trump hired him during Trump’s campaign for the White House. What did Trump want from this man when he was campaigning for President? Kind of nice to know the context from which he confessed to lying to the American people. Of course, while this investigation of election meddling was going on, you had not only Flynn on the radar of investigators but Paul Mannafort, Roger Stone, Rick Gates, and Michael Cohen – all indicted. Here you have Trump claiming some kind of witch hunt when this was the company he was keeping.

The matter of deliberation specific to the lie as described by the Globe and Mail was in my opinion unrelated to the investigation of election meddling but must also be put in the context of Flynn pleading the fifth prior to a deal being struck for his cooperation. 

I suspect that Mr. Flynn was leveraging his experience as a decorated military man and didn’t quite know the character of the man who had retained him during a presidential campaign.  Flynn wasn’t doing himself any favours by apparently flirting with Russian women while on assignment and he apparently was administratively deficient in filing paper work associated with receiving pay from foreigners.    

Favre Speech Money And Lessons Learned

It’s a talking point I trumpet often with my clients. Your money is yours and you must know what you are doing with it and where it comes from. Somebody apparently forgot to share the message with Brett Favre.  He will now return 1.1 million dollars to the U.S. welfare system for money received for speeches that he did not give.

Investment advisors have been wrong often. Bankers are not investment professionals and typically don’t deploy investment analytics as they should in recommending investments. Nor, do they necessarily have a feel for the economic pulse.  Yes, they did not anticipate a “Black Swan” event in the context of a risky political environment. Portfolios have lost money and investors are assuaged with the mantra that they are in for the long term. 

It may be unfathomable to you that somebody can receive 1.1 million dollars and not know that it hit their account. I can actually believe it when the numbers get big and individuals don’t have the right financial professionals in place to question financial transactions. In fact, the accounting profession had lost its way ten years ago in the context of derivative books getting out of control while off balance sheet obligations went unscrutinized. When internal controls get loose during times such as these, temptations of the morally weak are incited. The environment right now is really interesting and I’m paying special attention. Governments are spending money like drunken sailors. The U.S. federal government just fired a watch dog responsible for overseeing disbursements from the federal treasury in the context of pandemic relief. There’s never been a more acute time in your living history to be educated in finance.     

Pandemic Reveals Canada’s Health Care Cracks

While Canadians turn to twitter and laude the public relations campaign by Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer, Deena Hinshaw, let me remind fellow Canadian regarding the disparity of pay between her, and care aides tending to the elderly.

You see, The Canadian Medical Association for decades has ensured that Canadian doctors hit the gravy train right out of school with automatic jobs because of ridiculously tight spots in medical schools. Entrance standards at medical school have been set artificially high in order to serve a market demand favouring doctors.  Having come to grips with the problem, the importation of doctors from abroad became necessary.

The Edmonton Journal reports that Canadian doctors earn $349,655 per year. Many care workers tending to the elderly have been earning minimum wage. Do you see a problem here? Okay. Who do you think has the bigger voice when negotiating pay? You guessed it. Doctors. Mostly, front line care aides don’t actually have representation.

The health care budget in Alberta is near the 45 per cent range. Think about that for a minute. You as the taxpayer are so interested in your public health care system that you are willing to spend $0.45 of your provincial tax dollar to fund public medicare – yet today your Prime Minister has announced that the salaries of these aides for the elderly are going to be need to be topped up and you guessed it….there will be not mention of where this new money will come from. 

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