Category Archives: Philosophy

This Is Your Life

Bill Murray exclaimed “this is your life” in his interview with Charlie Rose. “There is no dress rehearsal”. It’s true. You do not get yesterday back. It’s gone. You have decisions to make today and the compilation of such decisions will form your destiny. The decision to lurk on the internet , couch surf with the “game of the week”,  research an investment opportunity, or teach a grandchild some tennis are all examples of activities with differing rates of return. You have the power to decide what to do. Then there is also the prospect of “working”.

You work because you have duties of responsibility. You must pull your weight in order for a society to flourish. Your contributions make a difference and just rewards are due you for your output. You’ve come to learn this innately through growth and maturity but what’s not so evident is an intangible resource pertaining to your uniqueness that is oftentimes overlooked because of its suppression.

In the same Charlie Rose interview, Bill Murray refers to his desire to be more “in the present”. This was in his response to what he believes he most wants that he doesn’t have. If you are “present” you have much more probability of accessing the intangible resource of uniqueness within you in order to give it a chance for expression. Your mind cannot be muddled with rationalizations and interpretations of your life history and whatever current day concerns or fears lurk. You need to have the confidence that your precision in executing life’s duties is strong in order to give your mind the freedom to find “presence”. Alcohol or drugs are mechanisms of escape for the aberrant without confidence to free the mind of its noise. You can access presence through conscientiousness, confidence and integrity. There is no free lunch. You get to work at it.

Once we have discovered improved liberty of the mind, we are then positioned to access that portal to our essence. That is…our makeup which will prosper in definition having been fertilized readily.   

Catholics, Residential Schools, Continued Indifference

Although I ‘m not a fan of Justin Trudeau,  I absolutely endorse his request that the Catholic Church step right to the plate and acknowledge the Residential School  horror in Kamloops, B.C. There should be full disclosure, humility, accountability and explicit detailing of records. This should happen now.

If we are absolute in ensuring that this never happens again – then controls need to be put in place along with mechanism(s) of accountability and whistleblower protection. 

As I craft my blog posts along with correspondence to political figures and the Canada Revenue Agency, I often think that I’m a rare breed as someone who actually lifts a finger when things are awry. In fact, of my 105 facebook friends, I’ll be surprised to see more than five who shout out in the comments in profound approval of this message.    

Within the past week we’ve seen all this reaction to the horror. Facebook profiles get symbols of victim family support but that which we need more is letters and petitions and personal outrage directed directly at political figures. We need you to be operative with injustices today speaking with power and conviction instead of deferring because you may sense that your voice is too small in and of itself.  We need you to do more than tweet about it or comment in an editorial. You need to draft arguments and deploy official means to forward feedback ensuring that you follow up and follow through.

The next debacle of society is waiting to happen. I’ll give you a few clues of challenges you can address.

  1. Monopolistic tech companies not reciprocating fairly in their relationship with you.
  2. Unsatisfactory service levels and Service Canada and the CRA.
  3. Illegal money flow from foreign countries (money laundering).
  4. Indifferent police forces and poor enforcement
  5. Cyber Crime
  6. Cronyism in political circles
  7. The subsidization of the wealthy
  8. Complicity around homelessness
  9.  Exorbitant government debt and fragile monetary system
  10. Drug overdoses

There is a list of ten things off the top of my head….one of which you could put your attention on now. You cannot do it all yourself but you can be one voice on one topic so that in twenty years we’re all not scratching out head wondering how did this all come to pass like the Residential School Horror. 

Canada In trouble “UBI”

If you value work for pay instead of a government handout….you may now be a minority in Canada. This is how things seem today as federal liberals gather online to debate a “Universal Basic Income”.

When I left my home to go to work today, I took a look at the full parking lot at my residence and speculated what percentage of my complex is receiving some form of social assistance. Given the demographic of my neighbors –they are not the kind of folk to fire up computers and logon to Zoom. They are more of the marginalized class of Canadian. 

Why shouldn’t the marginalized want “Universal Basic Income” if they’ve failed to meet the test of capitalism? They’ve come to believe that they deserve a free lunch so of course they’ll be looking to you to keep them mummified in their thumb sucking ways.

Yes…that’s the term I’ll use – the “marginalized class” because it’s less likely to get me in trouble with the politically correct. You see in Canada….it’s become fashionable to get a government cheque because with a government job…governments still have this old “defined benefit pension plan”.  Parents in a practical sense may not fathom entrepreneurial pursuit given the risk reward profile matched against the comfort of government bureaucracy. 

Somehow within the equation of this “UBI” debate someone from the nosebleed section may just rise to the occasion and ask where governments think they are going to get the money. Someone may be astute enough to ponder whether those in business who can execute are going to be willing to continue to subsidize a lazy Canadian populous. Virtually every natural resource project in Canada is gobsmacked with regulatory hurdles in getting approved with debt financings contingent upon layers of red tape much of which is unreasonable. Factor in the mountains of government debt already needing servicing and we see a nation in trouble.        

Canada is already a country fully entrenched in socialism. My confident characterization of our culture took place during the first term of the Trudeau era when the federal government began fully subsidizing the rearing of children through the lucrative “Canada Child Benefit” program. This direct subsidization of parents has apparently become the envy of any special interest groups and such program has likely had much to do with the onset of a Universal Basic Income proposal.   

The Oversensitive

I’m starting to see a lot of victimhood and oversensitive reaction as I read the press. Let’s start with the Julie Payette matter. Irrespective of what you think of her credentials to run the Governor General’s office, I’m wondering why she was permitted to get away with bullying staff at the very first instance. Why would anyone in a workplace tolerate abuse?! I’m perplexed because there are protocols that all employees in every job can undertake to ensure their safety and civility in the workplace but they fear retribution and they are unwilling to fight the good fight until a form of group think is established amongst many. Then suddenly there’s a movement. It’s wimpy and was evident in the Julie Payette debacle.

Next up we have Governor Cuomo from New York. I’ve watched the guy in action when he was dealing with the New York COVID problem and I viewed him to be a pragmatic leader. It’s looking like his conduct around women was not always dignified. I make no excuses for him but it’s not news to you that particular cultures have a manner of machismo that has been condoned for decades without consequence. He is a smart man and in his position should have been able to stifle any impulse to act on any Italian culturally laden proclivity. My question is why are these women not smacking him and don’t give me the “I might lose my job sob story”. Need we open a committee or investigation to deal with the oversensitive?

Now we also have Meghan Markle accused of bullying staff. This was an actress for God’s sake with no experience in management.  What was she doing leading people? How can you blame her for a situation she was thrust into without the tools for the job. Now she’s gone – so what’s the problem?

I’m sure you’ve seen much more than these three examples of wimpy whiners who fail to call out conduct at the first instance and then look toward society for redress years later. Some of it is frankly absurd but the lawyers are lapping it up. 

Impeachment Again

Here we go again. At the outset….let’s be clear. Trump should have been removed from office in 2020 due to Trump’s solicitation of an investigation into political opponent Biden’s son by a foreign power in exchange for releasing the withholding of financial aid to Ukraine. It was an abuse of power and there was clear evidence to prove the abuse. Furthermore, when subpoenas were issued and requests for documents, the White House obfuscated. The obfuscation obviously corroborated wrong doing. 

The only Republican senator voting in favour of the articles of impeachment was Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney is a man of vast financial means. When you think about 51 Republican Senators all having heard testimony of overwhelming evidence with only one Republican Senator voting in favour…..you know there was more than the cerebral evaluation of evidence at play when these men and women cast their vote.

Here we are on January 9, 2021 and five people lost their lives in an assault of the Capitol building incited by Donald Trump, one must ask the question – do these Republican Senators other than Mitt Romney have blood on their hands as a result of the event played out in Washington on January 6, 2021? Would Trump have continued his infantile “tweets” inciting violence had he been removed from office? Would Twitter have come to its senses earlier by banning Trump permanently had he been convicted during the impeachment proceedings thereby preventing the January 6th incident? They are all reasonable questions. I suggest that Trump was as successful at intimidating people in the halls of the Capitol just as he was at extorting money from contractors in business or bribing women of whom he had salacious sexual liaisons. I was not unique in assessing this man of being very weak in character and my regard for the citizenry of our neighbour to the south has been lessened for bestowing upon him a role to administer public policy never mind the Presidency. 

Now what will these Republican Senators do should this second impeachment vote come to pass prior to his scheduled exit? I’ll be watching with interest.       

Capitol Hill Incursion

In the fall of 2013, yours truly was in Washington D.C. and was surprised to get in for a tour of the Capitol building in lieu of a government shut-down at the time. I was standing across the fountain and thought….why not just ask around to see if the tours are still on. I was in luck. I strolled around the back (photo) and entered. There was no line up because everyone else may have been also presuming that tours were off because of the shut down.

I was certainly impressed by the architecture. We were seated in a min-theatre to watch a movie of the construction. There was the “rotunda” which is a picturesque dome of immaculate design and within the circular landing the perimeter is decorated in statues of historic political figures. Although, the House of Representatives was not sitting, the guide still offered us an opportunity to sit in the gallery to stare at the emptiness. I took her up on the offer unlike most of who declined. This required an extra security measure. I had thoughts of my mother (school teacher) who put much attention on things of civility and justice. You’ve all seen the exterior in pictures. Much work has been put into restoring the exterior in recent years. I came away thinking that much care had been placed in developing this material beacon of democracy unlike the care recently displayed by protagonists within its halls to serve its purpose.   

So….as I watched the course of events on ABC news yesterday when Trump loyalist stormed the Capitol building, I was obviously dismayed. I wasn’t outraged because I admit to having grown somewhat impervious to incidents tied to Trump. Even my shock regarding friends / acquaintances support of Trump over the years is wearing off. Is there a final chapter of irony to the Trump debacle to be played out via impeachment at the last hour when Republicans couldn’t bring themselves to vote their conscience on impeachment during the first go ‘round. It will be interesting to see. 

Trump should be everything that America should not stand for and he became their President. It’s embarrassing to have watched this fiasco unfold. Those idiots who stormed the capitol will still be snivelling about how in their minds life has cheated them and potentially how to execute their next pathetic display of victimhood.         

Leadership Values Gone Rotten

When I headed for an institution of higher learning (University of Alberta) in 1982, I did so with strong values bread from mom and dad along with some confidence derived from scholastic and athletic successes. It was a time of great anticipation having never lived in a big city such as Edmonton which would become the home of my Alma Mater. There was uncertainty in my discipline of choice but I knew that school was the best place for me during a difficult economic era. There were no jobs in Kamloops. I was lucky to acquire door to door sales work between 10th and 11th grade along with a carpenter’s helper post in the summer of 1981 to fill my summers. I knew the economic landscape even at that age.

We were taught the hard work and merit synonymous with success. We believed that everyone had an equal shot. We believed that that law looked upon everyone equally and fairly.  However; we hadn’t been taught free enterprise because the capitalist system wasn’t laid out in an educational system biased with educators whom had for the most part not participated in commerce. Yet still there was a lurking sense that we’d come to know what teachers didn’t know. 

With youth comes a naivety that evil mustn’t lurk readily. It shouldn’t hide right out in the open. Youth brings a healthy sense of hope that what’s right can be actualized. There is a sense that the newness of perspective can impactfully infiltrate evil and excoriate its effect. Never in my wildest nightmare would I have imagined while sitting in Anthropology class in 1985 that the likes of a Donald Trump would become President of the United States of America. I would have believed that the good people of the U.S. would be able to see through his self centred deviousness. I would expect that void from the kinds of “values” which were taught to me by my mother (school teacher) and father (metallurgist) would be vetted. I would have thought that my first world neighbour would have been savvy enough through a well rounded education system to be able to comprehend through its people the importance of “values” when appointing a political leader.

It’s been four years of witnessing unsurprisingly abysmal leadership in the context of this values void. There was the intransigence of congress, the withholding of aid to Ukraine for a political favour, there was the governing by tweet, the criminal indictments of insider associates, the denial of COVID-19 and the delay in implementing protocols and grounding of planes. There was the revolving door of political appointees, and the outright lying. There was insincerity in challenging problems vigorously. Despite claims by women of sexual assault and contractors representing unpaid work, business bankruptcies, and apparent tax fraud….Americans put it all aside in the nomination of Trump. It’s simply mind blowing. 

We’re now nearing the final hours and there is this last item of business for Donald Trump. This is his “pardon list”. You see….you have this system of justice where lawyers go to school for seven years post secondary in order to sharpen their minds for “judgment day” in order to be positioned to deliver justice. Their $500 / hr fee in their minds justifies such esteemed training. Then comes along a deceitful boor with a sordid track record in advance of departing the “White House” (it’s still not certain if he won’t be dragged out kicking and screaming) signing his name to “pardoning” criminal records from those deemed law breakers with past associations to he himself thereby undoing a crafty justice system and whatever credibility it purports. 

What is a generation of high school graduates in 2021 to think? Can they in good conscience believe that the values of hard work and merit will serve them well in the context of witnessing such deviousness? When a government can’t balance its budget, what should a student care about paying his / her student loan? If a countries currency is at the breaking point of collapse through irresponsible spending, why should a student save? If a people can’t elect competence, why should a student aspire toward serving his neighbour? If the year 2020 hasn’t spawned a conversation around “value” – what’s it going to take?        

Macklem’s Word On Over-Leveraged Canadians

Canadians really do face some challenges with their debt. I see it in my practice. There’s plenty of blame to go around and I find the headline today over at BNN quite interesting – “Macklem Puts Dangerously Over-Leveraged Canadians on Notice”.

During the “pandemic” (let’s not be reticent in using the term despite your interpretation of COVID-19) governments have intervened to restrict commerce. There have been consequences and responses. Bankers have been forced to the table with an accommodating disposition. However; they have not been burdened by any new government regulation to restrict interest charged on debt through usury legislation. The federal liberal government has been slap happy at burdening industry with regulation but when it comes to the banking industry they’ve been absent. I should not be processing credit card transactions for my clients right now which have listed interest rates of 19.90 per cent when the Bank of Canada rate is 0.25 per cent irrespective of the credit rating of such taxpayer. Your federal liberal government has been burdening your grandchildren with excessive poorly managed public debt through this pandemic. Canadians want to pay their debt and expect banking sector shareholders to share in the financial pain elicited through economic contraction.   

Governments and Gambling

So it used to be the case that gambling was considered sinful , aberrant, immoral, and an affront to family values. It was something done by the low lifes (degenerates) of society with an addiction. However; in the context of today’s new world order – for one – you can’t make a reference to a “low life” because you would be condemned via political correctness as being prejudicial in one way shape or form or simply insensitive to  another’s presumed plight as opposed to their self inflicted harmful behaviour. Secondly, in Alberta and in other jurisdictions in North America…resource royalty revenues have fallen so low that the gambling stream of revenue is now considered essential for sustaining exorbitant social programs and government budgets. Hence; it’s more culturally accepted than ever that we don’t condemn the gamblers for their devious ways in the context of keeping society afloat. Nowadays, what you’ll find in casinos are flowery programs for the addicted installed through regulation in order to soothe the cognitive impairment of the addicted. Governments apparently need them so we might as well placate them with niceties.

The question goes begging “who are we as a people if we must rely on people’s weak character exhibited through gambling in order to sustain government finances”? I suggest that it didn’t have to be this way if governments weren’t so weak with their fiscal discipline over decades. When one looks at the behaviour of governments over decades in absolute terms pertaining to the handling of your taxes….it didn’t have to be this way.  Alberta’s online gambling site was apparently just launched yesterday.       

The Wake Up Call

Bob Woodward exclaimed to MSNBC on Thursday before revelations from the NY Times regarding Trump’s tax returns, “I don’t know Where (when) the wake-up call comes to the country” in response to Trump’s notion of not committing to a peaceful transfer of power.

It’s quite astonishing but as Woodward insinuates through his words, this pitiful man, Donald Trump, could still in fact be awarded the White House via the electorate despite his contemptuous, deceitful, patronizing, and immoral behaviour. I’m aghast and have refrained from writing on the Trump indiscretions as they regularly occur just because it’s become so banal and disheartening.

Among the latest news, we have the New York Times representing “years of tax avoidance” when characterizing Trump’s tax returns. It’s hard to imagine a man who flaunts such wealth as one who wouldn’t be left with some net income to pay tax but this is what’s been revealed by the Times.

At this point, the only nugget of conscionable defence one could muster in casting a vote for Trump would be the “either/ or” argument that the opposing political ideology is so unpalatable that Trump’s behaviour as characterized is tolerable in context.

If the United States of America returns this man to power in spite of everything they’ve learned about him through his words, his manner, his questionable relationships with Russians, his treatment of decorated military officers, his revolving door of staffers, his midnight tweets, his mocking of the disabled, his withholding of aid to Ukraine in exchange for political dirt, his payoffs of women, his bungling of COVID-19 while lying about it, his disrespectful reference to war captured veterans (McCain), his associations with the criminally indicted….all within the backdrop of a national debt advancing, race relations abysmal, and a quality of life in decline then the plight of man in the first world is deserving of whatever fate comes hither.