Category Archives: Politics

Herd Mentality Takes The NFL

Of course the U.S President of the United States, Donald Trump, should have ceased reactionary tweeting when he took office at the White House. Of course he should not have waded into this anthem kneeling chicanery enacted by NFL players through twitter. However; he is entitled to have an opinion with respect to protocols, conduct, and assembly of Americans in witness to the ceremony of the country’s national anthem.

Americans exercising their civil liberty are entitled to their opinion regarding each others’ conduct. If a citizen has a grudge to bear against their country, they have the freewill to express themselves within their law abiding rights. Each American has the autonomy to choose which way they wish to fight their civil battles within their rights. I suspect that many Americans lacking weekly television exposure while administering their own rights for justice would rather see NFL players take their grievance(s) to the appropriate forum for resolution rather than grandstanding in front of folks enthusiastic about watching some football.

I, personally, stopped watching football in 2014 upon learning of an NFL player beating his wife in a casino elevator. There was much ado about whether the player should be suspended by the league or not. The story line had morphed from the strategy of defensive alignment, pass protection, finger tip end zone catches, and fourth down late game conversions into a gong show about the conduct of privileged elite players having difficult managing themselves.

Eric Francis Response To Flames Quest For New Arena

I’m not sure that the Sikh, the Muslim, the single low income mother, or the senior on a fixed income get much civic pride out of the Calgary Flames Eric. You’re a hockey fan and I believe someone who has earned a livelihood in one form or another from the good ‘ol hockey game with an apparent bias toward a new rink when this city already has one. The demographics in this city are changing and the aforementioned groups don’t jump like city councillors at some bargaining tactic by Ken King. The utilization of tax money for special interest groups has been with us for far too long and the appetite for tolerating this form of “extortion” has evaporated! Nenshi’s notion of tax money for the public benefit of all is a credible principle of which this proposal breaches. No teary eyed victim like threat from spokespersons of multimillionaire owners are going to trump the spirit of fairness owed to taxpayers.

Colin Kaepernick Affair

It’s called grandstanding and Colin Kaepernick knew very well that he put his employment security in jeopardy the moment he decided to dishonor his country by kneeling during the Star Spangled Banner.  Once Colin gets a few more years behind him and matures, he will come to realize that causes and issues need to be addressed through the hard work of active participation and not the simplified approach of convenient protest. There are very few perfect places on the planet where justice is served at every turn but an open democratic process is available to Colin should he decide that the cause so dear to him that he decides to seriously engage with the help of fellow constituents. Of his fellow Americans who have been versed in legal process and empathetic to his cause, I would think that the New York Police Department would condemn his tactic and instead rally to his cause in a fashion representative of the democratic administrative apparatus available to all Americans.  Protests have their place when conducted civilly as reinforcement to the aforementioned process citizens can access due to their citizenship right.  Once one denounces their anthem, their credibility is questioned and any employer rightfully ponders the character of such applicant.

CSIS Lawsuit and Your Tax Dollars

Here we go again. Now that Khadr has been awarded $10 million dollars in lieu protections inherent to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, next up is some malcontents working over at Canada’s spy agency.  Apparently a group of four is looking for $35 million from you the taxpayer because they were called names in the work place.  They were likely bullied. It’s probably true. Unlike other Canadians who have been in such situations who would have tendered their resignation and moved along, these folks have learned some things that I bet you never picked up in grade school regarding “The Charter”. Forget free speech or supervisor’s incompetence in dealing with complaints. Now it’s “The Charter” which could potentially impact you the taxpayer for years and years to come because of the evil nature of some of your fellow Canadians.

This will be a very interesting case because it could be precedent setting for any employer and not just the civil service. Employers dismissive of deploying proactive positive work place climates or who become lax in executing such measures could be faced with law suits from the “victimized”. This could be just one more overlay of business risk which would likely disenfranchise many employers from hiring. Obviously I do not condone or tolerate racism, bigotry, harassment or discrimination in the work place but I am one Canadian who believes in the free enterprise system and the activities inherent to keeping such a system vibrant.  I believe that any Canadian who does not feel that they are treated properly should seek out a climate or create one that does. I also believe that any organization which tolerates behavior of the aforementioned is doomed for failure because of the inherent morale and productivity issues that consequently arise. Whistle blower legislation providing employment security for complainants in the civil service is a reasonable measure.

This taxpayer is getting sick and tired of paying off the malcontents.  If you don’t like a situation, leave it but don’t come looking for my wallet because you were too lame to put the free enterprise system to work for you.

Trump Russia Plot Thickens

So why does Donald Trump Jr. feel compelled to hire a criminal defence attorney if there was nothing unscrupulous, unethical, or illegal about his meeting with a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin during his father’s election campaign? Why should he need a lawyer when at every turn regarding the Russian investigation, Donald Trump, the President is espousing “fake news?” What is one to think when the President’s son in law makes oversights on disclosure forms regarding contacts with Russian officials? Why would an attorney general of the U.S. also withhold information relevant to contacts with Russia? Why would a U.S. attorney general be receiving payments from Russia? Why would the President of the U.S. even consider a son in law for such position of “adviser” when a volume of other candidates would be much better equipped for the role? What is one to think when the President’s son is forced to reconcile his motive behind a meeting once information comes to light via Trump’s ex-campaign manager, Manafort that the intention was to acquire Democratic campaign party dirt? If there had been Clinton damaging campaign material provided to Donald Trump Jr. via this meeting with the Russian lawyer, what would he have done with it in the event that the material was elicited through surreptitious means? Why is Russia afforded any diplomatic grace at all in the context of operating under U.S. sanctions for the incursion of Crimea?  Why can’t we get the straight goods from the President of the U.S. regarding his absolute position of Russian election meddling given that the FBI has proven that Russia in fact attempted to interfere? Does the president not subscribe to findings made by the FBI? Is the President privy to evidence unavailable to the FBI? Has President Trump been briefed on the evidence behind the FBI’s conclusion that Russia attempted to interfere in the election?  If not, why not? Could it be that the FBI is mistrustful of the president given what they’ve already discovered? Is the relationship between the White House and the FBI now fractious in the context of Comey’s firing? Is President Trump reticent to besmirch Putin in lieu of President Trump’s business activities in Russia? Why would President Trump in private ask fired FBI Chief Comey to stop the Russian investigation in spite of material evidence if the President didn’t have something to hide?  Did the President have something to hide inside his tax return regarding Russian income sources?  Why all the buffoonery over a tax return and not just disclose it?  Why the kind words toward the leader (Putin) of a corrupt occupying nation of a sovereign state during an election campaign?

 

Further Examination of Trump

A friend of mine has expressed that President Trump’s motives were purely altruistic as he sought the presidency and that he has “looked beyond” the immature behavioural idiosyncracies of the man in lieu of the independence and platform that he brings to the White House. Much of our discussion referenced border protection and the prospect of western values and security being undermined. In spite of my assertion that his character as exhibited through behaviour could negatively impact military decision making, I was at many moments of our healthy debate transfixed by my friend’s passion and degree of confidence that the “deep state” had a lock on influence peddling through the Clintons and Obama.

Consequently, I’m compelled to further examine the purported benevolence of Donald Trump when Trump’s propensity to wield personal insults expresses otherwise.

  1. Although closed door, it’s been reported that he has directly challenged Putin (G20) on proven evidence of Russian attempts of interfering in the November general election despite my perception from reading that he’s not entirely convinced himself.
  2. Sincere testimonials of his good deeds and treatment of minorities were exhibited in his election campaign rallies.
  3. Conviction on policy platform as advertised. (Immigration, border security, trade)
  4. There’s no denying his fight and there’s no bigger battle to win than a better future for all.
  5. Donation of first quarter’s salary toward restoration of war  historical structures. Gesture should not be minimized in context of his means.
  6. Just motive can be ascribed in a yearning to apply skill set of private sector deal making toward public policy and international agreements.
  7. Despite business ties to Russia as cited by Heather Timmons of qz.com, it could be perceived that any such commercial ties to Russia by Trump do not entail any conflict in representing U.S. interests and that “trusts” administered would provide arms length comfort to U.S. citizens.
  8. I’ve not read of any account (not that there’s been none) of any domestic interest group seeking favour from Trump in exchange for political funding.
  9. No executive order within the first 100 days of office has any appearance of contributing to any Trump business gain.
  10. Men of integrity in the twilight of their careers with much to lose have aligned with Trump.

Journalists’ Time To Shine

I’ve been blogging for a good number of years now and never in my wildest imagination did I see my blog playing any kind of a role other than the one where I simply sound off about what’s on my mind, make a movie recommendation, or espouse the benefits of exercise.  I certainly don’t consider myself a journalist and I’m not equipped with either the time or resources in order to undertake any serious investigative journalistic endeavor, however; lately there’s been an increasing propensity to provide opinion when particular current events unfold that have the potential to illicit the kind of societal change which your grand children would find discomforting.

Obviously, the elephant in the room right now is Donald Trump.  It’s become apparent now that it’s not only Democrats who find the man ill equipped mentally and emotionally to execute the power of his office but Republicans are now actually taking legislative measures in order to limit the extent of his power in international affairs.  In lieu of the FBI’s investigation of Russia’s effort to influence November’s general election, Trump’s praise of Putin during the election campaign, Michael Flynn’s (former Trump National Security Advisor) deceit with U.S. officials in response to a Russian relationship, it shouldn’t be surprising that the Senate voted 98-2 in favor of blocking any Trump authority in rolling back Russian sanctions.

Law professor Paul Schiff Berman has commented on the recent resignations of journalists Thomas Frank, Eric Lichtblau, and Lex Haris from CNN for a recent mistake in insufficiently sourcing a story.  Surprisingly, none of these men were green journalists.  In fact, Mr. Lichtblau was a pulitzer prize winner.  Schiff Berman points out that during the Watergate era, the team of Woodward and Bernstein had made “a few errors” prior to their ultimate revelation. Hence; the question becomes, why now are careers put in jeopardy in the context of a chief White House spokesman via twitter that references “fake news” more often than any policy initiative when during the natural course of discovering news and meeting tight deadlines that historically a journalistic mistake has been made without career reprisals? Perhaps, the industry is actually feeling some heat.  Perhaps, this question is best left to Morning Joe hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough.

Trump’s Pickle Put Plainly

Allow me to draw some logic to the legitimacy of the Trump presidency. Trump empathizes with Vladimir Putin as a credible leader during election campaign. Russian public demonstrates in the streets over corruptive behavior of Russian government. FBI investigators cast no doubt on Russia’s covert attempt at influencing the 2016 general election. The FBI head (Comey) is fired having firmly established in his mind that the Russian attempt to influence the U.S. election is of national significance and should be provided resources accordingly. One particular individual close to Trump who had been assigned the position of National Security Adviser lied to the Pentagon regarding income he had received from Russia and lied as well referencing “insubstantial contact” with foreign nationals when in fact he had sat two months earlier beside President Putin at a national gala (NY Times).  Today we learn that Trump untrue to his word has not yet isolated himself from his business empire which possesses international sources of revenue.  The conflict of interest arising incites law suits from two state attorney generals.  Per Comey testimony, Trump asked ex FBI Director Comey for his “loyalty”. Trump, as testified by ex FBI Director Comey, requested Comey to drop any investigation of disgraced ex National Security Adviser Flynn in spite of Flynn’s association with Russia and deceit with U.S. authorities.  Then there’s whatever else could be lurking and not yet presented.

If The Flames Leave

You know it’s not going to happen because Calgary is a good market for an NHL franchise and the whole executive of the Flames organization knows it.  Brian Burke would be well served to keep his tongue wagging about hockey instead of what he thinks Calgarians need.  There are enough marginalized hockey fans in Calgary obediently paying their income tax, their excise tax, their property tax, their GST, while transferring wealth toward some neighbour’s Child Tax Benefit payment in our socialized way of life that if you piss him off just a little bit more, he’s likely to just give you the finger and walk away from those season tickets.

Here in Calgary there’s been a destructive force working on city revenues, namely commercial property tax from an office sector which is staggering through vacancies in the downtown core.  Consequently, the city has had to shift the tax burden outward and if you don’t think they’ll come for you out there in the burbs, think again once saddled (pardon the pun) with an enormous capital expenditure via one new unnecessary arena. We’ve become a people of want instead of need.  We want to keep up with the Jones’.  We want the upgraded BMW.  We want to have a nicer arena just like our rivals because our ego is bruised when the competition comes to town and they know what we know about their nice place.

Income taxes went up in 2016.  The top marginal rate is now 47 per cent and this is only of those pesky income taxes you get to pay.  Yes, the rate grows incrementally until you get there, but it was supposed to be temporary to fund world war one.  Then you and yours decided you needed an awful lot from your governments like sports arenas and a health care system that has doctors laughing at you for paying them so much.  That’s okay. They laugh in private.

Here you are in a conundrum because your favourite musician is skipping the Saddledome because of some idiosyncrasy associated with this practical structure of strength seating some 17,000.  Some beer glutton thinks he needs the extended bathroom that a new facility would provide ’cause he apparently can’t be entertained on anything less than a six pack of Molson’s best.  Then there’s the “revenue model” referenced by the silver haired hockey has beens now execs sitting lofty in their glass enclosed perches claiming more from the parking, more from concession, and more from the city ’cause “we are the culture that Canada craves”.

I say no.  I say call their bluff with a Bon Voyage to Quebec City – that market that couldn’t sustain the Nordiques back in the ’90’s.  We know that the Stampede can pack the Saddledome for the first two weeks of July.  For some reason acts still show up.  The Hitmen and Roughnecks would retain their home turf while the Circus, the Cirque….and soccer could find fame from the departed Flame. Yes Soccer and the River Dance and more music with more dates on the calendar.  There could be variety shows, acrobats, art shows and exhibits.  A modernization of the Dome’s innards could accommodate for sets made to order.  Figure skating competitions and showcases could return with frequency.  Events representing human splendour and wonder could grace a stage tired from the moribund movement of a puck too many days out of the year.  Your venue could be revived as a city centre piece for cultural reform with a return on investment actualized through solid management and imagination.

 

ABC Reports Cringe Worthy Comey Testimony

I’d call it something different than “cringe worthy”.  I’d call the details espoused by Comey in his testimony of Donald Trump nothing more than the typical bully like egocentric behavior representative of Trump’s conduct throughout the presidential campaign and what also seems now apparent in his business conduct throughout the years evidenced by the volume of law suits thrown at him.

I’ll let the lawyers dual on the subject of “obstruction of justice” but as far as my coherent rational mind sees it, if a sitting president makes a request of the FBI to drop an investigation, one should not even need to delve into the motive for such a request.  The FBI is independent of the White House and operates on behalf of the security of the nation with classified information which passes between and throughout presidential tenures.  If the FBI is confronted with data which it deems is compromising to the security of the nation, it has an incumbent responsibility to act on the data while incorporating its sense of relevancy.  These men and women are specialists in what they do and should be availed necessary funding if at their core they believe a matter requires investigation in the spirit of defending their country.

The United States citizens chose a president with values inconsistent with those necessary to occupy the oval office. It’s that simple.  However; in the two party system, I would place the blame entirely on the delegates bestowed a responsibility for anointing a genuine leader with integrity.  The sad footnote to the story is that some of the man’s ad hoc platform is what the U.S could use but now with Trump’s credibility undermined, the execution of such platform is cast in doubt.  How does the old saying go….if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and walks like a duck, then it’s a duck.  If it tweets like a child, emotes like a child, insults like a child, and refers to its genitalia like a child, then it’s likely a child.  Unfortunately, more drama at the executive branch will be unfolding while the U.S. copes with a national debt growth rate at the highest in its history and a dysfunctional parliament refusing to cooperate for the good of the nation.