Archive for the '2015' Category

10
Nov
15

23rd Canadian Parliament


A decade and a half into this 21st century futurist of past generations would be greatly disappointed at the extent to which the mire of economic hardship and conflict of war conflates around the globe and, showing little sign of changing course.

A break in the clouds of darkness that envelopes this present era of humanity may, especially for those of us who reside here in Canada, pose a glimmer of hope reflected and encapsulated in the phrase: “Sunny ways my friends. Sunny ways.”

This phrase attributed to Sir Wilfrid Laurier was re-iterated by Justin Trudeau first when addressing campaign supporters following his October 19th, 2015 defeat of Conservatives and Prime Minister Stephen Harper. And, repeated again following his November 4th, 2015 formal swearing in as the 23rd Prime Minister of Canada.

Given that Prime Minister Trudeau’s electoral platform found its success on the promise to bring forth a sea of change to that experienced under the ten year reign of defeated government of Stephen Harper, it seemed a very appropriate and fitting way to communicate to all Canadians and, to the world, in much the same fashion as was Laurier’s intent, that a change of attitude will be forthcoming promising fair, equitable and transparent governance by Canada’s newly elected Cabinet. To make the point evidently clear not only was the swearing-in ceremony at the Governor-General’s residence of Rideau Hall open to general public and broader media, the newly appointed thirty-member Cabinet is comprised equitably of men and women as was promised in Trudeau’s election campaign. Note too after much speculation; each appointee regardless of gender is highly qualified to meet the rigors and obligations of their Ministry portfolio to which they are sworn to uphold.

As Canada and Canadians wait anxiously for the first seating of its new Parliament on December 4th, 2015; the majority of House of Common seats occupied by Trudeau’s Cabinet and Liberal Members of Parliament, the first test to his ability to meet his promise of critical change will be the final legislative outcome of files initiated under the Harper government such as the Security Bill C-51 and the Trans-Pacific Partnership international trade agreement. Both files will be critically watched as they undergo Parliamentary review to render their ratification subject to modification or possibly, be fully repealed especially in the case of Bill C-51. Other significant planks of the Liberal election platform such as legalization of marijuana, opening Canada’s borders to Syrian refugees to name but a few additional critical pieces of new legislation and processes promised will be closely scrutinized for their outcomes.

So what makes the successful election of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, predicated on a platform of `Change’, translated into a swelling of pride and hope for better times significant?

Since the election of President Obama in 2008 and re-election in 2012, many citizens of the United States feel let down, disappointed at the lack of change originally promised during Obama’s 2008 electoral campaign echoed in the campaign slogan: `Yes we Can. O, yes we can’. This failed-state can be attributed primarily to an intransigent, Republican-held, Congress and Senate and, somewhat docile Democratic membership when attempting to fulfil the promises that got a Democratic President elected. Though Obama’s promise to bring health-care to several millions of uninsured Americans has been fulfilled through the passing of the Affordable Care Act a.k.a. Obama Care, it remains under attack by Republicans pursuing nomination as their presidential candidate for the upcoming November 2016 presidential elections. Not to mention the inability to close Guantanamo; end the wars in the Middle East; and, make significant strides in restricting emissions and their effects on climate change.

Fuelled by Democratic President Obama’s apparent failure to fulfil his electoral mandate, beginning in the early months of 2015, continuing to the time of this writing, a field of individual elected and non-seated Republican members, at one point numbering as high as fifteen, have committed to pursuing the Republican presidential nominee to run against the Democratic presidential nominee candidate in the November 2016 election.

In the ensuing months of 2015 several candidates have withdrawn for lack of critical financial or base support. However, those that remain, especially the front runners such as Ben Carson and Donald Trump appear to be gaining their support by they who reflect the worse of the American ethos. The spectre of racial and religious divisiveness centred on historical White-on-Black issues only to be further inflamed by hateful rhetoric directed at Hispanics of Mexican descent and increasingly, due to the conflicts the United States is embroiled in the Middle East, those of Muslim-Islamic faith are confronting a form of Islamophobe broaching persecution and attacks. Compounding this racially, inflammatory state-of-affairs is the significant financial inequity spawned from the 2007-08 global financial collapse from which the United States is only marginally recovered. A recovery that has yielded an even greater class divide with significant growth in profits for the one-percent.

Prior to the successful election of Prime Minister Trudeau, the state-of-affairs under the Harper government had Canada headed in the same direction as that presently occurring in the United States. The tight-lipped, media controlling Harper government seemed to take its legislative playbook from the doctrines of the Tea Party, the extreme right-wing segment that comprises and dominates the policy arm of the Republican Party. His government’s sweeping passage of monster omnibus budget bills crammed with secretive legislation and significant changes to standing legislation, muzzling of scientist and public employees, etc all serving to put a cold chill in the backs of many Canadians.

The final straw came with blatant divisive rhetoric around the treatment of new immigrants especially those of the Muslim faith, a staple factor in the defeat of Harper’s 2015 re-election campaign.

There is little doubt that the same `Messiah-complex’ bestowed Obama following his first election presides over Prime Minister Justin Trudeau however, we can only put our faith and hope that he is capable and able to fulfil his stated goals and promises; to prove to the rest of the World, real change is possible that can lead to “Sunny ways my friends. Sunny ways!”

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20
Oct
15

ELECTION DAY + one


Justin Trudeau prime minister

It is ELECTION DAY + one and congratulations to every Canadian who willfully elected Steven Harper OUT and JUSTIN TRUDEAU as our Prime Minister Elect IN, however we, as Canadians, MUST ensure that what this video, A MUST WATCH BY EVERYONE, portrays in terms of the NATIONAL SECURITY SYSTEM the Harper spy police have instituted i.e. CSIS, is scrutinized and the POLICE STATE that it represents is either dismantled or VERY STRICT measures instituted to ensure we do not have to FEAR OUR NEIGHBOURS nor that the FREEDOM to express our political opinions does not constitute being labeled a TERRORIST as Bill C-51 would allow. WE MUST INSIST that under the Trudeau Liberal government, an oversight committee be implemented IMMEDIATELY to review ALL the measures implemented by the Harper Regime and, where and how they infringe upon the RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS of every Canadian, be reversed and PROTECTED!.

26
Aug
15

Donald Trump : Whack Job?


Real estate developer Donald Trump (Reuters/Chris Keane)

The following is an article being circulated by email in recognition of Donald J. Trump’s campaign bid for the 2016 Republican Presidency nomination to which I provide a personal view at its conclusion:

“WHACK JOB” OR AMERICA’S SAVIOR?

WHO IS DONALD TRUMP? AND WHAT DOES HE REALLY STAND FOR?
A MUST READ & SHARE!

Donald Trump……..who he REALLY is….
The criticisms of Trump are amazingly missing something.

When interviewing those who work for him (or who have or have had business dealings with him) negative stories are, curiously, lacking. After all the employees he’s had and all the business deals he’s made there is an unmistakable lack of criticism. In fact, long term employees call him a strong and compassionate leader and say he has far more integrity and high moral standards than many people think.

And while it may surprise many, he’s actually humble when it comes to his generosity and kindness. A good example is a story that tells of his limo breaking down on a deserted highway outside of New York City. A middle-aged couple stopped to help him and as a thank you he paid off their mortgage, but he didn’t brag about that. Generous people rarely talk of the charitable acts they bestow on others.

But as much as all this is interesting, the real thing that people want to know is, what is Donald Trump’s plan for America. It’s funny how so many people say they don’t know what it is, or they act like Trump is hiding it. The information is readily available if people would just do a little homework. But, since most Americans won’t do their own research, here, in no particular order, is an overview of many of Trumps positions and plans:

1.) Trump believes that America should not intervene militarily in other country’s problems without being compensated for doing so. If America is going to risk the lives of our soldiers and incur the expense of going to war, then the nations we help must be willing to pay for our help. Using the Iraq War as an example, he cites the huge monetary expense to American taxpayers (over $1.5 trillion, and possibly much more depending on what sources are used to determine the cost) in addition to the cost in human life. He suggests that Iraq should have been required to give us enough of their oil to pay for the expenses we incurred. He includes in those expenses the medical costs for our military and $5 million for each family that lost a loved one in the war and $2 million for each family of soldiers who received severe injuries.

2.) Speaking of the military, Trump wants America to have a strong military again. He believes the single most important function of the federal government is national defense. He has said he wants to find the General Patton or General MacArthur that could lead our military buildup back to the strength it needs to be. While he hasn’t said it directly that I know of, Trump’s attitude about America and about winning tells me he’d most likely be quick to eliminate rules of engagement that handicap our military in battle. Clearly Trump is a “win at all costs” kind of guy, and I’m sure that would apply to our national defense and security, too.

3.) Trump wants a strong foreign policy and believes that it must include 7 core principles (which seem to support my comment in the last point):

American interests come first. Always. No apologies.
Maximum firepower and military preparedness.
Only go to war to win.
Stay loyal to your friends and suspicious of your enemies.
Keep the technological sword razor sharp.
See the unseen. Prepare for threats before they materialize.
Respect and support our present and past warriors.

4.) Trump believes that terrorists who are captured should be treated as military combatants, not as criminals like the Obama administration treats them.

5.) Trump makes the point that China’s manipulation of their currency has given them unfair advantage in our trade dealings with them. He says we must tax their imports to offset their currency manipulation, which will cause American companies to be competitive again, drive manufacturing back to America and create jobs here. Although he sees China as the biggest offender, he believes that America should protect itself from all foreign efforts to take our jobs and manufacturing. For example, Ford is building a plant in Mexico and Trump suggests that every part or vehicle Ford makes in Mexico be taxed 35% if they want to bring it into the U. S., which would cause companies like Ford to no longer be competitive using their Mexican operations and move manufacturing back to the U. S., once again creating jobs here.

6.) Trump wants passage of NOPEC legislation (No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act – NOPEC – S.394), which would allow the government to sue OPEC for violating antitrust laws. According to Trump, that would break up the cartel. He also wants to unleash our energy companies to drill domestically (sound like Sarah Palin’s drill baby, drill?) thereby increasing domestic production creating jobs and driving domestic costs of oil and gas down while reducing dependence on foreign oil.

7.) Trump believes a secure border is critical for both security and prosperity in America. He wants to build a wall to stop illegals from entering put controls on immigration. (And he says he’ll get Mexico to pay for the wall, which many have scoffed at, but given his business successes I wouldn’t put it past him.) He also wants to enforce our immigration laws and provide no path to citizenship for illegals.

8.) Trump wants a radical change to the tax system to not only make it better for average Americans, but also to encourage businesses to stay here and foreign businesses to move here. The resulting influx of money to our nation would do wonders for our economy. He wants to make America the place to do business. He also wants to lower the death tax and the taxes on capital gains and dividends. This would put more than $1.6 trillion back into the economy and help rebuild the 1.5 million jobs we’ve lost to the current tax system. He also wants to charge companies who outsource jobs overseas a 20% tax, but for those willing to move jobs back to America they would not be taxed. And for citizens he has a tax plan that would allow Americans to keep more of what they earn and spark economic growth. He wants to change the personal income tax to:

Up to $30,000 taxed at 1%
From $30,000 to $100,000 taxed at 5%
From $100,000 to $1,000,000 taxed at 10%
$1,000,000 and above taxed at 15%

9.) Trump wants Obamacare repealed. He says it’s a “job-killing, health care-destroying monstrosity” that “can’t be reformed, salvaged, or fixed.” He believes in allowing real competition in the health insurance marketplace to allow competition to drive prices down. He also believes in tort reform to get rid of defensive medicine and lower costs.

10.) Trump wants spending reforms in Washington, acknowledging that America spends far more than it receives in revenue. He has said he believes that if we don’t stop increasing the national debt once it hits $24 trillion it will be impossible to save this country. Even though he says we need to cut spending, he does not want to harm those on Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security. He believes that the citizens have faithfully paid in to the system to have these services available and that the American government has an obligation to fulfill its end of the bargain and provide those benefits. Therefore, he wants to build the economy up so that we have the revenue to pay those costs without cutting the benefits to the recipients. He disagrees with Democrats who think raising taxes is the answer and says that when you do that you stifle the economy. On the other hand, when you lower taxes and create an environment to help businesses they will grow, hire more workers, and those new workers will be paying taxes that become more tax revenue for the government.

11.) Trump also wants reform of the welfare state saying that America needs “a safety net, not a hammock.” He believes in a welfare to work program that would help reduce the welfare roles and encourage people to get back to work. And he wants a crackdown on entitlement fraud.

12.) Trump believes climate change is a hoax.

13.) Trump opposes Common Core.

14.) Trump is pro-life, although he allows for an exception due to rape, incest, or the life of the mother.

15.) Trump is pro 2nd Amendment rights.

16.) Trump’s view on same-sex marriage is that marriage is between a man and a woman, but he also believes that this is a states’ rights issue, not a federal issue.

17.) Trump supports the death penalty.

18.) Trump believes that there is a lack of common sense and innovative thinking in Washington (Hmmm… looks like he believes in horse sense!). He says it’s about seeing the unseen and that’s the kind of thinking we need to turn this country around.

He tells a personal story to illustrate the point:

“When I opened Trump National Golf Club at Rancho Palos Verdes in Los Angeles, I was immediately told that I would need to build a new and costly ballroom. The current ballroom was gorgeous, but it only sat 200 people and we were losing business because people needed a larger space for their events. Building a new ballroom would take years to get approval and permits (since it’s on the Pacific Ocean), and cost about $5 million. I took one look at the ballroom and saw immediately what needed to be done. The problem wasn’t the size of the room, it was the size of the chairs.

They were huge, heavy, and unwieldy. We didn’t need a bigger ballroom, we needed smaller chairs! So I had them replaced with high-end, smaller chairs. I then had our people sell the old chairs and got more money for them than the cost of the new chairs. In the end, the ballroom went from seating 200 people to seating 320 people. Our visitors got the space they desired, and I spared everyone the hassle of years of construction and $5 million of expense. It’s amazing what you can accomplish with a little common sense.”

On top of his saving years of construction and $5 million in expenses, he also was able to keep the ballroom open for business during the time it would have been under remodeling, which allowed him to continue to make money on the space instead of losing that revenue during construction time.

Donald Trump’s entire life has been made up of success and winning. He’s been accused of bankruptcies, but that’s not true. He’s never filed personal bankruptcy. He’s bought companies and legally used bankruptcy laws to restructure their debt, just as businesses do all the time. But he’s never been bankrupt personally.

He’s a fighter that clearly loves America and would fight for our nation.

Earlier I quoted Trump saying, “I love America. And when you love something, you protect it passionately – fiercely, even.” We never hear that from Democrats or even from most Republicans. Donald Trump is saying things that desperately need to be said but no other candidate has shown the fortitude to stand up and say them.

Looking over this list of what he wants for America I see a very necessary set of goals that are long past due. Before we criticize someone because the media does, maybe we should seriously consider what he has to offer.

To this article I respond:

The reality of Donald Trump is not in the context of what GOOD he could do for the US domestically but, what HARM he could unleash internationally! He may be able to run a successful business using what techniques he has/continues to employ when negotiating business transactions but, do they transfer equitably to international peace negotiations, trade agreements, etc., etc..

In exploring Trump’s style and the resulting outcomes one need only look at his recent interaction with the Government of Scotland regarding his golf course resort in northern Scotland and its plan to install wind turbines off the coast adjacent the resort location: http://www.rt.com/uk/265258-trump-loses-court-battle/ (Google: Trump, windfarm, Scotland, to get the full history and outcome) – it is well covered.

What it exemplifies is how Trump goes about doing business; his negotiating style; and, his (in)sensitivity to the realities on the ground visa-vi local and social politics. You will find it does not differ much from the way he is currently presenting himself in his campaign for presidency: informal, off-the-cuff and though personable at times; sutley intimidating to his opponents leading to defensive and opposing rhetoric and unconstructive debate.

The positive aspects of Trump’s platform as detailed by the above-circulated email, promising to reconstruct the US industrial manufacturing base can not be denied but now, in this 21st century global economy, is it realistic the reformation demanded and portrayed by Trump’s stump speeches be attainable without raising the ire of trade and currency wars beyond what is currently experienced globally with China at the helm? And, most importantly, the risk such aggressive international posturing leading to isolationist policies by other governments bringing the global economy to a standstill and potentially a global economic depression.

The trouble for the American electorate is, more times than not, the inability or willingness to see beyond their collective patriotic `noses’; to see and weigh the full implication of their choices. They are an electorate that derives their decision making on the `philosophy of impulse’. Led to believe their own propaganda: `the US is greatest nation in the world’, they do not feel obliged to consider the weight of their choices on the rest of the global community. And, that such indifference typically out of pure ignorance of critical issues, can lead to real conflict.

It is not difficult after watching several of Trump’s stump speeches, considering the enthusiastic reaction of his attending supporters, he is a viable candidate but, a what cost to everyone directly and indirectly affected? The shame resides in the fact that the list of Republican contenders in the Primary line-up though the antithesis of Trump, are not much of an inspiration or character to be formidable opponents. And this, if for no other reason, we should all be quite frightened of the potential outcome!

17
Aug
15

Climate in the 21st Century – Muted Voices


seasons

To start, go to your favourite search engine and type in the phrase: ` 21st century new realities’.

For the sake of this conversation, I sought out Google, Bing and Yahoo.

Scrolling through the results obviously in order of `rating’; the most sought or pursued search result, what becomes disturbingly obvious is the total exclusion of any mention related to climate change or global warming.

The reason this is most disturbing and troubling; given that the majority of aforementioned search results, the topics related to economy and education were the primary focus.

Though the anticipated changes to the global economic model for the 21st Century is relevant, as is the standard of education undertaken in response to these changes, they become moot if the shift in climate and conditions resulting from it, manifest in ways already being experienced around the globe.

To those who have not considered the gravity of the current and growing erosion of global climate, the following video will provide a quick update on the present status from a global perspective:

No doubt many may remain sceptical to the reality and/or seriousness of changes to climate now and in the future however, would it not be prudent to at least have the matter on the radar, to be discussing what and how humanity proposes to respond should all projected models prove to be accurate if not understated?

Truly, one need ask the long-range wisdom of those who have or are considering, birthing children into this 21st Century world. It would be reasonable to be considering what world condition their children innocently, are going to be subject to. Especially given the obvious lack of true concern and commitment to mitigating any of the scientifically documented contributors to the abysmal climate change conditions anticipated and, their direct repercussion on the quality of life and living standard future generations will be subjugated to endure. And through no fault of their own.

Compounding the potential for a more dire state of affairs are the dwindling resources, natural and monetary,to effectively respond to the excessive property damage and, financial and economic losses associated with increasingly severe weather conditions already experienced on a daily basis. An extreme shift in weather patterns currently find some areas of the globe suffering from prolonged periods of unusually high temperatures leading to severe droughts and critical water shortages contributing to multi-hectare size forest fires. From this state of conditions to torrential downpours contributing to excessive flooding and landslides.And the full impact of climate change as projected, has not been fully realised.

This article is not intended to `fear-monger’ nor open the flood-gates (no pun intended) of debate on the validity to the reality of climate change nor the conditions purported to be responsible however, in both Canada and the United States the election cycle for the leadership of both countries is well underway and, it behoves every voting citizen to make this issue an electoral issue, to pursue their favoured candidate and associate political party; to how they propose to deal with this urgent matter for the present and increasingly important, the future. Failure to do so may mean the difference of life to death for their children and generations yet to come should there remain no viable world into which to be born.

A related Poem written a couple of years ago.




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