Donald Trump will NEVER be the Leader of the Free World

In 2016 there are 22 countries that are deemed to have more freedom than the United States

Despite this,  the President of the United States is also referred to as “The Leader of the Free World”.

For some reason, millions of ordinary Americans ignored the psychotic, childish, bigoted ravings of a lunatic and elected him as their president.

So,  now, to have some Americans tell it,  Donald J. Trump is soon to be “Leader of the Free World”,  even though most of the free world didn’t get to cast a ballot.

Trump has made it clear that His World will be terrific.  He’ll make everything so much more better….so much more better unless you’re not white, not straight and not an adherent of a Trump approved religion.

You’re also allowed to practice Freedom of Speech,  unless he finds it offensive, or it hurts his feelings.

I’m tired of being told that the President of a foreign country is my defacto leader.

I’m disgusted at the thought of Donald Trump being called “Leader of the Free World”.

It’s time to tell journalist and bloggers everwhere to stop this!

Please sign my petition!

 

 

What happens when your employer can’t pay you…for months?

Apparently,  if you’re the Government of Canada,  not a thing.

Last winter the federal public service migrated over to a new pay system called Phoenix.

An utterly laughable name when you consider that this move has caused pay problems for approximately 80K public service employees.   Phoenix is an IBM product btw.

Pay problems such as not being paid at all,  not receiving disability pay,  and getting paid after they leave.

The last problem isn’t a pressing one (until they come to collect that).

But imagine going for months without getting paid.  You’re still expected to work,  its just that your pay cheque might be a bit late…like months and months and months late.

You can read about how sorry government official are about this mess here.

While comments on stories like this are largely sympathetic,  it didn’t surprise me to see a few talking about how lazy public sector employees are over paid,  and they don’t really deserve to be paid.   One guy went so far as to say how happy he was reading about other people suffering because of this.

I’ve said this before.  I’ve worked private and public sector jobs.  Yes,  public sector benefits are amazing,   but I’ve worked significantly harder in the public sector than the private.

In the private sector,  if I did well I was rewarded with things like cash.

In the public sector I’d be lucky to receive an atta-boy.  Performance bonuses?   Hahahaha..yeah,  right.

When needed,  we’d work through lunch,  work late,  come in early and the best we could hope for in return was a “Hey thanks!”.

Why is it that there are so many people out there who think that public sector employees don’t take pride in their work,  care about the quality of their work,  and their professional reputations?

Oh wait,  I know…because some customer-facing public sector worker couldn’t do something for them not because it was against the rules and the individual didn’t want to risk getting fired for doing it,  but because they were lazy and entitled.

But I digress…

Most of us know what it’s like to be broke.  To wonder how you’re going to stretch out the few groceries you have to last,  to spend your last $10 on dog food so they don’t go without,  and to trying to decide which bills you absolutely must pay,  and which you hope can wait.

Most of know how utterly devastating that stress is.  The constant, pervasive thought…”If we can only make it to pay day!”

Now put yourselves in the shoes of employees who aren’t being paid at all because of this Phoenix fiasco.   Not knowing when pay day is going to happen.

On top of that,  your bosses keep telling you that they’re working on fixing the problem,   and that they’re sorry….and oh hey,  you can call the minister’s office to complain!

They are in fact hiring a lot of people to get the problem fixed.   I wonder if those people are getting paid.

One of my question is,  why aren’t they hiring a lot of people to manually track people’s hours and write them a physical cheque every two weeks??

Oh yeah…it will add a TON of work to catch up with everything.  It will cost a lot of money too.

But it would show their employees that the public service’s priorities aren’t out of whack….that ensuring their people are cared for (as in being paid on time) is important.

Because right now….while I’m hearing them say it…I’m not seeing much evidence of that.

 

 

An Open Letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Dear Justin;

I hope you don’t mine me calling you Justin.  If you do, you can start your own blog and call me Mr. Rothbauer if you want.

This morning,  the day after the 42nd federal election I woke up and wondered if last night actually happened.

It did,  and I am so incredibly happy for Canada,  and for the world in general.

When Stephen Harper won his majority government I posted that I wept for my country.  I didn’t really,  it was a turn of phrase.

Last night I posted that I wept for my country again,  but these were real tears.  Tears of relief and joy.

As I typed “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau” I teared up a little again,  with good reason.

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that the last 10 years have made it hard to identify myself as Canadian.

It became difficult to understand what being Canadian meant.

Until the Harper Government took power,  being Canadian meant so many things that were overwhelmingly positive.

So many adjectives to choose from, polite, hard working,  honest,  fair,  tolerant, friendly, caring…. all summed up with one word:  “Canadian”.

We’ve reached a point where being Canadian could easily be associated with fear,  intolerance,  uncaring.   Terrible adjectives that stained our national identity.

There are still many people in the world still us as being good,  but globally we’d lost our place in the world, and the Canadian flag became less and less welcome.

This morning so many of us woke to the very real hope that Canada will be restored.

Stephen Harper promised to unify Canada,  and in the end he failed on that promise.

You however managed to bring us together.   You,  Justin Trudeau,  gave us hope,  and we gave you the reins.

When you won the leadership of the Liberal party,  I joined.

My faith in you never wavered.   Even when you supported bill C-51,  I had faith that you knew what you were doing.

When others were pointing to Mulcair as a better option,  because he was running a better campaign,  my faith never wavered.    I saw that you were playing the long game,  and you stayed on message,  and did what was right,  even if it meant a load of bad press.   That takes guts,  it shows tremendous character,  and is the sign of a truly great leader.

I first noticed you when you delivered the eulogy for your father.  I was struck by the charisma,  your words,  and its delivery.

I knew then that you would become something great.

I wasn’t wrong.  (I am usually right about things like that 97% of the time (15 times out of 20 with a 92% margin of error))

And now you have a majority government!

I just want to say this…

We placed our trust in you,  and see you as the way back to what being Canadian was 10 years ago.

We are so thankful for the hope you’ve brought back to Canadians.   A departure from fear and divisiveness.   Of being told of what you’ll do for us,  instead of how awful other people are.

But…

If you let us down.   If you become like all the old school politicians who thought you weren’t ready,    we’ll show you the door just like we did Harper.

Because one little known thing about Canadians is that we have little tolerance for bullshit.  We’re polite about it though.

Thanks

David.

Politicians are humans too – so how far back is too far for social media gaffes?

We are the closing days of one of the most exciting, contentious, and perhaps revolutionary federal election campaigns in Canadian history.

While I could go on at length about the various issues (and still might),  there is something else I want to address.

Throughout the campaign there have been numerous news stories about candidates resigning because of “inappropriate” comments made in social media.  Mostly Twitter and Facebook.

Ala Buzreba,  a 21 year old Liberal candidate resigned over vitriolic twitter posts made when she was a teenager.

Seriously….if we were all held accountable for things we said and did as teenagers we’d all be unemployed!

Maria Manna, another Liberal candidate resigned over Facebook posts she made questioning the 9/11 investigation several years ago.

The CBC has conveniently compiled a list,  you can see it here.

The point of this blog is not to defend,  or debate things that were said, posted, or implied.

Rather I want to suggest a different way of looking at this.

When someone steps up to a leadership role,  how far back do we do in someone’s social media history do we go back before opinions expressed become irrelevant?

Naturally there are cases where is absolutely appropriate to distance your campaign from someone’s expressed views or activities.   I will resist the temptation to link a few example of those.

But when such opinions were expressed in the distant past,   shouldn’t we look to more recent opinions?

Honestly,  I would rather cast my vote for someone whose made a few mistakes in the past and has clearly learned from them.

No one is perfect, and any one who has a blemish-less social media history is hiding something or doesn’t use social media.

When we deny someone an opportunity to step up,  someone who had the courage and intestinal fortitude to throw their hat into the ring,  we must do so carefully.

The other often over looked consequence of bringing up ancient history is that any one thinking of stepping up will think twice because the internet never forgets.

We could be losing out on having some excellent future politicians out of fear of having some past skeleton exposed.

I know from my own past that if certain things I’d said, and believed were brought to light that it would be mortifying.

The internet, being what it is would completely ignore any recent opinions I’d voiced, but focus on vile things I’d said as a teenager.

But those comments do not reflect the man I am today.   The very fact that I once believed them caused me to take a serious look at how I viewed the world,  and it changed me…for the better.

I know you’re dying to know what that was, but I’m not going to tell you. Unless you tell me yours….and if you say you don’t have anything like that in your past…you’re either young, or lying.  (and I’m only joking I don’t want to know your dark secrets!)

When assessing someone’s character we should look at the person they are today,   and not in the past.

My own opinion as to how far back is that it depends on what the person believes today…..even if they posted something stupid yesterday.

After all one of the traits I look for in a leader is the ability to learn from one’s mistakes, and admit when they’ve screwed up. That takes guts,  character,  and its rare in politicians.

Hey Harper, Where’s our Budget???

Has anyone noticed those radio ads where Harper talks about how awesome it is that he’s giving tax breaks to families and that ‘some politicians” want to take them away?

I’m not even going to mention that experts say these tax benefits will only help the rich.

What I will mention is that he’s prattling on radio spots that reach millions of Canadians on their daily commute, about how he’s going to tax them less,   but he completely glosses over one important fact.

The Harper Government has NOT TABLED A BUDGET!

I know these radio spots are short,  but if you look at everything else coming out of the Conservative Party campaign machine, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything about the budget.

It’s more important for them to protect us against imaginary terrorists by stripping us of privacy rights

Its also more important for them to identify those pesky brown people (or lazy white people (whities)..its hard to tell) as the reason the Temporary Foreign Worker program is bad (or good…its hard to tell)

Even more important is that Harper has placed a priority on speaking out against anti-woman culture,  by telling women what they can’t wear.

This sparked an hilarious twitter hastag #dresscodePM

You have to wonder exactly why he’s not airing radio spots about these issues,  as they’re obviously very important to him.

But wait…remember way back when he aired all those “Economic Action Plan” ads….the ones where the disclaimer at the end of the spot pointed out that the plan being advertised hadn’t been approved by parliament (yet).

At this point,  I’m thinking that this guy would make a better PM than Harper….cuz,  you know…he’s upfront about being a dick.

Stephen Harper meets the dictionary definition of a terrorist (seriously)

Terrorism:

‘the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.’

When you Google Terrorism Definition,  that’s what pops up.

When looking for how terrorism is defined within Canada’s Criminal Code,  you will see references to section 83.01.

Here’s a link to the Ministry of Justice’s page explaining how terrorism is defined (warning, the author is unfamiliar with the use of paragraphs):

For those of you who don’t want to sort through the rambling,  here’s the relevant part (with the really relevant stuff bolded)

In Canada, section 83.01 of the Criminal Code[1] defines terrorism as an act committed “in whole or in part for a political, religious or ideological purpose, objective or cause” with the intention of intimidating the public “…with regard to its security, including its economic security, or compelling a person, a government or a domestic or an international organization to do or to refrain from doing any act.”

So,  let’s break this down and look at some of the policies and actions taken by The Harper Government (who apparently don’t consider themselves the Government of Canada) that were clearly meant to intimidate people to further a political purpose, objective, or cause.

One of the things that no one can argue with is that The Harper Government is uncomfortable with scientists who come out with findings that contradict their policies.

In this piece on The Huffington Post,   you’ll see that Harper decided to close the Office of the National Science Advisor,  stating that its head Arthur Carty,  had decided to retire.

As you read further,  you’ll see that while testifying in front of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology,  that Mr. Carty categorically stated that his decision to retire was made after  he was told that his office was being eliminated.

You’ll also see that during his testimony,  instead of talking about science,  Carty was grilled about expense reports.

The message was clear…. “You disagree with us,  and we’ll drag you through the mud!”

Clearly intimidation towards a political goal.    In other words….it clearly meets the definition of terrorism as laid out in Canada’s Criminal Code.

One might argue about the lack of harm.

I would point out that in muzzling scientists,  there is potential for great harm,  economic, environmental, social…

Here’s a whole series of articles about The Harper Government trying to stifle science

My next point proves that The Harper Government is more than willing to fire you,  if you’re a government employee whose job is doing research and analysis,   and the fruits of your labour do not align with the Conservative Party of Canada’s party line..

The Harper Govt slashed funding for the Justice Department’s research division when it became clear that their research would run counter to what Harper has been trying to sell in his efforts to push his “Law and Order” agenda.

In this article on iPolitics.ca,  Michael Spratt talks about the folly and fail in Harper’s Crime Agenda.

This is the bit where he talks about what happens when you’re a government employee who disagrees with the Harper reality:

That the Conservatives are indifferent to the pursuit of justice is something demonstrated by their actions, not their words. They cut the Department of Justice’s research budget by $1.2 million. According to an internal government report, the Justice Department’s research budget was slashed just as an internal report for the deputy minister was warning its findings “may run contrary to government direction” and have “at times left the impression that research is undermining government decisions” and is not “aligned with government or departmental priorities.”

Why stop at suppressing the dissenting opinions of the experts when you can stifle them altogether?

Ralph Surrette on rabble.ca makes direct mention in paragraph 3, here.

This is clearly intimidation of the highest degree….threatening the financial security to influence behaviour to further a political goal.

The harm here should be obvious.

With the Harper Government’s penchant for passing tough on crime laws without proper review,  we end up with a bunch of laws that end up wasting thousands upon thousands of tax payer dollars in Supreme Court challenges….where the government usually loses…badly.

The true terror here is imagine being Joe Average,  and arrested for one of these crimes and facing legal bills that could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars….or doing your time and being labeled a criminal….until someone with the resources to fight it to the Supreme Court gets charged with the same thing…

Harper’s reign of terror extends beyond the government payroll.

For the past while,  the Canadian Revenue Agency has been reviewing the status of registered charities looking for evidence of ‘political activity‘.

Here’s a bunch of stories that talk about it.

To date,  I haven’t seen any evidence of charities that are supportive of Harper and his policies that have been audited, let alone had their charitable status revoked.

Some of these charities,  Dying with Dignity, in particular are in a position where they often have to address political issues around their creed.

This doesn’t erode the importance of their work,  nor the good they do in the community.

But, instead of addressing points made (or ignoring them completely),  the Harper government has chosen to silence them with the threat of a CRA audit and review of their charitable status.

So,  a charity that seeks to help people (whether you believe in their ethos or not…that’s what they do),  gets shafted,  while right wing,  pro-conservative,  anti-people,  pro-business “think-tanks” like the Fraser Institute continue to enjoy their charitable status,  all the while trying to turn us in America North.

Again, intimidating the population with the goal of furthering one’s political goals.

These are very clear instances where Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada have engaged in terrorist acts as defined by the Criminal Code of Canada.

This also means,  that every advertisement,   every one of those campy, embarrassing 24/7 videos the CPC publishes,  and even every Action Plan Canada advert with the CPC logo prominently displayed is a violation of any law prohibiting, and criminalizing the promotion, or glorification of terrorism.

Do I think that Harper and his cronies are actual terrorists in the conventional sense?

Of course not.

While I disagree with their ideology and their politics,  I do not think they are driven by hate.  (I truly hope to never be proven wrong on that).

I think that they’re misguided and too beholden to the “party line” and “their base” to see sense and logic,  and bring their ideas into the 21st century.

I also think that they don’t really think about what they’re doing.

Maybe if they still had some researchers that haven’t been intimidated into towing the party line over in the Justice Department,    one of them would’ve pointed out that they themselves meet the Criminal Code definition of a terrorist.

Stephen Harper wants NDP leader Mulcair to replace him as Prime Minister

As outrageous as this sounds,  its the only thing that makes sense.

Recently, the bastion of early 20th century ideals of law and order..sorry, I mean LAW and ORDER,  The Harper Government, demonstrated exactly how much they respect the law of the land.

The leader of the Federal Liberal Party, Justin Trudeau gains popularity pretty much any time someone on the Harper Government mentions his name.

As we approach our next federal election,  Harper and his gang are showing signs that they really are worried about the Liberals.

In the past,  they’ve launched attack campaigns using media footage.  The media recently came out and said that they weren’t really fond of that,  and they wouldn’t run any campaign advertising using their footage,  without their permission. The implication was that such permission wouldn’t be forthcoming.

This would make the Conservative plan to use footage in a less than flattering light run afoul of Canada’s copyright laws.

That didn’t pose much of a problem, for the Harperites.  If the law gets in your way….change it!

Essentially,  The Harper Government saw that the laws put in place to protect intellectual property were in the way,  so they decided to give the proverbial middle finger to the media,  and changed the laws,  giving themselves permission to use (formerly) protected intellectual property.

Of course, you may ask, “Why would the media run these ads?  They could refuse, right?”

Nope,  election law states that they HAVE to run these ads.

With his plummeting popularity,  Harper is now encroaching on territory that is near and dear to his base supporters.  Law and Order.

How can someone who feels that such things are a priority trust a political leader who,  when impeded by a law, is willing to change it to further his own selfish goals?

I find it hard to believe that the Conservatives don’t realize this.

The only logical conclusion is that in a fit of childish rage, they’re seeking to sabotage the big meanie, Justin Trudeau,  because he knows how to connect with Canadians,  while theirs attempts to do so by holding kittens and wearing sweaters.

They’ll do this by slamming Trudeau,  and throw the occasional shot at Mulcair (for the sake of appearance).

The NDP is third in popularity, the Conservative plan must be to propel them to first.

Besides,  who wants to vote for a party that spends the majority of their time telling you why you shouldn’t vote for the other guy,  instead of focusing on why you should vote for them?