Mud in the outfield.

Steve Bannon is leading the charge in the “deconstruction of the administrative state.” Well I have three words for that right off the bat… rivers. on. fire. Remember in the 1970s when rivers used to catch on fire from coal pollution?! I wasn’t alive but I’ve read about it. Fucking hell. This is American politics and I have no influence whatsoever here in Canada… but we share a continent and a lot of bodies of water with Americans who are glad they’re getting rid of the administration state.

I walk downtown from Queen’s University a lot. Every time I do I take the fastest route which from Clark Hall is east on Union, pass in front of the courthouse, cut across the field, and down Bagot street. A lot of people go this way. I know this because it’s the suggested walking route from maps.google.com and theres a big fucking rut worn into the ground. This is also not the only way that people cut through this field as there is another rut worn through the field that crosses the path I was walking.

As I walked through the field it occurred to me that I was walking through the outfield of not one but two baseball diamonds. The grass was ruined and there were two big nasty lines of mud going through the grass. In that moment I had a choice to continue down the mud rut, turn around and go around, or walk on. I walked on and thought to myself, I’m just one person, The damage is already done, One more person walking on it won’t really hurt much, This is the fastest way, and so on and so forth.

The only way I was not going to walk through that field and continue to ruin the grass was if someone fenced off the area.

I realized that this is why we need an administration state. It’s not just corporations. It’s not just governments. It’s everyone. People are lazy. People are greedy. Everyone will take just a little bit. With 35,000,000 people in Canada it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the disaster that will come if human nature isn’t curbed by administration.

Take away the rules and you know what you’ve got? A big fucking mud puddle in the middle of two baseball diamond’s outfields.

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First seeds down. :)

First seeds of the year in the sun! 12 bunching onions. I’ll have to plant these all summer long but I’m super excited!!!

I’m doing those peat moss disks for starting up my seeds. Yes I know peat moss is not renewable but I have not seen any coconut ones yet. When I do I’ll switch.

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Get your hands out of our pockets.

I learned my lesson years ago not to let anyone into your bank account. At the time, and surprising no one, Rogers took more money than it should have when I allowed pre-approved withdrawal. Getting your money back from a corporation once they have it is a shit ton harder than contesting a bill. Also there is no digital or call-centre way to undo this service. To get Rogers out of my bank account I had to download and fill out A FORM… like on paper! These corporations have the nerve to say they serve us. Ha!

I’m reminded of this amazing advertisement for Capital Credit Card from way back in the day. The problem is that some companies only operate with their hand in your pocket. I’m doing my expense reports for my taxes for 2016 and again I’m seeing the big ones; mortgage interest: $6,000.00, insurance: $2,600.00, and bank fees: $300.00. Banks and insurance companies only take cash, they take it right out of your account and they’re charging for basically nothing. Oh and I only have $500 in overdraft available but by some miracle when it’s maxed it doesn’t matter, the mortgage will come out regardless of limitations and I’ll be fined for violating my overdraft.

With the mortgage the bank is charging you for holding the debt even though there’s really no risk because it is required that I have my mortgage insured for fire or my death. Insurance is the second worst. You’re not getting anything back for your money at all. You really don’t want anything back but if you were to file a claim they would reduce coverage, increase your fees, or maybe drop your coverage completely.

If I were an MP I would propose legislation capping mortgage insurance at 1.5-2.5%, lock insurance company policies to the original coverage rates and coverage, and outlaw bank fees for anyone with a net-worth of less than $500,000.

My brother Mike explained that the mortgage industry is complex and nuanced and you can get lots of different features with your mortgage like skipping payments, allowing payments directly to the principal, or fee free remortgaging.

I said, “Fine. I’d also make it law that you can’t charge a mortgage payment in December, can’t be charged a fee for breaking your mortgage, AND can’t issue closed mortgages.” Boom, done. Jackals at the bank won’t like it and brokers will be out of a job but I think it’s a waste of perfectly good people power.

Doesn’t everyone just go to a broker to get their bank to bring the rate down? Does anyone actually sign with a broker? They set you up at some random bank where you don’t know anyone and can’t see your mortgage in your online banking… Who does that?

The Canadian political song-and-dance.

So Justin Trudeau took office and hit the ground running! He fulfilled a couple of great promises—assisted suicide, family benefits, new tax bracket, increased spending—but seems to have stalled on some of the big ones—native reparations, legalization of marijuana, and election reform. He’s also blown deficit spending well beyond reasonably over budget.

Election reform was such a big issue because Canadians didn’t want another conservative majority elected to parliament with less than half the popular vote—didn’t make sense then, doesn’t make sense now. But true to historical form governments only want to fix the systems that don’t benefit them. Our liberal majority government is now saying that “Canada doesn’t actually want change…” What. The. Heck. Justin! What do you think you were elected to do? This goes back to why I hate the party system.

In our country and i.m.h.o, Liberal is the only way to go. NDP is too left, Conservative is too right. So it bugs me that our PM is sewing the seeds of his own demise by spending like Leonardo DiCaprio in Wolf Of Wall Street without even a hint of planning to tax.

I know the legalization of marijuana for recreational use will ease the tax burden and create a revenue stream for the government but I can’t help but feel like it’s not coming fast enough nor will it offset the 30 billion dollar deficit.

Herein comes the song-and-dance between liberals and conservatives. The conservatives are already gearing up for their customary bashing of liberal spending and promises of conservative spending cuts resulting in tax cuts. Why can’t we just cut the crap and meet in the middle?

These are the services and social programs Canadians want, this is what it costs, and raise the taxes accordingly and proportionately leveraged against those who can most afford to pay. 

Sadly, common sense has never been common in governance.

I have a job. I’m not rich but I’m not poor. I’m mildly uncomfortable. I make sacrifices but they’re nothing compared to the sacrifices of my fellow Canadians. I happily pay my taxes because I know people with disabled children whom our government helps. I know elderly people whom our government helps. I know statisticians, translators, labourers, and court clerks whom our government employs. Our education system is 7th in the world and my children have had excellent teachers. Our infrastructure is being continually invested in (and we complain every year about construction). We all use different services at different times. Canada has always been there for me when I needed it and I want it to be there for every Canadian when they need it. I need help with daycare right now and I’m getting it. My kids need to go to school and they’re getting it. Charlotte and Evelyn will be out of daycare in 4 years and out of school in 9. I’ll still happily pay my taxes so that other parents can get the same help I got.

Running for office.

I think if I were to run for office I would have to be an NDP candidate. I’m a socialist in so far as I think that capitalism needs to be strictly controlled in certain sectors; health, insurance, and education. I’m a communist in so much as I think that individualism allows us to turn a blind eye to the poor, sick, and elderly in our society.

The problem is they have no idea what they’re doing. Mulcair was spouting about bringing the manufacturing sector back to Canada and supporting the conservative’s niqab nonsense. That’s just plan ignorant. They need a real plan.

Off the top of my head I think the goal of the NDP should be to ease the financial burden of every Canadian with sweeping socialized programs. (Some we already have, some we don’t.) But be up front about how you’re going to pay for it. I think conspicuous wealth needs to be identified as an enemy of free society and systems should be put in place to limit and contain personal wealth measuring in the 100s of millions to a minimum.

Here’s some things we don’t have socialized but should;

  • Electricity.
  • Socialized Life, Liability and Property Insurance.
  • Socialized Federal and Provincial Elections.
  • Socialized Mental Health, Dental, and Vision.

I’m just getting started.

The political party is the party-pooper.

1. How can you represent your constituents when you are told how to vote by your party?

So here in Canada we’ve got the conservatives on the right-but not so right as the republicans, NDP on the left-further to the left now under Mulcair than they were under Layton before he died-RIP, and Liberal in the middle leaning left.

For perspective, if Hillary Clinton were to run for office in Canada she would be a conservative.

Parties give us a general idea of how the candidate is going to vote. But not always. When majority governments get in and they have total power over their MPs, MPs are not free to vote whichever way they see fit. If the public isn’t paying attention you can end up with bills like C-51… even if they are we can still end up with them.

2. Cancers can hide in plain sight.

We do have our fair share of ‘whack-a-doos’ as well. I’m sorry if the expression offends you but I am hesitant to engage in political discourse with people don’t believe in basic human equality.

To clarify, a ‘whack-a-doo’ to me is a person who doesn’t believe homosexuals are equal to heterosexuals in every way, who believes all people of Islam can be painted with the same brush, who thinks it’s acceptable to dictate what a woman (or anyone) can and cannot do with their body, who presumes gender issues are within their realm of expertise, or who believes in privatized health care (and believes corporations will care about our health over profit), a strong surveillance state (because they’re not doing anything wrong…), gun control (because guns don’t kill people, people kill people…. ), or vaccines. Remember that time you got polio? No? That’s because you were vaccinated.

I’m not kidding. These people still exists in Canada and Canada used to have a far right party. It was called the Reform party. It merged with the progressive-conservatives in 2000 when they were no longer relevant.

This is where my objection to political parties comes in. The Reform party STILL EXISTS. It’s hiding inside the conservative party of Canada. That’s why conservative agendas in minority governments are reasonable but totally fucking wack-a-doo when conservatives have a majority. (C-38, Niqab, etc.)

The point I am making is that we have a cancer in Canada hiding in the conservative party. The cancer’s name is Reform and they are not gone they are just in remission.

3. Money funnel.

The political party itself to me seems little more than a money-funnel for big business to manipulate government agenda. It’s a lot of work to meet with, donate to, and convince 150 politicians to bend the rules to allow for a pipeline or bail out GM. Big companies just need to meet with the Liberal president Anna Gainey, make a big contribution to the party and they’re done.

Overhaul the education system.

It’s time.

Education should reflect the needs of Canada’s economy. We are no longer a manufacturing economy so we should no longer have this assembly line education system. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12, BOOM. Go forth and contribute to the economy… wait, there’s no jobs for high school grads anymore… not good ones anyway. Subsidizing post-secondary is a band-aid. I think revolutionary-level overhauls are required.

I want to eliminate K-12 and university altogether.

Imagine a world in which a child goes to school at 5 and emerges at 25 with a doctorate in whatever field they were found to excel most at.

Imagine the same teacher, over 20 years, completely dedicated to your child’s strengths and weaknesses. Imagine a teacher with access to unlimited lessons on unlimited subjects and with the capacity to teach it visually, orally, or written-word–depending on what’s best for your child.

Imagine a system in which there is no such thing as failure because the teacher never lets a single wrong answer go un-corrected or re-tested. Something your child gets wrong today becomes a lesson for tomorrow.

Impossible! Right? No teacher is that good.

No human teacher is that good.

It’s time for the information age to reflect itself in our education system. Each child having an evolving digital education profile. A profile that follows them throughout their entire education.

I’m not trying to get rid of teachers. Not by any stretch of the imagination. This new system would augment a teacher’s abilities and power. A teacher would still be required to step in when the computer system inevitably cannot teach a child a lesson. But this would vastly increase the amount of students a single teacher could educate, eliminate arduous and redundant tasks like marking, and allow for tweaking curriculums individually for every student in Canada. I suspect that this computerized education system would work exceptionally well for STEM subjects; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Obviously hands on trades would not be feasible. Carpenters still need wood and tools, mechanics need engines. Music, drama, writing, and art would need continual practice with the tools of the trade. Computers simply aren’t there yet.

There’d still be recess, and play time, and lunch time. No one expects the child to sit at the computer for 8 hours a day. I don’t have it all figured out. All I see are possibilities.

It’s just an idea. The investment required for the hardware, software and infrastructure would be enormous. Someone has to design the database, AI, and millions of lessons. It’s not a small idea. It’s a monstrous idea but I think it’s a good one.

On taxes.

I made this nifty chart. I love charts. #infoporn

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You can see that Canada really doesn’t have that far to go. We’re no Denmark but we’re also a far cry from the inequality of the USA. This is because Canada’s government protects it’s citizens… mostly. A healthy middle class depends on lots of things; a solid education system, strong unions, and constant re-investment into the country from the government into public works and infrastructure. Canada has most of these things. Our unions have been under attack by international investor’s rights deals such as NAFTA for the past 30 years. Credit must be given to the government of Canada in not allowing these deals to bring us down too much. Reeducation (second career) programs, universal healthcare, and unemployment insurance are definitely major weapons in our investor’s rights deal survival chest.

You know the expression, “Shit rolls downhill”? Well, it’s true. Have you ever heard the expression, “Money rolls downhill”? No? That’s because it’s a bunch of bull—-! Here is my proposal; throw out the myth of “Trickle Down Economics”. You see where the top quintile is poking out above my goal? That is the failure of trickle down economics.

Lets put this in the context of shelter. This is obviously exaggerated for effect. Everyone falls into one of the following categories:

  • You are homeless. You can’t find a job but just staying alive is work enough. Every dollar you get goes immediately back into the economy for someone with a higher income than you to scoop up.
  • You rent. You work your butt off and a good chunk of the money you make immediately becomes someone else’s income when you pay them rent.
  • You have a mortgage on a home. Good for you! You’ll be working it off the rest of your life and the bank will get a huge chunk of cash for taking absolutely no risk.
  • You have paid off your home. Well done you! Now you can continuing working to keep giving the bank your money but now it’s for retirement!
  • You bought your home outright. All the money in our system filters up to you with very little effort. This is the point at which money is making money.

I propose that we as a people should never be comfortable with wealth while one person sits on a street corner, feels hunger pain, or is without adequate clothing. I believe it is the government’s duty to redistribute the wealth from the highest to the lowest. Not only is this the right thing to do but the money will make its way back to the top anyway.

There are some easy fixes out there that won’t harm hardly anyone but the top 10%. Tax dividend income, capital gains, and the selling of stocks as income.

  • You make $50,000 per year income and you’re taxed about 27%.
  • You’re paid $50,000 through stock dividends. That’s taxed lower than income… wait, what?
  • You sell a second property and make a $50,000 capital gain.That’s taxed lower than income… wait, what?
  • You sell $50,000 in stock holdings. That’s taxed lower than income… wait, what?

This is what’s called corruption. I have a theory; the more complicated the tax code the more corrupted the government has been over time. I also don’t believe that any government should run a deficit… ever. Raise taxes and balance it off.

I can hear people freaking out already! If my ideas were covered on Fox or CNN it would be, “Class Warfare!” or, “He’s a communist!” but as you can see by my nifty wealth distribution chart… I’m not a communist. People who work hard should get more. The only things to consider are, 1) what constitutes work? and, 2) how much more should those ‘hard workers’ get?