Monday, October 17, 2011

Focus Idea: Keep on Moving, @OccupyToronto !!

I think there is allot of confusion because many Canadians assumed a large majority of the greed exists and comes from the Canadian banking system similar to the US. However our banking system has some pretty good regulators and is one of the best in the world however there is still greed in the upper ranks of these corporations. Corporations should not be protected by all the same laws as a human and should be held more accountable for what they do. 
I've seen people trying to change the occupy movement in Canada by telling us we have the ability to make changes by choosing who we do business with.  The idea that we have power by choosing where to shop has been around for a long time and although there is some truth I don't think it's the solution. The problem is, the heroes of the occupy movement represents the 99% however is not comprised of the 99%. The 99% can't all rise to action but I'm sure they are thankful for the actions of this powerful movement. My problem with the making change by dealing only with ethically run corporations is that it doesn't seem like we have FREE access to the market any longer. Freedom of choice should not be limited because some corporations don't have a good set of ethics.  If company XYZ makes the best widget, I want to buy that widget from XYZ and I should be able to without having to worry that I am somehow contributing indirectly to corporate greed.
The focus in Canada needs to be more on corporations in general and pushing our government to implement policies that won't allow the corporations to power themselves with greed.  Corporations should be penalized for it as it's not good for our economy as a whole. Look at the CEO incomes in Canada (below link) an tell me this is fair in anyway to people who work just as hard in these corporations. Did any of the employees get 27-150% increases in total salary this year? NO! Has average worker salaries gone up %500 in the past 20 years? NO! It's assumed that corporations will implement their own ethics and protect their employees however if times get tight again, the first thing the many corporations will do is lay-off employees because the first priority is the bottom line, the chiefs, boards and the shareholders and not the employees and society. This isn't right and that's a message I think the Occupy Canada groups need to focus on amongst others. This is just a catalyst comment to get further ideas on this so that this movement can make changes in Canada that are needed. Because the government isn't going to do this for us unless we persuade them. They do work for us though.  Don't get frustrated or let conflicts within the group slow progress.  Keep the momentum going!!

The distribution of wealth and greed is a serious concern in Canada as well.  Why any one employee of a corporation needs to take home more than a one or two $million income every year is excessive and greedy.
New York has been going for a month and they still don't have a completed draft of proposed solutions needed from their government.  Keep on moving OccupyTO!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Proper Disclosure of Statistics in Misinformation Era

I found this really cool tool on the OECD website the other day(link will be at the bottom). The tool contains massive amounts of statistical data for many countries in the world.  What is really cool about this tool is the interface that allows you to easily see the most generally used statistics used often as success indicators for the economy, public health, education and others.  It also has many less commonly published statistics that make up components of how the most general indicators, such as GDP, are calculated. The tool contains historical data for about the past decade or even prior and allows you to compare one country to another and extract.

As I played around with it more and more, it re-enforced how statistics can be so easily manipulated to show something positive that really isn't all that positive.  A great example of this is how Stephen Harper is always boasting about his government bringing the unemployment rate down.  He always leaves out the fact that the extra jobs created were mostly part time jobs and another fact that many people are stuck in part time jobs because they can't find a full time job.

This really bothers me as government, corporations and the media use stats quite often in an attempt to make a statement appear true that are not completely true which misinforms the public.  This is a growing serious issue given current economic situation and the 1% vs 99% occupy movement.  I think that we need a better set of standards and ethics that hold these institutions accountable for disclosure of full details when using statistics to inform or mislead the general public.  More to come on this..........

The Tool

Friday, October 14, 2011

Get ready for OccupyTO and Right Wing Manipulation

I saw this picture(below) being sent around with a student showing a hand written letter about how wonderful they are for having no debt in their last year of University, supporting themselves and only working for a little more than minimum wage.  Many people praised the student and said they are likely to go places in this world.  First off, I don't think so because their attempt to protest one of the draft Occupy Wall Street demands doesn't even make sense and I think it's a complete lie!
OWS draft demands  (search for Education Reform)

I think this student completely misses the point though. People aren't blaming wall street for their own debt. They are blaming wall street and corporations for greed, risky decisions and the fact that corporations have as much legal protection as an individual and this has been abused leading to a unsustainable economy. Greed wasn't included in the models for a successful free market system and is immoral.  I feel like a broken record somewhat.

I think the OWS demand is misunderstood.  The OWS group is suggesting that instead of spending money on war, they should look at putting that money into loan forgiveness programs. Loan forgiveness programs aren't new and work very similar to scholoaraships.  Is this student saying that money should continute to be spent on war instead of scholarships and student aids??

Hope everyone is having a a great day and I'm looking forward to checking out what people have to say down town Toronto tomorrow.  Here are some of the messages I've seen already.

IMAGE: The unrealistic letter from a supposed student and why I think it's a LIE!!

APPENDIX - assumed student budget with bare essentials
Weekly $9/hr @ 30 hrs/wk (before Taxes) (Note that $9/hr is about $1.50-$2 over the average minimum wage in the USA
Monthly (befoere taxes)
Monthly (estimate after taxes)
-$     10.50
Income Remaining after basic expenses
Monthly Amount
 $ 400.00
Lucky to find rent this cheap and lets even assume it has laundry and included utilities.  It's also assumed that this is shared with at least one roomate
 $   30.00
Basic phone with very litle use
 $   98.00
This is actually much less than the average monthly premium for medicare in the USA for most without coverage through employment
 $ 200.00
$50/week isn't that much and is kind of unrealistic
 $   62.50
10% of Tuition cost at average US public state univeristy($7500)
Transport Transit / Travel/Home Visits?
 $   30.00
Asssumed the student lives near the university and work which is very convenient and lucky with such low rent.  Or assumed the student uses a bike, lives somewhere with year round warm climate and that bike is not stolen and few repairs or tune ups are required.
 $   90.00
Any good budget puts aside 10% for miscelleaneous items and unexpected expenses (clothes, emergencies, day to day)
 $          -   
Nothing left for saving
Books and School Supplies?
 $          -   
Nothing left in budget
 $          -   
Nothing left in budget

Monday, October 10, 2011

If You Feed Them, They'll Never Leave

Happy Thanksgiving Canada!

Since the election in Ontario is over, I've been paying some attention to the Occupy movements around the world.  I'm not sure what my take on it is yet but I do know that the distribution of wealth is becoming less and less spread out and there's an abundance of greed out there.  This is seen even more in the corporate world and it seems to be growing.  It's just common sense that evenly distributing wealth is better for everyone. I think that greed was assumed out of successful models of the free market system.

I'm not a religious person however I do like to say I live by a set of moral values where greed is not OK.   In my own morals, envy is also not OK.  I know this is also true in almost every religion out there.  So I've been reading/watching very right wing GOP wannabes and biased pundits accusing this occupation of being in envious of what is had on wall street and I need to set them straight.  These people in the Occupy movement are not guilty of envy.  Envy by definition is NOT the opposite of greed and doesn't have anything to do with wanting material things of others.  Envy is also not usually related to physical possession of anything and is ill feelings towards someone because they can tell jokes better than they can or run faster or can carry a tune.   The opposite of envy is kindness, comfort and confidence.  From what I've seen so far, the Occupy people are definitely not envious. If anyone is showing envy it's these right winged religious politicians and activists who obviously don't understand the English language very well.

It is a holiday after all, so I will end this post by passing along a little funny  that I received today.  A cousin of mine sent me a text that said:
    "Happy Thanksgiving!  You know, I bet you at the first Thanksgiving there was a wise old native woman saying 'Don't feed them!  If you share our food with them, they'll never leave!'"
This gave me a good laugh but also made me thankful that they didn't listen to the old woman because she was probably being greedy and the natives showed just how generous they are by sharing and participating in the first Thanksgiving.  If not, then my ancestors may not have immigrated to this wonderful country.

Eat and drink 'til you get sick if you want but don't be greedy and try to be kind and thankful.

Friday, October 7, 2011

I Do Not Want Canada to be Americanized!

Great commentary from The Globe and my favourite part:
"At the same time, voters will have to decide what they make of today’s Americanized Conservatives as represented by Mr. Harper, Mr. Hudak and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford – all men who yearn for a simpler, long-vanished society that no longer represents today’s Canada."

I for one do not want our fine country to resemble our neighbours to the south.  As much as I respect and admire them and look at them as brothers and sisters I don't want anything to do with their government or policies.

Hope you are having a great weekend

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Ontario Votes Today!!

I don't have much else to say right now but if you are still unsure today, take a look through my blog entries over the past month or so and I think you'll find the out who's the best candidate to vote for in Ontario.  With the team that will help us all move forward together.  JUST VOTE!

I'm off to my polling station now.  See you there maybe and hope you have an amazing day.  Stay tuned upcoming entries on Canadian Politics and Current Events.

How to find your pollling station:

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Real Change to Help Ontario Alternative

It's actually feels cold in Toronto today for the first this this fall.  Nuit Blanche is tonight which is always a great event but it is also a reminder to me that summer really is over.  But I look forward to fall sweaters, bundling up in the winter and embracing Canada's seasons.  Can't wait for snowboarding!

Everyone is looking for change in this election.  The NDP and PC have been trying to get votes by creating platforms that exploit voter fears with band-aid solutions but no real vision into the province's future which leads me to believe it's negative change. I don't really think this is providing the change that is needed.  I question the motive of the members of the NDP and PC.  I don't feel they have given enough thought to the future of Ontario. It's as if they just want to get the job and be in control because they may not agree with the current political situation in Ontario.  The Liberal platform seems to offer more real change than theirs.

Latest change from Howarth has been trying to create more health scandals that aren't scandals at all..  As well, there's orange pumps all over the place.  I think the pumps are cute but wouldn't ever vote based on cuteness.  I would take this into consideration however:

Latest change from Hudak is his promise of a war on the unions,  public sector workers and wage freezes.  REALLY?!  I foresee service interruptions and failure in health, education and service across Ontario period. Not to mention our resources wasted in negotiations that will add no value and if avoided, make up for the cost of keeping these workers happy.  I am not one to really like the idea of unions either but if I had a nice union job, I probably wouldn't be complaining.  The public service workers really work in thankless positions but provide really good services for us.  We need to stop attacking these poor people.

Oh and here's the latest change with the Liberal front.  Our only hope to bring real lasting change and a brighter future to Ontario:

Hope everyone is having an amazing weekend!

My Own Alternative Idea and Some Info You Should Know
There's been allot of talk of taxes in this election campaign but I wanted to point something out:
This is a fact! Ontario has the 2nd lowest income tax rates out of all the Canadian Provinces.
Notice also that we don't have a 4th income tax bracket like many other provinces, federally and many places around the world?  This brought me to think of something.  Why not introduce a fourth tax bracket in Ontario for those who are doing well?  Say those who bring in more than $180K pay a percent or so more. The distribution of wealth is becoming less spread out in Canada and it would actually be beneficial to those with greater incomes to help out rather than blame the government for everythhing.  In turn, the economy picks up and the assumption is that so would the income and value of investments for these high bracket earners.

Just a thought.  Rather than pick on the public service workers and cause grief to everyone in the province I think this would be a much better alternative to help with Ontario's current revenue problems and economy woes.