Homeless in Abbotsford, BC

I DO NOT, HAVE NOT, WOULD NOT ever suggest throwing money at a problem. I am a REALIST, believing in examining a problem to understand what the situation IS. I am not an Ideologue who, wearing the blinders of ideology, looks at a situation and sees what they want to see, not what really is. There is NO perfect solution. A system dealing with people demands flexibility and denies neat, easy answers. Rigidly applying Ideology guarantees failure. How I came to homelessness: click Backstory below.

Volume, Verbosity, Vocal Vandalism


I was watching The Daily Show with Jon Stewart tonight [Thursday December 5] enjoying the commentary on the less than insightful verbiage flowing from so many pundits who truly needed to remember to turn off the sound when their minds were blank of anything semi-intelligent to say.

These pundits constantly lament about how the country is becoming a socialist state, holding forth on how people in need should not receive support from their government to obtain the necessities of life [shelter, food, clothing etc]  but should get jobs and provide the necessities of life from the fruits of their labours.

Now these pundits argue that employers should not have to pay wage levels that would enable their employees to purchase the necessities of life with their wages. Arguing that working does not earn you the right to be able to purchase the goods and services necessary to live.

Given these pundits don’t want the government to provide the necessities of life to those who lack those necessities and feel there is no need that the wages earned from employment be sufficient to provide the necessities of life; one can only conclude that these pundits favour the establishment of workhouses or workers dieing and decreasing the surplus population.

The implications of the verbiage flowing from these pundits seems a little totalitarian; although clarification is needed to determine whether they are seeking workhouses and a reduction in the surplus population or are seeking to return to ‘the good old days’ of labour, the days of the company store, indentureships and slavery.

While the cascade of words from these pundits does not make clear the state of worker non-freedom they are in favour of, the words from these pundits make it most clear the pundits do not understand what capitalism – or democracy – is.

The economic system business operates on ceased to be capitalism with the redefining of the bribery of politicians and the corrupt behaviour of politicians as ‘lobbying’. This redefinition allowed corporations, and the wealthy, to purchase politicians and their votes; thereby ensuring laws and regulations a) benefit corporations and the wealthy,  b) protect the interests of corporations and the wealthy and c) protect the corporations and wealthy from competition and any ethical restraints.

As a result of the redefinitions of bribery and corruption in regards to massive monetary transactions involving corporations, the wealthy and politicians, the economy has moved to corporate socialism.

When one looks at the world around us it is imperative, should one want to see the true reality that underlies what we are looking at, to remember “We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are.”

Failure to apprehend that fact and to be conscious of that fact in looking at the events taking place around us is how one ends up with a comedy show being the most balanced and perceptive commentary on government, politics, politicians, pundits, business...............

Post Script: the word country is used instead of America because this commentary is as applicable to the state of the media, pundits and business in Canada as well as the USA.

Post Post Script: the offensive part of the $$$$ paid these pundits for ranting about why workers far, far down the food chain should not get a wage that would allow these workers to purchase the necessities of life is not their ranting; the offence lies in the pundits being paid all those $$$$ without any requirement that their ranting contain even a tiny hint of intelligence. Instead the pundits are allowed, even encouraged, to rant weapons grade stupidity.

!&*&%##)(@@@ Virgin Mobile


From “Who’s on First” to the Twilight Zone.

Maple Ridge, Port Coquitlam, Surrey, Langley, Mission, Chilliwack, once in a while Vancouver, being on call, shifts that end at 1 AM.
A car is a necessity to meet my commitments; a point driven home to me during the 6 days it took to get the water pump of the Cougar fixed.
Brakes, tires, shocks, driver side door hinges, electrical system [to get windows and turn signals working dependably] and a transmission that increasingly rattled and shook the Cougar.
The Cougar needed replacing or $2,000 to $3,000 worth of work and I really wanted to replace it before it became kaput; stranding me and putting pressure on me to go with ‘good enough’.
So when a smaller, newer vehicle was available I seized the day and bought the new-to-me vehicle.
One of the long enduring hangovers from having been homeless is that all your income goes to pay your bills leaving no cushion, no ability to accumulate savings, to handle unexpected expenses; an income that if not for meals provided free of charge one would not eat even semi-healthy.
So the acquisition of the needed replacement transportation temporarily pushed my finances and cash flow into the red zone. Temporarily because budgeting, careful cash flow management, discipline and self-denial will allow me to bring bills current and pay off the car by late spring..........maybe early summer if any other unexpected and more than minor expenses occur.
I was raised to be responsible; so when all the costs associated with switching to a new-to-me vehicle were in and I knew how my cash flow shaped up I contacted my service providers to explain what had happened and lay out my payment plans.
I contacted Shaw, the larger of my two service providers, and there was no problem. They understood the situation and were interested only in how I proposed to deal with paying my account.
But Virgin Mobile?
The fact that the person I first spoke to when, having dealt with Shaw, I contacted Virgin seemed to understand the situation and see no problem with my payment plans, set me up for a nasty shock when I was transferred to the accounts people.
I explained about the effect replacing my automobile had had on my cash flow and that I would be making a $75 payment when I was paid on October 11, 2013.
At which point I was told I must make a payment by October 8, 2013 or they would discontinue my phone service. And informed that because I was going to pay it by transfer from my bank account it would take an additional 5 days(?) to process the payment.
 I again explained to this individual that I was calling because the costs associated with replacing my automobile had left me with under $2 in the bank and I would have no money until I was paid October 11th; at which time I would make a $75 payment.
Whereupon I was told I had to make a payment by October 8th or my phone service would be cut off.
I explained once more that I was calling because the costs associated with replacing my automobile meant I was penniless and would have no money until I was paid October 11th; at which time I would make a $75 payment.
Whereupon – you guessed it - payment by October 8th or my phone service would be terminated was demanded.
No matter how I tried to explain I had no money and could not make a payment until I was paid on October 11th, this individual seemed unable to grasp the reality that I could not pay money I did not have and would not have until October 11th, at which point Virgin would receive $75,.
he just kept demanding payment by October 8th or my phone would be turned off.
After another attempt to explain that I had no money, would have no money until October 11 and therefore could not make a payment before October 11, I was once again informed that I must make a payment by October 8 or have no phone service.
Although this time several suggestions were made as to how Virgin could be paid and someone else left holding my empty wallet and bank account. I stated that I was not about to attempt to pay Virgin with money obtained elsewhere when I had no money until October 11th at which time Virgin would be paid $75.
I was again informed payment must be made by October 8th or no phone service.
Having come to accept that no amount of explaining would resolve this ‘who’s on first’ routine I stated that until I was paid on October 11th I had no money to make a payment and that on October 11th I would make a payment of $75.
When the reply was once more October 8th or else I stated that if they wished to terminate our service provider - customer relationship there was nothing I could do about it because I could not make a payment with money I did not have.
At which point I ended the call.
And Virgin, on the deadline day, ended my phone service.
Although I was extremely ticked off I made the $75 payment on October 11 as I stated I would. And my phone service...........remained off.
Then we moved from ‘who’s on first’ into the Twilight Zone with the arrival of a bill from Virgin for the next month of services they were not going to provide. I expect the next communication from Virgin will be the bill for the next month of services they are not providing.
When I signed with Virgin Mobile as my wireless provider it was email that drove my choice of phone and service. Being a Shaw customer I have access to the internet through any of the Shaw WiFi hot spots and thus access to email
If it wasn’t for emergencies or being on call I could/can survive fine without a phone.

$76.53            outstanding balance
$47.70            for services from September 13, 2013 until terminated
($75.00)         payment made
$49.23            Balance owing
There isn’t much to encourage me to want a phone, while there are things I really like about not having a phone.
Sigh. The same responsibility that had me contact Virgin Mobile, the responsible action that resulted in my phone service being terminated, says I need some kind of voice communication.
The irony is that if I had NOT acted responsibly and had ignored the monies I owed Virgin, by the time they got through contacting me and threatening me about my account balance October 11th would have passed, the $75 payment made and my cell service not interrupted.
I suppose the responsible thing to do, although I have strong reservations about acting responsibly with Virgin Mobile, is to send Virgin Mobile a copy of this, thus giving notice of my acceptance of their decision to terminate our service provider/customer relationship; and even though they terminated the relationship see how they want the phone returned as they ended our business relationship before the three year period had passed for ownership of the phone to pass to me.
I also need to assert ownership of my phone number and assess my options. Including, in light of how little I actually use a phone, pay as you go.
And so intrepid readers, in a classic stay ‘tooned endeavour, I sally forth onto the field to once more joust with a monopolistic, reaving wireless company.

Calling it ‘The News”, doesn't make it ‘The News”.


Anymore than calling a jackass a thoroughbred and naming it Secretariat makes it a Triple Crown winner.
Although, the jackass is closer to a Triple Crown winner than the Media’s coverage is to being ‘The News’.
To borrow from the CBC’s Journalistic Standards and Practices ‘The News’ requires:   
“Our mission is to inform, to reveal, to contribute to the understanding of issues.....”
To illustrate how what Media delivers to the public as ‘The News’, fails to qualify as ‘The News’, let us examine an important issue from the current BC election and the questions media has failed to ask on behalf of the public.
The NDP, in their current “low nastiness” (as Adrian Dix labels the behaviour) anti-Liberal advertisement, have raised the ghost of the HST.
While the failure of the media to ask Adrian Dix and the NDP to substantiate their claims of the HST harming the economy and of jobs lost due to the HST is aggravating, voters are use to politicians throwing around imaginary numbers during election campaigns.
The Liberal’s ‘balanced’ budget allowing the Liberals to claim to be financially prudent; the NDP’s budget raising an ‘extra’ $1.5 Billion allowing Mr. Dix to make campaign promises spending that $1.5 Billion while claiming the NDP are not about wild spending that substantially increases the deficit and the debt.
But in ignoring the harsh reality of the hard, real numbers associated with the HST, the media has not only failed to contribute to the public’s understanding of the matter, but have served to misinform the public.
Since Mr. Dix and the NDP raised the matter of the HST why has the media failed (yet again) to ask Mr. Dix to explain to voters why he feels that it was better to return the $1.6 billion dollars Ottawa paid BC to bring in the HST, rather than use that $1.6 billion to build hospitals and meet other needs BC has?
Why, when campaigning to convince voters to extinguish the HST were Mr. Dix and the NDP so careful to avoid speaking about the necessity to repay Ottawa $1.6 Billion if the HST was extinguished? Given the financial pain and problems associated with repaying Ottawa its $1.6 Billion why did Mr. Dix and the NDP fail to ensure the public clearly understood that extinguishing the HST meant repaying Ottawa the $1.6 Billion and then make their case to the public as to why it was a good idea to extinguish the HST and repay Ottawa its $1.6 Billion? Especially in light of the federal governments statement that if BC extinguished the HST BC would HAVE to repay Ottawa its $1.6 Billion?   
Taking into consideration that Mr. Dix and the NDP are seeking to form the next BC government and the poor state of the BC provincial governments finances why has the media never asked Mr. Dix:
Given: The federal government has just finished its long negotiation with the Ontario government to bring in the HST and has offered (take it or leave it) the governments of Quebec and BC $1.6 Billion (each) to bring in the HST. The post winter Olympics economy is no longer booming and BC government faces the need for hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for needed capital expenditures. Quebec said yes to bringing in the HST in exchange for $1.6 Billion.  
Facing those circumstances would it not have been irresponsible for Gordon Campbell (any premier) to have said no to Ottawa’s $1.6 billion.
Is Mr. Dix saying that under those circumstances he would have said no to Ottawa’s $1.6 Billion? Would that not have been an irresponsible action? If Mr. Dix is saying it would not have been irresponsible to say NO to that badly needed $1.6 Billion, what is the reasoning behind that claim?
Mr. Dix and the NDP are running around the province blaming the Liberals for the government’s failure to invest hundreds of millions of dollars, a billion + dollars, in new hospital facilities; when it was the actions of the NDP, in convincing the public to extinguish the HST, that are responsible for $1.6 Billion going to Ottawa, rather than going to fund new hospital facilities.
A reality the media apparently feels it unnecessary to question Mr. Dix about in order to provide the public with information necessary to understand and evaluate the issue.

Which is why a jackass is closer to being a Triple Crown winner, than the media’s coverage is to being ‘The News.’

Surprised? No, Just Politics as Usual


The Province posed an e-street Question:
“What has surprised you most about the current provincial election campaign?”
Devoid of ideas, ideals and desperate to avoid addressing the important issues and their painful realities, the Liberals are employing the time tested strategy employed by politicians and parties in that position – frighten the voters. BC’s Liberals choosing to go with the 1990’s and NDP spending as the boogeyman with which to frighten voters.
If you can find no reasons for voters to vote FOR you, find frightening reasons to scare voters into voting AGAINST your opponents and for the lesser evil.
Of course they still are voting for evil, lesser or not.
Devoid of ideas, ideals and desperate to avoid addressing the important issues and their painful realities, the NDP are travelling around the province making spending promises using the imaginary extra $1.5 billion the NDP’s phantasm budget raises.
Of course, had the NDP put the welfare of citizens ahead of the welfare of the NDP there would be 1.5 billion real, not imaginary, dollars to build hospitals.
Instead political expediency and the opportunity to count coup on the Liberals had Adrian Dix and the NDP campaigning for (and convincing) voters to return the $1.5 billion HST bribe to Ottawa rather than use it to address the need for major hospital spending on St. Paul’s, Royal Inland, Haida Gwaii and other projects.
As usual the media is careful to tell British Columbians only what they want to hear; shunning the communication of any information to British Columbians they have a need to know, but don’t want to know/hear about.
‘All the news you want to hear and none of the news you need to know but don’t want to hear or think about.’  
Focusing on the street theatre aspects of the election and, as carefully as the politicians, ignoring the true issues facing BC – the painful nitty gritty reality voters do not want to hear or think about.
Politics as usual in BC.

Although....... I am hoping to be surprised on Election Day by the election of two independent MLAs to represent Abbotsford East and Abbotsford West.

To omit Information is to Misinform


I caught a flashy ad promoting Shaw’s 5:30 PM Global National program. The ad had clips from a story about an Ontario woman being denied medical treatment by the Ontario government, telling viewers to tune into Global National for the full story.
The ad really didn’t provide me any incentive to tune into Global National since anyone familiar with today’s media knows the probable form and content of the story. More importantly, they know what type of information the story needs to include but won’t include.
From the ad it was clear the subject of the story has a terminal illness; a terminal illness with a high probably of being among those illnesses classified as a ‘rare disease’; meaning treatment will be new (perhaps still in the experimental stage or in clinical trials) and extremely expensive.
With evident grief family and friends will speak of what a wonderful person she is, how terrible her loss would be, how sad/devastating the thought of her death is to them and how outraged they are the villains, the Ontario Government, refuses to pay for the treatment.
If there are children, there will be film of her great relationship with her children; of her looking ill and limited by the disease while the children look concerned and upset. There will be testimony of what a great and loving mother she is. She will speak of how she wants to live so she can “see her children grow-up”. The children will speak of how much they love their mother and how they do not want the villainous government people to make her die.
If the family has a dog (pet) there will be pictures of the woman and dog enjoying a wonderful relationship and testimony as to how it will devastate the dog is she dies.
The report will provide the name of the disease, how it slowly sucks away the life of the person with the disease and how there is a cure (or an on occasion successful treatment) but the government will not cover the cost – a cost the family cannot afford to pay itself.
There will be interviews with the villains, the Ontario Government officials who state that the Ontario government does not cover (pay for) experimental treatments.
The tone of the piece may evoke enough of a negative response that the Ontario Government, because it is all about politics, is forced to pay for the treatment.
Should the government be forced to pay for the non-covered experimental treatment, the tone of the report will be self congratulatory.
The information the report won’t include is who died or went without treatment because Global National caused the life of the woman in the story to be deemed more important than the lives of other Ontario citizens.
Healthcare is a zero sum game. When money is spent on something/someone not in the budget (the woman’s treatment) the money to pay for the unbudgeted spending is taken from somewhere/something/someone that money was budgeted for. The reallocation of the money to pay for the unbudgeted healthcare expense means someone does not receive the services that were originally (before reallocation) going to be received.
The same political reasons/pressures that result in money being ‘reallocated’, make the powerless, the unpopular, those unable to speak for themselves those most like to lose services.
Reallocation of resources has left the psych ward at Abbotsford Hospital overwhelmed. I knew someone who was on the waiting list to get into treatment for his substance abuse. As a result of this ongoing struggle his head was in a black and dangerous space. Recognizing how dark and dangerous his head space was we spoke of his need to go to the hospital if it worsened.
It did, he went to the overtaxed, overwhelmed hospital and was turned away. Upon leaving the hospital he killed himself.
Cutting healthcare does not require (or mean) cutting the dollars spent on healthcare. Healthcare costs continue to rise and unless the percentage increase in the budget matches the percentage increase in the cost to buy the same healthcare services as last year – you cannot buy the same health services as last year. Meaning health services have been cut.
As a consequence any ‘NEW’ services come at the expense of existing services – cutbacks or eliminations of those existing services providing the $$$$ to pay for the ‘NEW’ services.
I am not sure whether it is a result of ‘burying your head in the sand’ or ‘wilful denial’ or ‘refusing to think’ but people act as though they can have unlimited healthcare – without paying for it. Using “The government can find the money – if they want to” mantra. Ignoring that common sense and basic mathematics require  the government have an orchard of money trees behind the legislature or Rumpelstiltskin in the basement of the legislature (parliament) spinning straw into gold to pay for all the healthcare people want but refuse to pay for.
Politicians – the government – are not villains for imposing limits on health care that have negative consequences, up to and including death, for citizens. Their villainy lies in protecting their jobs (re-election) and gold-plated retirement benefits at the expense of citizen’s healthcare and standard of living by refusing to tell voters something voters do not want to hear.
Refusing to address the issues voters don’t want to hear about does not mean the issues won’t be addressed at some point. It merely postpones the very painful consequences until government and citizens are forced, in the same manner as was Greece, to deal with the issues arising from economic and financial realities.
Telling ourselves that ‘Canada is not Greece’ will not stop the consequences of our spend, spend, spend, pay only a portion, borrow, borrow, sell the future of Canadian children - from coming home to roost or change how painful the correction of personal, corporate and government financial mismanagement will be
In running around broadcasting reports about the need for new hospitals, more healthcare, more education, more of this more, more of that......... without asking how we pay for those items; fostering the impression that the financial and economic issues looming over the future of citizens are the fault of government and have nothing to do with unreasonable demands from the public for services they refuse to pay for; not asking either Mr. Vander Zalm or Mr. Dix why they thought sending $1.5 billion back to Ottawa was a better idea than spending at least a billion dollars of that amount on hospital infrastructure; completely ignoring the financial and economic challenges facing governments.........  
......media has become villains in this drama, a significant part of the problem, a major impediment to addressing the issues and a threat to Canadians standard of living.
The motto of the media has changed from “all the news you need to know” to today’s “only the news you want to hear, and nothing you don’t want to hear.”

Media is all about selling the sizzle and ignoring the fact the meat is full of salmonella and/or e-coli.

Motivation: an Evaluation Tool


There is nothing we can do about the majority of British Columbians having voted to repeal the HST and return to a PST, except suffer the pain and pay the price.
That Bill Vander Zalm, Adrian Dix, the NDP, the media and the majority of BC residents decided it was a good idea to send $1.5 billion back to Ottawa, instead of using it to construct hospitals and other needed infrastructure, is a triumph of motive over rational, thoughtful decision making.
Leaving us to decide “how important is it” that we start construction to replace/renew St. Paul’s Hospital, Royal Inland Hospital, Haida Gwaii Hospital and any other capital projects before the five years (at $300 million a year) of repayment to Ottawa are up.
If it is decided that we cannot wait the remaining 4 years of repayments to begin construction of hospitals or other capital projects, then taxpayers are going to have to suffer the pain of paying the hundreds of millions of dollars of additional taxes needed to offset the $1.5 billion returned to Ottawa.
As stated there is nothing we can do about the return of the PST on April Fool’s Day but endure the consequences.
But with Election Day on May 14, 2013 only weeks away, it behoves us to seek to understand why the majority of British Columbians decided removing $1.5 billion from the BC budget and returning all those dollars to Ottawa was a good idea.
Because with the challenges facing healthcare, education, the economy, indeed the future of British Columbian’s standard of living – we cannot afford such large scale misinformation or foolishness.
Voters must set aside wilful denial, face the need to set priorities, make tough choices and recognize we cannot have unlimited healthcare or other government services UNLESS WE ARE WILLING TO PAY FOR UNILIMTED LEVELS OF SERVICE.
The complexity, lack of easy answers and the importance of beginning to address the issues demanding BC voters set priorities, make it imperative that voters are informed about and understand the actual state of BC’s finances and the ability of those finances to purchase and deliver services (i.e. healthcare) to citizens.
Wise decision making requires the facts, not rhetoric or spin or false ‘knowing’.
Throughout his HST crusade Mr. Vander Zalm ducked questions as to the $1.5 billion repayment to Ottawa or suggested it would not have to be repaid, even though Ottawa had stated if the HST was repealed the money paid to BC to bring in the HST would – not surprisingly – have to be repaid.
That $1.5 billion repayment is – not surprisingly - resulting in painful negative consequences for the citizens of BC. If Mr. Vander Zalm’s crusade had been about the HST and concerned with the best interests of the citizens of BC addressing the $1.5 billion repayment would have been part of Mr. Vander Zalm’s crusade.
If Vander Zalm’s motivation was not the HST or the best interests of the citizen’s of BC, what could his motivation for his anti-HST (let’s repay Ottawa $1.5 billion) crusade have been?    
Given that the existence of the BC Liberals offered an alternative for voters to the Social Credit and thus allowed Bill Vander Zalm’s actions as leader of the Social Credit to destroy the Social Credit, it is easy to see how the Liberals and Gordon Campbell became a target of Vander Zalm’s enmity.
In light of Mr. Vander Zalm’s behaviours as leader of the Social Credit there is no surprise in him putting his personal interests above the interests of the province and its citizens by ignoring the damage repaying $1.5 billion would inflict on BC and its citizens and pursuing the opportunity the HST presented to reduce the liberal Party’s popularity (electability),
For Adrian Dix and the NDP the lack of leadership, the inability to forgo the opportunity to gain public popularity at the expense of the liberals and the failure to put the interests of the citizens of BC ahead of Adrian Dix and the NDP’s quest for power disqualifies them from forming the government.
Any party leader and party who would put their personal political interests ahead of the extremely negative consequences that would result for BC and its citizens from repaying $1.5 billion to Ottawa, lacks the ethics and trustworthiness to address the growing number of issues and difficulties facing BC.
To this day Mr Dix and the NDP continue to try to have it both ways, scoring public popularity while refusing/avoiding responsibility for the negative consequences their support of the HST repeal has, and continues to, cost British Columbians.
 In taking the easy way out in seeking to bolster their sagging approval ratings, rather than standing firm as was best for BC, the Liberals share in culpability for the negative consequences the repeal of the HST with its $1.5 billion dollar repayment results in.
Motivation, actions and behaviours are far more useful in evaluating stated policies, trustworthiness, character, leadership, ethics and fitness to govern than any words uttered by political parties and their leaders.
While disappointing, in this day and age it is a given that politicians and political parties are about their own interests, telling voters what voters want to hear, not telling voters what they don’t want to hear, avoiding issues etc. It is why one can predict that the NDP platform in this election will be vague to the point of meaningless.
The most important lesson voters need to take away from the HST debacle is not how venal politicians and political parties are, but that the media (print, radio and television) have no interest in and are NOT about informing the public.
 When speaking to Mr. Vander Zalm after the return to the PST the media continued to fail to ask Mr. Vander Zalm why he thought returning $1.5 billion to Ottawa was a good idea; what healthcare and other services Mr. Vander Zalm favoured cutting, what hospital construction he favours forgoing, to repay the $1.5 billion to Ottawa.
As Mr. Dix and the NDP run  around the province talking about the failure of the Liberals and the need to build hospitals or spend money on this or that - has the media ever asked Mr. Dix and the NDP how the government is suppose to spend hundreds of millions of dollars when Mr. Dix and the NDP convinced voters to send $1.5 billion back to Ottawa? Did media ever demand Mr. Dix and the NDP explain why they thought sending $1.5 billion back to Ottawa was a good idea? Or ask what Mr. Dix and the NDP would cut and/or forgo to pay for sending that $1.5 billion back to Ottawa.
Of course not. Bringing up issues would have interfered with the entertainment value, the spectacle and the rhetoric.
And of course, acknowledging their culpability in the repeal of the HST and the return of $1.5 billion to Ottawa would put a damper on media running around crying the sky is falling and we need to spend, spend, spend........money the province does not have.
Has the media ever asked the teachers what healthcare programs the teachers are calling to be cut so the money can be redirected to the education budget? Because the only budget expenditure large enough to cover the cost of the $$$$$ the teachers are calling on the government to spend is healthcare.
Unless the teachers are calling on the government to eliminate an area of spending (the courts and jails for example) to cover the cost of the large increase in education spending the teachers are calling on. Or perhaps the teachers are calling for the imposition of hundreds of millions in new taxes to be poured into education?
Media does not ask the important question of where the money will come from, it quietly takes its 30 pieces of silver for running the teachers ads calling on voters to vote for their children by voting for any party that will dramatically increase spending on education as though the $$$$$ to pay for spending can be found in a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
 “We cannot talk about that, people don’t want to hear it”; “Talking about that would reduce ratings, have people turning off or (shudder) turning to the competition”; If it bleeds it leads; the slick, entertaining programming called news is a profit center where the bottom line – not the quality or value of information presented (or not presented) – is the focus and the motivator.
The owners of the media have every right to focus on making money rather than delivering informative, well rounded, balanced reports that increase, not decrease (as it currently does), the public’s ability to make informed decisions.
If you watch Mike Holmes, there is a viewer advisory displayed at the start of the program and every time the program returns from a commercial break.
To protect voters and citizens from being mislead or influenced by the misinformation inherent in today’s broadcast media programming, programming that passes itself off as providing viewers with news and information, should carry a warning that the underlying operational imperatives of the program are based on ratings and financial considerations – not about the public’s need to know.
Media has become about selling the sizzle and ignoring the fact the meat is badly contaminated with Salmonella, E coli, Listeria or Campylobacter.

A lot of people in the media, and some everyday people, really aren't in search of the truth. They're in search of something worse than that. Money, yeah. I think the media's the kind of a thing where the truth doesn't win, because it's no fun. The truth's no fun.      Jack White

Car Trouble – It Came to Pass that...


My friend Tom came by this Sunday morning to take a look at the beast aka my car and decided the pictures I sent of the leak and the part it was leaking out of was accurate and my water pump was shot. 

We filled the radiator with all the water it would hold and I hopped in the car and..... noticed that I had left the glove compartment open when I retrieved something from it the previous evening. 

Being an old hand at dealing with the Universe’s efforts to get me, I keep a set of jumper cables in the trunk to discourage the Universe from trying to get me with a dead battery. A quick jump and I was racing off to Tom’s although it turned out not to require to much haste as the coolness of the weather allowed me to drive to Tom's place without the engine getting more than barely warm .

For a while it looked like the Universe was going to be successful in getting me. Everything came apart with relative ease until the pulley that was the last barrier to removing and replacing the water pump, refused to be removed. Even after being blasted by butane torch.

Plan B required removing the alternator to get at and remove the plate blocking access to the last two bolts holding the water pump in place. Two of the three bolts that needed to be removed to remove the plate were awkward, the third was damn awkward.

The first two were removed and the third, obviously one of the Universe’s minions, refused to budge. With the difficulty in getting at the bolt it appeared it was going to be successful in thwarting replacement of the water pump.

However, the bolt and the Universe had vastly underestimated Tom. With the refusal to budge they had challenged Tom, not defeated him. So, girding his loins for battle Tom plunged back into the fray with single minded determination and.........emerged victorious.

The bolt was removed and the old water pump freed.

Tom commented that he had never seen a water pump in as bad shape as this one was, with the pulley shaft flopping around through a wide range of motion. Apparently I had been driving on borrowed time for some time, with the cool weather serving to allow the engine to avoid overheating. When the bearings finally shifted enough to uncover the weep hole the water escaped, informing me I needed a new water pump.

Fate had been kind, having the weep hole open up as I was on Highway 1 nearing Clearbrook rather than in Surrey.

Tom called and spoke to someone he knew working at an auto parts store, arranging for me to pick up a new water pump.

On my way back with the pump I made a quick stop at the library to pick up the items waiting for me on the ‘hold’ shelf, including the DVD of the new Bond movie. Aaahhhhhhh, relief. After 5 consecutive days of being unable to visit the library or retrieve my holds I had feared I was slipping into withdrawal.

It only took a few minutes but added to the time being polite and observing good line etiquette at the store required the elapsed time had my phone ringing while I was still a few blocks from Tom’s. After pulling up and parking I checked my phone and it had indeed been Tom, wondering if I had been lost as he had applied the gasket cement and was anxious to have the gasket to put in place as soon as possible.

I didn’t check the phone until the vehicle was stopped because I strongly support paying attention to your driving. Not only with regard to handheld electronic devices but eating, applying makeup, doing paperwork and all the other myriad of ways humans find to distract themselves from their driving. If you think about it, the statistics on the use of handheld devices are frightening in light of the implications those statistics hold about the number of distracted drivers, their victims and accidents causing serious injury and death.

This plague of ‘I HAVE to take this’ is another aspect of the narcissism, the ‘it is all about me’, the ‘screw others’ that has infected Canada and Canadians. I would support adding confiscation of the device to the fines, since the fines don’t seem to have gotten people’s attention, although I think the confiscation should be permanent, not temporary.

Following that word from our sponsors common sense, courtesy and consideration for others, we return to our tale of Universe intrigue.

Opening the box containing the new water pump (the correct pump, human expertise defeating any machinations by the Universe to deliver the wrong pump into my hands) the gasket was removed and placed in position. The pump was removed from its sealed bag, lined up and the last bolts removed to remove the old pump became the first bolts put in place to begin installation of the replacement pump.

And so it went, installing the new pump by replacing the bolts and assorted parts (such as the alternator) in the reverse order in which they were originally removed.

Not surprisingly the installation reassembly proceeded much smoother than the disassembly removal had. Although reinstalling the belt was trickier that removing the belt had been, mainly as a result of the difficulty in getting enough slack from the belt tension mechanism to get the belt over the alternator pulley.

Until the last bolt, that had been there moments before when the reinstallation of the fan housing and the fan blades had begun, pulled a disappearing act. We sought it here, we sought it there, we looked high, we looked low But nowhere was it to be found.

The last piece of the reassembly was missing! It looked as though the Universe was going to get its last laugh and that I would need to visit an auto wrecker to find a replacement bolt and return to Tom’s later in the week to complete the final item of the installation of the replacement pump.

So we abandoned the search for the last bolt and proceeded to fill the cooling system with coolant and start up the engine. After letting the engine run for several minutes it was turned off and the radiator was topped off.

As he was topping off the radiator what should Tom’s eye spot but the last bolt hiding down among the engine parts. Grabbing his telescoping magnet tipped doohickey for retrieving bolts etc Tom plucked the bolt from its hiding place and quickly installed it.

Mission accomplished! Water pump replacement procured and secured in place.

But before i could leave Tom disappeared back to his collection of nuts, bolts, screws etc; returning with what appeared to be two wood screws. “Grab your front plate” he instructed, having noticed that I had lost the front licence plate holder but still had the front plate which was sitting in the front window. That’s the good thing about plastic bumpers he informed me as he proceeded to screw the front plate into position with the wood screws.

I was ready to hit the road...........after borrowing Tom’s battery charger to fully charge up the battery. Lest the Universe be tempted to use a dead battery on the morrow to leave me scrambling to get to my appointment at mental health and to the shelter to do intake.

After all, you’re not paranoid is the Universe really is out to get you.

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