Bureaucrazy

The only business that has never seen a downturn is government.

Public servants my ass!

Government employees are a special kind of crazy—similar to academics—in that they are completely incapable of functioning in the real world.

You need only look at a ditch digging project where the white and blue hats outnumber the yellow hats—the only ones with tools—to see how far removed from reality they have become. Collectively, one blue hat, two white hats, and three yellow hats are costing the taxpayers about $350.00 per hour as they stand around talking while looking at the ditch.

two man holding white paper

Productivity and efficiency mean nothing to these people.

None are motivated to work hard or to get the job finished as fast and cost effectively as possible. Their jobs are secure for as long as they want them, and a significant pension awaits when they have had enough. In addition to their generous top-of-scale salaries, they and their families enjoy complete short and long-term disability insurance, medical, drug, and dental plans. . . all paid for by the taxpayers.

The blue and white hats decide to have lunch to discuss the hole in the ground further so they jump into three separate government vehicles which they pay nothing for, and they expense their two-hour $120.00 bistro “business lunch” back to the taxpayer. In a bizarre rationalization, they consider themselves to be taxpayers because they pay taxes, so they feel entitled to such expenses. To them, it is as though they are paying for their own lunch. With only an hour or so left in their workday, they all head home early to beat traffic.

Meanwhile in the real world. . .

Somewhere out there right now is a young guy with a family to support, driving a ten year-old pickup truck which he bought; paid to licence; pays insurance on; pays to maintain; pays to put fuel in, and who also bought the pick and shovels in the back with his own money.

yellow pick up truck on grey concrete road

He is digging a hole too.

He estimates one hard day of ditch-digging should get the job done. His hands will be blistered and his back will be sore come lunchtime when he gets to eat his brown-bagged mid-day meal, lovingly made by his wife from last night’s dinner leftovers. On completion, the customer, which he had to find by making calls and sending emails each night after work, will pay him $200.00 for a day’s work. He will set aside 30% for income tax; 11% for business taxes, and 20% to keep his business operating. He and his family will attempt to live and build a secure future on the remaining $78.00. He worries about how long he can keep up this pace. Last month’s dental bill for the kids wiped out their savings. Regular dental checkups for himself had to be shelved in favour of keeping up with his workers compensation insurance payments.

He has been called the backbone of America.

Sadly, this hypothetical taxpayer’s back only lasted into his forties. He called up the government-run workers compensation department for help when doctors said he could not return to his job. The bureaucracy seized the opportunity to kick him when he was down. To them, with every denial and penny-pinching move they were saving the government money while simultaneously justifying their own continued employment within the bureaucracy. They do not acknowledge who pays the government they work for. ‘Claimants are the enemy. We are not accountable to the taxpaying general public.’

These bureaucrats had the audacity to question HIS integrity.

They are oblivious to the hypocrisy which is all around them. They even went so far as to accuse him of being a scammer before finally sending $680.00 each month.

Pull your heads out of your asses America.

This level of inequity is not sustainable.

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Why be a starving writer when you could be a starving naked artist.

I am so sick of computers and everywhere they take us.

Being a writer means being married to your computer. Things are made worse if you are a published author because you also have long term commitments to social media and publishing sites. My almost one-year-old Dell is an evil wife. She has melted down twice in the short time we have been together; a RED FLAG if ever there was one. So why continue to put up with the daily torment of weak WiFi, boggy performance due to updates and background processes, and the general stupidity of the online world when there is little or no money in it?

I can do other things.

The real question is: What other things can I do which don’t involve computers? I could reinvent myself once again as a post modernist painter. I might use my initials to create a new artist identity: Ethan Alfonso? It has an artsy ring to it. I could add a hook as well: All Alfonso’s are painted in the nude. Post modernist erotic portraits of lonely housewives and  divorcées, painted by a still pretty hot naked guy, should get me laid more than writers do. The fee for such commissioned portraits would certainly exceed what I make as a writer; perhaps several times over. For a tiny initial investment—far less than book publishing—I could whip off a bunch of samples to lean against the walls of my apartment for prospective clients to peruse; perhaps over wine, if they are hot. I could sell some works beach-side while working on my tan. Once summer ends here, I can move into a spacious van and travel to various beach communities down South, chasing the warmth of the sun, and making Canadian winters something I don’t do anymore.

What’s the worst that could happen?

It’s possible I might be killed by a jealous husband, but this has always been my preferred check-out plan anyway.

Sounds like a worthwhile endeavour to me.

Where is that art supply store?

I’d Google it, but this hunk of junk Dell—soon to be ex wife—sucks harder than the vacuum of space during a hull breach on the Enterprise.

Now twitter is doing it.

As if the mother Zucker wasn’t bad enough with obvious societal conditioning techniques built into his flakebook algorithm, now twitter is showing its hand. They too have had their user privacy issues, but twitter was always a place where you didn’t feel as controlled and manipulated. You could reach out to people the world over, and if you added them to a list, you could see everything they posted. If they were not English speaking, you could click the translate button to see what was on the minds of people in Europe, Asia, the Middle East. . . to gain a more honest global perspective than what we are offered in American media.

That ended today!

Twitter has been ramming the “New Twitter” down our throats for a while, but we had the option to revert to “Legacy Twitter” which many users did. It wasn’t an option today, and the Translate Tweet function was gone in addition to some other user niceties.

‘We can’t have American minds being contaminated by other countries.’

They are closing up the box with us in it.

This final straw will hasten my departure from anti-social media. They just keep taking away all that was good about these platforms and replacing them with more ads and user data collection. I don’t need to stick around to watch the death of social media, I’m just glad to see it go.

Your Beliefs Create Your Reality: Part 6

Coping with Uncertainty.

What we believe is a choice, BUT we are not taught this.

When we are old enough to grasp the idea, we are told we have free will which allows us to make our own choices, BUT by that point we have already spent years being indoctrinated into the beliefs of our parents, the culture of our forefathers, and the society in which we live. All too often, the beliefs imparted to us by these three influences are not in agreement. This creates uncertainty in an individual who is trying to establish an identity of their own, BUT their emerging identity is not their own. It was supplied to them by those who disseminate INFORMATION from a position of authority who we are told we should respect. Parents, religious leaders, educators, doctors, the Internet, the media, and government leaders all influence the thoughts of young minds that are trying to establish for themselves what is true, BUT truth is a fallacy and nobody tells us this. There are things currently thought to be true which are passed along to us, BUT there are few real truths which we are privy to.

A truth is a belief supported by evidence and what is thought to be known, a.k.a. facts.

The problem is, all beliefs require a leap of logic which is often referred to as faith.

If we were to teach this simple idea globally, we would end the dark age which has been with our current incarnation of humanity for the last five thousand years. The age of enlightenment, that so many of us crave, begins with a fundamental shift in what we are willing to accept as being true from all the other flawed humans who disseminate information to us.

If we are cautious as to what we allow ourselves to believe, then we can resist indoctrination, and the thought control it represents.

To reach an age of enlightenment we must develop a heightened awareness which means we must see things as they are, and not as we would like them to be. Our propensity for denial, and our dismissive nature that was taught to us, must be replaced with open-mindedness and deep rational thought.

We must question everything we are told to believe that came from a source outside of our own experience.

Our parents were flawed, BUT we usually did not begin to see this until many years passed where we clung to every word they spoke. The INFORMATION they supplied us with helped to form our earliest beliefs. Most of us begin to see that our parents make mistakes, get their facts wrong at times, and are hypocritical at least occasionally. This creates a modicum of skepticism in our young minds the next time they lecture us about something they believe to be important. Our uncertainty began at home.

Religions are flawed because almost all of them have abandoned or corrupted—through interpretation and rationalizations—the good messages of their prophet(s). Most of the top twelve most popular religions have leaders who are a part of a system which is designed to profit from our fear of the unknown. They never give back as much as they receive, and some are wealthy beyond imagination. Many actively promote division from those who do not believe exactly as they do and sexism; while the worst endorse racism and violence or advocate ownership of weapons of violence. They supply us with INFORMATION which we are told to accept without question to prove we are faithful. Many of our beliefs came from a childhood which included religious indoctrination, BUT when we begin to see hypocrisy and inequality within our house of worship, it creates uncertainty that can lead to a crisis of faith in us. If this has happened to you, all you need to do is get back to basics. We are all completely capable of understanding messages of peace and love spoken by the prophets of every religion. We do not need a religious leader to explain peace and love to us. We do not have to be sheep led by a shepherd in order to be believers.

Our education systems are flawed and getting worse. We know this is due to budgetary cutbacks, which are seemingly always on the rise, BUT there are also teachers who believe they have the right to impart their flawed personal beliefs to their students. Many of our beliefs are created by our early years spent in school before the age where we could see a teacher as just another flawed human. Textbooks are out of date and academia is slow to advance new findings, however unimpeachable, which challenge long held beliefs. Students are required to absorb and regurgitate this questionable INFORMATION, learning only to accept or reject facts based on an authoritative source without ever thinking about alternative possibilities or delving deeper into the topic. Uncertainty is created when students find out what they were taught is no longer true. Indoctrination is alive and well in higher education too, where new INFORMATION must be approved for publication by peers who are afraid of upsetting those who fund research. Knowledge is completely controlled by those who supply funding. It appears the so-called elites wish to create and maintain a knowledge gap between what they know and what we are allowed to know. This would explain the budgetary cutbacks in public education. A stupid populace is more easily led. Do not cling too tightly to facts you were given in school. My 1960’s era Encyclopedia Britannica is only good for its old book smell, its ability to flatten a curled piece of paper, and a good laugh when researching anything scientific.

People with credentials are flawed. If doctors were perfect, there would be no need for malpractice insurance. Fact: According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in the U.S.—right behind heart disease and cancer. In 2012, over $3 billion was spent in medical malpractice payouts. So unless your doctor graduated at the top of his or her class and possesses an eidetic memory, they are flawed; despite the air of arrogance their indoctrination taught them to exhibit. For the sake of your health and that of your family, you need to be uncertain of the INFORMATION you receive. Whether you are dealing with a M.D. or a PHD working with genetically modified organisms, vaccines or cancer treatments, you cannot completely believe what they have to say until you verify who signs their paychecks.

The Internet is a good thing—the last bastion of truth—it cannot be flawed . . . right? If this were so, why did the military industrial complex a.k.a  DARPA give us a billion dollar system free of charge? Fact: The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Defense in charge of development of emerging technologies for use by the military. Digital communications are a way for you to be known and compartmentalized by all manner of databases that are available to a host of security agencies. These agencies want to know everything about everyone; especially problem children like me who would undermine their authority if we only knew how. The primary purpose of the Internet, aside from creating yet another distraction to tie up the populace, is to create doubt through disinformation practices. By spreading uncertainty, the public puppets controlled by the-powers-that-be create anxiety and fear in the majority of the indoctrinated sheep living within any country. If one thousand scientists say global warming is real, the puppeteers, who wish to maintain the status quo, can put up their own bought-and-paid-for findings to create doubt. Where there is doubt, there will be endless debate without resolution in the on-line community, and the powers-that-be achieve their goal of maintaining the status quo. Did you know smart phones, computers, and smart TV’s are not necessarily off when you power down? It has been proven you can still be tracked, listened to or even watched when these devices are off. Cover cameras and disconnect your Internet cable when not in use. Just how much of your personal information is stored? Buy a new smart phone and magically all your old photos will arrive to your new phone. “The cloud” contains everything you ever communicated or shared on-line. The Internet is a means of controlling INFORMATION to keep sweeping change from happening.

It is the devil’s pipeline of lost souls . . . if you believe in such things.

The media creates uncertainty by supplying INFORMATION that is flawed. It is often poorly sourced, poorly researched, poorly fact checked, and fake news items are becoming more and more frequent. News stories which do not further the agenda of the-powers-that-be are no longer considered “newsworthy”. Omission of INFORMATION is their primary means of manipulation and control of the thoughts reaching a populace. They spread stories perpetuating fear, anxiety, and even hate twenty-four hours a day, because a frightened anxious populace is easier to manipulate into sanctioning retaliatory violence, preemptive violence or even a declaration of all out war. We no longer are shown the destruction our countries military forces are inflicting on less militarily capable countries, and we are never shown civilian targets that were destroyed based on military intelligence INFORMATION.

There is a great deal of uncertainty created by the leaders of most countries these days. Many of these world leaders are exceedingly flawed, and some overtly show off just how damaged they are.  Our democracies are not completely dead. We hold elections. We appear to have a choice of parties. The leaders change frequently. Politicians are, technically speaking, duly elected to lead a party, BUT they are approved and nominated by people within the party with influence a.k.a. special interest groups and the-powers-that-be. As divided as our primary liberal and conservative elements seem to be, they do have one thing in common. They are both equally backed by the-powers-that-be representatives working inside each party. The title of government leader is now a misnomer because the faces we associate with leadership are just marionettes.

The 26th U.S. president, Theodore Roosevelt made this statement about the secret government stating, “”Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.””

It appears the-powers-that-be existed before America ramped up for production of weapons in WWII creating the military industrial complex.

Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us in his 1961 speech: “”In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”” “”We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.””

We should have taught this in schools, BUT the-powers-that-be did not want this. In 2017, we now take everything for granted and our citizenry is oblivious and being dumbed down.

Just two years later JFK would be assassinated. Some say he was killed because he wanted to create a more transparent government with oversight.

The Washington Post reported a black budget of “$52.6 billion was set aside for operations in fiscal year 2013. The CIA, NSA and National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) receive more than 68 percent of the black budget. The National Geo-spatial Intelligence Program’s (NGP) budget has grown over 100 percent since 2004.”

A black budget covers expenses related to military research and covert operations, often without government oversight. The figures shown do not factor in corporate and private money invested in black projects beyond the intelligence agency arena and into space and technology. Some projections are as high as 1.3 trillion dollars—this represents +/- 30% of the entire US economy. The-powers-that-be take from the citizens of the US and other Western countries and then tell us to f@ck off when we want to know how OUR money is being spent. They cite matters of national security to make us go away.

Ethan Wolff-Mann wrote in time.com’s Money Section in an article titled: 7 Amazing Things America Could Have Bought Instead of a $1.45 Trillion Jet: “The F-35 project has been one of the most expensive military projects in history, and will cost upwards of $1.45 trillion by the time it’s over.”

It was this article that prompted this long winded journey. Canada had signed up to purchase this plane even though it does not have the speed or range to be an effective interceptor, nor does it feature the dual engines needed for reliable arctic patrol work. I questioned why Canada had even entertained it, aside from its F/A designation. We need a new multi-role fighter but the F35 is not it. My journey began by asking: Just who is capable of exerting enough pressure for us to make such a bad purchase? Fortunately, our current administration scrapped the F35 purchase, for the time being at least. There is absolutely nothing about this plane which justifies a number in the trillions. We must ask:

If all that money was not spent on this plane, then where did it go?

This is the aviation equivalent to a $1000.00 toilet seat.

In 2008, Barack Obama promised the most transparent administration in U.S. history. “No more secrecy,” he said. “That is a commitment that I make to you.”

Jun 2, 2015 – The USA Freedom Act is modified and signed by President Barack Obama. It essentially continued the Patriot Act which empowered the the secret keepers a.k.a. the FIVE intelligence gatherers and their TWELVE “active” partners to do what they do without being bothered by the administration.

Prior to being elected on Oct 20, 2015, Justin Trudeau promises to repeal ‘problematic elements’ of surveillance Bill C-51.

June 2017, The “anti-terrorism” legislation which resulted in huge protests, petitions, and condemnation from academics, remains in place while discussions take place over the summer.

It appears that both North American leaders ran out of leash when it came to confronting the-powers-that-be about secrecy and intelligence gathering matters.

Who are their masters? I am still working that out for myself, BUT we can definitely begin with the heads of:

  • Office of the Director of National Intelligence
  • Independent agencies
    • Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
  • United States Department of Defense
    • Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)
    • National Security Agency (NSA)
    • National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)
    • National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)
    • Twenty-Fifth Air Force (25 AF)
    • Military Intelligence Corps (MI)
    • Marine Corps Intelligence Activity (MCIA)
    • Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI)
  • United States Department of Energy
    • Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence (OICI)
  • United States Department of Homeland Security
    • Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A)
    • Coast Guard Intelligence (CGI)
  • United States Department of Justice
    • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
    • Office of National Security Intelligence (ONSI)
  • United States Department of State
    • Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR)
  • United States Department of the Treasury
    • Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI)

We can unequivocally state the masters are male.

They support and wish to maintain a patriarchy which has existed for at least 3000 years.

I find it both hilarious and disturbing that despite this massive effort to allegedly keep the populace safe, we are less safe than ever before. It leads one to believe they are not spending our tax dollars on security at all, and possibly, it is these agencies themselves that are creating security threats to justify their existence.

AND . . . what if these guys are just puppets too?

Is there a throne?

(Hint: I do like some of the dot connections made by some of the more intelligent conspiracy theorists, but I am still resistant to alien overlords as the answer. 😀 )

Coping in an uncertain world requires awareness.

I research things, often historical in nature, to piece together a portion of a very big puzzle. By asking big questions like: Who are we? Where do we come from? What is our history? The few truths you find allow you to view only a tiny piece of the immense puzzle. You can guess at what the complete puzzle shows, but that just makes you a conspiracy theorist. Instead, find what factual accounts you can from good sources, and let them lead you not to a rigid belief, but to a possibility which inspires others to pick up where you left off.

Good hunting.

 

A Holiday Message

My present fron Kat

Times are tough.

There is a great deal of uncertainty at the very least, if not fear or outright paranoia in our world at the moment.

Please try to reign in these thoughts–especially over the holidays.

If you are able to read this on-line, it most likely means you can afford devices and services which connect you to this on-line world. This also implies that your immediate security needs of shelter, food, and clothing have also been met. Be grateful for what you have as there are a great many others who are not as fortunate and who will not be able to read this.

The holidays are a time for giving–our way of expressing love, caring and thanks to people we know.

Even strangers tend to treat us a little better at this time of year. They might smile as they hold a door for us when we have both of our hands full of shopping bags. Our preoccupation with finishing the damnable shopping, so that we can jump back into the hustle and bustle of the season, might make us overlook this tiny kind gesture. Seize the moment to look them in the eye and say thank you and wish them a happy holiday. It might be the only present they receive this year.

The holiday season puts increased demands on our time because of all the commitments we make to family and friends. This causes us to be stressed and possibly irritable. We need to remember that we are fortunate to have those friends and family members with us, as many others may not.

Some people will not be able to travel to see their friends and family this year. They may feel very alone. They can change that by volunteering their time to a cause they believe in. Many worthwhile causes do not close during the holidays and spending time with the other volunteers will almost certainly turn into new friendships.

We pick up the holiday spirit by being compassionate. Give some canned goods to the food bank, give some blankets to a shelter or contribute to your local toy drive. The smallest things make a difference in this world. We often forget this. We do not have to solve global warming to improve the planet; the kid who receives your toy this year might be destined to do that–if they are not emotionally scarred by Santa missing their home. This is how we are all connected.

Goodness spreads like a virus through all walks of life, across all religions, and it does not see the color of someones skin or their gender. By spreading that which we know to be good, we spread hope. The hope we create can alter the path of another.

This almost certainly will be my last blog post for a while.

I wish to extend my gratitude to all of you who follow me on social media. To you, and everyone you care about, I wish you a safe and happy holiday season.

E. A.

 

November 11th: Remembrance Day In Canada

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, World War I ended.

Ever since, each November 11th at eleven o’clock Canadians honor those that fell in that war as well as ALL who have served since.

This blog contains elements from Blog 6.1: The FEAR Lessons but has been SPUN to be more respectful and appropriate for this day.

On this day, all Canadians but especially the youth of Canada need to understand that their privileged lives that are so full of opportunities are a direct result of the sacrifices of those that came before them. Young people, in their late teens and twenties were, and are, being wounded or killed in the defense of our way of life.

Those of you that grew up in large cities may not fully appreciate the hardships faced by your fellow Canadians that live and work in more difficult conditions in rural Canada. It is out of these small towns, from coast to coast, where most of our servicemen and women have traditionally come from. Small town life creates soldiers that are physically tough but it also instills them with compassion and a willingness to help their neighbor.

Today our Canadian Armed Forces are loaded with young people that are committed to preserving our way of life whatever the cost and they have a proud heritage.

We Canadians have the respect of much of the world as peace makers and peace keepers but there is another side to us that needs to be understood and remembered by people who are not Canadian and those whose educational system did not tell them about us.

Just a few summers ago, I made a new American friend who was working in Canada as an executive for a large aerospace company. After several drinks one night sitting at a fire lakeside, he stated how lucky we were to have our way of life but proceeded to suggest that we should not involve ourselves in global matters that would be better handled by the United States on our behalf. It was then that I began to understand how misunderstood we Canadians have become even by our closest neighbor. I suggested that until he became better acquainted with our history that he should not continue this line of conversation. I POLITELY let him know that he was about to cross a line that should not be crossed.

It has become apparent that we must define a Canadian for all to see because many do not REMEMBER or know our history.

The world has trouble with this.

Our politicians have trouble with this.

New Canadians have trouble with this.

Our media has trouble with this.

We are a small country in terms of population. We are hugely OUTNUMBERED ten-fold by our neighboring countries like the U.S.A. and Russia. A country that does not understand a Canadian may think that we are just pawns in the Soviet / U.S. chess match.

They would be grossly mistaken.

We have the respect of both of these Peoples and we are neighborly to both but we back down from neither. In fact, the Russian people and Canadians share a similar knowledge of hardship and resolve because of our similar geography and that is what created our common thread. Regardless of the global political climate, it was Canadian wheat farmers helping out Russian wheat farmers in times of need that cemented a long-standing relationship. Helping a neighbor in need is how farmers continue to succeed in Canada. It is this character trait of Canadian farmers that best exemplifies the Canadian people. I hope this will never disappear in the modern world where corporate greed is spreading like a cancer.

To a Canadian, global politics is just not that important to us. We have more important things to attend to like working hard to feed our families. We have a simple global outlook: if you do not bother us; WE WILL NOT BOTHER YOU.

We are not isolationists, we invite everyone to come and stay; if they can handle it.

As part of the British Commonwealth, we adopted a bit of their “stiff upper lip” mentality coupled with a RESOLVE that stems from our fierce living and working conditions.

We can relate well with the Northern European countries, because they again have tougher living conditions.

You see, we do not have a sun-belt. We do not have a California, Florida, Arizona or South of France but we like going to places like those for a break.

It is tough where we live and it makes us tough: mentally, physically and emotionally.

We should never dominate any sport because of our limited funding and small population BUT WE DO.

This comes from our resolute nature once we set our mind on an objective.

It should also be noted that we have a national pride that is best seen through our national pastime: hockey. It is a tough game for tough people. Our style of hockey is being watered down to accommodate growing interest in the game outside of Canada but we are always a team NEVER TO BE UNDERESTIMATED.

This Canadian national pride and stubborn resolve stems from HARDSHIP.

We are survivors.

We have a rich heritage of succeeding where others fear to tread.

In World War One where my grandfather participated in trench warfare, 100,000 French soldiers were killed or wounded at Vimy Ridge. The Canadians were brought in after training specifically for the task of taking this important German-held position. The Canadian soldiers showed such incredible RESOLVE and feats of bravery in accomplishing their mission that the French government gave that little piece of France to Canada forever.

It seems that these soldiers kept on ADVANCING when their officers were killed and perhaps most bizarrely of all; when they ran out of bullets. Yes, there are TRUE STORIES of Canadian soldiers charging machine-gun positions with bayonets.

There is another WW1 story that you should know of: Flanders and the town of Passchendaele. Imagine walking on a rain soaked muddy narrow dock with only one board every 16 inches carrying a 24 kilogram (or 53 pound) anchor while machine-gun bullets flew over your head and artillery shells fell all around in the rain with your clothes soaked with mud. If you slipped off that little dock you would probably drown- not in water… but mud; and your pals were ORDERED not to help you. That was the reality of Allied soldiers that were there.

Over 300,000 British, Australian and New Zealand casualties were recorded before the Canadians Corps would be called in. After 14 days of continuous battle, Canadians did what some thought was impossible and paved the way for the allies to make a run into Belgium.

Try to picture one million water-filled muddy shell holes in a one square mile area. Only the surface of the moon comes to my mind, but this was even more concentrated.

15,654 Canadian casualties were the cost of this victory. 1000 are still there in Flanders fields. A relatively small number when compared to the British losses but a lot for a country with a small population that was just under eight million at the time.

Other lesser known places that you should  be aware of are: Gravenstafel Ridge- 6064 casualties, Amiens- 9,074 casualties and Canal Du Nord and Cambrai- 13,672 casualties.

These were all success stories; Canadian victories; with a cost that Canadians were willing to pay for FREEDOM.

619,000 young men enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in WW1.

233,000 were casualties; or almost 37%.

Almost 10% died in service to this country IN THE NAME OF FREEDOM.

No town or village across the entire country was unaffected by the losses.

My Grandmother told me of my Grandfather’s return from the war. It was anything but the romantic reunion that film-makers like to portray. She was surprised to find him sitting outside one day, as she had not received any notification as to when to expect him. He had not even knocked. It seems that he was upset and embarrassed by having lice in his uniform and did not want her to see him like that. He did not want to go in the house like that. She undressed and bathed him outside giving him clean clothes to put on and then he burnt his uniform in the yard.

Just 25 years later, the world would be at it again.

Within a month of Britain’s declaration of war with Germany in WW2, the Canadian Army would grow from 5,000 to 70,000 people- not men. We have a proud tradition of Servicewomen in this country that goes back more than 100 years.

Both of my parents served in World War II: my mother in the Royal Canadian Air Force and my father in the Canadian Army Corps. My mom outranked my dad and never let him forget it.

In World War II, we Canadians again were the ones who did “the impossible”. A mountain top fortress named Assoro in Italy had to be taken in order for allied troops to advance. Canadian soldiers climbed a 900 meter (or nearly 3000 foot) mountain to take this mountain top that would allow Canadians to have a high-ground position that would lead to a German retreat from the area.

My father landed on Juno Beach. It was one of the most heavily defended beaches of the five allied landing sites in the invasion of Normandy. “STIFF RESISTANCE” as it was termed, was overcome and the Canadians were THE ONLY UNIT of the five, to achieve their Normandy landing objectives. But bad weather left those Canadian soldiers advancing inland without tanks against the German’s 21rst Panzer Division. Our Canadian soldiers ADVANCED anyhow.

Allied commanders would recognize the value of the Canadian Army and would employ them as “SHOCK-TROOPS” in tough places throughout the war.

At Breskens Pocket, Canadians would again fight in mud as their fathers had… AND WIN. In order to take the port of Antwerp, Canadians launched a frontal assault across the heavily defended Leopold Canal.

The last World War would end, but unfortunately smaller conflicts would continue to take the lives of Canadian soldiers.

A short time later in Korea, a Brigade of Canadians and Australians fought a delaying action with desperate defensive battles in a place called Kap Yong while surrounded by an entire Division of the Chinese army trying to take the city of Seoul. They stalled the advance and won a U.S. Presidential Unit Citation; rarely given to non-U.S. forces.

Tremendous acts of bravery and sacrifice continue to this day.

So what was the point of this little foray into Canadian history?

Remembrance Day is about history.

George Santayana is credited with the following quote: “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”

To some in Canada and many in the world, we Canadians are misunderstood. We are thought to be no different from our much larger allies.

Unfortunately in this modern technological era, the most visible people on television all too often appear weak, scared and even stupid and we Canadians are wrongly thought to be like them.

People not familiar with Canada and its citizens need to realize that the portrait of a Canadian painted by modern-day politicians and the media IS NOT who we are as a people.

The people of France and Holland in particular, remember us fondly. They appreciate their freedom and our sacrifice. They continue to REMEMBER. They continue to learn history.

Yes we Canadians are tolerant. We tolerate weak politicians and misinformed media because we are too busy dealing with the hardships of our land to sort them out.

Yes, we Canadians are polite.

Yes, we Canadians are friendly.

Yes, we Canadians help those in need.

Yes, we Canadians would rather keep the peace than allow a war because we know the cost of a war IS NOT PAID IN DOLLARS AND CENTS.

Yes, we Canadians try to avoid a fight for as long as we can.

However, we Canadians do not run from a fight.

We Canadians are very good at fighting.

We Canadians do not scare easily.

We Canadians do not concern ourselves with PARANOID THREAT LEVELS or WATCH LISTS.

If you force Canadians into a conflict, you should know that we have a long history of accomplishing the impossible and advancing where others could not.

While a Canadian will be the last person to start a conflict… we are best known for FINISHING THEM.

This is a Canadian!

So on our Remembrance Day each November 11th, we Canadians pause to thank those military people, both past and present that served our country and made us a proud people.

E. A. Barker

Flashback To Naivety: Part 2

This is part 2 of my first written rant about Canada and politics from 1991 addressed to The Spicer Commission: Citizens Forum on Canada’s Future.

“Talk about job creation; Batman!”

Recycling:

Currently, we can recycle aluminum, some plastics, glass, news-print, and corrugated cardboard.

________ Draw a light-bulb in the space provided.

We can create and manage STORAGE SITES for Styrofoam, rubber, used petroleum products, paper products and plastics that cannot be broken down with our existing facilities. These products are still in abundance in our land-fills, and most unfortunately, in our lakes, streams and oceans.

“YOU HAVE TO SPEND MONEY TO MAKE MONEY!”

Spend $25,000,000.00 (I wonder where that number came from?) {Ed. note: The cost of the Spicer Commission.} on the plan below, and no Canadian with a conscience will object to spending that amount or even more, every year from now on.

1) There will be A NEED FOR neighborhood containers for all the above mentioned recyclables with sections to allow the public to do the sorting- enabling more efficient collection.

2) True or false? Municipalities will more readily welcome a RECYCLABLES STORAGE FACILITY far more quickly than a landfill.

3) DEVELOP the recycling TECHNOLOGIES right here in Canada for those materials that are not easily broken down with our existing technology.

4) When new processing methods have proven themselves, BUILD the FACILITIES in various municipalities, districts etc. as large as necessary based on the recyclables produced in that area now, and in the years to come.

5) TRAIN people to operate these waste management plants. Many people, who are on UIC because of plant closures, may be well-suited to these new jobs.

6) Once the system has proven it is efficient, we could OFFER to take sorted recyclables from other countries that are DESPERATE enough to rid themselves of waste any way they can. Ocean dumping is popular among these countries.

7) SELL the recycled RAW MATERIALS to the highest bidder.

8) SELL the system to other countries as we would sell high technology or nuclear power. Unlike nuclear power stations, recycling plants cannot melt down.

Word Scramble:

Take all the upper-case words above and write them down.

Reads like business doesn’t it?

How the jobs are created:

1) Local plastics, fibre-glass and metal fabrication companies can BID for the work of making the collection and sorting containers.

2) Universities and laboratories looking for FUNDING could develop the processes needed to break down what we currently consider non-recyclables.

3) Building trades from architects to painters would be needed in the CREATION of these new plants.

4) Manufacturing people, laid off as a result of companies closing or moving, can be RETRAINED to collect, process, and manage these recyclables in the new facilities.

5) Trucking would be needed to bring recyclables from the USA if a DEAL can be struck.

6) Canada can hire out consultants to countries that are PURCHASING our new waste management systems.

Now was that so difficult?

{The governments set themselves up as “watch-dogs” for ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION rather than getting their hands dirty. Everything to do with waste management has been PRIVATIZED where it cannot be easily REGULATED.  The government sells LICENSES to a handful of firms. The biggest of which is an American company worth 30 billion dollars. They missed a huge OPPORTUNITY, and continue to spend money South of the border. When did we decide governments must be a COSTLY enterprise rather than a PROFIT generator? I must have missed that referendum.}

Education and Who is Alvin Tofler?

With few exceptions, the majority of our current educational system in Canada was designed in a post-world-war era to supply people for manufacturing jobs in a budding “industrial revolution”. Like the “agricultural revolution” before it, the “industrial revolution” has run its course. Due to our lack of DECISION MAKING, (more on this later) or outright laziness, we have allowed the Japanese and Germans to take over high-technology markets that could be dominated by Canadians. If you do not believe me, check their money against ours on world markets.

It is not too late. We are now in the early stages of a TECHNOLOGY BASED society and must NOW strive to NOT take a classroom filled with potential, and prime our youth for industrial jobs. The fact that many plants are leaving Canada for “greener pastures” in the USA and Mexico soon eh, {Free Trade reference.} could prove to be only a minor setback if we start exploring the INDIVIDUAL TALENTS of all young Canadians NOW! It is time we tapped Canada’s greatest resource: our youth, and STOP THE EDUCATIONAL PRODUCTION LINE that is our present school system.

Example:

Imagine if Wayne Gretski was raised in India, his talents would most certainly have gone un-noticed.

Those people in charge of developing a better educational system for Canada, (Are there such people?) should read Alvin Tofler the author of Future Shock and The Third Wave, available at enlightened book stores everywhere. No, we are not related. However, I stole most of my ideas for this section from him. Thanks Alvin.

{Well, change is slow. Today Canada’s high school kids rank in the top ten in the world. Not bad, but never above sixth in any one subject. We can do better. Also, there is NO SIGN WHATSOEVER we are working towards a system that IDENTIFIES APTITUDES at a young age. Most of our young people head into their post-secondary education without a clue as to what they truly want to be doing in the near future, nor do they know where their gifts and passions lie. Canada has embraced the high-technology sector which has helped the economy a little as we continue to wave goodbye to manufacturers.}

The Little Country that Could!

Part A: Foreign Policy

There is no time like the present to strengthen the U.N. so “super-powers” are not calling ALL the shots. The majority of nations COLLECTIVELY should be able to “police” conflicts anywhere in the world.

Problem 1:

The quote-unquote “super-powers” are some of the worst AGGRESSORS in the world, yet they are the countries with the power of VETO in the United Nations.

Problem 2:

Canada must stand on its own two feet and NOT blindly follow US policy and initiatives. If memory serves correctly, we used to do fine without the US holding our hand. However, since the Free Trade deal, they seem to be able to “pull strings”. WHY IS THIS?

Problem 3:

If Canada is going to survive—literally—we MUST NOT follow the US policy in the Middle East because we have ALREADY SEEN their foreign policy is governed ONLY by a multi-billion dollar “defense” (“offense” more correctly) industry that will sell arms to the highest bidder with little regard for how they will be used.

It is my feeling Canada acted correctly in the FIRST PHASE of the Mid-East war, but it is “not over ‘til it’s over.” DON’T KID YOURSELF, WE WILL HAVE TO GO BACK AGAIN.

That region of our world is so volatile, and the policy to deal with it so wishy-washy, we haven’t heard the last from the Middle East. I recall Israel telling the world that “they reserved the right to strike back at Iraq” after the first SCUD attacks. Is the war over for the Palestinians? I think not.

Why didn’t “The New World Order” do anything about:

  • Syria invading Lebannon?
  • Turkey invading Cyprus?
  • Tienamin Square in China?
  • Russia invading Afghanistan?
  • The US invading Panama or Guiana?

Perhaps the “peace-nicks” were not so wrong when they said THE WAR WAS ABOUT OIL.

The Persian Gulf war propaganda machine made a big deal of the oil slicks in the Gulf, but I don’t see anyone stopping the US from dumping garbage into “their part” of the World’s oceans for countless decades.

“What is good for the goose, is good for the gander.” should be the new policy of the UN and perhaps Canada can play a constructive part in bringing this about.

Part B: On the Home Front

Problem 1:

“Tell you a secret.” PUT A STOP to “closed door” bargaining sessions on ANY topic that could dramatically affect Canada’s future. The Canadian public HAS THE RIGHT to be consulted on matters of VITAL importance to the country.

Problem 2:

“I’ll scratch your back if you will scratch mine.” Environmental Regulation CANNOT come from a GOVERNMENT APPOINTED OR RUN AGENCY. “Interference” is almost certain. The same is true of government audits, and just about ANYTHING that can be BENT to appear “rosy” at election time.

Yes, I could fill a book about the problems we and the world have; but who would read it?

{24 years later, I look prescient. The simple fact is that everyone in my age group felt the same way at the time. A girl I had dated took a copy of this to a writer friend at The Globe and Mail but was told “The paper would never run a piece like this.” She insisted this was exactly how young people felt, but it made no difference. We were young and naïve without any idea the news agencies we trusted were a part of a societal control and conditioning mechanism.

  • We wanted the UN to be a global government. We did not know who owned it.
  • We were tired of our spineless leaders doing the bidding of the US.
  • We hated US foreign policy; in the Middle East especially.
  • We knew the war was about oil.
  • We knew that Saddam was calling us cowards for stopping at the Iraqi border and that it was not over.
  • We saw secret deals, a.k.a. Bills, being put into law when the opposition party was not paying attention.
  • We saw that Environmental Regulation was corrupt.
  • We saw that politicians will say anything to get elected.

I wrote that book about the worlds’ problems, and I’m still wondering if anyone reads anything meaningful anymore.}

Government Leaders: A Definition

WIMPS too worried about losing their positions and the associated POWER that comes with those positions TO MAKE POSITIVE CHANGE.

Opinion: History favors people who make positive change over dictators, and yes, even Prime Ministers who used to talk to the dearly departed.

New Governmental Theme: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few {Ed. note: or the one.”}  – Milton I don’t know if there is a Milton, but the Star Trek episode where I first heard the name, was quite good. Two thumbs up, and yes, I will steal from anybody.

{I blew it on this one. The quote was incomplete and the author cited was wrong.  I was thinking this quote, made famous by Star Trek, was attributed to Milton when in fact it was Dickens. The upside is it is doubtful the readers at the Spicer Commission would know better. This is laughable in retrospect. At the time I wrote as though the P.M. might actually read it.}

Closing Snide Remarks and Apologies:

The intent of all this nonsense was, and is, to draw attention to several areas of concern for Canadians. My attempts at humour through sarcasm are there in the hope more people will read my letter, thus making them aware of their own feelings towards Canada and what lay ahead in our future. My feeling is IF Canadians look at themselves lightly, and FAR LESS conservatively, without losing site of our goals and aspirations, then there IS hope for this country yet.

We should face the fact that the only times in history that a government has turned to its people for advice or opinion, have been in times of great difficulty.

{I am pretty sure this is the line used in a Mulroney televised address.}

The Citizen’s Forum on Canada’s Future should not be taken lightly as it sounds like a CRY FOR HELP. Our present government should be EXTREMELY CAREFUL to heed the words of Canadians, and should recall the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf. I love our country; however, there are plenty of reasons for concern.

Formula:

Concern squared = Worry.

Worry squared = The need for a good gastrointestinal specialist.

To anyone who found this work offensive, insulting, or belittling . . . my apologies.

To the government leaders I slapped in the last section I can only say: PROVE ME WRONG, I’D LOVE IT!

D. T.

Of course I used an alias. Where does it say “stupid” on my forehead? I have no wish for sudden audits from Revenue Canada; or to be “black-listed” by the R.C.M.P. as a “commie pinko” sympathizer; or WORSE YET . . . they ask me to work for them.

{I believe it is the line above in bold type that later came out of Mulroney’s mouth on TV to my shock, horror, and amazement. That guy had never had an original thought in his life—a talking head—and hearing my words come out of his mouth made me feel like I had been shot in the stomach. My naivety and innocence were lost in that moment. It would open my eyes as to how bereft of intelligence our puppet world leaders really are. In point of fact, I believe I was careful not to give them a set of finger-prints as well. I was a silly naive youngster.}

24 YEARS LATER, I AM STILL CHALLENGING HUMANS TO DO BETTER.

Science Fiction writers give us a multitude of possible outcomes when we are finally confronted by superior beings from another planet, galaxy, dimension, or universe. If the last 2000 years are how humanity is to be judged, then it does bode well for us as a species. WE ARE NOT IMPROVING.

We are a terminally petty and manipulative species lacking forethought and conscience.

Despite our leaps in technology and minor improvements in civilization, we are little more than a plague on this planet, and it is time for a more worthy species to take our place.

I am rooting for dolphins.

The reason I no longer follow politics and current events is I have always been Utopian in my hopes for humanity. I am still trying to reach humans with a message of hope and change twenty-four years later, in a world that has lost hope and is resistant to change. You get tired of swimming against the current.

I hope you enjoyed this “blast from the past”. Go out and make a difference this week. Take a case of canned goods to the food bank, and then go get to know a dolphin.