Monthly Archives: October, 2012

The Occupy Movement and their Social Agenda Revealed. Where Did it Go Wrong?


English: Signs at the Occupy Boston demonstrat...

“Our movement is too big to fail”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I came across a post in a Facebook community group from someone claiming to be “organizer” of the Occupy movement here in Ontario.  He had just dropped this post in the group until it was removed a couple of hours later.  I can’t say for sure that he is with the real Occupy movement, but after reading through his message I can say the message of stamping out corruption through occupation of public spaces is lost.

Here is the posting from the Facebook group, in their words, not mine;

“The Peoples ISSUES OF FOCUS what would satisfy us ,addressing the issues that are essencial to the people
#1 ,poverty,
#2..homelessness
#3 affordable housing,
#4)transportation.
#5)education
6)job creation
7).police abuse of authority
#8): political abuse of authority,
#9)..maintaining children rights
10)water/food safety and accessiibality…”

So spelling mistakes aside, I’ve never felt that this movement spoke for me, and I’m not the 1% they detest, but after seeing this list, I am certain that I cannot offer them my support, nor am I comfortable with them settling in on public lands (disrupting the 99% they claim to speak for) while they dance, read and sleep there waiting for any or all of the items on this list to be fulfilled.

I’m not even sure where to begin when I look at this list… I thought the whole “agenda” of the Occupy movement was to bring attention to how corrupt they feel the 1% are.  If that was the message, then yes, I do agree that those with considerable amounts of money who take advantage of those without should be held to a higher accord, but where myself and the Occupy folks differ is that I feel anyone could be in the 1% if they really wanted to. Hard work, a great invention, knowing the right people, getting a solid education, being born into a family with considerable wealth… All these options except probably the last one are available to everyone and not every person or corporation in the 1% are corrupt or take advantage, just like not everyone in the 99% gives a crap about this list of social wrongs that they pledge to eradicate – mainly through taxing those who have the most money.

From my perspective in Canada, the “abuse of authority” items, that the police and politicians abuse their authority – that people have lost their civil liberties – just doesn’t make sense to me.  In democratic countries all citizens have the right to free speech – provided we are not slandering or offending others, and we have the right to be free, be any religion we like, abide by the laws of the land and vote in elections for whomever we want.  All of this freedom makes the Occupy decision to settle in to major cities, camping their way to eviction, that much more puzzling.  What did they gain?  Nothing.  They did more harm to the land they settled on and the communities they disrupted.

If the Occupy movement is really upset with the way businesses operate in 2012, then they should be delivering their messages in a different way to make an actual point and the organizers of the Occupy movement should also come clean about their true objectives here.  If you hate Apple, for example, because you disagree that they are paying a low wage to their employees in another country, then don’t bring your iPhone to the rally.  If you never liked the GAP sweatshops, then don’t wear GAP clothing.  You can’t suck and blow at the same time.

What really puzzles me are the folks who claim to be against banks and the fees and interest they charge yet I’ll bet dollars to donuts that there are several members of their families who have investments in these big banks and require the dividend cheque to supplement their earnings.  To remove those fees and interest charges and increase taxation of the banks would ultimately remove the money from the pockets of elderly people on fixed incomes and those seeking to add to their income through investing in the markets.  Surely that is not what the Occupy movement stands for…

Imagine how a movement like this would go over in countries like Syria, Venezuela, Cuba or Iran? In these countries people have no rights. They cannot vote for whom they want, they cannot comment negatively against the ruling government or they are tortured, jailed or killed. These countries treat citizens, especially woman, like crap and in a couple of these countries they consider homosexuality a crime punishable by death.

So in Canada, how exactly are the government and police abusing their power and against whom are they doing this?  Is it by their enforcing of laws and rules? Is it because they protect property rights of those citizens who educate themselves, work hard to buy property and expect it to be safe from thieves and poachers?  I’m sorry but I don’t buy that there is that much political or police abuse and I certainly do not see it.  I’ve always believed that if you kept your nose clean and stayed out of trouble you would be fine.

What about children’s rights? Is sitting in a park in Toronto going to help bring awareness to the abuses that children encounter in countries where their parents sell them, or make them work in sweat shops for pennies a day to help support their 10 brothers and sisters?  And about poverty, homelessness, available community housing and job creation.  All of these are choice people make and it is very unfortunate that the choices are not made by the people it impacts the most, but were choices made by their parents and their parent’s parents.  No one wants to be homeless but if there is an underlying condition which went undiagnosed homelessness is the result. 

This is exactly why in Canada the tax rate is at almost 50% for the highest income earners and that is to provide a social netting for those put in these unfortunate situations.  If the Occupy movement doesn’t think this is enough or that the money is being sufficiently allocated then I would love to hear their opinion on how it can work better.  To understand how taxation works for individuals and corporations would go a long way towards determining what is fair for them. 

The original intent of taxation was not to subsidize those who could not do it on their own, but rather to collect money to purchase weapons for the war.  Nowadays wars and paid for on credit and the have-nots – apparently 99% of us – need the 1% to put more of their money into the economy to help us out.

If I work harder, educate myself more and get a better, higher paying job, then I contribute more to society.  How is that a bad thing and how is it that I owe more money back in the community in taxes?  But making more money I am contributing more when I buy a bigger house and pay even more taxes in property taxes, then I buy more items for my house and my family and those dollars go back into the local economy and support the stores and the people working in the stores.  I eat out more or visit more local attractions and that supports the service industry and again the people who work in it.  We volunteer and that gives back to the community.  Heck, on my increased wage, more taxes are taken off than before.  Occupy, I am not in the 1% but I am not who you are angry at, nor are the people and businesses you disrupt through your sit-ins.

I think deep down inside that this generation – so unkindly dubbed the entitlement generation – is angry at themselves for letting life pass them by while getting things handed to them by their parents and the Internet.  Now that the economy is in the tank they realized they have to work and starting at the bottom sucks.  We all started at the bottom as children of immigrants or recent immigrants and we have either seen our parents work their way up, or we ourselves have put in long hours, took extra education and held multiple part-time jobs.  We didn’t have the Internet to answer questions, we used encyclopedias.  We wanted music, we saved money and bought it and movies… In the theatre.  So excuse us if we see this type of social action for what appears to be short-sighted or selfish reasons and we dismiss it because we already know it is not going to enact the changes it wants.

If the Occupy movement were truly ready to enact change then they would have to do it with thought and clear communication. Using Twitter, a company whose creators and owners are certainly in the 1% for a call to action seems hypocritical but with social media now a part of our everyday lives it is also a necessity in getting the message out.  So with software companies off the Occupy landscape then they must come up with a list of the most evil companies around.  The ones polluting our lands, starving their employees, exploiting children and where the senior executive are bilking their company of billions of dollars so they can only afford to dole out pennies in a corporate dividend.  Then, once identified, take a list of this concerns public and give the company 2 weeks to fix it, then after than boycott the firm until it crumbles to its knees.  That is how you enact change.

This aint Woodstock, folks.  Any other avenue to achieve meaningful change is lost on the generations that preceded you.

Mommies have Clout. Daddies are getting Clout. I have Klout!


Blissdom

Blissdom (Photo credit: griffintech)

I almost forgot about these two articles that popped into my inbox while we were on vacation on the summer, so pardon me that they are a little old.  These articles are about Mommy and Daddy bloggers in Canada and their clout.

I rarely catch these type of articles unless my blog is linked in it and I see traffic coming from the site through to my blog.  That always gets my attention.  

The first article came out in the Globe and Mail newspaper and it was about Mommy bloggers gaining clout and that retailers were beginning to take notice.  The link to the original article is right here; http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/parenting/mommy-bloggers-are-gaining-clout-and-retailers-are-taking-notice/article4472076/

The article pretty much outlines what all of us bloggers know already, that the mommy blogger scene rocks and boy have they got their act together.  Yes, it does centre around BlogHer – with apologies to the folks at Blissdom this weekend – but the article does make mention of some great work done by Karen Green, former downtown TO blogger, whom I have met on a couple of occasions at some local blogging get togethers when my wife was still big into the scene too.  Karen and I spoke about homebirths prior to us having  our own scheduled homebirth of our middle child, Stewie.  She’s a great resource and advocate for the cause. You can follow her through her blog The Kids are Alright, http://kidsarealrightto.blogspot.ca or on Facebook here; https://www.facebook.com/kidsarealrightblog

At the end of this great article there is a mention of Dad 2.0, a Daddy blogging event along the same line as BlogHer and Blissdom.  The event is held annually and to be honest I don’t know that much about it other than that it is Texas and I can’t see attending any time soon, sadly.  The Dads are trying to catch up to the Moms and hopefully this event will spawn a Canadian version and continue to grow much like events like Blissdom have.

The article ends with mention of 4 Canadian Dad bloggers gaining some attention for their hard work too.  

It was nice to see the Dads included in the story as it always seemed to me that the stay at home dads (SAHD) were right behind the mommy bloggers in popularity so to see Daddy bloggers mentioned as a group and the reference to us becoming quite influential in the blogosphere is good for all bloggers, present, past and future.

Then I came across an article which dove a little deeper into the Daddy blogging scene and it was written by a public relations firm called Cision in June but caught everyone’s attention when posted by StroylinePR right after this Globe article came out.  This article builds on the Globe and Mail article by putting an even greater spotlight on us Canadian Dads who have clout, or more specifically Klout, by listing the top Canadian Daddy bloggers by their Klout score.   At the time of this article, I came in at number 9 on the list out of 11 Dads with a Klout score of 43, but as of today with a greater understanding of my Klout score and a significantly increased readership, my Klout score sits at 55.  A Klout score of 40 is considered average.  Topping off this list is the Canadian Dad (http://canadiandad.com/), Chris Read, who certainly wowed the folks at Blissdom this past weekend from all that I have heard. 

So it only makes sense, then, that we Daddy bloggers follow in the footsteps of the mommy blogger scene and help bring to light that we too have some clout and can assist retailers not only by providing our large following of loyal readers but also by providing our perspective on issues and products as dads.

I can never see us catching up to the mommy blogging scene and at events, as the token Dad… I’m okay with that.

My Solution for the NHL Labour Woes. Bring in the NHLFA.


Stanley Cup, on display at the Hockey Hall of ...

The Stanley Cup, on display at the Hockey Hall of Fame, won’t be presented this year unless the fans step up!

The National Hockey League lockout enters day 37 today and with $90 million in salary missed by the players and 10 regular season games already cancelled, both sides appear nowhere near willing to come to an agreement. 

On the one side, there is NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman – well into his third lockout of the players (there were zero lockouts prior to him becoming Commissioner) and on the other side, the NHL Players Association (read: union) have ex-Major League Baseball union head Donald Fehr in their corner making sure the players do not get owned like they did last time around.

The players mean business.

The owners are not backing down.

While the owners save money and the players head out to play for other teams, the fans, businesses relying on NHL hockey and employees working for teams, arenas and these businesses are the ones who are suffering.

So given the absolute frustration and lack of interest I have in NHL hockey right now – and yes it declines significantly after every lockout, Gary, I think it’s time for all of us who love watching hockey to join the NHL Fan Association and collectively approach the league and the PA and let them know our position going forward.

This position should be something like this;

  • As of today the NHL no longer exists in our eyes.  We ask that the league shut down its operations and award the most prestigious and most difficult to win trophy to either the top amateur Canadian team or hold a tournament like play off between the top amateur teams and the American Hockey League champion.
  • The NHL has to admit that it is trying to break the union, or just come clean and announce that it will resume play next year with non-unionized players only.  Unions exist to ensure that employees are not taken advantage of, that they are not overworked or put in situations which could jeopardize their health.  Unions were not meant to allow multi-millionaires to ask for more money from multi-billionaires.  If players wish to cross the line and play, they get paid.  Likewise, if a “superstar” like Ovechkin threatens to stay in Russia and play in the KHL then, see ya!  No player is above the league.
  • The fans must also make it clear to the players that we do not buy the garbage they are trying to feed us.  The players and union have stated on the record that they are taking the stand they have against the owners because of their “brothers” coming up through the ranks.  If the players are really doing this for their brothers then certainly they can afford to sit out for as long as it takes to come to the agreement they want without suffering any financial difficulties, right?  Going overseas and taking jobs from players who went overseas because they couldn’t make the NHL, or because they live there is not nice and it’s another reason that all the other leagues hate the NHL.  First the NHL stole all the top young overseas players without compensation, then they go over and steal their jobs.  Shame.
  • The NHLFA http://www.nhlfa.com/ also has to alert the NHL to the fact that teams in the southern US do not work.  If the NHL is to survive and thrive then it has to beef up its Canadian content and that means 2 or 3 more teams in Ontario, one more in Quebec, one in Saskatchewan and one in Atlantic Canada.  There should probably be one in Seattle as well.  Enough screwing around in Phoenix and lying to the fans like what happened with Atlanta.  And Las Vegas should never have a NHL team!
  • The new NHL is going to need serious rules to crack down on what I call owner-stupidity.  Owners who agree and sign off on long-term contracts which end long after the players have stopped playing are killing the trade market.  It’s so difficult to trade an under achieving player who has 10-years and $60-million left on a contract.  The stupid team who signs this deal and the greedy player and agent who pushed for this deal need to be fined and the put on warning.  Otherwise the minor leagues are going to full of these buried contracts like Wade Redden.   Do we all not laugh and shake our heads when the name “Rick DiPietro” comes up…
  • Fighting is not an option in our new NHL.  We’re tired of enforcers, goons and agitators who stake around trying to hurt other players and make the game dangerous.  Hitting, however, we love.  So any attempt to injure an opponent will result in immediate suspension and the perpetrator will not be allowed back on the ice until the player he hurt is back playing and he will not be allowed to play against that team for the rest of the season.  Done. 
  • The trap and trap-like hockey is not welcome in the new NHL.  Since we cannot trust teams to not play it, we’re moving to 3 lines of forwards to go with the three lines of defense and we’ll see how the teams play defense when they are tired.
  • In addition, the major news and sports stations will no longer be leading the newscasts with lockout talk.  Instead they will focus on AHL and CHL hockey news and highlights.  Focus on the good in hockey, not on the greed and stupidity.

How long do you think it will take the NHL and NHLPA to get back to the bargaining table when they realize all their fans are no longer interested in their product.  Put up or shut up guys…

Toronto Blue Jays in search of a Manager after tonight’s trade


Adam Lind

Adam Lind (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the benefits of being up late is catching breaking news, especially if the news relates to the local Baseball team, the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Jays made a trade with the Boston Red Sox earlier this evening with manager John Farrell going to Boston with his 73-89 record and 31-year-old utility infielder Mike Aviles coming back to TO as compensation.

Word has it that Blue Jays 1B/DH Adam Lind and his $5.15 million dollar contract is also heading to Boston.

I never got that warm, fuzzy feeling from Farrell and wondered how the Boston Red Sox former pitching coach handled his pitching staff considering so many of the starters blew out their elbows and required Tommy John surgery.

Hopefully there is more to this deal than just the manager and Lind for Aviles, otherwise Jays GM Alex Anthopolous is going to have a lot of explaining to do!

Best candidate for manager of the Jays remains to be Sandy Alomar Jr.  He is the older brother of Jays Hall of Fame 2nd baseman Roberto Alomar.

Random Wednesday Night Daddy Ramblings


Good Wednesday evening folks!

It’s late. Everyone in my household is sleeping and that means it is time to get online and get posting. I had a wonderfully busy and productive day today and I wanted to get some thoughts out for you to comment on before this day (not my day) comes to an end.

1) First off, I had a wonderful time at the #TDParentalLeave discussion. I was ready for the discussion, as a long (long) time TD Canada Trust customer and as a parent who has taken parental leave (2 of them).  The other bloggers were the cream of the crop in the Canadian blogging scene and we all left with a clearer idea of why TD wanted to get the 6 of us together and why they are already one of the leaders in Social Media for banks.  I also learned that I am in the minority of people under 80-years-old who still visits branches.  More on this in the very near future I’m sure.

2) Lance Armstrong stepped down from his massively successful charity “Livestrong”.  The message is getting muddied now that he’s being made an example of and I’m of two minds here.  First, yes he cheated and allegedly he was the ring leader of a massive doping scheme for years, but so were his teammates who happily accepted the praise and money that came from placing high, even winning and being on his team.  Then as soon as things turned sour they were just as quick to stab him in the back and blame him.  On the other hand, if the organizers of the Tour wanted to strip Lance of his wins and give the title to the next “clean” rider they would have to go back something like 76 racers in some cases.  Then they would have to test that racer’s samples with today’s technologies to see if he’s clean.  That speaks volumes about the sport which is clearly tainted.   There is no doubt in my mind that the Tour like the Olympics has credibility issues and either everyone dopes or no one does.  But at the end of the day, Lance won and he battled through cancer to win and whether he was the best rider or the best doper he still raced and won.

3) The Teacher’s Union in Ontario representing the public school teachers has asked the teachers to provide the least amount of information possible on the student’s progress reports.  The same leader who commented a few years back about how having these reports was going to make the teacher’s job easier and help the students and parents succeed. 

These same teachers are withholding extracurricular activities and telling the students that they should be blaming the government and not them and while I’m certainly not up on all the details of the issue here, I do know that the other teaching boards signed agreements with the government and that this work-to-rule is over the right to strike and possibly a wage freeze. 

I’m not going to jump into my anti-union talk or point out that I don’t have a right to strike or a guaranteed wage increase and even if I save my company a million dollars they still don’t have to give me an increase, but what really stands out here is that; 1) the teachers are putting the kids in the middle of this.  They absolutely are and that is not right.  2) Since Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty stepped down as leaders (something a Conservative government would be slaughtered for doing) and prorogued parliament there is nothing that the government can do to counteract this message other than have a press conference and ask for it to be rescinded.  The timing of this ask by the union smells fishy and is not going to score them any points in the public relations battle they are waging with the government.

4) More on this topic is coming as well, but I attended the launch of Wine Wire, www.winewire.ca, a Canadian business aimed at not only delivering the best wines to your front door but also educating you on some of them through Wine Wire TV.   If you’re a wine connoisseur this concept works because it gets great wines to your door and if you’re not much of a wine-expert as, say, I am, then this is an absolute must visit because the Wine Wire TV explains what to expect when tasting the wines they feature and having now tasted some of them, I can say the description matches the taste.  A great concept.  Please support Canadian businesses!!

5) I’m a little annoyed here… When we moved into our new home 3 years ago, my in-laws brought us some pumpkins from cottage country to line our front stairs.  We averaged 20 of them, all sizes, and the big ones I carved and the smaller ones I would bake with once the holiday was over.  This year we decided to downsize and were thrilled when we received 3 big ones and 5 gourds.  So fat this year, one gourd was eaten by squirrels, and the other was taken by a squirrel up a tree (we saw the theft in person) and when Linus scared the critter, he dropped the gourd which fell into the bushes.  Gone. 

The annoying part???

Our neighbours have decided to copy our pumpkin stairs idea this year except they all have WAY more pumpkins than we do, so when I (and others) look at our pathetic stairs it makes me want to run out and buy more pumpkins to keep up with the Jones’.  It’s also not just one neighbour either.  It’s the one across the street and the two beside us.  I think more orange ones and some white ones will show them. 

The pictue, by the way… Not our house this year.  Possibly in years gone by – minus the flowers – but certainly not this year. 

6) Things Daddy overheard:

a) Stewie to Linus is a very serious tone; “You know what Linus… We’re the fastest people we know!”

b) After Boo screamed twice, I reminded her that; “There is NO yelling allowed in my house!” to which she immediately responded with; “This is not just YOUR house, this is OUR house too.  There are 5 of us that live here!!!”

7) Potato or Potatoe?  Last year we planted three types of potatoes in our front garden and got a ton of potatoes in the fall.  We did not get around to planting and more this year but guess what happens if you miss digging out the ones from previous years???  If you said more grow, you would be correct as this year we just harvested about 100 potatoes.  Very cool and the kids love digging for them.

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