Where is modern civilization heading?

As a society are we heading in the same direction as the ancient Romans? If so the question becomes.......

Are our leaders fiddling while civilization burns?

While we ponder the question I will post my personal thoughts on this blog. Often I will focus on current events that catch my interest, however I am not and do not pretend to be a news organization. I'm simply a guy with his own thoughts on issues that I believe affect our country and society.

Be forewarned, I have been accused of being a right wing thinker and if that is offensive please move on. Remember, this is my blog and my opinions, and unlike many facets of our already over-governed modern society they are not being forced on anyone.

However, please feel free to leave your comments, good, bad or indifferent, after all this is a free society we live in (at least for now).

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A short walk, but an unforgivable betrayal

If you read this blog regularly it's no secret that Frustrated Joe's political philosophies tend to differ a great from those of the left, like say the NDP. However, once in while an issue arises that I find myself agreeing (at least partially) with someone I would normally be opposed to. Wow, that was a mouthful.

The issue at hand today are the shackles that are placed upon our Members of Parliament when they are expected to vote with their party on issues before Parliament. The particular case in question is that of Bruce Hyer, one of the NDP's northern Ontario MP's. Hyer was one of two NDP MP's that voted in November 2011 with the Conservative government on Bill C-19 to put an end to the long gun registry. Unfortunately for Hyer, that decision conflicted with his parties stance on the issue. The result, both MP's were disciplined by their party.

Now, maybe it is old school but as a voter I  personally feel that the first duty of elected officials is to those that elected them. Myself, I have always taken into account the candidates personal opinions and political philosophy (how close they are to mine) and given both almost the same weight in my voting decision as I give to their political parties views. After all this individual serves as your representative in government. You need to know "they have your back".

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

It appears Alison was right about one thing.....

Well folks, here in Alberta its the morning after. Yesterday was our provincial election and like a drunk sobering up the next day after a bender many of us are wondering what really happened the night before.

alberta election
During the last few weeks, virtually every opinion poll agreed on one thing, after the election we would have a new party in power. After 40 some odd years of Progressive Conservative (PC) rule in our province the Wildrose Party of Alberta was set to usurp the reining government. Pollsters and political pundits alike pointed to poll results and history to claim that Alberta was due for a change. After all, four decades ago a little known Peter Lougheed and his PC party sent the then ruling Social Credit government packing, coincidentally after the So-Creds had ruled the province for about four decades themselves.

Political pollsters claimed that this election would result in a Wildrose majority, or possibly a PC or Wildrose  minority government, but no one was willing to give odds on a PC majority. There was even talk at times that the NDP or Liberals might swing the balance of power in a minority government ( I can just imagine Brian and Raj salivating over this thought).

So lets get back to reality.......
This morning when we woke up (or last night if you chose to stay up for the results) we found ourselves with another PC majority government, down 5 seats from last time but a strong majority none the less. Yes, the Wildrose gained some ground they now hold 19 seats to the PC's 61, so they will become the official opposition. But that's a long shot from the sweeping majority some predicted right up to election eve for Danielle Smith and her candidates.

So how could the pollsters be so wrong?

That's something I am sure that they are asking themselves, after all a pollster is only as reliable as his last call. I expect they will keep themselves busy for quite some time trying to figure this one our and prove to all that this was an anomaly of sorts. The excuses for their poor performance will be flying left, right, and center (no relation to political philosophies intended). However, their predictions on this one remind me of a stockbroker I had years ago, needless to say we parted company while I still had a roof over my head.

So what was Premier Alison Redford so right about?

Well leading up to the election as one poll after another stated that the PC's would go down in flames and the Wildrose party was slated to be the new kid in town, she held her composure and responded by simply stating;

"The only poll that counts is the one taken on election day"

Needless to say she called that one right on the money. I wonder if she would be willing to provide some stock investment advice?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Government and Debt. How did we ever go down this road?

Just the other day I was watching television in my bed prior to drifting off for the evening. As I recall I was watching the news, and I got to thinking about how nice it would be to get rid of my 21" CRT boob tube and replace it with a brand new 32" Plasma, LED, or LCD HD television. You know the ones, fully loaded with all the bells and whistles.

Now I will admit that there is really nothing wrong with the TV I have, but lets face it the new ones are just a lot nicer. As I lay in my bed musing about this I thought that if I were to buy a new TV I might as well get one of those PVR satellite receivers, that way I could record programs and watch them at night. After all, in for a penny in for a pound. In fact since I am upgrading.... why not a couple of sets of wireless headphones for the wife and I, that way one could watch TV into the wee hours while the other slept. Ooops, almost forgot a DVD player, a Bluray, probably 3D with some wireless features (don't want to miss out on NetFlix).

Just as I was planning my run to BestBuy the next day, reality set in (it's a bitch at times). I needed all of this equipment like a "starving dog needs a second arsehole", more to the point where was the money coming from? After all it's not like I had a couple of grand set aside for tech upgrades, or that my employer would just cut me a cheque out of the goodness of their heart (and their understanding of my hi-tech needs). The bottom line was that the money would have to be reallocated from something else ( food, education, retirement, mortgage, emergency funds, saving, etc.) or borrowed, thus incurring some debt.

So, now that I have laid out my hi-tech bedroom fantasy (almost sounds risque doesn't it?) you are probably asking yourself what this has to do with Government debt.

Well its no big secret that governments at every level (civic, provincial, and federal) are and have been overspending for years, taking on ever increasing debt loads with no end in sight or any formal plan for repayment. So what is the answer?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Canada, Justice and equal rights for all? Sort of

As Canadians we like to think that our justice system treats all individuals equally and fairly regardless of their heritage, gender, or religion. Canada is a country where the law is applied impartially to all of its people and we take pride in the fairness of our justice system. In fact the average Canadian takes great offense when we feel that an individual is being unjustly treated or harshly sentenced based on a perceived bias against the individual or a group they belong to.

After all, "Justice is Blind" right?
Well, partially anyways, it appears that recently Canada's Supreme Court has instructed our justice system to "keep one eye open"  when meting out justice to individuals of a certain heritage. How can this be in a country that prides itself on fair handed treatment for all, why would one group be singled out for specific punishment? This racist undertone is not something any of us would expect from Canadian courts.

By now your undoubtedly wondering what any particular group of people did to be treated in such a harsh manner, why would the courts unfairly base sentencing on a persons heritage, and what can be done to prevent this miscarriage of justice against these poor unfortunate individuals.

Well dear reader do I have a surprise for you.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Enough with the regulations and redtape!

As most Canadians go through their day to day life the last thing on their minds is the ever existing, non relenting government creep into our daily lives. Unfortunately, it creeps along taking our freedom a small bit at a time, not enough to raise a red flag, but there none the less. Like rats, one is just the first and before you know it your home is infested. Now the really insidious part of it is that it comes from all directions, from all levels of government, and seldom shows any indication of where it will lead say a decade down the road.

<!-- HTML Credit Code for Can Stock Photo--> <a href="http://www.canstockphoto.com">(c) Can Stock Photo</a>
The underlying cause of all of this is that by default one of a governments main functions is to regulate. Think about it, at the end of the day once you set aside the most obvious top of the pile government duties like defense and such, what's left but regulation. Every level of government, civic, provincial, and federal all are at work continuously to rewrite, enhance, and create new regulations. Add to that the fact that with every change of government the "new guys" have to prove they can do better than the "old guard" by making changes to existing, trashing the old, writing new, or just being creative and making a crisis out of something that was never regulated before.

Think about it, what restrictions and regulations have been brought into place in just the last ten years? What regulations affect your daily life?

Government has gone from serving the people, to supervising the people. Canadians are now wards of the state, for the most part viewed as irresponsible individuals who have to be taken care of from cradle to grave, and told how to behave in society. Government regulation takes from our pockets as surely as taxes do, but regulations typically do it under the radar. Every product or service that you purchase almost certainly has regulations attached to it, regulations that incur costs for the provider, manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer, and in many cases all of them at differ points in the path to the end user, which are in turn passed onto you as the consumer. So, just how bad is it?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

And the winner? He who promises the most!

Well folks, here in Alberta the provincial election is in full swing with only 10 days until the big event. As expected all of the party leaders are busy making the rounds and trying to convince all of us why their way is the path to the happily hereafter. All ends of the political spectrum are covered, the left, the middle, the right, with some parties trying to hedge bets by being everything to everyone. At times it is difficult to knows who is on first, and who's on second.

taxpayer, government spending, Alberta election
Like a carrot on a stick
None the less they all share one thing in common, when it comes to spending " the sky's the limit". With every speech given by a party leader more taxpayer money is doled out, You name it they seem to have it covered, in fact some of them are are promising funding for problems most of us didn't know existed. It's gotten so bad that the Average Joe (not to be confused with Frustrated Joe) has lost track of all the promises of spending and who committed to what.

What's worse is that the leaders seem to be competing as to who can promise the most spending with the goal being to simply "buy" the voters. I have a bad feeling that as taxpayers we will be paying for this election for years, if not decades to come (so whats new, you ask).

So how bad is it?

Monday, April 9, 2012

The race hustlers have been busy lately

Unless you have been living in a cave for the last month you will have heard the name Trayvon Martin. Trayvon is the youth who was shot and killed in Florida by a neighbor hood watch individual, George Zimmerman.When Zimmerman was not arrested or even charged with a crime, the story took on a life of its own and went national.

An example of fair and honest reporting
by media outlets. Until recently the
  majority of them used the top 2 photos.
Now I am not about to make any judgements about the motivation or guilt of the shooter, that's the job of the judicial system. As well the last thing the case needs is one more voice weighing in an opinion based on nothing more than innuendo and bias. In fact the noise level on this one has gotten to the point that it's hard to discern fact from fiction. Case in point, attempting to research the incident I found literally thousands of articles and at least 3 spellings of the name Trayvon (sometimes all within the same article!). So apparently everyone has an opinion, many of which I suspect are based on second or third hand information derived  from God knows what source (ahhh, the wonders of the internet). So, I will wait to form my opinion on this one until it has played through the actual judicial system, and I would hope that readers of this blog would do the same. After all, lets keep in mind the underlying premise that a man is innocent until proven guilty.

However, that does not mean I have nothing to say about the events surrounding this case. The events I refer to have nothing whatsoever to do with the actual case itself, but everything to do with how the case is being exploited by many for their own benefit.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Just a few updates on past and ongoing stupidity

Nothing new today, so to speak, but rather some updates on pieces we have published in the past. Sometimes even when we think that common sense has prevailed over stupidity we find that stupidity is eternal and never goes away.

Spring Is Coming, May 1 - Occupy Whatever
Just when we thought that the Occupy movement had faded away to become a footnote in history it is attempting to rear it's head once again. Some of us had imagined (a bit naively) that the Occupy drones had gone back to school, possibly entered the workforce, or more than likely simply took to living under a bridge. However such is not the case, this time they have picked May Day (that's May 1st to us non communist types) to once more attempt to grind to a halt society and it's productive contributing members. I suspect that the movement which has been on life support for months has picked this day in the hope that many of their "comrades" will join in and add to the head count.
Here are a few quotes from their website and my personal comments (in Italics)
  • "returning day after day to the boring jobs that drain our souls" Then quit and pursue something to enrich your soul. Remember, contrary to the indoctrination you received from your Occupy Masters, it is still a relatively free country.
  • "the same system that causes students to graduate college with so much debt that they must chain themselves to a career in something they despise, rather than pursue their passions". Did someone force them into the education path they pursued? No, they chose it themselves so unfortunately if their career stinks they must accept personal responsibility for that.
  • "This May Day, Occupy Wall Street, in coalition with numerous other organizations and occupations" I believe here they are referring to groups such as The American Nazi Party and the Communist Party USA
  •  "If you can't call in sick hold a slow down" Funny, both these suggestions in most cases would mean that the Occupy Drones would still receive their paycheck, in other words taking something for doing nothing! Something that as a group they seem very fond of.

McDonalds, the last bastion of freedom?
Back in December of 2011 we posted an article about the "Nanny State" existing in society today and how the San Francisco Board of Supervisors were doing their best to get the toys removed from Happy Meals. At the time the "Bored" of Supervisors had passed an ordinance banning the giveaway of toys with children's meals. Thankfully MickyD found a work around that left them looking like heroes and the Supervisors with egg on their faces.

Unfortunately the story does not end there, it appears that
the outcome did not satisfy a San Francisco mother who brought a class-action lawsuit against the fast food giant. Plaintiff Monet Parham, a mother of two, was represented by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nutrition advocacy group. Parham, along with the CSPI, argued that the use of toys in Happy Meals preys on children’s vulnerabilities and encourages them to eat unhealthy food.

“What kids see as a fun toy, I now realize is a sophisticated, hi-tech marketing scheme that‘s designed to put McDonald’s between me and my daughters,” Parham argued, according to the Daily Mail.
“For the sake of other parents and their children, I want McDonald’s to stop interfering with my family.”

This is just too funny, so if I understand this correctly, if Mcdonalds stops putting toys into happy meals Monet and her daughters will have a better family relationship? I wish I could say that this mindset is unique to California (obviously that would explain a lot) but unfortunately its spreading across society. This is the same mindset that expects the government to supervise all aspects of our lives as we are supposedly to stupid or ignorant to make everyday decisions for ourselves

The good news is that the judge dismissed the lawsuit without giving the plaintiff the opportunity to file an amended lawsuit.

But never fear, the left is not that easily deterred and I am sure that down the road they will tackle this issue until they feel they get it right.

Friday, April 6, 2012

How in a sane world can this guy have any hope of re-election?

The US Presidential race will be kicking into high gear in the next few months and quite frankly based on Obamas disastrous first term as President it should be a one horse race, but sadly it isn't.

"Obummers" supporters are still contributing millions (literally hundreds) of dollars to his campaign and his handlers are busy laying the groundwork for the "second coming". Now how can this be?

I am amazed as the next guy, but why should I be. So rather than drone on about all the things wrong with this guy here are three that I personally feel speak for themselves.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Our entitlement society rears its ugly head once again.........

government spending, self entitlement, tuition
Government thru the eyes of the self-entitled.
Just keep the money flowing, baby!
Last Friday while sitting on an airplane I had the opportunity to read our local newspaper, the Edmonton Journal from "cover to cover". One of my favorite sections has always been "the letters to the editor" pages because they provide somewhat of an insight as to where the average individuals mindset is at any given time. At times it can be reassuring, occasionally as expected, and sometimes just downright frightening.

Is it an accurate reflection of public sentiments?  Not even close, however I like to think of it as a gauge indicating just how much of the big picture the average Joe (not to be confused with "Frustrated Joe")  really has a grasp on. In this instance one particular letter caught my attention more than most, it was a well written piece submitted by a University of Alberta undergraduate student titled Alberta can well afford to give students a break on tuition. Before you read any further I suggest you follow the link and read the article, this will give you a far better understanding of my comments to follow

Now, although I have never met the author her writing appeared (at least to me) to prove three distinct things
Now before you judge me as being too harsh, read on my fellow hard working taxpayers (if any post secondary students have gotten this far I suggest you read on as well, maybe it's not too late for you)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Now this is truly a case of the pot calling the kettle black......

"Sydney, what happened to you? You've become obese!"
Recently, Jim Flaherty Canada's Finance Minister has taken to publicly criticizing the spending habits of the provincial government of Ontario.

Now while I can't argue with the criticism nor would I in my wildest dreams ever consider defending Premier Dalton McGuinty and his merry band of free spending caucus members, I do have a problem with this.
Where do I start, well it seems Jimmy has suggested that the McGuinty Liberals should "look in the mirror" to see who is responsible for Ontario's current economic woes. A fine suggestion, but tell me Jimmy-Boy, do you own a mirror?

Rather than having me take off on a rant (something I tend to do occasionally), let's keep this short and use a couple of old but well proven adages that accurately describe this soap opera.......
"cast the first stone" or  "Those that live in glass houses....."

I am personally amazed that Jimmy feels he can tell anyone how to be fiscally responsible. It certainly is not based on his setting such a fine example to follow,  another old adage says it best  "Don't do as I do, do as I say"

On the other hand, maybe there is a simpler motivation at play here, like the fact that Jimmy's wife Christine Elliot is the deputy leader of Ontario's Conservative party. You know, the same Conservative party that would like to form the next government of Ontario and currently sits in opposition to McGuinty's Liberals.

So Jimmy, how about doing us taxpayers a couple of favors?
First, balance your own governments budget and address it's debt before you worry about the other guys, and secondly when your working on our nickel let your wife do her own campaigning.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Getting closer each day to the edge of the cliff in Ontario...

Ontario Premier McGuinty and his ministers
Is it just me or does it appear that having a complete lack of common sense or any level of financial savvy is one of the prerequisites to holding an elected office in Provincial or Federal politics?

Now a lot of us non elected types who manage businesses and our own households understand the most basic of financial concepts, that you can not continuously spend more than you take in. Sure on occasion, all of us have gotten a little loose with the purse strings in the short term, but generally we rein them in pretty quickly to avoid financial ruin.

So why is it that governments with their army of accountants and advisers can't seem to balance a budget? To be fair I understand that on occasion revenues will be lower that anticipated and might result in a short fall, but the theory is that you adjust spending accordingly. Our governments in general have gotten to the point, particularly in the last number of years where a balanced or surplus budget is the exception, not the rule. Where they celebrate the introduction of a budget that shows a slight reduction (not elimination) in its projected deficit from the previous years deficit. Case in point, the Province of Ontario.