Monday, April 21, 2014

Back To School

It's early. Got up at about 6:30 today. Tomorrow I'll be up at something stupid like 4 am to take a cab to the airport for my early morning flight to San Francisco. But I won't be wearing a flower in my hair, even if I could. I won't be going to a Giants game or checking out the Golden Gate Bridge. I'll be there just long enough to catch a flight to Hong Kong. Then from there to Singapore. Why? Well as the girlfriend said to her boyfriend when he asked why she was calling from the hospital, "That, like you, will soon become apparent."

No, you won't become a parent, although I consider my students like my own children. Most have been entrusted into my care by the parents so I consider myself as their surrogate, single serving parent while they are in my class. I could not say the same for the folks who were rambling through the building complex where I was guarding here in Calgary. Although, some of the kids I watched at Children's Hospital got the same care from me. And there will be adults in my classes who will not be paternally supervised during my classes with them.

But much like that man on the phone with the mother of his child, I am about to embark on a journey of responsibility that is a lot like parenthood in some ways. First thing I will notice is the lack of sleep. I'm getting into Singapore at a little after midnight if the flight lands on time. Because, as nature would have it, I am most decidedly NOT an airplane sleeper, from before dawn on Tuesday till the early hours of the 24th I don't plan on getting much sleep if any. Then if I can get through customs, immigration, find a cab to my hotel and get to sleep before the hour of 3 I'll be lucky. After maybe 4 hours of sleep I'll be up at 7ish to get my training visa taken care of so I can "receive training" in Indonesia when I get there. I've already got my June ticket back to Singapore for my actual work visa. I'll need to show that to the immigration officer if he/she asks to see it. I'm told they rarely ask, although a lot of things that rarely happen during travel seem to happen to me as you know if you have read any of my travel blog posts.

After knocking around Singapore, Singapore for the day, and trying to stay awake, I should get my visa the same night and fly to my ultimate destination, Jakarta, Indonesia at around 10 PM. I get into Jakarta at 11ish and will be met by a co-worker, taken to a hotel in the city which has been booked for 5 days for me, and probably zonk out knowing that the 25th will be a day off for me. But being a Friday, there will be plenty of my new co-workers interested in meeting me and having a Bintang or two I'm sure. So I'll probably go out Friday night to make some new friends! I will most likely call up Annemarie on Sunday. An old friend. We taught together in Korea at Chonnam University. Her, Scott and I entered the foreigner part of the Gwangju Kimchi making contest. There were a couple ringers, Japanese ladies who had been in Korea a long time, spoke the language fluently and brought their own decorative kimchi accoutrements who took first and second, but Annemarie got 3rd place! Scott and I agree that we tied for fourth. She has told me about a really good buffet at the Shangri La that she wants to take me to. She has been in Indonesia for years and no doubt will be an invaluable source of information about everything! So I should probably offer to treat her to this buffet. I'm going to. Offer. hee hee. But since I'll be essentially broke until I get all the reimbursements promised by the company I will work for, Annemarie might just refuse that offer. And I might just put up only token resistance to her refusal.

For a day or two I will be searching for a house/apartment. I am really looking forward to this! I'm hoping to find something with air conditioning/dehumidifier and high speed internet. Not so sure about the pool any more since that might require living far enough outside the city to necessitate one hellish daily commute, added stress I am not all that interested in adding. Someone from the school will assist me with finding a suitable place and I think the school will pay the requisite year of rent in advance. I will likely need to purchase a few things to make my home homey, maybe even get myself some decent shirts I can wear a tie with since that's the dress code at this school and I don't own any. I think by the end of the month I will be team teaching with another teacher to learn how things are done at Wall Street. Yeah, that's the name of the school. I'm like a young Charlie Sheen only I'm old. And hopefully won't get scammed by a Gordon Gecko. Greed ISN'T good if you ask me. If I thought that I'd be back in Korea where a guy can make more money.

By May I'll be happily teaching again. Moulding young minds with what I hope will be received as a fatherly style of teaching. Hopefully I will get only students who always listened to their fathers. The company has already shown that they are interested in taking good care of me, unlike most of the places I've worked in the ESL industry. They will not meet me as I step off the plane, throw a textbook into my hands and tell me I'm teaching in a few hours. They have told me that I will be eased into the job at my own pace. I'm confident that my pace will be quick, given all my experience, but if I choose to team teach for a while so I can get a good idea of how things work at Wall Street English, I've been told I can do that. The reimbursements for everything from doctor's appointment to meals in Singapore will probably add up to a nice bit of dough to get myself started over there, but the school is going to give me some spending money on top of all that. A sort of relocation allowance. Nice.

Today I will have to notify my phone company that I am leaving the country and get my phone turned off. I will try to get a new sim card in Indonesia when I get there and just use the same phone but as an added bonus Wall Street is giving me a new phone when I arrive. That's handy dandy. I also have to tell Netflix that I'll be in Indonesia. I wonder what will happen with that. May have to be a sacrifice I need to make. But I will be a lot more active and busy so Netflix will not be as big a part of my life as it has been in Canada. Then I will have to box up my computer and all the essentials that I need till the last minute here. I will talk to the freight company and set them up as a payee on my acct. so that I can send for my stuff once I get over there. I think Jeff will be okay with that. He has a new roommate already. She's actually staying here as I type this. Seems nice. My unemployment insurance was settled, unsatisfactorily however unsurprisingly. I should be getting my 2012 and 2011 income tax deposited into my account within a month or two while I'm over in Indo. So it would appear that my ducks are all in a row. We'll see what the hand of Fate has in store to skew that nice, straight row for me. And you will all hear about it.

Big changes! Moving, new job, new responsibilities... Just like becoming a parent. Some people are thrust into adulthood when they become parents for the first time. It forces them to grow up. I suppose I COULD be more responsible, save more, socialize less, take my job more seriously, even settle down and ACTUALLY become a parent! But I won't be rushing into that just yet I'm sure. I'll be satisfied with the figurative parenting for a while. We shall see what comes from that... I have no reason to suspect that it won't come with a lot of rewards. Stability, self-confidence, money, better lifestyle, more fun, new friends, new culture, new adventures... Like parenting, which I'm told is rewarding, it will have plenty of plusses.

However, I will be without my computer for a good while and may have to buy my internet time by the minute so it could be a while till the next post. This will be the last post from Canada. Until my first Indonesian post, Sampai Jumpa! See ya later.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Restructuring of Canada

In case you think I'm the only one who feels like my country is crumbling around me I encourage you to read this little gem.

It will take some time, but please, read the above article.

I like the picture. Harpy with a panda bear. Only used because the pictures of him blowing Chinese businessmen were too suggestive. "You won't recognize Canada when I'm through with it." says Harper. Well I already don't recognize Canada and this traitor ain't through with it yet.

Tommy Douglas, in stark contrast to Harper who would be in the running for our WORST Canadian, was chosen as our greatest Canadian in a CBC television program. It was one of only a few truly democratic things we've done in Canada in recent memory and I have to admit, I thought Gretzky would win. I saw the show advertised on TV and Gretzky was up there on the screen along with some unrecognizable guys who did comparatively minor things like discovering insulin. I thought about it and decided that Terry Fox would have gotten my vote. But, although I didn't see the show's conclusion until I read this article, I have to admit I am REALLY proud of Canada! Well, of Canadians, to be more accurate. A socialist won the contest so, as you might imagine, that didn't get much play in these here parts. Here are the results and the voting method. Tommy Douglas headed the first democratic socialist government in North America as leader of the CCF party and premier of Saskatchewan from '44 - '61. The CCF was the forefather of the NDP party. Architect of Saskatchewan's very successful, (though hideously socialist), single payer, universal healthcare system, Douglas would roll over in his grave if he saw the state of health care or the NDP party nowadays. He once said of the Socialist Party that they sat around quoting Marx and Lenin, waiting around for a revolution while refusing to help the poor. "I've no patience with people who want to sit back and talk about a blueprint for society and do nothing about it." THIS is who Canada voted as the greatest Canadian not 10 years ago! VOTED!

That N+ magazine article above is about starting grassroots movements of resistance in Canada, instead of blogging about it then getting the hell outta the country, (cough), and I think Tommy Douglas, were he alive today, might be heading up some of those movements. Even he would probably be able to see that politics is no longer the answer. We have proven that it doesn't work in Canada. Look at the state this country is in! Our public services like health care and education, (two things I've whinged about here before), are mentioned in the article as shadows of their former selves. Two other public services, mail and the CBC, our national TV station, are also mentioned. This might sound like a joke but when I watch Hockey Night in Canada, by far the most watched CBC show every year, it's missing something. Then I watch a game on TSN, which is owned by CTV, which is owned by Bell Media, and I realize what it is. The Hockey Night in Canada theme song, one that Canadians, (and I'm not making this up), recognize more than our national anthem, is now the intro to hockey games on the private, corporate TV station. THAT'S a sign of the times in Canada!

The post office model is probably the best example of what I've been pointing out here on my humble blog. It was announced last December that within 5 years door to door mail delivery would be phased out. Stamps would go from 63 cents to a dollar and 8000 postal workers would be laid off. It was claimed that the postal service is just a drain on taxpayers but in reality it has never needed any tax dollars for support. The model of "restructuring" the business or service so that costs increase and services decrease is one I've pointed out elsewhere in this blog. It is the exact opposite of the model that won our greatest Canadian his title. And let me point out again that this title was one that was voted on by Canadians. The other model that has crept into so many essential parts of Canada is one that is NOT voted in, rather imposed upon us by governments set upon neutralizing anything that uses the Tommy Douglas model, which the Canadian people support. For years our governments, mostly those of Stephen Harper, have been doing the exact opposite of what Canadians want: they're helping the rich, and helping themselves.

Most Canadians have their own personal examples. Like me. Yesterday I received news that my unemployment insurance claim was denied. Not a surprise. What surprised me was the inquisition-like treatment I received from the agent assigned to approve or deny my claim, the erstwhile Elliot. He called me again defiantly stonewalling my 15 attempts to explain that I did not quit, I requested a transfer, which was agreed to by my supervisor, gave him a month to make good on his promise to find me another position within the company, that had many available, and only quit after I was forced to reasonably conclude that he was doing exactly NOTHING to find me that position or even a few shifts here and there. Elliot continued to insist that I had quit my job due to changes in the job description. Well there were changes, changes that I was promised at contract time would NOT take place. But that was only one of a dozen reasons I listed to my supervisor as my reasons not for quitting, but for requesting a transfer. I said to Elliot that he is continuing to confuse only one of my reasons for requesting a transfer with my reason for quitting. And he was ruling on my claim accordingly. He actually AGREED with me at one point in the conversation but said that he had made his decision and I could always file an appeal. We got into the burden of proof during our conversation. He asked if I could prove that the transfer request was approved. I told him that because it was approved by phone and because I don't record all of my phone conversations, I don't have proof. A lot of my contact with my supervisor was over the phone. I DID, however, have an email I sent to my supervisor pointing out one of the jobs advertised by the company that I would like. My supervisor responded saying that it was a completely different department but that he would look into it for me. He didn't look into it and I didn't get that position, but this email would seem to indicate that the transfer was agreed to. I also told Elliot that I have the email I sent to my supervisor with the 12 reasons for the transfer request which explicitly points out that I was not quitting, just asking for a transfer. Elliot said I could fax him these emails but that he was sticking to his decision.

I said to Elliot that I don't have a fax machine but I could just forward the emails to him. He said that that was not possible. The E.I. workers don't have emails. I then asked him why he would believe that it was NOT agreed to. He cited a conversation he had with my supervisor a day or two before. So I said that this looked suspiciously like I, (the employee), am guilty until proven innocent. I am responsible for the burden of proof. And even if I provide the emails, which are pretty close to proof, he isn't going to change his mind? Elliot said something like, "I am not responsible for the process..." so I went ballistic and said, "No, you are just responsible for making incorrect decisions and denying my claim." I then told him to fuck off and hung up on him. I have little hope that an appeal will do any good and don't intend to file one.

In fact I called a number that I found for the Calgary unemployment insurance office to explain what had happened. They gave me a number, 1 800 OH Canada, that has access to all numbers for all government agencies and for issues such as mine, and is the place to call to get another place to call for help. 1 800 Oh Canada gave me the number to call. It was the ironically named, "Service Canada" office. I talked to a guy with an Indian accent who was probably at a call centre in India somewhere. He actually told me that he was the WRONG person to contact and gave me another number. I started asking who the other number was and pointing out that it was odd that 1 800 Oh Canada had told me to call him and they usually know what they're talking about, but before I could finish he HUNG UP ON ME! Out of interest I called the number he had given me. It said that long distance charges may apply and then that the number could not be connected as dialled. So I added a 1 to it for long distance. I got, "Thank you for calling Google. Please input the four digit code of the Googler you wish to contact."

So I called 1 800 Oh Canada back. I got a lady on the phone who asked me to explain my entire situation. I did and she said that I had a legitimate beef with the Employment Insurance agent and should call "Service" Canada. She was puzzled as to why the person I reached gave me another number because that WAS the office I needed to talk to about this. It is also the office I need to call if I want to lodge a complaint or file an appeal. She also said that although she has thousands of numbers in her system, the number I was given was not one of them. She said that the "Service" Canada guy should not have referred me elsewhere and that Elliot was a douchebag. Well, she didn't say that, but she did say that SHE understood me clearly and was surprised that any E.I. agent would not be able to understand my legitimate reason for quitting my job. Anyway she suggested I call the Service Canada number again. Strangely, I HAD tried several times to call back after reaching Google and was now unable to reach a human being. She said that that was because of high volume of calls. All I could do was continue calling, and failing, until I lucked out and got a real person. You see they don't even have the, "Your call is important to us. Please wait two hours until one of our agents feels like answering." They just have a press this number or that number labyrinth that never answers the question you want answered.

Employment Insurance premiums continue to rise every year and the service, OBVIOUSLY, continues to deteriorate. That, as the article at the top of this post thoroughly documents, is now the Canadian way. The impetus behind this radical, anti-democratic movement in Canada is simply, as you might expect, to manufacture public frustration in order to suggest market-based solutions. MONEY. Don't be surprised to see private mail service or even private employment insurance offered soon. It'll be more expensive but, hey, who wants to deal with all the headaches government agencies cause? Well maybe those headaches are manufactured to create frustration in government so it can be replaced with something profitable to the few and expensive to the many.

Speaking of money, I have a million dollar idea. No not "No No Nose" though that would be awesome! Right? Why do you suppose my supervisor and Elliot can be such assholes, lie their faces off and treat me like crap on the phone, but are resistant to email correspondence? Could it be the tendency of emails to hang around in people's inboxes like the smoking gun, damning evidence they could be to thwart an otherwise perfectly devised screw job? I think that may be. And wouldn't it be nice if we had a sort of phone email storage system that recorded all conversations and stored them until we delete them? Think of the arguments you could win with friends or spouses who say, "I NEVER said that." You open the app on your phone, I dunno, let's call it Callstore, look up a phone call from April of 2013, put the call on speaker phone and BAM! In your FACE! You did SO say that! How sweet would that be? Sweet enough to buy that app for 19.99? Probably. And what about MY case? If I could just play Elliot's calls to his supervisor, or MY supervisor's calls to Elliot, I wouldn't be so frustrated. And I'd be getting the Employment Insurance benefits I deserve. And what kind of society do we live in where we feel the need to record everything we say on the phone? There's a question!

I also have an idea for Canadian "restructuring" suicidal though it may be. I submit to you that if Tommy Douglas got more votes than Don Cherry, Wayne Gretzky, all those others, (some who shouldn't be on that list mind you), a candidate with the same kind of democratic socialistic ideals could probably run independently in a federal election and win it. And once in power, if the guy weren't actually a politician, he'd deliver on what he promised and there would be so much money going from the few to the many in this country that he'd be hockey superstar popular and sure to win a re-election! But he'd also get shot. Because don't forget those few, from whom the money would be taken, are the socially mal-adjusted, greed addled sociopaths that created the capitalist wet dream Canada is today. Maybe this could be the reason why we never HAVE anybody running who would do what Canadians want. Maybe this is why we need to abandon the broken system that is politics in Canada. How about we have CBC TV shows on everything that is of concern to the Canadian people? We could vote on our "Greatest Alternative Energy Source," or maybe "Greatest New Social Program," "Greatest Tax Decrease," "Greatest Way To Make Wages and Prices Fair Again," the list goes on and on. The money we save the country, (that would have been pocketed or squandered by corrupt politicians), could fund another show called "Greatest Idea on What the Hell To Do With All This Extra Money."

Ahhh I don't know why I care so much, I'm leaving anyway.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Getting my ducks in a row

Well things are progressing here. I had my immigration physical and, as advertised, it cost me 700 bucks. Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan? Another mandatory insurance that gives precious little insurance. As far as I have seen it is free, but, oh silly me, nothing is free, is it? I'm sure we pay through taxes for it. And it is now called, (and more accurately), just Alberta Health. Did they cover one cent of the physical examination? Nope. I haven't had a physical exam for years. I'm over 40. It's highly recommended. No coverage. Did Alberta Health cover any of the immunizations? I got Polio, Hep. and DTap whatever that means. I think it's a Tetanus shot. All necessary since the last time I got an immunization was just before going to Korea for my first year. So 96/97. 18 years ago. These shots were highly recommended. Coverage? Nope. Once I get the results of the physical and the blood/urine tests, submit them to Indonesian immigration and get the go-ahead, I will need to return for 4 more exotic shots that are highly recommended for travelers to Indonesia. I think Japanese encephalitis, yellow fever, typhoid and, believe it or not, rabies. Alberta Health Insurance coverage - Zilch. I also got a prescription for diarrhea pills for the inevitable change of country eventualities. In Bali they call it "Bali belly." And two weeks worth of malaria pills for my vacation. In case I go somewhere with a higher risk of malaria infested mozzies. Alberta Health coverage? You guessed it - frig all. Why do we even bother?

At the counter at the lab I went to get blood and urine analysis the nurses noticed that the birth date on my Alberta Health Card was 1976 instead of 1967. They sternly cautioned me about having incorrect information on my health care card, gave me a piece of paper to send in to Alberta Health to have the incorrect information changed and told me to do it as soon as I could. I said, "Why? I'm leaving the country in two weeks." They said, "Yes, we know." I said, "And if I weren't, I'd probably just keep it 1976 because the extra 9 years is about the only thing Alberta Health Insurance has given me and THAT was only given to me by mistake." They chuckled, then got professional again and told me I REALLY SHOULD get the incorrect information changed. Canada!

I don't know if any of you readers remember but back in flu season I wrote a post about how flu shots were really being flogged hard. TV commercials, bus stop, newspaper, magazine, radio, billboard ads all laying on the hard sell without ANY accessible information about what exactly is IN a flu shot. The internet was clogged with the same used car sales approaches. Well, my doctor, Rudy Zimmer, got a call while I was in his office. His room in his office. Zimmer's zimmer, you might say. Ar ar. So he excused himself and then came back fuming. I had heard a few swearwords during the conversation too. Among them "bullshit." He started telling me that he, as a doctor, is really pissed off about how immunizations are being pushed so hard onto the public. Not just flu shots but all kinds of immunizations. And he had called some appropriate government office to suggest some professional, instead of financial standards, only to be rudely told to mind his business. He told me they don't know who they're messing with. He's going to try to do something. I'd suggest that we need more people like this in pretty much EVERY area in this country. I wish him good luck.

The best news of all was even though I had the bollick-fondling, turn your head and cough part of the physical, (BIG SMILE), no finger up the bum!!! And just to be clear, the big smile is not for the bollick fondling, it's for the no finger up the bum. >:( My doctor, Rudy Zimmer, who was excellent, must have known I was dreading that more than anything and the first time I saw him he looked at me and said, "I don't know why they are asking for a rectal exam. Just kidding." I told him it was a good thing they had already taken my blood pressure because it just spiked massively! I know, I know, I really should get a prostate exam at my age. But Rudy and I had no time to go out to dinner or at the very least establish a safe word. I just wasn't ready for it yet.

Rudy Zimmer. I'm going to use that name in a short story some day.

The same day, in the morning I got a call from the unemployment insurance company of Canada. It's not EMployment insurance like it's now called, it's supposed to be insurance against UNemployment. That's why I still call it that. And it's not a government agency like it's called, it's a company. That's why I call it THAT. You'll see what I mean. But is it insurance? Again, it's mandatory. We pay into it whether we want to or not. Nobody voted on this. It's just done for our own good I suppose. If you could see me now my eyes are rolling so bad they've done a complete 360. I get a call, completely unexpectedly, from a guy from the UI office. I so often wish I had a phone with a tape recorder attached to it so I could record such ludicrous calls or at least trace the location of the caller so I could hunt him down and kill him!

I don't know what his job title was, agent maybe, all I know was I asked his name and he told me it was Elliot. Maybe named after a French Canadian hero Pierre Elliot Trudeau. Not sure but his parents were French Canadian or perhaps from France and his first language was very obviously French. I don't give a flying frig what your first language is, we're talking about income here. I'm unemployed, broke and I need money. I am entitled to the money because I have faithfully paid my premiums and I left my job for very good reason. I don't want somebody who has trouble with English reading my report, which I wrote in English, and talking to me on the phone, in broken English, and then making a ruling on my claim based on what he only partially understood. I know when a person understands English and when a person is faking understanding. It is my business to know. This jagoff understood very little. I don't even think he would have passed my class if the course material were my U.I. claim.

And this is how he started out, "I 'ave read your REport and you said you quit your job because you were bored of it?"

Now look, even if this were true, even if there were any conceivable way for a person to somehow get this from what I wrote, it is an unnecessarily inflammatory way to begin a conversation! You have to ask yourself how long Elliot had planned how to start our conversation and what the hell lead him to choose THIS? I'm thinking maybe, for reasons known only to unemployment insurance employees, it is part of their job to piss off the people whose claims they are evaluating. Whatever the reason may have been, it worked. So I spent at least half an hour explaining, re-explaining and re-re-explaining things that were very well explained on my written UI claim report that old Elliot OBVIOUSLY had not read. I don't know how many times I explained things to him and he totally didn't understand so I had to explain them again. Sometimes three times. I kept saying, "Elliot, you're not listening..." and he kept assuring me that he was. If that was the case then he clearly just wasn't understanding. Why the hell he was even hired for the job he has, again, that's Canada!

I said, "Elliot, it says in my report that I didn't actually quit, not immediately. I gave two weeks notice and requested a transfer. It was agreed to by my employer who assured me he would look for an alternate position within the company and failing that find me some hours on a casual basis until he found me a new site. The two weeks passed, I never missed a shift, an hour or a patrol, and he had found not a single hour of work never mind an alternate position for me. Then about ten days after my last day of work I called again and he acted surprised that I wanted him to find me work. There were plenty of positions available at the company, some of which I applied for independently, but he found me nothing. So I was forced to believe that he just wasn't looking. THAT is when and why I quit. This is all in the written report." I am STILL getting letters from Garda thanking me for my applications for positions. NONE of the positions applied for were found for me by my supervisor.

Elliot says, "So you quit before you stopped working?" I just felt like telling him to hang up, read the fucking report I wrote, and call me back. I explained other things to him as well. He said to me at one point that this job was better than the one I left for it because I made more money. He got really rude and interrupty too, something I absolutely hate. "It wasn't actually more money it..." "It was more money. Hi 'ave dee salaries right 'ere before me!" He figured he had me caught in a lie. Clever Elliot! I said, "Let me finish. It wasn't more money even though I thought it..." "What were da salaries den? Tell me your salaries!" "Elliot," I calmly said, "If you would just listen I would tell you. I was making 16.50 the job before and 16.87 this job." He interrupted again with something like HAH in yer face you jobless bum! I am paraphrasing. I said, "BUT, since they were taking almost 30% off my paychecks and the previous job was taking off about 12%, I made considerably less. In fact it worked out to almost exactly 5 dollars an hour they took off my pay. So I was taking home $11.87 an hour. I could not live on that, which is just one of many reasons why I wanted a transfer." He said, "Hif you tink dey are doing illegal ting why did int you call de labour board?" I didn't tell him that talking with the labour board would be almost as much fun as talking with him. I said that I didn't know that taking this much off my checks was illegal but I preferred to assume that it may be an accounting error or some kind of honest mistake so I called my supervisor, the accountant and the second in command at the office. I contacted them in person, via email, text message, phone message and by phone. I got several excuses and promises to look into it but nothing was done. THAT is why I had to request a transfer. Elliot says, "I 'ave dee records 'ere hand dey don't show dat much taken hoff your check." I said, "Well I have my records too and if the ones they sent you are different they are fraudulent." He understood THAT and didn't pursue that angle of argument any further.

What it seemed like was this jerk was trying to justify, in any way he could, a denial of my claim. Who am I Erin Brockovich fighting Pacific Gas & Electric? Am I Nicholas Easter going up against Vicksberg Firearms and Rankin Fitch? "Runaway Jury." Good movie! How is it that the employee seems guilty until proven innocent here? I just see it as yet another symptom of the disease that is deteriorating this country. He left off by asking me the number of my employer. I told him it was on the report right in front of him, (which he hadn't read), and he said he was going to call them. What are the chances that he won't take the word of a company over the word of an employee? What are the chances that he hasn't been trained to do just that? And how the hell did things come to this in Canada? Again, if I were anything but the model employee I was I wouldn't have this problem. If I were late all the time, slept at work, didn't do my patrols, maybe I could have gotten fired. Then for SURE I'd get U.I. In fact I'm starting to think here, I have seen guys at work who did all those things. All from Africa somewhere. All talked to me about how much they hated Canada. Yet I am picturing their immigration agents telling them that they can work 12 hour midnight shifts for a certain amount of time and if they get tired of it they can always just jack around at work, get fired and make almost as much for doing NOTHING! The amount they make on UI would STILL be a great wage when converted to Cameroon Francs, Ethiopian Birr, Nigerian Naira, or Zambian Kwacha. Maybe this happens more than we think. Maybe while on UI, they can go get a second job and further defraud our country. Maybe THAT happens a lot too. And maybe, just maybe, THIS is why old Elliot was such an asshole to me. It's this once bitten - twice shy phenomenon in Canada.

Anyway, Elliot said that either Friday or Monday he'd get back to me with his decision. That means Monday in Canadian government-speak. Two months after my last day of work to the day! Why am I not excited to bolt out of bed and check my bank balance on Monday morning? I have very little hope of Elliot ruling in my favour even though I have a completely legitimate claim. But I guess I am the sacrifice this country has to make to protect the majority against greed and fraud. Another reason to get the heck outta here.

I also got my taxes taken care of. If you are even a casual reader of this blog you know my position on taxes. I won't go over that again here I will just say that I did my taxes under protest. All I did was renew my slavery to my nation for the simple reason that I can't get a job in another country unless I do just that. I will be receiving a little over 3 grand, which is not a refund, it just denotes the fact that I paid too much tax while I was working here. I won't likely receive any of this money because I still owe Revenue Canada from a job I had many years ago in which my employer was taking nothing off my paychecks. Even though I frequently requested, in fact BEGGED them to do so. I ended up owing the government money at the end of a year of working a 7 dollar an hour job. That should just never be the case. And while over in Korea, from whence I tried to pay my taxes and was unable to because of weaknesses in the Revenue Canada collection system that didn't allow me to pay while overseas, interest accrued on that debt. Interest, which represents tax paid on tax, something which some legal document in Canada says can never happen, now probably represents the bulk of my debt to my country. They will take the payment from my recent tax returns. I don't know how much I owe or if I will actually come out ahead on this deal because I have no way of finding out what I owe revenue Canada. I also know that I could have claimed things like rent, moving expenses and other deductions that would have increased my claim a little but I didn't even bother because I just wanted to get my taxes over and done with before leaving for Indonesia. I wonder how often people like me file tax returns for less than Revenue Canada had figured and just settle for that. I am pretty sure Revenue Canada doesn't call people up and say they miscalculated and actually give Canadian citizens larger income tax rebates than they filed for. I'm sure they COUNT on it like gyms counting on people stopping before their memberships run out. But I do know it often happens in the reverse. I can't wait for the day when someone gets audited, challenges the entire tax system and WINS their case in court. They totally could! Harry James Townsend wrote a very detailed, legal defence for this. If you have some spare time check it out.

I also know that the whole process of forcing us to file tax returns is redundant since the government already knows what those returns should be. It is a 4 billion dollar a year industry paying H&R Block or Liberty Tax, (choke, cough), or others to do the returns for us. That may be why we are one of the few remaining countries that doesn't just have employers doing the taxes saving the employee the stress and hassle of tax time every year. In 1867 when the BNA Act was passed, not voted on, PASSED as our undemocratic constitution, it gave certain gangsters who declared themselves government the self-litigated right to tax. In fact if you look closely even THAT is not truly lawful. They don't have the legal right. It's a complicated story. Then in 1917 when PM Borden and the boys instituted a temporary measure to increase government revenue during WW1 and it somehow wasn't temporary it was another screw job perpetrated upon the Canadian people.

It should be noted that in 1916 the government started a corporation tax called the business profit war tax. It was a tax on corporations whose profits exceeded a certain percentage of their invested capital. The 1917, personal tax was 4% of all income of single men over $2000. For others the personal exemption was $3000. Boy how times have changed since then eh? Now most businesses pay nothing in tax and are actually subsidized by government and in order to afford that the average personal tax rate has risen pretty dramatically. The system is grossly unfair and none of us should, nor indeed HAVE TO, pay taxes. We just do. Voluntary slavery. And I hate taxes just as much as the next guy but I just paid my master like the good little Toby I am.

But who knows, maybe I will GET the unemployment insurance I deserve. Maybe Revenue Canada didn't charge me interest on my tax debt while overseas because I tried to pay it. Maybe gold nuggets will start falling out my arse instead of crap. Anything's possible. So I'm going to try to remain Canadianly positive about all this and say that at least it looks like I will have all my ducks in a row before going overseas. So THAT'S good news. heh heh heh heh.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Why I Am Going to Indonesia

I left off my last post in a place I didn't want to be. My metaphor was mixed up and my feelings were scrambled. Was I mad at Canada and glad to be leaving? Was I under the impression that I would be going to a better country? Was I sick of struggling from paycheck to paycheck in a rich country and almost hypocritically going to a much more comfortable lifestyle in a relatively poor country? Well as is the answer to most of life's important questions: yes and no.

I have never been an acquisitive person. I don't believe it's in my DNA. And many have challenged me on this but I don't think it's in ANY DNA including human beings'. A lion will let a gazelle walk right in front of it without killing it. Just not a hungry lion. Only one species hoards more than it needs and I don't believe that it is a natural behaviour to that species. But I did not come home to Canada because I wasn't hoarding enough riches in Korea, or because I thought I could get rich here. I am not going to Indonesia because I can save more money there or have a pool in my back yard. But living for my whole life just one unlucky streak away from being flat broke, I have learned that it sucks to be in that position. I don't think it's greed or selfishness or detrimental to the harmony of the world for me, or anybody to feel that it sucks living paycheck to paycheck. And that is why it sucks in Canada for me right now. I reckon it always will to be realistic. Unless Canada makes a huge comeback from the hole it has dug itself into both figuratively and literally, (watch the documentary The Hole Story about the mining industry in Canada. It's on Netflix), I don't think I'll ever be comfortable here. So what will it be in Indonesia that will make me more comfortable? Other than not living paycheck to paycheck. I know I sometimes do things before I can consciously figure out why but I do them because I just have a strong feeling that they are the right thing to do. I trust my feelings and sometimes when I do the right thing I admit to taking credit for doing it for some wise reason when really all it was was a feeling. This is one of those times. I am sure that in the future if this turns out to have been a great decision I can claim to have had a great, adult, responsible reason for making such a drastic move, but really it's just a feeling right now and I think I'm doing the right thing. These recent blog posts have largely been about figuring out why I'm doing this for myself.

One of the things that I have missed in my figuring so far is something that I have so very little of here and will no doubt have in abundance in Indonesia that makes a massive difference to me and that's human connection. I came home sure that I'd be seeing friends and family all the time and that I'd meet lots of friends at work, develop a large network of them and have an active social life. Wow! BIG disappointment! And although I still haven't even learned to say hello in Indonesian, I have not a single doubt in the world that I will have all kinds of things to do with people at work, students and complete strangers over there. It's always been like that for me in the ESL industry and that has always been one of the best things about it. I am not married and have no kids. But I still need human contact. Professional human contact doesn't count. That's practically all I get here in Canada. Even sometimes with friends and family :( . Three years is a long time to go almost without that sort of thing. For me anyway. And I'm not going to go out and get married and have a few kids just so that I will have human contact built into my life. That's that capitalist thinking again. You feel a need, you have to OWN something that fills that need. I like to borrow folks from time to time to fill my need for human contact. I am okay with sharing them.

What I called "selfishness" in that last post could probably more accurately be called "individualization." THAT is one of the things I have found so disturbingly robust in my country where it wasn't just a short time ago. It is one of the things that has heated the water in the frog pot. In previous posts I have talked about greedy people as having the money sickness that has best been named, "affluenza," and said they should all be put into mental institutions. Like most of my philosophical ravings, I was not the first to theorize this. In fact it is quite an ancient idea that one who selfishly hoards much more than he will ever need is mentally deficient. Brain damaged. Native tribes in North America thought so. "Wendigo" is a word Algonquian tribes in the U.S. and Canada gave to a particular evil spirit that had some connections to cannibalism. But its significance may have not been so much in the eating of the flesh of another person but just in the inability to ever satiate this appetite. No matter how many human beings the Wendigo killed and ate, the monster remained in a state of emaciated starvation. This trait of insatiable greed was instantly attributed to the white man when he was first seen on our continent. They had, and still have, the spirit of the Wendigo.

The Canadian Inuit were almost wiped out because of their belief in community and non-ownership of property. Not even a man's wife was his exclusively. I was reading a very interesting account of the voyages of Frobisher in a history of the Hudson Bay Company and it included references to sailors taking advantage of the Inuit's generosity to the point of thievery. Because the Inuit made no protest, Frobisher's men just took sleds, dogs, kayaks, furs, bone knives and harpoons, all sorts of supplies back to England with them and upon returning again they noticed that the village had suffered for it. Not just in population depletion and general poverty but the people of the same village who showed such great generosity and friendliness on Frobisher's first voyage were nowhere near as welcoming the second time around. I think I remember reading this and wondering why the Inuit didn't just harpoon a couple Englishmen like the fat, greedy whales they were. They probably didn't want to be rude or considered unaccommodating to the foreigners. This is where the people of Canada are now. We've been burned by greed, (disagree with me if you want but I think it has been primarily foreign greed), and now we are doing everything we can to be less trusting, less friendly, less polite, protecting Canadians by writing it into law and completely transforming our culture when we really should be running the greedy bastards out of town to preserve our culture. We can still be friendly and trusting. Just not stupid. And we have to be tougher on greed.

I refer you once again to that documentary mentioned above called "The Hole Story." Anyone remember two successful Canadian companies called Inco and Falconbridge? Mining. One of our Canadian mainstays throughout our history. You may not know this but they're gone now. Bought up by foreign interests. Inco was bought by a Brazilian company. They still mine in Canada and take ore from the ground that should belong to US by birth, and by virtue of the fact that somebody a long time ago wrote an act and decided we should all pay for being born here, but ironically, because of the laws that greedy Canadians who ran Inco and Falconbridge cooked up while they were in charge, Canada receives exactly NO royalties or revenue from them. If you dig rock for gravel you have to pay royalties. Money to the country. These guys dig silver, nickel, gold and remove it from our country, refine it somewhere else, then sell it back to us at inflated prices. They do nothing for Canada except employ a few people at rates far below what the miners' unions got for workers at Inco before it was bought out. I guess we were too polite to stop this from happening. But I know of a few Canadian mining companies in other places around the world, Indonesia being just one, that did, and are doing, the exact same thing. Maybe it's our own damn fault.

You KNOW this will happen with the oil in Canada. In fact it IS already happening. And while we're on that topic. I can't just give it two measly lines. Has anyone heard about the latest BP oil spill in Lake Michigan? No? Gee, I wonder why not. Did anyone hear about all the water in Canada that went from protected to unprotected without a vote? That's what happens when someone wants to build an pipeline on our land. We say, "Oh, here let me clear these obstructions out of your way to make it easier for you to remove our natural resources." 2.5 million protected lakes and rivers in Canada to 159? Talk about rolling out the red carpet! Note the part in the article that says, "It has everything to do with pipelines." Oh but this, they hasten to tell us, doesn't mean they are no longer protected. It just removes the hassle of the Navigable Waters Protection officers having to go through the tedium of reviewing every single project that crosses these waters. They'll still remain protected under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Yeah, the one that "protects" the environment so well against the disasters mining and oil drilling haven't caused Canada. Ever. The same environmental protection that, with the thousands of tankers to be carrying oil sands bitumen all over Canadian waters, has actually allowed the number of oil spill clean up crews in Canada to DROP! It's because bitumen is not oil. So pipelines like the Keystone XL are exempt from paying into the U.S. federal Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund or the funds where the clean up crews' salaries come from. No bitumen is not oil. It's much worse and harder to control if it's spilled. Here's an article that backs me up. Hey look at that! Exactly a year ago! Anybody hear about the Pegasus pipeline spill in Arkansas? It's called the Mayflower spill. I could go on and on. There are all kinds of spills we don't know about. Look in the articles. Media is always suppressed by the oil companies.

But it's not just the Wendigo spirit that has thrived in Canada. It was strong here even when I was young. I'm not so sure it has worsened. The only change has been the bottlenecking of the assets into the hands of fewer and fewer greedy people. And the internationalization of that process has made it so the real perpetrators of the crippling greed that affects Canada are probably not even in this country. In this way it could be said to be DEcreasing. I think it is the individualization that has been more prevalent to me than the greed and corporate mentality although they are certainly both healthier for having the other. People still need other people here in Canada. We haven't lost our social genes or anything. But what I see happening is the spouse and kids becoming pretty much the whole social ball of wax. For a lot more people than before in Canada.

I was walking down the street today and found that I am guilty of this myself. I actually walked for a few hours today all over Calgary. It was a beautiful day and I had some things to do. You need to walk for hours around Calgary to walk by enough people to have a decent sample for the research I conducted, (totally subconsciously). I probably walked past a dozen people today. The first was a lady of about my age walking her dog. She grabbed the dog not by the leash but the collar, hugged it close as I walked by and neither of us said hello. Maybe I look like a person who would sue if a dog growled at me. I don't know. I walked by some school kids who were playing in the schoolyard. I was talking on the phone with my Mom though so none of us said hello. I doubt I would have since they were girls of about 13 or 14 years of age. Saying hello just might get me some dirty looks from supervising teachers or parents on the school grounds. There was one group of guys in work clothes in the industrial district I walked through. I'd say they were in their 20's and 30's. They blocked the whole sidewalk and didn't move until I said, "Excuse me," so again no hello from either side. There was a lady walking in front of me at a slower rate. I detected that she was talking to herself, or more accurately, arguing with herself. She was most likely homeless although I couldn't be sure. I crossed the road before I overtook her. Hey, it wasn't to avoid her. Not only... I had to cross the road anyway! Then finally at the very end of my walk a lady was walking toward me. She was probably in her 60's or 70's. She said hi and I said hello as we passed and I know it made ME feel good. But not even a block after that there was a guy on the same sidewalk walking towards me. Probably late 20's. I made a point of acknowledging him but neither of us said anything. Oh and I forgot there was an Asian dude riding his bike. Probably in his 40's. Just after the lady with her dog. I tried to nod at him but he made a point of not noticing me. Actually there was another Asian guy on his bike but he had just finished riding up the Chinatown bridge Centre Street hill so he was out of breath. When I got into Chinatown and downtown it was crowded so none of those people count. Although there was a lady running for the bus, I'd give her 50's but since she was Asian, probably in her 60's. SHE passed ME. Grabbed my sleeve and said, "Ay, ay," to let me know she was passing on the right, then ran to get her bus. I made a performance of not looking at her and acting as if this were a completely normal occurrence. Oh yeah, then at the C-train stop as I got off the C-train there was another dude. He looked East Indian. A teenager with some books. We both saw the bus and tried to hurry down the switchback then up the other switchback to catch it. It's just long enough of a run so that the bus can pull away and you have to wait another half hour for the next one. Countless times this has happened to me. The kid ran but his phone fell out of his pocket and his battery came out so he had to pick that up. Then he ran again and dropped some books. So he quit running. I, being a veteran of this stop, knew it wasn't worth wasting the energy and was just walking fast. I actually caught up to him and passed him, then proceeded to check how long the next bus would be, decided it was too long to wait and walked home. The whole time I could have engaged him in conversation about his bad luck. Asked if his phone was okay. Maybe offered the information about how long the next bus would be. I just left.

It's strange but even in countries where I don't speak the native language I probably would have talked with this kid. The countries I've been to anyways. With the exception of the States. I probably would have talked with the lady with the dog too. Maybe even the school kids. And here we have the problem in a nutshell. It's ME. I take on the personality of the culture I am in. Well to some extent. I am MUCH more outgoing when I'm not in Canada! Even in Korea where a lot of times people are only saying hello to make fun of me, I'd still say I was more friendly there than here. Mostly because I think my culture has evolved into a highly personal, private one and I don't want to invade anyone's privacy. I wish I had spent more time in the country here. It might have been different because I know people are just nicer in the country than the city.

Anyway, this probably has a lot to do with why I didn't manage to make a bunch of friends, get onto sports teams, meet a girl, and have any social life to speak of while I was here in Canada. I probably didn't put myself out there enough. Though it might have been different if I could have made enough money to AFFORD to put myself out there enough... THIS has a lot to do with the difference as well I think. In countries other than Canada I can afford a social life. And another contributing factor: I have a little bit more confidence in a place where I make a decent living, don't have to worry about finances, have a job that uses my skills and education, (and is considered much more prestigious than anything I've done in Canada), have a nice place to invite guests to for drinks or whatever, exercise more and eat better so LOOK better, probably dress better too. It does a world of good for my social life if I feel good about myself, not just in meeting the ladies but in meeting friends of all kinds. I can't have that confidence in Canada. Sadly.

Now I'm going to bare a little bit of my soul. I am pretty good at acting like I have courage and am not shy, but I am insecure underneath. As I used to say, "Every security guard is at least a little insecure." I see people sometimes hugging friends they meet or even kissing them and wish I could have the confidence to do that. I think that the only way to change the terrible things I've been talking about is basically being nicer to each other and showing more love. OWNING our interconnectedness with each other and the earth. Doing just what those two famous philosophers, William S. Preston Esq. and Theodore Logan said we should do: Be excellent to each other and party on dudes! Was it Bill and Ted who created that or was it Rufus? I forget.

Anyhoo, I think when I was 19 or 20 I had the ability to hug people. I hugged a lot of relatives too and kissed kids. Now for some reason, I think to myself, "Better just shake their hand or wave or something. They may not want ME to hug them or kiss them." It's a confidence thing. I don't feel like I am coming close to living up to my potential doing security work. I feel more like I am contributing to society as an ESL teacher and I feel that others view me that way also. It allows me to be less inhibited and more outgoing and this just naturally leads to more fun, better experiences and memories and a happier life. This is a better explanation about why I said I don't feel so great living in Canada even though I know I am very fortunate to have that option.

One last documentary reference: Tom Shadyac's 2010 film called I Am. Tom Shadyac is the guy who brought us Ace Ventura, Liar Liar, Patch Adams and Evan & Bruce Almighty. He used to write jokes for Bob Hope for crying out loud! I LIKE his comedy but in I Am he talks to a lot of people who are intellectuals and have never seen his movies. He asks people like Desmond Tutu, David Suzuki, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn and others two questions: What's wrong with the world and what can we do about it? Much like this blog post it starts out with greed, capitalism and the affluenza virus. But I absolutely LOVE where the film ends up! It ends up with global interconnectedness and love. This is something I dig. For so long science has been almost ignoring these mystic parts of the universe, one of which my favourite scientist, Nocola Tesla, called the Ether. It is not mentioned by name in the documentary but it was talked about. Einstein, of course, had trouble with it because it would have destroyed his beloved theory of relativity that, like some other theories, has grown to be accepted as fact in the new, not-so-scientific science. So many other scientists have trouble with abstract ideas like the Ether, love, God, but they have no trouble believing in their CHOSEN theories, and haven't had since the time of Darwin, or shortly before, which marked the great separation of God and science. I hate this rivalry and think it has been greatly detrimental to science trying to eliminate any unexplainable phenomena like God from it only to replace them with other unexplainable phenomena. It just makes modern theoretical sciences like quantum physics almost hypocritical in that they are entirely based on things that are highly elusive, impossible to prove but we just KNOW they exist. As I have said before, when a physicist says he understands the universe because of quantum physics it's like a person saying he understands T.V. because he has a remote and can change channels. If we could get beyond this arrogant belief that we can explain and understand everything, which is the misplaced core of modern science, I believe, as did Tesla, that science could have its greatest generation.

Again I will bare a bit of my soul here but I think there is a great power out there that binds us all together with each other and the earth. I believe if we could tap into it we could do wondrous things! Like healing diseases, incredible advances in technology and maybe even stopping the greed. It just might be the ONLY way to do this. This power is something that is being hidden and/or ignored. It is not possible to quantify but we know it's there. I think God, love, the Ether, the Tao they are probably all pretty close to the same thing or interconnected parts of the same thing.

Tesla was pretty defiant about the futility of science without the Ether. This is a man who was able to provide the world with electricity wireless and free for all over a century ago! The guy was too smart for his own good. It's not wonder that he, like so many other things, was silenced and sort of swept under the rug. His life was an awfully mysterious story. Check it out and see if you don't see a cover-up.

To get even more abstract, look at the very beginning of Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching. Written in the 6th century B.C. It says, "Non-existence I call the beginning of Heaven and Earth. Existence I call the mother of individual beings. Therefore does the direction towards non-existence lead to the sight of the miraculous essence, the direction towards existence to the sight of spatial limitations." I think this is pretty much the same thing. The closer you get to what Lao Tzu calls the direction towards non-existence, the closer you get to miraculous essence. I bet this miraculous essence is something we'd all be shooting for if we could work together and quit trying to selfishly hoard. Conversely, individuality leads to spatial limitations such as selfishness, jealousy and greed. Disregard the self and the Self is increased. If you desire nothing, do you not have everything you want? Sound familiar? Non existence. The Ether. God. Love. Mirror neurons. Interconnectivity. Things we don't, and in all likelihood CAN'T, understand are the things that could save us. I don't know about you but "miraculous essence" sounds pretty good to me! Worth a crack anyway, no?

But back to the documentary: all the people who Shadyac chose as interview subjects seemed to agree that, although we can't prove it, it is flaming obvious that people are programmed to help each other almost as if we are a bit more connected and not so individual. Speaking of things swept under the rug, Darwin's OTHER book in which he tries to apply his Natural Selection to the "Descent of Man," he talks a lot more about our co-operative nature than survival of the fittest. Probably why nobody KNOWS about this book of his. If you actually read "Origin of Species" closely, God is not excluded in THAT either. It's just been presented over the years in that way. Think about it. Why were there so many capitalizations of "nature" and "natural selection" in the book, and why, if nature is an inanimate, unintelligent force, did he use the self-contradictory term, natural SELECTION? Nothing inanimate and unintelligent can make selections.

In the movie they mention how good it makes everybody but a sociopath feel when we see people helping each other. It gives us a lump in our throat, a tear in our eye and an urge to participate. I think the most memorable event of my three-year stint in Canada will be the tragic floods in Calgary last summer. I say, "tragic," but they were anything but. The whole city pulled together and people were treating each other with human kindness that we normally reserve for family reunions or Christmas time. It would have been a very interesting sociological study to follow a homeless person around with a camera during that time. I bet every homeless person in Calgary is hoping for an even bigger "disaster" this year! Why can't it be Christmas every day?

Okay, one final documentary reference: I was watching "The Chocolate Farmer" the other day, about a cacao farmer named Eladio Pop in Belize who honours his Mayan heritage and co-operates with the land, almost becomes part of it. He thinks the Mayan culture was more advanced and we are going backwards the way we do things these days. Many agree. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization." Now, I don't necessarily think we should revert to farming and abandon technology. I'd be lost without my computer and the internet. But I like the part in this film when Eladio says that we study in school just so we can work for someone else and become their slave. I am a free man. No chance of ever doing this in Canada, but maybe I will put a little money away every check when I start working in Indonesia, and eventually buy a little shack with high speed internet, and farm pineapple or sugar cane or whatever grows over there. Chocolate? hmmmm....

So there! I'm not just going to Indonesia for a better job or to escape the evil capitalistic empire Canada has become. I feel like I will be better able to live a life there that is closer to the life I am supposed to be living. It won't be easy living in the heat and hubbub of one of the most densely populated places on Earth. I will have LOTS of human contact! And I will be working hard to build up a battery of lessons and techniques that suit the curriculum at my new school. I'll be busy learning the language and culture and finding my way around Jakarta. I'll be busy! But I think I will be happier by far. I will probably be able to get that beautiful feeling of co-operating with my fellow man more. And just maybe I can live a life that can make a small change in one or two people for the better. I think that is why the Shadyac documentary is called I Am. Because this is the change needed to change our world. Slowly as our world's frog water has almost reached a boiling point, it can be cooled by individuals just living good lives and affecting others in that way. As Lao Tzu says, "The Man of Calling dwells in effectiveness without action. He practices teaching without talking." Just do my part by living a principled life and hope that others will do so too. THAT'S what I am going to get started on as soon as I get to Indonesia. I admit, it's too hard for me to do that in Canada. I just wish that weren't the case. But who knows, maybe I won't pass my physical and I'll have to stay in Canada. Then I'll need to write a new blog post to convince you and myself that Canada is the place I am meant for. Ha ha ha. We shall see what happens...

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Frog in a Pot Analogy

Here is something to think about:

Makes me feel lucky to be where I am. But for some reason I always feel uncomfortable about feeling lucky to be where I am here in Canada.

Here I sit sipping a coffee that I made from boiling clean tap water, bangin' away at my computer that has internet, sitting in my large room beside my large bed underneath a roof, (or in my case a floor), that keeps the snow off, heated by the heater and making fists with my toes in the carpet that separates my feet from the cold, cement floor. Just before making my coffee I woke up, checked my mail and messages on my smartphone, arranged a time to meet my bro and sis-in-law for dinner tonight and played my Simpsons game all while under my soft flannel sheets. And I haven't worked in almost two months. In fact I arranged my immigration physical for a week from today on April 4th. I will have the results 3-4 days after that and then I'm looking for a flight. Chances are I'll be flying to Malaysia around the middle of the month. That'll be about two and a half months without working. Nice little break. There are few people who could take that long a break. I sure am lucky!

And I have some sense of how lucky I am. Maybe because of my exposure to the less fortunate in Canada during my upbringing or exposure to the REALLY less fortunate overseas during my travels. I'm not sure. I think it's a combination. Living a year with my grandparents on Hamilton Mountain where everybody had to buy water by the truckload, bathing in two inches of already used bath water, flushing not necessarily every time I used the toilet, watering the plants with the dish water, frothing at the mouth for half a glass of the carefully rationed refrigerated water... to this day it just drives me bananas seeing people wasting water! Yesterday my brother Jeff was shaving with the bathroom sink tap running full blast for at least half an hour. It was while I was on my computer and I could not concentrate on what I was typing. I wanted so badly to barge in and turn the tap off. But I knew it was not worth the conflict that would result.

Another time he was just running the hot water in the kitchen sink for no reason. I turned it off and he turned it back on. Then wandered around not really doing anything. I turned it off AGAIN and got in his face. "What the fuck," I believe was my eloquent challenge of his behaviour. He turned it back on and yelled something like, "I do this every morning for my sinuses. It's my process." I wanted to ground and pound him. Seriously! With a shaky voice I said, "Get a bowl and fill it up and stick your face in it with a towel over the back of your head." He said nothing, the hot water continued to run and I continued to seethe. I have lived in more than one country where every drop of water I drank was bought by the bottle. But I'm not living there now. And I realize the utter insignificance of one person running water for that long in Canada. Jeff and I don't pay for water here hot OR cold so what's the big deal? In the summer there are entire streets, (or more likely entire SIDES of streets), all over Canada with sprinklers flooding lawns all day long. Married men sneaking outside, or maybe having been ordered outside, hose in one hand, beer in the other watering flowers, grass, cement, concrete, house, roof, car for hours. So why would it bother me that Jeff had a tap turned on for a mere half hour? Enough to almost come to blows with him. Enough to eat my liver out every time it happens. No explanation, it just DOES.

That's not all either! There are lights that have been left on in this house since we arrived here. We don't pay the electric bill so screw it, leave the light on! They are JEFF'S lights, of course, not mine. Little night lights but they still use electricity. And the T.V. He almost never turns that off either. My reason for conservation is more global than Jeff's seems to be. His reason is just cost to self. If we were paying for water and electric he might be different. I would not.

I'll stop picking on Jeff now. But another example of pure waste that drives me insane is food waste. Everywhere I go, everyone I see. I was at my friend Brent's place not so long ago. It was just before he went to Cancun for a week and I took care of his dog for him. He treated me to a mighty good lasagna and Caesar salad dinner. With garlic buttered baguette. MAN it was good! For some reason I was a bit gassy that night and couldn't eat very much. As Brent wrapped up half a baguette of garlic toast and half the salad in the baguette tinfoil and proceeded to chuck it directly into the garbage I wanted to just dive in there and gorge myself even though I was chock-a-block full. I felt at fault for not eating my fair share of the food. I see food waste all the time! Especially with kids. There are kids in Canada who have probably never finished everything on their plates. NEVER! Again, both upbringing and foreign exposure probably have something to do with why this absolutely rots my socks off. I have been at the houses of family and friends who have kids, saw half finished Sponge Bob or Disney plates of food that are destined for the trash and surreptitiously polished them off during clean up. But I have SEEN with my own eyes, (and heart), kids who are so disadvantaged that they would have considered themselves fortunate to have done the same. I was never starving while growing up but we never had food left on our plates and almost never had food left over. And when we did it wasn't scraped into the garbage, it was scraped into Tupperware to be mixed into future meals. Well, todays parents, who have Foodsafe certificates, would tell you how many dangerous kinds of bacteria build up on that food as it sits in the Tupperware overnight.

Ask a kid. Or a teen. Maybe even like a 30-year-old. "Do you know what 'goulash' is?" They might not. But most of my generation, and similar economic class, had our versions of goulash. That's when Mom can't get rid of the leftover beans, corn, mashed potatoes, squash, maybe some other veggies, (it's always the veggies :)), mixes them ALL with a pound of hamburger, (sorry, ground beef), and, voila, goulash. Well that's a veritable petri dish of germs and bacteria to today's knowledgeable parents. Those germs were like vitamins to me when I was a kid! MMM MMM GOOD!

Where am I going with this? Not sure yet but I think I just have to keep typing and it'll work its way out. I think because of the way my life has gone, the fact that I saw Canada back in the 80's and 90's and then didn't really see it again through the zeroes and early tens, it saved me from the frog in the pot syndrome and allowed me an outsider's perspective on how much my country has changed over those years. You know what I mean by the frog in the pot syndrome? When you put a frog in a pot of cold water and gradually heat it the frog doesn't notice the water getting hot, because it's gradual, and you can boil it alive. I've never tried this so I don't know if it's true, but I liken a lot of Canadians to frogs like this. They have remained in Canada and things have so gradually changed, for the worse, that they haven't noticed and now don't think much of them. Not just water, food and electricity. These are some fairly innocuous examples. Things like culture, social attitudes, politics, education, business, THESE are the boiling water that will cook Canadians if things continue to gradually heat up here. In my humble opinion.

It hurts but it's gotta be said: Canada is becoming more selfish. Think of the three examples already given. All qualify as selfish. There are so many examples of ways we are encouraged in Canada to be selfish! In my opinion Canadians now see each other more as competitors than countrimen. It's been a gradual process. When I was young EVERYBODY knew their neighbours and talked to strangers. People hitchhiked, let their kids play unsupervised, trusted people they had never met. We believed even politicians were telling the truth, (well maybe that's a stretch); we were not absolutely positive that everything we bought was a total rip-off; we thought we were taxed fairly fairly; we trusted in the purity of our sports and entertainment heroes; we were just a whole lot less cynical. As an expert on cynicism, ahem, I believe it's just another kind of selfishness because cynics point out not just negativity, but more how things are negatively affecting ME. I believe the boiling water that has lead to this is capitalism. Not just individuals being socialized into believing that the pursuit of money is more and more important, but the evolution of our country into a greed-based, giant corporation as well.

My cable wasn't working yesterday. It was not dead, just had a few little problems. This is cable that I signed a three-year agreement to pay. Not only did some websites not work on my PC, my favourite game on my cellphone, (which I signed a multi-year contract for also), wasn't working. Not only that but I got the cable bill and for this downgrade in service we got an UPgrade in pay. It's 10 bucks more this month with no explanation. And there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. This sort of business practice has slowly sneaked up on us and could also be compared to the frog in the pot. Get people locked in for a lengthy period of time and relax with the quality and service. When did this type of scam become allowable in this country? I don't know for sure but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that if there were a vote to make this crap illegal in Canada 99% would love the idea. Ask yourself what other things in our lives we "buy" like this and you will see why this kind of corrupt business is NOT illegal. In a very real way we "buy" our politicians like this. They're in for their terms and their service just goes to shit as soon as we're locked in. What about our jobs? We are usually promised at contract time, more than is delivered by our employers aren't we? And as employees we build ourselves up, sometimes even LIE on the application, and not long after we get comfortable in the job and just walk it in, right? Hell even social relationships are like that! Act all nicety nice before they're locked into a marriage contract and then relax afterwards. Look at gyms. Most of them sell, in fact OVERsell, ONLY long-term contracts like this EXPECTING many people to quit before their contracts are up. LONG before. If they didn't the gym would not be able to accommodate all the members.

Being locked into long term, frog-in-a-pot contracts is a corrupt business policy that was perpetrated on the world by greedy, selfish people, GRADUALLY. And it has become so much a part of our culture in Canada over time that we don't really notice it. Unemployment insurance. Remember when you could actually quit a job for a good reason and GET this? My last employer promised me that I'd be transferred to another position and I'd get casual hours in the mean time. Every time I checked up on the progress for almost a month I got another excuse as to why I had not even an hour of work. Then I was told that they didn't even know I wanted them to look for hours for me. I told this to the U.I. people but still have received no money and have my doubts that my claim will get the go ahead. U.I. was not unfair like this before! It's mandatory and because of that the standards have relaxed. We're locked in. It is astounding what employers can get away with because their employees know that even though they SHOULD, they may not get the unemployment insurance benefits if they quit.

Yesterday and for almost a week before finally booking my doctor's appointment, I had to struggle through the endless telephone gymnastics, requisite 15-30 minute hold periods, unnecessary private information disclosure, bureaucracy, paperwork and crap like that in order to GET that doctor's appointment. Customer service is something of a generosity in business. If our product is highly sought after, or mandatory, we don't have to be nice to customers. But it's just plain selfish not to. Ditto for general courtesy and manners. These are more examples of the increasing selfishness I perceive here in Canada. I know I'm not alone in thinking common courtesy is a lot less common.

How about C.P.P.? Also mandatory. Also getting worse and worse. In fact, if I get ANY pension I'll divide it up between all you readers okay? I have very little hope that I will live to see a pension. Yet we all have to pay into it. We're locked in.

You could even say on a larger scale that our very citizenship, something else we are locked into, has deteriorated over time, but like frogs in pots, Canadians don't notice it. In fact I think they TRY not to notice it. I admit I can be the Angel of Death sometimes and a real downer talking doom and gloom, but I have noticed a marked increase in people in this country who are desperately positive and will not abide even the hint of negativity in their lives. People who certainly would not reach this point in this blog entry before exiting to or whatever. Coincidence? I think not.

Okay I think I am starting to get a direction here. I think it may be the same on a global scale. I can't speak for all the privileged countries of the world but I have seen what I call hyper-positivity all over the place. I was looking for something to watch on Netflix the other day and saw a film called "The Secret." It sounded intriguing. There is a secret that a lot of famous people in the world knew. Da Vinci, Shakespeare, Einstein, Napoleon, names like these were mentioned. I started watching only to realize that it was nothing but a cult-like, believe and receive, indoctrination film passing off false knowledge as a life changing secret. It REALLY pissed me off. Again, my upbringing and my travels. Can I imagine walking the slums of Manila, the farms of rural Cambodia or any of the poor places I've been and talking to people about this "secret?" Um, no. "Hey, get all negativity out of your lives! Don't concentrate on being hungry, just believe you will get rich and you will attract money! Moreover, you ARE hungry and dirt poor because you just think too negatively!" The people would beat the shit out of me, take my wallet, shoes, jewelry and anything of value I have and walk away saying, "Hey that guy is RIGHT! I'm already richer after hearing that bullshit!"

It's because this philosophy is essentially greed itself. Feeling good about wealth is not bad. Feeling good about success is okay too. But this is feeling good about obscenely unfair wealth. Which translates into feeling good about creating obscenely UNfair poverty. That is the root of practically every problem in our world and it is capitalism defined.

I believe this world has more than enough wealth and resources for every single person to be rich, and feel proud of their wealth. I really do! But go back to the graphic graphic at the top again. Not really happening in the world is it? And even though we in Canada have lots of electricity, water, food, money, I really hate the way we waste our privilege. That goes for the other resources too. And I wish people could realize how hot the water is in the Canadian pot we're in and start changing it. Not only are the changes possible, they're simple. Make our country's businessmen stop with the oil and develop the massive, and I believe even more profitable potential for cleaner energy we have in this country. Stop screwing our own citizens and truly reform government. Fair prices. Fair pay. Fair business and cultural policies. Back to proper education, not expensive training. More old fashioned respect for apprenticeship rather than diploma and certificate buying in the workplace. We could really be world leaders and maybe other countries would copy us. But we continue on in the path that is messing up Canada and the world. Whistling a nervous tune all the while trying to force false happiness upon ourselves when the real thing is well within our reach.

I think the wheels have fallen off my metaphor of the frog in the pot. The idea of being locked in like a lid on the frog pot kind of ruins it because the frog can't escape. The whole wonder of the analogy is that the frog could jump out of the pot but doesn't. I guess I will need to work on this some more... But I'll continue flogging a flawed metaphor. I think because I got out of the water when it was relatively cool, spent some time overseas broadening my horizons, then hopped back into the water in the Canadian pot now that it's much hotter, that, in a tightly stretched analogy, is why I have noticed the temperature where many of my fellow, (no offence to French Canada), Canadian frogs haven't, and also why I am hopping the hell back out of this water.

Now, I am not expecting Indonesia to be without corruption or greed or any of the above. But at least I'll have a good job there. And a good lifestyle. And I might even be able to enjoy my success knowing from whence it will come.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

How to save the world

It's been a while. I have been scrambling around preparing for my newest overseas adventure. Not buying sunblock and polishing the golf clubs but sending reams of paperwork to my employers, getting this notarized and couriered, that apostilled and Fedexed, because we all know I haven't been where I've been, taught what I've taught, and studied what I have studied until I pay a notary public 70 bucks to do nothing in the way of verification but put her stamp on a piece of paper that says so. How do I get THAT job?!?! I don't know her more than 5 minutes of my life and her busy workday, and she stamps and signs my official degree, (well NOW it's official), and I'm out the door. The only thing she verified was whether I was paying cash, credit or debit for her services. All tolled about $150. This on TOP of official transcripts being couriered directly from my university, with THEIR stamp affixed to them, at the low, low price of 90 bucks.

I have had to print out, sign, scan and email so many documents that it would have cost me more to go to Staples and use their facilities than buy a new printer and do it from home. So I bought a new printer and did it from home.

All this while accessing my Service Canada account every morning and receiving the "We have received your application for E.I. and are doing our best to process it as soon as possible..." or however they say, sorry, you've been out of work for almost two months and the INSURANCE we force you to buy for just such an occasion still ain't paying out. Why don't I feel any sense of insurance?

I can't say I'm not (almost) enjoying this stuff though. Apart from the wait for employment insurance, because I am really looking forward to the goal that it all leads to. I'm pretty excited about living in a place with a pool! I'll be gutted if for some reason I can't find one. But I'm sure having a maid, driver, back yard garden, and a nice place, even without a pool, I'll get over it. Also I will have a new language to try to learn, new places to go, people to meet, a fairly new culture to explore, (went to Bali for a month in the early (?zeroes?) two thousands), new place to work, new co-workers and I'll be back to doing the job that I love most. Of all the jobs I've done. I mean I'm sure I'd like it better if I were the personal biographer of Bear Grylls or something but I've never had that job.

But stress is the result of change, negative OR positive, and I think it might have just caught up with me all at once over the last few days. I guess it could have been the wait in the clinic waiting room for an immigration physical including HIV/drug blood and urine tests, which I still haven't been able to get; or it could have been the rush hour C-train ride to Mark and Sherrilynn's place that was so crowded with people and germs it brought me right back to Asia; or maybe something I ate or drank... I dunno. But Sunday, Monday and Tuesday my body has spontaneously orchestrated a sort of all exit enema the likes of which I HAVE experienced only once before, in the Philippines, where I'm pretty sure I had malaria. All I have managed to do is sleep, watch Netflix, and eat two meals, which were instantly liquefied and purged. That and moan and groan. I'm pretty sure I had a fever because every time I got up or even turned over in bed I got the tingles. Call me weird but I like the sick boy tingles. They remind me of my childhood when I was always sick. This is the first time I've had anything but a cold since that time in the Philippines with my self-diagnosed malaria. I am just never sick. And I said that during my telephone interview with my new boss, John. And now look at me.

Today I feel better but don't think I'll go out and try to get that physical at the clinic today just to be sure I give the appropriate amount of time for this bug, if it happens to be the flu, to run its course. I'm happy to be up and about though. I'll tell you whatever I had sucked all the energy right out of me! Just being in an upright position at the computer using my body for something other than to fight that ague feels like a victory. Yesterday I had no choice but to go out and buy some essentials. Milk, margarine, bread and eggs. Can't make ANYTHING without those things! I walked up to the Family Market and back. Taking off my backpack full of groceries when I got home I felt like I was removing my frosty gear at basecamp after having just completed a successful but gruelling descent of Everest.

So what, in my lengthy absence from blogging, has ping ponged around the one part of my body that remained productive during my convalescence? How to save the world, of course. It's that crazy graphic I found a while ago that illustrates what a trillion bucks looks like. Combined with some stats in the trillions of dollars and metaphorically fused with my recent gastrointestinal lava spewing.

Please click on THIS LINK if you haven't seen this graphic graphic yet.

Isn't that nuts? I can't believe how little a pile a million bucks is! But then if I think about it, just ONE of those little sheets of paper would be really nice right about now. I'm probably like a huge chunk of this world in dreaming about the first picture in that illustration. "Oh I wish I had an extra hundred bucks!" I'm proud to count myself among the impoverished majority on our planet. The second graphic removes me from the majority I reckon in that I have HAD that much in my lifetime. A few times I have had 10 thou. to my name. Not today, but... that's pretty much the neighbourhood of the most money I've ever had.

So the million dollars represents 100 times the most money I've ever had. It seems unattainable to me. Here I think I am back in the majority. To conceive of people who understand the next couple of phases is, I freely admit, beyond my mental scope. I mean there are people out there that have attained positions in this world that enable them to think of the 100 million pile the way I, and so many others, think of the 100 dollars: "Oh I wish I had an extra 100 million!" What blows my mind even more is that I think, (and there's no way of knowing this, but), I THINK these people feel the same way as I do now when they make this absurd comment. They actually feel that they NEED that extra 100 mil. cuz they're BROKE! This is a legitimate sickness, my dear readers.

But if that sickness is the common cold of money dementia, what economic Ebola is being spread amongst the very few on our planet who can actually say that about a billion dollars? And don't kid yourself, they're out there. "Oh I wish I had an extra billion dollars!" I guarantee you people have uttered this phrase or something like it. Maybe while trying to impoverish a nation by supporting a shaky temporary military government coup, maybe while funding the troops that oust that government, or maybe while draining the country's resources while making it look like they are financially supporting the establishment of a new, more democratic nation, people have definitely said this! As I commented on facebook not long ago, these people can afford the best mental facilities available in the world. Put them there immediately because they are extremely ill. The one unique thing about this ailment is that it's not the sufferer who dies from it, it's almost everyone else. While they're in the mental facilities, study them, create an antidote and a vaccination for this virus, and while they are in the hospitals, have clear-minded individuals dispersing their billions throughout the world in a socialist therapy that would, indeed, be the cure itself!

Like all good rehabilitative therapy it would need to be gradual. You have to crawl, before you can walk, right? Send a few billion to one of the countries the patient has ruined and show him how it actually helps the country and makes people happy to be well fed, healthy and productive. Do this slowly but surely until the patient is learning how to take pleasure in the happiness of other people. Then when you break it to him that he has a net worth only in the hundreds of millions he will be better able to incorporate that into his fractured and malfunctioning intellect. Continue with this until the patient's fortune is merely enough to support him and his entire extended family for the rest of their lives and you may actually have brain functions approaching normal once again. Some patients may require a more aggressive type of therapy that incorporates actual WORK, possibly exposure to, and in some remote cases, living amongst the public, but only if necessary.

I think Roger Waters and Pink Floyd said it long before me, and much more melodically:

take all your overgrown infants away somewhere
and build them a home a little place of their own
the Fletcher memorial
home for incurable tyrants and kings
and they can appear to themselves every day
on closed circuit T.V.
to make sure they're still real
it's the only connection they feel
"ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Reagan and Haig
Mr. Begin and friend Mrs. Thatcher and Paisley
Mr. Brezhnev and party
the ghost of McCarthy
the memories of Nixon
and now, and in colour, a group of anonymous Latin
American meat packing glitterati"
did they expect us to treat them with any respect
they can polish their medals and sharpen their
smiles, and amuse themselves playing games for a while
boom boom, bang bang, lie down you're dead
safe in the permanent gaze of a cold glass eye
with their favourite toys
they'll be good girls and boys
in the Fletcher memorial home for colonial
wasters of life and limb
is everyone in?
are you having a nice time?
now the final solution can be applied

It's from the album "The Final Cut." I think it's a highly underrated album. You can tell how old the problem is by the names in the song. The names of corporate big wigs could be easily substituted. Names like Hugh Grant, (Monsanto CEO), Bob Dudley or Tony Hayward who would be the more recognizable B.P. head man, any of the Waltons of Wal-mart fame, maybe a person in politics or two like Dink Cheney or other architects of the new world order. We shouldn't hate these people, we should pity them. They are sick and need our help. They just don't know it. We need to institutionalize them for their own good. And it needs to happen soon because there is a danger on the horizon. The danger is a super virus that makes Ebola and this money sickness look like a hangnail. Soon there will be people who might say, "Oh I wish I had an extra TRILLION dollars!" And I don't believe there can be any help for these people.

Let's look at the signs of this imminent pandemic. First check THIS out. Then there's stuff like THIS and THIS about the 21 to 31 TRILLION bucks hidden in "tax shelters" overseas in the Cayman Islands or Switzerland. This should make us ALL nervous.

What are these stories telling us? Well, let's break them down. First of all the euphemism of the day: "tax shelter." I just love that! This is one of the symptoms of the money sickness: vocabulary variance. The difference between "tax evasion" which people, relatively poor people, can be jailed for, and "tax sheltering" is dependant upon membership in the extra billion club. "Slave labour" becomes "outsourcing." Screwing the local employee before outsourcing to a more "economically viable location" becomes "downsizing," or "redundancy." People, they are shipping American and Canadian chicken to China to have it plucked and processed then shipped back! Of course then this will create a need to change food safety "rules" to food safety "guidelines." Rather than support your own people and chop up chicken at home, it is "cost-efficient" to send it to China and back. That can only come from decades of careful cultivation of slave labour through systematic impoverishing of nations in order to MAKE labour so inexpensive in those countries and workers redundant anywhere they are paid enough to pay the bills. But that's not "oligarchy" that's just "business." This is HOW that money that is so dirty it needs to be "hidden," I'm sorry, "sheltered" overseas is made. And if it's hidden you just know no matter how thorough this James Henry was, it could just be the amount that the super rich allowed him to uncover in order to ensure that the bulk of the money remains unaccounted for. Do the super rich EVER tell Forbes their actual worth for their list every year? Of course not! That would scare people! And rightfully so! Same thing happening here and that is probably what prompted Henry's statement that the real total IS closer to 31 trillion.

And these are the same heads of the same companies, the same mentally unbalanced individuals who are accepting, indeed, feel ENTITLED to "corporate welfare," or as they would phrase it, "government subsidies." So, they have enough money to end the world's problems, but the world's problems is what made them that money. Pssst, they purposely CREATED the world's problems! They have this money stashed away so nobody gets any big ideas about doing anything silly like allowing everyone to be self-sufficient and for the added purpose of not paying taxes. Furthermore, they take government assistance for their obscenely successful companies because.... GASP!!! .... THEY WISH THEY HAD THAT EXTRA TRILLION!

I don't know what the stats are for Canada but have no reason to doubt they would be much the same. And I am here listening to people whinge about how their tax dollars go toward supporting welfare cases who are lazy and spend their free money on tattoos and should be drug tested before they get their checks. We have a fraction of a clue what the government does with our tax money. It's the only thing we pay for that we know so little about. Excuse me, it's the only thing we are FORCED to pay for that we know so little about. Yet we keep on doing it like the good little chattel we are. I said to my friend the other day that if there were a sign at the movies that read, "Billionaires free, everyone else pays double," we'd still go to the movie. That's not even a good analogy because at least you get to watch a movie and it could be good.

I know it may not be all that simple. Like I said this is something that hasn't happened overnight. It's been a systematic process that has taken some time. The ever decreasing fraction of the world's population who are the ones I am talking about here are probably not the ones who are brain damaged. But the system has been well entrenched by their predecessors and it is probably safe to say they are brain WASHED. Either way mandatory therapy is needed. In most, if not all cases it will need to be against their will. And they won't be easily brought in to the facilities where they belong. But it is our job to do it. If not this sickness will rage through US, not them, until it saps all of our skills, ideas, creativity, ingenuity, and happiness like shit we voluntarily flush into the corporate toilet then slump back to bed until the next bowel movement. Stop squirting into the New World Toilet. Take some economic Imodium and book a rich person into a home. Or steal their money and redistribute it like that great Socialist hero, Robin Hood. Short of that we could just show a rich person a video like THIS. Let the rich know that a tiny bit of their money could make others deliriously happy while a mountain of it to add to their pile won't create a fraction of that happiness in themselves. Make them see giving as more than a tax loophole. Nah! Just put them all into homes! Then the final solution can be applied. Redisperse all the money evenly and start the world over again. Take two. Let's try a different tack where we share and work together this time. See how long that lasts.

THIS is how we can save the world. Leastaways that's how I reckon.