Gee Billion

Well, it’s G-20 Summit week in Toronto. I understand the city is pretty much under martial law since dragging these 20 extremely important people into town for a few days makes Toronto the target city for hordes of protesters, terrorists and attention seekers – some of whom might possibly be dangerous.

So, the whole of downtown Toronto is locked-down and turned into a fortress with– 10,000 uniformed police and 1,000 private security guards, snipers and fleets of Canadian Forces personnel conducting air, water and land surveillance.

Fences, barricades, checkpoints and a lot of other barriers have been constructed. Streets around the perimeter of the Convention Centre and nearby hotels have been closed and encircled with a double layer of unscalable fencing. All garbage cans, post boxes, and anything else where a bomb or a person could be hiding have been removed. Cell phone signals have been jammed.

Travel agencies are offering Torontoeans Escape the Summit getaway deals so they can get the hell out of Dodge to avoid getting caught in any crossfire.

Oh, and Gay Pride Week has been postponed!!

The price tag for this 72 hours of fun is over One Billion Dollars – more than the last nine G-20s put together – more than 17-days of the winter Olympics in Vancouver. I can’t even wrap my head around a figure like $1 billion. To give it some perspective, that money represents:

  • The combined annual incomes of 25,857 average people; or
  • The combined lifetime incomes of 312 average people; or
  • The combined lifetime incomes of 2,402 people living in poverty.

That’s a hell of a lot of money, isn’t it? All the slashes Harper made back 2006 to social programs, employment, adult literacy, status of women, youth employment investments, etc. only totalled $160 million, but devastated a lot of departments’ programs.

And what momentus stuff is actually going to happen with 20 people sitting around chatting for a few days? From what I understand, almost nothing has been accomplished over the last ten years of these summits. These people are supposed to be sorting out the global economy. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the global economy is far from sorted – especially in light of the little financial meltdown we’ve been experiencing over the last few years.

Also, I don’t understand how these 20 countries can decide policies that are going to affect the entire world. Developing nations don’t seem to have any sort of input into these proceedings and yet are going to be hugely impacted.

Actually, as I understand it, it’s the host country gets to decide what is going to be discussed – so the whole G20 is really all about Stephen Harper’s agenda and what he thinks is important?

Funding for safe access to abortions in developing countries isn’t going to be discussed even though (or maybe because) most member countries are in favour?  Harper has also fought tooth and nail to keep an even bigger bone of contention – the imposition of a world bank tax (Financial Transaction Tax or FTT) – off the agenda.  I’m the furthest thing from someone who understands world finances or even my own finances, but from what I’ve read, the FTT is a small levy on world banks, the money from which would be pooled together:

The FTT would earn a very substantial amount of money each year.  Something in the order of $650+ billion per year.  Half of the funds raised would remain in domestic hands, and could be used in the event of another financial meltdown, or to shore up domestic social programs.  The other half of the funds would go into a global fund to aid development in the world’s poorest countries and to help developing countries adapt their economies to the realities of climate change. 

Ya, that does sound terrible.

But anyway, here’s a question for those of you who regularly attend business meetings. How much gets accomplished when 20 people with very different perspectives sit down for a few hours and talk?

So, what are these G20s/G8s really all about?

Get Poor Quick!!!

Everybody with more than two cents to rub together thinks they’re experts on making YOU rich. Everybody with more than two cents to rub together thinks they can show and/or help YOU get rich. The problem with these “get rich quick schemes” is:

  • These people didn’t get rich by following the stupid advice they’re doling out – like investing in real estate or playing the stock market or starting your own company — they inherited their wealth or married into it and are just dabbling in the market or real estate for fun and just incidentally keep getting richer because that’s what happens when you’re rich;
  • All the getting rich quick advice involves a lot of time, effort and MONEY on your part and nobody wants to spend time, effort and money they don’t have to make the money they want; and,
  • You don’t have a hope in hell therefore of getting rich no matter how hard you try and then you will feel like a failure. And you will also not be rich. Double OUCH!

The Get Poor Quick Potsi Scheme, on the other hand, is guaranteed to work.  No matter what your financial status is right now, by following this “secret formula”, you will be poor in a matter of months with little or no effort on your part. And, you will feel good about yourself for having achieved a goal.

I can guarantee this because I developed this method myself and have used it successfully for years. Yes, that’s right – YEARS! I was not born poor. I did not marry far beneath me in order to become poor. I achieved this all by myself using the Get Poor Quick Potsi Scheme.

You may not believe me, but last month I made $1.23!! The month before that $2.00 and the month before that, $2.37.  And you have my word, that with the Get Poor Quick Potsi Scheme, you will be earning this type of money, too. Not next year, but within the next two to three months!! You have my personal word of honour on that! Yes, you do.

How?

Well, before I tell you — and I know you’re anxious to get yourself on that dirt-packed road to poverty — but first there are 3 important questions you need to ask yourself:

  1. Am I ready to be poor? Really poor?
  2. Do I have what it takes to live the life of a poor person?
  3. Am I ready to invest no effort, no time and no money in order to reach my goals of abject poverty?

If you can answer yes to all these questions with little or no enthusiasm, then you’re ready to become one of the elite 6 or 7 billion truly poor people in the enitre world, if not the universe! That’s right. You heard me correctly!!

And it’s as simple as one, two, three, four, five, six………………

Are you really ready? Then read on and prepare to change your life forever, my friends.

Step One

If you’re in school right now, drop out. If you’ve already saddled yourself with an education — drinking heavily and/or the regular use of cannabis will help kill off many of the brain cells that are currently storing your education. Although you won’t necessarily become rich if you’re educated, you do NOT want to take any chances. So lose those brain cells and follow us deep into the red zone!

Step Two

Develop and maintain an addiction. Nothing eats through those pesky, unwanted  savings faster than blowing them on a good, solid vice. Whether it’s drugs or alcohol, gambling, raising children, pornography or owning sickly pets —  throw yourself into it wholeheartedly, have a good time and before you know it, you’ll have nothing.

Step Three

This one is important. Very important. Do not skip this step!!!

Start borrowing money everywhere you can. I know this seems counterproductive because you think you’ll end up with a lot of money. However, what the ordinary person does not realize is this:

Borrowed money isn’t real money!

No sir. Borrowed money is actually negative money. And when you’re in a negative money situation – you’re poorer than poor!

Let me explain.

Let’s say you max out your credit cards and buy everything you want and everything you think you want; you get the biggest line of credit you can from your bank and buy more stuff;  you take out a second or third mortgage and get the biggest possible house;  you buy a big car with no money down and lots of monthly payments; and then you buy furniture and expensive appliances on a rent-to-own basis.

Now, it may look as if you are in possession of a lot of great stuff and even maybe a nice bundle of cash. However, every month your creditors will demand money from you in return. You can keep paying them month after month after month forever– long after the items purchased have been paid for. Why? Because of a great little thing called “interest”.  It’s interesting because it makes your creditors richer and you poorer until you get to the point where you can’t keep up with the payments and then they come and take your stuff away and you’ll have nothing. Get it? Isn’t it simple?

Yes it is!!!

Step Four

This one is optional, but highly recommended:  Commit a crime, or better yet —  a string of crimes. Nothing guarantees unsuccessfulness like a criminal record. If you commit a lot of stupid, petty crimes, you WILL go to jail and will never have to worry about anyone hiring you ever again! You will never, ever have to worry about an income above three figures ever again!  Be very careful, however, not to become a successful criminal. Successful criminals are rich. Sure, you could still get caught or maybe another, smarter criminal may come along and take all your money from you at gunpoint, but do you really want to take that chance?  It’s best, therefore to stick to small, low-yield crimes at which you can easily be caught.

Step Five

Some of you might already be on the path to poverty and not even know it. Are you in humdrum, dead-end, low-paying job? Are you living paycheque to paycheque? Do your monthly bills often overwhelm your monthly salary? Then you’ve inadvertently hit on a sure-fire way to maintain a certain level of poverty. You can stick with this “accidental half-assed poverty” or you can kick it down a notch (or even two) by implementing any of the other steps in the Get Poor Quick Potsi Scheme.

Step Six

Try not to work at all. I know it’s difficult with people constantly calling you with job offers; with “Help Wanted” signs everywhere; with skyrocketing employment figures. But you can do it. Move to a place with higher unemployment. Do NOT apply for jobs. Do NOT go to job interviews. If you still happen to find yourself employed – quit or arrange to get yourself fired. Not showing up for work every day is an almost fool-proof way of getting fired – unless you’re in politics — in which case you might well find yourself on the receiving end of a big, fat pension. Or even two!! Avoid this pitfall by never running for public office.

 

So! Are YOU ready to be really, really poor? Are you ready to finally see a plan actually turn out exactly as you’d hoped? Are you ready to move your family into a studio apartment above the KFC? Are you ready to dine on nothing but the worst high-carb, high-fat, low-value food no money can buy? Are you ready for Public Transit?

Then put your feet up and send me $899.99 for a hard copy text of the six steps of the Get Poor Quick Potsi Scheme and before you know it, you will be enjoying life at the bottom of the barrel.

But don’t take my word for it. See what other successful unsuccessful clients have to say:

J.K from Albequerque says:  There’s no easier way to lose $899.99 than to send away for the Get Poor Quick Potsi Scheme. I had to borrow money to get it, which I still haven’t paid back. Thank you Potsi!

P.U. from New York City says: I was a millionaire. I had everything money could buy. Beautiful women were throwing themselves at me all the time. I tried retiring and giving it all away,  but my shrewd investments kept paying me gigantic annual dividends. The pressure was killing me. I saw the Get Poor Quick ad online and sent away for it right away. Within 3 months I was flat broke and happier than a pig in shit. Thank you Potsi.

B.O. from on The Road says:  Since I first starting working, I’d been straddling the middle-class line where I worked my ass off and spent my ass off, but I wasn’t getting anywhere. I hated my job, my wife, my kids and everything about my life. A friend recommended Posti’s Get Poor Quick Scheme. You wouldn’t believe how quickly I unloaded my go-nowhere life. Now I’m a hobo – which is all I’ve ever really wanted to be. Thank you Potsi.

F.D. from Ottawa says: I was born into dumpster-diving, squat-living poverty, but because of Stephen Harper’s insanely generous social programs, I was fast-tracked through to a solid grade 10 education and was shuffled into a lucrative  career as a Warshroom Janitor at the Bayshore Shopping Centre. I pretty nearly started to earn almost enough money to get myself on a waiting list to get into public housing — if there’d been any. There was talk of banning me from the Food Bank! The stress was making me ill and I no longer qualified for subsidized prescriptions.  I didn’t know where to turn until I saw an ad for the Get Poor Quick Potsi Scheme on a scrap of paper stuck to the bottom of my shoe. Within weeks, I’d managed to dig myself back into the hole I came from. Thank you Potsi.

Don’t delay! Get your Get Poor Quick step-by-step instructions today! Send $899.99 (by certified money order only – no cheques, please.) to:

Potsi Scheme Incorporated, 565 North Clinton Drive, Milwaukee

Anti-Protest Protest

This isn’t going to be a popular post, but so many people have written triumphant posts about the anti-prorogation rally on the weekend, that I thought I’d talk about why I didn’t go.

 I have many of the same issues with protests as I do with strikes. And before I go on, I want to be clear that I’m just speaking from the viewpoint of someone in 21st century Canada. I know there are long lists of causes in other countries and in our own country, in other times, that were moved forward through public demonstration.

When people have very little legal recourse or when there is a severe and direct threat to individual freedoms;  demonstrations (peaceful or even violent) are the only way to go. None of the conditions that would legitimize or necessitate public demonstrations exist in Canada today. Protest is a tool that blunts with misuse and overuse.

What was the intended outcome of this protest on Saturday?  To change public opinion?   To force the Prime Minister to change his mind? To send the Prime Minister a message that “Canadians” aren’t as apathetic as he thinks they are?  Has any of this been achieved?

If we hope to persuade anyone of anything in a civilized society we need to use reasoned discussion and a well-crafted argument. Clever signs, witty songs and general outrage are not persuasive. They might be fun and they definitely generate excitement among the demonstrators and in the media, but they don’t persuade anyone of anything.

The people at whom this type of protest is aimed do not care about these things. They can not. Stephen Harper has protesters on his doorstep every day of the week in lesser or greater numbers. He doesn’t formulate policies or decisions based on what the mob-of-the-day is demanding. Yes, he’s slipped a bit in the polls because of media attention the protests and the Facebook group have generated;  but he also soared in the polls after he played the piano and sang a song in public. The general populace has a very short memory. And, when it comes time to vote, Harper is betting Canadians are not going to use this little break from Parliament against him.

While it looks great that thousands of people across the country came out to demonstrate on Saturday, it doesn’t necessarily translate into anything significant come election time.

Strength in numbers, in a case like this, isn’t real strength. Just because something is popular today doesn’t mean it’s right or good in the long run.  Eleanor Roosevelt said: what is popular is not always right, and what is right is not always popular.

Demonstrations continue all over America in opposition to same sex marriage.  Pro-life groups protest outside of abortion clinics all the time. Every time someone commits a particularly heinous crime, protesters gather and call for the reinstatement of capital punishment. It would be very wrong of our leaders to make decisions based on the size or volume of groups of protesters. If 3500 pro-lifers showed up on Parliament Hill next weekend, you would be upset if the Prime Minister were to second-guess abortion legislation over their protest. 

I’m not saying that Harper was right to prorogue parliament — though I am a bit curious as to why this particular issue is causing so much outrage when he’s done so many more outrageous things both before and since his re-election.  I am saying that just because a lot of people turned out for Saturday’s demonstrations doesn’t automatically make Harper wrong. Nor does it convince him, or anyone else, that he is wrong.

In fact, it may do just the opposite. Middle-of-the-road people tend to stereotype political protesters as “crackpot activists” (see PETA). So, a viewpoint taken up by these so-called “crackpot activists” might convince middle-of-the-road Canadians to take up the opposing viewpoint in order to disassociate themselves from the “crackpot” element. (And no, I’m not personally calling anyone who attended a demonstration on Saturday a crack-pot)

In 21st century Canada there are so many more effective ways to express outrage and so many better ways to attempt to promote change. We can, for instance,  use television, the Internet, newspapers, magazines, the legal system and/or letter writing to get our point across. All of these are more effective than standing in the cold with cardboard effigies.

As an example, writing letters to your politicians – rational, reasoned letters asking specific questions – guarantees that those letters will be read and responded to. Every letter that comes in with specific questions will be read by someone. If there are one or more specific questions in that letter, it will get passed on to the correspondence unit, who will then have to craft a response. The response and the original letter will get passed up the line for review, edits, input and a series of signatures, including sign-off by the person to whom you wrote the initial question.

All this costs politicians time, money and human resources. These things force them to pay attention. If they get enough letters about the same topic they can’t ignore that topic. They can ignore a protest rally. And they do.

There are many countries in the world where protests are the only recourse to injustice; where protests are a necessary medium for the voice of the people. Canada isn’t one of them.

Though there was a lot of talk about the undermining of “democracy” at the rally on Saturday, Canada, in fact, has a well-established democracy. Even Stephen Harper with all his games cannot threaten it. And we, the people of Canada, have many mechanisms for input into that democratic system and should make full use of them.

Though I’m quite sure that many of the people at Saturday’s protest were sincere and well-meaning people, their actions are seen as easily shrugged-off theatrics by those being protested against. Leaders cannot rule by angry mob. And, protests can have the opposite of their intended effect on the population at large.

____________________________________________________________

PS: For the record, I have never voted Conservative and never will. To me, right now, the most effective way to get Harper out of power is to support and work toward offering a strong and viable alternative at the next election. Because as long as there are no really good options…guess what…

Harper Has A Man Crush

I swear on my cat’s murmuring heart that none of the following have been Photoshopped in any way. They are actual photos taken by Canadian Press photographer, Adrian Wyld

JAMAICA-PLANE/HOSTAGES

Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding is the first living creature – man or beast – to have ever been able to paste such a besotted gaze onto the face of our Prime Minister. He looks positively human, doesn’t he? He even tried to copy Bruce’s outfit. How cute is that?

Canada Jamaica Airplane Hijacked

Uh-oh! It looks like Bruce thinks Harper is stinky. And Steve doesn’t know because it looks like he’s about to move in for a little smooch!!  This could mean a big circuit heart break for poor Steve.

Canada Jamaica Airplane Hijacked

Don’t let go, Steve!! Don’t let him get away.  I know rejection hurts, but you’re a never-say-die kind of guy.  He’ll learn to love you like we all did. Really he will.

Wow! If  Stephen Harper falls in love and becomes a Real Boy, think what this could mean for the country!

Things We Need To Wonder About Today

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Obama. Dude… you know, it sounds like you’re mostly doing okay so far, but you really have to work on your gift giving skills, man. You gave The Queen of England an iPod loaded with a mix of Broadway show tunes and videos of her visit to the US in 2007? WTF? I’m shaking my head, I really am. That would have been cute for your high school sweetheart, but The Queen?  And this is after giving British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown a box of your favourite DVDs?

The Conficker Worm. Waddup? Do I rush out and sell my PC like some people are doing? Do I hire a team of security experts to clean out my system or do I just assume it’s a hoax. Has anything happened to anyone’s computer yet?  PC guru, David Coursey says:

The Conficker Worm is like the Paris Hilton of computer security: Famous solely for being famous. Neither has actually ever done anything of note. But, at least Paris has a sense of humor about her celebrity. Conficker just wastes people’s time.

Miss Universe – Dayana Mendoza just came back from a visit to Guantanamo Bay. She said, “It was a loooooot of fun!” And then goes on to describe how rides around the camp encircled with barbed wire, minefields and watchtowers were “relaxing, peaceful, and beautiful”.

We visited the Detainees camps and we saw the jails, where they shower, how they recreate themselves with movies, classes of art, books. It was very interesting.

Mayor Larry. He must be on the same kind of meds as Miss Universe. What else would prompt him to announce his intention to run again in 2010?  He says:

Certainly I’d vote for myself. I’m not satisfied with the way the City of Ottawa is running. For me to make any truly long-term changes for the benefit of the city, council and I have to find a way to make it run more effectively.

Oh man, that’s funny, funny stuff. Seriously, I almost peed myself. The man’s a natural comedian. I hope you’re out of jail in time for the elections, Larry, so we can all not vote for you.

Stephen HarperOoops! He missed the G-20 group photo by this <  > much. They waited for a while, but when he didn’t show up, took the picture without him. I’m thinking he was having trouble with his fly.

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No, of course this isn’t Prime Minister Stephen Harper, but this guy having trouble with his fly vs any photo of Harper???

And speaking of pants. Why do the store signs say, “Pant Sale”?  First of all, why are pants plural anyway? Why are they “a pair of pants.” It’s only one item. But, okay, if we’ve decided each leg counts as one thing then fine, they’re a pair. So why then, when a bunch of them are on sale, do they become singular?

PS to Matt, whoever you are – stop spamming me with everything under the sun. I’m glad you think my blog is “great”, but I’m still going to delete your comments.