October 16, 2021
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Today’s thoughts

Sep
2021
21

Election Reflection

The election is over and we, in Ontario, will not be heading back to the polls until June 2022 – where we can get rid of Doug Ford and then October 2022 for the Municipals.

This was an election that nobody wanted, nobody cared about and one that didn’t change a bloody thing. However it proved some pundits wrong. The People’s Party of Canada was never a threat and failed to siphon off Tory votes. The NDP also failed to produce so it cannot claim to be a real ‘Kingmaker’, and the Greens collapsed.

All in all, the question is why did we spend 600 million to get more of the same?

One face book poster in my list blamed the waste on PMJT’s ego, I would rather say that the rot has set in within the Liberal Party Office – both PMO staffers, come on down Gerald Butts and the Liberal Party Executive who must have their reasons for putting PMJT back on the hustings. We will never know until the ‘tell-all’ book is published. But we do know that the Libs ran a lousy campaign and failed to frame the campaign question.

My two cents worth about the election is that I never followed the campaign in print or TV, the usual pundits and talking heads, being full of themselves didn’t tell me anything new, so I wasn’t really vested in it. I went to bed early, just as the results were trickling in and woke up early, saw the numbers and yawned – back to real life for me.

The pundits have moved on – speculating about the longevity of the party leaders, how long will Erin O’Toole survive, how many months before Libs start rumbling and who will the Libs bring to the party to get things done?

So moving on for me I noticed that the Cobourg Council has now adopted Internet/telephone voting for the next municipal election. However doing so with a system that is not transparent and safe. One thing we have learned during the past year is that elections are tricky things and any election that uses machines without a paper backup is subject to all kinds of abuse and questions of transparency.

So why does Cobourg adopt a system without a paper backup? The intellivote system, in the last election failed to have paper backups, I very much doubt if the same system four years later will have on this time. Their website (click the link in italics in the previous sentence) fails to show this capacity. Their security page doesn’t even mention the need for paper backups. A major problem for me and every other election administrator in the USA, but we are Canadian so don’t bother having them (paper backups)!

Well I am off back to sleep until the first candidate in the next municipal election files – come on down Adam Bureau. Perhaps we will learn just how many of the last campaigns promise were kept, how many achievements will the present Council run on and if the rumours about the Deputy Mayors’ next electoral plans are true!

Jul
2021
24

Get off your arse Doug Ford and give us a vaccine passport!

Vaccine Passports – what are they? The next stage of freedom that’s what!

For over a Century travellers have had to have three documents: a Passport, a Visa and an immunization form showing vaccinations against common world-wide diseases that will normally kill you and the rest of the population if you expose yourself to them.

Civilised Countries have been conducting immunization campaigns for years now against common diseases such as smallpox, yellow fever, cholera,  and in most countries children are not allowed to enroll in school unless they have been immunized against mumps rubella and measles. Immunization has been a godsend to all. Local Rotary Clubs have even staked their reputations and raised Billions of dollars in a world-wide campaign to eradicate Polio through immunization.

So you would think that immunisation against a scourge that is killing hundreds of thousands of people and is completely safe and an antidote to the scourge would be a no-brainer. Well it is to the people with normal brains!

Unfortunately in the last few years some people have been swallowing misinformation and vomiting back opinions that now threaten us all. I refer to the ‘Covidiots’, the ‘Deplorables’ the ‘Gullibillies’ and just the obstinate. These folks for whatever reasons refuse to participate in the campaign to eradicate the Covid 19 scourge.

Normally I abhor people who will excoriate or insult the other side of the argument, you cannot hope to change minds if the first thing you do is to disparage them. But in this case I will make an exception as I really do think these ‘anti-vaxxers’ are enemies of a Civilised Society. As another Blogger on the “progressive Bloggers” site calls the situation “The Tyranny of the Minority”. I see that many bloggers of the same ilk are decrying the lack of a “Vaccine Passport” and are adding to the weight of opinion to the cry to adopt.

A recent article published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) here  goes into great detail about the issue and how Governments are trying to coordinate  the move to establish one.

However Politicians of all stripes both Conservative and Authoritarian are opposing the idea.

“The term ‘vaccine passports’ pushes every button on the political right — the idea of being forced to take the vaccine, issues of freedom and issues of government overreach,” says Brian Castrucci, president and CEO of the de Beaumont Foundation, an advocacy and research group focused on public health.”

However how do we prove to each other that we are safe and therefore they, the anti-vaxxers, are safe is hard to do without a proper and secure verification device that is universal and recognised as such?

I am sure that those of us who favour such a device are in the majority and in a democracy the common good should prevail if it is backed by the majority – the very essence of democracy.

So What is Doug Ford waiting for, he is an authoritarian who has mishandled every aspect of the public health crisis we have found ourselves in for the past two years, it is an opinion that if there wasn’t an election looming  he would have forced one on us (vaccine passport that is).

So get off your arse Douggie!

Jun
2021
9

The blogosphere has exploded!

Other bloggers have gone wild at the latest caper by ‘the missing Premier’ – Doug Ford. Look at this he explains the situation much better than I – Magpie Brule.

Basically The Premier has invoked the “Notwithstanding Clause” to overrule a Judge’s decision on a Bill that he passed that would rejig election rules in his favour.

Quoting Magpie; “Earlier in the year the Ford team passed Bill 254, the so-called “Protecting Ontario Elections Act”. As you might expect from such a bill, it was a partisan attempt to tilt the playing field in the Conservatives favour for the 2022 provincial election. Nora Loreto of Passage wrote a good piece on this at the time, pointing out the problems with this bill that went far beyond the usual bill that might regulate political financing. This bill went so far as to do the following:

  • Changed Ontario’s pre-election period for third-party financing rules from six months to 12 months, while barely raising the amount those groups are allowed to spend.
  • Registered third parties will no longer be able to use the same vendors as other registered third parties “that share a common advocacy, cause or goal.”
  • The Bill made it illegal for third parties that have a “common advocacy, cause or goal” to “[share] information” with each other, with no definition as to what “information” or “vendor” actually will mean.

These are actions that took direct aim at unions and other third-party groups with one specific goal; make it harder for these groups to legally participate and oppose the Ford Government. These groups have effectively opposed the Conservatives for years and this is a blatant attempt to kneecap those who might oppose them. They are not only trying to quiet them, but trying to dictate who they can and can’t do business with, which is quite the twist for the “Open for Business” party. That’s one of the reasons why just yesterday Ontario Justice Ed Morgan struck it down, ruling that several sections of the bill infringed on rights set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Again, another Ford law struck down as unconstitutional by the courts. But this time instead of adjusting his political strategy or respecting the decisions of the court, Ford decided to go in an historically dangerous direction that no Premier in Ontario has ever gone before:”

And if you think that our local member – the media-savvy photo-hog David Piccini MPP has missed this he posted about it on FB just an hour ago.

The only good thing about this is that Doug has finally put the boots to the obnoxious “OntaroProud” bunch by restricting their third-party advertising. But the real reason for this is that the faceless opposition parties are now in the majority in the polls. In other words Doug and his nasty party are now losers!

Jun
2021
9

Welcome to the new look

Well this is what Covid shutdown does to you – leads one into all kinds of diversions. In my case after rejigging my home network to accommodate my cord-cutting ambitions I moved onto a new website design. I have dabbled in websites from the beginning, never really understanding the mechanics but can get around with a bit of help from the internet. My early websites were designed in HTML and the later ones in WordPress. However WP is complicated when you want to change things around and finding the right design as a base takes time. Most ‘free’ templates are either inadequate or need to be upgraded for a price. So from time to time I buy a template.

Such was the case yesterday and the site you are looking at is the result of many emails with the vendor/designer and myself. The big problem is that very few sellers include documentation with the final product and the result is a lot of guessing or just confusion. Firstly one never knows where the designer lives or works, usually it is in India, in my case the home country was Greece. Fortunately they didn’t seem to sleep. They are seven hours in front of us but answered the emails almost instantly. There was one bug that was not to my satisfaction and finally they admitted it was a design flaw and when pointed out that the free version I played with didn’t have it they sent me a new file. But they did point out that a six month support (came with the purchase) didn’t mean a redesign.

So I hope you like it and if you don’t make a suggestion.

Jun
2021
7

Another good idea gone wrong!

The Provincial Government led by the disappearing man – Doug Ford, announced last week that people over 70 could get their second shot of vaccine. But in order to do so had to jump through the usual hoops – go on the website and book an appointment at the local centre.

So waiting patiently  at my computer on Monday morning at 8am; I logged on and filled out the boxes, and was on the wait page at 8:02.

Not so fast, there were 69,855 people ahead of me, howcum? Anyway there was a one hour wait.

At the end of the hour wait the webpage told me that the only available Centre was in Thorncliffe Park – Toronto, 95 kms away. The phone number listed on the webpage was not accepting calls so that option was out of the question. later that morning a friend rang to see if we had managed to book. When I related the experience she told me that she used a phone booking system and gave me the 1-800 number she used – see update below.

However this experience raises a few questions:

  1. How did 69,855 people log in before 8am?
  2. Why is the local centre unavailable?
  3. Why is the system not screening by postal codes so that local centres are available for locals?
  4. Why are ‘out of towners’ being allowed to book other centres to the detriment of locals who may not be able to travel?

The problem of locals not getting local appointments was identified as a problem in the first phase. This resulted in people from Peterborough being sent to Cobourg and Cobourgers being sent to Peterborough – a total cockup and fiasco. This should have been fixed this time!

At this moment if any Politician starts to brag about this rollout – tell them to shut up and own the fiasco.

 

Update: After spending 59 minutes on hold I was told the same thing as the website – go to Thorncliffe Park. Well that’s two hours of life that I won’t get back!

Apr
2021
26

OK another week and the same old, same old!

First the good news Doreen and I went to the CCC on Saturday, we were processed very efficiently and quickly – in and out in twenty minutes. Few side effects with the Moderna vaccine. A little bit of tiredness and sore arms but that’s it.

But this week appears to be the same as last week – COVID cases are still criminally high and the Provincial Government is still in hiding. The NDP opposition is still sleeping and the comments on “Cobourg News” – John Draper’s blog, the informative and news slanted toward Council activities and all things related, are still bemoaning the high taxes and the incompetency of Town Staff. The other online news sites Northumberland related are still regurgitating Police press releases and live feeds from accident and first-responder activities. And a member of Cobourg Council announced that she wants to be the next MPP. I just hope that when she wins the nomination that she does the ethically right move and resigns her Council seat to campaign full time.

So what is on the agenda for this week – not much! A trip to the grocery store, a walk around the block and then back to the TV for Prime, Netflix and other TV. I cut the cord a couple of years ago (wiki definition here) and it has been a long learning experience, because one problem leads to another, the latest is that of handling the various devices in the home system. I have Samsung devices – a TV and sound-bar. But getting them to speak to each other is a modern challenge. My situation was that although the sound-bar is supposed to automatically link the internal system of the TV (CEC) worked but only for about a month. So back to Google to figure it out. Finally I had to cry “uncle” and get professional help.

It arrived, a big shoutout to Aaron Burchat of “Showtime TV and Stereo” ( he sold me the sound-bar) and he promptly told me what I had found out on Google – the most efficient fix was to connect an optical cable link. I had been waiting for help to lift the TV off the wall and connect. When I told Aaron this he laughed and said “Why?”. “Because the connection is on the back of the TV!” Wrong; he promptly showed me the right place to plug the cable in – it was on the box that handled all the input cables, sitting on a shelf below the TV and in plain sight!

So that was last week’s problem, what will be this week’s?

I am pretty sure it will be the continuing ineptitude of the Provincial Government. I have never been a fan of the Conservative’s they have really screwed us working people every time they gain power. So when the nasty party elected Doug Ford as leader I feared the worst, and have not been proven wrong. Schools screwed, Workers screwed, Disabled people screwed, the Environment screwed. Not one positive piece of legislation passed yet. What is worse is the way they have been screwing us all by passing dictatorial, retrogressive legislation.

We cannot sue the province for allowing the Long Term Care industry to kill residents, we cannot sue the Government for allowing their developer friends to build in environmentally sensitive areas. And the Province is peppered with Ministerial Zoning Orders (MZOs) desecrating Planning Principles and Provincial Policy Statements.

So where is the opposition to these actions? In the absence of media response by the opposition parties it appears that Facebook is a main vehicle. But as we know that is suspect. But an amazing thing happened last week – the mainstream media (MSM); all of the national newspapers, produced similar editorials excoriating Doug Ford. The unfortunate thing is that although an election is only a year away FordNation has not yet reached the tipping point of rejection. In politics it is a fact that any government has a natural life and at sometime the electorate will eagerly await the demise of an unpopular regime. Kathleen Wynne was dead meat a good year before the election date. FordNation hasn’t reached that point yet but I hope it will.

So while we wait for the tipping point we have to hope that the opposition parties can make an impact. Obviously the leaderless Liberals are doing well only a couple of points behind the Cons. Imagine how many points they could have with a leader that connected with the voters. The NDP have had the same leader for many years and she has had no impact with the voters.

Why? Probably because in this age of ‘personality politics’ MS Horwath doesn’t cut it. Also probably because of money the NDP has failed to advertise. The MSM will not give coverage, the classic example was demonstrated this week when the CBC, in the face of Rosemary Barton (Rosemary Barton Live – a political talk show) started an intro into a segment with the statement, “we have asked Doug Ford to come on the show five times but couldn’t get him so we will speak to Andrea Horwath!” Why wouldn’t the CBC talk to Andrea Horwath they talk to Rachel Notley all the time!

So if I was an advisor to the NDP I would “get the money and blow your own horns!” They have been pushing all the right buttons about COVID relief measures so tell everybody what you would do and slam FordNation all the time. If you don’t have the money get it – Fundraise!!!!!!

Apr
2021
18

A new start

The other day I inadvertently deleted my site and had to set up the pages from scratch. I just wish Doug Ford had done the same this week – started afresh.

As all of us know, because he tells us, Doug Ford purports to follow the advise of his ‘Medical Experts’ but in actual fact he ignores them. The experts have been stating for weeks now that their answer to his problem, the meteoric rise in Covid cases, is twofold – vaccinate the hotspots and limit workplaces to absolutely essential, all others stay at home and receive paid sick leave. He refuses to do either one! This article describes his efforts to derail Public Health

This guy – Ford, is not making himself popular with anybody except perhaps the manufacturers and Amazon type warehouse operators, and continues to blame the Feds for his slow rollout of the vaccine programmes. Blaming the feds may work in the short term but as we know there a million vaccines stored in freezers waiting to be distributed into arms.

On Friday he announced new measures to extend the stay at home regs. and by Saturday night he had rescinded two of his major items due to public backlash and Police resistance. Read this APnews article about the reaction to the latest measures, it is politically devastating to the Provincial Government (I refuse to use the title ‘FordNation’). A recap of Ford’s bad decisions here – from the CBC

But what is to be done when the Government and its lackies (read MMPs) adopt measures that don’t work? Even some of the rightwing press are amazed at these moves read this by Anthony Furey, and Randall Denley, Chris Selley of the National Post, Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star. I would suggest, as many have been doing for the past year, that we implement a total shutdown, pay sick days and allow workers to stay home to look after kids and keep themselves healthy. Only workplaces that service the food industry and essential services be allowed to stay open with restricted capacity.

But this opinion and others are flying in the face of obstinance and pig-headed stubbornness from the Premier. He wants to run the place so let him but as one commentator wrote today “these announcements could be the death rattle of the Government.”, as a Partisan I would hope so!