While Calgarians struggled with making ends meet during a pandemic lockdown which followed a protracted economic downturn, they were greeted by yet another massive tax increase from the city of Calgary in the mail this week.
To add insult to injury, Mayor Naheed Nenshi spent even more tax dollars to include a personal letter from him explaining how the tax hike really isn’t that bad. He even adds some bullshit in claiming that the city had found $750 million in savings. That is utter pap of course. The city has continued to greatly increase spending thus has to keep raising taxes. The math is way too clear on this one for folks to fall for Nenshi’s number juggling. I wonder if Facebook and Twitter will start marking the Mayor’s claims as being fake news soon?
Getting lectured by Canada’s highest paid mayor who enjoys not one but two tax-funded pensions has to be infuriating to Calgarians who are dipping into their meager retirement savings just to make the rent or mortgage payment this month. Unlike the vast majority of Calgarians, Nenshi hasn’t lost a nickle of compensation during this crisis. He is shielded from the impact of it and it has left him blind to the economic hardships that citizens are enduring.
Nenshi feels that Calgarians want and need to pay more taxes. They just need it explained to them by him. You can hear his condescending voice in your mind and envision him looking at the ceiling with his eyes closed while you read the garbage he wrote in the enclosed letter.
Election time is just over a year away now. Nenshi is finally only the ropes and he knows it.
With limits on contributions, Nenshi has had to get more creative in getting his campaign message out. Regular candidates have to spend tens of thousands on mailouts to citizens. Nenshi simply hits the taxpayers for it. I am sure we can look forward to a few more of these self-serving messages from the Mayor over the next year as he spends your money in hopes of retaining his platinum plated job for another four years.
Nenshi and council plan to commit the city to a “Green Line” to nowhere with a price tag which will land in the billions.
You can rest assured that there will be another huge tax increase in the mail this time next year. The letter accompanying it from the Mayor should be just as galling as the bill itself.
For a good period of years, I spent more time working in various parts of the United States than I did within Canada. On average I would spend perhaps 40 days in one area and my locations ranged from the Texas/Mexico border to upstate New York. It was a blue collar role so I wasn’t sequestered in high end urban hotels. It gave me time to observe and learn and it gave me a unique perspective on some issues. I don’t have a lot of answers to what is a huge and entrenched problem within the United States. That nation is a powder keg of racial tension and periodic race riots prove that out.
I am a typical Canadian. I have had it good. My family was middle class and I am not part of a visible minority. I have over the course of my life seen racism in Canada but not on the level or degree of what I observed when I began working south of the border.
I love the United States and the American people. I wouldn’t have spent years working down there if this wasn’t the case. They are our closest neighbors and if we are to be compared to any other nation, we are without question more like Americans than any other nation. I did not see a hotbed of screaming, tiki-torch waving white supremacists while I was down there. Those extremists exist but they are in a tiny minority. It was the unspoken and less immediately apparent racial divisions that distressed me the most.
On my first job in Texas I really got to see the division first hand. I arrived in a South Texas town of perhaps 12,000 people and went to a gas station to fill up before seeking my motel. It was when I was standing in line to pay for my fuel when I realized that I was the only white person at the station. Gas stations are social hangouts down there where folks have a beer and play instant lottery tickets. From the people in line, to the folks behind the counter to the folks hanging out in the parking lot, they were all black. Nobody hassled me or anything like that though I did garner some sidelong glances.
My first assumption was that this town I was in was a predominantly black community. I was wrong. I was just in the black part of town.
I learned over the next few days that the town was essentially divided into four parts. There was the black part, the Mexican part, the white part and the downtown which was the one zone aside from Wal Mart where everybody was prone to mixing. The residential areas, convenience stores, restaurants, gas stations etc. were all divided by invisible lines which folks instinctively tended not to cross. The non-white parts of town were invariably the ones most evidently in the low income bracket.
The casual racism really floored me. I remember meeting with a local oil company operator out there to discuss where some of their pipelines were and he offered me some friendly advice on local eateries. He recommended a barbeque place but made sure to add “Its a nigger place, but its still the best barbeque in town.”. It wasn’t simply the word which staggered me though admittedly in my world I don’t hear it used often. It was the way he simply put it. He wasn’t trying to offend me or get a reaction. He wasn’t spitting it out in hate. It was a simple word in his lexicon which he didn’t think twice about using in what he felt was a friendly conversation with a visitor to town. He didn’t think it odd in any way and likely didn’t even realize he used it. This was a well educated, middle-class man. Not a backwater redneck as some would assume.
The other thing which was striking was how divided things were by race, even in smaller communities. In Canada we certainly have some parts of cities which are divided predominantly by ethnic communities but this tends to only be in major cities and the division and tension is not nearly as bad. Communities under a few hundred thousand don’t have it yet in many American communities of only a few thousand, the division is real and evident.
Much of the attitude is more of a “We don’t have a problem with them as long as they stick to their own end of town.” and that attitude springs from folks of all races. It is an consequence of the divisions.
This issue is far from just being a Southern one.
I spent months in Williamsport Pennsylvania. It is a city of less than 30,000 in Northern PA which is best known for holding the little league world series of baseball.
If you travel Northwest of the city center, you enter a district loaded with some of the most impressive mansions I have ever seen in my life. In going just a few short blocks South of that district of mansions, you enter a part of town which looks like something from a dystopian movie. The houses and buildings are in wretched condition while broken down cars choke the streets. I drove down one alley where I thought I saw poplar fluff blowing up behind my truck. On stopping and having it look, it turned out to be countless, used little ziplock bags. The crack and meth use is an outright epidemic and again, it was all just blocks from a district full of millionaires. That was the black district. The line is invisible but it is real.
On that job in Williamsport, we had to rent rooms and houses in order to put up our crews. The shale oil boom was in full tilt and motel rooms were impossible to find. I had a young black fellow who came by the house I was residing in on a few occasions who was seeking a job. Folks in the neighborhood knew the home was being rented as a field office.
I needed a laborer for bush clearing and I hired him. It seemed perfect since we wouldn’t have to pay for housing and he seemed like a good ambitious young man who could do a good job.
The first problem I encountered was from my own crews. These guys were predominantly from the Corning, New York area and they made it quite clear that they were not impressed with the “speck of pepper in the salt shaker” as they put it. I was infuriated and laid down the law. It was made clear that any of them who had a problem with the hire were welcome to go back to New York. It again was an example of the division that existed while I didn’t even realize it until I tried to mix races on the crew.
Well, wouldn’t you know it but the guy I hired turned out to be rather lazy and talked a better game than he played. That had nothing to do with race. I just made a bad judgement. Either way, this fellow quit mid-day on me after a couple weeks on the job. He called and asked to be picked up from the field. I was rather pissed off and told him to finish out the day at least. He refused to work and I refused to come and get him. I told him I would be out at 5 to get him when the rest of the crews were done.
Later that afternoon I got a phone call from a Sheriff’s department saying they had picked up a fellow loitering who had claimed to work for me. My former employee had decided to walk out to a rural road to sit around and wait to be picked up. Somebody local had spotted him sitting there and had called the cops. Not only did the cops come out, they detained him until it could be confirmed that he wasn’t up to anything bad.
It is not an imagined or exaggerated thing folks. It is utterly foreign to us Canadians, but black people down there put up with shit that we can’t even imagine. A black person can’t even sit on a country road without arousing suspicion and the police response was to treat him as being guilty until proven innocent. His crime was only in being lazy. The police wouldn’t let him out of their car until I arrived. They didn’t want further calls if he was sitting unattended until I got there.
Had that been a white crew member, people would have stopped to ask if he was OK or needed a ride. Since it was a black fellow, the cops were called.
I have plenty more observances and anecdotes but I think I have rambled enough to make my point here.
Slavery is gone and the Jim Crow laws are a part of history. The racial division is as bad as ever though and it is more of a matter of societal and cultural attitude than it is legislative. Unfortunately, entrenched attitudes are far more difficult to change than law are.
The vast majority of Americans are not frothing racists. Most of the racism which is occurring is unconscious and being practiced by people who don’t even know they are doing it.
Now try to put yourselves into the shoes of a marginalized American black person growing up in one of those segregated communities. Imagine constantly being passed up for promotions due to your race after being passed on for many jobs in the first place. Imagine being pulled over for “random” checks because you are driving a late model vehicle. Imagine people crossing the road rather than passing you on a sidewalk. Imagine not being able to simply sit on a country road without the police being called.
I don’t know what any of that feels like but I can understand how it would foster the rage and frustration which has fed the rioting in Minneapolis this week, St. Louis the other year or Los Angeles decades ago.
How impotent it must feel to watch a video and to see a man murdered by police while the authorities initially react by putting the murderous cops on paid leave.
It took days of rioting before Derek Chauvin was finally arrested. Would he have ever been charged had their not been riots? Would he have been charged faster if the many he killed was not white? Its hard to answer those questions but it helps rationalize the rioting.
I know that there are some Antifa extremists and other assorted groups with their own causes taking part in the Minneapolis riots. Let’s not pretend that the majority of the riots are being conducted by disenfranchised and enraged black people though.
I don’t have the answers here. I really wish I did.
I just want to share some insights into part what is feeding all this division, violence and hate. I think that a lot of Americans who are living within the issue actually can’t see it and a lot of Canadians have never actually spent enough time in the right areas to see it. We are all horrified and confused.
As I said at the start of this ramble though, the United States is one big powder keg. We are going to see a lot more unrest and violence over the coming years due to their racial divisions. I just hope I could lend a little experience to help others understand why it is so.
One of the biggest challenges facing independence movements in the West over the decades has been that they are always reactive rather than proactive.
An event or events occur which infuriates Westerners. People scramble and cobble together independence groups and parties. The rage over the aforementioned events cools. The groups and parties descend into internal squabbling and fall apart as their numbers dry up.
The above cycles of events have happened a number of times in Alberta’s history. Last fall we saw the first part of this cycle begin as fury over the re-election of Trudeau lit a fire across the prairies. This time things may be different though. The independence movement may avoid the cycle of self-destruction this time for a number of reasons.
To begin with, independence minded people have tools for communication and organization like never before. When I led the Alberta Independence Party in 2001, we gained thousands of members in a hurry. Unfortunately we were barely organized and with only perhaps 20 percent of members having email in those days, reaching out to them was expensive and difficult. We either had to spend a great deal of effort and money on a mailout or were at the whim of an often hostile media for messaging. It made keeping members engaged and unified nearly impossible. Now with something as simple as Facebook, Wexit literally gathered and communicates with hundreds of thousands of independence minded Westerners at no cost. It is a profound organizational tool.
Another pitfall with independence movements has been splintering as disparate groups split support and fight among each other. With a likely merger on the way between Wexit and the Freedom Conservative Party into a new entity, we are seeing a cooperative approach that past independence groups didn’t have. With the massive member base of Wexit combined with the established and registered party foundation of the FCP, we will likely soon see the most powerful registered independence party in Alberta’s history.
When I took the Alberta Independence Party into the 2001 election, we were up against the powerhouse of the Ralph Klein government. We made some decent inroads all things considered but it was damn tough running against such a popular Alberta icon. Jason Kenney is proving himself to be no Ralph Klein. While most governments gain support in times of crisis, the UCP is stumbling along with dropping support numbers. His conservative base is becoming increasingly uncomfortable as the PC old boys club appears to have re-established itself and they are seeking a new option. Should the Wildrose Independence Party indeed come into being, they will be immediately presented with an opportunity to harvest disaffected conservatives to their movement.
Independence movements heat and cool with time. The difference this time is that the movement has only just started to cool down and an event may be approaching which could take the independence movement from being a rainstorm to a hurricane. Trudeau may very well call a snap election this fall.
Trudeau is embarrassed. It is all about vanity with him and in taking a Liberal majority into a minority in one term, he has proven himself to be one of the weakest Liberal leaders in Canadian history. Trudeau desperately wants to regain a majority to prove at least to himself that he is a leader on par with his father. An opportunity to gain that majority is presenting itself to Trudeau right now and it will be hard for him to resist it.
The federal Conservative Party of Canada leadership race has been lackluster to say the least. They can’t be totally faulted for this. The pandemic lockdown has kept them from holding events and traditionally campaigning. It is hard to build excitement among supporters through a speech delivered by Youtube. That said, the crop of contenders hasn’t exactly been setting the support base on fire and nobody is seeing an electoral powerhouse emerging on the scene.
While the CPC has been essentially gagged by the pandemic lockdown, the Trudeau Liberals have been enjoying the opposite scenario. Every morning for months now, Trudeau has been able to hold what is essentially a live tax funded campaign commercial as he dollops out new handouts to Canadians who are overjoyed to see their own money coming back to them. This has paid off in spades as the Liberals are currently polling with a strong and growing lead over the CPC. The Liberal numbers are back in clear majority territory.
While Trudeau may a fool, his advisors aren’t. They know that polling numbers are fluid and they know that in this case they are going to have to strike while the iron is hot. When economic reality comes home to roost (and it will), Canadians along with their government are going to have to deal with the fact that they have been living on the credit cards for months. We have taken on staggering debt levels and we are going to be facing a depressed economy for years. No matter what government is in power, they will have to bring about some heavy cuts in spending. Voters never like austerity even if it is unavoidable. A minority government will never survive an austerity period. The only way to avoid this fate would be to call a snap election and establish a majority. That would buy Trudeau four or five years to deal with things.
The calling of a snap election would be a shallow and crass move by Trudeau. Canadians would immediately see the self-interest in the move and be repulsed. That said, they will still probably give him the majority that he seeks. Eastern Canada and lower mainland BC aren’t going to be embracing the Conservatives any time soon.
With the re-election of Trudeau to a majority government, the explosion of independence sentiment in the West will make last fall’s reaction look like a firecracker.
Last fall, there was not a well known or organized independence party ready to embrace that surge in independence support. The Alberta Independence Party was in the midst of internal turmoil and nobody else was on the horizon. As always, independence movements were reactive. That won’t happen this time.
This year a new Wildrose Independence Party will be organized and on the block. If they can get it together, they will have a plan, a rational set of policies and an articulate leader to present this to Albertans. It will be the first pro-active approach to an independence wave in Alberta history and it could very well establish the movement permanently.
There are a whole lot of “ifs” in my speculation. Most are beyond the control of Albertans.
One thing which is in our control though is preparing our response to the perfect storm. The first step will be to present a united movement in the pursuit of independence. Wexit and the Freedom Conservative Party are preparing to do just that. If the merger fails however, Albertans will only be able to react to the storm again rather than harness it. Let’s hope that the members choose wisely.
It has been nearly a month since Georgia governor Brian Kemp began ending the lockdown in his state.
As can be expected, the “experts”, the Karens and the assorted Henny Pennies went wild.
They called Kemp every name in the book and predicted mass infections and devastation.
As with in other jurisdictions, Mayors strongly opposed opening the economy again. Why Mayors have such a collective disassociation with economic reality is fodder for another post.
Even Trump jumped in on the dog-pile. This must have been very distressing for the Trump deranged folks who opposed opening things up. On one hand, they agreed with Trump, but on the other hand they couldn’t agree because they were locked into the “Orange Man bad!” mentality with everything he does.
Well, Kemp ignored the shrill cries of the panic porn mongers and went ahead with his plans.
With almost a month behind us since his crazed plan went into action, we can now look at some numbers.
Surely the people of Georgia have been dropping like flies. Doubtless the hospitals and ICUs have been overwhelmed. Chaos and disorder must be reigning right?
Those damn Georgians ignored the “experts” and refused to die in droves. After opening up their economy, their numbers dropped and continued to do so.
Its funny, it used to be the panic-porn mongers who constantly put out the charts and graphs as they projected doom and gloom. They have pretty much stopped with that as their hysteric projections have proven to be utter bunk.
Now the graphs and charts are coming from people who support ending the lockdowns. The pro-economy folks are not using projections like the Henny Pennies though. We are using real numbers. Perhaps its time that our governments began to do so as well.
Georgia is not an outlier. In every state where lockdowns have ended, the number of infections has decreased.
This trend is apparent worldwide as well as countries end their lockdowns.
It is becoming questionable as to whether lockdowns actually had any impact at all.
People are going out. They are shopping and going to parks. Yes, most are practicing “social distancing” but many are not. If lockdowns were effective, we should have seen infection spikes as increased movement and interaction among people spread the virus even with controls in place.
The spikes never happened. They won’t happen.
When we were locked down supposedly for two weeks to “flatten the curve”, the curve never even materialized as “expert” projections turned out to be garbage. Still, we were told that we must remain locked down because the numbers weren’t in. Surely a mass infection was pending any time now.
We are nearing two months of lockdown. The plague never came and the fearmongers can no longer pretend that we don’t have numbers to justify re-opening.
The other sets of numbers which are coming in are economic and they are indeed dire.
When I first heard of federal political parties applying for and collecting the 75 percent wage subsidy for COVID-19 relief, I had only heard about the NDP doing it. I laughed and looked forward to rubbing their noses in it. Typical socialists sucking dollars from the tax payers at all opportunities.
I should have known better.
After the story broke about the NDP collecting the subsidy, low and behold we find that both the Liberals and Conservatives have their hands out and are collecting the subsidy as well.
As the lockdown decimates our economy, people have held back on political donations. Hardly a shocker. This means that these damn parties should be cutting back and possibly laying off their staffers.
I understand that jobs are jobs and staffers are people too but we simply can’t compare political parties with businesses.
To begin with, political parties issue an extremely generous tax credit for all donations.
For example, if you donate $400 to a federal political party, you will receive a 75 percent tax credit!
Not a tax write off. A full credit. This means you will get $300 back.
That means these parties are already enjoying a 75 percent subsidy on the backs of taxpayers. They should not have the ability to double down and hit taxpayers further with the 75 percent wage subsidy.
Remember as well, this is just for the parties themselves. The political entity.
Government members and their support staff are still fully employed and with very generous compensation. The pandemic has not impacted their wallets a bit.
If these parties need more funds for their activities, they should appeal to their members.
It is gross to see these political entities sidling up to the taxpayer teat to fund their staffers.
Taxpayers get screwed enough as it is in general. The wage subsidy dollars have limits and they are meant to ease the burden on struggling businesses. Not bloody political parties.
Personally, I would like to see things opened up for political parties. Get rid of the maximums and controls on contributions but get rid of the tax credit offerings as well. If that were the case, then perhaps I could see why it may be acceptable for taxpayers to help them out in times of crisis. As it is now though? They are already well taken care of by the taxpayers.
Be sure to reach out and tell your MP so. It doesn’t matter which party is in your riding. It looks like they are all dipping in.
It was a repugnant display of tribal, racial politics.
Biden’s repugnant statement wasn’t just said out loud, he said it to a black man.
Biden’s attitude is well known but they usually use the term “Uncle Tom”. I guess Joe thought that it would soften the blow if he simply told black folks that they weren’t black. That leaves it open to interpretations that they may actually be Asian or Inuit or something.
There will be months of gaffes from Biden as he stumbles through his campaign with a less than stable mind.
This fall’s election will be Trump’s to lose. All Trump has to do is shut up and let Biden do his work for him. Of course with Trump being incapable of shutting up, we may see all sorts of changing in the tides in the next few months yet.
Biden’s chance of winning the hearts of black Republican supporters (many of them do exist) just utterly evaporated. He just caused countless other black folks to either chose to vote for Trump out of sheer spite or to stay home on voting day.
One thing the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated this last few months is just how corrupt and destructive the government of China truly is.
From chronic false information to suppression of information to their horrific treatment of their own people to their increasingly corrupt and predatory world business practices, China has been proving itself to be one of the most destructive countries on the planet.
The Western world has allowed itself to become desperately dependent upon inexpensive consumer goods of Chinese origin while letting Chinese companies buy up Western assets with the proceeds. With the pandemic bringing China into sharp world focus, most nations and consumers are realizing that they should be working to distance themselves from that corrupted state.
Canada meanwhile seems to be determined to immerse itself even more deeply into economic dependence with the Chinese. While throttling energy development in Alberta, the Trudeau government has approved a Chinese company to drill for oil off the Newfoundland coast. While Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig remain imprisoned for nearly 18 months on shaky charges in China, Trudeau refuses to consider holding back on the expansion of Huawei’s 5G network in Canada. The list goes on and on. China acts as a rogue nation internationally while Trudeau looks the other way.
Citizens have practically begged Trudeau to be critical of China but his silence remains deafening. Meanwhile, Trudeau’s communications teams work their utter hardest to shut down all critique of China and try to label it all as racism.
Why is Trudeau so terrified when it comes to standing up against China for the benefit of Canada?
The answer is sad and simple. Trudeau desperately wants a seat on the UN security council and he is willing to throw Canada under the bus to get it.
China holds one of the precious five permanent seats on the UN security council along with the very powerful veto ability that comes with it. While China can’t necessarily put their own choice on the security council, they sure can make it tough for a nation to get on the council if they choose to. With the veto ability and their sheer power on the world stage, China can quite easily pressure enough nations to ensure that another nation doesn’t get the 2/3 required support to get a seat. This of course terrifies Trudeau. He is kissing every international ass that he can in hopes of winning that oh so precious seat and China’s ass is among the most influential in the bunch.
What really is to be gained in having a temporary UN security council seat anyway?
In reality, nothing material. The seat is simply a vanity trophy and potential legacy for Justin Trudeau. Justin Trudeau really hasn’t any significant accomplishments under his belt as far as being a Prime Minister goes aside from being one of the only Liberal Prime Ministers to lose a majority government after just one term. If only Justin could secure a UN security council seat as his daddy did in the late seventies, he could feel like he accomplished something outstanding during his tenure.
A temporary seat on the security council of a corrupted organization dominated by dictators isn’t worth a piss hole drilled in the snow.
The heavy hitters with permanent seats and veto powers will always dominate decisions and the representatives from backwards, authoritarian states will dominate UN votes in any broader decisions. The organization in general is pretty impotent.
While the world faces an economic crisis like we haven’t seen since the 1930s, our “leadership” is unfortunately still more focused on an international vanity project rather than dedicating time, resources and policy towards our economic recovery.
Justin’s personal goal is also allowing China to walk all over us with impunity.
Canada is currently under the leadership of the most shallow, vacuous and vain Prime Minister in history. His pursuit of personal legacy projects is coming at the expense of us all.
It’s tough to break large monopolies, particularly in social media. The big players have staked out their turf. They jealously guard their territory and consumers tend to gravitate to the providers with the largest reach.
Facebook has the social networking wrapped up. Youtube has the videos cornered. Twitter has the short form communication dominated. Instagram owns the image sharing market and Linkedin has the business sector. How does an up and comer possibly chip into those markets.
Remember Myspace? Only 15 years ago it was the largest social networking site in the world and it held that title for years. It seemed that nobody would replace it. Facebook blew it out of the water and while Myspace still exists, it is essentially a backwater echo on the internet now.
The lesson here is that any current social media monolith can be knocked down even if it looks impossible right now.
We are due for a sea change among these providers and perhaps we are starting to see evidence that one is coming.
The news that Joe Rogan has signed a deal with Spotify and will be removing his content from Youtube and Apple by this September has rocked the social media world.
Joe Rogan is undeniably one of the top podcasters on earth with his show garnering a staggering 190 million downloads per month. Rogan’s video version is popular as well with 8.4 million Youtube subscribers. Apple and Youtube will now be losing that massive amount of traffic along with the associated revenue.
Apple and Youtube are massive and this move will hardly financially cripple them as platforms. The loss of such a prolific producer of content for them is significant and will have ramifications. People often follow the leader and other major content producers are surely re-examining where they distribute their productions now when they hadn’t considered it only a few weeks ago.
Content hosts such as Youtube, Twitter and Facebook have forgotten who draws that lucrative traffic to them. These platforms feel that they have become too big to fail and that has allowed a lot of arrogance to creep into how they treat people who create content. With ever increasing de-platforming taking place, particularly among conservative creators, social media giants are creating a demand for a new platform. The heavyweights have already forgotten the fate of Myspace and perhaps that is a good thing.
Spotify is hardly a lightweight in the social media world but it was tiny compared to Apple and Youtube. For them to have grabbed an exclusive deal with such a major personality as Rogan is an incredible coup. It has demonstrated that competition still exists and that social media giants can only take their content creators for granted for so long.
Tiring of the increasing squeeze from social media giants, some content producers have been working on creating their own platforms in order to get their shows out.
David Rubin, host of the “Rubin Report” has launched a new platform called “Locals”
De-funding conservative commentators has gone hand in hand with general de-platforming. Patreon provided a service where readers/viewers could directly sponsor the content providers they enjoyed. The problem was, Patreon notoriously and shamelessly shuts down conservative content creators.
Frustrated with this, Rubin created a whole new platform where people could create content and make money while remaining immune from censorship. Aside from outright illegal content, people can create, post and try to gain a following with whatever content they please.
Locals is subscription based. That does make things tough. People are programmed for “free” content and are often loathe to dig out their wallets and directly spend on content. This formula does inspire creators to make content which will grab and retain those subscribers. It can be lucrative and the creator won’t need to fear having the rug pulled out from under them.
With a subscriber based system, quality of discourse among platform users immediately improves as well. It is nearly impossible to have a rational discussion on a topic with a horde of anonymous trolls who flood Twitter and Youtube commentary. It reminds me of when I played online poker. When playing in the free games, the play was horrible. People went all in on a whim and didn’t really care about the game. When entering even a 25 cent entry tournament however, they play became incredibly better. With even that tiny investment, people felt compelled to take it seriously.
Its going to be a tough slog all the same. Time will tell if Locals takes off. I sure hope it does.
Thinkspot was created around Dr. Jordan Peterson and has a similar goal and subscription based platform.
The intent of Thinkspot is to have some uncensored and reasoned postings from thought leaders and to have reasonable debate and discourse on these postings.
Hopefully this platform grows as well.
No new platform is taking the social media world by storm yet but it is inevitable that one eventually will. Frustration with the de-platforming of voices will surely be one of the prime drivers in this change.
Who or what comes about to replace the current content hosting status-quo remains to be seen. When we see folks like Joe Rogan moving away from what was considered to be the traditional platforms, we see a shift in thinking beginning. Rogan can afford to go wherever he likes. It is tougher for smaller creators to do so. Rogan is blazing the trail though and hopefully it leads to a larger exodus from the social media heavyweights.
Without creators, Youtube, Apple and Facebook are nothing. Its time that they were reminded of that.
Mayor Nenshi and his collection of supportive mushrooms on Calgary city council are madly scrambling to set the “Green Line” boondoggle in stone before fiscal reality has a chance to scuttle their legacy project. The $5 billion dollar project has already been a gong show for years and has gone 100 percent over budget before it has even begun. How can this be? Well, while the inept city administration under the guidance of an incompetent city council pissed around over this mega-project for years, the costs simply kept exploding. Rather than admit that they blew the budget however, they simply cut the size of the project in half. That is another way of doubling the cost without the dollar figure changing. Rest assured that dollar figure will continue to explode if this ridiculous transit expansion goes ahead.
We are entering a period of austerity and every level of government has to examine what is a need or a want.
The green line is certainly not a need and in light of changes to things during the pandemic, not many people really want it anymore either.
Lets look at why Calgary’s downtown is in decline and why it won’t be coming back any time soon.
CROWDED OFFICES ARE OUT OF STYLE AS PEOPLE SHIFTED TO WORKING FROM HOME
The days of crowded cubical living are gone. This trend has been happening for years as modern communications took away the need for people to come into a common office space. With tens of thousands in Calgary having shifted to working from home in this last month, we can rest assured that they won’t be moving back to those offices.
Companies are saving money, people have found a better quality of work life and with new fears of infectious diseases, folks are no longer keen to work in close quarters with hundreds of others.
Calgary’s downtown offices had already been at 30 percent vacancy due to the slump in demand for fossil fuels and massive city taxes. That number will likely rise to 50 percent as oil demand remains low and people don’t return to their old offices.
That means tens of thousands fewer commuters going downtown. Why on earth should we spend $5 billion on expanding transit services downtown then?
DENSE URBAN LIVING HAS GONE OUT OF STYLE
Who wants to live in a densely packed building where you share countless surfaces which need touching along with being crammed into elevators and possibly even communal laundry services?
In light of the misery of trying to “socially distance” for this last few months, I suspect that many many people are looking to move to the less costly and far cleaner living options provided by suburban living.
How long will this lockdown last? How long will the next one last? Who will be the next person infected?
Demand for sardine can living downtown will drop. The lack of downtown jobs will contribute to this as well.
In light of that, why spend $5 billion on expanding transit downtown?
PUBLIC TRANSIT USE IS OUT OF STYLE
Riding on public transit was rather gross and unsettling even before the pandemic hit.
Now the thought of being jammed body to body on a train or bus with hundreds of other breathing, sweating, coughing, farting people holds less appeal than ever.
Private vehicles and rideshare were already the most popular means of transportation in Calgary. Demand for those options will only grow.
Funds are going to be tight. It will be tough for the city to maintain fire and police service, much less build a massive transit project which is meant to service a demand in decline.
Nenshi is upset in having lost his billion dollar Olympic vanity project. He won’t let go of this trophy easily.
The time to speak up is now. There is no justifying the green line at this time. Calgarians have to let the Mayor and council know that there will be a political price to pay if they lock taxpayers into this boondoggle when it is so clear they we don’t need it.
Will enough folks speak up though? I wish I could say I was confident that they would.
So much for government transparency. I have had to submit a FOIP request to get the report of the “Fair Deal” panel which was released to government days ago and which Jason Kenney refuses to share with the Albertans who own it.
It is not hard to tell that the government understands that they are doing something shameful when they put the release out on the Saturday of a long weekend.
The Kenney government wants Albertans to forget the time they took to attend winter meetings throughout the province to share their thoughts on Alberta’s role within confederation. The government doesn’t feel that Albertans have the right to see what was concluded after 40,000 people submitted their thoughts online.
It is pretty sad that I have to go to this trouble to see a document which I already bought as a taxpayer but I will not let this go nor will other Albertans.
I have also linked to an online petition. Albertans need to stand up and demand the information which is rightfully theirs.
Is the timing inconvenient for the Premier?
Too damn bad.
We can walk and chew gum at the same time.
There is no reason to delay the release of the “Fair Deal” panel any longer.
It isn’t Jason Kenney’s report. It is Albertans.
Please click though, sign and share the petition below.