What is Cool, what is not

It is unfortunate that today’s young people believe that high speed car chases are cool, that smoking or drugs are cool, that war scenes in which civilians are being killed is cool, that using weapons on (imaginary) opponents is cool.
Tell you what is Cool. From my wartime experiences as a 4-year old I can tell you that it is cool to having survived, that it is cool to be standing on the ground and looking up, when the bombers arrived over our homeland and towns and started dropping their loads on us. That it is cool to write about it. That it is not cool to fly over enemy territory with a fighter plane, open a hatch and unload tons of bombs onto unarmed civilians. That it is not cool to receive medals and standing ovations many years later as a war veteran for having done so.
A little story. In the 1980s while living for many years in the Foothills of Alberta Rockies, alone on my land with my horses, I also had a Quarter Section of bare land somewhere West of Cochrane, near Ghost Lake region. It was heavily treed. I rented it out to a group of City people for playing Paint Ball. [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paintball ] . This land was heavily treed. Usually when playing Paint Ball you stick together in a group. I had several (“cool strong guys”) to later arrive out of the trees, crying, because they got lost. When it comes to being cool, how cool is that !
Womens’ rights movement – nothing is more cool than the early fights for womens’ rights. Not so cool is, if women fight other women, or treat their elders with disrespect, as happens in many western cultures.
Cool is if women get the same rights on the job as men, same payment, same conditions, same respect, same treatment. Not cool is to discriminate against women when a company or entire industry falters (like for example the oil industry in Alberta), and women including single mothers are laid off first. As happened specifically at Trans Canada Pipelines Company in Calgary, AB. It seemed that in the 1980s no explanations were needed for these discriminatory practices in that industry.
Cool is to help yourself and others, not so cool is to wait for handouts from a government.

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Women’s Rights

weCanDoItweCanDoItNot always only with our strength, but with ‘mind over body’. This particular very popular image depicts what happened during the aftermath of World War II with many countries destroyed and needing rebuilding, and when in those countries which needed the most rebuilding like for example Germany and Russia, and many more, only women were at hand to do all the hard work.

And what do we see now ? I take as an example Canada, one of the largest and typical immigrants’ continents of North America. A country that since 1812 did never have another war nor had any occupation by enemy nations, nor was forcing women into hard labor to rebuild the country. Wars as per Canadian statistics meaning battles, land battles, disputes, terrorist activity, gang “wars”. Where and when was ever an extended occupation of that country by enemy forces ? Yet Canada lacks when it comes to women’s rights.
With hard labor comes the responsibility of also standing in for one’s country and become completely liberated very quickly. Something that many men did not take to easily when it came to women’s rights. Look at the voting rights for women ( [ http://www.parl.gc.ca/Parlinfo/compilations/ProvinceTerritory/ProvincialWomenRightToVote.aspx ] and women’s rights in particular [ http://www.hrw.org/topic/womens-rights ].
A nice action just came onto my desk: “Women on Banknotes”. By a British Columbia Activist and author Merna Foster (writer, historian, educator, public speaker) [ http://womenonbanknotes.ca/ ]. How many women have it ever made onto a Canadian banknote. Except Royalty.
My long time experiences having lived in Western Canada, Alberta, and having had the privilege to encounter many hard working women, have made me realize how important the women’s rights movement was and still is. Not to forget, my first hand experiences as a longtime employee in Alberta’s oil industry and the discrimination within that industry against female professionals and workers. This must stop !
{See also some of my previous posts: https://renataveritasopinion.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/sexual-crimes-in-the-military/ ; https://renataveritasopinion.wordpress.com/2013/10/05/women-in-construction/ ; http://renataveritashistory.com/2014/05/26/we-can-do-it-women-in-construction/ }

Corporate Losers

Want to meet some big time corporate losers ? How about Capstone Infrastructure Income Fund. [ http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/snapshot/snapshot.asp?ticker=CSE ] Read up on those who manage that fund, and ultimately my own hard-earned savings, by publishing lies about their fund. How safe your investments are, and all sorts of other questionable propaganda. The company was formerly known as Macquarie Power and Infrastructure Corporation and changed its name to Capstone Infrastructure Corporation in April 2011. It is a well-known fact that when a company is not doing too well that they will change their name, supposedly to look like something new and BETTER. Well: “a rose that looks like a rose or smells like a rose is still a rose”. And nothing better. [ http://capstoneinfrastructure.com/NewsCentre/NewsRelease.aspx?smid=52a1fb1f-7ea5-4b52-9b9c-fbdfb0597de0 ]. Change of name 2011.
How has business developed Mr. New and New-New Manager with your new name ? Not any better. Most income consists of ROC (Return Of Capital), the market price of the units way, way down. 2014 downgraded from BUY.
The performance is not surprising, with all those men who are “managing” it. Get some women in and bring your house in order.
I hate losers and liars who just sit there, pay themselves big salaries and bonuses, and when they completely default in their function fly out with a golden parachute.

[see also: https://renataveritasopinion.wordpress.com/2014/11/19/golden-parachute-for-loosers/ ]

Ballooning Household Debt

Small household debt

Banks putting out warnings about world wide ballooning household debts. Do not blame households, put the blame squarely onto the shoulders of advertisers using (one could almost say) criminal marketing techniques. Who needs three automobiles, when they are barely even driven ? Then, why all this advertising of ZERO PERCENT DOWN ? (whatever that means ?). When in fact normal intelligent people know that ZERO percent could become EIGHTEEN percent annually interest, once that kicks in.
While we are at it, why not blame today’s ready access to all sorts of advertising media. Including also illegal via home telephone calling machinery. Most customers and ordinary folks are easy prey to those (marketing) predators, while others only buy what they need. Which would immediately reduce their household debt by eighty percent. [The last category including myself. Zero debt.]

Golden Parachute – for Loosers

WOW ! Listing here only a few of them: Exxon Mobil Corp. former Chief Executive Officer Lee Raymond tops the list with a $351 million payout.  Stan O’Neal, former CEO of Merryl Lynch – 161 million for his retirement/ousting, (after reporting a $2.24 billion loss and the biggest quarterly loss in the company’s 93-year history).  Stephen Elop, former CEO of Nokia – 25 million as a Good-Bye present. Mike Nafirovski, Nortel – 3.4 million (after having requested 12 million), in 2009, when stepping down from a bankrupt company.  Hank McKinnell of Pfizer – a whooping 213 million in 2006 after the company’s stock decline by 40%. Carly Fiorina of Hewlett Packard – 42 million after being forced out.
[NOTE. the above payouts in dollars slightly below or above, depending on the market sources.].
What do they all have in common ? They fucked up big corporations in their capacity as CEO or otherwise at the helm of those companies.
In contrast, compare that with any of the companies within the oil and pipeline industry in their relationships towards professional employees:
Following a takeover within that industry (which happened and still probably does happen frequently), a ‘Kick in the butt to hard-working professionals’ – ZERO cents. Message often was: “Walk out and go home”, especially to vulnerable groups of employees such as women or single mothers. Example: the likes of Trans Canada (TCPL, early 1980’s), and many more of that genre.

Victoria BC Vancouver Island

has one of the most beautiful Parks – Beacon Hill Park – just across from the Ocean – Juan de Fuca Strait, the southern end of Vancouver Island, looking across to Washington State, USA. We have many special birds and foul in the park – particularly colorful peacocks. Today was another sunny day, I walked through the Park taking some video’s of our birds and the Ocean.

Canada Operation Impact – IS

CANADA AIR STRIKES – Northern Iraq

Operation Impact – Canada’s contribution to air strikes against IS targets in Northern Iraq [ http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/operations-abroad-current/op-impact.page ], using CF-188 Hornet fighter jets conducting 62 sorties in Northern Iraq. This morning’s interview with the Minister of Defence on CFAX Radio 1070, explaining those recent missions. Latest air strikes following the Remembrance Day ceremonies across Canada – recounting all those heroic deeds of long past wars (heroic as in attacking entire populations from the air). As the past has shown, air missions inevitably target not only specific often small areas, but surrounding areas, which has resulted and will result again in killing large numbers of civilian populations, and children. Only cowards attack from the air. The so called coalition forces (most of whom are sceptical about these newest US/Canada air attacks on their soil) have their “boots on the ground”, fighting. [ http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/u-s-led-airstrikes-against-isis-kill-at-least-860-activists-say-1.2832092 ].

Citizenship Injustice

Loosing one’s citizenship of birth is a big deal, especially if the new country of citizenship has not been acquired in the course of regular or desired immigration, but merely due to circumstance and under duress.
Canadian citizenship usually is easy to acquire, provided there is proof of employment (at least this was the case forty years ago when we arrived) or maybe a sponsor – some sort of relative who lives here already. Dual citizenship used to be more difficult. Many larger European countries removed birth citizenship from any of their citizens once they assumed Canadian. Of course, Canada does not care much about dual, but it is the country of birth that controls it – either keep it or loose it.
In between there were multiple citizenship and immigration reforms, one of them allowing dual citizenship under the following circumstances: At the time when applying for the Canadian one must prove that there is still a bind with the home country, family or property or other. In my case, my entire family never left their country, they are all in Europe, only myself and at that time my little son were in Canada.
Unfortunately, all this happening before the European Union (EU) came into being.
Also in between and many years ago my son – who has dual citizenship because he was born in a smaller European country – returned to his home country for good.  Meanwhile I am still in Canada, still only Canadian citizenship, and when travelling to my home country am forced to go to the Foreigners’ Office to buy myself an extension for stay, else stay is limited to three months.
To argue: why do those who do not care about Canadian citizenship – because they neither live here anymore nor are interested in Canadian affairs – still keep and retain dual citizenship including Canadian, while at the same time those who decided to immigrate to Canada retain theirs, although they never even visit their home country anymore.
We should allow dual citizenship for those Canadians who are longtime taxpayers in this country and receive pensions in this country, but have all of their family residing in Europe. This not also because of complicated taxation issues arising out of income in both countries, but mainly to make a long term visit to their families, instead of only a measly three months.

Travelling – Taxi’s – saving money

How to save money when travelling. The answer and also the most important mantra is: behave local, pretend to be local, speak local. Meaning, do not behave like a tourist.

In general, careful with taxi drivers. Even when carrying luggage, which immediately makes you out as a tourist, avoiding explanations or talking about expensive adventure trips or giving the impression of arriving from expensive trips does not help to lower the cab fare, but will drive it up.
Especially if needing to make a “deal” with that cab driver. He may agree to an offer initially, but after listening to fancy travel stories, still must talk to his dispatcher. Result, the initially discussed fare has doubled.

Any transportation industry driven by unionized transport companies, or even private, can manipulate their pricing according to who they service. In many countries meters often are not regulated or turned on. Better, to use public transport.

Therefore, any time during my travels I try to blend in as a local, preferably speaking the same language. When it comes to discussing any pricing, not to mention any touristy stuff, or anything that sounds really expensive. Rather, pretending to be some poor schmuck, stuck somewhere, and not having a lot of “dough”, or just going home.  Remember, LOCALS PAY LESS. Even if someone is lugging a heavy suitcase, pretend to live there.

Marrakesh, Morocco: Crazy cab drivers, always want to go anywhere and everywhere, around and around (mostly ending up in the same market square – where their families are selling wares). Tell them right away (en français, SVP) “been in Marrakesh for weeks, go here, not there”. They’ll do it.
St. Martin, Caribique: Needed a taxi, only had a couple French Francs on me. Offering the nice local lady cab driver. She was fine with that. Coming back to my resort, Americans complaining: “cost us 20 Dollars”.

Cycling – Be Seen – Safety

It is a well known fact that cyclists sharing a road with motorized vehicles and have a run-in or collision never win. Neither do motor cyclists win against heavier vehicles as a result of a collision.
Precautions can be taken, of which one of the most important ones is COLOUR, according to the mantra “Be Seen”. Two colour items can save lives: Bright clothing, such as yellow and hot pink or similar; and more importantly a good white front light and a good strong red rear light.
When I cycle, out of twenty or more cyclists I meet on the trails maybe one only has those lights, and they are on. This should be a legal requirement, same as daylight permanent lights on any North American motorized vehicle. Better invest in a $20 light than loose your life.
Be Seen and See. The second precaution is: “do not only rely on a rear view mirror (if any), but look over your shoulder frequently”. Meaning, do not rely on vehicle drivers paying attention to you as a cyclist. Be prepared !