April 7, 2020

Covid Journal, April 7, 2020 – New Rules Edition

By admin

The newspaper folks in Canada are clamouring for bailouts (despite the fact that just 5 execs kept 70% of bailout money for themselves), as are the oil producers, largely in Alberta.

Meanwhile, the Toronto Sun calls out Andrew Scheer for being a douche. What?!?!?

And other writers and publications are calling out Trump … basically as a failure.

Oddly enough, I see good news in some of these pieces because a few important people are asking honest questions about different levels of leadership.

Today’s edition from me? I’m going to start skecthing out some ‘new rules’ that are just ideas only … so please don’t get in a rage … but thoughts that try to capture what we’ve observed and hopefully learned from all of this:

  • A universal guaranteed income.
  • A complete overhaul of our relations with Canada’s First Nations. I don’t have an answer here, but we have an OBLIGATION to ensure that they all at LEAST have clean, running water and reasonably priced food.
  • A radically simplified tax system that ultimately prevents billionaires from skipping out on their share. All Canadians pay in if they want to live, function and, most importantly, do business here.
  • Full transparency with any company that does business with any level of government. Don’t like that? Don’t do business with the government. If you take money from the public in exchange for services, any member of the public has a right to audit your numbers.
  • For that matter, we need to integrate coops more completely in our society. More means of production need to be owned by local people as opposed to shareholders that just don’t give a shit. Not quite full-fledged Communism, thanks, but certainly something that we need to offer as a REAL option for viable, long-term economic activity. All governments and the people of Canada should take the value of coops VERY seriously.
  • In order to be better prepared future crises, we need a national strategic manufacturing plan and stockpiling of essential gear.
  • Every Canadian will now be required to log a minimum 1 year of volunteer service with an approved organization. Religion won’t count.
  • For education, we need to put an end to separate school boards. All children and students receiving public education should be treated as equals.
  • Teachers have the upper hand after all of this, as do nurses, EMT workers, correctional officers, police officers, grocery workers, truckers, and so on. Even artists deserve more than they are getting now. We need to understand that and find a way to bring a better balance to their lives.
  • WIth education, we need to return to teaching all students (even many adults) about the necessities of life and how to be independent of mass chains that only think about the giant cash vacuum. Basic skills like nutrition, health / physical studies, growing food all year round, preserving food, balancing a chequebook, paying your bills, making food for now and for storage and so on. Not so much prepper-type stuff, but pretty darn close!
  • Education for strategic trades should be free or nearly free. Same for additional training for establishing and operating your own business.
  • Our provincial governments need to get out of the alcohol and drug business and into the counseling, therapy and social remediation business. Anyone that wants a license to sell alcohol and drugs, can do so, but has to pay a $1,000,000 per year licensing fee plus additional ‘sin’ taxes.
  • An end to the Beer Store and LCBO.
  • Bottles and recyclables can either be handled by private companies that pay individuals for their returns, so long as they have a plan for 100% re-use of said products or a plan for elimination of said products.
  • Ban casinos.
  • We need to decriminalize drug possession but require treatment for abuse of specific addictive products.
  • Require that voting at all levels be mandatory. Failure to vote will result in a financial penalty and possible social services requirement.
  • A cap on all credit card interest rates, preferably at 10%. Those that don’t pay need to log time with debt counselors and integrate their financials with an authority that will help them move away from usury-like payments.
  • A national plan describing food and water infrastructure as ‘essential’, thereby banning any extraction of water for use other than public service. Any existing contracts with companies like Nestle or Coke would require a ‘temporary’ (but permanent) surtax of $1.00 per 100ml of water extracted from Canadian sources and a $1.00 per bottle recycling fee chargeable to the company selling said product. Part of the national food/water plan would include storage of food for emergency situations and stockpiling for other needy countries.
  • A tax on properties held by religious organizations.
  • Other plastics would be required to face similar charges. A national ‘plastics plan’ would require all sales / distribution / use of plastic to be a part of a national plan to ensure plastic is 100% recyclable or can be incinerated without any chemical byproduct. A national entity would be created to manage and oversee the recycling and manufacturing of products from recycled plastics.
  • A new energy infrastructure. One that calls for investments in renewable energy ONLY and a ban on any level of government supporting carbon-producing businesses. The creation of recharging stations every 20 kilometres (at the outset, every 5 kilometres within 5 years) to ensure that there is adequate charging capability everywhere. A return to cash-for-cars exchange programs that allow owners of ‘regular’ gas-burning cars to exchange their vehicles for electric cars. Battery swap programs. Purchase of auto manufacturing facilities on Canadian soil for the express purpose of building electric cars (partners wanted).
  • New national standards for municipal building codes, including 100% off-grid homes as new homes and retrofits for existing homes. 100% grant for the installation of home-based electricity car chargers. Unspecified grants or interest-free loans to commercial real estate owners for installaton of chargers.
  • Additional local code requirements: no deserts of pavement for car parking when garages and online ordering will do. Mandatory parking fees applied for all non-core / downtown retail and commercial parking locations.
  • Jail time for anyone that poached threatened or endangered animal and biological species.
  • Any bailouts of companies? WE (as in Canada) own it. 100%. No share buybacks, no special bonuses, no dividends, no interest payments. WE own everything associated with the company being bought and WE decide on how that company gets to continue, if it exists at all. Any company that was publicly traded would be delisted and a portion of ownership would be distributed to the current employees, with the government of Canada (or local government) maintaining a permanent majority stake.
  • Full transparency on real estate deals. Questionable tactics and lack of information is resulting in hyper-inflated markets.
  • Retooling Canada Post to focus on shipping for small businesses (and charge substantially more for direct mail)
  • Victory Gardens with existing and new lawns
  • Ownership and recall of ALL personal data (as opposed to the current perma-share with companies)
  • Change to municipal planning to account for future building (pre-install mass transit lanes before they’re needed

I know … the list could go on and on, but I think the goal here is to establish some permanent guidelines by which we all have to operate from.

And now the biggest question: assuming we all agree on some of these ‘new rules’, how do we make them stick?

Some people argue that special interest and the almighty buck will get in the way of these good ideas and, to be honest, I’m kind of OK with getting back to a system where that might become the practice again.

The problem is … is it really that ‘special interest’ when most people are indoors, scared for their BASIC needs and mad at people that are flaunting the rules, to the point where imprisonment seems like the only option (and general consensus)? Is ‘special interest’ even an option any more so long as we’re all basically subject to Martial Law because of a virus?

One thing I know: we’re just printing hundreds of billions now and a LOT is winding up in pockets that don’t need it. The Westons and the Sobeys and the Pattisons can all go and get stuffed. Trickle down is a fail. I’m ok to talk about a few ideas that might benefit all of us instead of just a few.