Monday, 10 July 2017

How Facebook Can Eliminate Fake News

Since the election of Donald Trump as President, the term Fake News has become more common in both social media and regular media streams. For many of us, it has become tiring, as anyone and everyone begins utilizing Fake News to disrupt any meaningful argument that opposes their point of view.

While Fake News can be seriously annoying, it can also be very disruptive to our democracy and how people essentially collect their information. By introducing doubt into the sources available for information, people can develop a sour taste and thus avoid researching important topics that can affect how they vote and think. Fake News as I have made reference to in previous posts, is essentially nothing new, but poses a toxic threat in a world with fast internet connections and instant answers.

Due to the importance of social media in our every day lives, it makes sense then that Google and Facebook have a responsibility to take action in order to address Fake News. More importantly, for their own reputations, it is important they do not become a direct platform that contributes to the spread of misinformation and hate speech.

In March of this year, it was announced that both Facebook and Google had decided to start policing their platforms in order to tag and remove fake or disputed articles. At first, I took great caution to the direction both social media entities were taking, since they were essentially proposing to inform users on what information is valid and what is invalid. While this may seem innocent and proper, I do not believe anyone should sacrifice their ability to determine what is real, simply by allowing a large corporation to tell them what is in fact truth.

Many of us are adults and should have the capabilities to discern what is misleading from what is valid through searching the web or simply discussing the topic with others.

If Facebook wants to continue making profits off of our general interests and topics posted, they need to ensure that those with a motive to spread misleading information cannot use their advertising as a vehicle to do so.

A simple approach to resolving this would be to ensure that users have the tools necessary to isolate suspect material and quickly confirm if the information is actually valid. For example, in our modern world, information moves quick, so if something is suspicious, a user can simply highlight the heading of an article and right click to access a quick web engine search for verification.

By allowing people to install or incorporate a widget, much like they do to eliminate pop ups, you continue to give them the power to control the information they intake. Google can easily achieve this through the creation of said widget or by partnering with social media outlets to allow some form of instant check to be conducted at the users request.

Luckily, Facebook decided not to continue with their original plan to inform users on what is valid, but instead has installed fail safes that will target status updates that may contain links or keywords that have originally been refuted or reported by someone.

If you discover something that is directly misleading or a proponent of hate speech, you simply report it to Facebook and once investigated, it will be flagged, in order to avoid others from accidentally sharing it and further spreading the disinformation.

Throw in some quick gadgets from Google and this system can not only ensure that Fake News finds a quick end, but also enables users to continue their personal due diligence, when it comes to the kind of information they encounter and their power to influence it.

How do you feel about Fake News? Have you encountered it on a regular basis and if so, how do you respond?

Do you agree with the direction of allowing people to police the information they receive or should more of a centralized effort be maintained that controls what information people are exposed to?

-The Political Road Map

Friday, 7 July 2017

Oh Canada, Our Canada!

Canada has just turned 150 years old and while this is a milestone worthy of great celebration, it is important to remember that our country is actually much older.

As we look at the past 150 years, many Canadians have different interpretations on what exactly it has meant. The truth is that while our country is the best in the world, it has had a spotty record with regards to how it has treated certain minority groups, indigenous groups and as of late the environment.


To understand all of this, it is important to question what truly makes someone Canadian? While we are a country of immigrants, many people believe they are a native Canadian simply be being born in this country and as such live by its stereotypical Canadian image. There is some truth to this in the legal sense of the definition, however being Canadian is so much more than Maple Syrup, Poutine and even the flag.

When the "new" world was discovered and explorers from all nations braved to visit it and meets its inhabitants, much was discussed with regards to a wild natural land that challenged even the mightiest of people. As such, people came here in search of a new life and the riches and demons that came with it. The Hudson's Bay Company, which is now 347 years old, was created to facilitate an economy between Europe and these inhabitants.

Being Canadian, was not simply being born into this country, but by experiencing it, surviving it. Living in an area that could test you with its hot and humid summers, while also try and kill you with its long and dark winters. Canadians became resilient beings as they worked together to fight off nature and the many things within it that could kill them. 

At times, this would require alliances with anyone also experiencing the same conditions, as everyone became equal in the face of adversity, while at other times this would lead to genocide and massacre in an effort to secure resources and land.

Fast forward hundreds of years and you have a Canada that becomes an independent nation, not by war, but because of the financial strains incurred by war and empire on the British. We are truly a country of politics and discussion, but just because we didn't fight a war for our freedom, doesn't mean we are innocent by any means. In all truth, no country can claim to be innocent of any harm, but it is important to recognize this and remedy it in any way possible.

Looking at 2017, Canada is a much different place than before or at Confederation. Now, instead of fearing and fighting to control it, man must learn to recover nature and live peacefully with it. We live in a world that is much more connected and one that claims to be more advanced.

While much has changed, much still remains the same. People are still fighting with each other and politics is still bloody and dirty in many ways. Our indigenous allies, many of whom are just as Canadian as anyone born here from immigrant parents, are living in squalor and in need of a brotherly hand.

Our government has spoken greatly regarding the need to atone to tragedies of the past, but unfortunately has decided to remain at giving nice speeches and has yet to actually do anything.
 
Our country is still divided, Canada is not one country, but a combination of four distinct groups: English speaking Canada, Alberta, The Indigenous and Quebec.

And all the while, we celebrate 150 years of living, fighting and surviving the growing pains that this beautiful country of Canada has gone through.

The time now arrives, where Canadians must continue to define ourselves in new ways and provide an example to the world on how we can not only make amends for our past errors, but also move forward with a focus on unity and truth. We are a country of Peace, Order and Good Government and must continue to utilize this as a way of improving life for everyone, equally.

While there are buildings in Europe still standing that are older than the Canada of 2017, everyone must look forward to the next 150 years, or 50 years in my case, with the optimism of contributing toward a Canada that defines the world and is not defined by it.

Congratulations on reaching 150 years of age Canada, you don't look a year over 100, but there is still much more to be done and luckily, many great people in this country ready!

-The Political Road Map




Thursday, 15 June 2017

Hate Speech is Free Speech

I know, you're reading my entry title and thinking, wow...that is one bold statement or rather, what the hell is this guy thinking!?

Free speech is a right that all humans should have, this is a basic, but crucial statement regarding life on Earth.

After experiencing people of all places along the spectrum practice their right to free speech, I have come to the conclusion that how we define freedom of speech is really based on your perspective of freedom in general.




Some people look at freedom like they do society, while we are free to live our lives, we do sacrifice a small portion of that freedom in order to reap the benefits of an organized society. One example of this is the sense of protection created by man made laws, which allows us to live within imaginary boundaries, but also ensures others do too!

When you look at a persons freedom of speech in this way, you can understand why some things that are seen as socially taboo or reckless and hateful towards a certain group can and must be adjusted in order to avoid the creation of more hate and actual violence. While this may seem like a valid position that ensures all people equality and safety, it lacks a few fundamental elements in its practical implementation.

Lately, People who abide by the notion of clean free speech, often forget the necessity of informed free speech. In an age of misinformation, disinformation and fake news, I believe we have entered an era, where people simply censor, before correcting the opinions and beliefs of others, which has caused nothing but further division and strife within society.

Take the recent election in the United States, which showcases perfectly what happens when a segment of the population becomes censored or labelled before any education or fact checking is utilized.


"The silent majority stand with Trump."

 

 A slogan such as this one cannot be ignored lightly, but I believe came into creation through the fact that so many have been ignored and disengaged over time for their own opinions. When we cast people off as ignorant, racist or phobic because of their opinions and forget to inform them with facts in order to engage in discussion, we further create this silent majority that lives in a kind of cast off anger regarding their treatment. 

Why should I stand by silently, when my country and way of life is being changed and I am being told to sit out and called all of these names? 

You may be thinking that the above sentence is ridiculous, but in reality we have many people who feel this way pertaining to topics like immigration, social assistance and even campaigns that further reinforce diversity and equality. When these individuals bring their thoughts, feelings and questions to the table and someone looks at them like they are either stupid or racist, the division only becomes larger and more severe, which allows for populist thinking to flourish and damages our democracy. 

Now, I am not saying that people cannot be blatantly racist, which is very true and those individuals need to be called out, even stupid people, since they still exist in some context. What I am arguing though is that we need to ensure that proper discussion is occurring with facts and arguments, before we sit down and just use the label of racist or white bigot to make any opposition disappear. 

In the current political atmosphere, there exists a large emphasis on each radical end of the spectrum, specifically the Libertarian movements, which can exist on the far right and left. These individuals essentially look at the world with an Anarchistic viewpoint and wish for people to have ultimate freedom in their daily lives. This in turn can allow someone to say they believe that all speech is free speech, regardless of the content expressed. 

While I am not a Libertarian, I believe a balance must be struck between Societal Free Speech and Anarchistic Free Speech, which is crucial to preserve our democracy and ensure everyone has a fair share. This means that while hate speech is still alive and well, it is still the free speech of someone else and as such represents an opinion they believe. Which is allowable, so long as everyone else has the equal right to object to that opinion and open up dialogue that demands facts to back said opinion up. 

John Stuart Mill stated something similar to this in his example of the drunk man. While the drunk is allowed to wander the streets in such a manner, society can only socially hold him accountable as they allow him the freedom to continue. This freedom is restricted once the drunk man either hurts someone else or as a result of his drunkenness denies his family a basic living due to the money spent on drinking. Then, society stands in with an argument that requires action, since the drunk man has now gone above and beyond the allowable limits to his freedom. The drunk man is not simply cast off as drunk, but is rather tasked to defend his argument and make amends when his defense fails.

Countering someone else in discussion can be really hard, especially when someone is both hard headed and stuck in their beliefs, but regardless of this it must be done. Nothing in life is easy or free and if you happen to find something that is, you better double check it or see who else is paying a price for you to have it. 

I personally have a great way of countering hate inspired speech that stems from a persons fear. I usually incorporate various swear words to really liven up the conversation and ensure my facts stick to the individual in question. Lately, I have really utilized the word Ignorant, not as a discussion ending label, but as an empowering asset to my facts. 

The latest example is a discussion I had with a Sandy Hook denier, someone who believes the mass shooting against school children was a hoax. I simply responded with the direct approach of: You ignorant fuck, numerous children died along with countless examples of people who either witnessed the acts or lost immediate family members as a result of it. To utilize the idea that someone would create such a hoax just to take away your right to shoot yourself with an automatic rifle that you don't need, just makes you seem like an ignorant cunt. Stop being an ignorant cunt and look at the undeniable facts!

Was this discussion harsh in its wording? Of course it was, but sometimes you have to be harsh in order to ensure a discussion is had. In the example above, our discussion later included facts regarding gun violence in both Canada and the United States and more use of the word ignorant. 

The big difference between my own encounters and what happens in society at large however,  is that when the discussion involves facts and both parties remain at the table, positive action is possible. When you label someone right after the fact for their opinion that targets someone else, you remove both parties from an equal playing field and allow a division like the one we are witnessing. This allows people to parade around with their own labels and decry that the media is fake, the snowflakes calling them racists are fake, which in turn allows misinformation and disinformation to seep its way into the minds of millions and thus spreads fake news. 

Hate speech, while it is ugly and often routed in total fear, is still someones opinion and right. So long as there is an opposing side that ensures the truth prevails via arguments backed by facts, our democracy will be allowed to thrive and people will have a sense of continued freedom attached to their speech. 

-The Political Road Map


Friday, 2 June 2017

Don't Be Afraid of Raising The Minimum Wage!

I decided to write this post in response to the usual chatter that is generated, whenever the government decides to impose an increase on minimum wage.

Usually, you will hear some form of Libertarian or Anarchist arguing that the increase in minimum wage will not only lead to higher prices, but also directly result in the destruction of many small to medium sized businesses.





I am here to tell you that this is not only a fear tactic, but also a misconception when it comes to increasing the minimum wage.

30% of the Ontario work force is currently working below the $15 an hour rate. These individuals continue to struggle on a monthly basis to not only save for things like their children's education and retirement, but also paying the bills and ensuring enough good food is on the table, which unfortunately is not a guarantee at that rate.

Then you have people arguing that these individuals should be more responsible and become better educated for a higher paying position. While this may make sense in economies of old, our current economy has little to no security left in the work force and that is even if you are fortunate enough to find employment on a full time basis. We are becoming a part time and contract economy more and more on a daily basis and the gaps in our system continue to multiply and grow, so naturally something has to be done.

Small Business to Medium Business

 

My real agenda here though is not to remind people of the obvious for increasing the minimum wage, since you have most likely heard this many times from multiple social media and news outlets. Not even continue my argument as to why a Guaranteed Income is more of a suitable solution to a minimum wage increase, nope, I am going to talk about the general dynamics that will help business survive any increase in labour costs.

Small and Medium sized business are in fear of any increase to their labour costs and I want to ensure this fear is removed completely.

First, if you are so afraid for the future of your business due to an increase in the minimum wage, you need to ask how entrepreneurial you are in the first place. Do people not generally have a fear when starting a business of failure in general? Could your material costs or equipment failure not impose an equally fearful experience?

Second, you are a small and medium sized business in a market currently dominated by Big Business. I usually refer to Walmart in these scenarios, since Big Business is usually bad for business, especially when you look at the effects of Walmart on our market.

While I am not an expert, I am a consumer, which means I know how to spend money on a daily basis. I need to spend money, much like everyone else living in a Capitalist society and in need of sustenance. So, as a consumer, I can easily decide to spend "less" money at a big box store, where everything is usually present, except for the fact that I usually lack good customer service, a personal touch and community.

So, where do I go for good customer service, a personal touch and a sense of community?  

The answer is obvious, I go to that Small and Medium sized business, because while I usually pay a little more for the products I purchase there, I also know who I am buying my materials from. I am also usually treated like a human being and not like a succulent pig ready for the butcher block. For Example: You are less likely to encounter a Small or Medium sized business offering you an exclusive credit card with an introductory bonus point sum that can equal a whole $20.00!!!!

Some Statistics for the Skeptical


So, If on January 1st, You are a Small or Medium sized business and are still in fear, I can be there to hold your hand, as we enter 2018 with a $14/Hour minimum wage.

Keep being the personal experience generating, community enforcing entity that you are and in doing so you will not only offer people an alternative to Big Business, but you will also weather any increase to your labour costs. Not to mention that on average, your employees will be happier and more productive as they will have to worry a little less about making rent and providing healthy food for themselves and their family.

Not to mention that this move also generates incentive for  the government to reduce taxes on Small and Medium sized business in the near future. As less people are more independent on their own without any kind of social assistance from the government, it opens the possibility of spreading more support to other areas in need of it. Traditionally, Big Business eats up a lot of this support due to its lobby power, but that doesn't have to continue. Without more incentive and voice from Small and Medium sized business, nothing will change to make life easier for people and stimulate the economy from the bottom up, so vigilance and continued attention is still required.

To end it all off, do not fear job loss or destruction from a higher minimum wage. The price of things seem to go up regardless and people are being laid off regardless of our current minimum wage. Focus on the positive and look to the future as something good overall, since your employees will not only directly benefit, but you also may increase the pool of people who can also access your services and products, which usually results in an increase in profit.

- The Political Road Map

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Religion of Peace

Yesterday, Upon hearing about the bombing in Manchester, I exhibited the usual response. I had to find out more, what happened exactly, how many people were affected and who is claiming responsibility?

When I usually read news articles, I make an effort to view the comments being expressed by both official sources and by those posting comments on the article. I read comments because while it can sometimes provide entertainment on lighter subjects, it also gives you a perspective on how average people are reacting towards the issue or act being focused on. Sadly, in recent years, many of these comments usually begin with "The Religion of Peace" regarding a new bombing.



Anti-Islam cartoon that spreads misinformation about the religion as a whole


Using this term is not only harmful toward those who practice Islam, which they profess is a religion of peace, but also provides the radicals with more incentive to continue. While it is perfectly normal to show fear in the chaos resulting after something bad happens, it is never beneficial to come to conclusions without really knowing the facts.Radicals of any religion are just that, people who use a religion as their motivation to enact horrible acts and spread fear.




While ISIS has taken responsibility for the acts of last night, their own story of what happened does not exactly match up with what police are saying occurred. This should raise questions among everyone watching, however it is often overlooked. Can we blame people for being angry and wanting to hate someone who targets children cowardly?

What worries me more is how certain public figures have responded to the attack and the language they have used. Specifically, we have Donald Trump calling the attackers losers and while it may be true that they are losers, his choice of wording is interesting. Especially, when only a day earlier his own administration conducted billions in business with Saudi Arabia, a known terrorist supporter, while preaching for Muslim countries to remove extremism from their countries.


Donald Trump during his visit to Saudi Arabia


The acts in Manchester does not have a real purpose, as targeting a concert occupied by children really has no valid gain aside from simply spreading fear.The bomb involved even contained screws and nuts, which is intended to maximize the exposure of the damage from the device. This makes Manchester, if anything, a response to something that recently happened internationally.

This leads me to believe that yesterdays bombing was nothing more than a response to the actions of Donald Trump in Saudi Arabia, in order to not only show the world that terrorism is still alive and well in Western countries, but also to illicit responses such as "The Religion of Peace." When people target Islam as the culprit of radicalism, these terrorists continue to win as they aim to create a war of civilizations in order to increase their ranks and their power.


To kill radicals, everyone must abolish their actions in a united front!



The Western world will mourn for this horrible act like it does with every other horrible act and in time people will see the strength that comes from these acts in order to bring us together. What will remain important however is that people continue to keep their head on their shoulders and not fall for the fear that allows the spread of misinformation and hate. While an enemy does exist, this enemy is not an entire religion, if anything Islam and moderate Muslims are allies we need to work with more closely in order to abolish ISIS and other religious radicals.

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear. - Mark Twain


-The Political Road Map

Saturday, 20 May 2017

A Fairy Tale Wedding

Today, on this chilly Saturday, a wedding has become official that sounds more like a fairy tale scenario to those involved.

No, this fairy tale wedding does not involve Pippa Middleton and her investor husband, but rather a match that might be even more compatible.

Today, Donald Trump has taken the necessary measures to strengthen the bond between the Saudi Arabia kingdom and his administration. Trump went beyond the moral ethics of his predecessors, by initiating both military and investment licenses that range around $300 billion.

This deal with the Saudi kingdom does not only reinforce the foundation of the Trump administration, but further shows the hypocrisy in it as well. While Trump may not trust Muslims due to the issue regarding fanaticism, he has no problem accepting a lot of money from them.




The questions regarding morality involved in selling military equipment to dictators with spotty human rights records are vast and not new. The fact that Trump has taken this step, while many before him have worked toward direct peace, just shows the business side of Trump's administration and the fact that it shows no shame.

Saudi Arabia has been known to export its weaponry to support causes throughout the Middle East, which both support its own agenda and Political Road Map, but also acts of terrorism.

Donald Trump was greeted by a small army and men dressed in traditional garb, dancing with swords as they welcomed him to their lands. His connection with Saudi Arabia should come as a natural one, as both the kingdom and Trump share many of the same ideals pertaining to women and the rule of law. Specifically, where one is suppressed, while the other is directed with an iron fist.

Viewing this trip on the surface shows just how desperate Donald Trump is in correcting his image. As many know, Trump is not doing good in terms of the popular vote regarding his actions and connections to Russia, which is making his impeachment become more and more of a reality as the days pass. This tour around the Middle East is a good way to showcase his ability to create jobs through economic pacts, while also showcasing a positive reception from those welcoming him to their countries. Trump is basically hoping that most Americans will see this as an example of strength and as such associate his work as positive, while hopefully forgetting about the whole Russia connection.

The main question that arises from this kind of activity between the West and known despots is how far do we turn away when dealing with large contracts that are worth a lot of money? In Canada, we have witnessed Justin Trudeau also dealing with Saudi Arabia in the armoured vehicle contract previously put into motion by Harper. Trudeau did not blink while he moved forward with allowing the deal to continue, even though he campaigned as an outspoken feminist and promised to act opposite of his predecessor.

Our elected officials seem to generate amazing camera time and action shots while campaigning for the goodness of human rights and the empowerment of women. Then they turn around and decide to sell military equipment and actively trade with countries that actively stand against these same beliefs. Such hypocrisy should be questioned by all Americans and also Canadians, but sadly, it often goes either unnoticed or without much care from the electorate, which is something that has to change.

Either way, Donald Trump has shown today that his administration has no moral compass and furthermore that his Political Road Map contains no reservations with profiting from dealing with leaders and countries that represent some of the worst human rights records.

Add today's match made in heaven between Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia as another reason to remove this man from the office of guiding the free world.

-The Political Road Map

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

To Trump All Secrets

Donald Trump is a man of no secrets, even though much of the media is making him out to be someone with a lot to hide.


A man who talks so much, but often says very little


This should come as no surprise to many of us, as the entire American election saw Donald Trump speaking his mind in many scenarios that would destroy the chances of other candidates.

No, Trump not only has no secrets, but goes out of his way to ensure that everyone is so confused regarding his actions, that the truth still cannot be found.

Just look at the number of people he has publicly fired (6) and made to feel disgrace for the simple fact that they gave him some resistance.In doing so, Trump not only continues his path of madness and uncertainty, but also is able to hide his most egregious flaws in plain sight. Think of Gus Fringe in breaking bad and dumb him down a bit and you see Trump's current action plan, his Political Road Map.

The fact that Trump gave secret material to the Russians is also no surprise. In fact, many Presidents and international leaders will share information with allies or other partners, when they both face a similar objective. The problem with how Trump has proceeded with this transaction, is that he made the mistake of getting caught. If anything, this will hurt American foreign policy regarding data collection, but that is nothing the NSA cannot acquire through some new data mining technique anyway.

Donald Trump is most likely working with the Russians, because he has made it very public from the beginning of his administration that he intended to open dialogue with the Russians. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, since it is better to be working on good conditions with another military force than risk agitating them through your own sporadic actions. Lets face it, with someone like Trump commanding American forces combined with his overall temperament, this passing of information is probably a good thing to avoid an all out war.





Where the scandal arises in this scenario, is the fact that Trump seems to be at war with the American judicial system. Whether it is regarding the appointment of a member or the introduction of travel bans, Trump seems to be aiming his attack inward as opposed to the usual suspects on the international scene. More so, when he has fired James Comey in the middle of an investigation regarding Russian interference that favoured Trump, so we are all witnessing more of the same from the election routine that Trump utilized.

While I doubt Donald Trump has the ingenuity to craft this Political Road Map himself, he has been successful so far at evading serious consequences for his action. Sure, people have protested and voiced their displeasure of him, but that doesn't necessarily take him out of office, even though in a Democracy you think it would.

No, Donald is trumping us all, but crafting enough chaos in his daily administration to not only keep everyone at attention, but to literally bend the rules and skirt the necessary conditions for impeachment all in the open.

I still stand by the claim that this will eventually backfire and we will all witness an impeachment process put forward to remove Donald Trump from office. His administration and the very fact that he is in office is nothing more than America's own social experiment with authoritarianism. Eventually, Trump will make a mistake that will directly expose his actions and freedom will prevail,which contrary to Trumps claim is the exact opposite to how his vision of America is panning out.

To my American brothers and sisters, always remember...Where are you? Where are you going? Is your government heading in the same direction?

Donald Trump thinks he has everything calculated and in his favour, but forgets that every time he strokes that pen, every time he voices against someone or some group, he further increases the material and people who want his head.

In Closing, Trump will most likely not make it to day 365 of his administration. His chaotic Political Road Map will eventually expose itself and like always, the American people and judicial system will kick in to do its job.

-The Political Road Map

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Comey had it Coming!

Years in the future, when humans develop the ability to inspect the time line and revisit moments in history, they will most likely mark two main points of interest regarding the rise and fall of Fascism in America. Those two points will be the reopening of the Hillary Clinton email investigation during the election and yesterdays dismissal of James Comey, which officially began the process of impeaching Donald Trump.


TERMINATED!

Ex-FBI Director James Comey shouldn't be surprised with the notice that Donald Trump has fired him. His actions during the election not only arguably gave Trump a win, but also put into motion the idea that exterior forces were aiding a campaign against Hillary Clinton. This made him a marked man, as his release of information became an all too coincidental action during election crunch time. One might question how different the election would have been, had Comey released an announcement of Russian interference regarding the Trump camp? Conspiracy much?

Now, a new conspiracy claim in Washington, As Comey has been vigilant regarding the investigation of Russian interference regarding Trump. Did Trump fire him over a disagreement? Most likely, since he has always insisted that his actions had nothing to do with the Russians. So, Comey becomes an annoyance for Trump, since he has already served out his purpose during the election.

The real question will be how the country reacts to the termination of Comey? While this may seem like Donald Trump being Trump, it also shows a trend in the Administrations governance. Trump seems to have a lot of fun firing those who do not agree with him, which shouldn't be a surprise, since the man did have a reality television show that centered on this very act. Not to mention, he copyrighted the term "You're Fired", true story!

Actual footage of Trump firing Comey
  
I believe that while Trump has removed Comey due to how unpopular he has become, he has also put into place the necessary motions that will lead to his impeachment. Everyone knows it, while some are greatly wishing for it, but the fact that Trump will end in impeachment is not a stretch. He has taken his administration in many different directions and really showcases how unstable he is.

Comey had it coming though, he created enemies with the Democrats and then went forward and easily created enemies with the Republicans. This was evident in the media, where Comey went on record with his direct displeasure in the fact that he may have swayed the electorate into choosing Trump. He then took this further with a commitment to ensure all facts were investigated regarding the Russians. 

Americans have taken their love of reality television and uplifted it to the highest office in the country. So, the fact that we are witnessing multiple people being fired for doing their jobs, while Trump drives America into multiple directions blindly, shouldn't be a surprise. The people wanted a show and Donald Trump is giving them one, while making a lot of money for both himself and his friends. 

Moving forward, we now wait and see who will be next on the Trump chopping block, since we know its only a matter of time before someone else says something in opposition to him. Then, we wait a little further and count down until Trump himself becomes the next one to hear, You're Fired!

Put me down for $10, that Trump will not make it to day 365 of his current administration.

-The Political Road Map

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Politics in Cinema

May the fourth be with you and May you enjoy this post and share it throughout the galaxy!

To say that cinema has become a favorite past time of people is to greatly under appreciate its impact on our society and our lives.

I always find it interesting how the political process is represented in movies and on television, specifically, the dramatization that is added to the process in many cases. While the dramatization has a purpose, since you are paying for a show, it can also misrepresent the tiring process behind governing and legislating policy.

While Science Fiction can utilize this dramatization, other cinema styles can tell great truth through the acts it creates or imitates on the big screen.

Today, many people will be enjoying Free Comic Book Day throughout the country and will most likely be watching or thinking about Star Wars and while real life politics do not usually revolve around intergalactic senates averting universal war, the themes and metaphors present in these movies directly touch upon those in real life.

Politics in cinema has arguably become more important today, as we face a world where people are afraid and leaders are encapsulating this fear to literally divide and conquer. To be able to enjoy cinema that dispels this fear or explains complex situations in more humble and direct ways only serves a positive encounter for the general population.

I would even go as far as to say that the dramatization, while exaggerated in many cases, can bring some life to topics that may usually be viewed as boring or less than appetizing by the average citizen.

So, in honour of politics in cinema, I thought I would create this post and also include some memorable movie scenes that I know both empowered me, as they covered important real life scenarios.

Political Science Fiction

 

      
Intergalactic Diplomacy in Star Wars




Police State of the Future- Hunger Games


God among men or Dictator among his people?

Political Fiction


Red Dawn- Depiction of an occupation and its day to day roll out


Our favorite revolutionary- V for Vendetta
 

Cinema Based on Political History


The Rise and Fall of Canada's Arrow




All the President's Men- One of the best journalism movies- Watergate


Lincoln 


The fight for gay rights in America


To end this post off, I want to leave you with this quote, which I felt properly sums up the connection between daily life and the political realm.




Life is politics, basically, but you don’t just go to a gallery and put the words ‘art’ and ‘politics’ on the wall.“

-Luc Tuymans
 


The Political Road Map



Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Why Can't We Feed Everyone?

If a mother and father fail to feed their children for any long period of time, the government will step in for the sake of the children and take action. When citizens of Canada fail to have access to food, with some living on the streets eating garbage, average people walk around them as if to pass some sort of refuse. Sadly, much of this problem does not even affect Canadian adults, but their children.



So, I am going to take a complex problem and simplify it into a question.

 Why can we not feed everyone in Canada? 


Is it a lack of political will? 

Yes, to a certain extent, the government does not have the political will to fight poverty and hunger directly, instead pouring money into programs that often either compete with each other or handle very large numbers of people with the bare minimum of a budget.

Are we cruel? 

I would have to agree that society is still quite cruel, while we have advanced to become more technologically savvy( Kind of), we are still very cruel to each other. We hate too easily, live with too much stress and view our fellow Canadians as adversaries, contrary to the belief that Canadians are nice to everyone.

Are Food Supplies Short? 

This has to be the most upsetting thing about our current system and problem. While we have people either going without the proper nutrition or just in general hungry, we actually have more than enough food to feed everyone.

So much so, that even if our food supplies are low, we have the technology to develop and maintain food supplies, even into the winter months.

So, Whats Up? 

It isn't even what is up, but more accurately what is down. Since the majority of our food comes from either California or Mexico, we often fall victim to the pricing and conditions of other markets that directly affects Canadians. The problem overall is that we are not organized enough in Canada to use every bit of our food supply chain to its maximum efficiency.

Throw in the risk of law suits and public scandal and you have even more food put to waste instead of being redistributed to those in great need. I remember personally working for a large Canadian supermarket chain, who would rather throw everything out each night as opposed to take a loss in price with the high risk of someone complaining about illness.

This problem isn't just with commercial enterprise though, as the typical Canadian tends to waste a lot of food annually, an average of $400.00 in some cases.

My background is Italian, so in my family it was natural to ensure that no one went hungry. Whether we were growing and cooking our own food or cooking in bulk at home to ensure food was available. This changed though as members of family began to become more and more integrated into Canadian society. The best example would have to be with younger family members, who have entered the habit that purchasing food instead of making it from scratch is the way to go and they aren't alone.

People have forgotten the traditions of their family in many cases and naturally lose the ability to cultivate, prepare and cook their own food from scratch. This isn't all their fault though, as society has become more demanding in Canada. Job security for one thing is no longer present in many industries and while our advances in technology have been cool, they have also led to more demanding requirements from employers, which sadly leaves less time for activities in the home and with the family.

This may seem perfectly natural, but it has ripple effects that are leading to the average person losing quality in their life and with others being left behind or ignored.

When you look at the charities on tv showing famine on the continent of Africa, you often see many children eating a mushy rice, which will provide them with a basic nutritional value. In Canada, many people are forced to pick between different canned foods, which often contain a lot of fat and salt. I often argue that rice may fill a persons belly, but pasta puts a smile on their face!

In a country as rich as Canada, we shouldn't be witnessing the ever growing need for food banks and rampant hunger among the poor. Italians faced many years of poverty after World War II, which supported the Cucina Polvera concept. This concept would be an important addition to Canadian mindsets, as it basically means poor kitchen. What it entails is the utilization of various ingredients that are basic and easy to make available, in doing so, it creates flexible recipes that create food in small portions that allow people to eat.

Whether Canadians in need adopt this policy or not, it is important that their ingredients remain natural and not canned and processed with large amounts of salt and sugar. In doing so, we are investing in lower health care costs and hopefully lower social assistance costs, as healthy people have the strength to not only survive, but also thrive.

It has become sadly evident that the various charities and social programs currently in place are not adequate enough to solve the problem, they are becoming overwhelmed and cannot address the numbers in need. Climate change will only make this problem worse in the near future, as our food sources become vulnerable to more extreme weather, which means the number of people expect is only going to grow internationally, which includes Canada.


Salvation Army Hunger Campaign


Do you agree with what I have said in this post? Does Canada have the resources available to end poverty and hunger from sea to sea to sea?

The Political Road Map


Exaggeration in an Age of Trump

Recently, it was Don Meredith, an embattled Senator, who defended himself as he was targeted for his relationship with an underage girl.

Now, we have Harjit Sajjan, our Minister of National Defence, who is defending himself over his claims that he was the brain child of a successful Canadian military operation.

After reading a few articles from CBC, Sun News and the Toronto Star, I had to take a deeper look, So I did what I usually do, dove into the comments section. Comments are an interesting realm for social media in general, as you enter an area of many dangers and both indirect and direct anger.

I find it interesting specifically, that many members of the military are showing disgrace regarding Mr. Sajjans actions. However, I question if partisanship is fueling more outrage than the comments made regarding Operation Medusa?

We are living in an age of Donald Trump, who throws around words, regardless of their meaning or how offensive they may come across as. Can we truly hold against an elected official, something that did not directly offend a cultural or religious group and with whom apologized for his actions?

Not too long ago, people were commenting on how bad ass Sajjan was, regarding his military service, which does include 3 tours in the Middle East and his overall support for the Canadian military.


Harjit Sajjan giving good advice, but not taking it.

While Minister Sajjan made a critical political mistake, that will no doubt affect his reelection chances, he continues to support our military and that I would argue is more important. He has opened a lot of kinks in his armour, which will give opposition candidates a lot of ammunition on his character, but for him to lose his job over something arguably minor that he has fessed up about? I do not agree with that, even though I do not support Trudeau's Liberal administration, so I cannot say I am bias in saying so either.

How do you feel regarding the situation? Do you believe his actions in government are now overshadowed by an exaggerated claim regarding his involvement in Operation Medusa?

The Canadian military needs all of the help it can get and I believe that we should hold Minister Sajjan to the truth as was done regarding his comments, but allow him to continue doing his job and boosting the military's image and support as much as possible.

When the next election arrives, both he and Justin Trudeau, will have a lot of work cut out for them to be reelected, so I say it is important to never forget, but let the election be used as a tool to determine if he should stay or go.

The Political Road Map

Monday, 1 May 2017

Sugar: A Sweet Conspiracy

It is delicious, makes everything taste better and is used liberally throughout our processed food chain to ensure that every bite has a smile.

Sugar is a natural part of life, we actually need it to live a healthy life, but like anything else in the world, it must be consumed in moderation, which unfortunately does not seem to be the case in modern society.

Refined or added sugar is a silent killer, but also sweet and addictive!



I had the chance to watch a documentary by Jamie Oliver recently on the sugar epidemic currently being faced in the United Kingdom. For those who do not know, Jamie is a famous chef and has campaigned on his Food Revolution, which is taking cooking back to the home kitchen and using natural and simple ingredients. His documentary focuses on a few different countries, however its data is something I wanted to compare to the best country in the world, Canada. I will post a direct link to the documentary below for you to view, once you've had a chance to finish reading this entry.

So, how much has diabetes affected Canadians and more specifically, how many amputations are occurring as a result of the disease?

Upon searching various government and non-profit websites (Canada.ca & Diabetes Canada), I quickly realized we have a problem in this country and its mostly invisible.

Most of the information I was sourcing dated back to 2011/2012, with little to no accurate information present for any year outside of 2015. We are currently in 2017 and as far as I am concerned, sugar is still present in almost everything.

Here are facts I found: 


Currently, it is estimated that between 3-3.4 million Canadians have diabetes, with 1/3 of these people not currently aware of their disease. This is an estimate from 2015 and covers those who have been diagnosed along with those currently living with the conditions necessary for the disease, so there could be more cases that have yet to be identified quite easily.

In 2011/2012, Canada experienced an average of 2000 lower limb amputations per year, with the majority occurring in Ontario. The information was so vague that the estimate does not really cover any other province except Ontario, so this number could also very well be much higher.

To compare, the Sugar Rush documentary listed below indicates that in the UK, amputations related to diabetes is currently at 135 a week or roughly 6,480 annually. Mexico, which is currently the largest consumer of soda/pop, experienced 75,000 diabetic amputations in 2011.

Scary realty, when these are becoming hot ticket items!


So, we know that this disease is deadly and causes a lot of complications, so what does it cost us in economic terms? Well, we know that processed food usually appears to be the cheaper alternative, when in reality is does cost us a lot. However, the cost to our health care system is currently estimated to be at $9 billion annually. This is mainly because a diabetic patient requires a lot of care and monitoring and also testing to ensure their sugar levels remain stable. Throw in amputations, ulcers or complications related to nerves and vision and this cost jumps due to the extra care it requires.

Solution Time

 

The obvious recommendation is usually the most simple, but not really. That recommendation is to live a healthier life via a lower consumption of sugar and the avoidance of stomach fat to be specific.

This becomes difficult as a lot of food currently has a lot of sugar in it and unfortunately, you never see a daily recommended percentage associated with the amount of sugar in the product. This was mainly done so, because  the sugar industry fought hard to remove labeling that would counter the concept of consumer due diligence, since no one could apparently agree on a daily recommended level ( Simple Version).

We need to start reading labels more closely and either scaling back our portions and or avoiding the item all together, try making it at home, it might be a lot easier! 

The other important step that would assist directly in the battle against consumption would be a sugar tax. Yes, I know the mention of tax is as much of a pain in the ass as doing your taxes, however it has been proven that a sugar tax on highly processed foods and drinks has led to a reduction in overall consumption with a much needed cash boost to our health system.

Unfortunately, the industry has hidden behind the idea that consumers need to be educated in their own way to avoid over consumption and live a life of moderation. This is not only utter bullshit, because the information is either not present or vague, but also criminal in the way it allows for an open range of sugar use.

Adding sugar to food not only makes it more appealing and easier to sell, but it also activates a reaction in our body similar to the consumption of drugs, we crave it and go through withdrawal.

Know Your Grams

Food items in restaurants now have calories added to assist in making healthier choices, but this is still too vague, as calories come from everything, both healthy and processed. You could consume a healthy* diet of 2000 calories per day, while still consuming 10x the amount of recommended sugar at the same time! Please note though, that the main issue we currently face is the added sugar in food, while you should try to moderate overall sugar intake, a lot of natural and healthy food will contain sugar, just not as much as the processed foods available to buy.

Oh, and the daily amount of recommended added sugar intake for an adult: 35 grams or 9 teaspoons per male and 25 grams or 6 teaspoons for women. 

 

To put that into perspective, look at the example below. A large Double Double from our most favorite cultural icon, Tim Horton's, contains 30 grams of sugar or your entire daily recommended dose! Dammit!

30 grams of sugar for a large coffee, XL contains roughly 35grams!

It's shocking how easy it is for the average person to fall into a sugar rush, since the majority of our products fail to provide us with an accurate picture of the sugar contained compared to the recommended dose per day. When we have an industry, who also continues to maintain and hide behind the fact that adults should have the common sense to know all of this information, the problem becomes even more serious as misinformation or an uninformed populace eats toward its doom. The companies pumping sugar into their food do not have to face the financial consequences of diabetes and other sugar related disease in Canada and frankly, they do not care if you end up having an amputation.

I have seen first hand what diabetes can do to a person, as members of my family have had it. While the disease can also be genetic, it becomes much more common when an individuals diet supports the necessary conditions for it to flourish.

Please, if you take anything from this entry, just take a moment to watch the following documentary and the next time you go to pick up an item at the grocery store, keep in mind the number 25 and 30 with relation to the amount of sugar in grams are present per portion. Our government can only do so much, but with the proper legislation coupled with consumer education, we can not only save a lot of money in our health care system, but help people avoid the awful consequences of disease related to sugar consumption. A healthier life is a happier life and we all deserve to live with the highest quality of life in the best country in the world!

-The Political Road Map



References:

Jamie's Sugar Rush


Canada.ca