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Putin: Time for Russia to Get Rid of Him!

Russia’s GDP:  Since 2008, the GDP of Russia has stayed the same.  Many Russians have seen a continual drop in their standard of living.  The average monthly pension, for example, is now only $210 US per month, which is not enough to live on. Many Russian seniors are starving, as they don’t have enough money to buy food or pay for heating.

The Oligarchs:  Russia’s wealth (e.g. its vast oil reserves) are siphoned off by Putin and his oligarchs (businessmen who have been given monopolies by Putin).  They live in total luxury while the rest of Russia lives in misery and poverty.

Income Inequality:  The distribution of wealth within Russia is so stark that Putin and his oligarchs have basically re-created the society that existed before the 1917 Russian Revolution with Putin acting as Czar Nicholas II and his oligarchs acting as Russia’s aristocracy (the dukes, counts, and princes).  The czar and his aristocrats all lived in splendor while the masses slowly starved to death.  It was this vast disparity in income that eventually turned the Russian people to revolt in 1917; and it may be the catalyst to foment revolution again at some point in the very near future.  One can only hope that Putin’s unprovoked war with the Ukraine will push the Russian people to terminate him and his oligarchs! 

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Current Events

America’s Rate of Inflation – Out of Control!

The October 2021 rate of inflation in America hit a 30-year high of 6.2%.  A year earlier, it was only 1.37%.  Americans are paying more for heating fuel, food, rent, gasoline, cars and every other necessity.  Inflation is hitting the poor and the middle class the hardest.  Yet in the midst of such misfortune, Jerome Powell, Chair of the Federal Reserve, and President Joe Biden refuse to address the problem.   The Federal Reserve has intentionally kept interest rates (the cost of borrowing) near zero for the past several years.  Such a policy is unrealistic, as everything has a cost.  This deliberate government intervention is now fueling inflation with no end in sight.  At the same time consumers and businesses as well as governments are taking on massive amounts of debt. 

Jerome Powell believes that the higher interest rates are caused by disruptions in the global supply chain.  This belief, however, does not explain why some cities are experiencing huge increases in real estate costs, sometimes as much as 18% in one month.  Consumers are being lured into paying higher costs with the promise of cheap mortgage interest rates.  Many of these consumers are even getting into bidding wars as they take on massive debt.  Higher real estate costs in turn are increasing rental costs which is pushing more Americans into homelessness.  The average American’s dream of owning one’s own home (at a reasonable cost) is now farther away than ever before!

The Federal Reserve also justifies its interest rate inaction by claiming that it’s necessary to maximize employment.  The policy of cheap interest rates has been used for years, yet as of October 2021, 7.4 million Americans are still unemployed.

Apparently, Jerome Powell is very well liked by Wall Street.  That alone should make one suspicious of his competence in serving the needs of middle-class America.  By February 2022, President Joe Biden has to decide whether or not to reappoint Jerome Powell.  With an approval rating that has hit a new low of 38%, Joe Biden should consider whose interests he wants to serve:  Wall Street or middle-class America!

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Current Events

Covid-19 Vaccine Distribution: Slower Than Anticipated!

By the end of December 2020, the number of people vaccinated in the USA was 1 million; in the UK, about 617,000; and in Canada, about 110,000. At present, the USA, the UK, and Canada have approved the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. On December 29th, the UK also approved the AstraZeneca/University of Oxford vaccine (which will begin use on January 4th). The distribution of these vaccines has been far slower than anticipated with the UK distribution ranking being #3 in the world, the USA #4, and Canada #7. (Israel is #1 in the world at the moment for distributing the vaccine to its people.)

In the USA, plans are underway to use retail giant, Walmart, to help speed up the distribution of the Moderna vaccine. Walmart (including Sam’s Clubs) have a vast network of stores with pharmacies: over 5,000 outlets nationwide, from as far west as Honolulu, Hawaii to Miami, Florida on the east coast. This distribution has already begun in the state of New Mexico.

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Current Events

Covid-19 Vaccine Approved

On Wednesday, December 2nd, the government of Great Britain made history by being the first Western government to approve a vaccine to fight the coronavirus (Covid-19) which is currently the source of the pandemic. The vaccine is made by the US pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, along with its German partner, BioNTech. Pfizer will be shipping an initial 800,00 doses from its Belgium laboratories to Great Britain next week. The elderly and care home staff will be the first to receive the vaccine, which needs to be taken in 2 doses 21 day apart. The vaccine is 95% effective in preventing infection from Covid-19 even for older adults. The FDA in the USA will be meeting on Thursday December 10th to consider giving similar approval for the vaccine’s use in the USA. Once approved it will be ready for distribution within 24 hours. This is good news: the pandemic may soon be over! Keep your fingers crossed!

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Current Events

Another New Coronavirus: SADS-CoV (Worse than COVID-19)

A new strain of the coronavirus, even more deadlier than COVID-19, has emerged from China. The new strain is called “Swine Acute Diarrhea Syndrome Coronavirus” (SADS-CoV). While COVID-19 attacks the respiratory system, SADS-CoV attacks the gastrointestinal tract, causing uncontrollable diarrhea and other serious problems. Someone infected with it can easily die of starvation and dehydration, as you literally can’t keep any food in you. The only potential good news is that the drug, remdesivir, seems to be able to treat this new strain. Remember that if you or anyone you know gets it and lands up in the hospital, as this strain is deadly!

SADS-CoV has recently been found in pigs, which can easily transmit the virus to humans. According to Chinese authorities this human transmission has not happened. Unfortunately, given China’s cover up of SARS and COVID-19, their “track record” of honesty and openness has not been good. Who knows if this new virus has already been spread to humans and left China to start another pandemic. Only time will tell!

For more information, go to Mike Wehner’s article given below:

SADS-CoV
A new deadly strain of coronavirus
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Current Events

The COVID-19 Economy: Like Alice in Wonderland! A Warped Reality?

It is somewhat strange and troublesome to see the U.S. stock market surging ahead and currencies like the Euro hitting its highest value ever ($1.60 CDN) even though millions of people in Canada, the USA, and Europe are unemployed and businesses are going bankrupt at a record rate! Household and government debt is rapidly increasing while the rate of savings is rapidly declining. In Vancouver, people are paying record prices for homes, even engaging in bidding wars; and in Toronto rental costs are going upwards. What is going on? The economic indicators are going against all logic. Is a huge reality check (crash) imminent? Are the markets being purposely manipulated? History does repeat itself: hopefully this is not a repeat of 1929!

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World Politics

Trudeau & the WE Scandal

What is the WE Scandal and why does it matter?  Traditionally the administration of taxpayers money is done by the Federal Public Service of Canada to prevent any potential fraud and misuse of funds.  For some unknown reason, Trudeau and his cabinet decided to take $912 million (almost a billion dollars) of taxpayers money and give it to the WE Charity, allowing them to administer a government program to help students.  The WE Charity agreed to administer this program as a “favour” to Canadians.  This so-called favour, however, entitled the WE Charity to charge Canadian taxpayers $43 million in administration fees (so far they have charged taxpayers for $30 million).  Canada has a huge capable federal public service, so why this arrangement was deemed necessary is anyone’s guess.

What Trudeau failed to tell anyone at the cabinet meeting is that his mother, Margaret Trudeau, had received $312,000; his brother, Alexander (Sacha) Trudeau, about $41,000; and his wife, Sophie Trudeau (a brand ambassador for WE), $1,400 from WE.  All of this money was for “speaker fees”.  They also received reimbursed travel expenses (the amounts and destinations are unknown).  At this same cabinet meeting was Bill Morneau, the Minister of Finance who also had a case of sudden “amnesia” and failed to tell everyone that his daughter was connected to WE, and that WE had paid over $41,000 for him to go to Kenya and Ecuador (on a family trip).  

Justin Trudeau has said that he is “sorry”.  He seems to be saying that a lot these days.  (This is his third ethics scandal.)   Is he sorry for doing something disreputable (which he did) or is he sorry that he got caught?  Canadians pay Justin Trudeau $361,500 per year and Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance, $269,800 per year.  Both are also independently wealthy.  Surely our well-paid and wealthy politicians don’t need to come up with inventive schemes using taxpayer money in order to help their families out!   

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World Politics

Canadians Given Death Penalty in China

Canadians Sentenced to Death in China – Update

In addition to the “Two Michaels” who were recently charged with espionage, two other Canadians are still under arrest in China:  Fan Wei (known simply as Mr. Fan), arrested in 2012, and Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, arrested in 2016.  Both cases are alleged to involve drug smuggling.  In 2019, Chinese officials formally pronounced the death sentence on both of these men. Robert Schellenberg has launched an appeal (which stands very little hope of success, according to legal experts), and no one knows what has happened to Mr. Fan.  Both the Canadian government and media have said very little about the fate of these two men.  Their death sentences will be by lethal injection or by firing squad.  

Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, prides himself on being a champion of Women’s Rights as well as Human Rights, yet has given the arrest of Canadian citizens very little attention.  In December 2018 when Sarah McIver, an ESL teacher from Alberta, was wrongly arrested for working illegally, he refused to even discuss her arrest with China’s President Xi. Out of 5 recent arrests, she is the only Canadian released from prison.  More than likely the other four Canadians will be killed by the Chinese authorities (two have already been sentenced to death). 

It is not surprising that Canada was not recently given a seat on the UN Security Council:  the international community felt that it didn’t deserve it. Instead of standing up for Human Rights, the Canadian government has tried to appease China’s communist government even if it means ignoring  the wrongful arrest and death sentence of Canadians. 

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World Politics

China: Canadians Charged with Spying

China: Two Canadians Charged with Espionage – Update

On June 19, 2020, Chinese authorities formally charged two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor (known as the “Two Michaels”) with spying (espionage).  Both were arrested in China in December 2018.  Given Canada’s mediocre, if not non-existent, role in international affairs (e.g. it was beat out for a recent UN Security Council seat by Norway and Ireland), these charges are ridiculous.  Spying for Canada?  Really?  The Chinese authorities honestly expect us to believe that!

In effect, the Two Michaels are being held for ransom, as the Communist Chinese government wants Canada to release Meng Wanzhou, a top executive at the Chinese telecommunications company, Huawei.  She is being held in Vancouver, awaiting extradition to the USA for bank and wire fraud.  While the Two Michaels are being held in prison with no contact from the outside, Meng Wanzhou is being allowed to live in luxury at her $14 million (CDN) 7-bedroom mansion in the fashionable Shaughnessy district.

Recently several prominent American politicians (both Republican and Democrat) have joined together to speak out against their wrongful arrest and to fight for their release.  No such action has taken place in Canada.  The moral of the story may be:  if you are a Canadian and get arrested in China (or elsewhere), call the American Embassy, as they will actually try to help you!  

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Current Events

China Not Safe to Visit

On December 1, 2018 Meng Wanzhou, CFO, Huawei, was arrested in Vancouver, Canada on an extradition warrant issued by the US government for bank and wire fraud. In retaliation, on December 10th, China’s secret police arbitrarily arrested two Canadian businessmen: Michael Kovrig in Beijing and Michael Spavor in Dandong. They accused them of breaking China’s national security laws (which they both deny). To date there has been no trial. Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, is aware of this situation, but has taken no concrete action to obtain their release. By their actions, China’s communist government is warning all foreigners that they can be arrested at any time and for any reason. China is no longer safe to do business or to go for vacation.