PM Justin Trudeau – can anybody believe this ?

Canada’s Trudeau clan.

Not sure how much everybody is aware of what has been happening for the last months or years, for that matter, here in Canada. The government affair that brought down and intended to destroy the life and career of an admirable lady – former Minister of Justice and Attorney General for the Canadian Liberal Government. [ https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/wilson-raybould-freeland-trudeau-snc-lavalin-1.5036795 ]. The latest in this horror story unfolding those last days, when Ms. Jody Wilson-Raybould testified in front of a Government committee uncovering unheard truths about her being subjected to irresponsible and illegal behavior by the PMO and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a corruption scandal involving a large corporation.

That I personally had not voted for Justin Trudeau should not make me feel any better. In fact, the last vote – my vote – went to the Progressive Conservatives.

When I say ‘Trudeau Clan’, I refer to the 1980s when Justin Trudeau’s father Pierre Elliott was Premier. At that time the then government also permitted themselves to single-handedly bring down the oil industry in Alberta, thanks to the NEB program. I was right in the middle of this. Working for oil companies. We all lost our job, thousands of Albertans on the road to Ontario, trying to find work. Employees got laid off with peanuts paid to them, no unemployment insurance payments either, despite my long term work history and having paid into UI all my life.

I lost my home, I lost lots of money, I lost my family. Got self-employed and struggling along as female contractor (formerly senior systems analyst and project leader of large computer projects). In fact, the last company was the worst. They “canned” single women first, and single mothers, like myself. The good part about this was: Before leaving that company (TCPL, now TransCanada), I received from all those wonderful managers in high places the best references for my professional work all those years; in writing. Which did not help me very much, despite having written about it.

Thanks a lot to the TRUDEAU CLAN. Let’s see what the next election brings.

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Self Directed Investment Platform

Self-directed, self-managed investment portfolio

Since many major Banks now converted to a hybrid model of allowing their clients to manage their own portfolio, the question comes to mind: “how many clients have in the past trusted their pension funds to their banks, and how many got burned by seeing their much-needed portfolios’ value decline rapidly ?”

The older you get the more important it becomes to hang on to these funds which may constitute a major part of your monthly income.

Since the entire business world has gone virtual, or live, or ‘Do It Yourself’, this is a fantastic way to learn something new and at the same time expand one’s horizon (brain power). But moreover, save some money, that otherwise would have been paid in commissions to an Investment/Financial Adviser.

Self-directed or direct brokerage platforms pretty much operate similar for all major Banks. (1) The client has live access to the retirement portfolio and can to trading – buying and selling stocks, bonds (all types of), mutual funds, ETF funds, coupons. (2) The client has access to what’s available on the markets.

There are still commissions: the easiest to trade are stocks (shares) and also the least costly (mostly commission is in the $9.99 range per trade). Other with bonds – these are typically also more complicated financial instruments. My Bank takes $60 per bonds purchased. Therefore advice is: If the bond issue is a good one – depends a lot on the credit rating of the bond issuer and historical interest payments history, and how long to maturity and (calculated) yield – worthwhile to buy not only small amounts (like $5,000) but maybe more, because each trade again charges commission.

Money market funds and Guaranteed Investment Certificates are the safest investments, but have the lowest return. Since my portfolio is a registered RRIF I also look for decent (over 2%) but safe returns. Selling eg. money market units does not carry a commission. Selling anything else, does. My Bank eg. offers commission-free ETFs. [Careful with those.]

Banks typically offer their own list of investments, changing daily. If there is something worthwhile, needs to go after quickly.

But not so quickly to forget the most important task: Check it out how good the issuer of any debt or share is. Can be done by checking out the Credit Rating. Let’s say, I am inside my RRIF portfolio, look at a list of bonds available, but cannot pull up each one’s credit rating. [Check credit ratings online and keep list handy, there are dozens of denominations.]. In my case since I have several computers in my home (Win10 and Apple), open both go thru my portfolio, look for a good bond issue, use the other machine and key in “company XYZ credit rating”. This mostly applies to CORPORATE BONDS. Government and Municipal bonds are usually safer, but pay less interest.

=== NEXT TIME MORE ===

Canada’s Health Care System

Canada’s health care system

https://transferwise.com/gb/blog/cost-of-living-in-canada

What I am reading about Canada’s FREE health care system is a big laugh. Having lived and resided in Canada and being a Canadian citizen, I must emphasize: “Canada’s health care system is not FREE.”

In fact, in most provinces it costs a fortune to just get a diagnostic test. Because of extreme long wait times, patients are forced to use private clinics, which at the same time is in fact not allowed by the individual Provincial governments, who are supposed to provide health care insurance. By far I would say, that British Columbia is one of the worst.

Listening to overseas relatives who can have any diagnostic tests multiple times if needed in a short span of time, in my over forty years in Canada I have had only one MRI test. They cost over $1,000 if paid privately.

When moving from Alberta to BC, I had actually been advised to be smart and get most important tests done prior to my move, because BC’s health care system is one big mess. That had been sixteen years ago.

And this is not even the worst in a system that is suffering questionable management. We not only need (often life-saving) tests, but also doctors. Because doctors are not paid sufficiently, they lack the motivation to go out there and do menial medical procedures.

This is totally understandable. So, where does this system break down ?

One thing is sure, Canada’s health care system is not FREE, only for those who do not pay into it, like the homeless, drug addicts and drifters.

 [ https://renataveritasopinion.com/2018/03/18/medical-health-care-system-victoria-bc/ ]

Search Engines Then and Now

The Internet started to develop around 1983. I started using the Internet by the 90s. Since that time I have used it. As a professional and specializing in information retrieval systems since the early 60s.

Since the 1960s we started developing online information retrieval networks in Europe. The indexing not only based on relevant search terms contained within a document but also out-of-context terms. In those early days an information technician had to read and understand scientific and technical documents to arrive at relevant search terms usable for indexing. My studies at Syracuse University attempting the inclusion of AI principles into prototype online information retrieval systems. [That was by the beginning of the 1970s.]

One can notice marked changes to the quality of content from then and now. One just needs to look at the “so called quality of content” of YouTube videos. What was then perceived as technologically relevant can in most cases not be compared to what it is now.

It is almost impossible to actually accomplish receiving precisely that information or information link to documents which is searched (using the most complicated Boolean language operators AND/OR/NOT including all sorts of nesting for constructing a search). Over and above, today’s searches deliver unwanted ballast – advertisements, and therefore irrelevant to a search.

[ https://library.albany.edu/subject/tutorials/education/boolean.html ].

According to Google, search results are returned in form of : “Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). These are the pages displayed by search engines in response to a query by a searcher. The main component of the SERP is the listing of results that are returned by the search engine in response to a keyword query, although the pages may also contain other results such as advertisements.” {Quoted by Google.}

PageRank was named after Larry Page,[1] one of the founders of Google. PageRank is a way of measuring the importance of website pages.

[ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PageRank ]

The biggest difference seems to lie in today’s technology which more or less emphasizes the importance of retrieved information based on its commercial value.

Meaning that a successful information retrieval activity delivers results based on “measuring the importance of website pages.” The importance being counting the number and quality of links to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is. The underlying assumption is that more important websites are likely to receive more links from other websites.[2] According to Google. [Which reminds me of various other social networks where importance of information is determined by how many LIKEs occur.].

Unfortunately today’s information stores are controlled by several tech mega giants and corporations, who infiltrate each online search with commercial data. Not necessarily relevant to a user’s search.

Then, what are the most important elements of a search for meaningful information, and what are they based on. INDEXING. Indexing establishes the basis for retrieval of information. Real data is not obtained, but only a path to documents/pages.

In other words, how can a user retrieve meaningful information or links to relevant websites or documents if the indexing has been faulty. No matter how complex AI algorithms are developed, they are still not good enough to master the complexities of human languages, which over and above are continually evolving.

Germany’s migrants and refugees

Good journalism by the Globe & Mail on “Where are all the refugees who came into former Germany mainly during the years 2015 and 2016, when all doors had been wide open. [Merkel:”Wir können das schon schaffen.”] [ https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/where-are-all-the-refugees/article35827259/ ] I see this from a different perspective, as I actually used to be a German citizen, by birth, by my parents’ birth, and probably centuries of Germans. Over and above the last of my relatives who never left their country, like I did, are still residing there. In above Globe & Mail article, mostly referring to the social stats on the years of the major refugees’ movements into Germany, the questions had been raised whether Germany had a problem accommodating all those (maybe refugees, maybe not) newcomers, and providing an integration platform for them. But what had been behind all that tremendous effort and work to make this happen, I am certain the Globe & Mail who do not actually on a daily basis reside in that country know little.

How much damage it has done to the government of that country (nobody can agree with anybody, coalitions are week, and neo-nazi culture is blooming).

I myself having been a German citizen of course, having survived WWII and the bombings, and the destruction of that country, having witnessed since 1945 first the arrival of the communist sympathizers, then the socialist governments, then for all those years the movements of entire populations from all countries from anywhere into Germany (with its doors wide open), and since years the coming of the AFD (Alternative Für Deutschland), who even want to make all things worse for everybody.

I know what is happening, not the Globe & Mail journalists, with their commentaries.

I speak the language, I talk to the Germans – the real ones – who must live there, and we discuss politics and how it feels to live in today’s Germany, where most citizens and residents or migrants are from different countries and cultures.

Why don’t you go and read: Thilo Sarrazin: “Deutschland schafft sich ab.” The crises of a social state and the dramatic demographical influences created by the large influx of migrants. He put it right in his book.

To make this short, even if it gives the impression that Germany accomplished the almost impossible of a seamless integration of all peoples and cultures, the country of Germany does not exist anymore. It is a patchwork of nations where everybody can help him/herself to a piece of the pie. In fact there is no integration nor assimilation at all, even nations residing there for over 50 years speak no German. Everybody is doing their own stuff, as long as they get paid government money.

 

Mozilla Firefox Quantum – advertising included

The new Mozilla Firefox Quantum edition. More and more advertising. What’s really a big laugh is, that in over 60 years I am using and working with computing equipment, making my living with it for many years, as well as watching TV and listening to my daily radio programs, I have never, and I repeat NEVER, purchased anything that has been advertised and shoved down my throat via any of those media.

Some users may find this disturbing and distracting, or some may even pay attention to those ads and who knows buy something online. But most users of the Firefox browser don’t.

[ https://gizmodo.com/how-to-stop-mozilla-from-sticking-ads-in-your-firefox-b-1825654432 ]

When I need to buy a product (‘need’, not ‘want’), then I know what it is precisely and I buy it there where I get it quick and easy.

So, what’s the point to expend a lot of dollars paying for web developers, developing little apps to infiltrate any program, when in fact they cannot sell their stuff. Some TV program have become so bad that over 60% of their programs consist of ads.

Watch what reputable big stores and chains are doing: The best of them do not do any TV, radio or online advertising. Smart move, as it is well known that consumers like to take their own decisions of what, when and where to buy products.

Prescription Medications – refusal

[Common Ground, free magazine, article: Medication civil disobedience. My response.]

Too many trusting patients take too many unnecessary prescription medications. The less pills you pop, the longer you live – I say !

Since arriving on Vancouver Island from having lived in Alberta for 27 years, I have started to learn more and more distrusting any medications. Good example are the statins or cholesterol-reducing drugs. During the first few years in Victoria one doctor prescribed Lipitor, a cholesterol-lowering medication. Which in fact not much later turned out to effect a patient’s liver in the worst possible way, causing liver failure and such. [ http://www.schmidtlaw.com/lipitor-and-liver-damage/ ], and was pretty much removed from the market. I never picked up that prescription, and following the years after avoided filling most prescriptions without my own extensive research into its side effects. Maybe one of the reasons I am not dead, yet. You live and learn.

I am using legit professional medical web sites and also studies made on patients and their reactions to certain drugs. Careful, to know what you are looking for and at ! Over time it has become clear to the public that there is definitely an ‘over-prescription of drugs’. [ http://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/infographics/popping-pills-prescription-drug-abuse-in-america ]. Important is to understand the cause of an illness, medications are only treating the symptoms.

Results of too many prescription medications are mostly seen in severe damages to liver and kidney functions. That would be comparable to a building’s plumbing system – corroded pipes.

Nice to know that there are now alternatives. Natural products, nutritional supplements and side-effect-free substances. To replace the harmful effects of eg.NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) or costicosteroids prescribed as painkillers, but known to induce gastrointestinal complications.

 

 

 

Doctors without conscience

I do admire and respect Doctors Without Borders (Médecins sans frontières). These are doctors who care about the lives of all humans and want to do good. On the contrary there are those who have a medical license and practice “in the name of the mighty dollar”. How can you make money today ? By affiliating yourself with the pharma industry. One of the largest world-wide industries (after travel and insurance) based on the simple need for medication.

An insight into large factories producing tons of synthetic medications which are then in turn prescribed by doctors without conscience. Some going as far as prescribing opioids and other pain killers to children. Recent case here in British Columbia, Canada. Sixteen year old died of opioid overdose.

[ https://bc.ctvnews.ca/b-c-teen-s-accidental-overdose-started-with-prescription-drugs-parents-say-1.3896404 ].- CTV News, Vancouver, BC.

This is only one case in many. How many more patients including children must die of opioid overdoses after having been prescribed such dangerous chemicals by a doctor, and consequently becoming addicted ?

The big pharma industries who produce new pain killer drugs, sometime without adequate testing, are only too happy to test their drugs on unsuspecting patients, which is done via the public medical system by doctors and clinicians.

The fault for all those overdose deaths lies squarely on the shoulders of the medical professionals who prescribed the drugs in the first place, and then stopped when realizing an addiction is forming. Next step for the patient is to try get their hands on street drugs, heavily laced with additives. Fentanyl is one of the major killers. Yet, many surgeries and even minor screening diagnostics are using this drug fentanyl, pretending that in a clinical setting a patient can easily be revived by a counter-drug. I personally, recently, when offered a screening in a private clinic using these IV induced drugs, declined the procedure. Neither do I take pain killers despite lots of chronic pains.

[ https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates ]

I personally would also not blindly trust a doctor trying to prescribe medications to me, nor would I allow a doctor to get away with a slap on the hand after the death of a patient. Frankly, since moving to BC I have been prescribed drugs, and after investigation and researching the effectiveness and warnings of that drug, decided not to fill the prescriptions. That’s why I am still alive now. Pain is the norm today. It’s better to deal with it and be alive, instead of dead by overdose of opioids or ending up with a damaged liver or kidney. It should be noted at this point that no doctor or clinician can force a patient to take a prescription drug.

(RE. My latest post on “How heal a shoulder rotator cuff injury without drugs.”

[ https://renataveritashistory.com/2018/05/14/healing-rotator-cuff-injury/ ]