By: David Charbonneau

David will be posting his columns every week on Thursday. He has eclectic interests ranging from social and political issues to science. He is a retired Electronics Instructor from Thompson Rivers University, former president of the Faculty Association, and curriculum writer. He now paints acrylic on canvas for Thompson Studio.

The U.S. government as theatre

March 15, 2018 - 5:00am

THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION doesn’t make sense as government. He has no coherent foreign or domestic policies. He fires trusted advisors regularly. White House staff wake up each morning and check their Tweeter feeds to find out what bizarre direction the country is now going in.

However, the Trump administration does make sense as theatre. Not exactly Shakespeare, although there may be comic elements. More like professional wrestling says Naomi Klein:

“It’s hard to overstate Trump’s fascination with wrestling (Harper’s magazine, Sept., 2017).”

Blockchain could revolutionize global banking

March 8, 2018 - 5:00am

THE ERA OF GLOBALIZATION is drawing to a close. Evidence of that has been made clear by President Trump’s withdrawal from global affairs, his attempt to build an economic and physical wall around the United States. It’s a clumsy attempt to express the genuine concerns of Americans who have been left out of the prosperity reaped by a few.

Two billion people around the world have no access banking. They are unable to make loans to start small businesses; they have no credit, and no means of sending or receiving money.

The titans of technology have feet of clay

March 1, 2018 - 5:00am

TECHNOLOGY SEEMS UNSTOPPABLE. The accumulated wealth of the Big Five: Apple, Alphabet (Google’s parent company), Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon, have a combined value of $4 trillion. That’s more than twice Canada’s annual GDP.

Wall Street also looked unstoppable before the crash of 2008. Cryptic investments made amazing returns but finance wizardry also has feet of clay. Conor Sen, business columnist for Bloomberg Views, summarizes that vulnerability:

The beaver is Canadian

February 22, 2018 - 5:00am

THE BEAVER exemplifies what it means to be Canadian. Rachel Poliquin puts it this way:

“Humpbacked and portly, with an earnest and honest charm, beavers epitomize the Canadian spirit of unpretentiousness, integrity, and industriousness (Canada’s History magazine, Aug/Sept, 2017).”

The beaver has not always been regarded as exceptionally hard-working. Canada’s Indigenous people viewed them as skilled builders, healers and earth-makers but not any more hard-working than coyotes or porcupines.

The rise and fall of globalization

February 15, 2018 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — As the sun sets on globalization, what will a new day bring? The new era will face challenges of rampant parochialism, environmental destruction, inequality and greed.

The dawn of globalization was unremarkable. Yanis Varoufakis, professor economics and former finance minister of Greece gives the date:

“On Aug. 15, 1971, then-president Richard Nixon announced the ejection of Europe and Japan from the dollar zone. Unnoticed by almost everyone, globalization was born on that summer day (Globe and Mail).”

Self-administered death made easier

February 8, 2018 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — A new drug in Canada will make medically-assisted death easier. It can’t come soon enough.

If I had a terminal illness that made my life a living hell, I would want medical assistance in dying (MAID). Since it has been legal in Canada since 2016, it should be easy. All I have to do is find a doctor who is willing to administer the drugs. And then make sure I’m living in the right place. That’s where things get tricky, as Horst Saffarek found out.

The future of blockchain mining in B.C.

February 1, 2018 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — Blockchain mines look nothing like copper mines. They are banks of computer that toil away at solving complex calculations. Blockchain is the digital ledger used by many cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. Because the computers generate heat, they could be used to warm the greenhouses to grow the tonnes of marijuana needed for Canada’s budding legal market.

Minimum wage hike a boon to economy

January 25, 2018 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — Higher minimum wages are good for the economy but you would never know it from Ontario’s experience. Their hike to $14 dollars per hour has taken an ugly turn. Seattle’s experience was quite different.

The upset in Ontario is centered on Tim Hortons franchises. Cuts to benefits have triggered public outcry in support of employees. Demonstrations took place across Canada at Tim Hortons shops last Friday, organized by Leadnow.org.