Ten Things that Don’t Work

There are some things that simply don’t work. I am reminded that one definition of insanity is, repeating the same action while expecting a different outcome. This means that, if we put up with these things that don’t work, we’re crazy for expecting them to change. Here’s today’s list:

  1. The DoNotCall list. I get scam calls, and marketing calls, all the time. Everyone does. There is a law against this for registered numbers. My phone line is registered. An egregious offender was fined something like $30K, which for that huge company is like asking me for a postage stamp. Meanwhile the calls go on. One company calls, waits for you to answer, then says “Good Bye” and hangs up.
  2. SIU Investigations. Rarely, an officer might lose a day’s pay. An officer who has already quit the force faces no penalty whatever, apparently. Check up on the penalties paid by the G20 officers who removed their badges, kettled innocents, roughed up peaceful demonstrators. If a non-officer did any of those things, jail time would result.
  3. LCD viewfinders on cameras. This “arms out” posture makes decent unblurred pictures unlikely, unless high shutter speeds, and thus high ISO and noise, settings are used. Note: the “tunnel” viewfinders on the older point-and-shoots are better, but not compositionally very accurate. sigh. We all need SLRs or electronic viewfinders. In the meantime, compact cameras will produce ill-composed and shaky images. We deserve better.
  4. Provincial equalization payments. We had a formula once that allowed East Coast fishermen to collect EI half the year, and fish half the year, and have their provinces reimbursed via the generosity of Ontario. Now Ontario has no means with which to be generous, but the payments haven’t reversed direction. Quebec’s special status we won’t discuss here, nor Alberta with the tax breaks for tar sands and other oil production.
  5. Scam Information Dissemination. I first heard public warning of Microsoft-staff impersonators the other day. I’ve had at least a dozen such calls, and it’s been going on for months, if not years. Two intelligent people I know had their machines infected with an eMail program that lures you to a website to make money, lots of it, working from home with no skills nor equipment. Maybe some public-service minded vendor will put up a website with a list of current scams of all types, computer and telephone and mail. Maybe.
  6. Personal Settings Retention, on upgrade. I recently upgraded ZoneAlarm after being dunned repeatedly with an offer of firewall-plus-antivirus which I continuously refused. Finally the offer included a firewall-only upgrade, with the threat that my old version would be unsupported. So I upgraded. Then I looked at the permitted-programs list and discovered many added permissions, including super, supersuper, and supersupersuper permissions (which are not adequately explained). I thought my firewall was to protect my computer from the same programs it protected from, before the upgrade. So why so many, and so generous, new program permissions? Does this not allow Microsoft components to take incoming commands from the Internet, and act on them?
  7. High Interest Rates. Spain is now paying about five percent more on government debt than Germany is. This guarantees that Spain’s economy will be ruined, as they have no independent currency to devalue, but must borrow the Euro at rates nobody else can afford. Greece need not be mentioned here.
  8. International Trade Sanctions. Iran and Syria are good current examples. Both regimes are heavily trade sanctioned right now. Syria continues the massacres of its citizens. Iran continues whatever it is doing with all those centrifuges. I might mention Cuba, which has been under sanctions for about forty years. Cuba has a lower infant mortality rate than the USA. Cuba has the largest medical school in the world, and accepts students from many countries.
  9. The Peace Process. Noam Chomsky tested a group of reporters by saying that The Peace Process was whatever the USA was doing at that particular time. He challenged any of them to say that any one of them had ever reported that the USA was acting in discordance with The Peace Process. The Palestinian problem will be solved when Israel has bottled them all up in enclaves and taken virtually all the land and all the resources. Alternatively, the Palestinian problem will be solved by some unthinkable program of violence that causes even Israel (and the USA and the UN) to rethink The Peace Process. I expect the former, but remembering Robert Frost’s poem, Fire and Ice, I accept the latter as a possible outcome.
  10. The Federal Canadian Government, as being representative of the Canadian people. In the current omnibus bill are sections gutting environmental regulations, among other things. This is not a representative government, it is a pro-Alberta government. Note the recent increase in allowable goods brought back after short trips to the USA. Where are such trips commonly made? Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Cornwall. Meanwhile the Pearson airport charges fees based on a cut, making this airport one of the most expensive to fly from in the world. The result: people drive to Buffalo (for example) and fly from there. Again, the loss is in Ontario, not Alberta.

What should we do about this? I suggest each one of you invent some way of getting to your MP, your MPP, your municipal councillor, your mayor, your church group, whatever, and asking them to help with a campaign to stop or fix as many of these things that don’t work as we can.

Doing what we have been doing is insane: we know it doesn’t work.

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