Taxes Burden Rises In Quebec

What else is new? More taxes (that is, increases in gas, health and sales taxes) for no services in return. Instead, we have to "pull together" to pay for a deficit politicians created on their own. Our wealth potential erodes (and trust me, we see it directly with the insane property taxes on our buildings) while we can be sure politicians will enhance their pensions (while pensions of average citizens stagnate or are cut) ensuring they can buy condos in Florida.

Motorists get killed with the gas tax because the government wants to enhance public transit. So if you're job requires you to drive or you're, for instance, a teacher that's moved all over the place before you're tenured (about five years), welcome to our nightmare. 

The thing is, if wages don't increase, where does the money come from to pay for the increase in taxes? Then, they wonder why net savings are negligible here. Quebec has the highest tax rates of any jurisdiction in North America - not just Canada.

What does this all mean? It means I'll be shopping in the States.

According to the Conference Board of Canada:

Among the Canadian provinces, Quebec is arguably in the most precarious fiscal situation. The provincial net debt now stands at $129 billion—equal to 43 per cent of provincial GDP. (Two decades ago, Quebec’s net debt-to-GDP ratio was only 22 per cent.) According to figures released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Quebec is in the fifth-worst position in terms of fiscal debt burden in the western industrialized world. Only Italy, Japan, Belgium, and Greece have higher debt-to-GDP ratios. Between 2009–10 and 2011–12 alone, debt-servicing costs will rise 29 per cent, providing a strong incentive for Quebec to curb its spending growth.

Compounding the problem of the province’s mountain of debt is the fact that, beginning in 2014, Quebec’s working-age population (consisting of those aged 15 to 64) will begin to dwindle. As the eldest members of the baby-boom generation retire, considerable pressure will be placed on younger generations to finance rising health-care and social-service costs. Between 2010 and 2030, Quebec’s working-age population is projected to decline by 3.3 per cent—a stark contrast to the projected increases of 10 per cent in the United States1 and 12 per cent in Ontario.

In addition to the adverse demographic factors, households in Quebec already face the highest tax burden among the provinces, as measured by provincial personal income and retail sales tax remittances. In 2008, Quebecers paid over $3,700 per capita in taxes—15 per cent more than Ontarians, who face the second-highest tax burden nationally, and 56 per cent more than Albertans (who do not pay a provincial sales tax).

So. About independence...

Crazies, Crazies, Crazies

Here are a list of militia groups in the United States.

Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post discusses it here.


A dark tragedy in South Hadley. I'm not sure enough is being done to combat bullying in North America. What makes it harder is teachers aren't necessarily willing to step in for fear of being sued or taken to task by parents refusing to take responsibility of the criminal actions of their children. It always surprises me to hear, in cases where valiant kids stick up for those being bullied, students being punished for getting into a fight with a bully.


Ubiquitous Masterpieces

Outside reprints of Impressionist paintings (and the dogs playing poker. Sam Malone certainly loved it), Van Gogh's pot of flowers seen here can be found just about anywhere. Not sure if I can say it's over rated or saturated art. After all, millions of people still buy Stones, Beatles and Zeppelin albums. No?

Afghan Star

This is so cool. I'd like to think Canada, USA, Britain, Australia and NATO forces had a hand in this. Mind you, the ending shows there's still much to do.

Liberal BS Doing Them In

As you know, I hate dumb assertions made by people in position to influence. Sometimes I wonder if any of them really think for true.

Take Frank Rich. Here's a guy who is an editor of the New York Times. You know, that newspaper with a great rep? Yet, he falls into that same, tired, and insulting "it's about race" trap.

Everything reduces to race with them. It's like those old math fractions we used to do. Remember? 8/16, 1/2. Reduce it. Only thing is, their intellectual math simply doesn't add up. It's about as rational as Elton John (was Madman Across the Water a great album or what?) claiming American Idol viewers were racist for booting off a black contestant. Not saying it's not part of the equation but I'm guessing it's not the main driver.

I get it. I'm a white, straight male, ergo I'm racist for challenging liberal orthodoxy. I got it. Can I get back to living and making life a living hell for the human race? Ok? 

Liberals have been setting a narrative of them being rational and conservatives irrational. Yet, they have shown to be every bit as irrational, intolerant and idiotic as well.

Man, you've changed. It used to be about sticking it to the man! The music! Now it's about taking the stick up the ass.

Anderson Cooper is a liberal journalist on CNN. He seems inoffensive but he's the one that came up with the "teabagger" term.

So much for professionalism and liberals holding a monopoly on rational journalism.

In the journal wars, conservatism is killing liberalism. Its popularity is not only big but growing. I don't know why or what the consequences of all this will be but I can offer one thought: It's because people are no longer buying liberal bull shit. So they'll give conservative BS a chance.

Hutaree Madness; Enabler Obama Hitting Stride; Liberal Party Loves Cap & Scam; Wrongheaded Environmental Policies In Africa And Australia

The Christian militia group Hutaree that plotted to kill cops are just about as Christian as me being a reincarnated dingo.

Call them for what they are: Terrorists.

These folks don't represent Christianity or conservatism anymore Al-Queda represent Islam or leftist terrorists being liberal or socialist. They're just extreme and malignant components of each.

The government is 100% right to crack down on such groups.


Speaking of the government, it's been a good coupla weeks for Obama. First, it's health care reform, then he splits for a secret visit to Afghanistan (which was the right thing to do - political calculations notwithstanding), next it's the armament treaty with Russia (just keepin' a watchful eye on the bear) and has gotten France on board threatening sanctions against Iran (prof can be tough) regarding their nuclear plans. The government has taken over student loans and it won't be long, brimming with confidence, he'll hit cap& trade and probably amnesty for illegal immigrants (how you handle this will take some creative thinking). He's getting things done. Now begins the debate if his visions are any good.

For a while, I wondered if Obama was going to be an effective leader on matters of foreign policy. Instead, I think his shortcomings may be closer to home. Socially, he's taking the country where it's never been: Into the arms of the state. The idea, for example, a full blown adult (some with children themselves) living at home can remain in the bosom of their parent's insurance plans is obscene. I believe while it's true we still have "choices" it's all about the signals leaders send. A leader can rile up the population or steer them into a certain direction in subtle ways. Obama has signaled - and really I don't see how this is up for debate - that when it comes to social matters, liberalism will rule. Personally, I think he's an enabler of all the wrong attributes we possess as humans.

My father from Southern Italy, came poor when he was 18, got married at 22, was a father by 24 and owned a business by 26. By the age of 30, he was sending money back to his brother's family in Italy after he lost his hearing and eyesight in a mining explosion. He took care of an additional five kids helping to feed them and giving them shelter by building a house (which they still own). With that edge, indirectly, his nephews split for Northern Italy and France where they prosper today. My father never, ever asked for one thing from the government. True, those were simpler and more straightforward times - especially economically - but the virtues and values never change.

Obama may think he's helping people. He's not. He's weakening their personal esteem; their honor.

And what about cap & trade here? The Liberal party of Canada is talking nonsense about it again. I can't believe they actually think this is a good idea. Meh. Just another reason why I won't vote for them. I don't do scams and pointless tax schemes in the name of the environment.


Environmentalists have been wrong all along about nuclear power as a clean source for energy. In fact, I wonder if those who maintain environmental policies in Africa leading to deaths can be tagged as "murderers." Why not? If a politician like Bush can be accused of murder and genocide for his actions, how is it any different when environmentalists don't permit poor African countries to modernize. And by modernize I mean just to do the things to get medicine, water and food.

From Nazret.com:
The Gibe III dam on the Omo River in Ethiopia, once completed, will be Africa’s second largest hydroelectric dam. The third stage in a five-part dam project, Gibe III is expected to extend electricity access to large swathes of the Ethiopian population, to raise per capita income levels, and to save lives by reducing the impact of droughts and floods. And yet, some environmentalists are not happy about this income-generating, life-changing and life-saving project, and have this week renewed their campaign to bring it to a halt.

Greens have opposed the Gibe III dam project from the outset, when construction first started in 2006. Now, a group of international campaigners has launched an online petition, urging Western donors and banks to withdraw their funding for the dam. They say it will negatively effect ecosystems and, in the words of International Rivers, one of the groups opposed to the dam, it will disrupt the livelihoods of ‘hundreds of thousands of indigenous farmers, herders and fishermen, who depend on [the Omo River’s] nourishing floods to sustain their most reliable sources of food’.

One such ‘nourishing flood’, in 2006, killed nearly 400 people and thousands of livestock. And according to the United Nations World Food Programme, the floods regularly inundate crops and have displaced over 20,000 people. The NGOs who are up in arms about the Gibe III dam, ostensibly because it will displace indigenous people, overlook the fact that the river itself will keep ruining lives unless human beings tame it.
It is true that many people are dependent on the Omo River, which flows from southern Ethiopia into Lake Turkana in northern Kenya, for some form of subsistence, mainly through flood-retreat cultivation. But they also live in abject poverty and many suffer from chronic hunger. The fact that the precarious Omo is their most reliable source of food is a travesty, not a situation anyone in their right mind would campaign to sustain. Yet International Rivers refers to the Omo as a ‘lifeline’ for Ethiopians and says ‘the rise and fall of the Omo waters is the heartbeat of the Lower Omo Valley’.

If the NGOs that have launched what they call ‘a campaign to stop manmade disaster in Ethiopia’ are truly concerned about the wellbeing of Ethiopians, why are they not campaigning for the people living at the Omo’s mercy to be freed from their river-enslavement? Why are they not fighting for Ethiopians’ rights to benefit from modern facilities, like electricity, which sustain International Rivers’ offices in sunny California?
It is because these NGOs (International Rivers, the Counter Balance Coalition, the Campaign for the Reform of the World Bank, Friends of Lake Turkana and Survival International) do not want ‘indigenous people’ to change. Instead they want to preserve them in a state of noble savagery.
Not all of us think that way. Good luck to Ethiopia. My sister, hardly a conservative, came away with the same conclusions when she visited South Africa on two occasions. That is, environmentalists are wreaking unnecessary havoc on the people of Africa.


More environmentalist successes. Australia scraps insulation programs.


Mexico's Drug Cartel Empire

Good talk with investigative journalist Guy Lawson on Rolling Stone Magazine's website discussing the sophistication of the Mexican drug cartel - which took over from the Colombian cartel. For the record, I never saw them as depicted in the video. South American drug lords are far from stupid and very close to savvy and smart.

Any great mafia or cartel is built on brains and rational thinking. The senseless idiocy comes from the street gangs.

The JKF Mystery Endures

I'm a sucker for the JFK story. Most political junkies are. How can you not be about a plot that involves the Mafia, the Kennedy dynasty, apparent drifters, losers and loners, the CIA, Fidel Castro and Cuba?

There's a lot and I mean a dizzying amount of theories, documents, stories, leaks - whatever- surrounding one of the 20th cenutry's most enduring tragedy and mystery. It's hard to come away and conclude one guy and one guy alone acted when you look at the entire body of information. Surely, something was up, no? Nothing has ever been linked and I wonder if it ever will.

The conspiracy thing is hard to digest given how many people would have to had been involved, and people being what they are - flawed - it's hard to imagine nobody has cracked and come forward. On the other hand, how nutty is it if it was by a small group of people?

I hope one day it all comes out.

Hypocrisy Is Politics By Other Means

What I don't get is this: Do these boneheads actually believe their own verbal vomit? Does anyone really believe one party holds a "monopoly" over the other when it comes to hypocrisy or that one is "less" worse than the other?

If someone you know believes this take them out to the shed, tell them you love them and that it's all for the better.

Politics and ethics go together about as well as cucumber and tomato sauce. Or beets and peanut butter. Or Michelle Obama and George W. Bush. Or Stephen Harper and, and...I'm stumped.


Why Buy Propaganda?

When you can get it for free!

From ourfuture.org:

The modern conservative movement is united less by belief in small government – a traditional constitutional value – than by disdain for government. They don’t just want to shrink it. They want to “drown it in the bathtub.” That willingly courts anarchy and chaos.

Now. I'm not particularly a bright guy. However, if I understand this assertion correctly, only the state keeps us from falling into chaos? I can detect "brainwashing" when I see it. I don't know if the entire conservative movement thinks this way but that's not my concern here. What intrigues is the last bit about "willingly" courting anarchy and chaos. If conservatives wanted that they'd be, well, anarchists. And even then, it doesn't follow that if there's no government there's chaos.

"I disapprove of, disagree with, and have no connection with, the latest aberration of some conservatives, the so-called 'hippies of the right', who attempt to snare the younger or more careless ones of my readers by claiming simultaneously to be followers of my philosophy and advocates of anarchism... Anarchism is the most irrational, anti-intellectual notion ever spun by the concrete-bound, context-dropping, whim-worshipping fringe of the collectivist movement, where it properly belongs." Ayn Rand.

I'm not sure about the "no government leads to chaos" bit. It screams like a claim made by people only a mother can love.

Didn't Native tribes live and exist without the nation-state concept? How about the Berbers and a host of other cultures, tribes and societies throughout history?

Rand Still Resonates

As far as I know, Ayn Rand isn't technically libertarian. She's objectivist.

Nonetheless, she continues to be a best selling author.

Between her and conservative writers, they own most best seller's list.

Jamie Oliver Wants To Make Americans In His Image

Between the ages of 13 and 19 I was a health fitness nut. I was aware of most of the health products (to numerous to name here) popular today before some trendy know it all used them. I was also militant about it. Looking back, I probably irritated people for not being like me. I was one of those guys who would try and "shame" someone into quitting smoking. I felt I was doing the right thing looking out for other people. I even convinced myself they were "ignorant" and "uneducated."

Sound familiar?

Then I grew up. I realized people are who they are. You can't force them to do anything they don't want to do. Coercing people to do what you feel is right is wrong on both a personal and state level. NO ONE has the right to tell ANYONE what to do.

Jamie Oliver is not wrong to want to educate people about eating healthy. However, I fear he may be going over board. His passion is commendable but when he deliberately involved the government to force people into his view, however well-intentioned (heck, even right), he over stepped his boundary in my opinion. Enough of involving the government for all our social ills. It's been demonstrated over and over and over and over and over that government intervention often distorts market forces and have little impact on people's lives. Coincidentally, mandating restaurants to post a calorie chart in their establishments, sounds like a good idea but something tells me it won't lead to the desired affect.

That's all we need, the government making people paranoid about calories without proper understanding of how to rationalize ingredients. Besides, most if not all responsible restaurants already post that information on their sites or have them readily available upon request. We've never had a problem with that. A little curiosity is a good thing. Because the government posts something doesn't mean squat. People are people - think back to my smoking story.

Anyway, I'm sure there are tales of where their input worked out but I wonder if it's the exception rather than the rule. Nor am I convinced Oliver is an authority on the matter.

There's a tendency among pop chefs to use all these healthy ingredients and foods without fully comprehending how to utilize them.

This "war on obesity" that Michele Obama has jumped on will fail. I don't say this hoping that will happen, in fact, I wish it would work out. But how has that "war on drugs" worked out? I'm also naturally suspicious of their interpretation of what's happening and the cure they choose to remedy it.

There's also a bit of irony in Oliver''s crusade. Years ago his show went to Italy to cook for the notoriously sophisticated Italian public in a series called "Jamie Cooks Italian" (or something like that). He was astonished at the food IQ of Italians and how strict and true to their regional recipes they were. He struggled to get into their mindset although he seemed to have figured it out.

Here was one of the great culinary civilizations that reached such a  level without the government intervention Oliver seeks for Great Britain and now the United States.

There's a powerful message in there somewhere.

I would be careful what you wish for. Years ago the Canadian government considered banning Parmigiano-Reggiano from entering Canada. Yup. They did. Something about the fermenting process not meeting "Canadian standards." I think the dairy lobby put them up to it.

My sister and I were incensed. It was the first and only time we actually wrote to an MP. I don't remember what we wrote but it went to the effect of "what do you suggest we eat? Cheap, orange processed cheese?" Fortunately, the government dropped their stupid proposal and I still enjoy PR on my pasta while my daughter loves eating thin slices of it.

That's right. I and I alone (and the chick next to me) decides what my kid eats.

ACORN Falls Off The Tree

Note to the left: Using "What about Bush" as a defense to prop up Obama is not a defense. Just sayin'.


This ACORN thing is quite the story. I like this piece because it actually went beyond the standard conservative characterization of Saul Alinsky (who they claim Obama is using as a source).

It sounds as though "they meant well" but got caught up in the epicenter that is cynical and corrupt politics. And they either naively or willingly jumped in. I'm not gonna sit here and argue it's just another corrupt left-wing organization because we can't say with any authority its right-wing opposites are any better.

Alinsky, after all, was always a decentralist at heart. He distrusted government planners, and while he was by no means opposed to redistribution in itself he was an acute critic of the welfare state as it functioned in practice. He regularly denounced "welfare colonialism," and in one speech he described LBJ's poverty program as "a huge political pork barrel and a feeding trough for the welfare industry, surrounded by sanctimonious, hypocritical, phony, moralistic crap." Above all, he argued that political action had to be driven by the people directly affected, not by professionals—including professional activists—acting on their behalf. If ACORN really followed the Alinsky model, it would have been on the other side of the barricades in Brooklyn. But then, if it followed the Alinsky model, it would have been a different group entirely.

Words I Hate


I HATE that word. Especially when used in politics.

Hate it.


That's So Rude

I do consider, in normal circumstances, not responding to emails to be rude.

Email is part of the social politesse universe now.

How My Hockey Pool Explains Democracy

"Democracy is such a messy thing. So speaketh Zeus. Not from Olympus but somewhere in the Mid-Atlantic.

This comment conjured up experiences in my hockey pool.

Stated in our "constitution" are the rules and regulations of the pool. It's a handbook of three pages enumerating policy. Yet, we never stop arguing about it.

One of my deals got nixed because the person who I made the deal with reported it ONE minute late. In the last two years we've done nothing but argue, chastise and quibble about semi-serious issues to downright frivolous ones. All it took for one guy to interpret every single trade and action by the letter of the law and it spiraled into a tit-for-tat, no compromise atmosphere.

"Fellas, fellas, fellas! Remember the policy?! It clearly stipulates..."
"Yeah but, I don't remember being clear minded when we wrote it!"
"But...but, but..."
"Waiter!  I'll have a beer!"
"To quote Frost, 'Is too much for the senses, too crowded, too confusing - too present to imagine."
"Should I take Doughty this year?"
"People, we have to make a decision can you focus?"
"Commentator, will you vote on my side?"
"What's in it for me?"
"A beer."
"Shit. Yay!"
"We've haven't begun voting."
"So. Do we increase the number of injured reserve spot from five to six?"
"That's what this is all about? For one spot?"
"If we don't do this I'm splitting and taking my pencil with me."
"Sit down, Mac."
"Bonjour, mon nom c'est Pierre. Est-ce que je peut prendre ta commande?"
"Oui. Ammene-moe la bierre dans une bouteille, niaseux."
"Depalma is losing his patience."
"Guys, we've talking for over 40 minutes. Can we start the draft, I have a family to feed."
"Yeah. Who goes first?"
"I dunno.Weren't we supposed to change the rules and pick out of a hat?"
"No. It's based on last year's standings."
"Yes, but we agreed to change that."
"The policy says nothing about being adults and changing rules."
"I say we base it on who can say the most vulgar thing and get the waiter to choose."
"He speaks French."
"No, he can speak English."
"But he won't get my Taxi or Fritz the Cat references."
"I'm hungry."
"Yes, honey. I'll be home very soon. Guys...seriously..."
"You calling me a wimp?"
"You said it not me."
"Enough! I say we pick out of hat!"
"Why not a tuque?"
"I take Tavares."
"Because. We're sticking to the old rules or else it'll never happen."
"You. Pick."
"What a dictator. I thought this was a democracy."
"Stop making a mess the salsa is spilling over onto my draft magazine."
"Next. You have thirty seconds."
"We're lucky we have a policy, huh? Would help to read it though..."

I never get involved in these debates. Ok, once but I realized I was up against a force greater than the evil bastards from the Politburo. Since then I delete most of the arguing and when we meet to discuss them at our annual draft I just make my decision on the spot once a poolster pleads their case spitting up pieces of cheddar over nachos.

I hate cheddar. Actually, I can only eat certain types of mild cheeses. I don't digest dairy products all that well. In fact, I've always hated dairy products; especially milk. I've had bad experiences with milk. Once, in grade two, a substitute teacher forced me to drink sour milk for some reason. That taste has never left my mouth. If I see that bitch...To this day I remain paranoid with milk always smelling it before I give it to my kid, herself not much for milk. She was breastfed for one year. Not sure why I had to mention that.

What I'm trying to say is I have to buy the good stuff. I have to pay the $10-$15 bucks for a slab of real Parmigiano-Reggiano, not that processed "Parmesan" crap. That shit kills my stomach. Yes, if you shop for cheese, make sure it doesn't have the word "Parmesan" in it. It's a knock-off. Not unlike the knock offs on Canal St.

What I'm trying to say, originally, is that democracy really is messy and no matter how hard you try to jot down the intentions, its spirit will forever be interpreted and reinterpreted to the point we all don't know what to think or what we're saying.


This is Very Interesting

It should be rejected or at least the temptation resisted to call Obamacare a socialist plan or takeover of America. Conservatives are over reacting. However, the consensus seems to point it is a big government measure. And to some, that simply means infringing on personal rights as the law suits come in.

There's enough in the plan that integrates, ironically, what were once conservative ideas. Individual mandates for example, is being challenged in the courts by conservatives yet it was the Heritage Foundation in the 1990s who originally proposed it though it makes clear it doesn't consider Obamacare constitutional.

Confused? Me too. And to make it more compelling, the libertarian think-tank CATO criticized it back when.

The legal and academic debate also goes a long way in dispelling the notion that if you're against the plan, you're insane and irrational.


I heard a political panel discuss the American health care reform debate. They, like me, look on with fascination. It was pointed out the confusing and cantankerous nature of the debate; although conveniently forgetting it wasn't so clean for us back in the 50s and 60s. Two things why I think ours wasn't so hyper: One it was so long ago so who remembers? You have to dig up newspapers archives to see what was written and even then it would be hard to compare to today since people didn't have access to communication tools like we have today. Two, Canadians aren't as rebellious as Americans and have a completely different concept of liberty than they do. Hence, all the challenges to the state. Americans naturally distrust the government; we now embrace it. I could also add that there was far less at stake in Canada. The American health care industry is huge, innovative and powerful so there are that many more players in the game. That wasn't the case in Canada; it was basically doctors against the state.

In recent memory, the only thing that really ignites the flames of passion in this country is national unity. I remember the incredibly highly charged Meech Lake Accords debate and the 1995 referendum.

Slow Academic Day For 16 Professors On The Prairies

I can't get worked up about this scholarship program story created by retired general Randy Hillier. I suppose "why soldiers and not policemen or firemen" argument can be made but it's still a nice initiative. Even if I were against it, would it merit making a stink about it? Canadians already enjoy low tuition fees to begin with so I guess allowing for children of dead soldiers to get an education "for free" isn't so fanciful. I put "for free" in quotations because, in a way, it isn't free. Their families paid the ultimate price: Death for the country. It's the least we can do given how treatment of veterans isn't always what it should be.

We do it for First Nations too. The private college I attended back in the early 1990s cost $3500 a month  a pretty penny for us white folks but Mohawks didn't have to pay the tuition. Something about colonial guilt and being on their lands I'm sure. It's all good or else I would never have met a Native with the nickname "Shooter." So called because he had a wicked slap shot.

However, I can get all hot and bothered about the rhetoric and argument used by 16 professors at the University of Regina regarding the program.

"The letter called the scholarship program "a glorification of Canadian imperialism in Afghanistan and elsewhere." 

That's kinda laying it on a tad thick no? Glorification of Canadian imperialism? Canada? Shit, we barely maintain a military, let alone seek empire. In any event, Canada is part of a NATO force and the United Nations cleared the invasion of Afghanistan. I'm not suggesting that makes it good or right, but it should quell somewhat the notion of we went in as Imperialists. I still giggle with that one. Didn't Canada refuse a group of Caribbean islands (including Turk & Caicos) back in the 1980s for fear of being labeled "imperialist?" And these countries asked to join and we still said no!


"In our view, support for Project Hero represents a dangerous cultural turn. It associates heroism with the act of military intervention ... In signing on to Project Hero, the university is implicated in the disturbing construction of the war in Afghanistan by Western military and state elites as the 'good war' of our epoch. We insist that our university not be connected with the increasing militarization of Canadian society and politics," the letter reads. 

These people are teaching our future intellectuals. I hardly see the "militarization" of Canadian society. Canada sees itself as a peacekeeping nation and even at that we don't really measure up to other peacekeeping nations. So I don't know where they're headed with that. Maybe because Harper is in power they see all sorts of monsters under the bed. Again, I think most rational and intelligent people can separate being against the war with Canada not being a budding Spartan titan. They can also see the good in the plan.

So they called it 'Project Hero.' Big deal. It might be cheesy but I think we should just roll with it.


"We felt that the name implied that all of those who have died in military service are heroes. And we think that heroism is a different kind of thing and we do not want some students to be seen as more worthy than others."

To some, they are. But not because they fight and kill - although that it's not so bad to wipe out a few of bad guys - but because they engage in humanitarian works like disarming mines, building infrastructure and schools. I would love to know what they mean by "different kind of thing." Stalin perhaps? Anti-liberty deans who "limit" free speech?

Doesn't the language bore you?

The mission in Afghanistan is problematic on many levels, but it's hardly an "imperialist" mission. Canadians may have a list of reasons why they don't want to be there, but I hardly think it's perceived it to be imperial.

It hasn't been a good week for Canadian Universities. One barely adheres to freedom of speech and the other pays professors who lack any common sense. It should be noted, however, the University of Ottawa ended up doing the wrong thing and UofR stuck to its guns and convictions and ignored the protest. And not so long ago, another professor suggested changing the lyrics of 'O,Canada' to make it more modern and gender neutral despite misinterpreting the original intent of the wording.

Have a decaf tea and a scone and chill out you hippies.

Just kidding. Relax.

I Don't Know What To Title This Post

My friend proclaimed, "government is inefficient because big corp owns it." The context to which he said this that in choosing between the two, he thinks corporations are more detrimental to democracy since they have infiltrated government to form an uneasy if not unholy alliance.

While we agree the fusion of business, politics and even the nastier elements of life (e.g. organized crime) have always been a part of the game, it does make you wonder about how it impacts the policy and decision making process and to what degree. I mean, here you have enormously wealthy people whispering sweet nothings into the ears of politicians who sometimes are to stupid or afraid of their own shadow to stand up for something called "convictions."

Maybe that's what he meant by waste. To the extent that decisions are made less with the people in mind and more with what special interest and big business want.

Me? I hate those stupid fucking emails bosses send showing "This Month's sales reports" or some other lame ass briefing. Corporations are cults. Toe the line or you don't get to be part of the the foursome at the golf charity! Everyone knows it's not the person who is cultured who gets the respect in a company (except for a couple of groupies), but it's the successful salesman.

From time to time you have the pleasure of meeting some who combine both. Some are even the best at what they do at which point you can point and say, "Good for him. He truly is class."

But more often than not, many names on those lists you wouldn't share an elevator with for fear of being figuratively murdered by their banal thoughts and verbal vomit. I would prefer to have the cables snap.

"Hey, Bobby! Waaaay to go! You sincerely are a pure, deceitful asshole who treats people with disrespect but you're number one this month so you can be sure you will be protected for one more month for any indiscretion you hoist upon this good (but corrupt) office! And thanks for the hockey tickets - wink, wink!"

I always wanted to reply to the company email. "Something like, why don't you all suck my balls?" or something like that.

I should have in hindsight.

Sign The Bill 104 Petition

For two reasons:

1) If you're English-speaking and worry about the slow genocidal destruction of English-language instruction schools in Quebec.
2) If you're a person who ideals to freedom in its purest form free of any sort of tyranny.

It still pains me that the Supreme Court of Canada would be complicit in allowing Quebec to continue conducting its insidious anti-democratic reign of bullying. Once you remove yourself from the notion of "cultural nationalism prevailing over the individual" only then can you see the naked truth of what it means to be free.

Democrats Unveil New Poltical Strategy

Seriously. What's up with this? Why are the Democrats playing this silly game?

Man, I thought that was always the case for all people in the public eye? Of course, if there are legitimate threats, the law should handle it with care. Somehow, I'm getting the feeling this isn't the case. At least not from what I've heard and read. They messages released are awful and distasteful no doubt but nothing I haven't personally read on this blog and other blogs. On my sports blog alone, some comments towards the writers left me stunned.

Athletes and celebrities get them too. I'm pretty sure it was a little more serious for Jackie Robinson and Hank Aaron.

There are so many questions to this it makes one reel. Can it be a political tactic by the Democrats aiming to quell the Tea Party movement and to characterize them as "racist?" In America, that's always an effective tactic since it's like sending in the Tasmanian Devil to scare off the masses.

And to suggest only one side of the ideological spectrum is capable of this is absurd.

I've been to protests organized by liberals. Those folks scared the living hell out of me. So "progressive" yet so vile.

Methinks the Democrats fear the elusive Tea Party movement - I still haven't really seen an in-depth story about them. Just "trust me, we know" and "we know the type" anecdotal angles - and what devastation they can pour upon them in November? Why else do this?

As for the GOP, lay off the "repeal" bit. From what I read, that's next to impossible. They knew, or at least should have known, the Democrats were eventually come around to pushing health care reform one of these years. They should have beaten them to the punch. They didn't. Now live with it.


History Of Canadian Health And Rational Thinking Not Good For Cancer

From Slate.com discussing the political battle over nationalized health care here in Canada decades ago.

Good read but hardly new to those who know Canadian history. Bottom line is the state has too much of a paternalistic strangle hold on health care. We and can do much, much better.


Speaking of health, my father-in-law is battling cancer. This story ties into the notion of "rational" thought. I often wonder if there's such a  thing as being overly "rational." Critical thinking is essential indeed, but does it suppress the art of "the hunch?" How to critically explain your hunch?

My father-in-law is blessed with powerful analytical skills. It passed down to his daughter. Together they form Spock and Spockette and I must admit, they can be frustrating to deal with. I allow my emotions to enter my mind. They don't. Luckily, I have superb communicative and diplomatic skills so all works out just fine.

His family is doing everything to increase his strength through diet and that includes adjusting to unfamiliar eating habits. Nothing kooky or new age. Just good stuff the doctors even agree with.

Every single time, he puts up a rational fight. He's always "unsure" and  falls back on "I will think about it." What's to think about? If they suggest taking Vitamin C (apparently to trick the cancer cells who feed off sugar to give them exponential life) take it! It's not like he has too many options so why over analyze?

That's what I noticed one week into this and I told my wife. But I'm just a lowly blogger with no "credentials. Yet, lo and behold, the psychologist concluded and confirmed what I've observed. She put it this way, "his analytical skills may have served him well in his career but it's proving detrimental to his health."

In other words, being over rational in his state is irrational. 

Unseen To The Naked Eye, Taxes Corrode

Taxes corrode. It's always nice to achieve a certain ends, but there's a consequence to an action. America is slowly destroying the one thing they have on everyone - bar none - and that's innovation. It's simple. You tax too much, people find ways around it. In the case of companies, they simply seek jurisdictions with more favorable tax rates. That can mean going to emerging countries like China, Brazil and India. Or they go to an Eastern European country seeking an edge. Or they can come to a place like Quebec where we can always use the business. And then the calls of ending outsourcing begins.

In Canada, by contrast, it was different. We didn't have as much at stake like the Americans. We weren't an economic powerhouse with many subtle realities Americans face. Nor were we, or are, overly innovative. We've become less so over time it can be argued. The only way innovation comes back is if government invites inventive companies here with a generous tax plan. Quebec does that all the time. Of course, that raises another pack of problems with leftists claiming preferential treatment for companies.Tax companies for our welfare! So the circle continues.

We should pay attention how Obamacare effects medical device companies and how they respond. After all, millions of North Americans rely on their innovations to provide quality products at prices the market can bear. My cousin, for example, owes his life to a defibrillator.

Interesting article at Medical Device Network by Thomas C. Novelli:

The concept of "shared responsibility" has continually been touted by Senator Max Baucus, a Democrat from Montana and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and other proponents of the tax as justification for implementing not only the device tax, but also a series of other taxes and cuts that will disproportionately affect a cross section of the healthcare industry.

The underlying premise of the concept is that the overall goal of healthcare reform, increasing health insurance coverage, will ultimately benefit healthcare industries. Thus, they must pay their fair share. While the idea of shared responsibility might have greater applicability for other areas affected by health reform legislation, it is more difficult to realise for the device industry.

A consistent argument used by supporters of the tax is that when there is an increased pool of newly insured beneficiaries, device companies will benefit from having an expanded customer and user base. However, this argument is shaky at best.
"A more important underlying consequence of the device tax is that it targets an industry producing truly innovative medical technologies."

Many of the devices that will be affected by the tax are used in the acute care setting, where patients, regardless of insurance, usually receive the appropriate medical treatment. As a result, it is highly unlikely that a product such as a defibrillator, which would be taxable under the House and Senate proposals, would receive any sort of increased benefit from a larger pool of insured beneficiaries.

It is also not the case that more people will be going into cardiac arrest and will need the assistance of a defibrillator. With this in mind, the purchasing practices of hospitals are likely to remain unchanged. This scenario would apply to numerous other medical technologies as well.

A more important underlying consequence of the device tax, however, is that it targets an industry producing truly innovative medical technologies. It is also an industry that is one of the few with a positive economic growth, despite a most challenging economic environment. At a time when the Federal government is working to promote investment in US industries of the future, it is inconsistent that a tax of this magnitude would be considered.

The US is the global leader in medical devices, which is one of the few industries with a net trade surplus. In addition, the US medical technology industry is responsible for nearly two million jobs, including some of the highest paying manufacturing positions in the country. Furthermore, the medical device industry is made up of mainly of small businesses. In fact, more than 80% employ fewer than 50 people.
 Just yet another piece showing concern with Obamacare is not an irrational process. In fact, it's a healthy one. And when the President goes around lampooning in Iowa the "sky didn't fall" rhetoric, he's not helping his cause. He's only showing how myopic he can be.

What Now For The Capitol Hill Gang?

There's a lot of talk about what Obama will do next. The top two are cap & trade and amnesty for illegal aliens. Both are interesting issues for different reasons. Tax burdens have been increased significantly thanks to Obamacare during an economic downturn. Cap & trade is another tax program this time for the betterment of the environment. Gas and oil prices have gone up - which serves as a tax - under Obama's tenure. On fiscal and employment matters, then, ideological concerns prevail over the practical notion of truly getting the economy back on track. Ah, but the stimulus is supposed to work all that out. That seems fanciful to me.

Then comes amnesty to people who, let's call a spade a spade, broke the law; Federal law. They entered the borders of a sovereign nation illegally. Logically, you round these people up and ship them out. After all, if you can't preserve the integrity of your laws (and the people who arrive in good faith with the full intention of observing American law) what good are you in the end? A laughable joke. Liberals have made much about the legal aspect of the Iraq war. On that front, they present a fair case. It's not an open and shut one, but certainly one that has merit and integrity. They were right to question all legalities and moralities of such an endeavor.

So then why, I wonder, do they support breaking the law with amnesty? I understand the complexities of the issue but why was it allowed to reach this point? What message will be sent if it does in fact happen? We're told time and again how "emotional" conservatives are (I'll remember that the next time I sit next to a financial advisor) and how "rational" liberals are (I can't stress how utterly retarded that belief is. One of my sister's is far left and she's anything but...in fact, she's all emotions. She's an artist...Despite this, I choose to not generalize and think all liberals are like her because I know they aren't) yet I can't see how they make any sense when they're willing to allow illegal people to get citizenship in one swoop.

I thought they were rational and dedicated to upholding the law? 

It's ghoulish and ghastly at the same time.

Then again, 10 million votes are at stake, eh?


Wrestle the insidious "we're rational, they're not" narrative from liberals. They don't own it.

As you can see here.


Taking A Break From All The Lunacy With Jackie Rogers Jr.

Before earth, wind, fire, plastic and spandex. Before SNL and BJ and the Bear, there was SCTV and Jackie Rogers Jr.

If you don't smile at this the terrorists win.

The Only Way I Go Back To The Liberals

If Romeo Dallaire were to ever become the Liberal leader, I would instantly vote for him.

Even then...but I have so much respect for that individual (he literally stared into the face of the devil) it would be hard for me not to.

We Should Be Compassionate But Can We Afford It?

Personally, I think the Americans are 40-50 years too late introducing this bizarre bill. Back then, North America's economy was healthy and strong enough to sustain a welfare entitlement project.


Now we're hanging on for dear life. How much more can you suck out of people?
I'm not so sure it was fiscally wise. But for many, it was still worth it from a social perspective.

When we worked at FPC, my cousin and I collected a lot of data and information about Canada's public health system. So much so we considered putting it all in a book. I often wondered if there was a website that culled all the "bad" side of public health (because we all know the good side of it). Lo and behold, SE posted this site: The Problems with Socialized Medicine.


I know some people say we shouldn't obsess over the cost of things when we are doing a public good. As I mentioned earlier, I argue that we aren't vigilant enough with our money. How North Americans treat their savings, is pretty much indicative of how our governments utilize our tax dollars. If we show no restraint or discipline, why should they?

Nonetheless, it's still a tough thing; cost versus compassion.

I've always wrestled with this. The best way I could show my support for my fellow man is to give to a local charity or cause or homeless shelter from my pocket. I plan to do so once I get myself back on my feet. However, the incentive is less for me because there is less in my pocket since the government takes from me to do exactly that: Care for the less fortunate. Quite frankly, I think it does a terrible job at it - heartfelt intentions notwithstanding. Grouping everyone into one communitarian tent is not the answer. We're better off appealing to each individual to do their part.

This economist from Harvard put it very well and reflects my outlook:

Well, it appears certain that the healthcare reform bill will become law. One thing I have been struck by in watching this debate is how strident it has been, among both proponents and opponents of the legislation. As a weak-willed eclectic, I can see arguments on both sides. Life is full of tradeoffs, and so most issues strike me as involving shades of grey rather than being black and white. As a result, I find it hard to envision the people I disagree with as demons.

Arthur Okun said the big tradeoff in economics is between equality and efficiency. The health reform bill offers more equality (expanded insurance, more redistribution) and less efficiency (higher marginal tax rates). Whether you think this is a good or bad choice to make, it should not be hard to see the other point of view.

I like to think of the big tradeoff as being between community and liberty. From this perspective, the health reform bill offers more community (all Americans get health insurance, regulated by a centralized authority) and less liberty (insurance mandates, higher taxes). Once again, regardless of whether you are more communitarian or libertarian, a reasonable person should be able to understand the opposite vantagepoint.

In the end, while I understood the arguments in favor of the bill, I could not support it. In part, that is because I am generally more of a libertarian than a communitarian. In addition, I could not help but fear that the legislation will add to the fiscal burden we are leaving to future generations. Some economists (such as my Harvard colleague David Cutler) think there are great cost savings in the bill. I hope he is right, but I am skeptical. Some people say the Congressional Budget Office gave the legislation a clean bill of health regarding its fiscal impact. I believe that is completely wrong, for several reasons (click here, here, and here). My judgment is that this health bill adds significantly to our long-term fiscal problems.

The Obama administration's political philosophy is more egalitarian and more communitarian than mine. Their spending programs require much higher taxes than we have now and, indeed, much higher taxes than they have had the temerity to propose. Here is the question I have been wondering about: How long can the President wait before he comes clean with the American people and explains how high taxes needs to rise to pay for his vision of government?

Always Look To The Bond Markets

Well, as I've repeatedly written for over a year, the math behind the Democrats plan never added up much less made sense.

The bond markets conclude: U.S. treasuries are not a safe bet. 

To add, the stock markets, particularly the pharma industry, reacted favorably to the bill.

Cui bono?

Rampant Pseudo-Humanism

It was stark raving madness on the radio. While most agreed Ann Coulter was being treated unfairly and that there's indeed a double-standard at play, there remains voices of nuttiness amongst us.

One panelist, really an idiot, believes "limits" are a must for free speech. Or if you prefer, censorship as a means to "preserve civilized" free speech. Yeah, he believed this was right.

How about this: Bullshit. Where does that pass on the limits scale?

Another guy, on the topic of religion and secularism, argued that if you allow religious instruction in schools you leave yourself open to creationism creeping into the schools.

I thought about one of my previous posts whereby the author presented a specious piece about how liberals are rational (did he check out the University of Ottawa by the way), when I heard this pseudo-humanist spew his opinion. So much for that piece. Into the garbage it goes. I won't even recycle it for fear it actually touches something else.

It's funny. I had religious instruction - Catholic no less - and didn't see my capacity to rationalize on any level diminished. In fact, I would argue the degradation and fall of educational standards probably began right around the time religion was under attack and removed from our schools. 100 years ago students, I'm willing to bet, were a helluva lot smarter than the ones of today. After all, ours graduate without speaking French properly or capable of writing a lousy paragraph.

The topic, specifically, was about how the Quebec Ministry of Education - the destroyers of education - consistently push a "Secular" agenda on the populace. Instead of fixing more immediate and grave problems, they dick around with whether day care centers are teaching about "Christmas" in their own private schools.

No joke. It's happening. I don't expect bureaucrats and people who accept the nanny-state to comprehend this but behind the scenes owners and parents are outraged and scared of the government. There you have it: The state is a bully.

But don't worry, we'll all "understand" one day. We'll catch up to them. The day I consider a bureaucrat my intellectual superior is the day I join the communist party.

Just give you an idea how far this guy was willing to go he called for a "religion police" to punish educators who dared talk about religion.

I feel dirty inside. This is not humanism. Italian humanists would never condone the bull shit that takes place among liberals. Ever. They believed in the free human soul. They believed that we should indeed free ourselves from the shackles of religion to challenge ourselves. To make man the center of our thoughts. Today, replace the Church with the State and the minions of faux liberals who march along its dead beat.

Someone needs to save liberalism from itself. They once stood for individual liberty and were most vocal against the rise of the state. What happened to them?

It's strange. As my wife and I sit and listen to all the craziness of the last few days, she said, "I'm taking the little one to Church Sunday."


The dark forces of stupidity have prevailed. Ann Coulter's speech was canceled at the University of Ottawa due to "security concerns."

Ironic, Mr. Houle, wouldn't you say? In the end, it was the ignorance of your own lousy students that engaged in thuggery. I've been in class with "students" like those at the protest. I fear for our future.

Concordia University used to call me to donate money. I put an end to that when they allowed Palestinian radicals (and let's face it, all special interest groups infest campuses like little cockroaches ready to destroy freedom)  to make a mockery of freedom with their nonsensical behavior a little too often. They never called me again - and they'd better not. I'm embarrassed to have a degree from that place.

It's also ironic that censorship mostly takes place exclusively among the hard left on college and university campuses on the continent. It's good old fashioned book burning of a different kind.

For fun, call in Michael Moore and Norman Finkelstein and see how these boneheads react.



You Can Take The Boy Out Of The Mediterranean But...

You can't take the Mediterranean out of the boy.

Years ago, my father was in a coma for three months because of complications following aortic surgery. He literally "died three times and came back to life" as one nurse put it.  During that rough period, my mother and a close friend put their faith in God. Why not? The ICU doctors wanted to pull the plug saying even if he came out his quality of life would be negligible. So, be rational and do the right thing we were told. But we didn't listen. It was reason versus faith.

Long story short. One day a priest came in and offered his prayers. My mother and the same friend were present. About this friend. I'm not sure how to describe her without sounding like Doug Henning. She basically feels and sees auras and performs something in Italy called the "mal occhio" or the evil eye. This "procedure" is well known in the Mediterranean world. It's a superstition not restricted to Italy. The Ancient Egyptians and Greeks have their own older version of it. It's also practiced in the Latin world, India and Arab culture in different manifestations. It essentially removes malevolent spirits that cause bad luck or worse.

And she's damn good. It's weird for me to say, I know, but I can only offer what I've observed. When I was 14, I experienced vicious migraines that would render me incapacitated for a few days. Finally, my mother called this woman to see what she could do. She performed the evil eye, with the requisite prayers, and told my mother I'd be feeling better within 15 minutes. The rest was in God's hands. I was better in 15 minutes and never experienced a migraine to that degree again. I get migraines but nothing a 222 can't handle.

So there they stood praying before my father with a priest. He left and a few moments later my mother noticed a man dressed in white in the hall doing nothing in particular. Assuming he was a priest, she asked him for a prayer. He kindly obliged. He touched my father's forehead and left. Never to be seen again.

Within an hour my father awoke. My mother wanted to find the priest. But not one person knew what she was talking about and didn't see any priest dressed in white - and I'm talking Glad garbage guy white. In fact, there was only one priest on duty and that was the one who preceded the man in white. My mother was confused. Her friend sat silently. My mother wondered who the man was. Her friend answered, "that was his guardian angel."

This past few years, my father-in-law has been battling cancer and was recently admitted to the hospital. His morale fluctuates daily. Today, my mother asked her friend to perform the evil eye. Not to cure the cancer but to strengthen him by removing unnecessary negative vibes. Now, be aware, to remove evil spirits is a huge endeavor. The woman literally becomes exasperated for the rest of the day. But she did it and said he should feel "more at ease" within 30 minutes for the rest of the night. Turns out "envy" from others was pressing hard on his soul. Within that time frame he received encouraging news from the doctors. It did improve his night.

He too - a Canadian-born religious Catholic with a rational, technical mind of an engineer -  is familiar with the evil eye being of Lebanese heritage. What may seem as an odd ball superstition to those outside the Mediterranean realm, is a tool that complements faith and yes, even reason, when battling a vicious illness. When there's the unknown, people need hope.

I don't know how to rationalize any of this. My wife has committed herself and my daughter to going to Church again. I see nothing wrong with that. It's a place of good. I may even join them from time to time. I don't fall into the over-rational and secular age we live in. I can reserve a spot in my heart and mind for God and Christianity. As any person would for their own religion. When used as a force of good; for hope and faith, sometimes you can find reason in all the madness.

Sowell Chimes In On Obamacare

Man, Americans are mad. From Thomas Sowell.

Well conservatives are anyway.

Enough Of This Madness: Let Freedom Of Speech Reign Or Get Out

I do think it's about time people stand up for one another in the interest of free speech. The voices of those who would censure need to be shunned and done away with - especially on College and University campuses where all too often extremism prevails over freedom of speech. All too often, presidents or deans of such schools lead the this ghastly parade.

The latest figure to be

Too often, people pass opinions around with second hand information. Here in Canada, I can't tell you how many times I hear people say "Rush Limbaugh has a mental illness" and when I ask if they listen to him, every single time the answer is "No." Same with Fox News. They don't even get Fox News here and still find it appropriate to judge it. Never body of work and opinions, we get our information from sources we "trust!" It's a "I know the type" logic.

I picked off this piece from College News. I found it interesting because it makes my point. On the surface you may dislike something but once you actually see, read or hear it, maybe your opinion can shift and maybe perhaps even learn something. Why would you deny yourself that right?

As many of you know, if there's one thing that absolutely sends me into a hissy fit it's so-called protectors of our institutions of higher learning acting like dictatorial creeps.

The latest one being Francois Houle of the University of Ottawa asking American shock polemicist Ann Coulter to "watch her mouth."

I ask, would Houle send the same letter to, say, Noam Chomsky or Michael Moore - the latter being obscenely boorish himself? How about Naomi Klein? What's the difference between them and Coulter and Rush Limbaugh. Does anyone for one second believe the leftists mentioned earlier would ever be censored?

In the 1960s, many leftist musicians were often unfairly boycotted or prevented from performing at certain events. Their colleagues often reacted by standing by them and not performing themselves. I think it's time people in the political realm do the same. This nonsense of censoring people under the bogus guise of "public safety" should not be tolerated.

Here's part of the letter. My comments in red:

We have a great respect for freedom of expression in Canada, as well as on our campus, and view it as a fundamental freedom, as recognized by our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Red flag, red flag. I smell a but coming....

Now! I would, however, like to inform you, or perhaps remind you, that our domestic laws, both provincial and federal, delineate freedom of expression (or "free speech") in a manner that is somewhat different than the approach taken in the United States. Read: We have more restrictions because we're not as free.

I therefore encourage you to educate yourself, if need be, as to what is acceptable in Canada and to do so before your planned visit here.Ok...entering 1984 zone here.

You will realize that Canadian law puts reasonable limits on the freedom of expression. There it is folks: Limits. You can't put limits on freedom of speech. You either have it or you don't. For example, promoting hatred against any identifiable group would not only be considered inappropriate (you know, if you say "retard" that can be "considered inappropriate." We're not sure. We'll know it when we see it. But we're watching you because....), but could in fact lead to criminal charges. Outside of the criminal realm, Canadian defamation laws also limit freedom of expression and may differ somewhat from those to which you are accustomed. I therefore ask you, while you are a guest on our campus, to weigh your words with respect and civility in mind. I never consented to this as a citizen so if you don't mind I want to hear Ms. Coulter without the fear of the government bitch slapping her around, thank you very much. We all know how far the unelected Human Rights Commission can take this rhetoric. Just ask Mark Steyn. Notice the tone. It's civil but it's paternalistic and just plain scary.

There is a strong tradition in Canada, including at this university, of restraint, respect and consideration in expressing even provocative and controversial opinions and urge you to respect that Canadian tradition while on our campus. Hopefully, you will understand and agree that what may, at first glance, seem like unnecessary restrictions to freedom of expression do, in fact, lead not only to a more civilized discussion, but to a more meaningful, reasoned and intelligent one as well.  Just follow our rules and how we see things and we'll all get along.


Thank you Mr. Houle for exposing Canada for what it is: A free country some of the time and within the acceptable limits of a few people who anointed themselves protectors of free speech without my consent.

Let's Celebrate!

Oh, the things you learn about where you live.

I received in the mail a letter from the Quebec government - Ministere de 'Education du Loisir et du Sport -  A "Declaration D'Admissibilite a l'enseignement en anglais."

Translation: We, the state, permit you (in a free society we provide to you), to send your daughter to english school. Enjoy it while it lasts because by the time Bill 104 is enacted, we trust we will once and for all rid us the problem of English schools and treating you like equal citizens. Thanks for the taxes by the way. Have a nice day.

It's a certificate of eligibility.

Gee, thanks. I shouldn't complain - as many nationalists say - it could be worse. I could be French and have no choice as dictated in Bill 101.

In the meantime, we're going to celebrate and have pizza and praise the government's kindness for allowing us to send our child to English school.


Thoughts On Health Bill Keep Coming In

With apologies to Paul. 

From Volokh Conspiracy: 

A large and permanent majority of the American people immediately accepted Social Security as a constitutional solution to poverty among the elderly and to massive unemployment (since Social Security would open up jobs by encouraging people to retire sooner). The American people have not accepted Obamacare as a constitutional solution to health insurance problems. If the American believe that there is a “crisis” about the high cost of health insurance, then the American people can also believe that the solution is not to send people to prison for refusing to buy overpriced insurance that they don’t want. The American people can reject the notion that our Constitution should be contorted and distorted to accommodate such a destructive and intrusive scheme.
And then the Constitutional debate commences.

What now for Obama? Climate change? Grant amnesty to illegal aliens? Bring education under the total control of the state?

The euphoria shown by the Democrats, I will submit, hasn't registered with Americans because the economic landscape remains bleak (and this bill will do nothing to lower the debt) and they now have to deal with one of the most polarizing Presidents (ironic given his transformational image) in recent American political history.


Victor Davis Hanson chimes in here.


Sdhfh Sdjeoomkfkfhkyk Korotoyuy

Can anyone explain this to me? It's all Jabberwocky to me. I know Huff Po can pass as a humour site, but seriously what is this guy talking about? Is this a serious piece? So. Liberalism = reason. Riiight. I've noticed this narrative gain traction: That conservatism is predicated on paranoia and fear and that liberalism on logic and reason. Sure it is. Sure, the Obama administration used "reason" to sell their plan. No appeals to fear or emotions here.

This sort of arrogant logic is enough for anyone go bonkers because there is no way for a person who doesn't agree with this guy because he's positioned himself as a man of reason. Any argument you may present, however well thought-out, is likely to be dismissed somehow and someway as intellectually deficient.

Look, it's simple for me Sir, I don't identify myself with any party or ideology but in my black and white calculation the less of the government I can deal with the better for me. I don't consider the government necessary in my life. They make it necessary. Same with corporations. They in themselves act like creepy cults ridding people of their individuality. So to me, you all have some sort of illness preventing you from grasping the loss of personal freedom. You and you alone have abdicated your sense of individualism because you bought the government line hook, line and sinker. That doesn't make me "paranoid." On the contrary. It makes me more rational and reasonable than most because I have to grin and deal with madness in a civil manner on a daily basis.

Moreover, I would like to know what half the people commenting on the threads are talking about.

Man, I must really be from Mars.

Yes. I've been very, very angry these past few days and I'm taking it out on this blog.

Blister Packs Are Vicious

Are blister packs covered under Obamacare? Will he go after companies that use them since they contribute to people heading to emergency rooms?

Annoying and dangerous as they are, I'm extremely calm when I try to open them. I have to be or else I'll lose a hand.

More American Health Care Reform Fallout

Sally Pipes:

With the passage of the health “reform” bill, President Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have ensured that the American economy and America's household economics are in for a rough decade.

Liberals are hailing the vote as historic, and indeed it was -- a blunder of major portions that accomplishes none of the original goals on which health-care reform was sold. It doesn’t come close to providing universal insurance and bends the cost curve up, not down.

It expands Medicaid, cuts Medicare and adds billions of dollars in new taxes and mandates just as these monies are needed to put Americans to work.

The most remarkable immediate result of the vote is, well, nothing much at all. Next year is already slated to be a tough year for Americans, as the expiration of the Bush tax cuts promises to suck billions from the private sector. Now ObamaCare’s mandates will increase health spending by businesses and households -- with more "health-reform" tax hikes set to hit in the years ahead.

That’s not to say there will be no short-term effects. The bill immediately redefines youth to age 26, mandating that group and individual health plans cover adult “children” up to that age. This will certainly increase premiums, as will the new law's ban on policies that have lifetime and annual limits on health-care services.
Americans will also start to pick up a portion of the $20 billion in tax hikes imposed on medical-device companies, as well the new taxes on drug manufacturers. And we'll no longer be allowed to buy over-the-counter medications with our flexible-spending accounts.

But the most onerous of the bill’s taxes start to take effect in 2013. Families with incomes greater than $250,000 will pay a higher Medicare Payroll Tax up to 2.35 percent, plus a new 3.8 percent tax on interest and dividend income. With this stroke, Democrats have managed to punish both work and the savings of American families.

Congress radically cuts the annual contribution to flexible health-care spending accounts from $5,000 to $2,500 and limits deductions of catastrophic health-care expenses. Both moves promise hardship for families that face costly, chronic medical conditions. Half of those who take advantage of the medical-expense deduction earn less that $50,000 a year.

By 2014, the new law will certainly put the health-insurance market in full crisis. That's the year insurers will have to offer polices to all comers -- charging healthy people the same premiums as those who waited until they were sick to buy a policy.

That reform has devastated the private-insurance market in every state that has adopted it -- pushing premiums so high that more than half of individual and small-group policyholders drop their insurance altogether. These people will have nowhere to get except the federally created and subsidized “insurance exchanges.”

Meanwhile, fines of $2,000 per employee will fall on businesses with 50 or more workers if any employee gets a subsidy from the federal government.

Starting in 2018, “Cadillac” insurance plans will be taxed -- individual polices over $10,200 a year and family plans over $27,500. The way the tax is “indexed,” in time it’ll cover more and more Americans -- just as the Alternative Minimum Income Tax, first targeted at the super-rich, now hits millions in the middle class.
The individual mandate is laughably weak, with fines starting at one-half of 1 percent of income in 2014 and topping out at 2 percent in 2016. Many Americans will game the system, paying the fine until a major health expense hits, and then buying insurance at government-mandated rates as if they were healthy.

It is clear from the polls that 56 percent of Americans don’t want the government to take over their health care. But Obama, Pelosi and Reid don't care: They believe that government should be bigger and is better able to make decisions than individuals about how to run their lives.

There’s no doubt that under this plan, taxes for all Americans will go up, deficits will climb, care will be rationed and all of us will be on their way to living under a government-run system of “Medicaid for all.”

Rocky Balboa's Iberian Name

I don't mean to be a nitpicker but this has been nagging me for years.

Rocky Balboa has become a cinematic symbol of guts and glory. The protagonist, boxer Balboa, was a Philadelphia native of Italian heritage.

Problem is. Balboa, as far as I know, isn't an Italian name. It's origin is from the Iberian peninsula and may be either Spanish or Portuguese. Great. That's all we need now. For them to claim him like they do Columbus.

Stallone slurring: "Ballotti. Balla. Balotelli. Nah. No good. Balborsa? Balboa!"
Friend slurring: "Wasn't he a Portuguese explorer?"
Stallone: Nobody cares! I'm Johnny. No. Harold. No. Let's see. Rocco Balboa!"
Friend: Why not just go with Rocky like my pet turtle?
Stallone: That's why you're a lowlife servant and I'm a big time movie guy. Nobody will connect with Rocky. Now get me some prosciutt'."
Friend: Balbo sounds more Italian.
Stallone: Git!

Gilles Duceppe: Meet Canada's Honorary Court Jester

I don't talk a whole lot about Quebec sovereignty because quite frankly it's a stupid topic. The people behind it share none of my values or beliefs. I mean, how can you take seriously a bunch of hacks who want independence but feel they're entitled to the Canadian passport, pensions (without paying into it) and transfer payments? In other words, they want Ontario and Alberta to pay for their little project. It's like when you decide to move out and asking your parents to pay for your rent and to send you cash every month under the rationale you deserve it because you're their kid and contributed to the family.

Such is the insidious logic normal people are subjected to by these boobs. Like most upstanding people of the world, we laugh, share a glass of wine and laugh some more at the fact people actually believe this garbage.

Now aside from the fact that the resistance movement in France is under considerable debate, I somehow doubt he'll find any person of any serious note to take the notion that Quebec sovereigntists are like "la resistance" as Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles "Dushlepp" Duceppe hilariously recently said. Oooo, la federale lurks in every corner ready to destroy Quebec, oooo! I would love to be around the dinner table at that guy's house. Mind you, I've had to sit and listen to Quebec nationalists talk rubbish in the past. One time, three of us were at a party and the subject turned to politics. We sat in silence while they spoke about the injustices they faced and the corroding influence of insular American culture and bunch of other silly things.

When we left, my friend just nodded his head, "they're so burnt. Time to move to Vermont. They'll understand us there." I really felt like I was in 1917 Russia.


How many Quebec intellectuals languish in Canadian gulags again? Does Canada have Brown shirts running around? No, but Quebec has its own version with the OLF. Where's the Canadian military breaking down doors of Quebecois troubadours singing songs of freedom?

The kicker here of course is that Canadian taxpayers pay this guy a pension. If he and his cronies had any honor they'd tear up the cheques before every session in Parliament but of course, they're more "chaleuses" (excuse the spelling if wrong. Translation: complainers and whiners) than honorable men.

Ain't no Founding Fathers to be found among this bunch.

Health Care Bill Passes And The Role Of Costs In A Compassionate Welfare State

Does anyone like this bill?

She lists more myths than Greek and Roman mythology combined!

Oh, but wait. They'll "learn" to like it. Poppycock logic.


There's another way to look at it. In the West, we've become a place where we seek happiness and to feel better about ourselves. Costs associated to these are irrelevant.

People want to believe they're taking care of one another. They would never pay from their own pockets to help a neighbor pay for some medical bills, but have the government do it and all of a sudden all is taken care of. Government rationing health doesn't sound as bad as insurance companies doing it.

As someone put it to me, "we need to stop looking at only the costs." Well, some people need to. If I followed in my sister's footsteps, I would never have amassed a savings nest because to me, it all comes down to affordability and availability. To the person who doesn't save, or doesn't know how, statism is an intoxicating option. To a guy like me, less so. I would argue we don't debate about costs, risks, rewards, financial viability of government projects etc. enough. We're vigilant against commerce, but not with the government. My sister talks about how Wal-Mart "squeezes" people but like any consumer, she's a price sensitive shopper; a price shopper who talks like a Marxist. No. The government doesn't squeeze people. Nah. The mere fact "eminent domain" is on the books means little.

But. We're being compassionate and there's not price tag to this! Perhaps. I can't deny there's some truth to this.

Nonetheless, to me, the government are enablers. They aren't saviours.

For example, here in Quebec. The provincial government takes out ads urging people to gamble "responsibly." Meanwhile, they litter the streets with ads for the Casino to which they own. It's like that duplicitous ad on The Simpsons: "Don't eat beef. Eat deer!"

Or take the recent news - hardly even mentioned in the press - how the SAAQ gave itself massive bonuses. This came after a huge increase in motorcycle licenses. When will we make this a major issue? People are up in arms when a CEO earns millions, but at least it's effen earned through sales. These boneheads steal it from people's pockets!

I know I'm breaking all kinds of critical thinking rules but there's something to be said about personal experiences and observations. I'm just arguing an angle I perceive to be not discussed enough.


Dunno Why Krugman Is So Blue

"The Krugman Blues" by Loudon Wainwright III.

Great stuff. If I had cash flow and wasn't racking up debts to launch this business I 'd spend the 20 bucks. I'll probably do so down the road. Good music never loses value.

I don't know why Paul is so blue. Liberal economics rule the world!

As you know, I like to break down Kroooogman from time to time. His attempts at singing the praises of Canada's health care system is especially cute.

If You're Anti-Commerce You Don't Want Read This

Man, am I late on this one. Still seems relevant to me though.

Wal-Mart and Home Depot more responsive than the government during Katrina?

Less forms to fill with companies I guess. The government first had to pass the buck and when the buck came back to the person who first sent it out they quickly realized it was indeed their job. "Now. Which forms do I need to fill, Mable?"

Seriously. Should anyone be surprised if this is in fact true?

High Arctic An Important Region: Is Canada Prepared?

In the 1990s, many Canadians asked "why do we need a military for?" It was believed we were so peaceful, war was inconceivable anyone would want to go to with us. With the money saved, we could put it in health. What else?

It was/is a naive, myopic and irresponsible thing to believe. My stance was, A) We don't know what the future holds so why not at least maintain what we've got and B) What about the Arctic?

The slow decline of our military (once the third largest in the world just after 1945) to one with the smallest budget in NATO - except for Iceland which has no military - is a national embarrassment. Our military capabilities have fallen so far behind that increasing the budget will have little impact according to military experts and scholars. Some have called for Canada, since it falls under American protection (sorry nationalists but sovereignty includes being able to stand up for yourself), to become a specialized force. Canada has the talent and know-how to pull that off.

With the Arctic polar caps melting it's believed as much as 25% of oil reserves can be tapped into. No wonder countries like Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States have stepped up their claims in the Arctic. As it stands, Canada is a partner and participant in Arctic issues with these nations.

However, what happens if Russia flat out takes control of an island against Canada's wishes? Does it become inevitable we have to ask for American military assistance? At which point, the U.S. will ask for concessions. Knowing the leverage is in their favor, they could ask for a lot. Had Canada maintained a large enough army and navy it could always show enough of a force by simple being present in the Arctic.

Predictably, nationalists will squawk about Canadian sovereignty. But that's all it will be: Squawking. The Canadian government is aware of the situation and are further aware they will have to arrange an new special partnership with the Americans (and maybe other nations) at some point. Unfortunately, I don't see how it can be a 50-50 thing. If Canada says no, the U.S. can turn around (and this is just a worst case scenario) and say "ciao, we can do it alone." And then Canada is powerless against the great military powers. If it say yes, it has no choice but to negotiate terms favorable to the U.S..

True. I don't know for sure if we had a military it would put more leverage in our favor but how could it not on some level?

Cherry Versus Cooke Part Deux; Thinking Outside The Box

Again. Agreed.


There's a belief pimped out by pundits in sports whereby only people who have played the game professionally can really truly know the game and therefore are best suited to run a league, coach, scout - whatever.

I would argue it's actually the opposite. By staying within the confines of a system it becomes incestuous where an old boys network settles in with the same bad ideas and misconceptions prevailing indefinitely. Soccer is filled with dinosaurs. So is the NHL.

I'm not suggesting a complete outsider with zero experience is better than a person who has been in a sport all their life. Rather, what I'm arguing is former players shouldn't be, for example, handed coaching jobs because he played. Coaching is entirely different craft almost independent of playing. Soccer is the worst offender of this strategy.

Most organizations fail or wallow in inept misery because they can't evolve. They stick to tired and failed philosophies because it's simply the way "it's done." They learned a certain way and they follow through on it.

For their part, coaches shouldn't be given free reign either. They're too preoccupied with the short term. I can't blame them given the dismissal rate. Unfortunately, they've come to accept it as "part of the job." Win, you stick around. Lose, you're out because, you know, in one year your message has become "stale." Truth is, it's an art deciphering how bad or good a coach really is.

To me, whenever I see a club constantly firing a manager or coach it reflects poorly on the organization itself. Either it has poor hiring principles or it doesn't have the guts to stand by their guy. Teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers are a precious rare exception. They prove it's not about just coaching but the entire organization: Stability brings pragmatism and pragmatism gives patience breathing room. When you have that combination you can evaluate your talent and resources far more effectively.

Teams that always seem to be at the forefront of high drama, teams that restrict themselves to available talent (for political or other reasons), teams that follow the typical "well, we can't fire the team" logic, will always suck or always pretend - if they have a good marketing department - they'll always have a "shot" at the title. What they don't tell you is if the many "ifs" fall in their favor. Good teams reduce the "if" factor as much as they can.

And one way you avoid sucking is you think outside the box. You embrace new people and ideas. That way, your chances of stabilizing your team and finding the next Billy Beane or Lou Lamouriello are in your favor.

There's an anatomy to winning and losing. Over time, you manage your risk and reward (and luck factor) better that way. Mess that up and you become part of the losers who always blame others for their failures.

So yeah, whenever I hear former players turned commentators yelp about "fans" not knowing anything about the game or that a bunch of "suits" are ruining the game,  I want to throw the TV out the window because when they say things like that what they don't realize is it's not just about kicking and hitting, it's about the integrity, development and sustainability of entire sport and league. It stretches beyond the little clique they wish to preserve.

Believe it or not, there are many people out there who can do the job.

The Process Does Matter

Did I hear right? Did I hear right because I don't hear well out of my right ear. But I could have sworn the Democrats say about the health care reform bill that the process doesn't matter?

I've heard this argument before when it came to defending Michael Moore "documentaries." That somehow because he had a message and needed to make Americans aware he was free to manipulate the facts and edit the living shit out of his films. Presto! My vision of the truth!


The process does matter. For anything.

What is "process" anyway? Is violation of rules and facts? I think I'll go with that. Indeed, there's also a subjective angle to the "process." At some point, a person is confronted with a "well, it doesn't fit my plans" dilemma. What happens next is also important.

As for health care, I'm not sure how "socialistic" this whole thing is, but it does represent a significant increase in government intervention in the industry.

Why is an industry (insurance) that represents 4% of overall expenditures being demonized so much? Who turns down more patients: Medicare or insurance companies? Has the government demonstrated how exactly will their plan lead to "more competition?" Why did Obama tread a specious line by questioning doctor and surgeon practices?  Is he suggesting a bureaucrat get between a doctor and patient? Just how much of it is a government take over of health? Conservatives talk as if it's a fait accompli but is it?

Never mind about the constitution and all the philosophical, legal and procedural debating that comes with it. That in itself is a college class waiting to be designed.

Rhetorical question: Who is worse to deal with, insurance companies or bureaucrats? 

These are just some of the questions. It's important because if you can't pin down what the problem is - choosing instead to pick but one component of it - how can there be a meaningful solution? If I start a business and it fails. A consultant will come in analyze where I went wrong. They will determine faulty premises - which can range from poor understanding of financial statements to prejudicial beliefs - that corrupted your bottom line.

Interestingly, when you look at polling, the individual parts of the bill Americans seem to like them. On the aggregate they hate it. This makes sense than you think. It's not inconceivable individuals like parts of anything. It's all in the packaging.

I would have love to be around in the 1960s to have seen that legislation pass. Did the process get overlooked? If it did, it can go a long way to explain why Medicare costs are what they are and why targets were missed.

Moreover the narrative has shifted a few times. The administration has asserted their plan is needed, at different points, for "universal coverage" to reduce "overall costs" and  then for "deficit reduction." Now they've upped the ante by characterizing those who oppose them as "ignorant" and focusing on the insurance companies because next to bankers, insurance is the easiest target to get people riled up.

If you bend along the way by ignoring the process, then it becomes an "ends justifies the means" project and you're likely to have a confused if not corrupted outcome. Whether if it's politics or films (the two great theaters) or anything else, if you deceive to make a point because you believe you have "truth" on your side then you have nothing but bullshit.

To me, the process helps to minimize the counterfactual battling the counter-counterfactual. There's so many "that's impossible to tell" arguments being thrown around no wonder people are suspicious. Or maybe the American political process is more efficient than we think and it's working itself out. But how can one tell?

This health care thing is so surreal you have Democrats admitting it's a flawed if not terrible bill but it's better to pass and fix later.

Good luck with that down the road America.


The process is one of the reasons why I don't take Michale Moore seriously. Because he manipulates and edits facts to fit his visions, it's an incredibly easy thing to do to rebut his assertions. His movies will be worthless in five or ten years because they lack any substance. This thing "well, he's just trying to make people aware" angle doesn't resonate with me. He can do this, if the truth is on his side as he so believes, by being true to the process.