Further Musings On Friedman

These thoughts started out as comments at Skeptical Eye but opted instead to add to my post tally here:

About secession:

It is interesting to entertain the thought that it would lead to more competition. Italy peaked as a society when it wasn't unified but warring city-states. Ancient Greece as well. To a certain extent, same with Germany. We tend to forget that Europe is BUT an amalgamation of regions who still remain independent at heart. Sicily, Gallicia, Catalonia, Flanders, the Walloons, etc.

Your views on secession will be influenced and determined very much by how your personal political views fit into your georgrapical and cultural environment. I'm sure a liberal in Texas isn't too keen on that possibility. They can point to certain aspects of Texan values and beliefs they believe don't merit independence. Same with an English-speaking, non-Francophone living in Quebec who wants no part of Quebec independence even though they intellectually can grasp that too much centralized power in a massive country isn't necessarily a good thing. It's just that the people pushing Quebec independence aren't a good alternative.

About example of societies that employed the anarcho-capitalist model:

The one thing that's strange, perhaps weak, is using Iceland in the Middle-Ages as an example for anarcho-capitalism success.

Not to disparage Iceland, but I think we need more substantial examples.

Personally, we spend too much time looking for examples. If the idea has merit, try it. Especially in light of the utter unimaginative and redundant recycled ideas pimped about these days.

The argument used by the left asking what's the alternative to the state - a valid question - needs to be deconstructed piece by piece.

Moreover, it's worth reminding that, as a whole, those who think along libertarian (except for the hard core ones who I fear may not be practical) lines DO NOT called for the dismantling of the state acknowledging it is necessary on some level.

It's funny. Liberals believe or think that if there's no state to enforce laws or protect rights, man is doomed.

Yet, look around you. Government breathes life into entities that don't serve the people all the time. If anything, they do a good job (for a myriad of reasons: To keep their jobs, votes, apathy, money, naivete, etc.)of coddling the very people who have designs against the people.

Corruption continues. And some of the corruption we see is fixable.

Sometimes it's worse than it should be because the state often protects criminals. The people they purport to be protecting aren't protected at all but rather serve as convenient scapegoats and/or pawns.

Just study illegal betting and fixed matches in soccer globally. None of those yahoos succeed without the help of a major political figure on some level.

We should be willing to tinker with things. Big and bigger government is not feasible and as far as I'm concerned, we're fools to think more government can fix things the government messed up in the first place.

Marc Garneau Throws His Name In The Hat

Now this is starting to make sense.

If the Liberals want to be taken seriously, Garneau is a good start.

Math Brain Teaser

If I bought a car with a final sale price of $21 824 with a term of 84 months at 8.99% with monthly payments of $351 with $2000 down how much will I pay in total if I keep for the full term?

Now. If I've paid for 49 months how much have I put down so far and how much do I have left to pay?

Ok. Let's assume I want to sell it and the market value is about $13 000. If the amount owed is less than the market value, am I making money on my car? Hint: Look what I've paid so far to help determine the answer.

Have fun.

Coming To A Theater Near You

Now that the students (on the French side of the spectrum) are upping the ante to demanding "free" post-secondary education, what can be on the table not too far off in the distant future in the "take all" society?

Will it be "free" bus passes? I mean, from what I hear, pretty expensive at I think $90 per month.

Right. Slippery slope logic can erode critical thinking but, really, simple observations can reasonably think that transit services can be viewed as "essential" for students who will argue they need it to go to school.

It's coming.

Meanwhile, what does the PQ do? They make all sorts of cuts that hurt business, which threaten to lower tax revenues to be able to pay for lavish social programs. They make promises they know that can't possibly keep. Remember, it's the PQ that created the doctor and nurses shortage crisis and made an embarrassing mess of public education here.

Yet, Marois turns around - in mid-air I might add - and says she wants to work with business to gain their confidence.

All I can say is /face palm multiple times.

Death Of The Philly Dream Team; Argos Win Grey Cup

In the aftermath of the Philadelphia Eagles releasing DE Jason Babin in what has turned out to be a dismal season at 3-8, I saw this quote on ESPN:

"R.I.P. The Dream Team August 2011-August 2011."

Brilliant. When Vick claimed his team could be a dream team before the season began last year, I thought to myself, "evil eye!"


The Toronto Argonauts won the 100th Grey Cup on Sunday. The city won the first and now the 100th title.

Damn you, Alouettes!

The Argos hammered the Calgary Stampeders 32-21 despite a 9-9 season. Sorta like the year the Cardinals won the World Series, 2008 was it?, with 83 wins.

Toronto mayor Rob Ford attended the parade despite his problems but managed to declare Novermber 27, Argos Day.


I picked the under (54.5) and looked to win with that until the Stamps scored a completely meaningless TD late in the game. I hate when crap like that happens. Hate it.

The West Having None Of 'Trudeaumania'

And good for them.

I love the 'Justin Trudeau is a new breed of politician with his idealism and charisma" tag.

Nonsensical emotional garbage.

As if no politicians possessed and possess those qualities.

Besides, that's a recipe for hero worship.

I don't remember where I got this picture so I can't attribute it but felt it fits in nicely here.

My apologies.

Weird, eh?


Anarcho-Capitalism And Libertarianism

With video to David Friedman  (son of Milton).

All I know is it's good people are being exposed to other ideas and alternatives.

At the end, Friedman doesn't believe the EU should become one because it will inhibit competition and muses the U.S. shouldn't be one as well arguing it may be better off dissolving - or at least this is what he's implying.

Secessionism is on the rise to be sure. What if people know nothing can be fixed in the current political framework and do work towards breaking North America apart?

In this way, we could see, for example, Western states and provinces forming one block, the American Mid-west and Prairies another, Quebec, Ontario and surrounding states like Minnesota, Michigan and Ohio. New England and the Maritimes, the South, Texas, and so on.

I remember when Ken Dryden once talked about how Canadians lived in such a big country that the lives of someone living in Vancouver and Montreal may as well have been foreigners.

Are nation-states too big too fail?


I for one am thankful for the Internet. It helped me connect to a whole new world of ideas. It's nice to read about ideas that differ from the prevailing ones.

For example, the whole debate about "fairness" on how we've come to accept it as defined by socio-democrats and the left and how increasingly it's being critically assessed.

It's my contention we just have to sit back and think about things a bit more.

Today I lost a worker who got a job on the subsidized side.

This got me thinking "fairness" as defined by Quebec socialism.

Let me try and explain this as succinctly and lucidly as I can.

Basically, the government created two-tiered daycare with all the money going to the public institutions thus creating a hopelessly unfair system for private operators. Add to the fact we tend to play-up the anti-business narrative and it becomes very hard for private owners to operate.

It doesn't help when people like Marois make specious and stupid claims designed to pimp government projects like "there are more complaints with private daycare than the CPE." I hope to address this in another post.

The TRUE costs and profitability of a daycare are reflected in private ones because the books can't be fudged or the numbers hidden. One of my personal axioms is it's not wise to invest in anything with a subsidy.

This means the real worth of an educator is reflected on the market. Alas, because the government now dictates the terms, it skews the whole pricing mechanism from cost to parents to hourly wages.

My educator opted to take .43 cents more, probably a health plan few private companies can offer, generous paid vacations and all sorts of other perks tax payers are covering.

Here's the dilemma. While private operators and taxpayers alike are forced to pay for $7 a day daycare (well, the true cost is $53) thinking it's beneficial, we're in fact subsidizing better working conditions for other people. While my taxes go to paying a union worker, I can't offer what the government has to offer to my workers. If anything, a fair and functional society would permit me to first take care of "my family" or employees before I can look outward. It's the opposite as it stands. I have to support the competition already at a massive advantage.

It makes no sense. It's perverse.

This is our idea of "fair?" I want no part of it and that's why I welcome new ideas from free-thinking minds.

It comes down to values. I have to hope my client base and employees are predisposed to want to work in the private sector. But the intoxicating myth of the state is too great to withstand sometimes.

They try and tell me that government initatives are rooted in rationalism, facts and shared experiences. Perhaps there's some truth to it some of the time, but I think more often than not - seems to me and my experiences anyway - it's the opposite: The state tries to change reality.

Gateway Income

Once again from the top...

Capital gains and dividends are "gateways to prosperity."

Supporting an increase on such taxes as means to "pay down debt" or to achieve "fairness" misses the mark.

Personally, I have no idea what Buffett is up to but I can guarantee it has little to do with helping you.

Science Is Never Settled

Which is why I find it bizarre, if not outrageous, that people speak as if global warming is a settled dispute.

Forcing public policy to react - perhaps over react - to this is foolish. People who claim certainty on anything always scare the crap out of me. After all, we can't quantify what makes them think this way. So they can manage to convince voters to follow them and never really have to face the music if they're wrong.

How can anyone really, really, really be sure the earth will continue on this path and whether at its most profound level we have the ability to even change anything?

Heck, what are the probabilities we can achieve anything with what we're proposing?

As I've mentioned in the past, man can be supremely arrogant. Nature, yet, always manages to humble us.

It's presumed and believed that science purpose is to seek truth.

No it's not. Philosophy makes that part of their business but not science.

Science is only interested in experimenting; testing. Testing exhaustively. A scientists takes failure, I reckon, better than the average person. Since failure can't really kill you, it makes you stronger

You ain't ever gonna convince me global warming has been "scientifically proven."

That's just bull shit.

We always hope science can "prove" the other guy wrong. But to do that is to not understand science. I'm no scientist but even I grasp all it does is build on past ideas and figures. One simple lineage historians are fond of using is the Copernicus, Brahe, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Einstein lineage to describe the evolution of science with the Ancient Greeks as the base. Each built on one another. No one was "proven" wrong. They may as well be one person.

Same with philosophy. The Enlightenment didn't "prove" religion to be "wrong." It just taught us a different way to interpret, digest and think about it. They built on Humanist thinkers to state their case.

So. For this climate change "debate." Find another way to sell it if you want public policy to follow.

Profound Thinkings

It's been my experience that eating trail mix nuts with a spoon is not the same as using your hands and leaving a trail of nut debris on your laps or couch.

Look Ma, Stagnant!

In Japan they have trains that go over 300 miles an hour. That's, like, fast. In China, they're building the tallest building in the world in under three months. That's, like, tall and fast.

In North America, we don't have trains that go that fast. For all our 'New World' space and technology, we lag even Asia.

In the USA, they haven't begun construction where the old Twin Towers stood and in Montreal, our subway cars run on rubber tires that basically can only be manufactured by Michelin. The claim being it's more comfortable. Right.

Good way to ensure you always have the best price.

In fact, it's such a corrupt racket it's disgraceful. Outside bidders have no chance.

And in such a restrictive and secretive environment, it's no wonder no marvels take place here anymore.

We didn't build that for real.


The key is transparency. We think we're making rational choices when we vote, but we're not. It doesn't make sense to vote for "free" health or education or daycare or anything else without knowing the cost of things. Yet, we do it. We trust the government to handle our money efficiently.

As we learned, a fool and his money are soon parted.

The least we can do is ask what are the costs of running all these institutions to determine exactly where we need to improve.

Would you hand your money over to a stranger who would then claim to act on your behalf?

If so, wear knee and elbow pads and a helmet at the dinner table.

Why we would entrust hundreds of millions of dollars to mere mortals so vulnerable to stupidity and corruption is beyond me to comprehend.

Wait. If post-secondary education ever becomes "free" watch the scandalous behavior that will unfold. Call me a skeptical-cynic. It's one thing to dream about what ought to be and quite another to be fleeced attaining lofty and noble objectives.

It's like that scene in Casino when the workers were skimming. Who is going to notice? So it is with the public purse, who's gonna notice 500 grand here, 1 million there?

If there's no public pressure to demand "quarterly reports" why should officials care?

We create the culture of corruption.

Same in sports as we've seen how international criminal organizations have infiltrated most sports on the planet.

Corruption breathes when there's denial.


My Blog Is Quick

Another one of those film noir flicks I enjoy.

Who Are More Naughty? Democrats Or Republicans

 ...........AND the winner is.....

Ding, ding, ding!

Democrats by a margin of 56 to 25 according to Congressional Scorecard. That's 2.24 time more!

That's a big margin, man.

It's A Mixed Up World

Nashua, New Hampshire elects a winner.

Actually, New England is pretty good at electing questionable characters it seems.

Introducing Stacie Marie Laughton.

Yeah, but what's her position on abortion and pay equity?


Check-Out Line Failures

It never, ever fails.

During a visit to the grocery store, I managed to continue a time-honored ability to not pick the right check-out line.

Upon entering the store, I noticed the check-out lines were thin, if not empty. As I meandered about between aisles, I also observed there weren't too many people around. I thought to myself, pick what I need and out I go.

We're talking four items here. Rice flour, salt, pie fillings cherries, and fruit roll-ups.

It took minutes.

Walking down the aisle at a brisk pace, knowing full well based on experience how chaotic lines can become in seconds, I was met with, you guessed it, a line-up.

I couldn't believe it. All four lanes including the express ones.

I began to mutter disbelief under my breath like a cranky old man.

Now begins the process of assessing which line was going to move quickest. The express line had too many people. So I had the choice of the other two. One had more people but with less items, and the other less people with larger orders. I took the former. While the other gentleman that was eyeing the same line calculated he'd rather go wait in the other than stand behind me.

Lo and fricken behold, not only did the express line dwindle at supersonic speed (a rarity especially considering the cashier usually have to leave their posts to go serve someone returning cases of beer, buying cigarettes or wanting Loto tickets to feed their vices), the other line passed through without a hitch.

Mine? The lady in front of me had some items that didn't have bar codes. The bagboy had to go and check for the prices. Costing me all sorts of time. Meanwhile the guy who opted for the other lines was long gone.

My rotten luck is starting to really affect me psychologically. I need help.

It never fails. I always manage to choose the wrong line.


Transparency Not CBC's Strength

When it comes to access to information, Canada lags the United States. Canadians don't demand it so we don't get it. "...QMI Agency filed the original request through a partner in 2007 asking for details on Hockey Night in Canada revenues.  At that time CBC claimed that the material was exempt from release as part of its programming activities.  CBC fought the federal information commissioner in court over the release of the file and lost, but found a new way to keep secrets hidden.
A one-page document with lines to detail revenues from regular season games, playoff games and the all-star game was released with the revenue figures removed.
According to the CBC, releasing that information would hurt "the competitive position of a government institution."  Access to Information expert and lawyer Michel Drapeau said the CBC is trying to use a rule intended to protect things like new inventions by government scientists.  "It may be against the economic interests of CBC but it is a long way off going against the economic interests of Canada," Drapeau said. "This doesn't pass the giggle test."
CBC recently touted its nomination for an award that honours openness and transparency in government..."

Giggle, giggle for real. It's a fricken public institution paid by tax payers. Quit playing games and open up.

Canadian awards stink of parochialism. I could be wrong, just my impression.

Owning Laughter

Wired Magazine wonders who is funnier: Conservatives or Liberals; Democrats or Republicans.

All I know, because it came up in the threads,  is that at the Al Smith dinner, Mitt Romney killed. Dennis Miller did a great job dissecting why Romney was funnier than Obama, mostly because of his comedic timing.

And really, anyone who is into humor would conclude Romney won that one.

Whereas, during the political debates, Obama may have come up with zingers but they were lightweight in stature. The bayonnets quip may have made hard-leftists howl, but the problem is that bayonnets are still manufactured and used in training.

Ironic, given all the drivel hurled against Romney. There's a tired misconception that conservatives aren't funny. Bush was hilarious in his comebacks. Dare I say, he was wittier than Obama. Or as they say in Quebec, "plus vite sur ses patins." Quicker on his skates.

Not surprising. Obama is not that good "unplugged."

More interestingly, Romney wrote his own jokes, where as Obama had a conservative writer write his.

Ooo, the irony!

It concludes:

"...So neither late-night comedy nor the 2008 political debates suggest Democrats really have a leg up on Republicans in the funny business. But what about how average Democrats and Republicans go about their daily lives: In general, do liberals have a better sense of humor than conservatives?

To find out, Duke University psychology and behavioral economics professor Dan Ariely and Mount Holyoke College student Elisabeth Malin in 2008 told 22 jokes on various topics to 300 people, half liberal and half conservative, and asked them to rate their funniness. Not too surprisingly, the conservatives were more apt to enjoy jokes that reinforced traditional racial and gender stereotypes — including a zinger about a guy choosing a game of golf over his wife’s funeral.

But here’s the thing: Conservatives also gave higher ratings to absurdist quips from Jack Handey’s Deep Thoughts, the sort of stuff usually associated with cerebral East Coast liberals. In fact, right-wingers found all kinds of jokes funnier than their liberal counterparts.

Maybe, then, the claim that Republicans aren’t funny is as empty as that chair Clint Eastwood yelled at during the 2012 Republican National Convention. And maybe conservatives really are ready for their own version of Stephen Colbert or Lenny Bruce. All they have to do now is find the right funnyman (or woman) for the job."

Paradox Of Progress

We like to believe we're progressing in Western culture.

Yet, when I see what's transpiring in Texas I can only shiver in shame and sadness.

These tracking devices (RFID) shouldn't even be up for discussion. It's such a disgusting blatant affront on civil liberties and sensibilities it destroys what little dignity we have in governing our personal responsibilities.

I would not, under any circumstance permit my child to be treated as cattle. Not for money. Not for something as simply as taking attendance which can be done manually and with much less room for unintended consequences. And this terrible, and moronic idea will be vulnerable to endless unintended consequences. For example, the impact connecting Wi-Fi to a human's neck.

I read that children are wearing them. I can't understand parents that allow this. I expect this type of Orwellian logic from Massachusetts and California, but Texas?

Anyway, a Christian family (once upon a time that was a given...meh) is challenging it on religious grounds and this has sparked a debate about religion and freedom but I fear this detracts from the overall point that it's not a religious issue. It's a basic human rights one, I reckon and argue.

The issue at hand? Public funding. As in, as I mentioned earlier, money. Think of it, the school is ready to permit kids to be tracked (and this apparently hasn't been thoroughly thought out. Turns out, anyone can hook or link up to RFID and track children bringing up all sorts of safety issues) for money.

Read more here.

"...By reducing truancy and tardiness, the school stands to net $2 million dollars in state funding...."

Geez, then change the way schools are funded.

It's no different in any public institution relying on funding to survive. In health, the system in Canada, for example,  is forced into treating people not as patients but as cost-entities.

Moreover, it's may begin frightening trend. What's to stop, say, a company in using this heinous tracking device?

The more we progress, the less we're free.


Wal-Mart Protest Misses Mark

Nice conversation at Reason over a bunch of tam-tam hippies invading (ie breaking the law) a Wal-Mart store to protest something.

Wal-Mart ain't perfect and there's something to be said of MNC's and the power they wield - thanks to government interference in the market place - but the ultimate irony is they offer low prices (on certain items anyway) for customers. Even for me, sometimes it's better to go there than "daycare specialty" shops. Same with Target.

But the problem of MNC's is not the issue here.

Anyway, couldn't get past 2 minutes of the video. Annoying.

Clueless people.

Some comments:

"...If you have the ability to pay your workers a living wage but pay him less in order to maximize profit, you are doing something grossly immoral."

Self-righteous pish-poshian gibberish. Define "living wage" and get back to me, champ. Or is it chump?

I hear it all the time. "Wow. Daycare. You're rolling in the dough so why not pay me more?"

As if fixed margins and costs don't exist in their magical, unicorn-fairy world.

This is somebody responding to another commenter shown in italic:

"Second, there's a problem with the old metaphor of voting with your dollars: inequality. You can't pretend that market decisions somehow democratically add up to the "will of the people", when some individuals have billions more votes than others."


Voting in government elections is about as unequal as possible. If I vote, it doesn't matter at all -- what other people want is what happens.
Voting in a marketplace is as fair as possible -- I vote for what I want, and then I get exactly what I want as shown by my revealed preference. The whole fucking point of markets is that they don't "democratically add up" -- individuals get what they want, not what 50.1%+ of other shoppers want.
Yup. Uh-huh.

And now the piece de resistance. It's a narrative and sentiment I've been hearing the last few years and seems to be only getting worse.

"I've been working for them for a year. I just now got insurance even though I am part time. That they actually thought I was going to work for 12 hours on Thanksgiving, they were out of their fucking minds. But they don't care. 48% of the profit is split by the 7 remaining surviving waltons. 2011 profits were 15 billion. Not bad for doing nothing but choosing the right parents or hypergamy. That's what, 600 million, after taxes.

Workers at my store have an unbelievable work ethic. Wal-mart doesn't deserve them. Managers ride your ass constantly regarding productivity: their measure of which is flawed and they do try to eeeek every fucking minute of use.

But the libertarian in me knows that it isn't their job to be nice to me. Their job is to make as much $$$ for shareholders as legally possible. The lib in me knows if I hate it enough, and I do, it is my responsibility to get off my ass and look for a different job.

This job has cured me of my consumerism, though."

Let's break it down:

I've been working for them for a year. I just now got insurance even though I am part time.

And your point being? Many companies do that for many reasons. Maybe Wal-Mart can do better on that front, I don't know but, guess what, no one is forcing you to work there. He feels entitled.

That they actually thought I was going to work for 12 hours on Thanksgiving, they were out of their fucking minds.

Ok. This line is classic. Yes, he's too cool. What, me work for you after the way you treat me?

I guess he feels for having waiting so long for insurance, Wal-Mart has the audacity to ask him to work extra hours on a Holiday. Oh. The. Fucking. Horrors!

I've done my fair share of OT and Holiday work as have millions of people in the past, present and future. It's part of life. My employer in the end has the final say. Alas, more money in your pocket.

But they don't care. 48% of the profit is split by the 7 remaining surviving waltons. 2011 profits were 15 billion. Not bad for doing nothing but choosing the right parents or hypergamy. That's what, 600 million, after taxes.

Therein lies this guys problem. He thinks too much and making excuses while erecting strawman arguments. I don't see how any of this ultimately matters. "Do your job" as Bill Belichick says on the sidelines. You're not paid to pontificate nor pass judgment on ownership. It's none of your business.

It's been my experience losers tend to focus on what the other guy has never once giving one thought to how they arrived there. Pick up a business book. Learn how Wal-Mart did it. It's pretty astounding.

Yes. They got to choose their parents. /rolls eyes.

Workers at my store have an unbelievable work ethic. Wal-mart doesn't deserve them. Managers ride your ass constantly regarding productivity: their measure of which is flawed and they do try to eeeek every fucking minute of use.

Ok. This is getting stupid. Anecdotal generalizations. Wal-Mart is not forcing them to stay. If they feel they're worth more, go try out at Target or some other competitor. Over rating yourself can be a costly miscalculation, remember.

If I had a worker like that...out the door. The attitude needs adjusting. Yeah, Einstein. Think you can do better? Go start your own business and fix all the flaws. Too many yappers, too little workers.

But the libertarian in me knows that it isn't their job to be nice to me. Their job is to make as much $$$ for shareholders as legally possible. The lib in me knows if I hate it enough, and I do, it is my responsibility to get off my ass and look for a different job.

You're confusing ideologies. Libertarianism, classical liberalism and conservatism tell you to think and do these things. Liberalism is, well, what you just spewed. Liberalism is not about personal responsibility. It may have been once upon a time. But not anymore. Liberalism believes in a big, interventionist government to "help" the weak being castrated by the "evil."

Jesus. Is anyone listening to what liberal politicians and commentators say?


"Demanding respect is the infallible sign of not deserving it."

Quote of the day.

Hear that whiny PQ Quebec nationalists? Earn the respect from us.

Love Is Never Having To Offer A Wishy-Washy Apology

Justin Trudeau is not only not ready to be leader of the Liberals, he's not a leader period. He's my contemporary and I have to say he may play the (leftist) dapper part but he leaves me longing for the beef.

Trudeau would be an asset in any facet of society - except politics. But the media darling creation machine is in full over drive. Expect Trudeau to be leader of the Liberals.

Trudeau says he has a "lot to learn." No kidding. So why run? I'd rather not have a leader enrolled in on the job training.

What is it with these folks going on French-language TV saying one thing and another in English?  Moreover, his comments about the best PM's coming from Quebec is so utterly paternalistic and arrogant he commits the same errors he chastises Harper for when it comes to fostering regional friction. And it's somewhat one-sided and inaccurate to boot.

Dude, the country has changed. The power shift moving away from the Eastern axis.

Personally, I think it's basic common sense not to say most of things he says. He believes these things deep down. Which makes me think, what makes him think he can lead? The Liberal brand of his father is gone and buried. The mere fact they talk of merging the Liberals and the NDP is enough for me to cling to my wallet for dear life with a (registered, don't wanna upset anyone) gun.

Whenever he blasts Harper, he's blasting a substantial segment of the population whether he likes it or not. Liberals don't own the 'social democratic' agenda anymore the conservatives do.

Personally, the country needs more Alberta and less of the Quebec/Ontario model. Has anyone noticed what Saskatchewan and Manitoba are doing to attract business? While they offer real tax-value, Quebec decides it's going to continue the tax-increase philosophy method. Moreover, Quebec - through Trudeau or anyone else - is not in a position to discuss "moral politics" to anyone.

It's ok, they're not alone. The Americans are foolishly going down this path. Misery loves company I guess. Maudits riche!

Quebec and Ontario (Frick and Frack; Lower and Upper Canada) have had the ball in their court in for most of Confederation's existence. Our entire policy structure was to funnel everything to Ottawa. In the process, mostly thanks to Pierre Trudeau, they pissed off the West giving rise to Western alienation and nationalism. To the point a (more dangerous I argue) secessionist movement exists in that part of the country.

I don't get the divisive rhetoric be it from the PQ, President Obama or people like Trudeau.


Thank You France And Sweden

France and Sweden - of all places given my recent libertarian; classical liberal rants) - have over taken Canada for most page views on this site. The U.S. continues to lead.


Can't explain it.

Laval Football Dominance Continues; NHL Lock Out

The Laval Rouge et Or (Red and Gold) defeated the McMaster Marauders 37-14 in the 48th Vanier Cup. It was a rematch from last year's final in which the Marauders edged Laval 41-38 in double OT.

It was Laval's 7th Vanier Cup (in their 8th appearance) in 12 years; most all-time for Canadian university football programs. They pass the Western Ontario Mustangs (12 appearances in the finals).

What makes this achievement all the more remarkable is the football program began in 1996.

Not bad for the oldest university in Canada (est. 1663) and 2nd oldest in North America behind Harvard (1636). While we're at it, here's a list of the olders continuous universities in the world starting with Bologna. Not surprisingly the list is dominated by Italy, Germany, Spain, England and France in that order.

It has to be one of the most dominant runs in Canadian sports history and it coincides with the revival of the Montreal Alouettes who also began operations in 1996 after a 10 year absence from the CFL. The Als went on to appear in 7 Grey cup finals in ten years winning 3 since 2000.

Right now, Quebec is producing the best football in the country.


My take on the NHL lockout.

Let me start by saying the owners are the makers of their own bed and they should honor the contracts they gave. What's right is right.

That being said, owners can be stupid with their own money.

In a stupid lock-out where both sides are acting like clowns considering how much they make in a difficult economic environment, I have to say the players are more wrong on this one.

57% of the revenues was ludicrous to begin with. I don't care they "bring" in the money. They're not the owners and have no stake at all in the operation known as the NHL. Want more? Fork over the investment.

The NHL offered 50% (still too generous if you ask me) and the union (such an oxymoron for a bunch of millionaires) say no? Equally baffling is Fehr's blatant manipulation of the media. The interesting thing is that fans seems to be reading right through the theater tactics.

They should be glad they don't have no-guarantee contracts like in the NFL.

I haven't paid much attention but Roman Hamrlik's recent comments that have spurred anger from other players caught my attention.

As far as I'm concerned, the response from Erik Cole left me unimpressed, and comments from Ian White (calling Bettman an idiot) and Chris Kristeeg were waaaayyyyy out of line.

In the end, the owners represented by Gary Bettman are your bosses - show some respect.

Hamrlik is right. And from what I've been reading from fan comments on several sites, looks like they agree more with Hamrlik and side with the owners than they do with the union.

Meh. The NHL lost me years ago as did the Montreal Canadiens and their political games.


Fall Of The West Reason 4858684337

Now father-daughter dances are banned.

As usual, all it takes is ONE complaint.

The new "fair" and face of equality. The feeble, stupid, and aggrieved wield too much power.

We're not rational. We're irrational. And public policy is following.


It's amazing how we trample on each other's rights.

Quote Of The Day

"Forget it Jake, it's Massachusetts. They elect murderers and fake Indians to represent them, and they're proud of it. Whattaya gonna do?"

From Volokh.

Happy Thanksgiving

To our American friends.

Boxing Great Camacho Dead

Hector 'Macho' Camacho has died of gun shot wounds inflicted by assailants.

Part of those great boxing bouts I watched as a kid. One of the best "small" fighters of his era.

When Willy's Emerge From The Zipper...

In light of the Broadwell-Petreus (hehe, Broad-well) affair, people are worried about whether secrets (and not the sweet nothing kind whispered in the ears of lovers) were passed on.

Fair enough.

You have to know that.

But I don't seem to recall when Clinton, the President of the most powerful nation in history, engaged in luscious lust with Lewinsky, pundits worrying about that.

For Some, Poverty Is A State Of Mind

One of my senior educators tends to complain a tad too much about her pay. In fact, a couple do.

It's ok. It's a fact of life that people do this. Heard it at the bank all the time.

The only people that don't, tend to be salespeople. In sales, you earn commissions and if you're driven and work hard you can make serious coin. They always seemed, on average (unless clawbacks or a bad economy etc., was eating at their sales)  to be the happiest people in the room.

I remember when the salaried employees used to complain about how much money the salespeople made. It was a sad spectacle. It never occurred to them the work that went into capturing a sale; that the sale was good for the company and ultimately for them.

It's irrelevant if one thinks one of the salespeople was a "jerk." And believe me, there were jerks.

Jerks from the jerk store who could sell mind you.

The administrator making 30 grand using the "how come they make so much and I don't!" line happened a little too often if you asked me.

Ah, therein lies the issue. Why is that guy making the money? I'm smarter! I read Poe! I have a degree! A de-greeee! I work just as hard as the other girl making 100k. Obama told me so.

We play mind games with ourselves.

Don't like it? Do something about it. Don't go smashing windows asking for government assistance. It's not hard to ask your boss, "hey, man. I think I can be an asset to your sales team. Can I have a shot at it?" Sales jobs, like skilled labour, is always, always, always in demand. Always.

The person doing the complaining rarely looks in the mirror or considers other options. I understand not everyone is made to sell (it wasn't my bag) but I'm just pointing out it's where the cash is. You don't have to be in sales to make money but in reality, life is all about sales: Selling yourself, really. The person who can't sell who they are don't get the bones if you get my drift.

In any event, they just want to believe the system is rigged against them.

Not saying that sometimes things aren't kosher, we all know they aren't, just saying that when public policy starts to reflect these sentiments, you may be inviting other problems down the line.

I knew that if I wanted the really big salary I had to become a sales person in my business. Sales is cut throat. It's filled with objectives and deadlines. Some have to travel a lot. There are conferences to attend and presentations to give. You're constantly hitting the pavement, hammering the telephone. Some weeks you bring in five clients, the next you lose six. It's a psychological battle as much as anything too.

It's insane.

The administrator (and God bless the skilled administrator who play a vital role in any organization) gets paid what they're worth. Not to pick on them but I'm just using them to illustrate a point.

The salesperson is in the trenches bringing in the money that keeps the organization alive.

A few of my friends are salespeople for banks, pharmaceuticals and apparel. Big money they earn. I'm talking north of 150k. But they work. They earn every penny. My friend in pharma is constantly on the go. They're not sitting around on their asses as too many people tend to think.

Again, the "why him?" mentality.

We're all free to make our choices. When I had my choice, I opted to go out on my own. The way I saw it was if I'm gonna break my back I'm gonna do it for The Commentator Inc.

The trade off is I may make less for now but I own my own business and all the perks that come with it. I just want to be on the ownership side of things. That's my personal choice.

I don't know what the real story of income mobility and gaps really are, although I'm gonna guess it's probably not as bad as claimed by the left but it's probably not as rosy as the right suggests.

Which brings me back to my educator. What I can offer is an anecdotal point.

She earns 35k a year. She's 25. Not a bad salary at all.

Yet, it's not "enough" for her. When I explain and put into context her earnings, she says, "yeah, but it's what's left I don't like."

As I pointed out in last post, no one said to go buy a new car when you can buy a perfectly good second hand car for a third of the price. Moreover, in her case, she and her husband bought a house and are paying the mortgage which eventually render rental income. Smart move on their part so she has to condition herself into looking strictly at the long-term benefit.

"What's left" is out of my control. Take it to the government. Stop voting left-wing. Write your MP.

Her issue is not with me, unless she wants me to subsidize her lifestyle by bumping up her salary to suit her better, but with the government in reality.

She feels taxes are too high.

Again, out of my control and not a reason to complain for the hourly wage paid converts to a decent salary.

Ultimately, as I told her, she chose to be an educator. You know before hand what the wages are like. I mean, they do go to university to learn this stuff.

They consciously make that decision. Once made, there's no one left to blame. Not your boss, not the system, not anything.

Alas, there are options.

You can always go into sales.


Tagging Texas And Loss Of Freedom

It really is ironic that in the land of the free, a blanket of authoritarianism is threatening to demolish basic rights.



It's already here. The bag is wide open, man.

I still can't figure our how the Live Free Or Die state voted Democrat.

Stories Of Interest

This story about Sheila Burgess in the Boston Globe was too good to pass up. Her trangressions were so bad, even the liberal Globe couldn't look away in this case of Democrat patronage gone awry.


I guess Romney threatened the wrong Muppet.

Despite the allegations, Kevin Clash hasn't been charged.

Put this in a developing story category. It can very much amount to something or nothing.

Michael Applebaum Sworn In


An Anglo-Jew is in charge in Montreal now.


That was the headline in Le Journal de Montreal.

Bur seriously.

A nice change.

The question is will he be like his predecessors or will he be a true leader and usher in a more transparent system of governance?

Getting The Governance You Deserve

Jesse Jackson jr. is expected to resign.

Apparently, he's got skeletons in the closet and lots of them.

That a corrupt individual is resigning is not the issue here. What I find fascinating is he didn't campaign and won.

I just don't understand people who vote for such people knowingly. Same thing in Massachusetts where they voted for another corrupt person in Tierney.

People. Remember. You get the governance you deserve.

When you vote a certain way all the time for no real good reason, no wonder the party you support will take you for granted.


That's A Big Twinkie

Now that the union inexplicably opted to lose their jobs, looks like Hostess will plough ahead and liquidate and fire. Things can change.

Question is...will Obama nationalize and save the Twinkie? Why not? People believe in the facade of bailing out companies why should Hostess get the shaft?

Ah...no votes in that. Right.

Website Of The Day

Just Facts Daily.

Interesting Q & A session. Excerpt:

Question 3: Do you think the federal government spends more money on social programs, such as Medicare, education, and food stamps … or does the federal government spend more money on national defense, such as the Army, Navy, and missile defense?
Correct Answer: Social programs. In 2010, 61% of federal spending was on social programs, versus 22% for national defense. Fifty years ago, the opposite was true, and 53% of federal spending was for national defense, versus 23% on social programs. Correct answer given by 37% of all voters, 18% of Obama voters, and 57% of Romney voters.

Question 10: Some policymakers are proposing that individuals be allowed to save and invest some of their Social Security taxes in personal accounts instead of paying these taxes to the Social Security program. In your view, do you think such proposals generally improve or harm the finances of the Social Security program?
Correct Answer: Improve. Proposals to give Social Security an element of personal ownership are generally structured to strengthen the program’s finances. Although some tax revenues that would have gone to the program go to people’s personal retirement accounts instead, these tax revenues are more than offset by the savings of not paying these individuals full benefits. Correct answer given by 25% of all voters, 5% of Obama voters, and 47% of Romney voters.

Question 11: On average, who pays a greater portion of their income in federal taxes: The middle-class, the upper 1% of income earners, or do you think they both pay about the same portion of their income in federal taxes?
Correct Answer: The upper 1%. Per the Congressional Budget Office’s latest estimate of federal tax burdens, households in the middle 20% of the U.S. income distribution paid an effective tax rate of 11.1%, as compared to 28.9% for the top 1% of income earners. Correct answer given by 17% of all voters, 4% of Obama voters, and 31% of Romney voters.

Question 13: In 2003, Congress and President Bush passed a tax cut law that accelerated and expanded upon tax cuts they had passed a few years earlier. In the four years that followed this 2003 tax cut law, do you think federal revenues generally increased, declined, or stayed about the same?
Correct Answer: Increased. Federal revenues were 16.2% of the nation’s economy in 2003, 16.1% in 2004, 17.3% in 2005, 18.2% in 2006, and 18.5% in 2007. Federal data going back to 1950 shows that higher tax rates do not necessarily correspond with more tax revenues. Other factors, such as the health of the economy, also have a major impact on tax revenues. Correct answer given by 28% of all voters, 12% of Obama voters, and 46% of Romney voters.

Question 18: In 2010, Congress passed and President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.” This law uses price controls to save money in the Medicare program. Do you think these price controls will affect Medicare patients’ access to care?
Correct Answer: Yes. As explained by Medicare’s actuaries, the Affordable Care Act’s price controls will cut Medicare prices for many medical services over the next three generations to “less than half of their level under the prior law.” The program’s actuaries have been clear that this will likely cause “withdrawal of providers from the Medicare market” and “severe problems with beneficiary access to care.” Correct answer given by 56% of all voters, 23% of Obama voters, and 86% of Romney voters.


Romney voters were correct more than Obama voters 13-5.

When it comes to money and finance: Bet conservative. Or libertarian.

Free-Form Musings

Just wanted to add to the whole free or low-cost tuition for illegal immigrants. It's part of a larger trend we're beginning to see in all jurisdictions. The context may be different like it is here in Quebec, but the aim is the same.

Forgive me if it's not fully structured but just wanted to put it out there and see if it builds from here.

I understand the noble intention of helping out people but best to remember charity starts at home. It's also critical to consider that we're nations of laws. Sounds like we're compromising both basic tenets. In the first, Americans want to give education of children of illegal immigrants at "fairer" rates than Americans who have been here, legally, for generations. If you can't take care of the millions who already can't afford education, why are they being bypassed? How is this just?

In the second, you encourage more problems for the law when you implicitly signal it's open game.

I do grasp the logic of "well, better to educate them than let them rot in the streets." But there are valid concerns to consider.

The problem, of course, with that logic is it assumes new immigrants can't succeed under current laws. Past immigrants succeeded why not new immigrants?

As for educating, how does that fall under the responsibility of taxpayers to fund one's post-secondary education?

Let me use an imperfect example. My workplace.

I put in place a system where after one-year you get basic benefits. It helps to assure me that who I hire is willing to stay with me over the long-run. I'm investing in the employee so my policy is to offer "perks" after a certain period. One year is more than ample time to see if you're right for one another.

My original three girls waited their turn and are slowly getting what I can give. For example, sick days. I sometimes give various "bones" to keep them happy. I do this because they're basically my senior girls.

Now. I hired a second batch of girls. They haven't been around as long. However, they come and ask me for the same perks. If I give it, what will the other girls say?

They will, rightly, claim they had to wait why shouldn't they?

It's the same with how I pay someone. If I pay someone more than they're worth, I will it hear from someone else if they find out.

I have to be fair and consistent.

It's irrelevant my worker is a "new immigrant" who is just starting out here. That doesn't give them the right to bypass what's been established policy.

The best I can do is help out where I feasibly can.

We'll all survive.

I'm sure, if the kids of illegal immigrants (and let's assume their parents paid taxes - which I doubt), really, really, really value education and cherish the opportunity to remain in America, then they'll find a way to succeed.

On a basic human rights level, we just have to accept this in a liberal, civil society and help where we can. I believe in this.

However, we must tread carefully and not make mockery of those who played by the rules with honesty, dignity and patience - that includes immigrants.

The last thing you want to do is foster resentment among the natives.

As for my policy, of course, all policies are made to be changed over time. Life evolves and you have to also. There will be a time and place to do this. I recognize that.

But I can promise you, it will not come at the expense of others.

Fall Of The West Reason #49596877

Courtesy of Massachusetts, which leads the list in my Fall of the West posts (figuratively).


Now it's free tuition for illegal immigrants, huh?

Meanwhile, law-abiding Americans get the big screw up their asses, eh?


Breaking the law, is breaking the law, is breaking the law.

This is so incredibly wrong on so many levels it's depressing.

"Hampshire sociology professor Margaret Cerullo, who incidentally teaches a class called Occupy Wall Street: History, Theory, Practice, helped establish the scholarship.

Cerullo noted in a statement that the legal obstacles for illegal immigrants are a “social injustice,” and that, “Many of us who went to college in the post-World War II boom went on full scholarships. All financial aid was need-based. Increasingly that’s not true anymore…for a lot of us, access to higher education is a deep principle...”


But what do you expect from a college that teaches Occupy Wall Street.

Jesus. Me.

In any event, change the law if it's a 'social injustice' which I don't think it is. America has similar laws to any country in the West.

You don't go around this by encouraging people to circumnavigate the law.

In her logic, it makes sense to offer free education to non-U.S. citizens at the expense of Americans.

Perverse take on 'social justice.'


But this is something that's been going on since 2005.

And the people of Massachusetts seem to be alright with it because they keep voting in people who do this sort of stuff.

I really don't get it.

Here's the latest from NPR - and looks like not even liberal readers are happy about this either. They shouldn't.

I knew Governor Deval Patrick was liberal, but not crazy-liberal.

Beware of people who say it's a matter of "fairness." Whenever the government sets to make things fair, you can bet they make it unfair.

In this case, how do you square this with the citizenry?

I don't think people, pragmatically, would mind some sort of reasonable and mild assistance but I think it's acceptable to debate the decision.


This from the state that paid for a prisoner's sex-change operation.

God help you, Massachusetts.


The other thing I don't get is voter ID and the resistance it's getting.

In Canada, which is probably about as liberal as one can get (although I'm PROUD to say we're not as crazy and loony as California and Massachusetts (see, there IS a good side to voting Conservative - it keeps us sane and balanced. If you vote ONE side indefinitely you get the governance you deserve and in those states you have liberalism run amok in all its glorious goofiness), you MUST produce ID to vote.

It's only sane and pragmatic to do so.

Performing A Civic Duty

The Commentator is now a national treasure. I believe an Order of Canada is, erm, in order.

Meh. The way they seemingly lightly throw awards around these days why not me?

What in Spider Man's web am I talking about, Willis?


Driving along a lonely - well it was a school zone in a high-traffic residential area but work with me here for effect - boulevard whistling to Pink Floyd's Mother, while listening to a show talking about how to make semi-salted butter, a midget with crazy eyes came out of nowhere brandishing a gun and a hostage! Only the hostage was with....loss of life!

Oh, the horror!

Actually, I saw two female police officers (one black, one blonde - for you liberals obsessed with race breakdowns) running coming onto the traffic. They stopped the car in front of me but moved on...to me.

Out of breath and clearly looking for someone (I doubt they were searching for doughnuts), they politely asked - in French of course -  if there was space in my Jeep to take them down the street.

Tossing some magazines to the back seat I said, "Hop on, bitches! Let's ride this bitch!"

In my head.

But I did throw the mags.

Police officer (from back seat notices porn mags from 1986): He's a winner.

Police officer (in front seat): Take us down this street, please

T.C.: You bet. Anything you say.

Police Officer (listens to CB). Change direction. Where's the closest Jean-Coutu (pharmacy)?

T.C. (blank stare).

At this point, I'm saying to myself, my one chance to do good and it'll be ruined because I can't remember where the Jean-Coutu is. Idiot.

Police officer (still out of breath): Please take us up to Roi-du-Nord. We're sorry about this.

Munching on sweet and salty popcorn I bought at Loblaws I asked, "you want me to speed or something?

Police officer: Yes. Don't worry we won't give you a ticket.

Ah, that famous police humour I've been looking for all my life!

T.C (touches picture off Ned Flanders on dashboard): Okaley-dokaley, policearinos!

T.C. (to self): That'll show, Maude.

Police officer: Are you ok, sir?


Speeding down a street with two cops in my truck it was time to catch the bad guy, or girl. I dropped them off not too far from where they originally entered my truck. Which sort of makes the 60 seconds seems somewhat redundant. They jumped out and ran. I actually followed them. They nabbed some kid. I was disappointed. I was hoping to see a shoot-out or some shit. No midget, no nothing.

I shrugged my shoulders and went back to my truck. Sometimes heroism goes unnoticed or rewarded.

Wonder if they would have accepted an offer for a threesome.

Off I went. This time within the speed limit.



Summer Larsen, you sad pathetic excuse for an educator.

She just scarred a kid for life.

And the response from the school is all too typical these days.

How is this not assault anyway?

I swear...

Tight MVP Awards

I never took awards seriously all that much. Maybe I'm jealous or jaded or something. The Oscars and Nobel Prize for politics don't help.


I'm beginning to wonder about awards in sports as well. In this case the MLB MVP.

Seems like writers are still warming up - or remain cool - to the era or sabremetrics.

I don't know why. Just like scientists are never convinced of anything, statistics don't always tell the whole story. You need to dig further sometimes and sabremetrics help to go "behind the scenes" of traditional baseball statistics.

I think the arrival of such a new outlook is indispensable to sports. It helps to weed out something that is notoriously difficult to control: Built-in bias.

Lately, and we see this in politics as well, you get the feeling journalists are not even trying to be balanced or objective anymore. Worse, some have become outright lazy in their fact-checking.

They can react with hostility to the new paradigm all they want, but thank God for bloggers dedicated to watching over our guardians of information.

In baseball, the statistical revolution is here to stay. Either you learn it or become obsolete.

Which brings me to the recent MLB MVP voting. I don't think there was much surprise or controversy in Buster Posey winning the NL MVP or R.A Dickey winning the Cy Young. Where I think there's a valid debate is with Miguel Cabrera and David Price winning the MVP and Cy respectively in the AL.

Personally, Price had a superb season but I think Verlander should have gotten the nod. Let's end that there.

Where it has been an intense debate for a while now  is Cabrera winning over Mike Trout. In every major statistical category, they're pretty much neck and neck with Cabrera winning the 'Trad stats' and Trout edging Cabrera out in 'New stats.'

I know, Cabrera won the Triple Crown. Quite a feat. In straight raw numbers, based on past criteria, yes, he wins. But beware clinging on to hallowed metrics!

My friend in my hockey pool, a doctor, in an effort to pry a player off your team would often say, 'Big Blue, my friend. Don't be Big Blue.' His theory on hanging on to a stock long past its prime - Big Blue referring to IBM.

And with all that...

Imagine my surprise when I was looking at who got votes to see Raul Ibanez get one.

Ibanez? Really?

A part-time player?

That person who gave him a vote should get his voting privileges revoked.

Lost In Translation: The PQ And Business

My new slogan for the PQ talking about business: Arret!

That the PQ is bad for business is nothing new and quite a well known non-debatable fact except for old world nationalists increasingly irrelevant in a modern world.

The immediate challenge is to establish the Parti Québécois’s credibility with the business community at home and abroad through its budget on Tuesday.

Do these people listen to themselves? She has a loon of a finance minister, just finished threatening that Bill 101 will extend to small businesses, is being taken to court by major corporations growing tired of the banana republic application of language laws, constantly muses about higher taxes on all levels, and wants to restrict access to English Cegeps to citizens and immigrants alike and she wants to establish credibility?

You can't get that which you do not possess.

And if there's one thing they lack, it's credibility on business. Lots and lots. Oodles and oodles.

Part of that credibility gap is tied to its tired language paranoia.

With what strategy exactly do they plan to achieve their objective? She's proven to be divisive and inept. In any event, I think she needs business not because it will create a prosperous society but because it will bring in tax revenues to fund more unsustainable social projects.

We knew the PQ were going to be a runaway mess and a joke, However, this is getting obscene.

Reminds me of one of personal favorite quotes:

'To know nothing and be able to express it!'

They deserve every thorough criticism and chastising hurled their way.

The damage they've caused since 1976 is incalculable.

Ron Paul's Farewell Speech: And He's The Crazy One?

The content of Ron Paul's basic message is indeed substantial and with merit. Yet, somehow he's been depicted as a "loon" by the left (without much explanation), and scorned by the right for having the audacity to stick to his principles.

And what exactly is his message?

Look for yourself.

You point to me on foreign policy and his analysis of the economy where exactly he's wrong.

Judging by the comments, people are still hostile to the idea of restoring some semblance of individual liberty.

I keep hearing, even from some conservative commentators, pundits describe the notion of "individualism" as being somehow scary. A concept that scared away all the ethnics.

Ridiculous and insulting if you ask me.

I really don't understand this fetish for government. Heck, I wonder if government itself wonders if people ask to much of it. Wait. Scratch that. Clearly with leaders like Obama that's not the case.

Anyway. Rush Limbaugh has been talking about Paul and seems to be one of the view conservatives who finally gets it. Dennis Miller, on the other hand, is not letting go of the fact Paul may have contributed to the loss. The way he saw it, close ranks and get Obama out and then continue on with the libertarian platform.

Either way, one can't deny Paul did do some shaking.

Paul candidly wondered why the message of freedom failed.

Good question.

One problem is it's taken for granted that when confronted with the intoxicating offerings of the state and rhetoric about liberty, the people will choose the latter.

The power of "hand outs" is something to be reckoned with. More people depend on social assistance than any point in American history. In Quebec, there's also a social problem when it comes to controlling spending. With a bureaucracy bigger than California, Quebec too relies on hand outs to sustain its lavish welfare apparatus.

Where will the money come from if it dries up? And when it dries up, what happens to all the redundant civil service workers who have neither the work or language skills (the majority of them can't speak English), to enter the private sector where corporations could use the labor?

Big, big problems we face. When common sense becomes the voice of extremism, you know there's a malaise.

Not one politician has the balls to tell you that. And when they do, they're laughed out of the room like Ron Paul.

Was he the perfect messenger? Probably not. But not any worse than Obama as the voice of liberalism. Did he have baggage? Sure but not to the extent charged and certainly not as questionable as politicians who came from the two main parties. One has to simple hope his message resonates and some picks up the baton to pass on to young minds.

To me, in the end, Americans are losing a major voice in their body politic. Much like Ralph Nader, men like Paul represent a different side of the American conscience. In these times where leadership is but a superficial game, innovation stagnant and imagination lacking, there must be room for other voices.


Quoted For Truth

Attribution etiquette dictates I mention this was forwarded to me by a friend. Alas, I ask how much of this is our fault?

Nationalist Drivel And Gibberish

Dear Blogger,

We request you change your name from 'The Commentator' to 'Le Commentator' to comply with the language laws. Please be advised we've yet to come up with a totalitarian law to further erode civil liberties of all Quebecers but rest assured we're on the case.

We are confident you will come your senses and submit to our demands or face a fine of, I don't know, $5000.

We need not remind you that Quebec is French, and while we can't force you to think in French, you do understand it's a matter of respect.


Yours forever,

Ma Tante Marois


Hey, auntie. Go play in the traffic. I hope the honks are in French for you sake.


In other news, the OLF demands Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo throws the football more to French-Canadian players.


More embarrassing behavior from our parochial masters.

They have no idea how much incalculable damage they cause to the spirit of a place.

"Quebec's language watchdog, The Office Quebecois de la Langue Francaise, wants the retailers to change their signs to either give themselves a generic French name or add a slogan or explanation that reflects what it is they're selling."

Because clearly you don't know what they're selling at Wal-Mart or Gap.

"The legal battle comes as the minority Parti Quebecois government does hope to tighten the province's language law and expand the use of French at work.

The government is expected to seek new restrictions on who can attend English-language junior colleges, and also extend the language law to smaller businesses."

Sure. Nationalists aren't totalitarians who trample on civil liberties. Sure.

The only way they can enforce if people speak more French is if citizens snitch on each other. Which is the case currently as the OLF acts on complaints by people upset at hearing English somewhere.

Nice society you're building.

I'm a small business. Nine workers. We're all English speaking. What are they going to do? Force and coerce us into speaking French?

Yes. I'm going to speak to my mother in French. Hey, why stop at small businesses?Just enter our homes.

We've already handed over so many of our rights and liberties to the state why not at this point, eh?

/big Krusty groan.


Amateur Hour At Videotron

To say I'm under whelmed with Videotron is an understatement.

I can't stand companies that force me to take certain channels in package I don't watch. But being the society that accepts the cultural protectionist racket I get 20 channels of total uselessness to me.

Worse, after I pay for HD, they give me a few free channels of which the majority are French. Not that it's a bad thing it's just that I watch, outside of RDS, TV in English.

Way to cater to your market and its needs.

Can't wait to bolt from Videotron.


For the first time, I entered a Videotron video rental store. I used to go to Blockbuster before it went under  mostly because they carried small budget, Independent films. So I'm stuck with the hacks at Videotron.

Call me old fashioned but when I go to a music store I expect to speak to people who, you know, know music. Same with video stores. I expect that when I come in with a title the person working knows it. I do expect the other person to know more than me.

Alas, it's not the case.

I went in asking for 'Safety Not Guaranteed' and was met with a look of confusion. They clearly never heard of the film. Fine. So I asked if they could punch it in to see if they had it. No problem. Only it required the translated title because apparently Videotron's antiquated business model doesn't permit their computer systems to punch in movies in their original English form. Weird considering, again you know, the majority of films are American.

I just looked at her with a "what the fuck are you talking about?" look and responded, "I don't know." No one ever asked me that before. Every god damn video place I ever went to simply punched in the title of a fricken movie. But not Videotron. It's the delicate genius of video stores.

/Krusty groan.

And that was that. I had to go look on my own.

I got Madagascar 3 for my daughter and got out.

I need to find a place for real movie fans.

Hail, Mary


But can atheists be inspired to compose works of masterful beauty?

Religion stirs the nether-regions of our soul in ways we can't really comprehend. It's best manifested in art.

Ave Maria (Gounod/Bach and Schubert) is perhaps one of the most emotional stirring compositions in Western music.

Be it at weddings or funerals, it permits reason to elegantly and humbly give passage to faith. I'm sure it's the one song that elicits spontaneous tears more than any piece in history.

Sometimes I wonder if reason is faith.


My wife is Maronite. The religious ceremony of her Roman Catholic church is closer in line with the Orthodox ways. It's beautiful and majestic.

With Friends Like This: High Noon

I just watched High Noon.

Wonderful movie.

There have been a few movies where the plot pissed me off and this one is no different.

The way his friends and the town abandoned him was awful.

Bunch of gutless, miserable, cowards. Rather than fight to ensure evil didn't take over their town, they coiled in fear.

He ended up winning in the end.

It was fitting Marshall Will Kane (Gary Cooper) flung his badge to the ground as he left town.


I, Pencil Movie

For some of you who believe free markets are unhinged by unfettered greed, this may be too much for you. Your head may explode. It makes Warren and Obama's 'you didn't build that!' lamerosity (my word), seem so...small.

Higher Taxes Are Bad: Repeat

Thanks to Nick Pistachio at SE for this.

This makes sense to me.

The proponents of higher taxes - another form of slavery - make little sense to me.

That's just me.

Hostess Fire Employees: Bye-Bye Twinkie

International Brotherhood of Teamsters?

God. Just the name is sinister.


Be like that.

Don't reason, lose your jobs.


Never mind companies ratcheting down because of Obamacare, what about those simply hit by the downturn?

That can't be good for Obama's economy.

Maybe Obama can step in and bail out Hostess? Or say they're acting stupidly?

Markets Priced For Pessimism

Clearly, the market is pesismistic about the U.S. economy. It doesn't believe growth or earnings will rebound in any meanginful manner anytime soon so they're either demanding premium return on their money up front or they're moving out of equities (which is the case with mutual funds) and into bonds. The 'flight to quality' move.

It may be looking to bottom out.

It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out Obama is bad for business. He made his ideological choices and is sticking to his 'us v. them' angle. People can split hairs all they want about his "you didn't build that" remarks - about how it was taken out of context - but the bottom line it's a stable pattern of commentary that has become all too common with the President.

It's all about perception.

The markets are taking him at face value. And they should.

The degree of the pessisimism, of course, may be exaggerated but even if we remove some of the fear out, there's simply no confidence in the market - or this administration to make things work.

Obama wants tax and spend, speaking largely to people who aren't invested or are unaware that whatever holdings they may have in pensions or other investments are indirectly exposed to the markets, and he'll probably get it.

For their part, small business, the backbone of the health of an economy, will get clipped and expect more misery. High taxes don't necessarily lead to revenues and if they do, they may not even be enough to cover interest payments on the deficit. They're inefficient and will only prolong low productivity.

People will continue to start businesses, but it won't be in an optimum business enivornment.

If there are positive signs, I'm not seeing them.

Want to invest? You'll have to adjust your expectations downward. Now is the time for the real players to move in. Politics impact markets. All investors can do is silently make their voices heard by moving their money around into places they determine to be fit for their money.

Don't take it from me.

Read this excellent overview of what's going on here.

"...In short, as I see it, the market is priced to lots of bad economic news that has yet to hit the tape. The market may end up being right, of course, but there are reasons to think that the market may be too pessimistic. At the very least we know that the market has had plenty of time to work itself into a frenzy of concern, since there is no shortage of things to worry about: political gridlock in Washington, a president who is anti-business and anti-wealth, trillion-dollar deficits for as far as the eye can see, a Middle East in turmoil, a huge increase in regulatory burdens, the onset of ObamaCare—which promises wrenching adjustments for one-sixth of the nation's economy, millions of underwater mortgages, and monetary policy that is far advanced into uncharted territory, to name just a few. It should not be surprising or controversial to discover that, in a time bad news is in plentiful supply, that the market is priced to pessimistic assumptions...."

The Good Unintended Consequences Of Obamacare

Clearly, something is happening in the USA. But not for the reasons Democrats necessarily wanted. Most essays and opinions I've read - from both liberals and conservatives - seem to conclude Obamacare will achieve little except for increasing costs, paper work and taxes.

It's why it's getting so much resistance. Everyone acknowledged the system needed reform but not in the image of Obamacare. Coercion is never a good idea.

It just blows my mind in this day and age how this sort of reasoning is lost. Government or public health has become such a politicized bizarre mix of emotions and nationalism, it's no wonder it is obscenely gouging people.

That everyone is covered does not justify charging 5 times the price.

I see it developing before my eyes in daycare (and I will post about this later), ever since the government got involved, the cost to running the show is in excess of $2 billion! It doesn't have to be that way. Where I can offer an equal or even superior service on the private side at a more sane cost and price, the government purely spends and wastes.

I charge $40. My costs are around $33. The government offers tax credits on a monthly basis anywhere between 10-75% depending on family income. The public option charges $7. It costs them $53 to run. Guess who is picking up the tab on the $46 dollar deficit.

Who's fricken more efficient to society? What is cheaper in reality to parents?

Think. Think. Think!

All this sort of stuff you see amounts to ideological computations. Nothing more, nothing less.

In both daycare and health the main issue is labor costs and pricing. Around 3 minutes the video delves into this.

Could you imagine how much wealth health has eroded Canadians over the years? Nobody seems interested or willing to critical assess these issues.

Waaaayyyyy too many bureaucrats are in the way of offering timely and efficient services at affordable prices.

It's so elementary I can't understand how people tolerate this nonsense.

Yeah. God bless the Americans. Where the West has shriveled up and rolled over into the aphrodisiac known as the state, the U.S. is still fighting to keep true liberal impulses alive by seeking practical and innovative solutions to problems.


It's funny. Back in the day of working at FPC, we'd sit around thinking up ideas to better improve health services. One of those was to display a price list to patients.

I can only help this sanity comes to Canada more and more.

I know. I'm the extremist.


More Bad Ideas

Apparently Quebec is about to entertain the notion of students having the 'right to strike.' How about this? GO STUDY.

Students aren't workers. They're not yet productive members of society. They caused quite enough of a mess if you ask me without the right to strike.

They were bullies without it imagine with it! Those who wouldn't agree to strike wouldn't have a fair chance.

Secret ballot. Put it on the table. And see how tough you really are and how much merit your ideas possess.

Today's students, tomorrow's tyrants.

Join The CFIB

President Obama is meeting with business leaders to discuss how to handle the economy and the deficit. Last week, he met with Union leaders.

Just what you want. Multinationals and Unions in concert with politicians to determine what course of action to take.

It's a wrong-headed, elitist approach.

None are technically on the side of small-business. SME's share similar concerns with CEO over things like excessive regulation that burden us with red tape and high taxes from capital gains to payroll but the difference is that MNC's have powerful lobbying interests and end up putting SME's out of business.

Don't get me wrong. I understand sometimes SME's turn into MNC's because of success. I'm not hostile to it because we all want to grow and expand, what I'm concerned with is politicians going to them for advice. They're not going to speak for the rest of the economy.

I also take issue with the notion that somehow only CEO's are giant companies are true "entrepreneurs" or have opinions more valid than the little guy a profitable bakery or sports shop. They're CEO's as well.

We all know there are plenty of incompetent CEO's and companies, despite massive resources, still make fatal mistakes in the decision making process. They can write-off most of them but a small guy can't.

Big companies also have a disproportionate access to capital from banks whereas SME's are subjected to vigorous policies no matter how profitable or successful. MNC's can be losers and still get money.

Unions are a scourge upon us all so I'll leave it at that.

I'll leave politicians out of this for this post.

My point I want to make it's time for SME's to form its own lobbying alliance. I recently joined the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. It was a big step for me because I never join organizations, don't affiliate myself with any political party or sign up for anything. Most organizations are wastes of time filled with either limp, listless, leaderless people or aggressive, ambitious, alpha-males (or females) too busy looking out for #1.

Alas, the CFIB spoke my language and are well positioned to actually speak on my behalf. I learned that politicians DO take into consideration our perspective but until recently never knew what our concerns and challenges were.

When you can speak as one voice, you will be heard.

CFIB has successfully brought tax rates down to sustainable and acceptable levels for SME's over the years and are there to guard against any possible policies than can damage us.

Don't forget, SME's employ many people. Not all workers want to work for big corporations. The generally calm, intimate settings of SME's is actually healthy for people to consider as an alternative. But if we create too much of an anti-business atmosphere, ambitious minds will calculate it's not worth the risk.

We're almost there so it's time to reverse the trend a little.

It's all about changing mindsets and perceptions. In our conversation, an observation I've repeated here often was confirmed about the unique challenges in Quebec. This province lags terribly behind all other provinces when it comes to business. We're long on social projects we can't afford (assuming the "rich" will pay as well as small business), but short on innovative ideas as to how we can create a dynamic business class that can propel growth and leads us to prosperity.

Quebecers (and I've detected this in America as well)  have fallen into a mind-numbing sense that government can and will take care of society and economics. The province has a negative attitude towards private enterprise believing it to be there to gouge people. Seriously. This is the antiquated notion of entrepreneurship here. They're incapable or unwilling to acknowledge that for-profit is not incompatible with social responsibility or with having values.

There's an added layer of resistance here.

So I'm doing my part to educate.

Without coercion.


The Lost Art Of Eye Contact

Is the latest victim claimed by heads and minds consumed by iPhones and texting.

Walk down a street. See all the eyes looking down.

Market Sell Off Continues

The markets returned all gains made from June in a span of a week as fears about whether the U.S. can actually come up with a functional compromise continue.

What's also probably happening is people taking in their capital gains now at these rates before rates go up.


"I have a feeling that the great global economic tensions will snap some time in the second Obama term and we will see another crash similar to the 2008/2009 debacle. Disaster looms from both European (overleveraging, political strife) and East Asian (overly dependent on exports and state subsidies, unstable totalitarian regime and heavy handed central planning in China) economic theaters. But that's maybe just wishful thinking on my part as my intention is to be be a net buyer of stocks during the next decade, so lower prices and crashes will be in my favor.

Hold at least 30% of your investable assets in cash in order to take advantage of a buying opportunity when the market plunges. Keeping cash in this manner is thus an excellent portfolio protection tool."

30% is high, which shows you where investors are leaning these days. Usually the rule of thumb is to set aside 10%.

I tend to take this approach. Stay on the sidelines. See how this plays out. Obama's Presidency may lead to significant drops; this means buying opportunities.

The Republican outlook is what works on economic policy; which is why Democrats will employ them.

Speaking of things not being what they seem, from the same article:

"Bill Clinton was the most ruthless exponent of the neoconservative economic policies. Crushing the poor with the euphemistically named Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, Clinton attacked head on the social safety net built for decades, and with the repeal of the Glass-Steagall act, guided by former Goldman-Sachs CEO Bob Rubin, his Treasury secretary, he tore down the wall separating commercial from investment banking, thus opening the way to the 2008 subprime mortgage financial crash, the worst economic storm in America since the thirties from which the world is reeling even today...."


Conversely, Bush only really became a neocon after 9/11. Prior to that event, recall that Bush was basically a compassionate conservative with his Millenium Fund, No Child Behind, calls for reform on immigration, bail-ous, TARP and spending on Medicare. Only later did he hand over the reigns to the neocons on foreign policy and mused with privatizing Social Security.

But his detractors focus on tax cuts and WMD's in Iraq often ignoring Democrats believed Hussein had them also which is why they voted along with the GOP.