Monthly Archives: November 2012

Silly Statistics

No doubt, a number of you here in Canada have seen by now the commercial put out by the Canadian Womens Foundation; the scene is a baby shower with a group of laughing happy women, and the expectant mother opens up one gift from an older woman for her yet-unborn daughter.  We know it’s a girl because of all the little dresses and such, but this gift is no frilly dress or toy – it’s a rape whistle.  Then the ominous text says that 1 in 2 girls will be sexually assaulted or raped in their lifetime.

If you visit their website, you can even get little congratulations cards for baby girls, which when you open basically say, “congratualtions on your girl – chances are she will be raped”.  How dire.  Wow, no wonder Heather Mallick and company are all for aborting female fetuses… what kind of world are they coming into?

At the risk of sounding like we don’t care about sexual crimes against women – this is bullshit.  Really.

If you look at Stats Canada’s crime report, sexual assault crimes are actually on the decline.  But of course, as a sacrificial offering to the political correctness gods, they throw the line in there that, “most sexual assaults are not brought to the attention of police”.  Well, then.  You can’t trust any statistic if that’s the case…. if it’s not brought to the attention of police, where does the 1 in 2 figure come from?   Oh sure you could say it’s assembled anecdotally, from front line rape and abuse workers yada yada, but we’ll just say what most are thinking – it’s made up.

Unless… you come from the Andrea Dworkin school of thought and, paraphrasing the conclusion of her book “Intercourse”  – all sex is rape.  Women just don’t know any better because they’re either immunized by love or conditioned by western society to subconsciously accept it.  In which case – that commercial is probably dramatically understating the number of women who are sexually assaulted.

By the way, as an aside, Andrea Dworkin was probably about 400lbs at her death (age 58), and blamed her osteoarthritis on her history of being sexually abused.   Yes, truly.  It couldn’t possibly have been because she was fat.  No, way.

But back to the commercial – as we are wont to do when we go to these activist websites, we look for who is footing the bill for these people, because half the time we expect to see government funding.  And it’s there on page 13 of their financial reporting for last year – $167,000 of our tax money.  But funny enough it’s not even close to being their biggest source of funding.  Nope, most of the money they get comes from corporate donations and, the reason we are suddenly seeing these idiot TV ads this year?  $14 million bequeathed to them from Ann Southam, who died in 2010. 

This is unfortunately an example of feminism at it’s worst, which is not pro-female, but anti-male; they want to ingrain in our thinking that men are barbaric, men are violent, men are rapists and men would reduce women to homemaker slaves bearing dozens of children against their will.

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But What About the Squirrels?

A woman in Vaughn has asked her local Catholic school board to cut down oak trees on her child’s school property because the acorns the trees drop have the potential to cause anaphylactic reactions for those children with tree nut allergies.

This despite an allergist in the article saying that the likelihood of a child having an allergic reaction to an acorn is minimal unless the child actually ingests the acorn.  But the mother has figured out how to change the question when you don’t like the answer – the acorns are tools of bullying! 

Yes, we can just imagine some nasty children chasing those 6% of the students with tree nut allergies around the schoolyard at recess, waving the acorns with the threat of being forced to eat them, shell and all.  It’s actually hard to conceive of such a scene taking place under the supervision of teachers… we are afterall in an age where two boys innocently playing pirates at recess with sticks in their hands can get suspended under zero-tolerance guidelines.  Where three-year olds drawing pictures of their daddy with a gun shooting monsters, warrants a cadre of police officers to arrest the father in front of his children and search his house.

So at first it was peanuts, then eggs and dairy, and now, acorns and we’d assume by extension then walnuts, chestnuts and other manna from the heavens that used to, at one point in our human history, sustain us as an important food source.

Has it come to the point where in an effort to protect, or zealously over-protect as the case may be, from any potential allergen risk that we need to sanitize and immunize ourselves from nature? 

The solution, as far as we’re concerned is simple; school boards have to start creating allergen free schools, where those small minority of children whose parents insist, rightly or paranoid-ly that they must be insulated from this allergen or that allergen, all of these kids can attend a special school with peace of mind, and the rest of us can send our kids to school with peanut butter sandwiches, yogourt and cracked walnuts in their lunch.

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Taxing Fat(ties)

There’s been a lot of noise lately about taxing fast food and putting warning labels on fast food.  This comes after the recent Ontario Medical Association report that obesity is going to cost us, the taxpayer, billions over the next several years as our society just seems to be getting fatter and fatter.   So the obvious solution unfortunately for a lot of “thoughtful” people and so-called leaders is to tax fast food.  Statist solutions always come to the fore right away these days.

This ain’t new – the idea of taxing fat or sugar or junk food has been around for awhile and is gaining steam, given some European countries like Denmark experimenting with taxing foods based on their fat or sugar content, or both.  It’s an idea that seems to be gaining momentum though.

Supposedly a fast food tax would do two things: firstly, it would make fast food and junk food more expensive and thus  (it’s hoped) less affordable by “poor” people, who are statistically more likely to be obese or overweight than affluent persons.  Secondly, the tax would raise additional revenues to offset the added cost of providing publicly funded health care to overweight individuals.

It’s all well and good if you accept either premise.  We don’t.

Firstly, the fact that poor people also happen to be many times more likely to be fat (and in poor health generally) is linked, but not in the way the progressives like to admit.  Fast food is not cheaper, on average, than regular wholesome food.    But what it is, is more convenient.  It requires less energy to prepare.  It takes no skill to create something tasty.

If anyone has seen Jamie Oliver’s original Ministry of Food show, where he tries to get underclass people in one city in England to cook healthy food for themselves, you’d come to the conclusion that a lot of these people are just too damn lazy.  They are too lazy to be arsed to cook their own meals, and in some cases they are too lazy to be arsed to learn how to even cook it in the first place. 

A big percentage of poor and lower-income households eat a steady diet of fast food and junk food because they are just plain lazy, no other explanation required.  And it’s probably one of the prime reasons they’re poor in the first place.  And it’s probably also a big reason why they also exercise less, smoke more and all around do less to take care of their own physical health.  Sorry for speaking truth to the matter.  Laziness is the cause of their problems, not a symptom of it.   And even if you make fast and junk food more expensive, it’d be hard to predict with any confidence that you’d be deterring these people from continuing to buy fast food, rather they’ll just be assigning more of their disposable income to stuffing their faces.

Well, then you come to point #2 – the tax revenue generated would cover the additional health care costs for overweight people.  OK, but let’s ask the question then – would it be akin to applying an insurance premium (of sorts) to fat people for their over-use of the health care system, or are we using a bulldozer to kill a fly by also taxing perfectly healthy people who also happen to eat fast food?  We all know that skinny guy who can wolf down three Whoppers and still have a six-pack midsection, and whose cholesterol levels are in perfect order.  Why are we taxing that guy to pay for the health care costs of fatties?

Could it be that what makes us increasingly fat and unhealthy as a society is a function of our increasingly sedentary lifestyles?  Why not put meters on people’s TV’s then, and tax them based on how many hours of TV is being watched in a household?  There is evidence that there is a direct correlation to the amount of TV watched and obesity levels.

So if it’s a complicated mix of both dietary choices and sedentary lifestyle, if it’s a matter of people eating too much and moving too little that is making us fat, then let’s cut right to the chase – let’s just tax fat.  As in, how much fat you are carrying.

Once a year, everyone goes to the doctor and their BMI is measured, and their body fat percentage, and then they are taxed according to how fat they are in comparison to some formula that accounts for sex, age and pre-existing medical conditions.  So, if you 20kg overweight by BMI measure, and logging in at 22% body fat, congratulations you owe the government $427.52.   Please pay at the receptionist, VISA or MasterCard accepted.

That seems a fair way to do it. That way you aren’t punishing those people who maybe don’t eat so great, but manage to stay active and burn enough calories to remain lean… like most of us growing up 20-30 years ago who used to eat mom’s pastries, ground beef dripping in fat (who heard of lean ground beef back then?) and scalloped potatoes without any issues, because we ran around outside for hours on end, instead of playing Playstation on sunny days.

Or the other fair way would be, we suppose, to just let fat people pay for their own health care if they refuse to take responsibility for their own health and well-being.  Ah, but that would be ludicrous.

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Michigan Proposal 6: Sucking and Blowing at the Same Time

It’s a given that the presidential race in the US has big implications for our economic health as Canadians.  But there is another vote going on in Michigan that would also carry significant economic impact if billionaire Matty Maroun, the owner of the 85-year old Ambassador Bridge between Windsor and Detroit, has his way. 

Maroun, whose bridge is the conduit over the Detroit River for billions of dollars in trade between the US and Canada as a result of over 10,000 commercial vehicles a day crossing it, has managed through various machinations to get on the Michigan ballot with Proposal 6, which would if successful kill the plans for a new bridge to be built downstream of his.  The new bridge  would siphon away from his bridge most of the commercial traffic, and thus put quite a dent in his estimated $60-80 million per year revenue stream.

The rub?  The new bridge is going to paid for by the Canadian government.

So for a lot of people this does not sit well.  It could be perceived as government, using our tax money to fund competition for a private enterprise.  That’s not right in their minds, and Maroun and his supporters (and they can be nearly fanatical) do all they can to promote the image of a family-owned business being pitted against big government, whose motivations are malicious and this is just a poorly justified attempt to pry control of the border crossing between Windsor and Detroit away from a private enterprise who has thus far been a good steward of the crossing.

Here’s the thing though, and a reason we find ourselves ironically arguing on behalf of the pro-government bridge; too many on the right confuse the free market with the players in the free market.   They are not one and the same.  Do not confuse capitalism with capitalists.

You can trust the free market.  You cannot trust the players in the market.

Business, entrepreneurs et al are not altruists.  They can’t be trusted to look after the public good, they can only be trusted to look after their own good – which may not be the same as the public good, and very often is not. 

Which is OK in a free market, because the way a free market works is it rewards business proportionately to the value of the service you are providing and the the number of people you are providing it to.  If you are a liar and a cheat, if you are unscrupulous and dishonest, in a truly free market we can trust that you will be found out, exposed and go out of business.   The market works in this regard.  It’s when markets are corrupted and bastardized by government interference and regulations, and they become something far less than “free” and dishonest players in the market are allowed to prosper.   

Look at how many billionaires have come out of the communist Soviet Union in the past 20 years – why?  Because government limited entry into select markets to friends of powerful people, and next thing you know a small group of people had control over oil, gas and mineral rights.  They didn’t get rich being champions of the free market, they were beneficiaries of government interference and regulation of the market.

You need no other example than the banking collapses in 2008 – despite what anyone on the left can argue, the banking industry was not operating freely, there was regular government interference and controlled markets, and as such the room for abuse by “capitalists”

So, we cannot trust Matty Maroun to look after anything but his own interests, and not the public good.  We cannot trust him to rebuild his 85 year old bridge, we cannot trust him to find his own private financing for a new bridge, we cannot trust him to respect the urban development on either side of the border, we cannot trust him.  Period.  And there is certainly plenty of proof and examples of his past behaviour to indicate we are correct in this regard.

But can we trust the market on this issue?  Can we say, as many are trying to argue, that if the government did not build the bridge that the market would come forward and build a new bridge, given proper economic justification?  In this case we would argue, no.  Because there is no free market here.  There is such a mountain of regulations and approvals, the need for billion dollar financing, considerations for the natural and social environments, municipalities, communities and stakeholders on both sides of the border, that it is effectively a closed and regulated market.   So, Matty Maroun having made billions of dollars in toll revenue off of the bridge since he purchased it for $30 million in 1979 has essentially benefitted the same way the Russian billionaires have benefitted from closed markets in their country.  You cannot suck and blow at the same time.  You cannot decry government coming down on your business when in fact you have been the direct beneficiary of government restrictions on the market over the past 30 years.

So, we cannot wait for an 85-year old bridge, that is a vital cog to our international trade, to be replaced by a private interest.  It is too important and needs to be done now.  And as such it is completely appropriate, given the fact that there is no free market here, for the government to step in and build an alternative to the Ambassador Bridge.

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