Apparently, it's never occurred to these people that it's not the rich that start wars, it's governments. And when governments make wars, it's the people that fund those wars who die.
Well, I don't know about you, but I feel better now.
- raising the age of sexual consent,Now there are a lot of VERY different measures in here. For instance, raising the age of sexual consent is a decision that depends on reasoning that more or less contradicts the rationale used when deciding to strengthen the Youth Criminal Justice Act - are youth responsible for their actions or aren't they? If you think someone who is 14 should be treated as an adult when they commit a murder, then why shouldn't they be treated as an adult when they make the decision to sleep with someone much older than them.
- increasing penalties for impaired drivers,
- toughen bail provisions and impose mandatory prison sentences on "gun crimes,"
- reintroducing security certificates*,
- toughen the Youth Criminal Justice Act,
- new initiatives on dealing with elder abuse,
- new initiatives on curbing identity theft,
- awarding police new powers to deal with drug dealers.
- funding the recruitment of 2,500 new officers.
1. Faith-based schools did not lose the PCs the election;
2. Right-wing policy isn't necessarily needed for PCs to win, but it helps
3. It wasn't about leadership; and
4. John Tory should step down.
- The party held back ridings from holding their nomination meetings until the very last minute, stopping them from doing the on-the-ground work that needs to be done as early as possible and for as long as possible in non-incumbent ridings.
- John Tory's decision to eliminate all paid positions with the party and rely on volunteers to help eliminate the party's debt was the wrong decision in at least one area, which was database upkeep, management and tech support. This is an area that should have been high priority for the party, but obviously took a back seat to debt elimination which, while positive internally, does nothing to help get more votes in a general election. Because the database was neglected, work that had been done in the past was lost, and the database was even unavailable, at length, immediately before the campaign, delaying the work pushed back by late nomination races even further.
- The policy process, as I mentioned, was a sham, in spite of a Tory promise to put it back into the hands of members. The party under Tory made the decision to make the policy process so nontransparent that nobody knew what the policy would be, and then made the decision not to release the policy that they did come up with until it was far too late.
- The people John Tory selected to run his headquarters never seemed to get their act together. Locally, we came up with a saying whenever someone expressed frustration when trying to get hold of someone at the party: "It's the Ontario PC Party - nobody's home." Unless you had some personal connection within the party hierarchy the odds of you getting an answer to any question or a solution to any problem were not good.
Every now and then, I have to remind myself of something that ought to be obvious but seems incomprehensible to me all the same: namely, that a good many people who go into politics --most people, in fact --don't give a fig about policy.
It isn't just that they don't know the first thing about it, and usually get it wrong. It's that they couldn't care less. It doesn't even occur to them that they should care. They do not inhabit a world in which policy matters. To them, politics is strictly about gangs -- only instead of Crips and Bloods, they're called Liberals and Conservatives.
That's your ordinary politician. But of these there is a special breed, who glories in the title of the Practical Man. The Practical Man is not just ignorant of policy. He is hostile to it, at least so far as this involves the careful and systematic study of a subject, the fruits of which he is inclined to dismiss as "ideology." His ideology is to have no ideology, on which point he is as precisely dogmatic as any pharisee.
This will come as a surprise to those who think of policy and politics as being somehow related. But they are not -- or if they are related, it is in active opposition to each other. I can say that with some confidence, at least, with regard to economics.
All of economics is devoted to the proposition that there is no such thing as a free lunch. All of politics is devoted to the opposite conviction. All economics teaches that you can't get something for nothing. All politics supposes that you can -- or that you can at least persuade other people that you can. Economics is about scarcity, universal and inescapable. Politics is about limitless plenty.
Consider that 98% of all bad policy amounts to nothing more than ignoring opportunity costs: the simple axiom that the cost of something is measured not just by the actual sum of money used to produce it, but what the same funds might have purchased, diverted to another end-- the profits forgone, the jobs not created, because that money was spent in one way and not another.
This has nothing to with that mythical media beast, "conservative economics." It isn't conservative or liberal. It isn't even economics, come right down to it. It's physics. More in one place means less in another.
Wherever you look, the inescapable conclusion is the same: Reducing carbon emissions is not the best way to help the world. I don't point this out merely to be contrarian. We do need to fix global warming in the long run. But I'm frustrated at our blinkered focus on policies that won't achieve it.
Rather than declare that there are "no safe drugs," as Health Minister Tony Clement is expected to do when the anti-drug campaign is launched, the government should consider accepting that -- for good or bad -- drug use is a personal choice. As such, there is little it can do to prevent it. But given that it is a personal choice, society has little obligation to pay for the consequences of misuse. Legalize most drugs, but also declare no welfare for addicts. Let private charities supply relief and health care for those who abuse drugs. That would at least compel some users to confront the economic costs of their choices and might -- might -- discourage more Canadians from taking drugs than any preachy government advertising campaign or assault on casual drug use.
There's also a health-care cost element to suggesting to young people that using illicit drugs is OK, the minister said.
"The fact of the matter is they're unhealthy," Mr. Clement said.
"They create poor health outcomes."
"We're going to be into a different world and take tackling these issues very seriously because (of) the impact on the health and safety of our kids."
Mr. Clement said treatment and prevention programs were his key priorities for the health element of the drug strategy.
"Yes, there's a justice issue to that," he said.
"But there's also a treatment issue, there's also a prevention issue."
Last week, a letter in the Star attacked the Canadian Medical Association’s proposed changes to the Canadian Health care system, explaining that vested interests shouldn’t be allowed to overhaul the Canadian health care system in the name of profit.
There are plenty of letters like this – “Peoples' lives and well-being shouldn’t depend on their income or anything else!” letters always seem to proclaim, and no system could be beneficial if it is concerned primarily with money.
But this week, letters about Mexican immigrants are all the rage. Unlike the Canadian health care system, though, money is what it’s all about.
We can’t afford these immigrants! Ship them back and all of our problems will be solved. Will they be impoverished? Will they starve? Not our problem! Unless you’re from Canada or you have your paper work in order, all the human rights we claim to believe in go flying out the window.
That’s what we’ve fought for all these years, after all: a country free from discrimination based on anything other than country of origin and completeness of paperwork.
The worst part is that Canadians are so afraid of change that we won’t consider real solutions to either of these problems, and we’ll look the other way when our values become completely inconsistent.
We’ll try to guarantee ourselves a better life by stopping the poor and hungry from coming here the way our ancestors did… but don’t mess with our universal health care!
Talk about a double standard.
Pay attention to the guy midway through who is stuck on a waiting list for cataract surgery. The reason he's on that list, when LASIK or similar procedures remain private and can be had in a matter of days, is that the former is an "essential" service, while the latter is "cosmetic" only.
That's right, the absolutely necessary procedure is inaccessible and severely rationed, while the elective one has become as ubiquitous as a brake and muffler shop. Just one of the many logical somersaults you Americans will have to get used to performing once Hillary and Obama start ladling out the "free" medicine.
Tory MP Pierre Poilievre quickly moved an amendment to have the study include the expenses of all parties for every election since 1997.
"If they vote to hide their books from the public, then they should explain what they have to hide," Poilievre said.
Parents in the Panhandle may face jail time if their children continue to skip school.
Officials in Escambia County are weighing a tough new penalty that says if children have 10 unexcused absences in 90 calendar days, their parents would be put behind bars.
Officials said children who miss that much school put their entire futures in jeopardy.
Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre says it boils down to the right of candidates to spend money as they see fit.Oh, well that's fantastic! Candidates have the right to spend money as they see fit during an election, but individual Canadians or third party groups? Well that would just be silly. Heck, the Conservative government outright banned corporate donations, completely ignoring corporations' freedoms of speech and association.
"Law enforcement is based on a very simple principle premise: there is a perpetrator and a victim. The police catch the accused perpetrator and put him or her in jail. The courts then decide the guilt or innocence of the accused and an appropriate punishment if guilty. This protects the victim and others from further victimization and keeps the perpetrator from further perpetrations.
A serious problem arises when the accused perpetrator and the victim are one and the same. Such is the case with consensual crimes. When the police put the accused in jail, they are putting the victim in jail too. How, then, can the police protect the victim? Law enforcement, thus preverted, begins to deteriorate.
With a real crime, the genuine victim goes to the police and reports it. The police then set about to catch the criminal. With a consensual crime, who reports the crime? Obviously, no one directly involved. Everyone consented to it; they're not going to be complaining to the police. The police, then, must become spies, busybodies, and entrappers in order to catch consensual criminals victimizing themselves. Imagine how demoralizing and corrupting this entire procedure can be to both police and society.
As Jackson Eli Reynolds reported in The Washington Post,
Drug offenses... may be regarded as the prototypes of non-victim crimes today. They private nature of the sale and use of drugs has led the police to resort to methods of detection and surveillance that intrude upon our privacy, including illegal search, eavesdropping, and entrapment.
Indeed, the successful prosecution of such cases often requires police infringement of the constitutional protections that safeguard the privacy of individuals."
"WikiScanner, a website launched on Monday by a U.S. graduate student, shows that changes to articles originated from computers inside a variety of government offices...
... a significant number of edits were made to articles about politicians that removed criticisms, added positive comments and, in some cases, inserted negative comments to the pages of political rivals...
MPs whose Wikipedia pages were significantly altered include Toronto-area Liberal Dan McTeague, Calgary Conservative Jason Kenney and Southern Ontario Conservative Jeff Watson, who serves on the Commons' access to information, privacy and ethics committee. ...
(emphasis mine -- and you must be joking.)
"It can be detrimental to the subject of an article that has information that casts you in a negative light or brings up events that you would rather forget about; hence, the desire to modify the entries so that particular events are recast or deleted altogether. You can't do this with Encyclopedia Britannica, but you can do this with Wikipedia," Mr. Broadhead said. "But to be seen deleting factual information - to me that borders on being scandalous."
One user, with an IP address that points to a government office in Ottawa, removed Wikipedia's entire entry on homosexuality several times on July 20, 2005, and replaced it with such sentences as: "Homosexuality is evil," "Homosexuality is wrong according to the Bible" and "Homosexuals need our help and counselling." The IP address responsible for that edit continued to deface the entry on homosexuality a total of 24 times between July, 2005, and July, 2006, and also edited more than 500 other Wikipedia articles on topics such as epidemiology, Ebola and Deal or No Deal (a TV game show starring a Canadian host).
Most people who condemn currently illegal consensual activities know little or nothing about them. All they know are the sensationalized media accounts designed not to educate, but titillate. Unless they take part in the activities themselves - or have close friends who do - most people have bad relationships with the mere existence of these consensual activities. The primary emotions seem to be revulsion and fear, born of ignorance. Revulsion and fear keep one from investigating and learning that there is nothing much to be repulsed by or afraid of. It is a closed loop of ignorance (ignore-ance).
The unwillingness to see that "It is my judgment, based on my ignorance, that is causing the problem" is the problem. Bad relationships promote worse relationships. Worse relationships promote impossible relationships. Impossible relationships promote laws against consensual activities.
The goal of all Canadian governments should be to see that everyone has access to health care; this can be achieved by paying for the care of those who can't afford it. Owning hospitals, employing doctors and nurses, banning health insurance and preventing doctors from working both publicly and privately are all measures that are not only unrelated to this goal, they seem to be preventing us from reaching it.And he's right - if the goal of Canada's governments is to ensure that all Canadians have health care, all that is needed is a subsidy of health insurance premiums - not government-owned-and-run hospitals, not public-only health clinics and diagnostics, not even a specific government plan like medicare - simply a set of rules that the subscriber would have to adhere to to get government coverage, or a maximum that the government is willing to pay for the premium.
In order to think about institutional choices related to health care, I’ve learned to ask two questions. First, who pays? And secondly, who makes decisions about the care provided? The first question is important because medical providers pay the most attention to the person or institution that pays them. If I pay my grocer myself, she will make sure she stocks food that I like. If she is paid by someone else (for example, the corporation that owns her store), then she’ll be sure to put what that person wants on the shelf, and pay less attention to my requests. The second question is important because different decision-makers may have different objectives to fulfill in their determination of the care you receive
The commonality between HMOs and single-payer national health care systems should have made Michael Moore more skeptical about the European, Cuban and Canadian systems. You see, each of these countries has a health care system that is, in effect, a single, national HMO.The quotes are from The Skeptical Liberal, and you can read his extremely well-thought out and defended opinion on Michael Moore's Sicko and the effects ofHMOs on American health care in their entierty here.
Because I know Canada the best, I’ll use it as an example, but the point applies to all the rest. The questions are: who pays? And who decides? Moore makes the same mistake that most of us make regarding national health care systems when he says that “everyone” pays in such a system (remember the golfer scene?). The better answer to the first question is that the provincial health ministry pays, because it controls the revenue that doctors, diagnosticians, and medical service providers receive. The answer to the second question is the same: each provincial health ministry in Canada decides what medical goods and services will be available in any given year. A budget is set for the year, and the health care system has to stay within that budget. A bureaucracy is rewarded with more funds when it stays within its budget, hence the goal in any given year is to minimize costs: exactly the charge Moore brings against the “greedy” for-profit HMOs . A national health care system is simply a single HMO for everyone.
"The general philosophy that we need to reduce tax rates and broaden tax bases is being eroded by federal and provincial targeted tax relief," the study says.
"If governments remain on this tax reform path, the accumulation of targeted tax relief measures will have a significant fiscal cost, which could be better used to finance broad rate reductions. Tax rate reductions encourage greater work effort, investment and risk-taking without governments putting themselves in the position of picking winners from losers, a task at which they rarely succeed."
Political analysts say these targeted tax cuts are aimed at winning over specific constituencies that reside in politically important parts of either the country or province.
"You load up system with all these special preferences, then down the road the politicians realize they could have had a big tax rate cut instead," Mr. Mintz said in an interview.