warriorsavant: (Lucky Hedgehog)
Okay, not literally what the flyer said, but close. Firstly, there is no actual government agency called Cannabis Canada.* However, we did get a flyer in the mail (and presumably so did every other household in the country) from the Government of Canada. "The Cannabis Act: Here's What You Need to Know." (English one side, French the other.)

As my Gentle Readers might know, recreational cannabis (marijuana, dope, weed, etc) becomes legal in Canada Oct 17thof this year. Our gracious gov't wants us know a few do's and don't's, such as only legal if you are of legal age (18 or 19 depending on province), illegal to give to a minor (and therefore store away from children and also pets), illegal to take across a border (even to/from another country where it is legal), legal dope has a proper excise stamp (and therefore should/should not be thrown into Boston Harbor - oops, wrong leaf), driving while impaired is a crime, and also rules about weed for medical purposes are unchanged. (For further info, call 1-800-O-Canada, or www.Canada.ca/Cannabis. Yes, really.)

I'm both amused and impressed. This is, after all, a major change in the law, one with a large potential for misunderstanding, and they are making sure people are informed.

*Canadian Government agencies are called "SomethingInEnglish Canada QuelchoseEnFrancais," because "Canada" is the same in French and English, whereas "Canadian" is not, being "Canadien" or "Canadienne" in French.

warriorsavant: (Lucky Hedgehog)
If I understand it correctly (a big "if"), the core of Keynesian economics is counter-cyclical government spending. In good years, build up a stockpile of cash, in lean years spend it to stimulate the economy. Now, boys and girls, how far back can we trace the origins of the concept?

I'm going to say about 5000 years. (Maybe be off by a millenium, but no, did NOT add an extra zero or two). Ancient Egypt. Joseph and the dream of Pharaoh. "You’ll have seven fat years, followed by seven lean years." Since money didn’t really exist then (or only marginally), they banked up surplus grain.

Since then, governments mostly failed to do this properly. “In bad years, spend like a drunken sailor to stimulate the economy; in good years, spend like a drunken sailor anyhow.” Actually, as a former (sometimes) drunken sailor, I can say that is not an accurate analogy; when I ran out of money, I stopped spending. (As the saying goes, “some of it we spent on booze, some of it we spent on women, but most of it we just spent foolishly.”)

For the US, this miserable management of government finances and the economy really only dates back to the 1970s. Before then, even if hadn't heard of John Maynard Keynes, actually did pretty much follow the idea of counter-cyclical spending. The US was born in debt (revolutions are expensive), but mostly paid down the debt in good times, and ratched it up in bad times (war and economic depressions). Only under Andrew Jackson did the US eliminate the debt completelly (his one virtue as President). He was from frontier farming stock, who regarded having debt as an abomination.
warriorsavant: (Quebec sait faire)
They've kicked off a provincial election, and the campaign posters have gone up. There are 4 parties in contention: the Unknown Quantity Party, the Incompetent Party, the Separatist Party, and the More Separatist Than Thou Party. While they don't match the two US parties for venality and incompetence, they're more than bad enough. Oh, there's also the We Haven't Heard That Socialism Is Dead Party. They aren't going to get any votes, even in Quebec, but at least their candidate looks pseudo-trustworthy, kind of like a used car salesman.

My number one thought looking at the campaign posters, is that these people really need to hire better photographers. I know they don't have the obscenely huge budgets of a US election, but they could all get together and hire someone decent. I could give them the name of the guy who did my wedding pictures, he was really good. There's one candidate, whose goofy smile says, "To get me to run, they bought me a night with a hooker. I finally lost my virginity." There's another candidate whose smile says, "The Prozac finally kicked in!" (Or maybe the cocaine; either way, that smile is not from someone fully connected with consensual reality.) Then there's someone who is too ugly to be a candidate - and I'm saying this having watched the campaign of Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump. Just where are the Esthetics Police when you need them?
warriorsavant: (Cafe)
Easy to say, "I'm a dual citizen," but what does that mean? Some Gentle Readers commented about that on my last post, so I think some follow-up is in order. I'm not going to answer the question, but more discuss why can't be answered simply.

There are three perspectives to consider: that of the individual person, and that legally of each of the two countries involved. The individual perspective is a mindset or self-image. Interesting to the person involved, but only relevant to that person. The legal issue is more relevant to the two great certainties in life: death and taxes. Or more specifically, being drafted into the military and taxes.

In general terms, a country may not recognize dual citizenship at all, completely recognize it, or in between accept that you think you have a relationship with another country but basically ignore the issue. Citizenship can be from birth, or granted later. If from birth, can be either territorial (born in the jurisdiction) or ancestral (born from citizens/ethnics) or a mix. Granting citizenship later is quite variable, although almost all countries have some sort of process. Giving up citizenship can be automatic if you take another country's citizenship and your first country refuses to accept such a thing, or has to be formally relinquished, or can be impossible (eg: you and your descendants are citizens of our country not matter what you and another country think).

If you are born out of your own country, it varies what has to be done to affirm citizenship. It is rarely an issue (especially if you do it before turning 18), but sometimes there are sticking points. Sometimes best just to ignore it if no one makes a fuss, but as can be seen in the current Windrush kerfuffle in the UK, can raise its ugly head years or even generations later. Passports are generally issued only to citizens (dual or otherwise). Sometimes extraordinarily granted.

For taxes, a country may: tax its citizens' world-wide income, tax its citizens' income from within the boundaries of its own country, tax the income of all residents (citizen or not) from within the boundaries of its own country. Frequently there are tax treaties. For example, I pay the US taxes on my US-earned income, pay Canada taxes on my Canadian-earned income, then declare my world-wide income to both countries, with each country giving me tax credits for what I paid to the other country. (Sounds complicated? It is. That's why I have a very good accountant.)

For military conscription, again, depends on how a country recognizes citizenship. Although the US doesn't formally recognize dual citizenship, and can in fact revoke your citizenship if you serve in a foreign military (including of the other nation that you/they think you are a citizen of), frequently the US makes exceptions/turns a blind eye: Jews who serve in the Israeli military or Korean-Americans who serve in the (South) Korean military. The latter can be important, because the Koreans grant citizenship ethnically, and if you don't go back to do your military service at 18, then you go back to visit grandma at 30, you might be arrested for draft-dodging. (Frequently those young Korean-Americans serve as liaisons with the US forces, called KATUSAs - Koreans Assigned To US Army.)

Like serving in a foreign military, being in a foreign government can be grounds for the US to revoke your citizenship. There were a few high-profile cases where retired US senior officers/government officials went back to serve at high level (I think even president in one case) in their newly non-communist homelands. I think there was some fuss made, than they were quietly given a waiver. They really only care about the national-level government, not local, a fact I'd checked out with the State Department when I was considering running for city council here.
warriorsavant: (Cafe)
First, Happy Victoria Day! A holiday not coinciding with the Widow's Birthday, Ascension to the Throne, or any other event. It is a uniquely Canadian holiday, not celebrated anywhere else, including Quebec. Oh, they take the day off, but they have given it various alternate names over the years, which nobody takes seriously.

Second, a Gentle Reader (and relative) pointed out that Great Britain's Prince Harry is marrying an American citizen, and was told that both UK & USA allow dual citizenship, which would mean their offspring could run for president here, and if inherits their throne could be simultaneously monarch of Britain and the USA.

Since I know this is a burning question in everyones' mind, like me address that. Technically the US doesn’t recognize dual citizenship. I think there are a few exceptions like the Philippines, having previously been a US colony. (The PI is one of the few countries the US formally owned as colony in the European, 17th-20th sense.) The US view is more “you are a US citizen, and if you and another country happen to think you have a relationship, we’re going to just ignore that silliness, as long as the other country is Canada, not N. Korea.”

Further issue is that the constitution requires the Pres to be American born, although doesn’t formally say what that means. If you are physically born in another country, but of US parents does that count? Never been clarified. I remember as a child being told that US embassies had birthing suites (remember, embassies are considered the territory of the country that owns that embassy), but don’t know if that was true.

Nom watched part of the wedding (did NOT get up at 0400h our time to do so). I watched a little bit with her, adding such commentary as: “our wedding was much classier,” “my uniform was much sharper-looking than Harry’s,” “you looked some much prettier than that Markle woman, and still do.”
warriorsavant: (Quebec sait faire)
I haven't lived in NH since I moved up to Montreal, shortly after the glaciers receded, but that is still my official US state of residence. In the US, being a federal system, one cannot be a citizen of the country at large, one has to have a state or territory also. NH being where I was living before I moved, and having no state income tax (the state motto: "live free or die live in Quebec"). I like their small-government, libertarian attitude. People from high tax states will sneer at the lack of services, but it seemed to me that the state provided the essential services with much less waste. Consider a less essential service, such as funding the arts. Consider the New York Council on the Arts (whatever it is properly called). Big budget, huge building, huge staff, huge overhead. NH's Council has 2 permanent members (Director & Receptionist). Everyone else comes in once/year or as needed to audition the artists, gets paid for their time, then goes back to their real jobs. (Come t' think o' it, the state legislature works the same way.) Even the funding to an artist is not absolute. They have to get half their money from whatever community agency (school, town, arts festival, whatever), then the state will match it up to whatever agreed upon amount. That is, the state helps support the actions of the localities. The localities, being closer to the people, take charge, and have to give something of their resources, then the state will help support it. That's how it should be; the lowest possible level is in control, the higher levels provide some guidance and lots of support.

I still keep my NH medical license, and my CME is recorded there. Most docs up this way keep their CME with the Royal College (of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada). In order to do that, and thereby put FRCPC after your name, you have to be a Fellow of the Royal College, which means paying them dues. I refuse to give someone good money just to put more letters after my name. Some docs keep their CME filed with the Province. I was keeping mine with NH before I came here, and saw no reason to change unless and until the Quebec College des Médecins makes me do so (so far, they've been uncharacteristically non-bureaucratic and accept that as long as I meet the requirements of some place real, they will accept that).
warriorsavant: (Computer-steampunk)
In the book I read recently about the history of Artic exploration (about the Franklin Expedition and the search for the fabled Northwest Passage), they touched on the provision of government services to the Innuit (or lack thereof). Without going into the vast issue of Canada's and other nations', treatment of, and relations with, their aboriginal peoples, one of the points noted was that the government, even when trying to provide services, had trouble doing so, as these were nomadic/semi-nomadic people, historically with only one name. The government pushed many of them into settlements and assigned them family names. At some point, every one of them was assigned an "Innuit Number" (I think that is what it was actually called) for government ID purposes. This was later dropped as being too intrusive & dehumanizing.

Yet, in the Netherlands (and I believe all Scandanavian countries), which are highly democratic nations, everyone is assigned a national ID number from the moment of birth. The first thing associated with that number is your APGAR score and birth weight. All your medical records, school records, and tax records are keyed to that number. That makes for great demographic studies ("…all lawyers who'd had an APGAR of 9-10 at birth, currently make more than XXX Euro/year and have a low incidence of diabetes…"). To a North American, that is horribly intrusive; to them it's simple good management. The other piece of the puzzle is how to identify who goes with that number. Again, as North Americans, we would regard a government biometric database is being too intrusive, yet in India, they have recently fielded Aadhaar, a national biometric database precisely to be able to identify people for getting government services (eg welfare, nutritional support, schooling), and it is also being used to allow illiterate people access to banking and other commercial services. As it stands now, our governments do keep biometric ID, but it's limited and not very good. Looking at my driver's license, I'm a male of a certain height and weight and hair color. Well, my weight changes, and my hair is no longer brown, and I don't know anybody who actually looks much like any ID photo they have. (I laughed to myself the last time we brought Hedgefund across a border. Now age 3 years, her passport photo was from 3 months, and the Border Agent kept looking back and forth to between the picture and her.) Add to that people whose gender has changed legally. At that point, at least in Canada, they are issued new government ID's, but how do you then use that to access an old record which was under a different name and ID. We don't have a lot of nomads anymore, but what about migrant farm workers?

Seems to me combining modern biometrics with a national ID number would solve some of the "how do you get services" (governmental or commercial) issue. On the other hand, that would allow the government and commercial ventures to compile huge amount of info on us; on the other hand, they already have that, and we as individuals don't get the benefit of it.
warriorsavant: (Composite)
I've been following the health care circus debate in the US.

Three facts and let you draw your own conclusion:
1. As you may know, I practice medicine in Canada, under one of those "horribly flawed, make you wait endlessly, crappy socialist medical systems."
2. I'm a physician, have my own practice which also makes me a small business owner, retired military including many years as a Commander. Bottom line of this pount is that I'm very much a bottom line kind of guy, both by nature and by experience/training
3. The average Canadian lives 3-1/2 years longer than the average American. Pre-Medicare, the difference was only 3-4 months.

Bottom line: who wants to live over 3 years longer?
warriorsavant: (Renovations)
I mentioned my computer having died. Only took them 10 days (and several calls and visits from me) to diagnose, fix, and restore from backups. Grrr. I have over 130 emails waiting that have to be attended to. I did do a couple of posts typing from my phone, but that is too slow, so here is a quick summary of The State of the Warriorsavant:

1. On call )

2. Valentine's Day dinner. )

3. Books. )

4. Battle of the hair. )

5. Contracting out. )

6. Is real or is it a film? )

7. Big brother is watching. )

8. I'm here for the veterans. )

9. Better to curse the darkness? )

10. Renovations. )

11. Nostalgia already. )

That's all the news from warriorsavant, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all children are above average.


Jan. 27th, 2017 11:36 am
warriorsavant: (Sword & Microscope 1)
medical practice )                Food )                      Reading )
Weather and such )
Renos )
warriorsavant: (Quebec sait faire)
I alluded to this issue Jan 13. Here's the story. The current provincial health minister is named Gaetan Barrette. On the positive side, he is trying to clean up some issues with the Quebec Medicare system. On the negative side, he is not consulting with anyone before he issues his ill-thought-out fiats. Lately he has taken a page out of Donald Trump's book and is sending out late-night and weekend tweets of questionable veracity when he is annoyed by someone. Before getting into the current problems he's caused, some background is needed on how things are done here in the True North Brave and Free.

Medicare-how she works )

A consideration about any law or regulatory framework is that there are always gray areas (or grey areas as it is spelt in Canada and the UK). No matter how carefully you write the law, there are always ambivalences. Putting in more regulation doesn't eliminate those loopholes, it just creates more. Up until now, we've dealt with these gray areas by ignoring them, and everyone gives a little on their side: doctors accept that not everything is paid for, patients pay a little out of pocket for things questionably required, and the government ignores the situation.

Medicare-how the Minister is screwing things up )

I'm not sure why all this is happening. Is it purely Minister Barrette's incompetence? Is it a back-handed way for the province to dis-insure some services? (Instead of dis-insuring them, they make them impossible to get, and put the burden on the doctors to be the heavies to explain it to the patients.) Is it the companies that provide drug and supplemental insurance got tired of paying for these supplemental (but legal) charges and pressured the government to outlaw them? Always hard to know if something is driven by avarice or stupidity (my bet is usually on stupidity which is harder to outsmart than avarice). In the end, me and every other doctor will find a way to protect ourselves without hurting our patients. Like most smart people, Minister Barrette fails to account for the fact that other people are smart also, and there are more of us than there are of him, and that we're motivated because it's our livelihood.

Stay tuned to this blog for further updates.

The footnotes )
warriorsavant: (Renovations)
Am now sufficiently calmed down to write this.

I am, to put it mildly, appalled that the US just elected someone who is as impetuous, thin-skinned, superficial, and emotionally immature as my toddler. (Without having the saving graces of being really cute, and oh yeah, will grow up some day.) I watched with horrified fascination as his tally mounted. The only hope is that he'll be restrained by a system that was deliberately designed to limit the power of elected officials, and has also become so massive and sclerotic that even less gets done, plus he actually has no clue how different government is from business.

I find him to be a disgusting human being, but also have to ask myself how this happened. Yes, there were elements of racism (but Obama managed to get elected) and misogyny in his support, but that is too facile and not the whole story. Clinton, the Democratic Party, and the "political elites" (CDE for short) share much of the blame. I posted some months back about how globalization had failed probably 40% of the population, and the elites were not even pretending to address this problem and the people so effected. That is what led to Brexit happening, and now Trump's being elected. There was great anger, and justifiable anger, in much of the populace, that he tapped into. That he also likely won't do anything for these people is neither here nor there. CDE didn't even pretend to address them, didn't even realize they needed to be addressed. They blithely assumed moral superiority and ignored them.

There's been much complaining about how the Republican party has been patiently working for years to set up their dominance: academics, media, gaining control of state legislatures and governorships, organizing their supporters. (Yes, they used this power to gerrymander political districts, but you can't gerrymander governorships or senate seats, they come with the state boundaries, and the Republicans have the majority of those also.) Why the complaining? This is what political parties are supposed to do. They are supposed to organize and create structure and get out the vote. If you don't like what that party stands for, not their problem. The Democrats have enough people and enough money, but apparently not enough organization or discipline or political sense. They carried a few places this past presidential election: the closed liberal elite bastions of NY and California mostly, places that don't realize they aren't most of the country, and if they do so realize, are contemptuous of the "great unwashed" that live "out there." Well the great unwashed just got their revenge.

I think I really started to see the Democrat's hide-bound stupidity after the 2010 midterm elections. Obama had swept in in 2008 and carried control of the Congress with him. The House Democrats chose an icon of close-minded liberal elitism, Nancy Pelosi, as Speaker. In the 2010 midterm elections, the Dems lost control of the House, which is to say, Pelosi led them down into defeat. And they promptly chose her to continue to be their leader! Can you say "lemmings" boys and girls? If you recall, Margaret Thatcher stepped down as Prime Minister of the UK not because she lost an election, not even because she lost her party's leadership vote, but because her winning that leadership vote was by such a small margin, she accepted that she no longer had the moral right to claim leadership, that she was out of touch with what a large swatch of the electorate wanted. Pelosi led the Democrats to flat out defeat, and they re-appointed her as leader because she somehow stood for what they were. Which is to say, she stood for being out of touch with the people. She, and they, also dealt with the Tea Party movement by pushing it into the arms of the Republicans. In the beginning, the Tea Party was not an arch-conservative movement, it was a ground-swell of varied discontent. Instead of doing what political leaders should do, both morally and tactically, which is to say address the legitimate complaints (and thereby coopt large numbers of the people), they just made fun of them and lost millions of potential supporters. I see them doing the same thing again with the "Alt Right." What do these people stand for? I have no idea, because they seem to have as many viewpoints as there are people. Some are hideous neo-Nazis. But some are average, disaffected citizens. Clinton and CDE made fun of them, and pushed them into Trump's arms, and helped him get elected.

Okay, sober, rational people, wise up. Especially those of you on the left who claim to be "for the people." Pay attention to the people. Understand their needs and issues. Address them. And actually get organize to let them know you're listening, turn them into supporters, and then turn out your vote.
warriorsavant: (Three Musketeers)
For the non-tribesmen, a shidduch is an arranged marriage. Two additional facts are salient here:
1. Nom has already decided she is going to pick her children's spouses, which considering how agreeable they are to anything and everything, is likely entirely doomed. Still, one can plot and plan, especially if the stakes are high enough.
2. The Royal Great Grandchildren, that is to say, Prince George and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, are visiting Canada. (I believe they have brought along their parents, William and Kate, but that's a detail.) Said royals are aged 3 and 1. By some clearly divinely-inspired coincidence, we have two children ages 2-1/2 and 1.

Think of what a match that would make: their title and fortune, and our looks and brains. Might bring back the glory days of the British Empire.
warriorsavant: (Renovations)
Following my post about what a disaster this presidential election is going to be whatever the outcome, http://warriorsavant.livejournal.com/591659.html
had the following email exchange with an Army buddy, one who has a great knowledge of history as well (posted with his permission).

There's no doubt that both parties have forgotten who they are working for; my disenchantment (perhaps better to say the opening of my eyes to our political reality) came with Bush 41. He was running against Dukakis and I would have probably voted for Bush except that he had a fund-raiser in NYC - I forget how many $$$ per plate. A reporter asked a spokesman what that money got you - he answered that you got access to GHWB. The follow-up question was "how do people get access if they can't afford $$$ a plate? The answer - practically sniffed in disdain - was "they can seek access other ways". Right there I knew I no longer mattered. My  vote was window dressing on an elaborate charade; no-one in either party really gave two shits about me. So I voted for Perot. I was still registered Republican; voted for Perot again when GHWB ran against Clinton. Then Newt Gingrich became speaker of the house, and, nauseated by his smarminess and hypocrisy, I switched affiliation to Independent. After the 2000 hanging chad debacle I switched to Democrat. Upon return from Iraq I promised myself I'd never vote for any Republican for anything ever - and except for our last mayoral race in NYC, the Republicans have made it easy to keep that promise. Even there, I was voting against DeBlasio, not for whoever the Republican candidate was.

So, I understand anger - also alienation, and the sense of betrayal - you play by the rules your whole life and get royally screwed for it. But anger is a state of mind, not a plan. The Tea Party movement initially had promise - if it had become a "throw the bastards out" 3rd party instead of being co-opted by the far-right wing of the Republican party something may have actually changed. They ended up electing and re-electing the same lying frauds who were busily destroying the American middle class.

But anger doesn't get you anywhere. Embracing a candidate like Trump requires that you either embrace his message - which at its heart is vile (Obama is a Kenyan-born Moslem, hordes of Mexican rapists swarming across the Rio Grande, etc) and akin to that of the other demagogues who made the 20th century so "interesting" - or, you are willfully blind to his lying, fraudulence, hypocrisy and cowardice. You could say much the same about Hillary - I never voted for her husband - but at least she is experienced in government, competent, and sane. At best, Trump is a cranky, sleep-deprived old man - the embarrassing uncle who rants about "them" throughout Thanksgiving dinner. At worst he's an utter cynic who believes in nothing other than self-promotion, says whatever he thinks will please a crowd, and gives no thought to the consequences of his words. I'm not sure if it's Hezbollah or Hamas who has seized on his claim that Obama founded Isis to push their claim that it was all a CIA/Mossad plot just like 9/11. And the people they are talking to are the same ones who believe that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are true. Words can get people killed.

I'm not sure where we go after this election. With such a large portion of the populace so utterly disenchanted I seriously fear for the future. I think it will take something catastrophic to change the system, and some people may welcome that - but they don't know how bad things can get. I've been to Iraq, you've been to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Haiti - so we've both seen failed states, and Syria is a good example of what a civil war fought with modern weapons looks like. I don't want to see that here, but with one candidate claiming that he can only lose if the system is rigged and the election stolen, there is a potential for violence. It's sad that perhaps the best we can hope for is to slip back into apathy if the economy is stable - bread and circuses for the masses.

I agree with your final thoughts regarding our political "elites". The Romans had some good thoughts that apply here, see Cicero- "Politicians are not born; they are excreted". But I forget who it was that lamented a people who preferred the safety of an easy slavery to the rigors of freedom.

Thank you. Good points. I will note, however, that it is equally the fault of the Democratic leadership that the Tea Party movement became co-opted by the far right Republicans (and thereby giving them power). The Tea Party was initially a vague anti-establishment ground swelling. There were many things they wanted/stood for, some of which the Democratic establishment could have agreed with. (Again note that they were not a unified force, so different ppl wanted different things.) Instead of doing the moral and tactically correct approach of identifying the points of agreement, supporting those points, and thereby getting the support of a broad swatch of disaffected voters, they just made fun of the whole movement (again, I’m especially thinking of that idiot Pelosi) and drove them into the arms of the far right.

Didn’t know you were a life-long Republican at one point, not that it matters now. GHWB might have been part of the disconnected elite, but he at least was competent as President, unlike his son, who was the worst - literally the worst - president at least in my lifetime.

Not sure who originated that second quote that you finish with. Loki in the Thor movie?

Oh, final note about His Whininess. He is as amazing as his supporters claim... he’s actually going to drive me to vote for Hilary Clinton.

Agree on the failures of the Democratic leadership. In the past they had  a talent for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory by nominating the most un-electable person they could find. They also seem stuck in their own echo chamber, preaching only to the choir. Also agree on Bush 41. He was an intelligent man with experience in the world who did put his life on the line for his country. I don't know what the attrition rate was for naval aviators in the Pacific, but I'm pretty sure it was high (especially in large, slow aircraft like the TBF Avenger). Agree also on Bush 43 - I was astonished when he got a second term - his reward for blundering into an unnecessary war and doing his best to lose it. That alone soured me on having much sympathy for the Republican base. It's one thing to buy into the wedge issues the Republicans put up but to re-elect an incompetent who is getting thousands of Americans and Iraqis killed or maimed for nothing is a bit much. I actually knew someone at the XXth - now a retired full Colonel - who was certain Saddam was behind 9/11. Talk about drinking the cool-aid. Never mind Hillary's e-mails - I want to see what Cheney, Rumsfeld Rice & Dubya actually believed, vs what they told Congress and the American people.

In retrospect I think what drove me from the Republican party was not so much the perception of their catering to an elite but the utter hypocrisy of many of them - Gingrich being a prime example - a draft-dodging serial adulterer who presumes to lecture the nation on patriotism and family values? Puh-leeze! If I had a message for the GOP it would be "don't piss on me and tell me it's raining".
warriorsavant: (Time)
Trump winning the presidency would be a disaster, but his losing would not be good either.
His supporters are mostly the same people who oppose globalization and were pro-Brexit. The issues aren't 100% aligned, but close enough that we can discuss pro- and anti-globalization.

It's fashionable amoung the pro-globalization folks to dismiss Trump supporters (and Brexiteers, and anti-globalization forces everywhere) as racists. They couldn't possibly have good reason for their opinoins. After all, they disagree with enlightened people like us, so they must be mistaken if not downright evil. There, there, now. Does that make you sleep better at night, dismissing people who disagree with you as a bunch of nasty, knuckle-dragging racists?

So who are "us," the enlightened, pro-globalization people? Generally better educated, younger, living in bigger, globally-connected cities. Y'know, the people who actually benefit from globalization. (Yeah, I know, not every last one of these people individually benefitted at all times, but statistically, as a group, they did.) And who are "them," the people opposed to globalization? Generally less educated, older, and rural/small town. Y'know, the people who have been hurt by globalization. What! They are actually against something that is hurting them? How unenlightened.

In this way, Trump is right. No one has been speaking to, or for, these people. Not that he'd do anything for them either if he were elected, but he is channeling their anger, their justifable anger. Consider a older, white couple living in a small city. He's a blue collar worker, she's a hairdresser. The Republicans don't care about them because they are neither big business owners nor evangelicals. The Democrats don't care abou them because they are not visible-minoritiy-lesbian-single-parents. There are no government programs helping them, as they are told they are "privileged," while they watch their purchasing power erode, their dreams evaporate, and their town die. Globalization may be helping those educated, young big city folks, it's helping manufacturing workers in China and call center workers in Bangladesh, but it's hurting them. We are not talking about a small fringe of the population, we are looking at 25%? 40%? of the country. (If you look at the Brexit vote, we're looking at >50%.) In Germany, these people are less anti-globalization, because the system is set up to help them adjust and adapt. Here, they get nothing. They are told that they are priviliged and unenlightened, and to stop whining.

Yup, great moral and tactical political leadership to ignore that big a percentage of the population who is actually hurting, and being hurt, by the current policies of both major parties. That's why they are supporting Trump. He's at least pretending to talk to them and their issues. And when Trump loses, the political elites will dust off their hands, pat each other on the backs on how they staved off disaster, and continue to ignore those folks who voices will be silenced. Until the next time.
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
Apparently toddlers are unionized. Who knew?

Like all toddlers, Hedgefund wants things to go precisely as she thinks they are supposed to. Flexibility is not the strong suit of babies and toddlers. It makes sense, they are trying to learn "the way things 'sposed to be," and get upset if things turn out different. Many people don't outgrow this.

One of her more endearing habits is she likes to get me my shoes. This basically means picking them up from where they are, and dropping them next to me for me to put on (a distance of 6-12 inches away). If I try to get on my shoes without her help(1), she screams and cries until I take them back off and let her do it. "Hey buddy, movin' shoes is a union job. Nobody moves a shoe without the union doin' it, got that? We know where you live."

She also prefers to select the shoes I wear, which means always the same pair. I have 3 pairs of outdoor shoes, and 2 pairs of house slippers(2), but she only wants me to wear the same 1 pair of shoes outdoors, and the same 1 pair of slippers indoors. (She doesn't yet know the word slipper, she refers to both as shoe.) The worst part of this is that the said house slippers are falling apart. No matter, toddler union rules say that is the pair to be worn in the house. I finally duct-taped them. She was initially quite upset, but finally understood that shoe sick and I'd put on a sticker to fix it.

(1) It requires 3 times as long to have her "help me" as if I'd do it myself, but hey, she's adorable.
(2) Asian household rules, always take off your outdoor shoes before entering. Somehow Nom doesn't get other Asian rules like walking 3 paces behind me (in front if there are land mines), bowing when I speak, and never disagreeing with me. Harrumph.
warriorsavant: (Quebec sait faire)
Our Gracious Sovereign Lady, Elizabeth II, Queen, by the Grace of God (and arcane and archaic legalisms) of the United Kingdom and a Buttload of Other Places Including Canada (I believe that's her official title, but I might be a little off) is now the longest ruling monarch in history of the United Kingdom, not the mention that Buttload of Other Places Including Canada. Nor sure if she's the longest reigning monarch anytime, anyplace on planet earth, but if not, she's certainly up there in the top ten. We, her loyal Canadian subjects (ignoring her disloyal ones including separatist swine) wish her all the best and many more years. Frankly, although there are a fair number of diehard Monarchists in Canada, most of us don't really give it a second thought. There's a fair number who vaguely like the idea, and a fair number who would be just as happy to ditch her as Head of State, if only we could agree on a replacement, which we can't (a situation we share with other Commonwealth nations). Meanwhile, it is kind of cool to have all that pageantry and be part of long running gig. *Raises a glass* To many more years.
warriorsavant: (Dr. Injecto)
The Canadian Medicare system, whatever its flaws, does cover all medically-necessary acts & visits. There is no copay. No one has to take part, but for providers, you're either in-or-out: I can't say I'll take it for you, but not you, and I can't take it for you, but charge a little extra also.

There are exceptions. Cosmetic procedures aren't covered (well, d'uh), although some things are a gray area. Anesthesia and medications aren't covered in office visits, so the patient has to pay as "accessory charges." Generally, these are no big sums of money, and if someone truly needs (as opposed to wants) something, and doesn't have the money, then I don't charge them. Initially, I took checks or cash. After awhile, I realized that many people don't carry any cash, even 5$ or 10$ or 20$. Maybe I'm showing my age, but I find that bizarre for a grown adult, but so be it, I started to take charge and debit cards. I had to raise my prices slightly; whether you know it or not, the merchant (me in this case) gets charged every time you use your credit/debit card. A while after that, after a few bounced checks, I stopped taking checks. Didn't happen much, but extremely annoying when it did. For some older patients, whom I've known a long time, and also who are old enough they just don't do 'plastic,' I still take checks, otherwise it's cash, charge, or debit.

Recently the Quebec government (Medicare is organized and run by the provinces, not the feds) and the medical board have been cracking down on these accessory charges if they are "excessive." Part of that is based on complaints; in some cases patients don't understand why they have to pay, and in some cases the fees are indeed excessive. Part is also based on the government wanting to change the Act governing physicians and access to same. Seems that people are having trouble getting to doctors in a timely fashion. Some of that is that when a service is free, it tends to be overused; some is that there aren't enough doctors for the population size. The government feels that the way to improve access, despite not having enough doctors, is to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic reorganize how that access happens. They have proposed a Bill about that, which died when the provincial parliament recessed for the summer. I think some of this sudden concern about "accessory fees" is a pressure tactic on the part of the government going into negotiations about that Bill. I've already been inspected by the government to make sure I was charging these fees in a legal fashion. It was actually a rather benign exercise, and surprise! I was doing everything correctly.

I admit some of the problem is that a small number of doctors have been demanding excessive amounts, and as in many things, that small number might ruin it for the rest of us. As my accountant likes to say, "You can be a pig, not a hog; pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered." For now, will keep on doing what I'm doing, getting most of my money from the public system, and a small percentage from private sources generally paid by credit cards. Or debit cards. Or cash. Except of course, time travelers, who are strictly cash.*

*Points to anyone except [livejournal.com profile] ravensron who gets the reference.
warriorsavant: (Quebec sait faire)
As every government in the world, Quebec Province is overstretched financially. Canada overall weathered the Great "Recession*" better than most countries, but not completely painlessly. Both Canada and Quebec look on track to actually balance their budgets next year, but are making cuts to do so. As part of that, Quebec has mandated clawing back civil service pensions, both provincial and also for local governments. Not much, but a bit. Civil Service Unions obviously p.o.’d. Since essential services can’t strike in the usual sense, they put up posters and stickers everywhere, and uniformed service (e.g. police and fire) wear unusual pants (e.g. jeans, clown pants, cammo pants, etc.) or even different uniforms. The police in Chateauguay, a town nearby Montreal (where Evil Secretary lives) have decided to wear Cowboy outfits, complete with Keystone Kops sherif badges. Cowboy suits. Of note, next to the town proper is the Kahnawake (pronounced Gan-a-wag-gay) Indian (uh, First Nations) Reservation. So.... the local police are going to be starting a real life game of Cowboys and Indians? Apparently nobody thought this one through. Be interested in seeing what happens. Hope nobody gets hurt.

*Quote marks are because it is a Depression, because has basically been going on for the past 6 years. They keep talking about countries "might be slipping back into recession..." No, they simply haven't actually recovered from the downturn 6 years ago. There are gains and loses, but overall, many countries are in a depression and are just refusing to call it that.


warriorsavant: (Default)

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