Canadian Doctors state that Human Life Begins at Birth and the Thing in the Womb before that is not Human

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 25th, 2012

Week in Review

The Canadians aren’t redefining when life begins.  They’re just putting medical science behind the 400 year-old English common law that defines it.  Yes, the Canadian doctors are inserting themselves into one of the most contentious debates ever to consume mankind since the Protestant Reformation (see Opinion: doctors dodge hot-button life debate by Paul Schratz posted 8/20/2012 on The Vancouver Sun).

Canada’s doctors voted last week to take a political rather than medical position that human life begins at birth, in the process closing their eyes to science and the evidence of their own senses.

In a spectacular act of bio-redefinition that has many observers scratching their heads, the Canadian Medical Association voted to support the maintaining of a section of the Criminal Code of Canada that declares a child becomes a human being at the moment of birth…

So they’ve chosen the intellectually indefensible position that an unborn child, moments away from birth, is not human, which essentially means scores of medical textbooks, not to mention the entire field of fetal medicine, now need to be retired. After all, if doctors who are removing tumours or repairing spinal cords on unborn babies aren’t working on humans, one wonders why they would spend years training to be doctors rather than veterinarians.

If a life is only human at birth it does raise some questions.  A mother could smoke and drink during pregnancy as she wouldn’t be harming a human life.  Bad doctoring that results in birth defects would not cause harm to a human.  A new drug that has a dangerous side effect on an unborn life would not harm a human life.  Physical abuse that results in a miscarriage would not harm a human life (in the womb).  Such an act would only rise to the level of battery against the mother.  Not homicide of the unborn non-human life.  Sad as these events may be we would not be able to redress them through the courts.  As the courts are for people.  Humans.  Not things that aren’t human.  There are penalties for people found guilty of cruelty to animals.  But usually that’s because people consciously do these things.  They’re not accidents.  Or things that result un-expectantly from other actions.

But the current debate is not about changing the definition of when life begins.  It’s about leaving the definition as it is now.  Life begins at birth.  So it is confusing because we do act as if the preborn life within the womb is human.  So why do these doctors come out giving medical sanction to a 400 year-old English common law definition of life?  From an era some will say we weren’t all that smart?  Especially those who like to point to all that warfare between Protestants and Catholics around that time.  So it would appear that the Canadians are opening the door for a lot more prenatal harm in the womb.  Why?  Is it because they don’t respect human life?  That depends where you are in the span of human life.

It’s par for the CMA, however, which has been developing a habit recently of wading into political issues. At their annual meeting in Yellowknife, the MDs also passed a motion calling for a public debate that would lead to a free vote in the House of Commons on the issue of end-of-life care.

That echoes an editorial in their CMA Journal last month which called for a national debate on death and dying. The country’s leading medical journal said it’s time for Canadians to debate whether we are prepared to embrace “therapeutic homicide…”

So why is it that the same doctors who, when it comes to euthanasia, are in favour of debate and open to rethinking when life ends, are at the same time opposed to discussion that might lead to a rethinking of when life begins?

It’s especially curious since the issue of end-of-life care in Canada has been studied and voted on countless times — as recently as last November’s parliamentary committee on compassionate and palliative care, which called for improvements to palliative care and a commitment to a national suicide prevention strategy. The CMA welcomed that report, saying “End-of-life care is an area that requires urgent attention.”

Indeed, through the years and all the many debates, reports and votes on euthanasia and palliative care, there has been one consistent conclusion: Parliamentarians and Canadians want more and better end-of-life care, not euthanasia.

So if you’re sick and dying they do respect human life.  It’s just in the womb where they can take it or leave it.  So the in-the-womb life belief is more of a political belief than a medical belief.  So what are the politics behind it?  Ontario Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth’s Motion 312.  Which seeks to redefine when life begins.  In the womb.  Or out of the womb.  The fear of Motion 312 is, of course, what will happen to abortion?  As the law is right now you can do anything you want to the life in the womb.  Because it’s not human.  Which includes having an abortion.  However, if they redefine the beginning of human life as occurring at a time earlier than when exiting the womb it could make abortion murder.  Like an assault and battery that results in a miscarriage.  Which could really complicate the abortion debate.

So those who are old, sick and in pain have no choice in ending their life.  They must live and suffer even if they want to die.  As doctors will protect these lives to the bitter end.  But a baby in the womb?  You’re on your own, kid.  The best we can offer you is to wish you good luck.  And this coming from the doctors we entrust our lives to.  It makes you wonder what’s next.  Limited use of euthanasia?  As determined by the state for political reasons.  Such as the growing cost of health care can’t justify treating people that can’t fully recover and live a normal life again?  Without continuing expensive medical treatments?  Anything is possible when you play fast and loose with defining the beginning and ending points of human life.

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Benedict Arnold, Fort Ticonderoga, Quebec, Battle on Lake Champlain, Freeman’s Farm, Bemis Heights, West Point and Major André

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 14th, 2012

Politics 101

Arnold prevented a British Drive down the Hudson Valley to separate New England from the Rest of the Colonies

There was a fine line between Patriot and Loyalist.  And between Patriot and traitor.  For Benedict Arnold, at least.  Who went from Patriot to hero to traitor.  Some would argue that if it weren’t for Benedict Arnold we may not have won the American Revolutionary War.  And they may be right.  Yet at the same time he almost single-handedly lost the Revolutionary War. 

Benedict Arnold was both the best and the worst of Americans during the Revolution.  For he was a complex man.  And a flawed man.  After hostilities broke out at Lexington and Concord Arnold led his company from New Haven to Boston.  One of the first to answer the call of duty after that fateful day when a shot was fired that was heard ’round the world.  He was in it from the get-go.  A Patriot.  When it became apparent that the Americans lacked the artillery to attack the British in the fortified Boston they looked west.  To Fort Ticonderoga.  The Massachusetts Committee of Safety directed Arnold to raise a force and march on Fort Ticonderoga.  Capture it.  And bring back their cannon for action on the British fortifications at Boston.  The Connecticut Committee of Safety, not knowing of the orders given to Arnold, gave similar orders to Ethan Allen.  These two leaders met on the way to Ticonderoga.  Argued a little.  Then shared command.  Captured Ticonderoga.  Ethan Allen dragged the captured cannon back to Boston while Arnold went on and captured Crown Point.  Captured a British ship.  Sailed it to St. John.  And captured it.

Right from the beginning Arnold was what the Americans needed.  An aggressive leader who took the initiative.  And he would again.  But Arnold was also a prima donna.  He yearned for glory.  Shortly after Ticonderoga Congress decided on a Canadian campaign.  To conquer the British in Montreal and Quebec (City) so the Canadians could join the Americans as the fourteenth colony.  While a campaign was put together for Montreal Arnold persuaded General Washington for another campaign he would lead through Maine to Quebec.  Washington approved. 

Arnold’s Action around Saratoga brought the French into the War and Changed everything for Britain 

So Arnold gathered his force.  Including one Daniel Morgan.  And marched through the inhospitable wilderness of Maine in some unpleasant weather.  His men were wet, hungry, cold and miserable.  They made it to Quebec and assaulted the fortress in a January blizzard.  It did not go well.  Richard Montgomery, coming to join Arnold after conquering Montreal, was killed in the attack.  Arnold was wounded.  The Americans retreated.  First to Montreal.  Then all the way back to Ticonderoga.  Battling the British in a rearguard action.  While smallpox decimated the American ranks.  British General Carleton was in hot pursuit coming down to Lake Champlain.  Where Arnold would meet him.  He threw together a small makeshift squadron and met Carleton in battle on Lake Champlain.  Arnold lost his fleet.  But he delayed Carleton a month.  Unprepared for a winter campaign, Carleton retreated.  Thus Arnold prevented a British drive down the Hudson valley to separate New England from the rest of the colonies.

About a year later British General John Burgoyne launched a three-pronged attack consisting of a force attacking east from Oswego through the Mohawk valley.  A force attacking north up the Hudson River from New York.  And a force led by Burgoyne taking the same route Carleton had a year earlier.  Down through Lake Champlain and into the upper Hudson valley.  All three prongs to converge around Albany.  To cut off New England from the rest of the colonies.  The southern prong coming out of New York never materialized, though.  For General Howe was busy running around in Pennsylvania.  While the other two prongs got bogged down before reaching their objectives.  Burgoyne himself was having some trouble around a little town called Saratoga.  Burgoyne’s lines of communications were stretched dangerously long.  He was getting into trouble.  At the same time, though, political intrigue changed the American commander.  Horatio Gates replaced General Schuler.  Gates was content to trust his defenses and wait for the British assault.  Arnold saw the British were going to attempt to turn a weak American flank at Freeman’s Farm.  He argued with Gates to counter that move.  He finally gave in and agreed to send a force that included Daniel Morgan’s riflemen.  As that battle ebbed and flowed Arnold led a force against the British center. 

Arnold saved the day.  Had he received reinforcements he may have defeated the British army that day.  Instead Gates relieved Arnold of his command.  And marginalized him in his report to Congress.  At the subsequent battle at Bemis Heights Arnold, without a command, gathered some men and assaulted some British fortifications as the British retired behind them.  Breached the fortifications.  Sending the British in retreat all the way back to Saratoga.  Getting a horse shot out from underneath him in the process.  And taking another bullet in the leg.  Because of Arnold’s action around Saratoga Burgoyne had no choice but to ask for terms of surrender.  And he surrendered to General Horatio Gates.  Who got all the glory.  While his part in this victory was marginal at best.  But this victory was big.  It brought the French into the war.  Which changed everything for Britain.  Who now had a world war on their hands.  And the Spanish would later join that war against the British.  As allies to the French.  Then Catherine the Great of Russia led a drive for an armed neutrality of the other nations not taking sides in this new world war.  Which isolated Britain further.  Making it more difficult to interdict supplies going to the American rebels on neutral ships.

We remember Benedict Arnold not for the Hero he was but for the Traitor he Became

You could say that Benedict Arnold made this all possible.  By saving New England twice.  First by delaying Carleton on Lake Champlain.  Then winning the battles at Freeman’s Farm and Bemis Heights.  But did he get the glory?  No.  Some respected him.  General Washington did.  But the politics of the Congress were against him.  Which was a problem for a man like Arnold.  Who had a huge ego.  Was arrogant.  A bit of a hothead.  And had a gambling problem.  Put it all together and it caused this Patriot to become a traitor.  Because he was not given the proper respect for his glorious achievements.  And saving the American cause time and again.  If the American political elite would not give him the proper respect the British would.  And made a deal with him.  Money and security for the rest of his life for him and his family.  In exchange for information.  And control of the Hudson River via the forts of West Point. 

Arnold asked for and got command of West Point from General Washington.  And then started feeding the British inside information.  And began making plans for the handover of West Point to the British.  To finally sever New England from the rest of the colonies.  And it might have happened as planned if not for his British contact, Major André, being caught behind the American lines out of uniform with plans of how to capture the forts of West Point.  Arnold was to meet General Washington that day who by then knew of André’s capture.  Arnold did not.  But he found out just in time to escape to the British lines.  André was not so lucky.  For the Americans hanged him as a spy.

Arnold would return to America.  As a British general.  Landing in Virginia and leading an army of Loyalist Tories near the end of the war.  Doing some damage.  But he would never recapture past glories.  He would retire to England.  Pretty much a footnote in the British history of the American Revolutionary War.  For their investment in Arnold delivered little.  So Arnold would live out his remaining days a man with no real country.  He could never return to America.  And the British never really accepted him.  Americans and British alike lamented the death of Major André.  Who died because of Arnold.  A death he nevertheless faced with honor and courage.  But Arnold would suffer a worse fate.  Indifference.  He mattered to no one.  He had no honor.  Lived another 20 years or so.  Insignificant.  And died a traitor.  Which is the only thing we remember him for.  Not the hero he was.  But the traitor he became.

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The Canadians are Closing Large Outdoor Laboratory that Tests Environmental Impact on pollutants in Ecosystem

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 3rd, 2012

Week in Review

Now it appears that the Canadian government hates the planet.  As hard as that is to believe.  But here they are pulling the funding to a vital scientific research center.  That few have probably ever heard of before (see Scientists decry Ottawa’s plan to close environmental research centre by SHAWN McCARTHY posted 6/1/2012 on The Globe and Mail).

For six years, Cynthia Gilmour, senior scientist at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, led a research team that annually poured a teaspoon of mercury isotope, diluted in water, into a small, remote lake in Northwestern Ontario.

The international project was being conducted in the federally funded Experimental Lakes Area (ELA), a unique outdoor laboratory for ecosystem research consisting of 58 lakes and their drainage areas.

Dr. Gilmour and her colleagues from the United States and Canada wanted to determine the environmental impacts of new deposits of mercury – a powerful brain toxin – into a lake that already had high background levels. The ELA was the one place in the world where they could do that.

The centre has hosted a number of groundbreaking research projects over its 55 years, including major advances in the understanding of lake acidification and eutrophication – the destruction of a body of water through the addition of nutrients such as phosphates and nitrates.

Now, as part of its spending restraint, the Harper government has announced that Fisheries and Oceans Canada will stop funding the Experimental Lakes Area and close the world-renowned research centre by next April if a new operator cannot be found…

Departmental officials are “working aggressively” to find a group to take over the funding, said David Gillis, director-general of the department’s Ocean and Ecosystem Science division. He said the operating costs amount to about $700,000 a year, though former chief scientists say the baseline budget is more like $3-million annually when core researchers are included…

“By shutting ELA you remove a critical tool for finding the most reasonable and cost-effective solutions to national and international environmental issues,” she wrote. “The small federal investment in the research station has been returned thousands of times over in public and ecosystem health.”

Wow.  Science is expensive.  Especially researchers.

It would be interesting to see their books.  This is an area containing 58 lakes.  So I’m guessing it’s outdoors.  With a laboratory located inside a building somewhere.  That has either electricity connected to it.  Or they have a generator to provide their energy needs.  Now they’re not building the laboratory or the energy infrastructure each year so most of this operating budget must be consumables.  Like energy (electricity, natural gas, oil, gasoline, etc.).  Food.  And water.  As I’m guessing they’re not drinking the water they’re polluting with mercury.  They may also have a few vehicles.  A helicopter or two.  Some boats.  Which they may be paying interest and principle on as well as paying for a pilot.  And some scientific equipment.  Test tubes.  Beakers.  Erlenmeyer flasks.  To replace the ones they drop.  And an IT tech to fix the occasional problem with their computer equipment.  Perhaps that’s what the $700,000 annual budget covers. 

If the scientists each earned, say, $125,000 a year in wages and benefits the other $2.3 million would pay for about 18 researchers.  Do they have 18 researches?  Do they need 18 researchers?  Are they running so many experiments that it keeps 18 researches busy year round?  Or is it only open for the summer months?  When the lakes aren’t frozen and covered with snow.  If so then it’s only a part-time gig for these researches.  Which means they wouldn’t be earning $125,000 in wages and benefits.  So if they were only earning, say, $30,000 in wages and benefits for their few months there that $2.3 million would pay for about 75 researchers. Which is a lot more than 18. 

Still some say this is a small federal investment.  Of course, when the provincial and federal governments are both running deficits $3 million is a lot of money.  But you know who this isn’t a lot of money to?  Rich environmentalist celebrities.  Those who bring in hundreds of millions of dollars a year.  The same people who showered President Obama with millions of dollars in one fund raiser after he endorsed same-sex marriage.  They could all pitch in and cover these costs to save the planet they are so worried about.  And it wouldn’t make a dent in their lifestyle.  They could do this.  But I doubt they will.  For they rather have the government spend our tax dollars for their worthy causes.  While they hire the finest tax lawyers to hide as much of their wealth as possible from the taxman. 

But this could in fact help them hide their money from the taxman.  For this could be a large charitable deduction.  It would be a win-win.  Save the planet.  Save their wealth.  And let them worry about what they’re doing up there for $3 million a year.

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Some Canadian Doctors are Apparently Putting Profits before People

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 5th, 2012

Week in Review

The proponents of national health care say we need a national health care system like Canada has.  Where they put people before profits.  Which is what Obamacare will do.  Or so they say.  At least they hope it will make the American health care system as good as the Canadian one.  Which has stripped out of it the evil influences of capitalism.  And financial profit (see Manitoba MDs warned about limiting patient complaints posted 5/3/2012 on CBC News Health).

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba says it’s concerned that a growing number of doctors are asking patients to book separate appointments for each medical complaint they have.

The college, which governs medical practices in the province, is worried that doctors who limit a patient’s complaints during a visit may end up missing important information…

The woman’s husband, Bruce Angus, told CBC News earlier this week that his wife, Samantha, had originally gone to the doctor to discuss her back pain.

But when Samantha tried to mention that she was also having chest pains, the doctor allegedly said, “One appointment, one problem” and walked out of the office, according to Angus.

Samantha Angus, 60, died of a heart attack last week, about two weeks after that medical appointment took place…

Pope said the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) publishes a handbook that advises independent doctors on how to run their practices.

“You should consider how to educate your patients that the time you can offer for a ‘regular’ office appointment may limit the number of medical issues that can be addressed during a single visit,” the CMA’s guidelines for private practice states.

Pope admitted that doctors do have an incentive to limit the amount of time spent with each patient. Doctors are compensated by the province based on each visit.

Financial incentive?  In the Canadian health care system?  Say it isn’t so.  But there it is.  A system just dripping with profits.  And profit seekers.  So much for putting people before profits.

Are the Canadian doctors evil?  No.  They’re just rational.  They’ve spent a lot of time and money to become doctors.  And a national health care system doesn’t want to reward them for all of that hard work.  Instead, they want to make these doctors serve out of the goodness of their hearts.  Not for a large paycheck.  While the politicians no doubt make as much if not more than these doctors.  Without the time or money these doctors spent.  Either that or Canadians are just as greedy as Americans.

Something else to expect in the coming era of Obamacare.

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Rich Doctors say Tax Them More to Help Fund the Canadian ‘Obamacare’ System that Makes them Rich

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 25th, 2012

Week in Review

People distrust rich people.  That’s why they want to tax them more.  Because they have more than enough money.  No matter what they say about earning their money or how they invest their wealth to create jobs.  People don’t want to hear any of this.  For they ‘know’ that these rich fat cats are lying just to keep from having to ‘share’ their wealth.  But whenever a rich guy says ‘tax us rich people more’ everyone hangs on to their every last word.  For if they are talking about raising taxes on the rich then these are not your typical rich.  They’re the good kind.  Like these doctors in Canada (see Tax us more, doctors urge (Are the lawyers listening?) by Michael Babad posted 3/22/2012 on The Globe and Mail).

A group of doctors is taking a page from Warren Buffett’s tax-the-rich call, urging the Canadian and Ontario governments to tax higher-income earners more…

Doctors for Fair Taxation plan to announce their scheme in Toronto this afternoon, calling for additional taxes on people earning more than $100,000. You’d be hit with an additional 1 per cent if you earn between $100,000 and $170,000, 2 per cent if you earn up to $640,000, and 3 per cent for up to $1.85-million. Above that it would be 6 per cent.

“We feel that this is a moral argument,” Dr. Michael Rachlis, who founded the group that so far boasts more than 50 physicians, told The Canadian Press.

“We cannot talk about throwing people out of work and cutting needed programs for people,” said Dr. Rachlis, an associate professor at the University of Toronto.

Wow.  Sounds very selfless, doesn’t it?  These rich guys asking to be taxed more to help their country?  At least on the surface it does.  But the question that begs to be asked is what are they spending so much money on that they have to raise taxes?  And when you learn what that is it puts these doctors into a different light.

Here’s an article from 2010.  About two years ago.  Talking about a budget crisis.  Where spending is out of control.  Spending that the Canadians just can’t sustain.  And where is this out of control spending?  Why, it just happens to be in the industry that pays these doctors.  Canada’s single-payer health care system.  Talk about coincidences.  These doctors asking rich people everywhere to help pay the nation’s bills.  Where the biggest bill is the one that pays these doctors (see Soaring costs force Canada to reassess health model by Claire Sibonney posted 3/31/2010 on Reuters).

Pressured by an aging population and the need to rein in budget deficits, Canada’s provinces are taking tough measures to curb healthcare costs, a trend that could erode the principles of the popular state-funded system.

Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, kicked off a fierce battle with drug companies and pharmacies when it said earlier this year it would halve generic drug prices and eliminate “incentive fees” to generic drug manufacturers.

British Columbia is replacing block grants to hospitals with fee-for-procedure payments and Quebec has a new flat health tax and a proposal for payments on each medical visit — an idea that critics say is an illegal user fee.

And a few provinces are also experimenting with private funding for procedures such as hip, knee and cataract surgery.

It’s likely just a start as the provinces, responsible for delivering healthcare, cope with the demands of a retiring baby-boom generation. Official figures show that senior citizens will make up 25 percent of the population by 2036.

Proponents of national health care in America blame the private health insurers, the pharmaceuticals and the hospitals for out of control health care costs.  What they say we need is a system like Canada.  Where they put people before profits.  And yet here they are.  The Canadians.  With a health care system suffering from out of control costs.  Which they are trying to fix with higher taxes.  Additional fees.  Even a little Americanization (that is, privatization).  Makes you wonder why we’re going forward with Obamacare while the Canadians are finding that type of a system is unsustainable.  Especially when our retiring baby boomers outnumber their retiring baby boomers. 

Canada, fretting over budget strains, wants to prune its system, while the United States, worrying about an army of uninsured, aims to create a state-backed safety net.

Healthcare in Canada is delivered through a publicly funded system, which covers all “medically necessary” hospital and physician care and curbs the role of private medicine. It ate up about 40 percent of provincial budgets, or some C$183 billion ($174 billion) last year.

Spending has been rising 6 percent a year under a deal that added C$41.3 billion of federal funding over 10 years.

But that deal ends in 2013, and the federal government is unlikely to be as generous in future, especially for one-off projects.

Wow.  Look at that.  Almost half of provincial budgets pay for the ‘free’ health care of Canadians.  Which is causing budget deficits at the provincial level.  And at the national level.  Well, up until 2013, that is.  When the national government is going to address their budget deficits by cutting their health care payments to the provinces.  Increasing the provincial budget deficits in the process.  Leaving the provincial governments to tax and spend more.  Or ration care and cut spending more.  Including doctor pay.  Could this have anything to do with those selfless physicians asking that their government tax the rich more?  Perhaps.

Brian Golden, a professor at University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business, said provinces are weighing new sources of funding, including “means-testing” and moving toward evidence-based and pay-for-performance models.

“Why are we paying more or the same for cataract surgery when it costs substantially less today than it did 10 years ago? There’s going to be a finer look at what we’re paying for and, more importantly, what we’re getting for it,” he said.

Other problems include trying to control independently set salaries for top hospital executives and doctors and rein in spiraling costs for new medical technologies and drugs.

Ontario says healthcare could eat up 70 percent of its budget in 12 years, if all these costs are left unchecked…

The province has introduced legislation that ties hospital chief executive pay with the quality of patient care and says it wants to put more physicians on salary to save money.

In a report released last week, TD Bank said Ontario should consider other proposals to help cut costs, including scaling back drug coverage for affluent seniors and paying doctors according to quality and efficiency of care.

So the power of government inserted into the health care system has done nothing to lower the cost of medical procedures in Canada.  Makes you scratch your head, doesn’t it?  Because the proponents of Obamacare say that’s exactly what the power of government can do.  But in practice it has failed to do what these theorists say it can do.  Cut costs.  Through bureaucratic management.  And ‘turning of the screws’ on the medical device and drug manufacturers.  Despite this very practice NOT working in Canada.  Which means that the proponents of Obamacare think the Canadian bureaucrats simply aren’t smart enough to make their health care system work efficiently.  That the system of government-managed health care is a flawed system when it comes to costs and efficiency.  Or that government-managed health care is not about costs or efficiency.  But about the bureaucracy itself.  The control and power it offers the politicians.  And the votes it can buy them.

“Many of the advances in healthcare and life expectancy are due to the pharmaceutical industry so we should never demonize them,” said U of T’s Golden. “We need to ensure that they maintain a profitable business but our ability to make it very very profitable is constrained right now.”

Scotia Capital’s Webb said one cost-saving idea may be to make patients aware of how much it costs each time they visit a healthcare professional. “(The public) will use the services more wisely if they know how much it’s costing,” she said.

Wait a minute.  To fix the government-managed system they need to make the patients aware of the costs so they can choose wisely?  There’s a name for such a system.  We call it capitalism.  The very thing missing from government-managed health care.  And the very reason why government-managed systems (the Canadian health care system, the American Medicare/Medicaid programs, the UK’s National Health Service, etc.) fail to control costs.  And why Obamacare will fail to control costs.  Because they exclude the one thing that controls costs best from government-managed systems.  Capitalism.  Where people make spending decisions based on cost.  Which will never happen when someone other than the patient pays for the costs for the medical services a patient receives.  For no one ever asks ‘how much’ when they’re not paying the bill.

So when a rich doctor says to tax the rich more is this selfless?  Or selfish?  You decide.

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Canada may be out of the Kyoto Protocol, but Quebec is Proceeding with their own Cap-and Trade

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 17th, 2011

Week in Review

Quebec is perhaps the most European of the Canadian provinces.  They don’t even speak English there.  Their road signs and billboards are all in French.  People talk to each other in French.  No.  When you’re in Quebec you don’t feel like you’re in Canada.  You feel like you’re in France.  So it’s no surprise that even though Canada pulled out of the Kyoto protocol that Quebec would still be all in for this global warming nonsense.  Because it’s so European (see Quebec goes it alone with cap-and-trade climate plan by Philippe Teisceira-Lessard posted 12/15/2011 on The Globe and Mail).

With global climate-change talks in limbo, Quebec is the first province to push ahead with its own cap-and-trade program.

The province says it’s emulating California as it becomes the first Canadian province to start enforcing cap-and-trade regulations for carbon emissions…

The new provincial program applies to large industrial emitters and will require them to reduce their carbon footprint or buy clean-air credits at $10 per tonne of greenhouse gases.

It is being run in conjunction with the Western Climate Initiative, whose stated objective is to reduce emissions 15 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020. Quebec’s own target is significantly stricter, with a planned 20 per cent reduction from 1990 levels by the end of this decade.

And this gives a little hint why they are all in for this global warming nonsense.  Their stricter requirements will not only punish businesses by making them less competitive, but it will be a windfall for government coffers.  For Quebec is European in more ways than one.  They, like their European brethren, have a costly and generous public sector.  Like all those social democracies of Europe causing that sovereign debt crisis over there.  So they can use this clean-air money to shore up some budget deficits.  Before they, too, have to start living within their means.

The global warming agenda is no different in Canada than it is in Europe.  It’s about the money.  Just another way for governments spending beyond their means to transfer more wealth from the private sector to the public sector.  Apparently the other provinces have made the hard choices and got their budgets in order.  Which is probably why Quebec is going down this road alone.  They refuse to make the hard choices.  So they make the easy one instead.   By raising taxes.  And over-regulating business.  Which, of course, will only hurt these businesses.  Reduce economic activity.  And bring in less tax revenue into government coffers.  Making cap-and-trade a lose-lose proposition for Quebeckers.  As it is for people everywhere betrayed by their governments in the name of global warming.

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The Obama Reelection Strategy: Increase Gas Prices to Crash Economy to Lower Gas Prices

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 29th, 2011

The 2nd Largest Oil Reserves in the World

Saudi Arabia has the largest oil reserves in the world.  Take a guess who has the 2nd largest oil reserves in the world.  Kuwait?  Iraq?  Iran?  Libya?  Nigeria?  Venezuela?  Qatar?  Angola?  Algeria?  Ecuador?  United Arab Emirates?  No.  No.  No.  No.  No.  Uh…um, no.  No.  No.  No.  No.  No.  Could it be the United States?  It could be.  But it’s not.  With so much U.S. land off limits to drilling who knows how much oil they have.  So who has the second largest oil reserves in the world?  Here’s a hint.  Think Wayne Gretzky.  Who used to play on a team called the Oilers.  In the city of Edmonton.  In the province of Alberta.  In, of course, Canada.

Yes, Canada has the second largest oil reserves in the world.  But this oil reserve isn’t in pools underground waiting for someone to pump it up.  It’s in the Athabasca oil sands.  Think of hot oil spilled into sand which then cools into a thick tar.  Once upon a time this type of oil was worthless.  Because you just couldn’t drill for it and pump it.  You have to process this tar into useful oil.  And the cost to do this used to be prohibitive.  But with the price of oil today, this once worthless tar is now a very valuable form of crude oil.

America, the world’s largest economy, imports the majority of her oil from Canada.  In fact, the Canadians export more oil to the U.S. than they consume themselves.  Which is rather interesting when you consider Canadian gas prices are higher than American gas prices.  Now oil is oil.  And one would assume that the Canadians make their gasoline from the same oil we make our gasoline from.  Canadian oil.  Yet their gas prices are higher than in the U.S.  Why?  Because when it comes to their gasoline, they’re a lot like the Europeans.  They tax the bejesus out of it.  Taxes average about a third of the price at pump.

Even with all that Oil Canadian Gas Prices are High

With the world’s second largest oil reserves, one can’t blame the lack of supply for high prices.  They have supply.  So much that they export more than they use.  Could they have a refinery shortage?  If they did, they could fix that easily by building more refineries.  I mean, with the domestic oil reserves, the Canadians are in the driver’s seat when it comes to their gasoline prices.  It would be pretty darn hard for their gas prices to be ‘too high’ to affect their economy.  So how are the little guys doing in Canada?  The small business owners (see Rising fuel costs hit small businesses by Anita Elash posted 4/29/2011 on The Globe and Mail)?

Steak is off the menu, comfort food is in and prices are up by as much as 20 per cent at the Yellow Belly Brewery in St. John’s, Nfld., this spring, partly because of rising fuel costs.

Owner Brenda O’Reilly says her expenses have increased steadily since she opened her micro-brewery and gastro pub three years ago, but the sudden price hike at the gas pumps this year has been “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

In addition to coping with higher labour costs and escalating commodity prices, her main supplier has slapped a steadily rising fuel surcharge, now up to $3.50, on every delivery – a cost that significantly cuts into profits.

I guess the price of Canadian gas can be ‘too high’. 

Forced menu changes and higher restaurant prices are just one of the ways record-high fuel costs are affecting small business this spring. Surveys for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business show that fuel costs are now the biggest concern for small business owners. Seventy-five per cent of members said they’re worried about rising fuel prices, compared to 50 per cent who were worried two years ago.

CFIB chief economist Ted Mallett said wide fluctuations in fuel prices over the past few years have created a lot of uncertainty for business owners and make planning especially difficult. Many have signed contracts or service agreements based on costs several months ago, and “if they guessed wrong about fuel prices, it comes out of their bottom line.”

These are the kind of problems they’re having in the U.S.  Because the Americans have no control over gas prices.  They are at the mercy of the oil exporters.  Exporters like Canada.  Which begs the question.  How can both the United States and Canada have such high gas prices?  If the Canadians are getting rich off of the Americans, they should be able to lower their own gas prices.  If they’re giving the oil away, then the Americans should be able to lower their gas prices.  It’s hard to imagine how the second largest oil reserves in the world results in high prices in both the U.S. and Canada.  Unless they’re both taxing the bejesus out of their gasoline.

High Gas Prices Kill Anemic Economic Recovery

The Canadian consumer is making things hard for Canadian small business.  And it’s no different in the U.S. (see Gas costs siphon off much of March rise in incomes by Martin Crutsinger, Associated Press, posted 4/29/2011 on USA Today).

Consumer spending had been expected to post solid gains this year, helped by stronger employment growth and a two percentage-point cut in Social Security payroll taxes. But Americans are paying more for gas, prompting economists to scale back their growth forecasts…

“The increase in prices is absorbing pretty much all of the windfall from the payroll tax cut,” said Paul Dales, an economist with Capital Economics. “If gasoline prices were to stop rising, real consumption could bounce back in the second quarter. But even then, jobs growth and wage growth are not strong enough to result in a significant and sustained acceleration in consumption growth. This economic recovery is going to continue to disappoint both this year and next.”

Consumers are spending more.  But they’re getting less.  Any extra disposable income is just paying for the higher cost of gasoline.  Which means consumer spending is flat.  And will remain flat.  For another two years.  Or more.  Because of the cost of gasoline.  The environmentalists may be happy.  But high gas prices are making the rest of us make a lot of sacrifices we’d rather not.  And it’s killing off what anemic economic recovery there was.

The Weak U.S. Dollar Increases World Oil Prices

There is a reason gasoline prices are soaring.  And it’s just not demand outpacing supply.  Though that is a huge part of it.  But it’s another government policy that is compounding the supply problem (see Oil edges up, but choppy, as weak dollar supports by Robert Gibbons posted 4/29/2011 on Reuters).

“Oil is reacting to the dollar…,” said Richard Ilczyszyn, senior market strategist at Lind-Waldock in Chicago.

Higher interest rates in Europe compared to the U.S. have undermined support for the U.S. dollar, pushing up the euro by 11 percent so far this year.

The weak dollar also helped push spot gold to a new record as investors continued to seek alternative assets to hedge against inflation.

Thursday’s report that growth in the U.S. gross domestic product slowed more than expected to an annual rate of 1.8 percent in the first quarter from a fourth-quarter pace of 3.1 percent, reinforced the perception that the U.S. central bank will continue with its loose monetary policy.

It’s not the greedy oil companies.  Or their record profits driving up prices.  It’s Federal Reserve policy.  All that quantitative easing.  Printing money.  They just increased the money supply so much that they devalued the dollar.  Which gives us price inflation.  Where everything costs more because our money is worth less.  And we price oil in U.S. dollars in the international markets.  Which means American monetary policy is increasing world oil prices.  Not the oil companies.  Their getting obscenely rich is just a byproduct of loose U.S. monetary policy.

Oil’s price rise could be tempered by increasing evidence that high prices will erode demand.

U.S. consumer spending rose as households stretched to cover the higher cost for food and gasoline as inflation posted its biggest year-on-year rise in 10 months.

But all is not lost.  Oil prices will come down.  Like they did in 2008.  Because that’s what recessions do.  They lower prices.  When people don’t have jobs they don’t buy gas.  Which lowers demand.  And this lower demand will bring down gasoline prices.

If you Like Stagflation and Misery, Vote Obama

Perhaps this is the Obama reelection strategy.  Ramp up inflation to crash the economy.  Thus lowering gas prices.  It may work.  If people don’t mind another ‘worst recession’ since the Great Depression.  As long as gas is more affordable.  It’s a risky plan.  And it hasn’t had a successful track record.  It made Jimmy Carter a one-term president.  But perhaps Obama can succeed where Jimmy Carter failed. 

Interestingly, stagflation and economic misery are not the only things these presidents have in common.  Both were/are engaged in the Middle East, too.  Carter brought peace between Israel and Egypt while Obama has…

Perhaps they should consider another reelection strategy.

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