Banana Counting Monkey

Saturday, March 02, 2002:

Financial Illiteracy

Personal Finance is
virtually untaught in US Schools. I can testify it's the same in Canadian schools for the most part. I had about three weeks dedicated to the stock market in a Grade 10 business course, but that's pretty much it.

Will that ever change? I don't see the educational bureacracy of the government wanting to change the situation. Having more people understand exactly how much they're taxed doesn't strike me as being in the interest of most governments, and the teachers would have to overcome their inherent anti-business bias. Teaching personal finance is teaching personal responsibility, and it's opposed to the current vicitm mindset being taught. It's a shame, because the basics of personal finance are easy to pick up. Getting the technical details takes longer, but what the hell are kids doing when they take math courses each year that build on the last? Same thing.

Personally, I think that the nation that does start teaching their kids finance early would be doing one of the most cost effective things to guarantee future prosperity. Imagine a nation of savers and investors, all with a financial plan, taking action to succeed at it. Where people are aware of the effect of compound interest as more than a Grade Four math problem.

For anyone out there who is a parent, I'd say it's up to you to teach your kids how to manage their money. Just telling them to open a bank account isn't enough. To teach them and most importantly, getting them to want to save and to manage their money, I'd recommend having them read "The Richest Man In Babylon". It's a short book of fables that really bring the basics home in a very easy to read, entertaining format. Any kid of eight or up should be able to read it and enjoy it. Hell, I still enjoy it and would recommend it to anyone eight to eighty.

Matter of fact, I'm between books. Let me dig that one out again.....

BCM // 12:44 PM


The Choice

Does the US really want to follow the European model of economic prosperity (read: "stagnation")?

If so, then George should
ratify the demands of the US Steel Industry.

BCM // 12:25 PM


Google Hit Of The Day

"when we created Canada we didn't need a revolution"

No, but we do need one now.

Oh yes, and I've received two Googles looking for the R.Kelly Videotapes. To make things easier on any other similar Google searchers, here is the link to the
R.Kelly Videotape site.

BCM // 12:11 PM


Why Am I Not Suprised?

Remember that web-poll in the National Post, mentioned the other day? The one about the Kyoto accord, asking if Canada should ratify it. It was running 88% in favour of ratification, in the most pro-business newspaper in Canada. I speculated that the Greenpeacers might be getting the cemataries to vote on the issue. Turns out I was right, the
Financial Post (business section of the National Post) details today how the vote was stacked by the David Suzuki foundation.

FROM: The David Suzuki Foundation

To: "DSF Subscribers"

Date:Wed, 27 Feb 2002 00:00:00 -0800


The National Post is running an online poll on Kyoto ratification on their website. The poll is only running TODAY (Feb 27), so please take a minute and let your voice be heard. The poll is located on the left side of the screen at:

You will receive a confirmation email asking you to click on a link to register your vote and make it count. Your vote will then automatically be sent to David Anderson, Minister of Environment.

It is important that the National Post hear as much support for Kyoto ratification as possible, as they are engaged in an ongoing "economic scare" campaign against climate protection and the Kyoto Protocol. Today they featured front-page coverage of another study by industry claiming economic ruin if Kyoto is ratified -- completely ignoring the obvious benefits (more jobs, cleaner air, lower health care & energy costs, etc.) of energy efficiency and the mounting costs of climate change and air pollution.
Thank-you for your support!

Why yes, the obvious benefits. So obvious, we have to tell you they're obvious. This is one of my pet peeves in reporting, in commentary, in general. Whenever someone feels the need to say "obvious", "obviously", "clearly", "undoubtably" "unquestionably" and so forth, it's supposed to be a signal for you to just turn your brain off and accept whatever comes right after. These words are used as a cheat, excusing any need to explain or provide evidence. It appeals to the "Emperor's New Clothes" model of social behaviour, "everyone else can see it, so I better see it as well". "If everyone else believes it, it's true, then I should accept it too."

Pisses me off every time. I'm trying to train myself to react against these expressions whenever I see them. Trying to get a Ayn Rand reflex going. "Who is it obvious to?" "Why is is obvious?", To be followed by a Dennis Leary Reflex "Who does this twitzola think he's dealing with?!? What kind of freakin' bulls#$%^&* is he trying to make me eat here?!?!"

One thing I really loathe is when writers I agree with do it. Diane Francis of the Financial Post I find pretty bad for this. Diane, you have the facts and the logic on your side, use them! Don't take short cuts through social pressure!

Oh, "realistically" is another appeal I loathe.
"Everyone knows"
"Any logical person can see"

If anyone wants to forward other examples of this tactic, please do. It would clearly be of great benefit if a full list were assembled. I'm sure there's a fancy latin name for the tactic as well, if anyone can tell me what it is, it would be appreciated.

BCM // 11:04 AM


Which Firearm are you?
brought to you byStan Ryker

Insolvent Republic of Blogistan)

If anyone knows of one of these that compares you to swords, please let me know.

BCM // 9:51 AM

Friday, March 01, 2002:

What Happened here:Comparison

If we were to take Noam, Rall and Fisk at their word, what is
happening in India now, would have happened after Sept 11 in the US.

It didn't.

BCM // 2:29 PM


Tim Blair Strikes Back

Go read his
FOX Weblog on the Progressives' hatred of cars. Beautiful.

BCM // 2:25 PM


Canadian Dollar, Ending on a High Low Note

Close, $0.6283 USD, up 0.0045

BCM // 2:20 PM


For Your Friday Enjoyment

A little
union bashing comic story. Enjoy!

BCM // 2:19 PM


The Best Of Bugs

Opinion Journal speculates that
Bugs Bunny would never survive today's politically correct mores.

Anyone between the ages of 20 and 100 knows what happened to a lot of the laughter in America. It went down a wabbit hole addressed Political Correctness.

In Toronto, we are lucky enough to have a man who valued the old Looney Tunes to collect them. Uncut. Reg Hartt still shows them in all of their uncensored glory. Having seen Reg's "Sex and Violence Cartoon Festival" a few times, I can vouch for Reg's tagline: "You'll be amazed how much you missed as a kid!". The cartoons are racist as hell, violent and sexist to boot. The wartime cartoons especially. They're also a hoot.

Seeing Reg's show also explained something I'd wondered about. As a kid, I remember seeing Looney Tunes where the main characters did something outrageous. The view panned to a small bird sitting in a tree who looked at the audience and exclaimed "Now I've seen everything!" and whipped out a gun and blew himself away. Seeing these cartoons in my teens, the bird was no longer there. The censor's scissors at work. (Thank you Tipper Gore!)

Reg has the originals, as I mentioned. Reg is an original, a character, and someone you'll never forget meeting. As he presents the show, he offers all sort of anecdotes and stories about the cartoons and their creators. Did you know that Tweety was under threat of censorship for being naked? Originally he was flesh-toned, and was changed to yellow as a result. Reg is a show in of himself. At University, I was running a campus movie theatre and we bought him down to run the Cartoon festival in the campus pub. Part of Reg's fee for the engagement was a 24 of moosehead beer, which he consumed as the show went on. By the end, the presentation was rambling and about five minutes between cartoons. In Toronto, Reg runs his Festival out of his living room. The Fire Department frowns upon this.

If you live in Toronto, or visit Toronto, make sure to go down to Cineforum, Bathurst and College, just across from the Beer store. You can find his show listings in Now magazine, or look for his handbills plastered all over the downtown core. He also runs other shows, like the original Metropolis and the Surrealist film fest. (Salvador Dali's filmmaking- veeeerrry interesting)

BCM // 12:45 PM


Mr Glazar, you email address is rejecting any response sent to it, thought you might want to know....
BCM // 12:31 PM


Better ideas For Responsible Gov't

Neal Boortz (3/01 edition) suggests an addendum to each and every government spending bill. I like it. it has not a hope in hell of ever being adopted by any of the current governments out there, but I like it. In my wish-world, this would be mandatory.

Every sponsor or co-sponsor of this legislation hereby affirms his or her belief that the need for the federal government of the United States to spend taxpayer funds on the purposes outlined herein is of greater importance and urgency than any spending needs which the party or parties who actually earned these funds may have; such needs being, but not necessarily limited to, spending for medical care, child care, housing, food, clothing, transportation, education, insurance, savings and retirement planning.

I love it. Spending on the war on terror passes this test easily. pork spending of the type detailed by Boortz later in his blog (it is, Neal has to face that sometime) looks as embarrassing as it should be.

Over the past few years we in Georgia have noticed that the names of politicians and celebrities are sprouting like weeds on expressways, interchanges, bridges, highways and byways. This morning’s Atlanta Constitution tells us we have the Evander Holyfield Highway, Pierre Howard Interchange, James Brown Bridge, Bobby Jones Crosswalk and the Cynthia McKinney Parkway --- and that doesn’t even scratch the surface. Politicians in Atlanta have been engaged in an orgy of naming stuff after each other. What fun! And, after all, who does it hurt? Well, maybe you would be interested in knowing that the taxpayers of the State of Georgia have, over the last three years alone, forked out over $1,250,000 to dedicate 197 roads and bridges to individuals. That’s $1,250,000 that was taken away from the people who earned it --- people who had their own spending needs – to be spent printing Pierre Howard Interchange signs, among others.

Is there one politician out there who would stand in front of the television cameras and say that the state had a greater need for these funds than the people who earned them?

Canada has the Shawinigan Canoe Museum and the fountain in its river. Oh, and a really spiffy golf course and hotel complex that our PM used to own a piece of. These were of course, much more important than anything individual Canadians had in mind for their money. After all, the rich pay most of the freight, so it's all justified. Canadians understand. (I defer to Lawrence Garvin for reporting on these issues. He keeps much closer track of Canadian politcs than I have stomach for. The urge to bang my head against the wall gets too strong after reading much Canadian news.)

Oh yes, I was just looking through that page again when I found Neal's disclaimers at the very, very bottom of the page.

"Absolutely no bedwetting liberals or race warlords were harmed or mistreated in the creation of this web page, though the temptation was certainly very tough to resist."

BCM // 11:23 AM


Thank You! O Mysterious Benefactor!

For buying the ad off my blog! Whoo-hoo!

As much as I love mystery, drop me a line, let me know who it was!

Well, that makes my Friday!

BCM // 11:02 AM


Well, Actually

I'd blame American Television, if Canadian Television wasn't worse.

[apologies to Space Monkey, for stealing his "well actually" tagline]

BCM // 9:50 AM


Weekend March 15th

I will be living in the Movie theatre. First, there's
Ice Age, which looks hilarious, given the trailers I've seen. Then there's Resident Evil, where the trailer also looks good (but is confusing as hell). I give odds at 60/40 that it will suck, but like a sucker, I'll probably bet $12.50 anyway. Hey, it's better odds than Vegas.

How did I get so jaded with Hollywoods products? Well, Planet of the Apes 2001 was the straw that broke the camel's back for me.

BCM // 9:26 AM


US Drops Saudis from Allies List

Good. Reality is acknowledged at last.

"There's a lot of anger in the Pentagon against several Arab countries, particularly Saudi Arabia," a U.S. defense official said.

The Saudis better get busy understanding the root causes of Pentagon anger.

BCM // 8:26 AM


Weekend Entertainment

For those making plans to see a movie this weekend, I'm going to recommend (again) "
Brotherhood Of The Wolf"

I cannot possibly go on too much about how I enjoyed this movie. Utterly kick-ass. Go see it on the big screen before it dissappears.

BCM // 8:18 AM


Common Canadian Attitude

This is a direct quote. I so wish it weren't.

"Well, the americans have done horrible things as well. We don't know what they are, but we know they've done some terrible things....."

BCM // 6:40 AM


Quote of the Day

Income tax returns are the most imaginative fiction being written today.

-Herman Wouk

BCM // 6:08 AM


Yes, Yes and Yes

The US is considering
building a radio transmitter to broadcast into Iraq. Fantastic idea. First, it's probably the most cost effective method of softening up Iraq. The entire project probably costs less than a half dozen guided missiles. Second, it'll drive Saddam bananas, which more than fully justifies the project to me. Third, it lets the Iraqis know that better days are ahead, that Saddam is going to go for good this time. Fourth, the west does have the most seductive culture in the world. Let's use it.

For a little historical perspective, here's a gallery of propaganda from the first Gulf War. (Should we start calling it Gulf War I?) Here's some of Saddam's propaganda efforts, more notable for unintentional humour than effectiveness. There's more, here and here.

Hell, the west always gets accused of "cultural imperialism" no matter what. Why not embrace it? let's drop limited edition "Free Iraq" cans of Coke onto the Iraqi army positions. Drop copies of the American Constitution and Bill of Rights. Pictures of what life is like in the US, stories of emigrants from Iraq who've prospered in the US. US Dollar bills to fuel the black market in Iraq. Let the Iraqis start saving for Saddam's defeat. Get McDonalds to make a halal fast food meal in a MRE format and dump them on the Iraqi populace. If there is going to be several months pause, waiting for more precision munitions to be built, let's use the time to make the Iraqis look forward to life after Saddam.

Plus, for bonus points, it would send Noam Chomsky into orbit.

BCM // 5:50 AM


Dig Two Feet, Climb One

Canadian Dollar, $0.6248 USD, up 0.0010, 714am quote

BCM // 5:25 AM


Thursday, February 28, 2002:

What Else Do You Expect From Free Market Devotees?

Except really good stuff. The Mises Institute has two good reads.

Government:The Looting Machine, By Tibor Machan

Back in the mid-'80s, I had a very brief stint as a civilian employee with the federal government of the USA. It was actually my second gig with the government, my first having been four years of military service in the U.S. Air Force. Both experiences taught me about a good deal, including public finance

Argentina On The Brink, By Hans Sennholz

It is time for Argentines to cash in their experience with government power, government law, government regulation, government money, and government care. They attended a hard school and paid high tuition. It taught all who cared to learn that, after every conceivable political device has been tried and found wanting, there remains freedom.

That last line calls to mind what the VodkaPundit said earlier today in regards to Germany, and the bewilderment about its current economic malaise.

Go back to 1989, and you'll find plenty of economists (admittedly of the Chicago or Austrian schools) who said (out loud even) that Germany's tightly regulated markets, constrictive labor laws, and generous welfare benefits would lead to exactly the sort of high-unemployment, economic stalemate they've experienced the last few years. Even in growth times, Germany experiences unemployments rates close to double digits.

Next sentence: "Now, nothing seems capable of starting it up." Have the Germans tried repealing regulations, or relaxing union control of industry, or paring down unemployment benefits? Until they've tried all three (and in the order I listed) then no one can claim that "nothing" will lift Germany out of recession.

BCM // 7:08 PM


The Money Has Been Raised

CalStuff updates us that
the money for a new print run of the Cal patriot has been raised. The new run should be ready some time next week.

The story isn't over yet. Let's see what happens this time when the paper is distributed. I expect long, loud demonstrations against the Patriot, and additional thefts on a smaller scale.

Chancellor Berndahl of Berkeley suprisingly came out swinging at the thieves today.

Theft of publications or any interference with the access of individuals or groups to freedom of expression is unconscionable behavior ("Copies of California Patriot Stolen; Publication Staff Allegedly Harassed," Feb. 27). Such actions are completely antithetical to the values that form the foundation of our democracy, and such actions are particularly egregious in an educational setting. Over the past few years, there have been several instances of this behavior. These acts diminish our community. Despite heightened attention by the campus police and the Office of Student Life, we have not yet been able to identify the perpetrators. We will continue to do our utmost to identify those responsible, and we will bring criminal and student charges to bear on those individuals.

Who would ever have thought? CalStuff goes through this point by point. Being closer to the issue, he has a few things to say.

I only say

"And now they will elect a new Chancellor.
A strong Chancellor"

BCM // 6:45 PM


What the Palestinian Offensive Lacks

Mark Byron points out what the Palestinians are
missing from their efforts.

......We also saw the second female suicide bomber, only killing herself but wounding three Israeli troops at a checkpoint. The Palestinians still lack veteran suicide bombers.

BCM // 6:18 PM


Blog Activism

Megan McArdle has something for those searching the web for the Daniel Pearl or R.Kelly Videotapes. I suggest reading
her explanation first, and then checking out her response to those looking for the Daniel pearl tape.

BCM // 4:33 PM


National Post Web Poll

Should Canada ratify the Kyoto Agreement and cut greenhouse gas emissions, or would doing so harm the Canadian economy?

RESULTS Percentage votes

(88%) Yes Canada should ratify

(12%) No, it would harm the economy

Must...find bang head against......

The National Post is pretty much the most pro-business paper in Canada. They've been
running articles for the last week detailing in excruciating detail how the Kyoto accord will gut the Canadian economy. Here's hoping Greenpeace is stacking the results. It's a really sad comment otherwise.

BCM // 4:25 PM


Going Underground

Megan McArdle asks if over 100% of Canadians cheat on their taxes, in response to my posting that 40% of Canadian tax filers report $14K USD or less in 1999.

Canadians are far too honest to do anything like that. Shame! For Shame! Suspicious minds!

Canadian governments were losing $44-billion a year to tax cheats and other criminals, up from $2-billion a quarter of a century earlier, according to the 270-page study published by the Canadian Tax Foundation. [...] The study estimates the size of the underground economy at $130-billion in 1995, the last year for which figures were available. That would make the underground economy equivalent to the economies of British Columbia and Saskatchewan combined.

Well, maybe it's hard not to take advantage of a government so trusting it will trust even Robert Mugabe.

BCM // 4:18 PM


Loud Mobs Hold Democracy Hostage

Helen Hughes
writing in the Australian. (Via Tim Blair, Journalist, commentator and oppressor)

Without globalisation and its competitive markets, we will all be on track to Third World living standards and the freedoms enjoyed by the women under Taliban rule.


In Genoa, small local businesses were worst hit. Well organised anarcho-fascists, recalling the excesses of communism and fascism, have taken advantage of high incomes, cheap fares and the internet (all of which follow from globalisation) to turn good natured "demos" into fascist violence.


Those who shout loudest do not represent democracy. There are no quick and easy ways to improve the world.

I'm sorry to Drag up Naomi Klein again, but the second excerpt reminded me of a blissfully oblivious part of Klein's last article.
In fact, with simultaneous mass events in New York and Porto Allege, last week was a truly global moment for this movement. [...] The news was coming from an Indy Media Centre reporter who was on her cell phone in the crowd. Her voice was being streamed live on the internet. It was picked up by a micro radio station set up in the camp, where her words were translated into Portuguese and then broadcast. At one point the U.S. server went down and was immediately replaced by a back-up in Italy.

Mmmm. I'm guessing that those internet servers in Italy were individually hand-crafted in an environmentally friendly co-operative. All of the circuit boards were hand made and no animals were harmed either. Of course these web servers were produced for even less than a Dell computer because they were made profit free! No exploiting going on here! Every worker was paid a fair wage (ie, whatever they want, there were no evil bosses to keep down the wage rates).

It would never occur to Naomi that without the evil capitalist system she wants to tear down, that those activists in italy would have been bringing up a server made of two tin cups and a few thousand miles of string.

Don't even get me started on the cell phone.

BCM // 3:58 PM


Checking Stats

"monkey throwing shit pictures" is one of today's Google hits.


BCM // 3:43 PM


Watching TV

While eating dinner just now. The Macneil/Lehrer newshour to be precise. They were reporting the Israeli forces attacking the Palestinian refugee camps. "The violence has killed a thousand Palestinians in the lasty 18 months." I sat there waiting for some word about how many Israelis had been killed. No dice, no mention, next item. No explanation of why the Israelis decided to attack, just "oh those evil Israelis, attacking a refugee camp".

BCM // 3:39 PM


Canada Comes To The Snowbirds


BCM // 1:02 PM


Doing My Bit For The Cause

As noted by Instapundit, the
Lilleks Screed is number 6 on Blogdex. Just doing my bit by linking. I'll put the full thing on the Blog Of Record as well.

Why isn't this man sydnicated in fifty newspapers yet?

BCM // 9:42 AM


What the Hell Is It With Altruistic Organizations, Anyway?

First, there's the
Roman Catholic priests abusing kids in Boston, as detailed by Andrew Sullivan.

Second, there's aid groups in Africa that trade their food aid for sex from children. (Via Instapundit)

Third, there's the Red Cross ignoring a prisoner in Afghanistan who's been in a cell for over thirty years. Long enough for everyone to forget why he's there. [Link requires registration] (Via Instapundit)

Memo To Ayn Rand: Wherever you are (and I know you didn't believe in that sort of thing), will you please stop being right about things. It's very unsettling.

Again, I will cite the Saruman quote from LotR (Via Mises)

"We can bide our time, we can keep our thoughts in our hearts, deploring maybe evils done by the way, but approving the high and ultimate purpose:"

Altrusim justifies any excess in the end, doesn't it? If a few suffer along the way unnecessarily, well, the good name of the Cause must be preserved.

BCM // 9:19 AM


Just For The Record

All Time Low Of Canadian Dollar: $0.6189 USD, January 2002

BCM // 7:36 AM


Canadian Prosperity

In 1999, 6.1 million taxfilers, or 40% of the total, reported a total income of less than $20,000. Among these taxfilers, only 15% contributed to either an RRSP or RPP. (Registered Retirement Savings Plan, Registered Pension Plan)

In '99, the CDN dollar was about $0.69, so if we convert that to real money, 40% of Canadian taxfilers were earning $13,800 USD or less.

Well, this is a country where the NDP (socialists) think anyone earning $60,000 Cdn/year ($37,500 USD) is rich....

BCM // 7:30 AM


Canadian Scrip

Dollar $0.6233 USD, up 0.0016 this morning.

BCM // 7:05 AM


Wednesday, February 27, 2002:

Regarding Beer


BCM // 4:12 PM


Berkeley Newspaper Theft

As detailed by
Calstuff, thieves broke into the office of a conservative student paper and stole the entire monthly print run. Apparently they were offended by an article in the paper about a leftist student group. here's the article itself. This has already been noted by NR and the Best of the Web as well. Reading the Daily Cal story, one thing caught my eye.

The bulk of the papers were stolen during a break-in at the Patriot office in Eshleman Hall late Monday night. The loss is estimated to be between $1,500 and $2,000.


Thomas said there is likely no way for the Patriot to recoup its losses because the press run was not insured.

Oh yes there goddamm well is. How about we all pitch in and donate the necessary funds for the Patriot to reprint its entire run?

Let's show the thieves that their actions have been completely counterproductive. Of course, pigs will fly before that is ever recognized by them. It's all about the act itself, the consequences are incidental to the left. Bill Ayers and Kathleen Soliah being prime cases.

[Update: I've put in $50 USD to their paypal account. They have stated they intend to reprint if they can raise the money. If a hundred of us chip in $20 each, we can smack the idiotarians of Berkeley across the nose with a rolled up newspaper. How often does this opportunity come up? ]

BCM // 2:03 PM


Beer. What Can't it Do?

Miss HawkGirl has objected to my assertion of the natural superiority of Canadian beer. I look forward to the opportunity to put my awesome moose and mountie beers against her Sam Adams and Pete's Wicked Ale. Since we aren't counting Budwesier, the test would be quite enjoyable, no doubt.

I see Andrew Sullivan has weighed in against the article I mentioned yesterday.

One other thing the US has over almost all of Canada in booze is private booze sales. in Ontario for example, we have the Liquor Control Board of Ontario which is the only retailer for booze. No getting a six pack at the 24 hour corner store, only when they decide they are open. This sucks.

Comparing Canadian and American beer reminds me of one of the only funny moments in Michael Moore's movie Canadian Bacon. John Candy as an American Sheriff invading Canada takes a few moments at a hockey game. He tells his friend that the hockey is great, but the beer sucks. Dead silence falls in the arena. The players stop on the ice and stare at him. The players suddenly charge over the boards to give Candy a learning. The whole audience joins in, riot ensues.

This scene is also notable as the last time Michael Moore was right about anything.

BCM // 11:52 AM


Lord of The Rings: The Misesian Take

The excerpt from Saruman's speech is such a perfect mirror of every justification for the oppression in Cuba and China, hell, anywhere, anytime in a communist or fascist state.

"This then is one choice before you, before us. We may join with the Power. It would be wise, Gandalf. There is hope that way. Its victory is at hand; and there will be rich reward for those that aided it. As the Power grows, its proved friends will also grow; and the Wise, such as you and I, may with patience come at last to direct its courses, to control it. We can bide our time, we can keep our thoughts in our hearts, deploring maybe evils done by the way, but approving the high and ultimate purpose: Knowledge, Rule, Order, all things that we have so far striven in vain to accomplish, hindered rather than helped by our weak or idle friends. There need not be, there would not be any real change in our designs, only in our means.” [Emphasis added]

BCM // 6:43 AM


Once You Pay The Danegeld.....

...You will never be rid of the Dane.

So the old saying goes. I love Starbucks. I love their chairs, their cold coffee creations and the large number of attractive women who gather there. I do curse them for fools due to
their appeasement of the Anti-Capitalist crowd.

Starbucks has made a lot of effort to be "socially responsible" and responsive to the concerns of the Anti-Cap crowd. Fat lot of good it has done them. Starbucks is still on top of their hit list. The demonstrators still smash Starbucks' windows and rail against the company regularly. Now organic activists are demonstrating against Starbucks.

"I hate Starbucks," said a demonstrator over the weekend in Toronto, at one of 400 protests in six countries. "We have to pressure them to be responsible."

The issue? The company's milk policy.

While consumers might believe milk is good for you, organic activists allege 90% of North America's milk is "contaminated" with "pus, bacteria and antibiotics." They've specifically targeted Canadian Starbucks, which sell Frappuccinos that they claim Health Canada has rejected as unsafe because of "animal and public health concerns."

This issue, to be clear, is not about milk or Starbucks. The histrionics are directed at genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Activists charge that dairy supplies are polluted by being mixed with milk from cows treated with a protein supplement, recombinant bovine somatotropin or rbST.

Yet even Hansen says no studies confirm human health risks. The only mildly damning issue: rbST results in more udder infections in cows. But the slightly higher risk of infections, which are treatable, is the natural consequence of producing more milk, not from the drug.


"Ethical" campaigns are planned against 30 companies. Why Starbucks first? Activists boast that if they can intimidate it into "surrendering," the really big fish such as Kraft will roll over. In other words, target a weak link -- a high-profile company that is vulnerable to challenges to its reputation for being "socially responsible."

Sadly, if bio-engineered crops and supplements are shelved, the biggest losers would be consumers and farmers, particularly those in the poorest countries, and the environment. In this climate, it's understandable that executives are holed up at Starbucks headquarters trying to figure out how to pull the company's beans out of this public relations bonfire.

There is no pleasing these people. Each surrender brings a new demand. Don't ever think that showing up to dialogue with them as they always demand will get you anywhere. if anything, it gets you lectured and mocked. That you arrived to talk at all is regarded as a sign of weakness and confusion.

The prime example of this is from the guru of the Anti-Capitalists, Naomi Klein, reviewing the events of the "alternative" summit in Brazil that was held simultaneously with the World Economic Forum in New York.

Her column isn't terribly coherent, I found. Still, there were points I want to pick on.

[Puerto Allegre]The city is part of a growing political movement in Brazil that is systematically delegating power back down to people at the municipal level rather than hoarding it at the national and international levels. The party that has been the architect of this decentralization in Brazil is the Workers Party, the PT, now in power in 200 municipalities with its leader ahead in the polls federally.

Let me get this straight. The party you support in Brazil is fighting for more power for local governments, of which it is in power for 200 of them. The party is fighting to get more power devolved to its own level. This is a revolution in politics? Sounds more like what any political party does, fighting for more money and influence.

Oh, this is why you say it's different:

Many PT cities have adopted the "participatory budget," a system that allows direct citizen participation in the allocation of scarce city resources. Through a network of neighborhood and issue councils, residents vote directly on which roads will be paved, which health care centers will be built. In Porto Alegre, this devolution of power has brought results that are the mirror opposite of global economic trends. For instance, rather than scaling back on public services for the poor, the city has increased them substantially. And rather than spiraling cynicism and voter drop-out, democratic participation increases every year.

I thought this relevant as part of a response and explanation.

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship".

BCM // 5:52 AM


I'm Convinced

That given a nuclear holocaust, the last life form on earth wouldn't be the cockroach or the racoon, it would be the Teacher's union. This judgement is based on their universal resistance and stamina to any attempt at imposing accountability, competition, cost control or choice. I've seen it here in Ontario, in British Columbia, and now I'm seeing it in the US with the voucher battle.

Pete DuPont details more of the
contradicitions in their position in today's Opinion Journal. Read it and weep if you have kids in a public school.

BCM // 5:47 AM


It's the End of My Savings as We Know It......

Canadian Dollar, yesterday's close $0.6215 USD.

Today's open $0.6229 USD, Up $0.0014

.....and I am not anywhere near fine about it!

BCM // 5:38 AM


Tuesday, February 26, 2002:

Cuba Day, con't

On July 16th, 1997, after having sent this document to the Communist Party Central Committee and releasing it to the world, the four authors -- Vladimiro Roca, Félix Bonne, René Gómez y Marta Beatriz Roque-- were arrested and sent to prison without the benefit of a trial, not even a biased one. Up to the present day, they remain incarcerated.

The Homeland Belongs To Us All" By The Cuban Dissidence Task Group

Canada's Shame

"A Tourist Tastes The Real Cuba" By John Downing

Another Look At The Free Medical Care

Via Cubanet

*No medicines for young patient, mother appeals to Cubans abroad
*Young patients are transported in horse-drawn carts
*No fuel for ambulances
*Dental clinic has been out of service for eighteen months

HAVANA, December 14 (Ernesto Roque, Grupo Decoro / When Adrián Leiva Sánchez had a toothache recently, he found out the dental clinic at the "Antonio Maceo" polyclinic, in the Havana municipality of El Cerro, has not been able to render service to patients for a year and a half due to a broken compressor.

A nurse at the facility who refused to give her name for fear of losing her job said, "This problem is not new. Patients have to either have a friend who works at another clinic, or make do as best they can."

A specialist who looked into Leiva’s problem told him he has an ulcer. Leiva received neither treatment nor a referral to another facility.

Another patient who couldn’t get care at the clinic said, "In Cuba we don’t all have equal access to medical care. That equality only exists in the government’s propaganda, because in real life, there is no such thing as regular and efficient service for the common citizen."


Bush isn't Falling For Fidel, By Robert Novak

BCM // 1:09 PM


I Think These Articles Need To Be Taken Together

Michael Ledeen on why
China is more a Fascist state than a communist one.

Andrew Stuttaford on the latest fashion trends from Europe.

Suzanne Daley on anti-semetic crime surging in France. (via Instapundit)

BCM // 12:44 PM


Prohibition! Prohibition! Bring On Mr. Ness!

we must see prohibition revived in the U.S! That Canada would benefit from all the resulting smuggling is completely irrelevant to my enthusuasm for the idea! Just think, you can get new political dynasties to take over where the Kennedys left off!

You might as well read the article now, because you're going to be hearing the statisitc for the next decade, even if it is thoroughly refuted by the fourth paragraph.

"WASHINGTON — Nearly a third of high school students say they binge drink at least once a month, according to a report that says underage drinkers now account for 25 percent of the alcohol consumed in this country.

A spokesman for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States called the group's analysis "flat-out wrong."

"Under its flawed interpretation, each American teen-ager and young adult who illegally drinks alcohol would have to consume 120 drinks per month," to make up the 25 percent consumption figure, said spokesman Frank Coleman.

Phil Lynch, a spokesman for Brown-Forman Corp., whose products include Jack Daniel's Tennessee whiskey, said, "It looks like Mr. Califano and CASA have adopted Enron's accounting practices."

What chance do refutations based on logic (each underage drinker would have to drink 120 drinks a month) have against such a perfect sound bite factoid. "underage drinkers drink one-quarter of the alcohol in the United States"?

There are other things about the article I have issues with.

"Around 44 percent of college students admit to binge drinking, and nearly a fourth of those binge frequently.

Ahem. College students don't admit it, every single one I know proclaims it.

"and children cite other people's homes as the most common setting for drinking."

Really? You needed to spend money to determine this? You didn't do much underage drinking of your own, didja?

Being Canadian, I can take smug canadian satisfaction in having drinking ages set at a more reasonable 19 across most of Canada. Some provinces have 18 as the legal drinking age. This strikes me as an acceptance of reality, perhaps one of the few areas I believe Canada has anything to feel superior about.

Well, except that our beer is vastly, vastly better.

BCM // 11:27 AM


Cuba Day

It's Cuba day here at BCM. Canadians are the primary tourists in Cuba, going for sun and sand vacations, This makes me ashamed to be Canadian. I will never set foot in Cuba until it is free.

Most of us who object to Castro's regime are used to the standard answers and excuses for Cuba. Oh, the health care is free and so is the education. To Castro's apologists (no- apologists isn't the right word. They don't apologize, in many cases they proclaim. Promoters of Castro, then) the provision of social services fully compensates the Cuban people for being deprived of liberty.

Think about that mindset for a moment. This is a real world test, not a theoretical one, in which these people are stating that they prefer the provision of social services to freedom. They are perfectly willing to see other people live under secret police, without freedom of speech or movement simply because there are social services provided.

Now then, compare how many of these people were screaming and accusing John Ashcroft and Tom Ridge in the wake of Sept 11th of making America into a fascist police state.

Okay, that was the "easy shot".

The point I want to make is that if these people believed that they could get full socialized services in the US or anywhere in the west at the price of the people's liberty, they would consider that an acceptable trade. They would approve. They might be squeamish about trading off their own liberties, but their view on other people's has already been established.

BCM // 9:36 AM


Pork, Pork, Pork

Michael Jenkinson details some of the
latest wastage from the Federal Government of Canada.

BCM // 9:17 AM


Doctor's Appointment

Well, I've returned from the Doctor this morning, having been pronounced Officially Not Dead.

BCM // 9:10 AM


Canadian Dollar Today

$0.6219 USD, Down 0.0032. It's very bad when I type in only two zeros after the decimal in the change figure. Not good at all. Going down a third of a cent against the USD in a day. Damm.

Again, what the heck happened to "talking up the dollar"? Chretien? Martin? Rock? Anyone?

BCM // 9:07 AM


Monday, February 25, 2002:

Cuba: Where Your Drugs Are Free, But You Aren't

Harvard is
getting a Cuban Communist Professor. (Via Damian)

No, they aren't collecting for their museum.

"'I have no problem bringing Mario Coyula here,'' said Harvard professor Jorge I.Dominguez, an expert on Cuba. ''It's no different than hiring a good physicist who thinks Fidel Castro is the best invention since sliced bread. I don't have to agree with his political views to respect his professional work. That's what a university is about, ultimately.''

Contrast the treatment of this Communist revolutionary with the treatment afforded to David Horowitz when he visits University Campuses.

My third speech in Kentucky was to the “Open Communications Society” at the University. [...]
A leaflet was handed out containing the only academic response to my “10 Reasons Why Reparations for Slavery Are A Bad Idea and Racist Too.” This was the response that compared me to Hitler.
The next day the college paper, the Kentucky Kernel – which is read by 20,000 people (rather than the 200 to whom I spoke) -- reported none of this. College papers like college faculties are controlled by the political left. Instead of reporting the actual themes of my speech, the Kernel focused on an offhand remark I made about racial profiling, first misrepresenting and then misstating it. “Horowitz not only spoke of reparations, but also his support of racial profiling,” reported the Kernel. This is false. I do not support the profiling of anyone purely on racial grounds. What I did say was that like all these issues the issue of racial profiling was complex, which is why having two sides (at least) to a debate was important, especially in a college setting. A recent public opinion poll, I observed, showed that even 71% of blacks support racial profiling of Arabs at airport security checkpoints. My point was that the complexity of all these issues cannot and should not be reduced to black and white (no pun intended) melodramas. The Kernel then put a quote in my mouth as follows: “‘The number of black Americans is directly proportional to the number of blacks who commit crimes,’ Horowitz said.” In fact, this is exactly the opposite of what I said, and what I have written, and what everybody knows to be the case. The Kernel then quoted a leftist professor named Joan Pope Melish who corrected the false statement the reporter had put in my mouth. “Horowitz is the master of half-truths,” the professor said.

To continue with The visiting professor....
Although he wouldn't mind more political pluralism at home, he said, ''Open opposition could lead to the destruction of the revolution'' and ''Fidel Castro is the glue that holds Cuba together.''

The destruction of the revolution? Mr Coyula, you say that as if it were a bad thing.

Oh wait, after reading further, I understand now.

'There are too many choices,'' he said. ''You go to the supermarket and there are 80 different kinds of cereal when you're just looking for oats. Or you make a call and you end up talking to a machine when you're looking for a person. Your health plan covers some drugs, but not others; in Cuba, it's all free.''

Fantastic! It's clear now! What a life, where your drugs are free and you aren't! (Well, when the drugs are available, at least. And don't give me that "The US boycott won't let us get the drugs! BS. There's generic ripoffs available through India.)

Yeah, democracy and freedom suck. When you want a leader, there's 80 different candidates when you're just looking for a Maximum Leader to show you to way to Revolutionary Glory and The Worker's Paradise. Cuba is better. You make a call and you end up talking to the person you want to talk to and the three secret police through their listening machine. How social!

BCM // 2:13 PM



Bias, by Bernbard Goldberg is finally available from>.

BCM // 1:20 PM


Fisk O' The Day

VodkaPundit (I love that font he uses.) responds to Eleanor Clift.

Eleanor:"Bush says U.S. plans no attack on North Korea.” What kind of insanity would such an attack actually be?

VodkaPundit:"Does North Korea supply missiles to terrorist states like Iran? Yes. Does North Korea starve its own people by the millions? Yes. Is North Korea probably the most vile and oppressive regime on the planet? Yes. Is Eleanor Clift capable of non-carping, non-shrill, rational thought? No."

BCM // 1:15 PM


Quote of the Day

Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others.

-Groucho Marx (1890 - 1977)

BCM // 10:58 AM


Blog Of Record

Matt Welch
writes in regards to Tristan Laughter's piece on her post-september 11 reactions to her political beliefs.

"It’s one of the most heartbreaking yet clear-headed things I’ve read in the last five months. Take 15 minutes, read it slowly, and please – someone put a book together, or at least a website, collecting this kind of stuff for posterity."

I will do the collecting. I've started a Blog Of Record to collect this kind of posts and commentary.

BCM // 10:26 AM


Crap. Lesson: never save a draft if you've left an open link in the text. You can't get back in. I apologize for the mess that follows.

BCM // 10:22 AM


Blog Of Record

Matt Welch
writes in regards to Tristan Laughter's piece on her post-september 11 reactions to her political beliefs.

"It’s one of the most heartbreaking yet clear-headed things I’ve read in the last five months. Take 15 minutes, read it slowly, and please – someone put a book together, or at least a website, collecting this kind of stuff for posterity."

I will do the collecting. I've started a 10:20 AM


Bush on North Korea

"I also want to remind the world that our nation provides more food to the North Korean people than any nation in the world. We are averaging nearly 300,000 tons of food a year. And so, obviously, my comment about evil was toward a regime, toward a government — not toward the North Korean people. We have great sympathy and empathy for the North Korean people. We want them to have food. And at the same time, we want them to have freedom. And we will work in a peaceful way to achieve that objective."

BCM // 10:15 AM


Adaptability and Acceptance

The recent discussion of the future prospects for the Israel/Palestinian conflict bought back memories. When
Megan McArdle said "Asking Israel to "just accept" this is asking America to understand that for some nations, harboring terrorists who kill its citizens is part of their vibrant native culture", I recalled a conversation I had with an Israeli girl in 1999. She was in the army, stationed in a small listening/guard post on the kibbutz I was staying at. We got talking about her home town of Jerusalem. At one point I asked if she felt threatened by the bombings that had occured there. She replied that she'd been in three bombings, and was wounded in one.

What struck me was the tone she used as she told me this. To her, this was just a part of life. Nothing remarkable. Just an everyday event, shit happens, business as usual. I've heard many people here describe being in car crashes or taking a bad fall with more emotion and indignation.

BCM // 9:34 AM


A Suggestion:

The next US campaign against terrorists in the Middle East be named for Daniel Pearl.

To remind us of why the west must fight. To make it clear to the terrorists what their actions bring upon them, not strength and victory, but ignominious defeat.

BCM // 9:24 AM


Stupid, Stupid, Stupid

Why are we reading this? What moron
let this out?

Forget "information wants to be free", this is something I only want to find out about when the arrest is made. Letting this info out only serves to warn the suspect. Gee, there's no possible way that the suspect a) reads the paper, with particular attention to the anthrax case, b) could ever recognize himself in the article's description of the suspect.

Lets see,

identified from a pool of about 50 researchers known to have the technical ability to produce the sophisticated weapons-grade anthrax strain found in the letters sent to Florida, New York, Connecticut and Washington, D.C

a U.S. citizen and, according to the sources, probably a former scientist connected to the government's biodefense program.

believed to have worked at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Md., which has maintained stores of weapons-grade anthrax — commonly known as the Ames strain of Bacillus anthracis.

the former scientist is now employed as a contractor in the Washington area.

was twice fired from government jobs and, after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon that killed more than 3,000 people, reportedly made a threat to use anthrax.

been interviewed by FBI agents on several occasions, according to the sources, and his house has been searched.

No, that doesn't narrow things down at all. Unless this man is in custody and charged, we shouldn't be hearing this. I understand that there must be a hel of a lot of pressure on the FBI to report something, but this sort of disclosure is simply not appropriate.

BCM // 7:14 AM


Canadian Dollar Watch

$0.6261 USD, down $0.0006 USD. No Gold medal for Chretien and Martin.

BCM // 6:59 AM


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