Barrel Strength

Over-Proof Opinion, Smoothly Aged Insight

Barrel Strength - Over-Proof Opinion, Smoothly Aged Insight

Barack Ebola

“If even one undiagnosed Ebola patient lands in the United States, you may call me George!” All right, all right, there is nothing funny about a killer plague washing across a continent and now across the world on wings of political correctness and governmental ineptitude. And it is unnecessarily cruel to link him to the Reichsmarschall’s discomfiting boast. So why am I laughing? Because it marks one more notch on Barack Obama’s rubber gun of failure? Because it has been so predictable for so long? I wish no person harm, but I do wish some people would act like leaders to lessen harm to others.

Twitter-sized kerfuffle about Justin and Marc Emery

There seems to be some noise in the blogosphere about Marc Emery smoking dope with Justin. Uh, ladies and gentlemen, if you have been in the presence of Marc Emery anytime in the last 25 years for more than fifteen minutes, you have smoked dope with Marc Emery. It is as simple as that. Maybe you coughed or something, and did not inhale. I recall meeting Marc Emery in Vancouver. I assume I must have smoked. Good weed too.

No one is illegal, apparently

Is the Obama administration attempting to provoke a confrontation of some kind, by allowing a complete breakdown of the southern border? What are the victory conditions for such a conflict? I have seen that the California community of Murrieta has successfully deflected busloads of illegal immigrants but they are certainly not headed back to Mexico or Central America any time soon. I have no idea what this is all about but it feels dangerous.

Remember the call from the bankers in New York?

I said it will happen and I expect it this year. Kathleen Wynne will get the call from actual capitalists in New York City. It will not be pleasant, but it will be effective. And now that the Ontario Liberals have a majority, they will be able to fix the problem they have created.

If Ontarians believe they have avoided a reckoning with debt, they are even dumber than I think they are. Ontarians are heading down the same path Quebec took in 1960, minus the ethnic cleansing.

This is an intelligence test and Ontarians are failing it

From the invaluable Wikipedia:

The Ontario government debt is the amount of money the Government of Ontario borrowed from the general public, institutional investors and from public-sector bodies. As of September 30, 2013 the Ontario government’s total debt stood at CDN$288.10 billion.[3] The interest on the debt was CDN$10.3 billion for 2012-2013 budget at an effective interest rate of 4%.[4]It represented 8.4% of the total budgetary expenses and is the fastest-rising cost for the Ontario government.[5] The Debt-to-GDP ratio in 2013 was 37.4%, the highest in Ontario’s history.[6]


I checked the comparison with California’s total public debt. I discounted a Canadian study by Jason Clemens and Neil Veldhuis because of its very low estimate of total state debt in California, for one that compares all state-government debt across fifty US states. In that regard, California’s debt looks like this.

State Total State Debt (1) Market Valued Unfunded Public Pension Liability (2) Outstanding Debt (3) Unfunded OPEB Liability (4)
California $777,918,403 $583,627,395 $119,680,625 $65,210,000

All figures in thousands. So by a  standard of calculation common to fifty states, California’s total state debt is roughly $778 billion dollars in 2014.

Ontario’s was $288 billion in 2013, and $295 billion in 2014, according to the official Ontario Financing Authority.

Ontario’s population in 2014 was 13.537 million.

California’s population in 2014 was 37.253 milion

Dividing Ontario’s 2014 debt of $295 billion by 13.537 million people, I arrive at $21,792,125 of provincial government debt per capita.

Doing the same for California, $778 billion by 37.253 million people, I arrive at $20,884,224 of state government debt per capita.

Thus, if these figures are proportionately calculated, then Ontario has a worse per capita debt than the notoriously badly governed California.

Yet it seems we are headed to another Liberal minority government. Go figure.



Canadian Conservatism

Professor F.H. Buckley has written a broadly sympathetic piece about Canadian conservatism and the constitutional differences between Canada and the US.

While the American Founders rightly feared the kind of one-man rule they thought George III exercised, America today has what Virginia’s George Mason called an “elective monarchy,” which he thought was worse than the real thing. Barack Obama can make laws by diktat, unmake laws by not enforcing them, and all of this without effective Congressional oversight. America’s tort system too often resembles a demented slot machine of judicially sanctioned theft. Its populist criminal law convicts virtually everyone that partisan prosecutors choose to charge. Its convoluted tax code makes firms invest heavily in tax lawyers and lobbyists. Its K-12 public educational system is vastly inferior to Canada, and America’s promise of income mobility is broken.

These criticisms echo what Conrad Black has been arguing for several years. The surprise is that an American constitutional law professor agrees. My personal acquaintance with US government institutions over decades of peripheral dealings with parts of the US federal government confirm in the view that, even if the US recovers from Obama – and I believe it will – it still has constitutional defects arising from the independence of the President from the House of Representatives, or putting it another way,  the non-responsibility of its executive to its legislature, and its legislature to its executive. Their legislation is sloppily drafted, their consequent dependence on the courts to sort things out leaves them at the mercy of judges and lawyers, and the expense of all this keeps their politicians wholly dependent on raising money at all times.

In Canada, you get the weapons contract by planting benefits in key ridings. In the United States, you buy the Senators and Congressmen, and they put the defence plants in the key constituencies. There is no politician you really must buy here. It is done occasionally, but it is an exception rather than standard and legal operating procedure. If you think I paint a too glowing picture of our honesty, you are wrong. I am not describing honesty; I am describing the relative costs of the decision-making systems in Canada and the US.


EU Doublespeak on Ukraine

The current analysis of events in Russia and Ukraine on both sides of the political spectrum is shallow, specious and trivial. There are exceptions, of course, (here) but the general commentary from the establishment scribes of all persuasions seems to have been generated from a cliché machine badly in need of an overhaul.

Since the defeat of communism, engineered largely by President Reagan and Prime Minister Thatcher, the world has not encountered “the end of history”, so facilely averred by some lesser historian, but has continued as it always has, that is, as Great Power politics carried out on the world stage.

Communism was a messianic doctrine, devoted to the total overthrow of all nations based on free market economies and democratic politics. Its leaders proclaimed it, said it, acted on it, and never hid their intentions. They failed.

In its wake, the shattered economies of the socialist states had to find some way of accommodating with the economies of the modern world. All political theory until then had been discussing the transition from market economies to socialism, as the progressive mind-set believed would happen, but history proved to be different. Exactly the opposite happened. No-one had any idea what to do when a state-controlled economy collapsed. All the political theorists in the West were useless. Their minds had been rendered inoperative after being besotted with socialism for decades.

Russia and the other victims of communism had to make their own way; some succeeded better than others. Twenty three years after the fall of communism, Russia is now, if not a great power, then certainly a regional power with strategic and national interests. All nations not sinking into the Slough of Despond will seek to protect those interests.

Russia is not rich by Western standards, but it is vastly better off than under communism. It is still on the road to democracy, but vastly freer than under communist tyranny. You actually can criticize Islam in Russia—try doing that here or in the EU. And it has a cultural history, especially in music, art and literature, the equal of any other in Europe.

So why are we in the West not seeking to cultivate Russia as a friend?

Well, the actions of the EU and the current administration in Washington beggar belief. After the disintegration of the Soviet Empire, the EU rapidly absorbed many countries, previously subservient to Moscow, into its own version of financial servitude. EU no longer means European Union but the Empire of Usury. Democracy, freedom and prosperity are always promised, rarely delivered.

For a while, it actually worked. The relaxation of tensions led to the illusion that international rivalries were at an end. In this heady atmosphere of cheap credit and bloated welfare states anything seemed possible.

Alas, the breakup of Yugoslavia ended all that. Nations and peoples, long subsumed in fictitious countries, arose from their slumber and started battling one another for their freedom and independence. It ended with NATO air forces bombarding Serbia for months to forcibly separate a Serbian province, Kosovo—all under the pretext of international law. More recently, another campaign of aerial bombardment was initiated against Libya, then ruled by Colonel Kaddafi, in an attempt to depose him. This resulted in today’s situation where Libya is a failed state, fragmented and under the control of warring militias and bandits. Apparently, this is termed a success in current foreign-policy speak. In a rare outbreak of sanity, the Parliament in Britain and Congress in the US refused to be steam-rollered into yet another futile military action to serve the vanity of certain leaders.

The rulers of the Empire of Usury in Brussels are intent on subduing all before them. The plan is to reduce all free nations to Debt Slavery via the IMF and the European Central Bank. They then appoint governments on their whim, and depose Prime Ministers as they will, as has happened in Greece, Portugal and Spain. National independence and parliaments mean nothing to them. When any referendum is held and the population votes against the wishes of the commissars in Brussels, another referendum is held, and another, until the serfs respond with the “correct” vote, that is, the one approved by the Brussels commissars.

And these are the people calling the recent referendum in Crimea “a Kalashnikov referendum”. The vote in Crimea was obviously pretty fair and the result overwhelming. But, of course, it was not approved by the Politburo in Brussels. It is not Russia that is behaving like the old Soviet Union, but the EUSSR—the new Empire of Usury.

The EU-engineered coup in Ukraine has failed to deliver Ukraine lock, stock and barrel into the clutches of the EU. All the “N”GOs that were busily undermining the government there have had their come-uppance. The failure to understand and recognize the national and ethnic divisions in Ukraine, to treat every country as future prey for the EU, has led to this.

Russia is part of our Western civilization. She has legitimate strategic interests. She will defend those interests. Any sane foreign policy in the West must recognize this fact. Instead of enabling the nuclear-minded Mullahs in Iran, undermining Israel, and fomenting jihadi revolutions dressed up as “Arab Springs”, our efforts should be directed towards reaching an agreement with Russia on satisfying our mutual interests in Europe and fighting Islam, which is the real danger facing our society. The Russians will be our natural allies in this.

However, with the room-temperature IQs running most Western governments, this is unlikely to change in the near future. President Obama, Prime Minister Cameron and others, while preening themselves in the world media, have shown us that no amount of sanctimonious humbug is a substitute for foreign policy.

Rebel Yell


Only government can engineer a marihuana shortage (2)

The National Post seems to have caught up with an earlier posting of mine. I wish the economists in the Financial Post would get their heads out of their ideological asses and apply the same economic reading they give to statist intervention in markets to this new doozy invented by Health Canada, which will

  • a) transfer large  amounts of now broadly distributed wealth to a small group of privileged licencees;
  • b) illegalize the previously legal growing of dope;
  • c) expand police powers; and
  • d) put more people in jail

Nice going, Conservatives!