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Oh lord, Francis decided to weigh in on the Paris attack, because of course she would, and does her usual bang up job of sounding ridiculous. I'm not going into too much detail with this one because I have stuff to do, but I couldn't let it slide. It's just so damn illogical.

http://business.financialpost.com/2015/01/10/paris-terrorist-attacks-should-trigger-soul-searching-about-assimilation/

A lot of her article is claiming the reason France is particularly susceptible to terrorist attacks by its own citizens or residents is because of how badly the French treat immigrants compared to the Americans.

Francis hates immigrants. She shows her utter contempt for anyone not American in her Merger of the Century nonsense and a multitude of articles. She dedicated a whole book to bashing immigrants in Canada. [Title withheld.]

I thought about doing a bunch of research comparing how immigrants are treated in the States vs France, but then I thought, why should I put more work into Francis' article than she does?

She doesn't give a rat's ass how France treats its immigrants. After all, the word "assimilation" is used in the title of her article, and that says it all. You know who wants to be assimilated? No one. It's something that is done to a smaller group by a more powerful group. Star Trek's most evil enemy goes around assimilating people, and that's considered worse than death. It made Picard cry.

I think she just wanted to try to make these paragraphs somehow relevant to current news:

Economically, France is a highly taxed, unionized closed shop. Jobs are highly paid, benefits through the roof and job growth stagnant. There are no right-to-work laws such as those in the U.S. (or for young people in Germany) that offer opportunities to immigrants or outsiders.

These starter jobs allow newcomers and young people to get a toehold, then a foothold, in the economy of their adopted country.


I did do just a smidgen of research into right-to-work laws. In case you're like me, and thought these laws were about enabling employers to have their employees work seven days a week, these laws, which are in 24 states but not in Canada, mean that employees aren't required to join the union when they're hired in an otherwise unionised workplace. Unions hate them, big business loves them, people who at least make a stab at being objective say that it's really hard to determine the exact effect of the laws, because the studies usually don't disentangle the effects of those laws from all of the other policies that favour big business and all the other similarities among those states. There's also the fact that there are businesses that flatly refuse to operate in states that don't have right to work laws, which obviously has an impact on the overall economy of the state.

Francis is just plugging Conservative big business rhetoric, and using a horrifically inappropriate way to do it.

What I can say is that not a single article I've read mentioned the laws being of any particular benefit to immigrants, even the rah-rah right-to-work laws are great! articles. I even googled "right to work laws" + immigrants and didn't find anything relevant. Nor do the articles seem to suggest that these non-unionised jobs are meant to be "starter" jobs. If someone can show me an article, not written by Francis, that does talk about this, I'd be happy to see it.

I did find an article that talked about right-to-work laws in Germany, as well as the laws in the States. It's from 2012. http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2012-02-02/right-to-work-laws-are-a-waste-of-time-for-politicians-and-unions-view This is my favourite bit:

The answer isn’t right-to-work but better labor-management cooperation. Both sides might learn a lesson from Germany, where union members often sit on corporate boards and vote on management pay (helping to keep in check excessive, U.S.-style compensation). Germany’s unions also play prominent roles when the economic cycle turns down. One example is the “Kurzarbeit” plan, or short-work system, in which companies temporarily move employees into shorter workweeks during downturns. Companies pay only for actual hours worked, and the government provides as much as two-thirds of the remainder.

Can you see something like that being established in the States? Francis' head would explode!
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Francis thinks herself as an expert of prediction, despite the fact that there is still no war in Quebec and that whole Google/Motorola deal she thought such an excellent example of brilliant American risk-taking was a total bust. Here is an article, arrogantly called “My Fearless Forecasts for 2014,” dated January 7, 2014. Let’s see how well she did.

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/diane-francis/2014-predictions-_b_4554677.html

Her predictions are in bold.

1. Matching economic growth rates in the world's two biggest economic drivers -- the US and China -- in 2014 of 3% and 7% respectively. In absolute numbers this means roughly $500 billion for each country or equivalent to two-thirds of Canada's nominal GDP in 2014.

According to this website, US growth was 3.9% http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/gdp-growth and according to this website China’s growth was somewhere over 7%. http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2014/11/18/china-maybe-be-slowing-but-still-fastest-growing-economy-on-earth/ I might be impressed with Francis for this prediction if it hadn’t been made by other people in December of 2013. Prediction 3% for the US http://business.financialpost.com/2013/12/11/canadian-economic-growth-to-trail-u-s-in-2014-cibc/?__lsa=e7b0-8ffa and of 7.4% for China http://www.ibtimes.com/china-economic-outlook-2014-gdp-growth-softens-74-year-implementing-reforms-1507414

2. Canada will lag in economic growth, despite an increase in U.S. exports, because all its provinces east of Saskatchewan are in lousy fiscal shape with soaring debts and lousy credit ratings. And the Canadian consumer has traded places with the American consumer as the biggest spendthrifts in the developed world.

“Lag” isn’t specific. It could mean lagging behind the US and China, which Canada did, or lagging behind last year, which it didn’t. One of the articles I cited up there, from December 2013, also predicted a “lag.” http://business.financialpost.com/2013/12/11/canadian-economic-growth-to-trail-u-s-in-2014-cibc/?__lsa=e7b0-8ffa

According to this website, Canada’s growth this year was 2.59%, opposed to 2.54% last year. http://www.tradingeconomics.com/canada/gdp-growth-annual

Given that everyone knows the eastern provinces have high debt loads, this isn’t actually a prediction. Nor is the fact that Canadians have higher personal debt than Americans, given that started way back in 2010. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/interest-rates/canadians-debt-to-income-ratio-now-higher-than-americans/article562323/ Where’ve you been, Francis?

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Diane sure does love herself some Australians. (But only when she isn't bashing them.)

Australians are awesome; every single one I’ve met has been a fabulous person who laughed in the face of enormous spiders. (Though had a little trouble handling ice and low temperatures.) That doesn’t mean that the lot of the aboriginals in Australia is perfect, no matter how many times Francis tries to convince you they are.

In her ridiculous Merger of the Century crap, Francis ignored facts to tell a fairy tale of the perfect management of aboriginal land claims, compared to the mess in Canada.

Not denying it’s a mess in Canada, by the way. Or that Australians might have a better system. It’s just Francis’s relentless attempts to ignore that they’re still having difficulties that makes her a bad journalist.

If you have any interest in her claims in her book and the information I provided that demonstrated she was wrong, you can go to my post here: http://moiraj.livejournal.com/295543.html

In short, there is a backlog, there are a bunch of aboriginals who hate the process, the process is under review for the umpteenth time, and poverty is still an area of high concern with the aboriginal populations. Just like here.

But Francis really wants everyone to believe the Australians have the whole thing solved. Here’s an article from Energy magazine in July, 2014, http://www.energymag.ca/international/energy-policy-down-under-an-interview-with-ian-macfarlane-australian-minister-for-industry/ In this article, the Australian Minister for Industry himself corrects her attempt to paint the picture as perfect. (He thinks things are generally ok, but he’s thrown qualifiers all over that statement.)

Francis:

"The other thing that Australia has done is remove the uncertainty of the aboriginal land claims. This was the result of legislation that settled most claims and also provides a registry where companies can find out the terms and conditions of settlement or if there are unresolved claims."

Ian MacFarlane:

"Well, that is the case, not in every case, but in the majority of cases, we’ve made some significant advances. I wouldn’t say it’s not without its challenges from time to time, but certainly in terms of working through the process it is well understood and again when we’re dealing with offshore situations they obviously don’t have the same issues in terms of native title, but there are associated issues when gas comes ashore and you have to build a LNG plant. Again, there are [claims] processes that have basically been worked on since the early 1990’s so we are getting there. It can be painstaking at times but usually a result is forthcoming."

Here’s an appalling little article from November 29, 2014, in which Francis raises this issue of aboriginal land rights again. http://business.financialpost.com/2014/11/29/canadas-unfinished-business-with-first-nations-is-an-economic-failure/

First, again, you’d be left with the impression that it’s all perfect in Australia.

"Australia has a similar history, but, unlike here, Canberra has fully addressed the issues."

"But [in Canada] there’s still the issue of which band owns and controls what lands. The Australians also figured that out."

And here’s something I find fascinating. Here’s a paragraph from her book:

“Australia’s laws have established a process to verify, evaluate and adjudicate claims. The National Native Title Tribunal hears claims to establish their validity and to rule on their merits by determining whether lands, rights and/or compensation should be awarded. This process has, in essence, enfranchised the (page 319) 517,200 Australians of aboriginal extraction – representing 2.5 percent of the population – by giving them their day in court.” (page 320)

Here’s a paragraph from her November 29 article:

“What helped is that Australia has a hybrid-British and American constitution that includes an elected Senate that fairly represents regional interests. This allowed Canberra to establish consensus and legislate a process to expeditiously verify, evaluate and adjudicate claims. The National Native Title Tribunal establishes the validity of claims and determines what lands, rights and/or compensation should be awarded. This process has, in essence, enfranchised the 517,200 Australians of aboriginal extraction by giving them their day in court. It also informs industry as to who owns or leases what and at what royalty.”

More self-plagiarism! She’s shameless!

Anyway, back to the article. I love this paragraph:

"The United States did not make deals, but conquered its Native Americans and, under international law, has only been required to compensate them. But here, Britain signed sovereign deals with aboriginals, catapulting them under international law to the rights and privileges of nation-states. Thus they call themselves First Nations."

Is my dislike of this woman slanting my views too much, or does she seem to be expressing some regret that Canada didn’t conquer the aboriginals and give everyone else the easier option of just tossing money at them? Instead, you know, of trying to recognise their cultures and the value of those cultures and all that messy, complicated stuff.

The whole article is bitching about the fact that land claims are making it harder for people to make money. Then, she has the gall to end the article with this:

"Canada’s failure to bring Canada’s First Nations into the fold, or in some cases to hope the Natives “somehow disappear,” is not only a national blemish but an economic impediment."

That’s exactly what you want, Francis. You want to give the aboriginals money so they’ll shut up and disappear.
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What inspired me to write this post is an article Diane Francis put out today in the New York Post about Burger King buying Tim Hortons, and how it's a tax dodge for Burger King, because it's all part of that trend about tax inversion. http://nypost.com/2014/08/31/burger-kings-tax-dodging-ways-needs-to-be-stopped/

I find her indignation at these financial shenanigans hilarious given she was just pushing the worship of Jeff Immelt, the CEO of GE who's best known for making a mint for his company by putting all the money off-shore and evading taxes.

But the most interesting part of the article is how she shoots off into a rant about Canada not paying enough for the military. See, we lure the evil American companies here by having lower corporate tax rates, and we can only afford to do that because we don't pay enough for the military, and so .... what? She's not even saying we should raise the corporate tax rate. Just expand our military forces. Then she goes back to the rest of the article.

But not before getting a couple of numbers wrong. She writes:

According to the World Bank, the US spends 3.8% of its GDP on defense and peacekeeping, Britain 2.63%, France 2%, Australia 1.6% and Canada 1%

According to her own source, a chart from 2009 to 2013, Britain spends 2.3%, in a steady decline since 2009, and France spends 2.2%, in a steady decline since 2009.

Australia does spend 1.6%, but that's it's lowest since 2009. The United States has also seen a steady decline since 2009. In fact, if you look at the chart, a downward trend in military spending seems to be happening in a majority of countries. http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/MS.MIL.XPND.GD.ZS

The rest of the article can be skipped, as it's nothing that hasn't already been said by eight million other people.

Her tangent in this article reminds me of the tangent in her article dated August 22, 2014, called “As oil shipments rise, rail industry in desperate need of clean-up”: http://business.financialpost.com/2014/08/22/as-oil-shipments-rise-rail-industry-in-desperate-need-of-clean-up/

Basically, she’s saying that there’s afoot a plan to just avoid the Keystone Pipeline politics and ship everything by rail, which she says is a bad idea because the rail industry is so unsafe. No argument there. However, while she talks about lives lost and property damage – don’t get me wrong, they are extremely important – she, again, disregards the cost to the environment, which is the damage that is far more likely.

Then, she shoehorns in a totally unnecessary plug for her merger of the century nonsense:

Interestingly, the tragedy illustrated the inter-dependence of the two countries: the train was owned and operated by a third-rate U.S. railway company, partially owned by the Quebec Pension Plan; the oil was from the North Dakota Bakken oil play and the customer was New Brunswick’s Irving Oil.

Maybe this is an excellent reason why this inter-dependence is a bad idea, with responsibility spread out like that and people not talking to each other. Also, this brings to mind her schemes for better energy for America. All the risk for creating the energy would be placed in Canada, all of the benefit accrued by Americans.

Here’s an article of Francis’s from 2012 in which she says why rail is a great alternative to pipelines. http://opinion.financialpost.com/2012/11/16/alaska-bound-rail-project-could-solve-canadas-oil-sands-problems/

Granted, the article was written before the derailment in Lac-Mégantic in 2013, but in her current article she says:

Then the sector must be revamped. The train business has been allowed to remain a 19th century technology run with 19th century mentality.

I doubt the train industry has deteriorated into century-old standards between her 2012 article and this one, so either she didn’t know what she was talking about then, or she doesn’t know what she’s talking about now. Could be both.
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Diane Francis Teaches Americans About Canadian Politics AKA A Bunch of Stuff Francis Should Have Put in Her Ridiculous Merger of the Century Book

In short, Francis thinks American politics are a mess and the States should merge with Canada because the Canadian system is awesome. Or it would be awesome if we made two enormous changes that would mean it wasn’t the Canadian system anymore.

http://www.the-american-interest.com/articles/2014/08/18/canada-to-the-rescue/

It’s called “Canada to the Rescue.” Canada to the rescue! Good god. It’s like she’s trying to alienate the readers before they’ve even gotten to the article.

I do wonder at her mind. She spends most of Merger crapping all over everything Canadian, and then ever once in a while she pulls out an article saying “Do what Canada is doing.”

And apparently change requires a merger. Americans can’t make their own government work by themselves by looking about the world and trying new ideas. Only a merger will do the trick. Because Canada is magic. And Americans have so much respect for Canada that they want to be just like us.

In the article, she claims that she was speaking too soon when, during an interview held at some point after the release of the book in October of 2013, she said that, in the case of a merger, Democrats would be elected and that would go a long way to fixing things. After all, look at Obama’s first two years in office. Democrats controlled Congress and he still wasn’t able to get much done.

A reminder: That was back in 2009-2011. Francis has just now decided that more Democrats can’t provide an easy fix. I find this timing interesting. More on that later.

She refers a couple of times to how long it will take to create a merger and seems to suggest such care is necessary. This is fascinating, given the fact that in her book, one of the things she admired about the unification of West and East Germany was how quickly it was done. Is speed no longer something to strive for?

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As the week passed, I feared Diane Francis would release no articles for me, and this made me very sad, but she pulled through in the end. And guess what it’s about. You get one guess.

That’s right, Chinese corruption!

When I referred to the possibility that Francis just wrote one document and is now slicing it up to sell as multiple articles, I was joking, but now I’m starting to wonder if that’s really the case. Here’s a paragraph from her current article:

Another option is to drive truckloads of cash into the backdoor of friendly casinos in Macao where the cash is blended then paid out, minus a fee, as gambling winnings in another currency. At http://business.financialpost.com/2014/08/08/chinas-anti-corruption-crackdown-threatens-to-spill-over-into-canada/

And here’s a paragraph from her second most recent Chinese article:

The other option is to drive truckloads of cash into the backdoor of friendly casinos where the cash is blended in with the rest then paid out, minus a fee, as gambling winnings in another currency. At http://nypost.com/2014/07/26/why-10b-of-chinas-money-is-laundered-every-month/

More comparisons:

Macao’s casinos enjoy six times’ the gaming revenue of the Las Vegas Strip and Hong Kong has obliging banks. A more appropriate label for the two would be the Special Laundering Regions of China.

And:

Macao has a casino industry with six times the gaming revenue of the Las Vegas Strip, and Hong Kong has obliging banks. A more appropriate label for the two would be the Special Laundering Regions of China.

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Diane Francis has written yet another article on Chinese corruption. What did she do, write one long document that she’s now cutting into pieces and selling as separate articles?

I wonder if this is material she’s accumulating for her book. I’m not sure how one can make the connection between the Chinese buying real estate in New York and the golden glory that is Silicon Valley, but I’m sure she can find a way. Perhaps the noble CEOs valiantly defending modern day Camelot from the evil hordes. Then she can use these articles as sources and pad her list of endnotes.

I’m providing a link to her article but I don’t suggest you bother reading it. It’s incredibly sloppy work. She’s just repeating stuff she’s already written, skipping really important new developments, and throwing in a couple of numbers that I can’t find support for anywhere else, leaving me to suspect she either got them wrong or they were delivered to her by angels in a dream. http://nypost.com/2014/07/26/why-10b-of-chinas-money-is-laundered-every-month/

But really, it looks like she dashed it off in five minutes.

What is far more entertaining is an article she wrote back in February, chastising New Yorkers for criticising foreigners who are buying up their condos. The article is called “Foreign Real Estate Buyers in NY Are Not The Enemy.” http://nypost.com/2014/02/22/foreign-real-estate-buyers-in-ny-are-not-the-enemy/

Because, you see, she bought a condo in New York. While that is a sign of a hostile takeover when Chinese people do it, it’s a big boost to the economy when not-Chinese people do it.

At one point she writes: “As we say in Canada: Give me a break.”

As though that expression were unique to Canada. I do like the implication that she’s Canadian.

You’re 100% yankee doodle dandy, honey. You just happen to have been handed Canadian citizenship back when our standards were low. You are not a foreigner to anyone in New York.

She calls herself a foreigner. Someone who didn’t know her might think she is actually Canadian. I have an acquaintance who has lived in the States for at least seventy years. When he’s in the States, he sounds like he just got off the boat and plays up his Irish ancestry. When he’s in Ireland, he brags about being American. Maybe she’s inflicted with some weird version of that.

She makes the following complaint:

Buyers here must submit to a rigorous process that requires us to pay for credit checks, police checks and proving we don’t owe taxes anywhere. Worse yet, we had to disclose on paper, for their perusal, all of our personal and business assets, stock and bond trades, cash and bank accounts worldwide. These figures had to be verified by banks, accountants or lawyers.

I bet she would have no problem demanding all of that from Chinese people wanting to buy in.

This is the best part:

Some locals grumble about the buyers of the lavish “safety deposit boxes in the sky” and whether they are hiding ill-gotten gains.

Which she thinks is short-sighted or ridiculous or whatever.

Oh, Diane Francis, who’s mommy’s favourite little hypocrite? You are! Yes, you are!
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Diane Francis’s Error-Ridden Report - Mobilizing Against Injustice: Global Solution Networks Combating Violence Against Women and Girls http://gsnetworks.org/wp-content/uploads/Francis_Gender_Violence.pdf (dated July 24, 2014)

You’d think that if someone were chosen (and possibly paid) to write a document this important about issues of such huge significance, that someone wouldn’t half-ass it. Well, if that someone were Diane Francis, you’d be wrong.

This post is about the endnotes. Do they have errors? Is the information they are connected to accurately reflected in the material? There are things to be said about the body of the work, starting with the needless shot at immigrants on the very first page, but I spent most of yesterday going through 81 endnotes, and I have stuff to do this weekend. Besides, if Francis can’t be bothered to get the basics right, the paper is worthless, because it can’t be trusted. Which is really too bad, given how important this is.

The thing is, most of these problems are technical. A lot of this involves simple errors that would have been avoided had someone involved in this project actually given a damn.

I mention every error I find. I’m nitpicky. No one is perfect, god knows I have typos in my last book despite external editing and lots of proofreading, and I’ve probably made mistakes in this post, but given the sheer number of problems in this document, the meat of which is only 24 pages long, Francis deserves to have every problem pointed out. She’s supposed to be a professional and this sloppiness is inexcusable.

If you read my notes, you’ll see some genuinely horrific information. TRIGGER WARNINGS.

What’s the deal with providing the link to the homepage of a major institution without bothering to provide a link straight to the page that you got the information? I shouldn’t have to dig around to try to find it. Lazy.

Summary:

Let’s start with the fact that the document claims 82 citations while only 81 sources are provided. That’s because on page 5, Francis skipped a number re: the citations and no one caught it. Ever. That made double checking sources extra fun. I point that out as an error only the first time, because otherwise the following 60-odd endnotes could all be called wrong.

Of the 81 endnotes:

1 I call problematic. I think there’s something wrong with it, but can accept that the opposing view could be reasonable.

3 I call useless. Francis is quoting people from interviews she said she had with them, but those interviews aren’t anywhere that can be read. If the source was a document that was an interview with such-and-such a person, a whole interview I could read, that would be one thing. Saying “A phone interview” is, as far as I’m concerned, worthless. However, some people might find that sort of thing acceptable, which is why I’m not putting these endnotes under ‘wrong.’

21 were wrong, were misleading, or had mistakes.

A special mention for using a bigot as a source. Well done!

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In the first article I address, Diane Francis advocates giving control over our oil sands to an American (of course) CEO because he has plans for cutting emissions. Except he has no actual means of doing so. He’s basically saying stuff like, “If we could lower emissions, that would be great.” Truly innovative ideas, those are. He’s a Republican – ick – with a history of firing people, lowering wages while he enjoys a multimillion dollar salary, and trying to convince us doorknobs that when hiring people in China is called “globalism” it’s completely different from “outsourcing.” Oh, and one of the articles I link to refers to him as a Teflon executive because he keeps getting kudos from people like Francis despite the fact that under his tenure, the operation of GE has been, let us say, rocky.

The second article, in the Washington Post, is particularly dry, as it’s about Chinese people buying residential property in the States and Canada, but any time Henny Penny bashes the foreigners, I have to take a look, and I wasn’t disappointed. She swerves from Chinese people buying property to a corrupt Chinese politician and his corrupt family to a trend in the criminal international transfer of funds, because she never wants us to forget that all Chinese people are evil.

I couldn’t say the numbers she presented in this article that I checked – I didn’t check all of them, because, gah, boring – were flat out wrong, but I believe she used some of the information in a misleading way. The Washington Post article uses as a source another, earlier Diane Francis article, one in the New York Post dated June 7, 2014, which has almost all of the same claims. I don’t know if that’s a thing newspapers do, but if it is, that’s ridiculous and sad.

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I will be watching Francis from now until her next book comes out, probably. It’s fun. She relentlessly publishes articles, so I decided to read some. These two are very like her book. She contradicts herself, celebrates job loss, and gets things wrong.

To spare your eyes, I will summarise.

In one article, she criticises America for it's gun culture and says it should look to Canada on how to deal with gun control and mental health. If anyone reading this slogged through my posts about her ridiculous book, Merger of the Century, you will remember she sneered at the concerns Canadians have about the gun situation in the States and produced a model for a merger that would not only destroy Canada's health care system but do nothing to improve America's.

In this article, she also gets the number of gun deaths in America wrong.

The second article is about Google producing self-driving cars. While most people are talking about the increase in safety, she seems more excited by the thought of all the taxi drivers who will lose their jobs. Also, she reports that Google has already built 100 cars, when it hasn't. It has built a prototype. It's still looking for a manufacturer to build those cars.

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Well, not yet, but I just learned she's working on a new book. It's going to be about Silicon Valley. I am totally going to buy that sucker - I got so much entertainment out of Merger of the Century that I feel obligated to throw her a few dollars - and check all of her sources.
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Hey, Diane Francis, I found this political cartoon from 1885-1890, and immediately thought of your innovative, new idea about a merger with Canada and America. And look at that vicious, diabolical Britain, working so hard to keep the two countries apart.



The following was published in the Grinchuckle, September 23rd, 1869.



The text is: Young Canada -- "We don't want you here."

John Bull -- "That's right, my son. No matter what comes, an empty house is better than such a tenant as that!"
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An examination of the book Merger of the Century: Why Canada and America Should Become One Country by Diane Francis, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd., Toronto, 2013.

In which I wrap it up.

FINAL THOUGHTS

So this turned into a book. A short book, just over 70,000 words, but a book nonetheless. I had no expectation of creating a document anywhere near this length, but I had no idea how bad Francis’s work would be.

And it is bad. I could use other words like incompetent and illogical, which are both accurate descriptions, but sometimes the really basic words are the best. This is a bad argument, because it can’t support her premise, that a merger is possible.

I’m not talking about the revulsion most Canadians feel at the very idea of a merger. I’m not talking about the chauvinism and the hypocrisy Francis expresses. I’m not even talking about a merger that, if it involved two individuals instead of two countries, would have all of the earmarks of an abusive relationship and everyone would be telling Canada to grab the kids and get the hell out. I’m saying that she has failed to put forward a case anyone could rationally believe.

It’s a little like a lawyer who has to represent someone everyone is dead sure is guilty. The defence has to be logical. The lawyer has to say stuff like, “That witness couldn’t have seen that event from that distance when it was that dark.” The lawyer can’t say, “It wasn’t my client; the flying spaghetti monster did it.” That level of incompetence would result in complaints to the law society, at the very least, and hopefully the declaration of a mistrial.

There was no logic here.

First, let’s get rid of the asinine notion that the countries could just merge economically and leave everything else untouched, because that’s clearly impossible. Business is too entwined with too many other areas of life to pluck it out and treat it separately. Let’s just look at law and regulations. Aside from the obvious acts dealing with creating and running corporations, partnerships and sole proprietorships, you’ve got securities, banking and taxes. Accounting. Labour and employment. Currency. Health and safety. Workman’s compensation. Human rights codes. Insurance. Environmental law. Industry standards. Licensing professionals. Licensing anything. Criminal law. Family law. Estate law. Pensions. Immigration. Zoning. And that’s just what I thought up in a few minutes.

Not only would there have to be changes to all of those areas of law, but how those changes are made would have to change, as Canada and America have different ways of making laws and regulations. And guess which country would be doing all the changing?

And the next thing to get rid of is this idea that Canadians and Americans are identical. (Beyond that trivial little bit about Canadians being virtually useless and Americans being virtually perfect.)

Here’s one:

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An examination of the book Merger of the Century: Why Canada and America Should Become One Country by Diane Francis, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd., Toronto, 2013.

I had to split up some links to keep this post from being ridiculously wide.

In which Francis appears to have given up.

Subchapter headings are hers.

CANADA MUST RESOLVE ITS ABORIGINAL SITUATION, MERGER OR NOT

Francis likes how the Australians are handling things.

Francis says:

“After the [Australian] Mabo case established aboriginal claims, the Native Title Act was passed in 1993, and hundreds of land-use agreements since.” (page 319)

Francis says:

“Australia’s laws have established a process to verify, evaluate and adjudicate claims. The National Native Title Tribunal hears claims to establish their validity and to rule on their merits by determining whether lands, rights and/or compensation should be awarded. This process has, in essence, enfranchised the (page 319) 517,200 Australians of aboriginal extraction – representing 2.5 percent of the population – by giving them their day in court.” (page 320)

Odd phrasing, don’t you think? “Giving them their day in court.” That’s meaningless if they don’t win.

And hey, because of it, Australia has been able to get at a lot of resources!

So, let’s look at this well-oiled machine.

Here’s a link to a radio transcript, dated February 28, 2014. The speakers are reflecting on the law’s effects over the twenty years since its enactment. http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/02/28/native-title-act-20-years A leader in defending aboriginal rights says that while there had been some successful claims that wouldn’t have been possible before the act kicked in, there are a lot of problems with it. He says:

"It's a white fella legal construct and what it is actually designed to do, in my view, is not to enliven traditional law and custom but to control traditional law and custom."

Other passages include:

“Under the Native Title Act, claims can only be made over certain parts of Australia, such as unallocated or vacant Crown land.” (So, land no one else is using.)

“The toughest requirement is that claimants have to be able to prove a continuity of traditional laws and customs on the land being claimed since European settlement.”

“That often involves lengthy historical research - as well as evidence from living parties.” (My, how efficient.)

“And even when claims are successful, Native Title does not necessarily give the Indigenous parties exclusive rights to the land.”

“In many cases, they have the right to live on the area or use it to for some ceremonial or traditional practices - including hunting.”

“So far there have been 213 successful Native Title determinations; 54 have been struck down.” (Are those the “hundreds of land-use agreements” Francis mentioned?)

“Some have come at the end of long and painful court cases.”

“At present, more than 420 claims are outstanding.”

“In many cases, the elders who launched the claims haven't lived to see them resolved - and many of the benefits of native title haven't flowed through to the communities that need them most.”

“Recognition of Native Title does not, by itself, give any exclusive rights to land - for example, through ownership of mineral resources.”

“But in practice, traditional owners commonly have the right to negotiate with resources companies over exploration or can enter into a land use agreement to settle on financial payments for the right to prospect - though this varies from state to state.”

See? No matter what Francis would have you believe, people with different points of view can actually talk and come to an agreement that works for everyone, instead of one side just screwing the other over.

“Melanie Stutsel is a spokeswoman for the Minerals Council of Australia. … Look I think the Native Title Act and the Native Title system is one of the most complex legislative environments in which we work. It's clearly taken a long time for us to get the system to a point where industry understands what the expectations are from a regulatory sense, but also in terms of the partnerships in the community in which it operates.’"

“There's another review going on now, by the Australian Law Reform Commission.” (There have been several.)

“One of its key concerns, the long time it's taking to solve a claim.”

"‘The only people who have uncertainty in Native Title are the Native Title claimants. We also know now that the content of Native Title is very poor. It's the right to do things on land which someone else now owns and from our point of view, from this rep body's point of view we don't think that's acceptable.’"

Here’s an article from February 12, 2014, called “Unfinished business: native title compensation” which discusses the huge complications around recognising and valuing aboriginal title. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-02-12/priest-native-title/5252298

Here’s an article from November 21, 2013, that says:

“The High Court has handed down a decision which further confirms that native title rights to hunt, fish and gather can trump state legislation that conflicts with the continued exercise of such rights, effectively creating a dichotomy of rights and practical difficulties for policing compliance.” http://www.claytonutz.com/publications/edition/
21_november_2013/20131121/native_title_rights_to_fish_mean_
state_legislation_is_mere_abalone.page

So perhaps things aren’t as neatly tied up as Francis would have us believe.

This is a link to a report on poverty in rural areas in Australia. People in rural areas are, in general, more likely to be living in poverty, and aboriginals in rural areas are more likely to be living in poverty than non-aboriginal people. http://ruralhealth.org.au/sites/default/files/
documents/nrha-policy-document/policy-development/rural-poverty-
snapshot-11-october-final.pdf

Here’s an article from April 29, 2013, called “Australia’s Boom is Anything But for its Aboriginal People.” Trigger warning, there’s some disturbing material. http://www.globalresearch.ca/australias-boom-is-anything-
but-for-its-aboriginal-people/5333387

We’ve got all of the same problems in Canada, unfortunately. I’m just saying the Australian way might not be the path to take.

Francis claims there are 1,300 unresolved land claims in Canada and couldn’t be bothered to provide a citation. I’ve been googling and not even Statistics Canada, as far as I can tell, has a number on that. Here’s an article from May 29, 2008, that says there are 450 unresolved land claims in Canada, but the number could have jumped up since then, I guess. http://www.canada.com/story.html?id=ea5b7819-5d6f-426d-8c43-1021d9928663

Francis bitches about all of the land claims going on in Canada – mostly without citations - and how they’re holding up all the rich people and governments wanting to get at the resources.

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An examination of the book Merger of the Century: Why Canada and America Should Become One Country by Diane Francis, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd., Toronto, 2013.

TRIGGER WARNING TRIGGER WARNING TRIGGER WARNING: references to rape and suicide

All of the chapter and subchapter headings are hers.

I had to split up some links or the post would be too ridiculously wide.

In which Francis manages to repeat herself and contradict herself all at the same time.

CHAPTER SEVEN

IF THERE IS NO MERGER SOON

This is about Francis making predictions, and we know how good she is at that.

Francis says:

“Canada has become nearly as dependent on the United States as it has historically been on the Britain.” (page 295)

Let’s say this is true. Then it’s high time we stood on our own feet, isn’t it?

She feels Canadians have been basically voting for a merger anyway, by buying America’s stuff and selling stuff to Americans. Ignore all those other trade agreements hiding behind the curtain.

Bwahahahaha! She uses the term “white knight.” Yes, yes, I know of its use in parlance regarding business transactions, but given there are so many Americans who insist America is the world’s White Knight in absolutely everything, it’s hard to take it seriously.

And I’ve never been able to buy into the “Knight in shining armour” thing, given the crusades and the fact that regardless of the code of chivalry, knights had no problem raping people. Here’s a link to an article about rape in Medieval England and France, if you have the stomach for it. Seriously, trigger warnings. http://medievalists.net/files/11020201.pdf Here’s a link to an article about the crusades. Trigger warnings. http://www.medievalwarfare.info/crusades.htm

This is her logic. America is slowly getting control over Canada with all of the buying and selling, and compares this to a creeping takeover, which she says:

“…is illegal in stock markets in developed countries because creeping takeovers allow buyers to avoid paying a premium to shareholders for control. The only defense against such maneuvers is to recruit the assistance of a white knight, an acceptable partner who is willing to pay a premium for control. In the case of Canada, the white knight would be the United States, but the Americans have been doing most of the creeping.” (page 295)

I’m just throwing up a definition of white knight up here to remind everyone why this is so hilarious:

“A white knight is an individual or company that acquires a corporation on the verge of being taken over by forces deemed undesirable by company officials (sometimes referred to as a "black knight"). While the target company doesn't remain independent, a white knight is viewed as a preferred option to the hostile company completing their takeover. Unlike a hostile takeover, current management typically remains in place in a white knight scenario, and investors receive better compensation for their shares.” http://www.investopedia.com/terms/w/whiteknight.asp

America is going to save us from Americans!

I decided I really hated myself and looked up some case law dealing with creeping takeovers.

Here’s an Ontario case Neo Material Technologies Inc. (Re), which can be found online here: https://www.osc.gov.on.ca/documents/en/Proceedings-RAD/rad_20090901_neo-material.pdf Basically, Company A announced that it was going to buy a bunch of stock in Company B, a company in which Company A already had a significant amount of stock. Fearing a creeping takeover, Company B – DUN DUN DUN! – passed a new Shareholders’ Rights Plan:

“…to prevent the acquisition of control of, or a creeping takeover bid for, the Company by means of a partial bid. The [Second Shareholder Rights Plan] requires that any offer to acquire shares of the Company be made to all shareholders for all of their shares to ensure that all shareholders of the Company are treated equally and fairly in connection with any take-over bid for the company. The [Second Shareholder Rights Plan] is being adopted to discourage discriminatory, coercive or unfair attempts to take over the Company.” [paragraph 21]

Company A complained and the judge said, “Too bad, suckers!”

The target in Ontario case Falconbridge Ltd. (Re) also passed a new shareholders’ rights plan. https://www.osc.gov.on.ca/documents/en/Proceedings-RAD/rad_20060817_falconbridge.pdf

The target in Afexa Life Sciences Inc. (Re) also used a shareholders’ rights plan. They lost the case, but it was more a matter of the judge deciding the plan had served its purpose and it was in the shareholders’ best interests to let it go. (This one is from Alberta.) http://www.albertasecurities.com/Notices%20Decisions
%20Orders%20%20Rulings/Issuers/3990610-v1-Afexa_
Life_Sciences_Inc__Order.DOC.pdf

Here’s a paper written by actual lawyers about the increasing use of rights plans in Canada as a means to protect a company from certain kinds of takeovers. Now, first of all, one of the purposes of such a plan is to give the people in charge a chance to find other bids, or a better price, so it’s not necessarily about stopping a takeover from happening at all. And the paper discusses the fact that there are other means that can be used to render a plan ineffective and so Canada’s belief in the power of such plans might be illusionary. I’m just saying that the “white knight” option isn’t the only one. Maybe they’ll sell to the people who were engaging in the creeping, but with better terms for everyone. Maybe they’ll choose to sell to someone else entirely, if they can find a better deal. Maybe they’ll sell to a bunch of different people. I know Francis wants us to be all enamoured with the whole “America is a possessive boyfriend, that means he loves you!” scenario, but I’m all for keeping one’s options open.
http://www.millerthomson.com/assets/files/article_attachments/
Current_Trends_and_Future_Opportunities_in_Corporate_Securities_Issues-_
Shareholder_Rights_Plans.PDF

Here’s a newsletter written by actual lawyers that addresses things like how much stock people can buy before they have to make a formal bid and/or make a report of their activities. It also says that security regulators are proposing laws that will make it easier to defend a company against certain kinds of takeovers, though at the time of the writing of the newsletter, it wasn’t known whether tougher laws would be enacted. http://www.goodmans.ca/files/file/docs/Goodmans%20Activist%20
Investing%20May%202013%20-%20Online.pdf

Also, call me crazy, but I can’t see America fighting American big business to protect little ol’ Canada.

Finally, America wouldn’t qualify as a white knight because Canada’s “current management” – the Members of Parliament and the senators – would all be fired.

She talks about how much America already owns of Canada as though that weren’t scary and more likely to make us want to find anyone else to buy our stuff.

I won’t go into what Francis calculated based on people having salaries of $150,000 a year, (page 196) I’ll just give you a link to a CBC article from September 11, 2013 that says this:

“It shows that the median family income in Canada is $76,000 — generally higher in the west than the east — while the median individual income is just $27,600. That means just as many individuals earn less than $27,600 as earn more.” http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/wealthiest-1-earn-10-times-
more-than-average-canadian-1.1703017

She repeats a bunch of stuff she’s already said.

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An examination of the book Merger of the Century: Why Canada and America Should Become One Country by Diane Francis, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd., Toronto, 2013.

In which Francis proposes a model in which Canadians will have to pay taxes to the American federal government (while living in Canada) and will have to obey federal American law (while living in Canada) but won’t be permitted to vote in presidential elections (unless we leave Canada.) Seriously, WTF?

All of the chapter and subchapter headings are hers.

CHAPTER SIX

MERGER POLITICS

Don’t look at the title and think Francis is going to spend any time getting down to brass tacks about how we would actually merge a constitutional monarchy with a republic.

She mentions the monarchy only long enough to say Canadians’ affection for it is “fickle,” so I guess we’re supposed to toss it. That will completely fuck up our Constitution and legislation, but we’re supposed to be taking a lighter to all of that, anyway. It means rejecting not only England but all of the other countries in the Commonwealth, some of whom we really like, but who needs friends? It means slashing a bunch of promises we’ve made, but who needs honour? The Commonwealth Games are a great party, but they’re not as big and as famous the Olympics, so they’re not worth participating in, and we’re only supposed to talk to other countries to make money and threaten to shoot their people.

Francis starts the chapter this way:

“A merger makes business sense. But still, many corporate consolidations fail, not over compensation or money issues – payments are always negotiable – but when fights erupt as to who will occupy the corner offices, will have the keys, the titles and, ultimately, run the place. Another obstacle can be a clash between two corporate cultures. If political infighting takes over, an otherwise worthy union of compatible corporations can be derailed. And, naturally, any transactions of this size between two established nations would be daunting.” (page 255)

And that’s all she says about this, because we all know who will have the corner offices and the keys and the running of the place and Canadians will just have to suck it up.

This time when she talks about how alike Canadians and Americans are, she talks about our pessimism concerning the economy and how dangerous the world is getting. Kinda like how a whole lot of other people feel in a whole bunch of other countries.

She repeats herself.

This is where she talks about how Canadians will be the ones expected to demean themselves by asking to be subjugated to the Americans. Or, as she says a Royal Commission from 1985 puts it:

“‘The United States has clearly indicated that any overtures toward free trade would, of necessity, have to come from Canada. Canadians have the largest interests at stake, but the Americans, we believe, would welcome a first approach from Canada.’” (page 257)

And thanks to Brian Mulroney, we did.

American lingo alert. She speaks of Liberals and left-leaning Conservatives working to create, among other things, a “welfare state.” (page 257)

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An examination of the book Merger of the Century: Why Canada and America Should Become One Country by Diane Francis, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd., Toronto, 2013.

In which Francis fails to find a good example.

All chapter and subchapter headings are hers.

CHAPTER FIVE

HOW A MERGER DEAL MIGHT BE STRUCTURED

We’re going to pretend it makes sense to use the reunification of West and East Germany as some kind of blueprint for a merger between Canada and the States.

Summarising Francis’s description of events, East Germany became a communist dictatorship and by 1961, 3.5 million Germans defected, so the Soviets built the wall to keep more from leaving. (page 215)

Wall comes down.

Oh lord, this is a bad one. Francis says:

“In late 1989, East Germany and other socialist satellites were cast adrift after the fall of the Iron Curtain. Many, especially younger people, streamed into West Germany looking for work, and without a place to stay they slept in doorways and parks. East Germany was heading toward bankruptcy, with a population one-quarter of West Germany’s and a moribund economy that fell, according to some estimates, to only 8 percent of West Germany’s.” (page 216)

Problem. This is the source Francis cites for that paragraph: http://www.mongabay.com/reference/country_studies/germany/ECONOMY.html

And this is what it actually says:

“As might have been expected, the economy of eastern Germany went into a deep and precipitous slump immediately after unification. Within a year after unification, the number of unemployed rose above 3 million. Industrial production in eastern Germany fell to less than half the previous rate, and the total regional product fell precipitously through 1991. One estimate was that in 1991 the entire production of eastern Germany amounted to less than 8 percent of that of western Germany.”

That 8 percent statistic she talks about occurred AFTER unification, not before. Does she read this stuff before she uses it?

And the rest of the stuff going on in the paragraph isn’t too pretty, either.

Apparently, America West Germany had no problems and got nothing from the deal. At least, all she says about what was done in the deal was:

“Five re-established East German states, or lander, that had been abolished in the 1950s joined West Germany in return for a generous currency swap, assumption of all debt, entitlement obligations, (huh?) a pledge to modernize the eastern economy and a promise to clean up the environmental degradation caused by communist industries. In 2010, on the twentieth anniversary of reunification, estimates of the cost, spread over two decades, ranged upward from $2 trillion, depending upon what is included.” (page 216)

There will be another mention of that $2 trillion shortly.

Francis says:

“The world’s biggest transaction was a tremendous achievement and was executed in less than a year.” (page 216)

Because an essential part of any merger of two political units is speed.

Francis says:

“But for East Germans, readjustment took a toll. Most retrained, and many lost their jobs for lengthy (page 216) periods or had to relocate to West Germany or other parts of the European Union.” (page 217)

We wouldn’t have anything like a European Union to move to, nowhere we would be accepted without government paperwork giving us residency and the right to work. We wouldn’t even have the Commonwealth for support, as we would be stripped of our place in it as a consequence of the merger. (Can you see the Americans acknowledging the Queen as their head of state? Me neither.) Any treaties with other countries with the goal of allowing citizens to move back and forth for work – we’ve got one with Greece (http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/node/21674 ) and the Netherlands ( http://www.rsonac.org/schengen-visa/visa-instructions-for-the-netherlands---schengen/canadian-citizens/young-workers-program.html) - would be voided.

A bunch of Canadians would be made economically vulnerable, and at the same time, Canada would be cut off from her family and friends.

Francis says:

“But by 2012, Germany’s economy was Europe’s biggest, the fourth-biggest in the world and the second-largest exporter after China.” (page 217)

I didn’t bother to follow the citations she provides for that sentence, but I did read the source of the first citation in this chapter. It leads to an article in the New York Times called “Germany Looks to Its Own Costly Reunification in Resisting Stimulus for Greece.” It’s here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/26/world/europe/german-reunification-pains-inform-stance-on-greece.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 Germany isn’t thrilled with the idea of rushing to save Greece because of the results of its own reunification.

“…with the nation pouring $2 trillion or more into the east, by some estimates, to little immediate benefit to the former East Germany, still struggling more than two decades after German reunification.” (There’s that $2 trillion Francis mentioned.)

“While unemployment in the former West Germany is 6 percent, it remains stubbornly higher, at 11.2 percent, in the east. In 2010 gross domestic product per capita was more than $40,000 in the former West and just under $30,000 in the former East, compared with 1991 figures of $27,500 in the West and about $12,000 in the East. But much of the narrowing in the gaps between east and west, experts say, is attributed to the migration of job seekers westward as much as to any significant improvement in the east.”

“You don’t entrust your credit cards to anyone if you can’t control the spending,” said Jens Weidmann, president of the Bundesbank, Germany’s central bank, in an interview Friday with the French newspaper Le Monde.

“Pooling debt is not the right tool for growth,” said Mr. Weidmann, a former economic adviser to Chancellor Merkel. “This would pose both legal and economic problems. I don’t think we’ll be successful in trying to resolve the debt crisis with more debt outside the regular budgets.”

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An examination of the book Merger of the Century: Why Canada and America Should Become One Country by Diane Francis, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd., Toronto, 2013.

In which Francis talks about the benefits of the merger. Canadians needn’t bother reading this chapter, as it doesn’t apply to us.

All of the chapter and subchapter headings are Francis’s.

CHAPTER FOUR

THE BENEFITS OF A MERGER

You might think this would be a lengthy chapter, given Francis is trying to sell us something, but you’d be wrong. It’s the second shortest chapter in the book, if you don’t count the introduction and the conclusion, which I don’t. And Francis pads it out by repeating stuff from other parts of the book and throwing in stuff that is truly unnecessary.

This also represents my shortest post to date.

Francis says:

“The term ‘synergy’ comes from the Greek word synergos, which derives from the phrase ‘working together.’ Colloquially, synergy is the combination of two or more things that can produce a preferable result that otherwise would not be possible if they remained independent of each other. Mergers and acquisitions are all about synergy.’ (page 177)

I like the “urban dictionary” definition better:

“Marketing buzzword only rumoured to imply the combining of forces for greater productivity and mutual understanding.”

Did you ever see the movie In Good Company starring Dennis Quaid? In which a big company buys out a smaller company, talks about synergy, and then fires everyone?

Francis says:

“Ideally, if Canada and the United States combined, they would be able to cherry-pick the best policies and practices from each economy and adopt what works best for both. For instance, Canada’s banking and regulatory system would be a good match with the American work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit. The tax rates in some jurisdictions would be lower than they are in Canada, except for Alberta.” (page 177)

Canada doesn’t have a good work ethic. Does that mean if Canada and America merge, Canadians will lose their paid vacation leave and half their stat holidays? Because that doesn’t sound like a miserable existence at all.

I’m sorry, but whenever she talks about America’s entrepreneurial spirit, I go back to the Google/Motorola bomb. I know it’s just one, unusual example, but it is the example she chose.

And, you know, the whole crash in 2008.

Let me get this straight. We’re going to add the population of Canada, around 35,000,000, to the population of the States, around 320,000,000, and provide universal health care and improve education throughout the States? Because that’s a lot to ask of 35,000,000 people. And lower taxes?

Oh, wait, she doesn’t talk about health care or education here.

Francis says:

“The most obvious synergy would be matching Canada’s underdeveloped resource potential with America’s money, markets and workers.” (page 177) (Italics mine.)

Francis’s argument is that Canada lacks skilled labour, and instead of Canada getting on that with better training programs, we should just give all the jobs to Americans. Maybe that’s why we won’t have to worry about how many vacation days we get.

Here’s a link to a Reuters article from January 21, 2014, about the lack of skilled workers in the U.S. construction industry. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/21/usa-economy-construction-idUSL2N0KV1CE20140121

Here’s a link to a Texas Enterprise article from February 12, 2014, about lacking skilled workers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. http://www.texasenterprise.utexas.edu/2014/02/12/policy/skilled-labor-shortage-has-firms-scrambling-visas

Here’s an article on Bloomberg Businessweek from March 20, 2014, about the shortage of welders. http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-03-20/skilled-welder-shortage-looms-in-u-dot-s-dot-with-many-near-retirement

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I probably won't have another post until next week. I have a gazillion things to do, as well as going to a science fiction convention and the tulip festival.

An examination of the book Merger of the Century: Why Canada and America Should Become One Country by Diane Francis, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd., Toronto, 2013.

In which Francis demonstrates she doesn't understand Canadian health care - maybe not American health care, either - and accidentally shoots her own argument.

Chapter and subchapter headings are Francis's.

CHAPTER THREE

AMERICA’S HEALTH-CARE BLIND SPOT

Francis says:

“American health care is run by the private sector, with the result that costs are twice as high as the average expenditure among the thirty-four other rich countries in the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD). Their systems are principally nationalized, and run as not-for-profit organizations. Worse yet, American health care is not only unnecessarily costly, but medical outcomes are no better than the European, Canadian or Japanese models.” (page 162)

Will her book talk about America actually changing its health care system? Nope. And wait until you see what she proposes to do to our health care.

Francis says:

“Government-managed health care saves money by negotiating volume discounts for pharmaceuticals and equipment, and by operating hospitals as nonprofits, so excessive fees are eliminated. Government-mandated health care, with universal coverage, eliminates the need to sue to recoup medical costs, thus reducing medical insurance costs for practitioners and facilities.” (page 163)

…eliminates the need to sue to recoup medical costs… Uh, what? So those classes in law school when we had to read cases that went into excruciating detail about judges calculating damage awards down to the last freaking dime, those were all in my head? Was I smoking some of that marijuana? (Dear cops, no.) That senior partner in the law firm I worked at, he didn’t actually have a practice? He just hung around the office drinking coffee and playing that weird video game in which a polar bear whacks a penguin? (So much more realistic than Coke commercials.)

In the decades Francis has lived here, she’s managed to miss the fact that the government doesn’t actually pay for all medical expenses. The following is a (partial) list of stuff not covered by the Ontario government. I don’t expect you to read it, but on the lengthy list are wheelchair ramps. In other words, if something goes wrong and you end up needing a wheelchair, you pay for the moderations to your house unless you’re covered by private insurance or you can litigate for it.
http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/programs/adp/notcov.aspx

I just did a search on LexisNexis for “medical malpractice” and got 2168 hits. I picked a case at random, involving a hair laser treatment gone seriously south. It can be found here - had to cut the link in half, sorry:

http://caselaw.canada.globe24h.com/0/0/ontario/superior-court-of-justice
/2009/07/29/ayana-v-skin-klinic-2009-42042-on-sc.shtml

Here’s a summary of the results:

“Based on the foregoing factors, I assess Mrs. Ayana’s non-pecuniary general damages at $35,000.00.” (paragraph 301)

Special damages were $ 695.24. (paragraph 305)

“I am satisfied that Mrs. Ayana requires further counselling for post-traumatic stress. I assess the cost of her future care at $1,200.00 based on 12 sessions at $100.00 each.” (paragraph 308)

Her son and husband were awarded $9,000. (paragraph 312)

Doctors get sued. Hence the need for malpractice insurance. http://www.encon.ca/English/liability/ErrorsOmissions/Pages/Medical.aspx

I love universal health care, grand thing, but portray an accurate picture, please. It’s got gaps and flaws, too.

Francis says:

“But the 2012 presidential election was a de facto endorsement of universal health-care coverage, in the form of a piece of legislation nicknamed ‘Obamacare’…(page 163) ‘Obamacare’ is the first step in health-care reform and will give greater control over the costs of the system.” (page 164)

Man, she made me read about Obamacare. I was perfectly happy just being appalled at Republicans for beating a horse so dead the kids who ate its glue have graduated from high school.

The definition of universal health coverage according to the World Health Organization:

Universal coverage (UC), or universal health coverage (UHC), is defined as ensuring that all people can use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship. http://www.who.int/health_financing/universal_coverage_definition/en/

I’m providing a link to an article/comment in the Globe and Mail which explains why Obamacare is not universal health care:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/obamacare-vs-canada-five-key-differences/article14657740/
The writer says this:

“Even though its most virulent critics raise the spectre of ‘Canadian-style’ health care, ‘Obamacare’ does little to change the enduring differences between the two health care systems.”

I’m providing a link to a Washington Times article which has the following quote:

“Although Mr. Obama’s health care law requires all Americans to buy insurance or face fines, the system is built on private companies offering coverage to individuals or groups of consumers and thus is far from the kind of Canadian or European system the phrase ‘universal health care’ connotes. Such systems — also called ‘single payer’ — usually consist of one national government entity paying for and providing care for all citizens.” http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/nov/6/president-touts-obamacare-universal-health-care/?page=all

The following is a link to an article on the Washington Post that discusses those not covered by Obamacare, which has the following quote:

"Even if the law were fully implemented, there would have been 26 million uninsured people," co-author Steffie Woolhandler said in an interview Thursday. "This isn't just about the Medicaid expansion. This is the system as originally designed."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/06/07/obamacare-leaves-millions-uninsured-heres-who-they-are/

To me, this looks like a government making health insurance cheaper. Does that count as a step towards universal health care? I don’t think so. I’m no expert, but Francis doesn’t appear to be, either.

And we all know it’s not just the expense of the insurance that’s the problem, right? More on that in a future post.

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An examination of the book Merger of the Century: Why Canada and America Should Become One Country by Diane Francis, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd., Toronto, 2013.

In which Francis continues to deliver a big “Fuck you!” to both the average Canadian and the average American.

Chapter and subchapter headings are Francis's.

CHAPTER THREE

WHY A MERGER MAKES SENSE

Put on a hardhat, because this gets anvillicious.

Francis begins the chapter with this:

“On August 15, 2011, Google announced a bombshell bid to buy Motorola Mobility, the phone division of the storied U.S. electronics pioneer, for $12.5 billion. The offer was 63 percent above the company’s market capitalization, and payable in cash, in a declining stock market. The strategy was bold but essential. Google was girding for an epic battle against Apple to capture the lucrative market for smartphones and tablets, which many believe will eventually replace cell phones and laptops. The struggle, wrote Businessweek, was ‘between Silicon Valley’s two superstars that would change the future of mobile computing.’” (page 135)

Francis says:

“Motorola had been the Google of its day…. But corporate excesses, innovation fatigue, marketing missteps and the onrush of rivals such as Samsung, Nokia and Apple dragged it downward.” (page 135)

Francis says:

“This was a classic merger, both offensive and defensive. The offer generated much speculation and much handwringing on the part of Nokia, Samsung, Microsoft and Canada’s Research in Motion, maker of the Blackberry. But Motorola shareholders were certainly happy. They could cash out, at a profit, from an intensely competitive sector that Apple, America’s biggest corporation, had been dominating.” (page 136)

So, to summarize the metaphor, strong and innovative America buys floundering and weak Canada. Canadian politicians and businessmen get a bunch of cash and get out of the game, which has gotten way too scary for them, leaving the running of everything to America.

The shareholders benefitted from the deal. How nice for them. How do you think the Motorola employees felt? You know the 4,000 – 20% of the company’s labour force- that were fired (they called it laying off) shortly after the acquisition – and the further 1,200 that were fired in 2013. http://www.theverge.com/2013/3/8/4077904/googles-motorola-to-lay-off-a-further-10-percent-of-its-workforce

So, the Canadian politicians and businesses get a nice payout, and the regular Canadians? Fuck ‘em.

Then, in early 2014, 22 months after the acquisition, Google kept the patents but sold most of its Motorola assets to Lenovo Group Inc., a Chinese company, because the “bold” strategy hadn’t worked. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303743604579351163997405806

So, here’s how it goes. America buys Canada, puts a whole lot of Canadians out of work, keeps what is of benefit to it, and sells us to China. Sign me up for that.

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