It’s time.

There comes a point when “Unity” makes no sense. There’s a point where democracy has to lay it on the line, even if the other side is threatening civil war.

Look – it’s all very well to go full-on Pollyanna and say that we need to understand other points of view, and that the only way towards reconciliation is kindness.

In a perfect world.

This world is demonstrably not perfect.

You can’t reason with people who would prefer you dead. You can’t reason with people who refuse to believe any evidence over their fondest imaginings. You cannot cajole, flatter, empathize, or understand them into civility.

Because they think that stuff is weakness. They think you are weak, and should be killed, and they are eager to do the killing.

The only way to deflect them from the goals they seek – and yes, admittedly, this is only a temporary detour, at best – is to make the cost of their beliefs so high that they get scared and retreat.

Look, a lot of what drives most people is to feel that they belong. That what they say is approved of by those around them. That they are superior to those who aren’t part of “the group”.

And what are they to think, if all kinds of media and organized religion tell them that whites are better than “others”, that immigrants are stealing their jobs, that the Democrats are evil, and that the election was stolen?

It isn’t even that they actually believe these things. It’s that for the last forty years, they’ve paid no penalty for these beliefs, but have, in many senses, been rewarded for them.

Not in money, of course: many of them are demonstrably poorer as the result of the austerity measures they vote for so enthusiastically. But socially, they’ve garnered praise and admiration, at least locally in their own communities.

Their pastor tells them they are virtuous for saying those horrible things. Their neighbors applaud their “courage” when they do those rude things, like refusing to bake a wedding cake or brandishing a gun at a black toddler in a park.

And if, as a result, they lose a little revenue for their business, or even become unemployed, they’ve generally made out like bandits by setting up GoFundMe pages and collecting far more money than they lost or could have ever hoped to earn.

Before we can reconcile with hateful people, we need to convince them to be less hateful. Before we can convince them that their opinions aren’t worth airing, we need them to see those beliefs as unpopular and out of step with their own communities.

And the only way to do that is to make them accountable, in the most extreme way that law and public opinion can muster.

You won’t change their minds, of course. At least some of them will remain unrepentant racist pieces of refuse to the end.

But there are two things that severe justice can accomplish.

One is that their children will know better, and an awful lot of them will grow up thinking far differently from their parents.

The other thing that punishment will accomplish is this:

They’ll mostly shut up.

A Word About Your Canadian Pension

Ever since I was 17, people have been telling me that by the time I retired, there would be no pension money left, and that my contributions were just a tax grab. That we were being cheated.

Fifty years later, I am collecting a comfortable monthly amount that enables me to live in pretty much the same way I would if I were working.

Because that “common-sense/basic economics/entitlements” bullshit is exactly that – bullshit.

The studies that the naysayers point to are filled with unfounded and frequently outright fraudulent “facts” and I will (naturally) tell you why.

  1. The first assumption is that the amount of money sitting in the pension fund on the day the “researcher” looked it up is a static amount – that it will not grow and consequently will simply be depleted by current recipients down to nothing by the time you retire.. That is, that zero contributions will be added, ever again.

    And that is ridiculous, because they are simultaneously telling you that YOUR contributions are going to pay old people, so those monies won’t be there for you.

    I’m pretty sure you can see how that does not compute, as our robot overlords would say.

  2. The second assumption is that everyone currently collecting those payments will still be alive and kicking when you turn 65. That the amount needed to pay out will simply increase forever.

    That not even possible. I don’t care how good our health care system is – people in their 80s today will not all be hanging around for the next 30 years. The numbers will not lie: the retired population does not grow exponentially, and an awful lot of people paying in right now will likely either never collect, or will only collect for a year or three.

  3. The third assumption is that the contributions you make (average seems to be around $5 a month, depending on your salary) are the ONLY amounts involved – they seem to forget that A) your employer is also contributing, and B) (the really big omission that the anti-government shills love to skip over) is that – JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER PENSION PLAN – the money collected for CPP gets INVESTED.

    Sorry about the bolding and caps – but it’s important. The CPP does not rely on just your and your employer’s contributions – it uses that money to grow the pool of cash and make sure there is no shortfall.

  4. There’s a fourth assumption/omission in there, too: what the “There won’t be any money left by the time you need it” doomsayers tend to not point out is that if you earn a lot and put away a lot for your retirement, your piece of this pie will be smaller than those who had to live paycheck to paycheck.

    We aren’t all going to get the same amounts, and that’s done so that the system can re-allocate funds to those who need them – there’s a minimum amount that the government feels you should not fall below. It isn’t really enough – and that’s yet another reason why a Universal Basic Income would be much better – but it is at least an acknowledgement that we don’t think people should starve to death in the freezing dark just because they weren’t rich before they turned 65.

So when someone tells you that you should vote for politicians who hate the idea that we should have a system whereby people do not get pushed off on a metaphorical iceberg when they are deemed to be no longer useful to the economy, you need to stop and think about what they AREN’T telling you.

Vote for people who give a shit, and stop believing that low-effort and essentially fraudulent claim that by the time you hit your golden years, the cupboard will be bare.

The only way for that to happen is if you let the greedy and the ignorant take that system down for their own profit.

What you really want…

The one thing this last few days of nonstop Queen’s funeral TV coverage has laid bare is this:

People in the USA want a monarchy. They see their own system, and *don’t* see themselves.

They have deified the office of the president, and mostly, they don’t recognize the problem with that.

Oh, sure: they say the politicians “serve” them. They’ll assert that those people are their “employees”. They’ll confidently tell anyone who will listen that their Founding Fathers based the system on classical civilizations like Athens and Rome.

But they don’t really believe that.

Sure – those bewigged and frock-coated signees to the Declaration of Independence were all classically educated, inasmuch as they were educated at all. And the forms and terms laid out do mimic what we know about how Rome’s Republic, for example, was set up.

But, in reality, they aped a constitutional monarchy, while giving the titular head of that monarchy a lot more power than most people, even at the time, thought kings ought to have. They did away with the hereditary aspect and added in an electoral process, but the Senate and the House are not much more than the House of Commons and the House of Lords with different names.

And they treat the office of the presidency with the same unquestioning loyalty and reverence that most of the English had for their kings. Maybe more.

In fact, like I said, an awful lot of Americans really want a monarchy.

They don’t really want to vote – it seems inconvenient. And they balk at the idea that people who arrived in the last few decades get to have the same rights as those who were already there do – always excepting those who came before any of their ancestors did, of course.

They want someone they can follow blindly.

They want someone to take on the responsibilities they cannot be bothered with.

Now, this isn’t much different than most other countries. People everywhere seem to have lost the desire to be free – or at least, they’ve lost the understanding that freedom entails some active responsibility outside of elections.

But the problem in the USA is that a significant minority has the ability to make these desires a reality, by fair means or foul, and the last few years has only cemented those desires.

Little kingdoms


The rich are getting ready.

Rather than even make vague attempts at avoiding the disaster itself, the ultra-wealthy are devising ways to protect themselves from the consequences of the environmental collapse that they assume will usher in violent anarchy for the rest of us.

They’re building compounds in isolated places, stockpiling food, and hiring private armies.

Now, please don’t think, as a person earning over six figures, that you are part of this. You are either their enemy or their staff – rid yourself of the notion that because right now, you’re earning enough not to notice rising food prices as anything more than a newsbrief annoyance, that you are in any way protected or on that side of the economic fence. Unless you can afford to buy a 500-acre ranch in New Zealand, you aren’t part of this deal.

And maybe that’s a good thing, because these people are so used to hiring personnel to do almost everything for them, their survival, over the long haul, is probably much smaller than yours.

The really rich don’t actually know how to do anything, and they don’t really understand anything about how the world, when stripped of both servants and technology, actually works.

Just suppose someone decides that the best place to build their refuge is Alaska (one of the many places they think of as isolated enough to be safe). Or in their urban bunkers? Or their gated suburbs?

How to grow food, once the store-rooms have been depleted, how to fix the inverter when the solar collection system goes down, how to treat illnesses without a fully-equipped hospital – they don’t know how to do these things. They certainly don’t seem to understand where the new supplies would be coming from.

And their kids will be even worse, because what their parents don’t know how to do is all the stuff that would need to be passed on but can’t be.

Oh, they might think, in a short-term way, about these things, and build a first aid room and fill it with equipment, and hire a doctor or three, and maybe a nurse or two as well.

What happens if there’s an accident or illness those people aren’t really trained for occurs? What happens when they die? Who would take their place? Their untrained children?

Their hired armed guards face the same problem: how and who will they train?

Most of the articles detailing the plans for hunkering down and riding out the calamities don’t look past the original group’s survival, and they say nothing about taking care of their guards’ or servants’ families, so once these former Navy Seals or whoever age and die off – who does the job then? Who trains the next generation of slaves?

What happens when the ammo runs out? When there are no more spare parts?

Given that the group of “owners” is small (I mean, that’s sort of the point), and the need for underlings is therefore going to be big, and assuming the people in charge think past a decade or so of being housebound – well, this isn’t Mesopotamia of 5000 years ago, and it isn’t Europe of the 1200s.

This is now, and people aren’t quite as powerless or uneducated as they used to be.

Sure – lots of people will sell their souls and their bodies to escape in some small way by working for these people.

But since they don’t need all of us, and since they can’t take away all the guns, or hire all the retired army personnel, and because there will always be more of us than them, their survival is actually less assured than anyone else’s.

We are used to doing things for ourselves. We are used to picking up the pieces. Some of us will survive because we are used to adapting to changing conditions.

It’s almost a certainty that the human race will adapt, if conditions enable us to.

The rich almost inevitably will not – they don’t understand that the world makes us, and not the other way round.

The ways of war

Last night, a military vet pointed out to me that the postwar insistence on women being passive, that their job was to create a calming, non-aggressive, male centred home environment – for women to not ever challenge the men in their lives’ decisions or actions; all this – was possibly an attempt to deal with the massive cases of PTSD that the former soldiers of WW2 were coming home with.

And I can’t stop thinking about this.

Setting suns and all that

I know some people are extremely sad about the Queen’s death – that they feel a great sense of loss, and are hurt by posts that point out that not everyone shares their sentiments.

They are quick to point out that she had no political power, and so cannot be blamed for any bad things done in her name by the governments at various points during her reign.

But this is a kind of handwaving action – she was a very, very rich woman, and that wealth was stolen not only from the many countries that Britain overran and dominated, but also from the British people themselves. At no point in her life did she attempt to return any of that wealth, and she signed her name to many actions that served to support and continue that domination.

It seems sad to me that we still try to revere and worship her position in the world, as if the fact that she was a “direct descendant” of a man who is literally known mainly for his conquest and domination of another country, while ignoring these facts – as if a thin thread of blood relationship made her special and above the common herd.

What of the millions of people who have died to maintain her position in the world? What about the extreme poverty that was forced upon the countries that were colonized by governments her family represented in the past and still represent today?

Why feel sad that despite getting gold-plated medical services (while most of the population of the UK are seeing their services cut through underfunding) she only lived to the age of 96?

Why extoll the virtues of a job that consisted of being ferried to a place, cutting a ribbon, making a short speech, and then receiving a bouquet or two while smiling emptily at children, before being ferried home again?

The British monarchy had no political power, you say, and thus her actions, good or bad, were scripted by various governments at various times – but that means that even her “war service” was not her choice – that every action she performed, every speech she made would have been the product of other people’s decisions and therefore neither to her credit or discredit – she was simply a symbol.

A lot of people do not see this as particularly praiseworthy, and certainly not worth $28 billion dollars, which is what the Windsor family’s wealth is currently estimated at.

The Loan Wars

WARNING!!! This applies only to the Canadian Student Loan system. Citizens of other places: YMMV.

There’s a myth in Canada that you can’t get rid of your student loan debt by declaring bankruptcy, and it just that – a myth,

You totally can, but only after 7 years (or 5 in some exceptional cases subject to some arcane rules I won’t go into here.)

But over and above this, there used to be a way to pay the loan off at lower rates. It involved essentially defaulting, and it isn’t something that works now, but worked when the (Tory) government (big surprise) tried a failed (Shockers!) experiment of having the loans be issued by banks instead of the Canada Student Loan department, which merely sorta-kinda “guaranteed” the loan, but left the bank to collect however it could.

True story – I know the person involved, and I watched as this went down in real life.

Let’s call her Betty (because I know of zero people actually called “Betty”).

She graduated from art college in 1990. The only jobs she could find were minimum wage, and rents were high. Even though she shared a basement suite with a friend, she found it increasingly hard to make her payments. She applied for the moratorium period, but, because she had a job, was denied.

Over the next 4-5 years, Betty really struggled. I mean, really, really struggled. Friends resorted to buying her groceries anonymously, because she often had no money left for eating well before the end of the month.

Then she got laid off. The bank basically said “Why the hell should we care? Pay up.”

But she couldn’t. You know what I mean? Her roomie was kind enough to exchange rent for household chores for a couple of months, with the understanding that Betty would try to pay back some of this when she got on her feet again, and Betty did find another low-paid job, but by the time she had repaid her roomie and felt like she could start working on that loan again, the bank decided to sell the debt to a collection agency.

You all are probably pretty aware that those collection people are relentless, so Betty got one of those cordless phones with call display (the 90s lack of ubiquitous cell phones was not totally a bad thing) and simply ignored the whole thing. The agency even tried phoning her at work (which they are NOT – by law – allowed to do), but her boss was a fairly good dude, and invested ten minutes of his day yelling at them and threatening legal action if they EVER tried that stunt again.

By now, Betty was physically and emotionally exhausted, she was clinically depressed and had developed an anxiety disorder, and since she had zero hope that she would ever be able to rent on her own EVER, let alone buy a house or anything else costing more than $20 at one sitting, she started looking into bankruptcy laws.

But before she had gotten very far, the collection agency went to court and her wages were garnisheed.

And this, folks, is where things get either horrifying or hilarious, depending on your point of view.

There are rules to garnishees – the court decides how much you can reasonably live on, and do not allow the payments to leave you homeless or starving.

Betty discovered that the garnishee payments were far, far less than what the bank had been demanding she pony up every month. Not only that, but the collection agency wasn’t able to collect interest, so the amount she actually owed – not the amount the bank had been getting in pure profit, but just the amount remaining on the original sum she had borrowed -was all she had to pay back.

Two years later, she was debt-free.

True, her credit rating was lousy (one of the weird things in Canadian Student loans is that while paying off a student loan is not permitted to enhance your credit rating in a positive way, FAILING to pay it gives you a negative one) but she found a slightly sketchy credit card company and got a card, using it seldom and religiously paying it off every month before interest payments kicked in. Eventually, she wound up with a fairly good credit history, and lived more or less as happily as anyone probably can in a predatory capitalist society.

The point is that if you think people should starve to feed a predatory loan system, you’re an asshole.

Betty, if you’re out there: I have always been proud that you beat the system.

New Lamps For Old! A dieting post.

The Atkins Diet.

The South Beach Diet.


When you come right down to it, they are all the same thing: a regime focused on lowering carbohydrates and upping your proteins.

“In 1863, William Banting published his Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public, in which he promoted the benefits of a low carb diet for weight loss and optimal health. Banting is now considered to be ‘the father of the low carb diet’.”


In the 1960s, Robert Atkins promoted his own “version” of this, and for a year or three, it was all the rage. Atkins blamed carbs, not fat, for poor weight-loss outcomes. This was coupled with the idea that you could “change your metabolism” by consuming lots of fat, some protein, and fewer carbohydrates.

Many books were sold.

It was heavy on processed meats (Bacon! Baloney! Hot dogs!) which seem to carry not only fat and flavour, but risks of some types of cancers and heart problems, which is kind of weird when you consider that Atkins was a cardiologist.


In 2003, we got the South Beach Diet, which (once again) promoted a low carb/high fat plan (although this time, it was “healthy fats”).

Many, many books were sold.


And then came Keto.

Well, not exactly – a keto diet (largely vegetarian) was promoted in the 1920s as a cure for epilepsy.

Around 2017, though, “Keto” was the new buzzword in dieting. This time, it wasn’t just “low carb” – it was super-super-super low: less than 50 grams a day of carbs, with no fruit allowed, and a restricted list of vegetables.


Not only were many more books sold, there were a variety of YouTube gurus making money from this, as well.

The thing is, all these diets are exactly the same, and for the vast majority of adherents, the experience is roughly the same, too.

Yes – these diets work, for a while. Of course they do.

ALL diets work, short term, in that any restriction of food helps you lose weight. If there are fewer calories to burn and you are still expending your pre-diet number of calories, there will almost inevitably be some weight loss.

Let’s repeat this, because apparently, our own lifelong experience hasn’t taught us this truth yet:

ALL diets work, short term, in that any restriction of food helps you lose weight. If there are fewer calories to burn and you are still expending your pre-diet number of calories, there will almost inevitably be some weight loss.

The problem is that very few people can stay on a restricted diet forever.

It just takes one Christmas get-together centred on mashed potatoes and stuffing drenched in gravy, or a summer barbecue with really enticing bowls of chips and dip, and the next morning, our brains point out what utter failures we are and what’sthepointanyway? and we just go make a sandwich.

Some people do stay on longer – even “forever”, despite the probable health risks. I knew someone who was doing the “isolated in the boonies/prepper thing” one winter back in the 80s. He trapped rabbits. Tons of rabbits. He never went hungry, because of all the meat. He almost died, though, because despite this protein-rich diet, he was found, come April, to be suffering from fairly extreme malnutrition (and scurvy!), and wound up in hospital for three weeks.

But I digress.

My point is, this thing is going to make a comeback in a few years, with a catchy new name and some new, unscientific wrinkle added, and it won’t work then. either. Not for most of us, anyway.

We’ll get a few pounds off, plateau out well below our stated goals, feel bad about that, and then go out with friends and that second glass of beer to wash down the nachos will sink our resolve.

That’s probably a good thing, too.

Eat a balanced diet with sensible portion sizes, get up and move around, take care of your teeth and gums, buy a pair of good-quality shoes, and worry about health, not the number on the bathroom scale.

Marketing Not-Monday

“The most popular and best time slot for posting on Twitter looks to be 7am – 9am on a Friday, while Wednesday at 9am is also a popular time, with engagement levels remaining strong throughout the day.”


I don’t have a Patreon or a Kofi. There’s no Kickstarter attached to my name. I’m not going to spin you a sob story to make you feel like you should help me out in my distress.

I just have some books out there that I think you’d enjoy. Certainly, based on the reviews I have gotten, few though they be, a lot of readers agree.

They’re priced pretty low, because I think you’d like them, too.


(for some reason, this one loaded differently than the others…it’s still my personal fave, though.)


(This one, too, didn’t load the same way…if you want to know more about me…)

^^^Free on KU!^^^

This one’s kind of an academic thing about early medieval Irish food…good for worldbuilding and re-enactors, though.

A LOT of Christians don’t really seem to believe in God

I am totally serious.


Well, if they profess to believe in an all-powerful omnipresent/omniscient being who created the universe and everything in it, and that he judges every human soul individually and then metes out punishment or reward in appropriate measure…

Why are they so intent on doing his job for him?

They don’t seem confident that God is capable of doing what they claim he is supposed to do.

They insist on attacking people from everything they say is subject to their God’s judgement – they want to straight-up imprison and/or murder everyone who doesn’t agree with them, or who do stuff that they’ve decided is against their god’s law.

They constantly seem driven to usurp their god’s position as ultimate judge by harming other people…unless, of course, it’s their own pastor or priest, in which case, the sinner loudly and publicly repents, and then, naturally, the victims of those sins are expected to be Christlike and forgive the sinner.

Perhaps, I suppose, it’s not that they don’t “believe” in God.

Maybe it’s just that they don’t really trust him to be vindictive enough.