Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Pathetic State of Politics in Quebec

The more we find out how corrupt the leading figures are in Quebec, the more it makes me want to move across the river in Ontario.  Where does it stop?  Nobody knows and I think the Charbonneau Commission is just scratching the surface.

With regard to politics, we have learned that the engineering and construction firms are the principle illegal funders of the two political parties that control the province.  As well, criminal charges have been laid against the Mayor of Laval and the interim Mayor of Montreal.  This week charges were also laid against the former director of the provincial police and three of his high-ranking subordinates for fraud, breach of trust, and theft.  Previously, we learned through the work of the Bastarache commission that judges lobbied political fundraisers in order to obtain a promotion.  Most recently, we discovered that the Premier's husband allegedly had a special deal with one of the largest unions in Quebec, the same one that has ties with organized crime, and that the former Premier of Quebec allegedly received a contribution to his political party in return for a contract.

Literally, the roadways are falling apart and it will take tens of billions of dollars that the province doesn't have to make the repairs.  Quebecers are already the highest taxed citizens in North America and it's only going to get worse.  During the market crash, the Quebec pension funds lost 25% of their value, in other words, 40 billion dollars.  Like the concept of a balanced budget, changes to the pension plans have also been put off.

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You would think that given this state of affairs, we're swimming in a cesspool of corruption while the credibility of our political class sinks further and further, we would see a political gesture aimed at restoring confidence in the political process.

Far from it.

Instead, we are treated to the theatre of the bizarre.  The minority PQ government is trying to sell the population of an odious Charter of Values that would discriminate against religious minorities in Quebec, a proposed law that even the province's human rights commission has denounced.

Playing to the nationalist xenophobia of its electoral base, this move is electoral politics at its best.  It diverts the population's attention from issues that really matter.

The said part of the story is that the population is effectively held captive.  Since the first-past-the-post electoral system provides an alternance of two governing parties, both unable to effectively govern the province, there is no way out of the mess we have gotten ourselves into.

Democracy you say.  Not here.  The only truly democratic gesture that remains for me is to vote with my feet and get the hell out of here.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ditch the North American Diet and Climb Out of the Fat Trap

We are a fat folk, myself included.  One out of three of us are overweight and one out of five are obese.  And boy do we love to eat.  Trouble is we have no idea how to go about eating in a healthy manner.  We jam out gullets full with fat, sugar, and salt, while thinking about eating a balanced diet. Unfortunately, the balance is out of whack and the scale is telling us that we need to make a change.

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The typical North American diet is high in carbohydrate, fat, salt, and processed food.  Add in a sedentary lifestyle and we get a recipe for an obesity epidemic.

For years now, we've been told to decrease our fat intake and to make sure that we ate a diet rich in carbohydrates, especially the whole wheat variety.  During this time, however, the incidence of Type II diabetes tripled. 

From a public health perspective this turn of events is an unmitigated disaster.  As a result of lifestyle choices, millions of people have effectively had their lives shortened, and millions more will predictably fall into some form of dementia since those with Diabetes are twice as likely to fall prey to Alzheimer's disease.

As the population continues to age, the cost of health care will skyrocket.  So much so, it will throw into doubt America's capacity to take care of its enfeebled population while maintaining the world's largest and most expensive military machine.

The situation begs the question, how could the professional health care community in North America collectively make such a monumental error with regard to something as basic as providing sound advice on nutrition.  After all, the medical community is made up of people that are academically gifted, out best and brightest.

As we could expect, the mainstream medical community was bought off, either outright, as is the case with the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association that still recommend (I just checked their websites) that people eat cereal products as long as the products contain whole wheat, even though whole wheat bread, for example, has a higher glycemic rating than Skittles candy, or indirectly by way of the silence of those in the medical community who do not speak out against such dubious health advice, whose silence is perfectly aligned with the wishes of the food industry and Big Pharma.

Fortunately, the mounting evidence about the devastation brought on by a high carbohydrate diet has been revealed.  I highly recommend, if you haven't done so, to watch Dr. Robert Lustig's highly influential video (more than 4 million views),
Sugar: The Bitter Truth, and pick up a copy of the best selling books, Wheat Belly, by Dr. William Davis, and Grain Brain, by Dr. David Perlmutter.

In short, if you want to drop the pounds, drop starch and added sugar from your diet, prepare your meals from scratch, and over the course of the day, walk more than 10,000 steps.

I made these simple changes to my life about three months ago, and to date I have lost thirty pounds.

Let's face it, the food industry, Big Pharma, the mainstream medical community, and the US government conspired to turn America into one huge fat farm.  They were hugely (pardon the pun) successful, but the tide has turned as more and more people are cutting fast carbs from their diet for health reasons.

Join with me to say good-bye to your fat ass and let the slim you see the light of day.