I'm living in a dream world, apparently.

I've recently been debating the whole "US vs. Canadian healthcare" system recently, with some friends and some Internet strangers.

And apparently, I know nothing about my own heathcare system. (According to one blogger anyway.)

You see, I'm almost 40 years old. I've lived in 6 different cities/towns/villages in two different provinces. I know people in almost every province (except PEI) and even in two of the territories. I have met literally thousands of people through work and volunteer efforts, from all tax brackets, from very rich to very poor. I know surgeons, doctors, and nurses.

I personally know Canadians who have or had breast cancer, a brain tumor, skin cancer, hip replacement, knee replacement, pace makers, organ transplants, gall bladder removal, leg amputation, high-risk pregnancy, cataracts, hernias, lung cancer, stomach cancer, heart attack, stroke, infectious diseases by the boat load...

And not ONE OF THEM HAS EVER COMPLAINED ABOUT THE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM. Or wait times. Or the "fact" they couldn't choose their own doctor (an outright lie, BTW). Or anything, really. Sure, they may bitch about waiting around the ER for a few hours until they are seen for a non-emergency issue. And they may bitch about a particular doctor/nurse/technician (ask me about my "viral infection of the cartilage" one day, or the nurse that insisted on drawing blood from my right arm instead of my left, since she couldn't believe a young child actually knew which of her veins was better choice, having had to give blood every 3-4 months for years at that point). But that isn't a product of our system, simply human nature and the medical profession and system as a whole.

But my offering that up as evidence that our system does actually function is paltry compared to the clip someone once saw about some Canadian who had to go to the US or they would have died!! And that we as a country have nothing to compare our system to, so we cannot make valid comparisons (the hypocrisy of that statement is apparently missed by those who make it).

I have absolutely nothing to say about the US heathcare system - it is NONE of my concern. But I do get annoyed when misinformation about my country is used to argue the matter. One would hope that the debate could be done on it's own merits, but apparently not. All one has to do is look at the rumor that the 9-11 terrorists came from Canada that is still floating around - and is still believed by some high-ranking US politicians - to realize that facts are unimportant in the game of one-upmanship and point scoring that is politics.

Guilty, your Honour

If I lived in Raleigh, North Carolina, I could be charged with animal abuse.

My yard has no fence, and, until many more important issues are taken care of (like insulation, electrical work, drywall, etc. etc. etc.), it won't be getting one. Additionally, I have to make a decision about the four trees in the backyard (they are 80+ years old, have a lot of dead wood and some are starting to rot at the base. I need to get someone in to assess their health, and decide if they need to come down). Once that decision is made, then I need to figure out what I want to do with certain areas of the yard, which will finally lead to the decision of which areas will be fenced and which won't. There was also no storage for yard items, like lawn mowers, which led to the shed building of a few weeks ago. During construction, I tethered Kip outside.

For more than 3 hours.

Without access to food.

Mind you, I was outside with Kip that entire time, and obviously, I didn't break the spirit of the law. But I quite possibly broke the letter of that law.

This is my main problem with many animal anti-cruelty laws (and many laws in general). They are enacted to address a specific problem (in this case, dogs left tethered for the majority of their lives), but end up being so vague and broad that they could be used against a regular, non-abusive dog owner. All it takes is a nosy neighbour, a power-hungry animal control officer, someone out to make trouble, your local animal-rights activist...

Mind you, that link isn't to the law itself, just to an article about it. Hopefully, there are exclusions in the actual law to prevent situations like mine being considered as against the law. But there are many examples of laws having unintended consequences, and I wouldn't be surprised if this wasn't another one.

P is for propaganda

Why I hate PETA.

I have a theory about any large non-profit organization, from unions to charities to PETA. At some point, they become more about the promotion and continuation of the organization than about the causes they espouse or the people/animals they are supposed to help.

I give the origins of PETA, and the majority of it's supporters, the benefit of the doubt. Their hearts are in the right place. (And I'll forbear to discuss why I despise that statement, except to say I wish their BRAINS were in the right place instead).

So, why do I hate PETA? I could discuss certain statements their leaders have made, and how I disagree with them. I could talk about the idiocy of their protests, and how equating dog breeding with the KKK or Hitler is the lowest or the low, and completely diminishes the suffering of the humans that were subject to such cruelty (and I could note that those protesting have never suffered anything close to genocide or slavery, and co-opting those issues in an attempt to legitimize their own issues should give them entre into the lowest levels of hell). I could find a PETA supporter, and go through their house and life, pointing out where they themselves are benefiting from the "abuse" of animals:

- the medications they take were most likely first tested on animals.
- any old books or furniture they own mostly likely made use of hide glues or horse-hair.
- the vegan diet they eat, and the cotton/hemp/linen clothing they wear, depends on vast acres of mono-culture that, even if grown organically, reduces wild-life habitat. If they truly cared that much, they should subsist on a gatherer lifestyle only. And go naked.

However, there is one main reason that, for me, completely puts PETA into the realm of noisy whackjobs for me.

They use propaganda to make their point.

I cannot adequately explain the depth of my abhorrence for propaganda. Even if it's for a cause I believe in and support, I don't agree with it's use. Any organization that uses propaganda is really making two points:

1. People are too stupid to understand the issue
2. Our argument is too weak to rely on facts

And that's what PETA is saying every time they speak on an issue.

Some purebred dogs have health issues. Yep. I completely agree. But let's not discuss genetics, gene frequency, the role of the breed clubs, kennel clubs, and breeders; let's not try to educate people on what to look for in a good breeder, and why breeding stock should be tested for genetic issues; let's not explain to people the myth of "hybrid" vigour when it comes to dog breeds. No. Let's assume the people are too stupid to understand any of that, and let's admit it takes too long to adequately explain the issue and let the people make up their own mind. And let's simply equate dog breeding to the KKK, dress up in robes and protest outside Westminster. Because that makes the newscasts, gets our name out there, and will make us money.

Let's re-name fish as "Sea Kittens", and try to brainwash children into thinking their parents are the scum of the earth, instead of teaching children about sustainable food production.

Let's make misleading statements about meat and milk production, and use newspaper articles as "primary" sources.

Let's use outrageous propaganda to increase awareness of our organization, because it's actually not about the animals anymore.

And let's assume humans are too stupid to understand the facts, the many sides of the arguments, and should never be allowed to think and make up their own minds, Because that may reduce the amount of money we make.

P is for propaganda.

And it disgusts me.


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