When in doubt, blame the Canadians first, research later

I found this very interesting post, in my drafts folder, from 2005. It seems even more appropriate now, so I thought I’d finally publish it.

When I was a kid, I remember a sign in a hardware store

“We have an agreement with the bank.
They don’t manufacture hardware.
We don’t offer credit”
In a similar vein, I wish I could put this sign on this blog:
This is a stamping BLOG. We don’t do politics here
But the reality, at least for the moment, is that politics is already in stamping, or at least in the sourcing decisions that are bread and butter for most job-shop stamping shops. So today there is politics in the stamping BLOG. When it leaves my arena, I’ll leave its.
Today I was a bit steamed under the collar (and not just by the heat wave). Yet another case of “blame the Canadians” has come to light.
For those who don’t know what I mean, consider the following:
  1. After the Sept 11 hijackings, “everyone knew” that the hijackers came from Canada. Despite the fact that it was not true. Not even one of them came from Canada. But 4 years later there are still people who believe it. It seems it’s easier to blame Canada first, and do the research later (if ever). Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the US House of Representatives, who repeated the story recently now is sorry for comments about Canada and deeply regrets” what has become a “widespread inaccuracy.” How did it become widespread inaccuracy? Because of people like Newt Gingrich.
  2. The power failure in 2002 was blamed, within hours, on the Canadian grid. Not true. A commission said it was a cascade failure (the electrical equivalent of one domino falling and knocking over a bunch more) traced back to a problem with the EastLake plant of FirstEnergy Corp. of Ohio. The commission took 3 months to determine, with certainty, the cause. In the early hours, Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York, said “For some reason or other, there was a power failure in northern New York or southern Canada. “ But that was wrong – the failure was in neither New York nor Canada.
  3. The war on drugs – man am I tired of hearing that Canada is the culprit here. John Walters, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, after saying “huge quantities of marijuana are grown domestically“, goes on to say “perhaps one-third of the total U.S. marijuana supply — come[s] from Canada.” Of course, we all grow it up here in our long, luxurious growing season (for those of you unfamiliar with Canadian climate, here in southern Ontario, easily the best growing season in the country, we can barely grow special short-season tomatoes in our condensed summers). Or, for the indoor growers amongst us, our especially low hydro electric rates (higher than most of the US except California). According to the DEA, marijuana produced in Mexico remains the most widely available in the US, but Canada is edging into the US market with a higher-potency marijuana. From the White Houses own drug policy web site and specifically the marijuana page , The primary foreign sources for marijuana in the United States are Mexico, Canada, Colombia, and Jamaica. During 2002, Mexico produced about 7,900 metric tons and Colombia produced 4,000 metric tons of marijuana. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police estimates that 800 metric tons of cannabis are produced annually in Canada. Some 214 metric tons were produced in Jamaica in 1997 (the most recent data available). So let’s get out our calculators. Would you believe the Canadian proportion, using those same numbers, is 6.2%? So why is Canada the big problem here?
  4. Mad Cows – the thing that set me off tonight. One mad cow was discovered in the US 2 years ago, and in it’s infancy it came from Canada, at a time when neither the US nor Canada had abandoned the practice of feeding cow byproducts to cows (both have, in the mean time, stopped this practice). That one cow has closed the Canada/US border for the last 2 years. Today they found a US cow (as it turns out, they found it last November, but it was a very well kept secret for a long time) that was provably born in Texas, that also has BSE (“Mad Cow” disease). Wanna bet the border will stay closed?
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