Weekly Highlights from our Conservative Overlords

Weekly Highlights from our Conservative Overlords

Monday, August 25, 2014

Depressing - Week 173 - Aug 18-25

We need to start the week by talking about Lac Megantic.  I'd forgotten how many people had actually died in this accident.  Nearly 50, if you forgot.  Anyhow, I think this accident points at a whole lot of bad things in society.  Overworked people blamed for the shortcomings of the system (the railroad had to get special permission to run with only one engineer...and he's pretty much been the scapegoat for the company...not to diminish his part in all of this).  A government increasingly hands off of safety regulations and requirements.  A company pursuing profits above everything else.  And a government blinded by the need to harvest and ship oil around the country.  Terrible.

So lets lighten the mood!

Following the money trail, it looks like the murderous Mugabe regime was directly supported by American hedge funds looking for sweetheart mining deals.  Wait, that's even more terrible than the first few links.  Please do click through and read the Businessweek article.

The Harper government prevented publicly funded scientists from talking about their research into oil sands pollution.  A non government scientist did present the findings, and the response from the government was to call him "biased" and figure out ways to discredit him.  Well...that sucks, but we're getting better!


Christy Clark decided to cut funding to several RCMP programs, including a gang task force and missing persons investigations.  Oh...man...that's not helping

The government has concluded that they did nothing wrong by targeting specific charities with CRA audits.  Wait...they get do decide whether or not they should investigate themselves?  I'm not feeling any better.

I'm sorry, but tickets for pot possession is just about the stupidest thing I've ever heard.  What are you saying?  This is legal to do, but we're going to fine you if we catch you doing it?  And oh, we're really keen on making sure all of this is supplied via the black market.  What a stupid fucking idea.  Peter McKay is an idiot.  He doesn't cheer me up at all.

MacLean's does some digging into plans for anti-Marijuana advertisements.  They find that there have been absolutely no plans to air ads until very recently.  Which makes it hard for the Conservatives to argue that this is anything but a recently concocted political strategy to use public money to fight Justin Trudeau.  And Rona is hard at work defending it.  This is sort of funny.  Not in a "ha ha" way though.  So I'm still depressed.

Canada Border Services has suspended three officers.  Three officers who responded to a direct request from the RCMP to help with an arrest.  Which they did.  But shouldn't have?  Oh man...make me feel better, world!

Maybe some of these next few will?

The Walrus highlights Canada's somewhat shameful record of voting equality.  Nope.

A look at the lack of criminal justice resources for both prosecuting and researching the effects of all the new Conservative tough-on-crime laws.  Nope.

Toronto Police teamed up with the CBSA to deport illegal immigrants through some sham "safety inspections".  Oh...I might have already used that one last week.  So that's good news, right?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The myth of the "easy win"

Before I start, a warning...it takes me a little while to loop this around to politics.  It gets there eventually.  It's tenuous.  But there is a link.

Okay.  Plunging in.

In my past job I worked for an organization that didn't really get it.  Every year, we would start with a massive capital budget.  And then it would get cut because "there just isn't much money this year."  So we'd chip away at the projects that remained.  And then, with two months to go in the year, there would be a massive panic as money became available and we would scramble to find projects that we thought we could get done in two months.  It didn't really matter if they were important projects.  Or if we really needed the stuff.  Or if it made sense.  There was free money and there was no way we were going to say no.

And we would never finish these projects.  So the project would carryover into the next year, meaning we'd have to cut projects that we had planned for the next year.  And then we'd cut it further because "there just isn't much money this year."  And then, we'd chip away at the projects that remained.  And then, with two months to go....Free money!  What projects can we get done!

As a result, we seldom worked on the important projects.  Even worse, if we happened to have an important project in the last two months of the year, well, our focus was taken off that because we had to deal with all the free money, so not only were we adding new projects that weren't going to get done, but our planned projects weren't going to get done either, resulting in more carryover and fewer projects the next year.

Every year I reminded people what had happened the year before.  Every year people agreed that what we had done was insane and we shouldn't do it again.  Every year, nobody said no to the free money.

There are no quick wins.

My new job is eerily similar.  In this one, we don't have boatloads of money to spend.  We have boatloads of processes that need fixing.  Some are big.  Some are "small".  So we inevitably go for the "quick wins".

Of course, when we start working on these things, there's always more to it than we first thought.  You want to change a simple process?  How will you communicate it out?  Who's responsible for executing it?  How will we hold them accountable?  Where will the process reside?  Who owns it?  How do we update it?  How do we pay for the changes?

What was supposed to be a couple of people working on something for a few hours turns into meeting after meeting after meeting with dozens of people involved.  And in the end we're left with a piece of paper that people care about for a week and then everybody forgets about it because there was no communication plan, nobody responsible for execution, nobody to hold accountable, no place where the process resides, nobody who owns it, no way to update it and no way to pay for the proposed changes.

There are no quick wins.

How does this relate to politics?  Well, every time we're crafting a new law to make it easier to transport guns.  Every time we're making speeches about child pornographers and Internet surveillance....Every time we take on a meaningless pursuit of re-opening the abortion debate...that means that not only are we wasting time on meaningless stuff, we're not working on actually important things.  Which, perhaps is a blessing in disguise?  Maybe if the Cons were actually focused on big picture things, we'd be worse off?  Anyhow...

There are no quick wins.  1 hour spent working on the right work is better than 10 hours working on the wrong work.

Disclaimer -  Ya ya.  There are some "quick wins".  Sometimes the right thing to do is an easy thing to do.  "Sometimes you get an easy win, just not very often" is a lot less catchy as a title.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Where the hell did summer go? - Week 172 - Aug 11-18

You know who else hates Steve?  Bryan Fucking Adams!  That's who.

Beginning or the end of the Robo-calls scandal?  Michael Sona is guilty.  But the judge notes that he probably wasn't the only person involved.

So we've barely managed to cut, hack and scrape our way to a theoretical "balanced budget" via fancy footwork and elimination of anything that doesn't serve the oil patch.  Time to cut taxes!

Toronto Police teamed up with the CBSA and did some "safety spot checks".  Amazingly, they discovered a number of illegal immigrants at the same time.  Nothing sketchy about that.

Did I post this last week?  Canada doesn't want to let injured Gaza children in to the country for treatment.  Well.  Canada probably does.  Steve doesn't.

CETA seeks to ban any "buy local" plans in public procurement.  All the way down to the municipal level.

Steve is trying to use our money to hire our doctors to tell us that we're not correct in wanting pot to be legalized.

Steve loses another court battle.  The ban on medical pot cookies is ruled unconstitutional.

Maybe this is why so many of Steve's laws are overturned?  Not enough lawyers or resources in the Justice Department.

The CBC breaks down Julian Fantino's bullshit with respect to Justin Trudeau's comments on pot legalization.

The chart down at the bottom is probably the most important.  Why do something if it's only Liberals and NDPers that support it?  Steve will never legalize pot while the cavemen that vote Conservative don't like it.

1 in 6 Canadian soldiers has mental health issues.  Post service.

Alberta hires a PR Firm to create Oil Sands class warfare in the US.

Also Alberta...the Alberta Federation of Labour figures Steve and his cronies knew all along what sort of mess they were creating for Canadians with the Temporary Foreign Workers program.

A first hand account from a girl whose family was renditioned from Hong Kong to Libya.  British and US Intelligence were both involved.

200 to 42,000 is a pretty big change.  How do we trust Stats Can?

Vote pandering anybody?  Steve promises to close the Canada/US price gap.  Somehow.

I really like this Beverly McLachlan.  She takes the high road in talking about our buddy Steve.

You're actually going to require a doctors note if you still want to get your mail delivered to your house.

More damning (no pun intended...honestly) information related to the Mount Polley spill and what the BC Government knew and didn't do.

I like farcical tales.  I think extreme examples help illustrate points.  And this is a good one.  Cop father illegitimate child.  Mother seeks incomes assistance.  Province demands name of father so they can deduct child support payments from her income assistance.  Cop tries to dupe paternity test and is caught.  Hilarity ensues.  But what good are any of these benefits?  We guarantee that people stay in a ridiculous level of poverty to be able to accept any form of assistance?  Need help but have a part time job?  Well we'll deduct that money then.  Need help but have a spouse that contributes a pittance?  Give it here.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Dropping Off - Weeks 170/171 - July 28 - Aug 11

Sorry for the lack of posts.  I've been on vacation.  It's been tough to stay positive the last few weeks, hasn't it?

I'm going to start by talking about the tailings pond spill in Northern BC.  Just because it's a nice little reminder that bad things happen.  Can you believe the response from the BC Government was anything but "We're going to do everything possible to hold this company accountable to clean up this mess"?  It's especially troubling seeing as there were a number of red flags pointing to trouble in the past.  Is it a coincidence that the company was a heavy donor to the BC Libs?  And their maximum fine might only be $1 Million?  If that.

And then we have Israel.  Apparently unflinching support includes not getting too bent out of shape if a school is bombed.  Just figure out a way to blame the other guys.  "Well I wouldn't have to do all these terrible things if you'd just do exactly what I want you to."  Lucky for us, a Jewish group has flown 5 MP's to Israel...to visit Israeli soldiers in the hospital...and to better understand the "Jewish perspective"...and then they'll return home and enlighten us with their "facts".  No meetings are planned with the Palestinians.

Good news.  More government money to advertise the Oil Sands in the US.  Some info on the increased budget for "communications" as well.  But I guess we need them to run around like crazy sending sexist e-mails for Peter McKay, and then dealing with the repercussions.  And millions for public opinion surveys.

We've decided that fracking chemicals are not pollutants.

An interesting window into the CRA and their audits on charities.  They effectively admit that they look at political leanings and listen to gripes from cabinet ministers.

I kind of love it.  We talk about how tough our sanctions are on Russia...and then call them "short sighted" when Russia responds in kind..and belittle them as ineffective.

Steve lost another legal challenge.  The whole "Victim Surcharge" has been exposed as the sham that it is.

I will admit that transparency is a good thing.  But why is it always "transparency for others" with the Conservatives?  It's very hard to justify a chief taking away a million dollars on a land deal (worth 8 million...), but we have no context.  And no other side of the story.  Just Conservatives jumping up and down screaming about how correct they are.  As well, this is one of 600 bands that reported.  So...one bad apple (perhaps) used to shame everybody.

Garth points out that our entire economy seems to be based on building condos for one another (which we then rent out at a loss and call an investment), which is troubling.  And the jobs that we do create are not good ones.

Jason Kenney is really angry that Justin Trudeau visited a mosque a few years ago.  Is Jason Kenney the new Angry John Baird?

Marc Emery is vowing revenge on Stephen Harper.

It's been ruled that Mr. Big operations can still take place, but with more rules.  Hard to find what those rules are.

Even the Government can't even decide if Omar Khadr is a horrible terrorist.  But nobody is allowed to talk to him about it.

Somebody finally listened to Dean Del Mastro...An investigation into Wikipedia edits from Parliament computers is launched.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Honest and Fair - Week 169 - July 21-28

Here at the 24 Percent Majority, we try to keep a level head.  I mean, we hate Conservatives.  But it's not just because they're "Conservative".  It's because they're jerks with terrible ideas.

But I...sorry...we hate it when people get sucked into the narrative.  Take the "Fair Elections Act" for example.  All of a sudden, Conservatives everywhere were talking about voter ID with furious passion.  Two weeks before, nothing.  But all of a sudden, it was the hugest issue in the world and thank goodness Steve was man enough to tackle it.  It was crazy.

The flip side to that would be hating things that you never hated for no reason.  I'm going to try not to do that.

And somewhat related...it's easy to get sidetracked and think something along the lines of "THAT is what these guys think is importan?  What a waste of time?  Why don't they focus on serious issues?"  So to start the week, we have two examples:


- The CRA focusing resources on auditing charities over political participation (mostly Conservative critical charities)..as well as outlawing poverty prevention as a charitable act
- Drafting a bill to make it easier for gun owners to purchase and transport weapons

To both of these things, I say "Really?  THAT's what you think is important?"  Well.  I understand why silencing your critics with heavy-handed audits might be worth your time.

Speaking of charities.  A government memo talked about how effective a non profit was.  And then their funding was cut.  And then the memo was censored.

Back to the gun ownership bill.  Sorry...the The Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act....Thanks to MacLeans for writing the article about how ridiculous these names are so that I don't have to.  I just figured they had some kind of automated name generator filled with phrase like "Patriotism" and "Common Sense" and "Excellence".

Elilzabeth May suggests that everybody cooperate for the next election, defeat the Conservatives, implement (real) election reform and call it a day.  This makes total sense.  I'm sure nobody is listening to her.

We all know that Harpre is very pro-Israel.  Doesn't it kind of blemish this message when you use this message to drum up votes and support via online advertisements?  I mean...you should at least try to appear impartial on this right?  Like you're doing it for the right reasons?

And then you have Leona Aglukkaq speaking out against Greepeace.  Which...man...I mean as Minister of Environment you'd think that maybe that wouldn't be the thing to do?  No?  Oh, and...Stupid Global Warming Fearmongers.  COME BACK WITH SOME PROOF!!!  Job killers.

Man.  This war on crime is so awesome?  Did you see how much crime went down?  Stephen Harper is doing such a great job.  Or should I thank Vic Toews?  Oddly, because we didn't allow Vic to see everything that we do on the Internet, child sex crimes went up.  He was right!  Yes.  Sarcasm.

Doesn't it seem weird that the Lac Megantic locomotive is up for sale?

An interesting take on the Ukraine incident.  The Russian theory on the incident is impossible.  But why would they forward a theory which is more or less impossible?

Ya ya.  Mike Duffy is a terrible human being.  Attending personal funerals and charging it to the Senate.  And a love child!  And, surprisingly, Stephen Harper doesn't think he has any relevant information for the trial.

Rafe Mair has an interesting article on the historical divisions between Canadian provinces.

Ha ha ha ha!  Anti Obamacare ads convinced people they should sign up for it!  That's so awesome.  Wait...does that mean anti-Northern Gateway ads would convince people to hop on board with the project?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Duffman. Up on Charges. Oh Yeah! - Week 168 - July 14-21

Sorry for the Simpson's reference in the title.  Let's have a cheer for Mike Duffy.
31 charges is going to be a tough one to conquer.  How did Nigel Wright skate through this?

To me, this is a new low for taxpayer funded mailouts.  The Cons are actually using it to collect data on voters.  With patriotism!

Some soon-to-be jobless moron in the Finance Dept. initiated a focus group about Steve's policies.  Turns out Canadians don't really agree with what he is doing.  Probably bad data though, right Steve?  Speaking of bad data...The PBO has determined that current sick leave policies for civil servants don't really cost the government much, despite the Cons insistence that it does and it needs to be changed.

Steve finally won a court case!  And he'll probably lose this one (on native constitutional claims related to Northern Gateway).

Apparently somebody has proof (proof I tell ya!) that Steve plans on privatizing Canada Post.

Dean Del Mastro is really upset that somebody in the House of Commons keeps changing his Wikipedia page.  Which is kind of funny in the "taste of their own medicine" sort of way.  As the Conservatives are notorious for bad Wikipedia editing.

This article points out why using EI premiums to balance the budget is an unfair policy.  TLDR - rich people don't end up paying very much.

John Baird continues blaming everybody but Israel.  I mean, why wouldn't Hamas want to sign on to an agreement that all the other parties negotiated without them?  I'll admit that firing rockets at the exact time the agreement was supposed to start was a bit much...But I don't think the very public John Baird Yelling and unconditional support for Israel really helps anything.

The Tyee points out that we've done almost nothing with respect to Syrian refugees.

I had no idea that New Brunswick was such a strange little place.  Where you can't get an abortion, apparently.  And where one of the guys tasked with investigating the impacts of fracking holds a fracking specific patent...so he's totally unbiased in the outcome.

Boingboing highlights that Ontario police share all sorts of data about individuals with all sorts of people.  Employers.  Border Services.  Etc.  It doesn't help people sort things out and it doesn't necessarily even come about due to any sort of "guilt".  Similar things might be happening in BC.

The DFO seems to not have great control over BC clam fisheries, and is looking to expand them.

This article is a bit tough to follow, but it makes fun of Joe Oliver so it's all good.  It suggests that not providing information and then criticizing people for not having that information is bad form.

British spies are able to manipulate online polls, among other things.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Get yer guns - Week 167 - July 7-14

Well this is frightening.  The OECD predicts the fall of the Western World.  Recommends austerity and worker flexibility.

Peter MacKay rushed an unveiling of an Afghan war memorial so that it would take place while he was still minister.  This was deemed more important than giving the families of those memorialized notice and time to attend the opening.  Because Peter MacKay is turning into one of the biggest dicks in the Conservative party.

Morningstar, via Macleans, has bad news about Canadian Real Estate.

Omar Khadr wins the right to be transferred to a Provincial prison.

A "flood" of calls to the Revenue Canada offshore snitch line has resulted in 80 new leads...Call Noah, I guess.  Since March, 800 people have called.  And 251 were "actual" calls.  And only 100 of those were actual, actual calls.

I guess you have to argue something...Dean Del Mastro's attorney suggests a power surge may be the reason for why he looks guilty as hell.  That could possibly explain the data trail.  Maybe the same power surge altered the memory of the guy who said Del Mastro told him to change it?

An organization has put together a report suggesting Canada does a terrible job of managing its parks.  "Short sighted" is the description, I believe.

More court cases.  Remember the end to the Navigable Waters Protection Act?  Yep.  Lawsuit.

Religious groups in Alberta are responsible for teaching some of the sex ed programs in High Schools.

CNRL admits that they caused the strange bitumen seeping issues in Northern Alberta.  Will they have to fix it?

This meathead makes a lot of strange claims about Canada's greatest scourge: foreign mothers giving birth in Canada!  Hundreds of them!

The NSA targets innocent vs. "guilty" people at a ratio of 9:1...