Weekly Highlights from our Conservative Overlords

Weekly Highlights from our Conservative Overlords

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ducking and Weaving - Week 30 - Nov 21-28

So, people have figured out that you're a liarTony Clement appears to get caught red-handed in the G8 spending debacle.  I really appreciate that there is a spelling mistake in the letter that his consituency office sent out seeking projects.  Of course, somehow the Conservatives will figure out a way to express outrage and blame the question answerer.

A story about the conditions of a James Bay reserve.  There's some interesting points raised in the comments.  I think this specific issue should be treated as a symptom rather than the problem.  But if this isn't a sign that our system in Canada is broken, I'm not sure what is.

Nobody is saying that the $47-Billion stimulus spend was a bad idea...they're just saying that we probably should have figured out a way to measure the effects of the spending.  The Conservatives disagree, of course, as they have some numbers that they created...?  I'm going to believe the Auditor General here, just because it helps forward my nefarious left wing agenda.

Canada becomes a part of what will most likely turn into an Iranian debacle.  What's the solution?  I have no idea.  This would probably be a whole lot easier if the last 10-12 years didn't happen.

I like to call this the Sarah Palining of politics - where no matter what the question is, you say whatever it is that you want to say as an answer.  Anyhow, apparently our Minister of Environment doesn't know what ozone is.

More bad news on the fighter jets as it sounds like there are some relatively major technical questions that have not been answered.  There's still some time to sort this stuff out, so I wouldn't be too concerned.  But still.  Software that would prevent the planes from bombing friendly troops sounds important enough to delay things.  It seems odd that we would have to wait until 2019 for this feature.

More bad news on the Omnibus crime bill.  "Dear Quebec:  We only care about what you have to say when we're begging for votes.  By the way.  You voted NDP.  Suck it.  Sincerely, Steve."  And...even the jerks who came up with the idea don't know how much the whole thing will cost.

Other people think the destruction of the gun registry is a bit dodgy.  The "Information Commissioner" weighs in.  Stupid civil servants getting in the way of progress!  Gawd.

Holy shit!  Are you kidding me?  The Conservatives want to make it easier for people to conduct a "citizen's arrest" and easier to claim "self defense"?  Ya, there's no chance that this is going to lead to anything bad.  This is not the direction that we want to go in.

Sometimes I love the Huffington Post.  A Conservative MP dozes off in the House of Commons as one of his buddies drones on.

There's just all sorts of things to feel a bit confused by on this.  Free trade with New Zealand.  Dairy tariffs.  It seems like in this day and age of global warming, imported dairy from New Zealand probably isn't the most responsible thing to do.

Inadvertant Assistance - Week 29 - Nov 14-21

This didn't get much play, but I think that this is a perfect little representation of this Government.  The Conservatives are upset because Quebec is benefitting from a bill that BC, Alberta and Ontario are supposed to benefit from.  Are they going to yell at Stephen Harper for bringing Quebec along on the trip to Dairy Queen as well?  Don't worry though, Cons.  There's a provision to take the ice cream away if their population doesn't keep up.

A memo has circulated within government suggesting that scrapping the gun registry could lead to an increase in illegal weapons crossing the border.  Of course, the Conservatives disagree.  Stupid "experts" getting in the way of positive change.  Who cares about assault rifles coming over the border anyhow.  I mean...if we try to put a lid on that I'm going to have to fill out a form and pay a one-time fee of $60.  What?  The fee is waived if I'm a hunter?  And I don't have to pay it when I renew?

Noted progressive activists (South Africa) are taking Canada to task for not supporting extending the Kyoto protocol.  Damn pinko bastards, making it hard for an honest country to make a living.

Hey.  Why not?  It worked in Guantanamo.  Part of the Omnibus crime legislation would eliminate visitation rights to inmates in segregation.  That, right there is going to cut back on serious amounts of crime.  Just last week, I was getting ready to steal some mangoes.  I stopped and I thought about it for a minute.  But then I was all like "I'll still get visitors if I end up in segregation."  So I pocketed those mangoes, shot the storekeeper and made a nice mango pudding for dessert.

An NDP MP says what we're all thinking.  Why is the story about an NDP MLA swearing?  Why isn't it about the Conservatives cutting off discussion on the budget?  I actually just took the trouble to log in to Twitter and follow him.  That brings my total for number of people that I follow to 7.  And my lone tweet is for an ICBC drivesmart contest to win a Fiat 500.  I'm so modern.  Further analysis from the Globe and Mail seems to get it right.

The Conservatives are planning to use a Wheat Board contingency fund, essentially money that belongs to the members of the wheat board, to pay for the dismantling of the Wheat Board.  Sorry.  Pay for the "shift to a free market".  That's sort of like the Indian charter company holding its passengers hostage in a foreign country for fuel money.  Actually.  No.  It's worse than that.

Even some of Steve-O's little buddies are starting to think that this support for asbestos mining doesn't make much sense.  Although, if abstaining from a vote counts as backbone these days, it's kind of sad.

Not about Canada...but a terrific Salon piece about Americaland and how the root of many of its problems can be traced back to a "blame the victim" mentality.  It is truly stunning. 

As well, the story links to a great page highlighting the actual numbers paid in taxes by the various classes in the US.  I'm actually most shocked that a $100,000 per year income puts you in the top 20% of American earners.  $140,000 in the top 10%.  The top 20% earn 60% of all American income.  This compares to 51% (by my calculations) for Canada.

Fighter Jets!  Now even the US is not 100% sure of their decision to purchase F-35's.  The key line in this article?  "Ottawa estimates its jets will cost between $70-million and $80-million each, even while acknowledging the current unit cost is well over $100-million (U.S.)."  Are they expecting a dramatic rise in the Canadian dollar?  I know everybody will find this to be an incredible surprise...but the Conservatives dismiss this criticism and assure us that everything is fine.

Next up for free trade?  Jordan and Panama!

This is a funny story.  Some Conservatives were late to a committee, a vote was held, the Conservatives lost.  Later on they re-voted and won.  And one of the late Conservatives may or may not be dating Dimitri Soudas.  I'm not sure why that matters.  But this story is funny.

And...never as simple as it sounds, but spending is up 22% since the Conservatives came to power.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Breaking Promises - Week 28 - Nov 7-14

Surprise, surprise.  Jim Flaherty hints that the Conservatives probably won't stick to their campaign promise of balancing the budget by ...oh god...who even knows where their promise is now.  2015?  2016?  It doesn't really seem to matter what the target is.  They won't reach it.  Wait.  It's official now.  And I could have this wrong...but they actually seem to be using this as as a chance to brag about their "flexibility" in dealing with the economy.  That's some mighty strong lemonade.  And this article points out all the other campaign promise dominoes that will fall because of this (income splitting, TFSA allotment increase, fitness tax credit, kids tax credit, fighter jets).

The Tyee has an opinion piece that makes my views on the Conservative government sound rosy and cheerful.  At this point, I think it's a bit of a stretch to claim initiatives to increase charitable giving are the first strikes in a plan to erode social programs.  But who knows?

It's hard to know what to think about the Air Canada labour dispute.  On one hand, you're playing with fire when you reject the deal recommended by your own union.  On the other, it's hard to bargain when you know the government/arbitrators are just going to impose something on you.

The Government seems to hint that there might actually be something to this whole "Global Warming" thing, and offer up $150 Million to study its effects over the next 5 years.  Not studying how to get rid of it, mind you.  Just studying its effects.

I'm all for eliminating vandalism to war memorials.  But creating specific laws related to "mischief" around war memorials?  Vandalism is a crime.  Punish it.  Let's not create a nefarious shadow group of laws that will allow us to throw somebody in jail if they pee a little bit too closely to a war memorial.  This cries out for abuse.  Are we going to paint a line around every war memorial to outline the "no mischief" area?

There's a projected 2-year delya in the F-35 Fighter Jets.  Of course, for the Conservatives, there's "no problem".  Just added costs.  And extended timelines.

More signs that Piracy is really hurting large entertainment companies.  The CEO of Viacom (Comedy Central, MTV, Paramount, etc) received a 148.6% raise and will now earn $84.5 Million per year.  Hard times, indeed.

There's a plea deal to the Conservative election funding fiasco.  Sounds like they get off pretty lightly.

A Globe article documents Canada's shift on Israel policy and UN votes.  It's a bit of an implicit criticism of the UN as well, in my mind.  Politicized vote after politicized vote, followed by a veto by somebody.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Tom Haverford is the 1% - Week 27 - Oct 31 - Nov 7

Tom Haverford said the greatest thing the other day.  I'm not exactly sure how it relates to the current financial climate, but it feels about right.  "They say you gotta spend money to make money.  I don't know what went wrong.  We spent all our money."

First up, Steve-O's privacy justification for destroying everything and anything to do with the gun registry is shot down.  It's amazing when people use things that they absolutely hate as an excuse for doing something, itsn't it?  Just wait until he decides to ban freedom because of "the environment".  And once again those crazy "experts" are contradicting the Conservatives.

The Iraqi Information Minister (John Baird) sez "There's no problem with the 54,000 jobs lost last month.  Everything is fine."

Quebec tells the federal government to pound sand on costs associated with the new crime bill.  Which is right up there with Poutine on the list of awesome things that Quebec has done.

So, Canada has decided that it will punish UNESCO for recognizing Palestine by not providing them with any additional funding.  This is kind of why the UN is a bit of a joke.  There's just too many political statements.  Too many vetoes.  Too much deciding to just go along with the stuff that you agree with.

Wow.  It sounds like John Baird is actually taking responsibility for the G8 slush fund.  I'm not exactly sure what that means though.  Maybe he just wants to collect the air miles or something?

Tough on Crime splits the Provinces.  BC, Alberta and New Brunswick on board.  Ontario and Quebec opposed.  Wonder how they'll vote in the next election?

The Conservatives have decided to ban loans to political parties.  On the surface, this seems like a good thing.  More news on how much the Conservatives are ahead with fundraising as well.

And getting down to the serious business of governing, a Conservative MP decides to single out a Justin Trudeau speaking engagement at a Catholic High School (the big leagues) with taunts and name-calling.  I think "Bad Catholic" would be a great name for a hair metal band.  Wow...there's actually a "big beat/techno/christian" duo based on Vancouver called "To Bad Catholics".  My hair metal project will need a new name.

Lots more copyright stuff.  The Conservatives have admitted that their legislation probably isn't in the best interest of the average Canadian, but re-assure sceptics that most of the rules are unenforcable, so they shouldn't worry too much about it.  Oh, and all that doom-and-gloom about piracy destroying the entertainment industry?  Ya, not so much.

The Conservatives are going their own way with a non-french speaking auditor general, even though bilingualism is a prerequisite of the job.  He promises to learn french over the next year.  Why don't they wait until he does until they give him a job?   In other job appointment news, the next supreme court nominee promises to apply for law school once his post is confirmed.

It's a moratorium!  The Conservatives announce a 2-year moratorium on family reunification immigration applications as they attempt to clear the backlog.  At least they have a contingency plan (10 year visas for those affected).  Other moratoriums announced today:
- A two year moratorium on cancer treatments - The contingency pack includes a container of sunblock and a large hat.
- A two year moratorium on drivers licenses - The contingency pack includes a bus pass and a new pair of shoes.