Weekly Highlights from our Conservative Overlords

Weekly Highlights from our Conservative Overlords

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Trolling the Comment Pages #2 - Copyright

Oh man.  This is more fun that my regular posts.

Michael Geist had a Tyee article about the shortcomings of the new upcoming Copyright legislation.  A Copyright lawyer (Hey there Mincov, how's it going?) put his 2 cents in.  So I read his post where he compared copyright infringers to rapists.  And I went and looked at his blog where he writes really long essays about why everybody else is wrong.  And I thought it warranted a response.  I really had to chop it down to get it to 3000 characters.

Mincov. I read your blog. I'll see your ridiculous analogy and raise you one of my own.

What if a company came up with a great beer that everybody wanted. Somehow, the beer was free and they made all of their money off  mug sales and advertisements on those mugs. The only way you could drink that beer was in beer company approved mugs that cost a fortune. They made up all kinds of crazy rules about how you could use the mugs. You couldn't cover up the logo or the advertisements. You couldn't lend your mug to your neighbour. You couldn't take the beer in the mug and use it to make some other food. You couldn't transfer the beer into a bottle to enjoy it at a later date. In short, you couldn't do anything with that mug that they didn't want and they would only sell you the beer if you agreed.  

People got tired of this. Everybody really wanted the beer but the company insisted. Then, somebody figured out that they could just go on the internet and download the beer, and then put it in their own mug and do what they wanted. They wouldn't have to pay the company for their restricted mug.  They had to search in strange places to find the beer now, and it was often infested with viruses or missing key parts. But they quickly realized that this almost-as-good beer was good enough. And they appreciated the ability to do whatever they wanted with the beer. If things had been reasonable in the first place, maybe they would have just kept buying the beer/mugs from the company? But boy did they adjust quickly! All of a sudden, the beer company wasn't making much money because their mug sales dropped.  Somehow the beer found its way on to the Internet and people downloaded it and enjoyed it.

So, what did they do? Well, first, they complained about it. A lot. Then, they attempted to sue people for breach of mug contract. That didn't work so they commissioned a bunch of economists to come up with studies that proclaimed the beer company was losing the Canadian GDP on a weekly basis due to rampant mug piracy. Then, they met with the government behind closed doors and drafted legislation that made it illegal for people to download beer from the Internet.  Not only that, they actually made up laws that punished the people that were still buying their mugs, but that happened to be doing some of the stuff that was outlawed in their mug contract. It wasn't enough that people had paid them money for their beer/mugs, they wanted to punish them for doing what they wanted once the transaction was complete. And force them to buy their new beer cans!

And they were shocked that people were upset!  It was their beer. If people wanted it, it had to be on their terms. They had a right to force people to drink it exactly how they wanted.  After all, they didn’t have to buy it, right?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Trolling the Comment Pages #1 - Bixi Montreal

I wrote last week about the lunacy of the comment boards on the National Post.  In response, I'm going to start running a new feature.  It's going to be called "Trolling the Comment Pages".  In these very first installation, we're taking on this National Post story about the Bixi bicycle system in Montreal.  Enjoy my comment and we'll see where this takes us.

These left wing lunatics!  How dare they try to provide a service to the public whereby people can cheaply and easily get around the City while getting in shape and not causing pollution.  It didn't show an immediate profit?  Outrageous.

Hey fellow right wing National Post reading zealots.  I have a new bandwagon to jump on board.  Do you know that there are public money pits right across the country that swallow up billions and billions of our hard-earned tax dollars and have never shown a profit?  Not even once.  They're called roads.  And highways.  We need to get rid of this left-wing communist abomination RIGHT NOW!

I also heard rumblings of an entire organization that keeps hundreds of barely employed vagabonds on standby and HAS NEVER, EVER SHOWN A PROFIT!  It's called the Fire Department.

And have you heard about these things called libraries?  They give out books.  For free!  Where's the profit in that?

Don't even get me started on the Post Office, Hospitals and Police Departments.  No good parasites.  Where's their business model?  I think we can blame all that on the French Canadians as well.

Foreign Influence - Week 56 - May 21-28

Here is a great Globe and Mail article, linking the Koch brothers to Oil Sands investments and pointing out that there is foreign money pouring in on both sides of this story.  I would imagine it is probably quite a bit uglier than this story suggests.  I wonder if the National Post will follow up with a similar story?

Weren't the Conservatives supposed to be the party of fiscal responsibility?  And they've been in control for quite a while, right?  So why all the defecits?  And Tony Clement!  What a guy.

Man.  Did you hear about this Conservative MP?  The poor bastard actually expressed his opinion.  He suggested that the Omnibus budget bill wasn't a great idea and that he and other Conservatives might be convinced to try to change things.  And in Stephen Harper's Canada, this is never a good idea.  Unsurprisingly, he was quickly beaten down.  I realize that this is how "Democracy" works - you're expected to vote in line with your party.  But it's sad.  And now people are jumping all over him for caving.

Speaking of Stephen Harper, here's a man that never met a strike he didn't like!  ...Like to legislate in to illegatlity.  CP Rail will most likely face back-to-work legislation.

This should have been up last week, I think.  Anyhow, Stephen Harper has decided to save $800,000 per year by closing the Coast Guard base nearest to the largest port in Canada (that's Vancouver).  This doesn't make sense.

And speaking of things that I should have talked about last week, Quebec is getting out of hand.  This doesn't have much to do with the Federal Conservatives though, so I've stayed away from it.  I can't really believe that we have "you can't protest" legislation in Canada.  And don't read the comments in any National Post article on the subject.  Egads.  Anyhow, this is starting to get some international attention.  And here.

Speaking of international attention, Slate has a story about our descent in to a police state via Vic Toews and his awesome Internet legislation.  It turns out Canadian telcos are all over this as well.  I guess it gives them more power if they are able to snoop for the government.

Stephen Harper thinks that the robo-call legal challenges should be thrown out of court because he doesn't like the people that are behind the lawsuit.

Boingboing points out that Stephen Harper is slowly dis-assembling the National Archives.  Who needs history if you don't have science?

Who says Canada isn't a world leader?  American Republicans take a page out of the Stephen Harper playbook and try to kill the long form census.

This Slate article tells the story of the war of 1812 from an American perspective.  But it really drives things home as to how odd it is that Stephen Harper feels this is worth celebrating.

John Baird feels like Canada hasn't done a good job of defending "religious freedom".  We went off the rails after World War II.  Is he talking about Muslims?  Because I don't recall seeing many Christian bashings in the news lately.

This article suggests that "Canadian are split" over Mulcairs comments of the last few weeks.  Which is pretty amazing, when you think about how many sources came out last week calling him a crazed lunatic.

Stephen Harper has announced his EI Reforms.  It's pretty easy to get people on board with not giving jobless people money.  The National Post actually wrote a story making fun of people because the legislation wasn't as bad as first expected.

What the fuck!  Let people ask some fucking questions!  The Conservatives sent a bunch of dudes to a committee meeting and they prevented everybody else from asking questions.  About the budget.  And the environment.

And the war on science continues.  The Conservatives have shut down a fresh water research station.

And, perhaps some good news.  Stephen Harper says he is considering an independent organization for military purchases.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Losing Interest - Week 55 - May 14-21

Leave it to a Canadian newspaper to not show a painted penis.

Please read this quote from John Baird.

"Why should taxpayers have to pay for more than 10 reports promoting a carbon tax, something that the people of Canada have repeatedly rejected? That is a message the Liberal Party just will not accept,” Mr. Baird said in response to a question by Liberal Leader Bob Rae during question period.  It should agree with Canadians. It should agree with the government. No discussion of a carbon tax that would kill and hurt Canadian families.”

We'll mention this for posterity.  Thomas Mulcair splits the country in half by pointing out that oil money isn't great for everybody.

The Auditor General comes out swinging, defending his report.

This war on bullying is getting crazy.  A Conservative MP, a man elected to our highest office by the fine people of Canada, has proposed a law that will outlaw the bullying of a Fetus.  It's good to jump on new trends, I guess.

Another Conservative MP is suggesting that people need to be willing to relocate if they are unemployed.  We're probably not too far away from mandatory re-locations.  And here is where that idea came from.  And here is another Conservative MP suggesting that any job is a good job.

And yet another Conservative MP has suggested that ripping a CD, a CD that you own, well, ripping that to your computer is the same as stealing a pair of shoes.

A Federal Judge has thrown out the election results in Toronto due to "irregularities".  And they've already started peppering residents with robo-calls.

This is more about the ridiculousness of the Toronto Police Department.  But remember all of those arrests at the G20?  Yes, this was has been exposed as a farce after many years of litigation.

I can predict the next department that will get de-funded by the Conservatives.  This report suggests that not adopting green standards is harming Canadian Competitiveness.

The Globe and Mail speculates that Vic Toews bill has died.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Midweek Shenanigans

I have a special, mid-week edition of the 24 Percent Majority.  As a result of the threatened Globe and Mail paywall, I’ve been exploring the National Post a bit.  I’ve actually been fairly surprised by the relative neutrality of their news coverage.  But their editorials and comments…oh boy.

This editorial (floating around as a newsstory) on Thomas Mulcair really got to me.  Now, I’m not saying that I agree 100% with Mulcair’s tactics, but I think he’s raising some good points.  In a bad way.  If I had to summarize:

I think what he is saying is that the “success” of the West is coming at the expense of the rest of Canada.  A small percentage of people and companies are profiting on Natural Resources.  And this is causing problems:

1)     The High Dollar that this causes prevents the manufacturing sector from thriving.
2)     We’re taking short term profits at the expense of a long-term strategy.
3)     The majority of these profits are being realized by International corporations with no real interest in Canada.

And I think there are some very valid points here.

Now we get in to the article, which really just picks on semantics and throws a couple of statistics in to play.  There is no real substance.

But what really starts to get to me is in the comments.  There are all sorts of comments along the lines of “He just can’t deal with the success of the West.”  And that really bothers me.

I will admit that I get riled up to unreasonable levels when “the West” starts talking about their “success” and laying claim to all of the benefits of resources.  Really?  Success is defined as being amazingly lucky that you happened to build your houses on top of a large field of oil?  And your Provincial rights trump those of the rest of Canada?  And anybody that feels we should manage these resources more smartly, extract them in a somewhat sustainable fashion and funnel the profits back in to Canada is a Communist?  And they’re “your” resources but nobody has a right to question burying pipelines through every other Province?  It’s crazy.

My experiment with reading the National Post has left me scared and a little bit angry.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Dumber and Dumber - Week 54 - May 7-14

What is going on?  Things are in overdrive lately.  It's like these guys tried to lull us to sleep for a year and are now trying to ram everything through now that they have a year under their belt.
Are you up for a laugh?  Head on over to Wikipedia and read the first few paragraphs on the selection process for the CF-18.  Good stuff.

In 1977, the Canadian government identified the need to replace the NATO-assigned CF-104 Starfighter, the NORAD-assigned CF-101 Voodoo and the CF-116 Freedom Fighter (although the decision was later made to keep the CF-116). Subsequently, the government proceeded with the New Fighter Aircraft competition (NFA), with a purchase budget of around C$2.4 billion to purchase 130–150 of the winner of the competition. Candidates included the Grumman F-14 Tomcat, McDonnell-Douglas F-15 Eagle, Panavia Tornado, Dassault Mirage F1 (later replaced by the Mirage 2000), plus the products of the American Lightweight Fighter (LWF) competition, the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon, the F/A-18 Hornet, and a de-navalized version of the Hornet, the F-18L. The government stressed that the winner of the competition be a proven off-the-shelf design and provide substantial industrial benefits as part of the order.

Now this is truly amazing.  The Speaker of the House.  Who is an elected Conservative MP.  Has decided that the Government did not mislead the House of Commons with its Fighter Jet dealings.  I can't wait to hear what he has to say about why the robo-calls were okay as well.

Remember all those times that Stephen Harper talked about how important the arctic is?  How important it is to send our troops up there to defend our turf?  Well, apparently we're sending them up there without enough parkas, heaters and cold weather tents.

Vic Toews.  Man.  Who is this guy?  Nobody likes him.  Not Anonymous.  Not Federal judges.  As they decide that it's not really a good thing that he refuses to bring Canadian prisoners home.

In other Vic Toews news,  aren't you sick of these prisoners living high on the hog!  Did you know that the top prison earners...the prison 1%...earn as much as $6.90.  Per day.  I will not stand for such excessive compensation levels!  Luckily, our good friend Vic Toews is there, fighting it out for the good of us taxpayers.  Yes, he's going to solve all our debt problems and stick it to the criminals real good in the form of increased rent payments.  So we're going to shove a whole bunch more people into jail and then we're going to make them pay for the privilege of being there.  Damn straight!  Stupid hippies shouldn't be smoking weed anyhow.

In other prison news,  I actually can't believe that this happened so quickly.  But remember the prisons that were closed a few weeks ago (prison, singular?)?  Ya, there's already overcrowding problems.

The Conservatives have decided (smartly) that not all environmental groups that criticize them are terrorists or political organizations.  Which sounds suspiciously like a shade of grey.  But the day after this announcement, Tides Canada faces an audit of their charitable status.  Perhaps the new technique is to say things that are reasonably positive while doing exactly the opposite?  And...As the government promises to do away with troublesome environmental protections with little debate in an Omnibus bill, an auditor reveals the insane costs of past lax environmental regulations.

And...A slightly misleading "expose" from the Globe and Mail, pointing out that Environmental charities do not receive the most in foreign money relative to other charities.  Some good points are made though.  And I don't really understand.  Foreign investment is the bees knees, but foreign donations are evil?

I remember that at one time I thought Peter MacKay was one of the good guys.  But he keeps really stepping in it.  And he can't do math.  And he just digs and digs and digs when he finds himself in trouble.  And now, he just can't get the math straight on the mission to Libya.  Which is fine.  This is something I support having spent the money on.  But come on MacKay!  I know Belinda left you, but that was a long time ago.  Get your head in the game.

John Baird personally stepped in to assure that his buddies Community Center gets Federal Government Funding.  A million dollars worth of funding.  Ya, nothing wrong with that.

The base revolts!  Anti-abortion protesters take to the streets and express their outrage at Stephen Harper.  He doesn't listen to anybody else, I'm not sure why these guys think they will be different.

The Robo-call fiasco gets a bit more confusing.  I can't really follow this story at all.  I think that the author...or the police...or Vic Toews or somebody doesn't really know how the Internet works.  I guess this is what happens when your scapegoat won't cooperate.

The Conservatives received a bunch of donations from companies in Quebec accused of bribery and corruption 

The Conservatives spend some more time on really important matters and announce a bill making it illegal to be a masked rioter.  Somebody pointed out that it is already illegal to riot and to wear a mask while performing a crime, but that isn't stopping them.  Indeed, and I'm not even joking here, they had to up their punishment level to keep pace with the amount of jail time for the (already on the books) crime of wearing a mask while committing a felony.  Way to go, guys.

A medical distress call from a ship on the East Coast is routed to a doctor in Italy.  Which isn't even the bad part.  The bad part is that the Conservatives actually tried to defend this as being okay.  Oh, I should mention that the doctor didn't speak English.  And the ship's captain was from Newfoundland so he didn't really either.  Har-har.

Oh, to be a defeated Conservative MP.  Fat pension.  Plum foreign posting.  Lawrence Cannon goes to Paris.

I've been worried that I've become too reliant on the Globe and Mail for links.  Well, they read my thoughts and have announced that they will be erecting a pay wall in the fall.  Which sounds like a great way to drive away readers.  Hopefully, this will be the last week that I rely heavily on the Globe and Mail for links.  I'm going straight to Google News.  Who probably link all the time to the Globe and Mail.  Anyhow, my only real worry is that my years worth of links are now going to be cock-blocked by the Globe and Mail pay wall.  Or I can just ask all of you readers to sign up for the Globe and Mail.  Funny story.  There was a flyer on my car window the other day.  It was advertising a public meeting about the evils of smart meters.  And it required a 5 dollar donation to attend.  Nothing gets people riled up and informed than making them pay 5 dollars to come to your meeting of outrage.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Stupidest Week Ever - Week 53 - May 1-7

Bev Oda!  2 weeks in a row.
We're officially at the 1 year in point and I'm going to make a bold proclamation: This is the stupidest week so far for this government. (but at least people might be slowly realizing that things might be off a bit - on a side note, can you believe this headline?  Somehow this is spun as trouble for the Liberals?)

Honestly.  There are just so many stupid decisions.

But before we get into that.  Here is is.  Pretty much the smoking gun that somebody officially affiliated with the Conservative campaign was behind the robo-calls.  Now, I realize that one rogue operator does not a conspiracy make.  But still.

First up, the war on statisitics.  Stats Can announces that they are going to lose roughly half of their employees.  Half!  They say there is no way they can produce the same amount of information if they lose all of those people.  You would think that the government would be concerned about detailed information that can be used to make informed decisions based on the make-up of our country.  But perhaps I've just inadvertently explained why this isn't a problem for them.  And the Parks are up for serious cuts as well.

And in the spirit of plunging ahead with improper information, they've also decided to get rid of auditors.  Well why the hell not?  Look at all the trouble these so called "auditors" can cause with their nosy meddling.
Next up, I can't find a detailed report, but this article mentions the reason for Bev Oda switching hotel rooms in London:  She couldn't smoke in the first one.  Which really speaks volumes about this woman's judgement and decision making capabilities.

Next up, in the midst of financial ruin, job cuts and all around bad things, what is this government focusing on?  Well, it seems they are focused on creating a law that will somehow outlaw gang recruiting.  While this does sound like a noble purpose, it seems to me that this is a tremendous waste of time.
Hardened Gang Lord - "Wow.  Our membership has really deteriorated after we shot all those guys.  We really need some new members."
Murderous Gang Minion - "Gee boss.  We can't recruit any new members as that's against the law now."
Hardened Gang Lord - "Really?  Well, we'd better just close down shop and stop all this murdering and drug selling because it's now against the law to recruit gang members.  I'm glad you informed me of this."

The Conservatives have limited debate again.  Don't worry though.  It's not an important issue.  Just the budget.  And cuts to environmental oversight.  I can understand why they don't want to hear the opinions of others.

And then, some corporate hack decided to dig back even further than World War II (see last weeks post) and decided to look way, way back in history to when our nation was created.  And he's decided that John A. McDonald would most likely support a pipeline.  This sounds like a bad marketing plan where the heirs of a famous person make a cash grab and lend their dead relatives image to a badly thought out television ad.  And of all the things for John A. McDonald to rise from the dead and lend his support to, he decides to zombie support a pipeline?

Apparently Vic Toews is still trying to fight the Internet and bring Anonymous to justice.  I wonder if he owns a computer?
And let's revisit fighter jets.  All that neutral 3rd party information provided by the Auditor General about how screwed up the purchase is of these jets?  Ya.  According to the Department of Defense the Auditor General "Got it Wrong".   As well, Americans are starting to feel a bit badly about the whole deal as well.  This Slate/Foreign Policy article rips the whole thing to shreds.  And then we have them here insisting that we need this jet to support all of that international ass-kicking that we do all of the time.

I don't really agree with the NDP criticism of the Royal Visit (toursim spin-offs, etc.), but I love the "Bread and Circuses" meme.  This needs legs.

John Baird decides to sell off property but not art.  Perhaps he senses a global housing bubble and hopes to buy these properties back on the cheap in a few years?

Lastly,  The government wants to change the rules on EI.  More than that, they want to move the rules from "legislation to regulation".  So that they can change them whenever they want.  So, potential reasons for rejecting a job if you are on EI, such as a low rate of pay, work in a different field or poor working conditions could go away.  And that's fine.  What do people think EI is?  A short term safety net that allows people to find a good job and get back on their feet again?  No sir.