Weekly Highlights from our Conservative Overlords

Weekly Highlights from our Conservative Overlords

Monday, December 30, 2013

Getting Lazy over Christmas - Week 139 - Dec 23-30

I wasn't going to...but I did it anyway.  A Christmas post!

You know all those greedy scientists making tens of thousands of dollars researching climate change and how it's all just a plot to keep the gravy train rolling?  Lucky we have the fighters for the truth on the other side of the story who are only in it for the good of humanity.  And billions of dollars in donations from billionaires with oil interests.

Christ, this pope is awesome.  His new thing?  Atheists are a-okay, as long as they "do good".

I thought this UK porn filter was one of those crazy right wing dreams that will just go away.  But it's real!  That's insane!

CSIS lied to get warrants.

In Japan, they've recruited homeless people to clean up the Fukishima disaster.  And they're stealing their wages (and paying them less in the first place).

Once again it is winter time.  Time to demand that lost skiers pay for their own rescue.

This is a tremendous Slate story that tracks the life of Ronald Reagan's "Welfare Queen" scapegoat that he used to demonize poor people and push through welfare reform.  Why doesn't somebody do this with the most egregious of Wall Street criminals and push through some sort of Finance Reform?  Matt Taibbi, I'm looking at you.

This is one of those non stories....I mean, of course the NSA has more data than they can possibly analyze.

Iron Maiden apparently used music piracy data to target where they should go on tour...except they didn't.  They just happen to sell out lots and lots of concerts in those places.

South Dakota has supposedly created a tax loophole (on purpose) for rich people to get out of the obligation to pay inheritance taxes in the hopes that it will "create business".  Which it does...to the tune of hundreds of jobs.  So they've given up millions and millions and millions of potential USA wide tax revenue to create hundreds of jobs.

They polled Brits (In England, just in case you were wondering) about why they don't vote.  Well, it's not because they don't care.  It's because they hate politicians.

A lady in Texas is fighting the loss of her land to the Keystone XL pipeline.

Music publishers are still using bots to claim ownership to music that they don't own.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Where does all that money come from? - Week 138 - Dec 16-23

Okay.  Hold on just a minute.  Here's a story about Conservatives being concerned that Liberal attacks are going to derail the Conservatives precious fundraising drive.  Buried in that story, the Conservatives brag about:
- Over 1000 donations
- Raising $1,511,394 from those donations
Isn't the maximum donation $1200?  How do you raise that much money from around 1000 donations?  It would take over 1259 donations at the maximum amount to raise that much money.  Wouldn't you say "over 1200 donations"?  How is everybody donating the maximum amount?  This seems really dodgy.

Who can make sense of the Supreme Court ruling that struck down three prostitution laws?  We've got people claiming it's great for women.  Terrible for women.  Great for Canada.  Terrible for Canada.  There does seem to be a consensus that it's great for pimps and johns.  We'll see what they come up in the next year.

No surprise, the joint review panel recommends moving forward with Northern Gateway.  With Christy Clark caving in, we should have this sucker built in the next couple of years.  David Suzuki is not a fan and points out that Enron...errrrr....Enbridge is a terrible company.  Of course, National Post is ecstatic.

Stephen Harper was a supporter of apartheid in the past.  Maybe a stretch, but he was certainly not the Nelson Mandela supporter he now claims to be.

I don't know if this means anything, but Irving Oil did a presentation to the "Oil Industry" about a month before Lac Megantic about concerns over a  lack of testing leading to "safety concerns" hauling by rail.

Poor old Alberta who does nothing but give, give, give...is set to receive a windfall in new health transfer payments.  38% more.

Some Keystone XL protesters have been charged with "terrorism hoax" because some glitter fell off their banner.

Too Big to Fail II - This is pretty scary.  There's a suggestion that our banks could go Cyprus in the next financial crisis.  It looks like Jim Flaherty is paving the way for Banks to take our money to cover their mistakes.  Well.  They already took our money to cover their mistakes.  But this time, it could really be OUR money, like from our bank accounts.

How come every critic of the Conservatives is an "extremist"?  John Baird suggests that any suggestion that Canadian foreign policy is driven by commercial interests is "extremist fear mongering".

All of these "oil and natural gas boom" related projects are sold to us based on jobs.  It kills the environment.  Jobs!  It's an ineffective use of our resources.  Jobs!  Well, jobs for whom?  People are getting laid off and replaced with temporary foreign workers.  This is fucked.  We need to do these projects because of jobs, but we need to execute the projects so quickly that we don't have enough people for the jobs?

A video highlighting what is wrong with many trade agreements.  We may be forced to accept food that complies with foreign laws, but not our own.

Stephen Harper's Indian Limo Extravaganza just got a lot more expensive.  $1.2 Million.

An odd little factoid.  The Canadian Government spent $3.8 Million on disposable water bottles over the last 3 years.

Once again, we seem totally incapable of purchasing military vehicles.  A $2-Billion purchasing plan is set to fly away in the wind.  Wonder how many millions we spent to get to this point?

The Senate audit will begin looking at personal expenses.

Vice lays out the most terrible police actions of 2013.  This will make you feel terrible.

Tom the Dancing Bug takes on the wealth gap.  Again, I guess would be more accurate.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Canada is the USA's crap weasel - Week 137 - Dec 9-16

Canada has been acting as the NSA's bitch, setting up outposts in countries where the USA can't.

I think that you really need to be questioned when you start asking your employees to sign lifelong confidentiality agreements.  Especially when those employees are paid for by the public.

James Moore points out, in a really terrible way, that the Federal Government has no interest in helping out the Provinces with child poverty.  “Is it my job to feed my neighbour’s child? I don’t think so.”  Yikes.

Speaking of the BC Provincial Government screwing things up.  Christy Clark.  Jobs Plan.  Not working.

Think we hunt too many grizzly bears? Fuck you.  How about we hunt more grizzly bears, then?

This seems like it will end poorly.  Canada lays claim to the North Pole.  Russia is not happy.

Another Conservative MP is trying to re-open the abortion debate in new and interesting ways.  For me, this is an interesting thought exercise in acceptance.  At what point do you accept that a decision has been made and move on?  At what point do you accept that your minority point of view is being over-ruled by the majority?  On one hand, I admire their tenacity.  On the other hand, this is what I hate about Conservatives.  Raise contentious issue.  Get beat down.  Raise same issue again with a slight twist.  Get beat down again.  And over and over and over again.  Does the same thing happen from the left?

The Conservative War on Science continues.  This time, they closed some libraries belonging to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.  This included hundred year old reports as well as more modern information.

A breakdown of income earnings in Canada for 2011.

Bit of a probe going on into the missing Wright-Duffy e-mails.  And the Conservatives are not cooperating with attempts to change their e-mail deleting policy.

Seems fitting that Canada Post is announcing massive cuts in service on the Conservatives watch.  I mean, who expects Canada Post to continue delivering mail, really?

Jim Flaherty is getting angry at other Conservatives who have publicly called out Rob Ford.  Man.  I used to think he was one of the more reasonable ones.

Somehow Montreal has managed to get approval for some safe injection sites.

Is this another dispute over Conservative election expenses?  An old one?  I don't even know any more.

The "Pot Smoking Mountie" has been arrested for "Assaulting a Police Officer".

A funny story about PM staffers trying to boss around South African media.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Some people are the worst - Week 136 - Dec 2-9

It's kind of terrible that with Nelson Mandela passing away I'm focusing on a terrible human being like Rob Anders.  "Sleepy Time" Rob Anders.  But this guy needs to be called out.  The voters of Calgary West need to be called out for voting for such a useless human being.

An angry Conservative Senator blames Thomas Mulcair for a hundred or so years of Parliamentary tradition.  How dare he call out law-breaking Senators when he, himself, enjoys a house at taxpayers expense.  Legally.

Speaking of terrible Senators, this one calls out his (elected) NDP MP as "useless and powerless".  Why don't these people hop on board the gravy train and vote Conservative?

A nice summary of Duffy-gate and why we have a right to be pissed off.

Things are just getting surreal now.  Patrick Brazeau is hired as a Parliament Hill reporter.

Can you believe that "World Class Spill Response" is actually a sales tactic for the Northern Gateway Pipeline?  That's like selling unprotected sex with "World Class HIV Treatment".

Gizmodo talks about the Alberta plan to create toxic sludge lakes, rather than actually treat effluent from the tar sands process.

Who can even keep up with this stuff?  The "Truth in Sentencing" Act?  A $200 victim services fund?  No wonder judges are pissed.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer points out the obvious: It's easy to balance a budget when you alleviate the burden of responsibility from yourself (through artificially high EI rates, amongst other things).

People seem to really be rallying behind this backbenchers "Fire the Leader" reform attempt.

This rash of soldier suicides suggests that we really aren't doing enough to support our soldiers who come back from combat.

The Conservatives are still convinced that the Government of Canada is their personal re-election vehicle.  This time - partisan remarks posted on the Finance Canada website.  Since removed.  And even the NP thinks all this ad spending might be getting out of hand.

Canada is (maybe) about to claim the North Pole.  But of course they are.  We are.

A Tyee story about how our "strongest in the world" banks are actually really messed up.  We just hid our bailout a bit better.

It looks like ACTA is coming, whether we like it or not.

This is mostly about the United States, but the CSEC/Brazil kerfuffle shows that similar things are happening here.  Basically, state security apparti (FBI, etc.) are operating on behalf of corporations.  The amount of effort put into defeating legal, peaceful activist organizations (Greenpeace etc.) is staggering.

I was thinking I had missed something last week when I was putting my list together but I couldn't put my finger on it.  Alas!  The NHL/Rogers deal!  What exactly does this mean to the future of the CBC?

A leaked UN document shows that there are many countries out there that want an end to drug prohibition.

Monday, December 2, 2013

A busy week - Week 135 - Nov 25 - Dec 2

I think the most important thing we will talk about today is that the Harper Government invited US spy agencies into Canada to spy on people during the G8/G20, which is all kinds of fucked up.  Canadian law prevents Canadian agencies from spying in Canada, so this seems like a nice little workaround.  There seem to be a whole lot of "all countries spy on one another" arguments getting thrown around.  Really?  All the other hosts of Summits invite their buddies over to help them spy on all the other participants?  And of course, the only thing the Harper government has to say about this is "Glenn Greenwald got paid for this article", so, logically, any journalist paid to write a piece has to be lying.  Or something.

How happy was the government to be able to announce that they caught a Chinese "super spy"?

Canada continues to buck world opinion on anything related to Israel.  Of course the Iran nuclear deal isn't supported by the Conservatives.

A tax lawyer that Jim Flaherty appointed as a tax consultant (and Chairman of the Canadian Mint) is embroiled in a massive offshore tax shelter scandal.

Some more details about diplomats shifting their focus to "commerce".  Of the people, for the corporations

The Conservatives killed a plan to study the environmental effects of lead shot and bullets.  Who needs science when you know all your policies are right regardless?

So the by-elections resulted in a whole lot of nothing.

Another week, another pissed off batch of scientists.  Biologists/Fish/Fisheries Law this week.

I know that many, many people don't care at all about criminals and think they need to "get what's coming to them."  But what is the point of prison?  Punishment?  Rehabilitation?  I think if you removed the prison culture mentality from the United States you'd have a country that was light years ahead of where it is now.  Canada isn't quite as bad but listen to what our "Ombudsman for Federal Inmates" has to say.  "More crowded and violent."  "Less successful at rehabilitation."  Yes, the Conservatives war on crime is creating less rehabilitated, more violent criminals.  Well done boys.  At least we've cut down on the number of white prisoners!  Just to clarify, yes, that is a joke.  Honestly.  Just read this quote. "You cannot reasonably claim to have a just society with incarceration rates like these. And most troubling, the growth in the custody population appears to be policy, not crime, driven. After all, crime rates are down while incarceration rates grow,"

I don't know what to think about Randall Hopley.  Yes, kidnapping a small child is terrible.  But...this could have ended so, so very much worse.  In the end he did the right thing and there has to be a degree of leniency shown for that.  This man obviously (I think) has some mental health issues and needs some help.  But if we simply declare him a "dangerous offender" and throw him in jail forever after he makes the right decision, what message is that sending to the next guy facing a similar choice?  In the end, 7 years and 10 years of monitoring once released from prison...sounds about right.  Hopefully he gets the help he needs.

This sounds a lot worse than it is.  E-mails belonging to a lawyer who dealt with Duffy/Wright were thought to have been deleted by the PMO.  But have now been found.  This is the same guy that has had a complaint filed against him for breach of ethics.

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha.  Stephen Harper thanks Nigel Wright for all his solid ethics help in the acknowledgments of his hockey book.

Let's balance budgets by selling off assets and history!  Canada sells a diplomatic building in London for $500 Million.

Jim Flaherty apparently doesn't know how to fill out expense claims.  Good quality in a finance minister.

What a strange double standard we have when it comes to marijuana.  Yes, you can legally smoke marijuana for medicinal purposes.  No, you can't do it in your police uniform.  Can you imagine if they banned the taking of all medicines while in uniform?  Peter McKay thinks he's setting a "poor example" by using his prescription medication.

We're number one!  We're number one!  BC has the largest rate of child poverty.  By a large margin.  Families first, right Christie!  Speaking of making fun of Christy "families first" Clark.  Shit.  I was just making a joke.  This article points out just how much of a hypocrite she is.  What the fuck, BC?  How did she get voted back in?

I was surprised to find out that emergencies on reserves are handled by a separate agency to emergencies elsewhere.  I guess this makes sense.  It also makes sense that it is run poorly.

Stephen Harper sings at the event where he announces his first trip to Israel.

Who knew that the new pope would be such a bad-ass?

Conservative Senators voted to block a member of the Deloitte audit team from testifying in there...it's kind of confusing.  Anyhow.  The gist - they don't seem to want to hear from somebody that might make them look bad.

Alberta, the province that pays for the rest of us "takers" and "have nots", caused a spike in the deficit due to flood relief.  That's why you're not supposed to get too uppity when you pay a bit more than the next province at any given time, Alberta.  You never know who is going to need government resources.  This is what a government does.

Speaking of what government does, here is a perfect example.  The history of air traffic control.  In the US.  US Senators know an essential service when they see one.

The Federal Government is going to hire a firm to continuously monitor social media.

The Cold War was always kept in check through mutually assured destruction.  You bomb us we'll annihilate you.  But there's threatening to turn anybody that attacks you into rubble and then there's actually wanting to turn anybody who attacks you into rubble.  This factoid suggests the latter - to speed up the response time, all minuteman missile silos had their launch code set to 00000000.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Nothing to talk about besides the Senate - Week 134 - Nov 18-25

You always know you're on the wrong side when your folk heroes are a bunch of fucking assholes.  George Zimmerman.  Rob Ford.  Nothing more to say.

This is a really great essay on being poor.  And of course people have a problem with somebody holding down several jobs with no idea how to change their situation.  What a freeloader.

Well this is pretty damning...Of course, our Prime Minister had nothing to do with the misdeeds of his hand selected employees.  Old Steve is the most loyal of friends.  Until you become a liability.  Irving Gerstein should be a bit worried.  Oh.  Wait.  He's throwing him under the bus already.

Stephen Harper officially and totally hangs Nigel Wright out to dry.  I really, really hope Nigel kept some paperwork.  The oddest thing about this whole thing: Why on earth would he use his own money to bail Mike Duffy out?

A story about the missing 3.1 billion.  I initially mispelt "story" as "tory".

A Liberal Senator is accused of sexual harassment.

Some of these by-elections are getting hot and heavy.  Stephen Harper is apparently personally sending out mails to one riding.  Yes I know he isn't really signing them.

This is what our government fights for.  Our right to hunt seals, mine asbestos and build pipelines.  Imagine if they put all this money and energy into industries that didn't enrage half the world?  Of kill them.

Imagining half of North Korea addicted to crystal meth makes the place seem about 100% more terrible.

I wonder if in 50 years time we'll hear about Karl Rove sneaking up to Canada to help the Conservatives get elected?  JFK's pollster infiltrated Canada many moons ago.

A story about Stuxnet that provides a lot of information about cyber warfare and international espionage.

Rob Ford continues to be a walking, talking cartoon.  He hired a former steroid dealer as his personal trainer.  To be fair, I'm sure lots of personal trainers have dealt steroids at some point and time.  Rob ford gets interviewed, makes shit up. People take his "billion saved" as gospel, though.

Christy Clark staffer takes job with Kinder Morgan lobbyist.

This is precisely what people don't understand about copyright legislation and "piracy".  Man buys TV.  TV sends all his information to LG.  Man asks LG to make this stop.  LG tells man that he clicked on the terms of service so he should just go pound sand.  So...with proposed copyright legislation, it could go like this.  Man attempts to reclaim own TV and is arrested for breaking factory installed DRM.  We're entering a world where we no longer own the things in our houses.

Every time we take a trip to a major US city, we see massive billboards for movies that will never be released in Canada.  For a recent trip to LA it was Best Man Holiday.  This story explains the phenomenon.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Givin' it up for Sweden - Week 133 - Nov 12-18

I'm sick of talking about Canada.  Sweden is awesome.  Expensive.  But awesome.  And apparently they have so few criminals, they are shutting down prisons (key point - rehabilitation works).  And a higher concentration of billionaires than the US (key point - social safety nets work).

Sometimes it might be a little tough to put the larger picture in perspective.  It's easy to look at something like Fracking and wonder what the deal is.  We were just in Laguna Beach, where there is a (privately funded) seal and sea lion rescue facility.  Supposedly this is their worst year ever.  Higher water temperatures and a lack of fish are causing hundreds and hundreds of dramatically underfed orphaned cubs.  Which kind of shows you why our freshwater lakes, rivers and streams are so important.  But Christy Clark just wants to "get to yes".  As well, was listening to a professor on the CBC yesterday, who pretty much tore Christy Clarks "the world needs our clean LNG" argument to shreds.  Number one, our LNG isn't that clean.  Number two, we'd be a lot better off if we used all the electricity that we're going to generate to create LNG for other purposes.  She's a crazed LNG lunatic.

Justin Trudeau was at an event for teens and answered a question about Marijuana.  Peter McKay freaked out about "Justin Trudeau talking about legalizing marijuana in front of elementary school kids."

This is the worst thing a government can do:  Sign treaties that allow for no future changes.  The Trans Pacific Partnership effectively halts any efforts at copyright reform.  Because governments always get things right the first time around.

More Michael Sona.  According to Conservative party staffers and lawyers he's a criminal genius.  And they in no way provided a voter list.  The Liberals did.

So 10 teenage boys between the ages of 13-15 have been accused of "child pornography".  No details are given.  I'm betting they did something really horrible, but if the victims are close to their same age, are we really going to brand this children as "child pornographers" for the rest of their lives?  Do we need to sensationalize this as a massive "child pornography" bust?

I kind of like this.  Rob "gravy train" Ford is offering $5,000 raises to his employees if they stay on.  And is hiring taxpayer funded lawyers to sue people for taking his power away.  And makes $170,000 per year.

I haven't posted about Stephen Harper's strange obsession with the North in a while.  Here we go!  It looks like the government or the Conservatives or somebody paid CBC to cover a ship salvaging expedition in the North.  And then lied about it.

The Conservatives are trying to fast track "anti-counterfeiting measures".  Border laptop seizures for all!

JPMorgan took to twitter for a Q&A session.  And shut it down when the results became more than embarrassing.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

We can all learn from Star Wars - Week 132 - Nov 4-12

Stephen Harper keeps insisting everything is okay.  "The RCMP is not investigating the PMO.  These are not the droids you're looking for."  Regardless, the PM won.  The Senators are now the only villains and the Conservatives are the champions who banished the criminals from the Senate.

Canada, once again at the top of the heap.  Heap of sucking at curbing climate change.  According to the UN.  And at sucking at "Conservation".  According to a federal audit.

A nice summary of the War on Science.

Here's another one of those Conservative ideas that you can't really put your finger on why...but makes absolutely no sense - Giving wounded veterans top priority for Federal Government Jobs.  I mean...why not just give them the benefits you promised in the first place?  What if they're totally not qualified for the job?  It's just nonsense red meat.  And of course if you don't support it you're against the troops.

I feel like I'm living in crazy land.  Christy Clark just basically said that the "Five Conditions" have been met, paving the way for pipelines.  What has changed since the election?  Do we have great new safety standards and organizations?  Is there a rock solid plan for spill response?  Safeguards designed in to the pipeline?  Support for the pipeline.  No.  But the "Five Conditions" have been met.  Somehow.  This woman sucks.  This is why people were stupid to vote for her party.  And apparently nothing has changed with her feelings on Northern Gateway?

Scientists - It looks like Grizzly Bears might be overhunted in BC.
Christy Clark - Nope.  All good!

Speaking of disappearing wildlife in British Columbia, there's been little response or action on the Cohen Report, one year later.

Alberta oil producers are upset that they might have some new environmental regulations to deal with.

Of course, we have to spend a bit of time on Rob Ford.  Officially, crack smoking Rob Ford now.  Salon has a nice summary of the last few years of Rob Ford.  Lucky for us...his polling numbers didn't really go up.  There were just some flawed polls that skewed the numbers leading into the latest batch.  And to put Rob Ford to bed...watch this video, and if it doesn't make you smile a bit, you're dead on the inside.  Oh.  And just maybe, his incompetent communications director attempted to hire a hacker to destroy the crack tape?

Some facts about income disparity in the USA.  Key one for me...40% of Americans make less than $20,000 per year.  Top 7 percent own 63 percent of the wealth.  But of course, those that point this out and wonder about it are just jealous and should get better jobs.  Because it makes sense that the average CEO makes 354 times his average employee.  And stockbrokers are just so much smarter and harder working than everybody else.

This article looks at the American gun control battle as a function of 11 different nations within American with differing opinions.  Note how the nations extend into Canada.  Makes sense to me.

It's interesting to note that our parallels with the US haven't really kept pace.  Our "Midlands" are responsible for putting Stephen Harper in business, while the American Midlands put Obama in power.

A black woman in Detroit knocked on a door, asking for help when her car broke down.  She was shot and killed.  No charges.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Stickin' it to Democracy - Week 131 - Oct 28 - Nov 4

I think this pamphlet from the Conservative Convention says all that we really need to know about our current electoral system/government.
I've been thinking about Duffy and Wallin a bit today.  And I think there is danger in lumping these two in together.  I think what one did was much more terrible on a personal level, and what the other did was much worse with respect to what it says about the party.  Duffy essentially spent Senate money as a cheerleader for the Conservative Party of Canada (and claiming a living allowance when he shouldn't have).  Wallin used her travel allowance to go about her own private business.  I think Wallin probably belongs in jail.  I think Duffy is a victim of the Conservative Parties arrogance and deceipt.  He did what dozens and dozens of people told him to do, and what dozens and dozens of people told him would be okay.  Now they're hanging him out to dry and of course he's confused.  I think that says worse things about the party than it does about Duffy.  But at the rate this is going, I don't even know if this opinion will stand for another day before new evidence changes it.  Doesn't look good for Harper thoughAt all.  In the meantime...Duffy lays down the hammer!  PM didn't know?  Fuck you!  Here's a cheque from a Conservative Party lawyer for all the legal fees related to this nonsense.  And Jim Flaherty is dismissive of the Senate scandal because it's getting in the way of all of his precious work.

Here's the fucked up logic that Rob Ford is working on.  Release the Crack video because it won't prove that I smoked crack.  Ergo, I should remain mayor because there's nothing at all wrong with any of this.  But the fine folks of Toronto seem to think this is all great.  I feel like this bozo could murder somebody on his radio program and it would be deemed to be a media witchhunt by his supporters.

Interesting that the Federal Environmental Review of the "New Prosperity" Mine (hot name guys!) is so scathing.  Will they build it anyway?  Is it just "environment be damned" on projects that help the Oil Sands?

Fucking hell.  Face scrub micro beads are polluting the Great Lakes in serious numbers.  See...teenagers are awful.

Friends of Michael sona are intimidating witnesses? How does this guy have friends?

Rafe Mair speculates that the fix is in on the Northern Gateway pipeline (obviously) and that it should go to a referendum (not likely).  Probably a good time to pick up some Enbridge shares.

Bloody activist bureaucrats!  Always pointing out the shortcomings of government!  Don't they know that if they point out that Revenue Canada has terrible data security, the terrorists win?

These guys aren't stupid.  There's a proposal to build a bike path along the length of the Keystone XL pipeline.  Now the oil industry can say things like "You're voting against the longest bike path in world history."

Japans hunting of whales and dolphins is messed up.

More on the European Trade Deal - mostly why we didn't get a good deal.

So some drone strike survivors from Pakistan were invited to speak to Congress.  And 5 Congressmen showed up.

Just waiting for the "More guns would have stopped this shooting" argument in the LAX shooting.  Obviously, this shooting only happened because airports are a gun free zone, right?

Looks like the US gets shafted by Free Trade as well.  This time Lobster fishermen in Maine.  I smell a lawsuit.

So this doesn't have anything to do with politics, but I have to talk about it.  Whenever I say to people "Do you remember in the 80's when there were all those plastic costumes that had a picture on it of the thing you were trying to be?" people have no recollection.  Well.  Slate does.

Monday, October 28, 2013

How much longer can this go on? - Week 130 - Oct 21-28

This Senate thing is just dirty.  And the more I think about it, the more it seems like this effort to throw Brazeau, Duffy and Wallin out is an effort by the Conservatives to whitewash the parties participation in the events that lead up to this fiasco.  I hate to say it, but I agree that they shouldn't be suspended.  It's just too easy for the Conservatives to use this as a tool to dig themselves out from under their own mess.  "See.  We're the good guys.  We suspended the bums."  Even though they employed the bums.  And told them it was okay to do what they were doing.  And tried to help them avoid the scandal.  And helped them try to cover up the scandal.  But then pulled the ripcord when it got too messy.  It seems to me there are some definite parallels between the stories Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin are telling.  Mac Harb may end up being the worst off though.  More.  And more.  And more.  And more.

Oh Environment Canada.  When will you learn?  You're not supposed to suggest things that are critical of the government.  Such as that we're nowhere close to meeting emissions targets set out by said government.  So not only have we not committed to meaningful cuts, we're nowhere close to meeting our unmeaningful promises.  But don't worry.  Jobs!  The Economy!

I guess you're not really Conservative unless you loooooove scrapping databases.  This time, the Conservatives are scrapping their new campaign database that they spent millions on.

This sounds like a reality show.  Come up with a great business idea, win permanent residency in Canada!

Oh man.  Whatever you think about the Ontario gas plant decision, this seems like a terrible idea, drafting a motion to have the party pay back the money.  Pretty much every decision is a political one.  How many stupid decisions are made each year by a political party looking to benefit themselves?  You want to start charging them for all of that?  God.  We probably would need a new Federal department just to do the calculations.  And that's what is so absolutely ridiculous about today's politics - The revisionist history.  From the Sponsorship scandal to the Senate scandal to BC Rail to the Fast Ferries.  A party is in power until it fucks up monumentally and then the next party comes into power until they fuck up monumentally and it's always just the greatest tragedy of all time but we're going to do a better job.  Honestly people.  Proportional Representation is the only answer to this.  How do we do it?

Okay.  I've been reading "The Notorious Bacon Brothers" by Jerry Langton.  It's very interesting, and not very well written.  But it's impossible to read it and not come away with the idea that perhaps Canada is too lenient on criminals.  The amount of drugs, weapons...heck, murders these guys are caught with/doing is staggering.  But here's where the Conservatives have it all wrong.  You want to stop guys like this?  Fund police systems that go after them.  Put money into anti-gang programs.  Perhaps change legislation to increase jail time for violent crime.  But by creating mandatory minimums for any drug crime you're almost diminishing the effectiveness of what the courts can do.  Keep the little shit out of the courts and trivial criminals out of prison (except for white collar financial crime - those guys need more jail) and focus the attention of the courts on the bad stuff.  In my opinion.  Anyhow.  Interesting book.  Changed my perspective a bit.

Oh.  Boy.  Apparently the Koch brothers might make $100 Billion if Keystone XL goes ahead?  No wonder dropping a few hundred million to (attempt to) buy an election is no big deal.  Good lord.  Not to mention all the money they pump into clouding the climate change debate.  But no.  It's scientists clinging to their $60,000 per year jobs that are making shit up due to their greed.  Thousands of them.  All that grant money has them rolling in it and they just can't be stopped.

Another piece on the ridiculousness of the Conservatives pseudo-scientific "no drugs to treat drugs" decision in banning heroin experiments in BC.

"Everything to make a bomb except for the explosives."  So...like some wire.  A battery.  A container.  "Not dangerous by itself, but police took no chances."

Every time David Suzuki says something, Conservatives dismiss him.  Well, apparently he is "admired" by 57% of Canadians.  That might not sound like much, until you consider Rick Hansen only has 50% of the country, and our buddy Steve-O only has 23%.  Maybe there is hope for Canada?  Honestly, Trudeau, get off your fucking ass and work with Mulcair on electoral reform.

Do you ever get phone calls from your credit card company offering to protect you from identity fraud for an extra fee?  I always ask them something along the lines of "Sooooooo....you need extra money from me to protect people from stealing my credit card information?"  They generally have well rehearsed responses to this.  But this is worse.  Experian is an organization that offers to help protect people from identity theft/fraud.  And they sold databases full of people's information to identity fraudsters.

I have no idea who Darrell Dexter is.  But I wish I lived in Nova Scotia, just so I could have not voted for him.  Always classy when you blame voters for "not understanding" when you lose.

"Sleepy Time" Rob Anders is still at it with his delusional claims/rhetoric.

Fox News has it's own army of commenters used to pepper anti-Fox blog postings.

More Russell Brand.  I don't agree with everybody on this one.  It seems to me the interviewer is a bit "in on the joke" with this one.

File this under "Life Lessons from Unusual Places".  Somebody asks former referee Kerry Fraser about missed calls.  His response is very educational, and a bit of a lesson on making mistakes and owning up to them.

Always sucks when you provide a reference for a criminal.

Monday, October 21, 2013

War on Expensive Cheese - Week 129 - Oct 14-21

So a train derailed and then exploded.  Again.  I guess we couldn't even get that barn door closed after the first horse left.  We're still talking about it in the throne speech.

The Globe rounds up the throne speech.  More "tough on crime" and a highway to the arctic.

Great news everybody!  The Conservatives are on our side!  Un-bundled cable TV!  Cheaper cell phone plans!  They're saving the world and all about the "middle class"!  In additional "Stephen Harper Saves the World by Making Things Marginally Cheaper" news, now they're going to tackle the US/Canadian price gap.  Slashing tariffs?  No, no.  Nothing like that.  After all, it's all the fault of suppliers.  Good luck on that one, buddy.

I feel like somebody is trying really hard to make us think the EU trade deal is nothing more than an easier way for us to buy cheese and send more pigs and cows to Europe.  Perhaps there is more to it than that?  This guy suggests that they're coming to steal our water, and points out the always lovely "Corporations can sue the Canadian government if they pass harmful (economically harmful, that is) environmental legislation".  Call me crazy, but if I'm running a country, I don't sign anything that allows people to sue us if we decide to better protect our environment.

This sounds like a reality show.  Come up with a great business idea, win permanent residency in Canada!

I had no idea the Federal Information Commissioner was such a radical.  She must be, because she's suggesting that our government is doing bad things with access to information.

Edward Snowden points out that people that suggest that China or Russia have stolen his files seem to be full of shit.

I have no idea who Darrell Dexter is.  But I wish I lived in Nova Scotia, just so I could have not voted for him.  Always classy when you blame voters for "not understanding" when you lose.

Liberal MP's have started posting their expenses.  People have started questioning every single thing.  Why do people become so irrational when talking about politicians expenses?  They have a job that requires lots of travel.  That will cost money.

The Senate is hoping to suspend Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy.

Some protests in New Brunswick have erupted over fracking of shale gas.

Unfortunately, when you're a blowhard, people will work to tear you down.  As Rob Ford mobilizes to fire a sleeping City worker, a photo is dug up of him sleeping while on the job as a City worker.  I'm sure his situation is totally different.

This is just the coolest thing I've heard in a while.  For anybody who doesn't know Greg Gillis/Girl Talk, he's awesome.  He's a musical genius that justifies the mash-up craze of a few years ago.  And...a study was just released that tracked sales of songs that he sampled both before and after he released an album in 2010...and...sales went up after his album came out!  So much for the has been musicians suing the shit out of samplers.

This is great.  A journalist followed up with several people that Sean Hannity interviewed about "Obamacare being a disaster" and pointed out the holes in their theory.  Of course, absolutely not one single person that watched the Sean Hannity piece will read this debunking.

Buried in Laura Dzendri story...Police used an undercover operation to illicit a confession from a murderer.  Would be interested in hearing the details of that.

There's some definite legalese here...but the MPAA seems to be arguing that a judge shouldn't consider actual damages to their bottom line in awarding them a judgement, just the imaginary ones that they made up.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Thanksgiving - Week 128 - Oct 7-15

This is pretty awesome and we're going to use it to start our week.
Great news everybody!  The Conservatives are on our side!  Un-bundled cable TV!  Cheaper cell phone plans!  They're saving the world and all about the "middle class"!

Man.  This Brazilian spying thing is going to get ugly.  (can we just start calling it The Brazilian?  That's what I'm going to tag it as)  The denial sounds suspiciously like a confirmation.  It's going to get really, really ugly if we find out that a taxpayer funded spy organization is working on behalf of Canadian mining companies.  And here's the other shoe.  CSEC met with energy companies?  What about?  Sharing some Brazilian intelligence perhaps?  Other corporate espionage?  The head of CSEC says a whole lot of nothing.  The ex-Director of the SCEC claims that it needs the oversight of an MP.  Which is a troubling statement...but honestly...which Conservative MP would you want to oversee your national spy organization?  And supposedly more to come.  Speaking of Glenn Greenwald...here he takes a BBC reporter to task about government spying.  There's things to be learned here.

Judges are already starting to defy Stephen Harper's minimum sentence legislation, pointing out what people have been saying all along - It's not going to work, it's not going to help, and it's not fair.

Our "Science Minister" sent out a fundraising letter asking for money to combat "radical ideologue" scientists.

Mike Duffy is in more trouble for hiring a friend to do a waste of time job.

The Tyee puts into words the ridiculousness of Rona Ambrose and her crusade against prescribed heroin.

Apparently Columbus was a real dick.

Russia and China both have legions of...god...what to call them?...trolls?...writing comments on behalf of the motherland on online news articles.  Stephen Harper probably has the same thing.

Prepare for "Real Estate is on the Rise!" articles.  The long view...shit's been pretty flat for 2 years.  Another great Garth Turner post where he points out that all these Real Estate statistics are really, really suspect.

A lady in Saskatchewan phoned 911 because she thought her neighbours fire pit was out of control.  The fire chief showed up and yelled at her and told her to go back to Quebec.  Which is bad, yes.  But then read the comments (I know.  A mistake).  People seem to think it's justified because "Quebeckers treat anglo-Canadians badly all the time."

Leave it to Matt Taibbi to explain just how fucked the United States is.  With American politics run by wealthy donors, it seems nothing is going to get fixed and income disparity is going to really take off.  In this example, a public pension is gutted and money flows to Financial organizations.  Shocking numbers here as well.

Malala Yousafzai points out to Barack Obama that bombing the shit out of people with drones doesn't bring them over to the American way of thinking.

More US Law Enforcement Entrapment.  This time, an undercover cop encourage an autistic kid to buy drugs for him.  Then arrests him.  Fucking hell.  Thankfully, this kid was re-instated in his high school and got off with only some community service but "he other special needs students arrested remained expelled and at least one served a year in jail."  Posting Onion stories seems cheap and easy.  But this one about cops seems on point.

Is this not a lesson that our copyright laws are plunging towards absurdity?  Harvard Business Review has determined that professors are not allowed to assign things out of their books without a specific license.  Just wait until they start employing undercover students to help enforce their copyright.

Monday, October 7, 2013

We sold our souls for rock and oil - Week 127 - Sept 30 - Oct 7

In a way, I get it.  We use Malaysian money to build an LNG plant and then we sell it to Malaysia.  But wouldn't we be better off building our own plant and then selling the LNG to whomever pays the most?  I thought everybody was begging us for the stuff?  Why do we have to let foreign companies own our resources?

So we used one of our spy agencies to spy on the Brazilian Mining Ministry and we got caught.

Oh these fucking assholes...Enbridge seems to think they'll have their pipeline up and running by 2018.  What a bunch of fucking cocks!  Arrogant cocks.  "Let's disregard all these people that fucking hate us and are accusing us of being a shit company that can barely run an office, let alone a pipeline, and just kind of show them that we don't give a fuck what they say because we've already bought and paid for the decision from the government."

Who knows best about prescribing heroin for a clinical studies?  The doctors who designed the study, hoping to find some specific results that will in turn help society in general?  Or a bunch of ignorant politicians?  Doesn't really matter.  Politicians get their way.  Fuck.  She actually lectures them about treating heroin with heroin.  Because everybody knows cold turkey is the only way, right?

There's not too many things/people in this world that blindly inspire me to think that the other side of the story is the correct one.  Fox News.  The NRA.  Chris Brown.  Anyhow.  The Canadian Gun Lobby thinks we should not sign a UN arms treaty.  So we probably should.  I also love that they think Harper signing this thing might cost him votes.  Yep.  I can just see that Albera farmer voting Mulcair because Harper caused his ammunition prices to go up a bit.  And the fuckin' shitheads caved in and didn't sign.

John Baird continues to tilt at windmills.  No shit we shouldn't blindly accept everything that Iran is selling.  Is anybody suggesting that?  Meanwhile, you're grandstanding at the UN while our fearless leader attempts to marginalize our place there?  What's the point?  Nobody is listening to us anyway.

Another Conservative MP steps out of bounds with letters to the CRTC on behalf of...I think on behalf of Sun News?  And the Province classifies it as "Entertainment".

Don't they know that it's the will of the lord? Christian Paradis announces that Canada won't fund programs to provide abortions to victims of war rape or forced childhood marriage.
So we've decided to take a human rights stand against Sri Lanka.  I'm guessing they don't sell us much stuff or want any of our oil, lumber or natural gas.

And Harper might be trying to blacklist a journalist that asked him a question.

Oh boy.  Our new Supreme Court appointee is a 64 Year Old White Man, who argued strongly against repatriating Omar Khadr.  And then lied about getting drafted by the Detroit Red Wings?  This is roughly the Canadian equivalent of claiming you walked on the moon.  What an idiot.
An 89-year-old lady is going to court after refusing to fill out the census.  Kind of an interesting story, actually.

Awesome!  Pirate Joe's won his legal fight!

Rob Ford continues to be Toronto's main carnival attraction.

Patrick Brazeau still exists, is taken to hospital.  May have done something stupid beforehand.  Maybe not.

Another Conservative Senator is in the shit.  This one accused of illegal fundraising in Quebec.  Kickbacks from Construction companies, really.
The London School of Economics has determined that piracy isn't hurting the entertainment industry.

Alex Pareene has an interesting take on his appearance on CNBC.  He seems to have generated a bunch of positive news though, contrary to his own opinion that he botched it.

Should Canadian public archives be stored behind a paywall?  Probably not.