Weekly Highlights from our Conservative Overlords

Weekly Highlights from our Conservative Overlords

Monday, May 27, 2013

Hittin' the Pipe - Week 108 - May 21-27

Oh man.  Not only was Rob Ford smoking crack...Doug Ford was dealing hash.  And their sister was in the KKK?

A Canadian court ruled that widespread fraud occurred during the last election...that somebody with access to the Conservative voter tracking system was most likely at fault...that it was definitely organized and targeted...but that it didn't have an effect on the election results...even though some of these ridings were very, very close.

Stephen Harper has described the expense scandal as a "distraction".  What does that mean?  Why does he call anything that people ask a lot of questions about a "distraction"?  "I'm sorry, but you holding me accountable is distracting me from further screwing you over."  I love it.  "Don't worry about us stealing all this money from taxpayers.  Worry about the economy.  We're really good at that."  Oh.  Wait.  Steve.  Actually, you're not.  Actually, the economy is kinda messed up.

Stephen Harper actually apologized for something.  He was pretty much forced into it, but it's a start.  And really, who isn't sorry about Mike Duffy?  Some details on just how the Senate went about whitewashing Mike Duffy's audit report...as pointed out by the Liberals.  And...the RCMP is now officially digging in to this.

Like I said before, Stephen Harper thinks the UN is a joke except for when he wants something from them.  So of course John Baird is extremely pleased to announce that we will maintain our official joke organization Civil Aviation Headquarters.

More follow up on the shift in science focus to industry by the NRC.  Somebody has put together a chronology of Conservative cuts and attacks on science.

How is this a democracy?  $56 Million has been paid to congress by supporters of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Science says bitumen will sink.  Enbridge says it won't.  I'm surprised they aren't selling this as a feature.  "Hey.  We spill it.  It just drops away to where you can't see it!"

Joe Oliver is upset that somebody might have speaken ill of one of his beloved pipelines.

This is not new news...but how the fuck is speaking Mandarin a requirement for a mining job in Canada?  The court case over the HD Mining miners sounds like a farce.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Dominoes - Week 107 - May 13-21

What a crazy week.  Has it only been a week?  Gosh.

First up.  Mike Duffy.  Should I remind everybody that up until very recently (last week), Mike Duffy was a Conservative star.  And they seemed to think it would be worth $90,000 to bail him out of his expense problem.  Now he's in trouble for inproper influence during the Sun News bidding process.  As well as double billing both the Conservative Party and taxpayers for partisan campaigning on Senate time.  Which has caused him to resign from the Conservative caucus.  Isn't it crazy that it seemed fine when he was just campaigning at the expense of the public, and he was forced to leave once the party figured out he had stolen their money?  Taxpayer money, no problem...but Conservative money is another story.

Imagine how shitty this is for Nigel Wright?  First up, he has to pony up $90,000 to "save the party".  Then, the guy he bails out is forced to leave the party.  And then he has to resign as well?  Even after Stephen Harper pledged his full support. Man. That's some bus.

Pamela Wallin is out, too.

Senator Bozo is going to fight his expense repayment finding as well.  May as well go out in a blaze of glory.  What do you bet we get left with his legal bill as well?

The Harper Government is going to spend over $16 Million on advertising trying to convince America that we're not a band of knuckle-dragging oil burners.  Are the Conservatives invested in some sort of advertising agency ETF that I don't know about?

Peter Penashue is sent Packing.  Of course, the Conservatives are claiming victory.  Because the Liberals didn't win by as much as they should have?  Even with vote splitting.

Remember when the Conservatives promised that the new Copyright legislation wouldn't be about prosecuting average citizens for downloading a movie here and there?  Ya.  That was bullshit.

A Boingboing follow up to our link last week on Industry dictating the course of science in Canada.

I didn't read this article but the headline is awesome: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Bolts From Meeting to Put Fridge Magnets on Cars

Another great Rob Ford Headline: Ford denies crack video

Congratulations Toronto!  Your mayor has gone from local sideshow, to national disgrace, on to international punchline.

Flaherty thinks the housing market is just fine.

You remembered wrong.  House prices weren't supposed to level off and grow more slowly.  This 3% drop in house prices is exactly what we expected.  It's a good thing.

Bob Rennie suggests that it doesn't matter if young people are too poor to buy housing.  Their rich parents will just buy it for them.  So, logically, there's no threat to housing prices and you should buy, buy, buy!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What the Hell, British Columbia?

I'm no died in the wool NDP guy.  But I was lucky with this election.  I live in Christy Clark's riding.  So it seemed doubly awesome to me:

1) I could vote in an awesome guy like David Eby.
2) I could vote out a smiling shrew like Christy Clark.

We went in early in the campaign to get a David Eby lawn sign (I've never done that before) and they talked us into volunteering (I've certainly never done that before).  I do feel pretty happy this morning that David Eby was elected and I'm kind of pumped that I was able to do a small part to help make that happen.  But how is this woman still Premiere?  I don't think I have an extremely informed opinion on this election, but I do have some observations from running around Point Grey knocking on doors.

1) It really felt different in the riding this time around.  There were not as many Christy Clark signs as during the by-election.  There were David Eby signs everywhere.
2) When talking to people, they really latched in to the Christy Clark talking points about Adrian Dix.  She did a good job of setting the tone.
3) When people asked me why they should vote for Adrian Dix, I told them that I didn't have an answer to that and the reason I was doing this was because I really believed in David Eby.  That seemed to resonate.
4) The NDP ground game seemed a bit archaic.  There was lots of bad data.  I felt like I talked to a lot of "identified supporters" who were definitely not.
5) Brent Butt is a bit of a dick.  He ended up on my identified supporter list, so we hit his house last night to make sure he had gotten out to vote.  They have a big "No solicitors, salespeople or campaigners" sign on their door (nice house, by the way).  But I figured "Identified supporter, no problems."  He was very stern when he came to the door.  Angry even.  He was very displeased when I suggested he was an NDP supporter.  Oh well.
6) We watched the riding votes roll in in real time.  Christy Clark took a very, very early lead, but then quickly lost it and David Eby didn't lose it all night.  For whatever reason, this is not the story told by the various election coverages.  I don't understand why that is.  I guess it compromised their narrative.

I'm going to be interested to see if voter turnout was higher in this riding, relative to the rest of the Province.

Update - So.  I took a quick look at voter turnout.  These numbers will probably grow slightly as absentee ballots are counted, but it doesn't look good.  I figured that in a battleground riding with lots of people excited about the candidates there would be good turnout.

Wikipedia has some good info.  Everybody came out in 2009 to vote Gordo in (55.98%).  People didn't give a shit about the by-election (38.94%).  Looking back on those two elections, there are roughly 41,000 eligible voters in the riding.  Adding up the vote totals, 21,481 votes were cast.  Meaning 52.4% of eligible voters voted in the riding.  As I said above, this will grow slightly, but what the hell, Point Grey?  We can't even beat the Provincial average in such an exciting riding?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Stickin' it to the Senate - Week 106 - May 6-13

Brazeau and Mac Harb have to pay back large chunks of their expense budgets.  They're still working on Pam Wallin.  Wait.  Mac Harb disputes the article suggesting he owes fat bank.  Nope.  He's wrong.  They do have to pay it back.

Mike Duffy appears to have been tipped off that he was under investigation over his expenses.  I listened to an interview from the Liberal Senate Leader and he seems really, really pissed about the whole thing.

Tom Mulcair is asking the Conservatives if the money is in the banana stand.

Let's talk about Unions.  This NP article uses the Queen of the North ferry accident as an argument against unions.  And I do agree here.  Unions should have no place in protecting people from criminal liability.  I'm still not really understanding how the union is even involved here.  I can understand if it was an internal BC Ferries investigation that the union might be able to prevent certain things.  But can a union really prevent an RCMP or Transport Canada investigation?  If so, then yes, that needs to change.  But to extrapolate this and suggest that unions have no place?  Full disclosure.  I'm not in a union and have never been.  I have worked entirely in organizations that are union and have worked with many, many union employees.  And yes, at times it is incredibly ludicrous.  I've seen some really, really bad employees keep their jobs.  I've seen laziness.  I've seen union leaders defying sense and logic.  The traditional union/management mentality no longer works.  But there is two sides to that story.  This relationship generally is created through years and years and years of mistrust.  I've seen examples of younger facilities with progressive unions work quite well.  So...like I said...two sides.  But what if that union completely goes away?  "Non-competitive" is just another word for "too expensive".  And that's the management trap.  Managers aren't evil.  They just get fired if they don't cut and cut and cut and make shit cheaper.  It's very easy for companies to see that they could make so much more money if employees would only work for less.  And only work when they were told to.  And on and on and on.  Is this really what we want?  We want everybody to work for cheaper?  We want worse jobs and less recourse if things don't go our way?  Yes, unions can be a pain in the ass.  For years I wondered why the high school educated floor worker was making more than I was (as a professional engineer).  But that's a different question.  I think we should worry more about elevating non-union jobs to union standards than about getting rid of the unions.

Well.  I think it makes more sense to just have a well funded Revenue Canada, rather than create a "special team" to go after tax cheats.  But I'll take it.  I guess is sounds better to say you have a "special team" than to admit that people haven't been caught because the base organization doesn't have the resources.

"The Harper Government" is spreading.  The phrase has been used on 522 government news releases...since December.  Generally when talking about funding initiatives, tax breaks and projects.

Canada is tripping over itself to assure everybody that the 3rd Via Rail terror suspect did not enter the US from Canada.

Stats Can is putting disclaimers on its data due to non-mandatory long form participation.

Oh shit.  The Conservatives might start re-writing the Canadian history curriculum.

This story about the Liberals improving fortunes goes out of the way to belittle what Trudeau was wearing during the announcement.  This is news?  And they have an editorial that goes even crazier.

The Conservatives hate big government and science!  Except when they can re-purpose national science institutes to do science for businesses and industry.  Science for businesses, not for people.  Correction.  Science for giant corporations, not for anybody else.  Science for business suggests that entrepreneurs might benefit.

Companies are hiring temporary foreign workers for jobs in areas where there are unemployed people with similar sets of skills.

The National Post asks why Canadians still are interested in Al Gore...while writing an article about him every two days.

The potato farmer who was thrown in jail in Beirut is suing the Canadian Government.

Details are coming out about Health Ministry employees fired by the BC Liberals in 2012.  Turns out they were working on studies that may have proved harmful to pharmaceutical companies that are also BC Liberal donors.

This is just a stupid article about Real Estate.  The gist...If you bought a home 10 years ago (you know, right before the largest jump in real estate prices ever) you'll be fine even if there is a crash.  Ummm...let's see.  Haven't most people bought since then?  Isn't that what drove up prices?  Aren't there a whole lot of people out there right now without 50% equity in their homes?  This is a stupid article.

Similar to my comment on another Salon article last week...here's another article about Time magazine articles about Millenials.  I think the comments are more enlightening than the actual article.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Conservatives for Sona - Week 105 - April 29 - May 6

The first half of the week was pretty busy.  Just a few odds and ends to clean up here.

Some Guelph Conservatives are pissed off that Michael Sona has been hung out to dry over Robocalls.  They're quitting.

Steady-hand-on-the-tiller Steve is going to commission a fresh round of ads (government paid, of course) to talk about how great he's doing!  Big Government = Bad except when I get to use it for all of the stuff that I really want.

Harper has his next thing to argue about with the UN - Global Warming the cause of superstorms and arctic ice thaw.  How has this become such a partisan issue?

Canadian Diplomats are picketing their own embassy.

The National Posts suggest that Stephen Poloz was the Bank of Canada Governer Candidate most likely to follow Jim Flaherty's agenda and that's why he got the job.  I guess you probably wouldn't appoint the guy least likely to follow your agenda...but one would hope this would be a bit less political.

It looks like the Tory attack ads haven't had an immediate effect.  Would it show up right away though?

For an encore to his hilarious "Bush was the best" article last week, Charles Krauthammer spins a new doozy.  Oh boy.  He hits all the talking points.  Global warming a myth...CO2 at generational lows...drowning in debt and on and on.  Good stuff.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Where'd the Money Go? - Week 104.5 - April 29 - May 2

Steady hand on the tiller Steve has a $3 Billion gap in "anti terror" funding and has taken our search and rescue infrastructure to the point of failure.  According to the Auditor General.
Tony Clement clarifies that $3.1 Billion isn't missing...there's just no explanation as to what it was spent on.  Thanks Tony!

Oh.  Beautiful.  "It was the plan all along guys!  We swear!"  Peter "Competent" McKay lays out a review of search-and-rescue improvements.  Or something.  Not at the last minute after a scathing Auditor General's report.

Even the NP thinks the AG report might be bad news for the CPC.

Not to be outdone, the Parliamentary Budget Officer has released a report suggesting that the latest Conservative budget will cost jobs and stifle growth.  Ouch.

Noble John Baird refuses to "sell out Canada's principals" in pursuit of a Security Council seat.  How noble.  Who needs those guys, anyhow?

Except when we really, really need/want them.  With their ICAO aviation office.  Then the UN is A-OK.

Jason Kenney!  Stickin' up for Canada!  Yep, now if you want to bring in out-of-country workers and pay them a lot less money, it's going to be a lot harder.  There's a new fee involved.  Hooray for Canada!  Shit, if this had been done years ago, we wouldn't have had the HD Mine disaster.  "Hey, why don't we bring in a bunch of Chinese mine workers and pay each of them tens of thousands of dollars less per year than a comparable Canadian worker?"  "Boss.  You haven't thought this through.  There's a new fee for the application!"  Boss is pissed!

A Conservative MP made up some numbers about Polar Bears.  Scientists aren't happy.  But just you wait.  He'll probably be the next Minister of the Environment.  "You showed some real ambition there son."

Elections Canada is suggesting that hundreds of thousands of people may have voted "improperly" during the last election.  Good thing we're cutting their budget.

Nice job Alberta!  First up, a $30,000 donation limit?  Hmmm...I wonder if this gives the wealthy an unfair voice with politicians?  Next...hey, no problem if you want to just cut us a massive check and then pick a bunch of people at random to assign the $30,000 amounts to.  And hey, if you get one of those people wrong, don't worry about it.  We'll just cut you a cheque for that portion and send a sternly worded letter.  Don't worry though.  You'll already have bought your influence long before the election.

Even with their heavy-handed EI enforcement rules, the Conservatives aren't doing a good job of preventing EI fraud.  $300 Million in overpayments.  $110 Million in fraud.
Attawapiskat is still in trouble.

This Salon article kind of pisses me off.  It's the same standard "bullshit" about young people expecting everything to be handed to them on a silver platter without doing any work.  How about a new interpretation of things?  How about this one.  Our parents generation grew up with low tuition, low housing prices and tonnes of jobs.  Even with all that, they've ratcheted up the debt over the last, take your pick, 10, 20, 30, 40 years.  And now we're the greedy bastards for wanting some of the same things?  Now we're "entitled" because the old people in control have decided that we finally need to cut our debt so their taxes aren't too high?  We're materialistic because they created a marketing industrial complex that convinced us we need to buy all of this shit?  But heaven forbid we take away their health care.  No.  We're the ones that are "entitled".  Not that I'm a millenial.  Or materialistic.  Or don't have a decent job.  But just fuck off with this ridiculous narrative.