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.