Weekly Highlights from our Conservative Overlords

Weekly Highlights from our Conservative Overlords

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

It's almost over - Week 190 & 191 - Dec 15-30

The end of the year.  Time for the annual "The average CEO makes your yearly salary by wiping his ass" stories.

This is why income tax is progressive.  The bottom 50% of wage earners have only 5% of the wealth in Canada.

Two MP's who developed the Conservative voting app may have committed a conflict of interest in voting to allow scrutineers to use their app.

Here is a telling sentence - "Public Safety Minister Peter MacKay’s Bill C-13 lumped together measures designed to combat cyberbullying with a series of new warrants to enhance police investigative powers"

Sweet headline - Feds leave $321-million unspent for green programs, overspend on oil and gas research, ads

Man.  This might be a monkey wrench in Trans Mountains expansion plans.  10% chance of a major spill?  Yikes.

A lawyer is trying to force Steve to appoint people to the Senate.

Steve might slowly be changing his mind on carbon pricing?

These NFA kooks are a hoot!
We're seeking rich immigrants again.

Parents are listening to the scientifically dubious IQ claims of the latest Reefer Madness ads.

Not much info on the changes to the Indian Act.

We're not doing much to protect Caribou.

Canada Revenue just did a blanket destruction of all employees text messages, and won't save them in the future.

I don't know what this means.  More people seem to think Steve is doing a good job on the environment, but it's still a minority.  And the change is most likely within the margin of error.

Once again, we screw up a military purchase and pay twice the going rate for some cargo planes.

Monday, December 15, 2014

This is definitely torture - Week 189 - Dec 8-15

Steve insists US torture isn't our problem.  We need to remind ourselves of our diplomat trying to tell us that we directly handed Afghan detainees over to be tortured.

We've already totally fucked up our Syrian refugee program.  We're about to throw another curveball into it...We're going to prioritize Christian minorities.

Canada has decided to not do it's part in protecting endangered species.  76 endangered species!

Steve knows better.  Cons reject recommendations on solitary confinement from Ashley Smith inquiry.

"BC needs LNG for jobs!" sez Christy.  "Most of those jobs will go to non Canadians" sez Petronas.

Steve has another reason to do nothing about oil patch emissions.  Falling oil prices.  At one point they actually claimed they couldn't do anything due to high oil prices.  Through quotes, McLean's shows how Steve and his band of assholes are a bunch of fucking liars.

Cops can now search your phone on arrest without a warrant.  This might not sound like a big deal.  But are they maybe not more likely now to arrest you so that they can search your phone, if that is their desire?

Steve doubles down on denial that they treat Veteran's poorly.  Writes off BC lawsuit as being against a Liberal policy.  Even thought the Veteran's Charter was passed by the Conservatives with all party support.

An analysis on how the Cons are starving spending with new process and requirements.  Smaller Government evidently means more bureaucracy, somehow.

Remember that ever ratcheting up F-35 price tag?  Add another billion.  As well, if you leave the fuel truck in the sun, they won't run.

More partisan ads.  This is getting tiresome.

"Fair Elections" strikes again.  Scrutineers will now be allowed to use smartphones and keep in touch with the mothership.  Nice that the Conservatives had a head start to develop an app to take advantage of the legislation that they changed.  And a lesson - WHEN RIVAL POLITICAL PARTIES COME TO YOUR DOOR DON'T TELL THEM HOW YOU ARE PLANNING ON VOTING.  As well, the Cons are trying to make it harder for ex-pats to vote in elections.

I know our food safety system isn't terrible.  People aren't keeling over all over the place, after all.  But this is disturbing.  An E.Coli outbreak was caught not by the first line of defense, but by a secondary test outside of the regular system.  As well, the recall wasn't initiated until the meat was past it's best by date.

Israel is proposing a very controversial bill that I won't pretend that I understand.  Thing is, pretty much everybody is speaking out against it.  Except Canada.  Which is what unconditional support means, I guess.

This tears apart the idea to raise fees for access to information.

Somebody other than Trudeau thinks we should try to understand just why we have all these terrorists all of a sudden.

A Jury member who selected the winning entry for Steve's Communists are Bad memorial wonders why it's been given such a prominent site.  And thinks the cost estimate is insanely low.  Amongst other things.

Rules were bent to allow an anti abortion protest to take place on Parliament Hill.

The Liberals suggest their membership numbers are rising handsomely.

The Feds continue their Omar Khadr crusade.

Harsh repercussions for medical marijuana advertisements, lack of enforcement for prescription drug advertising.

House prices are fine!  Don't worry about it!

Oh man.  Gross.  Cruise ships produce insane amounts of pollution, and just dump that shit right into the ocean.  Every one of your old relatives is guilty of killing baby dolphins.

There is a report detailing the costs of "Corporate Sovereignty" clauses in European free trade agreements.  It's not cheap.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Screwing Veterans - Week 188 - Dec 1-8

The Cons officially tell veterans they don't give a shit about them.  "No special obligation".  But then again, how do you come off as the good guy when you're fighting disabled veteran's in court?  As well, the $200 million the Conservatives have promised in veterans support will be dispersed over 50 years.  Not the six or seven originally promised.

Leona Aglukkaq actually admitted to some wrongdoing.  She admits reading a newspaper while people tried to ask her questions in the House of Commons was a bad idea.

The Cons suggest that the Information Commissioner should "raise fees" for information requests if she can't make her budget.  Never mind that the fees all go in to general revenue and charging more would have no impact on her budget.

Steve announces a pittance of funding for University science.  And kicks the Health Research Grant program in the nuts, forcing researchers to hit up industry for matching funds.  A masterstroke.  Make research more difficult and make all the researchers beholden to industry.

The cover up is worse than the crime, right?  Nobody would have noticed a report detailing RCMP aircraft flying overweight and pilots falsifying records.  Okay.  People would have noticed.  But it's a lot bigger thing now.

The US is requiring us to pass laws in their favour to enter into the TPP.

Our homicide rate is the lowest it's been since 1966.  Time to get tougher on crime.

An analysis of the Michael Sona conviction.  Bad news for low level election workers, great news for candidates looking to commit future election fraud.

Many, many groups have come out in support of the full decriminalization of prostitution.

Strange, strange things are going on with the wheat board.  Why does it need to be privatized?

There's now dueling audio experts in the surreptitious recording scandal.

The brother of our Multiculturalism Minister was arrested in a drug sting.  Imagine that conversation with their parents.

Canada lost 10,000 jobs in November.

Why has nobody reported on the oil spill in Alberta?

Everybody freaks out when a politician or civil servant has high expenses.  The Acting Human Rights Commissioner has been called out for $760 thousand in travel and living expenses over the past 8 years, largely due to his living in Winnepeg and working in Ottawa.  As he points out, he'd move to Ottawa if he was named permanently to the gig.  So why have the Cons taken so long to find somebody permanent for this job?

Preston Manning has become a more palatable human since he left politics.  He's in favour of carbon pricing.  Or at least suggests the Conservatives should be.

We're selling off more consulates and properties in cities around the world.  "Fire sale" the Globe calls it.
We've signed a "customs agreement" with China to share information.  Nobody seems to know what this means.

Ahhh fuck these guys.  The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses want...oh who fucking cares?  Special visas for their slave labour or something.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Spilling Oil - Week 187 - Nov 24-Dec 1

There has been another pipeline spill in Alberta.  60,000 liters.  There is not much news on this at all.

Leona Aglukkaq is threatening to sue the Deputy Mayor of Rankin Inlet.  He says she demanded an apology when he suggested citizens of Rankin Inlet are scavenging for food at the City dump.  She says it never happened.

How many times have we heard about the insane laws in the US where Monsanto is allowed to sue the shit out of farmers for re-using seeds?  Canada is trying to pass similar laws.  How the fuck are these jackasses popular on the Prairies?

Are actual corporate tax rate compared to our official corporate tax rate is insane.  We actually collect 3.9% on profits compared to the official rate of 26%.

The Conservatives continue to try and bait Liberals into saying controversial things on tape through dishonestly and surreptitious recordings.  Their latest attempt met with some backlash, as another person claims to be the one who spoke, not the Liberal MP they were trying to trap.  The Conservatives response?  "We have an audio expert who can prove otherwise."  CSI Harper Conservatives.

Health Canada has come down hard on the advertising of medical marijuana companies.  This is a bit rich, considering how pharmaceutical companies are allowed to advertise.

The Cons are in tight with SNC Lavelin.  One minister (Christian Paradis) received what looks like a $25,000 slush fund.  And they allowed a former SNC Lavelin exec. to remain on the public payroll after he was caught in an illegal donations scam.

In other oil news, Opec makes Canada weep.  This is why you don't bet the farm on one volatile industry.  One industry that doesn't really pay their own way.  Three key points from this report:
1) It is almost impossible to find out how much The Government Take (i.e. what the citizens receive) is for Oil and Gas revenues in Canada, what with subsidies and loopholes.
2) A study by PWC notes that the Alberta take is very low compared to the rest of the world.

Ding ding ding ding ding.  Pre election infrastructure jackpot!

Julian Fantino has gotten the fuck out of Canada, just in time for the Auditor General's scathing report to hit.

One of the MP's involved in the sexual assault allegations has spoken out anonymously about what happened.  Hearing this...I'm not sure what else Trudeau should have done.  Which, unfortunately, seems to be what this is about now.

A Walrus article on the militarization of Canadian police.  Timely, seeing as they just killed a guy armed with a 2x4.

Another fantastic safe seat Conservative...Peter Goldring, he who was accused of drunk driving after refusing to give a breathalyzer sample, has suggested that MP's wear cameras to...fuck...I don't even know... to prevent rape accusations, I guess. The PMO had to step in and help him run away from his statements.

Canada Revenue has leaked a bunch of tax records related to donations made by famous Canadians.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Science can be your friend - Week 186 - Nov 17-24

Leonna Aglukkaq describes why we don't need to do as much as China and the US on climate change.  "Canada accounts for less than 2 per cent" of global GHG emissions.

Oh Fuck.  This isn't going to end well.  Two men wore Burkas to rob a Toronto jewelry store.  How haven't the Cons banned that shit already?  Crime furthering otherworldly religious garb?  Please.

The Cons have devised a neat new trick.  They haven't actually cut the budget for Veteran's services...they're just not spending all of the money in that budget.

The Cons are telling civil servants to use partisan hashtags in their tweets in support of income tax proposals.

Michael Sona has been sentenced.  Everybody seems to think others were involved, yet nothing else seems to be happening.  The Cons have decided to cross their fingers and hope that it just goes away.  Nobody is commenting.

Joe Oliver's economic update speech last week was a fundraising dinner.  Which is odd.  You have to pay the candidate $800 per table to get an update on the Canadian economy?  No wonder they take in so much money in donations.

A long screed from MacLean's on the ridiculous "anti honour killing" law.  And how it could change the definition of "provocation" for everyone.

A document from the Immigration and Citizenship department suggests that media inquiries be handled with large, international organizations receiving top priority, then major Canadian organizations, then, maybe, smaller independents.  The ministry shoots back that this is just a "draft".  Having worked in government, I know that every single document is called a draft.  There must only be a handful of documents every year that aren't considered as such.

Stupid Privacy Commissioner.  Asking for checks and balances to go with all the new police powers the Cons are dishing up?

Interesting insight into who the lobbyists are and who they represent.

Do you know what the average windfall was for Canada/BC/Alberta last 5 years due to Trans Mountain Pipeline income tax payments?  $1.5 Million.  Less than peanuts.  I bet that doesn't pay for the costs to regulate them.

The National Post thinks that Stephen Harper being an asshole to Putin at a diplomatic function ranks up there with other famous asshole Canadian politician moments.  In Russia, Canada is the confused guy down the street shouting about things nobody understands.

They've already decided to destroy the homes of the two synagogue attackers in Israel.  Same day service.  Can you imagine if we dispatched police to knock over people's homes the same day they've accused of committing a terror attack?  What if they get the address wrong?

I guess the heat is on Trudeau.  And furthers the shitstorm.  An NDP MP who is a lawyer may have suggested that the offences reached the level of "assault".  And that may have prompted Trudeau's response.  And this extra helping of leak is for sure pissing the NDP off further.

The Conservatives are burying changes to refugee social assistance in an Omnibus bill.

Well that's just fucking great.  The Cons are going to start studying privatization of certain police tasks.

A Conservative candidate in a by-election has had her expenses in her previous job as mayor questioned.  Well that's a smear!

This seems weird to me.  Go and fight for the Taliban and you're an "enemy combatant" who should be thrown into Guantanamo without trial.  Go fight for the Kurds and...  Don't get me wrong, I need to know a whole lot more about the Kurds to effectively comment on this.  It just seems like we have a double standard depending on which irregular army you join up with.  (seems like the government might be a bit confused about this as well)

A journalist testifies on the police response to the G20 protests.  He didn't like what he saw.

Hey.  There's a 1% for musicians now.  The top 1% of recording artists make 77% of the revenue.  For their labels.

Everbody agrees that NHL players are 1 percenters, right?  Making way too much money for too little work?  Well, looks like 1 percenters have it pretty sweet in good old Communist British Columbia.  New Canucks are paying far less in taxes than they used to in such Capitalist tax havens as New York.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Internet will break you - Nov 12-17 - Week 185

I did a stupid thing the other day.  But I was honestly confused.  Momentarily.  So I typed into the Google machine "Why do Republicans want Keystone XL".  I had momentarily forgotten that oil money bankrolls half their campaigns and was honestly curious as to why they were killing themselves to allow Canadian oil production to expand.  And it took me here.  This is a terrible place that makes me fear for the United States.  Pretty much every comment contains a reference to "American Exceptionalism, suggestion that Obama is a secret muslim or born in Kenya, and support for the idea that Obama hates America and is trying to destroy it.  There is no hope for these people.

Steve continues to be a hard man against Russia.  With tough talk in the handshake line of a summit.

Somebody better than me has taken a plunge into the ridiculous Conservative bill names.  Great stuff.  Man.  So pumped on this!

Canada's reputation is terrible in countries where our mining companies are destroying things.

The US and China seem to have agreed to some real emissions targets.  Will Canada follow suit?

CSEC gets a $385 Million budget increase.  The watchdog gets a budget cut.

This is interesting.  A detailed evaluation with a simple money shot.  $1 Billion in public spending cuts eliminates 18,000 direct and indirect jobs and sucks $2 Billion out of the economy.  $1 Billion in corporate tax cuts generates 6,000 jobs and adds $1.3 Billion to the economy.  Which is a net loss, if you need to do the math.  I would imagine that this analysis breaks down at some point, but it is telling.  Right now, every time we cut corporate taxes to starve the public sector we're harming the economy.  i.e. Stimulus spending works.  Throw declining oil revenues into the mix, and we might be fucked.

The Americans insist that we've made a secret deal to purchase 4 F-35's in a fighter jet trojan horse deal.  The Cons insist that we haven't.

Interesting take.  According to Conservatives, the science is crystal clear that marijuana is harmful.  But there isn't enough science to support medical marijuana.  I guess you could have different science.  Nobody seems to be fans of the new anti-pot ads.

An American story on Rehtaeh Parsons and how Canadian journalists can no longer speak her name.  This is so fucked up, all the way around.

The Cons are going to erect monuments of Light Armoured Vehicles across the country as tribute to Afghan war veterans.  This is the funniest thing.  How can you ignore a group of people while erecting a monument to celebrate them?  Angry Veterans against Harper is gaining some momentum.

The Cons seem to be trumpeting their "surplus" loud and hard.  Even though it hasn't happened yet.  And has been seriously eroded.

The Parliament Hill shooter did reconn the week before his attack.  Which seems like some pretty great information to rile people up about shutting down Parliament Hill to the public.

Access to Information is out of reach of the average Canadian.  Thousands of dollars.  Weeks of effort.

The Cons promised to follow the court ruling to offer health care to all refugees.  But they might not actually be doing so?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Late again - Week 184 - Nov 3-12

The BC Government has come out hard and fast to protect it's citizens from danger.  Strong language.  Talk of increased fines.  Government resources to investigate and hold people to account.  Mine safety?  Pipelines?  No, no, silly human.  Uber.  Of course, it's all in the citizens interest.  Nothing to do with complaints from the Taxi and Limousine industry.

This story is titled "Less Money to Help Veterans, More to Remember Them".  Seems fitting.

It's kind of embarrassing how excited everybody is getting about bombing ISIS.  "ISIS dump truck may have been target of first Canadian air strikes in Iraq" reads the headline.  The rest of the world is embarrassed for us.

Del Mastro took the high road!  Holy shit.

Unfortunately, the Cons have not.  This is a video link, which sucks.  But Thomas Mulcair is pointing out that the Conservatives have quietly amended a bill to remove the pensions of MP's convicted of crimes to not include MP's convicted of crimes under the Elections Act.  So basically, Del Mastro gets to keep his pension due to the Conservatives changing the law.

An intervenor in the Trans Mountain/Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion approval process has withdrawn and blasted the process as ridiculous and too heavily in favour of Trans Mountain/Kinder Morgan.  No big deal.  Except that he's a former government minister and oil company board member.  More people are speaking out about the Kinder Morgan/NEB hearings being a farce.

The NDP is upset that Trudeau made public statements about the MP harassment issue.  I don't understand was he was supposed to do.  Suspend the MP's with no justification?  Not suspend them?  I guess that was an option.  The complaint seems to be that the victims privacy has been violated.  But they haven't been named.  I don't know though - Maybe this isn't right, but it seems like you can have privacy or you can have justice.  You might not be able to have both?  Question mark.

The Cons are on a rampage against things that are already illegal in our country.  Honour killings.  Polygamy.  These are problems for Steve.

We've decided to pay Roma refugees money to abandon their refugee claims.  I guess one could argue that if you're willing to accept cash to go away, your refugee claim is suspect.  But what the fuck?

We're resorting to hiring smugglers to deport people to Somalia, because it's so fucking dangerous there government officials aren't allowed to travel there themselves.  This is insane.

Other refugees...well, we just throw them in prison with no charges until we can sort things out.

How noble.  The Conservatives are going to comply with the court ruling that requires them to provide health care to refugees.

John Baird isn't just making Canadians angry now.  Russia isn't too pleased with his comments about the Ukraine.

The Governor of the Bank of Canada suggests that unemployed, basement dwelling kids, should work for free.  You know, for experience.  I'm not sure if he went on to give other advice from his childhood...pound the streets...hand out resumes...Why it only took me a couple of days to find a great job, why can't these kids manage it?  What a fucking asshole.

Two new spy watchdogs have been named.  One, a former Conservative MP with no intelligence experience.  Two, a former security consultant who might have a conflict of interest.  Mulcair doesn't like either.

Another report on the insane amount of subsidies for oil companies from rich, western governments.  $88 Billion a year, apparently.  Similarly, BC Natural Gas subsidies are insane.

I'm sure that this was the result of a direct question...but if I'm Peter McKay, I find a better answer when somebody asks me if I've seen harassment on Parliament Hill.  This could be part of the reason why the Conservatives very recently decided to do nothing about workplace harassment on Parliament Hill.

More detail on why it's terrible to ban travelers from Ebola ravaged countries.

Trudeau lays out his case against income splitting.  Interesting how supporters are sticking to their argument that income tax splitting is somehow more fair.  Global News is on the case and has proven that 87% of Canadians won't benefit from income splitting.  MacLean's shows that even with the $2000 limit, it's primarily benefiting people with higher incomes.

Way to go RCMP.  You lost a "high risk traveller".  If you can't manage the resources that you have, why should we give you more?  Failing at things should not be an argument for more power.

The Cons lost in court a few months ago with respect to CSIS and their actions overseas.

A pension board appointed by the Cons to oversee federal employee pensions has been accused of utilizing offshore tax loopholes.  The same loopholes the Cons are apparently really upset about.

America thinks we're getting four F-35's in 2017?

The Federal Information Watchdog is nearly out of money.  I'm sure Steve will tell her to manage her budget better.

Use of foodbanks in Canada is accelerating.

I'm not saying that this is a result of cuts to Statscan or hating science...but it's funny that the Conservatives aren't able to give numbers to support their policies.

UBC is building a pricey international students only college?  That seems like a terrible idea.

Kinder Morgan is really upset that protesters are giving them dirty looks.  Seriously.

The Q Billy Bob Thornton interview is pretty humourous in hindsight.  Billy Bob comes off looking kind of amazing rather than kind of crazy.  There's some amazing leaps in the comments.

A few more states decide to legalize marijuana.  Pretty much the whole west coast (come on...California with it's medicinal marijuana culture is pretty much legal) except for BC is now legal.

I'm not going to pretend to know what this guy is talking about.  But he's suggesting that the munitions we are sending our fighter jets into battle with are less than ideal.  "Own a powerful gun but buy no ammo to shoot with it' mentality" is what he calls it.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Trapped in the Closet - Week 183 - Oct 27 - Nov 3

Stephen Harper feels bad that he hid in the closet.  I actually don't blame him for that.  

We're officially arguing over the semantics of the word "terrorism".  Mulcair thinks that because the man was mentally ill, it might not be terrorism.  Russell Brand points out that when a white guy shoots 3 cops, that's not terrorism.  Which makes me a bit sad.  This isn't even his country.  How does he come up with these amazingly relevant things to say?

The Information and Privacy Commissioners are encouraging us to not over-react with draconian laws in the wake of last weeks incidents.

I love that we're using domestic attacks by Canadian citizens who never left the country to justify a global spying enterprise.  Among other things.

I always root for the underdog.  I have no idea why.  I can't remember the last time that a team that I cheered for won a major championship.  Hell, half the time I'll switch allegiances if my underdog team starts winning.  So,today we'll talk about Dean Del Mastro.  Don't get me wrong, this man deserves no sympathy.  But I can't help but feel a bit sorry for him as all his buddies skitter away and leave him holding the bag.  How does Steve not get tarnished by all the buffoons that he has surrounded himself with?

How badly does the RCMP suck?  In Stephen Harper's Canada, the RCMP thinks that environmentalists are a greater threat than "religiously inspired terrorists".  That must have been some argument, trying to sort out which Boogieman is scarier.  As well, the RCMP have kept no records of their warrantless requests to snoop on Canadians, so have no idea how often it happened or if it breached privacy.  Lastly, it looks like up to 4 RCMP officers slept with witnesses over the course of the Surrey Six investigation and trial, throwing the verdict into question.  Four!

Canada won't be granting visas to people from "Ebola ridden countries".  Many people point out that this won't stop the disease from spreading.

Because it's nearly impossible to achieve one legally, women in New Brunswick are inducing their own abortions.

We don't have the budget to build all the arctic ships we are expecting to.

Income Tax Splitting could be really, really messy.  A dream for accountants.  We know that income splitting favours people that have high incomes.  So limiting the tax credit to $2000 is a step in the right direction.  But why is it limited to people with kids?

This is really embarrassing.  We've started photoshopping logos onto the Canadarm.

The overall best selling car.  In all of Norway.  Is the Tesla Model S.  Some people point out that it is hypocritical of Norway to make buying a Tesla cheap through funding provided by their Oil industry.  But I think that's awesome.  If Canada decided to jack oil and gas royalties and use it to fund clean energy programs, that would be a good thing, no?

An opposition Commander in Syria points out that 6 fighter jets isn't going to accomplish much against ISIS.  Biased opinion?  Sure.  Mysterious source?  Of course.

You know who doesn't have confusion about whether or not to buy in to an overly expensive, unproven fighter jet program?  Russia.  That's who.

Buried way, way in the back of an already long bill are some provisions to control working conditions within the CBC.

Hooray for Canada?  A student staged a fake act of racism and filmed it as a social experiment.  Somebody sucker punched the fake racist.  Somebody else pointed out that Islam isn't a race.

It's official.  Communication from Revenue Canada makes no sense.

This is a really great cartoon that explains Obamacare and what is wrong with US Healthcare.

Every once in a while, an issue comes along that is so confusing, you're not even sure which side you are on.  #Gamergate is just such a thing.  If you use that hashtag are you a sexist?  Against sexism?  What if you're criticizing #Gamergate?  Are you allowed to use the hashtag then?  Who the fuck knows.  Anyhow, this post is beautiful.  Not just for #Gamergate, for life.  Read it.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Terrorists Win - Week 182 - Oct 20-27

It's been an interesting week.  Of course, everything has been over-shadowed by the most Canadian of terrorist attacks.  A French Canadian turned West Coaster turned Muslim attacked a War Memorial and Parliament with a rifle before being stopped by a retired gentleman.  I don't want to diminish the seriousness of this.  It is indeed a terrible event.  A soldier is dead (a soldier in place to prevent teenagers from spray painting a war memorial) and, well, two soldiers are dead, but one of them has already been largely forgotten.

But there's been a lot of "this changes everything!" going on.  I will admit that this does suggest we need better security at Parliament Hill.  Guards with guns, perhaps.  But if one crazed lunatic with a gun and one crazed lunatic with a car "changes everything" ...man, we're in trouble.

The response has been muted a bit more than I expected.  There's the right mix of discussion about "increased security" and "not caving in to terror".  But some of the first words out of Stephen Harper's mouth were about giving law enforcement more tools to do their job.  What does that mean, exactly?  Do we really need more surveillance?  Worse?  The hit and run terrorist was already being watched.  And the Parliament Hill terrorist had been denied a passport and was on somebodies radar.  Is "more tools" the answer to not doing a very good with the tools that we currently have?  "Making it illegal to condone terrorism online" certainly isn't a step we should be taking.  What does that even mean?

As well, we have this.  The PM got shoved in a closet and MP's were wielding flagpoles as spears.  And are keeping the spears as trophies.

CBC actually has this as an "Exclusive!".  The Parliament Hill shooter used a piece of junk mail as a license plate.  Conservatives set to announce new legislation seeking enhanced penalties for using junk mail as a license plate.

The Cons have decided that now isn't the right time to unveil legislation to make it easier to buy a gun.

This was written before the attack on Parliament hill.  Greenwald points out that we've been at war for 12 years and shouldn't be surprised that there are repercussions.

Of course, all of this is somewhat related to our "taking it to ISIS".  This Tyee article points out that most of the wars and/or saber rattling that we've completed over the last 10 years has been a disaster (Libya. Afghanistan. Ukraine).  Trudeau thinks it's Stephen Harper's ego that is the cause of our mission.

This is fairly damning.  Canada is ranked last of OECD Nations - 58th overall! - in dealing with climate change.  We beat Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia though!

A pretty fascinating interview with Pierre Polievre on partisanship.  It would be similar to interviewing Gretzky about scoring goals.  If Gretzky was a bit delusional and had insane ideas on how to score goals and painted himself as a non goal scorer.

I'm not super excited about the Christy Clark plan for LNG.  Accepting a pittance from multinationals making billions off of our resource seems like a terrible plan.

Home mail delivery for 74,000 addresses stopped this week.

The Conservatives have a new batch of out-of-context quotes/attack ads.

Great news!  Another Quebec only political party.  That will sort things right out.

Somebody points out that we're putting more effort into silencing bird watchers than we are into catching tax cheats.  This is a good point.

The Cons commissioned a "health report" on the effects of Marijuana.  It's fairly one sided.

There's another nomination skirmish over an easy Conservative seat.  In this one, the battle is against one guy selling Conservative party memberships out of his fathers Canadian Tire, and another guy who lives far, far away from the riding.

A story summarizing all of the companies that have recently pulled out of the Oil Sands.

There were warnings that our ability to deal with stranded ships on the North Coast is terrible.

Kinder Morgan doesn't really get it.  Tries to prove First Nations don't actually eat all that much fish, so why should they be so concerned about an oil spill in the Fraser, right?

America!  Fuck Yeah!  The Koch Brothers have a new batch of dirty tricks.  Now, they're running pro-pot ads to entice liberals/Democrats to vote for a Libertarian candidate so that their Republican candidate can win.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Threats to Society - Week 181 - Oct 14-20

It always takes a farcical story to drive a point home.  A group of Ontario birdwatchers have been threatened by Revenue Canada over "political activity".  They wrote a letter to several cabinet ministers expressing concern over bee deaths.

Stephen Harper fears that the people he's in charge of are trying to bring back the Long Gun Registry.  And all he needs is your money to stop it.

He also seems to be researching privatization of Canada Post and writing secret reports about it.

It's easy to form an argument that CSIS needs more power to track "terrorists".  (It might not be credible, but it's easy)  It's harder to understand how they decide who a "terrorist" is.

Fraser Institute economist thinks that he has solved science and proven global warming is a farce.  Science points out that he is an idiot.

Kinder Morgan pro-pipeline ads come at a time that can be seen as influencing upcoming municipal elections.

There are a truly insane number of foreign caregivers waiting for Permanent Resident status in Canada.

This might be getting complicated.  Sun News dug up some documents that suggest the major media companies (most of them) in Canada came to an agreement not to air attack ads that used copyrighted information originating from any of their broadcasts...Which may have lead to the Conservative political copyright law...and may be illegal...and Sun News views as collusion to put Trudeau into power.

Jason Kenney took it upon himself to decide that a niqab can't be worn during a citizenship ceremony.

One Russian cargo ship loses power on the coast of BC and exposes our "World Class" ship safety plans as a farce.

Canada's Indian status system seems insane.  And one lady is challenging it, as her status was revoked as she does not know the identity of her grandfather.

The Canada Food Guide kind of sucks.  And it's been put together by people closely attached to the food industry.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Thanks - Week 180 - Oct 6-14

I love Tom the Dancing Bug.  This is a pretty good one.
Jason Kenney uses his government staff to create anti-Trudea graphics.  But of course, they're doing it on their "spare time".

Oh fuck these clowns.  More pandering to gun owners.  Fuck off.  Nobody cares about your stupid "Swiss Arms rifles".  All announced at a shooting range.

The Europeans are upset about the Stephen Harper Airlines free flight to Europe as well.  Turns out bureaucrats accepting an unnecessary $300,000 flight has ruffled some feathers.  And they've pointed out that the whole thing was unnecessary and the excuses are probably bogus.

Joe Oliver thinks changes to EI premiums will create 25,000 jobs.  The PBO thinks it will cost 9,000 jobs.  Hmmmm...that's a bit of a spread.

Another Harper law will be challenged in court.  A group is suing to overturn the new election laws.  As well, they won't provide information on how much it cost to make changes.

Patrick Brazeau has more problems.  He has been arrested again.

Evidence for Democracy has released a report detailing the muzzling of Canadian scientists.  Basically, it's way, way harder for Canadian government scientists to present their research and speak out than it is for US government scientists.

The Cons new regulations on TFW's have no teeth.  Remember the Victoria area McDonald's caught abusing the program?  They were denied more TFW's twice...then phoned and complained and had the decision reversed and the TFW's fast tracked.  As well, a cafeteria on a reserve that suffers from high unemployment has brought in temporary foreign workers.

Let's just ignore your thoughts on the Harper Government response to global warming.  Not enough regulation?  Weak targets?  Needs to go further?  Irrelevant.  As this story details, the Environmental Commissioner thinks we aren't even on a path to reach our insanely low goals.  And even worse, the actual regulations are a secret!  And the reductions we have made have come primarily due to Provincial programs, not Federal.  Jeffrey Simpson is onto it as well.

An organization involved with treating addiction has come out in favour of legalizing marijuana.

Wow.  American TV networks are suggesting that if their business model isn't propped up by forcing their channels on people that don't want them, they're going to lose money and have to pull out of Canada.  I guess I see their point.  I mean, who wants to be forced to keep customers by offering them something they want for the money they're giving you?  And I would also be upset if people no longer wanted to give me money for something that they didn't want in the first place.

This is really interesting.  The Cons want to be able to freely use copyrighted news in political ads.

Great news.  There's not only a 1 percent for money...there's a 1 percent for booze consumption.  People wonder why macrobreweries still exist.  It's to service those guys.

Two cops responded to a noise complaint, entered a house illegally, beat a bunch of people up and kept their jobs.  The people they beat up won their court case...but the City won't pick up their $66,000 in legal costs.

Well of course we're not going to support the Hong Kong protestors!  That would take balls.

This is sad.  The pot smoking mountie has been found dead.  Just a really sad, tragic story.

I'm going to be super fucking pissed if refusing to support a plan to bomb ISIS with six fucking airplanes results in 4 more years of the Cons.  Super pissed.  Here's my bold prediction: As the Cons receive a boost in support for their bombing the shit out of terrorists, an election is called.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Fur Hats for Everyone - Week 179 - Sept 29 - Oct 6

This is just a perfect example of the Harper Government.  We've got accusations of extremism.  Overturning somebody else's decision because you know better.  Grandstanding.  Killing animals.  Jobs!  Jobs!  Jobs!  It's perfect, really.  The Conservatives decide to overrule the RCMP's decision to no longer wear fur hats.  Claim it's for the greater good of Canada.  Congratulate themselves for saving...like what?  10 jobs?  And stick it to the extremists, for good measure.

Jim Prentice feels like all Alberta really needs right now is a few more temporary foreign workers.  Seriously.  What an asshole.  I know this isn't science or anything...but a year ago all the Oil Sands companies were advertising for engineers in BC.  Now?  Not a one.  I'm not surprised that our CEO/worker pay gap is the worst in the western world.  Well...except for America.  And some more stories about TFW's getting taken advantage of.

Does anybody out there have a really good idea for how to deal with ISIS?  At this rate, I feel like if we go in and take them out it's going to be some kind of flesh eating zombies that take their place.  The west just keeps making shit worse.  Maybe blowing the fuck out of everybody isn't the answer?  But no, Trudeau is the asshole here for questioning things.

Somebody decided that there would need to be a prison lockdown if Omar Khadr is granted an interview.

Sometimes you make a mistake, admit that you're wrong, and then move on.  Other times you double down on awful.  The Harper Government decides to appeal the decision that struck down their cuts to refugee health care.

This story details the impossible decision members of our military face.  Admit that you have a mental health problem and get treatment...or keep quiet and keep your pension.

MacLeans has a take on the Paul Calandra affair.  And some more about stupid things he has said.

The Conservatives don't want a motion to go forward that would grant the speaker the power to make people answer questions.  This is all kinds of confusing.

Once again, the Cons explanations for spending a lot of money beg greater explanation.  There's no real logic towards last minute changes leading to Canada footing the bill for a private plane ride home for some European bureaucrats.

Stephen Harper's "Ra Ra Canada is Great so let's stick it to the Russians" Franklin expedition to enhance Canadian ownership of the North...had a Russian component to it.  Which kind of chips away at the justification for it.

We now basically have one newspaper owner in Canada.  Good thing nobody reads them any longer.

And lastly...Sun news apologizes to Justin Trudeau for calling his mom a whore.  Basically.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Backbenching - Week 178 - Sept 22-29

I begin this week with a pretty awesome article from Raif Mair.  Wow...I made about six typing errors coming to grips with that first sentence...Anyhow, Rafe talks about Dianne Watts running for the Conservatives.  Which isn't all that interesting.  Until he starts talking about how useless the life of a backbench MP are.  Makes you understand all the hooting and hollering in the House, doesn't it?  Wouldn't we be better off if we all just decided this was a farce?  If all MP's are there for is to vote how they're told...shit...must be a better way to do things?

I must admit that I have some strange tendencies.  All it takes to bring me on side is a bit of grovelling.  I love an underdog.  I think that's why I hated Lance Armstrong so much.  Now that he's sad and apologetic he's coming around for me.  And now Paul Calandra,  I can't help but feel a bit sorry for him.  I mean, his responses in Parliament were absolutely idiotic.  But there's no way he came up with that all on his own.  Now...hung out to dry.  This is the Conservative Modus Operandi.  My question is this: How come they put so many questionable people into positions of authority to begin with?  Bev Oda.  Paul Calandra.  Dean Del Mastro.  Mike Duffy.  Pamela Wallin.  That other guy.  On and on it goes.  And...we still don't really have answers as to what is happening in Iraq.

Statoil is backing out of an OilSands project.  This is interesting for two reasons.  First, does this signify a larger problem within the OilSands?  Second, how come every other fucking country on this earth is allowed to have a state oil company invested in our OilSands, except for us?

Is there anything worse than somebody who wants to "advise" on an issue and not get involved in any other way?  I laughed a bit when our contribution to the ISIS fight was 60 or so military advisors.  Now we might send some planes...really fucking old planes.

The Canadian 1% is still a bit sad.  $191,000 in yearly salary gains you entry.  I mean...must be nice.  But you're basically an American shoeshine boy with that money.

Andrew Scheer does not respond kindly towards questioning of his impartiality.

I actually kind of like Jason Kenney's recent responses on Temporary Foreign Workers.  We'll see if there's any substance to it.  If we're going to sell out the country in the name of jobs, let's at least make sure people can get jobs and salaries go up a bit.  Nobody should have sympathy for Alberta companies complaining that they can't hire cheap foreign labour.

It's tough to figure what Steve is thining about the UN these days.  I mean, don't show up for the climate conference, but show up for dinner?  And then re-announce an announcement that we already announced a few years ago?  That basically does nothing but bring us in line with US Regulations?  At least we brought some cash...Canada forks out a bit of UN money for Ebola...and some more UN money for a maternal health initiative.

This needs to be read because it's just too weird.  A murdered man in France had stolen the identity of Glenn Miller...and was living the life of a washed up Canadian "rockstar".

I'll start by pointing out the obvious.  Nobody thinks this is a good thing or should have happened.  The question is what we should do about it?  The response to the murder of a Surrey teen by a recently released High Risk Offender has been about what you would expect.  I'd like to see a happy medium between keep-everybody-in-jail-forever and do-absolutely-nothing-once-high-risk-offenders-are-released-except-deliver-a-warning.

The Cons look to shaft everybody by re-introducing their union finance law, ignoring the recommendations of the Senate, and limiting debate on the whole sordid affair.  Nothing to see here, folks.

So, ya, there is an argument for stripping terrorists of their passports.  But that comes at a cost.  And I don't trust these assholes enough to give them the right to start stripping citizenship, especially with the loose definition of "terrorist" these days.

Some more info on North Korean refugees.  The reason we don't accept them?  Well, Chris Alexander sucks.  And the loophole seems to be that since South Korea will accept North Koreans, they're no longer considered to be refugees in Canada's eyes.  Which is some fucking loophole.