Weekly Highlights from our Conservative Overlords

Weekly Highlights from our Conservative Overlords

Monday, March 31, 2014

If the Conservatives love mailing things so much, why the hate for Canada Post? - Week 152 - Mar 24-31

We'll start with a joke.  What is a Conservative?  Somebody that cares a lot about taxpayers money until they get elected.  Eve Adams uses taxpayer funded mailouts to ease her transition into a new riding.

Oh my goodness.  "Sleepy Time" Rod Anders...If he's not making misleading phone calls, he's banking on a non-endorsement from the PM and threatening to sue his opponent.  And seems to be unaware that more than one person can have the same nameHis own party has told him to cut it out.

Of course we have Russia.  Now that Russia has responded with travel bans for our politicians, it's all a giant joke.  So let me ask this question: If we think Russia's travel bans are a joke, than why do we expect people to take ours seriously?  That, and Irwin Cotler claims Russia poisoned him.

10,853 of 10,855 scientific papers published last year (that dealt with global warming type topics) concluded that global warming is very real.  So...it sounds like science has made up its mind, no?  Or are they just making things up to get at those fat stacks of research grants worth thousands?

Somebody else isn't buying into the governments labour shortage argument.  The Parliamentary Budget Officer calls bunk.  Which leads to my favourite headline of the week.  "Tories defend use of Kijiji data in face of opposition ridicule".  Because of course they cherrypick data to suit their policies.

There's a plebiscite in Kitimat on the Northern Gateway Pipeline?  How is that not bigger news?  Enbridge certainly thinks this is big news.  They've sent all kinds of people in to make sure the vote goes their way.  Gizmodo reminds us how terrible oil spills are and how we're not really ready for the next one.

The Conservatives are once again moving to cut off debate on a piece of legislation.  This one contains elements of added Internet surveillance.

Joe Oliver is promising "tax relief".  Great.  Took us years to get back to a "balanced budget", better start cuttin'.  I wonder when his "You're either for these tax cuts or you're a radical tax terrorist" speech is scheduled?

Stephen Harper has a crew of roughly 4 employees working on 24-7 videos highlighting his amazing accomplishments.  For the Jan 23-39 episode, 100 people watched it in English and 19 watched it in French.  Man...I don't feel so badly about nobody reading this blog.

We have a second MP who all of a sudden realized that there was all kinds of election fraud going on a few years ago.  Elections Canada doesn't think much of Laurie Hawn's voter registration fraud story.

Another Conservative spending scandal.  How thick do you have to be to break spending rules the way things are going right now?  Don Meredith expensed a trip to Washington for some kind of prayer meeting.  After it was specifically not approved.  Business Class.  With his wife.  Yeezus H. Chris.  Three MP's went along as well.  Elizabeth May did the whole trip for $980 though...less than what Don Meredith claimed for hotel and food.

The F-35 is delayed again.  This time due to software.  I'd imagine this means costs will go up as well.  Time to jump aboard the gravy train!

It's odd how far out of their way the Conservatives go to block harm reduction strategies, scientific drug use, etc.  Not only here, but on the world stage.  They can't stop harm reduction here, so why not stop it elsewhere?  Insane.

The modus operandi of the Conservatives seems to be push as hard as you can until people freak out enough.  I guess the freak out was enough...they've backed away from their gag order requirements for House of Commons staff.

Seems to be some appetite for a crackdown on temporary foreign worker abuse, in the way of fines.  How did this take so long?

Peter McKay seems to be ready to double down on stupidity, defending the Marc Nadon appointment and thinking about trying it again.

Be interesting to see what happens with the Conservative private members bill on assisted suicide.

This New Yorker/Malcolm Gladwell essay will change the way you think of the FBI and the Branch Davidians.  Crazy, sad stuff.

Monday, March 24, 2014

If individuals are proud of being banned by Russia, what does that say about our own sanctions against them?

I've been struggling to figure out why I'm so troubled by this whole "badge of honour" thing over Russia banning certain Canadian politicians from traveling to Russia.  John Baird hereIrwin Cotler hereEverybody else here.  There are just so many reasons why this is an insane thing to do.

I think first and foremost, our politicians actions have shown us how ridiculously useless our own sanctions on Russia are.  We ban you and you make jokes so you ban us and we make jokes.  Nobel Peace prizes for everybody.

Next, everybody hates childish name calling.  Worse, everybody hates childish name calling from politicians.  Now have politicians throw down childish name calling while there's a real international crisis going on and it's just a gigantically ridiculous enterprise.  I expect these jackasses to take things seriously and this doesn't give the impression that they are.

Third, and last...don't poke the fucking bear, you know?  You're...literally...poking a bear.  We're Canada.  Our fighter jets saw action in WWII.  We can't afford to poke a bear.

Legally Challenged - Week 151 - March 17-24

How many court challenges did the Conservatives lose this week?

#1 - Marc Nadon's appointment to the Supreme Court is overturned.  By the Supreme Court.
#2 - A BC judge grants a reprieve for previously legal, home grown, medical marijuana.
#3 - They aren't allowed to retroactively eliminate early parole.

The Conservatives refuse to release the information that Pierre Poilievre used to come up with his election reform laws.

Remember all those ads over the last few months about cheaper cell phone rates?  That we spent millions of dollars on?  Ya...cellphones are getting more expensive.

Russia laughs at our sanctions.  "Sleepy Time" Rob Anders thinks we should go to war.

Flaherty is out and Joe Oliver gets a promotion.  Every time I think of Joe Oliver I can't help but think of drunk Joe Namath.  This article points out that Joe Oliver's riding is linked to the robocalls scandal.  This article points out that he's a bit of a dinosaur.

It's funny when the Conservatives launch an attack ad, and it makes you think "Hey, that's actually a pretty good idea!"  Somehow, I think the Conservatives spending a lot of money to convince us that Justin Trudeau will legalize marijuana might backfire.

Yet another reason to legalize pot.  Illegal outdoor grows are destroying forests in California.

An article about Stephen Harper's obsession with the original Trudeau.  Clouding his judgement perhaps?

I don't know why this never came to me before.  It took wolf killings to do it.  Christy Clark is the Canadian Sarah Palin (this is good news!  I actually tried to put the "h" in the last name, not the first.  Things are good when you can't remember how to spell "Sarah Palin").  Now, I know this is a pretty unfair comparison to make to any human being.  But hear me out.  The simplistic folksy sayings.  The love of natural resources.  The unexpected rise to power.  Quitting politics to become a political pundit.  A distrust of science.  Killing wolves.  It all fits.

I know StatsCan can get things wrong.  But I like that they're so directly contradicting the Conservatives "lack of skilled workers" claims.  I wonder how temporary foreign workers fall into this though?

Military supply companies are sensing blood in the water.  A French conglomerate is pitching fighter jets, and jobs, for Canadians.

A Conservative Senate Staffer has been accused of fraud and breach of trust, after promising influence over contracts.

This article highlights how much funding has been cut for Cities from the Feds and Provinces.

I haven't read an article on Quebec in quite some time that makes me feel good about that place.  They seem to be making it difficult for students to vote in the upcoming election.  Perhaps I'm a closet Conservative?  But then again...now they're talking about banning burkas.  This must really be a tough one for the Conservatives to figure out which side they are on.

This is what happens when you ignore science.  Wait.  No.  This is what happens when you use some science to create a frankenstein monster and then ignore warnings that science presents with you.  Big Agriculture made a rootworm "proof" corn and it turned out badly.  There was another way, though.  There's always another way.

I like articles that cut through the noise about corporate taxes and how corporations game the system.  This Salon article highlights how tech companies transfer patents to offshore holding companies and use that to siphon profits in to low tax countries.  It's not a fair system.  It doesn't create jobs when a company skirts tax law.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Not Like the Norwegians - Week 150 - March 10-17

My favorite section of my favorite article of the weekAt one iconic meeting in 1974 the Norwegian government announced to a delegation of oil companies that they were raising the level of taxation on petroleum profits to 90 per cent from 50. After the shouting had died down, the minister expressed disappointment that some of them did not walk away from their offshore leases. "We should have taken more," he admonished his bureaucrats in full view of the enraged oil executives.

If you can't ignore science or advice from experts, the next best thing is a selective reading of it, with a total bastardization of the facts used to justify your opinion.  Pierre Polievre has been accused of just that with his use of a report on election fraud.

We're pulling out of Afghanistan.

I'm not really feeling very good about what is going on with Quebec right now.  If this leads to the break-up of Canada, the Conservatives will deserve their fair share of the blame.

The Tyee points out that the "good guys" in the Ukraine are pretty terrible themselves.

Former Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page speaks about forecasting recessions, fighter jets, cuts to libraries and science, old age security and on and on.  Very interesting.  He does not paint the Conservatives as any sort of open and transparent.

Of course Stephen Harper thinks it's unacceptable for the Truckers to be striking.  How dare they hold up Canadian trade!  They need to just be happy that they even have jobs before these inconsequential humans are replaced by truck driving robots.  I find the dichotomy interesting...the work they are doing is so important that they must get back to work before they screw up the country...but how dare they expect more money and don't they know they're lucky they even have a job and how dare they actually think they matter?  Joseph Heller would be proud.

CIBC sticks it to Mark Carney for stickin' it to Canada.  Stickin' in with a high dollar and high housing prices.

Canada's navy ships, and shipbuilding program, appear to be in a bit of trouble.

Michael Geist likes the South Korean free trade agreement!  No crazy anti-piracy provisions.  This is a low hurdle to clear.

The Winnipeg Free Press points out that Vic Toews made terrible decisions before he became a judge.

I think I like Kevin Spacey more now.  Netflix must be pissed though...like 10,000 assholes in Toronto won't be watching House of Cards now.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Everybody should use the word "Realtor" - Week 149 - March 3-10

Been a while since we started with a photo.  Two thumbs up, Steve!

Hey.  Nothing to do with Canadian politics, but there is some happiness in the world.  Readit IAmA with a survivor of Mengele's medical experiments.

John Baird thinks this is an argument on the Internet...compares Putin to Hitler.

This Crimea thing is pretty crazy, no?  I kind of wish there was some large, world spectacle that Russia was holding that we could not go to in order to drive home how inappropriate it is to take over your next door neighbours country.  Oh.  Wait.  There is?  Two of them?  And we're still going?  We're just not going to send "government officials" or participate in the planning?  That seems a bit stupid.  It's kind of okay though, because nobody really cares what Canada thinks any longer.

Honestly, this "don't politicize the Olympics" thing has got to stop.  If the IOC didn't hand the Olympics over to despotic regimes looking to prove their political might then we wouldn't need to "politicize the Olympics".

Opposition to the "Fair Elections Act" is really heating up.  Marc Mayrand finally gets to speak and tears the bill a new one.

Try to make sense of this one...Conservative MP makes some shit up to justify additional voter ID laws...Conservative MP admits that he didn't actually see the shit that he made up, somebody just told him about it...Conservatives decide that the issue doesn't warrant any more investigation or discussion.  Here it is, people.  Proof that majority governments don't work.

Not only are we going to make a sex offender registry, we're going to pull funding to treatment programs that seem to be working pretty well.  Can't have people getting better on the Government dime.

So maybe Jim Prentices talks about more environmental protection weren't really what they appeared to be...as he joins up with Enbridge to foist their pipeline on the First Nations.  Sorry, to "negotiate with the First Nations".

"When the pipeline leaks/tanker sinks, we'll just clean it up."  Looks like the area around the Exxon Valdez has finally recovered.  It only took 25 years...but it recovered.  Mostly.

This guy does not think Vic Toews should have been named a judge.  He suggests that the $288,000 per year salary, plus full MP pension, should help pay for his messy, expensive divorce though.  Love the quotes of opposition MP Toews complaining about the Liberals appointing Liberals as judges.  Totally different this time.

It must suck to realize that people so thoroughly disagree with what you believe.  Peter McKay suggests that loosening of marijuana laws might be in the cards.  I thought anybody who even talked about that kind of stuff was a child hating monster?

Just so awesome.  The CREA has told Garth Turner that the use of the word "Realtor" is trademarked/copyrighted/whatever and he can't use that word in his blog posts.  He responds with a takedown of their ridiculous system.  How can you post a number last year for February sales, and then post a number this year for February sales that is lower than last years number, and claim sales have gone up? (just testing to see if you read far enough down to understand the headline)

Hey.  This is shocking.  A former Conservative is accused of improper lobbying.  Gawd.  Doesn't he know there's other ways to get on the gravy train?

Oh boo hoo.  Gun owners aren't allowed to own one specific type of gun.  Sounds like the beginnings of tyranny to me.  You know, the kind of tyranny that takes away your guns.  Not the type of tyranny that arbitrarily ends debate on issues, forces through gigantic Omnibus bills, changes election laws to suit themselves, perpetrates voter fraud, etc.

This story about the mother of a soldier who committed suicide receiving a $0.01 cheque from the government really lays bare Internet commenters true prejudices.
Conservative - Shame on the incompetent bureacrat for allowing this to happen.
Liberal - Shame on the incompetent Harper Government for allowing this to happen.

Joe Oliver thinks it's a good idea that we live up to our G8 commitment to ensure mining companies disclose money paid to foreign governments.  I think the doings with SNC Lavalin (I know...not a mining company) prove that Canada can be a world power with corporate corruption.  Time to require more of Canadian companies.

An American general points out that you need fancier, more expensive planes to protect the fancy, expensive planes we're thinking of buying from the Americans.  If not, they're kind of useless.

I've often wondered how banks can screw up, hand people's money to scammers, and not immediately be fully responsible.  This guy fought BMO for months over money they handed over during a pretty blatant scam.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Astro-Turf - Week 148 - Feb 24-March 3

Why the War on Drugs isn't a great idea.
I'm sure this is just correlation without causation, right?  Vicente Fox has a good point to make.  The US War on Drugs is really a war on mexicans.  He wants all drugs legalized.

Did you know the Fair Elections Act will give incumbent MP's the power to appoint key election workers?  What a terrible idea.  On a similar note, Preston Manning has even suggested that taking away Elections Canada's "get out the vote" abilities is dumb.  And another voice suggesting that bad things will happen if Elections Canada can't investigate.

Brad Butt, the MP who said he saw voter fraud taking place in the form of campaign employees pulling voter ID cards from the trash and then using them to fraudulently vote, now says that he saw no such thing.  Is this not troubling?  Is this a statement you can just back away from by saying you "misspoke".  Were new laws not drafted to prevent this from happening?

Oh.  This is fresh.  It's not enough to claim that it's American money funding the anti-pipeline coalition in BC.  It used to be the evil American hippies with no skin in the game that want to see the pipeline fail.  But now...now somehow it's worse.  It's American big oil tricking Canadians into scrapping their own pipeline because they want the oil for themselves.  The same American companies that control the majority of the Oils Sands, right?  So...they don't want this pipeline so they can sell the oil in the US rather than they sell the oil in China?  Interesting.  Note that the author of this article is pretty much a BC Liberal Government shill who seems to be the driving force behind the astro-turf "British Columbians for Prosperity".  Where do you get your money, assholes?  Looks like somebody has followed their money...straight to the long term Oil Industry folks who started this organization.

Similarly, a nice little Tyee story that highlights some of the ties between big oil, US right-wing think tanks, "grassroots" oil supporters and Canadian politicians.  Weird, scary stuff.  It also asks the question - why is the 100% political "charity" The Fraser Institute not held to the same standard as other charitable organizations participating in political work?  And points out that all these outside organizations currently "own" 70% of Canada's oil and gas production and siphon off the majority of the profits.

I love behind the scenes views of talking points for Conservative politicians.  Here we have a look at what they were all told to say with respect to Justin Trudeau and the Senate.

Not only Rex Murphy, but Peter Mansbridge has been caught taking money from the Oil Sands.

The IMF, that crazy bunch of liberals, has a report showing that increased taxes on the rich has no impact on economic growth.

I know that nobody ever said anything positive about child sex offenders and made it out alive.  But, especially since we seem more than eager to make kids that forward pictures of classmates "child sex offenders", I worry what this legislation might mean.  I just don't think that making it impossible for a certain breed of criminal to re-integrate into society might not be to the benefit of anybody.

Garth Turner shows why Justin Trudeau is correct - The StatsCan report on middle class wealth increasing is solely based on real estate values.  Yes, some people are sitting on fat (on paper) Real Estate values.  This hardly defines the return of the middle class.

The Conservatives shutting the opposition out of the trip to the Ukraine is just one of many ways the Conservatives are using foreign policy to take advantage of their position.  Poor Irwin.

Is Jim Prentice making a move to be the next Conservative PM?  He's coming out in favour of more environmental protection.

If you complain about everything, people will stop listening.  This story points out that taxpayers have paid for $130,000 in meals for Conservative staffers since 2010.  Who cares?  What kind of deadbeat employer doesn't pick up the tab for employee meals at specific work events?  $7000 for pizza for 330 people during a professional development event?  So...$21 per person?  Who cares.  This is not the sort of thing we should be worried about.  More Conservative lunch expenses, this set directly linked to the Prime Minister.

Their analysis makes almost no sense...and they were kind of dicks when I asked for clarification...But Ross Kay Consultants lays out how the MLS double counts home sales and how badly it distorts sales numbers.  Over 10% of "sales" disappear.

There seems to be some agreement between the Feds and the Provinces about the Canada Job Grant plan.  Nobody seems too sure what it is though.

I've been thinking a similar train of thought to this story over the last few days.  It comes from the question "Will NHL owners allow NHL players to compete in the next Olympics?"  It just seems absurd.  I understand that NHL owners are paying NHL players obscene amounts of money to play hockey for their team.  But the statement seems to imply some kind of ownership over the very being of the person/athlete.  It's strange to me.  Further to that, this Grantland article points out the near impossibility of athletes to protest much of anything due to their meager earnings and subservience to corporate sponsors.

An interesting Snowden/Greenwald article outlines how western intelligence agencies (the British GCHQ in this case) use dirty tricks to discredit political activists and protesters.  As somebody says somewhere, it's pretty scary that the full might of the government can arbitrarily decide that you're a bad apple and your life should be ruined.  Okay.  That's my paraphrase.