Weekly Highlights from our Conservative Overlords

Weekly Highlights from our Conservative Overlords

Monday, July 21, 2014

Duffman. Up on Charges. Oh Yeah! - Week 168 - July 14-21

Sorry for the Simpson's reference in the title.  Let's have a cheer for Mike Duffy.
31 charges is going to be a tough one to conquer.  How did Nigel Wright skate through this?

To me, this is a new low for taxpayer funded mailouts.  The Cons are actually using it to collect data on voters.  With patriotism!

Some soon-to-be jobless moron in the Finance Dept. initiated a focus group about Steve's policies.  Turns out Canadians don't really agree with what he is doing.  Probably bad data though, right Steve?  Speaking of bad data...The PBO has determined that current sick leave policies for civil servants don't really cost the government much, despite the Cons insistence that it does and it needs to be changed.

Steve finally won a court case!  And he'll probably lose this one (on native constitutional claims related to Northern Gateway).

Apparently somebody has proof (proof I tell ya!) that Steve plans on privatizing Canada Post.

Dean Del Mastro is really upset that somebody in the House of Commons keeps changing his Wikipedia page.  Which is kind of funny in the "taste of their own medicine" sort of way.  As the Conservatives are notorious for bad Wikipedia editing.

This article points out why using EI premiums to balance the budget is an unfair policy.  TLDR - rich people don't end up paying very much.

John Baird continues blaming everybody but Israel.  I mean, why wouldn't Hamas want to sign on to an agreement that all the other parties negotiated without them?  I'll admit that firing rockets at the exact time the agreement was supposed to start was a bit much...But I don't think the very public John Baird Yelling and unconditional support for Israel really helps anything.

The Tyee points out that we've done almost nothing with respect to Syrian refugees.

I had no idea that New Brunswick was such a strange little place.  Where you can't get an abortion, apparently.  And where one of the guys tasked with investigating the impacts of fracking holds a fracking specific patent...so he's totally unbiased in the outcome.

Boingboing highlights that Ontario police share all sorts of data about individuals with all sorts of people.  Employers.  Border Services.  Etc.  It doesn't help people sort things out and it doesn't necessarily even come about due to any sort of "guilt".  Similar things might be happening in BC.

The DFO seems to not have great control over BC clam fisheries, and is looking to expand them.

This article is a bit tough to follow, but it makes fun of Joe Oliver so it's all good.  It suggests that not providing information and then criticizing people for not having that information is bad form.

British spies are able to manipulate online polls, among other things.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Get yer guns - Week 167 - July 7-14

Well this is frightening.  The OECD predicts the fall of the Western World.  Recommends austerity and worker flexibility.

Peter MacKay rushed an unveiling of an Afghan war memorial so that it would take place while he was still minister.  This was deemed more important than giving the families of those memorialized notice and time to attend the opening.  Because Peter MacKay is turning into one of the biggest dicks in the Conservative party.

Morningstar, via Macleans, has bad news about Canadian Real Estate.

Omar Khadr wins the right to be transferred to a Provincial prison.

A "flood" of calls to the Revenue Canada offshore snitch line has resulted in 80 new leads...Call Noah, I guess.  Since March, 800 people have called.  And 251 were "actual" calls.  And only 100 of those were actual, actual calls.

I guess you have to argue something...Dean Del Mastro's attorney suggests a power surge may be the reason for why he looks guilty as hell.  That could possibly explain the data trail.  Maybe the same power surge altered the memory of the guy who said Del Mastro told him to change it?

An organization has put together a report suggesting Canada does a terrible job of managing its parks.  "Short sighted" is the description, I believe.

More court cases.  Remember the end to the Navigable Waters Protection Act?  Yep.  Lawsuit.

Religious groups in Alberta are responsible for teaching some of the sex ed programs in High Schools.

CNRL admits that they caused the strange bitumen seeping issues in Northern Alberta.  Will they have to fix it?

This meathead makes a lot of strange claims about Canada's greatest scourge: foreign mothers giving birth in Canada!  Hundreds of them!

The NSA targets innocent vs. "guilty" people at a ratio of 9:1...

Monday, July 7, 2014

A relatively short one - Week 166 - July 2-7

Is it "hoisted on your own petard" or "foisted on your own petard"?  Something else?  Anyhow, the US has justified killing the shit out of people with drones and insists that they have the legal right to do so.  And in doing so have made a legal argument for Omar Khadr not being a war criminal.

Peter MacKay and his band of merry yes men are probably facing a(nother) court challenge over their prostitution legislation.  After losing a court case over refugee healthcare.  And will probably be added to the giant pile of laws the Conservatives have passed that have been overturned by the courts - thanks to the CBC for saving us all the time of tracking them down.  I'm sure the argument will be something like "When yer busy doin' stuff you step on a few toes."

It's not looking very good for Dean Del Mastro.  Testimony has been made that it was his request to backdate all of those invoices.  It really makes you wonder where the hubris came from to get up on his soapbox for so long?

This sounds a bit like nothing more than fancy bookkeeping.  But it's more than that.  Kinder Morgan is allowed to charge a surcharge on its pipeline traffic in order to lobby the government for a larger pipeline.  Said charges are somehow tax deductible.  So Canadian taxpayers are essentially paying for Kinder Morgan to lobby and develop a bigger pipeline.

Conservatives:  Man...we sure are awesome!  Look at how many women we've appointed to senior positions! (they actually use the phrase "outstandingly well")
Reality:  Actually...you're doing worse than the Liberals before you.  16% worse. (Liberals - 36%, Conservatives - 30%, that's a 16% drop) 


Another anti-science decision by the Conservatives.  The DFO is going to allow up to triple the amount of Coho to be caught unintentionally to allow for a larger Sockeye catch.  There's no scientific evidence to back up their decisions.  Just "Coho stocks are getting better".  Scientists disagree.

A round of meetings on the TPP are taking place in Canada next week (well...this week, I guess).  And everything has been moved from Vancouver to Ottawa at the last minute.  And there's basically no information on what will be happening or where.  It's all a giant secret.  That will totally impact us for eternity.

This is kind of funny.  The 2010 Olympics are officially "in the black".  Meaning "we took enough money from the government to pay for everything.  and forget about all those security costs.  Those don't count."

Seems like a good program for Canada to get involved with...All of the F-35's have been grounded again.  Engine fires.

Oh fuck the hell off.  A doctor in Calgary is refusing to prescribe the pill.  Personal beliefs.  Doesn't your professional obligation as a doctor trump your personal beliefs?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Super Late - Week 165 - June 23 - July 2

It's funny how by-elections are always pumped up as some huge deal.  But then nothing dramatic every really happens.  Except for only 12% (or something like that) of eligible voters showing up in Fort McMurray.  Don't make me open the link again.

Some details have come out in the Dean Del Mastro trial.  He backdated cheques (allegedly) so that expenses incurred during the election didn't look like they had occurred during the election.  This seems like it will be fairly easy to prove/disprove.  And this guy was a Minister!

Government departments are starting to point out that climate change is happening.  That's a pretty good way to get branded a radical bureaucrat and have your funding cut.  Meanwhile, rising sea levels.  Dropping lake levels.  Lack of water in the Great Lakes could become exceedingly expensive.  I wish they'd finally get some scientists to prove this global warming shit.  Gawd.

Washington State is concerned that our pipelines and tanker traffic might impact them negatively.  Especially their otters.  I've seen one of these little guys.  They're pretty awesome.

Peter MacKay never does anything wrong.  It wasn't his fault that he sent out sexist e-mails for Mother's Day.  It was a female staffer.  He just signed them without reading them.  His actual excuse...which is supposed to make it okay.  "I'm not sexist...I just don't give a shit about these things and I'm going to blame some poor staffer."

The Conservatives have always been up in arms about the Temporary Foreign Workers program.  I mean, until recently they were up in arms that it was too difficult to bring them in to the country...Meanwhile, Complaints about the Temporary Foreign Workers program date back to 2006.  Quick action, I tell you!  More details on how decisions about Temporary Foreign Workers are made using terribly awful data.

The Egyptian journalist jailing lays bare the absurdity of the Conservatives citizenship stripping bill (not to mention their terrible response to the whole thing).  By the letter, this guy should be a non-Canadian according to the Conservatives.  But don't worry, in their infinite wisdom and judgement he will remain a Canadian.  But this should be left to the governments judgement?

A Conservative Senator hired his girlfriend.  Twice.  But it's somehow not a conflict of interest.  She looks just his type, no?  There's some info on him bilking for expenses buried in the story as well.

Tough Talkin' Stephen Harper has inspired Putin to start flying bombers towards Canada.

Why are there so many sketchy "loans" to Conservative MP's and why is Nigel Wright in the shadows in dealing with all of them?  details on Mark Adler and his court case/"loan" repayment.

So it begins.  The CBC starts cutting back.

Come on Vice, this is weeks old news (about the request for information on any and all protests by the government).

Is this still a good thing?  Turns out Starbucks isn't actually contributing any money towards employees educations as they suggested in their employee scholarship announcement of a few weeks ago.  It looks like they just negotiated with the University to drop the prices a bit for Starbucks employees.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Nice Shirt - Week 164 - June 16-23

I'm not even going to talk about the elephant in the room.

This picture is fabulous!  From here.
Let's start with a boatload of Cons who like to just make shit up.

The Conservatives seem to attract the sickest of weirdos to run in the Vancouver suburbs.  This isn't the first time Wai Young has made shit up about another candidate.  Her anti-marijuana attacks on Justin Trudeau are seriously over the top.  And done via taxpayer funded mailouts to all her constituents.

Julian Fantino claims injured veterans receive $10,000 per month.  Which is true...for four injured veterans.  The rest receive far, far less.

Chris Alexander continues to come up with creative ways to not answer questions.  Turns out he has a reason to hope nobody finds out how many government sponsored Syrian refugees have made it into Canada.

Mark Adler decided to invite several lobbyists to his fundraising dinner.  Nothing wrong with that.  Oh, sorry...Conservative MP Mark Adler.

The Conservatives have created a doozy of attack ads, and it seems to suggest that it came from a former Liberal MP.

The Conservatives have finally done something about temporary foreign workers.  It's taken a few years, but it's something.

Who knew that government cuts could have repercussions?  DFO cuts mean that it's really, really easy to poach fish in BC.  And I'm not talking about slowly cooking them in liquid.

Why is our government so terrible at military procurement?  There's a Sea King replacement contract, finally.  But the winning bid doesn't meet a key safety requirement.  Speaking of bad decisions...This guy was involved in the design of the f-16. He rips the f-35 a new one. Too many things for too many people. Good at nothing. Fifth generation is a scam. Stealth doesn't really work.

It has cost Canada $4.5 Million dollars to return to the old style of ranks and insignia.  Which isn't a whole lot of money in the grand scheme of things, I will admit.  But seeing as there's no plausible benefit to this change, it's a bit of a waste, and a nice reminder that even the smallest of decisions cost a lot of money.

The CBC figures the Cons are trying to get the drop on the other parties for an early election call.

A study suggests that the more you pay your CEO, the worse he will probably do.

Another oil comparison to Norway.  Norway built pipelines in order to haul their offshore crude onshore, to be refined in Norway.  Not the opposite.

A look at Enbridge's donations to BC political parties.

I thought that major music labels were dieing?  But no.  They're getting propped up by Google, of all things.  Youtube is promising to cut off independent label music videos from Youtube if they don't pay for a licensing agreement with Youtubes new service.  I sense a business opportunity for somebody.

I think that this story perfectly shows how Steve goes about his business.  Quietly make shit difficult for people until they reach a point where they can't compete/complete and laugh as an enemy is quietly defeated.  It's no secret that Conservatives hate the CBC.  And you can spend a lot of time talking about privatizing the whole thing.  Or you can just slowly turn back their funding, until they can't compete for important show contracts and just slowly disappear.  Maybe the end of Hockey Night in Canada isn't a big deal?  Maybe Don Cherry will finally just disappear into a basement to yell at his TV?  But I think this is a turning point.  And a montage.  I feel Steve must be at lest the tiniest bit torn about this one.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Killing it softly - Week 163 - June 9-16

I feel like a few months from now, a psychiatrist will be able to look back on this blog and track my slow descent into madness.  Or apathy.  Slow descent into apathy.  As each post gets shorter and posted later.  Oh well.

This story perfectly shows how Steve goes about his business.  Quietly make shit difficult for people until they reach a point where they can't compete/complete and laugh as an enemy is quietly defeated.  It's no secret that Conservatives hate the CBC.  And you can spend a lot of time talking about privatizing the whole thing.  Or you can just slowly turn back their funding, until they can't compete for important show contracts and just slowly disappear.  Maybe the end of Hockey Night in Canada isn't a big deal?  Maybe Don Cherry will finally just disappear into a basement to yell at his TV?  But I think this is a turning point.  And a montage.  I feel Steve must be at lest the tiniest bit torn about this one.

Should I just end it there?  One post about hockey and we're done?

Steve and his Australian buddy have decided to double down on their anti climate change agenda.  Their distant relatives held a similar press conference years ago about refusing to kill jobs with a response to the nay-sayers and their made up asteroid impact.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association makes a fatal assumption when they say things like "Back to the drawing board" with respect to privacy legislation.  That assumption being that the Conservatives give even one fuck about what anybody thinks or whether or not something is legal.

Justin Trudeau is setting a bit of an odd precedent.  He suggests that male legislators shouldn't be making decisions on a females right to abortion.  Which I kind of agree with.  But what other responsibilities is he going to try to shirk off next?  Is he just going to sit in an office with a giant stamp that says something like "Sorry, I can't deal with this because I'm white and male"?  Shit.  If only Steve had a similar attitude.

Click through on this sucker and listen to the full interview.  Chris Alexander is a master of not answering questions.  And he sounds so hard done by.  And then he hangs up the phone.  Jason Kenney is also a master at not answering questions (about Temporary Foreign Workers).

The Robo-calls trial has given an insight into how political campaigns act in Canada.  Like children.  I'm surprised they aren't ordering dozens of pizzas to show up at the opponents campaign office.  Actually, that would be a bit of a morale booster, wouldn't it?

I feel like I'm slowly descending into madness with respect to Vancouver real estate.  It's easy to feel stupid for not buying a shitty house as values continue to rise into the stratosphere and an entire industry works to convince us that we're incompetent humans for not over-paying for a house already.  So, the 2013 breakdown of incomes in Canada is very interesting.  If you make more than $191,000 per year, you're in the top 1% of all income earners in Canada.  So....if you are just barely in the top 1% of all Canadian income earners, you can barely afford the average Vancouver detached house (at $1,000,000+)?  What's considered affordable?  5 times annual earnings, right?  Less?  It gets way, way worse when you look at median individual income ($27,600) and median family income ($76,000).  Of course, you're thinking the median Vancouver income is higher than the median Canadian, right?  Sorry.

MacLean's points out that we're really, really terrible at protecting our marine habitat.  Like worse than Russia and China bad.  Worse than the US, even.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Australia - Week 162 - June 2-9

Man.  I haven't been this excited about something in a while.  A comment was left here last week that I just loved.  I'll share it with you, so that I don't have to write anything myself this week:

Orstralia calling here. Just wanted to give you the hands up that our recently elected PM is winging his way towards your bonza country on what can only be fact finding mission on the wonders of conservative government in Canada. Now Tony Abbott is the leader of the Liberal party of Australia but don't be confused because that's our version of the conservative party in Oz ( might be because we live in the opposite hemisphere).
Unfortunately for Tonnes his recent budget hasn't gone down to well with the general public. Those lower class types are getting upperty about inequality between the rich and the other ninety percent of the population. Even the septic tanks south of your boarder have made fun of him.


Now if Mr Harper could just show him some of the nuances on how to rule within a conservative framework, just some pointers well....it would be much appreciated. Having said that he does have a handy guide put together by the Institute of public affairs of Australia, a prestigious group of Bankers, Miners, Captains of industry all thought to be under the guiding hand of our very own Rupert Murdoch.


Even though Rupe has gone on to bigger and better things ( now an American citizen by crickey ) I like to think he still reminisces of his early days at the Adelaide Advertiser. Just wondering if your fair country is lucky enough to have any News corp publications or is it just us with wall to wall Murdoch media. Anyhow I better get out of your way now. Oh! If you do run into Tonnes he's the kind laconic bloke who will fell right at home with a cheeky greeting of ' Cheers big ears
'.


The second link is a work of magic, and perhaps the work of a sociopath.  Who else could spend the first few paragraphs talking about all the wonderful left wing changes of the past and how they've become thoroughly appreciated (Universal Healthcare, free tuition, etc.)...and then prescribe these changes as the way to move Australia forward?  Banish the carbon tax, pull out of Kyoto, abolish the Department of Climate Change and the Clean Energy Fund, abandon parental leave, privatise, privatise, privatise.  I mean, it's some kind of Koch Brothers wet dream.  Anyhow.  Thanks TaxiLurker...I really needed that.


On with the real news.

Perhaps this was the plan all along, but it seems like the Robocalls trial is coming to the conclusion that Michael Sona is guilty as hell, but not capable of executing without help.  And probably some help on a National level from the party.

Ha ha.  I almost just pasted this link in.  And I'm going to share it anyhow.  Because who doesn't want to read about the trainwreck of the Kimye wedding?  A lesson in the excesses of the 1%.

Damned scientists.  Getting in the way of progress again.  Here pointing out that the science used to justify the Northern Gateway project is "flawed".  The logic too.  And again with the Scientists....Great news on Fracking in Canada.  A University of Waterloo report finds that wells are poorly capped, barely monitored, and leaking all over the place.  Thank god our decisions aren't peer reviewed, says Steve.

Jesus.  This is a bit troubling.  The "Government" is imploring its departments to track every protest across Canada.  The Optimist would assume they want to keep their fingers on the pulse of Canadian opinion...

So the Cons have unveiled their prostitution bill.  The "Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act".  Man.  What's their budget for thinking up over-the-top bill names?  Anyhow.  I'm not sure people are going to buy into this one.  It seems to make everybody angry.  I guess I have some Libertarian in me.  It seems like making things that people really want illegal is kind of stupid.  Doesn't it make sense, as New Zealand has done with prostitution, to accept that things will happen and bring it out in the open?  This Nordic model sounds like a step in the right direction, but seems to add an unnecessary shroud over things.  How can you ensure things are safe when people are still forced to do it in secrecy?

More veterans more angry with the Conservatives.

Don't worry.  Nigel Wright is going to be okay.  Mike Duffy probably won't be.

Vice chimes in on our "You're not a citizen any more" legislation.  Pointing out that it sucks.

There's just so many links about why we shouldn't buy the F-35, I don't even know where to start.  But apparently, we're going to.  Okay.  One link.  Basically, this airplane is so complicated and compromised because of the vertical takeoff/landing requirements.  Which Canada doesn't need.  So in summary.  We're spending insane amounts of money on an airplane because some variants require something that we don't, and the whole design is kind of compromised because of it.  Well done.

Somebody from Peter McKay's office is most likely behind the "bozo eruption" recording.  More Peter McKay (christ, what an asshole).  The Conservatives still seem intent on making the Marc Nadon fiasco about anything but them.  Peter McKay suggests documents were leaked?  How does that in any way impact what happened? 

Harper found an actual Quebec judge to appoint to the Supreme Court.



Elections Canada hasn't made up their mind about NDP guilt with respect to mailouts.

People give Garth a tonne of shit.  But this post is really beautiful.  He lays out quite clearly how our Real Estate costs can have an impact on where businesses set up.  And that we shouldn't be excited when a factory closes down and we build over-priced condos on the land.  "In Canada, this is progress. Who needs useless, noisy, downscale factories full of people with rough cuticles and bad tats when all we need is to sell real estate to each other at ever-higher prices with ever-larger mortgages? Then everyone benefits. Obviously we’ve found a new economic reality. It’s so good to be different. And smart."

I really don't understand what Steve is going to accomplish with his Russian saber rattling.  Send more troops to Europe?  To do what?  With what?  It's a bit of a symbolic sham of a gesture.  Especially when we still seem happy to take the money of Russians when we really need it.

A study has shown that states that primarily vote Republican have a far higher dependency on Federal funding than do states that vote primarily Democrat.  Damned Liberal freeloaders, keep wanting to give money to real 'Merican 'publicans.