Thursday, March 26, 2015

This Evening In Clarkland...Fracking Is Fabulous!



The comprehensive report on the health effects of fracking, which the Clarklandians received in November, was suddenly released today (gosh, I wonder why?).

And guess what...

According to the Clarklandians at least, everything is just peachy.

The GStraight's Travis Lupick has the story. Here's his lede:

A highly anticipated government report states residents of B.C.’s northeast have little to fear from hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and other oil and gas operations that have intensified in recent years....

Mr. Lupick also notes the following:

The B.C. Ministry of Health’s findings stand in contrast to those of a similar study that examined fracking in New York State.

In December 2014, the New York Times described that report as “concluding that the method posed inestimable public-health risks”.

That document's release prompted New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to announce his administration would implement an outright ban on fracking “because of concerns over health”...


The Clarklandian's press release on the fabulousness can be found...Here.
The actual reports 'n stuff can be found...Here.
And we actually have a pretty good idea as to why the 'good news' was released today...In fact, things are unfolding pretty much exactly as we predicted they would (and even more so, the way Lew called it in the comments)...


The Treaty Commissioner Calls Out The Premier


First, the 'call', from Premier Christy Clark, as noted by the VTC's Lindsay Kines earlier this morning:

...“In terms of next steps — whether or not the treaty commission will be changed, whether or not it will continue to exist, how all that future will unfold with respect to treaties — is going to be something that we do together with First Nations.” ...

Second, the 'call out', from current Chief Commissioner Sophie Pierre in a press release from later today titled, "Unilateral Action By BC Government Undermines Treaty Negotiations":

..."Let's not trivialize the issue. The facts are simple - we need the Premier and Prime Minister's commitment to treaty negotiations. I have been asking for a commitment right from the get go, but we seem to be going backwards to a dark time when BC questioned the need to engage in treaty negotiations at all," said Sophie Pierre.

{snippety doo-dah}

..."You don't make positive change by unilaterally blocking the Chief Commissioner appointment"...

In other words, our essentially incoherent 'Say Anything!' Premier is not actually doing anything with anybody that needs to be 'engaged', whatsoever.

Because, the facts so far strongly suggest that this entirely an inside job of her (and her wizards and patrons) own making.

But I'm sure we'll hear all about just what an outstanding job (of grandstanding) Ms. Clark did in the Ledge today and how important Mr. Fassbender's initiative and the fracking report for the next 48 hours or so, until the newscycle is, essentially, done.

On the newscycle management thingy...The fact that Ms. Pierre released her statement today and did not wait until, say, Monday, indicate that her words and deeds (and office) are likely not being directed entirely by wizards and PAB-Bot clones. Good on her.


This Afternoon In Clarkland...The Withholding.


There is sure to be a lot of blather and babble about the effects of fracking report that will be released by the Clarklandians later today.


When you tire of trying to elbow your way through all B&B in an effort to get to the heart of the matter do not forget the following from a piece by Justine Hunter in the Globe:

B.C.’s Ministry of Health is withholding the results of scientific research on how oil and gas operations in the province’s northeast communities are affecting human health.

Health Minister Terry Lake said Thursday that a report, which has been on his desk since last fall, is still being studied by several departments in government and he hopes to release the results “soon.”...

When did Ms. Hunter's piece come out?

February 19th.

Think about that.

And think about whether the Clarklandian wizards figure they need a deflector spike spin story this week.

Or not.

Tip 'O The Toque to Travis Lupick via the Twittmachine.


This Day In Clarkland...What The Premier Did Not Apologize For.


NW's Shane Woodward has the 'apology':


That from the Premier after former Liberal MLA and a man she ran against for the leadership of the party was vetoed from a promised post at the eleventh hour.

“The communication with George was terrible. It was an example of really really poor communication.”

As for who is ultimately responsible for the decision, Christy Clark said “I take responsibility for the mess with the communications around it particularily with respect to George.”...


Ms. Clark will apologize for not quite getting the spin right.

But she will not apologize for throwing a massive spanner into the treaty process in British Columbia.

How come?

Well, the VTC's Lindsay Kines has that non-apology apology:

...Premier Christy Clark said her cabinet vetoed the appointment of former Liberal minister George Abbott as chief of the B.C. Treaty Commission because her government wants to reform the entire treaty process.

Clark said cabinet decided to stop investing in a system that has cost $600 million and produced just four treaties in 22 years. “We have to be able to move faster and we have to find a way to include more First Nations in the process,” she said. “Fifty out of 200 First Nations involved in the process? That’s not enough. So it was a policy decision … not to appoint a treaty commissioner...

Thus, it would appear that the way to fix things is to do your best to destroy them.

Then, later, just like with say auditing, public education, ferries, pharmacare policy, regional transit strategies, apprenticeship programs, gaming, resource management and on and on and on, even the smallest of tiny 'fixes' down the road can be trumpeted as generational changes or some such codswallop.


Here's a thought.

Maybe a Premier who's only real skillset involves the art of the spin b/w blunderbuss really was sorry about messing up both.

Because, when consultative governance does not matter to you or yours (and we're not talking about cabinet here, but rather Ms. Clark's wizards and patrons), it really is kinda crummy and sadfacey when your blown spin shines a wee bit of light on the fact that your real goal is to just blow things up that are inconvenient for said wizards and patrons.


Now, you might think I'm being too harsh on Ms. Clark et al.

But if the politics of total destruction is not the wizards' and the patrons' game you would think that Ms. Clark would have a plan now that she and hers have wrecked everything.



Again, from Mr. Kines VTC piece:

...“In terms of next steps — whether or not the treaty commission will be changed, whether or not it will continue to exist, how all that future will unfold with respect to treaties — is going to be something that we do together with First Nations.” ...


And the weird thing about the firing of the good Mr. Abbott, who really did seem to be working at being truly consultative and inclusive?....Well...He was once, it would appear, at least some of the wizards' and patrons' Horse 1A.....But that was back in the dark days, I suppose, when everything was a 20-to-1 shot, at best and back-up plans were needed everywhere.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Bleatings Of Bill Bennett...Not Just For Domestic Consumption Anymore.


On February 24th, Clarklandian Mining Minister Bill Bennett gave it to the Juneau Alaska Empire for what he saw as a misrepresentation of the facts:

It’s unfortunate your editorial has seized upon the Mount Polley mine tailings storage facility failure to undermine the long tradition of respectful relations and co-operation between British Columbia and Alaska on mining development and environmental protection.

A breach of this magnitude is unprecedented in British Columbia in over 160 years of mining. Major breaches of tailings storage facilities have happened all over the world, including in many U.S. states. Your suggestion, based on the Mount Polley failure, that in B.C. we are somehow less responsible in developing our mining industry than you are in Alaska, or that we’re charging forward without due care for environmental protection is based on a misrepresentation of the facts...


The fine folks who run the little newspaper in the city sometimes mistaken for Ellen Page these days were not amused.

The following is from their response published March 22nd, 2015:

It’s not often the Juneau Empire offers a rebuttal to an submitted column. Waging a back-and-forth war of words isn’t fair for the other party. We buy ink by the barrel and have dedicated staff to get the word out online as well.

However, we must respond to the Feb. 24 'My Turn' penned by Bill Bennett, the Minister of Mines for British Columbia.

Let us start off by addressing the first portion of Mr. Bennet’s piece when he states it was “unfortunate your editorial has seized upon the Mount Polley mine tailings storage facility failure to undermine the long tradition of respectful relations and co-operation between British Columbia and Alaska on mining development and environmental protection.”

Perhaps Mr. Bennett has forgotten about the Tulsequah Chief Mine. Southeast Alaska has not forgotten.

The Tulsequah Chief Mine, located south of Juneau on the Taku River just across the Canadian border, has leached acid runoff into the Taku River since its closure in the 1950s. The Taku boasts notable salmon runs, the same runs which in turn give jobs to many commercial fishermen. There were efforts to revitalize the mine, but those failed for financial reasons and to this day acid continues to taint the Taku...

{snippety doo-dah}

...In the next section of your piece you state the Empire suggested “in B.C. we are somehow less responsible in developing our mining industry than you are in Alaska, or that we’re charging forward without due care for environmental protection.”

Mr. Bennett, there are a number of mines in B.C. that have not done good things for the surrounding environment. The concern from Alaskans stems simply from the desire to not have history repeat itself.

Take the Mount Washington Mine. This 32-acre mine was operational in the 1960s, but beginning in 1966, after the mine’s closure, the population of coho salmon that swam in the adjacent Tsolum River began to suffer. What was once a run of 15,000 fish dwindled to a low of 14 in 1987. According to the British Columbia government watershed assessment in 1995, “the fisheries resource is believed to have declined (by 90 percent) predominantly because of acid mine drainage from Mount Washington.” At one point, the fishery in the Tsolum generated as much as $2 million per year for local communities. Today, the fishery isn’t worth the cost of bait...

{snippety doodle-dandy}

...We read the Mount Polley Report, Mr. Bennett, and we hope you did, too. It clearly states the best way to ensure no tailings dams fail is to discontinue their use. At our neighboring Hecla Greens Creek Mine, a dry stack tailings facility is used. This technology, as noted in the report, is not only recommended but proven to work. Today, Greens Creek is a profitable facility and one Alaskans can be proud to support because our environmental concerns were addressed.

That said, Alaskans are reasonable. We understand that every mine is different. We understand each facility demands a unique solution for tailings storage. But we are concerned that solutions to prevent or completely eliminate a dam breach seem to be going unexplored. Red Chris, for instance, is already filling its tailings facility. Meanwhile, we have heard nothing on whether additional environmental protections have been put in place since the Mount Polley disaster.

Furthermore, you state Red Chris “has not received a permit to go into production.” Yet, a press release from the parent company Imperial Metals on March 2 stated “the plant’s full 12-hour operating shift, without stoppage, took place on February 22,” two days before we published your piece. “The plant milled approximately 15,500 tonnes during that 12-hour period,” the release stated. In February, Red Chris processed just over 193,000 metric tons producing about 2,400 metric tons of copper concentrate.

That sure sounds like “production” to us...


Bring it on, indeed.

And we await, with bated breath, the call out of the Alaskans by the Keef for their lack of standards and/or credibility...Because everybody knows that small time newspaper editors are only a cut above idiot bloggers, right?


Things That I Learned Today...


I learned that the Whackadoodle loves rolling in goose poo.

Well, actually, I already knew that, but today she made sure I'll never forget it.

I also learned that I am a sucker for modern, video-assisted adventure stories.

And one of those is the story of how Miss Shevaughn and Yuma Wray quit their day jobs and travelled around North America for a year on a shoestring playing shows wherever and whenever anybody would let them.

It made for interesting between gig-times as well, including nights spent sleeping inside their lofted-out Honda Element in Walmart parking lots.

And more...

You can read a little bit about Ms. S and YW's adventures, and more, here and here...You can also listen to their stuff for free (Track 3 highly recommended; and then buy it if you like it)...Here.


Sunday Setlist.


I started these awhile back when our oldest kid was away at school. They contained a little news for her and new cover tunes I was working on.

Well, she's back now.

So the Setlists have been on the shelf for awhile.

This is a new one and it's a little more generic, at least in the news department.

Here are the tunes...

#1 Don't Forget The Flowers - Wilco...If you're interested, a nice bit of Mr. Tweedy being the world's greatest Dad (and more) can be found...Here.

#2 Utilities - The Weakerthans....Again, have I mentioned lately that John K. Sampson is a genius?

#3 Christmastime in the Mountains - Palace Songs...I first heard this buried in a Hansard/Irglova/Frames live version of Star-Star awhile back, sung by Joe Doyle...Then, a few of weeks ago I came across it as a home recording from Miss Shevaughn and Yuma Wray...If you want to know why the latter folks are my new musical favourites check out...This.

#4 Devil Town - Daniel Johnston...You want my opinion?...This is THE gateway to LoFi...And it can be just about just about anything you want anytime you sing it...Me, at the moment I'm thinking Casino-Industrial Complexes and those who back, and profit, from them.

Here's the list....

Image at the top of the post...The Geezers behind Bigger E. at Cuppa Joy, on Fourth, far west Lotusland, on Friday February 13th.


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Should It Matter If The Auditor Of The Auditor Is Not Really An Auditor?



More specifically.

Does it matter if they really are a political appointee?


According to the ever hedging Dean of the Legislative Press Gallery at least, it almost kinda/sorta matters.

But not really:

...(George) Abbott didn’t sound all that bitter when I spoke to him, other than over how they (i.e. the BC Liberal Government) “kept me on the hook for six months” before unceremoniously dumping him.

His immediate intention is to get back to work on the doctorate in political science he is pursuing at the University of Victoria...

{snippety doo-dah}

...He’s also reactivating the consulting business that he shares with former deputy minister of finance Chris Trumpy.

Coincidentally, Trumpy was also in the news Thursday, having been appointed by the overseer audit council to review the troubled auditor general for local government.

Blasting the appointment and refusing to cooperate was the auditor herself, Basia Ruta. Among her grounds was the fanciful notion that Trumpy (who served as deputy finance minister to three NDP premiers and one Liberal) was somehow too close to the Liberals because of his association with Abbott.

“She just lost her main argument,” laughed Abbott when I filled him in. “I’m not that close to them anymore, clearly.”



The good Mr. Trumpy worked for the Dippers AND the Liberals?

Guess that means he's not really connected to the latter, so why worry.


After all, it's not like the uber-good Mr. Trumpy was not involved in helping to take care of the mother of all BCL Campbell/Clark/Clark/Collins whoppers from days gone by.

Although, how could we possibly know stuff like that given that we have neither standards nor credibility?


Turns out we have both a memory and the still invaluable archives of Sean Holman's PublicEye.

The following comes from a 2004 media scrum that occurred the day the Railgate search warrants were first unsealed:

(BCL Gov't Finance) Minister (Gary) Collins: Government is not doing an investigation. That's not our role. The investigators are doing their investigation. So we're not out there looking into any allegations that might be contained in there. There are people who do that. That's their job. They're doing that now. And when they're finished doing their job we'll all now about it.

Media: Don't you think government has responsibility to take a look into these things to make sure processes that are currently in place...?

Minister Collins: But we did many things. The B.C. Rail file - we assigned one of our most senior and respected civil servants to lead that: Chris Trumpy. You all know who he is and his reputation is held in the highest regard by everyone. He was the one working on that...

Nuff said?

The real question, not being asked by the Dean and his ilk, of course, is...Why are the Clarklandians running around appointing all these auditors of auditors and counter auditors of auditors when they themselves are in trouble over their own appointment of faux auditors?...Well...In my opinion, to even begin to answer such a question you have to think not like someone who is trying to govern but rather like someone who is always spinning...When you do that, and when you realize that, especially when it comes to 'deflector spike spin', the goal is to befuddle and bamboozle just enough such that 6 months down the road you will be able to call yourself the champion of all auditors who fixed a problem (rather than being called out by a toothless local proMedia as the ones who caused the problem in the first place) I think it just might make at least a little nonsensical senselessness sense. 
To be absolutely fair, Bob Mackin mentioned Mr. Trumpy's  Finance Ministry/BCRail connection in a tweet or three....Which has us wondering...Just where are Uncle Bob's standards (and/or Club membership) these days anyway?
And was not the good Mr. Trumpy, together with the fine Mr. Collins, a member of that illustrious of that Railgate Top 40 that never took the stand when the trial suddenly ended because of that little bitty six million dollar deal thingy.


Saturday Night's Alright For Lester Bangs Cover Fighting.


First, Mr. Bangs' inside-out symbiotic trapezoidal tom-tom lede on the original:

Van Morrison's Astral Weeks was released ten years, almost to the day, before this was written. It was particularly important to me because the fall of 1968 was such a terrible time: I was a physical and mental wreck, nerves shredded and ghosts and spiders looming and squatting across the mind. My social contacts had dwindled to almost none; the presence of other people made me nervous and paranoid. I spent endless days and nights sunk in an armchair in my bedroom, reading magazines, watching TV, listening to records, staring into space. I had no idea how to improve the situation and probably wouldn't have done anything about it if I had.

Astral Weeks would be the subject of this piece - i.e., the rock record with the most significance in my life so far - no matter how I'd been feeling when it came out. But in the condition I was in, it assumed at the time the quality of a beacon, a light on the far shores of the murk; what's more, it was proof that there was something left to express artistically besides nihilism and destruction. (My other big record of the day was White Light/White Heat.) It sounded like the man who made Astral Weeks was in terrible pain, pain most of Van Morrison's previous works had only suggested; but like the later albums by the Velvet Underground, there was a redemptive element in the blackness, ultimate compassion for the suffering of others, and a swath of pure beauty and mystical awe that cut right through the heart of the work...

Next, the cover:

Astral Weeks is NOT the tune I was mentioning last night...Like Mr. Hansard, I play it straight up in A.
If you'd like little more on the late, great Mr. Bangs I could never, ever recommend Maria Bustillos' piece in the New Yorker from awhile back enough. You can find it....Here.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Things I Learned Today...


John Doe, he of the seminal LA punk band 'X', doesn't live in Los Angeles...Instead, he hangs his guitar strap in the little town that took on Chevron and won...Richmond California.

Government bureaucracies aren't the only ones that take out the garbage and/or blindside you on a Friday afternoon. Specifically, academic ones do it too.

KK Fat, our little cat, hates springtime rainstorms.

When in doubt while trying to learn (and sing) a new Van Morrison tune, capo up!