Thursday, December 01, 2016

The Advent Jukebox....Day 1.



That's right.

Twenty-Five low-fi (and I mean low!) tunes in Twenty-Five days for the season...

Here is cover of one of my Mom's all-time favourites:


Can John Horgan And The Dippers Win By Pulling A Bernie Sanders (In Fundraising)?


Last weekend Mr. Mason of the Globe wrote a column taking John Horgan to task for having the audacity to actually court big dollar donors.

Which, in my opinion at least, was both dumb and obvious given that the Dippers have to play by the ridiculous BC Liberal Banana Republican Rovian fundraising rules that cannot be changed until someone else forms the government.

Which, bizarrely, Mr. Mason has noted in the past but essentially ignored in the column under consideration.


What surprised me in the ensuing discussion, both here at this little F-Troop list blog (see the comments here) and out in the wider world/louder echo chamber of the Twittmachine, was how many Dipper-friendly folks took the position that Mr. Horgan et al. are not pure enough and, worse, are squandering the opportunity to whip up a grass roots fundraising frenzy that will bring in boatloads of cash that will sweep them to a populist victory.

An example of this desire for fundraising purity can be found in a Twittmachine exchange between Rod Mickeburgh and Kai Nagata that took place a few days ago:


Let's ignore the 'Can the Dippers make like Bernie Sanders politically?' thing for the moment and just ask a more hard-headed question, which is...

"If the BCNDP could be as successful as Bernie Sanders in raising money in small dollops from non-wealthy donors, could they bridge the fundraising gap with the BC Liberals?"

Sound like a reasonable question given Mr. Mason's original thesis and the discussion it whipped up?

Alright fellas (and gals)....Lets go!


I have already explained the huge six million dollar advantage, all of it due to massive corporate support and wealthy donor support/investment, that the BC Liberals gained in 2015 which, given the multitude of secret big money hookups recently, has to be at least as large (if not much larger) for 2016.

Which means that the BC Liberals are very likely at least twelve million dollars ahead as of right now.

So, could the Dippers make that up by going all "pure-as-the-driven-snow-Sandersesque" for the next six months?


How about we do a little bit of new fangled math (i.e. long division) and see what the numbers look like?

During his recent campaign down south Mr. Sanders raised $202 million in small donations from a voter base of 136 million.

In the last election the voter base in British Columbia was 1.8 million which is 1.3 percent the size of that in United States. I will round that number off to 1.5% just to be safe.

All of which means that, even if the Dippers the fantastic job that Bernie Sanders did with small money donors they would raise a total of about three million dollars leaving them nine million behind the BC Liberals. And then, of course, there is all that darker money that is about to be thrown around by the highly 'resourceful' BC Liberal wizards' surrogates and astroturf layers to consider, not to mention the PAB-Botian ad blitzkriegs that are and will be paid for by you and me.

Which is why I stand by my original assertion, now more than ever, that Mr. Mason and those very well meaning and idealistic folks that have that have been bamboozled by the Masonian blather are asking the BC NDP to fight the upcoming election campaign with both hands tied behind their back.


That 'Alright fellas, let's go!' thing given you an earworm?....Well, of course....This.


Monday, November 28, 2016

Bernie Sanders Is Very Worried That Republicans Unleashed Will Make U.S. Campaign Fundraising Just As Bad As...

...British Columbia.

I'll be back with more on why the BCNDP cannot unilaterally disarm on fundraising, with a Sanderseque-like theme and everything...Later.


Saturday, November 26, 2016

According To Ron Obvious The BCNDP Should...

...Fight The Next Election With Both Hands Tied Behind Its Collective Back.

In his latest column in the Globe and (nolongerempire) Mail, Gary Mason first praises John Horgan and the NDP for taking a stand against the killing of grizzly bears.

And then, obviously,  Mr. Mason spends most of the rest of his screed taking Mr. Horgan to task for courting big money donors after first brushing aside the fact that the BCNDP have made it crystal clear that they will introduce legislation to halt this business if they are elected.

Because, well, this:

...Mr. Horgan, with the right, Bernie Sanders-type message, could have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars through small $50 and $100 donations. He could have said no to the same $10,000 dinners Ms. Clark attends, driving home the distinction between his party and one that trades ingress for dollars...

Now, on a very superficial level that makes a certain kind of simplistic sense, right?

Except, of course, Mr. Mason seems to be unaware (or unwilling to tell his readers) that, under the current rules that the Clarklandians refuse to change, 'hundreds of thousands' in small donations doesn't mean squat when it comes to dealing the BC Liberal's Big Money Cronification-Of-Everything Pay-To-Play Machine.

How do I know this?

Well, I actually went and looked at the publicly available records of party fundraising from 2015.

And right there, in non-searchable, scanned-in black and white it says that the BCNDP raised $1,068,479 from contributions of $250 or less in 2015 (see pg 7).

Which is great given that it is almost twice the $592,440 BC Liberals received in small donations last year (see pg 8).

But here's the thing that really matters...

In 2015 the Clarklandian cronification machine brought in $9,379,808 in big money donations, more than $6 million of which came from corporations and commercial operations.

By way of comparison, the Dippers raised $1,983,011 in large donations, most of which came from individual citizens (i.e. less than $400K and $150K came from unions and corporations, respectively).

Which means that the BC NDP cannot win by exclusively courting small donors under the current rules that they cannot change until the win.

Because even if they could raise a clearly impossible $5 million in brand new money through small donations from supporters without money or power (or cronification leverage) the Dippers would still be way behind the BC Liberals.

And that's just based on 2015 numbers without knowing how things have gone in 2016 when Ms. Clark and friends have gone hog-wild with the secret big money meet-ups.



Here's what I really have to say.

To hell with the obvious.

Because I, for one, do not want the only side that has a hope-in-heckfire of beating the BC Liberals to march into the upcoming election maelstrom without any money to fight the avalanche of crony-bought propaganda that is massing, golem-like, just over the New Year's horizon.


Why am I so upset about this codswallop given everything else that is going down in the local Lotuslandian proMedia at the moment?... Well, in addition to the fact that superficial obviousness was used, once again, by Mr. Mason to twist a story into something that it is not there  is also the matter of headline to the piece: "Controversial fundraiser leaves B.C. NDP as guilty as the Liberals". Clearly, one look at the actual numbers (i.e. the facts) outlined above demonstrates that this is patently false....But, then again, it did take a lowly idiot blogger such as myself about 93 seconds to look up said facts...If you get my drift.


Hey Vancouver Sun Editorial Board!...On ICBC, Both Sides DON'T.


In an editorial published this morning, the Vancouver Sun has the following to say in the wake of the BC Liberal government's announcement that, after taking $6.4 billion (with a 'B') out of the system, they are now promising (kinda/sorta/maybe) to stop with the dividend gouging for the next 'few years':

...So, that’s all well and good. Where things fall apart is when the government and opposition play partisan political games with what ought to be an autonomous company rigorously regulated by the B.C. Utilities Commission, an agency that should be unfettered in carrying out its responsibilities...


The 'government' and the 'opposition' are equally at fault here for things falling apart?


As you can imagine that got my attention.

So I decided to read on in search of the Vancouver Sun's evidence to back up this most interesting statement.

First up was their hit on the BC Liberals and their leader:

...Premier Christy Clark said she’s maintaining a cap on annual premium increases of 4.9 per cent because she’s “fighting for the ratepayers, the people who drive cars, who buy insurance, the moms and dads who are already finding life unaffordable.”...

Now that hit is something I actually agree with given that, as has been pointed out here repeatedly in recent days, Ms. Clark has actually been screwing those mom's and dad's who drive over, but good, for the last five years.

And did I mention that that $6.4 billion (with a 'B') has helped pay for the BC Liberal government's regressive tax cuts for the well off and resource extractors for the last ten years and build phony ponzi budgets while it screws those mom's and dad's further over their MSP premiums and BCHydro rates?


As for NDP's political skullduggery that proves that both sides are equally at fault on the ICBC rate increase matter?

Well, according to the editorial board of the Vancouver Sun it comes down to the following:

...NDP critic Adrian Dix said a government announcement to stop insuring luxury cars valued at over $150,000 was designed to disguise ICBC’s forced release of hypothetical rate forecasts that suggest an increase of up to 42 per cent by 2020 in a worst case scenario...


That's all the Vancouver Sun editorial board has?

They are seriously complaining that, by pointing out obvious deflector spike spin for what it is (heckfire, even the timing of the announcement by the Minister responsible demonstrates that), the NDP is playing 'political games' that are just as bad as those of Ms. Clark's BC Liberal government on this file?

That is truly bizarre.


Could it be something else?

And one thing I have not seen any member of the local puffed-up Lotuslandian proMedia punditry consider is the possibility that this luxury car thingy may actually be the very thin edge of the privatization wedge in disguise...Regardless, given the timing of the announcement and how little 3,000 vehicles impacts the actual ICBC bottomline in terms of real dollars, the fact that the VSun would raise it to this level of false equivalency re: what the BCLiberal government has done over the past five years and plans to do for the next five re: rate hike, is laughable in the extreme.


Friday, November 25, 2016

This Friday In Clarkland (& GordCo, Inc., Too).... Six Point Four Billion.


With a 'B'....

Don't know about you, but I for one sure am looking forward to a soon-to-be-published serial series of increasingly hard-hitting Ron Obvious columns focused on that number rather than the 'low Canadian dollar', or the 'increased claims' (but NOT per capita), or weasel-worded the story of how Ms. Clark's minon Mr. Stone is now going to give us all a break for awhile from these stealth tax....errr....dividend extractions which means that everything is just A-OK and pass the 4.9% happy talk.

Or some such thing.



The Keef Report...When In Doubt Bring Up The '90's.


Wonder why the Keef didn't bring up Tom Perry (see SHolman's party discipline doc at the 13 min mark) when David Eby got the runaway housing price ball rolling recently?

Previous Keef Reports can be found....Here.


Thursday, November 24, 2016

ICBC Rate Increase Missing Link Logic From The ProMedia.


Earlier this week we gave Mr. Michael Smyth of the Province credit for writing a solid piece on the Clarklandian's fake propaganda-driven war on fentanyl.

And, now with his column on how the BC Utilities Commission has forced ICBC to reveal it's five year projection of rate increases of 42 percent to go with 37 percent rate increases over the last five years, it would appear that Mr. Smyth is also at least trying to get to the crux of that matter as well, particularly given that he also points out how ridiculous Todd Stone's attempt at high end luxury car deflector spike spin is.

Unfortunately, Mr. Smyth seems unable, or unwilling, to clearly state what the true driver of a decade of neverending year-over-year increases is, increases that are crushing (in the same way that the neverending year-over-year MSP and Hydro rate raises are also)  those 'moms and dads who already find life unaffordable' that Ms. Christy Clark says she is 'fighting for' (as she simultaneously crushes them with all these continuous regressive rate increases that are funding her phony budget surpluses and letting folks who would not be crushed by paying a little more off the hook entirely).

Why do I come to this conclusion?

Well, first Mr. Smyth says the following re: the driver(s) of the increases:

...Why could ICBC rates go up so high and so fast? Because the accident rate is up, fraudulent claims are up, court-ordered awards are up, high-tech cars are more expensive to repair and a weak Canadian dollar makes American-made auto parts more pricey to buy...

Unfortunately (again!), Mr. Smyth offers no critical analysis of those so called drivers (i.e. what was the state of the Canadian dollar for example, say, between 2011 and 2013 when all of these increases began in earnest?).

And then, to 'compound' matters, at the end of the piece buried way, way, way under the lede, Mr. Smyth says this:

...And minister: Please stop using ICBC like a heavily lactating cash cow. The government practice of extracting “dividends” from ICBC — more than $1 billion siphoned in recent years — should be stopped right now, forever, before we pay a penny more...

Which is all well and good as far as the in-the-moment outrage goes, but...

Unfortunately (again, again!), Mr. Smyth just lets that last bit lay there, connecting no dots whatsoever.

Which means, it will soon be forgotten, and a sizeable chunk of those 'moms and dads who already find life unaffordable' will continue to think that Ms. Clark is actually trying to help them when she and hers have actually been crushing them for five years already, and will continue to do so for another five years if they are let off the hook by folks like the good Mr. Smyth if they refuse to connect the dots and tell British Columbians what is really going on here through May of 2017.



Wednesday, November 23, 2016

This Groundhog Day In Clarkland...Asking The Feds To Do Something We Won't.


Sorry about this folks, but I'm not letting this one go just because the news cycle has passed.


Because this hit-and-run journalism followed by the forgettery is the reason we are in the mess we're in, I reckon.

Anyway, to the point....

On the fentanyl crisis matter once again, Clarklandian Health Minister Terry Lake says it's time for the Fed's to step up to the plate according to the MoCo's Catharine Tunney:

..."The lights are coming on but we can't wait. We need urgent action to save lives in British Columbia," Terry Lake said.

Lake said B.C. — which has seen more than 600 opioid overdose deaths alone this year — should act as a warning sign.

"We need a high-level relationship with China to to stop the flow of illegal fentanyl, which is a poison," he said.

Lake said he'd also like to see federal legislation to control pill press machines, the devices used to turn raw drugs like fentanyl into counterfeit tablets for sale on the streets.

Lake said Ottawa is aware of the issue but hasn't shown that it's willing to back up commitments with money...

Which is all well and good as far as it goes, but....

Regarding that 'banning the pill presses' thing, why didn't Mr. Lake and his friends (and, of course, his word salad-spinning boss), pass legislation to do just that when it was introduced in the British Columbia legislature last summer?


Why didn't they take concrete action then?

(and, again, why is our legislature closed right now?)


This Day In Clarkland...What The Premier Did NOT Say About ICBC



Update at bottom of post

Premier Clark did not tell British Columbians who drive cars that she will return the hundreds and and hundreds of millions of dollars that she and hers have siphoned out of ICBC to build her phony regressive budget surplus by ripping huge chunks out of the collective back of said drivers (i.e. by levying a collective 30% increase over the last five years.

Instead, Ms. Clark told British Columbians the following, according to the MoCo's Richard Zussman:

..."I think ICBC should keep the rates at a 4.9 per cent increase, which is what the government is committed to doing. People cannot afford these massive rate increases," said Clark. "I am fighting for the ratepayers, people who drive cars, the moms and dads who already find life unaffordable."...

Fighting for those fine folks, indeed.

In the meantime Ms. Clark is is still doing her best to keep on giving uber-regressive tax breaks to those who need them least.

Or, putting it another way this is nothing but a stealth HST on wheels


Meanwhile,  in case you missed it, Ms. Clark's Transport Minister Mr. Todd Stone threw a little iodine onto the scarred backs of those 'moms and dads who already find life unnaffordable' when he told them that he wouldn't actually siphon any of their money out of ICBC this year (see very bottom of Rob Shaw's VSun piece).

As for next year, and the year after that, and the year after that...


The real story here?...The BC Utilities Commission is demanding that ICBC come up with projections for rate increases for the next four years....Today...So be watching for that...Or not.
Update: Wednesday afternoon....Meanwhile while we wait for the long term rate increase projections....Deflector spin Uber-Alles direct from Todd Stone's mouth