Tuesday, July 29, 2014

This Afternoon In Snookland...The Debt-Free Delusion.


Marvin Shaffer, of the CCPA has an interesting commentary up about the Snooklandian's 'Debt Free' fallacy.

Point one focuses on the curious inability of the puffed-up proMedia punditry's inability, even with all its 'established credibility' to see the fallacy for what it is, where it came from, and what it has led to:

...The issue, however, is not whether the promise of a debt free BC will be achieved. It won’t, at least not in my lifetime. The issue is whether it was ever a reasonable policy objective in the first place. After all, debt supports investments and long term assets, as (the VSun's Vaughn) Palmer pointed out in his curiously soft, almost apologetic (recent) commentary. If no debt means no investment in needed assets we will be making future generations worse, not better off.

I recall when Mike Harcourt was elected, the mainstream media (with Palmer at the forefront) railed against increasing government debt, with virtually no regard to the investments and assets it enabled. That anti-debt campaign had two unfortunate consequences. It caused government to cut back on capital expenditures, however needed and valuable they might be. And it encouraged government to look to ‘innovative’ off-book financing in order to reduce the reported amount of public debt. The political need to hide debt led directly to the widespread use of P3′s even if that increased, through long term contractual obligations, the liability future British Columbians would ultimately have to pay for...

And point two deals with larger, really and truly important policy matter of running up debt on mostly worthless junk while we avoid investing in things that actually matter:

...The real policy problem in this province is not that we are failing to move to a debt free B.C. The policy problem is that we are incurring debt for things we don’t need, that arguably don’t offer benefits in excess of their cost or at best are low in priority relative to other pressing demands (think Cadillac upgrade to the Sea-to-Sky highway, Smart Meters, the NW Transmission line and the retractable roof over BC Place). And at the same time we are failing to make the ones we should, for example in early education and high quality childcare, flood control and other preparation for extreme climate events, and a host of other areas....


Hidden debt backed with longterm liabilities driven by largesse handed out, hand over fist, to cronies while we simultaneously strangle the baby named 'public good' out back in the bathtub?

Is it possible that there are actually a few Straussian wizards hiding behind the curtains marked 'Pay-To-Play' in Snookland?

Tip O' The (itchyscratchysummer) Toque to Norm Farrell on the Twittmachine, who is most definitely NOT an 'idiot blogger'  for pointing us back towards Mr. Shaffer's post.


The Dilbit Diaries...The Bonfire Of The Flack Hackeries.


In case you missed it there is a pretty big dilbit ooze going down in and around Cold Lake Alberta that started sometime last summer.

And instead of really investigating and figuring out what is really going on, it would appear that Environment Canada has been more concerned with keeping any and all leaks to the media contained.

Mike De Souza, now working for the TStar has the story.

Here's his lede:

OTTAWA—Environment Canada’s enforcement branch asked a spokesman to “limit information” given to reporters about how long it took to launch a federal investigation into a serious Alberta oilsands leak last summer.

The comments were included in more than 100 pages of emails obtained by the Star that were generated in response to questions from journalists last summer about the mysterious leak in Cold Lake, Alta., that now totals about 1.2 million litres of bitumen emulsion, a mixture of heavy oil and water...


Don't worry.

It's ethical!

Well, that and Neil Young was way wrong.


Meanwhile, in other environmental news of our world...Tens of thousands of farm fish are dying in Nootka Sound and Alexandra Morton is not buying the industry's 'explanation' handed to the media.


This Day In Snookland...Does B.C. Now Have A Foreign Affairs Ministry?


From the final bit of Ms. Christy Clark's letter of support for Israel released not by her government or her political party but instead by the 'Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs':

"...As the world continues to hope for a peace that satisfies both Israelis and Palestinians, I’m proud that British Columbia can be counted as a friend of Israel..."

As a rationale, Ms. Clark also states the following in her letter:

"...Israel has the right to defend itself and its citizens against terrorist attacks..."

All of which makes one wonder, especially since she appears to have appointed herself as British Columbia's foreign minister, if Ms. Clark knows much about the Palestinian 'national consensus' government of reconciliation that was formed in June.

That government was recently described on the OpEd page of the NY Times by the International Crisis Group's Nathan Thrall thusly:

...(I)n many ways, the reconciliation government could have served Israel's interests. It offered Hamas' political adversaries a foothold in Gaza; it was formed without a single Hamas member; it retained the same Ramallah-based prime minister, deputy prime ministers, finance minister and foreign minister; and, most important, it pledged to comply with the three conditions for Western aid long demanded by America and its European allies: nonviolence, adherence to past agreements and recognition of Israel..."

So, what happened in the period between the striking of the reconciliation government and firing of rockets by Hamas from Gaza?

Well, Mr. Thrall concludes the following:

...Israel strongly opposed American recognition of the new government, however, and sought to isolate it internationally, seeing any small step toward Palestinian unity as a threat...


...(In addition)...the key (on-the-ground) issues of paying Gaza's civil servants and opening the border with Egypt were left to fester...


...(Thus) after Hamas transferred authority to a government of pro-Western technocrats, life in Gaza became worse...

Of course, Mr. Thrall may be overstating things in terms of Israel's role in the kiboshing the emergence of a more reasoned and reasonable governance of all the Palestinian territories that could have mitigated, or perhaps even have prevented, the current asymmetric hostilities.

I, personally, cannot be certain if that is, or is not, the case because I am most certainly not an expert on Palestinian-Israeli relations.

But Ms. Clark, especially if she is going to speak for 'British Columbia' (and, by extension, all British Columbians) in her newly-minted and self-proclaimed role as foreign minister of our fair province, darned well better be.


You can read of/listen to more of Mr. Thrall's point-of-view if you wish....Here.
Subheader?....Well, you know....Iron Snowbird!


The Summertime Jukebox So Far.

...littler e, back in the days of homework...in a falling apart bit of tie-dye...Almost time for another trip to Telegraph Avenue.

Our Neil, Pocahontas and Thee...

Springsteen, Mashed Potatoes and Me...

When In Doubt Ask Yourself...What Would Danko Do?

What Canada Day Means to Me and Mine...

At The End of The (Busking) Day It's What Everybody Wants...

Vincent/Starry, Starry Night It's Not...

When Busking and French Immersion Collide...

Gram Goes To Goteborg...

The Still-Beating Heart Of Alt. Country...


Saturday Night's Alight For Uke Cover Fighting!


Except that...

In this case the cover is also the original.

Brought to you by Bigger E. working barefoot in downtown Lotusland.

 E. was captured for posterity by 'Everyday Music' who has a heckuva local multilevel musical stratification archive-a-palooza project going... 


Monday, July 28, 2014

At The End Of The Day...


At the end of the day, I still like learning stupid stuff.

Stuff like, say, the fact that the Ogre part in Shrek was actually supposed to go to Chris Farley instead of Mike Myers.

How do I now know this bit of interesting, but ultimately useless, information?

Well it, and the fact that he takes more pride in  'creating' comedy where it didn't exist before than in delivering said comedy is something I learned from Mr. Myers during his recent long-form/no-wave conversation with Marc Maron that was posted-up by the latter earlier today.

Something else interesting?...Both the 'Wayne' and 'Dieter' characters were fully realized by Mr. Myers before he even got to Lorne Michaels' organ monkeyfied latenight meat grinder...


This Day In Snookland...Duplicity, Thy Name Is 'Briefing Note'.


Turns out that Ms. Clark's minister for family and children was being extremely economical with the truth when she told the legislature back in the spring that there were no plans to ship kids in custody from Victoria to the mainland.

Lindsay Kines and Louise Dickson of the VTC have the story. Here is their lede and a little bit more, which gives you both sides of the obfuscation sandwich (go read the rest of the piece for the filling labeled excrement):

B.C.’s minister of children and family development told the legislature in March that there were no plans to close any youth jails, even though she knew officials had been preparing for months to shutter the Victoria Youth Custody Centre, documents show.

Stephanie Cadieux told the NDP’s Carole James on March 24 that “at this point, we have no plan in place to make any significant changes because we’re still looking at what our options are to maintain the best service for the youth that we do have in custody.”

Newly released documents, however, suggest Cadieux was briefed on a plan at least four months earlier. One document seeks her approval for “announcements on December 4, 2013, to close Victoria Youth Custody Services.”...


...Cadieux was unavailable to comment on Friday. Her ministry issued a statement saying that officials were merely exploring options — including alternatives to closing the jail — last fall and winter.

The ministry added that the briefing notes are standard practice...


Mayber there is a great P3 privatization opportunity for out there for this one too.

After all, if we've gotta incarcerate some of our citizens, the least we can do is make sure that somebody makes some money off the deal.


How much are the fine folks running that ministry, you know the one that also saves a whole lotta moola by making sure that kids in care without foster families don't get a present (deemed 'extra') during the holidays?....Well, according to Kines and Dickson of the VTC, the number is $4.5 million....Gosh...How many bogus Bollywood bonanzas could you buy with that?...10?...5?...2?....1?....How about less than half of one... And no, despite my lack of 'established credibility' I am not making that up.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Tresspassers?....In Creme Ville!!!?



That's how CP see's all those no good urban gardeners along the Arbutus line.

The VCourier's Mike Powell, with an assist from noted Dipper constituent backer David Eby, has the story in the form of a couple of excerpts from a letter signed by CP's Director of Governmental Relations Mike LoVecchio:

...We are a reasonable landowner who — for some time now — has allowed the presence of trespassers on our land without retribution. I know this is a harsh description of those who have put such care into beautifying our land with their unauthorized gardens, but what would you call those who park their vehicles or build storage structures or leave abandoned items on our land without permission?”...

{snippety doodle-dandy}

...Our intention on Aug. 1 is not to begin immediate demolition of community gardens; we have a plan on how to continue track improvement in this area and will handle the removal of encroachments as our work progresses. Should encroachments still exist on the land as we begin our work, we must remove them. The safety of our employees is our number one priority and non-negotiable....


And just what is the good Ms. Clarke up to these days anyway?

And, as noted previously, Stephen Rees watched a good stretch of the track in question...It is in no shape whatsoever to carry trains of any kind, mysterious or otherwise.


There Is A Club....And, Apparently, The 'Idiot Bloggers' Are Not Allowed In It.

No potshot(s) there, eh, Mr. Baldrey?

No siree.

And what, specifically, might Mr. Baldrey be twitting on about this time?....Don't know for sure, because he doesn't say...But we did notice this, from Norm Farrell, from a little earlier yesterday.
And for those who do not recall how Mr. Baldrey  responded previously to a demonstrable potential conflict of interest involving a fellow member of the Lotuslandian proMedia club, the Exile did an excellent dissection not long ago...Here.
As for this 'Club' business?....Well....This.


Helping The Poor...What Would Jesus Do?


Pretty sure it wouldn't be this:

...Canadian Christian Charities Association CEO Rev. John Pellowe believes Oxfam was "clearly offside in this."

"They're expressing surprise, but prevention of poverty is not a charitable purpose, and should not have been put in their [mission] statement," he said...

I guess some folks can justify just about anything in the name of something or other.

Meanwhile, Oxfam, after staring down both barrels of the auditor's big donation destroying gun, has removed the 'offending (anti-poverty) phrase' and received its registration.

Above was from Kady O. of the MoCo...Ms. Mallick of the Star also has more....