Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Sometimes A Spreadsheet...

....Is Worth A Thousand (Billion, Trillion) Words.

And what does Oxfam want?


...Oxfam recommends that nations tax wealth at fairer levels, raise rates on personal income and corporate taxes and eliminate tax avoidance by companies and the super-rich...



A return to Eisenhower era tax rates for everyone?


Sunday, November 10, 2019

Mueller, He Didn't Write.


In case you missed it amongst all the sturm, drang and Twittmachine-driven firehosery, last weekend Buzzfeed's Jason Leopold released the first 500 pages of Robert Mueller's back pages he pried out of the USian Justice Dep't by FOIA.

And, surprise!, it would appear that the good Mr. Mueller buried a whole lot of ledes when he wrote his actual report.

One of the bits that was shot deepest into the magma was the relevation, from Paul Manafort's man Friday, Robert Gates, that, far from being a hawkish figurehead who was later derailed only because his Putin-friendly Turkish side-hustle was revealed after he was named the NSA boss, Michael Flynn was actually the Trump campaign's inside Russia man from the get-go.

Will Bunch has that story in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

...Among the highlights are that Gates said that a lot of the pressure to find the purloined (Clinton) emails (in the run-up  to the 2016 election) fell on retired general Michael Flynn — soon to be Trump’s short-lived national security adviser — because Flynn “had the most Russia contacts of anyone on the campaign.”...


Who'd a thunk it?

And, what does this have to do with anything going down now and/or in the coming weeks?....See, Stone, Roger.


Friday, November 08, 2019

Who's Robert Stanfield Now?


In political terms at least, Toronto really is the center of the current CanuckistanMikitaVillian Universe.

TorStar's Tom Walkom explains:

...The Conservatives did gain three more Ontario seats. However, their share of the popular vote in Ontario dropped by two percentage points.

More importantly, they were unable to unseat Liberal incumbents in huge swaths of the so-called 905 belt outside Toronto. In Toronto itself, the Conservatives were completely shut out...

And here's the ironic thing given who benefitted most from Mr. Stanfield's butter fingers, pictured above, in 1974:

...The main reason is that Scheer failed to connect with Red Tories.

Red Tories represent the dominant form of Conservatism in Ontario. They are typically moderate. They are amenable to using government to achieve useful social ends. They generally value co-operation...


...Ontario’s ever so practical Red Tories know from experience that refinery shutdowns and turmoil in the Middle East have more effect on gasoline prices than Ottawa’s carbon tax.

Indeed, Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s entire strategy for dealing with climate change could have come from a Red Tory playbook.

It emphasizes balance — in this case, the balance between economic and environmental needs. It suggests action without getting bogged down in the details of what this action will accomplish. It allows people to think they are doing something about the climate problem without requiring them to bear a hefty cost. And it is based not on government fiat but on market pricing...

Go figure.

Of course, when the books are written by the NeoLaurierists of the RedTory Sage, they'll tell us that this was the 2019 plan right from the get-go.
Tip O' The Toque to Owen Gray at Northern Reflections.


Thursday, November 07, 2019

Memory Matters With Measles.


Some folks in Chilliwack are apparently up in arms about public health measures meant to ensure that critical vaccines are administered at rates that help to ensure community efficacy:

Of course, the anti-vax division of that portion of Lotusland's fundamentalist edge was involved in in a pretty significant measles outbreak in the not too distant past (i.e. 2014).

From the CBC at that time:

The largest outbreak of measles in decades was officially declared over Monday with a vast reduction in the number of transmissions and new cases, says Fraser Health's chief medical health officer.

Over a four-week period earlier this spring, the Fraser Health region had over 400 cases of measles with some patients requiring hospitalization.

Dr. Paul Van Buynder, the chief medical health officer, says the outbreak is now over with few new cases being reported.

"The size of, and speed at, which this outbreak spread resulted in more cases of measles than the province has seen in the past 15 years, and was the largest outbreak in almost 30 years," says Dr. Van Buynder.

The outbreak initially began after dozens of cases were reported at a Christian School in Chilliwack with a low vaccination rate. That school was temporarily closed...

From CKWX:

CHILLIWACK (NEWS1130) – The measles outbreak in the Fraser Valley is now into its third week, and while clinics set up across the region to contain it have been busy, there seem to be some problems at ground zero.

Most of the people linked to the Chilliwack school where it started still haven’t been vaccinated.

Medical Health Officer Dr. Lisa Mu says Mt. Cheam Christian School has been very cooperative in working with Fraser Health to reopen the school and in contacting families. But she says a lot of people at the school are not taking the health authority’s advice.

“That community remains largely unvaccinated,” says Mu...



With all that in mind, what's the big deal given that, as one commenter on the Twittmachine thread to the post shown above, said:

Well, given the millions of deaths prevented by measles vaccination (according to the US Center for Disease Control), no:

And then there is the matter of the most recent research according to top-o-the ladder journal Nature:

Measles infections in children can wipe out the immune system’s memory of other illnesses such as influenza, according to a pair of studies1,2. This can leave kids who recover from measles vulnerable to other pathogens that they might have been protected from before their bout with the virus.

The findings, published on 31 October in Science and Science Immunology, come at a time when measles cases are spiking around the world. Globally, there were more measles infections in the first six months of 2019 than in any year since 2006, according to the World Health Organization...

Which just goes to show once again that, in all matters political, societal, scientific or otherwise, memory really does matter.


Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Why Biden's Campaign Had To Be Destroyed.

Simple as that, from the front page of the pixel division of yesterday's New York Times.

Because even after all the stumbles, bumbles and character assassinations, real, or mostly imagined, Biden still wins where it matters most and the others do not.


If someone were paying attention they might even conclude that the public box that Rudy built is just another national security destroying version of the Canuck letter that signalled the beginning of the end of Ed Muskie's campaign that paved the way for the plumber-driven Nixonian landslide in 1972.

Now all we need is for Mr. Giuliani arrange for the BooHoo to get ahold of the ghost of Hunter Thompson's press pass so that he can to ride the new Sunshine Special all the way to Kiev.

Either that, or somebody like, say, Matt Drudge suddenly up and accuses the young Hunter ('B', not 'T') of trafficking in ibogaine.

Or some such thing.


Sunday, November 03, 2019

One More Reason Rob Obvious Will Never Eat Chichester Cathedral


Former Lotuslandian sports reporter Gary Mason is currently the Globe and Mail's 'National Affairs Columnist'.

And, in our opinion at least, Mr. Mason loves to traffic in obviousness while he simultaneously stirs the pot.

To wit, the following, from his latest column kinda/sorta taking Jason Kenney to task for blaming Encana's lack of allegiance to Canada and Canadians on young Mr. Trudeau:

...Mr. Kenney’s ego is out of control. I’m not sure whether he’s politicking for his current job or whether he’s establishing his bona fides to take over as federal Conservative leader. He certainly has become the loudest conservative voice in the country. And whether it’s current leader Andrew Scheer or someone else who ultimately assumes command of the federal party, they should be prepared for a long to-do list the Alberta Premier will have waiting for them...

The thing is, every once in a while Mr. Mason goes a little too far and demonstrates how little he actually knows (and/or understands) about what is really going on.

This time that demonstration comes in the form of the column's final kicker:

...Mr. Kenney needs to understand that deliberately mischaracterizing the decisions oil and gas companies make for his own political gain ultimately doesn’t get him anything other than angrier citizens.

I mean, seriously...

Does Mr. Mason of the Globe really not know that the imported political playbook being used by Mr. Kenney states, right there on page 1 in 144 point type, that his one main goal is to make the citizenry as angry as possible about every possible perceived slight, real or imagined?

Chichester Cathedral, you ask?....the Pythons.


Friday, November 01, 2019

Fraser Institute One....B.C. Public Schools Zero.


The lede of a piece by David Carrigg in PostMedia's Westcoast slightly broadersheeted print organ:

British Columbia has the lowest percentage of students studying in the public school system according to the latest national school enrolment figures.

Put another way, B.C. has the highest percentage of students in private/independent schools compared to other provinces at 13.1 per cent. This is significantly higher than Quebec, the second placed province for private/independent school enrolment, with 9.6 per cent.

Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick all had private/independent enrolment rates lower than five per cent. The Canadian average was 7.4 per cent.

The Statistics Canada figures are based on the 2017/2018 school year and reported there were 563,244 public elementary and secondary school students in B.C., and 85,000 in the private/independent school system. B.C.’s home school rate was among the lowest in the country at 0.3 per cent. Yukon and Alberta had the highest home school rates at three per cent and 1.8 per cent.

The percentage of students in public school in B.C. has been declining steadily since 1977, when the B.C. government started providing partial funding for approved private/independent schools...

Which is fair enough, as far as it goes.

And good on Mr. Carrigg for getting this story past the hedge fungible super troupers that currently protect the ideological purity of the conglomerate he works for.

But it would appear that the trade off may have been a decision to invoke total radio silence regarding the impact of the Fraser Institute's longterm onslaught on our education system.

Which, backed by actual evidence by collected awhile back by the Press Progress is demonstrably a strategy to discredit public and elevate private schools:

...(A)ccording to the Fraser Institute’s Executive Vice President, the school rankings are actually a tool in the Institute’s “communications agenda,” part of a strategy designed to “convince people” there’s a “problem.”

That’s what Fraser Institute VP Jason Clemens told a 2014 workshop organized by the Atlas Network, a Washington-based umbrella organization for right-wing think tanks and political action groups, funded by Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation and other wealthy donors connected to the American Tea Party movement.

Asked about education reform – usually a code word for publicly subsidizing private schools in Tea Party circles – Clemens pointed to the Institute’s school rankings as a good example of how to “set-up your research agenda and your communications agenda.”...



Friday, October 25, 2019

A Country Called Potemkin.


From Astead Herndon and Maggie Astor writing in the NY Times:

COLUMBIA, S.C. — President Trump, speaking to a handpicked audience of supporters at a historically black college here on Friday, belittled the Obama administration’s record on racial issues and claimed that his own administration had helped African-Americans beyond anything “in the history of our country.”...


...Mr. Trump and his allies billed the speech, at Benedict College in Columbia, as a chance for the president to step outside the friendly confines of his supporter base and promote his administration’s record on criminal justice reform and black employment directly to a black audience.

But only about 10 students from Benedict were given tickets to the invitation-only event, which had room for about 300 attendees, said Mayor Stephen K. Benjamin of Columbia. More than half of the seats were reserved for guests and allies of the administration, organizers said.

The ticket distribution was first reported by McClatchy DC.

The friendliness of the audience was clear from the moment Mr. Trump took the stage, when someone shouted, “We love you, Mr. President, we love you!” More than once, the audience broke into chants of “four more years,” to which Mr. Trump responded at one point: “Just don’t say 16 more years. You’ll drive them crazy.”...


Have our good friends to the south reached peak despot yet?


Thursday, October 24, 2019

And So It Begins...'Find Us A Real Tory!'


Yesterday we were ruminating about how the Conservative Reform Alliance Party cannot win as currently constituted because they are a faux facsimile of the former 'Tory' party.

And now, it would appear that some of a conservative bent may have become emboldened enough to start ruminating for a move back toward the (progressive?) center...

Check out the comments at the link.

Personally, I wonder if a rabid base unchained (and constantly prodded by well-funded rebellers and strongists) can be restrained by reason.


Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Failure.


Harvey O has an interesting take on why the 'Tories', as currently constituted, cannot win:

...What failed the Tories?

I believe, if there’s a lesson in the election results for the Official Opposition party … it’s that MOST Canadians (if you add up the Liberal, NDP, Green or even Bloc popular vote) SUPPORT the fight against climate change, ACCEPT the carbon tax, FAVOUR women’s choice on abortion, UPHOLD respecting LGBTQ rights, and AGREE with foreign aid, welcoming refugees and immigration.

Canada has changed … and, if they want to win, the Tories must as well.

Fair enough, particularly the part about what most Canadians support, accept, favour, uphold and agree with.


For the 'Tories' to change they would have to throw out the grifters, firewallers, and the discourse destroying, Manning-back 'strongists' first so that they could actually become...

What's that term, again?

Oh, ya...