Sunday, September 25, 2016

If We Had Yearly Elections Would We Have A Dipper Government Run By The BC Liberals?

BeCarefulWhatYouThinkYouAre
WishingForVille


First, there was the sloppily enacted Dipper-driven housing policy.

And now, as force-fed both-siderist Mikey-Mike of The Province notes, it's education and schools 'n stuff:

...Last week, B.C. Education Minister Mike Bernier said the government would drop a controversial 95-per-cent school-occupancy target before approving costly seismic upgrades.

“Student safety is our top priority,” Bernier said, while repeating that the Liberal government is committed to “upgrading or replacing all high-risk schools.”...



All of which seems great and all.

Except, of course, all of the Clarklandians announcements are little more than limited hangouts designed to generate media deflector spike-spin rather than actually fix a problem created by longstanding BC Liberal party policy.

And.

As noted by Dermod Travis of Integrity BC and Norm Farrell of In-Sights, the 'Cronification of Everything' continues unabated.

OK?


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Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Felice Brothers Are (Still) Coming!





Simply put, this might be one of the most powerful bits of aural melancholia that I have ever heard.

And, if I hadn't stumbled across this recently, I might be a little worried for all that seems to flow right through young Ian into his fingers and voice, unadorned and unfiltered.



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The Brothers Felice and friends, including Tom Sniderincandationish Aaron Lee Tasjan, are coming to Lotusland Friday Oct 14th at the Cobalt.


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Friday, September 23, 2016

Something Important Is About To Happen Above Site C That Nobody Knows About

ThereIsA
ClubVille


Alison of Creekside has the story.

Here is her lede:

In two days, the deadline for public input into BC Hydro's request to log crown land slated for Provincial Park status above the Site C dam will close.

So why are you only just now hearing about this on a blog? Good question...




Go read it all and act if you feel that due process still matters around here.


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Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Boss, He Be Coming In Longform Linear Type.

They'llMeetNeathThatGiantExxonSign
ThatBringsThisFairCityLightVille



The autobiography, all 500 pages of it, will be released next Tuesday, just in time for a certain birthday if any of my kids are paying attention.

And the early reviews are strong.

Me, I particularly like the following passage from Richard Ford in The Times:

...It helps that Springsteen can write — not just life-­imprinting song lyrics but good, solid prose that travels all the way to the right margin. I mean, you’d think a guy who wrote “Spanish Johnny drove in from the underworld last night / With bruised arms and broken rhythm and a beat-up old Buick . . .” could navigate his way around a complete and creditable American sentence. And you’d be right. Oh, there are a few gassy bits here and there, a jot too much couch-inspired hooey about the “terrain inside my own head.” A tad more rock ’n’ roll highfalutin than this reader really needs — though the Bruce enthusiasts down in Sea-Clift won’t agree with me. No way. But nothing in “Born to Run” rings to me as unmeant or punch-pulling. If anything, Springsteen wants credit for telling it the way it really is and was. And like a fabled Springsteen concert — always notable for its deck-clearing thoroughness — “Born to Run” achieves the sensation that all the relevant questions have been answered by the time the lights are turned out. He delivers the story of Bruce — in digestibly short chapters — via an informally steadfast Jersey plainspeak that’s worked and deftly detailed and intimate with its readers — cleareyed enough to say what it means when it has hard stories to tell, yet supple enough to rise to occasions requiring eloquence — sometimes rather pleasingly subsiding into the syntax and rhythms of a Bruce Springsteen song: “So we all made do,” he writes about his parents’ abrupt move from Freehold to California, in 1969, leaving him behind. “My sister vanished into ‘Cowtown’ — the South Jersey hinterlands — and I pretended none of it really mattered. You were on your own — now and forever. This sealed it. Plus, a part of me was truly glad for them, for my dad. Get out, Pops! Out of this [expletive] dump.”...


And from that, the making of the following which is, maybe I guess, the flipside of Jungleland:


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Oh, and just so you know...The review by David Brooks in The Atlantic is as just as unctuous and atrocious as you would predict it to be...You have been warned. 

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An Important Message From Left Blogistan, Southern Division.

TooLong
ReadAnywayVille


One of the last of the single shingle bloggers from the original American Left Blogistan, and a spawn of the late, great Steve Gilliard, Driftglass, has something important to say about where he and his fellow liberals are 12 years after the re-election of post-Iraq invasionist, Bush the Younger:

...(T)welve years later, we who have been right about the Right all along have no need to apologize or explain ourselves to anyone. We have earned our Bachelor's and PhD's in "Dead Wrong All Along" Wingnut studies the hard way, grinding it out, doing our homework, reading and writing day after day, year after year. And we know from bitter experience that it is not enough for the Republican candidate to be profoundly unqualified, or for him to sh*t himself in public over and over again. We know that the Right really are a basket of deplorables who are beyond the power to reason or civic redemption. We know from bitter experience that the media -- who should have been reporting the Right's descent into madness with escalating alarm every day over the last twelve years -- have abandoned their posts and sold us out for money and ratings.

Once again we find the only thing we can count on is each other. Getting the unregistered to get registered. Getting the souls to the polls.

Once again, it falls to the dirty hippies to help protect America from its worst impulses and ugliest demagogues...



And if we Canuckistanians of a certain persuasion think were are safe from this scourge and/or the good Mr. O'Leary for now and forever in the wake of our temporary rush to the center to elect Trudeau the Younger, do not forget that his reign (like that of that other pseudo-centrist Barry O) will someday end.

OK?


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Why Anyone Who Cares About Democracy Should Be Listening To Cathy O'Neil

SmartPeopleStillCount
MaybeNowMoreThanEverVille


From Ms. O'Neil's recent interview with Jacobin about her book 'Weapons Of Math Destruction, How Big Data Increases Inequality And Threaten's Democracy':

"...I wrote the book because I think there is considerable harm being done by destructive algorithms, and as a mathematician I’m in a unique position to explain those harms. I worked as a hedge fund quant during the 2008 financial crisis and as a data scientist at the height of the big data revolution. So I have been living behind the scenes, and I know how this stuff works.

At the same time, I’m an occupier. I joined Occupy in October 2011, forming and facilitating the alternative banking group, which has met weekly at Columbia University since then. Our weekly discussions have established a lens through which I’ve learned to examine the world, especially as it connects to money and power.

So now when I come across an automated decision-making system, I always wonder who is benefiting from that system, and who is suffering. And the conclusion I keep coming to when considering systems that rely on algorithms, is that poor people, black and brown people, and the mentally ill are consistently being shut out by these algorithmic black-box structures..."




Ms. O'Neil's thoughts regularly appear over on left side-bar under the title of her blog 'Math Babe'. 

It's stuff well worth paying attention to.


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And, just in case you missed it, Ms. O'Neil's book is a best-seller with a bullet in....Canada.


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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Harvey And Barry O Both Go Full Metal Union.

MindMeldsAndTheStrangenessOf
BedfellowsVille


From Mr. Oberfeld's blog:

...I found Obama was at his intellectual best (during his speech to the UN General Assembly) in recognizing and dissecting a bigger world-wide problem … the growing dissatisfaction by workers in MANY developed nations with globalization of trade … and the growing gap between the rich and the rest of us...

{snip}

...“I do believe there’s another path — one that fuels growth and innovation, and offers the clearest route to individual opportunity and national success. It does not require succumbing to a soulless capitalism that benefits only the few, but rather recognizes that economies are more successful when we close the gap between rich and poor, and growth is broadly based.

“And that means respecting the rights of workers so they can organize into independent unions and earn a living wage. It means investing in our people — their skills, their education, their capacity to take an idea and turn it into a business. It means strengthening the safety net that protects our people from hardship and allows them to take more risks — to look for a new job, or start a new venture.”...



Imagine that!


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Monday, September 19, 2016

This Election Year In Clarkland...The Double Gouge.

DoubleDoubleToilAnd
HiddenTaxationTroubleVille


On the weekend we noted that the egregious gouging of the British Columbian citizenry via the regressive MSP premium will account for direct revenues of 2.5 billion dollars this fiscal year.

Which, of course, is more than the entire BCLiberal 'surplus'.

Which is bad enough given how regressively this money is collected from the citizenry, even with the so-called recent 'fixes'.

But then an Anon-O-Mouse chimed in with the following in the comments:

...$2.5 billion does not represent the total take of the government resulting from charging MSP premiums. Regardless of whether that $2.5 billion is paid by individuals or by their business or employer, that represents real dollars into the treasury.

This is an assumption:

If 50 percent of individuals have their MSP premiums paid by their business or employer, 50 percent of the $2.5 billion appears as a taxable benefit on their T4-slips. The amounts appearing on T4-slips equals $1.25 billion.

Now MSP premiums paid on behalf of an individual is a taxable benefit and income tax is paid at the highest marginal tax rate by that individual. Assuming an average British Columbia marginal tax on net income for affected individuals as 15 percent, 15% of $1.25 billion is paid as income tax to the provincial government. That equals $187 million in additional government revenue totaling $2.6875 billion. I doubt the income tax generated from MSP as a taxable benefit is segregated as MSP revenue. For affected individuals, this is double taxation...



Gosh,  that extra $187 million further gouged out of the backs of the citizenry sure does sound 'complicated', does it not?

Well, given that...

Where did I hear our fine Premier tell us how it is so very difficult to scrap the regressive MSP premium because everything associated with it is just so darned 'complicated'?

Ah, yes, I remember now.

It was in a conversation Ms. Clark had with the Dean of the Legislative Press Gallery back in ancient times as far as BCLiberal party policy goes (i.e. it was in August of this year):

...“The things that I said (before about MSP premiums), I still believe them,” she told me during an interview on Voice of B.C. on Shaw TV Thursday. “It’s not progressive. It’s complicated. And it’s another burden that we put on families.”

Then the caveat: “Unfortunately, it’s turned out to be a very complicated thing to try and change, which I guess is why no government has ever done it or never really tried.”...



Now.

Leaving aside that Clarklandian guess about why no 'government' (without the term 'BC Liberal' in front of it) has done anything either fair or equitable, what, exactly, is that 'complicated' stuff all about, anyway?

Shall we head back to the Dean's chambers to see if our fine Premier can give us a word salad-addled hint:

...(A)s Clark noted, one of the challenges here in B.C. is that many working people don’t actually pay them. Rather, premiums are paid by their employers as part of labour contracts or other terms of employment, albeit as a taxable benefit.

“This is one of the complications,” said the premier. “You’re talking about large employers. If we were to roll all of it into the tax system, none of those large employers would pay anymore.”...




Oh boy.

Even when she almost kinda/sorta tells the truth the good Ms. Clark can't quite bring herself to say (or see?) that it is the average Joe and/or Jill that is really getting screwed.

Families first!


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And how much might the double gouge cost the average Jack or Jill?...Norm Farrell chimed in with the following in the comments: "For people who have employers paying half the cost of family medical coverage, the result may be up to $432 a year in extra income tax."


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Sunday, September 18, 2016

This Sunday In Clarkland...The Factinator.

ConsiderThe
(Real)SourceVille


Looks like our fine Premier, who is scared to get her clock cleaned, again, by David Eby in Vancouver Point Grey next May, has decided to play fast and loose with the latest developments in Real Estate Bubble Town.

Emily Lazatin of CKNW has the story about how Ms. Clark is Winnie-The-Pooh-Poohing the fact that Mr. Eby recently demonstrated that there are 'students' with big Canadian bank-backed mortgages who own multi-million dollar homes in Point Grey:

...“You know I also question the facts (Clark said), you (sic) got to question the source a little bit there. So, I don’t know if the fact (sic) are correct.”...


Oh ya?

And when, exactly, did Ms. Clark stop stiffing her West Kelowna sommelier?

If you get my drift.

Sheesh.


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As Bob Mackin points out on the Twittmachine, Mr. Eby's documentation-backed 'facts' came straight outta Ms. Clark's Compton (a.k.a.  the Land Title and Survey Authority)....Double sheesh.


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Are Liar Loans Helping Inflate The Vancouver Real Estate Bubble?

It'sAnAsset-Driven
WorldVille


A Joanne Lee-Young piece in Postmedia suggests that might be the case. Here is her lede:

The prospective buyers of a $2.46 million Richmond home put down a $120,000 deposit. When they were turned down at three major national banks for financing to complete the deal, an employee at RBC Royal Bank of Canada and a real estate agent at Richmond-based Metro Edge Realty advised them to exaggerate and/or fake assets in China in order to qualify for a mortgage here, according to a notice of civil claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court. None of the allegations in the claim have been proven in court...


The real estate company concerned has denied each and every allegation.

The bank concerned has declined comment.

It will be most interesting to find out what comes out in court.


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