Sunday, January 29, 2017

This Week In Clarkland...Don't Toddlers Have The Cash For Big Money Meet-Ups?


Got a little smarter than usual at bedtime last night and rolled the longwave down the dial from the sportstalkifiers to the MoCo.

Which meant that I woke to the news that the Clarklandians proudly trumpeting the fact that they spend $119 million per year on child care.

Which, of course, doesn't quite make that $300 million dollar a year private school nut.


Don't the well-off need daycare?




And don't get me started on Mary Poppins and all that....After all, there is a reason that family was called 'Banks'. 
The Early Childhood Educators of BC actually give the government a little more credit, and make a solid economic case for universal $10 a day care.


Sunday Song...Covering Billy Bragg.



All will be explained in the pre-amble after you click the little arrowhead below...

You can watch the young Mr. Bragg do the original arrangement back in the days of the original 'Reagan 'n Thatcher' show and see how he was changing lyrics to match events on the ground even then...Follow that up with a more recent, almost lyrically unrecognizable, but just as powerful, more recent version.


Friday, January 20, 2017

The Griftwood Chronicles, Vol. 4....The Distraction.


Well, well, well, whady'a know.

Our fine premier has decided to stop taking her personal grift.

Kinda/sorta, because NDP something, something, something:

...Clark says she’s changing the way she’ll claim money from the BC Liberals.

“What I’ve asked the party to do instead is let’s get rid of it. And then let’s do what I think all party leaders should do. And I would encourage the NDP to do this as well. Which is ask instead for reimbursable expenses.”...


Why did the good Ms. Clark decide to lay-off her little big money-driven side deal, at least the part that is straight up cash?


Is it possible she's come to realize that it is morally and ethically wrong?

Of course not.

How do I know this?

Because of what she herself actually said:

...On Friday night the Premier called the stipend a distraction...

Words (and salads) fail me.

And, make no mistake, this $50K per year that doesn't even cover Ms. Clark's new 'rent' in downtown Quilchena is the least of this.
The real moral of this story?...Concerted press coverage matters, no matter what Mr. Obvious of Neepsend has to say (over and over and over and over again, including in his latest...see if you can spot it)


The Griftwood Chronicles, Vol 3....Six Times.


BC Dipper leader John Horgan has called for legislation that will end Griftiness in BC for the sixth time.


When the Club member-penned stories begin (again) about how this is nothing but talk because of the no good, awful, evil Dipper ties to labour, just remember what Rachel Notley did immediately after her gang was elected east of the Rockies:

The flagship first bill of Alberta’s new NDP government that bans corporate and union donations to political parties has passed in the legislature...

And also understand that when it comes to donations from actual average British Columbians that don't have tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to grease their own personal griftiness wheels, the BCNDP bangs the BCLiberal gong every single time


Previously on the Griftwood Chronicles...
Meanwhile, if you want to read about Ms. Clark's biggest grift of all, go read Norm Farrell immediately...


Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Griftwood Chronicles...Volume 2.


From David Ball's interview in Metro with Dan Levin, that guy who wrote that New York Times article:

Metro: What made you look into B.C.'s political funding?

Dan Levin: Obviously political financing is a hot topic in the U.S., certainly with conflicts of interest with Donald Trump, it's a bipartisan concern.

I was shocked that this was happening in Canada, I think Americans would be shocked, and frankly I think Canadians would be shocked too. No elected official in the U.S. is allowed to get a stipend; that would be bribery.

I lived in China for seven-and-a-half years; in China or Russia this would just be called 'corruption' or 'nepotism.' But here, it's just ‘legal.’ The idea that a Conflict of Interest Commissioner who's never found anybody in violation of conflict of interest (rules) in all his many years, whose son works in the government he's meant to rule on — it seems like a Kafkaesque dystopian nightmare of shady politics and conflict of interest.

What do you say to people who say this is legal — they're just following the rules?

When you look at other provinces in Canada, much of this is completely unacceptable and prohibited. I find it really confusing, dismaying and horrifying even that so much of this is allowed to happen. If you're just a regular person in this province who doesn't have access to tens of thousands of dollars to get face-time with an elected official, then you're at a disadvantage...

Disadvantage, indeed.

Previously, on the 'Griftwood Chronicles'.....


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Griftwood Chronicles...Ron Doubles Down On The Obviousness Of Griftiness Coverage In Clarkbekistan.


Following up on his earlier tweet, Mr. Mason of the Globe and Mail has written about a column about the 'reaction' to Dan Levin's NYTimes piece on the systemic pay-to-play behaviour of the BC Liberal government.

The following two bits are taken directly from the lede and the kicker from that column:

...The New York Times is the latest to take note of the campaign finance free-for-all taking place in the province, publishing a story on the weekend that marvelled at the fact Premier Christy Clark draws a salary from the fundraising dollars she collects, which, of course, is on top of the one she receives as the head of government...


...When I asked a prominent Liberal backroomer on Monday what the reaction was to the Times piece, he said: “People in the party just laughed. They know that no one in this province cares about fundraising. So it’s a non-issue.”

And what else would we who have been paying attention expect someone behind the money-laden currtain surrounding Clarbekistan* to say?

However, as you might expect, there is just a wee bit more obviousness inside Mr. Mason's piece:

...The Times piece, based mostly on reporting that has been done by other media organizations in B.C. over the past year, noted just how unusual Ms. Clark’s compensation package is...


The NYTimes piece was just recycling other stuff the local proMedia already knows?

And yet, despite this, the local proMedia is not screaming bloody murder about the details of the BC Liberals'  well known deeds and actions regarding numerous pay-to-play cases that Mr. Levin also laid out in his piece.


Could the local proMedia folks' inattention to detail, detail that really matters to what is really and truly going around here, possibly be contributing to the lack of public outrage that Mr. Mason comments on thusly?

...Why would any party give up a huge electoral advantage like the one the Liberals in B.C. have when people don’t care about it anyway?...

And could the local proMedia's inattention to detail also be a contributing factor in why a 'prominent Liberal backroomer' feels that 'people in the party' have concluded that British Columbians also don't care?

Don't know about you, but the answers to the questions above seem pretty obvious (in a Chichester Cathedral kind of way), to me.

If you get my drift.

*Bill Tieleman, patent pending.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

This Day In Clarkbekistan...There Is Nothing Laughable About Systemic Pay-To-Playish-Type Behaviour.


Clarkbekistan's Minister Of Everything, Mr. Rich Coleman, speaking on CKNW, has declared Dan Levin's piece on the BC Liberal government's big donor/big payback problem in the New York Times 'laugable'.


Deputy Premier Rich Coleman is calling an article from The New York Times “laughable.”

The Times published an article on Jan. 13 about the B.C. Liberals “pay for play” fundraisers...


“The one thing I thought that was weak, but I also find it quite laughable, after watching people spend a billion dollars to run for the presidency of the United States and the money they raised down there… You know it’s quite funny to me that The New York Times would focus out on British Columbia,” Coleman says...

Quite the bit of deft misdirection there, eh?

But here's (just one of many) things that Mr. Coleman failed to mention regarding the actual meat of the NYTimes article, which was pay-to-play,  as published by Justine Hunter and Ron Obvious in the Globe and Mail back in 2012:

A B.C. brewery owned by a staunch Liberal Party supporter who recently made an in-kind donation of nearly $27,000 to a fundraiser for cabinet minister Rich Coleman stands to benefit to the tune of millions of dollars from taxation changes recently announced by the Liquor Distribution Branch...

But, wait!

There's more:

...Pacific Western (Brewing) hired Liberal insider Patrick Kinsella and his partner, Mark Jiles, to lobby for precisely the change the L(iquor)D(istribution)B(ranch) announced. Making appearances worse, the policy move was announced a week after (Pacific Western's owner) Ms. Komatsu made an in-kind gift donation valued at nearly $27,000 for use as an auction item at a fundraiser Mr. Coleman held in his riding...

And, just in case you've forgotten, there's even more:

...The change comes after Pacific Western Brewing of Prince George said it might lay off staff or even close rather than pay the increased taxes that would result from higher production levels.

Under the old policy, a higher tax rate kicked in when a brewery produced 160,000 hectolitres of beer – each hectolitre being 100 litres of beer.

Deputy Premier Rich Coleman says under the new policy, breweries can produce up to 300,000 hectolitres of beer and still qualify for a favourable tax rate, which rises on a sliding scale depending on the amount of beer produced...



Given the interest that the New York Times piece has generated, has the local proMedia been digging up specific examples of previous pay-to-playish-type behaviour by BC Liberals  and telling British Columbians about it, with specifics, in detail?

Of course not.

Instead, they're falling all over themselves telling British Columbians how 'embarrassing' the NYTimes piece is for the fine folks running Clarkbekistan.

As I've noted previously the folks who should be really be embarrassed here are those finest-of-the-fine folks in the Lotuslandian proMedia who are ignoring what is really going on here and are instead feeding the people pablum that will soon be grist for the 24hr newscycle mill.



proMedia Embarrasses Self Over Premier's Graftiness Scandal.


As we noted yesterday, it is not just the BC Liberal government and our fine premier who should be embarrassed by their collective graftiness.

In addition, the local proMedia should be hanging their collective heads in shame for essentially ignoring the story for months if not years.

And now, the following lede from a Global online story by Sean Boynton, demonstrates this in spades:

As the dust settles following Friday’s publication of the New York Times‘ expose of Christy Clark’s annual, political donation-supplied $50,000 stipend, most can agree: this is not a good look for B.C...

Looks, indeed.


And, for the record, the header above Mr. Boynton's piece was: 'It's embarrassing: Experts, politicians weigh in on New York Times article exposing B.C. political cash.'....'Expose', indeed, also...Double sheesh.


Monday, January 16, 2017

Obvious-A-Go-Go...Who Should Really Be Embarrassed By Ms. Clark's Graftiness?


This time it would appear that Ron is only being Obvious to himself:


I know that the good Mr. Mason wrote a couple of truly hard hitting pieces on the Premier's graftiness in the Globe and (NoLongerEmpire) Mail awhile back.

And for that you have to give him his due.

But he also wrote a piece were he wondered why the citizenry of British Columbia just doesn't get it.

Which brings us to the matter of who is or, more to the point, who should be embarrassed about the fact that it is a stringer for the far away Grey Lady who is calling out the graftiness for what it really is (i.e. influence peddling).

Because the BC Liberals sure aren't.

Embarrassed that is.

After all, their cynical innoculatory Friday afternoon 'get out front of the story' graft-dump demonstrated that in spades.

But shouldn't the local proMedia members that work for establishments like PostMedia, Global, CTV, CBC, etcetera, be well and truly embarrassed by the NYTimes call out given that they simply refuse to connect the dots between the massive donations and the deeds and actions of the premier and her BC Liberal government?

And, speaking of 'calling' folks out.....

Instead of making excuses for them, why hasn't Mr. Mason himself called out said local proMedia members for their failure to fully educate the citizenry of our fair province on the importance of a matter that he clearly understands to be an affront to the democratic process?

SubHeader?....Well...You know. 


Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Flaw In The Victoria Times Colonist's Chalke/Comey Comparison.


First, let me say that I agree with the final conclusion in the VTC's recent editorial about what British Columbia ombudsperson Jay Chalke should actually do re: the Health Researchers firing matter:

...Realistically, he (Chalke) cannot postpone his report until after the (BC election) campaign is over (in May). He is already committed to an earlier finish point.

His best option is to report out well ahead of his self-imposed deadline. If he releases his findings by, say, the middle of February, he’s likely on safe ground...

However, the suggestion the VTC draws about Chalke potentially facing the same 'difficult' decision as American FBI director James Comey if he releases his report too close to the election does not, in my opinion, hold water.


Well, first and foremost, Chalke's investigation was mandated by a legislative committee. It will not come out of nowhere and be a 'surprise' if he finally finishes it in April.

Second, by long standing convention Comey was not supposed to drop any type of law enforcement conjecture into the US campaign anytime during the 60 days before the election. There is no direct comparison here.

Third, and this is damning of Comey  he also had the 'dossier' in hand and had other investigations into Trump hands ties to Putin before the election. And yet, which 'investigation' did he tell the world about less than a week before USians went to the polls.

But never mind all that because, personally, I don't give a hoot-in-heckfire about any discomfiture the good Mr. Chalke might have about when he releases his report.

After all, it was the government of Ms. Christy Clark that put this timeline (and the extra 3.8 million document dumpage) in play from the very beginning.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

And So The Endgame Begins.


From Michael Shear et al., in the NYT:

A prominent anti-vaccine crusader said on Tuesday that President-elect Donald J. Trump had asked him to lead a new government commission on vaccine safety and scientific integrity — a possibility that spread alarm among medical experts that Mr. Trump could be giving credence to debunked conspiracy theories about the dangers of immunizations...


Now, instead of lone crazy-induced outwardly rippling outbreaks in the Valley or at Disneyland it could be entire swaths of Red States backed with trojan horses emerging from New Agey elitist enclaves in the coastal Blues.

It's almost like we're watching a self-induced Zombie Apocalypse play out for real, in realish-type time while Mr. Obama invites the Chicago Cubs to the White House as if nothing untoward is going down.

And if Dr. Salk flew in today, would Mr. Trump decide, through surrogates, to deny him funding anyway?

Meanwhile, closer to home, the Dean almost keeps up with Laila's shocking discovery that there is Swift Boating going on (again) in Lotusland...Say Anything, indeed.


Sunday, January 01, 2017

There's A New Media(ish) Service In Town...


Bob Mackin unveiled a new website today called 'the Breaker'.

It is BC-centric and it has been built to, according to Mr. Mackin, do the following:

...It is a vehicle to stop secrecy, unravel the spin and enable citizens to better scrutinize those who hold power and influence on the west coast of Canada and beyond...

Which is pretty hard to argue with if you are someone who has been paying attention to how the puffed-up proMedia punditry 'round here dealt with the dybbling of winning quick, the post-it noting of the cool boss, the de-railing of conflictyness, the cuckholding of BCUC, the grocery billing of a massive deficit, the supreming of school teachers and scores more stories of Clarklandian malfeasance, obfuscation and/or outright media manipulation that actually matter to British Columbians.


Here's one small item from one of Mr. Mackin's first pieces:

...It was a classic case of campaigning from the left in 2015 and governing from the right in 2016.

The Trudeau Liberals gave thumbs up to Woodfibre LNG, Petronas Pacific NorthWest LNG, Kinder Morgan and Energy East. Who knows when or if they’ll get built, but it sends a message to the environmentalists who voted for the Grits to beat the Harper Conservatives that the economy takes precedence over the environment...


Me thinks progressive folks with an environmentalist bent here in Lotusland should think hard about what they wish for in May 2017 from a slightly different perspective.

And this time I'm not thinking about a carbon tax-type wedge issue like the one that Gordon Campbell drove deep into the heart of hardcore environmentalists that helped keep us from electing the best premier we never had in this province in 2009.

Instead, I'm talking about the very real possibility that vote splitting sent the way of those fine folks running with the good Mr. Weaver could elect the Clarklandians to do their cronies's bidding for another four years.

Which is something we'll have much, much more to say about on a riding-specific level in the weeks to come.