Friday, February 24, 2017

This Day In Clarkland...Does The Klout Klub Have New Marching Orders?


In the old days they called it 'media monitoring', both inside and outside the PAB-Bottery.

More recently, they've called the army of flack-hackery 'digital influencers'.

Me, I like to call them the 'Klout Klub'.

Anyway, I've detected a bit of change in approach by at least one regiment of the Trolls for Christy when it comes to matters of import that they know they don't have a leg to stand on.

One of which is the continued rise of inequality in this province that some folks are actually starting to pay attention to.

Charlie Smith wrote a story about all that recently in the GStraight and then tied it to the massive profits of banks who have donated huge sums to the BC Liberal Party and who, surprise!, pay no corporate capital tax in British Columbia.

And lo and behold, look how one the trolls dealt with this in the comments to Mr. Smith's piece:

Do you see what the troll did there?

Maybe just a random instance in this case, but I see some kind of weird culture war deflector spin offensive coming, particularly when the going gets tough for the Clarklandian wizardry on real debt loads and the continued stomping of those amongst us who need our help most.


And, speaking of the sub-header to this post....

Here's an old school example of straight-up (not to mention downright scary) manipulative media monitoring from the days of Railgate:

...Defence lawyer Michael Bolton underscored the political nature of Mr. Basi's job and the "intimate" working relationship he had with (former BC Liberal Finance Minister) Mr. (Gary) Collins by reading wiretap transcripts in which the two men discussed political dirty tricks.

In one conversation, Mr. Basi tells his boss that former B.C. premier Bill Vander Zalm and then North Vancouver Mayor Barbara Sharp were going to be on a radio talk show.

"I wanted to have the mayor of Squamish call in and just rip Barbara Sharp a new asshole. . . is that okay?" Mr. Basi asks.

"Yeah, absolutely," replies Mr. Collins...

Want another example of how everything new is Railgate again?....Stay tuned...


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

This Day In Clarkland....Regression Lite, Expediently.



Apparently British Columbians are now so debt-free that the wizards of Clarklandia have decided that they can throw a few bones back at various and sundry demographic slivers that their numbers boys tell them they will need in the suburban swing ridings come what may happen in May.

But make no mistake, the screws of regression are still clamped down tight.

And the cronies are still winning big.

And the resource industries are still not paying anywhere close to their fair share.

And, despite what the local puffed-up punditry will tell you from here until the weekend, the real debt is, as Norm Farrell has done a fantastic job of showing, through the roof:

But Norm's graph, above, is not the even the real real story.

Because, when you throw the cronified contract obligations onto the bonfire of the insanity you add another $100 billion to that last bar with nary a sparkle pony in sight.


Are our public schools as good as they were in 2001?

Is post-secondary tuition where it was?







Emergency services?

In point of fact, I would challenge anybody, anywhere, to tell me one provincial public service that ALL the people use that is in the shape that it was fifteen years ago?

PR/Spin/PAB-Bottery houses, excepted, of course.

Which has to have anyone who has been paying attention asking...

For what?

I'll tell you for what...

For a massive tax/user fee and debt obligation shift onto the backs of those who can afford it least.

But not to worry...

Because some people's kids will come out of all this completely unscathed.

As for the rest of them?


You know....

And don't even get me started about the PR value of a line item increase in the budget for public shool 'supplies'....That, right there, in my opinion,  tells the entire story of the how hard the great regression has squeezed us...And, the kicker (in the head on that one?)....Unless I missed it, don't think I saw the need for that sort of deal for the privates we are still giving $300 million a year to so that they can keep on keepin' lots of folks' kids out...
And just where are those BC Hydro numbers anyway?
Finally, if you need an actual breakdown of what went down yesterday, Iglika Ivanova and Alex Hemingway of the CCPA have a good thorough summary up.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sunday Set...For A Non-Family Weekend Sunday


There was nobody around our house Sunday afternoon...

So I figured what the heckfire and recorded another one of these.

Just like the old days.....

Here's the list of tunes covered, in between the blather, this time out:

Fare Thee Well - that traditional tune that formed the musical spine of that Coen Brothers movie that was kinda/sorta about Dave Van Ronk.

Codeine - A tune that Jason Isbell wrote before he got his life back with a little help from his friends.

Cheap Is How I Feel - By the Cowboy Junkies, one of Mr. Isbell's famous friend's favourite bands when he was kid 

A Shot In The Arm - A Wilco tune; if you listen to the preamble you may come to understand the roots of my Tweedy envy.

Dope City Blues - Lyrics by Mr. Beer 'N Hockey.


Friday, February 17, 2017

This Election In Clarkland...Has Ron Stumbled Upon The Obvious Strategy?


Mr. Mason, of the Globe, wrote a piece on the state of play in Clarkland earlier this week that went pretty much every which way but loose.

This paragraph caught my admittedly jaundiced eye:

...Once a climate-action leader, the B.C. government has become an embarrassing slacker, with no chance of reaching its short-, mid- or long-term emission-reduction targets. The Liberals continue to live off the reputation of a carbon tax courageously brought in by former premier Gordon Campbell 10 years ago. The current iteration of his party has shown no such proclivity for that level of political gumption...


I'm pretty sure that Mr. Mason thinks that this policy/not policy change* is a Clarklandian liability unlike, say, the fact that Ms. Clark is also treating everybody all the citizens of this province who aren't a potential pay-to-play grift targets like the fellaheen, which is something obvious in the extreme that Mr. Mason failed to seriously discuss in his column.

But, then again, what if this policy/not policy change* is actually a cynical, politically expedient election strate(r)gy cooked up by the ever present backroom wizards running Ms. Clark's never ending campaign.

I mean, think about it, what political faction do they need to give just enough buoyancy to ensure a split in the progressive vote that would ensure a victory even if they were to sink down into the high thirties?

Which is all fine and good (or bad, depending on your perspective), as far as it goes.

But what if Mr. Weaver's Liberal-Lite Brigade actually starts be viewed that way by the so-called 'reasonable' folks in that faux big tent that GordCo Inc. built?

*Regarding that original 'courageous' policy brought in by Mr. Campbell, does anyone who has truly been paying attention not think that that, too, was actually election campaign expediency at its finest that was rolled out in the wake of that spring of 2009 plane ride over IPP rape-of-river plane ride that upset the Club members stomachs so much?
And the return of Mr. Emerson?....Really???!!!....I mean it's like Vichy all over again....And/or the last days of Mr. Harper and Mr. Carson's disco....Gosh...Is it possible we're getting ready to give away all our remaining first growth forest to Beijing while simultaneously shoveling tree farm licenses to paid-in-full developers out the back door?


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Connecting The Dots On Clarklandian Pay-To-Play...Macleans Takes Over From New York Times.


Many in the local Lotuslandian proMedia are no doubt still patting themselves on the back for exposing the Hack-Lie for what it truly was last week.

Although few among them are actually calling said lie what it actually was.

And fewer of them are connecting the dots to the story that Ms. Clark's blatant lie, and follow-up deflector spike spinning knocked off the front pages.

And, speaking of dot connecting the local puffed-up punditry will not do, Nancy Macdonald had a solid piece on pay-to-play that mostly re-hashed Dan Levin's piece in the New York Times from awhile back.

Which is the kind of reinforcement that is an important thing to do for the citizenry, regardless.

But a couple of new bits (at least in proMedia if not Bloggodome terms) caught my eye:

...British Columbians’ faith in democracy is being undermined by the vast sums flooding the system, and there’s a growing concern that their government is essentially being bought and paid for by a wealthy clique...


...Critics similarly point to contributions by large companies like Ecotex Healthcare Linen Service ($115,000 donated to the Liberal party since 2005), Emil Anderson Construction ($50,000), Kinder Morgan and its industry supporters ($719,000) and Imperial Metals and its subsidiaries ($195,000). Those same companies have, respectively, received a 20-year government laundry contract, a $36-million six-lane highway expansion contract, Clark’s approval for a controversial pipeline and a permit to open a new mine. In the case of the mine approval, it came one year after Imperial Metal’s controlling shareholder, N. Murray Edwards, hosted a $1-million fundraiser for Clark in Calgary...

Funny that, despite all their foot stomping about how Dan Levin just swooped in and stole their stuff, local types like Ron Obvious et al. (and/or their editors) have refused to print passages like that, eh?

Of course, Ms Macdonald missed the part about the good Mr. Edwards and his Imperial Metals being involved in that gigantic dirt pile that the Clarklandian government turned a blind eye to before it failed., but still, we give her top marks for the dot connecting she did to (especially after she talked to Integrity BC's Dermod Travis)
Hey! If you haven't read Norm Farrell yet this morning, head on over to read his latest and see if you can spot his estimate on what his accountant's mind figures IPP contracts are going to cost every single family in British Columbia....The number will astound you.
Finally....It's Ledge Day for the first time in, well, it seems like forever...Guess the people's business is just not as important as fundraising...Or some such thing.


Monday, February 13, 2017

Why Do British Columbians Keep Spending Millions And Millions And Millions Of Dollars On Junk IT?


Paul Ramsey, the smartest guy writing about government IT projects in the Lotuslandian Bloggodome, has completed one heckuva an analysis of why we just keep spending more and more while we get less and less (and less).

Always thorough and always fair, Paul lays out a number of contributing factors to this longterm travesty.

Here is one of them:

...A manager who successfully delivers a superb $4M IT project gets a celebratory dinner at the pub; a manager who brings even a terrible $140M IT project to “completion” can write her ticket in IT consulting.

The only downside of huge IT projects is that they fail to provide value to end-users a majority of the time, and of course they soak the taxpayers (or shareholders in the case of private sector IT failures, which happen all the time) for far more money than they should...

Now, it would be bad enough if this waste was happening on the inside, because at least then folks working for us might actually learn from the mistakes made.

Unfortunately, this is not the case because of, well...


Outsourcing that has hollowed out public service IT groups from the inside, sometimes on purpose at the hands of the BC Liberal government.

A concrete example of this is what happened to a successful publicly-generated IT project by the Saanich Public School system, a story that was tirelessly chased down awhile back by Lindsay Kines of the VTC:

Education Minister Peter Fassbender appears to have been working behind the scenes to discredit a computer system developed by the Saanich school district to track student grades, attendance and other records, documents show.

Despite stating publicly that districts were free to adopt a system of their choice, Fassbender sent a letter to directors of the B.C. School Trustees’ Association in February, advising them to steer clear of Saanich’s openStudent software.

In the letter, Fassbender accuses Saanich of trying to “undermine” the ministry’s own student information system, MyEducation B.C., by enticing districts to select openStudent. He then portrays openStudent as costly and incompatible.

“We believe that we have selected the best product to support the transformation of education in this province and I am very concerned there is misinformation being actively communicated through a variety of channels,” he states in the letter, which was obtained by the Times Colonist under B.C.’s freedom of information law...

{snippety doo-dah}

...Saanich began working on openStudent in 2011 with the goal of using local expertise to create a made-in-B.C. student information system. By using freely available open-source tools, officials believed they could develop the system for less than $5 million, with yearly maintenance pegged at less than $1 million.

The B.C. government, meanwhile, signed a 12-year deal with Fujitsu last fall to deliver MyEducation B.C. at a cost of up to $9.4 million a year.

Don't know about you all, but this kind of stuff just drives me crazy given the missed opportunities to build local expertise, increase efficiency, and keep our dollars in British Columbia.


How to fix the problem?

For that we go back to Paul Ramsey's piece:

...Government can build up a new IT workforce, and start building smaller projects, faster, and stop boiling the ocean, but they have to want to do it first. That’ll take some leadership, at the political level as well as in the civil service. IT revitalization is not a partisan thing, but neither is it an easy thing, or a sexy thing, so it’ll take a politician with some guts to make it a priority...

Go read Paul's entire post - you won't be sorry.


Is This The Real Story The Hack-Lie Was Designed To Deflect?


Last week's Hack-Lie from Christy Clark and her digital influencers has now been fully exposed for what it was, on its face.

And, unless I've missed something, it would appear that the former shock-jock Drex is the only local proMedia member who has connected the dots and stated emphatically that the lie was very likely designed to deflect said media towards a shiny new bauble and away from the latest tragic story of yet another kid dying needlessly in care.

However, that tragic story may have just been the front end of the thing that Ms. Clark was trying to distract us from.

Why would I suggest such a thing?

Well, it appears that Wendy Stueck, writing in the Globe the day before the legislature finally opens for business again, may have the back end:

Dozens of family care homes that provide services for children in government care were found last year to be in “zero” compliance with provincial standards for monitoring a child’s safety and well-being, government records show.

Those findings – included in “service delivery area practice audits” conducted by B.C.’s Ministry for Children and Family Development – focus on foster homes run by individuals. They cover five regions and in three, significant deficiencies were found...

The thing to realize here is that this malfeasance has been going on for years and years and years under the BC Liberal government.

Heckfire, if truth be told, it is one of the things that upset me enough to start this poli-blogging thing in the first (and second and third and fourth and fifth and sixth and on to infinity) place.


Recently, Paul Willcocks, writing in the Tyee, laid out out how we are failing the kids in our midst that need our help most:

If governments’ repeated failures in helping the province’s most vulnerable children and youth aren’t an election issue, we’ve lost our way as citizens.

Morally, of course. When we take children into government care, we assume responsibility. We have an obligation to offer the same support and opportunities we strive to give our own children. We haven’t come close to doing that for at least 25 years in this province.

And, pragmatically, failing to fix the system’s problems now creates huge future costs in health care, the criminal justice system, income assistance and underemployment or joblessness.

A 2015 report by the Representative for Children and Youth found 88.3 per cent of students who started Grade 8 in 2007 graduated four years later. Only 41.5 per cent of their classmates who were children in care graduated along with them. A 2009 study found children and youth who had been in care were more likely to have been involved with the justice system than to have finished high school. And the government’s cruel policies on aging out — basically cutting youth in care adrift at 19 — condemns many to welfare, poverty and homelessness...

That is the real story.

And it must end.

Clearly, based on the performance of the current government over the last fifteen years, the only way that can happen is through change at the ballot box.



Sunday, February 12, 2017

This Week In NewHackland...The Egregiously Offensive Obliquely Opportunistic Vizzini Defense.


First, a few wise words of the good Docktor:

 "He was sunk in despair. He was desperate... he called his equally depressed campaign manager and instructed him to.....accuse his high-riding opponent (the pig farmer) of having routine carnal knowledge of his barnyard sows, despite the pleas of his wife and children... His campaign manager was shocked. 'We can't say that, Lyndon,' he said. 'It's not true.' 'Of course it's not,' Johnson barked at him, 'but let's make the bastard deny it.'..."
 Hunter Thompson, on Lyndon Johnson's 1948 Congressional Campaign

Next, a copy of the BC Liberal 'letter' obtained by Integrity BC's Dermod Travis:

Finally, the words of not-so idiot blogger Merv Adey:

...There were no dirty deeds by BCNDP HQ targeting the Liberals. There was no dissemination of private information by anyone except the BC Liberals themselves. The BCLiberals yesterday sent out a letter which in its first sentence tried to blame Independent MLA Vicki Huntington for the debacle caused by no-one but themselves.

Everything Christy Clark said in the last week on the subject of the hacking story was a falsehood...


Here's the thing...

The New York Times has decided to call lies exactly what they are when they are uttered by their country's present leader.

Our local Lotuslandian proMedia, who had their gong banged recently on a story that actually matters by that same New York Times (and who are having their gong rung once again this weekend by Macleans), should try doing the same thing.

Repeatedly calling out a lying liar for repeatedly lying, I mean.

And, more to the point, until our very finest of the fine proMedia does that, repeatedly, no more 'Oh woe is us because the public just won't listen' - type stories.


Merv also recommends that you listen to 8 minutes with former shock-'n-rock jock Drex on 'NW who calls out Christy Clarks repeated lying for the malice-driven deflector spike spin that it really was...I agree that it is 480 ticks o' the clock worth giving up...
And, just in case you missed it, Mr. Mason's number on the local puffed-up punditry's scorecard nudged upward with yesterday's column, although the judges added technical demerits due to his refusal to go near the deflector spin issue.
And, finally, can you see the oblique Vizzini in the BC Liberal 'letter'?...


You Won't Read It In The Sunday Papers...No Record Of Safety Audit On Ice Bomb Bridge.


From the continuing ditch-digging project of Mr. Bob Mackin:

Bob's got the entire story, and why it matters....



Friday, February 10, 2017

Does Melissa McCarthy Have A Twin That Could...

....Play our very own Sean Spicer, 'The Smarter They Come' version?

Because, you know.

Of course, for those with long memories...Recall, if you will, that, before he was officially conflicty,  the good Mr. Smart was once the member of a gang of four club members that made darn sure that Robin Mathews couldn't get a technology-enabling press pass during the Railgate trial debacle long before he became an in-house, up-front, paid-in-full shill for the BC Liberals. 
Update: Just in case you missed it....The original source of Mikey Mike's force-feeding has been 'revealed'
Thanks to readers SH for the tip on the smartest one in the very small room's tweet and Bill for the heads-up on Mikey Mike's latest in the comments.


Thursday, February 09, 2017

Phantom Hackwatch 3000...Local Lotuslandian proMedia Scorecard.


MikeyMike: Gets force-fed goods initially...Then realizes he has been duped so writes 2nd column which is actually kinda/sorta solid...But in the end doesn't fully recognize self being used as Judith Miller-style cut-out by CClark...
Score: +5

Ron Obvious: Solid and sustained tweet storming actually catches BC Liberal party hack by short hairs on chinny chin chin....
Score: +20

Keef: As ever, plays it straight-up along 'He Said/She Said' party lines for the cameras while simultaneously sniping away with weak tea comments from the sidelines....Not really even in game...
Score: -5

The Dean: Pathetic SnapFace 'Live-At-My-Apollo'  (aka 'Kraftwerk Friendlyville') interview that gives CClark a complete pass on this (and just about every other) subject...
Score: -Infinity

Meanwhile, no one in the Club is bothering to call out our Premier's initial attempt at MCFD-disappearing deflector-spike spin for what it really was....For that you'll have to go read Merv Adey's latest...


Wednesday, February 08, 2017

I Watched Them Try To Hack My Site Three Times Last Month...

Ergo, it must have been instigated by a group of those very fine digital influencers from the Clarklandian Klout Klub.


Word Salad!

And, somehow, I doubt Laila feels like joking about this....Which has me wondering if, perhaps, the MLA from (not)Quilchena was actually jump starting a wee bit of innoculatory deflector-spike spin.
Oh, and in case you missed it....The Word Salad 'Reader' has been launched! 
Update: And, right on schedule, here comes the drive-by double-down smear straight outta BCL party headquarters...


Thursday, February 02, 2017

When The Extremism Rises...

...Watch Out For The (So-Called) 'Reasonable' Ones.

Do not be fooled by his modulated voice and/or his cool-as-a-cucumber, world-weary demeanor on the Sunday shows...

Because, despite his carefully cultivated appearance and mannerisms, Mr. David Frum is an extremist.

And not just because he was once the ghost writer for the prince of darkness himself, Richard Perle, or because he helped spike spin a PNACkified, George Bush the Younger-led United States into two unsustainable regional honeypot wars that produced a diaspora of religious extremists that is driving the world into a madness spiral.

In fact, if you want to see Mr. Frum's reasonable extremism in action you need look no further than what he has had to say about the state of his home and native land.

I did that a while back:

David Frum, why do you hate Canada so much?
"....Many Americans see Canada as a kind of utopian alternative to the United States: a North American democracy with socialized medicine, same-sex marriage, empty prisons, strict gun laws and no troops in Iraq.
What they don't see is how precarious political support for this alternative utopia has become among Canadian voters in recent years. From World War II until the 1980's, Liberal power rested on two political facts: its dominance in French-speaking Quebec and its popularity in the immigrant communities of urban Ontario...."
Nice try Davey boy.


I wonder.... when you type this type of drivel are the words in your head all soft-boiled and low-pitched like when you pretend to be a moderate on your Mom's old (socialized) public broadcasting network?

The facts of the matter are these Mr Frum, and despite your extreme weasel words you darn well know them:

1) Every time that Canadians have been asked in the last 40 years, with very rare exception, Universal (spell it Mr. Frum "U-N-I-V-E-R-S-A-L", which means... You or I, or our Rich Uncle, our Poor Neighbour, can walk in to any clinic or any hospital from sea to shining sea in this country and get treated....try doing that down in that 'free' market privateHMO Rationland where you currently hang your two-holed hat) Health Care has been the number one priority of all the people regardless whether they are Anglophone, Francophone, Allophone or Bananaphone.

2) Same-sex marriage....if it is really a Quebequois-Assisted Liberals-Holding-Us-All-Hostage issue, why have seven, count 'em seven, Provinces, many of whom are not under the thumb of Liberal governments, already ratified it, with more on the way (for those down south out of the loop we only have 10 provinces).

3) If Immigrant Communities are responsible for our gun laws, our low murder rates, our low crime rates, and our low incarceration rates, at least in comparison with those parts of your Paymasters' Country that are not yet behind Gates, Locks, Keys, MinuteMaidMen, and Private Security Armies, well thank the Goddess for 'em, although I have a sneaking suspicion it might actually have more to do with our universal (there's that word again Dave), very longterm appreciation of peace, order and good government that is definitely not exclusively Liberal-o-centric.

4) And as for No Troops in Iraq (and no intergalactic Space-Weaponizing Empire Missiles in our Starry Eyes either - you missed that one Dave, you're slippin'), do you not think it might have had something to do with the fact that our leaders actually listened, both to us when we took to the streets in the hundreds of thousands, and to their colleagues when they made a big fuss in the House of Commons, both in Committee Rooms and in Question Period?

You remember that last messy concept Dave, right? It's called Democracy. Or have you forgotten all about it since you threw your lot in with the PNACkian Destabilization King, the Prince of Darkness himself, Richard Perle?



What has Mr. Frum been up to lately?

Well, since he re-positioned himself as the reasonable Republican down south he's been writing modulated, cool-as-a-cucumber think pieces for that nice, reasonable, never extreme, Sunday show-in-linear-type, the Atlantic.

And here is what he wrote recently about what Mr. Bannon's orange haired puppet has been signing off on most recently:

...Trump’s executive order has unleashed chaos, harmed lawful U.S. residents, and alienated potential friends in the Islamic world. Yet without the dreamy liberal refusal to recognize the reality of nationhood, the meaning of citizenship, and the differences between cultures, Trump would never have gained the power to issue that order.

Liberalism and nationhood grew up together in the 19th century, mutually dependent. In the 21st century, they have grown apart—or more exactly, liberalism has recoiled from nationhood. The result has not been to abolish nationality, but to discredit liberalism.

When liberals insist that only fascists will defend borders, then voters will hire fascists to do the job liberals won’t do...

Of course they will.


According to the this spin-doctor to the right wings fallen stars, all this fascism that is cresting the tops of Mr. Frum's former bosses' waves of extremism is all the fault of liberals.

In the small 'l' sense, of course.

Which is to say, I suppose, that if we only had more reasonable strongmen everything would be alright.

Luckily we, in Canada, ultimately rejected one of those when we saw him.

And just in the nick of time.

Otherwise I'm pretty darn sure Mr. Harper would have re-patriated the good Mr. Frum, and made him the head of the CBC.

Or some such thing.

Tip O' The Toque to hard-core Gilliardite Driftglass for identifying Canada's worst export since 'Sometimes When We Touch'.....Ha!