Saturday, November 30, 2019

The Petro State Blues.


Why do the titans of the resource extraction bund who provide the programming for people like the good Mr. Kenney of the Albertalands need to fabricate faux enviro enemies for no good reason at all?


It would appear that it is because they, themselves, have come to understand that real end is nigh.

Mitchell Anderson, writing yesterday in the The Tyee, has a solid take on this POV:

...The market value of the U.S. energy sector is down almost nine per centthis year. The entire sector is now worth less than Apple. Exxon Mobil’s credit rating was just downgraded by Moody’s due to concerns of “substantial cash burn.” Fracking giant Chesapeake has shed 98 per cent of its stock value since 2008 and recently warned investors it may not be able to make scheduled payments on its crushing $10-billion debt.

Here in Canada, we hear a lot about the value of pipelines, but the economics of oil infrastructure elsewhere are collapsing. A recent reportpredicted the $160-billion global oil tanker fleet could lose 30 per cent of its value as the world shifts away from fossil fuels. “Shipowners and people that finance these ships could see their market is sinking,” said Stuart Nicoll, a director at Maritime Strategies that authored the study. “This just hasn’t had any attention.”

An ultra-deep water drilling platform worth $683 million in 2011 was just sold for scrap at two cents on the dollar after receiving no bids at auction, driven by diving investor interest in expensive offshore projects.

Even the Bank of Canada recently warned that some global oil reserves will become worthless in the future. “Maintaining the warming below 2.0 degrees Celsius implies that some of the existing fossil fuel reserves will become stranded assets,” wrote bank senior research director Miguel Molico in a recent report...


Does this mean that the massive debt transfers and asset bleeding will soon begin in earnest?

And when it does will this stratergy be backed with even greater government subsidies* for said bund?

*Paid for by the draining of public pension funds, perhaps?


Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Stop Searching For The New Dylan...

...Because we've had her in our midst for quite awhile now.

This version of 'Salinas', in particular, slays me.


Sunday, November 24, 2019

It All Goes Back To Manafort, Inc.


I am extremely skeptical of conservative pundit never Trumpers who simultaneously do their best to pretend that the rest of the Republican party is not full of Republicans*.

See, for example, Frum, David.

Still, stopped watches and all that...

Which brings us to a recent NYT column by Bret Stephens in which he laid out the case that Mr. Trump and all who protect him are bent on the total Ukrainianization of everything:

...(Trump is) attempting to turn the United States into Ukraine. The judgment Congress has to make is whether the American people should be willing, actively or passively, to go along with it.

I’ve followed Ukrainian politics fairly closely since 1999, when I joined the staff of The Wall Street Journal Europe. It has consistent themes that should sound familiar to American ears.

The first theme is the criminalization of political differences. Years before Trump led his followers in “Lock Her Up” chants against Hillary Clinton, then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych did exactly that against his own political rival, Yulia Tymoshenko, who was sentenced to seven years in prison on a variety of byzantine charges after she had narrowly lost the 2010 election...

And who was paid millions to put the good Mr. Yanukovych into power so that the oligarchs could keep on plundering on?

Why none other than the very fine man with ostrich jackets and such, Mr. Paul Manafort.

The Guardian's Luke Harding laid out what Mr. Manafort subsequently did to Ms. Tymoshenko, and how he did it, back in the days of Mueller:

...In 2011 Manafort approved a clandestine strategy to discredit Tymoshenko abroad. Alan Friedman, a former Wall Street Journal and Financial Times reporter, based in Italy, masterminded this project. Friedman has previously been accused of concealing his work as a paid lobbyist.

Also involved were Rick Gates, Manafort’s then deputy, and Konstantin Kilimnik, another senior Manafort associate who the FBI believes has links to Russian military intelligence.

In July 2011 Friedman sent Manafort a confidential six-page document titled Ukraine - A Digital Roadmap. It laid out a plan to “deconstruct” Tymoshenko via videos, articles and social media. Yanukovych deferred to Manafort, who gave the project the go-ahead, sources in Ukraine’s former government say.
Friedman’s proposed operation was ambitious. It included producing anonymous videos attacking Tymoshenko and comparing the opposition leader to a drunk Boris Yeltsin. “The social media space offers great opportunities for guilt by association,” Friedman wrote in the document.
He continued: “We know that video exists of Tymoshenko uttering some of her outrageous claims in court … The video can be floated into the social space to reinforce the impression that she is at best reckless and unstatesmanlike and at worst malicious, defamatory and antisemitic.”
Twitters users, including “those ‘known’ to us”, could retweet hostile content. The “roadmap” included a website, blogposts and “blast emails”, sent out to a “targeted audience in Europe and the US”. One section was called “Black Ops”. It said: “This could include Wikipedia page modification to highlight [Tymoshenko] corruption and trial and modify the tone of the language being used.”
Friedman worked with Eckart Sager, a one-time CNN producer. Emails show they liaised closely with “Paul”, who in turn briefed Yanukovych’s chief of staff, Serhiy Lyovochkin. Lyovochkin declined to comment. He appears in correspondence as “SL”...

Which is just another way of saying that the play book political destruction, if updated, is at its core always the same.

Mr. Manafort's old Regan era business partners, long time Republican operatives, Roger Stone and Lee Atwater, likely approve.


*Trademark Driftglass.
Tip O' The Toque to the hardest working single shingle poli-blogger in CanuckistanMikitaVille, the MoS, at 'The Disaffected Liberal'.


Friday, November 22, 2019

The Grand Old Politburo...

That is all.

(for now)


Thursday, November 21, 2019

Sondland Blames His Faulty Memory On...

....Donald Trump

Sure, sure, the big story is how big donor turned EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland fingered Donald Trump as the brains behind Rudy G's quid pro quo bribery babble.


One of the things I also found interesting is Sondland's explanation for why it took him three tries before he saw the light and came clean.

The following is from his prepared opening statement before the US'ian Congressional Intelligence Committee Wednesday morning:

...I have not had access to all of my phone records, State Department emails, and other State Department documents. And I was told I could not work with my EU Staff to pull together the relevant files. Having access to the State Department materials would have been very helpful to me in trying to reconstruct with whom I spoke and met, when, and what was said.

As Ambassador, I have had hundreds of meetings and calls with individuals. But I am not a note taker, nor am I a memo writer. Never have been. My job requires speaking with heads of state and senior government officials every day. Talking with foreign leaders might be memorable to some people. But this is my job. I do it all the time.

My lawyers and I have made multiple requests to the State Department and the White House for these materials. Yet, these materials were not provided to me. They have also refused to share these materials with this Committee. These documents are not classified and, in fairness, should have been made available. In the absence of these materials, my memory has not been perfect. And I have no doubt that a more fair, open, and orderly process of allowing me to read the State Department records would have made this process more transparent...


It would appear that hell hath no fury like a capo scorned.

Or, put another way...

Did the good Mr. Sondland just toss another potential obstruction count into the presidential golf cart?


Saturday, November 16, 2019

Baby, Baby It's His Turn To Cry.


This was then (i.e. Thursday)...

And now...

Marie Yovanovitch, the former US ambassador to Ukraine, has given a devastating account of the state department in “crisis” saying “the policy process is visibly unravelling” and the agency is being “hollowed” out.

Yovanovitch, who was addressing the house committees holding impeachment hearings, also delivered an indictment of “the failure of state department leadership to push back as foreign and corrupt interests apparently hijacked our Ukraine policy”...


...She spoke about feeling undermined and threatened as the president’s son Donald Trump Jr, and Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, spread smears against her.

“If our chief representative is kneecapped, it limits our effectiveness to safeguard the vital national security interests of the United States,” she said. “Our Ukraine policy has been thrown into disarray, and shady interests the world over have learned how little it takes to remove an American ambassador who does not give them what they want,” Yovanovitch added...

For those who are Australian and/or fans of the Chilly Chisels...There actually is an earworm in the post's title.


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.”...