Thursday, May 30, 2013

The gift that keeps on giving

The Duff Scandal is getting more hilarious every day.
Now we find out that Duffy thought he should be appointed to Cabinet.
And what selfless contribution to the Canadian public did Duffy want to achieve as minister without portfolio?
"I suggested they make me a min without portfolio, so I get a staff, car and more resources to deal with the pr fallout etc."
Perks.  He just wanted the perks.  Once again, its all about him, rather than about any benefit to us working stiff who are paying his bills.
And then, the CBC tracks down Marjory LeBreton who gets all amazed that Duffy would have these expectations:
Marjory LeBreton, speaking to reporters in the Senate foyer, said, " It's ridiculous. The idea that the prime minister or anyone would pass over elected members of the House of Commons and name Mike Duffy as a minister? It's so ridiculous it's not even funny. It's totally bizarre. Who knows, who knows, but when I read it, when I read it — I don't know who the recipient of the email was — but when I read it I went, like, there isn't a chance of a snowball in hell of this ever happening, and I never spoke to him about it."
Of course, it was just three years before that the newly elected Harper appointed Montreal bagman Michael Fortier to the Senate and immediately made him public works minister.  But the objections to this appointment carried about the same weight with the Harper Cons as a snowball in hell.
You can't make this stuff up.

Desperate but not stupid

Using Montreal Simon's great phrase, Stephen Harper is "crazy desperate" about deflecting media attention from Duffy. He is flinging mud wildly against the Liberals (Tony Merchant's off-shore account) and the NDP (an attempted bribe from 17 years ago).
Is that all ya got?
Actually, if they want to remind us about a real Liberal scandal, the one that brought Harper to power, they could bring up the 2004 sponsorship scandal.
But no, come to think of it, they can't -- in that case, Prime Minister Paul Martin set up the Gomery Commission to investigate what had happened.
Not a precedent that Harper wants to remind anybody about, not at all...

Monday, May 27, 2013

Democracy under attack

This morning's Star Phoenix editorial Democracy under attack provides a stinging indictment of the gleeful Con response to last week's court ruling on the election phone call scandal:
No sooner had a federal court judge ruled that there had been widespread voter fraud in the last federal election involving a Conservative party database than a party spokesperson was bragging of victory.
It was a chilling response to a terrifying verdict. Justice Richard G. Mosley was unequivocal in his assessment, that misleading calls were made to electors in ridings across the country - including Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar - "and that the purpose of those calls was to suppress the votes of electors who had indicated their voting preference in response to earlier voter identification calls."
He was less sure, however, that it was enough to change the results. . . .
It was that uncertainty that had the Conservatives crowing victory. In a press release, the party insisted the judge concluded "there was no wrongdoing by the Conservative party or ... candidates."
Justice Mosley's ruling makes no such conclusion.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

If we don't bother to care, then we will elect more buffoons for mayor

Winnipeg Free Press columnist Bartley Kives provides  a round up of Rob Ford's most embarrassing moments beginning with the Don Cherry debacle:
"Oh man, it was just embarrassing for the largest city in the country -- it just made me sad," Coun. Paula Fletcher, one of those apparent kooks, told the Toronto Star at the time.
Little did she know she just witnessed the high point of Rob Ford's time in the mayor's chair."
Yes, and we've all been laughing about Rob Ford ever since.
But Kives goes on to describe how easy it is to elect a buffoon in any city which doesn't take itself seriously:
In 2010, Ford was a well-known political commodity in Toronto: A lazy anti-intellectual of dubious personal character. Yet he still won the mayor's race by capturing the public's imagination with a simple, idiotic slogan: He was going to end "the gravy train" of wages and benefits flowing to city employees.
Simple sloganeering has elected many vile politicians, most notably back in the days when ordinary people did not have access to endless quantities of information, 24 hours a day, practically everywhere.
But with a minimal modicum of effort, any Toronto voter in 2010 could have learned who and what Rob Ford was, both as a person and as a politician. The fact a majority decided a political lightweight was still the best person to lead the nation's largest city is a testament to how little voters actually bother to care about anything anymore.
This is chilling, not hilarious. And the phenomenon is not restricted to the people of Toronto, who now deserve our sympathy and compassion, not ridicule....
Toronto's elected leader has unfortunately set the mayoral bar as low as it can go. Given the importance of the office, this should not make anyone happy, anywhere.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Hustle and Ford

The Globe and Mail has published the Ford family’s history with drug dealing.
Its like reading a movie script -- a beefier Kiefer Sutherland playing the suburban drug dealer with the dysfunctional family who uses his drug profits as the foundation for his more charismatic and electable younger brother's meteoric political career, thus becoming the power behind the throne but then watching helplessly as said brother destroys himself and all they achieved through his own addiction and hubris:
In the 1980s, anyone wanting to buy hashish had to know where to go. And in central Etobicoke, the wealthy Toronto suburb where Mayor Rob Ford grew up, one of those places was James Gardens. In the evening, the sports cars often wound along Edenbridge Drive, past the gated homes and the lawn-bowling pitches, until they reached the U-shaped parking lot. By nightfall, the public park was a hash drive-thru. One former street dealer, whom we will call “Justin,” described the scene as “an assembly line.”
There were usually a number of dealers to choose from, some of them supplied by a mainstay at James Gardens – a young man with the hulk-like frame and mop of bright blond hair: Doug Ford.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What did Harper know and when did he stop knowing it?

Coming awfully close now, isn't it?
Wright didn't just dash off a cheque to Duffy in a moment of sentimental weakness, to dry Duffy's tears on a sad February day.
Harper's chief of staff actually went through a negotiation with Harper's former legal counsel to give Harper's best media buddy a legal deal for $90K:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s former special counsel and legal adviser worked on the legal deal between Nigel Wright and Sen. Mike Duffy’s lawyer that called for Wright to help Duffy pay off $90,000 in invalid expense claims, CTV News has learned.
But none of them told Harper anything about it.  Oh, sure.
Despite Perrin's carefully phrased denial, I just don't believe Harper's sanctimonious Sgt. Schultz 'I know nothing NOTHING' defense, and neither does anyone else.
Canadian Press reports on what happened today during Question Period:
"They think we're fools," said Francoise Boivin of the NDP. "They're trying to make us believe that (Harper) knew nothing."
Complained New Democrat Nathan Cullen: "These guys will not be accountable."
Charlie Angus, the New Democrat who has been worrying at the issue since it began, called it "abuse of the public trust."
The government "has lost its moral compass," boomed Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. "The prime minister is in this up to his neck."
Liberal colleague Ralph Goodale called it "an insidious scheme."
Through it all, Baird maintained an uncharacteristic calm, glancing periodically at his notes and insisting Harper only knew of the payment to Duffy when it became public last week.
The minister, who can be a vitriolic opponent, never raised his voice. "I can't be any more clear," he said repeatedly.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Oh, say...


reminded me of this:

Tweet roundup

Some priceless tweets about Wright and Duffy and all that:
You know, it makes me wonder...if Wright was so upright and honest and honourable and all that, like the tweets are saying, then why would it occur to him to give Duffy a personal cheque to make an audit go away? And if so, then who suggested it to him?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Leadership in borrowing

Was this the leadership that the Harper Cons were praising Mike Duffy for -- having a well-connected friend willing to give him $90,000?
With no strings attached, of course.
On that basis, I'm ready to show that kind of leadership myself! I can send Mr. Wright the address where he can mail my cheque.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Pathetic nonsense

The Harper Cons are trying to spin their loss in Labrador as negative for Trudeau. How pathetic is that?
Mia Rabson writes:
The Conservatives who are trying to spin that this is no big deal because well, majority governments don't often win byelections and well, the Liberals didn't win it by as much as one poll said they would a few weeks ago so really Trudeau messed things up and this is a sign he is in over his head, is just nonsense and kind of smacks of sore losership.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The question about Mike Duffy

There are two possible ways of looking at Senator Duffy's behaviour in the Senate regarding $90,000 in housing allowances.
Here's the Harper Con way:
The Harper government is praising Conservative Sen. Mike Duffy for showing "leadership" in the Senate expenses scandal.
That's because he paid the money back, I guess.  But here's the Liberal way of looking at it:
But Liberals say the Conservatives are protecting one of their own, tipping off Duffy about ineligible per diems and whitewashing a report on his invalid housing allowance claims.
Gee, which way is the right way to look at this? How can we ever possibly tell?
Well, when in doubt, I suppose we should look at what people actually do rather than what they say.
Yes, Duffy did pay back a whack of undeserved money.
But he kept signing those supposedly "confusing" primary residence declarations month after month, every month for three years.
And then he avoided answering questions about it by ducking through a hotel kitchen after a speech.
Some leader...

Saturday, May 04, 2013

May the fourth be with you

We even drove past the comic book store today and saw a bunch of people in costume, but we still forgot that today was Star Wars Day because May the Fourth and all that.
Checking You-Tube, there seem to be an extraordinarily large number of Star Wars videos using Legos, I don't know why.

And don't forget Patton Owsalt's rant extraordinare, too.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

How much is $3.1 billion?

It's hard to comprehend a figure like $3.1 billion.
Here's some examples of what us ordinary Canadian mortals could buy if we had this amount of money to spend:
62 million bottles of really good wine
Two hundred thousand cars
Eight thousand pretty nice houses
Pretty good salaries for four thousand people a year for ten years, plus the daycare costs for their children
Or, to put it in another way that we're all thinking about this time of year
Every penny of what me and more than 25,000 other Canadians paid in federal income taxes last year.
So that's how much the Harper Cons lost track of when they were frittering away those "anti-terrorism" dollars on airports and police and databases ... and gazebos, don't forget the gazebos ...