ConCalls: No Charges Despite New Prescott #RoboCon Information

After giving some immunity to a man who either lied to me, or to Elections Canada’s investigators, Canada’s election agency has no new charges to announce against the perpetrators of 2011′s Guelph or national election fraud robocalls.

Andrew Prescott’s information fingers the already charged Michael Sona, and the exiled Ken Morgan who is living in Kuwait. Prosecutors will have to decide if he is telling them the truth, or if he was telling me the truth when he told me in an email conversation he’d asked me to share on my blog last year:

Feel free to think whatever you may… however, know that pretty much every point you touched on in your e-mail is wildly incorrect. Specifically, your assumption that I know anything about whatever happened on a local OR national scale.

You are wrong. Period.

That’s an odd person to give immunity to.

SaskPower Carbon Capture and Storage Going Online Today, On Schedule

“The government boasted at last week’s Boundary Dam symposium that the project will be up and running this fall and completed by next April, on time and on budget.”

Hey, today’s April Fool’s Day. Of course it’s not going online today, as planned last May September by politicians managing SaskPower.

Sask., Alta. to lead push for carbon capture; Energy, environment take centre stage at premiers meeting
Wood, James. Star – Phoenix [Saskatoon, Sask] 31 May 2008: A.6.

“The prospect of capturing and storing CO2 to allow for low-emission coal-fired electricity plants and oilsands developments is an alluring one. But much of the technology is yet unproven, the costs involved are massive and there must be a use for the captured carbon such as enhanced oil recovery.”

“(CEO Robert) Watson says SaskPower will be ready to start shipping CO2 to Cenovus by April 1, 2014.”


“Coal is not going away” – Brad Wall
Wall continues to conserve the Conservative way.

ADDED:
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(Un)Fair Elections Act

The Leader-Post can’t include this whole letter by Mr. Bray because it’s over 250 words, so here’s the full version.

Fair elections are the heart and soul of our hard won democracy. Anyone who dares to tamper with the fairness principle should suffer the wrath of the citizens. Not happening- so far.
That may be due to the sneaky attempt to ram through the Fair Elections Act without attracting much notice. 70 weeks behind schedule, then wait for the distractions of the budget and Olympics to ram this Act through 2nd reading in just 4 days. How about public hearings across Canada so that we can understand the ramifications? Nope. Every Conservative M.P. obediently voted against public hearings. And this Act has escaped public notice-so far. A recent survey found that only 20% were very or fairly familiar with the bill. 38% had not heard of it at all.

Why all this sneaking in under the radar? Consider that last election 9,435,000 eligibles did not vote. Only 24% of eligible voters voted Conservative. Only about 6500 crucial votes in close ridings gave Mr. Harper his majority. If you can suppress the vote of those who are not likely to vote for you and make it even harder to investigate and report on any election “irregularities”, you tilt the scale in your favour in a close election. That is what this Act is about.
Even Conservative icon Preston Manning says that Conservatives should be strengthening, not weakening, the powers of Elections Canada. He says the greatest challenge to our electoral system is declining voter turnout. I agree.

What nasty business is in this Act and what is left out?

The role of the Chief Electoral Officer – who reports to Parliament-has been gutted to one of only the who when and how of an election. He cannot say if fraud has occurred. No more outreach programs to encourage youth, First Nations and the poor to vote. No more programs in schools to teach students about the importance of voting. No more research, no surveys. Elections Canada still has no authority to compel political parties and riding associations to provide financial documentation to support financial returns.This bill will discourage people who do not tend to vote Conservative from voting.
The investigative branch has been moved from Elections Canada- under Parliament- to the Director of Public Prosecutions- under the government. The subject has to be notified when an investigation begins. No one can know that an investigation is happening unless the suspect allows it. It is less likely that electors will learn if an offence has occurred or that those involved are prosecuted. This infringes on the right of individual electors to seek a court order annulling the results of an election when fraud occurs. This depends on electors discovering the fraud in time to act, which this bill makes far less likely to occur. No problem for M.P.s who have been found in violation of the rules. They can continue to sit as M.P.s while they appeal the ruling in court- which can take years.There are still no requirement that suspects cooperate with investigations. They can- and do as in the still incomplete robocalls case- tell investigators to take a hike. Why not the power to compel testimony as the Competition Bureau has? Isn‘t election fraud more important?
Party spending limits are to be increased. Money spent on fundraising will now be exempt from campaign spending limits- to the Conservative advantage. The maximum donation limit has been increased- which happens to help the Conservatives- who by far have the donors who can and do give the maximum. There is no public oversight of spending by parties in an election. Candidates yes- parties no.

Election frauds are not happening as a result of individual voters actions. It is happening due to the actions of political parties with the Conservatives by far the most implicated. We had the in/out scheme in 2006, we have the robocalls scheme using the Conservative database- which should have really outraged them if innocent, but somehow did not, numerous cases of candidate overspending, taking illegal donations and asking for inappropriate donations.- with few meaningful penalties.
Canadians deserve a robust national debate. The fact the Harper regime is not allowing it tells us how fair the next election will be…

Mike Bray, Indian Head

How can it be “Fair” when there’s such large opposition to the new bill?

The Sorry State of Oil Stained Wretches

“A man standing up for downtrodden people: Is he a hero, or a hypocrite?

Let our expert panel decide for you by suggesting the hero is a hypocrite simply through his participation in modern society. One of our experts working for an oil-friendly newspaper in a city oil-money built, will suggest the heroic man has not always felt the way he does now, so his position is invalid. Rather than living a life of isolation in the northern woods, to be quietly poisoned by the very thing he’s fighting now with his fame, he’s speaking about changing society. *gasp*

Isn’t someone opposed to the drug addiction and pillage mentality of the oil patch, really better off dead or silenced by obscurity?”

Superman was a big hypocrite: dressed as a human except to fight crime.
When Superman wasn’t fighting crime, he dressed as… a journalist.

First Nations Get $0.3M for Solar Research #skpoli

The Conservative government generously gave First Nations in Saskatchewan enough grant money to build one impressively sized solar array that could power a half dozen homes.

Ontario is going with $5,000M.

SaskPower gave 10 times the recent federal contribution, to the UofR to research how to put CO2 underground so more oil can be pumped out of the Weyburn area.

Lockheed manufactures illegal weapons, and is part of the F-35 dud stealth bomber boondoggle.

Solar is not “concentrated” in SK as explained in the article, we just have more sun hitting the ground throughout the year than most of Canada. There’s no magnifying glass aimed at Regina or Estevan, fortunately.

$300K is better than a kick in the teeth, I suppose. It’s to be used on little demonstration projects. It’s 2013, and Germany has already done a country-wide demonstration project that we can wholesale adopt here in Saskatchewan. Let’s get on with it already.

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300 Years Is Bogus

Thanks to another letter writer, Michael McKinlay, I caught this opportunity to again offer a better future perspective than SaskPower’s current President has done thus far.

http://saskboy.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/an-irrational-mixup-at-saskpower/

I’m writing in response to SaskPower President and CEO Robert Watson’s comments in the November 25th article, “SaskPower set to overhaul power grid“. In it he touts a “300-year supply” of coal, as he has since at least 2012 when he used that imprecise figure in a Financial Post article. Doing a wider search of the web, you can find unqualified people using the same “300-year” claim since 2010 in the UK and the US, referring to their own coal supplies. Key words like “recoverable” and “proven” are not present in Mr. Watson’s claim. Many reputable academics estimate world peak coal could come as soon as the 2030s. After that decade it barely matters if there’s coal available, because the cost will be going through the stratosphere.

A more prudent use of our remaining coal supply is to build an energy technology for the future. There are many renewable options for Saskatchewan, including wind and solar power. Our wind potential is significant, and our solar potential rivals the global powerhouse Germany, as we’re at a similar latitude and get even more sunny days.

I’d prefer the smart grid Mr. Watson talked about included plenty of solar generated electricity. A compelling story in the Star Phoenix on November 4th included engineer Brent Veitch who explained a $20,000 solar electricity system is already able to pay itself off in less than 20 years in Saskatchewan. That seems a smarter investment for homeowners, than to buy into Mr. Watson’s subsidization of a 20th century fossil-fueled grid.

This letter above appeared in the Star-Phoenix this past week.

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Coyne Skips The Trudeau #cdnpoli Taboo

One of the not-so-solemn duties of the blogosphere is to hold the Main Stream Media in check when they go a little astray. I’m not sure if I should hold Andrew Coyne’s hand as I walk him back to where he was a week ago, or if I should slap it for being caught in the Conservatives’ propaganda cookie jar. Mmmm, raisins.

Here’s where Coyne was last week:

Here he was 3 weeks ago:

Now, on to a new target; starting a new news cycle so we don’t get bored worrying about how a secretive, extortive Prime Minister is running his office or his party:

You know you’ve taken a wrong turn, when Sun News is gloating that you’re trying to do their job as Conservative Propaganda Distributor (CoPD):

COPD is a fatal lung ailment, brought on typically through a sufferer’s own abuse through repeated consumption of harmful material (smoking). CoPD is killing the usefulness of political pundits, who’ve consumed so many Conservative propaganda attack ads, they’ve begun to accept them as fair ways to frame criticism of targets in those ads.

Any message from a political attack ad should be taboo for a political pundit on TV who isn’t paid by a political party. These messages have been crafted, after they’ve been study-grouped to gauge their psychological damage. To later become a distributor of such a message should be the greatest sin of journalism.

Coyne: “the reach of Justin Trudeau’s intellect keeps exceeding its grasp”
Conservative propaganda since last year: #InOverHisHead

Yeah, the attack ad was dumb. It’s also working on even a leading Canadian political commentator who recently was concerned that Trudeau’s opposition is BLACKMAILING A SENATOR.


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Conservatives Win Friends and Improve Policy…

…Or that might be what the usually compliant and forgiving media would say if they hadn’t been pissed off about being locked out of policy meetings at the Conservative Convention last weekend in Calgary.

the weird, unsettling vibe that hung over the whole event. (We’ve grown used to seeing prime ministers sealed inside an impenetrable bubble, but a whole party?) That reporters were constrained from doing their jobs is perhaps a side issue. But that a democratic political party, at its national convention, would go to such lengths to hide from public view is just a bit creepy.

Election Stockholm Syndrome is alive and well in Canada, especially in Toronto.

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He Called Himself a Journalist – UPDATED

The Independent got a black eye today from a former editor who shamelessly confessed to being an authoritarian.

Blackhurst, in explaining why he would never have allowed his newspaper to publish any of the documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, actually wrote:

If the security services insist something is contrary to the public interest, and might harm their operations, who am I (despite my grounding from Watergate onwards) to disbelieve them?”

Most people, let alone journalists, would be far too embarrassed to admit they harbor such subservient, obsequious sentiments.

Greenwald sums up:

But it does still surprise me when people calling themselves “journalists” openly admit to thinking this way. But when they do so, they do us a service, as it lays so vividly bare just how wide the gap is between the claimed function of establishment journalists and the actual role they fulfill.

Caution about The Guardian*. While they may be publishing Greenwald right now, I don’t expect that to go on forever. Blackhurt gives a clue as to why:

The former Labour cabinet minister was incandescent with rage. [...]
I was puzzled as to why she would be so angry – normally she and The Guardian would be of one mind.

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Jeffrey Simpson – Live blog

Rick Kleer giving introduction to Simpson.
7:01pm non fiction book writing award winner. Written many political books since the early ’80s.

7:05 Simpson starts.
Was a baseball fan. Persuaded the Jays were going to be contenders, so arranged for viewing them in Minnesota. Got the Riders’s colors wrong as Green and yellow. Pitcher was from North Battleford.

Simpson

Interested observer to the university scene. The hardest job in the country can be university president, besides PM or Premier. Going outside their ranks to find a leader. Private sector does this if something is wrong. He’s often wondered why talent isn’t groomed from within. It’s partly the
politics inside is so tough, the prospective candidates get beat up so badly. Devil we don’t know as opposed to the devil we do.

There are counter examples.

Simpson says Saskatchewan like an easterner.

7:13 “series of financial challenges on our plate.”
Talking economic projections. I’ve tuned out a little.
He praises Sask economy as if we aren’t in deficit budget. Says Alberta depends on oil revenue. Doesn’t acknowlage we do too.
Alberta “took a big whack” out of university budgets.

“Universities are good at adding, but not so good at subtracting.”

ON universities were being cut 3% per year. Cutting across the board was not his preferred strategy. Identify the weak areas and where they are strongest over other universities. It’s unbelivably hard. “Administrators shy away from the task” it leads to unpopularity.

7:27
Education is an investment in the future.
“Healthcare is an investment in the accumulated ills of yesterday.”

A situation…
The government’s principle priority is to get students into universities.
We have more demand for university, and less teaching supply because professor supply can’t keep up. Class sizes at bigger universities is a serious problem. Interaction between profs and students is poor. UofT is down at the bottom of Macleans survey because of this.

He lists the silliness that can go on at universities, as being a primary challenge to overcome. The general population not involved doesn’t get that stuff. They don’t like it.

Citizens instead of widget makers.
(no money to be a citizen, it’s all debt now, I note)

Graduation rates being too low…
Another objective.
Outcomes based financing model in the USA.
Trying not to duplicate other university outcomes.

If uni is squeezed financially, governments may think they’ll make the hard decisions on cuts and priorities, so the government doesn’t have to directly.

Doing video now…

No more ten cent Globe in hotels, it costs a dollar to put that paper together. No more northern BC or Newfoundland $1M delivery.
If newspapers stick with old model, they are done for.
Uni must change too.
7:48