My death and quick resurrection made it into the local newspaper on the front page. There will be a followup coming later too I think.
An interesting ethical debate is taking place. FirstLook Media, the controversial and adversarial media outlet owned by PayPal’s inventor, has withheld the name of the 5th country the NSA collects recordings of all phone calls from. SOMALGET and MYSTIC are Top Secret programs revealed by the Snowden leaks from the NSA. Following on the earth shaking revelations of last year starting with the “metadata” gathering in the US called PRISM, MYSTIC is again changing Americans’ views of what their spy agencies are actually working toward.
I think WikiLeaks should reveal this information, and not because it’s likely to cause deaths, but because a Top Secret American program having a country name revealed more than a year after it was known to be compromised, is not a reason to redact it any longer. WikiLeaks is right, and the citizens of the violated nation have a human right to know the United States government was able to record every phone call. It wouldn’t be the first time a Top Secret American program has led to people dying, either.
People can then place the blame where it belongs for any deaths, at the feet of the NSA, and Bush/Obama, not simplistically on the WikiLeaks scapegoat.
Despite audio evidence of widespread illegal robocalls, the Commissioner of Elections Canada has announced “no offenses committed”!
Canadians have had a heaping helping of obvious crime going unpunished, where Conservatives are the apparent benefactors.
I sadly predicted this ludicrous situation with a satirical piece I wrote last year that many people mistook for reality.
Among the bewildering improbable findings by the Commish are this:
“It is useful to note, moreover, that the data gathered in the investigation does not lend support to the existence of a conspiracy or conspiracies to interfere with the voting process (see, for example, sections 1.3 and 4.3).”
A Federal Court Judge ruled the opposite! He found fraud was likely in multiple ridings, which as we know from the highly “secure” CIMS database, requires CPC HQ authorization to be available in multiple ridings. Local staff do not have access to riding information elsewhere in the country, so there would have to be a conspiracy for identical fraud to be happening in more than one riding, as the Federal Court ruled.
Cote: "Investigators were told that no telemarketer had independent access to the Conservative Party's CIMS database …"—
Alex Boutilier (@alexboutilier) April 24, 2014
Also this from Andrew Coyne:
Someone, that is, committed massive electoral fraud, in a way that could only benefit the Conservative party and making use of proprietary party information. But they did it without the party’s knowledge or participation.
Or what else can one conclude from Thursday’s ruling by Federal Court Judge Richard Mosley
Apparently Elections Canada can conclude what they did after 2008’s malicious robocalls in the S-GI riding of B.C., and drop the whole thing because investigations are harrrrd.
Cote: "Simply arranging interviews took a long time (in some cases, months). There were also instances of outright refusal to co-operate"—
Stephen Maher (@stphnmaher) April 24, 2014
But, "Overall, no discernible pattern of misdirection, such as a single predominant [incoming] calling number" among robocalls complainants.—
Glen McGregor (@glen_mcgregor) April 24, 2014
Commissioner says investigation hampered because "no legal requirement for a telephone service provider to retain call records."—
Glen McGregor (@glen_mcgregor) April 24, 2014
On incoming calls to robocalls complainants: "Some numbers originated w/ US service providers, all of whom similarly refused to co-operate."—
Glen McGregor (@glen_mcgregor) April 24, 2014
Ex-SCoC justice Louise Charron reviewed probe: "with respect to most cases it was impossible to determine the identity of the caller"—
Stephen Maher (@stphnmaher) April 24, 2014
“Come on!” – RCMP
The Canadian people know when they’re being fed smoke and mirrors, and things taste very smoky and shiny right now.
“Thanks to the RCMP, we know that senior officials in our government were conspiring to cover up tens of thousands of dollars in (seemingly) improper payments to senators. The internal emails and interview transcripts published by the RCMP show Wright, Duffy and a host of lawyers and senators doing all kinds of things they would never do if they didn’t think they could keep it secret.”
“The way our legal system is set up, we will never know why the Mounties decided not to proceed unless it comes out in court if the force proceeds with charges against Mike Duffy, which is expected in the coming weeks. But it’s up to politicians, not police or judges, to tell us how it is that the prime minister’s chief of staff is able to make a secret payment to a sitting legislator without facing criminal prosecution.
There is no way that should be legal.”
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.
“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.”
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.”
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?
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.