Silly Saskatchewan Party

EVs are not getting a free ride on the roads.

A look through Saskatchewan budget documents shows clearly that the amounts spent annually to maintain highways far exceed what’s collected through the fuel tax on gasoline, diesel and propane that are earmarked for highway building and upkeep. For instance, Harpauer’s 2021-22 budget projects spending $830 million on highways, while the fuel tax is expected to raise $477.9 million.

In fact, from 2008 to 2022, fuel tax revenues total $6.8 billion, while $10.6 billion is spent on highways. 

opinion/columnists/peiris-saskatchewans-new-tax-on-electric-vehicles-a-sign-of-more-silliness-to-come

Link broken on purpose.

The Sask Party doesn’t care about the climate crisis.

Suez Canal Unblocked

Stonks Game Stops At This Stop

Hedge funds that bet against Game Stop are crying foul as they lose a fortune, because the crowd noticed their weakness and exploited it. Sounds very Wall Street. Is it against the rules? How could it be in a market that has too few rules. The difference now is that the crowd has the power instead of the billionaires, so it can’t be fair, right?

Hedge funds basically borrowed money to buy stocks for Game Stop that shouldn’t even have been available for sale (136%??), and a crowd of investors very publicly noted this situation, explained publicly what they were going to do, and the hedge funds didn’t immediately back down and take a small loss, and so lost the entire amount. As a result of not being able to cover their loss, they were forced to buy the stock they bet against, pushing the price up even further. A short squeeze happened with Tesla in the past year too, part of the reason for its stock price meteoric rise.

Billionaire CEO defends Redditors; CNBC host sounds like a whiner sad that his team made a bad bluff and got called.

Can’t tell if joking… @theserfstv · “lol Gamestop just became an S&P top 500” If true and it qualifies, that would require it be included in the S&P list of the top 500 stocks, like Tesla, pushing its price up further.

@IGN · “Amidst ongoing GameStop stock fluctuations, WallStreetBets has been banned from Discord for allowing “hateful and discriminatory content after repeated warnings,” and has gone private on Reddit.” https://bit.ly/3t25EEC

@JuddLegum · “Funny no one mentions that the primary “victim” of the GameStop trading, Gabe Plotkin, worked for SAC until the firm pled guilty to insider trading in 2013 and paid $1.8B in fines to the SEC and this week, Plotkin got a 2.75B bailout from his old boss, Steve Cohen, SAC’s founder.”

Memes are flowing:

“You said crypto was too volatile? Mmhmm… (Woman tipping hand)

Wall Street: Crypto is volatile.
GameStop: Hold my Beer (mug)”

“GameStop, AMC, Tootsie Roll, BlackBerry: there’s a theme here and it’s elder millennial nostalgia.”

“Hold the line, “They can take our subreddit, but they can never take our $GME”

– Actually they can take it, and will probably try. These folks need to learn about Bitcoin, badly.

ADDED:

#Petrostate of the Province

I’ve friends who think Council is going too hard, too quickly. I think they’re not going hard or fast enough. They’re fighting the worst scourge on the face of the Earth short of ignorance and apathy:

OIL COMPANIES.

Building pipelines to replace tired old pipes is not a sound investment. The old pipes lasted for 50 years. Can you honestly envision people driving gas burning cars in 2070?

Taking oil money to pay for community projects that the government should fund, is a self sustaining problem. People will come to associate oil companies with the source of community infrastructure, instead of the provincially owned resource wealth that actually makes it possible.

Weather Alert Dismantling

Write your MP and the weather office now please.

Dear Canadian Government:

Regarding closing weather radio stations, in a year when an unusual emergency was the top news story in 10 of 12 months, seems like a precursor to more embarrassing stories of how the government cut pandemic alert systems just prior to 2020. In Regina, crates of N95 masks were landfilled prior to 2020 and not replaced. Who needed them, right? Long Term Care home workers, dealing directly with COVID-19 patients still don’t have N95 masks at work.

Internet isn’t a replacement for weather radio, as cell phones don’t stay charged long in an emergency. Don’t make the mistake of closing weather radio access for Canadians to save a couple bucks. Additionally we should have tornado sirens in Regina, but don’t because it’s deemed old technology. We’ll miss having it when it’s too late.

We should be building onto what previous generations provided us with, not dismantling their working systems.

Kenney Stands Up For Doomed Oil

Nowhere in Canada is more cursed than Alberta. It’s the Resource Curse. And Jason Kenney is the leader of the cursed.

Some people have to wait decades to learn how wrong they are. Kenney’s scheduled to see in only 5 years.

I don’t know enough to say that Kenney is an intensely stupid man, because it’s entirely possible he’s evil and conniving and knows that oil is done, but says these lies anyway to his political advantage.

Plague Update: Children Thrown Away Like Masks

One of the worst things to learn early in the pandemic was that Canada mismanaged its pandemic supply stockpile years ago, and wasted it. This almost certainly was part of the reason for the medical officials to first recommend against the public buying and using medical masks while in public, despite the common sense nature of wanting sick people coughing to have a mask on to contain the virus to some degree.

Expired N95 masks weren’t sufficient for front line workers in March when the government advised against general mask use when within 2m of strangers, but now teachers & students aren’t being given even expired masks to spend all day indoors to spread the plague.

The virus can harm the heart, and doctors are concerned about long-term damage. How the heart heals after COVID-19 could help determine whether a patient develops an irregular heartbeat.”

Do kids need to be protected from COVID-19 as if it was Polio or Smallpox? I think so.

The plot thickens, like your COVID-19 infected blood.

I’m not a typical human. I’m a mutant, zombie, cyborg — or a person who narrowly survived a cardiac arrest caused by a heart defect due to mutation, and have an implanted computer designed to restart my heart should it suddenly stop again. I also grew up in a village of only ~40 people, walked to school until Grade 8, home schooled in Grade 9, and was driven by school bus for an hour and a half a day, 50km away, for the rest of high school. I took a calculus class by satellite TV, faxing assignments in to Regina. I finished at the top of my class of 12 students.

My experience isn’t average. My siblings had very similar experiences of course, but most humans on Earth didn’t grow up like I did.

I give this background to explain why I don’t think a single different year of distance schooling is destined to harm most children’s education or social development. It might be more crucial to their development that we prevent them from contracting a potentially fatal disease that might require them to get computer implants like I have so they don’t keel over dead at 34 (like I did).

Do I trust the Saskatchewan Government to adjust to scientific data released in July that indicates the virus is airborne, and cleaning surfaces and hands won’t be sufficient to stop outbreaks in schools? It only took them half a year to adjust their opinion on masks being used in public. In another half a year, most students could have already acquired COVID-19 organ damage for the rest of their natural lives.

Before there was a mask shortage to at least partially excuse why medical experts oddly advised against them. They convinced me then. I almost brought it up with a friend walking by my desk in public, with a dust mask around his neck. I saw the same friend a couple weeks ago. He was in public, social distancing, but without a mask, indoors. It’s too large a leap to expect individuals to all mask up without government intervention. And I think it’s a leap to expect political pressure to not corrupt medical science for selfish reasons. I expect the Sask. Government to try and open schools as if everything is normal, because it’s run by amoral, corrupt, anti-science, Luddites and worse.

Plague Update: Post-lockdown

Even though everything isn’t re-opened, the Saskatchewan Government very much wants people to think and act as if everything is back to normal. They’ll deny that if asked. There’s no evidence of the Premier wearing a mask though to set a good example in public.

As a result, the infection rate started spiking upward here, and in BC and Alberta too. Infamously, the Texan and Floridian Goveronors who Right-Wing media were heaping praise onto for reopening their states, are faced with stuffing bodies into freezer trucks as there is a shortage of morgue space in the Lone Star State. Go to Disney World? Maybe not such a good idea.

Even though masks and lockdowns have been shown through science to save lives from COVID-19, what are the pressures on political leaders, particularly far-right ones, to reopen and oppose the use of masks?

I can think of the following reasons:

  1. Capitalist Greed
    -Professional sports leagues intend to force most of their players through peer pressure to participate in games that are unsafe. Some notable players have opted out, they’ve the financial means no doubt to forego a year or two of play, to give them and their family a better chance at remaining healthy until a vaccine is available to protect them instead of social distancing.
    -You’ve probably noticed that COVID-19 Deniers have popped up, and there’s a Venn diagram of them with Climate Deniers, yielding a near perfect circle. My theory for why this is, despite the Climate Deniers at first participating in lockdowns, is it took a few weeks for the Climate Denial Machine to be turned to the pandemic. As it became more clear that an economic crisis was underway, the kind not seen in generations or more, the capital holders who stoked the sort of misinformation that has manipulated people thinking CO2 is harmless “plant food”, changed gears to create doubt about the pandemic so people would go back to work rather than demand a Universal Basic Income so they could stay safe at home.
    Many people are back to making useless doo-dads, traveling around on vacations in fuel burning vehicles, and going to restaurants and bars. Larger realignment of daily life will need to take place to build a carbon negative economy, and having a taste of what it could look like in the polluted skies of our major cities like Los Angeles, Mumbai, and Paris was re-energizing opposition to fossil fuel supremacy. California has made more electric trucks and vans a requirement by 2024. That’s one election cycle away, and before the #carbonbudget is used up (we hope). That’s real legislative progress, except they don’t require a complete switch until 2045, which is too late.
  2. Male Chauvinism
    -From Brazil’s fascist leader, to Great Britain’s Brexit nationalist Tory leader, the countries that are faring the worst so far, have notably terrible leaders. These men like to project an air of male superiority and bravado, and their latest way of puffing up their chest is to heartily shake hands, and appear to be stronger than the virus. BoJo narrowly missed having his chest puffed up manually by a ventilator a few months ago.
    I don’t think you could describe Elon Musk as a Climate Denier, but he certainly has made really questionable comments during the plague in North America, so I’d chalk up those to this latter reason.

Plague Update: Frugality Saves Itself

It’s become trendy to be thrifty. Frugal, even.
There’s always been a case for being frugal, but now it’s more apparent to a society facing supply chain disruptions from an unsure labour market and contracted globalism.

Have you started a Victory Garden this year? When there were social events, did you ever attend a Repair Cafe, to fix your slightly broken electronic device, or sew a tear in a jacket (like I have at the Regina Public Library)? As the article points out, there are many ways to be frugal, and not all of them lead to actual hording which obviously needs to be avoided for various reasons.

Plague Update: POStmedia Shows Its Soul

How ghoulish is our national post anyway? That’s kind of rhetorical, because we all know now they’d rather see bodies piled high in the streets like in Ecuador, than risk giving a poor person a hand-up during the worst global economic and health crisis of perhaps a over half a century.

People will be dying by the scores in the second wave we all don’t want to accept is coming, regardless of what we all are likely to do.

Moe still plans to force some frivolous things open in early May while our R-naught has dipped below 1. It’ll jump back over 1 most likely in a few days or weeks, meaning that each infected person will on average spread the virus to more than 1 other person.