Butt Activated Maple Money?

“I do think heat has something to do with activating the smell. … Scratching will create some heat friction but my friend’s warm butt is likely the activator.”

I enjoyed this story about supposedly scented C-notes. It doesn’t surprise me that warm polymer would have a sugary scent. The added imagery on the bills, and the psychological effect is strong enough to fool people.

The Audit With a Twist #cdnpoli

$3.1 Billion is missing according to a damning audit of the Harper Government. Let’s see what political pundits recently have said about audit failure:

Federal government audit ‘severely critical’

The Star headline

“The independent audit […] speaks for itself, and we accept its conclusions and recommendations,” said Jan O’Driscoll, spokesperson for the Minister.
[The auditor] called the lack of records “inappropriate for any recipient of public funds.”

The Star

“I cannot in my lifetime recall such a devastating audit. […] A stunning indictment.”

Ian Lee of the Sprott School of Business

“It just seems to be difficult to do the basics, and then that raises red flags […] for the government,”

Chuck Strahl

John Ibbitson said that the audit will be a smoking gun for people who those who criticize the [government] system.
Rob Silver said that even if the audit was leaked to discredit [a politician] doesn’t mean that it’s not important, and that it reads like any other audit of a government bureaucracy gone wrong.

Embattled Senator Brazman has an opinion:

“Just because [an audit is published], it does not mean money is well spent,” said Sen. Patrick Brazeau, a controversial and outspoken critic […]. “Where does the money go? Is it being properly spent . . . and more importantly, is it going to [where there are] needs?” “Accountability is a two-way street.”

The perpetually petulant Levant even gets in on the audit pile-on action: “Audit nightmare: The RCMP, […] should be meeting with [those involved]”

“If the people involved had Italian names and were from the Montreal construction industry, or French-Canadian names from Montreal ad agencies, […] there would be resignations and criminal charges flying.”

Wait a moment, there’s a twist. The above quotes are all real, but they seem so unlikely, don’t they? Well, that’s because they are not talking about the Conservatives’ most recent audit failure, they are talking about another recent audit of which they were more critical, over much less unaccounted-for public money. They said these things about much less than 3% of the unaccounted-for $3,100,000,000 Harper has frittered away without proper documentation.

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Don’t Care About Penny Salami Slicing

There’s a bit of hand wringing going on around Facebook amongst typically the anti-Harper crowd. Normally I’d join in, because it’s worth wringing hands over practically everything our Prime Minister has going wrong in our country. One thing he’s managed to not get wrong, is ending the penny. It’s a relic, and I’m very much for preserving history, but I don’t need to carry historical currency in my pockets when it is worth only a fraction of what a penny was worth when I was a kid in the 1980s.

Why shouldn’t you worry about retailers making at most a couple cents extra on a rounded final total, on cash transactions? Because those two cents are not that valuable to you, for one thing. Another, if you happen to use a debit card or credit card, you’re not affected by rounding yet. If you do use plastic to pay, you’re already paying upwards of 50 cents per transaction to the bank, while your retailer is also paying a fee to the bank plus maybe 2.5% of the purchase price (which they pass on to you through higher prices).

Long story short, if you have the opportunity to pay your retailer in cash, ask that they keep the one or two cents you might be owed, because both you and they are already more than 48 cents ahead of the game the banks are playing with us all.

P.S. And if you read the link at the top of this story, you should note that the Conservatives still haven’t managed to find Pierre Poutine with the help of the RCMP and Elections Canada’s 630+ day investigation. The Cons have moved on to lying about new robocalls though. Since a Liberal MP was fined $4900 for a robocall with a misleading identification, I guess the CRTC will be fining the Conservatives soon too for their “Chase Research” push poll.

ConCalls: Week of Hell #RoboCon

The Conservatives have had a (deservedly) rough week, and it’s about to get more rough next week. The Council of Canadians’ court challenge is Monday. The Prime Minister closed out the final news cycle hour this week by actually taking questions from the press, (which has hardly ever happened before). The Conservatives procedurally pushed a public petition calling for a Royal Commission inquiry into Robocalls, to next week. Will they prorogue first?

Coyne absolutely defines the Harper Conservatives, meaning I think to refer to the F-35 contemptuous boondoggle, but can be generalized to nearly any Conservative initiative.

When I say mess, I don’t mean to suggest charming ineptitude, but culpable incompetence, mixed with deliberate misrepresentation. What started with a catastrophic failure of oversight, progressed through many months of dishonesty, secrecy, and stonewalling, culminating in what can only be called electoral fraud — followed by still more dishonesty about everything that had gone before.

[emphasis added]
Yes, he actually pointed out the Conservatives were involved in election fraud following the fall of their government in 2011 due to contemptuously hiding the true F-35 figures from Parliament. Today we further learned that the PBO was correct and was unfairly smeared by the lying, bungling Conservatives.

So, what can we the people do before 2015? Plenty. First, this weekend in Regina is a C-45 protest on Sunday at noon, at the Legislature.
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Commodity In the Real World

I read Jackson’s comment about Maystruck’s presentation and “Brandwashed”, and it stuck out in my mind. It came back to me when Hedges talked about it last night, and I found the comment in a speech he gave at UofT almost two years ago, before Egypt’s uprising took place.

“Everything in our world is a commodity – everything is either bought or sold and will be recommended or not.”

“When your community physically breaks down”, people retreat into fantasy and magical thinking. “Miracles and magic” are desired. “Absurdist policies” rule the day. Military spending is rising, but people want government spending to be cut. Attempting to push people back into reality, brings a rage from those attempting to avoid the world that almost destroyed them. “The end of the world is no longer an abstraction” in Detroit as Hedges points out.

37:30 in the video:

“The rise of the commodity culture, where everything from human beings to the natural world have no intrinsic value, but are judged only on their monetary value.”

Hedges studied religion, and is of the opinion that the loss of sacredness, where people don’t hold certain things like the natural world and life at a higher value than money, is a crushing weight on preserving civilization.

The Problem With Racists

Focus groups are good at focusing. If there is a strong racist voice in the group, they might start to focus on race.
CP/Bank of Canada

When I heard the news this morning mention the Bank of Canada changed the image of a woman on the $100 because she wasn’t white-bread enough, I thought I must have missed something. I couldn’t understand what the point was. That’s because there isn’t a point. It’s pointless racism, plain and simple, and formalized by the Canadian bank.

(I also immediately pulled one of the $100 bills I keep from under my pillow {kidding}, and checked what the fuss was about. Turns out, the image on the bill had already been changed {not in the time between hearing the report, and looking under my pillow}.)

I’d actually looked at the $100 a few days ago, inspecting it closely for the first time. At no point did I think, “You know, I think that should/shouldn’t be an Asian woman on the back.” What I did think strange was that I couldn’t find a name of a single Canadian medical innovator on the bill, even though it says “Medical Innovation” and they have a bottle of insulin and a DNA structure on it. Not sure why DNA is there, although there are no doubt important Canadian innovations in that field, Watson and Crick were not Canadian. Banting and Best were. I was a little confused why they were not gathered at the microscope on the bill while their life saving, world changing innovation appeared in bottle form in the foreground.

I found someone suitable for a Bank of Canada focus group, on Twitter:

I can imagine the process this debacle went through. Here’s a dramatization with thought bubbles for your amusement/horror:

Focus Group participant (in their inner voice): “I know I’m supposed to focus on this money, but all I can think about is Asian women. Holy crap, it’s because there’s an Asian-looking woman on the $100! Maybe that’s what the Bank wanted me to notice? I’d better say something.”

Bank of Canada group guide: “Our money isn’t supposed to make people think that only Asian Canadians know how to use microscopes to make medical innovations. We’d better use a race-neutral person, yet still female so as not to say that only men can make innovations, since we wouldn’t want to be sexist. There’s no race more neutral than white people, because white includes every colour, that’s a scientific fact. Scandal averted. Hooray for cultural sensitivity and political correctness! We didn’t offend Asian-looking Canadians by suggesting they have the capacity to be medical innovators and equal opportunity to appear on our money.”

Media: “OH RLY?”

Public: “Canadian Actress Sandra Oh should be representing medical innovation on our $100 note.” #GreysAnatomy

Me: *Head desk*

Oh RLY $100, Canadian $100 bank note before the bank took off the "Asian-looking" woman.

ConCalls: Poutine’s Email Address

I’ve emailed Postmedia for clarification, were there 2 or 3 emails?

The account was registered to someone using the email address pierres1630@gmail.com.

The order required PayPal to turn over account details, transaction history and the IP address used by pierre1630@gmail.com, whenever he or she connected to the payment company’s servers. Another email address, pierres@gmail.com, is also cited in the documents.

What does the 1630 mean? My guess is it’s the random number generated for “Pierre” by gmail, because otherwise his email address was too common.
By the way, Google should also be served with a production order, to list the IP(s) of the computer(s) that created those email accounts.


And here’s a letter to the editor that my dad’s submitted to the Gravelbourg Tribune (and possibly elsewhere):

Why should we be concerned about the robo call scandal? Is it even a scandal, after all how many votes were affected? Maybe it is just stupid politics and not worthy of attention. The
answer to these questions provide us with the reasons why we should care. Prior to this scandal the ad scam which involved a few millions of dollars being mis-directed into the pockets of a
few individuals was the biggest scandal. Voters were mostly affected by the political games around the wrong doings, and the biggest impact was to set the notion that all politicians are criminal. A perception more than a reality. I can disagree with my MP, but I don’t label him as a criminal. The newest scandal is much more serious because it involves peoples basic rights.

This newest scandal was an act meant to interfere with the evaluation of the people that we pick to make the decisions that will affect our lives. Electoral fraud is an attempt to prevent that process. Electoral misdeeds are an attempt to sway peoples choice by the use of misinformation. This fraud is not a misdeed.

Remember that the Conservative majority was obtained when slightly more than six thousand votes changed in no more than 14 ridings. The Conservatives argue that a few calls cannot subvert democracy and that more than six million calls were made during the election. That is a strange argument when the fact that the vote change giving them their majority accounts for less than one tenth of one percent of the calls they argued were made. I don’t believe anyone would have spent the kind of money needed to make those calls if only one tenth of one percent was going to be affected.

We now know a few basic facts about these calls that were intended to discourage a vote. That is an illegal act. We know the calls included false representations also an illegal act. We know the false representations were to falsely represent Elections Canada or an other political parties, both of which are illegal. We also now know that these calls came to people that had previously indicated their lack of support for the Conservative Party. We know that this occurred in at least 31 different ridings. We know that the Conservative support across Canada is less than 25 percent of eligible voters and that their majority is eleven seats.

The question that needs to be asked is how legitimate is their mandate when the evidence indicates it was the Conservative database that was used to call non Conservative supporters to misinform voters in many more than eleven seats. Finally, it was a shift of less than one tenth of one percent of election calls that rovided them with their mandate. Seems to me that illegitimate is the most appropriate word that applies to this government.
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