Saturday, July 31, 2010

Laughing Stock

This should get some attention in the PMO. The ex head of the 2000 U.S. Census, John Thompson is in Canada for a convention and he has heard all about the Conservatives' mentally challenged plans for the Census:
The Chicago-based statistician then laughed at the details of Canada’s plan to pass out more questionnaires to make up for less compliance. He was part of a 2003 experiment in the United States to make voluntary the Census Bureau’s own detailed questionnaire, known as the American Community Survey. Statisticians quickly concluded the data would be less reliable and more expensive to obtain. (emphasis mine)
The PMO could not give two flying fucks what anyone in Canada thinks about the Census. However, now that the Americans are laughing at their buffoonery, that is a different matter, altogether.
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New Conservative Lexicon

Statist: Refers to any person who believes there is a legitimate role for government in society. Synonyms include: Nazi, Commie, Pinko, Dupe. Commonly used by people mumbling to themselves on the street, also on the opinion pages of the National Post or the Sun chain.
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Beggin Yer Pardon Yer Majesty

And speaking of our resting king, has anyone every seen more forelock tugging in your life than in the press coverage of Harper's "vacation"? Yes, being Prime Minister is hard, but so what? Harper wants the job and if he is going to do something major, like destroy the census, during the summer, he should be available to the public to defend himself, not hiding himself away like Howard Hughes in Vegas. Finally, is just me, or do you find that hiding behind your children, as an excuse for hiding from the public, just another example of Harper's cowardice?
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A Radical Newspaper Backs Census

Another radical, commie newspaper editorializes against our beloved (and resting, God bless him) leader's decision to save us from the census:
The federal Conservatives should reverse their stance on killing the mandatory long form of the Canadian census. From academics to genealogists to corporations, everyone except Stephen Harper's Tories seems opposed to the introduction of voluntary completion forms, replacing the long form. Economists, think-tanks, professional associations, non-profits, labour unions, religious groups, municipalities and corporations oppose the move, which will cost taxpayers millions more but lead to inferior results.
The name of the paper you ask? No, it isn't the Daily Worker, it is the Calgary Herald.
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Friday, July 30, 2010

Harper Desperate To Turn Page On Census

Instructs his PMO minions to "Release the Kraken!".
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The Capitalists Are Nervous

I do believe they are starting to question the economic bona fides of this insane clown posse of a government:
Roger Martin, dean of Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

Key Point: Productivity and Canada’s ability to compete globally will suffer.

If we’re really going to benefit from the information age and be a player in the information age, guess what? We have to have information, and use information. I think you want to give Canadians a chance to have their economy be a sophisticated economy that uses information to its best in the information age.

The question is, are we embracing the information age or are we going backward and saying – at a time when information is getting more valuable, more useful, you can squeeze more out of it – are we reverting to a charming earlier era when we didn’t use information for hardly anything, and had a less productive economy. That’s the issue …
The friends of capitalism are going to have to understand that this government is based on agrarian populism of the early 20th century and the 21st century Tea Party. It is fundamentally hostile to knowledge in any form, substituting "belief" and "common sense" as its highest ideals. It is fundamentally opposed to the Enlightenment's elevation of reason to the apex of epistemology. Appeals to reason will have little affect on this crew. Superstition and "gut feelings" are their guides. They are not modern people in any way that matters. In fact, they are closer to a cargo cult than a modern political party.
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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Four Horsemen Alert

I agree with something that someone from the Fraser Institute says:
There’s no doubt everyone loves a new sporting complex. And circus clowns are people too. But these are not the sort of projects Canadian taxpayers have ever thought of as infrastructure. This was a historic opportunity to improve the nuts and bolts of the economy, say critics, yet much of the money has been frittered away. “We know we have lots of problems in our general infrastructure, but because the rationale was to get money out the door as quickly as possible, you see soccer pitches, swimming pools and boys and girls clubs getting money,” says Niels Veldhuis, senior economist at the Fraser Institute. After all, just two weeks ago yet another major blackout in Toronto left a quarter-million people in the dark. “You have to ask, is this about doing what’s right for Canada and the economy, or is this about getting as many votes as possible?”
This is something anyone with eyes could see going on all around them. Every small town in this country got a new arena, care of the Conservative government. Clean drinking water, on the other hand, not so much.
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Of Vacations And Bomb Throwers

With apologies to Karina Roman's delicate sensibilities, Prime Ministers who gut the Census and impair the functioning of the Canadian state, do not get a free pass to whoop it up a the cottage. Harper is an employee of the Canadian people, and not their king. He should as a matter of course, make himself available to explain himself. Sending out his trained monkey is no substitute for hearing it from the organ grinder.

One might incorrectly conclude that Harper is afraid to show himself. If he were human, one might think him a little embarrassed by the havoc he has caused. Fortunately, Mr. Harper is not human and so is not plagued by human emotions, save one, arrogance. The simple fact is, Harper does not care what we think and has no intention of voluntarily explaining himself to anyone. If he is to be flushed out of hiding, we must keep up the pressure.
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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Joke Is On Us

Scott Feschuk is correct, our Industry Minister is only fit for derisive laughter. Sadly though, this clown represents one of the most radical regimes ever elected by a minority of voters in this country. It is consciously tearing down everything the last generation built, without thought or care. Normally, the clownish behavior of politicians would cause me to laugh along. This is different. They are different. Our nation is under threat by nihilists, bent on destruction, and that is no laughing matter.
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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

If This Won't Convince Conservative Supporters

Nothing will:
The proposed changes would result in more junk mail and more telemarketers on the phone, because they will be less able to target their campaigns to specific consumer groups, she added.
Got that? Stephen Harper wants you to get more of those stupid phone calls.
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Inventing A New Statistics

From Kady's live blogging of the Census hearings:
Meanwhile, Coleman suggests that the committee members "take off their partisan blinders" and figure out a way to make the voluntary survey work.
He then suggested that they all take off their partisan blinders and figure a way to turn lead into gold or maybe create a chimera.
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Meanwhile Other Issues Go On (Or Don't)

President Obama is now without any kind of carbon strategy at all. Harper must be delighted.
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Illogic To the N'th Degree

No one is asking the central question of the census debate. Why is the government making the long form census voluntary (thus making its statistics dubious at best) and yet is keeping the agricultural census mandatory (with the requisite threats of fines and jail time for non-compliance)? My suspicion is it comes down to the fact that the Conservatives want accurate information for farmers, since they are a core constituency of the Party, but are completely uninterested in accurate information about women, the poor and natives. Regardless, it would have been interesting if someone had thought to ask Tony Clement why it is ok to threaten farmers with prosecution, but not other people?
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Ok Libertarians

You love European style data collection so much. lets go for it. (The sound you hear is the rush for the exits).
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Monday, July 26, 2010

Thanks Stephen Taylor

For laying your party's agenda bare: The beginning of the end of the Canadian welfare state.
His greatest challenge is to dismantle the modern welfare state. If it can’t be measured, future governments can’t pander. I imagine that Stephen Harper’s view, Canada should be a country of individual initiative, not one of collective dependence “justified” through the collection of data.
If only the elected members of your party were as honest about their goals, we could have a cracking election about this. Somehow though, I doubt your party will be running on a platform of "Vote for us and we will get rid of CPP"; or "Vote for us and maternity leave will be a thing of the past", any time soon. But now we know that's the direction it wants to take Canada. Thanks again for the head's up.

Update: And, right on cue, the first potential welfare state causality is identified. I admit it was a bit of a surprise to me, given how much the Conservatives love them some troops (until they are old and require a little collective dependence). But it seems that Veteran's Affairs might be for the high jump.
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War Is Peace

Neil Reynolds in the Globe today, is mouthing the latest talking points from Dimitri Soudas' shop of horrors:
People should, as a matter of principle, prefer a voluntary census to a mandatory census. But the reason to scrap the census has nothing much to do with coercion (which is, in fact, minimal) or with cost (which is, in fact, minimal, too). The reason to scrap the mandatory census is that it, along with a great deal of other government fact-finding, is simply not necessary. Indeed, the government should have made this argument. After all, if the most statist countries of Old Europe are abandoning the coercive census, why shouldn’t we get rid of it, too? From this perspective, the government could have defended its decision as, well, liberal and progressive rather than as, well, conservative and reactionary.

The European consensus is that the census simply isn’t necessary.
It is fascinating when right wing loons embrace "the European consensus", but don't be fooled. As usual, people like Reynolds are just peddling bullshit dressed as chocolate mousse.

It is true that some European countries are moving away from the census as a statistical tool, but that is not because they have become libertarian utopias in the von Hayek sense. The Nordic countries, for example, are moving away from the census by substituting national administrative statistics, based on long established legislative infrastructures (as in not, not, not voluntary), to collect their data. Mr. Reynolds and the rest of Maggie Thatcher's Canadian Auxiliary, would like you to think that libertarianism is sweeping the old world. It is not.

Also, the followers of St. Maggie are not suggesting that we adopt the old world's administrative statistical infrastructure either. Since they are not suggesting a move toward a European administrative based statistics model, I have to conclude that they are simply trying to fool people into dumping the census for ideological reasons. Nice try folks, but go peddle your "chocolate-like" nonsense elsewhere
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Saturday, July 24, 2010

An Unfortunate Event

This is the reason strictly following the Geneva Conventions is a good thing. Always remember, it is not about whether one loves an enemy that determines how a prisoner should be treated. It is how you want your soldiers treated in return, if captured, that determines how you treat your prisoners. I am not naive, if these poor men are mistreated, the people who have been gung ho about torturing Taliban prisoners will be "shocked, shocked" at the treatment of good Christian souls. The fact that they were sanguine about torture when it was the other guy, will be conveniently forgotten. What we will hear instead is "See, we were right, the Taliban wouldn't live up to the Geneva Conventions anyway". Hate induced blindness is an unfortunate side effect of war.
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What A Surprise

The ex-Mr. Lady Black is against the long form census (for starters). Mr. Jonas' anti-government stance is sincere and comes from personal experience. However, his transmutation of the Census into a leading indicator of proto-communist/Nazi totalitarianism, is completely over the top. In other words, he is a perfect example of the type of person for whom Mr. Harper is crafting the "new" Canada, paranoid, angry and not a little out there.
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Fearless Prediction

The PMO will use Munir Sheikh's principled silence on the census, to smear him.
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More Enemies For The List

Christ, the Conservatives are going to need a super computer to keep track of all of their "enemies". Tony Clement has added Stats Can to the list of groups on which it is open season. Why else would he say in the Sun:
“I believe that Stats Canada should be an objective organization, a professional organization,”
Thereby implying that it isn't at the moment. This opens the door to every loon on Team Nutbar to claim that Stats Can is nothing but a Liberal front organization that controls our minds using Z rays. Way to go Tony. Your psychopathic master must be very pleased with you.
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Friday, July 23, 2010

Stockwell Day Thinking Alert

From the guy who told us the mighty Niagara flows south, comes word that his government is akin to the Nazis (or that Canadians are worse off than prisoners of war) because its agents asked how many bedrooms we had, back in 2006. I don't understand it either. As a side note, all of the craziness coming from the Conservatives may drive folks who neither like nor respect the official opposition, to coalesce around it in order to get rid of Team Nutbar. Just a thought.
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Idle Thought Of The Day

I am thinking of starting a "When is the next prorogation?" pool.
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Mr. Sheikh writes:
I want to take this opportunity to comment on a technical statistical issue which has become the subject of media discussion. This relates to the question of whether a voluntary survey can become a substitute for a mandatory census.

It can not.
Who are we to believe, the chief statistician of the country or a Conservative government that wouldn't know the truth if it bit it in the ass?

Update: Strangely enough, this gives Tumblin Tony an out, if only Harper allows it. He can say, "We understood that Stats Can had no problems with the volunteer survey, but I guess that was incorrect. We will give this a second look." However, the base is now stirred over this story and there may be no way for the Harperites to back down now without loss of face, among the faithful (read the comments to this story for their reactions.).
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This Just In

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has flown Munir Sheikh to the top of Mount Logan and has promised him "Everything he can see", if only Mr. Sheikh stays on at Statistics Canada and issues a statement of support for Harper's decision to make the long form census voluntary.

Update: Apparently, Mr. Sheikh preferred to jump off the mountain.
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Suggestions For Other Intrusive Rules Steve Could Abolish

1. Driving on the right hand side of the road. No government tells me where to drive.
2. Stopping for red lights. No government tells me when to stop.
3. Speed limits. No government tells me how fast or slow I can drive.
4. Drinking age. Why should the government tell me it's wrong to get a 5 year old drunk? I think it's frickin' hilarious.
5. Age of consent. Nuff said.
6. Gun Control. I want a gun, when I want one, not when some bureaucrat tells me it is ok. That neighbor of mine gets on my nerves.
7. Drop murder from the criminal code. See 6 above. We should be able to settle disputes like men.
8. Abolish Passport controls. Why does the government need to know my comings and goings?
9 Abolish Sin Numbers. They are the tools of the devil. I mean, they have the word "sin" right in the title.
10 Get rid of street addresses. My friends know where I live.
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Who Are Conservatives Protecting

By abolishing the long form census? Why, people like the commenter at the Sun who wrote, about another commenter:
Ryan, 'Common good' is a euphanism (sic) for liberal lies. You are an a**h*le. I bet you are also a 'new' Canadian.

unionsmasher, July 20th 2010, 10:31am
People like unionsmasher don't like "new" Canadians, liberals or "euphanisms". Thank God, they have people like Stephen Harper promoting the interests of the downtrodden "pure laine".
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Headlines You Are Unlikely To Read After Steve Finishes With StatsCan

Crime down last year, continues 10-year trend. The refrain from Conservatives will be "We don't believe it. Show us the statistics. Oh wait, ha, ha, ha."
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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Famous Last Words

Wrong Way Peter MacKay, yesterday:
So what happens if the sole engine in the new F-35 Lightning fails?

“It won’t,” Defence Minister Peter MacKay insisted on Friday. It was a bold prediction and one he will be remembered for making.
Two things. First, we won't take delivery of these fighters for several years and Petey may be safely back in the private sector, sucking at the teat of the very defense contractors he is shilling for today by that time. So, it is easy for him to breezily predict perfection in his single engine plane. Second, this plane is being built by the same folks who brought you the F-104 Starfighter. You will note that Canada bought that single engine plane also and we lost a lot of them. Pardon me if I seem a little skeptical about Petey's prediction.
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Stephen Harper's Governing Philosophy

In one sentence: Since Canadians insist on paying their taxes, we must spend the money as wastefully and thoughtlessly as possible until such time as we can convince them that taxes should be abolished.
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Friday, July 16, 2010

What Krugman Said. Part One Billion

From today's column:
But the real news here is the confirmation that Republicans remain committed to deep voodoo, the claim that cutting taxes actually increases revenues.

It’s not true, of course. Ronald Reagan said that his tax cuts would reduce deficits, then presided over a near-tripling of federal debt. When Bill Clinton raised taxes on top incomes, conservatives predicted economic disaster; what actually followed was an economic boom and a remarkable swing from budget deficit to surplus. Then the Bush tax cuts came along, helping turn that surplus into a persistent deficit, even before the crash.

But we’re talking about voodoo economics here, so perhaps it’s not surprising that belief in the magical powers of tax cuts is a zombie doctrine: no matter how many times you kill it with facts, it just keeps coming back. And despite repeated failure in practice, it is, more than ever, the official view of the G.O.P.
Our Conservative government is possessed by the same voodoo fever. I suspect that our finances will be in the same shape as the U.S., if the Conservatives are given enough time.
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Census "Mystery" Solved

There really is no mystery about why the Tories are scrapping the mandatory long form census. Like everything else Harper does, this is about appealing to the looniest members of his base. In this case, Harper is appeasing the black helicopters wing of the party. You know them, they are the same people who believe that long gun registration is the first step toward confiscation. Once you see the issue from that perspective, the Harperites' refusal to review this decision, in spite of overwhelming opposition, is easy to understand.

Update: I just watchec Power and Politics and they speculated that the census also generates data useful to groups asking for government programmes. The thinking is the government wants to turn to these groups and say "Prove it and pay for the study yourself" (unless the group in question are farmers. They will still have government paid for data. The Tories would never alienate the farm wing of their base. Hell, that is most of the base.).
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Fighter Jet Announcement

What we are likely to hear today: "Blah, blah, blah, support the troops. Blah, blah, blah, Liberal and NDP traitors. Blah, blah, blah, 16 billion is a small price to pay to support the troops. Blah, blah blah, we will find the money without raising taxes. Blah, blah, blah, we believe in fiscal restraint. Blah blah, blah, cut wages and pensions in the public service. Blah, blah, blah, farmers needn't worry, agricultural subsidies are safe. Blah, blah blah, however, city infrastructure will have to wait because we all support the troops."

You're welcome.
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Our Modern Media At Work

When dealing with the NDP over the inclusion of the government's former lawyer on the panel of "arbiters" the media must:

1. Treat the NDP member like the representative of the school A/V Club crashing the athletic banquet.

2. Dismiss any possible perceived conflict of interest in appointing a lawyer who until last month was working solely for the government, as impudence.

3. In short, treat the whole affair as yet another he said/he said moment, that has become the mother's milk of Canadian journalism.

It must make the PMO proud as punch to have such a well trained group of monkeys working in the Ottawa press corps.
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Iggy Needs To Apologize Immediately

To Stephen Harper and all of his followers. To compare Stephen Harper to the Devil, is a flat out insult. Satan is only the Prince of Lies, Stephen Harper is the King. H/t to Jeff Jedras.

P.S. I'm home from Europe and still jet lagged. Regular programming will resume as soon as I can figure out what time it is.
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Saturday, July 03, 2010

Hey Here Is A Surprise

Iggy is going to spend his summer telling rural Canada he is just as blue as Stephen Harper. Of course Liberal progressives will eat it up with a spoon.
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Friday, July 02, 2010

Who Is Krugman Describing

Anyone we know?
When I was young and naïve, I believed that important people took positions based on careful consideration of the options. Now I know better. Much of what Serious People believe rests on prejudices, not analysis. And these prejudices are subject to fads and fashions.
Of course Krugman was being naive, our Prime Minister has built a career on personal ideological prejudice.

Update: Note Krugman's despair at the stupidity of it all. I guess like most Americans, he has not been paying attention to the rise of our Dear Leader and his crack team of economic geniuses.

Update 2: And finally, a challenge to the MSM. If you ever get the chance to ask Harper another question, perhaps you can formulate it, using Krugman's final paragraph as its base:
So the next time you hear serious-sounding people explaining the need for fiscal austerity, try to parse their argument. Almost surely, you’ll discover that what sounds like hardheaded realism actually rests on a foundation of fantasy, on the belief that invisible vigilantes will punish us if we’re bad and the confidence fairy will reward us if we’re good. And real-world policy — policy that will blight the lives of millions of working families — is being built on that foundation.
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Thursday, July 01, 2010

Canada Day

Let's make it the last one under the misrule of Stephen Harper.
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Of Iceland And Canada

Krugman has some interesting numbers comparing Iceland with other European basket cases. It turns out that by not following the economically orthodox advice spouted by folks like our PM, Iceland has weathered its disaster better than its contemporaries, even though its economy was essentially destroyed by its banking class. Krugman finishes by writing this:
The moral of the story seems to be that if you’re going to have a crisis, it’s better to have a really, really bad one. Otherwise, you’ll end up taking the advice of people who assure you that even more suffering will cure what ails you.
Sadly, Canada's recession was not as bad as Iceland's and now were are going to gut ourselves with a dull knife, on the advice of a Prime Minister, who said there was no chance of a recession in the first place.
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