Protest does work
here The richest Americans plot to take over the 2012 election hereand here Do Canadian Corporate tax cuts produce jobs? Answer a big fat NO here Chris Hedges on why he is suing Obamahere
As most newswatchers know a pretty ugly LOCKOUT is happening right now in London Ont. Caterpillar Equipment, the largest maker of construction and mining equipment in the world has decided cut the wages of one its Plant's workers in half.
It can't be because they are a poor Company according to the Toronto Star "The Illinois-based company announced Thursday that fourth-quarter earnings jumped 60 per cent. Caterpillar reported net income of $1.55 billion (all figures U.S.), or $2.32 per share, up from $968 million, or $1.47 per share last year." So what is it? The only answer must be – "because we can".
How do we deal with the behaviour of bullies? With disdain and a complete understanding of the behaviour – it will happen in the absence of resistance. Also in the Toronto Star today was a column written by Reg Cohn, their Provincial Affairs columnist. He is suggesting that the Province should use their clout to tell Caterpillar their behaviour is unacceptable. He also suggests that as Ontario, and Canada are big users of the equipment suggestions of a boycott might be helpful to a resolution.
We at the BR would go further and state unequivocally that a boycott is the only way to go. Every local Municipality and Provincial government should be pressured not make any capital expenditures on infrastructure or plant equipment coming from Caterpiller until this LOCKOUT is settled. So all you Council watchers out there should be looking at the upcoming capital budgets for such purchases. Every Council in the County should be asked to sign on to a moratoriam on purchasing Caterpiller products and each Council should be told by activists and others who are offended by Caterpillaer not to even think about spendiing one bloody red cent with such a Company until they change their policies.
Is the way our rulers have decided that they know best and won't broach any backtalk. The recent declaration that environmental groups are infiltrating and subverting the Environmental Assessment process in the Northen Pipeline debate because some of them have accepted foreign money is a perfect example. Never mind the fact that of the ten pipeline proponents seven are wholly foreign owned and pay foreign money to participate in the process. So as far as the Federal Government is concerned not only will they decide the end of the process by controlling the EA but will get to define who can speak to them. A bit like the Fordists in TO last month stating that all of the intervenors in the budget process were speaking out of their arses and shouldn't have been let in the door because they didn't suggest how to cut, instead they demanded that no cuts should take place. Obviously an contrary opinion to the administration's means that you are damned from the start. Rather like the Mayor of Cobourg having proposed changes to the Victoria Park rules distributed even before those rules had been approved by Council. Called "Droit du Roi" it means that the King rules. And we abolished rule of the Monarchy a couple of hundred years ago. But in the absence of citizen vigilence it will always emerge when despots and tyrants subvert natural justice and "play by the rules". Never mind they control the rules and can rig the game any time they want.
Oh what a mess we have in 'gayland':
For those who have been sleeping for the past twenty-four hours a shitstorm has erupted in the blogosphere about a case wherein two lesbians wanted a divorce. They were married seven years ago in Toronto and because they were Foreigners the divorce was denied because they have't resided in this Country for the required one year before filing the papers. But the stinkeroo wasn't that. During the Crown's submission a Department of Justice lawyer moved that the divorce will never be granted because in the eye's of the Government (read PMSH) the marriage was not valid because they (the couple) came from Countries that do not allow same-sex marriages. Wow, that sentence has thousands of same-sex peole going nuts and the CBC'c National led with the story for longer than any headliner for days. Dan Savage, a gay and ascerbic blogger, excoriated the ruling from Seattle and sums the situation up far better than the BR - read it here. Don't expect this to go away FF Charles McVety has got this bit between his teeth and wants PMSH to say that he agrees with the DoJ. Add this to the moves by backbench Reformatory MPs to get the Abortion debate back on the agenda and maybe Jean Chretian will be proven correct a little earlier than he predicted in his famous fundraising letter of last year.
What fury has this guy unleashed?:
Newt Gingrich, is one of the eight rich dead white people who want to be the next leader of the Free World. He is a puzzle to most observers and unelectable to the masses, but that doesn't stop him from being in the race. He is kept there by an organisation called a "SuperPAC" this is a secretive fundraising committee beholden to noone other than the recipient, who by law can't even have any contact with it. Anyway Newt's SuperPAC (WInning Our Future) has paid for a twenty-eight minute documentary that blasts the Frontrunner in the race – Mitt Romney – for being a "vulture capitalist" who has destroyed jobs even though he claims to have created them. Watch it here (get a cup of coffee before clicking this – it's a long one) and see what has the mainstream Republican Party outraged. Amid accusations that he is tearing the GOP apart Newt is unrepentent, saying, "I just wanted to let you see what the Democrats could do if they wanted."
Politics sure ain't what it used to be
We would love to comment on the next Council agenda but in defiance of its own bylaw it has not been published yet. Friday 0730hrs.
BTW, if any readers want to check out the blogosphere at any time the best site to do this on is Progressive Bloggers, an aggregator that changes content constantly. A rare gem of a place!
This is going to be one helluva nerdy post. The NDP leadership race is on and there are now eight candidates, for those not paying attention one guy – Chisholm – left the race yesterday citing his lack of French as an impediment to winning. Meanwhile those members of the NDP are aware of the race simply because of the polling company that is ringing every other day for a poll. As well the year end reminders of our generous tax system tells us that we are dealing with seventy-five cent dollars when we donate to the party. So the members are aware of the race because of two irritants. But wait until the members get the voting instructions – they are a bloody nightmare, not because of the way it is completed but because of the permutations, computations and any other 'ations that a nerd can develop.
Now we at the BR do not do numbers, so the opinions about the voting machinations can best be explained by a blog at Pundits'Guide.ca. This site is a very good site during election campaigns for indepth analysis of riding by riding predictions. The owner; Alice Funke, has now turned her impressive talent for numbers into, for the simpletons amongst us, into producing a post about the way she sees the voting at the NDP convention going down - here.
For those who don't follow links the position is simple – as each member of the party gets one vote many outcomes are possible because of the way the vote is structured. Each member will receive a mail-in ballot, and for those who fill it in it a preferential ballot and mail it within the deadline, has to rank all eight candidates in order of preference. For example you like Brian Topp (and we at the BR are waiting to see about jumping on this bandwagon, but as non-conformists we don't naturally fall in line just because the Party nabobs are falling all over him) you would rank him number 1 and rank his major opponents – Nash and Mulcair -as numbers eight, seven, six and so on. The idea is that you want your candidate to win and strike blows at his opponents at the same time. Normally "plumping" (only voting for one candidate) would be the name of the game but we don't know if an incomplete ballot (one with less than all boxes checked) is a spoiled ballot.
But there is another option, and this been designed to give some excitement to the process. You don't have vote by mail you can vote on the day, online as you follow the proceedings. This vote you will vote in the traditional way and the losers will drop off the ballot in the traditional fashion. Now what has brought this up is the notion put out by pundit Ian Capstick that any of the front runners who think that they might not win [and who's egos will allow them to even think that? - ed] should drop off now and strike a deal with a competitor just to maintain influence. Become a kingmaker perhaps?
So many questions and the one for us at the BR is just how effective this hybrid will work. If the candidates decide to 'lock-up' their support by having their supporters vote by mail just how many votes will be left for the convention to deal with. If for instance there is a runaway vote and a majority win by one candidate before the voting day will the winner declared then and there and make the voting day ceremony reduntant? When will the counters tell us how many people voted by mail and just how many votes are neede to make the day meaningful? For instance it could happen that the mai-in ballots may well be the majority because people fail to vote on voting day. After all there will never be a one hundred percent turnout. Could be that if we don't know the mail-in numbers before hand we could be sitting around twiddling our thumbs and giving the voting time to the delegates at the COnvention more time to debate motions because voting is not needed. As was said befor this post is very nerdy and being dippers items such as all of the above will debated over and over again, probably to no conclusion. But sure does make for good discussion.
As the sages say, "It's the little things that get you down" Following that dictum, we at the BR would not be surprised one iota if a very sharp independent lawyer offended by the actions of the ruling party (the Cons) picked up the trail of a judge's ruling and filed charges against the ruling party over its activities in the Riding of Outrement and its sitting MP Irwin Cotler. In that Riding the voters have been assailed by robocalls telling them that Mr Cotler was going to resign and they, the voters, had better start to look at the Conservative Party for representation. Mr Cotler complained to the Speaker of the House stating his personal priviliges had been breached and many questions have been hurled at the Cons this week. Con House Leader then stood up and stated that because these lies had been rumoured the robocalls fell under free speech and the Libs had better stop whining about it. This arrogant answer has led to all sectors of punditry and the media exposing this opinion as rubbish, even the defenders are not repeating such an answer. The controversy has yet to play itself out and who knows where it will end.
Well look South where a Maryland jury on Tuesday convicted Paul E. Schurick, the 2010 campaign manager for Republican ex-Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., of four counts of election law violations stemming from an Election Day decision to make thousands of recorded telephone calls into African-American homes telling likely voters that the Democratic candidate was on his way to winning — implying there was no need for them to vote.Now you may say what's the connection? This where a sharp lawyer comes in. Acting on behalf of MP Irwin Cotler a case could be made for election rule violations even though an election hadn't taken place because of the robocalls prior to the election people had been induced to switch or stay at home. A case might also be made for damages already based on the fact that election day results may be prejudiced by these robocalls. All in all a field day fore legal and political wonks.
The young people of St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Cobourg will perform two showings of a Christmas pageant entitled; “Miracle on Main St.” They take place on Saturday, December 10th at 7.00 pm and on Sunday, December 11th at 1.00 pm.
The pageant, written by Celeste and David Clydesdale, has an engaging script and an upbeat blend of new songs and traditional carols which chronicle the dilemma of a group of children who want to celebrate Christmas in public but face opposition from politically correct residents of a town. The mayor of that town is played by Peter Delanty, former mayor of Cobourg.
Tickets for the performances cost $10.00 each or $20.00 for a family of four and are available from St. Peter’s church office at King and College Sts., Cobourg (opposite Victoria Park). Tel. 905 372 3442.
A good start: The way that the occupy movements finished their occupations was a model of decorum considering the possibility of a G20 style intervention. They have made big points and are in a position to go beyond the message. By moving out of the parks and into god knows where the public, and the lazy media, can concentrate on the message not the number of tents in a park.
A disgusting display of police violence: this image came from a video that has gone viral, video here. As much of the media has already commented: Daily Mail, Globe and Mail and others the BurdReport will let these reports do the talking. One note is that this officer is a University policeman, someone down the pecking order in the realm of police prestige. One step above Mall Cop but still able to perform appallingly in the line of duty. Perhaps our friends in the local police services could comment on this behaviour in contrast to way they might have done it.
In praise of "Grumpy Old Men": Aaron Wherry of Macleans magazine has a column that follows the House of Commons Question Periods. Yesterday he related the mock outrage assumed by the Minister of Natural Resources – Joe Oliver. He is insulted, as a Senior Citizen, by a comment made by an NDPer about "Grumpy Old Men". Mr Oliver's forays into Parliamentary debate can be seen by this quote from Aaron Wherry of Macleans magazine, in this column - "Recent weeks have been spent metaphorically shaking his fist at the official opposition and imploring them to get off his metaphorical lawn. He has linked them to Hugo Chavez and “European socialists” and “jet-setting Hollywood stars” and, worst of all, “European bureaucrats.” He has said that their only priority is to protect the interests of “their foreign socialist comrades and billionaire U.S. limousine liberals.” He has accused them of standing in the way of social services for children and health care for the elderly. He has ventured, in the course of a single sentence, that “NDP members have never met a job creating private sector policy or project that they do not want to kill, a tax they do not want to raise, a regulation they do not want to impose, a freedom they do not want to curtail, an issue they do not try to use to divide Canadians, and a fictitious problem they do not want the government to solve at great cost.” One day he concluded his remarks with a cry of “send in the clowns!”. And this guy gets upset as being described as a GOM! [editor's note As a person who will be collecting his first OAS cheque in days I am very proud to be described as a GOM, it comes with the pension cheque.]
Back to the future: Monday evening Council will be updating its bylaw that bans snowmobiles and ATVs on Town roads. This issue was the first real issue I saw firsthand after arriving in Cobourg many moons ago. A friend of mine was outraged at the move and if I remember correctly there was a drivepast of skidoos that night. Perhaps the last time it has happened, in a mass. What brings this issue to the fore is not apparent as nobody has seen an ATV or skidoo on the roads for forty years, and if they have the present bylaw should be adequate.
Which is more obscene – the F-Bomb or closure on a Budget debate in the House of Commons? MP Pat Martin is being excoriated by some, for tweeting an F-Bomb as a reaction to the procedural moves made by the ruling regime on Wednesday evening. An obviously frustrated democrat, Pat Martin is as outraged as others about the way this majority government is using its dictatorial powers to shut down debate at every chance. "We have a mandate!" they tell us all. Yeo they've got a mandate – 41% of 51% = definitely a majority. But back to the obscenity, is an F-Bomb one any more? Read about the issue here
The policing issue has been heating up the folks on the facebook group "Port Hope Politics". As of the time of writing this post (1100hrs Thursday) 89 comments had been posted since Monday morning. The decision to look at who will police Port Hope obviously has struck a nerve amongst the citizens (well those who inhabit the group anyway). As an observer, from Cobourg – who is in favour of a Regional Police service, it is encouraging to see this post <snip>."By the way there have been something like 84 comments in this thread and I don't think that I have read 1 that prefers the OPP because they— do a better job— only that they —might —be a small percentage cheaper.To me that really is a sad commentary"<snip>. As an aside the survey that the Port Hope Police sent out to approximately 7,000 households is here. Look at the PPoint pages that talk about customer satisfaction and one will see that the Rural satisfaction rate (46.7)% is some 17 points lower than the Urban rate (63.4%). The OPP lost on the main survey point – customer satisfaction, bet the Council of the day will not look at that one. So what's it going to be Port Hope, a cheaper and less available OPP as opposed to a Town Force rated as superior for the levels of satisfaction? I guess you only get what you pay for in this decision.
The Occupy Movement, now that the pundits have time to slag or approve of the situation and the Municipalities have being sweeping the occupiers from the parks that they have settled in for the past five weeks what is theconsensus? The way we, at the BR, see it is that the OWS movement has changed politics for ever. The issues they are pushing – the alienation of voters from the politicians, the monetary inequity in the world economies, the institutionalised aimlessness of the well educated and underemployed – are all valid issues and any politician that ignores them in the next elections will be toast, Obama included, despite the fact that not one of the GOP candidates is in reality. For those who tell the OWS to vote in the next election listen up. Congress has been bought by the 1% so why should the 99% participate in a sham process. If anybody ever thinks that this process of "fixing the economy" is nothing more than a fix to get the 1% to control everything should read this Rothschild’s Puppet Mario Monti, Italy’s New PM
The PH pumps: The pic on the left shows the catastrophic failure suffered by one of the two dysfunctional pumps at the Port Hope Water Treatment plant. It is hard not to speak to anybody who lives on the Lakeshore that doesn't have an opinion about any aspect of this event. From the 'mechanics', who believe that such a failure is premature and preventable, to the 'mayorbashers' who believe that the event should have not happened had there been a mayor in place that took an interest in the Town's affairs opinions abound. It is also hard to believe that the pump, as shown in the pic, didn't have any warning systems online to make somebody aware of the problem. Noise and vibrations should have been a giveaway. But it now seems that this state of the art facility was automated and monitored by sensors and robots, makes you wonder what happened to the old guy with the tuning stick? The questions are still out there and whether PH will ever find out the cause and then obtain compensation from the designers and builders is the main question. The bottom line is simple – 30 year pumps should not fail after 5 and if they were prone to failure why was there no detection system, and why no spare pump parts on the shelf?
The Ford tapes: After a couple of days of controversy, which do not seem to be slowing down, the Mayor of Toronto – Rob Ford – is in a p****ing match with the progressive media. It's all about a call he made to 911 where it has been reported that he was profane and abusive to the operator. It has boiled down to a "he said, she said" situation and the man in the centre of it all, RF refuses to release the tapes that would exonerate him. Logic dictates that perhaps he is not being truthful this time. He has a history of prevarication and lying so it is not beyond suspicion that he is doing it again this time. Just release the damn tapes.
The unnecessary 30: PMSH has announced that 30 new MPs will be created to cover off population increase. How about making the desired ratio of 105,000 residents in a riding to 1 MP larger? Why do we need to create 30 more people who have little to contribute. The great majority of Pols are trained seals parotting the Party Line. Do we really need more of these people?
How many leadership candidates should there be: The number of people who want to be the Leader of the NDP is expected to grow to 8 by week's end. This is a peculiar system. Democracy is not served by having many candidates chasing one position. The last Liberal Leadership race produced too many hopefuls some of whom are still paying off the debts. Now everybody has a right to run, but the party should be realistic. Only two or three of the bunch will merit serious consideration, there must be a primary system that winnows the race to a manageable number (try three – ed). A two part race conducted amongst the members by means of an internet vote would result in a meaningful leadership convention. Having 'also-rans' in the race does nothing to maximise the 'oomph' needed, from a race, to boost party popularity. So Folks in the NDP change the rules to eliminate the weaker candidates.
What to make of the public spectacle of Jack Layton's death. On one hand you have a visible outpouring of unreleased grief and testimony (click on the pic for an example – amazing shot of Nathan Phillips Square before the rains wiped it all out) and on the other you have questionable comments from pundits. Both Christie Blatchford column here and Barbara Kay column here (coincidentally both writing for the National Post – makes one think about editorial direction) being panned for their contributions to the debate. Here at the BR we think that perhaps the State Funeral is a bit over the top but on the other hand supply fuels demand and it appears that if one had the casket in every city in the land people would be lined up to visit it. What irks the BR is the unseemly haste in speculating about both the death of the NDP. because Jack was in charge, and the rush to anoint the next leader, whomever that may be and the pundits have supplied many lists of possible.
It is the last point that the BR wishes to address – who should the next leader be? There is a clear choice; the past or the future. As with the Liberal Party the NDP must skip a generation in its search for a leader. This is because the varieties of people that came out in the last election, especially in Quebec, will run away from the Party just as fast as they flocked in if we have another dead white man at the helm. This is why the names put forward must be younger than 55. Youth, and 55 is not youth, will be 58 in the next election. We do not want to see a person, eligible for the CPP, anywhere near the podium. If we look at demographics one will notice that the older sector of the population votes often and not for the NDP. Those same demographics also show that support for the NDP comes from Progressives willing to vote for the Liberals or the NDP. This voting group will get bigger as they become older so it is essential that the leader connect with younger voters. You don't do this with older candidates. Bill Blaikie, Thomas Mulcaire, Peggy Nash, all of those are too old and don't connect.
As we recognise, in the defiance of conventional political thinking, that retail politics depends on image not substance the NDP must select a leader that is charismatic, bi-lingual and pragmatic. Rooted in social democracy and willing to take the assault for being so from the opposition and the MainStreetMedia. We have over a hundred MPs many from Quebec, some of those will fit the bill, look at Jack's appointments to the shadow cabinet – they are impressive, just because the pundits write them off for being too young or unknown, is no excuse for not looking at them. As with all pundits we at the BR have our own ideas but will wait for a fuller discussion to reveal the candidate.
This guy said that "Every penny has been accounted for!" Minister John Baird is proud of his accomplishments, that is he doled out billions during his time as Minister in charge of the Infrastructure programme – the Canada Action Plan. You may have seen some of the projects because, although they are supposed to be taken down, the big signs that were paid for by the CAP proudly proclaim the holes that money was shoveled into.
Cobourg received just over eighteen million (from the Feds and Province) dollars to help build its new Community Centre located on D'Arcy St and the rebuilding of the street leading to it. But try and get the information that shows where the money went to and you are up against a wall of paperwork, intransigence, municipal indifference and private sector secrecy. So has every penny been accounted for? Yes and No. The Town of Cobourg was the applicant for the money and as such was the main paymaster. They, the Town, submitted bills to Mr Baird's office for reimbursement for the money paid to the prime contractor – Giffels Corporation. The invoices to the Town, from Giffels Corp., detailed the reasons for payment, i.e. 100% completion of item A, 75% completion of item B and so on. At no time on any of the invoices was the Town able to identify the names of the sub-contractors used by Giffels Corporation, because they were never listed. According to Stephen Peacock, the Town's CAO, that information may not be available to the Town because of corporate secrecy arrangements, and they haven't asked. "Giffels would not tell anybody how much they paid the subs because it may give away their competitive edge." So much for following the money trail. It stops in the office of the Director of Finance for the Town of Cobourg – Mr Ian Davey. However a list of the sub-contractors is on its way to the BR, but that will only show how many local people worked on the job, another issue that will be dealt with later.
But back to the issue of accounting for every penny. Mr Peacock is convinced that everything was above board because he said that the Town had compliance teams working with Giffels to check the trades and materials going into the project. "These teams monitored all phases of construction for quality and industry standards measured against construction norms, For instance these teams knew what the installation should have cost and they watched to see if we got what we paid for. We only paid the main contractors' bills we do not know what they paid their subs." he told the BR. When Mr Davey, the Director of Finance for the Town, spoke to the BR he told us about the invoicing arrangements and when asked if, as custodian of the public money, he was worried about financial shenanigans further down the money chain (this was asked because the Toronto Star had uncovered a minor skimming scandal in a municipality they were tracking) his answer to the administration of public funds, that the Town was responsible for, was revealing. "We did our due diligence by getting quotes and then holding the contractor to that price." So much for being able to account for everyone of the dollars that flowed through the Town's accounts.
So there you have it folks Mr Baird, unless he sends in his audit teams to follow each and every invoice that went to Giffels Corporation, will never know where every penny went. All he knows, at the moment is that Cobourg received $18.26 million dollars and Cobourg paid $27.4 million dollars to Giffels Corporation. Where it went from there is Giffels's secret. So as usual Mr Baird is winging it and just because he said it we should believe him. Well Thank you Mr Baird all we know is that we have a shiny building that cost $27.4 million, and nothing else. But because the Town believes it got what it paid that should be enough to stop nosey taxpayers from asking enquiring questions.
Now is the time to discuss this CETA trade agreement. As with all nasty proposals this one is being pushed in the dog days of summer. Watch this video and do some serious thinking.
This topic appeared before Cobourg Council when Elma Parker spoke last month. In typical fashion the pols referred it to Staff. I wonder if Staff will see this a huge threat to their jobs and write the report in an unfavourable light? We wait with bated breath. The FCM has expressed concern so perhaps it's on the Mayor's radar.
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