Tagged: bullshit

Bernard Trottier, Super Genius

Bernard Trottier is the Conservative member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore. He obviously gets his political insight from Free Republic.


“Ethical” op-eds

I’m really beginning to wonder if the Vancouver Sun editorial staff have gone missing or are vacation or something, such is the frequency of guest appearances on our local paper’s editorial page from the Calgary Herald. Today we are graced with Alberta oil is ‘ethical’. Right. The gist: Oil produced from Alberta’s tar sands, by way of Canada’s human rights and overall environmental record, is “ethically” superior to oil produced in the other large oil-producing nations. Oh, and the claims of the Tar Sand opposing activists are false.

Such is laziness of the writers they don’t even bother with constructing strawmen. What are these “false” claims of these perfidious activists? Who knows…they are false. Ipso facto. But ah-hah, the editorialist has found an environmentalist to agree with them!

That environmentalist is Patrick Moore. While noting Moore left the green movement it doesn’t note when: 1986. It also doesn’t mention his subsequent controversial and lucrative career speaking on behalf of corporate causes. But that is neither here nor there.

The human rights angle is a red herring. Are human rights arguments being leveled at the Alberta Tar Sands? No. Are environmental groups required to utilize human rights arguments? No. Environmental groups use environmental arguments. Human rights groups use human right arguments.

But isn’t it better to purchase oil from Canada than, say, Saudi Arabia the way some argue it’s better to purchase Fair Trade coffee (which, btw, lots of conservative think is bunk)? One has to remember that, while Canada benefits from royalities, oil isn’t purchased from “Canada”. It’s purchased from oil companies. And guess what? The oil companies in the Tar Sands are the same oil companies in the Middle East, Nigeria, Venezuela, etc.

For example: Royal Dutch Shell. Shell has a presence in the Alberta Tar Sands. Shell also has a presence in amongst many other places, Nigeria.

The WikiLeaks disclosure was today seized on by campaigners as evidence of Shell’s vice-like grip on the country’s oil wealth. “Shell and the government of Nigeria are two sides of the same coin,” said Celestine AkpoBari, of Social Action Nigeria. “Shell is everywhere. They have an eye and an ear in every ministry of Nigeria. They have people on the payroll in every community, which is why they get away with everything. They are more powerful than the Nigerian government.”

And while we are told the aforementioned House of Saud is too heinous to purchase oil from, they are apparently not heinous enough to sell them weapons. In fact, they’re Canada’s 3rd largest customer for arms.

Ah, ethics.

The palm trees of Wisconsin

Fox and the O’Reilly Factor show video depicting “union violence” in Madison, Wisconsin. Except there’s something a bit strange here. Can you guess what it is?

This is the network Stephen Harper thinks would make a fine addition to the Canadian mediaspace.

Today in reckless and deceptive fearmongering

Today’s Vancouver Sun has an article titled “Al-Qaida on brink of using nuclear bomb”. It is a most misleading headline. It’s actually a reprint from the Daily Telegraph which, while not my favourite British newspaper by a long shot, at least gives it’s version of the article the title “WikiLeaks: al-Qaeda ‘is planning a dirty bomb'”. A radiological “dirty” bomb and a nuclear weapon are not the same thing. One is nasty and can kill people. The other is nasty and can kill a whole lot of people. ie. a step up from a typical IED v. a true weapon of mass destruction. You learn this, sort of, in the body of the Sun article, but most people will scan the headline and freak out.

Actually reading the cable that directly relates to al Qaeda further dilutes the sensationalism. Here it is in full:

21. (C/NF) Terrorist acquisition of WMD was the next topic of major concern. Although there was a limited assessed capability for al-Qaeda and other groups to acquire WMD, the intent was clearly present, and there were ongoing credible reports of attempts to recruit the needed expertise. A “dirty” radiological IED program was assessed to be under active consideration by al-Qaeda.

Get that? al-Qaeda wants a dirty bomb [surprise!] but lacks capability. Things they would also like: Sharks with lasers in their eyes and a secret volcano headquarters. Furthermore, the Sun warns:

A leading atomic regulator has privately warned that the world stands on the brink of a “nuclear 9/11”.

In the Telegraph, we learn this regulator is Tomihiro Taniguchi, the deputy director-general of the IAEA. The Telegraph links to a cable seemingly in support of this (given the link is attached to the words “nuclear 9/11”) – but there is no mention of “nuclear 9/11”, Tomihiro Taniguchi or any mention of nuclear terrorism. What gives? Linked to the wrong cable? In fact, none of the links to cables seem to support the claims in the main article. Example two – “Acute safety and security concerns” is placed in quotes as if it’s, you know, a direct quotation. But the linked cable has no such quote. Ditto “small time hustler” in Lisbon. In this last example, the cable describes a substance seized by Burundian Intelligence that had been offered for sale by a local businessman. Of note: “There was no radiation alarm, and no other technical inspection of the material has taken place.” My quotes are in fact a direct quote. There is no mention of Lisbon, Portugal.

Most of the article relates to the lack of security around uranium mines and other such sites. What is missing in these later cases is any link to or even mention of al-Qaeda involvement.

What gives? This is either really sloppy or really deceptive. And this being the Torygraph and Vancouver Sun, I know which side I’m on: Both!

Stories about “dirty bombs” are nothing new. They come out every few years. Remember Jose Padilla? The question about the latest one is why now? And in pondering that the ongoing Egyptian revolution – and possibility of client state charting it’s own path – looms large. Scare stories are needed to undermine public support for the protesters.

Kash Heed’s Global reach

Old Global TV Logo

Image via Wikipedia

Surprise, Kash Heed is in trouble again. But that’s not what caught my eye here. It was this:

The warrant also exposed a revealing email exchange between Sall and Global TV reporter Catherine Urquhart.

“I can honestly say Kash would not be SG [solicitor-general] today if it hadn’t been for some key people behind the scenes,” Sall wrote to Urquhart on June 10, 2009.

“There were only truly 3 people that played a major role: Me, Peter Dhillon and yourself and Kash knows this,” he added.

“Peter was the money guy, I’m the brown tanned James Bond strategy girl chasing guy and you were like the communications director … your stories, coverage and timing gave Kash a lot of profile and built him a following from day 1 at West Van and then leading into the election.”

In response, Urquhart wrote, “Hey … that’s really sweet of you ….

I would think that would be considered <cough> unbecoming behaviour for a journalist, but that’s just me.

Your Liberal media…still not liberal. More like stenographers and, yes, communications directors.

UPDATE: More Heed-Urquhart shenanigans?

UPDATE 2: Ian Reid has more thoughts.

UPDATE 3: Somewhat amusing to see Global BC has posted exactly the same article as the Sun…sans the part with Urquhart. It’s there now, as is the “fair and balanced” line. Need to work on your messaging, Mr. Haysom.

UPDATE 4: Quote of the day! Global BC News Director Ian Haysom says the station is looking into the matter, but adds the station’s coverage on Kash Heed has remained fair and balanced. And somewhere, Rupert Murdoch smiles…

UPDATE 5: Gary Mason tweets…

Indeed. The people’s faith in the media might erode. Or something. Oy.

UPDATE 6: Urquhart taken off-air pending review of conduct.

Mowing the astroturf

The Dogwood Initiative’s Will Horter got to respond in the pages of the Sun to Vivian Krause’s, um, theories and I think he does a good job of demolishing the illogic and inconsistency of her arguments. As he points out, continuing the oil tanker ban is supported by the overwhelming majority of British Columbians, including key industries like fishing and tourism. Those that support lifting the ban are backed by a corporate consortium whose members have not, to date, been identified, and who are outspending those opposed by a hundred to one. As they say, read the whole thing and judge for yourself.

In the comments of the Georgia Straight, Vivian Krause wrote:

Whether its philanthropic money or corporate money, I believe that the origin should be disclosed.

To my knowledge, she has never publicly called for the identities of the corporations backing the Enbridge project to be made public.

I would only add that in her December 18th article Oil tanker ban plays into hands of U.S. foundations Krause makes the specific claim:

But no, U.S. foundations are only funding a tanker ban campaign for a strategic part of the B.C. coast

In just 30 seconds of Googling I discovered the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation – a foundation prominently mentioned by Krause – gave a grant of $148,348 to the Alaska Conservation Foundation who advocate for – you guessed it – “limiting ocean contaminants and industrial development – including offshore oil development – in polar seas.” If the aim is secure America’s oil supply, they’re doing it wrong…yadda yadda…

I also note with some amusement that in Harvey Oberfeld’s version of this story, it’s not a shadowy U.S. conspiracy to thwart oil exports to Asia, but an anti-American plot to thwart oil tanker traffic to the United States.

Always do the math yourself

Vancouver Sun reporters Tracy Sherlock and James Kwantes take dictation from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation on their claim that Canadians’ after tax income has shrunk. British Columbians’ are, it is said, affected in particular:

According to the CTF, a B.C. family of four with a single-income earner who makes $35,000 a year — receiving a 1.8-per-cent raise to account for inflation — will pay $384 more for health, CPP and EI premiums in 2011, the biggest increase for this demographic.

As is often the case, the math doesn’t quite add up. Norm Farrell does the number-crunching:

In fact, if that family received a 1.8% wage increase, the amount would be $630 for the year. That would lead to higher contributions to CPP and EI of $42.40 on the increase plus $17.50 for an overall EI rate increase. Those payments would give rise to higher benefit eligibility but, ignoring that and adding the $7 monthly increase for medical services results in the family paying $144 more for health, COO and EI premiums in 2011, a far cry from the $384 claimed by the CTF.

I really think it was the professional responsibility of Ms Sherlock and Mr. Kwantes to double-check the number themselves. Alas. To be fair, the Globe also provided stenography services to the CTF.

Update: So just how does BC compare? You see another misleading thing the CTF does is that it didn’t provide the actual amount for after-tax income, just alludes to the increase. Misleading because if you have a large % increase on a large amount then you could still be better off than a smaller % on a smaller amount.

Now I can’t vouch for the accuracy of this link, and it doesn’t say what is being included in the calculations, but it’s billed as the “Canadian Income Tax Calculator 2011”. And if you plug in $35,000, you’ll see BC is #2 in After-tax income, after Nunavut. Strangely, according this, you are taking home more in 2011 than in 2010.

It’s simply a crude fabrication…

What is? This…

“Canada’s oil sands industry operates within some of the most stringent and comprehensive regulations for resource development anywhere in the world.”

As I have brought up before, and how The Tyee outlines fully today, not according to 3 reports by the nation’s leading science body and the government’s own scientists and advisors. AKA…Environment Canada’s Oilsands Advisory Panel, the Royal Society of Canada and Ottawa’s commissioner of the environment.

Couple this with Transport Canada’s alarming calculations for the likelihood of oil tanker spills and the general lack of preparedness for such by the relevant maritime authorities.

But The Tyee has received donations from the Endswell Foundation, and even though it links directly to the reports so people can see and judge for themselves, ipso facto it must be an arm of the C.I.A.

WikiLeaks: Vancouver – A plot revealed

Well…speak of the devil – the latest WikiLeaks release has a dispatch from Vancouver…and it reveals a long-hatched Yankee plot of incredible complexity to install a Manchurian Candidate into the Mayor’s office in a bid to block oil tanker traffic to Asia.



Compare and contrast: Vivian Krause edition

There has never been a major oil spill in Vancouver harbour, but this coming Sunday protestors who say a spill is inevitable will take kayaks and canoes out into the water to stare down oil tankers.

Vivian Krause, National Post.

1.81 We found that, while Transport Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard have done risk assessments related to ship-source oil spills, the approaches to conducting these assessments have not been consistent or systematic, nor are there formal processes for ensuring that risks are being reassessed on an ongoing basis. As a result, the knowledge of risks in Canada regarding ship-source oil spills, which is important for emergency planning, is neither complete nor up to date. Furthermore, the emergency management plans of the Canadian Coast Guard and Environment Canada, which are important federal players when responding to ship-source oil spills, are not all up to date.

2010 Fall Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development

Now how could any “real Canadian” have any “legitimate” concerns about oil spills in Vancouver harbour?