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We Pivot: Stop Fact-Checking Christy Clark

We’ve learned a few things. But we need to pick up the pace of wisdom. As we pivot to a new world that is suffering from deeper entrenched tendencies of fascism and contempt for truth, we need to stop wasting … [Read more]

We Pivot: The Globe and Mail Just Punked the Leap Manifesto

You’ll notice in this graphic that as the Leap Manifesto linked to an anti-pipeline op-ed in the Globe and Mail in Facebook, the subhead brutally misrepresented the article. Either it was an error, sadly, or it was an intentional opposite … [Read more]

The Canadian Progressive: Julian Assange Statement on the US Presidential Election

In this statement issued on the eve of 2016 U.S. Presidential election, Julian Assange defends WikiLeaks’ publication of the DNC Leaks and the Clinton political campaign and Foundation email leaks (Podesta Emails). “The right to receive and impart true information is the guiding principle of WikiLeaks,” says Assange.

The post Julian Assange Statement on . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: Julian Assange Statement on the US Presidential Election

We Pivot: My Canada Doesn’t Arrest Journalists

My Canada respects citizen and journalist free speech. My Canada respects the role of the media in enhancing democracy. My Canada does not cast a chill on political participation. But … [Read more]

Politics, Re-Spun: We Need to Prepare for Those Worse Than Trump

We can't just worry about Trump, but all those for whom he is paving the way. #Trump #TrumpTapes #SoftFascism #cdnpoli #bcpoli

— Politics, Re-Spun (@PoliticsReSpun) October 8, 2016

It’s one thing to lower the bar, but with Trump, someone pulled out the jackhammer and has dug through the floor.

But let’s not . . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: We Need to Prepare for Those Worse Than Trump

Politics and its Discontents: A Very Small Victory

In a seemingly endless battle, even small victories deserve to be noted. And it is indeed a small victory on the climate-change front that The Star’s public editor, Kathy English, reports on in today’s edition.

In dismissing a complaint against the Toronto Star’s publication of a New York Times report about repercussions of climate change on the Louisiana coast, Canada’s National NewsMedia Council has affirmed two important principles.

First, the council indicated that fair and accurate reporting on some subjects — most importantly, climate change — need not engage in what is known in journalism as “false balance” – that is, a perceived need for journalists to seek out “the other side” of a controversial issue when the overwhelming scientific consensus strongly supports one side.

False balance wrongly seeks to provide equal weight to two sides of an argument when in fact the evidence-based information indicates there is no real argument.

In adjudicating the complaint, brought by Georgetown resident Pav Penna in response to a New York Times article attributing climate change as a reason for the relocation of residents of Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana, the Council told Penna

… it is a journalistic standards organization, not “an arena for assessment of or debate on deep science” and pointed out that the article did not say that climate change is the sole reason for changes on Isle de Jean Charles.

“Journalistic standards related to fairness and balance has been satisfied in the article’s noting of factors such as subsidence and channel cutting,” it stated. “Council finds this is a reasonable balance considering the weight of scientific and expert views.”

In the greater scheme of things, this victory perhaps means very little, but at least it establishes the principle that fair and balanced reporting does not require the inclusion of those that hew to ‘junk science’ and other similar crackpot ideas that seek to deny the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is not simply ‘a theory among theories,’ but rather an established fact.

Those who take exception are, of course, free to read the favourite organs of the far right, including The Sun and The National Post, both of whom rarely let facts get in the way of a good screed.

. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: A Very Small Victory

In-Sights: News from the echo chamber

Columnist Vaughn Palmer reports concerns expressed by Moody’s Investors Service about growing BC Hydro debt. The agency stated the obvious, which is that numerous capital projects are adding billions to the public utility’s debt and higher electricit… . . . → Read More: In-Sights: News from the echo chamber

In-Sights: News from the echo chamber

Columnist Vaughn Palmer reports concerns expressed by Moody’s Investors Service about growing BC Hydro debt. The agency stated the obvious, which is that numerous capital projects are adding billions to the public utility’s debt and higher electricity rates or contributions from government are inevitable.

Palmer repeats Moody’s judgement that Hydro’s financial metrics “are among the weakest of Canadian provincial utilities.” However, the Vancouver Sun pundit provides an inaccurate explanation of why the situation exists. Readers here know about sixty billion reasons for weakness, from independent power producers alone. Buying massive amounts of unneeded power at three times market value certainly contributes to weak financial metrics. So does selling to heavy industry or exporting electricity for less than the price BC Hydro pays to purchase power. Perhaps that information wasn’t in the press notes provided by BC Liberals.

Palmer blames not the Liberals who’ve held power for 15 years; the predecessors must share responsibility, even if dramatic financial changes are recent. Palmer wrote:

Successive provincial governments have siphoned $6 billion in dividends from Hydro over the past quarter century, about two thirds of it borrowed, as Rob Shaw reported in The Vancouver Sun Tuesday.

It is silly to suggest only 2/3 of BC Hydro’s payments to government were borrowed funds. Since 2001, BC Hydro has paid $10.3 billion to governments for dividends, water use, capital taxes and local services. Had those transfers not been made, the retained cash would have paid for new investments and kept term debt near zero at least until Christy Clark took control of the Premier’s office.

Palmer writes about other problems with BC Hydro financials:

Then there’s Hydro’s massive expansion into the realms of deferred accounting under the B.C. Liberals…

But, we need not worry about dividends, or about deferred expenses, he implies, even if BC’s Auditor General recently expressed major concerns. Palmer tells us:

The Liberals have begun to rein in both abuses…

In addition to that reassurance, we’re told the Liberals have been conservative. The Moody’s report is quoted:

No income nor economic impacts from LNG development and activities have been incorporated in its budget forecast.

The claims of income and economic impacts have certainly been incorporated in Liberal Party pronouncements but no self-respecting finance ministry officials took the promises of LNG income seriously. They could not when Liberals had signed away the right to taxes and gas resource rents from LNG companies. Government loyalists in the Press Gallery bought the Prosperity Fund nonsense but, unlike officials, they rely on press releases, not facts.

Palmer continues the current Liberal messaging:

Looking ahead, the main risks that could tip the outlook from stable back to negative include political pressures leading to “a loss of fiscal discipline…”

Loss of fiscal discipline is code for spending on education, healthcare, disability benefits and other social needs. Liberals are OK with billions spent on bridges, roads, dams, transmission lines and other projects that put money into the pockets of their financial supporters. But, Premier Clark’s Government views expenditures on needy citizens as undisciplined. They want that message repeated by friendly media.

Some political pundits are like movie stunt fighters, throwing what seem to be heavy punches but never landing hurtful blows. The faux-journalists carry messages for causes they support or for organizations that hold their sympathies but, to be effective, they must create appearances of fair-minded neutrality. Without that, a pundit might as well work for Black Press.

As usual, let us look at BC Hydro’s financial statements to see what the debt trends look like. However, remember that BC Hydro owes tens of billions of dollars to private power producers and that’s a creation entirely by Liberals.

. . . → Read More: In-Sights: News from the echo chamber

Politics, Re-Spun: Permanent Delusion, Rex Murphy and Rob Ford

I can’t watch this. I can’t. Rex Murphy’s ode to Rob Ford includes this quote: “Mr. Ford was one of the most remarkable ordinary people Toronto has ever produced.” Here’s another perspective; you decide: To create and solidify their base, Ford and his backers used a strategy that has proven successful elsewhere. It is a … Continue reading Permanent Delusion, Rex Murphy and Rob Ford

. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Permanent Delusion, Rex Murphy and Rob Ford

Politics, Re-Spun: Permanent Delusion, Rex Murphy and Rob Ford

I can’t watch this. I can’t. Rex Murphy’s ode to Rob Ford includes this quote: “Mr. Ford was one of the most remarkable ordinary people Toronto has ever produced.” Here’s another perspective; you decide: To create and solidify their base, Ford and his backers used a strategy that has proven successful elsewhere. It is a … Continue reading Permanent Delusion, Rex Murphy and Rob Ford

. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Permanent Delusion, Rex Murphy and Rob Ford

Alberta Politics: Unite-the-right poll results ring alarm bells and raise interesting questions, none of which are asked by the media

PHOTOS: A pollster asks a typical Albertan if she’d prefer to vote for a united Wildrose-PC Party … or the NDP. Actual Alberta pollsters and their subjects may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Pollster Quito Maggi, Alberta Prosperity Fund … . . . → Read More: Alberta Politics: Unite-the-right poll results ring alarm bells and raise interesting questions, none of which are asked by the media

Politics and its Discontents: Democracy’s Lifeblood Is Slowing Draining Away

There are a number of blogs that I read on a regular basis. There is Owen with his superb synopses and wry, informed commentary. There is The Mound of Sound, whose deep research and informed commentary provide much-needed information on both domestic a… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Democracy’s Lifeblood Is Slowing Draining Away

In-Sights: Distortions and half-truths but mostly outright lies

February 13, 2013, Premier Christy Clark announced:
…the new British Columbia Prosperity Fund to ensure communities, First Nations and all British Columbians benefit from the development of a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry…

LNG development is poised to trigger approximately $1 trillion in cumulative GDP within British Columbia over the next 30 years and that means more than $100 billion will flow directly to the Prosperity Fund.

Province wide, LNG is expected to create on average 39,000 annual direct, indirect and induced full-time jobs during a nine-year construction period. As well, there could be as many as 75,000 full-time jobs required once all LNG plants are in full operation…

Factsheet

…Projected total revenues to government are estimated between $130 billion and $260 billion over the next 30 years. In order to maximize the benefits of these developments to future generations of British Columbians, the provincial government is establishing a new British Columbia Prosperity Fund…

During the election campaign, Liberals promised that LNG revenues would not only ensure a debt free British Columbia but gas production would also fund essential spending for health care, education and social services. They claimed their plan demonstrated the superiority of BC Liberal financial management because, after almost 40 years, Alberta’s Heritage Fund contained only $17 billion, a fund accumulation 1/10 or 1/20 the rate intended for B.C.

So that we don’t forget this good news, Northern Insight will calculate the accrued income that is coming our way. It updates regularly.

First Pamela, we’d have to move to Norway.

Bringing us some of the news that’s fit to print, and a little more, Dirk Meissner rewrote pre-election Liberal press releases for Postmedia, the company that chose to partner with Canada’s resource industries and their favourite politicians.

B.C.’s LNG plans on same scale as oil sands: Clark, Dirk Meissner, December 13, 2012:

VICTORIA — Premier Christy Clark says her government’s plan to export liquefied natural gas to Asia is British Columbia’s economic equivalent to Alberta’s oilsands.

In a year-end interview with The Canadian Press, Clark said B.C.’s LNG development ambitions will transform the economy, but the province must act quickly before the opportunity evaporates like gas into the atmosphere.

Clark, who has spent the last year describing her “bold” and “audacious” plan to turn B.C. into Canada’s job-creation engine, said British Columbians will still be cashing in on the benefits of LNG exports 50 years from now.

“Think about it in these terms: what oil has been to Alberta since the 1970s-80s is what LNG is going to be for British Columbia, nothing less than that,” said Clark.

“Energy output from LNG will likely be as big as the total energy output today from the oilsands,” she said.

…[experts] are on board in describing the opportunity as monumental and one that should be fast tracked.

“This is huge,” said Ron Loberec, Deloitte’s Canadian resources spokesman. “It’s a no-brainer.

Now, almost three years later, the so-called experts are proven to be no-brainers. They were drawn willingly or stupidly into participating as partisans in the 2013 BC election. Not only has the province not moved forward on LNG, it’s lost billions of revenues that used to flow from its gas fields. BC is not realizing additional revenues from natural gas despite returning billions of dollars to the industry through drilling and infrastructure subsidies. In fact, the province is no longer receiving material payments through royalties or the sale of petroleum and gas rights.

. . . → Read More: In-Sights: Distortions and half-truths but mostly outright lies

In-Sights: Stenographic journalism

Writing in Salon, maverick journalist Glenn Greenwald criticized news reporting that follows the stenographic model. It involves repeating what people say without any effort to judge the truthfulness of statements or the facts of the situation under re… . . . → Read More: In-Sights: Stenographic journalism

Alberta Politics: You tell me, Dear Readers: Did I unfairly beat the Wildrose finance critic like a piñata?

PHOTO: Your blogger, at right, wearing the brand new string tie he just bought in Santa Fe, takes a whack at Derek Fildebrandt, the Wildrose Opposition’s finance critic. Actual Alberta politicians and political commentators may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: The real Derek Fildebrandt; Globe and Mail reporter Carrie Tait; the famous Globe headline . . . → Read More: Alberta Politics: You tell me, Dear Readers: Did I unfairly beat the Wildrose finance critic like a piñata?

wRanter.com: Can we talk politics without lashon hara?

Over the course of the election campaign to this point, the Jewish community has seen repeated and sometimes flagrant violations of halachic and ethical prohibitions against lashon hara – wicked speech – and some of the 31 transgressions related to it, such as unnecessarily engendering controversy and division. But although negative politicking has become more . . . → Read More: wRanter.com: Can we talk politics without lashon hara?

wRanter.com: Jewish issues at centre of partisan sniping

Jewish issues and candidates made headlines last week and became the subject of some distasteful political rhetoric on the campaign trail. In Alberta, a 21-year-old hijab-wearing university student resigned Aug. 18 as the Liberal candidate in the Tory stronghold of Calgary Nose Hill a day after conservative activists publicized noxious tweets from her past. Ala . . . → Read More: wRanter.com: Jewish issues at centre of partisan sniping

Alberta Politics: Code Crossover: How long before the Edmonton Journal and the Edmonton Sun are merged?

ILLUSTRATIONS: Sun Journal, or Journal Sun? Hyphen or no hyphen? Broadsheet or tabloid? Now that Journal subscribers are being pitched the Sunday Sun, and the two papers’ staffs will soon be working at the same address, amalgamation is only a matter of time. With apologies to the Lewiston, Maine, Sun Journal, whose front page I . . . → Read More: Alberta Politics: Code Crossover: How long before the Edmonton Journal and the Edmonton Sun are merged?

Things Are Good: Iceland Wants to Help Journalists Expose Real Threats

Iceland continues on it’s quest to be the ‘Switzerland of data‘ and is extending its program to do so for journalists. Part of the country’s plan to become a haven for people exposing the immoral and questionable behaviour of powerful people is already in action. Iceland is quickly achieving its goal of not only protecting . . . → Read More: Things Are Good: Iceland Wants to Help Journalists Expose Real Threats

Politics, Re-Spun: CBC House Cleaning Claims the Vapid Evan

Evan Solomon was always a pathetic pseudo-journalist.

Ask an intriguing question, politician spins or lies or evades or trots out talking points, then Evan…what does he do? Move on. Nothing to see here.

Waste of air.

The world is better off with him off the air.

January 10, 2014 What Does Post-Corporate Media Look . . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: CBC House Cleaning Claims the Vapid Evan

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: Flawed analysis

Following the passing of Alberta’s Conservative party, Macleans writer Colby Cosh described a drawn-out illness that made the result inevitable. Followers of British Columbia politics will recognize symptoms also found west of the Alberta border: Elections Alberta, despite some political and legal controversies, did important work in investigating and documenting the web of illegal . . . → Read More: Northern Insight / Perceptivity: Flawed analysis

The Canadian Progressive: Mohamed Fahmy “has no relation to the Muslim Brotherhood”

A billionaire telecoms tycoon has told an Egyptian court that Mohamed Fahmy, a journalist and Canadian citizen, “has no relation to the Muslim Brotherhood”

The post Mohamed Fahmy “has no relation to the Muslim Brotherhood” appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: Cracks in credibility remain

Two days ago, retired journalist and TV newsman Harvey Oberfeld headlined, “Bell Media President Brings Shame to CTV.”

Today, the company reacted to disclosures Bell Media President Kevin Crull interfered with news coverage that affected Bell’s business interests.

BCE announces departure of Kevin Crull from Bell Media BCE Inc. today announced that Kevin Crull will . . . → Read More: Northern Insight / Perceptivity: Cracks in credibility remain

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: Shining a light

Glenn Greenwald, “A key purpose of journalism is to provide an adversarial check on those who wield the greatest power by shining a light on what they do in the dark, and informing the public about those acts.”

A BC political journalist, “For sums paid to my agents at the National Speakers Bureau, you can . . . → Read More: Northern Insight / Perceptivity: Shining a light

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: Chomsky on media

What Makes Mainstream Media Mainstream, Noam Chomsky, Z Magazine, October, 1997

Part of the reason why I write about the media is because I am interested in the whole intellectual culture, and the part of it that is easiest to study is the media. It comes out every day. You can do a systematic investigation. . . . → Read More: Northern Insight / Perceptivity: Chomsky on media