"Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!"
-Homer J. Simpson

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Saskatchewan Conservative Party on the Environment

With all the recent foo-fa-rah about the environment (an issue that I think - and hope - will continue to rise in prominence) and kyoto and such, I thought it would be instructive to look at some choice quotes from the Saskatchewan Conservative Party.

“Now we talk about Kyoto in the past and how the people over there [The NDP] supported Kyoto, and they did not really believe the fact that the Kyoto accord was basically a transfer of money from richer nations to poorer nations. They [The NDP] couldn’t see through that.”
Sask Party MLA Yogi Huyghebaert: October 30th 2006

"The Kyoto accord could have some real negative impact [sic] on Saskatchewan…”
Sask Party MLA Glen Hart (Then Environment Critic) April 19th, 2005
"...look what has the government done concerning the Kyoto agreement[....] And now we see through extreme government regulation the NDP are putting more restrictions on the businesses of this province."
Sask Party MLA Randy Weekes: (Then Environment Critic) Dec 13, 2002
"We should be sending a clear statement that we reject the implementation of the Kyoto accord"
Sask Party MLA Jason Dearborn: Dec 10, 2002
"So what then is the Kyoto Protocol? Well, Mr. Speaker, it’s not about science. It is crass, old-fashioned politics — socialist politics — intent on redistributing income led by overzealous Environment department bureaucrats."
Sask Party MLA Arlene Jule: Dec 10, 2002
"But the problem, Mr. Speaker, is that the Kyoto Protocol, the Kyoto accord, is a flawed agreement. It’s an impossible agreement, Mr. Speaker."
Sask Party MLA Elwin Hermanson (Former Leader): Dec 10, 2002
"The Kyoto accord, which this government supported, when fully implemented has the potential to seriously penalize oil and gas development."
Sask Party MLA Lyle Stewert: March 27, 2003
"Under Kyoto in its present form, those steps are leading down the wrong road. Scientists don’t agree. They can’t assure us that there is a trend to global warming."
Sask Party MLA Doreen Eagles: Dec 10, 2002
“If the agreements — the CO2 agreements, Kyoto — come into place, that will be a severe impediment to Saskatchewan…”
Sask Party MLA Dan D’Autremont: October 27th 2004

So they deny the science behind global warming, they claim it is a "socialist" policy dreamed up by environmental bureaucrats to redistribute wealth to poor nations (which they obviously also have a problem with).

In terms of the effects on Saskatchewan? According to the Sask Party this "extreme regulation" would have negative impacts, restrictions on business, would impede oil and gas development (gasp) and be a severe impediment to the province.

This, this is Brad Wall's Kinder, Gentler, Sask Party

Friday, December 22, 2006

Conservative MP tells outright Lie in Letter to the Editor

According to the Saskatchewan NDP caucus website: Brad Trost, one of the Conservative MP's from Saskatchewan, said the following in a letter to the editor:

"Finally, it should be noted that only the Conservatives are fighting for Saskatchewan to receive the full benefits of it's natural resources. The Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois are opposed to Saskatchewan receiving those benefits and the federal NDP has studiously avoided the issue. Calvert should be lobbying federal Leader Jack Layton to support the Conservatives"
The site then goes on to list the three-year record of Jack Layton and the Federal NDP fighting for Saskatchewan on this issue.


Like the site says, "why the big lie, Mr. Trost?"

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Canadians Read the Most Blogs in the G8

Turns out what we are doing may have some value after all

Monday, December 18, 2006

Video game involves teenagers killing non-Christians

It just goes to show that it not just the right-wing that can make the "Please, won't somebody think of the children" argument. We have here a Left-Wing "Familiy Values" Campaign - that will predictably be attacked by the religious right.

What would your typical right-wing Christian think of a game that had the following discription:

a game that "involves teenagers in killing non-Muslims and Muslims who do not convert to your particular form of Islam and that "teaches players that those 'seeking peace for all mankind' are with the forces of the Great Satan
They would go ballistic? Right?

So why is this ok?

a game that "involves teenagers in killing non-Christians and Christians who do not convert to your particular form of Christianity and that "teaches teenagers that those 'seeking peace for all mankind' are with the forces of the Antichrist"
according to this progressive group - it's not OK.

To our sisters and brothers at Left Behind Games,

We, the undersigned, write to you as Christians during this Christmas season in which we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, requesting that you immediately remove your video game, Left Behind: Eternal Forces (LBEF) from your product line and recall it from the store shelves of your distributors.

While we affirm your right to make a profit from video game entertainment and your freedom to hold beliefs that may run contrary to our own, we will not sit idly by while your game has been rated “T” for “Teen”

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Recycling is Sexy

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Conservatives Break Promise to Saskatchewan

Remember when the conservatives made the promise to Saskatchewan in the last election campaign about the equalization deal?

Here is their platform:

The plan
A Conservative government will:
• Work with the provinces in order to achieve a long-term agreement which would address the issue of fiscal imbalance in a permanent fashion.
• Work to achieve with the provinces permanent changes to the equalization formula which would ensure that non-renewable natural resource revenue is removed from the equalization formula to encourage economic growth. We will ensure that no province is adversely affected from changes to the equalization formula.

"Ensure that non-renewable natural resource revenue is removed from the equalization formula" sounds like a pretty specific campaign promise to me.

And remember what Conservative MP Brad Trost said:
Asked if that would be the same deal the Conservatives campaigned on, Trost said: "If it isn't, it better be better."
So therefore, unless Trost is the biggest liar in what will be a caucus full of liars if this deal does not happen then the Conservatives will HAVE to live up to this commitment

But that was then and this is now. NOW what is Trost saying?

Trost is backing away from the $800 million that's long been talked about as what it would mean to Saskatchewan. Trost says it will all depend on what goes into the formula. He says his government is consulting with all of the provinces, to ensure there's a fair deal for all.

And what does MP Gerry Ritz have to say?

But just how much money Saskatchewan would get under a new equalization formula has not been determined.

"We're well on our way to doing that. Any kind of dollar figure is up to different interpretations, of course," Ritz said in an interview from Ottawa.

I've been calling it all along:

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Wheat Board and Conservative Manipulation

Is there any doubt that if it was put to a vote by farmers that the Wheat Board would remain?

From CBC:

The results of the Canadian Wheat Board election are in, and it appears those who want to maintain the board's monopoly over exports of Prairie wheat and barley have come out on top.

Five of the 10 farmer-director spots were up for grabs and, according to one of the successful candidates, four out of the five elected on Sunday support the existing "single-desk" system for marketing grain.

So what do the conservatives have to say about this 80% endorsement of the single desk system?

"Farmers are divided on this, I think," Strahl said.

So much for democracy

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Conservatives Break Promise to Saskatchewan

As I said in an earlier post:

The conservative MPs from Saskatchewan told the people of this province to vote for them in the last election campaign because they would deliver on an equalization deal for the province. Now they are cutting and running from that promise
Premier Calvert went to Ottawa to ask, if it wasn't too much trouble, could Harper please, please live up to his promise.

You know - those promises?

The things he claims he always keeps?

Not so much

It turns out that the lastest news isn't so good

According to Calvert, nothing Harper said suggested he intends to keep his $800 million-a-year promise to Saskatchewan. In fact, the prime minister even hinted he would adopt the Al O'Brien commission report that would cap the formula, the Saskatchewan premier said. That would mean Saskatchewan won't get one thin dime more than it does now.
the story goes on to say

Calvert is being purely political -- and, frankly, a bit nasty -- but there's really no reason to believe that his assessment of his meeting with Harper is anything but accurate. In fact, given the duplicitous and mealy-mouthed displays we continue to see from the Saskatchewan Conservative MPs whenever the equalization file comes up, there's every reason to suspect Calvert is completely justified in now playing the political card.

And finally, on the Conservative Hypocrisy:

...in an interview with James Wood of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix on Friday, [Carol]Skelton had the audacity to scold Calvert for this poor "negotiation" tactic.

"There are still negotiations going on," Skelton aid. "When you negotiate -- and the premier of all people should realize -- when you negotiate you don't go out babbling to the media. If I was dealing with someone I wouldn't be kicking them in the shins, shall we say."

But Ms. Skelton, you promised the $800 million in the election. There are no negotiations here. Either you're an honest politician who keeps a promise or not. Which is it, Ms. Skelton?

Exactly, which is it?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I can't imagine why the War on Terrorism isn't Working

From the New York Times:

FOR the past several months, I’ve been wrapping up lengthy interviews with Washington counterterrorism officials with a fundamental question: “Do you know the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite?”


But so far, most American officials I’ve interviewed don’t have a clue. That includes not just intelligence and law enforcement officials, but also members of Congress who have important roles overseeing our spy agencies. How can they do their jobs without knowing the basics?

Poorly, that's how

Monday, December 04, 2006

Tom Lukiwski should be kicked out of the Conservative Caucus

Note: Blogger Beta is screwing around with things - so forgive the weird looking post

Hat tip to Accidental Deliberations

Based on this Hill Time's story:

Tory MP Tom Lukiwski told The Hill Times. "I do know this. When he discussed his motion in caucus, our Quebec members of Parliament were absolutely overjoyed. I mean there was a couple of them frankly who had tears in their eyes," Mr. Lukiwski (Regina-Lumsden-Lake Centre, Sask.) said last week following Question Period on the Hill. When asked whether he was overstating the facts, Mr. Lukiwski said: "I'm not kidding."
Isn't that why Garth Turner was kicked out of Caucus? - For talking about what went on in a caucus meeting?

Let's Review

While maverick MP Garth Turner says he has no idea why the Conservative caucus kicked him out, CTV News has learned he was warned a month ago to stop playing reporter on his blog.


As to suggestions he broke caucus confidentiality through injudicious postings on his widely-read blog, Turner said, "go and read it, and make up your own mind."

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Alberta Leadership Update

Early returns are starting to come in

With 26 of 83 constituencies reporting, Dinning had 37 per cent of the votes cast in the final round of voting to name the next leader of the province's governing Progressive Conservative Party. Stelmach, a former agriculture and intergovernmental affairs minister, was second with 35 per cent and rookie backbencher Ted Morton was third at 28 per cent.

Unless Dinning can get 50% on the first ballot Stelmach is bound to win.

Of Course, I picked Iggy in 5 ballots today so don't take me too seriously

Update: Hey! I can predict something - Stelmach wins.

Layton on Dion

Jack Layton's keynote address to NDP convention
Sun 10 Sep 2006

And I quote:

And then there's a son of this city -- Stephane Dion.

A man with whom I have fundamental disagreements about how Canada should build and renew itself.

But also a man who is, if I may say so across the partisan divide, distinct from his principal opponents in being a committed Canadian and a man of principle and conviction.

And therefore almost certain not to be elected leader of the Liberal party.


Liberal Leadership Final Results

Scott Brison is the kiss of Death:

As a Conservative moved to Jim Prentice - Prentice Drops Off the ballot
Moved unanimous support of Peter Mackay and the PC Party - the party folds

So Brison Becomes a Liberal

Becomes a Liberal Cabinet Minister - The Liberals lose power
Goes to Bob Rae - Ray Drops off
Goes to Michael Ignatieff - Iggy Drops off.

Now I can only assume that Brison supports Dion.

Too bad for Dion.

I will post my final thoughts on this whole thing tomorrow - I'm politic'ed out for the day!

Yeah, Yeah, I was wrong. Sue me.

Liberal Leadership Third Ballot Results

My new third ballot prediction:

New 3rd ballot Prediction
37.2% - Ignatieff
35.0% - Dion
27.8% - Rae

Actual Results
37.0% - Dion
34.5% - Iggnatief
28.5% - Rae

I got the Rae part right but the other two have basically switched.

Rae drops off and I think he will go to Iggnatief. As long as 55% of Rae's people go to Iggy then Iggy can still win

Liberal Leadership Predictions Update

Kennedy Supports Dion!

Well, my prediction has gone to hell in a handbasket. In terms of the specifics.

My old 4th ballot prediction was as follows:

4th Ballot
43.9% - Ignatieff
29.2% - Rae
26.9% - Kennedy

Now with Kennedy out and supporting Dion I had to re-run some numbers. Most of Kennedy's supporters WILL go to Dion but enough will bleed to Iggy and Rae to keep it interesting.

New 3rd ballot Prediction
37.2% - Ignatieff
35.0% - Dion
27.8% - Rae

Rae will then drop off and support Iggy. So Iggy in 4 rather than Iggy in 5.


This is all pure specuation at this point

Liberal Leadership Second Ballot Results

1st ballot - My Prediction - Actual - Difference
Ignatieff -- 36.3% - 31.6% - 4.7% short
Rae ------- 23.6% - 24.1% - .5% over
Dion ------ 18.3% - 20.8% - 2.5% short
Kennedy-- 17.3% - 18.8% - 1.5% over
Dryden --- 04.0% - 4.7% - 0.7% over

Iggy is still a little short but we are on pace for an Iggy in 5 victory. I see some deviation from my prediction if Kennedy drops and goes to Dion before the next ballot but I imagine that they will wait and see if they can get Dryden's people - which will move them ahead of Dion as per my prediction.

My prediction all hangs on the next ballot - either I am completly right from here on in or it all goes to hell in a handbasket

Friday, December 01, 2006

Liberal Leadership First Ballot Results

1st ballot - My Prediction - Actual - Difference
Ignatieff - 33.3% - 29.3% - 4% short
Rae ------ 20.8% - 20.3% - .5% short
Dion ------ 17.2% - 17.8% - .6% short
Kennedy-- 16.4% - 17.7% - 1.3% over
Dryden --- 04.5% - 4.9% - 0.4% over
Volpe ----- 03.4% - 3.2% - 0.2% under
Brison ---- 03.2% - 4.0% - 0.8% over
Findlay --- 01.2% - 2.7% - 1.5% over

I got all the order right except for Brison and Volpe - but Volpe announced he was dropping off before people went into vote.

You will note that I called the Dion/Kennedy Switch

So far my prediction is on track - Iggy in 5 ballots.

Liberal Leadership Speechs

Quick Notes:

Dryden was good but spent to much time talking about hockey.

Iggy sucked ass, it was just a bunch of applause lines tacked together

Dion's speech was arlight but not overwhelming

Kennedy and Rae gave barnburners and Rae without notes!

In my opinion Bryson's was the best speech of the night but I guess that is why I am a dipper - give me a bunch of policy and discussion of issues over talking about who can win any day of the week.


Liberal Leadership Delegate Update

According to the Iggy Camp (via Kinsella) the following are the numbers of registered delegates:

(The percentage numbers are percentage of total registered delegates)

Michael Ignatieff ------ 1059 (31.7%)
Bob Rae --------------- 689 (20.6%)
Gerard Kennedy ------ 619 (18.5%)
St├ęphane Dion --------- 550 (16.5%)
Ken Dryden ----------- 161 (4.8%)
Scott Brison ----------- 125 (3.7%)
Joe Volpe ------------- 105 (3.1%)
Martha Hall-Findlay -- 33 (1.0%)

I assume this does not include ex-officio delegates so this is just a rough estimate of the first ballot

Final Liberal Leadership Predictions

This is largely speculation and the application of a bit of mathematical analysis based on previous convention track records

1st ballot
33.3% - Ignatieff
20.8% - Rae
17.2% - Dion
16.4% - Kennedy
04.5% - Dryden
03.4% - Volpe
03.2% - Brison
01.2% - Findlay

2nd Ballot
36.3% - Ignatieff
23.6% - Rae
18.3% - Dion
17.3% - Kennedy
04.0% - Dryden

3rd Ballot
37.1% - Ignatieff
24.7% - Rae
19.8% - Kennedy
18.4% - Dion

4th Ballot
43.9% - Ignatieff
29.2% - Rae
26.9% - Kennedy

5th Ballot
55.7% - Ignatieff
44.3% - Rae

Final Result - Iggy victory on the 5th ballot

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Monday, November 27, 2006

Federal Cabinet Minister Resigns

National Post:

A cabinet minister in Stephen Harper's government has reportedly resigned in advance of today's vote on a motion to recognize Quebecers as a nation within Canada.

Michael Chong, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and MP for the riding of Wellington-Halton Hills, will hold a news conference announcing his resignation this afternoon, according to sources.

I just watched the announcement on Newsworld and it is true, Chong is resigning.

Regardless of the issue or any party's stance on it, and regardless of any political considerations we need more people who will take a stand on principle - in any party.

Mr. Chong obviously felt this strong about the issue and good for him for standing up for what he believes in.

I salute you Mr. Chong - this may be the only time you would get a hard-core dipper like me to say that.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

What do you like about the Liberals? Survay says: Nothing!

SES/Sun Media Poll: What Canadians like/dislike about the Liberal Party of Canada

Canadian (N=1,002, MoE ± 3.1%, 19 times out of 20)

What words would you use to describe what you like, if anything, about the Liberal Party of Canada? [Open-ended]

Top Likes
Like nothing – 22%
Policies/moderate/flexible – 16%
They are ok/as good as any other party – 8%
A good alternative – 5%
Getting better/trying to change – 5%
Reflect society/pan Canadian – 3%

The detailed tables with the sub-tabs by party affiliation and methodology are posted on our website at: http://www.sesresearch.com (BTW we've updated our website...check it out!)

Any use of the poll should identify the source as the “SES/Sun Media Survey.”

I agree. I too "like nothing" about the Liberal Party :-)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Saskatchewan Conservative Party Lies and Half-Truths

At the NDP convention last week, some protesters showed up. Thinking that they were the same SGEU protesters that had been picketing the day before (and joined by one of the MLA’s) most people didn’t think anything of it.

So a lot of people who took the literature of the picketers the day before and had talked to them, just breezed on by the protesters on the second day thinking that this was just another day of the same protest.

However, these picketers were not SGEU people again, they were protesters of the government on heath care issues

Here is what Don McMorris (The Saskatchewan Party health critic) had to say in the house about this topic (Which resulting in Deb Higgins getting quite upset and calling him a liar – which is against the rules of the house) :

Mr. McMorris: — Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Friends and family of Doug Bonderud went to the NDP convention this weekend. They didn’t get any answers. Marj and Terry Rak went to the convention as well. They didn’t get any answers. Some of the members opposite had the courtesy to at least stop and listen, and I applaud them for that. But all too many of these members across the way blew past them like the member from Moose Jaw Wakamow, like the member from Saskatoon Meewasin, like the member from Cumberland. The member from Saskatoon Nutana didn’t even break stride but at least she had the nerve to go in the front door and at least go by these protesters. Whereas the other members couldn’t, didn’t have that common courtesy. Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker . . .

The Speaker: — Order, order. Order. Order. Order. Order. Order. Order. Order please. Order please. Order please. Order. Order please. Order please. Members, on a point of order, the member from Moose Jaw Wakamow has made a remark which was unparliamentary and which was heard by all in the House, and I would ask her at this time to rise and withdraw it unequivocally and apologize to the House.

Hon. Ms. Higgins: — Mr. Speaker, I withdraw my remarks and apologize to the House.
Wow! Sounds like Mr. McMorris was there, doesn’t it? I mean, he describes, in detail, who did and did not walk past the protesters and even went as far as to describe one of the MLA’s as “not breaking stride”

The only problem is, Mr. McMorris was not there.

So was he lying in the House? No. He did see this action happen – ON FILM, and we know this because he later admitted as much to the media.

So that seems like a lot of weight to put on a video that was, by his own accounts, quite short and may not have told the whole story. Why would he stand in the House and make a statement based on that video?

Well, it turns out the video was recorded by Ian Hannah, who just so happens to be the Director of Communications for the Saskatchewan Party

Here is what the paper had to say about this this morning:

Hannah's videotape was immediately placed on YouTube (an Internet broadcast service) for all to enjoy and was then raised by Saskatchewan Party health critic Don McMorris in the assembly Monday, as he listed off a number of NDP MLAs that he believed either didn't stop or supposedly ducked the protest. In mean-spirited fashion, McMorris accused NDP politicians like Learning Minister Deb Higgins of not caring for cancer victims, setting off a firestorm in the legislature with accusations of "lying."
Here is the video

You will note that what is most interesting is that the part of the video the Sask Party posted contains a cabinet minister or two talking to the picketers and DOES NOT include the scene described by McMorris in the house.

I wonder why?

Particularly when you factor in who took the video......The Sask Party communications director Ian Hannah.

Again, let's go back to the newspaper:

However, what was truly sad about this is how smugly gleeful Saskatchewan Party MLAs and political hacks seemed to be about using such borderline-sleazy tactics of misrepresentation to drag provincial politics even lower.

Given that both Bonderud and the Raks have been to the legislature several times and talked to several NDP politicians, what exactly does it prove that any particularly NDP politician didn't choose to stop and speak with them on this particular day?

If the roles were reversed and it was Saskatchewan Party MLAs walking into their annual convention with their families, would they be any more inclined to stop and talk to angry protesters? Given that about half their caucus can't make it through a reporters' scrum without losing their cool and walking off in huff, one somehow doubts it.

And didn't the Saskatchewan Party pass guidelines for political ethics at its last convention? Did they include videotaping NDP MLAs and presenting the results in a misleading way?

And that, friends, is the crux of it. While I don't know if any political party has a problem with legitimate use of video and YouTube, I think the problem is that any tool can be used or misused. Given the fact that the Sask Party seems to have a problem with representing the truth when it comes to the written word, what makes anyone think they are not above manipulating the story from start to finish?

For example here are just SOME of the times the Sask Party and Brad Wall have lied or made up quotes or misrepresented the facts and were caught by the media:

At issue was a quote attributed to Crown Investment Corp. Minister Maynard Sonntag, supposedly from a June 13, 2000, debate on the budget estimates. It quoted Sonntag saying: "With respect to Con-Force in the construction of the buildings, they were jointly owned. The ownership was Con-Force 51 per cent and ourselves 49 per cent."

Here's what Hansard indicates Sonntag said: "First of all, with respect to Con-Force in the construction of the buildings, they were jointly owned but they were entirely debt-financed and SaskWater -- the Spudco division of SaskWater -- subsequently bought Con-Force out."

Not only did the Opposition completely distort Sonntag's statement, but it did so to make the point that there needed to be a special legislative investigation of him for "lying to the legislature." That's not just irresponsible. It's contemptible.
"Minister's self-absorption sad" Saskatoon Star - Phoenix: Feb 26, 2003. pg. A.12

Contrary to Wall's near-hysterical press release Wednesday forewarning Premier Lorne Calvert of another looming National Energy Program… no one has actually called for another NEP.
“Oil rant doesn't add much to national debate” Regina Leader Post: Sep 2, 2005. pg. B.7

“In this case, it's all about history, beginning with what has become the annoying, disrespectful and sometimes downright dangerous habit of the Saskatchewan Party of implying scandal, fraud and corruption from within the safety of the legislative assembly when they have had virtually no evidence thereof.”
“Politicians are architects of their own misery” Regina Leader Post: Mar 24, 2006. pg. B.7

“Less than a month after he rose in the house to suggest that SaskEnergy should hurry to lock in a contract at $5.56 a gigajoule until October 2002, Saskatchewan Party critic Brad Wall issued a press release that berates the company for failing to take advantage of prices that have now fallen to $4.61 a GJ for a one-year contract. Forget that Wall was wrong on June 5 about the $5.56 price he was tossing about in the legislature because he failed to include several costs, including delivery charges, that make the price considerably higher in Saskatchewan. Ignore that he's again conveniently leaving out these costs in citing a $4.61 price that applies only in Alberta. Wall's June 29 press release serves to underline why consumers are better served by having experts who know the natural gas market make SaskEnergy's purchasing decisions than to follow the whims of politicians trying to outguess a commodity market that's more volatile than the NASDAQ.”
“Energy critic disingenuous” Star - Phoenix: Jul 7, 2001. pg. A.8

“An Opposition plan to embarrass the government went awry Thursday when a businessperson invited to the legislature to condemn the province's sales tax increase and threaten a move to Alberta found out he doesn't have to charge his customers the PST. During question period in the legislature, Saskatchewan Party MLA Brad Wall said the government's PST expansion threatens to put Stein out of business However, following the scrum with reporters, Stein was invited to meet with Department of Finance officials. Less than an hour later, he emerged from the meeting a contented man.”
“Opposition's sales tax challenge backfires” Star - Phoenix: May 5, 2000. pg. A.8

"Say what you will about Romanow's Opposition, factual mistakes in questions were rare as hens' teeth. But such question period screwups have become a weekly thing for the Saskatchewan Party. Last week, CIC critic Brad Wall railed on about a non-existent SaskTel investment in a Honolulu cable TV company. This week, we heard Brenda Bakken complain about Liquor and Gaming Minister Ron Osika "hiding from the public" an annual report that the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority had actually made public in August."
"Sonntag admits scary ignorance" Saskatoon Star - Phoenix: May 2, 2003. pg. A.14

And after all of that they expect us to believe that they represented this video fairly? That they didn't make any edits or ommisions? *bah*

The Sask Party has just figured out how to use the new media of videotaping and YouTube to carry on their campaign of misinformation from the Internet.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

NDP youth video

As I have already blogged about, the Saskatchewan NDP convention had a presentation on using the new media. One of the tools that was discussed was YouTube and it looks like some of the delegates are talking that to heart.

The following is Saskatchewan Young New Democrats telling the NDP Convention 2006 what they believe is necessary to create a better world.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Saskatchewan NDP Convention

Whew! Sorry for the lack of postings over the last few days but the Saskatchewan provincial convention was on in Saskatoon and it was a busy, busy week!

The convention was great and there were a number of great discussions. One of the most notable presentations was on blogging and the new media which was very well done and I think helped a lot of our members understand this new technology.

Also there was an overwhelming rejection of the name-change to the Social Democratic Party. The delegates wanted to stay with the NDP.

I agree

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

An Equalization Deal and Tax Cuts

I occasionally am a guest blogger on the Saskatchewan Citizen's Federation blogsite.

Today is one of those days

Monday, November 13, 2006

Liberal's Keynote Speaker

Yeah, yeah, I know, I'm late to this party. Work have been pretty busy for the past few weeks and threatens to continue to be busy for a couple more. But watch this blog in December when I can get back into it all

Anyway ....

What the hell would the Liberals say if the key note speaker for the Conservative party was American?

They would go ape-shit crazy.

So what makes this ok?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Saskatchewan Conservative Party and Devine

The Sask Party is always whining that we talk to much about Grant Devine. But they do it almost as much as we do.

For example, in his response to the throne speech a couple of days ago, here is what one of the Sask Party MLA's had to say:

“I remember the member from Saskatoon Nutana talking about the last, I would say, 25 years in this province. And if she is learning from that history that she recited, we’re going to be in big trouble with this government and we are in big trouble. Because her recitation of what the history was in this province is completely different than what I remember and I believe what most people in the province remember,... Madam Deputy Speaker, certainly when the Devine government took over, there was debt from the Blakeney government….You know, they think that the Devine government was the only government that promised and that went into debt.”
- Don McMorris (Indian-Head Milestone) Nov 7, 2006 Hansard

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

NDP MP Tony Martin in Saskatoon this Thursday

This Thursday, November 9, 2006, the Saskatoon Anti-Poverty Coalition (SAPC) and the National Anti-Poverty Organization (NAPO) are hosting a forum with federal NDP Social Policy Critic Tony Martin who is bringing his national 'End Poverty' campaign here.

"Our social safety net has become an incoherent, inefficient mess that must be repaired," Martin said. "These Saskatoon statistics point to a human story to tell. We're asking people to give us concrete recommendations to take to this Minority Parliament."

"The depth and persistence of poverty is quite troubling. There are also 650,000 working poor in Canada. Something is terribly wrong in Canada when people working full-time for a full year still cannot make ends meet."

"We need political will and for Canadians to push their politicians to make fighting poverty a priority. The NDP is taking up this fight and we welcome allies."

Organizers want to hear from those now poor or once poor and their advocates. The plan is to raise awareness of poverty and develop recommendations for change. We will all have a better life if we work together to eliminate poverty.

The forum is scheduled for 7.00 pm to 9.30 pm with the dialogue to start at 7.30 pm. This will be located at St Paul 's Hospital (the old nurse's residence) 230 Ave R South, Room G30

For further information: Please contact the Saskatoon Anti-Poverty Coalition at 653-2662 or email: antipoverty@sasktel.net or Tony Martin's office (613) 992-8851

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Great Halloween Costume

Of all the pictures I saw of Halloween Costumes, this was the one that made me laugh the most:

The Conservative Saskatchewan Party sells out Farmers on Wheat Board

So what does the Saskatchewan Party have to say about the ongoing Wheat Board issue?

They don't stand up for the farmers of Saskathcewan, they stand up for their Federal Overlords.

Here are some quotes from thier throne speech debate:

“Farmers at night don’t lay awake at night worrying about whether the Canadian Wheat Board exists or is going to survive.”
- Sask Party MLA Randy Weeks, October 30, 2006

The larger philosophical point which exists here is the members opposite believe that it is all right if people with property, if 51 per cent of them are to vote, that they have the right, in a tyranny of the majority, to suppress the rights of the other 49 per cent.
- Sask Party MLA Jason Dearborn, October 20, 2006
“And the agriculture industry is in a terrible shape while we’ve had the Canadian Wheat Board in place.”
- Sask Party MLA Randy Weeks, October 30, 2006

Friday, October 27, 2006

Saskatchewan NDP cuts regressive sales tax

Right on the heals of yesterday's good news announcement that Saskatchewan is getting a new Stat Holiday in February, today the government announced that there will be a 2 point reduction in the Provincial Sales tax.

The tax will be reduced from 7% to 5% effective midnight tonight.

The government good news train keeps on rolling along.

Who says we are out of the next election?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Saskatchewan gets a new Stat Holiday

The Saskatchewan Lieutenant Governor gave the Speech from the Throne this afternoon in Saskatchewan. The focus was on making life better for Saskatchewan Families and building a better future in Saskatchewan for young people.

There were some key areas that the government focused on, but the big one was…. Saskatchewan has a new Holiday!

Starting February 19th, 2007, (Note: I had a wrong date here earlier) Saskatchewan will have a new statutory holiday on that day. Like Alberta, we are calling it Family Day. I don’t know if that’s the best name in the world, but it doesn’t really matter – what matters is, we all get another day off!

This is pretty unusual for a throne speech, usually they are just platitudes and promises, and the NDP have been no exception to this – except for today.

Given that the theme of the speech was “making life better for Saskatchewan Families” this is a pretty decent way to emphasize that theme. I think everyone will be a little bit better off in Saskatchewan in February.

And lord knows, we need all the help we can get, in Saskatchewan, in February, brrrrr

Update: The Sask Party opposes the creation of the holiday - what are they thinking?

Opposition Sask Party leader Brad Wall says we don’t need another one [stat holiday]: You know we just finished a by-election in Weyburn Big Muddy .. and I knocked a lot of doors myself and I heard nothing from the people of the province about a demand for another stat holiday.

-(CJME, 5 p.m., Thursday, Oct 26, 2006)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Stay the course? No?.........Yes.

Turns out the Bush team has told so many lies even THEY can't keep them straight anymore

Bush claims that he never said "Stay the Course" and he is right.

Except for all the times he said it.

Monday, October 23, 2006

On the CPC's use of Women

So by now all of you will have heard about Peter Mackay's slam against Belinda. I'm not going to add anything to that story.

However, what I found interesting was watching the Conservative representative on Question Period on Sunday morning.

Geez. It must have hurt them to put Helena Guergis on the show. It turns out if you do a search on her on Google News then you only find her in 2 stories. Both of which are about the tokenism of women in the Conservative caucus.

But she lept to MacKay's defence on the show so I guess she is OK with being the token women apologist for the CPC

I guess we will start to see her in a lot more news stories

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Federal Agricutural Minister Won't Obey the Law

Federal Agricultural Minister Chuck Strahl says:

"I haven't ruled out a plebiscite," said the minister. "We'll see if there's a need for one."

He said there are a number of changes that could be made in the board's mandate by a new executive, by cabinet decree and by government regulation.

Here is what the Canadian Wheat Board Act says:

47.1 The Minister shall not cause to be introduced in Parliament a bill that would exclude any kind, type, class or grade of wheat or barley, or wheat or barley produced in any area in Canada, from the provisions of Part IV, either in whole or in part, or generally, or for any period, or that would extend the application of Part III or Part IV or both Parts III and IV to any other grain, unless

(a) the Minister has consulted with the board about the exclusion or extension; and

(b) the producers of the grain have voted in favour of the exclusion or extension, the voting process having been determined by the Minister.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

you think YOU have a scandal

Quick pop quiz:

Which do you think is worse:

A) Being previously removed from office by a judge for conflict of interest
B) Being accused by Revenue Canada of tax fraud
C) Being charged with assault
D) Being charged with breach of probation
E) Being charged with breaking a peace bond
F) All of the above

If your answer was F then you might not want to run to be the Mayor of Petersborough

unless you are this guy

Conservatives and Handcuffs = Bad Association

I took this screen cap off of the Conservative Party of Canada web site. Here in Saskatchewan there is an entirely different connotation when it comes to Conservatives and handcuffs.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

It's Hard to Get Answers from a Bush

watch and laugh

Top 10 Dumbest Congressmen

Radar Online has a "Top Ten Dumbest Congressmen" feature here that is worth checking out

Some of the highlights:

Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY)

Bunning is a Hall of Fame pitcher who, during his eight years in office, has shown "little interest in legislation that doesn't concern baseball"

  • Told a group of GOP fundraisers that his Italian-American opponent, Daniel Mongiardo, physically resembled Saddam Hussein's sons, Uday and Qusay
  • Gave a stump speech about the tragic terror attacks of November 11, 2001
Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT)

Burns, Jack Abramoff"s favorite Senate bag man, raked in a cool $137,000 in tribal casino money for his political action committee, a congressional record.

  • made reference, in an immigration speech, to the "nice little Guatemalan man" who does yardwork around his estate
  • Gave a speech where he told people to be wary of "faceless" Arabs who "drive taxicabs by day and kill at night."
  • Had a 1999 outburst blaming "ragheads" for rising gas prices and additional episodes in 1994 in which he delivered a casual joke from the podium about "niggers" and told another audience that living in Washington with so many blacks "is quite a challenge."
Representative Cynthia McKinney (D-GA)

First there was her notorious encounter with a Capitol Hill police officer who dared to ask her for ID. After brazenly ignoring several polite requests, the caterwauling congresswoman responded by walloping the officer in the chest. During the ensuing fracas she complained that she was persecuted for "being in Congress while black."
  • Made a frivolous threat to sue the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for defamation over an editorial
  • one of her own aides was forced to resign after calling congress an "Israel-occupied territory."

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

Quote: "Those who survived the San Francisco earthquake said, 'Thank God I'm still alive.' But of course those who died, their lives will never be the same again."

Quote: "
Josh found himself mesmerized by her perfectly shaped, silken legs with kneecaps that reminded him of golden apples—he couldn't remember having been captivated by kneecaps before—and her lustrous thighs."

Representative J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ)

He distributed leaflets on the House floor accusing Maryland Democrat Steny Hoyer of promoting "sex training for federal employees," planning to indoctrinate them into drug use, and pushing New Age cult worship, all because of a proposal to extend health coverage for abortions under dire circumstances. And the amendment Hayworth was protesting so absurdly wasn't Hoyer's at all—it was actually the work of Hayworth's fellow Republican, Rep. Ron Packard of California

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK)
  • claimed that global warming is "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people"—a rhetorical flourish he recently refined by likening climate change theories to Nazi propaganda.
  • As far back as 1972, he called for Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern to be "hanged with Jane Fonda"
  • Claimed that both Bill and Hillary Clinton were out to assassinate him.
  • Quote "My wife and I have been married 47 years. We have 20 kids and grandkids. I'm really proud to say that in the recorded history of our family, we've never had a divorce or a homosexual relationship."
Representative Donald Young (R-AK)

"Buttfucking," replies the great scourge of obscenity and instructor of youth. The scene: Fairbanks, Alaska, 1994. Congressman Don Young, already in office for 20 years, is on the stump preaching the virtues of Newt Gingrich's Republican revolution to a group of high school students. Just look at all the wasteful things the federal government does with taxpayers' money, he tells them. The National Endowment for the Arts, for example, funds art involving "people doing offensive things ... things that are absolutely ridiculous." One student asks, "Like what?" "Buttfucking," replies the great scourge of obscenity and instructor of youth.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Saskatchewan Launches New Equalization Campaign

Because of the whole "Harper and the CPC screwing Saskatchwan" deal, the Province of Saskatchewan will be launching a new campaign.

I'm not sure how well the "Imagine" theme will play, but I haven't seen the ads or cards yet so maybe it will work.

Hopefully this will put the pressure on the federal conservatives to keep thier promises.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Liberal Leadership Race for 5th Place

From the Rick Mercer Report


Is George Bush an Idiot? Round III

It turns out that there very well may be another explination for GWB. he's not actually stupid, he is just sick. Very very sick.

One doctor thinks he shows signs of "presenile dementia," or an early onset of Alzheimer's disease.

In a letter to be published in The Atlantic's October issue, Joseph Price, a self-described "country doctor" in Carsonville, Mich., calls presenile dementia "a fairly typical Alzheimer's situation that develops significantly earlier in life. . . . President Bush's `mangled' words are a demonstration of what physicians call `confabulation' and are almost specific to the diagnosis of a true dementia." He adds that Bush should be "started on drugs that offer the possibility of retarding the slow but inexorable course of the disease."

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Fox News Does It Again - Come on, you only have to keep track of 2 parties

For those of you who thought the whole "Fox News Labels Foley as a Democrat" was merly an honest mistake.

I call Bullshit. (Hat-Tip Daily Kos)

In case you were wondering, they switched the two so that it now looks like the Republican is winning (Which he is not)

Isn't it funny that whenver they make this "mistake" it makes the republicans look good and the democrats look bad?

Perhaps that is why Fox News sued for the right to tell a lie

the station was initially very excited about the series. But within a week, Fox executives and their attorneys wanted the reporters to use statements from Monsanto representatives that the reporters knew were false and to make other revisions to the story that were in direct conflict with the facts. Fox editors then tried to force Akre and Wilson to continue to produce the distorted story. When they refused and threatened to report Fox's actions to the FCC, they were both fired.
Fox had a very simple point to make:

FOX asserted that there are no written rules against distorting news in the media. They argued that, under the First Amendment, broadcasters have the right to lie or deliberately distort news reports on public airwaves. Fox attorneys did not dispute Akre’s claim that they pressured her to broadcast a false story, they simply maintained that it was their right to do so.
I guess it is thier right. It's everyone else's responsibility to fight back.

And while we are at it, CNN does deserve some Kudos on this Front. Here is a portion of a transcript from Wolf Blitzer's Show:

BLITZER: So what you're suggesting -- and correct me if I'm wrong, because you've been doing this for the last few days -- that Democrats are behind the timing of the release of this information? Is that your accusation?

MCHENRY: Well, look, all the fact points lead to one question: Did Rahm Emanuel or Nancy Pelosi have any involvement on the strategic or tactical level? This morning on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," the question was asked of Rahm Emanuel. His reaction was he did not see the instant messages or e-mails. He repeatedly said, he did not see. I've asked him to testify under oath to assure the American people that he was not involved in this issue in any way, shape or form.

BLITZER: Do you have any evidence at all that Democrats or others might have been behind the timing of this scandal?

MCHENRY: Look, let's be honest...

BLITZER: Do you have any evidence to back that charge up?

MCHENRY: No, no, actually, if the Democrats had any issue with saying this, putting all the facts out on the table, they would say, certainly, I'll testify under oath that I had no involvement in it. They've said no.

BLITZER: Well, you don't have any evidence, though, right?

MCHENRY: Well, look at the fact points.

BLITZER: Yes or no, do you have any evidence, Congressman?

Blitzer keeps the pressure on. It is a pretty simple question. Do they actualy have any evidence? Can they meet the basic standard of "burden of proof"?

BLITZER: Yes or no, do you have any evidence, Congressman?

MCHENRY: Do you have any evidence that they weren't involved?



Bush funded the North Korea WMD program

Hat tip: Canadian Cynic

So it seems that the US under George W. Bush, decided to give North Korea the funding to carry out thier nuclear program:

The US Government has announced that it will release $95m to North Korea as part of an agreement to replace the Stalinist country's own nuclear programme, which the US suspected was being misused.

But don't worry, I'm sure safeguards were in place:

In releasing the funding, President George W Bush waived the requirement that North Korea allow inspectors to ensure it has not hidden away any weapons-grade plutonium from the original reactors.

Or, you know, not.

Stephen Colbert's Best Interview Ever!

This is a shining example of the mental prowess of the US congress.

I know this is an old interview, but I watched it on a re-run the other day and even though I knew how the interview went I was still still laughing my ass off.

I was sick over the weekend and this is best I can do, OK?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Foley Story meets the Torture Story


Bush's Thought Police

I don't toss the word "fascist" around very often because, like communist, it applies to a very specific type of political/cultural agenda and programme.

The people who do toss those types of terms around lose a lot of respect from reasonable people like myself.

However, I will leave it as an exercise to the reader to determine if the shoe fits, in this case, as it were.

First we have to examine the issue of the thought police. You know, the idea that ideas are the problem.

Well take a look at this article from the New York Times. It seems that the though police are moving one step closer.

A consortium of major universities, using Homeland Security Department money, is developing software that would let the government monitor negative opinions of the United States or its leaders in newspapers and other publications
Not that they need the software because, as it turns out, we find that there is a bit of a problem with the Secret Service. They are in fact, literally acting as the thought police

On June 16, Steve Howards was walking his 7-year-old son to a piano practice, when he saw Cheney surrounded by a group of people in an outdoor mall area, shaking hands and posing for pictures with several people....Howards and his son walked to about two-to-three feet from where Cheney was standing, and said to the vice president, "I think your policies in Iraq are reprehensible," or words to that effect, then walked on.... Ten minutes later they were approached by the Secret Service... placed in handcuffs and taken to the Eagle County Jail.
It turns out that this is standard operating procedure for the Secret Service under Bush.

"When President Bush travels around the United States, the Secret Service visits the location ahead of time and orders local police to set up "free speech zones" or "protest zones," where people opposed to Bush policies (and sometimes sign-carrying supporters) are quarantined. These zones routinely succeed in keeping protesters out of presidential sight and outside the view of media covering the event."
And so are the arrests:

"At a Bush rally at Legends Field in 2001, three demonstrators -- two of whom were grandmothers -- were arrested for holding up small handwritten protest signs"

"last year, seven protesters were arrested when Bush came to a rally at the USF Sun Dome. They had refused to be cordoned off into a protest zone hundreds of yards from the entrance to the Dome."

The Justice Department is now prosecuting Brett Bursey, who was arrested for holding a "No War for Oil" sign at a Bush visit to Columbia
And it gets even worse, as the article goes on to point out.

Attempts to suppress protesters become more disturbing in light of the Homeland Security Department's recommendation that local police departments view critics of the war on terrorism as potential terrorists. In a May terrorist advisory, the Homeland Security Department warned local law enforcement agencies to keep an eye on anyone who "expressed dislike of attitudes and decisions of the U.S. government." If police vigorously followed this advice, millions of Americans could be added to the official lists of suspected terrorists.
That's right, if you disagree with the war or the government then you must be a terrorist.

And for the record, the above quotes come from an article published in the Dec. 15 issue of the American Conservative. Which is not exactly some liberal rag.


where were we?

Oh yes, if you disagree with the war or the government then you must be a terrorist.

And what does the Bush Administration want to do to terrorists?

Oh, that's right.

Torture them.

In secret prisons

As Crooks and Liers points out, Bush won't even deny this stuff

Matt Lauer: And yet you admitted that there were these CIA secret facilities. OK?

President Bush: So what? Why is that not within the law?

Matt Lauer: The head of Amnesty International says secret sites are against international law.

President Bush: Well, we just disagree with him.

The interview goes on to discusee the legal niecities of "strap[ing] someone to a board and you make them feel as if they’re going to drown by putting them underwater" They didn't quite get to the fact that the new law might even allow the government to torture the family members of suspected terrorist. It turns out that Salon has obtained Army documents that show several cases where U.S. forces abducted terror suspects’ families.

Not only is the terrorist torture bill that was just passed by the Republicans obsence ont he face of it, but add this into the mix:

Buried amongst the untold affronts to the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and the very spirit of America, the torture bill contains a definition of "wrongfully aiding the enemy" which labels all American citizens who breach their "allegiance" to President Bush and the actions of his government as terrorists subject to possible arrest, torture and conviction in front of a military tribunal.
The only possible way that this could come into affect would be to deal with US citizens. Why would a foreign terrorist have any allegiance to the United States to breach in the first place? Why would this clause be needed if they were truly using it to fight terrorism?

Continuing on...

The New York Times draws our attention to the Roman Empire where

By the oldest trick in the political book — the whipping up of a panic, in which any dissenting voice could be dismissed as “soft” or even “traitorous” — powers had been ceded by the people that would never be returned.
They are talking about the Roman response to a terrorist attack and the redefining of a hundered-year-old consitution. The parallels with the current situation are stunning

Those of us who are not Americans can only look on in wonder at the similar ease with which the ancient rights and liberties of the individual are being surrendered in the United States in the wake of 9/11. The vote by the Senate on Thursday to suspend the right of habeas corpus for terrorism detainees, denying them their right to challenge their detention in court; the careful wording about torture, which forbids only the inducement of “serious” physical and mental suffering to obtain information; the admissibility of evidence obtained in the United States without a search warrant; the licensing of the president to declare a legal resident of the United States an enemy combatant — all this represents an historic shift in the balance of power between the citizen and the executive.
So...... Facism? Let's look at the list, shall we?

Thought police? check
Secret prisons? check
Torture? check
Spying on all citizens? check
Denial and restriction of habeas corpus? check

Sounds a little too close to comfort for my liking.

So we have the situation where anyone who expresses dissent with the government (as defined by some computer program and massive NSA wiretapping) can be consisered a terrorist, and can be arrested for that by the secret service or the police. (Keeping in mind the Homeland Security Department's recommendation that local police departments view critics of the war on terrorism as potential terrorists) Then, the government can do pretty much whatever they want to these 'terrorists' once they get them in thier secret prisons. Including torture of themselves and familiy members. And again, all you need to be "eligable" for torture according to the torture bill is to "who breach their "allegiance" to President Bush and the actions of his government"

A bit much... eh?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Mark Foley needed this Monopoly Card

hee hee hee...

This is crazy - even by Fox News Standards

I assume most of you have been following the whole Foley-Underage-Male-Page incident down in the States.

I was predicting the usual spin from the Republicans, but a couple of things have just gone too far

For example, Matt Drudge has this to say: (hat tip: Jane Hamsher)

And if anything, these kids are less innocent -- these 16 and 17 year-old beasts...and I've seen what they're doing on YouTube and I've seen what they're doing all over the internet -- oh yeah -- you just have to tune into any part of their pop culture. You're not going to tell me these are innocent babies. Have you read the transcripts that ABC posted going into the weekend of these instant messages, back and forth?
The kids are egging the Congressman on! The kids are trying to get this out of him. We haven't got the whole story on this.

Yep, he's BLAMING THE KIDS (Listen to the audio here)

but wait, it gets even worse: It turns out that we had it all wrong, Foley is a Democrat, not a Republican. At least according to Fox News (We lie through our teeth, you decide)

(hat tip: Brad Blog) - go whath the video

And if you want the full level of outrage - read how Fox News is covering the story. It's all about how e-mail is bad - no mention of sex or pediphelia.

Fucking Fox News.

At least the so-called moral majority is reacting the way they would if ANY member of congress did this sort of thing.




But wait, I mean, this is the only time that the Republicans have done this sort of thing, right?

Nope (Hat tip: Galloping Beaver)

Turns out there are over 60 different incidents involving Republicans and child molestation.

And, finaly, to bring it all home, what did Small Dead Animals have to say:

Update: as pointed out in the comments section this was actually Steve Janke (The other pillar of the right-wing wankosphere) and not Kate that posted this as my original post suggested.

If you can't read that closely enough, on October 1st (the Sunday two days after the whole Foley thing broke on US and Canadian News Networks)

What did Janke have to say: "If it's children exposed to penises, it must be Belgium"

Yeah, or, you know, THE US CONGRESS.

It took until today for the site to even cover the topic and here are some of the choice quotes:

"Bet the msm treats this a lot differently than the Clinton scandals. All of a sudden they care about a politicians sex life."
"To defend themselves the Republicans only have to repeat what all the democrats and msm said when Clinton was doing his intern. Its only sex, and is no reason to make a big deal out of it."

They honestly can't tell the difference between Clinton, who engaged in Aldultery with a consenting, of age woman, and this guy who abused children.

To Fox News, Matt Drudge, and Small Dead Animals.

Get off your moral high horse and crawl out from the filth and muck, you sick partisan bastards.

A Mathematical Model for Predicting the Liberal Leadership

Problem: Can we create a mathematical model for predicting the outcome of the Liberal Leadership race in December?

Answer: Yes (with some important caveats)

Since the Liberal Leadership numbers have been preying on my mind lately I decided to go back and re-read some sections of Do Conventions Matter : Choosing National Party Leaders in Canada by a professor of Political Studies at the University of Saskatchewan named John Courtney. (Full disclosure: I took a class from Mr. Courtney and was not overly impressed with him, but I think his work in this field is stellar) He looks at the 19 leadership races (of all Federal parties) between 1919 and 1993 and draws some statistical interferences.

There are a couple of statistical trends that he examines in his book that will help us shed some light on the Liberal’s December convention.

Note: I am NOT a liberal and am not part of one leadership camp or another. I am doing this as an exercise in political prognostication and for fun, not to promote one candidate ahead of the others. Also note, we are dealing with STATISTICS and PROBABILITY here people, not crystal balls and tarot decks. If you want certainty, go read a blogging tory blog, I deal with reality :-)

Point 1: Number of Ballots

Assuming that there are 8 people on the 1st ballot then according to table 10-2 in the book (page 353) there is a 19% chance of there only being 2-3 ballots and an 81% chance of their being more than 3 ballots. Assuming that Volpe drops out because he can’t pay his 20,000 fine and/or some of the other “can’t wins” decide they are going to throw their support behind somebody while it still makes a difference (i.e. before convention starts) then we could have a few as 6 people on the ballot at convention. If that is the case there is 51% chance of a 2-3 ballot affair and a 49% chance of a 4-5 ballot affair.

Conclusion: It is safe to say that there will be between 3 to 5 ballots

Point 2: Initial Support of Eventual Winner

Since we can conclude above that there will be between 3 to 5 ballots, let’s look at what support is need on the first ballot to win. Courtney breaks conventions up into categories based on the number of ballots. We will look at his analysis from table 10-1 (page 352) for the cases of 3 ballots, 4 ballots and 5 ballots.

In the case of a 3 ballot convention, the eventual winners had had an average of 43.7% support on the first ballot and ended up with 54% of the final support.

In the case of a 4 or 5 ballot convention, the eventual winners had an average of 27.9% on the first ballot and ended up with 55.3% of the final support

Conclusion 1: The winner will only need approximately 55% of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice support to win.

Conclusion 2: Only candidates who have close to 27.9% on the first ballot can win.

Point 3: Initial Ranking and Final Ranking

If you look at table 10-6 on page 356 you will find a very interesting statistic. Of all the leadership conventions that were discussed in the book; 85% of eventual winners were in first place on the first ballot and only 15% of winners were not first on the first ballot. However, the one factor that remains constant is that “the candidate who gains the largest share of votes from the first ballot to the second ballot is the eventual winner” (page 231)

Conclusion: There is an 85% change the person who is first place going in will win and if he does not then it will be due to another candidate getting a huge bump in-between the 1st and 2nd ballots.

Final Conclusion

The race will take between 3-5 ballots and thus the eventual winner needs approximately 27% of the vote on the first ballot to win. There is an 85% chance that the person in first place will win and the only way that that will not happen is if one of the candidates with a significant amount of support drops out and throws his support behind another candidate to create the largest increase in support between ballots.

So, after all that, we come across Paul Wells who just throws it all down without doing any sort of statistical analysis:

So Ignatieff doesn't need anyone's endorsement; he just needs support to bleed to him at the rate of one delegate in four. And he's been getting that all through this piece: when Hedy Fry and Carolyn Bennett went to Bob Rae, they failed to bring all their support with them. In the normal course of events, Ignatieff can expect to lure one previously unsympathetic delegate in four. Which means he can expect to win this.

The only way to stop him is to interrupt the normal course of events.

One of the second-tier candidates (Rae Kennedy Dion) would have to turn this race into a referendum on whether it is acceptable for Michael Ignatieff to become the Liberals' next leader. And the only way to demonstrate that the whole campaign should turn on that single question would be to pull out of the race immediately and throw to another second-tier candidate.


Kennedy's going to throw to him? Rae's going to throw to him? Nope. The near-perfect three-way Mexican standoff among Rae, Kennedy and Dion gives each man reason to hope, and therefore to stay in. And therefore to ensure Ignatieff's momentum isn't braked.

For each of the Second Three, and I am sad to say for Dion especially, the only question now is: Is it acceptable for Michael Ignatieff to become the next Liberal leader? If it is acceptable -- not ideal, not one's fondest wish, but simply a result that falls short of catastrophe -- Dion, Rae and Kennedy should stay in the race and try their chances. By staying in, they will probably ensure his eventual victory.

But if any of the Second Three believes Ignatieff must be stopped, they need to get out to make it happen.

I guess that’s why he writes for Macleans and I’m just a blogger , eh?

Vote for this post on progressive bloggers

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Ranking the Blogs' Liberal Leadership Prediction Abilities

I have all my predictions and analysis of the Liberal Leadership Race here for you to review

As I said in one of my earlier posts I believe in the wisdom of crowds. So my technique for predicting the Liberal Leadership Delegate Numbers was to take all of the analysis of the others that I could find and then average them together. This would act as a "stock market" or averaging of all of the sources of Data.

For interest's sake, as both an analysis of this method of predicting political outcomes, and as a bit of a hat tip to the people who gave me the data, I present:

The Prognosticator Award - Liberal Leadership Delegate Selection Division

So I will list each of the people/organizations who's work I used. I will list their estimate, followed by the actual results, then the average deviation from the results and then my analysis of their prognostication abilities :-)

Entry 1: Cerberus

Actual Prediction Diff

Ignatieff 29.80% 24.00% 5.80%
Kennedy 16.80% 19.00% -2.20%
Rae 19.80% 19.00% 0.80%
Dion 16.60% 14.00% 2.60%
Dryden 4.60% 8.00% -3.40%
Brison 3.90% 7.00% -3.10%
Volpe 4.60% 6.00% -1.40%
Hall-Findlay 1.00% 3.00% -2.00%

Average deviation: 2.7%
Worst Estimate: 5.8% underestimate for Ignatieff

Cerberus had pretty good numbers but (like most) he underestimated Iggy (Which is odd, given that he is an Ignatieff supporter). Nothing to be ashamed of, but not quite our winner

Entry 2: Jason Cherniak (note that he gave ranges and I took the average of the range)

Actual Prediction Diff

Ignatieff 29.80% 27.50% 2.30%
Kennedy 16.80% 22.50% -5.70%
Rae 19.80% 15.00% 4.80%
Dion 16.60% 13.50% 3.10%
Dryden 4.60% 8.00% -3.40%
Brison 3.90% 9.00% -5.10%
Volpe 4.60% 6.00% -1.40%
Hall-Findlay 1.00% 3.00% -2.00%

Average deviation: 3.5%
Worst Estimate: 5.7% overestimate for Kennedy (even if you allow Jason his "range" Kennedy was still outside it)

Given that Jason was using ranges it is a bit unfair to him to use his average deviation against him, but......oh well :-) Still, as you will see, he did better than some

Entry 3: democraticSPACE

Update: (I was using earlier numbers from this site and somehow, due to my own stupidity, didn't use the most up-to-date numbers, Greg was quick to point out, and rightly so, that his final numbers were far more accurate than I was giving him credit for - I leave my initial numbers up becasue that is what is used for my calculations at the bottom, however, Greg's numbers that he included in the comments section are the ones you should use for him - he had the most accurate numbers and should have been awarded the winner - all I can say is...Whoops!
No slight was intended for Greg and I was foolish to think that my numerical ability was anything close to him , or many of the others making predictions )

Actual Prediction Diff

Ignatieff 29.80% 24.20% 5.60%
Kennedy 16.80% 16.90% -0.10%
Rae 19.80% 14.30% 5.50%
Dion 16.60% 13.50% 3.10%
Dryden 4.60% 9.20% -4.60%
Brison 3.90% 9.90% -6.00%
Volpe 4.60% 6.60% -2.00%
Hall-Findlay 1.00% 3.60% -2.60%

Average deviation: 3.6%
Worst Estimate: 6.0% oversupport for Brison

[section deleted due to my own stupidity as explained above]


Greg pointed out that he had more up-to-date numbers than the ones that I was using. I inlcude those here for you (from his comments):

IGGY 29.8 / 26.8 / 3.0
RAE 19.8 / 18.2 / 1.6
KENNEDY 16.8 / 15.1 / 1.7
DION / 16.6 / 16.4 / 0.2
DRYDEN / 4.6 / 9.1 / +4.5
BRISON / 3.9 / 5.8 / +1.9
VOLPE / 4.6 / 4.7 / +0.1
HALL FINDLAY / 1.0 / 2.5 / +1.5
Average deviation: 1.8
Worst Deviation: 4.5% over-support for Dryden

Much better showing for him then many of the others. In fact, if I had been paying attention then I would have had even better numbers in my avergaing anaysis.

mea culpa!

Entry 4: delegate.count

Actual Prediction Diff

Ignatieff 29.80% 33.11% -3.31%

Kennedy 16.80% 17.95% -1.15%

Rae 19.80% 14.38% 5.42%

Dion 16.60% 18.37% -1.77%

Dryden 4.60% 7.45% -2.85%

Brison 3.90% 4.96% -1.06%

Volpe 4.60% 2.33% 2.27%

Hall-Findlay 1.00% 1.45% -0.45%

Average deviation: 2.3%
Worst Estimate: 5.4% underestimation of Rae

More of a tracking site than a prediction site, but he did do some "regional adjsutments" and other stuff to predict the outcome. Actually did quite good. The only site to come close to predicting Iggy's suport. Best of all the blogger that we have seen so far (one is better, but you will have to wait)

Entry 5: The Strategic Counsel/CTV/Globe&Mail poll

Actual Prediction Diff

Ignatieff 29.80% 19.00% 10.80%
Kennedy 16.80% 9.00% 7.80%
Rae 19.80% 17.00% 2.80%
Dion 16.60% 13.00% 3.60%
Dryden 4.60% 9.00% -4.40%
Brison 3.90% 3.00% 0.90%
Volpe 4.60% 3.00% 1.60%
Hall-Findlay 1.00% 3.00% -2.00%

Average deviation: 4.2%
Worst Estimate: 10% underestimation of Ignatieff

One of two entries from the MSM and, as usual, they got it totaly wrong. Every blogger in the race beat them both on average and in almost every specific. Moral = blogs rule, polls suck.

Entry 6: The Gandalf Group (i.e. David Herle, the Liberal's Pollster/Campaign Manager)

Actual Prediction Diff

Ignatieff 29.80% 13.00% 16.80%
Kennedy 16.80% 7.00% 9.80%
Rae 19.80% 19.00% 0.80%
Dion 16.60% 8.00% 8.60%
Dryden 4.60% 19.00% -14.40%
Brison 3.90% 4.00% -0.10%
Volpe 4.60% 1.00% 3.60%
Hall-Findlay 1.00% 1.00% 0.00%

Average deviation: 6.73%
Worst Estimate: 16% underestimation of Ignatieff

This was just sad. Very, very sad. The Liberals should hire any of the blogger above (or our winner below) to be thier pollster for the next election.

Entry 7: Our Winner - Calgary Grit

Actual Prediction Diff

Ignatieff 29.80% 26.70% 3.10%
Kennedy 16.80% 17.70% -0.90%
Rae 19.80% 17.90% 1.90%
Dion 16.60% 14.60% 2.00%
Dryden 4.60% 7.20% -2.60%
Brison 3.90% 6.30% -2.40%
Volpe 4.60% 7.80% -3.20%
Hall-Findlay 1.00% 1.90% -0.90%

Average deviation: 2.2%
Worst Estimate: 3% underestimation of Ignatieff

Calgary Grit has the lowest deviation and a pretty low worst-guess. He was closer on Iggy than most as well (good, given that he is a Kennedy supporter) . He absolutly kicked the ass of the MSM abuot six ways from Sunday and edged out the rest of the bloggers.

Results of Averaging

So I took the average for each delegate percentage (see my work in the link at the top of the post) and the results confirm my methodology:

Actual Prediction Diff

Ignatieff 29.80% 25% 4.80%
Kennedy 16.80% 17% -0.20%
Rae 19.80% 19% 0.80%
Dion 16.60% 15% 1.60%
Dryden 4.60% 9% -4.40%
Brison 3.90% 6% -2.10%
Volpe 4.60% 5% -0.40%
Hall-Findlay 1.00% 2% -1.00%

Average deviation: 1.9%
Worst Estimate: 5% underestimation of Ignatieff

The wisdom of crowds resulted in the lowest deviation from the actual results and the only points that were out worse than any others were the Dryden/Iggy numbers.

Yes, this was the most accurate, but it was only due to the hard work and dilligance of the other bloggers. Hat tip to all those who put work into the process and gave us the numbers to play with that they did.