Friday, April 08, 2005

Al Gore shuts down CBC Newsworld

and only now has CTV received permission to do what they want with their Newsnet channel.

While the news report on the CBC business page is entitled "CBC to shut down Newsworld" the reality depicted by the article, further down, is that Al Gore is shutting down CBC Newsworld. Him and the group of investors that he represents successfuly purchased an operating chunk of CBC Newsworld from Vivendi in 2004. Vivendi, also not Canadian.

For one, I thought there were ownership rules governing Canadian media that demanded an operating share to be owned by Canadians. For two, what is part of a government run media outlet doing in Al Gore's hands?

Apparently, Gore is going to ressurect the channel and call it the "Current" - a "youth-oriented" news channel that will somehow gain programming from user input off of the internet. Well, here's my contribution as someone of the youth-orientation.

While this is my contribution - check out the CBC Board of Directors contribution to not only coverage of the Gomery case but also to the coiffeurs of the Liberal Party.

Shockwaves of Gomery

are especially being felt in the editorial pages today, even from the notoriously liberal Toronto Star:
As New Democrat leader Jack Layton put it in Parliament yesterday, some Liberals were "treating the public purse as their private piggybank," if testimony by former ad executive Jean Brault is to be believed.
Until Gomery presents his findings, it would be imprudent to rush to judgment on this sordid affair.
Well, I think the whole waiting thing is kind of silly. I mean, sure these allegations are legally "unproven". But in the minds of the Canadian public, this is just a two part equation:
  1. 1. $250 million of taxpayers' money was lost by Liberal mismanagement.
  2. 2. Some of that money was "mismanaged" back into Liberal hands.
On one hand, it would be silly to have a no-confidence vote based on allegations. However, if they can be confirmed shortly, it would be silly for Canadians to leave the Liberals in a position to "mismanage" more of our money.

It really befuddles me why the Liberals have so much of a grip on Ontario, however. Maybe they are still waiting for the Liberals' "scrap the GST" promise, 12 years later.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Gomery ban lifted

Well, I can now publish legally the damning information in the Gomery inquiry.
Here is the biggest question I have after reading this: How many more proxy Liberal companies are out there giving tax money to the Liberal party??

The testimony implicates Chretien's brother, and Martin's aids. Here is the story:
Top federal Liberal officials forced an ad executive to secretly divert more than $1 million to the party's Quebec wing in exchange for sponsorship contracts, the executive told the Gomery inquiry in politically explosive testimony that had been kept under wraps by a publication ban that was finally lifted Thursday.

Brault's Groupaction firm also defrayed party staffing costs through Liberal employees who were planted in his firm at the urging of party brass.

The scheme went on for nine years and involved at least $1.1 million involving top officials in the office of former public works minister Alfonso Gagliano.

If true, the scam would be unprecedented in modern federal politics because tax dollars were funnelled from public coffers to the Liberal party while middlemen took huge commissions for little or no work.

I'll show the Liberal party the wrath of using my tax dollars to fund their party. I dare them to call a vote.
''We were very heavily solicited,'' Brault recalled last Friday under questioning from lead inquiry counsel Bernard Roy.

''We didn't ask questions and we understood that all contributions were going to be taken into consideration and that we would be compensated (for it) one way or another.''

''I was told the party counted a lot on me and my financial aid,'' Brault recalled.

Meanwhile, it must be noted that this testimony is so damning because of "who knew." The money was not just misused. It was misused to benefit one party and the people of that party. Think of how big it was. A quarter of a billion dollars. In my opinion, it is only a matter of time before Paul Martin goes down with the ship. We could very well see the end of the Liberal party as we know it.

Ban breaking
Oh and the website that broke the ban is Captain's Quarters. It is now very famous indeed. When other big figures are going to testify, he hopes to have the scoop on that (due to the future publication ban that will still happen with them).

Nealenews is the Canadian news site in the media which linked to CQ. It looks like the partisan Bourque is miles behind on this story.

Instapundit has a small roundup

The Western Standard thinks this will decimate the Liberals. "Mr. Dithers will become Mr. Dead."

Warren Kinsella is silent, preferring to bask in his own ego.

Update to Academic Blogging

Volokh Conspiracy Exchange Published in Drake Law Review:
Our former guest-blogger Cass Sunstein and our own Randy Barnett have published a revised version of their on-blog exchange about Cass's "Second Bill of Rights" in 53 Drake Law Review 205.
Instead of writing law reviews, blog!

The case for rationalism, progress and globalization.

"Why are they not more convincing?" - The Economist holds up the old Enlightenment band wagon in their review of two books, one by Dick Taverne and the other by Thomas Friedman.
...the book's greatest weakness: an insistence that the scientific, rationalist world-view is not just mostly right, but always so without exception. This is manifest in its skimpy and simplistic treatment of religion. In attacking a loosely defined “fundamentalism”, Lord Taverne conflates private piety with public zealotry, and appears to assume that deeply held religious belief is always synonymous with intolerance.

Which service is worthy to be... the news. The Canadian Atlas Online (which recieved money from the Canadian government) or Google's satellite maps (which hasn't)?

AdScam/Gomery/House of Commons Debate

Exchange of the day:

"As the Bloc leader has designs on the leadership of the Parti Quebecois, does he intend to ask for an inquiry into the $100,000 received by the Parti Quebecois from Groupaction?'' Martin asked.

Duceppe shot back: "If the prime minister is so eager to ask questions, he'll have that chance soon when he finds himself in the opposition.''

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Irony, not Gomery, has the final laugh

Enough of the AdScam and the Gomery Commission Liberal Party scandal for now. If you want to read up on it, our posts below showcase some Gomery/AdScam info and other "totally unrelated" websites.

I know I swore of blogging tonight, since I am so busy with school. But an MSNBC news alert caught my eye and surprised me a bit.

This is perhaps one of the biggest modern examples of a victim achieving redemption.

Today, a Kurd was chosen to be the very first President of Iraq. After decades of violence against the Kurds, Saddam Hussein's reign of terror is over at last, with the innocent victims (the Kurds) achieving something that is monumental in its own right.

Blogging Academics

Inside Higher Ed reports on Academia and Blogging:
With the rise of the knowledge economy and the spread of decentralizing technology, the academy is ceding authority and attention to businesses, nonprofits, foundations, media outlets, and Internet communities. Even more significant, in my mind, the academy may be losing something else: its hold over many of its most promising young academics, who appear more and more willing to take their services elsewhere — and who may comprise an embryonic cohort of new “postacademic intellectuals” in the making.

The Crooked Timber says this:
Blogging offers academics a means of connecting with that wider public without having to leave the academy....blogging isn’t ever going to be a substitute for academia, but it is a valuable ancillary activity. It allows you to write pieces that may or may not connect to your scholarship, but that never could see the light of day in an academic journal. At the same time, this can feed back in valuable and unexpected ways into your academic work. I suspect that over the longer term blogging will become increasingly attractive to scholars who want to connect with that wider audience, but who don’t want to give up their scholarship. You can become a low-rent public intellectual, without having to give up your day job.

Personally, I think blogging is a fantastic way to reach out not only to the public but to professors' own students.

Here are some other unique ways that blogging can be useful for professors:
  1. Intra-class blogs. Instead of the comments being limited to the classroom, set up a class blog that allows students to think and participate in the debate of ideas outside of the classroom.
  2. Tired of teaching all those former students, who you find out graduated with their PhD at Harvard and forgot to let you know? Stay in touch with them through the blog.
  3. Going on sabbatical and feel distanced from your students? Start a blog. Print some business cards, and maintain contact with your current students and professors.
  4. Blogs provide an outlet of escape and scapegoat of frustration. Spend a few minutes posting something interesting. Wait. Breathe deeply. Feel better.
(Thanks to Professor Bainbridge for the scoop) debt consolidation debt consolidation

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Google Maps

Check this out: Google does the earth. Satellite. And it is peppy too. It could revolutionize getting directions.

Charges against Canadian blogs?

What Free Trade did to the Neanderthals may just be what the Internet will do to the Liberals and their luddite comrades.

The Attorney General is apparently considering to charge Canadian blogs. Excuse me? Anyone can go to a search engine, type in "Gomery leaked" and come to a US based blog and find the same thing. Stopping Canadians stops nothing. Actually, come to think of it, is telling people how to find the information the same as linking?

Moreover, if it is already out there doesn't a ban on links or means to find the information mean that only an internet savy elite are allowed to have potentially powerful information?

And what about all those people that just happened and will happen to go to the US site in question on a regular basis for their news?

And what are they going to do about the Globe and Mail who give people a key phrase to search up? Three guesses where "Captain Ed" will take you too when you google it?

Blogs are becoming a threat to the ruling it would seem - threatening the media and politicians. To put it more bluntly, discourse is becoming a threat to the ruling powers.

Monday, April 04, 2005

An exercise to prove we're prepared, I mean...

So the US, together with Canada and the UK, are running a major anti-terrorist exercise.

The BBC selected a fantastic quote from
US Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff:

"The point of this [the exercise] is not to design a simulation that makes us "look good" because we were able to figure out how to pre-package everything that we wanted to do..."

Of course not and of course they would not admit something like that and of course they would not fail their own exercise miserably. It would be interesting to know how useful these exercises will really be. Hopefully all evaluations will be academic.

More Liberal Waste

For some reason, I do not feel Canadians are getting value for our money (via Canoe):
A group of MPs studying Canada's prostitution laws is seeking $200,000 in federal funds to visit European cities with red-light zones and legal brothels. The five-member justice subcommittee plans to visit Britain, the Netherlands and Sweden.
While in the US, look how much lawmakers get for $24 million in federal funds (via WashPost)

The watchdog group PoliticalMoneyLine found that lawmakers have logged 701 taxxpayer-funded trips to the United Kingdom since 1994... It was followed by Italy (467), France (409), Germany (395), Belgium (250), Russia (248), Turkey (185), Spain (182), Kuwait (173) and South Africa (166).

In all, the group said, House members and their staffs have spent almost $24 million over the past 11 years on international trips.

Number of total trips: 4691 for $24 Million US. 1 trip for $200,000 Canadian.

Let's do a little math to see what 4691 trips would cost Canadian taxpayers.
  • I think it is fair to assume that for every US trip, approximately 5 members went. That would include lawmakers and staff.
  • Let us adjust the Canadian dollars to US dollars at a very conservative CDN $0.70 cents to$ 1.00US dollar (currently it is 0.84) = $285,700(appx.).
4691 trips would cost taxpayers astonishing CDN$1,340,218,700. That is over 1 billion dollars.

Sure, there are many factors involved. But just look at what the Canadian MPs are spending their money on: $62,840 for transportation, $25,328 for accommodation, $12,000 for food and $43,500 for items like interpretation, official gifts and fees.

$12,000 for food? There are only 5 people going. $43,000 for gifts and interpreters? Are they planning on hiring and housing an interpreter for a year?

To me, based on purely fiscal numbers, is just another way the Canadian government is burning our tax money.

House of Commons Zinger

Hon. Stephen Harper, Leader of the Opposition: Mr Speaker, today Liberal spin doctors and Liberal lawyers are trying -- actually, they have the gall to depict the Liberal Party as the victim of the sponsorship scandal. Caught as it is, will the government at least have the decency to admit that the only victim is the Canadian taxpayer whose money was stolen?

Speaker: The Right Honourable Prime Minister.

Paul Martin: Mr Speaker

Some Member: Guilty!

Speaker: Order, order. The Right Honorable Prime Minister has the floor.

Rt. Hon. Paul Martin, Prime Minister: Mr Speaker, the Liberal Party consists of thousands of men and women, in Quebec and right across this country, who are dedicated to the Liberal Party and to their country. They work day in and day out, Mr Speaker, for the benefit of Canadians, and Mr Speaker, those members of the Liberal party should not have to bear the rumours, Mr Speaker, or the burden of the activities of a very small few who may have colluded against the Party and against, Mr Speaker, the well being of Canadians, and we will defend, Mr Speaker, those Liberals. These are Canadians, Mr Speaker, who have given their all for this country.

Some Member: Hear, hear.

Speaker: [inaudible] the Opposition.

Stephen Harper: Mr Speaker, the judge, police, and Canadians will be the judge of how involved the Liberal party is.

On another subject, last week Canadians finally learned the details of the brutal torture and murder of Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi. Now it turns out, for months the Prime Minister knew the true extent of the brutality inflicted upon Ms Kazemi. Instead of taking a firm stand against Iran, he sent our ambassador back to that oppressive regime. What kind of callous, spineless government reestablishes normal diplomatic relations with this kind of regime?

Speaker: Hon. Prime Minister.

Paul Martin: [inaudible] ... respond first to the preamble. The fact is, Mr Speaker, that Candians do de-- [aside] are Americans -- that Canadians should have the facts, Mr Speaker, and that is why I called for the Gomery commission, that is why this government, Mr Speaker, put that commission in place, Mr Speaker, it is precisely to have those facts, and that's why there should not be an election until Justice Gomery has reported, because Canadians deserve to know the facts.

Now, Mr Speaker, if I may respond to the Honourable Member's question, if the baying on the other side... the member has asked a question, ....

Speaker: I'm afraid the Right Honourable Prime Minister has used up the time responding to the preamble, but I suspect there might be a supplementary question, may be a supplementary question from the Honourable Leader of the Opposition.

Stephen Harper: Mr Speaker, may I just say that that is a perfect example of what is wrong with this government. They should have used this opportunity to defend a Canadian citizen, not the Liberal party.

The Oakes Test and the Publication Ban

Here is an interesting comment on the Gomery Commission's publication ban by Colby Cosh:
Under the metaconstitutional Oakes test, any infringement of individual Charter liberties, such as a publication ban, must have a "rational connection" to the intended benefit and must be the most minimally restrictive measure that can bring about the benefit. The argument here is that if a ban doesn't work in practice--say, because American webloggers are all printing the mind-blowing stuff Canadian ones cannot--it can't meet Oakes. With due respect to the ban, which I consider myself to have observed herein, it would actively help free the hands of Canadian webloggers and reporters if our foreign cousins were to be aggressive about "publishing" the substance of the Brault testimony outside the reach of Canadian law.
As much as I respect Cosh's argument, which makes the Canadian law seem absurd, Blogger is hosted on American soil. Why can't I publish something in America that defies the ban? Thus, I am not sure if it even makes sense to even go through this trouble of aggressive reporting down south.

UPDATE - I wonder if the old Election Gag Law, ruled as unconstitutional, has anything to do with the current publication ban, which prohibited people "from transmitting the result or purported result of the vote in an electoral district to the public in another electoral district before the close of all of the polling stations in that other electoral district." Would that mean that Gomery's publication ban is unconstitutional, since some Canadians are seeing the Gomery information published in one jurisdiction while others in another are not to publish that information? The publication ban seems sensible to me at the time of its creation. But now that it has leaked, there is no way of unlearning information.

At any rate, Mader Blog's analysis makes it clear that merely linking to the illegal information does not violate the ban.

Will blogs take down Canada's Government?

"The explosive testimony given out of the public eye last week at the
Gomery commission began appearing on websites yesterday, capping a
weekend of frenzied rumours about snap elections and covert political
meetings in Ottawa

Will Blogs Bring Down Canada's Government?

This is an interesting blog and quite unrelated to the topic at hand.