Tag Archives: Corruption

Miley Cyrus is a better scientist than the folks at BC Min. of Resource Stewardship

One would think that any politician who’s been in the public eye as long as B.C. Premier Christy Clark would have heard of the Streisand Effect.

In case you don’t know, the Streisand Effect refers to situations in which, by trying to prevent people from hearing about a thing or taking an argument seriously, you actually cause that thing or argument to become much more widely known and accepted than it ever would have been if you’d just kept yer mouth shut to start with.

Such was the case when, around a month ago, Clark waded into a feud with international superstar Miley Cyrus.

Cyrus (who, let’s be clear here, is in some senses a badass pop icon and in other ways is extremely problematic), shared a post on Instagram to her literally millions and millions of followers about the horrors of British Columbia’s wolf cull, encouraging people to sign a petition. (You can see her post and read some reaction here.)

Now, if Christy Clark had just let the whole thing blow over, it would’ve been quickly forgotten. Because petitions, y’know…

The wolf cull was extremely controversial when it was initially announced. The cull, which involves shooting wolves from helicopters, is ostensibly designed to protect decreasing caribou populations, a claim that ecologists and activists hotly disputed. Nonetheless, the cull was implemented in early 2015, and the issue had largely faded from public awareness when Cyrus brought it up again.

Premier Clark, apparently just hungry for a headline, fired back at Cyrus the very next day, saying that the pop star didn’t know what she was talking about, scientifically speaking, and that Cyrus should “stick to twerking“.  Continue Reading

Corporate hubris hits an all-time high – so why aren’t we hearing more about it?

It seems like you can’t walk a block without tripping over a headline about corporate wrongdoing or scandal these days.

One that flew below my radar for several days was the ongoing fury surrounding Volkswagen. I saw vague headlines about recalls and fines, but figured it was just another of those all-too-common shoddy manufacturing stories. When I finally heard the details, I was shocked.

In case you missed it, Volkswagen engaged in a multi-year conspiracy to cheat on emissions tests for its diesel vehicles. Over eleven million vehicles were programmed to detect when they were being tested for emissions, and to engage a special filter in those circumstances to bring their emissions in line with government standards. Outside of e-tests, though, the vehicles went back to emitting up to forty times as much as the legal limits of dangerous emissions – a practice that has likely results in the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of asthmatic folks and other people with lung conditions, as well as contributing immeasurably to the pollution of our atmosphere.

This isn’t a case of a few bad apples. This is a widespread, deliberate attempt by engineers, designers, executives, and scientists at Volkswagen to do an end run around regulations, all so they could market their cars as being more fuel efficient.

As the CBC points out, this isn’t the first time that car companies have known about a dangerously fatal flaw in their vehicles and not taken action. To my knowledge, though, this is the first time that such a flaw has been deliberately engineered into the design of vehicles. Volkswagen has put their profitability ahead of the health and lives of the public with this action – it’s a disgusting affront and it shouldn’t be allowed to go unpunished.

A big question a lot of people have is: how widespread is corporate behaviour like this? Lambert Strether at Naked Capitalism points out that Volkswagen’s model could have a broad application: Continue Reading

There’s a high likelihood of dirty tricks in the upcoming election

It’s been said many times, but it bears endless repetition – it’s a near certainty that at least one major party is going to try to steal this year’s federal election.

And with new concerns arising that this year’s election will be subject to more dirty tricks than ever before, this is an issue that deserves closer attention. So let’s take a close look at the recent history of electoral crime.

For as long as there’s been democracy there’s been behind-the-scenes election-day shenanigans, but I feel like things have been pretty next-level out-in-the-open since George W. Bush’s broad daylight theft of the 2000 American presidential election. However, the more instructive example of election theft, and one that seems to have served as a model for the Harper Conservatives, is the 2004 presidential election.

Not widely acknowledged as a rigged event, the Bush vs. Kerry match-up was won for the incumbent president with a veritable buffet of dirty tricks and the modern-day equivalent of ballot box stuffing. And the details of this massive crime were widely available at the time – they just never rose to the level of scandal that would have caught CNN’s attention. But the details are damning. From a 2005 Harper’s Magazine article: Continue Reading

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