The Indelible Bonobo Experience

Renaissance Monkey: in-depth expertise in Jack-of-all-trading. I mostly comment on news of interest to me and occasionally engage in debates or troll passive-aggressively. Ask or Submit 2 mah authoritah! ;) !

This summer, Europe’s longest-serving ruler - the only post-Soviet president that Belarus has known - marks 20 years in office. Since Alexander Lukashenko came to power in 1994, parliament has been emasculated, political opponents driven into exile or disappeared, and the media have been silenced. This is a country where the KGB is still called the KGB. It is the last European country to use the death penalty – a bullet to the back of the prisoner’s head. Last month, Lukashenko announced he intended to bring back “serfdom” to “teach the peasants to work more efficiently”. (via Belarus: 20 years under dictatorship and a revolution behind the rest of Europe | World | The Guardian)

This summer, Europe’s longest-serving ruler - the only post-Soviet president that Belarus has known - marks 20 years in office. Since Alexander Lukashenko came to power in 1994, parliament has been emasculated, political opponents driven into exile or disappeared, and the media have been silenced. This is a country where the KGB is still called the KGB. It is the last European country to use the death penalty – a bullet to the back of the prisoner’s head. Last month, Lukashenko announced he intended to bring back “serfdom” to “teach the peasants to work more efficiently”. (via Belarus: 20 years under dictatorship and a revolution behind the rest of Europe | World | The Guardian)

Stephen Harper has shown that too much power is concentrated in the Prime Minister’s office. (via Andrew Coyne: We once had to wait weeks for a new Harper abuse of power. Now we’re getting them two or three a day | National Post)
- The prostitution bill. The Supreme Court having tossed out the old laws as a violation of prostitutes’ constitutional right not to be beaten or murdered (I paraphrase), it was expected the government would opt for the “Nordic model,” criminalizing the purchase of sex rather than the sale, as a replacement — a contentious but tenable response to the Court’s decision. It was not expected it would, in effect, fling the ruling back in the Court’s face. Not content with leaving the impugned provisions, but for a few cosmetic changes, essentially intact, the government imposed new restrictions, for example banning prostitutes from advertising: not just in violation of the Constitution, it would seem, but in defiance of it. The bill is written as if calculated to provoke another confrontation with the Court, ideally in time for the next election.
- The cyberbullying bill. At least, that’s what it was sold as: legislation making it a crime to post revealing images of someone online without their consent, for which the government deserves praise. But nothing comes free with this gang. Tacked onto the bill is a number of other unrelated measures — among others, one that would make it easier for police and other authorities to obtain customers’ personal data from Internet and telephone providers, without a warrant — easier that is, than it already is, which is plenty.
- The new privacy commissioner. Of all the people the government might have picked to replace the outgoing commissioner, it chose a top lawyer in the Department of Justice, known for his work on security and public safety issues: exactly the sort of person the privacy commissioner is supposed to keep tabs on. Worse, of six people on the selection committee’s short-list, Daniel Therrien placed sixth. The committee might as well not have bothered.
- The F-35 contract. In the wake of the auditor general’s findings that it had deliberately understated the true costs of the sole-source purchase of 65 “next generation” fighter jets — initially presented as costing just $9-billion, the correct figure, operating costs included, is now estimated at $45-billion — and in the face of growing doubts about the mission, specifications and performance of the plane, the government agreed to review the purchase, perhaps even open it up to competitive bidding. It is now reported, 18 months later, that the review will recommend buying the same plane, on the same terms — without competition

Stephen Harper has shown that too much power is concentrated in the Prime Minister’s office. (via Andrew Coyne: We once had to wait weeks for a new Harper abuse of power. Now we’re getting them two or three a day | National Post)

  • - The prostitution bill. The Supreme Court having tossed out the old laws as a violation of prostitutes’ constitutional right not to be beaten or murdered (I paraphrase), it was expected the government would opt for the “Nordic model,” criminalizing the purchase of sex rather than the sale, as a replacement — a contentious but tenable response to the Court’s decision. It was not expected it would, in effect, fling the ruling back in the Court’s face. Not content with leaving the impugned provisions, but for a few cosmetic changes, essentially intact, the government imposed new restrictions, for example banning prostitutes from advertising: not just in violation of the Constitution, it would seem, but in defiance of it. The bill is written as if calculated to provoke another confrontation with the Court, ideally in time for the next election.
  • - The cyberbullying bill. At least, that’s what it was sold as: legislation making it a crime to post revealing images of someone online without their consent, for which the government deserves praise. But nothing comes free with this gang. Tacked onto the bill is a number of other unrelated measures — among others, one that would make it easier for police and other authorities to obtain customers’ personal data from Internet and telephone providers, without a warrant — easier that is, than it already is, which is plenty.
  • - The new privacy commissioner. Of all the people the government might have picked to replace the outgoing commissioner, it chose a top lawyer in the Department of Justice, known for his work on security and public safety issues: exactly the sort of person the privacy commissioner is supposed to keep tabs on. Worse, of six people on the selection committee’s short-list, Daniel Therrien placed sixth. The committee might as well not have bothered.
  • - The F-35 contract. In the wake of the auditor general’s findings that it had deliberately understated the true costs of the sole-source purchase of 65 “next generation” fighter jets — initially presented as costing just $9-billion, the correct figure, operating costs included, is now estimated at $45-billion — and in the face of growing doubts about the mission, specifications and performance of the plane, the government agreed to review the purchase, perhaps even open it up to competitive bidding. It is now reported, 18 months later, that the review will recommend buying the same plane, on the same terms — without competition
Media tours the premier’s penthouse apartment that Alison Redford had ordered be built near the legislature for her and her daughter, complete with a big area for dinners and butler’s pantry, at the Federal Building in Edmonton, Alberta on Friday March 28, 2014. (via National Post)

Media tours the premier’s penthouse apartment that Alison Redford had ordered be built near the legislature for her and her daughter, complete with a big area for dinners and butler’s pantry, at the Federal Building in Edmonton, Alberta on Friday March 28, 2014. (via National Post)