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Website updates

Friday, May 27, 2005
MOVED TO:

WWW.MKBRAATEN.COM

M.K. Braaten

Mail the Prime Minister a rock campaign

Thursday, May 26, 2005
Well, I have been reading a lot of blogs and it looks like there are a lot of pissed off bloggers out there that are either:

1) Fed up with corruption at the highest levels of government;

2) Rightlyfully do not respect the Government because they failed to respect the confidence vote;

3) Sick of having socialism forced on them;

4) Mad that Ontario wont vote out the corrupt government

5) Choked that the government carelessly spends our tax dollars

Therefore, what can we do about it? Well, how about we spend some of OUR tax dollars just to piss the less-than-Prime Minister Paul Martin off??

Well Aaron (grandinite.com) and I have developed a game plan. Since it requires no postage or return address to send the Prime Minister mail, what we are going to do, and we hope you join us, is mail the Prime Minister's office a parcel filled with a rock, brick, or whatever else you can think of.

The address is:

Office of the Prime Minister
Rt Hon. Paul Martin
House of Commons
Parliament Buildings
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada
K1A 0A6

Dont forget to leave a note to tell him just how unhappy you are with him and his government! Although a room full of rocks wont make him resign I think its a funny way to make a point! And hey its free postage so what the hell.

WWW.MKBRAATEN.COM

My blog has a new address on the world wide web. It is:

www.mkbraaten.com

However if you access my page from the old address of mkbraaten.blogspot.com you will automatically be redirected to the new address.

Thanks for reading my site. I appreciate your comments!

M.K. Braaten

Kroll Report

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

UPDATE 2:

Grandinite blog points out that there are some interesting people running this taxpayer funded $1 million dollar Adscam damage control office for the Liberals:

Guy McKenzie - Was named last year by AG Sheila Fraser as someone who authorized sponsorship transactions involving departments and Crown corporations

Ursula Menke - Former inspector general of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and former deputy commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard . Also, she previously worked for Paul Martin in the Finance department as a superintendent of Financial Institutions. Ms. Menke has been providing ongoing advice to the PMO and Mr. Himelfarb in regard to the inquiry. She said the office was involved in providing all the required documents to the inquiry and has acted as a liaison for Judge Gomery.

So we have a former Finance/CSIS officer working for the PMO with the goal of minimizing the damage that the Gomery inquiry is revealing. This person is in charge for supplying all the required documents to Judge Gomery. And, we have McKenzie who has been implicated in Adscam by Fraser helping as well.

Check out Grandinite for more...

Update I:

In case you didnt realize, it has been revealed today that the Liberals are billing tax payers over $1 million dollars to handle the fallout of the Gomery commission. Incredible. So essentially we are paying the government's million bill so that we dont get mad at the fact that they stole our money. That makes alot of sense.

This Liberal Party press release says that since the Accountants said the money was 'purported' to be given to the Liberal party that it really wasn't in fact given to them and that it will be 'up to Gomery' confirm it. The Liberal party sure didn't wait very long to issue a denial. However, I guess when you pay over a million dollars to debunk fallout, those denials better be issued very quickly. So at the very least I guess we are getting our moneys worth in defending the Liberal party from ourselves.

Oh, one other note. Although the accountants revealed that they found over $100 million dollars more than expected, the Toronto Star website has a breaking story on their front page about a "rash of fireworks-related incidents across the GTA this holiday weekend." Now that is quality coverage.

A final note, why is it that the CBC was the first (and so far only) news corporation to have a copy of the Kroll report on their website? Also, the PDF document that I downloaded shows an error when you try to click on the "Appendices" or the "Schedules" sections (these are the best and most informative sections of any report from an Accountant). Anyways ill let you make your own inferences on that one.

Kroll Report:

Payments to the Liberal Party:

Source

Total reported amount donated to the Liberal party is $768,536, but if you include Jean Brault’s unofficial donation of $1,763,587, the total is then $2,532,123 donated to the Liberal party of Canada. But of course, the Liberal party was quick to deny this.

Contract Management Irregularities:
(excerpts)
-Billed more hours for professional services to PWGSC than were recorded in agency records for a specific event;
-Billed PWGSC for fees that were already paid by PWGSC via the AOR;
-Billed PWGSC based on approved estimated costs (a fixed fee) while the contract required billing based on approved hourly rates and actual hours incurred; and
-Billed costs incurred to PWGSC before a contract was in place.
-Charged 17.65% commission on work sub-contracted to related parties;
-Passed on to PWGSC a substantial mark-up on promotional items purchased from a related supplier;
-Billed sub-contractor labour costs at full agency contract labour rates instead of the actual cost plus 17.65%;
-Did not obtain competitive quotes for sub-contracted work in excess of $25,000;
-Charged a finder’s fee or commission to a sponsoree while collecting a commission from PWGSC for being the communication agency;

Also:

-Jacques Corriveau's company PluriDesign charged GroupAction $430,370 for services that could not be dicerned via documentation.
-The Finance department was responsible for 115.19 million of the sponsorship costs.
-From 1995-2002 Groupe Everest ‘earned’ $476.2 million dollars in revenues from Government of Canada related business (sponsorship).

One thing that is odd is that the Liberal party finances and its riding associations were not investigated.



Gomery Update

Well, I am watching the accountants presentation at Gomery, here are some updates:

The cost of the sponsorship scandal was $355 million, not $250 million.

Some programs were double funded, i.e. two government sources would fund a $3 million dollar initiative, twice. So Chuck Guite would have an extra $3 million to play with.

Developing...

4.5 million dollars paid to Montreal Canadians for advertising... (none to the other CDN teams)

6.0 million dollars paid to the Montreal Expos's (1.4 to the Blue Jays)...

Update:
The accountants just confirmed that money went to the Liberal Party of Canada

More updates on this post of mine. Dont ask me why im blogging two posts at a time.

Alberta Blogs

Monday, May 23, 2005
I have recently joined a new blogroll called "Alberta Blog." It looks pretty cool, its members are of every political stripe so it should be quite interesting. Anyhow if your blog is from Alberta click here to join up. Also, there is another blog that Aaron (grandinite.blogspot.com) set up called Non Corporate bloggers. Add the link to your site today!

Monday

What a gloomy day today.

Aside from the weather, this day isn't going well at all.

Some times when you make a decision it's not easy to deal with the consequences of it because your decisions affect another person -- and that's the worst part.

But sometimes something that affected you in the past can affect your current decision. And right now I am trying to figure out if it's best to learn from those past events so they don't occur again by deciding one way; or does deciding the other way demonstrate that what your trying to learn from the past shouldn't affect your current decision?

And no, this isn’t about politics.

Capitalism

Here is another interesting comment from a reader in response to this post:

Unfortunately, this is the result of the capitalist society we all 'buy' into. Essentially we are entering into an era that will reveal the ill-conceived notion that a free market economy could become so intricate, so scientific, as to affect every aspect of our lives. Think about it. Really step back and think about the possibility that our very lives are becoming more and more encompassed in the 'neo-American dream' of making money. Not houses with picket fences, not 2.3 children, for these have been 'discovered' to be the result of having, and making money. In the rational society we live in today it should come as no surprise that we, as a whole, have evolved into capitalist savvy consumers. After all, now that religion was 'discovered' to be a hoax, what else are you going to attribute the meaning of life to?

This is not to say that free market economy/society is or will be detrimental to our ever-expanding western society. One may even argue that it was/is a vital piece of the puzzle that is global democracy. It seems we have passed the point of no return on the road to a true 'global village' so the issue of global democracy will no doubt become a topic of world leaders. If we must now become members of the global economy/society it could be argued that the most congruent cultural symbol among the millions of formerly independent worldly cultures is the idea of money. In order for any society or economy to survive the players (i.e., everyone!!), must have their goals and objectives aligned. What other 'entity' exists that can objectively ensure everyone is ‘on the same page’?

It could also be argued that capitalistic societies/economies can better ‘control’ (for lack of a better word) certain social issues that are fast becoming epidemics. The solution to virtually every complex problem in recent history can be attributed to, in a capitalistic sense, the allocation of resources. Whether human, monetary, or knowledge, the solution to a capitalistic problem is resources. If the pervasiveness of capitalism is becoming so great as to effect our very way of life, then, logically, wouldn’t it be in the common interest of the people (as meant in its most general of terms) to harness the power of capitalism and use it to create the picture of the so called ‘utopian society’? Whether or not capitalism is the “ideal” basis on which to form a society or economy is not being contested in this argument. Merely it is professing that capitalism has become a dominant force in our lives and shows no signs of slowing. In capitalistic terms, this represents an opportunity to develop a tool that will put the organization in better position for future profits, after factoring the social effects into the NPV (Net present value).

And thus… I get to my point. In order to prevent negative capitalistic outcomes, such as the news media’s need for power or the mockery that is Canadian government, there needs to be capitalistic ‘punishment’ in an opposite and equal direction. Take for example the modern stock market, where every aspect of business is down to a science that theoretically revolves around information. If all information is known, no party is worse off or better off for reasons without merit. If we can adapt this capitalistic ‘science’ to society we may be able to better understand, and thus solve, the social/economic problems that plague the capitalistic ideology.

Until we solve the inherent problems in our capitalistic society we cannot expect the government or economy to be without them. After all, isn’t a democracy meant to reflect the will of the masses?

DB

Hockey and Politics II

I had an reader post a couple well thought out comments that I feel deserve their own posts. Last week I wrote:

Being a member of the Conservative party is similar to being the #1 fan of the Vancouver Canucks.

You always have so much potential, often come so close, but in the end, you always lose.

Thank god there isnt playoffs this spring, I don't think I could handle both defeats.


Then in the comments section I had this comment:

As a loyal Canuck fan, I know exactly what you mean. Only difference is that hockey's merely a diversion from things that matter.

Then a reader posted this fine argument:

RE: "As a loyal Canuck fan, I know exactly what you mean.

Only difference is that hockey's merely a diversion from things that matter."

I argue that hockey is (was) one of the most uniting aspects of the mess that we call Canada. Surely we would all agree that our sense of 'national pride' is elevated when Canada unites for the common cause that is hockey. As depressing as it may be, hockey has become one of the few elements left in the Canadian culture that can be uniquely identified and shared by Canadians.

Thus, like it or not, hockey is one of the few things that we as Canadians can agree upon. I argue that the key to solving our social-policy and political woe’s lies within our national identity, the premise of which is based on our unique commonalities.

If we can find something to agree upon, maybe, just maybe, we can use it as a catalyst to develop and enhance the notion of a truly Canadian society. Too often we focus on the opposing interests of 'sub-cultures' that only involve meaningful consideration by those affected directly. We have become so tuned into the 'idiot-box' that our society views public policy as if it were a reality show. The viewers (i.e., the Canadian population), believe that someone else, someone more qualified, is looking out for their best interests, when in 'reality' this lack of motivation to construct and vocalize meaningful opinions is ensuring that our 'best interests' will become secondary.

Being the savvy diplomats that we are, Canadians are increasingly choosing to avoid conflict at whatever cost if it means the 'feelings' of someone else will be spared. This ideology has become so pervasive that we no longer have the ability, nor motivation to actively and meaningfully participate in democracy.

If hockey is something that a large group of us can relate to, understand, and render opinions upon, then we should embrace its spirit as it may be one of the few remaining Canadian 'entities' that actually represents a unified effort on behalf of the ADD plagued masses. If only we could incorporate body checking and power plays into the parliament… Maybe then Canadians would demand referees to ensure ‘fair play’.

DBB

Lost the battle to win the war

Saturday, May 21, 2005
Man, I hit up the Green Day concert the other night at Rexall Place here in Edmonton. What a concert! I’m starting to feel old, as I remember I was a teenager when their first album came out in 1993; there were so many young kids there that probably weren’t even around when their first album came out!

Sometimes life just passes you by. Too often are we so focused on the future, you know, 4 years till I finish my degree, 2 years till I earn my professional designation, 15 years till I become partner of the firm...were so busy focusing on the future that we often fail to appreciate the present. But the reason you focus on the future is to achieve your vision of yourself, to define your life, to become who you want to be.

And what disheartens me is that none of our country's leaders have offered us a vision for our Country. Pierre Trudeau, for all his faults, had a vision for our Country. And I respect that. Although his vision for Canada is not similar to mine, at least he had one.

Are our politicians an example of us Canadians?

Do we have no collective vision for our Country? And if not, why?

In business, if there is an industry that is lacking of innovation then the first company that offers a viable solution to the industry’s main problem, often the company will succeed. This is similar to Canadian politics. There is currently a market for a leader to offer a strong vision of Canada, based on principles and vision, and Stephen Harper should be capitalizing on that. He should be not be scared to be different then the Liberals. He should boldly proclaim to us his vision of Canada.

We live in a Country of apathy. And it makes you think, maybe apathy is a product of socialism? People are so used to having 'other' people do things for them, that they fail to care about anything.

The simple fact that a government can stay in power even though they are being investigated of stealing tax payer dollars is sad. The Liberals in Canada are abusing the trust of Canadians, and to tell you the truth, we know it but we don’t care.

Do you think that the accountants at Enron were allowed to continue practicing while they were awaiting their trial? I highly doubt it. Now think about the government, the simple fact that our Government is under investigation is enough to make me realize that they are not fit to govern. But they still are.

Think about it though, the Liberal government is only in power because the speaker had to break the tie in the vote last week. Conservatism has come a long way since its back was broken when they were reduced to two seats back in 1993. Soon there will be a Conservative government. Maybe not this summer, or maybe not next, but it will happen. There is a movement across the Country. More and more people are questioning Liberalism.

It’s funny to see Martin declare that he has a majority in the House of Commons. Several years ago, the idea that the party would be clinging to power by the vote of the speaker would be laughable. Paul Martin had to cling to power through vote buying and by fundamentally changing the budget; it’s pathetic. And I bet that Jean Chrétien is sitting in his chair, watching the news, and smiling. Laughing at how desperate Paul Martin has become, but likely sad that his party will be forever tainted.

When the vote on the Budget went to the Liberals on Thursday, I had to admit, I was right choked up. But, I thought, this is good for the Conservatives. The Liberals are only further destroying their chances of being re-elected. In a year’s time, after putting up with more BS from the Martin government, people will be looking for another party to vote for. And if the Conservatives do a good job selling their ideology and vision to Canadians, maybe, just maybe they will be elected.

Don’t fret, because as Stephen Harper correctly put it, we've lost the battle in order to win the war.

No election

Friday, May 20, 2005
Put away your lawn signs. I have just received confirmation from the office of Stephen Harper that there will not be an election this summer.

Alberta Blog Roll

Thursday, May 19, 2005
People are googling "alberta blogs", so I know there are some of you out there who want to read blogs from Alberta.

Starting a blogroll is tough, because it depends on network externalities - often the number of people willing to join is a function of people already in the blogroll. I need some good, pro-Alberta bloggers to answer the call.

Here is what I am finding: Blogs Canada is not that great when it comes to centralizing blogs on the basis of geography.

Having an Alberta blogroll identifies you as being from Alberta, and links you to a community of bloggers within the province. The blogroll will link you to fellow bloggers, regardless of content or political stripe.

Some potential members have expressed concerns that the blogroll would be dominated by right-wing bloggers, and have stated that they would prefer not to link to blogs of the opposite end of the political spectrum.

I say that this is precisely the divisiveness that Alberta Blogs hopes to overcome.

Instead of focusing on where people are divided politically, I think it is imperative that we focus on common ground. Everybody has something in common, and by sharing that we can be engaged in more civilized and enlightening blogosphere communication.

So join up! All you have to do is send an email to albertablogs[at]gmail[.]com stating why you want to join and tell me a bit about yourself. I will then send you the blogrolling code that will update automatically as others join in.

Posted by Aaron at Grandinite.blogspot.com

Hockey and Politics

Being a member of the Conservative party is similar to being the #1 fan of the Vancouver Canucks.

You always have so much potential, often come so close, but in the end, you always lose.

Thank god there isnt playoffs this spring, I don't think I could handle both defeats.

Liberals stay in power


Government wins vote, stays in power.

Cadman votes for corruption.

So, I guess, because the Liberals had their budget passed, there's no reason for an election in the spring? That's apparently what the media is saying. I guess the Liberal's are no longer corrupt. Hmm, its kind of hard to understand that logic.




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