Hey Jester

Get over yourself. David Huynh just did more in one interview with the Ubyssey than you’ve done in the thousands of words you’ve posted, and put his name behind it to allow for proper verification.

And the Ubyssey, through actual research as opposed to anonymously repeating second-hand gossip, has made you irrelevant.

Sorry for your loss!

Although this was the funniest thing I’ve read all day:

“To provide identities would mean subjecting our ideas to irrelevant predispositions and information that only serve to further distort our reporting.”

(Well, either that, or equating me to Richard Nixon.)


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This Is What Courage Looks Like

David Huynh puts his name on the record to tell us what’s been happening with the promotional materials for Bijan’s “slate.” He will be attacked from some people for doing this. Make sure he feels your support.

More thoughts to come as things progress…

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Taking Stock

Well, I have nothing of substance to say about this right now, except that you should all keep an eye on the Ubyssey tomorrow, because bombs are going to be dropped.

I suspected right away that there was something deeply fishy with the ithinkubc site, but it was the Ubyssey staff, along with some help from the UBC Insider folks, who followed through on it, so kudos to them. This site was never meant to “scoop” anybody; the only thing Ricardo and I care about is offering interesting commentary on things that are happening.

And damn, there is a lot of shit happening right now. This stuff with Jeremy is only the beginning.

Just keep in mind tomorrow that there are at least three scandals underway:

  1. Jeremy and Mitch creating the ithinkubc site
  2. Bijan organizing and possibly funding (or was it the Jews?) a slate of candidates
  3. The anonymous asshole who writes Black Box

Sigh…I have to admit that tonight, I’m with Alyssa. It’s not fun when things go too far.


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By The Way

Don’t forget about the ithinkubc site. It’s gone offline again.

There is something seriously suspicious going on with that site, including the question of who wrote the strategic plan chart that could only have been written by an executive.

If it’s not obvious by now, I’m not among those who are complaining about all the drama during this election. I kind of love it.


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A Comment On The Tone

Everyone today is talking about how nasty the election has become. I still think it’s natural to think that the current election is always nastier than the ones before, but this one has certainly taken a turn for the worse.

A few caveats before continuing.

First, as the wise Alexander Michael Lougheed said somewhere on Facebook,  remember that

  1. Very few people read this, in the big picture of things
  2. Outside of our bubble, nobody really cares
  3. Hardly anyone will remember this after a month or two

Also, I would add that this is what comes with running for a position. Yes, it would be nice if everyone just got along and posted things like Jeremy did (although Jeremy’s also done his part of getting caught up in the vindictiveness, as he would admit.) It would also be nice if everyone had a pony. But this is real life, and if you run for a position to be an executive in a multimillion-dollar organization, or a seat on a very powerful Board of Governors, you are going to be attacked—sometimes fairly, often not. You need to have a thick skin, and to learn to ignore the idiots.

Complaining about being attacked in an election is like going to a nice restaurant and then complaining when you have to leave a tip. You knew what you were getting into, or should have known.

Now, here is what caused the downturn in the tone of the election.

  1. Bijan’s actions
  2. The reaction to Bijan’s actions

(You might add a number 3 here to include Ricardo’s ever-popular if short-lived “Twit of the Day” feature, although really, if you go back and read it now, it seems pretty playful compared to the recent posts elsewhere.)

Be careful about this. You can’t just blame it all on Bijan, as nice as that would be. People are responsible for their own actions, and those who have responded to Bijan with vicious, angry, ANONYMOUS commentary deserve just as much blame. Nobody forced you to start being an asshole.

I don’t doubt that Bijan’s put together a slate of candidates. As I’ve said before, so what? There’s nothing wrong with planning out these things ahead of an election.

But Bijan’s attack on Jeremy in the video was absolutely disgraceful, divulging innuendo and gossip that should remain private, and everything went downhill from there. I feel sorry for the candidates who agreed to run after Bijan talked to them, or even candidates who Bijan didn’t talk to but has still endorsed, because his endorsement of them is a hindrance, not a help.

The ithinkubc site is a pretty understandable reaction to Bijan. He was asking for it by making that video and so blatantly attacking his executives. I don’t really have a problem with that site. I think it’s kind of funny.

But what really caused this election to fall off the cliff is the angry return of Black Box, and the unnecessary assaults it has launched on Katherine, Sumedha, Ekat, and others who are connected in any to Bijan. (Although why Ekat fits in here is still a mystery.)

I was clear about what I thought about Black Box’s attacks from the beginning: an irredeemable project of fulfilling petty grudges, launched from behind a mask of anonymity. I admit that the writing is often entertaining, but that doesn’t change how I feel about it, and I resent people giving Black Box compliments, as if the writing style somehow makes what they’re doing any better.

Anyway, this is all very confusing, and every minute that I think I know who’s writing Black Box, something else happens that makes me change my mind. I still feel like it must be a councilor, but I’m less sure that I know exactly who.

But I wish they’d stop writing—or at least stop the unfair bashing.



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The Author Of Black Box

The thing that was really throwing me off about Jester was their comprehensive insider knowledge combined with what seemed to be a very far-left stance on Resource Group issues—in particular, the Gaza transfer. I just couldn’t figure out who had both of those traits, plus was capable of writing in that style.

Then I realized that it was actually a mistake to focus on the Gaza transfer stuff…looking back over the posts, you realize that Jester has actually not been as obsessive about this as I first thought. In fact, the true motivation for all of Jester’s writing appears to be a sheer, all-consuming hatred for Bijan. Not that this narrows the list of councilors that much, but it makes it fairly clear who the author is.

Now, I am about 95% sure of this, so I’m not going to post any names here, and if anyone posts a name in the comments, I’ll delete it. I don’t think it’s right to publish accusations about specific people unless you know for sure what you’re saying. Some of this information has also come in as tips from others who are working to learn Jester’s identity.

I should also say that I’m not motivated by the legal ruling that got leaked before councilors had a chance to see it; I really don’t care about that. What I care about is the callous way in which other councilors are being trashed anonymously. It’s shameful.

So, here is what we know about Jester. Think about who you know on council who fits this profile perfectly:

  • Involved on council and in student politics for at least two years, maybe more. Both their Twitter and Facebook accounts have added hacks who have not been involved for a while.
  • Very strong knowledge of all kinds of wonky AMS business–able to offer opinions on the Health and Dental plan, the work of SAC, and our status with CASA
  • Absolute hatred of Bijan
  • Knowledge of Council committee work and which councilors have been contributing
  • Hanging around the exec offices enough to overhear things being said, or, at the very least, friendly enough with the execs to have information passed on
  • Enough connections to get the legal ruling before councilors did
  • General loathing of Ekaterina, and good knowledge of the SUB negotiation process
  • Exuberant admiration of Andrew Carne, Allen Chen, and Sean Heisler
  • Very opinionated, but pretty well-spoken
  • Good knowledge of English and Shakespeare and such
  • Enough knowledge of the VFM process to not only apply for it, but launch a whole appeals effort through the ombudsperson when the original application was turned down

Do any current or former AMS Councilors really not know who I’m talking about? When you lay it out like this, it becomes pretty obvious to my eye.

And to discuss the latest pathetic “scoop” by Black Box: some of what you say has the ring of truth about it, and much of it sounds like invented conjecture. The thing is, we’ll never know, because you’re publishing it all anonymously and have no accountability. You are smearing anyone and everyone who had the misfortune of being endorsed by Bijan, and smart people like Michael Haack are falling for it. No “dirty laundry” was exposed here; just a bunch of gossip and allegations that are deeply unfair to people who did nothing to deserve it.

You and I both know that if you were publishing this under your real name, you wouldn’t have the guts to say half the things that you said, because you pretend to be friendly with a lot of these people. Which makes it that much worse that you are stabbing them in the back now.

We need to have a name for the kind of thing on display at Black Box….Bijan Derangement Syndrome, or something, where a person’s hatred of Bijan causes them to lose all moral scruples.

And even if half of what you say is true—that a few people jostled around to figure out which positions to run for, SO WHAT?! Everyone does that! You think the SJC people didn’t decide what to run for? You think Ben and Jeremy didn’t have discussions about what was best when both were thinking about running for President? OOOOOOOH big conspiracy.

The most laughable aspect of all of this is the assumption by Jester that Bijan’s endorsements are going to swing this election. It’s the classic fallacy of attributing far more influence and power to your enemies than they really have.

Please, everyone, keep your thinking caps on when reading the juvenile scribblings at Black Box, written by a coward who is sliming people who are otherwise treated as friends. Don’t let Bijan Derangement Syndrome get a hold of you too.



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The Winners And Losers Of Campaigning

Ricardo: Brian and I haven’t been collaborating too much recently but with less than two days left of voting, the majority of campaigning done, and (hopefully, given turnout last year) only about half the votes in we’d like to look at who’s gained and who’s lost positioning since the onset of the election.

First off, the presidential candidates. Jeremy McElroy has definitely met expectations while I’ve been fairly disappointed by Omar Chaaban. Granted he lost a little bit of time from the temporary disqualification but he hasn’t rallied the left wing anywhere near as much as I’d expected. Michael Moll is more popular than I expected but I think a lot of that is from the underdog vacuum developed by Chaaban.

Brian: Well, I’m really disappointed that Chaaban didn’t make it to the debates on Monday and Tuesday, especially the Monday night one in the CSI. (You know, I never did listen to the CITR one. I should do that.) I was really looking forward to him mixing it up. He says he ┬áhas good excuses, although I heard he missed the Tuesday one because he had a meeting with his professor. SURELY you can reschedule that!

But for the most part, I haven’t seen any campaigning from Chaaban at all, although I suppose he is doing it within the Resource Group and SPHR circles. There are a ton of very leftwing votes on this campus to pick up, but you have to be more vocal and visible than Chaaban has been.

Moll has actually done a bit worse than I was expecting, because I had seen him a few times before. His campaign has essentially consisted of saying “we need better communication”, and almost everyone has seen through the fact that he just doesn’t know enough about the position—especially when contrasted next to Jeremy. I don’t think anyone should run for President if they haven’t been on Council before. Run for a position that requires less knowledge about so many different issues.

Ricardo: Agreed, Moll has effectively demonstrated he knows nothing about anything. How about VP External? I don’t think there’s been many surprises between Mitch Wright and Katherine Tyson – they’re still neck-and-neck. Rory Breasail has definitely gotten his name out but I don’t feel he’s really challenged them regardless. Really all he’s done is produce a bunch of paper waste from his fliers. To be fair though, I didn’t expect much to begin with – he was always the third choice.

Brian: Well, Rory was never going to get much love from most people on Council and the hack community, because as Neal Yonson said on UBC Insiders, nobody wants to go back to a Tim Chu-style VP External, where the default position is combative and angry towards anyone wearing a suit. (Sorry, Rory, but you were the one who decided to go with the “Suits Suck” motto!) My position has long been that the way to get things done in Canada on tuition and student loans and everything else is not the relatively fun “let’s be radical and revolutionary and force change in the system” method, but the unglamorous, extremely hard work of learning how legislation and lawmaking works, taking firm negotiation stances, and building solid relationships with the key players in the Leg.

As for Mitch and Katherine, I have no clue how this is going to turn out. I think both have done a good job of campaigning, although I’ve noticed Katherine around campus more. The other day when I got off the bus, she was handing hot chocolate out to people and talking to everyone who passed by. That sort of groundwork can really pay off in the end.

Ricardo: Speaking of groundwork, Kathy Yan Li is my big winner in the VP Admin race. She’s definitely been the most visible candidate though she’s had to as both Mike Silley and Gordon Katic already had well-established support groups. Silley and Katic haven’t really done much, while Yan Li came in as a huge underdog but now I think she has an outside chance. She’s demonstrated that she knows the issues and what’s at stake just as well as Katic and Silley, while being a lot more exciting and personable, which is important when the position is all about engaging the student body. There’s little evidence from the campaign that Katic and Silley will engage anyone outside their support groups but it seems that a lot of people don’t think that matters too much.

Brian: I actually thought Gord Katic had the most opportunity here, because out of all the people that I’ll endearingly refer to as the crazy hippies, he seems most capable of attracting the non-hippie vote. Gord, Omar, and Rory are all funny and pleasant people to talk to, but Gord seems most capable of keeping the far-left politics out of his campaign. (Whether he wants to do that is another story.) But as with you, I haven’t seen much campaigning from either Gord or Mike, so I assume they are spending most of their time making sure their support groups vote.

As for Kathy Yan Li, well hell, she’s all over the place. I think it’s kind of hilarious that she’s received endorsements from you and Neal, the two hackiest endorsers of them all. That bodes badly for Gord and Mike—they haven’t done enough. Though VP Admin is a tough position to campaign for.

Ricardo: I don’t have much to say about VP Finance. Both Arash Ehtashami and Elin Tayyar have not really mis-stepped (besides the faults I’ve noted in their platforms already) but not really improved their stock.

VP Academic though has had much more interesting developments. Although Justin Yang has been running at full throttle as expected, both Jessica Wang and Matt Parsons have been able to make inroads. I’ve been especially impressed with Wang as she has articulated a coherent, intelligent platform when originally I would have found it hard to believe she would be so well-versed given her limited background. She hasn’t really bitten into Yang’s pole position I’d like her to come out as a strong second. Parsons on the other hand I think has done well because he has worked very hard to get the Greek vote which can be undermined by a strong, popular, and visible candidate like Yang. It was his best bet and he’s put the farm on it.

Brian: Disagree with you here. The first time I heard Wang speak, it was in the CiTR debate where she decided to interject a “we’re on unceded terrority” line into the middle of an entirely unrelated topic, as if the rest of us didn’t know that. I didn’t realize she was going to be one of those “the university administration is our enemy at all times” people. I agree that she’s done well in holding her ground during the debates—this has actually been the most substantive race of them all—but I wouldn’t say she did better than Parson did. I also haven’t noticed any of these candidates campaigning around campus, so I can’t say for sure whether Wang or Parson reached out to “regular” students, outside of their cliques.

But you know, I don’t want to be too negative toward Wang, or of any of the Resource Group people, actually, because I think it’s really important to have candidates with strongly opposing views. It’s just that I’m never going to support anyone who embodies the faux-revolutionary mindset, where they talk as if UBC students have it terrible and we have to take on these motherfuckers in suits to set things right. That’s just not the way it is, and it’s counterproductive toward achieving reasonable and tangible goals.

Ricardo: Last but certainly not least are the Board of Governors (BoG) and Senate races. Not to much of the unexpected in BoG except AJ Hajir Hajian’s poor showing though I think people who’d been following the his work in Senate aren’t too surprised. Luckily for him in regard to the Senate race, there’s a wealth of poor candidates for Senate like most years. None of the unknowns have been surprisingly bad though – lots of people run every year for Senate without too much understanding of the current issues or much of a platform besides “I am a student hence I inherently represent students.” Frankly, I’ve been impressed by Thomas Brennen as he doesn’t have much relevant background but is not incompetent and has a good issue as the only plank in his platform. I think more people need to run for Senate with the promise of having a single focus and being damn determined to implement it.

Brian: Yeah, I have to admit that I don’t know very much about the Senate race. I know Thomas a little bit and am not surprised that he’s done well. I’ve also had limited interaction with Ryan and Spencer, and both have come off well.

As for BoG, the race got much less interesting when Ackbar, Ben, and Mike dropped out, but at least now it’s really easy to decide who to vote for. My problems with SuperSexySass are documented, while AJ the Vandal’s name is faded out but still painted all over the campus grounds, and doesn’t look like it will disappear anytime soon. Sean and Sumedha will both be strong BoG reps.

Well, we better end this post before it goes on too long.

Remember folks, vote the Vanguard in VFM if you haven’t done so already!

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