Friday, December 24, 2004
In Neither Scarborough Nor Wales
Our Dad got home from the great big Tug Boat Sea late that year.
After dinner we walked to the lot, up the street then left on Oak Bay Ave and down past the Theatre where we would see True Grit a few months later; evening of the 23rd.
Me nine, brothers six and five. As we were lugging the tree home it started to snow.
By morning, Christmas Eve, it was knee deep. Was sent to the corner store to get Mom cigarettes. The switch to No7's had already been made. Walked right up the middle of the carless, silent street.
Kept snowing all day long and then the temperature dropped.
We had to take the city bus to Grandparents house for Christmas dinner.
Apollo 8 circled the moon. Built a Command Module Cockpit in the closet while Dad built an ice-rink in the back yard.
Temperature stayed below zero right past New Years and through the first week back at school. Sledding every night on the golf course hill and we actually learned to skate in the back yard.
1968 in Victoria.
Thursday, December 23, 2004
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
49° 53' North; 97° 10' West
I am no longer the young man I used to be.
But this afternoon I took off from work, hopped on my bike, and headed down to 4th Ave. to find an album for a friend.
Well, a relative and a friend, actually.
The younger me remembers West 4th Ave. in Vancouver as a scratchy, get up early at the crack of noon on a Saturday after posing punk at the SBuddha the night before, kind of place where you went to buy albums by 'The' Somethings and/or Anythings at Quintessence Records.
Which is long gone now. But Zulu is still pretty cool and despite the high whipper-snapper quotient they don't give middle-aged folks a hard time when they stroll in and ask for old Pointed Sticks EPs. And besides, my daughter likes to go there to play Pong after we buy Chumbawumba CDs.
Anyway, today I wanted to find the disc by the Weakerthans that has that tune about hating Winnipeg on it.
But I couldn't remember what the song was called, so rode up the street to the Magic Flute and bought a very different CD for my Dad for Christmas instead. Well, maybe not so different, except in genre.
Then, tonight for some reason I ended up at Warren Kinsella's blog. Don't know why really; maybe it had something to do with the oblique Snowman and Falcon reference involving another Mr. K. from earlier in the day.
Anyway, W.K. has this riff on songs about Winnipeg and a link. So I followed, and there it was. It's by John K Sampson and it's called 'One Great City' and it's a masterpiece, ironical or not.
And I'd forgotten - this Sampson guy is a genius, and everything a Real Canadian should be.....
....which was another of the 'The' Bands from Quintessence days gone by.
Update: Darn! Had it wrong. Should have been 'The Young Canadians' which was Art Bergmann's post-K-Tels vehicle. 'The Real Canadians' was a similar era Trooper single (sheesh, thought that group had been expunged from limbic system). Get the whole story, sans Ra McGuire et al., from local media maven Michael Klassen here.
48° 39' North; 123° 26' West
The normally very careful and balanced Paul Willcocks has let himself off the leash a little on the charge-a-thon issue and, like us, he figures that yesterday's events just might be pretty bad news for the SS Gordo.
"....The talk around the legislature for months has been that there was less to the case than meets the eye. Charges - if there were any - would be petty offences, based on the boastful tendencies of would-be political wheels.
The charges are explicit, and raise doubts about the legitimacy not just of the sale of BC Rail's Roberts Bank spur, but of the whole $1-billion deal to sell the Crown corporation...."
Can't wait to watch The Falcon (Heavy Kevvie) and The Snowman (Mr. K.) try to weasel their way out of this one.
49°15' North; 123°08' West
All welcome the Kilbournes!
(Here's hoping we keep doing the right thing on all fronts.)
Apologies for the pseudo-Freeper link (there's actually a real one as well, but couldn't quite make myself do it), but the original CBC page has disappeared .
48° 39' North; 123° 26' West
As usual Sean Holman at Public Eye does us all a great service by posting up raw feeds on the Basi/Virk/Basi sandwich board conspiracy on a number of fronts. At the moment we'd like to comment on three.....
First, directly from the charges:
Udhe Singh (Dave) BASI......directly or indirectly, being an official, demanded, accepted or offered or agreed to accept for himself rewards, advantages and benefits being money, meals, travel and employment opportunities as consideration for cooperation, assistance, exercise of influence or an act or omission in connection with matters of government business including a bid by OmniTRAX Inc. to obtain the operating rights of BC Rail from the Government of British Columbia, contrary to Section 121 (1)(a)(ii) of the Criminal Code.
Second from a rush transcript of the Media's post charge-a-thon scrum with Generalissimo Geoff Plant:
Attorney General Plant ..... I don't know a whole lot really about what's happened today other than the information that I received a copy of an hour or so ago..... And the question of how this relates to various aspects of B.C. Rail and the CN Rail partnership is a question that is more appropriately directed to Kevin Falcon.
Media Will Kevin Falcon be made available today?Attorney General Plant I'm not responsible for Kevin's whereabouts.
So is this the opening salvo of an open war between the Martinis and the Neandercons on the slippery and slime-covered decks of the SS Gordon Campbell?
And finally, it was good to see/read Paul Willcocks to go back at the Generalissimo in an effort to get to the heart of the matter:
Media You've read the information. Were you surprised? I think the public had been led to believe that anything that happened related to the Roberts Bank line. Were you surprised, as a member of government, when you read the information that it was much more extensive?
Attorney General Plant Well what I can say is to confirm the second part of your statement Paul (Willcocks). Which is to say, on the face of it, the charges here are not limited to the port subdivision contract. And I don't know anything about these charges beyond what's on the face of the information. But they clearly appear to be more general - although they appear to only relate to OmniTRAX.Now, of course, one of Gordo's biggest stonewalling talking points from the beginning has been the fall back position that this debacle, while diversionary, was never really damaging because OmniTrax was not the chosen one. But here's a question we haven't seen asked before..... Did the meddling of the BasiBoys doom the OmniTrax bid for BC Rail from the inside, even unintentionally?
Update: For a succinct primer/reminder of the affair, see the timeline of major events from Martin McCarvill in UVIC's The Martlet.
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
49°15' North; 123°08' West
Remember when the local media went gaga earlier in the fall after a spate of polls suggested that the SS Gordon Campbell had managed to temporarily patch over some of the holes in its rusting hull just enough to take a slim, albeit statistically insignificant, lead on the NDP?
Well, at the risk of invoking the wrath of Ian King, we post the following figures below, taken directly from last week's Mustel Poll.
Now, some might argue that the Lieberal's one month precipitous drop is nothing more than an anomaly caused by the Ferret's demented decision to desert a decrepit, if not literally sinking, ship.
But forget all that and just have a look at the NDP's three month trend. And then remember that this solid, continuing increase in popular support has occurred in the face of the non-stop onslaught of the Lieberal's Mighty Propaganda Whirlitzer. Further, when you couple that with the Mustel poll's internals showing that our fearless leader's high disapproval ratings have not budged and that the Lieberal's traditional base of conservative support (ie. men) is softening you've gotta wonder.....why no stories of doom and gloom from the mainstream media sheeple lamenting the return of a socialist juggernaut that is going to destroy us all?
Original link to the Mustel Poll, with an interesting analysis of their own, was courtesy the good folks at Have You Had Enough Yet?
Monday, December 20, 2004
40° 45' North; 74° 00' West
At first we thought it was just another Random Act of the Bozo that led Bill O'Lielly to blame Canada for destroying Christmas in America.
But then we got a note from Kate Storm, one of the denizens of the AllSpinZone, that stopped us in our tracks.
Because it turns out that other hard right media darlings from south of the line have been flinging their jingoistic hoops of hate at us of late.
One of them is Tucker 'Bowtie Boy' Carlson who has been saying things like:
"I think if Canada were responsible for its own security [it] would be invaded by Norway"
"Without the U.S., Canada is essentially Honduras, but colder and much less interesting"
Another is Ann 'The Adam's Apple That Must Be Obeyed' Coulter who's utterances have been even more vile:
"....when you're allowed to exist on the same continent of the United States of America, protecting you with a nuclear shield around you, you're polite and you support us when we've been attacked on our own soil.
They [Canada] violated that protocol."
"They better hope the United States doesn't roll over one night and crush them.
They are lucky we allow them to exist on the same continent."
Initially, we found all of this nonsense to be laughable in the extreme.
But then we remembered that mouthpieces of this magnitude are only instructed to slime that which the Big Neandercon Machine fears most.
Which got us to thinking....just what is it that the Kleptofascista have to fear from us anyway?
Sunday, December 19, 2004
33° 14' North; 44°22' East
The fact that Donald Rumsfeld is currently battling his pesky guardian Angel hasn't stopped the Big Neandercon Machine from doing what it does best - spinning reality one newsycle at a time.
This time around they've managed to focus the mighty Whirlitzer on the showtrial of Ali Hassan al-Majiid in an effort to return FOX-addled hearts and minds to the task at hand, the democraptactic installation of the latest puppetary regime in Iraq.
Which begs the question asked by Eric Margolis:
"Who was the first high government official to authorize use of mustard gas against rebellious Kurdish tribesmen in Iraq?
If your answer was Saddam Hussein's cousin, the notorious "Chemical Ali" -- aka Ali Hassan al-Majid -- you're wrong.The correct answer: Sainted Winston Churchill. As colonial secretary and secretary for war and air, he authorized the RAF in the 1920s to routinely use mustard gas against rebellious Kurdish tribesmen in Iraq and against Pashtun tribes on British India's northwest frontier."
Now don't get us wrong. We are not suggesting that Chemical Ali was not a barbarian. All we are saying is that we would like to see the trial be the real thing, taking place in, say, the Hague. Because that would ensure that all, rather than just the Rovian/Wolfman version, of the facts come out.
And if Mr. Margolis is right some of those facts point in very uncomfortable directions indeed.
Friday, December 17, 2004
43° 30' North; 79° 22' West
Ralph Klein hate's 'em, or at least pretends to for purposes of www.expediency.redmeat.ca.
But Don Cherry? Well, he couldn't care less about 'em.
Gay marriages that is.
....Controversial Canadian hockey commentator Don Cherry appearing on TSN tonight was asked about same-sex marriage. "Why should I care," he said, "Is it going to cost me money, no."
Cherry is an Anglican and went onto say he didn't think they should be married in church, but going to a Justice of the Peace was okay....
Clearly, Mr. Cherry has much better focus groups (real folks perhaps?) than the Harper/Klein HateFestiva.
Original Link Source: AgainstAllFlags
40° 45' North; 74° 00' West
According to noted Canuckistan basher, Bill O'Reilly, overindulgent secular Christmas shopping has nothing to do with Madison Ave., which is right around the corner from his FOX Snooze Bunker.
Instead, it is all our fault.
" The Canadian model is what progressive Americans are shooting for, and, so, religion must be dealt with. Since Christmas is the most demonstrative display of organized religion, the strategy of minimizing the birth of Jesus makes perfect sense."
His Liarness has much more to say about our degenerate, godless society but if you decide you want to read it make sure you put on your anti-slime suit before going there.
What's next....blaming us for the Grinch?
Oh, wait, forgot for a second there that Jim Carrey is one of us too.
Thursday, December 16, 2004
All The Lats And Longs That Fit
I left the car running, I ran in, I dropped something off.
I got in my car and came back...."
...B.C. Lieberal BackBencher Sheila 'I've Got Bad Knees Like Bobby' Orr denying everything after being caught, again, parking in a handicapped spot at the Legislature on Deny, Deny at Have You Had Enough Yet.
The suspended doctor who administered the shots, Bach McComb, used the material as if it were lower-strength Botox, a derivative of botulinum toxin..... McComb and his girlfriend are among the four people who remain hospitalized after getting the shots.....
Repeating.....it's a toxin! It's botulism! It paralyzes you! Stop injecting it in your face!
What we have is an agenda to get the greatest number of listeners for the longest period of time."
Furthermore, they roll over more easily and tend to kill their drivers.
I wonder what the cellphone therapist says at a time like that."
Heather Mallick taking on the "Ozone-Depletion Is Good For You" lobby at the Rabble Columnist page.
"I believe "like hell, only cute" captures it pretty well. It was like being raped by a kitten.... My personal favorite was "The Twelve Months of Christmas." At least, I think that's what it was called. It sure felt like it."
Wow! That's some imagery, captures all the power and the glory pretty well I figure.
Rook Ranting, again. Can't remember exactly what it was about now, but it was a good one.
49°15' North; 123°08' West
This is one of the greatest Christmas get together ideas we've ever seen, and it comes from an interesting and decidely youthful local site that is way, way more chatty than ours (see post below for explanation).
From Breebop, it's a "lit geek gift exchange/drinking game party" that goes like this:
"Each invitee brings a wrapped book that must have come either from his or her own library or from a used book store. If bought from a secondhand store it must have cost less than $10.
We spin a bottle or draw names out of a hat or something to pick who goes when, and then take turns either picking a mystery book from the pile or stealing someone else's book.
If your book is stolen, you get to take a shot of a yummy liqueur to dull the pain of your loss. If you are evil and steal a book -- covetous knave! heartless bandit! -- you have to take a shot of something punishing (Fireball whisky maybe?).
On it goes until the last wrapped gift is opened.
The hope is that everyone will bring good books, which will hopefully stimulate discussions about authors and spark suggestions for must-reads."
Wow! The kids really are alright.
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
49°15' North; 123°08' West
The proprietor of the blog formerly known as the Vancouver Scrum, which still lives on in print form at local alt.weekly Terminal City, Ian King, is back in business online.
In some ways No Chun works similarly to Sean Holman, but his beat is a little different. Specifically, as well as interests in Provincial Politics, Mr. King also covers the Greater Vancouver scene and has a penchant for bashing members of the local press/media up the side of the head when they deserve it. The latter activity may be facilitated by the fact that the journo-game does not appear to be King's fulltime day job (seem to remember Ian letting slip somewhere along the way that he is involved in biology/biotech, which might explain his very strange recent 'sensory vs. motor' hommunculus post).
Anyway, glad to have Ian back at it even if he did flame Left Blogistan recently and, even worse, had the gall to describe this small, small corner of same as 'chatty'.
Update 7:00am Thurs Dec 16th. Apologies to PublicEye proprietor for intimating in 1st edition that work schedule influences media relations. Also apologize to the the 3, maybe 4, people that read same edition; has now been edited.
48° 39' North; 123° 26' West
In our previous post we suggested, tongue in cheek, that soon to be former Provincial Budget Puppeteer Gary Collins might be expected to 'bring home the Federal Airline Equalization Bacon' for his new company, Harmony Airlines.
Paul Willcocks, as usual, has the deeper story, and if he's right we may not have been that far off the mark after all:
"......(Harmony) owner David Ho has his sights set on a much bigger prize. He wants Harmony to win the right, along with Air Canada, to fly into China, targeting several booming cities.
That will require a major effort in lobbying the federal government. Collins, with good federal Liberal ties and support from the B.C. government, is a good choice to make that happen...."
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
48° 39' North; 123° 26' West
We knew that Gary Collins can fly a plane but we didn't know he had any experience running an airline.
Oh, wait a second; turns out that Harmony Air Big Boss Man and Tobacco King, David Ho, gave the BC Lieberals $102,000 last year. Looks like flying ferrets come cheap.
And don't forget, Ho gave also $100,000 to Our Paul's election campaign.
Which has us wondering...... could it be that Mr. Ho is looking for Mr. Collins to bring home the Federal Airline Equalization Bacon to balance his budget next year?
And that little matter of the LedgeRaids.....fugget about 'em because they involve a different kind of weed altogether, one which is much less addictive mind you.
49°15' North; 123°08' West
Most monuments have almost no long term impact."
Rafe Mair wrote that in 1998.
Jack Wasserman died in 1977.
Lemme tell you, I remember Jack Wasserman.
Because in a town where ink-stained wretches were a dime-a-dozen he stood out as a guy with a nose for the story, a sense of humor, and a POV.
In other words, he was an old time 'Front Page' type of journo who practiced the 5 W's, had his finger on the pulse of the city of Vancouver, and he didn't take crap from anyone - especially politicians.
And as a kid, when I was going through my own 'boy reporter' phase, I wanted to be just like him.
So, when I started this little enterprise a few months ago, I figured, why not.
Why not call this a Wassermangle Production because, while I figured we would try to follow JackW's example, there was no way we would be able to write straight ahead, to the point copy the way he did (and this post is probably a case in point).
Unfortunately, this started to cause problems almost immediately. First off, the JackW handle was mistaken for the other long gone Jack from around these parts that everybody does remember, mostly because he made the transition to television.
That would be Jack Webster, the back of whose ghost I never wanted to be so presumptuous as to suggest we were riding.
The other problem is that in the rest of Left Blogistan, and especially south of the 49th parallel where I've spent a good chunk of time, I'm known as RossK.
The latter name is not nearly as interesting as the wassermangle angle because it is just a re-worked chunk of my real name.
Anyway, to avoid further confusion, and to nip the weird split personality disorder that was starting to develop (a strange CanadianPoliteness vs. AmericanOutspokenBelligerence syndrome) in the bud, I've decided to put JackW to rest and just go with the boring old RossK universally in the future.
(but we will attempt to keep Jack's memory alive by introducing a 'Wassermangle's World' feature in the near future)
Sunday, December 12, 2004
North of the 49th
"Stockwell Day likely believes that Jesus had stocks in pharmaceutical companies and a mansion on a hill overlooking his followers"
...lenin's ghost on 'Stockwell's Daze' at the Gazetteer.
"BC Liberals have picked scapegoats to rally support. Its a disgusting practice that any person with a conscience would never use...."
...Jeff Barkley on 'Why Liberals Hate The Poor' at the Gazetteer.
"The financial connection is much more likely to result in a desire for recompense (than the NDP ties to Labour).....Personally, I believe the money contributions (18.5 million) to the BC Libs from the BC business world buys a lot more legislation. At least the business community knows how to get value for their dollars."
...New'Wester during summing up a great discussion on whose zooming who in BC Politics on 'Just Like Selling Laundry Detergent' at Public Eye.
"I am an ndp member and a union member who voted green last provincial election, and I may vote green again.....If Carole James continues to drift to the center and continues to say that we may have to live with many of the liberal cuts under a future ndp govt...you can be sure i will vote green again."
...electric, raising an important issue for many of B.C.'s progressives on 'Where Will All the Greens Go?' at the Tyee.
"We have freedom of speech, but what we NEED is freedom of intelligent speech"
Timothy, commenting on 'Take a Breath' a plea for commenting reason at MBlog.
South of 49th
"Did you hear about the guy in New Mexico who is selling a kit to American travellers, (Canadian t-shirt sticker, lapel pin and patch)?"
...eteba, stirring the pot on 3-Dot Lounging at the Gazetteer.
" With God as my waitress, you'll be on that ballot in 2008"
....A blown away Missouri Mule on 'F.o.D Donald Rumskull Meets Troops' at Blondesense.
"As a firm believer in engaged nonviolence, I must respect Hinzman's choice to reject participation in what he sees as an illegal and immoral war.....My heart goes out to others who are in Jeremy's position, and I hope that Canada opens its doors to them. The civilized world needs to take a stand against growing fascism in the U.S...."
...Michael Hawkins, the proprietor of Spontaneous Rising, on the American War Resister Jeremy Hinzman on 'Where Have all the Soldiers Gone?' at the Gazetteer.
"First off, thank God we allow older people to vote. Second, why do we care what chile thinks of Bush?"
....Daniel, commenting on the dangers of enfranchising the young while also waxing xenophobic in response to First-Hand Pictures and Commentary from the Anti-Bush Protest in Chile at American Bodhisattva.
"Dan, the type of sentiment you just expressed is the EXACT reason why terrorists attack our country. Its so disgustingly selfish and ignorant."
....Forrest, the propietor of American Bodhisattva responding to Daniel's comment above.
...prof fate, responding to the story of an American Serviceman who was sent to the looney bin for being crazy enough to tell his superiors that there was torture going on in Iraq before Sy Hersh blew the whistle on Abu Ghraib on 'Cancer Ward' at the AllSpinZone.
49°15' North; 123°08' West
Gordon Campbell temporarily pulled the Santa Suit on over his Scroogian Perma-Form last week in preparations for handing high-tech toys to a few of his favorite 'on board' hospital boards.
'Twas a $35 million bit of 'Policy by P.R.' spinmeistering which we're sure we'll help a few of us down the line.
Just hope nobody dies of flesh-eating disease on their way to that new PET scanner (or the O.R., or the Blood Lab, or the Physio, or the Rehab Lounge, or the X-Ray, or the bathroom etc.) because of the crap on their hospital room curtains.
Friday, December 10, 2004
22° 49' North; 89° 33' East
From an idealist we are proud to know is one of our own....
"Rarely does one find himself in the middle of the road in this country…except perhaps when he is, literally, driving in the middle of the road as per the hair-raising custom. From overloaded transport trucks, trawlers of questionable sea-worthiness, and isolated rural villages stocked with anorexic cattle to a concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few rather than the pockets of the majority, equilibrium in today’s Bangladesh is reached through a balance of extremes.
The five-day field mission to Khulna division from which I just recently returned was in many ways representative of .....reality on the ground is often far different from its depiction on paper, and poverty breeds both pain and resilience.
The victims associations that were the focus of the excursion embodied both of these relatively universal observations. For the unacquainted, (essentially all those outside my own family, and probably more than one of them as well…), the victims of torture who have received treatment from BRCT have been encouraged for a number of years to form groups of fellow victims in their own communities.....Most of the members of these associations, which have grown in number considerably over the past two years, are farmers or unskilled labourers with limited formal education but considerable tenacity......
.... Several groups have developed small-scale businesses, the profits from which are used to fund the daily activities of their organization and to create a pool of savings used to grant loans to members seeking to regain their own financial independence. In one case, a 4000 Taka loan (about $80 CAD) allowed a female member to purchase a cow, which now produces 2kg of milk per day at 15 Taka per kilogram.....
...... Beyond the humbling experience of visiting close to a dozen of these organizations, the trip provided a number of other vignettes of life in both rural and urban Bangladesh. While each is worthy of a separate post unto itself, I’ll try to keep it brief for the benefit of the weary eyes of the reader and for the work that I should really attend to instead of writing in this journal....."
Go read it all, 'cause it'll do you good; fantastic stuff from a young Canadian who's doing his damndest to do the right thing without the (anti-)aid of guns, armies and massive loans designed to collapse local economies and make them forever subservient to offshore hegemonists.
Heck, he's even got pictures!
25° 48' North; 80° 18' West
No matter what happens, Jeremy Hinzman and the other 5,000 resisters that have already fled the Twig's Death March will have to live with the legal consequences of their actions.
But dealing with rational legal issues is a lot different than staring down the Re-Thug Slime Machine. And in Hinzman's case, he is now being crapped on by Rush Limbaugh which, come to think of it, should probably be considered a badge of honour.
One American serviceman who has not bailed out had this to say about the hypocrite hooked on hillbilly heroin recently:
"Sir, I am no hero. I am in a support billet, but I have dedicated the better part of my life to serving my country. If you remove his politics from the argument, you are left with an admitted serial drug abuser whose family and moral values are reflected in his three failed marriages. Remove his politics and you are left with a man who couldn't serve his country at a time of war because of a pimple on his ass. This is not the kind of man that should be spewing his slanted political dogma to our brave men and woman in uniform."
(thanks to Hairy Fish for the link)
Update: You know, somebody should keep track of all the codswallop the Re-Thug Media Slime Machine serves up so that it can be fact-checked and then used to de-toxify the swirling sycophantic cesspool that has sucked so many, even those with good intentions, into its vortex. Oh wait a second, somebody already does that, and they're very good at it.
Thursday, December 09, 2004
48° 39' North; 123° 26' West
As expected, NDP and Green Party supporters are smart enough to realize that the provincial budget has been balanced on the back of the weaker thans.
But who knew that a significant chunk of Liberal supporters feel the same way according to the latest Ipsos-Reid Poll internals as reported by Sean Holman:
"Sixty one percent of British Columbians agree "Gordon Campbell and the BC Liberals have balanced the budget on the backs of the poor and vulnerable." Thirty four percent of Liberal voters, 87 percent of New Democrat voters and 71 percent of Green voters agree with that statement."
Unless they are ready to change their vote, you can only conclude one thing about that Liberal Thirty-Four......They know they're screwing the poor and they like it just fine.
Which would make them the finest kind of.......what?
48° 39' North; 123° 26' West
Usually, policy wonks can turn your brain into a pretzel, especially economic ones.
But this time around Marc Lee from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives stops the Gary Collins Spin Machine dead by simply reaching over and pulling out the plug.
"The Ministry of Finance’s second quarter update on the 2004/05 BC Budget deserves to be put in a museum as a wonderful example of the fine art of government spin. In case you have not seen the commercials on TV, the Ministry’s press release begins with four glowing paragraphs about the BC economy. According to Finance Minister Gary Collins, “BC is on the move.”......
.....It was just a couple of months ago that Minister Collins stated: “We are no longer a have-not province.” Yet, the second quarter update notes that in 2004/05 BC will get a record $721 million in equalization payments, plus $596 million next year (from the Federal Gov't)."
So, in other words, if you want to fully enjoy the lies that Garret The Ferret is serving up you must be willing to swallow, whole, the concept that B.C. is no longer a 'have not' province precisely because it is a 'have not' province. Of course, this culinary practice is not something we recommend as it will very likely lead to a nasty case of projectile vomiting in the middle of the night.
But wait! There's more from Mr. Lee, and it's important because it maps the true course of the SS Gordon Campbell:
"To put the (provincial budget) surplus into perspective, consider that ministries outside health care and education experienced a budget cut that puts them $1.9 billion below 2001/02 levels. These cuts hit hardest in areas such as social assistance and children and families."
In other words, the surplus has nothing to do with a booming economy. Instead, it is being fueled by the juicy strips of bacon that are being ripped from the backs of you and me.
But then again, we deserve it, because our fat burns real good. Just ask the Fraser Institute.
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
33° 42' North; 117° 40' West
In our last post on Jeremy Hinzman, the kid that refused to go to Iraq, we asked the question:
Well, while it is not yet all of them, Kate Storm from over at the AllSpinZone informs us that more than 5,000 smart kids have already deserted.
Which is just fine with us because Nelson B.C. needs them!
Update: Maybe it's not just the kids, because Michael at Spontaneous Arising has the story of a 70 yr old and 100 sectagenerians that have been re-upped.
Double Update: It's all over Blogistan already, but Blondesense has perhaps the best case of outrage over FOD Rumskull's comments that you have to go war with the forces you have, not the ones you pay Blackwater and KBR for.
43° 30' North; 79° 22' West
American war resister Jeremy Hinzman is pulling out all the stops in his bid to obtain asylum in Canada.
In addition to suggesting that Dubya's War of Naked Aggression is illegal, according to CBC radio, Hinzman has also stated that if he had gone to Iraq he would have very likely been commanded to commit atrocities. As corroborating evidence he indicated that during training his superiors repeatedly barked that he would have to be ready to do anything because all Iraqis were terrorists and savages.
And after reading this recent story in the Boston Globe about 'Citizen Processing Centers', forced labour, retinal scans and DNA fingerprinting for all civilians in Fallujah, those that are still alive that is, it's hard to argue with him.
Which makes one wonder.....what would happen if all the kids involved just said no?
49° 07' North; 123° 06' West
Remember those Liberal howls of rage about the evils of ethnic block voting after their lifestyle censor, Mary Polack, was pulverized in the Surrey Panorama ridge by-election?
Well now, according to Public Eye, the SS Gordo is trying to desperately trying to change course by forcing Ms. Polak to jump ship in Langley so that they can give her former Surrey Stateroom to Palbinder Shergill.
What's next? A homeless advocate running for the Lieberals in Vancouver Kingsway? Or a traitorous shop-steward in Nanaimo?
Or better yet, how about running out former IWA leader and anti-green slime advocate Jack Munro in North Vancouver?
Oh wait a second, Corus-Crooner Mike Smyth is now suggesting that NVan-Seymour is reserved for hard-right fundie Cindy Silver, who is getting set to challenge back-bencher-with -a-spine, Dan Jarvis. Sean Holman has a bit on that as well, and it's worth reading just for the comments.
You remember Jarvis; he's the guy who had the guts to challenge to BC Ferries Gaulieter Boy George Hahn's decision to screw local shipworkers with half a billion dollars of our own money.
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
49°15' North; 123°08' West
Matthew Good has a great take on PBS/CableNews reactionary swingman Tucker Carlson calling him "Bob Novaks's Clyde Tolson". Tolson was J. Edgar Hoover's lifelong Lurch.
In case anybody really needs more evidence that CBC Vancouver morning man Rick Cluff is a conflagurating buffoon check out his interview with Fisheries officer Neil Jensen (realaudioclip). In it, Jensen explains over and over again that the kids mucking about in the Stoney Creek spawning grounds were being, well kids. Of course, Cluffie the Puffie would have none of it because he wants evil, outrage, and caterwauling calls to his beloved talkback machine.
Keith Olbermann is still the only bonafide member of the American mainstream punditocracy who is even daring to cover, let alone pass judgement on, emerging US voting irregularities. However, if you have spare tinfoil, check out the latest on the BradBlog. It's actually pretty interesting, and if it can be confirmed could be a smoking gun.
Three cheers for the Yes Men, who turned the media whirlitzer back on itself and exposed Dow Chemical for the monster that it is because of its continued stonewalling on the Bhopal compensation issue.
If you are in need of rhetorical ammunition to turn on the philistines in your midst that don't understand why it is so important to commemorate the murder of 14 young women at the University of Montreal's École Polytechnique 15 years ago go read Heather Mallick's column on the matter. Or just go read it regardless because, as usual, it is good.
Monday, December 06, 2004
43° 30' North; 79° 22' West
Good luck to American war resister Jeremy Hinsman who has is Canadian refugee hearing today.
And if things go badly, due to the harmonization of Fortress North America and/or Our Paul's quid pro quo deal with Mr. Bush last week, let's hope Canadians don't take the decision lying down.
Sunday, December 05, 2004
55° 50 North; 04° 15' West
George Galloway, the former British Labour MP who was mugged by the offshore Re-Thug slime machine, has had his day in court.
As a result, Conrad Black has been whacked up the side of the head - again.
Specifically, Conrad the Marauder's former regime at the London's Daily Telegraph has been held accountable for using forged documents to link Galloway, who took a hard stand against the Iraqi invasion before the fact, to Saddam Hussein by way of a non-existent kickback scheme. Further, the no-longer Canadian (we hope!) Mr. Black then published an editorial accusing Galloway of being 'Saddam's Little Helper'.
And what's worse, the entire excercise served as a prelude to what is being done, more subtly, right now to Kofi Annan, because the linchpin to the lunacy was that nugget of ol' Perleian Wisdom, the treacherous UN and it's 'Food for Oil ' program. Here's the kicker from the pen of Mr. Black's quislings:
"There is a word for taking money from enemy regimes: treason. What makes this allegation especially worrying, however, is that the documents suggest that the money has been coming out of Iraq's oil-for-food programme. In other words, the alleged payments did not come from some personal bank account of Saddam's but out of the revenue intended to pay for food and medicines for Iraqi civilians: the very people whom Mr Galloway has been so fond of invoking."
But now the Terrorgraph has been told by a British judge to shut-up and pay-up a 150, 000 pound libel award and court costs, which are likely to be more than a million pounds because, as a wise sage once said, justice is not done until all the lawyers are paid.
Not-So-Jersey James Walcott has a great take on why holding the slimers accountable is so important:
"The Telegraph's scoop was picked up by pro-war bloggers and waved around like the jawbone of an ass as proof of the slimy corruption of those who opposed George and Tony's Big Adventure."
And we would like to go one further by suggesting that democracy is doomed unless somebody comes along and makes like a neo-Macluhian version of Teddy Roosevelt and busts-up the media trusts, because it is they that love lubricating those jawbones and inserting them into the orifices of their mouthpieces so very, very much.
Saturday, December 04, 2004
51° 32' North; 0° 27' West
Real journalists hold people accountable for their statements and their actions.
Which is what Naomi Klein did when she responded to the acting US Ambassador to Britain, David Johnson today in the Guardian.
Johnson, through a quisling (his faux Boswell?), had earlier taken Klein to task for having the temerity to suggest that US Forces and the ING had been eliminating civilians in Fallujah.
Klein came back with this, and more:
"US authorities have denied that hundreds of civilians were killed during last April's siege, and have lashed out at the sources of these reports. For instance, an unnamed "senior American officer", speaking to the New York Times last month, labelled Falluja general hospital "a centre of propaganda". But the strongest words were reserved for Arab TV networks. When asked about al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya's reports that hundreds of civilians had been killed in Falluja, Donald Rumsfeld, the US secretary of defence, replied that "what al-Jazeera is doing is vicious, inaccurate and inexcusable ... " Last month, US troops once again laid siege to Falluja - but this time the attack included a new tactic: eliminating the doctors, journalists and clerics who focused public attention on civilian casualties last time around."
Wonder if the good Mr. Johnson even knows that the remains of his former reputation have just been eviscerated.
50° 28' North; 30° 55' East
A first person account of the rising orange tide can be found here.
The following amazing passages are from last Friday when things were still very much in doubt.
"An 18-year-old medical college student from Zhytomyr is running around, distributing medicines and vitamins to the protesters ......
......The boy from Zhytomyr says medics would be the last to leave, and they are prepared to provide first aid in case provocations occur and the riot police are forced to attack the protesters. ......
.....The riot police are based less than 100 meters away, behind two huge trucks ....
..... A group of teenage girls show up with yellow flowers, for the police, and wait for their turn to walk past the trucks: there's a line of ordinary people, the media and even the priests waiting to get close to the police; there shouldn't be too crowded there, though, because it is making the police nervous.....
......When the priests get through the cordon, they stand right by the fence with flowers, icons, orange ribbons and balloons stuck into it, looking right at the police in front of them and chanting for 15 minutes.....
.....It is very, very cold. A girl with a tray walks around, offering hot tea in plastic cups to everyone..... A woman with a plastic bag offers cookies to everyone..... "
And don't miss Veronica's photos; looks like democracy.
Thanks to FiatLux for the link via kos guestblogger David in NYC, the proprietor of the Swing State Project.
Friday, December 03, 2004
49° 00' North; 122° 46' West
Apparently, it was the Christian thing to do.
"Stockwell Day is pointing to a report that Yasser Arafat may have had AIDS in explaining why he didn't send condolences on the death of the PLO leader."
Shunning on the basis of politics, policy, tactics or corruption is one thing, but doing it because somebody is sick is quite another matter.
But maybe we're being too hard on the aging stockboy. After all, it looks like he may have been targetted for toolness by the Re-Thug slime and defend machine.
The twist in the story this time around is the fact that the slime was first generated by our very own David Frum when he wrote this:
"The world media's astonishing lack of curiosity about the nature of the disease for which he sought treatment in France........These symptoms sound remarkably AIDS-like, don't they?''
All of which suggests that the prince of darkness himself, Richard Perle, is out there somewhere, lurking just behind the American Enterprise Institute curtain scraping the goo off his hands....
Update: Right on schedule, the defend portion of the strategy has begun.
Thursday, December 02, 2004
45° 25' North; 75° 42' West
When George W. Bush takes a break from playing the Marlboro Man, does he like to pretend he's a virile young stud like Matt Damon in one of those blow-'em-up-real-good-until-you're-the-last-man-standing Jason Bourne flicks.
Either way, a generation from now I can see how the 'my head is an empy suitcase' acting style of Mr. Damon would be just about perfect for the lead in a big budget schlockbuster called "The Bush Supremacy".
And the rest of the cast?
Well, a balding, sneering Paul Giamatti would be great as Dick Cheney, if only because we have not yet had a chance to see him play true evil....Faux evil, in the form of Donald Rumsfeld, would be an aging and constantly constipated Mike Myers....Whitney Houston, still crack/stairmaster-addict skinny fitted with ragged dental implants would be a perfect Condi Rice... Arnold Schwarzennegar would play himself, although by then he will have had a total body implant....And the real villain of the piece? Well, that would be Freddy Prinz Jr., who would simultaneously play Alberto Gonzales and his alter ego, Deep Throat II.
Now, this flick could go two very different ways.
If Jerry Bruckheimer makes it Rene Zellweger will be cast as Laura Bush and the entire world will be under the thumb of the morally superior Fourth Reich, a place where media-hypeable scientific breakthroughs of irreproducible insignificance will be made, sans stem cells, by Jenna Bush (Britney Spears) and Paris Hilton (the Olson Twins) after they spend, like, at least half-an-hour in the lab between visits to the Viper Club and abstinence orgies at the Scaife Institute's no host bar.
On the other hand, if the last remaining Weinstein brother gives the reins to Hal Hartley, Parker Posey will be Lady McLaura and we will get to see mankind Rise from the Rubble of the Rampaging Right, led by the reformed stay-puff marshmallow man, Karl Rove (Jason Alexander), and the no-longer-profane, dyed-in-the-wool-again atheist Chuckie Colson (Drew Carey).
Those are the smaller ones, the ones that were designed to grab market share from the Boeing 737 at a 4:1 cost multiple.
Which is all well and good if you are Lyin' Brian or Karl-Heinz Schreiber.
But it positively stinks if you're sitting in a window seat and you can't see the bloody movie over the bulkheads without straining your neck and spilling your drink on the person sitting next to you.
And let me tell you, the last non-stop to the Nation's capital on a Sunday is a sour-eyed tomb.
Until, that is, we climbed through 10,000 feet somewhere over Chilliwack and the fasten-seatbelt sign was estinguished with a ping.
Then, suddenly, 200 laptops chimed alive and a thousand monkey fingers commenced pounding out the bureaucratic mushwords that would be chased, non-stop by the policy wonks, the hucksters, and the lobbyists until Friday when everybody climbs back into the cigar tube to fly home again, drunk, for a weekend away from the bunker.
Which is what the entire town of Ottawa is. And even more so, the town across the river, Hull Quebec
The 'Marriot on K' is a bi-annual torture chamber for people like me.
Because what takes place there is kind of like a science-geek version of the Fight Club. They fly us in from all over the country; then they lock us in the basement and force us to beat the crap out of each other for two days straight (aka, peer-review). Ultimately, the last 25% left standing get to keep their federal funding until we go at it all over again six months later.
All of which doesn't leave much time for sightseeing.
I did, however, manage to sneak away for half an hour on Monday to make the three block trek up to Parliament Hill so that I could check out the preparations for the arrival of King Dubya.
What I found was pretty damn Canadian, and it made me feel proud in a quaint, Hoser kind of way.
First off, the place was wide open. There were protest groups quietly erecting signs on the lawn and tourists were wandering freely over the grounds. Of course, there were some security barriers, but mostly they were those three foot high, lightweight aluminum gate/fences designed to keep the tour buses and lookie-loo's moving in the right direction.
Down the street and around the corner it was a very different story at the American Embassy where the security precautions, concrete buttresses, razor-wire, spiked sidewalks and black-clad guys with long sticks(?) on the roof-tops made the entire block look like a gigantic, heavy metal chastity belt on steroids.
Safe streets, indeed.
Tuesday, Dubya Day, arrived cold and windswept.
The 'W' Caravan rolled into Ottawa's downtown core just before lunch.
By the time I got outside at about 4:30pm there was nothing to be found but a few dozen happy protesters who, while they had been unable to bear witness to the closed-captioned meeting of the Emperor and Our Paul, at least they had done their best.
Which was a heck of a lot more than the tens of thousands that stayed home to watch it all on TV, ostensibly because they had been bombarded for six days straight about the viscious traffic snarls and security checks that would have surely befallen them if they had ventured downtown.
Which got me to thinking.....what would it take to get North Americans out in the streets in numbers that even halfway approached what is going on in the Ukraine right now.
Probably nothing political, but if the TV networks went down because of a strike or a 'terrorist' attack for more than, say, half a day, that just might make the nut.
On the flight home I passed by smilin' Sammy Sullivan in first class on my way to the back with the hoi-polloi where I belonged.
And after settling into my seat, I peered out the window into the bright white light generated by the huge banks of floodlights shining on a paleblue 747 sitting bloated like a whale on the tarmac.
It was AirForce One and the colour of the thing made me chuckle.
Girly-man hues, I thought.
But after that I was done, brain-fried and exhausted after throwing and taking all those hypothesis-slaying haymakers from the science-geeks for the previous 48 hours.
In fact, I was so tired that when the movie came on I didn't even bother to don the ear pullers or crane my neck to watch.
After all, I had no interest in supporting Matt Damon in his quest to kill scores of innocents just so he could take revenge on the few that had ticked him off in "The Bourne Supremacy."
North of 49th Parallel
You need outrage?
Youngfox has outrage.
Warning: Obscenity included but, as Brando's Col Kurtz made clear, empire is the ultimate obscenity. Come to think of it Conrad's Kurtz pretty much did the same thing.
49°15' North; 123°08' West
Raymond Tomlin, bon vivant and international man of mystery tours about town, is back.
He was gone for awhile, recuperating from a car accident and simultaneously fighting the good fight.
If you haven't already, go check out his site.
48° 52' North; 2° 19' East
Wanna beat the Shrub like a gong at his own game?
All you've gotta do is make like a currency speculator and start shorting the US dollar, hard.
Duncan Cameron tells us how:
"Drop in at a branch of one of our local currency monopolies, and borrow as many U.S. dollars as they will let you have. Then sell the same dollars. Buy bonds denominated in Euros. Get a rate of return that covers the interest charges on the U.S. dollar loan. Watch the value of the U.S. dollar drop. Celebrate the impending collapse of the U.S. currency on George's watch; be pleased you are helping make it happen."
And don't cry for thee Alabama, or Argentina for that matter because debtor nations will do just fine, thank-you, in the switch to Euros, not to mention Venezuala.
And besides, you don't think the boys from the Carlyle group aren't already protecting their asse(t)s hand-over-BofA'-fist do you?
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
42° 59' North; 71° 24' West
From the 'We are Not the Ukraine' Dept.....
"A federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted James Tobin, President Bush’s former New England campaign chairman, on four counts related to the jamming of get-out-the-vote phone lines on Election Day 2002."
It's a technique called 'phone jamming' in which Republicans hire telemarketers to call Democratic groups, en masse, to tie up voter information/get out the vote hotlines.
Mr Tobin, no small figure in the "Re-Thug Election-Suppression" machine, was working for Cheney/Rove 2004 until two weeks before this year's federal election, despite the fact that one of his closest associates was indicted months ago.
"In the summer, Chuck McGee, the former executive director of the state GOP, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to a conspiracy charge and admitted paying $15,600 to a Virginia telemarketing company that hired another business to make the calls. GOP consultant Allen Raymond, former president of GOP Marketplace in Alexandria, Va., also pleaded guilty."
Can only wonder.... Did Gordo got a chance to ask Mr. Bush to 'Please Pass the Jam' during the dessert portion of last night's 'Where's the Beef' state dinner?
If you want the full, and historical, story on the Jam (not the Paul Weller version) go to Josh Marshall and follow the links.
48° 39' West; 123° 26' West
Regarding our last bit on personal experience of the malfeasance at the Ministry of Child and Family Development, as usual David Schreck has the bigger picture story on the fiscal/social policy hypocrisy of the SS Gordon Campbell:
"Shortly after Black Thursday, January 17, 2002, Collins said that he was committed to restructuring government. In other words, regardless of the financial details, the Campbell government wanted to shift the tax burden to lower income earners and to cut government services. They went beyond that by not only shifting taxes and cutting services but also by privatizing crown corporations and core government services."
Now, if you happen to be a Kool-Aid gulper this is where you tuck your well-read copy of today's National Post under your left arm while you simultaneously pound your right fist on the keyboard and exclaim "but don't these commies get it...slashing and burning bloated social programs is the ONLY way we can dig our province out of the hole. Haven't they heard of trickle-down, greed-is-good economics!"
But what if the cuts just kept coming after privatization, rising commodities prices, and a federal equalization swindle had already filled the public purse with our own money?
Again from Schreck:
"What kind of government does it take to cut $70 million more from Children and Family Development while sitting on a $2 billion surplus?"
New Era indeed.
Just don't get sick. And whatever you do, don't get poor.
Because if you do you won't be one of the few thousand who are lucky enough to be among the newly-minted nouveau riche.
Instead, you will be one of the millions who will be once again and always be screwed.
Unless, of course, we start fighting, right now, to get our Province back.