Tuesday, July 19, 2005

A Modest Proposal


So, how's he going to do it?

How is B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell going to handle all those way right ideologues in his caucus and his party that are ready to pounce?

Is he going to play along to get along and just use the newly elected centrists like Ms. Taylor and Mr. Oppal as spin deflectors?


But even if he was able to hold off the redmeaters for his entire term Mr. Campbell must know that he will very likely be in even worse real trouble if he cedes the middle to Carole James.

So, what if he were to go the other way?

And if he wanted to, how could he do it?

Well, as a strong first step, we would like to suggest that Mr. Campbell could initially declare the turnaround of ICBC to be a great victory which demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt that his vaunted best practices management approach really does work. After all, no matter how much the private industry shills whine, it is very clear that our auto insurance premiums are significantly lower than those in Ontario even after the McGuinty government moved in to try and reign in skyrocketing rates.

And this has been done while generating profits that some have estimated are approaching a billion dollars a year.

So, given all this success, Mr. Campbell could then take concrete steps to demonstrate that ICBC will absolutely, positively not be privatized. And he could score even more points with all the citizens of B.C. by dividing the profits evenly between policy holders (ie. giving us all truly significant rebates) and government programs that require a significant influx of one time funding (ie. how does $500 million for parks and longterm care beds in the first year sound?).

It would be one of those crazy W3's (ie.Win/Win/Win) situations for the Premier, his government's approach, and all of the people of British Columbia.

Which means that it should be a pretty easy thing for Mr. Campbell to do it, right?

Well, there is that little matter of the private multinational insurance companies who are waiting for their promised windfall in the wings (which is another W3 of a very different kind).

So, when it gets right down to it, the real nut-cutter might not be whether Mr. Campbell can stand up to the redmeaters but instead whether he can say no to his corporate backers?

Only time, and perhaps how the polls respond to the damaging revelations that are sure emerge from the Basi/Virk trial, will tell if he can do it.

Heck, if things went the way of our modest proposal ICBC could even come completely clean and stop selling our liscensing information to the small guys too.
Update: Get ready for more of these modest proposal type deals to be posted at Rick Barnes' Politics in B.C. so that we can keep this place running on total immodesty (fully clothed variety, of course).


Monday, July 18, 2005

You Mean There's No C-SPAN In Prison?


So, when Mr. Chalabi and her Cheney Administration sources are not available where, you might be asking yourself, does Judy Miller get her information?

Well, given that the publicity shy Ms. Miller is suddenly unwilling to talk to reporters, apparently only her NYT editor Bill Keller knows for sure.

Luckily though, Mr. Keller is more than willing to tell us:

.... Her time is also occupied with reading from the prison library and watching CNN and Fox News when other prisoners do not keep the shared television on hip-hop and rap music videos. "Those seem to be the favorite of the cell block," the editor (Keller) said.


You'd think Ms. Miller might learn more about what's actually going on in America if she spent more time watching hip-hop and less time watching CNN and FOX.


Sunday, July 17, 2005

I Have Seen The Future Of Public Discourse...


.....And Its Name Is Bruce Springsteen.

Two of the greatest bands/musicians that I have ever known came to me by way of covers in bars.

And in both cases the year was 1978, a time on the Westcoast of Canuckistan when the musical pickings for a late adolescent from almost suburbia were pretty darned Slim Whitman indeed.

The first was played by a bunch of guys who moved in lockstep, from right foot to left foot, and sometimes wore televisions on their heads. I saw them at a place called the Surfside in Victoria, a not-quite, but almost, biker bar where you could get in if you were underage so that you could subject yourself, on 9 nights out of 10, to Jimmy Page and/or Journey wannabes. But these weird guys, the TV Heads, they played stuff I had never even conceived of before; super fast, super loud with slurred vaguely English-accent laden lyrics, and every song was over and done in less than 2 minutes. Can't even remember the name of the TV Heads now - but the stuff they were playing, it was the real thing.

The Ramones.

And by the end of that summer my friends and I had dropped the Zepplin and we were thrashing around, ripping out Blitzkrieg Bop and I Wanna Be Sedated in an egg carton-lined basement rec-room driving the Big W's parents crazy.

The second coming took longer to light.

The spark came from a weird, hold-over hippy collective that played up the hill in a place called Mother's Disco on lower Johnson St. They even had bongoes and a saxophone player for chrissakes, who was - get this - a girl. And the song I remember most was one about a kid who pines for another girl. A girl named Sandy who hangs around on a boardwalk late at night.

What you have to understand is that, at that point in my life at least, the only boardwalk I'd ever seen was made from rough hewn chunks of red cedar slapped down on a moss bog somewhere in the middle of the treacherous southern half of the Westcoast trail, back in the days when it really was treacherous and still open to all comers.

In other words, before I walked into that bar I had no inkling of the spirits in the night that roamed Bruce Springsteen's New Jersey shore.

But when I walked out I sure did.


Now, I never bought into that crap from Dave Marsh about the 'Future of Rock and Roll' and all that because nobody, not even Marsh, can possibly know when or where the next Kurt Cobain or even the next Sek Loso will pop up.

But the thing about Springsteen is that once he gives you that inkling, or more precisely that tingling (of the spine), he never lets you down.

Even when he speaks.

Now many a good hearted artist will inevitably sound like they have marbles in their mouth and/or rocks in their head when they try and articulate why they have taken a particular political stand on something.

But not Springsteen. Here is what he told the Globe's Robert Everett-Green about why he publicly opposed George Bush and why he went on to play for John Kerry last fall:

"When your elected officials are consciously lying to you, as I do believe happened, they're supposed to lose their jobs.........

........At the same time, they played on people's cultural fears very well, whether it was abortion, or evolution. You had people writing that the Bible would be outlawed if John Kerry won. You had Cheney saying that if the Democrats got in, there would probably be another terrorist attack. The pure audacity and shamelessness of it was sort of disgustingly admirable. What balls, you know? But the sad thing about it is that it's based on divisiveness, not on the idea of an inclusive country where people of a variety of philosophies and religious ideas make things work."

The thing about Springsteen is that he one of those troubadours who is capable of making his songs all things to all people. But unlike so many of that ilk, and Mr. Zimmerman comes to mind here, Springsteen is also someone who does seem to truly know, and see, America for what it really is.

Take this lyrical snippet for example.

"Show a little faith there's magic in the night.
You ain't a beauty, but hey you're alright.......
and that's alright, with me."

Now, the first time I heard that I really did conjure up a girl named Wendy. And the weird thing is that she was both real and imagined. She had come to my highschool from Edmonton with a Chevrolet that was definitely not her Dad's. I rode in that car once or twice and I would have done pretty much anything to ride in it again, back then and maybe even right now.

As for Bruce?

Well, who knew that the not-quite-but-almost beauty he wrote about so long ago, and who he still sings about today, would turn out to be his country.

Apologies for stealing a little from Heather Mallick, sort of. I must confess that, while I rush out to the corner store every Saturday morning so that I can rip open the Globe to page F2, I rarely read her bit in the Style section. But this week, even there, she made my heart sigh.


Saturday, July 16, 2005

Staying The Course


Some folks on the left side of the bloggodome figure the time has come to hop off the Yellowcake Road before it gets to that hallowed gate named 'Plame'.

The argument for taking a hard right at the nearest exit goes something like this:

"It is ridiculous for progressives to be spending all this time and effort on an internal act of weaseldom involving the CIA while The Empire continues to get away with murder in Iraq and beyond."

Which is fine as far as it goes, but it misses the point.

Because I distinctly remember the moment in time when I read Joseph Wilson's original OpEd piece, out of the blue, that Sunday in July two years ago.

Even for someone like myself, someone who was extremely skeptical and who had done their best to pay attention, this thing from Wilson was like a thunderbolt to the forehead.

So, I put the (real)paper down on the couch, stood up, and said to my wife.

"If what this man has written is true, these people truly are engaged in a criminal war of naked aggression."

Which is why Plamegate and all that swirls around it must be dealt with to the fullest. Because it was hatched to discredit Mr. Wilson and his family and thus, by association, his OpEd piece without ever actually producing evidence to indicate that the OpEd was not truthful.

In other words, the work of the special prosecutor, Mr. Fitzgerald, and hopefully a newly unleashed American press, may be the last best chance for the United States to demonstrate that it is still a nation of laws, not men.

And very possibly, criminal men.


Friday, July 15, 2005

Geneva And Me


Believe it or not, former Nixon Pol and waygone rightsider Pat Buchanan was once on darned good terms with Hunter S. Thompson.

And here is the correspondence to prove it, written by Buchanan in response to an invitation from Thompson to write an article on the future of American Conservatism with impeachment looming in March of 1974:

Dear Hunter:

Sorry I haven't been able to get back to you sooner; but all leaves and furloughs have been canceled for the last sixty days, on orders of the General Staff. At the appropriate time, I may well deliver myself of the recommended 'hammerhead screed' but I must say I was dissillusioneedd to learn that Rolling Stone had excercised the bad judgement to thrwo away three good pages on Richard Goodwin.* As the Old Man said in the final days of that wonderful year, 1968, it is "getting down to the nut-cutting." Tellyour liberal friends we expect to be treated with all the deference and respect as outlined in the Geneva Conventions on the handling of prisoners of war.

Patrick J. Buchanan
Special Consultant to the President

Reprinted in: Fear and Loathing In America
The Gonzo Letters, Vol II, Simon & Schuster, 2000, pg 587.

Well, the more things change the more they don't stay the same.

Because 'Rethugs - The Next Generation' have pretty much gone out of their way to make sure that all deference, not to mention the Geneva Conventions, no longer exists.

And while Jann Wenner may be a Republican now, even he would never be so stupid as to throw these people a lifeline.

*Goodwin was a great society, left-sided operative who worked for Kennedy and Johnson who participated in Thompson's maniacal high-profile effort to turn the Democratic Party onto Freak Power at a Wenner-financed conference in Elko Nevada in early 1974.


Thursday, July 14, 2005

Uncaging His Inner Cottinghammerer


Our favorite speechwriter, Rob Cottingham, was the subject of a feature in yesterday's Vancouver Courier.

And hey, there's some good stuff in there.

Biq question now is.....will it help raise his Technorati ranking to get him into the same league as his partner Alex?


Serving 'Em Up......


.......Softballs That Is

Caught everybody's favorite time compression magician, Stockwell 'Don't Call Me Channing' Day, on Michael Smyth's radio show this evening.

In a wide-ranging, free ride of monumental proportions Mr. Day managed to move through his talking points with nary a hiccup, linking Paul Martin's heretofore well-hidden overt support for International Terrorism and the Low Age of Consent to the Destruction of Western Civilization As We Know It before finishing up with a blanket 'It's All Ujjal's Fault' denial of everything Grewal (could have sworn I heard the bright shiny sounds Reynolds Wrap ventriloquism on that last one, but couldn't be sure given the complete lack of follow-up from the host).

It's not that Smyth has lost all ability to snap off the high hard ones, it's just that it looks like he can only do it for about 12 minutes of each 120 minute show.

Case in point - Smyth did hold the Private Health Clinic guy's feet to the fire in the short, final segment that followed Mr. Day.

But what the heck. Given the short-attention span journalism that is all things Province I suppose it could be argued that 12 minutes a show is actually a huge, huge bonus.

Not to mention the fact that it is about 11' 30" more than you will get if you forget to lock onto Rafe tomorrow and instead waste your time listening to the Goodship Watercarrier in the morning.


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

With Friends Like These....


Given that COPE just can't quite patch things up, it looks like the big prize in Vancouver civic politics at the moment are a bunch of Friends, none of whom lives in an apartment on TV.

We're talking, of course, about the Friends of soon-to-be-former mayor Larry Campbell, a PR and fundraising juggernaut that may go for Lite man Jim Green which will go a long way in determining how viable Classic guy David Cadman's campaign will be.

All of which sets up the pins for a really big split on the left side of the ledger.

And then there's the right side, which also looks to be headed for a split between Sam Sullivan and Peter Ladner, two bigtime heavyweights - not.

And that 'not' is important these days because the time when the NPA, or more specifically their backroom boys, could pump a bunch of developer-assisted money and influence into a campaign and be assured of a win are long gone (thanks in large part to Mr Campbell and his predecessor Philip Owen).

So with all this splitting going on just who might successfully come up the middle?

Well, never count out former NPA councillor Jennifer Clarke, she of the infamous creme de la creme quote who was then creamed herself by big Larry last time out and who subsequently shamelessly peddled herself first as an apologist for UBC's transgressions as a newly minted developer and then as a short-lived pre-Carole T. saviour for Langara which will soon have the RAV line slicing through it, something Ms. Clarke didn't want to go through her own real neighborhood (ie. the Arbutus corridor - that part of town with all that creme).

But how's this for a centrist blast from the past that could still make a difference if somebody could convince her to throw her hat in the ring - Nancy Chiavario.

She too, like Clarke, is a former NPA councillor. But Chiavario also had a progressive side, swung both ways on council votes based on principle, and she actully worked for all parts of the city. And for that she too got creamed, not by the electorate, but instead by the backroom boys.

But they couldn't touch her now. Especially if she happened to have Friends with Vision on her side.

Update Thursday am: When I originally posted this thing I was going with CanWest (not)Global's info saying that COPE had, indeed, patched things up; obviously this all changed radically late Wednesday night as reported by Sean Holman. Thus, the original obtuse trapezoidal lead was re-written to reflect this new development.


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Go Left Young Man


Toyota is passing up all kinds of incentives to build a new plant in the States and is instead coming North to Canuckistan.

Now, the news peg wants you to believe that this is all about the high skill and literacy levels:

WOODSTOCK, Ont. (CP) - Ontario workers are well-trained.

That simple explanation was cited as a main reason why Toyota turned its back on hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies offered from several American states in favour of building a second Ontario plant.

Industry experts say Ontarians are easier and cheaper to train - helping make it more cost-efficient to train workers when the new Woodstock plant opens in 2008, 40 kilometres away from its skilled workforce in Cambridge.

But the kicker looks to be something else.

And it's called cost certainty.

As in health coverage, which as become one hella expensive upward death spiral for anyone using a workforce in the States that isn't willing to be treated like chattel.

"In addition to lower training costs, Canadian workers are also $4 to $5 cheaper to employ partly thanks to the taxpayer-funded health-care system in Canada, said federal Industry Minister David Emmerson.

"Most people don't think of our health-care system as being a competitive advantage," he said.

And it's not like folks running a good portion of the American government, at least those that actually care about what is happening to their country, don't want to rectify this because at least 18 States are seriously considering starting up Universal Healthcare programs of their own.

Now, if we could just convince all of those State legislators that it is also fun to take trips with Rosie O'Donnell, not to mention to 'Stay at the YMCA'.

Original Link Source: Coreuleus at AllSpinZone.
Update: And those chattel chasers? Why they would be folks like this. Thanks to RJ Eskow at Skippy for the link.


Sunday, July 10, 2005

Double Trouble On The Yellowcake Road


Hey Zeuss!

Do they really talk to each other like this?

"It was 11:07 on a Friday morning, July 11, 2003, and Time magazine correspondent Matt Cooper was tapping out an e-mail to his bureau chief, Michael Duffy. "Subject: Rove/P&C," (for personal and confidential), Cooper began. "Spoke to Rove on double super secret background for about two mins before he went on vacation ..." Cooper proceeded to spell out some guidance on a story that was beginning to roil Washington. He finished, "please don't source this to rove or even WH [White House]" and suggested another reporter check with the CIA."

So it was the man working the whirlitzer while hiding behind the curtain at the end of the Yellowcake Rd. after all......

And what should happen now?

Well, Digby makes a good case for stomping down, hard, on the throttle.

".......there is no reason that Rove should not be forced to resign over this. If it were any other White House we would naturally assume it would happen. But I think that for some reason everyone, wingnuts and moonbats alike are invested in the idea that Rove is omnipotent. He's not. He's a cheap thug. And while it may be true that if he is forced to resign he will still be able to advise the president, it's also true that the president would not have his single most necessary and loyal lieutenant by his side every day. Rove is the most malevolent force in the Republican party. He's building a criminal Republican machine --- that's his legacy. It's vitally important that we stop him if he can. Wringing our hands and saying nothing will ever happen because he's Superman is a self-fulfilling prophecy."

And when they release her, does this mean that the woman wearing the soon to be jewel encrusted big book contract-financed red slippers, Ms. Miller, should be put on, to quote John Vernon:

"Double-secret Probation?"


Conversations With My Neighbo(u)rs


When I lived in the United States a colleague, a dastardly Frenchman, conducted an even more dastardly experiment.

Apalled by what he described as the 'American Newswell', a place where very little from the outside penetrated, especially for those that watched a lot of TV, the dastardly Frenchman flashed a picture of the recently deceased Francois Mitterand at everybody in our workplace and asked them to identify him.

The place where we worked was full of science geeks from all over the world. Only two of the 12 North Americans among us got it right. And neither was actually an American.

Now those ten Americans that got it wrong were hardly a representative sample. After all, we were all apprentices who had come to a hardcharging, bigtime lab where we worked 70 or 80 hours a week in an effort to make a name for ourselves so that we could all go home and get real jobs.

As a result, the great majority of us had little time or, truth be told, inclination for the real world or realpolitick.

Thus, by the same token I'm not sure how many of the young Europeans working in the lab would have been able to identify a picture of Gerald Ford.

But not all the Americans I got to know pretty well while living in the States were science geeks. Luckily, my wife worked with normal humans in a very different field so we got to meet lots of interesting folks. Additionally, we were living in Berkeley California where, if you were paying attention and if you were open minded, it was pretty easy to have fantastic, rabble-rousing conversations with anyone, anytime just about anywhere at all, including, say, the ballpark or the supermarket checkout line.

Unfortunately, in recent years I've noticed that I rarely have these kinds of conversations anymore when I venture south, which is still pretty often.

And this post from Shawn over at the very fine, and very American, Liquid Thoughts got me thinking about the whys and wherefores:

".....I was vacationing many clicks north in Canada’s Banff National Park. It’s a beautiful place, and I’d highly recommend taking a vacation there. My wife and I saw grizzlies, elk, foxes, mountain goats, and lots of people that really do say “eh?”—a lot.......

.....In my head, as we jawboned (nice word, eh?) over the campfire each night, I really became quite saddened by the talk. I’ve traveled the world a good bit, and I clearly remember the days when status as an American citizen drew smiles and excitement from foreign hosts. In the past, conversation involved upbeat inquiries about life in the USA. No longer. Today the American traveler can expect suspicion and not-really-joking humor from their hosts ….even in Canada. How do Republicans’ deal with this, I wondered? How do they explain away behavior they support, like torture, to a gape-mouthed, horrified citizen of another country?"

Now I can't disagree with Shawn about how I, as a Canuckistani, currently deal with Americans, Republican or not, whose Newswell-assisted view of the world keeps them from wondering if pre-emptive war, total information domination, state-sanctioned torture, liberation by economic shock therapy or the flattening of entire villages for no good reason at all might have a downside, either for them or the wider world.

But I have also noticed something else.

And that is that it is not just foreigners that have become suspicious and cynical to the point of hopelessness. Because for those Americans, like my good friends from Berkeley and beyond, that are able to stand a little bit apart and peek back inside it is becoming harder and harder for them to honestly and openly discuss the destruction of their country, its way of life, and it's previous exceptionalism with outsiders.

And that truly is sad.


Saturday, July 09, 2005

And The Hippos Were Boiled In Their Tanks


There is no question that Islam Karimov, the current big bossman of Uzbekistan, runs a repressive and violent regime.

But there are tyrants and then there are tyrants.

And there is nothing like a tyrant to call your own:

The President (George W. Bush): "[In] the post-9-11 world, the United States must make sure we protect our people and our friends from attack. . . . One way to do so is to arrest people and send them back to their country of origin with the promise that they won't be tortured. That's the promise we receive. This country does not believe in torture."

Question: "As commander in chief, what is it that Uzbekistan can do in interrogating an individual that the United States can't?"

George W. Bush repeated his talking point: "We seek assurances that nobody will be tortured."

Actually, there is much that U.S. interrogators can learn from their counterparts in Uzbekistan on how to breakdown prisoners. One of the CIA's jet planes used to render purported terrorists to other countries where information is extracted by any means necessary made 10 trips to Uzbekistan. In a segment of CBS's 60 Minutes on these CIA torture missions, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray told of the range of advanced techniques used by Uzbek interrogators:

"drowning and suffocation, rape was used . . . and also immersion of limbs in boiling liquid."

But what happens when a torturing tyrant with a heart of gold goes off the rails?

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan, July 7 - Uzbekistan on Thursday threatened to evict the United States military from an important air base near the border with Afghanistan.

The United States was allowed to use the Soviet-era base, in Karshi-Khanabad after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States and continues to use it to support the continuing military efforts in Afghanistan.

The statement on Thursday from Uzbekistan's Foreign Ministry said it had allowed the base, where 800 American troops are stationed, to be established for the sole purpose of ousting Taliban rulers from Afghanistan.

"Any other prospects for a U.S. military presence in Uzbekistan were not considered by the Uzbek side," The Associated Press quoted the statement as saying."

Could there be a red, white and blue bullseye being painted on Mr. Karimov's backside, this very minute, in whatever secret bunker currently houses the (presumably) secretly re-named Office of Special Plans?

After all, rather than a tough slog in Iran, or even Syria, a slam-dunk against a viscious dictator might be looking pretty darn good right about now.

Awwwwwwww, heck.

The Roving Halliburtonians couldn't possibly be that cyncical.

Could they?

The title of this post was actually the working name of a failed collaboration between William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac written wayback in 1945 which, of course, was a big year for dealing with tyrants (or not).


Don't Know Much About Objectivity.....


"Some people will say that words like scum and rotten are wrong for Objective journalism - which is true, but they miss the point. It was the built-in blind spots of the Objective rules and dogma that allowed Nixon to slither into the White House in the first place. He looked so good on paper that you could almost vote for him sight unseen. He seemed so all-American, so much like Horatio Alger, that he was able to slip through the cracks of Objective Journalism. You had to get Subjective to see Nixon clearly, and the shock of recognition was often painful."
Hunter S. Thompson, 1994.
'He Was A Crook' In: Better Than Sex, Random House, pg 243.

That shock of recognition.


That's what we need.


Thursday, July 07, 2005

Good Advice At Twice The Price

The Real Thing

Clearly, there is going to be a lot of discussion in the not too distant future about reaping what has been sown.

Not to mention dealing forcefully with the craptacular logic that lead to the 'Flypaper Hypothesis'.

But for now, Billmon (as usual) has some very good advice:

"The next few days would probably be a good time to stay away from the TV. On top of the televised gore and the stunned faces of the survivors, we'll have to endure the canned Churchillian rhetoric of Messrs. Blair and Bush. Blitzes will be remembered; blood, sweat and tears promised, ultimate victory predicted. The babbling heads of cable news will babble even louder. Conservative con artists will figure the angles and work out the attack lines to use against the liberals -- whatever it takes to drown out the fact that, nearly four years after 9/11, Bin Ladin still lives and Al Qaeda is back in business. Mission unaccomplished."


Freep Canada!


While (g)noodling around the blogosphere looking for background for the Frank McKenna post below I stumbled across the following, which appears to be a comment on Mr. McKenna's statement on NPR in the States that same sex marriage is a Charter (ie. constitutional) issue:

"Despite McKenna’s somewhat lengthy and repetitive answer, his characterization of the right for same sex couples to marry as being the same as the right to bear arms was spot on.

Same sex marriage as a human right has been the mantra that the prime minister has consistently used, not only to try and reconcile gay unions with his Roman Catholic beliefs but to sway many middle of the road Canadians, his largest support base, into believing that same sex marriage is in fact a human rights issue. "It’s a human rights matter" was the standard response of Liberal MPs to constituents who voiced their opposition to the legislation.

Not even the most pro-gun American could seriously argue that the right to bear arms is a human right. If it was, rock concerts would be held all over the U.S. in support of the right of all people of the world to carry Uzis. If possessing a gun was a human right, the United Nations would have come out with a "Convention on the Right to Own Magnum 357s" by now. The right to bear arms is not a human right and neither is the right of gays and lesbians to enter to a "marriage" with a person of the same sex. It is, as Frank McKenna said it is, a Canadian right."

Tres bizarre, non?

And just what is this all about, and where is it coming from you might be asking yourself.

Well, it comes from a 'Canada Free Press' piece by Mr. Arthur Weinrub. All of which is fine as far as it goes, at least until you get to the tag line at the bottom:

Arthur Weinreb is an author, columnist and Associate Editor of Canada Free Press. His work as appeared on Newsmax.com, Men's News Daily, the Drudge Report, Foxnews.com and The Rant.

Aaaaaaaahhhhhh........ you are saying to yourself; now you understand.

And next you may be getting ready to laugh and scoff because you are, after all, Canuckistani.

But you should not discount the potential damage that such rogue Whirlitzer components imported from the South could do to our liberal democratic society.

Because one can only wonder......would not the FreePress folks, or these folks, or these folks, or these folks, or especially these folks be very happy indeed if a significant proportion of the population were to agree with a prominent Canadian politician the next time he or she decides to make the case that dinosaurs really did stomp on the terra 6000 years ago.


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Frankie Goes To Washington


Back in the spring, when he was making statements that made him sound more like the American Ambassador to Canada rather than the other way around, we took a few shots at Frank McKenna that included reference to his past association with the Carlyle Group.

Paul Willcocks took us to task on that one and, as a result, we promised to watch Mr. McKenna closely and try to comment fairly on his future actions and statements.

So, while it can pretty tough to tell where the straw men are standing in this 'Fortress North America' game, we have to give Mr. McKenna credit for the following:

"Canada's ambassador to the United States says U.S. officials are "going too far" in proposing that Canadian airlines be forced to provide American authorities with passenger lists for domestic flights whose routes happen to pass over U.S. territory.......

Mr. McKenna is convinced the proposed measures, which call for airlines flying over U.S. territory to provide passenger manifests that can be checked against American "no-fly" lists of passengers considered possible terrorist threats, were not primarily aimed at Canadians.

"We're sideswiped" by these measures, he said.

Under the proposals, passengers on purely domestic flights, such as those between the Maritimes and Central Canada or even flights linking Montreal and Toronto, could be subject to U.S. oversight because they routinely fly over American territory for practical geographical reasons.

"I think it's going too far for incidental overflights to be caught up in this increased level of security," he (McKenna) said.

Fair enough. But now let's see how Mr. McKenna does on beef, softwood and NAFTA-assisted healthcare privatization.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Yellowcake Road, Part II


Big day tomorrow for those poor little journos from Time and the NYT.

First, the Time guy. Looks like Matt Cooper may still get the book thrown at him because special prosecutor Fitzgerald says that his bosses' last minute, behind-the-back, pre-emptive Email offerings are not enough. Specifically, Fitzgerald wants testimony.

Second, the NYT gal. Who knows what Mr. Fitzgerald really has in store for shrinking violet Judith Miller, the woman who once vehemently defended her role in helping start the war by force-feeding the grey lady (ie. her employer, not Anne Coulter sans dye-job, although no one can uncategorically rule out the latter's involvement) the lies of Ahmed Chalabi:

“You know what,” she (Miller) offered angrily. “I was proved fucking right. That’s what happened. People who disagreed with me were saying, ‘There she goes again.’ But I was proved fucking right.”

But here's an interesting question that has recently been asked around the Bloggodome regarding the 'Name Plame Game' - Is it possible that Fitzgerald is after Miller not for her own sources (ie. Miller never published a story, at least not initially, on the Plame affair) but instead because he considers she, herself, to be one?

Stay tuned.

And remember, ignore the chief Rovian behind the curtain for the moment because now is the time to.......

Follow The Yellowcake Road.


Put Me In Coach.....


I'm ready to play.


Channelling Her Inner Kenny Boy


Does Ms. Carole Taylor like fudge?

Who knows.

One thing we do know for sure is the following.

There is no deficit in the British Columbia Ministry of (mis)Information (ie. Public Affairs).

Oh sure, they went way over budget to the tune of millions of dollars running their Liberal campaign, errrrrr, promotional ads prior to the big election just past.

But that means nothing, silly peasants.


Because the overruns were charged to other Ministries.

All of which sounds like Enron-style accounting to us.

But maybe that's not too surprising.

After all, thanks to the LINO's, we're already in bed with that fine firm called Accenture, previously known as Mr. Ken Lay's personal accountant, Arthur Anderson.


Monday, July 04, 2005

No Thimersol Thank You Very Much


Somehow, don't ask us how, but during a recent rant about Live 8 and the CBC's addiction to all things Promo-Girl, we got off on a B.C. Ferries tangent:

'......if that pernicious parking purgatory at Tsawwassen, which makes the pretzellian logic of Lorne Mayencourt look like a perfectly straight line between Bute and Thurlow, is not reason enough to throw David Hahn out on his ass immediately, well I don't know what is.

Unless, of course, it turns out that Mr. Hahn has been spending a bundle on cosmetic upgrades and VIP lounges instead of on, oh say, clutches and drive trains.....'

Anyway, clearly the topic of that last sentence is something the spinmeisters running the Big Red LINO (ie. Liberal In Name Only) Machine are themselves worried about.

Why else would they wind-up their (not-yet-deposed) leader Mr. Campbell, and send him to see their favorite waterboy so that he could say this?

"Premier Gordon Campbell is linking last week's ferry crash at Horseshoe Bay with the fast ferries fiasco.

Campbell says the NDP governments of the 1990's failed to upgrade the fleet or even invest in proper maintenance.

"Everyone knows that happened in BC Ferries through the 1990's, we spent a lot of money on three ships that didn't do anybody any good, so it takes time to catch up, there are boats that are on or ships that are on order right now, and I think it'll be another two years or so before they're actually delivered."


Wonder where the LINOs learned a little trick like that? Especially given the fact that they just spent tens of millions of dollars doing (cosmetic?) refits.

Not sure exactly.

But we do know this.

In the Rovian world south of the 49th parallel this type of thing is known as the 'Innoculation for the Nation' strategy.

And boy, is my arm sore (or is that my buttock?).

Original Link Source: Big thanks, and kudos, to Aunty Bertha who's got her own real world (ie. somebody who actually, unlike Mr. Hahn, relies on our, not his, Ferries in her daily life) rant up right now.


Sunday, July 03, 2005

C-38 Redux


Another reason why C-38 was the right thing to do.....

Because tolerance, backed by law, works.

It also helps prevent stuff like this.

Original Link Source: Michael Hawkins of Spontaneous Arising.


Follow The Yellowcake Road


In our previous post we voiced concern that the fingering of the Rove may have reverse kerning potential.

But a number of the big guns in Blogtopia are playing it smart and are shifting their focus upstream to the front-end of the affair.

Specifically, there has been some excellent analysis of the so-called 'yellowcake documents' which were supposed to be evidence of a pending sale of uranium to Mr. Hussein's regime by the central African country of Niger.

Turns out there were a whole bunch of these things, mostly passed on to the Americans by the Italians, and apparently every last one of them was bogus.

This evening Billmon built an interesting observation-based hypothesis that the reason 'Blame Plame Game' special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is being so zealous in his investigation is because he is actually doing his job (gasp!) and is trying to find out where the documents really originated. This could be particularly illuminating given the fact that every time one document was discredited another one would suddenly pop-up. In fact, this occurred pretty much non-stop from the fall 0f 2001 until the information was finally rammed into Mr. Bush's pre-war the State of the Union address in early 2003.

So how will we know if a search for the true creator (ie. the real origin of the species - who says creationism and evolution can't co-exist!) is what Mr. Fitzgerald is indeed up to and if he is making progress?

Well, there will, of course, be a sudden and viscious burst of slime fired, point blank, at the good prosecutor.

Then he will be accused, no doubt by a chorus of yahoos, but that's not the point, of having had metaphorical carnal knowledge of a barnyard animal of some kind.

And if Fitzgerald and his investigation somehow survive that blizzard of whinge machine fertilizer spreading intact, what will they try next?

Well, there's always the Saturday Night Massacre approach.

But by then hopefully the smart boys will have moved on to the back-end of the thing, focussing on the man behind the curtain pulling the strings.

I guess what we're really trying to say is, forget about Rove for the moment. Let him twist around up there on his own petard for awhile.

Because now is the time to ignore the delusionary diversions and move on to the real thing.


Saturday, July 02, 2005

Reelin' In The Years?


A lot of folks around the bloggodome and beyond are fingering Mr. Karl Rove as 'the' name in the 'Blame Plame Game.'

But something smells like last year's fish stuck to the unwashed barbeque racks that are still hidden away in the garage because they are just too rank to clean.

In other words, I feel a vague, nebulous angst rising that may be related to fears of some sort of 'reeling in of the limited hangout' coming on.

Maybe it's all the lawyer/timing talk (ie. did Rove talk to reporters before or after Novak's column appeared?).

Maybe it's the partisan nature of one principal (O'Donnell) or the snake oil salesman nature of another apparent one (Isikoff).

Maybe it's the fact that one of the Editor & Publisher articles that set everybody, including Atrios and Digby, all a twitter has been pulled for being last year's (smell the fish yet?) news.

Maybe it's the fact that Wolcott is linking back to an old piece by Michael Ruppert that raises the spectre of an internal CIA coup.

Or maybe it's just the fact that Reich Wing Whinge machine has not yet retaliated in fury as they await the 'gotcha' of the reverse kern which will prove that the 'O' between the R and the V was not written on Matt Cooper's computer at all, but instead on an old Selectric Mark VI operated by the ghost of Lee Atwater working in an underground bunker in Burundi while Wild Bill Casey looked over his shoulder the entire time shouting 'Go! Go! Go, boy go!'

All, I'm really trying to say is......be careful Bloggodome Big Boys and Girls.......after all, it's not like the Roving Halliburtonians haven't tried this kind of misdirection play before.

Update Sun 9:00am PDT: OK, I feel a little better because Billmon has pointed out that it may not be the crime that will lead to anybody doing the time. Instead, it may be both the front end (ie. the Niger papers themselves) and the back end (a cover-up, possibly originating from AirForce 1) that will lead to the entire Iraq Working Group's forced eating of the Yellowcake after the Frog March. Still, it's time to be careful, get it right, and dole it out bit by bit to prevent the truth from getting buried beneath the crap and fish guts from the Whinge Machine's fertilizer spreader that has already hit even little 'ol me - (see trackback)
Double Secret Probation Update: Isikoff's piece is up on the Newsweek site. Pretty darned soft. Looks like the Reel-In has, indeed, begun.


Slow Hand


I have no idea if Eric Clapton played at Live 8 today.

And, no, I'm not going to go look it up - although my daughter and I did enjoy Annie Lennox' that we caught after first listening to that Promo-Girl drivel on the CBC while driving out the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal this morning.

And I'm telling you, if that pernicious parking purgatory at Tsawwassen, which makes the pretzellian logic of Lorne Mayencourt look like a perfectly straight line between Bute and Thurlow, is not reason enough to throw David Hahn out on his ass immediately, well I don't know what is.

Unless, of course, it turns out that Mr. Hahn has been spending a bundle on cosmetic upgrades and VIP lounges instead of on, oh say, clutches and drive trains.....

But I digress (as usual).

Anyway, it turns out that we have somebody else in our midst whose hands are slow, but not with the guitar.

And that would be Sean Holman who, in a recent interview with Richard Warnica of the Tyee, attributed his resignation from the Vancouver Sun, at least in part, to the fact that he was a slow writer.

Which is interesting, I guess, as far as it goes.

But what was even more revealing is the fact that it turns out Mr. Holman was himself a compatriot of a number of interesting, fresh-faced young fellows from the late '90's when he was studying at UVIC.

"Before leaving for Carleton he (Holman) was a member of the University of Victoria's federal Young Liberals. The group he called "the liberal mafia" included senior political aide David Basi, who is linked to the BC Rail scandal, lobbyist Erik Bornman, who is expected to be a witness in the case, and Jamie Elmhirst, the current president of the Federal Liberal Party in B.C."

All of which is going to give Mr. Holman quite a leg up on the background for the big trial that is finally coming.

Not to mention potential access to some darned fine 'X-Marks-The-Spot" maps leading to treasure and/or metaphorical graveyards where the bodies are buried.

Can't wait.

Update: Aunty Bertha is riled up about BC Ferries for all the right reasons.


A Booster Shot Against Cynicism


Not sure what to make of Live 8?

Still trying to figure out if you're with or against the cynics in trashing the former 'Knight of the Straits of Georgia' who hates Mondays?

Well, if you want a grown-up's view on the subject go read Matt St. Amand's piece.

Heckfire. If you just want to read some damn fine writing on the subject go read Mr. Amand's piece.

Double heckfire. If you just want to read some damn fine writing on a whole range of subjects go read all of St. Amand's pieces.

Here's an excerpt from the latest:

"Sneering cynics control our governments, stock markets, and entertainment. They have their say daily, and unquestionably would love to see the Live8 concerts flop. There is the self-important gobshite David Stubbs who gives his lame reasons why he won't be watching the concerts today. You see, people like David Stubbs believe that only easily solvable problems should be tackled. A message to all cancer researchers out there. Listen up all you social workers trying to make a difference one life at a time. Attention aid workers feeding the starving in impoverished nations. You're wasting your time. So says the likes of David Stubbs, who I'm sure it can be said never tried to solve any problem, ease any suffering, or aid any good cause."

See, I told you.

Now just go.


Friday, July 01, 2005

Wild Hunter's Circus Story


'The Circus-Circus is what the whole hep world would be doing on Saturday night if the Nazis had won the war. This is the Six Reich. The ground floor is full of gambling tables, like all the other casinos...but the place is about four stories high, in the style of a circus tent, and all manner of strange County-Fair/Polish Carnival madness is going on up in this space. Right above the gambling tables the Forty Flying Carazito Brothers are doing a high-wire trazeze act, along with four muzzled Wolverines and the Six Nymphet Sisters from San Diego.....

This madness goes on and on, but nobody seems to notice. The gambling action runs twenty-four hours a day on the main floor, and the circus never ends......Stand in front of this fantastic machine, my friend, and for just 99 cents your likeness will appear, two hundred feet tall, on a screen above downtown Las Vegas. Ninety-nine cents more for a voice message......

I could see myself lying in bed at the Mint Hotel, half-asleep and staring idly out the window, when suddenly a vicious nazi drunkard appears two hundred feet tall in the midnight sky, screaming gibberish at the world: "Woodstock Uber Alles!"
Hunter S. Thompson.
Rolling Stone #95, Nov. 1971
Reprinted in: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Warner Books, pp 46-47.

''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''
A top Bush aide speaking to Ron Susskind in the Summer of 2002
In the New York Times Magazine, Oct 17th, 2004.

'Bush is really the evil one here and it is more than just him....

We're the Nazis in this game, and I don't like it. I'm embarrassed and I'm pissed off. Yeah. I mean to say something and I think a lot of people in this country agree with me.'
Hunter S. Thompson, January 2003
Interview with Mary Suma, KDNK Radio, Roaring Fork Colorado
Reprinted, and Audio Archived by Democracy Now

Ever out in front of the herd, little did Dr. Thompson realize that the Circus-Circus would become a bastion of family entertainment some thirty years on. And perhaps even more prescient, it looks like the American people are starting to come around to his thinking on the Bush regime if John Zogby's latest poll is any indication, especially the part about 42% of the populace being in favour of impeachment proceedings if it can be shown that they were misled to war.

Let the good times roll.

Canada Day Coda: On the night they went to the Circus-Circus, Thompson's Attorney, who was definitely not Samoan, wanted to go to the Tropicana to see Guy Lombardo and his Young Canadians. Thompson said no, as he had no intention of paying out hard earned dollars to watch a bleeping corpse. So they went to the Desert Inn to watch Debbie Reynolds sing Sgt Pepper in a silver afro wig instead. Strange days indeed.