Sunday, October 30, 2005

Calling John Dean, Calling John Dean


Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski, errrrr, Patrick Fitzgerald, made it clear in the Libby indictment that former Bushmaster Flash Spokeslackey Ari Fleischer has been co-operating with his investigation.

And now, Josh Marshall has caught a bit of short-lived candor from the WaPo which makes it pretty much a 'slam dunk' that Mr. Fleischer was more than just an innocent bystander in the original machinations that began the smear of Mr. and Mrs Wilson.

As a result, Jane Hamsher goes so far as to suggest that Mr. Fleischer is 'The Third Man'.

All of which may or may not be exactly right.

But one thing is for certain. When neandercon apologist David Brooks tried to get out in front of this 10,000lb craphammer on last friday's NewsHour by stating that the Libby indictment was not a 'Cancer on the Presidency' he was as wrong as John Dean was once right*.

*And very likely will be again.


Saturday, October 29, 2005

Question #1 For The BC Utilities Commission

Answer This, Please

In it's infinite wisdom the British Columbia Utilities Commission has decided AGAINST holding public hearings into the sale of Terasen (formerly B.C.) Gas lock, stock and barrel to American pipeline giant Kinder Morgan.

As a result, British Columbians who have concerns about this deal, particularly as they pertain to the public interest, have lost their chance to have their questions answered in an an honest and unbiased manner (ie. free of P.R. and spin).

I am one of those British Columbians and I have decided that I will not be silenced.

Thus, here is my first question.

Given the fact that Kinder Morgan was originally known as Enron Liquids Pipeline, L.P., and given that it became Kinder Morgan Energy Partners L.P. when all of it's stock was purchased by Robert Kinder (former president of Enron Corp.) and Bill Morgan (former Enron corp. pipline executive; see footnote #1 below), can the BC Utilities Commission please explain what specific rules, regulations, controls, potential penalties and/or protocols, if any, have been put into place to ensure that British Columbians will not be subjected to energy market manipulations such as those that were previously practiced by Enron traders in California (see footnote #2)?

Thank you very much.

footnote #1
Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. was formed as Enron Liquids Pipeline, L.P. in August of 1992 by Enron Corp. The company was taken public as a Master Limited Partnership (MLP) on the New York Stock Exchange under the "ENP" ticker, which has since been changed to "KMP."

The principal assets at the time KMP was formed included natural gas liquids (NGL) pipelines, a CO2 pipeline, a rail-to-barge coal terminal and an interest in a NGL fractionation facility. On Feb. 14, 1997, Richard D. Kinder (the former president of Enron Corp.) and Bill Morgan (a former Enron Corp. pipeline executive) jointly acquired all of the stock of Enron Liquids Pipeline Company, the General Partner of the MLP.

footnote #2

During California's rolling blackouts, when streets were lit only by head lights and families were trapped in elevators, Enron Energy traders laughed, reports CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales.

One trader is heard on tapes obtained by CBS News saying, "Just cut 'em off. They're so f----d. They should just bring back f-----g horses and carriages, f-----g lamps, f-----g kerosene lamps."

And when describing his reaction when a business owner complained about high energy prices, another trader is heard on tape saying, "I just looked at him. I said, 'Move.' (laughter) The guy was like horrified. I go, 'Look, don't take it the wrong way. Move. It isn't getting fixed anytime soon."


Friday, October 28, 2005

Do What We Say.....


...Not What We Say

In the beginning, the Ministry of Education told local school boards that they couldn't spread out the Teacher's strike-induced wage losses to ease their pain.

"Earlier in the week, a memo went out from the deputy minister, telling districts they were expected to dock teachers' pay this month for their two-week illegal strike."

But that, apparently, turned out to be nothing more than a misunderstanding. As a result:

"On Thursday, Education Minister Shirley Bond backtracked – saying it would be up school boards to decide how to deduct 10 days pay."

Which is all well and good, except for the fact that:

"....when the ministry learned North Vancouver trustees planned to ignore the memo and spread the deductions out over two months, the district got a call from the ministry saying it expected to be obeyed."

Must be another one of those 'good business practices' that we keep hearing so much about from the very fine folks running GordCo Inc.


Fitzmas Pudding


Need a place to pick up a little hard sauce to go with that pudding?

We recommend firedoglake.

Here's a teeny-tiny spoonful from the 10 gallon drum (and that's just today's offering):

"Fitzgerald coming on TV now with Jack Eckenrode. One of the Chicago Trib people who covers him told me he never needs to look down at his notes and speaks from memory, even when reciting complex charges. Looks to be true (no Bushian bozo teleprompter here)."

And for those of you that wanted so much more today, don't forget that we here in Canuckistan know that Patrick Fitzgerald is very patient and very well schooled in the art of the 'flip'.
Update: Digby points out that when Fitzgerald finally indicted former Illinois Governor George Ryan on corruption charges in 2003 it was only after a flip-fest was complete. As a result Ryan was actually the 66th person indicted. So, question is, will he have to add one more '6' before he gets to the real evil genius (or not) this time 'round?


Thursday, October 27, 2005

What The BCUC?


So 6000 British Columbians, or thereabouts, asked the B.C. Utilities Commission to hold public hearings on the sale of Terasen gas to Kinder-BushRanger, er, Morgan*.

Even leaving aside written request multipliers used by many public monitoring groups, which are often in the low three digits, that is a heck of lot of requests.

And given the lack of transparency and the public discord over the GordCo Inc. legislation that cleared the road for the deal you might think that the BC Utilities Commission, whose job it is to protect the public interest, would want to get everything above board and make such hearings happen.

They did not.

And last night a Terasen FlackHack dismissively (and derisively) asked Michael Smyth what public hearings would add to the discourse when his company had already held a bunch of 'Open Houses' that nobody paid any attention to.

Uncharacteristically, Smyth was somewhat at a loss for words.

As someone who has been on the wrong end of many a Corporate Open House fiascos, I am not.

Specifically, these things are little more than P.R. vehicles; there is no independent monitor; there is no free and open discussion; they are always hampered by the hammer of the corporate-controlled ground rules.

In other words, Corporo-Penned-In Houses are designed to mollify, not inform, the citizenry.

That is why I believe that the absence of public hearings on this issue is an outrage, not to mention an active suppression of democracy.

* See #12


Hearts of Stone


"ROCHE, the Swiss pharamaceuticals giant, is under pressure to relax the patents on Tamiflu, its top-selling flu medicine, after GlaxoSmithKline said that it would give away the licensing rights to a rival treatment for free.

Roche has so far resisted calls to hand over the patents to Tamiflu, which is expected to generate sales of more than $1 billion (£560 million) this year, arguing that the ten-stage manufacturing process is complicated and dangerous. Several countries, incuding India and Vietnam, have threatened to break the patents protecting the treatment to ensure enough supplies in the event of a flu pandemic."

So here's my question.......

What should be done to any Corporate Entity that won't loosen up its patent rights to help prevent a world-wide pandemic?

And don't go crying/cheering for Glaxo just yet. After all, their competing 'product' only grossed $10 million last year in comparison, so it wouldn't be much of a stretch to view their act of selflessness rather cynically.


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Terror Times At The Horseshoe


Davey Boy Hahn has decided it's time for BC Ferries to lockdown the Horseshoe Bay Terminal.

Rumour has it he's worried that viscious packs of shifty surfers with scruffy beards and/or hairy legs travelling in VW Microbus convoys are poised to smuggle fissionable material in aluminum tubes aboard the Motor Vessel Queen of Esquimalt en route to their evil underground lair on the outskirts of Tofino.

What's that you say?



Turns out it was actually fizzy material in aluminum cans.

Ainge has the real story.
Thanks to reader lenny for the original pointdexter.


Two Days Of The Condi


The not-so-candid Condi came to Ottawa yesterday and got down to shiny, gold brass tacks:

Canadians need to cool the rhetoric in the softwood lumber trade row so it doesn't sour an otherwise great relationship with the United States, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said yesterday after failing to make headway in talks with Canadian ministers.

Then she got a little testy:

Rice bristled when asked how the U.S. could be trusted when it doesn't live up to its international agreements.

"Well, I think the word of the United States has been as good as gold in its international dealings and its agreements," she snapped.

Then she bailed out and fled Canuckistan ahead of schedule:

...local media in Ottawa reported this morning that Condi Rice canceled some interviews etc and rushed back to Washington based upon a phone call.

Didn't know Hawks were so chicken, not to mention Condhors(d'oeuvres).

Original Link Source: Digby
A third day might have made things interesting.


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

He Said, She Said Criticism


Goodbye and good luck to all the rubbish that you've spoken
Goodbye and good luck to all the promises you've broken
Your life has lost its dignity, its beauty and its passion
You're an accident waiting to happen
Billy Bragg, Accident Waiting To Happen
On: Don't Try This At Home, 1991

All of which means a whole lot to middle-aged, former almost punks that want to hold onto the notion that a duality made up of the DIY ethic and standing up for what's right is what freedom is really all about.

And in a weirdly tangential way Bragg's anthem has something in common with George Clooney's new movie, Good Luck and Good Night.

And we're not talking just about the similarities of titles and lyrical taglines, but also about the similarities in theme, particularly the standing up for what's right bit, as newsman Edward R. Murrow did to Joseph McCarthy.

Which brings me to the title of the post.

Specifically, I like to think that Mr. Murrow would never have succumbed to the 'he said/she said' journalism that has become so fashionable in today's corporate dominated media.

And that, more than 10 billion Bill O'Reilly's and/or a planet Jupiter full of Rush Limbaugh's, is what is really destroying public discourse as we used to know it.


Because it leads to false equivalencies that have convinced significant swaths of the population that intelligent design is just as good as evolution in scientific terms or that global warming is actually a hoax that is being foisted on by The Laughing Man who has hijacked Theresa Heinz Kerry's overheated ketchup factories located along the border between China and Paris, France*

And all of this is happening because jounalists and their editors don't have the guts to dismiss, out of hand, proffered evidence that is demonstrably false.

Thus, a non-existent batch of yellowcake from Niger was successfully used to bamboozle a supplicant media, and an even more supplicant American congress and British parliament, into supporting an illegal and immoral war of naked aggression when it should, instead, have been smeared all over the faces of The Twig and Big Dick just prior to their infamous 'State of The Union' Minstrel Show in January of 2003.

But if all that is not bad enough, the 'he said/she said' thing appears to have now spread to film criticism, as illustrated by a recent review of Mr. Clooney's film by the Globe and (nolonger)Empire Mail's James Adams:

Some on the right say the movie has been "edited with the devilishly clever selectivity" that McCarthyites accused Murrow of practising 50 years ago.....

Others of more liberal cast say it's pervaded by the aroma of the Patriot Act, the incarcerations at Guantanamo Bay and the abuses of Abu Ghraib, not to mention the timidity and compliance of the U.S. media post-9/11.......

Others have argued that while the "advocacy journalism" and "enlightened citizenship" Good Night celebrates paved the way for TV newsman Walter Cronkite and Watergate's Woodward and Bernstein, Murrow's spawn also includes Bill O'Reilly, Matt Drudge and The Barbara Walters Specials....(dot's mine)

So, c'mon Mr. Adams, take a stand. Look at all the 'some says' and tell us - which is it?

And if you can't, well then perhaps you shouldn't bother at all.

*Either that or it is something that somebody made up while sitting, say, in the outgoing water of the bathtub.


Monday, October 24, 2005

When Dick Falls.....


All heckfire appears to breaking loose on the PlameGate Front. The New Pravda, in an attempt to save whatever shred of post-Judy dignity it has left, has let Johnston, Stevenson and Jehl off their leashes and they are reporting that:

"I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, first learned about the C.I.A. officer at the heart of the leak investigation in a conversation with Mr. Cheney weeks before her identity became public in 2003, lawyers involved in the case said Monday."

You got that?

Forget the "Scooter did it because he's whacko" deflector spin, because, if true, this would make Spiro Agnew's transgressions look like chicken scratch by comparison.

What's more, Steve Clemons from the Washington Note is reporting that the LA Times is going to publish an Op-Ed piece from State Dep't PowellBlower, Larry Wilkerson, that will "rip-the-veneer-off the White House cabal....."

Strange days indeed; most peculiar momma.

Original Link Sources: All over the bloggodome....
Wilkerson's Bit Is Up: It focuses on the out of control, insular 'cabal' that took over the Admininistration in the Twig's first term (and goes hard at trying to rehabilitate Colin Powell, which seems to be a pretty cynical attempt to get out in front of things on Fitzmas Eve). But then it ends with this,"
Today, we have a president whose approval rating is 38% and a vice president who speaks only to Rush Limbaugh....." That, I thought, was a reasonably good kicker.
There is an interesting, and not totally discountable out-of-hand hypothesis given the timelines (and not just the 'new' revelation mentioned above), that the real target of the smear was not Wilson, but rather his wife and the front company that she worked for. Why? Because they may have been working on/trying to discredit the forgeries.


Where's Carole?


Glad to see that ol' Rafe agrees with us about Ms. James relative quiet during the BCTF job action.

We're also happy that we beat him to the punch.

But heck, maybe that's to be expected now that his former sidekick Ms. Tobin has bolted for a Civic Election Coverage gig at CBC Radio Cluffie.

Hey! In completely unrelated news, Victoria's mayoral (un)candidate Mr. Floatie made Scott Simon's Weekend Edition on NPR on Saturday (podcasting as I pound)....
Last random thought of the day: Goddess, how I hate Bus Stop Porn....Has anybody seen those Amazonian Red Bra and Pantie ads from a company named after a British motorcycle company all over Vancouver on those upscale privatized bus shelters? Just try explaining 36 inch circumference, uber-capitalist, back-lit, bus-shelter boobs to your six year old.....


Sunday, October 23, 2005

Blog-O-Rama Cage Match


On Public Eye Radio tonight (6-9pm on CFAX1070, stream from here) it's left head Rick Barnes vs. rightsider Jordan Bateman, currently scheduled for after the 7pm news.

I, for one, will be listening (and watching the P.E.R. comment threads).

And for SMH - how 'bout a passle of podcast replays, huh, particularly for those of us who have to rush around like madmen getting the kids ready for the week to come on Sunday nights (and especially this week, right)?
PostMatchWrap-Up; Sunday 7:35pm: OK, so there was some good, solid stuff there in the Double-B Showdown. However, I didn't expect the Love-In along the lines of all this, "Can't we all just get along stuff." And on the 'Where's Carole' issue, let's forget the spin (from both sides) and be blunt - she has been careful and prudent in an effort to reduce her vulnerability to a secret and duplicitous smear in the last week of the 2009 election campaign.


Saturday, October 22, 2005

The HMO-Free Generation


How different would North American-wide Universal Healthcare be today if only Tommy Douglas had been born in, say, Wyoming, instead of Saskatchewan?

One thing for sure. There would probably be a lot less of this:

Home medicine is a big industry these days. A recent network survey by one of the major evangelical organizations indicates that one out of every three Americans will experiment this year with a variety of do-it-yourself home cures and quack remedies ranging from self-induced vomiting kits to alpha/beta brain wave scans and multihead, blood-magneto suction-drums to measure percentage of true body fat.

Others will test themselves daily, in towns and ghettos all over the republic, for potentially fatal levels of blood glucose, or use strange and expensive litumus tests to screen each other for leg cancer in the femurs and the ankles and knees.

We are all slaves to this syndrome, but in some ways it is a far, far better thing....Last Saturday night I went out to snack bar at the Geneva Drive-In near the Cow Palace and performed tests on a random selection of customers during the intermission period (of a double-feature).

The results were startling.

Huge brains, small necks, weak muscles and fat wallets - these are the dominant physical characteristics of......The Generation of Swine.....

(In the snack bar), I found the heart-rate machine.

The directions were clear enough. "Deposit 25 cents and insert middle finger. As a rule, the lower your heart rate, the better your physical condition."

It had the look of state-of-the-art medical technology, a complex digital readout with ominous red numbers on a scale from 60 to 100. Anything under 60 was "athletic"; 60 to 70 was "well-conditioned"; 70 to 85 was average; and after that it got grim.

Between 85 and 100 was "below average" and over 100 said, "Inactive - consult your physician."

I tested (my assistant) Maria first, and she came in at 91, which shocked even casual onlookers. She wept openly, attracting the focus of a large crew-cut uniformed cop who said his name was Ray and asked me for some "personal or professional ID".

I had none. My attorney had run off, the night before, with all my credentials and press cards.

"Never mind that, Ray. Give me your hand," I said to him. "I need some human numbers for the baseline.".........

Ray moved into position, looking as spiffy and bristly and confident as a middle-aged fighting bull. I slapped another quarter into the slot and watched the test pattern seek out his number.

It was 105, and a hush fell over the crowd. Ray slumped in his uniform and muttered that he had to go out and check the lot for dope fiends, perverts and drunks.

"Don't worry, " I called after him. "These numbers mean nothing. It could happen to anybody.".....

The crowd was thinning out; Maria had locked herself in the ladies' room and now I had nothing to work with except a few vagrant children.

I grabbed a small blond girl who was 10 years old and led her up to the machine. "I'm a doctor, " I told her. " I need your help on this experiment.

She moved obediently into position and put her finger into the slot. The test pattern whirled and sputtered, then settled on 104. The child uttered a wavering cry and ran off before I could get her name. "Never mind this!" I shouted after her. "Children always run high on these things."

Her little sister spat at me as they backed away like animals.

I grabbed another one, a fat young lad named Joe, who turned out to be son of Maggie, the night manager, who arrived just in time to keep Ray from calling the SWAT team to have me locked up as a child molester.

Little Joe registered 126, a number so high that the machine offered no explanation for it. I gave him a quarter to go offf and play the Donkey Kong machine on the other side of the aisle.
Hunter S. Thompson, Generation Of Swine, Summit, 1988
First published in the S.F. Examiner (Wee Willy Hearst Edition), Dec. 15, 1985

All of which makes one wonder if any of the somewhat-less-than-reputable private Health Maintenance Organizations in the United States ever use video games and/or codeine-laced pain relievers to brush off unprofitable families with bad credit and/or the audacity to show up at their processing centers when they are sick.

I'm not entirely sure about that, or whether former Fristian cash-cow, HCA, is one of those less-than reputable HMO's.

But this much I do know.

The area around the Cow Palace in South San Francisco is not a place you want to let your kids run around free, at night, these days.

I know this because I used to live in the Bay Area.

And because of that I also know how much it costs to belong to an HMO. My wife, myself and our infant daughter belonged to one of the best of the quasi-public ones in NorCal. It cost us $500 per month, which I have had GWNorth branch-plant neandercons tell me is cheap compared to what we in Canuckistan actually pay in taxes. But then I tell them that this was the most basic rate and that on top of it there were user fees for every visit and co-pays for almost every prescription and for every single procedure that cost more than nothing at all. And then there is the rationing and the constant worry about what will happen if one of you gets chronically sick (ie. cancellation or, at the very least, a ramping up of coverage costs). And on top of that, here's the kicker - these things are completely restrictive in terms of who you can see and what you can have done. In other words you can't choose your own doctor, they chose them for you, and the doctor has very little leeway with respect to what procedure can be done.

Pretty ironic, huh. The great capitalist system totally restricts your choice even when you pay for it yourself, while the evil socialist universal system lets you to make at least some decisions yourself or together with your doctor.

All of which has nothing to do with quackery, the point being that our family was lucky enough to be able to afford to be in a solid HMO that overall, despite the deficiencies, we trusted. That is not the case for millions upon millions of Americans who, sadly, are often reduced to self-diagnosis and/or self-denial when it comes to chronic, even life-threatening, symptoms.

Of course, if one is a complete and total maniac, one can always choose to jig even the quack-o-meters if one has a death wish.

Ray was still hovering around with a worried look on his face. I was beginning to feel like the night stalker, a huge beast running loose in the neon swamp of the suburbs. Ray was still asking about my credentials, so I gave him one of my old business cards from the long-defunct National Observer.

"Not yet," I said. " I want to take another reading on myself." By that time I had loaded up on hot coffee and frozen my right index finger in a Styrofoam cup that Maggie had brought from the office.

Ray stood off, still confused by my relentless professional behavior, as I dropped my last quarterinto the well-worn slot. The test pattern locked into a freeze pattern, unlike anything else we had seen to this point. The numbers rolled and skittered frenetically on the screen; people stood back and said nothing....and finally the test pattern settled on a number nobody wanted to read.

It was double zero. I had no pulse. It was official - as final as some number carved in white granite on a tomestone on the outskirts of Buffalo.
Hunter Thompson, ibid.

Momma Mea Culpa Update: As notorious fact checker and all 'round cautious commenter lenin's ghost points out, Tommy D. was not actually born in Saskatchewan.


From A Rank And File Teacher


Here's a comment from Chris H. , a teacher in Vancouver who walked the line for the last two weeks, on the latest Tyee thread:

"The BCTF are the teachers. You bash the BCTF and you bash teachers.

Think about it. We did what no other union would do. We went out on an illegal strike for 2 weeks. We faced down Campbell and his cronies. They have accepted that the BCTF speaks for teachers and that it will be the BCTF that speaks for teachers at the table; not Campbell's buddies that crossed the picketline.

TOCs will now gain seniority! Wow, that is something Vancouver teachers have been fighting for for decades.

The BCPSEA now has to face the 40 school boards that publicly supported the teachers' position. How much credibility does the BCPSEA have now? Look to Vince Ready to recommend the abolishment of that organization.

As a union, we have an incredible amount of solidarity. In Vancouver we had such an small number of teachers cross during this "illegal" strike it is almost a joke. We can go back stronger than ever ready to fight for public education.

Our public support actually grew during our time on the line. That is unbelievable! The public knows the issues that we face in the classroom everyday, and the BC Liberals look bad in their new found understanding.

I am not happy that we didn't get everything that we wanted, but I am proud and satisfied that we were out there for the right reasons. Teachers should be proud of themselves. I will vote yes to Ready's recommendations and come back to my classroom if that is our majority decision with my head held high."

Again, the Teachers won this thing. And you don't have to take my word for it. Michael Smyth said so.

So why is the local media piling on the the BCTF, and not the Dobellians, for losing?

Go figure.

Update, 10:05am Saturday: The BCTF Executive have recommended that Teachers vote to accept the Ready Ruling. Me, I'm looking forward to giving my kids' teachers high fives all 'round sometime early next week.


Friday, October 21, 2005

Fitzmas Is Coming


And Santa's workshop is open for business.

Of course, presents for everyone will only arrive if Fitz can foil the dastardly doings of C.R.U.E.L.*



Complete Surrender


Astroturf groups are out in force......

Bill Good is carrying GordCo Inc's water.....

Canned West (not)Global, including Baldrey and even, sadly, Palmer, are pushing the 'Simms Lost' meme.....


Don't believe a word of it.

Instead, listen to Mr. Campbell's words (just this once, and only this once). He accepted the Ready Ruling 'without reservation'.

That is a complete and total capitulation from two weeks ago. It is also complete and self-inflicted shredding of Bill 12.

Even Mike "All Bluster No (Union) Buster" de Jong waved the white flag when he told the 'Jinny Lost'-obsessed Bill Good this morning that he would work with Ready to give the Teachers assurances, in writing, on class provisions etc.

So don't pay any attention to the deflector spin from 'GordCo and the Sycophants' (first single to be released on DobellianRecords, Monday Oct 24th). They have a lotta face to save - especially amongst their own Redmeat Faction, before they go out on the road to push their new product.

Lucky for them they've got tons of make-up left over from the photo-ops to gussy up those lips and rouge those cheeks before they begin the "We Won By Losing" Tour.


Update 11:30am Friday: And the $500K fine, which may go to charity (ie. not the GordCo Inc coffers) from Justice Brown is another big win for the BCTF! What now for Ken Star, errrrr. the 'special' prosecutor?
Double Secret Probation Update, 11:45am Friday: Vaughn Palmer has come around and has grudgingly admitted on the Goodship Water-Carrier that the Teachers, and 'even' Ms. Simms, have prevailed.
For Doug on the Threads: Doug, Mr. Schreck agrees with you, and, grudgingly, I'll admit that Ms. Simms' 'negotiating' tactics may not have been the best, but in terms of resolve and prevailing on the bigger issue of 'winning' the right to actually negotiate I still believe that is an unequivocal victory for teachers. Rick Barnes, who knows a lot more about the inner workings of matters such as these than I do, feels the same way. Regardless, I take your point and thank you for your input.
Triple Fudge Sundae Update, 7:20pm Friday: Michael Smyth agrees. To the Teachers: "You Win!"
Quadruplepalooza Update, 7:25pm Friday: For those that have been blasting me on the de Jong/in writing thing, here's the (nolonger)Giant98 on the matter: "Labour Minister Mike de Jong, also speaking on CKNW, indicated he will put something in writing, but it remains to be seen whether it will be enough to satisfy the union." So, where'd that go? Another broken promise perhaps?


Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Teachers Win The Pennant!


The Teachers Win The Pennant!

Money for wages......Money for classroom conditions......mechanism for dealing with class size.

That's it.

That's the crux of the Ready Ruling.

So, for all those who said the Teachers couldn't win.....Ha!

And for all those who said Ms. Sims was crazy.....Ha!

And, just like it has always been before, and always will be in the future, it has everything to do with folks sticking together and taking a stand.

And for all those that say that teachers don't deserve it because people working at Big Box Union Busting Stores make nothing and have no benefits, just think about what you are actually saying.

And for all those Astroturf groups that played the role of the sycophant and unquestioningly pushed the Government's Talking Points - for shame!

This is the first time in a long time that I've felt like the race to the bottom has been halted.

And no matter what they do - relent, or have the commander dress up in full IronLady drag so that they can redouble their efforts to hammer the BCTF down if Madame Justice Brown gives them a favorable decision tomorrow - GordCo is doomed.

Because all of British Columbia's labour groups, including the Crown Prosecutors who said they won't prosecute the Teachers because they themselves have been screwed by a government that ignores legally binding arbitration rulings, have been shown how to win again.

Thanks to Kaybertoss for the original link source to the WX story; apparently NW took the night off to celebrate Larschied and Shorthouse's 50/50 win.
And, oh ya, before I forget
- Happy Birthday Tommy Douglas!


Ready's Not Ready


Vince Ready says the sides in the BC Government-induced Teacher's job action are too far apart.

"I have advised the parties that they are really stalemated at this point," Ready said. "They're just too far apart to come to a facilitated agreement or any kind of a negotiated agreement, and in the circumstances and given the impact this is having on the public, I feel an obligation to make non-binding recommendations to the parties, and I intend to do so later on today."

Given that Jinny Sims has gone on the record stating that the BCTF has made significant concessions it will be interesting to see if those 'non-binding' recommendations are made public.

And if if they are, it will be even more interesting to see if the Dobellians made any move whatsoever to be concilliatory. If, indeed, they did not it would be hard for any reasonable thinking person to not conclude that the LINO's were attempting to play Mr. Ready for propaganda purposes.

More to come.....

And just imagine: If Corus and the (nolonger)Giant98 had somebody local on right now instead of the cost-cutting guy from Winnterpeg we might actually be able to follow the story as it develops. Ah well, I guess I'll have to go back to listening to the flower guy on Forsythe's show when I get back from lunch.
Update 4:00pm: Jeff Davies on CBC Radio is reporting that Ready will 'release' his report. So, the recommendations will be 'non-binding' in a legal sense, but it seems that perhaps he will allow the court of 'public opinion' to rule on the process (or, maybe, that was part of the 'deal' for him to get involved? hope so).
Double (notso)Secret Probation Update: BC Fed says there will be no 'co-ordinated' job action in the Lower Mainland tomorrow and Fed Head Jim Sinclair says the Teachers are going to vote on Ready's recommendations. Something's up.
Triple -O-Sauce With Nat Bailey On Top Update, 4:23pm: CKNW's good 'ol young boy, Sean Leslie, is suggesting that Ready pulled the plug because he was mad at the Teacher's for going public this morning......hmmmmm.
Quadruplepalooza Update, 5:05pm: Jason Howe of CKNW is reporting that Jinny Sims has confirmed that teachers will vote on Ready's recommendations.
Marcel Dionne Quintuple Couplet Update, 5:33pm: OK, we know it's serious now - Mr. Dobell is reportedly in the building.
Non-Consensual Sextagenerian Update, 6:09pm: The BCGEU's George Heyman agrees with our 'court of public opinion' implication. Gosh, is the keyboard spinning?
Septacular Update, 6:42pm: Seems antennae are up, way up; suddenly even our little corner of nowhere is being bombarded by hidden URLs from the Legislative Assembly of B.C.


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Is Campbell's Brain Cramping?


It's not a huge stretch to suggest that as Karl Rove is to George Bush, Ken Dobell is to Gordon Campbell.

After all, Mr. Dobell has been working with, for, and promoting Mr. Campbell and his agenda ever since His Gordness got into the politics game.

Dobell was the Vancouver City Manager back when Mayor Campbell's strings were first being pulled by then Councilwoman Carole Taylor; he brought RAV to life as Translink CEO; he helped bring Doug Walls into the fold as Premier Campbell's right-sided Deputy Minister and chief fixer; he got tangled up in a documental debacle associated with the sale of BC Rail; he was named to the holy trinity charged with running the 2010 Olympic Organizing Committee; and then, this fall, he fell off the gravy train into the gold dust when he was named special 'consultant/advisor' to the Premier.*

And now, surprise, surprise, Mr. Dobell has popped up in the Teacher's dispute:

Wednesday, October 19, 2005 6:27pm EDT
Canadian Press

Victoria - A special adviser to Premier Gordon Campbell is involved in talks aimed at finding a solution to the strike by B.C. teachers.

Premier Gordon Campbell said Wednesday deputy labour minister Rick Connolly and special adviser Ken Dobell have met with facilitator Vince Ready.....


“Mr. Dobell is there to lend Mr. Ready whatever assistance he needs,” Mr. de Jong told the legislature.

And still, the Minister from Union Busting, Mike de Jong, refuses to confirm the government's role in the 'facilitations'.

Sure, on the face of it Mr. Dobell's involvement suggests a cave-in by Mr. Campbell and his minions. But the fact that his Brain refuses to allow Mr. Campbell to portray it as an olive branch says volumes about elGordo's self-sewn ideological straight jacket and/or his fear of the Redmeat Faction in his caucus that is ready to pounce.

All of which leads one to speculate that Campbell's Brain has atrophied to the point that it can no longer deal efficiently with real issues in the real world. Sure, it is still great at using it's rhombencephalon to prime the publicity pump (ie. generate mediamaven-assisted deflector spin - witness Jane Taber of the Globe's suggestion that 'some Federal Liberals' were considering Mr. Campbell as Paul Martin's replacement after the center of the universe leg of his 'Duck The Teacher's Tour' last week). But was it a mass of disorganized neurofibrillar tangles that came up with the lamer-than-lame, last minute 'Learning Roundtable' before it completely underestimated the resolve of the Teachers when it passed Bill 12? Not to mention the galvanizing effect that the Brain's subsequent lobotomy-like attempts to criminalize the BCTF has had on the rest of Organized Labour in the Province, which is sure to lead to the eruption of a potentially crippling grand-mal seizure come next spring when the massive rounds non-negotiations and contract impositions begin all over again.

Maybe the spin doctors and/or Mr. Martyn Brown should prescribe a little pre-emptive shock therapy.

*At a potential compensation rate of 3-4 teachers per annum.
Mr. Willcocks comes to a similar conclusion re: the significance of the involvement of Mr. Dobell, but he does not choose to hazard a neurological diagnosis.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Who's Ready For Vince?


So, Mike 'The Buster' de Jong says the appointment of Vince Ready as a 'facilitator' in the Teacher's dispute is old hat.

Ya, right.

And the LINOs* just love yesterday's Ipsos-Reid Poll that gives the Teachers solid majority support in every single category that the pollmeisters could think of, including the topic that enquiring minds want to know most - who's got the better photo-op make-up, the BCTF's Jinny Sims or His Gordness?'.

But the more important question here is - who's ready for Ready?

Clearly the teachers, who were given even more breathing room by Madame Justice Brown today, are:

Ms. Sims, president of the B.C. Teachers Federation, said she was pleased to receive a call from Ready inviting the federation and the government bargaining agent to talks.

"Over the last few days we've been looking for ways to get to a table and right now we are pleased to confirm that both parties are working with a facilitator to have discussions," said Sims.

And the response from The Buster? Well, at least he didn't call the teachers terrorists this time around:

Labour Minister Mike de Jong says that while Ready has spoken with both sides, the government is sticking to its position that it won't resume direct negotiations until the teachers end their illegal strike. "Look, he's not going to be able to rebuild a broken bargaining process unless he's got involvement from the parties. That's challenged by the fact that one of those parties, the union at the moment, continues to break the law," he says.

So, whaddya-all think; is this an olive branch from His Gordness?

Hard to tell.

But the key thing to remember about that Ipsos-Reid poll is that it was not a one off. Specifically, the same poll was also taken a week ago and the Teachers have actually picked-up public support in the interim, this despite the LINO's non-stop, business-assisted prop-a-gannon-inspired onslaught.

So Mr. Campbell is in trouble.

And he knows it.

And not just because he's trapped in an ideological box of his own making.

Because his soggy, cardboard domicile is also perched on a highwire.

And if elGordo and his ideology slip, the Redmeat Faction of his caucus just might pull the safety net out from under him for good this time.

*LINO = Liberals In Name Only
Ms. Sims says that Ready called her. So, did he do this on his own? Did the judge suggest it? Did Gordco? Did his brother? Who knows at this point, nobody's saying, but it's not a trivial point.
Just in case you think
the make-up thing is both cheap and uncalled for, don't forget His Gordness' Walk on the Wild Side (Lou Reed version) during the first Leader's debate back in May.
Update: Thanks to DPU for playing the teacher /editor and catching a big boo-boo in original title.
Double Secret Non-Duplicitous Probation Update: Schreck today is very, very good on Gordco's 'River' card.
Triple Secret With-A-Cherry-On-Top Chocolate Fudge Sundae Update: Frequent reader, and very 'education knowledgable' contributor, Name, has left a message on the thread strongly suggesting that there is yet one more ball in the GordCo Prop-A-Cannon -
BCCPAC, the self-described "voice of BC parents" which has recently become anything but.


Welcome To.....



We've loved his/her website (where the 'Punisher T-Shirt' first broke in earnest) and now he's joined the blogging set.

Look out GordCo.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Read 'Em And Weep

Losing Friends And Not Even Influencing His Uncles

Nothing goes out of style faster than professional football coaches and political action committee playbooks.

Just ask the followers of Vince Lombardi and Karl Rove.

Unfortunately for Gordon Campbell, however, his handlers didn't get the memos from either Sports Illustrated or Bill Keller.

Because when Mr. Campbell came back from his self-imposed media-deflector-spin-in-exile trip around the country today he got up on the stump and let fly with even more of his 'Winning Isn't Everything, It's The Only Thing' rhetoric. Then he went simultaneously Rovian and vindictive when he unveiled his 'special prosecutor', whose main job appears to be bashing the teachers senseless.

All of which would have been fine and dandy if His Gordness had the people on his side.

Which, of course, was supposed to have been the job of the 'Soften 'Em Up Crew' that got down and dirty last week while Mr. Campbell was in hiding. This included the inflammatory statements of Minister of Union Busting Mike de Jong, the puffed uppery of anti-Education Minister Shirley Bond, and the insane bleatings of the BC Business Council et al. who blamed teachers for creating the labour unrest that was actually created by their fellow members in the heretofore utterly unexplicable (not to mention extremely unlikely, but nevertheless not entirely inconceivable) Double-Secret Vizzini Probation Conspiracy.

All of which would have worked out fine and dandy for Mr. Campbell if only Mr. and Ms. Everywoman had hopped aboard the Spincycle Express.

But, despite the best cheerleading efforts of a supplicant mainstream media, it hasn't quite worked out that way.

And you don't have to take our word for it.

Instead, you can take it from Ipsos-Reid, whose latest poll has members of the public supporting the BCTF position by an almost 2 to 1 margin.

You got that?

That's 2:1 public support in favor of the Teachers despite the non-stop, not-so secret, but extremely duplicitous propaganda onslaught from the government that began exactly 5 days before the provincial election last May.

"How can this possibly happening?" the high-priced waterheads barricaded deep within the Big Red PropMachine's underground bunkers must be asking themselves.

Well, we think that Dirk Meissner of the Canadian Press, speaking rationally and reasonably to an increasingly shrill Michael Smyth this evening, may have hit the nail on the head when he mentioned that the rank and file teachers he interviewed at today's big public demonstration at the Legislature were calm, articulate and well-reasoned.

In other words, what the public has been seeing are not screaming, frothing at the mouth, whacked-out, waygone lefties like me on TV. Instead, they are seeing the same wise folks who teach their kids everyday standing up for an important social principle.

And members of the public can respect such a stand, even if they don't totally agree with it, especially when they also find themselves watching an increasingly whacked-out, lunatic-fringed government unmask itself when it tries to invoke the memory of guilt by association, stained blue dresses, and special prosecutors like Kenneth Starr.

Update: Paul Willcocks, in his story on why Mr. Campbell has already lost the battle, is on the same wavelength as Dirk Meissner with his lead.


Sunday, October 16, 2005

The Judge's Real Intentions


Many, many media mavens in British Columbia have been banging out dingbat copy on the BCTF's legal situation but only one that we have seen, read, or heard, has actually nailed a quote demonstrating Madame Justice Brown's true intentions.

And not surprisingly it was Rod Mickleburgh that wielded the hammer.

School board lawyer Nazeer Mitha accused the union of violating the (Madame Brown's) order by continuing to use its main website and local websites to promote the strike.

He even suggested Ms. Sims was violating the order by using transportation to go to media interviews, and might be in breach of the order by speaking at Monday's planned mass protest rally in Victoria.

But union lawyer Sebastian Anderson said such matters were covered by free speech guarantees.

Judge Brown agreed. "It was not my intention to muzzle the union, or enjoin any member of the union from communicating," she declared."

(emphasis mine)

Why is it not surprising that we learned this from Mr. Mickelburgh? Well, it was he, and only he, amongst the corpJournos that had the guts to clearly and emphatically state that Mr. Campbell's widely amplified pre-election accusation about secret and duplicitous plans by the BCTF and the NDP were absolutely bogus.

End Of The Weekend Digression: The Globe appears to have become the land of 'he said/she said' columnists. Check out Saturday's Heather Mallick vs. Rex Murphy on Harold Pinter's Nobel Prize as well as Mickleburgh vs the West Coast Stay-Puffed Man, Gary Mason, on the BCTF situation as examples (and we know Mickleburgh is not strictly a columnist, but if read his 3 dot bit from Saturday you'll see he actually debunks the 'BCTF couldn't even get along with the NDP in the '90's' meme that has been regularly served up by the gov't spinmeisters since the summer).


Rafe Is No Lame Duck


Rafe Mair was fired by the folks running Jimmy Pattison's AM 600 last week.

His last show was Friday and he took the highroad all the way.

But in an interview with Public Eye Radio, Mr. Mair revealed something interesting:

"We just had a really good feeling it was starting to rock along. And I got a call from the manager to pop in after the show on Wednesday. And he said they'd decided to terminate it. And that was that. And, of course, the idea was that I might stay till the end of the year. And I said, "You've got to be kidding. If I'm going to get paid, why would I work?" So we decided that the day after that - on Friday - would be the day I'd call it a day. And that's what happened."

(emphasis mine)

So why is this interesting, aside from the fact that it demonstrates that Mr. Mair is no dummy?

Well, it also means, protestations to the contrary, that Mr. Pattison's managers still wanted a piece of Mr. Mair's ratings. If not, why would they have asked him to stay to the end of the year? To our ears, this suggests that there was more to this decision than just the rate of return on Mr. Mair's salary because, based on their desire to have him stay on, the best pure business decision would have been to have him play out the string until the bitter end (ie. that would have given the greatest amelioration on his salary that they have to pay out no matter what until August 2006).

So, if there really were non-business factors that contributed to the 'Gag Rafe' decision, what they might have been? Well, if we were to going to be so bold as to hazard a guess, we might suggest that Mr. Mair's recent statements on things like the coming open season on oil and gas exploration, not to mention who will build and own all those new pipelines, might have had more to do with it than his longterm stand on fish farms.


Friday, October 14, 2005

Is Labour The Big Loser?


Hunter Thompson was never much of an overt supporter of organized labour. I figure he was way too much the Charley Varrick type for that.

But he always rooted for the underdog. And, more importantly, he knew how to find the best in tough times. Here's what he had to say when George Bush squashed John Kerry, just like he'd predicted, based on the parallels between 2004 and Nixon/McGovern in 1972.

"Their army is how much bigger than mine? Three percent? Well shucks, Bubba. Now is the time to establish a network and an attitude," he said. "You make friends in moments of defeat. People in defeat tend to bond because they need each other. We can't take the attitude that it's over and we give up. We're still here."

Point is, progressives, or even centrists, have been banged like a gong for sometime now in all corners South of the 49th.

But that's nothing compared to the losing streak of organized labour up here on Left Coast Canuckistan which, arguably, goes all the way back to the Munrovian Sellout of the Solidarity Movement in 1983. And now the cheerleading sportscasters.....errrrr..... mediamavens are calling it a humiliating shutout loss for the BC Teachers' Federation.

So here's hoping the teachers stick together and gather up all the friends they can find. I certainly consider myself one of them. And so do my wife and kids, who will be taking muffins to them on the line this morning. And if the judge wants to freeze our culinary assets we say 'Come and get 'em!' because the remains are locked away in the basement freezer right beside the summer gone's left-over Revellos.

But, more seriously, here's hoping anybody who works for a living or who has profitted from all things progressive in the Province of British Columbia (ie. everybody) remembers that we, the people, never got anything by knuckling under.

And besides, as another of Mr. Thompson's favorites, young Bob, once said:

"For the loser now will be later to win"

So here's to changing times.

And to all those cheerleaders who keep bleating that it's time for the teachers to pack it in, they should learn something that real players know deep in their guts - that you can't win if you're not in the game.


Thursday, October 13, 2005

Pretzel Logic On The Not-So Giant '98


This evening (Thurs Oct 13th), Michael Smyth was right to bash the SS Gordon Campbell up the side of the head for tearing up contracts and imposing contracts without bargaining repeatedly, even when the courts have told them to clean up their act in the past.

But then in the next breath how can Mr. Smyth argue against himself and tell the BCTF that:

"It's time to go back to work and fight another day."

And what day would that be, exactly, Mr. Smyth?

The day that their shredded and busted Federation can be steamrolled into swallowing a deal forced on them at the point of a legislative gun in the total absence of collective bargaining and/or arbitration?

Or perhaps it will be day that Mr. Campbell kicks off his 'Learning Roundtable'.

Ya, sure.

Just go ask all those HEU workers how well capitulation followed by staged-for-the-media conciliation works with this bunch.


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Sometimes A Percentage Is Just A Percentage


Everybody, even those who don't understand basic arithmetic principles because they've spent all their time studying the Fraser Institute's guidelines on how to privatize public education, understands that 90% is big chunk of anything.

Because 90% represents 9 out of 10 or thereabouts, regardless whether it is members of the Little Rascals voting to censure Alfalfa for smooching Darla, crotchety old hockey purists voting against the magical mystery shoot-out tour as a way to end regular season games, or 20,545 of 22,690 members of the British Columbia Teachers Federation voting for a walkout.

In other words, you count the votes of those who voted not the votes of those who didn't.

But that hasn't stopped the SS Gordon Campbell's designated union buster Mike de Jong from attempting to con us into believing that non-votes are actually no votes, which would change the teacher walkout percentage radically if only it were true and 2+2 really did equal 477. But, of course, an unfamiliarity with truth and basic equations has only served to make it easier for the local media monopolies to willingly swallow the con hook, line and sinker.

David Schreck has the story.

Kind of makes you wonder why the BC Liberals and their TV goons hate Democracy so much.

Update: And if (anti)Education Minister Shirley Bond really does want to get more teachers to cross the line, maybe she should make like Telus' Darren Entwhistle and start offering up iPod inducements.


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Five Strikes, You're In!


Well, it's official.

The huge multinational Maximus is being fined for the 5th consecutive assessment period for not meeting benchmarks for 'interfacing' (ie. answering phone calls and mail requests) with British Columbia Medicare and Pharmacare 'customers' (ie you and me).

And for this we are paying them hundreds of millions of dollars.

How long will this go on before we force the Minister responsible, George Abbott, to say:

"You are costing us money....
You are throwing our own people out of work....
You are not as good as our own people....
You are in breach of contract.....
Game over....


Teachers Strike, Day 2


Last Friday was Day 1 of the Big B.C. (justified) Teachers' strike.

Can't even remember Day 1 as it was so long ago on the other side of the long weekend (Canuckistanian Thanksgiving was yesterday).

Today was day 2. Both kids spent morning with Mom at work singing and dancing with toddlers. Oldest spent the afternoon with me pipetting, answering phones and downloading Ramones videos off one of the lab computers. Can't wait for the institutional firewall sniffers to catch up with that one. Then it was off to Richmond for theatre class with oldest and back into town again to pick up youngest from Mom's chorus. Stop at gas station, only $1.05 per litre (~$4.00 CDN/US Gallon), buy two packs of Sweet Hearts for treats ($0.39 each; best buy in candyville).


Haven't spent so much time with my kids on a work day in ages. Hope that doesn't destroy their education.


Monday, October 10, 2005

Death And Glory


"People worry a lot about how the Arab street is going to react. Well, I see that the Arab street has gotten very, very quiet since we started blowing things up."
Donald Kagan, Co-Chairman, Project For A New American Century
Interview with Paul William Roberts, Sept. 2002, In: A War Against Truth, Raincoast, pg 39.

Very, very quiet, indeed.

But then again, these people decided a long time ago to never let reality get in the way of their Empire building:

"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."
Bush Admin Official Speaking (Derisively) to Ron Suskind, Summer 2002
First published Oct 17, 2004, NY Times

All of which is fine and good, especially if the Empire Loyalists are successful in portraying the Iraqi resistance through an Islamo-Fascist lens.

But what happens if and when their countrymen begin to seriously 'study' things like this?


Saturday, October 08, 2005

Shining A Light On The Underbelly


Sean Holman has been tearing it up lately, especially when it comes to giving the great unwashed a peak at the inner workings of rightside-leaning local (ie. Southwestern British Columbia) political parties.

And the bonus is the comment threads, where the insiders go ballistic on Mr. Holman and each other. Here's just one example, taken from the NPA shoot out at the Circle Sam Corral (2nd link above):

Ah, my dear Mr. Biltmore...some background to help fill in the blanks for you...

1) Sean Holman and the NPA's now marginalized chief dimwit Greg Wilson are old pals from federal Grit days, they both of the left wing of that Sliperal spectrum (Rock, Copps etc.)

2) Mr. Wilson has been leaking very inside information to Mr. Holman for months. The story is ALWAYS favourable to either their own political end of the spectrum or highly supportive of the whackstar antics of one Mr. Wilson. Of course, those moves are always masked as newsworthy and the reportage allegedly coming from several sources. Not even the combined gray matter of Messers. Holman and Wilson are good enough to BS theri way through that.

3) As strong evidence of number 2 above, Mr. Holman didn't even cover the news that Mr. Wilson had basically been cast aside fro Mike Hillman so the NPA would have a real campaign boss and not the nutbar Wilson who pisses off candidates, and their staff by ruling by fiat and misses deadlines only to provide feeble and pathetic excuses in their place.

Nothing is covered with any balance anymore on this blog (like in the beginning)

But it is sure a great place to come read of what the asses far left of center think and are leaking.

This leak, truthfully, will certainly get someone fired.

Take good care.

Posted by NoSurpriseAtAll on October 7, 2005 04:41 PM

I like the bolded line (emphasis mine) because, based on these threads and others like them, I would suggest otherwise.

That is not to say that Mr. Holman hasn't, and won't continue to, shine his light leftward. It's just that when the leftsided insiders get mad at each other they are much less often vindictive and usually come off as human.

By the way: Mr. Holman, who really is the last of the journalistic independents in this Province (don't forget, he walked away from a fulltime gig with the Vancouver Sun for reasons officially unknown) is starting his own radio show this weekend. It's Sundays @ 6pm on CFAX in Victoria. For those outside of the insular SouthVI/Mainland listening area you can stream it from here.


Friday, October 07, 2005

Smells Like.....



War of naked aggression gone bad.....Economists beginning to flay the stag.....Congresscritters indicted....Lobbyists justifying.....Base ankle biting....Braintrust re-upping with prosecutor.....Poll numbers supertanking....

That is today's Bushworld in a nutshell, one year before midterm elections that could give Americans hope, especially if the Democrats manage to seize control of one of the two houses of Congress and force real committee hearings before Bush III Comes To Washington.

But now is not the time for the Dems to sit back, play it safe, and wait for good things to happen at the ballot box in 2006 and 2008.

After all the very fine folks with their hands around the neck of American Democracy have been in trouble like this before. And that was before redistricting, electronic voting machines and trickle-down cronyism:

"Political gibberish is not a purely American art form, like jazz and the safety blitz. But in only 200 years we have raised it to a level of eloquence beyond anything since the time of the Caesars or even Genghis Khan.....

The Democrats' game plan, until then, was to lay low and talk like The Universal Underdog - just another bunch of good guys and athletes who got victimized by the cruel ignorance of Ronald Reagan......They felt strangely out of place, like Mike Tomczak or Turk Schonert, thrust into starting roles they hadn't played for years. Barney Frank, apparently worried that his party members would drool all over themselves in some sort of presidential feeding frenzy, counseled moderation, "There's no point in us trying to reform the NSC....there's no way for us to keep cowboys like North off the staff. It's not wise to try an institutional solution of personal defects," thereby earning a place of his own next to immortals like Hubert Humphrey, Al Haig and Yogi Berra.....

After all, Oliver North is not a Cuban burglar. He is a lieutenant colonel in the United States Marine Corp....."

Hunter S. Thompson
, 'The Lord And A Good Lawyer', Dec. 1st 1986

The San Francisco Examiner, Reprinted in Generation of Swine, Summit, 1988 pg. 182

And Karl Rove is neither Cuban nor a Marine, except perhaps in his wildest dreams and/or his favorite Village People video.

But that is neither here nor there. The point is, if the Dems allow Plamegate to go the way of Contragate, start making book on The Jebbinator in 2008.


Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Angel Of What, Exactly?


Even if it is voluntary, two things about Karl Rove's decision to give in and make an 11th hour (re)appearance before Patrick Fitzgerald's PlameGate Grand Jury, have many wondering if all those mega-indictments really are coming after all.

First, despite the fact that Mr. Fitzgerald did not deliver a 'target letter' to Mr. Rove may protect him from having to take the 5th on the entire deal, but it did not preclude the possibility of an indictment at a later time.

Second, the fact that Mr. Rove's lawyer, Mr. Luskin, has been all over the map regarding his client's position and intentions suggests that they have not yet figured out a way to manage the newscycle on this one because they, themselves, don't know what is going to happen.

And both are good news, because together they strongly suggest that Mr. Fitzgerald is not carrying the Cheney Administration's water on this one.

Regardless, it's important to remember that this entire business of the press being informed that undercover CIA agent Ms. Plame was 'fair game' was all about revenge right from the start.

Revenge against her husband Joseph Wilson for blowing the whistle on the bogus Niger uranium thing and thus forcing the Rovians to fess up that those 16 words inserted into the 2003 State of the Union Address were little more than bald-faced lies.

And with the revenge motive in mind, it is important to remember that Mr. Rove's feelings about the subject are not exactly a secret in Washington circles. Here is Ron Suskind's illuminating description, from a 2003 article published in Esquire.

"I arrived at his office a few minutes early, just in time to witness the Rove Treatment, which, like LBJ’s famous browbeating style, is becoming legend but is seldom reported. Rove’s assistant, Susan Ralston, said he’d be just a minute. She’s very nice, witty and polite. Over her shoulder was a small back room where a few young men were toiling away. I squeezed into a chair near the open door to Rove’s modest chamber, my back against his doorframe.

Inside, Rove was talking to an aide about some political stratagem in some state that had gone awry and a political operative who had displeased him. I paid it no mind and reviewed a jotted list of questions I hoped to ask. But after a moment, it was like ignoring a tornado flinging parked cars. "We will f*ck him. Do you hear me? We will f*ck him. We will ruin him. Like no one has ever f*cked him!" As a reporter, you get around—curse words, anger, passionate intensity are not notable events—but the ferocity, the bellicosity, the violent imputations were, well, shocking. This went on without a break for a minute or two. Then the aide slipped out looking a bit ashen, and Rove, his face ruddy from the exertions of the past few moments, looked at me and smiled a gentle, Clarence-the-Angel smile. "Come on in." And I did."

And the best thing?

Unlike hatchet men, Angels have no need to walk over their own grandmothers to get what they want or to undergo religious conversions while they are in prison.


Standing Up For Their Right To....



I grew up in 1970's British Columbia and remember two big teachers strikes very well.

As a kid they were the best of times and they were the even better times.

During the first, when I was younger, my friends and I had wicked, non-stop, up against red brick wall road hockey games every single day.

During the second, when I was a little older, a girl named Wendy taught me, amongst other things, how to play tennis.

What I'm really trying to say is that a few days of no school definitely will be an inconvenience for us parents, but it is not going to irrevocably 'hurt kids' as the SS Gordon Campbell and the local media are so fond of saying (over and over and over again).

Because somebody has to stand up to this government. This business of ripping up contracts and shutting down negotiations on a whim whenever it strikes their fancy has to stop.

And when you hear those CanWest 'Trumpets Red Blare' on this issue, please don't forget this.


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Fortress North America


Last night I got to watch the orange-purple, autumnal high-sky sundown from Vancouver's waterfront docks.

Not the Ferry docks, which are located far from downtown Vancouver, and which Colin Powell, back in the days when he was still carrying water for the Rovians, once told us were sure to be a terrorist target.


I'm talking about the real thing. The deepwater harbour docks right next to where my Dad used to go to work when he left for Alaska on the tugboats.

But this time I wasn't going to watch my Dad go to sea.

Instead, I was going to a fancy-schmancy restaurant.

And it was a truly beautiful sight from the deep end of the harbour looking west, back towards the city skyline with the northshore mountains shooting straight up into the stratosphere across the water.

But whatever you do, don't try head down there just for the heck of it, either to check out the view or to find yourself a sailor or two.

Because this is Mr. Bush's Fortress North America. And as such this very Canadian waterfront is now closed to all but those on official business, or those who can afford to hob nob with the fancy-schmancy pants set (a visit to the Cannery is a rare event and much more than just a simple twist of fate, indeed, for my wife and I).

But I digress, because what I really wanted to say was.....

Hey, Rovians! Give us back our sovereignty!

The ironic thing about all of this is that the Economist magazine has just named Vancouver as the most liveable city in the world for the fourth straight year, and not just because of the beautiful landscape, the mild climate and the multiculturalism. What really puts us up top is the fact that, on an overall global scale, Vancouver is a large metropolitan area that has been deemed by people who actually know something to NOT be a likely terrorist target.
Thanks to Scott from Montreal for the liveable city tip.


Monday, October 03, 2005

Comments Make The Blog Go Round

Speaker's Corner

Moon of Alabama is a damn fine a replacement for the old Whiskey Bar.

But it can never be the real thing.


Because, one of the things I found most interesting was that, in addition to his wicked posts, Billmon always patrolled, and participated in, the comment threads at the old place.

I understand why he had to shut down the comments (ie. with 500 or more comments per post he was going crazy, now matter how good the conversation) but I really miss the multilayered stratification of the dialogue that went on there - and the kicker is, just like subway stations, when there is a real person watching over you rather than a machine or a video surveillance camera, the discourse and the human interactions are somehow more civilized.

Rowdy maybe, but still civilized, even when they wandered into the darkness on the edge of town*.

Anyway, in the spirit of civilized discourse I'd like to bring the following comment to everyone's attention. This is from new reader ' surf's up' who responded to our earlier post about CanWest wanting an editorial writer for the Ottawa Citizen who believes in the ideology of 'small government and personal freedom':

"Code words for: government outsourced to cronies in the private sector at two or three times the cost or more, rampant corporatism, and total information awareness."

Good stuff that. And an important issue to explore. Maybe we should start by collating all the specific examples where privatization has failed miserably.

*My favorite comment on the Billmon thread in question was from SusanG., who later went on to great blogging fame and fortune herself when she helped get Joseph Wilson's story out and did a lot to expose Gannon/GuckertGate over at dKOS. She had this to say about the great value in the inspiration of art: "That's what great art has always done. It's like heroin mainlined straight to the brain, unexpected truth in all its glory."