Monday, April 30, 2007

Would You Like A Can Of Luncheon Meat.....

......With Your Oilslick?

ManipulationOfTheEntireNation
LINOConVille



David Beers, The Tyee guy, had a very important opinion piece in the Globe on Saturday in which he took 'Steve' Harper to task for making moves to end the 35 year-old ban on Supertanker travel through B.C.'s Inside Passage.

Of course, there are likely very many scary things behind the thin edge of that stinky, not to mention downright dangerous, wedge that will be soon be hammered into the public's opinion by Mr. Harper's team of professional obfuscators.

However, as Mr. Beers pointed out as an aside, we should not forget that our own Mr. Campbell and his Ministerial Minions have also been pullin' their weight and workin' hard to make it all happen:

Megaprojects, megabucks. It's an intoxicating vision for some. The B.C. Liberal government as well as Harper's Conservatives are working hard on it. One who is leading the charge is Minister of Natural Resources Gary Lunn, MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands.


And make no mistake it's more than Ministers like Mr. Lunn and Disco Dick Neufeld who are workin' it.

Because, from the very beginning Mr. Campbell has had his own well-paid band of merry pranksters running around the province who have been attempting to whirlitzer up support for an end of everything moratory, not to mention regulatory, associated with oil and gas and tankers and drillin' off of B.C.'s coast.

And this group makes Prem (not Spam) Vinning and David Basi and everyone that may (or may not) have worked with and/or for them look like pikers.

Because, unlike 10, 20 or even $50K per year spread around amongst a bunch of bumbling 3rd rate talk show dissemblers, the 'Oil and Gas Team' has been running with multimillion dollar annual budgets that allows them to spread around tens of thousands in a single shot.

Here's how we characterized them and their activities in a piece called: 'Hacks Drill Us' from way back in ancient times (ie. 2004) with assists from the Globe and especially S.M. Holman from Public Eye:

"The provincial government has awarded Shaw Communications Inc. a $77,000 contract to produce and air two televised town hall meetings on the impact of offshore oil and gas development.....

"Former CHEK TV legislative reporter Robin Adair, a government relations consultant with WCG International Consultants Ltd. and Victoria Chamber of Commerce vice-president, was subcontracted by Shaw to find and schedule panelists for the show...."

So, if Mr. Adair is already a government public relations consultant and he is being subcontracted by Shaw to stack the panel for the government while being paid with govt' money awarded to Shaw, is this an example of P3 cubed?

One would like to think not, at least if you were to take the statements of Steve Simons at face value.

"...according to Offshore Oil and Gas Team communications director Steve Simons, those meetings won't be broadcast until after the federal election because the government doesn't "want to stir the pot." Mr. Simons also says the province is taking a hands-off approach to the project."

One of the problems with Mr Simons' propaganda, however, is the following: the Offshore Oil and Gas Team that Mr Simons shills for is itself nothing more than a Neo-Lib PR scam that with a $6 million per annum budget completely funded by us (ie. you and me).

And it gets worse. Specifically, the Offshore Oil and Gas Shills have been described, by that notoriously anti capitalist rag the Globe and Mail, as.....

"A B.C. government "swat team" (that) is devising detailed policies for oil and gas drilling near the Queen Charlotte Islands, hoping to entice energy giants to exploit offshore riches.

Hacks indeed.....setting us, and our environment, up to be drilled by the Multinational Resource Extractors all over again, and with our own money no less.



Now that type of stuff is scary enough to contemplate, just on its own.

However, don't forget that when Disco Dick and his Posse went down to Houston recently something very interesting, and potentially alarming, popped out of the mouth of the Exxon V.P in charge of exploration of the 'Americas', which was also discovered by Mr. Holman's spade work.

"E-M (William T. Drennan, VP, Americas - Exploration) felt the 2006 dialogue with First Nations and Communities were positive."


Hmmm......what's that all about?

And does it have anything to do with this?

Stay tuned.

.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Hey! Where'd Our Game Go?

HewersOfWoodAndCarriersOfDivers
HockeyVille



So, I had a bunch of junk to do at work this evening.

As a result, I was forced to stream the hockey game on the MotherCorp (which is a good deal indeed).

But I really only kept half-an-eye and ear on the thing as I pounded away on Ye 'Old Illustrator trying to get a couple of figures done for a paper we're working on.

And, if truth be told, I don't really care all that much about who actually wins the current series that has captured everone elses attention in Lotusland (although I did have a really great, rollicking conversation about Canucks uniforms from days gone by with a young punk with a cardboard bullhorn who was hanging out of the backseat of a 1984 Volkswagen Rabbit at the corner of Granville and KingEd earlier today).

There is one thing that I was left wondering at the conclusion of this evening's festivities, however.

And that was this:

When did our game turn into a World Cup Soccer Diving match on Frisco Speedballs?


Sheesh.

.

Today's Gnuer Reality

FallingBackOnTheTalkingPoints
OneStepAtATimeVille


Yesterday it was 'access' with a fallback to 'monitoring':

(Saturday) morning on CBC's 'The House' there was , to say the least, a spirited discussion about the Afghan prisoner issue.

{Snip}

The Minister responsible, Gordon 'I am not Archie Bunker!' O'Connor, was not there.

So, instead, surrogate Russ Hiebert had his loins gird(l)ed, was prepped with talking points, and sent into the fray.

And it was a performace that would have made even Karl Rove proud.

Hiebert dissembled at every opportunity, raised the traitor card repeatedly and, while he used the Stockboy defense as his best offense, never once said that Canadian corrections officials have, and always have had, 'access' to 'prisons'.

Make no mistake - he said 'facilities' a number of times and he said 'prisons' even more.

But he did not say 'prisoners'.

Not that they won't use this as a fallback point, say, this afternoon, because the other word that they can dissemble tomorrow on is 'access' (vs. 'monitoring').



Only trouble is, today's News appears to have taken away both of those Gnu talking points simultaneously:

Members of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission were allowed on Sunday into the prison run by the National Directorate of Security, the war-torn country's intelligence police, the CBC has learned.

The monitors were "warmly received" by NDS agents, the commission said. However, two agents followed them while they tried to interview detainees about their treatment inside the prison, giving commission members the sense the prisoners couldn't speak freely.

The commission also said it does not have full access to the prison: Out of 10 requests for visits, only two have been granted.


Hmmmm......

What'll it be tomorrow?

The 'quaintness' of the Geneva Conventions, perhaps?

Or, maybe Stockboy's eerily Chenyian 'Private Contractor Protection Plan' will be moved up to, like, yesterday, so that the Gnu's can pass a double-secret probation Order-In-Council behind closed doors that exempts all past, present and future Mercs from prosecution in perpetuity.

Sheesh.

Perhaps it's time to stop this train of thought before we give the minders who have been landing here from gc.ca with increased frequency lately any ideas.

OK?

.

The Gnuest Response To Al Gore

NotWorthThePixelsThey'reWrittenOn
PressReleasesVille

(Not) News (Not) Release(d)

(Parenthetic) Responses To Minister Baird Response to (the Fabulous) Statements by Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore

(Not) OTTAWA , April 28, 2007 - With respect to the comments of former United States Vice President Al Gore, the (not so) Honourable John Baird, the (Gnuist) Minister of the (Anti)Environment, made the following (de-obfuscated by the parantheses) statement:

“Former Vice-President Al Gore deserves acknowledgement for the success of his film in highlighting the huge ecological challenge of climate change. It is (not)regrettable, (at all) however, that the former Vice President has criticized Canada’s recently released (and highly fraudulent) action plan to (ensure that we will not ever have to really) cut greenhouse gases and air pollution.

“It is difficult to (not)accept (this entirely legitimate) criticism from someone who preaches about climate change, but who never submitted the Kyoto Protocol to a vote in the United States Senate (while our friends and allies, The Republicans, had a hammerlock on it), who never did as much as Canada('s) (Gnu Republican Party) is now doing to (stop the real) fight (against) climate change during eight years in Office (which ended fully seven years before the IPCC report was released), and who has campaigned exclusively for hundreds of Democratic candidates who have (real, but admittedly) weaker plans (than the E.U.) to fight greenhouse gases. (Thus, it is not surprising in the least that Mr. Gore does not support) Canada’s New(ly Norquistian) Government (of even Newerly Straussian Proportions).

“It is equally (not) regrettable that the former US Vice President decided to speak out without ever having been briefed (so that he could not first be bamboozled) on the contents of our (ridiculous, but media elegant) plan.

"The fact is our plan is vastly tougher (especially when it comes to completely empty rhetoric and doublespeak) than any measures introduced by the Administration of which the former Vice President was a member."

“I am ready to meet with Mr. Gore (needles in hand) at any time to discuss the climate change threat and our Government's tough plan to reduce (if not completely eliminate) Canada's (regulatory controls on oilpatch and tar sands) emissions”.

For more (non)information, please (don't even bother)contact(ing):

Eric (For An Ever)Richer (Oil Patch)
(Keepin' Him Away From The Real) Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of the (Anti) Environment
(613) 697-8079


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Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Bobblehead Doll

TheGoodestGermanStrikesBack
BushVille



Apparently, when he goes on 60 Minutes tomorrow night, former CIA Boss George Tenet will be selling his book and blaming everyone but himself at the same time.

Former CIA man Larry Johnson isn't buying it:

Sorry George. Too little and way too damn late. You had ample opportunity to blow the whistle on the Bush bullshit but you played ball. I do not give a damn whether you did or did not say the case for war was a "slam dunk". You signed off on Colin Powell's presentation to the United Nations. You, more than any other U.S. Government senior official, were in the unique position to know that the Secretary of State was selling a pack of lies. And you sat behind him nodding affirmatively like a bobblehead doll.


Hey.

When the Bobblehead's bobbing wonder if that Presidential Medal of (anti)Freedom bounces up and down too?

.

Send In The Clowns

RovianBozos
NorthernBranchPlantVille


This morning on CBC's 'The House' there was , to say the least, a spirited discussion about the Afghan prisoner issue.

Ujjal Dosanjh, speaking for the party that formerly belonged to smallPaul was there and he had little to say of substance, although what he did have to say was said with considerable indignance.

Dawn Black of the NDP, on the other hand, was reasoned and kept coming back to the facts and reports from international bodies and their actual findings.

The Minister responsible, Gordon 'I am not Archie Bunker!' O'Connor, was not there.

Which is not surprising given that he was already bound and gagged by Sandee Bee prior to yesterday's Question Period.

So, instead, surrogate Russ Hiebert had his loins gird(l)ed, was prepped with talking points, and sent into the fray.

And it was a performace that would have made even Karl Rove proud.

Hiebert dissembled at every opportunity, raised the traitor card repeatedly and, while he used the Stockboy defense as his best offense, never once said that Canadian corrections officials have, and always have had, access to 'prisoners'.

Make no mistake - he said 'facilities' a number of times and he said 'prisons' even more.

But he did not say 'prisoners'.

Not that they won't use this as a fallback point, say, this afternoon, because the other word that they can dissemble tomorrow on is 'access' (vs. 'monitoring').

Host Kathleen Petty actually did a pretty good job of letting Ms. Black rebut a considerable portion of Mr. Heibert's offensive offenses.

Regardless, it should never have gotten that far, because what Mr. Hiebert had to say, specifically the demonstrable falsehoods should have been dismissed out of hand.

And don't forget, 'The House' is one of the more rigorous political affairs programs we have in this country, and still the crap was seeping through the cracks and gumming up the works.

Thus, it is clear to me that we are getting close to a very dangerous place here in Canada.

And it is the same very dangerous place that America, as Bill Moyers so adroitly demonstrated earlier this week, reached in early 2003.

What is scariest about this the place is that it is a fantasyland where a media that has the facts facts in hand can't quite bring itself to call the surrogate clowns what they really are.

Which is......

Liars.

______


.

Is Baghdad The New Warsaw?

HSTNotQuiteFridays
EvilWillTriumphWhenGoodMenDoNothingVille



Riverbend, the young Sunni woman who has long been a bright light of what remains of the in-country blogosphere in Baghdad is, apparently, getting ready to flee.

And she and her family are leaving for a myriad of reasons, many of them just having to do with life's basics as well as the fear, almost all of which would have driven most any of us out a long, long time ago.

But one of the thing she hates the most is 'The Wall':

…Which is the wall the current Iraqi government is building (with the support and guidance of the Americans). It's a wall that is intended to separate and isolate what is now considered the largest 'Sunni' area in Baghdad- let no one say the Americans are not building anything. According to plans the Iraqi puppets and Americans cooked up, it will 'protect' A'adhamiya, a residential/mercantile area that the current Iraqi government and their death squads couldn't empty of Sunnis.

The wall, of course, will protect no one. I sometimes wonder if this is how the concentration camps began in Europe. The Nazi government probably said, "Oh look- we're just going to protect the Jews with this little wall here- it will be difficult for people to get into their special area to hurt them!" And yet, it will also be difficult to get out.

Indeed.

In fact, 'protection' was one of the ways this type of thing was sold to the folks who were walled into the Warsaw Ghetto by the Nazis in 1940:

In mid-November 1940 the Jewish ghetto in Warsaw was sealed off by a high wall, its construction took many months to complete. The ghetto wall was 3.5 meters high topped with glass and barbed wire. The construction firm responsible for building the wall was the German firm Schmidt & Munstermann, who were paid by the Jewish Community to build the wall. This same firm helped to build the Treblinka death camp two years later.

And everyone knows how that one turned out.

And, clearly, everyone who is paying any attention at all understands that today's evil is just as banal as yesterday's, although there is at least one difference.

Which is the fact that folks like Albert Speer, unlike, say, Roger Ailes, had to make do without plastic-haired anchormodels, wingnut welfare-driven group (anti)think, and the 24 hr propaganda cycle.

And, unlike Schmidt and Munstermann from days gone by, we're not exactly sure who's making the money off the misery this time around.

But we do know who has the naming rights.

Because it's none other than the man who made Moqtada Al Sadr a household name, Ol' Suits-In-Boots himself, L. Paul Bremmer.

....An American military spokesman admitted that an entire district of Baghdad, five kilometres (3.5 miles) in circumference, was being walled in with a series of concrete rectangles, each four metres high and weighing seven tonnes and known as “Bremer walls”, after Iraq's former American proconsul.


Clearly, Hunter Thompson wasn't joking when he said the following, not long before his death:

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



OK?

____
And just in case you were wondering, history appears to be repeating itself for those who are trying to flee the Iraqi holocaust as well. Again, from Riverbend: "And if you're wondering why Syria or Jordan, because they are the only two countries that will let Iraqis in without a visa. Following up visa issues with the few functioning embassies or consulates in Baghdad is next to impossible."

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Arachnophobia!

CaughtInAWebOfTheirOwnMaking
EveryWhichWayButLooseVille

Looks like the antics of former lobbyist, articling lawyer, and all-around LINO-typist, Mr. Eric Bornmann (a.k.a. Spiderman), are finally getting ready to hit the big screen some four years after the fact.

Bill Tieleman has the latest details.

Two new tidbits from Mr. T.'s report that I found interesting......

First, the T.O. law firm that Mr. Bornmann left Lotusland to article for apparently gave over $100,000 to small Paul Martin's leadership campaign*.

Second, the Email demonstrating a connection between Mr. Bornmann's lobbying amigos from Pilothouse (ie. the alleged Basi/Virk OmniTrax money funnel) and Dobrano-associate John Taylor was actually in Tieleman's possession for sometime before the Globe and Mail published its contents. Even juicier, Mr. T. has refused give up the name of his source to the RCMP.

Hmmmmm....

Could there be a Deep-Throat out there somewhere, lurking in empty City of Gardens parking garages and/or prowling the Ledge corridors in the dead of night?

_____
*And don't forget that is the very leadership campaign that made the 'Basi Boys' famous, or, at the very least, infamous.

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The Dobranos Season 17, Episode 2

WeAreNotACrook
FollowTheMoneyVille


As we saw in last season's finale of the Dobranos, the writers stretched credibility to the breaking point when they made it clear that the show's top Capo was in fact very busy lobbying himself. Just in case you missed it, here's our synopsis, from the archives:

Let's see if we've got this straight.

Mr. Dobell is fixing/working for the premier, Mr. Campbell.

And Mr. Dobell is also fixing/working for the City of Vancouver in at least two capacities. And in those capacities part of his job is to lobby Mr. Campbell who makes decisions based on his (ie. Mr. Dobell's) recommendations as a consultant.

Additionally, let's not forget that Mr. Dobell is also chair of the finance committee of VANOC that is dealing with the City of Vancouver to build the massive, developer-friendly, Olympics-oriented entertainment and information "venue".

And who is Mr. Dobell and VANOC going to be dealing with at City Hall when he negotiates the terms of the building of the "Venue"?

Why, none other than Mr. Dobell, of course.



But a funny thing a happened on the way to the hiatus because this season of the show opened not with a bang but with a whimper when the Directors leaked a diversionary, loop-back storyline of no real consequence that allowed the TV Guide crowd (see: Global/NewsDivsion) to discount pretty much the entire thing (see: Baldrey, Keith). Luckily, not all the critics were buying it:

The question is not WHEN did Ken Dobell register to be a lobbyist.

Instead, the real question is WHY?

Why can somebody who's working for the Premier of this Province even register as a lobbyist to lobby the Premier of this Province?



Luckily though, just as the ratings were beginning to sag, things really started to heat up in Episode 2, which runs in three acts as summarized by one of our finest theatrical critics, a fellow named Palmer:

Act 1, March 2005: Dobell, in his capacity as deputy minister to the premier, visits Vancouver's civic theatres board. In response to concerns about cultural funding, he advises that money may be available in the coming year from the provincial budget surplus.

Act 2, March 2006: Dobell has moved from the deputy post to serve as special adviser to the premier. And the province does indeed deliver $5 million in funding for Vancouver's "cultural precincts."

Act 3, April 2006: Dobell is hired by Vancouver to lobby the province. The city will later disclose that his contract was funded out of the province's cultural precincts grant.


Of course, this is all just following the usual screenwriters' formula. Because no matter the protaganists' occupational veils, be they Pols, Capos, or operatives that copulate with rodents, it always comes down to money.

Especially when you follow it.

OK?

______
And just so that other TVGuidegeist knife in the Ledge drawer, who may, or may not, be as sharp as Mr.Palmer, knows.... The point of this episode's alternative Watergate storyline had nothing to do with the public's ability to grasp the significance of the parallels between the actions of The Dobranos' foot soldiers and those of original generation rat f*ckers like Donnie Segretti. Instead, it was written to hook people like you. And, clearly, this time at least, it worked.

.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Slaying The Playdoh Dragon

AreWeFiveYet?
ConVille

So, last week John Baird made up this story about a scary, evil dragon called Kyoto that read like something from Robert Munsch on Ibogaine.

And then he spent the weekend making a Playdoh replica of the thing.

And, finally, yesterday at circle time, he squished it flat as a conthropomorphic pancake.

Who knew?

Who knew that they destroyed the federal daycare program as a prelude to turning the entire federal government into one.

Sheesh.

_____
*And we are in no way suggesting that Mr. Munsch would ever actually do something as irresponsible as imbibe in something as illicitly illegal as Ibogaine. Because we're almost certain that he leaves that kind of stuff to the truly crazy writers of great imagination who like to go Thwap! Thwwap!! Thwwaap!!! Twwwwaaapppp!!!! in the night.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Ya But.....

.....Was His Spidey Sense Tingling?


CaughtInAWebOfTheirOwnMaking
PilotsInTheHouseVille


The Crown contends Dave Basi and Virk took cash from lobbyists Erik Bornmann and Brian Kieran, whose client was OmniTRAX, a Denver-Colorado-based company that was one of the BC Rail bidders.

{Snip}

(Robert Virk's lawyer Kevin) McCullough told the judge (Bennett) that Bornmann admitted to police in early 2004 that he gave bribes to government aides but was allowed to continue "merrily along" lobbying government, as were Bornmann's partners, Brian Kieran and Jamie Elmhirst, in the Pilothouse lobbying firm.

Neal Hall, Vancouver Sun, Apr 25, 2007



Bornman earned his nickname Spiderman after he entered a locked federal Liberal Party office – which contained the BC membership list during the time of the leadership battle between Paul Martin and Jean Chretien – through the ceiling.

_____
And just how much were Spidey and his buddies in The House paid by OmniTrax to allegedly bribe, errrrr....lobby...... administrative officials of the Gordon Campbell government during the parallel-o-grammatical run-up to the BC Rail deal? Well, again according to McCullough, it was $297,918. Which begs the question - Why doesn't some young (or not so) enterprising reporter contact OmniTrax and find out if they're upset that, in the end, especially after the Roberts Bank spur deal was scuttled in the last stages of Gary Collins sprint for harmonized cover, they got nothing out of their investment (and we're pretty sure the figure cited above does not include the cost of the Basi/Virk trip to Denver to watch a little NFL football).


.

The End Of The Hegemony?

AllYourPressesMaySoonBeTheirs
PacificNewspaperGroupVille


So, last Friday I'm at work, hidden away behind closed doors putting the finishing touches on a last minute bit of science geek-type editting, when I remember to tune into Mr. Good's radio show on the (nolonger)Giant98 so that I can hear Vaughn Palmer and Keith Baldrey prattle on about British Columbia politics.

Why would I subject myself to such a thing, you might be asking yourself?

Well, I thought CanWest's Glimmer Twins, also known as 'The Ledge Boys', might have something interesting to say about the pseudo-start of the RailGate Trial.

And, if truth be told, Mr. Palmer did not disappoint.

By way of example, Palmer raised the issues swirling around former BC Rail Auction Chop Block operator Gary Collins. In addition, Mr. Palmer even went so far as to suggest that if the Premier had, indeed, received information about the investigation when he shouldn't have that this just might be a problem for Mr. Campbell as well.

Mr. Baldrey on the other hand was completely dismissive of RailGate and all it entails.

In fact Baldrey, feigning world-weariness, even went so far as to suggest that no matter what happens neither the media nor the public will care because all the major players long ago left government.

Of course, neither Mr. Baldrey nor the moderator, Mr. Good, raised the spectre of why those officials left government so suddenly in the first place.

Or why mainstream media coverage of this story has been almost less than zero pretty much since it began in late December of 2003.


****

It's important to remember that up until the time of the airing of the radio show in question (ie. last Friday) the only local Journo even close to the mainstream who had been doing any serious, continuing reporting on RailGate has been Bill Tieleman writing in The Tyee, 24 Hrs, and on his own blog.

However, once allegations of Mr. Campbell's possible involvement seeped out last week, Tieleman's stablemate Sean Holman, who also writes for 24 Hrs as well as his own PublicEye Online, went off to try and get the Premier to comment. And when Mr. Campbell instead went into hiding Holman reported that instead - which at least got the matter into the public prints.

All of which sounds kind of ad-hoc.

But it was a beginning.

And thusly, since last weekend a veritable thicket of fingers have suddenly come out of dikes. As a result, a whole whack of outlets have started reporting some of the juicier details. And some of them have even been naming names and connecting a few dots.

Heckfire, Gary Mason even called the entire thing 'The Trial Of The Century'* in his column on Saturday (and it appears that his tongue was only halfway in his cheek)

So, the question is - will any of the local MSM outlets, especially those run by the CanWest hegemony, stay with it over the long haul?

Based on their track record, and judging by the way they've seized on the recent short term deflector-spin aspect of the Dobranos story, I kind of doubt it.

And, get this, I actually hope they do not.

Why?

Well, because if Mess'rs Tieleman and Holman were left alone to chase this thing every single day for the next six or maybe nine or even twelve months, just imagine the story they could give us - a cast of characters not even Dickens at his most twisted could have come up with, intersecting narratives, plot reversals, cliffhangers, money, greed, speed, action, graft, and perhaps even the death and the resurrection of the public trust all rolled into one.

And if the boys driving the 24 Hrs bus actually gave Tieleman and Holman the resources to really do this thing, flat-out, full-bore and non-stop wire-to-wire?

Well, to paraphrase the words of W.P. Kinsella ,spoken by James Earl Jones in the movie Field of Dreams:



And a few of them would read it on the internets.

But I also figure that a whole lot more of them read it in 24 Hrs while standing on SkyTrain, or riding on buses, or sipping in coffee shops, or while hiding in their cubicle farms, or maybe even sitting at their kitchen tables, on their lazy-boys, in front of the TV, or, best of all, on their thrones.

And if all of this were to happen (or even half of it), the SunCorp/Pattison-backed 24 Hrs gambit will have paid off in spades.

Which just might mean that the CanWest print monopoly in Lotusland would be all but over over.

Imagine that?


_____
*Hmmmmm.....where have we heard that 'Trial Of The Century' monicker before? Oh yes, here it is.


.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Dobranos: Season 17

WeDon'tNeedNoStinkin'Rules
'CauseWeMade'EmOurselfVille


Listen.

The question is not when did Ken Dobell register to be a lobbyist.

Instead, the real question is why?

Why can somebody who's working for the Premier of this Province even register as a lobbyist to lobby the Premier of this Province?

I mean all these screamin' headlines from the good folks at CanWest about 'When' rather than 'Why' is kinda like the New York Post suddenly running faux-front-page stories about when Tony Soprano first got his permit to commit extortion.

OK?

______
For a non-cinematic, but nonetheless still-less-than -7 minute version of the entire Dobrano's run, go here.
For a capsule synopsis of the season so far, go here.

.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Link?

SometimesAMonitorIsJustAMonitor
InsideJobVille



So, I've been sifting through the defense allegations in the RailGate Trial again.

And I can't help but go back to these ones, as laid out in full by Bill Tieleman in The Tyee:

Among the serious charges levelled Wednesday by Kevin McCullough, defence lawyer for Bob Virk, in B.C. Supreme Court:

  • That B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell was allegedly tipped off about part of the police investigation into David Basi by B.C. Liberal party executive director Kelly Reichert in June 2005
  • That the investigation Campbell allegedly heard about was a Crown counsel report into "media monitoring" contracts the BC Liberals had with Basi and whether there was any wrongdoing
  • That Basi's "media monitoring" contracts allegedly were "a highly political effort to sway public opinion through the use of radio shows and other events"
  • That RCMP Inspector Kevin DeBruyckere, a key Basi investigator, "was and still remains the brother-in-law of Kelly Reichert"


Now, while I understand that this media monitoring crap goes on all the time, I still don't like it.

Which I made clear already.

But then, as I was reading through the 'he said/she said' invective on the comment thread attached to Mr. T's post, another thought popped into my head.......

What if it's not the actual 'media monitoring' contract itself that matters but rather who drew it up?

More specifically, what if the contract is a link between Mr. Basi and the person who enlisted his services to do such a thing?

And what if that second person was NOT Mr. Basi's boss at the time, Mr. Collins?

And if that is the case, therein, perhaps, lies the reason for the alleged 'tip' from Mr. Reichert to Mr. Campbell.

So, again, what I would really like to know is the following:

Does a Crown Counsel Report on the matter really exist, and if so, does it indicate who actually did the contracting?



OK?

.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Welcome To The Bloggodome

SometimesTruthIs
StrangerThanFictionVille


Once, long ago, I really got into it with a fellow former denizen of the Whiskey Bar (the bar is closed now, but its whispers will live on forever).

Our discussion was about the true meaning of blogging.

He thought that it was all about the writing and that everything else was detrious.

And in the latter category, he figured the most foul thing was the hitcounter/bloglog, mostly because he concluded that it led to little more than lever-banging of the most Pavlovian kind.

Which is a hard thing to argue with on its most basic level.

But in the end I disagreed.

And not because I don't think that the bloglogs aren't filled with spam traps, mindsweepers, and lots of outright crap.

It's just that even in the most craptacular recesses of the fireswamp and/or your own not-quite-yet discarded memories you can always stumble across something really interesting if you look hard enough.

And one of the things I always enjoy stumbling across is this:

Continent : Asia
Country : Japan (Facts)
State/Region : Chiba
City : Chiba

Why?

Because it means I've had a visit from 'the rev'.

Who I've always thought of as a slightly off-kilter character from a William Gibson novel.

And I mean that in a good way.

But all that changed when he put up this post:

People here often ask me "Reberand Paperboy-san, why are you come to the Japan?" -- I usually tell them "I came for the waters" When they don't get that I explain that within the span of a few months I got wrongfully fired from a job that provided me with a large part of my identity, had a serious relationship split up, turned 30, watched my friends suffer an unspeakable tragedy, crashed my car, absconded with the church funds, ran off with a senator's wife -- usually they like to think I killed a man, its the romantic in them. Guess how long I've been here as of this month...

Now, to top it off you've got to go see the clip the Rev has attached to his post.

It's better than the one from Cassablanca embedded in the text above and it will make you laugh pretty darned hard.

Of course, all of this makes me think of the Rev in a very different, much less fictitious way, which is just as good.

If not better.

And certainly not Pavlovian.

OK?

.

Friday, April 20, 2007

It's The Dichotomy, Stupid!

WeDon'tNeedNoStinkin'Facts
ConVille



In our previous post we raised the issue of the veracity, or likely lack thereof, of Mr. Baird's statements about the economic effects of keeping our Kyoto commitments yesterday.

But, of course, facts don't matter as long as you manage to whirlitzer up a dichotomy in the public's mind.

And this time around, as our good friends at the NaPo make clear, the dicotomy is:

TAKE YOUR PICK: ENVIRONMENTAL OR ECONOMIC DISASTER?
Pro- and anti-Kyoto forces use equally apocalyptic language to make their points. Scientists have warned that the Northwest Passage could melt completely as a result of global warming. But the government charged yesterday that meeting Canada's commitments would send the country spiralling into a recession to rival those of the past.



So, why would the Cons want us to have this false dichotomy rattling around in our heads?

My bet is that they've done their mega focus group groping and their deepest of deep sea troll polls and what they've discovered is that, in addition to all of the base, a good chunk of the swing vote will, when push comes to shove, choose the Econoline Van over the Breadline.

Everytime.

Isn't there an old Neil Young song in there somewhere?

_____
Thanks to Holly Stick over on the POGGE comment threads for the duplicitous dichotomy tip.
BTW, the image at the top is straight from the NaPo. Remind you of another ridiculous story they helped whirltizer up using haunting, WWII-type images? Can't quite call it up......? Here, let me help.

.

Go Johnny Go!

ObfuscationForTheNation
BigConVille



So, the Federal (anti)Minister of the Environment, John Baird, has manufactured a big steaming pile of CCRAP that, rumour has it, smells like Con Spirit.

And/or says something to the effect that any serious attempts by Canadians to meet our Kyoto targets will result in the death of Hockey, the Cooper-All comeback, and the resurgence of the early morning Zamboni ride to the Timbit Bin.

But, when you see and hear Mr. Baird reel off his codswallop for the sound-bite Minstrels who refuse to do the legwork to either validate or refute Baird's ludicrous claims, you may wish to remember the following......

And that is that Mr. Baird has pulled this type of stunt before.

The first time, he was the Minister in charge of 'Destroying-Social-Safety-Nets' for Mike Harris.

Back then Baird was running with spin-doctor Dan Miles (who now handles 'noLeftCoast' Jimmy Flaherty). At the time, Baird was instructed to read a script about an (un)Common Sense Revolution program in which people on the dole were being forced to pee in a bottle to allegedly prevent them from shooting their welfare cheques into their arms.

And when he was done blathering, Baird set the media shark trap by throwing handfuls of syringes onto the table in front of the rolling cameras.

Of course, the entire thing was bogus. Neither Miles, nor Baird, nor anyone else in the Harris government had any hard evidence whatsoever that a significant number of welfare recipients were shooting up their cheques.

But that didn't matter, and in fact it never matters, because all these people really want to do is bamboozle the media just long enough so that they can push their agenda for a newscycle or four.

Because once those initial cycles have passed they know no one will ever call them on it, regardless the actual facts.

Here's spin-master flash Miles, who recently spoke to the CBC's Ira Basin about his stratergy in such matters:

Basin: What about preparing the Minister for the questions he is going to be asked and other preparations for the rollout?

Miles: .......If I can use our drug treatment event as an example; on any given day we are competing with 100's of news items coming in from around the world especially in the world that we live in today where everything can come from satellite and online so competition is quite fierce to gain attention in the media and with the drug treatment even that we did, clearly it was a controversial policy and it was something that wanted to portray to get across to people of the importance, and we wanted to grab their attention, and that Is exactly what we did. It is something that to this day people are talking about. And minister Baird wondered how the conversation went, it was a Sunday morning if I recall correctly and I was in the office and he was on the phone, and he said we needed to do something with needles because this was obviously the instrument creating the problem. So we had a chat about it, and basically I said we cannot use needles it's just not feesable! Because of disease so we couldn't do it, so we used brand new hypodermic needles and I said you've got to paint the picture, you've got to reach your hands into the box and grab a 2 big handful of these needles and deliver your lines, deliver the message and then just drop them and they would scatter and flow all over the table. That is something to this day that people remember.

{snip}

Basin: And so you help the Minister craft the sound bites?

Miles: Yea, there is no question! The minister and all the ministers I've worked with they were all very effective at it and they recognized what a sound bite was and quite frankly it comes back to from my perspective, (making) the job of the journalist that much easier. That is my job, to make your job easier. And if I can make your job easier then you can look at our policy look at our event, look at what we do a little more favorably

{snip}

Basin: Going back to the drug policy announcement, did it come off the way you wanted it to?

Miles: That was reported in the wall street journal. It was reported on the national news right across the country on every channel. It made it in the newspaper! So you know the policy itself was a first it was controversial so obviously the policy was very controversial to journalists so we positioned in a way that certainly grabbed everybody.

Ooooh, baby!

The Wall Street Journal!

A rag whose editorial page has such a hate on for anything that actually helps people that I'm pretty sure it would resurrect Ronald Reagan's bogus 'Welfare Queen' and run pictures of her mummified corpse for seven days straight if it could.

That's some catch.

Thusly, Mr. Baird and his handlers have already demonstrated that they will say anything and do anything, including taking advantage of lazy journalists, to push their agenda.

So, given that, why should we believe anything they are sayin'* this time around?

Even if he is didn't throw a bushel full of globes on the floor and start stompin'* on 'em*.

'Cause* that's what he really did yesterday.

OK?

______
*Just so you all know, when I start droppin' my G's and loppin' off the front end of words, that's when, like all BigCons everywhere 'round these here parts, I'm really seriouser than usualler.


.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Squaring The Lobbyists' Circle J

Who'sZoomingWho?
PollutingTheBodyPoliticVille



If you've been moving around Lotusland's Bloggodome today you may have noticed that there has been quite an outbreak of 'Everybody-Does-It-Is' going 'round.

I'm talking specifically about this business of 'media-monitoring' contracts (ie. everybody does it, so who cares) and the associated 'cosy' relationships between lobbyists and political insiders (ie. everybody does that too, so who could ever possibly care).

Well. I'll tell you one thing.

I care.

......For example, I care that the former(?) lobbyists Kieran, Elmhirst and Bornman, the very same former(?) lobbyists who allegedly were involved in the bribing of David Basi in the B.C. RailGate case, were also making strange with a deputy minister, Paul Taylor, in the very same finance ministry at about the very same time:

From today's Les Leyne column in the Times-Colonist:

Kieran, Elmhirst and Erik Bornman -- a colleague of theirs then who is expected to be a star witness in the Basi-Virk trial -- were e-mailing one another (in 2003) about a potential new client. This was months before the raid on the legislature and has nothing to do with B.C. Rail.

And if the e-mails are to be believed, then-deputy minister of finance Paul Taylor was only too happy to be of service in facilitating the new business relationship.

At the time Taylor and Kieran were friends and neighbours on Pender Island.

After a day fishing with Taylor, Kieran e-mailed his partners with news that Taylor had given him a detailed outline of how to go about securing a consulting contract with the B.C. Automobile Dealers Association, an outfit that employed Taylor prior to his move to government.

Wrote Kieran: "Paul told Glen (an association executive) he needed GR (government relations) on the ground ... needed us."

Elmhirst responded with a flippant: "I could come with this kind of great intel too if I lived next door to a blabby deputy minister."


.....I also care that Mr. Taylor is now the patronage-appointed CEO of ICBC which currently appears to be slouching towards privatization (and the lobbying bonanza that goes with it).

......I also care about this, again, from Mr. Leyne's column:

The reason the Opposition was keen to explore the exchange is because they set a trap a few months ago. They had written Premier Gordon Campbell asking if he knew whether Taylor was directing work to Kieran.

And the premier responded last December with a categorical "no."


.....I also care about the fact that Mr. Taylor is:

also on the board of the Vancouver convention centre expansion project and was re-installed there when that board was rejigged last week.



........And finally, I also care about the fact that Ken Dobell, the Premier's former right-hand man who has recently become such a superfly-fine lobbyist that he now actually appears to be capable of lobbying himself, is:

on the same convention centre board as Paul Taylor and had his moment in the legislature spotlight earlier in the week when the project's massive cost overrun was discussed in the house.


So, why do I care about all of this?

Because no matter who's doing it it, this is the kind of codswallopsistic behavior that sucks the lifeblood right out of the public trust.

OK?

.

B.C. RailGate, Day One

Where's Gordo?
LINOVille



Mr. T. (a.k.a. Bill Tieleman) has an excellent and comprehensive summary 0f Day One of the RailGate trial over at The Tyee.

It is the kind of thing that you won't find at any mainstream media organ in all of Lotusland.

Again, in addition to the defense allegation that then Finance Minister Gary Collins was under investigation in 2003 before the raids on the Legislature, one of the things that I find most interesting about Day One is this, according to Mr. T.:

Among the serious charges levelled Wednesday by Kevin McCullough, defence lawyer for Bob Virk, in B.C. Supreme Court:

  • That B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell was allegedly tipped off about part of the police investigation into David Basi by B.C. Liberal party executive director Kelly Reichert in June 2005
  • That the investigation Campbell allegedly heard about was a Crown counsel report into "media monitoring" contracts the BC Liberals had with Basi and whether there was any wrongdoing
  • That Basi's "media monitoring" contracts allegedly were "a highly political effort to sway public opinion through the use of radio shows and other events"

Now those are some allegations.

And given their potential political impact, wouldn't it be interesting to hear from either Mr. Reichert or Mr. Campbell about their veracity?

Or lack thereof?

Unfortunately, however, that has not been possible because, apparently, Messrs Reichert and Campbell have not been available for questions.

Again, from Mr. T. (with an assist, 'allegatedly', from Sean Holman):

The BC Liberals' Reichert did not respond to e-mail and telephone inquires by deadline.

Premier Campbell was not in the legislature for question period or at the B.C. Liberal caucus meeting, and therefore not available to media for questions about the day's allegations.


OK.

So, given all that, maybe some other people might be able to answer a couple of questions for us, the public.

First, could somebody please ask Mr. McCullough if he is, indeed, in possession of a 'Crown Counsel Report' that outlines Mr. Basi's involvement in a 'media monitoring' operation?

Because, if such a report does actually exist, on real paper, with real signatures, well, that would add considerable weight to the allegations.

Second, given that the alleged 'media monitoring' contracts were allegedly "a highly political effort to sway public opinion through the use of radio shows and other events" and given the evidence that the BC Liberals have been shown to be fond of pushing 'wedge issues on a silver platter' in the media to sway public opinion in the past, could someone not start asking questions of local producers, hosts, editors, columnists, and reporters who work for the mainstream media organs in this province if they have ever been approached to carry out such highly political efforts to sway public opinion?

Oh, and while they're at it, they might want to ask the same question of some pollsters too.

But certainly not lobbyists*.

No siree.


______
*Unless, of course, they are Pilots who don't fly planes and/or cast members of 'The Dobranos'.
Speaking of the Dobranos, it looks like the clan's chief capo might be feeling a little heat himself today.


.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Whose Piloting This House Anyway?

AllRoadsLeadToRailGate
LINOVille


Now this is interesting.......

The NDP says ICBC President Paul Taylor should step aside while the government investigates claims he helped a Liberal-friendly lobbying company win a contract while he was still the deputy minister of finance.

{snip}

Finance Minister Carole Taylor revealed today the government has hired KPMG to review the allegations, but she says at this point these are just claims in an e-mail--not enough reason for Taylor to step aside.


Sure, no reason for the good Mr. Taylor to step aside whatsoever.

But here's something even more interesting.....

The NDP has released internal e-mails from officials with Pilothouse Public affairs that suggest Paul Taylor helped them win a contract with the New Car Dealers Association of B-C to lobby the government back in 2003, when Taylor was deputy minister of finance.

So, a former Deputy Minister of Finance (read underling of: COLLINS, Gary) was allegedly helping Pilothouse get contracts.

Hmmmmmm......Pilothouse.........

Where have we heard that name before?

Oh, yes - here it is:

The informant (RCMP Cpl Andrew Cowan) says that indictable offences have been committed, namely, THAT, on or between April 01, 2002 and December 31, 2003, at or near Victoria, British Columbia, Udhe Singh BASI, being an official, specifically a Ministerial Assistant for the Minister of Finance, Provincial Government of British Columbia, did accept from Brian KIERAN, for himself a benefit, to wit: receiving of monies in connection with a matter of business relating to the government, contrary to Section 121(l)(a) of the Criminal Code of Canada.
Search Warrant, Sworn Before A Justice of The Supreme Court of British Columbia, Oct. 2004
Released to Public, Apr 03, 2006 (pdf)


"....out of respect for the integrity of the legal process, I will make no comments about the case prior to my appearance as a witness for the Crown.''
Brian Kieran, former co-proprietor of the Pilothouse, then the K&E, lobbying firms
Vancouver Sun, Apr 3, 2006



Anybody want to go for a ride on a train?

.

What Did Mr. Campbell Know, And When Did He Know It?

PremierInHiding?
RailGateVille


So, the Defence came out swinging in the first day of the BC RailGate Trial today.

And one of the haymakers they threw, according to Bill Tieleman who was there, was this one:

(Robert) Virk's lawyer Kevin McCullough alleged in court that Premier Gordon Campbell was informed by BC Liberal Party Executive Director Kelly Reichert in June of 2005 that RCMP were forwarding a report to Crown counsel on David Basi's alleged "media monitoring" contracts with the BC Liberal Party.


Now that's a pretty strong allegation so, also according to Tieleman, Sean Holman went looking for the Premier to get a response.

Only one problem - Mr. Campbell was nowhere to be found:

Premier Gordon Campbell was not in the Legislature for question period today nor did he attend a BC Liberal Party caucus meeting, according to my colleague Sean Holman of 24 hours and Public Eye Online, so was not available to reporters to comment.


Hmmmm.......

Wonder if maybe Mr. Campbell might have been trying to avoid getting himself caught up in one of those 'media monitored'-type honeytraps of the kind that Mr. Basi was, allegedly, once, apparently, paid to set-up by Mr. Campbell's own party?

Or some such thing.

Sheesh.

_____
Story is developing over at Mary's where I'm sure the Anon-O-Mice are all set and ready to go to work in the comment threads.
Mr. T. (Tieleman) will be on Michael Smith's radio show between 8 and 9pm tonight, which can be streamed from here. I, for one, will be listening to see if I recognize any of those voices as belonging to Mary's Mices.

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The Trial Of The Century

PrivatizingEverything
LessAndLessBeautifulBritishColumbiaVille




Now they're planning the crime of the century
Well what will it be?
Read all about their schemes and adventuring
It's well worth a fee
So roll up and see
And they rape the universe
How they've gone from bad to worse
Who are these men of lust, greed, and glory?
Rip off the masks and let's see.
But that's no right - oh no, what's the story?
There's you and there's me
That can't be right



So, the RailGate Trial has finally begun.......... sort of.

And already BC Mary is steamed at the Mainstream Media's continuing efforts to keep the masks in place in an apparent effort to make sure that we never will truly see.

Mary's, as the Google-Bots* will tell you , is the place to go to keep abreast of the entire, not just the pablumized, version of the story.


_____
And thanks to Rob Cottingham for pointing us towards those tireless Bottitistas.

.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Pragmatic Purging Of Mr. Potvin

Pol(l?)s'RUs
GreenVille



So, Elizabeth May has decided to torpedo the Green Party candidacy of Kevin Potvin in Vancouver-Kingsway.

Mr. Potvin lives and works as one of the Last of the Independents deep within the riding in the part of town/state-of-mind that he likes to call 'The Republic of East Vancouver'.

As such, he publishes a bi-weekly newspaper of the same name.

And it was in that newspaper that Mr. Potvin published a story in November 2002 that has, apparently, laid him low.

It was titled 'A Revolting Confession', and it contained incendiary statements like this:

"I have a terrible confession to make. When I saw the first tower cascade down into that enormous plume of dust and paper, there was a little voice inside me that said, "Yeah!" When the second tower came down the same way, that little voice said, "Beautiful!" When the visage of the Pentagon appeared on the TV with a gaping and smoking hole in its side, that little voice had nearly taken me over, and I felt an urge to pump my fist in the air."

Which, of course, got a whole lot of folks on the comment threads upset when they resurfaced in a post last week by S.M. Holman at Public Eye.

Now, I do not agree with Mr. Potvin that, as he wrote in his most recent edition, that many people, to some small degree, had the same response but have had great difficulty stating it publically.

But that might have more to do with the circles I run in these days (ie. I am not quite a mini-van Dad, but it's close).

But I do agree with Potvin that the sites attacked on 9/11 were important symbols:

Corporatism and militarism were struck that morning, and that's why it's such big news. New York is not just home to American corporate headquarters, it is home to global corporate headquarters. It is the centre of global corporatism, and the twin towers were constructed precisely to celebrate this very fact.

The Pentagon is likewise not just home to the American military. The American military is so overwhelmingly dominant in the world, with a reach giving it ultimate power in every corner of the planet, that the Pentagon is really the home of the global military. The US supplies so much of the world's arms and commands so much of the world's force, either directly or through proxies in every nation on the planet, that the Pentagon is, to put it plainly, militarism itself.

And I also cannot deny the fact that those symbols, for some at least, are symbols of oppression rather than freedom.

Which is an important concept that is very much worth discussing in some detail, particularly as it pertains to the issue of root causes.

So, given all the nuance in Mr. Potvin's piece......

And given the fact that the Greens knew exactly what they were getting when they first nominated Mr. Potvin (ie. he has had some really interesting green-tinged things to say in the past as well)....

Why?

Why did Ms. May and the Greens fold like a cheap, striped-tent when they were hit by the first gust of fetid wind from those extremely well-known anti-incendiarists that write editorials for the National Post?

Could it have had something to do with the colour of the other stripes on that tent and the fear that Mr. Potvin might have been able to re-capture a significant proportion of the 10,000 votes that he garnered in Vancouver's last civic election when he ran as a complete independent?

Nah.

I mean, it's not like Ms. May would do something that expedient in the name of pragmatism.

Oh, wait - Is that a super-nova I see shooting across the central part of our eastern-most sky?

____
The link to the flame-on-me piece from Mr. Potvin was first provided to Mr. Holman by commenter 'PublicEyeFan' on an earlier post (see April 11, 2007 08:31 PM comment).
It's probably worth noting that Mr. Holman, too, like Mr. Potvin, is one of those rare folks that has managed to get the job done as a true independent. Given all that, we're pretty sure that Mr. Potvin will once again land on his feet.


.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sunday Morning Bruce Busking Going Down

AlvinLeeByTheSeaNoMore
FreshWaterVille





Must confess that I have a hard time figuring out how the sound is so heckfire good on this apparently homemade hand-held 'meet-me-out-on-the-street'-style version of The River.

But things synch-up pretty well bang-on.

And, besides, even if it is manufactured/re-mixed, it's pretty darned fine regardless.

OK?

.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Hey, Jane Taber!

GiveUsTheWholeStory
ReaderVille


Today's 'halfway to the real story' bit from Ms. Taber's latest gossip column in the Globe and (nolonger)Empire Mail (behind the subscription wailing wall):

"On the way home (from Vimy) certain reporters were asked if they would like to have an off-the-record chat with the PM at the front of the plane. Several agreed and met with him but did not report the conversations because of the cone-of-PM-silence clause."

Which is all fine and good in a wink, wink, nudge, nudge kind of way.

But if Ms. Taber was really interested in giving us the real story she would tell us who was asked and who did NOT accept.

Because it is the latter members of the National Press Corps, the ones who refuse to trade in their integrity to ensure themselves of a continued crack at the Evils of Access, that I really want to read.

OK?

.

Expandable Stephen's Giant Super Nova

TheEnemyOfMyEnemyIsStillMyEnemy
HarperVille


One of the most rollicking recent discussions we've had around this tiny little patch of the bloggodome occurred after I brought up the issue of uniting Lotusland's Left in common cause to stop the Cons' total destruction of the country formerly known as Canuckistan.

And while a number of folks presented powerful arguments on both sides, I was ultimately dissuaded when longtime Greenster Briony Penn became the Liberal candidate for Saanich and the Utopias.

Which, looking back on it now, was clearly a prelude to the quid from the pro Pols that has now become the cacaphonous quo of Elizabeth May's Lib-free candidacy in Central Nova.

Now there has been all sorts of discussion about this, the latest bit of backroom bootstrapping, from the Dionistas.

Case in point - there has been little else to read over at the ProgRockers aggro-blog for the last couple of days.

But, despite all the back-and-forth, there has been a real dearth of brass-tacks, cold-cash, hard-numbers talk about whether or not Ms. May can actually prevail over Little Peter MacKay.

As usual, the place to get a really solid take on that kind of thing is Greg Morrow's Democratic Space.

And he thinks May actually has a real, solid chance at the brass ring:

People typically look at previous results and see the Greens so far back that they discount the possibility that May could actually win. People would be wise to re-think that position. I, for one, think it’s certainly possible for the Greens to win.

Why? First, MacKay performed surprisingly poorly in 2006, winning by only 3,273 votes over NDP candidate Alexis MacDonald in a riding that should be a Conservative lock. Put another way, 60% of Central Novans voted for someone other than Peter MacKay.

Secondly, another thing to understand is that a party’s performance in a given riding depends on whether it is targeting that riding or not. And the more money spent, the more their message gets out. There is a reasonably strong correlation — though not linear to be sure — between how much is spent and how many votes a party receives. Look at what happened in 2006 in Central Nova:

Party Candidate Spent % of Max. Votes $ per vote
Peter MacKay $56,051.90 74% 17,134 (40.7%) $3.27
Alexis MacDonald $30,275.27 40% 13,861 (32.9%) $2.18
Dan Walsh $42,271.56 56% 10,349 (24.6%) $4.08
David Orton $901.04 1% 671 (1.6%) $1.34

As you can see the Greens ran a candidate here but it was not a serious campaign, spending virtually nothing, while MacKay spent 3/4 of the maximum allowed (which was $75,650.95). I have no personal knowledge about what they will spend this time, but you can bet that this will be one of the few ridings that the Greens will target, so you might expect the Greens to spend close to the maximum here this time around. This will surely force Mackay to spend the maximum this time, but I think most people know the CPC message here and are of course very familiar with MacKay himself, so more CPC spending here will not likely raise their vote total to a great degree.


Mr. Morrow then goes on to show how the Greens have been able to raise their percentages significantly when they pour money into a riding (ie. see the recent London North by-election) and then talks about how Ms. May's weird, but saleable, triplefusion of enviro/progro/fisco responsibility could suck off some of Mr. McKay's non-Con old Red-Tory vote in Nova before closing with a detailed discussion of how the numbers could move:

So the Liberals are not running a candidate here. A warm relationship between Dion and May suggests that a good number of Liberals in Central Nova will probably be comfortable voting for May. Let’s say 3/4 do — that’s about 18% for May from Liberals, and let’s say another 4% for MacKay and another 2% for the NDP. If the Greens spend the maximum here vs virtually nothing (a 75-fold increase!) — we might expect their vote share to naturally increase from 2% to the 14% range (FYI, a 32-fold spending increase in London North Centre resulted in a 5-fold vote increase, so a 75-fold spending increase may result in a 7-fold vote increase). The Green vote is typically drawn from all three parties in roughly a 2 NDP:1 Liberal:1 CPC relationship. So that brings May to about 32%, MacKay at 40% and the NDP at about 28%. The NDP is currently running about 3% lower in the polls as compared to the 2006 election, while the Greens are running 3% higher. Factoring that in, we get Mackay 40%, May 35%, NDP 25%. But the NDP is not re-running Alexis MacDonald, who performed well last time. This suggests that we might expect a drop in the NDP vote. And since there is no Liberal candidate, we can expect most of that drop to benefit the Greens. So if the NDP drops another 5% because of a weaker candidate, then we have Mackay 40%, May 40%, NDP 20%.

What this suggests is that Central Nova will be a hard-fought close race.

Update: just to be clear. I am not saying May will win. I’m just saying that based on a rough analysis, it should be a close race and people who think otherwise might want to take a closer look.


Now, I think the real wild card here is not who the NDP runs, but how On-the-Fence Lefty voters, people like me, who have a healthy skepticism about the true feasibility of some of the fusionary aspects of the Green platform but who also really, really wants to stop the Conning of the Country, ultimately reacts.

But, regardless all that, let's just pretend for a moment that Ms. May and Mr. Harper BOTH win.

Just let that sink in for a moment.......

And then, while you attempt to suppress the bilious bile from boiling-up and bursting your brainstem, consider this.

Would the ever-expanding Mr. Harper and his Death-Star Rangers really be upset by such an outcome?

The extremely responsible Cowboys and think not:

My better angel tells me that the Green Party should be in the House and that this display of post-partisan partnership demonstrates that St├ęphane Dion is a bigger person than some of us (and a much bigger person than Jack Layton.)

The bitter angel tells me that the party should run 308 candidates regardless of the outcome.

The better angel does some work on the bitter angel

Reminding the bitter angel that the last Liberal MP for the riding was Roseanne Skoke, the better angel makes this post-partisan arrangement look better and better.

Sometimes a name on the ballot wins.

Doing Stephen Harper's dirty work

Conspiring to defeat MacKay, as May and Dion have done, may give Stephen Harper the opportunity to rid his cabinet of the dead weight that MacKay represents.

It could be exactly what Harper needs.

Could it be that Stephen Harper is the only winner in this new relationship?



OK.

You can let those brain bubbles burst now.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggh!

Feel better now?

I sure don't.

.

Friday, April 13, 2007

What Are They Reading In There?

AreTheKidsAllright?
ModernAgeVille



In the comment thread to yesterday's Unstuck-In-Time post a number of folks, myself included, menitoned how much Vonnegut's writing meant to them in their teens.

Which prompted Paul Willcocks to ask a pretty interesting, and potentially important, question:

I wonder, as a related issue, what the 11 to 15 year olds today are stumbling across when they begin to look for ways to make sense of the world or see it more clearly?

We had Vonnegut, Tom Wolfe, Catch-22, John Rechy, readable and radical in the way they saw the world and accessible.

What are today's young 'uns grabbing?




Anyone want to hazard guess or two*?


_______
*Or, as a corollary, offer up some good stuff I could suggest to Bigger E. who is now smack dab in the middle of that age range.

.