Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Gone Canoeing....


And where we're going we don't need the help of Tourism British Columbia and/or their 146 PR people.

Which, of course, is the real reason the Campbelleros needed to fold the thing.

Because it's all propagandists on deck.....errrrrr....In-House.

Back in a while....


Monday, August 24, 2009

There's No Business....

....Like The Dirty Oil Business.


Alison has the both stories:

"Barack Obama on Tuesday vowed he would break America's addiction to "dirty, dwindling, and dangerously expensive" oil if he is elected U.S. president -- and one of his first targets might well be Canada's oil sands."

"The Obama administration yesterday approved a pipeline to carry oil-sands fuel from Canada into the US, saying its action was designed to send "a positive economic signal in a difficult economic period".

Which begs the question.....

How long before our fun-loving, clean-green premier, Mr. Gordon Campbell, starts wielding his budget deficit 'crisis' machete around so that he can hack-up the the offshore drilling moratorium real good?


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Nike's Most Famous Slogan.....Irony Is Thy Name


"Just Do It....."
...............................The Slogan That Sold Overpriced Sneakers As Life


"Let's Do It....."
........ ....The Last Words Of Spree-Killer Gary Gilmore As He Faced A State-Sanctioned Firing Squad

And guess what.....

Turns out the latter inspired the former.

Is it any wonder?


My Adventures In The Bloggodome


Last week Ben Shingler threw up an interesting, if somewhat superficial, post at The Tyee titled "Obama Faces Digital Destruction".

The comment thread was OK, but not overwhelmingly interesting, although I felt compelled to weigh in with some supporting context and links about the U.S. healthcare reform flap, mostly because I've really been paying attention to if for awhile now.

Funny thing, is that the hits kept coming in.....

So I went back and found the following, from Jay Currie, tacked to the end of the thread:

"I can't help but be amused as the Democratic agenda on Health Care and, increasingly, "cap and trade" is picked apart by, yoiks, grassroots organizing. ((And, yes, I have heard that there is money from assorted interests in behind that organizing - so what? Move-On was not exactly unfunded.)

Obama ran a huge internet operation in his election attempt. He and his people understand how powerful you-tube and blogs and tweets have become and how lame MSM has also become. But they were under the misaprehension that the left in the US had the same hammerlock on the 'net as it does the MSM.

They have been surprised by the strength of the right and populist push back. They shouldn't have been. There is a huge, successful and self-sustaining media/web matrix on the right in the US. As Bush was clueless about the net and the Republican Party barely grasped it, the right side has evolved without any gatekeepers or talking points. There is no "townhouse" list to keep the right on message.

Now, critically, the left side of the web has been - like many other elements in the Obama victory - hemorrhaging readership since the One was elected. But the right side has been growing fast.

Expect to see more tea parties and more populists all organized using things like Twitter, Facebook and blogs. Sort of community organizing for the 00's."

Now, normally I ignore this kind of stuff because I truly do believe that there are times when attempts to engaged in reasonable and reasoned discussion is futile.


I've read quite a bit of Mr. Currie's stuff over the years and, while I very rarely agree with him, I do have some respect for his ability to be both relatively reasonable and to reason.

So I responded (and tried to set my snark meter as low as possible while doing so):

"Mr. Currie.......When, exactly, did you succumb to codswalloparianism?

Not to mention false equivalencies.

(You said....)

"....yes, I have heard that there is money from assorted interests in behind that organizing - so what? Move-On was not exactly unfunded..."

Two things.

First, the folks in MoveOn never hid their true intentions as is being done by the folks backing the wurlitzering of the deathpanel/beware nazi programs/they're gonna take away our guns! screamfests of the stoopid.

Second, the 'not exactly unfunded', but overwhelmingly truly grassroots, citizen-by- individual-citizen (majority of the) fundraising of Move On was never generated in ways that led to groups like this or this.



Sunday Morning Going Down!



We know of at least one early riser that's gonna want to tune in to Public Eye Radio Sunday morning at 8:00am.....

West End Bob.


Because Mr. Holman is going to have Bob's favorite pol on - Spencer Herbert.

If you, like me, are just a wee bit too dopey to pay attention to things that matter at that hour, you can always catch a ride on the pod, which is usually up just after Enright (and/or who ever is filling in for him this week) goes off the Ceeb's airwaves around noon.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Saturday Night's All Right For (Uke Cover) Fighting!


First, The Original...... because my oldest kid is an....

And now..... The Cover.....most especially because of the background singers....

Take that Reverand.....

And you too Jim Dandy!

As always, the Uke Peg Head image at the top of the post is courtesy of Los Angelino Photo-Maven and dog-on-a-stick aficionado, Ellen Bloom.
Update: Ahhhhh........Cheese Willickers....The Rev. is fighting back with .....Wizardry.....Wizardry I tell you...No Fair!


RailGate Revisited....Mr. Mulgrew Gets Up To Speed


Well, well, well......

After the proMedia finally caught up with Laila and GAB yesterday, Ian Mulgrew of the Vancouver Sun today took things one step closer to Ken Kesey's old bus*:

"....If (Premier Gordon Campbell's former Campaign Manager Patrick) Kinsella is shown to have been working for both railways (CN and BC Rail) at the same time, the landscape of this politically charged trial will change completely.

That accusation is the lynchpin of the defence.....

{snippety doodle-dandy}

....If Kinsella did play a dual role in the deal (betweeen BC Rail and CN Rail), it would buttress the claim that Basi and Virk were only following the orders of their political masters, that the railway auction was rigged in CN's favour and that everyone knew it.

The defence argument holds that the Liberals wanted to sell the provincial freight operation to CN Rail and the troubled bidding process was designed only to legitimize the privatization; Basi and Virk were told to keep OmniTrax publicly in the running so it would appear the process was competitive rather than a fait accompli.

In return for playing along, the American firm was allegedly promised a "consolation prize" of remaining BC Rail assets....."
(stuff in brackets mine added for clarification)

Or, as we have been calling it for sometime now, the putative....




RailGate Run-Around, Part Deux....


Last night, I commented upon a Canadian Press report that completely vindicated the earlier eyewitness report of Lotuslandian Super-Bloggers Laila Yule and Great Aunty Bertha.

Now that the excitement has died down I thought I'd mention something else that the Canadian Press' Camille Bains caught the proMedia up on, which is the following:

".....Kinsella's role with both the seller and the buyer of the Crown-owned rail line, which eventually sold for $1 billion, was also questioned in the legislature in 2003 by then-New Democrat MLA Joy MacPhail......"


How, we can't help wondering, did Ms. Bains stumble upon that little tidbit?


Last night a 'source' (take that Mess'rs Baldrey/Palmer/Good) told me that it was raised in court yesterday but, regardless, we can't help but note that Ms. McPhai's 'question' was also mentioned in a comment tacked on to a Globe and Mail column by Gary Mason published last Monday (ie. five full days before Ms. Bains CP piece was published)?

Here is the precise text of that comment:

8/17/2009 11:58:56 PM
It's interesting, I seem to recall that Joy McPhail asked the good Premier of British Columbia a related question, on the floor the Legislature, way back in May of 2003......

It went something like this:

J. MacPhail: "A longtime Liberal Party fundraiser is Patrick Kinsella. He is the lobbyist for CN. Has the Premier or any of his ministers met with Mr. Kinsella and representatives of CN?"

And, the funny thing, the good Premier also refused to answer, either in the affirmative or the negative, that question also.

Hon. G. Campbell: "I don't have an answer for that. As the member opposite knows, if she wants to know about specific meeting times with either myself or the minister, she can do that through freedom of information."

You can find the exchange in Hansard for May 28, 2003.....Just go there and type 'Kinsella' into the search box of your browser.

Here's the link for that day in history:

And who wrote that comment, you might be asking yourself?



Now, to be absolutely up front here, I first came across the exchange between Ms. McPhail and Mr. Campbell because Paul Willcocks had the good sense to post it up after a reader alerted him to it quite some time ago.....All of which is a very good example about the true power of the Bloggodome when it is used wisely by folks who pay attention, are conscientious, and who do their best to check their sources (take that again Mess'rs Baldrey/Palmer/Good).


Friday, August 21, 2009

RailGate Run-Around....ProMedia Catches Up To Bloggers Five Days Late


Here's TODAY'S lede, by Camille Bains, from the Canadian Press:

VANCOUVER, B.C. (Aug 21/2009) - Emails to and from a political insider show he had a strong relationship with CN Rail, suggesting the company was pegged to win the bid to buy Crown-owned BC Rail, says a defence lawyer.

Michael Bolton told a B.C. Supreme Court hearing Friday he wants to cross-examine Patrick Kinsella about his connection to CN Rail while he was also a consultant for BC Rail.

Bolton read a string of emails from between April and May 2004 showing Kinsella was the conduit between top-level executives for both BC Rail and CN Rail and a senior B.C. civil servant when the sale seemed to be in jeopardy.

"The way in which (BC Rail) gets answers to CN Rail is to go to Kinsella rather than directly to CN," Bolton said in a hearing related to fraud and breach of trust charges against three former government employees.

Bolton, who is defending one of the accused men, said the trio were tasked by their political masters to keep a third company in the bidding process to make it appear that the sale of BC Rail to CN Rail wasn't rigged by the Liberals.

Bolton also said lobbyists at a Victoria firm called Pilothouse, which was representing Denver-based OmniTrax, a third company bidding for BC Rail, had also known about Kinsella's involvement with CN Rail while he was working for BC Rail.

"Kinsella working for CN," said an Aug. 19, 2002 handwritten note in a journal kept by Pilothouse lobbyist Brian Kieran, defence lawyer Kevin McCullough told the court......


Isn't that interesting.


Here's what blogger GAB told us TUESDAY, based on her eyewitness account of the courtroom hearing on MONDAY......

I was going to wait for Laila, but given this post, I think it is important to get this part of what was said today out.

The materials that contained the reference to Bruce...

Also contained 2 instances of Brian Kiernan writing in his notebook from 2002

"August 19 Kinsella working for CN" referenced on page 62/63

There was some difficulty finding the second, but the judge found it and I think she said it was on page 60 and I didn't catch a date only that it again said "Kinsella working for CN".

McCullough stated clearly that the notebook was for Kieran's use only, so there was no reason to believe that his statements that Kinsella was working for CN from the notebooks would be there for any reason other than his personal reference.


The 'Laila' referred to in GAB's comment is fellow eyewitness and blogger Laila Yule who wrote a very detailed post on Wednesday that can be read in its entirety here.


This led to a tremendous discussion in the comments to Laila's piece.

But it also led to some codswallop.

Including media monitoring contract-style codswallop like this:

".....Since when do they let stupid little blooggers into Supreme court? Shit, things must be wrong if they let you supid little wannabes in there. You know why real reporters dont write about this extra stuff Laila? Because it just doesn’t matter. It doesn’t add a thing to the story, you idiot. And if I were you, I would watch what you write about Kinsella. And the premier."

And so, almost an entire week after the fact, when there is finally a smidgeon of proMedia reporting about the fact that a notebook belonging to one of Crown's 'star' witnesses includes a passage that appears to explicitly link the former campaign manager of the Premier of British Columbia (a very fine fellow who was AT THAT VERY TIME [ie. 2002] in the employ of BC Rail) to the ultimately successful private bidder for BC Rail, was discussed in open court, well.....

The time has come to ask ourselves the following question:

Is it any wonder that the public of British Columbia is not paying attention to this story given the egregious lack of in-depth coverage of it by the Lotuslandian proMedia?*

**And I also ask Vaughn Palmer, and Keith Baldrey and Bill Good,
who insist on calling members of the public who actually pay attention to this stuff 'cultists' who just make stuff up exactly the same question.


Barney Frank Invokes The Gilliard Doctrine At Townhall Healthcare Meeting


"Ma'am, trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to have a conversation with a dining room table; I have no interest in doing it."

Democratic Congressman Barney Frank responding to a Townhall Nazi Screamer


"There's a tendency for liberals to try and be fair, to consider other viewpoints, so we get baited by them in debates on terms that they set. I'm going to act on the following: I don't care what conservatives think........


.....I'm not writing to make conservatives happy. I want them to hate my opinions. I'm not interested in debating them.

I want to stop them."

Steve Gilliard, The Greatest Prog-Blogger Of All Time

And year's winner of the Steve Gilliard Award of Merit is a firebrand from Homer Alaska named Shannyn Moore, who is the antithesis of that formerly perennial JuCo Sophomore from Wasilla with the perhaps the most inane TwitterFeed In The Entire Universe....


Correct Me If I'm Wrong, But....


Could not (former) Solicitor General Rich Coleman's rationale for providing a clean, well-lighted place to launder money and/or get hooked on highly addictive online Video Display Terminals not also be extended to, say....

Crack houses?

Thanks to our good friend the Powell river persuader for the tip on the Money Laundering potential of that $9,999 per week (ie. not $10,000) limit.
Update: Thanks to il positino in the comments for noting that the (former) to the lede.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Is This The Dawning Of A New Era Of "Disaster Gordoism"?


As Colin Hansen runs around the province of British Columbia with his hair on fire telling anybody that will listen that revenues are suddenly (ie. in the last three months since the election) way, way, way, way down, you may want to consider the possibility, which was raised presciently by Paul Willcocks yesterday, that the Finance minister's leader, Mr. Gordon Campbell, may actually view this as a real opportunity to slash and burn like it's 2001 all over again.....

Times a hundred.....

If not a hundred thousand.....

Here's Paul's kicker:

".....Creating a crisis - this time through a wildly inaccurate budget - justifies all sorts of radical change...."


But why, you might be asking yourself, would Mr. Campbell view his self-exacerbated budget shortfall as an 'opportunity', rather than a 'problem'?

Well, I think it might have something to with his ideological world view and/or a fondness for the bleatings of a neandercon named Norquist.

Here's the comment that I left for Mr. Willcocks explaining my 'hypothesis':
Thanks for this Paul.

And it will be very interesting to read what others think about it.

Just to expand a little bit about what brought me to my hypothesis, I first started wondering about this after reading Monte Paulsen's interesting piece that was published in The Tyee during the early days of the election campaign just past.

Then, after the single TV debate that came later in the campaign, I really, really started to wonder.

Finally, when the post-election reports of the deep healthcare cuts first surfaced pretty much simultaneously with all that 'two-tiered is fine'-type talk that was floated by a Campbell-appointed official, which you commented on extensively, well, it was impossible for me to not think of that old saw from noted American uber-conservative Grover Norquist about wanting to shrink the size of government enough that so he could 'drown it in the bathtub'.


What do you all think?

Or as West End Bob keeps telling me "y'all".......Truth be told, I actually think 'you all' is the perfect expression, and it is something I've forcibly retained in my speech since coming back from the States....In fact, I use it a lot when I'm teaching....Why?....Because it's completely gender neutral.
There is another opening in the opportunity for Mr. Campbell, of course....which is really longterm scary....why?.....Well, because he could also use it to justify a whole new round of public asset sell-offs to raise so-called grace-saving short term capital....more on that later.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

All Killer, No Filler - America's True Healthcare Reform Warrior



It's Jane Hamsher, she who has whipped enough progressive Democrats in Congress to defeat, yes DEFEAT, any healthcare reform bill that does not have a real Public Option....

And that ladies and gentlemen is the best example of the real power of the truly progressive Bloggodome that I have yet witnessed.

Power that has absolutely nothing to do with death panel zombies, but instead has been harnessed to help those that are supposed to be on OUR side do the right thing.

Oh, ya, and she raises money too.


Real Railgate Reportage....Eyewitness News You Can Truly Use....


From the Woodsteinian tag-team of Laila Yuile and G.A.B.

Go and read it all, right now!

And marvel at all you were NOT told by the mainstream media maw earlier this week.

(I'll have more to say later)

Read it!


Gordo's New Media Moneybag Is No Longer Being Delivered By CanWest...


....Instead, it's now being stuffed, signed, sealed and delivered by an outfit called Glacier Media.

Charlie Smith writing in the GStraight has the story:

".....In 2005, Canwest contributed $50,000 to the (BC Liberal) party. But this year, there's no record of any donations. Recently, Canwest media outlets, particularly the Province newspaper, have been slapping the B.C. Liberals around over such issues as health cuts, the harmonized sales tax, and the B.C. Rail case.

But there's a rising publishing company that has stepped into the breach: Vancouver-based Glacier Media Inc.

On January 7, it handed over $100,000 to the B.C. Liberals, according to the party's disclosure to Elections B.C.

It owns community and daily papers across Western Canada, including the Whistler Question, the Squamish Chief, the Powell River Peak, the Nelson Daily News, and the Prince Rupert Daily News. It also owns Business in Vancouver, which is a weekly paper in Vancouver, as well as three papers in Ontario and Quebec....."

But don't think that the bloom is completely off the Lotuslandian monopolistic media rose.

Here's Mr. Smith again:

"....Glacier's chairman, Sam Grippo, used to run Hollinger's community newspapers in Metro Vancouver. Glacier, which keeps a relatively low profile, has remained profitable despite a downturn in newspaper advertising. For the six months ending June 30, it posted a profit of $11.1 million on revenues of $118 million.

It's worth keeping an eye on Glacier because it, along with Black Press and Torstar, could one day be in the running to buy Canwest assets....."

Oh boy.

Sure would be interesting to know, don't you think, whether or not the Provincial government's wurlitzer/ad buys have gone up significantly at Glacier-owned outlets since the generous donation was made.....Perhaps some young whippersnapper like, say, Mr. Herbert could ask the man in charge of the PAB, Minister Stewart (who is also, at least nominally in charge of Email destruction apparently) that question in The Ledge next week.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Rewinding The RailGate Tapes Is 'Hard Work'



That's right.

And it's making it really, really hard for the Speaker of the House to get ready for next week's opening of the Legislature.


Here's the latest on the goings on in the RailGate courtroom courtesy of the Canadian Press:

"VANCOUVER, B.C. (Tues Aug 18/09)— The search for potential evidence in the BC Rail corruption case is apparently taxing the staff at the B.C. legislature in Victoria as they prepare for a new session that starts Monday.

A lawyer for Speaker Bill Barisoff told B.C. Supreme Court Judge Elizabeth Bennett that the Speaker's staff have worked weekends and given up vacations to fulfil a defence request to unearth old MLA emails that may be related to the case....."

What pure, unadulterated codswallop.


The Missing RailGate Tapes....This Is Way Worse Than Mr. Nixon's 18 Minutes...



Because, according to an unbylined report from the CP, everything BEFORE Dec 2004 (ie. one full year AFTER the Ledge Raids took place....and five months AFTER the accused in the case were charged.... and one month AFTER the final deal with CN Rail went down) are, apparently, all gone:

"The tapes go back only until December, 2004, a year after the BC Rail deal was completed and police raided the legislative offices of David Basi and Bob Virk, two of the accused in the complex case.

“The most relevant periods are missing,” defence lawyer Michael Bolton complained outside court....."


And here's the kicker.....

"....(The Campbell Government's man in the Railgate Courtroom) Mr. (George) Copley added that a search of Premier Gordon Campbell's active computers in Victoria and Vancouver, along with those of chief of staff Martyn Brown, turned up no BC Rail references....."


Did the Preem and/or his assistants send all his computers out to EDS for sanitizing, by 'mistake' too?






RailGate Re-Visited....Will Laila Yule Tell Us Details That Ian Mulgrew Did Not?


Here is what Mr. Mulgrew told us, in his updated VSun report, about goings on in the RailGate Courtroom yesterday:

"....The defence lawyers are similarly upset that corporate and political fixer Patrick Kinsella has refused to answer their questions about his role in the railway auction.

They want the consultant, who worked for BC Rail on contract between 2001 and 2005, subpoenaed. They contend Kinsella is intimate with the divestiture and was the "go-to guy" or conduit to CN Rail.

Notes from two key Crown witnesses, according to the lawyers, say Kinsella, long a confidant of the premier, was in fact working for CN, ultimately the successful bidder......"

Now, just who are these Crown witnesses, exactly, and what are these notes, specifically?


Laila was in the courtroom yesterday too, and we're pretty sure she is going to tell us, when she posts up on these matters later today at her place.....

How do I kinda/sorta know this?.....Well, another citizen compatriot in courtroom-sitting, our good friend GAB, was there with Laila, and she already gave us a couple of juicy details in the comments to the previous post on this matter, here.....
Now, please do not misunderstand me...... I am in no way intending to impugn the work of Mr. Mulgrew here... Because his piece gave us more specifics than any other from a member of proMedia so far, including cross-country rival Mr. Mason....It's just that I'm fed up with some of the puffed-up punditry around here that keep calling us 'cultists' and who also accuse we, the people people who actually pay attention, of just making stuff up....


Monday, August 17, 2009

Gary Mason Wants To Know Why Patrick Kinsella Won't Answer The Question...


.....About whether or not he was working for both for buyer and the seller in the run-up to the still super-secret BC Rail deal:

".....Mr. Kinsella has declined to answer questions about the role he may have been playing with CN or whether he was even employed by the rail company to give strategic advice related to the BC Rail sale. CN has not answered questions either.

This is interesting. Because when I heard that Mr. Kinsella was working for the financial institution connected to the proposed sale of another part of BC Rail's holdings in 2004, I phoned his lawyer, James Sullivan, to get it confirmed. Mr. Sullivan said Mr. Kinsella denied working for TD Securities in connection with the ultimately aborted sale of the BC Rail spur line.

So, why wouldn't he deny working for CN in the sale of BC Rail if it wasn't true?...."

Why, indeed?



Did An Entire Pack Of Rabid Dogs Eat All The RailGate Email Homework?



So here's what we know so far about what happened at today's Railgate Court hearing.....

First off, the judge is going, going, gone.....(almost).

Secondly, apparently Patrick Kinsella's attorney is a slow reader and thus needs more time to read a whole bunch of new documents.

And third, there was some kind of discussion about all those missing and/or destroyed and/or recovered and/or kinda/sorta lost government Emails that the defense asked for more than TWO YEARS AGO, and which The Globe and Mail reported in July were apparently ordered destroyed by one of the bosses of the governments' 'Citizen Services' division in May of this year.


May of THIS YEAR, in the MIDDLE of a provincial election campaign.


So, what, exactly, did Gordon Campbell's man in the Railgate courtroom, Mr. George Copley, tell the soon-to-be-departing Judge about what happened to all those Emails, which she has already deemed to be potentially relevant to the guilt or innocence of the accused, just as the first British Columbians got set to take their first 'free' trips on the Canada Line?

Well, we're not sure, exactly, but the following is Ian Mulgrew's interpretation in the VSun:

".....The defence team is frustrated in its attempts to obtain information it claims is vital to a fair trial, especially e-mails from current and former MLAs, including Premier Gordon Campbell.

The court heard that there is a complicated process of classifying and retaining government documents including emails, technical problems recovering some digital data and continuing debate about privacy and privilege concerns.

It still may be weeks before anyone knows what emails exist, which might have been destroyed, which might be relevant and which might ultimately be produced. Discussions over those issues will continue....."


This is absolutely ridiculous.

The following is a single question for Mr. Copley, the Minister responsible, Mr. Stewart, and/or the woman who runs the office that allegedly ordered the Emails destroyed, Ms. Hayes:

"Do the E-mails exist?"

Now, there are only two possible answers to this question, and both are very simple and uncomplicated.






RailGate Resurfacing....The Netroots Will Report


According to a comment she left over at Mary's, our friend Great Aunty Bertha was in the RailGate courtroom today with another friend, Laila Yule.

And, unreported by the proMedia so far.......

Apparently, according to GAB, a new 'notebook' has surfaced that belonged to Mr. Brian Kieran* that could maybe kinda/sorta shed some light on the various and sundry involvements of one of those closely connected with Premier Gordon Campbell, the BC Liberal Party, and, surprise!, BC Rail who has become, well, 'involved' in the case.


This could get good.

We await Laila's full report.....

The following is Bill Tieleman's description of Mr. Kiernan and that very fine fellow's involvement in all things railgate-related from his (ie. Mr. T's) comprehensive omnibus column/post published in Dec. 2008 titled "Railgate A to Z":

Brian KIERAN. Key Crown witness.The former Province columnist-turned-provincial lobbyist was partners with fellow key Crown witness Erik Bornmann and Jamie Elmhirst in Pilothouse Public Affairs. Pilothouse's offices and Bornmann's Vancouver home office were searched by police in conjunction with the B.C. legislature raid in December 2003.

Kieran -- whose Legislature Press Gallery nickname was "Fang" -- wrote a political column for years before retiring to become a lobbyist -- and a very successful one, using his many government and industry contacts to build a significant business.

Kieran's clients included the Certified General Accountants Association of B.C., the Council of Forest Industries, the B.C. Real Estate Association, Merck Frosst Canada, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and the Employers Forum of B.C.

But it was Kieran and Bornmann's role as the registered lobbyists for OmniTRAX, the Denver-based corporation that was bidding to buy B.C. Rail, that brought them notoriety.

documents released in court, police allege that Bornmann and Kieran gave David Basi and Bob Virk $30,000 in exchange for documents and information about the B.C. Rail privatization process.

Kieran told the Province in 2006 that the warrants
might "lead to assumptions" that would not be made if the full facts were available, and that he has co-operated fully with the prosecution.


RailGate On Life Support....Kinsella Cross-Examination Delayed


Apparently until at least September.

Who will be the judge then?

And what was this all about?....Well according to Leonard Krog (he said it, not me, on CKNW with Michael Smyth @ ~11:25am), apparently the defense wished to ask Mr. Kinsella if he was working for both BC Rail and CN the same in simultaneously....
Related (and perhaps more importantly).....The stepping down of Mdme Justice Bennett has at least temporarily knocked the Canada Line SynchphanticSchmoozeFest (ie. all 'dignitaries' no public all the time for the first three hours) out of the box as the lead story on the (notso)Giant'98....Can you imagine... just imagine (really!), where the Railgate story would have gone today if Mr. Kinsella had been subjected to defense questioning today if there had been NO (rushed-up) Canada Line opening.....


RailGate Relapsing....Judge Quits


Details to follow....

(I suggest you watch for Mark Hume's report as Mr. Tieleman is away....There are also unconfirmed reports that there may be a gaggle of Bloggodome members in the courtroom)

No official word yet on whether or not the Premier of British Columbia let loose with a Cheshire Cat grimace when he looked up from his Crackberry while riding the CanadaLine at ~10:23am this morning.

Update: Looks like maybe Mr. Hume is on holidays....first cryptic report in The Globe is from Rod Mickleburgh....Upside?....Well, at least Mr. Brethour didn't send Mr. Bailey over from the CanadaLine festivities to do a little stenograpy....


Can You Get To The Courthouse On The Canada Line?



Well then....

I guess that means Gordon Campbell's man in the Railgate courtroom, Mr. George Copley, will have to take the Towncar to Smithe and Hornby when he goes before the judge, Madame Justice Bennett to explain what the hell happened to all those Emails.

Regardless, to my mind, there is absolutely no justifiable explanation for their ordered destruction during an election campaign.

An election campaign whose result was very much up in the air at the time of the ordered destruction.

Not to mention an election campaign that came immediately on the heels of calls for a full public inquiry into Railgate by the Opposition after it was revealed that the man who managed Mr. Campbell's first two election campaigns was actually in the employ of BC Rail to the tune of $300,000.

All of which, to my mind at least, means that the following question must be asked.....

Was the order given to destroy physical evidence to keep it from reaching the court or the public?

Or both?

Meanwhile, I have to wonder if all the overtime that was required to rush finish the King Edward station down the street from my house was paid for by stealing money away from British Columbia's best and brightest.......Sheesh.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday Night Music Club.....Marian McPartland and Les Paul


The great Mr. Paul passed away on Thursday at the age of 94.

Here he is talking, playing and inspiring, with the equally inspirational, not to mention great, Marian McPartland back in 1999.

It's a full hour of absolute fabulousness and living so easily in the gorgeous Summertime.

And it all starts in my favorite key.




Sabotaging American Healthcare Reform....


Have The Screamers And Sycophants (and their Big-Money Backers) Won?

Why yes.

It looks like they just may have:

"....According to The Associated Press, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is suggesting the White House is ready to accept nonprofit insurance cooperatives instead of a government-run public option in a health overhaul plan.

Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Ms. Sebelius says Mr. Obama still believes there should be choice and competition” in the health insurance market — but that a public option is “not the essential element...."

This is very, very, very bad indeed.

The following is a comment I left on a very good post from Kirk Murphy, a real live doctor who was willing to compromise, downward, from Universal/Single Payer to Public Option previously, over at Firedoglake:

"What I think folks (in the States) need to realize is that, regardless future political situations (ie. even with a hammerhead majority in both houses and the WH), if you all lose on this one based on the ’successful’ use of the tactics used here….


You’ll never win.


(In Canada, we did not get Universal Healthcare because of the federal government of the day rammed it through…..Instead, we got it because a very vocal progressive minority pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed in just one province against all odds…..And guess what, the guy leading that minority was Jack Bauer’s grandfather!)

Amy Goodman talked about the KSutherland/TDouglas Connection recently here."



Saturday, August 15, 2009

My Grandma's End Of Life 'Life Panel'


In response to all of Sarah Palin's codswallop about 'Death Panels', I wrote the following for the folks at Firedoglake who are fighting the real, true and honest good fight for Healthcare Reform down in the States......


Hi Folks.

RossK. here again...

I'm a Canadian who used to live in the States and started my family down there with y'all before I came home again.

So I know how Healthcare works on both sides of the border.

I also wrote quite extensively about a fellow Canadian, and Universal Healthcare Haters' Club Inc. shill, Ms. Shona Holmes here, here and here.

But today I want to tell you about my Grandma who died not long ago at the age of 91 after a long and full life that might have ended much earlier if it hadn't been for the Canadian Healthcare system...


Because my Grandma E. was 76 years old when she had her aortic aneurysm.


Now, I'm sure you all know the story of another much more famous Canadian, Neil Young, who also had an aneurysm, which is essentially the ballooning out of a blood vessel.

It happens when the wall of the vessel weakens due to disease, old age or, in the case of Mr. Young, because of a congenital abnormality.

'Congenital' means that you were born with it.

Which also means that it is a pre-existing condition.

Of course, despite the fact that he now lives in the States, Mr. Young didn't have to worry about any of that 'pre-existing condition' business because he is rich.


My Grandma E. was most definitely not rich.

At the time this story took place, she lived in a one bedroom apartment and owned a very well maintained 21 year-old Plymouth Valiant that she and her husband, my Grandpa A., bought the year he dropped dead of a heart attack while mowing the front lawn of my parents' new house one spring evening while I, a reportedly precocious six year old at the time, was inside watching the latest episode of Adam West as Batman on the television.


Neil Young also had another advantage over my Grandma E.

Which is that his balloon was small, just 8 millimeters long (less than half an inch), which meant that the surgeons could seal it off with tiny coils.

There was no way they could do that kind of minimally invasive procedure for my Grandma because her balloon was gigantic.

And it was located in the largest artery in the body - the aorta, which is pounded constantly, every time the heart beats, by the highest of high blood pressure there is given that it is the vessel that comes directly out of the heart and sends blood everywhere.

Oh, and I should also mention that when the doctors discovered Grandma E's balloon it was leaking internally into her chest and abdominal cavities.

Which meant that she was very, very sick and in big, big trouble.


I was in Gradual School* away from home when all this happened, but I went home immediately for all kinds of reasons, including the fact that my family had to talk with the doctors a lot and, because of my science-geek training, I knew a little bit about anatomy and medical stuff.

Now, I guess, if you were so inclined, you could call these confabs we had with the doctors 'panels'.


What did we talk about in all those 'panels' you might be wondering?


We talked constantly about what was best for her.

And about what procedures or treatments would be best for her and what her quality of life would be when all was said and done.

If she even survived.

And I want to be very clear about the following....

There were no discussions of Economics....

Or Costs....

Or Euthanasia.

And there were most definitely NO BUREAUCRATS involved.

In the end, we, the family, talked to at length with my very weak, barely conscious Grandmother and, together, we, and we alone, made our decision.

And our collective decision was to take the riskiest course, which was the one with the biggest upside.**

Major surgery....

The biggest risk of which was the possibility that Grandma E. would die instantly on the operating table because the weak-walled aorta could have exploded the moment the surgeons touched it.

It did not..... And they managed to sew it up and stent it during a surgery that was interminable as we waited and waited and waited, with regular updates from the nurses.

There was also the risk that Grandma E. would die soon after the surgery due to heart failure and/or lung congestion.

She did not.....It was scary for awhile, watching her struggle for breath as her feet and legs swelled, but she had never smoked, she was not obese, and she pulled through with the assistance of a constantly monitored arsenal of cardiovascular modifying pharmaceuticals.

It was also possible that sepsis or peritonitis could have taken her due to all that bleeding that had occurred inside her, but the massive, longterm doses of antibiotics worked there too.

And then, there was also the possibility that, in the end, the balloon would just move on down the vessel and the whole thing would start all over again.

It did not.

And a month later, my Grandma E. left the hospital.

And she moved back into her appartment where she had a nurse come and visit every day until she got better and started driving that Valiant again (which she eventually gave to my brother when her eyesight finally failed a few years later).

And why didn't I mention the bill for all this?

Well, because, of course, under Universal Healthcare that everyone supports and pays for, there wasn't one.


Grandma E. lived for another 15 years after her 'big surgery'.

And when she finally passed away of natural causes at the age of 91 it was a long, slow drift into peacefulness as her breathing slowed bit-by-bit and then, just like that........ finally......... stopped.

And I was sitting at her side holding her hand when she went.

I will love her forever.

*'Gradual School' is a term that was coined by one of my kids, who is one of Grandma E's great-grandaughters that she got to know and love years after her surgery was just a distant memory. The term, which the kids I now teach refers to graduate school as a place where you go and go and go (and go) until gradually decide you want to stop.
**Of course, all that surgery was also the most costly option.


Mr. Farrell Speaks.....We Listen


This time about Colin Hansen.



Friday, August 14, 2009

Who Knew Jimmy Would Turn Out To Be The Charming One


My oldest kid, Bigger E., who is 16 now, gets upset with me sometimes for reading and thinking too much about things before I actually experience them for real.

And she's got a point.

But this is one that is driving me 'round the bend, head over heels with anticipation of the imagining to the point that I almost want to wait for the DVD and all the extras that are sure to be in the box that comes with it.


And if that trailer doesn't grab you by the Zozo's, maybe the final graph from Robert Wilonsky's review in the VVoice will:

".....Page air-guitaring along to Link Wray's "Rumble" and guiding us through the manse where the fourth Zep record was recorded; White building a guitar out of little more than wood, wire, and a Coke bottle. Guggenheim pits young'un against old fart: White bemoans "technology," while The Edge is nothing but—so much so that U2 fans may find themselves disappointed by the revelation that the Wizard is nothing but a pile of pedals behind that arena-sized curtain. It's Page, a joyful instructor and natural storyteller, who steals the spotlight (Robert who? More, please.) Only real complaint: The movie's not loud enough. They should have turned that fucker up to 11......"


Meanwhile, the greatest of the great, Les Paul, passed away yesterday. There is a fantastic story/interview from NPR's FreshAir up, here.


RailGate ReBooting.....Will She Stay Or Will She Go?


It's a question that is being actively bandied about regarding the intentions of current Railgate judge Mdme Justice Elizabeth Bennett over at Mary's place.

Check out the comments, because that's where the action is.


Dealing With The Dreaded HST...Petitions Are Not Enough



When The Dippers went gaga over their 'Axe The Tax' campaign awhile back, I was immediately concerned that, especially if they did not come up with some real policy alternatives to back it up, the whirling blades of the wurlitzer would come back to whack them.

Here's what I wrote, way back in ancient times (ie. the Summer of 2008):

"....Today's 'Axe The Gas Tax' press release thingy from Carole James and the B.C. NDP is a good idea, at least in terms of pure, raw politics.

And, as such, I would also agree that they should grab as many doppler echoes as they can.....


It is not enough.

Because, in my opinion, they have to have to hit fast and hard with something new by the next newscycle so that what they are doing here doesn't get hammered down (and/or before folks realize that by taking this action they are actually aligning themselves, in simplistic media maw terms at least, with a certain group of neoStraussians from Albertario).

And besides, don't forget that Ms. James also has to deal with a the biggest media machine this province has ever seen.

Which is not CTV.

Or Global.

Or CanWest.

Or Corus.

Or even a guy named Holman.

Instead it is a thousand-headed hydra known as Mr. Campbell's 'OIC' (eg. PAB-assisted) network...."

And we all know what happened nine months later, right?

(especially when the Dippers got double-whacked by the hiving-off of the so-called 'green power movement' just as the election campaign kicked-off)



Here's the thing.

I feel exactly the same way about the recent Dipperian response to the HST.

Because even 500,000 signatures on Facebook will not be enough when, down the road, the Dippers get whacked-up the side of the head by the 'it's good for business' crowd and their sycophantic hordes in much of the proMedia.

So, what to do?

Well, the following, which I also suggested way back when, but I think also applies here as well might be worth considering:

"....Given all that, what should the James gang do next?

Well, my advice is to do a reverse Taylor (from the piked position).

As in Carole.

Which means that first you beat up on some egregious business bunds (maybe forestry... maybe coal bed methane.....maybe rapacious mining..... maybe not).

Then, by this time next week start making nice with carrots to real green and really sustainable businesses with really super-duper tax breaks for doing the right and righteous thing...."

The point is that the publicity generated by the spin can be used to help get some real policy alternatives into the proMedia sphere.

Which does two things.

First, it let's the public know that such alternatives are real possibilities.

And second, it will innoculate the Dippers from the next wave of OIC/PAB-assisted counter-spin.


That's not to say that I think that the efforts of Mr. Tieleman et al. are a waste of time.....Instead, what I am saying is that they are not enough.....


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Laila's In!.......Our First Provincial Netroots Uber-Friendly Candidate!



That's right.

Laila Yule, who I'd vote for in a heartbeat if she lived in my riding, has made her intentions crystal clear.

Not that I was trying to force her into it or anything when she let us know all about it during a comment thread conversation that also included our good friend WestEnd Bob. This was generated, presumably by the following 'endbar'TM I tacked on to the bottom of a post on the American Netroots Nation...

Closer to home, the estimable Frances Bula raised the issue of the lack of a Netroots-type movement provincially 'round here not long ago (as opposed to that fake Twitter/OpenPlatform official party codswallop we saw during the last election).....And I agree with her that we are not yet a force.....However, a little bird has whistled (ie. most definitely not 'tweeted') into my ear that we just may have a candidate to call our own next time around.....

And here's the comment thread conversation itself.....

a "Little bird", eh?

Gravatar What you talkin' bout Willis?

Gravatar That bird can sing ! ! ! !

Gravatar Oh boy.

I think the time has come for me to do a Sgt. Schultz....

Gravatar It's all good RossK.

I think I made my first "unofficial" announcement on your site on the night of the election - during your first,rather infamous live blog/chat!So it would only be fitting that I do this here as well...

I've had enough of some politicians who have forgotten where they came from, as well as those who have never known what it is to struggle to do right by your family and your community. We have more than enough candidates that are interested in pensions and dinners and nights in Victora - I think there needs to be more candidates that truly believe in the meaning of the words" Public Service". People who want to work hard and do right by the people of their riding, as well as the province as a whole.

It is my intention to run in the next provincial election, with the support of many members of my community, as well as many in the blogging/writing community. The particulars are to be worked out still, however,anyone wishing to lend their support and work towards this goal with me,is welcome to contact me at

There you go RossK.

Gravatar Alrighty then Laila.....

It's time to rally the troops!

(and yes, I certainly do remember your 'announcement' during the election night live blog)


How about that!


Save Kudos and Kvetches!



Because it looks like they're in trouble, that's why.

Ms. Bula (non pro-Division) has the story:

".....(O)ne of my very favourite reads in the city is in danger. Apparently it’s not getting enough Internet hits.

For those of you who have never read it, the Vancouver Courier’s Kudos & Kvetches column, which I believe is written after hours by random groups of staffers who have altered their consciousnesses chemically, is one of the last funny corners of journalism in a city far too weighed down with Serious Columnists Trying to Be Important or At The Very Least More Hysterical and Shrill Than Anyone Else.

If you haven’t read their description of the Vancouver city council’s inauguration ceremony last December, you have missed a truly Pantagruelian account of the festivities. (One word: giant perogies. Oh, that’s two.)..."




And bang the lever in Pavlovian Fashion for something that actually kinda/sorta matters 'round here.


And that includes you too Bob!
I was going to title this post 'The K&K Took My Baby Away' but, despite it's catchiness, it just didn't fit somehow, especially given that I don't actually know Ms. Bula personally and, to the best of my knowledge, my partner C. rarely reads it (presumably because she's got enough irreverance in her real life midst; at least that's what I would like to think/hope, ha!).
Oh, and in case you were wondering......Yes, there is a Uke Cover!!!!



Netroots Nation Is On The Air!


I've long thought that interwebz-assisted grassroots activism on the left side of the spectrum (ie. the 'Netroots') has made a difference electorally down south.

In fact, despite all the wingnut-welfare-wurlitzered proMedia-backed 'conventional wisdom' to the contrary, I would even go far as to argue that such activism almost won (ie. did not 'lose') the presidential election for John Kerry in 2004.

Regardless, the news of today is that the Netroots Nation is having their big annual convention, right here, right now....

In Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.

Which is not really right here, but for all intents and purposes really is.

Right here, I mean.

Because you can stream the entire thing.


And if you do you will notice (at least) two very important things.

First - issues of real import will be discussed.

Second - these are the rational people, not the crazies that you will see on Fox News screaming about Death Panels and the evils of a place like Canada because everybody can actually access Healthcare and nobody loses their house in doing so if they get really sick.


Just to show you how far these folks have come.....Not to mention how they've made the mainstream 'center-left' sit up and really listen to their power.....The keynote speaker (5:00pm our time Thursday) is none other than William Jefferson 'Don't Call Me George' Clinton....

Closer to home, the estimable Frances Bula
raised the issue of the lack of a Netroots-type movement provincially 'round here not long ago (as opposed to that fake Twitter/OpenPlatform official party codswallop we saw during the last election).....And I agree with her that we are not yet a force.....However, a little bird has whistled (ie. most definitely not 'tweeted') into my ear that we just may have a candidate to call our own next time around.....


When, Exactly, Did Mr. Campbell Decide To Implement The HST?


Well, if he'd taken the advice of his friends and uncles at the Progress Board that have so often influenced his thinking in the past, it might have been last December.

Jeff Nagel has the story in the Surrey Leader. Here's his lede:

"The provincial government was advised last December to pursue a harmonized sales tax – five months before the provincial election – but cautioned that it would be politically explosive.

A report from the B.C. Progress Board called on Victoria to adopt an HST "as soon as possible" on grounds it would improve productivity over the long term and boost business investment.

The premier and finance minister have been accused of hiding their intentions from voters and both have claimed the HST wasn't on their radar as an idea until after the May election....."

The Premier?

Hiding his intentions?

I am shocked. Shocked I tell you!

And if you believe that, boy, have I got a railway to sell you.




And how can the Dippers make the most of the flap/public hatred for the HST?.....Well, stay tuned.....Post on that comin' soon......


Bling, Bling, Bling Goes The Gordo


Lotusland's newest member of the Bloggodome, Grant. G. (a.k.a. 'The Powell River Persuader'), has the story:

"As news story go this one has little merit but I feel it`s worth reporting. Last week while the province was in flames and thousands were out of their homes, where was our fearless leader?

Well I found out that Campbell was barbecueing burgers and dogs at the Olympic Village and handing out 1500 gold medals (which just happen to have his picture and name on them) to the construction workers......."

Grant G. even has a great name for the Preem's heavy metal slugs.....



Marcella Bernardo of the (nolongerso)Giant'98 has the straight-up version of the story....Can't wait for G.G. to start reporting on the on-air shenanigans of the shrinking giant so that we don't have to.......(report and/or listen I mean).....


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My Year Of Living Nicely


I had to go to the dentist late yesterday afternoon.


My dentist is a nice guy and, most importantly, he doesn't give me a hard time about the years of neglect that he's now trying to fix.

And when I'm in the chair we often compare our operations. Yesterday we talked sterilizers. He has these tiny little jobs the size of an old 8-Track player that get up to temperature and pressure really, really fast. Me, I have a great, hulking stainless steel thing that costs me a fortune to fix because there are, apparently, only three people west of Winnipeg that actually know how to do it.

None of which is germane to this story at all, except for the fact that my dentist's office is in the West End. Link
And since I hate taking the VW (notso)Microbus onto the Downtown Penninsula for all kinds of reasons, and because I want to make Uncle Dave fume, I usually park in Kits, haul out my bike, and ride across the Burrard Bridge.

Which is exactly what I did yesterday after work.

And as I circled underneath the north end of the bridge and came down onto the Sea Wall just past the Aquatic Center I was accosted by a couple of slightly scruffy looking young kids who couldn't speak English.

Now, please understand....

These kids did not want money.

Or food.

Or dope.

Or trouble.

Instead, they just wanted to know if I spoke Spanish and if I knew where they could rent bikes so that they too could ride around the seawall (I think).


I can't speak Spanish, but that didn't matter (except when I kept lapsing into bad French) as I showed them where all the Denman St. bike shops are on their map.

Then I asked them where they were from.

Which turned out to be Mexico.

They even showed me their visas, laughing as they did so.

I apologized for my Prime Minister which I don't think they understood at all.

But that didn't stop them from smiling and waving madly as I rode away.