Thursday, October 28, 2010

Gordon Campbell Tells British Columbians That They Are All Dumber Than A Sack Of 4th Graders

PowerpointsAndPieChartsWillNeverBeat
ChildPovertyVille

________

Update: I apologize, profusely, for insulting 4th graders everywhere (see comments)
________

Why?

Because even a 4th grader who can't read or write (or who is smart enough to refuse to take the stupid Fraser Institute-mandated FSA tests that skew the numbers to the way less literate side of the ledger) knows that you can't use percentages when their Mom sends them to the local 7-11 to buy a loaf of bread and a quart of milk.

And even more importantly, when you are a kid from a not-so wealthy family, and you head to the corner store to buy stuff for your Mom you know you are going to need cold, hard cash.

So let's have a look at the real money that the Moms and Dads in this province will get back from Mr. Campbell's (as yet unannounced) cuts to their kids' services (aka the 'Unfunded Tax Cut').

Are you ready?

Hold on to your hats, and maybe even grit your teeth because this going to take a little....

Gasp!

Grade 4 Math.

****

According to numbers posted by Andrew MacLeod of The Tyee, if you are single Mom making $20,000 per year you will get $68 dollars back from Mr. Campbell's 'Unfunded Tax Cut'.

Or, put another way, if you are family of four where the two parents who are working their butts off at $10/hr to make $40,000 per year, the savings they will receive when Mr. Campbell cuts services to their kids will be $136 per year.

Now, in contrast....

If you are a family of four that makes $144,000 per year (or more) you will get $1,232 back for screwing lot of other folks' kids out of the public services that you can afford to pay for at your private club (or private school).

So, given all that.....

If you are in grade 4 and you can add, subtract, and even do a little long division, you can figure out that, in percentage terms, the family that makes $144,000 per year (or more) is getting a tax break that is 805% more than the family that makes $40,000 per year ([1232-136]/136X100).

Yes.

That's right.

The rich family that doesn't need the public services that Gordon Campbell himself needed when he was a kid growing up (as he so glowingly told us last night) poor in Point Grey will be getting more than 8 times the cold, hard cash than the family whose kids are growing up poor in Port Kells and really needs those public services that Mr. Campbell is going to have to cut.

All of which is just another way of saying that the rich family, in addition to never worrying about having to find the cash to pay for a loaf of 28 grain bread or a quart of oganic soy milk at Choices will now find it even easier to spring for private tutoring sessions, ice skating lessons, braces, and more red mittens to wear on those trips to the condo at Whistler that the poor family could never dream of based on Mr. Campbell's coming cuts to public services.

But, of course, even that is not the entire story.

Why?

Well, because there is still that matter of the cost of the HST to both families.

Which, unlike the returns on the unfunded tax cut is exactly the same for BOTH the rich and the poor family.

And it sure as heckfire ain't $136 per year.

OK?

.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

On The HST, Gordon Campbell Says...

......The Feds Made Him Do It!



Seriously.

Because, according to him, it was the Feds that held the massive $1.6 billion anvil over our heads.

Which has us wondering....

Does Mr. Campbell think he can erase the public record as easily as he erased all those RailGate Emails?

Sheesh.

****

Feel free to let us know what you thought of the Premier's mucky, million-hued, finger-painting melange of a speech that, essentially, turned-out brown, in the comments.

Thanks.


.

While British Columbians Get Burned....

...G_Campbell Tweets


And tells us that, yes, as others have suggested, he really just might be going all in on the Rob Fordian Bluster Bandwagon, FI-style, by gunning for local school boards...


______
FI = Fraser Institute
Remember, if you want some real analysis to go with your pablum....Or if you just want to keep watching TimmyL wipe the diamond with CLee while you type.....S_Holman is running a Live Blog starting at 6:30pm, here....

.

The S.S. Gordon Campbell....

....All Handcuffs On Deck!


A lot of folks in the British Columbia bloggodome that know way more about the nitty gritty of provincial politics than I do, and that includes people like Sean Holman, Bernard von Schulmannand Ian Reid, have been trying to make sense of Gordon Campbell's cabinet/ministry/building code shuffle that was announced a couple of days ago as the warm-up act to tonight's really Big Shooooo*.

And, truth be told, I think our good friend kootcoot might have come closest when he described it as a shuffling of the deck chairs on the Titanic before it even happened.

****

But then I thought about it a little more, especially in the wake of the bizarre bit of weirdness wherein John Les became the newly-minted champion of the HST.

And I was suddenly struck dumb with the realization that none of it actually has to make any sense at all from a policy and/or a 'getting things done' point of view (see: Bennett, Bill).

If....

The one truest/truthiest purpose of all of them all was to give all of Mr. Campbells' minions (so-called) new-and-improved duties that will make it that much harder for them to jump ship if the thing really starts to go down when the recall campaigns begin in earnest.

In other words, maybe what the Premier really did here was to handcuff his crew to the railings of the S.S. Gordon Campbell so that he can now, starting tonight, place hisred-mittened hands firmly on the tiller and head straight for the icy-cool, ultra-whiteness of The Headband and The Teeth that are lurking just over the horizon.

All of which ignores the actual, real diamond-hard truth of the matter.

Which is that The Zalms and their friends are just the teeniest tip perched atop the British Columbia public's massive Angerberg....

This should be fun to watch.

Especially if and/or when the gnawing starts.


_______
*A really Big Shoooo that Mr. Holman plans to Liveblog starting at 6:30pm over at PublicEye......

.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

When, Exactly, Did The Buffalo Springfield Come To The B.C. Blogosphere

HeyPeople,What'sThatSound
EverybodyLookWhat'sGoingDownVille


Not long ago Vancouver's finest municipal blogger Frances Bula wondered why we didn't have much going on that pertained to provincial politics in the bloggodome.

And while I tried to argue that we did, in fact, kinda/sorta have such a provincial scene happening even I had to concede that we were essentially playing to a niche audience made up of our own small circle of friends and on-line uncles that we were doing our best to influence.

You know, kind of like protest folk-rock for the fringe-jacket set after Dylan went electric just before The Buffalo Springfield hit the bigtime.

****

But all that seems to have changed over the last few months.

Which is interesting, especially given the disappointing way the BasiVirk trial ended for those of us that want the the entire truth to come out.

Why interesting, you may be asking?

Well, if you think about the way Laila Yuile's Sea-To-Sky 'Shadow Toll' expose was whipped around the provincial bloggodome and has been very extensively commented upon in the last 18 hours or so, you can see that something really is happening here.

And while what it is may not be exactly clear, it is is clear that people really are starting to pay serious attention.

And for me the real kicker here is that we don't seem to need the proMedia's wurlitzer to start cranking for that to happen.

Interesting that, eh?

Not to mention potentially very powerful.


______
And for those of you who have been hanging around this little F-Troop List blog for awhile and think you have read this all before, albeit in a very different context....Well....You have.....

.


Who Knows What Evil Lurks In The Hearts Of The P3 Highway Men?

...The Sea-To-Sky "Shadow Toll" Knows!



Citizen journalist extraordinare Laila Yuile has done all the digging to break another major story that will not make Gordon Campbell and/or his former Minister of Pavement, Kevin Falcon, happy.

This time Laila has discovered that, not only did we wildly overpay to have a private company build that highway to the Million-Dollar-Condos-Of-The-(socalled)Stars.....

But.....

Get this....

We, the People of British Columbia, are now paying a toll to that same private company every single time a German SUV flies up and down that road on the way to and from apres-ski.

Yes, that's right.

Instead of the drivers of those luxury vehicles paying the toll so that they can go 125 km per hour instead of the previous 105 , every single British Columbian is shelling out instead, regardless of whether or not they even live within 500 kilometers of that hype-laden highway.


****

Laila's in-depth story is here.

It's a doozy - and it is the type of in-depth investigative reporting that we would all like to see more of 'round here.

At the very least, it should now be one more subject that any self-respecting pro-Journo that has been 'granted' a post-speech scrum with the Premier should be asking about come Thursday morning.

OK?


.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Those French Kids Really Are Alright....

LeftBank
OnMyMindVille

Even when they are not protesting for the rest of us....



OK?


______
Here is the original...
For anybody wondering about the disappearance of our weekly Uke artist features....Well.....We're now working on a 'Saturday's Alright For (Uke!) Cover Fighting' podcast...

.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Cutting The Cabinet Out Of RailGate's Six Million Dollar Straw Man

AllTheTechnicalities
ThatFitVille


According to Vaughn Palmer, Rafe Mair is wrong.

Why?

Well, apparently due to (another!) pre-planned indemnity double-down, Gordon Campbell and his cabinet are off the hook because they did not have to directly approve the six million dollars required to buy-off to Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk (and their lawyers).

Here is Mr. Palmer's explanation:

"...But the more problematic part of the deal for the Liberals was the second line of decision-making, namely to forgo any attempt to recover the $6 million advanced by the Crown to cover the cost of Basi's and Virk's legal defence.

The special prosecutor had nothing to do with that part of the deal. It was made in Victoria by deputy minister of finance Graham Whitmarsh in concert with deputy attorney-general David Loukidelis.....

{snippety doo-dah}

The deputy duo acted under the authority of the Financial Administration Act, de Jong added, which brought a provocative e-mail from a reader.

On what authority? he asked, noting that the act explicitly states that only the cabinet can forgive "a debt or obligation to the government if the amount forgiven is $100,000 or more."

The amount forgiven here exceeded that threshold by a factor of 60. But no cabinet order was forthcoming because the amount was not, technically, a debt. It could have been, if the accused had been convicted and the Crown had proceeded to try to recover the legal fees.

But when the decision was made, the outstanding legal bills were only a contingent liability, advanced by way of indemnity, and cancellable by the deputy minister of finance under his standing authority under the act. Whitmarsh, acting on the recommendation of Loukidelis, signed off on all the paper work.

The cabinet was thus out of the loop, which is surely preferable to having ministers make the call on any aspect of the deal to end this case....."


How convienient.

But here's the thing.

Mr Whitmarsh is Mr. Campbell's and, dare I suggest, Mr. Martyn Brown's man over at Finance.

So.

Has anyone asked the good Mr. Whitmarsh if he ever spoke to Mr. Campbell or Mr. Brown about this matter, regarding the details when the deal went down, or, and this is very important, when indemnity technicality was worked out BEFORE the deal itself was even conceived of?

______
Oh......And it was good to see that Les Leyne is finally starting to keep up......What the heckfire am I talking about?.....Well, the other day Mr. Leyne didn't even mention Mr. Whitmarsh as being part of the dynamic duo when he was on the Ceeb with the the Puffmaster Flash.....But in his column today he at least acknowledge Mr. Whitmarsh's involvement...No discussion, of course, of the implications however......
And for the record....it was very nice to see Mr. Palmer follow-up on something that has been discussed, in considerable detail, by the 'Wingnuts in the Blogosphere'...Credit where credit is due, and all that....Unless, of course, Mr. Palmer's E-mail correspondent was named 'Anonymous'....

.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Sometimes Not Everything In A Six Million Dollar Straw Man Burns To The Ground After It Is Lit-Up With A Blow Torch

AllThePrivilegeThatUsedToFit
Cabinet/NotCabinetVille

Again.....

The flim-flam, shimmy-sham, apple-pandoughty of a RailGate trial is over.

Which means that everything is once again up for discussion.

Including the matter of a change in cabinet privilege 'protocol' surrounding the potential non-cabinet-based handling of RCMP documents that involved Gary Collins way back in 2004 just before the latter suddenly resigned as Finance Minister.

Ian Reid has the story.

The money quote is the following:

“As the very issue raised in your correspondence is actively before the Court”, (then RCMP Deputy Commissioner Gary) Bass wrote (to NDP Justice critic Leonard Krog in June of 2008), “I agree with (RCMP) Superintendent McRae that any criminal investigation (into the matter of 'protocol' changes) at this time is premature and not in the public interest. It is my position that we should await the outcome of the application in this matter (ie. the RailGate trial) before making any final determination with respect to entering into a criminal investigation into this matter.”
(stuff in brackets all mine)

So.

The trial is over.

And Mr. Bass has a new job.

So, perhaps this would be great time for somebody in the proMedia* to ask the good Mr Bass if he and/or his are working on making that 'final determination' about entering into a criminal investigation.

______
*According to Vaughn Palmer, Keith Baldrey and Bill Good this morning (ya Grant, I listened....Sheesh), members of the Lotuslandian proMedia are actually looking for 'legitimate' avenues of investigation follow up on that aren't eminating from the 'Wingnuts in the Bloggosphere'....
For the record, in response to an excellent, and fully realized, report from Justine Hunter report in The Globe, we wrote about this 'change in protocol', which, also for the record, involved the 'Man of Many Hats', way back when, here....

Is There Anything Lower In The Polls Than Gordon Campbell?

ReferendumShuffle
CountdownToRecallVille

________

Update, Oct 26/13....For those arriving by way of the Twittmachine Feed, you may be interested in this latest (kinda/sorta) new RailGate development
________


Why yes it turns out, believe it or not, that there is actually something less popular in the province of British Columbia than Premier Gordon Campbell and his 9% approval rating right now.

And that very unpopular thing, at least according to a highly-reputable online poll* that has garnered more than 1600 responses, is the prospect of NOT holding a Public Inquiry into all things RailGate:



______
*Which, of course, is at least as highly reputable as any other silly CorpMedia outlet online poll that gets freeped by whomever, based on calls from wherever, whose operations are paid for by the usual suspects......Or some such thing.....


.

Perhaps Someone Should Let Rick Cluff & Les Leyne Know....

SubstituteHeForHim
AndThenThey'llGetTheir(White?)WashingDoneVille


...That deputy AG David Loukidelis was NOT the only person involved in constructing the $6 Million Dollar Straw Man that was designed to make all things RailGate go away after the Fifth Newscycle....



Why do FACTS like this matter?

Because when you know facts such as these you actually know what the heckfire you are talking about.

Or, put another way, when you don't know (or refuse to state) all the pertinent facts, you are essentially talking gibberish.

And the FACT of the matter is that the second deputy minister involved in constructing the $6 Million Strawman was Mr. Graham Whitmarsh from Finance*.

Which means that Mr. Whitmarsh very, very likely had to go through mini-Treasury to get the money to get the deal done.

In other words, Mr. Whitmarsh would NOT have gone to the oh-so insulated Attorney General Mike de Jong for approval (which was Mr. Leyne's babbling, gibberish-laden take on the matter), but instead very, very likely had to go through Colin Hansen and Cabinet instead.

And if it went through Cabinet?

Well, as Rafe Mair strongly argued earlier this week, that very likely means that Premier Gordon Campbell knew exactly how his government put together their $6 Million Straw Man.

Funny that The CluffMaster Flash interviewed Mr. Leyne on CBC Radio's Early Edition this morning and not Mr. Mair, don't you think.

Come to think of it, perhaps that is the REAL story here.


______
*Of course, as we have already established, Mr. Whitmarsh is also (at the very least), a close former business associate of RailGate era Finance minister, Mr. Gary Collins who, thanks to the $6 Million Strawman no longer has to concern himself with the prospect of having to explain his words on the transcripts of RCMP surveillance wiretaps while under oath in a court of law.
And if you've got a little tip-o-the-tongue complex going on due to the the sub-head, this should send it flinging through the oral fissure...


.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pilot House Principals Gone Wild?

RehabilitateAllTheLobbyistsNow!
RevisionistHistoryVille


Late night Thursday....

I was just listening to the (not-so)Giant 98's 11:00pm newscast.

And.

I could have sworn that I just heard a Fang throw a wannabe Spiderman under the bus.

Guess only time, and/or the apologists on the Goodship Watercarrier's Friday morning radio show, will tell.

I will not be listening.


(somebody feel free to fill us in if anything 'newsworthy' pops-up)

.


Did The Fine Folks From The Province and the Victoria Times-Colonist Just Call.....

.

.....Mr. William Berardino the 'supposedly' independent prosecutor in the RailGate case?


Why yes, I believe they did:

".....And what sort of government do we have in B.C. when our top justice official, Attorney-General Mike de Jong, can agree to pay the crooked officials' $6-million legal fees as part of a deal between a supposedly independent special prosecutor and the defence lawyers? What is the point of hiring an independent prosecutor in the first place, if at the end of the process the attorney-general — a politician in the very government whose integrity the case brings into question — will be needed to approve such a massive carrot in the plea bargain? Have the payment of lawyers' fees ever before been part of such an arrangement?..."


As for all that other stuff.

You know, the stuff that asks what kind of government would suddenly decide to have two minions.....errrrrr....Deputy Ministers.....put together a secret deal to pay $6 million dollars to get the 'crooked officials' to call off their lawyers just as said lawyers are about to start hammering the heck out of other officials of the very same government....

Well.

That all suggests to me that we have the sort of Government that knows in its heart of hearts that it is the one that is really and truly crooked at its core.

Otherwise, why pay for absolutely everything?

Seriously.

Why?


.

The One Day De-Harmonizing Of Gary Collins and Graham Whitmarsh

NoLongerFlying
TheOh-SoFriendlySkiesVille


We have already established the following.....

....Former RailGate era Finance Minister Gary Collins once worked for David Ho's now defunct Harmony Airways.

....Current Deputy Finance Minister Graham Whitmarsh, who helped Deputy AG David Loukidelis put together the super-secret $6 million dollar plea-copping bonus-baby deal that ensured that former Minister Collins would never have to testify, under oath, in front of transcripts of RCMP surveillance wiretaps, at the RailGate trial, also worked for Harmony back in the day.


But here's something we didn't know, courtesy of Sean Holman's fantastic archives over at Public Eye.....

.....Current Deputy Finance Minister Whitmarsh was 'relieved' of his duties at Harmony on Nov. 30th 2006.

....Former RailGate era Finance Minister Collins resigned from Harmony just one day later on Dec. 01 2006.


Which, in my opinion at least, means two more things.....

....Mr. Whitmarsh and Mr. Collins know each other because they both worked together as executives at the small, locally-based Harmony Airways at the same time.

....It is not unreasonable for a reasonable person to wonder if the government of British Columbia and, more specifically, the Premier of British Columbia under whose pleasure all deputy ministers serve, placed Mr. Whitmarsh in a conflict of interest by having him help work out a super secret deal that ultimately benefitted a previous close business associate.


OK?


.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

RailGate's Repo Men....David Loukidelis and Graham Whitmarsh

AllTheLawyers'Fees
ThatFitVille


Well, well, well......

Apparently the 'Pay-Off All The Flunkies Immediately!' deed (with more of the Public's repossessed money) was actually done by two Deputy Ministers who serve at the pleasure of Mr. Gordon Campbell and his very capable, if slightly memory-challenged, Chief-of-Staff, Mr. Martyn Brown.

Rob Shaw has (the much more complete) story (than the VSun's J. Fowlie) in the Victoria Times-Colonist:

".....(W)hen special prosecutor Bill Berardino made the B.C. government aware on Oct. 5 that he had proposed to let the two men plead guilty, it fell to the deputy minister of finance, Graham Whitmarsh, and (Deputy Attorney General David) Loukidelis to figure out whether they would actually have to come up with the money, Loukidelis's statement read.

"A major consideration was the relatively small amounts that might be recovered from Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk compared to the millions of additional dollars it would cost the government to continue to fund defence, prosecution and court-related costs through to the completion of the trial, and to fund any appeals, with no guarantee of convictions," said Loukidelis.

"Based on the above, in our respective capacities the Deputy Minister of Finance and I decided to release Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk from their liability to repay. I communicated that decision to the Attorney General on October 8, 2010....."



Now.

Mr. Loukidelis we know all about.

But how about the good Mr. Whitmarsh?

Well, for a little background on his Mr. Whitmarsh's history of serving the Premier's pleasure in getting the Wurlitzer fully behind the famous/infamous carbon tax wedge-issue in the run-up to the last election, we turn to an item from the fantastic archives assembled by our good friend Mary:

".....In fact, not only was he (Mr. Whitmarsh) unqualified and inexperienced as an environmental guru, the stillborn failure of the Campbell tax to actually address the environment in a positive way could have been surmised by anyone who did a little more digging into Mr Whitmarsh's CV.

Had one done so, one would have realized that Mr Whitmarsh's background is PR and sales and (although his Navy background was submarines) airplanes...."


Just the man you want to have working on a complex (and sensitive) legal file dont'cha think?


_______
Mary, in her piece, links to some very good digging into Mr. Whitmarsh's EnviroGuru cred (or lack thereof) by Sean Holman, back in the day, here....
Then, of course, there is the small matter that like Mr. Gary Collins, the man who did not have to testify at the trial due to the 'deal' put together by the Premier's 'Repo Men', Mr. Whitmarsh also once had a close working relationship with Harmony Airlines.....Hmmmmm....Do Mr. Whitmarsh and Mr. Collins know each other?....Perhaps some enterprising accredited proMedia journalist with access to the good Deputy Minister could ask him that question....
Norman Farrell, writing over at his place, is also asking questions about the relationship between Mess'rs Whitmarsh and Collins and their various 'patrons' who have been big dollar donars to the the provincial political party that is (still?) led by Mr. Gordon Campbell....

.

RailGate Reloaded....The Smoking Admissibility Gun

AllThePublicationBans
ThatNoLongerExistVille

Ian Reid, like a number of Citizen Journalists we correspond with, both online and offline, spent time in the RailGate courtroom while the jury was not present.

At the time, there was a Publication Ban in place with respect to any and all matters that were discussed.

However, now that the trial is over so is the publication ban.

Over I mean.

So.....

Folks like Mr. Reid are now free to talk about what they saw and heard with their own non-accredited eyes and ears during all those times the jury was out and the lawyers were jawing, mouths agape.

In a post written today, Ian tells us what he thinks really went down based on what he saw and heard way back in June of this year:

"It all started with a question from Michael Bolton – representing David Basi – to (prosecution witness and the Premier's chief-of-staff) Martyn Brown late last June.

Bolton began asking Brown about the relationship between lead RCMP investigator Kevin DeBruyckere and BC Liberal Party Executive Director Kelly Reichart. They are brothers-in-law.

Immediately Special Prosecutor Bill Berardino jumped up to object to Bolton’s questioning. The jury was excused and the longest legal wrangling delay in the trial began. With the jury excused the wrangling was under publication ban. What happened that last week of June in Courtroom 54 has never been reported......"

Essentially, in the legal wrangling that followed, Mr. Reid, tells us that the Special Prosecutor argued vehemently, behind closed doors with the jury absent, that a pre-trial agreement made it impossible for the defense to argue matters of 'investigative bias'.

Despite all this wrangling from prosecutor Berardino, when the jury came back into the courtroom a week later, this is what happened:

".....Michael Bolton got up and asked Martyn Brown about Kelly Reichart and Kevin de Bruyckere. The defence won the closed door argument about admissibility. The Special Prosecutor lost....."

And the kicker to all that?

Well, in Ian's opinion it meant the following:

"...That meant the way was clear for the defence to question Gary Collins, even Gordon Campbell amongst others, about these issues. The way was clear to ask about Reichart and deBruyckere and about the RCMP steering the investigation away from Gary Collins. More importantly, the way was clear to introduce evidence supporting the claim....."

And we, like the previous judge Elizabeth Bennett, know that evidence is out there.

And we also know that, according Mdme Justice Bennett's previous pre-trial rulings that at least some of it went straight to the matter of innocence at stake.

Which means that it mattered.

Is it any wonder that Mr. Collins could not be allowed to testify, under oath, with a wide-open cross examination based on evidence such as the transcripts of wiretaps from the RCMP?

Do yourself a favour - Go and read Ian's post in its entirety, and then think about how it is all something that you should be reading in the Vancouver Sun and The Province.

Why?

Because their reporters were in the room when the jury was absent too.

And they, like the Citizen Journalists that they would not accredit when the trial began, are also no longer subject to the Publication Ban.

'Nuff said?


.

RailGate Hardball....Does Gary Collins Still Want The Villa Del Lupo Wiretap Tapes Released?

NoExcuses!
NotBeforeTheCourtsNowVille

The shim of a sham of a shim-shammying flim-flam of a trial is finally over.

To which I say.....Good Flippin' Riddance!

Because all Publication Bans are now off.

And here is something I want someone with the inside access in the proMedia to ask former RailGate Financier Gary Collins (or his legal 'counsel') right now, right this very minute (if they can, like, say, Ian Mulgrew, stop spewing the party line for long enough to do so):

"Are you, Mr. Collins, still demanding that the Crown Release the Villa Del Lupo Wiretaps, in full, that recorded your conversation with the head of OmniTRAX, in 2003."

****

Below is my pre-AnnieMac Pub-Ban post from May of 2007 on this matter:


********

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Dobranos......

.....Sing?



Where'sRosemaryWoodsWhenYouNeedHer?

WiretapVille

So, we thought this wee plot development, as reported by the Globe's Mark Hume, was interesting, from earlier in theweek:

Former finance minister Gary Collins yesterday called on the Crown to release any police surveillance material it has of him from a 2003 meeting with U.S. business executives concerning the government sale of BC Rail.

Speaking through his lawyer, Clark Roberts, Mr. Collins said if the police did tape his meeting with OmniTRAX Inc., a company that failed in a bid for BC Rail, it should be made public because it will only prove that he did nothing wrong while handling the $1-billion sale of the state-owned rail line.

"If there is any surveillance, Mr. Collins says it should be disclosed because it will completely reveal that he wasn't involved [in any wrongdoing]," Mr. Roberts said.

But at the time, when that came out Tuesday, we didn't know to do it with it.

I guess, maybe, now we know why the good Mr. Roberts was trying to force the Crown's hand. This, also reported by Mr. Hume, from yesterday:

Defence lawyer Michael Bolton underscored the political nature of Mr. Basi's job and the "intimate" working relationship he had with Mr. Collins by reading wiretap transcripts in which the two men discussed political dirty tricks.

In one conversation, Mr. Basi tells his boss that former B.C. premier Bill Vander Zalm and then North Vancouver Mayor Barbara Sharp were going to be on a radio talk show.

"I wanted to have the mayor of Squamish call in and just rip Barbara Sharp a new asshole. . . is that okay?" Mr. Basi asks.

"Yeah, absolutely," replies Mr. Collins.

Wow.

That's some innocuous media manipulation huh.

Bill Tieleman got a quote from Ms. Sharp in response - and it is very interesting, indeed.

Sharp told 24 hours the alleged comments are "quite a shocker."

"What a terrible way to talk about people. I don't know what they were so upset with me about except that I was trying to keep B.C. Rail in North Vancouver."

In other words - it appears that it was the intent to whack any and all persons that actually wanted to keep BC Rail for British Columbians (don't forget that just last month, the last remaining remnants of BC Rail in North Van were sold to Enron.....errrr.....KinderMorgan).

But wait!

There's more - also reported by Mr. T.:

Later in the call Bolton quoted Collins to Basi: "I want you to keep this completely to yourself because there's only two of us who know about this."

Collins' spokesperson Clark Roberts left the court without speaking to reporters.

What a show!

Eh?

We do have one question arising from this episode, however.

And that is......

Just who is paying the good Mr. Roberts to represent the former (and we stress former) public servant Mr. Collins?

Just askin'.
*******

_______
And to the best of my knowledge, the good Mr. Collins' has NOT signed a gag order like, say, Mess'rs Basi and Virk.....Unless, of course, that was part of the deal that gave the former RailGate Financier his rather short-lived bout of post-Ministerial peace and 'harmony'......


.


RailGate's Despicable Denoument....Blame The Prosecutor

AllTheBogusPleaBargains
ThatFitVille

_______

Update: As our good friend Alison notes in the comments....Part of the deal is actually a gag order on Mess'rs Virk and Basi....WTF!!!!???....Who the hell did the Prosecutor AND current Attorney General Mike de Jong figure they had to protect?....Is that bloody solicitor/client (read 'Bankers') privilege thing that Mr. Alan Seckel used to use to gag everything back in the good ol' days of the pre-AnnieMac pretrial hearingsback in force again?....Remember folks, the 'Publication Ban' for us is now off.....While the proMedia might pretend they don't know, we know what we know, and it is time for us to do all the talking....About everything....Me, I'm going to start with the wiretaps that former Finance Minister Gary Collins did NOT have to talk about, in open court, last week after the (not-so)Special Prosecutor threw the BCLiberal Red towel into the center of the ring.
_______

Mr. Gordon Campbell's newest favorite 'criminal', David Basi, says it is all Special Prosecutor's fault.

Specifically, David Basi, in an interview with CBC's Terry Donnelly, said that it was Geoff Plant's and Premier Gordon Campbell's current main man, Alan Seckel's, appointee, Mr. William Berardino who threw in the towel and approached his lawyer about the deal.

Which, despite all the codswallop that has been flying around since the 'shocking' announcement, means that Rafe Mair's question about who gave Mr. Berardino his marching orders is now more relevant than ever.

Sheesh.


_______
Cheese Willickers!..... I go into the Science Geek Bunker for 24 hours and when I come out this craptacular deed is all done for good..... And despite the fact that we who have been paying attention recognized what was going on two weeks ago when Allan Seckel's appointee told the court that he was 'shrinking' his hit list after the Defense lawyers wiped the floor with his first two witnesses, the fully accredited proMedia (who were ALL there for the announcement yesterday) feigned their greatest of great 'surprise'......Fully accreited citizen journalist Robin Mathews has that story, in full, over at Mary's place.

.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I Have Seen The Death Of Newspapers....


....And It Is Not Pretty


The sun rose high in Lotusland today.

And at first glance all was right with the world.

Even the fact that I had to climb into the goldarned cigar tube didn't get me down.

Why?

Because I can now get to the Vancouver Airport from my house with ease.

Without driving.

It was a most pleasant trip....Stroll down to King Edward to catch the #25, west, to the Canada Line Station....Get directions from a most helpful attendant who explained that you only pay the Airport tariff when you leave the airport.

Which means that, because it was a Sunday, it only cost me the price of a '1 Zone' faresaver ticket.

Which is precisely $0.14 more than a tall dark at the empire of the evil green goddess who, I am quite convinced, does not even live in Seattle anymore.

Anyway......

The train trip itself was most pleasant and efficient, and on the way there I read a nice review of Philip Roth's latest as well as the inspiring DIY story of a kinghell story-teller named Marc Levy. I also read Doug Saunders column about the empty suitcase that is the Harper government policy of everything and finished it wondering if Mr. Saunders is now considered an 'unfriendly' who must be got.

But here's the weird thing.....

I was the only one on my entire train who read any of these things.

Or even read about the latest from Canuckleheadlandia or even the Leo's latest loss at Empire.

How do I know this?

Because I was the only person in the entire car with a newspaper in my hand.

Seriously.

.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Let's Go Busking!

LeavesOnTheGround
SunInTheSkyVille

It's Saturday......

And the Whack-a-Doodle is pining for a run.....

And my kids don't have to rush off anywhere......

For a change.

Which means that it's time to get out the bikes and the trailer (for the dog AND the guitar).

Because we're going busking.

Charleston Park on the southside of False Creek between Granville Island and the rich people's ghost town (ie. the dogpark nestled in beside the co-ops and the school).

Tune-up will commence about 2 o'clock (maybe a little later, we are not fast on Saturdays).

Film, of course, at eleven.


(apologies for venue change for those that saw this earlier....Had to move from Trout Lake to False Creek so that littler e. could hook up with her friend M., whose family lives down therre....M.'s family is fantastic and they are most definitely NOT rich....[for an explanation see reference to co-ops above]).


.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

RailGate Rewound....Codswallop Our Premier Sold Us...

SometimesAPicture'sWords
AreWorthAThousandDouble-SpeaksVille



The image above was taken on Nov 25th, 2003 by Chuck Stoody of the Canadian Press and was included in the photo stream that ran with Mark Hume's piece in the Globe yesterday (Photo #2, here).

It shows Premier Gordon Campbell announcing the thousand year lease (minus ten) of BC Rail to CN's Claude Mangeau and E. Hunter Harrison (seated) and a couple of huge TeeVee screens behind them.

Let's focus on the numbered statements on the left screens for a moment (because the blather on the right screen really is pure propaganda repeated over and over and over and over again -feel free to click on image to enlarge it just in case you have a chicken bone stuck in your throat and you would like to initiate the gag reflex).

OK?

Ready?

Here we go......


#1 Continued Public Ownership.
Lie.

Every single member of the British Columbia public alive today will be dead when this deal 'expires' in the year 2993. Heckfire, even the 3,465th incarnation of the Hal-9000 will be junk by then.




#2: No More Public Debt
Codswallop.

There never was any significant public debt. The concerted and repeated efforts of cabinet ministers and other quislings to wurlitzer a story of financial armageddon were all based on a bogus accounting exercise designed to provide both cover and leverage to foist this deal on the members of the public that are still very much alive.



#3: 600 New Rail Cars
Dumber Than Dumb.

Say what? Did Kevin Mahoney and Brian Kenning et al. actually buy us (ie. the public) a passel of shiny new rail cars while they were sitting in luxury boxes at Canucks games, working on their golf swings, and/or collecting hundreds of thousands of the public's hard-earned dollars for doing essentially nothing (for years!) AFTER they made sure the deal went down as planned in the fall of 2003?



#4: Lower Rates And Costs
A Phantom Menace.

Just ask the shippers.



#5: Improved Access To Markets
Says Who?

Is there any hard evidence that CN has laid even one single centimeter of new track that has improved access to anything.



And finally let's consider that really big whopper at the very top of the screen.....


$1 Billion

Show us the money Mr. Campbell.

And when you do, prove to us that the 'indemnification' of the tax credit default swap that you have hanging over the (still very much alive) public's collective head is, right now (ie. at this very minute in time in 2010, not 2993), is NOT more than $900 million*.



OK?

______
*And prove to us also, Mr. Premier, that the idemmity is NOT growing, thanks, we can only presume, to some fantastic 'strategic advice' received by Mr. Mahoney et al. way back when, at the rate of approximately $4 million every single month.
Many thanks
to North Van Grumps who alerted us to the 'picture' and reminded us that it really is all about 'The Indemnity, Stupid!"


.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

RailGate Witness Reduction Plan...Will The Ol' Flight Instructor Still Take The Stand For The Crown?

AllTheWitheredMemories
ThatUsedToFitVille



Only Special Prosecutor Mr. William Berardino, and, perhaps, a hermetically-sealed wiretap or 50, know for sure.

How do we know this?

Because Mark Hume, who filed a little late yesterday, way after the PostMedia Boys, told us it was thus in the pixels of the slimmed-down Globe:

"...Mr. Berardino told reporters his unexpected manoeuvre will not weaken the case against the three accused.

“We believe it’s in the best interest of the administration of justice to do everything to shorten the case, without impairing the strength of the Crown’s case,” said Mr. Berardino.

He declined to say which witnesses might be dropped and would not confirm whether former B.C. finance minister Gary Collins, who was expected to be called next, is still going to appear for the Crown...."


So there you have it.

All in the interests of justice being served, according to Mr. Berardino.

Allegedly.


_____
For the best in-depth analysis and opinion of what Mr. Berardino's latest gambit may really mean, Robin Mathews' citizen-accredited musings over at our friend Mary's are the real deal.

.

Sometimes A Lunar Rover Is Just A Lunar Rover...

....And Sometimes It Is Something Else Entirely.


So.

If it turns out that The Juice is #32....

Does this mean that Capricorn II has landed....

In the Andes?



(not that I'm cynical about the ability of the proMedia and/or the Law&Order franchise to manipulate the TeeVee cycle or anything)


.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

RailGate Delayed Again...Did Wild Bill Just Throw In The Towel?

AllTheWitnesses
ThatNoLongerFitVille


_____

Update: Ian Reid, who was both inside and outside the courtroom this morning, has the most value-added, CorpMedia or otherwise, that I have read on this matter so far, here....
_____



Well, well, well.....

Whaddy'a know.

The RailGate trial has been delayed.

Again.

Apparently, this time the delay has occurred because the Special Prosecutor, Bill Berardino, has decided to make like George Costanza and shout.....

'Shrinkage'!


Here is the money quote from Neal Hall's first-past-the-post report in the VSun:

"The Crown has just advised that they are reorganizing their case to decrease the length of this trial substantially," B.C. Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie explained to the jury.


Hmmmmmm.....

Perhaps now is the time to throw in Keith Fraser's wee bit of added value in The Province:

'....The judge adjourned the trial until next Monday.

At jury selection, there were more than 40 witnesses on the list. Since the trial began in May, that has been cut down by a number of witnesses.

Outside court, Berardino said that his decision to reduce the witness list was in the best interests of the justice system. He said his decision would not impair the strength of the Crown’s case.....'


Sure thing Mr. B.

Of course, it had nothing to do with the way the defense has wiped the floor with your first two witnesses and the third, the ol' Flight Instructor, 'allegedly' slated to be up next.

All of which begs the question.....

Just who, exactly, was on that original Top 40 RailGate Hit List of Mr. Berardino's?

Well, we don't know for sure, because, despite reports indicating that the list was read, in full, in open court, with the jury present, it has never, to the best of our knowledge, been published as one complete set.

We did do our best to piece it together previously, based on myriad published reports though.

As a result, this is what we came up with back in May of this year (ie. 2010):

Campbell Administration Apparatchiks
Martyn Brown
Kenneth Dobell
Brenda Eaton
Yvette Wells
Chris Trumpy
David Morhart
Joy Illington

WestCoast FedLib Rainmakers
Mark Marissen
Bruce Clark

Former Campbell Government Ministers
Judith Reid
Gary Collins


Railway Magnates
ClaudeMongeau (CN's current Big Boss not named David)
Rob Ritchie (CP's Former Big Boss who cried wolf)
John Nash (CP Exec.)
Gary Rennick (OmniTrax' COO)
Dwight Johnson (OmniTrax' CEO)
John McLernon (BC Rail's former* Chairman and the former Chair of the 'Evaluation Committee' during the BC Rail Restructuring*)
Kevin Mahoney (BC Rail's former* CEO and a former 'Staff Advisor' during the BC Rail Restructuring*)
Brian Kenning (former* BC Rail Board Member)

Former Agents in the Employ of OmniTrax:
Brian Keiran
Eric Bornman


We were right so far (which wasn't very bloody difficult).

Regardless.

It sure will be interesting to see who remains, don't ya think, especially given the fact that this has all been done, according to Wild Bill at least, 'in the best interests of the justice system'.

Sheesh.

.

Friday, October 08, 2010

If RailGate Was A Comic Strip....

...It Would Almost Be As Old As Doonesbury.


Which begs the question....

Who, exactly, is Railgate's Uncle Duke?

______
For the record, the trial, with both judge and jury, is supposed to start up again next week...Which means the publication ban will be off and, presumably, a brand new witness will take the stand....Rumour has it that it will finally be the ol' flight instructor.....
For anyone interested, there is a very nice Doonesbury retrospective, pretty much in G. Trudeau's own words and pictures, in this month's dead tree version of 'The Atlantic'.....You can see it online too, as long as you're willing to wait out the ads for Boomer toys which, of course, is ironic in the extreme.


.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Ooooh....What's That Smell?

There'sNoMemoryLike
OlfactoryMemoryVille


So.

I finally broke down and bought the allegedly new-and-improved, not to mention the super-shiny high-tech, Globe and (nolongerEmpire) Mail yesterday.

In terms of the significant decrease in long-form, deep understanding pieces, it is clearly, in my opinion at least, a step backwards for sure.

But, then again, there is something to be said for the increase in higher profile/higher impact stuff that seems to have squeezed-out a significant proportion of the parochial 'inside' Central Canada minutiae that may not be such a bad thing, at least as it pertains to the National edition.

But.

Here's the real thing....

When I pulled the thing out of my pack after I got home and settled into the Subterranean Blues Room (eg. my pigeon-holed office in the basement) the smell of it hit me ton of bricks.

And it was not a new smell at all.

Instead, it instantaneously reminded me of the super-ink-saturated uber-cheap newsprint smell that permeated my pre-adolescent childhood when my brothers and I got ripped off by a bald, cigar-smoking guy named Mario to deliver massive bundles of shiny five-and-dime flyers at a never-quite realized 1.5 cents per.

High tech, indeed.

.

Monday, October 04, 2010

HST Reduction Shuffle: Bill Tieleman Says, (almost) Unequivocally, That....

...Michael Smyth Was NOT The Zalm's Source


Specifically, when asked by CKNW's Sean Leslie on Sunday afternoon why the 'Fight The HST' braintrust sent out their 'Rate Reduction Rumour' press release prior to Premier Gordon Campbell's speech to the UBCM last Friday, Mr. Tieleman said that folks should go ask Michael Smyth because he, Smyth, ran with the same rumours without, according to Mr. T., speaking to the Zalmoids about it.

Mr. Leslie, whose history of palling around with Mr. Smyth we have noted previously, did not go there.

And neither, of course, did Mr. Leslie attempt to get to the heart of the matter while he wrung his hands and went on and on and on (and on) about the sleaziness of the shooting of messengers rather than messages themselves (which Mr. Tieleman was happy to abide).

And what is that heart that matters that Mr. Leslie so assiduously avoided?

Well, if you ask me, the real story here is that there was a serious attempt at media manipulation goin' down in Victoria on Wednesday....Mr. Smyth took the bait and started the Wurlitzer crankin' on Thursday not understanding that the Zalmoids had already set the thing up for the spiking.

Which they did, as fully evidenced by what Mr. Campbell did NOT say on Friday.

Now.

As I've noted a number of times already....

I figure that, in the main, these are all relatively bright boys who know and fully understand what really went down (Mr. T. even suggested as much to Mr. Leslie himself during their Sunday afternoon radio chat given that the latter is based in Victoria).

So, ask yourself this......

Why won't these people tell us what they really know?

Do they think we're stupid?

Or.....

Is something else going on?


______
And while I'm not averse to stroll or seven down memory lane with Mr. Vanderzalm's historical record (as long as, say, Mr. Campbell's get's the same treatment), if you want something a little less political and a little more personal, you couldn't do much better than this, from Alex Waterhouse-Hayward.


.