Monday, February 28, 2005

The High Cost of Being Poor in B.C.

Victoria, British Columbia
48deg 39min North; 123deg 26min West

Awhile back we noted that Will McMartin scored a TKO when he called out third string Liberal Hackmeisteress Judy Virk for her extremely misleading statements about Commander Campbell's changes to the tax system in the province of British Columbia.

Essentially, Mr. McMartin destroyed Ms. Virk's argument by pointing out how continued tax swindles for the rich are rapidly moving us from a progressive to a regressive tax system. McMartin subsequently laid this all out, in convincing detail, in the pages of the Tyee.

Now, real Liberal supporters (ie. those that don't think there is an 'e' after the 'i') - you know, all those folks that voted for the dither-o-philes that have already jumped ship - could still argue that Mr. McMartin's arguments are partisan, this despite the fact that nobody has ever accused him of having a bleeding heart.

But what if the same argument was inadvertently made by someone who's still working the bridge of the SS Gordo?

Somebody like, say, current Finance Minister and paid-up-in-full 'e' after the 'i'er Colin Hansen who told Vaughn Palmer recently that the revenue lost to income tax cuts has been made up by increases got it.......increased sales tax revenue.

Actually, as David Schreck points out, it's worse than that, much worse.

Specifically, the $900 million shortfall caused by five figure presents to the rich, every last one of them, is being paid for by increased sales taxes ($400 million), increased MSP premiums ($564 million) and increased Tuition fees ($484 million), not to mention countless increases in day-to-day user fees and transit levies.

Now you might notice that those numbers don't add up.

But that's not the point.

The point is, that measly $34 dollar a year tax rebate that His Hansonness just tossed at the feet of hundreds of thousands of low income British Columbians doesn't mean squat when they are being forced to pay it all back a hundred times over in increased sales taxes, premiums, and user fees.

The upshot of all this regressing masquerading as progressing?

Mr. Campbell, his minions, and his paymasters have made it very expensive to be poor in British Columbia.

And clearly, they like it that way.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Minister Petti-Loo-Who

OughtaWash (more often)

Not-so-Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew is showing all the telltale signs of being a neoSeussian.

Like the characters in Seuss books neoSeussians talk a lot of nonsense.

But unlike the characters in Seuss books, in the end, neoSeussians make absolutely no sense at all.

For example, take Mr. Pettigrew's statements on making money off of Ballistic Missile Defense to Anthony Not-So-Saintly Germain on the CBC's 'The House' this morning, which are now summarized on the Mothercorp's News site:

Pettigrew says having the government join the program would have been inconsistent with Canada's defence priorities, and U.S. officials have given no assurances it wouldn't lead to placing weapons in space.

But Pettigrew..... sees no contradiction with Canadian companies bidding on contracts to build that same system.

"I do not believe that we should control Canadian business. I would be very pleased if Canadian busines can contribute to the defence systems of the United States," says Pettigrew.

And using this logic it would be fine to build and sell whatever we want (insert killing machine here) to whomever we want (insert nefarious regime here).

Perhaps it's time for Mr. Pettigrew to pay a visit to Cindy Loo-Who to get his hypocrisy-generator re-jigged.

And more importantly, perhaps it's time for Canadians who do not support state-sanctioned snuff industries to draw a line in the sand and stop buying stuff from anybody/thing that has a piece of the companies that are building and exporting said killing machines.

Update: Any perceived similarities between neoSeussians and neoStraussians are entirely intentional.

Friday, February 25, 2005

No Voting Allowed

Vancouver, British Columbia

Here in Beautiful British Columbia, SouthWest Division, we apparently love Viacom's ubiquitous Bus Stop Porn, but we hate Side-Of-The-Bus 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns.

Especially, as noted by local neandercon watchdog site 'Have You Had Enough Yet', if it comes from politically active students.

"Uppity college students are out there again creating trouble. Not only are they running a campaign to organize young people to come out and vote on May 17, but they're out there trying to place ads in Translink's buses and ALRT."

I heard resident TransLink hackflack Ken Hardie try to defend the indefensible on this issue after the public Transit Corporation refused to run the ads.

It was laughable.

When pressed, Hardie admitted that there was nothing politically partisan or party-specific whatsoever in the ads.

So why did TransLink suppress them?

Well, seems Hardies' little flock-'o'-minions went searching the Internet and discovered 'gasp!' stuff from one of the sponsoring groups, the Canadian Federation of Students, that excoriated the current Provincial Government for their punitive tuition hikes that have continued unabated since they came to power four years ago.

Perhaps if said students would stop trying to make a difference and instead spent more time participating in socially useless hijinks they could get their message across if it was something more neanderconically palatatable like, say, frat-house panty raids to raise donations for tsunami condo-owners who have been forced to move their offshore real-estate resort investments to Mazatlan and Maui.

But seriously, regardless how or why it was done, voter suppression is voter suppression and those responsible must be exposed and held accountable.

Trouble is, we don't know who really did the deed because TransLink, a public agency that we, the people, apparently own is hiding behind flacks like Mr. Hardie.
Update: All this got us to wondering.....just how many folks who pay his salary has Ken Hardie helped to get on a bus or train anyway? Certainly not these ones:

"The municipally-controlled transit provider (TransLink) will also no longer operate buses out of the downtown core after 1:50 a.m. Bus service from downtown has been available until 3 a.m. for the past 30 years.
Ken Hardie, TransLink spokesman, said people like Larson and downtown club-goers and nightclub workers will simply have to make alternative arrangements.

"TransLink is becoming weary of taking shots from both sides. We have people who don't want to pay more through a vehicle levy and on the other side, people complaining about the cuts," said Hardie, adding Larson should try and convince people that a vehicle levy is a good thing.

Hardie blamed unionized bus drivers in part for the cancellation of late-night service downtown, because they're not prepared to work only on busy nights. "The union contract forbids us from doing that. If we have a service it must be up all the time."

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Ambassadors Up The YinYang

Fortress North America

Ambassador Yin:
"Security trumps everything else in U.S. policy these days, and (Ambassador Yin) said he'd like to see the Canada-U.S. border "as seamless as possible" to assure our mutual interests...."

Ambassador Yang:
“We simply cannot understand why Canada would in effect give up its sovereignty – its seat at the table – to decide what to do about a missile that might be coming towards Canada.”

So who are these guys really working for?

Could it be a Sovereign State of Mind named Carlyle?

"Frank McKenna, former New Brunswick premier, is going to be the next ambassador to the United States.....Not a ripple of discontent anywhere except for McKenna's ties to the Carlyle Group. It boasts $18.9 billion in assets and includes James Baker III plus George Bush's father. McKenna is paid to be a member of Carlyle's Canadian advisory board."

"Bush wants Canada and countries of likewise stature to spend more money on military hardware -- especially if the hardware is manufactured by Lockheed Martin, the Carlyle Group (where Dubya's daddy works), and other US death merchants. Dubya says the US is tired of carrying Canada's weight. Lately, Paul Cellucci, the US ambassador to Canada, has resembled a broken record as he repeats the same mantra over and over -- spend more on defense, spend more on defense, less on everything else and more on defense."

That last paragraph was written two years ago. Thus, Mr. Dithers fear of Quebeckers' clear disdain for the American's offensive Missile Pretense notwithstanding, it sure looks like Messrs McKellucci may have gotten all they really wanted with the just announced budget.

And besides, with hackbassadors like this who needs borders anyway.

We Got The Power

She Can Say Saskatchewan
Without Starting to Stutter

A fantastic post by Cathie From Canada that demonstrates definitively that Left Blogistan is in the catbird seat.

"In the top 20 according to daily visits, seven are progressive blogs while seven are rightwing blogs. And yes, sure, the right-wing sites are getting lots of daily hits. But look at Kos -- 450,000 hits a day! Instapundit, the most-visited rightwing site, has less than half that number."

Perhaps it is time for Kos, Atrios, Marshall, Gilliard and Digby et al., to be extra vigilant and wary of the smears/booby-traps that are sure to follow.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Wild Hunter's Circus Story

Louisville, Kentucky
The Athaeneum Club

What kind of crazed hillbilly who ran away from home not to join, but instead to build his own, circus would move heaven and earth to have his ashes shot out of a cannon after his death?

Probably the same one that would say this about the invasion of Iraq:

" We are the Nazis in this game and I don't like it."

Freak power indeed.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Now Watch This Drive

Brussels, Belgium
50deg 51min North; 04deg 21min East

Golf course diplomacy:

"This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous," Bush said after meeting with leaders of the European Union.

"And having said that," he quickly added, "all options are on the table."

It sounds like perhaps these are the words of a man speaking in tongues.

Which got us to wondering..... when Our smallPaul called Mr. Bush a 'healer', was this a 'faith'-based conclusion of the dithering kind?

Update: Bernie Ward reported tonight on KGO radio that laughter broke out amongst both reporters and political aides when Bush uttered the second sentence cited above.
Double Update: Scott Ritter, who has been right about a whole lot of things already, says the Iraqi invasion is coming in June.
Triple Secret Probation Update: Uh, unless you count Ramadi as a new Iraqi Invasion (which I do), that should have been Iranian right above.

There's A Sadness

Asbury Park State of Mind
Bagdhad, Iraq

"There's a sadness hidden in that pretty face
A sadness all her own.... from which... no man.... can... keep.... Candy"

Candy's Room
Bruce Springsteen

Sadness is writ large in Riverbend's latest post.
"I shook my head and sighed. “So do you still think the Americans want to turn Iraq into another America? You said last year that if we gave them a chance, Baghdad would look like New York.” I said in reference to a conversation we had last year. E. gave me a wary look and tried to draw my attention to some onions, “Oh hey- look at the onions- do we have onions?”

Abu Ammar (the neighborhood grocer) shook his head and sighed, “Well if we’re New York or we’re Baghdad or we’re hell, it’s not going to make a difference to me. I’ll still sell my vegetables here.”

I nodded and handed over the bags to be weighed. “Well… they’re going to turn us into another Iran. You know list 169 means we might turn into Iran.” Abu Ammar pondered this a moment as he put the bags on the old brass scale and adjusted the weights.

“And is Iran so bad?” He finally asked. Well no, Abu Ammar, I wanted to answer, it’s not bad for *you* - you’re a man… if anything your right to several temporary marriages, a few permanent ones and the right to subdue females will increase. Why should it be so bad? Instead I was silent. It’s not a good thing to criticize Iran these days. I numbly reached for the bags he handed me, trying to rise out of that sinking feeling that overwhelmed me when the results were first made public.

It’s not about a Sunni government or a Shia government- it’s about the possibility of an Iranian-modeled Iraq. Many Shia are also appalled with the results of the elections. There’s talk of Sunnis being marginalized by the elections but that isn’t the situation. It’s not just Sunnis- it’s moderate Shia and secular people in general who have been marginalized

The list is frightening- Da’awa, SCIRI, Chalabi, Hussein Shahristani and a whole collection of pro-Iran political figures and clerics. They are going to have a primary role in writing the new constitution. There’s talk of Shari’a, or Islamic law, having a very primary role in the new constitution. The problem is, whose Shari’a? Shari’a for many Shia differs from that of Sunni Shari’a. And what about all the other religions? What about Christians and Mendiyeen?.....

.....They try to give impressive interviews to western press but the situation is wholly different on the inside. Women feel it the most. There’s an almost constant pressure in Baghdad from these parties for women to cover up what little they have showing. There’s a pressure in many colleges for the segregation of males and females. There are the threats, and the printed and verbal warnings, and sometimes we hear of attacks or insults.......

.....It’s interesting to watch American politicians talk about how American troops are the one thing standing between Sunnis and Shia killing each other in the streets. It looks more and more these days like that’s not true. Right now, during all these assassinations and abductions, the troops are just standing aside and letting Iraqis get at each other. Not only that, but the new army or the National Guard are just around to protect American troops and squelch any resistance.

There was hope of a secular Iraq, even after the occupation. That hope is fading fast."

No young woman who has been promised freedom over and over and over again should have to go through this while she is forced to watch the false rejoicing being done in her name half a world away.

Perhaps a quote from 'Darkness on the Edge of Town' would have been more appropriate.

Monday, February 21, 2005

It Never Got Weird Enough.....

Owl Farm
Woody Creek, Colorado

.....for him.

"DENVER (Reuters) - Hunter S. Thompson, who pioneered "gonzo" journalism and became a counterculture celebrity with works such as "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," fatally shot himself at his Colorado home on Sunday night, police said. He was 67."

Before he started to get stupid, and worse - famous, Thompson wrote this about the last days of Ernest Hemingway:

"Ketchum was Hemingway's 'Big Two Hearted River', and he wrote his own epitaph in the story of the same name, just as Scott Fitzgerald had written his epitaph in a book called 'The Great Gatsby'. Neither man understood the vibrations of a world that had shaken them off their thrones, but of the two, Fitzgerald showed more resilience. His half-finished 'Last Tycoon' was a sincere effort to catch up and come to grips with reality, no matter how distasteful it might have seemed to him.

Hemingway never made such an effort. The strength of his youth became rigidity as he grew older, and his last book was about Paris in the Twenties.....Like many another writer, Hemingway did his best work when he felt he was standing on something solid - like an Idaho mountainside, or a sense of conviction."

.....What Lured Hemingway to Ketchum, Hunter S. Thompson, The National Observer, 1964.

Now, Thompson was no Fitzgerald, and try as he might he could never quite write an even halfway decent Hemingwayesque novel, this despite the fact that he wrote thousands, if not millions, of phrases, paragraphs and entire journalistic set pieces in that strange Hemingway/Gonzo fusion that in the end became cliche for all to see, both in print and, especially, all over the Blogosphere. But back in the days when he was really stomping on the terra, a careful read always gave you the sense that it was more than just technique and that HST was standing hard on conviction, even when he was going a hundred miles an hour:

"So it was always at night, like a werewolf, that I would take the thing out for an honest run down the coast. I would start in Golden Gate Park, thinking only to run a few long curves to clear my head....but in a matter of minutes I'd be out at the beach with the sound of the engine in my ears, the surf booming up on the sea wall and a fine empty road stretching all the way down to Santa Cruz...not even a gas station in the whole seventy miles; the only public light alont the way is an all-night diner down around Rockaway Beach.

There was no helmet on those nights, no speed limit, and no cooling it down on the curves. The momentary freedom of the park was like the one unlucky drink that shoves a wavering alcoholic off the wagon. I would come out of the park near the soccer field and pause for a moment at the stop sign, wondering if I knew anyone parked out there on the midnight humping strip.

Then into first gear, forgetting the cars and letting the beast wind out....thirty-five, forty-five...then into second and wailing through the light at Lincoln Way, not worried about green or red signals, but only some other werewolf loony who might be pulling out, too slowly, to start his own run. Not many of these...and with three lanes on a wide curve, a bike coming hard has plenty oof room to get around almost anything....then into third, the boomer gear, pushing seventy-five and the beginning of a windscram in the ears, a pressure on the eeyeballs like diving into water off a high board.

Bent forward, far back on the seat, and a rigid grip on the handlebars as the bike starts jumping and wavering in the wind. Taillights far up ahead coming closer, faster, and suddenly--zaaappp--going past and leaning down for a curve near the zoo, where the road swings out to sea.

The dunes are flatter here, and on windy days sand blows across the highway, piling up in thick drifts as deadly as any oil-slick...instant loss of control, a crashing, cartwheeeling slide and maybe one of those two-inch notices in the paper the next day: "An unidentified motorcyclist was killed last night when he failed to negotiate a turn on Highway 1."

Indeed...but no sand this time, so the lever goes up into fourth, and now there's no sound except wind. Screw it all the way over, reach through the handlebars to raise the headlight beam, the needles leans down on a hundred and wind-burned eyeballs strain to see down the centerline, trying to provide a margin for reflexes.

But with the throttle screwed on there is only the barest margin, and nor room at all for mistakes. It has to be done right....and that's when the strange music starts, when you stretch your luck so far that fear becomes exhilaration and vibrates along your arms. You can barely see at a hundred; the tears blow back so fast that they vaporize before they get to your ears. The only sounds are wind a dull roar floating back from the mufflers. You watch the white line and try to lean with it...houwling through a turn to the right, then to the left and down the longh hill to Pacifica...letting off now, watching for cops, but only until the next dark stretch and another few seconds on the edge...The Edge...There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are ones who have gone over. The others--the living-- are those who who pushed their control as far as they felt they could handle it, and then pulled back, or slowed down, or did whatever they had to when it came time to choose between Now and Later."

....Hell's Angels, Hunter S. Thompson, 1967

I heard the news of Thompson's death while sitting hunched over the computer down in the Subterranean Blues Room (the basement). It came in on a scratchy signal that skipped its way up to Vancouver from San Francisco's KGO on the radio... Of course, I immediately went A-Googling and the first wide open net pulled in just under 2 million hits...I got serious and started to look for the Ketchum/Hemingway piece but didn't find it on the first couple of straightforward passes. I was setting the thing up for an extremely complicated boolean search when I stopped myself short thinking of all HST's descriptions of searches for books no hotel desk clerk could ever quite locate in the middle of the night in Milwaukee.

And so I bounded up the stairs and began rummaging around the night-table stand, bashing and crashing about with a flashlight until my wife stirred and asked me what was the matter. I didn't answer right because the flashlight beam had hit lurid red paydirt.

"Thompson's dead", I whispered.

But she didn't hear me - she was already asleep again before I started to answer.

I headed back downstairs with my dog-eared and taped-up copy of The Great Shark Hunt bought in a second-hand bookstore out on the Avenues a long time ago.

I found the right page and held the thing open by laying a copy of the Gonzo Papers, Volume I gingerly across the top. Then I squinted at the yellowing pulp and commenced typing as hard and fast as I could, pretending all the while that I was pounding away on a big old Selectric with lightning reflexes and that I could hear the surf crashing outside my window.

Res more.

Sunday, February 20, 2005


Ottawa, Ontario
45° 25' North; 75°43' West

Crap, Crap, Crap, Crap, Crap!

"OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada is ready to send up to 30 military specialists to train Iraqi soldiers at a base in Jordan and will also be boosting its military presence in Afghanistan, officials said on Friday.

They said Prime Minister Paul Martin would formally make both announcements when he addressed a summit of NATO leaders in Brussels next week."

Looks like we had even less time than we thought.

And make this no mistake, this is NOT the UN, and it is NOT Peacekeeping.

In fact, like Shroeder before him the word 'appeasement' comes to mind to describe smallPaul's 'officially' stated intentions.

And if he follows through on this one can only conclude that Mr. Dithers must GO!

Thanks to sometime reader KathyH for pointing us towards this report. Seems we in Canuckistan think that the long planned and self-induced predicament of The Betting Man's is a way more important story this weekend. Which makes us wonder....have smallPaul's handlers taken to emulating Rovian newscycle management techniques (ie. just one more example of the soft Anschluss' harmonization)?

Na Na Na Na/ Na Na Na Na


In a previous thread we got carried away and started wondering, out loud, in HTML, if regular thread contributers from across the country would like to join the fray and start posting here.

It's one of those things that, when you wake up in the middle of the night to help your youngest get over a bad dream, you then lie in bed staring up at the ceiling, smacking yourself on the forehead, muttering.....what the heck was I thinking?

Then, this morning in the cold hard light of day (a fine, sunny, early spring Vancouver morning I might add) was perusing one such thread, the one about the 'Curse of the Betting Man', and noticed that we had interesting perspectives from Quebec, Saskatchewan and B.C. which is pretty representative of Canuckistan, 'eh?

So without further ado, here is that conversation between eteba, lenin's ghost, and myself on The End of the World As We Know It (And We Feel Fine, by the way....feel free to add to the conversation on the new thread below)


Na Na Na Na/Na Na Na Na

Hey Hey Hey/ Goodbye


p.s. R.I.P. N.H.L.


Gravatar Would it really be such a bad thing?

I'm not so sure.


I would see a league where fans are interested in hockey.The original 6
teams with the addition of Minnesota and Philly.In Canada,Winnipeg and Quebec city would join Vancouver to complete a north american division.
In europe i would put teams in Prague,Moscow,Helsinki and Stockholm.
Today with jumbo jets road trips are not a problem.


Gravatar In fact, it's easier to fly to Prague than Nashville Tenessee.

Me - I wanna see the Trail Smoke Eaters in the tourney in 2007.

good ideas.....stay out until there are 12 or less teams. the players should start their own league.
pro hockey should be divided more like soccer divisions with possibly 12 teams in the first division. about 10 years ago, i was talking hockey with a russian fellow. he told me his home town team about 100 kms outside moscow would be in the top division one year, do poorly, and be relegated to div 2. he loved it. he said that in one year his team had a shot at the div 2 title and if his team moved up he would get to see great hockey players in div 1. he thought it to be the best of both worlds. comments?

Gravatar I like it LG--

Would give everybody more, and more affordable, hockey to watch.

Of course the greedheads would hate it, especially the TV greeders, because if people are in the rink their not in front of the tube.

You's Sat am right now and all this stuff is swirling around the $45mill cap mark.....but I don't want them to settle now, because I've already embraced the possiblility of big change regardless what it turns out to be.

yeah, ross. silly me. if its good for the fans, it ain't gonna happen.
i hope it goes on for a couple of years and forces out the sunbelt teams. still feels wrong to play hockey here on the west coast with these warm temps. i grew up playing on natural ice. playing hockey when nature allows it, well.....just seems natural to me.
hmmmmm....go figure...

Gravatar lg--

Grew up on the left coast, in Victoria, at a time when there were only three sheets of ice in the entire city.

So, for me hockey is scratchy eyes, queazy stomach and riding bike in the rain, ghost-like in the middle of the night down Pandora Ave, pads on, skates and gloves on handlebars, stick over shoulder at 3am on a Sunday morning.

May not have been freezing our buns off, but dedication nonetheless.

And of course, that's what the greedheads forget, especially those down south - the game is not just another choice between Billiards on ESPN-10 and Celebrity Poker on Bravo for us.

It's something more.

Way more.

Is The Anshcluss Coming?

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
40° 00' North; 75° 09' West

Billmon thinks so.

Better go practice being Chrisopher Plummer.

Addendum: And as for all those Red Ensign wavers out there, know this, 'eh.
Double Addendum: Rigorous Intuition has much of value to add.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

It's The Slush Fund, Stupid!

TyeeVille, British Columbia
49deg 15min North; 123° 08' West

Will McMartin has a very interesting POV on the SS Gordo's Ghost Budget.

First, his take on the Slush Fund:

"Today, the government enjoys an enormous surplus, thanks largely to a billion-dollar equalization contribution from Ottawa. The BC Liberals intend to allocate $344 million of the federal windfall to the ministry of small business and economic development for unnamed projects prior to the general election. This unbudgeted, and as-yet unallocated, expenditure already has been described as a pre-election “slush fund” by the news media and NDP opposition."

Which is bad enough on its own. But if that doesn't have your blood boiling (especially if you have been involved with and/or contributed to any of the axed programs - for me these included a BC Housing Co-op and a no longer existent non-profit social service agency to name just two), this almost certainly will:

"During the budget lock-up.......Hansen (was asked) three times if the government would debate and pass in the House his $32.4 billion expenditure plan .... All he would concede is that the BC Liberals would “get the legislature’s approval for some spending.”.....“Some” spending means that the BC Liberals likely will pass an “interim supply bill” to permit the expenditure of public monies from April 1 (the start of the fiscal year) until some date after the election........(Thus,) Hansen’s budget might well become either unaffordable or unnecessary five or six months from now.
And that means this budget is pure pre-election propaganda."

Seem far-fetched?


But have you tried to find all, or even one, of those New Era promises that The SS Gordo made last time around on the website lately?

Thanks: to Have You Had Enough Yet?, as always, for pointing us towards McMartin's piece.
Prequel: Prior to reading McMartin's take, we made a similar, but much more tentative suggestion re: Mr. Campsella's true intentions on the comments thread over at Paul Willcock's place (which should be required reading for everyone who want's to get a balanced, but hard-headed, view of all issues Provincial).

The New Katie Cometh?

Planet Kos, LeftCoastistan
37deg 46min North; 122deg 26min West

Awhile back we wondered if there was anybody out there that would have the guts of waygone former WaPo owner Katherine Graham to let a new 'Wood/Stein' go if they were to stumble out of their cubicle with the goods.

But, now that we think about it, we're not sure it has to be that way, because the way things work these days why couldn't Katie and Woodstein (and maybe Ben Bradley too) be all rolled into one?

And so we figure it might be time for George Soros and friends to step up to the plate once again, this time to throw a few million Susan G.'s way so that she can hire a staff and go to town with both online and print editions.

You don't believe us?

Go read this - she's fantastic.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Big Pharma Calls....

Ottawa, Ontario
45° 25' North; 75°43' West

.....Ujjal Falls.

Feb. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Canada is considering a ban on exports of drugs whose patents are still in effect, in a bid to protect supplies of medicines for which the government caps prices, Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh told reporters today.

What the heck is wrong with the Martinis?

Of course Big Pharma is gonna scream when we reimport for fun and profit.

Not to mention the fact that we have been making things more affordable for the poor, or not even quite ultra rich, and the infirm in the U.S.

And of course, in the end, negotiations must occur because we don't want to lose that system-wide universal pricing lever that helps us keep costs down.

But still, if you know negotiations are coming why would you throw in the towel before you've even sat down at the table with the other side .


Maybe we should jettison Ujjal and get Danny Williams working on the Pharma File.


What Is Commander Campbell Afraid Of?

Vancouver, B.C.
49°15'N; 123°08'W

He says nothing:

"The House Leader will determine how the Throne Speech and the legislative agenda . . . will take place, but there will be full budget debate," he (Premier Campbell) said.

If that truly is the case, why then did the Shrieker from the Bridge, I Claudius Richmond, go berserk recently and ridiculously limit debate during question period in the Legislature?

"Richmond told the house on Thursday that MLAs must follow strict time lines in posing questions, so more than three people can ask questions during the 15-minute question period. He said members must take no longer than a minute to pose their first question, 30 seconds for the supplementary and 20 seconds for the second supplementary question."

Which, of course, sounds kind of like the rapid fire round on the new and improved 'Twenty-Five Billion Dollar Pyramid Scheme!'

Except I-Claudius is no Dick Clark and those crippling user fees, tuition fees, transit fees, and health insurance premiums, not to mention those 5000 missing longterm beds that Joy McPhail brought up in the house just before his Richness started scribbling out the new Q.P. rules on the back of an envelope containing a memo from Steve Puhallo, sure are lousy consolation prizes for the Province's 750,000 low income wage earners to take home along with their shiny new $34 dollar a year tax cut.

Which is not say that there aren't a few real winners in the We've-Got-All-The-Pie Scheme. Like, say, those 11,000 super rich, super natural British Columbians that have already raked in $60,000 in tax cuts in the last three years and who will now get even more.

Once again, Commander Campbell from the Bridge:

"We are on the edge of a truly exceptional time. The golden decade that lies ahead of us is yours."

El Capitan Gordo said that to a cheering, breast-beating, overflow crowd of 500 at the Vancouver Board of Trade the other day. By our own 'back of the envelope' estimate we figure that 437 of those folks already had their tickets to the luxury cabins in the pockets of their Armanis.

And the remaining 73?

Well, they were down on bended knee attempting to still their beating hearts so that they could catch wind of the magic words that would make it possible for them too to screw the rest of us (ie. 3 million or so and counting) on their way to the promised Land-Ho!

Update: Correction about that Twenty-Five Billion Dollar Pyramid Scheme. Listening to David Schreck destroy neoRovian (export edition), John Eisenstadt, on Rafe Mair today we learned that it is closer to $30 billion.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Free Stanley!


And why not?

After all, it's not like Gary 'Roulette Wheel' Bettman owns the bloody thing anyway:

Free Stanley's mission is to make sure there are Stanley Cup playoffs this hockey season. .... We believe it is the best trophy in all of sport, and it should not be denied to the best hockey team is playing this season. If there is no NHL season the Stanley Cup should then be awarded to the best hockey team in Canada, which was Lord Stanley's original intent for the Cup.....We propose that the Stanley Cup be returned to its original challenge cup format. For now this challenge would be limited to a competition among the remaining top level hockey leagues operating in Canada. .......Should the NHL ever start playing again, its champion - however determined -- might also be allowed into the challenge tournament.

In otherwords if the owners really screwed us to 'save the game', make the greedheads eat their words we say!

Update: if you need some context as to why the players might be inclined to dig in their heels check out this old column by everybody's favorite new pseudo-lefty, Rafe Mair, who also took a strip off the owners with his on-air editorial this morning.
Double Secret Probation Update: And P. Cluffie? Where does he weigh in on the lockout/shutdown? Who knows - he's too busy puttin' on weight scarfing down Don Genova's goodies while taking weak pot shots at waymore savvy young nat-sportsguy goalie/Buffalo Sabres fantatic, Kevin Sylvester.
Triple Bad Outfit Promulgation Update: Got tagged by one weird google search overnight: 'Don Cherry + Botox'. Maybe Grapes is buffin' himself up so that he can cover, what, beach volleyball?

If A Body Meets A Body....

Minneapolis, Minnesota
45 deg 00 min North; 93 deg 15 min West

............................Coming Through the Rye.

Who would have guessed that that other Minneapolis bad boy, Paul Westerberg, would grow comfortable in middle-age doing the job that Holden Caulfield always wanted:

"Basically you just get the ball when it goes into the street. I break up the occasional fight, let them do what they want, make sure they don't get hurt."

That's the former Replacements Furious Frontman, and current house husband, describing his duties as playground monitor at his 6 year old son's school.

If you want to read about what Westerberg is up to musically and find out the chances of a R'Ments Snowy Lucre reunion tour you could do worse than read all about it in Michael Kissinger's piece yesterday in the (103 X better than the Sun) Vancouver Courier.


Wednesday, February 16, 2005

We All Laugh Better Someday

GWNorthlands Coliseum (empty till Oct. 2005)

Warren Kinsella says he won't last six months.

We think he just may be the funniest thing in the Canuckleheaded Bloogospheroid.

His name is JimBobby and his favorite musician is Marshall Dillon's boy Bobby.

Check him out.

Acronyms of Evil

The Firehouse, PacificaVille
40°44' North; 73°55' West

In an excellent and wide ranging interview with Alternet's Evan Derkacz, Democracy Now's Amy Goodman reveals that the Pentagon's original double-secret probation (non)code name for the invasion of Iraq was 'Operation Iraqi Liberation'. However, this moniker was ultimately replaced, just in the nick of time for the saturation usage of Britt Hume et al., by the more palatable Operation Iraqi Freedom.


Well, the acronym O.I.L. was just a wee bit too blatant apparently, even for the Rovians.

For Canuckleheads, it's brown shades of that very fine, if somewhat pungent, neandercon fusion originally known as the Canadian Reform Alliance Party.

Cluffie Gets A Reprieve

Vancouver, B.C.
49°15'N; 123°08'W

Just last night we were calling for local CBC morning man Puffie the Cluffie's head.

But this morning P.Cluffie earned a reprieve when he actually knocked the SS Gordo's resident 3rd Deck Aft/Starboard compartment Cheerleader Judy Virk off her talking points by barking, incredulously....

"But Judy, the first round of tax cuts heavily favoured the rich!"

Ms. Virk was so flabbergasted by this demonstration of a journalistic spine transplant that she sputtered something about this being just plain wrong.


Because, according to Virk, since we have a progressive tax system we also have progressive tax cuts (ie. the rich get way more).

Which gave Will McMartin an opening to point out that the tax cuts coupled with the crippling increases in user/social service/health insurance/school fees etc. are actually doing exactly the opposite. Specifically, the SS Gordo has created a regressive tax system in which it is has become very, very expensive to be poor.


Keep it up P. Cluffie and we may reconsider that call for your permanent re-posting to Squamish.

Penny for Kenney's Thoughts?

Ottawa, Ontario
45° 25' North; 75°43' West

Well, less actually.

Way less.

Conservative MP Jason Kenney says gays have every right to marry whoever they want -- as long as it isn't someone of the same sex......"The fact is that homosexuals aren't barred from marrying under Canadian law,'' Kenney said.....Former NDP MP Svend Robinson -- an outspoken gay rights advocate and Canada's first publicly declared gay MP -- was once married to a woman, noted Kenney. He also said that NDP MP Libby Davies was once married to a man.

Davies, the Vancouver MP who is openly lesbian, corrected the record Sunday to say she's never been married, but did live with her male partner for 24 years until he died of cancer in 1997.

"I thought I'd heard it all,'' said Davies. "I wouldn't expect too much out of Jason Kenney on this (subject), but this is absolutely absurd.

"If there was an award for making an idiotic statement, this guy would get it.''

Perhaps we could pay for it with a copper slug instead.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Cluffie Must Go, Vol. II

Vancouver, B.C.
49°15'N; 123°08'W

We've said it before and we'll say it again, local CBC radio morning man Rick Cluff must go!

Exhibit A: Today Puffie Cluffie led off and ended one important story in just two stacatto sentences. To paraphrase....

"The Provincial Government announces $150million for education; some say it's not enough! Call our talkback line and tell us what you think!'

That's it, no context and absolutely no discussion of longterm, chronic underfunding and whether this 'new' pre-election money even comes close to making up the shortfall. Instead, it's just slam, bam, thank-you ma'am and it's off to the phones. It's lame, it's useless, and it leads to a sickly solipcism of the worst kind that is fueled entirely by uninformed comment. In fact, it's the kind of thing that makes us want to set our hair on fire because we listen to CBC rather than the not-so-Giant '98, or some other facsimile thereof, precisely because we don't want to have to put up with junk like this.

Now some CBC listeners, including regular reader/commentator lenin's ghost, might say - what can you expect given the fact that P.Cluffie was nothing more than a Sports Guy who fell into this plumb job because budget cuts allowed the Home Office (read T.O.) to shed themselves of the Puffie One by pulling seniority shuffle that left somebody who was actually competent at the job, Hal Wake, out in the cold?

Well, OK, but even if that is the case we have a suggestion - why not kick P.Cluffie further upstairs by giving him free reign to cover the 2010 Olympics from tomorrow until the last apres ski party ends five (or maybe fifteen) years from now?

Heck, even mayor Larry Campbell seems to be thinking similarly. Last week, after he'd suffered through another lamer than lame interview from P.Cluffie, Campbell turned a final 'what's up for you in the future Larry?' question back on the Cluffifferous one by retorting, 'Not sure about me Rick, but was wondering if you will returning to the Sports beat anytime soon?'

Here's hopin'.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Deep Kool-Aid

EberleVille, Texas
29° 45' North; 95° 23' West

Remember when Abu Grahaib broke and Mr. Rumsfeld was actually on the defensive for two, maybe three, news cycles before the Rovians figured out what to do, which was propaganda (e)genius personified: They turned the pictures themselves into the Kool-Aid.

So, while we can understand all the buzz over AmericaBlog and Rawstory's stuff today about Jeff Gannon/Guckert's lifestyle issues, particularly given the hypocrisy of it, we're starting to get a little concerned that the Rovians are chortling as they watch the Kool-Aid levels rise.

Rise so fast, in fact, that if we're not careful we'll all be swimming in the sticky green stuff soon, and when that happens everybody ends up swallowing at least a little of the darn stuff no matter how hard they try not to.

And that would be a real shame because, as Mary Lou Finlay on CBC's 'As It Happens' demonstrated on Friday, there is a much more important story that is beginning to be buried here....namely that Gannon was knew about a top secret memo regarding the very public flaming of Valerie Plame.

And how did Mary-Lou get the goods? Why, she handed Mr. Gannon the rope and he took it himself. You can listen to it here (Part I - starts @ 11:38min, Gannon starts at 21:30 and has the following exchange with Finlay beginning at about 24:00):

Gannon: When the CIA stuff began, the Valerie Plame debacle, I was the one that was asking, 'How does George Tenant keep his job'?

Finlay: You were a recipient of secret information on that score, were you? Were you told by the Whitehouse, or the....?

Gannon: (cuts in....) Absolutely not! If you read what I asked, and this all came out of an interview I did with Ambassador Wilson... if you look at what I said, I asked him to comment on an internal memo.

Finlay: Right....

Gannon: I didn't say I had it. I didn't even say I read it. I asked him to comment on an internal memo.

Finlay: Yes.....that you hadn't read?

Gannon: Did I say I read it?

Finlay: I'm asking.

Gannon: Well....I didn't say I read it.

Finlay: (incredulous....) What do you mean?

Gannon: Well, my job as a reporter is to get the interview subject to answer questions and I did that.

All's well and good for Mr. Gannon so far right, except perhaps for that little slip up above regarding an internal memo. And this is where most members of the mainstream media would have folded up their tents and their microphones and gone home, right? Well, you'd be wrong if you were talking about Ms. Finlay.

Finlay: Ya. But how would you know about the memo if you hadn't seen it?

Gannon: I could have heard about it somewhere.

Finlay: Somebody asked you to ask about the memo then?

Gannon: I could have overheard a conversation that somebody was having.

Finlay: Right, or somebody could have said, 'Ask him (Wilson) this question'?

Gannon: That's possible too.

So there you have it. Mr. Gannon may be waffling on whether or not he has actually seen or read the memo (which, of course, could be the Rovian double fallback position), but that part is immaterial, because what is clear is that someone told him about the memo. And remember that the memo was classified, and that it dealt with the treasonous act of exposing Mr. Wilson's wife as a CIA operative at a time when the Bush Administration was doing it's best to take Wilson to the mat, hard, in an effort to discredit him and his truth telling.

Thus, the real issue is...who told Mr. Gannon what and when did they tell him?

And lifestyle has absolutely nothing to with that.

btw: if you want the lifestyle hypocrisy stuff you can get to it via the Liberal Avenger or the ASZ


Sunday, February 13, 2005

Defying Negativeland

Chicago Illinois
41°51' North; 87°41' West

"If you make political discourse sufficiently negative, more people will become cynical and stop paying attention. That leaves more space for special interests to pursue their agendas, and that's how we end up with drug companies making drug policy, energy companies making energy policy and multinationals making trade policy."

Barack Obama, May 2004.

Think Mr. Obama, the newly minted US Senator from Illinois, was overstating things a bit?

Think again.

"WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 - A day after Canadian officials suspended the use of a hyperactivity drug amid reports of deaths associated with its use, Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa contended that United States health officials had asked the Canadian regulators not to do so."

Apparently, dead kids don't count for much in Negativeland, at least not when the best interests of Big Pharma are part of the equation.

Update: For the record, Mr. Grassley is a Republican.


Between A Crock and A Nutcase

Ann Arbor, Michigan
42°16' North; 83°43' West

Worried about going into hyperglycemic shock if you spend too much time watching/listening/reading the Mainstream Media's coverage of Iraq's election results?

Wondering if we in Canada should just put up, shut up and get in the game now that freedom reigns in Iraq?

If the answer is yes to either question we suggest you remember to check in with Juan Cole once in awhile for a good stiff dose of the anti-Kool Aid. Cole is one of those people that actually knows something about that which he speaks. And even if you don't agree with him all the time, by reading his stuff and following his links you will leave his place knowing more about the situation in Iraq than when you came.

Today Mr. Cole tells us that the Mr. Allawi is the big loser which, on the face of it at least, appears to be the case given the fact that the puppet garnered only 13% of the vote despite all that the Bush surrogates did for him in terms of machine, money and mobilization.

But there is also this matter of Sistani's party falling back to the pack in the last few days (to 48%; 300 ballot box recounts anyone?) just enough to ensure that he will have to get serious help to build a coalition with the 2/3 of the seats required to form the gov't. Cole suggests that this might come from the Kurds who have 26%. However, there is the flipside to consider as well. It is a situation that is just fine enough that it too makes you wonder once again about the delays and recounts. Specifically, together, the Kurds and Allawi have 39% of the vote which isn't enough to win anything at all, but it is enough to stop Sistani indefinitely if that's what Negroponte et al. decide is the course of action that should be taken.

And if it does become a longterm stalemate because Sistani won't give in, who wins?

We say advantage Insurgents and Occupiers both, two parties that nobody voted for. As the Guardian's soon to be former man in Bagdhad, Rory Gallagher, points out, if this status quo holds all Iraqis will lose.

"For what the US and Britain have yet to acknowledge about the past two years in Iraq is the searing humiliation brought by their occupation. It is helping fuel the insurgency and is turning even moderate Iraqis against the western forces who once promised liberation. It has turned the country into a fearful melting pot of Islamic radicalism and given cause to a new generation of militancy across the region."

And that Marcus Gee is the real story, delivered by someone who has been in Iraq since the invasion began. All of which goes a long way to explain, without even invoking the morality argument re: unjust war, why Canada must not contribute, even if it is only a token, to the continued Occupation.

Wiping That Smugness From Our Eyes

Kabul, Afghanistan
34°30' North; 69°10' East

As Pogge points out, we in Canuckistan are not immune.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Being Jeff Gannon

The Outskirts,
Mainstream Mediaville

While he's no John Malkovich, apparently Mr. Gannon does think he is Kirk Douglas:

"Although Press Secretary Scott McClellan and others at the White House knew that Gannon was not his real name, they always referred to him by that name, he said in the interview. "My professional name is Jeff Gannon, and that is what people called me,” he explained, adding, in an odd reference, “It is like Kirk Douglas, they do not refer to him when they meet him by his real name."

Shades of E. Howard Hunt and his red fright wig, or what?

And as ridiculous as it seems, Mr. Gannon/Guckert's cheap-jack disguise, like E.H.H.'s before it, may be providing a flimsy cover for something much more troubling than just acting as a soft-tosser for little Scottie McClellan.

Because, while he has been evasive, Gannon/Guckert has not flatly denied his involvement in the Wilson/Plame Affair. From the same Editor & Publisher interview cited above:

Gannon/Guckert said that contrary to many press reports, he was never subpoenaed by the special prosecutor and has never testified before a grand jury in the case. But he said he was interviewed by two FBI agents in his home for about 90 minutes last year.

"I answered their questions truthfully and honestly, but I would prefer not to say more,” he said. “I assume the information was routed back and that is why I was not called to testify."

Although he hinted that he had not seen a classified CIA document after all, he added, "I am not going to speak to that. It goes to something of a nature I do not want to discuss."

That last part is interesting, because on CBC radio last night Mary Lou Finlay gave Mr. Gannon enough rope and he took it. As reader Andrew in Caledon notes:

......caught part of a CBC phone interview with "Jeff" Friday evening -- to paraphrase: "did I ever say I read the memo ? did I ever say I saw the memo ? perhaps I just overheard a conversation about the memo. I never said I had knowledge of the contents"....

We pretty much heard the same thing just before 7pm PST last night while mixing the cheese powder into the Annie's Pasta with the 5 yr old, and thus we're waiting with baited breath for the RA file to be posted on the AIH website (this is Canuckistan after all, a place where technicians do crazy things like taking the weekend off) to be absolutely sure. Regardless, taken together with the E&P interview this pretty much confirms the existence of a scaleable Treasongate Wall because, even if he didn't actually see the thing, somebody told Gannon about the closely held CIA memo, and that person is the next link in the climbing chain.

Here's hopin' the next generation of young punk Woodward and/or Bernstein wannabes lurking in some mainstream newsroom somewhere starts grabbing, hard, at those links in an effort to climb the Wall (assuming, of course, that there is a mainstream media magnate out there with the guts of somebody like Katherine Graham to let them have a serious go at it).

  1. Update: forgot to give Rob Cottingham kudos earlier for being willing to whisper the 'C' word on this issue a couple of weeks ago.
  2. Double Irony Update: Reader B.A.D. points out that it was Kirk Douglas who famously screamed, "I am not a freak!" in Spartacus.
  3. Triple Irony Update: Spartacus, of course was the story of an uprising against Empire
  4. Quadruple By-Pass Irony Update: The screenplay of Spartacus was written by blacklist victim Dalton Trumbo, who, for our money, wrote one of the finest anti-war/anti-empire books of all time.

Dodging Mr. Gee's Whiz

Toronto, Ontario
43°40' North; 79°22' West

Marcus Gee has long been the Globe & Mail's designated Kool-Aid drinker when it comes to all things PNACkian. After all he is the guy who once said:

"So the United States and Britain lied to the world. So what?"

And this week Mr. Gee apparently decided to give something back by first locking himself in his cubicle to gobble up illogical expectorants hand-over-fist before letting fly with a shower of sticky sweet lime green aerosol designed to cover the entire Great White North in little green smiley-faced footballs. To whit:

"...the fight being waged in Iraq now is not the fight that Ottawa refused to join back then. It is a fight for democracy, and Canada should be in it......It seems to have escaped Mr. Martin, but things have changed in Iraq. Last week, in an act of civic courage that amazed the world, Iraqis defied terrorist threats to vote en masse in the country's first free election in half a century. The government that will rise out of that vote will have a resounding mandate to build a new Iraq."

Never mind the fact that Mr. Gee seems to be basing his assumptions about a pre-emptive war's ability to deliver freedom and liberty under a continuing occupation on Rovian propaganda that is being discredited more and more by the day. After all, these people deal in news cycles, and the cycle clock on the wall says it's time to have a go at Our Paul in an effort to force a capitulation at the upcoming NATO summit on Feb 22nd. Again, from the green spittle-flecked mouth of Mr. Gee:

"....What possible reason can Mr. Martin have to say no (to contributing to a NATO-led force)? That Canada opposed the war in the first place? It won't wash. Canada was against overthrowing Saddam Hussein because the United Nations refused to approve the war and because Ottawa worried about the precedent of an "illegal" invasion. But that debate was over two years ago. There is nothing illegal about the struggle being waged in Iraq now. To the contrary, this is exactly the kind of effort that Canada claims to believe in."

But do we believe in 'exactly that kind of effort'? Not according to Globe and Mail Reader Adam LaRusic (Letter to Editor, Feb 12/05):

"In examining why Canada does not send troops to Iraq, Marcus Geee fails to take into account that most Canadians do not want to send our troops there. As Canada is a democracy, we should not go. Seeing as how he supports invading nations to establish democracies, you'd think he would have considered democratic ideals in his argument."

We couldn't agree more with Mr. LaRusic.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Effing Makes the World Go Round

Cheneyville, Wyoming
42° 31' North; 104°52' West

Effing North............
"Government House Leader and Labour Minister Graham "Friggin'" Bruce's twentysomething son will be getting some temporary employment during the upcoming election. Friggin' Public Eye has learned Ryan has been appointed the minister's friggin' campaign manager. We wish this father and son team the best of friggin' luck. Friggin' New Democrat Doug Routley, a friggin' school district trustee, is running against Minister Bruce in Cowichan-Ladysmith."

Effing South......
"Inside, Rove was talking to an aide about some political stratagem in some state that had gone awry and a political operative who had displeased him. I paid it no mind and reviewed a jotted list of questions I hoped to ask. But after a moment, it was like ignoring a tornado flinging parked cars. "We will f**k him. Do you hear me? We will f**k him. We will ruin him. Like no one has ever f**ked him!" . . . This went on without a break for a minute or two. Then the aide slipped out looking a bit ashen, and Rove, his face ruddy from the exertions of the past few moments, looked at me and smiled a gentle, Clarence-the-Angel smile. "Come on in." And I did."

Family values, indeed.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Susan G. Pulls the String

Washington, District of Columbia
38°53' North; 77°02 West

By now the entire Blogosphere has heard all about the waygone right-sided ringer pseudenonymously known as Jeff Gannon who was frequently called upon by Little Scottie McClellan and the Twig himself to serve up super-slow soft-balls during WhiteHouse Press briefings.

And of course, Mr. Gannon's transgressions have been poo-pooed by the mainstream media because of the fact that, while he is a shill, Jeffie only appears to be a shill on the half-shell because he worked for the not-quite-entirely Rovian 'Talon News Agency' (what, was TASS already taken?). But even more despicable is the fact that Mr. Gannon's lifestyle 'issues' have been exploited by the Re-Thug Screamers as evidence that Left Blogistan is intolerant.

But maybe what you haven't heard about is the fact that Mr. Gannon appears to also have been an agent provocateur in the Joseph Wilson/Valerie Plame affair. Specifically, Mr. Gannon was given access to a tightly held intelligence 'memo' that laid out details of Mr. Wilson's trip to Niger that led to the very public debunking of Bush/Cheney's entirely bogus claim that Saddam Hussein had purchased 'yellowcake' Uranium from the West African country of Niger.

If true, and it certainly has been given credibility from Mr Wilson himself in an interview with kOS blogger Susan G., this revelation would suggest that Mr. Gannon has been involved in some pretty 'spooky' domestic activities.

Which got us to wondering....has anybody dubbed this thing 'TreasonGate' yet?

big, biG, bIG, BIG kudos: to former Whiskey Bar patron, and sometime Kate Storm defender, Susan G. for really getting to the heart of this (im?)peachy matter.
Original Link Source: Sir Richard of Cranium

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Boulevard of Broken Promises

Kelowna, British Columbia
49°57' North; 119°23' West

Somebody's gotta do it, and Rick Barnes at Politics in BC is doing a fine job.

Specifically, Rick is tracking all those New Era Promises that have been pulled from the website and he is showing how so many of them have been broken over and over and over again.

And as somebody who's been involved in more than one small social service non-profit agency that has had it's throat slit by the Liberal knife over the last four years (including one that served hundreds of needy families per year that was killed so that the Ministry of Child and Family Development could give the lousy $28K per year to Doug Walls to flush down the toilet) we found Rick's illumination of the hypocrisy of Little Lord Lorne Mayencourt particularly interesting:

"Why aren't the social workers, psychiatrists, Human Resources people and all the other official assistance professionals walking the streets, trying to find out what the residents need and what's missing from their services? " Statement by Liberal MLA Lorne Mayencourt better known as the Westend Partyboi.

Hmmmmm....maybe because you and your leader fired them all, that's why.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The Reverse Groucho

Left Blogistan

A lot of people in Left Blogistan have been talking about lists lately.

You lists, peacenik lists, agitator lists, demonstrator lists, activist lists, social justice lists, leftist lists, bad boy/girl blogger lists, dissenter lists, deserter lists, anti-war lists, supporters of Ward Churchill lists, no fly lists.

In other words..... be careful what you do and say, or you'll end up on one of those lists.

Which got us to thinking about Nixon's infamous Enemies List, and how so many righteous people were mightily upset, in the end, when they weren't on it.

Which is exactly how we think everyone should feel about this new generation of lists.

We like to call it the 'Reverse Groucho'.

In other words, think of these things as nothing more than bad clubs that wouldn't want to have you as a member. As such, we should do our best to join them all.


Because if everyone's on the darned things they won't mean anything at all.

Guess you could also call this strategy 'Universality with a Cause'.

Kinda like Healthcare, and Public Schools, and Public Parks, and Public Recreation Facilities, and Public Transport, and Public Universities, and especially Old Age Pensions/Social Security.

You know - all those things that Mr. Potter and the Neandercons hate because, well, they just do.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Responding to Michael Enright

Toronto, Ontario
43°40' North; 79°22' West

Today, in his opening commentary on CBC's Sunday Morning, the esteemed Mr. Enright stated that the reasons for the Bush Adminsistration's invasion of Iraq no longer matter because 60% of Iraqis braved death to vote passionately last week for Democracy. He also said that the 'self-righteous' who have opposed the war have been forced to, at least in part, eat their words.

Now, we would like to respond to Mr. Enright's conclusions, not by quibbling about media manipulation-driven perceptions, which we believe are significant, but instead by challenging his major assumption - specifically that it was a vote for a Bush Doctrine-imposed 'Freedom'.

Here's the way will frame it - let's say a huge military force invades your country promising to make things better for you, your family, your friends and your community. Let's say that force deposes a dictator that you had much reason to despise, fear and revile, mainly because of your religion and ethnicity which is in the majority and which has long been oppressed.

Of course you might be inclined to embrace that invading force.

But lets' say that over a period of 21 months that invading force steadily makes life worse for you, your family, your friends and your community. First they destroy the entire infrastructure of your country in an effort to build a huge Laissez-Faire Honeytrap for incoming Multinationals; simultaneously, everyone you know or have known loses their job and everyone is plunged into immediate shock therapy-induced poverty; then they install first one puppet that at least has some affinity for both your religion and ethnicity, but when that puppet fails they install a second puppet who was aligned with the former dictator and who carries out an atrocity immediately after his rule is imposed to demonstrate that he is, indeed, a strongman; then they write an interim constitution that ensures that the Multinationals who are starting to balk will stay and keep control of everything, including the oil; then they start to crackdown on local leaders of your religion and ethnicity who try to get the electricity on, the sewers fixed, and the schools open; then they tell you there will not be elections because they are afraid of your religion and ethnicity; then they start to kill you, your family, your friends and your community; and then you find out that they have been, and are continuing to, torture your countrymen, your countrywomen and your children; throughout it all, the minions of what you have begun to perceive as the new Oppressor have retreat behind walled-in, exclusionary safe-zones where you are not allowed to go while at the same time continuing plans to install permanent military bases of occupation; and finally, the new Oppressor brings in an even Newer Ambassador who, as he has done before half a world away, begins to help the Puppet set-up a security appartus that will be truly chilling in both its reach and ferocity.

And then after all this, while you get less and less electricity everyday, while families are gunned down at 'checkpoints', while your water is turned off more and more often, and while food rations begin to shrink, a Cleric who oversees your religion and ethnicity forces the New Oppressor to have an election.

And so, you do what you are told and respond to the Cleric's fatwa.


Why else - to free yourself from the 'Freedom' imposed by an increasingly brutal New Oppressor who you once believed had come to save your country.


Now, what is the evidence we offer to support our final conclusion?

Well, first and foremost, Sistani the Cleric is crushing Allawi the Puppet in the vote count. Second, in the small ring of communities where he ran, so is the militant Sewer Fixer, al Sadr.

In his closing remarks this morning Mr. Enright also said that it will likely take years or even decades before we will know how this all turns out.

We would humbly suggest that it will only take a few weeks before the outcome starts to gain clarity. And it will be signaled by the Multnationals scurrying out of Iraq like rats from a sinking ship when the Sistani-controlled Congress begins to write its own version of the Constitution.

Unless, of course, the New Oppressor tries to stop them.

Update: A few readers have asked, why do we care what Mr. Enright thinks or says? To which we respond....because for Canuckleheads, who have so far managed to keep out of this thing, what the big Central Canadian Media Machine says and does to shape public opinion in the next two weeks really does matter.
Double Secret Probation Update: While more cautious, the NYT comes to not dissimilar conclusions; meanwhile, Mr. Cheney has already started to push back, hard.
Triple Not-So Secret Branch Update: Linda McQuaig weighs in.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Mushy and Me

Islamabad, Pakistan
33°40' North; 73°08' East

Stop the presses!

Because the Dictator who is currently the recipient of BushCo II's 'Most Favoured Strongman Status' has just inked himself a book deal:

"President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan is writing a political memoir, focusing on the war on terrorism and his relationship with the Bush administration as a key ally.....Bruce Nichols, vice president and senior editor at Simon & Schuster's Free Press imprint, said yesterday that although Mr. Musharraf would receive help with the manuscript from a longtime journalist and confidant, it would not amount to co-authorship."

Sure hope there will be tons of photos of Mushy with Georgie, and Mushy with Wolfie, and Mushy with Perlie, and Mushy with Rummie, and Mushy with Dickie, and Mushy with NPontie, and Mushy with Camboni(e) the Zamboni, and Mushy with Rice-A-Roni, and all that.


Because, when the tide turns and Mushy becomes a victim of BushCo III's 'He Who Must Destroyed At All Costs' policy, it sure will be good to have those images for posterity*

*assuming that posterity still means anything all by then, of course.

Vertebrae Required

Ottawa, Ontario
45° 25' North; 75° 43' West

It's time for Our Paul to get that spine transplant, immediately:

"U.S. President George W. Bush is expected to ask Prime Minister Paul Martin to send troops to help with the post-war reconstruction of Iraq when they meet later this month.

No decision has been made, but highly placed sources say Canada is preparing to discuss the sensitive issue during the NATO summit meeting in Brussels on Feb 22."

And it's our job to make sure he gets it.

We've got 17 days.