Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Garbage Strike Conspiracy - Cleanin' It Up Here Boss

'What we have here is a failure to communicate.'



So, one of the local media mavens of a so-called progressive bent who supported Smilin' Sammy Sullivan over Jim-Not-James Green in the last Vancouver mayoral election has finally come to his senses.

We're talking about Charlie Smith, who last week skewed the Smiley One over the interminable civic workers strike in a piece titled "A Strike About Nothing".

It's good.

And if you live in Lotusland-Central and if you can't take your kids swimming, or take a Tai-Chi class, or go for a Sunday afternoon skate, or get that blockbuster out of the Library you've been waiting to read on the beach since before the summer started, it will get your blood boiling.


Because of the last bit, which goes like this.

But let's not kid ourselves about what is really extending this ugly strike. It's money. By its own very conservative estimate, the City saved over $1.3 million during the seven-week dispute in 2000. Gross savings were close to $11 million, but city staff claimed a whopping $9.6 million in lost revenues and strike costs.

Is it any wonder that city managers are placing such emphasis on parking enforcement this time around, rather than keeping community centres open for the kids? Is it any wonder that senior brass don't seem too concerned about needles in parks and no talking books for the blind? If you're confused about why this strike about nothing is taking so long to settle, just follow the money, and you'll have your answer.


Kinda makes one wonder why no one has pulled a Cool Hand Luke on a few meters of the parking variety late on some Sammy-Free Saturday night.

Not that we would ever endorse or even condone such scandalous behavior.

No sireeee.

After all, we wouldn't want anyone to end up on one of Sammy's chain gangs cleaning up the mountains of garbage around town.


Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to head out to the garage to deal with a mountain of garbage all my own.



Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Circle Game


......Lawyers who work for lobbyists who allegedly made bribes but never got charged along with fixers who allegedly took the bribes but who most certainly once worked for politicians whose party was run and supported by lobbyists and fixers and lawyers one of whom is now officially involved in an investigation involving a land deal that involves not the fixers discussed above (that's a separate issue that some have suggested may involve another fixer who did work with the lobbyist with the lawyer discussed above), but instead the relative of an attorney general who was brought in by the politicians whose party was run by lobbyists and lawyers and fixers, one of whom apparently no longer has immunity from making alleged bribes due to deals allegedly arranged by a lawyer who should never be mistaken for either an Apple or a computer with a name that sounds like it could be an apple.....

Or some such alleged, but all, apparently, on the public record, sort of thing.


Your head spinning?

Mine too.

But you can learn all about it at British Columbia's true place of record and informed discussion on matters such as these.

A place that is neither Global nor Western in scope (or resources).

In case you haven't caught on, we're talking about our good friend, and fellow citizen, BC Mary's Place.

A place where the Anon-O-Mice can run free and try to do their best to help both you and for me.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Draft Bruce


While he's not officially running for office, the guy who used to be the kid they called 'Alvin Lee By-The-Sea' is getting to ready to leave the boardwalk and hit the road once again.

And this time around it looks like he's pulling no punches as he cranks a king heckfire monster of a stump speech:

ASBURY PARK, N.J. -- Late into the first set of a concert tour that began Monday night and will stretch well into election season, Bruce Springsteen tore through his 9/11 anthem, "The Rising." Three or four years ago, that might have been the rollicking end to things. Now it's just the beginning. Before the last "li, li, li" of Springsteen's paean to the NYFD echoed down the Asbury Park boardwalk, the E Street Band had rumbled into one of Springsteen's newest songs: a full frontal attack on the Iraq war built around John Kerry's 1971 testimony on Vietnam.

The kids asleep in the backseat
We're just countin' the miles you and me
We don't measure the blood we've drawn anymore
We just stack the bodies outside the door.

Who'll be the last to die for our mistake
The last to die for our mistake
Whose blood will spill, whose heart will break
Who'll be the last to die for our mistake?

Can't wait to see, hear and read all about it.


Update: Looks like the Boss has even decided he's going to use (and even co-opt!) the TeeVee this time 'round.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What Are Democrats Afraid Of?


Apparently it's that great American institution known as foraging for food.

And no, that is not the act of schlepping down to the Seven-Eleven for a slurpee.

Instead, it is apparently George W. Bush's super-secret weapon to keep the war in Iraq going until, like, forever:

The past few weeks on Capitol Hill have been dominated by Iraq, as the GOP has continued to stand with the President and Democrats have been unable to muster the votes to force his hand. Soon, Bush will be asking for more funding--reportedly as much as $200 billion. When he does, he'll again argue that the timely and "clean" passage of the spending bill is essential to keeping the troops equipped. But that's not true. Thanks to the Feed and Forage Act, an obscure nineteenth-century statute, Bush could legally continue to prosecute the war without funding from Congress.


In related news,
apparently Mr. Bush cannot forage for grub while riding Western (or even English) on his ranch. Why? Well, according to former Mexican president Vincente Fox, commander codpiece loses his swagger and turns to jelly when he gets near anything remotely equine.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Are We The New Switzerland?


Mr. Beer 'N Hockey thinks we are.

He also has things like the following to say in the weirdest, most twisted analysis of the current currency domination by our fine nation that I have read so far:

"It will not be long before the American franchises in sports leagues like the National Hockey League start crying about not being able to compete for the services of talent who would much rather be paid in golden Canadian loonies than worthless American Jeffersons."

Go read the whole thing.


Before you do.....

If you are currently guzzling a Moosehead on this last-gasp-of-summer Bachman-backed Sudbury Saturday Night, please remember to stay clear of the keyboard.



The Least Compassionate Conservative Of Them All


This week Democrats and Republicans in the American Congress and the Senate got together and did something good.

Really good.

House and Senate negotiators from both parties said this afternoon (Fri Sept 21st) that they had reached agreement on expanding a popular children’s health insurance program.

Here are some of the details which demonstrate that this is something that is actually really, really really good.

The (current children's healthcare) program expires Sept. 30, and Congress is on the verge of renewing it by providing coverage to an additional 4 million children over the 6.6 million already enrolled — at an additional cost of $35 billion over five years.

Did you catch that?

A program to help give an extra 4 million kids a real shot in life at a cost that pales in comparison to the massive amounts that are being spent to do a whole mess of stuff to prevent kids from having a real shot at life in a country called, well, you know.....

So, what did Mr. Bush have to say about it all during his radio address today?

``Democrats in Congress have decided to pass a bill they know will be vetoed,'' the president said in his radio address. ``The proposal congressional leaders are pushing would raise taxes on working Americans and would raise spending by $35 to $50 billion,'' he said.

Then Mr. Bush said he will veto the bill.

On the bright side - Mr. Bush did not simultaneously call for additional tax cuts for the rich.

Even brighter was this, written by TRex while playing with the late night band over on FDL after he detailed how just had it's biggest fundraising day ever, "every time the Bush administration demonizes an opponent, an angel gets its wings." Somewhere, it appears, Frank Capra just might be smiling.


Friday, September 21, 2007

Garbage Strike Conspiracy - Both Sides Agree?

....To Non-Binding Mediation!


The City of Vancouver and the Unions representing striking Civic Workers have agreed to write down stuff they think is important and send it all to mediator Brian Foley.

Mr. Foley will then make recommendations that will be non-binding.

My first response, as someone with a garage full of rotting stinking garbage, was to whinge that this micron-sized step forward was really nothing more than the twinge of a withered quadricep.

But, upon hardly any reflection at all, I came to realize that that at least it's actually a sign of life.

This one is even more on the fly than usual.....looking forward to reading PicketBoy's POV later.


The Public's Right To Know


Almost single-handedly, a man named Robin Mathews has forced the legal system to acknowledge that we, the people of British Columbia, have a right to know why the Trial of the Century has still not started almost four years after the infamous RCMP raids on our Legislature.

And now, according to a letter that was apparently sent by the court to Mr. Mathews that is reprinted by GWest over at Mary's place, it looks like we are going to find out what happened at the latest in a seemingly endless string of 'pre-trial hearings'.

With respect to your request for access to the court record, Madam Justice Bennett advises that you may attend at Court Registry in Vancouver to listen to the audio recording of the pre-trial conference which took place on August 21, 2007. As it was a pre-trial conference, no documents were filed. If you wish, you may also obtain a transcript of the August 21 pre-trial conference; however, you will be responsible for any fees charged in relation to the preparation of a transcript. Finally, if clerk's notes from the August 21, 2007 pre-trial conference were prepared, you may look at them.

Which is an important breakthrough, indeed.

More importantly, it is time for us to step up and collectively pay for 'any fees charged in relation to the preparation of a transcript' even if they are nominal.

Why is this important?

Because the time has for us all to impress upon the court that it is the 'people', not just one 'person' , that wants, and indeed must, have this information if they are to remain an informed citizenry.



Blame Canada - Again


This just in from the cover of Macleans magazine:


The Cover.

Oh boy.

The piece is by Patrick Graham (yes - that Patrick Graham) and it's very, very good. Even on the surge.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Garbage Strike Conspiracy - What's Really Going On?


While the ProMedia appears to be content with looking for new and interesting 'angles' that, while interesting, are not exactly germane to the actual nuts and bolts of the City of Vancouver's and the Union's positions.

Which, of course, is something we the public, especially those of us that are actually trying to figure out what is really and truly at stake here, would definitely like to read about in a spin-free fashion.

So, in that spirit we quote (once again) from citizen journalist (and CUPE member/Vancouver civic worker) PicketBoy:

Building Service Workers (janitors), Ice Rink Staff & Parking Metre Coin Collectors fear the loss of their jobs. When speaking with these staff their fear is palpable. What negotiator wants to explain why these jobs were sacrificed for the sake of labour peace?

PB then goes on to offer extremely rational and reasonable advice for the folks from the City:

City council members and aspiring mayoral candidates need to stop fanning the conflict and actually seek solutions. I believe that is called leadership as opposed to simply appeasing one's base.

And for the folks from the Union:

CUPE must consider options beyond job / no job.

And for both of them - together:

Can the City assist in training? Can CUPE National do likewise? Both should.

Which can only make us wonder if PB has ever thought of moonlighting as a mediator.


Is Pacific Spirit Park Really Safe?


Apparently, according to someone who was there, British Columbia's Premier Gordon Campbell will not swap parkland for fairways on the Vancouver's far-western edge.

It's all detailed in this very solid yet succinct piece by Ian Bailey in yesterday's Globe and Mail:

VANCOUVER — Premier Gordon Campbell says his government will take an extra three months to finalize a deal to cede the University Golf Club in his riding to the urban Musqueam band, according to a participant at the Premier's first meeting with community representatives on the issue.

The deal had been expected to conclude this month, but the Premier told participants at the Friday gathering in his constituency office that the government hopes to resolve it by the end of December.

"It looks like it's just a matter of working on the fine points, but it seems to me it's pretty much a done deal, that the ownership of the golf course is going to be transferred," said Bob Kasting, president of the University Endowment Lands Community Advisory Council, who attended the hour-long meeting at the Premier's invitation.

Mr. Kasting said two other community participants and former Vancouver-Quadra MP Stephen Owen, now an external relations vice-president at the University of British Columbia, were present.

The issue has spurred petitions, angry meetings and even a poll to counter the transfer of the 48-hectare course in Mr. Campbell's Vancouver-Point Grey riding.

Mr. Kasting also said Mr. Campbell flatly rejected the idea of preserving the golf course and giving the Musqueam land elsewhere such as in Pacific Spirit Park.

Now assuming that Mr. Kasting's comments accurately reflect the Premier's statements, and we have no reason to believe that they do not, it is still important to remember that, as Rafe Mair likes to say, six months is an eternity in politics.

Which means that three months is at least a lifetime.

Or, put another way, if you have the time, the money and the juice, you can play a whole lotta golf and do whole lotta political wheeling' and dealing in ninety days.

Which is just the way Mr. Marty Zlotnik, who is one of the very fine folks Westside folks with a love of golf and considerable juice, views Mr. Campbell's sudden 'delay':

Mr. Zlotnik said earlier this week that the delay in resolving the issue could be good news for opponents of the plan.

"Any kind of delay gives the Save the Course group a tremendous opportunity to build public support," he said, adding that a groundswell of opposition could make Mr. Campbell reconsider the alternative site.

"Maybe public pressure will make [this option] available," he said.

Public pressure?

To destroy a park to save a golf course?

Well, maybe in the grey poupon and creme-filled world that is Point Grey.

But in the rest of the real world, well, we're not so sure.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Kids Really Are Alright


It's Clubs Week at the still (sorta) Public Institution of Young Adults Learning Stuff where I ply my trade.

As such, the place is flat-out humming with all manner of DIY stuff that runs the gamut from organic food co-ops to flamenco festivals to psychotic physics psyche-outs to plain old-fashioned book and computer geek clubs.

One group that I noticed for the first time today was 'The Croquet Club' which I initially assumed, based on the fact that their booth was populated by strapping young frat-boys, was little more than a ruse designed to lure young woman into games of chance. But it turned out that the kids in the club were extremely serious in a sit-around-and-drink-beer-while-whacking-stuff sort of way.


But here's the thing I really like about Clubs Week.......

There is absolutely no sign of the shill-filled Corps-ridden, ad-fests that took over the campus last week.

And the difference is palpable.

After all, last week it was all about what the Corporation's could get from the kids in terms of the green (see Telcos:longterm contracts, for example).

In contrast, this week it's all about what the kids can get from each other.

And you can tell that they're having way more fun this week than last.



They All Fall Down


The latest subscription wailing wall to fall is the one that belonged to the NY Times.

Which means there will no longer be frantic searches for Krugman every Tuesday and Friday morning.

Wonder how much time and money they lost in Friedman Units?


Meanwhile, as the Cheney Administration embarks on its mission to print money faster than OJ commits 'alleged' felonies, the US national debt climbs higher than a thousand year Weimar Unit.


Finally, in British Columbia news(iersness).....

If anyone else was wondering how provincial revenues from the sale of natural gas could fall dramatically just prior to an annnouncement from Carole Taylor that she is now forecasting a larger than expected budget surplus, David Schreck (not Shrek) has a pretty good and plausible explanation.

And it has very little to do with golf courses, treaties, privatization, coal-fired power plants, the Olympics, or bridge-twinning.

In other words, all politics is most definitely NOT local.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Where's Davey Now?


It sure is interesting how high finance stories like this one are blaming all of our softwood lumber woes on a high dollar and a severe slump in the US housing market.

Of course, those two factors are extremely important.

However, there is a third factor.

And luckily we still have the staid old Canadian Press, a group with enough of an institutional memory to add paragraphs like the following to their wire copy:

Canadian lumber also faces an export tax when it crosses the border into the United States, a measure imposed a year ago by the Canadian government to settle a long-standing softwood lumber dispute with the United States.

Why is this important?

Because as we discussed at the time, David Emerson's softwood capitulation for a resource restricted nation was built for good times from the very beginning*.


If There Is No Trial.....

....Does That Mean There Was No Crime?


Neal Hall's Basi-Virk-Basi story in today's Vancouver Sun was short, and the unbylined story from the Canadian Press was even shorter.

But the only new 'news' (ie. 'newsier'?) thing either told us were some future dates in the sorry saga that has become the BC Rail Trial that never starts.

Oh ya, that and the fact that the judge says that the public has waited too long.

If you want a more fulsome story, I suggest you go read Robin Mathews eyewitness account at BC Mary's place as it includes stuff like the following:

The short session dealt with an update of information about the process of narrowing the needs of Defence for materials and pursuing search through the famous drug investigation cabinets ("We're at drawer 6 of 7 drawers" a voice reported electronically from a cybernetic box on the table, "and we should have the review complete in ten days"). The lawyer in charge of extracting materials from the legislature actors, Mr Copley, always unctuous, always deferential, reported categories of privilege and work going ahead...slowly.

Mr. Berardino, Special Crown Prosecutor, surprised the assembly by announcing that material he had expected to have available was taking longer to assemble than he had at first believed....

Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett entered the courtroom newly coiffed, looking younger than last time, and relaxed. She affirmed at a point in the deliberations - dealing with scheduling - that this case has to proceed! Some of us vaguely remember her saying that in 2006...or was it 2005?

Scheduling occupied some time. Racing to conclusion, the next gathering will be October 26. After that the parties will assemble again on December 3. Beginning on March 17 of next year, some time will be taken up hearing the Charter Challenge by the Defence, alleging wire-tapping that infringed the Charter rights of its clients, and other such invasions of fundamental freedoms. When that is over, the trial (if any basis for trial remains) will proceed at a date as yet not announced.

Yup, nothing to be seen there.

Nothing newsworthy whatsoever.

So, move on people of British Columbia.

Oh, and by the way, just so you know, the private railway that bought the public railway that we used to own (see below) had another derailment yesterday.

Please do not misunderstand us. There was no intent to impugn the work of Mr. Hall here as he has done brilliant reportage on this story in the past. One does have to wonder, however, why his editors didn't give him a little more time and space this time around. On a related, but entirely non-conflational, tangent we sure did find this fictional (of course!) excerpt from John Armstrong's book in The Tyee fascinating.
Correction: In the original post I identified the most recent derailment as being on track that previously belonged to BC Rail. That was incorrect. The CN line from Prince Rupert to Prince George predates the BC Rail deal. Many thanks to the anon-o-mice over at Mary's place.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Oh Blackwater.....


A whole lot of pro-media and bloggodome bubbles have been bursting today due to the yanking of Blackwater's licence by the Iraqi government after the hired guns/mercs 'allegedly' killed and wounded a number of Iraqi civilians.

Blackwater, as you might expect, is using the Pavel Bure defense of 'We didn't do anything wrong', while many soft and hard boiled geopol wonks alike are suggesting that this may be a case of the al Maliki government finally asserting its sovereignty.


I have two additional thoughts......

First, imagine your own response if hired invaders came to your town, shot the place up, killed natives in the process, and then said, to quote the Blackwater spokesmodel:

``We responded well within the rules of engagement to protect our people,'' (BW spokeswoman) Tyrrell said. ``And we protected them and then we got out. They did their jobs defending American (ie. invader) life.''

(stuff in brackets mine)

I mean, can we even conceive of such a thing?

Second, while asserting sovereignty may be one of their motivations, I would think that the al Maliki government knows full well that any removal of Mercs from their midst would be a very prudent aspect of any Anti-Allawi* protection plan that has any hope in heckfire of succeeding.

*a.k.a. 'Coup protection'


Still Riding The Crazy Train

Expecting A Different ResultVille

When I was a much younger man, but all done college, I found myself working a job that involved sitting in a little cubicle while listening to Ozzy Osbourne cranked up to 'eleven' for hours on end.

Luckily for me, somewhere along the line I had learned to read developmental biology textbooks at maximal volume.

As a result, I was able to make a huge change in career direction by getting myself off to a nunnery* before my ears began to bleed.


When you watch politics south of the border these days you've got to wonder why the Democrats can't turn off the stereo and initiate some real changes of their own.

Could it actually be, as our old friend Richard B. from over at the AllSpinZone points out, by way of Tyrone and John Rogers of the Kung Fu Monkey, that the Dems are actually scared crapless of a small minority of their countrymen and women who demonstrated a definite tendency to tilt towards those who are flat-out batguano crazy three years ago now:

John: Hey, Bush is now at 37% approval. I feel much less like Kevin McCarthy screaming in traffic. But I wonder what his base is –

Tyrone: 27%.

John: … you said that immmediately, and with some authority.

Tyrone: Obama vs. Alan Keyes (Nov. 2004). Keyes was from out of state, so you can eliminate any established political base; both candidates were black, so you can factor out racism; and Keyes was plainly, obviously, completely crazy. Batshit crazy. Head-trauma crazy. But 27% of the population of Illinois voted for him. They put party identification, personal prejudice, whatever ahead of rational judgement. Hell, even like 5% of Democrats voted for him. That’s crazy behaviour. I think you have to assume a 27% Crazification Factor in any population.

John: Objectively crazy or crazy vis-a-vis my own inertial reference frame for rational behaviour? I mean, are you creating the Theory of Special Crazification or General Crazification?

Tyrone: Hadn’t thought about it. Let’s split the difference. Half just have worldviews which lead them to disagree with what you consider rationality even though they arrive at their positions through rational means, and the other half are the core of the Crazification — either genuinely crazy; or so woefully misinformed about how the world works, the bases for their decision making is so flawed they may as well be crazy.

John: You realize this leads to there being over 30 million crazy people in the US?

Tyrone: Does that seem wrong?

John: … a bit low, actually.

Oh, and just to prove that untreated psychosis does not get better on it's own, especially when it is nurtured by co-enablers like Ms. Coulter and the Falafel Man, it appears that the good Mr. Keye's is ready to run again in 2008.

* a.k.a. 'gradual' school.
Which is not to say that there aren't people doing their best to keep the crazies on the train. After all, how else can one explain Fox actually censoring 'The Flying Nun' mid-acceptance speech at last night's Emmy Awards.



Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Garbage Strike Conspiracy - Project (un)Civil Society



G.S.C. Sunday Night Update at bottom of post

Bigger E. has a bus pass now.

As a result, she travels the seven seas of Lotusland (ie. across bridges) with some regularity.

Case in point - this afternoon she took the 98B Line to Richmond to watch that craptacular BillyBob Thornton PE teacher movie thing.

C. wasn't feeling well, so little e. and me wandered over to the park to play soccer all on our own.

And when we got there we met a girl who sang the blues.

Actually, she was looking for her dog.

We took one of her posters, promised to keep our eyes open, and wished her luck.

Then we got ready to play.

But there was so much crap and litter everywhere that we decided to go home again.

To get garbage bags and gloves.

We returned and cleaned up a 50 foot square behind the backstop so that we could play one-on-one with rules so bizarre I can't even begin to explain them - except to say that they were based loosely based on the conventions of the tap dancing world.

It was fun nonetheless, and littler e. won the match two games to one.

Then she played on the monkey bars while I worked on my latest Springsteen trilogy on the El Degas.

When we got home I realized that, like it or not, my daughter and I are now scabs.

Oh boy.

Update: Picketboy, whose on-the-line reportage and thoughtful analysis over the last couple of months really has been better than Ezra (or Global, or CanWest, or Corus, or just about anything else), says that it is going to be mediation for the nation (still non-binding though).....fingers crossing (very loosely)....


The Garbage Strike Conspiracy - Our Garage Stinks!

Blackout?What Blackout?

The always well informed and extremely reasonable Picketboy offers a round-up on the apparent breakdown in talks between the City of Vancouver and the various Unions involved in the long running municipal strike.

One thing I find curious is why the City keeps trying to set the agenda with facilitators/mediators whose recommendations will not be binding.

Could it be that they just want more PR fodder for their now wheezing whirlitzer?


In other news, which on the face of it would appear to have nothing whatsoever to do with the G.S. Conspiracy, it looks like the City is losing planners, hand-over-fist, to developers with even more money than the ones here in Lotusland:

Francis Bula, Vancouver Sun, Sept 15, 2007

VANCOUVER - Vancouver has lost five planners to the Arab emirate of Abu Dhabi in recent weeks, including the senior planner who was in charge of the city's ambitious EcoDensity project.

That loss, prompted by Abu Dhabi's desire to become a city styled on Vancouver and because of the involvement of former Vancouver planning director Larry Beasley as a special adviser, is bad enough.


NPA Coun. Suzanne Anton said the departure of planner Michael White, who headed the city's large inter-departmental EcoDensity team, is a "great loss."

"The work being done involved many departments and it was almost a piece of academic work on how to create a much greener city. Michael was the chief planner in charge."

But wait!

It turns out that, despite the involvement of Larry Beasley and really, really, big money from the Sultans of Swing, the real problem is actually the Unions here at home:

What is more worrying, said Anton -- echoing what others are saying* -- is the impact of the strike on council's wide-ranging agenda.

Shortly after Mayor Sam Sullivan and his Non-Partisan Association were elected, council introduced a raft of new initiatives along with EcoDensity, including Project Civil City, aimed at reducing homelessness and public disorder by half within three years.

Before the strike, those projects had staff working in overdrive to try to come up with plans and policies to make them a reality.

Anton said that staff resignations are one issue, but "what is far more significant is the loss of time from our extremely valuable and extremely professional staff."

Which has me wondering if this thing might have a silver lining that is worth having rotting chicken bones from our summer barbeques sitting in my garage.

After all, if Smilin' Sammy's 'wide ranging agenda' was to be stalled for just a wee while longer, it just might be possible that the travesty of massive reduction of affordable housing initiatives in the Southeast False Creek Development and the Little Mountain Redevelopment may whither on the vine before the next election.

Which just might be a very, very good thing indeed.


*Wouldn't it have been nice if Ms. Bula had told us just who those 'others' who Ms. Anton was 'echoing' actually were? I mean, were they other city councillors - NPA? Vision? CUPE bosses? CUPE members? City Planners? Academics? People in the Street? Members of the Dobranos Cast and Crew? The good folks over on the Group W bench?
And are they all being held in a Chamber somewhere, or what?


Fabrication For The Nation


We live in strange times.

Times where the deliberate dissemination of demonstrable falsehoods is viewed by many as neither diabolical nor disastrous, but rather as something akin to the smell of napalm in the morning*.

Take the work of Amir Taheri, for example.

Mr. Taheri is the original perpetrator of the 'Iranian Badge' fabrication that was first printed on the front page of the National Post. Mr. Taheri's enablers, a slavish 'news' media turned it into a Zombie in a matter of hours. The following is how we described it at the time:

As of 9:00am PDT Sunday May 21st, less than 48 hours of the initial 'story' in the National Post, there are 218 Google News-cached publications alluding to the Iranian 'Badge' falsehood.

A number now lead with a denunciation of the fraud that was the central tenet of the original 'report'. Specifically, that the Iranian parliament has passed a law that forces minority groups, including Jews and Christians, to wear special identifying tags on their clothing:

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's new dress code bill is aimed at encouraging designers to work on imaginative Islamic clothing, lawmakers said on Sunday, dismissing a report that the bill sought special outfits for religious minorities.

Canada's National Post on Friday reported the draft bill approved last week would force Jews, Christians and other religious minorities such as Zoroastrians to wear colour-coded clothes to distinguish them from Muslims.

A copy of the bill obtained by Reuters contained no such references. Reuters correspondents who followed the dress code session in parliament as it was broadcast on state radio heard no discussion of proscriptions for religious minorities.

However, many are being so bold as to 'ignore' the actual falsehood so that they can instead run with the 'truthier' side of the story, in which the Iranian government is trying to impose a Muslim dress code:

TEHRAN, Iran -- A draft law aimed at encouraging Islamic dress raised fears Saturday that Iran's hard-line government plans to re-impose veils and head-to-toe overcoats on women who have shirked the restrictions for years, letting hair show and wearing jeans and shapely outfits.

Now, that latter story, from the Associated Press, ran this morning in the Washington Post.

So there you have it - voodoo mission accomplished.

And even more interesting, if very recent Will Bunch's dot connecting means anything at all, Mr. Taheri may actually be one of the shadowy hands behind an entire platoon of pestilent News Zombies.

"As predicted yesterday, the scandal over disgraced ex-ABC News consultant Alexis Debat continues to spin out of control, with major implications for the way that Americans have been getting their news about the flashpoints that could determine war or peace in the Persian Gulf and South Asia.....


In the meantime, little attention had been paid to the French journal Politique Internationale -- which published Debat's bogus "interviews" with Barack Obama, as well as Hillary Clinton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, former Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.


Iranian-borm Amir Taheri (pictured at top) -- who edited a leading Iranian newspaper prior to the 1979 overthrow of the Shah and has since written for a number of western publications, including several owned by conservative press lord Rupert Murdoch -- has been a leading voice in Politique Internationale. It's not clear what his current role is, but in numerous pressreports from 2001 through 2006 he was listed as its editor.

In recent years, Taheri's work has been prominently promoted by Benador Associates, a New York based public-relations firm that specializes in Middle Eastern affairs with a roster of experts, according to its own Web site, that reads like a Who's Who of the neo-conservative movement, including Richard Perle and James Woolsey.

None of which means the time has come to stock up on wooden stakes.

But it might not be a bad idea for Laura Rozen to give Wade Davis a call.

*a.k.a. 'Victory'
Thanks to
Alison in the comments for pointing us towards Dymaxion World's post on the Attywood speculation.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

There Is Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself


Well, that and, apparently, the Olympics. News Staff:
With the 2010 Olympic Games approaching, an expert on trans-Atlantic terrorism warns that Vancouver may provide a valuable target for terrorism.

It may also give al Qaeda a chance to strike at its biggest enemy.

Maybe somebody should consider making fear mongering a demonstration sport.



Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Linkage....


"We have redoubled our efforts to stand with you, because two dozen of our citizens died in New York on 9/11 and 70 Canadian soldiers and one of our diplomats have fallen in Afghanistan."
Stephen Harper, Sept 11, 2007

#1) Canada was NOT attacked on Sept 11, 2001
#2) Canadians were NOT killed in Afghanistan while searching for the man responsible for the attacks of Sept 11, 2001.

Goodness gracious

What if Mr. Harper had been Prime Minister in 2003?

And what if he is still Prime Minister if and/or when the Cheneyites mount their Iranian Invasion?


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Selling The Surge....


Looks like one of British Columbia's favorite bigtime lobbyists from Bushworld, a man named Ed Gillespie who took $3.6 million dollars of local lumber company money to help push us through the trapdoor labelled "Anschluss, Softwood" got started early working on the Sept 11th roll out of the Doubly-Fudged SurgeSupreme Sundae Surprise:

From the WaPo:

.....Another new arrival in the West Wing set up a rapid-response PR unit hard-wired into Petraeus's shop. Ed Gillespie, the new presidential counselor, organized daily conference calls at 7:45 a.m. and again late in the afternoon between the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, and the U.S. Embassy and military in Baghdad to map out ways of selling the surge.

From the start of the Bush plan, the White House communications office had been blitzing an e-mail list of as many as 5,000 journalists, lawmakers, lobbyists, conservative bloggers, military groups and others with talking points or rebuttals of criticism. Between Jan. 10 and last week, the office put out 94 such documents in various categories -- "Myths/Facts" or "Setting the Record Straight" to take issue with negative news articles, and "In Case You Missed It" to distribute positive articles or speeches.

Gillespie arranged several presidential speeches to make strategic arguments, such as comparing Iraq to Vietnam or warning of Iranian interference. When critics assailed Bush for overstating ties between al-Qaeda and the group called al-Qaeda in Iraq, Gillespie organized a Bush speech to make his case.

You've got to love that part about being 'hard wired into Patreaus' shop', especially when one of the biggest issues of the last couple of days has been whether there was any White House 'interference' in the writing of his report.

Patraeus has consistently responded that only he and 'his inner circle' wrote the report.

Which leaves one wondering just what the radius of that circle has to be to prevent one from being sprayed, day-after-day, with the turd spewing forth from all the blossoms standing within it.

Oh, and one more thing....

It looks like they're back at that 'making their own reality' thing again:

"The whole idea is to take these things on before they become conventional wisdom," said White House communications director Kevin Sullivan. "We have a very short window."


I just may have to revise my stand that "all prop is bad prop" once again.

Because it's looking more and more like Billmon was right - it may be impossible to fight a total PR-Prop offensive with truth alone when the Media are being manipulated to build the massive spring-loaded arm of the catapault.


The Garbage Strike Conspiracy - Launching The Ladner Offensive


Yesterday city councillor Peter Ladner penned a hard-hitting, some might suggest viscious, offensive against striking municipal workers on the Op-Ed page of the Vancouver Sun.

There are all kinds of assertions in there and PicketBoy, who has been thinking while walking the line, challenges almost everyone of them with reason, reasonableness and an ability to look at core issues with eyes wide open and an open mind.

However, in addition to Picket Boy's reasonableness, which get to the real heart of the matter, there are a couple of points about Mr. Ladners' missive that I find interesting purely from a 'mechanics of the whirlitzer' point of view.

First, why did Mr. Ladner choose to quote from city manager Judy Rogers' vituperative letter to the Union of Aug 31, which included statements such as the following:

"During this round of bargaining the union rejected the city's offer of private mediation, opted out of mediation at the Labour Relations Board, initiated a strike, rejected eight employer offers, and twice walked away from critical settlement opportunities to stage media events...."

Now there is a whole lot of very careful weasel wordsmithing in there (ie. 'private' mediation and settlement 'opportunities') which at the very least blurs reality and at worst is outright misinformation, either of which might suggest to a reasonable person that the crafting of such a letter could have been assisted by the fine folks over at the Group W bench. Even more to the point, this letter was delivered to the Union a full week before the City's next offensive that the Union successfully pushed back against by demanding real negotiations rather than coffee-clatch opportunities of non-settlement.

The second thing about Mr. Ladner's Op-Ed that I find interesting is the timing of the thing itself; it was published on the Monday after the Friday when the City finally agreed, apparently, to start negotiating for real.

So what's up?

Did Mr. Ladner and the most helpful oompa-loompas with the double-U's stamped on their foreheads have the thing all cued up late last week and then not bother to pull it when the Coffee-Klatch Crusade failed?

Or, was this a last minute attempt to lower expectations of the coming negotiations by once again painting the Union as impossibly way far gone unreasonable for reasonable negotiations (see PicketBoy's reasonableness rebuttal above)?

Or, is Mr. Ladner initiating this offensive on his own, off the Mad Mad Mad Mad World's reservation, because he figures that the time has come to seize the moral high-horse ground from his old rival, the increasingly ineffective, ineffectual and invisible Sam Sullivan?

We're not really sure if it it's one, none, or all of the above. However, before you dismiss the last possibility out of hand it might be worth recalling the fact that members of the governing NPA party-party have, indeed, turned on currently sitting mayors in the not-so distant past.


Update: Now this is interesting - apparently PicketBoy has heard back from Mr. Ladner with the oddest of odd refusals to respond to anything reasonable.
Double-Secret Probation Update: Possibility #4 - Perhaps Mr. Ladner was trying to get one last shot in before the curtain came down on what City manager turned spokesmodel Jerry Dobrovolny is calling a 'media blackout'.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Save The $262,520.62!


After all, what else are golf courses for.

The provincial government's expected decision to cede the University of British Columbia Golf Course to the Musqueam First Nation has been a source of much controversy in the premier's riding. And Gordon Campbell will have an ideal opportunity to think about that controversy this coming Friday. After all, that's when the course will be playing host to the Liberal's annual Leader's Open Golf Tournament, which raised $262,520.62 for the Liberals last year.

I mean it's not like they're for just anybody and/or everybody.

Because if they were, well, we just might start calling them.....ummmm....... parks.

Fundraiser-Fear-Factor-Facts by way of Mr. S.M. Holman and the laser vision-enhanced Public Eye.
Oh, and by-the-way, having been a close observer of some of the landswapping shenanigans that have gone on out on the wild-west(ern) edge of the Vancouver (a.k.a. the 'UEL') over the last decade, I would humbly suggest that anyone who takes the possibility of land being jacked out of the park preserve lightly could be sadly mistaken down the road and/or through the 'Gates'.


Sunday, September 09, 2007

Whose Prop Is It Anyway?


"Here's a little agit for the never-believer. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah."

Last weekend we had a pretty vigorous discussion around these parts when I wondered if the film festival-assisted publicity buzz that was starting to build around Brian de Palma's film 'Redacted' was really a good thing, either way.


Not because of Mr. de Palma's intentions, which appear to be honorable, of showing the horrors of what Iraq has become.

And not because it is a fictionalization.

But rather because, by all accounts so far, including that of the creator, it blurs the line between fiction and so-called fact, apparently out of necessity to get to some sort of ultimate truth.

I also brought timing of the buzz and commerce into the thing.


A number of folks took exception to the sentiment of the post. And most had very good points to make.

This one from 'quin' was especially powerful:

my son is a marine in iraq.

he has no political agenda, he's not a gung-ho patriot. in fact, not a single one of his fellow marines leans one way or the other in this non-war. (remember, the war is over, this is spreading of something or another).

he wants to finish his tour and come home... reality is, he'll finish his tour, come home, and be shipped back.

none of those soldiers will be the same. i guess we didn't learn anything from vietnam.

my blue eyed boy said something to me before he left, when i asked if he wanted to go to where the towers were, a place i still can't see, "mom, all wars have an excuse; some are just better than others."

if this film starts a groundswell that stops the killing there, if it brings them all home....excellent.

Which is very, very hard to argue with, indeed.

However, in attempting to defend myself, I made the following statement:

I have come to the conclusion that all prop is bad prop, no matter what POV it pushes, because, ultimately, if everything becomes propaganda we will all be unable to trust anybody or anything.


So, for the last week I've been thinking a lot about this.

And while I've been thinking I've been reading.

Reading about things like meaningless 'aspirational' goals meaning everything.

Reading about changing the definitions of sectarian violence such that bullets that enter peoples' heads from the front (ie. rather than the back) don't count when you're getting ready to trumpet a surge of death as life.

And even reading the whispers that are starting to wonder why a video by a guy with a suddenly black beard was released by Washington rather than by radical Islamic websites.

As a result of all this thinking and reading and off-line discussing with people whose opinions I respect highly, I started to question my position.

Because, especially given everything that we know for sure, if we don't pushback with everything we've got and lives continue to be ruined and people continue to die won't we be, at least in part, well, responsible?


But then, in the wee hours of a late summer, post-Zoolander screening Saturday night, I slapped myself up the side of the head and, with the help of the good folks over at the Moon of Alabama, came across an inspired bit of wisdom from Brian Eno:

When I first visited Russia, in 1986, I made friends with a musician whose father had been Brezhnev's personal doctor. One day we were talking about life during 'the period of stagnation' - the Brezhnev era. 'It must have been strange being so completely immersed in propaganda,' I said.

'Ah, but there is the difference. We knew it was propaganda,' replied Sacha.

Then, after describing the litany of manipulation of all things demonstrably false that occurred during the run up to the Invasion of Iraq in both 1991 and 2003, Eno really gets down to it.

It isn't just propaganda any more, it's 'prop-agenda '. It's not so much the control of what we think, but the control of what we think about. When our governments want to sell us a course of action, they do it by making sure it's the only thing on the agenda, the only thing everyone's talking about. And they pre-load the ensuing discussion with highly selected images, devious and prejudicial language, dubious linkages, weak or false 'intelligence' and selected 'leaks'.

Now, after reading that, I have become more resolute in staking out my original position which is that no matter how tempting it is to push back against 'bad' prop with 'good' prop the temptation must always be resisted.

Because no matter who owns it, prop is prop.

And if everybody is ultimately forced to continually siphon this slop into the boxes that fuel our TeeVee screens in a vain attempt to ward off all the things in the world that are bad, bad scary, and/or downright evil, the stench of it will overwhelm absolutely everything.

And if that happens we really will be in trouble.


Crazy the things those darned musicians say and do sometimes, eh? Take that Rex Murphy!


The Best 60 Minutes Of All



Updates and Tidbits on bottombar

In the time it takes to watch a craptactular hour of Canadian Idol or even a lousy episode of CSI Viva Lost Vegas, you can hear all about, and even come to understand, Ms. Naomi Klein's thesis that she puts forward in the 'Shock Doctrine'*.

And best of all, you can do other stuff on a beautiful late-summer Sunday.

It's worth it.

Real Audio File #1
Real Audio File #2
Link to the CBC's The Current

*You can also listen to Greg Palast destroy Aurel Braun's use of the 'Conspiracy Theory' vituperative.
, as always to Alison bringing this up.
Near the end of Anna Maria Tremonti's interview there is a discussion of the situation in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and Ms. Klein mentions relatively intact blocks of public housing that are being torn down so that private developers can swoop in and make a fortune under the guise of making things better for 'everyone'. This, for Vancouverites, is ironic in the extreme if you think about Rich Coleman's shock therapy-assisted (ie. P3-driven) destruction of the public housing on Main Street near Little Mountain.
Interesting how Mr.Braun,referred to above, and Todd Gitlin, who reviewed Ms. Klein's book in the Globe this weekend, both used the 'Bremer was just an off-the-reservation incompetent' argument in an attempt to counter Ms Klein's thesis as it applies to the post-invasion period in Iraq. Hmmmmmm.....looks like those letters from Mr. Bush that Mr. Bremer kept are worth something after all.


Saturday, September 08, 2007

Blame Canada!


Comedians.....Australia.....APEC Security Bubble Breached.... With Canadian Flags!


Why did they choose Canada?

"No particular reason we chose Canada," (comedian) cast member Chris Taylor was quoted as saying on the Sydney Morning Herald's website.

"We just thought they'd be a country who the cops wouldn't scrutinize too closely, and who feasibly would only have three cars in their motorcade – as opposed to the 20 or so gas-guzzlers that Bush has brought with him."

They were darned lucky the fine fellows with rocks from the Quebec Provincial Police weren't there.



Supersonic Spin Sister Sandy Bee gives us the goddess awful goods regarding the blame Canada will soon be taking for pimping empty 'aspirational' goals on climate change:

Sandra Buckler, credited Harper personally with helping get the (empty) deal done Saturday.

"I would just say bluntly that when Canada speaks now, it speaks with credibility," said Buckler.

Which, of course, would be real comedy if it wasn't so tragic.


Friday, September 07, 2007

The Garbage Strike Conspiracy - CUPE's Successful Pushback


Funny how things can change with a little pushback - especially when people are paying attention after an entire of week of poll dancing, none of which, apparently, took place in the peeler bar.

It started earlier today when the very fine folks at the City of Vancouver tried to generate a little deflector spin by pretending that they were kinda/sorta, but not really, willing to negotiate.

VANCOUVER/CKNW(AM980) Sep, 07 2007 - 8:50 AM - A ray of hope is appearing on this, “Day-50” of Vancouver’s civic strike with word informal talks are continuing between city managers and Cupe local 15.

In response, the Union immediately pushed back.
VANCOUVER, Sept. 7 /CNW/ - CUPE 15 is dismayed and disappointed that the
City of Vancouver would use informal "coffee chats" in hotel lounges and
restaurants to falsely raise the hope of the public and CUPE members and
deflect attention from the City's refusal to return to the bargaining table to
resolve the civic strike and restore civic services.

Then, using a little bit of turn about as fair play, the Union sent City of Vancouver manager Judy Rogers a letter of their own:

...Please accept this letter as an invitation to return to bargaining on Tuesday, September 11, 2007.

Should you prefer third party assistance we would be prepared to agree to the appointment of a mediator or facilitator to assist the parties. Please advise if you will be accepting our offer to reconvene negotiations by day-end, Monday, September 10, 2007, so that appropriate facilities can be arranged.....

And, hey, guess what happened early this evening?

The City decided, apparently, to go back to the negotiating table - for real:

CBC News, Sept 07/07, 6:36pm: The city responded (to the letter) by inviting the unions back to the bargaining table, starting Monday. A city official said it plans to meet with each of the union locals separately.

Collective bargaining with no War Rooms (from either side in the game) - now that's what we need to end this thing*.


*Which, of course, is why I think that the fine folks from the City never wanted it in the first place.


Why Do They Hate Our Freedoms So Much?


The Neandercons I mean.

Naomi Klein, who just keeps on delivering, tells us why.

(she also tells us what to do about it)


Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Promise - Day 15 And Counting


Apparently, the very fine folks at the Vancouver Sun are working on a story that is going to give us some new and interesting information on British Columbia's still sputtering Trial Of The Century'.

Or maybe they were?

Or maybe they weren't?

Of maybe they were just pretending?

BC Mary has the story, or non-story as it were - and the details of the 'promise'.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Garbage Strike Conspiracy - Poll Wars


Hmmmmm.....wonder how much trumpeting of this poll, from the Strategic Counsel, will be done by Mr. Sam Sullivan and his most innovative Sultans of Swing:

Sam Sullivan:

  • 30 per cent described his leadership as unhelpful
  • 20 per cent as non-existent
  • 11 per cent as destructive

And never one to sit idly by all alone next to the fine folks over on the Group W bench, here is another one from Evi Mustel:

However, when it comes to the mayor's performance on the strike, the strong majority (48%) disapprove, while just 28% approve. Breaking down the numbers, 34% 'strongly disapprove', while just 10% 'strongly approve'.

What's that I hear?

Could it be the shrieks of the denizens of the finest 24/7 War Room west of Spuzzum?

Wondering what those illustrious, industrious and innovative Sultans have been doing to help put the shiver in the darkness that is the strategy of of their man Sam? Read all about it here.
Update: The VanSun's Doug Ward, in a follow-up on Tuesday Sept 4th to the original piece on the pre-long weekend poll 'release' by the Triple-I Sultans from Jonathan Fowlie, did mention some of the public's apparent negative perceptions of Mr. Sullivan. However, Mr, Ward also quoted Sultan Mr. Mike MacDonald spinning negatives for everyone without ever once mentioning the fact that Mr. MacDonald worked on Mr. Sullivan's mayoral campaign in 2005. Again - do editors not care about this stuff? Sheesh. Maybe John Armstrong's
Picayune-Standard really is the really thing.


Mother do you think they'll drop the bomb?


To be honest, I do not believe that they would actually drop it themselves.

After all, it's not like they ever actually said that Saddam was directly responsible for 9/11.

But, according to a former Bushkevite named Jack Goldsmith at least, they sure as heck wanted somebody to drop it.

Despite being a far-rightist himself Mr. Goldsmith could not stomach the evisceration of the American Constitution by Alberto Gonzales and John Yoo et al. and thus he helped generate the ammunition that James Comey and John Ashcroft used to fight back, even in hospital rooms.

As a result, according to an upcoming article in the New York Times magazine by Jeffrey Rosen, Goldsmith was often on the wrong end of tirades from one of Dick Cheney's most right-handed of way far gone right-sided men that were filled to bursting with wrong-headed hubris, David Addington.

Here is one example that involved leaks associated with the infamous NYT front page piece by James Risen and Eric Lichtblau on warrantless wiretapping:

Goldsmith emphasizes that he was not opposed to investigating the leak , which he agreed with President Bush did “great harm to the nation.” In addition, he shared the White House’s concern that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act might prevent wiretaps on international calls involving terrorists. But Goldsmith deplored the way the White House tried to fix the problem, which was highly contemptuous of Congress and the courts. “We’re one bomb away from getting rid of that obnoxious [FISA] court,” Goldsmith recalls Addington telling him in February 2004.

Did you get that?

One bomb away.

One domestic bomb away.

And they knew they would be able to get everything they ever wanted.

Even Roger Waters at his most lyrically twisted could never have imagined such evil tucked away in all that banality.

Glen Greenwald, as is often the case, gets right to the heart of the matter.


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Viva Lost Vegans


We went to Lotusland's Big Fair, the Pacific National Exibition on Friday.

And I am happy to report that the no-nonsense/no-nausea 'Scrambler' is still the perfect multi-stratification ride that everyone from the age of 8 to almost 48 can enjoy just for the whiz around heck of it.

It was also 50th Anniversary Elvis Tribute night that day at the PNE.

And I have to admit that it wasn't half bad, especially compared to the weird, ASpeerian explosion/flameball-fest that occurred later at fireworks time.

But here's the part I don't quite get about the ghost of Mr. Presley.....

Don't people remember that by 1972 he had already become a joke more ridiculous, even in Vegas, than Guy Lombardo or Debbie Reynolds in a fright wig?

Then again I suppose that such a stratospheric status of lameyosity does help explain the bizarre 'Viva! Viagra!' ads currently running non-stop on talk radio that end with the tagline:

"Ask your doctor if your heart is healthy enough for sex."

Because, clearly, when the end finally came Mr. Presley's, was not.


Monday, September 03, 2007

But Could He Find 'The Iraq' On A Map?


AL ASAD AIR FORCE BASE, Iraq (Reuters) - President George W. Bush made a surprise visit to Iraq on Monday, just a week before his top officials in Baghdad present pivotal testimony to Congress that could influence future policy on the war.

All of which will very likely include a whole passel of 'such ases' and 'therefores' to help Mr. Bush's most hardcore supporters of 'US Americans' fully understand why the surge-in-reverse has allowed Sunni insurgents take over Anbar province, a place they may have great difficulty finding unless, of course, someone IM's them the link on the Google's rooftop viewer.


Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Garbage Strike Conspiracy - In A World...


Cut to: images of soaring condo towers, explosions, glistening skyscrapers, massive curling rinks, and big boxes rising that fades into a flowing flag of five circles each containing a separate f-shoppe-enhanced image of a beloved citizen mayor.

Which runs over a low-pitched rolling voice over of maximum resonance that goes something like this:

"In A (hypothetical) World......"

"There is one civic politician who will always hang around with people who have the money to get things done."

"People who can help pay for 24 Hour War Rooms...."

"And ideologically-immaculate Pollmeisters....."

"And Flying Vee's of 'do-anything-it-takes-style' PR Monkeys".

And then, when the polls are done and the selectively-leaked lackey letters have been dumped late on a Friday afternoon at the front end of the summer's longest of long weekends, the time will have finally arrived."

"The time for..........Revenge!"

"A revenge filled with boots on necks and spears through beasts.*

.....In a world.......

The above voice over is fictional. Any similarity, real or imagined, to actual war rooms, polls, leaked letters, or previously released films is completely coincidental.
*And/or people who have lost their jobs due to contracting out - the rumour mill suggests that the final edit has not yet been made.


Saturday, September 01, 2007

When Agit Meets Art In The Blades Of The Prop



Am taking a bit of a pasting on various discussion boards, apparently - Look, I am neither slagging nor supporting the film itself with this post. It's the whirlitzer and the way that it works that I'm on about here. I have, however, added a sentence to make it clear that I am supportive of Mr. DePalma's sentiment re: the power of image.

Not-So-Secret-Double-Probation Update: Here's a pretty solid review, just out, of the movie from Ray Bennett.


By the time it plays at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept 10th the media and the bloggodome will likely be in a frenzy over Brian DePalma's new docudrama 'Redacted'.

Especially given some of the stuff that is already starting to whirlitzer its way through the wires:

Director Brian De Palma presented his new film "Redacted," a harrowing depiction of the horrors of the Iraq War, at the Venice Film Festival on Friday.

The director of "Carrie," "Scarface" and "Casualties of War" began the project after reading about a March 2006 incident in Mahmudiya, south of Baghdad, when a group of U.S. troops in the 101st Airborne Division raped a 14-year-old girl before setting her body alight and shooting dead her parents and 5-year-old sister.

Other events retold in the film include the fatal shooting of a pregnant Iraqi woman at a military checkpoint as her brother drives her to hospital.

The film ends with a montage of real-life photographs of Iraqi war victims, including maimed and dead women and children; the final picture is an image of the real-life 14-year-old rape victim.

Now, given the dearth of trustworthy reviews so far, it is difficult to form an opinion about the film itself at the moment.

But I did find these quotes, in the always slightly deeper Editor and Publisher, from Mr. DePalma quite interesting:

"Pictures are what will stop the war."


"All the images we...have of our war are completely constructed -- whitewashed, redacted," said De Palma in Venice, according to press reports. "One only hopes that these images will get the public incensed enough to get their congressmen to vote against the war."

Which is a very difficult sentiment to argue with, based on the evidence so far.

Of course, one thing I left out of the header to this post was the word 'Commerce', mostly because I coudn't come up with a decent alliterative synonym.

Which brings us to something else of interest here - the timing of the rollout. Specifically, by goosing the whirlitzer just before Labour Day, it appears that the backers of the film are going one better on Andy Card's now classic war machine adage that:

''From a marketing point of view,'' said Andrew H. Card Jr., the White House chief of staff who is coordinating the effort, ''you don't introduce new products in August.''

Clearly, for better or worse (and hopefully not worst), this is going to be a fall season full of blockbusters - and I'm not just talking about the cinematic variety here.