Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Six Million Dollar Railgate Deal....Who Kept The Ball In The Air?



We've fussed and fussed and fussed about all of this before.

And now, as Ian Reid surmises, in the wake of John Van Dongen's latest attempt to bring clarity to the matter on the floor of Ledge yesterday, it really does look like there was a prior inducement for Mess'rs Basi, Basi and Virk to play 'Let's Make A Deal'

Here's Ian's kicker:

...Van Dongen, referenced a ministry email that says the indemnity was changed prior to the guilty pleas and that meant the defendants’ $6 million liability was waved before their guilty pleas:  “Contrary to the October 2010 public statement by Deputy Attorney General Loukidelis, the Justice Ministry e-mail claimed there was no legal liability priorto the guilty pleas.”
Attorney General Bond agrees that’s what happened.  The change to the indemnity was completed prior to the  guilty pleas utilizing the government’s perceived power to amend indemnities....


Here's the thing.....

If you're gonna play let's make a deal, you need somebody to play the part of Monty Hall.


Because, in this case, it's looking more and more like somebody must have kept the ball in the air while simultaneously holding everyone's hands, tight, between the time that the government let the accused off the hook and the time they subsequently took the bribe....errrr...'inducement'  to help them plead guilty.

Having trouble with that?


Think of it this way.....Once they were released for their legal costs, if somebody didn't step in and play the part of the good Mr. Hall, what was there to keep the accused from going instead for Door Number 3 that would have opened up to reveal, not Carol Merrill, but instead Gary Collins taking the stand for real?


Who, exactly, might that Deal Maker/Third Man have been?

And, given all the obfuscation that has gone on regarding this matter already, I, for one, am starting to wonder about the third leg of this triangulated deal also....


Mr. Harper's Pre-Emptive War On...


Thomas Walkom, in the Star, has the story nailed to the wall of his foxhole. Here is his lede:

In ordering an end to the nationwide rail strike by Canadian Pacific workers, Stephen Harper’s Conservatives appear to be following a long-standing tradition.
Canadian governments, whether Liberal or Conservative, have never let railway strikes drag on. Back-to-work legislation has been imposed on striking rail workers at least seven times since 1950.
What is dramatically new about this particular majority government, however, is the break-neck speed with which it acts. It legislates an end to strikes immediately after — and in some cases before — they begin.
It has introduced the concept of pre-emptive warfare to labour negotiations....

And it's not just the rapidity with which back-to-work legislation was introduced in the CP Rail dispute earlier this week.

Remember this, also from Walkom:

...In a dispute with its pilots, Air Canada didn’t even wait for employees to strike. It locked them out and then called on government to legislate an end to the dispute.
Lisa Raitt, the current labour minister, immediately obliged...


The real question is...

How many fronts can Mr. Harper fight his pre-emptive war on Canada before his Straussian FedCon army becomes overextended so that we can start pushing them back into the sea or, at the very least, into the wild rose bushes?

Tip 'O The Cap to Owen at Northern Reflections....


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Gouged By A FedCon?


Turns Out That The First Cut Is NOT The Deepest.

Paul McLeod has the story in the Chronicle Herald. Here's his lede:

Federal budget cuts are actually twice as deep as advertised, says a new report from the Parliamentary Budget Office.
While all eyes have been on the austerity measures in the 2012 budget, the PBO finds that cuts and budget freezes from 2010 to this year double the belt-tightening that departments are dealing with.
At the same time, the battle for information between the government and the PBO has turned up a notch.
Late last week, the government sent parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page a letter refusing to release details of budget cuts. Page said the letter, which his office will publish online today, cites privacy provisions in union contracts to say details cannot be released until long after the budget has been voted on....

Imagine that.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Stanley Cup Devil Worship.


Mr. Beer 'N Hockey, who has been on a hot streak recently, says it will be the Devils in seven.

Which means that, despite the fact that there are no Miroslavs playing for Jersey, this is the time when we should be hailing all Satans!

Speaking of which, here is a new musical version of said exercise in soul-cleansing blaspheming...

And do not forget, Mr. Darnielle himself is coming to Lotusland June 22nd at the Rio....Please be sure that you do not buy my ticket...OK?


If You're Wrong By 1,333%, Should You Correct Your 'Mistake'?


The following is based on a story that pogge has been commenting on for some time now....


Not long ago Mr. Gwyn Morgan, wrote a piece in the Globe and Mail belittling solar power efforts generally, and Germany's efforts specifically, noting that the latter country only generates a miniscule 0.3% of its power from the sun. The title of Mr. Morgan's piece was "The Sorry Lessons Of Green Power Subsidies" and much of it was based on information gleaned from a 'study' from a 'scholar' of the Fraser Institute, upon which he, Mr. Morgan, sits as a director.

Here is the lede from Mr. Morgan's Globe piece that was published on April 29th of this year:

A recent study, co-authored by Fraser Institute energy economist Gerry Angevine, found that Ontario residents will pay an average of $285-million more for electricity each year for the next 20 years as a result of subsidies to renewable energy companies....

And here is the paragraph on Germany:

"...Several European countries began doling out subsidies nearly a decade ago. Germany has given away $130-billion, mostly to solar-power companies. Yet solar power makes up a minuscule 0.3 per cent of German power supply, while doing almost nothing toward the original objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions..."

But here's the thing...

It turns out that, with that Mr. Morgan's '0.3%' figure for Germany was off by more than an order of magnitude (ie. more than ten times).

On the low side.

Eric Kirschbaum of Reuters has the goods in the backstory to a recent solar power success story from Germany:

German solar power plants produced a world record 22 gigawatts of electricity per hour - equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity - through the midday hours on Friday and Saturday, the head of a renewable energy think tank said.

The German government decided to abandon nuclear power after the Fukushima nuclear disaster last year, closing eight plants immediately and shutting down the remaining nine by 2022....

{snippety doo-dah}

Germany has nearly as much installed solar power generation capacity as the rest of the world combined and gets about four percent of its overall annual electricity needs from the sun alone...."

Please note, that 4% number is the real deal as it is based on 'overall annual' electricity needs, sans cherry-picking.

So, using fourth grade math.... 4.0/0.3 X100% = 1,333.3%.

Which is pretty far wrong don't you think?

And then if you go the cherry-picker route (which we did not in our header)...

Again from the Reuters piece:

"...(T)he 22 gigawatts of solar power per hour fed into the national grid on Saturday met nearly 50 percent of the (German) nation's midday electricity needs."...

Well, if  take that 50% number, and reverse cherry-pick without context the way certain, oh I dunno, 'scholars' at vested interest-funded think-tanks sometimes do accidentally, but never, of course, on purpose, well....

Some might say that the good Mr. Morgan was actually off, at least in the singular moment it was happening (eg. at midday, on the weekend when overall consumption is low), by more than...

 ....15,000 percent.



The real issue here is that the story from Reuters strongly suggests, based on real, actual data with hard production numbers them behind them, that Germany's green subsidy programs are really and truly making it possible for that country to start powering-up alternatively.

And, ya, that kind of thing does cost money.

But, I for one, am willing to spend more (see Mr. Morgan's lede at the top of the post) on something that helps gets us off the teats of the greenhouse-gas emitters that are cooking our world to a crisp for no good reason at all.

Now, given all that.

Perhaps this is the time for readers, not to mention editors, of The Globe everywhere to ask themselves the following:

Does the good Mr. Morgan himself have any vested interest in keeping us suckling at the pig whose soft economic underbelly houses all those noxious teats?

Again, just asking.



Sunday, May 27, 2012

Nickleback, Resurrected....

....It's A Miracle!

Or a PR pitch made in a perpetual purgatory that some call heaven.

Or a halftime show nobody wants to watch.

Either way, for Chad and friends it just may be their main chance to snag the coveted house-band role in 'Flashdance-Five, The Van-Phelpsing!' which will get them off the road to ruin for real.


By way of a somewhat popular blogger who was pointed to the source material at 'The Pitch' by a reader named Realist. 


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Robo/Real Calls...If You Can't Beat 'Em....

...Discredit 'Em!

From Glen McGregor via his sushi-free O'Cit pro-blog:

With Elections Canada investigating both robocalls in Guelph and allegations of misleading calls in 200 other ridings, Conservative sympathizers are again alleging bias by recycling the urban legend about the agency’s notorious 2008 raid on CPC headquarters in Ottawa.
The story is the one enduring figment of a broader campaign the Conservatives and their supporters conducted throughout the in-and-out scandal in an attempt to discredit Elections Canada.
Though the Tories have taken a different less hostile approach to the agency over robocalls, some continue to trot out the four-year-old story that  Elections Canada tipped the raid in advance to CBC and/or the Liberal Party.
As recently as this week, Brian Lilley at Sun News Network was rehashing the story on social media, tweeting at me, “Mayrand said only 3 people knew about raid on Tory HQ yet Liberals and media were there to greet them with cameras” — referring to Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand.....

Mr. McGregor who, it turns out, is a commuter cyclist (which, we're pretty sure, will soon be used against him in an upcoming whisper campaign for ethical chain grease) then explains what really happened.


E-Canada showed up at CPC headquarters and had to wait a half- hour before the  CPC staff arrived to let them in. Then, after another two hours, a CBC staffer got a tip the E-Canada folks were there. The first report hit the air an hour later.

Demonstrable falsehoods....

They're what CPC surrogates and screamers, with or without the Conan O'Brien hair, are made of these days.



Friday, May 25, 2012

My Morning Ride...The CremeVille Weather Report...

...A Mix Of Sun And Snow.


Because the blossoms from those massive trees that line the residential streets out on the far western edges of Lotusland fall late.

Interestingly, when you ride your bike through Cremeville everyday you notice things you might miss when driving or taking the bus. 

And the thing I've been noticing lately are all the 'For Sale' signs in front of lots and lots of houses. So much so that it's really quite astonishing down in the Valley between Arbutus and MacDonald in the 20's.

Could the bloom really and truly becoming off the offshore investor rose?



If you are not reading Bob Mackin these days you are really missing out...He's doing some real digging on that most progressive of liquor distribution privatizations...What's really disturbing is that there appears to be a whole lot of expediency being spread around all over the place on this one...I think, perhaps, that Mr. Mackin is shining a little light on how the game is really played around here....I would start with his BIV piece for background and then work backward over on his very informative blog....

Harvey Oberfeld is rightly outraged....Again....This time it's about the Campbell/Clark/Coleman/Progressive Government's shutting down of the BC Utility Commission's hearings into BC Hydro....Mr. O. then asks how dumb the government really thinks the citizenry is...Which is fair enough, as far as it goes...However, I believe that this is the wrong question...In actuality I think the real question is.... 'How dumb does the government think the Lotuslandian proMedia is?'...Clearly, the answer is 'Dumb and Dumber'...Case in point, as Ian Reid pointed out, was the VSun's stenography....errrr...initial 'reporting' on the matter....Personally, I was even more disappointed in how CBC British Columbia swallowed the 'Coleman and Christy are saving us from evil rate hikes!' nonsense...Importantly, the Dean got it right...But, given how the Spinners played it forward through a couple of news cycles with their diversion that the public broadcaster and all the monopolies ran with because it fit nicely into a soundbite, I'm not sure stuff like real analysis even matters anymore...So...What's the real deal here?...Well, I reckon real public hearings would have resulted in the unveiling of charts like the ones Norm Farrell put together recently for all, including the proMedia's cameras, to really see...

Oh, and while lots of others in the Bloggodome are still doing good stuff on the Robo/Real call stuff regularly, Pogge's Friday morning round-ups are an excellent way to keep up....This week he explains how it is becoming increasingly clear that if you are not with the FedCons every step of the way they will call first call you a Poopy-Head, then a Traitor, then a GreedHead, and then, once the smearing is done, they will attempt to crush you and everything you hold dear...Or some such thing.

And finally...Before you leave, or open another window/site off the Blog Crawl, if you have twelve minutes to make your heart glow, go here and hit the little orange triangle....You won't be sorry.



Monday, May 21, 2012

After An Apple Pie And Ice Cream...

...Along About Three In The Afternoon.

After sitting in one place working on a science geek paper most of the day, I decided to fill a bowl with the stuff that Road dreams are made of and have a listen to some of the sounds that Bigger E. and I recorded yesterday when I took a break from the plumbing.

OK, not really plumbing, just washer-changing to stop drips and stuff.

Or so I thought.

I mean, have you seen the contraptions they put inside taps these days?

And every single one of them is different from kitchen to bathroom sink to bathtub, etc.

So, anyway, I had to go back to the darned Rona (used to be) Revy place, where somebody knowledgeable actually took pity on me and helped me find the right springs and levers and O-rings that allowed me to go home and take care of most things.

However, I drew the line at a $40 faucet handle to replace the wobbly one in the kitchen. Instead, I decided, at least for the time being, just to switch it for the one in the basement which is used way less often.

But I digress....

In between trips to the tap store E. and I played for a bit.

The tune I've been working on, tentatively titled 'The State Of The Golden Era', is a polemic that still needs some work, but I think my kid helped me get it into a nice midpoint between the clipped, rapid fire delivery of the composer, Phil Ochs, and the dirge of that Vedder guy, which I like just a wee bit better, but cannot myself quite pull off.

Anyway, what you'll get if you hit the link above is just a snippet/draft of things to come.

The plan now is to get the tempo right and get the multi-tracking going so that I can add a couple of bells and whistles.

And, for the record, I blame Don F. (in a good way, of course) for starting me down the knob-twiddler road.

All right.

Enough of this sitting around pretending my pie and ice cream was hatched in the deepest hearts of Iowa's darkness and light.

I've got cells waiting for me in the lab that need feeding too.

Gotta go!


Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Trees, And Apples Falling....And All That.


When I was a kid, heading down to Douglas Street to watch the big spring parade was a really big deal.

For all kinds of reasons.

Including the fact that it really was the beginning of the end of school.

And the beginning of summer soon to come that, viewed from the perspective of Victoria Day in Victoria at least, looked like it would never end.


Bigger E. will not be going to watch the Victoria Day parade this weekend.

But she will be watching parades pass by.

Parades of her own making.

Here's a note she wrote about the one she made yesterday:

....Earlier in the day, when I was playing next to the pizza place, an old man threw some jingle in my case and proclaimed (in a heavy Italian accent) "You are amazing! Standing here and doing this..." Y'know, sometimes on a Sunny Saturday, that's all a girl needs to hear...


E. will take a wee break from making musical parades today to help me with something.

We're going to try and record a re-worked Phil Ochs tune that I've been fiddling with for quite awhile now, but haven't been able to quite right on my own.

Hopefully, we'll have something for you all later on that front.


Friday, May 18, 2012

The Work, The Workin', Just The Working Life...

....Of A Busker.

From a guy named Tyler Gregory who works and makes music, sometimes at the same time, mostly in Lawrence, Kansas.

First the words:

"...It was an ordinary day, walking to my regular spot to busk when I don't have a gig that night, and play music on the corner for a rotating crowd. When Jacob came over I felt excited about having another kid listen to the music. (Makes my day when kids dance to the music on the street... I already had a couple come over that day so it was already nice). However, unlike most kids that come up to me with curiosity, I felt so much energy coming off of him and I was completely overwhelmed. His hand on my leg was very powerful and about brought me to tears while playing. Not because he is blind or autistic.. but because of a connection I have never felt and one that is impossible to explain. Honestly, a feeling that came from my toes all the way up my body and surrounded me. I can't begin to explain it. I want to try to put it into words, but there is no way to tell how powerful his energy felt.

It was a powerful moment that made my day and reminded me of the good things in life. Reminded me why I love different interactions with people when playing music. Reminded me of how powerful music can be between two people. It also reminded me not to take things for granted, for most of us have it pretty easy in our everyday life. So, I just simply went home with a very big smile on my face that day, and a story to tell my close ones..

And now, all the explanation you'll ever need, the music making:

Just a short note of thanks to all the folks who took the time to comment on the last post....Sorry to have left you all hanging....Everything's fine...I just found myself losing my sense of humour with the poli-blogging...When that happens I've learned it's time to take a bit of a break from it to keep from becoming just another perspectiveless screamer which is no fun, and almost always counter-productive...Thanks again for the wonderful comments. That really was most unexpected.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Excuse Me While I Take A Little Break...



Update: At bottom of post

I think I've been paying a little too much attention the last few weeks and it has finally gotten to me.

The straw that broke the back of the imaginary heffalump, that, by all accounts has never, ever been beaten by the Nanny of the uncle's cousin's wife of a former denizen of Spam-A-Lot, was this. 

It's all explained in just enough detail here and here to make me (almost) think that the Codswallopanarianists might actually winning.

And that's not even the serious stuff like, say, this.

I'll be back in awhile.


Update: just a short note of thanks to all the folks who took the time to comment....I really apologize for leaving you all hanging....Everything's fine...I just found myself losing my sense of humour with the poli-blogging a little...And when that happens I've learned it's time to take a bit of a break....Otherwise I find myself becoming  just another perspectiveless screamer, which is no fun, and almost always counter-productive...Thanks again for the wonderful comments. That really was most unexpected and, to be honest, kind of floored me a little.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Who Deserves Our Billions More...IPP Cronies Or...


...Frail Seniors?


Of course.

You already know the answer.



Here's the latest of these endless "We have to cut services to the bone for those who need them most because the cupboard is bare!" stories, as reported by the GStraight's Yolande Cole:

A TransLink program that has been used since 1990 as a transportation option for people with disabilities will be phased out beginning this summer.

Coupons for the TaxiSaver program, which allows HandyCard holders to call a taxi directly and get service at a 50 percent discount, will no longer be accepted as of June 2013....

{snippety doo-dah}

...The Council of Seniors Citizens’ Organizations of B.C. (COSCO) and the B.C. Coalition of People with Disabilities said in a statement today (May 16) they are “extremely disappointed” that the TaxiSaver program is being phased out.

“This will definitely have a negative impact on seniors living on low income and frail seniors who use taxi savers,” said Lorraine Logan, the vice president of COSCO.

Jill Weiss, the chair of the City of Vancouver’s Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee, said the TaxiSaver coupons have two important functions.

“One is to enable people to have rides on the same day, which right now, with the HandyDart system, seniors and people with disabilities can’t, and it also provides rides when the HandyDart system is too booked,” Weiss told the Straight by phone.

“It’s a very important system, and it’s the cheapest system the government has to provide rides to seniors and people with disabilities who can’t use the bus.”...

Any minute now, despite the front-end spin that the savings will go into improved Handi-Dart services, I'd be willing to take pretty short odds that a Translink spokesthingy will soon back-end defend this egregious cut on the basis that the (not)Premier told them they have to cut $30 million out of their budget to come up with the money to help finish the Evergreen line.


Meanwhile, what the heck is "BC Ideas" all about....And whose snouts are in the trough on that one?...(more later)...


Buy Really High + Sell Really Low = Costs Us Billions


BC Hydro.....

Buying power from IPP's at guaranteed rates that are three to five, and sometimes even ten, times market rates.

In other words, buy high (with our money) and sell low.

Which, as Norm Farrell made clear the other day, is going to cost us at least $1.3 billion dollars, just in the short term.

Which, of course, is a number that just happens to be pretty darned close to the total of the FedCon HST bribe that we have been hearing we, the people, must repay with disastrous results because we, ourselves, are so dumb and so stupid.



Of course it takes incentives to build new industries.

I get that.

But this short, medium, and very (two generations) long 'Gouging by the Cronies'  for very questionable results that are also leading to a whole lot of raping of rivers for absolutely no good reason at all is just beyond the pale.

Especially when anyone who raises their voice in dissent is constantly shouted down by the Fluffers whose job it is to tell we, the people who are being gouged, that we must raise more revenue by taking more strips off of our own backs to pay for services that we the people actually use and pay for.


You can read the exchange that Dippers ADix and JHorgan had with RColeman of the Crony-Campbell-Clark-BirdmanNeverEndingHSTPromotionalHochsteinSuperPacParty-Party yesterday in The Ledge on this matter on Scott Simpson's VSun Blog, here.


The HST: Am I One Of The Stupid Ones....

....Who Is Still Waiting For That Big List Of Things That Are Cheaper Now?

After all, remember how all those corporations and businesses that are now paying even less of their fair share were going to pass the savings on to us in the wake of the tax shift onto the backs of those amongst us who can least afford it.


Where are all those savings?


Am I just being one of those more-dumber-than-dumb, but way-better-stupider-type voters for wondering about this kind of thing while I wait and wait and wait for The Birdman to get off his assssss....errrr...'perch' and bring back the PST?

And, just in case you missed it, Harvey O. really takes Mr. Falcon et al. to task for their duplicitous dragging of the Campbell-Clark-BirdmanNeverEndingHSTPromotionalHochsteinSuperPacParty-Party line on this one.....


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My Late Afternoon Visit To The Bikeshop...


I've had my new bike for a couple of months now.

And I'm not far from the 1000 km mark.

Which makes sense because the ride to and from work is ~25 km, and I try to ride 4 to 5 times a week.

Anyway, over the last week or so I've noticed the tell-tale snap-crackle-and-pop in the pedals that has gotten steadily worse and led to an outright wobble going up the hill this morning.

So I stopped in at the bike store on the way home.

No warranty there - I've worn things out because, to use the bike guy's technical explanation I, "like ride a lot, dude".

And, besides, that's just the way it is with factory pedals.

Because they are just fine as long as you don't actually, you know, ride.

Or some such baloney.

Anyway, the upshot was that I bought new ones.

Pedals, I mean.

But, just to be absolutely clear here, I put my foot down and insisted that the bike guy put them on for me, on the spot, so that I could ride home crinkle- and grind-free.

Tough guy, I am.


BTW....The cherished VW (notso)Microbus,  which I have been driving way less because I have been riding more, is nearing the end of it's long and well-lived 27 year life...We will be holding a wake when our good friends F. and L. come north to Lotusland to celebrate Memorial Day next weekend...There will be much singing and telling of stories....Especially those involving UFO's over Lake Ozette while camping....More on that later...


Our Friend Dave...


Our friend Dave, from The Galloping Beaver, has a different kind of post up today.


It is not about economics.

Or politics.

Or extreme weather events.

Or international shipping.

Or ferries.

Or even the stupidity of cutting back on coastal navigational oversight at a time when super tanker traffic is about to increase exponentially.

Instead, it is very, very personal.

And for that reason it is even more important than usual.


Sometimes A Header Is Just A Header...

...And Sometimes It Is Pure, Unadulterated Codswallop.

You heard about the latest poll from Angus-Reid, right?

You know, the one that has the Dippers at 50%, which is an historical high that hardly anybody, never mind the NDP, ever hits in the province of British Columbia. It also puts the BC NDP 27% ahead of the Campbell/Clark/NeverEndingHST-Promotional-HochsteinSuperPac-Party-Party.


You read that right.

According to Angus-Reid the NDP are 27% percent ahead.

And that lead (yes, the lead!) is 4% more support than the entire CCNEHST-Promotional-Hochstein-SuperPacParty-Party even has (ie. 23%).

And that lead is 8% more than all the support the Party led by the Curmudgeon is leading has, in total (ie. 19%).



Given all that, what do you think the Globe and (NoLongerEmpire) Mail ran with as a header above a bit of pretty much straight-up bit of stenography from Ian Bailey yesterday?


How about this:

"Prospect of 'free enterprise coalition' scales back B.C. NDP's lead."


If you want some real analysis, rose-coloured Dipper Orange-Crushified though it might be, head on over to Ian Reid's place...I found Ian's discussion of the gender-splits against the Snook particularly interesting....Perhaps they explain the new-fangled Buddy Holly/Declan McManus 'punky-but-nerdy-smart' look dreamed up by the Wizardry?....Sheesh...What's next....The Birdman as Rivers Cuomo?....
And one last thing...We have it on the very best of authorities that there is absolutely no truth to that most scurrilous of rumours that the AG/SG is constantly trying to figure out which DEVO Hat she should wear on any given day...The red one...or...The blue one....


Kicking The HST Can Down The Long And Winding Yellow Brick Road...


Kevin Falcon says there will be extra exemptions added to the PST later.

Why later?

Well, apparently, it because he simply doesn't have the space or time to deal with them now.

Or, put another way, paraphrasing what we imagine the Wizards behind the Birdman's curtain just might, perhaps, be saying:

"Actually, we haven't quite figured out what kind of targeted tax breaks we can give to those that need them least that will help us win the most electoral support in the game of demographic slice 'n dice that will begin in earnest when we roll out 'The Christy Party', v2.0, in the fall."

Sound too cynical to be even halfway true?

Are you kidding me?


As for the date - April Fools 2013, almost another whole year down the road....

Well, of course, that means good news they (think*) they can trumpet just as the election campaign heats up for real.

But there is something else, little talked about by the puffed-up pro-punditry so far.

And that is the fact this will allow the Campbell/Clark government to get through one more budget without paying back the remainder of the FedCon deficit reduction bribe that allows them to keep on spouting codswallop about what great and prudent fiscal managers they are.

*Personally, I think folks will be madder than hell when this is used cynically by the Christy Party to pretend they are really on our and Chris Olsen's side....Or some such balderdash...


Monday, May 14, 2012

Who Needs Mad Men When You've Got Kidville


I'm reading Bill Bryson's memories of his life as a kid.

Bryson grew up in Des Moines, Iowa in the 50's and he describes it as Kidville.

Literally, wherein kids were everywhere, at all times, doing everything imaginable.


Of course, there are no Kidville's these days, right?


Because of some weird construction around another of those massive condo towers being built on campus I got turned around and had to ride my bike through family housing last weekend.

And when I got there there were kids everywhere.

Romping and rough-housing and rollicking and just flat out playing.


Without screens.


When we first came back to Vancouver we lived on the edge of, but not quite in, family housing just off-campus. One of the things the two E's liked doing back then was hitting 'five parks in five minutes'  which were all within a quarter of a mile of our (row)house....They talk non-stop about how much they loved they living there...Kidville as modern day utopia (with a leaky roof - it was a crummy rowhouse, mostly because the landlord didn't give a crap)....Who knew?


How Much, Exactly, Does Fair & Due Process Cost In British Columbia?


...At a news conference at YVR (on her way out town), (Christy) Clark was asked what she’ll tell Asian business leaders about the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, which has attracted sharp criticism from environmentalists and First Nations.

“I will say to them, 'in British Columbia, if you're a private sector investor and you have millions or billions of dollars to invest in our province, we are going to give you the benefit of a fair, due process.

"I think investors are glad to know that there's a government in British Columbia that allows these processes to be fair, and that doesn't get into politics.”...


What about the four million citizens of British Columbia who don't have millions and billions?

What do they get?


Are We All Family Day Now?


Don't know about you, but this codswallop about 'consulting' with British Columbians to find out what they really think about the difference between the 2nd and 3rd Monday in February had smoke coming out of my ears last week.

And I was going to write about it.

But a letter writer to the VSun from Vernon, Lloyd Atkins, beat me to it and said it much better than I ever could:

"...British Columbians are getting a chance to voice their opinion on which of two Mondays in February is the best day for the province's new statutory holiday.

Gee whiz, do you really think British Columbians need to be consulted on such a trivial matter? What a crock.

This is just another politically motivated diversion for smiley-face photo ops.

Why doesn't Clark ask British Columbians if they are in favour of an investigation into the BC Rail scandal?..."


If you think about this from the slice 'n dicing of the demographic point of view you can see what the so-called wizards behind the curtain are really up to (just think of those splits where the Snook is really in trouble - it has to do with the doubling-up of a certain chromosome).

And that's what really galls me.

Because these people are playing us all for saps, regardless the particular demo-label/barcode they have affixed to the forehead of each and every one of us.



Sunday, May 13, 2012

Stay Christy, Stay! (v9.0)...Premier Talkshow Goes National!


Because I was up and about doing something else yesterday, I missed the Snook on Evan Solomon's radio show.

So, this morning I made the coffee early, flicked on the pod, and did my best to listen to Ms. Clark on CBC's 'The House' via digital tape delay. 

And I tried.

Honest, I really did.

But I couldn't get past the audio-header pull-quote.

"The NDP talk their gobbledygook but, really, that's what they mean. They want less economic development."


Life's too short to waste time with ideocracy like that assaulting my tympanic membranes.

And nobody's paying me to stick nine inch nails tipped with tabasco sauce in my ears.


So I turned it off.

Instead, I'm taking my guitar and my dog to the beach.

But first I have to take littler e. to tap dance.


(PublicEye Radio will have to wait for its pod listen...but that will actually be interesting, because I will likely learn something)

And if you really want to learn stuff, both provincial and wider-world, and you are not reading Northern Insights regularly....Well....You've got basketballs in your eyes....


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Saturday Night's Alright For No Uke Cover Fighting!


All I've got is the real Original tonight....

Fact of the matter is, there are no Uke covers of Jason Isbell songs.

At least none that I can find.

And I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

But I do know this....

If that man's work doesn't tug at your heart a little, you just may not actually be alive.

And this one's for Mr. Beer 'N Hockey....Can't stop playing it myself...And I've never even been to Alabama....Well, that and the fact that Capo on IV is king to me....


A Fascinating Peek Into The Gears Of The McGregor and Maher Machine


I've been reading Ottawa Citizen reporter Glen McGregor's blog for awhile now (i.e. pre-Robocalls).

In fact, I really enjoyed it when he called himself 'Sushiboy' and ran the thing on an amateur platform like the rest of us.

Now he's got a proBlog and, while he doesn't post as meanderingly (read: interestingly) or as often, there is still good stuff there.

Today he offers insight on how complicated stories, one of which he wrote recently based on investigative digging he did together with Postmedia's Stephen Maher, are often misunderstood/misinterpreted by one's readers.

So he takes a Mulligan and tries again.

Here is McSushiboy's (b)lede:

"My Postmedia colleague Stephen Maher and I have written about 40 stories on robocalls and related issues since news of the Elections Canada investigation broke on February 23rd.
Each one deals with a complicated topic with lots of legal implications, so we try to explain each new development as clearly as we can, with as much precision as possible, while taking great caution to avoid conclusions that might wrongly implicate someone.
Sometimes, however, we don’t do such a great job and the point of the story gets lost in the details. Today’s instalment is one example.
After reading a lot of comment boards and Twitter chatter, I realized that many readers — and even some headline writers from our chain — are reaching incorrect conclusions based on the story.
I’ll take the blame for that, as I wrote an admittedly clumsy lede that would have been even more confusing if my editor, Andrew Potter, hadn’t demuxed it a bit. But still, some seem to think our story speaks to the guilt or innocence of workers from the campaign of Guelph Conservative Party candidate Marty Burke and/or the Conservative Party of Canada.
Let me give this another try…"

The gist of the thing?

Well, the fact that the bills from Rogers Communications that the M. Burke campaign supplied to the Elections Canada have account numbers that do not match those sent to the person or persons in charge of the IP address used by the so-called Pierre Poutine does say anything about 'involvement' or 'non-involvement' of anyone, regardless their political affiliation (or not).

Importantly, E-Canada has the subscriber information regarding the account linked to the IP address used by Poutine, while McGregor and Maher do not. Thus, the latter cannot, and have not, written anything definitive on the matter.

But that's just my interpretation.

Go read Mr. McGregor's entire/complete story of what he really wants people to know based on what he, himself, actually/for sure knows.

On a blog.

It's an interesting way to go about things, eh....In fact, it's kind of like what H. Caulfield wanted....You know, when he mentioned that he'd like to be able to call up the author of something interesting to find out what he or she really thought about the thing...Personally, that's all I ever want from a reporter who knows stuff - to find out what they really think....In fact, if I was going to be really forthcoming here, I think that may be why I give a couple of the local pundits such a hard time on these here pixels - because sometimes I am convinced they are not telling us what they really think...Now I know, based on what little I know about how the journalism business actually works, that things can't go that way all the time (or even most of the time), but on things that really matter, when the reporter/pundit really does know what is really going on/went down....Well?


Friday, May 11, 2012

This Stop....IntegrityVille....Next Stop.....



"Where's the integrity when you're the minister responsible for public safety, and you rack up a string of speeding tickets as long as your arm?" Krueger growled.

"BC Place wouldn't be as attractive a site without a retractable roof. They (the Vegas Casino Company) might not be interested, and if they were, it would not be for the kind of financial considerations that they had put on the table."

"He (Vegas Casino Company principle, former BC Liberal Party political appointee in charge of casino and crap table oversight, and BC Liberal Party financial contributor, Mr. T. Richard Turner) felt that it would be beneficial to all concerned if I knew that that (ie. not pouring hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into a a retractable roof for BC Place) could be a deal-breaker and certainly wouldn't enable the same contract that they had in mind when they believed that there'd be a retractable roof on the stadium. That was the extent of it."

Here's a clip of Mr. Krueger demonstrating that his ubermost-integrity from the days before the Casino Industrial Complex deal went sideways and we, the people of British Columbia, were left holding the $600 million dollar bag.....


Clearly, based on Mr. Krueger's bizarre promotional appearances earlier this week, a brand-new season of BC Liberal Party spinoff sitcoms has begun.

And while Kruegertown! (which, by the way, is one of the finest examples of anti-[Norman]Learist-matter that we have ever seen) does not have Courteney Cox in the cast, the show's star is clearly dancing in the darkest circles of self-immolation that threaten to burn the entire BC Liberal Party Production Company complex to the ground for once and for all.

Metaphorically speaking, of course.

Meanwhile, the star of the Production Company's (late, late, way past) mid-season replacement, 'PoMoCoNoMo Shore',  remains as oblivious as ever when speaking of Mr. Krueger's promotional blitzkrieg bopp'n hops:

"He's not Mr. Politically Correct," (not)Premier Christy Clark understated. "He expresses his views on things, often without a lot of filter."


Monday, May 07, 2012

The Six Million Dollar Deal...Documentary Evidence Of A Prior Inducement



First off, a mea culpa/apology to a concerned reader who put me onto this awhile back, way before Mr. Van Dongen asked his questions about the Six Million Dollar Deal in the legislature last week.

After that, I fussed and fiddled and then, finally, had a post all ready to go last night.

In the end, however, just before bed in fact, I pulled back because I hadn't actually seen the document that I'm going to tell you about below.

But said reader, who is really a concerned citizen extraordinaire, sent me a copy of the document earlier today by Mojo-Wire.

So, here goes.....


The document I want to tell you about is actually a letter that our concerned reader received from a British Columbia provincial government official.

The letter starts like this:

"Your email of April 12, 2011, received by the Ministry of Finance, has been forwarded to this ministry (of the Attorney General) for a response. I am responding on behalf of the Attorney General."



Before I go any further I'd like to return to a passage from the 'Statement' by Deputy Attorney General David Loukidelis that was released on Oct 20, 2010, just days after the Six Million Dollar Deal went down that suddenly stopped the Railgate trial, dead, in its tracks as former Finance Minister Gary Collins was getting set to take the witness stand.

Here is what Mr. Loukidelis, in part, wrote at that time:

"...On October 5, 2010, it came to the attention of the Legal Services Branch, Ministry of Attorney General, that the special prosecutor (Mr. William Berardino) had proposed resolution of the prosecutions (of Mess'rs Basi and Virk) through guilty pleas.
Discussions then took place between the Legal Services Branch and defence counsel, including with respect to their clients' ability to repay their legal costs. (The indemnities provided that they would have do so unless acquitted on all counts).
Legal Services Branch referred the matter to me and to the Deputy Minister of Finance (Mr. Graham Whitmarsh). The Deputy Minister of Finance has authority under the Financial Administration Act respecting this matter. He and I considered the issue. A major consideration was the relativey small amounts that might be recovered from Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk compared to the millions of additional dollars it would cost the government to continue to fund defence, prosecution and court-related costs through to the completion of the trial, and to fund any appeals, with no guarantee of convictions.
Based on the above, in our respective capacities the Deputy Minister of Finance (Graham Whitmarsh) and I decided to release Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk from their liability to repay (legal costs).  I  communicated that decision to the Attorney General on October 8, 2010...."


Here's the thing.

What Mr. Loukidelis, infers (in my reading of his statement at least), but does not state explicitly, is that Mess'rs Basi and Virk were released of their liability to repay their legal costs if they were found guilty.

And this release occurred before they pled guilty during a time when there were 'discussions' between the Legal Services Branch and defence council about their clients' ability to pay said legal costs.

Which, to my mind, regardless the legalities, amounts to a prior inducement.

And this, in part, is what I, Paul Willcocks, and others fussed about with former Attorney General Geoff Plant about a month ago.



Fast forward to this past weekend.....

After Gary Mason and Vaughn Palmer wrote columns that returned to this matter in the wake of Mr. Van Dongen's questions, the Ministry of Justice apparently released a statement via Email.

Mr. Palmer described it, and commented on it, thusly:

"Section 18 of the Financial Administration Act did not apply here," it (the Email) said. "That section provides legal authority for forgiveness of existing debts or obligations to government."
Aides David Basi and Bob Virk, in persuading the government to indemnify their legal costs, agreed in writing to repay the full amount "unless they were acquitted on all counts." You might think that was immediately translated into a $6-million debt or obligation when they pleaded guilty.
But here's the rub: "The agreement to remove the repayment conditions was made before Basi and Virk pleaded guilty or were convicted," said Saturday's statement from the Ministry of Justice A matter of days, perhaps only hours, before they made their plea in open court. Nevertheless, technically, it was "before."...
{snippety doo-dah}
..."For your background," was the way the ministry characterized the email sent to me Saturday. "If you need to attribute it, you can do so to the Ministry of Justice..."

Got all that?

Essentially, what the nebulous/anonymous/faceless 'Ministry of Justice' told Mr. Palmer on the weekend of May 5/6, 2012 just past is that Mess'rs Basi and Virk had been released of the requirement to pay court costs if they pled guilty before they pled guilty.


And with all that set-up, I would now like to return to the letter our concerned reader received from the Ministry of the Attorney General that was dated April 19, 2011 (i.e. over one year ago).

Again, recapping, our concerned reader received that letter after he had first asked the Ministry of Finance a number of detailed questions.

The following is the set-up from that letter:

"...Indemnity coverage of Dave Basi and Bobby Virk's legal expenses was granted under and in accordance with the requirements of the Financial Administration Act and Guarantees and Indemnities Regulation. Under that authority, the then-Deputy Minister of Finance, Tamara Vrooman, set terms and conditions for coverage, which Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk each agreed to.

Among the conditions was that if an indemnified person were convicted, he would become liable to repay the amounts paid on his behalf under the indemnity. His predecessor having imposed that condition, Deputy Minister of Finance Graham Whitmarsh had the authority to amend the indemnities by removing it..."

So far, so good, right?

Essentially, the set-up starts with the same explanation given by Mr. Loukidelis in his statement from six months earlier.

However, the letter writer then changes tack and gets very, very explicit.

Much more explicit than Mr. Loukidelis ever was.

(sorry for all the repetition but this, I truly believe, is very, very important)

Here goes....

"...Among the conditions was that if an indemnified person were convicted, he would become liable to repay the amounts paid on his behalf under the indeminity. His predecessor having imposed that condition, Deputy Minister of Finance Graham Whitmarsh had the authority to amend the indemnities by removing it. He did so before any liability came into being..."

In other words, the letter quoted above states, unequivocally, that the change occurred before Mess'rs Basi and Virk pled guilty, which Mr. Loukidelis' statement, as noted above, indicated was also the time period when their lawyers were in discussions with the Legal Services Branch about legal costs.

To my mind that is the end of the discussion, regardless any and all legal technicalities.

Because no matter how many hairs you split, in my opinion, there was a prior inducement for the accused to plead guilty, even if there were no firm dollar figures attached to said inducement at the time said inducement was made.

Oh, and one more thing.

Who, you might be wondering, actually signed the letter to our concerned reader?

Well, it turns out it was not the nebulous/faceless/anonymous 'Ministry of Justice'.

Instead, it was a real person.

And that real person was then, and still is now, the Assistant Deputy Attorney General of British Columbia, Mr. Richard J.M. Fyfe, Q.C.

However, as we noted this morning, Mr. Fyfe will have a new job on June 16th.


Because that is the day he is slated to replace he who just resigned as Deputy Attorney General, Mr. David Loukidelis.

Imagine that!

And just in case you were wondering, the letter was copied to the Honorable Kevin Falcon as well as two other officials with real faces in the Ministry of Finance....
For good measure, our concerned citizen also sent the letter to Auditor General John Doyle...
Ian Reid has more, from Question Period, here....
Paul Willcocks has the bigger picture view, here...
Guess we are all Railgate  'Cultists' now, eh?.....More later....