Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bigger E. Makes Music With Vancouver


E. was pretty happy with her workday...

Somebody even left a twenty, which was just one good part of a solid session.

All this despite the fact that she had a pretty bad cold.

And it turns out that, unbeknownst to her, she was also a featured performer in 'Make Music Vancouver' as well.

How does she know that?

Because, while acting totally as a free agent with nothing more than a ukulele, voice and busking license, she became part of the official photographic record of the event.

You can read a little about it here. 

And see a few of the pictures, taken by Florian Hossfeld, here.



Given all the above, not to mention the fact that we will be leaving town and going on the road soon, ostensibly for a holiday (but really so I get to sing and play a little everyday too?), maybe the time has come to unveil the full-versed version of the following...

Yes, it is the old Phil Ochs song, re-worked. Blame Mr. Beer 'N Hockey, because he put the damnable idea in my head after I turned his poetry into the lowest of low-fee-fi-foianish 'Sawmill Shitter' song.

Our lyrics on 'The State Of The Golden Era' (circa, right now) kinda/sorta go like this...

Here's to the state of the Golden Era...
Foisted by a leader whose heart and soul was in the bag...
And he ruled over a party with iron fist in think tag rags...
And when the veil was lifted...He'd sold of all we had...
Here's to the land he tore out the heart of...
Era's leader find yourself...Another Province to be part of...

Here's to the stealth of the Era's Henchmen...
Privatized a Railway....Raped rivers Everywhere..
Rawlogs and Sea-Lice Salmon...In the name of Market Share...
The Cronies with their hands out....Never considered what was Fair...
Here's to the Land they've torn out the heart of...
Era's Henchmen find yourself...Another Province to be part of...

Here's to the Lies of the Era's Spinners...
In the midst of all the plenty....A decade of children going down...
And the Seniors who need our help most...Get shuffled round and round...
While the Helpless and most Vulnerable are shouted down by Clowns...
Here's to the Land they tore the out the heart of...
Era's Liars find yourself another Province to be part of...

Here's to the Land of the People Rising...
Who stared down the Leader...Iron fist soon turned to Dust...
Said No to the Money Changers...Who's tax grab was not Just
And who see in the Replacement a Charlatan they can't.....Trust.

Here's to the Land of the People Rising...
Build ourselves a Province....Where our dreams can All be realized in...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

RailGate Neverending: Why The Basi Memos Mean Less Than Zero To Me.



I know at least a few of the folks who stop by here occasionally, or even regularly, are not going to like what I have to say in this post.

But I honestly think it needs to be said.


Are you ready?

OK, here goes.....

For perhaps this one and only time I cannot disagree, in the main, with the utterances of Premier Christy Clark's press secretary, Ms. Sara MacIntyre, about a 'Memo to File' written by Mr. David Basi,  as quoted by Michael Smyth in his column last night:

...In the memo, Basi said Clark — deputy-premier at the time — often pressed Virk for details on the B.C. Rail privatization process, and that lobbyists involved in the deal later repeated the information Virk had given to Clark “word for word.”

Clark has vehemently denied leaking cabinet secrets and she also excused herself from any votes or cabinet discussions on the deal because her then-husband, Mark Marissen, was doing work at the time for CIBC World Markets, which handled the privatization process for the government.

Clark’s press secretary, Sara MacIntyre, said Basi’s memo should not be trusted.

“This is a ‘memo-to self’ written by the man who would plead guilty to being the source of leaking confidential information and breach of trust,” MacIntyre said.

“This supposed memo was written when he himself was leaking. It’s the fabrication of a criminal. And it’s completely inconsistent with every shred of evidence gathered by investigators.”...


Why do I agree with most of what Ms. MacIntyre had to say?

(Update Tues pm Please note: I do have a problem with the last sentence of the statement - see the post-script at the bottom of the post, a subject that Ms. Clark herself was, at least based on Jonathan Fowlie's report in the VSun today, was careful to stay very far away from)

Because, as I've said before, at the time that Mr. Basi was writing his 'Memos to File', a number of which have been published online by Mr. Alex Tsakumis, he was also actively taking bribes from Mr. Erik Bornman(n) then a lobbyist along with Mr. Brian Kieran and Mr. Jamie Elmhirst in the PR firm 'Pilothouse'.

More specifically, the latest 'Memo to File' to surface, was apparently written by Mr. Basi on Oct 8th, 2003 just a few weeks before the Railgate deal went down in late Nov. 2003. In addition, it is important to remember that, while the raid on the Legislature had not yet taken place, by that time the run-up to the Railgate deal had already come under considerable public scrutiny when competing bidders started screaming about the 'fix' being in, so much so that the government had to hastily commission in, in my opinion, a very shoddy 'Fairness Advisor's' report.

Thus, at that time, when Mr. Basi wrote the following in October of 2003 just as everything was coming to head with the actual deal, it is very difficulty for a reasonable person not to surmise that he may have become concerned with the potential of his own ongoing illegal activity coming to light if there were further enquiries. Given this, it would also not be unreasonable for a reasonable person to wonder if, indeed, Mr. Basi was looking to ensure that it was clear that others may have not been on the up and up when he wrote the following:

"...I am especially concerned with the fact that our friends Bornmann, Kieran and Elmhirst have unfettered access to cabinet information via their contacts K......., C...... and deputy premier herself, Christy Clark. On several occasions Bob (Virk) has mentioned the fact that K........ and Christy have spoken to him in the hallway or pulled him aside at events to probe him for details about the process, details that clearly reveal more than a passing interest in the subject..."

Now, regarding that ongoing illegal activity that was taking place throughout the Fall of 2003, here is what Mr. Basi agreed to, along with Mr. Robert Virk, in the legally-binding 'Statement of Facts' that ended the Railgate trial in the wake of the Six Million Dollar Deal:

"...Basi received payments totaling $25,695.00 from Eric Bornman(n) during the same time that Omnitrax (the Rail company that had hired the PR firm 'Pilothouse') was bidding on the Fort Nelson line and the Freight Division (of BC Rail)..."

But that is not the last of it, from a chronological point of view at least.

The following is a summary of an RCMP wiretap of a phone call between Mr. Bornman(n) (i.e. the 'briber') and Mr. Basi (i.e. one of the 'bribees') that occurred two months after Mr. Basi wrote the 'Memo' referred to above. Furthermore, the call, which took place on Dec 9th, 2003, occurred approximately two weeks after the main Railgate deal had already gone down Nov 24th, 2003 and approximately three weeks before the raid on the legislature. Importantly, summary was included by the RCMP in the original search warrant that led to Ledge Raid on Dec 28, 2003 :

"....The telephone call was between Dave BASI and Erik BORNMAN. They discuss (David Basi's cousin) Aneal BASI (who handled the cheques from Mr. Bornman(n), the funds from which subsequently flowed through to David Basi). 

BASI asks "Aneal's thing'll be starting up again this month, right?" 

BORNMAN says that "we were gonna have a chat about that, right?" 

BORNMAN says that "he hasn't forgotten" and that BASI "shouldn't feel bad about reminding him". 

BASI says "hopefully the reminders will get bigger and bigger in the future"

(T)o which BORNMAN replies "yes, um"......


In my opinion, this call which, again, was part of an RCMP search warrant that was later made public by the judge in the Railgate pretrial (and then, in full, unredacted form, much later after the trial was haulted), indicates that, in addition to his willful taking of bribes during the period when he wrote the 'Memos' (ie. in the fall of 2003) before the deal went down, Mr. Basi was also asking for even more (and in larger sums) AFTER the big* deal had been consumated.

Thus, in my considered opinion, Mr. Basi very likely had his own self-interest in mind when he wrote those memos.

Thus, again in my opinion, the memos, on their own, are not of any significance or import in terms of determining whether or not Ms. Christy Clark (or other members of the BC Liberal government of the time) leaked cabinet documents or information in the run-up to the selling-off of BC Rail to CN Rail.


Put another way, getting to the bottom of this requires the use of separate documentation and evidence that is not tainted by self-interest.


Finally, before anyone goes ballistic, I am not in anyway suggesting that separate documentation and evidence is NOT available (including some of that which Mr. Tsakumis and others have already published, and which I will have more to say about in a future post)....It's just that I honestly believe that it would be a mistake to rely upon Mr. Basi's self-interested memos as the basis for pushing for a public inquiry and, frankly, I am surprised that a number of the members of the Lotuslandian pro-media have chosen to wurlitzer the one individual memo rather than the actual documentary evidence of Ms. Clark's potential involvement at the time she was Deputy Premier....Then again, what do I know given that I am just one more member of a wild-eyed, know-nothing 'cult'?
*For aficionados and card-card carrying cult members, only.....Please do not forget that in Dec. of 2003 the 'smaller' deal (ie. the 'Spur Line/Consolation Prize' was still in play)...And the company that Bornman(n) and other fine folks that Pilothouse were working for was, apparently, still in the game....Right?


Monday, June 25, 2012

David Basi Confirms That...


Update: At bottom of post

...The 'memo written to file' that Alex Tsakumis posted late last night was, indeed, written by Mr. Basi himself (Update late Monday: sorry for the grammatical error earlier that might have led to some incorrect assumptions about authorship).

CKNW has the story:

One of the two men convicted in the BC Rail case is confirming, an October 2003 memo leaked online through a local blog was written by him.
But, as Dave Basi told Simi Sara, there's not much else he can say....


I have written about other memos, in another context, before.

I'll have more to say more specifically in the current context of the thing, later.

Why can't Mr. Basi say more?.....Well, he is claiming that there is, indeed, a gag order rider on the Six Million Dollar Br......errrrr....Deal (see link to 'NW story, above)...
Update late Monday: Michael Smyth, in The Province, also confirms that Mr. Basi wrote the memo and that he stands behind its contents...


CLBC Bafflegab Continues...Won't You Listen To What The Snook Says?


Guess what.

According to Ms. Christy Clark, the fact that both the media and the public have become outraged at the lies her government spread last fall regarding their stated intent to end the executive bonuses at Community Living BC was caused by....

Wait for it....


You've got it now...

The real perpetrators were...

The NDP.

Here is Ms. Clark, in her own words, on CKNW yesterday:

CKNW: "Are you going to fire Minister Cadieux over this?"
CLARK: "Oh no! I mean, she's been out there talking about the real facts of this ever since this happened... I think the Opposition should probably take a fair amount of responsibility for having tried to mislead people about what was really happening... and I think Stephanie really did her best to make sure that she got the real information out there... and we have!"


Just to be absolutely clear about the extent of the continuing bald-faced obfuscation here, the following is the lede of the BC Government press release on this matter dated Oct 21, 2011. To the best of our knowledge it was NOT written by Adrian Dix or anyone on his staff:

VICTORIA - Minister of Social Development Stephanie Cadieux spoke with the Community Living British Columbia (CLBC) board chair, who agreed to end the variable pay compensation system, which provides incentive plan performance bonuses at CLBC. 

In a people-first organization like CLBC, an incentive plan performance based on targets and measures is, quite simply, not appropriate. The CLBC board had been looking into making a change, so when Minister Cadieux requested the variable compensation program be terminated as quickly as possible, the chair promised to raise the issue with the board as a priority matter.

Ending CLBC's variable pay compensation system is another indication of government's commitment to ensuring that CLBC is providing the best possible services and supports to the individuals and families that it serves...


Is it possible that Madame (not) Premier has been standing too close to the Helijet exhaust pipes again?

All snark and incredulity aside, the real issue here is that  Ms. Clark has continued to fluff for the press and accuse everyone and anyone who has tried  to get to the bottom of the matter of playing 'games', or worse. And, please do not forget, this is not some trivial 'gotcha' story given that the entire thing arose because Ms. Clark's government, and her government alone, was treating the most vulnerable amongst truly abominably....


Sunday, June 24, 2012

We're Pretty Sure Their Teeth Will Be Gleaming And Their Eyes Will Shine Bright, But...


....Will Their Shirts Be Brown?


Update: At bottom of post

Michael Smyth had the story (handed to him?), this morning, in The Province:

If you happen to spot roving packs of young people searching high and low through the streets of your town this summer, don't panic - they might not be looking to start a riot or swarm some poor wimp to steal his iPod....

They could simply be gangs of fresh-faced young Christy Clark fans, out to show the world the B.C. Liberal Party isn't dead just yet.
What will these perky political whippersnappers be seeking?...


So, starting today, young Liberals will fan out across the province, looking behind every tree and under every rock, in their desperate safari search for the NDP's hidden agenda....

{snippety doo-dah}

The Liberal Party's summer interns - eager young university students all crazy for Christy - came up with the idea, will lead the search and post their findings online...

And, of course, another smear site has also been set up set up.

(what's wrong, other ones aren't working?)



One of the interesting things about all of this is that the spokesmodel who rolled this codswallop out to the good Mr. Smyth was not some young Rolfe from 'The Sound Of Music'.

Instead, it was the BC Liberal Party's middle-aged and well-connected Herr Zeller, who once did his part to both elect and then pump-up-the media volume for Spam-A-Lot:

..."They'll be looking for Adrian Dix's policy platform - it's gotta be out there somewhere," explains Mike McDonald, the Liberals' top election strategist...

{snippety doodle-dandy}

..."You'll see pictures of them on the Peak 2 Peak Gondola in Whistler, checking behind the 'Welcome to Salmon Arm' sign - anywhere and everywhere."...

{snippety doodle-dandier}

...(Mr. Smyth's) own take? The campaign is a bit too cheesy, the pictures on the website are Photoshopped fakes ("for illustrative purposes - real ones are coming," the Liberals promise), and the captions are badly written ("We wasted our time-o in Nanaimo looking for Dix's plan". . . ugh)....


Perhaps Herr McDonald does have something in common with Rolfe, after all, in that he refuses to see the real Liesl, who is most definitely not being played by Julia-Louis Dreyfus in this one (which is not to say that the producers/wizards behind the real curtain have not already cast Ms. Clark to suddenly start playing 16, going on 17) hiding right there in front of him behind the crpyts in his own party's graveyard scene.

Stay tuned.

Pushback against this chapter in the endless songbook of lameyosity that these people are constantly re-writing  looks like it might turn out to be fun.

Or, more likely, not.

Interesting, don'cha think that they would go to Smyth with this thing this particular weekend, eh?....Tryin' to do a little CLBC channel-changin' perhaps....Again, as I said above, lameyosity pure and simple....Any takers on short odds that it will show up on at least one of the Watercarrier-In-Chiefs' shows by tomorrow?
Update: 4:15pm Sunday afternoon....Well, well, well...Turns out that we were off by a full 18 hours...Grant G., in the comments, reports that Herr Zeller was on with the first Watercarrier, Mr. Leslie, this very day...And guess what...The Rolfe-Lites twisting the dials (ie. running the Twitter feed) back at Christy-Control are actually bragging about it!.....Btw for those who are into these things the hashing place for laughin' yourself silly at the lameness be #hiddenplan....Genius, I tell 'ya....Pure genius!


Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Uke-Free Saturday Night


Last night Bigger E. took me to a show for the Father's Day not long past.

It was at the Rio.

I went straight from work, and when I left the weeping of the skies had already begun so I took the 99B-Line instead of my bike.

Truth be told, I wasn't all that crazy about leaving my machine locked-up at Commercial and Broadway for four hours on a Friday night anyway.


I met E. after her workday making music was done.

We went to see the Mountain Goats.

Just one 's', no capital 't'.

Which meant it was John Darnielle, all on his own.

Which, in many ways, may be preferable.


Do not get me wrong, because I dig the band, especially when it morphs into something bigger.

It's just that, as he explained, when Mr. Darnielle is on his own the conversations between songs tend to be even longer because there are no bandmates there to roll their eyes and/or tell him to shut up already.

Which means that you get to learn more about the songs.

Which are epic enough on their own, but when the guy that built them explains how and why it's like a big door opens and truth, beauty and pathos and everything else ushers you right on in to have a closer look.

Or something like that.


Unlike many in the crowd, who truly were true devotees,  I do not know Mr. Darnielle's complete catalogue well, mostly because it is so massive and because I myself have become an old guy who is most often only a devotee in the moment rather than for now and ever after (or at least until the next big thing takes you away when you are a kid).

Anyway, one tune that I knew a little before we went in hit me like a tonne of bricks after the explanation followed by the erethreal playing of the thing.

It is called 'Song For Dennis Brown' and, in part, it's about a guy who was Bob Marley's favourite singer who finally disintegrated for good after a long, slow decline. But, for me the last lines each of the verses are at least a little bit about something else.

Which is that the 'there but the grace of nobody but me and mine go I' thing is vitally important even if, and especially if, you have somehow managed to get through to the other side without all the grace you ever needed.

Which, of course, is the way it is for everyone.

This is kind of, but not exactly, how 'Dennis Brown' went last night...

And this is how it went this morning after I figured out how to play it...

At least two Vancouver firsts for Mr. Darnielle....First solo show in Vancouver since 1997 at the Starfish Room...Clearly, he was taking a bit of stock comparing, almost under his breath, the difference in all kinds of ways including, I can only presume, the size of the venue (the Rio seats 400+ and while, unlike  every single other night on his Westcoast tour, this one was not sold out, but it was close)....Another first was the fact that he played an upright piano on stage which meant he had to face the side of the stage while playing and turn and look back over his shoulder, or slouch over the back of the chair when conversing. Both led to interesting moments, some funny some very poignant - clearly the piano does something a little different to him than the guitar...
And while I'm sure it was not a first, E. was impressed that Mr. Darnielle called out a fan (?) for shouting out 'Freebird' when the rapid fire requests from the devotees began...I kind of missed that but, as she explained while we waited for the bus in the rain on the way home, it happens to her in various guises all the time....That very day in fact somebody who had already tossed a few coins in her case told her he wanted to hear more, but only if she would cease her 'Fogtown' and everything else song cycle immediately...The real, true performing pirate's life for her, I reckon...Me, I just do my cycles (which actually include a couple of Darnielle songs  that use those usual four chords) on the beach, with the dog, especially at the water's edge when the tide is way, way out...
little e. couldn't go....The Rio has fixed it's liquor license problem, so it was NOT an all ages show...Dustin Wong was the opener....It was a very cool Loopaploopestravanganza....
Oh, and in case you were wondering, yes...JD did, indeed, play...this!
Finally,  on the (very) off-chance you are really missing our regular Uke Sat Night feature, you can find a bunch of them here....


Is The Birdman Joking?


From Jonathan Fowlie in the VSun yesterday:

Finance Minister Kevin Falcon has sent an extraordinary warning to members of his own government, telling them not to make flashy spending announcements with-out first having their budgets fully approved.

In an April letter obtained by The Vancouver Sun, Falcon told all his cabinet colleagues they must submit press releases and other announcement details to him or his deputy minister before a capital project can be made public.

"There was a bit of drifting off message," Falcon said in an interview Thursday, explaining the need for his warning...

Alrighty then.

After all, they wouldn't want any of the lackeys to go off message and step on The Snook's shameless faux socialist self-promotional tour.


But, never mind all that.

Because the following is the really egregious part, especially if you actually care about more than the shillophants and media wurlitzers (i.e. if you are not a PR flunky and/or a PABsterbot):

..."It was important for me to make sure that all ministers, every member of cabinet, understands that there is to be no dollar announcements before Treasury Board approval of business cases with respect to capital projects." Falcon (wrote in his letter to ministers)...

Laughably bad grammar aside, why is this really, really abominable, even if you are somehow able to grin and bear most of the other awful edicts of the Campbell/Clark/Falcon/Kinsella/Brown/McLean/Accenture government through gritted teeth?


Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't two fine non-elected folks, one of whom was then in what is now Mr. Falcon's own Finance Ministry, do their very best to make damned sure that the 'capital project' that was the Six Million Dollar RailGate Bribe....errrr....'Deal' never went anywhere near either Treasury Board and/or Cabinet?

I mean, heckfire, they even trotted out The Dean to explain that one to we, the peons, who paid for it.

Off 'message', indeed.



Can these people even look at themselves, for real, sans stage-make-up and PR brain-putty, in the mirror anymore?


They're The Vampire Banks...Sucking Blood From The Earth


Yves Smith (fantastic deep-finance blog over on the crawl), Matt Taibbi and Bill Moyers have a grown-up discussion about what is really going on with the ongoing swindle that is, despite what screechers like Margaret Wente have to say, really robbing us, and our kids and grandkids, of our collective future.

H/T to our friend Bob for bringing this to our attention...And he knows of what he links...He and his got caught in the middle of a lot of the upheaval down South before they moved up here.
And, yes, there will be a review of last night's (the) Mountain Goats (apostrophe before or after the 's'?) show....Maybe later...Maybe replacing Uke Sat Night with something....uhhhhh....different?


Friday, June 22, 2012

Victoria Times-Colonist: The CLBC 'Semantic Games' Must End


A really thoughtful and forceful editorial in the Victoria Times-Colonist today makes the case that the time has come for a truly independent external review of Community Living British Columbia. Here are a couple of excerpts:

...The bonus issue is a symptom of CLBC's problems. The agency is supposed to ensure that some of the province's most vulnerable citizens have safe, secure lives and are able to fulfil their potential...

It has failed. Conditions have worsened for hundreds of people. CLBC directors and managers have misled the public, insisting - falsely - that no clients were being forced from group homes against their will to save money. They refused for months to provide information on waiting lists, before revealing that 2,089 people - about one in six clients - were waiting for supports to meet identified needs. Another 751 people were getting no services and waiting for help and support. There was no plan to end the waits... 

{snippety doo-dah}

...The bonus decision shows a lack of management rigour, continued secrecy and inadequate oversight. It is time for a full independent review.


The entire thing is something really worth paying for, either digitally or in the dead-tree edition.

Or both.


And do not forget it is the fine folks at the VT-C who did almost all the initial digging on this file and brought it to attention of we, the citizenry of British Columbia...Me, I reckon, the particular words above may have been written by a former staffer who is, at least at the moment, a few thousand km away (but still plugged in)...


Christy Clark's 'Semantic Games'


Earlier this year we mentioned that we would keep paying attention to the egregious Community Living British Columbia file, and noted that if Ms. Clark was not true to her photo-op words that we would haul those words back out into the light of the day for all to see. 

Given recent events, for the record then, here are some of those words, as noted by Paul Willcocks, that make it clear the real game our (not) Premier is playing:

...CLBC was the topic in question period, the 30 minutes allocated for the opposition to raise issues with the government. The New Democrats, again, pressed Premier Clark for a review of CLBC and a moratorium on group home closures.

Clark said the government is spending quite a lot - about $50,000 per client a year, if you count welfare - on people with developmental disabilities.

But she rejected, again and again, calls for an independent review of CLBC - the "top-to-bottom examination" (BC Liberal Government MLA Randy) Hawes had urged.

And then Clark offered up something revealing.

New Democrat Carole James prefaced a question with a reference to the "heartbreaking stories from families about a lack of care for their children." She cited the case of a mentally handicapped woman forced from the group home she had lived in for 19 years.

Clark said the opposition is being negative.

"And you know what?" she said. "I don't necessarily begrudge them that. I used to sit as children and families critic. I know the game the member is playing."

I didn't realize Clark was playing a game back then, as I watched the debates. I thought the lives of children at risk were important enough that MLAs would be serious and honest...

We also note that, because of the very recent raising of the executive bonus/not bonus/not raise/just base salary issue at in the herd media, that members of the 'Watercarriers-For-Christy!' club such as Mr. Bill Good are suddenly noticing that 'a light is being shone' on the goings on at CLBC.....Sheesh.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Government By Talk Show.


Well, well, well.

Whaddy'a know.

According to The Snook there were no raises for CLBC executives who got their bonuses back in salary because, well....

Because, as 'NW reported earlier today:

Premier Christy Clark is blaming "semantics" for the controversy over pay raises given to executives at Community Living BC....

{snippety doo-dah}

...But Clark told reporters today the bonuses were really salary hold-backs that were tied to incentives.

She says the incentives have been eliminated, and the hold-back amounts were simply rolled back into the executives' salaries.

Clark says the base salaries have not changed and there were no raises

Don't know about you, but...

The only thing rolling back 'round here right now are our eyes.

And, just in case you have forgotten what really went down at CLBC last year that resulted in the 'holding back' of the 'roll back' to those fine executives that is not a 'raise', semantically speaking....Well, it was something real, and it was something that was really, really bad for the most vulnerable amongst us that really do no need our help most.


What Is A Watercarrier To Do When His Trusty Bucket...

...Is So Full Of Holes That He Can No Longer Find A Drop To Drink?

Why, rely on the highly rigourous practice of doing your own quick 'streeter' to find out what all the people really think, of course.

And, yes, we're talking about Global TeeVee's Mr. Keith Baldrey, 'writing' in the Surrey Now:

...(P)olls aside, I'm struck at the near-visceral negative reactions Clark gets from many people. We did some person-on-the-street interviews at Global BC this past week, and when we asked for opinions of Clark as premier the response was rather startling.

The people we talked to were harshly critical, and almost mocking of her leadership. She was seen as being in over her head, lacking vision or a game plan and being interested more in political gamesmanship than actually being a leader...

And then, when the time for faux analysis comes, why would we expect Mr. Baldrey to do anything less than to fallback on a patently preposterous straw (wo)man:

...I'm not entirely sure why she (Ms. Clark) sparks such emotional and negative reactions in people.

 The fact she's a woman is no doubt a factor with some people (female political leaders seem to be judged more harshly than their male counterparts).

As unfair as that is, the truth is that female politicians will always be battling sexist attitudes...


If Mr. Baldrey can't see the codswallop right in front of his nose for what it really is, maybe he should go to an official Christy and Co. video and watch, for example, what really started the 'incident' with Richie-Rich Branson.

The money shot, or 'joke' as it were, from the woman politician who is, according to Mr. Baldrey, 'battling sexist attitudes' can be found right off the top. It goes like this:

"...I wanna say...I was so happy when your (pause)... (Virgin) plane landed on our tarmac... (turns head, bats eyes at Richie-Rich)... for the very first time..."


Perhaps I'm wrong.

After all it could be, I suppose, that Mr. Baldrey actually knows that, in his heart of hearts, he too has always been a Filapina.



Wednesday, June 20, 2012

BC (not) Liberal Party Boondoggle #3,295


Following up on boondoggle #3,294 from yesterday, Norm Farrell explains how we pay millions extra to lose out on tens of millions more based on the 'work' of our government investment agency...


How's That 'Gobbledygook' Lookin' Now Ms. Clark?


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

And of course, The Snook is also hiding behind 'hearings' and the 'evidence' they will bury....errrr...trumpet.

Meanwhile, outside the bubble, deep in the heart of  Realityville where real things happen to real people because of real policies that have absolutely nothing to do with meaningless Photo-Ops....

CALGARY, Alberta, June 19 (Reuters) - Enbridge Inc on Tuesday closed a major Alberta pipeline that transports oil sands-derived crude after a spill at a pump station, the second oil leak to foul regions of the Canadian province in under two weeks.

Enbridge, Canada's second-largest pipeline company, said it was forced to turn off its 345,000 barrel-a-day Athabasca pipeline after an estimated 1,400 barrels of oil leaked from a piece of equipment at station near the northeast Alberta town of Elk Point on Monday.

It restarted the pipeline after shutting off the station, bypassing it and beginning cleanup, but closed it down again on Tuesday after the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board ordered it to do so, the firm said...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

But How Will Pay For Everything Without The HST?! (v.3,492-94)


The latest three examples of BC Liberal Boondoggles goin' down....

#3,292....The Liquor Distribution Branch Privatization That Will Cost Us Millions....Bob Mackin keeps on working to untangle the threads on Mr. Chambers golden parachute:

Ten days before he announced his resignation, British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch general manager Jay Chambers told employees in a memo that he would guide them through the coming months of uncertainty while private companies jockey to take over the taxpayer-owned company's warehousing and distribution...(you can read the entire memo, here)...

#3,293...The executives at Community Living BC, whose performance bonuses were cancelled after Lindsay Kines and the rest of the Michener Award winners at the V-TC exposed the true nature of their collective 'performance' for all to see, are getting their gravy after all....So, who has the story? Why Mr. Kines, of course:

Senior executives at Community Living B.C. are getting pay raises to make up for a government decision last year to eliminate their performance bonuses, the Times Colonist has learned.

Social Development Minister Stephanie Cadieux confirmed Monday that the money senior managers previously earned as bonuses is simply being rolled into their base pay.... (Bonus feature: Michael Smyth actually called this one, on the side, months ago)...

#3,294...Norman Farrell does a little public document analysis to demonstrate that another bunch of BC Liberal Party appointees are sluicing millions from the public trough for no apparent reason at all, especially when their job descriptions and responsibilities are compared to folks doing a very similar job in the State of Washington:

...(T)he British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (bcIMC), (is) headed by Doug Pearce, the highest paid civil servant in BC with 2011 earnings of $1.063 million...

{snippety doo-dah}

In other words, the bcIMC manages funds worth 40% more than WSIB but incurs administrative costs 345% higher than the American agency. Much of that difference is caused by vastly different executive remuneration (Norm has a handy-dandy comparison chart,


Big Muddy Rising Up Country...


From Opinion 250:

Prince George, B.C.- With the most recent heavy rains being blamed for the swelling of the  Nechako and Fraser Rivers, there is also cause for concern with the lingering snowpack.
Both regions are listed at being 178% of normal as the cold blast in May dropped even more snow in the region...

Hopefully the damage will be minimal for the folks up that way.....

Meanwhile, down river  rumour has it that a number of proMedia organs are frantically spinning their rolodexes in search of local  'residents' to scream, holler and go in the blue-in-the-face about how, when the water hits Lotusland, any and all liquid Snowmageddons will be entirely the fault of Gregor Robertson.

And/or American environmentalists who kept the land-rapers from hauling all the gravel out of the water just past Sliverville.

Who said Spam-A-Lot is dead!


The Six Million Dollar Deal...Stonewalling John Doyle



Update: At bottom of post

Bill Tieleman has the story. Here's his lede:

An application by BC Auditor-General John Doyle to obtain government documents requested to complete his inquiry into $6 million legal indemnity granted to ex-government aides Dave Basi and Bob Virk has been put off to September 10 in BC Supreme Court...

In the (so far at least) complete absence of any proMedia reporting on this matter I've left a question at Mr. T's  place asking if any reason (excuse?) was provided for the delay.

On the bright side, I guess, this just may bring the 'big reveal'  even closer to May 2013...

Update: Here is Mr. Tieleman's response on the question of 'why' (the further delay)....

The "amicus curiae" or friend of the court - Michael Frey - has asked for more time to review the application. 

Frey is in court for "unrepresented interests" and opposed John van Dongen's intervener status application.d

The delay received the consent of all parties, as I understand it.


Monday, June 18, 2012

A Vacillation-Free Analysis Of The State Of British Columbia


The rock-solid analysis and opinion, based on actual data, comes our way courtesy public document analyzer and self-declared 'armchair auditor' Norman Farrell.

Mr. Farrell to the conclusion that this year's ragging of the puck on public account disclosures likely means very bad news* indeed for the (notso) great stewards of our economy, the BC Liberal Party.

Here is just a snippet, but the entire thing is very much worth the read:

...Probably worst of all is that material amounts and situations are often given no more weight than comparatively minor issues, particularly if inconvenient. For example, BC Hydro’s last financial statements commit only five sentences to “Liquidity Risk”, the possibility that BC Hydro will encounter difficulty in meeting obligations associated with financial liabilities. Commitments under BC Hydro’s energy purchase agreements increased from $17 billion to $43 billion in fiscal 2011 alone yet the Annual Report provides almost no explanation and no trend expectations. It covers that amazing change with this statement:
“BC Hydro does not believe that it will encounter difficulty in meeting its obligations associated with financial liabilities.”

You can find Norm's latest, here.

*Of course, if Norm's analysis turns out to be correct, this is actually really, really bad news for the actual citizens of British Columbia....Funny, then, how little we actually see, hear and/or read about this kind of stuff in the big media 'news' productions, eh?


Mr. Dix Calls (A Very Few? Very Wealthy?) 'Concerned Citizens For Premier Photo-Op'...

...A Super-Pac.

Meanwhile, CKNW, who reported Mr. Dix's correct use of the term, themselves wax stenographic and call it a 'citizens group'.

So, according to the group's leader, Mr. Jim Shepard, just who are these 'citizens' who will be giving him big money to level a 3rd party ad blitzkrieg on the rest of British Columbia?

 ...“The people I am going to be talking to are not people you’re going to know,” he (Shepard) told reporters...


Maybe I've got the header wrong.

Could it be that Mr. Shepard was going full on Super-Duper Pac and actually pulling a Mitt Romney?

“Corporations are people, my friend."

Just askin'.

('g' droppin' entirely intentional)


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Everybody's Mom Should Be A Rockstar At Least Once.


My Mom, who I'm pretty sure is responsible for the obsessive-compulsive, concentrate-like-hell side of me that matters, especially when it comes to my job, always used to give me a hard time for listening to a guy who sang like he had marbles in his mouth.

To get back at her I used to make fun of Elvis' Christmas album every year.

Which is ironic given that now I sing Elvis' most famous holiday season song with my own kids.

Anyway, not long ago, old Marble Mouth, who is now 62 years old, brought his own almost 90 year old Mom on stage for a little dance and song.

With bright lights ablazing to ward off any and all darkness...


For My Dad.


When I was a kid my Dad took my brothers and me to the beach.

A lot.

To do all kinds of things that came and went, from sand-tag to frisbee-football (before there was Ultimate) to moon-snail diving, and more.

But one thing was always constant...

If there were waves we were in them.

And more often than not our Dad wouldn't come out until his hands turned blue.


My own kids, and my Dad's grandkid's, both have that dominant cold water gene.

Especially the oldest one.

That's them, above.


The following is now a bit of a tradition 'round here...

My old man was a Union man.

And the folks in the Union fought like bastards...and they fought constantly, usually for the tiniest of things in each successive contract...things like an extra quarter percent on a COLA clause, or one little add-on like an extra free filling per year on the dental plan.

And when I was a kid, especially during that time when I was a barely no-longer-a-teenager-aged kid, I thought the folks from the Union were just a little bit off their nut....all that energy going into what, exactly?

After all, it was the 80's, and Dave Barrett and the Socialist Hordes were long gone, and the Wild Kelowna boys were rolling along, and Unions were bad, and Expo was coming, and Trudeau was going, and John Turner was hiccupping, and Mulroney was lurking, somewhere off in the distance....

....And if you were a half-bright, apolitical science-geek kind of kid like me, breezing your way through college and thinking about graduate school, you laughed when you saw the boy wonder from Burnaby, Michael J. Fox, shirk his Family Ties and ape the young Republicans while making fun of his willfully neutered Leftie of a Dad on the TV screen...

....And if you were that kid, you thought that you were living in a golden age that was tied, not to the social democratic reforms of the past, but to the coming of Free Trade and the promises of the Reaganites from the South...

...And from that perspective you sure as heck didn't always get the irony of Bruce Springsteen singing about the plight of the working class in 'Born in the USA'.

But now that I have spent a good chunk of time in USA where I started a family of my own before coming home, I do get it.

I understand that my Dad spent his entire adult life hauling logs up and down the West Coast, working his guts out to help keep the robber baron families rich because he had to make a living to support his own family....

....And I get the fact that, because of the Unions, my family's standard of living gradually improved, bit by bit, over the years so that by the time I had grown up to be that callow young man described above my parents had saved enough to help me go to University....

....And I get the fact that I was the first one in my family who got to go to University....Ever.....And it wasn't because I was so damned smart....

....And I get the fact that, while my parents' limited financial help and support was important, it would never have been enough to get me into the same good schools if I had arrived on the scene a single generation earlier or, perhaps, later....

....And I get the fact that those Wild Kelowna Boys, and all the other neo-cons that have come since, have been doing their damndest to destroy the dream of a University education for all, and instead have instituted an elitist education for some and one-trick-pony Technical training for everybody else.....

....And I get the fact that, if it wasn't for folks like my Dad and the other lefties of his time, my current world, one in which I make a living with my eyes and my mind wide open, would not be what it is today.....

....And most of all, I now get the fact that my Dad was, and is, my hero.