Saturday, December 29, 2018

Railgate Revisited v2 - The Charges.


As we noted yesterday, the Railgate saga 'officially' began on December 28, 2003, the day the British Columbia legislature was raided by the RCMP.

The charges, such as they were, did not come out until a full year later in December of 2004, which some cynics said conveniently ensured no trial before the following spring's provincial election.

Mark Hume had the story of the charges in the Globe and (nolongerEmpire) Mail:

One year after police raided offices in the British Columbia Legislature, two former ministerial aides and a third person connected to the government have been charged with multiple counts in a breach-of-trust investigation.

Former aides David Basi and Robert Virk are charged with three counts of fraud on the government, two counts of fraud and one count of breach of trust by a public officer, the B.C. criminal justice branch announced yesterday.

Aneal Basi, a public affairs officer in the B.C. Ministry of Transportation for the past three years, has been charged with one count of fraud on the government and one count of breach of trust by a public officer...


...A summary of the case against David Basi and Mr. Virk that was released in September alleged the two men had been trading in stolen government documents related to B.C. government plans to sell BC. Rail and Roberts Bank, a bulk coal-loading facility connected to the railway.

The case summary alleged that David Basi and Mr. Virk delivered confidential documents to a third party, apparently in the hopes of furthering their aspirations to win chief-of-staff positions with the Liberal government in Ottawa.

Police executed nine search warrants at the time they raided the legislature, including offices of public-relations experts and key Liberal officials in British Columbia. But in court documents subsequently released, police stated that only David Basi and Mr. Virk were the subjects of the breach-of-trust investigation...

Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk were the only subjects of the breech-of-trust investigation?

Sure thing.


At the time the charges came down in late 2004 the story was being covered pretty much exclusively*, by the proMedia and, as Barbara McLintock noted in the Tyee, their coverage, and the response it engendered in the general public was underwhelming to say the least:

...(W)hen three political appointees are faced with criminal charges pretty well unheard of in the province, the reaction should still perhaps be more than a polite yawn. The lack of outrage, both in the media and, it would seem in the B.C. public, over the accusations against Dave Basi, Bobby Virk and Aneal Basi is somewhat remarkable.

One can only hope that the disinterested shrugs from the citizenry do not mean that a significant number of British Columbians have come to accept that bribery, corruption and money-laundering are just part of the way business is too-often carried out in British Columbia – as if we were some third-rate banana republic somewhere...


What were the few outraged Lotuslandians to do when nothing happened for years and proMedia outlet editors sent them letters like the following one that BC Mary received when she had the temerity to raise the lack of coverage with an esteemed editor:

Dear Ms. Mary:

There was indeed a pretrial appearance by Basi, Virk et al yesterday. Our reporter staffed the appearance, and nothing of note happened. As is the case in such instances, the reporter consulted with his editor and did not write a story. When there is news, we plan to report it.

Lucinda Chodan
Victoria Times Colonist
2621 Douglas St.
Victoria, B.C. V8T 4M2

Why, according to the Glimmer Twins, Messers Baldrey and Palmer...

Form a cult!

*Except of course for Bill Tieleman, the left-sided prop man who pretty much played this one straight-up, initially in the GStraight  before he set up his own shop/blog...And then there was Sean Holman, whose PublicEye Online was just starting to build when the charges arrived (and were noted by him for posterity). 
We were extremely saddened to hear that Ms. McLintock passed away this week after 14 years with the provincial coroners' office.


Friday, December 28, 2018

Railgate Revisited v1 - The Trigger.


When the BC Legislature was raided 15 years ago today rumours of 'why' were already lifting off before the 37th document-stuffed cardboard box was hauled out of the infamous rockpile that a then very young 'A.B.C. Architect' (whose real name was Rattenbury) finished building in 1898.

And, as intrepid online Railgate chronicler-in-chief 'BC Mary' noted sometime later, the Horseman were quick to fan the rumour-mills flames:

When police entered the B.C. Legislature with Search Warrants on a quiet Sunday morning, 28 December 2003, they made history. Never before in Canada had police breached the sanctity of the people's parliament.

Public shock deepened over 6 days. TV News cameras had shown the 20 uniformed sergeants carrying 32 boxes of confidential cabinet documents away from the B.C. Ministries of Finance and Transportation. But no premier, no prime minister stepped forward to explain the meaning of this shocking event. Both Premier Gordon Campbell and Prime Minister Paul Martin simply said, "I know nothing."

Had it not been for RCMP Sergeant John Ward, the public would have been adrift. But Ward spoke directly to the people of British Columbia, recognizing the public's need to know. As if he knew nobody else would tell us much.

He said a drug probe had triggered the raid on the legislature. He said that the suspects are alleged to have been involved in an organized crime network exchanging BC marijuana for U.S. cocaine which was then sold throughout Canada. The public later learned that cocaine profits buy guns - guns for the international arms trade selling into Afghanistan for example.

Sgt Ward estimates $6 billion a year is sucked out of British Columbia in marijuana traffic alone. Organized crime has so much cash, it's weighed, not counted; money-laundering is a major concern for the criminals.

Sgt. Ward added "... the spread of organized crime in the past 2 years has been like a cancer on the social and economic wellbeing of all British Columbians ... it has reached critical mass." There's so much more to this story...

Interestingly, however, it turns out that a special prosecutor's office had apparently been working behind the scenes to sever the organized crime wing from the Horsemen-piloted flying rumour monger factory before it even took flight.

Bizarrely, that story came out almost five years after the fact, as noted at the time by the newly-crowned PropRep dragon slayer who has been known to pity any and all fools who rush in, Mr. Bill  (with a 'T') Tieleman:

The RCMP was directly instructed by a Special Prosecutor that “organized crime” had “not penetrated the B.C. Legislature” but used the phrase anyway to justify a December 28, 2003 raid there to seize documents, it was alleged in B.C. Supreme Court Thursday.

Defence lawyer Kevin McCullough, representing one of three former B.C. government aides facing corruption charges, read from a recently disclosed document that indicated David Harris, a member of the Special Prosecutor team, told the RCMP their planned news release was wrong two days before the raid...


What was it really about Alfie?

Stay tuned....

And, whatever you do ('every which way'-assisted or not)....Do not skip ahead and have a peek under 'The Big W'....OK?
Full Disclosure...The proprietor of this wee little F-Troop-listed (and always fully/overly hyphenated) blog was once featured (or, at the very least 'listed') in Mr. T's then definitive alphabetized compendium of all the Railgate players that then fit...Said compendium was published in the Tyee in on the fifth anniversary of the Ledge Raids....Which, of course, was still more than a full year before the actual trial began for real (allegedly).....


Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The Quid Pro Whaling Quo


A former local anti-whaling crusader is claiming victory in the fact that Japan is pulling out of the International Whaling Commission.

Charlie Smith has the story in the GStraight:

Former Vancouver resident Paul Watson says it's good news that Japan will withdraw from an international body that regulates whale hunting.

The government led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says it is pulling out of the International Whaling Commission and will cease killing these animals in the Antarctic.

Watson founded the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which has been confronting Japanese whaling ships since 2002.

“We are delighted to see the end of whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary," Watson said in a society news release. "We are delighted that we will soon have a South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary and we look forward to continuing to oppose the three remaining pirate whaling nations of Norway, Japan, and Iceland.

"Whaling as a ‘legal’ industry has ended," Watson continued. "All that remains is to mop up the pirates.”...

But the bigger picture of those 'pirates' mentioned by Mr. Watson suggests that the news is not actually all good at all:

The following is from Linda Sieg and Kiyoshi Takenaka writing for Reuters:

...The decision, some experts said, allows Japan to save the money it spends to support Antarctic whaling while taking a tough pro-whaling stance - a matter of national pride for some conservatives.


...Japan, which says most whale species are not endangered and that eating whale is part of its culture, has long campaigned without success for the IWC to allow commercial whaling.

Some influential lawmakers’ constituencies include whaling communities, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s election district is home to the whaling port of Shimonoseki.

The decision to withdraw from the IWC followed its latest rejection of Japan’s bid to resume commercial whaling at a September meeting, which Suga said showed it was impossible to bridge the gap between whaling advocates and anti-whaling members...

Either way, whales will continue to die.

Which is not a good thing.


Just to be clear it just the good Mr. Watson who is cheering on this crass quid pro quo....Apparently, Australia and New Zealand are happy with Japan's decision as well...Then again, they have a pretty good regional reason for cheering the quidding of the pros and quos.
Update: It now appears that Mr. Watson realizes that he and his have been spun as he re-spins...This kind of stuff, in my opinion is why PR and Prop, in all of its forms, is what is really killing public discourse...On a whole lotta levels.


Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Beautiful Music Is Where You Find It.


While the worst of Hell Fall by Hellfall ended with classes a couple of weeks ago, our last final exam of the season was first thing yesterday morning in a windowless, bunker-type room on the other side of the hospital-industrial complex.

Once we had the exams all out and the kids all in I headed over to the cafeteria to get the TA's morning coffee.

It's a cafeteria I used to spend a lot of time in. In fact, once-upon-a-long-long-time-ago we even held lab meetings there.

But then, in the darkest days of GordCo, Inc. the sub-contracting began in earnest and I avoided the place like the plague.

However, thanks in large part to the persistence of the workers, a lot of what went wrong appears to be fixed now* so I have started to stop by occasionally once again.


Yesterday morning the place was pretty much deserted given that most of the students have already headed home for the holidays.

Which meant that it was just me, the lady at the till, and canned carols on the sound system as I added all the creams and sugars and honeys that gradual students everywhere demand in their coffee.

The whole scene was making me feel a little melancholy until I heard this beautiful sound.

It was coming from the lady at the till who was simultaneously counting her change, and she was amazing.

On my way out I told her that she was in the wrong business.

She just laughed and said she loves to sing.

The music was still in my head three hours later when we released the kids from exile and they headed out into their holiday hooting and hollering completely melancholy-free.

Kids today!

*Labour-expertish folks, please correct me if I'm wrong about this.


Sunday, December 16, 2018

The Keef Report....You Haven't Heard This One Before.

As much as it pains me to say it...

On this one I completely agree* with the good Mr. Baldrey.

All of which kinda/sort (but not really) has me wondering what Sporty Short's fellow Sportspageian alum David 'Spittin' Diction' Randorf has on the ghost of Ted Rogers' Christmas past.

Or some such thing.

You can find previous, and far less agreement-laden, Keef Reports...Here.
*Just to be clear, we're talking about John Shorthouse here...As for Cheech?...Meh.


Saturday, December 15, 2018

The Bright Side Of Life Is Not Just For The Young.


The holiday party season (family stuff excepted) is now officially over for me.

Five events over the last two weeks, only one of which featured the Doctors of Distortion backing Bigger E (that was last Friday night and my ears are still ringing a little).


I had convinced myself that last night's event was going to be the boring one. After all, a hundred or so academics stuffed into a room for five hours is not ordinarily anybody's idea of a raucous good time.

Except this year the olds showed some good sense when they stepped aside and let the gradual students run the show - and that included the food, the drink, the games, the photo booth that included a truly white-haired Santa with an acoustic guitar, the door prizes, and, especially, the music.

Once the phones and the polaroid camera (they're all the rage with the younger set these days, apparently) had been put away and I had shed red and white pile of cheap felt, I was chatting with one of the new students when the genius DJ kid slapped the Killers' 'Mr. Brightside' on the sound system and the place went berserk.

The student I was talking to, who happens to be from England, apologized as he sprinted for the dance floor, shouting back over his shoulder that when you grew up there in the 'aughts this was 'the song' in high school.

Fair enough, I thought as I joined in with everyone around me and started shouting the chorus at the top of my lungs.

Because, as everybody knows, all great anthems are for the young at heart, chronological age be damned.


I'm pretty sure the only reader 'round here who will get the sub-header on this one is the good Mr. Willcocks from across the water...Then again, maybe someone from Denton Texas will stumble on by...


Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Haven't Done Your Duty On PropRep For British Columbia?

My excuse for being tardy has been this 'Hell Fall' by Hellfall thing that I've been pummelled by the last few months.

But now, with an assist from the friends, readers and relatives of Merv Adey, Andrew Seal, and the fine folks at The Tyee, I've made my final choices and filled in my ballot.

First thing tomorrow morning I will take it to the Elections BC office on Cambie right across from Oakridge just below 41st in central Lotusland*.

If you've been dithering you can do it too!

There's still time - you've got until Friday at 4:30 pm but you've got to take it directly to the good folks at E-BC.

You can find their nearest office, no matter where you live in our fair province....Here.

*Right before I head down to Long and McQuade to rent a PA...Doctors of Distortion have a really big show Friday night...Slowly but surely we are morphing into Bigger E's back-up band...Weirdly, fro a paternal point of view at least, I seem to be doing a lot of backing vocals on A Winehouse tunes...Need to work on my dance moves for that type of stuff though.


Monday, December 03, 2018

The Decline Of The US Republicans Did Not Begin In 2016.


On the occasion of passing of the patriarch of the Prescott wing of the Bush family dynasty, two most excellent American bloggers remind us that, despite what you have been hearing, seeing and reading in all the usually suspect proMedia organs, what has come to be called Trumpism did not begin with Trump.

First, 'Driftglass' on the reign of Bush I:

...George Herbert Walker Bush's dreamed of a GOP run as a gentleman's farm: orderly and well-tended by old-money, patrician internationalists. Maintained by loyalty and noblesse oblige. But Bush 41 was also perfectly willing to countenance putting every monstrous trait that has come to define the modern Republican party in-harness to pull the plow and bust the sod of his gentleman's farm...


...Any man who served Nixon and Reagan knew perfectly well what sort of volatile, radioactive ingredients that had gone into building the modern Republican party. And while Bush 41, gentleman political farmer, had no stomach for dirtying his hands by personally attending to the important business of rilin' up the grass roots bigots and the imbeciles, he was quote happy to job out that filthy work to the help. To ace Republican ratfucker, Lee Atwater. The same Lee Atwater who mentored Karl Rove and George W. Bush in the dark arts of bringing bigots to a fine boil and then getting them to the polls...

Second, 'Mike The Mad Biologist' on the reign of Bush II:

...(S)ome perspective is in order here: it was bad during the reign of Little Lord Pontchartrain, and many of the exact same things, such as bigotry and corruption were there, but many people didn’t see them. Hell, the plight of black New Orleans residents as they walked through white neighborhoods alone was every bit as racist and vile, never mind the cops who went ‘hunting’. It all didn’t suddenly go to shit in 2016, it was bad long before then.

Why does stomping out all the forgettery that is going down matter?

Because fine folks like, say, our own Mr. Frum are already quite far along on building the lifeboats to save all those fine and upstanding 'reasonable' Republicans for (yet another) day:

If you get my drift and/or madness in my own private biology*.


*Which, just in case you've ever wondered, is actually a really real thing, the biology I mean.


Sunday, December 02, 2018

The Greedheads Win! The Greedheads Win!


Yes, indeed.

It would appear that the greedheads have succeeded in gouging even more money out of our collective Lotuslandian back in return for yet another half measure.

Joanne Lee-Young and Lori Culbert have the story in the VSun.

Here is their lede:

Two business tycoons waged a little-known and vicious battle in and out of B.C. court over six empty Yaletown lots, assessed at a pittance because for three decades they have been designated for affordable housing.
The high-stakes feud quietly escalated in B.C. courtrooms over several years, pulling in heirs, related companies and executives from the two sides. It dragged some reputations through the mud and, at times, left Vancouver city officials hanging in the middle.
For 30 years, the lots on the north shore of False Creek have lain dormant. But last month, the city announced a deal with Concord Pacific to build 650 affordable units on three of the properties while allowing the developer to build market housing on the other three. The city will not say how much money it will receive in the deal or why it will not proceed with the original vision — promised in 1988 when Concord bought the Expo 86 grounds — to create a mixed-income community with low-rent homes on all six lots...

It's a solid piece that I hope leads to even more solid editorializing to fill in the backstories that matter.


There was one passage where I would have liked a little more detail, which was the following:

...Some observers, such as former city planner Larry Beasley, argue the plan is a good one for the city. “Now, there will be prime sites in the very core of the city for low-income and middle-income residents,” said Beasley.

Today, he said, there is more acceptance of affordable housing projects with greater density, making it possible to build the same number of promised units on just three lots rather than six.

Beasley was involved in assessing the six sites to see which ones would be better suited to take on more density for affordable housing and which ones might be, for example, too close to other buildings...

What else did I want to know?


Given that he was involved in the 'assessing', I, for one, would sure like to know if the good Mr. Beasley was speaking purely for himself here or if he was speaking in some capacity for one of the players.

I don't ask this in an effort to cast aspersions - it's just that knowing would help me, a lowly reader, decide what I think of the deal.



Hey!....'Hell Fall' by Hell Fall is now officially over for me...So, expect, maybe, some more regular pixel punching 'round here in the coming weeks...I'll explain later.
Update: Sam Cooper has more, on a potential 'agenda' re: those linked to CoV who like the deal,  on his twittmachine feed.


Sunday, October 21, 2018

Lyrical Lines That Won't Let Go - Guy Clark's 'Stuff That Works'


Back in the old days I would play our kids, and sometimes even myself, to sleep using C's old plywood topped El Degas guitar to plunk out lullabies and super slowed down versions of tunes from Nebraska and such.


Our kids are both pretty much grown and gone a good chunk of the time now.

Which means that I play my guitar to an empty room most bedtimes these days.

Which is why the following lines, from Guy Clark's 'Stuff That Works' slays me:

"I got an old guitar won't ever stay in tune
I like the way it sounds
In a dark and empty room"

And, in case you haven't guessed it, once something like that gets its hooks in me I pretty have to play it over and over and over again.

So, here's my El Degas-assisted version of Mr. Clark's tune, which, bombasted up a little, probably could have been a Chevy truck commercial if Bob Seger hadn't already cashed in...

The El Degas is the guitar on the left in the image at the top of the post...It still goes to the beach with the Whackadoodle most every Saturday morning.
And, ya, that was the Whackadoodle herself in the background of the cover tune...Raccoons I guess, or maybe just leaves falling outside the window a little too incessantly for her liking.
For those interested...Hitting this link will take you to a video of a young Mr. Clark and the usual suspects of the time (look for an even younger Steve Earle) playing around the kitchen table a long, long time ago...Pretty inspiring actually.


Saturday, October 13, 2018

Why I'm Voting For Sarah Blyth (And Giving Her Money)


There's this guy, Sam Quinones, who used to write for the LA Times awhile back.

Since then he's done good in the way I always wished Oscar Zeta Acosta had kept on doing after I first read not Fear and Loathing but, instead, ....This.

Anyway, one of the good things Mr. Quinones has done is write a book called 'Dreamland' wherein he describes his travels through Midwestern American states of both mind and reality to give witness (and insight) to the greed-driven opioid crisis that is wiping out entire towns there.

Which, tangentially at least, brings me to Sarah Blyth, who is someone I liked as a Parks Commissioner awhile back and who is now running as an independent for Vancouver Council.

What has she been doing in the interim?

Well, all kinds of stuff helping our fellow citizens who need our help most.

Stuff like this, according to Travis Lupick in the GStraight:

Last September (2016), a trio of women pitched a tent facing into a back alley near the intersection of Columbia Street and East Hastings. They set up a couple of tables there with a basket of clean needles and a supply of naloxone, a drug that’s used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

Sarah Blyth, Ann Livingston, and Chris Ewart called it the Overdose Prevention Society. Since the arrival of fentanyl, there had been a lot of overdoses in that alley. And so in potential violation of Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, they created a relatively safe space where people could inject drugs and where, in the event of an overdose, there would be someone there to revive them.

Three months later, B.C. health minister Terry Lake issued a ministerial order that instructed health authorities across the province to establish sites for drug users just like the tent that the Overdose Prevention Society pitched in that Downtown Eastside alley.

“I woke up yesterday at 4 o’clock in the morning and was thinking about the pop-up tent,” Lake told the Straight in an interview that month. “So we pulled the team together quickly, Vancouver Coastal had some plans in place. And so we just expedited everything.”

Within a week, there were more than 15 overdose-prevention sites operating in cities throughout B.C. Since then, staff at those locations have reversed hundreds of overdoses. No one has died at any of the sites...

A progressive trouble maker that can get things done and turn around someone like Terry Lake for the good of all?


That sure is someone I want in my city's council chambers.




Getting back to that very troubled state of mind that Mr. Quinones, who's more bloggorific stuff shows up occasionally on the left sidebar by the way....

Here's a wee bit of a 'book-on-tape' on that subject written by the always steady Craig Finn:

Mr. Finn comes to town next Friday night, Oct 19th...Turns out that's election eve 'round here...
You can hear Ms. Blyth, in her own words, in long form, on Mo Amir's podcast...Here.


Monday, October 08, 2018

The Keef Report....The Paltry.

A hate-on for a suggestion to discuss things that likely matter to a whole lot of supporters of a particular political party?

Willful ignorance of massive shifts in popular support in recent provincial elections across Canuckistan?

Or, perhaps...

Just a late night weekend time stampish thing?

Previous Keef Reports can be found....Here.


Saturday, September 15, 2018

The Keef Report...Not Standing With Her (Anymore).



Look what the Keef dragged in...

And good on the Keef for pushing back on yet another inanity from our former (once not) premier.


How different might things be 'round here right now if the good Mr. Baldrey had been willing to make a call like this in, say, 2011?

Need background?....It's here.


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Time Keeps On Slippin'...


Spent the evening putting the bike rack and the Thule box on the car.

Because this weekend we're packing up and taking littler e. across the water to her dorm room at that school on the ring road.

While we may listen to a little Steve Miller in the car, that is one guy I do not cover.


Except for that one time.

Kinda/Sorta (but only after messing with Zimmerguthrieman, Ti Jean and WZevon first  - in a tunnel, in just two minutes, thirteen).


Sunday, August 26, 2018

That Private School Thing.


Melissa Benn recently wrote a long, and very interesting treatise in the Guardian in which she argued the case for 'abolishing private schools in Britain:

...Now, more than ever, there is a strong moral and political argument in support of integration. At a time of growing divides and damaging inequality, we urgently need public institutions that bring the nation together, not further separate and divide us. For many in the UK, the idea of a unified education system to which all subscribe is too great a leap of the imagination, too daring a proposition – and yet the benefits of a common schooling could be immense...


Here in British Columbia I would be very happy if we could just bring ourselves to stop subsidizing so-called 'elite' private schools with public money.


Tip O' The Toque to Paul Willcocks for doing the heavy lifting awhile back on this one in the pixels of The Tyee.


Saturday, August 25, 2018

Now That The World Is On Fire...

...How Much Can NASA Say?

NASA satellites can identify 'thermal bands' that detect actively burning fires the world over as shown above, in red, from Wednesday, August 22nd.

Which led to a post from the fine folks at the American aeronautics and space administration titled 'A World On Fire' that was published Thursday.

The text of the post, overall, is both explanatory and careful.

For example, that mass of solid red in Africa is predominantly due to agricultural burning. In Brazil it is a combination of agricultural and wildfires.

As we know, in much of North America (and Chile) all those red dots are wildfires that are being driven by, surprise!, low humidity, high winds and extreme temperatures.

But what about Australia?

Well, here things got a little interesting, not so much with the explanation, which is that they are bushfires, but in the explanation which likely has certain members of the Trumpublican administration seeing red:

"...As the climate continues to change and areas become hotter and drier, more and more extreme bushfires will break out across the entire Australian continent..."

Gosh 'climate' and 'change' in the same sentence explaining how the so-called 'new normal' of today is very likely not the status quo of tomorrow.

Imagine that.

Tip 'O the Toque to the Mound of Sound at 'The Disaffected Liberal'.
Post-script....The whackadoodle and me (sic) got up early and headed to the edge of the big muddy at the break of almost dawn in an effort to beat the coming rain...We were not successful, which turned out to be fantastic indeed...The only member of the gang that was not impressed was the beach guitar, but she'll be just fine once we clean up the keys and change the strings...Maybe by late November in the run-up to this year's Advent Jukebox.


Friday, August 24, 2018

The Anti-Whaling Conspiracy....


Who'd a thunk it.

The Casino-Industrial-Complex in downtown Lotusland, which was made possible, at least in part, by the 'man-of-many-hats' as well as he who called 'deal breaker', lo those many GordCo, Inc. years ago, is allegedly losing money hand-over-fist.

Intrepid document deep-diver Bob Mackin has the story. Here is his lede:

The new casino and hotel complex beside B.C. Place Stadium is struggling as its first anniversary approaches.

A report to shareholders by Dundee Corporation, which holds 35% of the company that operates Parq, said the so-called urban resort lost a whopping $80.8 million during the first six months of 2018.

“The initial ramp up of operations has been slower than anticipated due to a number of factors, including the regulatory cost and business impact of new anti-money laundering regulations applicable to casinos in British Columbia, which were implemented in December 2017,” said Dundee’s June 30 report....

Did you see what I saw (and bolded), above?

Looks like some of the money men are actually blaming new 'regulations' that mean that they must now instruct their staff not to accept anonymous hockey bags full of twenties, etc. for their misfortune.

Do these people have no shame?

And/or sense of decency?



Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Fixer 1, Double Plus Ungood.


Well, well, well...

It looks like the good Mr. Michael Cohen did some side-fixing with the good folks at the so-called 'Corporation 1'.

From the AP's latest under Jeff Horwitz' byline:

...In 2010, at Cohen’s urging, the National Enquirer began promoting a potential Trump presidential candidacy, referring readers to a pro-Trump website Cohen helped create. With Cohen’s involvement, the publication began questioning President Barack Obama’s birthplace and American citizenship in print, an effort that Trump promoted for several years, former staffers said...

Very lawyerly of him I reckon.

Interestingly, the quote, abvove, was pulled by the AP story posted by 'Talking Points Memo'...In more CorpMediaish type organs like, say, this one, they tend not to be running this part of piece...Gosh...I wonder why?


Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Individual 1.


From today's guilty plea by Mr. Donald Trump's former fixer Mr. Michael Cohen:

...From in or about 2007 through in or about January 2017, MICHAEL COHEN, the defendant, was an attorney and employee of a Manhattan-based real estate company (the “Company”). COHEN held the title of “Executive Vice President” and “Special Counsel” to the owner of the Company (“Individual-1”)...


That sure is some individual that individual '1'.


Tip 'O The Toque to the best darned ConFraudUS analyzer anywhere...emptywheel.


Thursday, August 16, 2018

There Is A Town...


...In North California-Oh.

There is this tiny little town on the northern California coast called Point Arena.

Located between the monied hordes of Sea Ranch to the south and the artists of Mendocino to the north it is a place out of time.

And we love it.

This year we were there for both Canada Day and 4th of July so that we could celebrate both with our good friends F. and L.

The latter involved a morning parade of hippy veterans (see above) and an afternoon BBQ of burgers and blues bands.

A few days later Bigger E. and I headed to the local bar for open mic night.

But, as so often happens in Pt. Arena posted start times are not real times.

So, with an hour or so to kill, we headed down mainstreet to the General Store for a coffee or some such thing.

Lars, the proprietor, was there at the door waiting for us and he insisted that we come in and play a few songs for his wife Kelly.

As so often happens E., who that particular evening was playing her dumpster find mandolin, soon stole the hearts of just about everyone in the place, including a little girl whose tourist mom initially wanted absolutely nothing to do with us as well as three middle-aged bike travellers from Tampa Florida.

As the sun set and fog began to roll in we strolled back up the street to the bar for the regularly scheduled musical festivities. Soon after Lars, Kelly and one of the biker guys came through the front door to join us.

There were a few regulars in the place that we recognized from the last time we were there two years ago, including a young guitar wizard named Jason. There was also a big whack of really excellent local musicians we hadn't run into before, one of whom was a retired travelling pastor who led a wicked trio that blew everybody's socks off.

For our set E. insisted that we start with one of my so-called 'originals', so I told the entire bar about this a bit of wordplay written by a mill worker anarchist poet that we know from back home that I spackled over with a wee bit of Neil-ish melody to produce the tune 'Dope City Blues' a while back.

A little later, when everybody had loosened up and the really fantastic open-mic show runner named Steve had already run home to get his own superfine mando for E. to play, things evolved into a rousing, rollicking jam session that included an extended bit with E. and Jason riffing off of something that started out as a Lucinda Williams tune that soon moved into the stratosphere to a place where I couldn't keep up, what with my cowboy chords repertoire and all.

So I just sat back and enjoyed the whole scene and the entire soundscape.



Not soon thereafter Janey the bartender said it was time to go so we headed out into the dark and the quiet of late night Highway 1 and started off on the winding cliff-side drive down to the even smaller town of Gualala where we were staying.

And by the time we got there it was like the whole thing had been a dream.

Except for the fact Jason's exclamatory words, shouted just before closing time, that we should 'Make this a tradition! Exactly two years from now!' were still ringing in our ears.

I think we just might take him up on it.



Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Minimum Wage (Non-) Problem.


From the top of Rachell Younglai's recent piece in the Globe and Mail:

Ontario’s jobless rate hit an 18-year low in July, as the country’s largest economy continued to churn out jobs despite this year’s hefty hike in the minimum wage.

When the province raised the mandatory hourly rate 21 per cent to $14 in January, businesses and their trade groups warned of employment losses. But, six months later, Statistics Canada data show that has not happened.

In fact, Ontario’s labour market is on fire.

The province added 61,000 new jobs in July and the jobless rate fell from 5.9 per cent to 5.4 per cent − the lowest level since 2000, according to the Statscan monthly Labour Force Survey released on Friday. Over all, the country added 54,000 net new jobs in July. The national jobless rate fell from 6 per cent to 5.8 per cent, reverting back to where it has been for most of the year...


How can this be possible given all the screaming and screeching from the usual suspects that got big time proMedia wurlitzer coverage in the run-up to Ontario's minimum wage hike?

Of course, all that screaming, screeching and wurlitzering helped make it possible for one employer to play the indentured servant card.
And one can only wonder if some of the reverse-screeching that has been going on 'round here recently might be eased by another immediate bump in the Lotuslandian MinWage?
Tip O' the Toque to Alberta poli-blogger extraordinaire David Climenhaga who has much, much more.


Friday, August 10, 2018

If There Is, Indeed, A Tape...

...Will Mr. Trump's Approval Numbers Go Up?

The following is the micturation-free lede from the Guardian's recent bit on a former Trump aide's soon-to-be published kinda/sorta tell all book thingy:

Donald Trump is a “racist” who has used the “N-word” repeatedly, Omarosa Manigault Newman, once the most prominent African American in the White House, claims in a searing memoir.

The future US president was caught on mic uttering the taboo racial slur “multiple times” during the making of his reality TV show The Apprentice and there is a tape to prove it, according to Manigault Newman, citing three unnamed sources...

Of course, Mag Hags of the Times is all over this one with ready-made deflector-spike-tire-belt-punturers like the following:

...Frank Luntz, the veteran Republican pollster whom Ms. Manigault Newsman says was believed to have told people he heard Mr. Trump utter the epithet, posted on Twitter to deny that had happened and to point out that he had not been contacted by the author...


Does anyone seriously think that, if it turns out to be 'true',  that Mr. Trump's poll numbers will actually suffer?


There Is A Club...


As we've discussed previously, when it comes to the proMedia there is, indeed, a club.

And the local Lotuslandian division is just one of many.

Interestingly, Charlie Pierce of Esquire just broken the first rule said club, USian political division.

As Driftglass so often points out.....The first rule of the proMedia Fite or Flight Club is to never, ever call another member out no matter what they have (or have not) done.
The very fine fellow that C. Pierce called out in this case is S. Kornacki  NBC News' 'National Political Correspondent'.
Of course, it is more than tweets...Mr. Pierce has been doing a whole lotta shaking in long form as well...Regardless, the calling out of incompetence amongst the proMedia denizens is critical work that it is required to put a stop to the endless recycling of club members who consistently get things wrong and/or ignore the obvious and yet still end up back in the executive suites so that they can muddy all waters on all issues big and small on the TeeVee and in the public prints.


Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Generation Gap Or...

...Reality Smack?

The upshot...

None of the young kids I know - and I know plenty, both in family and science geek/teach life -  are even remotely thinking about owning a home in central Lotusland unless, of course, they have big time boomer/parental help.



Tuesday, August 07, 2018



Norm Farrell is up to something new and exciting.

Head on over to his place to see what it is.


Sunday, August 05, 2018

Is This Definitive Proof Of The End...

...Of The American Experiment?

Who are these fine fellows, above, who attended a Trump rally in Lewis Center Ohio on Saturday night?

Are they rabid alt. right extremists or just a couple of rubes among the millions who have been suckered by 40 years of Ailes/Atwater/Rove/ManafortianStoneism that has been aided, abetted and amplified by the likes of RLimbaugh and a propaganda cable TeeVee network that now have their collective envelope pushed farther and farther rightward every single day by liars and fabulists that populate the websites of Alex Jones and

You decide:

...The two friends (James Alicie and Richard Birchfield) from the city of Delaware said they came out to the rally because they've never seen a president in person before. Asked about their shirts, Alicie (left) said he didn't understand why Trump is getting so much criticism about Russia when Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama weren't similarly scrutinized. Asked what he would tell Democrats, Alicie said, "To jump on board this train and give him a chance."...

Of course, the two possibilities raised above are not necessarily mutually exclusive.


Photo credit: Jeremy Pelzer of
Think the header to this post is overly hyperbolic? Well....This.


Friday, August 03, 2018

The Best Way To Repair US - Canada Relations?


What is the best way to improve bilateral relations across the 49th parallel?

Why, more Neil more, if not all, of the time of course....

There are a whole bunch of videos out there of Mr. Young doing his thing with all comers on this tune but this is by far my favourite for all kinds of reasons, including the fact that the multilayered camera coverage was pieced together from DIY footage taken from all over the YouTubez...Truth be told, sometimes I just slap this one on when I'm feeling a little blue and need a bit of a humbucker fueled pick-me up.
Now...While Neil just might be able help to grease those stalled NAFTA negotiations, based on past performance it is not likely that he will allow Mr. Trump use his song to trumpet victory because...This.


Are The Banshee Wails Of The Screamers A (North) American - Wide Problem?


The Mound of Sound has an interesting post up in which he wonders if democracy has become too darned democratic for white America. In said post he quotes from a Salon interview with USian social scientists Steven Miller and Nicholas Davis:

...To be clear: Not all Trump voters are racist or xenophobic. However, Trump's racism and xenophobia were not enough to dissuade them from voting for him, and even bringing that up is going to alienate potential subscribers, readers and viewers...


That indifference thing that justifies political expediency...

In the end isn't that indifference just as bad as the thing itself, especially when the ball really gets rolling?

All of which brings me to a recent Angus Reid poll of so-called kinder, gentler Canadians:

Weeks of questions and criticism from opposition politicians and provincial leaders about asylum-seekers crossing the border – an issue already the source of heightened anxiety and concern for Canadians – have taken a further toll on the Trudeau government’s perceived ability to manage the situation.

In the wake of emergency meetings of the Parliamentary Immigration Committee, and as Ontario Premier Doug Ford demands compensation from Ottawa for the cost of caring for those who cross the border irregularly, Canadians are growing increasingly concerned about the country’s ability to handle the flow.

Despite the recent addition of Bill Blair to cabinet as Minister of Border Security, the latest survey from the Angus Reid Institute finds two-thirds of Canadians (67%) call the current situation a “crisis”.

Further, about the same number (65%) are of the view that Canada has received “too many” irregular crossers for the country’s authorities and service providers to handle...

And, just in case you think this is not a big deal because the reasonable Canuckistanians are alright:

...These views are held not only by conservative-minded individuals, but also by more than half of those who voted for the Liberal and New Democratic parties in 2015, suggesting that asylum-seekers and border security are areas of vulnerability for the Liberal Party – and a potential effective wedge for the Conservative Party in next year’s anticipated election.

Indeed, a plurality of Canadians, including sizeable segments of past left-leaning voters, say they trust CPC leader Andrew Scheer more than the other main party leaders to deal with this file...

None of this is a good thing.

What does it all really mean, Alfie?....Well, that is a big question, but I honestly believe at least one part of the answer is that it means that the screamer sites, and that includes the Levanthian one, are more influential north of the 49th than most of us realize....Why else do you think the good Mr. Ford of Ontario has already set up his own house organ monkey grinder screamer site?
If you're interested you can find SoScientists Miller's and Davis'  recent academic paper titled 'White Outgroup Intolerance and Declining Support for American Democracy'....Here. They make a cogent case that the screamers are winning by pushing the 'otherness' issue to extremes.


Thursday, August 02, 2018

Thirty Years Of Meat Puppetry...


Thirty years of meat puppetry backed with venomous and vile (not to mention racist) propaganda does not an informed citizenry make.

Especially in media markets where no reasonable, reality-based alternative is available.

What's it all about this time Alfie?


It turns out that a certain far, far right-sided American radio screamer by the name of Limbaugh heard from a long time listener, but first time caller yesterday (warning: link is not sanity proof):

RUSH: So I have this note on the call screener computer: “On the hotline…” We don’t have a hotline. “On the hotline, you’re receiving a phone call in recognition of your anniversary broadcast. You’ll want to take this immediately.” Okay. So we’re going to the phones and we have a special guest. Who is it?

THE PRESIDENT: So, Rush, I just wanted to congratulate you on 30 years.

RUSH: (laughing)

THE PRESIDENT: This is your favorite president, and I think you are fantastic.

RUSH: (laughing)

THE PRESIDENT: I heard about it, and today’s the big day, 30 years. I wanted to call personally and congratulate you.

RUSH: I am floored. I… (laughing) I thought there was nothing anybody could do to surprise me today. I’ve been preparing for anything. Mr. President —

THE PRESIDENT: You’re a very special man, Rush, and you have people that love you. I’m one of them. But you’re a very, very special guy. What you do for this country, people have no idea how important your voice is. So I just wanted to personally make this one and I said, “I’ll even dial the number myself if I have to.”



Just to be clear...

This is most definitely not a time for Canadian smugness when it comes to media manipulative matters such as these:


Tip O' the Toque to one of Left Bloggostan's finest chroniclers of the depths to which the right side has sunk in America, Driftglass.
Need a reasonable fact-backed alternative to Doug Ford TeeVee?....Canadaland's offering, with Allison Smith and Johnathan Goldsbie, is a pretty good one.


Wednesday, August 01, 2018

It Would Appear That, Even As The End Neared For Him, Hunter Thompson Had A Point.

Prologue: First off, just so you know, over many years of poli-blogging I have learned to write ahead and then wait a bit before posting in an effort to ensure that my blather is not entirely of the knee-jerk variety...

With that preamble in mind, please understand that I originally wrote the post below in late June when the 'forcibly separating-children-from-their-parents-at-the American-border' story first broke in earnest...The very next day, C., me, Bigger E. and littler e. headed south ourselves to visit our very good friends and surrogate away-from-home parents* on the Northern California coast...Everywhere we went (and this included knitting shops, bookstores, parades, beaches, bars, and even a Motel-6 lobby) folks apologized for their government's actions...And then, within a scant few days, a growing public uproar led the current American president to (at least publicly) reverse his position on the matter. In addition, the courts subsequently imposed strict reunification targets...As a result, I held off pushing the publish button on the post under consideration.

What has changed since then you may be asking?...We'll there is this lingering matter of difficulties in putting ALL the families back together again which has come to a head over the last few days...And clearly the stories of the plight of individual kids and parents are truly heartbreaking...However, the last straw for me was a perfunctory passage buried deep within a Reuters report published last weekend:

"...The (U.S.) government said 711 children remained separated because the parent waived reunification, was no longer in the country, or in some cases could not be found, which the government said excluded them from reunification..."

'Excluded them from reunification'? 


That sure is obfuscatory nicey-nice talk for a very, very bad thing, indeed.


With that I decided the time has come for my self-censorship on this matter to end.

Here goes...



ProPublica has obtained audio of  small children being held inside a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility after they have been separated from their parents.

Here is the lede of Ginger Thompson's story:

The desperate sobbing of 10 Central American children, separated from their parents one day last week by immigration authorities at the border, makes for excruciating listening. Many of them sound like they’re crying so hard, they can barely breathe. They scream “Mami” and “Papá” over and over again, as if those are the only words they know.

The baritone voice of a Border Patrol agent booms above the crying. “Well, we have an orchestra here,” he jokes. “What’s missing is a conductor.”

Then a distraught but determined 6-year-old Salvadoran girl pleads repeatedly for someone to call her aunt. Just one call, she begs anyone who will listen. She says she’s memorized the phone number, and at one point, rattles it off to a consular representative. “My mommy says that I’ll go with my aunt,” she whimpers, “and that she’ll come to pick me up there as quickly as possible.”...

You can listen to the audio tape....Here.

It does not make for comfortable listening.

Which is why it must be listened to.

When he was nearing the end of his own days Hunter Thompson had the following to say about the actions of his countrymen and women in the run-up to American invasion of Iraq:

We're the Nazis in this game, and I don't like it. I'm embarrassed and I'm pissed off. Yeah. I mean to say something and I think a lot of people in this country agree with me.'

Hunter S. Thompson, January 2003
Interview with Mary Suma, KDNK Radio, Roaring Fork Colorado
Reprinted In Text Form In: Ancient Gonzo Wisdom by Anita Thompson

Now, while you and I can both agree that Mr. Thompson was engaging in some overwrought hyperbole at the front end of his statement, I would hope that you can also agree that the time has come for a whole lot of American people, regardless their political persuasion, to start saying something about what is going on in their fine country at this very moment.

Not convinced?

Well, here is a little bit more from Ginger (presumably no relation to HST) Thompson's ProPublica story:

...In recent days, authorities on the border have begun allowing tightly controlled tours of the facilities that are meant to put a humane face on the (separation and detention) policy. But cameras are heavily restricted. And the children being held are not allowed to speak to journalists...


I originally wrote about HST's comment
in the context of the Bush Administration's self-declared 'new reality'....Here.

*We got to know our NorCal friends when C and I were lucky enough to find ourselves living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area back in the days of yore... As a result, these friends helped us out, a ton, when Bigger E. was born a thousand miles from home...They now live on the Mendocino coast and we go down to visit them regularly once every couple of years...It is so much fun, and such a ritual, that our kids, both of whom are pretty much fully grown now, insist on making the trip with us...C and I put up very, very little resistance...And make no mistake, I fully realize that this little chunk of the West Coast is not representative of the United States in its entirety... Regardless, it is America to me and it is a place, and a state of mind, that I truly enjoy and admire...


Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Vancouver Model (ctd)...Is The Architect's Apprentice Attempting To Use It To His Advantage?


A fine young fellow named Hector Bremmer used to work for non-Surrey mayoral candidate, and former BC Liberal Minister of Everything, Rich Coleman.

That would be the very same Mr. Coleman who dismantled the illegal gaming enforcement team (IGET) in 2009, an act of purposeful commission that helped make it possible for an explosion in the number of hockey bags, et cetera, filled to bursting with drug-dusted cash to be plopped down on casino floors for laundering such that at least some of the cleaned-up dirty dollars very likely made their way into the high end of the Lotuslandian real estate market where they would have been willingly gobbled up by an 'industry' fully supported, aided and abetted by a Christy Clark-led, Coleman et al.-operationalized government that was notorious for dropping the puck for industries that paid them big money to play.


What is the former apprentice Mr. Bremmer up to these days?


Just in case you missed it, Bremmer is running for Vancouver Mayor as a horse ridden by (surprise!) former Liberal rain mucker, Bee Boyz runner and BCL Klout Klub leader Mark Marissen. Given all that, imagine how surprised we were to learn that the good Mr. Bremmer, has a super-duper pineapple upside-diver downish caked plan to (put the) fix (in for) the Lotuslandian real estate bund.

Jen St. Denis of the local Star Division has the story:

...Yes! Vancouver’s mayoral candidate is Hector Bremner, a Vancouver city councillor first elected as a Non-Partisan Association candidate. But Bremner left the NPA after the party’s board decided to not allow him to proceed as a mayoral nominee for their party over conflict of interest concerns.

Bremner and his supporters then formed Yes! Vancouver. The party held a nomination meeting this weekend and will run five council candidates and one candidate each for park board and school board, as well as Bremner for mayor.

Ever since he was first elected in October 2017, Bremner has advocated for more supply as the sole solution to fixing Vancouver’s affordable housing crisis.

“The federal government and the provincial government are increasing taxes, increasing interest rates, they’re doing everything they can to slow down demand but it’s really not working,” Bremner said.

“The truth is in the Lower Mainland we have over 100,000 homes trapped up in approvals and those homes need to get to people and we need to get things done.”...

The irony, for those who have been paying attention at least, it burns.


Do not expect the likes of Mikey Mike or Ron Obvious to feel the heat, however.


And don't ever forget that $800,000 in twenties is very heavy, indeed.