Thursday, December 26, 2019

Article, Schmarticle...


Mr. Kenney's finest of the fine guys have started their full-court, faux-journalistic press and it is starting to upset people.

Including, it would appear, some the bamboozled subjects how have been pounded into the tips of the war room's propaganda javelins.

James Keller of the CP has the story of one such dupee, this one from Lotusland, in the Canadian Press:

A Vancouver chef who was featured in an article produced by Alberta’s “energy war room” says he’s furious he wasn’t told that the Canadian Energy Centre was created and funded by the provincial government.

Donald Gyurkovits, president of the Canadian Culinary Federation, said his group strives to stay out of politics and he never would have participated if the writer who contacted him explained the background of the centre. Several other people interviewed by the war room have also said they were not told about its ties to the Alberta government and critics have questioned why the centre’s writers have been describing themselves as reporters...

Which is fair enough as far as the lede to a bit of 'straight journalism' push backfrom Mr. Keller and his editor(s) goes.


Who made the legitimizing decision to call the original war room piece an 'article'?

Why not, instead, call the thing what it really was?

If you get my drift.

Tip o' the toque to David Climenhaga of the always excellent ''.
Way off-topic...It was great to meet reader D. and friend with his dogs down at the beach today...Hope next time to get a chance to chat with partner P. as well!


Tuesday, December 24, 2019

The Advent Jukebox, Day 24....'Fairytale Of New York'


Apparently, the real reason for the songs ultimate emergence was Pogue's banjo player Jem Finer's wife who didn't like his first version. As a result, Finer wrote a second one:

..."I had written two songs complete with tunes, one had a good tune and crap lyrics, the other had the idea for 'Fairytale' but the tune was poxy, I gave them both to Shane and he gave it a Broadway melody, and there it was"...

Go figure.

Here's E. and me giving it a go...


Monday, December 23, 2019

The Advent Jukebox, Day 23....'Santa Claus Is Coming To Town'.


While this tune was first made famous by Eddie Cantor on his radio show in 1934, for me and mine it will always bring up all the very best memories of the late, great Clarence Clemons.

Here's my lullabyified version...


Sunday, December 22, 2019

The Advent Jukebox, Day 22... 'Baby, Please Come Home'.


While Ellie Greenwhich and Jeff Barry (pictured above) wrote it, and the not yet completely insane wall of sound man Phil Spector produced it, it was Darlene Love that made this song famous, both originally and later, over and over and over again (for good reason), on Letterman.

Here's Bigger E's version...


The Smartest Guys Amongst Rubes.


From last week's news...

The Alberta government's energy "war room" says it will change its logo after it was revealed on Twitter Wednesday the logo already represents an American tech company.

The logo is identical to Massachusetts-headquartered Progress Software, with the exception of colour. Canadian Energy Centre went with a blue and white palette, while the tech company opted for lime green.

In a statement Thursday, the energy centre called the design debacle an unfortunate situation.

"We understand this was a mistake and we are in discussions with our agency to determine how it happened," said Tom Olsen, chief executive officer and managing director...


I've got an idea, particularly given that Enron is kaput and, presumably, won't sue Mr. Kenney's and his minions...

'Nuff said?

Header have you scratching your amygdala?....This.


Saturday, December 21, 2019

The Advent Jukebox, Day 21... 'The Parting Glass'



I know that the Clancy Brothers and their buddy Tommy Makem, who made this tune famous in the not so distant past, are Irish.

But it turns out that the tune, and especially the (ever changing) lyric goes all the way back to 17th century Scotland.

Imagine that.

Anyway, while I'm most partial to the Wailin' Jenny's a capella take, here's my version...

Why here?...Well, it's a tune to sing with your friends and family at the time of their (or your) leaving, which on the front end of the holidays seems a long way off, but it's coming...Oh, and just in case you were wondering, there's a wee bit of Mic Christopher thrown in there at the end - couldn't help myself.


Friday, December 20, 2019

The Advent Jukebox, Day 20.....'Winter Wonderland'


The image above is of littler e. and her friend from days gone by.

Not even a hint of snow in central Lotusland this year so far.

The mountains look to be loading up though...

Back in real time(s)....e. just came home from college tonight...In addition to all these so-called holiday song covers, the tap dancing will now commence in earnest.


Thursday, December 19, 2019

The Advent Jukebox, Day 19...'Run Rudolph Run'


Sure, there's the C. Berry version, but me I'm partial to Skynryd's.


Wednesday, December 18, 2019

The Advent Jukebox, Day 18... Jingle Bell Rock


'Jingle Bell Rock' was first recorded by early rockabilly guy Bobby Helms. And while it immediately got airplay and the Dick Clark TeeVee treatment the tune was not immediately a hit.

In fact, it didn't go gold until five years later.

Of course it is now a classic that everyone has covered, including a version by Hall and Oates that trumpeted by an Anon-0-Mouse on the comment threads recently.

Here's me and E. doing the lullaby(ish) version..

And before the grammar nerds and/or my grade 3 teacher Mrs. Griffiths go bonkers, the E. and me reference, above, was entirely purposeful....OK?

Bonus reel...All 13 of the first half of the Jukebox together...Lullaby caroling!


Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The Advent Jukebox, Day 17.... 'Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree'.


Brenda Lee was just 13 years old when she recorded this Johnny Marks tune in 1958.

Since then it has sold 25 million copies and has landed on the charts again this year.

Bigger E. makes like Ms. Lee and takes the lead on this one...

Subheader given you an earworm that needs scratching Mr. O'Reilly?.....This!
And here's a special bonus....All of the first thirteen days of the Jukebox, all together!


Monday, December 16, 2019

The Advent Jukebox, Day 16... 'I'll Be Home For Christmas'


The guy who made this tune famous is also the reason the denim tuxedo was invented by Levi Strauss and Co.

And here's the good part...

It was all the fault of a snooty Vancouver hotel desk clerk:

'...Singer Bing Crosby was very fond of Levi's jeans and was wearing his favorite pair while on a hunting trip to Canada with a friend in that year. The men tried to check into a Vancouver hotel, but because they were wearing denim, the desk clerk would not give them a room; apparently denim-clad visitors were not considered high-class enough for this hotel. Because the men were wearing Levi's jeans, the clerk did not even bother to look past their clothing to see that he was turning away America's most beloved singer (luckily for Bing, he was finally recognized by the bellhop). LS&Co heard about this and created a denim tuxedo jacket for Bing, which we presented to him at a celebration in Elko, Nevada, where Bing was honorary mayor...'


Sunday, December 15, 2019

The Advent Jukebox, Day 15.... 'The Christmas Song'

Bob Wells and Mel Torme wrote this one in Los Angeles during the blazing hot summer of 1945.

And, according to Torme at least, the lyric was all about trying to 'stay cool by thinking cool'.

Regardless, the it is now a bonafide classic.

Here's a lullaby version...

Nat King Cole didn't record the tune until the following summer despite the fact that Torme and Wells rushed over to Cole's manager Carlos Castel almost immediately after writing it, a task that took only 45 minutes...
Here's the Velvet Fog singing the tune with a hopped-up Judy Garland (keep your eyes peeled for a then still young 'Lucille Two' sighting)...


Saturday, December 14, 2019

The Advent Jukebox, Day 14... 'Silent Night'


Because it just kind of feels like that kind of evening...

Eleven more sleeps!

The other Gruber is Dave 'Gruber' Allan, the infamous Mr. Rosso on Freaks and Geeks, who also played one of the duelling troubadours on that other show that Amy Sherman invented.


Friday, December 13, 2019

The Advent Jukebox, Day 13... 'Christmas Time In The Mountains'


I honestly can't tell if this little tune is beautifully cynical or cynically beautiful.

Either way, it is now most definitely one of my holiday favourites...

It's a Will Oldam 'Palace Songs' song that was oft-covered by the Swell Seasonists.
Image at the top of the post is Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the Bavarian Alps....I was going to post an image from the Christmas Mountains in New Brunswick, but what happened there not long ago is just too depressing, for this time of year at least.
What's this Advent Jukebox business all about?....Well, the idea of a homemade 'song a day'-type advent calendar/jukebox came to me in late November a few years ago....And when the tunes began they were, essentially, lullabies for our oldest kid who was half a continent away cramming for final exams...Now, well, the whole thing just seems to be a bit of a tradition, if such a thing is possible on the ever changing interweb of everchanging platforms 'n things.


Thursday, December 12, 2019

The Advent Jukebox, Day 12...'Silver Bells'


The time has come to get a little more traditional..

And, just in case you missed it, this tune was first sung Fred Mertz as the acervic Santa before Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell come by and syrup it all up...Ya, that's right, Fred Freaking Mertz (a.k.a. William Frawley)....Check it out!
What's this Advent Jukebox business all about?....Well, the idea of a homemade 'song a day'-type advent calendar/jukebox came to me in late November a few years ago....And when the tunes began they were, essentially, lullabies for our oldest kid who was half a continent away cramming for final exams...Now, well, the whole thing just seems to be a bit of a tradition, if such a thing is possible on the ever changing interweb of everchanging platforms 'n things.


Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The Advent Jukebox, Day 11....'Blue Christmas'


By the time I was becoming aware of the world, for real, it was already the early '70's.

Which meant that I slagged a then fake-fat Elvis mercilessly when our Mom played his Christmas album over and over every year.

I still feel pretty bad about that...

Just in case you need it, here's the Blue Hawaii version of the real thing.
What's this Advent Jukebox business all about?....Well, the idea of a homemade 'song a day'-type advent calendar/jukebox came to me in late November a few years ago....And when the tunes began they were, essentially, lullabies for our oldest kid who was half a continent away cramming for final exams...Now, well, the whole thing just seems to be a bit of a tradition, if such a thing is possible on the ever changing interweb of everchanging platforms 'n things.


Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The Advent Jukebox, Day 10....'Hey Guys! It's Christmas Time'.


Back in the days when YouTube was still young and unweaponized, there were a bunch of kids that did all kinds of covers and collaborations and stuff, many of them on ukulele.

One of the more memorable ones was a cover of the Sufjan Stevens holiday song 'Hey Guys! It's Christmas Time' by a young woman named Molly Lewis.

Like much that was good about the digital days of yore, that version seems to have disappeared from the Interwebz.

However, Ms. Lewis, who I always get a kick out of, is still doing her (many) things...Here.

Anyway, you all are in for a treat as Bigger E. takes the vocal on this one...

If you want the real thing by the still somewhat-of-a-whiz-kid, Mr. Stevens, who spent five years recording 100 holiday songs so that he would 'appreciate Christmas better' it's here....If you want to see Ms. Lewis do her thing while serenading Stephen Fry (yes, that Stephen Fry), at Harvard University no less, check this out.
What's this Advent Jukebox business all about?....Well, the idea of a homemade 'song a day'-type advent calendar/jukebox came to me in late November a few years ago....And when the tunes began they were, essentially, lullabies for our oldest kid who was half a continent away cramming for final exams...Now, well, the whole thing just seems to be a bit of a tradition, if such a thing is possible on the ever changing interweb of everchanging platforms 'n things.

And as for that image at the top of the post...Who knew that the TeeVee versions of Jeeves and Wooster were actually running the Tosser division for the Peaky Bloody Blinders...


Monday, December 09, 2019

The Advent Jukebox, Day 9....Vincent


Sure, van Gogh painted 'The Starry Night while looking east, out out of his monastery/asylum window in the wee hours of a June morning in 1888.

But that doesn't mean that it doesn't have a holiday season quality about it.

And, heckfire, Robert Wells and Mel Torme wrote that tune that Nat King Cole made famous about chestnuts roasting and all that while lounging around a pool during a blistering Los Angeles heatwave in 1945.


Go figure.'s my take on the American Pie guy's ode to Mr. van Gogh...

Looking for the real thing...Check out this great live version.
What's this Advent Jukebox business all about?....Well, the idea of a homemade 'song a day'-type advent calendar/jukebox came to me in late November a few years ago....And when the tunes began they were, essentially, lullabies for our oldest kid who was half a continent away cramming for final exams...Now, well, the whole thing just seems to be a bit of a tradition, if such a thing is possible on the ever changing interweb of everchanging platforms 'n things.


Sunday, December 08, 2019

Advent Jukebox, Day 8....Murder By Mistletoe.



Because every holiday song setlist needs a good murder ballad.

That's why..

For the Brothers Felice, this one goes all the way back to the days of Simone.
What's this all about?....The idea of a homemade 'song a day'-type advent calendar/jukebox came to me in late November a few years ago....And when the tunes began they were, essentially, lullabies for our oldest kid who was half a continent away cramming for final exams...Now, well, the whole thing just seems to be a bit of a tradition, if such a thing is possible on the ever changing interweb of everchanging platforms 'n things.


Saturday, December 07, 2019

Advent Jukebox, Day 7....White Christmas

White Christmas was written by Irving Berlin.

And, according to his daughter and NPR, it's both areligious and an immigrant song:

..."It's very evocative: the snow, the Christmas card, the sleigh, the sleigh bells," she says. "It's very evocative, and it's entirely secular."

Christmas was not exactly a holiday that Irving Berlin grew up celebrating. He was born in Russia, the son of a cantor, and his first language was Yiddish.

Emmet says that her father's experience as an immigrant in America led him to conclude that Christmas was not as much a religious holiday as a cultural one.

"As a Russian Jewish immigrant, when he came to the United States, Christmas was an American holiday to him," she says. "It was like every American holiday. It was a fresh, new experience for him."....

Who'd a thunk it.

Me, I just felt the need to think of the snowy season given how grey Lotusland has been, on and off, the last few days...


Friday, December 06, 2019

Advent Jukebox, Day 6....Little Drummer Boy

Had no idea that 'The Little Drummer Boy', originally titled 'Carol Of The Drum' was first recorded by the von Trapp Family Singers, pre-Julie Andrews edition, in 1951.

Weirdly, it does make a strange kind of karmic sense though.

Here's my take..

And then, of course, there is that super weird, and somehow still fabulous, Bing Crosby/David Bowie version....Seriously.


Thursday, December 05, 2019

Advent Jukebox, Day 5....Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis

Something very, very weird happens to your psyche when try to channel Mr. Waits, even if only for a few minutes.


Even 'Silent Night' goes sideways..

Need the real thing?...Here's Tommy!...Neko Case' cover is a real change of pace though.


Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Advent Jukebox, Day 4....Hallelujah.

Is it the most seasonally appropriate tune from the sincere L. Cohen?

Probably not, for all kinds of reasons that include the actual lyrics.

And then there is the fact that you could make a pretty good case, at least from a weather point of view here in Lotusland, for 'Famous Blue Raincoat'.

Anyway, here's my version..

Many, many great covers  of 'H' out there...And, despite the slight aura of over-the-toppishness, this version from young Mr. Wainright is still a favourite....Alternatively, you could always go all in for the full Buckley.


Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Advent Jukebox, Day 3...The Christmas Waltz

You all are in for a treat today because our eldest kid, Bigger E., takes the lede on this one...

Image at the top of the post is E. busking in Gastown awhile back...I really enjoy doing this with her, but she loses money when I'm around...All joking aside I envy her given that she is now making a living doing exactly what she wants to do which is to sing.


Monday, December 02, 2019

Advent Jukebox, Day 2...Star, Star.

This is likely to be the least 'Christmassy' of all this year's Advent Juke tunes.

To be honest, other than the fact that Glen Hansard seems to pull it out every holiday season and pair it with another song on the list that most definitely is rooted in all things Christmas, both good and bad, I'm not really sure it belongs here, particulary given Hansard's oft-repeated on stage explanation that it is:

"...Dedicated to the moment between drunk and sober...That moment when you suddenly understand James Joyce with perfect clarity..."

Which, I reckon, is the state of mind, in numerous guises, that all young kids worth their salt are looking for at one time or another.

Come to think of it, maybe Dickens and Roul Dahl had their most famous seasonal/wintry characters look for it as well.

Anyway, with all that said, here's my take, lullabuyed, on Mr. Hansard's Vincent/McLean-free starry night song ...

Image at the top of the post is Mr. Joyce himself playing the guitar....The folks at Open Culture have the story.


Sunday, December 01, 2019

Advent Jukebox, Day One...River.

There is nothing like the magic of Ms. Mitchell to get you into the spirit of just about any season.

So, with that in mind, here's my ultra lo-fi version of her song of joy and peace (and, of course, longing)...

Image at the top is of my kids and me, back when they were young and I was too, apparently (at least that's what I'll agree to when forced to look in the mirror in the morning)...If memory and finger position on the fret board serve, we were doing this very tune when the photo was taken.
You'd rather have the original?...It's here.


Saturday, November 30, 2019

The Petro State Blues.


Why do the titans of the resource extraction bund who provide the programming for people like the good Mr. Kenney of the Albertalands need to fabricate faux enviro enemies for no good reason at all?


It would appear that it is because they, themselves, have come to understand that real end is nigh.

Mitchell Anderson, writing yesterday in the The Tyee, has a solid take on this POV:

...The market value of the U.S. energy sector is down almost nine per centthis year. The entire sector is now worth less than Apple. Exxon Mobil’s credit rating was just downgraded by Moody’s due to concerns of “substantial cash burn.” Fracking giant Chesapeake has shed 98 per cent of its stock value since 2008 and recently warned investors it may not be able to make scheduled payments on its crushing $10-billion debt.

Here in Canada, we hear a lot about the value of pipelines, but the economics of oil infrastructure elsewhere are collapsing. A recent reportpredicted the $160-billion global oil tanker fleet could lose 30 per cent of its value as the world shifts away from fossil fuels. “Shipowners and people that finance these ships could see their market is sinking,” said Stuart Nicoll, a director at Maritime Strategies that authored the study. “This just hasn’t had any attention.”

An ultra-deep water drilling platform worth $683 million in 2011 was just sold for scrap at two cents on the dollar after receiving no bids at auction, driven by diving investor interest in expensive offshore projects.

Even the Bank of Canada recently warned that some global oil reserves will become worthless in the future. “Maintaining the warming below 2.0 degrees Celsius implies that some of the existing fossil fuel reserves will become stranded assets,” wrote bank senior research director Miguel Molico in a recent report...


Does this mean that the massive debt transfers and asset bleeding will soon begin in earnest?

And when it does will this stratergy be backed with even greater government subsidies* for said bund?

*Paid for by the draining of public pension funds, perhaps?


Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Stop Searching For The New Dylan...

...Because we've had her in our midst for quite awhile now.

This version of 'Salinas', in particular, slays me.


Sunday, November 24, 2019

It All Goes Back To Manafort, Inc.


I am extremely skeptical of conservative pundit never Trumpers who simultaneously do their best to pretend that the rest of the Republican party is not full of Republicans*.

See, for example, Frum, David.

Still, stopped watches and all that...

Which brings us to a recent NYT column by Bret Stephens in which he laid out the case that Mr. Trump and all who protect him are bent on the total Ukrainianization of everything:

...(Trump is) attempting to turn the United States into Ukraine. The judgment Congress has to make is whether the American people should be willing, actively or passively, to go along with it.

I’ve followed Ukrainian politics fairly closely since 1999, when I joined the staff of The Wall Street Journal Europe. It has consistent themes that should sound familiar to American ears.

The first theme is the criminalization of political differences. Years before Trump led his followers in “Lock Her Up” chants against Hillary Clinton, then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych did exactly that against his own political rival, Yulia Tymoshenko, who was sentenced to seven years in prison on a variety of byzantine charges after she had narrowly lost the 2010 election...

And who was paid millions to put the good Mr. Yanukovych into power so that the oligarchs could keep on plundering on?

Why none other than the very fine man with ostrich jackets and such, Mr. Paul Manafort.

The Guardian's Luke Harding laid out what Mr. Manafort subsequently did to Ms. Tymoshenko, and how he did it, back in the days of Mueller:

...In 2011 Manafort approved a clandestine strategy to discredit Tymoshenko abroad. Alan Friedman, a former Wall Street Journal and Financial Times reporter, based in Italy, masterminded this project. Friedman has previously been accused of concealing his work as a paid lobbyist.

Also involved were Rick Gates, Manafort’s then deputy, and Konstantin Kilimnik, another senior Manafort associate who the FBI believes has links to Russian military intelligence.

In July 2011 Friedman sent Manafort a confidential six-page document titled Ukraine - A Digital Roadmap. It laid out a plan to “deconstruct” Tymoshenko via videos, articles and social media. Yanukovych deferred to Manafort, who gave the project the go-ahead, sources in Ukraine’s former government say.
Friedman’s proposed operation was ambitious. It included producing anonymous videos attacking Tymoshenko and comparing the opposition leader to a drunk Boris Yeltsin. “The social media space offers great opportunities for guilt by association,” Friedman wrote in the document.
He continued: “We know that video exists of Tymoshenko uttering some of her outrageous claims in court … The video can be floated into the social space to reinforce the impression that she is at best reckless and unstatesmanlike and at worst malicious, defamatory and antisemitic.”
Twitters users, including “those ‘known’ to us”, could retweet hostile content. The “roadmap” included a website, blogposts and “blast emails”, sent out to a “targeted audience in Europe and the US”. One section was called “Black Ops”. It said: “This could include Wikipedia page modification to highlight [Tymoshenko] corruption and trial and modify the tone of the language being used.”
Friedman worked with Eckart Sager, a one-time CNN producer. Emails show they liaised closely with “Paul”, who in turn briefed Yanukovych’s chief of staff, Serhiy Lyovochkin. Lyovochkin declined to comment. He appears in correspondence as “SL”...

Which is just another way of saying that the play book political destruction, if updated, is at its core always the same.

Mr. Manafort's old Regan era business partners, long time Republican operatives, Roger Stone and Lee Atwater, likely approve.


*Trademark Driftglass.
Tip O' The Toque to the hardest working single shingle poli-blogger in CanuckistanMikitaVille, the MoS, at 'The Disaffected Liberal'.


Friday, November 22, 2019

The Grand Old Politburo...

That is all.

(for now)


Thursday, November 21, 2019

Sondland Blames His Faulty Memory On...

....Donald Trump

Sure, sure, the big story is how big donor turned EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland fingered Donald Trump as the brains behind Rudy G's quid pro quo bribery babble.


One of the things I also found interesting is Sondland's explanation for why it took him three tries before he saw the light and came clean.

The following is from his prepared opening statement before the US'ian Congressional Intelligence Committee Wednesday morning:

...I have not had access to all of my phone records, State Department emails, and other State Department documents. And I was told I could not work with my EU Staff to pull together the relevant files. Having access to the State Department materials would have been very helpful to me in trying to reconstruct with whom I spoke and met, when, and what was said.

As Ambassador, I have had hundreds of meetings and calls with individuals. But I am not a note taker, nor am I a memo writer. Never have been. My job requires speaking with heads of state and senior government officials every day. Talking with foreign leaders might be memorable to some people. But this is my job. I do it all the time.

My lawyers and I have made multiple requests to the State Department and the White House for these materials. Yet, these materials were not provided to me. They have also refused to share these materials with this Committee. These documents are not classified and, in fairness, should have been made available. In the absence of these materials, my memory has not been perfect. And I have no doubt that a more fair, open, and orderly process of allowing me to read the State Department records would have made this process more transparent...


It would appear that hell hath no fury like a capo scorned.

Or, put another way...

Did the good Mr. Sondland just toss another potential obstruction count into the presidential golf cart?


Saturday, November 16, 2019

Baby, Baby It's His Turn To Cry.


This was then (i.e. Thursday)...

And now...

Marie Yovanovitch, the former US ambassador to Ukraine, has given a devastating account of the state department in “crisis” saying “the policy process is visibly unravelling” and the agency is being “hollowed” out.

Yovanovitch, who was addressing the house committees holding impeachment hearings, also delivered an indictment of “the failure of state department leadership to push back as foreign and corrupt interests apparently hijacked our Ukraine policy”...


...She spoke about feeling undermined and threatened as the president’s son Donald Trump Jr, and Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, spread smears against her.

“If our chief representative is kneecapped, it limits our effectiveness to safeguard the vital national security interests of the United States,” she said. “Our Ukraine policy has been thrown into disarray, and shady interests the world over have learned how little it takes to remove an American ambassador who does not give them what they want,” Yovanovitch added...

For those who are Australian and/or fans of the Chilly Chisels...There actually is an earworm in the post's title.


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Sometimes A Spreadsheet...

....Is Worth A Thousand (Billion, Trillion) Words.

And what does Oxfam want?


...Oxfam recommends that nations tax wealth at fairer levels, raise rates on personal income and corporate taxes and eliminate tax avoidance by companies and the super-rich...



A return to Eisenhower era tax rates for everyone?


Sunday, November 10, 2019

Mueller, He Didn't Write.


In case you missed it amongst all the sturm, drang and Twittmachine-driven firehosery, last weekend Buzzfeed's Jason Leopold released the first 500 pages of Robert Mueller's back pages he pried out of the USian Justice Dep't by FOIA.

And, surprise!, it would appear that the good Mr. Mueller buried a whole lot of ledes when he wrote his actual report.

One of the bits that was shot deepest into the magma was the relevation, from Paul Manafort's man Friday, Robert Gates, that, far from being a hawkish figurehead who was later derailed only because his Putin-friendly Turkish side-hustle was revealed after he was named the NSA boss, Michael Flynn was actually the Trump campaign's inside Russia man from the get-go.

Will Bunch has that story in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

...Among the highlights are that Gates said that a lot of the pressure to find the purloined (Clinton) emails (in the run-up  to the 2016 election) fell on retired general Michael Flynn — soon to be Trump’s short-lived national security adviser — because Flynn “had the most Russia contacts of anyone on the campaign.”...


Who'd a thunk it?

And, what does this have to do with anything going down now and/or in the coming weeks?....See, Stone, Roger.


Friday, November 08, 2019

Who's Robert Stanfield Now?


In political terms at least, Toronto really is the center of the current CanuckistanMikitaVillian Universe.

TorStar's Tom Walkom explains:

...The Conservatives did gain three more Ontario seats. However, their share of the popular vote in Ontario dropped by two percentage points.

More importantly, they were unable to unseat Liberal incumbents in huge swaths of the so-called 905 belt outside Toronto. In Toronto itself, the Conservatives were completely shut out...

And here's the ironic thing given who benefitted most from Mr. Stanfield's butter fingers, pictured above, in 1974:

...The main reason is that Scheer failed to connect with Red Tories.

Red Tories represent the dominant form of Conservatism in Ontario. They are typically moderate. They are amenable to using government to achieve useful social ends. They generally value co-operation...


...Ontario’s ever so practical Red Tories know from experience that refinery shutdowns and turmoil in the Middle East have more effect on gasoline prices than Ottawa’s carbon tax.

Indeed, Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s entire strategy for dealing with climate change could have come from a Red Tory playbook.

It emphasizes balance — in this case, the balance between economic and environmental needs. It suggests action without getting bogged down in the details of what this action will accomplish. It allows people to think they are doing something about the climate problem without requiring them to bear a hefty cost. And it is based not on government fiat but on market pricing...

Go figure.

Of course, when the books are written by the NeoLaurierists of the RedTory Sage, they'll tell us that this was the 2019 plan right from the get-go.
Tip O' The Toque to Owen Gray at Northern Reflections.


Thursday, November 07, 2019

Memory Matters With Measles.


Some folks in Chilliwack are apparently up in arms about public health measures meant to ensure that critical vaccines are administered at rates that help to ensure community efficacy:

Of course, the anti-vax division of that portion of Lotusland's fundamentalist edge was involved in in a pretty significant measles outbreak in the not too distant past (i.e. 2014).

From the CBC at that time:

The largest outbreak of measles in decades was officially declared over Monday with a vast reduction in the number of transmissions and new cases, says Fraser Health's chief medical health officer.

Over a four-week period earlier this spring, the Fraser Health region had over 400 cases of measles with some patients requiring hospitalization.

Dr. Paul Van Buynder, the chief medical health officer, says the outbreak is now over with few new cases being reported.

"The size of, and speed at, which this outbreak spread resulted in more cases of measles than the province has seen in the past 15 years, and was the largest outbreak in almost 30 years," says Dr. Van Buynder.

The outbreak initially began after dozens of cases were reported at a Christian School in Chilliwack with a low vaccination rate. That school was temporarily closed...

From CKWX:

CHILLIWACK (NEWS1130) – The measles outbreak in the Fraser Valley is now into its third week, and while clinics set up across the region to contain it have been busy, there seem to be some problems at ground zero.

Most of the people linked to the Chilliwack school where it started still haven’t been vaccinated.

Medical Health Officer Dr. Lisa Mu says Mt. Cheam Christian School has been very cooperative in working with Fraser Health to reopen the school and in contacting families. But she says a lot of people at the school are not taking the health authority’s advice.

“That community remains largely unvaccinated,” says Mu...



With all that in mind, what's the big deal given that, as one commenter on the Twittmachine thread to the post shown above, said:

Well, given the millions of deaths prevented by measles vaccination (according to the US Center for Disease Control), no:

And then there is the matter of the most recent research according to top-o-the ladder journal Nature:

Measles infections in children can wipe out the immune system’s memory of other illnesses such as influenza, according to a pair of studies1,2. This can leave kids who recover from measles vulnerable to other pathogens that they might have been protected from before their bout with the virus.

The findings, published on 31 October in Science and Science Immunology, come at a time when measles cases are spiking around the world. Globally, there were more measles infections in the first six months of 2019 than in any year since 2006, according to the World Health Organization...

Which just goes to show once again that, in all matters political, societal, scientific or otherwise, memory really does matter.


Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Why Biden's Campaign Had To Be Destroyed.

Simple as that, from the front page of the pixel division of yesterday's New York Times.

Because even after all the stumbles, bumbles and character assassinations, real, or mostly imagined, Biden still wins where it matters most and the others do not.


If someone were paying attention they might even conclude that the public box that Rudy built is just another national security destroying version of the Canuck letter that signalled the beginning of the end of Ed Muskie's campaign that paved the way for the plumber-driven Nixonian landslide in 1972.

Now all we need is for Mr. Giuliani arrange for the BooHoo to get ahold of the ghost of Hunter Thompson's press pass so that he can to ride the new Sunshine Special all the way to Kiev.

Either that, or somebody like, say, Matt Drudge suddenly up and accuses the young Hunter ('B', not 'T') of trafficking in ibogaine.

Or some such thing.


Sunday, November 03, 2019

One More Reason Rob Obvious Will Never Eat Chichester Cathedral


Former Lotuslandian sports reporter Gary Mason is currently the Globe and Mail's 'National Affairs Columnist'.

And, in our opinion at least, Mr. Mason loves to traffic in obviousness while he simultaneously stirs the pot.

To wit, the following, from his latest column kinda/sorta taking Jason Kenney to task for blaming Encana's lack of allegiance to Canada and Canadians on young Mr. Trudeau:

...Mr. Kenney’s ego is out of control. I’m not sure whether he’s politicking for his current job or whether he’s establishing his bona fides to take over as federal Conservative leader. He certainly has become the loudest conservative voice in the country. And whether it’s current leader Andrew Scheer or someone else who ultimately assumes command of the federal party, they should be prepared for a long to-do list the Alberta Premier will have waiting for them...

The thing is, every once in a while Mr. Mason goes a little too far and demonstrates how little he actually knows (and/or understands) about what is really going on.

This time that demonstration comes in the form of the column's final kicker:

...Mr. Kenney needs to understand that deliberately mischaracterizing the decisions oil and gas companies make for his own political gain ultimately doesn’t get him anything other than angrier citizens.

I mean, seriously...

Does Mr. Mason of the Globe really not know that the imported political playbook being used by Mr. Kenney states, right there on page 1 in 144 point type, that his one main goal is to make the citizenry as angry as possible about every possible perceived slight, real or imagined?

Chichester Cathedral, you ask?....the Pythons.


Friday, November 01, 2019

Fraser Institute One....B.C. Public Schools Zero.


The lede of a piece by David Carrigg in PostMedia's Westcoast slightly broadersheeted print organ:

British Columbia has the lowest percentage of students studying in the public school system according to the latest national school enrolment figures.

Put another way, B.C. has the highest percentage of students in private/independent schools compared to other provinces at 13.1 per cent. This is significantly higher than Quebec, the second placed province for private/independent school enrolment, with 9.6 per cent.

Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick all had private/independent enrolment rates lower than five per cent. The Canadian average was 7.4 per cent.

The Statistics Canada figures are based on the 2017/2018 school year and reported there were 563,244 public elementary and secondary school students in B.C., and 85,000 in the private/independent school system. B.C.’s home school rate was among the lowest in the country at 0.3 per cent. Yukon and Alberta had the highest home school rates at three per cent and 1.8 per cent.

The percentage of students in public school in B.C. has been declining steadily since 1977, when the B.C. government started providing partial funding for approved private/independent schools...

Which is fair enough, as far as it goes.

And good on Mr. Carrigg for getting this story past the hedge fungible super troupers that currently protect the ideological purity of the conglomerate he works for.

But it would appear that the trade off may have been a decision to invoke total radio silence regarding the impact of the Fraser Institute's longterm onslaught on our education system.

Which, backed by actual evidence by collected awhile back by the Press Progress is demonstrably a strategy to discredit public and elevate private schools:

...(A)ccording to the Fraser Institute’s Executive Vice President, the school rankings are actually a tool in the Institute’s “communications agenda,” part of a strategy designed to “convince people” there’s a “problem.”

That’s what Fraser Institute VP Jason Clemens told a 2014 workshop organized by the Atlas Network, a Washington-based umbrella organization for right-wing think tanks and political action groups, funded by Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation and other wealthy donors connected to the American Tea Party movement.

Asked about education reform – usually a code word for publicly subsidizing private schools in Tea Party circles – Clemens pointed to the Institute’s school rankings as a good example of how to “set-up your research agenda and your communications agenda.”...