Wednesday, February 28, 2007



I’ve got a theory on most conspiracies, but if I told most of them there’d be an empty chair in my office within the hour, with just the palpable whiff of organic oregano and vicks’ vaporrub left to prove I ever existed.
Conspiracies, you see, are not a work of fiction, by and by. I wrote a whole movie script, tentatively called Conspiracy Theory II, which was suppose to star James Woods and Sandra Bullock, riffing on the Mel Gibson/Julia Roberts film, but it seems the theories scribbled inside, well actually scribbled atop the napkin, made the film executives a littttttttllllle nervous. Funny, within weeks all had been replaced by bobbleheaded androids eager to make Eddie Murphy movies. That’s a different conspiracy altogether.
However, some theories I can share, like this Ontario gas crisis.
Some refinery somewhere is closed due to something like a fire, yah, that’s the ticket. A big fire. Shut the whole system down, nearly blew a crater the size of Donald Trump's ego in Newark, or somewhere equally as odious.
But you didn’t hear this from me. It seems — and I heard this at a very well-placed water cooler — Prime Minister Harpor has called in one of his markers with his Big Oil Buddies, aka BOB. Seems BOB, who while a little tired with Steve’s antics around pretending to be a ‘so-called environmental-ly aware’ guy, is willing to put his money where his mouth is. That’s besides the leadership he bought Steve way back in 2002, and all those annual directed cheques by shareholders and employees to the tune of the annual allowable donation rate that keep finding their way to the CON-soivatuve party orifices.
Yep, BOB is anxious. All this talk about Dion, Kyoto and pressure on the oil industry to become responsible citizens was making him a bit twitchy. He even complained to Media Emplre Gang, MEG for short, who are, like BOB, counting the days 'til the CONservatoids get unfettered access to the levers of power. Nuff of this minority stuff. Even Steve, usually the picture of cold and calculating, began to perspire tepidly on his brow, sort of like that time he was forced to wedge a hoss-like cowboy hat on his honkin’ head, at the thought of being squeezed out of his comfortably corpulent office with its hotline to the local Popeyes chicken shop.
Oh, right, this conspiracy on oil. Well, BOB got the thumbs up to put the screws to Ontario, and a tad to Quebec. But Steve said don't mess up my deal with Gene. OK, sez BOB. Seems Steve isn’t a fan of Ontarians anyways, despite it being his birthplace. Oh, you didn’t know that?
Well, when he isn’t cavorting with satanic republican evil-doers, sacrificing kilograms of kitten fur to the Neo-Con God, Steve is dancing to the tune of BOB.
And BOB agreed with Steve about sending a message to those who were thinking that envirominty stuff would be easy. Make them get a taste of just the kind of scary stuff Steve would be dishing out come election-fright time. Higher taxes, bicycle tie-ups along the 401 during rush hour. Power outages and gas shortages, oh my!
Cut off their gas, BOB said. After a few moments deliberately deliberating, Steve let out a hardy laugh and said it sounded like a perfectly snapp-tapiliish idea.
And so, within a week, the pumps became dry. Yep, it has nothing to do with that refinery, you see. That was slated for regular maintenance anyways. And have you heard of any other places suffering, like Alberta? Ohio? Of course not.
Sometimes, these conspiracies are too easy.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


If you saw Heir Harpor's amazing witch hunt in Parliament yesterday -- an amazingly blunt attempt at pulling the whole chamber into the mudpit -- you might see some disturbing connect-the-dots with this so-called leader and perhaps his model politician, and I'm not talking about Stalin.
Of course, having tried to smear all Liberals with 'weak-on-terrorism' after his previous 'weak-on-Israel' diatribe, it should surprise no one that he's slimed an honourable member of Parliament and his family (does not anyone have a right to innocent until proven otherwise under this Conservative agenda?)... It's eerily similar to the job he tried to pull on Maher Arar, scoring points against the gov't of the day while virtually naming Arar as a terrorist. That's in the record, folks.
All I can say to this additional smear is echo the remarks made by a simple lawyer, a man who helped bring down a despicable blowhard who ruined numerous lives before fading into his own corrupt hole...

Mr. Joseph Welch: "You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


The whining of the right wing has gotten a ring of smugness now that recent polls show a downward trend to the Liberals, and rough numbers on leadership for Stephane Dion.
Of course, the national numbers aren’t exactly glowing for the Cons when it comes to their wet-dream majority manifesto, but much comfort and joy no doubt is being absorbed in how defacto Fathead Harper seems to be casting a large shadow in various queries.
Of course, no one asked if they’d prefer to sit down for a double-double with the the Big Boss Man to talk hockey. Oh and when will that ghost writer (PT109-style) have the Harp's hockey tome done, by the way?
But, its refreshing to hear a lack of ‘evil left-wing media’ blather these days. I mean, the power of the press has been pretty much muted and whipped into various monopolies by the almighty corporate raiders and there is rarely an example of downright leftism remaining.
The Toronto Star is solidily Liberal, just as dearly departed Izzy Asper (oh, how he must be spinning these days) use to be. His offspring are now trying to spread the Harpor truth, in hopes that his majority gov't will open up the media for widespread international investment. The Globe and Mail is creeping centreish, no doubt distancing itself from the insanely partisan National comPost, which takes its job of slandering whole religions and creeds very seriously, while bringing out doctored photos of Auschwitz just to keep the readership on their toes.
When it comes to TV, I can’t think of anyone who leans left. Reporters are proud to proclaim they leave their bias at the door – but I’m in the print industry and have heard plenty of stories and over the cubicle talk with gov’t contacts, how the anus massaging and pleased-as-punch reporters tip like Don Quixote's windmill to the laziest friendly chit-chat.
Robert Fyfe doesn’t even have to fake it anymore.
You might not know the name, but you should know about his biggest story.
As documented in the recent issue of THE WALRUS magazine, in a piece called 'Hear No Evil, Write No Lies' by Andrew Mitrovica, Fyfe's role in helping to tar Maher Arar with the ‘terrorist tag’ is given great spread.
As some medium-grade CtV spin-bot, Fyfe’s one bullet was to take the ammunition provided by bitter and bile-producing Cons-uvatuve leader Stephen Harper and help create the image that the Liberals were nothing but bungling, French-leaning lackies who would let our poor ol’ Yankee buddies down and let a known terrorist into our land. Yep, those red drips were even trying to help Arar out of his Syrian four-by-four squat box. Shame!
Nevermind that the meme of the day — Canada was a haven for whack-job terrorists, some who helped plot and carry out 9/11 — was proven to be as flimsy as the case for invading Iraq. But it was one of the storylines that helped depose the Liberal dictatorship, so at least for Fyfe and his surrogate papa, all’s well that ends well.

Despite his wretched part in that affair, Fyfe soon found himself promoted. He even got to feign superfluous competence while reporting on Arar's recent vindication and compensation for having his life torn asunder. Neither the Cons nor Fyfe dared look in the mirror during that moment. But the saga goes on.
I was watching CtV the other evening and as usual Fyfe, who has quite the record for swallowing Con-manufactured rumour and innuendo as gospel, completed a report on the recent Kyoto bill vote with an editorial slingjob that confirmed the Tory spin. He said, with no attribution, thus giving it the illusion of fact, that the Kyoto bill, if adhered to, would cause economic ruin.
The bill demands that the government make all effort possible to reach the Kyoto targets – that the targets are the goals Canada has accepted in an International agreement and is where we should be going.
It does not say ‘We must burn down our house to do it.’ It doesn’t say that because taking action to reach our Kyoto targets is not all about shutting down industry. It’s about innovation, changing behaviour (like the Cons are encouraging through both their 1950s child care handouts and their crime and punishment bills, nevermind about their rebooted Liberal environmental programs) while also putting together a blueprint that all levels of government will utilize to help save the planet.
Well, after that hatchet job Fyfe did on Maher Arar – with the help of his secret deepthroat, you can call him ‘Steve’ -- there should be no soul searching to see what Fyfe’s end goal is.
But what job could this slanted talking head qualify for?
Obviously partisan joker to King Harper is still available.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

One more mint...

Liberals appointed partisans’ headline from the National Postisan… What a shocker! It’d be even more accurate had it read ‘Governments appointed partisans’, but accuracy is never the NaPo’s objective, and I do mean objective.
This national embarrassment for a one-sided rag, and I’m beginning to think they do their headlines along the same way as Bourque, and we know who’s flush with ‘headline-buying cash’, just can’t see the true kernel behind this issue.
Political parties when in power make appointments. It’s as old as whoring but less respectable. The difference is that the NaPo’s chosen clan has gone a step beyond, legislating the numbers so that their appointments now have the deciding vote. Since Mulroney’s day – and I hate to bring up that money-stuffed-with-cash chinpiece – the apparatus has been that political appointees hold a minority of positions on the judicial committee. Chretien even tightened up that rule in ’95.
But remember how Harpor warned all those people scared about the Tory-plications of a possible CON win, that the activist courts judicial agents, and I’m using his interior thought process to paraphrase, would keep him and his henchmen in check? Well, he’s taking steps now to ensure to take out that threat – joining the elections Canada commissar, environmental madame and whoever else could possibly put up a fuss over their law-and-order police state-ism.
And courtesy of Karnac, coming headlines for the NaPo…

Caesar’s knife-phobia
Roosevelt was a red cripple
Rolling Stones de-flowered

Monday, February 12, 2007


Listening to CBC radio after dinner I heard just the last minute of what was a David Suzuki-Stephen Lewis love-in.
What Suzuki said to close it out was quite telling, in my humble Liberal-minded way.
He was talking about how Jean Chretien didn't sign the Kyoto Agreement in '97 as Liberal leader, but as leader of Canada. It was an international treaty that we were bound to, and admittedly one that we have fallen way short of -- but I believe that having gotten our financial house in order obviously trumped a multitude of other priorities.
Suzuki then noted that when Putin put Russia's stamp on it in '05, it made the agreement a truly international one, an agreement that could no longer be maligned by the arch-right for its being an exclusive, small-power, tiny principality type promise. It was an international agreement that we have committed to.
Funny, while Harpor seems dead-set on establishing the mantra on 'Promises made, promises kept' (which is a farce, but save that for another time) he has no problem breaking agreements made by other governments.
Kelowna, because it was written on a napkin apparently, childcare, because it meant the gov't was meddling in other's lives/choices, and Kyoto, well, because it was a crazy socialist scheme.
However, he has put us in the same boat as George W., he of the "I'll torture prisoners no matter what the Geneva Convention sez" club.
Morally, Harpor better hope there isn't a revengeful and angry God...

Hey big spender

There’s no doubting that this is good news:

Harper vows $1.5-billion to tackle environment woes
Meagan Fitzpatrick, CanWest News Service
Published: Monday, February 12, 2007
The federal government announced on Monday $1.5-billion in funding to help the provinces bolster their efforts to go green.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the announcement in Sherbrooke, Que., with Quebec Premier Jean Charest, and Environment Minister John Baird. Quebec and Ottawa reached a deal that will give about $350-million to that province from a new national fund, Mr. Harper said.

It addresses both two Harpor trip-stones in one swoop – takes a kick at the fiscal (im)balance while also applies a little more green paint to his chubby body.
But it should lead to a few questions, you’d think by those who wear those ‘press’ pinned notes to their hat bands.
One should start to wonder just how this minority government is doing with the big surplus that had become a nice habit some nine years ago.
They’ve been spending like crack-addicted fashion divas with unlimited credit. And while the cupboard was full last time we checked, perhaps someone should do an audit, because we know from Flahatty’s past life he doesn’t do well with numbers…

Blowing and Sucking...

As is usual, Saundrie has written up a concise and brilliant dissection of the Cons' past year -- oh wayward promisekeepers they are.
No sense in me trying to peck out a follow-up. It's long but worth the read.

Follow the link...


The tip of the Cons' main street election campaign is becoming clearer and clearer -- the five pie-orities, promises made, promises sorta kept, bags of cash to Quebec, etc. But beneath the surface is the true behemoth, which they hope will waylay the Liberals and fracture the Kyoto-hugging opposition into a messy, finger-wagging mob that only a mother could love. Harpor's tone has shifted not so gently over the past 40 days, but there is a sudden calmness to his message, despite the fact that he's gone from 'standing firm' on his 45-year glacier-speed plan (that's glacier in growth, not under global warming) for climate change to now dancing with the Kyoto people without even touching.
He went from saying that the Conservatives' made in Canada plan, launched last fall, was the answer. Now, he's talking like the Liberals, Greens and NDP rolled into one, except for the concrete plan part of the solution.
The following bite-size, media-massaging quotes show his shape-shifting, but do not show his interior motive:

"I think the science is clear that these changes are occurring. They're
serious and we must act... You can't just snap your fingers and reduce
emissions by one third."
"The fundamental challenge of our time is to make real progress on
environmental protection while preserving our jobs and standards of living."
"(Canadians) will recognize that they have clear choices to make on the most
important issues facing our country," Stephen Harper said.
"A clear choice between decisive action that is building a stronger economy,
a cleaner government and a record of results, and going back to drift,
scandal and empty rhetoric."
"The first step in any such plan is to try to stabilize emissions and
obviously over the longer term to reduce them."
"I think realistically the only way you can get absolute reductions is
through the application of new technology over time."I don't think
realistically we can tell Canadians, stop driving your car, stop going to
work, stop heating your house in the winter. These are not realistic

Okay, as in all good 12-step programs, admitting the problem is step one. Harpor finally did that.
However, while it sounds elementary enough, he buffers his admission with a warning.
Then he ties the challenge with "preserving our jobs and standards of living."
As though some other party was saying 'Damn the economy, we've got trees to save!' In fact, as the government that helped get the Alberta tarsands off the ground and into production, the federal Liberals are now taking a lashing from the Cons for not only signing Kyoto and doing little after it, but also for creating the pollution that came with the wealth that all happened under their watch. Kind of like how the Cons pointed at them for not doing more to save a kidnapped citizen despite having labelled the same guy a terrorist -- oh, but we won't talk about that.
The Cons want to plant the seed that Liberal (and NDP and Green) solution is reckless and a danger to the Canadian standard of living. Not at all like the after effects of having Mike Harris' team tackle the financial coffers, treat it like some back-country sheep, then point at the handful of wool sticking to their pants and demanding cotton.
It was their crying wolf during last election, bought gleefully by the sluggish MSM, that painted the Liberals as desperate and living off fear mongering.
But as witnessed by their recent actions, fearmongering has its place.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

So Long, Mr Rhythm

You had Sinatra, Crosby and Presley -- all coronated rulers of their eras in recorded music. But there were also the troubadors that provided the links between male pop vocalists, from one genre to another.
Frankie Laine is likely remembered for such roustabout faux-western songs like High Noon, Rawhide, Ghostriders in the Sky and Mule Train, but it was in the bluesy and soul-esque fringes that he made his mark.
His style, he liked to say, came from the sounds of Louis Armstrong's trumpet — and it could be just as big, deep and sweaty as Satchmo's brassy melodymaker.
The list of films that he was called to sing the theme — Man Without a Star, 3:10 To Yuma, Gunfight at OK Corral, and Blazing Saddles, imprints a fine discography that was so much more than dusty, lusty western-ized ballads.
Take the growl from Rawhide, the pained exasperation from Jezebel, and the hopeful ballad I Believe and that was Laine on a platter. However, like anyone else who reaches the lofty age of 93 years, he had done much much more than mere music. He was active in the civil rights movement, and was the first white artist to step up and accept Nat King Cole's invitation to appear on his new TV show. While the show struggled to find a sponsor, Laine dropped his usual $10,000 appearance fee and sang for the union rate to help out his old pal.
I dare you to put on his 1957 Greatest Hits album and not feel the heat. A consumate performer, some of his best work came in duets with the likes of Patti Page, Jo Stafford, Johnnie Ray and Doris Day or accompanied by such greats as Buck Clayton and Michel Legrand.
He had it all — fame, fortune, talent. And he shared it all, too.
Here's to That Lucky Old Son!

Slingblade Stephen...

He isn't Eddie Scissorhands, but Stephen Harper does have a sharp mind.
You don't get to be the leader of a bastardized party, unite the right and become Prime Minister, without some sense of intelligence.
However, after one full year (and 14 days, sorry for the procrastination!) the vision of Canada's New Government™ is very disjointed. There is no overall masterview, besides the Conservative mega-mantra of 'Lower Taxes!' et al that entails.
Certainly, one could say the issue with Jean Chretien's government was that it was without a major focus, a primary purpose beyond proving Iona Capagnolo’s toss-off to the ’84 leadership runner-up 'First in our Hearts' slogan. However, that doesn't really give credit to Chretien's genius -- and those two words are seldom joined in a sentence, but when you roll to four majorities, fractured opposition or not, street smarts is a MBA-worthy currency.
Chretien took on the monumental task of manhandling the deficit, and in partnership with Paul Martin, put Canada in great shape financially. It was something Brian Mulroney, despite eight years of skating and stickhandling, couldn't solve.
Yes, that's right neo-cons, the LIBERALS turned a doomed ship around. While I wince whenever I hear a Liberal candidate or MP crow that the Liberals put Canada in the black again -- after all, a little modesty and nod to the Canadians who empowered the Liberals would be prudent – it is an undeniable fact.
Paul Martin failed to communicate his vision effectively and swiftly enough, but the effort was there. You had accords of the nature for national daycare, First Nations and the environment — despite the blatting from NDP and Tories, Martin's first budget after the 2004 election put Kyoto into a priority status. He didn't pull out an actuary's calendar and point to some far-off in the distant date and say that's when your grandchildren, if any, will see the rewards of our program.
Martin was brought down by an old but freshly autopsied, scandal, and an inept campaign. The likeability and respect factor that many Canadians held for the former finance minister salvaged a respectable showing in last year’s vote.
Which leads us to Harper.
I'd be a fool to expect the leader of the Conservatives to have a big-government plan, other than downsizing its function and responsibilities while embracing tailored tax cuts that reward those with the most money the most.
But is there no depth to his vision? Is he just The Man of a Thousand Cuts, who can devolve governmental opportunity while enticing the populus with clipped coupons of targeted tax breaks?
One year after his election, his popularity sits effectively frozen in minority territory. For someone of his determination and ideology, a repeat result on the stump would be considered a failure, because none of his true fantasies can be unwrapped without the safe harbour of a majority — there’s today’s scary Tory allusion.
Take past Conservative-minded governments as a blueprint, along with Harper's own words over the years, and you have enough evidence to be concerned about the changes the men behind the curtain would implement if given unbridled power.
What was Mike Harris' record regarding fiscal prudence and addressing social justice and social services? Pretty
scary, frightening, right? Well, somewhere the mainstream media has forgotten to say : Hey look, Jimmy Flaherty! Weren't you the finance minister responsible for the hidden deficit? John Baird? Wow, I thought you were finished in politics after that ugly stint in charge of Ontario's
social services...
Even Harper’s ‘hometown issues’ can't be framed simply, because there are inconsistent messages in the books or hypocritical acts on record to show that these Conservatives have authentic convictions or moral fibre.
But where does that leave their leader? He wants Canadians to remember his five priorities (of the moment) in their sleep, to dream that everything is safe. Crime, accountability (just don't look too closely), tax cuts (get
your coupons!), the environment (it’s a beast eat beast world) and international security (Arar! You the man!) are each safely (?) addressed.
In all his responses to even his core priorities, Harper has talked big but aimed low. He has effectively sold his message, made himself out to be a 'Do-er' and curiously 'A Man of Int-e-gritty' while achieving very little.
But even Conservatives need a true mantle piece to hang their hats on, and Harper hasn't found his yet – or has he? I'd argue that he has spent so much time and energy
on trying to put the blackjack to the Liberals, that he has had little option but to offer a piecemeal package until he feels satisfied and victorious. That appears to be his purpose in life. De-bone the Liberal party and bring Canada to a place where his favourite forms of gov’t – the US, Australia, the UK – offer a limited menu with little vascilation.
Perhaps that is his true big plan for this first term in office.
If he completes this job, dismantling what has been accepted as Canada's Rightful Governing Party, Harper will have laid the groundwork for Reagan-omics and their trickle up comfort for his financers.
It seems he’s done a good job of trying not to look like he has an evil plan, but it’s hard not to deny it, either.
Chretien took too much fun in watching the opposition right trip over their own feet, and threw the occasional branch in their way, but rarely went out of his way to make their lives difficult – for example, their leadership race. He purposely allowed them a window to avoid new financial compliance laws. Harper specifically rushed a lot of the so-called Accountability Act into the house just to for its impact on the Liberal leadership race.
Will Canadians wake up to this nasty nature of their ergo leader? Will the mainstream media stop reflecting mere soundbytes and begin looking under the hood?
His precarious view on the environment, his awkward understanding of finances, and his robotic attempt at being ‘The Leader’ have passed muster so far.
The goal for Liberals and un-ideological progressives is to expose that Achilles before it is too late.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Welcome to what I hope will be a regular soapbox on the meandering thoughts of an Air Force brat in middle age. Politics, especially Canadian politics, will fuel a lot of my rants and raves, but there will be forays into avenues of entertainment, amusement and the odd, just to round out the discourse.
Whether or not this becomes a discussion or a one-man band talking to himself all depends upon you.
One of the great minds of the 20th Century once called the cinema the greatest toy a man-boy could ever hope for. I would suggest, had he lived to see the 21st Century, he might add the internet and specifically the blog.
When media concentration effectively reduced the voices of the people to a recorded message, the blogsphere presented an open wedge in which to bleed out all that bewitches us.
Opinions are everywhere, and while insight is a rarity, the act of shouting out to the world is an opium.
I hope, in my small, humble manner, I can provide a little balm for your soul.
I remain your obedient servant — Burl