Sunday, November 25, 2007

Victor Wades into the Harper Tough Jail Laws - with Both Guns Blazing

Canadians generally do the finger -wagging, lip sucking routine when they proclaim that one million Americans are in jail at any given time.

Let's bring this down to terms that even the stupid Canadian might (dare I hope) understand.
America has 300 million people.

Suppose you drove into a small American village with 300 people.

You hire a guide to take you through this little town and explain it to you.

Your guide tells you that in this town of 300, about 200 people own a gun. He adds that about 40 people have a serious drug or alcohol problem and that most of them own guns.

He also explains that 40 people in the town are black and that 60 percent of them are in families on welfare with only a mother. Nobody knows where the fathers are.

He tells you that 45 people are Hispanics, but about half of them are illegal immigrants so they work for starvation wages for the rich people in town..

Then he explains that about 10 people are recent immigrants from all over the world, and a few hate his little town for its freedom. He adds that 20 per cent of the people in town hate the immigrants.

At the end of the tour, you arrive at the town jail. So you ask him how many people are in jail.
He says "one".

You reply " But how can you possibly live in the dysfunctional town and only one out of 300 people are in jail?'

And there, dumbfuck Canadians, is what we don't understand.

One out of 300 Americans are in jail at any given time.

One out of 300 is a miracle. It is a wonder that 20 million Americans aren't in jail.

Of course, we are far ahead of them.

To get a better idea of our righteousness, visit Toronto's north east black ghetto, Regina on a Saturday night, Vancouver's downtown eastside. or an Aboriginal reservation near you.

Susan & Carole - The Cambie LIne Disaster Continues

Subject: SNC Profit jumps 48%....

Dear Carole

How are you?
With all due respect, I'd like to say I'm fine - but the truth is I'm nearly
at the end of my rope. We, the small businesses, seem to have been
double-crossed by everyone involved in this project.
There is no accountability - only arrogant bullies demonstrating a shocking
abuse of power.

I watched your interview with Fanny on Shaw last night. What struck me more
than anything were your candid comments about your job, how you "like to
take risks" and "try to solve problems". You said "that's what I like to
do". I couldn't agree with you more on all counts. This defines what it
takes to be a successful small business person as well. You further said,
what you don't like about the job is "the politics".
I think we have alot in common.

What we don't have in common is a secure financial present or future. The
RAV/Canada Line project, and how it has come into being, has demolished the
solid financial foundation that I and scores of others, have been diligently
building up from, for the past decades. Our happy retirements have been
expropriated by this project, along with our life's work.

I wonder how many millions of dollars that I, and my suppliers and
employees, through my business, personal and property taxes, have directly
contributed to the surplus now in the budget you are currently working on?
Multiply that number by all the small independant family run businesses in
the province. We deserve better than bancruptcy.

Small businesses are the driving forces of our economy and the hearts of all
our neighbourhoods. Yet this Provincial Liberal government seems to think
that it's just fine to demolish all we have achieved and contributed - with
impunity - saying, "it's not our project". Bit of a stretch, don't you
think, given Falcon's zeal to ensure it got built, and Premier Campbell
saying before the 3rd round of voting by TransLink -
"The Province is prepared to assume the overall responsibility for the
completion of the RAV project". It is very convenient to be pointing the
finger at TransLink, as soon the existing board will be gone. Bill 43
ensures that there will be no elected representatives deciding the fate of
our transportaion projects, and will remove even the pretense out of
meaningful public consultaion.

I honestly thought that when the facts were devulged about how this disaster
would actually be built, the obvious response would be - stop. "This is
nothing like what was proposed, analyzed and eventually approved. Let's take
another look." But no one did. The 2010 Olympic deadline superceded doing
the right thing, and the small businesses became the collateral damage.

Turns out we don't really live in a democracy, if the precedent being set by
this project goes unchallenged. This project has established so far, that
it's acceptable to withold all the salient details of a mega-project from
the public and the small businesses, resulting in epic hardship and
financial losses, if it's promoted as 'for the greater good'.
And if these families are forced into financial ruin - too bad. "Be patient
with us while we destroy your livelihoods" say Canada Line. "It will be
great when it's done". Yes it will, for the developers who will be swooping
in to flatten all the one level low-rise buildings that house our shops now.
Most existing businesses will be long gone after years of steady losses.
I'd have to work for 10 years to make up what I've had siphoned away by this
'temporary disruption'.

The project has spent millions promoting itself, disguised as help for the
small businesses - and has now joined every level of government to spend
millions more to "defend themselves" in court rather than act with integrity
and compensate.

According to your comments to Fanny, you say that with a 'P3' project, "the
private company takes all the risk - the public sector is protected". All
the risk, hmmmm?
Tell that to my bank, where out of further desperation, I am about to sell
an RRSP. I am now losing an average of 1,400 dollars a day - for a total of
more than 400,000 dollars since November 2005. After re-mortgaging twice
now in 2 years, they will not extend my mortgage any further - I'm a single
parent and the only income earner in my family. I think having to risk my
retirement funds to sustain my once thriving enterprise is outrageous. I
also think that having to take my own government to court to have them do
the right thing is beyond belief and obscene. The BC Supreme Court says this
case, and others to come, have merit. My case, and others are set down to
proceed next year.

The stress has been crippling. Our lives have changed. Our faith in elected
officials shattered.

As you can see in the attachment below, things are looking nice and
comfortable for SNC Lavalin the builder of this destruction project. Their
Q3 profits are up 48% - to 63.2 million dollars. This surplus, like the
Billions in the Provincial and Federal surplus has come directly out of our

Apparently SNC has 'saved' about 200 million dollars by ripping up Cambie
from one end to the other in one Olympic go instead of building by bored
tunnel. Explain to me again, just who it is that is assuming all the risk?

You are in a perfect position to do the right thing by your constituents,
and all the small businesses along the Canada Line route. We admire you for
acknowledging the colossal hardship this project has caused. We need more
than your sympathy.

As citizens, our Country, our Province and our City have failed us thus far.
We need powerful individuals like you to challenge the ugly precedent this
project is currently setting, and right this unconscionable wrong. To insist
that full compensation for losses be implemented, and that there is
legislation in place to ensure that this never happens again.

Show the world that's watching us, what should happen in a democracy. The
money is there.
We need the political will to do the right thing.

Susan Heyes
604 687-0721


"Until August, officers trained to use stun guns were cautioned to avoid using them more than once because of concerns about health effects."

Then the policy was changed.

If only Robert Dziekanski could have changed his travel plans.

Call them all "NERO." Fiddling while their constituents burn

Congratulations are in order to NY Times writer Robert Pear for perfectly illustrating the sickening reality of health care in America with his story of the elevator operator in the US Senate.

The senators are gabbing on about nothing and achieving nothing new, while 45 million citizens remain uninsured. Whenever real health insurance is discussed, the bugaboo words come out - "socialism," "communism,"...

Meanwhile the kid who runs their elevator is, ,like many of his fellow citizens, facing financial catastrophe because of an enormous medical bill.

Read the whole story : This is journalism at its best.

What's Your Net Bet?

"At Betfair, which is based in London, tennis ranks third behind horse racing and soccer among its one million customers, who together place five million bets each day. More than $60 million was handled for the Wimbledon’s men’s final, won by Roger Federer over Rafael Nadal."

This is the crux of the story in today's NY Times about the threat - real or rumored - in the professional ranks of tennis.

What is both sad and amusing about this item is that many years ago I had the sense that the great John McEnroe/Bjorn Borg rivalry was on occasion orchestrated. Not in the majors like Wimbledon or the US Open, but in exhibitions, which would conveniently run the full three sets.

If any of this is revealed to be true, it will be a dreadful shame, but when the stakes are as high as they now seem to be in real dollars, perhaps we shouldn't be so naively surprised.