Friday, December 28, 2007

A Murdock Take on the Bhutto Fallout

Yes tough times ARE ahead.

Consider that the US is totally stuck to the TAR BABY called IRAQ.There is/are no effective 'exit' plans for our troops in Afghanistan.The Pretorian Guard (ahem CIA, ahem umm Homeland Security?) sent their front man Negroponte (not the actual appointee Condi Rice) to tell Musharaf what would be acceptable to the Guard.Negroponte would not meet with Bhutto, then within 24 hours of those meetings Sharif suddenly turns up back in Lahore. Someone whom was tossed out with a death sentence on his back with 'permission'?

All the judges are either under house arrest, in prison or dead.The lawyers are all boycotting using the new 'Kangaroo Courts'.All that is left for Musharaf to do to solidify his power is to tame the populace.With the continued unrest he amy yet use the army to do this...the only question remains will the 'new' army chief follow along politely or will he install himself as new 'grand poo-bah' and off Musharaf during the chaos.

As soon as I saw the reports of the attack on Bhutto I knew that Al-Quieda would be blamed, yet this action is not in any way something that 'they' would want since the strengthening of a secular state in Islamabad and Lahore is a good thing for them as it would encourage the army to take the pressure off them in the tribal areas. (Not that the Pakistani Army is really doing much out there - ever)I now am seeing Al-Quieda being reported as responsible (in US media) and my next prediction is that there will be a call for a 'coalition' of support for the beleagured Pakistani government and that the Pretorians (ahem) US government will authorize a massive aid package (read $10 Billion or more) for the region so that 'they' can 'fight these terrorists'.This money will trickle into the military actions along the Afghan border regions, but I predict that 35% or more will go into 'private' accounts and of the remainder about half will be used to prepare Pakistani defences against India.

Possibly some of these funds will flow through ISI into Afghanistan and directly into Taliban hands (as weapons) so that they may keep whatever NATO forces (including Canada) completely pinned down in their ever growing geureilla war.There is a window for action, or departure --- it is now --- and it is fast closing.

Within a week of the proposed 8 Jan 2008 elections in Pakistan I predict that if these polls do not take place that an 'appointed' administration with Sharif as PM will be installed with military backing. This will inflame the common folks and this coming year's 'campainging season' in Afghanistan is going to be even harder than last year as the ISI and Pakistan Military will not give a damn about the border regions or the pashtun lands.

Pax Americana.

Huckabee Calls Pakistan the Best Reason for a Mexico Fence...HUH?

It may be hard to believe this but...

The man who may be the next President of the United States has said today that the turmoil in Pakistan is the best reason for building a fence along the American-Mexican border.


His name is Mike Huckabee and he is not some marginalized wannabe, but a Republican front-runner.

When you read this NY Times late afternoon release, you will discover that not only is he nuts, but he is flat ignorant...not knowing, among other things, simple world geography.

Bush re-born?

Two Great Responses to This Morning's Column

Mr. Berner,

I think what Vancouver needs is a Dog-Registry... and I just so happento know where such a program could be found, for the very reasonableprice of two million dollars!

It comes with possession and acquisition license, certificate andonline database. We could easily re-do the classification system toinclude police dogs, assault dogs, hunting dogs and easily concealabledogs. We could setup training class and dog certification sessions...

Of course, such program wouldn't do much when it comes to illegallybought or smuggle dogs, not to mention other annoying pet such asparrots and stray cats. But it would be a step in the right direction.

In the mean time, consider yourself lucky that none of your neighborsare learning violin.
Happy new year,

Michel Trahan Montreal.

I heartily agree with your tongue in cheek column about taking a course (even a basic knowledge exam, in my humble opinion!) I had a similar experience with my neighbour's 1 year old border collie (very cute, but it broke my heart to hear her crying when her "mom" went to work. I politely let her 'mom" know, and suggested that she fill some kong toys or hollow bones with layers of canned dog food and peanut butter and then freeze them (they last the dog at least half an hour this way, and the first half hour alone is usually the most nerve wracking for dog and neighbours). Although she doubted my advice at first, she decided to try it, since what she was doing (nothing) wasn't working, and she'd already been screamed at by a crankier neighbour than me. Now every time mom leaves the house, she leaves the tv on to disguise noises from outside and "Fluffy" gets a kong/bone snack and she is happy to be alone so she can enjoy it. It worked, (as it nearly always does for my training clients!) Now the whole neighbourhood is much happier, and so are Fluffy and her mom. Also, I pick up Fluffy, from time to time to walk her while mom's out, and so she has learned that being alone is not so bad. You might enjoy walking your neighbours silly dog too! Airedales are usually alot of fun at a dog park! I hope that this adviice can bring peace for you and your neighbours in the coming year.
Happy New Year!
Lynne Fedorick


Friday » December 28 » 2007

Why you should have to acquire a licence to own a dog in Vancouver

David Berner

Special to The Province

Friday, December 28, 2007

Some years ago I worked for a psychotic lunatic. He invited me to his home one afternoon to discuss my radio contract.

I was greeted by a Doberman the size of a Kingsway motel. The creature was catapulting off the walls of the kitchen and making noises only heard in dreams.

I told him to put the dog in the yard.

He said: "But, David, what's the problem? He's in obedience school." I said: "Call me when he graduates."

This madman had applied for, and been refused, a licence to carry a firearm. Shouldn't he be required to take some dog-training? Shouldn't harbouring a dangerous dog, in fact, be prohibited?

My neighbourhood has gone to the dogs.

Two doors over, there is blind old Sasha (not her real name). She's a waddling German shepherd who spent years howling like a coyote.

Dogs can barely see. From 10 feet away, most of us just look like cardboard cut-outs at a PNE photo booth. To make up for this deficiency, dogs have extraordinary powers of hearing and smell. It is said that a dog's olfactory sensitivities are six times that of your average sous chef.

Sasha, seeing David's shadow in the window of his kitchen, howled and howled.
Over the last decade, I called the dog police three times when I couldn't take it any more. Each time, they warned Sasha's owner, a lovely woman and a gifted artist, to control the beast or else.

Now poor old Sasha is just too tuckered to be bothered yodelling. She lolls about on the back deck with this look on her face that says something like, "Go ahead, make your tea, my bawling days are behind me."

No matter. Just in time, Sasha has been replaced by Apollo (not his real name), the Airedale across the lane . . . or should I say Airhead.

Apollo's masters are nice people, too. They just don't have clue one about dogs in the city. Apollo barks in the morning, afternoon and night.

The dear old couple drive away in their SUV, leaving Airhead to screech his grievances for an hour or two. What do they care? They're shopping or at the dentist.

A few doors west, we have the two giant poodles. I like to call them Rosy and El Diablo. Rosy is quieter than a pincushion. El Diablo never met a passerby he didn't want to devour.

Most of us on the block get a little a hint of Michael Vick in our eyes when we speak of these creatures.

On my Wednesday walk, I encountered several truck-sized canines. I recognized a boxer, who stared and drooled at me for much too long, and something resembling a Tyrannosaurus rex -- which was, of course, not on a leash.

Lately, there have been few sightings of that rare Vancouver bird, the Responsible Dog Owner.

So here's my New Year's wish.

May all dog owners be required by law to take a dog-training course before being granted a licence to make the rest of our lives miserable with their neglect.

Happy New Year! Grrr . . .

© The Vancouver Province 2007

Victor On the Magic Stats of Homelessness

As usual, the Christmas season has seen Vancouverites inundated with stories of the homeless on the downtown east side(DTES). There never seems to be a definition of what homeless actually means, hence any counts produced must be met with skepticism. It is an absolute law of science that what cannot be defined cannot be measured, and vice versa. At this time of year, poverty industry advocates are tripping over one another in their annual homeless count. If you walk through the DTES, you'll likely hear some operative from the poverty industry yelling from an alley " Hey, I found another wino. He's ours!"

One example stands out. There is a public service ad for Covenant House , repeated with mind-numbing regularity on a number of radio stations. Now I'll concede that Covenant House (CH) probably does some good work. But the numbers in the ad just don't say crisis. The earnest voiceover guy tells us that CH "rescues 1800 people from homelessness every year." Ok, that's about 5 new guests a day, hardly an epidemic in an urban area of 2.2 million. On the other hand, if they are counting the same people over several days as new daily occupants, then the total number "rescued" is far less than 1800 annually. The ad goes on to lament that "400 homeless young people are turned away every year." Ok, that's about one a day. Again we're hardly talking the Darfur diaspora here.

But I also want to get some definition of homeless youth. Is the 16 year old Surrey girl who gets too drunk to get transit home truly homeless? In short, what is the core number of young people without resources, options, family support or mental competence who are on the street for prolonged periods and incapable of self help. Support them as needed but don't bulk up the numbers by making every rebellious kid a victim.

Our refusal to ask tough questions has had the unfortunate result of diluting scarce charitable resources from the needy to the greedy. There was a news story in the Vancouver Sun over Christmas about a free blanket giveaway for the homeless. The photo showed two homeless "victims" walking away with their treasured free blanket. They were smoking. If you're smoking a pack a day, your burning $2000 a year, which gets you a lot of blankets. So butt out and buy your own blanket.

This is not a grinch response. The reality is, big cities attract people without the remotest possibility of reaching the minimal survival income. A recent article in Atlantic stated that the richest one million folks in America as well as the poorest one million live in New York City. It illustrates the case. That city faced bankruptcy in the 70s when it embraced the concept of pan-victimization, or welfare without questions, challenge or exception. If you couldn't cut it for whatever reason, New York would cut you a cheque. It took 20 years to fix that mistake.
Vancouver is repeating the same mistake.

Instead of Simple Sam's Silly City concept, we need a new slogan. How about

WE fix the helpless but to hell with the feckless.

Richmond Deserves Better

Congratulations to De Whalen, President of the Richmond Women's Resource Centre, for her excellent editorial in the Sun today urging the scuroulous Richmond council to get off its backside and support the Turning Point Drug Treatment program.

A hideous group, calling itself NIABY (Not in Anybody's Backyard) is madly lobbying the weak-kneed fools on Richmond council.

Turning Point has been quietly and without incident been helping thousands of addicts to full reovery for over 30 years now. Which more than Sullivan and Insite and Cast all those awful enabling agents can claim.

Read this argument here and email Richmond Council in support of real treatment where it belongs.


The Liberal government in Victoria is quick to remind us daily of how lucky we are to live in such glorious fortunate time. The economy is booming. Everybody is working. Projects are steaming ahead.


Then, why, we are emboldened to ask, are the paramedics - those would be the highly skilled workers who run ambulances and grab you when you stop breathing and get your sorry tax-paying ass to the nearest Emergency ward overcrowded with junkies - why are these essential workers operating out of tin trailers in Port Moody?

Tin trailers, from which they are about to be evicted, no less.

We couldn't rent these people a permanent home office?

Read the whole dreadful story from this morning's Province here.

Then email your Minister of Health.

Check My Plasma

Best Buy has a colorful ad folded into your daily paper that I think sums it all up.

There's the 40" Plasma, LCD, flat-panel HDTV thingie in all its glory on sale for only a grand plus.

Now, you know there's almost nothing to watch on the tube, outside the occasional movie, a Tiger Woods outing and Jeopardy.

So what makes this ad perfect is that on the screen of your potentially new 40", Plasma, LCD, flat-panel HDTV are Jackie Chan and that latest Chris Rock imitator whateverhisnameis starring in "Rush 3 Hour."

Now there's a piece of entertainment that I absolutely cannot live without.

So you get the biggest mothering, clearest screen in the history of the world and jam ram it into your 7 square foot condo livingroom/gamesroom/dining platform/guest couch bedroom...and have you got?

Old Jackie Chan and Whosis. Congrats.

Thanks BC Government for the Fine Service

This morning I called Pharmacare. It was about 8:45 am.

I need some information that I cannot get on the website.

After the usual e-voice instruction maze ("Following are six choices. When you here the one closest to your need, repeat it. You said, "Other." Is that correct?), this is the lovely message I heard:

"Your wait is approximately ..... 46 minutes..... music, music, music.

Bhutto's Death a Sign of Things to Come

The Bhutto murder has further destabilized and already incendiary region.
This report from Al Jazeera describes only some of the more noticed bloody reactions in the past few hours.
Bhutto was an incredibly complex person and our opinions of her may vary from soul to soul or hour to hour.
But, rightly or wrongly, she was a symbol of hope for democratic governance in a country ruled by feudalisms, the Taliban, Al Qaeda, the military and millionaires. 165 million people, most of them poor.
Lord have mercy on us all. Tough times are ahead.