Saturday, January 31, 2009


Yesterday, lawyer and former prosecutor, Peter Ritchie made headlines across the nation accusing the BC Government of making the courts accessible only to the rich.

He pointed out that his two young clients attempting to sue BC Ferries could hardly afford the $60,000 in costs to stand up in court.

Today, Mr Blather-Dither Himself, Attorney-General, Wally Opaque, says he's been mulling ideas for four years that would reduce those costs.

His "ideas," like the fine fellow his own true self are pure smoke as usual.

The Trail Lawyers Association responded immediately saying that Oppal's ïdeas"would cause more harm then good.

We ask again:

What is this PR flack doing in public office?


"Negotiations are priveleged and confidential."

That's a federal government lawyer speaking in a now convoluted case in which a reporter has been banned from hisright to report the news...specifically the news of the Liberal sponsorship scandal known as Adscam.

Read the whole Globe story here.

Then help me with this question.

"Negotiations are priveleged and confidential..."

Even when they are part of a criminal conspiracy?


Two idiots gave James Rozko a rifle and drove him back to his farm, where shortly thereafter Rozko murdered four RCMP officers and then took his own miserable nutty life.

Yesterday in Edmonton, those two nitwits were given substantial prison sentences.

Not substantial enough.

John Allemang's Poetic Justice

A CBC hockey commentator hasdecried the "pansification" of the sportby anti-fighting campaigners. - news report

Us hockey fans just can't abide
The way the game's been pansified:
The whole excuse for Hockey Night
Lies in the hope we'll see a fight
Where heterosexual heavyweights
Prove real men can brawl on skates.
The thrill for us red-blooded males
Is when some goon who's tough as nails
Reveals the thing he really loves
Is daring guys to drop their gloves,
Which shows that masculinity
Still has a place on CBC.
But now some pansies, fags and gays
Want hockey's men to change their ways,
And turn the coiled enforcer's fist
Into a limp, unmanly wrist,
As if true fans would waste their breath
On games without the risk of death.
So fight back, jocks who fit the norm,
Against the pantywaisted swarm
Who'll strip away our simple joys
And make us all their nancy boys.
Assert your homophobic rights
With hockey's proud, hormonal fights.


Rt Hon David Miliband MP
Secretary of State,
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA),
Nobel House
17 Smith Square
London SW1P 3JR

16 May 2008

Dear Secretary of State,
My friend, who is in farming at the moment, recently received a
cheque for £3,000 from the Rural Payments Agency for not rearing
pigs. I would now like to join the "not rearing pigs" business.

In your opinion, what is the best kind of farm not to rear pigs on,
and which is the best breed of pigs not to rear? I want to be sure
I approach this endeavour in keeping with all government policies,
as dictated by the EU under the Common Agricultural Policy.
I would prefer not to rear bacon pigs, but if this is not the type
you want not rearing, I will just as gladly not rear porkers. Are
there any advantages in not rearing rare breeds such as Saddlebacks
or Gloucester Old Spots, or are there too many people already not
rearing these?

As I see it, the hardest part of this programme will be keeping an
accurate record of how many pigs I haven't reared. Are there any
Government or Local Authority courses on this?

My friend is very satisfied with this business. He has been rearing
pigs for forty years or so, and the best he ever made on them was
£1,422 in 1968. That is - until this year, when he received a
cheque for not rearing any.

If I get £3,000 for not rearing 50 pigs, will I get £6,000 for not
rearing 100?

I plan to operate on a small scale at first, holding myself down to
about 4,000 pigs not raised, which will mean about £240,000 for the
first year. As I become more expert in not rearing pigs, I plan to
be more ambitious, perhaps increasing to, say, 40,000 pigs not
reared in my second year, for which I should expect about £2.4
million from your department. Incidentally, I wonder if I would be
eligible to receive tradable carbon credits for all these pigs not
producing harmful and polluting methane gases?

Another point: These pigs that I plan not to rear will not eat
2,000 tonnes of cereals. I understand that you also pay farmers for
not growing crops. Will I qualify for payments for not growing
cereals to not feed the pigs I don't rear?

I am also considering the "not milking cows" business, so please
send any information you have on that too. Please could you also
include the current Defra advice on set aside fields? Can this be
done on an e-commerce basis with virtual fields (of which I seem to
have several thousand hectares)?

In view of the above you will realise that I will be totally
unemployed, and will therefore qualify for unemployment benefits.

I shall of course be voting for your party at the next general

Yours faithfully,

A letter to Gazan neighbours.....

Dear neighbour,

My name is David and I live in Israel , thirty minutes (or one minute rocket time) from you. I hope someday to have you over for a cup of tea. We have a lovely view from the balcony. On a clear day we can see our jets bombing your neighbourhood.

I think it's time we had a heart to heart. It's time you knew the truth. After all, what are neighbours for? You might have wondered why both you and your parents were born in a refugee camp. Why is it that even though we live only 30 minutes apart, I live in prosperity and you live in poverty and filth? Why you live in despair and hatred while we live in hope and love.

Here is the truth, neighbour:

There really was a Holocaust. I realize you've been taught otherwise. I know that ever since you were a small child you've been told that the Holocaust is something the Jews fabricated to justify taking your land. Well, dear citizen of Gaza, it really happened. Not very long ago. It happened. And guess what? It's NEVER going to happen again. The time in history when Jews were led to slaughter, persecuted, raped and pillaged is over and will never recur.

Never. Now we have our own country. Now we have the bombs. We will never forget what was done to our people and you better not either.

We don't hate you. We don't hate anyone. Jews are a peaceful people. We do not want your land. We don't want oil. We don't want to rape your women or murder your children. We never tried to force our religion on anyone. Our eternal capital, Jerusalem, is open to all faiths to love and to worship. We treat your Arab brothers who live among us as equals. Our hand has been extended to peace with our neighbours since day one. We have proven this time and time again through numerous negotiations and extensive compromise.

We ask only for one thing. Leave us in peace. That's right. We have no other demands. Just leave us in peace. It's as simple as that. If you don't, we will fight back ferociously and mercilessly. We will destroy your homes and your cities. We will make your miserable lives even more miserable. If you don't want this to happen any more, leave us in peace.

Our soldiers are not motivated by hate but by determination. We embrace life and will do anything to preserve it. However, we will kill and die to protect our land and our way of life. That's what they should be teaching in your schools instead of useless lies.

A terrorist is a terrorist. Sorry to be the one to break the news, but it's about time somebody told you that a terrorist is nothing more than a coward. Not a hero. Not a Shahid. There is nothing heroic in blowing yourself up amongst a crowd of woman and children. Anybody can do it. Anybody can hide inside a school or a mosque and blindly fire rockets
into cities, hoping to kill as many babies as possible. There is nothing courageous or admirable in these acts of cruelty. To take pride in an act of terror is pitiful and pathetic. I know you've been raised to believe the contrary, but it is a lie. I have seen how your children are taught to commit suicide. How your suicide bombers are glorified. This is tragically sad. A real hero faces his enemy and doesn't hide in schools and hospitals. A real hero protects his people and will die for them but not among them.

Israel exists and it belongs to the Jewish people. I've seen your school books. I know that Israel has been omitted from your maps. Contrary to what you've been told, the State of Israel really does exist. Look outside your window. We are here and we are not going anywhere. Dear Palestinian neighbour, it's time to deal with the facts. We love our beautiful little country. We will protect it with our lives. You are not getting it. This was explained to you in 1948. You got your country and we got ours. Your arrogant and stupid leaders promised you that you will get the whole thing. Thousands of lives have been lost for nothing. It's NEVER going to happen! While you have been foolishly drooling over our land instead of nurturing your own, we have built one of the most beautiful and successful countries on Earth. We have done it not to spite our greedy neighbours, but rather in spite of them. We've planted forests and quenched the desert. We've drained wetlands and cultivated fields. We built universities, opera houses, superhighways, hospitals, skyscrapers and stadiums. We have millions of refugees, but no refugee camps.

You could do the same. Focus on what you have and not on what you will never have. It takes love, hard work and determination. We can help. We have experts and scientists helping developing nations across the globe. Accept the facts, lay down your weapons and join us in making this great region of the planet even greater.

Remember, we're neighbours.

David Rosenblatt, Sarigim, Israel - Jan. 9th, 2009

No virus found in this incoming message.

Leonard Cohen

Let's hear a cheer for the relentless Leonard.

Friday, January 30, 2009



That's the acronym for Portugal, Italy and Greece because of the fortunes they have each drained from the European Union in recent years.

Spain alone has been given in excess of $245 Billion in the past decade.

Ireland was in the same predicament for many years and the EU monies did an amazing job rebuilding aging and often non-existent infrastructure.

Then, Dublin discovered IT and the island became "overnight" a fabulously productive Have Country.

Spain and its dos amigos, on the other hand, show no signs of similar miracles. Their economies are heavily based on construction projects and tourism. Which Canadian has not enjoyed the sights and tastes and delights of these three beautiful countries in recent years?

Thus, Spain, for example, facing an expected 20% unemployment rate by 2011, is urging local consumers to buy local goods.

All of which - by way of saying this problem is not unique to North America - is to introduce the thorny problem of the distinctly "Buy America" flavour in Obama's bail-out plans.

We exported $11 Billion in steel products to the USA in 2007.

Trade Minister Stockwell Day is raising the alarms about protectionist measures and their dire consequences.

He is hardly alone.

Economist after editorialist echoes these concerns.

Trade wars, closed borders and protectionism lead almost inevitably to plunging economies everywhere.

Obama has a serious problem. He may be a reformer, but he is first a politician and it is the votes of those steel workers that got him into office.

His visit to Canada in just a few weeks will be much more serious than a rock show and window dressing.

Is NAFTA to be scrapped? Is the USA's Homeland Security Office going to make the movement of people and goods across our borders even more onerous?

Will protectionist measures set off a massive confrontation with China?

Hunkering down under wintry weather is understandable. But closing the doors is ill-advised.

Let us watch carefully to see what the most interesting American President in many, many years will be prepared to do in the face of this enormous challenge.


A little dust-up at a New Brunswick public school has taken on absurd and national proportions.

Parents complained that their children shouldn't have to take part in the daily singing of the national anthem, which, for the record, is called "O Canada."

The principal of the school, who had any number of responses available, including telling these busy-bodies to go piss up a rope, acquiesced and cancelled the ritual.

Now "the debate" rages.

But I don't even understand the very beginning of this tale.

Why would you complain about your kid singing "O Canada" every morning?

Wassa problem?

We all sang this song every morning at the beginning of class for umpteen silly years and here's the result as far as I can tell.

None of us that I know of has become either a rabid nationalist hiding sin upon sin behind patriotism or a lackadaisical lout without love of and pride in our country.

So your brat will stand on his little feet and sing the song. So effing what?

The parents in Springfield, N.B. were having a melodrama-void day? No extra-marital affairs to begin or conclude? No trips to Aruba to book? No reconfigured curling teams to launch?

Thursday, January 29, 2009


We are at war.

Who knew?

What will be the largest peacetime security operation in Canadian history?

Not the visit of President Obama to Ottawa next month.


It will be the Olympics, of course.

Now the tab for all those 12,000 police, private security folk and members of the armed forces who happen to not be dying in Afghanistan during those 17 days was originally underestimated at $175 Million.

Anyone who knew anything about these matters, like the FBI, fell down laughing at these first numbers.

Clearly this was a typical G. Campbell snow job.


What is the real cost?

Security costs rise five-fold to $1-billion

Imagine how pleasant it might have been if someone had mentioned this six years ago when we were so lucky to be awarded this bonanza.

Total Bah Humbug!

PPP, Your self

Is there a pattern here?

First the Olympic Village and now the Port Mann Bridge.

Turns out the private company that is supposed to be in partnership with Kevin Falcon and the Provincial government to twin the mighty bridge, turns out they may just be running short of bucks.

So, guess what?

I know, you fingered it out, didn't you?

We - that is you and me who pay taxes on everything - we will provide the Macquarie Group a loan for one third the costs of this little project.

Heck, that's only hundreds of millions of dollars.

Now that budgets and deficits and bailouts are routinely quoted in billions and trillions of mind-numbing dollars, what's a paltry $700 Million tween friends and buds?

Gordon Campbell, more than any other public figure I can think of, has trumpeted for years now the glories of P3's or Public-Private Partnerships or, as I like to call them, PPPs or Pee,Pee, Pees.

Nice idea in a bread box somewhere in a kitchen long ago and far away maybe.

But here in the real world what keeps happening to these mighty alliances over and over again with frightening regularity is that the Private guys run mysteriously out of juice and we the taxpayers rush in to save the day. How nice of us.

Minister Falcon assures us - and don't we feel assured by his assurance? - that alles is gut because the tolls will pay for the bridge.


The Curious Case of BENJAMIN BUFFOON


Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Perhaps the BBC blunder was an auger of things to come.

The normally Perfect Broadcasting Corporation offered an hysterically funny miscue the other day.

An interviewer was quizzing someone on the upcoming Canadian budget and what we might expect.

Amazing enough that we colonials would make the Big Time Show.

But what added to the hilarity is that a title was emblazoned across the screen and stayed there for many minutes throughout the chatter.

Here's what it said:



When are Candians know to drop an "A?"

Well, now we have our Candian budget, and I am not smart enough to comment in any deep and useful way about all the minutia of this document.

But I do think this.

This is a patchwork, a quilt of unrelated, unthemed, non-ideas.

It is a bit of this and a bit of that with no discernible guiding principles.

It is short-term stuff with no strengthening long-term vision or goals.

It is not horrible; it is just not much of an anything. What we would have called in another era "a dog's breakfast."

I thought the Globe's editorial was sound and much worth a read.

Should Ignatieff and Layton bring down the government on the basis of this document?

Absolutely not.

We have enough on our plates to deal with without the costly and pointless absurdity of yet another election and another government.

Should they harass Harper into fine tuning this budget?

Sure, by all means.

Then, go back to your corners and get on with the business of Parliament.

Such as it is.


As yet another debt rating agency puts Vancouver into the dark negative column following the Olympic Village mess, I find myself wondering why two or three of the greatest culprits have been mysteriously shmeer-free.

Sam Sullivan.

Gordon Campbell.

Larry Campbell.

I didn't ask for the Olympics. I didn't go to Prague to wave the flag. I didn't blithely sign documents that would indebt the city for years to come on shaky land deals.

Did these three, for example, get some mystical-political get-out-of-jail-free card on this colossal blunder?

Of course, the current Mayor Robertson must work hand in glove with the Province and he not likely to slander or attack the Premier.

He is also a reasonably gracious man and, while he didn't shy away from scrapping with Ladner during the election, he is also unlikely to take unnecessary potshots at Sammy or Larry.

Leave that to me.

I'm just a citizen and a payer of taxes at every turn, who would ask that those responsible for truly bad decisions stand up and be counted.

Taser Testimony Continues to Disturb


Officers did not help tasered man, firefighter testifies

The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER -- Firefighters who rushed to Vancouver's airport in the minutes after Robert Dziekanski was stunned by an RCMP taser found a pale, unresponsive man face down in handcuffs as officers stood metres away doing nothing, a public inquiry into the man's death heard yesterday.

Richmond Fire Department Captain Kirby Graeme said when he arrived in the early morning of Oct. 14, 2007, the officers weren't helping or monitoring Mr. Dziekanski, and at one point even refused to remove his handcuffs so he could be properly assessed.

Minutes earlier, the same four Mounties had confronted the Polish immigrant, who had been throwing furniture around in the airport's international arrivals area.

"To see a patient face-down, handcuffed and not being tended to in some way, shape or form, I thought, 'Something's not right here,' " said Mr. Graeme, a firefighter with more than two decades of experience.

The above are the headlines and opening paragraphs of a report in this morning's Globe. I think it tells us more of what we need to learn and raises the questions again about these four officers of the law.

Read the full story here.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009


As a recently retired paramedic I, of course, side with my former colleagues.

They are grossly under managed by a cadre of "old timers" or those brought up by the old timers. Their management style is still a hierarchal one with those near the top getting all the support and consideration while those at the lower levels are still looked on as "part time wannabes". Hence the governments disdain and offering only 2%. They never get to know the real side of the story.

Government has always looked on and used the BC Ambulance Service as a "cost over run buffer" for their screw ups in other areas of health care. Their budgets are constantly being raided by other ministries or areas within the health ministry. Their managers are very inept at getting and retaining planning and operating funds and never know what to do with what they've got because it comes at them in unplanned for dribs and drabs.

Having said that the Union Management side of the equation isn't much better. There isn't a professional manager within the organization and that's why they are asking today for such a high raise. It's to try and make up for the way they have been held back by an uncaring health ministry for the last 14 years. Unfortunately they won't get it. The unprofessional union negotiators will again be fooled by their professional negotiators and the hard working paramedics will again bear the brunt of this ineptitude.

Paramedics deserve to be paid as much as any policeman and deserve the respect that so often alludes them. This eludes then due to the fact that they are seldom seen at the "scene of the crime" so to speak. By the time the media arrives to tell the story the paramedics have already been and gone, off to the hospital and performing unsung miracles en route. Paramedics face life and death situations almost every shift where a policeman might only encounter one occasionally.

It's certainly time that they were re-reimbursed for their sacrifices and skills. 18% would be a good starting point.


When I reported my very favorable recent experience with the health care system to a friend the other day, he added that we couldn't as a nation continue on the current path.

He argues that, while our system is wonderful, it is unacceptably expensive, eating up roughly 50% of all government budgets and climbing.

What should we do?

Allow more private practitioners?

Cut back services?

Do serious audits on hospitals, for example, to cut away administrative costs?

Learn how to cost out surgical operations?

Pay doctors flat rates?

Allow nurses more responsibilities?

Please share your thoughts on this crucial and central issue. We are an aging population and the costs for our health care can only increase.

Can we afford what we have? Can we afford to not have what we have? What can and must we do to make it all more workable?

I encourage you on this page to a full and vigorous debate.

Thank you in advance.


When you read the stories about a possible strike by paramedics here on B.C., be sure to read the fine print.

If this job action does, in fact, occur, ambulances would not be parked. Paramedics fall under the province's essential-service law.

However, the public would be effected.

The workers are asking for parity with the police, which means a 31% wage hike.

The province is offering 2%.

Clearly, they are both out of their trees.

My basic sympathies are with the paramedics. They do great work and they are, time and time again, amazing in their calm, smooth professionalism under often dreadful circumstances.

But 31% is not going to go over with a world in financial mourning. How about 18%?

And the government's 2% offering is sheer insult.

Let's hope some good old common sense and reasonableness prevail -and quickly.


Signs of the recession?

1) The biggest growth company around is McDonald's.

Fuelled by fear and small pockets, Americans and eaters world-wide are charging to the arches in record numbers. More than 1,000 new emporia will open around the double cheeseburger globe this year.

Conclusion? Poverty is not healthy. But we knew that, didn't we.

2) Pharma-giant Pfizer has bought almost giant Wyeth for $68 Billion.

Pfizer's biggest sellers?

Viagra, Zoloft and Lipitor.

At least, Lipitor has known recognizable medical uses. It's the number one prescribed pill to combat bad cholesterol numbers.

Viagra...well, you know. And Zoloft is one of those highly debatable psychotropic drugs which, aside from being monstrously over prescribed, are polluting our waterways after the anxious piss the residues into the sewage systems.

Wyeth's number one elixir is Effexor - an antidepressant. Only $4 Billion a year in sales. Lovely.


Heart-stopping bad fat foods and questionable instant cures for daily stress are the growth industries and always have been.

Who knew?

We were busy eating salads and fish oils and riding our bikes. What ever were we thinking?


Monday, January 26, 2009


Xin yen hao!

or, Xin yen quai le!

or, Gung Hay Fat Choi!

However you say or mispronounce it the message is the same.

Happy Chinese New Year and welcome to the Year of the Ox.

Health, prosperity and getting along with one another, neighbours and nations.


This genius has openly declared that Jews are "bent on world domination."

He was excommunicated, but now is being welcomed back into the Catholic fold by the Pope.

"The historical evidence is hugely against 6 million Jews having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler. I believe there were no gas chambers..."
—Bishop Richard Williamson
Nice to see that social progress is moving steadily forward.



Sunday, January 25, 2009


On Friday at 4 PM I walked into an Operating Room at UBC Hospital.

I was wearing the complete surgery fashion statement: long, green socks, paper shoes and hat, and two cotton nightgowns. No underwear.

Gorgeous, I know.

A few minutes later, one of the anaesthesiologists said, "O.K. Mr. Berner. We're going to add a little something to your I.V. to get you relaxed."

Of course, the next hour and a half is a complete wipe. Gone.

I had arrived at 1 PM for a scheduled 3 o'clock hernia operation.

I brought one of the current books I am reading, Ford Maddox Ford's "The Good Soldier." Wonderful book. Too bad I left my 3 pairs of glasses at home. So I snoozed and cell phoned in the waiting room.

The procedure was delayed by about an hour. That was the only hitch in an otherwise beautifully orchestrated event.

Every single person I met - and there were easily 8 or 10 - was warm and friendly and professional and re-assuring.

It can't be great fun to deal with fearful anxious goofs like me day in and day out, but bless these folks, for deal is exactly what they do and with wonderful grace and charm.

I was stirred to wake up by a lovely nurse at about 5:45. I had no idea where I was. Total disorientation. Followed, of course, by dizziness, minor panic and a terribly sore throat. Thankfully, they don't tell you about the breathing tube.

Soon the room stopped spinning.The nurse helped me get dressed. All my clothes and cash and personal goodies were there.

And, lo and behold, so was my son. Standing right there just like we planned!

Sean drove me home. We sat with a friend and had a bite to eat, Sean went off to work and my friend and I watched some Australian Open tennis and we retired about 11.

I took one Tylenol 3 before I went to bed and another one at 5:30 AM and basically slept like a baby. Wonderful.

My tummy is sore, and it looks ridiculous covered in red paint and with three distinct little entry wounds. But miracle upon miracle, I am not doing too badly at all. Here I am writing this report.

The Moral of the Story.

Oh, how we complain - myself at the top of the mob - about the iniquities in our national health care system. And yes, much still can be done and aught to be done to make it even more accessible, even more financially efficient and accountable.

BUT, having said all that...

99 times out of a hundred, when we need the system, it responds so amazingly well we must thank the gods for those men and women who have had the foresight to enact the legislation and the intricate webs of administration that keeps this mad machine running.

And we must especially thank those receptionists and nurses and doctors who take such good care of us.

Four years ago, I experienced exactly the same level of magnificent care at VGH when I was sent in suddenly for an angioplasty.

For all that America is and has been a great country, the fact that it has managed to avoid this kind of essential service for all its citizens is a shame and a mystery.

We can take great pride in our health care here in Canada.

And we can continue vigilantly to make it even better.


Local journalist Bill Tieleman hs obtained a memo from Dennis Skulsky, the CEO of Canwest Publishing.

How Bill managed to do this is a mystery, but are we ever glad he did it.

The headline reads like this:

Canwest Publishing internal memo details severe cost cutting measures

Canwest Publishing details severe cost cutting measures including freeze on hiring, salary increases, travel, consultants, conferences and more

Read this here.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


What the hell is going on?

A 47-year old man is trying to support his family. He is delivering newspapers at 2:30 in the morning.

Was he a surgeon is his country of origin? A physicist? Who knows?

What we do know is that he has claimed - and there is considerable evidence to support this claim - that three off-duty police officers with no apparent provocation attacked and beat up and robbed this man.

We are told that the three officers, each from the burbs, each with very few years under his no doubt considerable belt, each drunk, yelled racial insults at this newsy and threatened him further with the famous taser treatment ... which, given current realities, is not much different from saying, "We're going to kill you."


Vancouver Police Chief, James Chu, thankfully breaking the usual closed-mouth protocol, has spoken publicly to assure us that some legal process is now at hand.

How many more examples of dreadful police behaviour can Canada bear these days?

Have the leaders of these teams not addressed their ranks lately and urged them to carry their tasks and their shields with pride and honor? Has no one taken charge and advised officers across the land to clean up all and every bad acts?

Last weekend, we made the mistake of trying to engage a police officer in a conversation.

We stepped off the curb at a four-way stop intersection and the police woman simultaneously and in no apparent urgent hurry looked right at us as she drove in front of us at a crosswalk.

When we saw her a few moments later, we dared ask her, "If then police don't respect the rules or regard pedestrians, how can we expect any one else to?"

She didn't apologize. She ranted on about how "no harm was done," apparently not seeing the harm in bad public relations.

Soon, one of her colleagues joined the circle and glared menacingly at us. We expected drawn tasers at any moment.

We thanked her for her time and offered the Safeway Universal, "Have a nice day."

I have been a fan and supported of the police all my life, and in theory, I continue to be so.

But loyalty is being strained daily by these shenanigans.

As if the YVR story is not sorry enough, now we have three drunk rogue cops beating up on "brown people" at Georgia and Burrard. They were stopped by the interventions of passers-by.

Do the police forces of the land really want to keep such representatives in their uniforms?

Yes, give them their due process.

But when the truth is told, show them the door and ask more of the next batch of recruits.

Ask for civility.

PHOTO: Phil Khan, father, husband, 3AM newspaper delivery man on a cold January night, and victim of random attack by 3 men who brag that they are cops


Friday, January 23, 2009

journalism - the basics

Something very funny has happened in the Sun newspapers.

Yesterday, John Mackie wrote an article titled A view from Vancouver's new 62-storey Shangri-La

The piece, basically an interview with the architect, in on the Sun's website.

The reactions are visceral and damning.

As one reader-writer after another points out...a)this is not a news story; it is a kind of mindless advertorial...and b) What view?

Have a look at the photo that goes with the article.

Looks curiously like a view from the ground, no?

Journalism 104.



The Great Free Enterprise nation, the USA, is, in fact, one of the most government dominated sovereign territories in the world.

In the early 1900's, the US federal government consumed 2% of GDP.

It now consumes more than 20%, and that number will climb quickly to 25%.

In the first instance, a constitutional amendment allowed government to tax both personal incomes and corporate profits. That doubled the government stake to 4% before the First World War.

Oddly enough, defense spending, which seems so outrageous to many of us, has actually declined from 15% in 1952 to less than 4% in 2006.

"Social entitlements" however account for a huge amount of government, and one of Obama's most onerous challenges will be to severely cut from these spendings without harming the poor or alienating the the many hopeful who have elected him.


For too many years now, the venerable old Hudon's Bay Company has been calling itself HBC.

It is taken its new American owners to recognize that alphabet soup doesn't cut it and that the good old name is the one that connects with consumers.

Henceforth, the the Hudson's Bay Company will be known oddly enough as the Hudson's Bay Company.

For those of us who grew up with The Bay as a big part of our lives - I worked there many times and my uncle Tom was the head tailor in men's clothing for many years - this welcome news.

Unfortunately, recent visits to The Bay and Sears suggest strongly that these stores' days are numbered.

Everything about them looks tired and out of synch.

And service simply does not exist.


And why did the lyrics for PICK YOURSELF UP find their sneaky melodic way into President Obama's Inaugural speech?

Why is this such an evelasting great song?

Two simple reasons.

Music by Jerome Kern.

Lyrics by Dorothy Fields.


Thursday, January 22, 2009


On Tuesday, I wrote in this space about how the Olympics & the City are putting an end to expression of opinion. (The Anti-Democracy.)

Yesterday, I wrote about how the Olympics was abandoning all dignity by taking money from an elixir for the suffering masses. (Selling your Soul.)

Today, the news from the high mountain peaks off Sport is positively heart-breaking.

Here is the headline of Gary Mason's astonishing column in the Globe:

IOC sinks to new low by severing ties with charity

World Olympic body has banned Right to Play from 2010 Games and ended its relationship with the humanitarian group

Right to Play is a highly regarded humanitarian organization that advocates using sport to improve the lives of children in some of the most disadvantaged and distressed corners of the globe. Its president and founder is Johann Koss, a four-time Olympic gold-medal speed skater from Norway.

The organization has made an apparently fatal blunder. It has secured some financial support from Mitsubishi Motors.

The official sponsor of the 2010 Games is GM, who, by the way, has just stopped giving Tiger his Buicks and is withdrawing its long-time association with the PGA.

This kind of conflict in the heady world of the IOC is so intractable that the only solution for the august body of arrogant airheads has been to tell Right To Play that is has no.

No Right to Play, that is.

It is gone, verboten, banished, finished, sent to its room for a long, long time out.

Excuse me.

Can we go back for just a minute?

The Olympics? Duh?

The embodiment, the glorification of Peace and Cooperation, the bringing together of all the peoples of the earth in a few days of celebrating the best that we can offer?

There is no stopping this train wreck. It is THE OLYMPICS. You might as well try to decry God or motherhood.

In London, today it was announced that the government will pour hundred of millions of taxpayers dollars into their 2012 Games. We are not alone.

Clearly, like so many other institutions that began with the noblest of ideals, this copper coin has been fatally tarnished by money, by greed, by ego, by all the human frailties that visit us each day.

Ban a children's charity?

They keep smiling and passing the buck, while destroying their own franchise.

Men Without Shame.



Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Some simple facts for the jury to consider.

One-fifth of Vancouver traffic can usually be found on the Patullo Bridge. Not today, of course.

With the bridge out of commission, the Board of Trade estimates a $2 Billion annual loss in biz.

Telus is telling 2,000 of its employees to stay at home and log on.

Dianne Watts is telling Surrey employees to work funny hours.

One Premier after another has had 40 years to consider replacing this barely standing joke. No one has even come close.

Can you say, "Malfeasance, Boys and Girls? Incompetence? Willing Blindness?"


Vancouver City Hall will "take over" the Olympic Village.

Vancouver will issue special Olympic municipal bonds.

Some of you will actually buy these things.

Won't this all be fun!

Selling Your Soul for a Mess of Pottage/Portage/Porridge

Mama Malaika's Snake Oil Serum - known otherwise as Cold-fX - is now an official Olympic sponsor.


This is a case study in How to Degrade Your Brand by Associating with Garbage.

The target sponsorship budget for the Games is $760 Million.

The utterly unproven Cold-fX is contributing $3 Million to become the Official Cold & Flu Remedy.

Has VANOC ever considered the word, "No?"

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


The City of Vancouver has now become the head of the Anti-Democratic Movement.

Wanting desperately for all of us stupid annoying citizens with apparent minds of our own to "stay on message" during the BIG EVENT next winter, the City wants the right to remove signs and graffiti and billboards from private property AT ONCE and with no court order or grace period.

I guess this is what happens to otherwise reasonable men and women when they find a shard of power.

In this case, the closet Fascist is one Paul Henderson, director of Olympic operations for the City. He says these extraordinary powers are "required because of the need to act quickly during the limited time line of the Games."

He also wants new powers to put up huge Olympic images...huge, as in building-sized.

Keep in mind this is the same city that fought tooth and nail a group of home owners in the Lee Building at Main & Broadway because the building had a large billboard on their roof.


Consider the meaning of this effort.

You must not disapprove of the Olympics. You must not voice that disapproval. You must not put a sign in your own front yard that doesn't SING THE COMPANY SONG.

The majority must rule.

The commonly held opinion must prevail.

O.K. Vision Council speak up.

Where are you on this detestable, dangerous attempt to suspend the central notions of democracy all for a downhill luge?


Police are searching for at least three homeless people they believe may know how the Patullo Bridge was set on fire.

Are they kidding?

This local disaster, which has completely screwed up traffic in Surrey and New Westminster beyond endurance, is going to be blamed on the homeless and their pathetic attempt to not freeze to death?

A bridge made of wooden supports in the year 2009?

Where are we, Madison County, Maine, Connecticut, 1873?

Let's get serious for just one minute.

I have lived here for over 40 years. I have crossed that relic exactly twice. That was enough to convince me that, short of some national emergency, I would not find myself on that antique again.

Every provincial government for the past 40 years has had the opportunity to replace this Lego toy with a real bridge, or two.

None has acted.

I am sorry that the thing didn't burn utterly to a cinder.

That would have forced Monumental Gord to take his eye off the multi-million dollar 12-day superhighway to Whistler and build something that was actually useful and important to several hundred thousand tax-paying citizens.

Remember them?


The following text is taken from the Crooks and Liars website. It explains more fully the video below.

As we watch history unfolding before our eyes, one more anniversary: It was almost seventy years ago, on Easter Sunday in 1939, that more than 75,000 people come to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., to hear famed African-American contralto Marian Anderson give a free open-air concert.

Anderson had been scheduled to sing at Washington's Constitution Hall, but the Daughters of the American Revolution, a political organization that helped manage the concert hall, denied her the right to perform because of her race. The first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, resigned her membership from the organization in protest, and Anderson's alternate performance at the Lincoln Memorial served greatly to raise awareness of the problem of racial discrimination in America.


Monday, January 19, 2009


Subject: Real eye opener about B.C Rivers

This is a must-see video....there is a shortened version just below the video picture. Send it to
as many people as you can as so very much has been kept a secret by the government! ...

This is the future for all the generations to come. Look at the power
bills that people pay in most provinces.....and ours, probably, will be set to what Californians are


Subject: Gun manufacturing in Pakistan Boondocks

This is a real eye opener.................
See the largest gun market in the world!
Just what you need to sleep better tonight.....
It takes about 5 min. to watch this, but it is worth the time.


What sorry backbenchers have represented the derelict and under served communities that have been so badly serviced lo these many years by the Patullo Bridge?

With all the wing-nut highway building projects that have come and gone in this corrupt province, with all the cry for all the years to replace this dangerous relic, why has it never been done?

Now that the old thing has been crippled once again, this time by a fire no less, commuters are being told to be patient.

Kevin, Big Bridge Builder, Falcon stands by with a sorrowful look. Oscar material, for sure.

Shame on these people - provincial governments of the past 20 years - and shame on those of you who still harbor the cranky illusion that the current gang has your best interests at heart.



A friend asked the other day about Canada's population.

I explained that we depend on immigration to build our numbers here.

"Why?" he asked.

Because we are reproducing at a rate insufficient to help, Andorra, Lichtenstein or Monaco.

"Why is that?"

Because Canadian men are watching hockey on television.

There is an "up" side to this, however.

Canadian women, suffering beyond endurance, run to the love shops to invest heavily in sex toys.

Now, while it is true that most of these aids are built (batteries not included) in China, they are sold right here in Canada.

And that helps the economy.

Class is over, boys & girls, thank you for your attention.

Uh...except for Bert back there. I see you're listening to your MP3 or iPod or whatever. So, what's the score?


Richard Pryor, the undisputed genius of comedy, many, many years ago "became" the President of the United States.

In this sketch he stretches the complexities and the possibilities.

Very funny, very timely.

Watch it build from decorum to....?


Sunday, January 18, 2009


"We have to do everything we can to secure jobs for people,"

From this moment on (he sang), whenever you want to find the meaning of "politcal spin," you will find this as the prime example.

"This" is Premier Gordon Campbell explaining the late night weekend "emergency" vote that will allow the City of Vancouver to move to Debtor's Prison.

"secure jobs for people.."

The man's cynicism about the intelligence of the citizenry is breathtaking.

This is about the Olympics, it's about covering ass, it's about good and bad deals, and mostly it's about using this moment in tiny-minded local history to change the rules permanently to allow god-knows-what financial collusions in the future.

As for the current project, now running at $1.1 Billion and counting, the Village was first touted as foolproof. To be foolproof you'd have to start without fools. Ooops...

The risk to city taxpayers? None. Or so they were promised three years ago, when City of Vancouver staff announced details of the Olympic Village plan.

Excllent work, folks.

As for the Weekend Prom at the Legislature, all that was missing was bears and a ferris wheel.


The George W. Bush Presidential Library is now in the planning stages and accepting donations.
The Library will include:
1. The Hurricane Katrina Room, which is still under construction.
2. The Alberto Gonzales Room, where you won't be able to remember anything.
3. The Texas Air National Guard Room, where you don't even have to show up.
4. The Walter Reed Hospital Room, where they don't let you in.
5. The Guantanamo Bay Room, where they don't let you out.
6. The Weapons of Mass Destruction Room, which no one has been able to find.
7. The National Debt Room, which is huge and has no ceiling.
8. The Tax Cut Room, with entry only to the wealthy.
9. The Economy Room, which is in the toilet.
10. The Iraq War Room. (After you complete your first visit, they make you go back for a second, third, fourth, and sometimes fifth visit.)
11. The Dick Cheney Room, in the famous undisclosed location, complete with shooting gallery.
12. The Environmental Conservation Room, still empty.
13. The Supreme Gift Shop, where you can buy an election.
14. The Airport Men's Room, where you can meet some of your favorite Republican Senators.
15. The Decider Room, complete with dart board, magic 8-ball, Ouija board, dice, coins, and straws.
The library will also include many famous quotes by George W.Bush:
1. 'The vast majority of our imports come from outside the country.'
2. 'If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure.'
3. 'Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child.'
4. 'No senior citizen should ever have to choose between prescription drugs and medicine.'
5. 'I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy - but that could change.'
6. 'One word sums up probably the responsibility of any Governor, and that one word is 'to be prepared'.'
7. 'Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things.'
8. 'I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments in the future.'
9. 'The future will be better tomorrow.'
10. 'We're going to have the best educated American people in the world..'
11. 'One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures.' (during an education photo-op)
12. 'Illegitimacy is something we should talk about in terms of not having it.'
13. 'We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur.'
14. 'It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.'
15. 'I stand by all the misstatements that I've made.'...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

VILLAGE IDIOTS - A Tale Told by Lies, Augmented by Obfuscation and Capped with Dissembling

"It's not a blank cheque."


Remember those words.

They come from Premier Gordon Campbell and they refer, of course, to the ramrod job he intends this weekend to change the Vancouver Charter to allow the City to borrow scads and scads of money to clean up the Olympic Village fiasco.

You should remember these words because in the coming years, as Vancouver sinks into the same habit as you and I have with our Visa cards, the City will become the King, Queen and Joker of Deficit Financing.

First of all, a change of this kind, a negative undertaking of this kind, is by current law, supposed to be put to public referendum.

But that's what governments do. When they don't like the rules, they change them.

As if you no longer appreciate your spouse and change the rules so a little arsenic in the corn flakes would no longer be considered homicide.

Opposition House Leader, Adrian Dix, has added that a no discussion vote in the Legislature today is a no go. He has declared this unacceptable and intends to push for a full argument.

Good luck with all of that, Adrian.

Note also that the wording of the suggested change to the City Charter calls for "unlimited borrowing powers."

Yes, be alarmed.

If you are not, you are as big a rube and sucker than the city council that signed us all in for this deal in the first place.

Financial writer, David Baines, writing in the Sun today echoes what I said here yesterday. He just says it better and in more detail.

Olympic village on shaky ground from start

City politicians and staff failed to ensure the project had sound financing from the outset

Dazzled by bigger numbers from the less solid Millenium, Council ignored good offers from two more accomplished players.

Meanwhile back at the optometrist, in the rose-colored glasses aisle, former Mayor Philip Owen is begging everyone to stop being so negative and realize what a joy this really is.

Thanks, Phil.

What can we do when the tab shows up on our property tax assessments? Or the new One Way Street Tax or Parking on a Residential Street for More than 12 Minutes Tax or whatever scam will be used to recover from this sinkhole?

Can we say, "Sorry. You voted for this in secret and we weren't consulted?"

Can we get Phil to pay for us?

Can we get a blank cheque from Gord?

The punch line is this.

You and I will pay for the Jamaican bobsled team to share marble counters for 10 days and for off-shore clients to pay the highest square-foot costs in history for condos they will occupy 3 days a year.


Ignored Tragedies

This morning as I was reading the paper and finding between the Inauguration and the Miracle on the Hudson article after article about Gaza, Gaza and more Gaza, I found myself muttering about Zimbabwe.

Not that Gaza is nothing or unimportant or not horrible.

But why do we often not see focus on the 102 other hells on earth?

Therefore, I was surprised and pleased to see Bob Herbert, who usually writes on domestic issues, tackling this very subject in this morning's NY Times.

The piece is called "Zimbabwe Is Dying," and I encourage you to read it.

Then, we might ask ourselves how the UN and other ineffective busybodies have stood by and allowed Mugabe to rape and destroy his own country for the past - what, 37? - years.

Would that this truism were not so, but it is: Everything is political.

Friday, January 16, 2009


In the good old days before 9-11 made such things impossible, I had the great good fortune to spend many, many hours in the cockpits of jetliners on long overseas flights.

I was consistently impressed with the pilots and engineers. To a man, they were very, very smart, funny, interested in practically everything, outspoken, straight ahead in their expression and steely calm and clear about what they were doing.

It is apparently a standing mantra amongst such people that long-haul jet flights can best be described as "20 seconds of sheer, white knuckle terror, followed by 10 hours of excruciating boredom, followed by 20 seconds of sheer, white knuckle terror."

If that wasn't clear, what they are saying is that modern jet travel consists of the major scares of take-off and landing, interrupted by the numbing many hours of auto-pilot and checking that you are successfully flying from designated and assigned point A to B to C and pretty much through the alphabet.

What US Airways Captain Sully Sullenberger managed to do landing that bird in the Hudson without a single fatality is exactly what one would expect of a guy like him -flying since he was 17 and a consultant on risk management and safety - yet, we can join the chorus around the world in safely calling him a hero.

Just plain WOW!