Tuesday, November 11, 2014


In a weird, frightening way, we believe in violent death. We regard it as a policy option, as much to do with self-preservation on a national scale as punishment for named and individual wrongdoers. We believe in war. For what is aggression – the invasion of Iraq in 2003, for example – except capital punishment on a mass scale? We "civilised" nations – like the dark armies we believe we are fighting – are convinced that the infliction of death on an awesome scale can be morally justified.

And that's the problem, I'm afraid. When we go to war, we are all putting on hoods and pulling the hangman's lever. And as long as we send our armies on the rampage – whatever the justification – we will go on stringing up and shooting and chopping off the heads of our "criminals" and "murderers" with the same enthusiasm as the Romans cheered on the men of blood in the Colosseum 2,000 years ago.
 - Robert Fisk: In the Colosseum, Thoughts Turn to Death, 2007

Monday, November 18, 2013

Rob Ford does Mary Tyler Moore

To the tune of The Mary Tyler Moore Show theme song...

Who can turn the world on with his bile?
Who can take a slow news day
And suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
Well, it's you Rob and you should know it
With each prance and every little presser you show it
Ford is all around, no need to waste it
You can have a mic, why don't you take it?
You're gonna spill it after all
You're gonna spill it after all...

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Rob Ford Video Rant


Exclusive from The Toronto StarRob Ford caught in video rant

“I’m gonna kill that f**king guy. I’m telling you, it’s first-degree murder,” Mayor Rob Ford rages as someone in the room secretly uses a cellular phone to film the chief magistrate’s addled tirade.
The target of the mayor’s anger is not in the room and is not known to the Star.
“I’ll rip his fucking throat out. I’ll poke his eyes out. . . . I’ll make sure that motherfucker’s dead,” Ford says, then hitches up his pant legs as if bracing for action.
Ford says he "was extremely, extremely inebriated".

"Again I've made mistakes, all I can do is reassure the people that … I don’t know what to say," he said.

"I just want to come out and tell you that I saw a video … it's extremely embarrassing."
He added: "Obviously, I was extremely, extremely inebriated… that's all I have to say for now."

Somebody needs to drag his butt to rehab. Pronto.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

The Senate: Where due process went to die today...

Senate votes to suspend Brazeau, Duffy, Wallin

This is a dark, dark day for Canadian democracy and justice. The unelected senate took it upon itself to create a new system of so-called accountability by unceremoniously turfing 3 senators who haven't been legally charged or convicted of anything - all at the behest of Control Freak Steve. And then the Con leader in the senate, Claude Carignan, whose office quietly received a $600,000 raise in its budget last week had the nerve to attack the Liberal senators after the votes - conveniently ignoring the fact that several Con senators also voted against the unconstitutional motions to suspend while the rest of the clapping seals went right along with the dictates of the PMO.

Due process? I think not.

But this isn't over - not by a long shot. The RCMP are still investigating and there will be more bombshells dropping on the Con party by the time this is done. Incoming!

Rob Ford: "Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine."

"Probably approximately about a year ago."

(Probably? He can't even admit it to himself. You don't say you've smoked crack in a drunken stupor unless you KNOW that you did.)

"One time in one of my drunken stupors."

"There's been times when I've been in a drunken stupor."

"No, I'm not an addict. No, I do not do drugs."

Rob Ford just admitted to reporters that he smoked crack.

News link coming soon...

It's the media's fault that he didn't come clean before now:

“I wasn’t lying. You didn’t ask the correct questions,”

Very raw video of Ford's admissions.

So, Toronto voters, what now?

Meanwhile, Ford's brother came out swinging against police chief Bill Blair.

Update: Better video of Ford's admissions.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Steve's Senate: The Grift That Keeps on Giving

The average Canadian can be forgiven for not being able to follow all of the bouncing balls being bunted about in the PMO playHouse as Stephen Harper fancies himself the prime mimicker of everything decent and upstanding while failing to keep his senate scandal stories straight from one day to the next. Absolute control corrupts absolutely (to bastardize an old cliché).

Last week, CBC/The National's Peter Mansbridge summarized some of the history quite well in this video clip, in case you need to refresh your memory or catch up on the sordid affair. 

Caution: may leave a bad aftertaste, especially if you're a Conservative...

Two Key Dates in the Senate Story

Master of the straw man this past Friday nite, Steve proudly told Conservative convention thunderstick enthusiasts:

“Our opponents accuse us of being unfair, nasty and ruthless and portray the offenders as victims, even martyrs. Friends, in terms of such opponents, I couldn’t care less what they say.”
Well, we already knew he couldn't care less - about a lot of things. But to not care less about imaginary  ideas you've concocted about your enemies...well...that takes a certain sort of something, doesn't it? The word "strength" does not come to mind. "Delusion", maybe.

And, ironically, it is exactly the classic Martyr personality that when confronted with its own weaknesses and mistakes, blames them on anything it can shake one of those thundersticks at. He blamed the courts, the Liberals, the NDP... never mentioning the fact that Conservative senators are also opposed to the senate motion to suspend Brazeau, Wallin and Duffy without pay. Something about "due process" - a concept Steve doesn't seem to understand.

Due process, however, has now come knocking on the PMO's door:

Duffy allegations bring RCMP to PMO doorstep

They may be paying a little visit to the office of Senator Irving Gerstein any day now as well - he who let it slip out (rather loudly and in front of hundreds of people) that he was in the thick of L'Affaire Duffy.


The chamber formerly known as that place as sober second thought will finally vote on the fate of the senators three on Tuesday.

What's the rush, Steve? What's the rush?

No matter what, this isn't over by any stretch of the imagination. Even a delusional man can figure that out. Well, most of them can, anyway.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Crack in Rob Ford's Story...

“We have recovered a digital video file, which is consistent with that which had previously been described in various media reports, and that file forms part of the evidence of the charge that we have laid today [against Lisi],” [Chief] Blair said.

So, it looks like the media "maggots" were right after all and Ford was busy doing his own version of "get off my lawn" (video) today while said maggots confronted him yet again following the press conference by Toronto police chief  Bill Blair this morning.

We'll find out exactly what the extortion charge against Alexander Lisi encapsulates later today but the huge document dump of evidence has some clues.

Meanwhile, there are no charges pending against Ford - yet - but the outcry for him to resign is deafening once again. He is, of course, resisting that.

One can only assume that this is Good News for Stephen Harper since it takes the spotlight off of the senate scandal. But, it may just suck the life out of the coverage of the CPC convention in Calgary that starts tonite though. Speaking of sucking...it must suck to be a conservative right about now.

7/10/2013: Rob Ford mum on Lisi pot-for-cellphone allegations
22/10/2013: Rob Ford lauded Lisi’s ‘tact and diplomacy’ after death threat conviction, letter reveals
31/10/2013: What's in the Alexander Lisi police document?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I'm back...

I stopped blogging a couple of years ago because my cynicism got the best of me. Years of covering the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, human rights abuses, torture, war crimes and the flagrant misuse of power by those who are supposedly elected or chosen to represent the populations they're meant to serve left me feeling as if I had a semi-truck parked on my chest. The crush was more than palpable.

I didn't walk away from following most every nuance of the political world, however. I was buoyed by the Occupy movement and the awareness it bestowed to those who clearly were not cognizant of how little power they had as citizens. I was impressed by the tenacity of Idle No More. Revolutions in time. I applauded the whistle blowers. We needed to push back and we need to continue to shine the light on the utterly brutal corruption that rules our lives while trying to find a way to cope with the devastating effects. We need to continue to disabuse ourselves of the fantasy that our political leaders have our best interests at heart and this idea that we live in totally free societies. They don't and we don't. We must stop granting power to those who abuse us and we need to reconsider the twisted belief that blatant partisanship is a useful tool in democracy. It isn't.

Before I move on to blogging about specific topics again - including the current implosion of the Canadian senate and the PMO - I'd like to leave you with this Russell Brand interview. Who knew the actor was such a revolutionary thinker? It's a must see.

Note: I need to upgrade my template to see if that will enable commenting. Stay tuned!

Done! New look and all...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Rest In Peace, Mr Layton

NDP leader Jack Layton lost his battle with cancer this morning. My condolences to his family and friends.

Here is a letter he wrote to Canadians on August 20, 2011:

Dear Friends,

Tens of thousands of Canadians have written to me in recent weeks to wish me well. I want to thank each and every one of you for your thoughtful, inspiring and often beautiful notes, cards and gifts. Your spirit and love have lit up my home, my spirit, and my determination.

Unfortunately my treatment has not worked out as I hoped. So I am giving this letter to my partner Olivia to share with you in the circumstance in which I cannot continue.

I recommend that Hull-Aylmer MP Nycole Turmel continue her work as our interim leader until a permanent successor is elected.

I recommend the party hold a leadership vote as early as possible in the New Year, on approximately the same timelines as in 2003, so that our new leader has ample time to reconsolidate our team, renew our party and our program, and move forward towards the next election.

A few additional thoughts:

To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don’t be discouraged that my own journey hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope. Treatments and therapies have never been better in the face of this disease. You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future. My only other advice is to cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey, as I have done this summer.

To the members of my party: we’ve done remarkable things together in the past eight years. It has been a privilege to lead the New Democratic Party and I am most grateful for your confidence, your support, and the endless hours of volunteer commitment you have devoted to our cause. There will be those who will try to persuade you to give up our cause. But that cause is much bigger than any one leader. Answer them by recommitting with energy and determination to our work. Remember our proud history of social justice, universal health care, public pensions and making sure no one is left behind. Let’s continue to move forward. Let’s demonstrate in everything we do in the four years before us that we are ready to serve our beloved Canada as its next government.

To the members of our parliamentary caucus: I have been privileged to work with each and every one of you. Our caucus meetings were always the highlight of my week. It has been my role to ask a great deal from you. And now I am going to do so again. Canadians will be closely watching you in the months to come. Colleagues, I know you will make the tens of thousands of members of our party proud of you by demonstrating the same seamless teamwork and solidarity that has earned us the confidence of millions of Canadians in the recent election.

To my fellow Quebecers: On May 2nd, you made an historic decision. You decided that the way to replace Canada’s Conservative federal government with something better was by working together in partnership with progressive-minded Canadians across the country. You made the right decision then; it is still the right decision today; and it will be the right decision right through to the next election, when we will succeed, together. You have elected a superb team of New Democrats to Parliament. They are going to be doing remarkable things in the years to come to make this country better for us all.

To young Canadians: All my life I have worked to make things better. Hope and optimism have defined my political career, and I continue to be hopeful and optimistic about Canada. Young people have been a great source of inspiration for me. I have met and talked with so many of you about your dreams, your frustrations, and your ideas for change. More and more, you are engaging in politics because you want to change things for the better. Many of you have placed your trust in our party. As my time in political life draws to a close I want to share with you my belief in your power to change this country and this world. There are great challenges before you, from the overwhelming nature of climate change to the unfairness of an economy that excludes so many from our collective wealth, and the changes necessary to build a more inclusive and generous Canada. I believe in you. Your energy, your vision, your passion for justice are exactly what this country needs today. You need to be at the heart of our economy, our political life, and our plans for the present and the future.

And finally, to all Canadians: Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world. We can be a better one – a country of greater equality, justice, and opportunity. We can build a prosperous economy and a society that shares its benefits more fairly. We can look after our seniors. We can offer better futures for our children. We can do our part to save the world’s environment. We can restore our good name in the world. We can do all of these things because we finally have a party system at the national level where there are real choices; where your vote matters; where working for change can actually bring about change. In the months and years to come, New Democrats will put a compelling new alternative to you. My colleagues in our party are an impressive, committed team. Give them a careful hearing; consider the alternatives; and consider that we can be a better, fairer, more equal country by working together. Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done.

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.

All my very best,

Jack Layton
Although I didn't always agree with the compromises he made with the Conservatives, there is no doubt that he was a passionate, tireless fighter leading a party that desperately needed to have its voice heard throughout the country to provide a strong counter-balance to the damaging rightward shift Canada has taken in recent years. He lent his energetic presence to the issues that matter to me: poverty, homelessness, the environment, maintaining universal health care, womens' issues and speaking out against war and torture. This is certainly a loss for the left.

The world is a bit more quiet today without Mr Layton in it.