Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fast Away the Old Year Passes

There have to be a ton of people looking forward to the advent of the new year in the hope it will be better than the one coming to an end. At this time, annually, we reflect on the state of the world and of ourselves and make resolutions to improve things. It seems that every new year starts that way, even the last one.

The peace of the world seems no more assured than it did this time last year. The searches for more 'security' at home and less peace elsewhere, are both up, now, from what they were  365 days ago. The world's 'trouble spots' in Asia are no more tranquil, just the opposite. And new areas of concern in Africa, for instance, have arisen over the course of he year - with war and threats of war, civil and religious strife breaking out in many places.

Christmas was a real 'blast' for some churchgoers,  bombs exploded in the Nigerian town of  Jos and in a Philippine church, and Iraqi Christians celebrated the season in what could be described as a fortified bunker. None of these were totally unexpected,  for religious 'problems'  have arisen in all three areas - and all three are loci of American 'influence'. The first as an 'oil producer' and 'study object' for the US Army's  AfCom, the second as part of the 'great war on terror' which has been going on there for 20 years and the third, which is self-explanatory on both counts.

As far as the 'war zones' go,  Afghanistan will continue in that sad plight at least until 2014, so no happy new years there for a while. Iraq is tranquil - if you don't count an on-going insurrection in the north east , a growing independence movement on the north west and recalcitrant bombers in the central areas. The US army garrison may not be directly involved on a daily basis, but the US Air Force still feels the need to fly as many tactical air missions over Iraq as it was doing while there was a 'real' war on.

Afghanistan  remains bloody as ISAF/NATO enters year 11 of trying to put 'the kibosh' on theTaliban. Military operations are in full swing all across the south, and in those parts of the west,  north and east where the Taliban have either reappeared, or have never gone away. This is accompanied with an even more massive bombing campaign - which is larger now, in terms of bombs dropped,  than the carpetbombing of the Hindu Kush that accompanied the original invasion. Most of this is aimed at destroying 'unoccupied compounds' to deny the Taliban,  or anybody else, winter shelter. Being they're 'unoccupied' means there are no civilian 'collateral damages'. At the same time, all across the country and especially in the 'secure' areas, there are  large scale, covert 'COIN' operations underway. These use US special forces  units, or Afghan SF units - some of dubious origin and purpose and the large number of 'private operatives' in the country. The jail population is presently at its greatest, ever. Even the communists didn't have as many people behind bars. Needless to say, the government remains largely ineffective outside the larger centres, and prisons, of course. The light in the tunnel has yet to appear, other than in perennially optimistic reports from the fighting forces.

Along with the man-made storm of wars, there are also those Mother Nature delivers.

 Christmas this year was marked by crowded transportation hubs notable for the numbers of people travelling, or, rather,  not travelling. Airports across eastern North America and western Europe have been shut my unexpectedly large snowfalls. That snow has also shut down land transportation and clogged cities which otherwise wouldn't have that particular experience. In the southern hemisphere massive rainfalls have flooded large areas of South America and Australia. Early season blizzards in America were so violent that deaths due to exposure were reported and people were stranded for days on closed highways. Many of these occurrences were in the 'of the century' classification. Spring-level flooding is now expected. If Al Gore was right, this can only get worse.

So 2010 rolls on into 2011 without much prospect of anything getting much better and few indicators that things could get much worse. Let's hope I'm wrong.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

St. Julian the Apostate

Julian Assange has certainly made a name for himself. Had he been equally as financially successful, he might have given the 'facebook kid' a run for Time 's 'Man of the Year' contest. But multi-billion dollarhood, especially the kind you 'promise' to give away when you're done with it, I guess,  trumps the altruism of just keeping people in the know.

Assange has been running a website called Wikileaks for almost 10 years now. Over that time it has featured a number of leaked documents and information on a number of topics, mostly inconsequential, and from a wide range of sources, mostly forgettable. Up until fairly recently, even posts that involved the US government - and there have been some notable ones on CIA operations -  didn't break many 'radar horizons', or at least any the general public heard about.

That all changed last summer when Wikilieaks aired some fairly dated imagery of an 'Apache' helicopter strike in Baghdad. This footage answered the questions asked after a journalist working for US media had been killed there three years ago. The media wanted to know what had happened. The military powers were, understandably, obfuscatory. The Wikilieaks release made it clear why. Even in the best light, the incident couldn't be seen as much other than an indiscriminate and deliberate killing of a number of Iraqi citizens under the most 'cocked-up' of circumstances. Even with that 'embarrassment', the 'fog of war' prevailed and the incident passed from view.

The next incident was the release of a number of after-action reports from US military units in Iraq.  Once again the microcosmic view of the war put the lie to any claims of  humanity in action. It was announced that Wikileaks had acquired a substantial database of such information and would be releasing it.

There followed another dose of 'sitreps' from Afghanistan that were no more positive than the previous round from Iraq. Another posting of further Iraqi 'sitreps' led to more embarassing revelations for the US  and the 'forces of democracy' at work. For one thing the unreleased information that as many as 50 000 of Iraqi civilians had been killed, than had been admitted by the military.  By now Assange was well into the public spotlight, as media sources in Britain, the US and Germany had undertaken to organize the flood of information. At this time the US started making noises about the 'dangers' of these leaks and the consequences for those involved.

In fairly short order a US Army soldier, Bradley Manning, was arrested and jailed for his alleged role in the leak. He was 'outed' by a chat line correspondent with whom he is supposed to have confided his misdeeds. No official charges have been laid against Manning, but he remains in solitary confinement in the hands of the US Marine Corps.

It was the further promise of the publication of a mass of diplomatic 'cables' that put Assange well outside the pale of US opinion. Residing temporarily in Sweden,  the expat Australian and now 'world-citizen', was highlighted in a number of media appearances and interviews. He claims his secretiveness is essential to his security. He is reputed to use no communications or devices that could be traced to place him. He lives like a third world dictator-on-the-run,  staying with friends and supporters and moving frequently, as well, apparently, as mooching on a 'royal scale'.

It was the mooching, perhaps, that led him into a new dimension of trouble. For when, we are told, he mooched accomodation with his female 'point person' in  Stockholm, and, later, train fare from another 'fan', the 'giving' progressed to that of a more intimate nature and finished with his being charged with rape, sexual assault and a number of  other 'personal' crimes.

He denies any wrong-doing, of course, but that hasn't stopped an Interpol arrest warrant and his incarceration, pending deportation, in Britain, for 10 days or so. He is currently  under house arrest pending further judicial action.

That there will be judicial action of some kind seems apparent, for he is 'bete noir' in a number of countries. He has been decried a 'traitor' in Australia, America and Great Britain. Calls for his execution/assassination have been mede by some people in high places. The Vice President of the United States wants him declared a 'terrorist'. That latter, no doubt, so the 'special' judicial processes, used to 'combat terror', might be used to 'shut him up'. The US would dearly love to have him a guest in Guantanamo. Although it's every bit as likely that any court in the US would convict him of, virtually, anything.

So Wikileaks are being blamed for a plethora of 'problems'. But in actuality the 'problems' exist independent of Wikileaks,  it's just that now they're 'out in the open'.  For if US diplomatic and other staff have negative considerations of foreign leaders they are willing to report to head office, those considerations remain founded in some substance, or not. If there is a 'problem' reported by Americans, placed to report them, Wikileaks only demonstrates what sort of things are reported. The 'problem' still exists, or existed.  Wikileaks didn't make these reports up. Publishing them could, would, or should have happened eventually. That somebody 'looks' bad, now, is no more caused by a leak, than it was when they were 'in action'  If they 'look' bad it's because they were bad, the same would be true with 'good' as a descriptor. That there are more bad stories than good ones may be a fact of life, but none of the good ones are being released, either. One would think that, if they existed, they would be, if only to counterract Wikileaks.

The latest American effort is to charge Assange with collusion or conspiracy to 'help' Brad Manning 'steal' those secret e-documents. Maybe that's why he hasn't been charged with any wrong-doing, yet. Assange's willingness to publish being seen as the greater 'crime' than appropriating the information in the first place. Brad Manning would have to 'testify' that Assange held his hand while he downloaded those files. If it meant a fixed sentence in a civilian jail as opposed to indeterminate solitary confinement in a Navy brig, I would. But even all this 'counter-conspiracy' smacks of more of the same 'badness' that's embarassing America now. It's just more fodder for Wikileaks.

Perhaps the most telling thing is that these threats to Assange are arising as Wikileaks prepares a tranche of banking memoranda. Who knows if the 'great banking collapse' of double ought nine actually transpired as it was reported, or if that, too, was another example of the screenwriters' art.

He's no angel, but the world needs more Assanges. He comes off  a lot more honest than the 'good guys'.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Airport Security? Fly Air Apparent.

One of the phenomena of our times in Airport Security, which now must be beginning to be the major employer at airports around the world. When some prognisticator of the future portended an exponential increase in Air Travel and massive growth in the aviation industry back in the late 70's, they weren't thinking of the 'security' aspect which, aside from an airport traffic detail, hardly existed at all.

The terrorist attacks on passengers at Lod and other airports were seen as dangerous anomalies rather than virtual certainties, but the notions of entering a strange new world at the airport were beginning to rise.

So the latest developments in the art of finding the needle in the traveling haystack have ordinary travelers lining up to have their most personal possessions scrutinized in an on-going effort to make all aboard 'feel' safer. I say that because common sense tells me that all 'security' also tells me is that  'you never know'. And that, dear friends, is at the root of all, because, if you'll never know, neither, obviously, will the experts.

When it comes to 'terror' we all must be on thorazine, or the security equivalent of it, for the only thing that has,apparently stopped terrorist-engendered air tragedy is the inability of those explosive experts to make an efficient explosive device. We have to remember that all our recent security 'successes' - the toning cartridge bombs, the sparking underwear bomb, the mix-a-liquid bomb and the ever-famous light-a-sneaker episode, had all made it past security and onto a jet full of people, or, in the first case, cargo. Getting past security wasn't the problem, getting the bomb to go off was. The case is also amply demonstrated by the fact that there have been no aircraft losses ascribed to terrorist action since 9/11. If those bozos could get on board, though, so could those who know what they were doing. So, as a conceptual construct, 'security' seems to be a lot of overkilll for very little actuality. Some would say that's good. It's actually reactive, rather than proactive and fundamentally stupid and  it's growing to become a feature of government expenditure as costs to do it continue to balloon.

But it's important. The traveling public want to be assured that it won't be the jet that they're on that develops an airborne problem. Or they'd quit traveling, see? Remarkable that in the 'bad old days' of air travel when downed aircraft were a regular feature of the news, that the numbers of traveling public actually continued to grow. In the 60's, the odds of you dying in a traffic accident were said to be greater than those of a similar fate while flying. And that was before the trillion passenger miles, crowded skies and 'jumboed' travel of to-day. Statistically, dying in an airliner has to be up there with getting trampled by a herd of emus. Dying in a terrorist-stricken aircraft would have those emus with painted toenails and breast implants. Flying authorities want to assure you that, although they can't stop a psychotic killer, an anti-bather, a medicated sleeper, a drunk or somebody carrying unbangi digititis from sitting beside you, if you have to subdue somebody shouting 'allahu akhbar' and trying to 'pull his wire', it's a hit of kismet. Whatever he did to get on that plane will not be done again - in spades.

The internet funny about a terror-proof airline where nobody wears any clothing isn't too far beyond belief. If that last guy hadn't had anything on, somebody theoretically would have noticed his explosive 'junk'and the detcord hanging off it. "Take yer stuff off while we take 'a looky'" is a lot cheaper than hitech scanners that somebody, who might at other times had a career in a box store, will 'interpret'. And, probably, a lot more effective, or not. For it's always the one that doesn't get noticed that gets ya.

Would the traveling public go for that? Checking in another hour early and wearing stuff that can tear off and velcro back on? In order to be sure they're not the first one killed when the guy beside them blows up, fer sure! Look what they're putting up with now.

But all this aside,  it's the mentality involved that's the real problem. If the dickhead who runs the US airport security apparatus - a snake oil salesman of the first water who uses all the jargon and catchphrases of the security industry, and such genuine 'nice folk' as Joe Biden and his wife, who showed up on Larry King to talk about the family,and Thanksgiving traditions and the current "real" threats Joe gets briefed about "every single day", are peddling this 'helping keep you safe' poison, well, it couldn't be all that bad.

Veep Biden, then, probably got briefed on the 'intel', probably derived from the questioning of somebody detained recently in the middle east, that Germany was on the hit-list hot-seat. The Germans went international with the news themselves last week. And then: 'kerwhammo'! They pull a bomb-laden suitcase off the loading ramp on a Gernany-bound jet at Windhoek, Namibia.

"Namibia" must have caused a flurry of atlas consultation and Googling at Fox News, but the true believers probably figured the name was close enough to 'arabia' to make that research moot. It's likely this story would have had longer panic stricken 'legs', but one of the investigators let slip that the the 'bomb' had a sticker on it claiming it was made by a company in California. It turned out the 'bomb' was, in actuality, a "security-testing device". But that won't stop some American bozo mentioning that the 'latest' terrorist bombs seem to be more sophisticated and professionally-made, probably in Iran.

PS: Nobody knows who dunnit. Or even how the test device made its way to Namibia. But 'Gipetto the bomb-maker', who runs small machine shop doing military contracting (ammunition) among other things, is offering his story  to the world press for $200 000. And access to 80year-old 'Granny', who assembled it, for few dollars more. That's free enterprise, which is, really, what the struggle against  terrorism is all about.

Friday, November 05, 2010

I Hear Them Presses Hummin', They's Rollin' off the Dough

Next week the G20 nations have another security exercise-cum-fancy luncheon in Seoul. The topic this time, as it was last time in Toronto, is what to do about getting the economic ball rolling again. And this time the focus will be on trying to get everybody 'onside' to do the same thing when  everybody is starting to make gestures that their situation is different/more serious/more deserving than anybody else's.

Harper the Debtless is calling for some concentric approach to monetary policy and exchange rates. This because big money seems to be prowling the earth in search of profit derived from currency fluctuations. Naturally such 'investments' are ephemeral in their effect - here one minute and sunk in another currency elsewhere, the next. Since the investment industry can't stop this from happening, governments have to take steps to minimize the effects..The first  minimization should be a flat 20 percent surcharge on all money going out of the country. That would slow the high rollers down a little and certainly slow down the foreign trade imbalance. But that would not be in keeping with the spirit of the 'free market' that caused most of these problems in the first place.

Hanging over all is the Damoclean sword of debt. Not everybody, thank goodness, has it,  but everybody is affected when the biggest economy on earth is raddled with it. It is that debt that is hamstringing the American recovery, and, perhaps, the cost of a war or three and  good old global domination, that adds to it daily. Like a fat, drunk uncle on a picnic hike, America's demanding a lot of support from the 'rest of the family'. Particularly in parts of the EU and elsewhere, where the good times were rolling along with those dud mortgages, the sword dangles equally menacingly. Some countries in Europe have America's problems in spades.

Naturally America sees China as it's biggest monetary problem. The Chinese have been buying US bonds and T bills for more than a decade, actually they been taking them in trade, and buying them with those greenbacks they get from the dollar stores. So now America wants to raise interest in, and hence the price of, those bonds. How they going to do that? Well, buster, just you hobble yer horse; they're going to print 500 billion in not-yet-existing greenbacks and buy their own bonds. So the banks that market the bonds will get another 'cash infusion', or in this case a "quantitative easing" -  to not loan money to people who can't borrow it because they have no job, or the rich who are going to risk it on the money markets, or just to pay out a few more dud mortgages. Obviously the undiscredited Chicago School of  'go big or go home' economics is still at the helm. They must really believe that Keynes got it all wrong about the inflationary effect of printing money that isn't directed to creating jobs.Apparently they aim to prove it.

What about China? China is letting its Yuan do a 'test float' with the market and  it has lost some value. I may have gotten a C- in econ 101, but it strikes me that a devaluing currency has the wrong effect on a trade deficit than the one  the mavens of Wall Street want. Shouldn't the Yuan be increasing its value against the buck? That would slow imports a bit and make buying back some of those T bills and bonds a little easier. But not if the Chinese think they're getting monopoly money. The inscrutable orientals aren't as stupid as they were once cracked-up to be and if the US thinks they'd like to take some inflato-bucks  for that reduced trade, Bernancke needs to get his earhair trimmed.

Monday, October 25, 2010

What's It All About Stevie?

This week among the more salient news of military victory and winning Afghan hearts and minds comes news that NATO has given the nod to President Karzai's senior council making negotiations with the Taliban. Maybe not the bitter-ender Taliban but the middle managers who have been so much in the laser designators of USAF drones. Not only that, we're now being told that both the US army and the CAF have been instrumental in granting safe passes to Taliban who want to go negotiate in Kabul.

I would imagine that the safe pass would also include passage to and from Kabul.

One could imagine how that particular aspect of the battle would play out. PsyOps broadcasts and airdropped leaflets letting those mid-level guys know that the high command was selling them down the river in return for safe harbor and a gas station in Kabool. Some salient statements at local jurgas about a 'free all-expernse paid trip' to Kabul to meet with government officials for some free flashlights and sneakers. The 'bus' leaving in a military convoy running the 'Taliban' representatives up to the capital. The real head honchos transported by chopper.

What one couldn't imagine is those representatives and commanders being allowed to walk around free for long, or not accidentally falling off the bus or out of the chopper. For what warrior worth his 'ethos' wants to talk his way out of the Afghan turkey-shoot? This is the best military fun since Grenada,  only with far more latitude to shoot things and bomb stuff. When this is over there'll be a lot more CIBs on blouses than there were coming out of Iraq, and for relatively little cost.

Besides that, with all the talk of successful operations, the talk of negotiations just re-whets the suckers' appetities for victory, along with the weird notion that all the waste has been 'worth it'.

Sad to think that this is just more unadulterated horsepellets and that next year there'll be another 'slant' on the 'saga' of what some are planning to be  an intergenerational war. It's just as true that the Taliban  can't defeat NATO as it is that NATO can't stop the Taliban. It's also true that, like all gamblers, the taxpayers of the west hate to realize their losses by giving up the dice. Where there's life, or the expenditure of trillions, they say, there's hope.

Making the Hard Harder

One of the major 'problems' facing the Canadian operation in Afghanistan is bringing five years worth of battle resources back from there. Canada has deployed a tank unit and an artillery unit along with the heavier equipment sent out:  the choppers, LAVs and other vehicles. Add to that the other paraphernalia required for waging modern war and the 'stand down' of Canada's warrior contingent, slated for 2012,  and the time-line involved for a Canadian withdrawal, assumes some notable proportions. Until last week, that was.

Last week a zit that had been in formation for a year or so came to head in the form of a nasty boil that popped, stopping Canadians from using Base Mirage - the military staging area in the UAE. "Wha happen?", as Desi Ricardo used to say.

Well to make a short story, the Canadian Ministry of Transport refused to grant an extension of landing rights to Emirate Airlines, who foolishly thought they might extend their direct flight services to Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver. Air Canada complained to the government that, although they aren't interested in direct flights to Dubai, the Arabs would be 'stealing' some of their custom - mainly the travellers who like to stage into and out of the middle east through a European stopover and change of carrier, or more specifically traveller who have to 'stage out' of Toronto or Montreal after arriving on Emirate.

The Dubaians took this Conservative negativity with some opprobrium and told the Canadians they could close Base Mirage, which had been running since 2001. To make the point clearer, the day they made the announcement, the Emirates also told the CAF flight carrying the CinC and the MofD to find another way home, forcing their flight to divert to Italy. Canadian flights are no longer welcome in Emirati air space. If we're lucky, they won't cancel the two weekly flights they do have flying into Toronto. The DoD has been in the habit of ferrying the honour flights of grieving families out to Kandahar for a photo opportunity on the first class A380 flights run by Emirate. Canadian business types, and government VIPs are also fond of the first-class amenities on the long haul to Dubai. But the fey blades running ther PMO wouldn't know much about that and wouldn't need to ask. Now somebody has arranged to jack the cost of Canada's military un-deployment, possibly sky high.

Talk now is of a withdrawal through the Ukraine or the friendly skies of Russia. Both those will require some high intensity diplomatic activity. There is no reason, given Mr. Harper's  bragadoccio and bombastic defense of North American air space from Russian Bison, that the Russians will want to give him a break on costs. The Ukrainians might, but he hasn't done much for them lately, either. The Georgians should, but in this case they're in the 'useless tit' department. I'm surprised he's not asking for Israeli help. But the Russians probably have a problem with their Ruslans landing there. And that's another story.

I mentioned those tanks? The ex-Dutch Leopard II's that have marked the annals of our recent military history with all their air-conditioned direct fire on Taliban targets? You can bet your bippy they weren't Taliban tanks, probably not even taxis or motorscooters, either. More in the nature of those notorious Taliban 'compounds' needing a new doorway, or the even more ubiquitous Taliban mountains. As a matter of fact, there has been precious little press on the exploits of the armored, so I'd bet they've been laid-up around Base Kandahar with come nifty paint jobs for the photo ops. But I digress. Those tanks required the use of Ruslans to get them out there. As did some of the same kind of helicopters we deployed to help the Myanmar floods a couple of years back. They wouldn't fit into a CF-17. Given that this process will be more rushed than the deployment, more Ruslans will have to be rented.

It would be interesting to see what the Ruslan rentals have cost us since we got our 4 heavy lifters. I'm sure the latter will be of some use for something, unless they're tasked to ferrying Mounties into Haiti.

It's a good thing that Canadians have full confidence in their Conservative govermint, for running a war on terror and for tough negotiations over airports and landing rights. They can make us look a lot more stupid than we actually are, but we know the Liberals could be, and the socialists would be, worse. Maybe they'll change their stupid minds this time.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Inmates are the Asylum and the Meds have been Stoled

Canadians being fair, open and honest, have always stood up for the little guy unless it's Friday night at the bar and we're standing on the little guy. But generally we like to make others happy and so, in the past couple of weeks, we tried, or at least some of courts tried, to do that.

First it was a ruling that a dependency on street drugs was an illness, the same as a dependency on alcohol. No longer should spending one's time stoned be viewed as any kind of choice. No! Finding yourself stoned is something bad that happens to people. And finding yourself so stoned, so long, that you have to live on the street and beg money to get stoned is not only degrading, it's a symptom of disease. Working on the principal that nobody in their right mind would deliberately do things like that, the judge might have a point. Except that crazy people don't need  drugs to get a different perspective and often seek treatment to ameliorate the one they have. Drug problems don't originate in disordered mind, drug problems cause disordered minds. So, in order to help, the courts are ruling that individuals with drug and alcohol addiction should be covered by the 'disablity' provisions of  the Canadian Pension Plan. This boon will come as a relief to those trapped and under cardboard and cheap wine in the streets and, as a challenge, to that segment of society that would prefer to make do with 'less' so they can do nothing but smoke, eat and watch TV all day. Get yourself FUBARed and never have to work a day in your life, what a bright prospect for the young!

This is in a province that started off giving 'free' dope to 600 addicts and parlayed that into tens of thousands of methadone dependents in the medical system.

Another nail in the coffin of social sanity is a second judicial ruling that struck down Canada's laws regarding prostitution. Until the ruling itself is overruled in a higher court, or until new legislation is drafted, it's going to be a 'happy time' for those who make money off the Sex Trade. That may not necessarily be true for those who make a living off the sex trade, the ones who actually have to put-out for strangers. But for now the bordello can make a come-back, and what happens in massage parlours won't necessarily merit police raids any more. The world's oldest 'victimless' crime can get hi-balling! No longer will hookers be restricted from travel - all those gals from Moldova and Bulgaria, the Philippines and Hong Kong looking for a new start in Canada won't have to lie about being 'dancers' or 'domestics'. We're going to make 'nudes of all nations' a reality at last! As they say in French quarters, 'laissez les bon temps roulez!'

All that's necessary now is for that disability clause of the CPP to be applied to the sex trade. That would enable no one to have to screw for a living.  But I'd bet it would be as successful as giving alcoholics some free drinks or allowing druggies to risk blowing their rent money on dope.

Moaning and Weeping in this Valley of Tears

Well mostly moaning, for you won't see a real conservative weeping. When you're right, there's nothing to cry about. But that hasn't stopped Stevie Wonder and the gang who run the Great White North Inc from feeling blue that 'nobody likes Canada' at the UN. After 6 years of acting like assholes and backing the 'greatest force for good on earth', no matter what stupidity it decided to do, Canada's UN reps are all depressed that their 'trade trinkets' of maple syrup and Avril Lavigne posters didn't garner them a podium spot at the Security Council.

So to-day it's called, 'We gotta blame somebody and it sure as hell ain't us." The somebody in question, why that would be the United StaKes of America, of course. Not that they blackballed anybody - like back when somebody nominated that evildoer Chavez. It more like they failed to 'go to bat' for the good guys - like the time when they bankrolled Guatemala to get that seat away from the evildoer Chavez. Yes, the dirty Dems in Washington wouldn't countenance a voice of sanity at the Security Council and allowed the Portugese (weren't they in the slave trade at one time?) to win. And those Portugals weren't even passing out the Madiera! They were just acting like it didn't matter and hadn't lined up written committments from most of the General Assembly, and verbal comments from the others who aren't communists or anti-semites, or nothing. And THEY WON????

Quelle embareassment as 'they' say in Shawinigan.

I'm inclined to think that there was witchcraft involved. Like how could so many committments change their minds? It could only have been a spell cast by that US ambassatrix Ann Rice. When you write books about vampires, maybe you shouldn't be sitting in the UN. It's remarkable that she bears such a strong resemblence to Condoleeza Rice, must be that shape-shifting.

Larry Canyon, ambassadeur deluxe and foreign minister, tells a funny tale about rice. Once when a lad at UCC, he had the occasion to be involved in some hijinks before vespers with a rather wealthy individual - whom we'll nickname "Spanky" and the only person of the coloured persuasion at UCC, other than one of the janitors, whom we'll recall, as he was called, "Buckwheat". Now it just so happened that the pre -vesper pillowfight was underway in quarters when things got a little out of hand. At the end of some rough and tumble when Spanky was applying some hearty noogies to the back of Buckwheat's cranium, he happened to remark " EEEEW, Buckie you've got rice in your hair!"

It was simultaneously observed that these weren't rice, they were nits and that Buckwheat had 'cooties'. Well, Spanky, let up and ran for the showers, as did most of the other protagonists. What followed was a protracted session of scrubbing and shampooing that Larry admits has coloured his perspctive to this day. And that is why he wasn't getting too close to 'Vampirella', or giving her any Maple syrup either, after all the Americans bought that industry, too, some while ago.

We won't even mention the Africans, or Asians or those hook-nosed relations of the Chosen People who didn't vote for us. We did get the nod from Israel, and Georgia. We're pretty sure the Haitians voted for us and the Colombians as well. Surely to goodness our NATO allies would have cast their ballot our way. With all the friends we've got, it's going to be hard to figure out just who backstabbed us.

But you have to admire Steve's perspective, as he whistfully tickled 'Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella' out of the ivories he vowed to stay the course, to be the same old asshole we've all come to respect, and pilot the ship of state, onward, to sunlit uplands.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Right Hand Knoweth not What the Left Hand Scratcheth

Hardly has fey blade Guy Giorno left the Prime Minister's Office than the caca whacks into the big turney thing. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Larry Cannon, who had been involved for months with Emirate and Etihad Airlines negotiating extended landing rights at Canadian Airports, took the side of Air Canada that such an extension was 'bad for business' and promptly got Canada kicked out of its middle east supply base in Dubai.

The eviction was so sudden that the Minister of Defence, the CinC and the Veterans Affairs Minister found themselves having to fly on to Rome when a planned stop at Base Mirage was panned by the Emiris. The three had been winging it back home for Thanksgiving when the Emirates terminated their air transit rights.

Now the mlitary has 27 days to get their crap out of town. So that means the Ukrainians are going to make a bundle (again) renting us some Ruslans to transport the material to a new supply base in Cyprus or Turkey. Well, what the hey, we were planning to pull out of 'Mirage' anyway. The contract with the Emirates had been allowed to lapse back in June.

But talk about ungrateful, eh? After DoD has spent all that money flying grieving families, and VIPs, out to the middle east 'staging area' on their way to Kandahar, first class on the 'deluxe'  Emirate Airlines A380's. You'd think all that business would be worth more than mere 'skywards points'. But then Emirate is the only airline, including our flagship Air Canada, flying direct from AbuDhabi to Canada. As such,  it already attracts more than its share of  flying customers - i.e. anybody wishing to avoid an extra stop in Europe. And with what 27 000 Canadians residing in the Emirates - why not? Duty free is as cheap, or cheaper, than in Europe anyway, as is the cost of the ticket.

But where does that leave our soldiers - whose every Joe and Louis, not to mention all the other military unmentionables, have to come through Mirage, or some awkwardly busy US base? Well, not to  fear, says the DoD. All those frozen Timbits are already being routed through Akrotiri or Dhekelia anyway. From there it's just a short whiz across Turkey, and a couple of former Russian -stans before jetting over the Pamirs into sunny Kandahar. Hardly take a gallon more of Avgas. And, besides, those Cypriots have soft spot for Canuck 'peacekeepers', especially the drunk kind, decompressing with some combat pay in their pocket. A fellow can have a high time with those Moldavan tourist gals or sun-worshipping Baltic types, unless, he gets punchy and upsets their Cypriot 'boyfriends'. There's been more than one Canuck run afoul a Cypriot slammer after a little post-roto celebration.

So if it's no problem for the military, why should it be a problem for anybody else, eh? If the soldiers aren't complaining, why should those who have so much pre-paid freedom? Well,  maybe it's because this is just how Steve Harper and his gang of merry idiots operate, by pissing people off. Sure it's ok to do that in Canada, liberals deserve it anyway. But when you start pissing off people in other parts of the world out of pure stupidity, well where does that end? **It might just mess-up your plans to put a Canadian ass in the catbird seat at the Security Council. Multicultural inclusivity aside, Canada has developed a reputation that aligns it with what is considered, by some, to be the only 'force for good' in the world. So that means many of  those other 'little' voters at the UN are going to blackball you on principle.

As if getting blackballed by AbuDhabi isn't blackballing enough.

** Like psychotic or what? It was just announced that Canada is 'giving up' its effort to gain a seat on the Security Council. This would have been the first time in 50 years that Canada has sat on that body. Harper invested two speeches at UN forums and sent Larry Cannon to New York to schmooze up some support. I would imagine that the Abu Dhabi kerfluffle has put paid to the bumming about a Canadian in the president's chair next year. Sort of reminiscent of the doofus who 'owned the mountain', and the doofi who 'owned the podium', at last year's Olympics. Gotta love those Tories, they're all talk, as long as there's a buck in it.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Here They Go Again

In the words of Ronnie Reagan who put the kibosh on that silly old democrat Carter's stab at middle east peace, "There he goes again!"

The latest silly old democrat in the White House is trying to resuscitate a process started more than twenty years ago. In the meantime a lot of water has flowed under the Allenby Bridge, enough to sink the current process for a long time to come.

To begin with, in the dim days of yore, there hadn't been any antifadas, the Buchenwald of the present, no terrorist bombs at pizzerias or on buses to pose an existentialist threat to Israelis. There have been since, and the current 'boogey' is rockets - ranging from home-made skyrockets to the latest product of Iranian rocket factories (or so we're told).

Iran wasn't a problem back then, either but to-day we're being told it's problem number one - there can't be peace in Palestine with Iran un-chastened. Iran hadn't become Jimmy's nightmare, and Ronnie's election winner,  when Begin met Arafat at Camp David for the kick-off. But Iran is Benny Netanyahu's big 'bug-a-boo' and Iran won't let  Abu Mazen quietly sell-off the 'birthright' of some Palestinians to get a quick deal with Israel.

That 'deal' with Israel has transmogrified too. Whereas, back in the old days, the Israelis might have been inclined to 'give back' most of the west bank and shared access to part of Jerusalem to a Palestinian 'tribal homeland' in return for peace. Now, it has settled most of the high ground in the West bank and any part of Jerusalem is now 'off the table'. Peace isn't the target any more - it's having a nation of pacified 'step'n fetchits' to do the dog work or, preferably, to have them all gone; replaced with Thai workers and Belarussian au pairs. What's being offered to some Palestinians is a ' cash buy out' and some nice property in the Negev. Some Palestinians, because most Palestinians are going to get nothing beside the opportunity to cram into a smaller 'homeland' than they have now. And refugee Palestinians are going to get nothing at all save a future in those squatter camps or emigration to other parts of the world. Hey, look what a diaspora did for the children of Israel, nu?.

Another large 'fly in the oinkum' is the HAMAS organization. When Jimmy met Anwar and Menachem there wasn't any HAMAS. FATAH and Yassir ruled the Palestinian roost and Arafat was on his way to shedding a terrorist image,  much as Menachem had, to reach statesman level. In the interim, after what were seen to be failed exercises in liberation, with a PLO getting fat and sluggish on UN and Israeli money, the Palestinians largely voted them out of office after Arafat died. It was only some timely Israeli police intervention that held the West Bank.Gaza 'went' and, after the settlers had left nothing behind when they were removed , it would take some on-going military action to keep Gaza under control. Even a US-inspired police action went awry when Hamas stole a convoy load of munitions  intended for FATAH security that the Israelis had carelessly allowed into Gaza. Whatever deal AbuMazen buys would have to be sold in Gaza. But as with Iran, Israel and the US will do their darnedest to isolate HAMAS in Gaza. Bottom line, it would have to be an outstanding deal for Abu Mazen to be 'bought' in the west Bank, either - or there's another wave of Palestinian refugees on the way.

Personally, I don't think Netanyahu will risk what his daddy thinks about him, by making peace with anybody. If he's successful it will be at the expense of Iran, which, he will claim, has to be removed as a precondition to any peace settlement. To get FATAH and the US on-side he's apt to say that everything from east Jerusalem to a return of all refugees is 'on the table',  but there'll be no discussion until the mullahs in Teheran have no teeth, or voice.

Obama is just letting himself in for a great disappointment. But he will have a 'Tony Blair opportunity' to 'do the right thing' by blasting Iran first. Then he'll get to see how Mr. Netanyahu works. We all will, too, if we're still here.

Can ya smell  ARMAGEDDON?

Monday, August 23, 2010

That Does It - I'm monetizing

To-day's Toronto Star tells the tale of a reformed pervert who made $100 000 last year making videos of like-minded individuals reconnecting with their inner Peter Pan by driving home-made 'stunt vehicles' around his farm. It appears he was sole owner, producer, etc of a UTube 'hit', or rather something that got  thousands of them. So many that UTube paid him a great deal of money for his uploads.

The Star seems to have dropped the story. here's a different reference:

But it seems that somebody who saw his stuff remembered him from the bad old days of early videography. Seems that Farmer Brown was in on the ground floor of digital imaging and directed the all-revealing lens to a couple of fey blades he conjured into a bout of Onanism. He claims that his as-yet-undiagnosed manic-depression was the cause of his reaching out to fondle some flopping 'genitools' - again on camera. That got him a conviction for child molestation, for he was 26 at the time and the pud-pullers were still too young to be doing that for a living. Some of those who knew him then, are expressing concern that young men might be attracted to his 'rides' and leave themselves open to other 'experiences', if Farmer Brown is still bent in that former direction.

For his part,  Brown is 'coming clean' at this juncture so that  he can improve his chances of being reunited with his 'estranged children' . That's a laudable sentiment, if not a little bit late, but probably due to that lithium deficiency. He didn't say what estranged them. It strikes me that you have to be doing something a little off-side of the centre spot to be having your children 'estranged' from you. Courts these days are quite understanding, even if there is mental illness at play, unless it's the kind that results in some physical violence or abuse.

I'd be concerned that Farmer Brown seems to see a value in running a place with the motto 'Where boys become men, and men become boys'".

All this has given me pause to consider that one can actually pull down a six-figure income slapping some videos on the internet - which explains some of the stuff that bubbles up from time to time, and that 'asshole craze' that made some young idiots wealthy endangering themselves. Maybe there's a place for scruffy curmudgeon barging about the vicissitudes of life. Nope, I understand somebody from Yonkers - with a wife beater over his beer gut -  has that spot nailed shut.

Maybe I'll monetize this stuff, with the audience I've got  I'll be wealthy in another lifetime.

Dudley Strikes/Struck Again

Canada's best loved icons, barring Bucky the Beaver or some of those 'commando' fiddlers from down-east, have dropped themselves in the doo-doo of hubris once again.

This time Canada's singular police force, cum intelligence service, cum embassy guards battalion, cum only cavalry unit, are being pasted in the press for their interference with, and kiboshing of,  the investigation of wee Willie Picton, the pork farmer of Port Coquitlam. It seems that the 'people in red', either ignored the information presented by other police, or dragged their feet on their own investigation enough to allow Willie to ply his trade in up to 30 additional cases of  'rendering'.

willie gets porked

As one policeman testified at the investigation "You can't tell the RCMP anything, they know it all." Well he's sort of half right, being as since they know it all already, it's far better to drop them a few hints and allow them to use the skills acquired from King of the Mounties and Sgt. Preston of the Yukon, to come up with the facts for themselves. For anything anybody else might 'know' isn't worth a bridle full of horse saliva to 'those with real horse sense'. It's a good idea to steer clear while they pursue their 'investigations', too.

Bummer is that the Picton investigation went the same way as some other Mounted investigations - i.e. south. This leads one to believe that 'investigating' isn't their strong suit and might be fodder for an different government enterprise - like a Federal Bureau of Investigation, say? On the upside, these 'fodder' spin-offs, like CSIS, are fields for applied Mountyism - places where retiring red coats  can go to be with others who share the esprit, if not the big hat. It doesn't dawn on anybody that making incompetent ex-Mounties the head honchos in some equally important services isn't just letting them breed more of those like unto themselves? That Mountie 'culture' is going with them and this inquiry  points out, again,  that the 'culture' is at the root of the force's problems. It's stopping them from doing their jobs.

So what is to be done? Well changing the 'hetman' didn't work. The 'cossacks rouges' took three years to discover he was a 'pouf' and to work up the gumption to say something about it. They probably weren't in favour of any substantive changes either, especially if it involved not considering themselves commanding the bestest and smartest - if not the most best-looking police in the world. Even then,  they went puling to the Minister, himself a wanker of the first water, before ultimately leaking their tale of woe, anonymously, to the press. Nobody wanted to fall on their cavalry lance and risk a pension for the good of  the force. That there are ponces running the government who are trying to run 'the mounted', is only coincidental.

I think the only way out of the mess, aside from letting them carry on in the 'fine tradition', etc,  is to turn them into a latter day Corps of Commissionaires. Keep the uniforms, they're sharp. But put them where they won't be doing any harm, like at holding doors at public events and citizenship courts, decorating foreign affairs soirees and ambassadorial banquets, checking the bona fides of visitors at Parliament Hill and in the opposition parties' caucus rooms. As far as training foreign police services, well, unless they would like a mounted performance unit - and a lot of places would like one of those,  like the red indians, cossacks or the bashi-bazouks, the Khyber Rifles and the Spahis - lots of opportunities. The Mounties, however, shouldn't be teaching anybody about investigating.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Up to the Neck in It

The monsoons weren't kind to Pakistan this year. The 'rainy' season caused notable damage in a lot of places. It might give pause to consider more of that 'extremes of weather' stuff Al Gore was pontificating about, if 'right thinking' individuals weren't convinced that extreme weather happens all the time. But I digress. It's not so much that the monsoon, this year, created a mess, it's the effect of that.

Pakistan is a unique country running from the Himalayas in the north, generally downhill to the south-west to the Indian ocean. And that is how the monsoon took it. Beginning with heavy rains in the mountainous north-east provinces, the mountain streams and rivers rapidly swelled their banks. The deluge swept away villages and left survivors stranded on high ground without food or shelter. It was almost a week before we, in the west, started hearing stories of the devastation. Among the first were that the 'taliban' were "taking advantage" of the situation by aiding those affected and that the Pakistani government had no resources nearby to help. Subsequent stories told of floods spreading to the central parts of the country, of dams washing away and again thousands stranded with no help. By that time NATO (the US ) had diverted six helicopters from Afghanistan - these were promptly grounded by bad weather - and the Pakistanis were diverting military helicopters to rescue work. Aside from that, it was noted that western aid was not arriving in any great quantity.

In the west, the story of the Pakistani floods received the same attention as the Chinese floods, or the Mexican floods, very little at all. The President of Pakistan, on a sort-of royal progress around the family estates in France actually got more press for nay-saying the war in Afghanistan. That 'normal' outburst of generous  appealing,  pledging and sending off airlifts of aid seen in other recent disasters just didn't happen this time. Just the opposite in fact - the 'where are all the muslims'  chorus went up.

Along with it was the tooth-sucking about the effect on the war - that the 'taliban' had somehow not been affected by the flood and were 'on the road' to taking back all the areas the government had destroyed fighting them for the past two years. The weather was even taking a toll on the drone strikes which only managed to kill a half company of insurgents. And there was expressed the fear that those nasty 'Talies' would be taking any resources given to the flood victims, so best not to give them anything at all. Let the taliban feed them from their ration dumps. Actually, this is a close to the truth as you're going to get, for those people ARE the 'Taliban', all of them. Now they're wet, cold, out in the open and they have nothing to eat but their kalashikovs, so it's a golden opportunity to put the kibosh on the insurgency with some benign neglect or 'grub for actionable intel' program.

Now the flooding is reaching into the more 'advanced' areas of the Pakistani south and, at last, the clarion call to assist is being blatted quietly. America, as usual, is leading the pack with a promised 100 million in humanitarian aid. Even Canada has 'promised' 33 million - but that's probably money we had already promised and I wouldn't count on a dime until the cheque gets cashed. Our Conservative government is big on letting the little guy pay first and then forgetting to cut the cheque themselves. We haven't heard yet from Franklin Graham's international 'ministry', but maybe they've got their hands full and warehouses emptying, getting Haiti ready for more of the same old, same old but with the real American Jesus and less of that MauMau juju papist stuff. Muslim organizations are mobilizing to send help, at least the ones that haven't been placed on the international blackball of terror list. This is where those 'sanctions' really start paying-off! Too bad it wasn't as wet in Iran. Maybe next time.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Canada's Shreiking Meemie

I just read a piece in the Toronto sun about Khadr, the Canadian child-mujaheddin who has been growing into adulthood in Gitmo for the last 8 years. The writer of the piece, one Ezra Levant, wonders why anybody could be feeling the least bit bad about Khadr since, according to Levant, he's been the recipient of all things good while he's been staying in that Caribbean workers' paradise. Levant would have us believe he's been molly-coddled, not only by overly kindly guards who attend zealously to his religious strictures in regard to prayer and feeding, but by the Canadian government's department of foreign affairs who send him regular "care packages" at taxpayer expense along with goodies provided by an admiring family. This little terrorist has had too many treats.

Levant describes the idyllic life  of  Khadr and his ilk, with opportunities for exercise, if they wish, and expensive high-fashion athletic footware, but also nintendo and electronic time-wasters laid on by caring Marines. No doubt he's an accomplished 'killer' at "COD5 Modern War".

How all this is known unto Ezra is probably due to his exposure to 'Fox-think' in the bastion of freedom. To round-off his little piece, Ezra spits out one last sunflower shell in the form of the arcane knowledge that the IEP that killed the first Canadian to die in Afghanistan was assembled by another 'child-terrorist'. How does he know that? The man is truly amazing.

How did Ezra get to be so smart, you might ask. Well, that was due to his upbringing. Ezra is the grandchild of Russian Jewish emigrants who homesteaded out to the Canadian west to find a new life. Whatever their new life was about, Ezra managed to attend Jewish school  and later took his degree in law from  the U. of Alberta. At a young age he developed a negative sensitivity for those who might get an easier (free?) ride due to their 'special' circumstances. This offended Ezra so much that he led the charge to overturn some civil rights and equal-opportunity nonsense the university had started. Ezra became a poster-boy for the reactive right. Lashing out to restore a sense of real social value and the natural aristocracy of the smart.

This led Ezra to configure himself as a 'conservative thinker' - he dislikes anything 'special' - like unions, Quebec, or anything east of Winnipeg. He wants government to get rid of those hindrances to progress - like the minimum wage, universal health care, public pensions and subsidized education. Ezra might very well hallucinate that Canada could add 10 new stars to the 'spangled banner' not to mention a few territories and a whole whack of cheap resources that the 'talented' could better manage in lieu of the socialists. One might almost think he aspires to join the constellation of holy hebrews who wag the dog in Washington. Along with all this arcane baggage, Ezra holds a little bit of a hate for such as Khadr.

It could be because of all the free medical and dental care he has received at Gitmo. It could be because Khadr's family have piled on the Canadian haywagon much as did gran-bubbi, only with far more public assistance (an unnecessary social innovation in them days) . Or it could be that Khadr's gotten all this notice and press about being the youngest terrorist to be 'tagged' by America. Or, finally, it could be that Khadr seems, to this point, to be a far more sympathetic character than some pudgy prick of a western lawyer. At least Khadr had the moxie to bounce back from a USAF bomb strike, a SF assault and three of their best in his back. Not only that, cheeky bugger, he had the fearful temerity to, reputedly, toss a hand grenade that, supposedly, killed a "medic" and all-round nice-guy and dad who happened to be in the assault squad that day.

To Levant, this is all chapter and verse - even though there are members of the assault squad who deny the 'conventional wisdom' of the 'action report' - twice written and filed months late. Khadr is guilty because he was caught on a video tape miraculously found on the battlefield afterward, and because he 'fessed-up' to 'friendly' American guards, one of whom was discharged for beating an innocent Afghan taxi-driver to death. Levant is right only in saying, in his blog, "Canada's little terrorist is as good as done."

Khadr can't not be found guilty - there's an empire at stake.

If there's anything that we shouldn't be 'crying' for Khadr about,  it is that he has such antagonists as Ezra Levant. I'd like to think that when Khadr thinks of his God taking revenge on his persecutors that he's thinking of assholes like Levant. We should be crying for ourselves, for, all too often, that 'revenge' falls on the innocent, not the bigmouths who might truly deserve it.

Friday, August 06, 2010

No Honour Among Thieves: Buyers and Sellers Either

One of  Toronto's more picaresque attractions are the TV advertisements by those who offer "cash for gold". There are two in particular Russell Oliver - who's been a provider of chintzy TV ads for a number of years, and a recently independent protege, one Harold the Jewelry Buyer. There are others,  a mail-in-your-old-jewelry-and-we'll-cut-you-the-cheque outfit and, apparently, the subject of this story.

It strikes me that societal circumstances must have reverted to a previous time when 'jewelry buyers' and pawn shops are becoming more noticeable (and reputable?) again. There is now a series on the A&E channel about a pawn family in Las Vegas - some of whose members bear a striking resemblance to other more notable 'bounty-hunting' and chopper-building' dynasties, or to the Munsters of comedic fame.

What's  humorous in all these is their stereotypicality. 'Dog, the Bounty Hunter' his blowsy missus, his tatted and pigtailed trailer-trash progeny are one-ers. As are the mustachioed and muscle-bound biker building family - except for the one overweight 'nerd' among them. These are modern-day replacements for the 'rasslers' of past times. The 'pawners' are larger than life too, with a coterie of experts and advisors who look like the came straight from a Bob Crumb comic. And no less are Russell the "Loan arranger" Peters (Oliver) and Harold the Schmuck.

Oliver has been around longer than the other, but longevity hasn't improved him, or apparently, his service. Here's one of his ads:

Russ Oliver has some bad press for his attempted rip-offs and apparently lousy 'bedside manner'. He did however raise Harold to manhood, or at least the position to want to go it alone. Harold doesn't have the flash, but he does an outstanding rendition of Shylock. Here's one of his efforts:

One could imagine somebodies  like Harold, or Russell being in the Temple courtyard the day Jesus 'lost it'.

To-day's story  puts a another  slant on things. There aren't enough people peddling granny's old adornments, or there are too many buyers jacking up the price, for these guys. And so we have equally colorful 'extreme fighters' claiming to be hired to knock-off the opposition - by Granny of all people! You can't buy advertising like that.

It really isn't surprising when one considers that Bathurst Street in Toronto, once the quaint heart of a little shtetl, has grown like a beanstalk that extends Toronto's Judenrat for some 40 miles through the city and out into the hinterland.  Not much in the 'news' about it, but Toronto's Jewish community has grown, obviously as quickly,  if not far more prosperously, than some of the others. Russell and Harold are part of a 'vibrant' religious and socio-economic scene, even if they do from time to time want to kill each other. The 'schwarzers'  do that with striking regularity.

The High cost of Plantation

An article in the Toronto Star yesterday caught my attention, it was titled "Funeral Homes Subsidizing Services for the Poor". Being the altruist that I am and having gone through the funeral process fairly recently, this act of corporate largesse just grabbed me. But I'm working on the principle that nothing makes a funeral home sadder than to sit empty, and any funeral is better for business than no funeral.

It seems that local funeral homes in Toronto are 'up against the wall', cost-wise, in providing a ]decent] funeral for the 'poor', for less than $5 500. They want the City to up the basic rate for a 'paupers' funeral from $2 208 to cover that amount. Last year they claim to have 'lost' millions on the 1 600  'freebies' they 'had to' give those who died while on social assistance, or disability pensions.

Needless to say, most of those funerals were of the 'full service' type because there were 'family' involved. I'm making an assumption here, but I'd guess none of the 'family involved' were in a position to actually pay anything toward the costs themselves?

So what's included? Because the family must be  'respected'  here. "Most get pickup, embalming, a particleboard casket covered by grey cloth with white rayon interior, a service, clergy honorarium, a hearse, “lead car” and limo for family, and burial or cremation." If the cost for that is $5 500 + tax, then the $13 000 paid for a recently deceased relative must have been increased by more than double - the extra costs of 'viewing', 'deluxe' coffin and a grave liner.

Under legislation,  municipalities are "allowed"  to cover these costs with 80% being supplied by the province. This for families who are "unable to bury a loved one as they would like".

Strikes me that one of the effects of  'poverty' is not being able to do a lot of things you would like. But having a funeral 'show' for an indigent family member, on the public tick, I don't think should be one of them. I guess the same problem of not having the foresight to realize that you can't not work and expect the grocery man to drop a load at the door, carries over into the realization that we are all finite and the day will come when our carcass, or dear old dad's,  must be disposed.  That a whole 'family' (for I'm making an assumption that this wouldn't get done for the sake of a surviving parent, brother, sister or cousin) couldn't work together to bury their dead, is a sad commentary on to-day's world. But then, if they did that, they'd probably get charged the going rate. The costs of those 'basic' funeral services, which aren't available to the paying public, would be heftily inflated. If somebody else is going to pay for it, why volunteer? And I don't think the funeral industry is being too altruistic either.

One thing most funeral directors in business aren't, is stupid. That variety don't stay in business long. So I'm imagining that, like many businessmen who 'give to charity', funeral homes put some of those 'operating expenses' over to those who can pay, or as a 'business expense' against taxes, or maybe a bit of both. I would also imagine that, depending on location, some funeral homes would get more of the 'pauper' trade than others. And the subsidy, then, would constitute a business hardship, in terms of a lack of higher 'regular' rates than those funeral homes get, who only bury the well-heeled. So the problem wouldn't be industry-wide, or equitably distributed.

Why, then, the necessity for government involvement? The funeral business has a number of internal organizations to which individuals can belong, and for a number of purposes. Why don't they fund an insurance plan to cover those increased basic costs for the few (?) affected? Just because the government undertakes to provide the necessities of life to those unable to do so for themselves doesn't make it a logical follow-up that government should provide the industry standard in funerary practices too. 'Bury the dead' is a corporal work of mercy enjoined on all, but in our neo-pagan society this religious tenet has been parlayed into a social event, with concommitent opportunities for the ultimate 'show', which, in the industry, is the icing on the monetary cake. Poverty defines a limit on the amount of that

The government shouldn't be in the business of providing more than the 'paupers' funeral'. If  'the family'  want more, they should plan for it, and save for it or, as so many others do, go into debt for it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

When It's Summer in the Rockies

The national guardians are at it again. After pulling off a brilliant eclat at the Winter Olympics and an interesting riposte at the recent Ontario summits, the RCMP have begun to look inward. and what they see, they don't like. Well, not so much see - for the red serge and cavalry stripes always look sharp, it's more what they hear that they dislike. It seems their head honcho is a 'yeller' fer petes' sakes!

The wunderkind civilian overseer of the mounties, one 'wild bill' Elliot, who was appointed to 'make changes' in the RCMP three years ago, has turned out to be every bit the 'martinet' the last honcho was, and he's a screamer forbye! At present he has an upper echelon revolt of sorts on his hands, or rather on the hands of his boss Vic 'moustache pete'  Toews. It appears some higher-ranking Mounties, after complaining to him, decided to do their complaining in the press. They no doubt will be among the most substantive changes in the Mounties for, after embarrassing Vic, who's usually asleep at the switch anyway, they've got 'the screamer' in trouble, too and a civil service inquiry into the 'poisoned environment'.

The scoop, as the papers are reporting, is that Elliot's management style leaves something to be desired. Whatever his background, his training led him to believe that the 'fuhrerprinzip' was best, complete with public 'bawlings-out' of those who displease him. One would think that such management behavior isn't a recently acquired strategy and might have been noticed in his other appointments. But then again, he's more than likely viewed as an unqualified therapist sticking his big nose in where it can't do much good and the notion of a laugh at his expense couldn't be much amiss. On his part he claims that some of his critics are resistant to the kind of change he's taking so long to introduce. Cleaning house shouldn't take so long, and generally the more noise involved, the less 'cleaning' actually gets done.

It sounds like the 'imperium' kicked-in, as it so often does when mere mortals get promoted to greatness.  Elliot probably got to like the snappy salutes from his 'boys', his service did qualify him for the Award of Police Merit.Which is right up there with Elvis' collection of police badges - he was probably an honorary Mountie, though Elliot has, yet, become that. What he does have, along with the golden buttons and crest on his 'official' blazer, is the 'stick of greatness' - the Commissioner's baton. For other Commissioners this was a commonplace sort of thing, but for our 'shrieker' the baton has become, literally a caber, a two-hander if anything, or else he lacks the stature, as well as the 'quals', of others.

Those deputy commissioners are largely those raised in the school of Ghirardelli  the former honcho at RCMP. A fat ex-civil servant cutting the orders probably rankles like heck.  Or maybe all this is being orchestrated for the best cop in Canada - 'Julius Caesar' Fantino. Fantino let it out fairly recently that he was not considering a run in politics after he put aside the swat outfit at the OPP. And what a wonderful improvement in look, the red coat of a Canadian icon!  But Julian's 'grandeur' would put Ghirardelli's to shame, for Julian is a true Roi Soleil and any house-keeping he would do there would probably be of the empire-building kind.

Don't expect much different from the Mounties for the foreseeable future.

Friday, July 23, 2010

AIDS Redux - the Sequel

The annual world-wide AIDS competition, er, conference is wrapping up this week. The annual gathering of all those with a stake, or an interest in the plague of the 21st century were gathered in Vienna to hear the hopeful news (not much), to get the latest in alerts (women and young people seem to be in particular danger this year) and to hear the latest in excuses.

 In the past we've had ignorance, then poverty, and lack of medications to add to the other excuses for the spread of AIDS - risky sexual behaviors and intravenous drug use. This year the 'boogieman' thwarting the stoppage of AIDS is a lack of human rights.

It seems that in countries where the powers that be can do anything they want to individuals, those suffering with AIDS are very reticent to step forward. The fear of physical punishment and or imprisonment, or even death leaves them to develop full-blown illness and then die when retrovirals could slow that progression so they could have longer lives trying to eke out a living. When I hear that, I think of tyrannies like they have in Cuba where there may be no civil rights, but the treatment for AIDS patients is world-class. The big difference is that those diagnosed with AIDS are no longer at large to mix with those who don't have the disease. If freedom to infect others is a bench mark of human rights for AIDS sufferers, sign me up for the school that uses firing squads. I don't think anybody has the 'right' to give anybody else an incurable disease - especially one requiring intimate contact or exchange of body fluids  for transmission. It's not quite the same as sneezing on a bus. In actuality, however, I think the human rights thing is a red herring.

The real problem, and the one as yet un-addressed is that, once infected with AIDS, you have, on average, three years before the disease progresses far enough to make you feel like you need a doctor's attention. In that period, the viral load in your blood may be growing steadily, but you're not sick enough to think that you might be spreading anything worse than spit and semen. It is these folk with AIDS, who don't yet know they have it, who are causing the undiminished 'new infection' rate of about 12 percent. With the exception of the few odd cases where someone deliberately infects others, most people with AIDS are very careful about not transmitting it to friends and others intimate with them. But as yet there is nothing the AIDS body is willing to do that would address this issue, other than to encourage wide-spread AIDS 'education'. Lesson one of that course is that 'we' have nothing to fear from people with AIDS - the ones who know they have it at least. And the rest? Well, if you're doing 'risky business', you should get yourself tested and vulcanize yourself.

So the well-paid activists, spokespersons and workers in AIDs-directed charities and NGOs can pat themselves on the back for another years' work done. They can waggle fingers at governments who aren't kicking-in as much as they might. And 'tsk-tsk' about the tragedies. When it comes to serving useless purposes they are well up there, for the only thing they 'do' is an annual 'awareness' of our insufficiencies. As if the world could forget.

Even Better than C-17's

It was announced this week that the Canadian government was all set to buy a couple of wings worth of the almost new F35 Lightning 2. This marvel of aeronautical engineering and fighter for the vandouzieme century, has been a-borning since the 70's and, at last, it's almost ready for production. Being as since there are only a couple of other such "5th generation" hi-tech stealth aircraft on the market these days and having joined the developmental consortium a number of years, and millions of dollars ago, the F35 is really Canada's only choice. The US has a 'better' model - the F22 - but they're keeping that one for themselves and gallant l'il Israel - even though Obama thinks he's scrapped it. The Russkis have a similar (cheaper) machine in the works, but we don't do deals with terror, or commies,  the same way we missed buying all those Ruslans we still rent.

No, we're bound and bent to buy the Lightning 2 just like a US general said we were going to do some 12 years back. We don't get any choice - not if we don't want a whole shitload of trade problems. Never mind the fact that, given its comparatively short range, we'll have to be messing-up its vaunted stealth characteristics with a load of external fuel tanks. The single engine should provide better fuel economy than the double units in the CF18 and the F22, but zipping over the barren north won't be as worry-free, if that single mill goes out, there's only one other way down. But what the hell,  they make really good jet engines these days.

It was picturesque to see our 'civilian warrior', the devilishly handsome Minister of Defence, trying on the cockpit of one of the babies. I bet he never had the willies like that since his days in the video arcade. Sitting on all that raw power would be better than humping a Secretary of State or 'doing a circuit' on the star of the Stronach stable. We, in Canada, are fortunate to have a 'first soldier' who's cut to the rig of a Reinhard Heydrich, rather than someone who looks like Elmer Fudd and sounds like a relative of Porky Pig.

But don't let the photo-op fool anybody there's money to be spent here - 9 billion dollars (16 billion according to other sources) , the deal is pegged at. If you'll do some simple mathematics - by comparison to the 4 billion dollars we 'paid' for three C-17's, you'll realize what a real bargain the 65  Lightning 2's are, even without the maintenance part of the deal. Or what a real screwing somebody took for those 3 heavy lifters.

If you knew the anything about the untried and overrated Lightning 2, you might realize, as well, that somebody was 'assuming the position', again.

Gord Save the Queen

It must have been some kind of serendipity to have our dear old Queen show up in Hogtown at the same time the other queens over on Jarvis were slapping the Dr. Scholl's moleskins on their parade blisters. I wonder if anybody thought to invite her to take part in the Dyke's Day festivities - she is such a role model for dominant personality types.

If she knew the other genders were having a alternation fest only blocks away, the dear old Queen wasn't saying anything about that for public consumption. It might not matter much, given the predilection of the royals to recognize, and use, the obvious organizational talents of the fey, even if they can't, officially, abide their amorous activities. Her majesty was reserved to royal business: a day at the races,  opening hockey displays, visiting blackberry factories and lunching with the 'natural nobility' of the province. They didn't have the security fences up for the delightful little monarch, she gets more respect than our 'worldly' leaders - except from 'excited' pony-owners. But she was there for them, to back them up, they are the pointy end of the family business don't you know? Extolling their virtues she would call it all, to the tune of only 12 million bucks. Worth every penny I say!.

She did get a little training for her up-coming visit to the land o' the free home o' the braves, etc. On her last days in Tronna she was the recipient of an early summer heat wave, combined with an exercise in applied private ownership when the power went out in the downtown core. Luckily, where she 'was to', there was a back-up electrical system and the the gala went on as planned. When she goes south next week, she's going to get a real baking, they've got that heat wave in spades compared to us esquimeaux, and an even wonkier private enterprise electrical grid.

The Americans are 'pumped' for her visit - but I think they're expecting Queen Latifah or a Freddy Mercury impersonator. An octogenarian as ruler better be wearing white and riding a popemobile as far as they're concerned. When it comes to 'royalty' they prefer those to be going 'commanda' and being undignified getting out of lo-rider limos. In the world of bad rugs, dental veneers and plastic surgery Queen Elizabeth looks just a bit too natural to be 'real'.

Editing a week or two post-visit, all I can note is that her Royal highness was upstaged by the tribulations of one Lindsey Lohan and the world Cup. I don't think anybody knew she was there.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Big Meetings

Ontari-ari-ario played host to the world's creme de la creme this week. Leaders of the leading G20 and the ultra elite leading G8 were here for their bi-annual readjustment. I would hope that, if nothing else, they had that drummer girl and the guy in the wheel chair out to sing the 'There's no place like this for meeeee...' song. Those world leaders would have been impressed. They got all the bums out from under the overpasses and off the sewer and subway grates for the meetings in the fortress of solitude they made out of downtown TO. And they paved and painted everything from the Airport at Huntsville - which now has enough gear to land a space shuttle, to the resort at Deerhurst. They even had trained anti-terrorist geese on the dock and down by the water. But the beaver in town was only for the cops.

Meanwhile,  down in the big smoke, them evil protesters - the Black Hundreds or 'bloc centimes', as they're called, biked in from the easter' province to do dirt in the streets of Tronna. While Toronto's finest were busy putting the boots to a bunch of sissies and girls in the park, those black basterds ran away up the street to bust things where the cops weren't. Pleece Chief Bert Winkledink , wearing his team tactical outfit, was a-huffin and a-puffin about this "never before seen" level of vandalism, and the outrage to the  citizenry and peaceful protesters and such. He wasn't saying anything about the phalanx of troopers who advanced 'swinging their batons and swearing' to rescue some flatfoot trapped in his squad car and then beating a tactical retreat while being forced to allow those 'betes noires' to play with the horn and sireen before setting the car on fire. The boys in blue abandoned a couple (4) of their units in the unexpected onslaught. Wonder why they didn't rescue the cars, too, by driving them behind pleece lines? It don't look good for the budget next time round if something don't get wrecked this time round, eh?

Just a thought, but maybe those black doofi are the latest application of applied Quebecoise pleece science. They know that, "Allons mes Gars! On aura les maudits anglais!" might not get the protestors all fired up, like it didn't last time, up their way. What the hell, whether you get to toss a rock or two, or thump a liberal, or not, it's all overtime anyhow!

One of the more notable additions were the RCMP, who showed up too late to get the good hotel rooms. They were to be bunked down in some sort of Hurricane Katrina complex.  "Well hold the donut Martha", said their union reps - they're unionized these days y'know,  "We'll be having a little more respect than that, if you please." And so a last minute search for decent digs ensued. They  probably  displaced the volunteers from the Chinguacousy Volunteer PD and a couple of other detachments of lesser lights. As it is, the senior pleece service got pride of place right out front with the doorman at the King Eddy and the Royal York.  Got a good close squint at them pols and their arm-flluff, too, I'd bet. Makes a fellah feel good, or better than one of those stupid judicial inquiries about tasers. All that was missing was an Afghan 'hero' , or two, going down to the coroner's office to be saluted. Even the black hundreds might have dropped the bandanna in the passing presence of somebody's kid who paid the ultimate whammy on behalf of their freedom to protest, and get clubbed and arrested in defence of democracy.

The Mayor of Toronto Dave Whiteman, the 'silver fox', came down on the evildoers and disinvited their welcome to his city. They weren't even welcome to grab a burger on their way out of town. The good protesters, though, could stay, but they had to stay good.

Humpty McGinty the premeer of  Ontario was 'on the wall' for allowing the Tronna pleece service special powers of arrest without telling anybody. "That's a dirty lie.", he told the press, "It's on the website for anybody who wanted to look, or at least it will be next week after the G20's over".  As if the Tronna pleece service needs any special permission to do anything Chief  Bill Bailey tells them to do. Could just see that: "Well Mr Preemeer. In order to guarantee that the black horde won't get away from us and burn things like pleece cars, I will be requiring special legislation to permit my troops to arrest anyone for nothing at all. The Mayor, I know, has an aversion to this 'pleece state' sort of thing, so I wondered if ....?"

"Eggs-ackly,  Chief Bill. Allow me to set you up right away. There is this interesting little law enacted during WW2 -  that's the BIG one private Ryan got saved in - to make this a better place and it was never repealed. It's called the 'dun the hun for freedom' law and we can use that to get the riff raff out of the way of the black plague. You go Boy!"

And so he went.

By the way, the only real accomplishment of the summits,  besides a huge bill and some great eats,  is a strongly worded message to Iran and North Korea - "Mr. Netanyahu, Take Down that wall!"  - No, that;'s not it. Wait a minute ..... eh......

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Wear Red on Friday, the Scarlet French Letter

Canadian forces were shocked this week when the number one in Afghanistan Brig. Gen. Danny Menard was relieved of command only hours after he returned to his post from Canada. He had been away to answer charges of careless handling of his firearm, when he came close to permanently discharging his Commander Walt Natanczuk in a helicopter loading incident. He was fined $3 500 - most likely as an example to the troops, who have been known to fool around too much with their guns. But this isn't what got him relieved.

The story is that his other gun may have been involved. Apparently the good brigadier had a 'relationship' develop with a young female soldier on his staff. This was a serious breech of CF discipline which enjoins upon those in foreign deployments to such places as Afghanistan, a level of Shaolin Warrior Monkhood, or something. There is ab-so-lute-ly no panty-punching, or dicky-dunking allowed on CF bases in the Asian and middle eastern theatres of war. The Brigadier may have been hoisted on his own petard.

Soldiers expressed dismay at another black-eye for the service. We have a base commander in Canada cooling his heels in the slammer on a double charge of homicide. And now this, NATO's golden-haired spokesperson who bade a fond farewell to so many smiling soldiers, couldn't do what they did and keep it in his baggies. But if they're dismayed, imagine what the little woman waiting at home must be feeling - all those 'deployment widows'. If the Brigadier can be vamped by some little harlot in camo, what about the other fellows who don't get the trips out of theater for R&R, consultations and meetings? They'd like to be 'meeting' somebody, too, I'm sure.

So they figure that pretty well wraps things up for the Brigadier, all he has left is a faint hope that a court martial might think he didn't do anything. But failing that, he has a good career ahead in the private security industry, or in advertising.

Post Script: The latest is that Danny's a 'goner' not for his 'peckerdillo', but because he ordered her to dummy-up when the military police came investigating. It's that superior officer lese-majeste that will have Danny taking a supervisory position with Xe or Garda.

We'll Train the Police

 The Canadian military mission in Afghanistan comes to an end in 2011. After that the Canadians will be reassigned to training the Afghan police. That should be a snap, because Canada has been involved in training the Afghan Police for a number of years, now. How well have we done? We've done great!

 Has the program been successful? Not a chance!

 This Utube correspondent reports on the 'elite' Afghan police unit, ANCOP, which has been deployed in Marjah the area recently 'liberated' by the 'surge' forces. The same old problems, exacerbated by a couple of new ones, are glaringly evident. As in the 'bad old days' that gave rise to the Taliban, this unit are 'foreigners' amid the people they police. They don't even speak the same language. They're probably not welcome among the Pashtun. But, being as since they're armed, and backed by the Americans, they have a superior feeling of what policing means. It's not that they like what they're doing. For, as it says, the attrition rate for the unit is 67 percent with - well-trained police quitting to join the regular army.

 Why? It's because this 'SWAT' squad has developed a military reputation. So much so that, as the officers claim, they're deployed as front men for NATO forces and the Afghan army. And they're getting killed first.

So what does this mean for the future. If things go as they have gone for the past 8 years, and there is no indication that anything will be done differently, as the Canadian instructor says, "We've done everything wrong."

Doing the wrong thing is the last thing to be doing in Afghanistan. Like in medicine, it's better to do nothing, for doing the wrong thing only causes needless hurt and suffering, not to mention the waste of resources that could have been used for something else.

If, in the 8 years Canadians have been training police, and seeing the results they've seen, and not having been willing or able to change anything, even staying to go on  training police is a waste of Canadian resources. It would be better to leave half the money we spend  for them to use as they see fit. Even if somebody steals it, we would only look stupid, not wrong. And, boys and girls, as even our point people admit, 'We've done everything wrong' training Afghan police.

A Slam Dunk for Justis

14 down and two to go. Toronto's jihadi terrorists may be  getting their day in court but, in a series of guilty pleas, the justice of their cases remains firmly in the mind of their beholder. For, aside from reading the charges into the record, there has been precious little scrutiny of the evidence against them. That's the beauty of a guilty plea, it saves a lot of wear and tear on the presenter. It gives the distinct impression that, if nothing else, the evil 'perps' have seen some error in their ways.  That may be all right for the courts  but it leaves the sour taste that, if those jihadis were just a tad more 'on the ball', the outcome might have been somewhat different and those security forces now doing the high fives might have been wondering, 'What the F**k?', just like the rest of us.

The most recent to 'fess up' was one of the original characters.  He was convicted of importing illegal firearms. Fahim Ahmad made his appearance on the security radarscope  4 years ago when he, or one of the other two he was with, accidentally dropped some shooting irons they were transporting into Canada - right in front of the Border Service. Mind you, this was long before the days when Canada's Border Service was much more than a part-time-employment service for in-between-term university students.  But dropping pistols is 'up there' on attention-getting, even if you are on the look-out for American smokes or Japanese air conditioners.  Hard to believe but, after 4 years, Fahim is finally facing the music for something he can't deny doing. Maybe if authorities had acted faster, he wouldn't have had the chance to add the rest of the narrative - the stuff about northern Ontario training camps, target practice and the malarky about beheading all the tools in Ottawa. He's not, apparently, being convicted of trying to blow up the southern part of Toronto but he is tarred with that brush too.

Toronto Star writer Thomas Walcom explored the subject in a piece for his paper in June of 06, reproduced on the Prison Planet Bulletinboard ( His claims that the changes that have happened in the official 'story' since these birds were arrested, the one that has never been tested in court, leads him to belief that 15 of the 16 weren't terrorists by any stretch of the imagination. That story has changed over time - historical corrections no doubt.  But why plead guilty?

 That's the 64 thousand dollar question. To date the court sentence for those who were 'really guilty' (just one of them so far) was really stiff. So, either these guys have some really stupid lawyers being paid by the crown to slack it, or they're really guilty of the possibility that they might actually have been more intelligent and ruthless in practice than they were in reality. Or there's something in all of this that we don't know. My money's on the latter.

The Canadian legal system is the home of the deal. It seems such a natural way to attain justice. Cop a plea to something you're comfortable with and the court will cut you a break for 'being cooperative' - you wouldn't have been there if you weren't guilty of something anyway, eh? If you want to fight, they'll let you do that too, but at such a cost to yourself, that you'll be sorry you did,  unless you're a slimeball ex-cop who murdered somebody and is smart enough to know how to get a million and a half bucks worth of legal aid. Some people fare better in court than others, Fahim was not one of the better-farers, he was looking at life for a contested conviction. Being as since the others had all confessed ... well, who was going to believe he was an innocent ringleader.

The only 'innocent' was the cops' paid stooge who was on-board from the get-go, and he only got a paltry million and a half and a new life as a 'witness'.

So far there's not much to feel secure about. A bunch of cretins have pled guilty to mass stupidity. But it would have been worthwhile, after the massive investigation and all, to have had them duly convicted on the evidence and sent away for life.

Unless they didn't do it, eh?

It's all Over Now (but the Obits)

The Oliphant  inquiry, or whoever's, into the 'faux pas' of Canada's former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and his 'partner' Karl Heinz (der buchbeinder) Schreiber, whimpered to a 14 million dollar close, yesterday, with the judge issuing his findings. It amounts to a two minute minor.

Bottom line: the Canadian government spent 4 million bucks (again) to pay Mulroney's lawyers while he defended his honour against impugnity. His ex-buddy, and chief witness, who was testifying, or so it seemed, to keep himself off a Lufthansa jet and out of a German jail, was 'blowing the whistle' and 'coming clean'. Not about the real stuff, mind you,  the Airbus slush fund and the offshore banking done by Brian's down east buddies, but the niggardly $275 000, or so, paid for sales services not rendered.

Mulroney copped to getting some of that money ($225 000) and accidentally, almost, forgetting to claim it as income. It was safe and sound in his sock drawer for a couple of years, eh?  But that was it, and he wasn't prime minister, and those armoured vehicles for the army looked like a good deal, and Schreiber had an honest face, an all. And the high dudgeon he felt when he realized he might have bedded-down someone less honourable than himself. Why it brought a tear to the eye!

Not as much a tear had he been paying his own lawyers' bill, I'm sure.

Schreiber couldn't  testify forever, and wouldn't testify about his retirement nest egg - the same one they couldn't prove Mulroney got through his pal Frank Moores. So, he was packed off to Germany for a speedy trial, a lot more speedy than the inquiry, and a lengthy jail term. He'll be a very old man when he gets to start celebrating the rewards of a life spent on the inside track, unless he has some young doxie helping him spend it. Maybe if something were to happen to the gnadige Frau.....

So the official results are:
   -It looks like Mulroney may have done something ''less than honourable. But was he a crook? Did he do unspeakable evil? Well, we're not going there. Mulroney is to be punished by having a legacy that, along with moving Canada ahead in a number of ways, (NAFTA being a biggie), he spent like a drunk from Shawinigan, looked out for number one, and took money from a two-bit German shyster. Canadians don't really give a shit any more. Trying to stick something to 'Lyin' Brian' has cost us millions more than we needed to spend on the asshole.

So, as Pharaoh said in the 'Ten Commandments' -" So let it be written, so let it be done."

 Done and over with. Nothing to do now but wait for the obits.