Friday, June 29, 2007

We're in it for the pork

At least the Ontario Liberals are honest about something, when they think there are no reporters in the room.
Vote Tory. Vote NDP. Kick 'em out.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

So, were you confused by the Black trial coverage?

I was. I believe Black will walk, and I've said it here several times. If I'd covered the trial, I would have tried to purge that thought from my mind and tried to listen to the trail as the jury heard it. That way, I would have been able to answer the big question: who won?
But that's not how the trial was covered. Those journalists who adored Black wrote pieces that are supportive of Black but not particularly insightful in terms of the trial itself. There are those, like Rosie DiManno of the Star, who despise Black, and mocked Black and his wife for being in the grim situation in which they find themselves. They did a poor job of covering the trial.
Only Theresa Tedesco, a skilled business reporter, did a decent job of trial coverage. I get the impression from her work that she expects Black to be found guilty on several counts and his co-accused to walk.
Time magazine has a piece on its web site about Black's media supporters. There is more, of course, to this story, as Time left out the Black haters. Still, it's a good piece.

Trouble in Midland

Back in my old home town, a small Catholic hospital is merging with a much larger general hospital. The upshot? The new, amalgamated hospital will be a Catholic institution. No more birth control counselling, morning-after pills, vasectomies, tubal ligations and abortions.
Seems to be OK with lots of the movers and shakers there, and the holy rollers. "Some services" will no longer be provided.
My question: How would the good people of small-town Ontario react if it was conservative Muslim values being imposed on the majority, rather than conservative Catholic values? The end result for women in the Midland area would be the same.

Get it straight, folks

Last year, everyone and their dog jumped on Jan Wong for saying an underlying current of racism in Quebec society alienates many non-Francophone youths. The Quebec legislature, the House of Commons, the Prime Minister all leapt like trout to win a few votes at Wong's expense. But where are all these good people when Quebec's Jewish community is portrayed, in three major newspapers, with stereotypes that haven't been used since the Volkischer Beobachter was shut down?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

42 months

That's what kickback artist Jean Lafleur got for his role in the Chretien Liberals' adscam racket.
Hopefully he'll be joined by many more of his colleagues, those in the ad trade and those who, in their role as well-paid public servants, designed this rip-off.

July 20 Plotters

Someone should make a movie on World War II hero Klaus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg. But that someone should not be Tom Cruise.
Von Stauffenberg, like so many of the July 20 plotters and the members of Helmut von Moltke's Kreisau Group were devout Roman Catholics who saw Nazism as abhorrent. I think they would have seen Cruise and his cult the same way.

Warren Kinsella: The Month in Libel and Slander

Since Kinsella kills off his pages at the end of the month, here's a summary of the June, 2007 disgrace to journalism and politics. It will be placed on the Kinsella archives page at the end of the month as part of an ongoing series.

June 28: Kinsella tries to smear Ontario auditor Andre Marin for reporting that the McGuinty government (which employed Kinsella on the atempted lottery scandal cover-up) does not deliver on its promises.

June 24: As part of his ongoing smear of Paul Martin and Martin's advisers, Kinsella compares the new British PM to Paul Martin. Brown, he says, did not call Tony Blair a criminal or launch a judicial inquiry into Blair's affairs, as Martin did with Jean Chretien. Unsaid, of course, was the fact that Blair wasn't caught presiding over a regime engaged in a kickback racket.

June 22: Numbnuts accuses Tory leader John Tory of promising to fund "a segregated school system, a promise worth $500 million". Kinsella neglects to say he sends his kids to a Catholic school.

June 19, 2007 - Numbnuts crows with delight at the resignation of CBC News honcho Tony Burman. Kinsella hates Burman for fighting Kinsella's smear of Ottawa correspondent Keith Boag. Burman also wrote a letter to the National Post denouncing Kinsella's journalistic atrocities.

June 18, 2007 – Kinsella tries to raise money for blogger Steve Janke, who is being sued by the Earnscliffe consulting group for repeating some of Kinsella's libels of the company.

June 18, 2007 - Kinsella takes an off-the-wall cheap shot at Small Dead Animals blogger Kate MacMillan, accusing her of being a Tory shill.

June 18, 2007 - Kinsella continues a smear campaign against Rogers. Ontario Conservative leader John Tory is formerly CEO of Rogers and is still on the board.

June 14, 2007 - Kinsella crows that he's been interviewed by Toronto Life for what he things is a smear piece on John Tory. Kinsella says he became angry with Tory when Tory accepted the nomination of Lanark farm activist Randy Hiller (this spring). Kinsella, however, has been smearing and slagging Tory for years, despite working for him in the 2004 Toronto mayoralty election.

June 9, 2007 – Kinsella denounces the "despicable decision of some MPs to haul a sick Jean Pelletier back before a House of Commons standing committee", failing to mention that the committee did so because Pelletier appears to have concocted several divergent stories regarding the sponsorship racket.

June 6, 2007 – Kinsella posted this piece of disfunctional thinking: "From yesterday, spotted by the always-amazing Oracle. Someone over at PCO is interested in this space, seems. Means they’re interested in a certain Ottawa company, too, I suspect.

Memo to certain Ottawa company: you’re going to have to kill me to shut me up."

June 4, 2007 – Kinsella attacks Maclean’s Chris Selley and tried to force him out of his job. Selley's sin? He didn't ask Kinsella to post on Maclean's new blog page.

June 4, 2007 - Kinsella tries to blame John Tory, former CEO of Rogers, for the fact his Blackberry doesn't work.

June 1, 2007 - Kinsella tries to defend the fact he's a lobbyist/columnist/political advisor and tries to do a drive-by smear on Antonia Zerbisias of the Toronto Star.

June 1, 2007 - Kinsella tries to tag John Tory with guilt from the shooting of Dudley George.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Xipie Totec works in mysterious ways...

I've spent the past couple of weeks reading every word about the U-boat war on the east coast in the records of the Censorship Branch. Then, Friday afternoon, I strike up a conversation with the guy sitting across from me. Turns out he's one of the country's best naval historians, and he's writing a book on the U-boat attacks in the St. Lawrence.
As the Japanese balloon bombers (who've also been the focus of my attentions) would say: Banzai!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Friday, June 15, 2007

News drought

Not many posts lately. Not much new. I'm excited about what I'm learning about censorship of news of the U-boat war on the East Coast in WWII, but I bet you're not.
In a few months, my thesis will be done and defended, and I'll be teaching and writing political commentary. The light at the end of the tunnel is definitely in sight. But, for most of the rest of the summer, I'll be pawing through the censorship records and writing. There won't be many posts.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Wicked parody site

Someone has come up with this wicked parody of Rebecca Eckler's writing. Beautiful subtle work. It makes her seem so vapid.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

City Journal Column

A New Generation Gap

I got the first jolt last year, when a university student asked me what the Cold War was.
I thought I was dealing with someone who’d been born on Mars. Perhaps alien robot students in need of programming had arrived on campus. Then I did the math. The Cold War ended in 1989. The student was about 18. He was too young to remember it.
Since then, no one had clearly explained it to him. I did my best.
A friend of mine who works at the Penetanguishene hospital for dangerous psychiatric patients told me a story about a guy who’d been locked up for about 50 years. The authorities decided to free him, so staff decided to take him on a few field trips to get him accustomed to the world of the 1970s.
They took him to Toronto and drove him down Yonge Street. He took a look around at the cars and the high buildings and asked “where did all the horses go?”
In many ways, most people my age, especially those in the media, are on the far side of a new generation gap. Our media is full of cultural references that are lost on today’s kids. The 20-year-old of today must have been baffled by the “Katrina and the Waves” references in so many headlines and stories about the storm that hit New Orleans. The band broke up ten years ago and hasn’t had a hit in North America since 1989.
That’s the year that most of the kids coming into university this fall were born.
They don’t get overworked media references to Humphrey Bogart, the Three Stooges, Top Gun, Saturday Night Fever, Dirty Harry or the Graduate. The Beatles is just another band, one that doesn’t get radio time. The music of their parents is played on Oldies stations or “sampled” in hip-hop tunes.
Their first political memories are of a time when Jean Chretien was prime minister and Bill Clinton was president. Brian Mulroney is someone they’ve vaguely heard about. So is Ronald Reagan. Pierre Trudeau is someone from the textbooks.
Mentioning Watergate brings on the same blank stares as talk of the Teapot Dome or Sky Shops scandals. In fact, tagging every scandal with “gate” – say, Shawinigate – is no longer quaint, it’s a sign of age.
They’re too young to remember the first space shuttle disaster. In fact, they were only 11 years old when terrorists attacked New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001. They’ve grown up in a world dominated politically by George Bush Jr. and economically by Google and Microsoft.
In this world view, terror has always been the enemy. Iran has always been run by ayatollahs, China has always been a big supplier to WalMart, and Cuba is just a seedy vacation spot.
In this world, North Americans have finally conquered their old enemy, distance. The Internet has always been a click away. Long distance phone calls are cheap, web camming and instant messaging is free.
Today’s first-year student has no idea of a world without hundreds of TV channels, no concept of a transistor radio, and has never felt the freedom of being unplugged from the world.
If from European backgrounds, they come from families that are who are three generations removed from World War II. If they are from non-European backgrounds, Hitler is just another dictator. The Vietnam War, hippies and all the rest are just something that old people talk about.
My childhood political memories are of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King. A race riot engulfed my great-grandmother’s neighborhood in a Detroit suburb in the 1960s.
I remember Trudeaumania because I saw Trudeau speak in the 1968 campaign. I was a space freak who followed the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo flights and tuned out when Skylab made space flight routine. Somehow, I’ve moved from being in the generational mainstream to being some sort of vessel of historical data.
Ottawa talk radio host Lowell Green likes to ask kids who call his show questions about the St. Lawrence Seaway. Most of the kids don’t seem to know that it’s the water route from the Atlantic to the Great Lakes. The old codgers who listen to his show get a chuckle, not realizing that shifting trade patterns have made the Seaway – finished in 1957 – redundant.
The chance of a modern Ottawa high school grad ever traveling on it, or using it for shipping, is minimal. It means as much to them as the Erie Canal or the Dortmund-Ems Canal.
This morning, I went to a choir recital at my kids’ school. One song was introduced as “an old song, from the 1960s”. The parents, many of whom, like me, had their children late in life, snickered.
The kids didn’t get the joke.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


and unrepentent.
And, Jean, Parliament is a court. If there's any justice, you'll be tried at the bar of the House of Commons, where you'll learn just how much of a court it can be.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Canadians don't like attack politics

...and Harper's attack ads that foolishly blamed Staphane Dion for the failure of the Tory Senate reform bill have backfired.
Cheri DiNovo is 102.

Liberal purgatory

L. Ian MacDonald analyzes the numbers in Quebec and finds the Liberals are in very deep trouble in Dion's home province. The Conservatives and Bloc are doing very well in ridings that went ADQ in the Quebec provincial election as the shake-out and sorting of the nationalists into left-wing and right-wing parties continues. As for the die-hard Anglo vote on the West Island, there's some unsettling news for Dion there, too.

Highway Bill v. Harper

We used to call him "Highway Bill" because he opposed a toll road on an important stretch of highway in the Maritimes. Bill Casey is as nice a guy as you'll ever meet in Ottawa. He works hard, has lots of friends, and stands up for his constituents and his region.
I don't agree with Atlantic Canadians who argue gas and oil revenues should not be taken into account when calculating equalization payments. Like Highway Bill, I do believe the Maritimes deserve a better deal.
Here's why.
In 1905, the federal government created the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. At that time, there were important changes to provincial boundaries. The two districts that became provinces extended only about half way to their present northern boundaries. The rest of what is now Alberta and Saskatchewan was federal Crown land. At that time, Manitoba was also much smaller than it is now. Ontario's northern boundary was the Albany River. Quebec's was, essentially, the height of land between the Hudson Bay and St. Lawrence watersheds.
The federal government transferred vast areas to Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. The land includes many of Alberta's oil fields and all of the tar sands; Saskatchewan's metal deposits; the Thompson nickel deposits, the Pas, and the port of Churchill in Manitoba; much of Ontario's gold mining area and all of its diamond prospects; much of Quebec's mineral wealth and all of the James Bay Hydro resources. The three Maritime provinces got nothing and lost their share of the benefits of ownership of this federal Crown land.
So control of, and profits from, the offshore should go to Atlantic Canada. But leave equalization out of it, unless we're prepared to leave Alberta oil and Ontario industry out, too.
Bill Casey is paying a big price for his stance. Hopefully, he can still effectively serve his constituents, either here or in Nova Scotia.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The McWimpy Liberals in Action

Dulltone McWimpy campaigns against Oilcan Ernie Eves in 2003, and accuses him of being a nasty brute for fighting the demands of parents of autistic kids for more education support.
Dulltone McWimpy wins the election.
What does Dulltone do?
Well, guess. C'mon. Imagine what a soul-less government, one that has some of Canada's slimiest people lurking behind the curtains, would do. What would a group of douchebags and psychopaths with control of the provincial treasury do to parents of handicapped kids who are demanding provincial funding for education of their kids?
Bleed 'em dry in court, of course. And spend lots of taxpayers' money doing it.

Join the Club

I recently became aware of a bright young blogger. Once I get around to setting up links, he'll be near the top.

I see Kinsella's taken a shine to him. Chris' life is about to become very strange. I know mine has: the trolling on my blog; the weirdness on Facebook by Kinsella and his friend; the regular threats of litigation; the lies on Kinsella's masturbatory blog; malicious material posted about me (and others) on his self-authored Wikipedia page; inclusion on the Enemies List page, with bizarre lies about involvement with white supremacists and an incredible libel that somehow I've been "investigated" by the Press Gallery; weird threats posted under anonymous names at groups like Franksters, where Kinsella, posting as Boldface, has threatened to send salacious material to my employers.

Yup. This guy is a political strategy advisor to the premier of my province. He is involved in Native land claims negotiations for my federal government. He is the "media critic" for the National Post.
And he does all this crap with impunity and without the slightest sign of conscience or remorse, as though it's his God-Given right to trample anyone who gets in the way.
Then he calls you crazy.
Welcome to the monkey house, Chris.


There's something seriously wrong with Kinsella. Here's his blog post today:

June 07
June 6, 2007 – From yesterday, spotted by the always-amazing Oracle. Someone over at PCO is interested in this space, seems. Means they’re interested in a certain Ottawa company, too, I suspect.

Memo to certain Ottawa company: you’re going to have to kill me to shut me up.


Referring Link
Host Name
IP Address [Label IP Address]
Country Canada
Region Ontario
City Ottawa
ISP Privy Council Office
Returning Visits 1
Visit Length 1 min 46 secs

Browser MSIE 6.0
Operating System Windows XP
Resolution 1024x768
Javascript Enabled


Monday, June 04, 2007

Whyte on Black

The Americans are getting a look at our incestuous little newspaper business -- as though any of them would care. Ken Whyte is one of the Canadian journalists who think Conrad Black was a positive force in Canadian journalism. The prosecution didn't call anti-Black journalists, but there certainly wouldn't have been any trouble finding any. Every journalist in Canada in the late 1990s had to make a decision: whether to seek employment at the National Post, or stay with their old job. At the time, it seemed as though the issue was whether to stick with the status quo or join the parvenu. Little did we know, but the status quo was waiting to reclaim the print business, and the Black ascendancy was but a short-lived thing. For one brief blip, there was some life in Canadian newspapers before the slide began anew.
Black improved the moribund Ottawa Citizen and the Vancouver Sun, at the very least. The National Post, in its day, was the most interesting and arguably the best newspaper in Canada under Black. It put one last bit of wind in the sails of the industry. Black was much harder on small-town papers. Osprey, the company that bought the Kingston Whig Standard and the former Thomson papers in Ontario, effectively destroyed serious journalism outside the major cities of southern Ontario. Under Osprey, five-person newspapers became one-reporter operations. The pages were filled with press releases and tame coverage provided by hobbyist freelancers. Real estate and presses were sold, printing was contracted out. Century-old newspapers survived in name only, with one "editor" responsible for putting out two or more papers that were once award-winning, vibrant publications. Circulation plummeted, and the freebie papers took over the markets.
So who's to blame?
I still argue Conrad Black isn't. Thomson and Southam were on the block. Black simply bought their papers. Then he started the National Post. Unlike the Aspers and Osprey's owners, Black wanted to own some good newspapers that did some digging and broke some stories.
How long has Black been out of the newspaper business in Ontario? About five years? And are the papers any better? The answer is obvious.
So, if Black's crime is avarice, take a look around. Who was the last person to sink any money into the print media in Canada? Who was the last person to seek out talent?
Last week, Osprey was sold to Quebecor, the company that's been squeezing the Sun chain like a bunch of grapes. Every day that passes, it becomes more difficult to believe that Black deserves the hatred that's been heaped on him by so many Canadian journalists.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Cop chases

One of my best stories as a newspaper reporter involved the cover-up of the details of a mishandled police chase. Still, I'd love to know what alternatives police have when a 15-year-old kid goes roaring by them in a stolen high-performance car. Toronto councillor Howard Moscoe says the police are to blame for last night's police chase fatalities in north Toronto. I think that's a ridculously simplistic explanation for a complex tragedy.

I see McWimpy has joined the pile-on. How pathetic.
Even if the cops are dead wrong on this, politicians should have waited for the details.

UPDATE (June 5):
The police version, which has specifics such as the location of cruisers vs. the position of the stolen car, underscores who the politicians were fools to speak beforfe knowing the facts.

I believe

My wife and I did something last night that we've never done together: watched a hockey game. We did it with the deck doors wide open. Every time Ottawa scored, we hit the "mute" button and listened to the cheers and horns honking. It was a great experience. I'd seen small parts of the previous games and thought Ottawa was out-gunned. Last night, I changed my mind. Ottawa dominated Anaheim, and when the Ducks tried to push them around, Ottawa pushed back. Can Ottawa win the Stanley Cup? Yup. But they have to get their minds to the right place. They were there last night, but they'll have to win some games in Anaheim.
I had soured on hockey while watching the Leafs during the Sittler-Macdonald goon years. The hockey was sloppy. The constant whistles and delays were annoying and made the games long and boring.
BTW, I don't think Don Cherry looks very well at all.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Fun With Fascists

Here's my old pal the Shawinigan Strangler with Suharto, tagged by the CIA as being responsible for one of the greatest genocides of the 20th century.

I found it on the 'net today and felt the urge to share it, just to remind folks just how "liberal" the Liberals are.

Sponsorship Liars

This could be good. Maybe, with the threat of jail for contempt, some memories might be jogged and tongues might be loosened.

Having Fun. Wish You Were Here

Arnie left Ottawa with two souvenirs: a mitt full of $15 Cubanos, and this. All the news coverage was focused on The Governator's Green policy. But it's the movie business that has the bucks in California, and Arnie delivered for them. Not, by the way, that I support idiots making movie knock-offs, but copyright powers, and IP issues in general, are big industrial sticking points, and may well cause a break between the West and China.

Catch of the Day

This is a Hemiarges paulianus, a 440-million-year-old trilobite from suburban Ottawa that I found four years ago. It's finally been prepped out of the shale-limestone that it was partially buried in.
Since 99.999% of the people who read the blog aren't trilophiles, here's why this piece is, to me, so cool. It's probably the best one ever found. The typical fossils of this type of trilobite are dime-sized and look like they were run over by a truck. This one's fat, 3D, hard-shelled and about three times as big as the normal examples of the species.
So what's it worth? To the few thousand people in the world who collect trilobites the way other geeks collect stamps, coins and Pokemon cards, having the best one of any type of bug is worth something, usually up in the five figures. This one will end up in the Royal Ontario Museum, so, I suppose, it belongs to all of us. These are some of the other pieces in my collection.
I found it on blasted rock in a limestone quarry. One day later, and it would have been crushed into gravel and would be part of the roadbed of the Highway 417 extension.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Why political reporters need history lessons

This is an update of an earlier post on the Quebec budget stand-off. The first version, with comments, is farther down. As I predicted, there's been a compromise on the budget. Still, I'm surprised how many people who are paid to understand Parliamentary procedure don't understand it, or have no grip on ths history involved and no ability or desire to do some basic reading before sounding off.

I heard this a few times yesterday on the CBC and in the Quebec media: the idea that, in 1985, the Ontario Liberals assumed office because the Lieutenant Governor preferred to ask them to do so, rather than call an election.
That was not the case.
The 1985 election, (which began with a Tory majority government under new leader Frank Miller, inherited from Bill Davis) ended with the Conservatives having the most seats, the Liberals following quite closely, and a strong NDP contingent. The Liberals actually polled 1% more votes than the Tories and were just 4 seats short of tying them. The Liberals and NDP reached a very public written accord that they would, at the first opportunity, vote non-confidence in the Tory government and, they expected, the Liberals would be asked to form a government. The NDP promised to support the Liberals in the legislature in return for the passage of some elements of the NDP election platform. This agreement was made before the recall of the Ontario legislature. Miller, to his credit, quickly called the legislature, expecting his government to fall. He brought down a very voter-friendly budget, which was, as planned, defeated.
Now, the kicker, the fact that everyone gets wrong.
Miller went to the Lieutenant Government, submitted his resignation, and told the Lieutenant Governor that he expected the Liberals to be asked to form a government. Miller did not, as in the case of Mackenzie King and Lord Byng in 1925, ask for an election. Miller probably did not do so because the Conservative support had collapsed very precipitously in the last weeks of the campaign, and the party was financially tapped out by a hard-fought leadership race the previous winter. The Ontario Lieutenant Governor used no real discretion in the matter. He followed the very public will and the expectations of all parties in the legislature. The transfer of power went off as planned and expected.
But that's not how it's explained here and in many other Quebec media.
Thompson and Bauch also don't understand the King-Byng Affair.
King lost the 1925 election (Libs 100; Tories, 115, Progressives 22). Acting within his rights, he decided to face Parliament rather than resign. King expected to be supported by the Progressives. This support did not, because of several scandals, materialize. Rather than resign and let the real winner of the election attempt to form a minority government, King succeeded in placing the Governor General in a politically irritating situation. Arthur Meighen, who had actually won the election was, in King's ploy, to be denied the right to govern. Byng, by, in effect, doing the right thing of offering the leader of the party that had, by some 15%, won the most seats, a chance to face Parliament, was cast as a meddling Imperialist. Meighen was given his due, did try to form a government, and was defeated. At the same time, King and the press cast Meighen as an opportunist, again ignoring the fact that Meighen had won the election and both a moral and legal right to try to govern. It would be interesting to see the reaction of the press in 2007 if the Liberals won (extrapolated to the present size of the House of Commons) 30 more MPs than the Harper Tories and Harper somehow manipulated them out of a chancew to form a minority government.
King's version of this complex series of events -- that the democratic will of Canadians was thwarted by a colonial official when King's request for an election was turned down -- won him the subsequent election and is obviously still entrenched in Canada's media.
If Charest's budget is defeated (very much an unlikelihood, I believe. No one seems to consider the idea of a compromised, revised budget, which is the sensible outcome), Charest will almost certainly get an election if he wants one. The ADQ is nowhere near having the type of mandate David Peterson had in 1985 or Arthur Meighen won in 1925. There's no way it will, or should, form a government without facing the voters.

Update: Here's a far better analysis of the political situation in Quebec. Graeme Hamilton of the National Post understands the Ontario power transfer of 1985 and has the good sense not to bring up King-Byng. I'd add just one thing: a warning to Pauline Marois. Take a look at the post-coronation poll numbers of John Turner, Kim Campbell, Paul Martin and even Stockwell Day before you act too quickly.

UPDATE (June 1): I thought L. Ian Macdonald understood the 1985 Ontario precendent. Looks like I was wrong.

Just to refresh: The Ontario Lieutenant Governor invited the Liberals to form a government because Tory premier Frank Miller asked him to. If Miller had asked for an election, he would have got one. Miller did not ask for an election because he knew he'd lose.