Tuesday, September 30, 2008




This morning Liberal Foreign affairs critic and Toronto MP Bob Rae revealed Prime Minister Harper as a possible plagiarist. And not just a mere bagatelle of a plagiarist. But a real doozer of a plagiarist - a lulu, a dilly, a humdinger, the real McCoy!

He appeared to have plagiarized almost half of a speech of more than 3000 words – much of it verbatim and most of it in wide swaths. Harper’s plagiarized speech was delivered by himself to the House of Commons on March 20, 2003 when he was Leader of the Opposition Canadian Alliance.

When he delivered the stolen words, the ink had hardly dried on the originals. The original speech had been given only two days earlier on March 18, 2003 by fellow neocon and Australian Prime Minster John Howard, to the Australian Parliament.

Howard used his speech to announce that Australia was joining the Bush II coalition of the willing neocons to invade Iraq. In it, he also set forth the reasons for the action - weapons of mass destruction, the threat of terrorism, the evil-doer Saddam Hussein, yada, yada, yada. Harper delivered the plagiarized version to exhort the Canadian Parliament to join in the great crusade and advanced the same reasons.

It is instructive to reflect on plagiarism in light of this astonishing revelation of contempt for the Canadian people. The following two appropriate quotes express the revulsion appropriate to such sleaze.

”In essence, plagiarism and her two twins--fabrication and falsification, emanate from sheer human greed.” S.M. Sapatnekar, An editorial in JAPI (Journal of the Association of Physicians of India), vol. 52, pp. 527-530.


“What is even more tragic, however, is that those who purposely commit plagiarism reveal the shallowness of their own character. To knowingly steal the work of another and pass it off as your own is to betray yourself in a way that can never be redeemed. By committing this act you are destroying the honor, integrity and principles of your own spirit. This is perhaps the longest lasting and most tragic consequence of plagiarism.” "Editorial: Plagiarism is a Serious Offense." The Rebel Yell

Late today a former foreign policy advisor to Harper took the fall. Dr. Owen Lippert (pictured as a young man in the lower photo above) who was up to now a paid Conservative campaign worker, said he did it.

A biographical sketch of the now disgraced Lippert is to be found on the website of the venerable neocon Fraser Institute. It notes that Lippert is a senior policy analyst for the Institute. He holds a PhD in Modern European History from the University of Notre Dame and was a trusted press secretary to Kim Campbell when she was federal minister of Justice. For further information on this pathetic mystery man see http://oldfraser.lexi.net/about_us/people/owen_lippert.html

Lippert apologized and stated that he had resigned his position in the Conservative campaign. No doubt the Fraser Institute will give this miserable worm the boot as well.

Ah, yes. Lippert’s dirty little secret has been exposed at last. His boss was his victim. Yes, ahem, indeed.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


I know Stephen Ledrew. I have observed the ups and mostly downs of his career.

His penchant for loud bow ties and narcissistic publicity seeking, his overbearing stature and his love for his deep rapturous voice, are turnoffs. He annoys me.

He did well by the Liberal Party of Canada. He was an Executive Assistant to a former Solicitor General of Canada. He worked in the Prime Minister’s Office. He was its President between 1998 and 2003. His party involvement helped launch his dubious public career as a loudmouth minor media personality on a couple of rarely listened to TV and radio channels in the Toronto area.

None of that helped in his personal life. He went bankrupt in 2005 owing $360 thousand or so to the taxman. His law firm also went belly up. With a splash he announced he was running for Mayor of Toronto in the November 06 election. He received 1.3% of the vote. People can be forgiven if they think he’s a loser. He has the earmarks.

But there are some who like his clownish persona. He is invited as a panelist from time to time on CBC Newsworld and CBC News.

Ledrew loves the limelight. His chosen tool to attain it is controversy. Given his failings he has earned little public credibility, if any. Yet, there he is, giving interviews, writing columns, opining on television – as if he were some kind of oracle. He’s a loser.
Last week in the Canwest Conservative tabloid the National Post, Ledrew wrote that it was likely “the Liberals are going to take a drubbing in this election — which is exactly what they need . .” In the rest of the piece, with obvious relish, he stuck it to the party leader and the platform, and made a banal call for party renewal.

After extracting the stiletto from between the party’s shoulder blades, thinking no doubt that he should lay the ground work for a possible return to party prominence, he tries to make nice:

"In this call for renewal, I do not mean to dishearten the hard-working people of all ages
who are pounding in signs, looking up addresses, sending e-mails and knocking on doors
under the Liberal banner. Keep it up, for you are vital to the political process. One must
fight on against all odds . . . "

Predictably Nigel Hannaford, a tiresome Harperite drumbeater for Calgary’s Canwest Rag The Calgary Herald, this morning called Ledrew “a Liberal Prophet.”

Ledrew is not a prophet. His opinions have no value whatsoever. He is just an annoying publicity seeker who will do or say anything for public attention.

Monday, September 22, 2008



If you have a yen for some real bullshit reading today, check the editorial page of today’s Globe and Mail and read Gordon Gibson Jr.’s latest drivel: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080919.wcogibson22/BNStory/politics
By way of review, Gibson is the highly educated (Harvard, London School of Economics) son of one of British Columbia’s great entrepreneurs, Gordon Gibson Sr. Gibson Sr. was born during the gold rush in Dawson City and rose from hardscrabble poverty to become one of the most successful lumber barons in the history of B.C. By the time he died in 1986, he had put together a huge diverse business empire founded on the forest industry including a shipping line, hotels, and radio station. He also sat as a Liberal member of the B.C. Legislature.

Gibson Jr. early in his career was by all reports a bright young man. He was one of the earliest supporters of Pierre Trudeau in the lead up to the leadership campaign in 1968. He so endeared himself to Trudeau that upon Trudeau’s winning the leadership he was hired as the new P.M’s first Executive Assistant.

Thereafter a strong relationship developed between the two. So strong in fact that Gibson Jr. was one of the handful of people who participated in the highly secret marriage ceremony of Pierre and Margaret.

In 1972, young Gibson went home to B.C. to personally test the political waters for himself. In 1974 and 1975 he won two elections to the Legislature and was provincial party leader for a few years before being defeated in 1975.

After 1975, although he emerged politically from time to time as a prominent B.C. provincial Liberal, he wisely shifted his sights on continuing in the tradition of his father in business. He also decided his political future lay more in punditry than electoral politics. Over the years, his opinions, carrying an ostensible view from the west perspective, have been read in several different daily newspapers.

Gibson Jr. fell out with Trudeau over the great constitution debate of the early eighties that gave rise to the Charter of Rights and the Amending Formula.

As time marched on he became an increasingly right-wing tub thumper. He is now firmly in support of the Reform, Alliance, Tory mishmash of far right wing ideology. So much so that he was appointed as a Fellow of its favorite propaganda machine, the infamous Fraser Institute.

Gibson Jr.’s message today poses the question whether or not it matters who is in power in Ottawa. He theorizes that whoever directs the government “will not move far from the public good. Government may – indeed, will - make mistakes, but public opinion will correct them soon enough.” It is assumed that the piece was designed as a dose of valium for Canadians who have disquiet over a possible Harper majority.

Alas, Gibson Jr. may be good at making money, but he he is sorely deficient in historical knowledge. Otherwise he would have known that it mattered a hell of a lot who came to power in Germany after the national election of November of 1932. Or that in the late thirties in Great Britain it was a matter of great importance who held the reins in the House of Commons as Hitler was gearing up to march across Europe. Or that in the United States in 1964 it mattered who was going to be the Commander in Chief, given that when the dust settled in Viet Nam, more than 60,000 young Americans had become tragic statistics of a lost cause.

He goes on: “The idea is that in a democracy, the general will of the people will govern, and the truly important leaders are not the managers of the day, but rather those in politics, business, religion, and the arts who shape that general will.” As an example, he puts forth the Fraser Institute shibboleth that fellow Fellow Fraserite “ . . . Preston Manning changed the fiscal policy of the government 180 degrees in the 1990s with his insistence on the importance of eliminating the deficit, in effect giving the day’s government permission to do what needed doing. He did this from the Opposition side.”

What utter nonsense! Pierre Trudeau must be spinning in his grave listening to his former Harvard educated trusted advisor drooling out such drivel. Reduction of deficits as a government priority was embraced by many jurisdictions in the west almost simultaneously. Manning had nothing to do with it, save for the rhetoric, which he and countless others of all political stripes were spewing at the same time throughout the western industrialized democracies. Manning was no Messiah on deficit reduction. He was one voice among millions, including Liberals, who were espousing the same cause.

Gibson Jr. knows this. He degrades what little is left of his public reputation as a responsible voice in the body politic by uttering such false banalities. He becomes just a lowly pamphleteer for the right like the rest of his pals in the Fraser Institute.
After waxing poetic about his favorite themes – institutional change, the primary importance of local and provincial governments – he says “The world today is certainly better than ever in my long lifetime, notwithstanding the past week’s financial turmoil.”

If he believes that, Gibson Jr. a child of privilege, is spending far too much time at the Vancouver Club. In fact, the world is in deep trouble – largely as a result of Gibson Jr.’s fellow travelers from the extreme right. Russia and the United States have revived the cold war. The Middle East continues to be a cauldron of real or threatened violence. Pakistan is a basket case. Afghanistan is a dismal failure, with our young men and women dying there for reasons that become less apparent by the day. Commercial greed in the United States requires a bailout by its little people of trillions, causing economic havoc world wide. A woman who aspires to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency of the United States – and may well be come November - has never held a passport.

And Junior - that’s only the beginning!

The world today better than ever? My eye!

Saturday, September 06, 2008



In today's edition of the Calgary Herald, Licia Corbella, Editorial Page Editor of the Calgary Herald has fired her first salvo of the imminent Federal Election. See: http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/columnists/story.html?id=4ead416f-5b85-469d-b6eb-a4f6781eb902 It masquerades as speculation on the risk that Bush's pal Steve Harper is taking by breaking his own certain election day promise as well as law by calling an election.

But its real purpose is to bamboozle her readership and malign the Liberals.

Nobody maligns Liberals like Corbella. Even her former colleague from her Calgary Sun days, Paul Jackson (ret) - one of the biggest Liberal tormentors in the business - doesn't hold a candle to the meanness and pure bullshit of Ms. Corbella's invective pen when it comes to Grits.

Her column today goes all the way back to 1991 to lambaste former Ontario Liberal Premier David Peterson as "self-serving," "arrogant," "cynical, " and ultimately "humiliated." Poor Peterson, the only place in the country where he is still reminded of his now quite irrelevant but ignominious defeat is in the yellow pages of the Calgary Herald. Shurely, he's suffered enough!

Then she turns her sights on his successor, the former NDP Ontario Premier - now Liberal M.P. - Bob Rae. Rae in her words, was "an unmitigated disaster" . . . "not just for Ontario but for the entire country." I'm sure Rae will be surprised to learn of his vast national influence during his short reign as Premier.

Then she turns her guns on Dion bigtime.

About the Grit leader she says, "Dion is spectacularly inarticulate in English and apparently not a very good speaker in French either."

First of all, Corbella has obviously not spoken to Herald reporter Jason Fekete. For if she had, he would have told her that in his speech in Calgary during Stampede Week to a Liberal gathering, Dion was spectacularly articulate in English. He would have told her that he gave an excellent address in both official languages for which he was heartily rewarded with a standing ovation by his 500 or so listeners.

As for Dion being "apparently not a very good speaker in French either," the use of the word "apparently" here is a bush league weasel word. It is oftentimes used by irresponsible journalists - Corbella being a champ in that department - when they cannot prove the assertion that they are making and have no evidence of it.
She continued the heavy guns on Dion by writing that the Greenshift plan "will cause gasoline prices to soar." In making this statement, either Corbella has not done her homework, or shows a mendacious disregard for the truth (if Corbella needs this last phrase translated, she should check the definitions through Google; however, in order to get the right definition of the words she will have to spell them correctly). Gasoline at the pump is exempt from the Greenshift plan! See: http://www.liberal.ca/story_14102_e.aspx

Corbella also points out that the Greenshift plan "is so complex it takes hours to explain properly . . " Well, maybe I can help. The Greenshift plan taxes the polluters. The taxes generated will be equitably distributed among middle and lower income earners so as they can recoup something of what they have been dishing out to governments and oil companies over the past several years of high energy prices. There it is in a nutshell. Corbella, are you reading this? What part of that do you not understand??

She went on to malign Jean Chretien. She tells this whopper - that from the Liberal victory in 1993 Chretien's popularity "was all downhill from there." The truth is that Chretien went on to win two majority governments after 1993, with the popularity of the Liberals declining a negligible 0.1% between Chretien's first general election of 1993 to his last in 2000. She then writes that Chretien's downhill path "proves that telling whoppers isn't exactly the way to increase your popularity." Well, Ho! Ho! Ho! Statistics show that editors telling whoppers these days isn't exactly the way to increase your readership, or for that matter, the share value of Canwest Global Communications!

But now, for the Corbella granddaddy of all whoppers. Harper, she writes, says that "the Liberals have carried out obstructionist tactics in committees so key work is not getting done. She goes on, "Depending on who you talk to on Parliament Hill that is either very true or partially true . . "

In her column this morning in the good and true Globe and Mail - a great English language journal of record and one of the only two remaining in all of Canada, the other being the Toronto Star - June Taber writes in her political notebook that Herald Ottawa columnist Don Martin is Hot. Martin, she writes, "has a copy of the . . Conservative dirty tricks manual or "Parliamentary Obstruction Document," a 200 page tome on how to make Parliament dysfunctional" that many opponents of the Harper crowd would love to get their hands on. In fact, the Conservatives have written the book on how to make parliament dysfunctional. Corbella should talk to her colleague Martin, so that she may perhaps sneak a peek.

If Corbella thinks that this Conservative text book is gathering dust somewhere and not being put to the use for which it was intended, she probably believes that the Greenshift will result in higher gasoline prices or that Chretien's popularity went all downhill after 1993, or that Dion can't speak English or French articulately or that Canwest shares will increase in value as a result of her presiding over the editorial page of the Calgary Herald.

Monday, September 01, 2008



GUN TOTIN' PALIN (Second Row on the Right)
POLITICAL OPPONENT (Reclining in Front Row)

The United States is in big trouble. Any discerning observer can see it. Its problems are visible on a host of levels. Indeed they are obvious to anyone who switches on the boob tube or to anyone who can read. Obvious to anyone except perhaps to many, if not most, Americans.

The nation remains divided along racial lines. Let’s take the prison system. It’s bursting at the seams. According to recent statistics, 7 million adults (3.2% of the country’s adult population) are in U.S. slammers. And how’s this for a sobering statistic - the U.S. has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the total number of incarcerated adults world-wide. In the U.S. there are 737 adults per 100,000 people in jail. This compares to England and Wales with 139 per 100,000 and even China – with 4 times the population - at 111. Norway is at 59 per 100,000. Whatever the reasons, something is dreadfully wrong.

Furthermore, we find that 10.4% of all black males in the U.S. between the ages of 25 and 29 are in jail. 2.4% are Hispanic and 1.3% are white. Blacks comprise 12% of the population of the United States. They also comprise 44% of all incarcerated inmates in the United States. Indeed, something is dreadfully wrong – and racist too! See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisons_in_the_United_States

And the books are in a shambles. As of this month, the war in Iraq had cost the poor Yankee taxpayer 550 billion bucks. The burn rate for the conflict is somewhere between 8 and 12 billion a month. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are projected to cost 3 trillion dollars before they are over, and that is likely to be a modest estimate. The total U.S. deficit this year is expected to be 410 billion dollars – keeping pace with the 500 billion dollar average deficit per year since 2003. The total debt as of this spring was 9.5 trillion dollars or $31,600 for every man, woman and child resident in the U.S. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_public_debt

This is bad news for a country that a few short years ago – during the Clinton years – was running surpluses with the books in great shape. Not so today. And it looks to get much worse if the country decides to give their citizens a break and get into the universal medicare world.

The nation has become uncompetitive in manufacturing. The great automotive companies, long a staple of American industrial might, are edging towards bankruptcy. Other U.S. corporations to remain competitive are building their widgets in the low wage markets of emerging economies in the third world. Good jobs are being lost. Banks are in trouble. The real estate and financial markets across the country have taken an enormous hit from the sub-prime financial crisis.

The country’s thirst for oil remains unabated despite skyrocketing prices. Domestic supplies continue to diminish and high price imports continue to increase with no serious attempt by government to change the people’s appetite for gas guzzling.

And all the while, vacuous and shrill talking heads on the cable and network news channels waste the viewer’s time with trivial matters of sex or mayhem, not designed to inform but to entertain. Print publications that dare to deal with public policy are usually doctrinaire, selling the flim-flam of their ideological masters – their advertisers. Most politicians – particularly Republican politicians - with some notable exceptions, continue to mislead the public on wars, energy, the economy and most everything else.

And now, in a move that is as irresponsible as it is bizarre, John McCain has picked as his running mate a ditzy, ardently pro-life, gun totin,’ creationist, and ex-beauty queen runner-up in Wasilla, Alaska, population 5469. Oh yes, she was Mayor of Wasilla and served on its Town Council. In December 2006 she became Governor of the State of Alaska, population 683,478 – ranking 47th of 50 states. If McCain is elected President and during his tenure finds himself on the wrong side of the grass, well, it will be President Sarah Palin.

McCain has the nerve to say that she is as qualified as his Democratic opponent Barack Obama and his running mate Joe Biden, to be President of the United States. Only doctrinaire neocons and obtuse Canadian Conservatives would ever buy that line. The fact is that McCain, like Fox News and the talking heads and all of the rest of the sorry lot who are leading what was once the great United States down the road to perdition, are trivializing the challenges that lie ahead. They have no appreciation of the complexity to make things right. They are not serious about their country.

And in the meantime, the Democratic ticket instead of being far and away the heavy favorite to win, is struggling in the polls. They are only neck and neck with the yahoos that brought that poor country to its knees through arrogance and stupidity. And why are they only neck- and – neck? Well, you see, Obama happens to be black. It’s a helluva mess.