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April, 2007:

So what’s the excuse this time?

Like most intelligent folks, I accept the fact that relative to other commodities, the price of gasoline ain’t so bad. I’ve read those interesting – though meaningless – stats about what the price of perfume would be if it were charged on a per litre basis.

And, I also known that compared to a popular and similarly priced consumer good like bottled water, the mark-up on gasoline is far less considering the production costs required

But I have to wonder about a couple of things:

1) – and this isn’t new – why are price increases due the increased cost of West Texas crude so quickly reflected at the pump but decreases take months to take effect.

2) Why are we paying (in Ottawa) $1.06 / litre when we were told that the plus $1 prices were temporary due to the fire at the refinery in Sarnia and the CN railway strike….. and temporary was a few months back!

I know the Competition Tribunal has looked at collusion in the industry a gazillion times and has absolved those poor energy sector folks from any wrong-doing, but this just doesn’t make sense – especially in light of the fact that these same firms are raking in billions of buckaroos in profit each QUARTER.

Have we Canadians becomes so damned complacent that we simply lie back, think of the Queen and take it?

But on the practical side, it isn’t as if we have options here… our gas-guzzlers need the smelly stuff and it’s not like we can get it just anywhere.

So they have us by the short-hairs, eh?

But here’s a thought – while we have to buy our gas from these practitioners of usury, we don’t have to shop in their stores, buy their anti-freeze or frequent their coffee shops.

Is this possible, can we rebel to such an arrogant degree?

Wow – it wouldn’t be the Tea Party, but it might send a message.


whythehell would trashy care about rosieO’Donnell

Check out this column by John Doyle – who comments on TV and the modern media for the globe – but often goes way beyond that simple descriptor.

He talks about how a seemingly inconsequential departure from a seemingly insignificant daytime talk show says a lot about the influence of the right wing media in the US.
Now, I’m no fan of Rosie O’D… dunno if I could even spot her on the street.

But here’s what I do know:

She has slammed GWB for Iraq and has dared to question the White House dogma.
She has pissed off homo-phobes cuz, well, she is one of those gawd-hatin‘ gays!
But best of all – she has sent Willy O’Reilly into conniption fits with her comments about the war in Iraq, impeachment and even Tupperware!

OK – not so sure about the Tupperware.

But, at the same instant that I am all a-fritter about this…. and not even knowing who this women is…. I think aloud about the following:

In my o-so-limited education, I have learned a few things about the behaviour of despots:

1) There is a Purge of non-believers at the beginning of the reign of the despot. Those who were loyal to the previous administration are unceremoniously turfed out on their hinnies. Witness what happened to poor ol‘ Paul Martin. The former Canadian PM and Finance Minister was banished to the back benches of J. Chretien’s government when he dared to challenge for the leadership while ol‘ Jean was still in 24 Sussex.

No sooner than you could say “golf balls” was Paul M the old PM in the back of the centre block.

2) BUT – and more relevant to this scribbling is the tendency of despots to clean house when they feel that all is lost. Rosie is out the door due to pressure from the main stream media through the White House. GW Jr. is defending his inner circle even stronger than ever and the right wing morons on Fox, MSNBC and CNN are frothing at the mouth even more than usual about the “home front” of Americans letting the troops down in their hour of need.

They are circling the wagons folks and that can only mean that they are fearful of a successful attack or that they are preparing for an offensive offensive.


So – is the count-down to the reign of the neo-cons coming to an end? By their panicky twitchings, I think that they think so.

And, since they are SO much smarter than we weak-kneed liberals, I guess they gotta be right!


I’m not going to mention the word – cuz Uncle Sam may go tsk-tsk

Great article in the Globe today about how America’s so-called “war on drugs” is as farcical as ever.

It also serves to once again demonstrate why it is SO FREAKIN’ IMPORTANT to watch what you say electronically – whether it is on a website or email or in a chat room.

I would dearly love to express my opinions about how I feel about certain laws that prohibit certain things… but no way! There are a few spots in the States that I would like to see before I die and I don’t want to have a surprise at the border like this gentleman did!

If Harper’s merry bunch of malcontents ever get a majority (shudder), expect them to initiate the same type of program that we see to the south.


Sitting on our hands

I rarely insert the full text of anything into my posts. I prefer to supply the link and leave it up to the intrepid reader to decide whether to click or not.

But occasionally, I feel it necessary and important to insert such a text when it is clearly above the bar in terms of its statement and Mr. Martin often pens such pieces.

Please keep in mind the central premise of what follows – anti-Americanism is not advocated here. I am very much pro-American. I love the principles, traditions and contribution to democracy that our neighbours to the south have gifted to humanity.

But the America of today is not that America.

It is an America of hate, distrust and crass opportunism. And all of this has come about during the tenure of Messrs. Bush and Cheney. It is of torture, wiretapping and an abandonment of their great statement of universal principle – the Constitution.

And we Canucks sit idly by even though our own countrymen and women are being imprisoned and tortured by this regime.

Shame on us and shame on Canada’s Neutered Government.

But Mr. Martin states it much better than this amateur scribbler…
The great hush from the Great North
From Monday’s Globe and Mail
E-mail Lawrence Martin
Read Bio
Latest Columns
April 23, 2007 at 4:55 AM EST

Listen closely and you’ll barely hear a sound. What nice, placid neighbours we are. All that upheaval next door and we respond with a hush. No matter how adversely we are affected, or will be affected, the silence from the Great North prevails

The surging calamity in Iraq? Our government won’t dare say a word — even though it is the tragic U.S. diversion there that has led to us being bogged down in a war ourselves. If Washington had committed more of its military mass to Kabul instead of Baghdad, the situation in Afghanistan would likely be far more stable today.

Paul Wolfowitz was a leading architect of the Iraq war. He was rewarded with the presidency of the World Bank. He has plunged the bank into scandal and disrepute, just as he did his country in the war. As a World Bank member, Canada was in a position to issue a firm rebuke. But we gave him a pass.

At Guantanamo Bay, we have a Canadian, Omar Khadr, who is being denied even primitive legal rights. The Australians went to bat in Washington for one of their prisoners held in Guantanamo; so did the British. We haven’t done the same.

Six of our former foreign ministers, including Joe Clark and John Manley, issued an open letter urging our Conservative government to speak out. It turned the other way. It doesn’t want to offend President George W. Bush. Or Dick Cheney.

Yes, the Vice-President. Remember back in the early days of the Iraq war, when all those ne’er-do-wells were saying the Veep’s a creep and that we should watch what happens to Iraq’s oil. Well, look now and see what companies are moving into control of the oil fields. Check it out and check how the news media has all but ignored the story.

The great Canadian silence prevails on matters more local as well. This month, a 23-year-old university student from Ottawa was pulled over for a traffic violation in the state of Georgia. She was fingerprinted, forced to strip, shower, and stuffed in a cell with two other jeering inmates. Georgia officials explained that they have to check foreigners to make sure they are in the country legally. They did that and the girl, Cheryl Kuehn, was clear.

But, just for good measure, the police kept her in the slammer all night anyway. The outrage in Georgia produced no outrage from Ottawa.

Americans in their own country, in what was once known as the beacon of liberty, are having their telephone calls tapped and their mail intercepted under anti-terrorist laws. We are mum on that and we are totally in the dark on what covert activities they are conducting up here. Initially, Prime Minister Stephen Harper put forward some opposition to the new U.S. law requiring passports at the border. But we’ve pleasantly succumbed.

We’ve watched over the years as the Bush administration spurned America’s multilateralist tradition. Among the international agreements it scorned: the Geneva Conventions, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Kyoto Protocol, NAFTA, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the International Criminal Court, the accord on land mines. What, in most instances, has been the Canadian response? Get the hands out. Sit on them.

We’ve watched in silence as Washington has run up colossal debts and deficits that will, with time, likely reverberate up here, sending our economy into a tailspin. We watch other things, like the ongoing vulgarization of American culture with its spillover effect, without saying much. Post-Virginia Tech, don’t look for us to join in any international chorus condemning America’s 18th century gun laws. Our government has trouble countenancing a gun registry.

Neighbours needn’t meddle in the other’s internal affairs. But many of the aforementioned instances hit Canada hard.

In the past, there was a greater tendency to speak out when America was in tumult. Today, we are in passive mode. Some of us stubbornly hold to the old and wonderful assumptions about the United States, even though evidence is everywhere that the country has vitally and mightily changed. Others see the folly but subscribe to the colonial mentality wherein the cash register of trade takes higher priority than speaking out for what’s just.

As well, there are many who say that to criticize the Bush administration is to be anti-American. Given what is transpiring in the United States, given what is happening to its freedoms, its great traditions, it is those who sit in silence who are the anti-Americans.


Cynicism as an approach to governing

Now, this olTrashman wouldn’t normally cite anything that comes out of the mouths of one of the organs of the neo-con Kingdom, but Gerry Nicholls – the former head of the right-wing lobby group, the National Citizens Coalition – penned this article in the G&M recently.
In it, he talks about the need for true Conservatives to keep up the pressure on the Harperites to stay true to the starboard-leaning course.
Nicholls says:

“But here is the most important reason we conservatives must keep the pressure on Harper and his crew: If we don’t they will sell us down the river.
To be blunt, Prime Minister Harper is engaged in a cynical political game, moving his party to the political left in the hopes of wooing those Canadians who typically vote Liberal.”

This is a very telling statement from one who, until recently, was one of Stevie’s biggest cheerleaders. Granted, one has to understand this article in its proper context – Mr. Nicholls was recently let go from his post after publicly criticising Stevie and his band for the curiously red-tinged budget that was tabled last month. However, the phrase “cynical political game” is, in this stressed-out scribbler’s opinion, what best describes the Reform Conservative approach to governing over the past 16 months.

This government is working not for good policy but for that elusive majority. But that goal seems even more distant as poll after poll suggests that Steve et al have hit a ceiling of 40% and cannot move above it. This, despite facing a fractured, disorganised and leadership-challenged opposition!

But still the ol‘ gang trudges along – looking more like the Liberals than the Liberals did in the past decade or so. My question is: at what point does the bedrock base of Harper’s support begin to get all itchy about the doling out gazillions of $C to Quebec, the increased spending and the seeming abandonment of the social conservative agenda in order to get seats in QC and the 905?

When this happens, I hope the Grits or the Greens or someone are ready to take advantage of it!


Way to go Google Maps!

Just found this – by way of the The Squid Zone.

Key message – don’t always trust driving directions from point A to point B.

Hmmm… maybe someone should send these directions to Stevie-boy… if he were to take that “right” turn into the ocean, then Google will have done a great service for all Canadians!


Stevie Harper’s big adventure – part one

Priceless – the Reform Conservatives will stop at nothing…. including paying off Quebec in an effort to get votes… mais les Quebecoise et Quebecois who I know won’t buy it?
Will you?
How to buy a majority


He is here!

No name yet – but the newest addition to our family arrived safely, albeit belatedly, at 12:29 am this morning. Weighing in at 8 lbs and 15 oz, he is a picture of perfection and already possesses a great deal more hair than Daddy and has an attitude that says without a doubt that he is a member of our clan.

After almost 22 hours of labour, Colleen is very tired, in fine health and she and Junior will be keeping the nursing staff at the General company for a few days longer.


Looks like it’s time!

Early labour started at 2 am… looks like this may be the day!


Still no baby….

But the folks at Google have a sense of humour, eh?