Sunday, December 26, 2010

Top news stories of 2010

Mainstream news for 2010 in no order:

The Chilean Miners. We all let this story slip away for a while after we first heard about the thirty-three men trapped almost 3 MILES below the surface. Then when they began drilling down, made contact and we learned they were all alive, we paid rapt attention. But still weren't hopeful a rescue could happen and waited with our hearts in our mouths.
Yet the important part of this story was that the Chileans, planned, executed and solved the problems themselves by using Chilean Navy engineers to design and build an ingenious 'inner space capsule' with only inches of clearance. They proudly proved their own talented people could implement the fantastic netherworld rescue effort without a single loss of life .... while we all watched LIVE on CNN from a Chilean TV news feed.
The world sigh of relief when the last man emerged moved the Earth a millimeter off it's axis and we all loved the Chileans. It was a totally shared story.
PS; This event revealed, that other countries in the world are competent and do not need the USA to always come and save them.

The Gulf Oil Blowout.  This tragedy unfolded as we watched helplessly. Polluting the undersea with billowing clouds of crude oil before it was stopped. (if it actually was) It also signaled the fact that even the President of the United States is no longer in charge over corporations. When we expected Obama to take charge with some furious and positive action by bringing in the Navy or taking over the assets of British Petroleum, he stood meekly by while they were allowed to make one excuse after another to explain why they were not prepared in the first place. Whatever fines or results happen now to BP will be paid by the people of America in higher gasoline prices. And they'll only be filling BP's cash tank. Oil companies now rule the world. The environmental issue is yet to be fully assessed.
PS; The EXXON corporation still has not paid the fines after their Alaska Valdez oil spill disaster in 1989.  The web whistleblower organization released thousands of diplomatic cables relating mostly to embarrassing things American diplomats might have said about their contemporaries.  Otherwise the revelations about the Iraq war were nothing that we didn't already suspect or know about by having seen video posts by soldiers in the war areas to YouTube! Those videos dispute the ability of so called 'embedded' reporters to file the truth in a war situation.
The US struck back quickly in the web world info wars by making out that the leaked news was endangering soldier's lives. The fight for free speech goes on with the enigmatic Julian Assange arrested and the US trying to figure out how to shut down WikiLeaks without more info being aired.  But WikiLeaks, having foreseen this probability, had placed ironclad buffers in the way of predators who might be trying to control the world wide web, and has since been aided by more than 2000 mirror sites! Expect this fight to continue. Meanwhile the wars themselves in Iraq and Afghanistan have become secondary to the news about how they are being conducted. WikiLeaks continues to operate and the powers that be continue to shoot the messenger.
PS; The soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are now forbidden from having digital cameras and flash drives and have limited web access. 

Tiger Woods.   Just when the whole Golf TV industry had made the transition from 75 year old watchers to a younger demographic, Tiger goes and crashes into a tree, outside his house, and before the police can arrive, Elin, his wife, comes out and does a nine iron job on his head. In the frantic aftermath of this turmoil, it is revealed that Tiger, who never said a word that wasn't monitored and pre-approved by his handlers, is found out to have a girlfriend. And then another. And another. And as yet probably many more undiscovered waitresses and chambermaids. He takes off for some anti-stress leave aboard his billion dollar yacht. During which Elin leaves him with the other half of his fortune.
He returns to the tee and does poorly on the golf courses, and has lately embraced Buddhism to get him through the sunny fairway days and hopefully back to a winning mode. Why Buddhism? Maybe he likes the saffron robes?  Maybe they don't restrict his swing?
Perhaps his handlers have figured out that it WAS the barmaids and lusty laundry ladies who helped his game and will arrange for live-in kitchen help or an upstairs maid. The only ones on Tiger's side seem to be those macho pickup truck drivers who don't actually golf but do know roadside diner waitresses.
Does anyone see a reality show here?
PS; One wonders if the Augusta National Golf Club has any more black members than the janitor they hastily signed up when it was first revealed that while Tiger Woods could play there, they had no black membership?

North Korea.  The leader that everyone made fun of, Kim Jong Il, (you know, the one with big-silly-head syndrome) has handed down control of the country as his father did, to his son, Jong-un. Jong-un promptly shelled a South Korean island off his coast, to flex his pasty muscles, killing two people and almost sending the country into another Korean War, even a world war. The situation was tense.
South Korea replied with live fire maneuvers. The tension rose. The US sent the aircraft carrier USS George Washington, and is committed to helping South Korea and indeed, still has 28,000 American troops in that country! China has military support obligations to the North Koreans.
Then the tension suddenly dissipated as the US realized it had thousands of corporate business connections working in China and owed the Chinese so many trillions of dollars that a war would be disastrous. And China realized that they are now the only ones supporting the US economy and a war meant they wouldn't get their money. Ahh, much better.
Just both of you North-South children get along now.
So China goes on building into the new world leader and controller of America and the US goes on printing money to pay them for their toxic goods. Peace again.
PS; No news media mentions that the Chinese government is still the same old communist system and that the US government is that same old democracy they are trying to instill all around the world. Shhh.

Haiti Earthquake. A 7.0 magnitude earthquake devastates the capital, Port-au-Prince, and kills 230,000 people. A worldwide effort moves to help the desperate slum dwelling people. Countries, doctors, nurses, movie stars, rescue organizations, all try to stem the death toll. No one places any blame on the existing government for allowing the conditions to exist that made this tragic event's consequences possible.
The history of the corrupt rich dominating the poor in that country goes on. And traces way back to the rule of Papa Doc Duvalier, who ruled by his own militia, cults, voodoo and violence by the dreaded Tontons Macoutes, Haiti's secret police. In spite of the world wide effort the country is descending into confusion, disease and more corruption. French speaking countries continue to pour money into Haiti, in vain hopes that it will keep the language alive. But no one knows where it goes.
PS; This story was told in 1967 in a movie starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton called The Comedians. Nothing has changed since.

Vancouver Winter Olympics.  Own the podium was a precarious slogan. In the past our athletes were lucky to even see a podium, but when Alex Bilodeau ran the icy hill in Whistler to his gold medal, we were thrilled. Then another and another, until we had an electric feeling that lasted the whole 17 days and totaled 26 medals! Our hearts were truly glowing and we thought the best was the haul; 5 bronze, 7 silver and best of all, 14 gold, more than any other country competing! We DID own the podium.
But there was the one thing that made it all perfect. Hockey. Canada is the force of  hockey in the world. It would have been all a bust without gold in hockey. And Roberto Luongo scared the hell out of us, letting in a tying goal in the last 21 seconds, sending the game into overtime!
They say the greatest athletes love being down. They love needing to come back from the brink, because they have imagined that scenario since they were children. That magic moment when they are the one who wins it all. And Syd the Kid said it himself, 'Every boy who played street hockey has been in the final game with it all on the line.'  Sydney Crosby made up his mind and wrote the ending himself.
Gold in Hockey in a Canadian Winter Olympics! Oh Canada!
PS; The streets of Vancouver were like a 60s hippie love-in. Us older folks had Expo 86 as their greatest party. Now a new generation got theirs in 2010. Will there ever be another moment of that pride?

News that should have been mainstream:

Truth Suppression. World wide investigative reporting continues to decline. Newspapers continue to be condensed into fewer owners. TV news stations report entertainment and 'stories'. Governments and corporations control and decide the news. Institutions, scientists, investigators speaking out the truth are insulted, chagrined, vilified, and molested.
And in the most extreme cases, murdered.
To date, in Iraq and Afghanistan, 139 independent reporters, those who are NOT embedded with a military group and must find their own way around, and dig out their own truths, have been killed. Often under mysterious circumstances. Even respected journalists from prestige news organizations like Reuters. That fact should be on the front page of every newspaper in North America. WikiLeaks should not have to be the one to 'reveal' it.
Truthful information that gets to the people is diminishing. The consequences of this shift are yet to be determined.

Already forgotten;

- the vuvuzela
- Berlusconi and Sarkozy's escapades
- H1N1 influenza pandemic
- a new arsenic based life form discovered in California
- Texas schoolbook maker rewriting American history
- Lady Gaga's meat
- Global warming
- George W. Bush

Wishing the best to all in 2011.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Liberal wannabes circle the wagons

Solicitor General Rich Coleman is supporting Kevin Falcon for the leadership of the BC Liberal party.  If they were having a hamburger together, would a conversation go like this?
Rich -  "We circle the wagons, the public is starting to ask questions about our participation in the BC Rail scam! We can't let any more of this get out, Kevin."
Kevin - "Yeah, Gordo was pretty smart, after all those years of the BC Rail trial, stopping it before Gary Collins could testify."
Rich - "Well it was a trust issue, we didn't know if we could count on Gary to lie ...."
Kevin - "Hey, he's a Lieberal isn't he? That's a joke."
Rich - ".... Didn't wanna bet on Collins or Clark, even if I am in charge of gambling, oops er, gaming."
Kevin - "Ok Rich. You going to eat that second burger?"
Rich - "Yeah I am."
Kevin - "What about Kristy?"
Rich - "Oh hell, Kristy is trying to bury the scandal too, she is involved for chrissakes! So no problem there."
Kevin - "Yeah? You think?"
Rich - "Look, in the debate, you gotta scare her off, say something like, 'my Basi is not Virking today' that oughta do it."
Kevin - "And George Abbott?"
Rich - "Kevin, he's a joke, the only thing he is lacking is Costello. We'll we save him for the apology afterward, he is so good at it, having done it for the past few years! I heard his neighbor ran over his foot with a power mower and George just said he was sorry! Har har har."
Kevin - "Rich, I'm glad you chose to support me over Kash Heed."
Rich - "Well the Rich-Kash team sounded just too, uh, too Gordon Campbellish, you know, smacks of money and secret bank accounts."
Kevin - "You gonna finish all those chips?"
Rich - "Yeah I am."
Kevin - "Good thing we've got Vaughn Palmer and Keith Baldrey on side, they are deflecting a lot of this for us."
Rich - "That's great. And Bill Good is great too, you can count on him to ask innocuous questions."
Kevin - "Even then you don't have to answer."
Rich - "Stay away from that Bill Thielemen though. NDP spokesman. Hey waitress! Can I get another burger over here?"
Kevin - "Fast ferries fast ferries! ha ha!"
Rich - "How much longer can we milk that one? But it keeps the people off the 430 million dollar German ferry stuff. And it's a good chant when they start asking about the salaries of BC Ferries execs."
Kevin - "I even chanted it when they asked about BC Rail exec salaries!"
Rich - "But we still got a BC Rail, that's the point."
Kevin - "Wait'll they find out BC Hydro's only gonna be a tropical fish tank somewhere."
Rich - "Har har."
Kevin - "Hey Rich, what about that new guy who's writing shit about us? That Alex G. Tsakumis guy with the blog?"
Rich - "Shh! Keep that one quiet, he is doing the investigative reporter's job, exposing stuff. People might Google him at and find out more true crap."
Kevin - "Yeah. Ok. Hey Rich, does my hair look cool? I mussed it some more. Going for the young vote."
Rich - "Not too much more though, you're beginning to look like Emo Phillips. Kevin, can I ask you something? You really didn't know the Skytrain up Cambie was going underground?"
Kevin - "Here comes your burger."

The only question remaining is whether Kevin will start calling Rich Coleman, Unca Richie.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hard to be apolitical

I'm trying to stay away from political stuff. It's just too depressing. Too infuriating.
Every time you turn around there is another instance or event that irritates you because it pushes against your sense of reason. You wonder what really is the modern definition of integrity nowadays?
But the daily revelations of how stupid our whole political system has become drives one to the keyboard, if only to make a small protest. A mewl in the night. Ineffective and probably unheard amid the din of spin but still out there somewhere.
Not very satisfying.

The latest is the Conflict of Interest Commissioner for BC, Paul Fraser's ruling on a question regarding Gordon Campbell. Gordon, our shamed premier. attended a Bilderberg meeting in Spain. He spent 8700. dollars of taxpayer money getting there.

If you don't know already, Bilderberg meetings are totally secret. No one actually knows what they discuss, promise or make covert deals about.
But the attendees have been suspect for a long time now, illustrious or infamous people have gone. The list can be read as a glitterari of famous and powerful people in the world, or a who's-who of suspected criminals against humanity. No one is sure what is on the yearly agenda and everyone seems to be sworn to secrecy.

As always, those who are shut out, begin their own speculations of what goes on behind the locked doors. That is a natural occurance of being outside peering in.
First and foremost is that they are plotting the New World Order. Which some construe as the emerging secret plan to rid the world of over 5 billion people. It is believed, by tongue slippage, that someone has determined that the optimum population of Earth should be about 500 million.
Of course this could be a noble goal. We need to sustain our planet. We're not far enough advanced yet to have another place to go. But because we are still not sure what these people are planning. Or plotting. So we guess.

Which brings me back to Paul Fraser. He has determined that Gordon Campbell has got intellectual stimulation from his Bilderberg meeting, and that will benefit us all. And so the $8700. of your money is well spent and he won't inquire into it any more. Of course Mr Fraser has no idea what kind of stimulation Mr Campbell could have gotten in Spain. So he, like the rest of us, assumes it is all good.
Nice to be optimistic like that. Look for the good in everyone. Sure.
I suppose the problem is with me. You can look at this like a Salvation Army meeting, where they are figuring out how to serve the poor. Or, you can look as if it is a meeting of the Jesse James gang, plotting to rob more banks.
Pessimism is not good.

But hey, it is Gordon Campbell we are talking about.
For the win.