Tag Archives: philosophy

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Why I’m Voting for “Good Guy Gregor”

I have to admit, amidst all the violent crackdowns in #occupied cities, Mayor Gregor Robertson – despite taking a lot of flack from conservative pundits (and the opposition NPA’s mayoral candidate, Suzanne Anton) for not quashing Vancouver’s tent city – is starting to look like one of the more civilized mayors in North America.

While New York City’s Mayor Bloomburg called in bulldozers, pepper spray, water cannons and riot police in the dead of night to address “fire and safety concerns”, our own city officials went in and had a chat, negotiated the removal of a few obvious problem structures, and got the VAG grounds cleaned up nicely. No trampling of Charter Rights, no barring the Free Press, no mayhem or arrests.

So yeah, I back the Juiceman.

One Love

“One Love” by Bob Marley (RIP)

Demagogues Haunt Voting Day

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Royally betrothed, a fairytale that can only be convincing to pre-teen girls and stout old spinsters, as weak goals and lame efforts continue to dog this campaign, a scattershot one-eyed Jack hits precision targets in far-off lands, like a Khadafi playboy or Osama bin Laden, and another lifeless demagogue’s body is taken into custody. So we go to the polls to exercise democracy like it’s a meaningless power play against the people, watch the tide turned by youthful twits not intending to martyr a parliamentary dictatorship, but forcing the bastards into a minority position yet again – a governing coalition, a social network, a team. OK?

Campbell’s Legacy: Dishonest, Abusive, Disrespectful

Well, it had to happen eventually. The truth had to leak out about Gordon Campbell. And finally one shoe has dropped. Apparently sick of dissident Liberal Cabinet member from Kootenay East, Bill Bennett, telling everyone that the Premier had to leave NOW, not sometime next year, the lame-duck Premier decided to boot him out of cabinet.

But, good old boy that he is, Bill Bennett wasn’t going to go away quietly. He called a press conference a few hours after getting ousted and, within minutes, started ripping Gordon Campbell personally and telling anecdotes of the abusive, dishonest, bullying ways of the Premier. It is a fascinating, horrifying and disturbing tale Bennett tells. Campbell is portrayed as a man who clearly shares the traits of a classic psychopath. Not too surprising when you look at the way Campbell has lied and cheated and bullied his way through 3 election victories.

Gordon Campbell is, quite simply, a total disgrace. Bad policies are one thing, but the portrait Bennett paints is of a man who is really sick, and likely needs some serious help. Especially frightening is the reference to the “battered wife syndrome” that pervades the Liberal caucus, and the women MLAs that Campbell reduced to tears on many occasions, and especially the three women who quit because of his disrespectful and abusive nature.

Meanwhile, The Vancouver Sun’s Vaughn Palmer, who is considered by some (on the right) to be the best political columnist in BC, still has his nose way up Campbell’s backside, and only two days ago wrote a column called “History Will Show Campbell in a More Favourable Light”. Earth to Palmer. Wake up already! You might want to rethink your fawning. Bennett’s tirade is only the tip of the iceberg. Just think of all the sordid secrets surrounding the sale of BC Rail that could still come out….

There’s a link below to Bennett’s lengthy press conference (which is going viral), but I’ve pulled some of his choice quotes and copied them out below.

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“I’m tired of the bullshit that goes on in politics and I’m really tired of the way Gordon Campbell thinks he can just run on people. He can run on me. I’m a tough guy, I can take it. But I’ve seen him do it to other people in our caucus. You have almost a battered wife syndrome inside our caucus today, inside our cabinet. It’s really sad, and all the man has to do to give the B.C. Liberal party a chance to renew itself is to leave. That’s all he has to do.”

“He’s got a history of intimidating people over the years… many, many, many, people have been intimidated by him…. I’ve seen him angry on many, many, many occasions…”

Reporter: “Have you seen people in tears after one of his tirades?” Bennett: “Absolutely. Absolutely.”

“I think you’re all aware that he is a very intimidating human being. He does have a temper. He does talk to people disrespectfully in caucus. I’ve seen him do it dozens and dozens of times. He’s done it to me.”

“The first time he got angry at me… he got so angry at me, that he got in my face, he got so angry at me, he actually spit in my face. He’s not a nice man. He’s not a nice man.”

“He took me behind the barn, and he was outraged… he started to shout at me… he caught me by such surprise, I was just amazed. Here he is, the Premier of the province, and he’s spitting on me!”

“Look… when they decided to kick me out they would sit down and talk about how they were going to spin this… So they had a little plan all set for me, I mean they took my phone away, they shut it down so I couldn’t call anyone, they shut down my credit card… they knew exactly what they were doing. They couldn’t trust me not to tell the truth.”

“Everything he does is staged. I’m surprised they didn’t have someone from PAB there organizing the event.”

“I not only got shot down, I mean, he was abusive in his response…. He did his usual bully thing, and that was the end of that.”

“There’s Christy Clark, there’s Carole Taylor, there’s Olga Ilich: three outstanding, intelligent women who should be here right now, they should be here serving British Columbians. Ask yourselves why they’re not here? They’re not here because of Premier Campbell, that’s why they’re not here.”

“I had had enough of the way that Premier Campbell runs his shop. It is disrespectful to the people inside, it is disrespectful to the people of the province. It is time that he goes… he’s lost the public entirely. Now, I just don’t think that the public has any respect left for the Premier of BC and he should just leave.”

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Art as Propaganda: The BC Spirit Festival

Today, I’m mourning an anniversary of sorts, as it was one year ago today that the BC Liberals sent the mass emails around the province announcing the massive raiding of BC Lottery Corporation and cutting off funding to thousands of arts and cultural groups. Having started this blog only two weeks before, I hadn’t expected to be suddenly thrown into a spiral of poverty and bitterness, which admittedly has only grown worse as the months passed. Like so many others, I was forced to Stop All Art.

So it perhaps comes as no surprise that the Campbell government and Tourism, Culture and the Arts Minister Kevin Krueger – one of the more worthless and imbecilic politicians in this province, and that’s saying something – recently announced that they would be “restoring” about 10 million worth of “arts” funding on a sham annual propaganda event called the BC Spirit Festival.

This funding program is an attempt by Campbell to milk the success of the Olympics for the next three years every February, which, not coincidently, will take us to the next election in 2013.

Needless to say, the arts community is once again enraged, as most organizations are barely clinging to life as it is, as they just recently learned that funding will be cut again this year. And now the only hope to access any provincial funding is to sell out their artistic freedom and put on some sort of pseudo-Olympic celebration that pays homage to the assholes who crippled them. It really is sick.

So sick, in fact, that BC Arts Council chair Jane Danzo finally decided to resign 10 days ago, slamming the government for their latest cuts while simultaneously announcing the Spirit Festival fund with absolutely no consultation with the Arts Council.

The last two weeks have seen numerous arts community heavyweights weigh in on the matter and condemn the government for what some have labelled a fascist view of the arts as state propaganda. In a blog post that was subsequently published in the Georgia Straight, John McLaughlin had these choice words:

“But outside of economic and political arguments, the real slap in the face comes from the arrogance of the Spirit Festival scheme. The government has slashed the arts community in half — then spoon-fed back a shadow of its previous funding in such a way that creative control is ripped from the hands of artists themselves. They are now expected to act as mouthpieces championing a legacy of debt, excess, and political misdirection — and we’re expected not to notice.”

“That’s not “belt-tightening” — that’s premeditated murder by strangulation.”

And they wonder why 705,000 signed the No HST petition? It has very little to do with the actual tax, you fools. People simply hate this government, and everything Gordon Campbell stands for.

And with so many underemployed but highly creative people kicking around the province these days, Recall in the Fall is going to be a nasty, dirty fight. But hey, they brought it on themselves.

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Octogenarian Architect Speaks Out Against City Planning

Roger Kemble, aka Urbanismo, is a mariner, but he’s all about the land. At 82, he appears to be having the time of his life. He clearly doesn’t give a shit what anyone thinks about him, nor does he like bullshitters — he challenges people all the time to be truthful. But where other commentators like old Gassy might come off as fucking hacks or partisan wonks, Urbanismo has literary gusto, writing wildly punctuated fragments in a high modernist style. And he frequently drops cultural references into his blog comments that would make Douglas Coupland’s head spin.

After a long career as an architect in Vancouver and educator at UBC that stretches back to the 1960s, Urbie isn’t afraid to call out the current Vancouver Planning Department as dimwitted and drunk on power. He strongly believes the current direction of City policy — and the public consultation process — is badly in need of a new planning paradigm. In my own isolated experience with the Historic Area Height Review, I found myself agreeing with Urbanismo more and more.

While his take on Vancouver being a failed city? may lead some to scratch their heads, there’s no doubt a lot of truth to what he says. And while I and others dither over the details, Urbanismo just went ahead and plotted a new planning paradigm over the course of a couple of rainy afternoons. If you like cities and urbanism, and non-pedantic writing, it’s worth taking a look at the pages.