Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Great Casino Industrial Laundry Complex....First Charges Have Been Laid.


Sam Cooper of Postmedia has the details - go read his entire piece.

Here is the lede and a bit more:

Criminal charges have been laid against Silver International Investment, a money-transfer business that RCMP allege was involved in money laundering, had ties to underground banking and used suspected drug cash to fund Chinese VIP gamblers in B.C. casinos.

During the RCMP’s Project E-Pirate probe, Mounties allege they uncovered more than $500 million from a Richmond money-laundering service they said handled up to $1.5 million a day...


...In late August, at a Vancouver conference attended by law enforcement officials, RCMP Insp. Bruce Ward outlined the details of E-Pirate. The investigation started with surveillance of gambling and cash drops at River Rock Casino, documents say, which led to Silver’s cash house, about a 10-minute drive away.

Ward said RCMP surveillance identified 40 different organizations linked to Asian organized groups dealing cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. Gangsters were delivering “suitcases laden with cash” to Silver’s cash house.

At Silver, dealers could drop off $100,000 in cash in a suitcase, Ward said, and within minutes a credit for $95,000 would appear in a Chinese bank, after a five per cent fee was taken for the laundering and transfer service...


Describing a typical cash drop, (RCMP Inspector Bruce) Ward said: “They would put $100,000 into a hockey bag, show up at the casino, and give (the VIP gambler) $100,000 …



I do not recommend you read the comments attached to the bottom of Mr. Cooper's piece as many of them are filled to bursting with xenophobic bombast.

Which, on the flipside, leads me back to what I feel is the heart of the matter, a topic that Mr. Cooper grazes in the following passage:

...On Wednesday, Chuck Keeling, an executive with River Rock’s operator Great Canadian Gaming Corp., said he was not aware of charges laid in the (RCMP's) E-Pirate investigation, and he was not able to comment...

Not aware....

Of the charges.

Sure thing.

But as to the actual laundering that has been going on on a massive scale in one of his decidedly onshore super great Canadian casinos?

Well, too bad the good Mr. Keeling couldn't comment on that.

And don't forget about the homegrown dismantling of the overseers of such laundering such that the latter could expand dramatically, and demonstrably beginning in 2009.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017



Riding a jam-packed bus to work this morning (even I don't ride my bike when the rain is coming down at the rate of millimetres per minute) I couldn't help but notice that all the kids hunched over around me were sporting Samsungs...The beginning of the end of Mr. Jobs' dominant party-line echo perhaps?

A guy I went to gradual school with way back in the dark ages (i.e. long before CRISPR was a glimmer in the late, great Michael Smith's brilliant, site-directed eyes) showed up at my office door, unannounced today...In addition to a little science, he wanted to know where the heck B-Lot went.

Norm Farrell and I are working with Merv Adey's family and some other folks on a new journalism project to honour and extend Merv's work...It's something we're pretty excited about...If you'd like to kick in a little to help make it happen Norm's got all the details up at his place.

Bigger E. and I have embarked on a musical recording project that we hope to have ready in both physical and digital downloadable forms in time for Christmas...As such, she wanted to hear my version of this classically cosmic Gram Parsons/ Emmy Lou Harris tune before we give it a serious try ourselves...

And, just in case you were wondering...The concept for the post is swiped, kinda/sorta from one of may favourite sports columnists, the SF Chronicle's Bruce Jenkins, who himself, I think, probably got the idea from Herb Caen....Anyway, here is one of Jenkins' last, best gems that, at the very least, will be appreciated by my old editor from days of yore...
Photo credit...


How Much Dirty Money, Exactly, Is In BC's Golden Era Economy?


Investigative Postmedia reporter extraordinaire Sam Cooper figures it's in the billions.


Here is the link to the CPress' LChangxing story published/archived at the MoCo's lotuslandian division.


Monday, October 16, 2017

WTF? - Vancouver Civic Politics Edition


From J. McElroy's round-up on Saturday's Vancouver Bye-Bye on the MoCo's pixel page:

..."It's a great victory for working people in this city, who have struggled for a long time," said [the NPA's victorious 28 percent solution candidate Hector] Bremner, whose resume includes running for the B.C. Liberals in the 2013 election and working for cabinet minister Rich Coleman (responsible for, among other things, housing policy) afterwards...

I have nothing more to add.

(he typed, mouth agape)

My own Pete Kelly-assisted take on the by-election results is....Here.
Stuff in the square brackets in the quote above is mine for clarification and context and all that.


What The Heck Is An 'Illegal Cash House'?


From Sam Cooper's latest:

...The findings shed more light on processes within B.C. casinos that may have allowed casino money-laundering, as alleged in an RCMP probe. Postmedia News has reported that investigators believe organized criminals loaned suspected drug cash from an illegal cash house in Richmond to VIP high-rollers recruited from Macau...

And on top of all that we are shocked!, shocked! I tell you to learn that whaling (with proxy pilot fish and everything!) has been going on in at least three (named) casinos (plural).


Sunday, October 15, 2017

The (Not So) Big Win For The BC Liberal Farm Team In Vancouver's Bye-Bye.


Why was the NPA's victory in the Vancouver by-election actually a loss?

Blogmeister Pete Kelly explains:

...Geoff Meggs resigned his council seat to take a senior position as John Horgan's chief of staff. So a by-election was held to replace him. 27%* of the 10% eligible voters chose the NPA's candidate. Pretty underwhelming of a mandate. But, a decision nonetheless.


...The other 73%* are voters, candidates, parties that are centre and centre-left...


...If the NPA are representative of the centre-right in BC as well why could their united-right party could only muster 27%? This "win" is so weak, its almost is a loss.


For the next 48 hours or so get ready for the rooster-crowing of the Marky-Markists who have wormed their way into the roledexes of the fine folks that produce the likes of the Puffmaster Flash, et al.

But have no fear because, in the end all this means is that the Farm Team has nothing, except of course, for the NoFunCouver dead-enders that will follow them to heckfire and back unless, of course the ghost of until the ghost of Terrific stops haunting the halls of the Bayshore Inn and appears as an apparition above Lost Lagoon.

*Actually 28/72.

It's also important to realize that, when it comes to by-elections in this town, the vote skews, as Raymond Tomlin pointed out the other day, heavily Creme-Ville.
Of course this result also means that Developer Party No 2. is likely in  big, big trouble down the road because anybody with a progressive bone in their body (myself included) deserted them...This is doubly true for both Developer party's  if we don't get some real campaign finance reform at the civic level before the next General.
Weirdly, it looks like the only party with any bounce out of this thing is the Greens who took the top three School Board slots...But in actuality even that was weirdly split all over the place.
Tip O' The Toque to Rabbi David Mivasair for the image at the top of the post.


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Who, Exactly, Enabled The Drug Money Laundry? The Victoria Times Colonist Takes An Important First Step Down The Path Of Non-Forgettery.


The VTC published a very important editorial today in which they noted the following:

...It’s been known for some time that casinos offer an attractive way to cloak the proceeds of crime. Gang members can claim they came by their cash playing poker.

But it appears casino-based laundering is far more extensive than was previously understood. It also appears Christy Clark’s former administration knew the facts for some time and failed to respond effectively.

In 2015, Clark’s government commissioned a report on the relationship between organized crime and casinos. But when it became evident the contents were explosive, the report was quietly buried...

This is an important first step at demonstrating a functioning promedia short-term memory organ.


If they could just engage a little longer-term memory and go all the way back to, say....



Friday, October 13, 2017

All (Very) Quiet On The Quick Wins Front...


Why are things so quiet?

Well, it turns out that the good Mr. Brian Bonney has taken one for the BCL team and pleaded guilty to something or other.

Keith Fraser of Postmedia has the story, such as it is.

Here is Mr. Fraser's lede:

A former Liberal government communications director quietly entered a guilty plea to one count of breach of trust on Thursday in the so-called quick wins scandal from the Christy Clark era.

Brian Bonney, who once worked on Clark’s Liberal leadership campaign, entered the plea to the criminal charge before provincial court Judge David St. Pierre in Vancouver...


What was it that Mr. Bonney did that resulted in the charge that he is now copping to?

According to Mr. Fraser's story it really wasn't much. Something relatively innocuous that had something to with a by-election 'donation' that wasn't quite kosher back in 2012:

...Election Act charges arising from the same RCMP investigation were laid in 2014 against Bonney, co-accused Mark Robertson and a numbered company. Those charges related to allegations stemming from a byelection in 2012. The charges were dealt with in May 2016 after the numbered company entered a guilty plea to one count of making/accepting a political donation.

The company, which did business as Mainland Communications, was fined $5,000 and the remaining charges were stayed. Bonney was the president of the company.


I seem to recall that there was all kinds of stuff that swirled around the capping-of all things 'Quick Winning' at the time that just might have come up again if Mr. Bonney had chosen to go through with a trial instead of copping.

Something about an Email that the good Mr. Bonney wrote about a potentially disgruntled staffer that they were worried might blow the whistle or something...

Hang on a second while I go into the archives and have a look....

Ahhh, yes, here it is....

..."Have [BC Liberal MLA] Harry Bloy meet with her and explain how doing anything would damage the Premier and the party. Have him say how he will try to find her work and get her back involved... If need be, offer x dollars per month to do non public work up to election [developing her database of potential supporters]."...

That 'her' in Mr. Boney's Email turned out to be a staffer who did the right thing and blew the whistle anyway.

Cassidy Olivier nailed that one down in The Province back in the day:

...Sepideh Sarrafpour, a former government liaison contractor and one-time honorary liaison to former multiculturalism minster Harry Bloy, confirmed to the Province that she was the person referenced in a government email the subject of heated debate this week.

“Yeah it is me,” Sarrafpour told The Province Tuesday. “They were talking about me.”...

Given all that, perhaps now is the time to get specific (rather than all innocuous 'n stuff as Mr. Fraser's story was above) about what, precisely the charges against Mr. Bonney and his company were:

Imagine that!

And one more thing (re: that lede from Mr. Fraser quoted above).... The good Mr. Bonney did much, much more than just  'work on (Christy) Clark's (BC) Liberal leadership campaign'....For example, in addition to being the very fine Mr. Bloy's Comms Director on our dime (again we're shocked!, shocked! I tell you, that the Dipper's have since hired their own folks to do similar things) he was also named in the Quick Wins origin document (a.k.a. 'The Spreadsheet').
To give credit where absolutely none is due....Mr. Fraser's is not the only proMedia report that is doing its part in the invocation of  the silence of the forgetting of what was really and truly at the core of this thing....which, of course would be the 'offer her x dollars per month' bit to keep quiet in the original Email...


Thursday, October 12, 2017

What Is To Become Of Young Vancouverites?


I know this guy...

He's a pretty young guy who is the partner of one of my wife's musical theatre friends. He is also a helluva a bicycle mechanic.


I guess you could say he's my bike guy.

And yesterday I dropped by his place after work, which is one of those nice low-rise apartment building's just off Main in the 'teens, and noticed that there was a 'For Sale' sign out front with a 'Land Assembly Possibility' banner slapped across it.

Which meant that, after I was done paying my bike guy for trueing my rear wheel, as is pretty much inevitable in this town, we got to talking about the following:

"...Vancouver is ranked among global cities most at risk of a housing bubble for the second time this year as the cost of a typical single-family home surged to a record $1.6 million, about 20 times the median household income. The seemingly relentless run-up has defied attempts to cool it, including a 15-per-cent tax on foreign buyers imposed by the previous, Liberal-led government last year..."


Anyway, here's the thing...

My wife and I, despite the fact that we were a little late to the Vancouver Real Estate bubble party-party, we are very, very lucky to be a part of a group of folks, who are mostly of a certain age (or older) in Vancouver.

Because after trying like heckfire to help get two co-ops started, one of which was killed by GordCo at the last minute, we bit the bullet and bought our bungalow on the near Eastside back in 2005, which means we paid (the then crazy/astronomical amount of) $440K for it (and the 33' X 120' chunk of dirt).

That chunk of dirt (not the bungalow itself) is now 'worth' about $1.6 million on some paper ledger thingy somewhere.

Which is all fine and good if we could cash in and move away tomorrow (which we can't).

But, much more to the point, what are my bike guy and his partner, who works for the big credit union in town, going to do when they're evicted by the assembyists?

Or my kids?

Or all those teachers that we need to hire?

Or just about anyone of our fellow citizens who actually does real things in this town?



I don't want anybody who came to the party even later than us (who is not a speculator) to go seriously under water but I'm really starting to wonder if the only way we are going to hold on to our city (and, most importantly, the young people in it) is if we do some wilful bubble popping.

Of course, if we do this in any serious way that it actually makes a real difference, there is no way there won't be some short term economic pain also.

But seriously, what is the alternative?

That's not to say that I don't agree that we should also go hog wild on reinvigorating co-op and social housing, it's just that I honestly don't think that will be enough (and that it will be harder and harder to do) if the bubble keeps expanding.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

They Built This City...

...On (The River) Rock And Laundered Money.

Sam Cooper's latest on the big money bundling of Whaling and Real Estate is up at various and sundry Postmedia outlets.

Here is his lede:

A background review of hundreds of VIP gamblers at Richmond’s River Rock Casino in 2015 found that the highest proportion of players involved in large and suspicious cash transactions worked in real estate, according to a confidential memo obtained by Postmedia.

The memo did not state whether these gamblers work in B.C.’s or China’s real estate sector.

The Aug. 2016 internal review — filed to B.C. Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch compliance director Len Meilleur — was conducted to examine the amount of cash flooding through “high-limit” VIP rooms at River Rock, and the extent to which high-rollers could buy chips with small bills and cash out with big bills. This process is known to anti-money laundering investigators as “colouring up” and can allow gamblers to deposit suspected drug-cash $20 dollar bills in casinos and walk out with bundles of $100s which appear to be clean money suitable for banking and investment, experts say.

The Aug. 2016 memo examined $243 million in total cash buy-ins for all of 2015 at River Rock and provides the most detailed picture yet of the characteristics of high-limit VIPs at the centre of growing concerns in B.C. casinos...


Who was it, exactly, again, who helped clear the decks for this type of behaviour?

And does anyone really think it is limited to a single rockin' and rollin' casino in Richmond?


Hey, Lotuslandians (Central Division)....We've Got A By-Election Coming Saturday!


If you live in the City of Vancouver you can vote for one councillor (to replace he who has dearly departed for Dipperland, GMeggs) and the entire schoolboard slate.

Find out if you're registered to vote....Here.

And if you're not, but have lived here for six months you can fill out this form and take it with you, unsigned, to your closest polling place (which you can find here).

A little analysis of who's who and what's what to follow, maybe, depending on how much work I can whack out of the way this week.
Why did I fiddle and fuss about this myself?....Well, the CoV, in it's wisdom decided not to send out voting cards which had me worried about my own status...Gosh, is it possible that someone kinda/sorta wants to keep the turnout backlash down?


Sunday, October 08, 2017

A Local Journalist Actually Asks Rich Coleman Why He Helped Shut Down The Integrated Illegal Gaming Enforcement Team.


Too bad the journalist concerned, Sean Holman, did the asking not yesterday or last week, or even last spring, but instead way back in 2010:


It sure would be interesting if Mr. Coleman could now tell us (i.e. in 2017) what, exactly, he  did to  'do it better' than the team he dismantled in 2009 given the following statistics provided by Sam Cooper in his most recent Postmedia piece that was published yesterday?

...In 2010-11, (BC Lottery Corporation) reported 491 suspicious transactions to Fintrac; in 2011-12 there were 837; in 2012-13 there were 939; in 2013-14 there were 1,254; and in 2014-15, there were 1,737 suspicious transactions reported to Fintrac, the documents say...

Of course, the journalist who had the guts and get-up-and-go to actually ask the question, and challenge Mr. Coleman to get him on the record, was none other than Sean Holman. As we've mentioned (to use the good Mr. Coleman's own words from the video above) again and again and again', Mr. Holman's Public Eye's archives are an invaluable historical record of all that GordCo was up to during its 10 year reign of error after error after error.
Note that, in the interview above, Mr. Coleman explicitly states that there is absolutely no documentation of why he did what he did because...."He doesn't deal in paper".
TipO'TheToque to Laila on the Twittmachine for bringing this up - the thread that follows is worth looking at....Especially the part where Laila notes that, despite Mr. Coleman's claims about 'paper' is admission that there Emails indicates that there must have been (at least before the great deleting began in earnest) an actual pixel trail that could have been turned into paper right then and there.
Again, my hypothesis on why so much happened in 2009 is coming...And it has nothing, specifically, to do with eventualities in Richmond.


The Fun I Had On A Saturday Afternoon.


I had no agricultural crops, or even backyard beans, to bring in this year.

But it turns out that I inadvertently planted a seed recently when I asked Bigger E to help me out with a new musical project.

And yesterday afternoon she returned the favour when she asked me to come and play with her in downtown Victoria on the edge of Market Square.


Did we ever have fun especially when E. somehow managed to segue out of a John Darnielleish version of 'I Saw The Sign' straight into perhaps the greatest street musician's rave-up possible, 'Frankie's Gun'.

Of course, just like in the old days, we started with our historical warm up from Mr. Zimmerman...

And if you've ever wondered how, exactly,  even the most hackneyed of a Top 40 song can pretty much transcend everything in the mind of just the right listener at just the right time, click through on the 'Sign' link above.


Saturday, October 07, 2017

When, Exactly, Did The Whaling Of British Columbia's Casinos Begin?


From the latest piece by Sam Cooper in today's VSun:

"...The new documents reveal that in 2016 then-finance minister Mike de Jong was warned River Rock Casino was allegedly under-reporting suspicious and large cash transactions “contrary to federal regulations and BCLC policy.” De Jong was warned money laundering concerns could open the B.C. Liberal government to criticism for deciding in 2009 to disband B.C.’s integrated illegal gaming enforcement team..."

Which, again, brings us back to this old chestnut from the invaluable archives of Sean Holman's Public Eye, circa October 2009:

The former commander of British Columbia's now-defunct integrated illegal gaming enforcement team is questioning the provincial government's commitment to "meaningful" illegal gaming investigations. Speaking exclusively with Public Eye, Fred Pinnock also described the RCMP's senior management in British Columbia as demonstrating "willful blindness" when it comes to the connection between illegal gaming and organized crime. And he said his provincially-funded RCMP team should have been expanded - not shutdown...


...In fact, seven months after Mr. Pinnock's retirement, the team - which received its funding via a BC Lotteries sponsorship agreement - was quietly shutdown, its April 1, 2009 closure marked by nothing more than a footnote in the Crown corporation's financial statements.

The government has said it was more efficient for its enforcement branch inspectors to work directly with local police on illegal gaming issues...


What, exactly, did the BC Liberal government's 'enforcement branch inspectors do that was so efficient that it resulted in the following according to Mr. Cooper's VSun story?

...In 2010-11, BCLC reported 491 suspicious transactions to Fintrac; in 2011-12 there were 837; in 2012-13 there were 939; in 2013-14 there were 1,254; and in 2014-15, there were 1,737 suspicious transactions reported to Fintrac, the documents say...


Why is this not top a top-of-the-newscast/above-the-fold-front-pager for every single major media organ in British Columbia?

Sam Cooper, himself, states on the Twittmachine
that asking folks like the good Mr. Coleman (who was in charge at the time)  about their past actions does not matter given that documentary evidence matters more...While I agree that documentation does matter most, I also strongly feel that getting someone on the record explaining their past actions in such cases also matters (particularly at the back end of the thing when all the documents are in - and clearly they are rolling in).

And, as for the question posed in the sub-header?....I have an hypothesis...Wait for it.


The Whine Of The Ancient Turdstormer.


From the fine fellow formerly in charge of all things energy, etcetera...




Friday, October 06, 2017

SiteC....Now I Get It: Official Reports On Actual Events Count More Than The Actual Events Themselves.


I remember the reports from last winter from folks on the ground about the cracks in the banks of the Peace River being a real problem with the dam(n) building preparations.

But mostly I remember the photographs.

Photos like this:

And I also remember that the implications of these cracks for things like missed deadlines and cost overruns (not to mention outright safety) were widely discussed on the blogs, especially over at Laila's place.

Weirdly, however, there was little discussion of all this in the proMedia at the time.

Which is something that really confused me given how important this appeared to be, even for someone as geotechnically challenged as myself.

But I think I understand all that now.


Because, as is very much in evidence in Mr. Palmer's latest column, pushished today in the Vancouver Sun, nothing is real for the local proMedia types covering such matters until and unless it is written up in an official report.

To wit:

...The (Site C) contract, over budget and behind schedule from the outset, has been eating through its share of the project contingency fund at an alarming rate.

But just as those details were being made public last week via an uncensored copy of a report by Deloitte LLP consultants, senior B.C. Hydro executives were meeting with the main civil works contractor.

The Sept. 27 showdown focused on a series of problems, mainly arising from two tension cracks on the left bank of the river.

The first crack opened up in February, forcing a 10-week delay in construction. Barely was that contained when a second crack opened up on the same bank in early May.

“Work continued in the area until July 2017 when it was stopped by wet weather,” according to B.C. Hydro’s followup to the O’Riley letter.

“B.C. Hydro and the contractor worked collaboratively to develop a solution to remediate the second tension crack and the contractor commenced these remediation efforts, but production through August and September was below plan.”

B.C. Hydro and the contractor then tried to recover lost time via a joint review of the construction schedule. But the effort failed to reach a consensus.

“The review identified options to maintain river diversion by 2019, but the parties were unable to reach agreement on the schedule, options and allocation of cost.”...


The myopic blinders of officialdom, it would appear that they burn.

Or at least obscure all acknowledgement and/or understanding of actual events such that no political price is paid for what those actual events actually mean at the time that they actually happen.

If you get my drift.

Put another, snark-free way....Why does this myopia really matter?....Well, ask yourself the following...What if the BC Liberals had prevailed in May and there had been no change in officialdom?....Would this mean that Dean et al. (and thus the great majority of the the BC citizenry) would still think that everything is going along swimmingly with Site C?... If your answer, like mine is 'yes', you will also understand that this means we would be buying yet another SparklePony fantasy all over again, except this time with real money....And, here, right on schedule, is a little proof to stir into that pudding.
A smaller,  tangential question has just popped into my half-empty suitcase of a pre-Thanksgiving weekend mind...Will these new fangled 'official' releases lead Mr. Palmer to re-think his previously stated position that the firing of the Golden Era BC Hydro CEO by the Dippers was a lousy idea?...For the record, here is the editorial kicker from the Dean's column at the time (i.e. July 2017): "....(Hydro CEO Jessica) McDonald departs with a severance package of half a million dollars and every likelihood that she’d land a position elsewhere that will make Horgan look ridiculous..."
Finally, if you want a better, more in-depth  analysis of what the latest Site C revelations actually really do mean, go read Norm's latest.


Thursday, October 05, 2017

Never Mind The Troll Trucks And Other Trivialities...



"...We’ve got bags of dirty money. Literally millions of dollars that is probably raised by selling illegal drugs that are fueling the opioid crisis are being gambled and “laundered” at B.C. casinos. Then they are sometimes invested in real estate in B.C., fueling the housing affordability crisis..."


Two questions...

Why is this not the top of every single newscast 24/7?

Why is no one in the local proMedia asking the fine folks who were in charge and making policy at the time how, exactly, things got to be this way?


Monday, October 02, 2017

The Keef Report....Spewtrifaction Action, Jackson.


Sure it's bizarre.

In the extreme.

But, then again, according to the time stamp it was posted after 9 pm on a Saturday night.


Gosh, I wonder if he who counts his followers (and, much, much worse, spews on others deemed to have too few) was actually peeved by the fact that Norm's tweet sat at or near the top of the #bcpoli preferred list for most of the weekend?
Previous Keef Reports, and there have been many, can be found....Here.
And the first rule of said Ledge Club?....Thou shalt not diss the work of fellow members....As for 'Idiot Bloggers'?...Well.
There is a Club?...You bet there is (he said as non-hatefully as possible).


Did NDP Supporters Help Mr. Simpson Do The Right Thing On Bus Passes For Disabled?


It would appear that the answer to the question in the header to the post just might be yes:


A while back I dipped my toe into the water on this issue on the Twittmachine and got at yelled at, reasonably loud and hard, by a small cadre of Dipper supporters who were upset that non-insiders (who don't really understand how thing work) were making the new government look bad by having the temerity to speak up.

But that was nothing compared to the pushback against those folks who were really out there advocating for the disabled loud, long and hard.

And two of the most ferocious of those advocates were Laila Yuile and Delphine Charmley.

But as time passed and the advocates kept pushing (which led, at least in part, to  the proMedia coverage that Ms. Charmley garnered - for all the right reasons) you could feel a change in the zeitgeist that got me to thinking of that (perhaps apocryphal) quote from Franklin Roosevelt:

"I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it."

Call me crazy, but I think a whole of good folks, many of them Dipper supporters, just helped Mr. Simpson (and, presumably Mr. Horgan et al.) do what Mr. Roosevelt (allegedly) asked his supporters to do.

Which, to my mind, is the way things are supposed to work.


The fact that moderate, centrist supporters of the BC Liberal gov't were never listened to, especially early on when the slashing and burning started in earnest, was one of the reasons I came to see them as completely intransigent...And then, as things moved from GordCo Inc. to Clarklandia it seemed that the KloutKlub screamers made sure that the moderate voice was completely suppressed...
Link to Richard Zussman's tweet at the top of the post is here...Mr. Zussman also has the best breakdown so far on how things will


Sunday, October 01, 2017

Has The Middle Already Disappeared From Lotusland?

I'm not really sure.

However, I do know that in my business, where the compensation packages are healthy (thanks in large part to the longstanding concerted efforts of a  professional 'association' many of my colleagues refuse to call a union), cost of living issues make recruitment incredibly difficult. Given that, how does a family where the parents are school teachers or bus drivers, or dental assistants even begin to make a go of it?

This is something that Stephen Quinn has been thinking and talking about recently. Yesterday, he wrote about it too. Below is his lede, but I highly recommend you click on through on this one so that you can read the entire thing:

Earlier this month, when my 8-year-old returned to school to begin Grade 4, four of his friends were gone. The twins had moved to Ottawa, and his buddy, who has shared after-school care with him since he started school, went off to Vancouver Island. The family of the fourth boy moved to Nelson. All of them lived within walking distance of his east-side school. All of their parents were gainfully employed professionals. I don't know the details or the motive behind each of the moves, but this week when I moderated a panel discussion for UBC called "Can we raise children in Vancouver?" I thought immediately about the decision those parents had made...

ersonally, I enjoy reading Mr. Quinn's satirical bits in the Globe but, given his insight and empathy, I like it even better when he plays it straight...I think we could use more of that from our local proMedia these days....Much more.


Saturday, September 30, 2017


...I've Fallen In A Bottomless  'Springsteen-At-The-Bottom-Line-In-1975'  Pit And I Can't Get Out.


This show is from Aug 17th, 1975 which was a week before the Born To Run's release and a couple of months before all that Time/Newsweek nonsense:


There were ten of the things.

Two shows per night for five straight nights, none less than two hours long.

And the full audio is available on the Youtubes for four of them.

That's more than a full hour of the various versions of Kitty's Back's alone.

I've been listening to them pretty much all day while I read and rank fellowship applications...Somebody's gotta do it...OK?


What Did The Minster Know And When Did He Know It?


Sam Cooper's pre-Blockbuster money laundering piece for the Postmedia prints began like this:

In October 2015, former B.C. finance minister Mike de Jong wrote to the B.C. Lottery Corp. and warned that for B.C. casinos “large and suspicious transactions remain prevalent,” Postmedia has learned.

At that time, de Jong also directed BCLC board chair Bud Smith to “enhance customer due diligence to mitigate the risk of money laundering” in B.C. casinos, according to information cited in a May 2017 government letter to BCLC CEO Jim Lightbody...

Which, immediately had me wondering...


Or, more specifically, why did a fine longstanding BCL ministerial fellow like Mr. de Jong, a man who hated to write down anything about anything, suddenly up and leave this blazing paper trail behind the 'risk of money laundering' at the most excellent and upstanding gambling establishments that he and his had overseen for almost fifteen years?

Especially given that Rich Coleman had cleared the decks and facilitated the blooming of this type of behaviour (the unchecked potential for money laundering, not the letter writing) way back in 2009 when he, Mr. Coleman, axed the integrated illegal gambling enforcement team.


Mr. Cooper, again in that blockbuster minus one piece, appeared to answer this 'why' question in the very next sentence:

...The direction from de Jong in 2015 came after B.C. casino operators reported about $177 million in suspicious cash entering their casinos in 2014, government documents show...

So all is explained, right?

Except, then I got to thinking....

2014 to October 2015 is a pretty long time for a Minister concerned with whales and massive wads of unexplained cash to write a sternly worded letter that showed up again in another letter from a longstanding BCL government-appointed apparatchik right 'round election time in the spring of 2017.

All of which brings me to Mr. Cooper's main blockbuster piece, published yesterday, in which he revealed a longstanding investigation by the Horsemen into entire schools of whales washing up on our shores with massive wads of unexplained cash that they think just might be linked to the laundering of drug money.

Here is the lede from Mr. Cooper's blockbuster:

On Oct. 15, 2015, a Mountie burst through the front door of an office in Richmond, carrying a battering ram and with a rifle slung on his back. The door swung shut behind him, locking him inside. He was in the lobby of Silver International Investment, a high-end money transfer business, surrounded by bulletproof glass...


October of 2015.


It's almost like the good Minister at the time might have learned about something in the fall of 2015 about what the RCMP was up to that could have set him and his to worrying about how they could reduce the risk that there just might be subsequent accusations of BCL government complicity in whales and wads of (potentially) illegal cash and all that when all this came to light.

As a result, if that were the case, is it possible that sternly worded letter writing that left a paper trail suddenly ensued.

Regardless all these questions, I think any reasonable person who has been paying attention must now be wondering...

Why the heckfire didn't Mr. de Jong get out his pen in 2014 when he was first 'warned' about the whales and the wads of cash by the fine gambling establishments concerned?

Which means we're back to that original question once again.


(along with the what's and the whens and the who's and the where's and all that)

In case you missed it, Laila Yuile has chronicled the consequences of Mr. Coleman's axe work for some time now.
Mr. Cooper's follow-up blockbuster plus one piece is....Here.


Thursday, September 28, 2017

This Just In...The VSun's Mr. Shaw Is Shocked...

...To Learn That The People Who Worked For Jed Bartlet Actually Worked For Jed Bartlet.


From Mr. Shaw's piece published earlier this week:

...The government’s ministerial assistant and communications jobs are littered with young New Democrats, former Alberta NDP staff, former federal NDP staff, 11 former NDP constituency assistants and at least six former Vision Vancouver staffers — including the party’s previous digital director and manager of youth engagement. Executive director Stepan Vdovine quit in August to work as an NDP assistant. Former Vision parks board chair Niki Sharma, a lawyer, was also hired to a similar job.

The new ministerial assistants also include Caelie Frampton, an NDP digital campaigner in the 2017 election; Sarena Talbot, an NDP field organizer; Lori Ann Winstanley, a veteran NDP campaigner who most recently worked at the MoveUp union; and Christian Romulo Avendano, a canvasser and fundraiser for the party during byelections in 2016. The salaries range between $72,000 and $94,500 for senior assistants...


Is it possible that the good Mr. Shaw actually thinks that all those HarperCons that were hired by the Wizards of Clarklandia were non-partisans?

Of course, Mr. Shaw's real angle is the hypocrisy.

There is a slight point there - but it was more often the upper management cronification that was the issue for the Dippers in Opposition rather than ministerial staffers, etc.

And as for the '27 percent' thing in Mr. Shaw's piece that Kathy Tomlinson of the Globe stepped in on the Twittmachine?...Well, that came not from Mr. Shaw himself, but instead, unchecked in the Postmedia prints, from the Truth Truck guy.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Some Things You Do For Money...


...And, well, some things you just do...

This is a Mountain Goats/John Darnielle tune that has long figured in the Three Buskateers'  (non video division) setlist...Nowadays, I like to slide it into a 20 minute medley in E major that includes the Frames' 'Red Chord', the traditional 'Parting Glass', Mic Chistopher's 'Hey Day', and a Nevilleish Brothers' version of 'Bid You Goodnight'...Go Figure.

Monday, September 25, 2017

They Knew...


I have to admit it.

I was disappointed by Sam Cooper's first Postmedia piece on all that suspicious cash that had washed up at the base of Bridgeport Station.

But, as for Mr. Cooper's latest, published late today/Monday?

Well that is something else entirely. Here is his lede:

In October 2015, former B.C. finance minister Mike de Jong wrote to the B.C. Lottery Corp. and warned that for B.C. casinos “large and suspicious transactions remain prevalent,” Postmedia has learned.

At that time, de Jong also directed BCLC board chair Bud Smith to “enhance customer due diligence to mitigate the risk of money laundering” in B.C. casinos, according to information cited in a May 2017 government letter to BCLC CEO Jim Lightbody.

The direction from de Jong in 2015 came after B.C. casino operators reported about $177 million in suspicious cash entering their casinos in 2014, government documents show.

“Despite the introduction and promotion of non-cash alternatives in gaming facilities through earlier phases of the anti-money laundering strategy; I am advised that large and suspicious cash transactions remain prevalent. This situation must be addressed,” de Jong’s October 1, 2015 letter to BCLC states.

The information — revealed in documents obtained by Postmedia after a freedom of information request — raises questions about why serious internal concerns about the laundering of proceeds of crime in B.C. casinos were only released last week by the B.C. government, and whether a dangerous problem was allowed to fester for too long...

And don't forget, it was the BC Liberal government and the then Minister responsible, Mr. Rich Coleman, that dismantled the integrated illegal gambling enforcement team that could have curtailed this way back in...



You read that right.


It's important to remember that, despite what Postmedia would like you to think (based on editorialish-type insertions into their reporter's copy, that it was Bob Mackin that first broke this story. 
Also, I find it interesting that so few proMedia members are going back to 2009, a time when a whole lotta BCL crony-assisted Casino Industrial Complexification was getting set to go down under the cover of what would become a $500 million bit of magic carpet in the sky....Kind of reminscent of the fine Club members that refuse(d) to connect the dots on big money donations and downstream decisions favourable to said donors.


Sunday, September 24, 2017

Who's Backing The BC Liberal's New High Wattage Leadership Candidate?


It's a question we asked back when the stage whispers began to wail.


Which wizards, exactly, are backing Dianne Watts?

We figured it might be the usual 'progressive' suspects.

Mikey Mike, in the puffertudinousiest-most corner of thePostmedia prints, confirmed last night that, indeed, it is:

...Powerful Liberal party insider Patrick Kinsella is on her side. Seasoned strategist Norman Stowe is her campaign manager. She will be introduced on Sunday by former Liberal cabinet minister Olga Illich and Surrey city councillor Tom Gill...

And don't forget, this bunch likes to hedge its bets.

Which means you should not be surprised if they have proxies back another horse.


But, have no fear, not everything is same-old-same-old in the newly white-washed land of GordCo v-2.0, because...Wait for it...Yellow!


Saturday, September 23, 2017

More Important Than Football, Either Real Or Fantasy-Based.


The following is from Mr. Doug Baldwin, who is a wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks football team:

It seems to me that no reasonable person with an ounce of empathy and/or sympathy for the plight of his or her fellow citizens could possibly argue with that.



Friday, September 22, 2017

Magnanimous Is...


Dan Wilson, songwriter-for-hire, once co-wrote a hit with Nasville mainliner Dierks Bentley called 'Home' that was recorded by the latter.

At the time, Jason Isbell took great offense saying that Wilson and Bentley had ripped off a tune of his called 'In A Razor Town'.

Now, Mr. Wilson has recorded his own version of Home.

And Mr. Isbell has noticed. In a good way.

Here's the relevant bit from the Minneapolis Star Tribune piece linked to in Isbell's tweet, above:

...This single (Bentley's recording of 'Home') went to No. 1 on Billboard’s country singles chart in 2012, giving Wilson his mainstream Nashville credentials. However, it also gained attention when alt-country star Jason Isbell publicly accused its writers of plagiarizing it from one of his songs, “In a Razor Town.”

Wilson: “I quickly learned that the country writers in Nashville don’t want somebody from Minnesota to come down and write a stone-cold country hit. They want you to bring your own vibe to the party. Once I learned that, I learned I could just be myself in those country sessions. I was able to do that with Dierks, where I could be myself and just write a rock song, and he could be himself in between styles. I was very attracted to working with Dierks because of his hybridized styles.”

“I was really bummed Jason thought we plagiarized him. I think we might’ve plagiarized the same old folk songs that Jason also plagiarized. If you think about all the songs that have similar melodies, it would be a very big list. I had never listened to Jason at that time, and I’m pretty sure my collaborators had never listened to him, either. It really tainted my ability to appreciate Jason Isbell for quite a while, which was also a drag, because I was really into his next couple albums.”...

The thing is, at the time Mr. Isbell, while revered in certain circles, was not yet an alt-country star because, well....Mr. Isbell explains it, straight-up, himself:


Imagine that.

Someone admitting they were wrong on the Interwebz.


Regardless all this, to my mind, Isbell's pre-Southeastern 'Razor Town' is a helluva tune:

And just in case you've been hankering for a good chunk of post-SE Isbell....This.


The De-Cronification Chronicles (ctd)....All Your Money Launderings 'R Us.


This just in, from Bob Mackin at the Breaker:

A 2016 report to British Columbia’s Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch said gamblers from China used underground banks to bring large volumes of potentially dirty money to play at River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond.

The anti-money laundering report was commissioned by the previous BC Liberal government and dated July 26, 2016, but not released until Sept. 22 by the NDP government.

MNP was hired in September 2015 after the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch compiled a document that identified $13.5 million in $20 bills were accepted at River Rock in July 2015. That is 675,000 $20 bills.

Information provided to MNP indicated that unsourced cash from unknown persons or persons believed to be connected to illicit activity “was dropped off at the casino or just off casino property for patrons at unusual times, generally late at night.”...


Why wasn't the report released last year (i.e. before the election)?

And, perhaps more to the point why, exactly, did the then minister responsible, Mr. Rich Coleman, disband  the 'Integrated Illegal Gaming Enforcement Team', whose job it was to root this kind of stuff out, back in, wait for it...



Is it possible that the fine folks then running, and running with, the good ship GordCo, circa 2009, were clearing the decks for a gigantic expansion of the Casino Industrial Complex at the time that was tied to the stitching together of a $500 million dollar (plus) bit of flying magic carpet?


Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Ghost Of The Hammer...


Mr. Beer 'n Hockey had an early morning visitor recently:

I woke
Ten minutes
Before the
F'ing alarm.

I sensed
There was
Someone in
The room.

It was
A ghost,
The Hammer
Making sure

We were safe.


I, too, had been thinking of the Hammer recently when I came across the tab of the chords we layered over the words of Mr. Beer that he wrote upon his best friend's passing awhile ago now.

The result of that collaboration was the following...

Personally, don't know what I'll do when the Whackadoodle, who's now in her 10th year is no longer around to take down to the river's mouth and such.
And MCG....If you're out there send me a note - you had a songification idea that I promised to follow through on, but have now forgotten about.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Nevermind The Candidate...

....Who Are The Backers?

From the ink- and pixel dust- stained fingertips of Bob Mackin:

Dianne Watts will throw her hat in the BC Liberal leadership ring on Sunday at 1 p.m.

theBreaker has obtained a copy of an invitation to join Watts for “a special event and announcement” at the Sheraton Guildford Hotel...

The real question, to my mind at least, is who, exactly, will be pushing this candidate from behind the wizards' big curtain?

Personally, I'd be pretty willing to take short odds on those wild 'progressive' boys.

(and don't forget, sometimes they like to back two horses at once).


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

BC Liberal AG Critic Says New NDP Donation Rules Unfair To Rich People.


....Because they give too much power to people that don't have big wads of cash to bundle.

Or some such thing:

..."They've arbitrarily chosen a figure of $1,200 for the amount that is the cap for donations (instead of the $5,000 individual spending cap in the BCL's/Mr. Wilkinson's sham-of-shamsickleish 'bill'), and clearly that will suit their interests, there's no rationale for it other than it suits the interests of the NDP."...

Meanwhile, as Norm Farrell point out on the Twittmachine...

And yet, Mikey-Mike says says we, the people, will almost certainly make Horgan et al. pay for the per voter party subsidy portion of the campaign finance reform bill.


Like the way Mr. Smyth et al. made sure the voters penalized the previous gov't leader for things like monies shovelled off the back of wind farmy proximal podia and/or spent on bogus Bollywood bonanzas in purely unregulated, party-targeted, 100% publicly-paid for days gone by?


On the subsidy thingy....Credit where credit is due department...Rob Shaw's VSun piece is solid and well-contextualized (the comments, not so much).
For the record, nobody dug into the proximal podia money shovelling by the previous Premier more than Merv Adey (both the post and the discussion in the comments are fantastic)....


Sunday, September 17, 2017

The De-Cronification Chronicles (Vol. 2)....They're Shocked!


Well, whadd'ya know...

The fine, fine folks at the trough, errrrrrrr, Advantage BC are shocked!

Shocked, I tell you, to learn that their public money firehose is being shut-off:

Our staff and Board of Directors are shocked and disappointed by the introduction of legislation to cancel the International Business Activity (IBA) Program.

While we are still working to prevent the cancellation of the program, the AdvantageBC Board is eager for the organization to continue to fulfill its overall mandate of promoting British Columbia as a desirable place to locate international business. The IBA Program is an important tool in the toolkit; however, AdvantageBC’s work is broader than the IBA Program. Regardless of the future of the IBA Program, we will continue our work to attract the attention of companies and investors around the world...


What, exactly, has Advantage BC done for us for our money?

Well, as Dan Levin of the NY Times pointed out back in early May...

...Participating companies have created few jobs, according to government figures, while more than 140 million Canadian dollars have been doled out in (BC provincial) tax refunds since 2008, when the initiative was expanded (by the BC Liberal government).

The incentives operate under a cloak of secrecy that is unusual for similar efforts in Canada and the United States, critics say. The province (of BC) will not name the companies that get the breaks. The only information available about them is on the website of a nonprofit that promotes the program.

“This is essentially a temporary foreign-worker program for the rich, with secret government subsidies for multinational corporations,” said Dermod Travis, the executive director of IntegrityBC, a nonpartisan political watchdog group based in Victoria, the provincial capital. “The government is selling B.C. as a tax haven for the global elite to park investment here, but not have to contribute.”...

And just how 'successful' was the program?

Super, super-duper, uber-alles successful.


...At one point, the tax breaks were projected to create more than 13,000 jobs in British Columbia. According to ministry figures, though, fewer than 300 have been created as a result of the program, and possibly as few as 122...

So, feel free to keep-on-keepin'-on fullfilling that overall mandate of yours Advantage BC'ers.

Just as long as you do it on yours and/or your patrons' (i.e. not the peoples') dime.

Because we've got better things to do with our money.


You may recall the tizzy
that Mr. Levin's report set off amongst local  Club members given that an outsider came to Lotusland, dug around a little, and then wrote a(nother) big story about something that everybody already knew about but couldn't be bothered tell the rubes about a week before the election and all...

Tip-O'-The-Toque to Integrity BC for heads up on super fine 'blog post' from A-BC...


Friday, September 15, 2017

The De-Cronification Chronicles (Vol. 1)...


The dismantling of the BC Liberal perpetual chronification machine has begun.

And, in my opinion at least, one of the most egregious and malevolent flywheels in this machine is the guaranteed, locked-in contracts that have been handed out to our fine province's 'Independent Power Producers' (IPP's).

The new government has taken the first steps to ending this, as reported earlier this week by Andrew Macleod in the Tyee:

Buried in the British Columbia budget update this week was a major change for independent power producers who sell electricity to BC Hydro.

According to the utility’s service plan, it will cut payments to the private power producers as existing contracts expire.

BC Hydro will be “renewing contracts with independent power producers at prices less than what they are currently paid, recognizing that those producers have typically recovered most of their capital costs over their original contract terms.”

It will also be “reviewing the Standing Offer Program to reflect the declining costs of new power technology,” according to its service plan...


The Standing Offer Program, which has suspended new applications according to an Aug. 18 update on BC Hydro’s website, paid between $102.06 and $111.56 per megawatt-hour in 2016. Some of the earlier contracts paid as much as $120 per megawatt-hour, which is significantly more than BC Hydro’s normal cost to produce power, Black said.

According to a BC Hydro spokesperson, power produced using the utility’s heritage assets costs around $32 per megawatt-hour...


How much have IPP's gouged out of our backs so far, mostly for no real good reason at all?


As Norm Farrell has pointed out over and over and over again.

It is is billions.

With a 'B'. 



Thursday, September 14, 2017

Six Times...


From the 'Everything I Did Then Does Not Matter Now' file:

Quilchena Uber Alles, indeed.


Six is the number of times the BC Liberal government of Mr. Wilkinson and friends crushed campaign reform bills while they were in the MAJORITY.


One Helluva An Epitaph.


Grant Hart, half of the brains and heart and fury behind Husker Du, has died.

Here is how he explained why he never wanted/allowed a reunion of the band in an interview with Brad Cohan of the Village Voice in 2012:

...I’ve always lived with the doctrine of Patti Smith: “I don’t fuck much with the past but I fuck plenty with the future.” I tend to like that philosophy...

Hard to argue with that.

But pretty tough to follow.

Bob Mould's tribute to Hart, on the book of faces, is....Here.
Dan Epstein's take is...Here.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Will Railgate Never Die?


From Justin McElroy via the MoCo:

A legal dispute between West Vancouver and CN Rail over a popular seawall is heading to a tribunal.

The Canadian Transportation Agency will be holding public hearings during an ongoing lawsuit between the two bodies concerning the public's right to access the Centennial Seawalk.

"The fundamental question is whether or not the areas where the seawalk crosses into CN's right-of-way should be what the law calls approved crossings," said Scott Streiner, Canadian Transportation Agency CEO.

"We have many crossing cases, but the specific nature of this case is a little unusual."

CN Rail filed a lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court on Feb. 17. The company terminated its lease with the municipality earlier this year, and is now seeking compensation of $3.7 million per year in rent for public use of the seawalk between 19th Street and 24th Street, which is on railroad land.

The District of West Vancouver had been offering $12,500 a year, indexed for inflation. The seawall was built in the 1960s, but CN Rail leased the right-of-way from the B.C. government after they purchased B.C. Rail...


You did, indeed, read that last part correctly. The cronies have come home to roost on a public seawall built in the 1960's (i.e. 40 years before they made their deal GordCo, Inc).

And they want $3.7 million for that roost, now fully 50 years after the fact.


I'm pretty sure that NVG will have much more to say about this soon...