Lunching at Sachsen Haus

Posted February 18, 2010 on 1:31 am | In the category Canada, Sports | by Mackenzie Brothers

Die Sachsen are the only people to have so far outmaneuvered the Olympic bureaucrats that have turned Vancouver into a security training ground for the next potential terrorist attack at a major world event. The security chiefs of the next Olympics in very vulnerable London must be shaking their heads wondering how they can possible protect a very large city with many unhappy people and a complex subway system to the level that the combined police forces of Canada have managed in a large city with a largely contented population and its mountain resort two hours away. The answer is – not easily and certainly not without considerable disruption of the normal affairs of the city.
The German province of Saxony is not a recognized national national concept to the Olympic bureaucrats and therefore should not exist. But the clever Dresdeners rented the Vancouver Rowing Club in gorgeous Stanley Park and are doing a roaring business since no seat is more comfortable than one on the patio of a cafe on the waterfront of Stanley Park on a warm sunny day in British Columbia with a Sächsisch beer and Wurst in hand.
Hundreds of thousands of visitors have come to see the spectacular sports events and cruise the city streets on the lookout for the best entertainment spots in the evening. And lots of them go to the Saxons for both lunch, dinner and entertainment, as the much larger and authorized Dutch, Russian and Swiss houses are jammed to overflowing in the city centre. As for the sports events, it’s been a very good Olympics so far for the Amurcans, Swedes and Swiss, leaving lots of smiling Uncle Sams, Vikings and cowbell ringers wandering about. For the Canajuns it’s been somewhat lala, but the big event has just started, and this promises to be the best hockey tournament ever. Once you’ve seen the Russian, Canadian and Swedish teams in action (the great Peter Forsberg has reappeared out of nowhere for the Swedes and looks fit as a fiddle). you can’t imagine betting against any one of them. If you’ve got a spare $4000 around you can pick up a ticket to the final, and one of those teams will be missing. Don’t miss it.

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The Games begin

Posted February 12, 2010 on 2:18 pm | In the category Canada | by Mackenzie Brothers

Arnold the Terminator was down on the Stanley Park seawall this morning at 7:00 to receive the Olympic torch from Steve Nash, run along the most spectacular urban stretch anywhere and pass it on to Sebastian Coe. By mid-afternoon it will have arrived at the spectacular new aboriginal centre awaiting the final lap to the opening ceremonies of the only world sporting even that will take place in North America in this decade. All over the city the national houses are springing up up and the most popular ones besieged. The Pub of Ireland has already down the ire of neighbours for loudness and lateness, the Swiss have turned one of the most popular restaurants in the city into an alpine retreat, the Russians have the science museum, the Dutch their Heineken House, the Germans their beer hall, the Scandinavians their shared centre to welcome their kings and queens, even the Slovakians and the Saxons have their houses.
Arnold must be representing Austria because there is no US House; the US contribution to the festival (other than the athletes, of course) is that Joe Biden will make a side trip from a fund-raising foray to Washington state, where the Democrats seemed poised to lose another election, and attend the opening ceremonies and that the Homeland Security boss who thought that the 9/11 terrorists came from Canada, will grace the closing ceremonies.

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Ukraine looks towards Russia

Posted February 8, 2010 on 2:47 pm | In the category Europe, Russia | by Mackenzie Brothers

Viktor Yanukovich has apparently won the runoff election for president of Ukraine, thus tilting the European political map back towards the east, only 20 years after the events which seemed to be pushing it inexorably towards western Europe. Now the European Union, which was adamant in not considering Ukraine for membership, wallows in discontent as several members lurch towards bankruptcy – Greece, Portugal and perhaps even Spain leading the pack -and some others flirt very frivolously with the far right – Hungary in the lead. Meanwhile back in Brussels a completely no-name EU leadership predictably can’t lead as the real western european powers retreat behind traditional national fortresses.
Now one of the largest European countries has chosen to forget how much it once resented being called “Little Russia” and voted for a leader who represents the one-third Russian-speaking population of eastern Ukraine – he delivered his victory speech in Russian- and managed to win over ca. 20% of the Ukrainian-speaking western Ukrainians, tired of the complete failure of the leaders of the so-called Orange Revolution, though it is still unclear how man western Ukrainians just decided not to vote, having seen enough of so-called democracy. In any case it is clearly a great triumph for Putin’s increasingly powerful Russia, which already has a large ally in Ukraine’s northern neighbour Belarus, and a warning to western europe to get its ship in shape or risk losing much of the territory it thought it had gained in 1990.

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Fox Presents: Fear and Loathing in America

Posted February 3, 2010 on 11:57 pm | In the category Bush/Cheney, McCain, Obama, Politics, Press, Republican Party, Terrorism | by Jeff
  • The TV business is uglier than most things. It is normally perceived as some kind of cruel and shallow money trench through the heart of the journalism industry, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs, for no good reason. – Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

A visit to the barber today – with its typical random comments on the state of the world –provided a vivid reminder of the bizarre power of Fox News as a purveyor of misinformation and fear. That Fox is in the business of misrepresenting reality is not an original discovery since any reasonably intelligent adult who lives in the real world and reads about the real world knows that Fox’s O’Riley, Beck, and Palin etc. are clowns and buffoons – our own strange brand of Iran’s Ahmadinejad.

We have an intelligence deficit in America and it is growing. There have always been fringe movements in America – on both ends of the spectrum. But the current right wing fringe seems to be – or pretends to be – so scared of so many things that one has to wonder how they can come out from under their rocks.

Their major fear is terrorism. No one wants a screw-up the size of Bush and Cheney’s failure to act on warnings that led to 9/11. But just where does Rudy Giuliani get off working up a frenzy over Captain Underpants’ failed airline bombing when his boys Bush and Cheney totally screwed up by ignoring warnings that led to an actual, successful terrorist attack? It is not enough that he is a scumbag – what is infuriating is that the press actually gives that pathetic hack a microphone. The Rudys of the world have conspired to create a country consumed with fear of some possible event but unable to understand that 1) such an event may be inevitable, 2) that the country is doing all possible to prevent such an event – even under Obama(!) – and that 3) we are in this together and to use security threats as political currency is to be one with the enemy. Cowardice is the name to be given to those who would scare the people into giving up their liberties and their constitutional rights – tactics that give the victory to Al Quada. Shame on all of those who have set out to frighten us and shame on those who buy into it without serious thought of the loss of liberties they have accepted.

The PON (Party of No) and Fox and the ranting Tea Partiers have gained a certain power with their use of fear. We are scared to use our tried and true judicial system to bring terrorist criminals to justice – omigod – do not try them here, do not try them there – let’s eliminate the constitution and just throw them into a cell somewhere – but not here – lest we all might have to take a risk that is not even a real risk. Cowardice? No need to sell it here buddies – we got enough. We will take our shoes off in the airport; we will allow you to body search our toddlers and our grandmothers –because it makes us believe we are safe. We believe in Santa and the tooth fairy.

We are afraid to allow natural gas into our ports if it comes from Yemen – let’s live on firewood and refuse to trust the Coast Guard with our safety – they cannot be trusted.

We cannot allow gays in the military unless they lie about being gay; Congressman Hunter from California is scared that we might end up with hermaphrodites and transgenders in the military – now that is truly scary. Senator McCain is also concerned – after agreeing to support the military leadership – he has now jumped ship, illustrating the fragility of courage. The fact that Britain’s, Canada’s, Australia’s and Israel’s militaries have no problem with gays makes no impact – this is America – no gays – unless they lie about being gay. Jesus – you cannot make this stuff up.

Eight years of Bush and Cheney and Republican leadership left us with a useless unwinnable war in Iraq with hundreds of thousands dead, an untenable situation in Afghanistan, a horror show in Pakistan, a deficit of $1.2 trillion, an economy dominated by greed at the top and subservience below, a broken healthcare system, a tax system designed to protect the rich and screw everyone else, and a government committed to eliminating civil liberties. And what do we fear? –decent, affordable healthcare that mythically includes death panels; regulating banks that have royally screwed us; a centrist President Obama who some believe to be a socialist – a Muslim, a terrorist, a Kenyon, or God help us – a black. We are not supposed to consider such possibilities but it is time to grow up and smell the garbage. There is a real stink in the country.

A friend suggests that the anti fluoride folks must have been right and that it is why people are losing their sanity. They fear foreigners, immigrants – legal and illegal; any suggested change of the status quo; terrorists both real and imagined; mythical socialists, black political leaders. Fortunately for them, there is a standing army of banal and venal politicians and newscasters ready to march to the Fox Drummers. We are truly screwed.

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