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Year of the rats 

Ah 2007, 'twas the year when two right-wing blowhards got their comeuppance. First, after a four-month trial in Chicago, former media tycoon Conrad Black was convicted in July of stealing millions from shareholders, sentenced to six-and-a-half years in the clink by Judge Amy St. Eve in December and ordered to report to jail without passing go next March. Hey Amy, isn't justice delayed, justice denied?

At this pace, I'm wondering if Klepto Konrad will ever serve a day—especially since his high-priced lawyers plan to argue he should roam free for at least another year while they appeal what the Good Lord himself calls "persecution" at the hands of the wicked US government.

So much for justice in the land of the free, where a poor black guy in California can easily get life for stealing a pizza. The black guy, you see, can't afford to hire Eddie Green-Spun to spin the judge and jury.

And speaking of Fast Eddie, he was also in the news in 2007 for defending a financial fixer wanted in Germany for bribing politicians and dodging taxes. Herr Fixer insists he greased Big Wheel Brian Mulroney's ball bearings to the tune of $300,000 back in 1993-94. Mulroney (blowhard number two) was hauled before the Commons ethics committee to explain why he took the cash. The former PM testified that Mr. Fix-It actually gave him only $225,000 to peddle a German-made armoured killing machine. Mulroney insisted he stuffed the cash in safety deposit boxes in Canada and the US, where it lay for five years before he declared it on his taxes.

Hey, sounds good to me. Sure wish I didn't have to pay taxes anytime soon on the $225,000 The Coast paid me in 2007 for penning obstreperous editorials. Mulroney will likely be back before the ethics committee (and a public inquiry?) in 2008 to explain himself further, but not to worry: He'll probably get to keep the $2.1 million he scored from Canadian taxpayers to settle his libel suit in 1997. That was before we heard about all the lovely grease money he now admits taking. Somehow he just forgot to mention it when asked during those libel proceedings about his dealings with Herr Fixer. Poor Bri, must have been suffering from a touch of Alzheimer's, I guess.

And speaking of Alzheimer's, Nova Scotia's right-wing pipsqueak, Rodney MacDazed seemed evem more confused in 2007. First, he vowed to defend the Atlantic Accord to the death, then suddenly accepted the lesser offshore energy deal proffered by his right-wing Tory/Reform/Alliance cronies in Ottawa. Guess he hoped we wouldn't notice. Or maybe Rodney was befuddled by his government's severe drinking problem. First, the Tories decided to allow bars to stay open longer, liquor stores to peddle grog on Sundays and diners to lug their own wine to local eateries. Then, they proudly announced they were launching "The Battle of the Bottle" to cure Nova Scotians of their fondness for hooch, a fondness that they say costs the provincial economy $419 million annually, and leads to 3,100 hospital admissions and 230 unnecessary deaths.

Loosening liquor restrictions, then telling Nova Scotians to stop drinking so much. Makes about as much sense as the new provincial law that fines penniless squeegee kids for washing windshields or October's announcement from Community Services Czarina Judy Streatch that welfare allowances were going up by four whole dollars a month! Welfare moms will just have to get better at Streatch-ing their budgets, I guess.

Nurses, too. Looks like Rodney is hoping to force them onto the picket lines in 2008, then recall the world's laziest legislature and resuscitate his 2007 healthcare anti-strike bill. If the NDP and Liberals won't pass it, our fiddling premier could pose as the lone defender of the sick and the lame. His slogan: "Re-elect me on the backs of the nurses!" Sounds like a typical Rodney MacPlan to me.

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Vol 25, No 21
October 19, 2017

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