Why The Obama Administration Is Scared Of Edward Snowden

Standing up to a powerful bully is the essence of courage.  Why?  Because you risk losing everything.

To throw away a steady pay cheque and a comfortable lifestyle in order to forcefully combat human injustice on a grand scale entirely on your own is not something most citizens would ever consider a good idea, no matter their level of decency, their desire to support noble causes and their need to right incredible wrongs.  To replace your regular life for a different one on the run from the very parties you’ve exposed as less than savoury is asking a lot of one individual.  To be willing to face the reality of apprehension for those very actions and then face a considerable amount of time incarcerated (we’re talking decades behind bars), not to mention the possibility of torture and even death, is asking for even more.

And yet, throughout the centuries, there have been numerous examples of ordinary people taking it upon themselves to reveal extraordinary truths we otherwise would never know about, extraordinary truths that end up connecting notable political figures to criminal activity and changing history.  These brave whistleblowers knew the risks to their own health and freedom before they broke their silence but spoke out anyway for the greater good.  The truth mattered more than anything else.

Edward Snowden, the former NSA/Booz Allen Hamilton analyst, is a worthy addition to this growing list.  Ever since he publicly admitted he’s been the source for many damning articles about The Obama Administration’s super creepy (and super secret) mass surveillance programs for The Guardian newspaper, he’s been public enemy number one as far as establishment Washington is concerned.

Not only have government officials libelled him as a “traitor” and destroyer of their allegedly successful “anti-terrorism” snooping policies (which have never really been properly scrutinized by the court system and have never really been proven to be all that effective, either) blow job journalists like Meet The Press host David Gregory and The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin have also lambasted him for his disclosures, absurdly citing him as selfish, reckless and even a “narcissist”.  (Keep sucking that government cock, fellas.  It’s sure to pay off for you someday.)

As more revelations about these disturbing and far-reaching Big Brother programs continue to trickle out almost every day now, thanks to Snowden, for the first time in quite some time, the American federal government is looking and feeling quite powerless, like they just got their legs cut off.  Imagine, one citizen scaring the shit out of the most powerful politicians in the world by merely telling everybody with proof what transparent, hypocritical phonies they really are.  Maybe privatization of the intelligence business wasn’t so wise after all.

Since Snowden revealed he was hiding out in Hong Kong, China to avoid the fate that currently befalls another honourable whistleblower, the still incarcerated Private First Class Bradley Manning (an army intelligence analyst, it should be noted), Obama and his cronies have demanded his head on a stick, hoping the country that America has been secretly hacking for years will play ball and give him up.

Amazingly, they didn’t.  As revealed today by The Guardian, Snowden left China for Russia (despite having his passport revoked by America, according to The Huffington Post) and is reportedly headed towards Ecuador to seek political asylum from the same country that is also protecting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange who remains stuck in their UK embassy after a year in seclusion.  America wants his head on a stick, as well.

To witness numerous government officials, Republican and Democrat alike, cry foul over everything Snowden has done to permanently puncture their bubble of secrecy has been nothing short of amusing.  They’re not used to being challenged like this, they’re not used to being disbelieved, and they’re certainly not used to being on the defensive.  As a result, they’re doing something they never thought they would ever do:  talk about their shady actions in public while pretending they’re not shady at all.

Honestly, before Snowden leaked all those NSA documents, when did President Obama ever entertain a healthy, public debate on the issue of surveillance?  When did Senators Dianne Feinstein, Mike Rogers, Lindsay Graham and their like-minded colleagues ever desire to openly advocate for mass spying?  And when did Congressmen like Peter King ever feel the need to express their support for invading everyone’s privacy?

The answer to all three questions is the same:  never.  These democratically elected officials who’ve all sworn an oath to honour and protect the American Constitution never sought the input of their concerned constituents, never asked for helpful advice, never listened to their consciences (if they even have them) and never consulted experts on how best to balance security with privacy.

And why didn’t they do this?  Because deep down, they didn’t want to.  These cowardly politicians want more power than they deserve and they know full well that public exposure of these constitutionally dubious programs invites unwanted scrutiny.  And what happens when something doesn’t withstand that scrutiny?  It withers under the sunlight and dies a sorry death.

Whether they accept it or not, it’s not business as usual anymore.  Their secrets are quickly getting out in the open and a lot of people, particularly foreign leaders (in a number of cases, we’re talking allies who have also been privately spied on) are demanding big time explanations.  The ones being offered so far are laughable in the extreme.  No one’s anger has dissipated.

Things have gone so horribly wrong for President Obama lately that according to this disturbing McClatchy report he’s hoping to end these politically damaging leaks for good by secretly implementing a new across-the-board government policy called Insider Threat.  For a President who never prosecutes leakers who reveal classified information that glorifies him (like the Bin Laden assassination), just those who reveal his criminal actions (like Manning and Snowden), it’s the ultimate sign of desperate paranoia.  He’s definitely beyond Nixon at this point.

Edward Snowden is now the 7th government whistleblower to be officially charged by Obama under the draconian Espionage Act, an incredibly open-ended statute that only exists because President Woodrow Wilson didn’t want anybody questioning America’s involvement in World War I.  (How it’s lasted all these decades without being either modified or repealed, I’ll never know.)  Now it’s being used to punish patriots deeply appalled by their President’s conduct.  If you don’t believe me, just ask John Kiriakou, the only man to go to jail for torture.  Not for committing it, mind you, but for talking about it.

The good news is because this story has become such a global sensation Obama’s latest attempt at a ruthless prosecution is now being seen as nothing more than a political persecution, an act of petty revenge by a scorned, discredited world leader, a man looking more and more like the physical embodiment of modern-day American political corruption.

No matter what Obama and his partners in crime believe now, the damage to their credibility is permanent and irreversible.  They can’t hide their dubious, criminal programs from the public anymore.  With lawsuits launched and bills proposed before Congress and The Senate, not to mention lots of relentlessly negative coverage and commentary, it’s only a matter of time before Prism, Tempora, Boundless Informant and all the rest of these hideously named programs face the cold stare of justice and see the worst of their excessive powers seriously curtailed.

And with more brutal revelations still to come on top of everything else that’s already been revealed about this President (don’t forget the heartbreaking hunger strike at Gitmo and the secret drone wars, to name but two of his ongoing travesties), how long will it be before Obama finds himself defending all his cruel, inhumane policies all by himself?

No wonder Sophia Bush’s hero is so terrified of whistleblowers like Edward Snowden.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, June 23, 2013
12:42 a.m.

Published in: on June 24, 2013 at 12:42 am  Comments (2)  

Spice World

It was a blatant scam from the start.  Five beautiful, seductively attired women preaching a “feminist” message of “Girl Power” through their empty, sometimes confusing pop songs about boys (but never politics) that nonetheless found a very receptive global audience.  Thankfully, it didn’t last.

If the fraud of The Spice Girls wasn’t already detected in their inescapable music at the height of their fame in the late 1990s, it became undeniably exposed in one movie.

Spice World, also the name of their second record, was supposed to be their Hard Day’s Night.  (Stop laughing.)  Released in January 1998, the passage of time has not been kind to this deadly dull cinematic infomerical.  Watching very talented actors constantly pretend that this standard pop act is an incredibly big deal 15 years after the fact is more than a little embarrassing.  In fact, it’s downright tragic.

The movie follows Emma (the blonde one), Victoria (the posh one), Geri (the vivacious one), Mel B (the black one) and Mel C (the athletic one) through their absolutely boring day-to-day adventures as pop stars of the moment, a moment that thankfully ended just a couple years after this dreadful movie’s mercifully brief theatrical release.

When they’re not flying to one-off TV gigs in Italy, they’re riding around England in an admittedly cool, Union Jacked double decker bus driven by Meat Loaf (I’m not kidding) rehearsing, touring and promoting with little time off, much to their annoyance (even though their job, as depicted in this movie, hardly looks taxing).

Richard E. Grant plays their stodgy road manager, the uptight keeper of their ever important schedule who every once in a while takes bizarre calls from the group’s real boss, a mysterious all-knowing Svengali (Roger Moore of all people).  While stroking a cat or nursing a pig in an undisclosed location (channeling Dr. Evil, perhaps?), he offers him peculiar advice over a special phone line.  I couldn’t decide if he was talking in code in case of surveillance by competitors (or in today’s environment, the GCHQ and the NSA) or supremely dumb riddles just to fuck with his underling.  Regardless, nothing he says is particularly clever or amusing.  Furthermore, he’s never completely understood anyway which completely defeats the purpose of his existence.  The ever anxious Grant is given even less to work with as he’s constantly made to be stricter than he actually is.  Is it really so horrible to tell your obnoxious clients to honour breezy professional commitments on time?

Alan Cumming plays a pretentious TV documentarian who foolishly believes there’s more to The Spice Girls than their brain-dead superficiality, so he’s allowed (along with a boom guy and a cameraman) to cover their lives behind the scenes.  Judging by what his crew captures, I’m amazed he didn’t cancel the project after the first day.  These ladies are extremely dull.

Meanwhile, a weird tabloid editor sick of all their positive press coverage (who wasn’t back in the day?) is convinced there’s more money to be made in their inevitable downfall (not really).  So, he hires a bald, bespectacled freelance paparazzo to catch them at their worst without being detected.  As a result, a purposefully misunderstood remark about the Pope, collective nerves about their upcoming sold out Royal Albert Hall gig and an incident involving two young contest winners (the closest the tabloid comes to doing an actual news story on them) are covered just as breathlessly as their remarkable commercial successes.

In the end, no one cares.  The group’s stature is unaffected by all this moronic overcoverage.  In sharper hands, this whole concept could’ve led to some insightful digs at overly nosy “news” organizations who probably wouldn’t appreciate having the same hyperfocus put on them for similiar trivial endeavours they find so utterly fascinating when undertaken by celebrities, and on the group themselves for constantly courting all this undeserved media attention in the first place.  But Spice World prefers to be lazy so this opportunity for potential comic riches is sadly ignored.

At the same time, Grant entertains several movie pitches from two hapless writers (George Wendt and Mark McKinney) desperately hoping to cash in on The Spice Girls’ fleeting fame.  Sadly, their ideas are no better than Spice World itself.  Curiously, their last extended pitch in the third act somehow happens to the singers as they’re talking about it.  Let’s just say that if I was Graham Yost, I wouldn’t be flattered by the homage.

Their irritatingly familiar hits notwithstanding (just because you’ve heard them a million times doesn’t mean they’re any good, although I will concede that the hook for one early track is catchy), Spice World is probably better known for its numerous celebrity cameos than anything else.  Bob Geldof gets an unfortunate instant Mel B. makeover at a social function, Elton John gets a lot of kisses (but not a single line of dialogue) during a brief encounter with the group (another blown moment for a quick comic pay-off), and Elvis Costello pops up as a bartender in the only moment that made me laugh.

I don’t know if it speaks well for all their talk of “Girl Power” that their only friend in the movie is an abandoned pregnant woman who they barely see.  Or that they only have one female working for them.  Or that the idea of flashing one’s boobs to wake a hospitalized boy out of his coma is seriously contemplated.  Or that potential male suitors should be ordered like delivered pizzas.  What I do know is this is a terrible movie that cemented their empty legacy as overgrown teenagers completely disinterested in actual feminist issues.

Spice World is the worst kind of ego trip, one devoid of a strong satirical pulse and a sense of fun.  In this universe, The Spice Girls can do no wrong other than aggravate their temperamental road manager like convincing Meat Loaf to pull over so they can pee in the woods.  (Don’t ask.)  So full of themselves are the singers that when they encounter a small group of aliens (during that same pit stop) who have just landed in the UK, they discover these four odd individuals are overly excited superfans who regret not getting those Albert Hall tickets in advance.  Yes, The Spice Girls are so arrogant in this scenario they attract supporters beyond planet Earth.

If only reality were so kind.  Just a few months after this pitiful excuse of a movie’s release, Geri Halliwell left the group.  And by the time they released a new album in 2000, the dream was over.

Too bad it ever came true in the first place.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, June 23, 2013
6:42 p.m.

CORRECTION:  Obviously, I meant to say George Wendt, not Norm Wendt.  That weird moment when you confuse the actor and their most famous role.  The text has been corrected.  I regret not noticing this sooner.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
2:55 a.m.

Published in: on June 23, 2013 at 6:42 pm  Comments (2)  

Payback 2013 Predictions (Part Two)

Divas Championship:  Kaitlyn vs. AJ Lee

The Chickbusters explode!  Ok, so it’s not the same as Randy Savage vs. Hulk Hogan circa 1989.  But the sole womens’ match at Payback could be a sleeper if the two talented participants get some time to work.  Originally a tag team during their NXT days, they’re now on a collision course at Payback.  Since AJ screwed John Cena during his ladder match with Dolph Ziggler at TLC last December, the Buffalo native has since aligned herself with the current World Heavyweight Champion and their cornerman, the massive Big E. Langston.  All that’s been missing is some gold around her own tiny waist.

AJ’s been the number one contender for the Divas title for quite a number of weeks now and it’s rather puzzling why it’s taken so long for her to get her pay-per-view title shot.  At any event, the build to this match has been strange and utterly predictable.  Someone claiming to be Kaitlyn’s secret admirer had been sending her numerous gifts and texts over the last few weeks.  It all culminated on the most recent Raw with Langston meeting the Divas Champion in the ring declaring himself the guy.  Of course, he wasn’t the guy.  He was a decoy for AJ, who arrived soon thereafter and delivered a rather nasty promo reminding us once again how good she is on the microphone.  That speech, quite reminiscent at times of the one Ziggler gave her late last year, did more for the match on Sunday than any of the secret admirer schtick.

So, who walks away with the title?  Isn’t it obvious? 

Prediction:  AJ Lee wins the Divas Championship by pinfall with chicanery.

Triple Threat match for the InterContinental Championship:  Wade Barrett vs. The Miz vs. Curtis Axel

For the second pay-per-view in a row, an untimely injury has derailed a triple threat title match.  During the build to last month’s Extreme Rules, Jack Swagger kicked World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler so hard in the head during a non-title match on Smackdown, The Show-Off lost three days of his memory.  That unfortunate concussion led to the cancellation of a three-way ladder match for the WHC with Alberto Del Rio.  In the end, Swagger and Del Rio had a one-on-one I Quit match instead to determine the number one contender.

Originally, this triple threat InterContinental match was going to feature three-time champion Barrett defending against former two-time champion Miz and rising star Faaaan….daaaan…goooo.  But sadly, the former Johnny Curtis suffered a minor concussion of his own recently and he’s not been cleared to perform on Sunday. 

Enter his replacement, the repackaged Curtis Axel.  The son of Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig and grandson of Larry “The Axe” Hennig, he’s been given a surprisingly big push by being paired with the wily Paul Heyman and gaining victories, both legit and chintzy, against guys like Triple H, John Cena, Sin Cara and Chris Jericho. 

As good as the former tag team champion is in the ring (he has a stellar dropkick, for instance), the name and the character are weak.  (Did we not learn anything from Rocky Maivia 17 years ago?)  Furthermore, despite not losing any of his matches against the above-mentioned superstars since his return, the one-time Michael McGillicuty isn’t really tracking as far as I can tell.  I have no investment in this forgettable character tweak.

Before Fanda…  Excuse me.  Before Faaaan…daaaan…goooo’s removal from this booking, I felt he was going to get the title on Sunday.  Now, and I really hate to say this, but it looks like his third generation substitute will get the push instead.  I’ve not been thrilled with the forgettable Barrett/Miz program.  I can’t root for the latter (he’s deeply annoying) and the former has lost so many non-title matches how can anyone accept him as champion?  Maybe the bookers can rectify this by making Axel unbeatable the entire time he possesses the strap.

Prediction:  Curtis Axel wins the InterContinental title by pinfall.

World Heavyweight Championship:  Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio

After spending five weeks recovering from his above-mentioned concussion, the WHC is ready to finally defend his title against the winner of last month’s number one contender’s match.  Unfortunately, because of all that time away from TV and live events, and the fact that this match only became official on the last Raw, I suspect there’s not a lot of anticipation for it.  Which is a shame because, once again, here are two immensely gifted athletes who, with the right story, can do wonders in the ring together.

When Ziggler won the title through a memorable Money In The Bank cash-in the night after WrestleMania on Raw, it was a good sign that the WWE was finally putting its support behind The Show-Off who was long overdue for a proper World title run.  If the company is to live up to its “Then, Now, Forever” slogan, it needs to push the next generation of superstars right now.  Otherwise, it risks boring the audience with the same old champions.

While Ziggler was away from the scene, Del Rio was kept busy on TV by tangling in a series of matches with his “heavy”, Big E. Langston, where they’ve been trading meaningless victories back and forth.  These bookings just haven’t really created a lot of interest in this long delayed rematch.  Hopefully, that can be overcome with a strong performance by both men inside the ring on Sunday.

So, who ends up with the belt at the end of the night?  Del Rio has already had his turn as champion and I don’t think many are clamouring for him to return to that spot right away.  Meanwhile, Ziggler hasn’t had the opportunity to prove himself as champion which means this is a very important title defense for him.

In the end, expect some chicanery to benefit the champion.

Prediction:  Dolph Ziggler retains the World Heavyweight Championship by pinfall with chicanery.

3 Stages of Hell match for the WWE Championship:  John Cena vs. Ryback

The first fall is a lumberjack match.  The second is a Tables match.  And if necessary, fall number three is an Ambulance match.  The first man to win two of these three gimmick battles will win the title.

Because their Last Man Standing match at Extreme Rules ended in a no contest, Ryback gets another pay-per-view opportunity to finally get the push he’s long deserved in this rare 3 Stages of Hell match for the WWE Championship.  The build for this rematch has benefitted greatly from two things:  Big Hungry putting guys through tables and John Cena saying & doing very little.  In a lot of ways, the WWE Champion is his own worst enemy, ruining programs by diminishing the threats of his opponents through his sometimes overly goofy, demeaning promos.  When you think about it, it’s no mystery why he gets booed.  He rarely acts like an actual good guy.

It was a risk to turn the popular Ryback heel the night after WrestleMania 29 and the transition hasn’t always been smooth.  But he has steadily improved on the microphone and has looked mighty impressive in every physical encounter he’s had on TV since then.  (His two TV matches with Daniel Bryan, in particular, have been stellar.)  Having him enter the arena in an ambulance (guaranteeing that this will go three falls) is original and fitting for his current character.  In a different universe, you could easily see him winning on Sunday.  But SuperCena is the champ and sadly, we’re stuck with him for the foreseeable future. 

Prediction:  Ryback wins the first fall but drops the next two to John Cena who retains his WWE Championship.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
12:47 a.m.

UPDATE:  Here’s what I got right:  Curtis Axel is the new InterContinental Champion, AJ Lee is the new Divas Champion (even though I didn’t expect her victory to happen through a straightforward submission), Sheamus defeated Damien Sandow, Dean Ambrose retained his U.S. title (even though I wrongly predicted Kane would win the match by DQ; the champ won by count-out, so I was correct there wouldn’t be a clean finish), The Shield retained their tag team titles (although Randy Orton did not turn heel) and the John Cena/Ryback 3 Stages Of Hell WWE title match basically went the way I thought it would with Ryback only taking the first fall.  Now, here’s what I got wrong:  CM Punk defeated Chris Jericho in his first match since WrestleMania 29 (which means Y2J is 0-3 against him on pay-per-view) and, in a real shocker, Alberto Del Rio won the World Heavyweight Championship and may have turned heel in the process.  All in all, I essentially went 6 for 8.  Not bad.  Not bad at all.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, June 16, 2013
11:19 p.m.

Published in: on June 12, 2013 at 12:47 am  Comments (1)  

Payback 2013 Predictions (Part One)

Pre-show:  Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow

Two good workers stuck in a rather meaningless program that’s not even booked on the actual pay-per-view.  It all started a few weeks ago on Smackdown when The Intellectual Saviour Of The Masses challenged The Celtic Warrior to untie Gordian’s knot.  He couldn’t do it.  Next came the find-the-ball-under-one-of-these-three-cups scam.  There was no ball.  Finally, the sneaky Sandow planned to take on “Deep Blue”, the famous supercomputer that kicked ass on Jeopardy (and no, it wasn’t the actual Deep Blue he was playing whose voice sounded suspiciously like Cody Rhodes), in a game of chess when Sheamus interrupted him. 

When challenged to beat “Deep Blue” in one move, predictably The Celtic Warrior brogue kicked it right off its stand which led to Sandow attacking him with a flurry of right hands before throwing him into that very same stand.  And now, the two, who have faced each other on TV before, will square off again during the free online pre-show, reflecting this match-up’s overall lack of importance.

As far as I know, Sheamus has never been properly beaten by Sandow.  Expect history to repeat itself on Sunday.

Prediction:  Sheamus by pinfall.

CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho

Last year, a villainous Jericho tried in vain to get under The Straight Edge Superstar’s skin by verbally attacking him and his family so he could win the WWE Championship.  That led to their first pay-per-view battle for the title at WrestleMania 28, the best match of the entire show.  Punk retained by submission.  Then came the rematch, a dress-as-you-like, anything goes Chicago Street Fight at Extreme Rules.  Once again, Punk kept the belt.

Here we are a year later and things have changed dramatically.  Thanks to his feud with Dolph Ziggler last summer, Jericho is a good guy again.  And thanks to his association with Paul Heyman, the now former WWE Champion is a sneering, self-absorbed heel.  Although they’ve wrestled on TV this year, this Payback booking will mark their third encounter on pay-per-view.  In a very strong promo on Raw this week, Jericho really sold this match as a must-win for him in Punk’s hometown of Chicago, the second time they will face each other in that loudly partisan city.

Punk has been off TV for two months now recovering from injuries (from a storyline perspective, he was distraught over losing to The Undertaker at WrestleMania 29, hence his disappearing act) and as expected, he’s not participated at all in this renewed rivalry.  (Heyman has spoken for him the entire time.)  In fact, I wonder if a swerve is going to happen where he doesn’t actually show up on Sunday.  On second thought, that sounds unlikely.  (Would the WWE really screw with its audience this way?)  Regardless of whether or not the plan is turn him into a good guy again (which I support), he will probably be in attendance and since Jericho lost twice against him last year, Y2J is due for a clean victory.  The real interest in this match might not be the match itself but rather, the aftermath.  Will Punk and Heyman split acrimoniously and will that spark a Paul Orndorff/Bobby Heenan-style feud?  Or could we see a double turn, as at least one online observer as suggested? 

We shall see.

Prediction:  Chris Jericho by pinfall.

United States Championship:  Dean Ambrose vs. Kane

Talk about a random, last-minute booking.  What has The Big Red Monster actually done to deserve a shot at this B-title?  And quite frankly, does he really need it?  He had a decent championship run teaming with the electrifying Daniel Bryan until their eight-month tag team title reign ended at Extreme Rules last month.  But now that the team has split, he’s just another adversary for the leader of The Shield.  Ambrose has been red hot since he arrived with his teammates at last year’s Survivor Series which is why he got the U.S. title push at Extreme Rules.  I don’t see him losing the belt at Payback, or any time soon, for that matter.

So, what will the finish be?  I don’t think Ambrose will go over clean.  He’ll be saved by his teammates running in to break up a possible 3-count.

Prediction:  Kane wins match by DQ, but Ambrose keeps the belt.

Tag Team Championship:  The Shield vs. Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan

Tag team champions Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins don’t have anything to worry about on Sunday.  The real focus of this championship encounter is the lack of unity between the challengers, leading all of us to wonder which of the two immensely popular superstars will make the inevitable heel turn.  Will it be Air Goat or The Viper?  It’s been reported for quite some time now that Orton is tired of being a babyface after more than 3 years eliciting cheers.  I am, too.  He was always more believable as a jerk.  And considering the growing chemistry he shares with the recently fired up Bryan, the idea of them having a summer-long feud is quite appealing.  (Too bad a World title isn’t involved.)  The crowd has never been more behind the former American Dragon as they are right now and that shouldn’t change.

Last week on Smackdown, after a misunderstanding during a non-title tag team match against Reigns and Rollins led to Orton RKOing Bryan (who had accidentally dropkicked him in the corner, angering the third generation star), the Apex Predator generated such a negative reaction one could reasonably believe he had already turned.  But on the most recent Raw, although unapologetic for what he did, Orton remained, for now, a fan favourite.  There were no further incidents during their separate one-on-one encounters with each of their Sunday night opponents.

It’s pretty clear that another accident will finally be the last straw for somebody.  And I’m counting on that somebody being Orton.  He’s been in the mid-card wilderness long enough.  It’s time for him to begin another top-tier feud with the hairy one.  Personally, I wish this was Orton vs. Bryan instead of the tag title match but if the finish leads to permanent dissention I’m all for it. 

Prediction:  The Shield retain the tag title by pinfall, thanks to a helpful accident by Daniel Bryan.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
12:19 a.m.

Published in: on June 12, 2013 at 12:19 am  Comments (1)  

The Purge

In 2022 America, life is exceptional.  Unemployment is down to 1%.  Crime and poverty are virtually non-existent.  In spite of all of that, every year there is a peculiar national holiday fueled purely by hatred.  On March 22nd, from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., citizens can commit as many felonies as they want.  It’s called The Purge.  The idea works like this:  Everyone has dark thoughts, pent-up frustrations they can’t act out on 364 days of the year without being thrown in prison.  Keeping these feelings locked within you is unhealthy, according to medical experts.  So, once a year for 12 hours straight you can release all of them on innocent people without facing any consequences.  (Law enforcement and emergency workers are off-duty during this time.)  Once the second siren sounds, however, you must stop and revert back to your normal disposition as if nothing bad happened.

If this sounds like a pretty dumb idea to you, then you are a reasonable, decent human being, unlike most of the characters in this movie.  Honestly, the idea of this happening in the real world, as horrifyingly violent and scary as it actually is, is a real stretch, even for increasingly authoritarian America.  Where are the outraged protestors?  The unvarnished criticism from political pundits?  The angry liberal politicians pounding their desks in Congress?  The condemnation from Amnesty International and the United Nations?  For some odd reason, there is no real, meaningful opposition to this appalling half-day of reckoning. 

Ethan Hawke plays a well-to-do married father of two who sells home security systems.  As the annual Purge approaches, the indifferent businessman sells so many in his area he becomes the top salesman in his company.  (Not everyone is in a violent mood on March 22, thankfully.)  His family never participates in this heartless ritual so when the time comes, a button is pressed and these steel barriers come down over all their windows and doorways.  Security monitors all over the property keep the family aware of what’s going on outside.  Never mind the fact that someone could easily set fire to their mansion trapping them inside or smash the hell out of their home once they rip off the protective steel (which actually happens).  In Hawke’s mind, as long as his system (which he eventually admits is useless in “worst-case scenarios”) is enacted, his stay-at-home wife (Lena Headey), his health-obsessed, scientific son (Max Burkholder), his teen daughter (Adelaide Kane) and himself are completely safe.

Little do they know, they’re not.  His daughter’s 18-year-old boyfriend (Tony Oller), who Hawke does not approve of because she’s underage (even though the real-life Kane is in her early 20s), has somehow snuck in the house before the walls come down and it doesn’t take a genius to figure why he wants to have a word with Hawke.  (The couple have to sneak around to spend time together although make-out sessions in her bedroom don’t seem terribly discreet.)

Meanwhile, his son (who looks uncannily like a young Nick Cave) spots a homeless man (Edwin Hodge) crying out for assistance in their street hoping to be spared from an angry mob.  He’s already in dire straits.  So, he lets him in.  And the poor man promptly disappears within the vast corridors of the family mansion.  The mob that was hoping to waste him comes calling.  Their spokesman is played by Australian actor Rhys Wakefield who must’ve practiced his demented smile an awful lot before shooting his scenes.  (I wonder if he ever auditioned for The Joker.)  He’s the closest anyone in this movie comes to having something of an interesting personality, slight as it is.  You genuinely dislike this preppy sadist even if he is a one-note villain.  (His character name is Polite Stranger, if you can believe it.)

Now here’s something that doesn’t make sense.  The angry mob has chosen this unfortunate homeless gentleman for execution.  When he finds sanctuary in Hawke’s home, the mob demand he be released so they can finish him off.  (Like many of the maniacs out for blood on this night, they have a bizarre loathing for anyone poor which, as I mentioned before, no one complains about.)  Here’s a thought.  Why don’t they just move on to someone else?  Why waste all those precious hours not killing anybody?  You’ve got 12 hours, guys.  Go nuts on other people.

But apparently, Bloody Stranger (the homeless guy’s “name”), is who they really want to murder, which creates a dilemma for Hawke and his family.  At some point they belatedly come to the realization that the man shouldn’t be fed to the oddly masked fiends patiently hanging outside their abode and that maybe they should finally join in The Purge themselves once they inevitably find a way in.

In much smarter hands, The Purge could’ve been something a lot more provocative and timely than a standard, futuristic, semi-apocalyptic action thriller, perhaps a scathingly dark satire on our continuing acceptance of violence against those we fear and mistrust.  Maybe it would’ve worked better if the targets were law-abiding Muslims instead of the defenseless poor.  But the movie is far too lazy to even give two of its supporting characters proper names, so asking for an original, well thought out theme here is pushing it.  (Some will find it somewhat reminiscent of The Simpsons episode where snakes get whacked by the citizens of Springfield for a day.)

The movie only runs 85 minutes but it feels a lot longer.  There are way too many scenes of Hawke and his wife splitting up to search in vain for the missing homeless guy in hallway after hallway after the mob cuts the power to their home.  There are too many standard scares (like people jumping in the frame) that never chill you to the bone.  And there really is no reason to care what happens to anybody since most of the characters aren’t all that interesting to begin with.  Furthermore, most are born without hearts and brains.

In the end, we’re left with an empty-headed thriller that lacks conviction, scarily compelling ideas and a point.  No wonder it was number one at the box office during its first weekend in release.

(Special thanks to Dave Scacchi.)

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, June 10, 2013
1:05 a.m.

Published in: on June 10, 2013 at 1:06 am  Comments (6)  

The End Of Obama

Last month in this space, this critical poem about the President of the United States was posted.  These two lines from the second-to-last verse bear repeating:

“We’ll also learn more about the growing surveillance state
How our privacy doesn’t matter in the midst of all this hate”

Less than three weeks later, that moment has finally arrived.

Thanks to shocking revelations in The Guardian, The Washington Post and The Associated Press, the American Surveillance State is out of the shadows and finds itself unwillingly thrusted into the spotlight.  May the justifications for its existence shrivel precipitiously under the intense scrutiny it will continually and inevitably be facing.  May it die the sorry death it deserves.

None of this would be possible without the unfathomable courage of whistleblowers, knowledgeable anonymous sources who risk everything, their careers, their personal safety, their reputations, to inform an unaware public of what’s really being done in their name by their cowardly governments who act more like criminal syndicates than civil servants.  Just look at the Bradley Manning case, as an example. 

The First Class Private intelligence analyst, currently being tried by a judge in a military court martial which resumes next week, faces the very real possibility of losing his freedom entirely.  What did he do to deserve such a cruel fate?  He carefully leaked thousands of classified documents and one video to Wikileaks.  This widely covered material, which has never harmed a single person, reveals deeply disturbing conduct by the American government as well as the duplicitiousness of Middle Eastern dictators who just happened to be allies of the homeland.  Meanwhile, the officials responsible for that same disturbing conduct walk freely among us.  That’s the state of American justice under Obama.  You do the crime, only those who spread the word do the time.  Ask former CIA operative John Kiriakou, who exposed waterboarding, all about that philosophy.

But thanks to these damning reports about PRISM and the insidiously secret arrangements the feds made with cell phone and credit card companies (about 50 commercial organizations altogether, thus far) to spy on so many innocent citizens both here and abroad, not to mention a directive to launch future cyber attacks online against perceived enemies, the game has changed. 

Threats of new leak prosecutions from terrified government officials feel desperate and pathetic now, a last gasp effort at preventing future revelations that are sure to come fast and furious, as they should.  Whistleblowers have nothing to fear any more from a dying empire.  There are too many fires to put out now.

Attempts to demonize conscientious folks like the mighty Glenn Greenwald, the longtime secrecy critic whose byline appears on those three devastating Guardian articles, and anyone else who leaked and wrote about these previously unscrunitized, constitutionally suspect government programs, are laughable in the extreme not to mention very old and tired.  As Greenwald himself put it on Twitter yesterday, “the dam has burst”.  There’s just no building it back up again.

Add these latest scandals to the ones still percolating – the wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars and peculiar scrutiny of conservative activists applying for tax-exempt status by the hated IRS; the mystery involving the CIA’s presence in that American embassy, a diplomatic outpost, in Benghazi, Libya; the resumption of deportations; the force-feeding of hunger-striking prisoners in Gitmo; the hated drone program and the secretive leak investigations of the New York Times, Fox News and the Associated Press – and you have a federal government living in a permanent state of crisis.  Considering all the suffering they’ve inflicted on whistleblowers, the press, immigrants, drug addicts, activists, filmmakers, bi-national gay couples, Sikhs and Muslims both under Obama and Bush, no one should pity them.  In fact, they should welcome their collective punishment.

And it can only get worse from here.  As we learned from the Nixon era, once the Pentagon Papers were published by The New York Times, a panicked Republican administration went on a futile discrediting campaign that ultimately led to Watergate, The Saturday Night Massacre and the only Presidential resignation in history.  Thanks to today’s round-the-clock news culture, the process of a revived adversarial press destroying a presidency might not take three years this time.  In fact, it could happen even sooner.

Honestly, does President Obama and his thoroughly corrupt cronies believe their phony, hard-to-swallow assurances about PRISM, drones and the Surveillence State will be nearly enough to assuage the growing chorus of doubters who are no doubt deeply troubled by these latest reports?  Does he think he can still hide all of this information, the stuff we know and the stuff we don’t know, because of those increasingly bogus “national security” excuses?  How dumb does he think his constituents are?

True, some of them, particularly those only familiar with a post-9/11 world, will wonder what the big deal is.  I have nothing to hide, they’ll say about their privacy being grossly violated time and time again.  That’s not the point.  The point is when powerful people have access to information they shouldn’t have and no one else knows about it, they can do whatever they want with it, which can lead to human rights abuses.  Translation:  your private information can be used against you and you may not have any legal recourse to prevent a relentless prosecution or appeal a possible conviction.  Human history is loaded with compelling examples.  Remember the Japanese-American internment camps during World War II?  Like Obama, a Democrat was in charge at the time.

The President can claim all he wants that there’s nothing to worry about with all this data collecting (and drone killing, for that matter), but who’s to say the next President, whoever that will be, won’t go further?  Can you imagine if Nixon lived in the Internet Age?

At any event, Obama can’t survive in this hostile environment only five months into his second term.  He promised complete transparency during his brilliant first campaign and offered nothing of the sort upon moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave in 2009.  (Example:  he was awarded a transparency award.  In secret.)  He railed against The Patriot Act as a senator while renewing and deepening its reach as President.  He vowed to close Gitmo.  Now he’s force-feeding hunger striking prisoners who have spent a decade or more in indefinite military custody and have never been convicted of any crime.  About half were cleared for release years ago.  And don’t forget the thousand or so civilians who were murdered because of Predator Drones launched on his orders in countries (Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan) we’re not officially at war with.

For a man who raised the hopes of so many disillusioned people at home and around the world only to become the gross extension of The George W. Bush Era is the ultimate act of betrayal.  And now, he’s left with only two bad options:  resign or face impeachment.

Time to write that farewell speech, Mr. Obama, before the hounds of justice write it for you.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Friday, June 7, 2013
10:34 p.m.

UPDATE:  It just got worse.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, June 8, 2013
3:45 p.m.

Published in: on June 7, 2013 at 10:35 pm  Comments (3)  

Why Sophia Bush Blocked Me On Twitter

I shouldn’t be surprised.  In fact, I’m amazed it didn’t happen sooner.

For some time now I’ve been a major critic of actress Sophia Bush.  No, not because of her acting, but because of her inconsistent approach to political activism.

For all the good work she’s done defending the LGBT community, the cancer community, domestic animals, domestic violence victims, the poor and the environment, when it comes to the shoddy human rights record of her beloved President Obama, however, she’s not so outspoken.  “I don’t think the man is perfect,” is about as tough as she’s gotten.

It’s true.  She has been completely onboard with the controversial Kony 2012 campaign.  (I’ve yet to see any proof Joseph Kony is a bad man worth worrying about but if this Al Jazeera commentary is accurate, why hasn’t he been arrested and put on trial?)  And, three days ago, in regards to the recent uprising in Turkey, she tweeted, “human rights violations are the entire world’s business.  We are watching.  We will not be silent.”

But on the issues of Obama-ordered drones killing hundreds, possibly thousands of innocent Muslim and American civilians; the indefinite detention and torturing of hunger-striking, never-convicted-of-any-crime prisoners in Gitmo; the outrageous war on courageous whistleblowers including the tortured Private First Class Bradley Manning (whose joke of a trial finally began after his three years in military custody); the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya; the war on the press and the growing tentacles of the ever-expanding surveillance state, all “human rights violations”, she is completely silent.  You see, she believes The President is “a unicorn” and “heroic” so he’s allowed to do whatever he wants, war crimes and all.  No wonder he had his picture taken with her.  She never holds him to account.

It’s clear now that some human rights matter more to her than others (a commonality among die-hard Obama supporters who railed against the Bush Administration for the exact same transgressions), a glaring discrepancy I’ve pointed out in several pieces in this space and in a number of tweets.  (Silly me.  I thought all human rights mattered.  My bad.)  Back in March, much to my utter amazement, she actually responded to me on Twitter.  Let’s just say she wasn’t too pleased with my critiques.  (Who would?  They were severe and unflinching.)  Ms. Bush was even less enthused after I wrote this as a rebuttal.  (“…grow up…” “…you sound like a petulant child…”)  She absurdly claimed I knocked her charity work when the truth is I’ve always praised it.  I don’t know if she read the second update.  She wouldn’t have liked it, anyway.  The thin-skinned actress prefers to have her ass thoroughly kissed.  That’s not what I do here.  I’m too honest for that.

Since then, I’ve continued to occasionally write and tweet about her, sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly, without garnering another response.  Not a huge shock by any means.  I mean, let’s be real here.  No one likes to be harshly criticized, especially when that criticism is valid and can’t be refuted.  But it’s not as though she’s afraid to be combative as this aptly demonstrates.  (Too bad she was wasting her time with creepy jerks who successfully wound her up just because they could.  Sad.)

But two and a half months after our brief exchange on Twitter, she’s now blocked me.  (I consider it an honour, quite frankly.)  Yesterday, when I clicked on one of her tweets to check out the responses, the dreaded “You are not authorized to look up related results for that Tweet.” message popped up.  Weirdly, I was able to see the responses, at least some of them, after clicking “Details”.  And then that message returned as if I didn’t understand it the first time.  Also, when I now check my Twitter home page for tweets that I directly sent to her (there weren’t many), I can see what I wrote but her tweets have now been replaced with “@SophiaBush’s account has been protected”.

Protected from what, exactly?  Reality?  Thankfully, when “Details” is clicked on any of these tweets, her comments are visible.

So what was the final straw for the One Tree Hill star?  This and this.  Although, I’m pretty sure this, this and this were major factors, as well.  Who knows if she returned to this space, too.  Her reaction would’ve been the same, I’m sure.

But, like I said, this isn’t a surprise to me.  When you write brutal poetry like You’re Not As Smart As You Think You Are, Hot Girl Bubble, Silence Isn’t Justice and I’m Your Conscience as well as an ironic piece entitled Sophia Bush, The Queen Of Consistency, you shouldn’t expect a bouquet of roses in appreciation.  You should expect either some kind of negative response or none at all.

I was fortunate.  I got a taste of the former in between the latter.  Honestly, considering the sheer volume of tweets she must receive everyday, both negative and positive and not just from her near 800000 followers, she took the time to write to me on Twitter on two separate occasions.  That’s significant.

It’s also disappointing that, thanks to my typically blunt manner (it’s in the genes), I’ve not been able to convince her that Obama is no hero but rather, the latest shady ruler of the crumbling American empire.  What is happening under his watch is a fucking disgrace and the more voices, particularly the famous ones, who speak out about his betrayal of the values of The Land Of The Free, the more likely things will actually start to improve.  (Kudos to folks like Russell Brand and John Cusack for doing their part in using their popular voices to raise awareness of these issues.)  Like the situation in Turkey, governments should fear the people and not vice versa, and like my poem says, silence isn’t justice.  Ms. Bush doesn’t agree.

Despite my stubborn hope that she will one day wake up and accept that all of this heavy stuff is actually going on thanks to Obama and is not simply “theoretical”, she is remaining equally stubborn with her resistance.  And now she will no longer entertain the nuisance that is me on Twitter.  I completely understand.  It’s not easy to deal with someone who points out your hypocrisies, your inconsistencies, your blatant disregard for legitimately holding your American government officials responsible for so much suffering at home and abroad.

It’s so much easier to look away and pretend it’s not happening.

Thankfully, Bradley Manning is not Sophia Bush.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
3:52 a.m.

UPDATE:  I don’t know exactly when and I don’t know the reason why but I’m no longer blocked.  After not checking her account for several weeks last year, out of curiosity I went back, opened up a tweet and was surprised that the “you are not authorized” message no longer appeared.  I thought it was a mistake.  Twitter has gone through some changes in the last little while and surely that was why it didn’t show up.

No.  It wasn’t a mistake.

Just to make sure, after a long break, I sent her this tweet on Friday.  (It went through without incident.  She has not responded to it.  Probably never will.)  Bush opposes the proposed Northern Keystone XL pipeline (as do I) but, to my knowledge, hadn’t mentioned the fact the Southern portion (which I also oppose) was already approved expeditiously by President Obama in March 2012 and is currently operational, much to the annoyance of opponents, activists and residents in the Southern United States.

However, she did retweet this alarming DeSmogBlog article this weekend.  (I retweeted it, as well.)  Reposted on Ecowatch.com, it exposes serious concerns with the Southern pipeline thanks to an outspoken whistleblower who is very worried about the possible environmental consequences to Texas land.  (One concerned, elderly citizen has been libelled an “eco-terrorist” by TransCanada, Keystone’s manufacturer, for bravely protesting the pipeline.)  Sadly, unlike the link I sent her, the DeSmogBlog report doesn’t mention Obama’s embarrassing advocacy for it.

Also, on her Twitter bio, “Activist” has switched places with “Storyteller” (for some reason, she prefers this over the more accurate “Actor”; she’s not a screenwriter and hasn’t directed since her One Tree Hill days).  Originally, Activist was first and Storyteller was second.  Now, she has reversed them.  I know to most this is not very interesting but considering all of my criticism over the last year (although I suspect it had absolutely nothing to do with the change), it’s curious.

Finally, since the original posting of this article, Bradley Manning made an official change. The persecuted whistleblower is now a transgendered woman who prefers to be called Chelsea Manning.  She remains wrongly incarcerated in military prison for exposing American war crimes going back to the George W. Bush Administration.  May she be pardoned and released very soon.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, March 16, 2014
2:56 a.m.

UPDATE 2:  Now I’m wondering if I was ever unblocked at all.  More than 2 months later, I’m unable to retweet this comment.  When I tried, I got this message:  “Your account may not be allowed to perform this action.  Please refresh the page and try again.”  So, just for the hell of it, I did try again a few additional times, just to make sure.  Same result every time.  So, I’m guessing my supposedly “unblocked tweets” were never actually seen by her.  It’s just as well.  She’s too stubborn and foolish to embrace what I say anyway.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, May 26, 2014
3:45 a.m.

Published in: on June 5, 2013 at 3:52 am  Comments (4)  

Riding The Waves Of Pain

It swims through your head like a predator in waiting
Proud of the emotional turbulence it’s creating
A villain of patience, an absolute master at deflating
Why it chose me is a matter I’m still debating

It pierces without warning, jolting you into submission
It does what it pleases without requiring your permission
Hard to find a remedy that will knock it out of commission
Looking forward at some point to that elusive state of remission

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
1:53 a.m.

Published in: on June 4, 2013 at 1:54 am  Comments (1)  

Daniel Lanois Teases New Details About The Next U2 Record

It’s been four years since U2 released a proper studio album.  But the wait might soon be over.

Ever since the worldwide success of No Line On The Horizon in 2009, the band needlessly excited its supporters by announcing plans for an immediate follow-up in 2010, a more acoustic-sounding “companion piece” that would mark a departure from their more regular electric efforts.  For whatever reason, though, Songs Of Ascent hasn’t surfaced.

The following year, we were told that the foursome were working on three other projects:  a dance record that would presumably go further than the first three songs of Pop, a proper rock album being produced by Danger Mouse and a collection of all the songs written for the problem-plagued Broadway musical Spider-Man:  Turn Off The Dark re-recorded by the band themselves.  None of that material has seen the light of day.  (And don’t get me started on the shelved material they recorded with Rick Rubin sometime last decade.)

Back in January of this year (and I don’t know how I missed this), frontman Bono revealed one of the six working titles for the proper rock album I just mentioned:  10 Reasons To Exist, which I doubt will stick (but I’ve been wrong before).  And now, thanks to one of their longtime collaborators, we have something of a sense of what that particular album will sound like if it ends up being released in its current state (which is doubtful because the band are notorious perfectionists).

At the bottom of this new interview with The Globe & Mail, producer Daniel Lanois reveals that he’s heard 10 Reasons To Exist, thanks to a recent visit from Bono at his Los Angeles home.  Back in Canada to accept a lifetime achievement award from the Governor General, the one-time Hamiltonian had this to say about the new record:

“It sounded amazing.  Very, very big and powerful-sounding.  Some of it was adventurous.  There were shades of Achtung Baby.  A couple of songs I was familiar with, because we worked on them before but had not completed them.  Now they’re back on the burner.  Bono is very excited, and he’s singing beautifully.  He makes me jealous.  Those barrel-chested Irish tenors. ”

Sadly, regarding the older material, Lanois doesn’t mention any song titles or when these particular tracks were first being assembled under his watch.

When asked if he was disappointed not to be a part of the creative team this time around, Lanois replied thusly:

“I’m actually glad that I’m not making this record with them.  I don’t think I’d survive the experiment.  It’s hard work.  It’s two years, and it will be a character-building experience for Danger Mouse.  You really have to be physically fit to make a U2 record.  But, really, they’re all hard.  All records are hard to make.”

He’s not kidding about the difficulties of working with U2.  To cite one example, in his 1999 book, 20th Century Rock And Roll:  Alternative Rock, music historian Alan Cross mentions in passing that during the initial German sessions of Achtung Baby in 1990 Bono and Lanois had such creative differences that the “personal tensions” between them “sometimes descended into ugly shouting matches”.  It was only when Brian Eno finally arrived in early 1991 (he was too busy to participate at first) that everybody calmed down and the album slowly started to find its focus.  (It also helped that they moved back to Ireland to re-start the sessions.)

You know, it’s not unusual for U2 to present to the public brand new full-length offerings after working in the studio at a snail’s pace.  Three years separated The Unforgettable Fire (1984) and The Joshua Tree (1987) as well as Rattle & Hum (1988) and Achtung Baby (1991), and Pop (1997) and All That You Can’t Leave Behind (2000).  How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb (2004) came four years after that and half a decade went by before the unveiling of No Line On The Horizon (2009).  If it wasn’t for all these additional reissues, greatest hits packages, books and DVDs they released in between them, the waiting for new music would feel even longer than it already does.

But back to 10 Reasons To Exist (or whatever it will eventually be called).  Back in January, drummer Larry Mullen Jr. claimed on Irish radio station, 2FM, that they’re aiming to have it out this coming September with the hope of dropping another album of material next year.

Treat that announcement with the grain of salt it deserves.  The band’s history is littered with promised release dates that are cancelled again and again because the music is not quite there yet.  Sometimes in the past when a new record was released before they felt it was completely ready (think the much-delayed Pop), that solidifies their conviction in spending the extra time to get it right the next time.

At any event, it doesn’t matter to me how long it takes them to finally finish an album and ship it out to the world.  As long as the music makes me sing along repeatedly, I’m happy.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, June 1, 2013
8:05 p.m.

UPDATE:  Rolling Stone reports the new album is being mixed in New York.  Furthermore, bassist Adam Clayton told Hot Press Magazine, “We very much want to have a record out by the end of the year, September, October, November…”.  Here’s hoping for no more delays.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
1:45 a.m.

Published in: on June 1, 2013 at 8:05 pm  Comments (1)  

Unanswered Questions About The Rob Ford Crack Video Scandal

1. When, where and why exactly was the now infamous iPhone video made?

2. How many copies of it exist, where are they located and who has them?

3. Besides three reporters, who else has seen it?

4. How long has Toronto Mayor Rob Ford been smoking crack cocaine?

5. Will the video ever be released?

6. Why did Ford agree to have his picture taken with Somali drug dealers?

7. What happened to the drug dealer who demanded $200,000 to release the video publicly?

8. If it’s true that Ford acknowledged the video’s existence to his staffers privately, why did he say the opposite publicly?

9. Did Ford have anything to do with his brother Doug’s pot dealing business in the 1980s?

10. Why did Ford’s two spokesmen, a policy advisor and his personal secretary recently resign?

11. Besides initially calling the Gawker and Toronto Star reports about the video “ridiculous”, why did it take a week for him to go further with his public denials?

12. Who are the other celebrities who buy crack from the drug dealer who made the video?

13. Are there other videos of Ford smoking from a crack pipe or abusing other drugs and saying disparaging things about people?

14. Why doesn’t he just come clean and go to rehab to get sober?

15. Why doesn’t he resign?

16. How many Somali gang members are supportive & friendly with him and why?

17. Have they ever benefitted from him in some way politically since he was elected Mayor in 2010?

18. Why did some of them temporarily plan to make a fake crack video in order to discredit the real one?

19. Who’s Slurpy and why did he refuse to participate in this abandoned scheme?

20. Why was Ford’s friend, Anthony Smith, murdered and who is responsible?

21. Does the Mayor know anything about his murder?

22. Will he be facing any serious legal charges?

23. Is there a cover-up regarding the electronic and paper trails of his now departed staffers?

24. If so, what possibly incriminating information contained in those documents does he not want known publicly?

25. Can Ford possibly survive this and even get re-elected to a second term?

26. Is his political career soon to be over?

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, June 1, 2013
4:47 p.m.

UPDATE:  Gawker and The Toronto Star provide two possible answers to question one.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, June 6, 2013
10:56 p.m.

Published in: on June 1, 2013 at 4:48 pm  Comments (2)