2012 Year in Review: Winners, losers, and quitters
Vancouver housing prices are still off the charts, Stephen Harper remains at 24 Sussex Drive, and the economy is stuck in neutral. But this doesn’t mean 2012 was a total write-off. That’s because this was a year when the idiots lost. Repeatedly. And some nefarious forces found themselves on the defensive.
A chieftain among idiots, Republican ruffian Newt Gingrich, failed to make a dent with his claim that child-labour laws are “stupid” and his colour-coded denunciation of Barack Obama as the food-stamp president. The angry little attack muffin lost. Badly. Hallelujah.
The dumbest wannabe president, gun-loving Texas governor Rick Perry, was also blown out of the Republican primary race after having too many senior moments on the campaign trail. He was later joined on the sidelines by another loser, LGBT nemesis and major idiot Rick Santorum, whose surname is often greeted with sniggers by Dan Savage fans. Santorum’s presidential ambitions were probably doomed at the outset when Google refused to delete search results equating him with a byproduct of anal sex.
Meanwhile, Mitt Romney—admittedly less of a twit than most of his GOP opponents—committed political hara-kiri by smearing 47 percent of Americans as parasitic deadbeats. With remarkable foolishness, Romney and his friends invited octogenarian Clint Eastwood to their televised convention to have a conversation with an empty chair. That got a whole lot more attention than the candidate’s speech.
In an even more astonishing act of stupidity, Romney morphed into a global-warming denier in the same year that Superstorm Sandy convinced all but the certifiably insane and the billionaire Koch brothers that human-induced climate change is as real as the tar sands. Even the Republican governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, could see that. No wonder Obama cruised to reelection.
Two Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate flamed out in the election after making stunningly idiotic comments about sexual assault. Todd Akin spoke of “legitimate rape” and Richard Mourdock claimed that “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen.” Give a fundamentalist a microphone and you just never know what might spill out of his mouth.
Other losers? How about those Stanley Cup rioters, who were hauled one by one in front of the media on their way to being sentenced in Vancouver provincial court. Unlike in the previous year, there was a noticeable absence of glee on their faces when they were caught on camera in 2012.
Apart from the Koch brothers, the richest losers might have been those NHL team owners, who deprived themselves of hundreds of millions of dollars by locking out players and watching the fans simply move on to other forms of entertainment. And one of America’s wealthiest reprobates, cyclist Lance Armstrong, was unmasked as a cheater. This came after he spent years smearing and intimidating numerous people who blew the whistle on his use of the human hormone erythropoietin.
The biggest corporate loser was HSBC, which paid a $1.9-billion fine to U.S. regulators for transferring money on behalf of drug lords and potential terrorists. Enbridge wasn’t far behind, getting slammed for its “Keystone Kops” handling of a 2010 Michigan oil spill. Then it was exposed for erasing islands from Douglas Channel in its messages promoting the Northern Gateway Project. Despite a multimillion-dollar ad campaign, the Calgary-based pipeline giant couldn’t run away from its past.
Meanwhile, the truly idiotic National Rifle Association became even more despised after the Newtown, Connecticut, school shootings. Right-wing buffoons were turned back in Maine and Maryland, where voters approved same-sex marriage notwithstanding warnings from Leviticus-quoting extremists. In addition, the idiots who opposed legalizing marijuana possession in Washington state and Colorado suffered a humiliating setback. Advocates of maintaining the war on drugs were clearly on the defensive this year. And the ultimate loser, suspected killer Luca Rocco Magnotta, was caught in a Berlin Internet café while surfing the web.
Here at home, Jenna Talackova stood up for transgender rights against Donald Trump’s Miss Universe pageant, coming away with the Miss Congeniality prize in the Canadian competition. Vancouverite Gary Paterson became the first openly gay moderator in the history of the United Church of Canada. As the year ended, aboriginal people were standing up for their rights like never before in the nascent Idle No More movement.
Come to think of it, this was a very good year.
Some athletes stood out with small acts of kindness and grand displays of character. Kevin Bieksa organized a hockey benefit for the Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, and Michael Bublé showed up with a $100,000 cheque. Good on you, guys. Burnaby’s Christine Sinclair became the first female soccer player in history to win the Lou Marsh Award as Canada’s top athlete. She never lost her humility, despite being the Babe Ruth of her sport.
Jockey Mario Gutierrez, the epitome of grace, rode I’ll Have Another to victory in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, honouring his adopted hometown fans in Vancouver with repeated visits afterward. North Vancouver’s Filip Peliwo didn’t suffer from a swelled head after winning the boys’ titles at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and making the final in two other Grand Slam events. And Victoria’s Ryder Hesjedal showed us what determination looks like when he came first in the three-week-long Giro d’Italia cycling competition.
B.C. Liberal politicians couldn’t match these athletes’ perseverance. We lost count of how many government MLAs announced they wouldn’t seek reelection under Christy Clark’s leadership. When two of the most powerful—Kevin Falcon and George Abbott—resigned from cabinet, their party actually moved up in the polls. There’s something to be said for clearing out cobwebs.
One of Falcon’s political legacies is the $3.3-billion Port Mann Bridge, which pelted motorists with ice bombs, causing an untold amount of damage. Who would have thought a new Fraser River crossing, especially one this expensive, could turn on its users in this way? It’s got all the trappings of a bad horror movie. The Port Mann Bridge is making Gordon Campbell’s $565-million stadium roof project and the $883-million convention centre on the waterfront look like exercises in financial restraint.
Abbott was the government’s chief spin doctor during a lengthy labour dispute with teachers, which ended with a whimper. Funny how there always seem to be unlimited government funds for concrete and pavement, but not so much for those who set our kids on the right path through life. Or for arts and culture, as witnessed by the demise of the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company.
It was relatively quiet around Vancouver City Hall this year apart from periodic eruptions over skyscrapers planned in Mount Pleasant, in the West End, and near Rogers Arena. Coun. Kerry Jang battled the idiots who want to keep selling shark-fin soup. And the director of planning, Brent Toderian, was fired for no apparent reason.
On the international front, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad proved himself to be one of the nastiest men on the planet, bombing civilians and refusing repeated calls to resign. Socialist François Hollande, sometimes referred to as Mr. Normal, defeated his right-wing opponent, Nicolas Sarkozy, in the French election. Another left winger, Hugo Chavez, was reelected in Venezuela, and Vladimir Putin cruised to victory in the Russian presidential election after serving four years as prime minister.
The biggest tabloid story was the bust-up of the Tom Cruise–Katie Holmes marriage. However, CIA director David Petraeus’s resignation for having an affair with his biographer was far more entertaining. It was commemorated best in the New York Post headline “Cloak and Shag Her”.
Two idiots hatched a plan to castrate Justin Bieber but were caught by police. And actor Angus T. Jones ran off at the mouth about his hit TV show, Two and a Half Men, which he described as “filth” and urged people not to watch. He reportedly makes $350,000 per episode, which should merit him inclusion in a hall of fame of idiocy.