Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Puppet Rap: “OVERLAP” or FRAUD?

Puppets burst on the screen and get enough attention to rival Kermit and Miss Piggy. No it's not a re-run or a Hollywood rehash simply pirated material made to look original. The Tyee, an on-line news source, has its editor-in-chief David Beers call this video a “hilarious satire.” True satire needs to be original and clever and definitely spiced with humour. Ethical Oil: The Puppet Rap is not original at all, which in turn diminishes its level of cleverness and taints its humour. In fact the core of the video is material taken by the creators from this blog, an article titled 'Ethical Oil vs. Ethical Tobacco' published November 21st 2011. Those of you familiar with Mayorgate know that many articles are paired with an original caricature. Each of the caricatures are a collaboration of thought and talent, I as author provide the thought and my daughter Alexandra her wonderful talent. They are originals from start to finish, each paired to its appropriate article as a form of visual stimulation, a further enunciation of the thoughts raised.

This is the original artwork with Mayorgate article Ethical Oil vs Ethical Tobacco:

Ethical Oil: The Puppet Rap took my article 'Ethical Oil vs. Ethical Tobacco', they took my concept and the talents of the artist who provided the caricature, and have passed it off as their own. The creators of The Puppet Rap took what was original and changed it enough to have it called a “hilarious satire” of their making!

Mayorgate has never published an article without full support of evidence to back up our words. It is the reason why we have endured threat and harassment from the outside. Even a mayor identified for his corrupt acts threatened to have Mayorgate shutdown legally, backed off when further evidence was published of his possible involvement in what was clearly questionable even by legal standards. Our caricatures are never aimed to demean an individual on physical attributes, nor on any other point which may be considered personal. It is not the reason for their creation by the artist Alexandra Davidoff. Alexandra's artistic interpretation is to enhance an article, and the visual stimulation can often bring about emotion, even comment at times faster than the written word. Modern society has been weaned on television, film and more recently the web. All visual stimuli, and there are fewer who can remember the days of radio, where dialogue was used to inspire imagination.

The creators of Ethical Oil: The Puppet Rap, Kai Nagata (writer in residence at The Tyee), Caitlin Dodd, David Henderson-Hean, Spencer Powell and Emile Scott took our work and talent, made cosmetic changes, added rhyme and passed it off as their own. That is unacceptable and will not be permitted, regardless of the motivation behind this video. They will face the legal consequences for their actions, public and loud. David Beers editor-in-chief of The Tyee as owner of this video will face legal consequences, his public statements make that clear. Though more on that in a moment.

To compare the video The Puppet Rap against Mayorgate's article 'Ethical Oil vs. Ethical Tobacco', Mayorgate's article appeared November 21st 2011 and the The Puppet Rap on March 16th 2012. Our article had an original caricature by Alexandra Davidoff. Examine that caricature and compare it to The Puppet Rap. The caricature depicts Ezra Levant as a puppet with strings being controlled. The Puppet Rap, two puppets, whether fingers or styrofoam balls still puppets with a cosmetic change, the puppets are supposed to represent Ezra Levant and Kathryn Marshall. Kathryn Marshall is also mentioned in the Mayorgate article. Nagata and Caitlin chose the Chinese leader Mao Tse Tung who died in 1976 as the puppeteer, he was long gone before Harper turned to China as a customer. Though Levant is shown in a frame with puppet strings attached, he was the star of the Mayorgate caricature. In Mayorgate's caricature the strings are pulled by the Canadian leader of the country. Mayorgate's caricature has a ticket to China in full view! Our title 'Ethical Oil vs. Ethical Tobacco' is original, in fact you won't find the use of the term Ethical Tobacco in relation to Ezra Levant or Ethical Oil prior to Mayorgate's article in November of 2011. One might say the term was coined by the Mayorgate author. The lyrics of The Puppet Rap have this line “I was selling Ethical Tobacco,” is this original, not on your life!

Without 'Ethical Oil vs. Ethical Tobacco' and its caricature being published on Mayorgate November 21st 2011 there would be no Ethical Oil: The Puppet Rap video. The core idea and intricate details were taken, cosmetically changed and then passed for as original. IT IS NOT ORIGINAL! Further The Puppet Rap took an interview by Evan Solomon of the CBC program Power and Politics, Showdown: Sierra Club vs. Ethical Oil from January 12th 2012 and edited that into the rap video. In the end there is very little that can be claimed to be original in The Puppet Rap, even the image of Ezra with cash flowing from his mouth, is not original.

Those who are involved with this video have had past experience that is true. Kai Nagata worked with CTV's Quebec City reporting on politics, also as a video journalist with the CBC. Caitlin Dodd was a member of Grandview-Woodland Area Council Television as editor, writer and author. David Henderson-Hean has worked in film for over 11 years winning first prize at the 'Five Minutes to Change Your World' documentary-making contest, and more. Spencer Powell won the Skills Canada Regional Award for Best PSA and is a computer technician. One could say there is some claim to fame here in this bunch, I guess.

As far as David Beers is concerned, as I had said more is to come. Here we have a truly confusing message being played out. These were the words spoken by David Beers the editor-in-chief of The Tyee. “Tyee paid for this hilarious satire out of our own resources.” Yes, these were David Beers' own words stated clearly in English and in public. The Tyee has heavily promoted the video Ethical Oil: The Puppet Rap, and Kai Nagata is/was a writer at The Tyee 'in residence'. David Beers as editor-in-chief and founder of The Tyee has in fact ownership, collaboration with approval of the video and not to mention promotion of the end product.

Now come the questions and inconsistencies, and Mayorgate's articles have dealt with many such situations whether relating to government, environment or our constitution.


David Beers said that The Tyee had paid for the video out of “our own resources.” Then David Beers in response to a question by Ezra Levant said “Tyee money spent on the video would just have been the portion of the Writer in Residence stipend Kai was receiving the week or so he worked on the video.” Slightly different, which is it David Beers? Inconsistencies run rampid at what is The Tyee it seems.

Ezra Levant fired some questions at David Beers via e-mail and the answers by David Beers in fact raise more questions as information regarding The Tyee are further examined. On Wikipedia it states that there have been accusations regarding the ties The Tyee has to big labour and having a left-wing bias. David Beers is quoted in response to the issue of The Tyee's ties to the labour movement: “I am grateful the union movement invested in media diversity. That's all they are though: one of our investors. I have total guaranteed autonomy as Tyee editor, which certainly wasn't the case, say, when I was editor at CanWest.” I like it how Beers says he is “grateful the union movement has invested in media diversity” not specifically The Tyee. As far as the union movement not flexing their muscle of control it is hard to believe. The same piece states according to Beers, The Tyee revenue for 2010 was about $500,000 to $600,000, of which $450,000 from ongoing sale of equity. I wonder how long does an “ongoing sale of equity” go on for? Once a glass is full or empty then that's it I thought.

Anyhow it seems that out of the $450,000 of the 'ongoing sale of equity', $300,000 comes as a subsidy from Working Enterprises, a group of companies associated with the British Columbia Federation of Labour. This makes Working Enterprises two thirds owner of The Tyee, and it is a union controlled two thirds. The balance by the way of $150,000 comes from an investor Eric Peterson. Mr. Peterson a wealthy businessman and who together with his wife was listed in the 2005 federal election as among the largest personal donors to the federal NDP. Who can say anything about the NDP federally or provincially other than union influenced and controlled. Do the math if you wish here, but I think that's the total of the $450,000 “ongoing sale of equity.” Three thirds make a whole, and the whole is union influenced. The “union movement” investment “in media diversity” is total ownership of The Tyee.

Still David Beers insisted that he has a “total guaranteed autonomy as Tyee editor.” That is something I find very hard to believe and can provide not only an example of union muscle being flexed, but even threat by union muscle. Most of us still believe that once we elect our various levels of government we are assured of a relatively democratic system of governance. There are laws in place that even control and limit financial campaign contributions to avoid irregular pressure of the elected once in government. Well that's a nice and comforting thought, though far from reality, as most fairy tales are.

Here is a copy of a letter from the CAO of the Regional Municipality of Niagara to an elected councillor. Mind you this councillor simply raised issues relating to regional employees, who happen to be union members, who were abusing the taxpayers purse. I guess in a way defrauding the public purse sounds nasty doesn't it? So the Niagara branch of CUPE, threatens the regional government to take care of the issue or else. Is it possible a union can decide that they have the power to threaten an elected regional government and an elected member of government? Heck they must feel powerful don't you think? Yet David Beers is trying to sell “guaranteed autonomy as Tyee editor” when the unions own The Tyee. Sorry Mr. Beers very hard to buy that one.

Sections of this letter have been blacked out as they do not relate to this article. 
Consistency or inconsistency of logic, what could one think?, o.k., some more then... Let's have a look at the David Beers version of what one might call 'the double-spin cycle' of the laundry room, although Beers called it “crowdsourcing the editorial board.” Ezra Levant asked “You say that you do not take editorial directions from donors?,” and the response from Beers was, “We do not take editorial direction from funders.” Yet in what David Beers calls “crowdsourcing,” The Tyee asks donors to pick a topic that they want The Tyee to write about and donate money for that privilege. So if a bunch of donors gave money and asked you to write something that would be pro-tar sands, would The Tyee do so? Of course not, you select the list of topics that donors choose from, in fact only making it look like the donors had the choice with their donation. The question here is since David Beers chose the list of topics, he would probably have The Tyee write about them anyhow, and the choice given to donors really wasn't much of a choice after all. Simply a new salesman's trick, but this one went into another direction, one that may need further investigation.

Mike Klassen wrote an article titled Diatribe for Dollars: should donors dictate editorial bent?, (   In this article he states, “Although The Tyee had sought financial support from readers in the past (which they channelled through Tides Canada).” Why would The Tyee need to do this, as it was The Tyee not Tides Canada that had made the “crowdsourcing” appeal to readers for donations? So The Tyee asked for money from the public, the public gave the money, then The Tyee gave the money to Tides Canada, and then Tides Canada gave The Tyee the money back that The Tyee got from the public in the beginning. Who finds this somewhat confusing, hands up and join the conga line.

Ezra Levant hinted at the possible laundering of money, bringing visions of bent noses, suitcases of cash, black limos and definitely dark alleys. Did I miss anything out of this scene? Still putting humour aside, one nagging question after another lingers like a really bad smell that no air freshener can eradicate. Why would The Tyee take money from the public, give it to Tides Canada, to have Tides Canada give it back to The Tyee? Logic stands that Tides Canada did give the money back to The Tyee in the form of a grant? Or was this all simply a copy of the Mulroney brown paper envelopes revisited? Nothing here makes any sense at all. Levant asked David Beers, “Do you know who donors were who gave the money to you through Tides?” (excuse the grammar it's not mine). Beers' response, “No. It is enough to know it came from Tides, a reputable grant-maker.” Hold it a minute and rewind here, wasn't it The Tyee who asked for the money from Mr. and Mrs. General Public in the interests of “crowdsourcing”?

So David Beers is trying to get everyone to believe that when he got individual donations coming into The Tyee, no one actually kept a record of them in accounting. Maybe the scenario of suitcases of cash, dark limos etc., really does apply as improbable as it might sound. It seems that David Beers through The Tyee is doing charitable work for us, astonishingly owned by the labour movement, taking money from the public yet channelling it through Tides Canada only to get it back from Tides Canada as a grant (how else could Tides Canada give it to the Tyee?), having an employee steal another's concept passing it off as their own, all in the interests of “public interest journalism.” After all, when Levant asked, “Do you think that public interest journalism is charitable work?,” Beers replied “Yes.”


After examining information relating to The Tyee and public statements by editor-in-chief David beers only more serious questions arise without clear answers made available. I had sent an e-mail to David Beers, after legal advice, once I was made aware of the video The Puppet Rap. The first response came from Kai Nagata not Beers, and it was a response infested with ego “overlapping” with self-adoration. David Beers responded some time after Nagata, and it was what would be expected at this time in legal terms.

Nagata's response was beyond insane in anyone's terms. I had read enough about Nagata and his huge ego though somehow thought it would be kept under control in this situation. After all it was he who stole our work and passed it off as his own, that's not something anyone would praise himself on. I was wrong, Nagata actually dared to compare himself to Mayorgate, to me and to artist Alexandra Davidoff. Negata in his letter says, “Clearly you are a philosophical ally” and “On these counts, I think we all agree,” his play with language a laugh.

Nagata continued on with examples of articles relating to Levant and his association to tobacco, yet if you read those articles nowhere will you find the term 'Ethical Tobacco' used in relation to Levant nor Ethical Oil. Then I am given a history lesson with Martin Luther and the Romans. It is true he actually became a history teacher, maybe it's this preaching that turns people off? Still in case 'teacher' Nagata didn't know the Romans made it a habit to take what was not theirs, and in the end the Roman Empire fell.

Kai Nagata calls this “intellectual overlap,” our work and his copying of our work, changing cosmetically and quoting history, all simply an overlap. Nagata's most sickening display of an over-inflated ego comes with this, “If anything, our hope is that this renewed public ridicule of Ethical Oil pushes more curious readers to Mayorgate.” What a fool I am, hell I should bow at the feet of someone who stole from me and thank him! Nagata and Dodd who took our ideas that had been published months ahead, our work and talent of an artist, had done so without permission, now exalt themselves that they did Mayorgate a favour. Someone should tell Nagata that there is nothing in his video that says publicly I stole this from Mayorgate, you should go and see the original. How can Nagata's ego think he “pushes more curious readers to Mayorgate”? Here and now I will give Kai Nagata, Caitlin Dodd and David Beers the answer, court will do just that. When you are brought out publicly for a judge to examine the facts then and only then will the original be made public. Nagata will face the consequences of his actions and I have no desire to listen to such trash from an ego so full of itself that it dares to compare itself to all that is great.

In response to Nagata's “We are, if you'll permit, on the same side of this huge and crucial issue,” NO I DO NOT PERMIT NOR DID I PERMIT ANYTHING! Kai Nagata did not ask for permission when he stole our work and passed it off as his own, he should not play at some stupid game now! I love the end though of Nagata's little ego trip with the English language, he uses Levant as the bogeyman that I should fear. He goes on to say “Ezra Levant would have a field day on his TV show if he ever found out that The Tyee and and environmental blogger were embroiled in a lawsuit...” My response is simple, go for it Mr. Levant. What did Nagata think this statement would do to my decision on his theft of my material? Also someone should tell Nagata I am far from an “environmental blogger” and an examination of Mayorgate would prove that. As far as money goes, true no one pays to read Mayorgate, yet Nagata asks for donations with his video, and The Tyee it has been established, is two thirds owned by the unions and one third by a millionaire supporter of the NDP. The Tyee has advertising revenue and strange financial transactions with Tides Canada.

Nagata finishes with “We beg you to reconsider, so that we can all continue forward down the same path in a spirit of friendship and cooperation.” The answer is simple to Nagata, to Dodd and to Beers, NO! There is no cooperation and it was you who stole from Mayorgate and from an original piece of art. You had done this without asking for permission without providing credit, and in your letter you tell us you did us a favour.

This is going to be public and the courts will judge Nagata on this and not his ego. Nagata states in his letter “and more importantly, there are hundreds of ways in which our rap song is completely distinct from your article and your daughter's editorial cartoon.” First of all Nagata should be careful on how or who he plays words with, if it was only his “rap song” then he would have a different set of legal action against him. Nagata put out a video with a rap song on YouTube, if he had only put that “rap song” very little attention would come his way. Nagata's ego shines through again with these words, “more importantly,” well let me show Kai Nagata and in the end the public what is important and what is not, oh and let's not forget a judge. Nagata says “hundreds of ways” that his rap song is completely distinct,” in a 2 minute 50 second video, I presume it is the characters Nagata had counted. So now let's take a quick look shall we...

Let's not forget some other things that are “distinct” with what Nagata had done. The video The Puppet Rap is opened by taking copyrighted material, a video of a CBC program Power and Politics, hosted by Evan Solomon. Mayorgate does not take copyrighted material in such a manner. Did Kai Nagata get permission from the CBC to do that? In the images that are shown through the The Puppet Rap video an image is used from another publication titled, NOW, the one with the cash in Levant's mouth, I think Nagata knows which one I'm talking about. Was that an original idea of Nagata's or Dodd's I ask, or maybe it is simply some more “intellectual overlapping”?


Mayorgate's article 'Ethical Oil vs Ethical Tobacco' first published on November 21st 2011 with original artwork by artist Alexandra Davidoff was copied by Kai Nagata and Caitlin Dodd, financed by David Beers editor-in-chief of The Tyee, changed cosmetically and passed off as original work. The video Ethical Oil: The Puppet Rap has gained a fair amount of public attention with over 19,000+ views on YouTube.  It has been promoted by The Tyee as a “hilarious satire,” yet little in it is original.

David Beers as editor-in-chief of The Tyee makes public statements that seem to contradict themselves in relation to the video The Puppet Rap. More questions arise upon examination of The Tyee, its funding and donation campaigns to the public, even the association with grant-maker Tides Canada seem irregular. Public information available that states The Tyee “channelled” monies raised in a donation drive from the public through Tides Canada. Why would that be necessary, when it is The Tyee who solicited the money from the public not Tides Canada. Issues of Revenue Canada laws being breached are serious yet that possibility cannot be ignored. David Beers says in response to Ezra Levant's questions that he has complete editorial control and that no influence is permitted, not from any grant maker, or any other source. Yet it is The Tyee who solicits donations under the guise of giving what Beers calls “croudsourcing editorial content.” For the cost of a donation members of the public can make a choice on a story or content, through only from a list provided by Beers. How much of an influence do the public have for their dollars when the list is prepared by Beers to start with? Credibility it appears is somewhat at question, whether its the statements made publicly in relation to the financing of the video made by Nagata, or the practices by The Tyee in relation to their own finances.

An attempt was made to contact Beers in e-mail form before preparing legal action for the theft of content from Mayorgate's article and artwork. The first response came from Kai Nagata not from David Beers. A letter filled with arrogance and ego, where Nagata even says that he did Mayorgate a favour by in effect stealing its work, copying it, changing it cosmetically and then passing it off as his own. Nagata points to other articles published on the web regarding Ezra Levant and his background, which he claims to have been an inspiration for him and Caitlin Dodd. Whoever decides to read those articles and others for that matter one thing is guaranteed that nowhere will anyone find the term 'Ethical Tobacco' used in relation to Ezra Levant nor Ethical Oil. That is a term first used in my Mayorgate article and only once since, by Nagata in the lyrics of The Puppet Rap.

Nagata's attempt at teaching history falls somewhat short when you realize that he used Mao Tse Tung, the father of communism in the People's Republic of China, and who died in 1976. Somewhat hard to have him pull any strings anywhere I would think. Still the number of points of comparison from the original caricature by artist Alexandra Davidoff and the visuals used by Nagata and Dodd are alarming. Though Nagata calls this “intellectual overlap,” a description that did bring about a smile indeed. It may of been “intellectual overlap” then when Nagata copied RICK MERCER in another video of his. A short lesson in history would be that of Nagata's own post as he seems to copy others' talent and work with ease, his ego and arrogance actually allows him to believe that by doing so he did the original a favour. A question then hangs in the air, how many more views did Rick Mercer get after Nagata copied him, surely Nagata's copying must of catapulted Mercer into overnight stardom.

Nagata and Dodd took the work of Mayorgate and the original talent of Alexandra Davidoff as an artist, copied and changed it cosmetically and passed it off as their own, all with altruistic reasons in mind? Nagata's ego and arrogance seem to have no restraint so now as publisher and author of Mayorgate I will display my 'gratitude'. I clearly say that there is no, and never has been any “cooperation” between Kai Nagata or myself, nor has there been any with Caitlin Dodd, and definitely none with David Beers or his The Tyee. Nagata stole our work and now he and all those involved will face the legal consequences. Nagata should not compare himself to Mayorgate or anyone involved with Mayorgate, and as far as using Ezra Levant as the bogeyman that does not frighten nor concern me, maybe it should concern Nagata and Beers.

Out of the 2 minute 50 seconds video of Ethical Oil: The Puppet Rap 33 seconds are taken and edited in, whether as running video or image from Evan Solomon's program on CBC Power and Politics, Showdown: Sierra Club vs. Ethical Oil.  Heck that leaves only 2 minutes 18 seconds for an original "hilarious satire" and out of that 9 images are from the Mayorgate caricature, its concept even the Mayorgate title used in the lyrics.  Let's not leave out NOW and cash in mouth.  Originality at its best! 

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