There is a Canada-wide arrest warrant this evening for convicted murderer Ralph Morris, who walked away from the minimum-security Kwikwexwelhp Healing Village near Agassiz in the middle of the night. (This is the second high-profile escape from a Corrections Canada facility in less than two weeks.)
Will anybody correct Corrections Canada?
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Dianne Watts, Surrey mayor on Immigration and Refugee Board member Daphne Shaw Dyck releasing a murderer:
"Maybe if she wants him released, he can go and live at her house."
Right on once again, Dianne.
Shaw Dick Dike should be sued and fired for this egregiously irresponsible behaviour. She claims she didn't believe Mr. Refugee gang murderer about his exploits.
Posted by David Berner at 9:14 AM
Was there ever a greater argument for a Provincial Police Force?
The case of the man in Victoria who murdered his family last year reveals that his now dead wife had contacted 3 different forces and was bounced from one to another.
Read the Sun story here.
Posted by David Berner at 9:11 AM
I applaud the new public demonstrations for affordable housing.
They are called "stands," as people stand in protest.
Join us next Wednesday, May 7th at 7:30pm in the Alice Mackay Room, downstairs in the Vancouver Public Library Downtown branch for a debate on this very subject.
THE LANGARA DIALOGUES presents: RESOLVED: ONLY GOVERNMENT CAN BRING AFFORDABLE HOUSING.
Arguing the Affirmative: Vancouver City Councillor, Suzanne Anton.
Arguing the Negative: Urban Planner and Author, Lance Berelowitz.
Posted by David Berner at 9:05 AM
The Nutty Mayor's conference was told last night that treatment works.
This will be hard news for this maniac to swallow.
He has been paying at least 2 mandarins $100K a year to tell anyone unsuspecting boob who will take the free coffee and listen that treatment doesn't work.
Now what, Mr. Addictions Expert?
Posted by David Berner at 9:02 AM
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Who Is Victor?
Who is Victor? what is he,
That all his words commend him?
True, fair, and wise is he;
The heaven such erudition did lend him,
That he might admirèd be.
Is he true as he is wise?
For wisdom lives with truth.
And truth doth to our eyes repair,
To help the media of their blindness,
And, being helped, inhabits there.
Then to Victor let us sing,
That Victor is excelling;
He excels each mortal thing
Upon the dull earth dwelling:
To him let us Nobels bring.
Posted by David Berner at 2:36 PM
I must read The Economist more often.
And you must read the April 19-25 edition.
The cover story is "The Silent Tsunami, The food crisis and how to solve it."
This is a most extensive coverage.
It includes tiny gems, like this: "A billion people live on a dollar a day." "Since the way to feed the world is not to bring more land under cultivation, but to increase yields, science is crucial."
That's particulary interesting considering how much Bush has cut away at science grants.
Did you know that Egypt's president ordered the army to start baking bread? That the Philippines has made hoarding rice punishable by life imprisonment?
I feel like I am suffering from an information deficit.
For relief, read http://www.economist.com
And follow the Scandinavian ideal - Eat Less, Chew More.
Posted by David Berner at 8:17 AM
Why is the Reverend Wright doing everything he can to destroy Barak Obama's election chances?
Because he is a shallow, attention seeker.
Read Bob Herbert's excellent analysis in this morning's NY Times.
Wright is a fool, who instead of doing everything possible to help get the first black President elected, is accomplishing with his antics exactly the opposite.
Posted by David Berner at 8:12 AM
Monday, April 28, 2008
Posted by David Berner at 6:17 PM
One of the great advantages of being in office is that you can swing just about any cat over your head and get attention.
Witness the latest pathetic PR exercise coming from the Nutty Mayor.
The Sun and Province are both reporting about the "conference" that will begin tonight at the Vancouver Playhouse (How appropriate! Where's Tennessee Williams when you really need him?) and continue the next day at the Wosk Centre for Dialogue.
The "conference" alleges to be about homelessness, mental illness and addiction.
But look at the given suppositions in their own press release:
This evening forum will aim to:
· Promote an understanding of the relationship between mental illness, addiction and homelessness
· Acknowledge that no one person or group, alone, can provide a solution
· Recognize the breadth of the problem as being beyond Vancouver, BC and Canada
Please RSVP by April 16 to Collaboration for Change by email at: email@example.com
What is the political implication of the line that I highlighted?
Note also the email address. This initiative is entirely created and managed by Pace Group, a PR company.
Because they have a deep and profound understanding and concern about these issues. Right.
Note also the participants. All the usual suspects.
These are all the invested parties that have been at these tables from the beginning and done such a wonderful job to date. With the help of these wise people the problems of homelessness, mental illness and addictions have never been greater.
This is a cynical vote-begging atrocity.
Avoid it. Placard it. See it for what it is.
Posted by David Berner at 9:41 AM
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Why Israel can't survive
Sixty years on, the country is facing a choice of two futures: it can be Jewish or democratic -but not both
Thanks to my good friend Bill who pointed out this very rich and detailed analysis on the future of Israel.
It is lengthy, but an important and exellent read.
Posted by David Berner at 8:41 PM
Recently, I have been muttering about public places and public spaces and how we have so few of them here.
This spore must be in the air.
This morning, the Province reports that a possible new waterfront development near the Seabus terminal has been revealed. The display is currently at the Downtown Public Library.
Posted by David Berner at 9:54 AM
Our regular Cambie Line Kamakaze, Susan, has forwarded a colleague's most elequent letter to the Preem. It's a doozy. Read it, think about it and follow suit...write one your own true self to these heartless crooks:
Premier Gordon Campbell
Dear Premier Campbell,
As a Cambie resident, I have both experienced and witnessed the pain all
along Cambie Street as a result of Canada Line construction. I have spent
most of my life fighting against injustice in other parts of the world, but
I never thought I would witness so much injustice on my own doorstep in
I have watched for two and a half years as businesses have died a slow and
painful death. Our corner store at Cambie and Marine stopped selling
newspapers within months of construction commencing. Then they stopped
selling milk because it was going sour before it was purchased. Then they
stopped restocking their shelves because they couldn’t earn enough to cover
their lease. For the last three weeks or so, they’ve stopped opening at
all. The owners are an immigrant family that was trying to make a go of it
in Canada. While one family member worked long hours alone in the store,
two other family members took on extra work elsewhere to try to keep the
The corner store is next to an insurance company that after two years of
sending out notices offering to come to their customers because it was so
impossible for their customers to get to them, has now moved.
Next to them was a Sushi restaurant owned by another immigrant family. They
made the ill-fated decision to open a new business on Cambie just before the
decision to proceed with the RAV Line was announced. They were just getting
established when the road was torn up in front of them and all access routes
were blocked. They struggled for months before going bankrupt.
The story is the same up and down Cambie.
These are not just businesses – they are livelihoods and lives. The stress
and pain that has been caused by the cut and cover construction has affected
not just businesses or business owners, it has hurt entire families – some
of whom may never recover. At least one business owner who was under
financial stress had a heart attack and died – and another has publicly
admitted to contemplating suicide.
I simply cannot believe the callousness of your government in turning its
back on these small business owners and their families. I personally feel
great shame at the way in which they’ve been discarded by your government.
I’ve heard all the arguments about businesses coming and going and short
term pain for long-term gain, but none of this applies to the Cambie
corridor. What has happened along Cambie is beyond devastating. There is
no long-term gain for the many businesses that have lost everything and
disappeared, or for those on the verge of losing everything.
I’ve also heard you and your ministers insist that the Canada Line is not
your project, that you are just one of the funders. I’m sorry but the facts
show otherwise. There would be no Canada Line if you had not interceded and
forced city councillors to vote and revote the issue. As a funder of the
project, your government bears responsibility for it. It simply defies
logic to argue otherwise – government responsibility goes with the money.
I note that while various levels of government have admitted that serious
mistakes were made along Cambie, they only do so to reassure other
communities that the Cambie mistakes will not be repeated.
It’s well past time your government admitted that grievous errors were made
in the handling of the Canada Line construction, and you set about trying to
remedy the financial damage and consequent stress by fully compensating
small businesses and others for their losses. You might also consider
providing a letter of responsibility that these business can use to try to
restore their credit ratings and their relationships with their suppliers
and other businesses with whom they have dealings.
There should also be a commitment from your government that if future
projects cannot be undertaken without serious damage to businesses and
residents, then compensation must be built into the budget. If that makes
the project too expensive, then the project should be altered or shelved.
Premier Campbell, all the flower baskets and banners in the world cannot
heal the terminal wounds down the Cambie corridor. Businesses are
continuing to die a slow and painful death with each and every passing day,
while families are being torn apart by extreme stress. This situation must
be remedied immediately. This is a crisis.
I look forward to your prompt and compassionate response.
all MLAs , MP's, TransLink Board,
Vancouver Mayor and Council , citizens
Posted by David Berner at 9:50 AM
Some friends in West Vancouver are setting an example that ought to be followed by citizens in every municipality. Think in particular, Richmond, Nanaimo and Vancouver, just for starters.
They are carefully monitoring the way their council is spending tax dollars. Needless to say, the revelations are shocking.
What follows below (without the graphs referred to) is their latest from the wealthiest postcal code in the nation:
Posted by David Berner at 9:42 AM
Saturday, April 26, 2008
|Special to The Province|
Friday, April 25, 2008
Throwing money at children at risk is not the answer.
But what can you do when governments tend to think exclusively in the business model?
Despite the protestations of Children and Family
Development Minister Tom Christensen, it is clear that Premier Gordon Campbell does not keep short people clearly in his sights.
No, his government is busy with roads, bridges, ski runs and transit lines.
Judge Thomas Gove made exhaustive and comprehensive recommendations in his 1995 report. Judge Ted Hughes did the same in 2006.
Both came to similar, damning conclusions after substantial expense of public monies -- expenditures that would be welcomed, if anyone had bothered to listen or follow up.
Last week, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, the province's new watchdog for children and youth, issued an almost identical report calling for a new kind of attentiveness.
Of course, the minister, who should have resigned last year when yet another child in care died, has said: "We welcome the report. It is consistent with the direction we are going in."
The Christensens and Campbells of the world just never quite get it, do they?
Christensen rolls out all the numbers and dollars the government is spending, as if he were talking about traffic circles or college enrolments.
But it's not about more money, more workers or more computer programs.
It's about getting the people on the front lines really sharply tuned to the subtleties of working with families and children at risk.
What are the real indicators of trouble, the real signposts of safety? Who can be trusted? When is the right time for intervention?
Should we place a particular child in next-of-kin families or foster homes? Does the foster home have a documented track record of love, support and clear structure?
Should aboriginal children always be placed with aboriginal families?
The aunts and uncles who might be stand-in parents for a child in danger, are they drunks or are they sober, caring guardians?
Does the caseworker have the time and the latitude to investigate?
Are workers who have studied social sciences for years stuck in offices writing reports that will cover everyone's butt -- or can they truly get to know the territory?
This woman is alone. That man doesn't contribute. This father yells and hits. This mother gambles. This parent cares and copes admirably.
Are the "helpers" learning? Are they passing on crucial information to the next helper?
It's not about master plans. The devil is in the details.
It's about all the complexities and shortcomings and gifts of human nature.
When, in embarrassment and desperation, government turns to the matter at hand, it responds with what it knows -- throw more green at the problem. Buy it off.
Maybe that works for ferry boats and lumber mills -- but it doesn't for the suffering child.
Posted by David Berner at 10:32 AM
The real News reports today that Hamas has proposed a 6 month period of "Calm," but that Israel has rejected the offer.
What are we to make of both this "offer," and this "news item?"
My take is that this is not a real and legitimate offer, because it is made by people who are sworn to destroy both Israel and Jews, and that the News item portrays Israel as the evil.
Watch the video and decide for yourself.
On May 7th, Jews around the world will celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel.
I am a Jew and I am not particularly a Zionist. I have never been to Israel and, at the moment, I have no plans to visit.
But I am not an Israel basher. I do not approve of every large and small thing the state of Israel does, but I am proud of my fellow Jews for establishing and nourishing and protecting this sovereign state amidst hatred in large numbers.
To its credit, Israel will not be tempted or fooled by fake offers of peace, made by dedicated murderers.
Posted by David Berner at 10:02 AM
Friday, April 25, 2008
Fascinating piece in the Courier today about how City hall has managed to infuriate more small businesses, in this case, in Dunbar.
There is a new Business Improvement Association in the 'hood and it's madly charging about spending money on banners and potted plants. Money that is culled from the mom and pop shops and spent in a pretty vigorous way.
Many of the shops are furious, as they should be.
Read the story here.
Posted by David Berner at 4:50 PM
Sent from my iPhone
Subject: Column in 24 hours- Friday April 25, 2008
THE DESPERATE AND THE DELUSIONAL
By A. G. Tsakumis
‘Rebel With A Clause’
The march toward the November municipal elections continues to provide me with the kind of reflection I just cannot ignore. It reinforces in my occasionally befogged noggin that desperate times are, indeed, for desperate people.
To the South, the Democrats battle royale on Tuesday, sealed it for me, as the comparison was, well, easy.
I almost fell out of my chair from laughter when watching Hickory Clinton, who is as ignorant as she is insufferable, claim victory in Pennsylvania. That dear, sweet lizard, she can’t even do maths. A nine-point victory extended her campaign life-support for approximately another month or so. Going into the convention she will trail by an insurmountable triple digit deficit, but will have pummeled wistful Pierre Elliot Obama and his, thus far, empty rhetorical hopefulness into a fluttering furball, which Sen. John McCain will vacuum into history’s dustbin. But there she was, defiant, stoic even, shoveling the steaming fertilizer as deftly as any farmhand.
In some measure, I couldn’t help but detect the trend of delusion even here at home, and, the comparison was simply too tempting, since the evidence is all there—and then some.
With frenetic efforts to revive his image, making no apparent difference in the minds of the vast majority of Vancouverites, Sam Sullivan’s campaign geniuses have hit the panic-button, only to shatter it. This week and last, I received no less than a dozen and a half emails and messages from all over the city, telling me of the endless bombardment of calls being made to their homes by Sir Spamalot’s horsemen. One older fellow received no less than six calls in three days, well after he had told the first caller that he wasn’t supportive of Sammy and will vote for Peter Ladner (an increasingly popular theme). He explained, further, that he’d not be supporting the Mayor ever again and would like to speak to Sam to tell him that he was a “clod”.
The canvasser promptly ended that happy session.
But this kind of blowback against Sam Sullivan should come as no surprise, notwithstanding the desperate efforts to breathe life into his flagging campaign. Clr. Suzanne Anton recently remarked to an NPA colleague that she was astonished with the negative comments she received about the Mayor, after having sent out an email blast to her core supporters. Doesn’t say much about her level of awareness, does it?
Then again, there are always those you can count on, who will stop at nothing, in desperate times, to raise the semi-catatonic Sullivan caravan from the proverbial ditch, with something snort-worthy, even captive.
Enter Clr. Kimbo Capripants, who never fails to disappoint, with her latest exhibition of ‘Foot-In-Mouth Syndrome’. With air-tank fully attached to both ears, she mused this week (as did the Mayor) about why the Vancouver Police Department was not more attentive to a rally for the legalization of marijuana. Such serious flouting of the laws and civil disobedience is not allowed according to Spammy and the Blonde Ambitionette.
But what do you do with 6,000 people, all higher than a kite? It’s not like the NPA have been generous with the VPD…not until an election loomed…
I know, next time, we’ll have the boys in blue leave the chemical gulag on the Downtown Eastside for a pot pep rally, because you never know when those dastardly pot-smokers, known for incredible violence, will beat each other over the head with a bag of Doritos or a slice of pizza.
We must stand on our principles, after all.
Luckily, desperate people don’t have any.
Posted by David Berner at 4:48 PM
I will come back to the subject in a later column to explain my view that there is a soft-handed approach to bail because judges today are making too much of the presumption of innocence.
What I will argue is that the presumption of innocence is simply a procedural guarantee that clicks in at trial no matter how obvious guilt may be, to ensure that the case is proved beyond a reasonable doubt; and that acquittal is never a pronouncement of innocence.
It seems to me the presumption of innocence should be confined to what it is: a practical way of ensuring that at the beginning of a trial through until a verdict is reached that there must be a scrupulous production of evidence in demonstration of proof that supports a finding of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The presumption of innocence is a presupposition, required as a precondition to the trial proceeding, to remind one and all that the trial must be fair and the judge or jury remain impartial no matter how inflammatory be the allegations.
I will further explain that in bail hearings the procedural protection applies only if the person charged intends to plead not guilty. Where there is a declared intention to plead not guilty and the crown is seeking detention then the burden on the Crown in showing just cause for denial of bail is only “probability” and not “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
An acquittal is not a declaration of innocence; and that reminds me of the Scottish way of doing things – their finding on acquittal is “not proven.”
THE REVOLVING DOOR OF BAIL
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
THERE is a connection between North Carolina moonshiners in the 1950s and ‘60s – and a revered American senator, the late Sam Ervin – and the senseless murder of three young children in Merritt B.C., on April 6, 2008.
The connection is bail reform and its unintended consequence: revolving-door criminals and the thoughtless release of dangerous sociopaths and psychopaths.
Lurking among the endless stream of offenders released on bail to await trial are psychopaths who, upon gaining their liberty, go straight to their women and commit murder; and sometimes, most evilly, they murder their own children. Solemn words of a bail judge and the admonition in bail papers to abide by the law and have no contact with victims mean nothing to them.
Sam Ervin was a down-home southerner who became interested in bail reform because of his many legal contacts with moonshiners. His biographer, Paul R Clancy, quoted Ervin: “Their only vice was makin’ moonshine likker and they felt they were doin’ no harm, that they had a prescriptive right to do that. They were honourable, paid their debts and told the truth.”
Most moonshiners were penniless and lanquished in jail awaiting trial. The upshot: Sam Ervin’s 1966 Bail Reform Act that permitted defendants of good character to be released on their own recognizance pending trial.
In 1869, our newly minted federal government enacted a bail process for indictable offences that effectively left the denial of bail in the discretion of a judge. This judicial exercise would certainly have been tilted heavily in favour of the prosecution since it focussed on the need to ensure attendance in court and also the circumstances of the offence, severity of the penalty, strength of the case and character of the accused. Few offenders would have had the means to employ defence counsel and there was no legal aid.
I am left with a historical impression that too many cases went by way of denial of bail; that in cases in which bail was granted it became tantamount to detention awaiting trial because most offenders would be unable to meet the surety requirement or post the alternative of cash bail.
For 100 years our criminal justice system had a lock’em-up culture. It ended in 1970 when our copy-cat reformers fashioned a Canadian Bail Reform Act. In 1972 the Criminal Code was rejigged with “judicial interim release.” Overnight the criminal justice system morphed from lock’em-up toughness to anything-but-jail and a bail procedure that emphasizes release without regard for public safety especially in wife-beating cases.
And so since the 1970s, about one quarter of all persons arrested do not even go before a judge to be processed for judicial interim release; they get a quick pass to their first appearance in court when an arresting officer or the officer in charge issues them a ticket called an appearance notice or promise to appear.
Over the past 35 years judicial interim release has turned into a real honest-to-God revolving door for cunning and wily criminals, many of them so brazen that they matter-of-factly tell arresting officers that they’ll be back on the street in a day or two – and they are.
Today, whether released by a police officer or a bail judge, defendants soon figure out that their best defence is to go on the lam. They know that most judges won’t have the fortitude to try them ex parte or in absentia, and that their victims will lose faith in the justice system.
The remainder of persons arrested do end up in court for a bail hearing, however most of them walk out released on a written undertaking or a recognizance with conditions. It is a process that attempts to create the least interference with each defendant’s liberty awaiting trial.
The basic philosophy of judicial interim release is based on pure logic and not on human experience: that prior to conviction all offenders who do not constitute a danger to the public and their victims and who will show up for trial ought not to be in custody. That philosophy is based on the mistaken notion that most offenders are ordinary law abiding citizens who have committed a one-off offence. Even worse is the judicial logic that a record of criminal convictions is an accurate measure of criminal behaviour. Common sense tells us that recorded convictions are but the tip of an iceberg of felony.
The only time there is an actual mini-trial over detention is when a prosecutor decides to “show cause” and provides a basis for detention of the accused. Even then the rights of accused are protected because detention is only justified a) to ensure attendance in court and b) if there is a substantial likelihood of the commission of further offences. A third ground for detention deals with the public interest in the administration of justice where the offence has horrific implications, however the Supreme Court of Canada has cautioned that this ground for detention be used sparingly.
Ervin had the best of intentions in advocating bail reform and securing it in 1966. The same may be said of our reform of bail in 1972. Yet there is a black side: that public safety in Canada is being eroded by an ever revolving door in every bail court in our land. Too many criminals seem to be able to manipulate the bail system and get before a sympathetic judge or have the luck to draw a non-combative prosecutor and out the door they go free to commit more crimes.
The horrific murder of three children on April 6 in Merritt B. C. is a case in point. Three days before, their father, Allan Dwayne Schoenborn, was arrested for uttering threats against a child in a school yard. A bail hearing was conducted by video conference between police and Schoenborn in Merritt, and a judicial justice of the peace in Burnaby. Though the police officer made a forceful argument that included the accused record, the justice of the peace gave Schoenborn a break and released him. After reading all published accounts of the proceedings I believe that a hard-nosed judge would have denied him bail.
Three days after he was released Schoenborn’s three little children were murdered. He is the only suspect.
Schoenborn’s release on bail was not an exception – it is the way our system of judicial interim release works: a tinderbox for more crime.
Posted by David Berner at 4:41 PM
Thursday, April 24, 2008
This is so sick.
It is exactly the kind of thing that makes me with crazy with frustration.
Christ Church Cathedral has been feeding the hungry for over a dozen years.
Parishioners make sandwiches and soups at home and bring them into the church at Georgia and Burrard.
Last month, a meddling busybody who works for the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority was walking by the church, saw a sign advertising the free soup and sandwiches and went in to "investigate."
Now, thanks to these GODLESS, PETTY PIG PEOPLE at "the Authority," the soup and sandwiches for the poor and hungry will have to be made in the church, because you know if you make a tuna or chicken sandwich in your home WITHOUT SUPERVISION - I MEAN, WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, TO MAKE FOOD IN YOUR OWN HOME WITHOUT THE PROPER SAFETY GUARDS??? - that sandwich might be dangerous to the community at large.
Little Miss Tight Ass Snoopy Pants and her colleagues at the Coastal Health Authority apparently have not been reading recent headlines.
Let's bring them up to date, shall we?
There is a world-wide food shortage upon us. Rice and wheat prices are going through the ceiling. Children are starving.
So God forbid some Christian folk should follow their heads and hearts and religious and moral beliefs and try to bring an ounce of comfort into the world.
Not without permission from "the Authority," you don't.
You know what I think Christ Church Cathedral should do?
I think they should tell the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority to go piss up a big rope.
It is exactly because of bureaucrats like this that we have so few treatment beds for addicts, so few homes for the homeless. Too many sinks, not enough sinks, hallways too narrow or too wide, no emergency push doors, and so on...
These are tiny people with tiny minds and they can never see the big picture.
During my years of running a residential treatment centre, I had a saying on the wall. I still like it.
"My only fear is that the meek might really inherit the earth."
Posted by David Berner at 10:18 AM
Congratulations to The Sun and to writer David Hogben for following the Ferndale Minimum Seccurity trail and revealing that there are 10 dangerous lunatics holidaying at Club Fern.
Ujjal Dosanjh has called the placement of dangerous offenders in Ferndale "absolutely unforgiveable."
And, of course he is right.
But, as I've said in this space over the past two days, Corrections Canada and the National Parole Board are secret cabals, answerable apparently to nobody, certainly not to those of us who pay their inflated salaries.
I ask again?
When will a victim or a victim's family sue these irresponsible fools for placing the community in harm's way?
Posted by David Berner at 10:11 AM
There's a story in this morning's Province about a rash of penis thefts in the Congo.
OK. Write your own joke.
In many cases, the witch person simply touches you and it shrinks.
Of course, this has been going on in Canada for many years.
We call the victims of this particular crime "politicians."
Posted by David Berner at 9:54 AM
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Earlier today, I called Jimmy Carter a dangerous fool. Then I received this in my email from a friend:
JIMMY CARTER---Alan M. Dershowitz
Ex-President For Sale by Alan M. Dershowitz
Carter is making more money selling integrity than peanuts.
I have known Jimmy Carter for more than 30 years. I first met
him in the spring of 1976 when, as a relatively unknown candidate for president,he sent me a handwritten letter asking for my help in his campaign on issues of crime and justice. I had just published an article in The New York Times Magazine on sentencing reform, and he expressed interest in my ideas and asked me to come up with additional ones for his campaign.
Shortly thereafter, my former student Stuart Eisenstadt, brought Carter to Harvard to meet with some faculty members, me among them. I immediately liked Jimmy Carter and saw him as a man of integrity and principle. I signed on to his campaign and worked very hard for his election. When Newsweek magazine asked his campaign for the names of people on whom Carter relied for advice, my name was among those given out. I continued to work for Carter over the years, most recently I met him in Jerusalem a year ago, and we briefly discussed the Mid-East.
Though I disagreed with some of his points, I continued to believe that he was making them out of a deep commitment to principle and to human rights.
Recent disclosures of Carter's extensive financial connections
to Arab oil money, particularly from Saudi Arabia, had deeply shaken my belief in his integrity. When I was first told that he received a monetary reward in the name of Shiekh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahayan, and kept the money, even after Harvard returned money from the same source because of its anti-Semitic history, I simply did not believe it. How could a man of such apparent integrity enrich himself with dirty money from so dirty a source?
And let there be no mistake about how dirty the Zayed Foundation is. I know because I was involved, in a small way, in helping to persuade Harvard University to return more than $2 million that the financially strapped Divinity School received from this source. Initially I was reluctant to put pressure on Harvard to turn back money for the Divinity School, but then a student at the Divinity School -- Rachael Lea Fish -- showed me the facts.
They were staggering. I was amazed that in the 21st century
there were still foundations that espoused these views. The Zayed Centre for Coordination and Follow-up - a think-tank funded by the Shiekh and run by his son - hosted speakers who called Jews "the enemies of all nations," attributed the assassination of John Kennedy to Israel and the Mossad and the 9/11 attacks to the United States'own military, and stated that the Holocaust was a "fable." (They also hosted a speech by Jimmy Carter.) To its credit, Harvard turned the money back. To his discredit, Carter did not.
Jimmy Carter was, of course, aware of Harvard's decision, since
it was highly publicized. Yet he kept the money. Indeed, this is what he said in accepting the funds: "This award has special significance for me because it is named for my personal friend, Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan." Carter's personal friend, it turns out, was an unredeemable anti-Semite and all-around bigot. In reading Carter's statements, I was reminded of the bad old Harvard of the 1930s, which continued to honor Nazi academics after the anti-Semitic policies of Hitler's government became clear. Harvard of the 1930s was complicit in evil. I have sadly concluded that Jimmy Carter of the 21st century has become complicit in evil. The extent of Carter's financial support from, and even dependence on, dirty money is still not fully known. What we do know is deeply troubling. Carter and his Center have accepted millions of dollars from suspect sources, beginning with the bail-out of the Carter family peanut business in the late 1970s by BCCI, a now-defunct and virulently anti-Israeli bank indirectly controlled by the Saudi Royal family, and among whose principal investors is Carter's friend, Sheikh Zayed. Agha Hasan Abedi, the founder of the bank, gave Carter "$500,000 to help the former president establish his center...[and] more than $10 million to Mr. Carter's different projects." Carter gladly accepted the money, though Abedi had called his bank-ostensibly the source of his funding-"the best way to fight the evil influence of the Zionists." BCCI isn't the only source: Saudi King Fahd contributed
millions to the Carter Center- "in 1993 alone...$7.6 million" as have other members of the Saudi Royal Family. Carter also received a million dollar pledge from the Saudi-based bin Laden family, as well as a personal $500,000 environmental award named for Sheikh Zayed, and paid for by the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates. It's worth noting that, despite the influx of Saudi money funding the Carter Center, and despite the Saudi Arabian government's myriad human rights abuses, the Carter Center's Human Rights program has no activity whatever in Saudi Arabia. The Saudis have apparently bought his silence for a steep price. The bought quality of the Center's activities becomes even more clear, however, when reviewing the Center's human rights activities in other countries: essentially no human rights activities in China or in North Korea, or in Iran, Iraq, the Sudan, or Syria, but extensive activity regarding Israel and its alleged abuses, according to the Center's website.
The Carter Center's mission statement claims that "The Center is nonpartisan and acts as a neutral party in dispute resolution
activities." How can that be, given that its coffers are full of Arab money, and that its focus is away from significant Arab abuses and on Israel's far less serious ones?
No reasonable person can dispute therefore that Jimmy Carter has been and remains dependent on Arab oil money, particularly from Saudi Arabia.
Does this mean that Carter has necessarily been influenced in his thinking about the Middle East by receipt of such enormous amounts of money? Ask Carter. The entire premise of his criticism of Jewish influence on American foreign policy is that money talks. It is Carter, not me, who has made the point that if politicians receive money from Jewish sources, then they are not free to decide issues regarding the Middle East for themselves. It is Carter, not me, who has argued that distinguished reporters cannot honestly report on the Middle East because they are being paid by Jewish money. So, by Carter's own standards, it would be almost economically "suicidal" for Carter "to espouse a balanced position between Israel and Palestine."
By Carter's own standards, therefore, his views on the Middle
East must be discounted. It is certainly possible that he now believes them. Money, particularly large amounts of money, has a way of persuading people to a particular position. It would not surprise me if Carter, having received so much Arab money, is now honestly committed to their cause. But his failure to disclose the extent of his financial dependence on Arab money, and the absence of any self reflection on whether the receipt of this money has unduly influenced his views, is a form of deception bordering on corruption.
I have met cigarette lobbyists, who are supported by the
cigarette industry, and who have come to believe honestly that cigarettes are merely a safe form of adult recreation, that cigarettes are not addicting and that the cigarette industry is really trying to persuade children not to smoke. These people are fooling themselves (or fooling us into believing that they are fooling themselves) just as Jimmy Carter is fooling himself (or persuading us to believe that he is fooling himself).
If money determines political and public views-as Carter insists
"Jewish money" does-then Carter's views on the Middle East must be deemed to have been influenced by the vast sums of Arab money he has received. If he who pays the piper calls the tune, then Carter's off-key tunes have been called by his Saudi Arabian paymasters. It pains me to say this, but I now believe that there is no person in American public life today who has a lower ratio of real [integrity] to apparent integrity than Jimmy Carter. The public perception of his integrity is extraordinarily high. His real integrity, it now turns out, is extraordinarily low. He is no better than so many former American politicians who, after leaving public life, sell themselves to the highest bidder and become lobbyists for despicable causes.
That is now Jimmy Carter's sad legacy.
Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter professor of law at
Harvard Law School and author of The Case for Israel.
Posted by David Berner at 6:12 PM
It's not often that I can be genuinely shocked by something in the news.
But I confess that this story about local doctors refusing to take patients with cancer and other serious illnesses has done just that.
"I was told my mother's pain was not the doctor's problem." Then the receptionist tried to book her for a botox appointment.
I suppose in a world that watches the excrescence known as "Nip 'n Tuck," anything is possible.
But aren't doctors supposed to...like, you know...help the sick?
Read this frightening story here.
Posted by David Berner at 9:23 AM
Your Federal Government -spending your tax dollars - has bought a half page ad in today's Sun, and no doubt every other paper in the nation.
The catchy headline is "Your Family's Safety - Our Government's Priority."
Too bad nobody at Head Office told either the National Parole Board or Corrections Canada who are very busy on the front page blaming each other for sending yet another lunatic dangerous offender into our midst.
Explain if you can - and believe me, you can't - how a guy is released on day parole, kidnaps and rapes two young women, and 10 years later, he is given another day parole, on which he kidnaps and rapes another young woman.
This is the monster who walked away from the Fernwood Tonight facility the other day.
While these two paragons of risk management - Parole and Corrections - are occupied calling each other's kettle black, the quote of the a story belongs to the fabulously enlightened Liberal MLA for Mission, the previously obscure Randy Hawes.
Mr Hawes says of all this carry-on that maybe Mr. Macdougal was put in minimum security before he was "ready."
We have a flash for this 4Her: MR. MACD WAS NEVER READY, WILL NEVER BE READY.
Here's the principle, kids.
Dope fiends shoot dope, baby fuckers fuck babies, drunks drink.
GUYS WHO KIDNAP AND RAPE WOMEN...wait for it...KIDNAP AND RAPE WOMEN.
Will the families of these women sue the National Parole Board or Corrections Canada? They should. These agencies must be held accountable for their terrible, mistaken, unknowing bad decisions that endanger the community.
Posted by David Berner at 8:57 AM
Before I forget (I meant to post this thought yesterday, but I've got a mind like a, like a...yeah, like a sieve, thank you), Jimmy Carter is an idiot, if not downright dangerous.
The former President is channeling the ghost of Neville Chamberlain.
Coming out of the tent and telling the world that Hamas is ready for peace with Israel is akin to the embrace of Hitler by Chamberlain, King Edward (whom the British government couldn't get out of England fast enough - if you want to believe all that Wallace Simpson romance hooey, you just go ahead, dears) and Joe Kennedy.
If I see the smiling foolish face of this busybody again, it will be much too soon.
Posted by David Berner at 8:36 AM
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
- Samuel Johnson
She said, "If you were my husband I'd give you poison," and he said, ”If you were my wife, I'd drink it."
A member of Parliament to Disraeli:
"Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease."
"That depends, Sir," said Disraeli, "on whether I embrace your policies or your mistress."
"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire." - Winston Churchill
"I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure." Clarence Darrow
"He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary."
- William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway).
"Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?"
- Ernest Hemingway (about William Faulkner)
"Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time reading it."
"I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it."
- Mark Twain
"He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends."
- Oscar Wilde
"I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend.... if you have one." - -George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill
"Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second... if there is one."
- Winston Churchill, in response.
"I feel so miserable without you; it's almost like having you here."
"He is a self-made man and worships his creator."
- John Bright
"I've just learned about his illness. Let's hope it's nothing trivial."
- Irvin S. Cobb
"He is not only dull himself, he is the cause of dullness in others."
"He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up."
- Paul Keating
"There's nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won't cure."
-Jack E. Leonard
"He has the attention span of a lightning bolt."
- Robert Redford
"He loves nature in spite of what it did to him."
- Forrest Tucker
"Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?"
- Mark Twain
"His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork."
- Mae West
"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they
- Oscar Wilde
"He has Van Gogh's ear for music."
- Billy Wilder
"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening but this wasn't it."
- Groucho Marx
- Samuel Johnson
Posted by David Berner at 2:14 PM
Now, at long last, some doctors are recommending that children be examined for potential heart problems, before they are prescribed Ritalin.
The over-prescription of this poison for (mostly boy) children constitutes abuse.
Like so many medicines, this massive over-use of a pharmaceutical for a questionable "disease" (ADHD) is entirely the result of extremely subtle and pervasive marketing campaigns.
Someday, we will learn to look back on these dark days with suitable horror.
Posted by David Berner at 8:50 AM
People in the media are asking Corrections Canada why a lunatic was put in a minimum security prison.
Corrections Canada isn't talking.
Didn't I just write about this yesterday?
Corrections Canada is a secret cabal, albeit one paid for with our tax dollars. But, like many obscure government agencies, they believe it is their right to never say a discouraging word.
Posted by David Berner at 8:44 AM
On Thursday, April 17th, in a posting called "Charter This," I called for an end to or a major revision of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as I believe it is now doing more harm than good.
Two stories in this morning's news, reinforce that idea.
A couple, whose main purpose in life appears to be growing pot in their house, are successfully challenging the police and the courts because their "rights were violated" when the police entered their little den of happiness.
Of course, we don't want police charging willy-nilly into the privacy of our homes without provocation or authorization.
But apparently, running a hydro bill that is enough to light up Keremeos for a month is not enough of an indicator that something askance might be going on.
IN another case, a North Van couple had been convicted of importing opium concealed in picture frames.
But, Lordy, the foolish Crown, made the mistake of asking certain questions during the trail that might suggest that these good folk had done exactly this deed in the past. Thus, new trail.
We are going out of our muddle-headed way to aid the crooks, and all in the name of democratic ideals.
Of course, the one good thing about both these stories is that it shows that couples who share a common purpose have a grater chance of staying together over the long haul.
Posted by David Berner at 8:31 AM
Monday, April 21, 2008
Posted by David Berner at 5:56 PM
Well, thank goodness.
At last, Roger Federer has come to his sense and listened to my advice.
All year I've been muttering that he should get a coach so that he can win more Grand Slams.
And, now he's gone me one better.
Not only did he get a coach, but he got Jose Higueras, a clay court specialist, and immediately, it payed off.
Federer won the Estoril Open on clay in Portugal this weekend, and heads now to Monte Carlo, Rome and Hamburg before tackling Roland Garros where Rafael Nadal has won the final..is it 3 or 4 years straight? - now.
Now if only Tiger will listen to me about his swing....
Posted by David Berner at 3:33 PM
Corrections Canada has much to answer for.
But it will never be held accountable for its consistently dreadful managment of its repsonsibilities.
A dangerous offender, killer and rapist has now escaped and is on the lam.
He walked away from Ferndale MINIMUM SECURITY prison.
What was this man doing in a MINIMUM SECURITY prison?
Did someone with their wooly-headed social worker vest on decide that Blane was now a nice guy?
Now, Corrections Canada is preparing for No Smoking in prisons, even outdoors. Good luck.
I have a suggestion.
Just let all the smokers in the prisons stand outside the main gates. I'm sure that'll be ok....
Posted by David Berner at 8:13 AM