The Blogger rests...Sunday and Monday.
See you back here on Tuesday morning.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
The Blogger rests...Sunday and Monday.
The Canadian Arab Federation gets public money to call public officials, like Immigration Minister Jason Kenny, whores.
They have called Harper and Ignatieff whores and accused Bob Rae of being a racist Zionist, pointing out that Rae's wife is, hold your nose, a Jew.
Here are some of the details taken directly from Margaret Wente's Saturday Globe column:
With a budget of more than $1-million a year, the Canadian Arab Federation depends heavily for its existence on taxpayers' money. It claims this funding is used entirely for programs that help newcomers adjust to Canadian society, and to fight racism and Islamophobia. "Our activity as an advocacy group has nothing to do with our political activity," Mr. Boudjenane says.
But the CAF's website tells another story. The home page urges people to join protests against the "massacre on Gaza." It links to dozens of anti-Israel articles, and gives prominent play to the winners of a recent essay contest on "the ethnic cleansing of Palestine." The website was developed with a grant of $60,000 from the federal Department of Heritage.
The CAF is a prominent sponsor of anti-Israel demonstrations, which feature people waving Hamas and Hezbollah flags, and people calling for the state of Israel to be wiped off the planet. One video shows a woman pointing toward the camera and declaring: "Jewish child, you're going to f------ die. Hamas is coming for you."
For the record, the Muslim Canadian Congress doesn't get any public money. Neither does the Canadian Jewish Congress, the country's largest Jewish advocacy group.
Wente's argument is in the title of the piece:
Say what you want - just don't expect taxpayers to pay
And she is right.
We are a nation that prizes freedom of speech.
But where is it written that taxpayers ought to pay for hateful or incendiary commentary?
Keep in mind that every level of government puts tax dollars into this particular silo, as well as into the cigar boxes of a thousand and one aggrieved and entitled groups across the nation.
Welcome to Canada - Bite the Hand That Feeds You!
Posted by David Berner at 10:59 AM
Eleven municipal forces and 126 RCMP detachments.
This is the single glaring reason that Pickton avoided even the most cursory attention while he was busy killing women.
This is the single glaring reason that Olson was able to continue killing young girls and boys for so long.
And it is the single glaring reason that criminal subcultures called gangs are able to flourish here in the greatest place on earth (unless you get hit with a stray bullet.)
Yet, the mayors of every little burg and whistle stop in the region firmly and stubbornly resist the idea that Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson, Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu and former Chief Bob Stewart all champion - One Metro Police Force.
The argument from the Village Idiots is that they will lose that homey hoody personal touch that folks in Tsawwassen and Port Moody now currently enjoy. Or so we are told by the officials.
Former Vancouver Police Chief asks in this morning's Globe, "Can you think of any private business that would embrace such a self-evident dysfunctional structure?"
Here, for the record, are the sticks-in-the-mud on this issue: the mayors of Delta (Lois Jackson), Port Moody (Joe Trasolini) ans Surrey (Dianne Watts) to name just a few.
It's good to cover your ass...until it gets shot off while you're hunting for better yogurt.
Posted by David Berner at 10:38 AM
Even Scare Canada hasn't sunk this low.
Ryanair, Britain's lo lo lo cost flyer, is now talking publicly about charging passengers a one pound coin to get into and use the on board in flight bathrooms.
Ryanair's irrepressible CEO Michael O'Leary is known for getting lots of free publicity by airing these kinds of ideas, so we can't really be sure if he's serious.
But I have a better idea.
For every man and woman who has dreamed of in air assignations, how about a coin operated boudoir?
And in keeping with the rising sales of hand held video recorders, for an extra coin get the video memento of your moment over France.
"Fly me to the moon,
And let me live beneath the stars..."
Posted by David Berner at 10:29 AM
Friday, February 27, 2009
Barack Obama's stimulus budget may or may not be the answers to the world's ills.
Who, beside the Republicans, are smart enough to say?
But his speech to Congress the other night was once again magnificent and inspiring. It was so refreshing to see a North American leader encourage citizens to do well and to be well and to aspire to something useful. Some serious and welcome change from the previous eight years.
Now, some of you may be right. Obama may turn out in the long run to be merely a great speaker. We shall see.
But Bobby Jindal as the Republican's best hope for the Presidency?
You must be joking.
It is a sign of how lost and foresaken the party is that it would take seriously Sarah Palin or Bobby Jindal.
The CBC is crying the blues again.
Now, in the face of low cash reserves (What world did it think it was living in?) it threatens to buy and show even more American programming.
The CBC has long been a corrupt and rudderless organization.
When I worked in the building on West Georgia in the late '70s, the place was hopping.
Music, variety, comedy, drama and news were employing thousands of people and every part of the building was busy. Even so, management was a dick less disaster.
Now, the building is empty. What used to be a vibrant cafeteria had many times over been remade into a news room even though there are enormous now empty studio spaces underground that were perfectly good news rooms for decades.
The CBC should NOT be disbanded, but it should be fiscally responsible (It is NOT.) and it should cut at least half its administrative staff and it should be exclusively in the business of Canadian programming.
CBC Newsworld is very often excellent, first-rate. Give us more of that and no Jeopardy and Wheel.
Posted by David Berner at 9:40 AM
The current vogue in campuses across Canada is pro-Palestinian rallies.
Signs proclaiming the "Israeli Apartheid" are as commonplace as bank machines and Tim Hortons. The virus of anti-Israel sentiment is very much alive and well in our halls.
Of course, I hate these signs and I cry for the sheer blind stupidity of decent young people who want to show their concern for the world by hitching their outrage to a wildly mistaken and misinformed ideal.
Until they yell at me something hateful - and they haven't yet, even though I have argued with them at the college where I work - I support, through gritteed teeth, their right to free expression.
Posted by David Berner at 9:32 AM
On the other hand...
If you want to read a really positive story about reducing crime, read Jeffrey Simpson in today's Globe about the Winnipeg community of Point Douglas.
Here's a community that turned itself around from drug dealers and crack houses and street violence by the courage of first one man, then others, and a zero tolerance for bad behaviour.
Imagine such a thing in the DTES.
Posted by David Berner at 9:26 AM
Many years ago, I worked for CBC-TV News.
One morning, I was assigned to go to the Hotel Vancouver to cover some announcement by the Minister of Cups & Saucers, or was it the Minister of Bacon 'n Eggs?
I refused. My boss was aghast.
"That isn't news. It's a ritual, and our job isn't to be an arm of the government."
Of course, they put up with me for the rest of the year and mysteriously didn't renew my contract.
I haven't changed.
Nor have governments.
The press is all abuzz with Harper's public declarations of getting tough on crime.
Wake me when it's over.
And careful stepping over the bodies.
Heavier sentences for various ugly crimes may or may not stop bad guys in their tracks (NOT), but that's the least of our concerns.
Until police and prosecutors have real teeth in their powers to investigate and make airtight cases that will stand-up in court, and until judges are prepared to put the bad guys away without thousands of silly concessions for "time spent" and auto-parole and the like, business will continue as usual.
These photo ops are a big yawn. Too little, too late and without serious backup.
Tell me. Does one of you now feel safer?
Posted by David Berner at 9:18 AM
Thursday, February 26, 2009
In the past three years, 200,000 foul have been killed in the Fraser
Valley because of bird flu.
Vancouver City Council is proposing chickens in Vancouver's back
yards, It all fits, don't you see. Junkies on the way home from the
safe injection site to their free bachelor apartment can swipe a
chicken for dinner.
Posted by David Berner at 1:50 PM
British Columbia's top native leaders are meeting for a special assembly in Nanaimo this week to debate the principles of the proposed Recognition and Reconciliation Act. The law would not only turn back the clock on the Crown's 150-year-old claim to the province's land and resources, but also would set up a commission with the goal of reconstituting the existing 203 native bands in B.C. into 30 indigenous governments.
Premier Campbell is trying to get this into law in the next four weeks.
In theory, this is a wonderful thing.
Recognize native rights and claims and give natives the opportunities to control industries and resources.
In practice? In recent history?
Just what we all need, 30 new governments.
And what will that cost all of us, including aboriginals?
And what corruption, pettiness and favoritism - which have been the watchwords of so much native governance in recent past decades - will those new bureaucracies bring?
Be careful what you wish for.
In his strange and mysterious desire to be the best friend B.C. aboriginals ever had, Gordon Campbell may just set in motion one of the worst boondoggles this boon-prone territory has ever experienced.
Posted by David Berner at 9:40 AM
Indian Affairs is criticized.
So? Business as usual.
Indian Affairs deserves to be criticized. Heck, it barely deserves to exist.
So what does the federal government do?
Do they try to correct the problems.
Of course not.
They pay taxpayers dollars t hire Hill & Knowlton, Canada's largest and priciest PR firm to manage the spin.
This is how government works.
Posted by David Berner at 9:33 AM
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
At least that's what federal auditors have found when it comes to their own government and the 2010 Olympics.
The auditors pointed out that the Winter Games face a range of potential risks, from funding to security to natural hazards, but a committee of deputy ministers struck to provide leadership on such matters in the run-up to the Olympics hasn't met since March, 2005.
That is priceless. It is perfect.
And, of course, it is more than a blessing in disguise. It's an outright gift.
No doubt VANOC and Gord and everyone else couldn't be more pleased.
Just what they all need is some snoopy, loopy group of underemployed Ottawa mandarins to ask embarrassing questions.
So what if that's their job description?
Last week it was the Untied Arab Emirates, that bastion of progress and democracy, banning Shahar Peer, an Israeli female tennis player from their tournament. None of the wealthy beyond anyone's possible imagination players boycotted. It's amazing what a little oil money can do.
Arab country, good. They got gold.
Israel bad. They defend their country from rockets.
This week it's Sweden and Israel playing Davis Cup in secret. The matches will be played not in Stockholm but in sunny, downtown Malmo without fans or observers. Now that should be a lot of fun.
The reason given - security. The Organizers, the bravest among the brave, fear anti-Israeli demonstrations.
Between Federer's disgraceful meltdown Down Under and this pathetic spineless behaviour of the part of the administrators of the sport, I may have to switch to curling.
Or are there seal hunt loonies or great white bear lovers screwing that up too?
The photo is of Ms. Peer, demonstrating at the US OPen, her famous world-controlling, bank-owning, media-dominating evil backhand.
Posted by David Berner at 9:32 AM
Laila Yuile, who regularly livens up these pages with marvelous, detailed comments, has unearthed a little gem of reporting.
It has to do with a gun being seized by the police at the rate of one a day in Surrey.
You can read the whole story of Laila's blog here.
Posted by David Berner at 9:25 AM
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Appropriately enough, the annual Jerusalem Conference announced this week that it will honor Johnson in February 2009.
Historians have revealed that Johnson, while serving as a young Democratic congressman in 1938 and 1939, arranged for visas to be supplied to Jews in Warsaw , and oversaw the apparently illegal immigration of hundreds of Jews through the port of Galveston , Texas .
A key resource for uncovering LBJ's pro-Jewish activity is the unpublished 1989 doctoral thesis by
University of Texas student Louis Gomolak , "Prologue: LBJ's Foreign Affairs Background, 1908-1948."
Johnson's activities were confirmed by other historians in interviews with his wife, family members and political associates.
Research into Johnson's personal history indicates that he inherited his concern for Jewish people
from his family. His aunt Jessie Johnson Hatcher, a major influence on LBJ, was a member of the Zionist Organization of America . According to Gomolak, Aunt Jessie had nurtured LBJ's commitment to befriending Jews for 50 years. As a young boy, Lyndon watched his politically active grandfather "Big Sam" and father "Little Sam" seek clemency for Leo Frank, the Jewish victim of a blood libel in Atlanta . Frank was lynched by a mob in 1915, and the Ku Klux Klan in Texas threatened to kill the Johnsons. The Johnsons later told friends that Lyndon's family hid in their cellar while his father and uncles stood guard with shotguns on their porch in case of KKK attack.
Johnson's speechwriter later stated, "Johnson often cited Leo Frank's lynching as the source of his
opposition to both anti-Semitism and isolationism."
Already in 1934 - four years before Chamberlain's Munich sellout to Hitler - Johnson was keenly alert to the dangers of Nazism and presented a book of essays, Nazism: An Assault on Civilization, to the 21-year-old woman he was courting, Claudia Taylor - later known as "Lady Bird" Johnson. It was an incredible engagement present.
FIVE DAYS after taking office in 1937, LBJ broke with the "Dixiecrats" and supported an immigration bill that would naturalize illegal aliens, mostly Jews from Lithuania and Poland . In
1938, Johnson was told of a young Austrian Jewish musician who was about to be deported
from the United States . With an element of subterfuge, LBJ sent him to the US Consulate in Havana to obtain a residency permit. Erich Leinsdorf, the world famous musician and
conductor, credited LBJ with saving his life.
That same year , LBJ warned a Jewish friend, Jim Novy, that European Jews faced annihilation. "Get as many Jewish people as possible out [of Germany and Poland ]," were Johnson's instructions. Somehow, Johnson provided him with a pile of signed immigration papers that were used to get 42 Jews out of Warsaw . But that wasn't enough. According to historian James M. Smallwood, Congressman Johnson used legal and sometimes illegal methods to smuggle "hundreds of Jews into Texas , using Galveston as the entry port. Enough money could buy false passports and fake visas in Cuba , Mexico and other Latin American countries.... Johnson
smuggled boatloads and planeloads of Jews into Texas . He hid them in the Texas National Youth Administration... Johnson saved at least four or five hundred Jews, possibly more."
During World War II Johnson joined Novy at a small Austin gathering to sell $65,000 in war bonds. According to Gomolak, Novy and Johnson then raised a very "substantial sum for arms for Jewish underground fighters in Palestine ." One source cited by the historian reports that "Novy and Johnson had been secretly shipping heavy crates labeled 'Texas Grapefruit' - but containing arms - to Jewish underground 'freedom fighters' in Palestine."
ON JUNE 4, 1945, Johnson visited Dachau . According to Smallwood, Lady Bird later recalled that when her husband returned home, "he was still shaken, stunned, terrorized and bursting with an overpowering revulsion and incredulous horror at what he had seen."
A decade later while serving in the Senate, Johnson blocked the Eisenhower administration's attempts to apply sanctions against Israel following the 1956 Sinai Campaign. "The indefatigable Johnson had never ceased pressure on the administration," wrote I.L. "Si" Kenen, the head of AIPAC at the time.
As Senate majority leader, Johnson consistently blocked the anti-Israel initiatives of his fellow Democrat, William Fulbright, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Among Johnson's closest advisers during this period were several strong pro-Israel advocates, including Benjamin Cohen (who 30 years earlier was the liaison between Supreme Court justice Louis
Brandeis and Chaim Weizmann) and Abe Fortas, the legendary Washington "insider."
Johnson's concern for the Jewish people continued through his presidency. Soon after taking office in the aftermath of John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963, Johnson told an Israeli diplomat, "You have lost a friend, but you have found a better one."
Just one month after succeeding Kennedy, LBJ attended the December 1963 dedication of the Agudas Achim Synagogue in Austin . Novy opened the ceremony by saying to Johnson, "We can't thank him enough for all those Jews he got out of Germany during the days of Hitler."
Lady Bird would later describe the day, according to Gomolak: "Person after person plucked at my sleeve and said, 'I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for him. He helped me get out.'" Lady Bird elaborated, "Jews had been woven into the warp and woof of all [Lyndon's] years."
THE PRELUDE to the 1967 war was a terrifying period for Israel , with the US State Department led by the historically unfriendly Dean Rusk urging an evenhanded policy despite Arab threats and acts of aggression. Johnson held no such illusions. After the war he placed the blame firmly on Egypt : "If a single act of folly was more responsible for this explosion than any other, it was the arbitrary and dangerous announced decision [by Egypt ] that the Strait of Tiran would be closed [to Israeli ships and Israeli-bound cargo]."
Kennedy was the first president to approve the sale of defensive US weapons to Israel, specifically Hawk anti-aircraft missiles. But Johnson approved tanks and fighter jets, all vital after the 1967 war when France imposed a freeze on sales to Israel . Yehuda Avner recently described on these pages prime minister Levi Eshkol's successful appeal for these weapons on a visit to the LBJ ranch.
Israel won the 1967 war, and Johnson worked to make sure it also won the peace. "I sure a s hell want to be careful and not run out on little Israel," Johnson said in a March 1968 conversation with his ambassador to the United Nations, Arthur Goldberg, according to White House tapes recently released.
Soon after the 1967 war, Soviet premier Aleksei Kosygin asked Johnson at the Glassboro Summit why the US supported Israel when there were 80 million Arabs and only three million Israelis. "Because it is right," responded the straight-shooting Texan.
The crafting of UN Resolution 242 in November 1967 was done under Johnson's scrutiny. The call for "secure and recognized boundaries" was critical. The American and British drafters of the resolution opposed Israel returning all the territories captured in the war. In September 1968, Johnson explained, "We are not the ones to say where other nations should draw lines between
them that will assure each the greatest security. It is clear, however, that a return to the situation of 4 June 1967 will not bring peace. There must be secure and there must be recognized borders. Some such lines must be agreed to by the neighbors involved."
Goldberg later noted, "Resolution 242 in no way refers to Jerusalem , and this omission was
deliberate." This historic diplomacy was conducted under Johnson's stewardship, as Goldberg related in oral history to the Johnson Library. "I must say for Johnson," Goldberg stated. "He gave me great personal support."
Robert David Johnson, a professor of history at Brooklyn College, recently wrote in The New York Sun, "Johnson's policies stemmed more from personal concerns - his friendship with leading Zionists, his belief that America had a moral obligation to bolster Israeli security and his conception of Israel as a frontier land much like his home state of Texas . His personal concern s
led him to intervene when he felt that the State or Defense departments had insufficiently appreciated Israel 's diplomatic or military needs."
President Johnson firmly pointed American policy in a pro-Israel direction. In a historical context, the American emergency airlift to Israel in 1973, the constant diplomatic support, the economic and military assistanceand the strategic bonds between the two countries can all be credited to the seeds planted by LBJ.
Posted by David Berner at 8:51 PM
Children have been killed by Canadian firepower in Afghanistan.
Of course, this is horrible.
Just as it is horrible in Gaza. Just as it is horrible in Israel. And Darfur and wherever men toss explosives about for one "honorable" reason or another.
But what of those Canadians who call Israel an apartheid and Nazis?
What do they say now about the deaths of innocents by our own hands?
Posted by David Berner at 9:03 AM
Families must pay their own way to Pickton hearing.
This was the message from the provincial government in a classic example of thoughtless penny-pinching.
But don't be fooled by the headline.
This is also a classic example of Business as Usual.
Talk to any Victim of Crime or family member whose son or daughter has been murdered by a maniac.
Not only must they repeatedly relive their anguish by being called to parole hearings and the like, but invariably they must cover their own costs of travel, food and accommodation.
Priorities. Plain and simple.
Posted by David Berner at 8:58 AM
Kash Heed has resigned as Police Chief in West Vancouver.
That's a pity for West Vancouver.
Only a year and a half into his job, Heed, passed over for the Vancouver Police Chief position, is not saying why he is leaving so soon.
But rumors already swirl about a run at Wally Opaque's provincial seat in Vancouver-Fraserview.
I don't think Kash or anyone else can accomplish as much in the legislature - unless he makes it to Premier in a term or two, and he is quite capable of that - as he can in a real job.
But if he is serious about removing The Embarrassment known as The Opaque One, I may sell the house and move to Fraserview just to vote.
Opaque, by the way, says he'll run again.
Shades of Hedy.
Posted by David Berner at 8:43 AM
Monday, February 23, 2009
Posted by David Berner at 9:27 PM
CUPE Ontario Shames Canada’s Union Movement
February 22nd, 2009 · 2 Comments
No surprise! The Canadian Union of Public Employees’ Ontario members voted in favour of supporting a boycott of contact with virtually all Israeli universities.
Resolution 50, which was passed at CUPE’s convention in Windsor Sunday protested the continued Israeli ”occupation” of Gaza (Huh????) … and called for its members to boycott working with Israeli institutions that do any research beneficial to the Israeli military. But in my view, this resolution, and the myopic view it reflects, is so totally one-sided as to be more of a disgrace to Canada’s union movement than Israeli universities.
Why just Israel? Why not any institutions anywhere doing research that helps their country’s military apparatus? Because that could open a whole can of worms in lots of places … like Iran, China, Russia, the U.S. and even Canada!!!
No, no … just single out Israel! That, in my view, is pathetic discrimination.
This wasn’t the first time that CUPE Ontario president Sid Ryan has focussed his attack and railled against Israel. In 2006, during Israel’s war with Hesbollah, Ryan reportedly hastily called a CUPE Ont. meeting on a Saturday, when observant Jewish members could not attend, and had a motion condemning Israel passed then too.
I do not object to anyone criticizing any country, organization or collective group for positions or actions taken. But, as anyone who reads this blog knows, I absolutely hate one-sidedness and bigotry … and I believe Sid Ryan … and CUPE … are GUILTY on both accounts.
Where was Sid Ryan and CUPE when Israel was promised peace if it withdrew from the buffer zone it had created in southern Lebanon to protect northern Israeli villages .. but was totally lied to?
Where was Sid Ryan and CUPE after Israel withdrew and once more exposed its citizens to potential shelling .. when Hesbollah moved in … not with farmers and ploughshares, but with THOUSANDS of rockets, and it started firing into Israel almost daily?
Where was Sid Ryan and CUPE when two Israeli soldiers, in their own land, patrolling on their own side of the border with Lebanon, were kidnapped and murdered by Hesbollah?
Where was Sid Ryan and CUPE as thousands of Israeli’s … including THEIR women and children … cowered in bomb shelters as Hesbollah rockets rained down .. totally unprovoked?
Where was Sid Ryan when Hesbollah turned its guns, mortars, rockets on the Lebanese people themselves and killed hundreds of civilians in an abortive attempt to seize control of the entire country?
Where was Sid Ryan and CUPE when Hamas, after winning the Gaza election, soon after turned its fury and weapons on Fatah, its political opposition, murdering hundreds of them (including throwing some of them to their deaths from atop buildings) to eliminate any dissident voices and terrorize the ordinary Gazans into submission? No boycott there!
Where was Sid Ryan and CUPE when, with the greatest heartache and pain, Israel forcibly removed 45,000 of its own settlers from Gaza, turning the entire area over to the Palestinians in yet another move aimed at promoting the promised peace?
Where was Sid Ryan and CUPE when Israel and Egypt re-opened Gaza’s borders in a gesture of good will …. and Hamas imported hundreds of rockets (from Iran) hidden in food and commercial supplies?
Where was Sid Ryan and CUPE when Hamas, instead of promoting farming, businesses and beach resorts in its regained Gaza, moved rocket-launchers into its new Gaza territories and started firing almost DAILY at Israeli towns nearby?
Where was Sid Ryan and CUPE when, in retaliation Israel and Egypt placed severe checks on goods flowing across the border, so Hamas built illegal underground smuggling tunnels to import THOUSANDS more rockets to fire into Israel?
Where was Sid Ryan and CUPE when Hamas and Hesbollah DELIBERATELY AIMED their rockets at CIVILIAN targets in Israel?
Where was Sid Ryan and CUPE when Israel warned Hamas and the world that if the Hamas rockets did not stop (after HUNDREDS had fallen inside Israel ..terrifying, injuring and killing) it would have to act?
And apart from Israel, where have Sid Ryan and CUPE been in all the suffering that has gone on in Darfur, Sudan, Chechnya, Bosnia, Cambodia etc etc etc over the years? Where were there resolutions calling for boycotts of institutions in those killing fields?
And where are Sid Ryan and CUPE as human suffering goes on and human rights are regularly trampled in countries like China, Cuba, Iran, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and almost all the Arab countries of the world?
In fact, ironically, Israel is the ONLY country in the Middle East with a free and democratic union movement, an actual political LABOUR party, and human rights levels (for all its citizens ..including Arab Israelis) that residents in ALL its neighboring states could only dream about.
Ryan’s and CUPE’s anti-Israel motion disgraces them more than Israel.
How ironic: it will be celebrated ONLY by those who support terrorist groups and dictatorial regimes where almost EVERYTHING Canadian unions claim they stand for are punishable by harrassment, imprisonment or death.
The Canadian union movement has only been further tainted by this addition to the public’s perception that it is full of far-left, one-sided radicals who support terrorist groups, dictatorial regimes … almost anyone anti-Israeli and anti-American … while staying so silent about the real tyrannies that imprison their own people and threaten our freedoms.
Other Canadian unions should repudiate CUPE Ont.’s stand … or share the shame.
Posted by David Berner at 2:07 PM
Here's an interesting debate.
The EU wants major bank reforms.
They want standards set, tax havens exposed and closed down, more cash on hand for gloomy days and more transparency.
Well, not so fast there.
Canada and the U.S. do not agree.
The fear is that too much regulation will stifle the economy.
Of course, our "free enterprise system" our open market Eden has done so well for us all.
Little glitches like shuttered homes, businesses and banks? No problem. The taxpayers can always bail them out.
Couldn't Obama and Harper consider for a moment a little more oversight on lenders and financial institutions have been running riot these past few years with universally disastrous results?
Posted by David Berner at 9:24 AM
The Globe is continuing its series on the DTES called "The Fix."
It began well, but it is now in the "experts" phase.
We knew there would be trouble ahead.
Today an academic tells us what we already know and then fails to tell us what is behind what we know.
No doubt he is a good man.
Here is what he tells us:
"The root of the problems plaguing DTES is the concentration of poverty, homelessness, drug addiction, poor housing, prostitution, petty crime, and mental illness in the area."
And this honorable man has some good suggestions about housing mixes.
But he doesn't dare address why we have our famous "concentration of poverty, homelessness, drug addiction, poor housing, prostitution, petty crime, and mental illness in the area."
Can you say, "Values," boys and girls?
We are a do-as-you-will culture that dare not impose any acts of citizenship on one another.
So drug addiction or mental illness are no longer problems or conditions to be unhappy about, they are a right and a life style to be defended at all costs.
On an average day, driving my car the short distances it takes me to go about my quiet life, I must deal with at least three outrageous misbehaviours by drivers around me. Anything goes. Signals are a waste of time.
Addicts are patients and the homeless like living outdoors; they choose this lifestyle.
The DTES will remain the city's great social sewer and shame until the day we decide as a community that we'd like addicts to live clean and sober lives and we'd like the mentally ill and the homeless to find something resembling homes.
Posted by David Berner at 9:09 AM
Saturday, February 21, 2009
He owes the tax department a Billion Dollars.
Or so CRA claims.
And the debt isn't his personally, but if you know Canada Revenue, you'll realize that they can make things very personal.
His name is REID BIGLAND.
Deepen your voice to full announcer level and say that again.
"Hi! I'm Reid Bigland. And you're not."
Reid is the President of Chrysler Canada.
You know, that other company whose cars and trucks no one buys.
Reid and his good friend, The Other Guy who runs GM Canada, are shopping in the Parliament window for a little $10 Billion hand-out.
"Hi! I'm Reid Bigland!"
Of course, if we don't give Reid and his friends more of our tax money so they can keep building really shitty big cars that no one wants, coffee shops and bridal boutiques in Oshawa will go tits up.
Like they weren't going there anyway. Like times don't change. Tell that to the village smithy.
Of course, as we are a mere branch plant of Washington and Detroit, we will give these tax dollars to these deluded leading failures.
We will blind ourselves to the fact that GM Saab just filed for bankruptcy in Sweden, that GM Germany and South Korea have just cried for givernment (that's not a typo) money and that GM is trading just barely above the penny stock level.
The auto and transportation industries are going through seismic, cataclysmic change.
Some things are dying and some new things will be born - green cars, shared cars, no cars, autobikes, rubber buses, your guess is better than mine.
But propping up the locked-in-step machinery that belches forth Ford Exploders and 12 passenger Dodge Caravans is hardly the most useful thing we could do with our tax dollars.
Does that mean cut them all off at the knees and watch people hurl themselves into the St. Lawrence?
But it does mean saying to the arrogant, airhead BIGLAND's of the world, "O.K. Mr. Smarty Pants, show me The New, 'splain me your re-tooling plan, and tell me who else you're talking to about all those pensions and health plans because We the People are not in the business of supporting dying aardvarks and dodos."
The photo, by the way, is REID BIGLAND his own true fabulous suited self, showing off why he needs your money.
Like lots of Canadians are going to be buying that thing.
Posted by David Berner at 10:16 AM
BC Health Officers Failure to Protect Drug Addicts
It’s troubling that BC’s medical officers passed a resolution at their biannual meeting in Prince Rupert that drug injection sites should be integrated into communities everywhere in BC.
Medical Health Officers are supposed to protect the health of citizens. They know or should know that drug injection sites will not protect the health of addicts, but instead allows their addictions to deepen, leading to their inevitable and unenviable deaths. Only 3% of addicts using Vancouver’s drug injection site are referred for treatment.
According to Ben Jenkins, President of the Drug Prevention Network of Canada,
“It is a concern to our organization that a professional such as an airline pilot, doctor or lawyer can obtain treatment for their addiction but that the poor are only shuffled off to the injection sites which only allows their addiction to continue. There is something palatably wrong with such a policy. It is also disturbing that 65 Vancouver policemen are stationed within a five-block area of the Insite to try to control the criminal element and also to escort the addict into the clinic. This can only mean to the addict that he has an entitlement to use the drugs.”
It’s unfortunate that BC’s Medical Officers of Health choose to ignore the deep-rooted problems of drug addicts who need treatment, and instead, ignore their needs by recommending only the political expedient solution of providing facilities to allow these addicts to continue with their addictions.
Ben Jenkins, President C. Gwendolyn Landolt, Vice President
877 222-6105 (905) 787-0348, (905) 889-1993
Posted by David Berner at 10:03 AM
Laila has left a new comment on your post "METRO POLICE":
David,I urge you to visit Surrey, so you can see what the press does not show about Dianne Watts and her methods.
Come walk around my neighbourhood.
Come see the still not done and past due Olympic Volunteer centre that was approved by council -without her revealing to all of them that she had actually signed away the legal rights of the city and its taxpayers in the event of a dispute in the project- which could happen.
People worried about what happened to the Millenium project in Vancouver, and yet here in Surrey this project has missed one deadline and they are already planning for what they are going to do if it is not done by the next one - and possibly having to rent other community facilities out to VANOC to cover their failure.
The money spent on all of this would have paid for quite a few new cops here, but running the Olympic flag was more important.
Dianne Watts has never wanted a regional force- this is nothing new for those of us who live here.She thinks we have different policing needs because "we have more children in Surrey" - this reason and a host of others that make no sense to anyone but her.
One should be questioning not only why she refuses to consider this solution,but also questioning the flawed statistics and plans in her entire crime prevention plan.
It simply does not work.Given much more time with this situation left unchecked, Whally and Newton will be just as bad as the DTES - and this was just recently mentioned to me by an RCMP officer stationed here.
We have just as many, if not more, social agencies as the DTES, and yet the homeless,addicted and mentally ill are everywhere.Just as the DTES continues to decline, as do we.
The police shuffle all of them from one area to another in " Crime sweeps"- which is what has happened several times in Whalley. Crack down there, they all move to my neighbourhood -or the next one. Nothing is fixed, just moved temporarily.
I speak for many when I talk about frustration in getting her to address the real issues.
This latest move is only the most public of them all that is getting noticed by people not actually living here in Surrey.
Her insistance of a community court without all the resources to back it up properly will be the next in a long line of decisions that will do little to solve the rampant crime that makes Surrey it's home.
Posted by David Berner at 9:58 AM
Friday, February 20, 2009
This is not good news.
The federal government and Vancouver have turned to the province to co-ordinate government services for drug addicts, the mentally ill, the homeless and the poor in the city's Downtown Eastside, Canada's most notorious slum.
If anyone at any level has shown the greatest resistance to doing anything meaningful or substantive about these plagues it has been the provincial government.
The Vancouver Mayor is looking to Rich Coleman or some other wise man in Victoria to lead the charge.
This could not be described as clear thinking based on past evidence.
At what point has the Campbell government shown an interest in these issues?
Was I out of town that nano-second?
Oh, I know.
During my surgery on Jan. 23d, I was in an anesthetic-induced white-out for 105 minutes. That must have been the time when Victoria took charge of Our Shame and invested million in treatment and so on.
I am surprised at and disappointed by Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts, who convened a meeting of Metro mayors the other day to discuss a regional police force.
"What we have right now is a good policing model," she said. "We will be working with what we have because it does work."
What has made Watts such a rare and valuable politician in the past few years is that she has not been hide-bound to the status quo. She has shown repeatedly a willingness to move on to new approaches when the old clearly wasn't working.
How in any conscience can she claim in the face of the last two weeks of gang shoot-ups on our public streets that the current system of a dozen separate police forces is working?
Now read in its entirety Retired Justice Wallace Craig on the same subject.
TIME TO STOP BUCK PASSING
February 18, 2009
ON Oct.17, 2007, British Columbia’s inter-gang feuding went far beyond the pale of human decency.
Two innocent men, Ed Schellenberg and Chris Mohan, chanced upon an execution-in-progress and were immediately shot to death alongside four gangsters.
Premier Gordon Campbell and Attorney General Wally Oppal stood on the sidelines while the RCMP’s Integrated Homicide Team began a massive and glacially slow investigation that has yet to result in the arrest of any suspects.
In the immediate aftermath of the killing of Schellenberg and Mohan, the premier and his attorney should have acted swiftly to deal with this absolute circumstance: that gangsters in British Columbia are contemptuous of police and the judiciary; that they go about their dirty business with impunity with only the slimmest chance of being apprehended, convicted and ending up with a long and hard jail sentence.
Since October 2007, it has been business as usual for the street gangs with their feuding kept on simmer. But the heat was turned up between Feb. 2 and Feb.12 with a spate of shootings and shootouts, some of them involving the use of automatic weapons.
On Feb. 6, in Langley Township, a gangland shooting in a mall aroused the ire of Mayor Rick Green. “In some respects, you feel helpless, but Lower Mainland mayors have got to try and raise the level of our voices. We’ve got to absolutely stand up and say enough is enough,” said Green, who believes that federal legislators must write tougher laws.
In the same report in the Vancouver Sun of Feb. 9, Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts said that the violence throughout the Lower Mainland “shows how brazen these individuals are.”
After nine shootings in the first two weeks of February, Premier Gordon Campbell finally woke up to reality and talked tough. Flanked by two top cops, Vancouver Chief Const. Jim Chu and RCMP Deputy Commissioner Gary Bass, boss of B.C.’s massive E Division, Campbell promised 168 more police officers and a handful of prosecutors.
This magnum-force, Dirty-Harry impersonation by Campbell, coming just three months before an election in May, should be compared with his inactivity before and after the murder of Schellenberg and Mohan in October 2007.
The way I see it, Premier Campbell has ignored the solemn commitment in section 2 of the Police Act of British Columbia “to ensure that an adequate and effective level of policing and law enforcement is maintained throughout British Columbia.”
Campbell seems oblivious to the dysfunctional coupling of two distinct police models in the patchwork of municipal parochialism in the Lower Mainland – a coupling incapable of dealing with free-ranging street gangs.
And Campbell seems oblivious to the precarious state of the RCMP, so badly managed by an inept command structure that it must now endure the ultimate ignominy of working under the direction of a civilian commissioner.
Viewed through the lens of gang activity and rampant drug activity, we are revealed to be a metropolitan community that is far short of adequate and effective policing and law enforcement.
Compare the way policing is carried out in the cities of Vancouver and Surrey using two different models, and make your own assessment.
Surrey, policed under contract by the RCMP:
· no control over hiring, firing and disciplining of officers;
· a detachment commander who does not have the independence and authority of a chief constable;
· all members subject to the authority of the Deputy Commissioner in charge of E Division and the ultimate authority of the Commissioner of the RCMP in Ottawa.
The Surrey detachment is not bound to comply with the provincial Police Act and its complaint process; nor can the municipality govern it with an independent police board; and it is not responsible to the provincial minister in charge of policing in British Columbia.
Vancouver, policed by the Vancouver Police Department under independent command of Chief Const. Jim Chu:
· all constables in the VPD including its chief constable are hired, promoted and may even be dismissed by the Vancouver Police Board;
· the command structure is in constant change with promotions from the lower ranks;
· the force is firmly rooted in Vancouver and is capable of generating short and long term analysis of criminal activity in Vancouver, and the manner in which the justice system deals with offenders.
In keeping with an essential and traditional aspect of his responsibility and duty as chief constable, Chu is proactively engaged in public comment and debate on anything that interposes between his force and their goal of maintaining adequate and effective policing in the City of Vancouver.
My prediction is that mayors and councillors of Lower Mainland municipalities, policed by RCMP detachments, will continue to whine and complain about murderous gangsters while they cling to the status quo. The alternative is too tough for them to manage: to venture where they have never been before and work together to institute a metropolitan police force.
One thing they should do is to constantly remind themselves of the horrific murders of Ed Schellenberg and Chris Mohan by placing a small sign on their desks: The Buck Stops Here.
Posted by David Berner at 9:39 AM
The budget for security for the Games has been a secret.
Now, the federal government has announced that the figure is five times what it was originally declared to be. The number quoted is $900 Million.
Of course, none of that is to be believed.
When all is done and if the accounts are ever shown, the final tab will be well in excess of One Billion Dollars.
Whatever the numbers, this is clearly the largest amount of money ever spent in Canadian history on a peacetime security measure of any kind.
Now there is a photo on page 3 of today's Globe that I cannot find on the net to reproduce for you.
It shows elated and cheering Musqueam Chief Ernie Campbell (Don't get m started!), Gregor Robertson and Gordon Campbell are going mad-happy on the ice at the new Olympic curling rink near Q.E. Park.
My first reaction to the picture was I wanted to throw up.
Now that I marry that picture to the news that the tab for security will be in excess of a Billion Tax Dollars...well, now I really want to throw up.
Party on, Sheep.
Posted by David Berner at 9:26 AM
Many of us will find ourselves watching the demise and self-destruct of Canwest Global with decidedly mixed emotions.
On the one hand, it is sad to see a large and once-healthy Canadian business go to the dogs. It is especially sad to see so many good journalists looking for other kinds of work.
On the other hand (as Tevye would say), it is hard to summons much sympathy for the Asper heirs who have been arrogant and unapproachable to say the least.
Posted by David Berner at 9:17 AM
Thursday, February 19, 2009
I don't know how I managed to miss the passing of one of my alltime favorite acting heroes in March of last year.
A most interesting man, he was the exact opposite of so many of the characters he played on film. He was a cultured, quiet and learned man who detested guns and violence and he was famous for playing wacked out psychotic killers.
Below is an IMDB bio.
Richard Widmark established himself as an icon of American cinema with his debut in the 1947 film noir Kiss of Death (1947) in which he won a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination as the killer "Tommy Udo". Kiss of Death (1947) and other noir thrillers established Widmark as part of a new generation of American movie actors who became stars in the post-World War II era. With fellow post-War stars Kirk Douglas and Robert Mitchum, Widmark brought a new kind of character to the screen in his character leads and supporting parts: a hardboiled type who does not actively court the sympathy of the audience (although Mitchum's hangdog demeanor marked him as the most endearing of the three). Widmark was not afraid to play deeply troubled, deeply conflicted, or just down right deeply corrupt characters. After his debut, Widmark would work steadily until he retired at the age of 76 in 1990, primarily as a character lead. His stardom would peak around the time he played the U.S. prosecutor in Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) as the 1950s segued into the 1960s, but he would continue to act for another 30 years.
Richard Widmark was born on Boxing Day (the Day After Christmas) in 1914 in Sunrise, Minnesota. He says that he loved the movies from his boyhood, claiming "I've been a movie bug since I was 4. My grandmother used to take me". The teen-aged Widmark continued to go to the movies, and was thrilled by Dracula (1931) and Frankenstein (1931). "I thought Boris Karloff was great", Widmark said. Although he loved the movies and excelled at public speaking while attending high school, Widmark attended Lake Forest College with the idea of becoming a lawyer. However, he won the lead role in a college production of, fittingly enough, the play "Consellor-at-Law", and the acting bug bit deep. After taking his bachelor of arts degree in 1936, he stayed on at Lake Forest as the Assistant Director of Speech and Drama. However, he soon quit the job and moved to New York to become an actor and, by 1938, he was appearing on radio in "Aunt Jenny's Real Life Stories". He made his Broadway debut in 1943 in the play "Kiss and Tell", and continued to appear on stage in roles that were light years away from the tough cookies he would play in his early movies. After World War II, he was signed by 20th Century Fox to a seven-year contract. After seeing his screen-test for the role of "Tommy Udo", 20th Century Fox boss Darryl F. Zanuck insisted that the slight, blonde Widmark - no one's idea of a heavy, particularly after his stage work - be cast as the psychopath in Kiss of Death (1947), which had been prepared as a Victor Mature vehicle. Even though the role was small, Widmark stole the picture. 20th Century Fox's publicity department recommended that exhibitors market the film by concentrating on thumbing the tub for their new anti-hero.
"Sell Richard Widmark" advised the studio's publicity manual that an alert 20th Century Fox sent to theater owners. The manual told local exhibitors to engage a job-printer to have "Wanted" posters featuring Widmark's face to be printed and pasted up.
He won a Golden Globe and an Oscar nod for the part, which lead to an early bout with typecasting at the studio.
Widmark played psychotics in The Street with No Name (1948) and Road House (1948), and held his own against new Fox superstar Gregory Peck in the William A. Wellman's Western, Yellow Sky (1948), playing the villain, of course. When he finally pressured the studio to let him play other parts, his appearance as a sailor in Down to the Sea in Ships (1949) made headlines: "Life" magazine's March 28, 1949 issue featured a three-page spread of the movie, headlined, "Widmark the Movie Villain Goes Straight". He was popular, having captured the public imagination, and before the decade was out, his hand and footprints were immortalized in concrete in the court outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
The great director Elia Kazan cast Widmark in his thriller Panic in the Streets (1950) not as the heavy - that role went to Jack Palance - but as the physician who tracks down Palance, who has the plague, in tandem with detective Paul Douglas. Widmark was establishing himself as a real presence in the genre that later would be hailed as "film noir".
Having proved he could handle other roles, Widmark didn't shy away from playing heavies in quality pictures. The soon-to-be-blacklisted director Jules Dassin cast him in one of his greatest roles, as the penny-ante hustler "Harry Fabian" in Night and the City (1950). Set in London, Widmark's Fabian manages to survive in the jungle of the English demimonde, but is doomed. Widmark was masterful in conveying the desperation of the criminal seeking to control his own fate but who is damned, and this performance also became an icon of film noir. In that same year, he appeared in Oscar-winning writer-director Joseph L. Mankiewicz's No Way Out (1950) as a bigot who instigates a race riot. As the 1950s progressed, Widmark played in Westerns, military vehicles, and his old stand-by genre, the thriller. He appeared with Marilyn Monroe (this time cast as the psycho) in Don't Bother to Knock (1952) and made Pickup on South Street (1953) that same year for director Samuel Fuller. His seven-year contract at Fox was expiring, and Zanuck - who would not renew the deal - cast him in the Western Broken Lance (1954) in a decidedly supporting role, billed beneath not only Spencer Tracy but even Robert Wagner and Jean Peters. The film was well-respected, and it won an Oscar nomination for best screenplay for the front of Hollywood 10 blacklistee Albert Maltz.
Widmark left Fox for the life of a freelance, forming his own company, "Heath Productions". He appeared in more Westerns, adventures and social dramas, and pushed himself as an actor by taking the thankless role of "The Dauphin" in Otto Preminger's adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan (1957), a notorious flop that didn't bring anyone any honors, neither Preminger, his leading lady Jean Seberg or Widmark. In 1960, he was appearing in another notorious production, John Wayne's ode to suicidal patriotism, The Alamo (1960), with the personally liberal Widmark playing "Jim Bowie" in support of the very-conservative Wayne's "Davy Crockett". Along with character actor Chill Wills, Widmark arguably was the best thing in the movie.
In 1961, Widmark acquitted himself quite well as the prosecutor in producer-director Stanley Kramer's Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), appearing with the Oscar-nominated Spencer Tracy and the Oscar-winning Maximilian Schell, as well as with superstar Burt Lancaster and acting genius Montgomery Clift and the legendary 'Judy Garland' (the latter two winning Oscar nods for their small roles). Despite being showcased with all this thespian-firepower, Widmark's character proved to be the axis on which the drama turned. A little later, Widmark appeared in two Westerns directed by the great John Ford, with co-star James Stewart in Two Rode Together (1961) and as the top star in Ford's apologia for Indian genocide, Cheyenne Autumn (1964). On Two Rode Together (1961), Ford feuded with Jimmy Stewart over his hat. Stewart insisted on wearing the same hat he had for a decade of highly successful Westerns that had made him one of the top box office stars of the 1950s. Both he and Widmark were hard-of-hearing (as well as balding and in need of help from the makeup department's wig-makers), so Ford would sit himself far away from them while directing scenes and then give them directions in a barely audible voice. When neither one of the stars could hear their director, Ford theatrically announced to his crew, that after over 40 years in the business, he was reduced to directing two deaf toupees. It was testimony to the stature of both Stewart and Widmark as stars that this was as far as Ford's baiting went, as the great director could be extraordinarily cruel.
Widmark continued to co-star in A-pictures through the 1960s. He capped off the decade with one of his finest performances, as the amoral police detective in Don Siegel's gritty cop melodrama Madigan (1968). Watching "Madigan", one can see Widmark's characters as a progression in the evolution of what would become the late 1960s nihilistic anti-hero, such as those embodied by Clint Eastwood in Siegel's later Dirty Harry (1971).
Im the 1970s, he continued to make his mark in movies and, beginning in 1971, in television. In movies, he appeared primarily in supporting roles, albeit in highly billed fashion, in such films as Sidney Lumet's Murder on the Orient Express (1974), Robert Aldrich's Twilight's Last Gleaming (1977), and Stanley Kramer's The Domino Principle (1977). He even came back as a heavy, playing the villainous doctor in Coma (1978). In 1971, in search of better roles, he turned to television, starring as the President of the U.S. in the TV movies Vanished (1971) (TV). His performance in the role brought Widmark an Emmy nomination. He resurrected the character of "Madigan" for NBC, in six 90-minute episodes that appeared as part of the rotation of "NBC Wednesday Mystery Movie" for the Fall 1972 season. Widmark was married for 55 years to playwright Jean Hazlewood, from 1942 until her death in 1997 (they had one child, Anne, who was born in 1945). He lived quietly and avoided the press, saying in 1971, "I think a performer should do his work and then shut up". "Los Angeles Times" critic Kevin Thomas thought that Widmark should have won an Oscar nomination for his turn in When the Legends Die (1972), playing a former rodeo star tutoring 'Frederic Forrest'. It is surprising to think that Kiss of Death (1947) represented his sole Oscar nomination, but with the rise of the respect for film noir around the time his career began tapering off in 70s, he began to be reevaluated as an actor. Unlike Bogart, who did not live to see his reputation flourish after his death, well before he retired, Widmark became a cult figure.
Posted by David Berner at 9:12 AM