Wednesday, September 28, 2011

SWEET CANDY


"I have no doubt she'll be a success in adapting to community life as an adult."


This is the mark of brilliance from Justice Scott Brooker in Alberta.

Mmmmm.

Let's have a look-see, shall we?

"She," now 18, was 12 when she and her 23-year old boyfriend stabbed to death her parents and her eight-year old brother and then went partying.

They were both found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder.

Boyfriend got life with no parole for 25 years.

Now, this girl, whose identity may never be divulged, has a phalanx of shrinks and social workers working on her rehab and they are all very jolly and optimistic.

The headline alone is a heartwarmer.

Rehab successful for girl who killed family, says judge

Convict, now 18, prepares for re-integration


Enough.

Let's get down, kids.

This young woman is a psychopath. She is not redeemable. She has crossed a break boundary. "People with problems" do not murder their families and then get better and go back into communities posing no danger to others. People who murder their families are crazed deranged lunatic nut jobs who are wired differently than most of us. They do not change or get better. They must be kept away from the rest of us.

Psychopaths are often very smart and charming and high verbal and highly skilled at manipulating the world around them.

And they are completely and totally integrated personalities. They are who they are.

Why do we watch Hannibal Lecter over and over again?

Of course, it's a great movie and run by great actors and director.

But it is the essential unapologetic madness of the good Doctor that draws us back in morbid fascination.

In the case of this adorable little murderer, all the king's horses and all the king's men have been duped once again.

They are paid to help.

So they must believe in their hearts that they are helping or why get up in the morning?

And then they announce to the judge that they have done fine work and their star pupil is now a good girl.

And the judge wants also to believe in the goodness of people and the power of good work.

That's fine.

But he also has to have a hold on reality, doesn't he? Wouldn't that be helpful to us all?

The girl has played them all like a three dollar fiddle.

My House or Yours?


Last night at 6 o'clock I was flicking between NBC News with Brian Williams and the BBC.

"Two different worlds, we live in two different worlds..."

The BBC News was appropriately giving major and thorough coverage to the Euro and debt crisis in Greece, Spain and Italy.

A few nights ago, BBC staged a fantastic panel on this matter in the atrium of one of their main buildings. The speakers and guests in the front row of the audience were all highly placed and knowledgeable (and often brilliant) people from government and finance at the highest levels.

Make no mistake, this is a dire situation. If leadership in the Euro Zone stumbles, we will all suffer mightily.

But, hey, let that not be an impediment to American inward turned sensibilities.

NBC News would have none of this.

Never mentioned.

If their news coverage is an indicator of how the country pretends to think or what they think is thinking, they and we are in deep doo.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

PUBLIC ENEMY


It gave me great cheer last night to see protesters creating healthy civil disobedience in front of the Vancouver Club.

Their issue?

Some other Vancouverites had paid $500 each to hear Dick Cheney promote his new book.

Why would anyone do that?

Ghouls and suck holes with no moral compass.

Cheney is one of the most detestable thugs to ever work the corridors of power. He was always about money and power and Dick Cheney.

The protesters rightly called him a War Criminal.

He is that and more.

His favorite company - Halliburton - made billions of dollars on buttons, shoes, tanks, bullets, coffee, gas and oil and most of the other physical products one requires to operate a war theatre in say...Iraq.

Manthorpe's scathing review of Cheney's entirely self-serving book is worth the read.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Daphne Bramham's Best Column Ever


Opinion: City plan does little to support those put at risk by prostitution


If nine out of 10 fishermen got hurt at work, policy-makers would likely question whether the job isn’t so inherently dangerous that even regulating the industry might never keep them safe. If four of every 10 nurses were violently attacked every year, regulation alone might not be the solution either.

Yet those are the statistics for street and indoor prostitution respectively, and still most policy-makers simply shrug.

In 2005, 90 per cent of street prostitutes in Vancouver had been physically assaulted, 78 per cent had been raped and 72 per cent met the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a report in the peer-reviewed journal Transcultural Psychiatry.

Those working from home, in massage parlours or escort agencies fare better. Still, 37 per cent of them experienced some sort of violence, according to research done in 2007 by a graduate student at Simon Fraser University.

Citing municipalities’ limited powers over the Criminal Code, education, health and social services, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and all of the city’s councillors are the latest to shrug.

They passed a plan based on a 30-page staff report, which gave only a cursory nod to the 12-year-old Nordic model pioneered in Sweden, which outlaws all aspects of the sex trade but provides generous social supports to at-risk youth and women exiting prostitution.

They didn’t ask for more information about that model or anything else, even though the Aboriginal Women’s Action Network and others among the 50 speakers at a public hearing urged them to at least consider that prostitution is a form of violence against women that ought to be stopped, not regulated.

In the end, Robertson and the others (including Suzanne Anton, the NPA’s mayoral candidate in the November election) bought into the excuse given in the staff report. Municipalities can do nothing about criminal law and little about education, health and social services, it said.

Of course, council didn’t use that excuse when it came to endorsing safe-injection sites for illegal drugs.

They didn’t balk last year from endorsing Will to Intervene, an international report that recommended Canada and the United States take leadership roles in preventing mass atrocities.

Which is odd since some people consider that 720 missing or murdered aboriginal women in Canada or that more than 100 women missing and murdered from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside are slow-moving forms of genocide.

This council approved the report’s sanitized language (sex work, not prostitution) and never asked why the report neglected to describe just what such work entails.

They didn’t want to hear it. When 19-year-old Rachelle Rovner tried to read a graphic and disturbing description of the services that a Vancouver man bragged online about having purchased, she was told to stop.

Children might be watching the proceedings on TV, Coun. Andrea Reimer told her.

Rovner shot back. “If it’s not appropriate for our city council, then maybe it’s not appropriate for our city.”

Nothing in the city’s plan even hints at trying to lessen demand for prostitution in any of its guises.

Educational programs aren’t aimed at the men who harm prostituted persons. The only recommended educational programs would be aimed at teaching children, vulnerable youth and women how to better identify pimps and predators.

“Stop putting the responsibility on us to survive,” Trisha Baptie, a former prostitute, urged council. “Instead of abandoning us in the name of safety, health and verbal nonsense, you need to identify the problem: Men can pay for access to women’s and children’s bodies.”

Council paid no attention.

Child prostitution was deliberately omitted from the report and recommendations. It’s “strictly prohibited,” the report’s author Mary Clare Zak said at the meeting.

Yet, she also referenced a report that found 37 per cent of youth living on Vancouver’s streets say they have exchanged sex for food or shelter.

Regulating where sexual services are delivered is part of the plan. The city’s licensing department is urged to contact other cities to see how their bylaws differentiate registered massage therapists from massage and health-enhancement businesses that front for prostitution

Renfrew-Collingwood will get improved street lighting under council’s plan. But whether it’s in a car or alley, brothel or home, prostitution will never be safe.

There are hopes for housing, detox and rehab for at-risk youth, prostitutes and those exiting prostitution. But there’s no money.

There’s also no direction to end the long-standing practice of concentrating those services in the Downtown Eastside.

Bureaucratic not brave, it’s hard to see how this plan will prevent anyone from entering prostitution or make it safer for anyone regardless of whether they’re providing sexual services by choice, coercion, or out of desperation.

dbramham@vancouversun.com

Saturday, September 24, 2011

THE COST OF GREEN?

UNKINDEST CUT


A felon with a considerable history of public and private violence (and very little jail time) is swearing at two young women.

Another man intervenes and suggests to the offender that he cool his heels.

Maniac walks away, retrieves his box-cutters, and slashes the throat ear-to-ear of the man who asked him to calm down.

Punch line?

In our ever-vigilant injustice system?

Two years.

Thank you Provincial Court judge Frances Howard.

The criminal is deeply imbedded in his criminal life-style and his drug-dealing business.

But hey?

Why consider the community?

Let's continue to be nice to the crazies in the ignorant and desparate hope that they might one day by nice back.

Judge Howard should be removed from the bench for flagrant disregard of the citizens who pay her salary and expect some measure of protection and reasonableness from her decisions.

Friday, September 23, 2011

COLD LIGHT OF DAY


City Council is studying the sex trade.

Lord help us.

Thankfully, people who actually know what they are talking about have appeared and made valiant efforts to cut through the muck.

Rachelle Rovner was one of several speakers who took issue with some of the language in the report, pointing out the term "sex workers" implies prostitution is a legitimate form of work, when it is not at all.

Jonathan Livingston, a front line worker who deals with vulnerable youth in the Downtown Eastside, said there is an inherent flaw in aiming to make sex work "safer."

"I don't think you can make it safe," he said, adding that both prostitution and the procuring of sex need to be wholly condemned.

MacDougall said the trade is "inherently unsafe."

MacDougall also noted she hears from countless women who are abused by men while "supplementing their income in some form of sale of sex for money through inside work," but would never identify as being in the sex trade.

"They would never say, 'I am a sex worker' because they don't want to identify with that label," she said.

"This is not a career path for them; this is a survival mechanism."

Many speakers, including 19-year-old Sharlene Petigara, pointed out the report failed to adequately address the demand from johns.

"Prostitution is violence against women and there are people inflicting this violence," she said. "So why are they not addressed in this report?" Janessa Greening, director of resource development at Union Gospel Mission, called on staff to rewrite the report to include more emphasis on the issue.

"The most notable gap is the lack of reference to who is abusing the power imbalance - those who are violating these women, those whose actions are initiating and exacerbating the long-term, devastating impact these women will experience."

This is a classic example of a local authority working from the failed and morally reprehensible platform of Harm Seduction.

It is also an example of people who truly understand the issues stepping forward and casting some real light.

Officials everywhere are tragically obsessed with making self-destructive and harmful behaviour "safe" or "safer," while front line workers and ordinary citizens know that shooting heroin, smoking crack or renting out your body parts by the half hour can never be safe.





Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The most outrageous of all time


You must read Courier columnist Mark Hasiuk's piece posted yesterday.

He explains in chilling detail how the Vancouver Coastal Health will give children crack pipe kits, because "health is health, regardless of age."

The world has gone completely mad.

Monday, September 12, 2011