Monday, August 22, 2011

What made Jack Layton a better leader than Barack Obama:

“If you start with a compromise right at the beginning and no debate, you’re really only going with the status quo and buttering it up a little. No space is created for change to happen.” - Jack Layton


I met Jack Layton in 2005 when I was in Ottawa lobbying parliament on behalf of my then union.  An infectious smile, boundless energy and deep sympathy for what my members were going through with an arrogant and intractable employer made me deeply glad he was the leader of my party.  I confess I was more excited at the time to get a parliament visitor gallery pass from Ed Broadbent and shake the hand of the NDP's old lion, but I'm so glad now that I got to meet Jack and I'm so grateful that Canada had his optimism his determination and his dedication to a better country.

Thank you so much Jack, my sympathies to his family and to all feeling the same aching sorrow I do this black morning.

UPDATE: Jack's farewell letter.  And now I'm crying again.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Police left rape victim tied up, naked and surrounded by officers for FIVE HOURS

More evidence that many police officers extend their 'us and them' attitude to all of us not just criminals.
A woman who was bound and sexually assaulted by her then-neighbour, Col. Russell Williams says the police left her tied up for five hours after responding to her 911 call.
Laurie Massicotte says Ontario Provincial Police officers told her they had to leave her in the harness, fashioned by Williams, until an OPP photographer arrived to take pictures of her in the restraint.
"I was left for five hours, still in my harness, still tied up, naked, lying under a comforter," Massicotte, 47, told the Ottawa Citizen in a telephone interview Friday.
"Five hours, no medical attention. I was in total shock. I didn't know what the heck was going on."
The OPP, she said, treated her like a criminal in the early hours of the investigation.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Michael Coren: Repugnant Racist

 Update: Seven years later.  It's important to view the following in the context that since this time Michael Coren has dramatically and fundamentally changed his views and behavior.

The Michael Coren of 2018 is very different from the Michael Coren of 2011

Dawg has the story about 'respected' Canadian political commentator Michael Coren and his idea of a clever quip about the London Riots "It's not blackberries, it's black thugs."  Ignorant, racist and factually incorrect as extensive coverage of the multi-racial nature of the rioters clearly showed.
I must admit that I was sceptical when a reader reported this, but there is Michael Coren, in all his ugly racist glory, @3:22.
As “Canadian Patriot” (who has my apologies) says, we should all be submitting complaints to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, pronto.
Send a complaint to the CRTC as well, as reader Lorne suggests.
Just do it.
Let this latter-day Senator Bilbo handprint his messages of hate and try to pass them out on the streets of his native Tottenham. There is no place for this filth on Canadian airwaves. SunTV is a disgrace.
UPDATE: and for those who think this was a one off slip of the tongue he expanded on his theme in his Sun column:

"The overwhelming majority of the young punks who began the rioting, fighting, looting and burning were black. That is truth, not racism."

"They are the offspring of broken families, who cannot control their appetite for fathering children with numerous women, who shoot rivals and innocent people with indifference, and who define themselves by how much vulgar jewelry they wear and how much fearful “respect” they receive from law-abiding neighbours."
Again, important to be crystal clear; it's NOT the truth - extensive photographic and video evidence of multiracial and all white crowds of rioters make that clear - and it IS racism.

UPDATE 2: He's not too fond of 'teh gays' either.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Conservatives trying to silence an inconvenient widow again

When Suzanne Trepanier tried to speak to parliament about the Conservatives ideological war on anyone they consider insufficiently supportive of Israel and how it resulted in her husband being driven to an early grave they fought tooth and nail to silence her.

Now once again another inconvenient grieving widow is making them uncomfortable so they are trying to threaten her into silence.
The federal Conservative party has sent a threatening email to the widow of an asbestos victim in the latest chapter of Canada's debate over the hazardous mineral.
A top Tory official is warning the woman to stop using the party logo in an online ad campaign against the controversial industry -- a campaign she started after her husband died of an asbestos-related cancer.
Michaela Keyserlingk, whose husband Robert died in 2009 of mesothelioma, has been running an online banner since the spring that reads, "Canada is the only western country that still exports deadly asbestos!"
Conservative party executive director Dan Hilton warned Keyserlingk to stop using the Tory symbol immediately.
"Failure to do so may result in further action," Hilton wrote in a July 29 email which carried the subject title, "Unauthorized use of trademark." The email, which The Canadian Press obtained from Keyserlingk, went on to advise her: "Please govern yourself accordingly."
The exchange comes as Canada faces intensifying international criticism over its asbestos exports and the Quebec government mulls whether to help revive one of the country's last-remaining mines -- a decision that could come as early as Monday.
Canada, which barely uses the hazardous material domestically, exports the bulk of its asbestos to poor countries.
Keyserlingk concedes she may not have the right to use the logo, I'm not so sure, I would think it falls under fair use for political speech.  Regardless its another example of this government's standard response to criticism; bullying.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lumpen but Organized

Chilling reports from London suggest a highly organized and brisk efficiency and what can only be described as cold blooded professionalism among the organizing leadership of London's deadly riots this week.
Thick black choking smoke blew down Market Street, one of the main shopping thoroughfares in Manchester last night, as the city caught the contagion of rioting that is sweeping through Britain. The Miss Selfridge shop had been set alight, only one of around 100 shops smashed and burned as upwards of 2,000 rioters rampaged through the city centre streets.

Thugs wearing ski masks and hoods, armed with sticks and metal poles moved in six or seven groups, each several hundred strong. They ran from hundreds of riot police in full gear, occasionally stopping to confront them, but mainly dodging down side-streets and alleyways, wreaking havoc as they went. Windows were smashed at Marks & Spencer, Diesel clothing shop and a Bang & Olufsen store. Shop mannequins, which had been torn from the shattered windows, lay on the streets like bodies.

At one point 1,000 rioters confronted the police in the central Piccadilly Gardens, throwing stones, bricks and rocks they appeared to have brought with them. The rioters laughed and cheered as they went about their destruction. Police, on horses and in white tactical aid unit vans with protective black grids over the windscreen, pushed the rioters down Market Street but the thugs broke into smaller groups and slipped away to reform elsewhere.

There was evidence everywhere that the riot had been organised and was being directed. Earlier in the day police had arrested a man in Wigan who had been inciting violence on Facebook. Later seven others were arrested by Cheshire Police on similar charges.

But eyewitnesses on the street reported group leaders among the rioters issuing orders. Boys on fast BMX bikes were acting as spotters to report to the leaders where the police were moving. They appeared to be carrying messages between different groups.

One Arndale worker, Rayhan Rezi, 27, told a reporter from the Manchester Evening News: "A small minority would go in one direction to divert police officers and the remaining ones were smashing windows. It was a small minority who were hooded up wearing hats and sunglasses and doing the damage; most were just watching and had come for the loot." Large numbers of curious bystanders remained in the city all evening. Some just gawped; others teetered on the brink of joining in. "Everyone into Oldham Street," one riot leader shouted at one point – and the mob turned and acted on the instruction.
This isn't a new phenomenon in the UK.  Bill Buford's masterful book about the English Soccer Hooligan culture Among the Thugs described similar organization among the hard old men leading thoughtless young thugs in battles with supporters of other teams and the police.  The ones smashing windows may just be alienated youths with no stake in the UK's severely stratified society or the communities they are burning down, but the organizers display an unambiguous experience and skill in the ancient profession of riot for profit.

As Mick Jagger said, It's just a shot away, and its cold-eyed old men in the back of the crowds firing the starter pistols.

Educated to Hate?

The Guardian has a bleak and disturbing piece about the education system of Israel.
Nurit Peled-Elhanan, an Israeli academic, mother and political radical, summons up an image of rows of Jewish schoolchildren, bent over their books, learning about their neighbours, the Palestinians. But, she says, they are never referred to as Palestinians unless the context is terrorism.
They are called Arabs. "The Arab with a camel, in an Ali Baba dress. They describe them as vile and deviant and criminal, people who don't pay taxes, people who live off the state, people who don't want to develop," she says. "The only representation is as refugees, primitive farmers and terrorists. You never see a Palestinian child or doctor or teacher or engineer or modern farmer."
Peled-Elhanan, a professor of language and education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has studied the content of Israeli school books for the past five years, and her account, Palestine in Israeli School Books: Ideology and Propaganda in Education, is to be published in the UK this month. She describes what she found as racism– but, more than that, a racism that prepares young Israelis for their compulsory military service.
 One of the constant themes in attacks on Hamas and the Palestinian authority is fury over textbooks that tell the story of the creation Of Israel from the Palestinian point of view and for undeniable examples of anti-semitism.  It appears dehumanizing propoganda as 'education' can be found on both sides of the seperation fence.
Perhaps not surprisingly for someone of such radical views, Peled-Elhanan is deeply pessimistic about her country's future. Change, she says, will only come "when the Americans stop providing us with $1m a day to maintain this regime of occupation and racism and supremacy".
She said that within Israel, "I only see the path to fascism. You have 5.5 million Palestinians controlled by Israel who live in a horrible apartheid with no civil and no human rights. And you have the other half who are Jews who are also losing their rights by the minute," she says, in reference to a series of attempts to restrict Israelis' right to protest and criticise their government.
She dismisses the Israeli left as always small and timid, but especially now. "There has never been a real left in this country." She believes that the education system helps to perpetuate an unjust, undemocratic and unsustainable state.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

American aviation inspectors asked to pay to do their job

This is not something that should be happening in a mature and functioning democracy, and of course thats the point, it isn't.
The latest budget blockade in Congress is forcing inspectors responsible for maintaining safety at the nation’s airports to work for free, and charge work expenses to their personal credit cards, raising the possibility that soon many of America’s biggest airports will have no federal safety inspections at all.
“I’m at a loss for adjectives to describe how tragic, horrible and idiotic this is,” says Chris Oswald, vice president safety and technical operations for the Airports Council International.
About 40 inspectors are responsible for checking everything safety-related at the nation’s busiest airports. They inspect everything from cracks in the runway to whether safety lights are working and fire trucks are ready to go, says Dr. Mike Hynes founder and owner of Hynes Aviation Services, an aviation safety consulting company.
The inspectors are among the 4,000 F.A.A. employees furloughed by the budget impasse. But the agency’s leaders have asked the inspectors to continue working without pay.
Hat Tip to BoingBoing

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