Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Letter: six pleading guilty to G21 crimes!

Back to G20 plea deal would see 11 defendants walk free, six face jail

G20 plea deal would see 11 defendants walk free, six face jail

November 22, 2011
Jennifer Yang
                  Success, another cruiser burning!

These are the 17 alleged “G20 ringleaders” accused of
masterminding the destruction that swept across downtown Toronto in June 2010.

The 17 alleged co-conspirators accused of plotting the G20 mayhem have struck a plea bargain with prosecutors that would see 11 defendants walk free and the other six face jail terms of less than two years, the Toronto Star has learned.

But the six pleading guilty under the deal would not be pleading to conspiracy, the crime with which they were initially charged. Instead, they would be pleading to the lesser crime of counselling to commit an indictable offence.

Recommended sentences under the plea deal are between six and 20 months.
The position now being taken by the Crown is “drastically different” from how the 17 were portrayed at bail hearings, said lawyer Howard Morton, whose client, Joanna Adamiak, will see her charges dropped as part of the deal.

“This was nothing more than an attempt to create a public image that these people are terrorists,” Morton said of the prosecution’s portrayal of the 17 activists and self-described anarchists.

“These people are anything but terrorists. I mean, I wonder if any of them would even survive anarchy.”

The six defendants pleading guilty have confirmed to the Star that they intend to appear in Finch Ave. court today and enter a joint submission with the Crown.

While the plea bargain could still collapse should one of the co-accused decide to back out, representatives for the group said all 17 remained committed as of press time Monday night. It is possible the judge could also reject the joint submission.

Among the six pleading guilty under the plea deal are the four arrested in pre-dawn raids hours before the G20 summit began on June 26, 2010: Alex Hundert, his then-partner Leah Henderson, Amanda Hiscocks and Peter Hopperton. Also pleading guilty under the deal are Erik Lankin and Adam Lewis, both members of the anarchist group AW@L (Anti-War at Laurier). They would enter guilty pleas to counselling to commit mischief over $5,000.

Under the plea bargain, Hundert and Hiscocks, members of the Southern Ontario Anarchist Resistance, would also plead guilty to the additional charge of counselling to obstruct police. If their recommended sentences are accepted by the judge, they will face the longest prison terms of 20 months.

They would likely receive some credit for time already served, however. Hundert has already spent five months in pre-trial custody and another five months under house arrest; Hiscocks was in jail for one month and under house arrest for nine.

The arrests of the so-called G20 ringleaders in June 2010 were the culmination of a year-long investigation by two undercover officers and eight different police services.
At the June 26, 2010, court appearance for Hundert, Hiscocks, Henderson and Hopperton, Crown attorney Vincent Paris told the court he was overwhelmed by the volume of evidence collected on the alleged co-conspirators.

Prior to a publication ban prohibiting media from reporting trial evidence, Paris said a plan for violence was put into place over a series of meetings leading up to the G20 in June 2010. He said the group planned on hitting targets such as city hall, Metro Hall, Goldman Sachs, The Bay and various consulates.

As Paris spoke in court during the G20 summit, black-clad vandals were smashing their way across downtown Toronto and he linked the four defendants with the “action . . . happening now.”
Any other evidence against the 17 already submitted in bail court or preliminary hearings remains under publication ban until the guilty pleas are made in court and the other charges withdrawn.

According to York University law professor Alan Young, a conspiracy case is often tough to prosecute because it requires proof of an overt agreement between people who may be loosely connected.

Of the 1,118 people arrested during the G20, more than 140 were charged with conspiracy, including the 17 described as ringleaders. If the plea bargain goes through, at least 112 of those conspiracy charges will have been dropped.

The preliminary hearing for the 17 alleged co-conspirators began Sept. 12, but was suspended about a week later so the group could enter talks about a plea deal.

The group has since been embroiled in painstaking negotiations, a complicated and delicate process involving hours of handwringing and discussion amongst the multiple co-accused and their respective lawyers.

In an interview with the Star¸ Hiscocks said she was initially vehemently opposed to striking any deals with the Crown. The 37-year-old longtime activist said she disapproves of plea bargaining because she considers it a prosecutorial tactic for eliciting guilty pleas.

But, in the end, Hiscocks agreed a plea deal promised the best possible outcome for the most people in the group, she said.

“The justice system being what it is, we decided that we weren’t going to see justice by going through to the end,” Hiscocks said. “We feel like the most good we’re going to get from the system, for the people in this group, is going to be through this plea.”

Hiscocks said she believes the charges against her were “politically motivated” and the group has already been punished by a justice system that is supposed to presume innocence until proven guilty.

Over the past 15 months, the co-accused have been living either in jail, under house arrest or subject to restrictive bail conditions preventing them from doing the community work they devote their lives to, she said.

Everyone has also been prohibited from participating in “demonstrations,” a word that has been broadly interpreted by the courts. In September 2010, Hundert was arrested for breaching this bail condition after participating in a panel discussion at Ryerson University.

“The bail conditions were absolutely ridiculous,” Morton said. “I’ve had clients charged with manslaughter that had conditions that weren’t this bad.”

Many of the 17 are also buckling under the emotional and financial strain of a legal battle being waged at a snail’s pace, according to Hiscocks.

She said people have lost their jobs as a result of the ongoing case and two of the 17 who stand to have their charges dropped under the deal were ineligible for legal aid and face an overall legal cost of $150,000 each. Another co-accused, who would see his charge withdrawn as a part of the deal, said he faced deportation if convicted.

According to Morton, the case was unlikely to go to trial until next September at the earliest, more than two years after the charges were first laid. Some defendants now expected to plead guilty under the plea bargain will likely be out of jail and moving on with their lives before the trial will have started.

Young, an expert on the plea bargaining process, said both sides, the Crown and defence, have incentives to strike a deal.

“The Crown might perceive there are some weaknesses in the case, the defence might have some concerns about the claims they want to make,” he said. “So, ultimately, law of probabilities (says) your best outcome is to go into court with a joint submission.”

Plea deals also pinch the ballooning costs of a trial, he added. Morton, a former Crown attorney, estimates the investigation and prosecution has already cost upwards of $5 million.
But even when people see their charges dropped as a result of a plea deal, that does not mean they go unpunished, Young added.

“The reality is that the Crown still is victorious in the sense that it achieves some punitive response without necessarily getting a court ruling,” he said. “And it’s a very unforgiving process. It doesn’t say sorry and it doesn’t compensate you for any hardship you suffered.”

Adamiak said she has already spent 20 days in jail and $50,000 defending herself against charges that would now be dropped under the deal. The 30-year-old York University student said she has depleted her savings to pay for her defence.

“It’s quite angering to know that the state cast a very wide net at the G20 and a lot of people had to go through a lot, not just myself,” she said. “To me, that’s part of the reason why taking a deal to end the process quickly is what made sense . . . because the process was the punishment.”

Adamiak admits there were points along the negotiation process where she felt strongly the trial should proceed.

Ultimately, it was more important to end the process quickly so she and the others could return to their political work as soon as possible, she said.

“The use of charges is a fear tactic. It’s to make us fear being part of particular organizations, to have particular ideologies,” she said. “But, if anything, it’s made me just much more eager to get back to the things we were fighting for before.”

my response....

While some may have doubts that the G20 riot ringleaders received justice considering the taxpayer paid $84 million each in their criminal trials, the fact remains that in all likelihood, those sacrificed can now be successfully sued civilly by aggrieved individuals and businesses that suffered injury or loss during the riots; not the least of which is our 97 injured peace officers as well as the City of Toronto.

With St James Park campers getting equally suspect legal advice, is the case really closed or; well escaping jail, have their good G20 friends put the six martyrs on the hook for additional punishment?


letter: G20 mayhem ringleaders receive justice for $84-million each!

G20 mayhem ringleaders receive justice for $84-million each!

Despite the early estimates that the combined G8 and G20 summits would cost $1.1-billion to host in Huntsville and Toronto, according to the auditor-general, the final bill ended up being “only” $663.9-million.

Of that total, $509-million was to provide security for the twin summits.

It’s a figure worth recalling, after Tuesday’s announcement that six so-called “ringleaders” of the violence that marred the streets of Toronto have agreed to plead guilty to lesser charges under a plea bargain agreement struck between their defence lawyers and the Crown. Each of these individuals was subjected to prolonged investigation by undercover Ontario Provincial Police officers, and was arrested once the summit got underway. Charges against 11 others have been dropped. Given the cost of securing the summit, and the rather anti-climactic outcome of the legal proceedings against those at least partially responsible for the lawlessness, it’s reasonable to wonder if these six guilty pleas to relatively minor charges were worth the roughly $84-million dollars of security each verdict required (and that doesn’t even include the costs to the court system to prosecute the case).

Of course, the security costs were successful in their primary goal — no major security incident threatened the safety of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the various world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, that he was hosting in the heart of Canada’s largest city. Securing a major urban area was always going to be an expensive proposition, and while the wisdom of hosting the event in the middle of a large city can be debated, Canada does have an obligation to the international community to occasionally host global summits. That will never be cheap.

But the G20′s costs — both financial and social — were immense. Despite investing half a billion dollars in security, gangs of thugs still roamed Toronto’s streets while the police were seemingly helpless to respond. When the police response did begin, it was only after the violence had largely petered out, and ended up inconveniencing (or worse) thousands of non-violent protesters or simply passersby, leaving Toronto’s generally excellent police force with a black mark on its reputation. The cost, the inconvenience, the suffering of those wrongfully detailed — it all might have had some meaning if, in the final analysis, it could be demonstrated that the police efficiently responded to a very real and present danger and if our legal system had effectively dealt with it.

Instead, we have the worst of every world — enormous sums were spent, innocent citizens harshly detained, criminals roamed freely about the city destroying property, damned few consequences have been meted out to overly harsh officers as those charged with policing the police have been proven utterly inept, and only a handful of the thugs who threatened the peace and safety of Toronto will have to serve minor sentences (in many cases, likely time served).

All of this speaks to a greater crisis in Canadian justice. Police forces from coast to coast are being buffeted by allegations of abusive behaviour or outright incompetence (see Vancouver’s Stanley Cup riots and the aftermath), while millions are spent on trying criminals with increasingly poor results. All of this leaves Canadians feeling as if their society is becoming a harsher, more lawless place. While statistics continue to suggest that this is not the case, the public perception is powerful all by itself, and goes a long way to explain continued public support for the federal Tories’ tough-on-crime agenda.

The money that Canadians spent on hosting the summits can’t be gotten back, and the legal effort against the G20 ringleaders has seemingly come to a close. Despite the unsatisfactory outcomes, Canadians must move on. But we should do so with a mind to avoiding such mistakes again. That not only means never again hosting major summits in the hearts of cities, but also addressing the deficincies in our justice system that are, even after hundreds of millions in spending and almost a year and a half of effort, could still barely bring reduced convictions against the targets of intense, prolonged police scrutiny.


                                                 G20 gets instructions from Toronto Police!

                                                G20 at St. James Park prior to break-up!

                                   Union members remove camper's tents from St. James Park

               Camper's have left St. James Park peacefully within hours of by-law officers arrival!

my response.......While some may have doubts that the G20 mayhem ringleaders received justice considering the taxpayer paid $84 million each in their criminal trials, the fact remains in all likelihood that those sacrificed can now be successfully sued civilly by aggrieved individuals and businesses that suffered injury or loss during the riots. With St James Park campers getting equal suspect advice, have their good G20 friends who escaped jail now put them on the hook for additional punishment?

Monday, 21 November 2011

Will West Coast social media invade Toronto at the break-up of Camp St. James?

November 21, 2011,

Will West Coast social media invade Toronto at the break-up of Camp St. James?

Or to put it more succinctly, as the midnight deadline for eviction of the campers creeps ever closer, will Torontonians be there to assist our peace officers should the eviction be challenged? A prime example of help is the fine work done by Vancouverites who are to be commended for taking so many images of their Stanley Cup rioters! While civil libertarians may wail, 'there’s nothing illegal about being in the streets', it's different when you are trying to set a Police cruiser on fire! 

Listening to the rhetoric coming out of our park since the judge told them to go, like "Come hell or high water, this is our park," said long-time occupier Thomas Zaugg. "This is my home," as reported in the Sun or as Andrew Johnston, who had been camping in the park since day one told the Toronto Star that he would peacefully resist any attempts by police to clear the park. “The only way I’m leaving is in a pair of handcuffs,” he vowed.

Threats like this are a direct affront to the judge and seeing what Vancouver witnessed, should it really surprise when it reminds taxpayers of alleged 'peaceful' G20 protesters with various weapons our combined Police forces confiscated.

G20 violence left riot organizers here with a black eye with taxpayers clamoring for a means to make themselves heard; to provide a visible reminder to thugs and hooligans that they will be held accountable for their actions after a post-riot Angus Reid poll told us that 3 of 4 Torontonians and 2 of 3 Canadians believe police treatment of protesters during the summit was justified; and while a few notables where arrested, this offered little comfort to outraged citizens. 

Of the more than 1,100 people held over the Toronto G20 weekend last summer, only 317 were ever charged. And of those, well over half had their charges withdrawn, stayed or dismissed. On the other hand, the rioters who took part in Vancouver’s violent riot last spring are slowly dealing with their criminal punishment.
In the wake of Vancouver’s Stanley Cup riots, B.C.’s new Premier Christy Clark; sounding more like an Old West sheriff was quick to read the public pulse. “We will hold you responsible,” she said the morning after the riot. “You will not be able to hide behind your hoodie or your bandana.” A special team of experienced prosecutors are working with Vancouver Police to ensure swift, severe punishments for rioters; including jail time. The Stanley Cup riots touched a raw nerve in Vancouver, where 19 of every 20 residents want the troublemakers prosecuted to the full extent of the law, according to another poll by Angus Reid.

But what makes Vancouver's Stanley Cup riot unique from the G20 riot is citizen response! 
According to local news reports, Vancouver police are presently combing through more than one million photos and 1,000 hours of video submitted as evidence following the riot in downtown Vancouver as hundreds of people tore through downtown streets breaking windows, looting stores and setting cars on fire following a huge street gathering that had been watching the Canucks' Stanley Cup loss. In addition, Vancouver police are saying that thousands of images and hours of videos shot during the riot are being circulated on websites specifically designed to get people to turn in any of the rioters they recognize. Some of the arrests have come out of rioters being identified by friends and family members through social media and more are expected. In fact, it was reported that the day after the riot, the Vancouver police department’s web server crashed as up to 2,000 videos, photos and tips poured in.

There has also been a move for identification of people who were shown taking part in the riot and while this volume of information has been helpful for the Police investigation, it is becoming clear that social media; including Twitter and Facebook have not only been instrumental in bringing Vancouver rioters to justice, it also provided a means for Vancouverites to participate in justice.

Since the Stanley Cup riot, numerous pages such as Facebook riot pics have posted photos of folks smashing windows, tipping over urinals and brawling with peace officers. There are many public Facebook pages devoted to rioter's actions where thousands of Facebook users, ranging from senior citizens to high school students, have left messages on these pages.

While there may be some who think an oppressive Big Brother eye is watching us, the fact remains that social media users give out the minutiae of their lives for free on Twitter and Facebook. Photographs and video footage posted by the public; and too often by the perpetrators themselves have been instrumental in bringing the Vancouver perpetrators to justice. The trend of people on Twitter and Facebook calling on the public to identify criminals in the Vancouver riot is simply an attempt by the community of West Coast social media enthusiasts to embrace a new role in citizen journalism, with the explicit intention of identifying people to create a sense of public safety. Still, some Vancouver rioters are receiving punishment far worse than anything the courts might dole out for their crimes. 

Outed by their own postings, their friends and even their parents, many young men involved in Vancouver’s Stanley Cup riot found it necessary to turn themselves in to police. As the number of rioters being identified by social media grows, so does the number of arrests and charges being made by Vancouver police. At last reports, at least six rioters have turned themselves in to the police, including one 17-year-old brought in by his mother. The father of another 17-year-old, a water polo player, has also said his son will cooperate with authorities after images posted on websites show a young man using a rag to set a police car on fire.

Given how social media is integrated into people's lives, many of the individuals identified during the Vancouver riots will not have the option of simply erasing their Facebook and Twitter accounts in order to avoid public disclosure. These tools are so much a part of daily life now that people can no longer separate their private lives from their public lives online. Increasingly, for the younger generation, not having a life online is akin to not having a social life. Over the last decade, notions of privacy have been eroded through social media, and the Vancouver riots show the effects of living in a social media world.

Vancouver's Stanley Cup riot may well be the world’s most photographed. Thankfully, Police were able to regain control of these riots before someone was seriously injured or killed but it was a disgusting scene that unfolded for all to see in Vancouver, and for Toronto during G20, too.

Did West Coast social media evolve to create community in response to Toronto's G20 riot! Regardless, the future is here! 

                                  Ezra Levant checking out another empty tent in St. James Park!
                                         Ezra Levant confronting a camper at St. James Park!

Is it only a matter of time until Torontonians mimic Vancouverites with large volume image taking using social media as an additional defense should the judges eviction be challenged resulting in violence directed at our bylaw and peace officers, the likes of which invaded sleepy Toronto during G20?


Letter: Leave park peacefully, mayor urges Occupy protesters!

     Well done, Councillor Pam McConnell 

for saying our Park should be for Everyone!

                             A camper dog letting his feelings show above while a camper below
                                      folds his tent to vacate our park before being kicked out!

                                     Councillor Pam McConnell's Family Christmas Card saying
                                      our Park should be for Everyone and a DEOCCUPY sign.

by: David Radler, Toronto Star, Urban Affairs Bureau Chief,
November 21, 2011,

Mayor Rob Ford is urging Occupy Toronto protesters to heed a judge’s ruling and dismantle their 5-week-old camp in St. James Park.

“It is time this protest has come to an end,” Ford said Monday, about 90 minutes after Justice David Brown denied Occupy’s request for an injunction preventing the city from clearing out the park.

Pressed on whether protesters face a deadline before they will be forced to dismantle the makeshift tent village, Ford said: “We’ve asked the protesters to leave as soon as possible and we appreciate their co-operation.

“I’m asking the protesters to leave peacefully and I’m asking them to leave as soon as possible.”
City Manager Joe Pennachetti said city staff will help protesters dismantle the camp, and noted homeless protesters and others will be offered supports.

Councillor Pam McConnell, whose ward includes the downtown park, called on the Ford administration to negotiate a peaceful exit with protesters and not have police force them out.

“I am worried that there will be violence in this park. We’ve seen G20. I don’t ever think that Torontonians have a stomach for seeing it again.”

In a 54-page ruling, Justice David Brown rejected Occupy’s request for an injunction on the basis that the makeshift tent village is a protected form of protest under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Charter, he wrote, doesn’t permit protesters taking over public space without asking and excluding “the rest of the public from enjoying their traditional use of that space, and then contend that they are under no obligation to leave.

“By taking that position and by occupying the park the protesters are breaking the law … I conclude that the trespass notice is constitutionally valid. The city may enforce it. I dismiss the application.”

At the camp, no tents were coming down shortly after Ford’s comments.

Protesters were planning to hold a general assembly around noon to determine their next steps.
Andrew Johnston, who had been camping in the park since day one, said he would peacefully resist any attempts by police to clear the park. “The only way I’m leaving is in a pair of handcuffs,” he vowed.

Minutes after ruling’s 9 a.m. release, Occupy lawyer Susan Ursel phoned the camp and delivered the news to protest leaders huddled in the camp’s media tent.

The ruling was greeted by solemn faces huddled around a cracked iPhone. The protesters immediately launched into discussion about whether to file an appeal.

“We’re going to start working on that after I hang up,” Ursel told them.

“All right, make the calls, kids,” Bryan Batty, a protest leader, told the others. “It’s time to stand up and fight back.”

Sakura Saunders, a volunteer facilitator for the protest, called the judge’s ruling the “worst-case scenario.”

Tearing up as she spoke to reporters, Saunders said, “Our right to carry out this protest — which is a global movement — is being threatened for a simple municipal bylaw.

“The message that’s being sent . . . is that someone’s right to have their dog poop in a park without looking at a protester is somehow more important than our right to free speech.”

The dean of St. James Cathedral, which owns part of the park, has said he expects protesters to abide by a court ruling, crushing their hopes of moving the tents and claiming sanctuary.

On Friday, Darrel Smith, a City of Toronto lawyer, told reporters what he expected would happen once the eviction was allowed to proceed.

“I understand that city staff would arrange for the removal of the tents,” he said Friday after a day-long hearing on Occupy’s injunction request.

“If there were any issues of breaches of the peace, or problems in doing that, then the police would be available and on site. But certainly I would hope that the intention would be to do it in orderly, peaceful manner.”

In his ruling, the judge affirmed that the camp was a protest, with possible Charter protections, but said the protesters’ rights don’t trump those of the people who live and work around the park.

“Although proclaiming a message of participatory democracy, the evidence, unfortunately, reveals that the protesters did not practice what they were preaching when they decided to occupy the park.

“Specifically, they did not ask those who live and work around the park or those who use the park – or their civic representatives – what they would think if the Park was turned into a tent city . . .”

At Friday’s hearing, Ursel called the camp of about 100 tents and its roughly 400 residents “symbolic of an attempt to redress inequalities in society,” and “a manifestation of what they are trying to create in the world.”

The camp in St. James Park sprang up Oct. 15 as part of the Occupy movement that started on New York’s Wall Street, protesting economic disparity, and has spread around the world.

City bylaw inspectors entered the camp Tuesday, slapping on tents notices that protesters were violating the Trespass to Property Act and a city bylaw prohibiting people from erecting structures or staying in the park between 12:01 a.m. and 5:30 a.m.

The ruling was greeted with little surprise at City Hall.

“Woodstock Toronto is all over,” quipped Councillor Doug Ford, the mayor’s brother, as he walked past reporters.

Councillor Norm Kelly said it would not be wise for occupiers to turn violent in the way that a faction of the G20 protesters did.

“If they do resist I think they’ll lose whatever public support they may have,” he said.
Downtown councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam said the Occupy movement has been successful in sparking public discussion about income disparity in our society.

“I respect the outcome. I’d feel the same way if it had went the other way. At this point in time it’s about working with city officials move people forward in a safe way,” she said.

With files from Jennifer Pagliaro, Kate Allen, Robyn Doolittle and Paul Moloney

my response.......
Well done, Councillor Pam McConnell; whose ward includes downtown St. James Park, in your call to negotiate a peaceful resolution so the authorities will not have to enforce the Judges order and kick them out.

With the Mayor and the majority of council asking them to leave our public park peacefully and as soon as possible, you have the opportunity to represent your constituents by leading a peaceful exit.

The judge has spoken and no one wants a repeat of the G20 riots so we are looking to you for continued leadership in your ward.


Tuesday, 15 November 2011

St. James Park campers given their eviction notice?

City of Toronto ByLaw officers distribute notices on tents in St. James Park. The Occupy Toronto activists have been given notice they can not occupy the park between 1201 and 530 am.

Toronto Now: Occupy Toronto protesters given their eviction notice,


November 15, 2011,

Protesters will not be evicted tonight following a last-minute court injunction against the city’s plans to forcibly remove them.

"The City and its agencies shall refrain from enforcing the Notice," reads the decision from Justice David Brown.

police and city by-law officers served the protesters with eviction notices Tuesday morning, calling for an end to the month-long encampment in St. James Park by midnight tonight.

But the courts have now given them a reprieve, at least for a few more days.

Full arguments for and against eviction will be heard Friday, with a decision delivered on Saturday.

In the interim, the city must preserve the status quo in the park, which has been home to the Occupy Toronto protesters since Oct.

The city’s eviction notice states that protesters cannot erect tents or any other structures in the park and must not use the park between 12:01 a.
m. and 5:30 a.m., effective immediately.

my comment.............Have the campers walked into a trap with Ontario Superior Court Justice David Brown's decision to 'refrain from enforcing' the taxpayer's eviction notice?

Prior to this legal advice, they left open whatever options they had!

Should the Trespass to Property Act and the City of Toronto Act, 2006 be upheld, is the court now in the unenviable position of having to dictate removal terms for the few remaining campers who have said that they're not going anywhere and are 'here to stay?'


Michael Moore: L is for Loser?

Michael Moore’s $2M playhouse: 

Does the hypocrite film director live like the 1% he condemns?

The Michigan View
The Michigan View of Michael Moore's playhouse on Torch lake....

To Al Gore’s power-sucking mega-mansion we can now add Michael Moore’s vast estate on the lake.
Gore was accused of hypocrisy for building himself a massive home many times larger than any one person could require, while criticizing others for wasting energy and using up more than their fair share of the earth’s resources.

Moore is a leading supporter of the Occupy movement, who eviscerates the wealthy while sharing their wealth, and lives in the sort of luxury he despises in others. Britain’s Daily Mail prints pictures of Moore’s lavish “second home” on Torch Lake in Michigan, where he lives near a number of other wealthy entertainers and corporate titans.

The photos, first posted by conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart, show a mammoth log and glass home with extensive grounds and lengthy waterfront exposure. The Daily Mail wrote:
Local real estate agents estimate the real value of the compound at $2 million, according to The Michigan View. It places the property near the top one per cent of home values in the Forest Home Township and in the state of Michigan. The township is roughly 98 per cent white residents, according to statistics from 2009.
It’s no secret that Moore has made millions from his muckraking documentaries, and there’s no reason he shouldn’t have. As one of the most successful documentary film-makers ever, he’s successfully tapped a rich vein of anti-capitalist rhetoric that sells well among U.S. liberals.

Alliance Films

Michael Moore declares the New York Stock Exchange a crime scene in his new film, Capitalism: A Love Story

What puts Moore in the Gore  camp is his refusal to admit he shares the wealth of his targets, as if wealth and success in themselves are dishonourable. In an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan he quails when asked to admit “the bleeding obvious”, i.e. that he’s a member of the 1%.

“How can I be in the 1%?” Moore responds. “Even though I do well, I don’t associate myself with those who do well. I am devoting my life to those who have less and have been crapped on by the system.”

Here’s the conceit: Moore, and the Occupy movement, happily lump all wealthy people into one big pot and condemn them for the mere fact of having money. Being among the 1% is enough in itself to deserve Moore’s condemnation and that of the people occupying tents across the U.S., and Canada.

REUTERS/Mark Blinch
Michael Moore has made millions from his muckraking documentaries

Neither Moore nor his supporters will concede that not all wealthy people are greed-driven charlatans from Wall Street, or that many of them — probably the majority — give generously to those in need. Just as generously as Moore himself. The two wealthiest men in the U.S.,  Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, have combined to support a foundation that will give tens of billions of dollars to education, health, science and to development causes in the world’s poorest countries. It’s far more than Moore could ever hope to give.

Moore tars everyone with the same brush, exempting only himself, and on the self-serving basis that he doesn’t “associate” himself with the 1%. So, if he makes millions of dollars and lives like a pasha, but sympathizes with the downtrodden and doesn’t “associate” himself with his fellow millionaires, he’s not really a rich white man with a big house? Yet he’s free to lambaste other millionaires, many of whom may be far more generous than him. Why? Because they don’t wear a baseball cap on TV? Is the determining criteria for membership in the hated 1% a willingness to wear a tie?

Moore would be much more worthy of respect if he were more honest, and acknowledged his own wealth and lifestyle if he wants to condemn others. Success is nothing to be ashamed of, or justification for the kind of public ridicule Moore likes to direct towards it. The real evil is greed, and the corruption that often accompanies it. But greed is not a private preserve of the wealthy, and  isn’t nearly as easy a target as the crime of being rich.

by: Kelly McParland of the National Post
Nov 14, 2011

Monday, 14 November 2011

EU stresses privacy in new airport body scanner rules!

November 14, 2011,

EU stresses privacy in new airport body scanner rules,

Toronto Star,

The European Union on Monday adopted a new set of guidelines governing the use of body scanners and addressing privacy concerns that have delayed their use at airports across the continent.
Siim Kallas, the EU commissioner responsible for transport, said that under the rules the technology will only be used with strict safeguards to protect health and fundamental rights. "Security scanners are not a panacea but they do offer a real possibility to reinforce passenger security," he said.
The scanners, some of which produce nude-like images of passengers, are already used in the United States and elsewhere as a more effective method of screening passengers than metal detectors. Scanner technology is developing rapidly and has the potential to significantly reduce invasive pat-downs. The latest machines are equipped with software that displays a generic outline of a human body, with a red box around the area where a passenger may be concealing an object.
EU member states and airports do not have an obligation to deploy security scanners, but if they decide to use them, they will have to comply with the operational conditions and performance standards set at European level, the transport commission said. Under the new legislation, security scanners must not store or copy any of the images, and the security staff analyzing the images will be located in a room separate from where the actual screening is conducted. In addition, passengers must be informed and be given the right to choose an alternative method of screening.
And in order not to risk jeopardizing citizens' health and safety, only security scanners that do not use X-ray technology can be used at EU airports, the commission said.
my response....If anyone hasn't noticed, terrorist hijackings are fewer today because we've learned how to thwart these murderous attempts! But still, there are those who would rather complain at rules put in place to save their life! It's pointless to challenge security agents when singled out for a body scan or a body pat-down. If complainers want to express their anger, at least they should direct it where it is due!

Security Agents have been directed by law to ensure the safety of all passengers after the 9/11 attacks, when 19 terrorists, 15 from Saudi Arabia, two from the United Arab Emirates and one each from Egypt and Lebanon, 14 with "al" in their names who took over commercial aircraft with box-cutters. Afterwhich, both the Canadian and American governments banned sharp objects from planes.

It wasn't that long ago when I waited patiently behind an 85 year old lady in Logan Airport who came up for special treatment. I think they called it 'random testing' at the time! Despite finding it difficult to comply, she did her best and didn't complain.
Airport security began confiscating little old ladies' knitting needles and breaking the mouse-sized nail files off of passengers' nail clippers. Surprisingly, no decrease in the number of hijacking attempts by little old ladies and manicurists was noted.
After another terrorist, Richard Reid, AKA Tariq Raja, AKA Abdel Rahim, AKA Abdul Raheem, AKA Abu Ibrahim, AKA Sammy Cohen (which was only his eHarmony alias), tried to blow up a commercial aircraft with explosive-laden sneakers, both governments prohibited more than 3 ounces of liquid from being carried on airplanes. On my last flight, I had to finish the contents of my water bottle before clearing customs.
All passengers were required to take off their shoes for special security screening, which did not thwart a single terrorist attack, but made airport security checkpoints a lot smellier.
After terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab of Nigeria tried to detonate explosive material in his underwear over Detroit, the authorities began requiring nude body scans at airports.
The machines, which cannot detect chemicals or plastic, would not have caught the diaper bomber. So, again, no hijackers were stopped.
After explosives were inserted in two ink cartridges and placed on a plane headed to the United States, but flying over Canada from Yemen, authorities banned printer cartridges from all domestic flights, resulting in no improvement in airport security.
Can we stop a terrorist attack simply by searching for the explosives? Some say, 'not any more than you can stop crime by taking guns away from the good guys'.
In the 1970s, liberal ideas on crime swept both countries. Gun owners were treated like criminals while actual criminals were coddled and released. If only we treated criminals with dignity and respect and showed them the system was blind and dumb, liberals told us, criminals would reward us with good behaviour.
As is now well known, crime exploded in the '70s. It took decades of conservative law-and-order policies to get crime back to near-1950s levels.
It's similarly pointless to treat all Canadians as if they're potential terrorists while trying to find and confiscate anything that could be used as a weapon. We can't search all passengers for explosives because terrorists stick explosives up their anuses. 
You have to search for the terrorists.
Fortunately, that's the one advantage we have in this war. In a lucky stroke, all the terrorists have been swarthy, foreign-born males, so far. This would give us a major leg up, if only the liberals weren't involved.
Is there any question that we'd be looking for Swedes if the 9/11 terrorists, the shoe bomber, the diaper bomber and the printer cartridge bomber had all been Swedish? If the Irish Republican Army were bombing our planes, wouldn't we be looking for people with Irish surnames and an Irish appearance?
Only because the terrorists practice a common religion do we pretend not to notice who keeps trying to blow up our planes.
It would be harder to find Swedes or Irish boarding commercial airliners in Canada than terrorists. Swarthy foreigners stand out like a sore thumb in an airport. The Canadian domestic flying population is remarkably homogenous. An airport is not a Bay department store.
Only about a third of all Canadians flew even once in the last year, and only 7 percent took more than four round trips. The majority of airline passengers are middle-aged, middle-class, white businessmen with about a million frequent flier miles. I'd wager that more than 90 percent of domestic air travellers were born in Canada.
If the government did nothing more than have a five-minute conversation with the one passenger per flight born outside Canada, you'd need 90 percent fewer security agents and airlines would still be as safe as they are now.
Instead, the government keeps ordering more invasive searches of all passengers, without exception, except members of Parliament and other government officials, who get VIP treatment.
Is it becoming increasingly obvious that we need to keep government hacks and assorted hanger's on as far away from airport security as possible?

Is the closure of the Air Museum in Toronto a disgrace?

The continuing saga about closure of the Air Museum in Toronto is a disgrace and I hope by shining my light, this little piece of our history will remain! Looking at the images brought to mind the hundreds of 'Rosie the Riveters' on the Lancaster line at Victory Aircraft and the dedicated work that they did in those dark days and thought that my readers might be interested in a little look back, again!

In the later years of WW2, my parents were both in their late teens and like most of their peers, decided to join the war effort. My father signed on to the RCAF, receiving his Flight Officer's commission when only 19
; in fact, I still have his commission, his medals and his Flight Officer's uniform. My mother becoming one of the many 'Rosie the Riveters', at Victory Aircraft Limited, Malton, Ontario, building the Lancasters that my Dad would fly!

The work force at Victory escalated from 3,300 in 1942 to 9,521 in 1944, most of them initially unskilled and about a quarter of them women. To facilitate the manufacture, an RAF Lancaster from England (R-5727) was flown across the Atlantic in August, 1942 to act as a 'pattern' and the Canadian prototype, with serial number KB-700, rolled off the assembly line on August 1, 1943.

Living on the family farm on Yonge Street, near Finch, public transit to Malton would often take her 90 minutes each way and the work was loud and hot but she told me she worked with a great crew who had a job to do!

Eventually, production reached the level of one aircraft per day with a total of 430 Lancaster Mk. X's being built. Of the Canadian-built Lancs, some one hundred were lost in wartime service, approximately seventy missing in action and about thirty others crashing upon their return to England or in training. KB-732 flew the most operations of any Canadian-built Lancaster, completing 83 during its tour of duty with 419 squadron.

Following victory in Europe, three of the Canadian Squadrons began ferrying ex-Prisoners of War, many of whom were Canadian aircrew, back to England. But the war in the Pacific was still raging and the rest of Canadian Lancasters were flown home to be prepared for service against the Japanese. This bomber group was to be known as 'Tiger Force', training out of CFB Comox, on Vancouver Island where my father was stationed but plans were cancelled after the unconditional surrender of Japan in August, 1945........the roar of squadrons of mighty Lancasters was heard for the last time.

For those who are interested, they can still see the 'Andy' Mynarski Memorial Lancaster at the Hamilton Warplane Heritage Museum that just flew in the CNE Air Show.


Sunday, 13 November 2011

Christmas 2011 -- the Birth of a New Tradition?

November 13, 2011,

Christmas 2011 -- the Birth of a New Tradition?

As the holidays approach, giant foreign factories are kicking into high gear to provide Canadians with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods....merchandise that has been produced at the expense of Canadian labour. 

Let this year be different! 

This year can be the year to give the gift of genuine concern for your neighbours. 

It is no longer an excuse that there is nothing that can be found that is produced by Canadian hands at Christmas time because the answer is....yes, there are plenty of ideas! 

It's time to think outside the Christmas box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in foreign produced wrapping paper? 
Everyone -- yes EVERYONE can have something supplied locally for Christmas!

#1 - everyone needs a hair cut some time? How about giving a wag jag gift certificate from your local hair salon or barber?

#2 - some may like a gym membership? Isn't it appropriate to give a wag jag coupon for those who are thinking about weight loss?

#3 - car detailed?
Who wouldn't appreciate getting a wag jag coupon from small, Canadian-owned detail shops and car washes.

Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plunking down all those loonies on a foreign made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would prefer a wag jag coupon to get his....
#4 - driveway sealed, or
#5 - lawn mowed for the summer, or
#6 - driveway plowed all winter, or
#7 - some games at the local golf course.
#8 - restaurants --
There are hundreds of local restaurants offering wag jag gift certificates for every taste. Now we can plan our holiday outings at local, owner-operated restaurants and leave our server a nice tip.  
#9 - local breakfast joint -  what about a half dozen breakfast wag jag coupons

Remember folks, this isn't about big National chains -- this is about supporting your neighbour so they will keep their doors open. If you don't care, who will?

What about......

#10 - an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle -
How many people couldn't use a wag jag coupon for a shop run by the typical Canadian working guy who lives in your neighbourhood?

#11 - a local cleaning lady for a day
- thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE a wag jag coupon! She may even put her feet you do!

#12 -
a computer repair - who's computer could use a wag jag coupon for a tune-up?

OK, you were looking for something more personal. what about a wag jag coupon from local crafts people who..
#13 -
spin their own wool and knit them into scarves? 
#14 - make jewelry?
#15 - make pottery?
#16 -
or make beautiful wooden boxes?

Who wouldn't appreciate an evening...

#17 - at their hometown theatre - what about a wag jag coupon to see a play or ballet?

#18 - listening to a local band -
Musicians need love too, so what about a wag jag for an evenings entertainment?

Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand foreign lights for your home? When you buy a five dollar string of lights, only about fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.

You see, Christmas is no longer about draining Canadian pockets so that others can build another glittering city somewhere around the world. Christmas can be about caring; encouraging Canadian small businesses to keep plugging away and follow our dreams. And, when we care about other Canadians, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine.

Giving a wag jag or two can be the new Canadian Christmas tradition...and you won't have to stand in line at the mall, either!

Forward this to everyone on your mailing list -- post it to discussion groups -- throw up a post on twitter -- send it to the editor of your local paper and radio stations, and TV news departments. This can be a revolution of caring about each other.....and isn't that what Christmas is all about?

It has just been reported that Ontario has lost 300,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs since 2002 and if, by their dumping, they succeed in killing off what little is left of our manufacturing, just watch prices rise! 
BUY CANADIAN - BE  CANADIAN - The job you save might be your own!!

Letter: Attempt to spread Occupy protest to Queen’s Park fails,

Attempt to spread Occupy protest to Queen’s Park fails,

by: Alyshah Hasham, Toronto Star, Staff Reporter,

Saturday, November 12, 2011,

Despite threats by the mob
; who don't even add up to 1% mind you, their failure to condemn the giant Ponzi schemes of government entitlement programs and public sector greed while instead rejecting taxpayer's values of working hard to create a good life is what renders their concerns mute!

Who do they think they're fooling?

So count me as part of the 98% who condemn financial fraud and political corruption on one hand and the absurd and blatantly inconsistent on the other!


Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Letter: Greek PM, a glimpse of expediency?

November 2, 2011,

Greek PM faces showdown.

Is Papandreou saving his career at the expense of the global economy or is a referendum the only way to save it? Some see his referendum as a reckless move by a cornered politician who refuses to shoulder the legacy of brutal cost-cutting measures. Others charge it is a brilliant, gutsy strategy designed to silence his critics and ultimately garner the support the bailout needs to be successful.

When we hear French President Nicolas Sarkozy say, "This announcement took the whole of Europe by surprise," on the steps of the Elysee Palace in Paris yesterday. "The plan ... is the only way to solve Greece's debt problem" with Jean-Claude Juncker, the chairman of euro zone finance ministers saying, "Greece could go bankrupt if voters rejected the bailout package" and Japanese Finance Minister Jun Azumi saying, "Everyone is bewildered."

You know the players are getting desperate, especially when we read "That's enough now: Greeks out!" from Kronen Zeitung, on the front page of Austria's biggest-selling paper with more vitriol from the Greek press; including dailies traditionally friendly to the government, almost unanimously condemning Papandreou. Centre-left newspaper Eleftherotypia even described the prime minister on its front page as “The Lord of Chaos.” Ethnos, another pro-government paper, called the referendum “suicidal.”

Which brings us to question Ontario's future should the Greeks decide that onerous debt brought to them by back-room money dealers and assorted hangers-on does not fit into their future plans. Once the economic engine of Canada when Bill Davis was Premier and after only 6 years of unbridled socialism under Dalton McGuinty's leadership, no less, Ontario became an official have-not province in 2009 collecting a government cheque for the first time in our history! Shameful!!

With little to show since and notwithstanding taxpayer encouragement, is it possible that Dwight Duncan's meager attempt at finally reigning in his uncontrolled spending habits by reviewing the deceiving FIT energy program could be just a long overdue attempt to forestall a bond holder haircut resulting from Ontario's mind-boggling
annual budget deficit of $16.3 Billion dollars," as in $16,300,000,000 and the "accumulated debt exceeding $235 Billion dollars," as in $235,000,000,000? I mean, little Greece was allowed to grow their accumulated debt  to $500 Billion before they came to the crossroads! When will the ponzi-schemers in Ontario realize we have come to ours?

Rating agencies, in a clear declaration of skepticism regarding this government's capacity to rein in its spending have already expressed their concern that these folks are capable of implementing a multi-year financial plan, with the intention of restoring a balanced budget by 2018. Meeting that target would require ongoing expenditure restraint in divergence from historical growth trends while achieving forecast revenue targets through projected tax increases.

But with
the province’s long-term debt rating already at a AA downgrade; resulting in a raising of Ontario’s cost of financing and reducing our credibility in global markets, has the 'proverbial horse already left the barn'?

Another downgrade, with others to follow as we roll down the other side of this mountain is frustrating for those who see the folly of onerous public debt as new bondholders will doubtless demand double-digit yields; but they'll be taking a greater risk, assuming they are willing to part with their capital at all and certainly would expect to earn a greater reward for buying any sovereign debt, should they ever get paid out! But with interest payments threatening to become our largest expenditure after health; as Greeks and Americans are finding out, many know this can't go on much longer!

But the way things have been; up to yesterday, at least, that risk was being masked by an insidious fairy tale that
sovereign debt somehow comes with a repayment guarantee but the unfortunate victims of this fairy tale are young Greeks, Americans, and yes Ontarian's, too when they realize they are tied to a debt run up by an older generation. If the Greeks can walk away, why can't we?

Attracted by unprecedented yields, will high-risk betters bail before the inevitable bondholder haircut leaving the hapless to pick up the pieces anyway? Just like the credit squeeze in the run up to the Great Depression, ignoring the reality that bills have to be paid and instead choosing endless band-aids only feeds a deep moral abyss creating an even deeper hole for the younger generation. In Ontario specifically, some fault lies with the post-Davis administrations, specifically the Peterson Administration, doubtless more with the Rae Administration when assistance from the IMF was starting to look good, but some fault lies with investors for making risky bets! Shouldn't they pay too?

As unpleasant as it may sound, to default and restructure remains the method of last resort for loans that should never have been made in the first place. The reality is that governments do default; it has happened before to Argentina and will happen again!
If Papandreou’s Socialist government falls, it would not be the first in Europe to be toppled by the austerity demanded by European debt relief. In Ireland and Portugal, governments fell after accepting bailouts from the European Union and the IMF, and last month the Slovakian government fell over a vote on whether to participate in the European Union’s rescue package. But these lessons are being ignored in an over-borrowed Queen's Park as if it doesn't fit with someone's economic fantasy. But all of this may be a moot point if, and when investor's say, enough is enough, as France and Germany have just done to the Greeks and China has just done to the Americans! The only question is...should Greeks, and then Italians, Spaniards, Americans, and yes Ontarian's, too continue to pay never ending interest on top of interest payments, seemingly without end or say NO and pull the plug?

Despite plenty of complicating factors, not the least of which is the viability of myopic banks who are now treading water with debt tied to stagnant CDO's and who no doubt regret pouring as much as they already have into
these deep holes, don't our young deserve a new beginning?

Should Papandreou’s referendum gamble result in a “no” vote; as a recent poll says 60% do not support his government's austerity measures, this would have enormous consequences not just for Greece, but possibly for the rest of the world. It would no doubt lead to a disorderly Greek default, force Greece out of the 17-nation euro zone, certainly topple many European banks as well as other fragile banks around the world. Rejection by the Greeks of the continuing European bail-out saga; where the bondholders have already agreed to increase their haircut from 21% to 50%, will certainly cascade destruction through Europe and maybe into North America, too, so we may not even have a choice but to watch the unraveling of our joint financial architecture, such that it is that condones the mortgaging of our children's future.

Is it possible that wiping the slate clean with a general bondholder haircut may have always been the inevitable result when socialists are allowed to run amok? We may know the answer to that question before the end of this year!