Tuesday, 29 January 2013

What to do when the system is not working?

Dear Reader,

Today's news article review is entitled, ''Strict' conditions on accused killer weren't worth paper they were written on', wonderfully written by Michele Mandel of the Toronto Sun. My response is below with room for your comment below that, unless you prefer to send an email but please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack others personally, and keep your language decent.

As family and friends prepare to hold a candlelight vigil in memory of Bridget Takyi, the man accused of killing and setting her on fire was remanded in custody again Friday. Emmanuel Owusu-Ansah remains behind bars, as he should have been when he was first charged with threatening to kill her back on Dec. 5, 2012.
“She was afraid; she was nervous,” says her cousin, Kingsley Yeboah, as the family prepared for the Saturday evening vigil and her Feb. 2 funeral. “That’s the reason why she pressed charges against him. She was hoping for protection.” Instead, the hardworking 27-year-old was brutally slain after dropping off the couple’s two little sons at her mother’s home so she could leave for work.

Sources have confirmed Owusu-Ansah, 30, was already known to police when he was arrested last month on eight domestic violence charges involving Takyi, including three counts of assault — one dating back to 2009, two of assault with a weapon and two of possessing weapons dangerous to the public, in addition to threatening death.

For some unknown reason — the proceedings are subject to a publication ban — justice of the peace Peter Wilson decided he should be released. Wilson set bail at $5,000 — no deposit — and released Owusu-Ansah into the care of a surety who assured the court that he would remain at his side 24 hours a day.

In addition to house arrest, Owusu-Ansah was not to contact Takyi in any way or be within 500 metres of her Etobicoke address; he was not to possess any weapons or “explosive substance” and within 60 days, he was to attend “any assessment, treatment or counselling for any psychiatric issues” and allow his surety to confirm his participation.

Those “strict” conditions weren’t worth the paper they were written on. Police believe his surety was sleeping when they allege Owusu-Ansah slipped out in the early hours of Jan. 19. “There’s no evidence to suggest he did anything wrong,” says Homicide Det. Sgt. Brian Borg of the surety. “He feels horrible about it.”

Owusu-Ansah was arrested for first-degree murder at a Mississauga gas station just hours after Takyi’s body, burned beyond recognition, was discovered at 7 a.m. outside her mother’s apartment building near Eglinton Ave. W. and Martin Grove Rd. As she approached her parked car to head to Pearson airport where she worked as a waitress for Air Canada’s Maple Leaf lounge, police say she was repeatedly stabbed and then doused with a flammable liquid and set ablaze.

At the scene, they found a $10 gas can and the box for a knife called “The Best Defense.” Now, at the site where the beautiful Ghanian native died such a horrific, agonizing death, her family and friends plan to gather at 5 p.m. Saturday with white candles and questions. So many questions. How could somebody accused of beating their estranged partner and threatening to kill her still be allowed out on the streets?

And will anyone hold that JP accountable? “Somebody like him shouldn’t be out on bail,” insists Takyi’s cousin. “He should at least have had some sort of tracking bracelet so they could detect where he was.”
Why not mandatory GPS anklets? If our justice system is going to insist on giving house arrest to people charged with violent crimes, then there must be a better way of monitoring them.

The cases are legion: accused Eaton Centre shooter Chris Husbands was on house arrest, teenaged cop killer Nadeem Jiwa was supposed to have a curfew, double-murderer Nathaniel O’Brien was being “monitored” by his parents. Takyi went to the authorities for protection. But they let her down. “I hope things will change now because the system is not working,” Yeboah says. “If somebody like him can be out, I don’t think that’s right, I don’t think that’s right at all.”

                                                      Where was Justice for Bridget Takyi?

my response.....

When you consider that in just one week, we have Justice Charles Hackland's decision concerning a City of Toronto action being reversed on appeal for making a 'error in law' that could have resulted in a democratically elected mayor removed from office essentially on the basis of a resolution that Toronto council had no authority to pass and now, we have a fellow who should never have been released from jail with 8 domestic violence charges outstanding provided with a no deposit set bail only to attack and kill his wife. Is it any wonder our Social Agencies and Police throw their hands in air in despair? This poor woman went to these agencies looking for help! Her life was in danger. The Police knew it. The Women's shelters knew it! Why didn't the JP? This sorry state of affairs begs the question....could we reduce or even eliminate this problem if our judiciary were elected?

                              Democrat Hon. Thomas P. Amodeo, elected to the Buffalo City Court

American states have judges (up to the State Supreme Court) who are elected by the voters. Judges are then answerable to the people.  Governor or Legislative Appointment: In 4 states, judges are appointed by the governor or (in South Carolina and Virginia) the legislature. Gubernatorial appointments
usually require the consent of the upper house of the legislature or the participation of a special commission such as an executive council. In most of these states, judges serve a term (ranging from 6 to 14 years) and then may be reappointed in the same manner. In Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, judges enjoy lifetime or near-lifetime tenure. Merit Plan: In 23 states, judges are nominated by a nonpartisan commission, and then appointed by the governor. Judges serve a term and then are subject to a retention election, where they run alone, and voters can either approve another term or vote against them. Terms vary but on the whole are less than those in appointment states. Nonpartisan Election: In 15 states, judges run for election. Their political affiliations are not listed on the ballot, and so voters, unless specifically informed, do not know a candidate's political party. These judges serve a term and then may run for reelection. The terms range from 6 to 10 years. Partisan Election: In 8 states, like New York for example, judges run for election as a member of a political party. They serve a term in the range of 6 to 10 years for the most part and then may run for reelection. This is, one could argue, more democratic than having judges be appointed.  If a judge makes too many decisions that are out of line with what taxpayers believe, he or she can be removed.

                                                 Ontario Attorney General Chris Bentley 
While there are some very compelling arguments for and against a person being either appointed as a judge or justice of the peace by the provincial Attorney General or elected by the people, I would suspect that many people would agree that no matter what method, a judge or justice of the peace must be impartial and the selection of judges should not be based on politics, but on a person’s ability to be fair and impartial.  Cynics may argue that the voting public isn’t equipped to determine the most qualified candidate, especially those susceptible to influence by special interest groups but judicial decisions become law and can have a great impact on the taxpayer. So, should the taxpayer have the final say in selecting the judiciary that presides over our court rooms?




Is it time to stand up for what's right, and for Canada?

Dear Readers,

                                                                   Genghis Khan
my response....

According to Uzaer Ahmed of Toronto, Genghis Khan was one of the most brutal rulers in history. One of the keys to his great conquests was his use of horses in the battle field. But would you say that the Mongolian horses were evil, or that the way they were used was evil? It would be preposterous to say the horses were evil. Well, crazy as it sounds, that’s what today’s media is doing. Even though it’s clear that certain terrorists are using Islam as a vehicle to achieve their own evil desires, the media never fails to link them to Islam with Orwellian propagandist terms such as “Islamist

Uzaer, who wrote this for the National Post is a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, which has been spreading the message of love and peace for over a century and finds it extremely disturbing when the media refers to any terrorists as “Islamic". Islam is not evil, the way it is being used by these terrorists is evil. If Anders Breivik were Muslim, the headlines would’ve been scattered with references to Islam, yet not if he were of any other religion. We need to examine this troubling truth.
Peter Worthington has gone on record since as saying that Premier-elect 'Wynne tends to see things differently. For example, only McGuinty’s veto when she was education minister prevented her from authorizing a version of Shariah law in Ontario to the horror of many Muslims who came to Canada to escape Shariah'.
                                                    Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Prime Minister Stephen Harper gets it! Will Premier-elect Kathleen Wynne get it, too? Only time will tell!

 bio at http://about.me/brianweller
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...or is it overdue?   

It's almost time to drop the puck!

Dear Readers,

Today, I present an article entitled 'Pond hockey ignites Canadian tradition', by Darren Lum of the
Haliburton Echo, a Metroland newspaper published on January 21st. Below is my response and below that, room for your comment, unless you prefer to send an email but please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack others personally, and keep your language decent.

The Trailer Park Boys Scott Neilson, from front left, Brad Park, Jeff Wilson, Jesse Johnson and Ryan Wood is the only local entry at this year's Canadian National Pond Hockey Championships in Haiburton. This is the team's first entry to the national championship. They will play this weekend starting on Friday at 1 p.m. and 4:20 p.m. on Head Lake and 8 a.m. and 9:40 at the Pinestone Resort on Saturday. Finals are Sunday. Absent is Jeremy Miscio. DARREN LUM/HALIBURTON ECHO/QMI AGENCY
The Trailer Park Boys Scott Neilson, from front left, Brad Park, Jeff Wilson, Jesse Johnson and Ryan Wood is the only local entry at this year's Canadian National Pond Hockey Championships in Haiburton. This is the team's first entry to the national championship. They will play this weekend starting on Friday at 1 p.m. and 4:20 p.m. on Head Lake and 8 a.m. and 9:40 at the Pinestone Resort on Saturday. Finals are Sunday. Absent is Jeremy Miscio.                    DARREN LUM/HALIBURTON ECHO/QMI AGENCY
Come this weekend, Haliburton will host a Canadian winter fantasy. With hockey players of every type skating, passing and shooting pucks, Head Lake and the pond in front of the Pinestone Resort will be a showcase of Canadiana with the Canadian Pond Hockey Championships Jan. 25 to 27 and Feb. 1 to 3. Although last year the event was cancelled, mainly due to weather, it has returned, leaving behind Huntsville for the Haliburton Highlands for the first time since it started in 2006.

Founder Neil Lumsden appreciated the volunteer efforts in Muskoka, but thinks the Highlands offers less of a corporate atmosphere and more of a community one. “It extends even further into the community and I think when it comes to building an event that will last … the idea is to find the location we have … it’s limitless other than the weather,” he said.

Lumsden co-founded the event with Mark DeNobile and Dorian Andrewes. The inaugural event was at the Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville seven years ago. It drew 110 men’s teams and 20 women’s teams from seven provinces and five U.S. states.The event grew from there. By 2007, the event expanded to two weekends to accommodate growing popularity. Teams have come from the U.S., Scotland and as far as Japan.

Games have two 15-minute halves and are monitored by an off-ice official. Without any offsides and icings, the game is a free-flowing affair (with no body-checking) involving four players a side sans goalies. Teams are allowed two substitutes that can be switched on the fly. Equipment is at a minimum with just skates, sticks, hockey gloves, shin guards, helmets and sometimes elbow pads. Goals can only be scored from within the attacking zone.

Former NHLers the likes of Steve Larmer, Bryan Trottier, Scott Thornton, Brad Delgarno, Gary Leeman and Vincent Damphousse have played, as well as musician Jim Cuddy. Walter Gretzky has been an honourary member. This year’s honourary chairperson is Walt McKechnie. Lumsden is a former CFL player, who played for the Toronto Argonauts, Edmonton Eskimos and the Hamilton Ti-cats. He said sport, like this event, has always been about the people more than anything else.

“When it’s all said and done you don’t remember who scored the goals. You remember who you were playing with. So, the people you meet in sport are what’s really important,” he said. “I met and got to know a lot of really great people that played and continue to play in this event. So, for me that is a highlight.”
He’s reminded of a year when ice conditions deteriorated because of warm temperatures.
As Lumsden was making the call to stop play, he remembers a guy came up to him.

“Look, this is pond hockey. Don’t worry about it. It’s not going to be perfect,” the man said. “So, everyone took their skates off and put their boots on and played like [it was] street hockey,” Lumsden remembers.
It was a testament to the kind of people drawn to this event. This event is more than just a game. It goes deeper.

“Once you get here and play it’s kind of special. And that to me … to watch people play and enjoy, that’s all I need,” he said.  On Friday night McKecks Tap and Grill in Haliburton will host an event scheduled for 9 p.m. Confirm with McKecks ahead of time by calling 705-854-0012.

                                                            Current Pond Hockey action!
my response.....

Judging by the number of players that come back year after year, Pond Hockey must be more than just a game, as Neil suggests. Similar tournaments, like the one invading Haliburton this weekend are active across Canada and the United States.

                                                                  The Skatin' Kates

The "Skatin' Kates" barnstorming hockey team. Traveled the North Country by dogsled and toboggan, taking on all challengers during the winter of 1925. They left behind a trail of broken hearts and dented twine.
                                                                  The Pepper Brothers

The Pepper Brothers--Pip, Pep, and Pop, practicing the infamous "Pepper Pond Power Play." Note: Horse-drawn Zamboni in background.

                                                      More Current Pond Hockey action!

Very popular with the older crowd, this year marks the first time for a GreyBreads division, for those over 50 who are just plain tired of chasing youngsters around the rink. Our Precision Label Slo-Timers will be playing again this year. As Neil's Pond Hockey tournament has been active since 2006, many of the originals players fit nicely into this category.

                                                       Pond Hockey 2013 in Haliburton!

Friday night, when Pond Hockey is finished for the night, the party will be on at McKecks Tap and Grill in Haliburton. Owned and operated by Walt McKechnie who played with the Leafs way back when, this is a popular 'watering hole' and is expected to fill up early.

                                                           The Precision Label Slo-Timers


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.. Slo-Timers will be there!  

Rewriting the language of gun control?

Dear Readers,

Today, I bring you an article entitled, 'Liberals rewriting the language of gun control', by Melvan Jacob of the Chicago Tribune. Below is my response and below that, room for your comment, unless you prefer to send an email but please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack others personally, and keep your language decent.

Gun control works great if you're the one who controls the guns

The phrase “gun control” may be disappearing from the American debate, jettisoned by the very people who have long favored gun control. Initiatives are now described as attempts to promote “gun safety” or prevent “criminal access to guns” or pass “gun violence legislation.”
This month, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has a master’s degree in speech and communication from Northwestern University, urged gun reform activists to make sure their pitch emphasizes the war on crime. “It’s all about criminal access,” Emanuel said. “It’s not about gun control. It’s about criminal access. That changes the debate.”
On Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden was asked about “gun control” at a Google+ online event and said: “I don’t view it as gun control. I view it as gun safety.” The Atlantic’s Molly Ball likened the shift in rhetoric to estate tax opponents complaining about the “death tax” and gay-marriage activists calling for “marriage equality” — in both cases, finding a more effective way to frame their positions.
Jonathon Schuldt, an assistant professor of communication at Cornell University, noted that Americans care deeply for personal freedom, making “control” a word that evokes government regulation and may have negative connotations.“It’s really easy to justify why one is against ‘control,’ ” he said. “But it’s way harder to be against ‘safety.’ ” “Subtle, tiny word changes can have a surprisingly big effect on public opinion,” Schuldt said. “Gun control” has a long history in American politics.
A groundbreaking federal law was even called that — the Gun Control Act of 1968. But that was an era when even the National Rifle Association endorsed some new gun restrictions, and even Democratic President John Kennedy carried an NRA card. These days, the opponents on the gun issue seem more polarized, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., referring to “gun grabbers” and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., calling the NRA “enablers of mass murder.”
Yet with the abandonment of “gun control” and the focus on “criminal use,” perhaps left and right are moving closer together, at least rhetorically. “It’s not about keeping bad guns out of the hands of good people,” Biden said. “It’s about keeping all guns out of the hands of bad people.” Which doesn’t sound much different from the conservatives’ old bumper sticker: “Guns don’t kill people — people do.”
                                                       Good for me...but not for thee?

my response......

Are Barack Obama and Joe Biden little more than political operatives who got elected by masquerading as centrists and reelected by repeatedly calling Mitt Romney an insensitive rich guy? No Presidential duo in the last 50 years has attracted nearly as many financiers, paid off more financial supporters with government jobs, fired more personal insults at those with whom they disagree with or given more non-substantive interviews. As time passes, will it become evident even to the disinterested that these two are at best superficial thinkers and anything but leaders?

                                                                      Food for thought?

Americans are still asking, "Where are the survivors of Benghazi that the President was willing to let die with his orders of "Stand Down". Both he an Hillary are very careful keeping these 25 survivors away from the media but they have a tale to tell. Were they left for dead before they were rescued by two brave men? Why are they incarcerated and held incommunicado. Why have they been silenced by the administration? Are they even still alive? What are their names, where do they live, which country are they being held in against their will? Will Americans ever get any answers?

                                                                More Food for thought?

Unfortunately, too much of the blame goes to certain main street media; for lack of a more descriptive, albeit accurate term, who are supposed to be the 'adversary to power' no matter which party is in the White House or runs Congress but most of these main street media types currently act as nothing more than Obama's apologists. Even Greta van Susteren says, “Apparently, President Obama wants his usual media pass and Fox challenges his policies — which happens to be the media’s job,” Have certain main street media totally abdicated their traditional 4th estate role? Would Obama and Reid and the rest feel so secure in their pomposity and position of power if these media types were doing their job?

                                                         Obama and the 20 thieves?

When I was in Journalism at Centennial College in the early '70's, I was taught that is the task of the fourth estate to challenge Government and their policies. The German Press failed to do so from 1933 onwards and the result was Hitler. The Russian Press failed do so and they got purges and the Gulags. The Chinese Press is not doing so and there is consequently no real opposition. Will anyone challenge Obama on his policies? Has anyone vetted or investigated him? When you consider all of the tales he has given, especially during the 2008 Campaign, a little oversight could be a good idea. What about the fact that median family income has fallen by $3,000 or house prices by 30%, or the fact that the REAL unemployment figure is closer 15% than the 7.8% he claims.

                                               British WW2 Prime Minister, Winston Churchill

There is so much more but Main Stream Media will not tell you or challenge him, nor will the likes of MSNBC or ABC, or NBC or CNN, now they have a new Left wing boss. If a leader like Churchill doesn't emerge soon, it looks like it will be up to main street Americans to challenge this Administration...and main street media!


 bio at http://about.me/brianweller
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Thursday, 24 January 2013

Is it not our right as taxpayers to expect reasonable security at our borders?

Dear Readers,

Today I bring you and article by Nicholas Keung, the Immigration Reporter for the Toronto Star, published on Thursday January 24, 2013 entitled 'Immigration backlog: Anti-fraud measures add years to citizenship process'. Once again, it is presented verbatim, below is my response and below that, room for your comment, unless you prefer to send an email but please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack others personally, and keep your language decent.

Mana Golnazi, an Iranian engineer, had already passed her citizenship exam when she was asked in Juy to leap another hurdle on her way to citizenship: a residence questionnaire. She has since learned it will take up to four years before it's assessed.                                                     SUPPLIED PHOTO

Extra scrutiny introduced by Ottawa to crack down on citizenship fraud means thousands of immigrants will have to wait as long as nine years to become full-fledged citizens. Until recently, immigrants with permanent resident status had to wait three years before filing a citizenship application, which would then take about 21 months to process in routine cases — for a total of about five years.

Last May, the federal government introduced a more rigorous “residence questionnaire” for some applicants, to establish proof that they’ve actually been present in Canada. Applicants were told the detailed four-page forms — which must be accompanied by proof such as tax returns, pay stubs, and airline tickets to document even brief absences — would take 15 months to process.

But this month, those applicants are learning they’ll have to wait four more years to get their files assessed.
Mana Golnazi, a Toronto engineer who came here from Iran in 2008, calls the process “frustrating.”
“We feel like we are held hostage by the government,” she said.

Golnazi, 33, was asked to fill out the questionnaire after she passed the citizenship test in July. She was shocked when she called to get an update on her application and was told she’d have to wait 48 months.
“I went to school here. I work hard. I pay taxes. I volunteer in the community. I am a good citizen. Where’s my rights after all these years?” said Golnazi, an IT business analyst.

“I can’t vote in the system that I’ve been contributing to. I do what good citizens do, but they don’t want to give me the same rights.” Many citizenship applicants have expressed similar frustration and anger about the delay on online forums. Golnazi — an avid volunteer for The Weekend to End Women’s Cancer, the Terry Fox Run and the Salvation Army — said she has been out of Canada only twice since her arrival, for a total of 28 days.

She took a vacation to England and visited her mother, who was battling cancer in Tehran.
Applicants can travel outside Canada, but need to obtain visas with the passport of their home country, which can be inconvenient and costly. According to the immigration department, about 60,000 citizenship applications were referred for further examination between May 7 and Sept. 28, 2012. Of those applicants, 11,000 were asked to fill out the questionnaires.

“When a residence questionnaire and further investigations are involved, it is no longer routine ... The time needed to process non-routine cases varies from one case to another,” said department spokesperson Paul Northcott, adding that officials don’t keep track of the processing time of these cases. Officials could not say how they decide which applicants must complete the questionnaire. Neither could they provide statistics on the rate of acceptance or rejection for those who fill it out.

Alexis Pavlich, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s spokesperson, said the Conservative government has admitted a higher number of permanent residents each year than the previous Liberal government, which has put pressure on citizenship processing times. “Our government is committed to protecting the value of Canadian citizenship, which is why we are cracking down on residency and citizenship fraud,” Pavlich said in an email.

“This increased scrutiny has produced longer wait times in some cases, but will result in a cleaner, faster system in the long run.” MP Kevin Lamoureux, the Liberals’ immigration critic, said there are more than 300,000 permanent residents with citizenship applications in the backlog. “These processing times are totally unacceptable. We have thousands of potential citizens who are being denied the right to vote,” he said.

Palestinian immigrant Wael Saadeddin Gharbiyeh was sponsored to Canada by his Canadian wife in 2000. He passed his citizenship test in April 2010 but was handed the residence questionnaire after an officer questioned him about having an expired passport from Jordan. Gharbiyeh, who has a degree in accounting and finance from the South Illinois University Carbondale, calls the immigration department regularly for updates. Last August, he was told it would take 15 months for his file to be assessed.

When he called again in early January, the department said the wait time now stands at 48 months.
“I feel betrayed. They can’t put my life on hold like this,” said the Toronto father of two. “We are not asking to jump the queue, nor are we asking to be granted citizenship without scrutiny. What we are asking for is a reasonable time frame for the processing of our citizenship applications.”

Each year, 160,000 people receive Canadian citizenship. But the refusal rate has crept up over the past five years, from 1.4 per cent to 3.5 per cent. Besides passing the citizenship test, applicants must have basic command of English or French, and no criminal record.

Residents of a quiet east-Toronto neighbourhood are stunned to learn that terrorist Omar Khadr may be moving into their picturesque, tree-lined street when he returns to Canada.
                                       TOM GODFREY | QMI AGENCY on May 11th, 2012

my response.....                                                        

With all due respect to Miss Golzani, obtaining Canadian citizenship is a privilege and not a right! Her right to citizenship rests with Iran but if she chooses to make Canada her home, wouldn't she be best advised to follow the surprisingly simple process for becoming a Canadian citizen, assuming that facts and circumstances are on her side and she doesn't fail to meet minimum requirements?

Momin Khawaja leaves the Ottawa courthouse under RCMP protection on May 3, 2004. The constitutionality of Canada's anti-terror law comes under the microscope Friday when the Supreme Court of Canada delivers a series of major rulings on the legal definition of terrorism.
                                                     photo Tom Hanson, the Canadian Press

Some taxpayers, like Marilyn say, "We finally have a government in place that is prepared to tackle the Liberal's immigration mess and to better protect Canadians from immigration fraud. Canada has been subject to extensive abuse by 'Canadians of convenience' and is deemed to be the sucker of the world for having such lax immigration policies. This must stop.

Said Namouh is an unrepentant terrorist. From his apartment in Quebec, he spread al-Qaeda propaganda over the Internet and posted anonymous messages threatening the West with “slaughter” and urging violence until “religion will be for Allah alone."  by Stewart Bell, National Post

Veeh says, "Wait times up to 10 years are NOT uncommon. There are nations where newcomers are NEVER permitted to apply for citizenship. Canada has seen its hospitality abused in the past by those who use this nation as a 'safe haven' after 'freedom-fighting for their homelands'. This is about national security. Let's do it right. Reduce complaints by reducing immigration numbers? Prefer that, would you?"

Fawzi Ayub is a 45-year-old member of Hezbollah who uses the alias Frank Boschi and “should be considered armed and dangerous,” according to his entry on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list. He is also a Canadian.            by Stewart Bell, National Post

With so many horror stories about undesirables gaining entry in the not-to-distant past, is it not our right as taxpayers to expect reasonable security at our borders?

 bio at http://about.me/brianweller
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Monday, 21 January 2013

Is not getting caught in a lie the same as telling the truth?‏

Dear Readers,

Today I bring you a subject dear to the hearts of many Canadians...our justice system. Or more commonly known as our injustice system for it's many lapses. Court foibles, ostensibly created by lack of accountability have certainly made standing around the water cooler more interesting! This latest chapter is entitled 'let us defend innocent men' by Terrence Corcoran, published in the Globe and Mail. Once again, it is presented verbatim, below is my response and below that, room for your comment, unless you prefer to send an email but please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack others personally, and keep your language decent.

Let us now defend innocent men: Frank Dunn, Vic De Zen, Andrew Rankin, John Felderhof — all convincingly acquitted of corporate crime. They need defending against the persistent and slanderous media-fed belief that, in cases like these, acquittal does not end the presumption of guilt. It’s the Canadian system — of regulators, enforcement, police, government and even the judiciary — that failed to find them guilty of the wrongdoing they actually must have committed.

This must stop, this Canadian media ritual. Whenever some corporate accused is found not guilty, the hunt is on for an explanation of what is portrayed as a miscarriage of justice. And so, after an Ontario Superior Court Judge this week acquitted Frank Dunn and two other former Nortel executives of fraud, the insinuations began. A Globe and Mail reporter trotted out the familiar complaint: “Canada’s reputation remains intact as a place where convictions of white collar crime cases are rare.”

Such sentences contain the built-in assumption that a “white collar crime” has occurred, and implies that the Canadian system has failed because there was no conviction, which means the guilty were not found guilty. A Reuters news story followed the same logic, quoting a Washington lawyer making the same charge. “What the verdict here [Nortel] tells people is the difficulty of trying to prove these kind of cases. Financial fraud cases are notoriously difficult to prove.”

In other words, a crime or fraud is assumed to have occurred, but the regulators, prosecutors and others in Canada — including the courts — are just not capable of marshalling the evidence and reaching the conclusion that we all know to be true. Others said the Nortel acquittals proved, again, that the RCMP’s Integrated Market Enforcement Teams (IMETs) was inadequately trained or staffed, or lacked the legal and financial sophistication necessary. If only Canadian authorities were more competent, committed, experienced, dedicated, and aggressive — or perhaps less steeped in the ways of the corporate establishment — then Canada’s corporate criminals would be behind bars rather than free men.

Other legendary cases in this parade of innocent men include Vic De Zen, Andrew Rankin and John Felderhof. Let us all, as Canadians, recognize once and for all that these men, along with Mr. Dunn, have been found not guilty and have been acquitted of the allegations against them.  Vic De Zen: The former founder and CEO of Royal Group Technologies, who was dragged through an outrageous mud field of innuendo — ranging from drug dealing suspicions, hints of money laundering and fraud — before he was charged. After a monster trial, the case crashed in 2010.

Instead of assuming that Mr. De Zen is another Canadian the system failed to nail as criminal, let us note the unequivocal words of Ontario Justice Richard Blouin: “I am unable to conclude the defendants committed any dishonest acts, were deceitful, or employed any other fraudulent means to deprive, or put at risk of deprivation, the company.” He continued: “I find in this case the evidence to be overwhelming that there was no attempt to conceal anything.”

The Crown has appealed the De Zen acquittal, but that is not reason for observers and the media to continue to trot out Royal Group as an example of unpunished illegal behaviour. The judge found no case.
Andrew Rankin: Once portrayed as the centre of a vast Bay Street insider trading ring, Mr. Rankin was acquitted in 2006 after a court review. The vast insider ring proved to be nothing of the sort. Mr. Rankin was not part of whatever was going on, which mostly appears to have been the work of another man whose evidence was used against Mr. Rankin. The review court even went so far as to say that Mr. Rankin had been the victim of a “miscarriage of justice.”

John Felderhof: Mr. Felderhof is the global symbol of Canada’s alleged inability to convict the guilty. He became the central prosecutorial target in the wake of the Bre-X gold mine scandal of 1996, but after a trial that achieved notoriety for its length and hard-fought legal battles, Mr. Felderhof was acquitted.
No Canadian corporate crime story can be written without citing the Felderhof/Bre-X case as a template for Canada’s inability to come up with big corporate crime convictions, as if Canada were filled with corporate malefactors who escape punishment. It is long past time to purge Bre-X from the Canadian corporate psyche.

The Nortel executives, including Mr. Dunn, are likely to continue to be portrayed, in the indirect and slanderous way that is now typical, as men who escaped just desserts. If only Canada had tough corporate crime-fighting regime like the United States, where settlements and convictions seem more numerous.
Certainly settlements are common in the United States, but they do not mean that crime is more effectively punished or even exists. Nortel, after all, settled a U.S. class action suit and paid out $2.4-billion on the grounds that Mr. Dunn as CEO and other executives had cooked the books. Many would assume that Mr. Dunn was therefore guilty.

But as we now know, the Nortel settlement was a function of the now routine business of corporate capitulation in the face of regulatory attack or class action activism. Nortel’s settlement implied the guilt of a man who a court this week ruled, firmly and with conviction, was not guilty.
It is time to stop the endless prosecution and implied conviction of innocent men.

my response.....

Is it possible that Terrence has been drinking 'kool-aid' served by the accused or is he just playing devil's advocate, attempting to elicit the opposite reaction?? If any accusation made about lack of accountability in our justice system could lead to an elected judiciary, this article by Terrence best summarizes the most popular examples of injustice and might just be at the top of the list. Like OJ, when you lose in a civil trial, how many really care about the jury pool in the criminal trial. When Nortel was forced to pay out $2.4-billion because Mr. Dunn as CEO and other executives had cooked the books, is what came after mere prologue?

But for shock and surprise, the Felderhof acquittal may still reigns supreme as having the greatest chilling effect on business investment regulation in Canada, specifically Canadian Mining stock investment. I mean, wasn't Felderhof the gold-mining geologist of record for Bre-X, a company found to be involved in a 'salting' operation? His escape and refusal to return from the Cayman Islands was not unlike OJ's much publicized travels down a Los Angeles freeway before his arrest and like OJ's defense team who jumped on any excuse to deflect attention away from the star of the show, Felderhof's acquittal was a damning indictment on the prosecution team who where accused of being woefully inept by the conclusion of the trial.

                                                 Contemplating the next bubble?

So, is it time to stop the endless prosecution and implied conviction of 'innocent men' as Terrence suggests? Or, no matter what, once your reputation is lost in the court of public opinion, it can be very difficult, if not impossible to get it back! While unlike OJ, who today languishes in a Nevada jail, is Felderhof just a free man in name only as one who has turned into the poster boy for everything that is wrong with our justice system and one who may not be 'purged from the Canadian corporate psyche' any time soon?

 bio at http://about.me/brianweller
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 Is not getting caught in a lie the same as telling... 
...you tell me?   

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Will the teachers listen to Buzz?

                                                             High School Kids.

Dear Readers,

This afternoon, I bring you verbatim, an interesting update on the Teachers dispute with the government, by Laura Kane and Kristin Rushowyof the the Toronto Star, titled 'Buzz Hargrove calls on teachers to resume extracurriculars. Below is my response and below that, room for your comment, unless you prefer to send an email but please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack others personally, and keep your language decent.

As Toronto elementary and secondary teachers gear up for a Tuesday rally — one scheduled for after school, now that daytime protests have been deemed illegal — their unions are facing increasing calls to bring back extracurricular activities or risk losing public support. And it’s not just students and parents asking for the return of sports and clubs in Ontario schools — one of the province’s best-known labour leaders also says now is the time.

“It’s very difficult to accomplish anything if you don’t have public support, and I’m concerned that they’re losing it because of the withdrawal of extracurricular activities,” said Buzz Hargrove, former president of the Canadian Auto Workers Union. While he believes it is Dalton McGuinty who deserves the “lion’s share” of the blame for the current strife, by forcing contracts on teachers through Bill 115, the loss of support for both teachers and the Liberal government could lead to a Tory premier.

“It’s kind of a pox on all your houses by the general public, and unfortunately that could very well lead in the election to Tim Hudak and the Tories, who are going to be much tougher with teachers and unions.” He said the unions should focus now on the Liberal leadership contest and upcoming election. “I’d also try to convince the new premier to come back to the table and see if there’s a way to resolve some of the issues the teachers are so offended by,” he said.

Hammond, who was not available for an interview, tweeted Monday: “We hope to meet with the next Premier & have a full and frank discussion about a number of issues.” That sentiment was echoed by Michael Barrett, president of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association, who said, “I see no movement at all until that point, after the 25th, the Liberal leadership convention.”

One side “has to blink,” he added. “But I think that’s a tough one, because teachers don’t have much left in their arsenal” after a court ruled early last Friday that the elementary teachers’ one-day protest was actually an illegal strike, and shut it down. “But public opinion is shifting,” noted Barrett, a trustee with the Durham District School Board. “I’m starting to see a lot of anger. There’s still a lot of support, but I’m seeing more anger with regards to the situation.”

Toronto District School Board Trustee Howard Goodman, in his newsletter to parents, said he can’t understand the teacher unions’ tactics. “Personally, their position baffles me, as I see it reducing support for the valid complaints that the unions (and boards) have raised about Bill 115.” Advocacy and research group People for Education’s forum on this topic said webviews are up as more and more parents talk about the issue.

Annie Kidder said parents are now talking about “what teachers would have to do in order to get parents’ support back,” with the suggestion that if extracurriculars resume, parents would be willing to organize a demonstration in support of teachers and against Bill 115. “I think, as this goes on, it becomes harder for parents to stay completely on-side,” he added. “Even for the ones who were, after a while you’re not so much remembering a wrong that’s been done in some people’s minds, but you’re seeing the continued day-to-day impact in your kids’ school.”

While Hargrove does not believe that the leadership of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario is too militant — he says they are reflecting the mood of teachers — he does think most teachers would support the return of extracurricular activities. He added that ETFO and its president Sam Hammond should have remained at the bargaining table longer before Bill 115 was passed.

“I haven’t talked to Sam Hammond, but the government claims they were only at the bargaining table for an hour ... I think if I’d been heading up the organization we would have tried to make the best of a bad situation by staying at the bargaining table,” he said.

                                                                High School Kids.

my response.....

While these Labour folks are incensed by what is happening in Ontario and have lead the charge to cut out extracurricular activities in protest by warning it won't be "business as usual," does this action only perpetuate the tawdry behaviour of those who should know better and continues to victimize kids?

This you tube provides a little more detail....

Using "unprecedented, autocratic" legislation to dictate contracts, then promising to repeal the anti-democratic law is a "disgraceful misuse of government power," Sam Hammond, president of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario has gone on record as saying  "Unprecedented, autocratic legislation to dictate contracts, then promising to repeal the anti-democratic law is a disgraceful misuse of government power and every working person in this province should be alarmed by the steps taken by this minister of education today."
                                                            More High School Kids.

So, in his own words, we have a Union leader lamenting the loss of the good old days of government malfeasance and in a you tube video, we have a government doing an abrupt about face. Thankfully, there is a movement afoot to provide kids with extracurricular activities provided by parents. Is this to provide kids with what they need without teacher involvement? Do we even need teachers involved in extracurricular activities for our kids? Do we even want teachers involved in extracurricular activities for our kids? Is this just a temporary backlash or will this turn into a popular revolt? Besides, what kind of lessen have our kids been taught through this experiment?

                                                       Even More High School Kids.

A free online network www.Schooltree.org says they have provided over 5000 Ontario schools with live community web pages where parents can connect with local school administrators and each other safely, easily and privately. According to their website, "Not every parent can take a day off work and many find it hard to stay on top of news developments," says Schooltree.org Director Jono Landon. "They're scrambling to make arrangements that aren't always the most reliable." Schooltree.org allows parents a safe, private forum to share updates and work together to save programs under threat from the continued teachers' ban on voluntary activities. "People are trying to make up for their kids' lost sports and extracurriculars to whatever degree they are able," explains Landon, who speaks with parents across Ontario. "They're stepping up to support each other and school programs for the sake of the kids."

                                                              Elementary School Kids.

As Buzz suggests, if I were a Union leader, I would also be concerned that the teachers are losing public support because of their withdrawal from providing extracurricular activities, 'which could very well lead to an election win for Tim Hudak and the Tories, who are going to be much tougher with teachers and unions'!
Will the teachers listen to Buzz or is it already too late? What do you think?

                                                          More Elementary School Kids.

nb...this is not an endorsement for Schooltree.org and parents should do their own due diligence.


 bio at about.me/brianweller 
 Today's tweet......

Monday, 14 January 2013

Will there will be peace in our time?

Dear Readers,

This evenings article, verbatim is an update on the latest front in this war on terror as 'Harper sends C-17s military cargo plane to Mali after request from France as campaign against Islamist insurgents intensifies', as reported in the National Post with files by the Canadian and Associated Press. Below is my response and below that, room for your comment, unless you prefer to send an email but please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack others personally, and keep your language decent.

A public transport minibus is stopped by Malian soldiers at a checkpoint at the entrance to Markala, approximately 40 km outside Segou on the road to Diabaly, in central Mali, Monday, Jan. 14, 2013. Despite intensive aerial bombardments by French warplanes, Islamist insurgents grabbed more territory in Mali on Monday and got much closer to the capital, French and Malian authorities said. In the latest setback, the al-Qaida-linked extremists overran the garrison village of Diabaly in central Mali, France's defense minister said in Paris                                                        photo by Harouna Traore / AP

OTTAWA — Canada is contributing one of its large C-17 military cargo planes to deliver supplies to the capital of Mali after a request from France. But Prime Minister Stephen Harper insists no Canadian Forces personnel will be involved in any combat action in the landlocked West African country.
French fighter jets bombed rebel targets in a major city in Mali's north Sunday, pounding the airport as well as training camps, warehouses and buildings used by the al-Qaida-linked Islamists controlling the area, officials and residents said.

An al-Qaeda linked group has taken control of the northern part of Mali and is making gains towards the south. The Canadian plane will be used to assist in the transport of equipment into the Malian capital of Bamako, which is not in the combat zone.France, which began air strikes last week against insurgents in the north, has ordered the immediate evacuation of all French nationals living in Malian town of Segou.

The loan of the Canadian aircraft is for one week.
“The government of Canada is deeply concerned by recent events in Mali,” Harper says in a statement.

 This Sunday, Jan.13, 2013 photo provided by the French Army shows French Rafale jet ighters being prepared before heading to Mali from the Saint Dizier airbase in eastern France.  AP / Handout / Laure-Anne Maucorps   

 “The establishment of a terrorist region in the middle of Africa is of grave concern to the broader international community, including Canada and our close allies.” Harper says the government received a specific request today from France for a heavy-lift aircraft. “At no time will Canadian Armed Forces members be participating in direct action against insurgent forces in Mali,” Harper says.

Despite intensive aerial bombardments by French warplanes, Islamist insurgents grabbed more territory in Mali Monday and moved closer to the capital, French and Malian authorities said. In the latest setback, the al-Qaeda-linked extremists overran the garrison village of Diabaly in central Mali, France’s defence minister said in Paris. Jean-Yves Le Drian said Monday the rebels “took Diabaly after fierce fighting and resistance from the Malian army that couldn’t hold them back.”

The French government has ordered the immediate evacuation of all French nationals living in the Malian town of Segou. The evacuation order was confirmed by a French citizen in Segou, who insisted upon anonymity because of the security situation. With the seizure of Diabaly the militants are within 80 kilometres of Segou and within 400 kilometres of the capital, Bamako.

French President Francois Hollande authorized the airstrikes last week after the Islamists began their push south. The Malian military is in disarray and has let many towns fall with barely a shot fired since the insurgency began almost a year ago in the northwest African nation. The Islamist fighters control the north and had been blocked in Mali’s narrow waist in the central part of the country. But by seizing Diabaly, they appear to have now succeeded in a flanking move getting around the 300-kilometre long belt, opening a second front in the broad southern section of the country, knifing in from the west on government forces.

Mauritania lies to the west of Mali and its armed forces have been put on high alert, said a military official there who insisted on anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to reporters. To the south, the nation of Burkina Faso has sent military reinforcements to its border and set up roadblocks. The French military, which began battling in Mali on Friday, expanded its aerial bombing campaign of northern Mali, launching airstrikes for the first time in central Mali to combat the new threat. But it failed to halt the advance of the rebels, who now are only 400 kilometres from the capital Bamako, in the far south.

Before France sent its forces in on Friday, the closest known spot the Islamists were to the capital was 680 kilometres away near the central belt, though they might have infiltrated closer than that. France is urging the “Africanization” of the conflict, encouraging African nations to send troops to fight the Islamic extremists. There have been promises, but no troop movements have yet been publicly announced. Early Monday, an intelligence agent confirmed that shots rang out near the Diabaly military camp in what was still nominally government-held territory and that soon after, jets were heard overhead, followed by explosions. The agent insisted on anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

A Malian commander in the nearby town of Niono said the bombardments did not stop the Islamist fighters and that they occupied Alatona, and on Monday, they succeeded in reaching the north-south road which connects Diabaly to Segou, the administrative capital of central Mali.

                                                          WW2 Hero, Winston Churchill
                                                                                  photo Toronto 1954

my response.....

Is ''Let's kill people, because they aren't fair towards islam.'' the rallying cry when we relive the Toronto Terror threat in the following video?


                           Iran 1970
Does this video graphically illustrate the mindset of bigots and racists as they plotted to kill innocent Torontonians? This report on CNN about the counter-terrorism raids in the Greater Toronto Area resulted in the June 2, 2006 arrest of 18 people (dubbed the "Toronto 18") alleged to be members of an Islamic terrorist cell plotting a series of attacks against targets in downtown Toronto and as far away as Ottawa.

                           Iran 2012
The terrorist act was to be dubbed "The Battle Of Toronto" but thankfully, these folks were arrested before they could roll-out their plan due to some excellent Police work and a concerned citizen who went undercover to provide sufficient evidence to convict the ringleaders of planning to detonate truck bombs, to open fire in a crowded area, and to storm the Canadian Broadcasting Centre, the Canadian Parliament building, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), and the Parliamentary
Buildings' Peace Tower, to take hostages and to       behead the Prime Minister and other leaders.
                          Amsterdam 1980
The fact that these ringleaders received relatively light sentences of 14 years for planning to kill thousands is maybe a testament to our justice system which some may say is justification for an elected judiciary. Without a doubt, our elected officials are responsible for creating laws for our judiciary and are in dire need of a review but maybe that is a topic for another day! Too highlight the burgeoning impact this challenge is bringing to a few places around the world, a reader was kind enough to send me some pre-dated images, current and historical to illustrate the change in what women wear in Europe and the Middle East. What is the significance of the full covering? What happens when women refuse to wear it? Isn't this taking a patriarchal society to an extreme?

                                                                                                             Amsterdam  2012
Anyway, seven years later and now the next front of this challenge is in Mali, Africa as these folks attempt to establish another front. It is truly unfortunate that this conflict has already caused the death of a French Pilot and while some may hold Prime Minister Harper blameless for trying to avoid this conflict like the plague that it is, in all fairness there may be no running from this threat. Like Hitler in the '30's, this megalomania knows no boundaries and cares little about collateral damage.

Will there will be any Neville Chamberlain's grabbing the microphone to announce, 'there will be peace in our time' after giving away prized territory or could this could very well be be a battle fought on many fronts for a very long time? If yes, who will emerge as our Churchill?

 bio at http://about.me/brianweller
twitter chatter....
Peace in our time?  
or will there be blood, sweat and tears?