Saturday, January 31, 2009

There is no "i" in Team and the inches are all around us.

Super Bowl 2009 will be held Sunday Feb 1, 2009 in Tampa Bay.

Who can forget this rousing speech from the movie "Any Given Sunday"

Thursday, January 29, 2009

RCMP "Mr. Big" methods


Sentencing in the murder of 4 RCMP in Mayerthorpe AB by James ROSZKO on March 3, 2005 is tomorrow. Two men Dennis CHEESMAN and Shawn HENNESSEY were charged over a year ago and will stand on manslaughter charges for their share in the slaughter by local crazy and marijuana "grow-op" mastermind James ROSZKO who also died at the scene by his own hand.

The existing publication ban was also lifted last week and it reveals the intricate intrigues of how the police managed to extract a confession to corroborate evidence that linked both men to the crime. An elaborate Undercover operation was conducted to enmesh both men into admitting their roles in transporting ROSZKO to his farm while the RCMP were investigating it and knowingly supplying him with firearms for use against the Mounties.

Their defence claimed that on the night that ROSZKO appeared at HENNESSEY's home (which he shared with his wife and 2 children) with a pistol tucked in to his belt, demanding a ride and HENNESSY's grandfather's shotgun - that he agreed out of fear for his family. Why he included his young brother-in-law was something he would regret. That the two did not confess until the "sting" played out can not be seen as favouring their sentence. Opinions are varied on the extent that this evidence would not have merited a Homicide charge, but some feel that the most relevant factor was that it was a police murder and that "the Mounties Always Get Their Man" - so no opportunity would have been left unexplored for as heavy a conviction as possible. The Crown is looking for 10-15 years.


Also this week the CBC Investigative Journalism program - "The Fifth Estate" - aired a segment involving another RCMP "Mr. Big" conviction of Andy ROSE for a double-murder near Chetwynd BC in 1983. Although an earlier, less polished version of the sting technique against an broken alcoholic man years after the crime on purely circumstantial evidence would have seemed unlikely, Andy ROSE is still in jail for the crime.

The "Mr. Big" Sting operation seems to be a specialty of Canada, perfected by the RCMP. Evidence obtained in this manner is not considered acceptable or credible in the U.S (or the U.K except under very stringent conditions). Many of these operations involve supposedly illegal activities, but they are usually just elaborately staged con's. It was only after the RCMP's allegations of "dirty tricks" during the events surrounding the FLQ Crisis in October 1970 that a Royal Commission was called in deliberate "illegal" activities conducted by the RCMP. That inquiry was headed by a Justice of the Alberta Supreme Court, David C. MacDonald of Edmonton AB. This commission led to a separation of powers at the RCMP and creation of a separate domestic intelligence agency, CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) in 1984.

It is notable that many subsequent questions have been raised recently about the RCMP and its ability to transition to a National Police Service similar to the FBI in the U.S. In late 2006 RCMP Commissioner Giuliano ZACCARDELLI, resigned over intense questions about his handling of Maher ARRAR, a Canadian of Syrian decent who was allegedly tortured after being illegally transported (under a process known as "extraordinary extradition") to countries supportive of the U.S invasion of Iraq. Journalist Paul PALANGO has just published a book about this entitled "Dispersing the Fog: The RCMP, the CIA, Governments and the Continuing Crisis in Canada".

The tradition in Canada for law enforcement is to “play dirty” and do whatever necessary to secure a conviction. There have been many examples recently of the Police Services across the country of applying a double standard when it comes to self-policing (2009JAN27 - Vancouver man assaulted by off-duty police).

How Many Roads Must a Man Walk Down

I heard this old 1960's Anti-war standard by Bob DYLAN the other day and it struck me quite differently when I reflected on the lyrics rather than that great young voice of the tune. Interestingly (for me anyways, perhaps not surprisingly though) it was based on an anthem of the "underground railroad" that led up to Canada in 1833. It was called "No more auction block".

Reborn by Bob DYLAN, the new lyrics became the anthem of the anti-Vietnam War movement in the 1970's. Today it struck me as an paean to Manhood - perhaps not unfamiliar to those men (or boys) who are struggling to be everything they are expected to be by girlfriends, wives, mothers and maybe wondering about the lash of our unfeeling Family Law System.

Here are the lyrics.

Blowin' in the Wind (1963) by Bob DYLAN

How many roads must a man walk down
Before they call him a man
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand
How many times must the cannonballs fly
Before they are forever banned
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind
The answer is blowing in the wind

How many years can a mountain exist
Before it is washed to the sea
How many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free
How many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn't see
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind
The answer is blowing in the wind

How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky
How many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry
How many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind
The answer is blowing in the wind

Native Justice for Christopher PAUCHAY?

For the sake of the children?

One year ago today - January 29 2008 - Western Canadians were shocked to hear about a 25 year-old native father Christopher PAUCHAY, who was found half-dead from hypothermia in a snowbank only a few meters from a friends home. After a late night drinking binge, he had foolishly decided to walk the short distance to his home into a -50C blizzard clothed in nothing more than a light golf-type jacket. Alone, he may have done us a favour, but he had with him his 2 young daughters - 1yr old Santana and 3 yr old Kaydance - dressed only in diapers and Tshirts - also woefully inadequate for the circumstances. By the time he recovered enough to be understood 8 hours later, a frantic search for the girls found them both dead of exposure - again only meters from his home. His common-law wife and the girls mother, Tracey JIMMY was elsewhere drinking heavily that night with friends.

PAUCHAY plead guilty to criminal negligence causing death and before Xmas was released under bail conditions into this small, remote community of Yellow Quill 250km east of Saskatoon SK. He was re-arrested and charged with breech of these bail conditions on two occasions being Dec 16 and Jan 8 - hardly surprising in such a small place addled with substance abuse problems - of consuming alcohol and being in the presence of alcohol being consumed.

However instead of receiving his sentence from the Judge, he requested a "native sentencing circle", a recent "innovation" for addressing the epidemic of crime that has been growing among the aboriginal communities. A circle may consist of upto 40 people. This one will have at least 22 - 5 family members, 4 community, 1 probation officer, 1 mental health officer, 2 members of the bands justice committee, 1 RCMP, 2 others for each of the victims, at least 2 elders and 2 facilitators. The mother has elected not to attend.

If there is Hell on earth, this man will know it. Only he can live it. Meanwhile it takes an army of enablers to tell us that he alone was responsible. No one tried to stop him? No one thought that Mum should be called about the circumstances? In these communities 2 or more extended family's usually share the same home. Drinking to such excess with children around struck no-one as dangerous? No one stopped drinking when he was on bail?

It seems to me that there is lot's of blame to go around. How is it that our current Family Law system erects such huge barriers to fathers who desperately want to parent their children and then often criminalizes them for this behaviour. While at the same time, heap resources on communities that are dysfunctional to the point of criminality and enable them to make deadly decisions for their kids.

Our Courts are failing us all.

Romance - meet Recession.

12 Step Recovery Program for Women dating Wall Street Financiers (aka FBF's or Financial Boy Friends). The financial meltdown is hurting everyone - even Cupid has had to downsize. Gold diggers and others are finding it hard to stay around for Act II of that "for richer or poorer" shtick. The solution? Get together with your girlfriends and talk about how the schmuck isn't taking out to dinner or on those intimate weekend getaways anymore.

One woman wrote after recounting a breakup. “This recession just bought everyone an extra two years of the single life.” Another, seemed chagrined, after her boyfriend told her to “grow up” and stop “complaining about vacations and dinner” since he had to “fire 20 people by the end of the week.”

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Uber RadFem - Ms. Germaine GREER

I tripped across this blog-piece purely by accident - but it was a pleasure to read. Having not read read anything since The Female Eunuch, which established the first beach-head for academic radical feminism, I was intrigued with her most recent effort "Shakespeare's Wife". The article is a profile of Ms. GREER at a 2008 lecture/book signing in England for this book attended by this doyenne of the local (Oxford?) intelligentsia. After dragging her young daughters to attend a lecture by this icon of modern feminism, they witnesses GREER's casual humiliation of another young teen girl ahead of them in line. Barbie 2 - RadFems 0.

The incident perfectly encapsulates GREER as a "equal-opportunity" misanthrope, still comforted by her victimization and smug about her superior choices. Not having children is so liberating that way!

Monday, January 19, 2009

J.E - RIP Jan 19, 1999

This is a memorial to a friend of mine - J.E. (Jim, but initialized to protect his family. I may open this up a a future time.) who took his own life on Jan 19, 1999.   We had been good pals in High School (Gr 9-11) and he was a very smart fellow.  He left to attend an enriched program in UTS (University of Toronto Schools) at that time and we did not reconnect until I had finished University and he was entering a Master of Law Program.  We continued to keep in touch on and off but managed a closer connection about 10 years later about the time thing began to unravel for him.

He had lost his licence to practice law after he was charged and found guilty of Sexual Harassment from a complaint by a female law colleague.    It also concurred with treatment for a supposed bi-polar disorder.  The drugs proscribed were powerful and seemed more of a problem than the diagnosis - which to me seemed misdirected although I am not a psychiatric professional.  His family had similar concerns but seemed just as lost in finding any medical professional they could trust.

At the outset it seemed incredible that a female lawyer would resort in such a heavy-handed manner to such a minor concern - perhaps over-zealous phone-calling and emailing the object of his attention - but the law was still fairly new and untested.  But it also appeared the Crown relished making an example of one of its own.  The supposed diagnosis and treatment appeared to be inculpable to the decision rather than the opposite - although I am not certain it was ever even mentioned in court.

After that, Jim had trouble getting work and although he tried to put a good face on it - definitely fell into despair.  After a few years he tried to get retraining as a seniors LPN - but even that seemed tarnished by his supposedly confidential mental diagnosis and criminal charge.  Social ostracism alone was harsher in those days as we were all still new to this form of feminist orthodoxy but he was definitely in a personal crisis.

He called me in the New Year of 1999 to chat - something he did not do very often - and we had a broad ranging talk about nothing I recall in particular.   I was working hard and supporting my wife with young child at the time - and I was probably unable to talk of much else.

A few weeks later I got a call from his sister - asking what we talked about as she broke the news that he had suddenly disappeared and she was following up with his last known calls.  Even though I racked my brains - I could think of nothing to tell her.  About a month later she emailed me his obituary and funeral notice.  I called and got the lowdown on his grim end.

He had visited a lake near his home that we used to play hockey upon as kids in winter - but only after his Dad had demonstrated the ice was good with a long tree kept especially for this annual "lake safety test".  Late some evening/early some morning Jim ventured out on to the frozen, snowy lake, used an axe to cut a hole in the ice - and jumped in.  They found his body about a week later.

I think of him often - and wish I was able to stop the inevitable - somehow.