Saturday, February 16, 2019
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Hang ‘em high

The biggest story of the day is, without a doubt, the execution of the Beast of Baghdad, Saddam Hussein. Try as I might, I can’t seem to get terribly worked up about it.In the hours after photos and video of the hanging were rocketing around the internet, Sweden, Switzerland and the Vatican all issued statements decrying the execution of a man that was directly and indirectly responsible for millions of deaths. I don’t get it.Ever since they dragged his lice-bitten ass from a rat hole it was clear his days were numbered. The only mystery was why it wasn’t done in the forecourt of one of his former palaces and broadcast on big screens around the country.Saddam was little more than a bully. Only he took the bullying to violent extremes. Think of Joe Stalin without the finesse.All the lefties, hand-wringers and anti-American types lined up and in unison began decrying the barbarism of the execution. It’s amazing they don’t get nosebleeds, so high up on the higher moral ground they claim to be perched.The best one though had to be the American lawyers who had petitioned a US Judge to halt the execution because - wait for it - Saddam still faced a civil suit in America. Perish the thought the Iraqis might hang one of history’s most prolific mass murderers before he could play in the great American pastime.The media hand-wringers were prominent and fast out of the gate. (Around the World, Unease and Criticism of Penalty...

No surprise in lack of success in OC war

The revelation by RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli that we are not being effective in the fight against organized crime should not come as a surprise to anyone. When Zaccardelli rose to the position as the top cop in the country, his first message was that organized crime was the biggest threat to Canada. At the time, in September 2000, Zaccardelli astonished the assembled media at his first press conference when he said: " For the first time in this country, we are seeing signs of criminal organizations that are so sophisticated that they are focusing on destabilizing certain aspects of our society.""There are criminal organizations that target the destabilization of our parliamentary system," Zaccardelli said to the astonished press corps. Not that they should have been astonished given things like Project Sidewinder and the obvious cover-up by the Liberals to ensure the country stayed ignorant of the threat and their failure to act upon it. For the record, the Libs denied any cover-up and then underlined that with a whitewash by the civilian oversight body SIRC. But, that's a little like believing neither the Prime Minister nor the Finance Minister knew anything about the Sponsership scandal. And to quote LBJ, that dog won't hunt.But however zealous "Zack" may have been coming out of the gate, he was quickly educated in just how political his office has become. With the ink barely dry on the newspapers reporting his comments, Zaccardelli was summoned onto the Prime Minister's lush carpet and put...

Media Sheep

Years ago, when John Yorston hired me into the mewsroom of the now defunct Montreal Star, I was taught that jounalists had to question everything and to source what you were being told twice or more. I wonder where that dogma has gone in the mainstream media in Canada today.Last week, Ontario Lieutenant Governor James Bartleman testified before the Air India inquiry that he had seen a piece of raw intelligence that indicated an attack was imminent on Air India and had promptly marched it over to an unnamed Mountie who said he had already seen the intel. Bartleman then said he'd heard about the Air India bombing in which 329 people lost their lives as he was packing the family up to go to the lake for the weekend. And for twenty plus years he said nothing!The Central Canadian mainstream media may swallow this wholeheartedly as is their wont, but please, is there anyone in the real world, who believes that a career bureaucrat who was in the posession of some information that seemed to play out to be true, wouldn't engage in a "cover your ass" exercise by telling someone superior immediately after the event?Give me a break!Bureaucrats learn, very soon after they are weaned from the nipple, that they must engage in an exercise called CYA - Cover Your Ass. Go on, I defy you. Ask any civil servant what "CYA" means and you will hear the response "Cover Your Ass."So, back to the...

Pomp and circumstance when a quiet farewell would do

"Friends applaud, the Comedy is over". - Ludwig von BeethovenTomorrow is the transition day of the administration of the Office of the Chief Constable of the Calgary Police Service. And to judge by the statements made in an interview with the Calgary Sun's Rick Bell, the new chief is going to bring a tough new attitude to policing that city.But, lest you think that the outgoing Chief Jack Beaton will be going quietly, uh, well, not so much.Apparently Beaton has commissioned a Change of Command parade with all the pomp and circumstance possible. Including, I am told, the Ceremonial Unit, which does a foot drill demonstration complete with formal uniforms and all the trimming including white gloves. And, are the fine men and women who voluntarily serve in the Ceremonial Unit happy to show up for Jack's parade? Uh, no. I am told that NCO commanding the unit had to send out an email ordering all members to attend. I am also told the email said, "All members of the CU (trumpeters included) will be required for this event."Hmmm, what about those folks who are scheduled to be patrolling the streets protecting the citizens of Calgary? No problem. "If you have any issue getting the time off, let me know . . .the Inspector will deal with them . . .otherwise all are expected to attend," concluded the email as described to me.So, the officers who are being paid to work will be diverted from their regular tasks and...

Citizen journalism lacks context

By now we have all seen the video of the Victoria police breaking up a nasty fight in the downtown core and during the arrests one police officer is seen kicking two different men.  On the surface, the video looks damning of the officer who has since been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. But on closer inspection it is clear that in the first situation an officer is struggling with one man trying to get him secured and the officer wearing the yellow jacket kicks the individual to get him to stop struggling.  The second is similar in that you can see one officer trying to get handcuffs on the individual who, I should mention, is 6'5" and 250 lbs.  The kicks are delivered in the context of securing that individual with handcuffs.  As soon as the man puts his left hand behind his back, ostensibly in surrender, there are no further blows struck and the handcuffs are applied. And here is the problem in a nutshell.  The police are allowed, by law, to use as much force as is necessary to execute their duty.  When they do, they must be prepared to justify that use of force and they are criminally responsible  for any excessive force.  The police know this and accept it as part of their job.  The test in each and every case is the key. For the purposes of this test, it is impossible to judge simply based on the video.  Whether this officer was justified in...

Harper takes advantage of Martin’s delirium

I realize it’s early in the campaign yet and far too soon to be making any predictions, but it certainly seems that Conservative leader Stephen Harper has seized the momentum out of the blocks.Thus far he has unveiled a new plank of the Tory platform every day including his promise to trim two points off the hated GST, something that resonates with most, if not all Canadians.Prime Minister Paul Martin has stumbled out of the gate and even taken the first weekend off to regroup. But before he limped back to 24 Sussex, Martin came out with one of the most inane comments ever uttered in any election campaign in this country’s history.This appeared in a “brief” in yesterday’s Ottawa Citizen:Martin Makes His Pitch to Asian Canadian Voters"Sometimes election campaigns can travel to so many cities and towns in a day it gets hard to remember what time it is or where you are. But Prime Minister Paul Martin appeared to forget what country he was in yesterday. During a series of interviews with Chinese media organizations, Mr. Martin attempted to explain to the interviewer how important the Chinese Canadian community is to the country. In fact, he announced that Canada has geographically moved its borders to be closer to them. "What we really are saying is we're a major Asian country," Mr. Martin told Omni TV, to roars of laughter from the Canadian media watching the interview."Canada a major Asian country? Geographically moved our borders to be closer...

A dubious decision

Every now and again a court renders a decision that would appear, for all intents and purposes, that the members of that court have lost whatever touch with the reality to which they might have, at one time, laid claim.And then there's the Manitoba Court of Appeal and their incredible - no, unbelieveable - decision, as reported in the Winnipeg Free Press (Hells Angel allowed to chat with biker buddies, says high court), in the case of Hells Angel Shane Kirton who had pled guilty to an unprovoked, vicious assault on an unsuspecting bar patron. And not, I might add, his first go 'round with the law. But, back to the decision at hand. The Court of Appeal overturned the decision of Queen's Bench Justice Holly Beard to impose conditions on Kirton that he refrain from contact with his brother Hells Angels for the duration of his probation. Apparently, according to the Appeal Court, that condition infringes on his right to freedom of association guaranteed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and that the lower court should not have taken judicial notice that the Hells Angels are a criminal organization. Chief Justice Richard Scott said, "It is hard to escape the conclusion that the sentencing judge was led astray by her preoccupation with the accused’s involvement with the Hells Angels.” Oh? And why would she not? They have been found to be a criminal organization by superior courts in Ontario and British Columbia. The presumably well-read justices of...

Spin bears no relation to the truth

Well, election madness is upon us, whether we wanted it or not.  And one of the things we know inherently is that we are about to be subjected to spin on an unprecedented scale.I received this email yesterday that I thought worth sharing with you.  I thought it particularly poignant.Hi Leo,I just watched a local news station do a story on the dirty politics between Stephane Dion and the conservative government.  They actually said that Dion wanted to "increase" the restrictions on several kinds of firearms, "including the type that was used in the Montreal Dawson College shooting."  Then the story ends and they go on with the next really quickly to a service for those who recently lost their lives in the CF.What many people don't already know is that at the time that massacre occurred, those Beretta Storm's were restricted firearms.  Now they are already prohibited, at least according to my local gun store.  As are all bullpup arms.  So how can they increase any further restrictions on a prohibited firearm?This upsets me because they don't bother to explain to the public the difference between non-restricted, restricted, and prohibited.  They just use an angle that serves their purpose -- at the shameful expense of those victims.I would greatly appreciate it if you could do a blog entry on firearms and this liberal spin thats been going through the news and schools.  Criminals don't get guns by going through the RCMP, they illegally import them, or steal them...

Court ruling defies democracy

In August of 1982, Ronald Smith, a drifter from Alberta, murdered two men in cold blood for the thrill of it.  That event took place, in Glacier National Park in Montana, not in Canada.Smith, in a plea arrangement asked for the death penalty, which I might add, was deservedly granted.  He also reiterated that request in March of 1983.  In the intervening years Smith has been on death row in a State that is relatively slow to carry out capital case executions.For years the Liberal governments of Jean Chretien and Paul Martin had their diplomats play the game with Montana authorities seeking, at least on the surface, some form of clemency for Smith, from the hangman's noose.  Metaphorically speaking of course.  I am not sure how Montana gets rid of its Death Row inmates.  Although what is ironic in all of this is that the State of Montana seems poised to get rid of the death penalty.  Their House of Representatives is to hold a vote later this spring on the matter.Smith also seems to have had a change of heart in that he has availed himself of every legal avenue to try and delay or commute his richly deserved death sentence.  With the election of a Conservative government, a different view was taken on the Canadian tradition of diplomatic intervention in death penalty cases.  The Tories said, and rightly so in my view, that they would not intervene with democratic countries with the death penalty in cases of...

More needless death

Another man is dead because of a couple of habitual car thieves. When do you suppose, will the politicians in power in Ottawa finally understand that something needs to be done?How many innocent people need to die before the lib-left finally figure out that habitual criminals need to be jailed not coddled.If the tragedy at Mayerthorp wasn't the impetus for change, what pray tell me, will be? But the outrage after that seems to have died down and like the story out of Richmond, BC today shows, more people are dying at the hands of people the justice system could have, and should have, dealt with.Leo Knight

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