The Black Rod

The origin of the Usher of the Black Rod goes back to early fourteenth century England . Today, with no royal duties to perform, the Usher knocks on the doors of the House of Commons with the Black Rod at the start of Parliament to summon the members. The rod is a symbol for the authority of debate in the upper house. We of The Black Rod have adopted the symbol to knock some sense and the right questions into the heads of Legislators, pundits, and other opinion makers.

Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

We are citizen journalists in Winnipeg. When not breaking exclusive stories, we analyze news coverage by the mainstream media and highlight bias, ignorance, incompetence, flawed logic, missed angles and, where warranted, good work. We serve as the only overall news monitors in the province of Manitoba. We do the same with politicians (who require even more monitoring.) EMAIL:

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Things we want to see in Brian Pallister's victory speech

Today we expect to see Manitoba voters deliver a historic repudiation of almost 16 years of NDP government.

But incoming premier Brian Pallister is dead wrong if he thinks that just giving the scoundrels the boot is enough.

The wolves have had free rein on the farm too long. By the end they had convinced themselves, like all despots, that they could do no wrong. 

*  Trying to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Jockey Club to patch the depleted provincial budget
*  Publicly supporting a racist cabinet minister who admitted to prejudice against whites,
*  Shrugging off a stomach-churning account of a woman spending her final hours of life screaming in pain on the floor of a hospital emergency ward 

The NDP saw any opposition as downright evil and having to be stamped out.

By controlling the levers of power, the NDP were able to slough off one major scandal after another. That doesn't mean the scandals didn't exist.  But you don't cure cancer by sending the patient home with a wag of the finger and the admonition "don't be sick again, got it."

Brian Pallister needs to get to the root of the cancer of the NDP.

Tonight, in his victory speech, Pallister needs to say the following:

1.  Call for a judicial inquiry or a royal commission into the NDP election fraud of 1999.  

Yes, its been 16 years.  But if you believe that democracy is important and worth fighting for, then this cannot be allowed to pass. 

The New Democrats, under the watch of then-leader Gary Doer, engaged in a conspiracy to defraud taxpayers of tens of thousands of dollars to finance their election campaign.  When the scheme was finally detected in 2003, Elections Manitoba officials colluded with the NDP to cover up the fraud.  It wasn't until 2009 that a party whistleblower went public with what happened. 

The NDP weren't about to investigate themselves, so they rode out the faux indignation of a sympathetic press, and carried on business as usual.

Pallister has to demonstrate that an assault on democracy cannot be condoned, regardless how much time has passed.  It's too late to charge anyone, but not to subpoena them, to bring them in to testify under oath, and to prepare a report for  generations to come to see how the NDP/union twisted the rules to get elected.

2. Order a Securities Commission investigation of the Crocus Fund debacle.

Way way back, Crocus was a labour-backed venture capital fund designed to raise money from Manitobans to invest in Manitoba enterprises. It was a time when private investors avoided Manitoba like the Zika virus and anything that could spark investment in the province was grasped like a straw by a drowning man.

But over the years, Crocus became a government-approved Ponzi scheme. The managers overvalued their "investments" to entice new investors whose money would be used to pay off the original investors who wanted out.

 The fund had a back channel into the NDP cabinet --- through then-finance minister Greg Selinger ---which kept the NDP abreast of the fund's true liquidity problems. The NDP nevertheless continued to promote the fund as a great place to invest your retirement fund, right up until some newly hired managers ran in horror to the Manitoba Securities Commission with the grisly news of the fund's real numbers. Trading stopped, fund collapsed, 34,000 investors screwed.

The Manitoba Securities Commission declared it would launch an investigation, but there was always some reason for delay, not least because the commission itself was enmeshed in Crocus' convoluted schemes to stay afloat.

Pallister must order a true investigation into the Crocus Fund, including what the NDP cabinet knew and when.
  Given that the Manitoba Securities Commission is tainted by its dealings with Crocus, the investigation has to be conducted by an outside financial body. 

3. The NDP broke the law in 2013 when it raised the provincial sales tax one percentage point to 8 pct from 7. The law was clear. No government could "introduce" legislation to raise the PST without holding a referendum.  The NDP could have gone to the Legislature to revoke that law, but they didn't. They chose to break the law.

Pallister must order a thorough investigation within the government's legal department  to determine who approved breaking the law.  

Those government lawyers and officials must be identified and removed. A government cannot function with the trust of the public when infested with civil servants who think they and the ruling government can act as they please regardless of laws passed by the Legislature.  

This, too, is a matter of defending democracy, not cheap retaliation.

Pallister stupidly launched a civil action to test the government's right to raise the PST. This is not a situation where civil suits prevail.  This is a matter of breaking the law, as its written.

If the prosecutions branch determines that charges are warranted, they must be laid as an example to future governments that nobody is above the law. 

 If they determine they can't get a conviction, then Pallister must release the emails and documents around the debate over sidestepping the law -- so that the public can see for itself who made what decisions and how and can deliver a verdict in the court of public opinion.


Finally, a valued reader who is more erudite than we are, sent us this historical quote that sums up tonight so poetically:

From: xxxxxxxx
Date: April 18, 2016 at 10:01:01 AM CDT
Subject: On the Manitoba Election
Oliver Cromwell said it best:
It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.
Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter'd your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?
Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil'd this sacred place, and turn'd the Lord's temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress'd, are yourselves gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors.
In the name of God, go!

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Friday, April 15, 2016

MSM Reporters went to the wrong place looking for election fireworks


If you wanted election fireworks, you should have been at the Sinclair Park community centre Wednesday night.
Candidates for St. John's riding squared off in a wide-open forum and its hard to say what the bigger story was --- the fact that one city councillor and two candidates stormed out of the building in separate huffs? or the tip that the NDP has begun shredding its files and replacing the computer hard drives at the Legislature?

One thing for sure --- the biggest loser was the NDP's parachute star candidate Nahanni Fontaine, who demonstrated she's completely unfit to be a member of the Legislature. She's too thin-skinned, can't take criticism or hard questions. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen, and she ran.

Fontaine was the target of local gadfly Josh Sigurdson, who lobbed questions at her about the NDP's role in the seizure of children by Child and Family Services.  The audience (of about 25) was unsatisfied with her answers, and let her know it.  Her response --- to flee, muttering something about 'too much negativity' in the room.

Babe, you ain't seen nothin' yet in the world of politics.

Surprisingly, Liberal candidate Noel Bernier (also parachuted in) followed Fontaine out the door. Why? Who knows? He didn't even wave goodbye. Until then he had dominated the meeting with sharp questions aimed at Fontaine and the NDP, but seemed scared to touch CFS issues. Hmmm.

Left behind was Progressive Conservative candidate Barbara Judt (yes, another parachute) who stayed to answer questions for another hour and a half  without drama.

One of those questions was about the NDP's upcoming shredding weekend and the Hewlett Packer truck parked outside the Legislature where onlookers were informed "regular maintenace" was in progress, including swapping out hard drives on computers. 

Judt, the only candidate left, said she would try to get answers from the Premier's office.

Among the earlier questioners was NDP-backed city councillor Ross Eadie. He challenged all the candidates, but especially the Princess Nahanni, over hugely expensive projects imposed on city council by the NDP (such as separating sewer and water lines) without adequate provincial co-funding.  It was dry stuff which came to a head when he started lecturing Bernier about the lack of cost sharing with the province and the moderator tried to cut him off.

Eadie is blind. And that means he can't see the normal visual clues that your audience is bored, so shut up.  In this case he took the moderator's efforts personally and walked out with his nose out of joint. 

What's interesting, politics wise, is to see an NDP-backed councillor challenge an NDP candidate so openly.  Given that former incumbent Gord Macintosh has never endorsed Nahanni Fontaine, or even been photographed with her, and you have a sense of how her parachute candidacy is being received by constituency members (rumour has it a union sent out an SOS for campaign help on her behalf). Whether that translates into a voter backlash, is too soon to say.

The mainstream press ignored the Sinclair Park candidates forum in favour of attending the one in Fort Rouge, where Liberal leader Rana Bokhari is facing off against the NDP's other star candidate Wab Kinew and the P.C.  candidate Audrey Gordon.

That one was, by all accounts, tame --- except for tarnished star Wab's persistence in trying to stop Gordon, a black woman, from speaking. 

Feminists have reacted, by not reacting. 

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Friday, April 08, 2016

Nahanni Fontaine, the NDP's Christian-bashing, cop-smearing, other star candidate

As the vultures of the press circle over the wounded Liberal Party of Manitoba, one NDP star candidate must be laughing up her sleeve at how her extremist past has escaped the scrutiny of reporters and pundits.

Parachuted into a safe NDP seat in Winnipeg's North End, she nonetheless feared a bruising campaign against a well-heeled Liberal opponent.  Ha ha.  Instead, the sleepy newspeeps have turned a blind eye to her years of vitriolic attacks on Christianity, white people, and police.

* She's spent years bashing Christianity as the root cause of all the problems of native people in Canada.
* She's called for a boycott of white businesses.
* And with her  Marxist research partner, she's smeared city police as intransigent racists.

Step up Nahanni Fontaine,
running for election in St. John's riding as successor to the retiring Gord Macintosh.

While her male counterpart in the NDP's galaxy of stars, Wab Kinew, has responded to the controversy over his woman-and-gay bashing  rap lyrics and tweets by fervid apologies and hand-over-heart assertions that he's changed his leopard spots, Fontaine has chosen a cone of silence.

*  Fontaine set her sights on the evils of Chrisitianity as far back as 2006 while working on her PhD in the department of native studies at the University of Manitoba.  

She shared some of the "research" for her dissertation entitled "Old Ladies, Bitches, and Ho's: deconstructing the female Aboriginal gang member" at a  public presentation. The university newspaper The Manitoban captured the best parts (March 15, 2006, PhD candidate describes lingering effects of colonialism in Aboriginal communities):

“Unfortunately as a result of the introduction of Christianity and forced Christian marriages, the incorporation into a wage-economy, residential
schools, and the introduction of alcohol, Aboriginal men’s and women’s roles have significantly changed,” said Fontaine.


"Aboriginal gangs are the product of our colonized and oppressed space within Canada" said Fontaine, "a space [that] brought with it inequity, racism, dislocation, marginalization, and cultural and spiritual alientation."
"It is a space of physical and cultural genocide that continues to exist in and at this very moment," added Fontaine.

*  She was still at it four years later, only more belligerent in her attack. This time it was over the proposal of a Youth For Christ funded youth centre at Main and Higgins.
Nahanni Fontaine, director of justice for the Southern Chiefs Organization, an advocacy group for First Nations people in southern Manitoba, said giving public money to the project would be like contributing to the contemporary version of residential schools under the guise of helping youth.
"[We] saw religion used as an abusive and violating mechanism in which to assimilate aboriginal children into Euro-Canadian mainstream," she said.


"Aboriginal people were assured that these sort of infringing practices and strategic policies would never occur again."
Approving this proposal would just be sanctifying a "more contemporary form of the residential school experience," Fontaine said.

*  Between her attacks on Christianity, Fontaine endorsed a broader race-based policy, if only for one day.

On something called a 'national day of action', Manitoba's Southern Chiefs Organization, Fontaine's then-employer, called for a boycott of non-native businesses.  She thought it a fine idea.

Boycott non-native businesses Friday, Manitoba chiefs urge ...
The boycott would be one way to demonstrate the economic power of the native community, said Nahanni Fontaine, director of justice with SCO.
Aboriginal people as a group spend huge amounts of money, she added, but little of it stays in aboriginal communities.

"The idea is that we're sustaining our own poverty. We need to in some ... tangible way, even if it's just for one day at this point, to stop buying products and services from non-aboriginal businesses."

The decision to call a boycott follows the recent SCO election of a new grand chief, Morris Shannacappo, and is the beginning of a long-term strategy of economic action, Fontaine said.

"I don't want people to think that it's personal, that it's an attack on individual business owners," she said. "It absolutely isn't. But it's about time that we need to support our own."

* Nahanni knows all about supporting "our own".  
As the "director of justice" for the Southern Chiefs Organization, she was all about trash-talking police, calling them racist, and demonstrating knee-jerk solidarity with every native with a beef against authority.  Like Evan Maud.

Evan Maud, a 20-year-old "high school student", claimed in 2010 he was picked up by police at a bus stop in the North End (not the St. John's riding), driven to the outskirts of town, stripped of his coat, and told to run or be tasered.

"Its not an isolated event," declared Marxist professor Elizabeth Comack of the University of Manitoba.

Calling on research conducted with Nahanni Fontaine, Comack said they uncovered 10 similar incidents among 78 aboriginal people they interviewed.

 "They feel they can't tell anyone or report to anyone, or that anyone would do anything if they did," said Comack.

"Evan has the courage to speak out."

Except that modern technology, GPS and video-cameras, ultimately proved that Evan Maud was lying through his teeth

None of what he said was true.  Dang that white man's wizardry.
Fontaine shortly thereafter got a nice government job and has managed to hide her extremist past so far in the election campaign.  But if the politicos get tired to feasting on Liberals, she makes a tasty target.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

An invisible Eagle picked toddler Wab Kinew to change the world

People who have been mocking the NDP's tarnished star candidate, Wab Kinew, better watch out. They don't know who they're messing with.

Wab is a man on a mission.  

A divine mission.  

We know 'cause he told us so.  

Well, not us exactly, but Alberta Native News in March 2012, with more details in his pre-politics memoir.

It seems that when he was three years old, or maybe it was four, Wab had a vision.

He was in his bedroom, where all good three-year-olds should be at night, and he started to hallucinate.  He saw an eagle. 

It's always an eagle. It's never a magnificent Canada goose or a perky red-breasted robin. No, it's got to be an eagle. In this case, a Golden eagle.

Before the eagle, though, little Wab saw a pipe ("It was beautiful") with four eagle feathers hanging from it fastened by brass tacks. The eagle swooped down to grab the pipe in its claws.  "The scenery faded" but Wab could still see the eagle in his bedroom, flapping its wings.

He knew he had had a vision and so did his father and so did the medicine man his father took him to. The medicine man told Wab's dad to bring him back within a month, and when he did Wab was given a handcrafted pipe and told that, from then on, he was a pipekeeper, a prestigious role among Anishinaabe people.

From that moment Wab Kinew knew he was destined for greatness.

"His calling to a powerful destiny that would impact the lives of many was confirmed and his family started grooming him for his life purpose." wrote Alberta Native News writer Brandi Morin. 

It doesn't take much to get him to talk how he walks in the footsteps of men like Martin Luther King and Louis Riel, with the implication that he will be among their ranks. 

And women swoon in his presence. 

Take Brandi Morin for one, with this tweet:

Brandi Morin
My new crush is Wab Kinew @WabKinew OMG he's like a real life freakin' Super Hero! *drool- Come rescue this Damsel in distress too plz =)
6:13 AM - 10 Feb 2012

So it must have been a jolt when he entered politics and found that people didn't automatically gush over him like Brandi did.

Before announcing his bid for office he analyzed his vulnerabilities and zeroed in on the lyrics to his rap songs which degraded women

*  To get the jump on critics, at the Aboriginal Music Awards where he won an award for best hiphop CD, he apologized for such hurtful songs, and urged other hip hop artists to change their lyrics too. 

*  And he apologized in his memoir, in two sentences shoehorned into the very back of the book.  

*  And when the issue was raised in the election campaign, he apologized again.

*  And when his tweets containing slurs against gay men were discovered, he apologized. 

*  And tweets that body shamed overweight girls, you guessed it, he apologized. 

The only thing he hasn't apologized for is running over a cat with his car and joking about it. (The cat lived, though he broke its legs.)

Through it all, Kinew has known he was born to lead, just as the eagle said. 

In fact, he'll be the first to tell you.

"I hope over the course of this campaign and over the course of my career ... I prove to people I'm not just the indigenous guy. I hope that people recognize that I'm a leader," he said in a Canadian Press interview.

As for people who didn't recognize his brilliance, well "I think we all know where this stuff is coming from..." he said as he pulled the race card from his sleeve. 

If you don't forgive Wab Kinew and stop attacking his character, you're obviously a racist, was the clear implication intended to silence his critics.

But, eagle aside, Wab Kinew has shown little leadership that wasn't calculated carefully in advance.

He told CJOB he intended to fight bigotry. But he stands side-by-side in public appearances with NDP cabinet minister Eric Robinson, the biggest self-confessed bigot in Manitoba. 

Robinson fought off critics of his openly admitted racism against white people by inventing an exception to prejudice on the basis of colour --- white people have privilege because they're white, so it's okay for non-whites to be prejudiced against them.  

A weekend column by Gordon Sinclair in the Winnipeg Free Press showed another opportunity to show leadership that was missed by Kinew.

Only two weeks earlier, the taxi industry had been under attack by aboriginal women, backed by the Southern Chiefs Organization, amid allegations of racism and sexual harassment.

The CBC highlighted one disputed area:
"Some aboriginal people said they feel discriminated against because they're asked to provide cash deposits up front.

"The cabbies said they'll make that request if they worry a passenger will skip out without paying, no matter what their racial background may be. 

"I'll get that thrown in my face — 'You're only asking me for cash because I'm Indian,'" (a driver) said.

Sinclair, delving into Kinew's memoir, noted Kinew had been arrested years ago for assaulting a cab driver who tried to stop him from refusing to pay a fare.

That said, he could have gone public, admitting his prior actions had contributed to the suspicions that cab drivers have about aboriginal customers.

 He could have said that there is validity to both sides and tried to de-escalate the conflict. 

But he didn't. 

Shown the opportunity, he chose to be a one-trick pony. 

He chose to be, in his own words, "just the indigenous guy."

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Et tu, Wab?

Fresh off his 'Homos, Ho's, 'n Bitches' Apology Tour, ex-rapper Wab Kinew is about to break in a new act --- pulling his knife out of Greg Selinger's back, with a smile.

Selinger is just over a month away from going down in history as the man who took Manitoba's New Democratic Party over the cliff with him to humiliating defeat because of his conceit and hubris.  The beginning of their mutual end is universally traced to Selinger's decision to raise the provincial sales tax one point to 8 percent from 7 percent in 2013.

Among the masses throwing brickbats at Selinger back then was one Wab Kinew -- an employee of  the University of Winnipeg with a degree in economics -- who took to Twitter to express his  opposition to the NDP's surprise tax hike.

How does raising the Pst help grow the economy? How is a tax which takes a proportionally bigger slice of poorer peoples' incomes fair?


That was before Selinger hand-picked him to be the party's star candidate in the 2016 provincial election. But Kinew's shine was tarnished almost from the start once people learned of his penchant for rapping songs that degraded women and his Tweets which included body shaming jokes at girls and slurs at gays.

Okay, you've got me,  but I've changed, he'd boast (with a smirk on his face). I know the error of my ways.  
I'm Feminist Wab now and I'm really really sorry for what I said when I was Hiphop Wab

NDP leader Greg Selinger would nod sagely at his boy.
But will voters be as forgiving for Econo Wab, whose political flip-flops just keep on coming. 

The PST? 
He was against it -- before he was for it.

Greg Selinger? 
Loves him.  

Those poor people hurt by the PST?  

The higher sales tax has taken $5000 away from the average Manitoba household so far, a factoid determined to be True by Global News factcheckers.  

The damage to the poorest Manitobans is proportionally worsesomething even Econo Wab knew in 2013.

Will the new Wab Kinew go on the road for Apology Tour II? Tickets at NDP constituency offices, PST added for your own good.

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Not so fast, Police Chief Devon Clunis. We're still waiting for an answer.

He's retiring?

Winnipeg Police Chief Devon "Mack Daddy" Clunis is retiring?

How old is he? It seems he just started in his job and he's taking a flyer already?

Clunis is about 52 and he got the job as police chief barely 3 1/2 years ago.  That means he was 48 when hired, so whoever hired him had every reason to believe he would stick around for a long time.

Especially given all the big talk from Clunis when he started the job.  He was going to literally change the culture of policing in Winnipeg.  Police weren't going to be crime fighters so much as social workers, offering soft shoulders to cry on, strong arms to gather the broken, and sympathetic ears to hear the chorus of sad stories. Blah blah blah.

If you listen to Mack Daddy today, he's done all that. Mission accomplished, he said when announcing his departure. Sick healed. Blind seeing. Lame walking. Geez, the guys a candidate for Christ as his next job.

Oh, and he wants to spend more time with his wife.  Yeah, like we haven't heard that one before.

What was that all about? If he knew he wasn't going to stick around more than a few years, why take the job?  Was it to pad out the pension? Well, that won't fuel more cynicism of public servants, will it?

* When he was hired, the Winnipeg Free Press warned that he didn't have many qualifications. He has a divinity degree and had been the police chaplain. He had experience in the vice unit, traffic division and community service, hardly the hard crime-fighting fronts of police work.

"He has minimal experience in serious crime investigation, or in finance and administration. These are serious shortcomings, particularly at a time when the city is trying to control the escalating costs of policing, which represents 25 per cent of the city's budget." wrote the FP in a prescient editorial.

The knock is that Clunis is leaving because the new police board wants to start chopping the police budget, and with it staffing by as much as 80 police officers. 

He denies it, but a social worker always wants to spend more and not less.

* Clunis never worked his biggest strength. As a preacher he could have preached that the biggest root cause of crime is the refusal to accept the difference between right and wrong. Instilling the moral value of right over wrong is a more powerful deterrent to crime than a policeman on every block; it's a policeman in every heart.  

But social workers pride themselves on not judging. So, instead, they enable.

Mack Daddy got his nickname from his policy on street prostitution. He talked about wanting the working girls off the streets, but he did more than anybody to keep them there. He formed a special unit to do nothing but ride around and make friends with hookers and suggest they get another line of work. 

At last count the measure of the unit was one dead hooker (Tina Fontaine) and two claiming they might be interested in getting out of the biz.  Seriously, no joke. That's it.

* Clunis' finest hour was standing up to I'M-MARTY-MORANTZ-AND-I'M-A-LAWYER. 

As a newly elected councillor, Moranz tried to browbeat a senior police official at a committee hearing. The officer politely informed the shrill Moranz that the police reported to the new police board, not city council. Moranz tried to intimidate the officer but only demonstrated what a fool he was.

Clunis took Mayor Brian Bowman by the ear to the woodshed the next day. After a mano-a-mano talking to, Bowman learned his position in the pecking order in no uncertain terms. He took Morantz into his office for a good spanking before both of them offered a grovelling explanation to the press that, yes, the police official was right, Morantz was stupid and wrong, and that disrespect for the police would never happen again. Morantz was not allowed to open his mouth.

* Clunis' darkest moment was his cowardice four months ago over the killing of 24-year old Mark DiCesare who was surrounded by a veritable army of gun-toting police officers and blasted to death in an empty field in River Heights.

Clunis refused to answer the single most important question about the incident--- did the man have a gun? He was surrounded by 20-30 policemen, the officers armed with an assortment of weapons ranging from Glock pistols to pepper spray, to batons. He had no chance of escape. 

The only reason to kill him was if he had a gun? Did he?

The police department refuses to say.


Because if he did not have a gun, then this case should have already been turned over to homicide investigators from another police force.

Did Clunis, the chaplain, meet with Mark DiCesare's mother and offer condolences for his death? Or is he headed for the exit before this case is resolved.

It must not be allowed to turn into a repeat of the police shooting of Craig McDougall, the 26-year-old man shot by police in 2008. The authorities have managed to stall the mandatory inquest into McDougalls' death at the hands of police for EIGHT YEARS. His family is still waiting for answers. The McDougall inquest might start in August.

Will Clunis give Mark DiCesare's family an answer before he skips out the door to enjoy his fat pension and his time with his wife?

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Monday, March 07, 2016

Song Shocker: Reporter says NDP star sang about punching a woman

It isn't until paragraph 20 of the 23-paragraph story by Canadian Press writer Chinta Puxley that the bombshell drops.

"In one song, Kinew raps about hitting women in the face with both a fist and his genitalia," wrote Puxley. (Manitoba Liberal candidate resigns over derogatory tweets about women, by The Canadian Press, March 3, 2016)

The Manitoba Liberal is a nobody already forgotten. Kinew, as everyone in Manitoba knows by now, is Wab Kinew, the provincial NDP's star candidate in the coming provincial election. 

For almost a week he's been  trying to deflect attention from rap songs that he wrote and performed as recently as a few years ago which were peppered with demeaning references to women (whore, bitch, cunt and slut).

The heat went up when someone discovered a line in a song about casually killing a homosexual. "Probably smoke you while I'm taking a drag. That's the treatment for a blatant little fag like you." 

Kinew instantly amended his public statements to add that he was against homophobic lyrics, too.

But only Puxley's story from March 3 links Kinew's raps with violence against women. Shades of Jian Ghomeshi.

She doesn't name the song, or cite the complete lyric. Her observation has gone unreported in the local mainstream media---the CBC, CTV News, Global, the Winnipeg Free Press, The Winnipeg Sun. 

But who's going to challenge a female reporter's accuracy about something like this? Wab? He's rushed to take Youtube videos of his performances out of circulation in the past few days so nobody can hear his songs for themselves.  

Is he praying nobody else discovers his lyrics about hurting a woman?

A Twitter account seemingly did: 
"Pick up the pace n pound her with semen on face they found her"

Since the scandal of Kinew's songwriting career erupted last week, he has been trying to suck and blow on the issue at the same time. 

Kinew, his defenders rush to point out, has "taken ownership" of his failings and has apologized and promised to change his way, even to lead the struggle against misogynist attitudes towards women. However his epiphany about calling women  insulting names happened to coincide with his musings about running for public office, first for National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, then for the federal Liberals, and eventually for the NDP in Manitoba, so cynicism is in order.

He's rushed to cite his two previous stabs at apology (a challenge to rappers at the 2014 Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards to abandon misogynist lyrics, and a couple of sentences in his 2015 memoir saying my bad). But as the issue refused to die down, he added a recorded mea culpa on radio station CJOB and a public letter in the form of a written statement of contrition to election volunteers.

He hasn't, however, disowned the album that won him a best rap CD award at an earlier Aboriginal Peoples Choice ceremony.  

On the contrary. He's so proud of the music that made him an award-winning rapper that even today he brags about it in every CV, every bio, including those put out by the University of Winnipeg and the NDP.  

His message:
I'm sorry about singing about punching you in the head.
I'm sorry about singing about slapping you in the face with my dick.
But, hey, that CD's dope. Check. It. Out.

When the Manitoba Liberals were confronted with the stupid tweets about women by one of their candidates for office, their leader stepped forward to draw a clear line in the sand.

"As a woman I simply cannot accept comments that disparage women. Manitobans have every right to expect and demand a high standard of their candidates and MLAs. We are Liberals and we hold ourselves to a higher standard. It’s what Manitobans expect and demand.” Liberal leader Rana Bokhari said (in a statement).

She spoke from principle. An apology on certain matters is fine from a personal point of view, but a political party must be held to a higher standard, she says. The NDP and Wab Kinew obviously do not share her values. 
Kinew sat on his high horse during the last civic election when mayoral candidate Gord Steeves was under attack for something his wife wrote in a private Facebook post four years earlier. 

It didn't involve punching a woman in the face. 

At the time Kinew wrote:

Wab Kinew ‏@WabKinew 22m
Tweet me when Gord Steeves does the right thing and drops out of the race

Will he do the right thing? Or is the NDP so desperate to protect its star candidate that it's lost the ability to tell the difference?

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Friday, March 04, 2016

Wab Kinew's flip flop hip hop

Just over a year ago Wab Kinew was auditioning for the job of host of CBC Radio's powerhouse morning show, Q.

The CBC had  fired the former host, Jian Ghomeshi, after he revealed a shocking penchant for unusual rough-sex practices, which, according to women who had dated him, included suddenly punching his partner in the head or choking her while making out.

Wab was a definite frontrunner. Non-white (a requisite), handsome, suave, extremely articulate, with a slightly dangerous air (that jiu jitsu training and street fighting past), and he could speak French (courtesy of French immersion schooling). The CBC must have swooned.

But Wab didn't get the job. Maybe it was his gall at starting his weeklong gig with an essay (a Ghomeshi trademark) on violence against women, ending with a jab at the former host himself. Who knows? 

But we know that CBC dodged a bullet because if they had hired Wab we would now be writing about the mass-suicide on Front Street .

For, you see, Wab was sitting on a little secret of his own involving the treatment of women. Six years earlier the university-educated applicant had gone slumming as a hiphop rapper in Winnipeg. He put out a well-received CD in which he rapped songs about---well, bitches and ho's and their sex parts and what Wab wanted to do to them. Or, what's known in the rap world, the usual.

Imagine replacing  Ghomeshi with a guy who raps songs that degrade women, songs that fuel the very attitude behind violence against women.

By the time of his Q audition, Kinew had decided to go into politics, starting with an exploratory sniff at running for Grand Chief of the national Assembly of First Nations. He passed.

But he knew he had to inoculate his new self from his old self if he was to succeed in the political arena... Step one was to show up at the 2014 Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards where he publicly denounced misogynist lyrics in rap. Oh, yeah. He may have been for it but now he was against it.

Step two was a memoir, every politician has to have a memoir. Into his he shoehorned a couple of sentences almost as an afterthought: "I would also like to apologize for misogynistic rap lyrics I have written or performed in the past. At the time I thought it was funny or had shock value.”

And wouldn't you know it, during his first real political campaign, running as the NDP's star candidate in the Manitoba general election, the women's issue would come up. This week a Liberal candidate was attacked for some stupid tweets about women, and in defence the Liberals dredged up Wab's rap career.

The NDP was ready. Caucus spokeswoman Sharon Blady insisted there was a difference between the two cases. 
"The one thing that's different there is that he's taken ownership of them," she said of Kinew. "I mean, he's published about it in a book. He's talked about his own personal growth and frankly, the regret. That's about a period of angry youth."

Angry youth? When Wab Kinew was rapping about ho's and bitches he was 27 years old. He had been out of university for six years. He had fathered two children. Just because he wore a baseball cap backwards didn't make him a yout'.

Nobody questioned Blady about her soft racism, calling a grown native man an irresponsible adolescent. But that's another issue.

Even Wab Kinew said in interviews that his "angry youth" was his university days. That's the time of his stints in jail; his street fights;  his conviction for drunk driving; his arrests for assault, including the time he stiffed a cab driver. Unless he can't keep his story straight, he had long ago quit drinking and straightened out, especially after his second child was born.

No, Kinews entry into the hip hop scene was deliberate and thought out. And he's proud of it,.

His CD with those misogynistic lyrics is called Live By the Drum, and it won the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Award for best rap/hip hop album in 2009. And he can't stop promoting it.

Neither can the NDP. On their election website you'll read:

Your NDP Candidates | Manitoba NDP
Manitoba New Democratic Party

.Wab is also an award-winning recording artist. His 2009 album “Live By the Drum” won an Aboriginal People's Choice Music Award.

The University of Winnipeg, where Wab is the Associate Vice-President of Indiigenous Affairs, carries a bio that boasts:

Wab Kinew (pron: WOB ka-NOO) is a one-of-a-kind talent, named by Postmedia News as one of “9 Aboriginal movers and shakers you should know”. He is the Associate Vice-President of Indigenous Affairs at the University of Winnipeg. In 2012, he hosted the acclaimed CBC Television series “8th Fire” and in 2015 is hosting CBC's national program, Canada Reads. His hip-hop has won an Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Award. His journalism has won an Adrienne Clarkson RTNDA Award, a Gabriel Award and been nominated for a Gemini Award. He has a BA in Economics and is a member of the Midewin.

Not a hint of shame there.  
He's never returned his Aboriginal Peoples Choice Award. 
Or amended his bio to read how he's changed his attitude on women compared to his song lyrics.

You might conclude that his sudden remorse is just another tactic by just another cheap politician.

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Saturday, January 23, 2016

The rehabilitation of Lesley Hughes hits a bump

No sooner had we posted a commemoration of the first decade of The Black Rod than we got a tip that one of our featured players had popped up on the radar again.

Lesley Hughes is the infamous Liberal party candidate who was kicked off the party slate in 2008 when she got caught up in a firestorm over something she wrote years earlier that critics attacked as a blatantly anti-semitic remark.

It was The Black Rod that first publicized her comment, which almost instantly took on a life of its own and within 24 hours immolated her fledging political career.

For the record, here's the relevant segment of what Lesley Hughes wrote in a column titled Get The Truth written for community newspapers in Winnipeg in 2002.

"Many official sources are claiming to have warned the American intelligence community, which spends $30 billion a year gathering information, about the attacks on the twin towers on that heartbreaking day.

German Intelligence (BND) claims to have warned the U.S. last June, the Israeli Mossad and Russian Intelligence in August. Israeli businesses, which had offices in the Towers, vacated the premises a week before the attacks, breaking their lease to do it. About 3000 Americans working there were not so lucky."

"You oughta read this," said the message to us following our ten-year lookback. 

Lesley Hughes has written a book and was plugging it with an interview and book excerpt in the Jewish Post. The book is, the Post tells us, titled "An Enemy of the Jews".   A few years ago when she announced she was writing the book she was planning on calling it "Hit and Run: My Brilliant Career in Canadian Politics." The new title is definitively more provocative. We appear in the role of "an anonymous local blogger." (Sigh...ed.)

The Jewish Post wrote that they had "asked  Hughes to write an introduction to the excerpt from her book in which she could provide some context for what she is writing about. Here is what she sent us:

“In the federal election of 2008, Winnipeg journalist Lesley Hughes was nominated as Liberal candidate in the riding of Kildonan St. Paul.

“An anonymous local blogger reacted by claiming Hughes was guilty of anti-semitism and conspiracy mongering, citing a column she had written in community newspapers six years earlier, in which she questioned Canada’s co-operation with the US invasion of Afghanistan. The blogger’s claims were picked up by mainstream media and by leaders of national Jewish organizations, who demanded successfully that Hughes be dismissed as unfit for public office by Liberal leader Stephane Dion.

“In her column “Get the Truth”, still available on the internet, Hughes reported that 3 intelligence agencies, among them Mossad, claimed they had warned Americans that the tragic events of 9/11 were on the horizon but were disregarded. She also observed that Israeli tenants had vacated the Twin Towers shortly before the actual events. 

The blogger and his followers reported that Hughes was blaming those events, as well as the deaths of 3,000 victims on Israel.

“In her forthcoming book, Hughes maintains that while foreign intel agencies were entitled to share their information with their allies and with nationals living abroad, only the US government was entitled to warn US citizens of possibly impending attacks, and they had not done so. She therefore suggested Canadians should not be involved in Afghanistan until more was known about American motives in the middle east.

“Experiencing personal and public humiliation as a result of her dismissal, Hughes brought defamation suits against then Conservative MP Peter Kent, B'nai Brith (national) and the Canadian Jewish Congress. The suit ended after 4 1/2 years with an out of court settlement and a statement in which Hughes was cleared of the charges which ended her political career.”

We were astonished.

No, absolutely floored.

Lesley Hughes was not only reiterating the offending claim that Jewish businessmen were tipped off to the imminent terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, and that they sneaked away without telling non-Jews, indeed, condemning thousands of the goyim to certain death. But she had the chutzpah to say it in the Jewish Post. And...she added a bizarre and twisted explanation for why they did it!

Apparently, according to her, there's some sort of heretofore secret diplomatic protocol that prevents the security apparatus of one nation from warning the citizens of another country of an imminent terrorist attack, even if it means thousands of innocent people could be saved.  

Pure poppycock.

The "Jews-fled-the-Towers" canard was debunked almost as soon as it raised its ugly head.  
Even University of Lethbridge professor and 911 Truther Anthony Hall, Lesley Hughes' biggest fan and chief defender, admitted it was false. He wrote in her defence:
Prof. Anthony Hall on the Lesley Hughes affair
Reprehensor Sun, 09/28/2008 - 11:12pm 
Anthony J. Hall 
(The sacking of Lesley Hughes reeks of political maneuvering in the run-up to elections in Canada. Hughes was indeed incorrect in writing, "Israeli businesses, which had offices in the Towers, vacated the premises a week before the attacks, breaking their lease to do it." Hughes was apparently referring to the Zim transportation company which did vacate the WTC, but had announced their decision to leave publicly, six months before 9/11. This misinformation is propagated by others, as well.Hughes' short article was dredged up by political muckraking blog, The Black Rod..."
But Hughes, herself, has never repudiated her words. 

She has clung to the Jews-fled story over the years like a drowning man to a rope.  

In the immediate aftermath of her dismissal as a Liberal candidate for Parliament, with charges of anti-semitism still flying around her, she issued a statement containing this excerpt:
Lesley Hughes responds
October 1st 2008
"Six years ago, I wrote a column which examined evidence that the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan may have been motivated by the drive for oil and drug profits.
As background, I reported that the intelligence agencies of Germany, Israel and Russia all warned the CIA that the attacks of Sept. 11 were coming, a fact also reported in the London Telegraph, the Jerusalem Post, and on Fox News. I noted that the U.S. disregarded the warnings, but Israeli businesses took them seriously, and (sensibly) vacated the Twin Towers."

And now, she's pitching the same falsehood again, in a book.

What's troubling is that she obviously sees nothing wrong with saying that Jews look after their own at the expense of anyone who is not Jewish. She doesn't grasp at how this could be seen as offensive.

Caroline Cramer, the first chairman of the newly formed Manitoba Human Rights Commission in the early Seventies may provide the answer to this attitude. 

Reminiscing in a story online, she recalled how one of the first complaints to the rights commission involved a storeowner (in rural Manitoba, if blog memory is correct...ed) who advertised a "Jew Me Down" sale.

When challenged, the storeowner said he couldn't understand why anyone would find his ad offensive. It was, he said, only recognizing that Jews were well-known to get the best price they could for items, and his sale invited customers to bargain for the lowest price they could get.

In the same fashion, Lesley Hughes is recognizing that Israel has a very efficient spy network which, according to her, discovered that Muslim terrorists intended to attack the World Trade Towers in New York. 

That country simply tipped off their citizens ( how remains a big mystery) and those businessmen acted on the tip. 

So what's the problem? Other than the fact 3000 people were murdered when they could have been saved, by her reasoning.

We look forward to reading her book. And to how the Jewish Post handles her book. 

Following is a sampling of the feedback we received for our tenth anniversary post.

Via email:
Congratulations on your amazing first decade,
in which you have certainly taught Many in Media 
an extremely good lesson.
And, keep it wide and open during your second
10 years.
Your Jan. 6 column was a well-deserved pat on your own back.
(That's PW as in Peter Warren.)
From: RS <>
Date: January 10, 2016 at 9:30:37 PM CST
To: <>
Subject: Congratulations for the best in these past ten years!
You deserve it. So few tell it as it truly is. You do a great service. Long live the Black Rod!

And, via Twitter:
derick ‏@infidelatheist  and after 10 years it may be time for The Black Rod to update it's website and get a real URL.

Not yet.
Thanks to all the well-wishers. More stories coming soon.

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