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.

Name:
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: black_rod_usher@yahoo.com

Monday, September 28, 2009

The. Most. Controversial. Black Rod. Ever.

For the first time ever, we need to issue a content warning. If you are easily upset by obscenity or descriptions of explicit sex acts, don't read on.

The witchhunt has started.

The first to be dragged to the stake is Stuart Murray, the newly announced Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. His crime? He's not pure enough for the homosexual lobby.

Detractors of the CMHR said from the beginning it was going to be a publicly funded tool to promote left-wing feminist/homosexual social engineering. Not so, insisted the museum's backers.

When reporting to the federal Heritage minister in 2008, Arni Thorsteinson, then-chairman of the federal advisory committee on the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, wrote: (All emphasis herein is ours)

“There was a concern among respondents in the web-based consultations and focus groups testing that the CMHR could be influenced by political activities, or special interest groups in a manner that could affect, or be perceived to affect, the integrity and balance of its exhibitions and programs.”

“The Board will need to not only ensure that it remains autonomous and free from influence, but also to be seen to be autonomous and free from influence.”

Well, here's the real-life litmus test on interference by special interest groups, and the response from the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is----dead silence.

The refusal to defend Stu Murray tells all you need to know about the influence certain special interests have with the board.

In January, Helen Kennedy, executive director the homosexual lobby group Egale Canada, sent an open letter to Patrick O'Reilly, Chief Operating Officer of the CMHR, which began:

Dear Mr. Patrick O’Reilly,
As one of the initial supporters of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights...Egale Canada is gravely concerned about the stark omission of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans (LGBT) and our allies’ history, achievements, and voices on your website and fact sheets and in your newsletters and other publications.

Obviously they didn't get the response they wanted. So when the appointment of Stu Murray was announced by the federal government, Egale decided to flex its muscle. They want Murray to crawl. And they're sending a message to Riley, Thorsteinson, Gail Asper and Stephen Harper---we call the shots, policy or no policy.

Already the museum executive has begun to kowtow to the homosexual lobby, as we'll explain later. In the meantime, they're leaving it to their surrogates like former Liberal MP John Harvard and former NDP attorney general Roland Penner to attack Murray, and anyone who comes out in support of him, in the editorial pages of the Winnipeg Free Press.

The attack on Murray appears to centre on his vote as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party in Manitoba against extending adoption rights to same-sex couples.

Since it's obvious you'll never see the other side of the argument in the CMHR or, we bet, in the Winnipeg Free Press (although we grant them permission to reprint this article in full) we decided to research it ourselves.

Proponents of the legislation said it was a natural extension of laws against discrimination based on sexual orientation, the newspeak term for, as former NDP cabinet minister Sidney Green put it in his own editorial page article, sexual gratification.

The Gay Report, published in 1979, was an 881 page compendium of pre-AIDS lesbian and gay male sexual attitudes and practices. 5,400 lesbians and gay men filled out a 16-page questionaire making it one of the largest surveys ever conducted of homosexual sex practices.

Among its findings:

99% engaged in oral sex;
91% had anal intercourse;
83% engaged in rimming; (licking the anus)
22% had done fisting;
23% admitted to participating in golden showers (peeing on another or being peed on);
76% admitted to public or group sex;
73% admitted having sex with boys (nineteen years old or younger)]
38% had partaken of sadomasochistic practices at least once
4% admitted to eating feces.
35% admitted to having had 100 or more different sexual partners

Debunking the Gay Report has become almost a cottage industry on the internet. Among the valid criticisms is that it was a survey similar to those that appear in magazines, and not a scientific poll; only about 1 percent of the surveys that were distributed were returned; and the bulk of respondents came from readers of Blueboy, a gay softporn magazine, which likely skewed the results towards the more extreme sex practices.

Since the AIDS epidemic, sex surveys of homosexuals have become commonplace among AIDS researchers.

There was a research study conducted between 2004 and 2007 by a team from the University of Windsor and the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT).

In one survey, data was collected from 922 "randomly recruited men" during Toronto Pride 2005. They completed a 73-item questionnaire about their sexual behavior and sexual activites in the previous six months.

54.7 percent reported having sex with a regular partner
26 percent said they were monogamous with their partner, although that's a flexible term because...
62 percent reported having a casual male partner and "significant numbers" of men reported having sex with casual and regular partners.
13.9 percent said they had sex without condoms (participating in the bareback scene)

"They reported having UAI (unprotected anal intercourse...ed) both with and without coming. BB men were significantly overrepresented in a specific set of social venues and they were more likely to have: (1) been sexually adventurous (e.g. fisting, SM, "party and play,"etc); (2) had five or more sexual partners in the previous six months."

Researchers conducted a separate survey of 34 men who reported having unprotected sex most or all of the time. The findings were hair-raising.

"SERO-SORTING
The men expressed concern about HIV transmission, despite their sexual practices. To manage their HIV many tried to sero-sort by dropping or looking for hints and cues, without directly asking about or disclosing HIV status. This was primarily because raising the topic of HIV status (positive or negative) with a potential sexual partner provoked strong feelings of anxiety, and caused concern about receiving a hostile response and possibly derailing an opportunity to have sex. This was especially the case for the HIV-positive men."


"HIV-positive men tended to presume that when a sexual partner did not bring up sero-status or did not introduce a condom, he was implying consent because he was HIV-positive or he accepted the risk being taken. These presumptions were especially attributed to quick-sex settings, such as baths, where a partner’s HIV status was often inferred based on his willingness to go along with unprotected sex. Men in the bareback circuit tended to share these presumptions."

"HIV-negative men were more likely to presume that when a sexual partner did not bring up sero-status or introduce a condom, he was HIV-negative."


"The men were also asked about the 1998 Supreme Court of Canada ruling in the Cuerrier case that stated people living with HIV have an obligation to disclose their sero-status to sexual partners..."

"Most felt that disclosure could be indirect, situational, or qualified and were concerned about the legal complications that could arise from ambiguous and subjective definitions of disclosure, and whether disclosure could actually heighten one’s vulnerability to legal problems. Some men rejected the obligation of HIV-positive people to disclose, on the grounds that sex is a shared responsibility in which both partners should take selfprotective measures. This latter perspective has been promoted by many AIDS service organizations (ASOs) for several decades and was also found to be consistent with the ideology of men in the bareback circuit."

The Ontario Men’s Survey in 2004 was a community project funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and GlaxoSmithKline Positive Action Program.

"AIDS service organizations and the people who organize and run community groups helped formulate the questions; gay dances, bars and bathhouses provided places where men could answer them. The goal was to find 5,000 men who would complete the questionnaire. That goal was met and surpassed" (with 5,080 men participating). Almost half (2428) of the participants were from Toronto.

SEXUAL ACTIVITIES WITH CASUAL MALE PARTNER(S) IN PAST 3 MONTHS
%
Deep kissing 77.8
Jerking off 77.6
Rimming 40.3
Sucking - condom 17.0
Sucking - no condom 80.3
Getting sucked - condom 14.4
Getting sucked - no condom 73.2
Fucking - condom 46.5
Fucking - no condom 21.0
Getting fucked - condom 34.5
Getting fucked - no condom 16.0

Number of casual sex partners in the
past 3 months
one 18%
2-4 46%
5-9 16%
10 or more 20%
Potentially risky activities with casual sex
partners without condoms
fucking 21%
getting fucked 16%

"The question: “In the past three months, when you have had sex with male casual partners, how often have you told each other of your HIV status?”
The answer: Not that often. Here’s how it breaks down:"
always disclosed status: 25%
sometimes disclosed status: 30%
never disclosed status: 45%

The ARGUS study was a 2005 Montreal gay sex survey conducted under the Canada, Quebec, and Montreal public health departments in which 1957 men filled out a self-administered questionnaire about their sex behaviours in the previous six months.

Among its findings:

9.2 percent practised fisting (defined as inserting all the fingers, a fist, or a forearm in the anus)
27.2 percent engaged in group sex
81 percent had one-night stands, including 34 percent who had six or more.
29.8 percent had unprotected anal intercourse with a partner without knowing if the person had HIV or not.
11.5 percent "intentionally" had unprotected anal sex with a casual male partner

But surveys are just unscientific snapshots. A better insight into the beliefs and behaviour of the homosexual community comes from their own official statements and policy stances.

Egale and other homosexual groups including Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Ontario (CLGRO) opposed raising the age of consent to 16 from 14.

In a brief to the Justice Committee. CLGRO stated:
"There is a widespread belief that older, predatory persons lure young people into homosexuality. This is coupled with a refusal to accept that younger persons are capable of seeking and do seek out consensual same-sex relationships with older persons and, in fact, may be the initiators of such relationships. In addition, contrary to popular belief, a relationship with an older person may not in fact be damaging for a young person."

Hilary Cook, who served as chair of Egale's legal committee for five years before taking a seat on the board of directors, said it was unrealistic to expect teens to have sex only with those their own age.

"That's not the queer youth reality."

Egale's biggest bugaboo is the law against having anal sex with children aged 16 and 17. But given the lackadaisical attitude (above) to unprotected anal sex by the highest risk group for AIDS in the country, it appears a very reasonable restriction to protect children.

The biggest insight into the homosexual culture came in the legal battle between Little Sisters Book and Art Emporium, a gay and lesbian bookstore in Vancouver. Canada Customs was continually seizing books the story was trying to import from the U.S. The bookstore owners went to court to prove Customs was discriminating against them on the basis of their sexual orientation.

The case wound up in the Supreme Court where during the lengthy trial (1999-2000) the bookstore owners and their supporters argued that homosexuals should get special treatment under the laws against pornography.

EGALE Canada in their argument to the court said that

"sexually explicit lesbian, gay and bisexual materials challenge the dominant cultural discourse. They resist the enforced invisibility of our marginalized communities and thereby reassure us that we are not alone in the world, despite the apparent hegemony of heterosexuality. They reduce our sense of isolation. They provide affirmation and validation of our sexual identities by normalizing and celebrating homo-and bi-sexual practices, which mainstream culture either ignores or condemns. In short, they help us feel good about ourselves in an otherwise hostile society."

LEAF argued in its intervenor documents that

"the equality rights of heterosexual women are also affected by the targeting of LGBT materials. These materials benefit heterosexual women because they may challenge sexism, compulsory heterosexuality and the dominant, heterosexist sexual representations which often portray 'normal' heterosexuality as men dominating women and women enjoying pain and degradation."

Here are just a few excerpts of the court's majority decision which further outline the sexual orientation argument:

Reasons for Judgment, BCSC, para. 128. AR Vol. I, p. 131.
Court File No: 26858

"First the appellants argue that the “harm-based” interpretation given to s. 163 of the Criminal Code in Butler, supra, does not apply to gay and lesbian erotica in the same way as it does to heterosexual erotica, or perhaps at all."

***
"The appellants, supported by the interveners LEAF and EGALE, contend that homosexual erotica plays an important role in providing a positive self-image to gays and lesbians, who may feel isolated and rejected in the heterosexual mainstream. Erotica provides a positive celebration of what it means to be gay or lesbian. As such, it is argued that sexual speech in the context of gay and lesbian culture is a core value and Butler cannot legitimately be applied to locate it at the fringes of s. 2(b) expression. Erotica, they contend, plays a different role in a gay and lesbian community than it does in a heterosexual community, and the Butler approach based, they say, on heterosexual norms, is oblivious to this fact. Gays and lesbians are defined by their sexuality and are therefore disproportionately vulnerable to sexual censorship."

****
" The intervener LEAF took the position that sado-masochism performs an emancipatory role in gay and lesbian culture and should therefore be judged by a different standard from that applicable to heterosexual culture."

(Lead counsel for LEAF in its intervention in Little Sisters was Karen Busby who teaches your children in the Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba -- ed.)

****

"On the more specific issues, the appellants, and the interveners in their support, argue that in the context of the Customs legislation a “harm-based” approach which utilizes a single community standard across all regions and groups within society is insufficiently “contextual” or sensitive to specific circumstances to give effect to the equality rights of gays and lesbians."

****

"Portrayal of a dominatrix engaged in the non-violent degradation of an ostensibly willing sex slave is no less dehumanizing if the victim happens to be of the same sex, and no less (and no more) harmful in its reassurance to the viewer that the victim finds such conduct both normal and pleasurable. Parliament’s concern was with behavioural changes in the voyeur that are potentially harmful in ways or to an extent that the community is not prepared to tolerate. There is no reason to restrict that concern to the heterosexual community."

In short, the argument was that

- homosexual pornography is a core value of gay culture,

- laws against degrading pornography shouldn't apply to homosexual porn and

- sadomasochistic porn in a homosexual setting is positive and uplifting.

The Supreme Court didn't bite, and on that argument Little Sisters lost.

But back to the point. What does all this have to do with adoption by same sex couples?

We see that 30 years of sex surveys consistently record repugnant sex practices (rimming, fisting, peeing on partners as a sex act), widespread promiscuity, and a detestible attitude among a sizeable portion of the community (euphemistically called "sex adventurists") to having unprotected anal sex despite known risks of spreading HIV.

We see that they are upset at losing access to young teens (ages 14 and 15), and eager to gain access to older teens (ages 16 and 17 for anal sex) while insisting that children are old enough to make up their own minds about having sex with adults.

And we see them proclaim that sadomasochistic pornography showing homosexual men and women in pain and degradation is a core value of their culture.

This would be disturbing in the context of any family with children of their own.

But consider the idea of sending somebody else's children into this culture, and you see there is a valid argument for opposing adoption by same sex couples.

At the same time you can be certain you will never see this argument discussed within the walls of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights despite their pious claims to canvass all sides of controversial issues.

The CMHR has a 16-member content advisory committee. Three of those members are directly connected with LEAF, the pro-homo-porn intervenor in the Little Sisters case.

* Mary Eberts, a co-founder of LEAF;
* Natasha Bakkht, described as a member of the legal arm of the feminist movement, the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF); and
* Diana Majury, an active feminist for the past 30 years who has been involved in both the feminist National Association of Women and the Law and LEAF.

In his report to Ottawa, Arni Thorsteinson said the Content Advisory Committee "would work closely with CMHR staff for the purpose of ensuring that the Board and CMHR have the capacity and authority to acknowledge conflict, provide a balanced perspective and acknowledge and manage controversy. The members of the CAC should be chosen to play the role of advisors rather than advocates for special interest groups."

Oops. Somebody forgot to tell CAC member Jennifer Breakspear whose mini-bio says she "is a human rights activist working on human rights, and lesbian, gay, transgendered and bisexual rights (LGTB)."

Right after the attack on Stu Murray was launched in mid-month, Breakspear was quoted in xtra.ca ("Canada's online source for gay and lesbian news, features, editorials, reviews, events, and business listings").

"His voting record concerns me," says Jennifer Breakspear, the executive director of Vancouver's queer resource centre, Qmunity. She is also a member of the museum's content advisory committee, which is conducting public roundtables across Canada. "I look forward to meeting him and asking him about his record and where he stands now."

Is that a fact?

How, exactly does that jibe with the principle that "members of the CAC should be chosen to play the role of advisors rather than advocates for special interest groups"?

Oh, wait. When you have FVC (favoured victim status) you don't need to play be the rules, thank you very much.

After all, who's going to read her the rules? Stu Murray?

Or maybe COO Patrick O'Reilly?

You know, the same Patrick O'Reilly who was to be the keynote speaker at a fundraiser for the Vancouver resource centre run by Breakspear the same weekend she was threatening Stuart Murray?

Is kowtow/kow-tow one word, or two?

The irony of it all is that Stuart Murray wasn't hired for any experience in the field of "human rights." He has a much greater role to play with the CMHR, which is why Gail Asper and Arni Thorsteinson are shivering at the thought of losing him.

The day of his appointment, CBC television news carried 3 slightly different stories about his joining the museum. The most important one was the middle story, which ran at 5:30 p.m.

That was the story that explained Murray was brought on board to achieve one goal---to raise the $45 million the museum needs to fill its budget hole. He was hired for his expertise in fundraising, demonstrated by his stint working with the St. Boniface General Hospital.

What Stu Murray brings to the job is his connections to people with deep pockets--- to business, to industry, and to governments in Manitoba and elsewhere.

Human Rights activists are a dime a dozen.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

The NDP's gangfighters roll out their plans

Manitoba Premier Gary Doer sat stonefaced in the Legislature, staring at the raving man who stood beside him.

The man was bellowing at the top of his lungs, his arms flailing, spit flying from his mouth.

It was three days ago.

Doer watched as the madman ranted on and on, and the lame-duck premier counted the minutes until he could walk away from this madhouse to the sanity of a diplomatic posting in Washington.

But we don't have that option. For that lunatic in the Legislature was none other than Manitoba Attorney General Dave Chomiak.

What set off his bout of carpet-chewing was a demand from the Opposition for him to table his promised new gang strategy or resign.

Thursday, he rolled out his gang strategy.

He should have resigned instead.

His much touted NEW gang strategy turned out to be a cut-and-paste job of every "new" gang strategy the NDP has trotted out in the past decade.
The cornerstone of Chomiak's new strategy dates back seventy years --- a list of Public Enemies consisting of up to 50 adult gang leaders.

Dave Chomiak is channeling J. Edgar Hoover. John Dillinger better watch out.

A new strategy calls for new resources, right?

Chomiak the gangfighter thinks four more people should be enough.

He's adding three new hires to the provincial Criminal Organization and High Risk Offenders Unit to assist police to conduct an in-your-face program of applying constant pressure on active gang members on that list. Gee, you mean like the Criminal Organization High Risk Probation Unit that was part of the street gang containment initiative the NDP announced in 2000?

Does anybody remember 2005? July 15, 2005, to be exact. That's when the Winnipeg police made this announcement:

Project House Call Ringing in Results
Project House Call has been ensuring offenders in the community on court ordered conditions are living up their obligations or facing the consequences.
The task force was first run in May. Officers from the Winnipeg Police Service's Division 11 Community Support Unit (CSU) and Manitoba Justice's Probation Services Criminal Organization and High Risk Offenders Unit (COHROU) partnered together, identifying a list of offenders and doing proactive sweeps to check for compliance with curfews and other conditions."

"The average compliance rate has been 73%. Results on individual nights have ranged from as low as 59% to as high as 80%. The proposal for the project came from the front line staff of Manitoba Justice and the Winnipeg Police Service.
It's expected that Project House Call will continue to be run regularly throughout the summer."

Sound familiar?

Well, since nobody remembers what the NDP promised nine years ago or four years ago, a better analogy is the Winnipeg Auto Theft Suppression Strategy which has police officers babysitting the city's worst car thieves.

Hasn't it cut car theft by more than two-thirds in only two years? It's been a big success, other than the fact that while the street crimes police were making sure car thieves were comfortably tucked into bed each night, the gangs have grown larger, more aggressive, and have branched out into new fields.

* Muggings are up 35 percent this year alone (75 percent in District 3).
* House break-ins---up 18 percent citywide.


* Police district 4 (North Kildonan, East Kildonan, Transcona, and "Elmwood" area) is a real "success" story with auto theft down 38 percent while residential break-ins are up 28 percent, garage break-ins up 21 percent, robberies up 20 percent, and muggings up 39 percent.

The lesson here is that when you change priorities without adding more police, the old priorities suffer. And so does the public. Duh.

Chomiak also promised a new civilian analyst to create a new gang database for police. You mean something like the previously announced Manitoba Integrated Organized Crime Task Force which "brings together police resources to focus on intelligence-led enforcement to seriously disrupt organized crime at the leadership level." Or the previously announced Corrections Intelligence Unit which "co-ordinates intelligence on gang members who are on supervised probation or in adult and youth institutions."

Or just maybe, maybe, it will be like the old gang database?

It was such a useful tool in investigations and prosecutions that as far back as 2000 Winnipeg police were getting calls from police forces across the country for tips on how to set up their own.

Why do we detect the NDP's fingerprints in eliminating the Winnipeg gang database?

Was it because the police were collecting too much information on street gangs whose members were, ahem, aboriginal in appearance at a time the NDP had adopted a hands-off policy on those gangs?

As luck would have it, the NDP is in the midst of a race for a new leader, and all three candidates went on CJOB this week to reveal their gang fighting strategies.

The first shocker was that the NDP has expunged the word "holistic" from their dictionary. When they took office in 1999 they declared that henceforth the government would be taking a "holistic" approach to gangs in contrast with the Conservative government's prosecutions approach. They intended to eliminate gangs by building floor hockey facilities and hiring more social workers. Group hug, anyone?

The Tories had put the Manitoba Warriors street gang out of business and sent their leaders, including the brother of NDP cabinet minister Robinson, to prison. The NDP's holistic approach has let the Manitoba Warriors regroup and new violent gangs to spring up.

You can see why they need to change the lexicon. The new buzzword is apparently "community."

Andrew Swan
wants to "build and strengthen our communities." He wants to "get communities involved" in fighting crime. How? By organizing citizens patrols.

He's "very interested in what police have to say" about fighting crime.

He wants more crown attorneys dedicated to fighting gangs.

And he wants "those at the top" to be targeted.

Oh, and if people don't feel safe in their communities, the NDP has a program for safety audits on their homes and free deadbolts for low-income people.

In other words, more of the same.

The Winnipeg Police Association thinks more-of-the-same is terrific strategy. They've endorsed Andrew Swan.

Greg Selinger knows who's to blame for the gang problem after 10 years of NDP rule---Gary Filmon.

The more social services a government provides, the greater the sense of security among the citizenry, he told CJOB. When Selinger was a social worker in the Nineties, he delivered social and recreational programs to communities like Gilbert Park. But throughout the 90's, he said, there was an "underinvestment" in social services.

So, blame Gary Filmon.

Selinger said the NDP has "done a lot" in 10 years of power, but, he conceded, obviously "not enough." So blame Gary Doer a little bit too.

His solution?

People need to be the "eyes and ears" of the police in the community. Police, for their part, need to get into the community through community policing and bike patrols.

And ("I am answering your question," he snapped at host Richard Cloutier), anyone committing a "violent crime against another citizen" should "pay the consequences."

But if we have to send them to jail, we have to provide them with training and education so they can enter the job market, he said.

In short, once a social worker, always a social worker.

Steve Ashton, still running against his own Party after 10 years of supporting it, said he would do things differently.

He wants to connect citizens to the police using the Point Douglas model in which community residents act as "eyes on the street" and call a special hotline to the police if they see any suspicious activity.

That's right. The way to fight gangs is to make a phone call and become No. 201 on the list of the calls in the queue.

He declared his own experience with the Taxi Board taught him a lot. Crime against cab drivers was cut 90 percent using cameras and shields, he said. We're not sure if that's a hint he supports surveillance cameras.

Then came the barrage: Community policing. Foot patrols in Manitoba Housing complexes. More police, concentrating them in high risk areas.

We're sure he meant to add kittens, puppies, rainbows and every other feel-good idea under the sun.

Oh, and he wants to recreate the Boston Miracle.

Here's how the Boston Globe described it:

"In 1996, police started Operation Ceasefire, which focused on identifying members of gangs, offering them ways out, and threatening them with federal sentences in prisons far away from their families if they continued to be violent. Clergy from the Boston TenPoint Coalition helped by offering services to gang members, such as job and education opportunities, to steer them from trouble."

There was an 18-month stretch when not a single youth in the city was killed. That's when people starting using the term "Boston Miracle." That's the part Ashton wants you to know.

What he doesn't want you to know is that after a few years of declining murder stats, the situation reversed. The number of gang killings began climbing each year. By 2005 the number of homicides had reached a 10-year high of 75.

Ashton's bottom line---he's supported every one of the NDP's failed strategies to fight gangs, but this time it's different. Uh huh.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fighting Gangs. The Great Divide. People vs. Profs

A group of about 30 people marched from the North End to the Legislature yesterday.

There wasn't a university egghead in the bunch. Nor could you find a single Indian Chief or Nahanni Fontaine or any of the usual hate-the-police crowd who claim to speak for native people.

That's because the message the marchers brought to the politicians wasn't the message being peddled in Manitoba's universities or newspapers or by racial demagogues in the aboriginal community.


It was the direct opposite of the "special report" prepared by leftwing university professors for the attention of Attorney General Dave Chomiak, which embraced the "wisdom" of members of a violent street gang who said authorities should end a crackdown on gangs and concentrate on ending poverty.

The residents of the North End who made the long march didn't carry signs saying "End Poverty". Their message was "Stop the Violence." And it was directed at those same gang members and their ilk.

The march was organized by North End resident Daniel Ranville. Speaking as someone who lives in the neighbourhood where the gangs operate,
his words were ashes in the mouths of the university professors and professional Indian spokesmen.

Native people are becoming ashamed of being aboriginal because of the actions of the gangs, he said. The violence is getting worse; more innocent people are being hurt; and
the violence is most often directed by Indian thugs against aboriginal victims. The word 'criminal' is becoming synonymous with 'aboriginal.'

Decent, hard-working native residents of the North End are being tarred with the image, Ranville said. As the reporter Aldo Santin put it in the Winnipeg Free Press:

"Ranville, a social worker, said many aboriginal people in the community go to work every day, send their children to school and pay their bills. He said many of them are demoralized by the violence that is initiated by other aboriginal people."

The solution, said the marchers, has to come from the gang members themselves; they have to take personal responsibility for changing their lives.

"Some of us have come through these challenges and we can make a contribution to our community," Ranville said in the Free Press. "We’re marching to show that the situation is not as hopeless as it seems - challenging but not hopeless."

Will the voice of the people be heard in the Legislature? Don't hold your breath. Here's why.

The same day as the march, the NDP government, which has a hands-off policy when it comes to aboriginal street gangs, issued yet another news release on the topic.

September 16, 2009

MANITOBA JOINS WESTERN PROVINCES TO DISCUSS ANTI-GANG ISSUES:
CHOMIAK

Attorney General Dave Chomiak will meet with his western
counterparts tomorrow and Friday in Saskatoon to share
information on best practices and discuss initiatives for
fighting organized crime.

Why wait for the post-meeting news release when you can read the results in The Black Rod today. Look no further than....

Promising Practices for
Addressing Youth
Involvement in Gangs

Research Report prepared by
Mark Totten, PH.D
April 2008


In support of the Strategy,
Preventing Youth Gang Violence in BC:
A Comprehensive and Coordinated
Provincial Action Plan


Or....

Aboriginal Youth and Violent
Gang Involvement in Canada:
Quality Prevention Strategies
Mark Totten, M.S.W., R.S.W., Ph.D.


Volume 3: pages 135–156
March/mars 2009
www.ipc.uOttawa.ca (Institute for the Prevention of Crime, Ottawa)


Yep, same guy. He's the Director of Research at the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa, so he's got the clout to influence policy.

And what's his conclusion?

The answer to fighting youth gangs is---wait for it----more social workers.

Stop laughing.

You'll find it all in his B.C. report under the heading:

"
The initiatives described below are proven to be effective in preventing membership in gangs and intervening with gang-involved youth."

The initiative that Dave Chomiak will be talking most about is called Wraparound. It's the latest buzzword in gangology.

Here's how Totten describes it:

Wraparound is a complex, multifaceted intervention strategy designed to keep youthful offenders at home and out of institutions whenever possible.

* "A comprehensive continuum of individualized services and support networks are “wrapped around” young people, rather than forcing them to fit into categorical, inflexible therapeutic programs (Portland State University Research and Training Center, 2003). Individual case management is a cornerstone, although Wraparound is very different from conventional case management programs: in the latter, an individual case manager or probation officer navigates them through traditional social and youth justice services (Burchard et al., 2002).

* A collaborative, community-based interagency team (with professionals from youth justice, education, mental health, and social services systems) designs, implements, and oversees the project. One organization takes the lead in coordinating each individual Wraparound case.

The bottom line---more social workers.

There was another project that almost made the grade except for one teensy-weensy problem.

"• The Little Village Project (Spergel, 2006; Spergel et al., 2003) has shown the most positive outcomes of any comprehensive gang intervention program."

Little Village is an inner-city area of Chicago with the gang violence problems you would expect to find there. Starting in 1992, authorities launched a " balanced, three-pronged approach that encompasses prevention, intervention and suppression activities."

The outcomes were good except for one problem. The problem? "...
there was not any major decrease in the overall gang crime in the Village (Spergel et al., 2003)."

As for What Doesn't Work in Totten's opinion..."Approaches described below are proven to be ineffective and should be stopped."

* ‘get tough’ approaches
* sending gang members to jail
* government education programs
* aboriginal leaders outreach


"Get tough and ‘lock ‘em up’ approaches have the exact opposite effect of that intended: incarcerating gang members and those at risk of joining gangs is very expensive, increases gang cohesion and recruitment, and in many cases results in these youth committing more serious crimes upon release. Instead, Wraparound approaches, based upon an integrated system of care model, result in significant cost savings and have excellent outcomes."

• Traditional detached-worker programs, which use social workers, youth and recreation workers or Aboriginal leaders who outreach into gangs are ineffective and can do more harm than good by increasing gang cohesion (Klein, 1995).

Curriculum-based prevention programs targeting youth at-risk for gang
involvement, such as the American Gang Resistance Education and Training
program (G.R.E.A.T.) and the many Canadian primary prevention initiatives (see Appendix B) effect modest, short-term change. However, follow-up studies have fund program participants to be as likely as non-participants to become gang members in the long-term.


Uh oh. Check out what's in Appendix B:

2001 - 2006 Manitoba primary prevention initiatives (recreation, educational videos, booklets, primary and secondary classroom education, parent information, community collaboration)
• Lighthouses, Manitoba Justice.
• Project Gang Proof, Manitoba RCMP, Winnipeg Police Service, Manitoba Justice.
• Take Action: Street Gang Awareness, Winnipeg Police Service.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Memo to Winnipeg Police: Keep it up. You've got the scumbags squirming

After a lone gunman sprayed a North End wedding reception with bullets on July 25th, killing one woman and wounding a number of other guests, Winnipeg police began squeezing gang members for information.

The late July attack even roused Attorney General Dave "Six Months" Chomiak to drop the Manitoba NDP's ten year moratorium on disturbing aboriginal street gangs. He began babbling about adopting a new, new, new, new, NEW gang strategy aimed at the same gangs that have thrived on his government's watch.

It was all too much for six members of the Manitoba Warriors.

The police had been paying special attention to the Warriors, some of whom had been guests at the wedding, raising suspicion that they had been the targets of a rival gang. This small contingent couldn't take the heat, so they went running for help to the only people still dumb enough to fall for their con---university eggheads.

"So when these men approached us, saying that they wanted to convey their experiences of living in the North End, their thoughts on the recent events that have occurred there, and their insights into what it will take to make meaningful change, we took advantage of this opportunity."

"It was in this spirit that we met with six members of a North End street gang over two days in early August."

Sure enough, within a month, the eggheads, had whipped up a special report they titled "Violence and Street Gangs in the Inner City" (excerpted above) and submitted it to Chomiak to get him to call off the dogs.

Their message: gangs are not the problem, society is.

"Street gangs are the product of the poverty and systemic racism that have long been present in the North End," declared the authors--- Marxist professor Elizabeth Comack, Head of the Department of Sociology at the University of Manitoba; flaming anti-capitalist Jim Silver, Professor of Politics at the University of Winnipeg; associate dean of the department of bleeding hearts at the U of M, Lawrence Deane; and every gang member's (almost) special pal, Larry Morrissette, the Director of OPK, a program to employ the unemployable.

Having bestowed the greatest accolade the Left can give, that of "Victim", on the violent gangs, the university eggheads then adopted the gang mentality and declared that the real enemy is---wait for it---the police.

But everything they see as wrong, we see as right:

"...in response to the perceived increase in levels of violence the Winnipeg Police Service has flooded the North End with officers and cruiser cars. (To which, we say Yay.)

As a consequence, the men said, the police have been “in their face,” as they are being regularly stopped and asked to account for themselves. (Double Yay.)

Sometimes this practice occurs when children are present, and it is so frequent that one man was stopped three times in one hour as he made his way around the North End. (Wow, a member of a violent street gang who has a long criminal record and brags he's not going to stop his life of crime is upset he's being stopped by police. Somebody call his momma.)

“It’s like the military in the North End now,” another said. “It’s all-out war on us.” (A great big Hooray.)

They likened the atmosphere now to what they understand to have been the case in big American cities, like Los Angeles, fifteen years ago. Police are swarming the North End. SWAT teams are present at funerals. “It’s like we’re under siege.” (Booyah)"

******
"The view of the street gang members is that flooding the North End with enlarged teams of police officers will not deter them from what they are doing. It will, rather, anger many residents of the North End who are not
involved with illegal or violent activities but who are targeted anyway because they “fit the description.”


***
"From previous studies done in Winnipeg’s inner city we know that most innercity residents do want a greater police presence in their neighbourhoods. But what they want is community policing where police are a positive presence and get to know the neighbourhoods and the children. Aboriginal people in particular do not want the aggressive style of policing involved in flooding the North End with cops and harassing people, because too often those harassed are guilty of nothing at all."

"The result of this intensified policing strategy, the street gang members told us, will be an angry response from the community and more disrespect for the police, which will generate yet more suppression and harassment, leading to a vicious spiral that is as likely to promote violence as to quell it"

To believe the university professors, people in gang-infested communities would sooner live with intimidation, murders, and drive-by shootings than have police patrol their streets trying to arrest the people responsible for the intimidation, murders and drive-by shootings.

Memo to university eggheads: Six loser gang members are not spokesmen for the North End or the Inner City. Nor do they speak for "aboriginal people". What planet do you live on?

These communities are filled with decent, law-abiding native and non-native people who welcome the police presence and want more of it. They may ask for community policing, but given second choice they'll take stepped up patrols and aggressive in-your-face harassment of gang members.

And if "aboriginal people in particular" don't like it, all they have to do is stop defending street gangs, stop making excuses for them, and join the fight against them.

Drive the gangs out of the community, and the police will stop looking for criminal suspects in that community. D-uh.

But that's too obvious for the eggheads. They would rather peddle the gang mythology. You can see why.

They write of their gang contacts with obvious admiration. And the gang gurus play their role for all its worth.

"... they talk about their work in much the same way as more conventional businessmen do, saying that it’s a “dog eat dog,” rough and competitive business that’s “all about money.” It is also a business in which “You can’t let anyone take advantage of you. You can’t be seen to be weak.” This situation is not new; it has been the case for at least the past 20 years. “If something is done to us, or to one of our gang, we have to retaliate. Otherwise, “they make us all look weak … and that comes down to money… If we look weak we can’t make money.... That’s what it’s 100 percent all about.”

Another said:
“We just do what we gotta do.” The struggle over illegal drug money have been very successful in mainstream life had his early life been different. All of them could have had different lives. “We’re not dumb guys. We figured out how to f’ing take over neighbourhoods, worked our way through prison, make mass money selling drugs.” It is very easy to imagine him as a successful high profile businessman."


But then, you see, these are big bad gang members with hearts of gold.

"What emerged most strongly during our meeting was that these men do not want youngsters in the North End-“the next me”-to go through what they have gone through."

They realize (cue the violins) its too late for them, but they want to prevent young children from following in their footsteps. If only these kiddies had good homes, playgrounds, and a future, they wouldn't join gangs. (pass the hankies.) The government should stop wasting money on attacking gangs, and spend it on ending poverty. (Why, why hasn't anyone thought of that before?)

It will take years. It will take millions. But, declared the professors, "If You Want to Change Violence in the‘Hood, You Have to Change the ‘Hood." Word. And Peace Out, nigga.


But the baby gangsters have nowhere to turn except thug life. They can't get normal jobs. They swear too much. They're covered in tattoos. They hate working regular hours.

Since they're not going to change, says the egghead report, society must change. The deviant life of gang members must become the new normal.

The model, they said, would be co-author Larry Morrissette's OPK program, which hires gang members and would-be gang members to renovate houses. It pays more than minimum wage and diverts the participants from a gang lifestyle by giving them pride of accomplishment. They don't have to quit the gang, and unless they commit "serious" crimes, they're still welcome.

With a budget of $450,000, the project currently has 9.5 employees. And with only $1 million more, it could hire the 30 other young Aboriginal men in waiting, most with street gang affiliations, who would like to join. Of course, since they can't get a real job anywhere else, they would have to be on the public dole forever, but that's the price society must pay.

(What those Marxist academics failed to do is a little arithmatic. OPK pays more than the minimum wage, meaning that each employee makes, say, a dollar more than the minimum wage, which would mean about $20,000 a year. At 9.5 employees, that's less than $200,000 annually in wages. So where does the other quarter of a million dollars go? Rent? Or executive salaries? And how much of that extra million would go to those executives, who would have more employees to supervise? )

The academics were, by this time, bursting with fresh? ideas. Why, they asked, shouldn't we hire gang members to work as “spokespersons for something different.”

Translation: pay gang members to tell kids to stay out of gangs. Their gang gurus said this would be a perfect job for them.

How original. This has only been happening for the past 15 years. How's it working, by the way?

It would be hilarious if it wasn't so tragic. Remember, these academics are teaching your children. They're infesting another generation of youth with their hug-a-thug mentality.

'Learning from the Wisdom of Street Gangsters' is the heading they give to their conclusion.

"If we want to change the violence in the ‘hood, we would do well to heed the wise advice of these hard-headed men who know the ‘hood all too well."

"These street gang members, all of whom have served time in federal and provincial penal institutions, brought wisdom to this important issue that has been largely missing in the public debate about inner-city violence."

In a city where poor communities fight daily against the ravages of gangs, these ivory tower university eggheads have the audacity to glorify six members of a violent street gang. Instead of recognizing how they're being manipulated to keep the police from breaking up the gangs, these academics damn the police and praise the thugs. To add insult, they bask in the "wisdom" of the drug dealing criminals.

Not even the personal experience of their co-author deters them.

Almost two years ago, Larry Morrissette was interviewed in the National Post ('Real warriors hold jobs', Jan 20, 2008, Kevin Libin, National Post):

" But for every troubled young aboriginal he helps ... new gang members are minted every day. In many communities, it is no longer even an option.
"If you're native, it's almost like it's a given that you have to be part of some organization," Mr. Morrissette says. He packed up his family and moved to another part of town after his own son was knifed after refusing to join one of the gangs."

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Thursday, September 03, 2009

Swan is 1st, CBC was last, and what's new with Waub and Gary

We were surprised to see Minto MLA Andrew Swan as the first out of the gate to announce he wants Gary Doer's job as leader of the Manitoba NDP and Premier of the Province.

The first to step forward is always the sacrificial lamb, the least likely to succeed.

We thought for sure it would be Thompson rep Steve Ashton. He hasn't got a chance of winning, but he's the North's favourite son. Even after conceding, he could always claim he was a winner for forcing northern issues on the party's agenda.

Instead, Swan showed his political acumen by reaching for the Loser's ring first.

Swan is a cabinet minister, the Minister of Competitiveness, Training and Trade. That job is so irrelevant he can abandon it in the middle of a recession at the drop of a hat and nobody cares. Quick....who was the Minister of Competitiveness, Training and Trade before Swan?

Riiiiight. It was Scott Smith, who found the experience his ticket to obscurity.

The biggest asset Swan brings to the race is his rep as Gary Doer's chief cheerleader. Remember Spirited Energy? Even after the public laughed the slogan into irrelevance, Swan slapped on his Spirited Energy cape and annouced he was going to spend $2 million to expand the campaign to the rest of the country.

And when Opposition leader Hugh McFadyen said in the last election he would work to bring the Jets back to Winnipeg, Swan said the only one who could accomplish that was Gary Doer!

We'll give him this much, right now he's leading in the Muppet vote, given he's a dead ringer for Beaker.

At Swan's announcement, he was supported by the NDP's contingent of Strong Women---plus Erin Selby. What a public slap in the face to Greg Selinger, another cabinet minister on everybody's list to run for the leadership.

Here's the the public face of the NDP's women MLA's, including two cabinet members, who don't think Selinger is the best choice to lead the party. They prefer a divorce lawyer who spent 14 years driving wedges between couples. That's gotta hurt.

*****
You know what hurts? Giving CBC-TV news a big boost and watching them fall on their faces.

CBC got thumped badly in the story du jour Wednesday, the arrest of a woman for nearly beating a baby to death in Gilbert Park. In horse racing terms they were the 'also ran.'

CKY had the best coverage. Global didn't do badly, but announced they were withholding the baby's name because Child and Family Services "might" be involved. Yeah, that's what we want; a television station that gives us less information.

And, what's this? The CBC's Waub Rice voiced an entire story without his trademark sing song inflections. Has somebody been taking voice lessons?

****
Have you noticed how everyone in the MSM is avoiding the obvious? Prior to taking up his new job in Washington, Gary Doer has had, shall we say, a little work done? His famous snaggle-toothed grin is gone, replaced by some even, pearly-white choppers. And it's not your imagination, he does look younger, courtesy of a slight nip/tuck that lifted those jowls 10 years.

The big question is....did the Mrs. get something too?

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

We're closing a crack house a week in Winnipeg

Score 1 for the CBC and 1 for City Councillor Harvey Smith.

But it's only one down, and 35 to go. So applaud by all means, but not for too long.

CBC-TV shamed city and provincial officials into doing something about a crack house on Simcoe Street that had been the target of a drive-by shooting last week.

Initially city officials told the CBC "we called the landlord, what else can we do?" But after video of the ramshackle building and its terrified occupants, with death threats painted on the outside and gang signs inside, appeared on the supperhour news, somebody lit a fire under somebody's ass.

The next day a swarm of inspectors descended on the building, and before they were through they ordered it shut down and the poor residents were told they had three days to clear out.

Guess that shows what they can do---if they want to.

But the original newscast had a disturbing loose end. The community has apparently identified 35 other crack houses, booze cans, and gang hangouts just like the one on Simcoe which need to be cleaned out. And Harvey Smith said he has been banging his head against the bureaucracy wall in his efforts to get some action against them.

We were shocked by what we discovered when we started looking into the story.

It turns out that over the past three years Manitoba's Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act has being used to shut down an average of one crack house or gang hangout a week.

It's not only an indicator of the extent of the crack epidemic in Winnipeg, but it's been happening right under the radar of the news media in the city.

The Safer Communities Act has been used about 340 times since it was passed in 2001.

In almost every case, the owners of the property agreed to voluntarily shut down and clean out the troublemakers. And that's a good thing, because once you see how many hoops the authorities have to jump through to shut down a building where the owner refuses to cooperate, it's a wonder they can ever do it.

The province has only had to go to court three times to get an order to force the shutdown of a crack house. The third case was in court this spring.

A neighbour complained to the provincial Public Safety Investigations Unit about a crack house operating for almost a year in the 200-block of Des Meurons Street just off Marion. He had tried calling Crimestoppers, but got no action.

The PSIU set up video surveillance in October and November, then warned the owner they were watching her. "The activities did not stop," the judge said in his ruling. In late November they resumed video surveillance, which showed that in a five day period 203 people entered the house through the back door and 184 left the same way.

The result---another letter to the homeowner in December. The frustrated neighbour called back to say the crack house was still operating 2 1/2 months after the PSIU got his complaint.

They set up more video surveillance in early January and found 95 people visiting the home over a four-day period.

"On January 12, 2009 investigators received a complaint from police about the property being a very active crack trafficking house.

A final video surveillance was conducted for 19 hours between March 9 and 10, 2009. Approximately 36 people were observed to visit throughout the late afternoon until early morning, the majority only for a few minutes. As well, on nine occasions, momentary interactions took place on the street between someone from the property and people in vehicles," the judge said.

It took until March 19, 2009 before the homeowner was served with notice the province intended to get a court order to shut the house down.

Late March. Almost SIX MONTHS after getting the complaint about the crack house.

They had to bring a the PSIU investigator, "an expert in drug culture and drug trafficking.", to court to say all that activity sure looked like it was a crack house.

Well, duh. Any one of the neighbours could have told you that. In fact, they did.

So six months later, a judge ordered the house closed up for 40 days, which he thought was a long enough cooling off period to send a message to the crack addicts to go somewhere else.

The law allowed him to shut the house down for 90 days, but he felt that was too harsh for the homeowner and her adult son and daughter. They were allowed to stay until her son finished school, but only the 3 could be in the house at any time.

So the police, who had known about the crack house from a Crimestoppers tip did, or could do, nothing to shut it down.

The provincial authorities took six months to "investigate", and in the end a judge told the homeowners to take a 40 day vacation, leaving it to the police to be house-sitters and make sure nobody, other than the woman and her children, lived in the house for three months until the closure order took effect.

Is it any wonder that Harvey Smith has white hair?

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