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Showing posts from March, 2008

Winnipeg's Gang Violence Spreads from Crib to Community

Winnipeg's Thug Life underworld has just claimed three more victims. But it's not the number, it's the escalation of violence that should send fear throughout the city. Five months ago, The Black Rod exposed the links between six murder victims and local gangs that have styled themselves after the Bloods and Crips of Los Angeles. See the whole story at Each victim was either a member of a gang or a close associate. But the latest murder victims were neither. Only one had a loose association to a gang as far as we can tell so far. In other words, the violence has spread beyond the gang world into the general community. Gang members and their associates are now living the life they see in gangsta rap videos and movies where shootouts are not only commonplace, they're expected. There's not even an attempt to keep from killing innocents anymore. The three people shot to death in an Alexande

Katz meets his Waterloo

His lip quivering, his voice quavering, Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz threatened to punch out the village idiot who showed up at an anti-budget rally with a sign depicting Katz as Hitler. It was the only show of backbone he could muster in the week he met his Waterloo. By week's end, his political enemies had seized him by the scruff of the neck and rubbed his nose in the dirt, forcing him to put on a happy face and declare how much he loved the smell of earth in the springtime. For years, Katz had managed to outwit, outplay and outlast his opponents. Then, in the blink of an eye, he lost his political integrity so badly he was left trying to have another man take the fall in his place. The man who once declared people needed to know the City of Winnipeg could be trusted to live up to its word---"a deal's a deal"--- watched his deal broken with a handshake, a smile and some shuck and jive. It was cringeworthy. The deal couldn't be simpler. - The city had some surplus la

David Asper took our breath away

In this cynical age it's exceedingly rare to read anything in the newspaper that's so startling it takes your breath away. Yet that's exactly what happened when we picked up the National Post on Wednesday, March 26, 2008. There it sat. A front page editorial. "Fight we shall" it declared. "Scandals come and go: Front-page controversies that convulse Ottawa for weeks, or even months, often fade into obscurity after just a few years." "So it was with Shawinigate, the scandal surrounding Jean Chretien's efforts to help secure a 1997 loan for the Auberge Grand-Mere, a Shawinigan hotel located adjacent to a golf course in which he had once held an ownership stake. As a result of diligent reporting by a former National Post reporter, Andrew McIntosh, Canadians learned that Mr. Chretien while he was prime minister, had phoned the president of the Business Development Bank of Canada in support of the hotel owner's otherwise questionable loan applica

War in Afghanistan 2008 Week 12

If the latest information from Taliban sources is true, then the most recent rotation of Canadian troops to Kandahar could be the quietest on record. This weekend, Asia Times Online's Pakistan Bureau Chief Syed Saleem Shahzad published what's become an annual lookahead to the coming fighting season, from the Taliban's perspective. In previous years this Spring Offensive primer has been full of bombastic proclamations of the Taliban's imminent overthrow of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Not so this year. "Instead of taking on foreign forces in direct battle in the traditional hot spots, the Taliban plan to open new fronts as they are aware they cannot win head-on against the might of the US-led war machine." wrote Shahzad. "... the Taliban, according to Asia Times Online contacts, will open new fronts in Khyber Agency in Pakistan and Nangarhar province in east Afghanistan and its capital Jalalabad," he said. "... the historic belt starting

War in Afghanistan 2008 Week 11

The pace of the war for freedom in Afghanistan accelerated this week, even as the cracks in the enemy's support foundation widened. A year ago this month the Taliban was boasting of "a year of decision" when they would isolate NATO bases and capture a provincial capital or two prior to ousting the international coalition from Afghanistan. This year, as we reported last week, they've conceded they're unable to defeat U.S. and NATO forces and they're resorting to a campaign of suicide bombings and landmines to cause as much carnage as possible. Between Saturday March 8 and Monday March 17 that campaign has killed seven coalition soldiers, bringing to 30 the number killed to date this year. * March 8. One American soldier killed in eastern Afghanistan, Paktia province, by an IED * March 10. Two American soldiers killed in Khost province by a suicide bomber. * March 16. One Canadian soldier killed in Kandahar province by a landmine. * March 17. Three soldiers, two

Political Scandals--old and new, and Krista too

What's this? Another political scandal in Ottawa? What do we know for sure? We know: * In May, 2005, The Party was desperate to win the budget vote two days away. * Emissaries were sent to a British Columbia Member of Parliament who could hold the deciding vote. * There was discussion about the MP's pension * Two Party reps floated inducements worth $1 million plus to entice the MP into voting the right way. * A tape recording has surfaced showing the Prime Minister was aware of the approach to the MP. But enough about the Liberal Party of Canada. We'll get back to them later. What do we know about the Chuck Cadman affair? We know: - On May 19, 2005, Independent MP Chuck Cadman (Surrey North) voted with the Liberals on the budget, thereby saving the government from falling. - A biography of Cadman is to be released March 17. -In the book, Cadman's widow, Dona, is quoted as saying her husband told her he met with two representatives of the Conservative Party two days bef

War in Afghanistan 2008 Weeks 9 and 10

It's official, although you haven't read it in the mainstream press. The Taliban have conceded defeat. After two years of fruitless offensives designed to oust NATO from Afghanistan and overthrow the elected Karzai government, the Taliban concedes it's impossible. This year they're switching to terror tactics and offering to negotiate with the government. According to Reuters, Taliban deputy leader Mullah Brother told a militant Website that: "Martyrdom attacks and roadside explosions will form major part of the such operations." "Through our military commanders, local and central councils we are working on these tactics...which will be implemented across the country in the near future as the new military strategy." Stop Killing Us A big reason for the change is that the Taliban leaders are tired of getting killed. The U.S. has said it killed more than 50 mid- and top-level Taliban leaders over the last year. Over the last fortnight, Taliban insurgen

The striking nurses' union's dirty little secret

It took the mere hint of the Manitoba Nurses Union's dirty little secret to send their president rushing to the ramparts to create a diversion. The MNU is threatening a strike if they don't get 10 percent over two years (that's only twice the current rate of inflation). But union Prexy Maureen Hancharyk knows she has to squelch the secret before public sympathy turns against the nurses. Winnipeg Free Press columnist Catherine Mitchell (and the editor writing her headline) sent a chill down Hancharyk's back with this story Nurses' part-time ethic fuels full-time headache (Catherine Mitchell, February 29, 2008). Deep in the piece, Mitchell wrote, "More than half of Manitoba's nurses -- 52 per cent -- work part time..." Hint: That's not the secret. But in an op-ed column Hancharyk addressed the issue as if it was. "It's not easy being a full-time nurse" was the headline on her piece (Winnipeg Free Press, March 4). "To understand

Winnipeg Free Press tries to stuff the internet genie back into the bottle

BWAHAHAHA Like the burglar wiping off his fingerprints at a break-in, the Winnipeg Free Press is trying to scour the Internet clean of the evidence of how it manipulates "news" to further its vendetta against Mayor Sam Katz. This weekend the website was ordered to take down its post of an infamous Free Press story "Top planner rips city in final report" (Feb. 16, 2008). "This material is protected by copyright and cannot be republished without the newspaper's permission." declared the newspaper's new Copyright Sheriff, Steve Pona. Puh-lease. The FP is threatening to sic its high-paid attack dogs on a non-commercial Winnipeg website dedicated to discussing urban planning, rapid transit, and city issues----why? Dozens of FP stories are reprinted on the Internet. The crime stories by Mike McIntyre and Bruce Owen are particular favourites. The TOP PLANNER story is cached