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Showing posts from April, 2008

The Human Rights Museum: Double trouble for the NDP

Oh, the irony. Winnipeg firefighters are getting hugs from Gail Asper and Winnipeg taxpayers are getting hosed again. For the second week in a row we've had to watch a carefully choreographed exercise designed to convince us there's a groundswell of support for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. First, four Crown Corporations handed over one million dollars apiece of money taken from ratepayers who thought they were buying services like car insurance and electricity from government monopolies. Then, the Winnipeg firefighters union pledged one dollar from each member for five years for the museum, millionaire moocher Gail Asper's vanity project. Between hugs from her, they promised to try and collect the same amount from every firefighter in Manitoba. Obviously the Firefighters Burn Fund doesn't need the money. You don't need to be a fire investigator to know something's not kosher here. In all the smoke and mirrors, is there a smoking gun? What the ...? What&

War in Afghanistan 2008 Week 17

The Taliban suffered their biggest defeat of the year last week in what may turn out to be the turning point in the war. When even their biggest press cheerleader calls it a disaster, you know it's bad---for the enemy. And you haven't heard a word of it in the mainstream media. Remember we told you that the Taliban was bragging openly how they intended to strike a mortal blow to coalition forces in Afghanistan by throttling the main supply line through Pakistan's Khyber pass. Well, today, "Their Khyber dreams are now in tatters." according to Syed Saleem Shahzad, Asia Times Online's Pakistan Bureau Chief. "The Taliban and their al-Qaeda associates, in what they considered a master stroke, this year started to target the Western alliance's supply lines that run through Pakistan into Afghanistan. " ( Taliban bitten by a snake in the grass , Asia Times Online, Apr 26, 2008 ) The Taliban and their Al Qaeda allies were emboldened by a attack March 20

BUSTED: The Human Rights Museum shell game

Watch for the shell game. That's the one thing we learned from the Upper Fort Garry fiasco. When un-elected millionaires want to use taxpayers' money to fund their pet projects, they start by running an elaborate shell game to divert the taxpayers long enough to pick their pockets. Well, "shell" meet "game". It's happening again. You remember the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, don't you? The last we heard of it millionaire moocher Gail Asper was panhandling for $20 million, the money she had to raise by the end of April to get construction started. She came up at least $17 million short, not that this was reported in the mainstream media. Instead, up popped a story this week that thousands of artifacts have been discovered on the site of the proposed museum and that this has "persuaded museum officials to abandon plans for underground parking." The story in the Winnipeg Free Press conveniently made no mention of the cost of the museum si

War in Afghanistan 2008 Weeks15 and 16

The cauldron of war was boiling in Afghanistan this past two weeks. It wasn't until we had a bird's eye view of the activity that we realized the latest Canadian rotation into Kandahar province was getting a trial by fire. * April 10. A suicide car bomber attacked a NATO convoy passing through the centre of Kandahar city, the capital of Kandahar province, about 10 a.m. The explosion killed 8 civilians and injured 22 bystanders. * April 13. Two British troops, both Royal Air Force servicemen, were killed when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb about 6:45 p.m. while they were on patrol outside Kandahar airfield. Two others in the lightly armoured Land Rover Wolf were wounded. In a separate incident, Taliban militants attacked a joint patrol of Afghan and international forces on patrol near the Panjwayi district of the province. Four Taliban fighters were killed in the gun battle. There were no coalition casualties. * April 14. Taliban fighters killed 11 policemen during a midnight

First alert: A chilling future

Never mind the blizzard of numbers. And forget the numbing laments of Budget Week. Lost in the analyses is how the NDP have managed to transform Manitoba into an oligarchy, a government by the few for the few. It's taken almost a decade, but the tipping point came with the tremendous equalization payments over the past couple of years -- which let the NDP cut the final cords of accountability. They're now a runaway government unfettered by any of the checks and balances that have restricted even the strongest of majority governments that came before them. Here's how they accomplished it: * An emasculated Opposition * A toothless Auditor General * A powerless Ombudsman * A manipulated Legislature * A complacent press * A bottomless slush fund in Manitoba Hydro * and the wealth of Alberta, Saskatchewan, B.C. and Ontario The NDP couldn't have wished for a better Opposition leader than Hugh McFadyen, Manitoba's own Stephane Dion. The titular head of the Progressive Cons

Keith McCaskill's Spring Surprise

Winnipeg's new police chief Keith McCaskill made probably the worst mistake of his career when he addressed a meeting of residents of the William Whyte neighbourhood this week. He gave them hope. The decent folk of this poor North End community have been pleading for years with city officials for help in cleaning up their streets. They watched as Mayor Sam Katz and former police chief Jack Ewatski elbowed each other out of the way for facetime at a news conference to announce Operation Clean Sweep, a major crackdown in the West End after the son of a well-to-do physician was killed in the crossfire of a gang shootout. Then in the wake of four murders in their own neighbourhood, Katz assigned a quarter of the police resources of Operation Clean Sweep. They listened as police regurgitated their usual excuse for doing nothing--a lack of resources. Then they watched as Ewatski sent more police than patrol the North End in a single day to the University of Winnipeg, and stationed them t

War in Afghanistan 2008: First quarter review

You can tell it's spring by the annual outbreak of handwringing and lamentation in the mainstream press over the mission in Afghanistan. Boo hoo hoo, they write. We're losing. We can't win. The Russians had a bigger army and they failed. The Taliban are resurgent and invincible. They have an endless supply of volunteers. They never give up. Time is on their side. We have to bug out as fast as possible. Any day now the Taliban will launch their Feared Spring Offensive (tm). Whimper. What's amazing is that, if you listen carefully to the enemy, you hear the exact opposite. And, you'd think, they ought to know. We're taking a detour from the usual weekly look at the war in Afghanistan. Call it the first quarterly report on the big picture. Defeat Regular readers of The Black Rod will remember the concessions this past winter by Taliban leaders of defeat on the battlefield. Where, in the two years past, the Taliban boasted of "years of decision" in which t