Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Ontario government’s education quasi-monopoly is not benefiting children

It's time the government started to work in our best interest and reform the education system.
For too often, students, parents and taxpayers are left in the cold or given a false sense of "being involved" when it comes to issues such as union disputes, curriculum changes, and matters of education spending.

In the past few years alone, the children in Hamilton's Ward 7 have witnessed two work-to-rule job actions and lost three elementary schools during the latest Accommodation Review Committee decisions. Many of them will not be able to attend the new high school after losing Hill Park School.

As taxpayers, you and I have little, if any, say or ability to change this.

Now factor in recent issues such as plummeting literacy scores, a terrible math curriculum, and issues regarding religious freedom for some religious and ethnic groups, and you'll see it's time the government stopped its quasi-monopoly-style education system.  (more...)

Union payouts under fire

To suggest it is common practice for an employer to hand over millions of dollars to a union to do battle with them at the bargaining table is akin to suggesting the Leafs are on track to win the Stanley Cup this year. Both defy reality.

With more than 35 years representing employers at the bargaining table and negotiating with a multitude of national and international unions, I found that most employers cover the cost of lost wages for employees to attend the actual bargaining sessions and that is about it.

One has to realize that the union chose to represent these employees and they in turn pay union dues to be represented by the union. The employer was not part of this arrangement and for it to subsidize the union during negotiations contaminates the process and necessarily extends negotiations.  (more...)

Wynne’s Long Term Power Rate Plan: Transit Tax on Electricity

Amidst a storm of controversy yesterday at Queen’s Park surrounding a damning report from the new Financial Accountability Officer, the government yesterday reaffirmed that it is going to extract $4 billion from the proceeds of the Hydro One sale to spend on other government programs. Ontario Premier Wynne’s damn-the-torpedoes implementation of her plan for Hydro One suggests that to the extent that she has a long term plan for electricity, it is to add a transit tax on top of existing charges.

Ontario ratepayers, many of whom are now paying the highest rates in Canada, might be surprised to find that their existing rates are not high enough to cover the power system’s existing full costs, let alone the higher costs coming soon. Consider that other than Hydro One, the Ontario government has two major electricity agencies, OPG and Ontario Electricity Financial Corporation (OEFC). OPG has been cash flow negative since it was created and shows no sign of turning that around. OPG’s bloated but non-performing $17.6 billion investment in property, plant and equipment gets worse by the year. OEFC started life in 2000 with overall liabilities valued at $38.1 billion, of which $4.3 billion was expected losses on the old Ontario Hydro non-utility generation (NUG) contracts. Net of the NUGs, OEFC’s opening liabilities were therefore $33.8 billion. As of March 31, 2015, the fair value of OEFC’s liabilities (which no longer include NUGs) amounted to $31.1 billion (See the Ontario Public Accounts p. 1-118.) While the nominal value of OEFC’s liabilities has barely budged in 15 years, the underlying value of OEFC’s assets, particularly in OPG, has declined substantially.

The notion that a $4 billion so-called “windfall” can be extracted from Ontario’s liability-laden power system without punishing consumers is nonsense. As Mike Hilson and I have previously argued, all of Hydro One’s value (and more) is spoken for. Any proceeds of the Hydro One sale shifted from the power system to other government spending (and more) will have to be replaced by new charges on consumers and/or taxpayers.  (more...)


Tom Adams' Tweets:

Brantford teacher faces sex charges

A male teacher at Brantford Collegiate Institute is facing sex-related charges after a student reported an assault, and Brantford police say they believe there may be more complainants.

The teacher, who police said lives in Brantford, is charged with sexual assault, sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching.

The Expositor is not naming the accused at this time. Publication bans imposed at a Friday morning bail hearing prohibit publication of information that would identify the complainant as well as evidence taken and information given at the hearing.

The teacher has been "assigned to home" and is now not currently teaching or working with any students, said Dave Abbey, superintendent of education with the Grand Erie District School Board.

"We'll be putting somebody in to take over his classes," Abbey said.

Abbey declined to comment on the status of the teacher's pay, nor would he comment on how long the teacher had been employed at BCI or by the Grand Erie board.

The teacher was arrested Thursday following a police investigation into a student's report of sexual assault, police said.  (more...)

Ontario electricity rates going up Nov. 1

Price hikes will add $4 a month to the average bill, Ontario Energy Board estimates

Hydro bills will get more expensive in Ontario starting in a couple weeks.

As of Nov. 1, the regulated price of electricity is going up 0.5 cents per kilowatt hour across the province for households and small businesses.

The Ontario Energy Board, which sets the prices, estimates that will translate into an extra $4 a month for an average household, or a three per cent increase.

The new hydro rates will still be applied according to time of use for the vast majority of consumers, but using the price schedule for winter months:

7.2 cents/kwh from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.
12.9 c/kwh from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.
10.9 c/kwh from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
12.9 c/kwh from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Weekends and statutory holidays have a flat rate of 7.2 c/kwh  (more...)

More coverage:

Is there relief for ratepayers?

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Friday, October 30, 2015

Hydro One customers launch $125M class action lawsuit over billing practices

TORONTO — A class action lawsuit has been launched against Hydro One claiming customers were victims of a new billing system brought in by the utility.

The statement of claim, filed Wednesday in Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice, alleges widespread billing problems after Hydro One introduced the new management system in May 2013.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Bill Bennett, a Gravenhurst, Ont., resident is the proposed plaintiff in the suit who allegedly experienced numerous billing issues including unexplained increases in cost.

The claim says Bennett, for example, received an envelope from Hydro One in April 2015 that contained nearly 40 revised bills for a four-year period that represented about a 185 per cent increase in the cost of his electricity bills.  (more...)

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James Forcillo trial hears officer had just passed use-of-force training

Const. James Forcillo had passed use-of-force training just months before he shot
18-year-old Sammy Yatim
Toronto police Const. James Forcillo had undergone use-of-force training, including a "stress inoculation" exercise, three months before he shot Sammy Yatim on a streetcar, killing the knife-wielding teenager.

Toronto Deputy Police Chief Michael Federico — considered by the Crown and defence to be an expert in use of force — testified at Forcillo's second-degree murder and attempted murder trial in Ontario Superior Court in Toronto on Thursday.

Federico refused to testify to the particulars of Forcillo's actions on the night of July 26, 2013, when Yatim was killed. The jury has already heard that Forcillo fired nine shots at Yatim, eight of which hit him.

Forcillo, 32, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Federico did, however, speak about the training Forcillo would have received as a front-line officer, something that is expected to be a central consideration in the high-profile trial.

That training included "stress inoculation," through simulated situations where officers have to use their weapons proficiently while experiencing stress, Federico said.  (more...)


Woman’s sex trial told 8-month mania impossible

Grade 6 teacher Carolyn Amy Hood faces two counts each of luring, sexual
interference and sexual exploitation of a young person.
PICTOU — Academically speaking, it would qualify as a rather direct assault on a peer’s professional opinion.

“Even a first-year student should be able to diagnose it,” said Dr. Risk Kronfli, referring to mania.

The testimony Thursday of the chief psychiatrist at the East Coast Forensic Hospital directly contradicted that of three psychiatrists called earlier by the defence in Carolyn Amy Hood’s trial on two counts each of luring, sexual interference and sexual exploitation of a young person at Nova Scotia provincial court in Pictou.

They testified that Hood, 40, could not have appreciated the moral wrong of her actions in 2013 because she was in the midst of a manic episode.

Over an eight-month period, Hood had explicit sexual conversations by text message with boys aged 14 and 15. The Grade 6 teacher at Thorburn Consolidated School sent pictures of herself to the boys, who were her former students, in her underwear and in provocative poses. She performed oral sex on one youth in his driveway.

Crown witness Kronfli stated in his testimony that while he agreed with the diagnosis of bipolar disorder with a manic episode, Hood was not in the midst of a mania while committing the offences. He said that of all the cases he has seen in peer-reviewed medical journals, there has never been a recorded manic episode that lasted more than a month.  (more...)

Ottawa junior high teacher pleads guilty to molesting student

An Ottawa junior high teacher who molested a 13-year-old student in his office and during an end-of-the-year school trip has pleaded guilty to sex crimes the girl kept secret for 15 years.

Phillip Nolan, 45, pleaded guilty Thursday to two counts of sexual interference and will be sentenced next year.

At the girl’s request, Crown prosecutor John Ramsay read her victim-impact statement to a packed Ottawa courtroom.

“At the time of the abuse, my emotional character changed significantly. I felt suddenly removed from my family and friends. I felt separated by a secret that I never wanted revealed, and I began to take an emotional distance from people,” she wrote.

She said she felt ashamed, blamed herself for the abuse, and guilty for not coming forward years ago.  (more...)

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Vatican bracing for new revelations of finance mismanagement as Francis presses reform agenda

Who am I to check the books?
VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican is bracing for more allegations of financial wrongdoing and mismanagement with the publication next week of two books that underscore the challenges Pope Francis is facing to reform the Holy See.

Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi's "Merchants in the Temple" follows his blockbuster 2012 book, "His Holiness," based on confidential papal correspondence detailing corruption and political intrigue in the Vatican. The so-called Vatileaks scandal that ensued resulted in the conviction of Pope Benedict XVI's butler for leaking the documents, and some say, to Benedict's historic resignation.

Italian journalist Emiliano Fittipaldi is releasing "Avarice: Documents Revealing Wealth, Scandals and Secrets of Francis' Church." Fittipaldi writes for L'Espresso newsweekly, which has published some of the most damaging leaks of Francis' papacy, including most recently the letter by 13 cardinals warning Francis about his family synod.

The publication of the books, both on Nov. 5, will no doubt set off a new flurry of speculation about the depth of opposition to Francis' reform agenda, given both are purportedly based on leaked documents and internal information to which only Vatican officials would have had access.  (more...)


Ex-Cathedral teacher Joe Graziano jailed three years for repeat sexual abuse

A former Catholic high school teacher who befriended and then sexually abused a vulnerable student has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Giuseppe (Joe) Graziano, 56, taught religious studies and cosmetology at Cathedral High School, on Wentworth Street North, at the time of the offences.

"Mr. Graziano slowly worked his way into the life (of the student) — more than one would expect of a teacher," said Superior Court Justice Harrison Arrell in sentencing Graziano on Thursday.

Graziano was convicted in August of sexual interference and sexual exploitation for sexually touching a person under 16 and for touching a young person while in a position of trust.

The offences took place at the school, at Graziano's home and at a trailer he owned.  (more...)

More coverage:

Amy Hood trial for sex crimes involving students nears end

Testimony wrapped up today at the trial of former Pictou County teacher Carolyn Amy Hood who is facing six sex-related charges involving teenaged boys.

Hood, 39, of Stellarton, who goes by her middle name Amy, was charged in January 2014 with one count of sexual assault, one count of sexual interference, two counts of luring minors over the internet for a sexual purpose and two counts of sexual exploitation of a young person.

Hood was a Grade 6 teacher at Thorburn Consolidated School during the time when the alleged incidents occurred, between June and September 2013.

The incidents allegedly involved two former male students of Hood's, who were 15 at the time.

The two male students took the stand over the course of the trial, along with the mother of one student and Hood's estranged husband. Hood's mother and siblings have also testified. Three psychiatrists have taken the stand for the defence, with a psychiatrist also taking the stand for the Crown.  (more...)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's drummer cops to sex raps with girl student, 13

He was an award-winning teacher, a man beyond reproach who played drums in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's band.

But Phil Nolan had interests beyond music -- chief among them a 13-year-old girl.

For more than 10 years she lived a sort of half-life, maintaining a veneer of normality while her secret sadness ate away at her mind and Nolan sat on trophies of their encounters.

No more.

For on Thursday, the disgraced 45-year-old teacher pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual interference.

"We just hit it off and it just happened," Nolan told the author of a sexual behaviours assessment.  (more...)

Been a REALLY bad month!

Ontario teachers dispute turns kids into pawns

Given the current situation.

This is the phrase being used at Ontario elementary schools this week, to explain the latest job action by teachers.

"Given the current situation ..."

And then a child will be told there will be no more band practice this year.

Or no more flag football, Halloween dance, book club, Christmas recital -- a long list of things will follow the phrase: "Given the current situation."

The child will hear the phrase in a school gymnasium perhaps, summoned for an assembly where a non-unionized school principal or vice-principle will thank them for coming and then dropping their voice an octave, in their best serious voice, say: "Given the current situation ..."

And then explain how the child is about to get worked over and used as a pawn in the labour dispute between the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario and the provincial government.  (more...)

Do Women Want Equality?

Professor Fiamengo questions whether women really want equality, or just more privileges.

Is a “Deep Falange” at Work in Spain and Argentina?

Triumph of the will?
Economically beset Spain has been making aggressive moves toward British-governed Gibraltar, using that principality’s “fiscal irregularities” as justifying Spain’s posture vis a vis the nation’s “EU obligations.”

At the same time, Argentina is making angry noises again about the Falklands Islands, which they claim as their own.

Before delving into the two countries’ coordination of their efforts against Gibraltar and the Falklands, some background discussion is in order.

In a previous post, we discussed the “deep fifth column” – a  fascist constellation existing over decades, rooted in the fascism of World War II and perpetuated by the political inertia inherent in powerful political/economic elites.

In the context of the “deep fifth column,” we have also spoken of the Falange, the international fascist organization based in Spain under Francisco Franco and catalyzed as a German-controlled power political entity in the run-up to the Spanish Civil War.  (more...)

More background:

Wanted: a lot more transparency

THERE IS A COMMON THREAD between the failure to date of talks between the Ontario government and the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) and disclosure of the fact that the same government has been furtively paying millions of taxpayers’ dollars to other teachers’ unions, supposedly as compensation for the cost of collective bargaining.
In both cases, secrecy has been the rule, from start to finish.

Secrecy has almost always been the rule in bargaining within the private sector, an exception being when talks collapse and the employer tries to force a secret ballot on its ‘final’ offer. And that’s as it should be, since the public has little involvement in the process, at least until a long strike causes economic woes in a company town or the employer threatens to close its Canadian operations and move to a low-wage jurisdiction.

But in the public sector the public surely has a right to know what’s going on, since it’s the taxpayers who invariably are on the hook.  (more...)

Ontario Energy Ratepayers: Special Offer Ending Soon

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Irish Catholic School Teachers Face ‘Anti-Catholic,’ Hostile Campus Culture

A number of Catholic school teachers in Dublin, Ireland, recently spoke out against the hostile and “openly anti-Catholic” environments at the Catholic schools where they work, saying they felt “intimidated” when raising concerns about the need to strengthen Catholic identity on campus.

In interviews with The Irish Catholic, the teachers said the lack of Catholic identity at Catholic schools was a widespread problem. Teachers weren’t named in the article because they feared reprisal by their more senior colleagues and school administrators.

“You feel oppressed because of the attitude there is towards faith, and the Catholic faith in particular. That creates a fear of sharing your views. There is a fear of fully expressing and fully living the Faith,” said one teacher, described as working at “a prominent Catholic school in south Dublin.”

He also told the newspaper he was made to feel “embarrassed” and “isolated” because of his Catholic faith. (more...)

We are 'non-partisan,' OECTA insists

One of the major teacher unions that accepted bargaining compensation from the Ontario government says it's correcting the record on its alleged cozy relationship with the Liberal Party.

The Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association (OECTA) received $1 million from the government to cover the cost of two-tier bargaining, and questions have been raised in the Ontario Legislature about whether the funds were payback for election advertising that targeted the Liberals' political opponent, the Progressive Conservatives.  (more...)

Three teachers lose jobs over sex-ed boycott

About 200 parents and children protested the provincial government's new sex-education curriculum
outside Thorncliffe Park Public School in early October.
Drop in number of students at two schools in Thorncliffe Park forces board to cut three teachers.

Ontario’s sex-education controversy appears to have claimed three teaching positions in a Toronto neighbourhood where upset parents keeping their kids out of school have reduced the number of classes needed.

At Thorncliffe Park Public School, an early September boycott of nearly 800 students over the revised curriculum dwindled as parents gradually brought their kids back to school, but when the last 100 still failed to show up by mid-October, the school was forced to dissolve two Grade 1 classes and declare two long-term occasional teachers as “surplus.”

“It’s disappointing for sure, but we know some of these students are attending Muslim schools and others are being home-schooled so it appears they’re learning,” said Thorncliffe Park Principal Jeff Crane. With an enrolment of about 1,260 students from kindergarten to Grade 5, Thorncliffe is still the largest elementary school in Canada, even though the number of Grade 1 classes has dropped to 13 from 15.  (more...)

Live Blog: Trial of former N.S. teacher facing sex charges

Amy Hood on Trial

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Toronto schools deal with rash of lockdowns, hold and secures

Once seemingly rare occurrences, lockdowns and hold and secures have become commonplace so far this year at Greater Toronto Area schools.

Between Toronto and Peel Region, the safety measures have been implemented every single week since the school year began.

In some situations, like the stabbing near Central Tech on the first day of school, they are clearly warranted.

That’s not always the case.

A squirrel acting a bit squirrelly was enough for one Catholic school in Toronto to issue a hold and secure. Apparently, the furry rodent seemed a bit off in the school field, and could have been rabid.  (more...)

More coverage:

Vickery House found guilty of historic sex offences

Vickery House denied eight counts of indecent assault against six males aged 15 to 34,
between 1970 and 1986
Vickery House, 69, from West Sussex, had denied eight counts of indecent assault against six males aged 14 to 34, between 1970 and 1986.

He told the Old Bailey he was ashamed of his actions but claimed they were not sexual assaults.

House, of Brighton Road, Handcross, will be sentenced on Thursday.

The former vicar in Berwick, East Sussex, worked under Bishop Peter Ball, who was jailed for 32 months earlier this month after he admitted molesting young men between 1977 and 1992.

The pair targeted young men through a Church of England scheme called Give a Year For Christ, with three members being abused by both men.  (more...)


So, We Won?

Pretty up-beat.

Yipee! Except, I don't believe that this was really about ecclesiology. As at Vatican II, a German contingent of bishops held the Church hostage. This conforms to an historical German strategy of balkanizing other nations in order to plunder them. The past century provides ample illustration of this strategy. Decentralization, synodalism, and devolution of doctrine to bishops' conferences serve well the geo-politican strategy of the German political elite. Destruction of the heirarchy removes the Church as a barrier to German domination. Turn your gaze from the scraping, grovelling bishops and regard their masters:

CTF Calls for Auditor General Investigation into Possible Quid Pro Quo Payments from Kathleen Wynne to Unions

TORONTO, ON: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is requesting the Auditor General conduct a review of the $3.74 million the Ontario government has paid four public sector unions. Those unions include the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF), the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECT), the Ontario French teachers union (AEFO), and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

The payments were purportedly to cover union-side bargaining costs, including hotel rooms and pizza. However, Education Minister Liz Sandals admitted that there are no itemized accounts of what this $3.74 million in taxpayer money paid for, and that she never obtained receipts or invoices. The unions have not released their bargaining costs.

“This secret payment of millions of dollars to cover undisclosed union-side bargaining costs is an outrageous abuse of public trust,” said CTF Ontario Director Christine Van Geyn. “Unions collect dues for the purpose of paying for collective bargaining. By paying for the union’s bargaining costs, the Premier and Minister Sandals are removing any financial consequences the union might bear for throwing up roadblocks or digging their heels in."  (more...)

Even the dozey Conservatives jump on the bandwagon:

Bringing up the rear

Wynne Liberals can’t keep their excuses straight as bill for union payments grows

Make mine medium-rare
The effort of Kathleen Wynne’s government to avoid acknowledging the impropriety of its relationship with the teachers’ unions would do credit to a rookie contestant on Dancing with the Stars. It twists, it turns, it ignores, it obfuscates. This is political denial as high art – the Cirque de Soleil has nothing on Ontario’s Liberals.

The performance is necessitated by several factors: the revelation that the Liberals paid millions of dollars to the unions while supposedly negotiating as adversaries; the secrecy surrounding the payments and the growing size as leaks continue; the inability of the government to get its excuses straight as ministers and the premier try out various, sometimes contradictory, explanations; and the reluctance of a government long in the tooth and mired in arrogance to admit to yet another expensive mistake.

Wynne was reduced to insisting “I’m not tone deaf” Monday as more revelations about self-serving relations between her government and the unions continued to spill out. “We have to remember that for years and years there were 72 school boards making these decisions,” in place of the centralized process put in place by her Liberals, she said. The fact the new process has proven slower, clunkier and far more expensive than anyone expected is just something voters are supposed to swallow. Unfortunately for Wynne, the size of the meal keeps growing: from $2.5 million paid to three unions when the news broke a week ago, the figure quickly grew to $3.7 million, and on Tuesday was reported to be as high as $7.1 million.  (more...)


Teen’s mom testifies at trial of teacher facing sex charges

PICTOU – The mother of a 14-year-old boy said she became concerned about a teacher’s relationship with her son when she called him her therapist.

The trial of Carolyn Amy Hood, 40, continued Monday afternoon in Pictou provincial court with testimony from a woman who knows Hood as both a teacher and childhood acquaintance.

Hood admitted to four of the six charges that include two counts of luring, one count of sexual interference and one count of sexual exploitation of a young person in relation to alleged offences involving minors in 2013. She was teaching Grade 6 at Thorburn Consolidated School at the time when the school was a primary to Grade nine facility. The defence is arguing that Hood was not criminally responsible at the time of the offences because of a mental disorder.   (more...)

Streetcar driver testifies about final conversation with Sammy Yatim

Chad Seymour, who was driving the streetcar on which Sammy Yatim died
two years ago, leaves court on Monday.
Driver asked what he could do for him; the teen said he’d like to call his dad, Chad Seymour recalls at Const. James Forcillo’s murder trial.

Hands clasped and looking a little nervous, the TTC driver who had the last conversation with 18-year-old Sammy Yatim before he was shot eight times on an empty streetcar by Const. James Forcillo took the stand Monday afternoon.

Forcillo has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and attempted murder.

Chad Seymour, 31, had been a TTC operator for only 13 months when, shortly before midnight on July 26, 2013, he heard terrified screaming on the Dundas streetcar. Moments later he heard: “He has a knife.”

A “panicked, worried” crowd of passengers jostled by the front doors as Seymour brought the streetcar to a halt before opening the doors, he testified.

He turned his head around and, for the first time, saw Yatim walking forward at a normal pace, slim four-inch knife held in his outstretched right hand.

“Ideally I would have liked to get off the streetcar, too,” he said. “It was tough at that moment without pushing someone aside.”  (more...)

UK: Smith review ‘already avoids prejudicing ongoing police cases’

Dame Janet Smith
Mystery deepened over the delay at the BBC in the Jimmy Savile inquiry as Exaro established that it takes account of police concerns about “prejudice”.

Exaro can reveal that Dame Janet Smith, a retired judge, has closely heeded police advice about potential prejudice to their ongoing cases as she worked on her review of the BBC’s failure to stop Savile’s sexual abuse linked to his work at the broadcaster.

BBC sources also revealed to Exaro that Smith has already taken full account of police anxieties about the possibility of prejudicing any current cases in how she has written her long-awaited report.  (more...)

Journalistic complicity in a cover-up?

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government

 The Devil's Chessboard
This is a bold and profoundly important book, not only for the portrait of the evil spymaster Allen Dulles, but even more so for its examination of the legacy he spawned – the creation of a cabal hidden behind the public  face of  the United States  government  that  secretly  runs  the country  today  on behalf  of wealthy elites.

The psychopathic Allen Dulles was the enforcer for this group, called “the power elite” by C. Wright Mills in the 1950s.  In recent years, especially since September 11, 2001, as its power has expanded, it has been given different names – the deep state, the national security state, deep politics,etc. – but that has not diminished its power one jot.  Like a patient who goes to a doctor seeking a label for vague yet disturbing symptoms, people may feel relief from the naming, but the dis-ease continues until the root cause is eliminated.  Aye, there’s the rub!  (more...)

Dalhousie teacher pleads not guilty to 7 sex crimes against teens

Dalhousie teacher Michel Guitard pleaded not guilty to seven charges involving sex crimes against teenagers on Monday and will face a trial in June.

Guitard was not in court on Monday, but his lawyer entered his plea for him.

He has requested a judge trial, which will be held on June 15, 16 and 17.

Guitard was a teacher at L'Ecole Aux-Quatre-Vents in Dalhousie when he was arrested by the RCMP in February.  (more...)

Synod Send Off: It's the End of the Church as We Know It

Michael J. Matt and Dr. John Rao (Oxford Ph.D.) in Rome discuss the close of the Synod on the Family and the mainstream media spin that this was a victory for orthodoxy. Puh-leeze! (CAUTION: This one comes straight from the No Neo-Catholic Spin Zone)

Neocatholics neocatholicing
OK, I'll give him his 11 minutes:

So, what kind clout do those neocaths have?

Welcome to the Chronicles of Gaslight University

The university has become a gulag. Bureaucratic sadism rules the day. "Administrators" have taken over intellectual life and turned ideas into bullet points, seminars into pencil-pushing contests. It used to be that nerds were interesting and earned our sympathy. Now it seems the world has gone mad, and a new profile has emerged, combining all the aggression and callous cruelty of the cool kids, with the passive-aggressive and neurotic sabotage of the geeks.

Save us, save us. Can we be saved?

Gaslight University is the code name for a real place, where real people work and must be subjugated by Bureaucratic Sadists every day. I work there. I find myself wandering, at times, along the sun-baked sidewalks (I work in a place that knows neither rain nor winter), wondering if the strange workplace in which I exist could possibly be real. Could it be? Could language have deteriorated into leftist gobbledygook, and "humanities" been transformed into a smattering of bitchy identity groups swiping at each other to see who can get grants from the Ford Foundation?

The students are not victims, but rather willing conspirators in the dawn of a new totalitarianism. Gone are the days I knew back in the 1980s, when students allied with professors against administrators, the knowledge-seekers versus the pointy-headed corporate robots. Nowadays the students ally with administrators against professors, the enforcers of orthodoxy against the traitors against the consensus.  (more...)

Trial resumes for Toronto police officer charged in shooting death of teen

TORONTO -- The trial of a Toronto police officer charged in the shooting death of a teen on an empty streetcar is set to resume today.

Const. James Forcillo has pleaded not guilty to second degree murder and attempted murder in the death of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim.

Last week, jurors watched videos and heard audio recordings of the confrontation that ended Yatim's life.

Yatim was standing on an empty streetcar holding a small knife and refused to drop it during a 50 second confrontation with Forcillo before he was shot nine times.

Crown prosecutors have said they plan to prove that Forcillo's actions during the July 2013 incident weren't necessary or reasonable.  (more...)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Drones, IBM, and the Big Data of Death

LAST WEEK The Intercept published a package of stories on the U.S. drone program, drawing on a cache of secret government documents leaked by an intelligence community whistleblower. The available evidence suggests that one of the documents, a study titled “ISR Support to Small Footprint CT Operations — Somalia/Yemen,” was produced for the Defense Department in 2013 by consultants from IBM. If you look at just one classified PowerPoint presentation this year, I recommend you make it this one.

Like a good poem, the ISR study has multiple meanings, and rewards careful attention and repeated reading. On its surface, it’s simply an analysis by the Defense Department’s Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Task Force of the “performance and requirements” of the U.S. military’s counterterrorism kill/capture operations, including drone strikes, in Somalia and Yemen. However, it’s also what a former senior special operations officer characterized as a “bitch brief” — that is, a study designed to be a weapon in a bureaucratic turf war with the CIA to win the Pentagon more money and a bigger mandate. The study was also presumably an opportunity for IBM to demonstrate that it can produce snappy “analysis” tailored to the desires of its Defense Department clients, as well as for current Defense employees to network with a potential future employer.  (more...)

Do we see a pattern here?

Golden Lilly, and its little brother

 Gold Warriors

Golden Lily: A Secret History: part one from goldenlilydoc on Vimeo.
After World War II stories emerged of vast amounts of gold bullion looted by the Japanese, and buried somewhere beneath the Philippine hills. Part one of Golden Lily: A Secret History reveals the remarkable story of how that treasure came to be there; what happened when US Intelligence found it, and why mentioning the words 'Golden Lily' can be a dangerous business even today. Includes a rare interview with Peggy Seagrave, co-author, 'Gold Warriors: America's Secret Recovery of Yamashita's Gold'.

Golden Lily: A Secret History part two from goldenlilydoc on Vimeo.
After World War II stories emerged of vast amounts of gold bullion looted by the Japanese, and buried somewhere beneath the Philippine hills. Part two of Golden Lily: A Secret History continues the remarkable story of what US Intelligence did with this treasure, and why mentioning the words 'Golden Lily' can be a dangerous business even today. Includes a rare interview with Peggy Seagrave, co-author, 'Gold Warriors: America's Secret Recovery of Yamashita's Gold'.

The Anti-Fascist from nahte on Vimeo.
An in-depth look into the research of Anti-Fascist researcher Dave Emory

Just In Time For Winter, Liberal Government Allows Peak Electricity Prices To Rise By Almost 9%

After just raising our electricity prices in MAY of this year, prepare yourself for more bad news. On November 1st rates are going up again.

On peak energy rates in the morning from 7am to 11am (when we all get up, cook breakfast, shower and turn the furnace up) and from 5pm to 7pm (when we get home, cook meals and turn the furnace back up) will be going up to 17.5 cents per kWh! That’s an increase of almost 9%! Mid and Off-Peak rates will also be rising.

According to a Globe and Mail article: “Premier Kathleen Wynne and her government have been on the defensive about electricity prices. There was a rate hike in May, which raised consumers’ hydro bills by nearly $6 a month. Ms. Wynne’s government also announced in its spring budget that it is selling 60 per cent of Hydro One to help pay for new transit and infrastructure. This has raised fears that private ownership will cause prices to go even higher.”

I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m tired of hearing “Consumers can shift their energy use to off-peak and install energy efficient light bulbs to save money”. I’ve shifted everything I can to off-peak. Every light in my house is either a compact fluorescent or LED light bulb. My house is well insulated and all my appliances are relatively new. We only do laundry or dishes after 7pm or on weekends.  (more...)

How to slay this money-hungry dragon:

Go to my storefront to get a better deal on energy -- near wholesale rates -- all online! I represent ACN and Planet Energy. Planet Energy is not associated with your local utility(ies), the Ontario Energy Board, or the Government of Ontario.  Sign up using my business ID 03342980 here:

Saturday, October 24, 2015

‘Corrupt’ is the word to describe Ontario government’s ties to teachers’ unions

A 2012 rally organized by the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario
Corruption is a strong word, which we don’t often use in Canada when it comes to politics. It infers a blatant disregard for honesty, ethics or principle. But it’s the word that springs to mind when you contemplate the insidious relationship between Ontario’s Liberal government and the teachers unions they do so much to cultivate and please.

How else to describe it? The Liberals spend hundreds of millions of dollars to ensure the unions remain relatively quiescent and co-operative, offering rich contracts, special treatment, secret agreements and generous payoffs with public dollars. In return the unions spend millions undermining the government’s opponents and working to ensure the Liberals stay in power.

It’s a relationship that has grown increasingly rotten over time, and may have reached an apogee in revelations of a $2.5 million payment to three unions to cover their costs in acrimonious bargaining over a new contract. The brazenness of it alone suggests the Liberals have lost any hint of rectitude when it comes to the handling of public money — though they did do their best to hide the transaction, suggesting that, at some level, they still sense it’s offensive, wrong and abusive of the public trust. Not that those concerns stopped them. Indeed, Education Minister Liz Sandals response has been a show of public arrogance that takes the breath away.  (more...)

Covered up for 50 years: How Ronnie Kray and top Tory peer 'hunted young men'

The odd couple: Gangster Ronnie and Tory peer Boothby
In the sultry summer of 1964 the Tory government of Sir Alec Douglas-Home feared it was facing a sex scandal greater even than the Profumo Affair.

Just 12 months earlier, the Secretary of State for War, John Profumo , had been forced to resign after lying about his relationship with a call girl he shared with a Soviet diplomat.

So when the Sunday Mirror hit the news stands with a front page exposé of a gay affair between a peer and an East End gangster, the Establishment’s foundations felt a seismic tremor.

The paper revealed a Scotland Yard investigation had been launched into the alleged homosexual relationship between top Tory Lord Boothby and villain Ronnie Kray , who ran rackets with his twin Reggie .

The newspaper report did not name the pair but they were later identified by a German magazine and the shockwaves spread even wider.

So the Government closed ranks and forced the newspaper to withdraw the story, which it knew to be true.

But now, more than half a century on, the scoop has been vindicated – thanks to the release of declassified MI5 files.

They confirm that Boothby and mobster twin Kray were “hunters” of young men who trawled “homosexual parties” together at a time when homosexuality was still illegal.  (more...)

Protest at Leal's office over sex education curriculum

Members of the Concerned Parents of Peterborough group staged a protest Friday
afternoon outside Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Minister and Peterborough
MPP Jeff Leal’s constiuency office
Members of the Concerned Parents of Peterborough group staged a protest Friday afternoon outside Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Minister and Peterborough MPP Jeff Leal’s constiuency office on King Street to protest Ontario’s new sex-education curriculum.

Protesters displayed placards that read, “Parents are first educators, not politicians!”, “Let Kids be Kids!” and “Teaching consent, did you get ours?”.

The group has been holding monthly protests at Leal's office since June. Group members also held a protest outside the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Claington Catholic District School Board education centre in Peterborough in September and kept their kids home from school for the day, director Laura Van Bakel stated.