Sunday, April 28, 2013

UN Condemns Richard Falk, the UN's Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories

Richard Falk UN Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories
and also a notorious antisemite, fond of comparing Jews to Nazis,
and a conspiracy nut who suggests the U.S. was behind the 9/11 attacks
Good News: Thanks to a firestorm sparked by UN Watch, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon – after initially refusing to act – has finally accepted UN Watch's demand and condemned UN Palestine expert Richard Falk for justifying the Boston terrorist attack as a form of “resistance to the sins of America and Israel. 

Here’s how it all happened.

Last week: Richard Falk – whom we got expelled from the group Human Rights Watch in December (see letter here), but still serves on the tyrant-controlled UN Human Rights Council – published an article pinning the blame for the Boston bombings on “the American global domination project.”

It got worse: “[A]s long as Tel Aviv has the compliant ear of the American political establishment,” wrote Falk, “those who wish for peace and justice in the world should not rest easy.”

Here was a top UN official telling Boston’s victims that they got what they deserved, and that America and Israel were to blame. Yet the United Nations was silent. Its Human Rights Council was silent. Its High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navi Pillay, was silent. Falk's academic colleagues were silent. The world was silent.

Monday: UN Watch broke the silence. In a detailed letter to UN chief Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, we exposed Falk’s despicable remarks; identified its ignominious messages; and demanded action.

UN Watch circulated the story to thousands of journalists worldwide, launched a barrage of press releases, statements, and blog posts, and posted the facts on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

This was the immediate response of Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman: “The Secretary-General did not appoint him and is not responsible for his views.”  The UN was refusing to act. No one would take responsibility.

Tuesday: UN Watch ramped up the campaign. We slammed Mr. Ban’s silence, noting the UN chief had condemned an unheard-of figure in the US who insulted Islam, but refused to do the same when a major figure of his own organization insulted America.

Reporters at the UN pressed for comment. Again, Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman refused, saying,“Richard Falk speaks independently... he is free to say what he wants to say. The UN was doubling down.

By now, however, UN Watch’s campaign began bearing fruit. Stories appeared in Jewish newspapers and blogs worldwide, in Canada’s National Post, Italy’s ANSA news agency, and in a Wall Street Journal column entitled “What the Falk?”

At 3:00 pm, the U.S. Mission publicly condemned Falk’s “provocative and offensive” remarks, and the “absurdity” of his service as a UN human rights expert. “Someone who spews such vitriol has no place at the UN,” said Ambassador Rice, in a Twitter post quickly endorsed by former Spanish Foreign Minister Ana Palacio. The story spread further, reported by top news site PoliticoNederlands Dagblad, the Kuwait News Agency, and many others.

Wednesday: Faced with mounting pressure, the United Nations finally reversed course.At 12:07 pm, speaking at the daily press briefing, Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman announced: “The Secretary-General rejects Mr. Falk’s comments [which] “undermine the credibility and the work of the United Nations.”

  • Now the story went viral, with global headlines from the Associated Press and Reuters: “U.N. chief scolds envoy for implying U.S. policy sparked Boston attack.”
  • The British Mission blasted Falk’s “antisemitic” remarks, highlighting it was the third time they had to do so.
  • Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird slammed Falk’s “mean-spirited, anti-Semitic rhetoric” and called for him to be kicked out of the UN. “The United Nations should be ashamed to even be associated with such an individual,” he added.

Falk’s defenders, outraged at UN Watch, have now begun to rally, lashing out against us in lengthy manifestos. “UN Watch crafts the smoking gun,” screams a headline on Mondoweiss, a leading anti-Israel website. “UN Watch Better Watch Itself,” warns the headline of an essay by Jeremy Hammond, the publisher of Falk’s article.

Why are they so angry?

Because thanks to UN Watch pressure, their hero, the world body’s most vicious hater of America, Israel, and Western democratic society, was exposed, denounced, and shamed by world leaders—including by the head of the United Nations himself. And rightfully so.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Heather Mallick says the terrorist plot is really a Tory plot

"Bottom line? I don't take the train anyway. And neither do my friends."
I admit it, they had me fooled. Like practically every other Canadian, I thought the RCMP had arrested two jihadists because they were planning a terrorist attack. Thank goodness Heather Mallick set me straight. In today's Toronto Star, Mallick asserts these arrests are "dubious."

Who would want to blow up a Via Train? says Mallick. Surely they could think of a better target. "And why would Al Qaeda, Sunni by nature, work with Iran, a Shiite nation?"

None of this fits with Mallick's preconceptions.

But worst of all: "The police press conference consisted of a dozen white male cops - and a token female." Not a brown face among them. Clearly, this so-called "terrrorist plot" is really a Tory plot!

Of course if Mallick were a journalist, she might have found out that the terrorists planned to derail a Via train on the trestle as it was crossing the border between Canada and the States. A train full of passengers falling into the Niagara River would be quite spectacular, even if aimed against a pitiful old Via train.

As for al Qaeda and Iran, yes, they do consider each other heretics. Yes, they'll likely get around to killing each other some day, but like anyone, they have priorities. First, they'd like to kill or enslave the infidels, starting with Americans, Westerners in general, and Jews. And while they're busy with that fairly tall order, they're willing to sometimes work together.

Indeed, The Western intelligence community has long known that al Qaeda has a branch in Iran. It's not a secret. With a few minutes' research. Mallick could have learned that Iran tolerates al Qaeda's presence. Has for more than a decade.

The RCMP says Iran wasn't directing the attack against Canada. But that doesn't mean Iran is innocent. In the wake of the uncovered terrorist plot, Iran has not promised to kick al Qaeda out of the country or to ship the terrorist masterminds off to Canada.

Until two days ago, the intelligence community believed that Iran wouldn't allow al Qaeda to launch terrorist attacks from Iranian soil. Looks like that's changed. And why not? After all what's Canada going to do about it? Bomb Iran?

The Toronto Star wouldn't even support Canada sending a mild diplomatic protest. Heather Mallick doesn't even believe the terror plot was real. She thinks this "dubious" arrest was cooked up to make Canadians support the Tory's anti-terror bill currently being debated in the House of Commons.

As if. As if the Tories, with their majority, need to direct the RCMP to frame a couple of people to help them pass this law. As if, when the Liberals are also going to vote for this bill - giving it the support of two-thirds of the House of Commons.

In truth, the notion that theses arrests are a Tory plot is so mad that you could only read it on an al Qaeda website, or in The Toronto Star. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Pierre Trudeau and the Boston Marathon bombings

"Within Canada there is ample room for opposition and dissent, but none for intimidation and terror." - Pierre Trudeau announcing imposition of the War Measures Act.

Pierre Trudeau knew something about terrorism and how a society must react to it. In 1970 when the FLQ kidnapped James Cross and Pierre Laporte, Pierre Trudeau’s first reaction was not to express concern for the kidnappers. He did not worry about root causes or say the terrorists must have been excluded from society.

Trudeau went on national television to point out that democracies provide legitimate ways to bring about change, but when faced with terrorism – with kidnapping and murder in the name of a cause – a society must exert its full strength to protect itself.

When a CBC reporter objected to Trudeau’s attitude, Trudeau replied: “Yes, well there are a lot of bleeding hearts around…. All I can say is go on and bleed.”

Stephen Harper would never be so openly contemptuous of the feeble-minded, but sometimes a prime minister is obliged to speak his mind.

Earlier this week, terrorists set off two bombs at the Boston Marathon, murdering three people, including an eight-year-old child, and wounding 170 more.

Before the bodies were in the ground, while the maimed were still awakening to discover their legs had been amputated, a senior Canadian politician – the leader of one of our three main political parties – told the CBC that we had to look at root causes, that this attack “happened because of someone who feels completely excluded” and that it was important not to "marginalize people even further.”

In the circumstances, our prime minister really had to speak up for Canada, and he did it with class, without calling anyone a bleeding heart, even without naming the politician who had been so shallow, so callow, so insensitive.

When faced with terrorism, Harper said, you must “condemn it categorically, and to the extent you can deal with the perpetrators, you deal with them as harshly as possible.

Justin Trudeau’s father couldn’t have said it any better.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Palestinians bulldoze World Heritage site for terrorist training camp

The Anthedon, Gaza’s ancient port, dates back to the eighth century B.C., when Gaza was a major Philistine city

Since the Palestinians were admitted to UNESCO (the UN body charged with preserving the world's heritage), the Palestinians have used it solely as a forum for advancing their political aims. And now Hamas is bulldozing a world heritage site so that they can further those same political aims through terrorism...

GENEVA, April 15 - In an urgent letter sent today to UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova, UN Watch demanded immediate action to stop the Hamas bulldozing of a 3,000-year-old harbor in Gaza for use as a terrorist training camp, as reported today by Al Monitor Palestine Pulse. A copy was also sent to EU foreign minister Catherine Ashton calling on the EU to take action.

The partial destruction of the ancient Anthedon Harbor – which includes the ruins of a Roman temple and archaeological remains from the Persian, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine eras—comes exactly one year after the area was nominated as a World Heritage site.

According the current UNESCO session timetable, there are in fact four agenda items dedicated exclusively to Palestinian issues: Items 9, 10, 34, and 35, while Item 5 includes a fifth report on this issue. Israel is the only country in the world that is targeted for specific criticism in this session.

Previous UNESCO resolutions on these five items were rightly described by US Ambassador David Killion as “highly politicized” and designed to “single out Israel.” The extreme politicization even prompted Russia to successfully oppose discussion of these items, despite vehement Palestinian opposition, at the previous 190th session in October.

UNESCO’s admission of Palestine as a member state in 2011, which caused the organization to lose almost a quarter of its budget when the US suspended its contributions, was justified as a measure to help protect world heritage sites in Palestinian areas.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Toronto School Board pays $56,531 to change a light bulb

From The Globe & Mail

The Toronto District School Board is reviewing the way it maintains its school buildings – including the oversight of routine plumbing, carpentry and repair work – in an effort to curb costs in the face a $3-billion maintenance backlog and a budget crunch that has led to staff cuts.
For years, the board has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars paying skilled tradespeople to do menial work. Those costs include, in the 2011-2012 school year: $161,805.37 to unclog toilets; $84,716.18 to check and adjust thermostats; $33,977.63 to hang photos; and $56,531.76 to replace light bulbs, according to data obtained by The Globe and Mail through a Freedom of Information request. (See a school-by-school breakdown and search for your school here.)
 “I’ll be very open and say there’s room for improvement in all areas across the district on roles and responsibilities, [including] our key managers, our key leads in terms of oversight,” director of education Donna Quan said.
She said the reporting structure of the facilities department is changing, and the number of supervising managers is increasing to improve oversight and accountability.
Over the past year, the TDSB has decreased the facilities department’s ratio of trades workers to managers – to 40:1 from 60:1 – and begun flagging work orders with inappropriate costs.
Faced with a looming deficit, trustees for Canada’s largest school board voted in February to cut nearly 250 high-school teaching jobs, including special education teachers and guidance counsellors. They also cut dozens of educational assistants, office staff and vice-principals, but the board still faces a $23-million shortfall. It will be grappling with its operational budget through June.
“We’ve gone to great lengths to rectify overspending,” trustee Sam Sotiropoulos said. “Accountability has absolutely been lacking.”
To get maintenance jobs done at schools, custodians contact managers at the TDSB’s facilities department. These managers, known as family team leaders, consider job descriptions outlined in union contracts, the equipment required and the scale of the task when deciding whether the expertise – and added cost – of a trades worker is needed, according to the TDSB.
Agreements between the unions representing custodians, trades workers and the board list routine duties that should be performed by custodians and those that require the expertise of trades workers. Hanging photos or changing light bulbs, for example, are jobs assigned to custodians under that agreement. But Steve Shaw, a senior manager for the TDSB’s facilities services, said that when the scale of the job is larger, trades workers are sometimes brought in.
“While installation of single coat hooks is expected of caretaking staff, installation of large numbers, e.g. a classroom worth, may be done by a carpenter to expedite the work,” he said in an e-mail.
In explaining the tens of thousands of dollars the board spends hiring trades workers to change light bulbs, Mr. Shaw said that caretakers don’t have the training or equipment to reach fixtures that are more than 10 feet up, in gymnasiums, for example.
Excluding work orders to change light bulbs in gymnasiums, however, still leaves the board spending $46,844.92 in 2011-12, according to the work orders obtained by The Globe. This may include cafeterias, auditoriums and parking lots, according to Mr. Shaw, and some custodians may have to call in trades workers because they are physically unable to do the work and are assigned to “modified duties.”
The school board’s reluctance to close aging, half-empty school buildings despite declining enrolment is also contributing to the high costs of maintenance work. Many are spending more than $1,000 per student each year for school maintenance work done by trades workers.
The top costs in 2011-12 were incurred at John Polanyi Collegiate, where the board spent $2,705.65 per student. Mr. Shaw blamed the fact that the building is operating at 41 per cent capacity, and incurred $155,000 in flood damage. The next most expensive school was Fairbank Public School, where the board spent $2,457.09 per student. Mr. Shaw attributed the costs to the fact that the school is operating at 34 per cent capacity and that “there was a painting program [there] in 2012 and work was done to support the transfer of students from [another school].”
The average amount per student was $272.46.
The board has closed and sold a handful of underused school buildings over the past four years, and former education director Chris Spence shared plans to review high schools for closings as recently as last fall. Recent scandals, however, including Dr. Spence’s resignation over allegations of plagiarism, appear to have put those plans on hold.
Some jobs, such as unclogging toilets and related plumbing, accumulate costs because the work must be done after school, resulting in overtime for the board’s approximately 50 staff plumbers – six of whom made Ontario’s Sunshine List last year, down from eight the year before, for earning more than $100,000.
Concerns over how the TDSB spends on its facilities prompted the Ontario government in December to appoint a special assistance team to help the board overhaul its operations and commission consultants to review its spending. The consultants issued a scathing report and found millions of dollars in potential savings, but efforts to implement them were stymied in January, when former Liberal education minister Laurel Broten renewed hundreds of education sector contracts, including that of the TDSB’s union of electricians, plumbers and others who perform routine work at higher costs, the Maintenance and Construction Skilled Trades Council.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Battle of the Justins – Trudeau vs Bieber

Trudeau tries for cute

I’m voting for Justin!

Not Trudeau. I want someone serious. I mean, Trudeau's 41 years old and, until he entered politics a few years ago, he never had a real job. The closest he came was being a part-time drama teacher. Before that? A snowboarding instructor.

So, no, I want someone serious: I want Justin Bieber.

Unlike Trudeau, Bieber’s got real world experience. He’s still in his teens and already has a wildly successful career. No snowboard instructing for him.

Bieber’s more serious on the issues, too. The Liberal leadership campaign dragged on for ten tedious months, and in all that time, no one’s been able to drag a policy out of Trudeau.

Bieber –  the genuine article

But even though he’s not in politics at all, Bieber ’s big on social issues. He got Access Hollywood host Billy Bush to donate $5,000 dollars to the food bank in Bieber’s hometown of Stratford.

Bieber himself donated $100,000 to Whitney Elementary School. And for his 17th birthday, he asked fans to donate $17 to charity: water, a non-profit organization bringing drinking water to people in developing nations. Naturally, Charity Water's cup now runneth over.

Justin Trudeau is supposed to be the king of new media. He has 199 thousand twitter followers. Justin Bieber has 37 million followers. That’s more than the population of Canada.

Tudeau is supposed to connect with the youth. That’s a giggle! Justin Bieber is a bona fide teen idol!

Really, match the Justins up however you want: Trudeau sucks, Bieber rocks. So let’s get serious: vote for Justin – Justin  Bieber!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Toronto police charge owner of Sam James Coffee Bar with assault and two counts of mischief for spitting and throwing coffee on protesters

Owner of the trendy Same James Coffee Bar on Harbord St. in Toronto
Demonstrators near Harbord Collegiate Institute in Toronto were reportedly assaulted this week.

At about noon, a man wearing a black toque and fleece (and later identified as the owner of Sam James Coffee Bar) took exception to the protestors, spitting on one, according to the police report.

The man then went to a nearby shop, obtained coffee, and returned with a woman, who was also holding a cup of coffee.

They approached the protesters and threw their hot drinks at them, hitting and damaging some of the signs, police say.

Photo from the Torontoist
The man was apparently a bit slow on the uptake but eventually realized that he was being filmed. He then reportedly assaulted the protester who was filming the incident, trying to grab the camera.

Detective Jospeh Matys of the Toronto Police Service told reporters that no one was hurt during the assault.

“The group’s signs luckily took most of the damage,” he said.

Photo of suspects issued by police
Footage of the event reportedly captures the man going face to face with each demonstrator, shouting, “F--k you!”

Reportedly friends of the man drove up in a white van, forcibly seized the protest signs, and proceeded to load them into the van.

When the would-be thieves realized they were in the 21st Century and were, of course, being filmed, they threw the signs out of the van and drove away, but not before stomping on the signs and destroying five of them. 

A protester captured the van’s license plate on film. A rumour says it was a vanity plate reading either THUG or IDIOT, possibly both.