Friday, August 5, 2016

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson - a Hound Dog and his Tale

Vancouver Mayor Robertson - and young Chinese girlfriend Wanting Qu

I don't often use the Blog to point readers directly to a news story, unless it contains something of strength to alter our perspective, or information that is certain to be suppressed by the media elites.   This one is important.  Vancouver has a mayor who, like many con-men who become pubic office holders, is adept at the art of misdirection.  A paragon of feigned virtue, he is a royal figure among Vancouver's political elite, and so the media never, ever digs.   More to the point, "his worship" controls the disbursement of millions of dollars in annual advertising and promotion fees,  and no media outlet will risk his revenge.

So when he started promoting his phone campaign against "Chinese Dirty Money" that was supposedly corruptly the virtuous Vancouverites, the media was in lock-step.  And when the B.C. Provincial Government  recently resuscitated that old racist measure known as the CHINESE HEAD TAX,  (imposing a 15 percent tax on "offshore" property buyers), the local White media was still in lockstep with the political class.

Christy Clark and "British Columbians First"
"British Columbians First"  - Just harmless wording?

So how is that different from "Americans Come First" ?

Americans Come First - Donald J. Trump

How interesting to learn that Gregor Robertson is dipping his dick in one of the deepest pools of illicit Chinese wealth that any White boy ever gained access to. Soon... because he's bedding a young Chinese, Gregor is no racist, right?  There is no racial dimension to the 2016 Chinese Head Tax, right?  Decide for yourself. We Canadians are carefully bred (schooled) to be politically correct, but we still maintain emergency statutes that will allow Ottawa to re-establish Internment Camps for any group that begins to frighten us, or threaten economic security.

The Toronto news magazine  MACLEAN'S has the story - Gregor Robertson, his pop-star girlfriend and a corruption trial.   The teaser line boasts: "The Vancouver mayor's relationship with Wanting Qu has largely escaped media scrutiny. Until now." The editors at Maclean's are deluded.  The story will gain no traction, and in fact after 24 hours it's already dead. And speaking of dead things, even if the Chinese Court did sentence Gregor's future Ma-in-law to death, and a Chinese rifleman actually put a bullet through her head, that profoundly ironic news will NOT be reported here.  The Chinese government is quite effective lately in investigating the professional money launderers and property fraudsters on their side of the Pacific, but Beijing has no brief for dealing with White-people's petty jealousies in the City of Vancouver.

LATER:   "Christy Trump"  -  That didn't take long.  Since Canadian's have adopted Donald Trump as their new pet hate, they will now label everything they hate as being "Trump" this or "Trump" that. Aaaah.  It's so, so soothing to relax and enjoy letting others do your thinking for you.  

Christy Trump - Trump the new Canadian epithet

Christy shouldn't have done it, but the racist property purchase tax has nothing to do with Donald Trump.  (And of course Terence Corcoran ignore the Canadian metaphor. We don't build walls, we build internment camps. All our government initiatives must create sustainable employment.) Christy takes the flak while Gregor Robertson continues to fuck-over Vancouver taxpayers, unscathed by a narcissistic local media that is content to bury us in info-tainment. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Trump Made History Last Night - Canadians Should Take Heed

ARC de TRUMPH - Trump crushes  G.O.P. - SACDK cartoon, May 5, 2016
This editorial cartoon, by "Sack" was published in the
Minneapolis Star-Tribune on May 5, 2016.  It combines
pun with tasty metaphor, characterizing Donald J. Trump's
securing of the Republican Party nomination by literally 
crushing the elephant. (An elephant is the G.O.P. symbol.)

TRUMP - Let Us Enjoy the Moment
- Ronald J. Jack 

I am a daily news reader, doing my utmost to avoid broadcast television, but I simply had to watch the closing hours of the Republican Convention last night. The Internet had told me a leaked copy of the alleged text of Donald Trump's speech was circulating among the haters yesterday afternoon.  Early in the evening I caught Peter Mansbridge (Papa  CBC**) shepherding a sarcastic segment that assured Canadians Trump's speech would be short, and little more than a rehash of campaign rhetoric.  Peter is a dick, and no judge of character or veracity.  Undaunted, I watched the  G.O.P. convention and thoroughly enjoyed myself.
** DRUDGE REPORT 2016  links to the  BBC and ten U.K. newspapers.
     It does NOT link to Canada's government-owned  CBC. 

The coverage of the G.O.P. convention has been, all week, nothing short of smart-ass showmanship, led of course by the assholes working for CNN.  Many Canadian TV journalists (particularly CBC staffers) are equally breathtaking in their crass ignorance and make no attempt at all to disguise their hatred of Trump, and of the democratic process when it threatens to turn against received bias.  

I no longer vote in elections because Canada's political landscape is a blasted wasteland, and our Tax and Spend governments are run by faceless functionaries who drone on, bulletproof,  and totally oblivious to "democratic" electoral results... LIB-CON,  CON-LIB,  LIB-CON, CON-LIB.   The truth is we Canadians embrace a diverse bundle of values and beliefs, and no single political party sings a tune that we can recognize. Certainly the now meaningless 18th Century concept of a Left-Right political spectrum is an insult to our intelligence, and yet the pundits go right on don't they?  Insulting us.

I don't profess to agree with everything Donald Trump espouses, but I now believe it is not all rhetoric. Boldness is an effective strategy that is going to win him the Presidency, and I do agree that the American people would do very well to choose  an experienced businessman for a leader, rather than a career politician who exemplifies the stereotype of a "Lying Lawyer".  True, American does NOT need more weaponry and firepower.  America does NOT need more surveillance capability.  America does NOT need more police and incarcerations.  But America DOES need to build an impervious wall between itself and Mexico.  It does need to annihilate every Muslim terrorist it can reach. And America certainly DOES need to force its major corporations to restore millions of exported jobs, or be banned from bidding on U.S. government contracts.  The Clinton Democrats lust after power, but do not love anyone but themselves. They simply must be defeated or these years are truly America's last years as a successful nation.

William Jennings Bryan swallows the Democratic Party, PUCK  July 11, 1900

Some have suggested a Trump victory is analogous to the success of
William Jennings Bryan who is shown here in a cartoon published by
PUCK on July 11, 1900. Bryan is characterized as a great Anaconda
snake that swallowed the Democratic Party (The Donkey) whole. It is
a clever carton that makes a powerful point. The difference of course
is that Bryan failed to become President, while Trump will certainly win.

Need I emphasize that I do not have a penny invested in the United States, (although my wife does) and a Blog article is not a vote?  I have nothing at stake in the November U.S.  election, and have placed no bets.  For months though, I have been predicting dire consequences for our  Boy-Trudeau should Mr. Trump become President.  Not to make too big a deal about it, what I have predicted is that "Donald Trump will kick Justin Trudeau's ass over the North Pole."  It's a delicious thought.  So imagine my delight last evening when Trump declared on live television that after winning the Presidency one of his goals will be to "re-negotiate NAFTA".   That sounds very much like a warning to me. Kick-in-the-ass ...number one.    He will also lift the Federal embargo on exploitation of key domestic energy sectors (coal and oil) in order to create jobs and wealth for Americans.  That sounds like kick-in-the-ass ... number two.

Well gentle readers.. did you notice the BIAS this morning.? Our media brats mocked Trump but they didn't report what he warned about NAFTA.  No Canadian media mentioned the threat to NAFTA and Boy-Trudeau's ass.   Look again at the Bryan-Anaconda cartoon.  That is now Trump and the Republicans. His campaign rhetoric is becoming the Republican platform. Hee-haw!   This is going to be so entertaining.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Diamond Reynolds - an astounding act of individual courage - documenting a murder despite the pistol muzzle in her face

Diamond Reynolds - survivor, citizen journalist, N.Y. Times page 1, July 8, 2016

A masterpiece of journo-Juxtaposition - on page 1 of today's 
NEW YORK TIMES. A montage of screenshots from Diamond 
Reynolds'  FACEBOOK page, documenting her encounter with 
a freaked-out  Minnesota police officer, is paired with a developing 
story from Dallas - of a Black U.S. Army veteran ("the active shooter") 
who was exacting BLACK revenge on WHITE  police officers.

Where to begin after another astonishing week of extreme barbarism and hatred in the good 'ole U.S.A.?  Americans seem forever determined to bury the world in their overflowing landfill of violent shit-culture, and yet, try as we might, it is nearly impossible for Canadians to turn away. Our neighbours are suffering intensely from their birthright - an addiction to self-inflicted trauma.  What Diamond Reynolds just demonstrated with her incredibly brave act of citizen journalism, (she streamed the murder of her boyfriend Philando Castile live on FACEBOOK), is that we had better prepare ourselves for an overpowering assault on our sensorium - by ultra-intrusive forms of video technology that will make us virtual participants in murder, mayhem and modern warfare.

Officer Geronimo Yanez - shot Philando  Castile to death
Officer Geronimo Yanez was the killer of Philando Castile.
He works for the Saint Anthony, Minnesota Police Department.

In my lifetime I have watched with (I confess) only modest discomfort as hundreds of thousands of people were murdered.  I am not exaggerating.  Not at all. As a military historian and a "news junkie" to boot, I have viewed an endless stream of barbarous acts recorded on film, video tape, and digital recording devices - and now I truly wonder what my life would be like if I had never willingly exposed myself to recorded atrocities.  A few select killings still give me the chills, especially the earliest I viewed, because I wasn't yet trained to depersonalize the victims.  As a child I watched news coverage of the war in Bangladesh (1970) - witnessing rows of tightly-bound prisoners being bayoneted for the benefit of foreign newsmen...  I recall war in Rhodesia (1970s)  - the cameraman ducks but a rifle bullet smashes the head of a black soldier, who slumps in a heap and turns his lifeless eyes toward the lens...  In 1968 a Saigon a police general executes a Viet Cong assassin, and the head sprays a stream of arterial blood.  But that was just the beginning. For forty years I have been watching the carnage but not considering the psychic cost of all that viewing.

OZ magazine, No. 10 - The Pornography of Violence
Violent image etched in my  boyhood memory - a Vietnamese General executes a 
Viet Cong sapper, in front of a group of American TV and newspaper reporters.

I thought I had literally seen it all.  A foolish hope. As the arms merchants and even the WALMART Super-centres continue to market the latest generation of lethal gadgets, it is a certainty that all of the ensuing carnage will be recorded and streamed into our homes.  America is a culture in chaotic decline, and this new wrinkle in documenting urban crime, watching both civilians and cops as they are being executed in the streets, is only the beginning of a more violent chapter in American history, and I think our collective sanity is at risk.  Early this morning the enraged Dallas Police used a robot to kill the cornered gunman - Micah Xavier Johnson.  [One columnist has suggested the robot was offering Johnson  some food or a telephone, as a ruse to get close enough to kill him with the bomb.] There are more than 120 such wheeled robots on inventory with the F.B.I. in Dallas office, and the Dallas P.D. - all supplied by Homeland Security. Soon robot technology will be hunting humans more actively, and we humans will witness their machine-executions via live video feed.

Micah Johnson - U.S. Army Reserve, the Dallas sniper - July 2016
  Micah Xavier Johnson in 2009. He was then 18 years old.
President Obama described him as a "demented individual".
but the Dallas Police Chief claimed the opposite - angry, but sane.

Diamond Reynolds -  A new breed of Citizen Hero:
You have to marvel at the insanity of conflicted values and attitudes that reside in the minds of the average American.  They profess to being inclusive and  freedom loving, and yet they are constantly at war with foreign cultures they consider scary or simply unwilling to embrace Star-Spangled modes of living. They profess to being patriotic and fair-minded, a yet they are clearly divided by racial, political and economic  fault-lines.  "Civil War" is openly discussed, and indeed it was the screaming headline of one New York tabloid paper this morning.  Private Micah Xavier Johnson was "proud" to serve his country in a foreign war, but he was equally proud to avenge "his people" by waging war on the Dallas Police.  Philando Castile was obviously a model-American with an unblemished record, but a nervous cop was feeding off of stereotypic images and paramilitary machismo, when he pulled the black couple over.  (The old "busted tail light" gambit. Sidewalk witnesses have stepped forward and posted video proving that both tail lights were functioning.)  Castile was managing food services at a Montessori school, and was trusted enough to be issued a concealed-carry permit for a handgun. The cop saw only skin colour and style of hair, and though he made the usual demands that all armed policeman expect to be complied with (if you want to live) he wasn't in the world of the rational.  He was prepared for combat... and he engaged the target. Four shots into the body of a man who complied, but still died.  Fortunately for us, and very sadly for the victim, Diamond Reynolds remained calm and bore witness to the murder, thereby saving her own life and the life of her four year old daughter in the back seat.   

There is an essay which I can almost recite from memory, because I have been teaching it for years. It is Brent Staples', "Just Walk on By: A Black Man Ponders his Power to Alter Public Space" (1986) in which he describes a lifetime of encounters with nervous white people, frequently using psychology to defuse dangerous situations where they might actually hurt him. He wrote, for example, "I whistle melodies from Beethoven and Vivaldi" to convince nervous New Yorkers that he is not a potential mugger.Virtually every Canadian between the age of 20 - 40 has seen Michael Moore's BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE, so we know well his oft-stated thesis that the U.S. media actively promotes a fear of American Black men. Several recent dash-cam and cellphone videos have documented extreme over-reaction of police officers, especially when their victims are not instantly cowed by "lawful authority". Well we have just been exposed to extraordinary evidence of a rogue cop in action - a recording that I believe is of permanent and historic significance. Diamond Reynolds' ten-minute FACEBOOK video contributes to a visual-history of her country, and it equates to the 8mm Zapruder film that documented President Kennedy's murder in Dallas in 1963.  

Zapruder film - JFK assassination - Jackie climbs back

On first viewing, I was of course immensely impressed by Ms. Reynold's handling of the situation. She didn't whistle a happy tune, but did work calmly and valiantly to dissipate the cop's rage, and thereby deny him any excuse to empty the rest of his clip into her face. (She also was communicating with family and friends - a posse of witnesses assembled online.)  Had the officer known he was on live-stream, he might have shot her too, and worked with his buddies to fabricate a cover story. What really made me angry, angry enough to want to go after that insane cop myself, was that AFTER he realized his criminal mistake (He screams, literally screams, "Why did you make me do that!") he did not holster his fucking pistol and attempt to give the victim first aid. Three more cops arrive and continue to treat the victim as dog shit.  Four men trained in first-aid were on scene, and they just let Castile bleed out.  How many times have we witnessed video of cops, swarming like hornets around a single target,  continuing to aim weapons at a body riddled by bullets, and even hand-cuffing the dead body?  

On the battlefield when the enemy has been overcome, they are entitled to medical attention, and most soldiers will honour the international laws regulating warfare.  Again and again we see evidence that Black men in the U.S. are often denied the same basic rights of an enemy combatant.  Micah Johnson, from Mesquite, Texas had served in Afghanistan, and when he came home he was disgusted by the hypocrisy of the American value system, and I am equally sure, the hypocrisy of a Black president who has done virtually nothing to alleviate the carnage on American streets.  He, Barack Hussein Obama, has presided over the arming of police departments big and small, with armoured vehicles, machine guns and surveillance drones - all of which will be used to monitor, control and frequently murder American citizens. Shame on him.  Legacy?  Another lying lawyer  come and gone.  

Dallas P.D. - robot used to kill armed suspect July 8, 2016
The Dallas P.D. adapted a bomb-disposal robot to DEPLOY
a bomb - killing their sniper suspect Micah Xavier Johnson.
Homeland Security funding is turning America into a battlefield.

Summer 2016 - Stay away from the U.S.A.
So where do we go from here?  Well, like most Canadians, I enter the U.S. at least once or twice a year, usually to shop for antiques (photos and heritage documents)  and share an interesting meal. For most of my life I put America up on a pedestal, openly praising its political system and its respect for rights and liberties.  All of that changed with 9/11, and certainly with the creation of "Department of Homeland Security".  All of sudden a simple trip into America is a scary proposition, even for a 9th generation Canadian with pink skin and a spotless record.  I am totally deaf in one ear, and sometimes misinterpret what is said to me, if their is background noise. I can easily imagine the fatal consequences of being pulled over by a heavily armed American cop, and failing to follow his threatening instructions - precisely and with exaggerated care.  This is going to be an exceptionally violent summer in the U.S.  and I plan to stay home on the sane side of the border. You should too.

SMOKING GUN - the Obligatory Update:

Saint Anthony, Minnesota Police - Servicing Falcon Heights

A website called HEAVY.COM has a recording made by a civilian who was monitoring Saint Anthony, Minnesota police radio calls, the night of the of the Philando Castile deadly shooting incident in Falcon Heights.   Television station KARE11 broadcast a report that lays a transcript over the audio recording:

Officer Geronimo Yanez reveals his motive to Police Dispatch

This  montage is assembled from audiovisual elements produced by HEAVY.COM  and KARE11  Television in Minnesota. 

Philando Castile shooting - audio transcript of police traffic

In the mind of Officer Yanez, motor vehicle operator Philandro Castile fit the profile of a robbery suspect, so he felt entitled to pull him over and point a heavy automatic pistol in his face. 

Philando Castile - audio of police check-stop in St. Anthony, Minnesota

Down in Mesquite, Texas, Private Micah X. Johnson, a member of the U.S. Army Reserve, was already stewing over the most recent incidents of police brutality perpetrated on Black American men.  He snapped, and decided to go out for some bloody revenge.  What happens next?

Update 2:  via Live Leak   The body of Micah X. Johnson amid the debris, after Dallas Police detonated one pound of C4 plastic explosive carried into the garage by a Robot.
Body of Dallas sniper - Micah X. Johnson, after police detonated C4 bomb

There was an interesting piece in the New York Times today that describes "Bulletproof Warrior", a training seminar that officer Geronimo Yanez had attended. It pretty much explains how snap-shooting of suspects has become something of a conditioned-response for nervous police officers who are convinced they are in the "Front Line" of a war-equivalent situation.

Bullet Proof Warrior - an article in the New York Times

If you cannot access the New York Times article, try the Minneapolis Star-Tribune article, (JULY 12, 2016) which lead the investigation into the company (Calibre Press) providing combat training to law enforcement personnel.

Monday, June 20, 2016

EPITAPH FOR 14 GURKHAS - Canada's courageous leader condemns a "cowardly attack" in Kabul

Ah yes, Afghanistan.  The war we lost years ago, but still pretend to care about.   We Canadians do TOKENISM really well. Everything about our efforts in A-Stan reeks of tokenism. Take for example Justin Trudeau's response this morning to the most recent Kabul carnage - the murder of 14 Gurkha's of the Canadian Embassy security force:  

Justin Tweeted: "Today's attack on security workers in Kabul is appalling and cowardly. Our thoughts are with the victims as we stand with the Afghan people."

Justin is wrong of course. He often is. The weekend attack wasn't cowardly at all but it was certainly cunning. Kabul is one of the most locked-down cities in any war zone, and a Taliban Kamikaze who manages to strike a military target inside that city has balls the size of B.C. apples.   The attack on our Embassy security personnel was precise and extremely lethal.  Latest word from Kabul is that several team-mates on staff are seriously thinking of quitting and going home. They should. Unemployment in earthquake ravaged Nepal, is preferable to taking a salvo of steel pellets from the next suicide bomber. Canada has set these brave men up to be killed, and the fourteen families deserve huge financial compensation.

14 murdered Gurkhas - Justin Trudeau Tweets

Packed like Tourists in a Mini-bus
The Ambassador herself, Ms. Deborah Lyons, didn''t go anywhere in Kabul unless her fanny was riding above armour plate and she was waving to the Afghan children through bullet-proof glass.  Why then would we ever cheap-out and transport the Canadian embassy security crews in rickety tour buses?  The very idea is grotesque and SHAMEFUL.  We would never put Canadian troops or RCMP officers at such risk, so which parsimonious Ottawa bureaucrat gave the O.K. to transport out Gurkha guard force  in vehicles that have the bullet resistance of a Coca-Cola can?

Kabul Suicide bombing, June 20, 2016

Look closely at these photos.   A few hours ago the punctured bodies of 14 Gurkha security officers (12 Nepalese  and 2 Indian) were pulled from those seats. Kabul firemen broke the windows with pick axes to  ease the extraction of dead and wounded.  Those who survived have pellet wounds to the head.  The Taliban suicide bomber was wearing a carefully manufactured explosive belt that rammed a high-velocity pattern through the windshield and into the faces of the passengers.  
     If our Gurkha security personnel had been riding in an armoured vehicle, not a single man would have been killed by that type of explosive belt.  So why weren't they?

suicide bomber - Canadian Embassy Kabul

I draw your attention, once again, to the photo evidence.  Not a single hole in the aluminum body of the bus. Not even a flat tire. The entire dispersion pattern is through the front windshield.  How much do you bet that the suicide bomber stepped directly in front of the bus, and that the passengers were craning their necks to look at him? In that frozen moment in time, most of those killed probably understood they were staring at death.  These "security workers" as Trudeau so stupidly labeled them, were all ex-military, with years of experience in war zones. All are veterans of the British, Indian or Nepalese Armies. These  were all employed by SABRE INTERNATIONAL, the private security company that currently holds the contract for defending the Canadian Embassy from Taliban insurgents. The requirements for Guard Force employment are six years of military or police service, of which two years must have been in "Iraq, Afghanistan or other high threat location". All of that professional training and experience for US$1200 per month. A really sweet deal for us, eh?

suicide bombing Kabul - 14 dead in mini-bus

Our Ambassador  on Vacation  - 
The Gurkhas were the Target 

The Canadian Embassy in Kabul is a very hard target, and it would be near impossible for the Taliban to take it out.  There are said to be 147 Nepali's on the payroll, and always a few dozen on home leave.  That leaves a total of 82 Gurkhas on the guard force, divided between two teams, working in three shifts. There are never less than twenty on the property. At the slightest sign of trouble the Ambassador is whisked into a self-contained bunker, and the gunships would be overhead before the assault team could breach the door.  But that wasn't the point.  The Ambassador, Deborah Lyons, is actually on vacation.  The Trudeau government has reassigned her to Israel, and she packed her green scarves away.  The Tweet attributed to her, earlier today, and from various Ottawa luminaries, is actually staff work. The Gurkhas are now responsible for guarding all the major embassies in Kabul, and the Taliban is sending a potent message.  So potent in fact, that some of the Gurkhas are sure to buckle, especially if cheapskate employers like Canada, persist in sending them  back to barracks each day in tour coaches.  

Deborah Lyons - Canadian Ambassador to Afghanistan

The Canadian Government 
Squandered 14 Good Men
As a Canadian, I am sincerely ashamed that we set these men up for a brutal and needless death.  In fact it is my fervent wish that a Toronto or Vancouver law firm will take up the case of their grieving families, and negotiate a meaningful settlement... say a million dollars per family.  I didn't vote for Justin but I'd vote "Yes" for compensating Canada's most loyal employees in Kabul. Describing the dead men as part off the Embassy "family" (as was attributed to Ms. Lyons) is meaningless horse shit. At minimum she should be required to fly to Nepal to attend the funerals, and deliver the first compensation cheques to the grieving families.  

Updated- June 22 - Toll is now 15 Dead Security Guards. 
Canadian Embassy Kabul - Death Toll is now 15

Gurkha hero in Afghanistan terror war

The Gurkhas are of course a legendary breed of fighting men, and there is no need for me to rehash their battlefield accomplishments here. This single Internet scrape ("A one-man army") is illustrative of Gurkha valour - specifically as it pertains to Afghanistan.   

I did search today for some statement from the security contractor,  SABRE INTERNATIONAL, but did not find one.  Let us all hope that Ottawa, and SABRE, will now budget for some armoured transport for the remaining members of our Embassy security force.   I suppose buckets of hot blood may not be sufficient to effect change.  It will be up to Her Majesty's Official Opposition, supported by a few Ottawa journalists, to turn this ugly incident into a political issue.  Actually, I don't believe many Canadians will give a shit about dead Gurkhas, but Trudeau  has to because more will die unless we learn from this tragic blunder.     

Sabre International - Employment requirements, Ex military staff

This story is going to disappear extremely fast simply because there are no photographs of the dead.  Canadian brains in the 21st Century don't register words. They only respond to images.  Unfortunately for the Gurkhas, the Kabul security forces were EXTREMELY EFFICIENT at the blast site, and the media cowed.  If  photos were taken of the carnage, not a single news agency has released any. All evidence of the gore was hosed away within a few hours, and the bus itself was secured in a compound with high walls. 

I close with an extract from a column in the TORONTO STAR today (June 20/16)

Gurkha rights - Canadian responsibility

NEPALI M.P. slams Canadian "negligence"... as he should.

Family members of 14 Guards slain enroute to Canadian Embassy


AFTERMATH - 12 returned to Nepal, 2 to India

Canadian Embassy Afghanistan - coffins of 14 murdered Gurkha guards

Nepal Airlines today returned the bodies of twelve Gurkha guards to their grieving families. The dead, all employed as security at the Canadian Embassy in Kabul,  were slain by a Taliban guerrilla who detonated a suicide vest in their faces.  In addition to the dead, 24  Nepalese from our Embassy guard force returned on the Nepal Airlines flight.

Grieving family members of Nepalese personnel killed in Afghanistan

A widow is comforted at the ceremony.  Each of the 12 coffins returned from Kabul was labeled (by the Kabul Police Forensic Lab)with a colour enlargement from their Nepal passport.  The coffins were transported from the airport to the gravesite in Nepal Army trucks.  All of the Canadian Embassy guards are ex-soldiers and entitled to full military honours.

Military funeral (June 21, 2016) for Gurkha guards slain enroute to Canadian Embassy Kabul

If these men were White Canadians, employed by our Embassy in Kabul, this service would be broadcast live on all television networks.  This IS a Canadian event, and we shouldn't turn our face away. As well, we must not turn our backs on these grieving families.

BANG !  Our Embassy loses Gurkha Guards

Nepal Government pulls security guards from Canadian Embassy, Kabul

KATHMANDU, June 23: Following the Afghanistan bomb attack which killed 13 Nepali citizens, the government has imposed a ban on employment for Nepali workers in the four conflict-ravaged countries of Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and Iraq.
A cabinet meeting held at Baluwatar Thursday decided not to issue any kind of work permit to Nepali nationals in any of the four countries for the time being.
"Until the government takes another decision on the matter, Nepali workers will not be allowed to work in the four countries," Minister for Information and Communications Sher Dhan Rai said.
Likewise, the cabinet has decided to immediately hold talks with the Afghanistan government to seek guarantees for the security of Nepali workers still in that country.
"The meeting has also decided to make necessary arrangements to bring back Nepali nationals from Afghanistan who want to return home in the wake of the bomb attack," said Minister Rai.
According to Tourism Minister Ananda Pokharel, over 20,000 Nepalis may be working in Afghanistan both legally and illegally. Government records show that it has issued permits to over 8,889 Nepalis to work as security guards in Afghanistan.
"The government has also decided to ask the Afghanistan government to immediately investigate the attack and make the details public," said Minister Rai, who is the spokesperson of the government.
Likewise, the government has decided to ask the Canadian government for its official statement about the attack. The Canadian government has not issued any statement so far.
As many as 24 Nepalis, who returned to Nepal on Thursday along with the bodies of 12 of those killed in the attack, said the embassy had intelligence reports about the attack but did not caution them. As many as 147 Nepali security guards were providing security at the Canadian embassy in Kabul.
"The cabinet meeting also decided to provide Rs 1 million each to the families of the 13 Nepalis killed in the attack," Minister Rai said, adding that the government will cover the medical expense of six other Nepalis, who were injured in the attack. The injured are currently undergoing medical treatment at a hospital in India.
Ronald J. Jack
Burnaby, B.C.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Nineteen Eighty-four - The Reader's Digest version (Really!)

1984 - George Orwell. Covers displayed by a Google search

Ronald J. Jack
May 5, 2016

I have probably been guiding students through the 300-plus pages of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-four far longer than is good for me,  but the job is not yet done. "1984" grows more influential each year, and it simply cannot be dispensed with.  Once young adults are convinced of its importance as a literary work, and its significance to modern political criticism, they commit to it, and finish the reading. However, too many students simply cannot read, or refuse to try. Here in British Columbia the novel is still in the Curriculum, but I know of teachers who simply show the movie, thus avoiding the obvious frustrations.  

Now and then I have caught myself giving up on a complainer, "Look, if I had a Reader's Digest edition I would give it to you!"  Frustration often peaks when we hit "Goldstein's book", or to be more precise,  "THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF OLIGARCHICAL COLLECTIVISM".

Image my surprise, and delight, to learn that there really was a Reader's Digest edition of Nineteen Eighty-four.  On Tuesday I encountered an old and very yellowed anthology, printed in postwar England. I paid my Loonie and carried home my prize.  As you will see for yourself, an un-named wordsmith had rendered the 312 page Orwell novel to a scant 29 pages!!!  Of course the irony is as thick as a mattress, given that very brutal process is the subject of the novel.  Winston Smith, a skilled employee of the Ministry of Truth,  spends his days destroying printed texts and condemned images, as well as rewriting other men's prose.

This Reader's Digest novel "condensation" is now 67 years old. Long out of print, it has no commercial value whatever.  And yet I did promise several students, if I had a copy...   So, as a gift to lazy students worldwide, I hereunder present you the scanned pages of George Orwell, his masterpiece gutted and trimmed as no literary work should ever be rendered. 

George Orwell's Literary Estate - the 2004 Sunday Times investigation

As an additional service, I would also point readers in the direction of a fascinating investigation into the fate of Eric Blair's literary estate.  Written by Tim Carroll and originally published by the SUNDAY TIMES in 2004, the scanned pages of the article "A WRITER WRONGED" can be read on the website called ORWELL TODAY.  The magazine cuttings are greatly reduced from the original page size, so I have enhanced them a bit,  and share them again here.

Orwell - A Writer Wronged, by Tim Carroll (2004)

Orwell - A Writer Wronged, by Tim Carroll (2004)

On April 22, 1947 Orwell's American publisher, Harcourt, Brace and Company, sent an ADVANCE COPY of the novel to J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the F.B.I.   The key points, I think, are the forthright statements - "The world of 1984 that he depicts is one in which wars are continually maintained without victories or defeats as an economic policy. ... The book leaves the reader with the shocked feeling that there is not a single horrible feature in the world of 1984 that is not present, in embryo, today."   Some embryo.

Orwell - Nineteen Eighty Four - Advance Copy to J. Edgar Hoover, F.B.I. Director

The READER'S DIGEST version (Sept. 1949)

1984 by George Orwell - the Reader's Digest 1949, Introduction

1984 - The Reader's Digest version, 29 pages long

1984 - The READER'S DIGEST condensation - 29 pages

Nineteen Eighty-four, The READER'S DIGEST version, 29 pages

Nineteen Eighty-four, George Orwell, READER'S DIGEST, 1949

1984 - Official trailer on YOUTUBE, high school student's posted comment

This is a screen grab from the DVD edition of NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR.  I checked for the official movie trailer on YOUTUBE today, and read a few of the posted comments. I don't know where Amy Cardenas is living, but I would believe Vancouver, Canada. Her experience matches what I have observed.

Amy Cardenas - the apple who makes a difference

George Orwell - 1984, READER'S DIGEST condensed book, 1949

1984b- by George Orwell, The Reader's Digest version = 29 pages

Nineteen Eighty-four by George Orwell, First edition, London 1949
Book collectors, (and I am one) often favour one edition of a novel over all others.  I have Nineteen Eighty-four in several editions as well as audio and video products,  but I suppose I do prefer the Penguin paperback edition that I encountered in high school English class.  The first London edition (above) had a jacket designed by Michael Kennard. He superimposed the novels title over the numeral "1984".   Students of today's FACEBOOK - TWITTER generation (who are easily bored by vocabulary) often consider spelling out the year date to be a fussy pretence, even after reading the opening line: "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." By the end of the novel they are receptive to Orwell's ideas about language as employed by totalitarian authority.