Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sarah Palin - the Brits and Canadians already Hate Her

It didn't take long. No grudging congratulations for Sarah Palin. No acknowledgement of her achievement as a women and a mother. The Canadian and British newspapers are already sending out signals to the urban self satisfieds. It's O.K. to hate her. She's a "jumped up" beauty queen. She's a gun nut. She's a heretic who doesn't believe that Global Warming is the result of "man's wasteful lust for the planet's resources". She's a Republican for Christ sake! Let's show her "whott for".

THE TIMES told Londoner's what to think this morning. "Gun-toting beauty queen aiming to be the Veep". And in Vancouver, B.C. online readers of THE SUN are also alerted "Republican VP pick, Gov. Sarah Palin: little-known beauty queen, gun advocate". Are the media of these self-styled "Olympics cities" now in such lockstep that they coordinate their daily news headlines? Not at all. This is just more evidence of shrill, knee jerk reaction to anyone who threatens Liberal hegemony in the world of political ideas.

So what did Sarah do wrong? She learned civic management by serving on the council of a small Alaskan town, and then when she felt she was ready, moved on to become its mayor. Next she took on a well-entrenched political machine in her state (very similar to the corrupt, influence peddling system we have in British Columbia) and she was elected state governor. In fact polls show she is currently the most popular Governor in the United States. She juggles a commitment to public service with her loyalty to a husband and five children. She chose to love and raise a child with Downs Syndrome rather than to abort her. What did she do wrong? Well for one, she chose to build her character from values which these tired old daily newspapers encourage their readers to despise. So let's all agree to ignore the Sarah hating media. The truth is that these newspapers hate us too, and they prove it by attacking our champions.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sarah Palin - the Alaska Advantage

Do you hear that horrible gagging sound? It's the choking rattle of the Democratic Party Machine swallowing their collective tongues! Inside of 24 hours they went from a "sure thing" to a "maybe" ...and it stings like hell. If an election can be equated to a chess game then McCain just put Obama in "Check".

Like a few million other Canadians I was stamping my feet and hooting for Senator Obama. He's thrilling to watch and I will love him forever for slaying the dragon of Whitewater cave. While I'm proud to be a life-long small "c" conservative I do want to see substantive social change and a retooling of America's national strategy to compete with Europe and Asia, so I was fervently hoping to see Obama become President. More as an inspiration to the entire world than anything else.

It would be thrilling to see a Black man or a woman hold Executive power. I was content. And then this morning we wake up to our first introduction to "Sarah" and it's an entirely new ball game. Incredible! I would switch to the McCain - Palin ticket if I had a vote and I am certain that McCain just retrieved several million votes that had walked away from him. Good gawd almighty, this is going to be one ferocious campaign and unfortunately Governor Palin will be the principle target of the Democrats, not Senator McCain. Gov. Palin is everything, absolutely everything that Hillary Rodham was not, and never could be. For the first time in my life I will be content with either ticket taking the Big Job. It's a wonderful feeling!

What an extraordinary democratic contest we Canadians are privileged to witness from the sidelines - we get to watch millions of our lucky American cousins actually choosing their national leaders. Was there a single Canadian Prime Minister since Trudeau who could have won an American style contest? Not a chance! Why do we settle for cardboard caricatures instead of leaders who have some depth? It says more about us than it does about our rusted and busted political practices.

Gov. Sarah Palin on the cover of ALASKA magazine, the February 2008 issue. The photograph credit belongs to a studio called Chugach Peaks Photography.
Governor Sarah Palin tries on a .50 caliber machinegun at Fort Wainwright, Alaska. Fort Wainwright is the principle forward position for defence of the Arctic Circle, and it is about to deploy a Stryker combat team to Iraq. Governor Palin has a son in the U.S. Army and she has already visited the troops in Iraq.

Hell if millions of Latinos can sneak across the U.S. border with total impunity, and many of them get registered as Democrats, perhaps a few hundred thousand conservative Canadians should stealthily enter from the north, use some of those infamous "Sanctuary" churches as our mailing address to register for the vote, and then give the Republicans a little bit of Canuck goosing. It's a fun thought. Wouldn't you enjoy participating in a direct ballot just once in my life.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Mike Gordon and Clay Roueche

The UN GANG lost its "Armourer" and its "Intelligence Officer" and on Friday we learned that it just lost its Real Estate Broker. What's next? I was going to do a Blog report today on the murder of Mike Gorden, the owner of BEST BET REALTY. The research was done and it would only take an hour to write and paste text and photos to Blogger. But then last night I read Kim Bolan's latest story on the UN Gang and Gordon's connection. I have a pretty good idea that one more realtor is going to be shot, (unless he's already left town) so it might be prudent to wait until the weekend and work that news into a lengthier Blog report.

Ms. Bolan's work was posted to the Vancouver Sun website just after midnight, along with a few pages of documents which confirm Gorden's corporate registrations. The SUN gave Bolan's work prominence but I was sorry to see that by 3PM this afternoon it had been bumped by an interactive piece on Employment Insurance statistics, designed to agitate another target audience.

I knew that Bolan keeps a Blog called The Real Scoop, but I hadn't read it. I did check out today's blog and I see that she discusses her interview with Clay Roueche's father, who we are told makes his living crushing cars. You might want to have a read. I have no interest in listening to her tape of the interview, which the SUN is hosting on its server, but I do agree with her conclusion about parents. Too often the families of gangsters go into deep denial when their offspring are identified as outlaws.

Rupert Roueche's calling Bolan a "cop lover" for the manner in which she covers the UN Gang story is nothing short of galling, and I for one will be incensed if any police officer is shot by these nuts racing around town with loaded guns under their seat. One does sense that the father's hatred for police may have a vintage which predates his son's run in with the law.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

REX VS. SINGH (**Warning. Contains quotes from the original trial transcript)

Rex vs. Singh is the very appropriate title of a short documentary film which will make its debut tomorrow at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival. The historical basis for the movie is found in the transcript of a sordid trial convened in Vancouver in 1915. The old file seems to make it clear that police bungled an attempt to entrap two Sikh homosexuals by setting up an opportunity for them to commit "buggery".
The film is collaboration piece developed by three Torontonians - John Greyson, Richard Fung and Ali Kazimi. Descriptions of the movie which were published by the CBC, Georgia Straight and Xtra West indicate we can expect a curious hybrid piece - part documentary, more than touch of good old fashioned agit-prop, and even a bit of whimsy with the inclusion of a musical segment. Richard Fung refers to the process as a "deconstruction" of history. Intriguing. I'll reserve judgement until I've seen the film.

The 20 minute length was mandated by the funding agency - which is the film festival itself. Rex vs. Singh was specially commissioned by the Queer History Project, which is a fixture of the Vancouver Queer Film Festival. This was a non-ACTRA production and Ali Kazimi seems to have been the co-ordinating figure. His court room scenes were shot in Toronto on May 10-11, 2008 and production is so rushed the project has not yet even been added to his website.

Rex vs. Singh is an experimental film which pools the talents of three Canadian film makers. It will premiere at the "Out On Screen" Gay film festival in Vancouver on August 20, 2008. This still is a promotional photo provided by co-director Ali Kazimi.

Vancouver residents are perhaps overexposed to the story of the KOMAGATA MARU, that 3rd rate melodrama which nobody ever seems to understand. The infamous standoff in Vancouver harbour just prior to the outbreak of W.W. I is the historical backdrop to Rex vs. Singh. While most eyes were then transfixed by the clumsy spectacle offshore, the real "war" was waged in town between the police and the Sikh revolutionary underground. In 1915, after the Maru had left Vancouver, Sikh gunmen began executing men who had collaborated with Canadian immigration intelligence. When the wrong tough guy (a paid police informer) was threatened, tempers led to a wild gunfight in a Sikh temple (Gurdwara). The hapless Vancouver cops were completely stymied by the racial divide and then tried to get creative. The example at hand - a clumsy attempt to entrap a couple of Sikh homosexuals who wouldn't cooperate in the witness box at the earlier trial of Bela Singh.

One of the gay men had tried to play it safe by inviting his man to a shack way out near Central Park in Burnaby. Participants in homosexual acts fully understood what it meant to get together beyond the jurisdiction of Vancouver police and their contorted fumbling testimony in court was less than frank. There is some novelty in the alleged offence - "City of Vancouver, on the 2nd day of February A. D. 1915 Nana Singh a male person, in public, did unlawfully attempt to commit an act of gross indecency with Joe Ricci, another male person” and it is not simply the frequent use of the word "fuck" in reference to two or more males.

The idea of a police detective dropping his pants to his ankles and letting another man attempt to penetrate him (fumbled and failed!) speaks volumes about how desperate the Vancouver police were to make a case stick against someone who had boasted of being participant in the Komagata Maru imbroglio. (I find no references at all in Joe Swan's history of the V.P.D. 1886-1986, of the operations ashore during the Komagata Maru incident.) The fact that one of the gay Sikh men earned a pistol whipping that day comes as no surprise at all given that men in that era were sometimes shot for just making a pass at a the wrong guy. The trial transcript tells us the police "stool pigeon" tried to be cool in the stand, openly mouthing words that few men of the Edwardian Era would want put on the record, but the plainclothes officer (Detective Joseph Ricci) was really made to sweat under interrogation:

COURT: Oh, no. Central Park is South Vancouver till it meets Burnaby.
Q. Go on.
A. (Det. Ricci) He said 'I got a shack' this man here he pointed him out. Dalip Singh, Nana Singh I mean, "he sleep with me, if he don’t want to fuck, I will fuck you, two dollars every Sunday, street car all time, get automobile" he pointed out automobile - 'only five cents'.
Q. Are you in the habit of getting men to go tricking these Hindoos into making suggestions of this kind?
A. (Det. Ricci) No, sir.
Q. Why did you do it this time?
A. (Det. Ricci) Because it was necessary.
Q. It wasn’t a case of seventy-five cents each it was a case of seventy-five cents for both?
A. (Det. Ricci) It was seventy-five cents for both.
Q. 37 1/2 cents for apiece?
A. (Det. Ricci) They didn’t have enough money on him, they will give us the money next Sunday and we will go up to their shack. Two dollars for each one and five cents for street car-fare.”

Detective Donald A. Sinclair also gave testimony. Ricci and Sinclair were highly successful anti-drug investigators who spent many years interdicting opium traffic in Chinatown. Nothing has been published to date which proves that they were homophobes. They must have been extremely angry with the Sikhs to have decided to go to so much trouble to set them up. I have read dismissive remarks made by the researcher for the film, about that 75 cents the Sikhs offered to the white men for sex. One should consider the relative costs. For example the annual property tax paid to the Corporation of Burnaby for Singh's "shack" near Central Park would have been about $2 bucks in 1915.

I like the fact that the Sikh homosexuals depicted in the film were not cowards. The constant dishonest campaign to depict the Sikhs of the Komagata Maru era as little more than helpless victims of the whites is stagey political nonsense. But it will continue because it gains yardage in the great game of B.C. political football. The gay men depicted in Rex vs. Singh were witness too, if not participant in, the activities of the militant Sikh underground in B.C. The local police failed utterly in several attempts interdict the international activities of the Revolutionists and they sought a little pay back. That is the principle reason for their bungled attempt at entrapment.

Ali Kazimi said it well in XTRA WEST last week- "Too often, when we engage in historical representations of situations like this, we re-victimize the people. I think it's important to recognize their dignity," Kazimi emphasizes, noting that their words of resistance are actually quite profound. "When asked, they outed the cops who entrapped them. These two Sikhs actually refused to be cowed by the trial. For us, that was something that was very important to convey," he says. Matthew Hays' cover story "The Ignored and the Forgotten", is worth a read.

Ali Kazimi is a Toronto film maker. In 2004 he produced CONTINUOUS JOURNEY, his interpretation of the infamous Komagata Maru Incident.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The ORWELL DIARIES - my 100th Runagates Club Post

It is hard to pick a favorite Orwell essay but I suppose that of the half dozen short pieces I use with young students, one always gets a greater response than others.


"As the corpse went past, the flies left the restaurant table in a cloud and rushed after it, but they came back a few minutes later."

Orwell was convalescing in North Africa in 1938 when his eyes were blasted open to the majesty and misery of that burned landscape. What if blogging had been available to such a man? Mr. Blair had a body which sometimes failed him, but he was also a human being endowed with incredibly acute observational skills and whose narrow shoulders bore a social conscience of heroic proportion. Beginning today, and for months to come, we can read Orwell's North Africa diary and share in his daily discoveries.

Vancouver drug gangs - armed and armoured

This is a rather hectic weekend so I will cheap out on my Blog writing. I did spend some profitable hours assembling some fantastic data on the Honduran network - illegal migrants into Canada/U.S., drug selling and also the extremely deadly gangs back in San Pedro Sula ... but it all got to be too much for a humble Blog article.

Instead I have chosen to update a few earlier Runagate articles, so if you check a favorite you may find it supplemented. Also, since I have referred to the use of armoured vehicles by Vancouver drug gangs, I think I should post a few images for reference.

This is an armoured van recently put on display by the Vancouver, B.C. police. The installation is high quality custom work and I assume it was done locally. Photo No. 1 shows the hatchback lifted, revealing an inner steel door which has bullet proof viewing glass. Photo No. 2 shows the front passenger door equipped with bullet proof glass. Photo No. 3 shows a rear surveillance camera mounted inside the hatchback door, to the left of the licence plate.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Bus Rage Ad - GREYHOUND regrets being too flippant

You just have to feel sorry for GREYHOUND CANADA. They were doing everything they could to polish their image among Canadian Youth - cleaning up their stinky depots, showing movies on board buses, their drivers were ignoring discrete drug use among passengers... yadda, yadda ... and then an undiagnosed mental case steps onto a Greyhound coach and blows their whole deal. If you Google "greyhound victim" today you won't get a dog-biting story. You will get over 3000 stories about murder and cannibalism.

GREYHOUND's ill fated "Bus Rage" Ad. Being a tad flippant
may work for Bloggers but it can be a killer mistake in the business world.

GREYHOUND tooled along complacently for years without much of an attempt to promote its brand. Then last year the Dallas based bus company hired a hot shot advertising firm Butler, Shine, Stern and Partners of Sausalito, California, to get them some attention. (BSS&P is the team which created William Shatner's "The Negotiator" TV ads.) They put together a multi-million dollar broadcast, print and billboard advertising campaign for GREYHOUND which was crafted to "bring back former customers and attract new riders between 18 and 24, and Hispanics".
The blitz started in December 2007 and it seemed to be effective. GREYHOUND'S Canadian division ran the Ads without a second thought. It was true! Canadians had never heard of "Bus Rage" although it has become a common term in England, and to a lesser extent in Australia and even the Philippines.

You might want to copy the Ad for your own file because it's disappearing very fast. Five years from now urban anthropologists will interview people who swear they saw it, while others will claim it is an Urban Myth.

He is Canada's latest obsession in our Criminal of the Month Club. Vincent Weiguang Li doesn't look crazy, but he is. By beheading his victim in public and eating body parts in front of policemen he set a new low for satanic behaviour. Who or what will top this horror?

Bad luck, rotten luck, the worst kind of luck. Tim McLean was a fun loving young guy with a Marvin Martian tattoo, who loved everyone. He didn't have an enemy in the world. And that is why his horrible death has Canadians feeling so, so very bad for his family and friends.