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Monday, January 23, 2017

Whatever happened to former Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant?

This is a fascinating story of what happened to Ontario's former Attorney General Michael Bryant, whose precipitous fall from grace was even more striking than the rapid rise of his political fortunes.

I met him many years ago when he first campaigned for a seat at Queen's Park. Michael impressed me as honest and capable to the extent that I even door-knocked for him for his election, with my extremely cute then-3 year-old son in tow, at the four story walk-up apartment where we then lived near Bathurst and St. Clair.

I met him a few more times while he was a politician; the woman to whom Michael was then married practiced law at the same firm, and in the next office beside a very good friend of mine, who introduced us. She too seemed a wonderful, impressive person. A series of terrible mishaps subsequently changed their lives and many others.

“I HAD NO IDEA THAT INNOCENT PEOPLE WERE, EVERY DAY, BEING TREATED LIKE GUILTY PEOPLE,” says Ontario’s former attorney general Michael Bryant. “I had no idea that the presumption of innocence is a joke.” It’s a brisk fall day, and we’re having lunch in the cafeteria at the largest courthouse in Brampton. Bryant, who turned 50 this year, is clean-shaven with short grey hair, his face framed by hipster-thick black glasses. In between bites of Caesar salad, Bryant laments how much he got wrong about Ontario’s justice system when he ran it from 2003 to 2007. But he’s starting to learn. And he’s appalled.

I’ve come to court to watch Bryant spend a day conducting bail hearings. For the past year, he’s done this a few times a week, using bail court as the staging ground for his long-term plan: to build a full-fledged criminal-law practice.

On such days, his job title is duty counsel. In return for a paycheque from Legal Aid Ontario, Bryant stands in bail court all day and represents people the police have charged, but who lack a lawyer to negotiate their release from custody. Sitting in the courtroom, I watch as police haul citizens up from the cells in the basement and plop them into a Plexiglas-encased witness box. Each person then meets Bryant, and the two chat for a couple minutes over the glass before the hearing starts. If anyone recognizes him as a former attorney general, they don’t show it.

Nor do they seem aware that Bryant was once charged with a serious crime himself. Bryant may in fact be most famous for his involvement, in 2009, in a car accident that left cyclist Darcy Allan Sheppard dead — and Bryant facing charges for dangerous driving causing death and criminal negligence causing death. (His lawyer, Marie Henein, built a defence so strong that the Crown dropped the charges before trial.) In court, Bryant looks anything but a criminal. He stands five foot eight, wears a grey textured suit with a matching vest, a crisp dress shirt, a bold red tie and brown leather shoes. He radiates the image of, well, a lawyer...

Sunday, January 22, 2017

What Obama Owes Putin—and Why Donald Trump Is Left Holding the Bag

Is Donald Trump a Russian secret agent? Did he pay FSB hookers to pee on the bed the Obamas slept in at the Ritz in Moscow, overlooking the Kremlin? It’s silly season, so any drunk on a fat oppo-research expense account can write down any crazy foolishness they want and Buzzfeed will let you decide if it’s true because that, as Buzzfeed’s editor, Ben Smith, solemnly explained to The New York Times, is where American journalism is at in 2017. Duly noted, Buzzfeed. Enjoy the golden showers.

What’s being obscured by this grotesquerie is the origin and the actual substance of U.S. foreign policy toward Russia, which in turn affects the lives of hundreds of millions of people living in Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, and elsewhere. Or, to put it another way: Is Donald Trump likely to continue the policies of his predecessor, which set the Middle East on fire and led to 500,000 deaths in Syria, and to Putin biting off large chunks of the sovereign nation of Ukraine? Or is he likely to reverse those policies? Or can he, even if he wanted to?

The single-mindedness with which the White House and the remnants of the Clinton campaign have pursued the idea that Donald Trump is a pawn of Vladimir Putin is not based on silly stories about peeing prostitutes or secret computer servers that connect the Trump organization to the Kremlin. Rather, it’s an attempt to manufacture more smoke to obscure the reality of Obama’s own determination to collaborate with a hostile Russian leader in Syria, and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Sure, Obama recently sent 35 Russian diplomats packing and shuttered Russian diplomatic facilities in Maryland and New York, but this was after seven years of looking the other way while Russia seized Crimea, then Donbass; waged cyberattacks on the Baltic countries; brought down a passenger jet over Ukraine; sheltered Edward Snowden; and bombed schools and hospitals in Syria. All of these actions threatened global stability and American interests, yet Obama only puffed his chest after the cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee and Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta’s emails—long after it mattered, and after the moving vans have already started to haul his stuff out of the White House...

Facebook manipulates user posts to rig the game against Trump

This morning, I tried to embed a very funny tweet from Twitter wag Godfrey Elfwick about the Women's March.

This is the tweet:


However, when I tried to post it on facebook, the hashtag #womensmarch was identified by the facebook algorithm, and I was only allowed to select from a series of images below, none of which were of the tweet I was trying to embed, and all supportive of the histrionic anti-Trump protests yesterday.



Admittedly, the images facebook selected are less likely to kill your apetite than Godfrey's, but isn't that a choice we should be allowed to make for ourselves?

Silly me! I forgot, free choice is a classist privilege that is a product of the oppressive, hegemonic patriarchy. The only choice that should be allowed is #socialjustice, meaning facebook and the Women's March crazies' idea of social justice, and any other choice must be prevented.

Not only is the media biased against Trump, but in the case of facebook, it's trying to make its users appear biased against him as well.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Racist Organizes Toronto Trump Protest, Oppression Olympics Ensues!

At 2pm Friday afternoon, while their American counterparts were charging through Washington DC on a violent rampage, a group of Toronto anarcho-kiddies kicked-off an “Anti-Fascist Rally And March” to protest Donald Trump’s inauguration. Organisers described the event on its Facebook page as “a day of action and resistance” created “in defiance of fascism and hatred at home and abroad”.

If you’re already familiar with organisers Wesley Williams (a.k.a. Quasir Ali) and Lane Patriquin then you’ve probably already busted your gut laughing. Both were present and spoke at a hardcore racist Trump protest back in November, and both took prominent roles in the mayhem during Dr. Jordan Petersons October demonstration at the University of Toronto.

Williams is also well known for the racist patch he wore at a 2015 Black Lives Matter protest- “I am the Death of the Palefaces”, it declared!

Barely a handful or two showed up for the protest. So despite Williams calling for “diversity of tactics”, there wasn’t much of an opportunity for violence with an almost equal balance of cops and protesters. Observers and clickbait hungry media were instead awarded by a world-class demonstration of Oppression Olympics and tragically stupid rhetoric that might make even Justin Trudeau blush...
Read the rest at GENUINEWITTY 

Speaking Truth To Assholes

Friday, January 20, 2017

Day 1 of Donald Trump's Presidency: Kiss Kyoto Goodbye!

An America First Energy Plan


Energy is an essential part of American life and a staple of the world economy. The Trump Administration is committed to energy policies that lower costs for hardworking Americans and maximize the use of American resources, freeing us from dependence on foreign oil.
For too long, we’ve been held back by burdensome regulations on our energy industry. President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule. Lifting these restrictions will greatly help American workers, increasing wages by more than $30 billion over the next 7 years.
Sound energy policy begins with the recognition that we have vast untapped domestic energy reserves right here in America. The Trump Administration will embrace the shale oil and gas revolution to bring jobs and prosperity to millions of Americans. We must take advantage of the estimated $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, especially those on federal lands that the American people own. We will use the revenues from energy production to rebuild our roads, schools, bridges and public infrastructure. Less expensive energy will be a big boost to American agriculture, as well.
The Trump Administration is also committed to clean coal technology, and to reviving America’s coal industry, which has been hurting for too long...

Also with the new Administration, the White House is no longer afraid to use the term "radical Islamic terror":



Donald Trump's Inauguration Speech as 45th President of the United States of America



Transcript

Virgin Birth: Zebra Shark Has Babies Without Mating


Credit: Tourism & Events Queensland
...Leonie had been living apart from males for the past few years, so her keepers were surprised when she laid eggs that produced three baby sharks in April 2016. Leonie could be the first shark ever observed to make the switch from sexual to asexual reproduction.

"We thought she could be storing sperm; but when we tested the pups and the possible parent sharks using DNA fingerprinting, we found they only had cells from Leonie," said University of Queensland biologist Christine Dudgeon, who described the case in the journal Scientific Reports Monday (Jan. 16).

Leonie's case marks the first time scientists have seen this type of asexual reproduction —known as parthenogenesis—in the zebra shark (Stegostoma fasciatum).

Parthenogenesis occurs when embryos develop and mature without fertilization by a male's sperm. Rather, an egg progenitor cell that usually gets absorbed by the female's body acts as a surrogate sperm to "fertilize" her egg. This reproduction strategy is more common in plants and invertebrate organisms. However, scientists have been documenting an increasing number of vertebrate species that can have virgin births even when their species normally reproduces sexually. For example, Komodo dragons, the world's largest lizards, have given birth by parthenogenesis. So have wild pit vipers, blacktip sharks, chickens and turkeys...

Thursday, January 19, 2017

4 Recent Examples Show Why No One (with any analytical ability) Trusts Media Coverage Of Trump

One may have hoped that the media would respond to their 2016 failures and resulting lack of credibility by reforming. Instead, it seems that many in political media are quadrupling down on the mistakes that served them and their readers and viewers so poorly in the lead-up to Donald Trump’s surprise victory in November.

It’s impossible to track all the ways in which the media are leaning into their bias, their unnecessary hostility, and their abandonment of journalistic principles. So let’s just look at a few examples from the last few hours.

Many members of the media would like to imagine themselves as brave heroes who will valiantly fight the excesses of the Trump administration. These examples show why people do not trust the media to tell the truth, much less hold anyone accountable for anything...

read the rest at The Federalist  

Scott Adams asks: Could a Climate Science Expert Change Your Opinion?

...Here’s a thought experiment:

Let’s say you are new to the debate about climate change and I put you in a room with the most well-informed climate scientist in the world. The scientist spends as much time with you as you want, answering every question and making her case that climate change is a human-caused disaster in the making. Let’s say this scientists is also the best communicator in the world, unlike most scientists. So now you have the best information, from the most knowledgeable person in the world on this topic, communicated in the best possible way, and answering all of your questions. Would you be persuaded by all of that credibility and good communication?

We know that a die-hard climate change skeptic would not be persuaded by this excellent source of information because humans rarely change their minds about important things. Instead we hallucinate reasons for why we were right all along. But in my thought experiment I said you are new to the climate change debate. So let’s assume you came to it without bias. Would you be convinced by the scientist?

Probably yes. If your first introduction to a topic involved a clear and detailed explanation from the top expert in the world, you would probably be persuaded because there is nothing stopping that persuasion from happening. You have no bias to overcome and the scientist is both credible and clear in her message.

The unbiased mind is likely to be totally convinced in this thought experiment. And that mind would also think it had engaged in rational behavior. After all, what could be more rational than getting the best information on a topic, from the best expert in the world, communicated in the clearest possible way?

But your new certainty about climate change would be a fraud that you perpetrated on yourself. If you don’t yet see in my thought experiment why the best information from the best source is still unreliable, even when clearly communicated, you probably don’t understand enough about the world to participate in decision-making.

I’ll simplify this even further so you can test your hallucination. Here’s the summary of the situation. Tell me why you should not automatically trust the scientist in this thought experiment. Assume the following three things ARE true. What’s missing?

  • Best expert in the world on Climate Science.
  • Currently works in the field.
  • Great communicator, answers all of your questions.

  • See what’s missing yet?

    The thing that is missing is that you can’t know what the expert didn’t tell you...