Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Girlfight! Margaret Atwood takes to Twitter to defend herself after #MeToo op-ed

feminism totalitarianism Marxism

Margaret Atwood has taken to Twitter to defend herself after writing a controversial op-ed in which she wondered if she was a “bad feminist” for questioning the tactics of the #MeToo movement.

In a piece published Saturday in The Globe and Mail, Atwood called #MeToo “a symptom of a broken legal system”.

The op-ed drew sharp criticism from some observers, who were angered by what they saw as a betrayal of feminist values by an author who has long been interested in examining and questioning power structures that subjugate women.

She wrote in the piece that women are increasingly using online channels to make accusations of sexual misconduct because the legal system is often ineffective.  (more...)

These scraps can get so dirty:

Some poor dude tries to interject, and immediately regrets it:


Saturday, January 13, 2018

Caledon high school religion teacher, 34, facing sex-crime charges

abuse crime education rape

A religion studies teacher who taught at St. Michael’s and Robert F. Hall Catholic secondary schools is facing sex-crimes charges, the Enterprise has learned.

Caledon OPP and the Dufferin County major crime unit arrested David J.C. Brooks, 34, of Erin, on Dec. 19. He was charged with one count each of sexual assault and sexual exploitation against a young person. Police have since confirmed the accusation"did not occur within or in relation to his professional setting."

The Dec. 19 news release didn't identify the accused, however, on Jan. 3 OPP named the person charged in an effort to find any other victims.

“Unfortunately, the accused’s name was supposed to be released in the previous media release,” said Const. Tamara Schubert, the Caledon detachment’s media relations officer following the Jan. 3 press release. “The accused’s name should have been released to see if there are any other victims and requesting victims to come forward.”  (more...)

Friday, January 12, 2018

‘The interest is in sex, not writing,’ says one Concordia creative writing grad

abuse education misconduct
The late Concordia professor Robert Allen helped author Heather O'Neill,
above, publish her first manuscript of poems in 1998. But to this day, she
does not include it in her list of published work.
MONTREAL—Concordia University launched an investigation this week into the toxic and abusive culture that allegedly flourished in a creative writing program that has churned out many top Canadian authors.

Specific allegations of inappropriate relationships, groping, harassment and assault have been around for several years, discussed in tones ranging from hushed to strident, according to interviews the Star conducted this week with 11 former students.

On Friday, the Concordia Association for Students in English, a student association, said in a statement that professors who have been named online have had their courses reassigned and books written by the faculty members were removed from a display window in the library.

A university spokesperson would not confirm that information, but did say that an external investigator had been assigned to conduct a probe into the allegations.

The problems became known to a wider public audience in an online essay by Concordia graduate Mike Spry, who said he was part of a “culture of cronyism, bullying, abuse, sexual harassment, and sexual assault,” can be traced back to the mid-1980s.  (more...)


In Toronto, it goes back at least to the early 1970s. Men could be targeted as much as women.

Former George Brown theatre students allege they were humiliated, abused by faculty

abuse education misconduct

Former students of the acting program at George Brown College allege they suffered abuse, humiliation and harassment from faculty at the Toronto school.

The allegations, some dating back more than a decade, describe an environment in which students were bullied by teachers, and feared being kicked out of the program if they spoke up.

"I think that the belittling, I think that the humiliation was just something that you expected," 2003 graduate Jenn Franchuk told CBC Toronto. "The faculty made it seem like it was part of the process."

Franchuk and others were inspired to come forward by the allegations of sexual misconduct at Soulpepper Theatre Company last week. The school, in collaboration with Soulpepper, opened the Young Centre for the Performing Arts in 2006 — a space where both the professional company and George Brown's third-year acting students perform.

George Brown is widely known as one of the top theatre schools in the country. Hundreds audition every year to get in, but only 30 or so are accepted.

According to the students who spoke to CBC Toronto, that number is then whittled down over the first two years, leaving approximately a dozen actors in the final year, leaving the students worried that any misstep could get them thrown out.

"What we've accepted as a norm is not normal and it's not OK, and if we couldn't say it then, we're saying it now," said Franchuk, who described her time at the school as "abusive."  (more...)

More coverage:

abuse education misconduct

Lynn Beyak and the real danger of racist fabulism

fascism immigration politics racism nazi

A few years ago, while promoting Lee Daniels’s The Butler, Oprah Winfrey spoke on the matter of generational racism in an interview with BBC Arts. “As long as people can be judged by the colour of their skin, the problem is not solved,” said Winfrey. “There are still generations of people, older people, who were born and bred and marinated in it—in that prejudice and racism—and they just have to die.”

There are variations of Winfrey’s comment that form a strain of conventional wisdom where it comes to dyed-in-the-wool racism. It sounds something like this: when the generations of people steeped in the age of miscegenation laws and segregated lunch counters finally expire, their bigotry will disappear with them. Every so often there are shocking examples that betray the naïveté of this belief, and usually in the form of racial terror most often committed by young white men, aggrieved at a society they feel is leaving them behind. This is how racism is most often named and shamed—acts of overt bigotry and violence which would offend the sensibilities of most decent people.

This approach is useful when anti-violence is the goal. But it also leaves plenty of room for the type of white supremacist fabulism flaunted over the past year by Sen. Lynn Beyak. After Sen. Beyak spent the last year dredging up controversy with comments on residential schools and Indigenous assimilation, she was finally turfed from the Conservative caucus for refusing to take down anti-Indigenous letters from her Senate website. Enter her son, Dryden, Ont., city councillor Nick Beyak, all too eager to defend his mother’s honour and share the bright side of residential schools:

“Whether anyone wants to admit it or not, the majority of Canadians agree with the comments Sen. Beyak has said…How can you say that nurses and priests were bad people and did no good at those schools? How can a logical person say that and call a person who says that a racist? The connection is impossible.”  (more...)

What can you expect after you wave generations of Nazis into the country? The majority of Canadians were lied to about the ratlines:

fascism immigration politics racism nazi
He that lies down with the dogs will rise up with the fleas

Ukraine’s future Nazi leader?

Today’s Ukraine is painfully reminiscent of Germany in the 1920s: poor governance on the heels of a lost war, which – added to the sense of betrayed hopes and the sharp decline in average incomes coupled with rising prices – is all driving a critical mass of the Ukrainian population toward an overwhelming feeling of desperation. A demand from the public for a “strong hand” – a new, authoritarian ruler – is rapidly coalescing, due to their dissatisfaction with President Poroshenko and all the other jokers they’ve been dealt from that shabby deck of political cards.

And a man like that already exists in this destitute and disintegrating country. Andriy Biletsky, the commander of the Azov Battalion who is known to his comrades-in-arms as the “White Führer,” is making an ever-bigger name for himself in the Ukrainian parliament.

He makes no secret of his views – in his 2014 program declaration “Ukrainian racial social nationalism is the core of ideology of ‘Patriot of Ukraine’ organization” he expressed himself quite bluntly: “Our nation’s historical mission at this critical juncture is to lead the global White Race in its final crusade for its survival. A crusade against the Semite-led Untermenschen.”  (more...)

Canada shows leadership (of a sort):

There's a pill for the cognitive dissonance you're experiencing -- if you can swallow The Toronto Star:

Cooking up more fake newskie?

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Heather O’Neill, harassed during her time at Concordia, sickened by latest allegations

abuse education misconduct rape

Prominent Montreal author Heather O’Neill said Concordia must act now to put a stop to a culture of predatory behaviour in its creative writing department.

“It has to change,” said O’Neill, who attended the program. “It has just been too disgusting for too long.”

O’Neill told the Montreal Gazette in an interview Wednesday that she was one of the victims of what she called a “gross abuse of authority” perpetrated by men who not only control the grades their students get, but have the power to launch their careers in the literary world.

“I was harassed by a particular professor there, who originally initiated contact by calling me at home and saying he wanted to publish some of my poems in the university literary magazine. Of course, I was delighted,” O’Neill said. She said when she met the professor for drinks, she realized he was more interested in establishing a sexual relationship.

“In his mind, it was a date, and he kept making sexual advances.”  (more...)


This could be the beginning of a firestorm in Canadian arts and letters. Err... no female Lotharios?

Good for the goose... good for the gander?

The Death Of Europe Begins In The Avignon Papacy

How did Christendom die? This is a question that must be asked, and when deeply inquired, it leads one to the Avignon controversy that lasted from the 13th century to the early 14th century.

George Randolph resigns from Toronto performing arts college amid misconduct finding

abuse education misconduct

George Randolph, a fixture of Toronto’s theatre community and founder of the Randolph College for the Performing Arts, formally resigned as president of the school last month amid an investigation into his conduct, the school announced Monday.

Randolph announced his plans to step down as president at a College gala on Oct. 23, explaining he wanted to focus on other interests. His departure was slated for spring of 2018.

Nine days after his announcement, a formal complaint about his conduct was brought to the College’s board of directors, leading to his earlier departure from the school.

“For my part, I accepted responsibility and apologized formally for my failure to meet the standards that are in place to ensure a safe and productive learning environment,” Randolph said in an email.

The board hired an independent investigator to review the complaint.  (more...)

Here it comes...

Even the lefties are scared:

Mafia crackdown reveals extent of political, economic corruption

A massive Mafia crackdown in Italy and Germany resulted in more than 160 arrests and the seizure of $60 million as cops unmasked a breathtaking conspiracy with  tentacles that reached into business and government.

The empire controlled everything from bread and wine sales to funeral services, migrant housing and garbage recycling.

Cops say the notorious ’Ndrangheta’s Farao-Marincola clan had a hand in nearly every commercial enterprise in the Calabrian town of Ciro and nearby areas.

The crime group’s grip extended throughout Italy and into Germany to launder its profits.

“They controlled all the economic activity in entire towns,” Prosecutor Nicola Gratteri told a press conference. “It concerned all commercial activity, and obviously political power as well.”  (more...)


But Canada rests easy...

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Concordia University president ‘disturbed’ by sexual misconduct allegations in English department

abuse rape education misconduct

MONTREAL—The head of Montreal’s Concordia University says he’s disturbed by what he read in a blog post that makes sexual misconduct allegations against members of the English department.

President Alan Shepard calls the allegations by blogger Mike Spry serious.

Shepard says the social media post makes specific allegations as well as general allegations of an abusive climate in the department’s creative writing program.

Spry alleges he has witnessed and been made aware of innumerable instances of unwanted affection, groping, inappropriate remarks and propositions.

He claims that when rejected by women, men in position of power would engage in whisper campaigns, denigrating and degrading those who rejected them.  (more...)

If an ember were dropped in Toronto, the whole school would explode in flames. I remember the Americans as particularly aggressive -- both men and women.

abuse rape education misconduct
New men and new women

$500M recouped worldwide from tax cheats due to Panama Papers — but none of it in Canada

accountability business corruption politics tax havens
Sen. Percy Downe says 'there's a level of transparency totally lacking' in the
CRA's handling of how it deals with offshore tax cheating.
A dozen governments around the world say they've recovered a combined $500 million in unpaid taxes so far thanks to the Panama Papers leak of tax-haven financial records in 2016.

But not a penny of that is destined for Canadian government coffers. The Canada Revenue Agency maintains it will be at least another 2½ years before it will have an idea of how much it might recoup.

The stark contrast is fuelling criticism of the CRA's effectiveness at catching offshore tax cheats, and comes in the wake of a CBC investigation last month that found few, if any, of the criminal convictions the agency cites in defence of its record actually have anything to do with offshore tax evasion.

"It's a further indication of the lackadaisical attitude of our revenue agency," said Sen. Percy Downe, a member of the Senate Liberal caucus, who for years has lambasted the CRA's approach to ferreting out offshore tax cheats.  (more...)


Take Loblaw’s Hush Money, But Don’t Keep Quiet

In December, Loblaw executives announced they'd become aware of a price-fixing scheme involving their company and others. From late 2001 to March 2015, bread wholesalers and major grocery chains coordinated to increase bread prices in unison, making it more difficult for working class families in Canada to get the most basic staple on their table.

Starting Monday, you can register and potentially become eligible to receive a $25 gift card from Loblaw, a measure they say they implemented in order to help rebuild trust. You should take advantage of this program, but don't trust Loblaw or other companies involved in the scheme.

In their announcement, Loblaw claimed they reported the price-fixing scheme as soon as they became aware of their role in it.

This raises a few questions: How many employees were involved? Was it the same group of employees over the 14-year period? How did they avoid getting caught for so long? Why would mid-level employees, as opposed to top executives, have any interest in the price-fixing scheme? How can we believe upper management was not aware of this arrangement, which involved coordination with other corporations?

Unfortunately, these questions may never be answered, because, according to Loblaw CEO Galen G. Weston, "As a result of the co-operation we have provided to the Competition Bureau, neither George Weston Ltd. nor Loblaw or their respective employees will face criminal charges or penalties."


Monday, January 8, 2018

“Genocide by Prescription”: Drug Induced Death in America

business crime drugs healthcare medicine politics pharmaceuticals

The white working class in the US has been decimated through an epidemic of ‘premature deaths’ – a bland term to cover-up the drop in life expectancy in this historically important demographic.  There have been quiet studies and reports peripherally describing this trend – but their conclusions have not yet entered the national consciousness for reasons we will try to explore in this essay.  Indeed this is the first time in the country’s ‘peacetime’ history that its traditional core productive sector has experienced such a dramatic demographic decline – and the epicenter is in the small towns and rural communities of the United States.

The causes for ‘premature death’ (dying before normal life expectancy – usually of preventable conditions) include the sharply increasing incidence of suicide, untreated complications of diabetes and obesity and above all ’accidental poisoning’ – a euphemism used to describe what are mostly prescription and illegal drug overdoses and toxic drug interactions.

No one knows the total number of deaths of American citizens due to drug overdose and fatal drug interactions over the past 20 years, just as no central body has kept track of the numbers of poor people killed by police nationwide, but let’s start with a conservative round number – 500,000 mostly white working class victims, and challenge the authorities to come up with some real statistics with real definitions.  Indeed such a number could be much higher – if they included fatal poly-pharmacy deaths and ‘medication errors’ occurring in the hospital and nursing home setting.

In the last few years, scores of thousands of Americas have died prematurely because of drug overdoses or toxic drug interactions, mostly related to narcotic pain medications prescribed by doctors and other providers.  Among those who have increasingly died of illegal opioid, mostly heroin, fentanyl and methadone, overdose, the vast majority first became addicted to the powerful synthetic opioids prescribed by the medical community, supplied by big chain pharmacies and manufactured at incredible profit margins by the leading pharmaceutical companies.  In essence, this epidemic has been promoted, subsidized and protected by the government at all levels and reflects the protection of a profit-maximizing private medical-pharmaceutical market gone wild.  (more...)

A bloody business:

Crooked: “Few things threaten our society more than public servants who betray their oath for personal gain”

corruption crime police prison

“Few things threaten our society more than public servants who betray their oath for personal gain” - Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the FBI's Baltimore Division

In society a select group of people is tasked with serving and protecting the public. Throughout history an ever-fluctuating percentage of this group has chosen to get one over on the people instead. They take bribes from powerful figures in business or crime, defraud citizens or decide to become criminals themselves under the protection their position affords them.

The year has just begun and already two men who swore to uphold and protect the law find themselves in a cell for their crimes. 49-year-old Corrections Officer Paul Hursey received a 30-month prison sentence this week after he had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right.

Hursey worked at the J.T. Vaughn Correctional Center (“JTVCC”) from 2013 through 2015, but instead of doing his job, he decided to get in on the action. He smuggled drugs, including heroin, and 30 cell phones to eleven different inmates in return for money. He did so knowing those inmates were using the smuggled cell phones to orchestrate their own smuggling routes for drugs and more phones into JTVCC.  (more...)


And then, there's the big time:

There's nothing like an Ivy League education.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Trudeau government gag order in CIA brainwashing case silences victims, lawyer says

accountability healthcare medicine mental illness military politics research science
Jean Steel was a victim of Dr. Ewen Cameron's CIA-funded brainwashing
experiments at Montreal's Allan Memorial Institute. 
Forty years after revelations that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency funded brainwashing experiments on unsuspecting Canadians, the Trudeau government is continuing a pattern of silencing the victims, a lawyer for one of the families says.

A recent Department of Justice gag order in an out-of-court settlement was designed to avoid responsibility and avert compensation to more victims and their families, said Alan Stein, who has represented numerous survivors who were once patients at the Allan Memorial Institute in Montreal.

Stein told CBC News that successive federal governments have demanded confidentiality agreements in at least five of the cases he has settled in the last few decades.

"If they hadn't been confidential and the settlements had the publicity that they should have had, a lot of the victims would have come forward and gone to court," he said.

The Trudeau government's quiet non-disclosure payment in March 2017 to the daughter of a now-deceased victim is just the latest development in a decades-old scandal that saw both the CIA and the Canadian government fund brutal science experiments on unsuspecting patients.  (more...)


‘Focus’ on the Neo Nazi Revival

books corruption crime fascism freemasonry immigration politics vigilantes violence nazi

Please go and watch the 2001 film Focus, directed by Neal Slavin and starring William H. Macy and Laura Dern. It is based on the great playwright Arthur Miller‘s novel of the same name.

The film takes place in the waning months of WW2 when a man and his new wife are mistakenly identified as Jews by their anti-Semitic Brooklyn , N.Y.C neighbors. They soon become victims of religious and racial persecution. Many of us may not realize just how bad things were for Jews and Blacks during the WW2 years.

We have this illusion that ‘All for one and one for all’ was the motto of the day, as America fought off the German and Japanese threat of world domination. Well, as the movie revealed, even in Northern cities Jews were ‘Restricted’ from many jobs, housing and places for vacation. The employers of businesses and owners of housing and hotels actually used the word ‘Restricted’ in advertisements and billboards. For blacks up north just their color was enough to have them ‘Restricted’ from employment or housing… let alone a hotel accommodation. Jim Crow and Jim Cohen was not only in the south.

Many will state, and perhaps rightly so, that we have come a long way since the 40s, 50s and 60s. Yet, the hate is still there, engrained in the minds of white Christian Americans… or should I say Amerikans. It stays hidden from public view, reserved for private home conversations or whispered invectives and not so funny jokes.  (more...)

Alberta Holocaust denier reportedly arrested in Germany

fascism feminism justice politics holocaust revisionism history

A Jasper, Alta., woman, infamous for denying the existence of the Holocaust, has been arrested in Germany, according to B'nai Brith Canada.

Monika Schaefer was arrested in Munich earlier this month, B'nai Brith Canada, said in a statement Thursday.

The Canadian-based Jewish rights advocacy group said it is awaiting further details on why Schaefer was arrested. It praised German authorities.

B'nai Brith officials said the group had filed complaints against Schaefer with German officials because of her "anti-Semitic incitement."

Holocaust denial is a criminal offence in Germany. Under Germany's Incitement to Hatred laws, those found guilty of denying the Holocaust could face a maximum of five years in prison.

"German officials should be commended for taking action against Holocaust denial," said Michael Mostyn, chief executive officer of B'nai Brith Canada, in a statement.  (more...)

Green Party candidate?  We seem to have a petticoat Nazi underground in Canada:

The march of the terminally unmarriageable...

fascism feminism justice politics holocaust revisionism history

Thursday, January 4, 2018

It’s Not About Democracy: Control Fraud Is the Core of our Political System

If we strip away the pretense of democracy, what is the core of our political System?
Answer: control fraud, which I define as those with control/ power in centralized institutions enriching themselves at the expense of the citizenry by selectively modifying what’s permissible, and doing so in a fully legally compliant process, i.e. within the letter of the law if not the intent of the law.
Money Laundering 1.0: You make a bunch of dirty money and you have to find a way to make it legit. How can you turn a bunch of drug money into proper investments? This was a problem for bootleggers and persists into current times. With control fraud, you co-opt the legal machinery and use it to steal. The system protects the deceit. In 2008 we bailed the jerks out. The two are often used together. 
I think Money Laundering 2.0 is the second part of this equation and the big global trend. With 2.0, the holder of wealth uses the wheels of the world system to offshore gains (legit or not) to safe places where they cannot be taxed or clawed back. The concept is simple, but the mechanisms are by nature complex to conceal the deal. Think Cayman Islands, Paradise Papers, shell companies, etc, etc. etc. Dump money into crazy cars, homes, etc. If physical goods aren’t easy, give to a key foundation or politician and you will be rewarded with complicity at a later date. 
Suddenly, pieces fall together. The Russians were not colluding to throw an election; they were as surprised Nov. 2nd as everyone else. The collusion was not about politics, but about Money Laundering 2.0. 
Money Laundering 2.0 uses the wheels of accounting and government to allow offshoring of wealth, often passing off losses to the taxpayers in the form of debt.  (more...)


Peter Thiel's Apocalypse

business politics technology fascism homosexuality gay agenda
Donald's weird handshakes
"This is really a classic Berkeley event today—this is so cool,” said Peter Thiel from the stage at UC Berkeley’s Wheeler Auditorium on Wednesday, December 10, 2014, after a heckler stood up and shouted “Fuck you!” at him.

The billionaire venture capitalist, PayPal founder, and author of the New York Times bestseller Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future had been invited by a nonpartisan Cal student group to speak at the largest lecture hall on campus. Thiel’s appearance didn’t inspire a Milo Yiannopoulos–scale riot—such conflagrations were still two and a half years and a world-shaking presidential election away—but it was far from a harmonious evening. While a mob of protesters outside the hall pounded on the doors, others who had gained entrance, many of them veterans of the Occupy movement, grew angrier and louder. Toward the end of the evening, the doors burst open and a group of masked protesters, carrying a red banner and chanting, “Whose university? Our university!,” stormed down the aisles to the stage.

Like two mirrors facing each other, the audience pointed their phones at the protesters while the protesters pointed their phones at the audience. “No NSA! No police state!” the protesters chanted at Thiel. “Go home!” the audience chanted back. “Go home!”

But as the audience members and the protesters continued to yell at each other, the object of all the disruption was nowhere to be found. At some point in the confusion, Thiel had quietly slipped out a side door.

If the protesters were angry at and worried about Peter Thiel back in 2014, how should they feel about him at the tail end of 2017, now that he’s become indispensable to the Trump administration? In a word: terrified. For as effective as Thiel has been over the years at provoking outrage and then vanishing, only to rise again, ready to wage stealth war on another enemy, he has never known more power or been closer to creating global change than at this moment. If press reports are correct, President Trump is considering appointing Thiel to be chair of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board—a position previously held by such establishment sages as Brent Scowcroft and Chuck Hagel. This would make the 50-year-old entrepreneur one of the top executive branch advisers on America’s intelligence agencies. And it would be one of the most peculiar high-level appointments in American political history.  (more...)

H/T to Spitfire List


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

U.K. cites Apotex plant in India; action comes in midst of probe into death of Apotex founder

Apotex has run into lots of regulatory issues with the FDA over the years, but now it is regulators in the U.K. that are expressing concern. And it comes at an uncertain time for Canada’s largest drugmaker after founder and chairman Barry Sherman and his wife, Honey, were found strangled to death in their Toronto home last month.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has pulled the manufacturing certificate for an Apotex solid-dose plant in Bangalore, India, saying investigators found a risk for cross-contamination during a November inspection.

EU countries share inspections information, and the MHRA recommended that each member country consider recalling products in which cross-contamination cannot be ruled out. It said that it will issue a new certificate which would allow the plant to continue to sell products in the EU if Apotex gets a written agreement with member countries and there is a danger of shortages of critical drugs.

Apotex has a long history of quality problems uncovered by the FDA. Apotex had products from plants in Toronto and Quebec banned from 2009 to 2011. After the ban was lifted in 2011, Apotex filed suit through the North American Free Trade Act, alleging the FDA action was unwarranted and decimated its business, costing it $500 million in lost sales and expenses. The international authorities sided with the FDA. On a return inspection to the plants in 2013, the FDA found more issues and again issued warning letters.  (more...)


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Barry Sherman’s donations sometimes used to wield political influence

Barry Sherman was the philanthropist who once yanked back more than $25 million in promised donations — to a university, two hospitals and an aid group — because he was unhappy with decisions made on Parliament Hill.

The founder of pharmaceutical giant Apotex, who died at 75 on Dec. 15, was notably generous throughout his lifetime, donating millions of dollars and plenty of time to charities, research and initiatives.

He also used that donation power as a political tool.

A police investigation continues into the deaths of Sherman and his 70-year-old wife, Honey, after they were found in their North York mansion this month. Their cause of death was ruled to be ligature neck compression.

In 1999, Sherman reneged on a $20 million gift to the University of Toronto for its centre for cellular and molecular biology research, giving $1 million instead. He also pulled back $5 million to Mount Sinai Hospital, $225,000 to Princess Margaret Hospital and half of Apotex’s United Way contributions.

He rescinded those donations because Jean Chrétien’s government moved to apply retroactive regulations on the drug industry — which Sherman told the Star damaged Apotex’s earning potential. He added that the policy was unlikely to change “unless we get a new prime minister.”  (more...)


The U.S. Is Becoming the World’s New Tax Haven

accountability tax havens business corruption politics transparency
The new Geneva?
Seven years ago, the U.S. led an effort to address a problem facing governments everywhere. Each year, people manage to avoid paying an estimated $2.5 trillion in income tax -- a giant sum that could be used to combat poverty, update infrastructure or lower tax rates for law-abiding citizens.

Now, however, the U.S. is becoming one of the world’s best places to hide money from the tax collector. It’s a distinction that the country would do well to shed.

In 2009, amid growing budget deficits and a tax-fraud scandal at Swiss bank UBS AG, the Group of 20 developed and developing nations came to an agreement: They would no longer tolerate the network of havens, shell companies and secret accounts that had long abetted tax evasion. A year later, the U.S. passed the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, which required foreign financial institutions to report the identities and assets of potential U.S. taxpayers to the Internal Revenue Service.

Under threat of losing access to the U.S. financial system, more than 100 countries -- including such traditional havens as Bermuda and the Cayman Islands -- are complying or have agreed to comply.

The U.S. was expected to reciprocate, by sharing data on the accounts of foreign taxpayers with their respective governments. Yet Congress rejected the Obama administration’s repeated requests to make the necessary changes to the tax code. As a result, the Treasury cannot compel U.S. banks to reveal information such as account balances and names of beneficial owners. The U.S. has also failed to adopt the so-called Common Reporting Standard, a global agreement under which more than 100 countries will automatically provide each other with even more data than FATCA requires.  (more...)

accountability tax havens business corruption politics transparency

The True Story Behind The Secret Nine-Month Paradise Papers Investigation

When CNN and Fox just don't get you high anymore:

accountability transparency business crime corruption
BBC reporter Richard Bilton, left, attempts to interview Lord Ashcroft as part
of the BBC's Paradise Papers reporting.

Modern-day gangsters don’t have blood on their hands, they’re corporate high-fliers

business crime corruption globalism family

I have always loved gangster films for the way they allow filmmakers to explore the human condition at its most extreme and yet familiar. My favourite characters in these films and TV shows are the ones who most resemble us. Michael Corleone and Tony Soprano may run criminal empires, but 90 per cent of the time they’re looking after their families and taking their kids to school. Their similarities to us are just as engaging as their differences and it’s this contrast that we’ve tried to explore in McMafia.

The eight-part drama stars James Norton as a City of London financier who is trying to distance himself from his family’s criminal past. It’s as much about family relationships as it is about criminality – and our antiheroes are no longer the colourful gangsters of old, but much closer to us than we think.

Misha Glenny’s brilliant book McMafia provided my co-creator, James Watkins, and me with extraordinary insights into how these new criminal enterprises work. Modern criminals aren’t just thuggish mobsters, they can be bankers, politicians, lawyers, intelligence agents. They don’t just deal cocaine and heroin, they profit from people-smuggling, computer hacking, money laundering and property scams. Lines have become blurred and the boundaries between the overworld and underworld are more fluid than ever. The release of the Panama and Paradise papers, the Trump Russia allegations, even the accusations of corruption at Fifa, football’s governing body, are all examples of the new criminality.  (more...)

It's been an entertaining ride:

Why the secret handshake between police and Freemasons should worry us

freemasonry accountability transparency police corruption

When the late Sir Kenneth Newman became commissioner of the Metropolitan police in 1982, he outlined his thoughts on how his officers should behave in what became known as “the little blue book”. Always a tactful man, his passage on freemasonry noted delicately that “the discerning officer will probably consider it wise to forgo the prospect of pleasure and social advantage in freemasonry so as to enjoy the unreserved regard of all those around him”.

More than 30 years later, it will come as a surprise to many that membership of the Freemasons is still causing disquiet within the police. Steve White, the retiring chair of the Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, told the Guardian this week that he and his colleagues suspected that Freemasons within the service were hampering reforms and acting in an obstructive way. “I find it odd,” he added, “that there are pockets of the organisation where a significant number of representatives are Freemasons.”

The Freemasons themselves have denied that there is anything untoward and say that they see no conflict of interest between membership of a masonic lodge and a job in the police. “We are parallel organisations … and have high moral principles and values,” Mike Baker, spokesman for the United Grand Lodge, told the Guardian.

That may well be, but being both a Freemason and a police officer remains just as delicate and conflicted an issue as it did in the 1980s. After Newman’s pronouncement, Freemasons within the Met, some of them in quite senior positions, responded defiantly by setting up their own new lodge called the Manor of St James, and there was little that Newman could do about it. Since then, commissioner after commissioner has made the same point.  (more...)


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Monday, January 1, 2018

Germany's Catholic Church counts its many financial blessings

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In the western German town of Limburg, a lustrous compound strikes an uneasy contrast to the ancient Romanesque cathedral it neighbors. Both are owned by the Catholic Church of Germany and one is a venerable historical landmark, the other a blemish on a millennia-old institution.

Five years ago, it emerged that Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, also known as the Bishop of Bling, spent €31 million ($43 million back then) restoring the 16th-century complex and erecting a sleek modernist residence. Its plush furnishings range from a designer bathtub (€15,000) to walk-in closets (€350,000), a heated-stone outdoor path (€19,000) and a koi aquarium (€213,000).

The current prelate refuses to live there. Talk has included turning the mansion into a refugee home or an addition to the local diocesan museum. Otherwise it’s nothing more than a monument to an increasingly secular German society’s misgivings about the church tax system.

If you live in Germany and you’ve ever been baptized, you’re considered a church taxpayer. The levy of 8 to 9 percent, depending on the state, is automatically deducted by the government off the income of all registered church members — regardless of how often people go to church. The arrangement was first legally mandated in a clause of the 1919 Weimar Constitution, which was transferred verbatim into the current constitution after World War II.  (more...)


Snow washing, forgery and corruption — a look back at fraud in Canada in 2017

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Canada is perceived by many as a polite and orderly place, with minimal crime in comparison to our noisy neighbours south of the border, but we may not be as squeaky clean as we perceive.

We can, in fact, be rogues if we put our minds to it. According to an Equifax survey released this year, 13 per cent of Canadians agree that it’s OK to lie on a mortgage application, while 16 per cent see it as a “victimless” crime (it’s not).

But on the bigger stage, a joint CBC-Toronto Star investigation at the start of the year revealed that Canada is an excellent place to hide assets records. According to records leaked from shamed law firm Mossack Fonseca (of Panama Papers fame), a legion of tax advisers have been using our country to help hide assets. The story became known as the “Canadian ‘Snow Washing’ ” scandal, after Toronto tax lawyer Jonathan Garbutt described the process of making a company as clean as the “…. driven snow in the Great White North.”  (more...)


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