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October 2, 2011

The lessons of Mary Reynolds and the Detroit Lions and what they mean for us all

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This past couple of weeks has been pretty busy for me, so writing for the blog has been temporarily relegated to the back seat.  While I’ve managed to keep to my goal of one new article per day most of the time, this past week has certainly not been one of those times.

God decreed that 6 days man shall work, and the 7th he shall rest, so that’s what I’ve been doing today.

Resting.

I was working far too late last night (again) so today I decided to sleep until I was done, and then sleep just a little more.

It’s been excellent.  I finally managed to open my eyes in time to turn on the stupid box and catch the last ten minutes of the Dallas Cowboys – Detroit Lions football game, and am I ever glad I did, although not for the reasons you might expect.

The last ten minutes of the game were exciting, to be sure, but they could never have happened if the entire Detroit Lions football team hadn’t done one simple thing for the entire preceding 50 minutes of the game:

Their jobs.

They did what was put in front of them to do and they did it to the best of their ability.

They didn’t let outward appearances get them down.  They didn’t let a silly thing like the scoreboard dictate how they would do their jobs, or indeed IF they would do their jobs.

They simply did what was put in front of them to do as best they could for an entire 60 minutes and in the process they not only won the game after being down 24 points, they handed the Dallas Cowboys their worst implosion in franchise history.

How awesome is that!

But as I lay in bed watching the Detroit Lions quarterback toss the winning touchdown with just over a minute left to play, I began thinking about what they had just accomplished, and what lessons I ought to be taking from that awesome performance.

The lesson itself is mind-numbingly simple:

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September 24, 2011

Christine St. Pierre: Quebec’s Very Own Minister of Propaganda

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Quebec’s self-proclaimed Minister of Propaganda says “unlicensed” journalists should be “controlled”…

It’s the kind of thing you would expect in Nazi Germany or in a bad parody of the timeless George Orwell classic 1984, NOT what you would expect to come from the mouth of someone who claims to represent the people in an [allegedly] democratic society.

“Journalism should be left to the professionals.”

That’s the statement made by Quebec’s Minister of Culture and Communications Christine St. Pierre, or what I will from here out call the Minister of Propaganda, since that’s essentially what she’s advocating.

Christine St. Pierre says that all journalists should be licensed by the government.

Those pesky citizen bloggers need to be controlled… all that peddling the unreported truth to the masses has simply GOT to STOP!

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September 3, 2011

Corrupt and Autocratic Politicians are the same the world over

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Sadly, the human condition is one that always seems intent on oppressing our fellow human. Once we get our filthy little paws on even the slightest glimmer of power, it goes straight to our heads and we just can’t seem to help ourselves.

A while ago I came across a news story that horrified me.  Apparently so much that I couldn’t even write about it, because when I searched the blog for a link to my previous article, there wasn’t one!

Perhaps I was too engrossed in all the insanity over in Union Bay, British Columbia… I don’t know. Anyhow… before we jump into the torrid subject, here’s a quote to keep in mind as I examine the motives of those behind the atrocious behavior we’re about to see.

“If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise,
we don’t believe in it at all.”

— Virginia Woolf

Now it’s off to Quartzsite, Arizona, where the latest round of political corruption is spilling over onto the evening news.

The site: a public meeting of the town council.

Jennifer Jones was standing at the microphone spelling out some details about the failure of the current town council to follow their own rules.  She pointed out that the current rules being enforced by the council had never even been passed, and were therefore null and void.

The man who appears to be the head of the local corruption and thuggery, Quartzsite Police Chief Jeff Gilbert, decided he had best step in and stop this uppity citizen from doing the unthinkable: exercising her Right to Freedom of Speech.

Seriously… just who does she think she is?

While she was in the middle of speaking to the gathered crowd Police Chief Jeff Gilbert ordered his officers to forcibly remove Ms. Jones from the meeting and in the video clip of the event we see this happening before our very eyes.

While this happens, Head Thug Jeff Gilbert repeatedly says to Ms. Jones in his best Police State voice,

Do not resist the officer!  Do not resist the Officer!

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August 30, 2011

Alan deJersey, Denis Royer, and David Godfrey voted to spend $50,000 in direct conflict of interest

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Alan de Jersey, Denis Royer, and David Godfrey voted to spend $50,000 in what appears to be a rather large conflict of interest in the handling of Union Bay Improvement District (UBID) funds.

It appears evident to me (as well as many of those who reside in Union Bay) that Alan de Jersey, Denis Royer, and David Godfrey (the former trustees recently removed from the UBID board) need a little education about the definition of “conflict of interest.”

You see, they voted to spend an additional $50,000 of UBID funds to continue financing their lawsuit against Union Bay blogger Mary Reynolds, a lawsuit in which each of these men were (and still are) personally listed as plaintiffs.

That means that each one of them personally benefited from the passage of the motion put forward by then-UBID Chairperson Alan de Jersey. The money for the lawsuit no longer had to come out of their own pockets.  It came out of the UBID treasury.

From Webster’s Dictionary:

a conflict between the private interests of the official responsibilities of a person in a position of trust

Dictionary.com defines it thus:

1. the circumstance of a public officeholder, business executive, or the like, whose personal interests might benefit from his or her official actions or influence.

 

Personally, I find the Dictionary.com definition to be much more accurate when it comes to the recent antics in Union Bay politics.

Unless your head is completely buried somewhere it shouldn’t be, it is obvious that by voting to spend another $50,000 of the UBID’s money instead of their own, their personal financial interests were advanced at the expense of all those who pay taxes in support of the Union Bay Improvement District.

That is, simply put, a conflict of interest.

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August 21, 2011

Small-Town Corruption and Conflict of Interest or just business as usual in Union Bay?

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I’ve been digging around some more into the Union Bay thing…  you know… where the Union Bay Improvement District (UBID) tried suing local blogger Mary Reynolds for defamation for daring to question UBID board members about their apparent conflicts of interest.

Between the May election that saw most of the board unceremoniously dumped and the recent resignation of Alan De Jersey from the UBID board, everyone that Mary was complaining about is no longer on the board.

Isn’t that a really interesting coincidence?

Perhaps there were a lot more local residents upset over the [alleged] impropriety of the former UBID board members than just Mary Reynolds.

I recently came across an ad from the Comox Valley Record, one of the newspapers serving the region that includes Union Bay.  The ad was intended to generate public support for the Kensington development and pressure the Comox Valley Regional District into signing off on the deal.

What’s fascinating about this ad is that two of the Board members of the Union Bay Improvement District have listed their companies as having “direct and indirect economic interests in the project” yet they don’t see that as conflict of interest.

What’s even more odd is that Denis Royer doesn’t even consider the ad to be what it is: an ad!

From the Examination of Discovery with Alan De Jersey being examined under oath, Denis Royer piped up from the gallery:

I said I don’t remember it being an ad.

At which point he was admonished to keep his mouth shut while someone else was being examined.

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August 13, 2011

Union Bay Improvement District Administrator and last trustee from alleged corruption scandal quit

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With so many things to write about every day and so many cases of political corruption and police brutality going on around the nation, it’s not a surprise that I haven’t managed to get back to the Union Bay Improvement District (UBID) and its war of words until now.

It’s not that I didn’t want to.  Work and life just get in the way sometimes, you know?  But this fine sunny Saturday morning I decided to wade through my long list of articles waiting to be written, and the caption of one news story caught my eye:  “Two quit at Union Bay“.

For those not familiar with the tiny community of Union Bay, on British Columbia’s Vancouver Island, it’s the kind of place you wouldn’t think would become the center of a Freedom of Speech battle, yet it is.

Mary Reynolds, a long-time resident of the area, was sued by the [alleged] morons supposedly running the UBID for having the audacity to actually ask questions and point out conflicts of interest where she (and many others) saw them.  As a taxpaying citizen, it is her absolute right to question how those who hold public office perform their jobs.  Indeed it is all our right to do so.

Those holding public office seldom agree, of course.

Like all good small-town tyrants, those holding office at UBID took great exception to their activities being scrutinized and questioned and did their best to silence Mary Reynolds.  That’s when this case first hit my radar.  Any time some asinine bureaucrat thinks they can strip honest citizens of their God-given Rights, I tend to get my dander up.

The case of the [alleged] morons running the District of Union Bay vs. Mary Reynolds certainly did that.

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July 9, 2011

Freedom of Speech means the freedom to criticize government without fear of being sued

SLAPP Lawsuit

Freedom of Speech means the freedom to criticize government, ALL levels of government, without fear of being sued into oblivion.  Governments, of course, can’t stand most criticism, and the small government of the Union Bay Improvement District (UBID) is no exception.

This merry little band of morons decided that the solution to one of their ratepayers expressing her displeasure with the District government was to sue her for defamation.  This is what we call a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, or SLAPP as they are more commonly called.

The whole point of a SLAPP lawsuit is to silence critics of government or corporations by forcing them to defend massive lawsuits. It’s tough to criticize government when your life savings is now being spent on a lawsuit, right?

In the case of Mary Reynolds, a 60-year-old blogger who resides in the District, it meant defending herself against a lawsuit filed by the District in their efforts to stop her from criticizing their actions.

Unfortunately for the Union Bay Improvement District, lawsuits like this are against the law.  In 2009 B.C. Supreme Court Justice Nicole Garson wrote in her ruling in Dixon v. Powell River (City), 2009 BCSC 406:

“It is antithetical to the notion of freedom of speech and a citizen’s right to criticize his or her government concerning its governing functions that such criticism should be chilled by the threat of a suit in defamation.”

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