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  1. A  hell of the lot of people don't know their history. That makes it easy for those with an agenda, often not obvious, to whip up hysteria and actually silence those who question their twisted version. People have recently lost their livelihoods for querying the exaggerations being pedalled. Even worse, still living witnesses to history who would once provide more nuanced accounts  of events are now afraid to speak out due to fear of the wrath of misguided mob. In 1908 the authorities in Vancouver on Canada's Pacific Coast turned away a Japanese ship containing almost 360 would-be immigrants from India who had sailed from Hong Kong. Immigration rules were that immigrants had to sail from their country of citizenship and had set the amount of cash needed on entry for non-Europeans at a higher level. The intention was obviously to discourage non-European immigration to Canada. The ship had been chartered by a US financed and based terrorist organisation called Ghadar to challenge the immigration rules. Those who were not terrorist sympathisers when they boarded the Komagatu Maru on Hong Kong almost certainly were by the time they arrived off Vancouver. The ship's arrival was like a plane charted by ISIS touching down at Vancouver airport today. And yet demands for a modern government apology were taken seriously. No- one seemed to remember that two Vancouver members of the Indian community who assisted immigration authorities were later murdered, as was one of the leading immigration officials involved. Nor were the 24 passengers admitted to Canada mentioned much during the Centenary. Never mind the truth, feel the emotion. 
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The recent evacuation of people from Kabul international airport was presented as a matter of life and death. And yet among those spirited out of Afghanistan were two paralympians who wanted to compete in  Tokyo. Since when was taking part in the Tokyo Games a matter of life and death? Did this pair take places in the evacuation that should have gone to people with much more to lose under the new Taliban regime in Kabul? And who else got a seat that could have gone to someone with a legitimate fear of the Taliban? And let's not go into the morality of airlifting 150 cats and dogs instead of people. Many Afghans would have been delighted to fly out in the cargo hold.  Too much was the western media's coverage of Afghanistan has involved interviewing the English-speaking chattering classes in Kabul. Kabul is no more of a microcosm of Afghanistan than London is of the United Kingdom. What I want to know is what is happening to ordinary Afghans.

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Just after the Saskatchewan Party here in Canada, a supposed merger of the corruption discredited Provincial Tories and their Liberal counterparts but really just a Tory vehicle, kicked the New Democrats out of power, a vacancy came up for someone to work as a media relations officer for the party. One of the party officials wrote the job description when the vacancy was posted. He knew what the job involved because he had worked next to someone who had done it. One of the duties outlined was to find members of the public to put their names on newspaper Letters to the Editor actually written by party headquarters. Another was to recruit supposed ordinary Joes and Josephines to phone radio call-in shows and spout party propaganda over the airwaves. This was an interesting one because the host of the province's biggest call- in show was quick to "out" any callers with even tenuous links to the New Democrats but somehow never apparently spotted the Tory plants. Anyway, needless to say the aforementioned job posting was disavowed by the Tories. Hilarious

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There is a question mark over how many killers I went to high school with. The town was plagued by a gang of almost homicidally violent teens. The thing about teen killers is that a murder sentence in juvie jail comes nowhere near life. I think they served about seven years or so for their first murder. The story goes that one nasty killed again. He realised that he'd get more than seven years for a second murder. So, he persuaded an associate to go to the police and confess to the killing. The alternative to confessing, so the story goes, was that the real murderer would kill the associate's mother and sister. I questioned whether someone  could be convicted by a Scottish court on only confession - collaboration, a second finger of evidence pointing at the accused, is required under Scottish Law. But I suppose the real killer would have little problem providing his associate with the murder weapon or something along those lines to show to the police. Now, whether the story is true I don't know. But it's interesting that it gained such widespread credibility around the town. 

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When I was teenager I spent a summer working in the West Highlands. There was an attitude that we lived West of the Regulations. That we could almost do as we pleased. To a large extent  this  was due to the very few roads in the area, which made it hard for those job was to enforce the regulations to sneak up on a person. The progress of police vehicles, for example, was reported by telephone call from pub to pub at almost every junction and crossroads in an area covering hundreds of square miles. Things were more relaxed when it was known that the road being taken no longer meant the cop car to would be in the vicinity of certain bars. Maybe if surprise was essential,  the police travelled in unmarked Volkswagen Campervans or landed on the coast from commando speed boats and rode motocross bikes over the drove roads. 

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