Borderline Personality help sources

As I write this (at 21:45 EDM on September 24, 2017), Patrick Fox of Burnaby, BC is awaiting sentencing for his conviction of having criminally harassed his ex-wife:  Although I’ve never met Mr. Fox, he would appear to me to be suffering from borderline personality on the face of it.  He’s not remorseful at all for having made his ex-wife’s life hell, to say nothing of his own young son’s life by persecuting the boy’s mother, as you can see from my own exchanges with him in the comments section on that post (above), and from reading the news reports of his trial.

He will probably go to prison, and it’s easy to say ‘good riddance.’  But what will happen to him in prison?  Will he get effective therapy there?  Probably not.  Borderline-personality sufferers are notoriously difficult to treat effectively.

Now, one of my own Facebook contacts, a Toronto hypnotherapist by the name of Allan Clews, has just posted a series of videos on a treatment for borderline personality, called ‘Dialectical Behavior Therapy,’ or DBT, which he says is “the only thing that has been scientifically proven to help those suffering from Borderline Personality;” and he has kindly given me permission to re-post his post here on wordpress:

Now I think you might need a Facebook profile to view that post, and not everybody has facebook, of course; so I am also going to take the liberty of embedding the first of his short videos here directly from youtube, so that anyone who can’t see the facebook post can hopefully link to the videos from youtube:  

So that’s one point of reference that may be helpful, and for those who are suffering from the sufferers of borderline personality and who may have decided that enough is enough, here is a useful book on divorcing a spouse who’s borderline.  Wordpress doesn’t like it when I link to Amazon here, but the book is readily available there.  It’s called ‘Splitting:  Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder,’ written by Bill Eddy and Randi Kreger, and published in 2011.  I’ve read it and it’s loaded with useful tips on dealing with people with those disorders, even if you’re not married to one of them.

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So, where’s the post on Vǫluspá’s Gullveig and Heiðr, eh?

I’m well aware it’s been well over a year since I first promised it was going to be done in “a few weeks.”  But, see, here’s the thing:  I was stupid, stupid, stupid, to make a promise like that, because the two (just two!!) stanzas in the some-sixty stanza-long Old Norse poem known as Vǫluspá are arguably the most difficult and among the most-debated in the poem.  I thought I had a handle a year ago on the research that had been done to date; laughable!  I knew nothing, nothing.  I’ve since learned that, to resolve the mystery of Gullveig and Heiðr, a deep understanding of the best-known and most powerful of the Eddic poems – Vǫluspá – would be a prerequisite.  If I’d known what I was in for, I would never have had the courage to start it.

But now that I’ve come this far, I’m determined to be the one to resolve the many hundreds of years-old mystery.

Just so my loyal readers can rest assured I haven’t spent the entire summer lolling on a lawn chair eating bonbons, here’s something of what you can expect to learn from my post when I have finished it:

  1.  The word ‘Gullveig’ was intended by the poet to be a symbol, and as such, it can never have a final meaning.  However, scholars such as John McKinnell and Sigurður Nordal have limited the meanings that can be discerned, by insisting that the first part of this made-up name, ‘Gull,’ ‘gold,’ can only mean the literal metal ‘gold,’ and it cannot mean ‘golden.’  I believe I can prove that this is not the case.  Moreover, the meaning of ‘brew,’ ‘liquid intoxicant,’ is better attested in Eddic sources than any other suggested meaning, such as McKinnell’s ‘woman,’ or ‘power;’ and moreover, there is a West Saxon cognate word with the meanings of ‘liquid,’ ‘river,’ which nobody else has mentioned, although Nordal cites other borrowings from West Saxon in the poem.
  2. The idea promulgated by a number of scholars that the burning of Gullveig is situated in a tradition of burning people for witchcraft is just nonsense.  Nordal and Ursula Dronke make a good case for the poem’s having been written in Iceland – where nobody was burned for witchcraft until several hundred years after Vǫluspá had been written!  There were other punishments for witches who crossed the wrong person, and the only story told of burning witches in accounts roughly contemporary with that of Vǫluspá is that of the burning of witches, not for being witches, but for being male witches; and that account is from Norway:  not from Iceland, which at that time was still possessed of a wary independence from Norway.
  3. There are numerous striking parallels between the figure of Heiðr the witch in Vǫluspá and that of the figure of Hildr in the eerie Scandinavian legend of  Hjaðningavíg the “battle of the Heodenings.”  Although several scholars such as Ursula Dronke have commented on some of those parallels, I propose to go into them more deeply.
  4.  Additionally, I will address the connection between the 14th cent. version of the “battle of the Heodenings,” namely, Sörla þáttr and that of the somewhat later Icelandic ‘rimur’ known as Skíðaríma and I will provide evidence to show that, contrary to scholarly assumptions about the latter poem being intended to “disrespect” the Old Norse pagan religion, in fact Skíðaríma is best understood as a satirical response to the Christian attempt by means of  Sörla þáttr to destroy the legend of ‘the eternal battle’ and the power of the old gods once and for all.  Understood as such, Skíðaríma is an absolute scream.
  5. I will look at other interpretations that have been made of the three mysterious figures from Vǫluspá: Gullveig, Heiðr and the seeress into whose mouth the entire recital of the poem has been placed, as well as the oft-debated questions of: whether or not the seeress is dead or alive, and whether or not she is human.  Of course it’s one thing to say one’s opinion, and another thing to support one’s opinion with evidence that will stand up to a careful inspection by people with many letters after their name.  And it is impossible to do the job well without really knowing very well everything else that has been written and thought about in connection with those stanzas (at least, everything for which I can find an English-language text or translation).
  6. I can assure you that if I don’t die or otherwise become seriously incapacitated, I will finish the work.  To paraphrase Gurdjieff’s Anatolian Turk says in “Beelzebub’s tales,” “Have I not spent all my money for this pepper that I thought was a delicious fruit?  I will go on eating it if it kills me!”  lol  So, too, having begun and spent rather a lot on the research, both of time and money, I intend to finish it, to do it well, and to make an original contribution to the knowledge of this subject.  Off to eat bonbons now.  :-p
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Were the dice loaded in R v Barton, 2017 ABCA 216?

September 16, 2017 update at 09:35 EDM:  Well I did a little more thinking about that Globe and Mail article I just linked to, below.  In it, Justice Sheilah Martin says, of her late husband, Hersh Wolch:  “”Hersh was so supportive of his children. We would sit down regularly to ask: How is everybody doing? Did they need our support? How could we help? Hersh was a good and dutiful father,” Ms. Martin said.

(The couple created a blended family that included Ms. Martin’s two sons from a previous marriage, Rory and Sean.)”  His children.  Not ‘and my children, too,’ or ‘our children.’  And do you know, I almost fell for that, even though I’ve read the plaudits about Mr. Wolch’s having been among the kindest men in the world.  It strikes me now that Justice Martin has made a kind of living out of promulgating the idea that women are treated unequally in the justice system and presenting ways to fix that perceived problem.

Except that:  in R v Barton 2017 ABCA 216, which appears to me to carry on that tradition of highlighting perceived gender injustices as well as getting in a new proposal on how to fix that alleged problem in jury instructions, it would also appear to me that, at the exact same time the Court is crying ‘foul’ about how badly and condescendingly everybody had treated the female murder victim in the original trial, the same Court, of which Ms. Martin was a member, also ambushed the (male) defendant’s (male) criminal lawyer (see below for details).

It strikes me, now, re-reading that Globe and Mail interview with Justice Martin, that a mask can grow to one’s face, a posture can become habitual and hard to drop; and just perhaps, Ms. Martin is in a place of being unable to stop adopting a stance of victim-hood, professionally and personally – not even to honor the legacy of her late husband.  Kinda reminds me of Angelina Jolie in that way.


September 16, 2017 update at 04:14 EDM:  From this revealing and insightful mini-bio of the late Hersh Wolch:   ““He placed a premium on justice.”” “Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of Canada, summed up Mr. Wolch’s contributions to Canadian jurisprudence: “Hersh represented the highest ideals of our criminal law system – fairness, equity and a profound commitment to justice for all, whether high or low.“”  Yep, it must have really hit Mr. Wolch very hard, to hear fellow Calgary criminal defense lawyer Dino Bottos tell the world he was ambushed by the Court in R v Barton, 2017 ABCA 216.  Oh sure, heavy workload and all that, but I bet the news about the alleged R v Barton ambush was enough to push him over the edge, too.

September 03, 2017 update at 07:50 EDM:  I have added an interesting and informative article on by thelawyersdaily on the passing of Hersh Wolch and his legacy (see 4th paragraph, below):  

August 02, 2017 Update at 06:24 EDM:  This just in:  A new trial was ordered yesterday in Edmonton for Bradley Barton:  to take place on February 25, 2019.  I reckon there was no money for an appeal to the Supreme Court of the June 30, 2017 ruling that: (i) threw out his acquittal; (ii) tossed in a new issue his lawyer had allegedly not been informed of prior to the Appeal hearing;  (iii) set out its own ‘draft proposal’ for jury instructions, (a proposal slammed by a university law professor for broadly over-reaching the court’s mandate in the case); and that (iv) repeatedly called Barton a liar at the same time it was ordering a new trial for him.  So much for ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ eh.


On June 30, 2017, the Alberta Court of Appeal, consisting of Chief Justice Catherine Fraser, Justice Jack Watson and Justice Sheilah Martin, threw out the jury acquittal of Bradley Barton on charges of murdering Cindy Gladue, and ordered a new trial for him.   Barton’s lawyer, Dino Bottos, has roundly criticised the ruling, in essence accusing the Court of Appeal of political grand-standing and egregious over-reaching:   Bottos also sharply criticised the Court of Appeal for having taken the four grounds of appeal brought by the Crown and [adding] their own, additional ground of appeal – without any warning to the defense, calling it a “very unfair” move on the part of the Court:

In an article published on July 17, 2017, Alberta criminal law professor Steven Penney also criticised the Court of Appeal Judgment with respect to the issue of bias, saying that, although the Judgment  “… did a good job of outlining procedurally how the s. 276 rape shield process is supposed to work, and in emphasizing the importance of those protections in avoiding the prejudicial use of evidence of a complainant’s sexual history…” nevertheless, the Appeal Court also, he suggests, made a ““very restrictive” interpretation of s. 276 that is “out of step in many respects” with the appellate consensus that has emerged on how to interpret the rape shield…”  Suggesting that the Appeal Judgment is extremely unbalanced, “Penney highlighted the Supreme Court’s decision in R. v. Darrach 2000 SCC 46 — the leading case interpreting s. 276. “There I think the Supreme Court of Canada had a more flexible, and balanced, and pragmatic approach — one that I think fairly weighs the interests of both.”” You can read Professor Penney’s comments in full here:

Sept. 03/17 update:  From a July 20, 2017 thelawyersdaily article on Hersh Wolch and his legacy:  “… Wolch, who was married to Alberta Court of Appeal Justice Sheilah Martin, died of a heart attack in Calgary on July 17 at the age of 77…. “  “Hersh’s biggest legacy is that he was instrumental in changing the judicial and public consensus on issues of wrongful conviction and miscarriages of justice and helped make that an acceptable proposition in the criminal justice system,” said [Toronto criminal lawyer Daniel] Brodsky…  Best known as the dedicated defender of high-profile, wrongly convicted clients David Milgaard and Steven Truscott, iconic criminal defence lawyer Hersh Wolch is being remembered for the humanity and changes he brought to the way the law is administered and interpreted in Canada….”  Read the rest of the article, including interviews with one of his children, Gavin Wolch, who is also a practicing lawyer, Calgary criminal defence lawyer Greg Rodin and with Toronto criminal lawyer Daniel Brodsky, and others,  here:

[NOTE:  Calgary criminal defence lawyer Hersh Wolch collapsed at his home and died on Monday, July 17, 2017:   Wolch was married to Justice Sheilah Martin, one of the three judges in the Alberta Court of Appeal Judgment under discussion in this blog-post.  Frankly, I can’t help wondering what the very well respected Mr. Wolch must have thought on June 30, when fellow defence lawyer Dino Bottos alleged in the media that Mr. Wolch’s wife and the other two judges in the Appeal Judgment had in effect Ambushed Bottos in that Court of Appeal Judgment, saying, for example here:  that, “… in particular, [Bottos] was taken by surprise when the panel took the four grounds of appeal brought by the Crown and added their own, additional ground of appeal.  “The Court of Appeal believed the trial judge erred by instructing the jury incorrectly on post-offence misconduct,” Bottos said, adding it caught him unprepared, as counsel is usually given months’ notice as to what the issues are. “To have a fifth ground conjured up and thrown at you is very unfair…”

I also can’t help wondering, of the three judges in that Appeal, which of them its job was to ensure that notice of the fifth ground of appeal was given in a timely manner to Mr. Bottos, and just how, exactly, that notice [allegedly] did Not happen. R.I.P. Mr. Wolch.]

Defense lawyers in Alberta are not usually so vocal in their criticism of the Appeals Court; Dino Bottos’ remarks were the first about the case to catch my attention.   I decided to drop other things I was working on for the time being, and to take a good look at the case.

My Preliminary Observations                                                                                                                 I didn’t have to look far to see that, hell yeah the Court over-reaches – and it’s not shy about doing so, either.  Starting in S. 162:    they use the Judgment as a platform to set out their “draft proposal” for how judges should be instructing juries in (i) “cases involving race and/or gender:”  “[162] A caution in the opening instructions to the jury would be appropriate where, as here, the case involves not only gender (a woman) but also race (Aboriginal) and class (sex trade worker). A draft opening instruction could include the following. In making this suggestion, we stress that this is by way of example only. Further refinements may well be called for based on submissions by Crown and defence counsel…” and in (ii) cases involving evidence of prior sexual conduct:  [S. 163]  It seems to me that teaching other judges on how to instruct juries with a “draft proposal” would be more appropriate in a legal seminar, not in a court judgment. Putting it in a judgment sends a clear message, in my opinion, that:  “Judges better do things the way we want them to and never mind any established “pattern jury instruction [S. 201];”  we know best and you’d better do it our way, or we’ll rule against you on appeal – and we won’t be nice about it, either.”

I also find it very interesting that additionally in S. 163, the Court of Appeal states:  “As with all jury instructions, it is beneficial if the trial judge reviews drafts in advance with Crown and defence. This militates against the need to recharge the jury should the trial judge determine that either counsel has any legitimate concerns.”  That’s really interesting, because the Defense has repeatedly stated [most recently, here]:   that “in fact it was the Crown prosecutors at trial that agreed to this [jury] charge…” in the trial of Bradley Barton.

The contradistinction between the Court of Appeal’s remark in S. 163 and that last quoted statement by Dino Bottos raises a question in my mind of possible bias on the part of the Court, and it doesn’t take too long to find grounds for concern on that score either.

On the bottom of page 03 in the same judgment is the note that, even though Cindy Gladue’s official date of death is June 22, the Court of Appeal nevertheless refers to “June 21 as the night Gladue died since that is when the interactions with Barton began that led to her death on June 22. “  This, mind you, is from the same judgment that goes on to order a fresh trial for Barton on murder charges.  And in S. 185 of that judgment, the Court of Appeal states that:  “… the real issue was whether she consented to what the jury determined that Barton actually did that caused her death.”

Okay, is it just me, or does it also sound to other people as if the Court had in fact already convicted Barton in their heads, even though they had ostensibly ordered a new trial for him?  Particularly so, in view of the facts that:  in the original trial, (i)  there was a real issue of whether or not the statements made by Bradley to the cops came while he was in what a judge euphemistically termed an “unofficial investigative detention:   and (ii)  several witnesses had testified to the presence of other people in the vicinity of the room where Gladue’s body was found near the time of her death, including that of Gladue’s boyfriend:   both of said which factors could very well have a significant bearing both on the jury’s decision to acquit as well as in any future trial.

In R v Barton, 2013 ABQB 673 concerning statements made by the accused to cops and the concomitant issue of whether or not he was under investigative detention,   I see problems with the judge’s perspective.  It appears to me from the judge’s summary that Barton was indeed under investigative detention at the time and I would say that his statements to the cops should have perhaps been suppressed, and that they may well be suppressed in a new trial.

The issue in the original trial of the admissibility of Barton’s statements doesn’t bother the Court of Appeal at all, however; the Court flat-out calls pretty much all of the defendant’s own statements “lies:”  “[72] Had the jury been properly instructed, many of Barton’s after the fact actions and statements might have impacted the jury’s assessment of his honesty, trustworthiness and believability. That included lies to Sullivan; the hotel clerk; the 911 operator; the initial investigating officer; Constable Jones, Atkins; and an undercover officer.

But wouldn’t the defendant be entitled to a fresh presumption of innocence on all counts, in the new trial the Court of Appeal ordered in that self-same Judgment?

So then I took a quick look at the judges involved in the 2017 Court of Appeal Judgment:

Justice Jack Watson is the most familiar of the names to me personally.  Of the first three cases I have to date discussed here:  Jack Watson was a judge in all three of them.

1.  In R. v. Crazyboy, 2012 ABCA 228    Justice Peter Martin stated [s.10] “the trial judge seemed to think that the respondent was automatically entitled to a discounted sentence because of his aboriginal ancestry,” a statement Justice Constant Hunt “concurred in.”

Jack Watson, who concurred in the “result” of the Appeal, demurs somewhat on the issue of what the trial judge thought about the ‘race factor,’ saying

“[s.  [31]  “As pointed out in Ipeelee, even at the respondent’s mature age, the court must pay respectful obeisance to Parliament’s directives concerning restraint in the imposition of sentences as set out in ss. 718.2(d) and (e) of the Code, in particular. What the sentencing judge said was this:

 [35]   I must say that although I have some concerns, as stated above, I cannot ignore the Accused’s unfortunate background as an aboriginal offender, and I give it particular attention in the circumstances of this case.

 [32]   The statement that he would “give it particular attention” is not explained in the reasons. It is to be recalled that Ipeelee took pains to repeat that “Section 718.2(e) does not create a racebased discount on sentencing. The provision does not ask courts to remedy the over-representation of Aboriginal people in prisons by artificially reducing incarceration rates.”

However, what the trial judge actually says  is:

“[33]    During the course of argument, the Court raised with Counsel the application of the principles enunciated by the Supreme Court of Canada, in R. v. Gladue, (1999) 1999 CanLII 679 (SCC), 133 CCC (3d) 385 and R. v. Wells, (2000) 2000 SCC 10 (CanLII), 141 CCC (3d) 368 in this case.

 [34]   Crown Counsel submitted, that any consideration by the Court of Section 718.2(e) of the Code, and the Accused being treated more leniently because he is an aboriginal offender with a dysfunctional developmental history, has been lost because of the seriousness of the present offences and the Accused’s extensive and related criminal record.

 [35]   I must say that although I have some concerns, as stated above, I cannot ignore the Accused’s unfortunate background as an aboriginal offender, and I give it particular attention in the circumstances of this case.”

And the discerning will note that it was the Crown that had raised the issue of whether or not the Aboriginal ancestry of the defendant should “automatically entitle him” to a break in sentencing, not the trial judge.

2.  In 321665 Alberta Ltd. v. Husky Oil Operations Ltd., 2013 ABCA 221  .it’s best to read my summary here:  as I can’t condense it anymore than I already have on that page.

3.  Shuchuk v. Alberta (Workers’ Compensation Board), 2012 ABCA 50 in essence allowed the Appeals Commission to consider once again whether or not “whether the MVA contributed to the continuation of his condition after December 1996…”  – thereby  just handing back to the Commission the very power to choose December 1996 as a cut-off date that was taken away from them in a 2005 decision by Justice Lefsrud – the subsequent appeal of which decision was, as Justice Martin himself states in writing for the Court in the 2012 decision,  unsuccessful: “[10] The WCB unsuccessfully appealed the reviewing judge’s decision to this Court.”  Logically, this would mean that in fact the one thing the Commission cannot reasonably do is to consider December 1996 as a potential cut-off date, but the power to do so is exactly what 2012 Alberta Court of Appeal decision gave the Commission.  See my full analysis of the case here:

Chief Justice Catherine Fraser    In R. v. Gashikanyi, 2017 ABCA 194  Justice Ronald Berger roundly trashes another decision, R v Hajar, 2016 ABCA 222  in which both Catherine Fraser and Jack Watson were among the judges, stating:  at S. 19 that:  “…the majority reasons [including both Fraser and Watson] in Hajar fail to provide meaningful guidance to sentencing judges in Alberta. The abandonment of sentencing ranges and substitution by this Court  of starting points without first determining the “acceptable range of sentence” before fixing the starting point, operates in practical terms as a constraint on the discretion afforded to sentencing judges to impose individualized sentences. After all, sentencing ranges are, as the Supreme Court of Canada has made clear, “historical portraits” for the use of sentencing judges whose discretion should not be interfered with absent demonstrable unfitness…”  and at S. [20] that:  “The majority in Hajar not only failed to conduct a detailed, comprehensive review of the minimum and maximum sentences for sexual interference imposed in the past by both trial and appellate judges, but also summarily resiled from the established sentencing range with the admonition that “…the Reasons [of the sentencing judge] overlook the fact that sentencing precedents from this Court are of limited precedential value.” (at para. 150)…”

There’s more along that vein.  A lot more.  But that’s not all.  Justice Berger also raises as a significant potential issue what he perceives to be a bias in the selection of judges to hear sentencing panels, the selection of whom is one of the primary responsibilities of the Chief Justice.  Who is Catherine Fraser.  J. Berger goes on to say:  “[70]   As noted in the introduction to this judgment, this Court has failed to establish and abide by a protocol that provides for the random assignment of judges to sentencing panels.  [71]  The presence of individual discretion in a system of assignment poses a risk that some may think that panelists will be selected based on their perceived predispositions.[1] An appellate court that utilizes discretionary non-random methods to assign (or to replace an assigned judge) leaves open the potential for manipulation. It is this potential that is problematic because, even if manipulation is not actually occurring, the lack of objective guarantees or protections against such abuse can breed suspicions or perceptions of want of impartiality, thereby eroding the integrity of, and public confidence in, the administration of justice….

As a June 27, 2017 report in ‘The Lawyers Daily’  remarks:  “Justice Berger’s ruling is also remarkable for its arguments against the unfettered discretion of chief justices to assign cases — an issue puisne judges at all court levels, and likely in all courts, have complained about at various times over the years — but almost never in public…”  (There’s a lot more there, too, on J. Berger’s comments.)

Justice Sheilah Martin.  Sheilah Martin is a relatively recent appointee to the Alberta Court of Appeal.  “Sheilah Martin, the other Alberta appeal court appointee, was the law dean at the University of Calgary with a long list of publishing credits to her name focused on the equality section of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. She, too, was promoted from the Court of Queen’s Bench.”  Quoted from the article:  .  I don’t read as much law as I used to.   I’ve quickly scanned a few QB judgments in which Martin was one of the judges; they looked okay to me.  I chiefly remember her from the Kellog, Brown & Root (Canada) QB ruling [later overturned] on drug testing.  Sadly, that judgment no longer appears to be online; it must have fallen through the cracks when the Alberta Courts web-site turned over trusteeship of its Judgments to  But here’s a good run-down of the KBR drug-testing saga:

More recently, Justice Martin gave the ‘conference overview speech:’  at the 2012 conference “The Courts and Beyond: The Architecture of Justice in Transition,” held by the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice.   At around 09:50 in her speech, it starts to become clear that Justice Martin, one of the conference co-chairs, thinks of herself and her fellow judges as being ‘architects of justice.’ Speaking for myself alone, I personally don’t see judges as being ‘architects of justice.’ I see that as being the role of those who draft legislature and policy, and the role of law-Makers, generally, including politicians, whose role in the ‘building of justice,’ Ms. Martin deprecates about a minute beforehand, saying that politicians generally try to devise a justice plan that is a ‘big tent’ that tries to fit everyone under it. MS. Martin’s perspective on the role of judges in the justice system is of interest to me, because Bradley Barton’s lawyer, Dino Bottos, has in essence accused the Court of Appeal of overstepping its bounds, saying in the Edmonton Journal article:  that “”…the appeal court is making a political statement, as much as a legal one.””

But there is also, to my mind, a telling moment about Justice Martin right at the beginning of that ‘conference overview speech,’ in her reaction to the applause she reaps for a lame joke that she tells badly.

The self-approval is strong in this one.

And there is another telling moment at about 06:02 in that conference video, where Justice Martin chooses not to thank the person who brings her a glass of water.  It’s a startling instance of rudeness on the part of a public speaker, to my mind.  Small moments can be very telling, with respect to a person’s fundamental character.   How do people treat those from whom they think they have nothing to gain?  Not to thank someone who brings you a glass of water is under any circumstances a marked act of discourtesy.  To my mind, it suggests a grasping character, one which considers its own advantage first, which would also accord with Dino Bottos’ claim of political grandstanding on the part of the Court in R v Barton 2016 ABCA 68.

From all of the foregoing, I concluded there was a distinct possibility of bias in the 2017 Court of Appeal decision, so I took a look at the law, starting with the 2016 decision in which Leave to Appeal the jury acquittal was given:  .


From  R. v. Barton, 2016 ABCA 68:  “[S. 2] The Crown has appealed. The grounds of appeal as framed by the appellant are the following:

1) The trial judge erred in law in his instruction to the jury with respect to manslaughter.

2) The trial judge erred in law in his instruction to the jury with respect to motive.

3) The trial judge erred in law in making a ruling under s. 276 of the Criminal Code after the close of evidence without any application having been brought by the defence and without a hearing on the issue.

4) The trial judge erred in law in instructing the jury that the complainant’s consent on a previous occasion could be used to support a finding of honest but mistaken belief in consent on this occasion.

5) Such further and other good grounds as counsel may advise.

Additionally, leave to the interveners to join the appeal was also granted, on the grounds that:  “S. [12]   In the case at bar, the arguments which the proposed interveners intend to proffer, as counsel explained, will focus on the definition of “sexual activity” in s. 273.1(1) of the Criminal Code. I am told that the proposed interveners intend to provide a substantive equality analysis of the meaning of consent and also observations on the procedure required by s. 276 of the Criminal Code. The relief prayed for is that they be permitted to file one joint factum of 20 pages or less and to make oral submissions not exceeding 20 minutes.

In the Respondent’s [Dino Bottos for the accused, Bradley Barton] Memorandum of Argument] against the interveners’ being allowed in the Appeal,  he stated:  “[S.3] … “an intervener must take the case as she finds it and cannot, to the prejudice of the parties, argue new issues which require the introduction of fresh evidence;”  and further, in [S.5] that this is exactly what the interveners intended to do.  He states that the first ground of appeal argued by the interveners:  as to whether or not the trial judge erred in law with respect to his instructions to the jury on manslaughter “does not adhere to the ground of appeal being argued by the Crown.”  In [S. 6] Bottos indicates that the intervener’s ground of appeal on liability is overly broad and intended to effectively upend “the prevailing law in Canada” on liability.  In [S. 7] Bottos flat-out accused the interveners of trying to sneak their way into ‘legal party status,’ just so that they could help get Botto’s client convicted.  This is a really serious allegation, basically accusing the interveners of malicious prosecution.  In [S.9], Bottos also accuses the interveners of having “failed to comply with their promise” not to introduce new facts or evidence.”  I don’t know where the interveners would have made that promise.   I don’t see any indication of it in their ‘factotum,’ (which of course certainly doesn’t necessarily mean they didn’t make the promise).  He goes on to say in S.9 that the Intervener’s Approach represents a markedly different approach from that of the Crown’s at trial.

Perhaps most significantly, there is no indication in Bottos’ Memorandum that he was aware that the trial judge’s instructions to the jury on post-offence conduct were going to be a grounds for appeal.   But there it is in the Appeal Decision:  starting at “V. Errors in Jury Charge on Barton’s After the Fact Conduct

  1. Introduction

[54] “After the fact conduct” or, as it is sometimes called “post offence conduct”, refers to anything said or done by an accused after the commission of the offence alleged. It includes a vast array of words and conduct. In his charge to the jury, the trial judge defined this category of evidence as “things that Mr. Barton is alleged to have said or done after the incident charged in the indictment”.26”  

And the Court goes on to say exactly when, apparently, Dino Bottos first heard that the ‘after the fact conduct’ was even going to be an issue in the Appeal.  It was at the hearing of the Appeal itself:  “[55] Both Crown and defence acknowledged at the hearing of this appeal that the trial judge erred in law in his treatment of this nuanced subject. But counsel disagreed about the significance of that error.”

The Court even goes on to make the admission that the issue would involve the introduction of evidence“[57] “After the fact conduct” or “post offence conduct” – which includes actions and words – is a form of circumstantial evidence.”

So, yes, I would say that Dino Bottos was ambushed by the Alberta Court of Appeal in R v Barton, 2017 ABCA 216.

Further with respect to that Judgment, this here is the Supreme Court of Canada Judgment  said by University of Alberta criminal law professor Steven Penney to have “a more flexible, and balanced, and pragmatic approach [to s.276 of the Criminal Code] — one that I think fairly weighs the interests of both –“ in contradistinction to the analysis that takes up much of the Alberta Court of Appeals’ Judgment in  R v Barton, 2017 ABCA 216.  .

The Alberta Court of Appeals also goes on and on about how unfair and prejudicial it was to call the victim, Cindy Gladue, a prostitute.  However, testimony offered in the original trial:  from several credible witnesses including Gladue’s own boyfriend, would lead a reasonable person to conclude that Cindy Gladue was a prostitute, in my opinion, and that, moreover, her relationship with the defendant was that of a prostitute and a client.  Furthermore, the prosecution also called Gladue a prostitute repeatedly, so it seems a bit rich for the Court of Appeals to suddenly take it upon themselves to decide that it’s no longer politically correct to state what would appear to have been a fact agreed to by both the defence and the prosecution in the original trial.  I also think it’s actually incredibly patronizing for the Court of Appeal to conclude that a jury would somehow think it was more okay for someone to murder a prostitute than to murder anyone else – ironic, since the Court of Appeal threw the word ‘patronizing’ around at pretty much everyone else who was involved in the original trial.

So yes, from all of the foregoing, I would say the dice were loaded in R v Barton, 2017 ABCA 216.

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SOURCES CITED For Vǫluspá’s Gullveig, Heiðr and narrator: one, two or three?

It’s commminnng… As I write this, the last source I have in mind to cite for my upcoming blog-post on Gullveig & Co is  SKIÐARIMA, by Theo Homan, a copy of which is crossing the border from Illinois post-haste.  As is my wont for lengthy posts, I am publishing the list of sources separately.  I am confident that the last year’s intensive study and thought will pay off in a plausible and original model for the three elements in the poem I have named in the title.

Boyer, Régis.  ‘On the Composition of Vǫluspá,’ in Edda:  A Collection of Essays.  R.J. Glendinning, Haraldur Bessason, Editors.  University of Manitoba Press, 1985. Pages 117 – 133

Cleasby, Richard, Vigfússon, Guðbrandur (and supplement by Sir William A. Craigie).  An Icelandic-English Dictionary, Second Edition.  Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1957, reprinted 1962.

Dronke, Ursula (1).  Transl.  The Poetic Edda: Volume II Mythological Poems.  Oxford University Press, reprinted 2001.

Dronke, Ursula (2).  Translator. The Poetic Edda: Volume III Mythological Poems II.  Oxford University Press, 2011

Eggertsson, Jochum Magnús (Skuggi).  Sorcerer’s Screed:  The Icelandic Book of Magic Spells.  English translation by Philip Roughton.  Lesstofan, 2016

Faulkes, Anthony (1).  Translator.  Snorri Sturluson:  Edda.  Everyman edition, pub. by J.M. Dent, London and Charles E. Tuttle, Vermont, paperback reissued, 1995.  ISBN-10: 0460876163; ISBN-13: 978-0460876162  (I’ve included the ISBN numbers for this source because it can be difficult to discern which of the ‘Edda’ editions has all three parts of Snorri’s work: Gylfaginning, Skáldskaparmál and Háttatal.  Very few editions in English of Snorri’s ‘Prose Edda’ include Háttatal.

Faulkes, Anthony (2). Snorri Sturluson’s Edda: Háttatal  2nd edition.  Anthony Faulkes, Editor.  Viking Society for Northern Research, London, 2007.

Flowers, Stephen.  (ed./trans.) The Rune-Poems, Vol I: Introduction, Texts, Translations and Glossary.  Rûna-Raven Press, 2002.

Flowers, Stephen E.  (B)  Icelandic Magic:  Practical Secrets of the Northern Grimoires.  Inner Traditions, 2016

Formanna  Sögur [Legendary Sagas] Volume IX:  Sögur Hákonar Sverrissonar, Guttorms Sigurðarsonar,

Ínga Bárðarsonar and  Hákonar Hákonarsonar til falls Skúla hertoga.  Edited by F. Magnússon and C.C. Rafn.  Kaupmannahöfn, 1835.  Links to all free downloads of the Legendary Sagas may be found here:

Frankis, John.  ‘The Hild-story (Hjaðningavíg) as a saga-motif.’  Pre-print paper from The Fourth International Saga Conference, 1979.

Hallberg, Peter.  ‘Elements of Imagery’ in Edda:  A Collection of Essays.  R.J. Glendinning, Haraldur Bessason, Editors.  University of Manitoba Press, 1985.  Pages 47 – 85

Hollander, Lee M. (a) transl.  Heimskringla:  History of the Kings of Norway by Snorri Sturluson.  University of Texas Press, Austin, paperback, 2013.

Hollander, Lee M.  (b) transl.  The Poetic Edda, Second Edition, Revised.  University of Texas Press, Austin, paperback, 2011

Homan, Theo.  SKIÐARIMA. An Inquiry into the Written and Printed Texts, References and Commentaries. With an Edition and an English Translation.  Amsterdamer Publikationen zur Sprache und Literatur, 1975

Guðmundsdóttir, Aðalheiður.  ‘Saga Motifs on Gotland Picture Stones:  The Case of Hildr Högnadóttir,’ in Gotland’s Picture Stones:  Bearers of an Enigmatic Legacy.  Gotländskt Arkiv, (2012), Reprints from the Friends of the Historical Museum Association, Volume 84.

Heide, Eldar.  ‘Spinning seiðr’ in Old Norse religion in long-term perspectives.  Anders Andrén, Kristina Jennbertand Catharina Raudvere, Editors.  Nordic Academic Press, 2006.  Pages 164 – 170,%20Lund%20conf%20Heide.pdf

Kirby, W.F.  ‘The Vǫluspá:  the Sybil’s Lay in the Edda of Sæmund,’ in Saga-Book of the Viking Society for Northern Research, Volume VIII.  (1913 – 1914)

Krell, Sydney A.  ‘Exploring the Emotive versus the Scholarly:  an Investigation of the Kennings in Ragnarsdrápa and Øxarflokkr,’ Master Thesis in Nordic Viking and Medieval Culture, Universitet i Oslo, Fall 2013

Jakobsdóttir, Svava.  ‘”Gunnlǫð and the Precious Mead” (Hávamál),’ in The Poetic Edda:  Essays on Old Norse Mythology.  Paul Acker and Carolyne Larrington, Editors.  Routledge, 2002.  Pages 27 – 57

Liestøl, Knut.  The Origin of the Icelandic Family Sagas.  Transl. by A.G. Jayne.  Aschehoug & Co. 1930

Lindow, John.  Norse Mythology:  a Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals and Beliefs.  Oxford University Press paperback, 2002.

Lönnroth, Lars.  ‘The Riddles of the Rök-Stone: A Structural Approach (1977),’ in The Academy of Odin by Lars Lönnroth, p. 279 – 356.  University Press of Southern Denmark, 2011

Malone, Kemp.  ‘An Anglo-Latin Version of the Hjađningavíg,’ Speculum, Vol. 39, No. 1 (Jan., 1964), pp. 35-44, Stable URL:

McKinnell, John.  (1) ‘On Heiðr and Gullveig,’ in Saga Book Volume XXV.  Viking Society for Northern Research, University College, London, 1998 – 2001.  [Downloadable for free here:    ]

McKinnell, John.  (2)  Meeting the Other in Norse Myth and Legend.  D.S. Brewer, Cambridge, 2005.

McKinnell, John.  (3)  Essays on Eddic Poetry.  University of Toronto Press, 2014.

McKinnell, John.  (4)  ‘Heathenism in Vǫluspá:  A Preliminary Survey,’ in The Nordic Apocalypse:  Approaches to Vǫluspá and Nordic Days of Judgement.  Pages 93 – 110.  Brepols, Belgium, 2013.

McKinnell, John.  (5)  ‘Why Did Christians Continue to Find Pagan Myths Useful?’ in Reflections on Old Norse Myths. Studies in Viking and Medieval Scandinavia (VMSS 1)).  (P. Hermann, J. P. Schjødt, R. Tranum Kristensen, Editors.  Brepols, 2007.

McKinnell, John (6).  Both one and many : essays on change and variety in Late Norse Heathenism.  Il calamo (1994)

Mitchell, Stephen A.  Witchcraft and Magic in the Nordic Middle Ages.  University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011.

Ólason, Vésteinn, ‘Vǫluspá and Time,’ in The Nordic Apocalypse:  Approaches to Vǫluspá and Nordic Days of Judgment.  Terry Gunnell, Annette Lassen, Editors.  Brepols Publishers, Turnhout Belgium, 2013.  Pages 25 – 44

Pétursson, Pétur.  ‘Manifest and latent Biblical Themes in Vǫluspá,’ in in The Nordic Apocalypse:  Approaches to Vǫluspá and Nordic Days of Judgement.  Pages 185 – 201.  Brepols, Belgium, 2013.

Motz, Lotte.  ‘Gullveig’s Ordeal:  A New Interpretation’ in  Arkiv för nordisk filologi 108:80-92 [ Article is available for free as a downloadable PDF:  ]

Nordal, Sigurður.  ‘Three Essays on Völuspá,’ translated by B.S. Benedikz and J.S. McKinnell, in Saga –Book XVIII (1970 – 71), p. 79 – 135.

Nordal, Sigurður.  (B)  ed.  Vǫluspá, text, commentary, notes and glossary.  English translation of notes, commentary and glossary by B. S. Benedikz and John McKinnell.  Durham and St. Andrews Medieval Texts Number 1,  reprinted with corrections 1980

North, Richard.  Ed. and transl. ‘Heðinn’s Everlasting Battle’ in ‘Bragi’s Eulogy on Ragnarr,’ in Longman Anthology of Old English, Old Icelandic and Anglo-Norman Literatures.  Editors, Richard North, Joe Allard, Patricia Gillies.  Longman of Pearson Education Limited, 2011, p. 131 – 133

Quinn, Judy (1).  ‘Hildr Prepares a Bed for Most-Helmet Damagers…’ in Reflections on Old Norse Myths. Studies in Viking and Medieval Scandinavia (VMSS 1)) (P. Hermann, J. P. Schjødt, R. Tranum Kristensen, Editors.  Brepols, 2007.  Pages 95 – 118

Quinn, Judy (2).  ‘Sǫrla þáttr and the rewriting of the revivification myth,’ preprint paper from The Thirteenth International Saga Conference, Durham / York.  John McKinnell, David Ashurst and Donata Kick, Editors. (Durham: Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2006).

Rowe, Elizabeth Ashman.  ‘Sörla þáttr:  The Literary Adaptation of Myth and Legend,’ in Saga-Book Vol. XXVI. p. 38 – 66.  The Viking Society for Northern Research, 2002 available as a free download here:

Samplonius, Kees.  ‘The War of the Æsir and the Vanir:  A Note on Sources,’  in TijdSchrift voor Skandinavistiek vol. 22 (2001), nr. 1.

Saga Sverris konúngs

Sögur Noregs konúnga frá Magnúsi Berfætta til Magnúss Erlíngssonar

Strid, Jean Paul (with Olof Erikson, photos).  Text translated from Swedish into English by Lennart Strid.  Rune Stones.  Edition Erikson, Malmö, Sweden, 1991

Ström, Folke.  ‘Nīð, Ergi and Old Norse Moral Attitudes.’  The Dorothea Coke Memorial Lecture, delivered at University College in London, May 10, 1973.  Published for the College by the Viking Society for Northern Research, London.  [downloadable for free here:,%20ergi%20and%20Old%20Norse%20moral%20attitudes.pdf  ]

Tolley, Clive.  Shamanism in Norse Myth and Magic, Volumes I and II.   (FF Communications, vol. cxliv2, no 297)  Academia Scientiarum Fennica (2009)

Vigfússon, Gudbrand and Powell, F. York, editors and translators.  Corpus Poeticum Boreale, The Poetry of the Old Northern Tongue, from the Earliest Times to the Thirteenth Century, Vol. I Eddic Poetry and Vol.  II, Court Poetry.   Oxford at Clarendon, 1883

background by ; eye by ; bottle by ; wolf by ; raven courtesy of ; silhouette by 


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The Real Reason Sears Faces Extinction

UPDATE March 25, 2017:  Well, the Advertising Standards folks were a little bit slow, but eventually they got around to my complaint, and the outcome of their investigation was that last week Sears Canada and I reached a happy settlement of my complaint.   (Happy for me, anyway.)  It’ll probably still be awhile before I shop for clothes at Sears Kingsway, but I don’t have a problem with shopping at the Sears West Edmonton Mall location.  I’ve never had a problem there, and have always found the store staff there to be friendly and professional.


When I was growing up in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada back in the seventies, (point of disclosure:  I’m actually fifty-eight years old but I have few memories of shopping before that decade), the department stores were the cat’s meow for clothes, furniture and appliances.  Twice a year the Sears catalogue would be thumped down by our front door and we would eagerly scan it.  Going to the stores, Sears, Woodward’s, Eaton’s and the Bay, there would always be staff on hand to help you.  Contrast memories of days gone bye with my experience on Sunday, November 13, 2016, at the Sears in Kingsway Mall, Edmonton:  I stood in line at the cashier’s in women’s wear for fifteen minutes, only to be told that the Carroll Reed items I had were not in fact on sale, even though a huge sign on the rack said they were.

See that sign?  The writing under it says “all Carroll Reed wear,” which is the only outfit on that rack, in varying sizes.  When I demanded to speak to a manager, I was told he was “too busy to talk to me.”  A “floor manager” named Alisha arrived, and told me I “should have read the sign” because in very very tiny print, as it turns out, it says that the exception is any clothing where the price ends in .97 (cents).  But the only items on that rack were all priced with the same price, as they were all jackets and pants of the same leisure outfit.  Every item was priced $32.97, jackets and pants.  I complained a few days later online, and spoke to one Tyler in Sears Canada’s Toronto head office.  He told me he would write a report and I would hear back from the Edmonton district manager within a week. I heard nothing.  (I have since placed a complaint with Advertising Standards Canada:  )  This is not the first time I’ve had a problem with Sears.  A few months ago I set up an online account and ordered two different pairs of pants.  Both pairs came in the wrong size, and Sears Kingsway was surly when I returned them.  Contrast these experiences with Northern Reflections:  whom I order from at least half a dozen times a year, often multiple items, who never get an order wrong, ship promptly with tracking information, with clearly marked sales and signs and friendly, gracious clerks in their stores.  Not occasionally.  All the time.

Some heavy financial analysts are predicting a bad ending for Sears:

Sears CEO Eddie Lampert bewails the “unfairness” of the gloomy predictions:

But I’ve seen a lot of businesses come and go in my lifetime, and there’s one sure-fire way of dying in retail:  ignoring the customer.  Ignoring complaints.  Ignoring changes in customer buying patterns.  Ignoring them on the floor.  I’ve walked through Sears Kingsway and said hello with a friendly smile to floor people only to have them just give me a stony stare.

I worked as a cashier for almost a decade.

It’s all about how you treat people.  If you don’t understand that, or you’ve forgotten it, then the end is coming for you; you just don’t see it yet…

A structure in Galena, Illinois with old Sears signage.  photo by, creative attribution, share-alike license; dinosaur by



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The current state of affairs in Turkey

June 23, 2017 at 10:50 EDM:   I’ve only just now realized Why Tayyip Erdoğan and MIT head Hakan Fidan are doing this:  they’re hoping that Fethullah Gülen will crack under the pressure of knowing that all his adherents are being locked up, and that he will come back to Turkey voluntarily. So they can silence him forever with respect to what he knows about corruption in the Erdoğan government. I can’t believe how long it’s taken me to catch on to what the persecution is really all about. He must Never go back there until those people have lost their hold on power. He must only go back when and if they go on trial, and then, if he is able to, he must go back to testify about what he knows regarding corruption. Or maybe he can testify by video. He must understand that if he succumbs to the pressure to ‘end the persecution’ by going back there himself, then They Win. The only way is to go through the valley of tears, until the Turkish people understand that there will Never be peace or prosperity or justice in Turkey, with Tayyip Erdoğan and Hakan Fidan at the helm.

Here is more on the background to the persecutions in Turkey:  Tayyip Erdoğan and Fethullah Gülen used to be best pals – until the latter started instigated a corruption probe against the Erdoğan government and MIT head Hakan Fidan, the latter whom is being accused of being behind a rash of extra-judicial “kidnappings,” both in Turkey:  and internationally:  and there’s considerable evidence mounting of serious judicial interference:

June 21, 2017 at 21:55 EDM:  It is widely being reported today in Turkish news sources that the Deputy Chairman of the official Opposition Party (CHP) in Turkey, Bülent Tezcan, has somehow managed to get ahold of a secret letter from the secretary-general of the Turkish Presidency that amounts to written evidence of direct interference in the judiciary of Turkey by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in November of 2015.  The letter demands that the Ankara Public Prosecutor prosecute a Turkish newspaper, gercekgundem, for “insulting” the President, and “requests**” to be kept posted of developments in the “case.”  Here’s a summary of the story in English:  Here’s the best copy of the entire letter (in Turkish, naturally), that I could find online, I tried my hand at sharpening it but didn’t see any improvement; the original is legible but barely:  

along with the link to the post (in Turkish) with that picture:  a link with the video of Bülent Tezcan’s conference:  and another summary of the story in English:

**(arzu etmek, ‘wish,’ but stronger than ‘request,’ more like ‘the boss wishes you to do something’ kind of request).


June 15, 2017 at 11:00 AM EDM update:  In Turkey today there are the evil ones who have just been waiting for their chance to siphon off a little power to do evil in the name of Turkey; for instance, these two self-proclaimed “reporters” who are calling on Turks abroad to assassinate anyone they believe to be a follower of Fethullah Gülen’s and democratic process be damned:

And Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is so possessed by evil that, even though he must know he should condemn and punish those two men, he can’t bring himself to do so, just as he sat and watched his men beat the crap out of peaceful protesters in Washington, D.C.  just as he’s sat by while 66,000 university students lose their schools:  and as journalists are persecuted:

(Here is the source story in Turkish:   )

and as a court system that has learned it had better do what he says or heads will roll works to commit a massive and illegal cash grab of business assets:  all in the name of protecting Turkey from ‘Gülenists,’ claimed by Erdoğan and Turkish Intelligence head Hakan Fidan to be “terrorists” who were behind the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey – and all this even though nothing, I repeat nothing, has been proven either in the coup attempt or in the labeling of Gülen’s followers as being “terrorists.”  The Turkish government is not even bothering to prove that the victims of its purges are Gülenists; just to be in possession of an odd little Google app called Bylock is enough to get locked up for decades, especially if one has assets that the state would like to get its hands on.  It’s taken many months for the United Nations to get one of its own judges released:  and all because he was found to have the google application installed on his phone; Justice Aydın Sefa Akay has repeatedly denied having any links whatsoever to the Gülenist movement.

Earlier this month, the Turkish Official Gazette issued a call for 130 of its citizens living abroad to return home to ‘face trial for being Gulenists’ or get their citizenship revoked.  Although it was easy to find reports of the list, it was with great difficulty that I found the names.  I searched the Turkish Gazette online repeatedly with no success.  However, I found a Turkish newspaper that took screenshots of the entire list:  and I have also saved the list, so if I notice this article has disappeared, then I will upload the screenshots of the list.


May 02, 2017 at 16:30 EDM update:  Word from the online Turkish newspaper Turkish Minute is that the Turkish government, (which essentially means Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as Turkey is already under a de facto one-man rule), is seeking to lift the immunity of Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of Turkey’s main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), as well as that of seven of his deputies:  I predict that lifting the immunity of eight members of the official Opposition including that of their leader, will prove to be the last straw for Turks.  I predict that such an egregious violation of democratic norms and law even in Turkey will open their eyes finally, to the inescapable conclusion that they have allowed a dictator to take over the government of Turkey.  I predict the result will be a revolution, and civil war, at the end of which, the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, will finally go on trial for treason.  Perhaps he will be the first to incur the death penalty he is so desperate to bring back to Turkey for his enemies, wh0 would seem to amount to about half of the people living there.  “Hope is the poor man’s bread.”  Turkish saying.

Pendu tarot charles6.jpg

‘hanged man’ Tarot card courtesy of wikipedia, which was banned in Turkey a couple of days ago, for ‘threatening national security, the public order, or the well-being of the public:


April 26, 2017 at 17:17 EDM update:  Today, Turkish judges Metin Özçelik and Mustafa Başer were sentenced to ten years in prison, for “abusing their judicial power” according to the court:

The European Association of Judges had previously released (in 2015) an “informative report” on the background to the arrest and detention of Metin Özçelik and Mustafa Başer, and that report, still available online here:  indicates that it was courageous efforts the judges had made to uphold justice and to do their jobs properly which landed them in trouble.  For the people who had been in pre-trial detention for months in contravention of Turkish law at that time and whom the judges had elected to release pending their trials, were not just ordinary people.  They were the police and prosecutors involved in the investigation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the question of possible corruption.  This video:

which has English subtitles available (just click on the ‘subtitles’ box on the lower right-hand side of the video), gives the essence of what the corruption question was all about:  had Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his son Bilal conspired to stash away monies that had been unlawfully appropriated?  Certainly, from online news reports at that time, one can see how the Turkish First Family might have felt in need of some extra cash:

Turkey had already run afoul of European courts by ignoring a United Nations order to release United Nations war crimes tribunal Justice Aydın Sefa Akay:  who had been imprisoned, as many thousands of other people have in Turkey, for using a googleplay messaging application called Bylock.  Last month Turkey was referred to the UN Security Council for flouting the UN order to release Justice Akay:

As for that Bylock app, although this pro-Turkish government newspaper, Hurriyet, states in its headline on the subject that the owner of Bylock claims that using Bylock is ‘evidence’ of being a ‘Gulenist,’ that’s not in fact what the man actually says:  as the GlobePost was quick to point out:

Moreover, not only has Judge Akay denied that he is a ‘Gulenist,’*** but the intrepid Turkish newspaper ‘The Turkish Minute’ has also made the claim that back in October 2016, the Turkish Security Directorate ordered police throughout Turkey to “get confessions” of being ‘Gulenists’ or ‘terrorists,’ because evidence of using Bylock was not in itself evidence of a crime:

But the truth doesn’t matter, when one is desperate to hang onto power at any cost.

Turkish flag courtesy of ; Turkish Ottoman minaret ornament courtesy of



February 11, 2017 (EDM) at 23:33 update:  From the February 12 (European time) 2017 article:

““Lawyer and human rights activist Eren Keskin said a state of emergency (OHAL) has been used to cover up all violations in Turkey, saying she does “not remember any period in which torture was this much legitimized.”

….  “Şanlıurfa Bar Association board member Güldal Beyazağaç Tuncel, who spoke during the conference…

said: “Arrestees are waiting for months, and the indictments are not being issued. Due to restriction decisions on investigation files, they do not know why they’ve been arrested; therefore, their defense can’t be made effectively. As part of operations many jurists including lawyers have been taken into custody and arrested.”

Tuncel listed other problems: “Conditions in the detention centers are quite bad. People are being kept at sports centers. Two hundred people use one toilet, and there is no possibility of having a bath. Consulting with lawyers is restricted for the first five days. Additionally, they have started to ask lawyers for written consent from the families of detainees. The right to chose to a lawyer belongs to the detainee, not the family. The detainees are marched in the corridors of the courthouse with their hands cuffed behind their backs; they are being humiliated in this way…

Police discriminate between lawyers chosen by detainees and those assigned by the bar association. The lawyers who are chosen by the suspects are being discriminated against. Lawyers worry when accepting a case. They are worrying whether an investigation will be launched against them. Lawyers are no longer able to perform their duties independently and freely.””   Read the rest of the article here:

And from the February 12, 2017 article:

“Since the coup attempt, more than 125,000 people have been dismissed from state jobs, and more than 45,000 are in jail on terrorism charges, including military personnel and police officers, but also large numbers of journalists, academics and civil servants. Erdoğan has repeatedly vowed to “root out” the entire Gülen network and threatened to reinstate the death penalty and “let the people take revenge”. The president, who wants to turn Turkey’s parliamentary system into a presidential one via popular referendum, is using the coup attempt as an excuse to rid himself of all unwanted critics.

“Many people have been dismissed not because they misused their positions, but because of their opposition to the AKP and Erdoğan,” says Andrew Gardner, Turkey researcher for Amnesty International. “If the state wants to bring proceedings against people, they need to do so based on individualised proof. But what we are seeing are blanket accusations against which people are unable to appeal.””

Read the rest of the article here:



December 26, 2016 update:  I read a remarkable article from Dec. 23 today in the Huffington Post, on the assassination of the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov (R.I.P) on Dec. 19:

The sheer self-centeredness and self-servingness of this article is captured perfectly in the last sentence of it: “Regardless of who wanted the ambassador’s death to be a message to whom ― and via whom ― the only loser in this power game looks like ordinary Turks and Turkey itself.” Really?? The only loser is Turkey?? What about the dead guy? And Russia’s loss of face? And, here’s a thought, Maybe, just maybe, he got killed because A. the cop who killed him really Was as angry as he appeared to be about Russian actions in Syria, and, B. because Nobody left outside of prisons in Turkey would Dare to question Why an unknown Turkish man with No official authority at that art gallery whatsoever was allowed to pace back and forth behind the Russian diplomat, and nobody would have Dared to check him for weapons, even though armoured vehicles had been parked outside of the Russian embassy for days in case of an attack; because Nobody in Turkey Dares to question or to Challenge anybody who Might be MIT or government related, and that’s why the Russian ambassador was successfully assassinated!


November 21, 2016 update:  I had an interesting exchange with an AKP party official yesterday and today on twitter.  You can read all about it here:


From a stunning article by Burhan Sönmez published yesterday, November 08, 2016:  ”

“…The government exercise a pernicious influence over Turkish broadcasters, meaning that people have turned their attention towards social media platforms and independent websites to get their news. As a result, the authorities regularly restrict and block internet access. The latest development was the arrest of Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, co-leaders of the pro-Kurdish party HDP, alongside some of their MPs, on Friday. It was a move which followed the arrest of Gültan Kışanak and Fırat Anlı (co-mayors of the biggest Kurdish city, Diyarbakır) the previous week and is a clear sign that the government will target anyone who doesn’t support them. During both incidents, the internet was cut off and social media accounts were out of reach across the country.

Erdoğan recently extended the state of emergency and is using it to the advantage of the ruling party. The AKP now has “legal” permission to bypass parliament and rule by decree. For example, they recently removed the rights of universities to appoint their own rector in free elections. From now on, Erdoğan himself will appoint the head of each university.

While all of these things are happening in Turkey, most people are unaware of them due to media restrictions and bias. The majority of TV channels won’t cover certain stories or will broadcast them in a distorted way. On the other hand, these channels will live broadcast all of Erdoğan’s speeches, as was the case on 12 January this year when a suicide bomb attack killed 10 tourists in Istanbul. Erdoğan gave a speech on the same day and dedicated a mere 44 seconds to the tragedy without mentioning the attacker’s link to Isis. However, he spoke for exactly 10 minutes about Academics for Peace, a group of university teachers who signed a declaration demanding a peaceful solution to the Kurdish conflict.

Erdoğan accused them of sympathising with terrorists and of threatening Turkey’s national security. That’s how the information flows in the Turkish media and that’s why alternative ways of communication news, like free newspapers and social media platforms, are so important….”

I have quoted more than I usually do from media articles, in case the source of the article:  has also been blocked by elements in Turkey.  As of this writing, I don’t think my blog has been blocked in Turkey, so I offer this post as a public service to anyone in Turkey who might be able to access it.  The Guardian newspaper keeps up with events in Turkey quite well and is an excellent source of information.  Another good site is the Turkish Minute: which will post stories that would get a newspaper in Turkey shut down in a heartbeat, in the current climate of total suppression of dissent.

For those of us with ties and memories in Turkey, it’s awful to witness from afar the savaging of democratic freedoms that had formerly made Turkey stand out from any other Muslim country.  When I lived there in the nineties, I often said that Turkey was the only Muslim country I could have lived in.  Not any more.

I remember when Tayyip Erdoğan was campaigning in the last presidential election.  “Make me president and I will bring peace,”  he said.  In fact he has brought the exact opposite.

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“Why I’m voting for Trump:” a considered response.

May 12, 2017:  “”If you’ve seen [James Comey] under sworn testimony, he just doesn’t comment on things he’s not supposed to. He knows the ropes.”   Really??  Has the FBI forgotten so soon how James Comey skewed the last U.S. presidential election?   And, isn’t blabbing about investigations one of the prime reasons that the federal Office of the Attorney General  has just recommended that he be fired?  I think it’s clear the FBI is gunning for Donald Trump, and, while I think it ‘couldn’t happen to a better guy,’ I disapprove of their using lies and the short memories of the American citizens to do it.




February 23, 2017:  Stop the Presses!  Donald Trump makes a good point:  “China has total control over North Korea… and China should solve that problem.  And if they don’t solve that problem, we should make trade very difficult for China.”

Of course, one might say the same about the Republicans and Trump.


November 13, 2016:  This here article by Page Six: is a thoughtful assessment of some of the reasons where the Democrats failed in the U.S. presidential election, while blandly overlooking even more important reasons, such as the FBI Director’s last-minute and game-changing innuendo and the Democratic party chairman’s sabotage of Bernie Saunders’ campaign.   But I think nobody has yet elucidated the single most important reason for Donald Trumps success, and that is:  his hat trick of appearing to many angry Americans who felt they’d been lied to and ignored by government, that he was telling ‘truths’ for the first time in politics – despite the fact that a lie popped outta his mouth pretty much every time he opened it, and his own history shows he doesn’t give a rat’s tushy about the poor, the female half of the human race, immigrants, or human rights in general.

picture from :

However, I had an insight this morning into who is most likely to assassinate Donald Trump:  not ISIS; ISIS is perfectly happy with a Trump presidency, because he’s an awesome propaganda asset for them just by being there.  No, it will be one of his own supporters, when he doesn’t follow through on his craziest campaign promises, like the wall.  If he did start to look like a serious threat to national security, someone in the government would get him, but I’m thinking now he’s not going to do that.  So it will be a ‘supporter,’ someone who can get in close to him by telling him they voted for him, and it will be when some angry white guy with a gun finally realizes that Trump is not going to actually make good on his more outlandish campaign promises.  I do think it’s quite likely that someone will try to kill him at some point.  I’ve seen a lot of U.S. presidents come and go in my 58 years, and I’ve never seen one coming in with so much hate shadowing him, before he even gets into office.


October 12, 2016 update at 12:08 PM EDM:

Kitty Grimnirs

The real elephant in the room is the word ‘evil…’ People have called Donald Trump a lot of names lately, for his remarks on torture: ‘I like it a lot,” on women, ‘they’ll let you do anything if you’re a star, grab ’em by the pussy,’ on Mexico, ‘they’re deliberately sending rapists and murderers to the U.S.’ but nobody uses the word ‘evil.’ Consider this, the meanings of the Hebrew word ‘satan’ are ‘slanderer, adversary.’ Jesus called Satan ‘the father of lies… not holding to the truth for there is no truth in him.’ [John 8:44] Whatever religious or philosophical maps we adhere to, we must surely accept that without truth they are nothing, without truth We are nothing, and therefore, whosoever willfully attacks what is true as a matter of course and as a pattern of behavior may be said to be Inimical to ‘God’ in whatever form you understand ‘God’ to be. Donald Trump is evil. Let us call a spade a bloody spade…

Donald Trump’s “deeply unsettling and disturbing” comments make him a danger internationally, the UN’s human rights chief says.


Canada’s top news magazine, MacLean’s, has just published a set of interviews with “ordinary, perfectly rational” Americans who still intend to vote for Donald Trump:

One of the phrases most often applied to Trump by his supporters is “refreshingly honest.” Repeatedly battering Hillary Clinton over her use of a private server for government emails, he invited Russia to hack the rest of her email correspondence.  Later, he claimed his remarks had been taken out of context, when that failed, he claimed he was joking.  But there’s video of those remarks, which you can still see and judge for yourself if he looks to you like he was joking:  (I often use the British Guardian in references to news stories, or the Canadian CBC, because they’re still free to read, with no monthly limit as to how many articles you can read.)

Trump supporters just love that “Make America Great Again” slogan.  In the first Presidential debate, however, Donald Trump did not deny that he “was one of the people who rooted for the housing crisis” or that he had said, back in 2006, “Gee, I hope it does collapse, because then I can go in and buy and make some money.”  Trump’s response in the debate?  “That’s called business, by the way.”

In that debate, he claimed that deregulation and cutting taxes for the rich were the keys to “bringing back jobs” to America.  One of the causes of the economic meltdown in the United States in 2007 – 2008 was the lax regulation over banks and savings and loans institutions:  a disaster presided over by Republicans.

As for his claim that his tax cut will be the “biggest since Ronald Reagan,”  that’s kind of a low standard, since “According to historian and domestic policy adviser Bruce Bartlett, Reagan’s tax increases over the course of his presidency took back half of [Reagan’s original] 1981 tax cut.”  Trump is beating the drum of Ronald Reagan’s “trickle down economics,”  “the belief that tax policies that benefit the wealthy will create a “trickle-down” effect to the poor.”  But, Reagan ended up taking back half the tax cut he’d promised, and the poor certainly didn’t benefit in the long run:  “Reagan’s economic regimen included freezing the minimum wage at $3.35 an hour, slashing federal assistance to local governments by 60%, cutting the budget for public housing and Section 8 rent subsidies in half, and eliminating the antipoverty Community Development Block Grant program.”

In newly released video from a court deposition, Donald Trump has evidently stated that his infamous claim that Mexico was “deliberately sending rapists into the United States” was a statement that had been “planned in advance,” and, that he “didn’t think the statement would hurt his brand.”  That’s your “refreshingly honest”??  Even many hard-core Republicans don’t think so anymore:

In fact, Donald Trump plays fast and loose with the truth all the time.  Don’t his supporters read the news?  Nobody’s hiding the truth from them.  When I read that Trump supporters believe that he’s a good guy who doesn’t really mean the crazy things he says, I’m reminded of victims of abuse who go back to their abuser, telling themselves, ‘he didn’t really mean it,’ ‘he does really love me.’  They actually have a lot more in common with ISIS supporters than they think:  ISIS supporters take one or two paragraphs from the Quran and ignore the rest, ignore all the parts about obeying the laws of the land, not killing people who aren’t trying to kill you, the part about Christians being closest to God, and how the people of the book (Christians), the Jews and the pagans who do good and try to lead righteous lives “shall get their reward from their Lord and they shall have no fear, nor shall they grieve.”  (Yeah, it’s all there in the Quran; I have five different translations in English, and I’ve read the Quran all the way through three times.)  But ISIS takes one or two chapters and creates a violent ideology based on that.  Similar to ISIS strategy, Trump supporters take one or two claims that their candidate has trumpeted over and over, and they just tune out the rest.  Nor are they as far away from violence as they think:  they’d be just fine with a President who would “shoot boats out of the water” for making rude gestures:  A promise I’d bet money ISIS terrorists would applaud if it was one of their own making it.   The only way you don’t see Donald Trump’s actions as major red flags is if you live in that terrifying place we all go to sometimes:

Frank Dillon – 1823-1909 – Sunset on the Nile 1855


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