Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Canada Week: The Softening


It is reported (as of this writing) that fifty people are dead in Istanbul when as many as four suicide-bombers detonated their vests after a shoot-out:

A senior Turkish government official has told The Associated Press all initial indications suggest the Islamic State group is behind the attack at Istanbul's Ataturk airport.

The official also said nearly 50 people were killed in the attack Tuesday at the airport's international terminal and as many as four attackers may have been involved.

More to come. 

The Parliamentary Budget Officer warns what adults already know - that the government's spending is out-of-control

Canada’s total government spending is now on an unsustainable path, according to an independent watchdog.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer said Tuesday that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has used up some of the federal government’s room for new spending and tax cuts that could be managed while maintaining the current debt-to-GDP ratio.

Canada’s provinces and other sub-national governments, however, are struggling. A commodities slump and rising health-care spending has worsened their outlook, which was already on an unsustainable path.

Total government sustainability has swung from net even last year to negative 0.6 per cent of gross domestic product — or roughly $11 billion in unsustainable spending annually. Trudeau’s push into deficit financing and reversal of a planned cut to seniors’ benefits are eating up room that balanced out the dour sub-national outlook.

You voted for it, Canada.

Canada lifts visa requirements for Mexicans:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada would lift its controversial visa requirement for Mexican visitors before the end of the year, while Mexico said it would end long-standing restrictions on Canadian beef imports.

Because one voters block is not enough.

When will Arabic become the third official language?

Mahmud Kahwaji passed his road test on Monday in Sussex in his second attempt.

"I am very happy," said the Syrian refugee.

Kahwaji said he would usually call other people when he wanted to go somewhere but now he can travel alone.

Zakaria Al Sabagh is another refugee and also passed his road test Monday.

"I need to get a car now and take my family touring to see Canada everywhere and I need to find a job," said Al Sabagh. "I need to start again with my life."

Kahwaji and Al Sabagh are two of several Syrian refugees who already have licences despite not fully learning English yet.

The province offers the written test translated in Arabic and allows a translator during the road test.

The decision to offer the tests in Arabic was made in December by the province.

There is (or was) a reason why the language of majority had to be learned by new immigrants. Now that it's okay to live in culturally and linguistically separate enclaves in one country (that word is used in its loosest sense), the multicultural mosaic can grow and grow!

Speaking of mosaic....

There is more.

As is expected, the stupendously delighted people of New Brunswick get to watch as the powers-that-be contort themselves into unbelievable knots to either ignore hat is going on or excuse it.

My money is on the linguistic gap no one is in a rush to close.

Also: why Western feminists don't fight for Muslim women.

Wynne shuts up parents of autistic children restores some funding for autistic students:

Ontario is restoring some funding for kids with autism age five and older who were removed from a wait list for intensive therapy.

The Liberal government had announced that as part of a new Ontario Autism Program it would stop funding Intensive Behavioural Intervention for kids over four, instead transitioning them to what officials are calling a flexible service.

The government gave parents of children removed from the wait list $8,000 to pay for therapy during the transition period to the new program, but it wasn’t due to roll out until 2018 and parents said that money would only pay for, at most, a few months of therapy.

After a public outcry, the government is announcing today that those parents will be given direct funding – in successive payments of $10,000 – to pay for therapy until their child has a spot in the new program, or if they prefer, access to less intensive services funded by the government.

The government is also speeding up the transition to the new program, with a goal of implementing it in June 2017.

This should come as no surprise:

The federal government has identified a potential source of cash to help pay for Canada’s mounting infrastructure costs — and it could involve leasing or selling stakes in major public assets such as highways, rail lines, and ports.

A line tucked into last month’s federal budget reveals the Liberals are considering making public assets available to non-government investors, like public pension funds.

The Liberals are robbing the very people who plugged for them.

How delightful.

Again - what is the purpose of these forced parades?

I wonder if I’ll live to see gays apologize for violating other people’s rights to privacy and free association, simply for refusing to bake a cake or go along quietly with transgender bathrooms or whatever the next “Salem, not Selma” fad turns out to be. 

I do know there isn’t an annual parade for Emanuel Jaques.

And anyhow, “when you speak to any gay man in Toronto about the case, the first thing they say is the boy was no saint.”

Read the whole thing.

The Benghazi report has been released and it is as damning as when Obama first let J. Christopher Stevens die in Libya:

The following facts are among the many new revelations in Part I:
  • Despite President Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s clear orders to deploy military assets, nothing was sent to Benghazi, and nothing was en route to Libya at the time the last two Americans were killed almost 8 hours after the attacks began. [pg. 141]
  • With Ambassador Stevens missing, the White House convened a roughly two-hour meeting at 7:30 PM, which resulted in action items focused on a YouTube video, and others containing the phrases “[i]f any deployment is made,” and “Libya must agree to any deployment,” and “[w]ill not deploy until order comes to go to either Tripoli or Benghazi.” [pg. 115]
  • The Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff typically would have participated in the White House meeting, but did not attend because he went home to host a dinner party for foreign dignitaries. [pg. 107]
  • A Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) sat on a plane in Rota, Spain, for three hours, and changed in and out of their uniforms four times. [pg. 154]
  • None of the relevant military forces met their required deployment timelines. [pg. 150]
  • The Libyan forces that evacuated Americans from the CIA Annex to the Benghazi airport was not affiliated with any of the militias the CIA or State Department had developed a relationship with during the prior 18 months. Instead, it was comprised of former Qadhafi loyalists who the U.S. had helped remove from power during the Libyan revolution. [pg. 144]

So the White House would rather focus on a video than flex its military muscle.

Why haven't the Americans impeached this man? Why?

But... but... Vladimir Putin is our friend!

Russian intelligence and security services have been waging a campaign of harassment and intimidation against U.S. diplomats, embassy staff and their families in Moscow and several other European capitals that has rattled ambassadors and prompted Secretary of State John F. Kerry to ask Vladimir Putin to put a stop to it.

(Sidebar: I'm sure he will, John.)
Once a KGB agent, always a KGB agent.

Despite the hysteria, the world will go on:

Is it any wonder that citizens of one of the greatest and strongest nations in human history would recoil from an international order that was proving mainly that it could enrich an elite without seeming to lift a finger to preserve the nation’s core values and traditions — the very things that had made it great and strong? Is it any wonder that citizens of other great countries are —wondering what loyalty they owe to that same elite? 
This allegiance to the failed experiment that was the European Union is a sort of emotional and political stunting that belies the intellectual bearing those who whine about Brexit pretend to have.

A pig is genetically more similar to a human than an ape but I'm sure people have thought that through:

Asking why an archaic human isn’t evolving from gorillas today is like asking why the children of your cousins don’t look more like you,” said Matt Tocheri, an anthropology professor at Lakehead University and a researcher in the National Museum of Natural History’s Human Origins Program. “Those creatures have been on their own lineage for 10 million years. You can’t go back up that lineage and back down again.”

Even if chimpanzees could suddenly develop the traits of an Australopithecus, they probably wouldn’t want to.

It’s easy to think about evolution as a linear, progressive drive toward greater and greater complexity, something that started with single-celled amoebas and ended with us. But evolution doesn’t have a destination, and even if it did, humans are certainly not it. In many cases, evolution tends to favor simplicity above all else. That’s why creatures that live in caves lose their eyes, and whales – who are descended from terrestrial mammals – have almost no leg bones. Not even intelligence is sacred: sea urchins, which have no central nervous system, evolved from an ancestor with a brain.

“Evolution is about survival under particular conditions, and random mutations,” says Nina Jablonski, a paleoanthropologist at Penn State. “There’s a big element of chance and certainly no element of direction. … Living things are just trying to adapt to the contingencies of life in their environment.”

And yet...

By the turn of the twentieth century, Darwin's Theory of Evolution was already falling out of favour as an explanation for evolution. With good reason. There were two very big holes in the initial theory. One was the explosion of life forms in the early Cambrian period. This seemed to happen with no transitional forms of life leading up to these species. The other was heredity. Darwin proposed that with the natural variations that occur in populations, any trait that is beneficial would make that individual more likely to survive and pass on the trait to the next generation. If enough of these selections occured on different beneficial traits you could end up with completely new species. But Darwin did not have an explanation for how the traits could be preserved over the succeeding generations. At the time, the prevailing theory of inheritance was that the traits of the parents were blended in the offspring. But this would mean that any beneficial trait would be diluted out of the population within a few generations. This is because most of the blending over the next generations would be with individuals that did not have the trait. Mendel had the answer to Darwin's problem. Traits were not blended, but inherited whole. And according to Mendel's laws of inheritance, a trait that might disappear in one generation might reappear in the following generation. Mendel's laws of inheritance was combined with Darwin's original theory to give us our modern Neo-Darwinism.  

When people speak of evolution, do they speak of the theory as it has evolved over time, or Darwin's theory, imperfect but sufficient for people who would rather close their minds than examine the entire issue?

Carry on.

If I were to see snow in July, would that be global cooling?

Leading climate doomsayer Michael Mann recently downplayed the importance of climate change science, telling Democrats that data and models “increasingly are unnecessary” because the impact is obvious.

And now, cool off with facts about gelato:

Although we don’t know the exact origins of gelato, ancient peoples in China and Egypt added fruit and salt to snow to make a primitive cold dessert. Ancient Roman emperors reportedly ate similar desserts, and this type of dessert is one of the myriad of culinary inventions that Catherine de' Medici is credited (rightly or wrongly) with bringing from Florence to Paris upon her 1533 marriage to the future King of France. But the lack of milk (Italians had used water instead) meant that early gelato more closely resembled sorbetto (a.k.a. sorbet).

(Merci beaucoup)

Monday, June 27, 2016

Canada Week: The Metal Woodwind Instrument

How is everyone's Shark Week going?

Your summer reading.

Only one in four Canadians support NAFTA:

Only a quarter of Canadians polled say NAFTA has benefitted Canada– roughly the same portion, at 26 per cent, as those who say the deal has hurt the country, according to a new public opinion poll from the Angus Reid Institute. ...

The Canadian government says it has unequivocally benefited from NAFTA. Its foreign affairs website shows total Canada-US merchandise trade more than doubled between 1993 and 2014, while trade with Mexico jumped over sevenfold. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told CNBC in March that “trade is ultimately good, not just for our countries, but for our businesses and our workers” and said reopening NAFTA, a Trump promise, was not a “real issue.”

But Canadians have a mixed view, with 34 per cent saying the deal should be renegotiated, according to the poll. The most likely to favour renegotiation are Canadians 55 and older, the poll states, with 46 per cent of men and 44 per cent of women in that age range choosing this option. Young Canadians, meanwhile, are largely unsure.

Kurl said there was a high level of ambivalence or lack of awareness of NAFTA and its complexities. “Canadians are not particularly engaged,” she said. “Is this a condemnation of the trade deal, or is this kind of a shrugging of shoulders?”

The poll also asked Canadians what their priorities were for the summit. The issue of NAFTA itself and other trade issues topped the list at 20 per cent, with security issues winning another 20 per cent. Climate change was next at 17 per cent, while immigration and border controls were down the list at only nine per cent.

However, when the poll whether Canadians supported removing their country’s visa on Mexicans, respondents were divided. Just over a third of Canadians, 36 per cent, support lifting the visa, while 37 opposed the idea and another 27 per cent were unsure.

If Canadians don't like NAFTA, they are not going to like removing visa restrictions, which the Canadian government has promised to do.

Sarah Palin criticised Obamacare's panel for treating or not treating elderly patients and was ultimately proven right. Her commentary on appointed (not elected) officials in Brussels in a world that still hasn't defunded the UN isn't that outlandish:

On Friday, the former Alaskan governor and 2008 vice presidential candidate congratulated the “smart Brits,” likening the June referendum to the Declaration of Independence. After all, as she noted in a Facebook post, the citizens of the U.K. may have avoided nothing less than the end of the world.

Palin, a Donald Trump supporter, applauded the Leave voters for outfoxing “globalists” who would bring about an “apocalyptic One World Government,” she wrote on Facebook. That is because the European Union, in her words, is a “One World Government mini-me.”

Or Duterte can just wait for China to finish off the Philippines:

The Philippine president-elect said Monday he would aggressively promote artificial birth control in the country even at the risk of getting in a fight with the dominant Catholic church, which staunchly opposes the use of contraceptives.

Yeah, whatever, tough guy.

Also - we can't all be Antonin Scalia:

On Monday, the Supreme Court struck down a set of Texas restrictions that shuttered half the state’s abortion providers, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg used her concurring opinion to blast a key argument for the state’s tighter regulations — that terminating a pregnancy in a clinic is dangerous.

What a moron.

How the hell did someone like her get to sit on the Supreme Court?

Oh, heavens to Betsy:

As one researcher noted, “[m]any state health departments are able to obtain only incomplete data from abortion providers, and in some states, only 40 to 50 percent of abortions are reported.”

Likewise, the count of maternal deaths from abortion is based on death certificates, but medical studies have documented the inaccuracy of death certificates. As researchers have noted, abortions “cannot be linked to other sources of health data such as birth or death certificates, thereby making precise calculation of mortality rates or subsequent birth outcomes impossible.”

Consequently, the assertion that “abortion is safer than childbirth” is completely untenable. It’s based on a comparison of the official published abortion mortality rate (approximately 0.6 deaths per 100,000 abortions) and the official published childbirth mortality rate (approximately 6 deaths per 100,000 births). This comparison is completely misleading. A former director of the CDC, Dr. Julie Gerberding, acknowledged that the two rates are measured differently and should not be compared.
In contrast, most states link birth and death certificates, which means that childbirth deaths are more accurately monitored. The count of abortion deaths only includes direct deaths, while the count of childbirth deaths includes direct and indirect deaths (like homicides and suicides while pregnant), thereby inflating the childbirth death count.

The national system for counting childbirth deaths is thorough and long-standing, while there is no national system for counting abortion deaths based on legally mandated reporting. A handful of undiscovered abortion deaths in any state would affect the abortion morality rate significantly. In June 2011, for example, the Chicago Tribune reported that six abortion deaths and 4,000 injuries in Illinois abortion clinics had never been reported to the Illinois Department of Health.

In contrast to the United States’ dysfunctional system, there is a growing body of international, peer-reviewed medical studies from dozens of countries finding long-term increased risks to women from abortion. Maternal mortality studies from Scandinavian countries with superior abortion record keeping collection and reporting systems have found a higher rate of abortion mortality than childbirth mortality. Similarly, recent studies from Ireland, Mexican states and Chile — which prohibit abortion — have found positive women’s health trends despite the legal prohibition of abortion, including a study from Mexico published in February in the British Medical Journal Open.

Alright- who did the pollsters ask?

Almost eight years after electing a black president, vast majorities of blacks and Hispanics think President Barack Obama at least tried to make race relations in the United States better, according to a poll released Monday.

Stick a fork in the US. It's done.

A story that disappeared as quickly as a case of bullying and a disappeared newspaper article did:

One of the primary things I was taught in journalism school is to never assume you know the truth about any given incident unless you witnessed it with your own eyes. But police are not denying that a sexual assault occurred, nor are they denying that the trio of males aged 14, 10, and 7 hailing from Sudan and Iraq were involved in filming an incident wherein an allegedly mentally disabled five-year-old white girl was found naked and covered in urine. ...

The most telling phrase in the entire sickening brouhaha comes from the landlord who evicted the families of the alleged perps from the apartment complex in question:
[The] events of recent days have focused our collective attention on the complexities of living in a culturally diverse society.
This, then, is the essence of multiculturalism: A trio of underage presumed refugees from Islamic countries strip a five-year-old white girl naked and film it while peeing in her mouth. In response, ideologues from all sides warp the narrative to suit their emotional needs.
If distorting or inventing facts around an actual incident is disgusting, what would one call sweeping the entire incident under the rug and then projecting a paper-thin facade of political multiculturalism?

And now, happy accidents:

In 2009, Mas Subramanian, a materials science professor at Oregon State University, was running experiments designed to create new materials for electronics. During those tests, he and his team hit on a more unexpected creation in the form of a vibrant new color. Called YInMn blue, the pigment will finally be available to artists and manufacturers later this year through an agreement with the Ohio-based Shepherd Color Company ...

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Canada Week: Sunday Post

Stand for the national anthem before the Liberals trot out someone else who will get rid of it completely.

Speaking of stamping out countries...

Still smarting over the vote to leave the European Union (one can thank the functionally illiterate Millennials for that), the drive for a new vote may have found some steam:

An online petition seeking a second referendum on a British exit from the Europe Union has drawn more than 1.6 million names, a measure of the extraordinary divisiveness of Thursday's vote to leave the 28-nation bloc.

Yes, about that:

Most people do NOT want a second Brexit referendum despite more than two million people signing a petition calling for one, a Sunday Mirror and Sunday People survey has revealed.

Half of all Brits said they believe the result of Thursdays EU referendum should stay and the UK should leave.

In a poll of 1,069 British adults aged 18 and over taken yesterday, just 39% said they felt a second referendum should be held.

The truth is that the EU did not work. Now, it is very possible that other countries will follow suit and who could blame them? Appointed officials in Brussels deciding other countries' every move cannot be better than open agreements on travel and trade.

Speaking of trade:

Britain's high commissioner is open to signing a free trade deal with Canada now that the United Kingdom has opted out of the European Union.

Howard Drake said Britain will go it alone on trade agreements after the Brexit vote, adding the U.K. will not cease to be a trading nation after it pulls out of the EU.

Look - if we don't want the Americans coming here, you're not welcome, either:

When elections don’t go a certain way in the U.S., many voters inevitably utter the slogan, “I’m moving to Canada.”

Britons on social media also took up the refrain after the result of the U.K. referendum became clear last night.
You lost, "Remain" Britons. Deal with it.

A real leader criticises PM Trulander for butting into something he cannot possibly comprehend:

In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Nigel Farage, the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party, also took a shot at Canada’s Mark Carney, saying the Bank of England Governor may have to resign for becoming too partisan during the campaign, which ended with 52 per cent of Britons voting to leave the EU last week.

“I’m afraid that the whole international political community rallied to Mr. Cameron and the status quo,” Mr. Farage said in an interview on Sunday referring to Mr. Trudeau who was one of many world leaders who supported Britain staying in the EU.

He added that Mr. Trudeau would have never endorsed Canadians giving up similar powers under the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“I mean I’d love the Canadian prime minister to tell you guys that you’ve decided to make Nafta a political union, and that you are going to transfer all Ottawa’s authority to someone else, that you are going to have foreign courts overruling you,” he said. “How long would you last? A day? A week? And yet that’s what the Canadian prime minister was effectively recommending to us. I wonder sometimes whether foreign leaders genuinely understand what the European Union is.”

What Trudeau lacks in competence and class he makes up for in arrogance. Having been raised in affluence and under the occasional wing of a philandering communist who did not move Canada into the direction of republicanism but away from Britain, Trudeau finds it easier to react than to understand why over fifty percent of British voters might want to leave (what cannot be stressed enough) a failed experiment.

What would his anti-British father say?

Should Sweden and Denmark vote to leave the European Union, will PM Trulander pout some more?


Nepalese government officials are seeking answers as anger grows over the deaths of 13 Nepali guards who worked for the Canadian embassy in Kabul and were shuttled back and forth in one of the most dangerous cities in the world in an unprotected minibus.

Please, Nepal. Look who runs Canada now. The man has mittens sewn into his clothes. He believes that killing terrorists makes them win, I swear to God.

While everyone was deathly worried about what Brexit might mean, Fallujah was liberated from ISIS:

A senior Iraqi commander said the city of Fallujah was “fully liberated” from ISIL on Sunday, after a more than monthlong military operation.

Iraqi troops have entered the northwestern al-Julan neighbourhood, the last area of Fallujah to remain under ISIL control, the head of the counterterrorism forces in the operation, Lt. Gen. Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi, told The Associated Press.

Al-Saadi said the operation, which began in late May, “is done and the city is fully liberated.” The Iraqi army was backed by U.S.-led airstrikes and paramilitary troops, mostly Shiite militias.

“From the centre of al-Julan neighbourhood, we congratulate the Iraqi people and the commander in chief…and declare that the Fallujah fight is over,” he told Iraqi state TV, flanked by military officers and soldiers. Some of the soldiers were shooting in the air, chanting and waving the Iraqi flag.

Oh, dear:

A documentary on the life of a North Korean girl and her family has unintentionally exposed the secret inner workings of the country after outtakes of the film was smuggled out.

‘Under the Sun’ was supposed to be a propaganda film about a young girl happily growing up in the Kim Jong-un’s childrens’ union.

In snippets of the documentary, the girl, Ri Zin Mi, can be seen practising for festivals in tribute to former leader Kim Jong-il as well as at school, home and her parents’ work.

However, as the film crew and its Russian director, Vitaly Mansky, quickly discovered what they were being asked to film was all an illusion -the young girl became part of the North Korean system in front of their eyes.

“It was completely fake,” the film’s producer Simone Baumann told CNN.

“They would come to the scene, and would tell the people what they had to do, where they have to sit, how they have to sit, how they have to smile, they would tell them what they have to say.”

In the vision, the young girl can be seen being tucked up into bed by a group of her minders, while in other scenes thousands of flowers put on a stadium stage to mark festivities were soon after collected and put into bins.

The filmmakers also captured a group of North Koreans appearing to push a bus along a road and children shivering in classrooms.

While the North Korean authorities ultimately scrapped the original project after viewing the outtakes, a camerawoman copied everything filmed and kept it on two memory cards.

“The camerawoman is very brave. She put (the memory card) in her trousers when she went to the toilet. They gave one of them (the cards) to the North Koreans, and the second one they took with them,” Ms Baumann said.

After leaving North Korea the filmmakers decided to use the footage to create their own behind-the-scenes project. ‘Under the Sun’ debuts at US and European film festivals this month.

That must be embarrassing for the North Korean propaganda department. They still labour under the misconception that no one knows that North Korea is a Third World craphole headed by the only fat man in their country.

Why Ted Cruz should still be running for president:

Sen. Ted Cruz is calling out the Obama administration for its plan to “give away control of the internet to foreign countries.”

President Barack Obama’s administration is working to hand over management of names and IP addresses to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a global stakeholder group that includes countries like Russia, Iran and China — who don’t recognize the U.S.’s First Amendment.

Well, this must be embarrassing:

Sara Farsakh created quite a stir last month when she and her friends filed a lawsuit against a California restaurant, Urth Caffe in Laguna Beach, claiming the establishment discriminated against them because they’re Muslims.

Urth Caffe policy limits diners to 45 minutes at high-demand tables during busy hours; Farsakh and her friends — who were wearing Muslim headscarfs — were asked to leave their table. ...

But after their lawsuit was filed, Urth Caffe indicated it planned on countersuing — and it has made good on that promise.

Attorney David Yerushalmi of the American Freedom Law Center, which represents Urth Caffe, told LawNewz the co-owner of the restaurant, Jilla Berkman, is Muslim and many of her customers are Muslim or Arab.

“This lawsuit claiming religious discrimination is a fraud and a hoax on the courts and the media,” Yershalmi told LawNewz in a statement. “It is nothing short of an abuse of process to extort public apologies and other accommodations from my client, Urth Caffe.”

Yerushalmi noted in a court document filed Wednesday that there was “an underlying agenda for this litigation that has nothing to do with justice,” LawNewz reported, adding that Yerushalmi characterized Farsakh as a college-aged activist who “self-promotes her involvement in radical organizations.”

And now,  dips.

It's Sunday. Eat outside.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Friday Post

Rue, Britannia...

Stunned by a fifty-one-point-four percent vote to leave the European Union and horrified that a nation dared to take its matters into its own hands, the world freaks out and wonders what is next for Britain, another failed Pakistani state.

Prime Minister David Cameron, head of the ruling Conservative Party, announced he would step down by October. Speaking to reporters outside his Downing Street office, he said it wouldn't be right for him "to try to be the captain that steers the country to its next destination."

Former London Mayor Boris Johnson, also a Conservative, was the most prominent supporter of the "leave" campaign and now becomes a leading contender to replace Cameron. Johnson said Friday he was "sad" to see Cameron resign but didn't say whether he plans to replace him. ...

The pound suffered one of its biggest one-day falls in history Friday, plummeting more than 10 per cent in six hours on concerns that severing ties with the EU will hurt the U.K. economy and undermine London's position as a global financial centre. Authorities including the International Monetary Fund, the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of England had warned Britain's exit would send shivers through a world economy that is only slowly recovering from the global crisis that began in 2008. Now economists will wait to see if their predictions come to pass.

(Sidebar: markets also dip whenever there are elections. Just pointing that out.)


Most Swedes still have a positive impression of the EU. However, this could potentially change if Britain voted "out." In that case, one of the central questions would be whether EU leaders will try to strengthen cohesion by deepening cooperation and focusing on core members, or whether they will loosen the union to allow national governments to have a bigger say. ...

Denmark held a referendum last December, although with a much more limited impact: Danes decided against handing over more powers to the EU. ...

"In many ways, Greece depends on greater burden sharing in a closer-integrated eurozone. But this would likely remain off the cards after Brexit," ...

Orban is planning to hold a referendum in Hungary that could hurt EU cohesion. After last year's influx of refugees into the country, Hungarians will be asked to decide whether the EU should be allowed to resettle refugees despite a lack of consent by national parliaments affected by the decision.

In Hungary, it might not be a clear-cut "in or out" referendum about EU membership that could cause trouble but rather a referendum that is designed to indirectly question Brussels's authority.

From Rex Murphy:

The EU vote is the most dramatic illustration to date of how the “guiding elites” of many Western countries have lost the fealty and trust of their populations. Of the gap between ordinary citizens, facing the challenges of daily life, and the swaddled, well-off and pious tribes of those who govern them, and increasingly govern them with a mixture of moralistic superiority and witless condescension.

But a decade ago, “Euroskeptics” were a slender group, derided by their betters as xenophobes and bigots, a splinter faction of regressive nationalists and illiberal tribalists. That, at least, was the approved version from on high. And from those smug heights, they dismissed with icy contempt the concerns of ordinary people that the “EU project” was draining their national identity, dissolving centuries-old democratic systems, and forcing their submission to an alien, unelected and unaccountable Brussels super-government.

At this point, I think that most Europeans know what the Britons know - that the EU is a failed experiment, a needless geo-political confluence that could have been done without and supplanted with better trade or other agreements. The American experiment worked (though often bloodily) because the parties involved opted to remain united yet unfettered by a central power. No amount of extortion or shaming could turn that into what the EU became.

One's daily chuckle:

Trudeau was booed briefly by a few people in Quebec City on Friday — the province's Fete nationale — about 11 seconds after he began speaking in English about the result of the Brexit referendum in Britain.

And he said Quebec was better.

There is no moral clarity in clearing hospital beds:

The passage of Bill C-14 into law last week ended some of the uncertainty around physician-assisted death in Canada. But on the issue of conscientious refusal by medical professionals, uncertainty remains, particularly for pharmacists, registered nurses and nurse practitioners.

“The bill, which is now legislation, is very silent on questions of conscientious objection,” Joelle Walker, director of government relations for the Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPA), tells Yahoo Canada News.

That uncertainty could result in a situation where different provinces take different approaches to conscientious objection by medical professionals, Walker says.

The new federal law that legalized physician-assisted dying in Canada states that doctors have freedom of conscience on the matter and aren’t required to perform or assist in the provision of the procedure. The rights of other medical professionals aren’t specified in the bill, so their conscience rights have to be extrapolated from that statement.

The ways the right to conscientious objection will be handled could vary considerably across the country, and even among different medical professionals in the same province. 

Physician colleges across the country have all addressed the issue of conscientious objection for doctors, but with varying recommendations and subtle differences in language.

In Alberta, for example, physicians have an “obligation” to give patients a timely referral to doctors who will provide medical assistance in death if they themselves are unwilling to do so. In Nova Scotia, it is “recommended” that doctors do so.

There are reasons, aside from sound moral ones, why a door to euthanasia should never be opened. These so-called suggestions are not that. They are commandments. A doctor may refuse to kill or in any assist in a killing. What are his protections from lawsuits or other actions?

As of this date, none. Indeed, the law cannot even decide how far a doctor can or cannot go.

All for a hospital bed.

Nothing at all do to with Islamic terror:

Abu Sayyaf extremists rejoiced as they watched two Canadians being beheaded in the jungles of the southern Philippines, said a still-shocked Filipino hostage who was freed Friday.

Marites Flor tearfully recalled to reporters the moments when Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall were handcuffed and led away to a nearby jungle clearing to be separately decapitated in April and early this month by the ransom-seeking militants.

She said that Hall, who was killed last week, was her fiance. Ridsdel was beheaded by the militants in April.

"It's so painful because I saw them moments before they got beheaded," Flor told reporters in southern Davao city, where she was flown to meet President-elect Rodrigo Duterte after her release in nearby Sulu province.

"They were watching it and they were happy," she said of the militants, adding that she did not witness the killings.

The cost of China's one-child policy:

The breakdown of that structure began with the imposition of the one-child family rule which was only removed last year. When millions of migrants began leaving family homes in the past three decades to seek work in the cities, many left parents behind. Some 19 million people 65 years and older live alone now in China, and the number will more than double to 46 million by 2050, according to estimates of Yeung and her colleagues. ...

Many elderly, especially in rural areas, don’t have full health insurance or a pension. The government said it has expanded rural healthcare, encouraged private businesses to invest in retirement facilities and more than tripled the number of beds in nursing homes in the past five years. The nation’s top economic planning body allotted 10.8 billion yuan in that period to support the elderly.

More government subsidies will be needed. Only 9 percent of China’s private nursing homes made a profit as of 2015.

At the last census in 2010, 36 percent of men and 22 percent of women aged 25 to 29 weren’t married, twice the level of 2000. In cities, the ratio for unmarried women is even higher at 30 percent, according to Wang at the University of California. ...

China’s divorce rate almost tripled between 2002 and 2014, to 2.7 divorces per 1,000 people, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs. Newspaper commentators have blamed the rise of social media and dating sites, increased financial independence of women, and regulations that allow quick and cheap divorces.

And now, cool down with this video of ice-sculpting a flower.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

For A Thursday

In the news...

A gunman was neutralised after shots were fired in a German cinema:

A masked man was shot dead Thursday after entering a movie theatre in southwestern Germany with what appeared to be a rifle and taking several hostages, authorities said. No one else was hurt.

It must be those lax gun laws.

It will cost taxpayers $250 million to bloat the Canada Pension Plan:

The federal government estimates it will cost taxpayers $250 million per year to offset the additional financial burden that expansion of the Canada Pension Plan will eventually place on low-income earners.

You voted for this, Canada.

Speaking of wastes of money:

Ontario’s soon-to-be-defunct standalone pension plan cost taxpayers at least $16 million over the past two years, according to government estimates and public accounts.

Based on the numbers available, it’s likely the figure was closer to $20 million. The money was spent on research and to start setting up the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan and the “administration corporation” that was supposed to run it.

Premier Kathleen Wynne says the program will be “wound down,” but could not estimate how much the ORPP has already cost taxpayers.

Instead, starting in 2019, all Canadian workers will pay about $7 more a month into the Canada Pension Plan. Had the ORPP gone ahead, Ontarians without a workplace pension plan would have paid at least double that on a sliding scale geared to their income.


An investigation into money laundering at gas stations and laundromats that began two years ago in southern Brazil has since mushroomed into a wide sweeping corruption scandal, creating a national soap opera that has enthralled Brazilians as it reaches into the upper echelons of the country’s political and corporate elites. ...

The fallout has included the recent impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff and the arrest of dozens of senior politicians and business leaders. But also caught up in the tumult are hundreds of millions of dollars managed by some of the world’s biggest investors, including Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, one of Canada’s biggest and most respected publicly funded pension funds.

China's organ trade still continues:

According to the report, the entire organ-harvesting enterprise is controlled by the state, with the intimate involvement of China’s military and security apparatus. The report exposes the Chinese government’s efforts to enforce a systemic cover-up of the whole thing. It is an industrial-scale enterprise involving the trafficking of tens of thousands of organs intended for transplant every year — at least 15 times as many as claimed in official government statements.

Gutmann’s 2014 research had settled on a “best guess” that 65,000 Falun Gong practitioners have been slaughtered for their organs over the past several years. The new report’s primary research findings, gathered from hospital records, medical journals, whistle-blower accounts and hard-to-hide databases, appears to confirm that those earlier estimates were wildly over-cautious.

 Remember  Trudeau admires China's "basic dictatorship".


A convicted Islamist terrorist is one step closer to being granted Canadian citizenship, thanks to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government.

Trudeau successfully rammed his controversial Bill C-6 through the House of Commons on the last day before summer recess. Now all that’s left is a rubber stamp from the Senate.

The bill repeals a Stephen Harper-era law that enabled the government to strip Canadian citizenship from foreign-born citizens convicted of terrorism.

There's transparent democracy for you.

(Paws up)

A tied decision keeps a lower court ruling on Obama's abuse of authority:

But on Thursday, the Supreme Court disagreed. In a 4-to-4 decision, the justices let stand a lower court ruling that Mr. Obama had overstepped his authority. The decision freezes the president’s actions for the balance of his term, leaving the future of the program — and millions of undocumented workers — in limbo.

Does anyone care to ask why anyone without documentation or approval should skirt authority where someone else would be punished?

And now, drone footage of a church dome. Enjoy:

Byzantine - BigFly from BigFly.fr on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Mid-Week Post

Aahhh, glorious sunshine...

It is rumoured that Jason Kenney will leave federal politics and perhaps run provincially:

Conservative MP Jason Kenney is poised to announce this summer that he will leave federal politics, fuelling expectations that he intends to run a campaign to unite the right in his home province of Alberta.

If I were Jason Kenney, I would leave the cesspool behind and not look back.

Another broken promise:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau refused to say on Wednesday whether his government will hold an open competition to replace Canada’s CF-18 fighter jets — despite having made it one of his key election promises.

Whip out a solution, Justin.

I'm not seeing a problem here. One event celebrates the entirety of the town, the other only a fraction:

The Pioneers Day parade shuts streets in Steinbach, a rural area known as the bible belt of Manitoba, but the city’s first pride march is being forced on to the sidewalks.

RCMP denied Steinbach Pride a special events permit for its July 9 event, refusing to temporarily close the road it wanted to march along.

“There’s a strong possibility there’s going to be construction on the street at that time, so therefore one of the two lanes will be restricted. We can’t close the street totally because it’s on a Saturday and it’s a busy area,” RCMP Sergeant Joanne Ryll said.

“By all means they can have their march, but they must have it on the sidewalks.”

While the group has agreed to stay off the streets, Michelle McHale, an organizer of Pride March for Equality, said the city closes roads for many other celebrations.

“They just closed the city — on that street we requested — last weekend for Summer in the City,” McHale said, referring to the weekend-long downtown festival.

“There’s a lot of unspoken rules in this community; a public display is important so people can see that you can also be out and okay.”

One could always go to Istanbul (not Constantinople).

Mexico is one of the top oil-producing states in the world. It relies less on renewable energy resources than Canada and the US do. It even uses coal from Texas to fuel coal-fired plants.

How is any of that going to affect the thousands of illegal immigrants having flooded or about to flood Canada and the US?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, U.S. President Barack Obama and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto are set to meet June 29 in Ottawa for the first North American Leaders’ Summit in over two years.

Also: from the same woman who was  shamed into not censoring the obvious:

In March, The Daily Signal reported, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch told a Senate committee that “not only has she discussed internally the possibility of pursuing civil actions against so-called ‘climate change deniers’ but she has ‘referred it to the FBI to consider whether or not it meets the criteria for which we could take action.’ ”

I'm sure Mrs. Lynch is glad to see others are hopping on that particular band wagon.

A senate committee urges that Canada take in more North Korean refugees:

North Koreans are subject to arbitrary arrests and detention. Their freedom of movement is restrained, their privacy rights are non-existent and they cannot speak their minds. They live in a country isolated from the world.

About 1,000 North Koreans will defect this year — a dramatic drop from years past due to tightened border security. For those who do escape, their nightmare has just begun.

In these grim circumstances, the Senate Committee on Human Rights urges the government to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to allow North Korean defectors to qualify for refugee status in Canada.

In the short term, the committee is also recommending that the Minister of Immigration use his powers under the Act to allow the entry into Canada of the most vulnerable North Korean defectors.

It is doubtful that Trudeau will be moved into doing so for the following well-known reasons:

- like his father, Justin Trudeau admires China's dictatorship, something he has said openly. It is doubtful that Trudeau would do anything to irritate China like accepting in North Korean refugees who would testify about North Korea's dictatorship and China's willingness to send North Korean refugees back to a certain death.
- when a member of the Canadian press was attacked by China's foreign minister, Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion did nothing to contradict him nor did he defend the journalist. A middling statement about this matter was made days after. Neither Canada's interests, rights nor its people were defended by either Trudeau or Dion.
-the Trudeau government has made every effort to repeal or blot out what was accomplished under the previous prime minister. It stands to reason that the Tory plan to re-settle North Korean refugees stranding in southeast Asia will not be fulfilled.
-Trudeau made it clear that prioritising religious minorities from ISIS-controlled regions (a fight he withdrew from soon after the election) was "disgusting" even though the majority of migrants from those regions are of one particular group.

Like Israel, North Korean refugees no longer have a "special friend" in Canada.

Aid from the UN is not helping North Koreans at all:

What discourages in-kind aid is the grim reality that 21 years of U.N. aid haven’t solved North Korea’s food crisis, and the other grim fact — that U.N. agencies are still overlooking the real causes of the crisis and blaming weather and sanctions, just as Pyongyang demands of it. And if the aid agencies are so cowed by Pyongyang that they’re willing to lie to the world, what other compromises have they made with the truth?


I keep saying that sooner or later, North Korea is going to get it right:

North Korea took a significant step Wednesday in the development of a powerful ballistic missile intended to reach U.S. bases in the Pacific, launching one of the weapons about 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) high after five failed attempts in recent months.

The North's suspected Musudan tests worry Washington and its allies, Tokyo and Seoul, because the missile's potential 3,500-kilometre (2,180-mile) range puts much of Asia and the Pacific, including U.S. military bases there, within reach.

Japanese Defence Minister Gen Nakatani said the most recent launch demonstrated a "certain level of capability," and could lead to a further strengthening of North Korea's ballistic missile capabilities that can cover Japanese territory.

Each new test — apparently linked to a command from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un — likely provides valuable insights to the North's scientists and military officials as they push toward their goal of a nuclear and missile program that can threaten the U.S. mainland. Pyongyang earlier this year conducted a nuclear test, its fourth, and launched a long-range rocket that outsiders say was a cover for a test of banned missile technology.

A statement from South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said a suspected first Musudan launch from the east coast city of Wonsan failed. It didn't elaborate, but Japan's Defence Ministry said the missile fragmented and pieces fell into waters off the Korean Peninsula's east coast.

Later Wednesday, the South's military said the North fired another suspected Musudan, which flew about 400 kilometres (245 miles). Seoul didn't immediately classify this launch as either a success or failure.

Japan's Defence Ministry said that its radar analysis found that the missile reached an altitude exceeding 1,000 kilometres (620 miles), which suggests it was a Musudan missile.

"We have to see it as a success," Lee Choon Geun, an analyst at South Korea's state-funded Science and Technology Policy Institute, said of the second launch. "No other (previous) missiles fired by North Korea have ever flown that high."

I said before that I think this woman will be out by Christmas:

One image — a distraught woman, face buried in her hands, on a video screen at a London court hearing.

Other images, from social media, of a seemingly happy life filled with friends and family.

The contrasts involving the woman charged after a dead baby was found in a garbage dumpster in London last week, triggering an urgent police appeal to find the mother, could not be sharper.

The accused is Samantha Richards, 23, a restaurant and bar server from Amherstburg, near Windsor, nearly 200 kilometres away from London where the infant was found in a grocery bag last Thursday.

She is accused of giving birth to an infant in a northeast London home and disposing of the baby’s body. It’s still not clear when the baby died — before, during or after the birth — or how.

Nor is it clear how far along the pregnancy was before the baby was born.

Yet another non-vaccination failure:

A mother who says her baby is hospitalized with whooping cough in Victoria is warning parents who don’t vaccinate their children that there can be consequences for other kids.


If the Dark Knight movies have taught me anything it's that Reese and Carter are in Italy, living it up.

We all know this to be true.

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