Sunday, July 24, 2016

Explosion in Germany

 Photo

An explosion, described as a deliberate act, has killed one person and injured twelve others:

An explosion killed at least one person and injured 12 others near the German city of Nuremberg on Sunday and authorities said it was believed to be intentional.

A police spokesman said the person killed in the blast, a man with a backpack, was likely carrying an explosive device and acted alone.

There was no immediate information on his identity but the spokesman added that three of the 12 people injured were in serious condition.

It was the fourth violent incident in Germany in a week and came as the country was still on edge after the killing of nine people by an 18-year-old Iranian-German gunman in Munich on Friday.

The blast outside a restaurant in the town Ansbach prompted the evacuation of more than 2,000 people from a nearby "Ansbach Open" music festival, police said.

"We assume it was a deliberate explosion," a Bavarian Interior Ministry spokesman said.

He said no arrests had been made in connection with the explosion but Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann was en route to the site.


More to come.
 

Sunday Post




A suicide bomber has killed fourteen people in northern Baghdad:

A suicide bomber attacked a security check point in northern Baghdad on Sunday, killing at least 14 people, Iraqi officials said.

The bomber, who was on foot, detonated his device at one of the busy entrances of the Shiite district of Kadhimiyah, killing at least 10 civilians and four policemen, a police officer said. At least 31 other people were wounded, he added.

Three more civilians were killed and 11 wounded in a bomb explosion in an outdoor market in Baghdad's western suburb of Abu Ghraib, another police officer said.




ISIS has claimed responsibility for both attacks.


The perpetrators need not have been "card-carrying" members of ISIS.

It's the ideology that slips through borders easier than a "lone wolf" slips through French security.



Speaking of "lone wolves"...




Even though the gunman was heard to have said "Allahu Ackbar!" before shooting and his friend is wanted for questioning, it is mental illness, video games and bullying, not Islamism, to blame.





Oh, my. This must be very embarrassing for all:

Wikileaks – the infamous whistleblowing platform controlled by Julian Assange – released nearly 20,000 emails sent out by senior officials of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) – the governing body of the American Democratic Party. The emails, which contain internal discussions about the Clinton campaign and more, were sent out between January and May 2016.

The data dump forms "part one" of a "Hillary Leaks" series of emails, according to WikiLeaks.



Democratic National Committee head Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned on Sunday amid a furor over leaked emails, throwing the party into disarray on the eve of the convention to nominate Hillary Clinton in the race for the White House.

Lingering bitterness from the heated primary campaign between Clinton and rival Bernie Sanders erupted after more than 19,000 leaked Democratic National Committee emails seemed to confirm Sanders' frequent charge that the DNC, the administrative arm of the party, played favorites in the race.

Sanders had demanded that Wasserman Schultz resign earlier in the day.

"We have planned a great and unified convention this week and I hope and expect that the DNC team that has worked so hard to get us to this point will have the strong support of all Democrats in making sure this is the best convention we have ever had," Wasserman Schultz said in a statement.


I keep saying:



The Olympic committee has decided against a blanket ban on Russian athletes.

Some people are not happy:

The International Olympic Committee's decision Sunday not to impose a blanket ban on Russian athletes over the country's massive state-sponsored doping program but instead leave it up to individual federations has received plenty of criticism around the world, with the likes of U.S. Anti-Doping Agency president Travis Tygart, English champion rower Sir Matthew Pinsent, and Scottish Olympian-turned-journalist Susan Egelstaff amongst those bashing them. 


Even more puzzling:

Another remarkable aspect of this is that the IOC decided to block Yulia Stepanova's bid to compete as a neutral athlete; she and her husband were the crucial whistleblowers who exposed this system.

The Russians have been cheating for years.

Why have a crackdown now?



Summer camps cost a great deal of money:

For weekly day camps, private costs might start around $300 and can costs can range up to more than $500 a week, while a sleep away camp can start around $600 at the low end and run up to about $1,500 a week.

What would have made those costs bearable? A tax credit.

But that tax credit is gone.



And now, animals of the Great War:



Friday, July 22, 2016

Friday Post




So far, there are ten dead after a gunman (possibly more) opened fire at a mall in Munich:

  • Police issue "cautious all-clear," saying a dead body found near the attack's scene appears to be the shooter. They think he may have acted alone. Initially, police were hunting up to three suspects.
  • Ten people, including the suspect, have so far been confirmed killed in the shooting at the Olympia shopping center in the north of Munich. The attack took place shortly before 6 p.m. local time.
  • At least 10 people were also injured, with Munich hospitals calling in extra staff to respond.
 
More to come.






The Globe and Mail newsroom was evacuated after a suspicious phone call about a bomb was made:

The Globe and Mail building in downtown Toronto was evacuated Friday afternoon after a man called the news organization and said there was a bomb in the building, police say. 

Officers said an unidentified male made the phone call just before 3 p.m ET and indicated that he was behind planting a bomb in the building, located at Front Street West and Spadina Avenue.

When police arrived, officers began evacuating the building immediately.

After several hours of investigating, police confirmed that they did not find a bomb or any kind of threat to public safety.



With both of the above incidents, authorities say no motive was then known.

I'm sure.





First, he needs his endorsement and then he doesn't:

A day after accepting the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump pivoted back to the GOP primaries on Friday, choosing to re-litigate a pair of months-old battles with rival Ted Cruz.

In what should have been a feel-good victory lap the morning after his thundering acceptance speech, Trump instead defended his decision to retweet an unflattering photo of Cruz’s wife, Heidi, and returned to wondering about possible links between Cruz’s father and President John F. Kennedy’s assassin.

He also declared that, two days after Cruz was loudly booed at the Republican National Convention for not endorsing the new nominee, he would never accept the Texas senator’s backing.

“He’ll come and endorse, it’s because he has no choice. But I don’t want his endorsement,” Trump said. “Ted, stay home. Relax. Enjoy yourself.”

(Sidebar: I'm sure Ted will, Mr. Trump. After all, you just vindicated his not endorsing you.)



Make up your mind, Donald.


Also:



But then, as I’ve written before, Trump’s apparent soft-line policy toward Kim Jong-un is probably just as shallow and ephemeral as everything else under his hair. He doesn’t see policies; he sees flash cards with inkblots. His appeal is that he projects dominance to voters who harbor two mutually contradictory perceptions — that Barack Obama is weak, and that we have too many foreign entanglements. Trump craves the adoration of the mobs, and the mobs like the idea of “noninterventionism” in the abstract, right up until someone pisses them off. Then, they want a president who bombs stuff.

Which is interesting — and by “interesting,” I mean “terrifying” — because some of those observations are just as true of Kim Jong-un, only Kim’s stakes in maintaining his image are much higher. Kim must provoke the U.S. to maintain the adoration of his generals and survive, and Trump can’t stand anyone questioning his manhood by accusing him of backing down to Kim Jong-un. The personalities of these two men, both flawed and neurotic in their own ways, put them on a collision course. I’m more afraid that Trump will overreact and nuke Pyongyang than I am that he’ll cut a crappy deal that gives away Baekryeong-do and the Aleutian Islands, although (as I said before) those are both plausible possibilities, and aren’t mutually exclusive. It’s not hard for me to imagine a Manafort-Han Pact as a prelude to war. Not hard at all.

The thing with Trump is, it’s often not really the things he says (though sometimes, it really is) but the man himself. A nuclear South Korea, Taiwan, or Japan would cost me no sleep, if I could believe that things would go only this far and no further. It would be profoundly clarifying for China if the consequence of its bellicosity was to surround itself with nuclear states. It might even be stabilizing for China to have an extra reason not to invade Senkaku or blockade Taiwan.

In principle, I also agree that wealthy allies that want our protection should pay a greater share of the costs. Foreign governments should read this smart analysis of Donald Trump’s criticism of our alliances, and our allies. It’s possible to despise Trump while agreeing that on this issue, he makes a point that resonates with a large (and perhaps, growing) percentage of American voters. If Americans continue to perceive allies as free riders, they will elect a president who promises to walk away from its security commitments entirely. That’s why Seoul’s hard bargains on USFK cost-sharing or the SOFA are ultimately self-defeating.
 

(Kamsahamnida)





Premiers agree on an internal free trade agreement:

Canada’s premiers and territorial leaders have agreed in principle on an internal trade deal they say will help create jobs and improve the economy.

“This truly is a historic day,” said Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski, speaking at the end of a two-day premiers meeting in Whitehorse.

It’s not clear, however, what will immediately change under the agreement, which will replace an old agreement dating back 23 years.

“The old agreement covered only specific sectors of the economy,” said Pasloski. “The new agreement covers virtually the entire Canadian economy and will have unprecedented transparency.”

Provinces and territories will be able to keep exemptions and preferential programs they now have but creating new exemptions will become more difficult.





America deserters beg Trudeau to let them stay in Canada even though they joined the army of their own free will:

American soldiers who fled to Canada rather than fight in Iraq joined activists and a Liberal backbencher on Friday to urge the government of Justin Trudeau to end legal action against them and grant them residency status.




ISIS takes responsibility for a terrorist attack on a German train earlier this week:

A 17-year-old Afghan asylum seeker suspected of an axe attack on a German commuter train had a hand-painted Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant flag in his room, Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said Tuesday.

Herrmann said he would not speculate on terror ties to the attack, but the discovery suggested at least some interest on the suspect’s part in a militant organization that has called for attacks on the West.

The Daily Telegraph reports ISIL has claimed the teen as one of its “fighters.” In a statement, the extremist group suggested the Afghan “carried out the operation in answer to the calls to target the countries of the coalition fighting the Islamic State.”




And now, dachshund racing - the sport of gentlemen who like watching small-legged dogs run really fast:






Thursday, July 21, 2016

But Wait! There's More!

There often is...


The murderer of eighty-four people in Nice had been planning the attacks for months:

“The investigation has not only provided more confirmation of the premeditation of the murderous attack of Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, but also establish that he had support and complicity in preparation of his criminal act,” Mr. Molins said.
Among those five people, some are suspected of supplying Lahouaiej Bouhlel with a pistol, which he used to shoot at police while driving a rented truck through crowds of revelers gathered to celebrate France’s national holiday. Police also discovered an arsenal of fake weapons in the back of the truck.



Trudeau has hit a snag with his favourite country:

Canada's push for closer trade ties with China has slowed amid unease with the extent of economic access Beijing is asking for and its human rights record, several sources familiar with the matter said, impeding a top priority for Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Trudeau proclaimed openly that he admired China, whose human rights records was never a secret. His father worshipped Mao Tse Tung, the murderer of seventy million people.

This isn't about human rights. The disagreement is over money.

Guarantee it.


Also:

The testimony given by Christian NGO Samaritan’s Purse working on the ground in Northern Iraq, revealed a systematic conspiracy by Muslim UN aid workers to trap Yazidis in the refugee camps.

Raija-Lissa Schmidt-Teigen of Samaritan’s Purse testified via Skype from Northern Iraq and said Yazidis are not being placed on refugee lists used by Canada to get access to refugees. She said muslim UN aid workers in the refugee camps are actively discriminating against Yazidis making them wait up to six years before they can enter the refugee system.

This evidence utterly destroys a CBC story from earlier this week in a hit piece they ran against the former Conservative government about an immigration audit, revealing that out of a sample 500 Syrian refugees taken in by Canada, only three were Yazidis. The CBC used this as an attack against the former Conservative government’s refugee policy but in reality, these numbers prove that under Conservatives, Canada was taking in as many Yazidis as they could get access to given that the Yazidis aren’t making it onto the refugee lists at all.

I'm sure the prime minister's office will explain how "disgusting" this all is.




An agency of the government of Ontario endorses Al Sahara, a Muslim newspaper in which Jews are blamed for the Holocaust:

Beneath the headline “The Question Which Everyone Ignores: Why Did Hitler Kill the Jews?”, the article in the June/July edition of Al Saraha also blames the Jews for Germany’s “economic collapse” in the 1920s and for promoting “promiscuity … homosexuality … every type of sexual deviance.”

“This Jewish propaganda succeeded,” the article says, “until it became prevalent throughout the media that six million Jews were victims of Hitler, even though the total number of Jews in Germany was less than a quarter of this figure that they say Hitler burned!”

The article was reprinted from al-Masry al-Youm, an Egyptian daily newspaper operating in a notoriously anti-Semitic media landscape.

Al Saraha is distributed in Middle Eastern restaurants and grocery stores throughout the Greater London area. It is recommended as a source for immigrant news by the London and Middlesex Local Immigration Partnership, an Ontario government-funded agency. ...
After tipping off London police, B’nai Brith contacted Premier Kathleen Wynne’s office. In addition to ads for London real estate brokers, wellness clinics and divorce lawyers, the paper featured a full-page message from the “Ontario Liberal Caucus” offering the London Arab community its “best wishes” for Ramadan.

This is where Ontario Liberal voters' tax dollars go.


(Paws up




Why is Elections Canada essentially leading the cause for workers who allege they were insulted?

When Aisha and Maryama Hassan rode a bus home together after the federal election, they were surprised to find that they each had a similar story to tell the other.

The sisters both worked for Elections Canada that night and said they were victims of racial and anti-Muslim discrimination. Elections Canada is urging them to file formal complaints.

“Any elector who feels the process did not serve them… should certainly report it to us,” Elections Canada spokesperson John Enright, who called the allegations “unacceptable,” said. “If at the end of the inquiry it’s found that something did in fact occur… those people will not be retained in any future federal election, period.”

Maryama said a coworker made discriminatory comments suggesting that people who wear niqabs look like ninjas. Aisha, who took prayer breaks during her shift, alleges a supervisor criticized her for it.



Premiers in meeting in Whitehorse promise to waste more time and money:

Speaking in Gatineau, Que., Trudeau cited recent negotiations on the Canada Pension Plan as a sign that provinces can work together. Wynne and Clark expressed confidence a new Canada Pension Plan deal will be ratified, but probably not at the Whitehorse meetings.

The premiers are also expected to discuss health care, climate change and pension reform. One proposition that is almost guaranteed will be a call for more health-care funding.

"I know there will be a conversation at the table of what the expectations are across the country," said Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.

Premier Dwight Ball of Newfoundland and Labrador said his cash-strapped province faces a spike in medical costs as the population ages.



Okay, what the hell?

Police in South Florida shot an unarmed black caretaker Monday as he tried to help his autistic patient.
Charles Kinsey was trying to retrieve a young autistic man who had wandered away from an assisted living facility and was blocking traffic when Kinsey was shot by a North Miami police officer.

In cell phone footage of the incident that emerged Wednesday, Kinsey can be seen lying on the ground with his hands in the air, trying to calm the autistic man and defuse the situation seconds before he is shot.

“All he has is a toy truck in his hand,” Kinsey can be heard saying in the video as police officers with assault rifles hide behind telephone poles approximately 30 feet away.

“That’s all it is,” the caretaker says. “There is no need for guns.”

Seconds later, off camera, one of the officers fired his weapon three times.



A girl who was caught stealing later returned to shoot the store-owners who let her go:

A 13-year-old suburban St. Louis girl shot and critically wounded a couple who had let her go with a warning earlier that day after catching her and a friend trying to steal from their beauty shop, authorities said Wednesday.


The Circus

Last night, Texas Senator Ted Cruz refused to endorse Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, causing Trump's supporters to have a meltdown of near-epic proportions.



Some history:

Donald Trump and Ted Cruz squared off in the race to lead the disjointed Republican party against Hillary Clinton, a known liar, or Bernie Sanders, a candidate who was never a going concern anyway.

During the primaries, Trump accused Cruz's father, Rafael, of having been associated with Kennedy-killer, Lee Harvey Oswald, accused Cruz of infidelity and called his wife, Heidi, "ugly".

There's been some friction.

After all of this, Trump emerged as the heir apparent for the run to the White House.

Cruz had been asked to speak during the Republican convention under the assumption that he would be endorsing Trump.  Trump claimed to have seen Cruz's speech and then played it cool by pretending that the lack of endorsement meant nothing.

(Sidebar: well, then, why the brouhaha?)



That was not the scenario last night:

Ted Cruz was booed loudly during the closing stages of his convention speech as it became clear to the audience that he would refuse to endorse his former rival Donald Trump.

As Cruz sought to finish his speech without an endorsement, the crowd erupted in fury in an extraordinary scene on the floor.


I honestly have no idea what Trump or his supporters were thinking. Cruz would have to be a total idiot without any self-respect or love for his family to let Trump's ugliness slide and he would have to firmly believe Trump would be the statesman who would honour the Constitution, which Cruz does not believe Trump will do.

Trump himself was either too thoughtless to think that the past enmity would have been forgotten by now or a vindictive man wanting to see his former opponent squirm.

Nope:




Call Cruz petty and deal-breaking all one wants but perhaps one would like to refresh one's memory with Trump's insolence, something the "anybody-but-Hillary" crowd have shoved down a memory hole, and Trump's refusal to endorse another candidate himself:




And let's not forget that Cruz, at no time, asked people to stay at home in November but rather asked the crowd to "vote with their conscience" and ditch the criminally-minded Hillary Clinton.

But that is not good enough for some. Cruz's refusal to endorse Trump was a betrayal that might cost him in a future vendetta.


And that is what is wrong with this election and others like it. Indeed, this is what stinks with politics all over.


When one settles, compromises, votes for the tribe or just otherwise doesn't give a sh--, one ends up with the circus one is now witnessing. As Rex Murphy put it, it's a swamp, a fetid stew of guck, sloth, and idiocy with enough glitz and glamour to cover it all that one can forget that one's current leader is more stupid than a box of Kleenex:

I agree Trump is ridiculous — but he is an illustration of a problem and not its cause. Trump is not the swamp: he is the creature emerging from it. For however ridiculous and appalling his candidacy may be, it is no worse and no more ridiculous and appalling than the whole pattern of American politics at this time.

Is his candidacy more lunatic than the idea of a third President Bush or a second President Clinton? More despairing than the idea of an America so bereft of political talent that two families supply the major pool?

Is he more manipulative than President “you can keep you doctor, you can keep you plan” Obama? Is he less venal or arrogant than Hillary “it’s my server and it’s my State Department” Clinton?
 
With that environment, it's no wonder that the electorate votes for a showman and then gets screwed in the end.


Can one honestly say that someone like Trump is a statesman or that Hillary Clinton shouldn't be in jail?

The rigged game is bad enough but the "Lord of the Flies" mentality makes it worse.



The electorate, sadly, is crammed to the rafters with what is often termed politely as "low-information voters", people so bovine and bereft of any idea of principles that they would choose a candidate so disgusting that one wonders if they even care that anyone else would be wearing an orange jumpsuit. That will still be the case even after Trump is elected. This herd mentality did not just happen. It's been decades in the making. Those who have avoided taking stupid pills can only stand agape like someone watching a train wreck in progress (which is pretty much what is going on in the world).

In return, the opposite side, usually the side who pays the taxes and works for next to no regard or reward, embraces anybody who is the polar opposite of the crook and thief. Even someone like Putin becomes a glorious anti-thesis to Obama and Trudeau despite his iron fist. It's a visceral reaction but still not as excusable as letting the emotionally retarded get away with their melodramatic crap. One should not choose a worse option over a bad one but demand someone or something good.


Perhaps the world has been so far removed from principle and sanity that when one encounters them, they are too shocking to fathom.


So go easy on Ted Cruz, the man whose opinion was sought after and then not after he decided not to suck up a slap in the face.


If nothing else, it makes for a good drama, no?



(Cheers)



Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Mid-Week Post




Erdogan has declared a three month state of emergency:

Turkey's president has declared a three-month state of emergency following last week's failed coup.
In a televised speech, Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned there "may be more plans" from dissidents to try and overthrow the government.

The president said the state of emergency was in order to "take the most efficient steps in order to remove this threat as soon as possible, which is a threat to democracy and to the rule of law".

State security powers will be vastly increased as a result of the emergency measure, and it means the president and cabinet will have the ability to bypass parliament and pass new laws - suspending rights and freedoms if necessary.

Turkey's constitution enables a state of emergency to be imposed "at a time of serious deterioration of public order because of acts of violence", but they haven't been used in the country since 2002.
 
An emergency doesn't come with time limits. Erdogan is currently purging anyone he believes was directly or indirectly involved with the coup.

I imagine that purge may be completed three months from now.


Also:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada has told Turkey to respect the rule of law as it moves against the plotters of its failed coup.

I'm sure Erdogan is intimidated by Trudeau's nothingness.




A journalist critical of Putin was killed in a car bombing:

Belarus-born journalist Pavel Sheremet, who was killed by a car bomb in central Kiev on Wednesday, was known for his fearless criticism of the leaders of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.

It is no secret that journalists critical of Putin end up either dead or jailed (though no one is willing to publicly say it).





Autsch!




Mr. Wendt failed to add how frequent these occurrences were prior to letting in millions of "lone wolves".





They voted for it:

Half of the country's aboriginal families living on reserve could miss out on the federal government's new child benefit aimed at raising hundreds of thousands of Canadians out of poverty.

Tax returns are the basis for calculating how much a family receives under the new benefit and internal government estimates peg the tax filing rate on reserves at about 50 per cent.

That means millions intended to help indigenous children could end up left in the federal treasury.



They are not the only ones who voted for ruin:

The recently announced CPP hike is the most recent nail in the coffin. Virtually all objective analysts have for years stated that CPP enhancement was not needed and that the current system does a commendable job of providing retirement security for the vast majority of Canadians, especially those at the lower end of the income scale. Prior to entering politics, even the current Finance Minister Bill Morneau stated “Canadians are actually doing better than they think they are in their retirement planning – and are better off than many of the experts are telling us.”

So if it ain’t broke, why fix it? Part of the reason is that many Canadians believe they will be big winners from a larger CPP, despite facts to the contrary. Another compelling reason is that the very underfunded government employee pension plans, which are integrated with the CPP, will benefit greatly from a CPP expansion. Public sector unions spent many millions of their members’ mandatory dues in the 2015 federal election promoting the election of the Trudeau government, and the CPP changes are a very nice payback. Unfortunately, this payoff comes at the expense of the 80 per cent of Canadians who do not work for government, but who spend in the neighbourhood of $40 billion annually to fund rich government employee pensions. And as usual with such pension changes, younger taxpayers will bear the brunt of the CPP hikes, paying higher premiums up front for little gain in benefits down the road.


And:

The great Ontario Liberal electricity cash grab isn’t over yet. The government has sold off 30 per cent of its shares in the province’s biggest monopoly power distributor, Hydro One, netting about $3.7 billion. Another 30 per cent will be sold later. The money raised from shareholders in the market will fall into a slush fund the Kathleen Wynne government says will be used to pay for “investment in public infrastructure” and help balance the provincial budget.

But there’s more to come. The province is busy orchestrating another electricity deal to net the government hundreds of millions more. The outlines of the deal were announced in April last year by then energy minister Bob Chiarelli, who spun it as a “win‐win” for all concerned. But Chiarelli didn’t do much to explain how all the alleged wins would accumulate. So far, the only obvious cash beneficiary is the provincial government, which is set to net about $400 million.


No, Ontario will not be getting out of debt any time soon.










The world runs on oil. The only question is whether it is Canadian oil or Arab oil:


It’s a hypothetical question, perhaps, but not altogether unreasonable. The pressure is on to cap expansion of oil sands production and exports to fight climate change. That, coupled with international efforts to move to climate-friendly energy sources and away from hydrocarbons, suggests demand for oil sands crude may flatten and decline in the longer term.

“The global economy is on a long-term trend of declining oil intensity,” Burkhard said, explaining that improvements in energy efficiency have cut the amount of oil needed per thousand dollars of economic output.

The long-term trend is for growth in oil demand to separate from growth in global economic demand.
“The idea of having a peak in world oil demand in the next decade is not a fantasy. It’s not guaranteed to happen, either, but it’s more plausible now than it was, say, 20 years ago.”

But the significance of Alberta’s oil production, roughly 80 per cent of which now comes from oil sands, extends beyond its barrels of oil, Burkhard said.


Yes, about that:

Analysts predict oil prices driven higher by production stoppages during the Fort McMurray, Alta., wildfires in May will bolster the bottom lines of Canadian oil and gas companies as they report financial results starting this week.

Western Canada Select, the benchmark price for blended oilsands bitumen, rose by 58 per cent in the three months ended June 30 to an average of $42.52 per barrel from $26.93 in the first quarter of the year, said analyst Nick Lupick of AltaCorp Capital.

“Unfortunately, one of the contributing factors helping support Canadian crude prices in the quarter were the forest fires in Fort McMurray, which saw a total of 1.5 million barrels per day of bitumen and SCO (synthetic crude oil) production offline at its peak in mid-May,” he said on Tuesday.

I guess people do need Alberta's oil.

Gut an industry and who will notice? Those affected by that economic sabotage.





Good:

An Edmonton protester who was driving erratically along Highway 2 with a sign in his car’s back window saying “F— Harper” has been convicted of stunting.

The law does not allow for one to be so self-absorbed as to endanger the lives of others.





This would only work if bland fossils like Margaret Atwood were worth tearing adolescents away from their cell phones:

Ontario wants to see the work of more Canadian authors incorporated into school curricula as part of a new provincial culture strategy.

Tourism and Culture Minister Eleanor McMahon says there will also be technical and business skills training for some of the 280,000 workers in Ontario’s cultural sector, which adds more than $25 billion a year to the economy.

McMahon says a new fund will be created to support cultural activities in First Nations communities, including camps for young people that promote awareness of traditional knowledge.

The minister says engagement in arts and culture is a catalyst for creative thinking and innovation, which she calls “essential qualities in the knowledge economy and vital to Ontario’s growth and prosperity.”

(Sidebar: Ontario's puppy mills high schools aren't teaching marketable skills now. What wisdom could badly-written and tedious dreck impart on the future unemployed?)





Guys, guys -  you're both wrong:

Some members of Montreal’s Italian community are upset the Patriote flag, an enduring symbol for Quebec separatists, is flying in place of the Italian flag over a park in the heart of Little Italy.

This is Canada, guys.

Not that you need a flag to figure that out.




And now, bacon - is there nothing it can't do?


Yesterday afternoon an 86 year old female withdrew a large quantity of money from a cash machine before heading into a supermarket in Altrincham. Whilst shopping, the lady was challenged by an unknown female who grabbed her trolley and demanded the money she had withdrawn. The 86 year old lady then defended herself by repeatedly hitting the female offender over the head with a packet of bacon. The offender then retreated and made off from the supermarket.

Bacon: a delicious way to stop crime.



Monday, July 18, 2016

The Monarch and the Indigent

More summer reading...



German police have shot and killed a man who seriously slashed four people:

A man armed with an ax and a knife attacked passengers aboard a regional train in southern Germany on Monday night, injuring four people before he was shot and killed by police as he fled.

Wuerzburg police said on their Facebook page that three of the victims suffered serious injuries and one was slightly injured. Another 14 people were being treated for shock.

Police said there was not yet any information on the motive behind the attack, nor details on the identity of the attacker.

(Sidebar: FYI, popular press, that last statement is kind of a giveaway.)




Montrell Jackson, a ten year police veteran and a new father, was one of the three police officers gunned down by Gavin Long:

On the day Alton Sterling died at the hands of two Baton Rouge officers earlier this month, a 10-year-veteran of the police force made a vow that he shared on Facebook.

"I swear to God as my witness I will do everything in my power to steer my son along a different career path from what I have chose for myself. He can do better."

Those words were written by Montrell Jackson 12 days before the new father became one of three law enforcement officers killed in Baton Rouge Sunday. Before the ambush, the gunman had posted YouTube videos advocating more than just protests against police brutality and describing the July 7 shooting deaths of five Dallas officers as "justice."

But if shooter Gavin Long, a former Marine who was also killed Sunday, was trying to launch a "war" - a word he used in the videos - between the black community and those who wear blue uniforms, he picked a target who straddled both worlds. He picked a 32-year-old black man who was president of the homeowner's association in his mostly white neighborhood, a man who not only shared pictures of his four-month-old baby on social media but also his thoughts on the conflicted space he occupied after several high-profile police shootings of African-American men.

"He was the proudest damn police officer I ever knew," close friend and neighbor Kristi Godal said of Montrell Jackson. "And he was a proud black man in his uniform."

Montrell Jackson

#MontrellJacksonMatters.




I do hope the Hague has a sternly worded letter for this:

China is closing off a part of the South China Sea for military exercises this week, the government said Monday, days after an international tribunal ruled against Beijing's claim to ownership of virtually the entire strategic waterway.

Hainan's maritime administration said an area southeast of the island province would be closed from Monday to Thursday, but gave no details about the nature of the exercises. The navy and Defence Ministry had no immediate comment.

Six governments claim territory in the South China Sea, although the area where the Chinese naval exercises are being held is not considered a particular hotspot. China's navy and coast guard operate extensively throughout the South China Sea and regularly stage live firing exercises in the area.


 
You voted for it, Canada!

Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna said Friday the Trudeau government will present its plan for a uniform, national carbon price this fall, as part of a larger package of climate change initiatives.

“What we want to see is uniformity in terms of a national price,” McKenna said in an interview with Danielle Bochove of Bloomberg TV Canada. “We need a national price on carbon, so that’s what we are going to have ... in the fall.”

Translation? Hold on to your wallets.

While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned on bringing in a national carbon price in last year’s election, he provided few details about when or how it would happen.

We now know it will be in the fall.

And we also know it won’t be revenue neutral.

That means it will further increase our cost of living, in addition to the carbon pricing schemes provinces like Alberta (carbon tax) and Ontario (cap-and-trade), will be imposing next year. ...
A revenue neutral carbon pricing system -- only British Columbia’s comes close -- means that when the government imposes higher taxes or consumer prices on its citizens through carbon pricing, it lowers other taxes by an equal amount, so the government’s net revenue remains the same. ...

In fact, without revenue neutrality, carbon pricing schemes become just another punitive cash grab by governments, without effectively or efficiently lowering emissions.

That’s because they only lower them, if at all, by making people poorer, because they now have less disposable income to buy the goods and services created using fossil fuel energy.

It needs to be said: carbon taxes raise costs on goods and services, lower wages and negatively affect businesses. All the energy that goes into making and transporting stuff costs and that will be passed onto the consumer. Losses have to be recouped somehow. A more well-to-do household (and business) may not notice this right away but lower income households will.  Australia noticed this after the carbon tax was introduced. Those most affected were those in lower income households who saw energy and goods prices rise. When the carbon tax was repealed, states were happy because prices would go down and public money would be freed up for better uses.

But Canadians will not be told. Ever.

Enjoy the tax on the poor, Canada. You did, after all, vote for it.


Also:

You can refuse to buy an iPhone. But you cannot refuse to pay your taxes. Likewise, private fund managers must deliver solid results at reasonable cost or lose clients. The CPP is set up so you can’t leave. And not by accident. The more people are convinced of their own superior benevolent wisdom, the more determined they are to increase their capacity to benefit mankind, whether mankind appreciates their actions or not. That’s why, where competition holds private firms in check, it has taken a long and bitter struggle since before Magna Carta to hold the state in check.

Can I get an amen?

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Whip it out, Canada:

Eight Canadian fighter jets have been deployed on a massive training exercise in the Pacific, despite Liberal government warnings the country does not have enough such aircraft to defend North America and fulfil its obligations to NATO.

The government says the month-long exercise is critical for training Canadian fighter pilots to work alongside allies — and the planes will return to Canada immediately if they are needed.

But the Conservatives say their involvement proves Liberal claims of a fighter-jet shortage aren’t true.



#Afghanlivesdontmatter:

An Afghan father was on a quest for justice Monday after saying that his pregnant 14-year-old daughter was burned to death by her in-laws, the latest reported case of violence against women in the country.

Afghanistan faces serious human rights issues, including physical and sexual violence against women and so-called honour killings that often involve immolation.

The 45-year-old father, Mohammad Azam, said that he came to the capital, Kabul, to seek justice for his daughter Zarah. He told The Associated Press that she was tortured and set on fire by her husband's family last week. She died in a Kabul burns hospital on Saturday.

Azam said Zarah's killing, which happened in a remote area of central Ghor province, was in revenge after he had eloped two years ago with a young cousin of his daughter's husband.

Zarah's in-laws had struck a marriage deal with him, Azam said, letting him marry the cousin in payment for a debt they owed him for construction work. But they later reneged on the deal, he said, after promising the cousin to another man for more money.

Azam said he had no hope for justice in lawless Ghor. "The culprits should be brought to justice, my daughter's blood must not go in vain," he said.


 
But I thought "climate change" was killing all of the polar bears:

A female polar bear reached Iceland this past weekend, and was shot dead by a marksman shortly after it was discovered.

The Iceland Monitor reported the bear, a juvenile female, was sighted at a farm near the northern Iceland town of Sauðárkrókur by a farmer on horseback. He immediately called police, who advised people in the area to stay indoors and dispatched a marksman, which the Monitor says is standard Iceland procedure during polar bear sightings.

The animal got within 500 m of one farm before it was shot dead, some two hours after it was first spotted. 

This is the first sighting of a polar bear in that part of Iceland since 2008, when two of the bears were killed.

Despite Iceland's northern location and proximity to Greenland's population of polar bears, the animals are actually not native to Iceland, and there is no permanent population of them there. Occasionally, one or more individuals will make it to the island on pack ice during the spring melt.



I think the only thing missing was frequent Facebook updates on repeated doping:

With the Rio Olympics less than three weeks away, the IOC on Monday promised "the toughest sanctions available" after a report found Moscow had concealed hundreds of positive doping tests in many sports ahead of the Sochi winter Games.



And now, the Borzoi:

While the dog's exact origins are up for debate, we do know that the breed standard was first officially recorded in Russia in 1650. Some believe the dog was crafted by the Russian aristocracy. According to that account, a Russian duke was looking for a fast hunting dog and ordered a collection of Arabian greyhounds. Although they met his speed requirements, the dogs were not suited for the cold weather and perished. He ordered a new batch and crossed them with Russian sheepdogs, which had thick coats to keep them warm during the unforgiving Russian winters. These new dogs were both fast and well equipped to deal with the snow.

Serious in his cuteness.