Monday, July 16, 2018

(Insert Title Here)

Canada relies on China  (Justin's favourite country) for various components and goods:

Grim scenarios of collateral damage for Canadian consumers and businesses are emerging in response to escalating the U.S.-China trade war.

The Trump administration has taken aim at China by imposing a 25 per cent tariff on goods worth U.S. $34 billion, but the worst is still on the horizon.

The U.S. has announced a further round of tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods that could go into effect towards the end of the summer, after Congress takes a closer look at the implications in a round of hearings in five weeks. ...

But trade specialists say that with so much of Canada's manufacturing sector reliant on Chinese products — bits and pieces that wind up in finished items made in Canada — there will be unavoidable consequences.

The pain could start at the Canada-U.S. border, where American customs agents have the broad power to declare anything a Chinese product — even if it was made in Canada.

It's just money:

The Canadian Army’s newest radar system can’t be linked in to NATO’s air defence networks but the military says it won’t cancel the project worth more than $200 million.

The Canadian Army is just now taking delivery of the first Israeli-built radars which are expected to be declared operational by the end of the summer.

But the Czech military has put on hold its deal for the same radars after NATO informed it the systems couldn’t be used because the equipment was built by a non-alliance member and couldn’t be integrated into NATO systems.

People voted for Doug Ford because they believed he would scrap a controversial sexual education program partially penned by a convicted child pornographer.

Now it seems that he is squirreling the electorate:

Students in Ontario will still be taught about concepts like consent, cyber safety and gender identity this fall despite a plan to scrap the province’s modernized sex-ed curriculum, the education minister said Monday.

In an apparent retreat from her earlier position, Lisa Thompson said the portion of the curriculum being replaced by the newly elected Progressive Conservatives deals with “developing sexual relations,” and certain elements of the document last updated by the previous Liberal government will remain in place.

“We know they need to learn about consent,” Thompson said at the legislature. “We know they need to learn about cyber safety, we know they need to learn about gender identity and appreciation. But we also know that the former Liberal government’s consultation process was completely flawed.”

Yes, about that:

The curriculum promotes the idea that there are more than two genders and that gender identity is socially constructed.

The fact that few people have pointed out how these teachings aren’t based in science should raise a red flag in parents’ minds. 

According to one survey, less than 1 per cent of people in the United States identify as transgender. That means for over 99 per cent of us, our biological sex is our gender. 

A curriculum that teaches gender fluidity is misleading and will impair a child’s ability to have an accurate understanding of the world. ...

The backlash is emblematic of a disdain for those who lean right politically, and a desire to rally against Mr. Ford for the sake of political divisiveness. This is evident in the number of media outlets and individuals on social media, angrily pointing the finger at social conservatives.

It brings us to the question of who gets to dictate how a child is raised – should it be the responsibility of the parent or the state? Sexual education cannot be blindly outsourced to the education system. As uncomfortable as it may be, parents must be savvy about the issues their kids are contending with in 2018.

People who hold the views that Obama/Trump/Trudeau/Ford/Putin/not-Putin/Kim Jong-Un will magically change everything for the better and that questioning them is tantamount to treason and soft-headedness will invariably be disappointed.

A healthy distrust of people who promise one thing and deliver another is very good for democracy.

Perhaps Mr. Ford should consider that the next time he actually plans on retaining bad things from previous governments.

Speaking of velvet gloves and iron fists:

When I was born in Finland in 1977, the country was deep in the throes of Finlandisation. Even though Finland had retained its independence, the Soviet Union used its influence to interfere in its weaker neighbour’s affairs. This was Finlandisation. In addition to foreign policy, this practice also affected national defence, the economy, education, the press, publishing, and even which foreign artists visited Finland or which movies we were able to see.

Trump has no reason to thank Putin for his presidency. A rightly discontented American electorate put him in office. His willingness to trust the untrustworthy - a trait his devoted followers attribute to the "art of the deal" - is a flaw, though not atypical, that he must own and will have to face when his detractors, themselves unserious about leadership or the plight of others around them, use the inevitable collapse of relations or deals against him.

Even Trump concedes that his vague agreement with Kim (precedent-bound not to work) will take some time.

North Korean defector, Thae Yong-Ho, insists that a precise and forceful denuclearisation proposal is needed to bind Kim Jong-Un:

What is utterly stupefying is, as I previously noted, the willingness of others to believe and without question that people who are inherently bad will change for the better.

To wit:

Recently, Pyongyang’s modus operandi has been to coerce defectors into returning to the North and giving staged press conferences. In 2012, the Associated Press credulously covered one that featured a visibly terrified Pak Jong-suk, who claimed that South Korean spies had tricked her into defecting and thanked Kim Jong-un for forgiving her. Subsequent investigations by Donga Ilbo and the Washington Post reporters revealed that before Pak’s re-defection, someone contacted Pak and told her that unless she returned, her son and his family would be exiled from Pyongyang to starve in the outer provinces.

Re-defections are not only valuable to Pyongyang as propaganda to show to gullible reporters; they can also yield valuable intelligence about how the South questions newly arrived defectors to identify the North Korean spies among them. Re-defectors may also reveal the names of other defectors, whose families may then become victims of the state’s retribution.

Does that sound like a regime that has "come to Jesus" and will reform simply because one wishes it? 

The Kim dynasty is only less chaotically different than another Asian communist regime, that of the Khmer Rouge:

Amazingly, even as Cambodia disintegrated, the Khmer Rouge benefitted from unsolicited apologetics from intellectuals at the West’s august universities. Just as Mao, Stalin, and Hitler enjoyed disproportionate popularity among academics and university students, Pol Pot and his promise of a communist utopia in South East Asia elicited sharp defences from many radical Western academics. In what is now known by some historians as the ‘The Standard Total Academic View,’ these professors downplayed reports of atrocities perpetrated in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, and printed vicious attacks against anyone who disagreed.

Reports of cities being emptied by the regime’s forced marches, for instance, were explained away as a necessary policy to prevent starvation in the country. “What was portrayed as a destructive, backward-looking policy motivated by doctrinaire hatred was actually a rationally conceived strategy for dealing with the urgent problems that faced postwar Cambodia,” wrote Gareth Porter and George Hilderbrand in their 1977 book Cambodia: Starvation and Revolution. “Cambodia is only the latest victim of the enforcement of an ideology that demands that social revolutions be portrayed as negatively as possible, rather than as responses to real human needs which the existing social and economic structure was incapable of meeting.” The authors didn’t have the direct data on food levels in Cambodia required to make this claim. Nor were they able to assess conditions on the ground, since the regime had expelled all Western observers under a policy even more strict than that adopted by North Korea today.

As refugees who managed to escape the Khmer Rouge began spilling over the border into Thailand, their harrowing testimonies of horrific hardship, forced labour, starvation, and mass killings were dismissed by the West’s radical intelligentsia. In a manner reminiscent of the patronising social scientist, one academic wrote, “What the urban dwellers consider ‘hard’ labor may not be punishment or community service beyond human endurance … Such associations take what is happening in Cambodia out of its historical and cultural context.”

After interviewing Cambodian refugees, the French priest François Ponchaud said, “How many of those who say they are unreservedly in support of the Khmer revolution would consent to endure one hundredth part of the present sufferings of the Cambodian people?"

It is appalling that those who regard themselves as conservative would overlook similar sufferings and deceptions all for "peace in our time". One would expect nothing less of the left whose enchantment with any and all manner of dictatorships was precluded with willing blindness. One find finds one's self less forgiving of those who claim to have learned from history.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Sunday Post

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is not the only one displeased with the federal government's laissez-faire immigration policy:

Amid a heated war of words that followed a meeting between federal and provincial immigration ministers, Saskatchewan joined Ontario in choosing not to sign on the official communique released after the meeting.

"It is the Government of Saskatchewan's position that the government of Canada fully fund supports for asylum seekers that have arisen from recent federal policy decisions," Minister Jeremy Harrison said in a statement.

"Canada has yet to follow through on a commitment to fully support refugee transition and there is now added pressure for provinces to also support asylum seekers."

Quebec begged Ottawa to be relieved of its financial burden to people who illegally cross into Canada. If other provinces and territories don't want to be swamped with the government's enormous mistakes, it should join Ontario and Saskatchewan in refusing to take on the costs of future voters blocks.

Ahmed Hussen, fresh off calling Lisa MacLeod “Un-Canadian” for wanting border laws followed, tweeted a series of ‘facts’ about the border crisis.

(Sidebar: see here.)

Of course, his ‘facts’ were fake, designed to spread misinformation and distort what’s really happening.

On Twitter, Conservative Immigration Critic Michelle Rempel pushed back, shredding Hussen’s fake ‘facts’ and explaining what’s really happening: 

“This year, Illegal border crossing figures are currently at some of the highest in Canadian history. The Liberals try to spin it so that 1200+ people illegally crossing the border in one month is normal. These people have already reached the safety of the US. The # s/b zero.” ...

“Fact: In Ontario alone, the welfare costs associated with illegal border crossers from the US who have subsequently claimed asylum this year alone is $90M. This has not been accounted for in any federal budget.” ...

“Fact: Trudeau sent 80 IRCC staff to Montreal process the paperwork for illegal border crossers, and spent $179M of deficit funds to provide processing resources for illegal border crossers. Those resources could have been used to process those who are legally trying to enter.”  ...

“FACT: The wait times for Privately Sponsored Refugees – those patiently waiting overseas, many in UN refugee camps is over seven years in some areas. Under Trudeau, the wait time to enter Canada illegally from the US is zero days.” 

Hussen, who would not answer Michelle Rempel whether or not an immigration guide would warn against FGM, simply became unreasonable and defensive and took to calling others "un-Canadian" because he is now the face of a gigantic election-losing issue.

Slicing up girls is un-Canadian, Ahmed.

Also - this must be embarrassing for Hussen:

On March 19, 2018 Hussen appeared before the House of Commons immigration committee. He was asked not once but twice about the use of the term illegal and he said he was fine with it and used it himself.

I have used the word “illegal” and I have used the word “irregular” and I think both are accurate,” Hussen told Conservative MP David Tilson.

Well, that must be hard to weasel out of, Ahmed.

It is now clear that Ahmed Hussen’s attack on Lisa MacLeod – where he called her “Un-Canadian” – wasn’t just a one-off.

It’s official Trudeau Liberal policy.

That’s the obvious message from a recent tweet by Trudeau’s best buddy Gerald Butts:
“Enough is enough. It’s time to stand up to this divisive fear-mongering about asylum seekers. Let’s not allow the alt-right to do here what they’re doing elsewhere.” ...
The Trudeau Liberals have lost their minds.

Just months ago, they were calling the border crossings illegal. There are signs at the border that point out it is illegal to cross outside of official border crossings.

Now, they’re attacking us as “Un-Canadian” for wanting our border laws respected, and they’re insanely claiming that support for borders as an “alt-right” position.

Keep in mind, a recent poll shows 67% of Ontarians siding with Doug Ford over Justin Trudeau when it comes to the border – with those 67% supporting Ford’s correct argument that the illegal border crossing crisis is 100% the responsibility of the Trudeau.

Does Butts now think 67% of Ontarians are “alt-right?”

Yes, Butts does think that anyone and everyone who disagrees with him is a Nazi. He has worked too long and hard as a puppet-master to let it all fall apart. 

This is a sign that Butts is anxious. One should expect more unhinged behaviour as the federal Liberals' fortunes (as the provincial ones) go pear-shaped. 

Khalid, who represents a riding in Mississauga, Ont., said she didn’t think she would merit a parody account, since she’s not in cabinet. She’d be fine with it, she said — except for the fact this particular account was going too far.

“Everybody has the right to speak their mind, but freedoms come with responsibility and when we have the power to speak we should do it with care,” she said in an interview.

Except when they point out that you support the Islamic position on wife-beating. 

Speaking of pants-wetters: 

Those tempests spent, I returned to the question of Mr. Harper’s — alleged — surprise assault (which is what a blindside is generally understood to be) on the Trudeau administration. The media, judging by the length and number of features about it, clearly saw it as a big deal. Was Mr. Harper, on this trip (unconfirmed at the time of the initial reports) deliberately “undermining” Canadian unity on the trade dispute? Was this a signal that he had not really abandoned Canadian politics, that he was insidiously arranging events behind the scenes for a “comeback?” Was it evidence of Mr. Trudeau’s theory, vigorously presented during the Liberals’ annual conclave, held in April, that “it may be Andrew Scheer’s smile, but it’s still Stephen Harper’s party.”

Of course, it was none of those things. It was instead just one more instance of the curious fixation, bordering on clinical mania, for strange and delusional speculation about Stephen Harper which is so dominant a mentality for one segment of the Canadian political spectrum. It’s a very curious phenomenon in a time so completely given over to anti-Trump mania. For if one were to look for a name-politician who in character, speech, manner and style, is all things that Mr. Trump is savaged for not being, there is no more perfect an exemplum than our most recent ex-PM.

He is quiet, not boisterous; deflects attention from himself rather than calling the world to his every presence; adamantly prefers self-control to self-abandon; despises the arts of celebrity; and is a model of deportment in speech and personal interactions. The very few times he has spoken to the public record his comments were measured, articulate and empty of all partisan reference.

On the other hand, his name is summoned in the House of Commons by government members, or the prime minister, always in partisan and hostile terms, and outside, as at the Liberal party convention, with deplorable frequency and uncouth pettiness.


NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says Doug Ford is repealing Ontario’s modernized sex-education curriculum to please social conservative supporters, a move that she says will hurt the province’s children.

(Sidebar: would these be the "social conservatives" appalled that a convicted child pornographer penned a sexual education program that you applaud, Squealer Andrea?)


The father of a girl who died after a suicide attempt that followed months of bullying and an alleged sexual assault says the Ontario government's decision to repeal the province's sex education curriculum will put more teens in danger.

On Wednesday, the newly elected Progressive Conservative government of Premier Doug Ford announced the sex-ed curriculum to be taught to children in the coming school year will be an older version — not the controversial updated program brought in by the previous government.

The curriculum will revert back to the version taught in 1998, excluding recently added topics such as same-sex marriage, masturbation, online bullying and sexting.

"It's infuriating to see them do this," Glen Canning told CBC Radio's The House on Friday, adding that teaching consent in schools might have made all the difference for his daughter, Rehtaeh Parsons.

In November 2011, the Nova Scotia teen attended a party where she said she was sexually assaulted.
An explicit photo was taken during the incident — one that would be spread among the kids at her school and lead to months of online bullying.

Seventeen-year-old Rehtaeh was taken off life support in April 2013 after attempting suicide.

Canning said he believes that if Ontario's modernized — and soon to be replaced — sex-ed curriculum had been in place in Nova Scotia at the time, his daughter might still be alive.

(Sidebar: no, Mr. Canning, your daughter would be alive if both of her parents weren't permissive, let her do drugs and attend a party where alcohol was freely drunk by her and skeevy individuals whose parents likewise refused to do their vocational duties. If you really believe an already-bad program would have prevented this or anything like it, you are in deep denial.)

Surely someone could mention a few names:

Investigators say three family members have been charged after a woman was allegedly kidnapped and abused for nearly a year.

Police say the American woman came to Canada last year, married a man from Kingston, Ont., and moved into his home, where he lived with his mother, father and brother.

Kingston police say that over the course of 11 months, the woman was told she couldn't leave the home unless accompanied by a member of her family.

They allege the family isolated her, monitored her calls and took her citizenship papers and jewelry away from her.

Police say starting in April, the family members became increasingly violent towards the woman, allegedly hitting her and threatening to kill her.

Investigators say the woman escaped earlier this month after she was allegedly burned with a hot pair of tongs and reported the incident to police.

They say the woman's 29-year-old husband, her 52-year-old mother-in-law and 27-year-old brother-in-law were all charged.

The federal Liberal government embarked on an exhaustive creative process and spent $24,000 to hire a consultant to help rebrand its new investment promotion body to grab the attention of foreign investors.

In the end, they changed the name of their "Invest in Canada Hub" to "Invest in Canada."

Iran and North Korea are keen on blaming the US for their myriad of problems. Doing so serves to deflect attention from their crumbling dictatorships:

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei used a speech to members of Rouhani’s cabinet to call for support for the government and action against alleged financial crime to ease popular concerns fueled by U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from world powers’ 2015 deal with Iran on its nuclear program. 

The likely return of U.S. economic sanctions has triggered a rapid fall of Iran’s currency and protests by bazaar traders usually loyal to the Islamist rulers, and a public outcry over alleged price gouging and profiteering. 


A month after President Trump and Kim Jong Un held a historic summit in Singapore, South Korea’s Moon Jae-in made his own visit to the city this week – even stopping by the iconic Marina Bay Sands on Thursday evening to take selfies like his North Korean counterpart did on June 11.

The South Korean president offered a positive assessment of ongoing U.S.-North Korea talks while in the city, downplaying recent tension and miscommunication between the two sides.

“I believe the countries will honour the agreement reached by their leaders even if they face many difficulties during working-level negotiations,” Moon said after a special lecture hosted by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies on Friday.

Moon said that his faith in the negotiations was because the leaders of the two countries had met directly and reached an agreement in public.

However, if the United States or North Korea failed to “keep the promises made by their leaders in front of the international community, they will have to face the judgment of the international community,” the South Korean president added.

(Sidebar: yes, Mr. Moon, duck away from this obviously bad deal.)


Beginning in the early 2000s, North Korea began building a discrete, largely unnoticed, cluster of buildings, not far from the banks of the Taedong river, a few kilometers south-southeast of the North Korean capital of Pyongyang. Located on the eastern end of Chollima, a town best known for hosting a massive steel manufacturing complex since the Japanese occupation of the Korean Peninsula, the facility had drawn no public attention—until now.

The facility is North Korea’s first covert uranium enrichment facility, known by the U.S. intelligence community as the Kangson enrichment site. It is where, for more than a decade—possibly as long as fifteen years—North Korea has been enriching uranium for use in nuclear weapons. It is older than the well-known enrichment site operated by North Korea since at least 2010 at the old Fuel Fabrication Plant at Yongbyon. The Kangson site is one of two known North Korean covert enrichment sites.


U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that talks on Sunday between U.S. and North Korean officials to discuss the return of remains of U.S. service members killed in the 1950-53 Korean War “resulted in firm commitments” and that there would be a follow-up meeting on Monday. ...
The repatriation of U.S. remains was one of the agreements reached during an unprecedented summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in June in Singapore. 

Working level meetings will begin on Monday to coordinate the next steps for the repatriation of remains, including the transfer of those already collected in North Korea, Pompeo said. 

The Pentagon has said North Korean officials have indicated in the past they have the remains of as many as 200 U.S. troops. But a U.S. military official familiar with the matter said last month it was not clear what North Korea might hand over.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

A Post ... for Now

 The story so far ...

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is wasting no time at all getting things in order:

Ontario's provincial government promised to audit government spending, end cap-and-trade and scrap the current sex-education curriculum in the throne speech delivered Thursday by Ontario's Lt.-Gov. Elizabeth Dowdeswell.

The speech, written by the premier's office, emphasized that change is coming for Ontario. It echoed many of Premier Doug Ford's campaign statements, vowing to sell beer and wine in convenience stores and provide more funding for mental health and addictions.

This will be a "government for the people," the speech says, that will cut taxes, protect jobs and lower hydro rates.

The government says it will do a Commission of Inquiry into the government's financial practices to identify ways to "restore accountability and trust in Ontario's public finances."

It will include a line-by-line audit of all government spending to "identify and eliminate duplication and waste."


A big part of that change is a new approach to wine and beer sales, which had previously been controlled by the government:
“Your new government will respect consumers and trust adults to make the responsible choices that work best for them. That’s why it will expand the sale of beer and wine to convenience stores, grocery stores and big-box stores.”
It’s two short sentences, but it speaks volumes.

The Wynne Liberals had launched hysterical attacks against the PCs when they introduced their plan to free up the sale of beer and wine, making insane predictions of danger and gloom, even calling it “reckless.”

That just showed how little respect the Wynne Liberals and the elites had for Ontarians, as the Nanny-State Libs thought they had to exert government control over the sale of beer and wine or disaster would follow.

It makes no sense to allow injection sites and then become rabidly puritanical about the sale of alcohol to adults.

But it was never about public morals:

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister is asking his colleagues to eliminate restrictions on interprovincial booze runs.

In advance of next week's premiers meeting in New Brunswick, Pallister has written a letter to other provincial leaders outlining his priorities.

In the letter obtained by The Canadian Press, Pallister says the provinces should remove their limits on interprovincial transportation of alcohol for personal use.

He says the idea has broad public support, and would show progress in the effort to reduce inter-provincial barriers on other items. ...
"The Bank of Canada has estimated that removing existing trade barriers could raise real GDP by the equivalent of approximately $1,500 per family per year. Viewed from that perspective, the costs of inaction are high."

Justin's puppet-master chief advisor, Gerald Butts, takes issue with Ford's repealing the controversial sexual education program:

On Twitter, Gerald Butts attacked the Ford PCs for keeping their promise to scrap Kathleen Wynne’s highly unpopular sex-ed curriculum.

Here’s what Butts said, in response to a Michael Coren tweet:
“Will the Ford government be roundly condemned by the right for forcing its values on millions of families who don’t agree with them?”

Whatever you say, Nazi-hunter!

Justin will not be told:

Donald Trump boasted Thursday of singlehandedly winning commitments from his fellow NATO leaders to meet and exceed a defence spending target of two per cent of GDP — even though Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke only of continuing with Canada's existing military plan.

At a news conference wrapping up the two-day NATO summit in Brussels, Trudeau was pressed to provide more details about the U.S. president's sudden insistence that allies have agreed to spend more — and to do it more quickly.

Trudeau said he did agree to uphold Canada's commitment to the 2014 Wales NATO summit pledge on defence investment, but took pains to point out the declaration technically states NATO allies would merely "aim to move towards" the two per cent guideline within a decade.

"That is something we certainly agree with," Trudeau told a news conference.

Then why aren't you doing it, Justin?

(Merci beaucoup)

Another cabinet shuffle isn't a good sign:

She's gone from a junior minister, to a minister with a $4-billion budget to spend, to a minister holding down two different portfolios.

Now Kirsty Duncan, minister of science and minister of sport and persons with disabilities, finds herself at the centre of speculation as talk heats up about a cabinet shuffle.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will shuffle his cabinet sometime in the next week, sources tell The Canadian Press. With the NATO leaders' summit in Europe now behind him, his focus is shifting to putting the final touches on a Liberal cabinet that will carry his government through to the 2019 election.

As word spreads among the government that the changes imminent, political staff are anxious about their own futures and some cabinet ministers are looking at flight options in case they get a call to return to Ottawa immediately.

I'm sure that b@$#@rd will get it, too:

A Saskatchewan farmer who was convicted of killing his severely disabled daughter nearly 25 years ago is applying for either a new trial or a pardon.

Robert Latimer's Vancouver lawyer, Jason Gratl, has filed an application with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould that asks them to consider both options.

The North Koreans have not met their American counterparts over the repatriation of American war dead. This surprises absolutely no one:

North Korean officials did not turn up to a Thursday meeting with the U.S. military about repatriating the remains of the war dead, according to a U.S. official with knowledge of the situation.

The two sides had been expected to discuss at the Korean Peninsula’s demilitarized zone the return of U.S. troop remains from the 1950-1953 war — an arrangement that the State Department had announced after Secretary Mike Pompeo’s visit to Pyongyang last Friday and Saturday.

State Department officials had said that the meeting would likely take place on July 12, though they added that the date could shift.

On Thursday, however, Department of Defense and United Nations Command officials were left waiting in the DMZ’s Joint Security Area. The expected North Korean officials never arrived, according to the official who requested anonymity as he was not permitted to talk publicly about the event.

“We were ready,” the official said. “It just didn’t happen. They didn’t show.”

Had those "dreadful" Europeans not preserved artefacts, history and culture would have been lost forever:

Before the British came [to India], there was no indigenous tradition of exploring or conserving antiquity. The wonderful Buddhist stupas of the Mauryan empire (circa 2nd century BC) were destroyed, abandoned and forgotten during the Hindu revival, and then many Hindu temples met a similar fate during Muslim invasions from the 12th century… The fact is that we have no idea what would have become of the world’s ‘looted’ antiquities if they hadn’t been preserved in Western collections. Would the treasures of Beijing’s Summer Palace have survived Mao’s Cultural Revolution? Would the Elgin marbles have survived Turkish tour guides chopping off chunks to sell as souvenirs? Would ISIS have spared those Middle Eastern artefacts that survive in European museums?

The backlash is unjustified and serves only to prove his point:

The interviewer pressed on and asked the actor if the movement has made him reflect on his own actions, to which he said he’s “never been like that.” He went a step further to attempt to unpack more about the movement, saying that “any human being alive today, if someone casts too harsh a light on anything, you could be like, ‘Well, OK, yeah, when you say it like that, maybe.’”

“But it’s such a delicate and careful thing to say because there’s flirting, which, for example, in a social environment is in context ― and is acceptable. And that has been done to me as well, in return,” he said.

Men’s behavior “has to change,” Cavill said, but “it’s important to also retain the good things, which were a quality of the past, and get rid of the bad things.”

Waxing poetic on men chasing women, Cavill said, “There’s a traditional approach to that, which is nice. I think a woman should be wooed and chased, but maybe I’m old-fashioned for thinking that.”

“It’s very difficult to do that if there are certain rules in place. Because then it’s like: ‘Well, I don’t want to go up and talk to her, because I’m going to be called a rapist or something,’” he said.

Not every man is a creep and some workplace romances do end up in marriage

Instead of being frightfully reactionary, perhaps the frothing-at-the-mouth vanguards could take down some actual rapists and gropers instead of harmless comments on social media.

And now, two men who made childhood a remarkable time:

However, in 1962, both men made the drive up Interstate 79, from Pittsburgh to Toronto, for a trip that would eventually change the face of children’s television. At the time, the pair had been working on a show called The Children’s Corner at WQED-TV in Pittsburgh. Fred Rainsberry, head of children’s programming at the CBC, saw Rogers, and invited him to come to Toronto to do his own show. Rogers, in turn, invited Coombs to come along and work as a puppeteer on the new program, which was going to be called Misterogers. ...

Misterogers ran for four seasons on CBC before Rogers returned to Pittsburgh, taking his sets with him. For the next 33 years, he put on that cardigan and those sneakers, and talked about the joys of neighbourliness until finally retiring in 2001. Coombs stayed in Canada and, after working on the children’s series Butternut Square, created Mr. Dressup, which ran on CBC for 29 years (1967-1996).
Both Rogers and Dressup addressed the camera as if it were a single child rather than a collective. 

They were quiet and restrained, Rogers to the point of narcosis at times (he once silently watched an egg timer tick off a minute). Years ago, I interviewed Coombs, who said Rogers had told him that “if you’re restrained, the kids will come to you.” And come they did. Both created iconic shows (Mister Rogers’ Neighbourhood was the longest-running children’s show in U.S. history until Sesame Street eclipsed it), and both were successful live performers.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Mid-Week Post

Your median point of the work-week ...

In Thailand, all twelve boys and their coach have been rescued from the treacherous conditions of a now-flooded cave.

We don't sing enough praises for rescuers.

Trump is absolutely correct in demanding that NATO members pay the two percent of their GDP in defense, as is required of them.

Justin, the groper and slacker, feels quite differently:

Canada has no plans to double its defence budget, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insisted Tuesday, despite continued calls from Donald Trump for all NATO countries to meet agreed-upon targets for defence spending.

Trudeau called the military spending target — 2% of GDP, agreed to by all NATO allies at the 2014 summit in Wales — “an easy shorthand” but also a “limited tool” to measure a country’s commitment to the alliance.

(Sidebar: no, stupid, it is a requirement.)

“There are always perspectives on doing more, and that’s fine, that’s an important conversation to have,” Trudeau said Tuesday during a visit with Canadian troops at the Adazi military base outside Riga.

(Sidebar: like skipping off from the fight with ISIS and then planting a few soldiers in Iraq to give the appearance of actually doing something?)

As these illegal migrants illegally entered the country, it is quite acceptable to call them illegal instead of inventing a euphemism that will poorly disguise what they actually are:

On Monday, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen publicly rebuked Ontario’s new government for using the term “illegal border crossers” in a press release.

“I’m very concerned by Premier (Doug) Ford and (provincial) minister (Lisa) MacLeod really making statements that are difficult to understand when it comes to how they’re describing asylum seekers,” Hussen told reporters in Halifax.

The minister was referring to a statement in which Ford blamed Ontario’s housing crisis on Liberal government policies that “encouraged illegal border crossers to come into our country.”

The spat speaks to an intractable political fight in Canada: Whether the approximately 50 people per day streaming into Canada over the U.S. border are “illegal” or “irregular” migrants.

The Immigration and Refugee Board uses the term “irregular” when referring to the more than 23,000 refugee claimants who have walked into Canada since January 2017 without first passing through an official port of entry. The RCMP, meanwhile, prefers the neutral term “interceptions.”

The official CBC language guide favours “illegal border crossers,” calling it “bureaucratic jargon” to use the term “irregular” favoured by Ottawa.

“Some refugee activists have insisted that expressions such as ‘illegal’ border crossings should be banned from our journalism. The modifier ‘illegal’ in this context is accurate and clear, and it instantly helps our audience understand the story,” reads the guide.


Following his first official meeting with Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau explained publicly with a condescending smile that his provincial counterpart does not understand Canada’s obligations under the Refugee Convention. Just prior to the meeting, Ford’s team claimed the federal government was to blame for the large number of refugee claimants who have arrived in Ontario and pushed Toronto’s housing services to their limits. While he may have felt ambushed by the new Ontario premier, Trudeau should not lecture others about the Refugee Convention. He is misrepresenting the obligations found in this historic treaty.

The Refugee Convention commits state parties to protect refugees, but the term “protect” is more ambiguous than implied by the prime minister. While in many cases it may mean that claimants can enter and benefit from due process in their claim for refugee status, the obligations are not unequivocal and they depend on several factors.

The illegal entry of this latest wave of refugee claimants has worried many Canadians and has led to a politicized debate about use of the term “illegal” (which is not the same as “criminal”). Yet this aspect is not paramount from a protection perspective because all refugee claimants can be turned back to a safe country according to the Refugee Convention. For now, the U.S. is still considered a safe country according to Canadian law, despite controversial policies adopted by the White House.

It's just money:

The Bank of Canada raised interest rates on Wednesday as expected and signaled more rate hikes to come, saying that while mounting trade tensions with the United States were a concern, their impact on growth and inflation looked modest so far.


The Effects on Entrepreneurship of Increasing Provincial TopPersonal Income Tax Rates in Canada, released Tuesday, looked at 30 years of Canadian data and noted a declining number of new businesses starting up over that time as a percentage of all businesses.

The study concluded that the climbing top tax rates limited rewards and thus discouraged entrepreneurship.

(Sidebar: well, obviously.)

A January poll by Abacus Data found that 53 per cent of Newfoundland and Labrador residents expect the province to go bankrupt sometime in the next few years, the most likely outcome a federal bailout.

The province is facing a perfect storm of geographic, demographic, fiscal and economic problems, and as the walls close in for Newfoundland and Labrador, the fiscal choices get more and more desperate.  ...

But this isn’t just a problem for Newfoundland and Labrador. The government says it can’t raise taxes enough to pay the bills, and none of the elected leaders are willing to cut spending enough to balance the books. Instead they are banking on financial help from Ottawa, which means that Newfoundland and Labrador’s problems are Canada’s problems. And those problems are going to cost somebody billions of dollars.


As noted by BNN Bloomberg, “Twenty-eight per cent of respondents to a new survey, which was conducted on behalf of MNP from June 15 to June 19, said another rate increase will propel them toward bankruptcy, while 42 per cent say if rates rise much more they’d fear for their financial well-being. While both readings were down modestly from the previous quarterly survey, that’s not lessening the alarm.”

BNN Bloomberg even referred to many Canadians as being on the “brink of financial disaster.”

It's just a bad photo op:

A report in the Globe & Mail says Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen gave a briefing on illegal border crossings at The Suya Spot restaurant, which is allegedly tied to the Black Axe criminal syndicate.

If the inquiry was open and fair, why are its runners attempting to silence a lawyer who left it?:

Breen Ouellette, who went public last week about his decision to resign, says he received a cease-and-desist letter from a lawyer representing the inquiry on Friday.

“We hereby demand that you stop making any public or private comments about the inquiry. We also require a signed written statement from you acknowledging that you will not make any public or private comments about the inquiry,” the letter reads. “Otherwise, the inquiry reserves the right to seek all remedies available to it.”

In an interview, Ouellette said he believes the “self-interest of the commissioners” has led them to try and silence him.

“They don’t want to be fired and replaced with new people,” he said. “They don’t want to be saddled with the public belief that the national inquiry has failed.”

The Ford government will clean up Kathleen Wynne's expensive messes:

The Doug Ford government is standing by its decision to axe a controversial wind farm despite a warning the move could end up costing $100 million.

PC Government House Leader Todd Smith said the White Pines Wind Farm under construction in eastern Ontario was never welcomed by the local community, which he represents.

“We have a company that is in an unwilling host community,” Smith said Wednesday. “It’s not welcome in that community, never has been. The community has spoken overwhelmingly, and now the Ontario government is backing the people of Prince Edward County.”

The company, wpd Canada, was given approval to build nine wind turbines despite the local opposition.

NDP MPP Peter Tabuns said he finds it extraordinary that the Tories, who sat through the cancelled gas plant hearings, would repeat the mistake made by the Liberals.

“They’ve opened the people of this province up to a liability – the number that’s being bandied about is $100 million … (They’re) frankly, doing exactly what the Liberals did, doing a favour for one of their members, in this case Todd Smith,” Tabuns said. “Putting that risk for that bill on people’s plates is irresponsible.”

The previous government cancelled two contracted gas plants, slated for the 905 GTA, at a cost estimated by the auditor general of about $1 billion.


Ontario Premier Doug Ford has confirmed plans to replace Hydro One’s board of directors and the retirement of the company’s CEO.

Ford made the announcement at Queen’s Park on Wednesday afternoon during a scrum with reporters.

“They’re gone, they’re done. They’re done. We’re going to turn a new corner,” Ford said.

While the Ben Levin-designed sexual education program is technically scrapped, why not force this topic onto the parents as it ought to be?:

Ontario’s education minister says the sex-ed curriculum taught to children in the coming school year will be an older version, not the controversial updated program brought in by the previous government.

Lisa Thompson says ministry staff are working to inform school boards of the decision to revert to the curriculum that was in place before 2015.

Thompson says the ministry will be moving quickly to consult parents on how to update the curriculum and details on that process will be coming soon.

Premier Doug Ford promised to repeal and replace the controversial sex-ed curriculum when he ran for the Progressive Conservative leadership and repeated the pledge during the spring election.

Trump should withdraw from the UN and never look back:

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Monday refuted the U.N.’s "unnecessary, politically biased, and factually wrong" report on poverty in the United States.

Writing at National Review, Haley hit back at the report’s conclusions by pointing out America’s charitable efforts, safety net, and growing economy. The report’s alarming claims included the contention that millions of Americans live in "Third World conditions" and that the U.S. "criminalizes" being poor, but Haley said the accusations are motivated by politics rather than facts.

"When there are many dozens of countries where poverty consumes most of the population, and where corrupt governments deliberately make the problem much worse, why would the U.N. study poverty in America?" Haley asked. "The answer is politics."

To wit:

These days about four-fifths of all extremely poor people live in the countryside, and just over half of them live in sub-Saharan Africa (see chart 2). Africa is as studded with examples of failure as Asia is filled with success stories. Look at Nigeria, says Kaushik Basu, an economist at Cornell University. In 1985 the share of Nigerians below the international poverty line was estimated to be 45%—a lower proportion than in China or Indonesia. Now Nigeria has a much higher share of poor people than either country.  

But why let facts get in the way?

North Korea is still a totalitarian Third-World hellhole still bent on extorting other countries and frightening its own nationals:

Israel turned down a North Korean offer in 1999 to halt weapons sales and missile technology transfers to the Jewish state’s enemies, including Iran, in return for $1 billion in cash, over fears the U.S. would be against the deal, a former North Korean diplomat and defector has revealed.


There is "very clear evidence of humanitarian need" in North Korea, the top U.N. aid official has said during the first visit of its kind to the isolated country since 2011.

U.N. Humanitarian Chief Mark Lowcock arrived in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang on Monday.

He met Kim Yong Nam, the nominal head of state and president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, on Wednesday, the North's state media said.

Lowcock posted a video online outlining his observations after traveling to several areas in the southwest of the country.

"One of the things we've seen is very clear evidence of humanitarian need here," he said in the video, posted to his official Twitter account and the U.N. website.

"More than half the children in rural areas, including the places we've been, have no clean water, contaminated water sources."


Some North Koreans are reportedly calling family members who have defected to China, asking them to reconsider their plans to enter South Korea, according to a source in the country. The reports may indicate that the Ministry of State Security (MSS) is trying to persuade defectors to return to North Korea, citing the improved inter-Korean relationship.


South Korea said on Tuesday it has decided to scrap an annual government mobilization drill this year as part of a suspended joint exercise with the United States but will carry out its own drills to maintain readiness.The ministers of safety and defense made the announcement at a media briefing on Tuesday. The drill, called the Ulchi exercises, usually takes place every August in tandem with the joint Freedom Guardian military drill with the United States.


Though the school is a private one and Japan does have a history of brutalising Christians, that has never stopped ignoramuses from proving how irrational they are:

If movies have taught me anything, it's never open the black sarcophagus:

Egyptian archeologists have unearthed a massive black granite sarcophagus from an underground tomb in Alexandria — and no one knows exactly what’s inside it.

According to Ayman Ashmawy, an official at the ministry of antiquities, the sarcophagus was found in a hidden tomb five metres below the ground. Archeologists also found a large alabaster head, which may belong to the owner of the tomb.

The sarcophagus is 185 cm tall, 265 cm long and 165 cm wide, and is believed to be the largest ever found in Alexandria, a city on the northern coast of Egypt.

Beyond its size, the discovery is significant because the coffin is still sealed.