Monday, April 24, 2017

Monday Post

 



French candidate Marine Le Pen has stepped down as president of her party:

French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen announced Monday she is temporarily stepping down as head of her National Front party with less than two weeks ago before the country chooses its leader in a runoff vote.

The move appears to be a way for Le Pen to embrace a wide range of potential voters ahead of the vote pitting her against Emmanuel Macron, the independent centrist who came in first in Sunday's first round, The Associated Press reported.

"Tonight, I am no longer the president of the National Front. I am the presidential candidate," she said on French public television news.




On the week-end, some fake holiday co-founded by a convicted murderer and that has produced some of the most outlandish apocalyptic predictions was observed by people who think that communism, which has claimed the lives of millions worldwide, is just splendid.

Ho-hum.


Also:

Vancouver Park Board officials estimate damage from Thursday’s unsanctioned marijuana protest could take several weeks and thousands of dollars to repair.

The crowd that admires Lenin also cannot clean up after itself.




Freedom of speech or move to North Korea:

Anti-abortion protests outside Ottawa’s only private clinic providing abortion services are causing stress for staff and patients, and some are calling for Ottawa Police and local politicians to do more.


Speaking of North Korea ...



North Korea has threatened to strike an American air craft carrier:

North Korea said on Sunday it was ready to sink a U.S. aircraft carrier to demonstrate its military might, in the latest sign of rising tension as U.S. President Donald Trump prepared to call the leaders of China and Japan.



North Korea has detained an American citizen:

Tony Kim, who also goes by his Korean name Kim Sang-duk, was detained on Saturday, according to Park Chan-mo, the chancellor of the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology.

Park said Kim, who is 58, taught accounting at the university for about a month. He said Kim was detained by officials as he was trying to leave the country from Pyongyang's international airport. A university spokesman said he was trying to leave with his wife on a flight to China.



North Korea is an obscenity? That word barely covers the reality:



Former North Korean prison camp guard AHN Myong Chol states that Kyo-hwa-so No. 22 supplies some forty percent of the corn consumed in North and South Hamgyong provinces. Women at the Kaechon prison-labor camp, Kyo-hwa-so No. 1, produce — under abominable conditions — textile goods for export to the U.S.S.R., Japan, and France.

(Sidebar: No longer the USSR, Russia still uses North Korean labour.) 





Israel was at a stand-still in remembrance of six million Jew murdered during the Holocaust:

Israel has come to a standstill as people stopped in their tracks for a two-minute siren that wailed across the country in remembrance of the Holocaust’s 6 million Jewish victims.

The ritual is the centerpiece of Israel’s annual Holocaust Remembrance Day for those systematically killed by Nazi Germany and its collaborators during World War II. Motorists pulled over on Monday morning, stepping outside their vehicles, heads bowed in silence.

It’s one of the most melancholy days on Israel’s calendar. Solemn ceremonies are held in schools and community centers. Cafes and places of entertainment shut down while TV and radio stations broadcast documentaries about the Holocaust and its victims.

The Holocaust wiped out a third of world Jewry. Israel was established in 1948 and hundreds of thousands of survivors fled there.


Also:

Violent attacks on Jews dropped for a second straight year in 2016, but other forms of anti-Semitism are on the rise worldwide, particularly on U.S. university campuses, according to a report released Sunday.

Researchers at Tel Aviv University said assaults specifically targeting Jews, vandalism and other violent incidents fell 12 per cent last year. They recorded 361 cases compared to 410 in 2015, which had already been the lowest number in a decade. The figure reported Sunday is the lowest since 2003, when 360 incidents were recorded.

The report attributed much of the drop to increased security measures in European countries including France, where there were 15 attacks compared to 72 in the previous year, and the United Kingdom, where the number of incidents fell from 62 to 43.


And:

Pope Francis drew new controversy on April 22 when he compared the transit centers for European migrants to “concentration camps.”

During a ceremony at St. Bartholomew’s basilica, which was devoted to honoring present-day Christan martyrs ... , the Pope spoke about the refugee camps, and said that “many of them are like concentration camps, because they are so crowded.”

That remark drew a mild rebuke from the American Jewish Committee (AJC). “There is no comparison” between refugee camps and the Nazi concentration camps, said David Harris, the head of the AJC. “The conditions in which migrants are currently living in some European countries may well be difficult, and deserve still greater international attention, but concentration camps they certainly are not.”


The Vatican noted that Pope Francis was speaking without a text, implicitly acknowledging that his choice of words was unfortunate.

The man needs a script.


 

How could this go wrong?

Saudi Arabia has been elected to a 2018 – 2022 term on United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, a UN agency which is exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.
And this is a country where women have to take permission from their guardian if they have to study, work, travel or marry. In fact, to access certain types of healthcare also they need a man to accompany them. FYI, women are banned from driving cars too.
The election happened in a secret vote during the UN’s Economic and Social Council, according to UN Watch- a non-governmental body that monitors the United Nations.

We need to withdraw today.





But ... but ... diversity!

Dr. Jumana Nagarwala is accused of performing the procedure on two Minnesota girls that left them with scars and lacerations. Her attorney, Shannon Smith, insists that Nagarwala conducted a benign religious ritual that involved no mutilation.

Prosecutors on Friday charged two other Bohras, Dr. Fakhruddin Attar and his wife, Farida Attar, with conspiracy. Fakhruddin Attar owns the Detroit-area clinic where the alleged procedures were performed in February, and investigators say the couple knew Nagarwala was doing the procedures after business hours.


Also:

The New York Times systematically removes the phrase “Female Genital Mutilation” from its coverage of the controversial ritual – because it believes the term is “culturally loaded” and unfair.

It's unfair to get one's nether-bits chopped off.





Let me know how that works out, Kathleen:

Premier Kathleen Wynne announced Monday a plan to study basic income in Ontario, in a three-year pilot project based in Hamilton, Lindsay and Thunder Bay.


Also in "thinks money grows on trees" news:

Ontario’s NDP is pledging to create a provincial pharmacare plan, appealing to the grassroots about a year out from the start of next year’s election campaign.

**

In that light, let’s review Wynne’s record on five other major issues:

Auto insurance: Prior to the 2014 Ontario election, Wynne promised to reduce auto insurance premiums by an average of 15% by August, 2015. Post-election, having failed to reach even half that target, Wynne announced her 15% cut had been a “stretch goal,” a novel way of describing a broken promise which also raises the question of whether it could be applied to any political pledge Wynne makes. A recent government report on Ontario’s auto insurance system found while Ontario drivers are among the safest in Canada, they pay the nation’s highest premiums for insurance, which seldom provides them with proper medical care if they are injured in an accident.

Cap and trade: During the 2014 election, Wynne made no mention of imposing carbon pricing on Ontarians, and after the election, said she had no plans to introduce a carbon tax. Instead, she imposed a cap and trade scheme on Ontarians starting Jan. 1, 2017. Cap and trade is a carbon tax by another name. It raises the prices of goods and services instead of the taxes on them. But its impact on the public is the same as a carbon tax. It increases the cost of living.

Open and transparent government: During the 2014 election, Wynne promised a new era of openness and transparency. Subsequently, she scrapped legislation by her predecessor, Dalton McGuinty, designed to prevent the government from misusing taxpayers’ money to pay for politically partisan ads. Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk, who advised Wynne against scrapping the law, says her government has since spent millions of taxpayer dollars on “self-congratulatory” partisan advertising she would have vetoed under McGuinty’s law.

Sale of Hydro One: During the 2014 election, Wynne made no specific mention of her highly unpopular post-election decision to sell 60% of Hydro One to the private sector. Wynne argues she has a mandate from the public to do so because of a Liberal election promise about “optimizing the value of provincial assets,” even though polls show over 80% of the public opposes the sale. As for Wynne’s promise of open and transparent government, selling 60% of Hydro One has put it beyond the scrutiny of the Auditor General and Ombudsman, both of whom have been highly critical of Hydro One’s finances, efficiency, billing practices and treatment of customers. Wynne ignored the objections of eight independent officers of the Legislature – including the Auditor General and Ombudsman – who warned the sale would render them powerless to examine Hydro One.

Ontario Pension Plan: Wynne promised a made-in-Ontario pension plan during the 2014 election and spent $70 million implementing it before scrapping the idea, arguing it made more sense to participate in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s subsequent promise to reform the Canada Pension Plan. Again, on the issue of openness and transparency, Wynne’s government spent $600,000 during the 2015 federal election promoting Ontario’s now-defunct pension plan, taxpayer-funded ads the Auditor General said she would have questioned – given their timing – had Wynne not scrapped McGuinty’s law banning partisan government advertising.

**

And yet it persists. Why? How does a market-oriented party, such as the Conservatives claim to be, dare defend a grocery tax that adds up to hundreds of dollars a year per household, is most painful for low-income families, and serves only to prop up an entrenched oligopoly? How do our Liberals, with their oft-professed adoration for all things middle-class, defend forcing millions of Canadians — single moms, seniors on fixed incomes, refugees, aboriginals on isolated, disadvantaged reserves, you name it — to pay more for food necessities? Milk, cheese, butter, eggs and chicken are not frills. They’re not for only the well-to-do. They’re the things our own government has long told is part of a healthy diet; the same government that punishes you for consuming them. All to enrich a few “family farms.”

**

A B.C. Securities Commission panel has heard allegations that Paul Oei claimed a number of politicians were supporting a Metro Vancouver recycling plant project, allegedly the centre of an immigration-investment scam.

Oei, a prominent B.C. Liberal donor, is accused of an extensive fraud on Chinese investors, whom he allegedly impressed by “rubbing elbows” with B.C. politicians.

Investor Sui Zhang on Friday added Richmond Conservative MP Alice Wong’s name to the list of B.C. politicians the panel has heard Oei mentioned to investors, a list that includes Premier Christy Clark.




No, they should fear Kevin Vickers:

Canada’s terrorist-slaying ambassador to Ireland feared he might be fired after manhandling a protester in Dublin last May, but privately told well-wishers he’d do the same again and would at least leave “with a bang.”

In the hours and days after the unusual episode at a politically charged event, Kevin Vickers declined to comment publicly, even as some criticized his actions.

But in emails released by the Global Affairs Department under access to information legislation recently, Vickers defended his grabbing of the demonstrator, saying it was only clear afterward that the man posed no danger.




Oh, dude ...

A former small claims court judge who pocketed a quarter of a million dollars from the cemetery funds of his Catholic church will spend the next year under house arrest.




When bacon attacks:



Three Islamic State jihadis have reportedly been killed by rampaging wild boars near Iraqi farmland.

The three Islamic State militants were cut down by the feral boar known to inhabit Kirkuk in the the al-Rashad region, a local news site claims.

Did I do that?
 


Yeah, whatever:

The photo emailed to Ibrahim Hindy showed five men hanging by their necks. “Islamic wind chimes,” the email read. Around the same time, a message arrived calling his mosque “one of many satan safe houses that need to be burned to the ground.”

The 33-year-old reported the troubling messages to police in Mississauga, Ont., where he lives and serves as imam at the Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre, but he also took to Facebook on Tuesday to say enough is enough. “We have to make this stop,” he wrote.

The threats were the culmination of months of anti-Muslim rhetoric coming from some opponents of a Peel District School Board policy that accommodates Friday prayers on school grounds for Muslim students.

Groups fighting the board have called Islam evil and its prophet a child-rapist. They have urged the banning of Islam and the mass deportation of Muslims. “It’s almost all-out war here,” one of them said after ripping up a Qur’an during a school board meeting.

As a member of the school board’s faith advisory committee who had supported the policy, Hindy has been targeted online as a radical and criminal. He was told he was being watched and that he should have stayed silent.

You're not a victim, Hindy. Asia Bibi is. The Armenians were. Not you. Not even remotely.





A mother reminds one of the terrible outcomes of marijuana addiction:

The five years leading up to that day in the driveway had been a nightmarish downward spiral, “something no parent should go through,” she said. Schindel described how Andy began smoking marijuana regularly and soon experienced major depression, psychosis, “countless” threats of suicide, five psychiatric hospitalizations, and two court orders for mental health treatment.

“In a way it was a shock, and in a way, it wasn’t at all,” Schindel said of her ex-husband’s finding their son dead in the backyard from suicide that night. When her ex told her the news, she noticed the mud caked on his jeans — a remnant of a fruitless attempt to revive their son on the soggy ground.




(Paws up)


Friday, April 21, 2017

For a Friday




Canada does not have the arms nor the man-power to combat the vassal state of Trudeau's favourite country. This is nothing more than another transparently empty promise:

Should the tense standoff on the Korean Peninsula escalate into war, the United Nations could come calling on Canada for a military commitment. 

But Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said Friday the Trudeau government would prefer to focus its attention on diplomacy.

Diplomacy was never won by a steady stream of lispy girlish stuttering, Justin.




Where will these tech firms set up shop? Ontario?

U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order this week asking Congress to review the process granting H1-B work visas.

The move potentially halts America’s tech companies (Google, Amazon, Facebook, etc.) from expanding, as they rely on these workers for skills such as coding and won’t be able to hire the world’s best and brightest in the numbers they need.

“Technology companies everywhere know that their success relies on their people, and to compete globally they need to attract the best. The H-1B visa in the U.S., similar to Canada’s temporary foreign worker program, lets American companies bring in best and the brightest from around the world – many of which are Canadian,” says Robert Watson, president and CEO of the Information Technology Association of Canada, the national voice of the information and communication technology industry in Canada for over 60 years.

The tune will change when the costs are so prohibitive that they won't be worth it. 





Justin Trudeau’s government announced last week that it won’t allow Liberal MPs to approve 2017 summer job funding for pro-life organizations after the story broke that Liberal MP Iqra Khalid did just that last year.

Two things: stop relying on the government and make PM Hair-Boy work for free. He can rely on his dad's money for conditioner.



I find it offensive that one cannot express one's self freely in a country that is not North Korea. I find it offensive that one cannot carry a sign on a public sidewalk one's taxes pay for. I find it offensive that one who paid into the "universal healthcare" system cannot get a timely MRI for the tumour growing one one's spine but one can get a quack with a pair of forceps to rip out a kid's arms and legs from his sockets. I find it offensive that people validate their sad existences by aiding the said dismemberment. I find that very g-d- offensive:

Ottawa police Chief Charles Bordeleau issued a statement Thursday, saying that “all reported incidents are taken seriously and investigated.”

“We continually respond to calls for service at this location, most related to protesters and graphic signs,” he said. “Where warranted, we enforce applicable laws.”

“We have also been accused by some of not respecting the rights of protesters at that location.”
Police said the special events bylaw was not intended to apply to an individual demonstrator, but larger events.

“The application of laws as it relates to protests must be carefully considered, ensuring that the enforcement is not in contravention of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” Bordeleau said.




Environment and Climate Change Canada quietly released a new report this month that shows a small decline in greenhouse gas emissions but projects Canada won’t meet its climate targets by 2030 unless new measures are introduced. 


Also

Of Bill McKibben and his clangorous 350.org, we may only hope his science is better than his manners. The distemper of this fellow, his appetite for insult and personal reference, is, if I may revive a Hillary term, deplorable. If this is what the Green cadres think of Justin Trudeau — who, regardless of one’s view of his stand or the issue, is a genuine and committed advocate for the global warming cause —  what, in the name of all that is green and growing, do they think of the rest of us?


Thursday, April 20, 2017

At Random

To wit ...
 

A gunman kills a police officer at the Champ-Elysees:

An attacker with an automatic weapon opened fire on police on Paris’ iconic Champs-Elysees Thursday night, killing one officer and seriously wounding two others before police shot and killed him.

Paris police spokeswoman Johanna Primevert told The Associated Press that the attacker targeted officers guarding the area near the Franklin Roosevelt subway station at the centre of the shopping avenue popular with tourists. She said he appeared to be acting alone.

Police and soldiers sealed off the area, ordering tourists back into their hotels and blocking people from approaching the scene.

The Paris prosecutor’s office said counterterrorism investigators are involved in the probe. Two police officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation, said the attacker had been flagged as an extremist. They had no other details about him.

(Sidebar: I bet I can guess.)
 
It's just another day in Paris.




ISIS has been targeting American and Australian military advisors with mustard gas:

An Iraqi outpost with US and Australian military advisers in western Mosul was hit with an ineffective "low grade" mustard agent by Islamic State forces on Sunday, according to CBS News.

At least six Iraqis were treated for breathing issues at a field clinic, while none of the advisers were believed to have been injured. 

The Pentagon released a statement saying that the ineffective attack "further displays the desperation of ISIS as they seek to hold an untenable position in Mosul," ABC Australia reported.

"My advice right at the moment is no Australian troops were affected but Australian forces did provide assistance following the attack, said Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. "That's my current advice received in last few minutes."



Not that I would expect PM Hair-Boy to know or care how protectionism, supply management boards and trade friction between provinces work or how they are bad for the Canadian economy, but trying to sound tough to a guy who has actually handled money just makes him look more pathetic:


Trudeau told Bloomberg Television that the United States in fact ran a dairy surplus with Canada

Trump took aim at Canada's dairy industry this week and said on Thursday "what they've done to our dairy farm workers is a disgrace".

Canada's dairy sector is protected by high tariffs on imported products and controls on domestic production as a means of supporting prices that farmers receive.

Trudeau said the system "works very well" in Canada.


Yes, about that:


For years, Canadian dairy producers refused to admit the system did not serve the dairy supply chain and consumers well.

But since domestic milk prices were much higher than world market prices, processors started to import diafiltered milk from the United States. The product was imported under a different label, circumventing border rules and bypassing tariffs.

This lasted for a few years, creating an imbalance between milk produced in Canada and our domestic demand. The milk that was normally sold to make cheese, yogurt or other dairy products was slowly replaced by American diafiltered milk.

At the height of the crisis, in 2015, some reports suggested Canadian processors were buying more than $200 million worth of American milk. In April 2016, Ontario reacted by creating a new class of industrial milk. The policy allowed dairy processors in Canada to purchase milk at world market prices instead of higher prices controlled by the Canadian Dairy Commission.

A cross-Canadian approach was to be established by February 2017, but things have dragged on. In Ontario, the policy seems to be working. At the same time, American producers have enjoyed the increased Canadian demand and are hungry for more.

U.S. dairy groups have recently expressed this interest directly to Trump, as our dairy sector never really had a strategy, other than protectionism. In today’s world, this lack of strategy won’t do; Canadian dairy producers only have themselves to blame for the mess they are in.

So, how does the system work well in Canada?

It doesn't.


Also:

The new housing scheme will be a brutal failure in practice even if it doesn’t turn out to have loopholes those devious speculators manage to exploit. And it will fail in practice because it’s stupid in principle. It’s true that when some Chinese rich person nastily buys a nice house in a desirable Ontario urban location, it forces some hapless Canadian to accept a windfall they then inflict on their fellows through spending or investment. But in “I Pencil” Leonard Read demonstrated over half a century ago that nobody can know what all the things required to make a humble pencil do cost, from paint to loggers’ coffee, let alone what they “should” cost. Regulating prices with government’s characteristic clumsy ignorance thus inevitably sends harmfully disruptive effects rippling throughout the supply chain in ways the planners could not foresee, cannot understand and are helpless to correct.


 
Watch the francophone oligarchy versus monied foreign students train wreck in progress:

Quebec's Ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness faced allegations Tuesday of possible racial profiling and violating the constitutional rights of more than 500 international students whose French skills are the subject of an ongoing probe.

Speaking at a news conference, Fo Niemi, director of the Montreal-based Centre for Research Action on Race Relations (CRARR), said most of the students targeted by the ministry come from either China, India or the Middle East.

"We're asking whether there are practices of profiling willingly, or unintentionally based on race, language and national origin of these students," he said.

CRARR's concerns about a possible violation of their constitutional rights stems from a letter the students received from MIDI alleging that they "provided information or a document that is false or misleading regarding your level of knowledge of the French language."

In a news release, CRARR legal team member Stephen De Four-Wyre said the claim is not backed by any evidence, and puts the onus of students to prove no fraud was committed.

"The presumption of guilt is clear violation of the students' constitutional right to the presumption of innocence because it is an arbitrary reversal of the burden of proof onto each student," he said.

Is it about the right of a French-speaking minority to impose upon foreign students? Is it about racism or the appearance thereof? Is it unfair to demand that there be a single operating language?

Who cares? Watch as these special-interest groups tear themselves apart.



What effort? This is the same dance!

U.S. President Donald Trump praised Chinese efforts to rein in "the menace of North Korea" on Thursday, after North Korean state media warned the United States of a "super-mighty preemptive strike."




No, vegetarians, you're not going to outlast omnivores the way you think


Researchers who tracked nearly a quarter million adults aged 45 and older in New South Wales found no significant differences in all-cause mortality, meaning the likelihood of dying, of any death, between those who followed a complete, semi- (meat once a week or less) or pesco- (fish permitted) vegetarian diet, and regular meat eaters.

Caulfield, a Canada Research Chair in health law and policy and expert in celebrity health trends, said the study (in which he played no role) fits with an emerging body of evidence that vegetarian diets don’t reduce the risk of premature death.

Vegetarianism has become almost a cultural norm in the Western World, he said. “Eating vegetarian is like the new Prius (Toyota’s hybrid). You’re telling the world the kind of individual you are, the personal brand.”