Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Mid-Week Post

The focal point of the work-week...

On the first of May, Premier Kathleen Wynne will put out the provincial budget she hopes will spare her from an election.

What the budget is expected to entail:

• An income tax increase for those who earn greater than $150,000
• No new gas taxes or increases to the HST
• $29 billion, over 10 years, in transit and transportation investments
• Some Government of Ontario 'asset sales'
• A tax hike on aviation fuel
• An increase in tobacco taxes
• A rolling back of tax credits for corporations
• Personal support workers who take care of elderly will get a $4 pay increase over the next two years, from $12.50/hour to $16.50/hour.
• An infusion of $2.5 billion, over 10 years, for a “Jobs and Prosperity Fund”. The fund will dole out corporate grants to attract business to the province. (Source: CTV News)
• A cut in the “debt retirement charge” which currently appears on Ontario residents' Hydro bill. (Source: CTV News)
• An initial roll out of an Ontario Pension Plan

Why it won't work: putting aside Wynne and McGuinty's unbelievable deceptions (and Wynne's ties to Benjamin Levin), this budget will cost Ontarians more, not less (where does the public sector get its money, Miss Wynne?). Already buckling under a vanished manufacturing sector and high energy costs, this budget will attempt to succeed in getting blood out of stones.

Will it pass? Yes or Andrea Horvath will die trying.

Well, then, don't ship jobs out to slave labour countries like China and Bangladesh:

Canada is missing out on about $40 billion in export sales and could continue to do so for years to come as uncompetitive producers continue to lose market share, Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz said Tuesday.

The central banker, who was testifying before the Commons finance committee, said there are several factors for the significant drop-off — including poor productivity and a stronger loonie, as well as the disappearance of about 9,000 exporting firms since the recession.

But the bottom line is that the "wedge" that has opened up in the non-energy export sector is the new reality and is not going away in the near future, he said.

While I'm sure this is meant to be dismissive of Canada's oil resources, it does highlight the lack of productivity and manufacturing opportunities that could benefit the "have-nots". Knocking Canadian oil exports really is shooting the golden goose and I hope the wags realise that.

Two people have been shot dead at a sawmill in British Columbia:

Two people are dead after a shooting at a sawmill in British Columbia on Wednesday, the BC Coroners Service said, and police said a 47-year-old male suspect was in custody.

Police said four people had been shot and had been taken to hospital.

The coroner said that shortly after 7 a.m. (10.00 a.m. ET), two people were taken to hospital by ambulance from the Western Forest Products Inc mill in Nanaimo, a city of about 90,000 on Vancouver Island. Both were pronounced dead on arrival.

Police said they received several calls early in the morning about shots being fired at the mill.

The suspect was arrested without incident and police said it appeared that he acted alone.

Culture matters and so do its geopolitical effects:

The Chinese government wants the nation's single ladies to get over their silly notions of romance and just get hitched already!

In other Asian countries, women are marrying later in life, pursuing high-powered careers and prioritizing work life rather than home life.

Nervous that this trend will hit China, the government is going straight for the single gal's soft spot — and making her feel like she's running out of time.

"As women age they are worth less and less," says one piece of government propaganda. "So by the time they get their MA or PhD they are already old, like yellowed pearls."

(Sidebar: no sharp words for the chauvinist Chinese culture? None?)

No one's physical person gets better with age. What the article didn't address (or why) is the male-to-female ration in China stands at 122 boys born for every 100 girls. That leaves twenty-two bachelors without Chinese wives (assuming they all get married and the bachelors don't buy North Korean women). Imagine a whole slough of women just chucking marriage altogether. Whatever will the Chinese state do with those excess men?

Start a war in the East Sea or South China Sea, perhaps?


On Monday night excavators laid waste to one of the city’s largest places of worship, the state-sanctioned Sanjiang church, amid accusations that the Communist Party was preparing to launch a nationwide assault against Christianity. 
At least 10 churches here in Zhejiang province have been ordered to remove their eye-catching red crosses or are facing partial or total demolition, activists claim. Already this month two churches, one Catholic, one Protestant, have been razed.

I would like to know where the human-rights activists are on this. Whenever a cake isn't being baked, they never shut up. Churches get razed and there are crickets.

Such is the commitment of the spoiled and cocooned left. 

Doing Putin's dirty work in Ukraine:

Ukraine's acting president vowed to create a special police force to staunch the spread of separatism in the country's east, vowing to overcome unrest he says is stoked by Russia and hold a May 25 election.

Following an expansion of sanctions against people and companies linked to Vladimir Putin's inner circle this week, the Russian president warned that further economic penalties over the crisis in Ukraine may lead his government to reconsider participation by U.S. and European Union companies in his country's energy and other key industries.

Saudi Arabia makes demands of Norway:

Norway's human rights record came in for sharp criticism during a UN hearing on Monday, with Saudi Arabia and Russia weighing in to highlight the country's shortcomings. 

Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries accused Norway of doing too little to protect its Muslim minority, with Saudi Arabia calling for all criticism of religions or their prophets to be made illegal. 

Meanwhile, Russia accused the country of allowing extremist groups to "operate freely" and of moving too quickly to separate children from their parents. 

Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende was in Geneva on Monday to respond to criticisms from no fewer than 91 other country's during a session of the United Nations' Universal Periodic Review, under which UN members take turns to go under scrutiny. 

Before Monday's hearing, Brende conceded to Norway's NTB newswire that many of the countries collected together to criticise Norway themselves hardly had spotless human rights records. 

"It is a paradox that countries which do not support fundamental human rights have influence on the council, but that is the United Nations," he said. 

Human Rights Watch's latest report on Saudi Arabia noted that in 2012 the country had "stepped up arrests and trials of peaceful dissidents, and responded with force to demonstrations by citizens."

Don't give in, Norway. 

Norge: disse farger ikke kjører.

Gerry Adams, long-praised for his role in the Northern Irish peace processes, has been arrested under suspicion of murder:

Sinn Fein chief Gerry Adams, the warlord-turned-peacemaker of the Northern Ireland conflict, was being interrogated Thursday over the grisly slaying of a Belfast widow that has haunted his political career for decades.

Adams was arrested on suspicion of ordering the killing of Jean McConville, a mother of 10 in his Catholic west Belfast power base in 1972. That was the deadliest year in four decades of bloodshed, when the outlawed Irish Republican Army was committing killings daily — and Adams was already a commanding figure.

The IRA branded the 38-year-old woman a British spy but killed her secretly and told her children, who ranged in age from infants to teens, that she had abandoned them.

Lie your way out of that.

And now, another reason to love the Charlie Brown Christmas special:

A Charlie Brown Christmas was originally conceived as a 25-minute advertisement for Coca-Cola by a New York advertising agency that wanted Charles Schulz to write a quick and forgettable Christmas special for them. So it's no surprise that when he instead delivered a poignant story about the Christian origin of Christmas, the shocked admen nearly dropped their cigarettes on the backs of their secretaries' heads.

The Nativity scene was tentatively OKed, but everyone worried that the one-minute reading from the gospel of Luke by Linus would scare off sponsors. A decision was hastily made to cut the scene and bury it at the bottom of the Mariana Trench where it wouldn't be able to hurt any innocent profits ever again with its message of love and unity.

The religious Schulz unsurprisingly argued like crazy to save Linus' speech because he believed he really was fighting for the true meaning of Christmas. He might also have made the argument that the producers were acting like the villain in every Christmas special ever. The scene was eventually saved, and the special became an instant hit. 

(Paws up)

No comments: