Tuesday, November 03, 2015

A Post For It Is Tuesday

Lots to talk about...

Prime Minister Stephen Harper outclasses the man elected to replace him and the vulgar masses who did:

On his final day as prime minister, Stephen Harper extended an olive branch of sorts to the public servants with whom his government has had a tense relationship for much of the last decade.
Their reaction, in a nutshell: don't let the door hit you on the way out.

In a message sent to the entire federal bureaucracy, Harper thanked government workers for the support they've shown his team over three successive Parliaments and for their dedication to the well-being of Canadians.

In the letter, Harper expresses pride in the work he and his team have done with the public service to improve the prosperity, security and well-being of Canadians and improve Canada's position in the world.

In response, one of the biggest unions representing workers lamented the tension-filled relationship between the civil service and Harper's Conservatives.

"The work that public service workers do on behalf of Canadians day in and day out is invaluable," Public Service Alliance of Canada national president Robyn Benson said in a statement.

It should be noted that the Public Service Alliance of Canada campaigned rigorously against Harper and it spent five million dollars to do so.

Harper supported Bill C-377 which made it mandatory for unions to disclose how funds collected from their members were spent. Trudeau opposed it.

Carry on.

Two Canadian journalists will (as they say) watch Trudeau closely:

Two Canadians being honoured by the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CFJE) will be keeping a close eye on how the in-coming Liberal government deals with human rights and privacy issues.

Veteran investigative journalist Ken Rubin will receive the inaugural CJFE Investigative Award, the group announced Monday. His work has shed a spotlight on the asbestos industry and the influence that lobbyists have on Canada’s Food Guide.

The Ottawa-based reporter, who’s also credited for helping create Canada’s Access to Information law, has been working in an investigative capacity for the duration of the last eight prime ministers and says that “none of them seem to want to release things.” He adds that the same goes for provincial, territorial and municipal governments.

“It’s not like changing the culture of secrecy is going to happen overnight, unless you break the mentality,” he tells Yahoo Canada News. “If you have your ministers swear oaths of secrecy for cabinet then you’re not changing from the top down the mentality.”

This Trudeau:




There've been reports that one of the people on the Chinese list of 100 economic fugitives... has been very supportive of Justin Trudeau's political campaign by organizing a fan club ... of young people... assisting Liberal party activists in British Columbia in massive fundraising... There are photographs showing Justin Trudeau and this individual together.... 


And who could forget this?

"You know, there's a level of of admiration I actually have for China because their basic dictatorship is allowing them to actually turn their economy around on a dime and say 'we need to go green fastest . . . we need to start investing in solar.' I mean there is a flexibility that I know Stephen Harper must dream about of having a dictatorship that he can do everything he wanted that I find quite interesting."

(Merci beaucoup)

Speaking of China:

Those three words – Made in China – have become synonymous with the cheap goods and inexpensive clothing lining big box and discount stores alike. And for the most part they tell a story a lot of people know, of the economic incentives that go with getting their products manufactured in a country with lower wages and lax employment regulations.

But there’s so much hidden by the “made in” part of that statement, a world of movement, imports and cross-border manufacturing that goes overlooked amongst the simplicity of it all.

Case in point: U.S.-based discount flooring retailer, Lumber Liquidators – which has nine locations in Canada – was hit with environmental fines last week after an investigation revealed Xingjia, the China-based manufacturer, was sourcing illegally harvested wood from Russia’s last refuge for near-extinct Siberian tigers and Amur leopards.

(Sidebar:  did any North Korean slave labourers factor into this?)

Ultimately, Lumber Liquidators was hit with four misdemeanors and one felony carrying a USD$31.2 million fine, making it the largest fine ever imposed for illegal timber trafficking, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

The company had ignored repeated red flags said a report by Global News released last year. All in, Xingjia had sent more than $5.7 million worth of lumber through the port of Vancouver and onto North American store shelves.

Cheapness, it seems, comes at a cost.

ISIS kills four Kurdish terrorists:

Masked terrorists behead four Kurdish fighters in retaliation against a United States-led raid on an Islamic State group jail in northern Iraq last week in a video reportedly released Friday by ISIS. In the video, three Kurdish peshmerga fighters watch as a man dressed in black takes a knife to the neck of one of their fellow fighters, all while kneeling in front of similarly dressed men with knives.

PM-Elect Trulander promised to withdraw from ISIS-controlled regions.


Also: a Canadian who fought with the Kurds against ISIS has been arrested in Iraq:

The federal government has confirmed a Canadian is under arrest in Iraq after it was reported that a former member of the Canadian Forces who fought there with the Kurds against ISIS has been detained.

"We are aware of the arrest of a Canadian citizen in Iraq," Amy Mills, a spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, said Tuesday.

It's inevitable that South Korea will have to go it alone and protect itself against Chinese-backed North Korea. The US has long lost any interest in settling what goes on in the Korean Peninsula:

The U.S. and South Korea expressed "grave concern" Monday over North Korea's stated plan to conduct a missile or nuclear test, but they announced no specific new steps toward giving South Korea control of its own forces in the event of a North Korean attack.

U.S. Defence Secretary Ash Carter said the two countries agreed that transfer of wartime control would happen after the South develops a stronger capability to counter the North's artillery force, among other steps. No timeline or further details were made public and other officials said specifics would be kept secret.

A repeat offender and drunk cannot be returned to Somalia:

No one is going to make a Tim Hortons commercial out of Salah Awil Abdillahi's Canadian story.

Since arriving from Somalia in 2005, the 26-year-old has racked up 22 convictions and 135 "encounters" with police. He drinks every day if he has the money. And he was brain injured after being hit by a bus following a fight in a bar.

Canada wants to get rid of him. But in a legal twist, a Federal Court judge has ruled that Abdillahi's problems make him exactly the kind of person who can't be deported back to Somalia.

"Mr. Abdillahi is a cognitively disabled recidivist offender alcoholic with minimal experience, access to resources, or social supports," Justice Russel Zinn wrote in a decision last month.

"He falls squarely within the category of persons ... that are unlikely to be able to get by in Mogadishu without experiencing undue hardship."

(Sidebar: so?)

Don't forget to thank the Ministry of Immigration.

It's not Cecil the Lion, however:

In a new propagandist video, the Al Shabaab terror group has attempted to entice new recruits by promoting the ‘tourism’ of Kenya where they claim animals are ‘free to hunt’, and the militants then go on to prove their point by hacking a giraffe to pieces. 

(Paws up)

What might happen if Trudeau signs the UN Arms Treaty:

And now, five Star Trek spin-offs that were maybe never meant to happen:

More than a mere concept, Assignment Earth came to life in a season two episode of TOS that served as a backdoor pilot featuring Robert Lansing as Gary Seven and Teri Garr as his assistant, Roberta Lincoln.

In the episode, Seven, a human born off-world, takes over a mission from two dead colleagues to ensure that mankind doesn’t launch into a nuclear war. Unfortunately, Kirk and Spock are not initially aware of this, but everything works out in the end, and Seven is told that, according to Federation records, he and Lincoln have more adventures on the horizon. Unfortunately, the Federation didn’t check with NBC because the Assignment Earth series never made it to air, but the characters lived on in The Eugenics Wars novels (where Seven’s story ties to Khan Noonien Singh’s at one point) and in a 2010 John Byrne comic book mini-series.

An Assignment Earth TV series would have been interesting in that it would have — for better or worse — allowed Roddenberry and his team the chance to churn out topical and politically relevant sci-fi stories without the barrier that Star Trek‘s aliens and deep space travel provided. But it also would have felt a bit like Doctor Who. (Seven had a companion and a sonic screwdriver-like device called a Servo, after all.) So, maybe it’s for the best that the show never came to be.

(Sidebar: this would have been a good series, I think.)

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