Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Mid-Week Post

Damn muting qualities of terry cloth...

Several Canadians have joined ISIS' propaganda ranks (not that this is news):

The propaganda wing of ISIL, known for its gory videos and exploitation of social media, has recruited several Canadians into its ranks, a former senior counter-terrorism official told a security conference Wednesday.

Andy Ellis, who recently retired from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, where he was Assistant Director of Operations, said not all of the roughly 100 Canadians who have converged in the region are active in combat operations.

“Many of the Canadians, for example, found their way into the propaganda wing of Daesh,” the 30-year-veteran of CSIS said, using another name from ISIL, in a speech at the Royal Canadian Military Institute in Toronto.

“I would argue that would be equally as dangerous, maybe more, than someone who is joining the military wing. A lot of these young Western adherents to Daesh are put on the frontlines and die very quickly. Someone who is working in the propaganda wing can hurt us over and over and over again.”
But... but... shared values and if we kill them, they win!


For one thing, in recent years, more than $200 million in ransom payments have poured into the treasuries of al-Qaida, the Islamic State of Iraq & the Levant (ISIL) and their various offshoots and allied terror fronts around the world, including the ragtag, kidnap-happy Abu Sayyaf group that beheaded Ridsdel. Most of that revenue has come from Western governments, including Canada.

In 2011, leaked U.S. State Department cables revealed that despite former prime minister Stephen Harper’s denials, money changed hands in the release of two former Foreign Affairs diplomats, Robert Fowler and Louis Guay, who were kidnapped in 2009 and held for five months by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. Roughly $1.1 million was paid to free the pair in a complex set of arrangements involving European embassies and African go-betweens. The bargain enraged American and African diplomats, who complained the deal would encourage more kidnappings and boost al-Qaida’s reputation and revenues.

Trudeau’s remarks also appeared to directly contradict what Gar Pardy, the former head of consular services at the Department of Foreign Affairs (now Global Affairs Canada), told the Ottawa Citizen’s Lee Berthiaume the day before: that all this talk about never negotiating with terrorist kidnappers is, well, it’s just something governments say. “But the simple rule is: you always pay,” Pardy said. “It’s as simple as that.”

Following Trudeau’s unequivocal we-don’t-pay-ransom remarks, Pardy appeared on CBC’s Power and Politic and told host Terry Miliewski that ransom had been paid in more than 100 hostage cases during his tenure with consular services, and that 68-year-old John Ridsdel is the first Canadian hostage to be killed by his captors.

Well, so much for the 'not giving in' sentiment.


An overwhelming majority of Muslim Canadians have a strong attachment to their country and feel that Canada is heading in the right direction, according to a new survey.

Is that so?

What mosque will host the "Jewish-Islamic Friendship Day"?

Look at those values!

Speaking of Jew-hating douchebags:

The Nazi-era and Adolf Hitler’s devastating rule are among the most extensively researched themes in German historiography. Now a new book, published this week in Berlin, has traced the whereabouts of the world’s most infamous dictator from his birth in 1889 until his death in 1945.

In a staggering 2,432 pages, “Hitler — The Itinerary. Whereabouts and Journeys from 1889 to 1945,” paints the picture of a highly mobile politician, who seemed to be everywhere at once, didn’t keep regular office hours and, in fact, seemed to shun offices most of the time. It also portrays Hitler, to some extent, as a regular person who liked to eat bread soup (a local Weimar specialty), got haircuts and took his future wife, Eva Braun, out to the opera. And that’s exactly the problem for some.

“There’s a certain danger to overemphasize Hitler’s human side and to thereby make him more relatable,” says Arnd Bauerk√§mper, historian at the Free University Berlin, adding he still appreciates the book as a work of reference.
One can characterise Hitler as the nice neighbour next door until one is blue in the face. The bigger problem is moral relativism. If there is no absolute good or evil, if such quandaries are a matter of opinion at the moment, what difference does it make what colours one paints the tyrant?

Suspect in French attacks is "falling apart", says his lawyer:

Frank Berton, who announced before the transfer was disclosed Wednesday that he would represent Abdeslam, described his client as a young man “falling apart” and ready to co-operate.

Then the fifty hour long Barbra Streisand marathon will not be needed.

This pretentious twaddle on why aboriginals feel reluctant to leave the ever-dilapidated surroundings of Attawapiskat manages to be both self-indulgent and self-defeating at the same time. The residents of Attawapiskat have two choices (as so many others on this globe have had, as well): they can fix the mess that they are in or leave. If neither choice is palatable, then they can stop complaining. They've made their bed. If leaving for better climes is presumptuously white (despite oodles of Asians and Africans having left their decrepit and war-torn nations), then what does it say about their refusal to survive in even their supposed native stomping grounds?

And don't assume that leaving is easy for anyone. There are songs of Irish immigrants lamenting their emigration. Like, tons of them.

Damn their pasty hides for surviving!

The bones of my ancestors aren’t buried beneath my feet. My culture and language wasn’t shaped by the land and climate around me. I’ve never had to fight to defend this soil — and I’ve never even considered that it could be taken away. 

I, like many non-indigenous Canadians, will probably never fully appreciate why someone would be reluctant to desert their family, friends and homeland in order to seek prosperity.

Like fun he has:

"I have been crystal clear for years now on pipelines. One of the fundamental responsibilities of any Canadian prime minister — and this goes back centuries, from grain on railroads to fish and fur — is to get Canadian resources to international markets," Trudeau said.

Yes, about that, Justin:

“The government is actually injecting more uncertainty into the process and undermining the credibility of the regulatory institutions charged with that responsibility. There is a growing risk that, due to protracted delays, mounting opposition, escalating costs and the lack of distinct political support, essential pipeline projects may die stillborn — just like the ill-fated Mackenzie pipeline — with severe damage to a vital sector of the economy that is already reeling from depressed prices.”

You don't say:

Anonymous hook-ups arranged on social media are the major reason for a "dramatic" spike in sexually transmitted infections in the province, Alberta health officials say.

And who imposes taxes?

Women in Canada pay a "pink tax" premium of more than 40 per cent over what men pay when it comes to personal care products, according to a recent study.

In case one forgot:

Taxes are compulsory payments by individuals and corporations to government. They are levied to finance government services, redistribute income, and influence the behaviour of consumers and investors.

I don't know, Ted. The last time someone had a woman as a vice-presidential candidate, people went all emotionally retarded:

Republican presidential contender Ted Cruz has tapped former technology executive Carly Fiorina to serve as his running mate.
She draws her power from the rays of the yellow sun.

So, Obama, when the situation on the Korean Peninsula finally hits a critical point, at what golf course will you be?

U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday said his country has the military means to destroy North Korea but it will not do so due to the humanitarian cost and the impact on neighbor South Korea.

Obama was interviewed by CBS presenter Charlie Rose during a trip to Germany. Obama said North Korea is "erratic enough" and the country's leader, Kim Jong-un, is "irresponsible enough that we don't want them getting close."

"We could, obviously, destroy North Korea with our arsenals… But aside from the humanitarian costs of that, they are right next door to our vital ally," South Korea, he added.

More regarding the Korean Peninsula:

North Korean authorities are shutting off the few avenues of escape of defectors:

According to a report by the Korea Institute for National Unification on Tuesday, the regime has sent people caught trying to flee for the first time directly to labor camps for three to five years since 2014. Until 2013, the regime only sent would-be defectors to labor camps for about six months.

The report is based on interviews with 186 North Korean defectors who arrived here from late 2014 to 2015.

Defectors account for 70 percent of the inmates in labor camps in South Pyongan and North Hamgyong Province.

In order to prevent people from escaping, the regime has tightened border controls and crackdowns on mobile phone use. In the border town Onsong, North Hamgyong Province, the regime has announced it has planted landmines along the Duman River.

Sixty percent of North Korean defectors feel that they are "low class":

Six out of every 10 North Korean defectors in South Korea feel they are part of the lower classes, according to a study. 

The Unification Ministry and Korea Hana Foundation surveyed 2,444 defectors last year, and 61.4 percent said they consider themselves low class, 35.8 percent saw themselves in the middle class and only one percent felt they were part of the upper class.

This contrasts with South Korean society at large, where according to Statistics Korea 53 percent believe they are low class, 44.6 percent middle class and 2.4 percent upper class.

Thirteen North Korean defectors escaped while their supervisor was away in Beijing:

Thirteen North Koreans who defected from a restaurant in China apparently fled while their supervisor was away in Beijing. 

Other staff from the same restaurant have apparently been taken to a safe house and are waiting to head to South Korea.

Restaurant staff from the North who are stationed overseas are watched over by state officials, managers and other agents often disguised as regular workers. 

A source said the 13 succeeded in their daredevil escape because all staff worked together while the supervisor had left town on business.
See where time off gets you! 

A Russian filmmaker takes secret footage and further exposes North Korea's propaganda machine:

"Under the Sun" by Russian director Vitaly Mansky opens in theaters here on Wednesday to shine an unprecedented light on the North Korean propaganda machine.

"I wanted to make a film about North Korea, but there's no real life in the way that we consider," Mansky told the Chosun Ilbo in Seoul on Tuesday. "There is just the creating of an image of the myth of a real life. So we made a film about fake reality." ...

Mansky swiftly changed focus to the propaganda machine itself, surreptitiously recording every staged shot as it was being set up.

He was born in the Soviet Union. "I wanted to make a film in North Korea because of my curiosity about Russia's past," he said. "But I encountered scenes that were completely different than what I expected. If there's anyone who believes North Korea is a good place to live in, I would like to tell him to try living there."

The film makers had no say in the locations and interview subjects, and any answers were scripted by North Korean minders. Mansky and his film crew were under constant surveillance by North Korean authorities and had to submit each day's footage to the censors.

But North Korea's extreme isolation from the outside world ended up helping the director, because authorities were unfamiliar with digital cameras and did not know they were being constantly filmed.

Mansky submitted only 30 percent of his footage to the censors. Asked how he managed to smuggle out the rest, he declined to elaborate.

Late last year, North Korea wrote to the Russian Foreign Ministry demanding a ban on "Under the Sun" at the Black Nights Film Festival in Estonia and called for the film makers to be punished.

Manksy said North Korean authorities sent three more letters to the Russian government afterwards and asked him to come to Pyongyang "for an important talk," But he told them he was not dumb enough.

But he still wants to show the film in North Korea one day.

North Korean workers in Kuwait rebel against unpaid wages:

The workers reportedly shouted out at the foreman and demanded their back pay instead, and some tried to assault him. According to sources, the state security agents at the site were able to stop the workers from lynching the foreman, but North Korea’s Ambassador to Kuwait So Chang-sik was apparently furious at the North Korea construction firm for not being able to contain them. - See more at:

The workers reportedly shouted out at the foreman and demanded their back pay instead, and some tried to assault him. According to sources, the state security agents at the site were able to stop the workers from lynching the foreman, but North Korea’s Ambassador to Kuwait So Chang-sik was apparently furious at the North Korea construction firm for not being able to contain them.


And I thought butter was bad for you:

For years, butter – chock-full of fat and calories – was the Donald Trump of the food pyramid: regulated to the fringes, inexplicably popular in the South and a trigger for old, white guys at risk for heart attacks. Shunned by the nutrition establishment, butter was rejected in favour of “waist-friendly” alternatives like margarine and faux butter spreads.

But now, those who shelved butter have to eat their words (and saturated fat). Suddenly, hipsters are putting butter in their coffee, grocery stores can barely keep up with butter demand and Kourtney Kardashian drinks clarified butter for breakfast. One of the most vilified foods in recent history is staging a major comeback as a health food valued for its ‘realness’ and lack of additives.

“Not all fats are created equal. You have to think about the type of fats that you’re eating,” says Catherine Sugrue, Ottawa-based holistic nutritionist, CNP. “The right kinds of fats to boost your metabolism, help your brain, your nervous system and your joints.”

Don't listen to any of it. Butter is good. Butter brings flavour. Reduce your intake if you're worried about the fat.

How could this little guy be bad for you?

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