Friday, July 22, 2016

Friday Post

So far, there are ten dead after a gunman (possibly more) opened fire at a mall in Munich:

  • Police issue "cautious all-clear," saying a dead body found near the attack's scene appears to be the shooter. They think he may have acted alone. Initially, police were hunting up to three suspects.
  • Ten people, including the suspect, have so far been confirmed killed in the shooting at the Olympia shopping center in the north of Munich. The attack took place shortly before 6 p.m. local time.
  • At least 10 people were also injured, with Munich hospitals calling in extra staff to respond.
More to come.

The Globe and Mail newsroom was evacuated after a suspicious phone call about a bomb was made:

The Globe and Mail building in downtown Toronto was evacuated Friday afternoon after a man called the news organization and said there was a bomb in the building, police say. 

Officers said an unidentified male made the phone call just before 3 p.m ET and indicated that he was behind planting a bomb in the building, located at Front Street West and Spadina Avenue.

When police arrived, officers began evacuating the building immediately.

After several hours of investigating, police confirmed that they did not find a bomb or any kind of threat to public safety.

With both of the above incidents, authorities say no motive was then known.

I'm sure.

First, he needs his endorsement and then he doesn't:

A day after accepting the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump pivoted back to the GOP primaries on Friday, choosing to re-litigate a pair of months-old battles with rival Ted Cruz.

In what should have been a feel-good victory lap the morning after his thundering acceptance speech, Trump instead defended his decision to retweet an unflattering photo of Cruz’s wife, Heidi, and returned to wondering about possible links between Cruz’s father and President John F. Kennedy’s assassin.

He also declared that, two days after Cruz was loudly booed at the Republican National Convention for not endorsing the new nominee, he would never accept the Texas senator’s backing.

“He’ll come and endorse, it’s because he has no choice. But I don’t want his endorsement,” Trump said. “Ted, stay home. Relax. Enjoy yourself.”

(Sidebar: I'm sure Ted will, Mr. Trump. After all, you just vindicated his not endorsing you.)

Make up your mind, Donald.


But then, as I’ve written before, Trump’s apparent soft-line policy toward Kim Jong-un is probably just as shallow and ephemeral as everything else under his hair. He doesn’t see policies; he sees flash cards with inkblots. His appeal is that he projects dominance to voters who harbor two mutually contradictory perceptions — that Barack Obama is weak, and that we have too many foreign entanglements. Trump craves the adoration of the mobs, and the mobs like the idea of “noninterventionism” in the abstract, right up until someone pisses them off. Then, they want a president who bombs stuff.

Which is interesting — and by “interesting,” I mean “terrifying” — because some of those observations are just as true of Kim Jong-un, only Kim’s stakes in maintaining his image are much higher. Kim must provoke the U.S. to maintain the adoration of his generals and survive, and Trump can’t stand anyone questioning his manhood by accusing him of backing down to Kim Jong-un. The personalities of these two men, both flawed and neurotic in their own ways, put them on a collision course. I’m more afraid that Trump will overreact and nuke Pyongyang than I am that he’ll cut a crappy deal that gives away Baekryeong-do and the Aleutian Islands, although (as I said before) those are both plausible possibilities, and aren’t mutually exclusive. It’s not hard for me to imagine a Manafort-Han Pact as a prelude to war. Not hard at all.

The thing with Trump is, it’s often not really the things he says (though sometimes, it really is) but the man himself. A nuclear South Korea, Taiwan, or Japan would cost me no sleep, if I could believe that things would go only this far and no further. It would be profoundly clarifying for China if the consequence of its bellicosity was to surround itself with nuclear states. It might even be stabilizing for China to have an extra reason not to invade Senkaku or blockade Taiwan.

In principle, I also agree that wealthy allies that want our protection should pay a greater share of the costs. Foreign governments should read this smart analysis of Donald Trump’s criticism of our alliances, and our allies. It’s possible to despise Trump while agreeing that on this issue, he makes a point that resonates with a large (and perhaps, growing) percentage of American voters. If Americans continue to perceive allies as free riders, they will elect a president who promises to walk away from its security commitments entirely. That’s why Seoul’s hard bargains on USFK cost-sharing or the SOFA are ultimately self-defeating.


Premiers agree on an internal free trade agreement:

Canada’s premiers and territorial leaders have agreed in principle on an internal trade deal they say will help create jobs and improve the economy.

“This truly is a historic day,” said Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski, speaking at the end of a two-day premiers meeting in Whitehorse.

It’s not clear, however, what will immediately change under the agreement, which will replace an old agreement dating back 23 years.

“The old agreement covered only specific sectors of the economy,” said Pasloski. “The new agreement covers virtually the entire Canadian economy and will have unprecedented transparency.”

Provinces and territories will be able to keep exemptions and preferential programs they now have but creating new exemptions will become more difficult.

America deserters beg Trudeau to let them stay in Canada even though they joined the army of their own free will:

American soldiers who fled to Canada rather than fight in Iraq joined activists and a Liberal backbencher on Friday to urge the government of Justin Trudeau to end legal action against them and grant them residency status.

ISIS takes responsibility for a terrorist attack on a German train earlier this week:

A 17-year-old Afghan asylum seeker suspected of an axe attack on a German commuter train had a hand-painted Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant flag in his room, Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said Tuesday.

Herrmann said he would not speculate on terror ties to the attack, but the discovery suggested at least some interest on the suspect’s part in a militant organization that has called for attacks on the West.

The Daily Telegraph reports ISIL has claimed the teen as one of its “fighters.” In a statement, the extremist group suggested the Afghan “carried out the operation in answer to the calls to target the countries of the coalition fighting the Islamic State.”

And now, dachshund racing - the sport of gentlemen who like watching small-legged dogs run really fast:

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