Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Mid-Week Post

Truly the dog days of summer.

After pouring through what amounts to being one percent of e-mails on an unauthorised and insecure server (and an abridged one at that), FBI director James Comey announced that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton would not be facing charges:

In a bombshell announcement, FBI Director James Comey accused former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday of having been “extremely careless” in handling classified information on her private email server but recommended that she not face criminal charges.

“Although the Department of Justice makes final decisions on matters like this, we are expressing to Justice our view that no charges are appropriate in this case,” Comey said in a televised statement from FBI headquarters. “Although there is evidence of potential violation of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”

The announcement, which came hours before Clinton was to hold her first joint campaign rally with President Obama, did not quiet the political firestorm surrounding her decision to use a private server for her official work email during her time at the State Department.

I'm sure that "accidental" meeting between Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch had nothing to do with this at all.


Miss Monsef should put her case to the Canadian people. If she feels that they are too "duh-duh" stupid (and they would have to be to have elected her and anyone else in her party) to have a referendum on electoral reform, she should just say so:

Appearing before the special committee on electoral reform Wednesday, Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef continued to express “apprehension” about holding a referendum on changes to the Canadian voting system.

She did, however, table a 38-page “toolkit” instructing average Joes on how to plan “dialogue” events — one way she contended that average Canadians could participate in the committee’s discussion.

Electoral reform “should be built on co-operation amongst political parties and have the broad-based support of Canadians,” said Monsef. The committee was originally to have a Liberal majority, but the government supported an NDP motion to convene a committee membership more proportionate to last October’s vote result.

As the Conservative Party has been arguing, there may be no better way to test “broad-based support” than some kind of referendum.

To wit: Canada uses the "first-past-the-post" system meaning that the candidate with the highest number of votes in a riding (electoral district) gets a seat in the House of Commons. The system that Trudeau wants - the one that he has stacked a committee mostly with Liberals to determine - is the run-off system which has been poorly defended but pushed through hoping that no one notices.

This is the government that Liberal voters voted for and one that the Liberal party hopes to stay in power for a thousand years.

The last guy who thought that played tiddly-winks in a bunker in Berlin while the Red Army, like the pack of ravenous wolves that it was, laid the city to waste.

Another poorly thought-out election promise is again hitting the snags that everyone thought it would:

The long road to replacing the Air Force's aging fighter jets took another turn Wednesday, as the Liberal government announced it will consult with industry to determine the best new aircraft for Canada.

The move, announced by Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan in a speech to industry representatives, comes after reports last month that the Liberals were considering buying Boeing Super Hornet fighter jets without a competition.

Sajjan said no decision on a new fighter has been made. Rather, officials from National Defence and other federal departments will sit down with fighter jet manufacturers through the summer to determine what they can offer. ...

Critics have previously questioned such assertions, pointing to Air Force commander Lt.-Gen. Michael Hood's testimony before the Commons defence committee in April as proof the Liberals have manufactured a crisis.

Hood said the CF-18 fleet should be able to operate through 2025 thanks to a $500-million upgrade ordered by the Conservatives in 2014. Twenty-six out of the 77 fighters have already undergone structural work to fly through the mid-2020s, and electronic upgrades are planned.

Sajjan, however, said even with the upgrades, Canada will be hard-pressed in a few years just to defend North America with the U.S. unless new aircraft are delivered. At the same time, the shortage means Canada isn't able to contribute to other, non-NATO missions.

(Sidebar: Why? Are the Liberals going to destroy ISIS from the air next week?)

It was decided in 2014 that the F-35s were to replace the aging fleet. Trudeau promised during the election to scrap the plan he desperately wants to hold onto now.

And sixty-five jets just won't cut it these days.

I'm sure these clowns know what they are doing.

Putin subtly plans on showing how completely out of his league Trudeau is:

Although Russia continues to manoeuvre, posture and hector along NATO’s eastern and southern margins, Trudeau has spent months fencing with the military alliance. Having tried to make Canada’s military footprint in the Baltics as small as possible, he will undoubtedly now claim Canada has decided to take a leadership role and the pending deployment as an example of it bravely punching above its weight.

Frankly, what else can Trudeau say after U.S. President Barack Obama last week repeatedly told the prime minister and parliamentarians Canada must do more for NATO?

There are many reasons why Trudeau would probably rather be anywhere other than Warsaw this weekend. The first and last is philosophical. He and his closest aides want to repurpose the armed forces as a constabulary that can wave the maple leaf and do good deeds far from flashpoints such as eastern Europe or the Middle East.


Seven thousand kilometres from Quebec, but only 10 hours by road from the bloody battlefields of eastern Ukraine, about 200 soldiers mostly from Canada’s storied Royal 22nd Regiment, the Vandoos, are helping to prepare Ukrainian infantry, medics and combat engineers to defend their country against Russian-backed separatists.

Jason Kenney wants to lead the Alberta Tories:

Conservative MP Jason Kenney says he wants to lead the Alberta Progressive Conservatives and unite voters on the right to stop the "accidental NDP government" in the next election.

The former federal cabinet minister says it's imperative that the Alberta Tories and Opposition Wildrose put past differences aside if they are to take back power from Rachel Notley's New Democrats.

Speaking of Jason Kenney.... 

At issue is a Globe story in June that reported that Chan, Ontario’s Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade, had defended China’s human rights record. In a Chinese-language column, Chan argued, “The starting point for human rights is different for every country and people. Maintain a stance of openness, goodwill, and a mind on development, and the future will be bright.”

The column was written days after Wang Yi, China’s Foreign Minister, berated a Canadian reporter for questioning his country’s human-rights record.

The Globe article quoted Kenney, who raised questions about Chan’s commitment to defending Canada’s interests and human rights principles when they came into opposition with Chinese policy.

The story also said Kenney had been at a Chinese community event and witnessed Chan closing his remarks by pumping his fist in the air and shouting in Mandarin what someone translated as “Long Live the Motherland.”

A letter from John Chapman, a lawyer with Miller Thomson in Toronto, to Kenney claims the statements “and the innuendo contained in the statements are categorically false, as is demonstrated by the record.”

Michael Chan, who defended China's human rights record, who was subjected of a CSIS warning for his ties with China and who did actually earlier refer to China as "the motherland" is expecting an apology from Jason Kenney for suggesting what Michael Chan already revealed himself.

Remember - prioritising girls like this for refugee status is "disgusting":

Lamiya Aji Bashar tried to flee four times before finally escaping in March, racing to government-controlled territory with Islamic State group fighters in pursuit. A land mine exploded, killing her companions, 8-year-old Almas and Katherine, 20. She never learned their last names.

The explosion left Lamiya blind in her right eye, her face scarred by melted skin. Saved by the man who smuggled her out, she counts herself among the lucky.

“I managed in the end, thanks to God, I managed to get away from those infidels,” the 18-year-told the AP from a bed at her uncle’s home in the northern Iraqi town of Baadre. “Even if I had lost both eyes, it would have been worth it, because I have survived them.” ...

Nadia Mourad, an escapee, has appeared before the US Congress and the European Parliament to appeal for international help.

“Daesh is proud of what it’s done to the Yazidis,” she said to Parliament. “They are being used as human shields. They are not allowed to escape or flee. Probably they will be assassinated. Where is the world in all this? Where is humanity?”
Well, Miss Mourad, the world simply doesn't care. If it did, it would not morally preen with hashtags from a distance.

The US has finally placed sanctions on North Korea:

The United States imposed economic sanctions Wednesday on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and other government officials for their role in human rights abuses in the isolated country, particularly the running of forced labor camps and the torture and executions of dissidents.


More than ten million Androids have been infected with Chinese malware:

More than 10 million Android devices worldwide are infected with HummingBad, a Chinese malware that installs fraudulent apps and clicks on ads without users’ knowledge or consent.

According to a new report from cybersecurity software maker Check Point, the malicious software program makes its developers up to $300,000 per month in fraudulent advertising revenue by forcing infected phones to display its own ads.

Check Point says HummingBad was developed by Yingmob, a group of Chinese cybercriminals. According to this Check Point blog post:

Yingmob runs alongside a legitimate Chinese advertising analytics company, sharing its resources and technology. The group is highly organized with 25 employees that staff four separate groups responsible for developing HummingBad’s malicious components.

Of the 10 million devices worldwide that are infected with the malware, an estimated 286,800 are in the United States, some 1.61 million in China and about 1.35 million in India.

And people who call out China for cyber-warfare and industrial espionage are being paranoid!

Don't pick sides. Just watch the train wreck:

An activist group that stalled Canada’s largest Pride parade to demand more rights for racialized communities says it’s being flooded with hate mail, some of it sent by members of the LGBTQ community.

Could this be a pattern?


A billboard opposing Alberta schools’ requirement to host a gay-straight alliance upon student request is tacked to the side of a shipping container in front of the New Testament Baptist Church, which hosts a dozen students at the Harvest Baptist Academy independent school.

Someone wrote over the sign’s black lettering with pink spray paint last Wednesday or early Thursday, church pastor and the school’s board chairman Brian Coldwell said.

I didn't realise parental rights were bigotry.

The side of this building has not been defaced by a gay-straight alliance.

And now, politics isn't always corruption and incompetence. Sometimes it is intentionally funny:

Cases in point:

The man promises lower taxes but only if you find his cat.

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