Monday, July 18, 2016

The Monarch and the Indigent

More summer reading...

German police have shot and killed a man who seriously slashed four people:

A man armed with an ax and a knife attacked passengers aboard a regional train in southern Germany on Monday night, injuring four people before he was shot and killed by police as he fled.

Wuerzburg police said on their Facebook page that three of the victims suffered serious injuries and one was slightly injured. Another 14 people were being treated for shock.

Police said there was not yet any information on the motive behind the attack, nor details on the identity of the attacker.

(Sidebar: FYI, popular press, that last statement is kind of a giveaway.)

Montrell Jackson, a ten year police veteran and a new father, was one of the three police officers gunned down by Gavin Long:

On the day Alton Sterling died at the hands of two Baton Rouge officers earlier this month, a 10-year-veteran of the police force made a vow that he shared on Facebook.

"I swear to God as my witness I will do everything in my power to steer my son along a different career path from what I have chose for myself. He can do better."

Those words were written by Montrell Jackson 12 days before the new father became one of three law enforcement officers killed in Baton Rouge Sunday. Before the ambush, the gunman had posted YouTube videos advocating more than just protests against police brutality and describing the July 7 shooting deaths of five Dallas officers as "justice."

But if shooter Gavin Long, a former Marine who was also killed Sunday, was trying to launch a "war" - a word he used in the videos - between the black community and those who wear blue uniforms, he picked a target who straddled both worlds. He picked a 32-year-old black man who was president of the homeowner's association in his mostly white neighborhood, a man who not only shared pictures of his four-month-old baby on social media but also his thoughts on the conflicted space he occupied after several high-profile police shootings of African-American men.

"He was the proudest damn police officer I ever knew," close friend and neighbor Kristi Godal said of Montrell Jackson. "And he was a proud black man in his uniform."

Montrell Jackson


I do hope the Hague has a sternly worded letter for this:

China is closing off a part of the South China Sea for military exercises this week, the government said Monday, days after an international tribunal ruled against Beijing's claim to ownership of virtually the entire strategic waterway.

Hainan's maritime administration said an area southeast of the island province would be closed from Monday to Thursday, but gave no details about the nature of the exercises. The navy and Defence Ministry had no immediate comment.

Six governments claim territory in the South China Sea, although the area where the Chinese naval exercises are being held is not considered a particular hotspot. China's navy and coast guard operate extensively throughout the South China Sea and regularly stage live firing exercises in the area.

You voted for it, Canada!

Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna said Friday the Trudeau government will present its plan for a uniform, national carbon price this fall, as part of a larger package of climate change initiatives.

“What we want to see is uniformity in terms of a national price,” McKenna said in an interview with Danielle Bochove of Bloomberg TV Canada. “We need a national price on carbon, so that’s what we are going to have ... in the fall.”

Translation? Hold on to your wallets.

While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned on bringing in a national carbon price in last year’s election, he provided few details about when or how it would happen.

We now know it will be in the fall.

And we also know it won’t be revenue neutral.

That means it will further increase our cost of living, in addition to the carbon pricing schemes provinces like Alberta (carbon tax) and Ontario (cap-and-trade), will be imposing next year. ...
A revenue neutral carbon pricing system -- only British Columbia’s comes close -- means that when the government imposes higher taxes or consumer prices on its citizens through carbon pricing, it lowers other taxes by an equal amount, so the government’s net revenue remains the same. ...

In fact, without revenue neutrality, carbon pricing schemes become just another punitive cash grab by governments, without effectively or efficiently lowering emissions.

That’s because they only lower them, if at all, by making people poorer, because they now have less disposable income to buy the goods and services created using fossil fuel energy.

It needs to be said: carbon taxes raise costs on goods and services, lower wages and negatively affect businesses. All the energy that goes into making and transporting stuff costs and that will be passed onto the consumer. Losses have to be recouped somehow. A more well-to-do household (and business) may not notice this right away but lower income households will.  Australia noticed this after the carbon tax was introduced. Those most affected were those in lower income households who saw energy and goods prices rise. When the carbon tax was repealed, states were happy because prices would go down and public money would be freed up for better uses.

But Canadians will not be told. Ever.

Enjoy the tax on the poor, Canada. You did, after all, vote for it.


You can refuse to buy an iPhone. But you cannot refuse to pay your taxes. Likewise, private fund managers must deliver solid results at reasonable cost or lose clients. The CPP is set up so you can’t leave. And not by accident. The more people are convinced of their own superior benevolent wisdom, the more determined they are to increase their capacity to benefit mankind, whether mankind appreciates their actions or not. That’s why, where competition holds private firms in check, it has taken a long and bitter struggle since before Magna Carta to hold the state in check.

Can I get an amen?

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Whip it out, Canada:

Eight Canadian fighter jets have been deployed on a massive training exercise in the Pacific, despite Liberal government warnings the country does not have enough such aircraft to defend North America and fulfil its obligations to NATO.

The government says the month-long exercise is critical for training Canadian fighter pilots to work alongside allies — and the planes will return to Canada immediately if they are needed.

But the Conservatives say their involvement proves Liberal claims of a fighter-jet shortage aren’t true.


An Afghan father was on a quest for justice Monday after saying that his pregnant 14-year-old daughter was burned to death by her in-laws, the latest reported case of violence against women in the country.

Afghanistan faces serious human rights issues, including physical and sexual violence against women and so-called honour killings that often involve immolation.

The 45-year-old father, Mohammad Azam, said that he came to the capital, Kabul, to seek justice for his daughter Zarah. He told The Associated Press that she was tortured and set on fire by her husband's family last week. She died in a Kabul burns hospital on Saturday.

Azam said Zarah's killing, which happened in a remote area of central Ghor province, was in revenge after he had eloped two years ago with a young cousin of his daughter's husband.

Zarah's in-laws had struck a marriage deal with him, Azam said, letting him marry the cousin in payment for a debt they owed him for construction work. But they later reneged on the deal, he said, after promising the cousin to another man for more money.

Azam said he had no hope for justice in lawless Ghor. "The culprits should be brought to justice, my daughter's blood must not go in vain," he said.

But I thought "climate change" was killing all of the polar bears:

A female polar bear reached Iceland this past weekend, and was shot dead by a marksman shortly after it was discovered.

The Iceland Monitor reported the bear, a juvenile female, was sighted at a farm near the northern Iceland town of Sauðárkrókur by a farmer on horseback. He immediately called police, who advised people in the area to stay indoors and dispatched a marksman, which the Monitor says is standard Iceland procedure during polar bear sightings.

The animal got within 500 m of one farm before it was shot dead, some two hours after it was first spotted. 

This is the first sighting of a polar bear in that part of Iceland since 2008, when two of the bears were killed.

Despite Iceland's northern location and proximity to Greenland's population of polar bears, the animals are actually not native to Iceland, and there is no permanent population of them there. Occasionally, one or more individuals will make it to the island on pack ice during the spring melt.

I think the only thing missing was frequent Facebook updates on repeated doping:

With the Rio Olympics less than three weeks away, the IOC on Monday promised "the toughest sanctions available" after a report found Moscow had concealed hundreds of positive doping tests in many sports ahead of the Sochi winter Games.

And now, the Borzoi:

While the dog's exact origins are up for debate, we do know that the breed standard was first officially recorded in Russia in 1650. Some believe the dog was crafted by the Russian aristocracy. According to that account, a Russian duke was looking for a fast hunting dog and ordered a collection of Arabian greyhounds. Although they met his speed requirements, the dogs were not suited for the cold weather and perished. He ordered a new batch and crossed them with Russian sheepdogs, which had thick coats to keep them warm during the unforgiving Russian winters. These new dogs were both fast and well equipped to deal with the snow.

Serious in his cuteness.

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