Sunday, October 30, 2016

Sunday Post

On this eve of All Hallow's Eve...

Italy is once again rocked by a series of earthquakes:

Another powerful earthquake shook Italy on Sunday, sending panicked people running into piazzas, raining boulders onto highways and toppling a Benedictine cathedral and other historic edifices that had withstood several recent quakes. There were no immediate reports of deaths.

With a preliminary magnitude of 6.6, it was the strongest earthquake to strike the country in nearly 36 years. People throughout the mountainous region northeast of Rome were still on edge after a pair of jolts last week and an August quake that killed nearly 300.

That there were no reports of fatalities was largely due to the fact that thousands had left their homes for shelters and hotels after the earlier temblors, and that large swaths of inhabited areas had been closed for safety reasons.

PM Hair-Boy signs a trade agreement with an organisation that is so pointless that people are trying to leave it:

Trudeau had initially expected to sign the deal in Brussels days ago, but the restive Belgian region of Wallonia nearly killed it because its opposition to the pact’s investor-state dispute settlement mechanism gave it a veto under Belgium’s complicated constitution.

After seven arduous years of negotiation, Trudeau joined presidents of the European Council and European Commission, Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker, and signed the massive 1,600-page pact and its accompanying strategic partnership agreement

Smoke and mirrors. It looks like PM Hair-Boy is doing something important. Instead of making a deal with the newly-existed UK, Canada (read: one segment of Canada) pursued an agreement with the slowly fragmenting EU.

What happens to the agreement if the EU crumbles?

The big problem is that no party is trustworthy enough to secure Canadians' rights and security:

Most concerning is the provision that changed CSIS from a strictly intelligence-gathering service to one with an offensive remit to physically disrupt real or perceived threats. These include not just terrorism, but threats to economic and financial stability, critical infrastructure and the security of other states.

The Liberals have vowed to rein in the disruption power, but have yet to say how. As the law now stands, if a threat disruption activity (TRA) will violate Criminal Code or Charter of Rights & Freedom rights, CSIS must first secure a Federal Court warrant authorizing the breach. 

Some experts argue this judicial control will act as oversight on the potentially dangerous, but important new law-breaking  power, one which CSIS has yet to use. (If a TRA does not violate the law or the charter – and stops short of death, bodily harm, obstruction of justice and sexual impropriety — no judicial approval is needed.)

But because the proposed committee will be a review body with no capability for anything close to real-time “oversight,”  its ability to assess the legality, efficacy and reasonableness of CSIS TRAs will be a post-mortem effort, at best.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna is open for a photo shoot but not for a discussion:

McKenna sent a new invitation to potential delegates including to Ed Fast, the former international trade minister and Conservative MP, who is now the Official Opposition Critic to McKenna. You can read it below but in it, McKenna notes that there was never any intention to prevent Fast or other delegates from speaking to the media. “I understand that the media plays an important role in communicating to Canadians on such important issues as climate change,” McKenna writes.

Nonetheless, she tells Fast that he will be receiving an amended version of a “Canadian Delegation Agreement” — a new set of terms he will have to agree to if he chooses to accept the invitation to join McKenna’s delegation. (The government will cover up to $4,500 in travel and accommodation costs for those in the official delegation)

Fast, in an e-mailed response sent to McKenna’s office late Friday afternoon, notes that he did not sign any such agreement as a condition of his being part of the delegation to last year’s COP21 conference and “I have absolutely no intention of signing any document that governs my participation at COP22.”

Fast, incidentally, had not, at the time of this exchange, been provided with the amended “Canadian Delegation Agreement” so we don’t know what the new conditions are. But for Fast, it’s the principle of the idea.  “Certainly no MP should be required to submit to the authority of the Head of Delegation or have their discretion fettered,” he writes, concluding with some advice for the minister. “May I respectfully make a suggestion? Drop it. A Participant Agreement is unnecessary.”

 Because Rex Murphy:

Just who is “unsafe” here? Peterson himself, of course. When bravely and openly he went public to argue his case, a mob surrounded him, threatened him, drowned out his words with a “white noise” machine, and subjected him to a barrage of insults, slanders and pure insolence.

Were I a president of a university, and it sent out a letter of this intellectual fragility and insidious threat under the university’s imprimatur, I would see it expunged instantly, or resign for fear of disgrace by association. And were I a president, and a mob of hostile, anti-intellectual bullies harassed and threatened a professor on my campus, either the members of the mob would go, or I would. It should be as clear as that.

The older, raw, honest tyrannies told people what not to speak. But the new, wilier versions, midwifed by our famous human rights overseers, are proposing to insist on what we must speak. Here be the new axioms of our day: we own your pronouns, use no others. “He” and “she” are assault words. Freedom of speech is the life-raft flotsam of gurgling obscurantists and bigots going down for the last time.

Prof. Jordan Peterson is a brave man. Better, he is an actual, a real, university professor. May his stamina and courage hold. Parents, send your children to his classes.

Shamed into acting, the Liberals will do what they do best - lie and pretend that they intended to help the Yazidis all along:

Immigration Minister John McCallum tried to head off the embarrassment on Monday by affirming that he was committed to the Conservative motion. His officials had been poking around Iraqi Kurdistan scoping out the scene, Yazidi refugees will now be a Canadian priority, and some yet-to-be-determined number of Yazidi refugees would be brought to Canada over the next four months. During House committee meetings this past summer, the number of Yazidi refugees admitted to Canada was guesstimated by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada officials at nine. McCallum came off, at best, as an unserious person. ...

The Yazidis are an ancient religious minority of about 700,000 people, targeted for extermination by the so-called Islamic State in the autumn of 2014. The landscape of the Yazidi homelands in the Shingal Mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan is now pockmarked with the mass graves of Yazidi men. Yazidi women and girls have been enslaved by the thousands, subjected to rape and torture, forced abortions and innumerable unspeakable obscenities. Thousands of Yazidi women have escaped the jihadist nightmare, but most cower as “internally displaced persons” in Iraq, beyond the reach of the UN refugee system. More than 1,000 of the women have been taken in by Germany. Other than that, they are pretty well friendless.

The excuses persist, even this week. “It is not easy to bring the Yazidis here from the places where they are,” McCallum explained. ...

The Trudeau government and the senior bureaucrats with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, have treated the Yazidi genocide as less of a first-order humanitarian emergency and more of an inconvenience. They clutter up the Liberals’ “Canada is back” story and all its attendant preening about the 30,000 Syrian refugees who have made their way to Canada by way of an orderly UN process from refugee camps and processing centres mainly in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. ...

For one thing, last June, Prime Minister Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister St├ęphane Dion humiliated themselves by refusing to endorse a motion tabled by interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose condemning the atrocities committed by the Islamic State against the Yazidis as genocide. 

Trudeau and Dion insisted it was up to the UN to decide. Within days, in a grim and voluminous investigation report, the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights confirmed what anyone vaguely familiar with the Yazidi suffering had known for nearly two years: the Yazidis were being subjected to a barbarism that clearly surpassed the threshold of the United Nations 1948 Genocide Convention. Dion’s response: it makes no difference. We’re not changing a thing.

Then there’s the rather embarrassing business of the Liberals who were happy to attribute the former Conservative government’s several awkward attempts to establish a refugee priority for persecuted religious minorities from the region to the Harper government’s “Islamophobia.”

Will Obama insult Israel before he leaves office? Previous spite says yes:

Before the election, Obama dare not attempt this final legacy item, to go along with the Iran deal and the Castro conciliation, for fear of damaging Hillary Clinton. His last opportunity comes after election day. The one person who might deter him, points out Hannah, is Clinton herself, by committing Obama to do nothing before he leaves office that would tie her hands should she become president.

After the election,  Obama's apathy comes into full swing.

Oh, heaven's to Betsy! Things just get worse for Hillary Clinton:

Hillary Clinton’s campaign lashed out at the FBI on Saturday, saying there was no indication that a cache of recently discovered emails under review by the agency was connected to the Democratic nominee. 


The presidential campaign was rocked on Friday after federal law enforcement officials said that emails pertinent to the closed investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server were discovered on a computer belonging to Anthony D. Weiner, the estranged husband of a top Clinton aide.

Oh, dear...


Long story short, the Department of Justice can very well affect who our next President is. If they move swiftly to indict, or if Clinton believes she’s in trouble, she could drop out before November 8. Alternatively, if an indictment comes soon after Clinton wins the election, she could still feel pressure to step down before she takes office.

Wynne will remove the useless wind turbines when Hell experiences a blizzard:

But there is a way to reverse Ontario’s downward spiral, likely the only way that avoids a painful and protracted retrenchment — by righting the province’s power sector, the biggest cause by far of its ruin. And there’s only one way to right the power sector — by rethinking Ontario’s Green Energy Act and rewriting the ruinous contracts that are responsible for most of Ontario’s power woes.

If the UN is so appalled at Russia's alleged callousness, why doesn't it just eject Russia from its organisation?

The General Assembly voted Russia off the U.N. Human Rights Council on Friday, a stunning rebuke to the country which is increasingly being accused of war crimes over its actions in Syria.

What does All Hallow's Eve need? More cowbell.

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