Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Mid-Week Post

A merrie Burn's Day to all y'all....

Wow. I guess Trump was serious about that wall after all. One will see:

President Donald Trump signed directives on Wednesday to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border and strip funding from cities that shield illegal immigrants as he charged ahead with sweeping and divisive plans to transform how the United States deals with immigration and national security.


Mexico's president is "considering" cancelling next week's visit to Washington following President Donald Trump's order to begin construction of a wall between the two countries, a senior official said Wednesday.

The decision to rethink the visit comes amid growing outrage in Mexico, and a sense among many that President Enrique Pena Nieto has been too weak in the face of Trump's tough policy stance.

I suspect that this cold remove has something to do with the Mexican government's inability to create a stable nation that provides well-paying jobs to all those who want them and to destroy the bloodthirsty cartels.

Islamist militants rammed a car bomb into the gate of a hotel in Somalia's capital Mogadishu on Wednesday, jumped clear and stormed inside on Wednesday, killing 28 people, government and medical officials said.

Gunfire rang out as four militants burst into the Dayah Hotel, which is popular with politicians. A second explosion shook the area shortly afterwards, injuring several journalists and other people nearby.

"Well-armed mujahideen (militants) attacked the hotel and now they are fighting inside the hotel," said an announcer on Andalus radio, which is linked to the al Shabaab jihadist group. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack.

Security forces eventually shot dead all four militants and managed to secure the building, according to Abdifatah Omar, the Mogadishu municipality spokesman. Government websites confirmed this, quoting the security minister.

"We have confirmed 28 people died and 43 others injured in the two blasts at the hotel," Abdikadir Abdirahman, director of the Mogadishu's ambulance services, ...

Terrorists behind the attack in Brussels and Paris also planned to kidnap people:

The jihadists behind the Paris and Brussels terror attacks had planned to kidnap well-known figures in a bid to trade them for their brethren jailed in Belgium, media outlets reported Wednesday.

Investigators came to the conclusion after discovering a recorded conversation in a laptop found in a dustbin in the Brussels neighbourhood of Schaerbeek, from where the perpetrators of the March 22 attack on the Belgian capital's airport had left, public broadcasters RTBF and VRT reported.

The conversation was between an Islamic State group jihadist in Syria and Ibrahim El Bakraoui and Najim Laachraoui, who blew themselves up at the airport, and Khalid El Bakraoui, a suicide bomber who attacked the Maelbeek metro station.

The investigators have identified the jihadist in Syria as Osama Atar, a Begian-Moroccan veteran extremist in his 30s who served time in US prisons in Iraq, RTBF said.

The three men, who had been hiding in Brussels, planned several terrorist acts including kidnapping "one or two" personalities to demand the "liberation of brothers and sisters" jailed in Belgium, including Mehdi Nemmouche, who killed four people during a May 2014 attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels.

A university professor loses a challenge against the government and its deal with Saudi Arabia:

A Canadian court on Tuesday dismissed a challenge to the government's controversial arms deal with Saudi Arabia, ruling that the former foreign affairs minister considered the relevant security and human rights factors.

Former Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion and the Liberal government came under fire last year for signing off on a $13 billion General Dynamics Corp contract to supply light armored vehicles to Saudi Arabia, despite concerns about the country's human rights record.

The Liberals have argued they had no choice but to honor what they said was a binding contract made in 2014 under the previous Conservative government. Dion signed the key export permits last April.

The application for judicial review was brought before the Federal Court last year by Daniel Turp, a professor at the Universite de Montreal and former member of parliament for the separatist Bloc Quebecois.

Turp argued that the issuance of the permits was against Canada's export rules, as well as the Geneva Convention, and that there was a reasonable risk that the armored vehicles would be used against Shi'ite minorities in Saudi Arabia.

The government countered that Dion's sole obligation was to take into account all the relevant factors, which he did.

Justice Daniele Tremblay-Lamer found that it was up to Dion to assess whether there was a reasonable risk the vehicles might be used against civilians, noting that there have been no incidents in which light armored vehicles have been used in human rights violations in Saudi Arabia since trade relations began with Canada in the 1990s.

"The role of the court is not to pass moral judgment on the minister's decision to issue the export permits but only to make sure of the legality of such a decision," Tremblay-Lamer wrote.

"The court is of the opinion that the minister considered the relevant factors. In such a case, it is not open to the court to set aside the decision."

An 83-hear-old former Liberal organizer convicted of fraud related to the federal sponsorship scandal has been given a four-year prison term.

Jacques Corriveau’s sentence was handed down in a Montreal courtroom this morning.

He will also have 10 years to pay a fine of $1.4 million.

Of course he has.

Many observers also detected the familiar aroma of Liberal arrogance increasingly swirling about after a period of successful containment. And while Trudeau arguably lacks the gravitas necessary for true arrogance he certainly manages periodically to show striking signs of conceit in the flippant way he treats serious issues, from off-colour jokes about military procurement to brushing off cash-for-access fundraisers. But nowhere is his tendency toward harmful frivolity more pronounced than on Quebec.

Should the rest of Canada decide that Ottawa and Quebec don't speak for them, how badly is Trudeau willing to lose? 

Uh, yeah. Did you see what they were wearing?

Dean Lapierre, the well-known, longtime president of the Windsor Minor Hockey Association, is being investigated by his own organization and the Ontario Minor Hockey Association for calling Canadian women who participated in the Women’s March on Washington “dumb bitches” on social media Sunday.

“Any of those CANADIAN women who wanted to protest the President of the USA and got turned around. Good u dumb bitches,” Lapierre wrote on his personal Facebook. “Worry about your own Country CANADA. And your (sic) protesting what?”

I believe that I was saying this:

The diplomat’s decision to defect from a regime he had spent his whole life defending didn’t happen overnight.

Instead, his misgivings had been simmering for two decades, even as he went around Europe espousing the superiority of the North Korean system. They finally reached a boiling point when Thae Yong-ho realized that this regime, to which he had been so loyal, expected him to lie to his children.

“I’ve known that there was no future for North Korea for a long time,” Thae told The Washington Post in his first interview with the foreign media since his escape from the North Korean Embassy in London, where he served as deputy ambassador.

But last summer, he realized his hopes had been misplaced that supreme leader Kim Jong Un, who was educated in Switzerland and is only 33, would turn out to be a reformer. Thae fled, together with his wife and his two sons, now ages 19 and 26.

“Kim Jong Un is still young,” Thae said. “I was afraid that my even grandsons would have to live under this system. I decided that if I didn’t cut the chains of slavery off [my sons], they would complain, ‘Why didn’t you let us be free?’ ”

Thae is the highest ranking diplomat to defect from North Korea. After several months being debriefed by the South Korean intelligence service, he is in Seoul speaking out against the regime’s “reign of terror.”

Over the past month, Thae has predicted to South Korean media the demise of North Korea with the same fervor with which he once extolled its glories. His hard line statements happen to fit nicely with the hawkish stance taken by the South Korean government over the past eight years, but Thae said he was not being expedient and was speaking his real mind — and was intent on using his influence for good. ...

“The regime can only stay in place by preventing outside information,” he said. “People there are not educated about the outside world and have no opportunity to experience freedom or a system that is different.”

In North Korea, the internet is banned for all but a handful of elites, radios and televisions play only state propaganda, and the newspapers are full of the leader’s “great feats.” South Korean dramas are increasingly being smuggled into North Korea, but people watch them in secret, fearing severe punishment if they are caught.

Thae said that anything to break the information blockade in North Korea should be encouraged, from USB drives containing foreign films to radios that can be tuned to news broadcasts from abroad.
“I would like to make it possible for people to rise up,” he said. “We should educate the North Korean people so that they can have their own ‘Korean Spring.’ ”

Activists have been sending flash drives and cell phones to North Korea.

It's time for a ramp-up.

People are aware that Big Brother was modelled on Stalin, right?

George Orwell's "1984" novel about a dystopian future under an authoritarian regime is back as a bestseller and being reprinted decades after it was written as readers grapple with Donald Trump administration's defense of "alternative facts."

The book, first published in 1949, features a devious "Big Brother" government that spies on its citizens and forces them into "doublethink," or simultaneously accepting contradictory versions of the truth.

Sales spiked after a senior White House official, Kellyanne Conway, used the term "alternative facts" on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday during a discussion about the size of the crowd at Trump's inauguration.

Some commentators denounced her expression as "Orwellian."
The popular press has been repeatedly caught putting its own bias on the news or simply not reporting it.

"Fake news"?

Look no further than the Fourth and Fifth Estates.

Cambodian pepper is the next big thing:

Celebrity chefs from Paris to Los Angeles swear by Kampot pepper, a southwestern Cambodian spice with a tragic past that is now reclaiming its global pre-eminence. It is also proving to be “black gold” for some of its once-impoverished farmers, thanks in part to Kampot pepper last year being awarded a Protected Geographical Indication by the European Union. This identifies unique products – like Stilton cheese, Champagne or Darjeeling tea – as originating in a very specific region.

I think one has to invest in pepper.

Damn you, global warming!

There’s not much evidence left of the journeys of these monastic explorers, but in later years Norse stories had a name from them, the papar. Gaelic monks settled on empty northern islands—Orkney, Shetland—but it’s also possible that they found their way to Iceland, where manmade caves, decorated with crosses, have convinced some archaeologists that there were settlers here before the Vikings.

An early Irish geographer, Dicuil, also writes of “priests who stayed on that island from the first of February to the first of August.” The year would have been 795, and Dicuil briefly notes a journey they took north. “These priests then sailed hence and, in day’s sail, did reach the frozen sea to the north.”

Soros: a profiteer for all ages:

Now came the fulcrum of Soros’s life and career. The bureaucrat who housed teenage György was assigned the task of confiscating Jewish land and property. Acolyte in tow, he went from house to house, making inventories for Nazi officers. It’s unfair sweepingly to condemn those individuals, Jewish and Gentile, who, in order to survive, sometimes collaborated with evil. Still, most of those who did escape the Holocaust were tormented by pangs of remorse and survivor’s guilt.

Not Soros. ...
When the war ended, Hungary’s troubles continued. Soviet troops moved in, and the new rulers ruthlessly expunged the Germans—and their collaborators. Yet György was never punished, never even reprimanded for aiding the Nazis. Petr Cibulka, a onetime Czech dissident, told a British journalist that the only way for Soros to avoid reprisals “would be an agreement to co-operate with the GRU Soviet [Russian] military intelligence or perhaps also with the NKVD [later KGB].” Somehow, the 16-year-old Soros passed through “countless Red Army check points, without a passport that would be valid, without a Soviet approved permit to leave the country, without money and without any outside help. . . . His stay in the U.K. and his 1947 enrollment to the London School of Economics, and to be able financially to support himself during that time, with no mentioned help or financial backing, and to be able to graduate in 1952 at that young age, this all gives me chills.” In his own account of his days at the London School of Economics, Soros maintained that he had been a scholarship student. ...
In the United States, Soros bankrolls a broad range of political and cultural causes. One is to destabilize the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. In 2015, he dedicated $650,000 for the purpose of shaping Pope Francis’s U.S. visit, using left-leaning Catholic groups to promote gay marriage, abortion, and physician-assisted suicide. Leading the effort was Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta, a self-professed Catholic. Bill Donohue, outspoken president of the Catholic League, vainly called for Podesta’s dismissal. “He is fomenting revolution in the Catholic Church, creating mutiny and is totally unethical,” Donohue said. “He is the front man for George Soros to create a host of phony anti-Catholic groups. These are not just bad comments, as some have suggested. These words are orchestrated, calculated and designed to create fissures in the Catholic Church.”

Another Soros favorite is Black Lives Matter, the radical protest group dedicated to the proposition that police are inherently racist. Working the streets with incendiary rhetoric, at odds with the truth about black-on-black crime, BLM has helped foster “depolicing,” as Heather Mac Donald describes it, in high-crime urban areas. In 2015, after days of rioting in Baltimore in response to the death of Freddie Gray in police custody, an Open Society Foundations memo excitedly commented that “recent events offer a unique opportunity to accelerate the dismantling of structural inequality generated and maintained by local law enforcement and to engage residents who have historically been disenfranchised in Baltimore City in shaping and monitoring reform.” Three straight acquittals of police officers involved in the matter left the prosecution’s case in shreds but made no difference to the Open Society Foundations. It has donated at least $650,000 to Black Lives Matter and pledged more assistance to antipolice factions across the country. These activities prompted the father of one of the Dallas police officers killed during a Black Lives Matter protest to sue Soros (along with other individuals and groups) for inspiring a “war on police.”

Somewhere along the line, the post-modern West forgot to teach people shame:

We are a world of selfie takers and they have invaded every part of life. But is there ever a time when they shouldn’t be taken? At a Holocaust memorial, for example. That’s the view of Israeli satirist and author Shahak Shapira who has created a website to show why such selfies are so distasteful. He’s taken people’s selfies from instagram, Tinder, Grindr and Facebook and used them to create a blend to show how ridiculous the selfies would look if taken in the aftermath of the death camps.

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