Tuesday, June 20, 2017

No Man Is An Island

... or something ...

Just another day in Europe:

Belgian troops patrolling a major train station in Brussels have "neutralised" a person following an explosion.

Police said they are unable to comment on media reports that the suspect was wearing an explosive belt and had wires coming out of his clothes.

Belgium's federal prosecutor confirmed the incident at Brussels Central, one of the country's busiest stations, is being treated as a terrorist attack.

The Ramadan body count thus far:

The 2,781 total number of casualties (1,424 murders and 1,357 injuries) have more than doubled the estimated 1,150 (421 deaths and 729 injuries that took place in 2016.

There have been more than 135 incidents in more than 20 mainly Muslim nations during Ramadan this year, which began on May 27 and expected to end on June 24.

One can also see it here.

A coroner is performing an external examination of Otto Warmbier after his death:

A cause of death hasn't been determined for a 22-year-old college student who was detained for nearly a year and a half in North Korea before being sent home in a coma, an Ohio coroner's office said Tuesday.

Liberal government bloat now extends to its security policies:

A mammoth national security bill introduced by the Liberals on Tuesday greatly expands the powers of Canada’s electronic spy agency and creates a new “super agency” to conduct government-wide national security reviews.

Far from simply rolling back some aspects of the controversial Bill C-51 passed by Stephen Harper’s government, which the Liberals promised in their platform (and which critics say they haven’t gone far enough in doing), the new legislation is being described as the largest reform to national security law since the early 1980s, when the Canadian Secret Intelligence Service was created. 

Under the bill, the Communications Security Establishment would be allowed for the first time to conduct active cyber operations against terrorist groups and other governments, and to partner with the military on foreign operations. Currently, the CSE’s role is kept to collecting signals intelligence, defending against threats and assisting other agencies if requested to.

The legislation also sets out a new regime to authorize how CSIS can use and retain data.

(Sidebar: like ignoring a mosque's ties to al Qaeda, for example.)

File:POI 0323 S9.png
You are being watched ...

Look - if the Liberals were to allow free access to government documents, they couldn't hood-wink the public:

The Liberals pledged to restore trust in our democracy by being open with information as a default. 

The Access to Information Act would be updated to meet this standard, their election platform said, including an expansion of coverage to ministerial offices and the Prime Minister’s Office.

But the revised act revealed by Treasury Board president Scott Brison late Monday fell well short of those Olympian standards of transparency.

Instead of being open to ATI requests, in future those offices will proactively disclose travel and hospitality expenses, Question Period binders and ministerial briefing notes.

The press conference that followed was comedy gold.

“You broke your campaign promise right here. All you’ve done is codify proactive disclosure for a certain set of documents in ministers’ offices. Why did you break that campaign promise?” asked one disgruntled reporter.

Brison maintained the government is “fulfilling our commitment to our mandate commitments.”

“We are extending the Access to Information Act to ministers’ offices and the Prime Minister’s Office for the first time ever through proactive disclosure … (it) is absolutely consistent with open-by-default. Canadians should not have to go through a request-based system to get information that can be proactively disclosed,” he said.

In fact, the Liberals’ new legislation is consistent with nothing more than the realization by all parties in all ages that if they don’t know what you’re doing, they don’t know what you’re doing wrong.

As one reporter pointed out, under the new legislation citizens won’t even be able to request information on what went on behind the scenes to arrive at the decision not to include PMO or ministers’ offices from access requests.

Also - de-fund the CBC. It's a Liberal mouthpiece. Who even watches it anymore, anyway?

CBC’s television and online news departments are a haunted museum of bloat, larding tons of valuable content with tiresome victim-mongering; endless why-didn’t-the-government-prevent-this stories; Trudeau propaganda snaps beamed straight in from the Prime Minister’s Office; a dumb, tawdry nightly newscast; an opinion section that pays writers way over market (though, ahem, nothing more than what’s fair!); Canadian Press wire copy of which a lavishly resourced public broadcaster has no earthly need; and an entire clickbait department that’s stealing digital advertising revenue from private-sector outlets. It has no clear mandate to do much of this in the first place — indeed, the Heritage Committee recommended getting CBC out of digital revenue altogether — and unlike CBC Radio and SRC, I’m not aware of a single human being who supports the TV/online status quo.

Never under-estimate how the unions would feel about a Liberal loss:

The Ontario Liberals and Premier Kathleen Wynne find themselves as unpopular as ever despite a flurry of feel-good announcements, a Forum Research poll reveals.

Lorne Bozinoff, president of Forum Research, said the Liberals experienced a surge in popularity in May after announcing a tax on foreign buyers to cool Toronto’s sizzling housing market, but that momentum has fizzled.

The Liberals are the choice of just 23% of decided and leaning voters — down from 28% provincewide — and would secure just nine seats if an election were held now, the pollster projects.

Announcements that the government intends to cut hydro bills by 25% and raise the minimum wage to $15-an-hour by 2019 have not won over voters, he said.

Comment of the day:

Other comment of the day:

Perhaps they are bothered by someone being killed for a hospital bed:

St. Boniface General Hospital's decision to forbid medical-assisted deaths is drawing condemnation from end-of-life care advocates and an expert on medical ethics.

Arthur Schafer, a founder of the University of Manitoba's Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics, described the recent board decision to ban medical-assisted deaths as "fundamentally wrong."

The board of St. Boniface Hospital initially voted in favour May 29 of allowing doctors and other medical staff to assist some patients to die in special circumstances.

But on May 30, the hospital's owners — Catholic Health Corp. of Manitoba — held a special meeting and appointed 10 new members of the board who overturned the policy two weeks later.

Oh, does she mean that the Canadian government hasn't allowed illegal immigration?

Zain Alabdullah, who fled Syria and crossed into Quebec two months ago, is calling on the Canadian government to open its borders and give status to asylum seekers.

Speaking in Arabic, Alabdullah told CBC she left her home in Aleppo, where she'd been held as a political detainee, and went first to the United States.

While there, she continued to struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, terrified that she'd be deported and sent back to Syria.

"She lived in fear the whole time," said Jessica Attar, translating for Alabdullah at a rally in Montreal.

Soon after, she entered Quebec from an illegal border crossing point.

Speaking of which:

But secondly it's never a good idea to put reality up for grabs - because you're unlikely to be able to come up with a fantasy everyone can agree on. The "First Nations" dislike this "nation of immigrants" baloney because it excludes them, and they dislike it even more if you include them in it. Likewise, French-Canadians dislike it almost as much as being called "French-Canadians" because they regard it as a diminution of their own status as Canada's most important aggrieved minority. In time, Muslim Canadians will come to reject it too - but by then the Royal Ontario Museum will be mounting exhibits showing that the first Koran in Canada was found preserved in ice by the Franklin Expedition. The Twittering umbrage-takers have a point: Their argument - Johnston's predecessors as agents of a ruthless Crown stole this land from us! - isn't quite "The Maple Leaf Forever" but it has a closer relationship to reality than the fluffy-bunny Trudeaupian myths of a "nation of immigrants".

July 1st is in fact the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the transformation of the British Empire into dozens of sovereign states that now comprise nearly a third of the members of the United Nations. It would be a great day to celebrate the ingenious farsightedness of imperial civil servants.

Whoops, what the hell am I saying? I mean it's a great day for the Governor General to honour quote indigenous peoples unquote by taking part in the traditional ceremony of tiptoeing around on ever thinner eggshells...

Some people will never be happy.

The original Canadian anthem was written in French and was far too Catholic for today's sensibilities. Changing the lyrics “in all thy sons command” to “in all of us command" is not only not at all exclusive but distorts the meaning of the lyric: "True patriot love in all thy sons command" as in "Canada commands its sons to love it". One could go through the grammar of pronouns like "us" (object first person plural) but grammar isn't taught anymore (it only serves to clarify language):

It is absurd that we would now tie ourselves in knots over whether to change two small words. Gender neutrality would simply be one further step in the song’s storied evolution, not to mention a worthy update to the song.

(Sidebar: no, it wouldn't, actually, because "sons" is not offensive.) 

And consider, for a moment, what O Canada could sound like if we didn’t update the words from time to time. The French lyrics have not changed in 137 years. As a result, it now reads like a bizarre, arch-Catholic screed, utterly inappropriate to today’s secular Canada (to say nothing of Quebec).

(Sidebar: wasn't I just saying?)

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