Tuesday, October 17, 2017

There Is Always Something

Often, that is true ...

Mary Dawson runs interference for Bill Morneau:

Speaking for the first time on the escalating controversy over Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s personal finances, Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson clarified on Tuesday she had simply told Morneau it wasn’t a requirement to set up a blind trust, rather than advising him against it.

Her comments come as opposition MPs demand an investigation into whether the finance minister is in a conflict of interest, and push for transparency on the murky question of whether Morneau still owns shares in the pension services company he used to run.

Yes, about that:

Neither Ms. Dawson's office nor Mr. Morneau will explain why the Finance Minister has avoided a blind trust that other public office holders have been required to set up.

He said Monday that he would put assets in a blind trust in the future if Ms. Dawson advised him to do this.

Even PM Hair-Boy is pushing the blame onto Mary Dawson, whose job she managed to keep after she inexplicably stopped investigating Trudeau for cash-for-access and clearing his speaking fees and holiday-making on Aga Khan's private island:

“The Prime Minister placed responsibility for the lack of a blind trust on the shoulders of Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson. “We have in Canada a Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner who is mandated to ensure everyone follows the rules … I can tell you the Minister of Finance worked extensively with [the Commissioner] when he came into this job and followed all her recommendations.” Mr. Morneau is facing a separate accusation of conflict of interest even as controversy lingers over his lack of a blind trust.”


Think about how crazy Trudeau’s spin is. Morneau could face serious ethics questions because of his lack of a blind trust. He still refuses to say whether he owns shares in Morneau Sheppell. Yet, instead of fire Morneau, Trudeau pathetically tries blaming the ethics commissioners. At this point, how can anyone believe anything Trudeau says? He refuses to take responsibility for anything that happens in the government he leads, and he always throws other people under the bus. After all, if Trudeau had any integrity at all, Morneau would already be out the door.

Miss Dawson should, at this point, wonder if it was worth it to cozy up to so treasonous a boss whose zeal to not answer tough questions invariably ends up with someone thrown under the proverbial bus.

One must wonder if Harvey Weinstein's victims thought the same things.

While Trudeau, the perpetually unserious successor to the Liberal throne, panted on about things no one really cares about, the people who know that they stand to win or lose by how the NAFTA negotiations go can proceed no further for the time being:

Trade ministers from the United States, Canada and Mexico on Tuesday wrapped up a contentious round of NAFTA negotiations dominated by aggressive U.S. demands, including a sunset clause on the pact that Canadian and Mexican officials say will be rejected. 

The three sides agreed to carry on with talks and said they would negotiate into the first quarter of 2018, beyond the end-year framework initially envisaged to complete the negotiations to modernize the 23-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement. 

The tone of closing statements implied they were far apart. 

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer complained that Canada and Mexico were not willing to accept U.S. proposals on some less controversial areas of the trade deal, let alone the kind of issues that the United States says would be needed to strike an agreement. 

“As difficult as this has been, we have seen no indication that our partners are willing to make any changes that will result in a rebalancing and a reduction in these huge trade deficits,” Lighthizer said as the latest round closed out in Washington. 

The Trump administration’s proposals to reshape NAFTA to help shrink U.S. trade deficits have created stumbling blocks, leaving some participants and analysts wondering how an impasse can be avoided. 

Washington’s demands, previously identified as red lines by its neighbors, include forcing renegotiations every five years, reserving the lion’s share of automotive manufacturing for the United States and making it easier to pursue import barriers against some Canadian and Mexican goods. 

Mexican and Canadian officials at the talks have said those proposals are unacceptable while stressing their governments will not walk away from the table. The talks are now scheduled to resume in Mexcio City on Nov. 17-21.

Speaking of unserious:

Trudeau never made a real argument for why we needed $10 billion deficits, let alone triple that. The business tax changes were tucked away in the platform with none of the details now causing them headaches. The middle-class shtick was always just that, shtick.

So don’t be too hard on Trudeau as he grapples with the new realities of governing. It’s not like we weren’t warned.


If someone told one that one's credit card debt will magically sort itself out, one would think: "hell, that is the most insane thing I've heard all day."

So why was it fine when he said it the first time? It's not like he was misquoted or simply that he misspoke. One could excuse that if Trudeau had a record of being somewhat intelligent and not a complete douchebag to his fellows in the House of Commons.

Trudeau has always presented himself as a buffoon desperate for attention. He's like the class dummy whose place in the math club is because his parents paid for new football uniforms. Except that Trudeau was elected leader of a country (not through individual elections but as the federal leader of a party known for its corruption) where his numerous gaffes are the subject of many a joke. Even when he walks back from a catastrophe, it's painful to watch:

What’s alarming is that Trudeau didn’t reverse course because it was the right thing to do.

He did it because he and Finance Minister Bill Morneau botched their initial presentation of their small business corporate tax reform plan so badly, the Liberals are worried it’s eating into their popularity, as suggested by several recent polls.

How's that for sincerity?

The Ontario Liberals bait-and-switch program for rocketing hydro expenses is still costing voters:

The Kathleen Wynne government’s desire to keep the true cost of its Fair Hydro Plan off the province’s books exposes Ontarians to an extra — and unnecessary — $4 billion in interest costs, auditor general Bonnie Lysyk says in a special report.

“This accounting proposed by the government is wrong and if used would make the province’s budgets and future consolidated financial statements unreliable,” Lysyk said in a statement. “This cannot be taken lightly.”

The damning report looks at the Wynne government’s plan to reduce hydro rates by 25%, in part by extending the payback period on various energy assets.

The total cost of reduced hydro rates?

According to Lysyk, who ran her numbers past other auditors, it’s $39.4 billion, including the extra $4 billion in interest costs that would not have occurred if the government had borrowed the funds directly.

“Internal records show that senior government officials were aware their approach to borrowing could result in Ontarians paying significantly more than necessary,” Lysyk said.

Why not make an uncovered face a requirement for citizenship?

Muslim women in Quebec who wear a burka or niqab could soon be required to uncover their faces to ride a city bus under a proposed provincial law.

The Couillard government's Bill 62 on religious neutrality could be put to a vote as early as Tuesday, two years after it was tabled.

The controversial legislation would effectively ban public workers — including doctors, nurses, teachers and daycare workers — as well as those receiving a service from the government, from wearing the niqab, burka or any other face covering.

That's tough cookies.

One could always leave if it is too unfair.

Speaking of actual unfairness:

Yong-chul is the alter ego of Choi Seong-guk, "but better looking and more expressive," says Choi.
Choi himself arrived in Seoul seven years ago, surviving a journey through four countries that took months to complete. He's been able to turn his creative skills to his advantage, not only to support himself, but also to convey what being a defector from North Korea means.

In the North, he was an animator at Pyongyang's leading SEK studio when he was arrested and jailed for selling DVDs of banned South Korean movies.

"The North is an artificial world," he says. "You have to hide your feelings and the truth. The lifestyle is brutal … it's absurd. I had to get out."

He escaped north through China, following a route of more than 8,000 kilometres to end up living on the outskirts of Seoul, only 80 kilometres from the heavily fortified and impassable North Korean border.

Today, he communicates his impressions of life in the North — and the challenges of defecting to the South — in a series of popular online cartoons.

This is why any attempt to repeat endless and fruitless discussions on North Korea's nuclear program should stop.  They are pointless and always result in sanctions on people like Choi but not on Kim Jong-Un who is protected by China.

Instead of letting China own debt, South Korea and the US should beef up their computer security (something one hopes is discussed in next month's talks) and how better to destroy the regime from within.


ISIS' last push in Raqqa has failed:

U.S.-backed Syrian forces liberated the city of Raqqa from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant on Tuesday, a senior commander for the force said, adding that clearing operations were underway to remove land mines left behind and search for the extremist group’s sleeper cells.

Now the surviving cowards can slink back to their countries of residence and collect welfare.

One should remember this when one extolls the imaginary virtues of "free healthcare":

Health Canada has quietly deleted from its website all references to a planned framework for rare-disease drugs that dates back to 2012 and was intended to improve the availability of such drugs in Canada.

Canada is one of the only developed countries without a regulatory framework for rare-disease drugs, also known as orphan drugs.

Durhane Wong-Rieger, president and CEO of the Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders, said the decision “certainly seems to be the kiss of death” for the orphan drug framework.

“I am totally, totally devastated that they have taken such a big move to totally eliminate it,” she said.

Until Oct. 6, a Health Canada webpage claimed the department was “developing an orphan drug regulatory framework that seeks to encourage the development of orphan drugs and increase the availability of these products on the Canadian market.” It also promised consultations that were “expected to take place before the end of 2017.” The webpage has since been removed.

This is one's government:

A British Columbia man who recently lost his mother is fighting for his own life after a bureaucratic mix-up declared him dead.

Bryan Kupiak, who is 65 and from Kamloops, is healthy but says somehow his social insurance number was substituted for his mother’s after she died in September.

A death certificate with Kupiak’s name on it was issued to his estate.

He says the mix-up has cost him access to his own pension and he has also had to ensure his bank accounts, driver’s licence and other important documents and services have not been compromised.

Well, not everyone can be a brain-trust:

Around 6 millions Jews were systematically murdered during the genocide instigated under Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany before and during World War II.

But The Scaramucci Post question appears to suggest with its multiple-choice options that the total number of Jews killed may have been fewer then 1 million.

Wow, Princess Leia had some brass:

Now, in the mounting reveals since, we’ve learned the late Carrie Fisher once went as far as sending a cow’s tongue to an unnamed Oscar-winning producer after he assaulted her friend, screenwriter Heather Ross.

The assaulted Miss Ross then went on to shrug off this incident as something that happens  " ... all the time."

Way to brush off your late friend's intestinal fortitude, Heather.

Not even a wildfire can destroy a dog's love for its family:

The Weaver family was convinced they had lost everything. But they were most devastated with the thought of losing Izzy, Widen said.

So the day after the Weavers evacuated their home, Jack Weaver and Patrick Widen decided to make the trek to visit his parent’s home. “They were turned away by police officers, but if you know my brother Jack or husband Patrick . . . neither one likes to be told no,” Beckyjean Widen wrote on Facebook.

As they approached the property, Jack Weaver noticed the gate was still standing, he is heard saying in the video. He swore as he took in the scene in front of him. ...

The brothers in law began clapping and whistling, calling out for Izzy, wondering if maybe, at least Izzy had made it.

They noticed some property had been spared – the vineyards, a tractor.

Suddenly, they saw movement up ahead.

“Izzy is here!” Weaver is heard saying frantically. “Izzy, Izzy, come here baby, Izzy!”

The Bernese Mountain Dog is seen walking toward them, wagging her tail.

Good dog.

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