Monday, April 09, 2018

For a Monday

Quite a bit going on ...

The Kinder Morgan pipeline is dead and, along with it, the Canadian economy.

Who stands to benefit from Canada not producing and delivering oil? :

B.C. politicians, Indigenous leaders and environmentalists say the future of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline is in doubt.

On Sunday the company announced it would suspend all "non-essential activities" and related spending for the Trans Mountain pipeline project, citing ongoing opposition from the British Columbia government.

"I'm greatly encouraged by this news," said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip with the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.

This Chief Stewart Philip:

Stewart Phillip, head of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, has long espoused civil disobedience to defend First Nations rights and was recently arrested during an anti-pipeline protest on Burnaby Mountain.

He expressed shock after being read sections of the report that was obtained earlier this month by the Montreal newspaper La Presse.

The report said New Brunswick, where a half-dozen RCMP vehicles were torched in an anti-fracking First Nations protest in 2013, was the number 1 hot spot in terms of potential violent attacks on the oil and gas industry.

“Aside from New Brunswick, the most urgent anti-petroleum threat of violent criminal activity is in northern British Columbia, where there is a coalition of like-minded violent extremists who are planning criminal actions to prevent the construction of the pipeline.”

“It’s absolutely bizarre, bordering on misguided hysteria,” Phillip said after being read several passages from the 44-page document, titled Criminal Threats to the Canadian Petroleum Industry and stamped “Protected … Canadian Eyes Only.”

The report’s author appeared to be trying to link mainstream environmental groups like Tides Canada, which receives considerable funding from U.S. trusts, to individuals and groups who have threatened criminal “direct action” to stop Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline to Kitimat and Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion to Burnaby.



The top recipient of U.S. funds for campaigns and conservation initiatives that thwart the Canadian energy sector is the Tides Foundation, which established itself in Vancouver in 1993. In 2003, records show that the Tides Foundation changed its name to Tides Canada Foundation.

Chief Philip is hardly the only person trying to ground the Canadian energy sector. A little digging will uncover all manner of people in the pay of some very influential persons or groups who want to watch this country founder.

Premier Rachel Notley says an emergency motion on the latest developments on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion battle will be introduced Monday in the Alberta legislature. 

Kinder Morgan announced Sunday that it is suspending "non-essential activities" and related spending for the $7.4-billion pipeline expansion project, citing ongoing opposition from the British Columbia government.

The company said it will consult with stakeholders in an effort to reach agreements before May 31 that could allow the project to proceed.

I sincerely doubt that Premier Notley will pull a rabbit out of a hat for this one.

Yes, Canada - do as your Chinese overlords tell you:

China's ambassador to Canada says he hopes Canada will side with his country as "strong defenders of free trade" in the escalating trade battle between his country and the United States.
To wit:

Trudeau’s answer: "You know, there’s a level of of admiration I actually have for China …"


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was the top draw at a $1,500 Liberal Party cash-for-access fundraiser at the mansion of a wealthy Chinese-Canadian business executive in May. One of the guests at the event was a well-heeled donor who was seeking Ottawa's final approval to begin operating a new bank aimed at Canada's Chinese community.

The Globe and Mail has learned that wealthy Chinese businessman Zhang Bin who, with a partner, donated $1-million to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and the University of Montreal Faculty of Law weeks after the fundraiser, also attended the event. Mr. Zhang is a political adviser to the Chinese government in Beijing and a senior apparatchik in the network of Chinese state promotional activities around the world.

Chinese Business Chamber of Commerce chair Benson Wong played host to Mr. Trudeau and 32 other people at his Toronto home. Among the donors was insurance tycoon Shenglin Xian, the founder of Wealth One Bank of Canada, and several Chinese billionaires.


Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said it was "irresponsible" of a journalist from the web outlet iPolitics to ask about human rights and the jailing of a Canadian, Kevin Garratt, who is charged with espionage.

Wang appeared visibly angry as he delivered the scolding in the lobby of Global Affairs headquarters at a joint news conference with Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau departed China on Thursday without securing the start of free trade talks with the world’s second-largest economy, but said Canadians need to lower their expectations about just how quick that will happen.

How low should they go, Justin?

As low as your opinion of veterans? :

The federal government has spent more than $38 million on legal proceedings involving Canada's veterans over the past two years.

Nearly $1 million of that amount has been spent on legal fees for two lawsuits launched in 2016 by former members of the military who allege they were sexually assaulted or sexually harassed while they were serving.

Another $1.3 million was spent on legal fees for 73 other cases involving veterans.

Most of the spending was to resolve disputes over veterans' benefits or pensions through the Veterans Review and Appeal Board. Operating that tribunal cost the government $18.4 million. Another $17.9 million went to advocates who represent veterans appealing decisions made by the Veterans Affairs department, according to documents tabled in the House of Commons.

I'll just leave this right here: 

At a town hall in Edmonton, Canadian Veteran Brock Blaszczyk – who lost his leg while serving our nation in Afghanistan – asked Justin Trudeau about the Omar Khadr payment, and asked why Trudeau betrayed his promise by forcing Veterans to fight in court for their benefits.

This was the sickening reply from Trudeau:
“Why are we still fighting certain veterans groups in court? Because they’re asking for more than we are able to give right now.”

I knew she would find money to bribe the teachers with:

The Ontario government has quietly agreed to pay as much as $31 million to the province’s Catholic teachers who won a grievance over a delay to their salary grid increases during protracted contract negotiations.

About 40 per cent of members of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association will receive $2,000 each under the deal reached last month.

Although final numbers need to be worked out, roughly 10,000-12,000 teachers could benefit — most of them with less than 10 years on the job who hadn’t reached the top salary available to them on the grid.

I put the blame on a snowflake culture of wastrels with an undeserved sense of entitlement (TM - Submarine Guzzler):

Interview “no shows” are a common complaint in some industries, such as restaurant and retail. They appear particularly endemic to entry-level or low-paying positions with long, gruelling hours in major cities where there is an abundance of work available.

“It’s been an ongoing problem … it’s driven by the intense competition between employers for certain-level jobs,” said Best Retail Careers International president, Suzanne Sears, a recruiter who has hired people for jobs ranging from retail entry-level positions right up to the CEO’s office. 

Young people are often more comfortable with texting, applying for jobs online, interacting through social media and even “ghosting” someone they no longer wish to date.

Considering that the use of proper spelling and punctuation is now seen as declasse in a world of digitally-sent happy faces and numerals, one really shouldn't push one's luck with what properly raised people regard as rude and unprofessional.

Put on some clean clothes and go for that interview, lazy.

Oh, the EU will not like this:

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has secured a third successive term in office after his right-wing Fidesz party won by a landslide in parliamentary elections.

With around 93 percent of the ballots counted, Hungary's National Election Office said Orban's ruling administration had secured almost half of the vote on Sunday. The result is projected to keep the Fidesz party in power with a two-thirds majority — a key " supermajority " level which allows constitutional changes.

The 54-year-old incumbent, who had built a fence on Hungary's southern border during the 2015 migration crisis, campaigned for re-election on an anti-immigration and protectionist message once again. He has also pledged to cut income taxes and pass pro-economic growth policies.

Speaking to supporters outside the Fidesz election headquarters in Budapest shortly before midnight local time, Orban said citizens of the central European nation had given themselves an "opportunity to defend themselves."

A chemical attack in Syria claims over sixty lives:

Suspected chemical attacks over the weekend killed at least 60 people and wounded more than 1,000 in Syria’s rebel-held eastern Ghouta, a Syria medical relief group said on Monday.

The death toll is likely to rise, according to the Union of Medical Care Organizations, a coalition of international aid agencies that funds hospitals in Syria and which is partly based in Paris.

Everyone is utterly stoked for what they believe will be Trump's coup de grace for the Kim regime while ignoring not only precedent, North Korea's word-games and the third Kim's maniacal aspirations but what is going on the ground right now:

The U.S. has confirmed that Kim Jong Un is willing to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” said a senior administration official, who was not authorized to speak on the record. A second official also confirmed that representatives of North Korea had delivered a direct message to the United States, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

At the same time, U.S. officials cautioned that Pyongyang offered no details about its negotiating position and noted that North Korea has violated past agreements, during the George W. Bush administration, to freeze its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. 

Foreign policy analysts warned that the Kim regime has long defined the concept of denuclearization differently than the United States has, seeking the removal of U.S. troops from the Korean Peninsula and an agreement that the United States will no longer protect allies South Korea and Japan with its nuclear arsenal. Previous U.S. administrations have unilaterally rejected such demands.

It means the removal of the threat posed by us, not them,” said Evans Revere, an Asia analyst at Albright Stonebridge Group who was a high-ranking State Department official before retiring in 2007. “It’s been defined as this for us on many occasions. My conclusion is this is not new. Various outlets are describing this as a major breakthrough on North Korea’s commitment toward denuclearization. It’s no such thing.”


Young North Koreans are reportedly being sent to youth labor-reform centers with increasing frequency as the authorities strengthen their crackdown on the consumption of South Korean media. 


The North Korean authorities have been ramping up surveillance over residents in recent days following the delivery in early March of mandatory nationwide lectures emphasizing the cost of committing "anti-state" crimes. 

The Chosun Ilbo and the Joongang Ilbo now report that the South Korean government directed the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP) to cut most of its funding to Johns Hopkins University’s U.S.-Korea Institute (USKI), except for some Korean language and Korea studies training. KIEP calls itself a “government-funded think tank,” but it is a creation of South Korean law and has a “” web address. And as you’re about to see, it clearly takes its direction from the South Korean government.


In informal contact earlier this year, North Korea reiterated its position that abductions of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s had been resolved, sources close to bilateral relations said Saturday.

Japan is eager to make progress in the decades-long abduction issue, possibly through a summit like that between North and South Korea scheduled for April 27, or the proposed first-ever summit between the leaders of the United States and North Korea before the end of May.

But Tokyo appears to be left behind in the recent flurry of diplomatic activity and easing of tensions on the Korean Peninsula, with no meeting in sight between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Does any of that sound like a country that is willing to surrender its nuclear program?

The only way to ensure that North Korea is not a nuclear threat to Japan, the US or any other nation is a regime change which does not appear to be happening any time soon.


What the hell, Japan? :

Japan has signed a grant and loan agreement with Cambodia worth more than $90 million (¥9.6 billion) despite concerns from the international community over Prime Minister Hun Sen’s crackdown on government critics ahead of a July general election.

This Hun Sen:

In commending to us the Hun Sen regime as the only force capable of standing ''between the Khmer Rouge and their former killing fields,'' your editorial of Nov. 20 (''On Cambodia: Immoral, and Pointless'') neglects to mention that the leading figures of that Government are themselves Khmer Rouge. As battalion commanders in the eastern zone of Democratic Kampuchea, Hun Sen, Heng Samrin and Chea Sim played a major role in converting eastern Cambodia into a strict-regime forced-labor camp.

This is the Year Zero.

A Tuskegee airman may finally be returned home:

Capt. Lawrence E. Dickson, 24, a black fighter pilot who had trained at the Tuskegee Army Flying School, had gone down over Italy, it was thought, on Dec. 23, 1944.

Months had passed since she’d heard any word. “Please believe me when I say I have been greatly distressed,” she wrote. “I have tried to be brave (but) it has really been an effort.”

“I meet the mailman daily hoping & praying for some news but so far none,” she wrote.

Seventy-three years later, the Defense Department may finally have some.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) is investigating the possibility that human remains and other items recovered from a wartime crash site in Austria last summer may be those of Capt. Dickson.

If so, he would be the first of the Second World War black aviators known as the Tuskegee Airmen that the DPAA has accounted for, and likely the first missing Tuskegee Airman found since the end of the Second World War.

And now, penguins puffins and a rather freaky trait:

It turns out Atlantic puffins have fluorescent beaks that glow a brilliant blue under ultraviolet light.

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