Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Mid-Week Post

Your median point of the work-week ...

In Thailand, all twelve boys and their coach have been rescued from the treacherous conditions of a now-flooded cave.

We don't sing enough praises for rescuers.

Trump is absolutely correct in demanding that NATO members pay the two percent of their GDP in defense, as is required of them.

Justin, the groper and slacker, feels quite differently:

Canada has no plans to double its defence budget, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insisted Tuesday, despite continued calls from Donald Trump for all NATO countries to meet agreed-upon targets for defence spending.

Trudeau called the military spending target — 2% of GDP, agreed to by all NATO allies at the 2014 summit in Wales — “an easy shorthand” but also a “limited tool” to measure a country’s commitment to the alliance.

(Sidebar: no, stupid, it is a requirement.)

“There are always perspectives on doing more, and that’s fine, that’s an important conversation to have,” Trudeau said Tuesday during a visit with Canadian troops at the Adazi military base outside Riga.

(Sidebar: like skipping off from the fight with ISIS and then planting a few soldiers in Iraq to give the appearance of actually doing something?)

As these illegal migrants illegally entered the country, it is quite acceptable to call them illegal instead of inventing a euphemism that will poorly disguise what they actually are:

On Monday, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen publicly rebuked Ontario’s new government for using the term “illegal border crossers” in a press release.

“I’m very concerned by Premier (Doug) Ford and (provincial) minister (Lisa) MacLeod really making statements that are difficult to understand when it comes to how they’re describing asylum seekers,” Hussen told reporters in Halifax.

The minister was referring to a statement in which Ford blamed Ontario’s housing crisis on Liberal government policies that “encouraged illegal border crossers to come into our country.”

The spat speaks to an intractable political fight in Canada: Whether the approximately 50 people per day streaming into Canada over the U.S. border are “illegal” or “irregular” migrants.

The Immigration and Refugee Board uses the term “irregular” when referring to the more than 23,000 refugee claimants who have walked into Canada since January 2017 without first passing through an official port of entry. The RCMP, meanwhile, prefers the neutral term “interceptions.”

The official CBC language guide favours “illegal border crossers,” calling it “bureaucratic jargon” to use the term “irregular” favoured by Ottawa.

“Some refugee activists have insisted that expressions such as ‘illegal’ border crossings should be banned from our journalism. The modifier ‘illegal’ in this context is accurate and clear, and it instantly helps our audience understand the story,” reads the guide.


Following his first official meeting with Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau explained publicly with a condescending smile that his provincial counterpart does not understand Canada’s obligations under the Refugee Convention. Just prior to the meeting, Ford’s team claimed the federal government was to blame for the large number of refugee claimants who have arrived in Ontario and pushed Toronto’s housing services to their limits. While he may have felt ambushed by the new Ontario premier, Trudeau should not lecture others about the Refugee Convention. He is misrepresenting the obligations found in this historic treaty.

The Refugee Convention commits state parties to protect refugees, but the term “protect” is more ambiguous than implied by the prime minister. While in many cases it may mean that claimants can enter and benefit from due process in their claim for refugee status, the obligations are not unequivocal and they depend on several factors.

The illegal entry of this latest wave of refugee claimants has worried many Canadians and has led to a politicized debate about use of the term “illegal” (which is not the same as “criminal”). Yet this aspect is not paramount from a protection perspective because all refugee claimants can be turned back to a safe country according to the Refugee Convention. For now, the U.S. is still considered a safe country according to Canadian law, despite controversial policies adopted by the White House.

It's just money:

The Bank of Canada raised interest rates on Wednesday as expected and signaled more rate hikes to come, saying that while mounting trade tensions with the United States were a concern, their impact on growth and inflation looked modest so far.


The Effects on Entrepreneurship of Increasing Provincial TopPersonal Income Tax Rates in Canada, released Tuesday, looked at 30 years of Canadian data and noted a declining number of new businesses starting up over that time as a percentage of all businesses.

The study concluded that the climbing top tax rates limited rewards and thus discouraged entrepreneurship.

(Sidebar: well, obviously.)

A January poll by Abacus Data found that 53 per cent of Newfoundland and Labrador residents expect the province to go bankrupt sometime in the next few years, the most likely outcome a federal bailout.

The province is facing a perfect storm of geographic, demographic, fiscal and economic problems, and as the walls close in for Newfoundland and Labrador, the fiscal choices get more and more desperate.  ...

But this isn’t just a problem for Newfoundland and Labrador. The government says it can’t raise taxes enough to pay the bills, and none of the elected leaders are willing to cut spending enough to balance the books. Instead they are banking on financial help from Ottawa, which means that Newfoundland and Labrador’s problems are Canada’s problems. And those problems are going to cost somebody billions of dollars.


As noted by BNN Bloomberg, “Twenty-eight per cent of respondents to a new survey, which was conducted on behalf of MNP from June 15 to June 19, said another rate increase will propel them toward bankruptcy, while 42 per cent say if rates rise much more they’d fear for their financial well-being. While both readings were down modestly from the previous quarterly survey, that’s not lessening the alarm.”

BNN Bloomberg even referred to many Canadians as being on the “brink of financial disaster.”

It's just a bad photo op:

A report in the Globe & Mail says Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen gave a briefing on illegal border crossings at The Suya Spot restaurant, which is allegedly tied to the Black Axe criminal syndicate.

If the inquiry was open and fair, why are its runners attempting to silence a lawyer who left it?:

Breen Ouellette, who went public last week about his decision to resign, says he received a cease-and-desist letter from a lawyer representing the inquiry on Friday.

“We hereby demand that you stop making any public or private comments about the inquiry. We also require a signed written statement from you acknowledging that you will not make any public or private comments about the inquiry,” the letter reads. “Otherwise, the inquiry reserves the right to seek all remedies available to it.”

In an interview, Ouellette said he believes the “self-interest of the commissioners” has led them to try and silence him.

“They don’t want to be fired and replaced with new people,” he said. “They don’t want to be saddled with the public belief that the national inquiry has failed.”

The Ford government will clean up Kathleen Wynne's expensive messes:

The Doug Ford government is standing by its decision to axe a controversial wind farm despite a warning the move could end up costing $100 million.

PC Government House Leader Todd Smith said the White Pines Wind Farm under construction in eastern Ontario was never welcomed by the local community, which he represents.

“We have a company that is in an unwilling host community,” Smith said Wednesday. “It’s not welcome in that community, never has been. The community has spoken overwhelmingly, and now the Ontario government is backing the people of Prince Edward County.”

The company, wpd Canada, was given approval to build nine wind turbines despite the local opposition.

NDP MPP Peter Tabuns said he finds it extraordinary that the Tories, who sat through the cancelled gas plant hearings, would repeat the mistake made by the Liberals.

“They’ve opened the people of this province up to a liability – the number that’s being bandied about is $100 million … (They’re) frankly, doing exactly what the Liberals did, doing a favour for one of their members, in this case Todd Smith,” Tabuns said. “Putting that risk for that bill on people’s plates is irresponsible.”

The previous government cancelled two contracted gas plants, slated for the 905 GTA, at a cost estimated by the auditor general of about $1 billion.


Ontario Premier Doug Ford has confirmed plans to replace Hydro One’s board of directors and the retirement of the company’s CEO.

Ford made the announcement at Queen’s Park on Wednesday afternoon during a scrum with reporters.

“They’re gone, they’re done. They’re done. We’re going to turn a new corner,” Ford said.

While the Ben Levin-designed sexual education program is technically scrapped, why not force this topic onto the parents as it ought to be?:

Ontario’s education minister says the sex-ed curriculum taught to children in the coming school year will be an older version, not the controversial updated program brought in by the previous government.

Lisa Thompson says ministry staff are working to inform school boards of the decision to revert to the curriculum that was in place before 2015.

Thompson says the ministry will be moving quickly to consult parents on how to update the curriculum and details on that process will be coming soon.

Premier Doug Ford promised to repeal and replace the controversial sex-ed curriculum when he ran for the Progressive Conservative leadership and repeated the pledge during the spring election.

Trump should withdraw from the UN and never look back:

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Monday refuted the U.N.’s "unnecessary, politically biased, and factually wrong" report on poverty in the United States.

Writing at National Review, Haley hit back at the report’s conclusions by pointing out America’s charitable efforts, safety net, and growing economy. The report’s alarming claims included the contention that millions of Americans live in "Third World conditions" and that the U.S. "criminalizes" being poor, but Haley said the accusations are motivated by politics rather than facts.

"When there are many dozens of countries where poverty consumes most of the population, and where corrupt governments deliberately make the problem much worse, why would the U.N. study poverty in America?" Haley asked. "The answer is politics."

To wit:

These days about four-fifths of all extremely poor people live in the countryside, and just over half of them live in sub-Saharan Africa (see chart 2). Africa is as studded with examples of failure as Asia is filled with success stories. Look at Nigeria, says Kaushik Basu, an economist at Cornell University. In 1985 the share of Nigerians below the international poverty line was estimated to be 45%—a lower proportion than in China or Indonesia. Now Nigeria has a much higher share of poor people than either country.  

But why let facts get in the way?

North Korea is still a totalitarian Third-World hellhole still bent on extorting other countries and frightening its own nationals:

Israel turned down a North Korean offer in 1999 to halt weapons sales and missile technology transfers to the Jewish state’s enemies, including Iran, in return for $1 billion in cash, over fears the U.S. would be against the deal, a former North Korean diplomat and defector has revealed.


There is "very clear evidence of humanitarian need" in North Korea, the top U.N. aid official has said during the first visit of its kind to the isolated country since 2011.

U.N. Humanitarian Chief Mark Lowcock arrived in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang on Monday.

He met Kim Yong Nam, the nominal head of state and president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, on Wednesday, the North's state media said.

Lowcock posted a video online outlining his observations after traveling to several areas in the southwest of the country.

"One of the things we've seen is very clear evidence of humanitarian need here," he said in the video, posted to his official Twitter account and the U.N. website.

"More than half the children in rural areas, including the places we've been, have no clean water, contaminated water sources."


Some North Koreans are reportedly calling family members who have defected to China, asking them to reconsider their plans to enter South Korea, according to a source in the country. The reports may indicate that the Ministry of State Security (MSS) is trying to persuade defectors to return to North Korea, citing the improved inter-Korean relationship.


South Korea said on Tuesday it has decided to scrap an annual government mobilization drill this year as part of a suspended joint exercise with the United States but will carry out its own drills to maintain readiness.The ministers of safety and defense made the announcement at a media briefing on Tuesday. The drill, called the Ulchi exercises, usually takes place every August in tandem with the joint Freedom Guardian military drill with the United States.


Though the school is a private one and Japan does have a history of brutalising Christians, that has never stopped ignoramuses from proving how irrational they are:

If movies have taught me anything, it's never open the black sarcophagus:

Egyptian archeologists have unearthed a massive black granite sarcophagus from an underground tomb in Alexandria — and no one knows exactly what’s inside it.

According to Ayman Ashmawy, an official at the ministry of antiquities, the sarcophagus was found in a hidden tomb five metres below the ground. Archeologists also found a large alabaster head, which may belong to the owner of the tomb.

The sarcophagus is 185 cm tall, 265 cm long and 165 cm wide, and is believed to be the largest ever found in Alexandria, a city on the northern coast of Egypt.

Beyond its size, the discovery is significant because the coffin is still sealed.

No comments: