Sunday, December 10, 2017

Sunday Post


On a pleasant Sunday ...

Look what a little negative press can accomplish (for now):

The Canada Revenue Agency took steps Friday to quell a furor over what critics were calling its heartless treatment of diabetics.

Disability advocates and opposition parties have been excoriating the agency for weeks over the fact that hundreds of Canadians with Type 1 diabetes have suddenly found themselves ineligible to claim the disability tax credit, even though they’ve previously qualified for it.

The CRA insisted there’s been no change in the eligibility criteria, which requires an individual to spend at least 14 hours a week engaged in activities related to the administration of insulin.

But diabetes support groups pointed to a May clarification letter sent by the CRA to doctors who provide the medical information needed to support a claim for the tax credit. That letter said only in “exceptional circumstances” would adult diabetics need 14 hours a week to manage their insulin therapy; most would not — which would mean they’re not eligible for the credit.

The CRA said Friday that it will revert to the clarification letter that existed prior to May, and review all applications for the disability tax credit that have been denied based on the May letter.

Diabetes Canada welcomed the move.

Don't ask the government to fix what it broke in the first place:

But Dr. Naveed Mohammad, the vice president of medical affairs for the William Osler Health System, says adding beds is a complicated task.

"When a bed is provided to a hospital, what the ministry provides is a set dollar amount for that bed. 

What is more challenging is to find all the staffing that is needed around that bed," said Mohammad.

"We have to hire nurses and clerical support."

The hospital has held job fairs, but hiring staff is a time-consuming process and the health network has only been able to open eight new beds at Etobicoke General and six at Brampton Civic.

"The other beds will be coming online as we are hiring," said Mohammad, adding that more beds will be opened at the end of December and into 2018.

Seamus O'Regan looks tired. Perhaps a week-end on Aga Khan's island will set him right:

The number of veterans waiting to find out whether they qualify for disability benefits has skyrocketed over the last eight months, new figures show, leaving thousands of former military members in limbo.

Veterans Affairs Canada says there were about 29,000 applications for disability benefits in the queue waiting to be processed at the end of November — a nearly 50 per cent increase since the end of March.

Nearly one-third of those applications have been in the line for more than 16 weeks, which is also an increase since the spring and a sign that wait times are continuing to grow.

Veterans’ advocates have long criticized how long some retired service members have been forced to wait to find out whether they qualify for support and services after sustaining an injury in uniform.

Federal auditor general Michael Ferguson also previously flagged concerns about delays in processing applications from those who have suffered psychological trauma.

But revelations of the actual size of the backlog have prompted fresh surprise and shock, as well as concerns about the impact on the thousands of veterans having to deal with months of uncertainty over their claims.

“It’s so important for people in transitioning to civilian life and can impact a whole bunch of factors, including the ability to pay your bills,” said Scott Maxwell, executive director of Wounded Warriors Canada.

“In some cases, it can mean the difference between being a homeless veteran and not.”

Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O’Regan admitted the government needs to do better to ensure disabled veterans get the benefits they need and deserve and said action is being taken.

That includes hiring hundreds more staff, streamlining the way Veterans Affairs officials review files to speed up processing times and giving veterans more benefit of the doubt when it comes to approving benefits.

How could this go wrong?

Quebecers who have a severely limited capacity to work will gradually be able to access a guaranteed minimum income, Premier Philippe Couillard's government announced Sunday.  

The measure is part of a $3-billion action plan to fight poverty and promote "economic inclusion," but falls short of offering a basic income for all Quebecers, a demand of many anti-poverty groups. 

An estimated 84,000 Quebecers would qualify for the minimum income measure, largely those with physical and intellectual disabilities.

Of the 84,000, the vast majority are single people, long a neglected demographic when it comes to poverty reduction programs in Quebec. 

By next year, they will see their government assistance increased by at least $73 per month. That figure will reach $440 per month by 2023, bringing their annual guaranteed minimum to  $18,029.

This is just another form of welfare. Where will you get the money, Quebec?

But ... but ... global warming!

So here’s the summary of this so-called science paper: We compare the blogs that agree with us on polar bears with blogs that don’t. We label those that don’t agree with us “deniers” and smear one of the scientists whose work is cited on those denier sites.

If this is science, we are all doomed. Out on the ice, the polar bears seem to be safe for now. But it’s us humans who are at risk of succumbing to the malicious catechism of the high priests of climate change.

South Korea updates its sanctions list:

More North Korean entities and individuals will be subjected to South Korea’s unilateral sanctions, as Seoul steps up efforts to curb the North‘s weapons development programs, Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said Sunday.

According to the Foreign Ministry, an additional 20 North Korean firms and 12 individuals will be subjected to Seoul‘s sanctions from Monday. 

This sanctions list?

A total of 49 countries including China, Germany, Brazil, India, and France have violated United Nations Security Council between March 2014 and September 2017 “to varying degrees,” the Institute for Science and International Security said in its report published on its website Tuesday.

Surely, by now, South Korea must realise this strategy is pointless.

Why is this has-been still talking?

During an interview earlier this week at the Economic Club of Chicago, Obama reminded his audience to remain vigilant in protecting the values and institutions that make up American democracy or risk following in the path of Nazi Germany.

Interesting ...

Judicial Watch today released new Department of Justice (DOJ) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) documents that include an official “DOJ Recap” report detailing an October 2010 meeting between Lois Lerner, DOJ officials and the FBI to plan for the possible criminal prosecution of targeted nonprofit organizations for alleged illegal political activity.

The newly obtained records also reveal that the Obama DOJ wanted IRS employees who were going to testify to Congress to turn over documents to the DOJ before giving them to Congress. Records also detail how the Obama IRS gave the FBI 21 computer disks, containing 1.25 million pages of confidential IRS returns from 113,000 nonprofit social 501(c)(4) welfare groups  – or nearly every 501(c)(4) in the United States – as part of its prosecution effort. According to a letter from then-House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, “This revelation likely means that the IRS – including possibly Lois Lerner – violated federal tax law by transmitting this information to the Justice Department.”

Oh, this must be embarrassing:

Fox News is reporting that the U.S. Justice Department has launched an investigation into Planned Parenthood and the sale of fetal tissue.  

If this "fetal tissue" has no kidneys, why is there a market for it?

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