Tuesday, February 20, 2018

SAVED THE LIVES OF 20 CLASSMATES

  A 15-year-old student’s heroic efforts are being praised for saving the lives of 20 people in the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Wednesday.
  Anthony Borges, a freshman soccer player at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, is recovering in the hospital after he was shot five times while using his body as a shield to protect his fellow classmates from the bullets

Monday, February 19, 2018

BUSINESS TRIP, MY AR$E

It's dress-up time again.

WHEN 3.7 MILLION GALLONS IS A LEAK, THE TRUST IS GONE

  That’s when farmers and other media observers began asking a fair question: Years ago, when a Fond du Lac County farm accidentally released less than 50,000 gallons of cow poop near a stream, it was described in a now-unforgettable headline as “A Tsunami of Manure.” Headlines like these have been the norm for years. However, when 3.7 MILLION gallons of untreated human poop, other bodily waste, drug residues, etc. was dumped into the state’s namesake river, it was essentially treated as a “non-story.”
   The sad truth is a third party entered the picture years ago. Noticeably silent in the aftermath of the Wausau incident were Wisconsin’s leading “environmental” organizations — Sierra Club, Clean Water Alliance, Midwest Environmental Advocates, Saratoga Concerned, etc. Not a peep was heard from any of them. The Wausau event simply didn’t fit their longtime anti-ag narrative (short version: cow manure is bad, human waste is a non-issue).
   Hard as it is to admit, the media climbed into bed with the “environmentalists” a long time ago. Any fidelity that many journalists felt toward objectivity went out the window and, in turn, much like a shunned spouse, farmers were left on the outside looking in, feeling helpless and resentful.


SIMMERING RURAL CRIME DEBATE

  The delegation of ranchers and farmers in Alberta who travelled to the legislature to demand action on rural crime, described feeling besieged as break-ins, thefts and robberies become more brazen. The United Conservative Party pushed for an emergency debate, saying that in some communities crime rates have jumped more than 250 per cent since 2011.
  The emergency debate didn’t happen, and the delegation went home.
  Now, in the aftermath of Gerald Stanley’s acquittal in the killing of 22-year-old Indigenous man Colten Boushie, rural crime is once again a charged topic, one intertwined with heated debates over race, reconciliation and criminal justice in Canada. Why rural crime is rising in some areas, how to get a handle on it, and the roles played by economics, changing demographics and stereotype are among the questions to emerge since the jury’s verdict.

PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE

  After the not-guilty verdict in the Gerald Stanley murder case, a national debate has ensued over the shooting death of 22-year-old Colten Boushie on the Stanley farm in August 2016.
  Marches were held and political meetings convened, claiming the jury verdict was “perverse.” It wasn’t — at least if the trial evidence meant anything.
  The rule of law and our Constitution guarantee accused people the right to a fair trial. Guilt or innocence is not decided by the victim’s family, the onlookers or the activists.


CONSERVATIVE MPP HILLIER CALLS OUT PATRICK BROWN

Ontario Conservative MPP Randy Hillier:
Patrick Brown is unfit to be in the Progressive Conservative caucus, he is unfit to be the leader of the PC party, and he is unfit to be premier.
There is evidence of financial impropriety, that was undertaken under Brown's direction and leadership that he must answer for.

CANADA LECTURES ISRAEL ABOUT MASS DEPORTATION

   A majority of the 37,000 citizens of Sudan and Eritrea living in Israel are being ordered out of the country beginning next month. The Israel government has started distributing notices advising asylum seekers they have 60 days to leave for a "safe" African country with the help of a plane ticket and a few thousand dollars.
   If they don't go voluntarily, they face indefinite imprisonment.
  Canada does not support policies of mass deportations of asylum seekers. The rights of asylum seekers and refugees are laid out in the Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees, of which Israel is a signatory," said Adam Austen, spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.

FBI TOO LAZY TO PICK UP THE PHONE

 As was reported on Friday, the FBI had been alerted that a particular pasty-faced virgin down in Florida was probably going to shoot up his old school. He had put up social-media posts to that effect, cleverly shielding his identity from the steely-eyed G-men by signing his legal name to those public threats. The epigones of J. Edgar Hoover may not be Sherlock Holmes, but presumably they can read, and some public-minded citizen took some screen shots and sent them to the FBI.
  The FBI of course did what the relevant authorities did in the case of Omar Mateen, the case of Nidal Hasan, the case of Adam Lanza: nothing.
  The Friday press conference on that little oversight was a masterpiece of modern bureaucracy. The FBI has “protocols” for handling specific credible threats of that sort, “protocol” here being a way of saying, “Pick up the phone and call the local field office or, if we really want to get wild, the local police.” “The protocol was not followed,” the FBI bureaucrats explained. Well, no kidding. Why not? No answer — the question wasn’t even asked aloud. Did law enforcement’s ball-dropping mean that a preventable massacre went unprevented because of bureaucratic failure? “I don’t think anybody could say that,” says Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, who is leading the investigation. His department had over the years received no fewer than 20 calls related to the shooter. What about that? “Make no mistake about it, America, the only one to blame for this incident is the killer himself,” which is exactly the sort of thing a sanctimonious schmuck says when he doesn’t want to consider the institutional failures right in front of his taxpayer-subsidized nose and the culpable negligence — to say nothing of the sand-pounding stupidity — of his own agency.


PARENTS, IT'S TIME TO STEP UP

   "Be the parent that actually gives a crap! Be the annoying mom that pries and knows what your kid is doing. STOP being their friend. They have enough “friends” at school. Be their parent. Being the “cool mom” means not a damn thing when either your kid is dead or your kid kills other people because they were allowed to have their space and privacy in YOUR HOME."
   The sixth-grade teacher added that when she began her teaching career 20 years ago, she never had to worry about parents getting angry at her or threatening her publicly because she brought up issues with their children’s behavior.
  She said the trend of parents not wanting to take responsibility for their children’s behavior has to change if violence in the classroom is to be stopped.


LEFT IS REAPING THE WHIRLWIND

 KLAVAN:   The left wants us to reel in shock that Donald Trump chased women or praised Russian strong men? Who was it who defended the infidelities and possible rapes of Bill Clinton? Who was it who turned a blind eye to Barack Obama consorting with terrorists and hate-mongers like Farrakhan?
    For fifteen years and more, I have been complaining that the right is silenced in our culture — blacklisted and excluded and ignored in entertainment, mainstream news outlets, and the universities. But the flip side of that is this: the degradation of our culture is almost entirely a leftist achievement. Over the last fifty years, it's the left that has assaulted every moral norm and disdained every religious and cultural restraint.
   The left owns the dismal tide. They don't like the results? They're looking for someone or something to blame? Maybe they should start by hunting up a mirror.


LOSER CNN

   President Donald Trump shared a cartoon mocking CNN, a news network fueling the notion that the president’s campaign colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election.
  “The Fake News of big ratings loser CNN,” Trump wrote.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

AID INDUSTRY BLOATED WITH CASH, DRUNK ON POWER

  The Oxfam scandal is at heart about powerful people abusing trust, whether on the ground with prostitutes in Port-au-Prince, or in the offices of London by attempting to protect their brand above everything else to keep donations flowing.
  It stands as a perfect metaphor for an ideal that has been corrupted by cash, for benevolent institutions that have been corroded by power and, above all, for people with good intentions who arrogantly refuse to recognise an uncomfortable reality.


BC FAILING TO PROTECT SASQUATCH

  The B.C. government has responded to a lawsuit filed by a sasquatch tracker who claims the province has “breached its stewardship responsibility” by failing to recognize and protect the legendary creature.
  In a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in October, Todd Standing accused the provincial government of damaging his livelihood and credibility by “non-recognition of sasquatch.” He asked the court to require a government biologist to accompany him into “known sasquatch habitat” for three months to prove his claims.


THAT'S A BIG HONKING FARMHOUSE

  A group of Richmond farmers has launched a campaign to dissuade government from further reducing the maximum allowable size of houses on agricultural land in the city.
  The Richmond Farmland Owners Association, which includes 50 member families with more than 2,500 acres of farmland, is concerned that after the city updated policy on house sizes last spring, “special interest groups” are now pressuring the city to make them even smaller, spokesman Gunraj Gill said.
  Last May, the City of Richmond made bylaw amendments reducing the allowable maximum sizes of houses on farmland to 5,382 sq. ft. on lots up to 0.5 acres and 10,763 sq. ft. on larger properties, after dozens of houses 15,000 sq. ft. and larger had been constructed.


NEW TECHNOLOGY IN THE OILPATCH IN R & D STAGE

   CALGARY — Two years after a blue-ribbon panel called on the Alberta government to encourage partial upgrading of bitumen from the oilsands to enhance value and free up more pipeline room for exports, the idea remains years away from commercialization.
  Fractal said it has processed more than 225,000 barrels of diluted bitumen trucked to a 1,000-barrel-per-day pilot plant from steam-driven oilsands operations in northern Alberta. The facility succeeded in reducing the need for diluent by up to 53 per cent while improving oil quality through the reduction of olefins and acidity, the company said.
  Fractal CEO Alex Pourbaix:  “We’re seeing some positive indications but I think we’re still in what I would call the R and D stage,” he said. “It isn’t something we’re going to be rolling out on a commercial basis in the short term.”


THE SHORTAGE OF PIPELINES HURTS CANADA

  Birn, Calgary Herald:  With pipelines running near capacity, the spill and subsequent unplanned outage of the existing Keystone export pipeline late in 2017 caused production to back up into inventories in Western Canada. As inventory levels rose, prices began to fall as producers sought out buyers for trapped production.
   Railroads were called upon to help move crude oil to market, but it was reported the rail industry was constrained in its ability to respond rapidly due to prior and existing commitments, including a backlog of grain.
  The result: Canadian heavy crude oil has become trapped in Western Canada and its value reduced by about $24 million per day, since December.

   

WYNNE USING "THE PROCESS" TO PROTECT HERSELF

  Canadian Press:  Wynne said she herself was not made aware of the allegations of sexual assault made by a former political staffer, when they were mailed to her constituency office, but said the government's process for addressing such allegations immediately took effect.
  Wynne said staff reviews the information, engages outside council, and if necessary then hires a third-party investigator to look at the claims.
  Wynne said the latest allegation had not reached the stage in the process at which she would have needed to personally be notified.



PATRICK BROWN RUNS TO REPLACE HIMSELF

Rex Murphy, NP:    The original CTV report that exploded Patrick Brown’s career and leadership has been severely perforated. Acts of journalism that might have been, and surely should have been undertaken earlier, have — at the very least — blunted the edge of some of its sharpest and most distasteful implications. For example, one of the accusers was not, as originally stated, either in high school or underage during the alleged behaviour — a not insignificant detail in conditioning the early public and party response to his reputed behaviour.
   Even more striking, Mr. Brown himself, having so abruptly left the field, and either in shock or shame remained largely silent and invisible, blisteringly returned a few days ago, firing salvos at CTV and promising to sue over its (his view) sloppy or mendacious reporting. He roundly rejected the accusations that were levelled against him without warning or real notice, branded them outright “lies” and declared he is determined to “clear his name.” This is Brown as Ontarians have not seen him: Brown Agonistes.
   And if Brown’s resurgence in a campaign for his good name does not churn the whirlpool into wilder frenzies, how about this for a cap: On Friday afternoon, Mr. Brown brought out the howitzer. He is now joining the four who are hoping to get his recent job, as a candidate for that same job himself. Patrick Brown is running to replace himself. The Tory leadership will now offer more awkwardness and potentially even more crass dialogue (if such be possible) than the wretched Real Housewives of Toronto.

LONE LEGACY OF $8.1M JOLY'S FOLLY

  One of the government’s main selling points for spending $8.1 million on Parliament Hill’s Canada 150 rink, the rink’s donation to a local community, might not be as big a gift as the lucky neighborhood expects.
  Only the rink boards will be donated, enough to make a regular outdoor neighbourhood rink, a source familiar with the project says.



DUE DILIGENCE AT CTV

  One of Patrick Brown’s accusers received an award from CTV, the media company that first reported the allegations against the former Ontario PC leader, the Toronto Sun has learned.
  She subsequently went on to work at a newspaper at the same time as Rachel Aiello, one of the two reporters who wrote the original story on Brown that alleged Brown plied the young women with alcohol and, in the case of the accuser who won the CTV award, kissed her without permission and effectively “sexually assaulted” her.
  Brown’s lawyer, Mark Sandler, suggested to the Sun recently that the relationship should have been disclosed in the original story.


LAUGHING THEIR ASSES OFF IN MOSCOW

  President Donald Trump urged Americans to move beyond the partisan attacks based on Russian attempts to meddle in the election.
 “If it was the GOAL of Russia to create discord, disruption and chaos within the U.S. then, with all of the Committee Hearings, Investigations and Party hatred, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams,” he wrote on Twitter. “They are laughing their asses off in Moscow. Get smart America!”

HANDICAPPING POLICE OFFICERS

   The Ministry of Community Safety, supported by human rights rulings, brought down the hammer on the previous rules for street checks because, apparently,  the old system of stopping, identifying and keeping records on individuals engaged in suspicious activity was racially-biased and feeding secret caches of information about me, you, the dog and Uncle Mo
   Here’s an honest opinion from a cop on the inside about today’s street-check policies:
“Before we can even decide to have an interaction, we must have a specific reason, and we must tell them why, and that they can walk away no problem, at any time, during the interaction and don’t have to speak to us. After the interaction, we must provide a receipt to them indicating who we are and how to complain about us if they were not happy with the interaction. Further, even if they didn’t say anything, we have to submit a regulated interaction written report indicating how we interacted according to the legislation. All this while speaking to a potential criminal type or gang member who is throwing verbal abuse at us while filming with their video cameras and then calling to complain the next day.”

NDP SINGH SITS FIRMLY ON THE FENCE OVER PIPELINE

  Federal NDP leader, Jagmeet Singh, wouldn't take the side of either of the NDP premiers currently at odds over the proposed expansion of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline.
   Instead, he opted for diplomacy.
    "Premier Notley is doing exactly what she promised to do," Singh told CBC Radio's The House. "Premier Horgan is doing exactly what he promised to do."
  Now there's a man of action.....

NOTLEY'S ANTI-OIL CHICKENS COME HOME TO ROOST

Gunn Reid:    It’s been another wild week in the saga of the Trans Mountain Pipeline in the Balkan States of Canada.
   Former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall spit hot fire at the Trudeau Liberals for their silence on the ongoing trade rift between Alberta and BC over the Trans Mountain pipeline.
   He's concerned that Canada’s in danger of losing its national cohesion and accuses the Federal government of being ashamed of Canada’s oil and gas sector.


Saturday, February 17, 2018

N KOREA'S INTERNATIONAL CYBER ATTACKS

   To tackle this threat, the United States must stop other countries from directly and indirectly supporting North Korea’s cyber attacks. North Korea accesses the outside world through a Chinese internet provider and North Korean hackers reportedly operate from inside China. A Russian company recently started providing an internet connection to North Korea and Iran provides it with equipment. There are rumors that North Korean hackers operate from countries in South and Southeast Asia. The Trump administration needs to build new relations with North Korea’s allies to weaken the activity of North Korean hackers within their territories.
   Perhaps most urgently, Washington needs to determine Pyongyang’s end game. WannaCry was likely an attempt to generate cash to counter the effects of sanctions, and researchers say that North Korea’s hackers netted millions from the 2016 cyber heist at Bangladesh Bank and on exchanges trading in virtual currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.


UNIVERSITY'S TRACTOR RESTORATION CLUB A GROWING SUCCESS

   The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Tractor Restoration Club started out small in 2005 and has grown over the years.
   “We started with two students and we’ve had at best 20, which is kind of tight with that many people in that little shop, but we make it work,” said club adviser Doug Koozer.
   Their work space is next door to Lincoln’s Lester F. Larsen Tractor Test and Power Museum, which is the original home of the Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory, the first tractor test facility in the world, museum manager Julie Thomson said.



DON'T NEED FAKE NEWS; REGULAR MEDIA IS IRRITATING ENOUGH

Terrence Corcoran, FP: One of the vital national tasks of a columnist is to regularly scan a rich diversity of mostly liberal media in search of material that might be spun into a full blown sarcasm-filled column. But there is also a regular flow of material that on its own does not justify a full-blown conniption or is technically outside my regular beat but still deserves to be derisively noted. In recent weeks, five such minor but irritating items cropped up.

WYNNE IN COVER-YOUR-ASS MODE

   A woman alleges she was groped and propositioned by a former Liberal MPP and subjected to his “chronic inebriation” — and that her initial complaint, more than a decade ago, went ignored.
   The former political staff member sent a letter outlining the 2006 sexual assault allegations three weeks ago to an email address for Premier Kathleen Wynne and was contacted by a lawyer earlier this week seeking to discuss the incidents.
  Wynne told reporters at the Toronto auto show on Friday that her constituency office in Don Valley West was first contacted about the unnamed former politician.
  “My office has received information that involved troubling allegations related to an MPP who held a cabinet office portfolio at one point, left the legislature many years ago and was never a member of my or premier (Dalton) McGuinty’s cabinet,” she said.


BROWN'S RETURN; THE COLLATERAL DAMAGE TO THE PC PARTY

  Even on his best days, leading in the polls and raising lots of cash and glad-handing with the best of them, it was never entirely clear why Patrick Brown wanted to be leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario.
  He didn't have a notable interest in the mechanics of the government he was hoping to run after this spring's election, or any real fundamental differences with the province's ruling Liberals. He never seemed to have quite grown out of the youth politician he had been, two decades before: the sort with ambition for ambition's sake, a love of politics as a game with personal advancement the only real objective.
  Now, we have confirmation, courtesy of a bizarre week of flame-throwing that culminated in his announcement that he will run again for the job he vacated three weeks ago amid sexual-misconduct allegations: For Patrick Brown, public life is all about Patrick Brown.


AS WELCOME AS A SKUNK AT A PICNIC

  Patrick Brown has jumped into the Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership race, seeking to win back his old job three weeks after he was forced to resign over allegations of sexual misconduct.
  "I think my name has been cleared and now it's about getting Ontario back on track," Mr. Brown, flanked by his sisters Stephanie and Fiona Brown, told reporters. "This isn't about me, this isn't about the PC Party. This is about making sure that on June 7 the Progressive Conservative Party is successful."


OPEC FUTURE IN DOUBT AS USA PRODUCTION SURGES

   As US oil production surges to record highs, surpassing Saudi Arabia, rig counts continues to rise (up 7 last week, up 5 of the last 6 weeks) suggesting more production is to come.
   All of which has prompted OPEC and Russia, along with other countries participating in the oil production cuts aimed at balancing the market, are looking to create a “super group of oil producing countries,” according to a report from The National.


BIAS & INCOMPETENCE IN FBI

No, our FBI is not the stuff of legend, if it ever was, although, obviously, good, hard-working people work there. But it doesn't seem to be doing its job. In fact, it seems to be doing the wrong job. The bias and incompetence have infected each other to a degree that is indeed lethal. They are a bureaucratic organization gone rotten.

INDICTING RUSSIANS IN ELECTION MEDDLING CONSPIRACY

  Far from building the case for collusion, the indictment of Russian nationals and entities for alleged interference in the 2016 presidential elections documents a narrative that is far different from Donald Trump’s presidential campaign knowingly conspiring with Russia.  
    The indictment was announced Friday by the Justice Department’s special counsel. The 37-page indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities charges that the Russians stole the identities of U.S. persons to deceptively “communicate with unwitting members, volunteers, and supporters of the Trump campaign involved in local community outreach.”
   The indictment does not once mention the word “collusion.''

Friday, February 16, 2018

MANN WINS PRESTIGIOUS SCIENCE AWARD

  The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has given its prestigious award for Public Engagement with Science to climate scientist, Michael E. Mann.
  That’s Michael Mann as in the creator of possibly the most discredited artefact in climate science history: the ludicrous, fabricated “Hockey Stick.”
   That’s Michael Mann, the litigious activist and vexatious Twitter troll who dismisses any scientist who disagrees with him as a “denier”; who was exposed in the Climategate emails trying to ruin the careers of his opponents and attempting to shut down the journals who published them.


IT USED TO BE CALLED "FIDO"

Brown interviewed thousands of police officers in Canada and in the U.S. – including hundreds in Ottawa, and claims “de-policing — or avoiding proactive policing” due to a variety of factors, is a growing trend. He describes it as “an officer choosing not to engage in discretionary or proactive aspects of police duties” due to among other things, ever-increasing public scrutiny along with the use of recording devices and resulting social media postings – which can be misinterpreted. Subsequent misconduct allegations regarding racial profiling or conduct violations can then result in disciplinary proceedings or other legal processes. That has always been the reality of policing – and so it should be, but with some real and many perceived police wrongdoings becoming viral postings on social media sites, apparently some officers have chosen to avoid the potential for conflict altogether.

IT'S STILL NEVER OK, RIGHT PREMIER WYNNE?

   Premier Kathleen Wynne was told three weeks ago that a Liberal cabinet minister sexually assaulted and abused a woman, former Liberal MP and lawyer John Nunziata tweeted Thursday night. That was right around the time sexual misconduct allegations emerged against former Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown.
   “It’s a difficult and brave thing to do to come forward in the way these young women have done tonight,” Wynne tweeted shortly after CTV aired a story alleging Brown made unwanted sexual advances toward two young women, allegations he firmly denies and now calls “lies.”
   “My government and I have been clear on the issue of sexual harassment and assault. In fact, our policy and our ad were called ‘It’s Never Ok,’” Wynne tweeted.



DEALING WITH INCREASING CRIME IN RURAL ALBERTA

   The days of waiting for the RCMP to be guardians and saviours are over in rural Alberta.
   In Smoky Lake, Trevor Tychkowsky, president of the Alberta Provincial Rural Crime Watch Association, said more and more farmers are installing security systems and locking their doors.  “The days of having our places kept open and keys in vehicles, those days are done,” said Tychkowsky. “Criminals have come to figure that stuff out.”
 As theft has steadily increased in Alberta, more and more security systems are being installed on rural properties, he added.

FIGHTING UNION TRICKERY AND NEW AB LABOUR LAWS

  Under the Alberta NDP government’s new law, private ballot votes are no longer required to certify a union. All that’s needed is for at least 65 per cent of employees at a given site to sign a card and pay $2.
  A second labourer with Icon says workers’ income has dropped from $28 per hour to $25.37 — a drop of $2.63 an hour since the union certification was approved by the ALRB (Alberta Labour Relations Board). The union also takes another $1.06 per hour from their pay, as well as another monthly fee in dues.
  “My last paycheque was short $700 thanks to this union certification,” says the worker.  “All of my years of seniority, hard work and skill are not taken into account as a result of this union certification,” said the worker. “Now, all the young newbies are being paid the same as me. It’s unfair and it’s wrong.”



DIVISIVE REMARKS OF ATTENTION-SEEKING POLITICIANS

   Robson, NP: Many prominent Canadians appear to be in a vindictive mood over the tragic shooting of Colten Boushie. It seems terribly divisive and lacking in compassion.
   A few, including the prime minister, paid lip service to fair trials. But their passionate extended remarks make publicly clear that they wish farmer Gerald Stanley, acquitted by a jury, had instead been convicted of second-degree murder or manslaughter.
   Rampant crime and ineffective policing are a huge issue in the rural parts of Western Canada. And it cannot seriously be argued that citizens everywhere would only object to repeated thefts and burglaries if the perpetrators were exclusively white. Disagreement over the verdict is one thing, but to suggest that Saskatchewan in 2018 is Mississippi burning is a reckless calumny.

CANADA AN OFFSHORE DESTINATION FOR SNOW-WASHING

   Canada is one of the world’s most opaque jurisdictions when it comes to identifying the owners of private companies and trusts, according to anti-corruption campaigners who say that more rigorous checks are required to obtain a library card than to set up a company in the country.
   “Anyone can start a company in Canada. It costs about C$200 and the owner of the company can remain completely anonymous,” said lawyer Mora Johnson, who recently authored a report detailing the country’s lax rules around corporate registration.
   While publicly traded firms in Canada are required to disclose major shareholders, private companies need only note their directors, allowing those who own, control or benefit from the firm to remain in the shadows.

CANADIAN HOME SALES DROP SHARPLY

   Canadian home sales dropped sharply in January to their lowest monthly level in three years amid a retreat in listings as new mortgage rules came into place, according to a new report from a national real estate group.
   The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) said Thursday that home sales through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) declined by 14.5 per cent from December to January this year.
   December sales hit the highest monthly level on record, citing a "pull-through" of transactions as buyers rushed to get deals done in advance of the new mortgage rules kicking in on Jan. 1, said CREA.
  On a year-over-year basis, national sales dropped by 2.4 per cent in January.


DRUG IMPAIRED DRIVERS CLOG UP COURTS

   OTTAWA — At a time when the government is working to reduce delays in the court system, police are warning that its new legislation on impaired driving is likely to cause a dramatic spike in litigation and constitutional challenges.
    Impaired driving is already one of the biggest drains on court resources, responsible for about 10.1 per cent of cases before Canadian courts, according to a Stats Canada brief prepared for the Senate legal affairs committee.
   On top of that, the Stats Canada document says drug-impaired driving cases currently take about twice as long on average to litigate in court than alcohol-impairment cases do, and are less likely to receive a guilty verdict. However, that could change once legislation is passed that explicitly addresses cannabis impairment.




Thursday, February 15, 2018

A $2.1BILLION SHOT TO GOOGLE'S GONADS

  Google was guilty. The European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, made that brutally clear. “Google abused its market dominance,” Vestager declared as she announced her judgement in Brussels on June 27, 2017. She handed Google a £2.1 billion fine – the largest antitrust penalty ever handed to a single company, and gave it 90 days to change its ways.
   Watching the livestream 500 metres away in the Thon Hotel EU, Adam and Shivaun Raff shared a smile of relief. It had been 11 gruelling years since they realised Google was deliberately demoting their price comparison website, Foundem, in search results. Eight years since they brought their complaint to the European Commission, becoming the first plaintiffs in the case against the search firm (others include Yelp, Expedia and Deutsche Telecom.) Now, at long last, they had justice.
  Grab a coffee.


IT'S NOT A RACE PROBLEM, IT'S A CRIMINAL PROBLEM

   NP:  Mark Pashovitz believes he and other Saskatchewan farmers are easy targets.
   They live in rural, isolated areas where it often takes police longer to respond to crimes. And their farm vehicles and equipment are tempting for thieves.
  That’s why he said he recently donated $1,000 to an online fundraiser to help pay the legal bills of Gerald Stanley, a white farmer acquitted last week of murder in the 2016 shooting death of a 22-year-old Cree man.


OPTING OUT OF, OR DISQUALIFIED FROM JURY DUTY

  Candice Malcolm:  Almost half of the prospective jurors in the Colten Boushie case were Aboriginal persons, according to one member of the jury pool.
   However, the reason there were no Aboriginal Canadians on the jury in this controversial case is because so many deliberately opted out of the process. Other First Nations prospective jurors, meanwhile, were openly and outwardly biased during the selection process, according to one prospective juror who spoke to the Sun.


REALITY CHECK OF CANADA'S BOOMING ECONOMY

   FP: The Canadian jobs market returned to earth with a thud in January, StatCan reported Friday, shedding 88,000 jobs in its worst month since the depths of the recession in 2009. The January drop shows that gushing reports about Canada’s “booming” economy were wildly overstated, ignoring that GDP has been struggling throughout the second half of 2017. GDP growth has slowed from an annual rate of five per cent to less than two per cent as persistent weakness in exports and business investment spread to the housing market.

LIBERALS BARE ARMS AND THEIR TWO-FACED IMAGES

  Premier Kathleen Wynne didn’t need to issue a call to arms — her three Liberal colleagues were happy to join in and make a statement about sleeveless clothing after a former prime minister set off a firestorm tweeting how wearing it undermines the credibility of women on television.
  A spokesperson for Wynne explained that “some days the premier and female MPPs wear sleeves, sometimes they don’t.”
  Speaking afterwards to the Star, Hunter said she took part in the sleeveless moment to show “we have choices as women, and we always need to continue to exercise those choices … and make those decisions for ourselves.
  On the subject of women exercising their choices, this photo came to mind.....
Some days it's SO easy.

HIJAB IS A PRISON UNIFORM

February 1st was the fifth World Hijab Day. Hijab is the Muslim headscarf that the media continually mischaracterize as merely a symbol of modesty in Islam. World Hijab Day was founded by New York activist Nazma Khanin in 2013 and is now celebrated in 140 countries. The stated goal is to foster religious tolerance and understanding by encouraging women of all religions to wear and experience hijab for one day. Put on a pretty head scarf and you too can enter a popular victim class. If you are really lucky you may be harassed and enjoy the full discrimination experience. Ironically, many of the same feminists who wore pussy hats at the Women’s March put on head scarves to stand in solidarity with their Muslim sisters. One month these feminist fashionistas are dressing up like giant vaginas and the next month celebrating their modesty.
   So-called feminists interpret the wearing of hijab from their own cultural perspective as if all women wear it of their own free will. They do not understand that one of the fundamental reasons that women must be covered is that modesty is intrinsically intertwined with Islamic concepts of purity, honor and shame. These feminist fashionistas do not realize that no matter how pretty the hijab head scarf, it is essentially a prison uniform. It is used as a shaming mechanism to make women think their own bodies are the cause of male sexual urges, that they are a dirty impure unclean gender who must be hidden, cloistered, secluded and segregated so they do not entice or contaminate the community of men.

CLINTONS, UN, & OXFAM TRASH HAITI

  When an earthquake hit Haiti in ’10, everyone who was anyone in the international community quickly showed up. Bill Clinton had been appointed as the UN Special Envoy for Haiti a year earlier where he had touted the “unique opportunities for public and private investment” in Haiti. A year later, Bill Clinton was touting a $45 million new hotel owned by an Irish cell phone tycoon who was a close pal as the only thing a country with a million homeless needed.
    Before the UN peacekeeping mission arrived, Haiti was a disaster. After it left, it was a disaster with cholera. The UN peacekeepers brought the disease with them and spread it around, killing 10,000 people and infecting at least 800,000 others. None of them could get into a Clinton luxury hotel.
  The latest scandal has hit Oxfam. Oxfam’s Haiti director was using the villa rented by the charity to host prostitutes. Senior Oxfam aid workers had exploited women and possibly even children. Oxfam had covered up the scandal in ’11 and tried sweeping it under the rug. And now it’s offering awkwardly unconvincing apologies.




WHAT A TANGLED WEB WE WEAVE.....

  CTV acknowledged Tuesday night a pivotal accusation – that Patrick Brown plied an underage high school girl with booze – is not true. The accuser was neither in high school nor underage she admitted after Postmedia published an exclusive interview with Brown Saturday that revealed he couldn’t have lived in the house she described to CTV at the time of the alleged incident if she was in high school.
   Now, Postmedia has interviewed two additional individuals who dispute other aspects of the allegations made by the two women against Brown.
  CTV said in a story posted Tuesday that “the first accuser maintains the incident happened during a visit to Brown’s home with a mutual friend,” adding “that friend told CTV News he has no recollection of the night.”


AWARD FOR WASTING TAXPAYERS' DOLLARS

  The Teddy is a pig shaped award given annually by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation to government’s worst waste offenders.
  “We narrow it down to a handful of the most ridiculous stories,” said Aaron Wudrick, federal director of the CTF.
   The $8.2 million temporary outdoor skating rink built on Parliament Hill to celebrate Canada 150 won the well-known Teddy Awards for government waste this year.


CRYPTOCURRENCY FORCING BANKS TO INNOVATE

 The rapid rise of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies proved to the banking system that it’s possible to conduct real-time [or near-real-time] transactions, and not have to wait 2-5 days for a payment to clear.
  Combined with other new technologies like Peer-to-Peer lending platforms, fundraising websites, etc., consumers are now able to perform nearly every financial transaction imaginable– deposits, loans, transfers, etc.– WITHOUT using a bank.
 And it’s only getting better for consumers… which means it’s only getting worse for banks.


ORBAN CONFRONTING SOROS

   Indeed, octogenarian Soros is showing no signs of dialing back his meddling in the affairs of European nations, and the US as well. And nowhere has his interference been more visible than in Hungary, where his former protege Viktor Orban has sought to close the country's borders to intruding refugees - a decision that has enraged Soros, who recently dedicated most of his eleven-figure fortune to erasing all national boundaries via his "Open Society" foundations.
   After declaring Hungary "a mafia state" last summer and suggesting that he will do everything in his power to remove Orban from power, the country's ruling party has engaged in a heated propaganda battle against Soros and his agents that has included erecting anti-Soros billboard messages around the country.
  Now, that battle is escalating as Orban and his party are gearing up for national elections in April. As Reuters reported Wednesday, the country's nationalist government introduced legislation to empower the country's interior minister to ban NGOs - like those funded by Soros - that support policies that might compromise national security - policies like open borders and unrestricted immigration.
The bill would impose a 25% tax on NGOs that back migration that are operating in Hungary..
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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

OTTAWA'S ENDLESS GRIND OF STUDIES

   Over the past few years, both the House of Commons defence and veterans committees have between them conducted 14 different studies on how to improve services, benefits and the lives of ex-soldiers, sailors and aircrew. Collectively, the all-party MPs committees have made a jaw-dropping 190 recommendations for improvements to those systems and services at both National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada.
   The question preoccupying the veterans committee these days is: How can the federal government give soldiers a smoother transition from uniforms to civilian jobs? Gary Walbourne, the Canadian Forces ombudsman, almost seemed to wonder aloud why he'd been called to testify before MPs on Tuesday — and why the committee is still asking that question.
   "We do not need another study into transition," he said. "We know what needs to be done. We just need to do it."

LIBERALS UNDERMINING THE JUDICIAL PROCESS

   Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is under fire after comments he made about the controversial Colten Boushie trial, with a legal expert saying his words could have a corrosive effect on a potential appeal process.
   On Saturday, Trudeau said he wasn’t going to “comment on the process,” but said Canada has “come to this point as a country far too many times. Indigenous people across this country are angry. They’re heartbroken. I know Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians alike know that we have to do better.”
   Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott also took to Twitter to express their support for Boushie’s family and assert the need for improvements.
    

ONCE UPON A TIME CANADA HAD A THRIVING OIL INDUSTRY

    FP:  Once upon a time in a northern Dominion called Canada, there was a thriving oil industry that provided fuel for vehicles, trains and airplanes. There was also a large natural gas industry that kept the people warm during the long cold winters and supplied the raw material for plants that manufactured plastics, detergents, fertilizer, synthetic clothing and a great many other items needed and used by people every day. That oil and natural gas industry employed more than a million people
   Amazingly, these realities mattered not to Canada’s starry-eyed prime minister, who vowed that his little northern country would set an example to the world. His paladins imposed special taxes on the users of fossil fuel, creating hardship for the people while also weakening the dominion’s competitive position with its largest trading partner. The prime minister journeyed to the main oil and gas producing province, hoping to use his imagined charisma to convince workers worried about losing their jobs that “phasing-out” their industry was necessary to stop global warming.  
    People asked the prime minister what was to replace all that fossil fuel energy? He proclaimed that it would be “green energy” generated by the wind and the sun. But the people knew that the wind only blew some of the time. And that, in this northern land with little sunlight during short winter days and none on long cold nights when energy is needed most, solar was useless.  And the government had not learned from experience in a province called Ontario, where billions of dollars spent on green energy had yielded only small amounts of very expensive and unreliable power that needed back-up fossil-fuel power plants to prevent black-outs.


LIBEL LAWSUIT AGAINST DR. TIM BALL DISMISSED

   This morning the judge dismissed all charges in the lawsuit brought against Tim by BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver. It is a great victory for free speech.
    Dr. Ball has another court battle to contend with:
The Supreme Court of British Columbia, Vancouver was where “world-leading” American professor, Michael E Mann was supposed to start his libel trial against retired Canadian climatologist Dr Tim Ball – until this crucial retreat. Such a delay – to possibly extend the case into an eight-year epic – plays into the hands of skeptics who early on dismissed Mann’s gambit as a cynical strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) to silence dissent.  
  Dr. Tim Ball, kicking green asses.


OBAMA CONTEMPLATED HIDING RUSSIAN INTEL

  The email contains Rice’s impressions from a January 5, 2017 meeting on “Russian hacking during the 2016 presidential election” between then-President Barack Obama, then-FBI Director James Comey, and “intelligence community leadership.”
    According to Rice, President Obama and Comey had a “follow-on conversation” after the formal meeting during which Obama told Comey that “from a national security perspective” he wanted “to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia.” President Obama then asked Comey to inform him of any changes that would affect how his White House should share classified information with the incoming Trump administration.
   Separately, Rice claims Obama told Comey that he wanted the Russia investigation handled “by the book” and that “from a law enforcement perspective” he was not “asking about, initiating or instructing anything.”

MOCKING THE OBAMA PORTRAITS

  The liberal New Yorker is praising the portraits of former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama that were unveiled at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, on Monday — even though much of the rest of the country is mocking them.
   The former president was painted by controversial artist Kehinde Wiley, who portrayed the president seated, with no necktie, on a wooden chair amidst green leaves and flowers. Mrs. Obama was painted by Amy Sherald, who chose to surround her subject with a plain blue background.
   Critics said the former president looked like he was crouching in an outhouse, or that the painting of Michelle Obama did not look like her at all. But the writers at the New Yorker could barely contain their enthusiasm.


U.S. DRONE DESTROYS RUSSIAN TANK

   “The Kremlin – seeking to play down its involvement in the fighting in Syria and seemingly hoping to avoid escalating tensions with the United States – has sidestepped questions about the episode,” the New York Times wrote of Sunday’s drone strike on a Russian-made tank.
   The Russians claim a handful of Russian “paramilitary contractors” were killed in the battle, while the Syrian government says U.S. troops and their allies killed almost a hundred Russians. CNN identified several of the slain Russians on Tuesday; they were portrayed as a mixture of mercenaries and “ultranationalists.”
   CBS News notes that whatever their motivations for fighting in Syria, the casualties from last week’s battle constitute the first Russians killed by U.S. airstrikes in Syria. CBS also notes the interesting fact that some Turkish forces were present at the SDF headquarters alongside the Americans, even as tensions between the U.S. and Turkey are mounting near the Turkish border.


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

DRUGS FROM DIRT

  US scientists have discovered a new family of antibiotics in soil samples.
  The natural compounds could be used to combat hard-to-treat infections, the team at Rockefeller University hopes.
  Tests show the compounds, called malacidins, annihilate several bacterial diseases that have become resistant to most existing antibiotics, including the superbug MRSA.

SWEDEN A HUB OF INTERNATIONAL ISLAMIC EXTREMISM

  Swedish researcher Peder Hyllengren of the Swedish Defence College has claimed that Sweden has become a hub of international Islamic extremism and that hundreds of Swedish residents have built up a vast network of jihadi contacts.
  Hyllengren claimed that jihadi networks have been allowed to operate in Sweden for at least a decade and that Swedish lawmakers have been lagging on proper legislation to deal with the problem, Swedish broadcaster SVT reports.
  Hyllengren blamed the political correctness of the Swedish establishment for the inaction in fighting Islamic radicalism along with “the activism that existed against both the security services and those who tried to lift the seriousness of these issues. This meant that the threshold became higher for both politicians and others to enter this area.”


QUESTIONING THE VALUE OF PUBLIC TELEVISION

  President Donald Trump’s 2019 budget includes a proposal that would eliminate federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), according to a report.
  The Hill reported that Trump’s budget would cut funding for CPB — which funds public television and radio stations such as PBS and NPR — over two years.
   Paula Kerger, PBS’s president and CEO, also released a statement Monday saying that the organization “would continue to remind” lawmakers of public television’s value to taxpayers.



ROT-CLEARING: OVERTURN ALL DISPUTED NOMINATIONS

Of the 56 competitive nominations the PC Party has held to date in the run-up to the June 7 provincial election, nearly one in four have ended in controversy, a Globe and Mail tally has found. The tally excludes 14 ridings where candidates were acclaimed.
Following complaints over several nomination races, the party hired auditors from PricewaterhouseCoopers to monitor future nomination meetings. Mr. Brown said at the time that nomination meetings that had already occurred prior to June 3 would not be challenged.
Tory MPP Randy Hillier criticized the lack of transparency around the provincial nominations committee, saying he has been unable to obtain a complete list of its members and whether they were impartial in deciding the fate of the disputed races.   "How do you have faith or confidence in a system that is completely secretive," Mr. Hillier asked.