I am a citizen of Toronto, Ontario, and Canada. I am afraid that that statement may become irrelevant, even laughable.

Justin Trudeau, our Prime Minister, just gave himself extraordiary powers to tax and spend while only conferring with his cabinet. Cabinet members are appointed by the PM and thus depend on his goodwill to remain in their posts. Parliament was not involved.

In short, Justin Trudeau has given himself powers that should be illegal in a democracy with an elected parliament.

Doug Ford, my Provincial Premier, has just given himself powers perhaps more extraordinary that his technical master, Mr. Trudeau. These powers will last a long time – much longer than the Covid19 they are supposed to be essential to fight. It is not clear if Ford will run a bill through the legislature to justify his actions.

John Tory, my mayor, has given himself extraordinary powers without the consent of the city council. These powers will last for over a year.

This is not a democracy. The Covid-19 excuse threatens my freedom as a citizen. We start with curfews, the equivalent of martial law, and power collected into the hands of three men. After a period of enjoying the exercise of these powers, which are addictive, will they be able to go ‘cold turkey’ back to normal?

Stable Genius

Definition of Stable Genius? any better suggestions, post here and I’ll approve every good one. Now for my clumsy first cut.

  • An Einstein-like mind mucking out a racing stable.
  • Someone good at preventing change.
  • A member of a ‘stable’ of geniuses.
  • A person whose entire life, including every speech, is full of oxymorons.

Have a nice day.

Crash Course

All of this is my opinion. Without prejudice.

There have been two recent and fatal air crashes of a specific model of plane.

Here is what I think is the problem.

The plane was made more efficient (no problem) and similar in cockpit controls to its predecessor (almost no problem.)

So a crew used to the older plane could fly the new one.

Except for one small difference.

When the plane thinks its airspeed is too slow, it dives to avoid a stall.

On the older plane, the pilot (or co-pilot) pulled back on the control and the plane obeyed.

In the newer plane, a switch has to be turned off. Pulling back does not work as the computer overrides the pilot-copilot.


Here’s my point: if the planes are Really Similar, train the pilots about the differences.

I gleaned all of the above from open sources on the Internet. It could be true or not. If the airspeed indicator was malfunctioning, that could explain what happened.

Yes, I’m going to fly on one of these planes. No choice in Canada.

Cardinal Pell

Do you remember this YouTube Video? Have a look.

Well, the story continues. Here’s a BBC News item to follow-up on.Pope Francis is finally making a difference.

I have some worse news.

Cardinal Pell went through two potential trials. The result of the first trial was kept secret so as not to influence the second trial. The first trial was for offences a long time ago. The second trial was for covering up abuse in Australia, particularly Ballarat.

The trials were separated. I am not sure why. The second trial was delayed and eventually cancelled.

So, Cardinal Pell will probably NOT have to answer for Minchin’s (and many others) claims that he covered up abuse.

I expect him to challenge this verdict (after a sensible delay) and probably get off.


Continue reading

Unpleasant facts about corporations – above the law, at a price?

SNC Lavalin wanted a DPA – Deferred Prosecution Agreement. Our Prime Minister put ‘no pressure’ on our Attorney General to permit this.’Make your own decision.’

Until he demoted her from being Attorney General. She was an early indigenous example of a cabinet post. She later resigned from her lower cabinet post, apparently in protest.

DPAs are part of the UK legal landscape and they permit large corporations to pay fines – essentially to buy themselves out of legal action – while admitting no guilt. Since there is no guilt, no corporate executive goes to jail either.

DPAs are common in the USA. Corporations rarely admit guilt even when caught red-handed.

DPAs were created in Canada in 2018 by the Trudeau government. Yes, this rabbit hole was created just in time for SNC Lavalin.

The legislation was slid into an omnibus bill that was essentially financial. Some MPs were surprised, including budget ones. (See today’s Toronto Star for this one, I think David Olive.)

I used to like Justin Trudeau, but I think he blew the entire file on this one in three different directions.

SNC did, apparently, a lot of bribing in Libya. The math of this is simple: pay off a government or corporate decider to get the contract, and get the contract at a much higher price. Those paying don’t pay, either their corporations or their Government/taxpayers do;

So, you can be above the law – at a price.Right, Justin?

The EU should, imho, wake up

Brexit was, imho, a bad idea.

Brexit was, imho, manipulated via Facebook via a Canadian company via a free sports lottery.

Brexit is so f…d up I can’t see straight when I read the news. There is a Lot of fear-mongering.

– Brits will run out of food, medicines, et cetera.

Let’s have a serious look at that claim. The EU will suddenly be able to sell, elsewhere, the fresh food and stale medicines it normally sends to the UK?

Why aren’t those EU corporate interests weighing in on the current Brexit negotiations?

Has all of the EU decided this: it is necessary to punish the first exit-or severely as an example?

Remember, this is the EU that imposed crippling sanctions on countries (Greece, for example) so they borrow at absurd interest rates to pay loans they made at absurd interest rates. Germany should, imho, remember that Greece wrote off a lot of their debts after the war. Apparently gratitude is not something Angela Merkel experiences in her political life.

If Greece had its own currency, it could print that and pay its debts and merely experience inflation. Fewer imports, more exports. Internal prices could be stable.

A painful Brexit will signal many messages. Greece might wake up and decide to bail, as it has less to lose then the UK has already lost.

This is, imho, not theoretical. The EU should wake up and give May a decent deal.

Promises: in Ontario

Guaranteed income experiment: Cancelled by Doug Ford.

University campuses subsidy: Cancelled by Doug Ford.

Impoverished student subsidy: Cancelled by Doug Ford, replaced by a fee cut that benefits everyone, including the rich. The poor get to borrow more, and have less time after graduating to start paying interest. Shafted by Doug Ford.

Ontario Place refreshment: about to be manipulated by Doug Ford. He’ll probably insist on a large ferris wheel. Designed by Doug Ford.

Toronto Council: Shrunk by Doug Ford, just before an election. Result: some of his opponents didn’t make it. Manipulated by Doug Ford.

He promised good government. Is that what this looks like? Promised by Doug Ford.

An alternalte theory re MBS – Lenin’s Law

I will carefully spell his name here. Mohammed bin Salman. (from Wikipedia.)

He is the current crown prince of Saudi Arabia.

He is implicated in the killing of Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi in the Saudi embassy in Turkey.

Now I invoke Lenin’s Law: to understand a historical event, find out who profited from it.

MBS has consolidated power with many scary moves, including imprisoning a large number of key Saudi persons in a ‘gold star’ hotel. Many were allowed to exit after paying large fines.

MBS is modernizing his country. Women can drive. Big university budgets. Diversity from oil revenue.

MBS has made a Lot of enemies with the above, and other, decisions..

If you were to benefit from MBS being deposed, who are you? Those who do not want the country to move forward – in women’s rights, in science, in non-oil economic prospects?

So, what would you do? Send a team of 15, mostly by private jet,.to assassinate a journalist in Turkey?

Lenin’s law: who benefited?

Is MBS dumb enough to arrange the murder, and body disposal, of a minor journalist?

Was it a plot to reduce his power and credibility?

That’s today’s dumb question.

Emergency Alert ?

A few days ago my cell phone went off for an emergency alert system test.

There was an emergency alert in Hawaii last year that turned out to be false. The threat of an incoming missile was incorrect. Officials did not correct this for some 38 minutes.

I have a request to the tall foreheads setting up this emergency alert system. Don’t warn me of an incoming atomic missile. There’s nothing I can do in this case, and would rather be surprised than spend a minute or so in dread.

I also have a dumb question.

Will this alert go off if my phone is in airplane mode? Supposing its a hurricane warning, telling me to take cover.

What do you think is the right answer here? That’s the dumb question.

Drones: serial numbers?? why not??

I personally own and use a number of ‘technical’ pieces of equipment. My cameras all have a serial number. My binoculars all have a serial number. My desktop and laptops all have a serial number. My car has a VIN number which uniquely identifies it. Some (expensive) cars have the VIN recorded again, hidden in multiple parts and places.

I submit that a drone is roughly as complex as a good camera. So, why do they not have serial numbers burned into them?? Why is this not a legal requirement from the government to the manufacturers?

If they did, capturing a drone in Gatwick could have led directly to the manufacturer, the lot and retailer, and the eventual purchaser.

If drones don’t have numbers burned into them, why not?
If they do, why can’t law enforcement find their purchasers?