Smile: you’re on Photo Radar (again)

Here in Toronto, Canada, there is a push to start up photo radar again.

It was used on highways several years ago, was hugely unpopular, and eventually scrapped. Now they want to bring it back, but with a twist:

It will be employed in school zones.

That sounds so impossible to oppose: don’t you want our school children to be safer?

One of the serious safety concerns for school zones is that parents block the street by parking illegally while waiting for pickup children. Other kids cross the street hidden by these parents’ cars – a significant additional risk. Nobody seems to have the cojones to address this problem.

Why I’m against using photo radar in school zones is based on how radar is used in school zones today.

The school zone is NOT patrolled during times of student arrival or departure. I live across from a school and have spoken to patrolling officers. I know what I am talking about.

One school zone is only patrolled on Sunday. Since the reduced speed limit is easily forgotten in the total absence of traffic, single cars are ticketed over and over with no safety benefit whatsoever.

The school zone across from me has not been patrolled in quite some time. I tried to explain to (patient, friendly) officers that a nearby school, on a lower speed limit road, was much more of a car-student hazard due to the curving street, shortening driver and student sight-lines. Amazingly, the radar effort did move to that road.

What happens in front of my house with radar is legal but annoying. Mothers arriving home at six o’clock experience a downhill, wide road with no other traffic and no pedestrians. So they accidentally increase speed, and get ticketed – for the record, in a school zone. But school has been out for 2.5 hours.

Photo radar is, imho, a cheap way to issue tickets. That’s OK if the usual ‘tolerance factors’ are applied. But don’t pretend you’re protecting school children if you’re not there when they are.

Binder Proof

Netanyahu has added gasoline to the fire on Iran. With peccable timing, he has ‘proven’ that Iran reneged on its dealings with regard to the sanctions/nuclear research agreement.

Here you will find (if you haven’t seen it already) how this proof was demonstrated. I use the word demonstrate for a reason: it’s all, imho, just pure show.

In this writing room I have a large shelf-full of binders similar to those shown by Netanyahu. I could, with a curtain and a helpful TV crew, unveil these and claim they are historical proof that Netanyahu has ordered slaughters in Palestine, mostly by bombing. If you search for ‘Israel bombs Palestine’ in YouTube you’ll see there are lots of confirming instances of my claim.

Netanyahu’s proof is simply pointing to a set of binders and claiming what is in them.

Contrarily, the inspections of Iran are surprisingly invasive, and have given the international community strong evidence that Iran is indeed fully complying with the agreement.

But, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the USA are all dead set against Iran. Thus the ‘proof’ and its acceptance by Donald Trump, POTUS.

Who would deal with this president? Expert advice goes unheeded. Deals are broken due to a publicity stunt. I guess that’s today’s dumb question.

Contra NRA

Oliver North is about to become the head of the NRA. He will be trying for even more political clout and more members, and of course, less gun control.

You can find out about that here, among other places.

Oliver North avoided jail by testifying before Congress about the scheme involving Iran and the  Contras and Nicaragua. Partly to get hostages back, US weapons were sold (illegally) to Iran. North’s brilliant addition to the scheme was to use the money (illegally) to fund the Contras operating out of Honduras against the government of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua. I might note that Ortega is still in power there. You can find out more about this at this page.

Allow me to pontificate / rant here for a sentence or two.

One is not offered immunity from prosecution, nor does one need to accept it, if one is innocent. I can be forgiven for considering North to be a self-demonstrated criminal.

It was North who advised the Contras, to be more successful in their incursions into Nicaragua, to hit ‘soft targets:’ hospitals, markets, and schools. These tactics continue to be used today, for example in Syria and Yemen.

The NRA has made an ‘interesting’ choice of leader. North is media-famous and clearly a weapons hawk. Just what we need, after the Florida school shooting: contra-publicity for the NRA.

Liberty: a rant

At one point, a previous POTUS was angry at France. I think they pulled out of the (probably illegal) enforcement of a no-fly zone in Iraq.

Probably this president was W.

He re-designated French Fries as Freedom Fries.

The Statue of Freedom is really called the Statue of Liberty.

It was a gift from France. Why didn’t W call them Liberty fries, and add vinaigre for irony?

I said this post was a rant, so I’ll end with what I think is a roughly accurate quote from Noam Chomsky.

We have a statue of Liberty on our east coast. We should add, on our west coast, a statue of Responsibility.

But no. Iraq was invaded, Libya reorganized, the Iran deal threatened, steel and aluminum trade sanction threats made (and, so far, repeatedly delayed), Chinese island building ignored, the TPP disdained, global warming treated as fake news.

If the Statue of Liberty could speak, she might have called them small-minded fries. The French are rarely small-minded, whatever one thinks of their policies. Their one mistake, imho, is going along with Germany in demanding austerity. After Germany dominates everyone else, they will imho turn on France, when it’s the second last economy still standing in the EU.

If a Statue of Responsibility could speak, it would probably weep first.

Who is this person?

Here is one link where you can find out. I’ll content myself with a few small quotes. Emphasis mine, as always.

The New Mexico native graduated university with degrees in biology and agribusiness before joining the US Navy.

Biology is a tough subject. I know. I got Grade 13 biology after going to work. I am an armchair biologist today. The more you learn, the more you learn you don’t know much.

She was among the first cohort of female fighter pilots to transition tactical aircraft, the US Navy has confirmed.

Mrs Shults served in the US Navy for 10 years and flew fighter jets.

Now you know who she is. She safely landed a passenger airplane with an exploded engine.

Tammie Jo Schults, the pilot came back to speak to each of us personally. This is a true American Hero.

US Navy? Fighter jets? I think that means aircraft carrier take-offs and landings.

Thank God those skills were in the WestJet cabin.

One passenger died, as a result of her window being smashed. She was a banking vice president with two children. I will not name her here, but extend my condolences to her remaining loved ones. An atrocious stroke of bad luck. I am so sorry.

China: US Policy Concerns

Here you will find expert testimony on China’s ambitions and the potential for loss of US influence.

Just two quotes, emphasis mine:

In 2017, before the 90 th anniversary of the creation of the PLA, the PLARF

conducted one of the largest known joint ballistic and cruise missile live-fire drills against a mock-up of a U.S.Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) site, resembling the site in South Korea, which led to a major decline in Sino-Korean relations in 2017.

Each of these objectives will implicitly and explicitly push back on U.S. attempts to maintain alliances and sustain and expand growing partnerships. Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative — a signature foreign policy undertaking by Xi, which was elevated into the Party’s constitution at the 19th Party Congress in October 2017 — is meant to assist

in this endeavor. By 2035, the CPC plans to “realize socialist modernization in the first stage” — to build the PRC into a prosperous, modern state. This will require the pursuit of continued economic integration between Asia’s “core” and “periphery,” in the Chinese conception — the core being China and the periphery being Asia’s many smaller and less developed states. In pursuit of ‘win-win’ cooperation with these countries, China expects to make economic and diplomatic gains that will pay dividends throughout the 21st century. By 2049 — the centennial of the founding of the PRC — China intends to have cemented its position as Asia’s primary hegemon. In pursuit of this latter objective, U.S. alliances in the Asia-Pacific must be contained, if not broken altogether.

I suggest you go back to the hotlink and read that page carefully. It is expert testimony about the USA’s interests versus those of the PRC – China.
I expect China to use the Okinawa US base as a leverage point. The base is unpopular whenever US military personnel abuse young Japanese females.
I expect China to use the artificial islands in the China Sea as a leverage point. The threat of disrupting marine trade or seafaring defence will be hard to ignore. I leave you to google China Sea Islands on your own, if you’re unfamiliar with this development.
The THAAD defense system in South Korea deserves a mention. China says it can be used to monitor Chinese missiles and air traffic. The USA position is, to watch North Korea, you need to have the defense system in a short-range fast-response mode. So it ‘can’t’ be used to monitor China. (straight face assumed here, eh?)
The report made available above is thanks to the Federation of American Scientists, www.fas.org, via Secrecy News.

And No one goes to jail.

Here you will find a recent article on Barclay’s and their involvement in the 2008 financial crisis.

I will content myself with a quote or two. Emphasis mine.

The bank did not admit liability.

The US alleged that the bank had misled investors about the quality of loans backing the securities in the run-up to the financial crisis.

Two former Barclays executives also agreed to pay a total of $2m.

and no one goes to jail.