Saturday, March 16, 2013

Weekly roundup (ending Mar 16 / 13)

First and biggest news of the week was the upset election of 76 year old Jorge Bergoglio, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, who interestingly has taken the name Francis I.    No sooner was he elected, and leading up to his investiture next week (since 1978, new Popes have refused to take the three tiered crowned during a coronation, preferring to be inaugurated instead like pretty much every monarch in Europe, save the UK, is) comes the news that Bergoglio may have had a hand -- or at the least said way too little -- in the so-called "Dirty War" in Argentina from 1976 to 1983, when 30,000 political opponents of the military junta "disappeared" and thousands more were tortured.

The bigger problem, though, is that because the junta was also Roman professors, the Catholic Church of Argentina made a deal with the devil in an attempt to stop insurgents who were against religion all together, as well as those who supported "liberation theology" -- the Catholic parallel to the Protestant "Social Gospel".   The code of silence, even if voluntarily self-imposed, had incalculable consequences.

(I can only think of Oscar Romero of San Salvador who paid the supreme sacrifice for speaking out against the five member joint presidential junta -- and the funeral thereafter when at least 50 mourners, maybe more, were murdered at the funeral.   Imagine if the new Pope came from there or another Central American country.   Then a lot of heads would have been rolling!)

I don't know what to make of this news.   Heck, the now retired Pope, Joe Ratzinger, had a lot of questions to answer about his membership in the Hitler Youth.   And while he was extremely complicit about child abuse during Wojtyla's time as Pope and only started doing baby steps after he became top of the heap, it was way too little, too late.

Let the good times roll.   We're stuck with this guy for another 10 years, if he follows Ratz' lead and quits at 85 -- which is actually a good precedent to follow.


Patrick Brazeau.    My God.   He really takes advantage of the $22,000 housing allowance by claiming he lived with his father, even though he didn't.   He claims he got a status card from the organization that represents non-reserve First Nations and that he used to run -- but the group doesn't have that ability, only bands do.    He allegedly beats his girlfriend (allegations before the courts at this time).   And so forth.   It's almost a relief he took a leave of absence from the Senate.

But for all that, comes an act of stupidity -- or fraud, depending on one's point of view -- and it wasn't even Brazeau.   It was someone I least expected and used to respect; MP Peter Penashue who also served as Harper's hitman dealing with the provinces and territories.    Once a respected leader of the Innu nation, in fact one of the people who created the autonomous region of Nunatsiavut in Labrador, Penashue was forced to resign this week over 28 illegal contributions he took for the 2011 election, including $10,000 from a regional airline and an additional $27,000 in "in-kind" donations from the same airline -- the latter, apparently unreported.

If the money was actually spent, then he would have been way over the spending limit for the district -- just over $84,000.   If the campaign took corporate donations then handed out receipts to individuals to get around the individual spending limit -- that would be even more illegal.

And the best part:   He wants to run in the by-election to replace himself; just as Sheila Copps did over the GST (although that was really a stupid promise to make anyway).

Yes, he did give the money back, but only because he got bailed out by the Conservative Party.   But that really isn't the point.   Taking money from whom you shouldn't knowingly and / or overspending beyond the limit is illegal.   It's illegal because it gives you an unfair advantage.  An illegal practice is punishable by up to five years in jail, and a concurrent ban from voting.   If the practice was motivated by corruption, it's five and seven respectively.

Besides, if you have any question at all about where the money's coming from you should put it in sequester until you get an answer.   And if you spent it and find out after the fact to try to give the amount back to the contributor, or if not possible, to the federal elections commission.

To wait more than a year after the election, though?    That's just wrong.   If I was running Elections Canada, I'd press charges.   And the law should be changed so that you can't run to replace yourself!


Finally things are really heating up again on the Korean Peninsula.   About 10 days after the Security Council passed Resolution 2094 against North Korea, the toughest sanctions ever in the history of the UN and even more draconian than those against Saddam Hussein during the Kuwait crisis, the North has engaged in one provocation after another, they said (again!) that the 60 year old ceasefire is over.    After a week of belligerence, today North Korea again test fired some missiles.

Many have said this is another "disarmament for aid" attempt.   It's time for the blackmail to end.    I said it before, and I'll say it again:    It's time once and for all to demand the Commies start feeding its people again, using its own resources to keep people alive instead of starving them for the purposes of militarization.   It must end its nuclear arms program once and for all.   And until the island is unified, it must begin the process of democratization and human rights including dismantling all of its prison and slave labour camps.

Even Mainland China has gotten fed up which is why they agreed to the resolution.    But they need to take the final step -- turn off the power to the North.    Nearly all of is used to run the nuclear weapons program anyway and if you do that, I think that then the North's regime's raison d'être will cease to exist or at least begin to.

Out of fear can come hope.   It's time to stop fearing the Kim clan and their posse of genocidal maniacs.

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