Chicago Convention comes into play with Iran’s admission plane was shot down

iran protests
Protesters took to the streets in Tehran in the wake of government admission Ukrainian plane had been shot down by surface to air missiles.

Iran has finally admitted that the Ukrainian plane carrying 57 Canadians was shot down by surface to air missiles.

It took officials two days to admit what most people surmised from the beginning.

Yet in admitting that the plane was “unintentionally” shot down, Iranian officials could not quite bring themselves to admit that the blame rests squarely on their shoulders, with one actually laying the blame on Washington and then going on to claim the aircraft wasn’t identifying itself properly.

That ought to tell any right minded person, Iran is not to be trusted. Its officials are liars. They will continue lying in this case because an admission of culpability puts the country on the hook for billions in damages.

In this respect it is worth noting that Iran, the Ukraine and Canada among others are all signatories to the so-called Chicago convention which grew out of previous attacks on commercial aircraft during times of conflict.

Convention signatories all agreed that states are responsible and liable with respect to the safety of commercial airplanes.

There is a large loophole in the convention, however, and this is where the Iranian officialdom’s propensity to lie comes into play and why a truly independent and impartial investigation is needed.

The convention recognizes that the governing articles do not impinge on a country’s right to self defense.

In other words, if the Ukrainian plane can be shown to have some mechanical problem that stopped it from displaying itself as a commercial airliner, then Iran may escape culpability.

It’s a stretch. After all, the plane was new and had just undergone an inspection. But unfettered access to the black boxes is by no means guaranteed, so it remains to be seen what the investigation as it is currently structured will produce.

So Canada needs to begin preparing for the possibility that the investigation will be inconclusive and, as such, leave it without a clear path to winning compensation for the victims of Iranian incompetence.

Some analysts believe that Iran will do the right thing given its fear of further isolating itself from the Western world.

I somehow doubt that. Iran’s downing of the Ukrainian plane has ignited protests in the country. Further admissions of guilt will only fuel those protests.

As the lies which followed news of the crash show, the Islamofascists will do everything in their power to retain that power.

Iran and Iran alone is to blame for deaths of passengers aboard Ukrainian plane

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Qasem Soleimani

Watching critics of President Donald Trump try to lay the blame for the death of passengers of the ill-fated Ukrainian plane at his feet, it was clear they were playing the what if game.

If only Trump had not ordered the attack on Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, they argue, all those innocent lives would not have been lost.

It’s a tempting argument and one that is easily played, as we have all seen in the past few days.

The trouble is that two can play.

What if Soleimani had been killed years ago, how many lives would have been saved?

In 2013, the New Yorker carried a profile of Soleimani, who was relatively unknown:

Suleimani (sic) took command of the Quds Force fifteen years ago, and in that time he has sought to reshape the Middle East in Iran’s favor, working as a power broker and as a military force: assassinating rivals, arming allies, and, for most of a decade, directing a network of militant groups that killed hundreds of Americans in Iraq. The U.S. Department of the Treasury has sanctioned Suleimani for his role in supporting the Assad regime, and for abetting terrorism. And yet he has remained mostly invisible to the outside world, even as he runs agents and directs operations. “Suleimani (sic) is the single most powerful operative in the Middle East today,” John Maguire, a former C.I.A. officer in Iraq, told me, “and no one’s ever heard of him.”

You can read the full article here.

Thousands of people died as a consequence of Soleimani’s actions.

Are those lives worth anything?

Under President Barack Obama, Washington tried to normalize relations with Iran, going as far as to lift travel restrictions on Soleimani and negotiate a nuclear arms deal with Iran. The hope was that the combination of money and diplomacy would make Iran less of a rogue nation.

The Middle East, however, has been the graveyard of many a hopeful politician and Iran, led by Soleimani, remained a destabilizing force.

In the months leading up to his assassination, Soleimani led a regional campaign that included piracy of foreign ships in the Strait of Hormuz, attacks on international oil tankers, an attack on a US drone as well as an attack on a petroleum processing facility in Saudi Arabia.

All of those provocations went unanswered until Soleimani was in Iraq and US forces had an opportunity to kill him.

Now, the Iranian government no doubt never thought Washington would assassinate one of its highest military leaders and Soleimani’s killing was a shock, prompting a retaliatory barrage of missiles directed at American and allied bases in Iraq.

All of which brings us to the day passengers aboard a Ukrainian plane met their ill-deserved fate.

When news of the “crash” broke, the speculation was that the plane had been shot down, but Iran was given the benefit of the doubt and newscasters accepted the Iranian explanation – mechanical failure.

Within hours, however, it became clear the plane had been shot down. A video of two missiles being fired from batteries near the airport clearly show them hitting the plane and then the fiery descent of the plane itself.

Then, too, there are the intelligence reports concluding that it was highly likely the plane was taken down by missiles.

In fact, the only thing missing is an inspection of the fuselage. That would provide absolute certainty.

No matter, the fact remains that Iranian officials permitted commercial aircraft to fly during the midst of hostilities which was the height of negligence.

Worse, the Iranian military fired upon the airplane for whatever reason.

That is the reason 177 people (63 Canadians) are dead.

Iranian officials had a duty to protect non-combatants. They shirked that duty and people died. It’s as simple as that.

Climatologists should be held to same standards adhered to by engineers

australia
Australia’s bushfires have been blamed on climate change, firefighters blame them on arsonists.

As anyone who has ever worked in construction can tell you, engineers put not just their reputations on the line when they sign off on a project, but their fortunes as well.

Engineers can and have been sued for sloppy work, for lying, for falsifying data, for fudging data. They have lost their fortunes, forced into bankruptcy and, in some case, gone to jail.

Engineers are held to this high standard for one good reason: Lives depend on the accuracy of their work. If they are incompetent, bridges fail, building fall down, planes crash and people die.

So I have a modest proposal to make. I would like to see every single climatologist held to the same level of accountability. I want them to sign off on their work knowing that if they make a mistake they will be held accountable and liable for all losses by businesses and persons alike. If they have been found to have fudged some data, misled people, failed to live up to their code of ethics or were just sloppy, they should be made to pay for their incompetence and malfeasance.

I make this demand because every single time I look at the temperature datasets, I find that they have been changed. The past is being cooled while the present is being warmed. High temperatures from the 1930s no longer exist in their databases. They have mysteriously disappeared.

Now, the climatologists say they have all sorts of good reasons to make these changes. (You can read all about the temporal instability of the datasets here.) But I don’t really care.

All I care about is the people we elect to make environmental decisions on our behalf are relying on these figures. They have concluded the world is warming at an alarming rate and we have to do something about it.

What we have to do, the alarmists say, is decarbonize, shift our entire economies away from fossil fuels to low or zero CO2 emitting sources of fuel.

That’s a big, big, big ask.

It’s going to cost all of us something close to $100 trillion.

That’s a lot of money by anyone’s standards.

Worse still, this brave new world is going to likely cause a lot of short and medium term misery. Some businesses are going to go broke, a lot of people are going to go broke, a lot of people may end up dying too.

So here’s the deal, fellas, before we go committing ourselves to this grand plan, I want every climatologist, every meteorologist, every technician involved in assessing the climate to SIGN OFF on their work and be held personally responsible for their work.

I also want yearly audits of their work by independent auditors who have access to all their work and all their emails.

I want to be able to sue them.

I want prosecutors to be able to charge them.

If climate change is so serious, then let’s get serious. We did this in construction decades and decades ago. Everyone who builds understands this. We are liable for our work. It’s about time climatologists were held to the same standards.

In other words, it’s put up or shut up.

Iranian Canadians divided over Soleimani’s death

iran-toronto
Protesters take to streets to condemn attack on Iranian general

We met this lovely Iranian couple six years ago. I was working in the yard and heard a man speaking Arabic across the way. I noticed the accent was odd and I asked him if he was Persian. He looked me with surprise and replied that he was.

That was the beginning of a friendship my wife and I both cherish. Over the years, the two of them and their son have celebrated Christmas with us, as well as birthdays and anniversaries.

It was their experience in Iran that I found most interesting. Both are highly educated people and emigrated to Canada seeking freedom and opportunity.

They represent the secular liberal element within Iran that chafes at the hands of the Islamic clergy that controls the country. As he explained to me, the reforms of 2013 were largely cosmetic and authorities seek to control the hearts and minds of the people.

I relate all this in light of the reaction to the death of the Iran’s top general Qasem Soleimani at the hands of United States armed forces.

Canada has a large Iranian population, chiefly in Toronto. Yesterday, they took to the streets to condemn the act and voice their support for the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Our Iran friends were not terribly surprised. They know full well that Soleimani was highly regarded as a champion of Iran’s Islamic revolution and Islamic jihad.

It’s apparently a minority viewpoint to judge by the size of the counter protest by exiled Iranian dissidents.

Clearly, there are a lot of Iranians in Canada that support Iran.

Still, as my Iranian friend told me, many of those who fled the authoritarian regime have chosen to blend in and become full fledged Canadians.

We won’t hear much at all from them, but we hope they are a majority.

It was unnerving to see so many Iranian-Canadians protesting in support of a terrorist responsible for the death of thousands of Westerners.

You don’t have to be white to be a racist

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New York police arrest and charge man in relation to stabbings of Jews.

There are days you can only shake your head at the stupidity of academics.

Take University of New Hampshire physics professor Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, for example.

In the wake of attacks on Jews by blacks in New York, the good professor took to Twitter explain why antisemitism is exclusively a “white” problem and, as such, it is inappropriate to discuss anti-Semitic acts committed by black people.

“Antisemitism in the United States, historically, is a white Christian problem, and if any Black people have developed antisemitic views it is under the influence of white gentiles,” the professor Tweeted.

It gets better.

The professor further Tweeted that Jews adopted “whiteness” as a so-called “social praxis” and, as such, some Blacks have erroneously blamed Jewishness for it.

“There is no systemic Black on Jewish violence,” she wrote, adding that “putting more police and people with guns outside of synagogues may make white Jews feel safer but it will endanger Jews of color, especially Black Jews and Middle Eastern Jews.”

This where we see how leftist ideology has gone off the rails.

The core of Leftist ideology is that white Europeans are the source of all the world’s ills. They are the racists who conquered the world, enslaved colored people and created an economic system (capitalism) that continues to impose racism and imperialism on people of color.

Along come some members of the black community who dislike Jews so much that the unhinged among them are motivated to attack and kill easily recognizable Jews and their worldview is challenged.

The Left can’t bring itself to acknowledge that people of color can be racist. That would utterly destroy their belief system.

So what do they do?

In this case, the Left is literally blaming the Jews for their own persecution. Because Jews identify as white, they brought the attacks upon themselves.

Worse still, the blacks don’t know any better because of white Jews.

Good Lord, this insulting on so many levels.

Jews have been persecuted for centuries. They did not bring it upon themselves. They’ve been persecuted by Romans, Christians and Arabs.

We need to be honest with ourselves. Racism exists. Europeans did not invent it. Just study a little Chinese history to see how ethnic groups in Asia feel about each other. Racism existed in Asia long before European contact.

Pretending that blacks cannot be racist and commit hate crimes won’t keep Jews safe and it won’t help the black community confront its racists.

Electric vehicles a virtuous offering to Gaia and nothing else

Tesla
Tesla Electric Vehicle

There is not a day that goes by that I don’t see some Tweet extolling the virtues of electric vehicles.

Proponents tout their lower maintenance costs, their fewer mechanical parts, their greenness.

Electric vehicles are the future, proponents claim.

There is little doubt governments would like us to believe all that is true.

A number of countries, in fact, have already said they plan to legislate the internal combustion engine (ICE) out of existence over the course of the next two decades.

Electric vehicles sales, to be sure, have been increasing. The number of EVs on the road has increased by more than 30 per cent in the past few years. That is a sign of their growing popularity and generous incentives.

More will likely be sold, too, as the cost of batteries falls. In 2010, EV batteries cost about $1,000 per Kw/H. Today, the cost is around $250. By 2028, the cost will be down to around $125.

At that cost, EVs can compete quite nicely with their ICE counterparts.

Proponents are, of course, ecstatic. It means more and more EVs will be sold.

“By 2040,” says the World Economic Forum, “54 per cent of new car sales and 33 per cent of the global car fleet will be electric. Falling battery prices will bring price-competitive electric vehicles to all major light-duty vehicle segments before 2030.”

Praise be to Gaia?

Not so fast. What the EV proponents fail to take into consideration is that EVs are electric and, therefore, require electricity to operate.

Duh.

Where is all electricity going to come from?

Electric cars often need an entire night to recharge. That recharging can increase a household’s electrical consumption by 50 per cent.

Now, imagine an entire street of houses charging electric cars, an entire neighborhood, an entire city, an entire state or province, an entire country and, finally, an entire world.

All that extra electricity is going to have to come from somewhere.

Mention this need for extra electricity and EV proponents will mumble something about renewables and free energy from the wind and sun.

Those of us who are realists understand that the vast majority of electricity is actually generated by fossil fuels, primarily coal and natural gas.

electricitytype

Even without EVs surging onto the roads, global electrical will increase by three per cent annually for the foreseeable future.

In other words, EVs solve nothing. To meet the demand of electric vehicles, utilities will build more and more coal and gas fired plants.

And don’t even get me started on the woeful state of our electrical grids and the dearth of base-load electricity that leaves us a few megawatts from blackouts.

It’s one thing for proponents to dream about electric vehicles, but it’s quite another when governments take those dreams and turn them into nightmares for the rest of us.



			

Canada’s debt, poor economic growth worrisome

Trudeau
Trudeau

Canadians are, by and large, a practical people. We value common sense. That might explain why Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was raked over the coals when he said that the government’s ever increasing deficits and debt is a sign the country is doing just fine, thank you very much.

Now, Trudeau’s observation that the level of debt the country is carrying has a certain logic to it.

After all, the very fact we have this much debt is a sign that people, institutions and other countries have sufficient faith in us that the debt will be repaid.

Common sense, however, tells us that just because people are willing to lend us money does not mean that we can continue borrowing indefinitely. Every dollar borrowed today must be paid back with interest tomorrow. There is simply no getting around that fact.

Harper
Harper

When Trudeau took over from Stephen Harper in 2015, the federal government was budgeting for an approximately $1.5 billion surplus. But that surplus vanished quickly as the newly elected Liberal government went on a spending spree.

As shown in the accompany graph, spending increased exponentially in the four years the Liberals have been in power.

spendingThis level of spending has increased the national debt to levels not seen the recession of the 1990s, as shown in the next graph.

debtThe national debt, as a percentage of GDP, ought to worry any rational person, because it is a clear indication the government is oblivious to what is actually happening in the economy. Government spending is no substitute for real economic growth.

debt-gdpIn the past, Canada has enjoyed strong economic growth. The 60s, 70s were particularly strong and while growth in first decade of the 21st Century was not as strong (three per cent on average), it was still better that the meager two per cent annual growth rate recorded recently.

Worse still, the country now looks as if it is entering a recession which will reduce government revenues and increase expenditures.

The importance of economic growth cannot be overstated. Three per cent annual growth increases per capita GDP by about $45,000 in 20 years.

Unfortunately, the Trudeau government has introduced regulations and taxes that have discouraged investment and consumer spending, thus ensuring that the recession will be both deep and prolonged.

How long will it be before current levels of spending lead to both a currency and liquidity crisis?

Renewable capacity meaningless statistic

When the Alberta Electrical System Operator (AESO) published its most recent forecast on where the province is headed, it noted that the targets set by the previous NDP government were not going to be met.

That, of course, was met by a chorus of lamentations by the NDP and fevered hand wringing by proponents of renewable energy.

Under Premier Rachel Notley, the province had set a target of 30 per cent renewable energy by 2030 – the so-called 30-30 plan.

The plan was actually enshrined in legislation and was to be supported by auctions and 1.3 gigawatts of renewable capacity was secured by including a guarantee that of prices should drop below the contracted price, the government would make up the difference.

Now, the plan earned the Notley government praise, but it never really made a lot of sense.

After all, the Notley plan was talking about capacity and not actual electrical generation.

Currently, Alberta has the capacity to produce about 16.5 gigawatts of electricity, of which 3.1 gigawatts is from a combination of hydro, biomass, wind and solar.

In other words, renewables already account for a little more than 18 per cent of capacity.

When it comes to actual production, however, it’s a different story.

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Electrical generation by type

no wind

Hydro is always dependable. The same cannot be said for wind and solar.

The province has 1.7 gigawatts of wind capacity installed, but it never actually produces 1.7 gigawatts. It’s all over the map. Some days it is producing 1.1 gigawatts and on other days it’s producing 1 megawatt.

None of this should come as a surprise. The wind doesn’t always blow. Turbines operate in a very narrow range of wind. Too much wind and they must shut down. Too little and they produce next to nothing.

Solar has been a huge disappointment as well. In Medicine Hat, the city-owned utility shut down its solar farm after five years because it was simply too expensive. The Brooks operation barely produces anything at all.

There is talk of two new large scale solar farms being built in southern Alberta with private funds, but it’s hard how these will get off the ground without government support.

Again, the problem is the variability of sunshine. Quite simply the sun doesn’t always shine during the day because of clouds and, of course, is completely absent at night.

So the fact that the province won’t hit 30 per cent renewable electrical capacity by 2030 is nothing to lament. It is a meaningless statistic if renewables cannot generate 30 per cent of our electrical needs.

Canada is irrelevant to the global CO2 emissions debate

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China emissions

As the Trudeau government ponders raising the carbon tax, as well as lowering rebates, it is worth noting Canada’s global share of greenhouse gas emissions continues to decline.

The Trudeau government announced earlier this week that the so-called dissenting provinces – those provinces opposed to the carbon tax – would see reduced rebates.

Saskatchewan will see the biggest drop in rebates, with a family of four now receiving $809 in 2020 as opposed to $903 projected last year.

Ontario family rebates are being reduced from $451 to $448.

Manitoba families will see a drop from $499 to $486/

Alberta families are expected to see a rebate of $888.

The rebates are meant to offset the additional costs accruing from the imposition of the Liberal carbon tax which is currently $20 per tonne of carbon emitted, but is due to increase to $30 per tonne in 2021.

This levy of CO2 emissions, argue Liberals, is part of an effort to reduce emissions and meet international commitments to keep average temperatures from rising 2 C.

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Canada emissions

Ironically enough, Canada’s share of CO2 emissions actually fell from 1.8 per cent in 2014 to 1.6 per cent in 2017 without a carbon tax.

Its share of global emissions will continue to fall precipitously for decades to come.

In fact, China’s emissions will equal the rest of the world combined by 2030.

Let that sink in. In a mere decade, China will emit as much CO2 as every other country combined.

China’s economic growth is to blame. Once it was given favored nation status in the World Trade Organization, economic growth was staggering. It took a mere seven years to fully double America’s emissions.

This economic growth was fueled primarily by coal. So much so that China will add a new coal fired electricity plant every two weeks for the next 12 years.

Again, let that sink in. China will build a new coal plant EVERY TWO WEEKS FOR THE NEXT 12 YEARS.

As a consequence, China will be responsible for fully 50 per cent of global CO2 emissions by 2030 or 15,000 metric tonnes.

By way of comparison, Canada is expect to be produced 790 metric tonnes of CO2 by 2030 if we do nothing.

Canada, in other words, is irrelevant to this discussion of CO2 reduction. So is the United States, so is Australia, so is the EU.

If CO2 emissions are truly an existential threat, then there are only two countries that matter – China and India.

Of those two countries, China is the most important.

All this talk of carbon pricing is pure virtual signaling.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, the West will do will make a difference.

So why, then, must we sacrifice our economies to accomplish nothing?