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Putin’s growing web of evil

“...and once the TAR (Target Acquisition Radar) has lock-on, this light will go green. Then just push this button here, and the rest’s automatic. Good luck! Oh, and make sure nobody’s standing behind the missile when you launch.”

Maybe the crew who launched the missile that brought down Malaysian Airlines flight 17 over eastern Ukraine last week were trained professionals, but it seems unlikely. That crew (or somebody else) was good enough to down three Ukrainian Air Force planes over the rebel-held zone in the previous week, but they weren’t good enough to tell the difference between a military aircraft and a civilian airliner. READ

Some debt is essential

Whenever I see news articles by or about the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, I am reminded of the old Monty Python sketch, wherein a customer walks into an office, wishing to purchase an argument. The scene degenerates into comic absurdity as the hapless customer vainly attempts to satisfy his desire for a rational debate. Here, too, with the CTF. READ

Harper in witness box?

Could we one day see Stephen Harper sitting under oath in the witness box being cross-examined by counsel for disgraced suspended Sen. Mike Duffy? READ

No place for nuclear dump

Is dilution really the solution to pollution — especially when it’s nuclear waste that can stay radioactive for 100,000 years? A four-member expert group told a federal joint review panel it is. READ

The origins of war

The 59 skeletons were found in 1964, lying together in a gravesite beside the Nile near what is now the Egyptian-Sudanese border. They died between 13,000 and 14,000 years ago, and some of them seemed to have died in battle. READ

Scorching the competition

Sometimes it’s just tough to toss out the old playbook. After all, the dog-eared tome has served so well, because it is now common knowledge that Michael Ignatieff didn’t come back for you and Stéphane Dion wasn’t a leader. READ

What about the death toll?

As the world watched the civilian death toll in Gaza climb over the weekend, the international response was largely built on three pillars. Most capitals emphasized Israel’s right to defend itself, the need to protect innocent civilians and the need for a mutual ceasefire. READ

Do-nothing Senate solution

Summer is here, the government is on vacation. The chief job of our elected leaders in July is to serve pancakes at the Calgary Stampede. Our chief job is to apply enough sunscreen so we can enjoy the precious few weeks that pass between snow storms in our country. So who needs a constitutional argument right now? Right now, that would be the CBC. READ

Leaders put prosperity at risk

Those who don’t outright deny the existence of human-caused global warming often argue we can’t or shouldn’t do anything about it because it would be too costly. READ

When audits work like a weapon, they’re a weapon

I’ve been active in various charities for a lot of years, in a variety of capacities from street-level volunteer to board president. Some of those charities do what some people would call “political activity.” READ

Skills training, upgrading in decline

Big Business says it is worried about a looming skills shortage that, unless rectified, will undermine Canada’s future prospects for a strong and competitive economy. READ

Ukraine End Game? Or has Russia blinked?

As the Russian-backed rebels abandoned almost all their positions in eastern Ukraine apart from the two regional capital cities, Donetsk and Luhansk, the various players made predictable statements. READ

PM vs. the courts may get ugly

For the federal Conservatives, the temptation to campaign against the courts in next year’s federal election must be overwhelming. This is a government determined to bring its brand of law and order to this country, whether it is cracking down on bogus refugee claimants, giving police more surveillance powers, bringing in mandatory sentencing, ending early parole or always going the extra mile to bring down the hammer in the name of victims’ rights. READ

To ease traffic pain, use other means

As a cyclist — and also as a motorist — there are few things I like better than fresh, new asphalt. READ

Save bees, ban pesticides

Bees may be small, but they play a big role in human health and survival. Some experts say one of every three bites of food we eat depends on them. The insects pollinate everything from apples and zucchini to blueberries and almonds. If bees and other pollinators are at risk, entire terrestrial ecosystems are at risk, and so are we. READ

We must close the innovation gap

While our natural resources will continue to play an important role in our economy, as they have always done, they are too small a share of the economy to ensure a prosperous nationwide society. READ

Failing grade for minister

Alberta Education Minister Jeff Johnson is on a mission. He believes that any organization with 35,000 professionally-certified employees — such as the public school system at 62 school boards across the province — is bound to contain a few duds. Johnson wants to find those duds. READ

Will the new Islamic State continue to grow?

“Listen to your caliph and obey him. Support your state, which grows every day,” said Abu Mohamed al-Adnani, announcing the rebirth of the Caliphate in the broad territory between Aleppo in northern Syria and Diyala province in eastern Iraq. READ

Liberals gain momentum

Sometimes byelections are just byelections, voting exercises that don’t deserve their turn under the analytic microscope. Local issues and local candidates can dominate, timing can drain much of their importance, their detachment from a general election can make the results an anomaly. READ

Alarm over the Hong Kong referendum

“The oppositions in Hong Kong should understand and accept that Hong Kong is not an independent country. They should not think that they have the ability to turn Hong Kong into Ukraine or Thailand,” warned the Global Times, the most aggressively nationalistic of China’s state-run newspapers. READ

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