Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday Post

Watching the world go to hell, one hand-basket at a time....

What has been hailed as a "seminal moment" in US/Middle East relations is actually a path to disaster:

Over the weekend, a meeting in Geneva between Iranian officials and representatives from the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (the U.S., U.K., France, Russia, China) and Germany reached what amounts to a temporary deal on Iran’s controversial nuclear program. For the next six months, the Iranians have agreed to halt any activity that could boost their ability to build a nuclear weapon and agreed, as well, to what seems to be rigorous new international inspections. In return, the U.S. and its allies will afford Iran some relief—though the roughly $7 billion on offer is not much—to the crippling regime of international sanctions that has hobbled the Iranian economy in recent years.

First of all, the deal was not struck in four days. The Obama administration had been meeting secretly with Iran for two years (SEE: pre-conditions). It is not even accepted widely by most American politicians who fear (and correctly, too) that the deal with Iran could fall through. Secondly, according to the deal, Iran does not have to stop enriching uranium nor does it need to enrich uranium for domestic and industrial energy uses given its vast natural gas reserves and its development of other energy sources. It is, however, being rewarded with lifted sanctions thereby injecting much-needed cash into its coffers. Thirdly, it leaves the oft-threatened Israel in a very precarious position:

The terms of the deal and re-engagement of the West with Iran, after a protracted, volatile standoff, are a setback for Netanyahu, who had demanded Iran be stripped of its nuclear enrichment capabilities altogether.

His military options in confronting Tehran now seem more limited and likely to risk Israel's isolation. A grim-faced Netanyahu said in a statement in English after meeting his cabinet that Israel would not be bound by the accord.

"What was concluded in Geneva last night is not a historic agreement, it is a historic mistake," he said.

"Today the world has become a much more dangerous place because the most dangerous regime in the world took a significant step towards obtaining the world's most dangerous weapon."

Canada is also not convinced:

But Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird insisted that Ottawa would keep its "tough" sanctions "in full force" until negotiators clinch a permanent agreement, because "Iran has not earned the right to have the benefit of the doubt."

None of this will end well (SEE: Munich, 1938).

Here is a very good article detailing the parallels between sanctions on Iran and North Korea:

The consensus today is that tough sanctions forced Iran back to the bargaining table after years of stalling, lying, and obfuscation, yet our North Korea sanctions are a pale shadow of the sanctions we have against Iran. Whether you believe that the purpose of sanctions on Iran was to slow its nuclear progress, open the way to diplomacy, or weaken the regime domestically, you can argue that sanctions were moving us in all of those directions. The question that begs is why we aren’t using sanctions to move us toward the same goals with North Korea.

(Sidebar: North Korea was never on Obama's radar that's why there is no forthcoming deal or tougher sanctions.)

Read the whole thing.

Related: Americans are finally convinced that Obama is a putz:

A growing number of Americans doubt President Barack Obama's ability to manage the nation, according to a CNN/ORC poll released on Monday that reflects the possible larger impact of his administration's fumbled rollout of its healthcare law.

The poll also found that 53 percent of those polled said Obama is not honest or trustworthy, marking the first time that the CNN/ORC polling found a clear majority questioning the president's integrity, CNN said.

Forty percent of the 843 U.S. adults surveyed in the telephone poll early last week said Obama can manage the government effectively, down 12 percentage points from June.

China flexes its muscles over the disputed and Japanese-claimed Senkaku Islands so much so that it demands flight plans from airlines:

Asian aviation officials said airlines would have to inform China of flight plans before entering airspace over waters disputed with Japan, forcing carriers to acknowledge China's authority over a newly declared "Air Defense Identification Zone".

China published coordinates for the zone on the weekend. The area, about two-thirds the size of the United Kingdom, covers most of the East China Sea and the skies over a group of uninhabited islands at the centre of a bitter row between Beijing and Tokyo.

Screw this arrogance.

Why would anyone co-operate with the paper tiger? If China was to shoot down a civilian aircraft, treat it like an act of war and China as an aggressor.

Or ignore China.

Or have Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, the Philippines and the rest of southeast Asia form a coalition against it. Have them keep China occupied while India prepares to march it into the sea.

If the have-not province of Ontario is prepared to hike the minimum wage and therefore pass the cost onto the consumer, it should at least eliminate Wynne's pension and salary entirely:

A new report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) argues the current rate of $10.25 per hour, which has been in place since 2010, is dragging more people in poverty and preventing, not enabling, economic growth.

The CCPA challenges the argument that paying minimum-wage workers would be a job killer by adding more costs to already burdened businesses across the province.

Instead, it says a higher rate – which it recommends as $14.50 an hour by 2016 - would benefit companies through increased employee retention. A higher rate will also boost employees' purchasing power, which is good for the overall economy, the report says.

Ontario’s current minimum wage is below the poverty line for full-time workers and short of living-wage calculations across the province that range from $18.69 in Halton to $14.95 in Hamilton, the report states.

Never mind that minimum wage hikes aren't possible due to rising costs or that they do discourage employment.

And now, Christmas treats to make with the kids. Enjoy.

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