Friday, February 24, 2017

Friday Post

Just in time for the week-end...

Trump offended the arrogant sensibilities of the popular press by banning some of them from a briefing:

Journalists from The New York Times and two other news organizations were prohibited from attending a briefing by President Donald Trump’s press secretary Friday, a highly unusual breach of relations between the White House and its press corps.

One of the agencies banned from the briefing was Buzzfeed. This is an example of Buzzfeed's journalistic ethos:

Stick to recipes, Buzzfeed. People don't have to take those too seriously.

A censorship motion similar to Iqra Khalid's Motion 103 has passed unanimously at Queen's Park:

A Liberal backbencher who introduced an anti-Islamophobia motion that unanimously passed the Ontario legislature Thursday says, despite all-party support, she has received racist backlash.

The motion from Nathalie Des Rosiers called on the legislature to “stand against all forms of hatred, hostility, prejudice, racism and intolerance,” rebuke a “growing tide of anti-Muslim rhetoric and sentiments” and condemn all forms of Islamophobia.

Is this Islamophobic, Nathalie?

Make no mistake - there is not ONE politician in Ontario who cares about his or her constituents. Not one.


The petition e-411 referred to was advanced by the president of the Canadian Muslim Forum, Samer Majzoub, in 2016, and credits Islam with a large contribution “to the positive development of human civilization,” claims that the number of Islamic terrorists is “infinitesimally small,” and is unrepresentative of the world Muslim population, and asks that all Canadians recognize that and condemn Islamophobia. The Standing Committee’s study, under Ms. Khalid’s motion, is to develop a “whole-of-government approach” to fighting the alleged “systemic racism and religious discrimination … while ensuring a community-centred focus with a holistic response through evidence-based policy-making.” It is also charged to “collect data to contextualize hate crime reports and to conduct needs assessments for impacted communities.” This choice of words gets to the edge of incomprehensible bureau-speak, but essentially seems to wish to recruit every employee of the federal government to a role of crusading against any differentiation or even recognition of racial or religious individuality and seeks deep background and remedial recommendations for all reports of hate crimes anywhere in the country.

The motion proclaims the existence of a threat to civil society that is tremendously exaggerated, asking the federal government to launch a total war on what is a very scattered and largely undefinable phenomenon, and asking for mountains of anecdotal opinion from all those who can formulate a claim that they have been disparaged or mistreated because of their race or religion, or have observed this treatment of others. The fact is that it is up to the Muslim leaders in the world, including some in Canada, to be a good deal less ambiguous about and apologetic for the conduct of Islamic extremists, though Mr. Majzoub specifically condemns them. Ms. Khalid’s motion urges the government “to better reflect the enshrined rights and freedoms in the Constitution Acts, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.” Those rights include the liberty of anybody to hold and express negative views about any religious denomination or ethnic group or individual as long as they are not inciting hatred, which invites premature recourse to the kangaroo courts of the Human Rights Commissions. It is of the nature of those inquisition chambers that retroactive mind-reading and imputation of guilty motives routinely trespass on individual rights of freedom of expression.

Consider this verse from the Korean which advocates wife abuse (also remember that Iqra Khalid, was the president of the Muslim Student Association at York University and that group put out a book that advocated wife abuse):

Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great. 

This is from the Koran which has not been revised or reformed (nor has Islam been).

By singling it out and by interpreting it as acceptance of wife-abuse, have I committed Islamophobia? What is my punishment?

Should the Koran be burned for giving its critics figurative fuel?

Moving on...

The allegedly most transparent government in Canadian history is increasing its budget for the privy council:
The budget for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Privy Council Office is set to rise by 20 per cent this year, making it one of the largest budgets for the office in a decade.

According to spending estimates tabled in the House of Commons Thursday, the budget for the Privy Council Office will jump to $144.9 million for the coming fiscal year from $120.7 million.

However, that pales in comparison to the $163.9 million the PCO actually ended up getting in spending authorities in the past year.

Each of the government's three supplementary spending estimates over the course of the year added to the PCO's budget. The projects ranged from information technology modernization and electoral reform to security upgrades, and included $10.8 million more "to enhance the Privy Council Office's capacity to support the prime minister and cabinet ministers in delivering the government's agenda."

Oh, it gets better:

Canada's annual inflation rate jumped to a stronger-than-expected 2.1 percent in January, its highest for more than two years, government data showed on Friday, bolstering the Canadian dollar.

Just like dad:

Even if you didn’t care about the deficit, and managed to keep your job, it was hard to escape the wrath of inflation and the high interest rates that inevitably resulted from Trudeau’s spending and deficit spree. Our prime rate peaked at close to 20% — well above American levels. A $100,000 loan cost a Canadian debtor $7,000 more in interest costs during Trudeau’s time in office than what an American would have paid on a similar debt. 

And this:

The federal government ran a budgetary shortfall of $14 billion over the first nine months of the fiscal year, compared with a $3.2-billion surplus over the same period a year earlier.

The Finance Department’s monthly fiscal monitor says federal program expenses between April and December rose $16.7 billion, or 8.8 per cent, compared with the same stretch a year ago.

A closer look at the numbers shows that major government transfers to individuals, including seniors benefits, were up $5.7 billion, or 9.3 per cent, while direct-program spending rose $8.9 billion, or 11.3 per cent.

Government revenues, such as those pulled in from income taxes, were down $1.9 billion or 0.9 per cent compared with 2015-16.

The Trudeau government is projecting a $25.1-billion deficit for 2016-17 as part of its plan to run several double-digit shortfalls over the coming years in an effort to lift the economy through infrastructure investments and larger child benefits.

The Finance Department also says Ottawa posted a $1.3-billion deficit in December alone — compared to a $2.2-billion surplus in December 2015.

People voted to be ripped off and will do so again:

This is a story of almost Dickensian symmetry. The ecoLords who have brought mayhem to Ontario’s electricity system and reduced some of its citizens to public tears and weeping, with power being cut off to low-income residents, is hurling $14,000 subsides to those who by definition – those buying $150,000 wonder cars – have no possible need of them.

Is there any doubt about this assassination?

The North Korean leader’s half brother was killed by VX, a lethal nerve agent that can be absorbed through the skin, Malaysian police said Friday, giving their first assessment of the cause of Kim Jong Nam’s death.

The finding will add to the increasing pile of evidence suggesting that Kim Jong Un’s regime in North Korea was behind the brazen and public attack on Kim Jong Nam in a Kuala Lumpur airport terminal last week.

ISIS killed fifty people in northwestern Syria:

An Islamic State car bomb killed more than 50 people on Friday in a Syrian village held by rebels, a war monitor said, a day after the jihadist group was driven from its last stronghold in the area.

Egyptian Christians flee for their lives:

Christian families and students fled Egypt's North Sinai province in droves on Friday after Islamic State killed the seventh member of their community in just three weeks.

A Reuters reporter saw 25 families gathered with their belongings in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia's Evangelical Church and church officials said 100 families, out of around 160 in North Sinai, were fleeing. More than 200 students studying in Arish, the province's capital, have also left.

Seven Christians have been killed in Arish between Jan. 30 and Thursday. Islamic State, which is waging an insurgency there, claimed responsibility for the killings, five of which were shootings. One man was beheaded and another set on fire.

"I am not going to wait for death," Rami Mina, who left Arish on Friday morning, said by telephone. "I shut down my restaurant and got out of there. These people are ruthless."

Sectarian attacks occur often in Egypt but are usually confined to home burning, crop razing, attacks on churches, and forced displacement.

Arish residents said militants circulated death lists online and on the streets, warning Christians to leave or die.

"My father is the second name on their list; anyone Christian they put on the list" Munir Adel, a vegetable seller who fled on Friday, said as he huddled with four family members at the Evangelical Church, waiting for church officials to find them a place to stay.

Adel's parents did not leave Arish because of their old age, he said. "They could be killed at any moment."

(Sidebar: I realise that by even mentioning these acts of Islamist terrorism, I have committed the unforgivable crime of Islamophobia. If anything, I should be condemning these Coptic whiners and excoriating them for being alive.)

I guess there is just no pleasing Russia:

Russian politicians close to the Kremlin said on Friday U.S. President Donald Trump's declared aim of putting the U.S. nuclear arsenal "at the top of the pack" risked triggering a new Cold War-style arms race between Washington and Moscow.

And now, this.

Infants born prematurely struggle to live everyday in NICUs. Many of them survive and thrive thanks to the hard work and dedication of people like Martin Couney, a man pushed the edge of ingenuity and whose efforts remind us that if we didn't entertain the ideas of vaccines, space travel and incubators, the human race might as well be primordial sludge.

Here is one success story:

Lucille Conlin Horn weighed barely two pounds when she was born, a perilous size for any infant, especially in 1920. Doctors told her parents to hold off on a funeral for her twin sister who had died at birth, expecting she too would soon be gone.

But her life spanned nearly a century after her parents put their faith in a sideshow doctor at Coney Island who put babies on display in incubators to fund his research to keep them alive.

The Brooklyn-born woman who later moved to Long Island, New York, died Feb. 11 at age 96, according to the Hungerford & Clark Funeral Home. She had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Horn was among thousands of premature babies who were treated in the early 20th century by Dr. Martin Couney. He was a pioneer in the use of incubators who sought acceptance for the technology by showing it off on carnival midways, fairs and other public venues. He never accepted money from their parents but instead charged oglers admission to see the tiny infants struggling for life.

Horn and her twin were born prematurely in Brooklyn. She told The Associated Press in a 2015 interview that when her sister died, doctors told her father to hold off on a funeral because tiny Lucille, would not survive the day.

“He said, ’Well that’s impossible, she’s alive now. We have to do something for her,”’ Horn said. “My father wrapped me in a towel and took me in a cab to the incubator; I went to Dr. Couney. I stayed with him quite a few days; almost five months.”

Couney, who died in 1950 and is viewed today as a pioneer in neonatology, estimated that he successfully kept alive about 7,500 of the 8,500 children that were taken to his “baby farm” at the Coney Island boardwalk. They remained there until the early 1940s, when the incubators became widely used in hospitals.

He also put infants on display at the World’s Fair and other public venues during his career. There is no estimate on how many still are alive today.

Horn worked as a crossing guard and then as a legal secretary for her husband. She is survived by three daughters and two sons. She said she met Couney when she was about 19 and thanked him for what he had done.

“I’ve had a good life,” she said in 2015.

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