Tuesday, April 18, 2017

For a Tuesday

The story so far ...

Trump has ordered a review of the temporary worker visa program:

President Donald Trump on Tuesday ordered federal agencies to look at tightening a temporary visa program used to bring high-skilled foreign workers to the United States, as he tries to carry out his campaign pledges to put "America First."

Trump signed an executive order on enforcing and reviewing the H-1B visa, popular in the technology industry, on a visit to the headquarters of Snap-On Inc, a tool manufacturer in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

In the document, known to the White House as the "Buy American and Hire American" order, Trump also seeks changes in government procurement that would boost purchases of American products in federal contracts, with one aim being to help U.S. steelmakers.

The moves show Trump once again using his power to issue executive orders to try to fulfill promises he made last year in his election campaign, in this case to reform U.S. immigration policies and encourage purchases of American products. 

(Sidebar: for one's edification, Obama issued a total of 276 executive orders during his presidency.)

British Prime Minister Theresa May has called an early election:

British Prime Minister Theresa May called on Tuesday for an early election on June 8, saying she needed to strengthen her hand in divorce talks with the European Union by bolstering support for her Brexit plan. 

Oh, this will be fun.


Vice-President Mike Pence has skipped from South Korea to Japan:

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence reassured Japan of American commitment to reining in North Korea's nuclear and missile ambitions on Tuesday, after warning that U.S. strikes in Syria and Afghanistan showed the strength of its resolve.

Pence arrived in Tokyo from South Korea, where he assured leaders of an "iron-clad" alliance with the United States in the face of the reclusive North, which has conducted a series of missile and nuclear tests in defiance of U.N. sanctions.

"The era of strategic patience is over and while all options are on the table, President (Donald) Trump is determined to work closely with Japan, with South Korea, with all our allies in the region and with China to achieve a peaceable resolution and the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula," Pence said in Tokyo before lunch with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Pence and Abe agreed that they needed to persuade China to play a larger role in dealing with North Korea, a Japanese government spokesman said.
Would this be the same China that needs North Korea as a buffer state? THAT China? 

Speaking of which ...

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday pressed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to relax curbs on high-tech exports to China and also suggested the two nations work together on clean energy, China's official Xinhua news agency said.

Trudeau wants to boost trade with China as a way of lessening dependence on exports to the United States, especially given protectionist signs from the administration of President Donald Trump.

(Sidebar: f---ing traitor.)

When China owns Canada's economy (as it does with America's debt), how does one get out from under its thumb?

Speaking of our economy ...

The International Monetary Fund expects Canada’s economy will improve compared with last year, but not as much as the Bank of Canada predicted last week following unexpectedly robust growth on several fronts.

You can run to the IMF but you can't run away from the truth.

As China helped separate the Koreas to begin with and continues supporting it, it is better to pressure China with sanctions, cut off North Korea's life-blood, then just park some warships off of the Korean coast. Yes, Kim Jong-Un has be destroyed and his family's legacy banished to the dustbin of history, and if military force is needed, then so be it. But this can only happen if China, North Korea's backer, is squeezed to the point where in cannot help and must let go of its buffer state.

Has anyone seen the STNG episode, "Redemption II" where the Federation ships had to create a blockade to stop cloaked Romulan vessels from sneaking in supplies to the Duras family?

Like that but with fewer Romulans:

Those who invited this crisis by counseling us to indulge Pyongyang now insist that Pyongyang’s only purpose for acquiring nuclear weapons is to protect itself. But having watched Pyongyang wage the war of skirmishes it resumed in 2010 with the Cheonan and Yeonpyeong-do attacks, I cannot agree that Pyongyang’s objective is merely regime survival. Pyongyang knows that it cannot survive forever as the poorer Korea. Rather, its strategy is to coerce Seoul into a political framework that allows it to exercise and expand its political and economic control over all of Korea. Its master plan does not involve an occupation of the South for the foreseeable future; instead, it contemplates using South Korea’s own government to enforce its writ. …

One waypoint toward Pyongyang’s objective is sanctions relief from Seoul. This is not just for the primary economic benefits of, say, reopening Kaesong. Any laxity by Seoul in enforcing U.N. sanctions would have far greater secondary benefits for Pyongyang. It would have domino effects in the capitals of North Korea’s arms clients and enablers throughout Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, would create more diplomatic distance between Washington and Seoul, and would break up the global sanctions enforcement coalition-building strategy that had finally taken shape. It would also put Seoul in direct conflict with the Trump administration’s emerging policy, which will emphasize economic pressure. The economic benefits of unearned sanctions relief would help Pyongyang validate its “byungjin” policy by enriching its elites, by showing off its selective prosperity to its sympathizers abroad, and by underwriting its political control over its own “wavering” and “hostile” classes.

Another waypoint is to undermine political support for Seoul’s military alliance with Washington in both capitals. Pyongyang seeks to strain that alliance by raising war fears, and by getting exercises canceled and key weapons systems (read: THAAD, Patriots) withdrawn. It wants to show South Koreans and Americans that this alliance is more risk than it’s worth. If the point comes when the alliance does more to constrain U.S. options and advance them, that time may come sooner than most of us expect.



Presidential candidate Ahn Cheol-soo claimed Tuesday that the North Korean regime of Kim Jong-un is "afraid" he will take power because of his strong commitment to national defense.

The nominee of the center-left People's Party made the claim in response to a North Korean media report that disparaged him as the "lesser evil" for conservatives in an election shaping up to be a two-way race between Ahn and Moon Jae-in of the liberal Democratic Party.

"North Korea has referred to me as the lesser evil. The Kim Jong-un regime is afraid of me," the candidate said on his campaign trail in Daegu, 302 kilometers southeast of Seoul. "They are afraid of the firm alliance between South Korea and the U.S., and of strong independent defense capabilities."

Critics have accused Ahn of lacking principles on national security, saying he reversed his position to accept the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system in South Korea.

Ahn was speaking in a conservative stronghold at a time when North Korea has ratcheted up regional tensions with threats of another nuclear or missile test.

If this man is centre-left, he cannot be trusted. Such a man would appease North Korea.

Enough of that.

And - we can't all be Jonas Salk:

Iqra Khalid is going to be super-pi$$ed when she reads this:

Does M-103’s “Islamophobia” mean expressed hatred of people — the West’s normal definition of hatred — or hatred of a belief system, normally a protected category of expression here, as religious Christians know to their chagrin? Canadians have no idea if their right to express distaste for Islam would still be protected in a bill premised on the recommendations of this “study.”

I therefore contacted Jasmin Zine, who teaches race, ethnic, gender and postcolonial studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. She is a regular — and ideologically representative — participant in the Berkeley Islamophobia conferences, including this one.

I asked her to define Islamophobia for me, which she promptly did: “Islamophobia is a fear and hatred of Islam and Muslims that translates into individual, ideological and systemic forms of oppression.” This is quite an insidious, though admittedly clever, definition. Note that it puts “fear and hatred” of Islam, not Muslims, at the centre of the phobia. And the word “translates” is a masterstroke.

Under this definition, if I write publicly that Islam is inherently Christophobic and anti-Semitic according to its own texts, and a Muslim declares himself “oppressed” by my statement, who would be the interpeter for the alleged “translation”? The courts? Iqra Khalid? Prime Minister Justin Trudeau?

As one can see from her defined area of study, Zine is an intersectionalist, who sees the world in Marxist tropes of power and powerlessness, with white imperialists and their issue holding the power, and all disadvantaged minorities, into which category Muslims are now tucked, as the systematically disempowered.

It takes a certain chutzpah to hold that Islam, given its history of conquest of indigenous peoples, sexism, homophobia and violence against Christians and Jews, is equal in victim status — given their respective histories — to blacks, native Americans, gays and Jews. Yet that is the basic narrative thrust not only of Zine’s work, but of all the “scholars” promoting the Islamophobia blasphemy-law agenda.

(Sidebar: leftists aren't brain-trusts, Mrs. Kay. Case in point:)

Zine does not outright condone terrorism, but insists it is necessary to “situate these acts within a broader historical context … such as the racial violence of colonialism, genocide, slavery, occupation and apartheid.” She has likened America’s Guantanamo Bay detention centre to a “colonial plantation” and a Nazi concentration camp. And Zine sees Omar Khadr’s radicalization as the result of Canada’s failure to properly integrate his family. Uh-huh.

Ominously, Zine calls Canadian Muslim reformists like Raheel Raza and Tarek Fatah — Muslims who want to see an Islam emerge that is compatible with democratic principles — “native informers,” because they are eager to co-operate with security services in identifying radicalizing elements within the Muslim community.



Detroit doctor's defense denies female genital mutilation; calls it religious removal ...

And now, ten things you may not know about the Easter Bunny:

Rather than celebrate Easter with bunnies, Australians are increasingly ushering in fall (which is when Easter falls in the southern hemisphere) with the Easter Bilby. Also called rabbit-bandicoots, bilbies are Australian marsupials with long, rabbit-like ears.

No comments: