Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Mid-Week Post

For your middle-of-the-week reading pleasure ...


 
It's Wednesday and Khowlah Noman and her family are still liars.


But some people are not down and out about it:

The small bit of good news in the update from Toronto police Monday about an alleged attack on an 11-year-old girl, which we now know did not happen, is that there is one fewer victim of Islamophobia in Canada.

The report was false: an elementary school student was not confronted by a man who cut off her hijab while she walked with her brother to school. We don't know why or how the story came to be. The extent of what we know is this: it didn't happen.

That is where the good news ends.

False reports such as this only fan the flames of hate. They are fodder for those who believe the scourge of Islamophobia in Canada is overblown, and they feed bizarre conspiracy theories about Muslim communities trying to control political narratives.
 
What an @$$.


Do I have to bring up Ibn Warraq again?

Yes, I think I do:

An obsession with conspiracies leads to fatalism, a refusal to take charge of one's own destiny or to take responsibility for the manifest backwardness of one's own culture.

(Warraq, Ibn. Why the West Is the Best. Encounter Books, 2011. pg. 159)


Emotionally retarded people make things about themselves. This is why one hears rumblings of "backlash" reminiscent to the sort one might see in some godforsaken sand-hole in the seventh century. But people have evolved past the point of physical retaliation. Instead, they reserve their well-deserved ire over this childish horsesh-- and even many, many incidents of jihadist violence and channel it into criticism, sometimes boorish insults and legal or political action.


Nobody gets killed or is allegedly assaulted by ubiquitous phantom Asians.


But for small-minded people from backward cultures even the appearance of criticism is the gravest insult and threat to one's existence, which Mohamed Hammoud, the writer of the execrable opinion at the beginning of this post, made clear.

Again, what an @$$.


Hoaxes from emotionally stunted, attention-seeking people are not unheard of. If one can't get obeisance from people through shame or even van-rammings, try total lies.


Until it doesn't work.


Let's take a look at some things that can be verified:

- Four people and a cop in Edmonton.

- Patrice Vincent and Nathan Cirillo.

- The people the Khadrs killed and maimed (that we know of).

- Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and Jews killed simply for being alive.


Right now, Mr. Hammoud's opinion piece is looking more and more pathetic.


Also:

The mosque murders were horrific. We rightly deplore them, while honouring the memory of the innocent victims. Nevertheless, an annual day of national atonement and commitment to a campaign dedicated to eradicating specifically anti-Muslim bigotry sends Canadians the wrong message. If six Jews had been killed in a synagogue by a lone bigot, I would hold the same view. Yes, anti-Semitism is a serious issue, but Canada is not an inherently anti-Semitic country, and I would not wish for Canadians to be ritually compelled to assent to that falsehood.

The Trudeau government should give the dubious NCCM’s latest bid to secure special speech protection for Islam via the now-toxic word “Islamophobia” a polite, but firm pass. A political albatross, even when cooked over the hot coals of naivet√© and good intentions is, I am assured, a most unpalatable electoral appetizer.


And:

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard says he doesn't want to mark the anniversary of the Quebec City mosque shooting with a day against Islamophobia.

Couillard says he plans to attend events to commemorate the Jan. 29 attack and pay tribute to the community hurt by the tragedy, but he's not in favour of a proposal made last month by Canada's largest Muslim group. 

"We believe that it is better to emphasize collectively our commitment against the phenomenon of racism and discrimination, rather than singling out one of its manifestations," Couillard told reporters Monday, pointing out that Quebec already recognizes an international day for the elimination of racial discrimination.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims has called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to make the anniversary of the shooting a day of action against Islamophobia.

The federal government hasn't taken a firm position on the proposal.

(Sidebar: it's not the first time Trudeau has chickened out but more on that later.)




Trudeau won't be bullied or manipulated or told what to think until he is:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is not willing to compromise Canadian values and principles just to get the country a seat at the UN Security Council. ...

(Sidebar: this is the "post-national" Canada that has no core identity and refused to call FGM barbaric.)

Trudeau also said Canada’s abstention from a UN vote on U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was about staying above “political games” aimed at isolating Israel.

(Sidebar: ahem - “Israel is a friend, it is an ally, but for us to be an effective ally, we need also to strengthen our relationship with the other legitimate partners in the region. ... For example, we need to strengthen our relationship with Lebanon, and this will help Lebanon but also Israel. To be helpful, you need to strengthen your relationship with the other legitimate partners, and that is what we will do.”)




**

Both China and Russia will be integral to securing peace on the Korean peninsula, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau conceded Monday even as he defended the decision to leave the two countries out of this week’s international gathering on the perils posed by North Korea.

Trudeau made the remarks after Russia became the latest to slam the meeting — taking place Tuesday in Vancouver and co-hosted by Canada and the U.S. — as a threat to peace efforts. China, meanwhile, has already derided as “Cold War thinking” the involvement of only those allies that supported South Korea during the Korean War.

“There are always going to be different venues and different groupings happening, and I think a diversity of approaches is better than picking one lane and deciding that this is going to be the way it happens,” Trudeau said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

(Sidebar: you don't know what to do now, do you, Justin?)



Canada is pretending to be a serious major player in this pantomime. The last time Canada was ever serious about the Korean conflict, five hundred and sixteen men lost their lives. Now that the Chinese-backed North Korea is crumbling and Trump has blown some political bluster their way, the Trudeau government is looking to appear not as fatuous as it always is.


Is Trudeau going to question the "basic dictatorship" of China and its forcible repatriation of North Korean defectors? Is it going to address the sexual slavery of North Korean women (as it has not done with the Yazidis)? Is it going to put sanctions on China, North Korea's staunchest ally?


Something tells me not:

At the crossroads of war and peace, Canada is trying to assert itself as a global leader.

Since taking office, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has declared “Canada is back” and “here to help.” The Liberal government has committed to re-engaging Canada in world affairs.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Canada thrusted itself into the North Korean nuclear crisis with an international conference Tuesday in Vancouver, which was co-hosted by the U.S.

The meeting featured foreign ministers from 20 countries, including South Korea and Japan. Most of the participants fought on the UN side of the 1950-53 Korean War. However, there were some notable omissions.

North Korea, Russia and China, countries that fought on the communist side of the war, did not have seats at the table, and that could be seen as a missed opportunity.

“The other side is not represented at all,” Carleton University history professor Jacob Kovalio told Yahoo Canada. “And of course, this tells us something.”

Before the meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reportedly called the meeting “destructive.” On Wednesday, China condemned it as a continuation of “Cold War thinking.” ....

The real question is whether anything resulting from this conference will actually have an impact. And realistically, does Canada have a key role to play in the pursuit of peace in Korea?

In short, the answer is no, because according to Kovalio, this issue is all about China and their long game aimed at reducing U.S. influence in Asia.

The professor acknowledged how Canada, the U.S., China and others have agreed to UN sanctions, which have imposed even harsher sanctions against North Korea. But recently, “there have been signs of the old China continuing,” Kovalio said.

“In other words, the Chinese voting in favour of sanctions at the UN Security Council, and then undermining them in two ways.”

According to Kovalio, Beijing is facilitating the supplies of oil to the North Korean while pushing “real heavy sanctions” against Seoul.


Also:

Known outside North Korea as vinylon, it was christened “vinalon” by founder Kim Il Sung. He ordered it be developed to put clothes on people’s backs.


It's a story which reveals much about the history of North Korea. The state says the fibre symbolises its self-reliance, but diplomatic records show the project was less successful than Kim hoped - Pyongyang was more dependent on others than it claimed. 


Today, North Koreans say no one wears vinalon. That hasn’t stopped Kim’s grandson Kim Jong Un calling for more of the fabric to be produced. 

North Korean defectors say vinalon was once a wonder, but today it shows how people manage despite their government. If they obtain vinalon today, they use it to make fishing nets, mops, ropes and other goods which, like many of the basics they need, they trade privately in unregulated markets.

 Rather like "raw water", yes? Which can be found in various - ahem - places of great excrescence:



Three weeks after college, I flew to Senegal, West Africa, to run a community center in a rural town.  Life was placid, with no danger, except to your health.  That danger was considerable, because it was, in the words of the Peace Corps doctor, "a fecalized environment."


In plain English: s--- is everywhere.  People defecate on the open ground, and the feces is blown with the dust – onto you, your clothes, your food, the water.  He warned us the first day of training: do not even touch water.  Human feces carries parasites that bore through your skin and cause organ failure. …


Last time I was in Paris, I saw a beautiful African woman in a grand boubou have her child defecate on the sidewalk next to Notre Dame Cathedral.  The French police officer, ten steps from her, turned his head not to see. …


Senegal was not a hellhole.  Very poor people can lead happy, meaningful lives in their own cultures' terms.  But they are not our terms.  The excrement is the least of it.  Our basic ideas of human relations, right and wrong, are incompatible.


As a twenty-one-year-old starting out in the Peace Corps, I loved Senegal.  In fact, I was euphoric.  I quickly made friends and had an adopted family.  I relished the feeling of the brotherhood of man. 

 People were open, willing to share their lives and, after they knew you, their innermost thoughts.

The longer I lived there, the more I understood: it became blindingly obvious that the Senegalese are not the same as us.  The truths we hold to be self-evident are not evident to the Senegalese.  How could they be?  Their reality is totally different.  You can't understand anything in Senegal using American terms.


Take something as basic as family.  Family was a few hundred people, extending out to second and third cousins.  All the men in one generation were called "father."  Senegalese are Muslim, with up to four wives.  Girls had their clitorises cut off at puberty.  (I witnessed this, at what I thought was going to be a nice coming-of-age ceremony, like a bat mitzvah or confirmation.)  Sex, I was told, did not include kissing.  Love and friendship in marriage were Western ideas.  Fidelity was not a thing.  Married women would have sex for a few cents to have cash for the market. …


In Senegal, corruption ruled, from top to bottom.  Go to the post office, and the clerk would name an outrageous price for a stamp.  After paying the bribe, you still didn't know it if it would be mailed or thrown out.  That was normal.


One of my most vivid memories was from the clinic.  One day, as the wait grew hotter in the 110-degree heat, an old woman two feet from the medical aides – who were chatting in the shade of a mango tree instead of working – collapsed to the ground.  They turned their heads so as not to see her and kept talking.  She lay there in the dirt.  Callousness to the sick was normal.


Americans think it is a universal human instinct to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  It's not.  It seems natural to us because we live in a Bible-based Judeo-Christian culture.



We think the Protestant work ethic is universal.  It's not.  My town was full of young men doing nothing.  They were waiting for a government job.  There was no private enterprise.  Private business was not illegal, just impossible, given the nightmare of a third-world bureaucratic kleptocracy.  It is also incompatible with Senegalese insistence on taking care of relatives.




If people who get that Trudeau is taking a page from China's playbook had any sort of fortitude and forward-thinking, they would engage the private sector to pick up the slack AND THEN stick it to the mincing sock-boy in court:

Justin Trudeau may choose to run roughshod over the democratic rights of his own party members. There is a difference though between the party and the government. At least there is supposed to be in Canada. But perhaps he prefers, as he professed in the past, the Chinese model, where both party and government serve the leader. That idea, too, should be sent packing.

**

On a wintry Tuesday afternoon, in a small conference room at the back of a Pentecostal office building in the Toronto suburbs, 60 people representing Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Christian and other faiths spent two hours debating whether the government is violating their religious freedoms — and if so, what to do about it.

The concern arises out of the Canada Summer Jobs program, which this year comes with a new “attestation” box that all applicants must check off before submitting. The wording of the attestation, which many still find confusing, seems to require a declaration that the applicant does not advocate an anti-abortion position.

A growing number of faith-based groups see the attestation as a threat to the principle of religious freedom in Canada. While some of them are staunchly pro-life, others don’t take a firm stance on abortion rights but don’t want to be forced to take a side in order to apply for a grant. ...

Father Niaz Toma, a Chaldean Catholic priest, said his community of Iraqi Christians won’t be able to apply for the grant, and referred to the attestation as a “persecution” of his people.

“We will never compromise our faith for the sake of grants to be received from the Canadian government,” he said. “Seemingly, the attempt is to be inclusive. But the end result is exclusivity, blocking certain groups.”

(Sidebar: Justin knows all about that.)

**

This summer, as in others, Rev. Moyle hoped to hire three summer students — two to help with lawns and yard work, another to do office work, including digitizing baptismal records going back to the 1800s.

“We’re giving some kids going to college a chance for a job. Not a lot of work up here,” he said of the four-month stints, at $15 an-hour.

But there’s a hitch this year. In order to access the Canada Summer Jobs program, Rev. Moyle — and faith groups across the country — are being asked to disavow some deeply held principles.

Employment and Social Development Canada, which runs the program, has added an “attestation” section that requires employers to declare their core mandates do not violate individual human rights, values enshrined in the charter and, specifically, women’s reproductive rights.

“The employer attestation for CSJ 2018 is consistent with individual human rights in Canada, Charter rights and case law, and the Government of Canada’s commitment to human rights, which include women’s rights and women’s reproductive rights, and the rights of gender-diverse and transgender Canadians.”

Lest the staunchly pro-life Catholic church miss the point, the web version of the program overview mentions “reproductive rights” at least three times.

So Rev. Moyle, in good conscience, decided he couldn’t apply.

**

Activities and projects that are considered to be anti-abortion will be ineligible for funding as part of Canada's revamped national youth volunteer program.

(Sidebar: cough-Hitler Youth-cough)


To wit:

A North Korean defector has spoken about the horrific human right violations she says she witnessed in the state’s prison camps — including starved prisoners fed to dogs.

Speaking at the UN Monday, Ji Hyeon A described how she was forced to have an abortion when she was three months pregnant. She pleaded with the world to take action.

Does anyone still think that Justin is going to stick to the Chinese Communist Man over this?




Australia lodges a complaint against Canada for violating WTO rules:

Australia's complaint, published by the WTO on Tuesday, expanded the U.S. argument, saying that not only British Columbia but also Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia, as well as the Canadian government, had policies on wine that broke WTO rules.

"It appears that a range of distribution, licensing and sales measures such as product mark-ups, market access and listing policies, as well as duties and taxes on wine applied at the federal and provincial level may discriminate, either directly or indirectly, against imported wine," Australia said.



Alright, veterans, who did you vote for?

Dozens of veterans across Canada were shortchanged $600 a month for seven months due to what Veterans Affairs calls a rounding error.


Also:

Ontario Liberals under Premier Kathleen Wynne — and their commitment to no-charge prescription drugs for the young, minimum wage hikes and free tuition — have gained popularity with the province’s poorest residents, a new Forum Research poll shows.

No matter how fast the ship is sinking, people will still vote for the people who screw them over.

"Stupid" doesn't even begin to describe this.




"Drain the swamp"?

At least the Americans know they have a swamp. Canadians smiling smugly at the persistence of Washington log-rolling, back-scratching and horse-trading despite the arrival of a president supposedly dedicated to eliminating them should read a new research paper from the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy. Written by John Lester, a former Department of Finance economist, it provides comprehensive estimates of business subsidies from Ottawa and the four biggest provinces. 

The report is not exactly a page-turner. Lester first walks us through how the five governments he studies each reports its assistance differently. Where they don’t report at all he’s had to use access to information requests to pry the information from them. And he does a lot of very useful taxonomy setting up categories of assistance according to whether it aims at fixing externalities and other market failures, pursuing industrial policies that will provide (as our leaders say) “good, well-paying” jobs, or simply transferring income to approved social actors, such as farmers and small businesses.

When Lester finally adds it all he finds the numbers are big: $14 billion from Ottawa in 2014–15, the last year for which complete data are available, and $14.6 billion from the four provinces. That translates to $390 per person at the federal level and $480 in the four provinces. (First time I looked at those per person numbers I couldn’t understand why a mere $600-million difference would make such a big difference per capita. But of course the population of the four provinces is not the same as the population of Canada as a whole. Hold on: Did I really just write “mere $600 million”?) 

**

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says in a report to be published Tuesday that Chapter 11 provisions in the North American Free Trade Agreement have cost Canada $95 million in unrecoverable legal fees, calculated based on data it obtained through an access to information request.

**


Former ethics commissioner Mary Dawson began investigating Morneau's role in the introduction of Bill C-27 while he still owned shares in his family's pension company, but retired from her position before completing the inquiry. 

"We informed Mr. Morneau's representative this morning that we will continue the investigation launched by Ms. Dawson late in November and we will also pursue every other investigation that Ms. Dawson had initiated and was yet to be completed," Dion told CBC News Network's Power & Politics.

Dion said he expects the investigation to be completed "by the end of spring."



Oh, now she'll get into trouble:

A columnist is standing by comments she made in News/North Monday that have some saying she's gone too far. 

In her regular Northern Notes newspaper column, Cece Hodgson McCauley, a former Dene chief, suggests some people lied to cash in on residential school settlement money.

"We all heard of horrible lies created by some individuals in order to receive as much money as they could," she wrote.

McCauley asserts Senator Lynn Beyak and her supporters were trying to present a positive and fair side of residential schools, something McCauley insists the media ignores.

"What are the positive sides of the residential school legacy? Did no one ask if there was something good?"



A human-rights office has been fire-bombed in Russia:

CCTV of the incident showed the men setting a ladder against the red brick building in Nazran, a town in the Russian region of Ingushetia which borders Chechnya, in the early hours of the morning and sparks leaping from its windows shortly afterwards. 

Pictures of the office after the fire showed its blackened interior strewn with fire-damaged debris. Memorial said documents and office equipment had been destroyed. 

Memorial is under pressure in the Muslim-majority North Caucasus region after police in Chechnya detained the head of its office there this month and accused him of possessing a large quantity of cannabis, a crime punishable by up to 10 years in jail. 

Concerns about the case of the detained activist, Oyub Titiev, who has written to President Vladimir Putin saying he was framed and that the police planted the drugs in his car, prompted the United States and Europe to call for his release. 

Memorial has angered authorities in Chechnya by reporting disappearances, torture and punitive house burnings there, and Titiev’s predecessor, Natalia Estemirova, was kidnapped and shot dead in 2009. Nobody has been convicted of her killing.




(Merci)


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