Monday, July 16, 2018

(Insert Title Here)

Canada relies on China  (Justin's favourite country) for various components and goods:

Grim scenarios of collateral damage for Canadian consumers and businesses are emerging in response to escalating the U.S.-China trade war.

The Trump administration has taken aim at China by imposing a 25 per cent tariff on goods worth U.S. $34 billion, but the worst is still on the horizon.

The U.S. has announced a further round of tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods that could go into effect towards the end of the summer, after Congress takes a closer look at the implications in a round of hearings in five weeks. ...

But trade specialists say that with so much of Canada's manufacturing sector reliant on Chinese products — bits and pieces that wind up in finished items made in Canada — there will be unavoidable consequences.

The pain could start at the Canada-U.S. border, where American customs agents have the broad power to declare anything a Chinese product — even if it was made in Canada.

It's just money:

The Canadian Army’s newest radar system can’t be linked in to NATO’s air defence networks but the military says it won’t cancel the project worth more than $200 million.

The Canadian Army is just now taking delivery of the first Israeli-built radars which are expected to be declared operational by the end of the summer.

But the Czech military has put on hold its deal for the same radars after NATO informed it the systems couldn’t be used because the equipment was built by a non-alliance member and couldn’t be integrated into NATO systems.

People voted for Doug Ford because they believed he would scrap a controversial sexual education program partially penned by a convicted child pornographer.

Now it seems that he is squirreling the electorate:

Students in Ontario will still be taught about concepts like consent, cyber safety and gender identity this fall despite a plan to scrap the province’s modernized sex-ed curriculum, the education minister said Monday.

In an apparent retreat from her earlier position, Lisa Thompson said the portion of the curriculum being replaced by the newly elected Progressive Conservatives deals with “developing sexual relations,” and certain elements of the document last updated by the previous Liberal government will remain in place.

“We know they need to learn about consent,” Thompson said at the legislature. “We know they need to learn about cyber safety, we know they need to learn about gender identity and appreciation. But we also know that the former Liberal government’s consultation process was completely flawed.”

Yes, about that:

The curriculum promotes the idea that there are more than two genders and that gender identity is socially constructed.

The fact that few people have pointed out how these teachings aren’t based in science should raise a red flag in parents’ minds. 

According to one survey, less than 1 per cent of people in the United States identify as transgender. That means for over 99 per cent of us, our biological sex is our gender. 

A curriculum that teaches gender fluidity is misleading and will impair a child’s ability to have an accurate understanding of the world. ...

The backlash is emblematic of a disdain for those who lean right politically, and a desire to rally against Mr. Ford for the sake of political divisiveness. This is evident in the number of media outlets and individuals on social media, angrily pointing the finger at social conservatives.

It brings us to the question of who gets to dictate how a child is raised – should it be the responsibility of the parent or the state? Sexual education cannot be blindly outsourced to the education system. As uncomfortable as it may be, parents must be savvy about the issues their kids are contending with in 2018.

People who hold the views that Obama/Trump/Trudeau/Ford/Putin/not-Putin/Kim Jong-Un will magically change everything for the better and that questioning them is tantamount to treason and soft-headedness will invariably be disappointed.

A healthy distrust of people who promise one thing and deliver another is very good for democracy.

Perhaps Mr. Ford should consider that the next time he actually plans on retaining bad things from previous governments.

Speaking of velvet gloves and iron fists:

When I was born in Finland in 1977, the country was deep in the throes of Finlandisation. Even though Finland had retained its independence, the Soviet Union used its influence to interfere in its weaker neighbour’s affairs. This was Finlandisation. In addition to foreign policy, this practice also affected national defence, the economy, education, the press, publishing, and even which foreign artists visited Finland or which movies we were able to see.

Trump has no reason to thank Putin for his presidency. A rightly discontented American electorate put him in office. His willingness to trust the untrustworthy - a trait his devoted followers attribute to the "art of the deal" - is a flaw, though not atypical, that he must own and will have to face when his detractors, themselves unserious about leadership or the plight of others around them, use the inevitable collapse of relations or deals against him.

Even Trump concedes that his vague agreement with Kim (precedent-bound not to work) will take some time.

North Korean defector, Thae Yong-Ho, insists that a precise and forceful denuclearisation proposal is needed to bind Kim Jong-Un:

What is utterly stupefying is, as I previously noted, the willingness of others to believe and without question that people who are inherently bad will change for the better.

To wit:

Recently, Pyongyang’s modus operandi has been to coerce defectors into returning to the North and giving staged press conferences. In 2012, the Associated Press credulously covered one that featured a visibly terrified Pak Jong-suk, who claimed that South Korean spies had tricked her into defecting and thanked Kim Jong-un for forgiving her. Subsequent investigations by Donga Ilbo and the Washington Post reporters revealed that before Pak’s re-defection, someone contacted Pak and told her that unless she returned, her son and his family would be exiled from Pyongyang to starve in the outer provinces.

Re-defections are not only valuable to Pyongyang as propaganda to show to gullible reporters; they can also yield valuable intelligence about how the South questions newly arrived defectors to identify the North Korean spies among them. Re-defectors may also reveal the names of other defectors, whose families may then become victims of the state’s retribution.

Does that sound like a regime that has "come to Jesus" and will reform simply because one wishes it? 

The Kim dynasty is only less chaotically different than another Asian communist regime, that of the Khmer Rouge:

Amazingly, even as Cambodia disintegrated, the Khmer Rouge benefitted from unsolicited apologetics from intellectuals at the West’s august universities. Just as Mao, Stalin, and Hitler enjoyed disproportionate popularity among academics and university students, Pol Pot and his promise of a communist utopia in South East Asia elicited sharp defences from many radical Western academics. In what is now known by some historians as the ‘The Standard Total Academic View,’ these professors downplayed reports of atrocities perpetrated in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, and printed vicious attacks against anyone who disagreed.

Reports of cities being emptied by the regime’s forced marches, for instance, were explained away as a necessary policy to prevent starvation in the country. “What was portrayed as a destructive, backward-looking policy motivated by doctrinaire hatred was actually a rationally conceived strategy for dealing with the urgent problems that faced postwar Cambodia,” wrote Gareth Porter and George Hilderbrand in their 1977 book Cambodia: Starvation and Revolution. “Cambodia is only the latest victim of the enforcement of an ideology that demands that social revolutions be portrayed as negatively as possible, rather than as responses to real human needs which the existing social and economic structure was incapable of meeting.” The authors didn’t have the direct data on food levels in Cambodia required to make this claim. Nor were they able to assess conditions on the ground, since the regime had expelled all Western observers under a policy even more strict than that adopted by North Korea today.

As refugees who managed to escape the Khmer Rouge began spilling over the border into Thailand, their harrowing testimonies of horrific hardship, forced labour, starvation, and mass killings were dismissed by the West’s radical intelligentsia. In a manner reminiscent of the patronising social scientist, one academic wrote, “What the urban dwellers consider ‘hard’ labor may not be punishment or community service beyond human endurance … Such associations take what is happening in Cambodia out of its historical and cultural context.”

After interviewing Cambodian refugees, the French priest François Ponchaud said, “How many of those who say they are unreservedly in support of the Khmer revolution would consent to endure one hundredth part of the present sufferings of the Cambodian people?"

It is appalling that those who regard themselves as conservative would overlook similar sufferings and deceptions all for "peace in our time". One would expect nothing less of the left whose enchantment with any and all manner of dictatorships was precluded with willing blindness. One find finds one's self less forgiving of those who claim to have learned from history.

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