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Keep Religion OUT of PUBLIC Schools!

May 22nd, 2017 · 14 Comments

It began a decade ago with demands for special Islamic prayer rooms ON CAMPUS at Canadian universities … and after some caved in … pressures from Canada’s growing Muslim community have increased for PUBLIC  high schools in Canada to also provide special Muslim prayer spaces as well.

The issue has been making headlines in the Toronto area, and now there are revelations that schools in some Metro Vancouver municipalities are also providing special prayer facilities for their Muslim students as well.

Why?

The practice of religion (as opposed to the educational study of religions) should have NO PLACE in our PUBLIC schools … at any level.

If people want religion to be part of their children’s daily practices or inculcation, they have several choices: do it at home; send them to private religious educational institutions; or set up a privately funded facility nearby but off the public campus.

But don’t send YOUR kids to SECULAR public schools and then demand taxpayers supporting SECULAR public schools provide special RELIGIOUS facilities to accommodate THEM!

Public schools should bring people together … not separate them.

Amazingly, the increasing pressures to accommodate Muslim students and/or staff …  has happened at a time when not only educational institutions, but even cities across Canada have been increasingly DIMINISHING or even BANNING any celebration of  the religious aspects of  Christian holidays, such as Christmas and Easter.

I don’t buy the excuse that religious Muslims deserve special rights because they must pray five times a day and hold Special service on Friday.  Don’t religious Jews pray three times a day? What about a daily Catholic mass? Or Confession? And who knows what facilities might be expected to equally respect Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus or various First Nations beliefs and practices!

This is QUITE different from accepting and respecting religious or cultural requirements, such as wearing a kirpan, turban, hijab or skullcap … NONE of which ask for public facilities or funding.

Demanding a separate room to carry out services for any faith is unreasonable and creates special privilege. So why  are Muslims getting special RELIGIOUS facilities and rights in PUBLIC taxpayer-funded schools?

Because as the numbers of Muslims in Canada have grown substantially, so have the demands for special accommodation by some of their members,  our politicians … unfortunately, rather than lead and uphold the hard-fought principle of separation of “church” and state,  are caving in … for ethnic votes.

It is truly political correctness gone mad!   When EQUAL treatment for all is pushed aside.

It’s time to stand up and protect the SECULAR nature of Canada’s PUBLIC educational institutions and politely say NO to any religious groups that demand WE give THEIR KIDS special privileges and publicly funded facilities.

And to that, I say “Amen!”

Harv Oberfeld

→ 14 CommentsTags: British Columbia · National

China Already Chewing America’s Lunch

May 15th, 2017 · 25 Comments

Many American’s have been eating up President Donald Trump’s nationalistic rah, rah, rah economic isolationist rhetoric.

Buy American and America First and Pull out of NAFTA or NO TPP may sound great to the masses … but what the naïve don’t realize is that the additional message they also carries with it all  … Don’t Buy Foreign Goods … is being heard loud and clear around the world.

All reinforced by Trump’s trade actual threats and attacks against Canada, Mexico, China, Europe and many other US “trade partners”.

And they are already hitting back.

While Americans … and Canadians as well … have been mesmerized, intrigued and even amused by Trump’s outrageous, bizarre and ego-maniacal pronouncements and actions … the US’s archrival economic nemesis has begun eating America’s lunch.

China has accelerated its bold agenda, backed by billions of dollars in committed actions, to take advantage of Trump’s isolationism and assume power as the predominant economic force in not only Asia and Africa, but also the mid-East and even Europe.

Over the past several days, China has organized and played host in Beijing to a major conference attended by 29 world political leaders and more than 100 economic officials/planners/strategists all centered around  President Xi Jinping’s new “One Belt, One Road” initiative.

While Trump, US politicians and the American media gnashed over the firing of FBI head James Comey, Chinese politicians, economists, strategists  and investors noshed with world economic powerhouses … pushing huge spending/growth possibilities  OUTSIDE the American sphere of influence.

“Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday pledged to pump billions of dollars into the new Silk Road initiative as he described his signature foreign policy push as inclusive, one that should not be held hostage to old rivalries and power games,” reported India’s Hindustan Times.

And among those on hand to listen and in many cases pledge co-operation were not only China’s usual economic ally against the US, Russian President Vladimir Putin, but also: the Presidents of Czechoslovakia, Turkey, Greece, Pakistan; International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde; UN Secretary Antonio Guteres;   and Germany’s Economic Minister Brigitte Zypries.

All eager to munch away at America’s previous status the pre-eminent economic “caterer” for the global lunch.

The US representative at the ECONOMIC strategy table … perhaps fittingly in view of  Trump/America’s current xenophobic focus … was the National Security Council’s East Asia Director Matt Pottinger.  At an economic planning conference! Ridiculous!

But Pottinger tried to fit in:

“American companies have much to offer here. U.S. firms can offer the best-value goods and services required over the life of a project. U.S. firms have a long and successful track record in global infrastructure development, and are ready to participate in ‘Belt and Road’ projects,” he offered.

If ANYONE was listening, impressed or ready to sign on to a major role for the United States in any new huge world-wide economic stimulus program, it was not reported.

China is clearly aggressively pursuing the economic world leadership role vacated by the US under Trump.

“(Xi) portrayed the plan as “economic globalization that is open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all.” China would invite the World Bank and other international institutions to join it in meeting the needs of developing — and developed — countries, he said, in a suggestion that he is seeking to forge new markets and export China’s model of state-led expansion,” reported the New York Times.

“The China Development Bank and the Ex-Im Bank would dispense loans of $55 billion between them, and the Silk Road Fund would receive an additional $14 billion, he said. About $50 billion more would be directed at encouraging financial institutions to expand their overseas renminbi fund businesses.”

One economist estimated the total commitment of China to the Asian, African and European economic expansion projects could total $124 Billion (US).

Of course, the big challenge for China remains: it has to learn to TAKE IN goods as well as SHIP them out.  But Xi is no fool and if he can push open China’s doors to not only others’ resources, but goods as well , China can take advantage of Trump/America’s international trade new weaknesses.

Perhaps the New York Times headline said it best: “Xi Jinping Positions China at Center of New Economic Order”.

Scary!

And each new attack/withdrawal/isolationist economic move by Trump/US  …. while the American masses cheer … will only make it easier for China to accomplish its goal.

Harv Oberfeld

(Reminder: You can get First Alerts of all new topics on this blog by following @harveyoberfeld on Twitter. No spam …just First Alerts. )

→ 25 CommentsTags: International