January 29, 2017

Tom Toles Editorial Cartoon - tt_c_c170125.tif

UBC Statement in response to U.S. executive order

The University of British Columbia is deeply concerned about a new executive order signed by President Trump on Friday preventing individuals from seven countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days. We are especially concerned about the effect of the executive order on some UBC students, faculty and staff, as well as other scholars in Canada, the U.S., and around the world.

Therefore, I have established a task force, headed by Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President International pro tem Pam Ratner and including representatives from across the university and from both campuses, to determine what assistance the university can offer those affected.

The task force, with an initial budget of $250,000.00, will begin its work immediately.

We will also work closely with the provincial and federal governments, responsible agencies and community groups and other universities across Canada, through Universities Canada, to respond to this unfolding situation.

UBC strongly affirms that it will continue to welcome students, faculty and staff from around the world, including those seeking refuge from violence and hardship. Along with the other members of Universities Canada, we support Prime Minister Trudeau’s recent statement that Canada will continue to welcome those fleeing persecution, terror and war regardless of faith and affirming that diversity is our strength.

UBC’s academic strength and stature depends upon the freedom of our faculty, staff and students to travel abroad for purposes of scholarship and study and upon our ability to welcome the most talented individuals from around the world to our campuses. Actions that restrict this movement based on a person’s nationality or birthplace go against our values as a university.

We will continue to monitor developments and will keep the university community informed of the task force’s deliberations and actions.

In the meantime, students, faculty, staff and other members of the UBC community with concerns about the implications and effects of President Trump’s executive order should contact Adel el Zaim at 604-827-4140 or adel.elzaim@ubc.ca


Kaine likens Trump Remembrance Day statement to Holocaust denial

One could think it was an inelegant framing, an attempt to be inclusive of the myriad victim groups, but why give Trump the benefit of the doubt when the undoubted architect (Bannon) is well-positioned to utilize the favourite tactics of neo-nazis and deniers? The minimization and attempt to erase Jews from the narrative of their own destruction is a preferred tactic of the deniers. It was a whitewash, pure and simple. Otherwise, the statement would have acknowledged the driving force behind the genocide was the destruction of the Jews and then included a comprehensive acknowledgement, by naming, of the other groups targeted. Naming and acknowledging holds power. That the highest leader in the land doesn’t understand that, or willfully neglects it to court the worst subhuman impulses of the alt-right, is a scary thing indeed. Does he have a rudimentary level of intelligence? This should have been a no-brainer.

Kaine also linked the Trump administration’s break with precedent to Trump counselor Steve Bannon, the former publisher of Breitbart, a news site adopted by the so-called “alt-right”.

“I think all of these things are happening together,” Kaine said, “when you have the chief political adviser in the White House, Steve Bannon, who is connected with a news organisation that traffics in white supremacy and antisemitism, and they put out a Holocaust statement that omits any mention of Jews.”


Lyft will donate $1M to ACLU after Trump immigration ban (The Hill)

The ride-hailing company Lyft is pledging to donate $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in response to President Donald Trump’s immigration ban.

In a letter emailed to customers early Sunday morning, Lyft co-founders John Zimmer and Logan Green announced their decision to donate money to help “defend our constitution.”

The email condemned Trump’s executive order halting the Syrian refugee program and banning entry to all citizens of several Muslim-majority countries.

“Banning people of a particular faith or creed, race or identity, sexuality or ethnicity, from entering the U.S. is antithetical to both Lyft’s and our nation’s core values,” the co-founders wrote.

“We stand firmly against these actions, and will not be silent on issues that threaten the values of our community.”

The million-dollar donation to the ACLU will be made over four years.


Meanwhile, as Uber violated the taxi work stoppage at JFK on Saturday night, a movement took  off to dump Uber accounts:


McCain, Graham: Trump order may become ‘self-inflicted wound’ in terrorism fight (The Hill)

Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday said they fear President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration “will become a self-inflicted wound in the fight against terrorism.”

“Our most important allies in the fight against ISIL are the vast majority of Muslims who reject its apocalyptic ideology of hatred,” the senators said in a joint statement, using an alternate acronym for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. “This executive order sends a signal, intended or not, that America does not want Muslims coming into our country. That is why we fear this executive order may do more to help terrorist recruitment than improve our security.”


China military official says war with US under Donald Trump ‘becoming practical reality’

War with the US under Donald Trump is “not just a slogan” and becoming a “practical reality”, a senior Chinese military official has said.

The remarks were published on the People’s Liberation Army website, apparently in response to the aggressive rhetoric towards China from America’s new administration.

They communicated a view from inside the Central Military Commission, which has overall authority of China’s armed forces.


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