Taiwan to speed up cross-strait trade talks to counter FTA: gov’t


TAIPEI, Taiwan — In response to the China-South Korea free trade agreement (FTA) news yesterday, Cabinet spokesman Sun Lih-chyun (孫立群) said that the agreement will indeed send shockwaves through Taiwan’s industry, and proposed that the government should quickly speed up trade agreement negotiations with China and other countries.

South Korea and China finished signing the FTA yesterday, and the deal will be implemented once both countries’ parliaments approve it, which is likely to be before the end of this year.

Apart from saying that Taiwan should quickly negotiate trade agreement terms with neighboring countries, Sun also encouraged the Legislative Yuan to examine the Cross-Strait Agreement Supervisory Act as soon as possible.

Sun stated that as Taiwan and South Korea share fungible products, it would be difficult to re-establish ties once supply-demand chains are broken.

Huge Effects in Long Term: MOEA

While the FTA between China and South Korea will not severely affect Taiwan’s economy in the short term, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA, 經濟部) estimates that the negative impacts will become evident in the long term, due to the similarities between Taiwan and South Korea’s industry make-up.

The MOEA stated that once the agreement comes into force, after 20 years Taiwan-made products’ substitution rate will rise to between US$2.341 billion and US$6 billion. The display panel industry will take the brunt, with the substitution rate rising to between US$1.45 billion and US$3.084 billion.

Apart from the Cross-Strait Agreement Supervisory Act, which is still “stuck in the legislative examination procedure,” and the trade in goods pact that had undergone ten sessions of negotiations, officials believe talks regarding open-market operations and tax cuts are still sluggish.

According to a report released by the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research (中經院), Taiwan’s Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will drop around 0.04 percent during the first year of the China-South Korea FTA tax cut, and its real GDP will face another plummet of 0.13 percent and 0.15 percent after 10 years and 20 years, respectively.

Affected industries include petrochemicals, textiles and clothing, glass, steel, automobiles, polarizers, panels and machine tools. Tariff reduction between the two countries will not be implemented instantly once the agreement is in place. For example, in the case of the display panel industry, a 2.5-percent tariff cut will be implemented in the ninth year of the FTA enforcement, while a zero tariff reduction will begin in the 10th year, according to the MOEA.

The MOEA pointed out that South Korea will effectively expand its investments in China in order to increase its market share, and effectively push Taiwan products out of China should no further measures be taken.

To tackle the potential impact of the China-South Korea FTA, the MOEA emphasized the importance of entering the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and an agreement of economic partnership with China.

The Feminist-Industrial Complex: Fat Lesbians vs. the ‘Heteronormative Gaze’


Does the “fat acceptance” movement “destabilize the heteronormative gaze”? Can women overcome “gender inequality” by a “radical rejection of beauty as feminine aspiration”? Those possibilities are suggested by two Canadian sociologists in an article, included in a leading Women’s Studies textbook, that compared Dove’s “Real Beauty” advertising campaign to a protest by lesbian activists in Toronto.

Feminist Frontiers is a Women’s Studies textbook described by its publisher, McGraw-Hill, as the “most widely used anthology of feminist writings.,” Now in its ninth edition, Feminist Frontiers is edited by three lesbians: Professor Verta Taylor and Professor Leila Rupp, on the faculty of the University of California-Santa Barbara (where they are known as“the professors of lesbian love”), and Smith College Professor Nancy Whittier (whose wife Kate Weigand is the author of Red Feminism: American Communism and the Making of Women’s Liberation).

Because this textbook is so influential in academia, I obtained a copy ofFeminist Frontiers via Amazon.com for my research in the “Sex Trouble” series on radical feminism. As I explain in the introduction to the first edition of Sex Trouble:

Those who would attempt to separate “mainstream” feminism from the more radical aspects of its ideology cannot avoid the problem that the faculty and curricula of university Women’s Studies programs — where feminism wields the authority of an official philosophy — are disproportionately dominated by radical lesbians. This hegemonic influence is not merely manifested in the fact that outspoken lesbian activists are employed as directors and professors in Women’s Studies programs everywhere, but also plainly evident in the textbooks and readings assigned in their classrooms.

It should be noted that, according to federal research, 2.3% of the U.S. population (about 1-in-40 American adults) is either gay or bisexual. Yet lesbianism is vastly overrepresented in the faculty and curricula of Women’s Studies programs to such an extent that Carmen Rios, communications director of the Feminist Majority Foundation, jocularly described these departments as “Lesbo Recruitment 101.” This anti-heterosexual bias is reflected in the contents of Feminist Frontiers, which includes selections with titles like “Hetero-Romantic Love and Heterosexiness in Children’s G-Rated Films” (p. 153), “Doing Gender, Doing Heteronormativity: ‘Gender Normals,’ Transgender People, and the Social Maintenance of Heterosexuality” (p.  309) and “Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens: The Radical Potential of Queer Politics?” (p. 536). Among the lesbian feminist authors cited as references by the contributors are Mary Daly, Sheila Jeffreys, Andrea Dworkin, Celia Kitzinger, Adrienne Rich, Judith Butler, Luce Irigaray, Marilyn Frye, Gayle Rubin, Audre Lorde and Arlene Stein.

The anti-heterosexual bias of Feminist Frontiers is also apparent in “Feminist Consumerism and Fat Activists: A Comparative Study of Grassroots Activism and the Dove Real Beauty Campaign,” by University of Toronto professors Josée Johnston and Judith Taylor (p. 115). This article, first presented at a 2006 meeting of the American Sociological Association and later published in the feminist journal Signs, invokes the theories of Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci as the basis of its analysis:

Building on neo-Gramscian theories of hegemony, we argue that ideologies express degrees of hegemony depending on their ability to reinforce and naturalize power hierarchies and material inequality.

Feminists have frequently used Marxist theory to analyze the “male supremacy” they depict as an “ideology” that oppresses women in capitalist societies. In their article, Johnston and Taylor compare the “transformative possibilities” of Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign to a protest movement by the Toronto lesbian group Pretty, Porky and Pissed Off (PPPO). Co-founded by in 1996 by Allyson Mitchell (who is now anassistant professor in the School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Toronto’s York University), PPPO staged protests promoting the message that “being fat can mean being healthy, sexy and socially productive” and counteracting “fat phobia,” as a 2004 article described the group. According to Johnston and Taylor, PPO’s objectives were to “challenge hegemonic beauty standards” and “challenge misogynist attitudes about fat women and sexuality,” in protests that offered “a counter-hegemonic critique of beauty and its relationship to capitalist consumerism” (pp. 116-117). They compare these protests to Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign:

Billboard, television, and magazine ads depicted women who were wrinkled, freckled, pregnant, had stretch marks, or might be seen as fat (at least compared with the average media representation of women). . . . The campaign . . .is now a major feature of Dove’s global marketing. (p. 116)

Because the “Real Beauty” ad campaign “promotes itself as a progressive force for women,” Johnston and Taylor interpret Dove’s marketing as “feminist consumerism,” a phenomenon with “the potential to partially disrupt gender norms” (p. 116). Johnston and Taylor contrast this to the “grassroots models for social change . . . at the heart of feminist consciousness-raising,” as exemplified by the PPPO protests:


The idea arose from a 1996 conversation between Allyson Mitchell and Ruby Rowan, both of whom were artists and women’s studies students. While attending a conference on subcultures, they lamented the absence of attention to lesbian feminists active in the queer arts scene. . . . The conversation turned to mundane matters; not being able to find cool pants that fit. . . .
Characterizing participants as a “dyke network” of artists, performers, feminists, friends, and exes, Mitchell says the event solidified their identities as fat activists . . . (pp. 118-119)
In addition, PPPO’s radical disruption of hegemonic beauty ideology worked to destabilize the heteronormative gaze. Strongly linked to a lesbian arts community, PPPO activists did not prioritize the approval of men socially or performatively, and this may have allowed a more radical rejection of beauty as feminine aspiration. (p. 123)

Comparing these protests to the “corporate strategy” behind “Dove’s appropriation of feminist themes,” Johnston and Taylor write that Pretty, Porky and Pissed Off “waged war with hegemonic beauty standards — actions far removed from Dove’s reformist peacemaking” (p. 123). Although the Dove campaign “partially disrupts the narrowness of Western contemporary beauty codes,” Johnston and Taylor conclude, “at the same time it systematically reproduces and legitimizes the hegemony of beauty ideology in women’s personal lives” (p. 125).

Hostility to “beauty ideology” has been a core theme of feminism since the emergence of the Women’s Liberation movement in the 1960s. Its first major  protest occurred in September 1968, when about 100 feminists staged a demonstration at the Miss American pageant, condemning how the contestants “epitomize the roles we are all forced to play as women.” The protesters claimed “women in our society [are] forced daily to compete for male approval, enslaved by ludicrous ‘beauty’ standards we ourselves are conditioned to take seriously.”

Lesbianism also emerged early as a core theme of the Women’s Liberation movement. In 1971, prominent feminist Charlotte Bunch was co-founder of a D.C.-based lesbian collective known as The Furies. In  the collective’s first publication (January 1972), Ginny Berson declared:

We are angry because we are oppressed by male supremacy. We have been f–ked over all our lives by a system which is based on the domination of men over women. . . .
Lesbianism is not a matter of sexual preference, but rather one of political choice which every woman must make if she is to become woman-identified and thereby end male supremacy.

Radical lesbians played key roles in founding Women’s Studies programs at many universities. Professor Bonnie Zimmerman, for example, was a founding member of the Women’s Studies College at SUNY Buffalo in 1970, and later helped begin the Women’s Studies program at San Diego State University. In a 1997 essay, Professor Zimmerman wrote: “I believe it can be shown that, historically, lesbianism and feminism have been coterminous if not identical social phenomena.”

o-called “fat-positive feminism” is a movement that “addresses how misogyny and sexism intersect with sizism and anti-fat bias.” While feminists blame “anti-fat bias” on male supremacy, the health risks of obesity are serious, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): “Obesity is a national epidemic and a major contributor to some of the leading causes of death in the U.S., including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some types of cancer.”

Obesity is such a serious problem among lesbians that the National Institutes for Health funded a $3 million study to determine why “nearly three-quarters of lesbians are overweight or obese.”

When that study made headlines in September 2014, Mari Brighe wrote at the lesbian blog Autostraddle that lesbians “tend to be less critical of their bodies than straight women,” because they don’t “suffer the incessant, unreasonable pressure of the male gaze.”

This would suggest that “the male gaze” is actually beneficial to heterosexual women, whose “feminine aspiration” to be attractive to men by meeting “hegemonic beauty standards” (as the Johnston/Taylor article put it) leads women to stay thin and thereby avoid heart disease, diabetes and other health complications of obesity. But the way women benefit from heterosexuality isn’t something college students are likely to learn from Women’s Studies classes, where the textbooks are edited by lesbians who never have anything good to say about men.


Japan to use rosier tax revenue estimates in fiscal plan



Japan will use rosier tax revenue estimates in its plan to rein in the country’s burgeoning fiscal deficit, government sources told Reuters on Monday, as it struggles to make deep spending cuts needed to hit its ambitious budget target.

Premier Shinzo Abe’s administration is working on a fiscal reform plan to meet its pledge of turning Japan’s primary budget into a surplus by fiscal 2020. The plan will be part of a broader government guideline on long-term economic policymaking due by the end of June.

In the guideline, the government is set to raise the “tax revenue elasticity rate” – or the ratio of how much tax revenues rise or fall against a change in nominal economic growth – to 1.2 or 1.3% from the current level around 1%, government and ruling party officials said.

A higher elasticity rate means a country can expect to reap higher tax revenues and makes more progress in restoring its fiscal health from an expansion of economic growth.

Setting a higher rate thus meshes with Abe’s preference to rely on boosting economic growth, rather than on deep spending cuts or tax increases, in restoring Japan’s tattered finances.

“Tax revenues have recently overshot the government’s conservative projections, so raising the elasticity rate to such levels seems natural,” said Hiroshi Miyazaki, senior economist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Japan.

“The idea also makes sense given Abe is keen on avoiding big spending cuts that could hurt the economy.”

The new estimate based on the higher elasticity rate will be presented by private-sector members of a key government panel, which is debating the guidelines, at a meeting on Monday.

Proposals by private-sector members usually set the course for discussions at the panel, which gathers key economic ministers and the Bank of Japan governor.

With Abe having ruled out big tax hikes, the government is seeking ways to cut costs particularly in social welfare and medical spending, which is ballooning due to a rapidly aging population.

But progress has been slow due to heavy resistance from the medical industry and lawmakers wary of drawing complaints from pensioners in their constituencies.

Japan’s debt burden, at more than twice the size of its $5 trillion economy, is the heaviest in the developed world.

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2015.

Diet Coke muslim discrimination passenger have ties to radical imams


A Muslim woman who claimed over the weekend–in a social media post that has since gone viral–that United Airlines discriminated against her because of her faith, has a history rife with deep connections to the Muslim Brotherhood and radical Imams.

31-year-old Tahera Ahmad, who serves as the Muslim chaplain at Northwestern University, claimed over the weekend that she was discriminated against because a United Airlines flight attendant allegedly refused to give her a full can of unopened Diet Coke. When asked for an explanation as to why she had been refused her unopened Diet Coke, the flight attendant allegedly told her that the Coke can could be used as a “weapon on the plane,” Ahmad stated in a Facebook post. After she complained, a passenger told her, “You Moslem you need to shut the f—k up,” according to Ahmad’s recounting of what happened on board. Ahmad’s Facebook page was taken down this afternoon.

Without any evidence (but for her firsthand account) that the incident ever occurred, many in the mainstream media have taken to reporting on Ahmad’s account as a case of “Islamophobia.”

Islamic supremacist groups such as CAIR (Council on American-Islamic relations) have condemned United, telling Al Jazeera that they have taken an interest in filing a lawsuit on behalf of Ahmad.

Ahmad’s claims of discrimination have not been corroborated by any passengers, and United Airlines rejects that any wrongdoing or acts of discrimination occurred.

United Airlines released a statement that the flight attendant “attempted several times to accommodate Ms. Ahmad’s beverage request.” However, her post has since gone viral, with many calling for a boycott of United Airlines due to its alleged mistreatment of Ahmad.

Ahmad has shown to have an affinity for radical Islamist groups that seek to employ deceptive tactics in order to advance Sharia law, Breitbart News has found. Ahmad has attended and participated in multiple conferences over the past couple years which were hosted by alleged Muslim Brotherhood front groups. She has also proudly written about, and has happily posed in photos with radical Imams.

In late December, Ahmad attended the MAS-ICNA (Muslim American Society- Islamic Circle of North America) conference, which featured prominent leaders within the global Muslim Brotherhood network.



One month earlier, Ahmad posted a picture to Facebook of her standing next to Suhaib Webb, who is the Imam of the Islamic Society of Boston, an outfit run under the same umbrella organization as the mosque attended by Boston Marathon bombers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and a plethora of other convicted terrorists. Webb has a demonstrated history of radical connections, including him being a close confidant of Al Qaeda mastermind Anwar al Awlaki prior to the 9/11 attacks.

Ahmad is “well-known” to Yasir Qadhi, a cleric who she has frequently invited to speak to the student body at Northwestern. An audio tape of one of Qadhi’s sermons revealed that he once called for Muslims to wage holy war against non-Muslims. During his speech, Qadhi went on to discuss how he did not believe that the Holocaust had ever occurred.

In April 2014, Ahmad joined an MPAC (Muslim Public Affairs Council) delegation of American Muslim women, who partnered with the White House “to host a historic forum recognizing the contributions of American Muslim women.” MPAC, like the MAS and ICNA, was originally founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood. The group has in the past endorsed a paper that rejects the designations of Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist organizations. In 2009, the group hosted a protest where demonstrators called for the annihilation of the State of Israel. 

In 2013, she recited the Quran at the annual ISNA (Islamic Society of North America) convention. Declassified FBI documents found that the Bureau regarded ISNA as a Muslim Brotherhood front group. The FBI also found that ISNA was founded by prominent members of the global Muslim Brotherhood organization. Ahmad’s bio states that she has “supported leadership for premier Muslim organizations including [ISNA].”

Although she has an extensive record of supporting radical Islamist groups, Ahmad was recognized by the Obama White House as a leading “Muslim female in the United States,” according to a release from her University. She is a frequent Ramadan dinner attendee at the White House, according to the report.

Cops at the ready for June 4 rallies

Kenneth Lau


Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Police are confident they will have enough officers on duty to prevent any conflict between localists and “blue ribboners” at the June 4 candlelight vigil.

A police source revealed that about 1,000 officers will be on standby for the event.

In a press conference yesterday, senior superintendent Tse Kwok-wai said that in addition to the memorial candlelight vigil in Victoria Park, there will be several different political groups holding rallies outside Victoria Park, including the pro- Beijing group “Voice of Loving Hong Kong.”

The latter will set up booths, deliver leaflets and play video clips starting from 4pm, before the main program starts at 8pm at Victoria Park.

Asked if police are confident of preventing a confrontation between the main organizer, the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, and extreme groups from different spectrums, Tse said: “If there are quarrels, we will separate them and call on them to calm down. According to the situation, we will have a suitable deployment and take appropriate actions.”

From 6pm, some streets in Causeway Bay and Tin Hau, such as Great George Street, Gloucester Road and Hing Fat Street will be closed and 15 gates will be opened for the public to enter Victoria Park.

If the six football fields are full, police will open the Central Lawn and if that is full they will lead participants to the northern section.

Meanwhile the University of Hong Kong Students’ Union will launch its own June 4 commemoration on campus starting from 7.30pm.

Union president Billy Fung Jing-en believes about 1,000 people will attend the candlelight vigil, and as he is worried that some pro-Beijing groups will stir up trouble, they will deploy 40 marshals to maintain order.

The radical Civic Passion, led by Wong Yeung- tat, will hold a bus parade in 18 districts. Independent lawmaker Raymond Wong Yuk-man will join the parade, which will start from 4pm in Causeway Bay, travel through nine areas including Lam Tin, Kwun Tong and Tsuen Wan before ending at Tsim Sha Tsui. They will also launch rallies in eight areas such as Shau Kei Wan and Sheung Shui.