Ruling bloc seeks to enact security bills Sept 16 after panel vote


The Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner, the Komeito party, agreed Wednesday on a plan to put controversial national security bills to a vote at a House of Councillors committee Sept 16, paving the way for their passage into law at an upper house plenary session possibly later that day.

However, a vote at a plenary session could be pushed back to Sept 17 or 18 if opposition parties submit a no-confidence motion to the Diet against the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, according to ruling party lawmakers.

Senior lawmakers from six opposition parties agreed the same day to “never allow (the coalition) to push the bills through” the upper chamber, as was the case in the House of Representatives in July. The ruling coalition controls a majority in both chambers of the Diet.

LDP Secretary General Sadakazu Tanigaki and his Komeito counterpart Yoshihisa Inoue affirmed the plan for the bills, which were introduced by the government to expand the role of the Self-Defense Forces abroad.

The opposition parties, arguing that Diet deliberations are insufficient, will demand that the upper house hold a public hearing on the bills outside Tokyo and take other measures to promote debate, according to opposition lawmakers.

The parties also expressed dissatisfaction that the LDP-Komeito coalition voted at an upper house panel Tuesday to hold a public hearing on the bills next Tuesday in Tokyo despite objections from the opposition camp. Holding a Tokyo hearing is a prerequisite for putting the bills to a vote.

The six include the Democratic Party of Japan, the Japan Innovation Party and the Japanese Communist Party. A group of independents also took part in the meeting with the six parties.

The six parties will coordinate to arrange a meeting of their leaders on Friday to discuss ways to block the coalition’s moves to enact the bills next week.

If enacted, the new legislation will put into effect a landmark Cabinet decision in July last year that reinterpreted the Constitution to allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense, or coming to the aid of the United States and other friendly nations under armed attack, even if Japan itself is not attacked.

Opposition lawmakers and constitutional scholars have criticized the bills and say the envisaged security policy shift—which could allow Japanese troops to fight abroad for the first time since the end of World War II—would violate the nation’s war-renouncing Constitution.

Successive governments have interpreted the Constitution to mean that Japan possesses the right to collective self-defense but cannot use it.


High school teacher fired after saying the truth about islam

A Richmond Hill teacher has been fired following a 10-week investigation into “racist” comments critical of Islam that he allegedly posted online.

Michael Marshall was dismissed following a meeting of the York Region District School Board (YRDSB) on Tuesday, said board spokesperson Licinio Miguelo.

Miguelo said no one at the school or the board would be available to comment further.

Marshall could not be reached on Tuesday or Wednesday for comment.

The investigation began after students at Richmond Green Secondary School discovered a Twitter account, @firstatheist, which featured a profile picture of Marshall and numerous tweets mentioning pupils’ names.

At the time, the @YRDSB Twitter account said the board takes “concerns about racist tweets very seriously and are investigating.”

The @firstatheist account tweeted more than 4,500 times, including messages that said:

  • “I get sad when girls I teach decide to wear the hijab. I feel like a failure,”
  • “Hijabs make me sad.”
  • “Just have a trailer full of guns roll down the street and arm the ghetto. Oh wait that’s black ppl.”
  • “Kinda have this perverse urge to wear a hijab for a day and twerk in the street.”
  • “There is an absolute s***-ton of Muslims at Ikea tonight. Any special occasion?”
  • “I’m sorry but sharia law is incompatible with my democratic secular nation. You can have it, but keep it over there in backward land.”

<bullet>“Decided that I am way too racist to be a teacher #theycantbreathe”

The @firstatheist account has remained inactive since June 25.

Students also discovered the Twitter account linked to a Weebly blog post dated Aug. 25, 2014, where the author self-identified as a 30-something teacher in Toronto who runs a gay-straight alliance group.

Marshall supervised a GSA club, as well as a slam-poetry society, at Richmond Green.

The Weebly blog included a post mentioning a trip to the “Bible belt of the American south.” The Star verified that Marshall visited the area with one of his acquaintances.

Someone claiming to be a former student wrote on the blog after the news first broke: “With all the negativity on Twitter and the uncertainty that’s clouded everyone’s judgment, I’m not sure if I’ll see you next year.

“Whether that’s the case or not, I’d like to thank you for all your thought-provoking lessons and your willingness to overextend yourself to help a student improve.”

Another wrote: “I can’t thank you enough for spreading this idea of free thought all throughout the semester.”

On Twitter, Marshall self-identifies as the author of another account, @marshallisaboss. No tweets have come from that account since the allegations were made.

That account only mentions Muslims once, quoting an article saying that Valentine’s Day is a threat to Muslim values, to which he responds “really? No rose for you … do we agree with this?”

In 2010, a teacher at Woodbridge College named Mike Marshall was given an “Unsung Hero” award by the Educational Services Committee of District 16. Marshall was a teacher at the school at that time, where his score on the website was an impressive 4.7 out of 5 stars.

More than 30 reviews on the site rate Marshall positively at Richmond Green, with students appearing to claim he is an “amazing teacher” who is “very understanding” and goes “that extra mile.” One review on the site from May 11 reads: “He is also very opinionated about controversial topics such as religion and often comes across as insensitive to others beliefs inappropriate for a classroom.”

Speaking to the Star in June, YRDSB co-ordinating superintendent Cecil Roach said he knew the teacher personally and the allegations would be “very disturbing” if true, because “one of the lead poets in the slam group is a hijab-wearing girl.”

Asgari, 17, who was taught by Marshall as part of the slam team, said she cannot recall a time Marshall was openly racist, but said “he told me before he has other accounts, and I remember him saying he argues with Muslim extremists on Twitter.

“They were little remarks, and I always thought he was joking because I looked up to him as a teacher.”

Public Service Anouncement: Intel Cutting Jobs, Research, Education and Talent To Fund Fashionable Feminist Nonsense

A pressing dilemma is troubling the budget departments of Intel, the chip and microprocessor giant. Should they invest in STEM education, to cultivate the next generation of American geniuses? Or should they blow all their cash on finding people with the right skin colour and genitals?

It shouldn’t be a difficult choice. But apparently it is. The company recently announced that it’s pulling $6 million in sponsorship for the Science Talent Search, just months after memos leaked to the Oregonian indicated that they’d have to slash budgets by $300 million across business groups.

Does that $300m number sound familiar? It should: it’s the same amount Intel pledged “diversity” efforts, including the widely derided Feminist Frequency, just a few months ago.

It would seem that pointless, hand-wringing political gestures have become more important to Intel than cultivating scientific expertise in America and Israel. Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. Intel’s diversity drive was a direct response to hectoring from people whose primary experience of tech is complaining about microaggressions on social media.

Twitter feminists reacted with outrage last year when Intel pulled advertising from the gaming website Gamasutra, after the site posted an editorial by then-editor Leigh Alexander titled “‘Gamers’ don’t have to be your audience, ‘Gamers are over.”

The decision to pull ads was prompted by complaints from the GamerGate movement, but it quickly turned into a nightmare for Intel, which found itself caught in one of the web’s biggest culture wars. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said the episode prompted “soul searching”on his part, and was a factor in the $300m diversity pledge.

As rival chip manufacturer AMD has continued to court gamers, Intel is lavishing attention on divisive figures like cultural critics Anita Sarkeesian and Jonathan McIntosh, the latter of which is an Israel-hating far-leftist. A bizarre choice for a chip company with such deep roots in Israel.

Burned by the criticism over their GamerGate ad pull, Intel decided to support the radical authoritarian left. But while Intel may have hoped to start an industry-wide conversation on diversity in tech, and perhaps get some good PR in the process, the company is now facing the humiliating prospect of swapping research and development for feminist pearl-clutching about the representation of women in microchip factories.

 A general decline in PC sales has forced Intel to overhaul its chip line-up, and reduce overall spending for the second half of the year. According to a memo leaked to the Oregonian in June, Intel has also begun layoffs:

We need to reduce overall spending for the second half of the year. Some of this will come from reductions in employment and some from other spending cuts. Employee reductions will vary by business group.

In other words, Intel employees are losing their jobs so Anita Sarkeesian can pocket cash to bleat on conference stages about all the mean tweets she gets sent and how men are just, like, the worst thing ever.

I should be clear here and say that there’s no indication from Intel that the two spending decisions are closely linked. But you have to admit the number parity is striking. And we don’t know what slice of the pie Sarkeesian and co got from Intel’s feminist war chest.

But regular readers of this column will know that diversity spending is at best a speculative investment. If there is any peer reviewed research that says these efforts lead companies to greater profits, I have yet to read it. If such a study exists, I am certain it will be angrily tweeted at me soon by someone with blue hair.

It’s perhaps worth drawing attention to some photos of past winners of the Science Talent Search, which includes Nobel Prize winners and prominent scientists. It’s a diverse bunch, by both race and gender. These are the people who are also losing out, thanks to Intel’s incomparably stupid decision to spend hundreds of millions on fashionable feminist nonsense.

Instead of these competitors receiving an opportunity to change the world for their fellow man, gender studies majors will be paid to hector us about the sorts of video games we play.

It may seem unfair to the students and employees who’ll bear the brunt of Intel’s budget cuts, but I’m sure a lumberjack in hoop earrings can explain why it’s all really quite necessary – proving her value to Intel by releasing barely an hour’s worth of video content every six months.

Meanwhile, as I mentioned, AMD is relentlessly pursuing the valuable gamer demographic. Some even see subtle nods to GamerGate in their adverts. AMD has backed the winning horse: as tablets and mobile device sales grow, gamers are becoming ever-more important in the PC and hardware market. AMD knows where its bread is buttered.

Less support for women in STEM, less money, fewer jobs. All for more whiny middle-class feminism and social justice shakedowns. If I were an investor, I’d be dropping Intel stock like hot rocks.

Senior LDP member Ishiba to form faction with eye on next leadership race


Shigeru Ishiba, minister for regional revitalization, said Wednesday he will form his own faction within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party with an eye on taking over from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the next party leadership election.

A day after Abe was reappointed unopposed as the LDP chief for another three-year term, Ishiba told reporters, “I feel a responsibility to form a policy group to compile a vision of administration.” LDP factions refer to themselves as policy groups.

When asked if he aims to become leader after Abe, Ishiba, who lost to Abe in the LDP presidential election in 2012, said, “It’s fine to take it that way.”

The successor of Abe as LDP chief would most likely take over as prime minister if the party remains in power.

In the 2012 race, Ishiba secured a majority of votes cast by LDP rank-and-file members in the initial round but lost in a runoff in which only LDP legislators voted, and was subsequently appointed LDP secretary general.

His latest move also appears to be intended to influence the Cabinet reshuffle and changes in LDP executive lineup that Abe is expected to bring next month.

Among a loose liaison group of some 40 Diet members which Ishiba launched in January 2013 with LDP lawmakers who supported him in the party election, over 20 lawmakers close to him are expected to join the faction, sources close to him said.

By turning into a faction, the group can enjoy the benefits of a political group such as being able to hold political fundraising parties, strengthen solidarity among members and take united action on occasions such as voting in the LDP leadership race.

Ishiba, who explained his plans to some members on Tuesday, is expected to hold a meeting of the group within this month to seek the understanding of other members, the sources said.

While serving as LDP secretary general, Ishiba called for breaking away from traditional factional approaches in allotting key posts and nurturing young lawmakers.

But more recently he has said he was only against the adverse effects factions can have and not factions themselves, and that “there is no problem in a group of lawmakers getting together to push for their leader to become prime minister.”

A senior LDP lawmaker close to Ishiba, acting Diet affairs chief Hachiro Okonogi told a press conference Wednesday, “I feel I’d like to see a Prime Minister Ishiba.”

But he also said, “I would not join. I have the impression that it is not suitable for Mr Ishiba to have a faction.”