Aug 152017
 

Well finally we have some tolerable weather here in Metro Vancouver.  It is currently 22 C (72 F) with 53% humidity, bright sunshine and winds at 9 km/hour.  This is good and the furbabes are loving it too!  This is a busy week for me with lots of paperwork and appointments.  At the end of next week, my little girl will have her 9th birthday.  I plan for a fresh roasted chick breast for the 3 of them to share.  I will be more popular than ever!

CBC — U.S. President Donald Trump is lashing out at the growing number of corporate executives who are distancing themselves from his administration after his response to a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., that led to the death of one counter-protester last weekend.

A day after a number of high-profile CEOs started to resign from his business advisory council, the U.S. president lashed out.

“For every CEO that drops out of the manufacturing council, I have many to take their place. Grandstanders should not have gone on. JOBS!”

 

Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier’s

Brian Krzanich, Intel CEO,  Kenneth Frazier, Merck CEO, Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, and Kevin Plank, CEO Under Armour

Tesla CEO Elon Musk resigned from the manufacturing council in June, and two other advisory groups to the president, after the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. And in February, Uber’s then-CEO Travis Kalanick left the president’s side over his executive order curtailing immigration. Kalanick said the order was “hurting people in communities all across America.”

Walt Disney Co. Chairman and CEO Bob Iger resigned for the same reason from the President’s Strategic and Policy Forum, which Trump established to advise him on how government policy impacts economic growth and job creation.

Click through and listen to the video with Ed Rensi, the former CEO of McDonald’s USA.  He has some direct and sound advice for Trump and it is well worth the eight minutes.  We may not all agree with everything these executives do in their businesses, but they all are taking principled stands and no doubt there will be more.  As for Trump, Rensi said “It was childish, unprofessional and below the dignity of the guy holding that office. … shame on him …”  And on politics, he went on to say “In my opinion today, there is a ruling, imperial elite.  They make rules to keep themselves entrenched in government and now they’re going to pay the price because they have a president who is a wild card now.”  

AlterNet — Go home; leave the state; you’re not welcome.

That was Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s message to white supremacists who came to Charlottesville to show America that white rage is real and is coming out of the shadows.

But wait a second. Where are these domestic terrorists supposed to go back to? One of the first four people arrested was from Virginia. The others were from Ohio, Florida and Tennessee. Each of these states has been dominated by white Republicans this decade, who have methodically implemented racist election laws that gave them majority rule in state legislatures and their U.S. House delegations.

Election data geeks have looked at the results of 2016 and found it was one of the most anti-democratic elections in a century. As David Wasserman, U.S. House editor for the Cook Political Report, recently wrote, “In 2016, Trump lost the national popular vote by 2.1 percentage points, but Republicans won the median House seat by 3.4 points and median Senate seat by 3.6 points—that’s the widest Senate gap in at least a century.”  …

The white mobs rampaging in Charlottesville may want more privilege, segregation and wealth, but whether they know it or not—most probably they don’t—their Republican allies have been rewriting the rules of politics and elections to favor them for years.

Really, I don’t think that this will surprise anyone here.  Progressives need to get in at the ground floor and sweep it clean.  That means progressives from dog catcher on up; repealing discriminatory voting regulations, and redrawing voting districts so that they are fair.  No gerrymandered districts that slant the vote.  If the US wants to continue to be “the land of the free” then it must ensure that all its citizens can vote without undue restrictions like onerous voter ID.

YouTube — Stephen Colbert’s Monologue — Trump denounces white supremacists

I don’t think I have ever seen Colbert quite so serious.  Although there are a few lighter moments, clearly Trump has angered many, many people.  It is always a clear sign of anger when even comedians and political comics can’t make light.  Please do not misunderstand me, Trump’s behaviour over the past week is deplorable and well beneath the dignity of the office he inhabits.

 John Oliver — Charlottesville

I won’t repeat myself.  What I said about Colbert’s monologue applies to John Oliver’s piece.

Maclean’s — The escalation of tensions between the United States and North Korea over the past two weeks have left many quite anxious, including those of us in Canada. President Donald Trump’s “fire and fury” warning to Pyongyang, in particular, epitomized how quickly tensions could escalate in a matter of hours. It had an eerie doomsday-like tone commonly found in the propaganda materials of Pyongyang, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defence Secretary James Mattis rushed to downplay the severity of Trump’s message. Some began to wonder: Will Canada be within the target range of the ICBMs? If the United States was attacked, would Canada be called upon to help as a NATO member?

And of course, there has been an exchange of hostile rhetoric between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, sparked by North Korea’s second test launch of Hwasong-14 on Jul. 28, its most potent Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) developed to date. In a rare moment of unity, the UN Security Council unanimously passed a resolution on Aug. 5 to impose toughest-ever sanctions on North Korea. In return, Pyongyang promised to retaliate by a “thousand fold.” Trump and Kim then traded threats over nuclear warheads, a potential attack in Guam, and even a pre-emptive strike by the United States. Just earlier on Monday, South Korea’s recently installed president Moon Jae-In told Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the U.S. joint chiefs of staff, that “our top priority is the national interest … and our national interest lies in peace.”

As a Pacific nation, Canada also has an interest in peace on the Korean peninsula. Canada’s free trade agreement with South Korea, which came into force in 2015, is our first in the Asia-Pacific region. South Korea is Canada’s seventh-largest trading partner, and the two-way trade is valued at more than $12 billion. More than a million people travel between Canada and South Korea every year. We have an active and thriving community of Korean-Canadians across Canada. What happens on the Korean peninsula matters to Canadians, and there is a role that Canada can play to alleviate tensions: Canadian diplomatic work in Seoul, Pyongyang, Washington, Moscow, and Tokyo would give genuine substance to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s proclamation in 2015 that “Canada is back.”

It’s clear that other voices beyond America are needed. Part of what has made the latest crisis so confusing was the lack of any coherent American policy on North Korea, aside from Trump’s tweets. Those mixed signals from Washington, however, reflect a broader underlying problem which began long before the Trump era: the United States has failed in devising a consistent policy for dealing with North Korea, a failure that only gave the Kim regime more time to improve its military capabilities.  …

Having a constructive and independent Canadian foreign policy means standing up for our values and using our resources to fight for what’s right. Louis St. Laurent did it with NATO and Canada in Europe; Lester B. Pearson did it on Suez; John Diefenbaker did it on South Africa; Brian Mulroney did it on free trade and the “Open Skies” initiative; Paul Martin did it on the establishment of the G20.

Click through for the rest of the article.  One of the things that I am very proud of as a Canadian is Canada’s oft repeated role of peacekeeper.  We would rather use diplomatic channels first.  When the US invaded Iraq, PM Jean Chrétien declined to join the fight because the evidence of WMD just wasn’t there.  The UK joined the fight however.  In Afghanistan, Canada sent troops in but certainly towards the end of our involvement, Canadians were building roads, schools and helping with local housing.  Having spoken with Afghani acquaintances that now live in Canada, they confirmed that they very much appreciated what the Canadians did for and in partnership with them.  But while that is our preferred method of contribution, we can fight as well.  During WWI, Canadian troops proved their mettle at the second Battle of Ypres and then again at Passchendaele (third Battle of Ypres) but at a high cost.  During WWII, we were at Dunkirk among other places.  We served in Korea 1950-53, but we refused to go to war in Vietnam.  We were in Cyprus as peacekeepers and again in Rwanda as part of the UN peacekeeping mission.  While Australian PM Turnbull has said that Australia will go to war against North Korea if the US declares war,  I hope Canada will take up her traditional diplomatic role before that happens.  However, with a loose cannon like Trump in the US and Kim Jong-un in the Hermit Kingdom, who knows.

My Universe — Every time I sneeze or blow my nose, my three furbabes run away fast and furiously!  Seems the sound is distressing to them but it usually helps me!

 

 

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Aug 112017
 

Whoever says that there is no such thing as climate change is out of their gourd!  We here in Metro Vancouver have had higher temperatures than usual this summer.  This follows a snowy winter that left substantial snow packs to feed the reservoirs.  This has meant basic water restrictions, but nothing like last year’s stage 3 restrictions.  The winter was severe for Vancouver, and a lot longer.  That really gets Metro Vancouverites testy.  Of course then there are the wildfires in BC’s interior which are even worse than the 2015 fires, which is saying something.  There has been so much smoke that the mid afternoon sun is literally blood red.  Hopefully some of the smoke will clear out this weekend.  My eyes and throat sure would appreciate that.  I can’t even conceive of what the 47,000 evacuees must be feeling, although that number is down to about 7,000 for now.  Storms elsewhere are bigger and nastier.  As a planet, we owe it to each other to get our shit together.  Totally unrelated, today is my 46th anniversary of when I started in the banking industry.  Thank God I am now retired!

CBC — In a federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., between 16 and 23 citizens have reportedly been meeting in secret for weeks, tasked with deciding whether to bring charges in a probe of alleged collusion between U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia.

Collectively, they’re known as a federal grand jury. And on Thursday, reporters learned they were “impanelled” — or brought together — by the all-star team of lawyers led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Activating the grand jury is a sign Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation is heating up. Equipped with this tool, Mueller can request the issuing of subpoenas for documents and testimonies.

It marks the next phase in his investigation — “the most critical phase,” according to attorney Seth Abramson, an assistant professor at the University of New Hampshire.

“That’s because it’s the phase in which he doesn’t have to rely on voluntary production of documents or voluntary testimony from important witnesses.”

Any requested documents — which could include phone records, text messages, hotel and restaurant receipts and emails — get shared with the grand jury for consideration as evidence against a target of the investigation.
Subpoenaed witnesses must appear in front of the grand jury to be questioned by first Mueller’s team then the jurors themselves. Witnesses can plead the Fifth Amendment to invoke their right against self-incrimination.

Click through for the rest of this interesting, albeit long, article about this part of the US judicial system.  It may be that some know of the workings, but my guess is that many Americans do not fully understand it if knowledge of political issues are any indication.  Personally, being a Canuck, I found it very interesting and it is from a trusted source, not that the CBC does not make mistakes, but Matt Kwong is thorough.

Canadian Press — Six Americans have been charged with bringing handguns across the New Brunswick border so far this summer, as a Canadian prosecutor says it’s proving difficult to let otherwise law-abiding people know they can’t bring firearms on vacation.

“The offences continue to occur with alarming frequency during the summer months,” federal prosecutor Peter Thorn said from Hampton, N.B.

Five men — three from Florida, two from New England — pleaded guilty and were fined between $1,500 and $2,000, he said.

Thorn, who has prosecuted these cases for years, said most of the people caught are “respectful and law abiding citizens of the U.S.A.” who are unaware handguns are prohibited in Canada. [emphasis mine] …

That same day, a handgun was seized from a 64-year-old Jacksonville, Fla., couple at St. Stephen. It was found, undeclared, in the woman’s suitcase, where her husband had hid it without telling her, Thorn said.

“(The woman) stated that she specifically told her husband not to bring his handgun into Canada,” said Thorn.

I bring this to you because bringing hand guns across the US northern border into Canada is a no-no!  Canada is a sovereign nation and all must respect her laws.  Unfortunately, this happens all across Canada.  Many times, Americans driving to Alaska will bring their guns, sometimes declaring them, other times not.  With heightened surveillance, Canada Border Services are catching more people.  If you are caught, the weapon is confiscated and your entry into Canada is usually denied.  Leave your weapons at home!  It is cheaper.  And husbands, always listen to your wives!

Vancouver Sun — For the first of his 111 random acts of kindness, David McCann donated three works of art worth $1,400 to a Vancouver school for them to auction, with the proceeds going toward school supplies for the students.

For his 71st such act, McCann on Friday delivered 2,000 Roger’s chocolates to the main station of the Vancouver Police Department, enough for all the officers and staff, his way of saying cheers.

“It’s a thank you for the VPD’s willingness to change over the past 50 years in how they view and deal with the Vancouver gay community,” McCann said. “In particular, how they have and continue to provide security so we can enjoy a safe and wonderful Pride celebration and parade.”

McCann pledged to carry out 111 random acts of kindness in honour and memory of his 111-year-old friend, Mary, his partner’s grandmother who died recently.

This is one of those “feel good” pieces — how one man performed 111 random acts of kindness and why.

The Intercept — If you ask Steve Bannon how he got the idea that Muslims in the Middle East are a civilizational threat to America, he will say that his eyes were first opened when he served on a Navy destroyer in the Arabian Sea. At least that’s what he told the journalist Joshua Green, whose new book about President Donald Trump’s senior counselor is a best-seller.

“It was not hard to see, as a junior officer, sitting there, that [the threat] was just going to be huge,” Bannon said. He went on:

“We’d pull into a place like Karachi, Pakistan – this is 1979, and I’ll never forget it – the British guys came on board, because they still ran the port. The city had 10 million people at the time. We’d get out there, and 8 million of them had to be below the age of fifteen. It was an eye-opener. We’d been other places like the Philippines where there was mass poverty. But it was nothing like the Middle East. It was just a complete eye-opener. It was the other end of the earth.”

That’s Bannon’s version. There are a few problems with it, however.

Read on for some of the problems that were unearthed.  And this is a trusted White House senior adviser?  He does not know the truth nor where he was at! I do not buy the idea that Bannon was a confused young naval officer.  Tell me again why Drumpf would have him as an adviser.  Oh, right — two racist peas in a pod.

Bloomberg — Mueller’s team of investigators has sent subpoenas in recent weeks from a Washington grand jury to global banks for account information and records of transactions involving Manafort and some of his companies, as well as those of a long-time business partner, Rick Gates, according to people familiar with the matter.  …

As prosecutors gather many years of information about his financial affairs, Manafort could be dragged deeper into any number of legal disputes. He has a history of doing business with oligarchs and politicians in Ukraine and Russia that predates his political work for President Donald Trump, with payments routed through foreign banks and investments in U.S. real estate.  …

As a practical matter, the blitz of recent subpoenas to global banks poses a challenge to Manafort’s ability to continue his day-to-day business activities as a consultant and investor, said one of the people familiar with the matter.  …

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan were investigating Manafort earlier this year, examining allegations that he laundered money from eastern Europe into New York properties, according to two people familiar with the earlier inquiry. The Southern District of New York handed off their work to the special counsel’s team once Mueller was appointed, the people said.

This is a follow-up to the piece that TC wrote about on 09 August 2017 Open Thread – 8/9/2017.

If I were Manafort, I’d watch my back because the Russian oligarchs are known to not play well with others when the game gets derailed.  Mueller’s investigation is broadening and the cast of characters seems to be growing.  When Drumpf was asked about the raid, he said “I was surprised to see it.  I’ve always found Paul Manafort to be a very decent man.”  I only have one question though, or more correctly, one statement . . . I’d like to know Drumpf’s definition of “decent”.  I doubt it is the same as mine.

Daily Kos — Popular vote loser Donald Trump’s sabotage of the Affordable Care Act isn’t limited to making threats and causing uncertainty for health insurers. He and his administration are taking active, destructive measures to wreck the law they were elected, and in the case of HHS Secretary Tom Price confirmed by the Senate, to uphold. The latest action by the administration is to halt federal outreach to Latinos, one of the communities that has the highest rate of uninsurance.  …

That labor of love included sending cabinet members to Latino communities, translating all the materials for enrollment into Spanish, working with Latino civil rights groups like LULAC and National Council of La Raza (now called Unidos), having townhall televised on Spanish-language channels, as well as an extensive advertising campaign in all forms of Spanish-language media. As a result of all the Obama administration’s efforts, the Latino population saw the largest decline in its uninsured rate of any ethnic community.  …

None of these groups has heard a peep out of the Trump administration about efforts to promote enrollments in the new plan year.

How many times have we heard Drumpf say that Obamacare was “bad” and it was “imploding”.  Drumpf said that he would replace it with something better and cheaper.  “You’re going to love it,” he said.  The numerous attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare fell flat, and rightfully so.  Imploding?  This is not the case.  Sure it has its faults, what plan doesn’t?  But when you look at the numbers of citizens covered by medical insurance now that previously had none, I call that success.  Well it looks like the Drumpf administration is going to assist in the decline of Obamacare — sabotage it — which is what I figured he’d do, one way or another.  It is time to show Drumpf and the Republicans the door out!

My Universe

You know that fishing trip you went on with your dad, way back when?  The cat went on his own fishing trip!

 

 

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Jun 172017
 

While not completely painless, yesterday’s repairs were successful.  The culprit was CKEditor, which has always given me compatibility issues that I could work around, until now.  In some ways, I prefer ARK, which is an improved front end for either CKEditor or TinyMCE, and I configured it for the latter.  It gives all commenters features that only administrators used to have.  However, we did lose the ability to change fonts and sizes.  I’ll look for a fix when time permits.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:48 (average 5:11).  To do it, click here.  How dod you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Republican lawmaker Steve Scalise, who has made a career of “protecting” “traditional” marriage in the House, and the rest of his gay bashing caucus, can thank their lucky stars for the brave actions of same sex married Law Enforcement Officer Crystal Griner and Patrolman David Bailey, two AA Capitol Police Officers who took on the deranged gunman yesterday.

And, in fairness, they did.

But also in fairness, Scalise has been a leading opponent on the Hill of marriage rights for gay couples as a look at his record shows.

Scalise-

  • Authored constitutional amendment to protect marriage. (May 2008)
  • Voted NO on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. (Feb 2013)
  • Amend Constitution to define traditional marriage. (Jun 2008)
  • Protect anti-same-sex marriage opinions as free speech. (Sep 2013)
  • State definition of marriage supersedes federal gay marriage. (Feb 2014)

Will Scalise now “evolve” on this issue now that he owes Crystal, and her wife, his life?

In a word… No, Nevertheless, I wish him a complete recovery, followed by a 2018 election loss RESIST!!

From NY Times: The Department of Education is scaling back investigations into civil rights violations at the nation’s public schools and universities, easing off mandates imposed by the Obama administration that the new leadership says have bogged down the agency.

According to an internal memo issued by Candice E. Jackson, the acting head of the department’s office for civil rights, requirements that investigators broaden their inquiries to identify systemic issues and whole classes of victims will be scaled back. Also, regional offices will no longer be required to alert department officials in Washington of all highly sensitive complaints on issues such as the disproportionate disciplining of minority students and the mishandling of sexual assaults on college campuses.

What else would we expect from DeVos, Trump, and the Republican Party? RESIST!!

From Oregon Live: Rainbow flags, drag queens, family ties: A visual history of Portland’s Pride Parade

Click through for some great pics. Here in Portland the annual Pride Parade is tomorrow, and it will pass first four blocks west and then three blocks north of my place. Kudos to the marchers. RESIST!!

Cartoon:

0617Cartoon

She was last seen trying to swim back to France.

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Jun 062017
 

I have a meeting to go to shortly.  I am a member of the Family Council and a liaison to the Board of the care centre where my mum lived and the board is meeting tonight.  The Family Council meets next week.  Tomorrow is physio and teaching so there will likely be no Open Thread for tomorrow.  We have had no additional word from TC yet, but when we know, we will pass it on.  In the mean time, please keep TC in your thoughts and prayers.

Jig Zone Puzzle

Today’s took me 3:39 (average 5:52).  To do it, click here.  How did you do? Try not to get all wet with this one!

Short Takes

YouTube — If He Were Doing Any Other Job, Donald Trump Would Have Been Fired by Now | The Resistance | GQ  

I should think that Trump would understand this phrase: "You're fired!"  Or perhaps this one: "Go straight to jail.  Do not pass Go."

Resist and Persist!!!

The New Yorker — In a dramatic announcement from the White House Rose Garden on Thursday, Donald J. Trump pronounced the planet Earth a “loser” and vowed to make a better deal with a new planet.

“Earth is a terrible, very bad planet,” he told the White House press corps. “It’s maybe the worst planet in the solar system, and it’s far from the biggest.”

When asked which planet he would make a new deal with, Trump offered few specifics, saying only, “The solar system has millions of terrific planets, and they’re all better than Earth, which is a sick, failing loser.”

Trump’s remarks drew a strong response from one of the United States’ NATO allies, Germany’s Angela Merkel. “I strongly support Donald Trump leaving the planet Earth,” she said.

I'm with Angela Merkel!

Resist and Persist!!!

Think Progress — …Sen. John Wiles (R) knew that if he could lift Georgia’s law that banned outside groups from purchasing anonymous mailers, he could transform the way his party conducts campaigns. He declared at the time that he would “not support any effort to regulate anonymous political speech.”

Wiles was able to get his colleagues on board, and they quietly passed legislation removing the ban. But the move earned him critics, including the top Republican in the state tasked with running elections.

Karen Handel, then Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, said she was “adamantly” opposed to Wiles’ political maneuver—she had recently launched a “transparency in government” program.

Handel is relying heavily on the same kind of spending she so recently fought against.

Outside groups have spent roughly $9 million supporting Handel’s campaign during the primary and leading up to the June 20 runoff. More than $250,000 of that total has been spent on anonymous direct mail. 

“Karen Handel was for a ban on secret political spending, but now that it’s clear she can’t compete with Jon Ossoff and his small-dollar, grassroots donors, her campaign is almost completely reliant on special interest money from groups that refuse to disclose their donors.”

So much for being "adamantly opposed" to dark money.  I did not like Karen Handel and her shenanigans when she was with Susan G Komen and I am disappointed to see her back in the limelight with her Republican talking points and lack of ethics.  The special election in Georgia's 6th district is set for 20 June 2017.  May it turn blue with Jon Ossoff who garnered 48.1% of the vote in the jungle primary.

Resist and Persist!!!

My Universe

Kung Fu Kitty!

Break dance kitty!

 

 

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May 302017
 

At last we have a cool day, and I'm enjoying it thoroughly.  It was a slow morning for news.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today's took me 4:58 (average 5:41).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Announcement:

Our own Fantasy Football league, Lefty Blog Friends, will be holding our live draft for next season on Saturday, August 19 at 10 AM PDT (11 AM CDT, 12 Noon MDT, 1 PM EDT).  If you played last year and are going to quit, please let me know immediately.  May the Holy Ellipsoid Orb bless your team.

Republican Diseases (at Nameless' request):

Republicitis: You're so full of shit that everyone thinks you're a Republican.  You need Dulcolax to unload the excess shit.

Republicosis: You're spraying so much shit around that everyone thinks you're a Republican.  You need Immodium to get your shit together.

Short Takes:

From The Guardian: As tensions continue in Portland following the racially charged murder of two men on Friday, the top Republican in the city said he is considering using militia groups as security for public events.

How insane! Republican militia groups would have joined the attack on the Muslim women! RESIST!!

From The Hill: Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on Tuesday said Russia's “aggressiveness” in interfering in last year's U.S. election was unlike anything he'd seen before.

“Across the board, the aggressiveness in this campaign was unprecedented,” Clapper told CNN’s “New Day.”

“An American citizen should be very concerned about a foreign government, particularly our primary adversary, interfering with the most important foundational process that we have in this country, which is free and fair elections.”

Clapper noted that the Russians have long tried to interfere in presidential elections, but characterized the 2016 efforts as the most aggressive and direct.

They could get away with being so aggressive only because one of the candidates was an active partner in their interference. RESIST!!

From NY Times: In the northern suburbs of Atlanta, where what is likely to be the most expensive House campaign in history is being waged, a band of conservative advocacy groups is grappling with a question that may decide whether the Republican Party keeps its House majority after 2018: Do you run with President Trump or against him?

Somehow, the groups are discovering, they will have to do both.

While this does not apply to the race between Jon Osoff and Karen Handel, former attack dog for Komen Hates Women, current Republican office holders, who want to run against Trump need to prove it NOW. Otherwise it's just BS. RESIST!!

Cartoon:

0530Cartoon

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Mar 152017
 

Today is the Ides of March or Idus Martiae in Latin, a day for religious observances in ancient Rome, but also an inauspicious day for Julius Caesar.  He was assassinated in 44 BCE on the Ides of March.  Let's hope your day goes much better for you than it did for Caesar all those years ago!

Well tonight, we are having thunder and lightning which is relatively unusual for here.  It was very close to my house, just north in the mountains, and the house shook with the display.  TC is still feeling significantly under the weather but he did post an Open Thread today.

Short Takes

Maclean'sAs for who first noticed that Moscow was gunning for Freeland, that’s something that has yet to show up in any banner Canadian headlines. It was the European Union’s East StratCom Task Force, a unit of the External Action Service (the EU’s foreign ministry and diplomatic branch). The Task Force was set up in March 2015 as a kind of early warning system to detect incoming Kremlin disinformation campaigns.

In its January 26 Disinformation Digest, the Task Force specifically identified the “Freeland Lied About Her Family’s Nazi Past” hoax, which by then was already circulating within the nether regions of the pro-Kremlin web, under the category of “pro-Kremlin disinformation” and “fake media stories that support Russia’s policies.” The Task Force flagged the Freeland smear project under the campy headline “And you are a Nazi, too!” along with several ongoing efforts to affix the Nazi tag to “anyone opposing the Kremlin’s interests,” especially in Ukraine and the Baltic states. Canadian Forces personnel are active in both arenas.

Usually, Moscow enjoys a degree of marginally plausible deniability by circulating its nastiest propaganda via merely Kremlin-admiring webzines and usefully idiotic “anti-imperialist” pseudo-news operations. But the effort to attack Freeland’s character and undermine her credibility first came straight out of Russia’s embassy in Ottawa, on January 11, the day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed Freeland to the foreign-affairs post.

In Squatch’s Open Thread 10 March 2017, I included another Maclean's article about how Russia was turning its predatory disinformation sights on Canada, and I made reference to an article in the Ottawa Citizen about Chrystia Freeland, Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs.  Maclean's has now covered this aspect beginning with how some western journalist aided and abetted Putin's disinformation ritual.  But why Freeland?  The article goes into detail on that point.  I urge you to read the entire article.  The new Russian Czar, Vladimir Putin, is certainly busy trying to destabilise western nations.

CBC — Girl Guides of Canada has announced it will not be taking any trips to the United States in the near future, citing concerns about inclusivity. 

"While the United States is a frequent destination for Guiding trips, the ability of all our members to equally enter this country is currently uncertain," international commissioner Sharron Callahan and director of provincial operations Holly Thompson wrote in a joint advisory issued Monday afternoon. 

"This includes both trips that are over or under 72 hours and any travel that includes a connecting flight through an American airport," the advisory says.

The statement does not directly mention — but appears to be a reaction to — the executive orders U. S. President Donald Trump has signed restricting travel to the United States.

More fallout from Drumpf's travel ban.  Interesting that a group of young Canadian girls can show up Drumpf when it comes to ethics, loyalty and inclusivity.

YouTube — Trump Can’t Even Watch TV Correctly | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann | GQ              

Kudos to Keith!  Spot on as usual!  Is this what the "age of television" has become?

CBC — For the second time, a federal court on Wednesday blocked President Donald Trump's efforts to freeze immigration by refugees and citizens of some predominantly Muslim nations, putting the president's revised travel ban on hold just hours before it was to take effect.

This time, the ruling came from a judge in Hawaii who rejected the government's claims that the travel ban is about national security, not discrimination. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson also said Hawaii would suffer financially if the executive order constricted the flow of students and tourists to the state, and that Hawaii was likely to succeed on a claim that the ban violates First Amendment protections against religious discrimination.  …

U.S. President Donald Trump held a rally at Municipal Auditorium in Nashville on Wednesday, vowing he would not stop defending the security of Americans despite the latest legal setback, which the government will likely appeal. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Trump called the ruling an example of "unprecedented judicial overreach" and said his administration would appeal it to the U.S. Supreme Court. He also called his new travel ban a watered-down version of the first one, which he said he wished he could implement.  …

The hearing was one of three held Wednesday in federal courts around the country. U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle, who blocked the initial travel ban last month, did not immediately rule on a request from an immigrant-rights group to block the revised version. Neither was there a ruling from U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang in Maryland in a challenge brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups.

In all, more than half a dozen states are trying to stop the ban. A case brought by Washington state argues that the new order harms residents, universities and businesses, especially tech companies such as Washington state-based Microsoft and Amazon, which rely on foreign workers. California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Oregon have joined the claim.

Judicial overreach?  What a load of horse pucky!  It is only judicial overreach to Drumpf because he isn't getting his way!  I am glad that there are some members of the judiciary and legal profession that see this Muslim travel ban for what it is — outright discrimination on ethnic and religious grounds.  As Drumpfenfarten said when US District Judge Robart of Washington state turned aside the first ban, "See you in court!"  While Robart and US District Judge Chuang of Maryland both heard arguments today, neither has announced their ruling.

My Universe 

OK, so I am almost 3 months behind the times but this commercial for Temptations cat treats is "so cat"!

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