Dec 142016

The past few days have been somewhat boring as I stayed off the snow covered streets — my concern is other drivers because I know my driving abilities, but too many others don't understand driving to conditions.  I finally went out late Sunday afternoon only to have a man tell me I'd never get out of the parking slot, let alone the lot.  He watched as I backed out and was amazed.  Silly man didn't like a woman showing him how it's done no doubt.  Today was a beautiful  day, clear skies and lots of sunshine.  Temperatures are low with day's high -2 C (28 F).  Tomorrow is supposed to be more of the same with  overnight plunging to -10 C (14 F). Ah, retirement!

Short Takes

CBC — For Angela Keizer, there's more than one Santa Claus — and they all wear steel-toed boots.

Last month the Dartmouth, N.S., woman was running out of options, out of money and fearing her family would soon be without a home.

Attempts to rebuild after a house fire came to a halt after problems with Keizer's contractor, but the unexpected generosity of strangers from as far away as Ontario has put the project back on track.

"Three weeks ago … I thought I was going to have to walk away," Keizer said Tuesday.  …

"I was always a trusting person before, and then when this disaster happened, that died. But there's so many people that have restored that faith. There's a lot of good people out there."

I could start off my comment with how these contractors are helping Keizer so that they get free advertising and more contracting jobs etc, and in so doing, wouldn't I be the "Grinch who stole Christmas"!  But that's not me.  This is a "feel good" story that has no other meaning than to celebrate that people can be compassionate and love their neighbours no matter how far away they live.

TIME — For nearly 17 months on the campaign trail, Trump did what no American politician had attempted in a generation, with defiant flair. Instead of painting a bright vision for a unified future, he magnified the divisions of the present, inspiring new levels of anger and fear within his country. Whatever you think of the man, this much is undeniable: he uncovered an opportunity others didn’t believe existed, the last, greatest deal for a 21st century salesman. The national press, the late-night comics, the elected leaders, the donors, the corporate chiefs and a sitting President who prematurely dropped his mic—they all believed he was just taking the country for a ride.

Now it’s difficult to count all the ways Trump remade the game: the huckster came off more real than the scripted political pros. The cable-news addict made pollsters look like chumps. The fabulist out-shouted journalists fighting to separate fact from falsehood. The demagogue won more Latino and black votes than the 2012 Republican nominee.

I was astonished that Trump was made Time's Person of the Year, but then I remembered the criteria.  As Jim Kelly, a Chief Editor of Time, put it in 2001: "Well, the classic definition of TIME's Person of the Year is the person who most affected the events of the year, for better or for worse. I think what has happened over the years is that the Man of the Year title, Person of the Year title, has become non-honorific. It was never meant to be solely that."  To no one's surprise, Trump sees it only as an honourific.  But then, narcissist that he is, that is the only way he is capable of seeing it.  There is no doubt that Trump has had an immense affect on the politics of the US, but unfortunately, IMO, it is all negative.  He is a demogogue, a narcissist, a liar, he is mendacious and arrogant.  He is not fit to be POTUS.  BTW, I heard Drumpf at a rally comment on being Time's Person of the Year, he called out "It should be Man of the Year.  What do you think ladies?"  Is there any doubt he is a misogynist!

Washington Post — The simmering distrust between Donald Trump and U.S. intelligence agencies escalated into open antagonism Saturday after the president-elect mocked a CIA report that Russian operatives had intervened in the U.S. presidential election to help him win.

The growing tensions set up a potential showdown between Trump and the nation’s top intelligence officials during what some of those officials describe as the most complex threat environment in decades.

The Washington Post reported Friday that the Central Intelligence Agency had determined that Russia had intervened in the presidential election not just to make mischief but to boost Trump’s chances.

Trump’s reaction will probably deepen an existing rift between Trump and the agencies and raised questions about how the government’s 16 spying agencies will function in his administration on matters such as counterterrorism and cyberwarfare. On Friday, members of Trump’s transition team dismissed the CIA’s assessments about Iraq’s stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.

“Given his proclivity for revenge combined with his notorious thin skin, this threatens to result in a lasting relationship of distrust and ill will between the president and the intelligence community,” said Paul Pillar, former deputy director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center.

President-elect Donald Trump as well as Republican and Democratic lawmakers on Dec. 11 reacted to the CIA’s assessment that Russia intervened to help Trump win the election.

The CIA's report into Russian activities related to the US election was leaked to the public last Friday, although top congressional leaders had seen it behind closed doors in September.  Trump is still denying the report as the work of the Democrats.  He says there is no evidence.  He puts no stock in the advice of the intelligence community, a community that historically has credence with conservatives.  He's smarter than them . . . just ask him!  It is going to be a long four years if the Electoral College doesn't do it's constitutional duty.

CBC — We went looking for them as part of a report on the proliferation of extreme-right, xenophobic and anti-Semitic groups in Hungary, clothing themselves as nationalist defenders of the land. It didn't go well.

The bikers' leader, Imre Meszaros, demands the right to veto the work of journalists who interview him, even presents them with a legal document to sign right off the bat.

We didn't agree, but met with him at his apartment in a well-to-do suburb of the Hungarian capital in the hopes of changing his mind.

Meszaros was soon raising his voice, pointing fingers in our faces and railing about the fickle media.

After a brief off-the-record chat, we ended the conversation and said goodbye. But not before Meszaros stepped into the elevator with us to warn there would be "consequences" if the conversation was reported anywhere.

It wasn't a threat, he said, just "information," and he has friends in Canada, the Hells Angels.

I told him I know a threat when I hear one, and the non-interview was over.

Later he emailed our translator, making the same threat. Intimidation of the media is a hallmark of the extreme right in Hungary.

We have Hungary reverting to its fascist past when it worked in league with the Nazis to eliminate Jews and Roma.  How many times will we ignore this resurgence of fascism before we take action as a global community?

Politico — On a presidential debate stage five years ago, Rick Perry blanked on the Energy Department's name when trying to include it in a list of agencies he promised to abolish — memorably concluding with "oops."

Now Donald Trump has chosen the former Texas governor to lead the sprawling department, which oversees the security of the nation's nuclear weapons and has played major roles in President Barack Obama's climate agenda and nuclear deal with Iran. Three sources close to the transition confirmed the choice Tuesday.

Conservatives had favored the former Texas governor for the job, viewing him as someone with management experience who would be willing to question the agency’s status quo. They believe Perry might bring serious reform to the agency because he isn't wedded to energy programs, such as DOE's fossil and efficiency offices, that conservatives have criticized as unnecessary, market-distorting schemes.

There is only one thing to say to Drumpf's announcement — OOPS!!!!

My Universe They can get along.  Why can't humans?

"Momma" PeppaPeppa's kittens

Nov 262016

The results of the recent election should teach us to keep informed and keep learning.  While most progressives likely know the lessons of this article, others don't . . . like perhaps the 62,000,000 who voted Republican and those who did not vote for whatever reason.  The right to vote is a sacred responsibility that needs to be practised.  Embrace your responsibility, learn lots, and practise.

WASHINGTON — By now, you've heard that a populist demagogue whose nativist agenda was supported by the alt-right and other white nationalist forces will be the next president. And your next thought might've been: "What?" With so many "isms" associated with supporters of President-elect Donald Trump, it's time for a refresher class on the ideologies and… Continue reading »

Nov 262016

Well I fell asleep at the switch last night and did not get this finished as I had wanted.  The news is a bit slow but that will change as Trump makes his mark.  He has commented that we will see more proposed cabinet announcements next Friday.  In the interim, it is raining cats and dogs here and I should go out shortly, but I think I'll stay warm and dry.  I prefer my cats dry and purring . . . not a difficult choice. — Canada suddenly has its first hijab-wearing news anchor on commercial television.


"For me, it's just a step forward in my career," Ginella Massa, who jumped at the chance to fill a vacant anchor chair at the CityNews network in Toronto last Friday night, tells The Hollywood Reporter. But when Massa ended the 11 p.m. newscast just before midnight and checked in with her assignment editor, they agreed Canada had also taken an even bigger leap forward for diversity.

"He said, was that a first? And I said, yes, I think it was, to have a woman in a hijab anchor the news in Canada," she recalls. So Massa marked her career milestone on her Twitter account and on Facebook, where she wrote: "That's a wrap! Thankful to have opportunities like this at a time when there is so much hate and vilifying of Muslims." 

I am very happy for this young woman, and for Canada.  But I am also sad because this should not be news . .  . it should be an everyday occurrence.  Skills should be the measure, not outward appearances.  May we see more barriers broken down!

The Nation — Donald Trump ran on a series of impossible promises, but enough people believed he could deliver on them that he won the Electoral College. His supporters are in for what might be the rudest awakening in recent political history.  

trump_supporters_california_rtr_imgDemonstrators hold signs in support of President-elect Donald Trump in Oceanside, California, November 11, 2016. (Reuters / Sandy Huffaker)







































Immediately after the election, the candidate who ran against the esreadtablishment, the guy who promised to “drain the swamp,” immediately surrounded himself with party hacks and lobbyists. He announced that Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus, perhaps the most prominent face of the dreaded “establishment,” would be his chief of staff. Good-government advocates expect the Trump regime to gut what remains of our already tattered campaign-finance laws. Reuters reports that, “despite his professed opposition to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, President-elect Donald Trump is considering several of the major advocates of that war for top national security posts.” And as Politico’s Ben White put it, “a populist candidate who railed against shady financial interests on the campaign trail is now putting together an administration that looks like an investment banker’s dream.”

Trump’s not going to make coal cheaper than natural gas and bring back a bunch of mining jobs. He might be able to negotiate some new riders for NAFTA, but they’ll be guided by the same corporate lobbyists who effectively wrote it in the first place, and won’t do anything to bring back jobs that have been sent overseas. There will be no 35 percent tariff on imports from Mexico or China.

Click through for the rest of an interesting read.  As the author concluded, "What’s certain is that they’re headed for an epic case of buyers’ remorse."

Daily Beast — Fidel Castro  13/08/1926 – 25 /11/2016

Fidel Castro relinquished the presidency in 2008, handing power to his brother Raul after a period of illness. Since then he has gradually disappeared from public life, occasionally penning a column for the state newspaper, Granma.

Long after the heroism and mystique of the revolution has faded, Fidel Castro will likely be remembered for his role in the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, when civilization came as close as it has yet come to nuclear Armageddon. During that 13-day trilateral confrontation, while the world watched the stand-off on black and white television sets, behind the scenes Castro was furiously writing to his Soviet counterpart Nikita Khrushchev demanding that the Ukrainian press the button and incinerate us all by launching a first nuclear strike on the United States. “However hard and terrible the solution might be, there is no other,” wrote Castro. Thankfully Stalin’s former henchman, who by his own admission was “up to his elbows” in blood, chose not to heed Castro’s advice.

There is no doubt that Castro was a thorn in many people's sides, but probably more so in the US's side.  Being merely 90 miles off the south-east coast of the US, Cuba's Castro and the US came to verbal blows many times.  And of course there is the Cuban ex-pat community that grew in the US, particulary in Florida.  Some will celebrate his passing, others, not.  Reuters carried reactions from leaders and others around the world.  "[US] President-elect Donald Trump on Saturday called Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, who died on Friday night aged 90, a "brutal dictator who oppressed his people for six decades."

"While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve," Trump said in a statement."  President Barak Obama was much more conciliatory.

My Universe





Nov 232016

I posted 3 pieces yesterday, an Open Thread on 18/11/2016 and now another OT.  There is so much going on now that needs addressing and not enough time for it all.  Conway says Trump is disavowing the white supremacists and has been all through the campaign.  BS!!!  His advisors and cabinet choices say otherwise.  And what is worse for me, his poison is spreading here too!  I have known for years that we have our  own racists too . . . I have lived in areas where they hide.  But I refuse to be cowed by them.  There is no place in a civil society for racism, bigotry or discrimination of any kind. 

Short Takes

Montréal Gazette — Maxime Fiset was well on his way to becoming a neo-Nazi when he was arrested for inciting hatred.

Fellow skinheads had shaved his head for him, he had a Nazi flag in his room, draped over his copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf and books on how to make a bomb, and he had founded the first organization and website in Quebec to bring all the right-wing extremists together — the Fédération des québécois de souche.   

But it wasn’t until his arrest at school in Quebec City, with brass knuckles in his pocket, that he truly became radicalized, he says — and planned to inflict maximum damage. 

In an interview with the Montreal Gazette the week after Donald Trump was elected, as swastikas appeared across the U.S. and in Canada, Fiset, looked back on how he joined the neo-Nazi movement — and how he got out. 


Looking for Answers

At 17, Fiset was in a loving home, was good at school, and had everything he needed. 

But he was looking for answers. He had a particularly influential, nationalist high school teacher, and learned about 20th century history, Adolf Hitler and the rise of the Nazi party.

He was also very much pro-independence and frustrated by what he perceived as the “weakening of Quebec culture” and the obstacles to independence — non-francophones and immigrants voting no. 

“I was naive, and searching for answers to questions pretty much everyone asks themselves at some point in their lives — about politics and democracy,” said Fiset.

“I thought the Nazi party answered those questions. It was simple, black and white, and that was seductive … I stumbled into it and got stuck.”

At the end of the school year, Fiset, already an imposing young man, got a job working security for the city, guarding Roland-Beaudin Park in Quebec City. One night he approached a group of skinheads to tell them to leave, but instead began talking to them. They were friendly, he said — and they introduced him to Stormfront.

Self-described as “a community of racial realists and idealists,” the Stormfront website features a weekly radio show hosted by white supremacists Paul Fromm and David Duke, as well as discussion threads on everything from “which religions are acceptable” to the vandalism at a mosque in Sept-Îles. (There is a Quebec Stormfront forum, as well as one specifically targeted to youth).

Though many of the other skinheads were mostly interested in “booze, women and (skinhead music) shows,” Fiset was lured in by the politics.

It is important to understand the underpinnings of a belief system before trying to combat it,  Fiset offers a glimpse into that understanding, a glimpse obtained from first hand experience.  We would do well to listen.  Click through for the rest of Fiset's story.

Daily Kos — According to news reports, and tweets from Kevin Allred, who is a lecturer at Rutgers University, in New Jersey where he teaches gender studies, he was taken to Bellevue Hospital in New York City for “psychiatric evaluation” by NYPD police, from his home in Greenpoint, Brooklyn NY. 

The NYPD had been contacted by Rutgers Campus Police who received a report from a student that Mr. Allred was “threatening to kill white people.”  

Allred is white.

Is this to be the new norm for daring to exercising the first amendment right to freedom of speech?

i said: would conservatives care as much abt the 2nd amendment if guns killed more white people? a question meant to expose double standard — Tweet of Kevin Allred 15 November 2016

Click through for the rest of this short piece.  Can you conceive of the first amendment being in danger?  I can and Trump vowed to curtail the freedom of the press, among other things, during his campaign.  He will be a vengeful, small minded little dictator.  On top of that, Washington State Senator Ericksen (R) has proposed a bill that would make protesting an act of economic terrorism.  Another assault on the first amendment.  The shit is going to hit the fan, and Trump has not even been sworn in yet.

Washington Post — President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress are drawing up plans to take on the government bureaucracy they have long railed against, by eroding job protections and grinding down benefits that federal workers have received for a generation.

Hiring freezes, an end to automatic raises, a green light to fire poor performers, a ban on union business on the government’s dime and less generous pensions — these are the contours of the blueprint emerging under Republican control of Washington in January.

These changes were once unthinkable to federal employees, their unions and their supporters in Congress. But Trump’s election as an outsider promising to shake up a system he told voters is awash in “waste, fraud and abuse” has conservatives optimistic that they could do now what Republicans have been unable to do in the 133 years since the civil service was created.

“You have the country moving to the right and being much more anti-Washington than it was,” said former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), a leading Trump adviser who serves on the president-elect’s transition team.

“We’re going to have to get the country to understand how big the problem is, the human costs of it and why it’s absolutely essential to reform,” said Gingrich, who urged Trump to shrink big government and overhaul the “job-for-life” guarantee of federal work.

Gingrich predicted that Stephen K. Bannon, a former Breitbart News chief who helped steer Trump’s campaign and is now one of his most influential advisers, would lead the effort. “It’s a big, big project,” he said.

Click through for the rest.  I wonder if such can be applied to Representatives and Senators, most of whom would be Republicans, who did not do their jobs over the past 8 years.  They were paid well, had gold plate benefits, but certainly did not represent the interests of the people.  Waste and fraud could certainly be found in the Congress.

My Universe





Nov 222016

From Alternet

This past week or so has been, what some will say, an outrageous nightmare of monumental proportions as Trump's cabinet and advisory positions are filled with ultra racists, deplorables by any other name.

Fears the incoming Trump administration will deploy race-based tools used by Nazi Germany to target Muslims were validated this week when a top immigration adviser said a national registry of immigrants might be created after taking office. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who drafted tough immigration laws in Arizona and elsewhere, said Trump's policy advisers… Continue reading »

Nov 222016

Trump has said that he is now going to unite the country, something he said that Democrats have never done.  But he has a strange way of uniting the country . . . he does it by exclusion.

Former Navy SEAL and Trump surrogate Carl Higbie horrified viewers on Wednesday when he told Fox News host Megyn Kelly that President-elect Trump's Muslim registry has "precedent" in World War II's Japanese internment camps. George Takei, who was forced into an internment camp at a young age, had some strong words in response. "Mr. Higbie used… Continue reading »