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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Mar 112017
 

It has been raining all day today . . . but no snow!  You've probably noted that TC is still sick but a physician's assistant did visit him at home and has him on medication.  Rest my friend, drink lots of water and take your medicine.  I am sure Wendy will be in to make sure you are fluffed and buffed, and ensure you are eating properly . . . maybe some chicken soup?  Personally, I am going to have some beans and toast, comfort food for a rainy day!

Short Takes

Otherwords.org —

Khalil [email protected] has a way with 'alternate' words!  I think this sums up much of the current situation as far as Drumpfenfarten and Putin are concerned.  Of course, this does not explain the 'why?', but it certainly does speak to the extent of the, shall I say, collusion.

The Hill — Preet Bharara, one of the most high-profile federal prosecutors in the country, said Saturday he was fired from President Trump's administration after he refused to resign when asked by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. 

"I did not resign. Moments ago I was fired. Being the US Attorney in SDNY will forever be the greatest honor of my professional life," tweeted Bharara, who served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.  …

"One hallmark of justice is absolute independence, and that was my touchstone every day that I served," he [Bharara] said in the statement released by the U.S. attorney's office.  …

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) heralded Bharara as an "exemplary U.S. attorney."

"His relentless drive to root out public corruption, lock up terrorists, take on Wall Street, and stand up for what is right should serve as a model for all U.S. attorneys across the country. He will be sorely missed," Schumer said in a statement.

Rachel Maddow covered the replacement of 46 federal prosecutors and Bharara's firing in the following segment of her show.

Bharara was told by both Drumpf and Sessions that they wanted him to stay on as the chief federal prosecutor in the SDNY.  Could it be that Bharara was just too damned good at his job and Drumpfenfarten and Sessions became nervous after looking at his accomplishments?  After all, as Rachel says, Drumpf Tower where Drumpf carries out all his business dealings — you know, those dealings that are supposedly in the hands of his sons who do not discuss anything with their father — is within the SDNY!

Truthout — Autre Murray, 24, never planned to go to college. He thought he couldn't afford it — even with student loans. Besides, he wasn't thrilled with the prospect of ending up in "debt up to the neck." Instead, Murray planned to earn a high school diploma and find a job doing manual labor, maybe somewhere like a factory. He told himself he didn't need a college education to become successful.

But now he's on his way to obtaining a bachelor's degree, as are other members of his Kalamazoo, Michigan, hometown. That's thanks to the Kalamazoo Promise, a scholarship program first announced at a board meeting of Kalamazoo Public Schools in November 2005. The nonprofit of the same name provides scholarships that cover 65 to 100 percent of college tuition and fees for all graduates of Kalamazoo Public Schools who meet certain criteria. Students have 10 years from the day they graduate high school to use the scholarship.  …

After Kalamazoo, Michigan, offered college tuition for nearly all high school graduates, dropout rates declined and the city's population began to rebound. (Photo: The Kalamazoo Promise / Facebook)

"The donors believe that a community's vitality — politically, socially, and economically — is closely related to the educational level of the community," says Bob Jorth, executive director of the Kalamazoo Promise. "In the knowledge-based economy that we're in, almost all good jobs require some kind of training and education beyond high school."

Kudos to the Kalamazoo Promise!  I wonder how fast Betsy DeVos can put the brakes on such an innovation? . . . not that it is within her purview.  When did that ever stop a Republican!

Huffington Post — Most of the migrants who recently made the difficult journey across the border into Canada were in the United States legally, making the trend hard to explain, says U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.

The majority travelled to the United States with the necessary visas, Kelly said Friday after a meeting in Ottawa with cabinet members including his Canadian counterpart, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.

"Everyone was perplexed," Kelly said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

"Many of them have only been in the United States a few days before they made the trek north, so it's something we're certainly trying to figure out."

"… it's something we're certainly trying to figure out." ?????  There have been Somalis crossing into Manitoba in the dead of winter, literally risking life and limb — 2 have lost many of their fingers to frostbite.  In Québec, at a well known crossing point, RCMP officers are often waiting there to arrest the people until they can chat them up properly and they can make their requests for asylum.  And U.S. Homeland Secretary John Kelly is 'perplexed' about the migrant surge into Canada?  Let's see 1) Donald Trump; 2) pervasive American discrimination of foreigners, particularly Latinos and Muslims; 3) overly zealous border agents; 4) keep adding to the list.  My apologies to my American friends, but with the current administration, the US has lost ownership of Emma Lazarus' poem that is on a plaque in the Statue of Liberty.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome
; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

YouTube (GQ Channel) — Trump’s Amazing Speech Sure Didn’t Age Well | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann

Romney has been supplanted as Mr Flip-flop by none other than Drumpfenfarten.  I remember a line from the movie "Clear and Present Danger" that went like this: "He cannot be clear when clarity is not exactly what he wants."  White House aide or a Cabinet person talking about the president played by Donald Moffat.  Sure seems appropriate to Drumpfenfarten.

Huffington Post — The idea was simple enough: publish as many absurd, obviously fake stories imaginable, and see if anyone actually falls for it. The results of this experiment were both fascinating and disheartening. 

“BREAKING: Satire Makes Fools Of Gullible Trump Supporters.”

That’s the headline James McDaniel published on his intentionally fake news website, UndergroundNewsReport.com, earlier this month.

Within just two weeks of his website going online, McDaniel had already amassed more than a million views, thousands of comments on his stories, and hundreds of thousands of “likes” and “shares” on Facebook. 

“While writing them, I was aiming for stories that no one would believe, but rather would be satirical in an age where disinformation is so prevalent,” McDaniel wrote on his website. “Just for fun, I decided to post some of the stories in Trump fan groups on Facebook to see the reactions.”

I just had to share this piece with you to give you some light fare, if not depressing, on the intelligence state of Drumpf supporters.  Go to http://undergroundnewsreport.com/the-truth/former-white-house-aide-obama-gay-man/ or http://undergroundnewsreport.com/the-truth/obama-tweet-trump-must-removed-means-necessary/  and read the comments at the end of each article.  There are several other satirical articles as well.  These are SATIRE but sadly, Drumpf supporters believe it all.  The world is becoming more dangerous every day.

My Universe

 

Resist and Persist!!!

 

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Mar 112017
 

Sorry this is so late.  With TomCat down, I told him I would put out an Open Thread but I wasn't anticipating computer issues.  It kept freezing so I had to put it to bed for several hours.

Short Takes

msn.com — A first-term congressman who spent three decades as a physician — and is now part of a group of Republican doctors who have a major role in replacing Obamacare — is facing backlash after saying that poor people “just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves.”

Rep. Roger Marshall, (R-Kan.), a member of the GOP Doctors Caucus, said comments he made to Stat News were not meant to suggest that poor people take health care for granted. The comments were published in a story last week about his burgeoning role in the fight to replace the Affordable Care Act.  …

He added that “morally, spiritually, socially,” the poor, including the homeless, “just don’t want health care.”

Well isn't he just precious.  I suppose this Republican idiot thinks everyone is made of money.  Take a WalFart employee who is being paid the minimum wage.  Many have used SNAP because their paycheques do not cover the cost of food for the family.  It is people like this, the working poor, that want healthcare but cannot afford it.  The arrogance of this doctor is astounding, but then I guess it should not be . . . he's a Republican.

Maclean's — Moscow has been waging an increasingly daring clandestine war against western democracies. Under the direction of President Vladmir Putin, Russia is targeting most of the major members of the western alliance. In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned of Russian attempts at cyber attacks. In France, Moscow has funded right-wing populist Marine Le Pen and is alleged to be spreading false propaganda about her opponents. There are now reports from British parliamentarians that Russia may have meddled with the Brexit campaign. And, of course, Putin’s interference in the U.S. Presidential election has lit a tire fire in Washington that may bring down the Trump administration, and at the very least has left America’s political institutions reeling, and its alliances weakened.

So is Canada next?  Or have the Russians already started their campaign of disinformation and lies.  As the sub headline of the article says "The smear job on Chrystia Freeland is only the start."  The Ottawa Citizen outlines just one such attempt.

Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s ambitious foreign affairs minister, is secretly itching to draw Canada into a showdown with Russia because of the seething hatreds she inherited from her Ukrainian grandfather, a Nazi collaborator and war profiteer she never told us about. She’s been lying about her family’s sordid past all along, and she’s been lying to Canadians about what’s really going on in Ukraine. She’s dangerous.

The main problem with all this is that it’s rubbish, from top to bottom. It’s also the hottest political news story in Canada right now.

All countries must keep their wits about them.  And coming back to the recent US experience with Russia,  it is interesting to note that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the Russian influence investigation but has not called for a special independent prosecutor, but he has called for a special prosecutor to investigate the accusations made by Drumpf that Obama authorised the wiretapping of Trump Tower.  While wiretapping American citizens is illegal, the Russia affair is far more dangerous from a national security perspective.  Misplaced Republican priorities?

The Hill — Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said his office on Monday would formally join a suit filed by four other states, Reuters reported

"The administration persists in an effort to implement a policy that is inhumane and unconstitutional, but also makes us less safe, not more safe," Frosh said in a statement.

The states are pushing for a temporary restraining order similar to the one that halted President Trump's first order.

Maryland joins New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D), Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum (D), Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D) and Washington state in challenging the new ban.

In addition to these five states, Hawaii is also launching a suit against the travel ban, but its suit is based on economic criteria and not constitutional criteria.  May the force be with them!  Update — Seattle U.S. District Court Judge James Robart on Friday declined to apply his first order to the new ban.  Lawyers need to file more extensive court papers.

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Mar 072017
 

I'm having a very difficult day.  Last night was so muggy and noisy that I ably slept for about ninety minutes.  Safeway.com will be delivering groceries in the next hour and forty minutes.  When they do, I have to unpack and put them away, without the help I normally get from Store to Door.  I already feel exhausted.  Please expect no more than a personal update from me tomorrow.  I have a meeting.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today's took me 4:52 (average 4:54).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Donald J. Trump’s claim that Barack Obama wiretapped him received a strong denial on Monday from the former President, who said to reporters, “Like I’d want to hear more from that fool?”

Obama said that, when he first saw Trump’s allegations on Twitter, “My first thought was, Only a narcissist on the scale of Donald Trump would think people want to hear more from him than they currently do. If anything, I think we’d all like to hear way, way less.”

He said that his wife, Michelle, agreed that the idea of his wanting to hear more from Donald Trump “was one of the funniest things she’s ever heard.”

LOL Andy! Is that an exact quote? It could be! RESIST!!

From NY Times: President Trump’s executive order barring immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries experienced nearly universal defeat in the federal courts. On Monday, he issued a revised version of that order, but it still suffers from a fundamental, and fatal, flaw: It constitutes unlawful religious discrimination.

On the surface, this revised order looks different from the first version. It explicitly exempts Iraq from the travel ban, thus reducing the number of affected countries to six, as well as lawful permanent residents (that is, green card holders) and people who have visas. It no longer categorically bars Syrian refugees or includes a religious test to determine which refugees may enter the country. And in a marked departure from the earlier order, it goes into effect in 10 days, so that the chaos that unfolded in airports around the world when the January order became effective presumably won’t happen again.

These changes are, no doubt, intended to address the due process concerns that led the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to affirm a lower-court ruling that put a hold on part of the original order. But while these changes are important, they do not fix the core problem with the executive order: The administration is waging an all-out assault on Islam and Muslims.

That’s because anti-Muslim bias and bigotry that characterized the original travel ban remain in this revised version. The order is still limited to only Muslim-majority countries: namely, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Residents of those countries — and only those countries — will be severely restricted in their ability to travel into the United States for 90 days. Left off are the predominately Christian countries that the State Department lists as “Terrorist Safe Havens” like Colombia, the Philippines and Venezuela.

The Fuhrer's underlying motives for this are still hatred and bigotry. RESIST!!

From YouTube (GQ Channel): The Russian Developments That Matter Most | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann

 

Flushing Trump is not enough. Every Republican must be removed from office. RESIST!!

Cartoon:

0307Cartoon

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Mar 062017
 

For the next week I may be a bit scarce.  I have a grocery delivery tomorrow from Safeway.com, because on Wednesday, I have to go out for an annual meeting, so expect only a Personal Update that day.  Next Monday I shall be 39 for the 31st consecutive time, but Wendy works and I have a Urologist appointment, so on Sunday Wendy wants to celebrate with a surprise.  In any case, please expect only Personal Updates both days.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 5:26 (average 8:31).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (LWT Channel): Dalai Lama: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

 

I have to admire the Dalai Lama’s positivity toward the enemies of his people. I can’t imagine being that positive to the Fuhrer. RESIST!!

From CNN: About two-thirds of Americans say a special prosecutor should investigate contacts between Russians and Trump campaign associates, according to a new CNN/ORC poll, and 55% say they are at least somewhat concerned by reports that some connected to the Trump campaign had contact with suspected Russian operatives.

However, the steady stream of news about investigations into those contacts doesn’t appear to have affected President Donald Trump’s approval rating, which ticked up only one percentage point — 44% to 45% — from January.

Concerns about the reported contacts are closely tied to partisanship, with 71% of Democrats saying they are "very concerned" about it while 54% of Republicans say they have no concerns "at all" about the reports.

It boggles my mind that 29% of Democrats and 54% of Republicans are not concerned that Republican campaign officials were in contact with Russian intelligence operatives at the same time Russian intelligence were conspiring and interfering to influence our election on Trump’s behalf. It means that 29% of Democrats are idiots and 54% of Republicans are idiots, traitors or both.  RESIST!!

From Daily Kos: With reports that unpopular orange-tinted President Donald Trump and Republicans plan on obliterating the EPA’s budget this coming year, many of the people who voted for him might be getting a rude awakening. States like Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin enjoy the waters of the Great Lakes, and the EPA is one of those agencies that tries to ensure that those lakes can be enjoyable for generations to come.

The National Association of Clean Air Agencies confirmed for the Free Press late  Thursday that an initial proposal from the White House Office of Management and Budget calls for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to be cut from $300 million a year to about $10 million.

[…]

If the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is targeted for such a drastic reduction — and it is by far the largest dollar cut on Davis’ partial list from the association’s data — it would decimate a program that has helped pay to restore wetlands and improve water quality across the Upper Midwest.

Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania — Great Lakes states that backed Trump in the election last year — have all received funding under the initiative, which many lawmakers of both parties in the region have steadfastly supported even when other Republicans have moved to reduce it.

Once again, it’s time for people, who voted for Trump to take the position to receive his thanks to you. Drop your pants, bend over, and grab your ankles. RESIST!!

Cartoon:

0306Cartoon

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Trump Lied about Keystone XL

 Posted by at 10:43 am  Politics
Mar 052017
 

When Fuhrer Drumphenfarten, liar extraordinaire, promised to green-light Keystone XL, his primary justification was the jobs he falsely claimed it would bring.  He emphasized steel manufacturing jobs and obtained the votes of thousands steel workers with the promise that only US Steel would be used.  However, Trump is now colluding with Transamerica to guarantee that the steel money goes to who he really represents.

0305KeystoneXLAfter green lighting the continuation of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline in an executive order January 24th, President Trump declared as recently as last week that the pipeline had to use American made steel “or we’re not building one.”

But on Friday, Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced that the directive would apply only to new pipelines or those currently undergoing repair.

That sharp reversal now paves the way for the use of a stockpile of steel manufactured in Canada by a subsidiary of Evraz, a company in which Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich owns nearly a one/third stake… [emphasis added]

From <Huffington Post>

There it is, steel workers.  Your jobs are going into the pockets of a Russian billionaire, who is a close ally of Putin and a Trump family friend.

RESIST!!

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