Opening Statement

Tuesday 31 January 2017

Santiago De Cuba: The Beach Is The Thing!

Brrrrrrr! Toronto is a three or four hour flight from Cuba. Depends upon where you go. I'm back in Toronto from Santiago de Cuba, down on the south shore of the island.

It's a quick turn around. Then I'm off to Varadero and Havana for a bit. Oh the joys of retirement, come Canadian winter ....

The Brisas Sierra Mar Resort, Santiago de Cuba: I spent a week enjoying it's dumfy charms. In a run down room far from the busy hustle and bustle of the other guests upstairs by the crowded pool. The deck lounge. The lobby bar. 

My rattly old sliding doors open to the beach. All week I perch myself on an old battered lounge chair in the dark sand, below a swaying palm, gazing out at the tumultuous turquoise sea, against the steep backdrop of the towering mountain range. Enjoy long walks along the endless, desolate sand beach. The huge breakers crashing along the coast. The pounding surf. The salty air.

Sometimes, I swam out to the reef. Usually quite alone, I'd silently ride the giant swell of the waves, rising and falling in harmony with the elements. Follow the long, reef stretching along the coast. Never getting too close to the giant shards of rough coral, especially with a huge wave in sight.  Staying just inside the reef, I'd dive deep, deep down, 16 to 20 feet or so to the sandy bottom. Testing my endurance. Eager to explore more. Check out the fish!

Unlike on past visits, the winds were just too strong to stay out long. So I'd suntan on the beach. The hot, hot Caribbean sun beating down on me. I close my eyes. Drink in the experience with all my senses.

It's a snapshot of the mind that I'll pull out on the long, cold winter nights ahead. Closing my eyes again, I drift back. In my mind's eye, I am still there.

My faithful travelling companion and sister Mary Anne once again joined me. We lounge about. Engage in idle chatter. Read a book. Catch up on things. She's a beach person too. Some folks are. Some aren't. We love it!

For tunes? I'm on a Beach Boys Binge. Might be cold here in Canada but I'm lying there in bliss. Listening. The Chuck Berry rock n' roll guitars! The soaring harmonies! The weaving prototype Pepperland melodies. Juxtaposed psychedelic sounds. I SMiLE! It's a surreal psychedelic barbershop quintet on acid swirling between my headphones as I stare out to sea.

We only engaged in one trip, to bring flowers to Fidel at the Santa Ifigenia Cemetary outside Santiago de Cuba. About an hour away. I also got our driver to take us into town. Drop off Professors Jose Luis and Marta at their home down by the cathedral in the city centre. Catch a glimpse of the mad rush of life in Santiago; a 500 year old, crumbling city, lost in time.

Jose Luis and Marta came out to the hotel for a few days. To enjoy the beach. The buffet. To talk Cuban School talk. To talk Jose Marti. Fidel Castro. The Beatles.

I provided some more funding for the "Ingles Para Ti "English instruction workbook. A new edition to be used in the isolated mountain schools. I hope to return to Santiago this spring, stay in the city. Follow up on our efforts.

At home with Prof Jose Luis, Santiago de Cuba!

My trip -other than that? Here's a first! Our hotel was mostly populated with Canadian tourists from Toronto and Montreal. What followed was a very Canadian experience!The Smokers and Non-Smokers clashed. A giant free for all. [1]

There were a handful of incidents. Over my morning coffee, I watched as a non smoker grabbed a smoker's expensive Go Pro camera. Said he'd only give it back if he didn't smoke at the resort for the rest of the week. Didn't know each other. Nobody smoking at the time. Absurd!

A fight ensued. Followed by an impromptu 2 am knock 'em, sock 'em, chance encounter at the piano bar. Bizarre!

The lobby piano bar -a very exciting place!

2 am seemed to be extra special. Another night at 2ish, a non smoker kicked a door right off it's hinges because he thought the guests in the room below him where smoking in bed. Reminds me of an old joke:

Q: Do you smoke in bed?
A: Dunno, I never looked!

This was hardly funny though. For the most part, I was just content to stay put down by the beach. It was safe. Quiet. Not too busy. The sun. The sea. The sand. A live Cuban band. Drinks from the open bar .....

The food? Blech! Luckily we brought lots of our own snacks. Nutrition bars.

On the flight home there was an air rage incident, as the smokers and non smokers clashed in the tight, narrow aisle way onboard the airplane. The rest of us were stuck in our seats. The RCMP waiting to arrest the culprits when we landed back in Toronto.

Yes! Fighting on an airplane, along with death threats, is a federal offence. No! It's not funny when you are stuck sitting there in your seat, nowhere safe to go. While folks try to kill each other in a fight over non-smoker's rights. When nobody is even smoking!

The cost? El cheapo! About $1000 Canadian for the week. All inclusive. There were problems, but tell me -where else in the Caribbean you can find a place at that price this time of year?

For me, the beach is the thing. And the Cuban people, for their part, as always, were a pure delight. I'd give the vacation two thumbs up! But pulled no punches, so to speak!

I'm off to Havana and Varadero in February with family and friends. This time we will do the hotel, tourist, city thing to the max, for a change of pace. Hmmmm.

Stay tuned!


David C.

My sister and I in Cuba!

[1] Smoking wasn't allowed in the restaurants and dining room. That worked out well. However, as far as the open public areas and bars go, the smoking law seems quite different than in Canada. I'm a non tobacco smoker. Sure as hell wouldn't smoke a joint there either. I didn't find the situation too bad. Certainly wasn't deserving of the conflict that ensued, a first for me in Cuba or for that matter anywhere in the Caribbean I've been. Whew!

Wednesday 25 January 2017

Flowers For Fidel!

Santiago De Cuba, Saturday January 14th 2017

Rather incredulously, I briskly march through the gates of historic Santa Ifigenia Cemetery, a bouquet in hand. Announce to the armed Cuban revolutionary guards that I've got flowers for Fidel. They simply nod. Wave me through into the inner sanctum.

It's Cuba past and present! Surrounded by tall, sprawling palm trees and glorious carved stone monuments, it's tucked among the foothills of the towering Sierra Maestra mountains that surround us. The proud burial site of  founding father Jose Marti! The Heroes of the 1959 Revolution! And now El Commandante y Jefe Fidel Castro himself.

All is silent. The sun beats down. A slight breeze ruffles the otherwise stifling, late day Caribbean heat. There aren't any objections as I proceed through the large crowd of visitors gathered to pay their respects. My off the cuff speech is short, very impromptu and perhaps quite unexpected [SEE

History will remember Fidel Castro much better than many do today. He was a major 20th century figure throughout the America's, beyond the USA and right wing circles. 

Often well respected and very much loved as an unapologetic, socialist democrat and also as a Cuban founding father figure, Fidel was very much an underdog hero for our times.

Among Latin, South American, and Caribbean leaders, Fidel alone gave the Washington DC imperialist oppressors the finger and lived to get away with it. Fidel died standing. He did not live on his knees. [1]

Fidel did not die at the hands of the CIA or the mafia. Nor in those of any other much despised post colonial henchmen or bandits though the efforts were many. In the end, Fidel finally succumbed to cancer at the ripe old age of ninety. [2]

Unfortunately, Castro family friend and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau didn't attend Fidel's funeral. Nor does one suspect that he will return to pay his respects at the tomb site anytime soon.

Also conspicuous by their absence are the supposed leaders of Canada's left.The NDP? Our union chiefs? Other progressives? All missing in action!

The month before Fidel's death, Trudeau visited Havana to reconfirm Canada's independent foreign policy towards Cuba. It's been one of constructive engagement for peaceful change. It's been respected successively for almost 60 years now, by quite different Liberal and Conservative Canadian governments, since the 1959 Cuban Revolution.

Without doubt the latest, fierce, American firestorm of hypocritical, right wing extremism in denouncing Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution since his death hasn't helped matters. Even our Canadian neo cons played "Me Too! Me Too!" in a copycat fashion. It is very embarrassing and disheartening -how quickly our weak kneed Canadian "leaders" today cower in the face of such bullshit!

Heroes of the Revolution [1959]

Running? Hiding? Crawling around on bended knee? Alas, my friends, it seem for now that such small, personal visits like mine are all Cuba gets. One can only hope other's will soon start to step up in increasing numbers too. 

Should you choose to go, Fidel's tomb is located near the front gates of Santa Ifigenia Cemetery, just northwest outside Santiago de Cuba. A small fee is nominally charged to preserve this historic site. Fidel Castro's final resting place is between Cuba's nationalist Jose Marti's towering 24 meter mausoleum and the curved wall at the pantheon dedicated to the Heroes of the Revolution.

Fidel's tomb is a very simple, if not huge and rounded quartz stone. A recess has been carved out as a vestibule for his ashes, covered by a plaque that reads "Fidel". There's lots of history and symbolism here:

The quartz rock was excavated from Big Rock up in the Sierra Maestra's. That's where Fidel was captured following the 1954 attack on the Monacado Barracks. His trial resulted in the famous "History will absolve me" speech. It fired Cuban nationalist sentiments ultimately culminating in 1959 with the "Triumph on the Revolution".

Jose Marti

This unadorned rock tomb is in keeping with Fidel's final wishes.There aren't to be any fancy statues raised in his honour. Nor are any schools, hospitals, airports or other government building to be named after him either.

Instead, we are left with this simple and humbling stone memorial. It's a very fitting testament to his steadfast strength of resolve in standing up for Cuba -the "rock" upon which Cuba's socialist constitution, universal medicare and education continues to be based. A very fitting tribute for Fidel indeed!

As we prepare to leave, I stop to record the changing of the guard outside Jose Marti's mausoleum. The ceremony occurs on the half hour throughout the day, same as it has for many years. [WATCH]

Now there is one small difference. A lone soldier also marches up to maintain eternal guard on Fidel Castro's Cuban legacy too. While a very refreshing, peaceful and invigorating breeze stirs and tugs at those of us gathered in our silent reverence.

"I Am Fidel" -Statues + buildings are out. However, this slogan is frequently seen as street graffiti, here more formalized, down by the harbor in Santiago de Cuba. 


[1] I won't belabor my views or background familiarity with Cuba here. Suffice to see my previous blogs:

RIP: Fidel Castro @ Here!

Here are 2 interesting obituaries, with plenty of info, pictures and video on Fidel, his life and times, and his recent burial in Santiago de Cuba @ BBC and @ Granma

On My Cuban School Project Links @ Here!

Cuba: What The Heck Is Going On?!? @ Here!

Cuba: What Do They Think? @ Here

Boardwalk Empire/ Havana Empire: Why The Revolution? @ There!

[2] All info on Fidel's death by cancer and his rock tomb is still, pretty new and was provided locally to me by my Cuban school teacher friends in Santiago de Cuba. Apparently he was diagnosed with cancer just before he resigned in 2006. He seems to have been in and out of remission several times but knew well in advance that his time had come.

Big Rock is a well known historical site. There seems to be more symbolism to the types of quartz found in his stone but I could not adequately nail that down, though a visit to the site could probably confirm more details. I might return in late winter, early spring but am planning a city visit to the schools and with my teacher friends. Anyway, stay tuned! I am off Cuba tripping to Havana and Varadero next, in a few weeks .....

Prof. Jose Luis Tejaro from Santiago de Cuba + I pay our respects!


Monday 9 January 2017

Santiago De Cuba Trippin'

[NB: If my missives stop I have either a] been captured by communist forces! Or b] the internet service at the Brisas is down! Alas! Stay tuned ....]

Christmas is over. It's bitterly cold in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Time for me to fly off to Cuba again!

This will be at least my 50th trip, since 1981. I've lost track. The changes have been profound, especially since I first started the Cuba School Project [LINK], back in 1992. 

Sometimes I go to teach. Sometimes just to travel. My sister and I are heading out this time, for a visit to the beach. We will be staying at the all inclusive Brisas Sierra Mar [Roughly translated: breezes, mountains, sea. Basically says it all] [LINK] outside Santiago de Cuba. 

My teacher friends will be joining us for a conference and some downtime there. I have also arranged for a car to take us to Fidel Castro's [LINK] grave, to lay some flowers and pay our respects.

Internet connectivity has always been dicey. We will see if it has improved. I'd like to blog the trip. If I can't, I might be able to Twitter it. You can follow our adventures 

The Joys of Retirement: There's lots of family staying here at home for work, school and so on. I will be leaving quietly, only for a week this time, with more trips to follow during the winter months' ahead. Janet and my trip to Varadero and Havana follows later. I would also like to return to stay in Santiago a bit longer to visit with my teacher friends, and go to the schools, closer to spring.

Stay tuned!

David C

TRAVEL ADVISORY: Cuba is still under a difficult 50 year old US Embargo. A military state of emergency is in effect. Although it's still very kool and laid back for friendly visitors [lots of Canucks', Latino/a's y Europeans] -leave your cannabis at home, for now! Still an A+++ trip!


My Last Visit to Cuba and the Brisas Sierra Mar @ HERE!

Cuba: What the Heck is Going On? @ HERE!

Exclusive- Cuba: What Do They Think? @ THERE!


Some autentico Santiago De Cuba Hip Hop y Rap @ Youtube

Ricky Ricardo aka Desi Arnez  [I Love Lucy!] show us how it's done @ Babalu!

Viva Cuba! Viva Fidel y Che! @ Nathalie Cardone's Hasta Siempre Video!

Snorkeling along the Brisas' Coral Reef @ Youtube


Monday 2 January 2017

Teacher Free Speech January New y Views!

hEY hO! kEEP ChECKing BAcK! LaTeR AdDITIoNs WiLL bE AddED In LaRgE TYpe SeT! mY Acronym Guide IS @ hErE! ... Legalization news now moved to "Oh Cannabis!" @ HERE!


ETFO public elementary teachers issue a comprehensive call to action on the ongoing, pressing issue of violence in our Ontario schools. Mental health, incident reporting and the need for proper, adequate Special Education supports are all addressed in a straightforward and often overlooked manner @ ETFO

OSSTF Public Secondary School Teacher President Paul Elliot's statement on the Quebec City shootings is @ OSSTF

Not So Safe Schools For Teachers and Staff: EA's [Educational Assistants] across Canada regularly get attacked and assaulted as a part of their job. Few of us even know or seem to care about the situation. Here's a good firsthand account of what our EA's are expected to put up with everyday @ EF

One School System? Fraser Institute study argues that our publicly funded, Ontario, Catholic school system is largely a "political decision". It could be fairly easily reversed with a legislative amendment to our Constitution, if the will is there @ MN

"In The Liberal Pocket" or "Bill 115 Follow Up": For shame! OECTA Catholic teachers reach a tentative contract extension deal with the notorious teacher bashing Wynne Liberals! Concessions, concessions, concessions .... real and figurative @ Star

Ontario MOE [Ministry Of Education] continues to try to negotiate teacher union contract extensions beyond the next very problematic provincial election. The besieged Liberal government must go to the polls by June 7, 2018. A tentative deal has been struck with the provinces 10,000 AEFO French language teachers. Also perhaps, some individual Unifor support staff units. So far, I have only been able to confirm that OSSTF has broken off the contentious talks. More @ CTV

NSTU [Nova Scotia Teacher Union] has again recommended a tentative agreement with the provincial government to their 9,300 members, the third so far. Work to rule is being phased out prior to the Feb. 8th ratification vote. Let's see if the union are finally listening to their grass root teacher members @ CTV

Ontario Teacher/ Support Staff Unions Take Note!

Nova Scotia teachers resume Work to Rule as member discontent with many of the terms, and confusion from the premier's office over key details, suggest it's far from a done deal come the Feb. 8th ratification vote @ CBC

Here's why the grass root members are pissed off with the latest union "deal" @ CBC

Welcome to Canada eh? A helpful campus guide for American students' thinking of fleeing Trump by attending university in Canada; the pro's and con's @ Vice

Don't Laugh: Ryerson University, downtown Toronto reports a 62% spike in US undergraduate student applications now that Trump is Prez @ EyeOpener

Medical Cannabis: How will it be covered by our medical benefit programs at work once it's legalized? It's time to start planning properly now. This is worth repeating from my Oh Cannabis blog because I know a lot of my readers are involved in collective bargaining and the union movement. Something to think about @ MedReleaf

Windsor Ontario assembly line worker fights for his right to use prescription medical cannabis on the job. Note that his prescription is for a CBD hybrid which isn't okay, but mind numbing Fentalyn and Percocets are fine @ Star

What are your rights in Canada if you are fired from work because you require medical cannabis? Are accommodations in order? It's tricky but basically it should be treated like any other prescription drug! More @ Globe

How female students are targeted and recruited for the sex trade!

Traffickers target Canadian high school girls as sex trade worker recruits @ Star

Despite our reservations about many other aspect's of the Ontario Wynne government, they have passed some very leading edge social legislation. Now, if passed, Bill 26 will permit a work leave for victims of domestic violence, a first in Canada and many other jurisdictions @ McMillan

Right 2 Disconnect: A new French employment law allows workers to turn off their smart phones and not be disturbed outside of regular work hours. Burn out, unpaid overtime and the attendant home/family problems resulting from an "always on work culture" are cited. Attention CB'ers: Suppose we are too polite to insist upon this in Canada?!? @ Telesur

"Xmas [W]Rap" or "The 2016 Lump o' Coal Award": Over 1 million Canadian retail workers didn't earn a living wage working throughout the Christmas season, now receding for another year in our rear view shopping mirror. Not surprisingly, only 12% of them are unionized. Meanwhile, retailers continue to rake in billions in revenue without any inclination whatsoever to give them a fair shake! Fa la la @ PP

Please share: A teenager's guide to becoming an activist! OK protest kids! It's @ Affinity


Canada: Brrrrrrr! 

Is Canadian Prime minister Justin Trudeau the last major progressive leader still standing on the world stage today? PS: We use the term progressive lightly! @ CBC

Trudeau verses Trump? Justin isn't Donald. Canada is not the USA. This should be really interesting @ CBC and @ Vice

New Year's Message: PM Justin Trudeau speaks out against "fear and division" pledging that he will focus on "what brings people together" during the year ahead. Sounds good, but we eagerly wait to see the "deliverology". Trudeau's recent announcement that he will go ahead with the western pipelines certainly gives pause for concern among our indigenous people. Also for those of us concerned about the environment, if not the Canadian and US oil interests. Sigh! At least he's not Donald Trump! See below ... Speech @ CBC

Immigration or "Canada is NOT The US": Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responds to Trump's shocking immigration ban by reconfirming that refugee's are still welcome in Canada @ Ind

Trudeau government quickly confirms with Washington that Canadian "permanent residents" are exempt from Trump's immigration ban. Best bet? Use your Canadian passport ... More @ Star

Quebec Suspect: An Muslim Terrorist Threat?!? Ummmm .... he's white!

Trudeau succinctly describes the attack on a Quebec mosque in which 6 are killed as a "terrorist attack on Muslims". Boy, you can tell he isn't Donald Trump! More @ Reuters Read Trudeau's statement @ GC.CA More news updates @ Fox

Heart of White Darkness: A 27 year old white male university student is charged in the Quebec Mosque shootings. Of course, the media quickly label him a "lone wolf" and "online troll" assuaging fears that we white folks are equally capable of despicable racist/ terrorist acts .... er ... like those dreadful Muslim Islamist terrorists we hear so much about in the daily news! Oh, and by the way .... he is a Canuck Trump supporter, and is against Muslim immigration to Quebec too! Read @ Globe and @ CNN Critique @ ZeroHedge

Me Too! Me Too! Canadian mainstream media engages in "false news" stories as the Quebec Mosque shooting story breaks. Some reflections on the "common threads of intolerance" in Trumpland North @ Post

Dept-Of-Actions-Speak-Louder-Than-Words-But-Aren't-A- Substitute-For-Speaking-Out! The Trump White House quickly plays the Quebec Mosque shooting as a ludicrous justification for it's own controversial immigration ban. Justin frames the problem much more differently, nay appropriately for Canadians, but still can't quite take bully boy Trump to task @ Star

NAFTA: Consider the Canadian angle: President Trump's protectionist thrust has the world's free trading nations lining up to play negotiation hardball. The outcomes remain uncertain. Think of our trade agreements as a game of Jenga. No one piece, exists in isolation. Remove any and the whole darn thing, for all concerned, is in danger of coming toppling down! As far as free trade agreements go, that could be right on top of everybody's head, including US President Trump. Where does that leave Canada? With NAFTA? The TPP? More @ CBC

UNIFOR Bemoans Loss of 625 Ontario GM Auto Jobs To Mexico: Many Canadian businesses, unions as well as the Canadian government want positive changes to NAFTA. Why anyone would think Donald "Make-America-Great-Again" Trump wants to make NAFTA more profitable and create more jobs for us as Canadians, sorely misses the point @ Sun and @ CDN

PM Kevin O'Leary?!?

Into The Dragon Den We Go: Villain Millionaire Reality TV Star Kevin O'Leary enters the Canadian Conservative Party leadership race as a nefarious if not watered down version of Donald Trump North @ Yahoo!

Welcome to 2017: Here's an overview of the new tax and regulation changes that come into effect for Toronto and across Ontario. Hydro bills? Transit fares? Towing? Restaurant menus?  Vacation package pricing? For better or worse, they are all affected @ BT

Road Tolls To Nowhere: Embattled Liberal Premier Wynne joins the NDP and PC's in opposing Toronto Mayor John "Flip-Flop" Tory's plans to introduced road tolls on the Gardiner Expressway/ 401. Now if she'd only stop playing footsies altogether with the Tory is a Tory is a John Tory @ Star

Under the Christmas radar: Among the holiday blur, our Canadian government finally admits that the $15 billion worth of armoured vehicles we are selling to the Saudi's could be used by the oil giant in it's brutal and unjust war against Yemen. With jobs on the line, even UNIFOR has been silent about the obvious moral contradiction vis a vis the blood on our hands from supporting a bloodthirsty tyrannical theocracy, in the troubled middle east @ Vice

Margaritaville North? We might joke that climate change could soon change Canada into a balmy hot weather getaway destination. But  unfortunately it won't be healthy for people and other living things! With President Trump treating it like a hoax, how will the unfolding environmental crisis affect us here in the true north @ Vice

Toronto Police + Gay Pride: Close but no cigar!

Not Welcome: Toronto Police have been officially uninvited from marching in the Toronto Gay Pride Parade! Black Lives Matter Toronto has been actively pressing the issue since the 2016 march. Many local blacks, along with other disadvantaged and abused LGBTQ's of all colour and persuasions still feel uncomfortable with the police department's prominent presence in the yearly grand parade. Despite some notable attempts at redress, the wounds from the infamous Toronto Police bathhouse raids and the Cherry Beach beatings of years past, still run deep. Police union chief Mike McCormack's aggressive push back doesn't seem to be helping matters much either @ Vice

Red Alert: Timely report on how Canadian right wing interests used the police and media to thwart a duly elected NDP social democratic government in our Ontario economic heartland during the Bob Rae years in the early 90's. Many of us should remember that very well. Here we go again! Apply the same model to Alberta
today @ Globe

Gender Equality: On the first full day of the Trump presidency thousands of Toronto protesters gather at Queen's Park in solidarity with the Women's Washington March. They join over a million of their counterparts in protests across the US and around the world. Story @ Globe Video @ CP24 

Canada is not the US, but here's 10 more reason's why we marched @ Now

No Balls? Perhaps with an eye to the upcoming Canada US NAFTA talks, the Trudeau government downplays a US decision to deny a group of Canadian women marchers entry at the border to join the Washington protest. The women are definitely wearing the pants here! @ Guardian

Canadian women join their US counterparts to explain why they felt it was important to join the march in Washington D.C. @ Cut

Ontario NDP's Andrea Horwath becomes the only main Ontario political party leader to join the Toronto protest outside the provincial legislature at Queen's Park. Lefty stalwart MPP Cheri Dinovo also made her services available from within the "Pink Palace" via Twitter. Our Premier Kathleen Wynne? Nowhere to be seen! Here's to Andrea and Cheri @ Getty

Night of the Living Dead: Former CPC PM Stephen Harper is reactivated for a Neo Con Canuck perspective on the Trump presidency. He makes shaded, guarded references to "global uncertainty". Love the side comments here @ Vice


Hello Donald!

How to survive Donald Trump?!? Sigh! Alas! Worry not -kinda sorta .... Here's a practical guide that helps keep these troubling issues within a manageable perspective during very trying times. Interesting point -it's written by a Republican too! @ Politico

Read the transcript and/ or watch the video of President Trump's "populist" Inauguration speech @ CBC

Trump's Inaugural Speech portrays an alternate reality of a deep, dark Amerika wherein only he can save the "forgotten" @ Politico

Strictly An Amateur Apprentice: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has to explain the terms of the Geneva Accord to the Donald as waves of shock, anger and concern follow around the world in response to his plans to ban refugees from 7 countries; Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia @ Guardian 

Trump Not Above the Law: ACLU [American Civil Liberties Authority] are issued an "emergency stay" putting President Trump's "executive order" for an immigration ban on hold, while the legalities or lack thereof are sorted out. Fortunately, in a constitutional democracy, even the president isn't above the law @ Yahoo

You're Fired: US Attorney General Sally Yates is removed from office by President Trump for contradicting his immigration ban. What did she do wrong?!? She wasn't convinced that the ban was lawful nor that it will hold up in court, so she wouldn't support it @ Guardian 

Trump sparks a constitutional crisis the likes of which the US hasn't seen since Watergate in dismissing AG Sally Yates @ GQ and @ Guardian

Duh ... well I signed it real nice! Now everybody needs to obey!

Not Too Popular Here! The Women's March in Washington: some highlights and the view from Canada @ Globe

Ironically, President Trump might unwittingly be helping rally and revitalize the disparate US feminist movement. A sunny side to all the madness? Seems to me like the left often flourishes best in opposition @ Economist

Alt Right/ Alt Facts?!? Unbecoming Trump White House spat over the numbers attending his inauguration introduce a new term into our political lexicon; "alternative facts". They are quickly exposed as just "old fashioned lies", leading many to ponder why the Donald would so quickly undermine his important credibility as the new US President on such a trivial matter. Trumped @ Guardian

Food 4 Thought: Global trust in government and the mainstream media is at an all time low. Worldwide, the angry masses, rather than waking up, are instead being sidetracked, divided and conquered with virulent populist and nationalist appeals by their "leaders" @ ActivistPost

Fake News? Alt Facts? Nothing New! Bernie Sanders explains how corporate media threatens democracy!
Alas! There's nothing new under the sun! Seems fake news was okay up until now coz just the big boys were doing it. Without doubt, the mainstream news game is stacked! @ ITT

Post Truth Politics is Nothing New: Think WMD's [Weapon's of Mass Destruction] in Iraq! Or the DEA "Reefer Madness" fear mongering! Or the US's "free market goals" for Cuba! The list of lies goes on and on and on @ RT

Danger! It's a trap!

President Trump: For Americans the trap has already been set. The Trump presidency might even be crazier than expected -by design! Consider what might very well be really going on behind the Trump fa├žade @ SCG

Comic hero Batman is the ONLY billionaire who ever dedicated his life to fighting for the little guy. Donald Trump is no Batman! The neo liberal, global, financial elite, of whom he is an integral part, continue full throttle to plunder, conquer, assimilate and exploit the less fortunate around the world for their own exclusive gain @ WT

Is Trump's populism really about giving the people what they want? Or is it a deceptive smokescreen to help facilitate the ruling elites self serving neo lib agenda? @ Vice

Shape Of Things To Come: Core, basic, everyman and woman civil right, climate change and healthcare issues have all been removed from the White House website as Trump becomes president @ Esquire

Back to the 50's? Any reference to LGBTQ issues is now MIA too! Compare the site now with during the Obama presidency for more on what's been removed and added @ AdWeek

Happy New Year: US President Elect Donald Trump ends 2016 by lavishly praising Russian President Putin for his "great move" against Obama in the ongoing US-Russian Cyber War. Then celebrates with an especially mean spirited Tweet against his enemies on the home front in his new year message. Auld Lang Syne? @ Ind

Putin's End Game: A look at the high stakes Russian info war and how President Trump's anti-globalist, anti-NATO rhetoric could play into their hands. Interesting angle on false news pro ports that the Russian goal is to lead the US to make a misstep and act against it's own interests. Lots to think about @ Politico

Post Factualism: A "weaponized narrative" is being used as the 21st century version of political "propaganda" or as it's now called "perception control",  to manipulate the thoughts, feelings, actions and beliefs of a target audience, either at home in the US or abroad. Fears are being raised as to how common the technique might all ready be. Think of the CIA claims that Russian hacks might've screwed around with US electorate's mindset during the fall election. Has the US government also used this technique against other countries in the past too? More @ ActivistPost

Oligarchical Riggin' 201: The big news story for 2016? Russia verses the US? Clinton verses Trump? Our new "Post Truth" news era might very well enable the ruling powers that be to befuckle the public mind, further fooling us about what they are really up to, and what is really going on @ FTP

Is life in the world today like belonging to a cult group that never questions the irrational claims that are being made, nor ever wonders why everything is just so? More @ ActivistPost

Brit PM May: Pucker Up Butter Cup! The Donald's a comin' ...

He's Fired: 1.6 million Brits sign a petition to rescind or downgrade Trump's state visit to the UK hosted by the Queen, after he announces his immigration ban. Prime Minister Theresa May, fresh back from her trip to Washington remains adamant that the visit will go ahead as planned! Pucker up buttercup, the Donald's coming @ Guardian

Russia + The Ukraine/ Crimea? NATO posturing and war games in East Europe are cast in doubt as President Trump questions the US's ongoing role in the alliance. There must be a lot of ol' Republican and Democrat Cold Warriors and WW2 vets rolling over in their graves! @ Stars + Stripes

Big Oil Does It Again: Western antagonism towards Russia might have a lot less to do with refugees and terrorists than a concern over it's European oil pipelines @ ActivistPost

Uncertainty from Trump's hedging on a "One China Policy"  creates potential for a high stake conflict, as the Chinese size up America's new president. The signs are not good @ CBC

China greets the new US President by deploying a new generation of nuclear tipped ICBM [Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles] capable of hitting the US. Oh ... and they hold over a trillion in US debt that they can cash in when push from Trump comes to shove! Kaboooom? @ ActivistPost

Big Oil Verses Indigenous Land Rights + Potable Water: Where does Standing Rock stand now that Trump is president?!? @ T-O

Native American tribe says no to Trump's plan to build the Mexico Wall across their lands @ Palmer

Bad Moon Rising: Flabbergasted NAACP members are arrested for protesting Trump's pro KKK Attorney General pick, Jeff Sessions @ Telesur

For Shame! House Republicans kill off the Flint Michigan water investigation while everybody is looking the other way, attention diverted, by all of the Donald's antics @ PalmerReport

All The New Laws + Executive Orders: Obamacare, the TPP [Trans Pacific Pact], abortion funding, a federal hiring freeze -the growing list goes on and on as Trump settles into the president's office. Keep track @ Vice

Amateur Apprentice #2: Seemingly still in campaign mode the Trumpster befuddles the CIA by bringing along his own cheering section of 40 to his first, contentious meeting with the intelligence boys at their Washington headquarters as POTUS [President Of The United States] @ DB

Hasta Siempre: Fidel Castro is dead. Trump is threatening to reverse Obama's efforts to normalize US relations with Cuba. The rogue socialist state has faced bigger threats before, so what to expect in 2017? Consider @ Telesur


Pussy Hat Project's Colette Raptosh Rocks the Trump!

The Latest Protest Fashion Ware? Try a pink, crocheted "Pussy Hat" headpiece as popularized during the Washington Women's March! Here's the story about how they came to be, challenging the ahem .... more manly Trumpster's "Make America Great Again" er .... red caps. Thank gawd the Donald didn't choose a bluish purple fleshtone eh? .... but let's not say that toooooo loud, just in case ..... Anyway, here's a big tip o' the hat in solidarity with our protest grrrrrrls this winter season. Symbolism galore @ Globe

Beware the Savage Joy of "1984"! Uncle Bob Rae pulls out his old high school copy of the infamous dystopian novel to re-teach us George Orwell's lessons for the Trump World. Double-think? Double-speak? Howzabout a double detention for the Donald? Maybe somebody wasn't paying attention in class back in the day? Well, we were ... More @ Star

No Exodus/ Still Jammin' -Jamaica's Tuff Gong record pressing plant remains the last factory standing as vinyl records finally make a comeback @ Fact

Inclusive Hollywood: What's That?!? There aren't ANY Asians cast in lead roles for ANY of the big movies scheduled for release in 2017! @ Affinity

Ummm ... try 50 Paulie!

Beatle Meister Sir Paul "Macca" McCartney fights to regain rights to the Beatle song catalogue from Sony, who got them from Michael Jackson, who got them from .... More @ Billboard

Love! Love! Love? This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love! Also of the Beatle's psychedelic Sargent Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band and Magical Mystery Tour albums. Here's more cause for celebration as we otherwise proceed into the new year with great in trepidation @ LATimes

Nothing New: Fake news has been around since at least the invention of the printing press 500 years ago. The powers that be continue to use it to fool and manipulate us. Business as usual -see how it's done @ Politico

Kulture Kult Jukebox

50th anniversary: The Beatle's landmark psychedelic album, Sargent Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band,was released in 1967 during the Summer of Love. The Beach Boy's much anticipated psychedelic album that year was to be entitled Smile. Under pressure from an incredulous record company, their manager dad and some of the more straight laced band members, the original Smile album was shelved until 2011. The abbreviated Smiley Smile album was released instead. Jimi Hendrix once compared the Beach Boys to a barbershop quartet on LSD. Here's just a taste of Smile's splendour @ Heroes + Villains

Derailed Beach Boy musical genius Brian Wilson finally bounced back in 2004 with a re-recorded Smile album and live tour @ Youtube

PS: Yes! Yes! One wonders why they didn't change their name to the Beach Men decades ago or for that matter the Beach Grandpa's now, but so it goes .....


Many [most?!?] Canadian cell phone users don't know our rights when we are not satisfied with how a server responds to our concerns. There's no charge. Here's a guide [Here!] You can file a complaint online [Here!]. Know the law and use it @ CBC


Communist Girls ARE More Fun!

Communist Girls ARE More Fun!
See below ...

Communist Girls Are More Fun #1

Communist Girls Are More Fun #1

Communist Grrrls are More Fun #2

Communist Grrrls are More Fun #2

Communist Grrrls Are More Fun #3

Communist Grrrls Are More Fun #3

Communist Girls Are More Fun #4

Communist Girls Are More Fun #4

Art at the Paris Louvre: What does it mean?!?

Art at the Paris Louvre: What does it mean?!?
A careful analytical study!

Help! I Have No Arms!

Help! I Have No Arms!
Please scratch my back.

I can't find my underwear!.

I can't find my underwear!.
Have you seen them!

Weee! I can fly!

Weee! I can fly!
Look! I can crawl thru walls!

I have a headache!

I have a headache!
And a broken nose.

I have a square hole in my bum!

I have a square hole in my bum!

Here try this, it's very good!

Here try this, it's very good!
No. You have a bird face.

I have an ugly baby!

I have an ugly baby!
No I'm not!

Let's save all our money + buy pants!

Let's save all our money + buy pants!
OK but I need a new hand too!

Oh no! I got something in my eye!

Oh no! I got something in my eye!

You don't look well.

You don't look well.
No. My head hurts +I have a sore chest.

Would you like a bun?

Would you like a bun?

Chichen-Itza: Lost Maya City of Ruins!

Chichen-Itza: Lost Maya City of Ruins!
The Temple of Kukulkan!

Gotta love it!

Gotta love it!
Truly amazing!

Under Reconstruction!

Under Reconstruction!

Temples + Snakes!

Temples + Snakes!

The Snake!

The Snake!
It runs the length of the ball field!