Opening Statement

Tuesday 21 February 2017

On To Habana! [2017]

[Links to be added ...]

Arrived back in Toronto, on a cold winter day. The supreme irony of my life and times as of late, is that I've got a touch of sunstroke! Alas! Too much time spent swimming and tanning among the white sands and turquoise waters of Varadero. 
"Life's a beach," or so they say, "and then we die!
Perhaps! My memories of this month's Cuba trip are all very warm and pleasant. In my restrained reverie, less talk of the Cuban sunshine and beaches are certainly in order, if just for a bit.
But my thoughts still drift back to our quick day trip to Havana. Or "Habana", ["A-Bah-Na"/ Ditto "Bare-A-Dare-Oh"] as our Spanish Cuban amigo y amiga friends are apt to write it and say, in the local tongue.

Habana Cuba: A tarnished pearl for the America's. The long, lost capital city of a the rogue socialist state. One that dared give the US the finger and survived, despite a very severe and troubling 50 year old plus US economic embargo.
Not that we Canadians, with our policy of constructive engagement, ever paid that futile Yank rubbish much mind. Indeed, I suppose I am no stranger here. My first visit was during winter 1981, when the Russians were still in town, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the botched US sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion. I even spent a summer here in 1997, on "Cuban School Project" business. Renting a little seaside apartment in the eastern suburbs of Miramar, I'd stroll each morning along the Malecon seawall down to "Habana Vieja"/ old Havana, in the city centre, for meetings at the Cuban Ministry of Education.
But that was years ago. I'm afraid I've long lost count of how many times I’ve enjoyed visiting this lost jewel city of the Americas, but I ramble ....

Flashback to now; It's a lifetime or two later. I'm with Janet. We've been together 16 years or so! With us are our good friends May, Wendy and El Gordo. So, it's off to Havana we go, early morning on a bright sunny February 2017 day:
For $200 CUCs [Convertible Cuban Peso's = about $250 Canadian], the 5 of us find a dashing, powder blue 1955 Chevy Belair with Jose, an “off duty” taxi driver, outside in the hotel parking lot. It’s about a 2 hour drive there, another 2 back from Varadero. Jose also drives us about Habana for the day, wherever we want to go. Finds parking, waits on our beck and call. Jose’s young, bushy tailed, a real go getter. Recently married with a 3 day old baby. He's perfectly delightful. Think "Uber" Cuba style – a great, very safe, and friendly deal! I suppose we could've haggled the price down further, but why bother, make it strained?

First stop –"Revolution Square"! Our Chevy pulls up curbside along a bevy of brightly colourful, faithfully maintained 1950’s American cars. Buicks, Chevys, Fords, Pontiacs, Studebakers, the list goes on and on. Most predate the 1959 "Triumph of the Revolution" and the attendant 1961 embargo, when the mafio’s and other assorted Amerikan bad boys were sent packing.
We spill out of our Belair into the mad, hot mid day sun. Stumble about the huge revolutionary parade grounds at the foot of the Jose Marti memorial tower, where Fidel once delivered his fiery speeches. Che Guevera and Camilo Cienfuegos gaze out at us from across the years, their huge, heroic portraits now adorning the surrounding government buildings, spread around the square. Stalwart, having survived 11 US presidents, they now await the latest bandido, Donald Trump!

Crossing under the harbour causeway to Morro Castle, we lunch at a nearby small, very rustic, Cuban communista themed "particular" bar and grill, not far from Che's old home digs. Portraits of Fidel and Raul smile down on us. A rooster struts about. We feast on fired chicken, plantain, salad and drinks in a courtyard under the sprawling palm trees. The house band entertains us with a bevy of sweet, very melodic and "authentico" trovas and sons. It's much, much more food than we can eat. Perfectly prepared. The cost, with a big tip, is about $15 CUCs each! 
From the castle tower wall, we gaze out across the glistening harbour at the wide sweep of Habana Vieja and the Malecon seawall. To the east is the bustling suburb of Vedado, where we are headed next, in search of some good, cheap Cuban cigars!

Unfortunately, the famous, downtown Partaga's cigar factory, behind the old US styled Capitol building, is now closed. But it's not all bad news -the whole neighbourhood is finally being renovated and restored. Much of old Habana is a designated world heritage site!
Cigar production is being centralized, with the different brands now still being hand rolled at the nearby Vedado "Corona" factory. Photos of past visitors including El Papa John Paul 2 and Hugo Chavez are posted on the cement walls. Strolling among the many floors of row upon row of cigar rollers we slip one nicotine coloured fellow $10 on the sly for 2 huge fat ones, as fresh as you can get, for El Gordo to enjoy later back on the beach!

Unfortunately, I 've had to quit smoking tobacco for health reasons, but my buddy is still a hard core Cuban cigar aficionado. At the downstairs store he loads up on boxes of top brand name Cuban cigars, well below the cost one would pay back home in Canada -puro/ pure perfection with a bonafide government stamp!
Heading back into old Havana, we drop the ladies off at the restored 1909 "Plaza Hotel" courtyard cafĂ©. They tiredly plunk themselves down beside the Venus style fountain for a series of long, cool well earned drinks. A lively guitar and percussion band of chica's in skimpy red miniskirts. The prerequisite line up of sleepy eyed, Latin Lotharios. They seemed amused. In all fairness, I somehow suspect cigar factories and communist bars aren't really their thing.

"Oh Boy! Cigar Factories! A Communist Bar!"

Janet and I nip up to the rooftop patio for a moment alone. Enjoy an excellent free view of the city centre. We admire the looming, Gothic style Bacardi building, and the US style Capitol State dome. It's a mad mix, or a back splash if you will, of Spanish, French American and Russian architecture. The lingering legacy of so many would be conquerors, now long since come and gone, as Habana hopefully welcomes the dawn of a new century promised by Obama and Raul last spring.
El Gordo and I hop back into our Chevy for a cruise over to the nearby "Romeo y Julieta" factory store for a few more boxes of cigars. The shop sign still reads "H. Upmann", another well known Cuban brand that tops his list, but no matter. Unfortunately, there’s not much there. The mad crush of Chinese and Americano touristas' now flooding Habana are buying up all the cigars they can find. It's resulted in a new kind of Cuban shortage. However, this time it's one that's meant much more money in the Cuban economies long, bare pockets.

El Papa y I talk writing [or something like that ...]

Afterwards, Jose drops us off at Papa Ernest Hemingway's "Floridita" bar, a few blocks away from the Plaza Hotel. We nudge our way in through the jam packed crowd. $15 CUCs buys us a couple of drinks, expensive by Cuban standards. Our perch at the bar is but an island in the stream of endless daiquiri's and tourista bravado, the permanent Floridita happy hour still going full tilt, considerably much more so than I've ever experienced before!
A lively Cuban band whips up the swaying throng into a mad dancing frenzy. The flood of daiquiris splashing across the bar, along the sheer sweat from the crushing late afternoon heat soon drenches us to the bone. At his favourite bar seat, El Papa's statue sits, drinking it all in with a knowing smile, as an endless line of ... er .... literary fans excitedly line up for a snapshot.

For $10 CUC’s the musical groupo sells us a copy of their latest cd. They even play us a few tunes off of it live in case we are uncertain if we will like it or not. Pose with El Gordo and I for pictures. Wave us off at the door as we stumble back to rendezvous with the ladies back at the decidedly more cooler and rather more stately Plaza Hotel bar.
Come dusk, we are headed back to Varadero, happily exhausted from our far too short day trip. Still, it will provide endless, happy, snapshots for the mind during the cold Canadian winter months ahead. Of Habana, a long, lost pearl of the Americas! Of, a fascinating city, now hopefully brushing off the mists of more desperate times! Rediscovered once again, where it's always been, in the bright sunlight a scant 90 miles south of Key West, a 3 hour flight from Toronto. Redefining it's place within the America's, on it's own distinct, and mixed socialist-capitalist economic terms, amongst the madness that otherwise prevails, as the storm clouds once again gather over the USA .......

A Camilo Cienfuegos Revolutionary Bank Note Signed By Bank President Che Gueverra!

Saturday 4 February 2017

Cuba Trippin' -Varadero!

This week Janet and I are off with a few of our friends to .... Yup! You Guessed It -Cuba! For trip #2 this winter, we've found a great last minute deal at the Sol Palmera's all inclusive resort on the touristy Varadero beach strip. Plus, we've planned a side trip to Havana! As usual I will be tweeting my adventures, with a blog or two to follow, after I get back. In the meantime, you can follow me

You can easily find my regular blog features as follows:

The Straight Goods: Teacher Free Speech February News Y Views: This is my monthly news link compendium with commentary @ HERE

The Stoner News: Oh Cannabis Winter News Y Views: My "Legalize It" companion piece is @ HERE

Other Related Blogs for your Erudition:

Cuba: What The Heck Is Going On? This blog provides lots of links to help one put the Cuban situation in a hopefully more insightful perspective than I'm sure you will usually find in the mainstream news @ HERE

Boardwalk Empire/ Havana Empire is a snapshot of sorts about Cuba before the revolution @ HERE

Cuba: What Do They Think? is based upon my personal visits and discussions at the Cuban Schools, where I sometimes teach. It's @ HERE

The beautiful white sand beaches of Varadero!

Here are the blogs from my January Cuba trip:

Santiago De Cuba Tripping: Some Cuba trippin' notes @ HERE

Santiago De Cuba: Flowers for Fidel @ HERE

Santiago de Cuba: The Beach is The Thing @ HERE

On The Road In Cuba is from a much earlier trip, during quite different times @ HERE

And then there's Joy of Retirement. It's .... yes, about where I am personally at, though the union notes are now dated @ THERE

Dunno about the other Snowbirds, but I just have absolutely no desire whatsoever to go south to the US this winter, what with all the awful Donald Trump nonsense. It's not that it we don't have family and friends living down that way we'd like to visit. Usually love our US trips but .... but ... but ... Sigh! Alas! Nope -not now at least!

Here in Toronto, any Trumpster's seem to be pretty much hiding under their rocks for now. I'm sure I would seriously blow a gasket if I was stuck anywhere in a room full of folks who thought he was just great!!! The political situation has snowballed far beyond the realm of an interesting, constructive debate, which I usually quite value and enjoy.

Suppose I'm showing my age but thanks! No thanks! Not for me! The US is not exactly my idea of a great holiday destination anymore until this gets straightened out. Or if it does ...... Maybe. I am still willing to bet on the rule of law, the US judicial system, and it's democratic institutions ultimately providing the necessary checks and balances, when all else fails. But at the very least, the Donald will be quite the acid test indeed!

Ironically, some of our extended American family are keen to come up here Toronto this week. So, we are going to let them enjoy our place while we are away.

Hmmmm!!! What if they decide to defect to Canada and won't leave when we get back ....?!?!? Oh oh! Naw ......... ;-)

Stay Tuned!

David C.........................................................


Thursday 2 February 2017

Teacher Free Speech February News + 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!


OSSTF secondary teachers are now also being asked to ratify a 2 year "contract extension" deal to help the Wynne Liberals through the 2018 provincial elections, without any school unrest, by their "leadership". Whatever happened to collective bargaining? Local bargaining? Not giving into the concession bargaining forced upon the members by Bill 115 and the MOU's? Is this the "remedy"? What about accountability? The Lib's divide and conquer strategy now seems all but complete, as the province's teacher and education workers are asked to throw in the towel. A sad day! AEFO and CUPE have already ratified their deals. More below on ETFO and OECTA, and @ Star

Meanwhile: Striking Nova Scotia teachers are making history! On February 17th, 9300 are on a one day strike across the province for the very first time. They seem undaunted by the disgraceful recent actions of our Ontario teacher and education worker "leadership", who's busy collaborating with our own Neo Liberal government. Story @ R+F

Nova Scotia: A province wide teacher strike occurred on Friday Feb. 16th! It was to protest the Liberal McNeil governments plans to legislate a contract, after the last three tentative deals were rejected forthright, by the grass root, frontline members @ CBC

Strike Three! Out? A Nova Scotia Teacher expresses displeasure with the latest and third "tentative deal"  that their union has negotiated with the provincial government. It's a familiar story in Ontario too! Government bad faith. A bad union contract deal. Little substantial change to improve the teachers' work conditions. Ditto the students' learning conditions. Unlike here, the ratification vote might very well once again be a "no go" @ Xpress

British Columbia? Ontario? Both province's efforts to force legislated contracts on their teachers were called foul by the courts. Now it's Nova Scotia's turn at bat! More details @ CBC

CLC [Canadian Labour Congress] reminds Nova Scotia Premier Brian McNeil that he should follow past supreme court rulings and bargain with the teachers in good faith @ CLC

Nova Scotia teachers stalwart act of civil disobedience in the face of the McNeil government's undemocratic, bullying, tactics are cited as an inspiration for us all @ Solidarity Halifax

The Nova Scotia Teacher Union brace as the McNeil Liberal government's legislates a contract upon them. Follow developments @ Facebook

NTSU President Liette Doucet explains why their teachers reject the legislation and are still prepared to fight, unlike in Ontario, where the provincial union executives seem too busy kissing OLP butt  @ NTSU

NSTU teachers explain why the rejected the 3rd tentative offer. Enough committees and talk, talk, talk @ CBC

Sigh! Alas! Ontario teacher union "leadership" sell members an OLP "deal"!

Drinking the red Neo Liberal Wine, eh? The ETFO elementary public teachers union announce a 2 year tentative contract extension deal with the Ontario Wynne Liberal government. If ratified by it's members, the  imperiled Lib's will be scott free from any teacher negotiations or work actions during the 2018 provincial election. Details @ ETFO and @ Globe and @ CBC

Meanwhile the OECTA Catholic teachers will ratify their Liberal sweetheart deal on March 1st! @ Star

The OSSTF public secondary teachers remain the only Ontario teacher union to tell the Wynne government to go stuff it @ Blog

Wynne is languishing at an all time low of 11% in the most recent Forum poll, with the OLP 1 point behind the NDP at 24 to 25% respectively. The PC's have a whopping 44%, a lead that they usually fritter away by election day. But whom are the teachers gambling on? Alas @ Sun

She Who Laughs First: The Wynne Liberals must be enjoying a good laugh at the grass root, frontline teachers expense, but one wonders how much longer she will even be around @ Globe

For some more "inside" scoops, please see our teacher readers' comments at the bottom of this blog .....

Classism in Academia: How well do our schools, unions and even one's teacher colleagues support each other, when trouble arises? Is it done equally? A working class, female teacher argues no! In some cases, it might be easier to just "blame the victim" and/or just let them suffer in silence, without anybody being any the wiser. More @ ClassAction

Special Education Overload: It's a story Ontario teachers can often well identify with! Their colleagues in Newfoundland and Labrador are being left to cope with inclusive classrooms where sometimes more than half the students have special needs! Where's the necessary resources and support? In many cases, they just aren't there. Everybody, students' and teachers' alike, suffer the dire repercussions @ CBC

School lunch in Japan!

What A Difference!!! Check out school lunch in Japan! Of course, we are not nearly as regimented a society, but there's a trade off .... Some food for thought -no pun intended! ..... Well, OK! OK! There is! Watch @ Youtube

Familiar Story: Newfoundland and Labrador teachers lament that weak disciplinary measures, low academic standards and oversized classes are creating a poor student learning environment. Meanwhile, graduation rates are up, as they are forced to accept late assignments, disruptive behaviour and just pass everybody along @ CBC

Never Thought We'd See The Day: Southwestern Ontario public school's are now cancelling cross border fieldtrips! The US is being deemed unsafe and unfit for our diverse student population's wellbeing. Border crossing restrictions and protest concerns are cited @ CBC

"Cannabis Corner" or "Save Those Receipts": An independent human rights board has ruled that a worker's medical cannabis expenses are to be covered by his employee insurance plan. It's a small, but significant beginning @ Lift

PS: Remember -Cannabis News y Views has now been moved to be Oh Cannabis blog!

Thames Valley public board in-house sick day "snitch line" deemed unprofessional @ LFP

Angela Davis

Black History Month: From Black Power to Black Lives Matter, the fight against racism and oppression continues! An overview with lots of thought provoking, iconoclastic pictures and images, that can fuel meaningful discussion @ Telesur

Some Canadian Union Solidarity: OSSTF tweets that they've made a $10,000  donation to the US ACLU [American Civil Liberties Association] "in support of ACLU's tireless advocacy in the face of Donald Trump's #MuslimBan"! @ Twitter

TTC [Toronto Transit Authority] ATU [Amalgamated Transit Union] Local 113 union President Bob Kinnear and his entire executive are removed by the organization's US based parent group, in what locally looks at first brush, like a hostile foreign takeover @ Star

Concerned parents voice their alarm over Betsy DeVos, President Trump's Education Secretary nominee. They argue that the future of the US public school's is at stake @ WP

Trump's girl Betsy + her friends have arrived to help do his dirty work!

Trump's Education Department appointees raise brows by joking about African Americans, trans and "fat chicks" on Facebook and Twitter. Alas! Not much "extreme vetting" here, I'm afraid @ Politico

Understanding Privilege? Here's a very concrete lesson plan! It shows how privilege actually works to deny others an equal opportunity, often through no fault of their own, in this case depending upon where you find yourself seated in class. It's hard to argue with the results! Even in the real world! Now, if everyone cleans up afterwards, rather than create extra work for support staff, it could also be a lesson on environmental stewardship! Ha! Read @ Damn

Meanwhile at the Cuban Schools: Teacher training is the key for providing universal access to education across the island's diverse, and sparser rural regions. Special education, agricultural, industrial, mechanical and academic programs are available. Local, mixed grade classes, and boarding schools too. Teacher resources continue to be developed and shared. Despite the obstacles, including a crippling 50 year plus US economic embargo, a 99.8% literacy rate has been achieved by the rogue socialist state @ CD and @ CIA

Protesters -Get Up! Stand Up! But Know Your Rights and Responsibilities! The Canadian Edition: Can you be arrested for organizing or participating in a protest? What can't and can't you legally do? How about the police? Know this -Knowledge is power @ PEN


A picture's worth a thousand words ....

The "Definitive Analysis" of the infamous Trudeau and Trump handshake. Very funny. Take with a few grains of salt. My Canuck reader's will get it, hope it can be a bit insightful for our US friends too! Ha ha @ Vice

Trudeau verses Trump -What a  study in contrasts @ Affinity

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visit with US President Donald Trump in Washington proves quite a sharp but very diplomatic contrast in politics and style. Here's a good overview with lots of video and news links from the day's top stories @ Globe

Here's the leaders official joint statement @ PM.GC

Here's a transcript of the two leaders statements after their meeting @ Star

Here's a video of their press conference @ Youtube

Meet Canuck PM " Joe" Trudeau! Not shown -his wife "Sofa"!

PM "Joe" Trudeau: Trump's press secretary Sean Spicer gets our Prime Minister's name wrong, as he praises their talks. Ho boy! What else are the meatheads in the White House getting wrong about us too?!? Wait! Don't answer that!!! ;-) Shiiiiiiiver's @ CTV

Much of the Canadian news focus is on Trump's comments that the Canada US NAFTA agreement only needs "tweaking", whatever that means @ Star

Dept. of Tweak: What Trump thinks "needs fixing", and what Canada does, might well turn out to be two quite different things, as free trade increasingly looks like a "zero sum game" @ CBC

Stateside, ultra right wing Neo Conster's Fox News emphasize his comment that he didn't come to "lecture" the Donald on US immigration policy, perhaps cutting him some slack @ Fox

Bonus Points: Trudeau played the Ivana Trump card very well during a sit down session on women leaders in business. Across from the seemingly "with it" twosome, awkwardly sat the ol' pussy grabber himself, smiling smugly @ CB

The PET [Pierre Elliot Trudeau] Angle @ CTV

NDP Leader/ Not Leader Thomas Mulcair argues that the Liberal's much touted "Counter-radicalization" office must also target the alt-right threat in Canada. Unfortunately, you need to pay to read this or hand out credit card information on any of the link's I've seen. So much for the NDP being a "people's" party?

All But Lost In The News Shuffle: Trudeau touts the CETA [Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement] deal between us and the European Union, while Canucks are fixated belly gazing at our "Goodbye to NAFTA" fears. There's little mention that huge protests have erupted across Europe by progressives concerned about CETA's blatant corporate agenda. Once again, if the NDP has anything to say, the story certainly isn't getting out there either @ Vice

The Human Faces: Meet the 6 victims, shot in the back during prayer at their Quebec mosque. Vigils erupt across Canada @ Vice

Ten Minutes of Terror: survivors tell their story @ CBC

The Quebec mosque opens it's doors for the public to see the bloody carnage, after police are finished their murder investigation. Why? To show how hate can lead to the loss of innocent life @ CBC

Muslim Terrorists?!? Prime Minister Justin Trudeau slams Fox News for tweeting false "alternative facts" about the Quebec City shooting suspects @ Canoe Much more at @ Guardian

The Right Wing Quebec Mosque Shooting "Truther" Movement: How did the misleading "alternative facts" get started? How did they spread? Very insightful! More about "truthiness" via the Canadian Rebel Media and Info Wars B-Grade Breitbart "narrative" @ Vice

White Terrorism 101: Meet the actual shooter, Alexander Bissonnette, aged 27. He's a white suburban Canadian born Quebecer. Studied Anthropology and Political Science at Laval. Is a well known "online troll" among local activist circles; a racist, a misogynist, as well as a Canadian Donald Trump supporter. He's pro Israel. Anti gun control. A moderate conservative turned right wing extremist. So. He got himself a 9mm handgun capable of 15 shots. Headed off to his local Muslim mosque. Now he's charged with 11 counts of murder/attempted murder @ CBC and @ Telesur

Reality Fix: Why are white nationalists the extremists we should really fear? Seems that there are now over 100 active white power groups operating across Canada @ Vice

Islamophobic Hate Crimes 101: The rate has steadily and dramatically increased since the so called Quebec Charter of Values passed in  2013. Extreme vetting anybody? More @ Telesur

"Rebel Media" eyes Canada!

Ontario Party Consensus: A Liberal backbencher motion "condemning all forms of Islamophobia" receives unanimous 3 party support at Queen's Park @  Globe

Anti Anti Islamophobia: Canadian Islamophobics are suddenly becoming ardent, ahem .... "free speech" advocates as the Canadian government considers a similar motion. 4 Conservative leadership hopefuls; Leitch, Trost, Alexander and Lemieux, join US based Rebel Media in working up a pretty .... er .... racy crowd for the camera's at a recent Toronto rally that's received a lot of attention @ Vice

Listen carefully: Rebel Media [see above] are also the group of agitators whom I reported where stirring up the crowds at last November's Toronto "Love Trump's Hate" rally, while I was helping marshall the event. They then filmed the resulting turmoil and "reported" it as news. In both cases, lot's of red "Make America Great" caps abound, not something you'd usually see a lot of up here in Canada. Check it out @ Here and @ Here

Can Trumpism take root in Canada? Yes, if we don't fight back! @ Coast

Undaunted by the Quebec mosque shootings, Federal Canadian Conservative Party Leader Candidate Kellie Leitch insists that her proposed Canadian Values Test isn't "racist", and wouldn't spur more hatred towards minority groups. Fellow leadership contenders Michael Chong and Lisa Raitt disagree. Also unconvinced, protesters hang a banner with the names of the 6 Quebec victims over Leitch's office door @ CBC

What would happen if Canada shut it's borders to immigration? Can we really "preserve" the "great white north" as a lot of racists would like? Well, our labour force, economy, and world respect would all suffer. There'd be a serious spike in racism, isolation and violence. In short, we need more immigrants, not less @ Vice

US Immigration Ban: In the wake of the Quebec mosque shootings, Federal NDP Leader/ Not The Leader Thomas Mulcair finally steps up in the House of Commons to push our Liberal PM Justin Trudeau on taking a public stand by condemning Trump's "racism and hatred" .Trudeau insists that his quiet diplomacy involves performing a balancing act of sorts between the government's "double role" to protect jobs and grow our economy with our major trading partner, while also standing up for our quite contrary Canadian values and principles. So then, silence is golden? @ Huff

See and hear the NDP's Thomas Mulcair call out Trudeau on Trump, with commentary from Sam Seder @ Majority Report

Oh Canada: Ontario is opening its operating room doors to any foreign children denied life-saving surgeries under US President Trump's travel ban because ... because ... because we are Canadians, and one's gotta have heart, not to mention a little soul! What a horrific situation!!! @ Star

Canadian Guide: Here's how Trump's immigration ban will affect you, if your family is from the 7 countries targeted in Trump's immigration ban @ YLR and more @ Globe

The Canada-US Safe Third Party Agreement prevents Canada from accepting refugee cases that are rejected stateside. But how safe, so to speak, is the US immigration option under President Donald Trump? For worthy applicants now being turned away strictly because of their country of origin? Furthermore, should Canada rescind the agreement? Let the desperate refugees into Canada on humanitarian grounds? Read the agreement @ GC-CA See the petition @ YouLeadNow

Ontario Provincial NDP Leader Andrea Horwath calls upon Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne to condemn Trump's immigration ban, declare Ontario a "sanctuary province", and accept the impacted refugees here in our province. Great! Finally! An active, progressive NDP opposition party! One that's ready and willing to take the ruling Liberal elite to task in a progressive manner befitting the growing protests outside Canada's gilded palaces of power! Not that the mainstream media has taken much notice, once again. Sigh! Alas! Well, it's a re-start but how about an actual re-boot? Meantime, read Andrea's letter @ AC

Hundreds of Canadians continue to tirelessly join in this year's annual march for Missing Murdered Indigenous Women. However, we have to look to the South American news for much coverage, now that the federal election is over @ Telesur

BLM TO, Mayor John Tory, Toronto Police and the Language of Inclusion: Here's why the police aren't welcome to march in this year's Toronto Pride Parade @ Now

BLM TO Pride!

Bad Blood: Will the City of Toronto cut gay Pride funding now that the police have been disinvited from the annual march?!? More @ Now Also, Ward 27 Councillor Kristyn Wong Tam's statement @ Ward27

Great Shades of The USA: Like in the states, a new Canadian poll is showing that we increasingly do not trust our government. Here, 43% of us don't trust them. Furthermore, 80% feel our "government elites" are "out of touch". Yiiikes! To see where that leads, please keep reading below! Story @ CBC


The Flynn Resignation: Trump's Russian woes are just beginning and his administration begins to unravel but 3 weeks into his presidential term. Truthiness and alt facts be damned. Blood has been drawn @ Guardian and @ WP

Read National Security Advisor Michael Flynn's resignation letter @ WP

WikiLeaks blames the Flynn resignation on a "destabilizing campaign" by "US spies, democrats and the press". Hmmmm. If so, it sure wasn't very hard to do eh? More, before we dig a little deeper @ Hill

"Puzzling Times" or "A Bluffer's Guide To Dictatorship" or "On the Road to Regime change": What's the Donald really up too? Is the immigration ban just a distraction? Are Trump's plethora of alt facts, truthiness and blatant lies but a shameless effort to exhaust us? While annihilating the truth? Have justice, democracy and rule of law reached a crossroads? There's a lot of good questions raised here about what's really going on. The pickpocket analogy and references to the Nazi Reichstag fire are quite thought provoking too @ Medium

Oligarchy Rigging 101: Beware The Authoritarian Right and Left: Some more food for thought! Take it as you will. This article is written from a Libertarian/ Anarchistic perspective. The analytical focus, in dissecting both the right and the left, is upon an ongoing struggle between "freedom and tyranny". Moreover, we are warned about the "false dichotomy" in choosing between pre-established "party options" according to "pre-approved guidelines": The GOP and Democrats in the US? The Liberals, NDP or Conservative in Canada? Are we being manipulated into choosing between Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum? Two puppets? But the same puppeteer? Their right and left hands? Worth a read @ ActivistPost

Reuters considers how to best provide news coverage of the media hostile Trump Presidency. Oppose? Appease? Boycott? Try to rally support for the mainstream media forces? Protect their "independence" and "Integrity", their "freedom from bias"? A list of do's y don't's @ Reuters

Trump's Rogue Gallery: Rather than "draining the swamp" in Washington, the Donald has been filling it up with a rogue's gallery of "Goldman banksters, Soro's stooges, neo con war hawks and police state zealots" to head his cabinet @ CorbetReport

The Great Vulgarian grabs the limelight!

Puzzle Pieces: 7 take-aways that we can learn from the federal Appeal court ruling on Trump's immigration ban @ WP

The Vatican expresses it's concern over Trump's immigration ban. Pope Francis claims, " ....we are messengers of another culture, that of openness." Hmmmm. Perhaps he's being inspirational? Or engaged in wishful thinking? Sex abuse? Truth and Reconciliation? @ Telesur

The Donald: Sad! Sad! Bigly Sad!

Trans Rights Reversal: Trump pulls an about face to please his hardcore social conservative base! Sigh! Alas! There's even a picture of him here waving a LGBTQ flag to show his support during the election! Not funny -just plain sad! For shame, Donald -how low can you go?!? Wait! Don't answer that ... @ Vox

Pride? Women? Science? Immigration? Trump's tax returns? Here's a list of upcoming marches, protests and rallies scheduled stateside through June @ MerryJane

Trump has reversed Obama's decision to back off Standing Rock. The protest camp has been crushed. The DAPL pipeline will go through. Big Oil, not water will flow. But the story is far from over @ Yes

Standing Rock Tribe file a legal action against DAPL [the Dakota Access Pipe Line]. Since Trump has taken office, the US army is now poised to the finish construction on treaty land by circumventing a previous study ordered on the grant easement environment. Did the Donald even do his legal homework?!? @ R

Read Black Lives Matter's statement on Trump's Muslim ban! "We cannot allow this injustice to continue ..." @ Telesur

You're Fired: Trump's dismissal of US Attorney General Sally Yates because of her refusal to defend his executive order for an immigration ban, which she basically considers illegal and indefensible in law, has resulted in a judicial "crisis of conscience" @ CBC

Trump authorizes a risky raid in Yemen without adequate intelligence and ground support, resulting in civilian casualties and a military death @ Reuters

War With Mexico? Trump allegedly threatens to send US troops to Mexico if President Nieto doesn't stop the "bad hombres" there @ Politico

War With Iran? Trump warns Iran that it has been "put on notice" after a missile test @ Guardian

5 Signs the US is Going to War in Iran: The Trump playbook? Real scary stuff! Worth a gander @ Youtube

Another Dead Give Away All Is Not As It Might Seem -Saudi Arabia, home of the 9/11 terrorists, is missing from Trump's so called "anti terror sweep" @ ActivistPost

Jaw Dropper: With one blithe sentence Trump destroys decades of both Democratic and Republican Middle East diplomatic policy by saying he's not committed to a two state Israel-Palestine solution. How can the GOP sleep at night? @ Guardian

War With Islam? Well, you can't get more open ended than that! Steve Bannon, Trumps closest advisor, outlines his views on a Christian Holy War. Don't forget -he's on Trump's National Security Council now too! @ Salon

War With China? As recently as last March, Steve Bannon said he thinks the US will be at war with China within 5 to 10 years over the South China Sea @ Independent

Trumpism and China: There's been a major paradigm shift within the capitalist world. In picking a fight, Trump might very well find that he doesn't really have that many global cards to play, as China steps up to assume the leading political and economic mantle @ Telesur

Inconvenient Facts: Trump's "vile aggression" against Venezuela, like a lot of the hysterical right wing news coverage of developments in that country, conveniently leaves out a lot of revealing, self-incriminating details @ Telesur and @ Telesur

US Radio Marti continues anti-Cuban propaganda tirades despite apparent normalization of US-Cuba relations @ Telesur

Ooops! The Donald Isn't Going To Like This! Rogue state Cuba slams the US for supporting global terrorism! Get this -those craaaaaaazy commies are now saying that the US finances, arms and trains extremist groups around the world to justify expanding it's global military reach. Huh?!? Well, go figure! The truth be damned @ Telesur

Trump's using his own security team now at the White House, creating confusion while revealing a lack of procedure in his security measures. Will they prove to be an extra layer of protection, or a chink in his armour in dealing with the inevitable assassination threats? More @ Politico


Dead of Winter Fun: Here's a list of the 50 Best Political Films of All Time! Dr. Strangelove  [Or How I learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Bomb] tops the list at #1 but all the usual list of suspects are here, Wag the Dog, Citizen Cane, Manchurian Candidate, plus lot's more @ Crave

Or howzabout The 44 Best Political TV Shows of All Time: West Wing tops the list, which also includes The WireVeep, House of Cards, and Madam Secretary. Plus there's some thoughtful surprises; Rome, MASH, and get this -The Good Wife and Game of Thrones @ Paste

Have we missed any clear winners or extra special goodies?!? Please feel free to use the Comments space below!

Is Ivana Trump hot to trot with our GQ surfer dude PM Justin Trudeau?!? And where would that leave our poor Sophie and the kidz??? Enquiring minds needs to know @ Huff

Spot The Drinkers: Fox News drools over Joy Villa's cheesy "Make America Great" Grammy gown, labelling it a "statement of love" @ Insider

Celebrity With A Difference: Indigenous education advocate Shannen Koostachin is named one of the 150 greatest Canadians @ CBC

Back 2 School Daze: "The Political History of Fashion" for youth and ummm .... elders who want to see what lies beyond the more obvious, glamorous and mundane @ Yale

Here's some universal truths you can only learn by travelling the world! Travel? I swear by it! It's my Zen. Ommmmmmm @ SS

"On The Island": Beach Man Brian Wilson produced this wonderful She and Him sunshine and beaches track. It comes with a kool video too! Enjoy @ Youtube

"Surfs Up!" Here's my favourite, retro, Brian Wilson tune for my visits to the beach down in Cuba this winter! Yup. Capture's it perfectly! The hot sun. Thundering surf. The salty air @ Youtube

So. How old are your ears?!? Like me, did you listen to too much loud music during the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, and the 90's? And whoa! -let's not even mention all those years since that millennium thing! Here's an audio test you can try, to assess the damage, using your computer, or cellphone and a headphone set! Eh? Que?!? Turn it up puleeeeze! @ WSIB



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!