Opening Statement



Monday, 16 April 2018

Teacher Free Speech Spring 2018 News y Views!

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EDUCATION BEAT

Premier Ford Harris Redux: Will education once again become a flash point as PC Neo Conster Doug Ford is elected Ontario premier? Well, hold onto your hats! There are a lot of ex-Harrisites who've been waiting impatiently in the wings for another go at the province's teachers and schools. Dougie's been pretty chummy @ Star

Exposed: Ontario's spring election finds Premier Kathleen Wynne's Liberals duking it out with Andrea Horwath's NDP over labour issues, alienating Ontario's labour movement with her cheap, desperate shots @ Star


Remember Bill 115: ETFO elementary and OSSTF secondary public school teachers denounce the Ontario Liberal Party, removing any remaining election support. Meanwhile, the OECTA Catholic teachers remain MIA, conspicuous in their absence, perhaps still quite punch suckle drunk on the Liberal red wine, unwilling to let go the OECTA "Road Map" pay masters teat! @ StarSun

Strike Out: In her final days, Premier Kathleen Wynne openly turned on the very teachers and labour support who originally helped get her elected. Very tragic -it was not a pretty sight @ TVO

ETFO + OSSTF: Their unfair labour practice complaints against the Ontario Liberals are legion, dating back to the 2012 OECTA MOU and Bill 115 @ ETFO

How the Provincial Liberals Royally Screwed Ontario's Teachers, Even Better Than Mike Harris: Just check out my "Teacher Free Speech 2011-18 News + Views" archive, especially from 2012-15. The original news links are still there, as it happened @ HERE!

Liberal Collusion: Ontario's OECTA Catholic teachers have just reached a $31 million settlement with the Wynne government. It's the result of a grievance over the salary grid delay resulting from the Liberals long, drawn out contract negotiations, since OECTA broke with the ETFO and OSSTF public teacher unions, to sign the contentious 2012 OECTA MOU. Much bitterness and acrimony persists, as the June 7th provincial election approaches, along with a very disturbing, well documented sense of internal/ external union betrayal and nefarious, backroom deals @ Star  

Grass Root Teachers in Revolt: In the US, it's the teacher union members whom are leading the charge! They defiantly refuse to settle when the leadership makes compromising sweetheart deals with state authorities, unlike here in Ontario @ R+F



For More: Also see my extensive Teacher Free Speech 2011-18 Archives, especially for 2012 to 2013, and 2014-15. You'll find a whole whack of often very illuminating, primary source and news links from back in the day, on the top left of my blog page. More @ Here!

Walking The Talk: In the US, teacher's are breathing new life and vitality into the nation's often long moribund, union movement. The teacher walkouts in Oklahoma, West Virginia and now Colorado too, certainly show a refreshing sense of commitment. No doubt our own impotent Ontario teacher unions could also learn a thing or two from them too @ NYT @ Fox


Cuban School Project: I'm very happy to announce that the Toronto Friendship School in Santiago de Cuba is still alive and well. I helped begin it with OTF, OECTA and OSSTF educational aid grants back in the 1990's to teach English and business skills, which it continues to do today. Constructive engagement succeeds where a very nasty embargo fails! More @ My Blog!

Left Verses Right: In Canada and the US, both sides of the political spectrum have become extremely polarized, and ne'er do the two meet, anymore. We could be in deep trouble now and for the years ahead @ Walrus

Teaching Diversity and Equality: Canada is one of the most diverse countries in the world. It's essential that we all learn how to get along as equals. Inclusion isn't just a skill that needs to be taught at school! Parents need to get involved too! Check out and use these educational materials at home, on your own. Remember -Our children are the future @ CYH



Ford -Sex Ed Kaput? Incoming Ontario PC Premier Doug Ford has promised to "repeal" Ontario's modernized sex education curriculum to please his nasty, ill-advised social conservative flank. Ontario's classrooms are very inclusive and diverse. Today's students are only too vulnerable to a lot of sexual exploitation and abuse, online and in their everyday lives. So much for teaching our young folk about "consent", and the dangers of "sexting" and cyberbullying too! Back to the less-than-basics @ Star @ Coren and @ Globe

Lessons for Life for an Autism Spectrum Teen: In Ontario, like many places, our teachers are required to prepare a useful IEP [Independent Education Plan] for your autistic child at school. Parents have the right and an obligation to get involved and provide direction. Do you? Is your autistic teen learning about more than just reading, writing and math? Are they learning about social justice and the social good too? Check this out @ OECTA

Digital Distractions: Our average attention span nowadaze is just 8 seconds! That's less than for a goldfish! Bowled over? Maybe we shouldn't be! Consider the possible role and implications of smart phones and the new electronic media, in the massive dumbing down of our society today @ PMC

On Teaching + Learning About Truth and Reconciliation K-12: Here's a good teachers guide, also useful for just about anyone who'd like to learn more and help properly correct the grave injustices, against our indigenous First Nation peoples' @ EdCan

Empowering Our Youth: Today, young folk are entitled to be involved in, and often even make choices, about their own health at the doctor's office. A lot of frustrated parents are upset and don't know what to do. Rather than get angry, perhaps we need to teach and empower our kids how to make more informed healthcare decisions for themselves! Here are some ways to help them become more responsibly involved. It's a very important and useful, life long skill that will serve them well long after they've left the nest @ Globe

ONTARIO ELECTION



Ontario Election Upset: PC Doug Ford's Conservatives form the next government with a clear majority of 76 seats at the Queen's Park legislature. Andrea Horwath's NDP form the new Official Opposition with 40 seats. The Liberals lose official party status with only 7 seats. Mike Schreiner wins the Green Party their first and only seat. A riding by riding breakdown @ ElectionsOn @ Global @ City and @ Macs 

Promises! Promises! Promises! Here's what the new Ford PC's and Horwath NDP promised us during the election. The good, bad and ugly @ Macs

NDP Silver Lining: The NDP's second place win is very disappointing for left of centre voters in our province. However, as Official Opposition they now have a much larger political platform in the legislature, and a lot more resources too. With the Liberals now decimated to the extent that they even lack official party status and the perks that go with that, they are now all but out of the way, leaving the NDP with 4 years to prove their mettle against the often crisis prone PC's, with a controversial and polarizing Doug Ford at the helm @ Globe

The View From Down South: Here's how the election was covered stateside by the New York Times @ NYT

Ford Nation Fantasy: Perhaps after 15 years,public discontent with the Liberal government made the PC win much more of a sure thing than Ford Nation? @ TVO



Tom Rakocevic -Humber-Black Creek NDP Win: I was honoured to help Tom snatch my riding here in Toronto from the outgoing Liberals as an inside scrutinizer come election day. We successfully got out the NDP supporters in the south side of our riding. Helped halt the inevitable voter bleed from Ford Nation next door. I've drilled Tom pretty hard when he's come to my door over the years. He's been a real trooper. This is my silver lining to the otherwise dismal PC landslide. Plus, hey! If you don't vote, how can you complain? Help out and you can complain more! We're going to meet about certain cannabis issues in our riding as he settles in. Here's to Tom @ Star



Libs Go Kaput: Badly trailing in third place, Ontario Premier Wynne concedes defeat, resulting in a horse race between the centre left NDP and conservative PC parties to the finish line on election day, June 7th @ Star

For The Record: History may be kinder than Kathleen Wynne's contemporaries when it comes to judging her record as premier, when we focus primarily upon how strongly she's advocated for inclusiveness, women's rights and environmental issues. A Ford PC government threatens to reverse a lot of these important gains @ StarStar

1990 Revisited: The NDP could be headed for an election upset win now, seemingly against all odds, like in 1990 @ Star

Premier Ford?!? Right wing populist PC leader Doug Ford races to remake the party and the province in "Ford Nation's" image. The master plan @ Star

Trump North: Racism? Fraud? Illegal activities? Torontonians remember only to well how Doug Ford constantly sucked all the air out of the room with nonstop chaos and scandal, as city councillor and during his 2014 mayoral run. It's the same old, same old now on the 2018 election trail and no way to run a province @ North

Getting Out The Vote: Ultimately, in a close race like this, whomever gets out the most voters wins! For the first time, millennials outnumber baby boomers in Ontario, but will they show up to vote? This could be an orange crush, a real NDP tsunami! Moreover, young women voters could decide the vote @ OP More @ CBC and @ Sun!

The Mainstream News Endorsements: Here's what the big newsies are saying and why: The Liberal Toronto Star endorses the NDP! Looks like the right of centre Globe and Mail's is/ isn't endorsing the @ NDP Further to the right, the National Post endorses the PC's! Even further to the right, at the Toronto Sun, it's the PC's!

Election Prediction Project: Check out the views from the ground on who might win in your riding. Lotsa fun @ EPP




NDP Tom Rakocevic: Diversity y Inclusiveness!

My NDP Endorsement: I can't shake the feeling that our whole political system is rigged, it's fixed. We are constantly choosing between Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, and now it looks like Tweedle Dee Dum Lite is best! But old habits die hard, so once again I'm off to vote.

Fortunately, I have a solid NDP candidate in my riding, Tim Rakocevic, so this is a no brainer. Please, if you are even a little bit progressive, or like good order and good government, don't vote PC. No Doug Ford! Period. The NDP has the best chance to beat Ford. Let's give them their long overdue kick at the can again. Otherwise we will rue the day! More @ Oh Cannabis News y Views!

More below ....

OH CANADA



Toronto "Terrorist" Attack: Local, college student Alek Minassian, of European descent, is charged with 10 counts of first degree and 13 counts of attempted murder in a horrific, rental "van attack". Quite deliberately, and at random he mowed down the unsuspecting late, lunch time pedestrians along 16 blocks of busy, downtown Yonge Street in North York, Toronto. It's a copy cat crime, a real horror show similar to recent incidents in London and Paris, but with some notable exceptions. Interestingly, the "fake news" coverage is quite disturbing too, but seems to be getting largely overlooked in the media shuffle. Read my blog @ Here!


Timeline @ BI

Fake News Canada: The Toronto Sun and Rebel News could not resist in feeding up a fake news frenzy to their US counterparts at Fox and Breitbart News! How the Canadian far right helped spin the crime as an Islamic terrorist act, until Minassian was captured that is @ CanadaLand @ Breitbart @ Fox



Breitbart Fake News Goes Canadian!

Official Statements: PM Trudeau, in expressing his sympathies, clearly refers to the van attack in law enforcement and public safety terms @ GC.CA

Public Safety: Minister Ralph Goodale explains that the crime is a policing issue. It's not a terrorist attack because there isn't a national security angle @ City

TPS [Toronto Police Services]: Officer Ken Lam's skill and training in "de-escalating the active situation", so he could captured the accused alive, is a world class act! Story and video links @ Global

The 10 Deceased have been identified as the city mourns our horrible loss as a community. It's a real heart breaker @ CBC

The Accused: What we actually know for a fact is still highly speculative and based on a Facebook post and LinkedIn resume. Most of the fake news sources about him at the time of the crime came from live TV comments, reports or online via Twitter etc., and has now all but disappeared. The crime itself was well documented by witnesses, often via there cellphone cameras. More @ Time

InCel: Nope, he wasn't an "Islamic Terrorist" like Fox, Breitbart, the Sun and Rebel media would've had us believe. However, police will be investigating this "Lone Wolf's" apparent links to an a horny, violent, white misogynist "male supremacy" rights group! I kid you not! Nothing surprises anyone! It's a relief he was captured alive by Toronto Police. Now, the case can be investigated and tried through a court of law, as all violent crimes should be, regardless of the suspect's race, religion and narcissistic rants. It's very important to better understand, recognize and prevent it from happening again @ Guardian @ Cut

Follow #TorontoStrong @ Twitter


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Pre-Splatter: The Shit Hits The Fan? Our Justin faces a huge spring shit storm of sorts as he decides that the Canadian government will buy the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline. Meanwhile, the Donald decides to go ahead with his threat of tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel, with NAFTA talks stuck at an impasse. Plus, will "Premier" Doug Ford soon be adding to his woes? @ CBC

Trump Rallies Canucks: The US President has nothing but nice things to say about fellow, international bad boys and bullies Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un at the Quebec G7. Not so our illustrious Prime Minister, who we can slag ourselves, no thank you! Anyway, the Donald was incredibly disrespectful and ill informed throughout the summit. Has also raised the ante with Canada by raising tariffs on our steel and aluminium, as if that's going to help the stalled NAFTA talks. The long and short of it? He's accomplished what nobody else has been able to -rallied all three of our main political parties and the Canadian public writ large back to Trudeau's side. And Canada and the US had been such good friends and loyal allies. Well, maybe the Trumpster will feel more at home with his new bully boy buddies in Russia and North Korea? Sigh. Alas. Will somebody down south please do something about this fucking asshole?!? Good God, it's totally embarrassing @ NYT @ Vice

No Art To The Deal: Perhaps Trump is picking a fight with our Prime Minister to cover up his complete inability to exercise anything even closely resembling the art to a deal in the Canada, US and Mexico NAFTA talks? @ Huff

Off The Rails: The US President engages in lots of bully boy tactics, now accusing Canada and Mexico of being very "spoiled, "very difficult", and "not fair", as he continues to pick trade wars with allies and enemies alike, around the world @ Global Meanwhile, Trudeau questions the Trumpster's "flimsy logic" @ YT

For The Record: Here's all the times US President Donald Trump has dissed Canada over the past two years @ Macs



Go ahead! Strangle him Justin!

NAFTA Lies: For shame! Turns out that the Donald has been making up stories about a sneaky, unfair US - Canada trade imbalance! Doesn't seem to know his own facts, as released in another White House report, showing that there's actually a slight US surplus instead! It might be a big joke stateside. But such bully boy antics also have a very negative and corrosive effect on others outside the US. Like in Canada; one of America's biggest, trade partners. We're also a long time, trustworthy friend and reliable Allie! Is it really worth all the grief?!? @ CBC

"NAFTA -Crunch Time" or "The Whole World's Watching": From a world perspective, the multilateral 3 way trade talks are a actually a very timely and insightful litmus test too! Will MAGA nationalism trump the traditional US internationalist approach to the global economic order since WW2? Considered are 3 key multilateral trade issues, with dire implications for Canada, Mexico, and the US; equity, protectionism, and dispute resolution @ CR

"Think Positive" or "Trudeau's Trump Bump": An untethered Canada, in the Age of Trump, is free to actively pursue a growing range of "third options" for trade and other alliances on the world stage. We are often far too dependent upon the United States anyway @ FA

Indo Pacific: Here's but one example -Canada stands to benefit greatly long term, from it's strong, close "family ties" with our large Indian population. India is also a huge growing market and possible partner in the TPP [Trans Pacific Partnership]. Trudeau's recent visit there was much more important in cementing key, new, regional trade relationships in the face of Trumpism, than the partisian fashion/ dinner party intrigues playing out in Ottawa and the tabloid news would suggest. A coincidence? Hmmmmm @ CR

Trolled: What to think about those "Russian troll farms"? Might they, whoever "the" are, also be stirring up shit here in Canada? Maybe over Trudeau and the pipe line controversy? Beware! The National Post is a very selective, neo con-ster rag! What?!? No mention of the PC debacle with Pat Brown, Doug Ford and the upcoming 2018 Ontario election?!? Might the trolls be having a hand in that too? Time to investigate! Dig deep! Enquiring minds need to know what's really going on @ NP

Pipeline Woes: The feds, the provinces and our indigenous people are all up in arms about the rocky issue of the Trans-Mountain Pipeline extension. The facts can easily get lost or tangled up in all the shifting political, economic and environmental winds, but one thing's for sure! There sure doesn't seem to any way Trudeau can win this one, as the crisis peaks @ Vice


$15 + Fairness: The protests snowball! Canuck coffee shop Icon Tim Horton's has been caught punishing it's underpaid coffee shop workers over an increase to the Ontario minimum wage! Staff benefit cuts? Unpaid breaks? Cost cutting? Profiteering? The ugly, exploitive underside of Tim's is finally exposed! Nope, it isn't really a Canadian company. Nor does it respect Canadian values, despite wrapping itself in our flag! The once popular, two timing Tim's takes a huge hit, as coffee drinkers wake up, dropping from #4 to #50 in this year's top Canuck brand survey @ Globe 

Make That A Double - Double: Oh oh! Double trouble times two! Now, the federal government is investigating Tim Horton's Brazilian owners! Seems they might also be screwing Tim's franchise owners under the Investment Canada Act @ CBC




"Toronto Sun Ontario Election Plot": A leaked internal memo shows how the alt right Toronto Sun hopes to help throw the provincial election to Doug Ford and the Ontario PC's. Among their other usual talking points, the Sun's set to go down on a particularly nasty, set of social conservative hard ons like "diversity, division and free speech" as they ostensibly pertain to "race, gender" and "sexual politics" [as opposed to "gender politics" ... ].  Apparently these issues are really, badly dividing the province. Well, they're certainly stirring up a real WASP nest at Postmedia Network headquarters, that's for sure. Now, watch for lots of trolls to get their day in the Sun, as the rag's boffo "rapid response team" spread out looking for  "human faces" and "background material" to help feed the "social media" and elect their good bud Dougie @ CanadaLand

"Right Wing Culture War" or "The Plot Thickens": An analysis of recent Toronto Sun content reveals the master plan is already in place and being used! Whoa @ PressProg

The Rise y Fall of Pat Brown: The post mortum isn't over yet, in fact it's hardly begin. It still somehow doesn't all add up @ Walrus

Women's Reproductive Rights: The "Campaign Life Coalition", a right wing, extremist, anti-abortion group, endorses the following Ford PC candidates who oppose a woman's right to choose @ PP

PC Doug Ford: Will the surprises never end? In the skin tight, controversial leadership race, after PC Conservative leader Pat Brown's sudden ouster on sexual misconduct allegations, populist neo-conster Doug Ford takes charge of the party, just in time for the June 7th provincial election. He quickly kills Brown's "Peoples Promise" to support the carbon tax, which was supposed to finance the PC's many election promises. So, how can Doug still possibly do so without deep cuts to jobs and spending while balancing budget? More @ Macs

Trump North: Yup, he's Ontario's Donald Trump @ WP! No, he's not @ Globe! IMHO? A different Canuck variation, yet still very much alike! Ooops! Oh no! He's also taking to Twitter ....

Soc Con Hell: During the leadership race, Ford made a whole whack of social conservative promises to court Ontario's extremist, religious, far right. He'll "repeal sex ed", restrict abortion access, facilitate protests outside the clinics, and let doctors opt out of performing the procedure. Often, these promises blatantly run contrary to Canadian Constitutional law and our Charter Rights and Freedoms @ PP  

From The Weed Patch: Doug Ford also promised to legalize the free market sale and distribution of weed. Then quickly flip flopped back to the Wynne government's plan for a government run pot monopoly. Seems his social conservative wing, and most, but not all of his party supporters and caucus, are outright opposed to legalizing cannabis at all. More insightful, social con, inner, PC party intrigues @ PostMillennial

Oh Cannabis: Check out the various "Oh Canada" news links and commentary in my "Oh Cannabis" blog and marvel at the many similarities. The focus and underlying themes in both blog features are often complimentary, and not quite as different as you might think @ Oh Cannabis!


Millennial Wynne: Hmmmm. Premier Kathleen Wynne's Ontario Liberal party suddenly announce a wide range of very progressive election promises. These follow years of a very tight ass and corrupt Neo Lib austerity agenda! They included new special education and school infrastructure funding. Free pharmacare. Daycare. And tuition breaks. The list goes on and on. There's lots to appeal to Ontario millennial's, as they overtake the aging baby boomer's in our province. But will they vote? @ Star

Brian Mulroney Revisited: Our controversial 18th Prime Minister and his glamorous family are back in the news a lot lately, like a bad dream. So what's the scoop @ Walrus

IN THE NEWS


US Air Strikes In Syria: Maybe Trump is suddenly a great humanitarian, only out to destroy Syria's chemical warfare facilities. Or there are at least 6 other more likely possibilities for why he'd consider risking a war in Syria. They include petrodollars, a distraction to the Cohen - Stormy Daniels affairs, Saudi or Israeli pressures, and a lot of deep state anxieties. Sounds like a cover up @ ASNM

Humanitarian Missiles?!? Yeah right @ Youtube!

Military Industrial Complex: Surprise! There's more! The stock value of Raytheon, the US Tomahawk missile manufacturer, and other arm merchants like Boeing, Northrop Gunman and General Dynamics, suddenly rockets up nearly $5 billion after the Syrian air strike @  Fortune

Nothing New: Hardly "recent", US "intervention" actually dates back to "Day 1" of the Syrian war @ ActivistPost

Trumped? North Korea's Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet prior to Trump's May visit for nuke talks. Unlike Donald, they definitely have a well thought out, long range plan for the region. Indeed, their goals and strategy for both the nuclear umbrella and trade alone are often quite different and diametrically opposed to those of the US.  Are his visit and any "deal" they reach, just a risky US public relations stunt? Will the Donald get trumped? @ FP



Trump - Jong UN Summit: The Donald's been trumping his great skill at the art of the deal in meeting with Kim Jong-Un, but a fact check does not support his self congratulatory claims. Far from it. From a Korean and Chinese perspective, complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula must also include removal of the US nuclear umbrella. A lot of folks at the pentagon and in Washington, even among Republicans, are feeling very nervous @ PF More @ CBS

Rocket Boy Scores A Direct Hit: Quite arguably, Trump's lavish praise of international pariah Kim Jong-Un was a big score for the brutal North Korean dictator, perhaps sending the wrong message to other bad boy leaders too, from around the world about, how to pull one over on Trump. Also, the concessions he seems willing to make suggest that the US isn't very interested anymore in being a world military and economic power, at least in South East Asia. What must China be thinking, as it plots it's next move against the US? No doubt South Korea and Japan must be left with a set of the jitters @ CBS @ WP @ BI @ JapanT

Kim Jong-Un -Rock Star: The brutal North Korea dictator has made a propaganda video celebrating his new world superstar status after the summit. Sadly, many of the photo ops with Trump play right into his hands making the Donald look like a total chump @ Vox



High Hopes: Basically, North and South Korea are meeting for peace talks with President Trump expected to soon join in. Seems very promising, but it is unclear if all is as it might seem. Remember China and North Korea are not stupid, nor fearful of being bullied, if that's what the US President thinks. Plus they'll have their own set of demands in any negotiations taking place. Perhaps most importantly, there is no definition of what "denuclearization" of the Korean peninsula actually means. It'll be very important to watch the media closely and critically consult a wide variety of news sources to meaningfully follow what's going on in the daze ahead. Here's the South Korean site to the "Inter Korean Summit 2018" to add to our list. Click the English link on the the top right of the page @ KoreaNet The "Press Release" kits @ HERE! A PDF of the summit preparatory notes with an interesting Q+A is @ HERE!

Giving Up The High Ground: Since Trump has largely given up on human rights, selectively at least, will any surprise deal with these oppressive regimes simply overlook the horrible, ongoing abuses of power? What sort of an international message does that send out? @ FA

Mahjong: China responds carefully to Trump's surprise trade war sanctions, targeting the US states where he enjoys the most support, with a long list of tariffs on agriculture, technology, cattle, chemicals, and airplanes. That's just their opening volley. They still have a whole lot of even much more powerful moves that they can bring into play, as the world's largest economic power @ CNA

Politics of Food: Think about it! Chinese tariffs target soybeans, nuts, pork, fruit and cotton. US farmers whom voted for him will now be cut off from a huge, lucrative market. Too bad the Trumpster doesn't seem to have any back up plan in place. Xi must be laughing so hard so he'll cream his jeans! Here, bite the big one, Don @ Eater

Israeli Occupation of Palestine continues unabated, but is largely ignored in the world news. Why? Because it benefit's the world's economic and political elites. Here's how @ ITT


Trump G7: The Donald managed to insult just about everybody at the Quebec G7, not just Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, with his erratic "strategizing", if we can call it that. Perhaps he's actually just setting the stage for a US withdrawal from world trade? More @ Spec @ VanityF


Pictures Worth A 1000 Words: Here's how the different world leaders official photos portrayed the mood at the G7 @ G



Angie: "You sir are an asshole!"/ Trump: "No I'm not!"

Democratic Spring? Voter dissatisfaction with Trump runs deep, but what is the alternative? 12 challengers from the progressive left are lining up to take on the Democratic establishment. Maybe there's hope yet, after Bernie Sander's failed bid? @ ITT

Trump + How Russia Infiltrated the NRA: Boy-o-boy! Just goes to show how off the rails things are getting stateside @ RS

The Law is Coming: The plot thickens as Trump's lawyer and BFF Ray Cohen is busted! His alt facts collide smack head on with the the rule of law. Of course, he denies everything! So who'll win this one?! "President Trump" is the best, reality TV hero and/ or villain ever, depending upon which network you watch, in the complete, value negative sense. A total horror show too. Now, let's see what the US justice system can or can't do about the Donald @ NYT

Emboldened Trump: He's fired about half of his White House staff. Seems to be flying solo now, completely untethered. What next?!? It's all grown very, very tiresome, wearing everybody but everybody down, even we hard core, political junkies. US politics has become completely toxic, muddying any and all political waters. Perhaps Trump's intent? More @ NYT

Facebook Follies: Mark Zuckerberg sits poker faced being questioned by a technologically clueless US senate. The issues? A very worrisome data breach. Plus there's them there election trolls. Sorta like he's being grilled at a piqued, senior citizen gathering about that how that durn, internet thingy of his works! Yiiiikes! Very scary implications for the way forward, no? More @ Wired



Miguel y Raul: Hi? Bye? What happens next?

Cuba Election: Cuba has a new President, Miguel Diaz-Canel. Also a new Council of State. Raul Castro becomes Second Secretary of the PCC Central Committee until 2021, to assist with the smooth "transfer [of power] to a new generation". 42% of the National Assembly are new. 48.4% are women. There will be a referendum on charges to the constitution. The beleaguered socialist state remains under a permanent state of emergency, with a US economic embargo and the threat of military intervention hanging over it for almost 60 years @ Granma

Here's how the Cuban election system works @ Granma

Double Standard: China, Vietnam and North Korea are tyrannies. Cuba has an election, and is working on democratic reforms, but US Vice President Mike Pence isn't about to cut them any slack. The Cubans aren't afraid, and in no unclear terms tell him where to go @ CS

North Korea OK -Cuba Not? Even Cuba's critics find Trump's conflicting approach with North Korea and Cuba to be contradictory and very counterproductive @ WIRN

Bottom Line: Even though GOP Marco Rubio isn't a big fan of the Donald, he's standing behind Trump's reapproachment with Korea, despite all the hypocrisy! Why not? There's a lot of angry ex-Cuban patriot voters in the US, especially in the swing state of Florida. As for North Korea? Not! Of course, nobody is saying that! More @ Miami @ Miami


Meanwhile in Santiago de Cuba ...

Royal Canadian Frigate Charlottetown visits Santiago de Cuba to confirm Canada's close relationship with the beleaguered island nation. I saw it in port during my recent stay there, proudly flying both countries flags. The locals were quite happy and excited, lining up for a tour. Considered asking for a ride back, then thought no. Unlike the US, our country has always had a policy of constructive engagement with Cuba. Hit the "translate" button @ Granma

KULTURE KULT INK



Toronto The Good, Bad + Ugly: Cannabis is being legalized! Along with our many other vacation amenities, Toronto could become a very kool stop for a little pot tourism. To get primed, here's but one list of Toronto's Top 100 tunes. Really, the "Tarawna" link here is really pushing it sometimes. Still, it's an interesting, varied list! Included are Drake, the Weekend, Bare Naked Ladies, Broken Social Scene, Viletones, Gordo, Buffy, and The Band! More @ Star



Canada For Sale: The True North is very rich in natural resources. In the very polluted new millennium, many previously overlooked ones are now in big demand! Get this: even Canada's fresh mountain air is being bottled and sold as a "wellness" product! Be well @ CBC

Whatever Happened To JFK: Yeah. Yeah. The Donald promised to release all the secret files on the Kennedy assassination, but hasn't. Just in case you've been waiting all these years, like me, here's how you can view what has become available since last fall @ Cet

With Marti Against Irma: Meet Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, Cuba's new ambassador to Canada, at a $25 Hurricane Irma fundraiser in Toronto, on April 27. Buffet, dancing, poetry and lots of tunes @ CCFA




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Communist Girls ARE More Fun!
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Art at the Paris Louvre: What does it mean?!?

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

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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!

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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!