Trumping the Facts

Here you will find an Atlantic article on Donald Trump.

I will content myself with a small quote.

Ordinarily, a politician cannot be held responsible for the actions of a deranged follower. But ordinarily, politicians don’t praise supporters who have mercilessly beaten a Latino man, as “very passionate.” Ordinarily, they don’t offer to pay supporters’ legal bills if they assault protesters on the other side. They don’t praise acts of violence against the media. They don’t defend neo-Nazi rioters as “fine people.” They don’t justify sending bombs to their critics by blaming the media for airing criticism. Ordinarily, there is no historic surge in anti-Semitism, much of it targeted at Jewish critics, coinciding with a politician’s rise. And ordinarily, presidents do not blatantly exploit their authority in an effort to terrify white Americans into voting for their party. For the past few decades, most American politicians, Republican and Democrat alike, have taken care not to urge their supporters to take matters into their own hands. Trump did everything he could to fan the flames, and nothing to restrain those who might take him at his word.

Have a nice day.

Nuclear Armageddon?

Here you will find that Donald Trump, POTUS, is going to increase the USA’s nuclear stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.

Here you will find a FAS / Secrecy News copy of a report on what could make the world situation less stable.

I guess we all know that the POTUS does not take experts seriously.

A Tale of Two Picnics

The University of Toronto holds a picnic for alumni once each year. It is preceded by the Alumni Association’s general meeting, which is followed by a talk.

This post is really about two such talks. (The picnics were fine. The meetings were dull.)

The earlier talk was many years ago. The speaker was John Tory. The audience included some of his entourage, who tried to talk up the rest of us afterward. I was only mildly impressed by Mr. Tory. (I am less impressed by Mayor Tory now.)

The talk this year was by Jennifer Keesmat. I had researched her and expected quite a lot. I was not disappointed, more like overwhelmed.

Keesmat knows what a pleasant city should include, and how to get there from here. Keesmat understands how ‘oasis’ buildings ensure those who live there must drive to do anything but sleep. Keesmat understands what a decent mixed neighbourhood would include, and gave some examples, of good ones and bad ones.

Keesmat wants Tory’s job. I want her to get it. As for city politics and living reality, I can assure you that Keesmat gets it.

Supreme Potential Disruption

The United States’ Supreme Court consist of nine judges. They essentially can, by a decision, overrule a law (for being unconstitutional, for example) or a previous decision by a lower court.

For a quick look at the supreme court’s members you can go here.

You may remember that the POTUS, Trump, succeeded in getting a nominee onto the supreme court. A recent 5-4 decision went against public sector unions, preventing them from collecting dues from non-members who nonetheless benefited from their union’s negotiations. You can find details here.

More alarmingly, Trump’s anti-Muslim travel ban just got upheld, again by 5-4. The argument was that Trump’s statements during the campaign did not constitute discriminatory intent. You can see this one here.

Trump will have another chance to ‘pack’ the supreme court as a retirement has been announced. You can read this here.

If you care about abortion law, just wait. Iowa wants detection of fetal heartbeat to be an option killer. This has been stayed. However, with the new supreme court makeup in just a few months, this could go much farther than just one state. You can read this one here.

Trump is rewriting the rules of international diplomacy. He is rewriting the rules of international trade.

Now he is rewriting rules that once were considered logical under the Constitution.

May God have mercy on us all.

 

 

Term Limits?

Canada does not seem to have term limits. This creates career politicians whose lives might collapse if not re-elected. (We’re going to see a lot of this in Ontario, eh?)

Chile’s president can only run for one term. Bachelet has been back repeatedly, but she had a one-term gap each time. This seems to work out well; Chile’s economic numbers look a lot better than Peru’s, for example. Bachelet either has a backup job or wealthy independence. She does not need to be re-elected because she can’t be.

The US President can only be elected twice. There’s also a ten-year limit to cover the case of succession.

I have two examples of long-running country leaders. One is Paul Kagame of Rwanda. Kagame was referred to by Romeo Dallaire as the best general in Africa. He is now, apparently, a despot.

Does this always happen after too many years in power?

My other example is Daniel Ortega. Ortega was the recipient of attacks funded by arms sales to Iran (Oliver North) used to fund the Honduran Contras. Ortega made positive changes in Nicaragua at the start of his rule. He is now, apparently, silencing the media and allowing dissenters to be killed.

Does this always happen after too many years in power?

WordPress.org help sucks

Despite logging in successfully, I can Not ask a question nor add to any forum. I’ve read the instructions and I’m told to click an ‘add new’ button that is not there.

My problem is this:

I updated to 4.9.6 after backing up, as was suggested.

Then I got about 350 spam posts to my blog.

I think that all WordPress sites that updated were so targeted. I’ve seen a lot of c..p posting, but never at this volume. It was too fast to be manual, and several IP addresses were involved. I think there’s an alternate TOR being used.

Any ideas about this? I’m tempted to simply .htaccess the top level IP range for every spam I get.

Smile: you’re on Photo Radar (again)

Here in Toronto, Canada, there is a push to start up photo radar again.

It was used on highways several years ago, was hugely unpopular, and eventually scrapped. Now they want to bring it back, but with a twist:

It will be employed in school zones.

That sounds so impossible to oppose: don’t you want our school children to be safer?

One of the serious safety concerns for school zones is that parents block the street by parking illegally while waiting for pickup children. Other kids cross the street hidden by these parents’ cars – a significant additional risk. Nobody seems to have the cojones to address this problem.

Why I’m against using photo radar in school zones is based on how radar is used in school zones today.

The school zone is NOT patrolled during times of student arrival or departure. I live across from a school and have spoken to patrolling officers. I know what I am talking about.

One school zone is only patrolled on Sunday. Since the reduced speed limit is easily forgotten in the total absence of traffic, single cars are ticketed over and over with no safety benefit whatsoever.

The school zone across from me has not been patrolled in quite some time. I tried to explain to (patient, friendly) officers that a nearby school, on a lower speed limit road, was much more of a car-student hazard due to the curving street, shortening driver and student sight-lines. Amazingly, the radar effort did move to that road.

What happens in front of my house with radar is legal but annoying. Mothers arriving home at six o’clock experience a downhill, wide road with no other traffic and no pedestrians. So they accidentally increase speed, and get ticketed – for the record, in a school zone. But school has been out for 2.5 hours.

Photo radar is, imho, a cheap way to issue tickets. That’s OK if the usual ‘tolerance factors’ are applied. But don’t pretend you’re protecting school children if you’re not there when they are.

Liberty: a rant

At one point, a previous POTUS was angry at France. I think they pulled out of the (probably illegal) enforcement of a no-fly zone in Iraq.

Probably this president was W.

He re-designated French Fries as Freedom Fries.

The Statue of Freedom is really called the Statue of Liberty.

It was a gift from France. Why didn’t W call them Liberty fries, and add vinaigre for irony?

I said this post was a rant, so I’ll end with what I think is a roughly accurate quote from Noam Chomsky.

We have a statue of Liberty on our east coast. We should add, on our west coast, a statue of Responsibility.

But no. Iraq was invaded, Libya reorganized, the Iran deal threatened, steel and aluminum trade sanction threats made (and, so far, repeatedly delayed), Chinese island building ignored, the TPP disdained, global warming treated as fake news.

If the Statue of Liberty could speak, she might have called them small-minded fries. The French are rarely small-minded, whatever one thinks of their policies. Their one mistake, imho, is going along with Germany in demanding austerity. After Germany dominates everyone else, they will imho turn on France, when it’s the second last economy still standing in the EU.

If a Statue of Responsibility could speak, it would probably weep first.

Apartheid, and Israel

Israel has often been accused of apartheid in its dealings with the Palestinians. However, they usually play the Holocaust card and then enlist support from the United States of America.

Trump’s intent to move the US embassy to Palestine has been greeted by Netanyahu as a harbinger of peace. This from the creator of hundreds of settlements, in East Palestine.

Emboldened by America’s attacks on Iran, support for anti-Palestinian moves, and aggressive to take advantage, Israel has decided to

drive African migrants out of Israel. You can read details here.

Apartheid? No no. Not in Israel.