NAFTA cannot die. But it can be polluted. And it can be corrupted.

NAFTA is NOT a trade agreement. It is an owners’ agreement. It allows the means of production to be moved to wherever production profit will be higher.

As such, NAFTA canNot die. Those large corporations who moved production thither and yon won’t allow it to die. Why should they? (Trump does not understand this, imho.)

This is about garments and computer components, real assembly work done in other countries.

Extraction is another question. That is real work that cannot be easily moved. If the gold is in country X, you need to mine in country X. If the food is grown in country Y, you need to import from country Y.

Ahh, but there are environmental standards on extraction,you might think. And worker standards on bulk labour. That’s what part of the ‘new NAFTA’ is all about. It’s about corrupting standards of:

  • minimum wage
  • worker safety
  • environmental protection
  • gross access of a country to its own assets (mineral and energy)

to make what happen?

To increase profitability from large American corporations.

Trump thinks he can stop this? Even change it?

Fake Documents – nobody cares

This is a cut&paste of a post on my website. Fake documents are available for sale.

Author: HermanMub (IP address: 178.159.37.56, dedic989.hidehost.net) Email: hermanewma@gmail.com URL: http://www.salepassportsfake.cc Comment: Our team is a unique producer of quality fake documents. We offer only original high-quality fake passports, driver’s licenses, ID cards, stamps and other products for a number of countries like: USA, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom. This list is not full. To get the additional information and place the order just visit our website: http://www.salepassportsfake.cc www. salepassportsfake.cc

This really bothers me for two reasons:

I get a post like this every once in a while. It’s annoying to have to delete crap from my website and inbasket.

More importantly,
attempts to get the authorities interested have all failed. Toronto police, and the RCMP, don’t take eMails. Reporting suspicious behaviour produces no useful result.

(I once noticed a vehicle in the Bloorlea School parking lot. It had different license plates front and back. It had different colours on every side, including the roof. It had a logo that was not for the vehicle that it was. I reported this to the police and they showed up more than three hours later.
Who has a vehicle with all those attributes? And is in the bus shelter using a cell phone while I’m noting the license plates?
I’m guessing either a drug dealer or a robbery escape driver.

So why did the cops take three hours to show up? Because we don’t count here.

I live in the neighbourhood where a woman successfully sued the cops for using her as bait for the second story rapist.)

Fake documents are like misleading license plates and deliberately confusing paint jobs.

But, I can’t get the authorities to give a damn.

Concrete Question

Concrete failures: I have three examples:

  • After a large earthquake in China
  • After a large earthquake in Haiti
  • After a large earthquake on the Iraq-Iran border.

I am writing from memory, so feel free to google and fact-check me. Posts with relevant input/corrections are always approved here. (I’m providing no hotlinks as my internet connection sucks today.)

The China response was instructive. In less than 90 minutes military aircraft were parachuting water, food, and medical supplies.

The Haiti non-response is equally instructive. Some seven years later almost no non-IGO facilities have been reconstructed.

The earthquake in Iran is, ‘interesting’.

In China, BBC News among others showed clips of how an entire row of homes collapsed, while a nearby row was all still standing. There was some murmuring about ‘sea sand’ having been used in the failed cement.
I think the unlucky developers of the collapsed homes are in jail, if they’re still so fortunate as to be alive.

In Iran, apparently low-income housing built under the previous ayatollah collapsed, while nearby structures did not. Iran’s leadership is strongly looking at who’s responsible for collapse, injury, and death. I fear for the builders here too.

However in Haiti, the inconvenient fact that water towers are concrete, and none collapsed, has been conveniently overlooked. Buildings for people and government collapsed. IGO headquarters did not.

You’re scanning for the dumb questions, right? Well, here are a few:

  • How come bad sand was used in construction in China?
  • Should builders who construct unsafe housing be punished? Manslaughter?
  • How come bad cement was used in construction in Iran?
  • Should builders who construct unsafe housing be punished? Manslaughter?
  • How come bad cement was used in construction in Haiti?
  • Should builders who construct unsafe housing be punished? Or should we send more and more money for reconstruction that does not happen?

Feel free to comment. Provide a real eMail, which will not be divulged on this site.

Siege – against Iran?

Who profits here?

Saudi Arabia recently led a blockade against Qatar. Now they are doing something even more serious (war crimes?) against citizens of Yemen.

Here you will find (of many, one) page on the latter. I will content myself with a quote. Emphasis mine, as always:

The UN and the Red Cross said a “catastrophic” situation threatened millions who rely on life-saving aid.

Saudi Arabia justified the move saying Houthi rebels were being supplied with weapons from Iran, and has accused Tehran of “direct military aggression”.
Iran denies arming the rebels, who have fought the coalition since 2015.
On Saturday, a ballistic missile was intercepted near the Saudi capital.

and this:

In response to the attack, the coalition announced the “temporary” closure of all Yemeni land, sea and air ports, tightening an existing blockade, but said humanitarian aid could continue to enter Yemen under strict vetting procedures.
However, the BBC’s Imogen Foulkes in Geneva says aid agencies have reacted with dismay and anger to the border closures.
The Red Cross said its shipment of chlorine tablets, vital to combating a cholera epidemic which has affected more than 900,000 people, had been blocked.

So, Saudi Arabia first blockaded Qatar, and now Yemen. Qatar is seen as being pro-Iran. One of the factions fighting in Yemen is seen as being backed by Iran.

Siege means, denying key resources. In mediaeval times, that meant food or possibly water. In Yemen it means anti-cholera chlorine tablets. Oh, and no food imports either, except those supplied by Iran and I think Egypt. Through ports that are now closed.

America recently sold a lot of armament to Saudi Arabia. So did Canada.

Why? Who profits here? That’s not the dumb question. Here is that one:

Are we (USA and Canada) in effect terrorist countries due to selling weapons to this regime?

Apparently Iran is, though their sourcing of a single missile is a lot more poorly documented than Canada and the USA’s supply of armament.

Not Needed: US Government ‘posts’

Here you will find an interesting analysis of appointments by POTUS that require Senate confirmation. I will summarize:

Some 268 posts have not even started the confirmation process. 261 have no nominee.

POTUS, a.k.a. Donald Trump, has an explanation which you can find here.

I will content myself with a single quote, emphasis mine:

President Trump says: “I’m the only one that matters” in setting U.S. foreign policy, thus downplaying the importance of high-level jobs such as the assistant secretary of state, which is currently vacant.

“Let me tell you, the one that matters is me,” Trump said in an interview that aired on Fox News on Thursday night. “I’m the only one that matters, because when it comes to it, that’s what the policy is going to be. You’ve seen that, you’ve seen it strongly.”

The president was responding to a question from Fox’s Laura Ingraham, who asked him, “Are you worried that the State Department doesn’t have enough Donald Trump nominees in there to push your vision through?”

Apparently, when you’re Donald Trump, you don’t worry, especially about facts.

White House joke-of-the-Day

Here you will find a BBC News page on this item. I will content myself with a quote and a comment on one of the pictures.

Here’s the quote, emphasis mine as always:

He said his onetime foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos was a “low level volunteer” and “liar“. Mr Trump once called him an “excellent guy“.

Now click on the hotlink above and scroll down to the third image. Here you will find these words:

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders   …

and the photo caption …

White House: “Today’s announcement has nothing to do with the president”

while standing beside the American flag, presumably in the White House press briefing room, behind a White House presentation desk, in front of a White House logo on the wall.

Methinks she doth deny too much.

Now for the dumb questions:

  • If the White House press secretary has to say any of this in this setting, does it look just a bit like (desperate) damage control?
  • How many of Trump’s former helpers have turned, and will turn, from excellent guy to liar?

Guilty as charged? the Greek financial crisis – and Italy, and beyond?

Here you will find the Wikipedia entry on the economy of Greece. I will content myself with a few quotes; emphasis mine:

In early 2010, it was revealed that through the assistance of Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and numerous other banks, financial products were developed which enabled the governments of Greece, Italy and many other European countries to hide their borrowing. Dozens of similar agreements were concluded across Europe whereby banks supplied cash in advance in exchange for future payments by the governments involved; in turn, the liabilities of the involved countries were “kept off the books.

According to Der Spiegel, credits given to European governments were disguised as “swaps” and consequently did not get registered as debt because Eurostat at the time ignored statistics involving financial derivatives. A German derivatives dealer had commented to Der Spiegel that “The Maastricht rules can be circumvented quite legally through swaps,” and “In previous years, Italy used a similar trick to mask its true debt with the help of a different US bank.”

These conditions had enabled Greek as well as many other European governments to spend beyond their means, while meeting the deficit targets of the European Union and the monetary union guidelines.

So, if you wondered where at least some of the fault for the economic mess in Italy and Greece lies, look to Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and ‘different US banks.’

Greece has to borrow to pay its debts – the stupidest economic statement imaginable.

I am pretty sure that executives from Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase are favoured in the current Trump administration.

Does that bother you? That’s today’s dumb question.

Amazon Kindle, and often GoodReads

I have done 174 Kindle Book Reviews as a KBR Team Member. Many of those authors wanted their review on GoodReads as well. 94 of them are. A few are also on my blog. Today’s review was for a fabulous poetry collection, which you can find out about farther down in this blog.

I take KBR reviews seriously. I always send the author a draft review. Almost always the author is OK with it and I post it on Amazon and often on GoodReads.

I read every word on every page of every work. I generally skim long dedication name lists, but that’s about it.

When I do a review, I’m working for you, and for free. Many authors have come back for seconds and thirds on subsequent works. I am tough and thorough.

I also note typos and other minor things which are ‘not part of this review but for your use or not, as you see fit.’ After a couple of passes I can’t see the typos anymore either.

If anyone out there is interested in reviewing my unpublished poetry, please advise by responding here. I benefit from and appreciate alternate ideas about what works (or not) in my own poetry.

 

 

Shirani Rajapakse – Chant of a Million Women

This is a cut&paste of a review your blogger posted on Amazon Kindle. A similar review is also on GoodReads.

Strong free verse on many topics. An experience.

five stars

This is a fine collection of some seventy-three poems. From the opening, At the Side of the Old Mandir, you will realize that Rajapakse is treating you like an adult. While there is sex in several of these poems, they are not graphic.

There are many points of view explored by Rajapakse, including what it’s like to wear a full body covering such as the Niquab (recently made illegal in the Canadian province of Quebec.) I’ve personally always considered all religions to include a strong dose of social control, and this poem, To Dance with the Wind, reinforces my prejudices.

For an example of a woman most definitely in control, turn to Colonized, from which I’ll include this teasing snippet: “You were marked. /Stamped with delicious dragon-fruit /pink. /Scandalous. //Mine. /Branded like a buffalo in the field.”

For a terrifying experience, turn to The Shower. For another, turn to The Lonely Woman. This is not for the faint of heart.

In The Decision, this: “They tasted alright to me, /sweet with a hint of sour /that is what I’ve come to expect of grapes, /and of this thing we call a relationship.”

For an introspection into another damaged relationship, turn to Inside the Old Room, which begins thus: “What would the walls say if only /they could speak? /Would they tell you of the fantasies I dream /when I am not with you?…”  and that’s just the opening.

I should mention that Rajapakse uses titles subtly, often setting the physical scene but not revealing the plot of the poem. For a rare example where she uses repetition, turn to On Campus: Just Before the Exam, which is quite frightening.

For one last favourite here, this is from The Man from Over There: “The verse about you /described you as you were. As you are. /Nothing seems to have changed. /You should have changed. /Grown wiser, better, /but you have not.”

Back to the star count and my usual boilerplate. My personal guidelines, when doing an ‘official’ KBR review, are as follows: five stars means, roughly equal to best in genre. Rarely given. Four stars means, extremely good. Three stars means, definitely recommendable. I am a tough reviewer. I try to be consistent. Rajapakse has great range in this book, writing with power and control. You will find your own favourites here, as well as those mentioned above. Five stars feels  right on. Highly recommended.

Kindle Book Review Team member.

George H. W. Bush – a pat on the back (side) – or not?

The former president of the United States of America apparently has been confined to a wheelchair for some five years.

Apparently he likes patting women’s backsides.

For women who don’t like this, don’t stand there. If you need that photo-op that badly, accept that weird things might happen. Decide.

For reporters, I suggest we assume GHWB is senile. Leave him alone.

Now for the dumb question:

Has anyone threatened to sue GHWB? Other executives are being sued left and right for similarly inappropriate behaviour.