Monday, April 30, 2018

Preparing For War

What is interesting is my printed copy has flipped the righthand column. It's the VA that is my printed lead, and the only connection above is the bridge to Long Island:

"The VA and many of America’s physicians, aggressively encouraged by drug makers, once dispensed opioids as the default remedy for pain. From 2001 to 2013, opioid prescriptions in the VA system increased 270 percent while the number of patients rose less than 40 percent, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Let that sink in for a while. The drug makers are benefiting from the wars. You wouldn't normally put them together, but there it is. Then the consider the presidents during a good majority of that time. The phony appointments scandal under Obama should be factored in here, too, but that scandal went away after the Senate tossed $18 billion at it.

“Because of their aggressive use of opioids, they wound up with an enormous problem,” said Dr. Andrew Kolodny, co-director of the Opioid Policy Research Collaborative at Brandeis University. “Tens of thousands of veterans ended up addicted.”

At least the bottom lines of the pharmaceuticals rose.

Try to think of it as collateral damage, and its a vicious circle, isn't it? 

So we go to war to protect poppy fields, among other reasons, because the Taliban had pretty much killed the crop (they actually believe in what they are doing), and it turns out the opium trade and its derivatives benefit most the black budgets of the CIA as well as the bottom line of money-laundering banks. Then you hook the vets on it and demand hugs for the opioid addicts while asking for more treatment dollars.

Can you see why I'm against all the wars now?

Pain is rampant among veterans. Nearly 60 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are afflicted by chronic pain, as are more than 50 percent of older veterans. Many have returned home with battlefield injuries, but even more suffer back ailments, nerve damage, headaches, and other forms of severe pain that come with age and inadequate treatment.

Prepare for many more of them.

(flip)

"A catastrophic spinal cord injury playing football didn’t stop him from becoming a self-sufficient, productive citizen in a remarkable journey of perseverance and endurance....."

Then the government came for his Social Security because he didn't read the fine print.

Sprint and T-Mobile agree to merge, in bid to remake wireless market

Can't hear you now.

"The dealer was one of his street sources. The detective gave an address and the following day....."

Police work is messy.

*********

The migrant caravan halted at ‘full’ border post is my National lead on page A2. Printed Globe gave me AP as that agenda is to be waved at us again. Fox can get all huffy and puffy while the war agenda is advanced elsewhere.

Arkansas police officer fatally shot in home

We are told it was a stray bullet in a random shooting, and yet "neighbors told local media that they had heard as many as 40 gunshots. Photos and videos showed the windows of Johnson’s apartment riddled with bullets and it’s unclear whether police have made an arrest."

MS-13 hit that was rumored weeks ago, or who-knows hit teams roaming around like in Boston (no follow up on the shooting, btw)?

"A mystery is brewing at the White House about what happened to the oak tree President Trump and President Emmanuel Macron of France planted there last week. The sapling was a gift from Macron on the occasion of his state visit. News photographers snapped away Monday when Trump and Macron shoveled dirt onto the tree during a ceremonial planting on the South Lawn. By the end of the week, the tree was gone from the lawn. The White House hasn’t offered an explanation....." 

The whole thing was already a joke anyway. The uprooting is symbolic -- which is what I will have to do if I want to dig out more printed national stories.

"The Montgomery Advertiser, in a news article and an editorial, admitted that its coverage of lynchings over many decades was careless, dismissive, and dehumanizing in its treatment of the black victims and portrayed them as criminals who got what was coming to them. Part public confession and plea for forgiveness, The Advertiser’s self-examination marked an important acknowledgment of the role that the press played in perpetuating the mob violence that was unleashed on African-Americans for decades after slavery was abolished. “Sometimes print media aided and abetted in these acts of terror by announcing when lynchings would take place, by celebrating the courage of the mob, the objectives of the mob,” said Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, the nonprofit organization behind the new memorial, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice....."

What's that smell? 

Oh, just an agenda-pushing, war-promoting pre$$ that plays a role in perpetuating the violence and sometimes aiding and abetting in these acts of terror by announcing when bombings and invasions would take place, by celebrating the courage of the president and political leadership that ordered them, and promoting the objectives of the mob behind the ideas.” Some of them will show up later in this post.

"A trucker who was missing for four days in a snow-covered part of Oregon after his GPS mapping device sent him up the wrong road walked 36 miles and emerged safely from a remote and rugged region of the state. Jacob Cartwright, 22, showed up Saturday near the town of La Grande, where an intensive search involving aircraft had been taking place since he went missing Tuesday. He was being evaluated in an emergency room but appeared OK, officials said....."

He had to wade through snow and he couldn't light a fire.

"When wildfires strike in cattle country, the list of needs is long and expensive: Hurt cows have to see the veterinarian; fences must be replaced; barns need to be rebuilt. Perhaps most urgently, the surviving cattle must eat. So each time a major fire devastates the Great Plains, an informal but robust hay delivery kicks into gear, powered by Facebook messages, word-of-mouth, and the honor system. “If we waited on the government, we wouldn’t have it,” said Leo Hale, a local business owner who volunteered for 12-hour shifts distributing hay at the Vici rodeo grounds....."

Isn't Pruitt from Oklahoma?

Michelle Wolf's Routine Sets Off a Furor at an Annual Washington

I can see why the Globe would want to hide that. It's funny to read Fineman of NBC and MSNBC calling for perspective as Wolf "seemingly scandalized Washington's intersecting political and media tribes." (Yeah, it is a New York Times report. Grynbaum, you know. It ends with a tweet from Kathy Griffin, who is now back in the public eye). At least she didn't mention Haspel or Haley. It's a double standard that is socially unacceptable, but okay if you just want to rail against Trump.

James Comey speaks of worry for the country at sold-out Boston appearance 

Self-serving liar should be in jail.

No Brokaw today, and nothing happening in the World either, I guess.

"Kim prepared to cede nuclear weapons if US pledges not to invade" by Choe Sang-Hun New York Times   April 29, 2018

SEOUL — The South Korean government said Sunday that North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, had told President Moon Jae-in that he would abandon his nuclear weapons if the United States agreed to formally end the Korean War and promise not to invade his country.

In a confidence-building gesture before a proposed summit meeting with President Trump, a suddenly loquacious and conciliatory Kim also said he would invite experts and journalists from South Korea and the United States to watch the shutdown next month of his country’s only known underground nuclear test site.

In Washington, Trump officials spoke cautiously about the chances of reaching a deal and laid out a plan for the dismantling of the North’s nuclear program, perhaps over a two-year period.

That would be accompanied by a “full, complete, total disclosure of everything related to their nuclear program with a full international verification,” said John R. Bolton, Trump’s new national security adviser.

You mean, like the deal Iran got?

The apparent concessions from the youthful leader were widely welcomed as perhaps the most promising signs yet of ending a standoff on the Korean Peninsula frozen in place since fighting in the Korean War ended 65 years ago, but skeptics warned that North Korea previously made similar pledges of denuclearization on numerous occasions, with little or no intention of abiding by them. Kim’s gestures, they said, could turn out to be nothing more than empty promises aimed at lifting sanctions on his isolated country.

I believe the skeptics are represented by Bolton. You know, the guy whispering in Trump's ear every day about the national security threats to this country.

A South Korean government spokesman, Yoon Young-chan, provided remarkable details of a summit meeting the two Korean heads of state held Friday, when Kim made history by becoming the first North Korean leader to set foot in the South.

“I know the Americans are inherently disposed against us, but when they talk with us, they will see that I am not the kind of person who would shoot nuclear weapons to the south, over the Pacific or at the United States,” Kim told Moon, according to Yoon’s account.

It was another in a series of startling statements by Kim, whose country threatened to do exactly those things during the height of nuclear tensions last year.

Kim’s apparent willingness to negotiate away his nuclear arsenal was revealed just as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke for the first time about a “good conversation” he had with Kim during his secret visit to Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, over Easter weekend.

Pompeo told ABC News in a broadcast Sunday that the Trump administration’s objective was “complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization” with North Korea, and that Kim was prepared to “lay out a map that would help us achieve” denuclearization.

“We had an extensive conversation on the hardest issues that face our two countries,” Pompeo said. “I had a clear mission statement from President Trump. When I left, Kim Jong Un understood the mission exactly as I described it today.”

What is Pompeo up to now? 

(Answer to follow below)

But Bolton, a longtime critic of past diplomacy with North Korea, expressed skepticism Sunday, recalling past moments that looked hopeful. “We want to see real commitment,” he said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “We don’t want to see propaganda from North Korea. We’ve seen words. We’ve seen words so far.”

Neither do I, which is why I no longer watch any of those shows. The fact that he made the rounds yesterday even more so.

Asked about North Korea’s insistence on a promise by the United States not to invade, Bolton noted that was an old demand that had been rolled out before. “We’ve heard this before,” he said. “The North Korean propaganda playbook is an infinitely rich resource.”

How interesting of him to say that because the ma$$ media and propaganda pre$$ that he and his ilk have used all these years is failing miserably.

Bolton told Fox News, but his administration is not “starry eyed about what may happen here. I think it is going to happen,’’ he said of a summit between Kim and Trump.

Sure is a different tune than last year, huh?

In the additional details released Sunday, Kim appeared to hedge his bets, indicating that denuclearizing his country could be a long process that required multiple rounds of negotiations and steps to build trust, but he laid out a vague idea of what his impoverished country would demand in return for giving up its nuclear weapons.

You know what? New York Times has already made me want to cancel the meeting before it's begun.  What's the point? Let's just save a lot of time and scrap it. I guess the NYT wanted him to disarm overnight. Too bad he is negotiating like Israel, according to the take in this "report."

Kim, who drove the peninsula close to the brink of war last year by undertaking a series of missile and nuclear tests, has extended an offer to meet Trump, which was accepted.

A week ago, Kim announced an end to all nuclear and long-range missile tests and the closing of the nuclear test site in mountainous Punggye-ri, in northeast North Korea.

Skeptics fear that Kim does not really intend to give up his nuclear weapons and is merely trying to soften his image, escape sanctions, and make it harder for Trump to continue to threaten military action, but South Korean officials say Kim is sincere in trading his nuclear weapons for a promise to end hostilities and get Washington’s help to improve his economy.....

I guess everybody really is against Trump. 

Well, almost everybody.

I mean, even Kim Jong Un here has got it out for the guy. Michelle Wolf is the least of his problems.

--more--"

What I think has happened in Korea and what is behind the suddenly loquacious and conciliatory Kim, is that he has been placed under the protective umbrella of China and Russia and has received guarantees of defense in case of US attack. That's why the South is eagerly embracing negotiations. 

The pre$$ in AmeriKa is telling us it is because of Trump's toughness and the bite of economic sanctions; however, since when have those ever bothered the North Koreans? Besides, I've been told in months previous that China and Russia were helping the North evade sanctions by unloading ships at sea, etc. Can't be both.

Speaking of spin:

"Trump to host Nigeria’s leader at the White House" Associated Press  April 29, 2018

LAGOS, Nigeria — After more than a year in office, President Trump for the first time is hosting an African president at the White House.

Racist bastard!

The meeting with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday comes after an uncomfortable start to the Trump administration’s approach to the world’s second most populous continent.

Security and economic issues top the agenda for the bilateral meeting and working lunch.

He's getting the Merkel treatment?

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with almost 200 million people, is the largest economy on the continent and the leading crude oil exporter.

Seeing its importance.

Buhari was one of the first two African leaders Trump called after he took power, along with South Africa’s president.

Who has since been removed for corruption.

Nigeria is also one of Africa’s most troubled when it comes to extremism. Extremist group Boko Haram launched a violent insurgency in the northeast nine years ago with the aim of creating an Islamic state, and tens of thousands of people have been killed.

Funny how those guys have a way of popping up where there is goo in the ground.

I think you can see why Sudan is in the shi**er, too.

Mass abductions of schoolgirls brought Boko Haram international notoriety and one faction has declared allegiance to the Islamic State.

Hate to tell you this, but the mass abductions of girls was a piece of staged fakery. It's pretext to pull at your heartstrings, and haven't we seen enough of that?

Boko Haram is now active in neighboring Cameroon, Niger, and Chad and poses one of the most severe security threats to Africa’s vast Sahel region.

With Nigeria nowhere close to fully defeating Boko Haram despite government claims of having ‘‘crushed’’ the extremists, Buhari is expected to seek further US military assistance.

If they buy some military gear Trump will be happy and declare victory with our great Nigerian partners.

Already the Trump administration has made a $600 million deal to supply military planes and security equipment, one that was stalled under the Obama administration because of allegations that Nigeria’s military has been involved in human rights including rape and extrajudicial killings.

That is where the print copy ended, and nothing about the new drone base next door.

‘‘Absent clear evidence of a systematically abusive regime, moral preening is of little utility in dealing with situations like this,’’ J. Peter Pham, director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, said in a blog post on Thursday, saying Buhari’s administration has taken a ‘‘much more decisive approach’’ to Boko Haram.

What is the Atlantic Council (how about that who's who board, huh?) and who is funding them?

Buhari, facing elections early next year, is under pressure to deliver on promises to defeat Boko Haram that helped him win office in 2015 in a rare democratic transfer of power in Nigeria.

In addition to seeking greater security collaboration, Buhari and Trump also will ‘‘discuss ways to enhance the strategic partnership between the two countries and to advance shared priorities, such as promoting economic growth,’’ said Femi Adesina, the Nigerian presidential spokesman.

Nigerian newspapers report that a team of government officials that traveled to the United States ahead of Buhari have signed an agreement to provide four companies led by General Electric the opportunity to invest an estimated $2 billion to modernize key railways in Nigeria.

China, the top investor in Nigeria, already is deep into similar infrastructure work in the country. 

So this IS ALL ABOUT CHINA after all!

Officials in Buhari’s delegation also will try to strike a deal with US aircraft manufacturer Boeing for a new state-owned airline project.

Maybe that will keep the U.S. off their backs, huh?

--more--"

Nothing about Buhari being on death's door, neither! 

Maybe they are sending a body double.

Related: 

"The pope decried an attack on a church in Nigeria that killed 15 people, including two priests. The massacre last week occurred in Benue state in central Nigeria, which has recently seen a series of attacks, many linked to an ongoing dispute between farmers and herdsmen......"

Pope knows how the schmooze, huh?

"A UN Security Council team visiting Bangladesh promised Sunday to work hard to resolve a crisis involving hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who have fled to the country to escape military-led violence in neighboring Myanmar....."

Russia is pretty much saying nothing can be done -- like in Gaza and the West Bank.

Australia pledges millions in bid to rescue Great Barrier Reef

I would say we have bigger problems right now, but Australia probably will serve as a buffer and conduit for troops movements and material, much as it did in WWII.

"The leader of the wave of protests that created a surprise power vacuum in Armenia said Sunday that he met with the country’s new president and hopes to secure his support to become prime minister. Nikol Pashinian hopes to be the next premier. Pashinian’s supporters blocked traffic, marched through the capital and assembled in a central square Sunday for a rally, just like they did for more than a week...."

He's calling it a ‘‘revolution,’’ and says Russia has nothing to fear.

Maybe they should fear this:

"Syrian government forces on Sunday briefly captured four villages east of the Euphrates River in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour after rare clashes with US-backed Kurdish-led fighters before losing the area in a counteroffensive by the Kurdish-led force. The area close to the border with Iraq has been the site of recent clashes between the two sides who had been focusing on fighting the Islamic State. Crossings into the east bank of the Euphrates in eastern Syria by government forces have been rare. Much of Deir el-Zour province was held by the Islamic State group but over the past year Syrian government forces captured most areas west of the Euphrates while SDF fighters took areas east of the river. On Feb. 7, pro-Syrian government fighters attacked SDF positions east of the river and faced a ferocious US counterattack that left dozens, including Russians, dead. SDF spokesman Kino Gabriel said earlier Sunday that the Syrian army attack coincided with preparations to “liberate” the remaining areas east of the river from ISIS....."

A lot to address there. Whether the Feb. 7 incident actually happened is questionable based on the lack of Russian reaction; however, if this recent report is true and Syrian forces have tentatively begun the process of evicting U.S.-backed forces and thus U.S. troops out of the country, it's HUGE NEWS. It's another step to a full-blown WWIII (let's face it, we are in it now). 

The other thing of note is "in 2013, President Obama said he wanted more information about chemical weapons use in the Syrian civil war before deciding on escalating US military or diplomatic responses, despite earlier assertions that use of such weapons would be a ‘‘game-changer.’’ 

I only bring it up because ever since the French, U.K., and U.S. bombed Syria over an alleged chemical weapons incident, we haven't read anything about the OPCW investigation or the fact that they FOUND NO EVIDENCE of CHEMICAL RESIDUE at the sites that were BOMBED!

Makes sense. If the chemicals were there as claimed, they would have been dispersed by the destruction and people would have been getting sick. Have been no reports, and it is not like my pre$$ would bury such a thing. They would be saying, see, see?!! Same reason Skripal has been dispatched down the memory hole. You were LIED TO AGAIN!

"Pompeo says US is with Israel in fight against Iran" by Carol Morello Washington Post  April 29, 2018

TEL AVIV — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greeted new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday as a ‘‘true friend of Israel,’’ and both men affirmed that the US-Israeli relationship has never been stronger.

Pompeo expressed pride in the administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US Embassy there from Tel Aviv, a decision that prompted a lopsided vote of condemnation at the United Nations and spurred a handful of nations to move their own embassies to Jerusalem.

‘‘By recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and seat of its government, we are recognizing reality,’’ he said. 

Zionist Israelis have control over US foreign policy.

Both Pompeo and Netanyahu used their meeting to tear into Iran, characterizing it as an international menace that has become more ambitious since the 2015 nuclear deal, a view expressed as well at Pompeo’s previous stop, in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

‘‘People thought Iran’s aggression would be moderated as a result of signing the deal,’’ Netanyahu said. ‘‘The opposite has happened. Iran is trying to gobble up one country after the other. Iran must be stopped.’’ 

Blog editor sighs in exhaustion. 15 years ago he was making the same barking sounds about Iraq. Now Iran is the new Nazi Germany, gobbling upon countries like Israel gobbles up Palestinian land (btw, today is also the day Hitler died).

Pompeo said Iran aims to dominate the entire Middle East, adding, ‘‘The United States is with Israel in this fight.’’

The world has recognized that reality, yes.

Although Netanyahu praised the US recognition of Jerusalem as bold and historic, he met Pompeo in Tel Aviv, not in Jerusalem as originally planned.

Pompeo had no plans to meet with any Palestinians, who have stopped talking to US officials since the Jerusalem decision. Nor did he plan to visit the site in Jerusalem that the administration is upgrading into an embassy.

The fact that he has no plans to meet Palestinians says it all. He literally doesn't see them.

He can't even take a run over to Gaza to see the fence?

Pompeo was accompanied by the US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, and while posing for photos before the meeting, Netanyahu congratulated Pompeo on his new position.

‘‘We are very proud of the fact that this is your first visit as secretary of state,’’ Netanyahu said.

Ah, now the narrative of the endangered Democrats from Trump states who are under pressure to also fall in lineThe partisan politics is simply cover for Zionist control! Otherwise, we are getting a blue wave.

Pompeo replied, ‘‘You’re an incredibly important partner [and] occupy a special place in my heart, too.’’

Pompeo has yet to visit his office at the State Department since being sworn in Thursday.

So he runs off to Brussels to foment war with Russia and swings over to Saudi Arabia and Israel before even stopping at his office, huh? That tells you who is jerking his chain!

Apart from updating Netanyahu on the looming decision on whether to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and coordinating ways to contain Iran in Syria, the Pompeo visit serves to set him apart from his predecessor, Rex Tillerson.

He is not updating Netanyahu, he is getting his orders from him.

During his 14-month tenure, Tillerson never visited Israel solo, only accompanying Trump.

Israel didn't like Tillerson (oil ties to Qatar and the like as well as Russia), and thus he's out and Pompeo is in.

Under Tillerson, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process was largely removed from the oversight of the State Department and added to the portfolio of Trump senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

I wasn't aware it had been moved back, and what is the kid up to these days anyway? What's Mueller got on him? Again, he's part of the group pulling the chains. An embarrassment, yes, but still Chabad.

‘‘Pompeo’s early and quick trip to the region, particularly to Israel, is also a form of station identification that the new secretary of state intends to become a dominant force in Middle East policymaking,’’ said Aaron David Miller, a former State Department official specializing in Middle East issues who is now at the Woodrow Wilson Center.

In Brussels on Friday, Pompeo said he wanted to bring the ‘‘swagger’’ back to the State Department, and this trip is a step toward the goal. 

OH, NO! 

That is the LAST THING WE NEED!

Under Tillerson, the voice most Americans heard on US foreign policy was that of Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, who is believed to harbor larger political ambitions for herself.

Actually, she was reprimanded by Tillerson for speaking out of turn, but who remembers that when we are talking about our next president?

The trip allows Pompeo to reclaim that role for the top US diplomat, even as he has assiduously mentioned Trump’s name in every public appearance he has made.

‘‘Year Two in Trumpland may be a very different place on the foreign policy side,’’ Miller said, hastening to add, ‘‘with one exception — Trump will still sit at the center of it all.’’

Unless he's impeached.

The May 12 deadline for Trump to decide whether to stick with or leave the Iran nuclear deal was the backdrop to every discussion Pompeo had.

This may sound crazy, but I want Trump to dump the deal. I think you throw that huge hunk of blood-red meat to the neocons and you let them sink their fangs into it. What you don't do is initiate any hostilities against Iran. They aren't going to do anything if the U.S. pulls out. The agreement will still apply with all the other signatories, and they will go on doing business as usual. Then you can fall back on further negotiations with European allies to forestall any military action.

Talking to reporters on the plane en route from Saudi Arabia to Tel Aviv, Pompeo brushed aside concerns that a decision to withdraw from the agreement could derail nuclear negotiations with North Korea. 

I don't think they will, either, but for the different reasons I enumerated above.

Potential talks with North Korea about Pyongyang abandoning its nuclear weapons were expected to be an incentive for Trump to remain in the Iran deal, so as not to make Kim Jong Un distrustful of US intentions.

Pompeo’s dismissal of that notion, however, suggests that Trump won’t consider it much of an obstacle, either.

In Riyadh, Pompeo proclaimed the Iran deal — which was negotiated by the Obama administration and included five other world powers — a failure.

‘‘The nuclear deal has failed to moderate the regime’s conduct in many areas,’’ he said. ‘‘In fact, Iran has only behaved worse since the deal was approved.’’ 

They have abided by it to the letter, and the UN has confirmed and verified it! 

C'mon, Mike!

--more--"

UPDATE:

Syrian Military Facilities Terror-Bombed Overnight

The Zionist Warmongers have done it again as they try to goad Iran into responding and foist WWIII upon us all.                

At least Canada will be on our side when the war begins:

"Brother of Rob Ford running for office, and sounds like Trump" by Alan Freeman Washington Post  April 29, 2018

OTTAWA — Doug Ford is campaigning to become leader of Ontario, Canada’s most populous province — and perhaps to help restore the Ford name.

His brother, Rob Ford, the late mayor of Toronto, had a political career marred by drunken escapades and a video of him smoking crack cocaine, but Doug Ford’s rhetoric on the campaign trail has compelled observers to link him to another political name: President Trump.

Ford has positioned himself as the antithesis of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and as a right-of-center businessman who derides elites, whom he has described as ‘‘people who look down on the average, common folk, thinking they’re smarter and that they know better to tell us how to live our lives.’’

‘‘They have their glasses of champagne with their pinkies up in the air, looking down like they’re better than you are,’’ Ford, the surprise winner in a March leadership race for the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, recently told a Toronto radio talk show.

With less than two months remaining until the June 7 provincial election, his party is well ahead in opinion polls and widely expected to win.

‘‘Doug is smart in the way Trump is smart,’’ said John Filion, who served on Toronto city council with both brothers and is the author of a biography of Rob.

‘‘Doug is very calculating and, like Trump, doesn’t have any political ideology. . . . It’s this intellectual agility to come up with positions that appeal to a broad group of people even if they make no sense,’’ Filion said.

Ford, who shares his brother’s populist appeal and combative style but keeps away from alcohol, has promised reduced taxes, lower electric power rates, and an end to the 14-year rule of the Liberal Party, led by an unpopular premier, Kathleen Wynne.

Wynne lashed out at Ford earlier this month, calling him a ‘‘bully’’ and likening him to Trump. ‘‘Doug Ford sounds like Donald Trump, and that’s because he is like Donald Trump,’’ she said. ‘‘He believes in an ugly, vicious brand of politics that traffics in smears and lies. He’ll say anything about anyone at any time because he’s just like Trump. It’s all about him.’’

Ford struck back at his opponent, calling her ‘‘desperate’’ during a campaign stop in Cobourg, Ontario, after hearing a tape of Wynne’s comment.

Some analysts dismiss the comparisons between Ford and Trump. Pollster Darrell Bricker of Ipsos Public Affairs says both politicians may reject elites but Ford doesn’t embrace Trump’s strident anti-immigration stance.

In fact, Ford and his brother have always attracted substantial support from Ontario’s big immigrant communities, particularly in the Toronto suburbs.

These ethnic Canadians are ‘‘middle-class strivers buying houses with two-car garages,’’ Bricker said, who feel the same frustration and anger with what they see as high taxes, too much congestion, and an out-of-touch government as other Ford backers. 

It's a pandemic!

Bricker sees the election as ‘‘a referendum on Wynne and she’s losing.’’

She can't Wynne for losing, I guess.

Ipsos’s latest poll, published on April 10, shows Ford’s Conservatives with 40 percent of decided voters over the left-of-center New Democratic Party with 28 percent and the ruling Liberals in third place with 27 percent.

‘‘[Voters] are taking the biggest hand grenade they can throw and they’re pulling the pin,’’ Bricker said. ‘‘The day after they don’t care what happens.’’

Wow. 

Who knew Canadian voters were terrorists?

Over the past few weeks, Ford’s campaign has crisscrossed Ontario, hitting on several hot-button issues. At a rally earlier this month, he took the microphone before 400 people in a suburban sports complex and told supporters, ‘‘The days of gouging taxpayers are done.’’

Ford got some of the biggest rounds of applause when he attacked plans for a carbon tax, which Ontario has agreed to implement in conjunction with Trudeau’s government. Just the mention of Trudeau led to jeering.

I think it just snowed up there, so.....

One man shouted, ‘‘Mr. Dressup,’’ a reference to a Canadian children’s TV show and Trudeau’s much-criticized recent trip to India, where he dressed in traditional Indian garb. 

Didn't he also pose for pictures and have dinner with a terrorist?

While promising to cut taxes, reduce the provincial debt, and cut waiting times in the provincial health care system, Ford didn’t say how he would pay for it all other than by eliminating wasteful spending.

He is going to do what Maine does on health care.

‘‘The party is over with taxpayers’ money,’’ he said, citing the $6.2 million Canadian dollar salary and bonus given to the chief executive of Hydro One, the province’s dominant electric utility, which stands accused of charging high power rates, double what they are in neighboring Quebec.

Ford promised to fire the utility’s CEO and board upon taking office, but critics point out that Hydro One has been partly privatized and so the province doesn’t have unilateral power to fire anybody.

--more--"

Canada has been quiet since, you know.

Speaking of health care:

Black nurses sue Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Those damn nurses!!

"Lincoln-Sudbury students plan protest after suit is filed about sexual assault" by Laura Crimaldi Globe Staff  April 29, 2018

Students at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School are planning to walk out of class Monday morning to protest how district officials allegedly handled complaints from a former 15-year-old student who said she was sexually assaulted during a football game in November 2013.

The school’s response to the alleged attack is the subject of a federal lawsuit that accuses school leaders of inadequately investigating the girl’s report and then ostracizing her. The alleged attackers, both boys, weren’t punished, according to the complaint filed April 24.

“This is the perfect example of blaming the victim. It makes me so angry and it makes me feel so unsafe at my school,” said Lily Neuhaus, 18, a senior who is helping to organize the demonstration.

That's how Linda Vester is feeling this morning.

During the walkout, students plan to gather on the bleachers of the school field, where the alleged attack occurred, and stand silently for 15 minutes, a nod to the girl’s age, said Neuhaus, who estimated 100 students will participate.

Demonstrators plan to wear teal and display teal decorations at the spot because the color is used to promote sexual assault awareness, she said.

Neuhaus and another student, Katie Kohler, 18, said they met with Superintendent Bella Wong on Thursday after reading about the former student’s lawsuit in the Globe. They said Wong appeared to dismiss their concerns.

Kohler’s father, John, said he spoke with Wong by phone on Friday and expressed frustration that he didn’t learn about the alleged attack until the lawsuit was filed. He said he supports his daughter’s activism. “As a parent I would have appreciated knowing that there was a rape on the campus as my third girl was entering the school,” John Kohler said. “Like everything else with Lincoln-Sudbury, it’s swept under the rug . . . The people of town are really kind of fed up.”

Neuhaus said walkout organizers want the former student to know she has their support.

“This girl missed out on so much learning because something happened to her,” she said. “She didn’t do anything, but she missed out on learning.”

Well, she did kinda of learn something. 

Rotten lesson, but a life one.

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Ask the kids about Columbia and they don't know what you are talking about.

Just hoping for a scholarship (softball player won it) to Salem (new president a woman).

Please watch where you are walking.

Sadly, on the day the Vietnam War ended a new war began:

"A little-known Chilean company that until recently churned out mostly crop nutrients may hold a key to the future of electric-vehicle production. And a Chinese mining company is poised to grab a big piece of it. Soc. Quimica & Minera de Chile sits on the world’s richest deposit of lithium. It produces more than 20 percent of the global supply and is about to produce a lot more. SQM will at least double and could eventually quadruple lithium capacity, thanks to recent agreements between the company and the Chilean government. Ramping up production of the mineral will help meet seemingly insatiable demand from electric-car makers. The green light to mine vastly more lithium has put SQM in the sights of several mining companies, including London-based Rio Tinto Group and China’s Tianqi Lithium Corp. ‘‘Tianqi owning the stake would be another step toward overall Chinese consolidation of the lithium industry,’’ said Chris Berry, a New York-based energy-metals analyst. Christopher Perrella, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst, said a Chinese move to control SQM makes sense. ‘‘The Chinese view electric vehicles as a key technological focus,’’ he said. ‘‘Most of the world’s batteries are made in China, and access to lithium would be of strategic interest.’’ Lithium prices have reached historic highs on the strength of growing EV production." 

Meanwhile, the U.S. is fooling around in Western Africa!

So where are they going to store the stuff?

"Prologis Inc. has agreed to acquire DCT Industrial Trust Inc. for $8.4 billion in stock and assumed debt, making the world’s largest warehouse owner even bigger as demand surges in the age of online shopping. High-growth markets including Southern California, the San Francisco Bay area, Seattle, South Florida, and New York and New Jersey, according to the companies....."

They flew scallops in from the North Atlantic if you want to gamble on them.

Hope you don't get sick (why didn't the Globe want you to see that?).

"US allies brace for trade war as tariff negotiations stall" by Jack Ewing and Ana Swanson New York Times   April 29, 2018

BERLIN — A few weeks ago, it felt as if a trade war pitting the United States against allies like Australia, Canada, and the European Union was over before it even began. The Trump administration dispensed so many temporary exemptions to steel and aluminum tariffs that many countries figured the threats were just political theater, but with only days left before the exemptions expire and punitive tariffs take effect, it’s dawning on foreign leaders that decades of warm relations with the United States carry little weight with a president dismissive of diplomatic norms and hostile toward the ground rules of international trade.

And I just dumped my trade war drafts from the last month!

What began as a way to protect American steel and aluminum jobs has since become a cudgel that the Trump administration is using to extract concessions in other areas, including car exports to Europe or negotiations to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada.

That's good then, right?

As a May 1 deadline looms, the decision on whether to grant permanent exemptions to the steel and aluminum tariffs, and to whom, appears likely to come down to the whims of President Trump, who has been influenced by brief interactions with foreign leaders and has seesawed between scrapping and rejoining global trade deals.

War on a whim. 

Haven't we had enough of those?

The European Union, the United States’s biggest trading partner, indicated over the weekend that it was losing hope of reaching an agreement in the face of what many of the region’s political leaders regard as unreasonable demands.

But those are our friends.

While a last-minute extension of the deadline is possible, Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, who met last week with Trump in Washington, said Sunday that Europe was ready to retaliate if Trump did not grant an exemption.

The German government said in a statement that Merkel, President Emmanuel Macron of France, and Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain agreed after speaking on the phone that if the tariffs go into force, “The European Union should be ready to decisively defend its interests within the framework of multilateral trade rules.”

The uncertainty is sowing chaos in international supply networks. Car companies and other manufacturers do not know whether ships carrying steel may suddenly be barred from US ports.

Some countries are confident they will avoid the tariffs. Australia is treating an exemption as if it’s a done deal. Brazil, which primarily exports slab steel to US manufacturers, is hoping to escape by agreeing on limited quotas for more sophisticated products. Argentina is counting on the good relationship between its president, Mauricio Macri, and Trump, but it’s unclear whether the confidence is justified. The White House has not confirmed that Australia, Brazil, or Argentina will receive exemptions.

“In the conversations that we have on the issue, the positive relationships between our governments — and our presidents— certainly comes up,” Miguel Braun, Argentina’s trade secretary, said in an interview. 

In terms of the potential disruption to the global economy, the dispute with Europe may be the most critical. The United States and European Union account for about one-third of world trade.

Only a few years ago the United States and Europe were discussing the possibility of eliminating almost all trans-Atlantic trade barriers. Now they are stymied by fundamentally different worldviews. As the Europeans see it, Trump is demanding concessions that would make them accomplices in dismantling a postwar trade framework they hold sacred.

Okay, the first thing that bugs me is nothing should be held sacred. That's an inflexibility that creates problems. 

Now I know he is no George Washington, but didn't Nixon dismantle the Bretton Woods system that tied the U.S. dollar to gold?

The Europeans want to play by the rules of the World Trade Organization; the Americans are making demands that would force the Europeans to break them.

“If we stick to the rules,” said Thiess Petersen, an analyst at the Bertelsmann Foundation in Germany, “there is no chance for concessions.”

German cars, are one of the major sticking points.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who has been handling talks with the European Union, has been pushing the 28-nation bloc to reduce its tariffs on imported American cars as one way of cutting its trade surplus with the United States. In a recent interview with CNBC, Larry Kudlow, the chief economic adviser, said the United States wanted more concessions before it granted a permanent exclusion, but if the European Union accepted the demand for lower car tariffs, international treaties would require it to apply similar terms to automobiles from all other WTO members.

The biggest beneficiary might be China. A member of the WTO, China is keen to become an auto exporter and would be thrilled to get easier access to Europe without giving up anything in return.

Once again, it comes back to them!

Together, the countries seeking to extend temporary exemptions account for about half of American steel imports. The United States has already granted South Korea a permanent exemption as part of negotiations over a revised trade deal.

Other countries have already been denied exemptions and started paying tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum. They include China and Russia as well as Japan, a close ally.

I thought Rusal got an exemption. I guess I was wrong.

So the war is already on, 'eh?

American negotiators appear to be trying to persuade countries to restrain their own metal shipments voluntarily — without retaliating against the United States or suing the country in international courts, but few countries appear eager to play along.

For Canada and Mexico, among the largest exporters of steel and aluminum to the United States, the Trump administration has tied their exemptions to NAFTA talks. Negotiators from the three countries are scheduled to meet again on May 7 as they push to work through the major remaining disagreements and announce a revised pact.

Canadian and Mexican negotiators played down the risk of the tariffs on Friday, suggesting that applying trade penalties in the meantime could sink the talks. Chrystia Freeland, the Canadian foreign minister, said that the steel and aluminum tariffs were a “completely separate issue” from the trade deal and that there was “no justification whatsoever” for trade barriers against Canada.

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This last article is the appropriate ending for this post:

"‘Infinity War’ opens with record $250m, passing ‘Star Wars’" by Jake Coyle Associated Press  April 29, 2018

NEW YORK — A whole lot of superheroes added up to a whole lot of ticket sales. The superhero smorgasbord ‘‘Avengers: Infinity War’’ opened with predictable shock-and-awe, earning $250 million at the box office over the weekend and edging past ‘‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’’ to set the highest opening weekend of all time.

That is what we are going to have, all right, if certain people have their way. Wars into infinity.

‘‘Infinity War,’’ which brings together some two dozen superheroes in the 10-year culmination of Marvel Studios’ ‘‘cinematic universe,’’ also set a global opening record with $630 million even though it’s yet to open in China, the world’s second-largest movie market. It opens there May 11.

Both intergalactic behemoths belong to Disney, which now owns nine of the top 10 opening weekends ever — six belonging to Marvel releases. That includes ‘‘Black Panther,’’ which has grossed $1.3 billion since opening in February and still managed to rank fifth at this weekend’s box office, thanks partially to Marvel fans self-programming a double-feature.

The track record for Marvel, along with the extravagant effort put into the long-planned ‘‘Infinity War,’’ made the record-setting weekend something of a fait accompli. After 10 years, 18 prior films, and some $15 billion at the box office, the weekend was an assured and long-awaited coronation for Kevin Feige’s Marvel, the most dominant force in a Hollywood with precious few sure things.

Does that mean the superhero stuff is going to end because I'm sick of that fare.

‘‘To have now the biggest movie of domestic history as one of the Marvel cinematic universe films seems like a fitting tribute to the Marvel Studios team, which has had just an astounding, unmatched run in the last decade,’’ said Dave Hollis, head of distribution for Disney.

By any measure, the 2-hour-and-40 minute ‘‘Infinity War’’ is one of the largest films ever assembled. With a production budget reportedly almost $300 million, Joe and Anthony Russo’s film brings together the stars of Marvel’s superhero stable, including Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther, Chris Evans’s Captain America, Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, and many more.

It was shot over 18 months back-to-back with a sequel due out next summer. Marvel spent years laying the groundwork for the big showdown, teasing its villain (Josh Brolin’s Thanos) since 2014. The result earned positive reviews and an A CinemaScore from audiences. All but one of Marvel’s 19 cinematic universe releases has scored an A CinemaScore.

That answers my question, yawn.

As if to further stamp its pronounced enormity, ‘‘Infinity War’’ was also the first film shot entirely with IMAX cameras.

No new wide releases dared to compete with ‘‘Infinity War,’’ which played at 4,474 theaters in North America. In a very distant second place was John Krasinski’s ‘‘A Quiet Place’’ with $10.7 million in its fourth week. With $148.2 million in total ticket sales, the Paramount Pictures thriller had topped the box office three of the last four weekends.

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore, credited Marvel with the potent lead-up to ‘‘Infinity Wars’’ with ‘‘Spider-Man: Homecoming,’’ ‘'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,’’ ‘'Thor: Ragnarok,’’ and ‘‘Black Panther’’ — all successful and well-reviewed entries.

‘‘This brought the world together this weekend,’’ said Dergarabedian. ‘‘That’s what these movies do: They remind us why we love going to the movie theater. A movie like this shows the singular and unique experience of going into a movie theater.’’

Yup, ENDLESS WAR BRINGS the WORLD TOGETHER!

He is right about the big screen. The only problem is what is on it (crap, by any other name, you know).

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Time to bring this blog to an end.