Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Donald J. Trump, Robert Mueller and William Barr March 25, 2019

It's not an exaggeration that the USA, if not most of the news-reading balance of the world clamoured for the results of Mueller's report; a report that could have catastrophic results for Trump's Republicans, or the same for the hungry blood-tasting Democrats. There could be one winner only and it appears to be Trump. Many ask how and why could this decision could be left in the hands of an AG, hand picket by Trump, and on record that Trump could not be prosecuted. William Barr came through (for DJT) and stated in a two page document (released only 48 hours after receipt of Mueller's 440 page document) that there wasn't substantial prosecutable evidence that Collusion with the Russian Government took place before the November 2016 Presidential Election. Barr stopped short of opining on Obstruction of Justice issues; Mueller did the same in his two-year-long investigation's report. However both men stated that Trump was not entirely exonerated from any and all wrongdoing.
Fox News jumped all over it -- they demanded an apology from the Chairman of CNN and claimed that Ted Turner would have something to say about CNN's position on all of this.
CNN continued their barrage aimed at FOX and its journalists for one-sided reporting blindly extolling the unseen virtues of Trump and his Republicans. The fight between 'the enemy of the people' media (words made famous by Trump) will continue relentlessly for another twenty months when the 2020 Election will take place.
Will Trump last and stand for re-election in 2020? It appears that he will, and I'll bet that he'll love it because he has loaded the gun against the Democrats with Barr's report card. The Democrats will want the entire Mueller Report given to Congress, and if they get it with minimal redaction, there will be more of the same ammunition to be used for the entire period.
Trump can use FOX when he wishes and then Twitter to keep his followers revved up. The thing that we can count on is that the warfare will continue.
On April 18, 2019 the redacted version of Mueller's report was released. That's the 440 page version with blacked out sections as dictated by William Barr. The book, we'll call it, is out and the renewed fighting has begun with 'Impeachment' rhetoric by many Democrats, and 'No Collusion' by the Republicans. There is an unholy mess in American politics equalling the Richard Nixon presidency in the mid '70's forcing him to resign; and Bill Clinton's "I did not have sexual relations with that girl" plea to reverse his diminishing approval ratings. You'll also remember that Clinton did return to run again and win by a large margin in his second term.

May 11, 2019...More news regarding Trump's finances states that he lost $1.17Billion during 1986 - 1994 has hit the press. The Washington Post printed it first and the US Press is of course all over it with interviews and opinion requesting subpoena of his tax returns (which should have been released before the election in 2016) and increased activity for Congressional Activity and submissions by key players whose knowledge is paramount for the Whitehouse to succeed or to be eventually impeached.

August 2, 2019...No additional news has been reported on Trumps' tax returns still not submitted even though subpoena'd by Congress. His incredible business losses have not produced dialogue of importance. However, the Democrats have had their twenty candidates for president on stage for eight hours of debate. The front runner is Joe Biden with a few others closing in for the kill with their number one objective being to defeat Trump in 2020. Yes they all have policy objectives in mind but beating Trump trumps them all at this time.
Just a little fluff resting in a ditch. 

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Playa del Carmen, Mexico March 17 -- 28, 2019


We are registered on Air Canada's early morning flight to Cancun and on to Playa to spend two weeks   with Suzanne Laferrier. This trip popped up right out of the blue, and we wasted no time agreeing to go from March 15 -- 29 because the loads were quite agreeable. And then the unthinkable happened. A Boeing 737M8 goes down killing 157 people in Ethiopia. Its destruction mirrored another fatal crash involving a Boeing 737M8 killing all onboard (189) only five months earlier. One by one, and then a large group of world wide airlines grounded their 737M8's. The USA grounded theirs the next day and Canada grounded Air Canada's fleet of 24 aircraft and Westjet's 4 aircraft only moments after. Both the US and Canada, twenty-four hours earlier, had stated that everything about the 737M8 checked out and was fit to fly. (What one can read from their stated positions is pilot error was to blame.) Oddly enough the two planes experienced the same issues: within seven minutes of takeoff the planes stopped climbing and went down.
As of this writing, the loads on board Air Canada are not looking too good. They have a big job meeting passenger requirements with 24 fewer planes and 4,800 fewer seats in their service.
It appears that March 17 is our window to fly to Mexico; the following was posted on FB:
"To Playa del Carmen we will go
The Mexican Pesos will surely flow.
We'll see you soon,
Adios Amigo."
Dear Readers, the above is the first poetic insertion to my blog. It's not the best, perhaps I will work on this, perhaps I won't.

[Tragically, 49 Muslims where shot to death while praying in their Mosque in Christchurch New Zealand on Friday March 15, 2019. The shooter (alleged to be Brenton Tarrant from Australia) is said to be a White Supremacist who has publicly declared Donald J Trump his hero. This news flashed around the Globe and politicized the event while certain pundits had previously drawn attention to Donald Trump's acquaintance and discussions with the CEO at Boeing.]

We are in Playa del Carmen at the Condominium 'Natz TiHa' with Suzanne LeFerrier and Dennis Oliver in a very nice room overlooking the pool with an ample kitchen and living/dining room leading out to a large balcony. This place is very comfortable, the singular issue I have is the 45 stairs up to our condo. LaBrioche is a quaint coffee and crescent place a few minutes up the road with numerous restaurants and boutiques selling typical Mexican trinkets that we've managed to avoid at this point. At the bottom of our street is the Gulf of Mexico in all of its glory. The swankiest place we have  visited must be the Grand Hyatt Hotel.

The above are representative of two of my favourite greetings. The iguana in the morning right outside our front door, and a dining room hostess just up the street.

Playa del Carmen is fifty minutes west of Cancun (on the ocean), opposite Cozumel Island, and several hours east of Belize. There is a nice mix of foreign and Mexican vacationers spending plenty of time walking and biking on pedal and motor scooters. The dress on our street is mostly bathing suits (with cover ups) and sandals. There is a balanced mix of ages here as well. The sellers on the street have their treasures, as well as their little children spread out on blankets on the roadways, these of course, are designated as no vehicular traffic on slightly narrower roads. Several, if not a majority of vendors use a humorous banter like, "Honeymoon Special or Come on in 99% off" virtually every time you pass. This is a very friendly place with lots to explore.
Salvador (Dali) only a month away from home




This looks like the Pyramids with Water falls
Terryl has purchased some fabulous ingredients for Crescent filled sandwiches to go along with our $5.00 bottles of wine and $1.00 cans of freezing cold beer. But every night we hit a different restaurant for dinner. The next morning:
Terryl is in the Cave Restaurant
Deep into this cavernous place the air was thick.
D
I do the dishes.

One tree's roots on 38th and Flamengo
Another Roof Top Bar and Pool overlooking the Gulf of Mexico
This is a root from Bali with two well place wooden tusks in a swanky Indian food restaurant.


This is my favourite shot.

The loads are a trifle tight on March 29 so we will fly back to Toronto on March 28, 2019. This has been a delightful trip full of walks dodging the hot bright sun and finding very pleasant places to eat and drink.










Saturday, 9 March 2019

Balmy Beach Canoe Club, 1963 -- 1986

An early introduction would have been in 1958 when the Litho Print hockey team participated in an event with a Saturday night dinner and dance. I went without a wife or date, I had neither in those days. Nup, Sluce, Boland, Eldridge and others were the senior guys at the plant who had invited me to play on the team. I played one game on a Sunday morning somewhere and against some other team whose name never found its place in my memory. The drink at the Balmy Beach club was flowing even to me who was under the legal age. Those were memorable days with the first group of printers I knew. There would be several other firms that employed me, some for a very short time, and one for a very long time.
1963 Geza Zabados, a terrific tennis player from Kew Gardens tennis club -- who passed away much to early -- asked me if I knew anything about the wintertime racquet game called Squash. I had no knowledge of it when he introduced me to Balmy Beach and a game that would occupy my winter sporting life. (The first time I played this game I was seeing black spots before my eyes.)  But I loved the game and played it with passion until the required wrist snap was no more (the spots had disappeared years ago). Additionally, squash cultivated many good friends for me now that we lived in 'The Beaches.' 
In 1986 the beach home was sold for the princely sum of $150,000 (purchased for $30,000) and the family moved to north Brampton near Caledon, into a custom built 4,500 sq. ft. house including a recreation room walk out to the garden and pool. This was another world, a place and time for a new beginning for the four of us.
Thirty-three years later (2019) on a failed trip to St. Lawrence Market during a crisp and sunny afternoon we ended up on Scarborough Beach Blvd. to have a look at the old home and take a few photos. We never expected to see any of our neighbours, but we did with Mark and Ruth Lerner who still live two doors north. I then had the bright idea to have a drink at Balmy Beach CC, a member only establishment since the 1920's. Terryl and I introduced ourselves to the barkeep manager, she poured us a drink where the nostalgia appeared on every wall and cranny of this old old building. They were still there: Glen, Bart, Alex, Bob, Rob and others standing around a large circular table having a beer and talking up a storm. They still play squash; I saw Glen and Bart doing just that. The plaque on the wall - Geza is on it - with past champions in full view. Ken Lane, Peter Jacobson and Craig Wells are memorialized over the courts in two foot high letters. The war painted canoe paddles hang over the fireplace and team pictures are everywhere. Nothing has changed except for a coat of paint here and there. Just as I hoped.
80 Scarborough Beach

Facing west from Balmy Beach CC







 We had a lively conversation with a few of our old squash partners for two hours; Terryl joined the conversation easily and wants to return to my old haunt often. Why not?








Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Gerald Butts and his resignation from PMO Chief of Staff March 6, 2019

Shortly after Ms. Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from her Cabinet position as the Attorney General for Canada, Gerald Butts followed with his letter of resignation as Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Most of Canada wondered when the next shoe would fall. All of this took centre stage in Canada's media. We now had are own issues to rile the hackles of those who revelled in the blood sport of politics. Canada didn't need Donald J. Trump and his bluster during our political wizards calling for a lynching of Mr. Trudeau. All the while Trudeau stood his ground and admitted that he would always stand up for Canadian Jobs and the working people of Canada, and yes, in his own riding of Papineau, Quebec.
Mr. Butts - after Ms. Wilson-Raybould testified to her reasons for resigning - soon asked for and received approval to speak to the same parliamentary committee. When he spoke, his words were measured, confidant, humble and delivered with deep respect for his audience. I'm suggesting a similarity to Mark Antony in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar wherein he honoured his listeners as he verbalized his understanding of the events that brought all us to this day, a day that might have brought the government to its knees if his testimony lacked credibility. I believed him; not that the events where different, but that they were identical while being perceived differently by the former Attorney General. Beyond the facts there may be a tinge of feminism underlining a reasonable level of discussion in Canada. Trudeau's statements that he is a feminist and has demonstrated those views by appointing cabinet positions to several women, and then see it crumble (with no fault of his) was disheartening. The committee will provide their findings after listening to a few more players who were active on this file that had started in September 2018 and will continue for some time to come.
Meanwhile, an apology from the Prime Minister may be in order. He has apologized for several previous governments' egregious errors such as turning away the ship of Jews fleeing the Nazis during WW11 and a few other long gone government poorer judgements. Trudeau is accustomed to this and I'm sure would do a reasonable job. This apology - if he does it -- would need to be a barnburner if he goes that route. I think he should, and I also think that should be the end of it. But will Canadians except that and move on - the Conservatives and NDP won't. It has been said that, "Apologies are like any other currency; they can decline in value if there's an oversupply." [Author unknown]

Dubai people, camels and things December 13, 2019

UAE was nothing but rolling sand dunes.  "Forty-seven years after its establishment in 1972, the UAE has become a shining country...