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Gender: Male
Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario
Home country: Canada
Current location: Toronto, Ontario
Member since: Wed Oct 29, 2008, 03:34 PM
Number of posts: 3,025

Journal Archives

Russian tankers fueled North Korea via transfers at sea

Source: CNBC

Russian tankers have supplied fuel to North Korea on at least three occasions in recent months by transferring cargoes at sea, according to two senior Western European security sources, providing an economic lifeline to the secretive Communist state.

The sales of oil or oil products from Russia, the world's second biggest oil exporter and a veto-wielding member of the United Nations Security Council, breach U.N. sanctions, the security sources said.

The transfers in October and November indicate that smuggling from Russia to North Korea has evolved to loading cargoes at sea since Reuters reported in September that North Korean ships were sailing directly from Russia to their homeland.

"There is no evidence that this is backed by the Russian state, but these Russian vessels are giving a lifeline to the North Koreans," the second European security source said.

Read more: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/29/russian-tankers-fueled-north-korea-via-transfers-at-sea-reuters.html

Putin is just moving chess pieces around the board, and Trump still thinks he's winning at checkers while chewing on tiddlywinks.

Daniel Dale once again cataloging Trump's false statements: NYT interview edition

Full article here: Link to Toronto Star website

WASHINGTON—U.S. President Donald Trump sat down Thursday for a rare interview with a media outlet other than Fox News, holding an impromptu 30-minute session with New York Times reported Michael Schmidt at his golf club in West Palm Beach, Fla.

He made nearly one false claim per minute — 25 false claims in all.

The Star is keeping track of every false claim Trump makes as president. As of Dec. 22, Trump had already made 978 false claims; adding the Times interview, the tally will pass the 1,000 mark in the next update.

Here’s every false claim Trump made in the interview:

1) “But I think it’s all worked out because frankly there is absolutely no collusion, that’s been proven by every Democrat is saying it … Virtually every Democrat has said there is no collusion. There is no collusion.”

Democratic members of Congress have not said en masse that they are convinced that there was no collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia. Some have acknowledged that they have not seen evidence of collusion, but they have pointed out that the investigation is ongoing.

3) “I saw (Democratic Sen.) Dianne Feinstein the other day on television saying there is no collusion.”

Trump appeared to be referring, as he has in the past, to a November CNN interview with Feinstein — in which she did not declare that there is no collusion. Feinstein was specifically asked if she had seen evidence that the Trump campaign was given Democratic emails hacked by Russia. “Not so far,” she responded. She was not asked about collusion more broadly, and her specific answer made clear that she was referring only to evidence she has personally seen to date, not issuing a sweeping final judgment.

4) “She’s (Feinstein) the head of the committee.”

Feinstein, a Democrat, is not the head of any committee: Republicans control Congress and thus lead the committees. She is the ranking member — the top Democrat — on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Also, Daniel Dale is clearly frustrated that no journalist or interviewer seems willing to do their due diligence in an interview with Trump:


There's a ton of space in between show-boatily cross-examining Trump and cheerfully doing what interviewers do with almost every other politician every day - respectfully prod for logical errors, respectfully encourage to be specific, respectfully request facts and evidence.

Trump's approach to diplomacy isn't new - it's undisciplined, uneducated, unpredictable, random.

From the NYT: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/28/us/politics/trump-world-diplomacy.html?_r=0

Nearly a year into his presidency, Mr. Trump remains an erratic, idiosyncratic leader on the global stage, an insurgent who attacks allies the United States has nurtured since World War II and who can seem more at home with America’s adversaries. His Twitter posts, delivered without warning or consultation, often make a mockery of his administration’s policies and subvert the messages his emissaries are trying to deliver abroad.

Above all, Mr. Trump has transformed the world’s view of the United States from a reliable anchor of the liberal, rules-based international order into something more inward-looking and unpredictable. That is a seminal change from the role the country has played for 70 years, under presidents from both parties, and it has lasting implications for how other countries chart their futures.

At first, things again went badly. Mr. Trump did not shake Ms. Merkel’s hand in the Oval Office, despite the requests of the assembled photographers. (The president said he did not hear them.)

Later, he told Ms. Merkel that he wanted to negotiate a new bilateral trade agreement with Germany. The problem with this idea was that Germany, as a member of the European Union, could not negotiate its own agreement with the United States.

Rather than exposing Mr. Trump’s ignorance, Ms. Merkel said the United States could, of course, negotiate a bilateral agreement, but that it would have to be with Germany and the other 27 members of the union because Brussels conducted such negotiations on behalf of its members.

“So it could be bilateral?” Mr. Trump asked Ms. Merkel, according to several people in the room. The chancellor nodded.

“That’s great,” Mr. Trump replied before turning to his commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, and telling him, “Wilbur, we’ll negotiate a bilateral trade deal with Europe.”

Afterward, German officials expressed relief among themselves that Ms. Merkel had managed to get through the exchange without embarrassing the president or appearing to lecture him. Some White House officials, however, said they found the episode humiliating.

“Statecraft has been singularly absent from the treatment of some of his allies, particularly the U.K.,” said Peter Westmacott, a former British ambassador to the United States.

Mr. Trump’s feuds with Ms. May and other British officials have left him in a strange position: feted in Beijing and Riyadh but barely welcome in London, which Mr. Trump is expected to visit early next year, despite warnings that he will face angry protesters.

With China, Mr. Trump’s cultivation of Mr. Xi probably persuaded him to put more economic pressure on its neighbor North Korea over its provocative behavior. But even the president has acknowledged, as recently as Thursday, that it is not enough. And in return for Mr. Xi’s efforts, Mr. Trump has largely shelved his trade agenda vis-à-vis Beijing.

“It was a big mistake to draw that linkage,” said Robert B. Zoellick, who served as United States trade representative under Mr. Bush. “The Chinese are playing him, and it’s not just the Chinese. The world sees his narcissism and strokes his ego, diverting him from applying disciplined pressure.”

“There’s a chasm that can’t be bridged between the globalists and the nationalists,” said Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s former chief strategist and the leader of the nationalist wing, who has kept Mr. Trump’s ear since leaving the White House last summer.

On the globalist side of the debate stand General McMaster; Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis; Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson; and Mr. Trump’s chief economic adviser, Gary D. Cohn. On the nationalist side, in addition to Mr. Bannon, stand Stephen Miller, the president’s top domestic adviser, and Robert Lighthizer, the chief trade negotiator. On many days, the nationalist group includes the commander in chief himself.

The globalists have curbed some of Mr. Trump’s most radical impulses. He has yet to rip up the Iran nuclear deal, though he has refused to recertify it. He has reaffirmed the United States’ support for NATO, despite his objections about those members he believes are freeloading. And he has ordered thousands of additional American troops into Afghanistan, even after promising during the campaign to stay away from nation-building.

This has prompted a few Europeans to hope that “his bark is worse than his bite,” in the words of Mr. Westmacott.

A pretty fascinating read about an unprepared and unqualified person who has stumbled into a larger world for which he knows neither the rules, nor the consequences of not knowing the rules. He's being played because he's dealing with experienced elder statespeople, and he's walking away thinking he's winning winning winning because they shower him with enough flattery and praise that it strokes his fragile ego.

Just in time for New Years: Homemade Eggnog!

This is adapted from a very very old recipe I found aaaaages ago, and makes an incredibly delicious, but seriously boozy and extremely rich eggnog. It's super easy, but there is some waiting and chilling involved, so you need to start it well before your guests are showing up. Also, this is an uncooked eggnog recipe, so you'll want to serve it the day you make it, or the next day, and keep it refrigerated.

We like to use a dark and sweet, easy-drinking rum. This isn't the time to break out your really super fine Havana Club aged rum, you want something dark and sweet like Blackwell or Kraken. Bourbon is also a good alcohol to mix into this. Again something sweet and easy to drink like Buffalo Trace or similar. We love to microplane a bit of whole nutmeg on top, but if all you have is ground, that's just fine, too.

Also, thanks to everyone who's been watching and enjoying our videos! We've just passed 300 subscribers on YouTube (on Christmas day, in fact!)

You're A Mean One, Mr Grinch - Esthero & Noise Club (Official Video)

From Canadian singer Esthero. I absolutely adore her voice. Ignore the RT in the corner, I think she just used a lot of the nazi rally footage that RT published.

Ivanka Trump Diamonds Embroiled In Alleged Money-Laundering Scheme: Report

From Newsweek: http://www.newsweek.com/ivanka-trump-diamonds-caught-alleged-money-laundering-scheme-757168

Diamonds from first daughter Ivanka Trump’s now-defunct fine jewelry line were allegedly used in a massive money-laundering and fraud scheme, according to a federal court filing, GQ reported.

The Commercial Bank of Dubai in late June sought and later got permission to subpoena Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry, claiming its diamonds were vehicles in a scheme to hide about $100 million owed to the financial institution, GQ reported on Friday based on filings at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York made over the summer.

The bank has not accused Trump’s business of wrongdoing, but the timeline of the case suggests that any alleged transactions would have occurred when Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry was licensed under the corporate entity “Madison Avenue Diamonds,” which is named in the documents. Trump has cut her connections with Madison Avenue Diamonds.

The bank’s case is the latest in a string of alleged fraud schemes dogging the Trump family. Trump SoHo in Manhattan is accused of serving as a magnet for funds from Russia and Kazakhstan and is “a monument to spectacularly corrupt money-laundering and tax evasion,” a lawsuit claims. Trump Ocean Club in Panama and Trump Baku in Azerbaijan also face money-laundering accusations.

Cast Iron Cornbread recipe!

So, after we did the cornbread dressing recipe last week, we realized that we haven't done the recipe for cornbread that we used! So, we did a video on the cornbread here. My hubby took this recipe from a well-known Cajun fine-dining restaurant he worked at in Houston for a while. It's a delicious cornbread, super easy, and works well for the cornbread custard they do at that restaurant, or for this dressing, or as a side for soups and stews. As with many things in life, it's far more delicious when it's covered in butter!

There are certainly some opportunities to customize or personalize this recipe. We've done it with a little dollop of our fermented hot pepper relish, which is delicious in this. You can also add cheese (small cubes of feta or crumbled goat cheese work particularly well). The big trick with this one is to not over-mix it (you can see here we just barely got everything combined before baking) and to work with the mix quickly once it's well-combined. If it sits around too long it doesn't rise and the end result is not as nice. Also, if you don't have the 10" cast iron skillet, a similarly-sized cake pan will work just as well for this.

Cornbread Dressing recipe

So, after last week's video of the spatchcocked roasted turkey, you may have noticed some dressing on the plate! Well, that's our video recipe for this week. It's actually dead simple (and we'll put up the recipe for our cornbread next week), and super delicious, especially if you get all of those amazing pan drippings from the turkey in there.

The way my hubby's family down in Texas cooks a turkey is slightly non-traditional. They put all of the veggies and the cornbread, and some herbs and everything all together into a GIANT crock pot with the whole turkey, and then cook it slow for ages. The turkey comes out beautiful and moist, and all of the flavours cook together, and the dressing sort of makes itself underneath the cooking bird. Trouble is, you don't get that lovely crispy roasted turkey skin that way, so we prefer to do it this way! The flavour is totally comparable to the other method, and you have the bonus of being able to control the texture a little. You can do as we did, and add that last batch of cornbread a little later in the cooking process, and you'll have some nice pieces of cornbread mixed in with the smoother dressing. Fun!

TRO Saves Alabama Senate Race Ballot Images Well, ALMOST!!!

From Greg Palast: http://www.gregpalast.com/tro-saves-alabama-senate-race-ballot-images/

A Republican, A Democrat, An Independent, And A Minister Walk Into An Alabama Court… And Successfully Sue To Preserve Digital Voting Records… UPDATE: Court Order Stayed In Ex-Parte Hearing

A group of Alabama voting rights activists have secured a temporary restraining order to stop digital election records being destroyed after Tuesday’s highly contentious Senate special election between Doug Jones (D) and Roy Moore (R). The preliminary injunction, issued by a Montgomery circuit court judge, orders all Alabama counties to save all digital copies of ballots that are created when vote counting machines scan paper ballots.

UPDATE 1: We just got a call from John Brakey and Chris Sautter from Alabama. The State Supreme Court, without a hearing, but on the pure "ex-parte" (i.e. private) complaint of the State, "stayed" — that is, OVERTURNED THIS MORNING’S RULING TO PRESERVE ALL BALLOTS!
The temporary restraining order, which can be viewed in full above, states:

All counties employing digital ballot scanners in the Dec. 12, 2017 election are hereby ORDERED to set their voting machines to save ALL PROCESSED IMAGES in order to preserve all digital ballot images. This order applies to those machines that have such a setting and does not apply to any machine that does not allow for processed images to be saved.

Prior to this court case, election officials in at least three of the state’s largest counties had planned to only preserve images in the case of write-in ballots, meaning that all other images would be lost once the vote counting machines, which scan the paper ballots, were switched off on Tuesday night. The defendants in the case are Republican Secretary of State John Merrill and Alabama's Administrator of Elections, Ed Packard. The complaint, filed on behalf of Pamela Miles of Madison County, Dan Dannemueller of Elmore County, Paul Hard of Montgomery County, and Victoria Tuggle of Cullman County, states:

1. Defendants John Merrill and Ed Packard are failing to carry out their duties to instruct county election officials to preserve all election materials as required by law. Specifically, Defendants, according to information provided by them, indicate they do not and will not instruct election officials in each of the Alabama counties to preserve digital ballot images created by digital voting machines used throughout the state even though they are instructing such county officials to preserve “write-in” digital ballots.

2. As a result of Defendants’ failure to comply with Alabama’s public records law, digital ballot images used for tabulating votes and possible post-election adjudication will be destroyed following the December 12, 2017 special election for United States Senate in Alabama. The issue continues to be ripe through all elections scheduled in 2018.

3. Plaintiffs believe the failure of defendants to require that all election materials including digital ballot images violates Alabama’s public records law and infringes upon their right to a fair and accurate election.

As noted in the complaint, “Digital scanners count the digital images of the ballots rather than the paper ballots themselves while optical scanners count the paper ballots. Ballot images are therefore in the chain of custody and constitute public records.”

"People think that when they mark the ballots and they go into the machine that that's what counted,” said Priscilla Duncan, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, to local news outlet AL.com. "But it's not, the paper ballot is not what's counted. That ballot is scanned and they destroy [the ballots] after the election ... If there's ever an election challenge you need to have what was actually counted.”

This sounds fishy as hell to me?

This Quebec Furry Group Is Fighting the Far Right

From VICE, full article here: https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/434y9g/this-quebec-furry-group-is-fighting-the-far-right

If you search the name of Quebec’s largest far-right group on Facebook something wonderful happens—something you wouldn’t expect.

Your top result for La Meute isn’t a group full of rabid anti-Islamic activists who want to do something to make “Quebec for Quebecers." Instead you get yourself a delightful page of furries—one that operates under the name “La Meute Officielle.”

The extremist La Meute (french for "The Wolf Pack" is a Quebec based anti-immigrant group that has been rapidly growing, both in numbers and in recognition. It is one of the largest far-right groups in Canada. Like many of the nation’s far-right groups, their focus is primarily on halting Muslim immigration.

The leader of the furry La Meute, which started before its far-right counterpart, is named Mr. Wolfenstein and he damn well wants you to know that the far-right version of La Meute is “the false wolf pack.”

"The point is to fight, to fight back with our identity… We are the real wolf pack and they the false one."

The furry La Meute describe themselves as "anti-fascist, anti-racist, anti-sexist, pro-open borders, pro-love, and pro-furry hugs." They have been around in some form or another for several years now—always referring to themselves as “the wolf pack” or La Meute. The group didn’t feel the need to become public until the far-right wolf pack began to rise.

"We [went public] because we saw that the false Wolf Pack, la fausse meute as we call them, begin to get really, really big and they were giving us furries a really bad reputation,” said Wolfenstein. “Everybody thought that we were a racist bunch, but that's not us, we're all about love so that's why we created this page."

The furry wolf pack’s page is full of memes shading the far-right, and the occasional sharing of pro-furry news (usually with an immigration bent to it). More than anything though, they are disrupting the far-right Le Meute’s online recruitment. Since, typically, the furry page is the first one to come up upon a search, the group will get messages from people—including those in the United States or Western Canada—asking to join La Meute or expressing their support.

(also, I appear briefly in the YouTube video linked in the article, but no, not in costume)
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