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Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario
Home country: Canada
Current location: Toronto, Ontario
Member since: Wed Oct 29, 2008, 04:34 PM
Number of posts: 3,012

Journal Archives

Easy Pico de Gallo recipe

So, our video for this week was simple and fresh pico de gallo. Unlike the guac we did a few weeks ago, you can't really do this one in front of your guests, as it really benefits from sitting in the fridge for a few hours before serving. You can totally customize the onions, peppers, and tomatoes in this recipe, but the lime juice and cilantro are really what make the flavour profile! If you're not a fan of cilantro and you want to use something like basil or parsley, you're moving into bruschetta territory

The Cold War never ended.

This thought occurred to my sleep-fogged brain this morning, listening to the BBC News on my clock radio. A story came on about Putin and Trump (it may have been a reference to the comment Putin made to Trump that Russian hackers couldn't have done the DNC hack because they would never have gotten caught), and my brain just clicked on the idea that the Cold War is still happening.

It's not a new conflict. Russia (while no longer the USSR) has not stopped its spying upon the USA. It has been spying, hacking, and trying to delegitimize US power for years. Russia doesn't trust NATO or the UN, and wants to shake faith in both of those organizations.

And they've scored an enormous win with their installation of Trump. The results of the election were complicated, and there were many factors that led to Trump's electoral college win and popular vote loss. One factor was the Russian influence and probably (at this point practically indisputable, but let's wait to hear officially the extent) meddling in the election process. And they've got exactly what they want in power in the USA. Trump is perfect for Russia.

Trump doesn't trust NATO or the UN because Breitbart and InfoWars have told him how terrible they are for America. He trusts Putin because he represents the perfect idea of a strong man who rules with an iron fist. Trump admires that. Trump knows nothing about policy, hell he thinks Paul Ryan is a big wonk (but that's a whole 'nother marketing campaign). And now Trump is degrading the opinion of the office of the President of the USA around the world. World leaders are doing their best to go around Trump to deal with governors, or just deciding they'll be better off dealing with other allies.

So, the global opinion of the USA sinks, and Russia looks stronger and stronger. It's the same old cold war optics. It's a war of information, and Russia has won a huge victory in installing Trump.

As for the results of that victory in the USA, it's going to be decades before the reversal of the harmful policies manages to normalize things again. The GOP has been pushing the false narrative that they just haven't managed to get anything done, which is why the health care bill is so important:


Keep up the pressure, keep calling, keep protesting. It's not working fast, but it's working. GOTV in 2018 and 2020. Keep fighting, self-care, be good allies.

I don't have much to bring this all together, I just wanted to get it out of my head and all together in one place.

Conclusion after 6mo fact-checking every word out of Trump's mouth: No strategy he's just a liar

Donald Trump said 414 false things in his first six months. Here’s what we’ve learned
Big lies, needless lies, above all else unrelenting lies. With some exceptions, this is not sophisticated deceit.

From the Toronto Star: [link:Full article here|https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2017/07/20/donald-trump-said-397-false-things-in-six-months-heres-what-weve-learned.html]

U.S. President Donald Trump had just finished making another false statement, ho hum, when he said something especially suspect.

He wasn’t exactly sure, he conceded, if this particular inaccurate boast was accurate. And he was worried, he claimed, that a fact-checker was going to give him “a Pinocchio.”

“I don’t like those,” he said on Monday. “I don’t like Pinocchios.”

Fact check: he really doesn’t care about Pinocchios.

The Star has tracked every single word Trump has said, tweeted or issued in his name since he took the oath on Jan. 20. Other than the sheer quantity of lies, what’s most striking is their outlandish obviousness.

With some exceptions, this is not sophisticated deceit. Trump is the toddler with purple icing on his face declaring that a fairy must have eaten the last piece of cake.

“We’ve been victimized,” Nyhan said, “by a media ecosystem that amplifies statements regardless of whether they’re true, immediately.”

Trump opponents worry about a world in which political lying has no consequences. Trump, after all, won the presidency lying all the time, and he has maintained his support base lying some more. When we asked Trump voters in Ohio about Trump’s lies, several of them said they like dishonesty that gets elites all agitated.

So the concern is understandable. But the hand-wringing sometimes ignores the dreadfulness of Trump’s approval rating, now below 40 per cent. A mere third of the public now thinks he is honest. The exposure of his dishonest claims, especially his dishonest policy pledges, may well be reflected in his historically horrible overall standing.

Trump’s persistence has spawned a variety of complex theories about what he is trying to do. Some veteran observers of authoritarian leaders have suggested that he is strategically attempting to obliterate the very idea of an objective reality that differs from what he says it is.

A simpler theory seems more plausible to us.

There is no grand plan. Lying is simply what Donald Trump has always done. It’s how his brain works.

“He views deception as a more efficient solution than truth-telling. I think throughout much of his life he’s been rewarded for defaulting to the lie instead of the truth as most people do,” said Steve McCornack, a University of Alabama at Birmingham professor who studies deception. “I really think, cognitively, his default discourse-production setting is just to go to the lie.”

Following this, there is a comprehensive list of the lies.

Refried Beans recipe - Pinto Beans

In keeping with the TexMex theme we've had the last few weeks for our videos, my hubby and I made a video on refried beans this week! We usually use pinto beans for this, but you can use black beans or others for this recipe. Also, we use bacon grease to refry them, but if you'd prefer to keep this recipe vegetarian, you can use vegetable oil or grapeseed oil, though it will change the flavour some.

We bought some cheap yellow cheddar for the melting cheese, and it came out a little greasy (just like real restaurant style!) but didn't really brown nicely on top. Lots of different kinds of cheeses you could use to get that nice crispy browned melty cheese on top, like mozzarella, pepper jack, colby, or something like that.

Restaurant-style fajitas recipe

Hubby grew up in Texas, so he had a lot of TexMex growing up, of course. Fajitas are really a restaurant style food, not something you'd see in a lot of border-town homes, and certainly not something you'd see a lot of in Mexican homes. But they are delicious and a fun way to have a few people over for dinner. We usually put the hot cast iron in the middle of the table on a trivet, and then everyone rolls their own.

This recipe is super easy to customize. We used skirt steak, but you can also use flank steak, bavette, cheek, or also chicken (dark meat works better like boneless thighs), shrimp, or if you want to cut the meat out, you can use eggplant, zucchini, or portabello mushroom caps. Likewise, if you don't like (or have access to) poblano peppers, you can use cubana, jalapeno, or just regular green, red, or yellow bell peppers.

Fast and easy Guacamole recipe

My husband comes from Texas, so he ate a lot of guac growing up. He's a big fan of keeping it super simple, and making it fresh in front of your guests. A couple of notes of caution, you need really nice ripe avocados for this, and don't use a metal bowl. The oils in the garlic will react to the metal and give your guacamole a metallic flavour!

Happy 150th Birthday Canada!!!

We're not a perfect nation, and we've got some ways to go, but I do feel pretty happy about my home country most of the time! Fire up some Canadian music, have some good Canadian beer, wine, or spirits (or Pop Shoppe or something if you're not a drinker!) and grill something delicious. Poutine optional, but encouraged!

Side note: On Google Play Music I started a radio station based on The Tragically Hip's "Courage (For Hugh MacLennan)" and it gave me a great playlist that includes some of my favourites like Blue Rodeo, Matthew Good, Sloan, Headstones, 54-40, the Odds, Big Sugar, Our Lady Peace, I Mother Earth, and The Watchmen. Good stuff!!

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