I have another blog which is completely different from Larry Muffin. I created this blog for my campaign for municipal office. The topics are specific to issues in our City Charlottetown. Here is the link if you are interested.
The Summit in Helsinki, Finland was a great victory for President Putin of Russia. Donald Trump made several mistakes which destroyed American Foreign Policy, weakened your credibility in the world and increase the influence of Russia.
It all went to hell at the NATO summit where Trump insulted his allies and then made demands because he views himself as the ruler of the world. The contribution of the USA to NATO is 67% but all other countries also contribute annually not only in money but in equipment and personnel, often far more than the USA. Each contribution is not a due to the USA but to the organization as a whole. No one will increase its annual contribution to 4% as demanded by Trump, not even the USA will do that, total bluster with no substance. As for the contribution of 2% it is a goal for 2021 not today.
The trip to the UK was a total disaster, PM May must have wondered why she invited Trump who insulted her publicly, called her incompetent, suggested she sue the EU to get her way, that cannot be done, simple which tribunal would have jurisdiction to hear such a lawsuit. The EU like the UN is a club and each member must live by the agreement of membership. There is no one to be sued. Trump called for PM May to be replaced by the awful populist and incompetent Boris Johnson former Foreign Secretary who by supporting Brexit with lies has done Britain a grave disservice. Trump then went so far as to threaten PM May by saying that the USA would not sign Trade deals with Britain if they did not leave the EU. You do that to an old ally? Well Trump did it to Canada.
Then the incident with HM Queen Elizabeth II, Trump was 12 minutes late, an inexcusable delay when you are a guest and you make your host wait for no apparent reason. This was a provocation engineered by Trump to show that he was the great one. Having worked on such visits myself, I know that it is impossible to be late unless it was decided to be late. Then by standing in front of HM the Queen while she was escorting him at a review of the guard, Trump knew the Protocol, it had been explained to him, but he thought he could disregard it as he had in the past by pushing and shoving other Heads of State at international meeting because he believes he is more important. This lack of common decency and courtesy is what the World sees, this is what America looks like, this goes well beyond one man, he is the President of the USA and his behaviour is beyond reprehensible.
Helsinki was a terrible mistake, by agreeing to a one on one meeting with President Putin, Trump failed to realize that the Russians recorded the meeting and will use what ever he said at that meeting in the future against him as a bargaining chip. This is the oldest trick in the book of diplomacy, you never meet one on one, you always have others with you to take notes, its diplomacy 101. Trump cannot remember what he says and blabs uncontrollably, in all likelyhood he told Putin things he heard at the NATO summit or in conversation with other allies, not understanding that Putin the old spy master made a note of it all.
Putin got an incredible gift at this meeting, after 18 years of hard work, he got the President of the USA to declare that the world would be governed by the two great powers Russia and USA. Even in 1945 the world was divided between UK, France, USA, USSR. China is surely a greater economic power than Russia whose GDP is smaller than Canada. Trump said that there could be a good dialogue and understanding like in the days of the Cold War (1946-1989). I do not remember any such cooperation during those years, it was in fact a deadly game and enormous rivalry with the USSR (Russia). In 1962 a year Trump is old enough to remember, the world stood on the brink of complete nuclear war with the Cuban missile crisis provoked by the USSR.
Trump also said that he believed Putin instead of his own Intelligence agency, this declaration is an act of treason, Trump sided with the real existential threat to the USA and the Western World, Russia. Russia is not our friend and never was, the principle of the Rule of Law, Democracy and Free Elections are foreign concept for the Russians. The unlawful occupation of Crimea, and the aggression in the Donbass and Georgia, the full military support for the Assad Regime in Syria, and meddling in other parts of the World should tell us that Trump is wrong in supporting tyrants like Putin.
Trump now has sent a clear message to the allies of the USA that America cannot be trusted. It is impossible to know if America would come to the help of fellow NATO members in case of Russian aggression in the Baltic States or elsewhere in Europe. This is very dangerous for the peace of the world.
What we see now is that the famous talked about check and balances of the American system simply do not work, you have a rogue President who is not respecting the US Constitution he swore to uphold. The USA today is on a downward slide not only in prestige but in influence around the world. China and Russia are ascending and States like North Korea are profiting from this confusing lack of direction at the White House.
Will the November Elections change anything in the USA, its a gamble but like all gamble the results may be less than satisfactory, no one should bet on how the American public will vote.
From the New York Daily News 17 July 2018.
July 2018 marks the centenary of the death of the last Russian emperor of the Romanov dynasty- Nicholas II and his family: the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, their five children, as well as their entourage. They were shot on the night of July 16 to July 17, 1918 in Yekaterinburg in the basement of the house of mining engineer Nikolai Ipatiev.
Today on the site of the house stands a church built recently and pilgrims gather to pray for the Imperial Family. Each year well over 100,000 people gather for this commemoration and pilgrimage to the mining pits site of their original burial by the communists.
The remains of Nicholas II, the Empress and their 5 children, as well as persons from the entourage of the Imperial Family, all shot in the house of Ipatiev, were found in July 1991 near Yekaterinburg. On July 17, 1998, the Tsar and his family were given a State Funeral and buried in the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg with the exception of Alexei and Maria whose remains are still kept in the State Archives awaiting burial with their parents.
Burial chapel of the last Tsar and his family in the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St-Petersburg, site of the burial of all Tsars and other Royals.
In 1981, the Russian Orthodox Church abroad listed them as holy “martyrs”. In 2000, the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate of the murdered members of the royal family ranked the “passion-bearers” as holy.
In October 2008, the Presidium of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation decided to rehabilitate the Russian Emperor Nicholas II and his family.
Lately I have had my picture taken quite a bit at varied locations, some I am using in my municipal campaign and others I am keeping as a memory of this year 2018 and life in PEI.
Speaking with a group of young people, students who I learned today are part of Generation Z born before 1997. They replace the Millennials who are now over 30 or over the hill so to speak. Pollsters and social scientists say that GenZ is very different from the millennials in their outlook on life, they are the first generation who do not know a time before electronics or dial up internet.
At a public meeting recently speaking with a participant about a big infrastructure project in our town.
At another public meeting, I seem to be doing this a lot in the last 5 months.
Very happy with this picture, here with Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor of PEI, Antoinette Perry in the great hall of Fanningbank, her Official Residence.
A group of friends on Rochford Street this past weekend. Will is looking very good in this photo.
For the last few years I have been working as a volunteer guide in our National Museums. This Summer despite my campaign for Public Office as City Councillor in Ward 1, Charlottetown I am back at the Art Gallery of the Confederation Centre. This Summer we have the exhibit of Canadian artist of the Cree First Nation, Kent Monkman.
Shame and Prejudice a play on the title of Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice. The exhibit which is over 3 rooms is large and complex and full of very controversial material some with explicit sexual content of a homoerotic nature and S&M depictions, none of it is gratuitous, all speaks directly to the experience of the indigenous population of Canada at the hands of white British colonial Officials and later the Federal Government of Canada and its policies of assimilation through incarceration, starvation, violence, residential schools, sexual abuse of children, murder and disappearance of native women, reservations, etc.
Needless to say some of our visitors to the Art Gallery have a difficult time of it and are offended that the memory of the 150th Anniversary of Confederation is not celebrated by the native population as a great project to civilize them into the mainstream. The comments are acid and mean, some deny anything wrong took place and place the blame on what they see as liberal thinkers and other miscreants who seek to destroy official history and attack Western culture. Some visitors find the art work inappropriate for families, we do have signs warning of the subject matter posted throughout. Others accuse Monkman of being a homosexual pervert pushing Indian propaganda for money.
One of the great difficulty for visitors who are non-native is to understand the culture and way of thinking of a First Nation person and how Native Culture and life is completely different in its terms of reference if seen from a White European perspective.
One early concept natives had to deal with was the idea that you could sell or buy land. Politicians promoted this idea as a way to solve claims to large portion of territory by simply offering token prices to native groups in return for their surrender of all the lands where they lived. Once dispossessed native groups could be easily exiled to remote reserves. The concept is completely foreign to native people, how can you sell or buy land, it is like saying you can sell or buy clouds or the air we breathe. The Government of Canada and the Prime Minister of the time did not even consider that native people might not be able to accept or understand such a concept. The policies of the government was to make of them little children in need of the civilizing influence of white people, in other words natives faced cultural genocide. As a French speaking Canadian, I can understand this type of discrimination and racist policy, though Canada has two Official languages, we were told to speak White (English) until 1968. The end of the Seven Year War in Europe in 1763 and the defeat of France was the reason for dominance and oppression in Canada.
Mass slaughter of animals for profit or fun was another concept natives could not understand. Natives living on the Prairies saw the building of the intercontinental railway across Canada which led to the mass slaughter of millions of bisons for fun by white men passengers on the train. In turn this led to mass starvation by First Nations who lost a primary source of food. The Government of Canada was happy to get rid of the ”Indian Problem” as it was dubbed by Ministers of the Government in Official memos.
Monkman also explores and presents with his alter-ego Miss Chief (pronounced Mischief) Eagle Testickle the unfolding history of natives in North America. In native culture gender and sexuality is redefined as Two Spirits, a concept not acceptable within Judeo-Christian morality, this is yet another point of friction between natives and europeans. Many visitors ask with some alarm if he is a man or a woman, is he showing off his erect penis (Freudian power symbol) to the daddies of Confederation, are the daddies (fathers) lusting after him. Yes is the answer but the lust is greed, dominance and power over the native population, the intent pure evil by these colonial politicians. This is very disturbing to many who confess that they never heard of Canada’s history told in this fashion. One man asked me why would the government allow such a show, it should be closed down, I asked if he was advocating censorship.
In the painting, Bears of Confederation, clearly shows a Confederation daddy with praying hands firmly inserted in his butt, while he is being whipped by Miss Chief Eagle Testickle with spirit Bears dancing and chasing in a playful manner other Confederation daddies naked and clad in leather gear.
Further along in the exhibit in the portion reserved to the residential schools which existed for 100 years where children where physically and sexually abused, Canada had a painful enquiry exposing the facts and this led to important financial settlements. The washable silicone hands reappear as a symbol of prayer like those of Albrecht Dürer and as a butt plug a reference to the abuse that took place in those schools where tens of thousands of children died. In the words of Monkman, Christianity has fucked indigenous people over the centuries.
So you can see the challenge, many visitors accept what they see and others reject it, refusing to accept that anything negative took place. I enjoy presenting this exhibit because it attracts comments and reflection and is an opportunity to learn.
The exhibit continues until September 15, and will then travel to other parts of Canada.
Today is the second day of the Dog days of Summer and it really feels like it, hot and humid with a light breeze at 28C. I am glad we live by the river and the entrance to the Sea which keeps things reasonably cool.
I am thinking of decades ago the 1960’s, 70’s, 80’s when relations with our Southern neighbour was far more friendly and casual than they are today. The world changes and if once you were on speaking terms with your neighbour well today it is a different story. I speak here of Government to Government bilateral relations which have soured considerably over the NAFTA negotiations and tactics of the US Administration to exploit its position.
I miss the days of yore when we could travel to the USA for fun and cross the border without a fuss, a simple smile and a hello. It has become so complicated now to cross the border by car or plane that frankly why bother. You do not know what agent you will get if he will be some paranoid wrap in the flag idiot seeing enemies in every Canadian or if he will be business as usual. At any rate those guys do all they can to make you fell as un-welcomed as possible, I am sure the US tourism industry does not need that kind of help from its government.
Now that Canada has been declared an enemy country causing harm to the National Security of the USA, why should I visit or buy American products for that matter. Canadians are looking for Canadian made or made in other countries products. Here in Charlottetown where we receive a lot of American tourist, the tone is still friendly as long as no one display Trump paraphernalia or MAGA hats.
However today as I was presenting the Shame and Prejudice by Canadian Artist Kent Monkman, our new Summer exhibit at the Art Gallery, I met with several American visitors, they were passengers on the cruise ship in port and were spending the day in town. I met quite a few very nice people who reminded me that Americans are people with whom you can have good conversations. It is the old saying; do not confuse the citizens with their government, the two are quite different. Many Americans have to live with the fact that at the moment they have a President who is embarrassing them around the world. Like all people they have to live with the government they have and with the obtuse and stupid views of so many in Congress, Senate and White House.
The policies of the Trump Administration are doing harm to the Canadian Economy, Canada being the first trading partner of the USA, our economies are closely intertwined especially in the auto sector. Damage is also being done to the economies of other countries in Europe, in Asia and Mexico. Next week the NATO meeting will most probably not go well at all and then Trump meets Putin. The USA new friends the former Soviet Union and North Korea, we live in a very strange time.
Many in Canada now understand that it is time to abandon US markets and concentrate on the European Union and the Trans-Pacific region. Once this shift starts it will not revert and lasting damage will have been done to the US economy. Canada is also imposing strategic tariffs against goods produced in States controlled by Republicans who support Trump.
So given this grim picture, one can only hope that Americans will wake up in November and get rid of the GOP members in Congress and Senate for the sake of the USA if you do not want to become another failed State. Maybe the 40 million Americans who did not vote in the last Presidential election will feel remorse and be running to the poles, let’s hope so.
Happy 4th of July.
Public Library in Detroit, Michigan