Targeted Sanctions #Cdnpoli #sanctiontrump

With the announcement today that Ivanka Trump is to receive security clearance, office space, and unprecedented access in the White House I feel it is time to revisit my idea on Twitter that the Trump administration warrants Canadian sanctions. Not being a lawyer I might be wrong but my understanding is international law gives Donald J Trump himself immunity. That immunity does not extend to his family nor any of his business interests, nor to his cabinet and their business interests. Canada already has the Special Economic Measures Act to lay sanctions.

Broad sanctions will hurt Canada and vulnerable Americans and not really be noticed by the Trump administration. Targeting the Trump family, Trump business empire, and those of the Trump administration who are poised to use their position for personal gain would be far more effective. Current Sanctions by Canada are for questionable election results, oligarchical seizure of public assets, denial of Human Rights, and destruction of essential services.

Donald Trump’s recent actions against democratic governance, Human Rights, public assets, denial of service, and fostering fear in minority groups should worry us. If they were committed by a leader in the developing world we would not hesitate to call on international sanctions. When African leaders are elected under suspicion or blatant fraud we slap sanctions on within days or weeks. With the suspicion of Russian involvement of in November’s results it would be hypocrisy of Canada not to sanction the United States regime as we would any African, South American, or Asian regime.

When North Korea or Iran sabre rattles and threatens to use weapons of mass destruction we don’t try to foster friendship and engagement we tighten the sanctions. When Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe pitted “veterans” against farmers and farm labourers to steal land we didn’t open trade negotiations to secure our market we sanctioned. How is Trump’s forcing through pipelines on Native lands, targeting of minorities, and threats of war with North Korea any different?

With the disturbing ties between the Trump administration and the Russian Federation’s government and ruling oligarchy we could call targeted sanctions as an extension of our current Russian sanctions. Those sanctions are in part due to the Russian annexation of Crimea and the proxy war in Ukraine. The call for NATO nations to spend more money while stating that the alliance is no longer relevant and that the United States wouldn’t come to members’ aid threatens security and may foster an international crises. The calls to end sanctions on Russia without Russia changing its support for its proxy wars or returning Crimea will embolden the expansion of Vladimir Putin’s empire.

It is Canada’s interests to sanction the Trump administration, as it will embolden resistance to Trump and roll back of some terrible policies. Millions of Americans have lost healthcare access and we Canadians can expect greater fraud in our systems as a result. Refugee bans have a greater number of people risking their lives to come to Canada and American minority groups might end up joining them. The removal of restrictions on small arms may foster more violence on American streets that spills into Canada. Already the unchecked hate and threats against minorities has spread north and cost Canadian lives. Tariffs on Mexico will hurt Canadian jobs dependant on supplying or being supplied by Mexican industry.

It is ultimately up to Americans to decide Trump’s fate, and by extension their own. Do they wait until America is a battleground or do they move quickly for a peaceful transition? Sanctions on the Trump regime can starve that regime of resources and distance support from people and organizations that are vulnerable to sanctions being imposed. Targeted sanctions may cost a few Canadian jobs, but doing nothing may cost many Canadian lives. Which is easier to replace, a lost job or a lost life?

The announcement today that Ivanka Trump is to be her father’s chief and most trusted advisor reminds me of Stalin and his daughter. By the end even Stalin’s favourite daughter wasn’t trusted by a paranoid dictator that had seized unchecked power. The Trump administration is working to removes checks on executive power and turn the United States into the Trump family’s personal property. Maybe sanctions on Ms Trump will convince her to reign her father in before she to is cut out of the decisions.


Snowdon; neither hero nor villain #USpoli

Haven’t read all the details of the Snowdon case but there seems to be two main groups. The first group call him a hero and want to carry him through the streets, the second group want to carry him through the streets to the gallows. There are some who wish to wait and see how things go before deciding which extreme to proclaim Ed Snowdon. Let’s, for now, leave his motivations to be analyzed by the behaviour specialists and move on to the revelation. The United States of America spies on people, so does the rest of the Five Eyes group, shocking this is not. People spy each other all the time, the stone age tribe watching the neighbours sneaking to new hunting grounds, the child spying on the presents going under the tree, the jealous spouse watching for clues of cheating or the nation insecure about its frontiers.

Snowdon claims his motivation is patriotism, altruism and preserving civil liberties hard fought for. Sure. The revelation of secret courts outside the traditional oversight provided in the US Constitution and abuses of said courts is nothing new. Algorithms being used to gather data of interest or may someday be of interest is nothing new but might be in this context. We have known this is the result of the Patriot Act and other, similar legislation. The under fed attack dogs are off the leash and are to busy feeding to know friend from foe or right from wrong. Americans demanded this in 2001.

The alternate extreme of Snowdon being a traitor for revealing American secrets, compromising programs, putting people in danger et cetera, is also plausible. There has to be secrets to protect societies. At times people need to be watched unknowingly to prevent tragedy and build a case for due process and a conviction. Many ignore the allegations because Snowdon revealed them or liberty should be sacrificed to the gods of security. The ‘I have nothing to hide crowd’ claim it is all for the good of the country while the blasé crowd shrug and ask what are they to do.

Snowdon is running around throwing up red flags. He is in Russia and looking for asylum in all the Meccas of Human Rights, yes that is sarcasm. The man is acting suspiciously and exposing himself to organizations that would love to compromise US security. The fact Julian Assange is now involved sends up another red flag, Assange always strikes me as creepy and ego on speed. If Snowdon was so concerned why flee? There are plenty of organizations in Washington who are more experienced than Wikileaks and have access to legal protection. The fact none of these questions are being addressed by him allow for the accusations of being a defector.

It isn’t just the actions of Snowdon that strike me as suspect. The response to Snowdon by the United States security/intelligence apparatus also is throwing up red flags. The quick condemnation, accusations, veiled threats, unveiled threats coming from the Obama Administration smack of a cover up. This poor cover up and what it is failing to cover up is a bipartisan surrender to bloated agencies, obscene budgets and less stringent over sight. Bureaucratic feudalism has created a lethargic ungovernable network of duplication, in fighting and the breeding ground for careerists. Ice that layer cake with thick numbers of contractors who are more likely to be corrupted by their own power or a hostile group. Sprinkle with politicians who constantly fail those who elect them.

The extremes on this issue either wish to do away with all government and have a libertarian anarchist experiment, alternately there are those who wish a totalitarian police state disguised as a democracy. Both side have lost the plot. There is no collective security without individual security, there is no individual security without collective security. The only security Americans have is their Bill of Rights, violate it at your peril. Rights that Snowdon doesn’t appear to have if he returns to the United States. Some sage advice on the matter:

‘Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.’ Benjamin Franklin

Ed Snowdon is neither a hero or a villain. He maybe a red flag to his fellow Americans, a pawn in some international intrigue, a warning about the bad state of security clearances or a troubled person seeking attention. He is certainly becoming a distraction from the real issues here. Are governments acting within the letter and spirit of our laws, constitutions and mandate of the electorates? Can democracies survive the era of unaccountable Mandarins manoeuvring in secret? Have elections become a farce? Do we run wild with the anarchists and the libertarians? Do we surrender to the tyranny of security? Or do we reset our systems to the way they were supposed to work?

It is rich for some people to cry foul of the US Government collecting data when they offer far more to private companies, internet strangers and other nongovernmental groups. Google has no obligation to share with us what they have collected or when and how. Many algorithms used by private entities are vastly more pervasive in our lives. Our own internal algorithms assist companies to tailor advertising to us every time we click. Yet, only government can use it for evil? Sharing information, bits of ourself is part of human nature, part of our social species. Yes we need to be careful and hold those doing the collecting to account. Part of why civil courts were invented, or patent law or even governments with census data is to help balance the private information and shared information.

Let us take this entire Snowdon affair as a sign we have all become a bit to idiotic and not kept vigilance our selves but outsourced it to contractors. Now let us all Google Mount Snowdon pictures to screw up their algorithms and then go put our elected officials and civil servants feet to the proverbial fires. It is up to each individual citizen to help strike the balance between to much collected and not enough collected information.

Health Care

I have heard recently that the Republicans and the American Medical Association are spreading lies about Canada’s health care. Saying we have to wait for permission from government to get treatment. That we can’t have any coverage if we haven’t filled out the right forms.

I do have to fill out information and see a bureaucrat every five years. When I get a new health card. Why do we have to get new health cards all the time? We need to keep ahead of the people trying to defraud our system because the country to our south has the worst health care in the industrialized world.

My understanding is the bureaucrats that can veto a procedure work for the HMOs. We in Canada can vote the government out if they try and cut coverage. What can Americans do?

I don’t mind getting involved in the U.S. debate because the AMA tried to use lies, fear and threats to destroy our system as it was starting. If the U.S. moves to a more universal coverage Canada’s costs will drop because there will be less abuse.