Thursday, June 29, 2017

Lawn Tractor Fixed, Lawn Mowed And Firewood Stacked

When morning came, I had one major thing on my mind. I had to get the lawn mower running. Yesterday’s sputtering engine was only a part success. Armed with a screwdriver I started by removing the air filter. Next I removed the jet valve again. I found a slim nail and started poking through the valve stem. Soon the tiny holes on the side showed some dirt in the opening. I continued this procedure for several minutes until I was convinced that the thing was clean.

1-DSC_0025After remounting the valve I started the engine and it was running low idle. Adjusting the idle and mixture screws brought the RPM up to full speed.

I have never been great to repair engines and machinery, but this time I didn’t do too bad.

Now it was time to check out whether it would hold up for the mowing.

It did in a grand way. 1-20170629_18562890 minutes later I had done the entire property. The lawn tractor had been running like a Mercedes. I was already looking forward to Bea coming home from work, for nothing pleases a man more than showing off to his wife what he has accomplished. lol.

Next “accomplishment” would be to stack firewood in my “under-construction-shed”. But it turned out to be a hot day and there was not even a cooling breeze behind my garage. Pretty soon I was doused in sweat. Time to take a break and change to shorts. I celebrated with an ice cream and a coffee in the shade of our porch. Ahhh….


The last achievement for the day was building a door for my shed. Some old wood was joined with new wood and I got a door. I put on a hasp and it didn’t look half bad.


Bea’s garden is also coming along pretty good. We have already harvested the first lettuce heads and radishes.



Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Greasy Dirty Hands And What Happened To The Jam?

I gave it 2 days to get the dirt dissolved in the carburetor. When I opened the lit of the coffee can I was looking at a black fluid. And I couldn’t even see the carburetor. So, obviously SOME dirt and grease had been dissolved. Eager to remount the carb back to the tractor, I got my tools out, rolled up my shirt sleeves and went about it.

B&S carb

The last bolt went in and I turned the starter key……poff-poff-poff -  nothing. Not even the slightest bit of exhaust appeared. I removed the sparkplug and it was dry. Not a trace of gasoline on it. DARN….something was still plugged up.  I unscrewed the needles – they looked clean, but were they really? Like what about inside the jet valve?  I knew that Bea had some thin steel wire for the garden. She broke out the small roll and I ran the wire through the tiny holes – back and forth, back and forth. Trying to squint through the holes I saw some dirt had appeared in the opening. More poking the wire through the jet valve followed.

After remounting the jet valve it was time to turn the key again. THERE!  It happened, the engine started and I could rev it up. However, after a few minutes it started sputtering again, though it kept running. I had just come a long way towards becoming my own small-engine mechanic. 

I will do more valve cleaning tomorrow and I’ll be darned if we can’t get this oldtimer running again.

Checking on the jam production revealed that the concoction had not stiffened up. It still resembles a thick sauce – probably excellent on ice cream, but quite messy on my toast.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Jam And Dirty Grease

Last summer a neighbour asked me whether I would like to try my luck by taking over his old riding lawn mower, a SEARS Craftsman LT11. The beast, as I have started to call it, is well into its 3rd. decade, making it an 85-87 model. It sports a Briggs & Stratton engine with 11hp. Though there has been a lot of clattering from the mower blades, it has done a fine job throughout the last summer. The main problem, being the reverse gear didn’t work, had only once led to me getting stuck in a corner. I had managed to get it in neutral, and manually pushed it down into the open again.

The beast had been put away under cover for the winter and waited there without any gas in the tank, until spring weather had brought out the grass again.

Amazingly, come May month, it had started up right away, once I had poured fresh gas into the tank. However, a few weeks into the grass-growing season I had noticed an increasing sputter in the engine. Once in a while a big bang would scare the hell out of me, but the mowing knives would still clatter up and down our large lawn.

That was until before this last weekend, when the beast’s engine would suddenly rev down and die. To begin with, it would still run on low idle, but as soon as I raised the throttle the thing would stop running.  And now it is not even starting anymore at all. 
It would be stupid to invest a major professional overhaul or incur a +rated service cost on the beast. So instead, I have been perusing topic-related infos on the internet, hoping to find the nugget which would enlighten me as to what kind of disease  has befallen this true servant of generations of lawn owners.
20170626_202748[1] This fine-looking oldtimer being without its carburator for a few days.

A simple test ruled out an ignition problem. The sparkplug was still throwing sparks when I had it placed on top of the metal swing wheel cover.  A compression test revealed a fresh and strong 70psi.  So the patient was not suffering of heart trouble. So what about FUEL?  Fuel is running by gravity from the top-placed tank and a test revealed it did pass the fuel filter easily – on its way to the carburetor. 


That dirty smeary old thing on the side of the engine could very well be the culprit. A vise-grip across the fuel line prevented fuel from escaping the tank, when I removed the jet valve and the bottom fuel cup. OUCH….the fuel cup was indeed showing ……was it algae growth?  Naw…maybe just fuel gunk. But dirty it was. Armed with that knowledge, I decided to pull the carburetor. Where there is gunk in the cup it can very well be in the rest of the carburetor. That internet video I had watched, clearly showed the procedure. After removal, the entire thing with all loose parts would benefit from a full bath in a solvent. So I filled one of my Walmart metal coffee cans with gas and drowned the carburetor. I am giving it a coupla days to dissolve whatever is obstructing the flow of gas to the combustion chamber. And this is the point where I had to leave the beast for starting my other homely occupation – making jam from rhubarb and strawberries.
The rhubarb had come to our house from a nice neighbour and I got a pound of strawberries from our grocer.

I kinda know that I am not going to be a world champion with making jam, but I tried to follow the advice from the internet. It’s amazing what one can learn from what other people have posted online.
rhubarb jam001
So after having the rhubarb cut in small bits and soak in cold water to get the pectin into the water, I added the strawberries, some lemon juice, and lots of sugar. What ensued was a never-ending boil, which, unfortunately, did not give the desired result – but rather stayed way too runny. If there is anything I hate for breakfast, it is jam running off my toast.  When finally Bea returned from work, I cowardly turned the responsibility over into her capable hands. She immediately started a roil-broil and finally filled a number of jars with the sweet stuff.  Last time I checked, it was still a bit runny, but experts say that it can take up to 48hrs until it becomes usuable jam.

Maybe, by the time my carburetor is done we will have a rhubarb-strawberry jam.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Native American Woman May Have Made It to Europe 500 Years Before Columbus Was Born

Five hundred years before Columbus sailed the ocean blue, a Native American woman may have voyaged to Europe with Vikings, according to a provocative new DNA study.

The first Native American to arrive in Europe may have been a woman brought to Iceland by the Vikings more than 1,000 years ago, a study by Spanish and Icelandic researchers suggests. .
The findings boost widely-accepted theories, based on Icelandic medieval texts and a reputed Viking settlement in Newfoundland in Canada, that the Vikings reached the American continent several centuries before Christopher Columbus traveled to the "New World.".
Spain's CSIC scientific research institute said genetic analysis of around 80 people from a total of four families in Iceland showed they possess a type of DNA normally only found in Native Americans or East Asians. .
"It was thought at first that (the DNA) came from recently established Asian families in Iceland," CSIC researcher Carles Lalueza-Fox was quoted as saying in a statement by the institute. "But when family genealogy was studied, it was discovered that the four families were descended from ancestors who lived between 1710 and 1740 from the same region of southern Iceland." .
The lineage found, named C1e, is also mitochondrial, which means that the genes were introduced into Iceland by a woman. .
"As the island was virtually isolated from the 10th century, the most likely hypothesis is that these genes corresponded to an Amerindian woman who was brought from America by the Vikings around the year 1000," said Lalueza-Fox.


The researchers used data from the Rejkjavik-based genomics company deCODE Genetics. .
He said the research team hopes to find more instances of the same Native American DNA in Iceland's population, starting in the same region in the south of the country near the massive Vatnajokull glacier. .
The report, by scientists from the CSIC and the University of Iceland, was also published in the latest edition of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

The journal said 75 to 80 percent of contemporary Icelanders can trace their lineage to Scandinavia and the rest to Scotland and Ireland.

But the C1e lineage is "one of a handful that was involved in the settlement of the Americas around 14,000 years ago. .
"Contrary to an initial assumption that this lineage was a recent arrival (in Iceland), preliminary genealogical analyses revealed that the C1 lineage was present in the Icelandic mitochondrial DNA pool at least 300 years ago" said the journal. "This raised the intriguing possibility that the Icelandic C1 lineage could be traced to Viking voyages to the Americas that commenced in the 10th century.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Told Ya So: Big Words - Big Lies

Carrier workers facing layoffs feel betrayed by Trump

INDIANAPOLIS -- A promise made before Christmas is fizzling before the Fourth of July.

In December, then-President-elect Trump told hundreds of workers at the Carrier manufacturing plant that he had worked out a deal to save their jobs.

But it's not working out that way. A steady downpour today did little to wash away the fact that the jobs of 600 union employees are going south.

"They're going to Monterrey, Mexico," said Robert James, president of the local union.

Reynolds said he felt betrayed, since Mr. Trump told workers during his December visit to the plant that 1,100 jobs would be saved.

Trump touts Carrier jobs deal in fiery victory rally


Trump touts Carrier jobs deal in fiery victory rally

"And by the way, that number is going to go up very substantially as they expand this area, this plant," Mr. Trump said. "So the 1,100 is going to be a minimum number."

Blasting companies for moving American jobs abroad was a feature of the Trump campaign, and saving the Carrier jobs was touted as a sign of Mr. Trump's bargaining prowess.

"You're going to have a good Christmas," he said at the plant.

But the truth is that 400 of the 1,100 jobs Mr. Trump mentioned were white-collar positions that were never going away.

Only 700 union jobs were saved. Six hundred others will be lost, and Carrier is not paying a price. The company actually received a $7 million incentive package from Indiana to keep the plant open with a reduced work force.

"That is what he said was not going to happen," James said. "That's what he told all of us."

"And a lot of these people voted for Mr. Trump" with the understanding that he would save their jobs, James added.

Duane Oreskovic voted for the president, and is among those losing their jobs.

"I liked this job. This was a job that I actually wanted to retire from," Oreskovic said. "It's not going to happen any more."

At the White House Friday, press secretary Sean Spicer said the job cuts here were long-planned and nothing new.

The first round of layoffs will take effect next month, and the second in December -- three days before Christmas.

Friday, June 23, 2017

CALIFORNIA Has It’s Own “Travel Ban” ……Against Other US States


California adds 4 states to travel ban for laws it says discriminate against LGBTQ community

CNN)California has issued a ban on state-funded and state-sponsored travel to four more states that it says have laws discriminating against LGBTQ people.

The travel ban was first put into effect January 1 when state measure AB 1887 became law. The law says California is "a leader in protecting civil rights and preventing discrimination" and should not support or finance "discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people."

The travel ban list also includes states that California believes don't protect religious freedoms and states that it says use religious freedom as a basis of discrimination.

"Our country has made great strides in dismantling prejudicial laws that have deprived too many of our fellow Americans of their precious rights. Sadly, that is not the case in all parts of our nation, even in the 21st century," California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement Thursday.

Why the ban?

Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee were the original states banned by AB 1887, but Becerra added Alabama, Kentucky, South Dakota and Texas on Thursday, citing what he called new discriminatory legislation enacted against the LGBTQ community in those states.

Alabama, North Dakota, and Texas all recently passed legislation that could prevent LGBT parents from adopting or fostering children and Kentucky passed a religious freedom bill that would allow students to exclude LGBTQ classmates from campus groups.

lt gov dan patrick texas lawmakers bathroom bill sot_00002530

Texas official: Women want to be protected

"While the California DOJ works to protect the rights of all our people, discriminatory laws in any part of our country send all of us several steps back," Becerra said. "That's why when California said we would not tolerate discrimination against LGBTQ members of our community, we meant it."

The law bans state-funded or state-sponsored travel by employees of state agencies and departments as well as members of boards, authorities, and commissions.

Support for the list

The ACLU of Northern California and Rick Zbur with Equality California applauded the state's decision to widen the ban.

"These discriminatory laws in Texas, North Carolina, North Dakota, and other states are completely out of step with the values that make California the vibrant economic powerhouse that it is," Zbur said. "It is imperative that California continue to denounce those actions publicly and financially."

There are exceptions to the ban, however. For example, if travel is required to maintain grant funding or licensure, or for auditing and revenue collection purposes.

And of course, anyone can travel to any of the states on the list in a personal capacity.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Playing Peekabo

I did, I did not, I did, I did not…… 

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump finally, grudgingly, had no choice but to come clean.

His admission, on Twitter Thursday that he did not secretly record his conversations with fired FBI Director James Comey -- after earlier raising the possibility that he did -- capped a six-week charade that damaged his presidency and cast doubt on his personal credibility.

It was a surreal new twist to a presidency that has often already stretched the limits of credulity, and has challenged conventions on the decorum and gravity expected in the behavior of the person who holds the office itself.

    Trump: I did not make recordings of Comey

    Trump: I did not make recordings of Comey

    After weeks of speculation, the President delivered a mea culpa, a step that he had little choice to make, in a somewhat resentful manner, in keeping with his reluctance to ever publicly admit error.

    "With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, “I have no idea ... whether there are "tapes" or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings," Trump wrote in a pair of tweets.


    Never ever has there been a more self-destructive President in the United States. Now, of course everybody knows that also all of his other phantastic and creative “inventions” are just that ……phantasy.

    Sunday, June 18, 2017

    It’s All Toast Now

    Semi full of hamburger buns is toast after fire!

    Motorists on the Trans-Canada Highway near Falcon Lake, Manitoba smelled burnt toast Saturday afternoon, but everyone was OK.

    Buns to toast

    However, the smell wasn’t originating from some restaurant or roadside eatery, but  a semi, carrying a load of hamburger buns destined for Costco, had caught fire due to an issue with the brakes.

    Good thing is that nobody was hurt in the accident.

    RCMP were called to the scene, nine kilometres west of the popular Whiteshell beach, at 3:20 p.m.

    The story reminded med of an accident many years ago when a truck loaded with salmon had crashed into the forest. The accident happened during the winter on an icy road in Norway, and we happened to drive along the place where fish were strewn all along the ditch.

    And only a few weeks ago a truck driver tried to swerve out of the way for a deer crossing the road when he lost control over his rig and crashed with a full load of lobster.According to witnesses parts of the area were”carpeted” with lobster. I bet a lot of that lobster disappeared in the kitchens of private homes in the neighbourhood.

    Saturday, June 17, 2017

    His Negotiations Led To The Fall Of The Wall

    A big man has left this world. He always made his counterparts look small, and that quite literally.
    Helmut Kohl, Ex-Chancellor of Germany was a tall figure in life and tall in politics.

                                        Helmut Kohl died June 16 2017

    Kohl's 16-year tenure was the longest of any German Chancellor since Otto von Bismarck. He oversaw the end of the Cold War and is widely regarded as the mastermind of German reunification, leading to the fall of the wall. Together with French President Fran├žois Mitterrand, Kohl is considered to be the architect of the Maastricht Treaty, which established the European Union (EU) and the euro currency.

    Following the breach of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the East German Communist regime in 1989, Kohl's handling of the East German issue would become the turning point of his chancellorship. Kohl, like most West Germans, was initially caught unaware when the East-German Socialist Unity Party (SED) was toppled in late 1989. Well aware of his constitutional mandate to seek German unity, he immediately moved to make it a reality. Taking advantage of the historic political changes occurring in East Germany, Kohl presented a ten-point plan for "Overcoming of the division of Germany and Europe" without consulting his coalition partner, the FDP, or the Western Allies. In February 1990, he visited the Soviet Union seeking a guarantee from Mikhail Gorbachev that the USSR would allow German reunification to proceed. One month later, the Party of Democratic Socialism – the renamed SED – was roundly defeated by a grand coalition headed by the East German counterpart of Kohl's CDU, which ran on a platform of speedy reunification.

    On 18 May 1990, Kohl signed an economic and social union treaty with East Germany.  By then East Germany was in a state of utter collapse.


    Helmut Kohl was a politician who favored an open Europe, a Europe with no borders where people could move freely and seek work where ever they liked. Today we know that his idea has met a few difficulties, mostly rooted in huge economic differences between the countries of the European Union. Recent developments in the Middle East and ongoing unrest and starvation in Africa have caused that millions of people are migrating to the most economically favorable areas of Europe. Europe will still have to face the challenge of an unprecedented pressure on immigration and It will finally lead to a change in European culture. But walls and fences are not the answer. The answer is peace and prosperity in the countries of origin, a goal which will be very hard to reach and may take many future generations. It will also teach us patience and will require leaders with the vision to aim for a peaceful co-existence in a multi-cultural society.

    Friday, June 16, 2017

    When Franklin Delano Roosevelt Served Hot Dogs to a King

    A king had never visited a president at home before, but by all accounts they got along fine

    By Kat Eschner
    It was a watershed moment in British-American statesmanship.

    FDR King George

    King George and Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon MacKenzie King ride in President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's car as the president drives them away from church on June 11, 1939.

    A sitting British ruler visited an American president—Franklin Delano Roosevelt—on his home turf. The four-day excursion “featured all the staples of a royal visit: a sight-seeing tour of Washington, a formal State Dinner and a big bash at the British Embassy,” writes Jason English for Mental Floss. But there were more casual moments, too: like the picnic where the king had his first-ever hot dog.

    George visited with Queen Elizabeth (better remembered today as “the Queen Mum”). On June 11, 1939, the royal pair joined FDR and others at his Hyde Park “cottage” (read: mansion) in New York for a less-formal picnic. The menu, as quoted by English, included “Hot Dogs (if weather permits).” Thankfully, the weather held.

    “KING TRIES HOT DOG AND ASKS FOR MORE” was the headline The New York Times ran with the next day. According to reporter Felix Belair Jr., the King enjoyed his two hot dogs with beer, and away from prying eyes: although members of the party had cameras, “no reporters were present and regular photographers were barred.”

    “In the formal language of diplomacy, perhaps, the presentation of a hot dog may say: ‘On behalf of the United States of America, may we offer you this tubular delight of meat, meat byproducts, curing agents and spices?’” writes Dan Barry for the Times. “But what it really says is: ‘How ya doin’? Wanna beer?’”

    The sitting president likely expressed himself in slightly less colloquial terms. But the picnic was an opportunity to meet Americans with their hair down—or at least more casually styled. “It would be difficult to imagine a more representative cross-section of American democracy than was to be found among the relatives, friends and neighbors of the Roosevelts who received invitations to the picnic,” Belair wrote. The royals also met the Roosevelts’ staff, including one employee who brought nine of his ten children.

    But the British pair needed some etiquette advice to navigate this new social setting, Barry writes. While the hot dogs were served on a silver tray, he writes, “the royal guests nevertheless joined everyone else in eating off paper plates.” According to one story, the queen supposedly asked Roosevelt how one ate a hotdog. “Very simple. Push it into your mouth and keep pushing it until it is all gone,” he is said to have told her. She elected to use a knife and fork instead of taking this folksy advice.

    FDR even drove the party up to the cottage in “his own specially equipped automobile,” Belair reported, and after lunch the king and the president went swimming together for the second time. Previously, they’d shared the pool that the paralyzed Roosevelt had installed at the White House to help him get exercise.  

    But the visit wasn’t all charming picnics. According to The Canadian Encyclopedia, the trip was a diversion from the royals' Canadian tour undertaken in the shadow of World War II, which broke out in Europe just months later. King George’s notes from the visit reveal that Canada’s Prime Minister Mackenzie King briefly joined the leaders at Hyde Park to talk strategy.

    In his 1938 invitation to the king, Roosevelt also suggested he visit the 1939 World's Fair in New York, and wrote that Hyde Park might be a good place for a visit, as it's "on the direct route between New York City and Canada." "It occurs to me that a Canadian trip would be crowded with formalities and that you both might like three or four days of very simple country life at Hyde Park," he wrote. With war on the way, though, even that diversion had to include some business.

    Thursday, June 15, 2017

    Welcome Pensionist!

    I still cannot believe it, but today it happened. I am officially a pensionist. At least if we go by most countries standards. In Norway I would have a grace period of another 2 years, but I am not in Norway, and Canada is paying me a pension from next month.
    1-DSC_0364                             Chocolate Cake made by Bea
    So does anything change? Are my days gonna be any different than yesterday?  Not likely.

    But thinking back to my days of childhood, … grandfather was living in the same house. It was US who lived in HIS house. I was 10 years old and my grandpa was 65 years old. I always thought he was VERY old. My dad was just 37 and mom had just turned 35.
    I shamefully remember that I, at age 24, once called a young beautiful lady  “……are you THAT old?” ….when she was just 36.

    Oh my…

    I was just 43 when I bought a car and asked the salesman who the previous owner had been.
    Looking at me he said: It also was an elderly gentleman. I must have given him a look, cause he apologized to me.

    So, I guess age is relative to our point of view. My dad is 92 this year and to him I am just a spring chicken.

    Maybe that’s the way we should look at ourselves……and eat the cake.

    Tuesday, June 13, 2017

    Doomed to Repeat: Debunking the Conservative Story about the Financial Crisis and Dodd-Frank

    Are conservatives suffering from memory loss? House Republicans passed the Choice Act on Thursday, a sweeping deregulation of the financial sector based off a false narrative about the Dodd-Frank Act and the 2007-2008 financial crisis. In his powerful New York Times op-ed, Roosevelt Fellow Mike Konczal debunks these conservative Dodd-Frank myths.

    In response to the 2007-08 Financial Crisis that cost the United States more than $20 trillion, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act on July 21, 2010 with the aim of overhauling the dysfunctional regulatory regime. In the years since, the wide-reaching reforms mandated by Dodd-Frank have provided key protections to consumers and stability to the banking system. Thanks to such reforms, banks and the US capital markets have emerged from the Financial Crisis more resilient than before and regulators are now better equipped to respond to future crises and regulatory challenges.

    Yet, according to conservative narrative, there is simply no need for financial reform. The Trump Administration and conservatives in Congress have actively pursued ways to unravel Dodd-Frank based on an account of the Financial Crisis that differs drastically from the conventional wisdom. The conservative worldview is shaped by a series of arguments generated by conservative think tanks, media, political action groups, and industry lobbyists. This paper provides a broad outline of their arguments and how they differ from what has actually happened.

    Read more here.

    Sunday, June 11, 2017

    Thank You Donald For Making It All So Clear!

    At least since the bestseller "World Power USA - An Obituary" by Emmanuel Todd, we know that America is in decline. Only - we just did not want to believe it..

    For most, the US was the nursery of freedom, the Main Street sign of liberal democracy.

    Today we know better. The strive for ownership over the oil resources has led to the Iraq wars. The second war against this Third World country could be justified only with the most daring lies about chemical weapons against the world.

    As a result, the entire Middle East was thrown into absolute chaos.

    From the peace keeper to creator of unrest.

    America has long since mutated from the international force for order and peace(WWII) into a creator of unrest in the world.

    After the World Trade Center attacks, the US moved from injured and sympathetic America, to become a narcissistic, unpredictable and aggressive America that today gives the impression of absolute irresponsibility.

    If we still had the impression that President Bush jr. at least was still guided by his advisors, today, the most powerful man in the world acts completely detached by utilizing Twitter.

    But why should we thank Him?

    Because Donald Trump, the narcissistic psychopath, today also eviscerates the last doubt that the imperial power of the United States desperately struggles for its position in the world.

    Let us hope that America's isolated position will ensure that the nation's move into a position of lesser importance will be largely calm, and that the country will find its place among equals, without  a major shift in world politics.

    North Korea or USA - who is more dangerous?

    The development of shale oil deposits in the interior makes the Middle East increasingly uninteresting for the USA. Imperious threats against weak opponents are actually obsolete, if it wouldn’t be for the old doctrine of Carl von Clausewitz: "Do you have internal political problems - create an external enemy".

    The American struggle for oil and fear of loss of political significance in the United States has pushed the Middle East into chaos and given Europe its results - the great refugee crisis; But also the Islamic terror.

    Although Europe owes this crisis to the US, America is not interested in solving the refugee crisis, but Donald Trump uses ISIS as the much needed external enemy. His irresponsibility does not surface through diplomatical phrases, but openly as "America First" - everything else does not matter.

    Thanks Donald: We owe this to you. Hopefully, you will last four years. Because it is to be feared that after a successful resignation or impeachment procedure everything would go on as before and this episode would be classified as a political slip. But that is not so. Only the results of a catastropic 4 years of Trumpism can make America wake up again of a bad dream and correct its course.

    America must join the equal rights league of the free world if it does not want to lose its influence even more.

    And it is time for European politicians to understand this and to stand up to America accordingly. The analysis of Emmanuel Todd has shown that democracies are weakening where they were strong and grow stronger where they were weak.

    From democracy to oligarchy

    The further development of a formerly strong democracy has already been described by Aristotle 2500 years ago; It is the oligarchy that follows the (strong) democracy. A process that can be seen nicely in the USA.

    Democracy first strengthened through a general and broad education of the population, happening during the years 1950 to 1965 in the USA. It was the American universalism making America loved and admired almost everywhere in the whole world.

    The further developed differentiation of the level of education resulted in an "overclass", which was no longer willing to submit to the democratic rules of the game, because it considers itself to be something better.

    Experts are appalled. The oligarchization tendency is emerging. The European dream is to learn from the mistakes of the USA, especially since the sociology of Europe, with the exception of England, shows that the individualism is not as strongly developed.

    Europe versus the USA

    Europe must ultimately emancipate itself from the paternalism of the USA. 321 million Americans are facing 743 million Europeans with a much more efficient industry, a better functioning health care system and relatively stable old-age provision, as well as a much more modern and intact infrastructure. The US trade deficit against almost every country on earth shows only one thing: the USA are dependent on the rest of the world and not vice versa. The US lives and consumes at the expense of the rest of the world. As a trade deficit simply means that a society imports more than it exports, consumes more than produces. It is the same problem that Greece has, just on a very different scale. Thus, the next financial and economic crisis is pre-programmed.

    "Thanks Donald", that you are making this American problem so clear to us all. Now, despite its own identity crisis, Europe must show the strength it owes to its position in the world. Now Europe must go its own way. Not blindly following the American model and entering the so-called neo-liberal path to the oligarchy but creating a social and free liberal Europe. How is it so apt to say: "The smart one learns from its own faults - the wise one from the faults of the others."

    Can we be wise? It remains exciting.

    Wednesday, June 7, 2017

    Canada Denounces US Leadership

    Canada’s Foreign Policy Minister Chrystia Freeland is charting a major new course for the country – says Canada will need to step up its leadership role around the world in response to Trump’s failed policies. It says it can’t count on the United States anymore.

    Canadian flag

    “The fact that our friend and ally has come to question the very worth of its mantle of global leadership, puts into sharper focus the need for the rest of us to set our own clear and sovereign course,” she said.

    “For Canada, that course must be the renewal, indeed the strengthening, of the postwar multilateral order. We will follow this path, with open hands and open hearts extended to our American friends, seeking to make common cause as we have so often in the past.”

    She went on to praise the U.S. for its role in the past but says voters in the last election have cast doubt on America’s ability to lead due to the person they put in the White House.

    Freeland said there was “deep disappointment” with Trump’s policies on trade and climate change specifically.

    Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan is expected to release more details on what they plan to do next – but that the major change was that Canada is starting to realize they can’t count on the United States to provide them protection anymore.

    “To rely solely on the U.S. security umbrella would make us a client state. And although we have an incredibly good relationship with our American friends and neighbours, such a dependence would not be in Canada’s interest,” she said.

    Tuesday, June 6, 2017

    The Coalminer’s Daughter isn’t Coming Back

    When there aren’t really any positives to report about…

    The White House Exaggerated the Growth of Coal Jobs by About 5,000 Percent

    Donald Trump’s EPA head is touting bad statistics in defense of a foolish policy.

    Jim Urquhart / Reuters

    On Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, claimed that the U.S. has created 50,000 jobs in the coal sector since the fourth quarter of 2016. The statistic carries an important message for the White House. Trump has brought extraordinary attention to the decline of coal jobs, for which he’s blamed Obama-imposed regulations. Coal’s immediate bounce-back would represent a major early win for a president who has made promises to revive the economy of the 1950s, when mining was more dominant.

    But Pruitt’s statistic wasn’t just flagrantly incorrect. It’s being used to support a nonsensical argument that the United States should orient its global policy based on a sector employing 0.03 percent of the economy, as there are fewer coal mining workers than there are people employed at Carl's Jr. franchises or Disney World.

    Quite simply, the coal sector has added about 1,000 jobs since October 2016—not 50,000. Coal could not have added 50,000 jobs in the last eight months, since that is essentially the size of the entire coal industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Pruitt’s statistic would otherwise imply that entire coal mining industry started in October. (Perhaps he meant 50,000 total mining jobs, but the vast majority of those positions have nothing to do with coal jobs; indeed, natural gas-mining workers might even be replacing them.)

    Is Pruitt at least directionally correct that coal mining has sprung back to life under Trump? That’s a hard case to make. Coal-mining jobs grew by 1,000 in the five months between July and November 2016, when Trump was elected. Coal mining jobs grew by 1,000 in the five months between January and May 2017, when Trump was president. Not much acceleration there.

    Trump has blamed Barack Obama for the steep decline in coal jobs in his first seven years in office. This is part of a longer trend. The number of people employed in coal mining fell from 178,000 in 1986 to 86,000 when Obama became president, and then declined rapidly in the last eight years. Why?

    While the Trump administration focuses on Obama’s environmental regulations, Charles D. Kolstad, a senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, says a confluence of factors dating back to the 1970s are the better place to look. First, railroad deregulation in the 1970s made it cheaper for coal mined west of the Mississippi—which has been more productive for decades—to be shipped across the country. Since then, western coal output has grown by 200 percent, as more labor-intensive mining east of the Mississippi has declined. Second, new fracking technology and the natural-gas revolution shifted fossil-fuel production away from coal, as solar and wind technologies expanded. Natural gas's share of U.S. electricity has tripled since the late 1980s, growing by almost the exact share that coal has lost. In short, coal’s long decline has several structural causes, and it’s unlikely that environmental policies will dramatically improve the prospects of the industry. “We’re just simply never going to go back to the 1950s and the 1960s in terms of coal-mining jobs,” Ben Bernanke, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, recently told Vox.

    But there is a broader point here. The Trump administration has held up coal miners and the steel industry as favored classes, worthy beneficiaries of the administration’s “America First” approach to governance. "I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris," Trump said in a speech defending his decision to pull out of the Paris Accords. But it’s strange to build a national economic policy—much less a global diplomatic policy—around an economic sector that employs just 50,000 people, far less than the number of jobs in the solar industry. In fact, Pittsburgh itself stands as evidence that coal and steel are no longer central to the economy: The city has dramatically changed its industrial mix since the 1970s and its largest employers today include the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Carnegie Mellon University.

    When discussing coal jobs, Pruitt didn’t just demonstrate a disturbing carelessness with the truth. What’s worse, these bogus statistics are being used to support a backward policy, in which Trump is retreating from the United States’ global leadership position on climate change to save a handful of jobs in a small, structurally declining industry—when really, the future of economic growth is actually a lot like Pittsburgh’s—in technology, health care, and education.

    Sunday, June 4, 2017

    I’m Sooo Ready For Summer

    The month of May has been a real bummer and no summer. Lots of rain and cold wind blowing across the island hasn’t been too inviting.

    Starting on June, the forecasted temperatures are showing some inclination for warming up a tad. Cherry blossom went over so fast I hardly saw them before they fell victim to inclement weather. I guess some apple trees are stillig showing blossoms, but it will be over soon as well.

    What comes afterwards, we used to call summer and after the longest time the lilacs are finally in bloom.  I love lilacs for their big blooms and strong fragrance. Our purple lilac on the front house corner has made up for the long wait with extra many blooms this year, but the white lilac is also beautiful.

    1-DSC_0350 1-DSC_0353

    1-DSC_0352 1-DSC_0351

    The better weather has made for a long number of projects I have been doing for our neighbours and in our own yard.

    Repairing a deck down at the harbour has been a nice thing to spend time on and now I have started to install steel roofing on our garage.    


    And the shop I built a few years ago, is finally getting fully shingled1-DSC_0355

    So much to do!


    The firewood shed is nearing completion as well.  The “siding” on the shed is set up with open slats so the wind can get in drying the firewood.

    And like migrating birds summer visitors have been pouring on to the island as well.Very good for business.


    I am really ready for summer.

    Friday, June 2, 2017

    Never Before….

    Never before has a United States President been so far off reality.
    Never before has a United States President been laughed at all over the world, and that without being funny.
    Never before has a United States President been  ignorant  of 75% of the U.S. population.
    Never before has a sitting U.S. President condemned the entire established press corps and called them fake news.

    Trump has now gone too far. His decision to leave the Paris climate agreement has angered the CEOs of many major American companies.
    1-Fullscreen capture 622017 81425 PM1-Fullscreen capture 622017 75054 PM"Donald Trump is such a pariah figure that companies want zero association with his brand," one CEO said. "He's championing dirty air and polluted water. He's anti-science. Why would a Fortune 500 CEO want to be associated with that?"

    Why would ANYBODY want to be associated with Trump?  Well, I guess we know the reason. Trump is still using the language of the non-college population. He is still broadcasting his simple man-on-the-street solutions, which are largely beyond existing reality. By doing that he is showing to all that he is not fit to be President and the leader of the free world. And he is certainly not fit to be Commander in Chief of the American forces. And may be worst of it all: He is not learning of his catastrophic mistakes.

    It's not just Trump's latest decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement -- a pact that 194 other nations have signed. That was only the latest in a continuing stream of decisions by Trump and his top deputies to turn aside the nation's place as a beacon of progress, stability, and global stewardship.

    By moving America out of the Paris deal – btw. a process that could take years, an intriguing prospect considering the investigations dogging the Trump administration -- Trump is tapping the brakes on what had been America's surging leadership in clean energy innovation. He's doing it under the pretext of saving American jobs. But the argument does not stand up to scrutiny, and evidence is all around. Consider, for one example, the technological and manufacturing leaps of companies such as Tesla, the electric car maker, now the country's most valuable car manufacturer.

    Trump has left reality a long time ago, but it is now that America is seeing the hard-core results of his insane ideas.

    Will there be any hope the American people will speak up during the bi-elections in 2018?  It will be up to the Democrats to show strength and save the country from utter destruction.