Monday, February 14, 2022

Last Call For The Great Canadian Trucker War, Con't

 Although the Ambassador Bridge from Michigan to Ontario was cleared over the weekend, trucker protests remain at several other border crossing areas, as well as in Canada's capital city of Ottawa. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is finally invoking federal emergency powers to deal with the trucks blocking commerce and disrupting cities across the country.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will invoke emergency powers in response to protests in Canada’s capital city that have entered their 18th day.

Trudeau will inform provincial premiers of his decision to use the Emergencies Act during a virtual meeting Monday morning, according a government official speaking on condition of anonymity before the announcement. The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. first reported the news. The law gives the federal government extraordinary powers, including the right to prohibit travel from or within any specified area and to requisition property it deems necessary for managing the situation.

The act also allows the government to order the provision of “essential services” by any person and to impose emergency fines or imprisonment for violating orders. It has never been used since being enacted in 1988 and is meant for an “urgent and critical situation, temporary in nature, that endangers the lives, health or safety of Canadians,” according to a government memo.

It doesn’t mean Trudeau has decided to call in the military to deal with the protests. The prime minister has repeatedly said he thinks that’s a bad idea.

Trudeau’s government has been facing increasing pressure to step in, after protests over vaccine mandates and other Covid-19 restrictions spread last week to the bridge that carries a quarter of Canada’s commerce with the U.S., its largest trading partner.

Ontario declared an emergency on Friday, and police began clearing protesters at the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario on Saturday morning. The span was blocked for six days and was finally reopened Sunday night.

Protests against vaccine rules, which include hundreds of semi trucks parked in the streets of Ottawa, swelled into the thousands over the weekend. But truckers were met Sunday with counter-demonstrations from residents who are angry that parts of their city have been paralyzed, with businesses closed and streets impassable, since the trucks arrived on Jan. 28.

The federal government’s new powers are limited by Canada’s charter of rights and must be reviewed by elected lawmakers. A public inquiry be must held within 60 days after the emergency has ended, according to the legislation, and a report must be made to parliament within a year
So the Trudeau government will be held accountable for invoking the law, but they were always going to be held accountable for what happened if they didn't step in and end the right-wing nonsense, which is going on its third week now.
What it means is that Canadian local, provincial, and federal police will be repeating what we saw on Saturday night and Sunday morning on the Ambassador Bridge: clearing and removal of those blocking bridges and crossing points, as well and clearing out the circus in downtown Ottawa.

I hope that nobody will be hurt as a result, but this is something that should have been done weeks ago.

Ukraine In The Membrane, Con't

"Meeting jaw to jaw is better than war" Sir Winston Churchill one said, and on that he was correct. Having had his plans exposed again for a military invasion of Ukraine on Wednesday by the Biden White House, Russian President Vladimir Putin suddenly feels like "leaving the door open for diplomacy".
Russian President Vladimir Putin left the door open Monday to further talks with Western leaders on his efforts to end NATO’s open door policy, when his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said the scope for dialogue was “far from exhausted” and called for intensified talks with Washington and NATO.

Putin met Lavrov in the Kremlin Monday in what appeared to be a scripted moment on Russia’s formal response to the rejection of its key security demands by Washington and NATO – including its demand that the alliance bar Ukraine from ever joining.

Putin opposed "the endless, in our opinion, and very dangerous expansion of NATO to the East,” but supported the Foreign Ministry’s conclusion on a need to keep talking, RIA Novosti reported, citing Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Reporting to Putin formally on Russia’s bid to end NATO expansion, Lavrov said the rejection of Russia’s key security demands by Washington and NATO did not satisfy Moscow. But he added that there was room for further dialogue.

He said that NATO wanted to determine Europe’s security architecture without reference to Russia but that talks with the United States and NATO “now must be developed and intensified.”

Lavrov added: “I have already said more than once that we warn against endless conversations on issues that need to be resolved today, but still, probably, being the head of the Foreign Ministry, I must say that there is always a chance.”

Peskov, in a call with journalists, insisted on Moscow’s right to move its troops anywhere within Russia’s borders, saying there were “equally large” movements of Kyiv’s forces in Ukraine which he said led to “a serious deterioration of the situation.”

As massive Russian military drills continued with Belarus, in the Black Sea, in southern Russia and other parts of the country, Putin also met Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who said that some drills were coming to an end and others would be completed “in the near future.”

Earlier, the Kremlin continued to press Ukraine to drop its NATO membership plan after Ukrainian officials explicitly ruled it out.

And German Chancellor Olaf Scholz began a two-day trip to Kyiv and Moscow to try to de-escalate the NATO-Russia crisis over Ukraine.

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry ruled out any compromise Monday on its aim of joining NATO and called for security guarantees to deter a Russian invasion, amid warnings from U.S. officials that Russia could launch an attack on Ukraine at any time.

Peskov said that if Ukraine withdrew its bid for membership in the alliance, this could allay some of Russia’s security concerns. Moscow insists that Ukraine’s joining the alliance is a “red line” that would threaten its security — while Kyiv argues that it poses no threat to Russia and that it is seeking membership to guarantee its security.
Keeping Putin talking is surely better than keeping Putin shooting, even if the sticking point is obviously NATO membership for Ukraine. Remember that Putin wants to rebuild the Soviet empire, and that NATO and the US does not want him doing that, and for Putin to get his way, he can't openly pick a fight with the entirely of the alliance.

Diplomacy by other means and all, but it's still diplomacy.

On the other hand, this could all be Putin wanting to catch everyone with their pants down and then kicking in the front door and taking Kyiv before anyone can react.

We'll see.

Retribution Execution, Con't

While several GOP Senate hopefuls in Ohio seeking Sen. Rob Portman's seat are scrambling to find a way to get Daddy Trump to notice them, billionaire Matt Dolan, whose family owns the Cleveland Guardians MLB team, is not one of them. This is not making Donald Trump happy at all, and Trump wants Dolan gone.

Donald Trump has a new fixation: a Major League Baseball scion who hails from one of the country’s richest families — and who, unlike most other Republican Senate candidates, isn’t bowing to the former president.

During meetings, phone calls and impromptu chats, Trump has been peppering top aides and allies with questions about Matt Dolan, a wealthy Ohio Republican who accused the former president of “perpetuat[ing] lies about the outcome” of the 2020 election and called the pro-Trump Jan. 6 Capitol riot “a failure of leadership.”

While other contenders in the crowded GOP Senate primary are auditioning for Trump’s support, Dolan is funding a battery of TV ads that don’t even mention the former president. And in a barely veiled jab at his rivals who are making pilgrimages to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, Dolan has declared that his campaign “is about one thing, and one thing only: Ohio.”

While Dolan is widely regarded as a longshot in the Trump-dominated primary, those in the former president’s orbit say there’s good reason to be focused on him: The candidate is spending $10 million-plus out of his pocket, is slowly rising in polling and is poised to benefit from a raft of Trump-aligned primary rivals splintering the vote among themselves.

Now, Trump is confronting a pivotal decision — one fraught with risk that will test his ability to shape primaries. He can wade into the murky field of pro-Trump candidates and try to consolidate his backers behind a single figure, but picking the wrong person could invite backlash from his base of supporters. Or he can stay out the fray entirely, but run the possibility of Dolan winning the May 3 primary with a plurality of the vote.

“In a divided field, anybody willing and able to deploy those kind of personal resources is a credible threat, even though he’s out of step with the Republican base across a whole range of issues,” said Luke Thompson, a Republican strategist who is working for a super PAC bolstering one of Dolan’s rivals, venture capitalist J.D. Vance.

Dolan’s campaign strenuously denies that he’s anti-Trump. The 57-year-old state senator, whose billionaire family owns the Cleveland Guardians, has said he voted for the former president in the 2016 and 2020 elections and that he would support him should he be the Republican nominee in 2024. He has also said he did not support Trump’s impeachment.

Rather, Dolan advisers say, he is simply running a campaign that doesn’t revolve around the former president — a starkly different approach from his Trump-loving rivals.

“The other candidates have been so obsessed with appeasing interests outside Ohio, they forgot what they are supposed to be fighting for in Ohio,” said Chris Maloney, a Dolan strategist. “We like that contrast.”

Still, Trump’s fixation on Dolan has steadily been growing since late September, when he launched his campaign. That same day, Trump released a statement attacking Dolan, a part-owner of the Guardians, for the baseball team’s decision to change the name it had since 1915: the Cleveland Indians. After the team announced the change in 2020, Trump called it “cancel culture at work
Donald Trump is obsessed with finding someone who worships him and can win. I don't think he really cares if Republicans keep the seat, he just wants to pick the primary winner, and if he can't, well, ask Georgia Republicans what can happen...
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