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The US has nothing to teach the world about justice or politics

The impartiality of justice that America is supposed to stand for was mocked and blown to bits in the ongoing Kavanaugh confirmation circus.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Igor Ogorodnev wrote when referring to the status of dignity and honor, as well as honesty and justice, when it comes to American politics. Never has the depravity of the American political and media establishment been more easily shown than in the recent weeks concerning the confirmation hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

This process, which is stuttering along, hampered by #MeToo inspired “slam the man” sexual allegations that lack corroboration, showed the disgusting level of partisanship and dishonesty exhibited by the opposition group to the Judge – the Democrat Party of the United States of America:

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Many outside the US watched Thursday’s hearing with open-mouthed revulsion at the bad faith, lack of due process and inhumanity on display. Dysfunction in the biggest Western democracy sets a poor example to the rest of the globe.

The present does not own the monopoly on ugly scenes in Congress – the McCarthy interviews are on tape, after all. Nor do either of the parties – from Kenneth Starr’s ultimately futile humiliation of Bill Clinton, to their intransigence during Obama’s two terms, Republicans largely set the tone for the partisanship that reigns today.

But make no mistake about it: in the age of a hysterical and agenda-driven news media, and a social media that amplifies its worst aspects, the Kavanaugh and Ford testimonies marked a new low. And it is the Democrats that have guided the process into a high-stakes wrestling match in a toxic swamp.

Disagreeing with Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination on ideological grounds, and questioning his record and temperament are fine, even if it is to whip up your base before the upcoming mid-terms. This what the confirmation hearings were for (minus the choreographed interruptions from the gallery).

But to pull out a last-minute 36-year-old sexual abuse accusation that you have sat on for weeks, as Dianne Feinstein did, is a dirty trick, notwithstanding her protestations to senators on Thursday that she didn’t time the release of Ford’s testimony, or leak her name (who did then? This person acting against the wishes of a self-described abuse victim must surely be found and punished). As are the systematic stalling tactics in full evidence at the questioning – the condition-setting for the hearings, the alleged flying fears that fell apart after two questions, the “What about Mark Judge, when can we speak to him?” and the demands for an additional FBI inquiry, during which yet more allegations are sure to come out, as Michael Avenatti tap-dances around his office in anticipation. Could a single senator in the room from either party disagree, hand-on-Bible, that the Democrats are hoping to drag out the process to give themselves a better chance?

To do this, the party was prepared to turn a political attack into a personal one, and personal trauma into a political weapon. Whatever traction #MeToo had as a non-partisan campaign that concerns all women is now in question. “Believe women” has turned from an expression of sympathy to reticent victims to a battering ram for short-term political gain, deployed while faux-innocently asking “Why would any woman lie?” in the one case where the reasons to do so are glaringly obvious.

The Republicans’ scurrying to confirm their candidate is similarly blatant and unseemly. They called the accuser to speak, but how many of them would have changed their mind whatever she said? Five? Three? No one? Staging this hearing for them was as much of a charade about the optics. So polite on Thursday, by Friday Lindsey Graham was calling the accusations “garbage.”

Yet this is not what made Thursday’s proceedings tragic. Politicians in that room play their power games and have known each other for decades – but here, real people were involved. For all the disingenuous pretense that this was just a job interview (most employers don’t suddenly ask jobseekers to prove they are not a rapist to get to the next round), their entire lives were at stake over how they would come across in a single afternoon.

Christine Blasey Ford’s account might be fiction or her own truth, but here was a woman who was evidently genuinely traumatized, and having to relive the moment. And if she is telling the facts as they did happen, and she was assaulted by a drunk, violent Brett Kavanaugh, this is hardly the format that best serves to bring her justice. She said she was no pawn, but she was surrounded by politically-motivated lawyers, participating in some improvised talk show format in which smarmy praise from Democrats who regard her exactly as that chess piece, alternated with fragmented lawyerly questioning from a female prosecutor (once again all optics) looking for a “gotcha!” moment in frustrating five-minute chunks. She had been used.

Some observers said she “won” because she looked credible. The entire modern law was invented and allowed to flourish in America, that most legalistic of states, so that people wouldn’t be judged on their “credibility.” It’s fine that she turned out to be an educated, well-spoken woman, but what if she had turned out a little twitchy, or stuttered? Would that have meant that she wasn’t assaulted? After all, many viewers questioned Ford’s patchy memory, the number of times she looked down at her notes, or even her high-pitched voice.

[The] same goes for Brett Kavanaugh: Some saw a man under extreme pressure in indignant tears as he strove to save his name against allegations so vague they couldn’t even be substantively refuted. Yet his opponents online said his passion made it easy to imagine how angry he would have got before raping Ford (“and this is him sober”), while his tears – a quality supposedly demanded from modern men – merely made him too unbalanced to be a judge. Many just posted photos of unflattering facial expressions and the blotches on his face.

In any case, even if Ford provided specific details of her ordeal, this wouldn’t have changed anything. Kavanaugh would still have turned around and denied it. Thursday’s hearing was not just inadequate as a court, with its burden of proof, witnesses, evidence, judges and jury – it wasn’t even a tribunal attempting to establish the truth. Instead, it was designed to have the opposite effect, with all sides smearing each other for political gain entirely on the basis of he said/she said accounts.

In all of this, Mr. Ogorodnev completely gets the picture. What is amazing, as usual, is how much of the American press simply cannot find their way to the facts as clearly as this piece has so far summarized it. But Ogorodnev doesn’t stop here:

“This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics,” said Graham as the hearing wrapped up. But even if he was right, he was not the man to say it. Both over the longer term and in the past few weeks, it is [he] and the other senators who have allowed this human baiting show to take place.

And a cruelty circus there was: the tarred human targets drew to themselves millions of vitriolic opinions, self-righteous statements, and outright lies. Thousands of women told stories of their own sexual abuse (though there is a question if one man, not proven guilty, should be punished for another man’s crime, or even for the cause of equality before the law), abortion advocates reminded viewers that Roe v. Wade was in danger, the Washington Post wrote dissections of various slang terms in Kavanaugh’s yearbook.

On the other side, Republicans spoke of vast left-wing conspiracies – a subject the prospective Supreme Court justice himself raised – and reposted talking points from the questioning and fake memes casting doubts on Ford’s sexual morals, which somewhat misses the point, as well as being slander.

If there was nuance, it got drowned under the majority of the comments that went along strict party lines. Perhaps in an existential battle for the future of America’s legal system the ends justify the means and no one cares about the collateral. More chilling than all this was the tone of callous disregard for the people involved: even if someone believes that a man or woman may only have a ten percent chance of being innocent, shouldn’t they be treated with humanity, particularly in a murky situation like this? Neither Kavanaugh nor Ford are monsters, and even if they were, what of the compassion and tolerance on which much of America prides itself?

Instead, there were two sacrificial lambs in a kangaroo court among lying, plotting, openly amoral politicians, amid a cacophony of raw noise.

This is how the world saw the US on Thursday.

Scores of countries across the world live according to constitutions modeled on the US Bill of Rights, political systems fashioned after that of the US, legal practices that treat America as the gold standard. American leaders are icons of world history, countries hang on to their every word, and many attempt to emulate and follow them (yes, even Trump).

The US revels in this role, and just this week its leader spoke of its “unique values” and how America made the world better and stood up for it. These scenes are not going to persuade Saudi Arabia that democracy is efficient. It excites not awe but laughter within the walls of the Kremlin.

The US has two choices: to fight as best it can to preserve the remaining value of its institutions – Congress, the supreme court, security agencies, and the presidency – or to continue its all-out battle against itself, where everyone is a loser, even when someone is declared the winner either on this nomination, the mid-terms, or 2020.

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Sally Snyder
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Sally Snyder

Here is an article that looks at one of the little-discussed reasons for concerns about a Kavanaugh judgeship:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2018/09/judge-brett-kavanaugh-and-surveillance.html

If Justice Kavanaugh had his way, mass collections of Americans’ private data would be routine in spite of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution which protection from unreasonable searches and seizures.

Andrew Wilson
Guest

At this point, ideologies or political preferences are not the issue. Those were debated earlier. Using the pain of real people to change the outcome of a recognised and acceptable process is wrong and the United States will suffer for having allowed it.

Don’t allow yourself to justify the witchhunt on the basis of your preferences in respect of abortion or other issues. If you do so you are a part of the problems that are making the United States a laughing stock and contributing to the increasing possibility of a breakup of the Union.

john vieira
Guest

Oh bull…that has been happening since the 1960’s in the USA. The last bill slithered through by Obama as a Christmas present in 2016 enshrined Orwell’s “1984”…

Platon
Guest
Platon

And Clinton and Obama were different… how?

Tjoe
Guest
Tjoe

Apparently the Duran has become a partisan hack for the GOP. I voted Trump but Kavanaugh is going too far.

Sean
Guest
Sean

Why so? What happened to due process? A man is innocent until found guilty in a court of law. Have you a problem with that?

Lisa Karpova
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Lisa Karpova

ameriKKKa is fascist, not a democracy, therefore you are guilty until you can prove otherwise.

Platon
Guest
Platon

Corporat Fascism to be precise.

Platon
Guest
Platon

Yah, I bet you did!

Donna
Guest
Donna

Lindsey Graham: “This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics.”

No, he wasn’t talking about the invasion of Iraq based on sham WMDs; or the invasion of Libya based on sham intel; or the invasion of Syria based on a sham civil war; or the orchestrated coup in the Ukraine based on a sham notion of democracy. He wasn’t talking about any of those minor shams. He was talking about the BIG sham — the Kavanaugh-Ford sham — only sham that counts for the US public and the US Congress.

Old Uncle Dave
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Old Uncle Dave

Emails which were released show Kavanaugh committed perjury during his 2006 hearings for a seat on the District Court. He should be impeached for that.

Platon
Guest
Platon

I do not know of a single american who does not perjure himself daily before breakfast. Do you?

Vera Gottlieb
Guest
Vera Gottlieb

And about morals, ethics, democracy…either.

Platon
Guest
Platon

Only jews should be allowed on the Bench… or in Congress… or the Senate… or as heads of Mass Media Corporations. Because only jews are fully human. Right?

John Nolan
Guest
John Nolan

Do Oceania citizens understand that the world is tired of laughing at their collective stupidity, their immoral, corrupt leadership, their demonic policies, as their political lap dogs pee on the furniture, the carpets, the public, whilst barking at reflections of themselves in a global mirror? How can any supposedly sane society tolerate the crap they are fed by their media, c.n.n., wishington pist, etc. Have the masses no access to alternate reporting of world events, or are they so brain dead, drugged and boozed into mental impoverishment, pretending all is well, and convinced that Russia is the source of all… Read more »

Platon
Guest
Platon

Destroying such a monstrosity will be doing a kindness to it.

Platon
Guest
Platon

The USA makes me want to reach for a can of Raid.

Platon
Guest
Platon

Congratulations Trotskyites! Compared to this, Stalin’s ‘show trials’ were classy affairs.
That is quite an achievement!

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Germany Wants Nuclear Bombers

Germany does not manufacture atomic weapons but has come to consider itself as a nuclear power because it has vectors to use them.

The Duran

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Via VoltaireNet.org:


Germany’s armed forces are currently studying the possibility of acquiring nuclear bombers capable of using the new American B61-12 atomic bombs.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon itself plans to deploy these new atomic bombs in the German region of Eifel, in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The German air force already has multi-tasking Tornado warplanes, which are already capable of deploying American atomic bombs. But those aircraft are going to be replaced, possibly, by European-developed Eurofighters, or by United States manufactured F/A-18 Super Hornets.

Either way, the warplane that Germany selects will have to be equipped with the AMAC (Aircraft Monitoring and Control) system, which allows the use of the new American atomic bombs and enables the regulation of the power of the explosion as well as at what height the bombs explode after they are launched.

Germany does not manufacture atomic weapons but has come to consider itself as a nuclear power because it has vectors to use them, and believes that this gives it the right to sit on the UN Security Council sharing the permanent member position occupied by France.

Both countries would thus represent the European Union, under the auspices of NATO.

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1st since Notre Dame: Yellow Vests back despite ‘unifying’ disaster & they are angry

‘Yellow Vests’ march in Paris for 23rd straight week.

RT

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Via RT…


Yellow Vests protests brought clashes and tear gas back to the streets of Paris, despite politicians’ calls for “unity” in the wake of the Notre Dame fire. For protesters, the response to the fire only showed more inequality.

Saturday’s protests mark the 23rd straight weekend of anti-government demonstrations, but the first since Notre Dame de Paris went up in flames on Monday. Officials were quick to criticize the protesters for returning to the streets so soon after the disaster.

“The rioters will be back tomorrow,” Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told reporters on Friday. “The rioters have visibly not been moved by what happened at Notre-Dame.”

For many of the protesters, grief over the destruction of the 800-year-old landmark has made way for anger. With smoke still rising from Notre Dame, a group of French tycoons and businessmen pledged €1 billion to the cathedral’s reconstruction, money that the Yellow Vests say could be better spent elsewhere.

“If they can give dozens of millions to rebuild Notre Dame, they should stop telling us there is no money to respond to the social emergency,” trade union leader Philippe Martinez told France 24.

Saturday’s protests saw a return to scenes familiar since the Yellow Vests first mobilized in November to protest a fuel tax hike. Demonstrators in Paris’ Bastille district set barricades on fire and smashed vehicles, and police deployed tear gas to keep the crowds at bay.

Sporadic incidents of vandalism and looting were reported across the city, and some journalists even reported rioters throwing feces at police.

60,000 police officers were deployed across the country, and in Paris, a security perimeter was set up around Notre Dame. A planned march that would have passed the site was banned by police, and elsewhere, 137 protesters had been arrested by mid afternoon, police sources told Euronews.

Beginning as a show of anger against rising fuel costs in November, the Yellow Vests movement quickly evolved into a national demonstration of rage against falling living standards, income inequality, and the perceived elitism and pro-corporation policies of President Emmanuel Macron. Over 23 weeks of unrest, Macron has made several concessions to the protesters’ demands, but has thus far been unable to quell the rising dissent.

After Notre Dame caught fire on Monday, the president postponed a television address to the nation, during which he was expected to unveil a package of tax cuts and other economic reforms, another measure to calm the popular anger in France.

Macron’s address will be held on Thursday.

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O Canada! The True North Strong and Free – Not

Maybe it’s past time for Canadians to get serious again about their independence.

Jim Jatras

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Authored by James George Jatras via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Canadian visitors to Washington sometimes wonder why their embassy stands at the foot of Capitol Hill.

The answer? To be close to where Canada’s laws are made.

A main showcase of Ottawa’s craven servility to Washington is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s complicity in the US-led regime change operation being conducted against Venezuela. Not content with ruining his own country with multiculturalism, polysexualism, and the like, Li’l Justin has acted in lockstep with Big Brother to the south inslapping sanctions on Venezuelan officials and serving as a US agent of influence, especially with other countries in the western hemisphere:

‘A Canadian Press report published at the end of January revealed that Canadian diplomats worked systematically over several months with their Latin American counterparts in Caracas to prepare the current regime-change operation, pressing [Venezuelan President Nicolás] Maduro’s right-wing opponents to set aside their differences and mount a joint challenge to the government. “The turning point,” said the Canadian Press [Global News], “came Jan. 4, when the Lima Group … rejected the legitimacy of Maduro’s May 2018 election victory and his looming January 10 inauguration, while recognizing the ‘legitimately elected’ National Assembly.” The report cited an unnamed Canadian official as saying the opposition “were really looking for international support of some kind, to be able to hold onto a reason as to why they should unite, and push somebody like Juan Guaidó.”

‘One day prior to Maduro’s inauguration, [Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia] Freeland spoke to Guaidó, the newly-elected National Assembly speaker, by telephone to urge him to challenge the elected Venezuelan president.’

But that’s not all. Canada is out front and center in the “Five Eyes” intelligence agencies’ war on China’s Huawei – with direct prompting from US legislators and intelligence.  As explained by Col. Larry Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Gen. Colin Powell, it’s not that Huawei violated any law when circumventing US sanctions but it is the US that is acting illegally by unilaterally imposing sanctions that were never agreed to internationally. But that’s OK – when it comes to Washington’s claims of jurisdiction over every human being on the planet, Justin and Chrystia are happy to oblige!

Also, let’s not forget Chrystia’s role in keeping the pot boiling in Ukraine. It would of course be cynical (and probably racist) to attribute anything relating to Ukraine to her own interesting family background …

To be fair, the lickspittle attitude of Canadian officials towards their masters south of the 49th parallel is hardly unique in the world. Also to be fair, it’s natural and would be generally beneficial for Canada to have a positive relationship with a powerful, kindred neighbor rather than a negative one. Think of Austria’s ties to Germany, or the Trans-Tasman relationship of Australia and New Zealand, or the links that still exist between Russia and Ukraine despite efforts by the west to set them against each other (as, for example, Spain and Portugal were at loggerheads for several centuries, when the latter was a loyal ally of Spain’s foe, Great Britain, to such an extent that Portugal was sometimes shown on maps and globes in the same pink as British possessions; a similar situation existed between Argentina and British ally Chile).

A close and mutually advantageous relationship is one thing, but Canada’s de facto loss of independence is another. Not only does the US control Canada’s diplomacy, military, and intelligence but also her financial system (with, among other levers, the notorious FATCA law, which places Canadian institutions under the supervision of the IRS, with Canada’s revenue service acting, care of the Canadian taxpayer, as a cat’s paw for not only the IRS but the NSA and other snooping agencies). As explained by one Canadian nationalist (yes, they do exist!), the redoubtable David Orchard, trade is also a critical issue:

‘Canada …, after almost three decades of “free trade” with the U.S., has more than $1.2 trillion in federal and provincial debt, large deficits at every level, no national child or dental care, high university tuition, miserly old age pensions, years of massive budget cuts, and giveaway prices for its exports of oil, gas, timber and minerals.

‘For 150 years, great Canadian leaders have warned that without an economic border with the United States, we would soon no longer have a political border.

‘We once owned the world’s largest farm machinery maker, Massey Harris, headquartered in Toronto; built the world’s largest and most respected marketer of wheat and barley, the Canadian Wheat Board, based in Winnipeg; created a great transcontinental railway system, beginning in Montreal, which tied our country together; and saw Vancouver’s shipyards produce the beautiful Fast Cat ferry.

‘Instead of spending hundreds of billions on foreign-made machinery, electronics, automobiles, ships, fighter jets and passenger aircraft (even payroll systems for federal employees!), we can build our own, both for the domestic and export market.

‘We once designed and built the world’s most advanced jet interceptor, the Avro Arrow, so we know it can be done. [Emphasis added] With Canada’s resources and ingenuity, it could create a prosperous, domestically controlled economy that would give Canadians multiple benefits, security and pride of ownership. All that is required is some of the will that drove our ancestors to create an alternate power in North America. As George-Étienne Cartier, the great Québécois Father of Confederation, put it, “Now everything depends on our patriotism.”’ [Note: Orchard is the author of the must-read book The Fight for Canada: Four Centuries of Resistance to American Expansionism. To begin at the beginning, in the late 1680s, as part of English-French rivalry in North America, Massachusetts Puritans sought to root out the nest of popish deviltry known as Quebec. Following their disastrous 1690 defeat, they decided to fight Satan closer to home by hanging witches. The rest, as they say, is history…]

Scratch a Canadian patriot and you’ll hear about the Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow. As a watershed moment in Canada’s downward slide into subservience, the cancellation of what by all accounts was a magnificent aircraft – and a snapshot of what Canada’s international competitiveness (including in advanced aerospace) could have looked like had it been able to develop independently – might have been the point of being sucked into the American vortex. As noted by one response to my suggestion that Ottawa’s stance on Venezuela amounted to Canada’s annexation by the US: “Canadian here…unfortunately, the above is true (not literally of course, but in practice). It goes back even before the time of Diefenbaker, who canceled our Avro Arrow program on demand from the US – thus destroying our aerospace industry and causing brain drain to the US/Europe.”

To this day, the decision of then-Prime Minister John Diefenbaker to kill the Arrow project (and “put 14,528 Avro employees, as well as nearly 15,000 other employees in the Avro supply chain of outside suppliers, out of work”) on what came to be known as “Black Friday,” February 20, 1959, remains controversial and shrouded in mystery. A mix of budgetary, political, technological, and personality factors has been cited, none of them conclusive. Pressure from the US side, including unwillingness of Washington to purchase a Canadian aircraft when the US could pressure them to buy American planes and missiles, no doubt played a key role: “Instead of the CF-105, the RCAF invested in a variety of Century Series fighters from the United States. These included the F-104 Starfighter (46 percent of which were lost in Canadian service), and (more controversial, given the cancellation of the Arrow) the CF-101 Voodoo. The Voodoo served as an interceptor, but at a level of performance generally below that expected of the Arrow.”

While we may never know reliably why Diefenbaker cancelled the Arrow or how Canada or Canadian industry might have followed a different path, there’s no question of the superior capabilities of the Arrow. As it happens, one of the few pilots who had a chance to test the Arrow in an impromptu friendly dogfight is now-retired USAF fighter pilot Col. George Jatras, later US Air Attaché in Moscow (also, this analyst’s father). As he related in 2017:

‘I’ve received a number of messages in the last couple days about this bird, including some that say it may be revived. I don’t know how The Arrow would compare to today’s aircraft, but I had a first-hand lesson on how it faired against the F-102.

‘In 1959, I was stationed at Suffolk County AFB on Long Island with the 2nd Fighter Interceptor Squadron. We had an informal exchange program with a Canadian fighter squadron stationed near Montreal. From time to time, two or four aircraft from one of the squadrons would fly to the other’s base on a weekend cross country.

‘On one such exchange, I was #3 in a four ship formation led by [former Tuskegee airmanErnie Craigwell (I don’t recall who the other pilots were). As we entered Canadian airspace, cruising at about 40,000 ft., we spotted a contrail well above our altitude (probably at 50,000ft.) and closing very fast.  As the other aircraft appeared to be passing by, we could clearly see the delta shaped wing and knew it was the Avro Arrow that the Canadian pilots had told us about. Then, instead of just passing by, he rolled in on us! Ernie called for a break and we split into elements. When we talked about the encounter afterwards we all agreed that our first thought was, “This guy is in for a surprise; he doesn’t know that he’s taking on the F-102.”  Well, we were the ones in for a surprise. Even with two elements covering each other, not one of us could get on his tail. His power and maneuverability were awesome.  After he had played with us for a few minutes, like a cat with four mice, he zoomed back up to about 50K and went on his way. What an aircraft! What a shame that it never went into production.’

What is perhaps most curious about the Arrow’s demise is that “everything was ordered brutally destroyed; plans, tools, parts, and the completed planes themselves were to be cut up, destroyed, scrapped and everything made to disappear.”  Why? Well, security of course! Don’t engage in conspiracy theories …

The Canadian national anthem finishes with a pledge: “O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.” It should be noted that understandably resentful Loyalists fleeing the US following the American Revolution were a major contribution to the growth of Canada’s English-speaking population. American troops – back when we were the plucky underdog fighting the mighty British Empire – invaded Canada in 1775 and during the War of 1812 but were defeated. Relations got testy during the American Civil War as well, and even afterwards the US was wary of a proposed united “Kingdom of Canada,” hence the choice of the name “Dominion” in 1967. If today’s Canadians think we-all down here don’t know whom they’ve mostly had in mind to “stand on guard” against all this time, they’d better think again.

Maybe it’s past time for Canadians to get serious again about their independence – eh?

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