Books and Games

* We have this children’s book about tractors with a bunch of flaps that show different animals or parts of the tractor. Some of the flaps have light sensors under them and when you open them you hear a duck quacking, or motor revving, or owl hooting. Danylo’s grandmother added family pictures to the book. Today, Danylo and I were reading it in low light, and none of the sounds played. So I suggested he go get his flashlight, and to his great delight he was able to use it trigger the sounds.

* My godmother gifted to Danylo a beautifully illustrated book with animals and poems about each animal. Today we were cross referencing each animal with this adult picture-book-encyclopedia of living things. We looked up arctic terns, blue whales, whale sharks, humming birds, golden lion tamarinds, ants, bats, beetles, and more. When we read about owls and looked them up in the picture encyclopedia, Danylo said something about his cousins that I didn’t understand, and he started looking for the tractor book. He couldn’t find it until I pointed it out. He carried it over, found the right page, and opened the flap with the owl. His grandmother had taped a photo of his cousins to the inside of the flap.

* Danylo, while were were browsing the picture book encyclopedia: I found a sun in here.
Me: (a little surprised) A sun?
Danylo: Yes, and I called mom to show her.
Me: What did mom say?
Danylo: She said wait I’ll be right there.

* We play chess, sort of. He knows that we sit opposite each other and that one of us gets the white pieces and one gets the black pieces, and that we take turns moving a piece, and that sometimes pieces capture the pieces of the opponent, and that in the end, someone wins. Oh, and he also knows that you shake hands after a game. He does not yet know how the pieces move. Also, he thinks his toy dump truck is part of the game, and can drive in and load up pieces. Sometimes the dump truck runs them over.

Here’s a video about arctic terns:

Customer Service in Ukraine is now as good as the US

I think the minimum wage in the US, combined with low unemployment forces companies to try to squeeze $15 / hour of productivity from people who aren’t the most competent. You get people answering the phone who have no authority to make their own decision or take initiative, and who just follow a script.

In Ukraine, by contrast, the economy is still young, and not sorted out, so you have very talented people working in low positions. They think and they often have authority to make common sense decisions. Except for the banks. Stay away from Ukrainian banks.

Travel vlog about Lviv

I’ve been in Ukraine a little too long to see it with fresh eyes, which is why I really enjoyed this tourist’s video blog:

Toward the end he notices the older couples and families here in Lviv. The same thing that I talk about when comparing Lviv to other places.

Whit / Green Holiday

Monday is the Orthodox holiday of Whit.

Whit Monday or Pentecost Monday (also known as Monday of the Holy Spirit) is the holiday celebrated the day after Pentecost, a moveable feast in the Christian calendar. It is moveable because it is determined by the date of Easter. In the Catholic Church, it is the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church.

Whit Monday gets its English name from “Whitsunday”, an English name for Pentecost, one of the three baptismal seasons. The origin of the name “Whit Sunday” is generally attributed to the white garments formerly worn by those newly baptized on this feast.[1]

https://everipedia.org/wiki/lang_en/Whit_Monday/

It is expressed in many different ways in Ukraine. In Western Ukraine, it’s called “Zeleni Sviata” or the green holiday, and there’s a tradition of putting cattail reeds in the window:

Bernie Sanders’ ‘Economic Bill of Rights’ Taken Nearly Verbatim From Stalin’s 1936 Soviet Constitution

Finally, Sanders introduces the centerpiece of his platform, which he calls “a 21st Century Economic Bill of Rights.”

However, there’s something deeply disturbing about Sanders’ proposal. In an appearance on Hannity, political commentator and historian Mark Levin points out that Sanders has “stolen his agenda from the 1936 Soviet Constitution.”

Here is an excerpt from Sanders’ speech:

A Bill of Rights that establishes once and for all that every American, regardless of his or her income in entitled to:

The right to a decent job that pays a living wage
The right to quality health care
The right to a complete education
The right to affordable housing
The right to a clean environment
The right to a secure retirement

These six “rights,” which define Sanders’ platform, are indistinguishable from the rights identified in the 1936 Soviet Constitution, which is also known as the Stalin Constitution.

Please read Articles 118-122 of this constitution. (Source: Bucknell University)

(Emphasis mine.)

ARTICLE 118. Citizens of the U.S.S.R. have the right to work, that is, are guaranteed the right to employment and payment for their work in accordance with its quantity and quality.

ARTICLE 119. Citizens of the U.S.S.R. have the right to rest and leisure. The right to rest and leisure is ensured by the reduction of the working day to seven hours for the overwhelming majority of the workers, the institution of annual vacations with full pay for workers and employees and the provision of a wide network of sanatoria, rest homes and clubs for the accommodation of the working people.

ARTICLE 120. Citizens of the U.S.S.R. have the right to maintenance in old age and also in case of sickness or loss of capacity to work. This right is ensured by the extensive development of social insurance of workers and employees at state expense, free medical service for the working people and the provision of a wide network of health resorts for the use of the working people.

ARTICLE 121. Citizens of the U.S.S.R. have the right to education. This right is ensured by universal, compulsory elementary education; by education, including higher education, being free of charge; by the system of state stipends for the overwhelming majority of students in the universities and colleges; by instruction in schools being conducted in the native language, and by the organization in the factories, state farms, machine and tractor stations and collective farms of free vocational, technical and agronomic training for the working people.

ARTICLE 122. Women in the U.S.S.R. are accorded equal rights with men in all spheres of economic, state, cultural, social and political life. The possibility of exercising these rights is ensured to women by granting them an equal right with men to work, payment for work, rest and leisure, social insurance and education, and by state protection of the interests of mother and child, prematernity and maternity leave with full pay, and the provision of a wide network of maternity homes, nurseries and kindergartens.

The only “right” not stolen from the Stalin Constitution was the right to a clean environment. Climate change, obviously, was not an issue in 1936.

https://www.redstate.com/elizabeth-vaughn/2019/06/15/joe-biden-isnt-plagiarist-among-2020-democratic-presidential-candidates/

As Russia collusion fades, Ukrainian plot to help Clinton emerges

After nearly three years and millions of tax dollars, the Trump-Russia collusion probe is about to be resolved. Emerging in its place is newly unearthed evidence suggesting another foreign effort to influence the 2016 election — this time, in favor of the Democrats.

Ukraine’s top prosecutor divulged in an interview aired Wednesday on Hill.TV that he has opened an investigation into whether his country’s law enforcement apparatus intentionally leaked financial records during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign about then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in an effort to sway the election in favor of Hillary Clinton.
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The leak of the so-called black ledger files to U.S. media prompted Manafort’s resignation from the Trump campaign and gave rise to one of the key allegations in the Russia collusion probe that has dogged Trump for the last two and a half years.

Ukraine Prosecutor General Yurii Lutsenko’s probe was prompted by a Ukrainian parliamentarian’s release of a tape recording purporting to quote a top law enforcement official as saying his agency leaked the Manafort financial records to help Clinton’s campaign.

The parliamentarian also secured a court ruling that the leak amounted to “an illegal intrusion into the American election campaign,” Lutsenko told me. Lutsenko said the tape recording is a serious enough allegation to warrant opening a probe, and one of his concerns is that the Ukrainian law enforcement agency involved had frequent contact with the Obama administration’s U.S. Embassy in Kiev at the time.

“Today we will launch a criminal investigation about this and we will give legal assessment of this information,” Lutsenko told me.

https://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/435029-as-russia-collusion-fades-ukrainian-plot-to-help-clinton-emerges

The Hill: U.S. Embassy Pressured Ukraine Not To Investigate Liberal “Mega-Donor”

I TOLD YOU SO!

During the 2016 U.S. presidential race Ukrainian prosecutors said they were stymied by then-President Obama’s appointed U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine from pursing investigations into the activities of a nonprofit known as the Anti-Corruption Action Centre (AntAC), according to John Solomon with The Hill.

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko, who is considered a hero in the West for spending two years as a political prisoner for fighting Russian aggression in Ukraine , told Solomon that he was invited to meet new U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. He was appointed to this position in 2016 and it was then that he spoke to Yovanovitch, he said.

He said they, “gave me a list of people whom we should not prosecute.” According to Yovanovitch, it included a founder of the AntAC group and two members of Parliament. Those people “supported the group’s anti-corruption reform agenda, according to a source directly familiar with the meeting,” according to Solomon, who spoke to a source.

Ukrainian law enforcement was probing a group that was co-funded by the Obama administration, as well as billionaire donor George Soros. Further, according to Solomon the group was allegedly collaborating with the FBI agents investigating then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s business activities in Ukraine.

https://saraacarter.com/the-hill-u-s-embassy-pressured-ukraine-not-to-investigate-liberal-mega-donor/

Statue of St. Volodymyr in Canada beheaded and cross removed as anti-Christian attacks continue world wide

Both the head and a cross were removed from a statue of St. Volodymyr in Winnipeg early Tuesday morning. The statue, which was blessed by Pope John Paul II in 1984, was located outside the church.

“It’s a catastrophe to say the least,” said Right Rev. Michael Buyachok.

. . . .

Last month, we also reported on the beheading of a Virgin Mary statue in the French village of Marlhes.

There were 1062 anti-Christian acts in 2018 in France, compared to just 100 anti-Muslim acts. Throughout 2018, no less than 875 churches in France were targeted.

A Catholic church in Glasgow, Scotland was also trashed by vandals last month in yet another random act of desecration.

German lawmakers from across the political spectrum recently denounced the ‘global trend’ of violence against Christians following the Islamic terror attacks in Sri Lanka which killed 258 people.

https://summit.news/2019/05/23/christian-statues-in-germany-and-canada-beheaded/

Will Ukraine Become a Giant Moldova?

From my office in Kyiv’s Golden Gate neighborhood, I see two notaries and three English schools. The notaries represent a faux legalism in a country where judicial decisions go to highest bidders. The English schools offer a ticket out.

In one generation, since independence in 1991, Ukraine’s population has fallen by 23 percent—from 52 million to 40 million today. For post-independence political elites, that is a failing grade.
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Without a red tape slashing revolution, Ukraine will become a big Moldova—a bedroom country for migrant workers building the dynamic economies of eastern Europe. While Ukraine’s bureaucrats cling to business as usual, Poland offers free mobile roaming for Ukrainians, Polish cities sell bus tickets in Ukrainian, and Polish farmers offer summer jobs with cheery Facebook pages, such as: “Pick Strawberries in Poland!” Ukrainians can easily make four times more in neighboring Poland, and they are. More ominous for the 2020s, Germany’s Bundestag is preparing a labor liberalization law designed to meet its growing labor shortage by allowing Ukrainians to work in Germany on short-term contracts. Here in Kyiv, German social scientist Andreas Umland and his Nuremberg colleague Andrej Novak make an eminently sensible proposal: reverse the flow. With Ukraine’s low cost of living, high-quality private health care, and proximity to the EU, Ukraine could attract European retirees to move here.

https://www.ubn.news/headlines_articles/will-ukraine-become-a-giant-moldova/