Friday, 31 March 2017

Clarence Valley Council: Yamba Hill landslip red alert extended throughout April 2017

Clarence Valley Council, media release, March 31, 2017:

Slippage risk in Yamba hill

HEAVY rain in Yamba over the past two days has resulted in the reinstatement of a red alert warning for possible land slippage.

Clarence Valley Council works and civil director, Troy Anderson, said the red alert would remain in place throughout April.

Mr Anderson said Council monitored rainfall at Yamba hill area as it provided a guide to the risk of landslip.

“Once again, the rain that has been experienced has reached the level requiring a red alert to be notified,” he said.

On March 18, council advised red alert level had been reached because of heavy rainfall at that time and reduced to threat level to orange on March 22.

“The situation can change within a day, especially when high rainfall events are experienced,” Mr Anderson said.

“It can take some time for the alert level to be reduced, but this also varies depending on how much rain has fallen in the previous days and weeks.

“With the extra rain that occurred this week, the red alert level will remain in place throughout April. This will continue to be monitored and council will advise of any changes.

“If the area gets another 50mm of daily rainfall owners/site managers/occupants should monitor their land and/or buildings for evidence of any movement during and after this rainfall event.

“Should evidence of any movement be detected, those people should consider evacuation, and immediately advise council of their action.”

Below is a chart indicating trigger levels for the Yamba landslide risk zones.

The shaded area shows the Yamba landslip zone

Turnbull Government opposes rise in minimum wage because 9 out of 10 Australian workers on a low wage are NOT from highest income households

The Daily Telegraph, 30 March 2017:
Read the full article here.

Other statistics the Turnbull Government helpfully offered up to the Fair Work Commission in its submission of 27 March 2017:

* More than 50% of low income workers are in the bottom 1-4 percentiles of the 1-10 percentile range of household incomes;
* 20% of all female workers and 15.5% of all male workers are low-paid;
* 26.7% of all low-paid women and 30.3 % of all low-paid men were in the bottom two deciles of household incomes (ie. these households are likely to have an average disposable income of less than $300 to no more than $375 per week);
* 24.7% of all low-paid workers with a partner are the only breadwinner in the relationship; and
* 46.9% of all low-paid workers have children living at home, with 35.9% having dependent children ranging in age between under 1 year and 17 years of age.

Based on the figures cited in the government’s submission (much of it derived from 2012-2014 data) it appears Liberal and Nationals members of parliament and senators are quite content with the fact that so many of their fellow Australians live in either absolute income poverty or relative income poverty, while they enjoy parliamentary base incomes in excess of $195,000 per annum plus allowances and entitlements.

And Donald Trump golfs on........

At the time this article below was published Donald J. Trump had been President of the United States of America for 62 days, his approval rating stood at 39 percent according to a Gallup Daily Poll, he had played golf at least 11 times since his inauguration, sent an est. 700 tweets from two verified accounts and was reported to be watching around 6 hours of television a day.

MSNBC, 23 March 2017:

Donald Trump told reporters yesterday he felt “somewhat” vindicated about his wiretap conspiracy theory following the bizarre press conferences yesterday from House Intelligence Committee Chairman David Nunes (R-Calif.). The president then turned to Twitter to promote messages saying how right he was.

This was an odd reaction. There’s more to this story than the specific details in the president’s tweets, but the fact remains that when he was making the case for his conspiracy theory, Trump said he was personally targeted, and Nunes said the opposite. He said the surveillance was illegal, and Nunes said the opposite. He said Obama was personally involved, and Nunes said the opposite. He said the surveillance was before the election, and Nunes said the opposite. He said this was all part of a campaign-related scheme, and Nunes said the opposite.

In other words, Trump was “vindicated” to the extent that the president got literally every detail wrong.

I mention all of this because it’s emblematic of a leader who continues to struggle, in alarming ways, to separate fact from fiction. If you haven’t read Trump’s newly published interview with Time magazine’s Michael Scherer, it’s well worth your time. The questions about the president’s awareness of reality and appreciation of objective truths are only going to grow louder as a result of some of his more ridiculous comments.

He started by arguing that Hillary Clinton’s emails were on Anthony Weiner’s laptop, the Democratic primary race was “rigged against Bernie Sanders,” and that he was “totally right” about Brexit. All three of these claims are plainly and demonstrably wrong.

Trump went on to say his conspiracy theory about Barack Obama conducting illegal surveillance of him has merit because, “I have articles saying it happened.” He does not actually have articles saying it happened.

This exchange soon followed:

TIME: One of my ideas here is that throughout the campaign and now as president, you have used disputed statements, this is one of them that is disputed, the claim that three million undocumented people voted in the election…

TRUMP: Well I think I will be proved right about that too.

TIME: The claim that Muslims celebrated on 9-11 in New Jersey…

TRUMP: Well if you look at the reporter, he wrote the story in the Washington Post.

When the conversation turned to Trump’s conspiracy theory about Ted Cruz’s father and the JFK assassination, the president said, “Well that was in a newspaper…. I didn’t say that. I was referring to a newspaper…. Why do you say that I have to apologize? I’m just quoting the newspaper.”

The “newspaper,” in this instance, was the National Enquirer, a supermarket tabloid with which Trump has an eerily friendly relationship.

It’d take hours to go point by point, fact-checking every error of fact and judgment, but Trump’s final comments stood as especially interesting: “I inherited a mess, I inherited a mess in so many ways… I mean we have many, you can go up and down the ladder. But that’s the story. Hey look, in the meantime, I guess, I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president, and you’re not.”…….

* Image of Donald Trump playing golf found at Google Images

Dear Malcolm, Barnaby, Scott, Peter, Julie, Alan and friends - before you put that federal budget to bed in May let me tell you about those living in relative poverty

As the Coalition Government approaches yet another cost cutting budget – the fourth since your political parties regained federal government – I’ve noticed how financially comfortable all six of you are in comparison to a great many of other Australians.

It must be satisfying to see your names listed against family homes, rural properties and investments:

8 March 2017
13 January 2017
13 February 2017
15 February 2017
28 November 2016
16 December 2016

However, before your red pens slash across currently funded government programs covering health, education, training, community legal services and various forms of income support, you need to remove those ideological blinkers from your eyes and really look at the people you have been labelling welfare cheats, leaners, lazy bludgers and worse for the last four years.

They are not an anonymous horde harbouring a vile intent to drain money from the pockets of your family, friends and business acquaintances.

These ordinary people are not your enemy.

They are two parents with three young children but only one low-paying casual job bringing in a weekly wage.
The single mother at the bus stop who has to scrimp and save for months to buy her children new school shoes because her rent is too high and her part-time wage too small to allow her to buy all necessities easily.
The old man living alone in a rented flat who goes without meals to pay the veterinary bill for his only companion – his faithful old dog.
It is the grandmother with arthritis who gets up at 5am every weekday so she can travel to her son’s house to babysit her grandchildren so both he and his wife can work to cover the normal bills of a growing family.
A 23 year-old permanently confined to a wheelchair who is determined to live a full life and is out there job hunting every week.
Or the 17 year-old on the street selling The Big Issue to get extra money towards a boarding house bed and meals, because growing up in care left him without a support network.
It’s every middle aged person holding down three separate 8 hour-jobs each week to make ends meet in the face of widespread employer age discrimination and not enough job vacancies.
And so many volunteers in every town or village who spend their few spare pension dollars getting back and forth to the unpaid jobs that keep community alive.

These are people who deserve the certainty of an adequate universal welfare safety net – they are also the voters you will have to face in 2018.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Where to make donations to support people affected by Cyclone Debbie

Australian Red Cross:

Australian Red Cross is on the ground, working alongside the communities affected by ex Tropical Cyclone Debbie in Queensland......

Anyone wanting to know if their loved ones are safe and well, can register at  or call 1800 100 188.

How to donate

To help Red Cross provide valuable assistance to those affected by Cyclone Debbie and other disasters here and overseas, donate to our Disaster Relief and Recovery work. 
Donations can be made online or by calling 1800 811 700.  

Tony Abbott playing the media and electorate for fools once again

The political spin……

Sacked former prime minister and current Liberal backbench MP for Warringah, Tony Abbott on 3AW Radio opining about closure of the aging Hazelwood coal-fired power plant, 24 March 2017:

It's due to shut next week…..
"Obviously there's a risk to power because the lights went out in South Australia for 24 hours," Mr Abbott said on 3AW Mornings.
"There's been further damaging blackouts in South Australia and there was a very damaging blackout in Victoria which has badly damaged the Portland aluminium smelter and led to tens of millions of dollars of subsidy being needed.
"We've got a very serious situation."
Mr Abbott said the government could not become complacent.
"The first task of a government is to keep the lights on," he said.
"It's the sign of a third world economy that the lights do not stay on 24-7."

The truth of the matter……

No Australia Card? Yes, Assistant Minister. Of course you are 100% believable

Hoping against hope I don’t have to eventually file this one under “How can you tell when Government is lying".

However, I suspect that the Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation is actually lying like the proverbial trooper, given the bare bones of the federated identity service and its attendent privacy & safety risks are on display at the Digital Transformation Agency.

The Register, 19 March 2017:

Australia's federal government is sticking with its plans for a federated identity service, but disruption minister Angus Taylor has moved to quell fears of a revived “Australia Card”*.

What first emerged last year looking like a “single identity” for all citizens across all Australian governments – before being dumped – isn't coming back.

Speaking at the Teach Leaders conference in the Blue Mountains on Sunday, Taylor – full title Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation – said the Digital Transformation Agency's (DTA's) identity project is now about setting standards rather than creating a single whole-of-government identity provider.

He also said the government considers it a citizen's right to have multiple digital identities for their interactions with government, if that's what they want.

Considering that last year, the then-DTA was trying to recruit state governments to its “federated identity” alpha (only getting the NSW government's support), the new direction looks like a considerable departure from the project's original ambitions.

Taylor said: “We don't see ourselves as creating a centralised solution that we'll roll out and everybody else has to come and play – that's not the answer. But we do need to agree on standards, and we do need to agree on principles as to how this will work.”

He also emphasised that the system had to be user-driven rather than top-down, and that citizens' consent is crucial to the model.

“I must be user-driven. If I want to have 45 identities across the Internet and across my applications, it should be my choice. If I want to have one, that's my choice too.”

He added that the “user-driven approach” has to extend to the citizen having a “genuine consent” about how they interact with a digital identity.

“That, to me, is essential to any solution, and the federal government won't endorse or be part of any solution that doesn't do exactly that.”

A formal announcement about the future of the federated identity project is coming “in the very, very near future.”......

*Comment: For readers unfamiliar with 1980s Australian politics – the “Australia Card” was proposed as a single ID for citizens in 1985.

Offered as an efficiency measure, it landed when “ID cards” in Nazi Germany and the Eastern Bloc were still fresh in many citizens' minds, especially for those who had arrived in Australia's first inrush of non-British immigration.

The uproar killed off the Australia Card after a two-year political battle, but not the concept: public service managers have never lost their love of tracking and identifying citizens.

From that point of view, Paul Shetler's DTO nearly achieved a huge social change by disguising it as “technological disruption”.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

The Turnbull Government may strike a pose each and every day - that won't change the mood in the electorate

Right now the political colour of Australian government is Liberal-Nationals 3 (Federal, NSW, Tas) to Labor 6 (ACT, NT, Qld, SA, Vic, WA).

The Turnbull Government next goes to the polls at a federal general election sometime between 4 August 2018 and 18 May 2019.

Before then Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania face the voters again at state elections.

Between August 2018 and May 2019 News South Wales and Victoria also have elections.

While the Northern Territory doesn’t have to think about a state election again until 2020. [Australian Parliament website, States and territories: next election dates]

The Liberal and Nationals political fight for voters hearts and minds is going to be fierce and is likely to be nasty given they have so few allies at state government level.

This is what they have to overcome to regain the electorates confidence in both tiers of government - their own entitlement culture, a predilection for budgetary cost cutting at the expense of the poor and vulnerable which smacks of class warfare, an ideological straightjacket hampering vital national policies and open hostility to ordinary wage earners.

Social media is beginning to draw all these strands together………….

The AIM Network, 18 March 2017:

Sally McManus is the hero of workers. Turnbull is welcome to try to villainise her, but in doing so, he’s only making himself the enemy.

In her first television interview as head representative of people who work, McManus was involved in what media-insiders call a ‘gotcha moment’. Courtesy of the get-me-a-gotcha-moment-in-place-of-any-useful-political-analysis-queen, Leigh Sales. In their version of events, McManus was in hot water for backing the safety of workers at any cost, even if that cost is breaking laws designed to help employers shirk any responsibility for protecting people who work for them.

Right wingers squealed in delight when Sales drew supposably controversial comments out of McManus so early in the piece. The attacks came thick and fast from all the obvious places, including many journalists, who tut-tutted about law-breaking as if the law-breaking in question was home invasion or carjacking. Even those from Fairfax, who were more than happy to illegally strike in protest at their own colleagues being sacked, apparently can’t see the irony of criticising workers who do the same thing when a colleague is killed. Christopher Pyne, jumping on McManus like a seagull on a chip, called on her to resign. Turnbull, grasping for something to divert from his own failures, said he couldn’t work with her.

A year ago, this whole episode would have been yet another predictable, not worth mentioning, union bashing media-beat-up. But things have changed in the past few months. People have woken up to wealth inequality. Australia saw this wake up contribute to Brexit and the election of Trump. Closer to home, we’ve had One Nation pop up in Turnbull’s double dissolution, only to be over-egged and come crashing back down in the WA election, where, lo and behold, Labor achieved an 8% swing in their primary vote without any help from minors.

Throughout this time, Turnbull’s government continues to be a mixture of insipid do-nothing indecision, scandal and destruction, infighting and chaos, ideological bastardy and economic incompetence while they sidestep from one policy disaster to the next. Amongst the attacks to Medicare, the undermining of welfare through the Centrelink debacle, the failure on energy policy, the distractions from fringe fundamentalists such as anti-marriage-equality and repealing hate-speech laws, there is one policy which stands shiny and red as the most detestable, a pimple on a bum of failure: an attack to wages through a cut to penalty rates. This decision was the nail in Turnbull’s coffin. Commentators and Federal Liberals can claim all they like that the electoral result in WA was a result of local issues. But there is absolutely no doubting that a cut to wages saw voters melting off Liberals like sweat from Turnbull’s, and Hanson’s brow.

Let’s get something clear. Wages are the central concern of the electorate. Yes, most of us have other concerns, including climate change, education, healthcare, infrastructure, housing affordability, energy policy, immigration, just to name a few. But first on Maslow’s Hierarchy of political needs for left-wing and right-wing voters alike is an economic indicator which is being felt personally in homes from Broome to Launceston, from Townsville to Bankstown: record low wage growth. To put it bluntly, workers aren’t paid enough for the productive labour they contribute to the economy. There is plenty of money being made. It’s just not reaching those who create it….

Read the full article here.

And polls are showing a level of unhappiness that is hard to miss........

Essential Report, 21 March 2017:

The Liberal Party’s main attributes were – too close to the big corporate and financial interest (71%), will promise anything to win votes (71%), out of touch with ordinary people (68%) and divided (68%).
 Main changes since June last year were – divided (up 16%) and has a good team of leaders (down 9%).

The Sydney Morning Herald, 26 March 2017:

New campaign warns industry super members and consumers of bank attempts to dismantle successful superannuation model

Medianet Release
20 March 2017

Keep bank ‘foxes’ out of the super henhouse, new campaign warns

A powerful new campaign warns industry super members and consumers of bank attempts to dismantle the model used by the most successful part of the superannuation system, and put at risk the retirement savings of millions of Australians.

At the centre of the Industry Super Australia campaign is a 30-second television segment which depicts the hand of a federal politician opening a hen house to waiting foxes. The tagline is “Banks aren’t super”.

The commercial responds to bank attempts to secure unfettered access to Australia’s default superannuation system for those who don’t choose their own super fund.

To achieve this, government would be required to dismantle the Fair Work Commission’s merit-based process of shortlisting workplace default funds for employees who are otherwise disengaged from the super system. 

These mostly not-for-profit default funds consistently outperform the retail super products sold by banks and others, ultimately leaving their members in a stronger financial position at retirement.

Industry Super chief executive, David Whiteley, said: “The banks are quietly pressuring federal politicians to remove the laws that protect Australians who save through workplace default funds”.

“Not-for-profit industry super funds have consistently outperformed bank-owned retail funds by almost 2 per cent per year over the past twenty years[1][1]”.

“If the banks succeed in bringing the default system down, the super savings of millions of Australians could be at risk,” he said.

Research conducted ahead of the campaign shows strong public distrust for banks             when it comes to super.

“The 5 million Australians who entrust their savings to an Industry Super fund expect us to call out exactly what the banks are up to - and our politicians to stare them down,” said Whiteley.

The advertisement broadcasts from Monday 20 March, 2017. View it here

In 2016, the federal government tasked the Productivity Commission with exploring alternative ways of allocating default super fund products. The Commission’s baseline is for a system with no defaults. A draft report is expected in the coming fortnight.

The government has also vowed to reintroduce a bill, defeated by the senate in 2015, that will change the way not-for-profit super funds are governed so they are more like the banks.

Industry Super Australia Pty Ltd ABN 72 158 563 270, Corporate Authorised Representative No. 426006 of Industry Fund Services Ltd ABN 54 007 016 195 AFSL 232514. Consider a fund’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and your personal financial situation, needs or objectives, which are not accounted for in this information, before making an investment decision.) Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

Distributed by AAP Medianet

[1][1] Source: ISA analysis of APRA Superannuation Statistics

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Their skin colour is not fair, they have a 'foreign' name - what could possibly go wrong for these travellers during the Trump Regime?

Hassan Aden
Details of my CBP Detention at JFK Int. Airport:
After spending a lovely weekend in Paris celebrating my mom’s 80th birthday, I happily boarded my flight to return to the United States-something I have done countless times for 42 years after becoming a U.S. citizen. I had an enjoyable flight to New York’s JFK International Airport. On all of my prior trips, I was greeted by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers with a warm smile and the usual, “Welcome home sir”. Not this time. I approached CBP Officer Chow who didn’t say anything when I handed him my passport and looked at me with a gruff expression and simply stated, “are you traveling alone?”, I knew this was a sign of trouble, I answered “yes”, he then said, “Let’s take a walk”.
I was taken to a back office which looked to be a re-purposed storage facility with three desks and signs stating, “Remain seated at all times” and “Use of telephones strictly prohibited” - my first sign that this was not a voluntary situation and, in fact, a detention. By this point I had informed CBP Officer Chow, the one that initially detained me, that I was a retired police chief and a career police officer AND a US citizen-he stated that he had no control over the circumstance and that it didn’t matter what my occupation was. He handed my passport off to another CBP officer who was working at one of the desks. The second CBP officer was indeed kind and appreciated the fact that I was a career police officer and tried to be helpful. He explained that my name was used as an alias by someone on some watch list. He stated that he sent my information to another agency to de-conflict and clear me, so that I could gain passage into the United States….my own country!!!
As I sat in the CBP detention center, numerous, at least 25, foreign nationals were also brought in and quickly released, their detentions were reasonable and appropriate, maybe 5 or so minutes while their passports were checked. I pointed out the irony of this fact to the CBP officer that was attempting to “clear me for entry”. I told him, as he avoided eye contact, how wrong this scenario was that the only US citizen, career US police officer and chief of police, out of the group of detainees, was the one with the longest unreasonable detention- I was held for an hour and a half. I asked several times, “how long of a detention do you consider to be reasonable?”, the answer I was given by CBP Officer Chow was that I was not being detained-he said that with a straight face. I then replied, “But I’m not free to leave-how is that not a detention?” I was in a room with no access to my mobile phone to communicate with my wife and family about what was happening, my movements were restricted to a chair and they had my passport………and he had the audacity to tell me I was not being detained. His ignorance of the law and the Fourth Amendment should disqualify him from being able to wear a CBP badge - but maybe fear and detention is the new mission of the CBP and the Constitution is a mere suggestion. I certainly was not free to leave. As former law enforcement, believe me, I agree that if certain criteria is met, a reasonable investigative detention is not inappropriate-the key here being “reasonable”.
As I continued to sit in the CBP makeshift Detention Center, watching numerous foreign nationals enter my country while I couldn’t, I began thinking about my numerous trips abroad -including five in the past year (all prior to inauguration) - with no problems upon my return and complete with the warm greeting of “Welcome home”.
Fortunately, a CBP officer that had just started her shift took interest in my situation and began to inquire with the “other agency” that was reviewing my information-she aggressively asked them for status updates and eventually called me over to tell me that I was cleared to enter the United States of America. I promptly thanked her and filled her in on how impactful this situation was-she apologized and I was on my way after an hour and a half detention.
I spent nearly 30 years serving the public in law enforcement. Since I retired as the Chief of Police in Greenville, NC, I founded a successful consulting firm that is involved in virtually every aspect of police and criminal justice reform. I interface with high level U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Court officials almost daily. Prior to this administration, I frequently attended meetings at the White House and advised on national police policy reforms-all that to say that If this can happen to me, it can happen to anyone with attributes that can be “profiled”. No one is safe from this type of unlawful government intrusion.
As I left the CBP makeshift detention center, I had to go back through security to catch my next flight back to DC, ironically, due to my weekly air travel, I have TSA Pre-check and was whisked through security without a hitch and made my flight by minutes.
This experience has left me feeling vulnerable and unsure of the future of a country that was once great and that I proudly called my own. This experience makes me question if this is indeed home. My freedoms were restricted, and I cannot be sure it won’t happen again, and that it won’t happen to my family, my children, the next time we travel abroad. This country now feels cold, unwelcoming, and in the beginning stages of a country that is isolating itself from the rest of the world - and its own people - in an unprecedented fashion. High levels of hate and injustice have been felt in vulnerable communities for decades-it is now hitting the rest of America.
I have contacted my US senators, and my contacts at the NYT and other media sources to continue to tell the story of what is happening in the United States of America.

Jamaica Observer, 20 March 2017:
HOUSTON, Texas — A Jamaican woman was whisked back to the island and her visa revoked after she arrived at the William P Hobby Airport in Houston, Texas, on Wednesday night.
The woman’s family sought answers from United States media outlet KHOU 11 News, which aired their story.
Veronica Gaubault, who was sent back to Jamaica, told the Houston media that US Customs and Border Protection revoked her visa after agents inspected (CBP) her iPhone, iPad and other belongings.
Her cousin, paediatrician Kareen Smith, said she waited for approximately four hours before customs agents told her that Gaubault would not be allowed to enter the country.
“[They] just decided they were not going to let her in,” she told KHOU 11 News.
“It is important to note that issuance of a visa or a visa waiver does not guarantee entry,” a statement from the US Customs and Border Protection said, adding that “a CBP officer at the port of entry will conduct an inspection to determine if the individual is eligible for admission into the US”.
When asked why the woman’s belongings were searched, they said it was for “administrative causes”, KHOU 11 News reported.
Smith said text conversations between her and Gaubault were also scrutinised.
“She visits me, she visits other family we have in New York or Florida, and she goes home,” Smith said. “She never overstays her time. She always honours her visa and, for some reason, this is the first time she’s been denied.”

The Huffington Post, 7 March 2017:
A Muslim Canadian woman says she was turned away at the United States border after a lengthy interrogation on her religion and thoughts on President Donald Trump.
"I felt humiliated, treated as if I was less than nothing,” Fadwa Alaoui told CBC News on Wednesday.
Alaoui was travelling to Burlington, Vt. to do some shopping with her cousin and two children. The Canadian citizen was born in Morocco and has been in Quebec for 20 years, according to La Presse…..
Border agents took Alaoui and her cousin’s cellphones and asked for the passwords. She was asked questions almost exclusively about her Islamic practice, as well as whether she knew any victims killed in the deadly shooting spree at a Quebec City mosque…..
When border agents asked what she thought of Trump, Alaoui said she responded that he can do what he wants in his own country.
The group was fingerprinted and sent on their way after four hours.

The Star, 6 March 2017:
MONTREAL— A Montrealer who is a Canadian citizen by birth says she was barred from entering the United States and told to get a valid visa if she ever wants to cross the border.
Manpreet Kooner said she was turned away at a crossing along the Quebec-Vermont border on Sunday after a six-hour wait where she was fingerprinted, photographed and questioned before being refused.
She said she was told she was an immigrant without a valid U.S. visa.
Kooner, 30, is of Indian descent and was born in Montreal to parents who came to Canada from India in the 1960s and have lived in the same LaSalle district duplex for decades.
There have been several reports of Canadians encountering issues at the U.S. border, including a Canadian Muslim woman from Quebec who believes she was denied entry because of her religion.
Kooner said she’s perplexed given she was travelling on a Canadian passport and has no criminal record.
The only issue she had was a computer glitch that prevented her from crossing into New York state for 24 hours in December.
Kooner didn’t think much of that snafu until Sunday when she was stopped at Highgate Springs as she was travelling with two white girlfriends.
Her friends were not questioned but she was asked about the December incident.
“At the end of it, they told me I was not allowed going in and that I would need a visa if I ever went in the States again,” Kooner said.
Kooner claims the border agent told her, “I know you might feel like you’re being Trumped,” in reference to U.S. President Donald Trump — a statement she found odd.
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman said Monday the department can’t comment on individual admissibility inspections, but noted that possession of a valid travel document does not guarantee entry to the United States.
Asked how she feels, Kooner said, “Just so bad, I feel like I’ve done something wrong, like I’m a criminal or something, but I’m not.”
Kooner went to the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa, as suggested at the border, and was told the situation was “odd” and that a visa isn’t necessary for Canadians.
“Maybe there is no valid reason, maybe this is something that I can’t shake because I’m born like this,” Kooner said of her skin colour.
Her travel plans are up in the air: Kooner is supposed to go to a U.S. music festival at the end of March and her bachelorette in Miami in May.
“I’ve never had issues before, that’s the part that kills me,” Kooner said. “Now I’m just debating whether I should cancel.”

Artnet, 1 March 2017:
Juan Garcia Mosqueda, owner of the Chelsea design gallery Chamber NYC, was inexplicably denied entry to the US on Friday after a trip to his native Argentina, according to an open letter he titled “The Visible Wall” and shared with friends and colleagues yesterday.
Mosqueda, who was sent back to Argentina, explains the “dehumanizing and degrading” experience he was subjected to at the border, including being questioned under oath, denied legal counsel, held without food for 14 hours, prohibited from using any means of communication, and denied privacy when using the bathroom.
His belongings—which he could not access while kept in holding—were searched, and his legal documents were kept from him until he arrived back in Buenos Aires. He was escorted onto the plane by armed officers.
“This thirty-six hour nightmare is nothing but clear evidence of a deeply flawed immigration system in the United States, carried out by an administration that is more interested in expelling people than admitting them,“ he writes.
The curator and gallerist explains he has been a legal resident of the US for ten years, as a student, employee, and proprietor.
“Although I am not an American citizen, Chamber is an American product that I hope adds to the cultural landscape of the country,” he writes….
This is just one of many cases of non-US citizens, even with proper visas or green cards, being turned away at the US border under Trump’s travel restrictions, which came in the form of an executive order in January, and were subsequently blocked by a federal judge in Washington state.
Mosqueda’s case, however, is, on the surface, particularly baffling. Under the initial order, travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries—Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen—were banned from entering the US. A revised version, set to be introduced this week, bans travelers from all the aforementioned except Iraq, as well as the temporary suspension of all foreign refugees. Legal residents of the US should not be barred under the order.