Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Warning! American democracy on life support. The threat is very real!

On a recent Meet the Press, the host explained that Trump and Biden are so close in the polls because "they both have significant liabilities. with the American electorate." What liabilities? " For Trump they're "the indictments and allegations of criminal wrongdoing," said the host. For Biden. "His age."  

- Robert Reich, Afternet, Microsoft, September 2023

Sound the alarm bells!  Donald Trump is a disgrace and he should not be allowed run for public office.  The 2024 U.S. presidential election is still over a year away.  A lot can happen during that time. Nevertheless, if Joe Biden and Donald Trump remain their party's respective candidates, the election may very well turn out to be the most consequential in  American history.  It may decide whether the United States remains a democracy or not.  I do not write those words lightly.  I am a Canadian and what happens in the United States affects my country and the entire planet.  What a tragedy for the world if  Donald Trump becomes president again. The thought ends shivers up my spine.  I am extremely concerned.

Since I am not an American citizen, I cannot cast a vote in next year's presidential election, but I can definitely write about it.  This website is one of the few outlets that I have to express my deep concerns.  Democracy is fragile.  It can vanish in the blink of an eye if it is not nurtured.  This is a heartfelt plea in support of democracy and he rule of law in America.

I am sickened by the thought of the United States losing its democracy.  It is truly shocking that America is in a such a state of moral decay that a man such as Donald Trump is the leading candidate for the Republican nomination for president.  This is a man who behaves like a mob boss.  He is a man who preaches hate against immigrants, refugees, Blacks, Latinos, Jews, Muslims, homosexuals, liberals etc.  He continues to degrade, diminish and disrespect women and disabled persons.  

It is disconcerting that so many Americans consider him a credible candidate for president and that they equate him with President Joe Biden.  I know that Donald Trump's MAGA supporters are brainwashed.  They believe lies, distortions and conspiracy theories.  The have a cult mindset and they follow their Dear Leader blindly.  Nothing I write here will sway them.  My hope is to sound the alarm for Americans sitting on the fence.  My hope is to reach moderate conservatives, independents and undecided voters.  

Americans may not be enthralled with Joe Biden.  However, Biden will never be a threat to democracy.  He is not an admirer of  dictators such as Vladimir Putin of Russia or Kim Jong Un of North Korea.  He will graciously concede if he loses the 2024 election.  He may not be an entertainer like Trump.  He may not be charismatic, but he gets things done.  He doesn't receive the credit he deserves, so I will remind Americans sitting on the the fence of Biden's achievements.

* President Biden has passed the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package to increase investment in the national network of bridges and roads, airports, public transit, national broadband internet, waterways, and energy systems.

* Biden's American Rescue Plan helped get more than 500 million life-saving COVID-19 vaccinations in the arms of Americans.

* Biden ended a streak of federal inaction on gun violence by signing the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act that created enhanced background checks, closed the "boyfriend loophole," and provided funds for mental health for young people.

* He cut child poverty in half through the American Rescue Plan.

* He capped prescription drug prices at $2,000 per year for seniors on Medicare through the Inflation Reduction Act.  

* He made a $369 billion in climate change, the largest in American history, through the Inflation Reduction Act.

These are real achievements.  The fundamental question is: Do Americans prefer drama and entertainment over solid achievement and good government?  Sadly, some people are entertained by Trump, but do Americans need a reality show host or someone who actually makes life better and easier for them?

Donald Trump and the Republicans have done masterful job of painting Joe Biden as old and senile.  There is not a great deal of difference in the ages of Biden and Trump.  Biden is 80 and Trump is 77.  If Trump (God forbid) becomes president again, he will be about 84 when his second term ends.  Who knows if Trump would ever allow another free election in the United States.  He will expand presidential powers and do whatever he wants.  That means the end of American democracy.  How can decent Republicans support such a man? .  He can cry "Witch hunt!" as much as he wants, but most people realize that he has engaged in a great deal of criminal activity.  On January 6, 2021, Trump and his unruly supporters stormed the Capitol in Washington, D.C., the heart of American democracy.  They tried to change the results of a free and fair election.

Remember that Joe Biden has a stuttering problem.  Even if he were a bit senile, the U.S. would be much better off with a senile Joe than an authoritarian Trump who behaves like a mob boss and threatens violence.  Donald Trump criticized Biden's cognitive ability, but Trump's mind isn't too sharp.  The former U.S. president blundered through a speech in Washington where he warned of the threat of World War II.  He appeared to confuse Joe Biden with Barack Obama.  

I don't think enough Americans are aware of the danger Trump poses, especially if they only watch Fox News.  The ex-president has been inciting violence.  He will continue to send dog whistle messages to his followers.  He is a very dangerous man.  According to a recent poll, seven per cent of Americans believe that Donald Trump should be restored to office by force.

What will happen if Donald Trump secures the presidency?  I can guarantee that he will undermine American democracy and assume authoritarian powers.  He will expand the powers of the presidency and he will attempt to muzzle opposition media.  Remember that one the first things an authoritarian does is take control of the media.  Trump has already called the media "the enemy of the people."  On Sunday, September 24, 2023, he declared that he intends to thoroughly scrutinize and restrict NBC News and other news agencies if he wins the presidency in 2024.

Trump currently faces four criminal indictments that include 91 felony counts across three jurisdictions. Theses charges include both federal and state charges, all of which are felonies.  Of course, Trump has denied and wrongdoing in each one.  He never admits to any wrongdoing.

For the sake of the United States and the world, this man should face the consequences of his actions.  He should be imprisoned if he is found guilty in a court of law.  He should not be permitted to run for public office by virtue of the 14th Amendment , Section 3 insurrection clause.  It states that anyone who "engaged in insurrection or rebellion" after taking an oath of office to defend the Constitution is forbidden from holding any public office.  That is exactly what Trump did on January 6, 2021.

- Joanne          

Friday, September 22, 2023

Ford cancels Greenbelt development: Democracy at work

Democracy isn't perfect.  No system of government is perfect.  However, when democracy works, it is a wonder to behold.  Ontario Premier Doug Ford has cancelled his disastrous plan for developing the Greenbelt.  I doubt that Ford cancelled his plan because he had a change of heart.  He would have followed through with his plan, except for one thing.  It probably would have cost him the next election.  Due to the Greenbelt fiasco, his Progressive Conservative Party has been losing support in the polls.  Ford listened to the will of the people.  That's why our right to vote in a free and fair election is so precious.

For readers who are unfamiliar with the Ontario Greenbelt, the Greenbelt Foundation webpage describes it as "two million acres (over 809,000 hectares) of protected land that provide clean air, fresh water, climate resilience, and a reliable local food source to help Ontario thrive."  The Greenbelt was created in 2005 through Ontario government legislation.  It was regarded as major step toward preventing over-development on the province's environmentally sensitive land.  It has great cycling routes and hiking trails.

At a press conference in Niagara Falls yesterday, Doug Ford announced that his government would reverse the controversial land swap decision it made earlier in 2023.  It was a "mistake" to open the Greenbelt, He said.  It was a "mistake" made in an attempt to combat the housing crisis that established a process that moved too fast.  Frankly, I don't buy his excuse.  The housing crisis was just an excuse to allow the developers to run rampant on our precious Greentbelt.  Doug Ford has been extremely friendly toward developers and there was a great deal of money to be made.

I will give the premier some credit for publicly admitting to a mistake.  Some politicians. especially a certain former American president, would never ever acknowledge a wrongdoing.  However, that's setting the bar far too low.  My hope is that the experience will make Ford realize how precious the environment is to Ontarians.

Doug Ford

If Premier Ford did not have to face the electorate, he would have done exactly what he wanted.  Power to the people!  

- Joanne

Monday, August 28, 2023

The Wit and Wisdom of Will Rogers

William Penn Adair Rogers was born on November 4, 1879.   He was a Native American vaudeville performer, actor and humorous social commentator.  Born a citizen of the Cherokee Nation in what is now part of Oklahoma, Will was known as "Oklahoma's Favorite Son."  During his career, he made 71 films, 50 of which were silent films. 

 Will sometime before 1900

In December of 1922, Will launched a national syndicated newspaper column.  It was known as "The Weekly Column" in the Sunday edition of The New York Times.  During his lifetime, he wrote over 4,000 columns on a variety of subjects.

On August 25, 1935, Will Rogers and aviator Wiley Post died when their small plane crashed in northern Alaska.  Will was 55 at the time of his passing.

A selection of  Will Rogers quotes.

I never met a man I didn't like.  

  • "One of his most famous and most quoted remarks. First printed in the Boston Globe, June 16, 1930, after he had attended Tremont Temple Baptist Church, where Dr. James W. Brougher was minister. He asked Will to say a few words after the sermon. The papers were quick to pick up the remark, and it stayed with him the rest of his life. He also said it on various other occasions" ~  The Will Rogers Book , by Paula McSpadden Love, niece of Will Rogers and curator of the Will Rogers Memorial in Claremore, Oklahoma.
    • Variant: I joked about every prominent man in my lifetime, but I never met one I didn't like.
    • John D. [Rockefeller] sure carried out my old saying, "I never met a man I didn't like." Nationally syndicated column number 219, Rogers Gets Six Shiny Dimes From Oil King (1927). 

When I die, my epitaph, or whatever you call those signs on gravestones, is going to read: "I joked about every prominent man of my time, but I never met a man I dident [sic] like." I am so proud of that, I can hardly wait to die so it can be carved.

- Will Rogers, 1930, from The Will Rogers Book , by Paula McSpadden Love

Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.

Daily Telegram #1172, Will Rogers Sees No Value In All The Time We Save (28 April 1930) 

    • The only time people dislike gossip is when you gossip about them.
      • As quoted in The New Speaker's Treasury of Wit and Wisdom (1958) by Herbert Victor Prochnow, p. 190


    When the Judgment Day comes civilization will have an alibi, "I never took a human life, I only sold the fellow the gun to take it with."

    Daily Telegram #926, A General Digging Out Of Old War Contracts (15 July 1929)

    You can't say that civilization don't advance, however, for in every war they kill you in a new way.

    • Daily Telegram #1063, Will Rogers Has An Idea About Disarmament Plans (22 December 1929)

    • I am a peace man. I haven't got any use for wars and there is no more humor in 'em than there is reason for 'em.
      • Daily Telegram (4 December 1931), as quoted in Will Rogers' Daily Telegrams (1979), p. 104; also in Will Rogers Speaks: Over 1,000 Timeless Quotations for Public Speakers (1995) edited by Bryan B. Sterling and ‎Frances N. Sterling, p. 304


     doubt if a charging elephant, or a rhino, is as determined, or hard to check, as a socially ambitious mother.
    • Daily Telegram #1808, Mr. Rogers' Heart Goes Out To Our Envoy To St. James's (10 May 1932) in The New York Times, 11 May, 1932 

    You know everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.

    • Nationally syndicated column number 90, From Nuts To The Soup (31 August 1924); published in The New York Times 

    • We all can't be heroes, for someone has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.
      • As quoted in The Complete Speaker's Index to Selected Stories for Every Occasion (1967) by Jacob Morton Braude, p. 16
      • Variant: We can't all be heroes because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.
        • As quoted in Peter's Quotations : Ideas for Our Time (1979) by Laurence J. Peter, p. 240

    • Personally, I have always felt the best doctor in the world is the veterinarian. He can't ask his patients what is the matter — he's got to just know.
      • As quoted in Ether and me; or "Just relax." (1973)\

    • An onion can make people cry, but there has never been a vegetable invented to make them laugh.
      • As quoted in You Must Remember This (1975) by Walter Wagner, p. 175

    • An ignorant person is one who doesn't know what you have just found out.
      • As quoted in Peter's Quotations : Ideas for Our Time (1979) by Laurence J. Peter, p. 258

    • We are here just for a spell and then pass on. So get a few laughs and do the best you can. Live your life so that whenever you lose it, you are ahead.
      • Inscribed on the Will Rogers Memorial Building in Claremore, Oklahoma.


    Will Rogers was a lifelong Democrat, but avoided partisanship.

    • I am not a member of any organized party — I am a Democrat.
      • 'Rogers was a lifelong Democrat but he studiously avoided partisanship. He contributed to the Democratic campaign funds, but at the same time he frequently appeared on benefit programs to raise money for the Republican treasury. Republican leaders sought his counsel in their campaigns as often as did the Democrats."  ~ P. J. O'Brien, From Will Rogers Ambassador of Good Will, Prince of Wit and Wisdom
      • Variants: I don't belong to an organized political party. I'm a Democrat.
        I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat.

    • This country has gotten where it is in spite of politics, not by the aid of it. That we have carried as much political bunk as we have and still survived shows we are a super nation.
      • Daily Telegram #1948, Will Rogers Favors Closing the Campaign Right Now and Letting The Boys Go Fishing (1 November 1932) 

    • You've got to be optimist to be a Democrat, and you've got to be a humorist to stay one.
      • Good Gulf radio show (24 June 1934)

    • That's one thing about Republican Presidents. They never went in much for plans. They only had one plan. It says "Boys, my head is turned. Just get it while you can."
      • radio broadcast (21 April 1935)

    This election was lost four and five and six years ago not this year. They dident [sic] start thinking of the old common fellow till just as they started out on the election tour. The money was all appropriated for the top in the hopes that it would trickle down to the needy. Mr. Hoover was an engineer. He knew that water trickled down. Put it uphill and let it go and it will reach the dryest little spot. But he dident know that money trickled up. Give it to the people at the bottom and the people at the top will have it before night anyhow. But it will at least have passed through the poor fellow's hands. They saved the big banks but the little ones went up the flue.
    • Nationally syndicated column number 518, And Here's How It All Happened (1932), as published in the Tulsa Daily World, 5 December 1932.

    • Communism is like prohibition, it's a good idea but it won't work.
         From The Autobiography of Will Rogers {1949], edited by Donald Day

    - Joanne

    Tuesday, August 22, 2023

    Sand sculpture at Canadian National Exzhibition (CNE)


    Last Sunday, I visited the CNE and I viewed a sand sculpture in the Better Living Centre.  This year's theme is endangered animals.  The 14 endangered species featured on the sculpture are as follows:

    Sumatran Tiger - Sumatra (Indonesia)

    Golden Lion - Tamarin - Brazil

    California Condor - North America

    Blue Throated Macaw- Bolivia

    Black Rhino - Africa

    African Elephant - Africa

    Blue Fin Tuna - Oceans

    Hawkbill Sea Turtle - Oceans

    Orangutan - Borneo

    Pangolin - Africa, Asia

    Western Lowland Gorilla - Congo, Cameroon, Gabon

    Monarch Butterfly - North America

    Polar Bear - Canada, Russia, Norway, Greenland, United States

    Beluga Whale - Arctic Ocean


    About the artist

    Karen and Star Trek sculture - 2016  Photo by Chris Robart 

    Karen Fralich is a Canadian artist known for sand sculpting.  She is based in Guelph, Ontario and has been creating sand structures for 28 years.  To  date, Karen has competed in over 150 Masters Level International sand sculpture contests, winning 27 First Place Titles,  Karen is a five-time world champion sand sculptor.  One of her first commissioned pieces was a 500-tonne replica of the Emerald City from The Wizard of Oz.

    Karen is a globetrotting sand sculptor and her work takes her all over the world.  She has collaborated with friends, festivals and companies in 11 different countries.  

    In 2020 and 2021, Kareen served as of two resident judges on Season 1 and Season 2 of CBC's Race Against the Tide.

    - Joanne