Thursday, July 11, 2024

The difference between Christian Nationalism and Christianity

  CHRISTIAN NATIONALISM:  Our country is blessed.  It's manifest destiny.  Our ways are superior.   Our constitution is divine.  Our people first.  God chose US.

 CHRIST (to all nationalities):  Love your neighbour.  Serve others.  Welcome the stranger.  Care for the sick.  Feed the hungry.  Be a peacemaker.  For God so loved the world.

- posted by Stephen DeVol, Catholic Internet Television Network

Political nationalism can be very dangerous.  We have witnessed the horrors of Hitler's German nationalism, as well as Putin's Russian nationalism.  Unfortunately, religious nationalism can be just as dangerous. It can lead to hatred, violence and strife.  Prime Minister Narendra Modi's right-wing Hindu nationalism, for example, has incited anti-Islamic sentiment in India.  By the way, Modi recently provided a warm welcome for war criminal and dictator Vladimir Putin of Russia.

Islamic extremists, such as the 9/11 terrorists, are fueled by Islamic nationalism.  They believe that they are fighting a holy war, despite the fact that their actions are contrary to the teachings of Prophet Muhammad.

Sadly, many American evangelicals and right-wing Republicans have embraced Christian nationalism.  A prime example is Mike Johnson, speaker of the United States House of Representatives. The ultra-conservative Johnson is closely associated with the leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation, which advocates Christian dominion over all aspects of society, ending or weakening the separation of church and state.

Mike Johnson

Johnson and his fellow MAGA Republicans support convicted felon Donald Trump for president, a man who consistently violates the major tenets of Christianity, a man who sews hatred for Blacks, women, immigrants, Latinos, homosexuals and the disabled.  In 2015, this same Mike Johnson wrote on Facebook that "Donald Trump . . . lacks the character and the moral center we desperately need again in the White House."  He added, "I am afraid he would break more things than he fixes.  He is a hot head by nature, and that is a dangerous trait to have in a Commander in Chief . . . I just don't think he has the demeanor to be President."

Mike Johnson has certainly changed his tune about Donald Trump now that he is a leading figure in a Republican Party that is under the absolute control of the mob boss former president.  Johnson is also second in line to the presidency after Vice President Kamala Harris.

- Joanne

Thursday, July 4, 2024

Thoughts on American Independence Day 2024

"President Joe Biden's debate performance was a disaster. His disjointed responses and dazed look sparked calls for him to drop out of the presidential race.

But lost in the hand wringing was Donald Trump's usual bombastic litany of lies, hyperbole, bigotry, ignorance, and fear mongering. His performance demonstrated once again that he is a danger to democracy and unfit for office.

In fact, the debate about the debate is misplaced. The only person who should withdraw from the race is Trump.

Trump, 78, has been on the political stage for eight years marked by chaos, corruption, and incivility. Why go back to that?"

- Editorial in The Philadelphia Enquirer, June 29, 2024

Dear America.

Today is July 4th, Independence Day in the United States, the day when Americans celebrate the birth of the Republic in 1776.  248 years later, the United States faces one of the greatest challenges in its history.  Someone has emerged who wants king-like powers bestowed upon him.  Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, demands loyalty to himself, not to the United States of America.  This is how authoritarians behave.  Trump's words and deeds are extremely disturbing, a threat to America's freedoms.  If Trump wins the election, he will assume king-like powers, especially after the Supreme Court's decision that would give him immunity in official matters.  

The Supreme Court's decision means that if Trump wins the presidency, the guardrails would be off.  He could order the assassination of a political opponent, organize a military coup, or take a bribe in exchange for a pardon.  It is not difficult to imagine Trump acting in this way if he regains he highest office in the land.  

On his social media platform, Trump has called for a televised military tribunal for former Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, and the imprisonment of top elected officials, including President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.  He has decreed that Cheney is guilty of treason because, even though she is a conservative, she has been severely critical of Trump.  She has bravely defended the rule of law.

"The rule of law means in this country that the law is not used as an instrument of the ruler -- the rule of law is supposed to contain the ruler. The Supreme Court just undid that, and it's binding." 

- Rachel Maddow, MSNBC

As a Canadian, I am profoundly worried about the political climate south of the border as the November 5th election draws closer..  I write this out of the utmost concern and consternation.  It is not an exaggeration to say that the 2024 election is the most consequential in American history.  It must be emphasized that the election is much more than just a choice between two men, Joe Biden and Donald Trump.  The real choice is between democracy and rule of law (represented by President Joe Biden) versus chaos and authoritarianism (represented by former president Donald Trump.  Democracy is on the table.  It is on the ballot.  In fact, American Republic has not been so severely threatened since the Civil War of 1861 to 1865.

Donald Trump will not accept the results of the 2024 election unless he wins.  During the recent debate, he was asked if he would respect the peaceful transfer of power if he lost the election.  He replied that he would absolutely accept the results of a fair election.  For Trump, the only fair election is one in which he is victorious.  Otherwise, he considers the election a scam.

It saddens me that there are people in the United States who wear T-shirts proclaiming "I'm voting for the convicted felon."  Since when has being a convicted felon become a source of pride, something to brag about?  Trump brings out the worst in Americans and he gives them a licence to be crude and rude and racist.  He is a cult leader who has convinced many of his followers that he has been sent by God to save America.  


Donald Trump is the biggest whiner and complainer on the planet, constantly portraying himself as a victim.  He's gotten away with far too much for far too long.  If anyone else had done what Trump had done, he or she would be prison right now.  Michael Cohen served prison time for his crime, the same crime that Donald Trump committed.  Isn't justice suppose to be blind to wealth and privilege?

Frankly, the mainstream corporate media are far too easy on Trump, despite the fact that Trump is a clear and present danger to the United States and to the world.  Joe Biden is not a racist or a misogynist.  He did not lead an unruly right-wing mob in an attempt to overturn the results of a valid election.  He has not threatened anyone's life the way Trump's mob threatened to hang then-Vice President Mike Pence.  Biden has not given tax cuts to billionaires.  He has not ignored the threat of climate change.  He has not praised dictators such as Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un.  Nor has had tried to keep classified documents for himself/  Nor has he been found liable for sexual abuse and defamation as Trump has in the E. Jean Carroll Case. Nor has he locked up the children of migrants in detention centres, separating them from their parents.  President Biden has not behaved like a mob boss.

Despite all of this, it is Joe Biden who is facing a whirlwind of criticism over his debate performance, some from his own Democratic party.  However, very few Republicans are calling for Donald Trump to step down in the wake of his criminal behaviour.  Many Republicans have criticized Trump in the past, but are standing by him now.  They are only concerned about winning power, not the welfare of their country.

Trump hates the free press whenever he is criticized.  He has called the media "the enemy of the people." in the chilling language of a despot.  However, as the former host of a reality show, Trump understands that the media thrive on controversy and ratings.  He is a showman, a bully and a con man,  and the press falls right into his hands.  

It's Biden who is on the defensive, while Trump seemingly gets away with everything.  For the most part, Trump's delaying tactics have prevented the courts from giving him the justice his deserves.  However, his luck can' last forever.  Sooner or later, he's destined for a reckoning.  This is not to argue that Biden should not be under scrutiny, or that there should no be questions about his performance during the debate, but why hasn't Trump been criticized more strongly for his outright lies during the debate?

Why is Tramp allowed to run for the office of President of the United States after all he has done?  He is a sick man and he is becoming more unhinged every day.  Democracy in America has a strong heartbeat. but is it strong enough to withstand the onslaught from Donald Trump and his supporters?  We'll find out on November 5th.  Meanwhile, I will continue to alert you to the consequences if Trump is returned to the Oval Office.  Don't ever say I didn't warn you.



Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Reflections after Canada Day



A Mari usque ad Mare

"From sea to sea"

Yesterday, on Canada Day, we celebrated the 157th anniversary of this great country.  I spent most of the day at Harbourfront in Toronto.  The weather was beautiful and very temperate.  Thankfully, there were no gusty winds and it was not overly humid.  I  must say, it was heartening, in these troubled times, to witness people of all ages, and a multitude of different races and religions, simply relaxing and enjoying themselves by Lake Ontario.

It's time for Canadians to lighten up.  Those on the far right claim that Canada is broken.  Some on the left claim we have nothing to celebrate because of colonialism and the treatment of the Indigenous peoples.  All we can do is acknowledge the sins of the past, and work toward healing and reconciliation, Once we recognize our failures, three is no choice but to move forward and look to the future.

The Confederation of 1867 was truly remarkable, almost a miracle, considering the odds against it ever happening.  It is an extraordinary achievement that such a vast territory, with disparities in language and tradition, could be united, especially with such a powerful nation to the south.  Yet, it happened.  It happened without war or revolution.  75 years ago, in 1949, we welcomed Newfoundland and Labrador as our 10th province.  In 1999, the territory of Nunavut was established, with an independent Inuit government.

No country is perfect.  Every nation has its blemishes.  However, it isn't helpful to throw away the baby with the bathwater.  Unlike those on the far right, I do not think Canada is broken.  I just it needs some retooling and repairing.  That can't happen over night.  Political opponents must work together to build a better Canada.  They are not enemies.  They have a common purpose.  That purpose is to improve the lives of the people of this country.  Canadians must not allow Trumpism to infect our body politic.  Donald Trump and his supporters have set the tome for a language of hate, especially of immigrants and refugees.

These are uncertain times.  The last few years haven't been easy.  The world has endured a devastating pandemic, only to see the cost of living rise greatly as a result of the COVID virus.  Our wages have not kept pace with inflation.  Nevertheless, Canada has weathered the storm in better shape than most countries.  Whining and complaining is not helpful.  It never solved a problem.  We need to find practical solutions.  I understand that people are hurting, but whining and complaining won't help.  

My grandparents were Italian immigrants from Sicily.  I am proud of my Italian heritage and I am grateful to my grandparents for allowing me to have the life I have in Canada.  We have freedoms and opportunities that people in other countries can only dream about.  This is a vast country, a diverse country from the Arctic Circle to the Great Lake waters.  I am proud to call myself a Canadian.

- Joanne

Friday, June 28, 2024

Summer Olympics 2024 Quiz

The Summer Olympics will take place in Paris from July 26 to August 11, 2024.  As you prepare for the big event, why don't you try Number 16's quiz.  Test you knowledge of the Summer Olympiad with the following 11 questions.  Ready, set, go!

1.  Which of these statements is true?

A.  Paris has hosted the Summer Olympics three times in the past - 1904, 1920 and 1932.

B.  Paris has never hosted the Summer Olympics before.

C.  Paris has hosted the Summer Olympics twice in the past - 1900 and 1924.

D.  Paris has hosted the Summer Olympics once before - 1928

E.  Paris has hosted the Summer Olympics twice before - 1912 and 1924.

2.  At which Olympics did Muhammad Ali (then known as Cassius Clay) win a gold medal for the United States in boxing?

A.  1960 in Rome

B.  1964 in Tokyo

C.  1956 in Melbourne

D.  1968 in Mexico City

E.  He never won a gold medal at the Olympics.

3.  In which Summer Olympics was Romanian gymnast Nadia Comăneci awarded a perfect score of 10.0?

A. 1968 Olympics in Mexico City

B.  1972 Olympics in Munich

C.  1980 Olympics in Moscow

D.  1976 Olympics in Montreal

E.  None of the above

4.  How many gold medals did American swimmer Mark Spitz win at the 1972 Munich Games.

Mark Spitz

A. Five

B. Seven

C.  Six

D.  Four

E.  Eight

5.  When did the tradition of awarding medals at the Olympics begin?

A,  1900 

B.  1916

C.  1904

D,  1908

E.  1896

6.  What country won the most gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing?

A.  Russia

B.  United States

C.  China

D.  Great Britain

E,  Germany

7.  Countess Hélène de Pourtalès, also known as Helen, became the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal at the 1900 Paris Games.  In which sport did she compete in?

Hélène de Pourtalès

A,  Gymnastics

B.  Track

C.  Sailing

D.  Tennis

E.  Swimming

8.  The oldest person to win a gold medal at the Olympics is generally considered to be Oscar Swahn of Sweden.  He won a gold medal at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm.  Which sport did he compete in?

A.  Shooting

B.  Diving

C.  Rowing

D.  Judo

E,  Equestrian

9.  How many gold medals did African American Jesse Owens win at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, much to the consternation of host Adolf Hitler?

Jesse Owens

A.  One

B.  Three

C.  Five

D.  Four

E.  Two

10.  Who is the most decorated Olympian of all time in terms of total medals won?

A.  Mark Spitz

B.  Michael Phelps

C.  Paavo Numi

D.   Larisa Latynina

E.  Nikolai Andrianov

11.  Hoe many times have the Summer Olympics been held in North America?

A.  Four times

B.  Three times

C.  Seven times

D..  Five times

E.   Six times


1.  C.  

This summer, the French capital will host the Summer Olympics for the third time.  The Olympics were held in Paris in 1900 and 1924.  Paris will be the second city (after London) to host the Summer Olympics three times.  London hosted the Olympics in 1908, 1948 and 2012.

2.  A

Ali with gold medal in 1968

Ali won a gold medal for the United States at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome.  Born January 17, 1942, he was 18 years old when he became an Olympic champion.  He almost didn't go to Rome because he was nervous about travelling by air. 

3.  D

Nadia in Montreal in 1976

Nadia Comăneci was awarded a perfect score of 10.0 at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.  On July 18, 1976, she made history when she received the first perfect 10 in Olympic gymnastics for her routine on the uneven bars during the team compulsory portion of the competition.  During the rest of the Montreal Games, Nadia was awarded six additional "10s."  She earned gold medals for the individual all-around, the balance beam and uneven bars.  She was only 14 years old.

4.  B

Mark Spitz won seven gold medals at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich.

5.  E

The tradition of awarding medals at the Olympics began with the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896.  The first-place winners received silver medals and olive branches, while runners-up received laurel branches and copper or bronze medals.  At the ancient Olympics, dating back to 776 B.C., the victors received olive wreaths instead of medals.

6.  C

China won the most gold medals at the Beijing Summer Olympics in 2008, with 48.  Athletes for the United States won the most medals with 112. while China won 100 medals over all.  Russia earned 24 gold medals and a total of 60 medals.

7.  C

Countess Hélène de Pourtalès, the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal, competed in sailing at the 1900 Paris Games.  Born in New York City as Helen Barbey, she was a Swiss sailor aboard the boat Lérina, which won the gold medal in the first race of the 1-2 ton class.  Hélène was 32 at the time she was awarded the gold medal on May 22, 1900.  Her husband, Hermann, and her husband's nephew, Bernard, were also members of the crew of the Lérina, 

On July 11, 1900, England's Charlotte "Chattie" Cooper, became the first female to become an individual champion.  She won a gold medal in women's singles tennis.  She also won a gold medal in the mixed doubles.

Charlotte Cooper

8.  A

Oscar Swahn

Oscar Swahn of Sweden won a gold medal in shooting at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm.  He was 64 years and 280 days old.  A the age of 72 years, 281 days, he won a silver medal at the 1920 Games in Antwerp, Belgium.

9.  D

Jesse Owens won four gold medals at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Nazi Germany.  On August 3, 1936, Owns won the 100 metre dash.  On August 4, he won the long jump.  On August 5, he won the 200 metre sprint.  On August 9, he won his fourth gold medal in the 4 x 100 sprint relay.

10. B

Michael Phelps

American swimmer Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time, having won a total of 28 Olympic medals - 23 gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze.

11.  E.  

The Summer Olympics have been held in North America six times - 1904 in St. Louis (USA), 1932 in Los Angeles (USA), 1968 in Mexico City (Mexico), 1976 in Montreal (Canada)1980 in Los Angeles (USA) and 1996 in Atlanta (USA).

- Compiled by Joanne