Wednesday, June 12, 2024

If you've donated money to Trump,, you've been conned

Whenever I see a red MAGA hat, I cringe. "Make American Great Again" is really a dog whistle for "Make America White Again."  Those red hats are a chilling reminder of Hitler's use of  the swastika as a symbol of Nazism.  I truly believe that if Donald Trump returns to the White House, American democracy is lost.  On November 5th, 2024, the stakes couldn't be higher for America and the world.  America's democratic freedoms are in jeopardy if Trump is elected, and if he loses, he won't accept the results.  The former president refuses to acknowledge his 2020 defeat because he does not believe in the peaceful handover of power, which is one of the core principles of democracy. 

I will be blunt because it is necessary.  Donald Trump has never hidden his intentions.  He has stated that he would be a dictator on the first day of his presidency.  The man is a racist, misogynistic, narcissistic convicted criminal.  He is adored by white supremacists and neo-Nazis such as the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers.  Trump considers them to be great patriots,  The ex-president has been twice impeached and criminally indicted four times.  In a civil case, he was found liable for sexually assaulting and defaming writer E. Jean Carroll.  

P.T. Barnum said there was a sucker born every minute.  Donald Trump is following in Barnum's footsteps.  Trump is behaving like the stereotype of a used car salesman, shamelessly hawking sneakers, perfume, and even the Holy Bible.  Trump's conduct is unprecedented and undignified for a former American president and the Republican party's prospective presidential nominee for 2024.

P.T. Barnum

To those who have donated their hard earned money to the Trump campaign, I have one simple question.  Do you really think Donald Trump cares about you.?  The answer is a resounding NO.  Trump said so himself at a recent rally in Las Vegas.  He told the crowd, "I don't care about you.  I just want your vote.  I don't care."  I realize Trump's supporters simply ignore the facts, but their false messiah actually said those words.  They are on record in any video of Trump's Vegas speech.  

Do you really want your money going to pay for Donald Trump's legal fees?  Do you really want to fund a Trump private  plane, or former First Lady Melania's hairstyling and designer clothes  Speaking of Melania, she doesn't seem to care either.  Remember when she wore that infamous designer jacket with the words "I Really Don't Care, Do U."  At first, Trump officials claimed the words were meaningless.  Later, Melania told ABC that the message was aimed at her critics in "the left-wing media."  Even if that were the case, it was foolish for her to wear the jacket while en route to visit detained children who were separated from their families at the U.S. Mexican border.  What a poor choice!  What poor timing!  Could you imagine Jill Biden or Michelle Obama wearing such a jacket?  By the way, it was Melania's husband who cruelly detained those children and separated them from their families.  

Even the most ardent Trumper must be noticing how delusional and incoherent their messiah has become.  It's obvious that he is not a well man.  He's losing it.  He's slurring his speech.  In Vegas, he told his audience to "choose suicide over Biden."  He's been saying weird things about Hannibal Lector.  He actually told his Fox News friend, Sean Hannity, that he would imprison his political opponents without due process.   

Donald Trump is now a convicted felon.  He was found guilty on 34 counts of falsifying business records in a hush money scandal.  The documents were not falsified to spare the feeling of Trump's wife, Melania.  They were falsified to protect Trump's 2016 presidential campaign from more scandal after his infamous Access Hollywood interview.  That, ladies and gentlemen, is election interference.  

Trump constantly whines and complains.  He portrays himself as a victim.  The truth is that he has always been given special treatment.  Until now, he has never had to take responsibility for his actions.  The former president was found guilty by a jury of his peers.  The trial was not rigged by Joe Biden or Democrats.  

It is becoming more and more evident that Trump's behaviour is not normal, and should not be normalized.  He leads his MAGA followers in cursing chants.  Is that  dignified presidential behaviour? Furthermore, Trump is a pathological liar.  He said he never participated in the "Lock her up!" Hillary chants, when he is clearing seen in videos encouraging the chants and even revelling in them.  During his Vegas speech,, Trump did not talk bout his polices, how or how he intends to improve life in the United States?  No, he said he would rather be electrocuted than eaten by a shark. 

Do you really think that an unstable man, a man who appears to be slipping into dementia, should have his hand on the nuclear button?  Do you want a charlatan, a con man, a snake oil salesman to be America's president?  It's sad that so many of his followers have been programmed into a cult-like worship of Donald Trump.  He.is not fit to be president.  He is a sick man.

Trump supporter will say that Biden is old and senile (He's 81 and Trump is not much younger.  He'll be 78 on June 14th).  They will shout, "What about Hunter Biden!"  Those are all red herrings to take the spotlight away from Donald Trump's scams and his deceit.  Joe Biden is not responsible for everything his son has done.  Not only that, but Hunter Biden, holds no political office.  He has no political power and he is not running for president.  

Yes, Joe Biden is an octogenarian.  He has shortcomings, like any politician.  However, if you take a close look at the economic statistics, the American economy has performed well, and unemployment is low.  Biden does not give tax breaks to billionaires and he does not become buddies with dictators like Putin and Kim Jong Un.  He cares about climate change.  He cares about gun deaths.  Joe Biden will accept the results of an election.  He will not lead a mob in an assault on the Capitol in Washington.  Most importantly, Biden believes in democracy and the rule of law.  Donald Trump does not. 


- Joanne

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Riddles and jokes for a spring day in May

I don't know about you, but I really need something to distract me from all the news about Putin and Ukraine, the Middle East and Donald Trump (the most dangerous man in the world).  By the way, dictators and authoritarians lack a sense of humour.  They can's laugh at themselves.  Trump is a perfect example.  That's why he refused to attend the White House Correspondent's' Dinner during his time in the Oval Office.  He just couldn't take being the butt of jokes in the 2011 dinner by then-President Barack Obama and comedian Seth Myers.  In contrast, Obama is able to joke about his big ears and his shortcomings.  Can you imagine Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin or Putin poking fun at themselves?  

So, since I believe in the old adage that laughter is the best medicine, here are some riddles and jokes for a spring day.


A 103-year-old-man was asked what was so great about being 103.

He replied, "There's no peer pressure."


What can go through a window, but doesn't break it?

Answer: Sunlight


What do you call two physicians in a cab?

Answer: A paradox


What can you break, even if you never pick it up or touch it?

Answer: A promise



What breaks, yet never falls, and what falls, yet never breaks?

Answer: Day and night


You see a boat filled with people, but there isn't a single person aboard.  How is that possible?

Answer: All the people on the boat are married.


What can you keep after giving it to someone?

Answer: Your word


What has a neck but no head?

Answer: A bottle


I have no life, but I can die.  What am I?

Answer: A battery


What do you call a pony with a cough?

Answer: A little horse.


What's the best thing about Switzerland?  I don't know but the flag is a big plus.


A woman in labour suddenly shouted, "Shouldn't!  Wouldn't!  Couldn't!  Didn't!  Can't!

"Don't worry," said the doctor.  "Those are just contractions."


Why can't you explain puns to kleptomaniacs?

They always take things literally.


- Compiled by Joanne

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Atkins has got to go

Ross Atkins

“I think it has been overall frustration.  There wasn’t one guy who was more frustrated than anybody else. I think it was (the recognition) from everybody that something’s got to change. If we keep doing this (a tear-down will happen.) Nobody here wants that. If that were to happen, I think that would be the greatest regret for all of us.”

- Kevin Gausman 

Pitcher Kevin Gausman addressed the current struggles of the 2024 Toronto Blue Jays.  Yesterday the Jays were defeated 5-0 by the woeful Chilcago White Sox.  They could only muster two hits and they were booed by fans.  The White Sox are celllar dwellers in the American League Central, while the Jays are currently in last place in the much tougher AL East.  

Kevin Gausman

The Blue Jays have a dismal 21-26 record and are 10.5 games back of the division leading New York Yankees.  Their winning percentage is a mere .447.  I find it difficult to be optimistic about this team.  The fact is, they are just not good enough.  They are not consistent and they are not hitting.  Gausman said that "something's got to change."  It sure does.  Here's what needs to change.  Frankly, Ross Atkins has got to go.  As GM, he has to accept responsibility for the dismal performance of the team this season and their lack of success in the playoffs.

Atkins is the general manager.  He did little to improve the team during the off season.  Yes, the Jays made a fruitless attempt to acquire Shohei Ohtani, and they were used as a pawns.  Ohtani always intended to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  When the Jays failed to land him, they didn't seem to try very hard to find another slugger.  Atkins knew the Jays needed some more hitters, but he failed to do the job.  Instead, he counted on Vladdy and Bo to have better seasons.  That hasn't happened.  They are coming around somewhat, but not enough.

Atkins has been preaching patience, but o be blunt, I really don't think the Jays cam turn things around.  They are not good enough to be contenders, and I don't think they can catch New York and Baltimore.  It's Atkins' team, and it just not good enough.  It was Atkins' decision to trade Gabriel Mareno and build an unbalanced squad with some good defence and not nearly enough offence.  It's time Atkins accepted responsibility for that.  Firing John Schneider and making him the fall guy, won't fix the problem.

I don't think the answer is to tear everything down, but there has to be a change in direction.  2024 appears to be a lost season for the Blue Jays.  The team needs to move in a new direction, beginning with a new general manager.


- Joanne

Friday, May 17, 2024

The choice in the November 5th election



This message is for American voters who are undecided about their choice for president on November 5th.  It's not really a choice between Biden and Trump. It's a choice between democracy and autocracy. Trump does not believe in democracy. He does not believe in the rule of law.  He will only accept the result of an election if he wins.

Please keep the following  in mind:

In his 2020 debate with Joe Biden, Trump refused to condemn white supremacy.  

Trump treats women like objects.  He bragged that he could do whatever he wants with women because he's rich and famous.  A jury verdict in May 2023 found Trump liable for sexually abusing and defaming writer E. Jean Carroll.

On January 6, 2020, Trump and his mob of far-right zealots tried to overturn the democratically elected government of the United States.  It was a violent insurrection.  However, Trump and the far-right have called the insurrectionists "hostages."  I watched with my own eyes that day.  Those criminals were ready to hang Mike Pence, the Vice President of the United States, because he wouldn't do Trump's bidding.

If he wins the election, Trump will help his pal, Vladimir Putin, take over Ukraine.  This will embolden Putin and he will attack other countries.  Don't forget what Hitler did!

Trump will give tax breaks to billionaires.

Trump will make climate change worse.

Please vote for Joe Biden if you want to preserve democracy in America.  Donald Trump does not belong anywhere near the White House.  If he wins, the 2024 presidential election may well be the last free one in American history.  Are Americans so foolish and brainwashed by social media, right-wing conspirators and Fox News that they would give up their democratic freedoms for the cult of Donald Trump.?  Democracy must be nurtured and protected or it dies.  Don't forget what happened to Germany in the 1930s.


- Joanne

Monday, May 13, 2024

Sheldon Keefe firing: He was a sacrificial lamb

Sheldon Keefe

Sheldon Keefe did not really deserve to be fired.  The Toronto Maple Leafs decided that someone had to take the heat for their usual early exit from the playoffs.  That someone was Sheldon Keefe.  With the exception of the first game of the Boston series, the Leafs acquitted themselves fairly well against the Bruins.  They were not completely outplayed by Boston.  They did not choke.  It wasn't entirely Keefe's fault that they ultimately lost the series early in the first overtime period of the seventh and deciding game.

Some may argue that Sheldon Keefe had his chance and didn't succeed.  He failed to coach the Leafs to any real playoff success.  Keefe was gracious in the wake of his firing.  He accepted responsibility for the teams inability to get past the first round of the 2024 playoffs.  "I didn't get the job done in the playoffs," he said.  "I didn't help push our team over the line and deliver.  I accept responsibility for that.  No excuses.  That's the job.  I didn't get it done.  It's the reality of the business and I accept it."

In the Age of Trump, it's refreshing to hear someone accept responsibility (Ross Atkins, the Blue Jays' GM, should do more of that).  However, the Leafs' failure to advance in the playoffs should not rest squarely on Keefe's shoulders.  That's not fair.  Surely Brendan Shanahan, the team's president and Brad Treliving, the team's general manager, share some of the blame, as well as certain players.  There was also some pure bad luck, such as injuries to William Nylander, Auston Matthews and Joseph Woll.  Let's be honest though, when push came to shove, the Leafs were not quite good enough to defeat the Boston Bruins.  A championship team should be able to overcome injury and adversity.

When Brendan Shanahan retuned to T.O, in 2014, he came up with a plan, the so-called ShanaPlan.  He was going to end a Stanley Cup drought for the Leafs that goes back to 1967.  Shanahan, a hometown boy from Mimico, Ontario, intended to bring the Cup back to Toronto.  There was going to be a parade along Yonge Street and Leaf fans dreamed of captain John Tavares, another hometown boy, hoisting Lord Stanley's Jug.  It hasn't happened,  In the decade since Shanahan's arrival, the team has failed miserably in the playoffs, only getting past the first round in 2023.

Brendan Shanahan

Shanahan became convinced that the Leafs could win with their celebrated Core Four, consisting of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares and William Nylander.  Ten years later, after another first-round defeat at the hands of the Boston Bruins, Leaf Nation is disappointed, distraught and absolutely frustrated.  The Leafs have performed well in the regular season, but have never gotten the job done in the playoffs.  It seems obvious to almost everyone but Shanahan that the Core Four can never succeed in postseason play.

Due to the high salaries of the Core Four, the Leafs don't have a balanced team.  They lack a great goalie and a really strong defence, two major ingredients for contending in the playoffs.  Granted, it's extremely difficult to win the Stanley Cup.  The path to victory is long and gruelling.  There are now 32 teams in the NHL.  When the Leafs last won the Cup in 1967, there were only six teams.  Instead of a one in six chance of winning the championship, the Leafs now have a one in 32 chance. There are too many teams and the playoffs drag on far too long.  I understand that the NHL is a business, but the integrity of the game should still count for something.  

I am a Baby Boomer.  I was a child when the Leafs won the Cup in 1967, Canada's centennial year.  I wonder if I will ever see them do it again in my lifetime.  I will be greatly satisfied, however, if the Edmonton Oilers or the Vancouver Canucks triumph this year.  No Canadian-based team has brought home hockey's most coveted trophy since 1993, when the Montreal Canadiens were victorious.  Oh yes, while I'm up on my soapbox, I have to question why there isn't an NHL team in Quebec City, which has a beautiful new arena.  By the way, I an not talking about an expansion team.  I mean that Quebec City could replace a struggling team in the Eastern Conference, possibly the Columbus Blue Jackets; but I digress.  

That's a discussion for another day.  Let's turn our attention back to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Sheldon Keefe.  As Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star so eloquently put it, "Keefe is the fall guy for a much broader and graver dearth of internal resolve on the team, a cultural hurdle they haven't been able to clear.  A scapegoat because that's what the franchise requires at this moment - excising a blighted part."

After a decade, it's time to admit that the ShanaPlan hasn't worked.  It's time to break up the Core Four and move on.  It would be wiser to build a team more suited to the playoffs.


- Joanne

Friday, May 10, 2024

Summer reading suggestion


If you are looking for a novel to read during those lazy, hazy days of summer, may I suggest The Missing Reporter, written by yours truly.  

Just click on this link to my author's page.

www.joannemadden.ca

 

THE MISSING REPORTER

The Missing Reporter is a novel of intrigue and mystery set in 1989. What really happened to TV crime reporter Sandra McKay? Why did she suddenly vanish after starting a new job? 

Is her disappearance linked to the death of prominent dental surgeon Lawrence Somerville, whose brother works for a mob boss? Intrepid private detective Norm Trapper is on the case and he is looking for the answers.


Your support is much appreciated.  I am currently working on my third novel, a sequel to The Missing Reporter.

Thank you,

Joanne

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Willie Mays at 93


"I just felt baseball was a beautiful game, especially at night. The sun -- I mean, you had the lights out there and all you do is go out there, and you're out there by yourself in center field, and it's just a beautiful game. And, I just felt that it was such a beautiful game that I just wanted to play it forever, you know."

- Willie Mays 
Academy of Achievement Interview, February 19, 1996

Yesterday, May 6tth, was the birthday of the great Willie Mays.  "The Say Hey Kid" turned 93 years old.  I always remember Willie's birthday because my late father was also born on May 6th.  I hope Willie enjoyed his special day and I wish him all the best.  By the way, there are different stories as to how Willie acquired his nickname "Say Hey Kid,"  According to New York Journal sportswriter Barney Kremenko, Willie, who was generally known as a quiet man, "would blurt 'Say who, 'Say what, 'Say hey.'  In my paper, I tabbed him the 'Say Hey Kid.' (in 1951), It stuck."  However, Willie's family, friends and later his teammates, fondly referred to him as "Buck."

Willie Howard Mays, Jr. was born on May 6, 1931 in Westfield, Alabama, a predominately Black company town. near Birmingham.  It's no wonder that Willie was such a good all-round athlete. His father, Willie Sr, a steelworker, was known as "Cat" Mays because of his quickness.  Cat Mays was aa talented baseball player with the Black team in the semi-pro Birmingham industrial league at the local iron plant.  Willie's mother, Annie Satterwhite, was a high school track star 

Willie appeared in his first major league game for the National League's New York Giants on May 25, 1951 at the age of 20.  Willie's Giants played the New York Yankees in a Subway Series that year.  The '51 series also featured two of the most flamboyant managers in baseball, Casey Stengel of the Yankees and Leo Durocher of the Giants.  Willie played centrefield for the Giants, but the Yankees, with Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle defeated the Giants in six games.  Willie was later named National League Rookie of the Year for 1951. 

After the 1951 season, Willie Mays was drafted by the United States Army to serve in the Korean War., but he still played the first few weeks of the 1952 season with the Giants.  On March 1, 1954, Willie was discharged from military service.  He reported to the Giants' training camp the very next day.  Willie was on fire during the 1954 season.  He led the league with a .345 batting average, and slammed 41 home runs.   The Giants went on to win the World Series that year, the only time in his career that Willie received a World Series ring.  He was also chosen the National League's Most Valuable Player.in 1954.

The highlight of Willie's career, and one of the most memorable moments in baseball history, occurred that 1954 World Series against Cleveland.  In Game One at the Polo Grounds in New York, Willie performed an amazing athletic feat known as "The Catch."  In the eighth inning, he made an incredible off the shoulder running catch of a Vince Wertz fly ball.  With his back turned away from the infield, Willie caught Wertz's long shot near the outfield wall. That catch preserved a 2-2 tie, and the game went into extra innings.  The New York Giants scored three more runs in the tenth inning to win the game 5-2.  They defeated Cleveland in the next three games and swept the Series in four games straight.

Willie in 1954

Willie continued to play well during the 1955, 1956 and 1957 seasons in New York.  He hit 36 home runs and stole 40 bases in 1956.  In 1957, he won the first of his 12 consecutive Gold Gloves.  Low attendance and a desire for a new stadium prompted the New York Giants to move to San Francisco after the 1957 season.  During Willie's first season in San Francisco, he led recorded an impressive .357 batting average.  

The Giants made Willie the highest paid player in baseball, with a contract of $750,000 for 1959.  He was named team captain prior to the 1960 season.  The Giants captured the National League Pennant in 1962, but were defeated in the World Series by the New York Yankees.  In 1965, Willie won his second MVP award and hit a career high 52 homers.  Four years later, in September of 1969, he smashed his 600th homer.  Willie spent over 14 seasons in the City by The Bay, where he became a fixture.

In 1972, 41-year-old Willie Mays returned to New York when San Francisco traded him to the Mets for pitcher Charlie Wilson and $50.000.  Willie received criticism for continue to play when he was over 40 and obviously past his prime, but he defended his decision to keep playing.  He said, "You know, a lot of people said when I was 40, I should quit, but I don't think so.  You should play as long as you can and as long as you enjoy the game.  In '73, I wasn't enjoying the game.  I retired and they wouldn't let me retire.  So I finished up in the World Series"

In 1973, Willie Mays played in his fourth and final World Series as his Mets challenged the Oakland A's, but the A's prevailed over the Mets in seven games.  Willie played in three games and had a batting average of .286, with 2 hits in 7 at-bats 

Willie finished his playing career in 1973 with a batting average of .302, 660 home runs, and 1,903 RBI.  He stole 338 bases.

END NOTES

* On October 3, 1951, Willie Mays was in the on-deck circle when Bobby Thomson hit "the shot heard round the word."  With Thomson's home run, the Giants defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers to win the National League pennant, although they lost to the Yankees in the World Series.

* Willie has been married twice. In 1956, he married Marghuerite Wendell Chapman (1926-2010).  In 1959, the couple adopted a baby named Michael.  They separated in 1962 and divorced in 1963.  Eight years later, in 1971, he wed Mae Louise Allen, a San Francisco child-welfare worker.  In 1997, Mae was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.  Willie cared for her until her passing on April 19, 2013.

* In January of 1970, Sporting News named Willie Mays  the 1960s "Player of the Decade."

* Willie was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979, his first year of eligibility with 95% of the votes cast.

*Willie played in 24 All-Star games.

* The San Francisco Giants retired Willie's Number 24.

* In 2015, former President Barack Obama presented Willie with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

* Since 2020, Willie has lived in Atherton, California with his personal assistant.  He suffers from glaucoma.


-  Joanne  

Sunday, May 5, 2024

To my American friends

 Dear American friends,

Today is May 5th.  Your presidential election is six months from today.  I sit here in Canada very concerned about my good neighbours to the south.  Many of you are not pleased with the presumptive presidential candidates.  You are not happy with the choice between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.  Some of you will express your displeasure by not bothering to vote.  Others will search for an alternative, a third candidate.  

Words can't express how important it is that you vote.  It is not an exaggeration to say that this is the most consequential election in American history.  Even if you don't like the Biden or Trump, you should vote.  Here's why.  This is not really an election between those two men.  On November 5, 2024, you will choose between democracy and autocracy.  Do you really not want to vote when democracy itself is on the ballot?  Make no mistake, if Donald Trump regains the presidency, the United States will no longer be a democracy.  Trump and his Republican cohorts do not believe in the rule of law.  They seek raw power, pure and simple.  


Do not forget that on January 6, 2021,  Trump's right-wing mob attacked the Capitol Building and attempted to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 election, which Trump lost to Biden fair and square.  Trump has never accepted his defeat. He will not accept any result in which he is not declared the winner.

Joe Biden may not be the perfect candidate, but he is a decent man.  Unlike Donald Trump, Biden believes in democracy.  Donald Trump does not.  So, even if you don't care much for Joe Biden, don't stand back and let Trump destroy American democracy.  He and his supporters are trying to destroy your faith in your democratic institutions.  If you don't believe democracy matters, try living in a totalitarian state.  

Don't say it can't happen in America.  Just study the history of Hitler's rise to power in a cultured country like Germany.  In November, the decision is not in my hands.  The decision is in the hands of you, the American voter.  On November 5, 2024, will you choose democracy or dictatorship?  Will an authoritarian state be your legacy to your children and to future generations?  What a tragedy for humanity if we have to go down that road again.

Sincerely,

- Joanne, a concerned Canadian

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Conservatives and the Environment

Who called climate change "perhaps the biggest threat to confront humanity today?"  Was it David Suzuki?  Al Gore?  Pope Francis?  Greta Thunberg?  Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama?  Justin Trudeau?  Joe Biden?  If you guessed any of those names, you'd be wrong.  It was Stephen Harper, former Conservative prime minister of Canada.  Harper made that statement on June 4, 2007 in a speech in Berlin, Germany, just steps from the Brandenburg Gate.  In that speech, he called for an international consensus on climate change.  He declared that "Canada will be at the forefront, as a green energy superpower."  My, how times have changed!  I wonder if Stephen Harper would be emphasizing the importance of the environment if he were prime minister today.

April 22nd was Earth Day and I couldn't help thinking how conservatives have turned their back on the environment.  They have abandoned a basic principle of conservatism.  According to the Meriam-Webster Dictionary, the word "conserve" means to keep in a safe or sound state, especially to avoid wasteful or destructive use of, as in conserve natural resources, conserve our wildlife.  

There was a time when conservatives actually did something about the environment.  Former Canadian prime  Brian Mulroney, who died recently, is known for his environmental record.  His most significant environmental achievement was the integral role he played in bringing about the Canada-U.S. acid rain treaty.  In 1991, Mulroney and U.S. President George H.W. Bush committed to curbing acid rain by reducing emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides through a cap and trade system.

It was the Progressive Conservatives, under Brian Mulroney. who convened a global treaty to save the ozone layer in 1987, and who composed the original Environmental Act that became Canadian law in 1988.  During Mulroney's tenure, eight new national parks were created and implemented.  To his credit, Mulroney called for collaboration with the United States to deal with global warming.  He stressed the need to work in tandem with Americans to reduce emissions.

Brian Mulroney

Let's look at Canada's carbon tax history.  It begins in March 2007 in oil-rich Alberta.  Ed Stelmach, a Progressive Conservative, was premier of the province when Alberta became the first jurisdiction to legislate greenhouse gas reductions from large industrial polluters by means of a carbon levy.  Imagine the current right wing premier Alberta, Danielle Smith and her United Conservative Party supporting such a levy!   Today's Canadian conservatives, including federal Conservative leader Pierre Pollievre, are determined to "axe the tax."

In April of 2007, British Columbia teamed up with five U.S. states to form the Western Climate Initiative-a market-based group with the purpose of combatting climate change.  Ontario and Quebec joined up later.  In May of 2008, John Baird, Canada's environment minister, and a member of the Conservative Party, described carbon trading as a "key part" of the governments emission plan in holding oil and gas producers and coal-fired power plants to account.  In July of that same year, British Columbia became the first province to implement a carbon tax, with proceeds returned to tax payers.

In the United States, it was then-president Richard Nixon, a conservative Republican, who proposed the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on July 9, 1970.  The EPA was launched on December 2, 1970, after Nixon signed an executive order establishing the ERA.  The EPA was approved by committee hearings in the House of Representatives and the Senate.  Nixon also signed the National Scenic Trails Act in 1968.

       

Conservatives have changed their position on the environment so drastically because they have shifted further to the right.  In recent years, Canadian conservatives, along with their American counterparts in the Republican Party, have come to view ecological protection as an attack on freedom and affordability.  This includes not only climate change, but protection for forests, endangered species and the banning of single-use plastic bags.  They echo the voice of Donald Trump and his supporters who consider climate change to be a hoax and they refuse to listen to the warnings of  scientists.  Sadly, during Trump's four years in the Oval Office, the United States really lost ground in the fight to preserve our earth from environmental disaster.  Big Oil will certainly be pleased if he is returned to office in November, but it will a tragedy for our planet.  

This anti-environmentalism is not only happening among conservatives in Canada and the United States.  It appears to be occurring around the world.  Brazil's former president, Jair Bolosonaro, as well and India's government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi are prime examples. Unfortunately, anti-environmentalism has become a calling card of the global right.

As scientists have pointed out, humanity doesn't have the luxury of time on its side.  While wildfires rage, floods rise, and glaciers melt, conservatives turn a blind eye.  They are living in a la la land.  They don't want to believe it is happening.


SOURCES: Government of Canada archives, "Prime Minister Stephen Harper Calls for International Consensus on Climate Change," Transcript of Speech, June 4, 2007; The Walrus, :"Why Conservatives Turned against the Environment," by Arno Kopecky, January 1-, 2024; Wikipedia

- Joanne

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Stanley Cup Quiz 2024

The Stanley Cup playoffs are underway, so this is a good good time to test your knowledge of Lord Stanley's Jug. and the history surrounding it.  Are you ready?  Get set and good luck!


1.  The Vancouver Canucks have never won a Stanley Cup.  However, a team based in Vancouver did win he Stanley Cup in 1915.  Here is the team's logo.  What was the name of that team?


A.  The Vancouver Canadians

B.  The Vancouver Voyageurs

C.  The Vancouver Millionaires

D.  The Vancouver Miners

E.  The Vancouver Lions


2.   Who has won the most Stanley Cups as a player?

A.  Maurice "Rocket" Richard

B.  Henri Richard

C.  Gordie Howe

D.  George Armstrong

E.  Guy Lafleur


3.  What was the first American-based team to win the Stanley Cup?

A.  The Boston Bruins

B.  The New York Rangers

C.  The New York Americans

D.  The Seattle Metropolitans

E.  The Chicago Blackhawks


4.  When did the Boston Bruins win their first Stanley Cup?

A.  1932

B.  1929

C.  1933

D.  1938

E.  1928


5.  Why was the Stanley Cup halted in 1919?

A.  A labour dispute

B.  Too many players had not returned from World War I.  Many of those who had returned were not ready to play.

C.  Lack of funds to hold the event due the costs of World War I.

D.  The Spanish Flu

E.  The Stanley Cup championship was not halted in 1919.


6.  Who started the ritual of players skating around with the Stanley Cup over their head?

A.  Jean Beliveau

B.  George Armstrong

C.  Ted Lindsay

D.  Wayne Gretzky

E.  Phil Esposito


7.   Who was Lord Stanley of Preston, for whom the Stanley Cup is named?

Lord Stanley of Preston

A.  Governor General of Canada

B.  A British prime minister

C.  A British banker

D.   A Canadian prime minister

E.   The British High Commissioner to Canada


8.   How many times have the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup?

A.  10

B.  12

C.  15

D.  14

E.  13


9.  Who was the youngest NHL captain to win the Stanley Cup?

A.  Wayne Gretzky

B.  Sidney Crosby

C.  Jean Beliveau

D.  Connor McDavid

E.  Maurice "Rocket" Richard


10.  Who has captained the most NHL Stanley Cup teams?

A.  George Armstrong

B.  Jean Beliveau

C.  Wayne Gretzky

D.  Maurice "Rocket" Richard

E.  Sidney Crosby


11.  How many times have the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup?

A.  8 times

B.  7 times

C.  4 times

D.  6 times

E.  9 times



ANSWERS

1.  C

1915 Vancouver Millionaires

The Vancouver Millionaires of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA) won the Stanley Cup on March 26, 1915.  They defeated the National Hockey Association's Ottawa Senators in a best-of-five series.  It was the first Stanley Cup championship approved by the Cup's trustees and played under a new agreement between National Hockey Association (NHA) the Pacific Coast Hockey Association.  To date, this is the only Stanley Cup victory for the city of Vancouver.


2.  B  

Henri Richard

Henri Richard of the Montreal Canadiens won an impressive 11 Stanley Cups, starting from the 1955-1956 season and continuing through the 1972-1973 season.  Known as the Pocket Rocket, Henri was the brother of Maurice Richard.


3.  D

The first American-based team to win the Stanley Cup was the Seattle Metropolitans of the Pacific Coast Hockey League (PCHL).  They defeated the famed Montreal Canadiens to capture the best-of- five series in four games.

The New York Rangers became the first NHL team to win the Stanley Cup in 1928.  


4.  B

In 1929, the Boston Bruins defeated the New York Rangers to win their first Stanley Cup.  They did not win again until a decade later, in 1939.  The Bruins have won a total of six Stanley Cups.  They also won in 1941, 1970, 1972 and 2011.   


5.  D

The Stanley Cup competition was halted in 1919 due to the Spanish Flu pandemic.  The series between the Montreal Canadiens and the Seattle Metropolitans was tied at two games each, but it was never completed.  The Stanley Cup was also cancelled in 2005 due to a lockout.


6,  C

Lindsay with Stanley Cup in 1950

The ritual of skating around with the Stanley Cup began in 1950, when Ted Lindsay, captain of the Detroit Red Wings, who won the Cup that year, skated around the rink, holding the Cup over his head.


7.  A

Frederick Arthur Stanley, Baron Stanley of Preston (1841-1908) was the Governor General of Canada from 1888 to 1893.  In 1892, he donated the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup with a message stating the following: "I have for some time been thinking that it would be a good thing if there were a challenge cup which should be held from year to year by the champion hockey team in the Dominion of Canada."


8.  E

The Toronto Maple Leafs have won the Stanley Cup 13 times in their stored history, in 1918, 1922, 1932, 1942, 1945, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1951, 1962, 1963, 1964 and 1967.  Only the Montreal Canadiens have won more Cups.  They have won the championship 24 times.


9.  B

Sidney Crosby became the youngest NHL captain to win the Stanley Cup when he led the Pittsburgh Penguins to victory in 2009.  Crosby, born August 7, 1987, was 21 years, 10 months at the time.  The youngest captain to lead his team to a Stanley Cup in the history of the trophy was Mike Grant of the 1895 Montreal Victorias, who was 21 years, two months at the time.


10.  B  

Jean Beliveau


Maurice Richard

Jean Beliveau took over as captain of the Montreal Canadiens after the retirement of Maurice "Rocket" Richard in 1960.  As captain, Beliveau led the Canadiens to five Stanley Cup victories.  During his career, Beliveau played in 17 Stanley Cup playoffs for Montreal, winning the Cup in 1956-60, 1965-1966, 1968-1969 and 1971.

Maurice "Rocket" Richard won eight Stanley Cup championships (four as captain) during his career with the Montreal Canadiens.  Richard 18 seasons in the National Hockey league for Montreal beginning his career in the 1942-1943 season.  When he entered his 15th NHL season in 1956-57, his teammates named him captain.  As captain, he led the Canadiens to four of the five Stanley Cups that Montreal won between 1956 and 1960.  

George Armstrong won four Stanley Cups in 12 years as captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Wayne Gretzky also won four Stanley Cups as the captain of the Edmonton Oilers during the 1983-84, 1984-85, 1986-87 and 1987-1988 seasons.  Sydney Crosby has won three Stanley Cups as captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins - 2008-2009, 2015-2016 and 2016-2017.  As of this writing, Connor McDavid has yet to win a Stanley Cup as captain of the Edmonton Oilers.


11.  D

The Chicago Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup six times in their history as a franchise - 1933, 1937, 1961, 2010, 2013 and 2015.


- Joanne

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Trump vs. Biden

 

Trump mug shot.  He looks quite presidential, doesn't he?  Yeah, right!



Two peas in a pod

On November 5, 2024, the choice will be yours, America.  You will choose between democracy and despotism, freedom and authoritarianism, the rule of law and chaos.  Keep in mind, however, that your choice will affect the whole world.  Keep in mind what happened to Germany in the 1930s.  

The world will be watching, America. because American democracy cannot withstand another Trump presidency.  As Trump's  niece has stated, he is the most dangerous man in the world.  So many Americans are so brainwashed by Fox News and social media that they cannot distinguish between facts and conspiracy theories.  In their blurry eyes, those arrested for their actions on January 6th, 2021 are hostages. They are so blinded that they cannot see the difference between a man who led an insurrection to overthrow American democracy and the imperfect decency of President Joe Biden.  

Donald Trump is not fit to be president and he should be nowhere near the Oval Office.  The future of humanity rests upon the voters of America.


- Joanne

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

With love to Newfoundland and Labrador: The province joined Confederation 75 years ago

I live in Toronto.  As Newfoundlanders and Labradorians like to say, I come from away.   However, I have the greatest regard for the province and its people.  To me, Newfoundlanders are the salt of the earth.  I have only visited the province once, in the summer of 2001.  Due to time constraints, I travelled mostly within the Avalon Peninsula.  However, I was left with a lasting impression, and  I will never forget the friendliness and welcoming attitude of the people. Nor will and forget the beautiful lighthouses and the whale watching,  I hope someday to return and visit some more of the province.

I love the colourful houses in St, John's.  During my visit, I took a a boat ride in St. John's harbour, along with a black Newfoundland retriever.  On the boat, I kissed a cod, tasted some Newfoundland Screech (a local rum), and became an honorary Newfoundlander.  Of course, I toured Memorial University and Signal Hill.  

While I was visiting St. John's, there was an apartment fire in the city.  The community immediately got together and organized a concert of Newfoundland music to raise money for those whose property was damaged and destroyed.  My husband and I attended that concert at Mile One Arena, now known as Mary Brown's Centre.  

During my Newfoundland vacation, I also visited Cape Spear, the most easterly point in North America.  I'll never forget the rugged cliffs and the strong winds.  I also spent time in Terra Nova National Park, Trinity Dungeon Provincial Park near Bona Vistas and Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve.  Cape St. Mary's is a great place to enjoy watching seabirds.  In addition, I went to Ferryland, where the first Lord Baltimore tried to establish a settlement.in the 17th century.  It is now an excavation site for archaeologists,  Unfortunately, I did not have an opportunity to visit Gros Morne National Park or Labrador.

Newfoundlanders are Canada's premier comedians.  One only has to list names such as Rick Mercer, Mary Walsh, Cathy Jones and Mark Critch.  Over the years, I have enjoyed watching 22 Minutes, and The Rick Mercer Report on the CBC.  I am a fan of Son of a Critch, Mark Critch's delightful ode to coming of age in Newfoundland.in the 1980s.

In 2001, the people of Gander, Newfoundland, displayed their generous and welcoming spirit to travellers stranded at the Gander Airport due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  The story has been made into an uplifting musical called Come from Away, which I have seen.

Newfoundland joined Confederation at midnight on March 31, 1949, becoming Canada's tenth province.  Until then, it was a British colony.  Some portion of Newfoundland's  coast was one of the first parts of North America seen by Europeans.  About a thousand years ago, Vikings settled in a seaside outpost in Newfoundland known as L'Anse aux Meadows.  Unfortunately, I did not have a chance to visit L'Anse aux Meadows.in 2001.

In 1497, Italian explorer and navigator Giovanni Caboto (John Cabot)  landed in North America.  The exact location is disputed.  It may have been southern Labrador, the island of Newfoundland or Cape Breton Island.  Nevertheless, Cabot claimed the territory, which he had mistaken for Asia, in the name of Henry VII of England. 

From 1907 to 1949, Newfoundland was a British dominion in eastern North America.  In the 1920s, Newfoundland was in debt.  The Great Depression of the 1930s, exacerbated its financial problems.  In 1934, facing bankruptcy, Newfoundland's leaders decided to suspend responsible government.  They agreed to accept an unelected Commission Government directed by Britain.

During World War II, Newfoundland became an important military strategic base.  Prosperity returned to Newfoundland, due to miliary investment.  In 1946, an elected National Convention was established to consider Newfoundland's future.  There was a lively debate about whether to join Canada or to return to responsible government.  Convention members, especially Joey Smallwood, contended that living standards would improved if Newfoundland became a Canadian province.  The Confederation choice was even encouraged by Britain.

In a June 3, 1948 referendum, the responsible government option garnered 44.6 percent of the vote, while the pro-Confederation side received 41.1 percent and the Commission Government option received 14.3 percent.  Nevertheless, a run-off vote was held on July 22, 1948 between responsible government and Confederation, with Confederation receiving 52.34 percent of the vote and self-government 47.66 percent.  

By 1949, Newfoundland had erased its debts and recorded a surplus.  Joey Smallwood became the new province's first premier and a celebrated Father of Confederation.  Sadly, the province suffered the economic impact of the 1992 moratorium on cod fishing, imposed by the Canadian government.  This was done for the purpose of restoring cod stocks that had been depleted due to overfishing.  In 2015, two reports on cold fishery indicated that stocks my have recovered somewhat.  However, in June of 2018, the federal government felt compelled to reduce the cod quote because stocks had once again fallen after only two years of fair catches.

Thank you Newfoundland and Labrador.  This Torontonian appreciates all you have contributed to Canada.  Congratulations on the 75th anniversary of your entry into Confederation.



- Joanne

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Easter Reflections in Troubled Times

 
Now let the heavens be joyful,
Let the earth her song begin;
Let the round world keep triumph,
And all that is therein;
Invisible and visible,
Their notes let all things blend,
For Christ the Lord is risen
Our joy that hath no end.

- Saint John of Damascenus, in The Congregational Hymn Book: Psalms and Hymns for Divine Worship (1881)

It is Easter 2024 and humanity is at a crossroads.  The world seems full of atrocities and human suffering, and democracy is under assault.  With Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, war in the Middle East, the threat of climate change, and the possible election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, the world seems engulfed in madness.  More than ever, people of all faiths need to find solace and hope.  

It is disconcerting that so many Evangelical Christians in the United States have lost their way.  Some actually believe that Donald Trump was sent by God to save America.  From what?  To me, this is blasphemy and sacrilege.  Trump is a con man and he is shamelessly hawking "God Bless the USA" Bibles for $60.  The former president faces expensive legal battles, and he is taking advantage of people's faith to raise money.  Not only that, but he is doing so during Holy Week, the most solemn period in the Christian calendar.  Evangelicals who support Trump should be reminded of the Biblical story of how Jesus drove the moneylenders from the temple.  

“It is a bankrupt Christianity that sees a demagogue co-opting our faith and even our holy scriptures for the sake of his own pursuit of power and praise him for it rather than insist that we refuse to allow our sacred faith and scriptures to become a mouthpiece for an empire,” 

- Rev. Benjamin Cremer, American pastor, writer, B.A. in Religion, M.A. om Spiritual Formation, M.A. in Theological Studies.

God is just and merciful, not Donald Trump.  Christians believe that Jesus is the Messiah, not Donald Trump.  Shame on Evangelicals and other so-called Christians who follow Trump as a false god.  There is a need to get back to to basic tenets of Christianity, which are clearly set out by Jesus in two commandments: Love God and love your neighbour as yourself.  I am ecumenical and I believe that ecumenicalism should be extended beyond the unity of Christian churches.   People of all faiths are required to live by the Golden Rule . . .Do unto others . . .  Christians, Jews and Muslims are all children of Abraham.  They all worship the God of Abraham.

People of faith should greatly respect adherents of non-monotheistic religions, such as Hindus, Buddhists and Jains.  They should also respect agnostics and atheists, many who behave in a more Christian fashion than those purporting to be Christians.  The spiritual beliefs of Indigenous peoples should also be greatly respected.  

Here is a Muslim view of respect for other faiths:

As Muslims, we ought to respect all religions in their pristine form as revealed by Allah.  The Quran reiterates the fact that God has blessed every nation by sending prophets and messengers proclaiming the perennial message of Divine Oneness: Worship one and only God and renounce false gods."

- Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic Scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario.

I am a Christian, but I am not a fundamentalist.  The Bible is not a history book, and it should not be treated as such.   Neither am a "Christian nationalist."   I don't believe that God favours one nation above all others, or that God favours a particular sports team.  Yes, I think that family is very important.  It is one of the backbones of society.  No, I don't think "anything goes."  I believe in God, but  I don't believe that God is an old man with a white beard and a baritone voice, who happens to speak English.  God is a mystery, and a Supreme Being does not have a gender.  

Yes, there is evil.  How else would one describe Nazi Germany?  The devil, dressed in red and wearing goat horns, is merely a figurative representation of that evil.  I  do not believe in a literal hell of fire and brimstone. I believe that hell is separation from God.  I do not believe in a literal heaven of pearly gates and harps.  I believe that heaven is a spiritual experience that is beyond human comprehension.  Finally, I also believe that no one has all the answers.  Be wary of those who refer to themselves as "true believers."

Happy Easter to all who celebrate.  Peace and joy to believers and non-believers alike, and to the Jewish brethren who will begin celebrating Passover on April 22nd, as well as the Muslim brethren during their holy month of Ramadan.



- Joanne

Monday, March 25, 2024

Why Justice is Blindfolded

Jimmy Kimmel

On Oscar night, Jimmy Kimmel read out a scathing review of his performance as host of the ceremonies.  He then informed the audience that the review came from none other than Donald Trump.  In response, Kimmel quipped< "Isn't it past your jail time?"  Jimmy was exactly right.  In addition to running for president, for which he should never have been allowed to do, Trump faces countless legal challenges and felony charges.  Why would he even have time to attack Jimmy Kimmel?  The answer is that he is so deranged that he has to attack anyone who criticizes him or does not support him.  In his world, you are either a Trumper or a Never Trumper.  Never Trumpers must be attacked and destroyed.  

It's more than past time for Trump to finally face accountability for his words and actions.  If found guilty by a jury, he should go directly to prison.  There should be no Jail Free Card for a sitting president or a former president.  Michael Cohen, Trump's former personal lawyer and "fixer."  He pleaded guilty to eight counts, including campaign-finance violations, tax fraud, and bank fraud.  Cohen claimed he broke campaign-finance laws, at Trump's direction, for the purpose of influencing the 2016 presidential election.  In December of 2018, Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison and a $50,000 fine,  He was also disbarred from practicing law in the state of New York.  In May of 2019, he reported to a federal prison.  In November of  2021, he completed his sentence.

Paul Manafort, a long-time Republican campaign consultant, chaired Donald Trump's presidential campaign from June to August 2016.  In March 2019, Manafort was sentenced to 47 months (almost four months) in prison for defrauding banks and the government, as well as failing to pay taxes on the  millions he earned as a consultant for Ukrainian politicians.  In May of 2020, due to the danger of COVID-19, Manfort was released to home confinement.  On December 23, 2020, he was pardoned by Donald Trump, his good buddy.  

Cohen aul Manafort are convicted felons.  They were sent to prison for crimes they committed in support of  Trump or to enrich themselves.  Yet Trump has managed to delay his day of reckoning.  That has been his grand strategy.  If he delays long enough, he hopes to evade justice through presidential immunity.  What gives hm the right to think he should be treated differently from anyone else?  No one, not a king, president, vice president or prime minister is above the law.  The United States Declaration of Independences states clearly, "All men are created equal."  It does not say that some are more equal than others.  Lady Justice is blindfolded for a good reason.

WHY IS LADY JUSTICE BLINDFOLDED?

Traditionally, justice has been depicted as a blindfolded woman holding scales and a sword. The scales represent a fair balance of arguments in a legal case.  The doble-edged sword signifies that judgements can go either way, depending on the evidence and circumstances brought forth by both parties in a dispute.  The blindfold is intended to show that justice is impartial and should be delivered without regard to wealth, power or social status.  In an ideal justice system, impartiality and objectivity are paramount,  Therefore, the American justice system should treat Donald Trump no differently from anyone else. 

In April of 2023, Trump became the first sitting or former president to appear in court to face criminal charges.  He was criminally indicted in a New York investigation into a hush money payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels.  The payment, engineered by Michael Cohen, was made to protect Trump's presidential campaign from further scandal after his disastrous Access Hollywood  interview, in which he bragged about his ability to sexually abuse women.

Donald Trump claims that he has absolute immunity from being charged or jailed, even though he led a violent insurrection against the government of the United States on January 6, 2021.  He continually paints himself as the innocent victim of numerous witch hunts.  He contends that he has done nothing wrong, despite his criminal activities.  The fact is a large number of world leaders have been charged  or imprisoned, gong way back in history, including King Charles I  of England, who went on trial for treason against the state or "levying war against Parliament and the People."  Charles was found guilty and executed in 1649, so let's discuss some world leaders who have been imprisoned for crimes in more recent times.

SOME LEADERS WHO HAVE BEEN CONVICTED OF CRIMES AND IMPRISONED IN RECENT TIMES

Ivo Sanader

* In 2020, Ivo Sanader, the former prime minister of Croatia was found guilty of corruption.  He was sentenced to eight years in prison and is currently serving out his sentence.

Berlusconi

* On August 1, 2013, Silvio Berlusconi, former prime minister of Italy was convicted of tax fraud.  He received a four-year prison sentence and was prohibited from holding public office for two years.  Due to his age (he was 76), Berlusconi was exempted from direct imprisonment.  He served his sentence by doing unpaid community service.  Berlusconi died on June 12, 2023.


Jacques Chirac

Nicolas Sarkozy

* Two former French presidents were convicted of corruption.  In 2011, Jacques Chirac was convicted of corruption and given a two-year suspended prison sentence.  Chirac died in 2019.  In 2021, another former French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, was convicted of corruption and influence peddling in two separate cases.  He received a sentence of three years in prison, two of them suspended and one in prison.  In May of  2023, Sarkozy lost his appeal against the conviction.  His three-year prison sentence was upheld, with two years suspended and the final year under home confinement with an electronic bracelet rather than in prison.


Moshe Katsav

Ehud Olmert

Netanyahu

* In 2011, Moshe Katsav, the former president of Israel, received a seven-year jail sentence for rape and other sexual offences.  Katsav served just over five years of his sentence.  In 2015, former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert was convicted of fraud, breach of trust and tax evasion. The following year, Olmert was sentenced to 27 months in prison.  He served two-thirds of his sentence.  The current Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is on trial for fraud, breach of trust and corruption.  He was indicted in 2019 in cases in which is charged with receiving gifts from wealthy friends and granting regulatory favours for media magnates in return for favourable coverage.


Jacob Zuma
* Former South African president, Jacob Zuma, was the the defendant in an ongoing corruption trial.  Zuma, who was president form 2009 until 2018, when he resigned under pressure  In December 2007, Zuma was chosen African National Congress (ANC)  president.  Later that month, he was recharged with money laundering, racketeering and tax evasion.  Despite many allegations of wrongdoing, which his supporters regarded as politically motivated, Zuma remained popular within his party.  In September of 2008, those charges were dismissed due to a legal technicality.  However, prosecutors vowed  to appeal the ruling, upsetting the ANC.  Weeks before the 2009 South African general election, the corruption charges against Zuma, as well as allegations of political interference, were spotlighted.  Nevertheless, the ANC won the election handily and Zuma became the country's president.

In June of 2021, Zuma was found to be in contempt of the Constitutional Court for refusing to take part in commission hearings.  He was arrested and sentenced to 15 months in jail.  He began serving his sentence in July, but in August underwent surgery for an undisclosed medical issue.  The following  month, he was granted medical parole and was permitted to serve the rest of his sentence from home.



Lee Myung-bak 

Park Geun-hye

* In 2020, former South Korean president Lee Myung-bak was sentenced to 17 years in prison for bribery and embezzlement. In 2022, he was pardoned.  Another former president, Park Geun-hye, the first female to hold the position, was convicted in 2018 of charges related to bribery and coercion.  She received a 15-year prison term, but was pardoned in 2021.  


The conviction and imprisonment of a current or former president is not a novel event outside the United States.  The notion that any president or former president is absolutely immune to criminal prosecution is contrary to the impartiality which Lady Justice must upheld.  No, Donald Trump, you cannot shoot and kill someone on Fifth Avenue with impunity, even if your supporters won't hold it against you.


- Joanne