They make house calls…

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Flowers and Fruit, 1899 - Louis Valtat
Flowers and Fruit par Louis Valtat, 1899 (Wikiart.org)

I apologize for not posting more frequently. First, someone is reading my posts as I write them. He or she may have the best intentions. Still, I have always worked alone. Although I have read and continue to read books and articles on Molière and insert quotations in learned articles, I usually present a significantly personal analysis of Molière.

It seems, however, that I may henceforth publish shorter posts. Last Wednesday, I tried to do some online banking. However, the company has created a new and safer version of its online tools. I followed the instructions, and a message appeared confirming that all was well. However, I could not log in.

So I phoned the company and waited for a few minutes until someone was available, but I started to cry when a young man answered. Technologies are a genuine obstacle, and technical problems may trigger a vulnerability. At any rate, within a few minutes, two large policemen were inside my apartment. I put on my mask, and we spoke.

I mentioned that my cat had died on 29 November 2019 and that it would soon be a year since he died. Moreover, I had been inside my apartment since March, avoiding the coronavirus. As well, in the space of three years, I had failed to settle in my apartment. Finally, Sherbrooke is now a red zone. One cannot call a carpenter, until a degree of safety has been reached. Who would help during a pandemic?

One of the policemen suggested I adopt a cat, and one offered to remove a heavy box from the hallway. They were good persons. I thanked them because I felt much better. It had been an accident.

One returns to life as usual, a narrower life because of Covid-19, but life.

However, I reflected that in the days of the coronavirus, if a citizen of Sherbrooke, Quebec, feels distraught, his or her best help could be the police. They are available twenty-four hours a day and they make house calls.

Love to everyone 💕

Afficher l’image source
Anemones and Green Jug by Louis Valtat, ca. 1926 (courtesy Art Resource, NY)


© Micheline Walker
20 November 2020
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Chronicling Covid-19 (7): The Plan

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Testing

I would invite you to reread the article I posted yesterday.

I have not changed my mind. I believe that we have to test people and let the healthy return to the workplace. Self-isolation alone will not keep us safe. Not if we can no longer work and earn a living. There is no overnight miracle, but testing may allow the economy to recover more quickly.

Testing is much easier than discovering a vaccine. As I mentioned yesterday, there is an American group who is working with doctors and scientists and would send the healthy back to a safe workplace. Testing would be needed.

A vaccine will be produced, but it may not be produced in the foreseeable future, luck being a factor. Who will come up with the brilliant idea that will allow a cure and also allow the world to be as it should be. We can now see the magnificent Himalayan range of mountains.

Leaders, doctors and scientists must work together, but expertise must inform decisions made by elected officials. Mr Trump is ready to send people back to work to save the economy. But we cannot allow people who test positive to return to work. They must still self-isolate, or the pandemic will continue.

A Triage: Testing

What I am suggesting is a triage that would separate the healthy from the sick and allow those who test negative to return to work. The sick would be treated, but the healthy would keep the economy alive. We have new tools: Skype, etc. Although humanity has been scourged for millennia, it has survived.

I have a healthy nephew whose employees are healthy, but they are not allowed to work. So why do we not test them? Testing was carried out in Germany quite successfully.

We cannot close the future down. We cannot let massive unemployment follow the pandemic. That is a grim scenario. Scientists would continue to search for a vaccine, but the economy would not crumble. Testing may be difficult to organize, but it has to be organized. There is no other way.

Expertise is what world leaders need. I do not wish to trivialize world leaders, but they need guidance from doctors, scientists and economists, which is leadership in the days of the novel coronavirus.

Streets would still be disinfected as well as the workplace, but we would ensure economic stability and lift the world’s morale. Can we truly justify the self-isolation of my nephew and his healthy employees?

I am not a medical doctor, a scientist, or an economist. I am quite simply civic-minded. If we test and test, we will find those who test negative. I’m scared, because this virus may be airborne. Hence cleaning the workplace. But why isolate people who would test negative and create a new nightmare.

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The Creation
, Die Schöpfung, by Joseph Haydn

Jerome_Adams_2019

Jerome Adams, Surgeon General of the United States.

© Micheline Walker
12 April 2020
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Molière’s “L’Avare:” Doublings

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L’Avare by François Boucher (drawing) and Laurent Cars (engraving) (Photo credit: Pinterest)

Background

  • Plautus (c. 254 – 184 BCE)
  • commedia dell’arte
  • French 17th-century misers: sources
  • Hellenic (ancient Greek) sources
  • French medieval farces and fabliaux
  • translations into English

As indicated in a previous post, Molière‘s L’Avare, The Miser, was first performed on 9 September 1668 at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal. It is a five-act play, in prose, inspired by Roman dramatist Plautus‘ (254 – 148 BCE) Aulularia, the Pot of Gold. As we have seen, it is also rooted in the commedia dell’arte as well as Italian comedies and tales, and in France’s own medieval farces and the largely scatological fabliaux.

However, Molière also drew his material from La Belle Plaideuse (1655), by François le Métel de Boisrobert, which features a father-as-usurer, and Jean Donneau de Visé‘s La Mère coquette (1665), where a father and son are in love with the same woman.[1]

L’Avare is one of Molière’s better-known comedies and it was translated into English by Thomas Shadwell (1772) and Henry Fielding, the author of Tom Jones. However, it was not a huge success in Molière’s own days. It has been speculated that Molière’s audience expected a play written in verse, the nobler alexandrine verse (12 feet or syllables), first used in the twelfth-century Roman d’Alexandre.

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L’Avare (www.gettyimages.fr)

The dramatis personæ is:

Harpagon, father to Cléante, in love with Mariane.
Cléante, Harpagon’s son, lover to Marianne.
Valère, son to Anselme, lover to Élise, and “intendant” to Harpagon
Anselme / Dom Thomas d’Alburcy, father to Valère and Mariane, and 
Master Simon, broker.
Master Jacques, cook and coachman to Harpagon.
La Flèche, valet to Cléante.
Brindavoine, and La Merluche, lackeys to Harpagon.
A Magistrate and his Clerk.
Élise, daughter to Harpagon.
Mariane, daughter to Anselme.
Frosine, an intriguing woman.
Mistress Claude, servant to Harpagon.

The scene is at Paris, in Harpagon’s house.

Act One

We will be focusing on the manner in which the young couples featured in the Miser, L’Avare, manage to overcome the obstacle to their marriage. Short of a miracle, they are condemned to do as their father’s greed dictates. All the elements of L’Avare’s plot are introduced in the first act of the play, which reflects the Græco-Roman origins of comedy and tragedy. As a five-act play, Molière’s L’Avare is a ‘grande comédie,’ not a farce (Molière wrote both), and its plot is the archetypal struggle, also called the agôn, between, on the one hand, the alazṓn of Greek comedy, or the blocking character, and, on the other hand, the eirôn, the young couple and their supporters: valets, maids, zanni. In other words, it is a traditional blondin-berne-barbon plot. The young couples will succeed in marrying.

A Comedy of Manners and A Comedy of Intrigue

  • doublings: two young couples and two fathers
  • Harpagon is the father of Élise and Cléante
  • Anselme is Valère and Mariane’s father, which we do not know until the fifth act (V. v) of the comedy

L’Avare is both a comedy of manners, a form we inherited mostly from Greek dramatist Menander, and a comédie d’intrigue, a comedy where the plot prevails. As the portrayal of a miser, L’Avare is a comedy of manners (see the full text in Wikisource and eBook #6923). Harpagon’s greed constitutes the obstacle to the marriage of Cléante (Harpagon) and Mariane as well as the marriage of Valère and Élise (Harpagon).

Cléante gambles and wins, which allows him to buy elegant clothes and court Mariane, but he does not have sufficient money to marry and must therefore go to a moneylender. Ironically, the moneylender happens to be Harpagon himself who demands no less than the now metaphorical “pound of flesh” (Shylock) as repayment. The moneylender episode—act two, scene two (II. i) [II. 2]—shows to what extent Harpagon’s greed is an obstacle to the marriage of our young couples. The plot advances in that Cléante cannot obtain a loan that might enable his marriage. Another “trick” must be devised. However, plot and manners (greed) are inextricably woven.

Obstacles to Two Marriages

  • “genre” art
  • a family tyrant

The action takes place in Harpagon’s house in Paris and can be described as genre arta depiction of ordinary people engaged in ordinary activities. Will G Moore has remarked that Molière’s characters

“[a]re concerned with everyday life; the stuff of which it was made was by tradition the doings of ordinary people in ordinary surroundings.”[2]

L’Avare is a five-act comedy, but it is written in prose, not verse, and Harpagon, our blocking character, is an enriched bourgeois. Although he does not feed his horse properly, he owns a carriage and he has servants. As depicted by François Boucher, the interior of his house is rather elegant. However, he is extremely greedy and he behaves as though he owned his children. He is a domestic tyrant. In act one, Harpagon states that he has arranged for his children to marry, but has not consulted them. Cléante will marry a “certain widow,” our tyrant has just heard of, and Élise will be “given” to Mr. Anselme, a gentleman who will not request the customary dowry, or “sans dot

Quant à ton frère, je lui destine une certaine veuve dont ce matin on m’est venu parler; et, pour toi, je te donne au seigneur Anselme. (Harpagon to Élise, [I. iv])
[As to your brother, I have thought for him of a certain widow, of whom I heard this morning; and you I shall give to Mr. Anselme. [1. 6] [eBook #6923]

Élise does not know Mr Anselme and refuses to marry him, threatening to commit suicide. As for Harpagon, he plans to marry Mariane, who loves his son (Cléante). For Harpagon, Mr Anselme is a perfect choice because Élise will marry at no cost to the miser: “sans dot.” (I. iv FR) (I. 6 EN) 

Harpagon’s Rigidity

Valère will attempt to save Élise from a marriage to a person other than himself. Valère, Harpagon’s “intendant,” begs Harpagon to free Élise. However, the objections he presents are followed by Harpagon’s “sans dot” (without a dowry). Molière’s blocking characters are inflexible or rigid. This rigidity is the feature Henri Bergson (18 October 1859 – 4 January 1941) attached to the comical or comedic in his Laughter. Valère’s objections having been rebuked by a litany of “sans dot,” he is literally speechless. He simply repeats what the Harpagon, the miser, has told him:

Lorsqu’on s’offre de prendre une fille sans dot, on ne doit point regarder plus avant. Tout est renfermé là-dedans, et sans dot tient lieu de beauté, de jeunesse, de naissance, d’honneur, de sagesse, et de probité. (Valère à Harpagon, I. v)
[When a man offers to marry a girl without a dowry, we ought to look no farther. Everything is comprised in that, and “without dowry” compensates for want of beauty, youth, birth, honour, wisdom, and probity.] (I. 10[eBook #6923]

But there is some hope. As the story goes, Valère’s father, Dom Thomas d’Alburcy, is believed to have drowned when he and his family (his wife, Valère and Mariane) were fleeing Naples. It appears, however, that Dom Thomas has survived and that he is a man of means. Valère was looking for him when he met Élise. At her request, he decided to stay near her and made himself Harpagon’s “intendant,” but someone else is looking for Valère’s father.

Mais enfin, si je puis, comme je l’espère, retrouver mes parents, nous n’aurons pas beaucoup de peine à nous le rendre favorable. J’en attends des nouvelles avec impatience, et j’en irai chercher moi-même, si elles tardent à venir. (I. i)
[However, if I can find my parents, as I fully hope I shall, they will soon be favourable to us. I am expecting news of them with great impatience; but if none comes I will go in search of them myself.] [I.1]

The curtain will then fall on an anagnorisis  (V. v) [V. 5], a recognition scene. However, when Anselme enters Harpagon’s house and hears that there is opposition to the contract he has come to sign, he tells Harpagon that he will not coerce a woman into a mariage, which frees Élise. He also remarks that he will not “lay claim to a heart which has already bestowed itself,” thereby allowing Mariane, his daughter, to marry Cléante, Harpagon’s son, rather than Harpagon.

Ce n’est pas mon dessein de me faire épouser par force, et de rien prétendre à un cœur qui se serait donné ; mais pour vos intérêts, je suis prêt à les embrasser ainsi que les miens propres. (Anselme to Harpagon [V. v])
[It is not my intention to force anybody to marry me, and to lay claim to a heart which has already bestowed itself; but as far as your interests are concerned, I am ready to espouse them as if they were my own.] (V. 5) [eBook #6923]

Anselme seems a fine gentleman whom the anagnorisis (V. v) [V. 5], the dénouement (see Dramatic Structure, Wikipedia), will identify as Valère and Mariane’s father. A greedy Harpagon has chosen Anselme as the perfect groom because Anselme would marry Élise without requesting the customary dowry, or at no cost to the miser: “sans dot.” (I. v) [I. 5]

7_l_avare_de_pauline_boutal_large

Qu’il faut manger pour vivre, et non pas vivre pour manger. (III. i)

A Comedy of Intrigue

  • a plot or intrigue
  • a chiasmus (a mirror image in a sentence)
  • a quiproquo (a misunderstanding)
  • the doubling of the father figure (mirror image)

Harpagon’s greed is enormous, so students are taught that Molière concentrates on manners rather than the plot. He does, but in L’Avare, although the plot is mainly episodic, manners and plot (intrigue) are inextricably linked. For instance, when Harpagon is having a meal prepared to celebrate the marriage(s) that are to take place that very day, Harpagon hears Valère say that il faut manger pour vivre and not vivre pour manger, that one should eat to live and not live to eat, Harpagon so loves Valère’s witty chiasmus, that he wants these words engraved in gold and placed above his fireplace. (III. i) [III. 1] It is unlikely that Harpagon would use gold to celebrate greed, but it is true to character and comical. A meal often ends comedies and may solemnize a wedding.

Moreover, it is a quiproquo, a comical misunderstanding which, in L’Avare, leads to the anagnorisis. When Harpagon realizes his cassette has disappeared and may have been stolen, he loses his composure and accuses Valère, at the instigation of Maître Jacques. Maître Jacques resents the trust Harpagon has placed in Valère. If he could, Harpagon would have Valère drawn and quartered. Valère has not stolen Harpagon’s cassette, but he and Élise have signed a promise to marry another. Valère has ‘robbed’ Harpagon, but it is Élise he has taken, not a cassette. (V. iii & iv) [V. 3 & 4] [eBook #6923]

Anselme first steps foot on the stage as the battle rages. Given Élise’s promise, he cannot and would not marry her. However, Valère stands accused of a theft and wants to tell his story. The anagnorisis has now begun. To give himself credibility, Valère says that he is the son of Dom Thomas d’Alburcy, which Anselme hesitates to believe because he is a friend of Dom Those and, to his knowledge, all members of Dom Thomas’ family drowned as they were trying to flee Naples, which is not the case.Valère says that he was rescued by Pedro, a servant, and later adopted by the captain of the ship he and Pedro were allowed to board. He can prove his identity. As he speaks, Mariane realizes that Valère is her brother.

For their part, Mariane and her mother were also saved, but their helpers were corsaires, pirates, who enslaved them. Following ten years of enslavement, they were released and they returned to Naples where they could not find Dom Thomas d’Alburcy. They therefore picked up a small inheritance in Genoa and moved to Paris. Mariane’s mother is Valère’s  mother and Dom Thomas d’Alburcy’s wife. As he watches this scene, Dom Thomas learns that no member of his family died leaving Naples. He has just found his children and his wife. He would not stand in the way of Valère and Mariane’s marriage who wish to marry Harpagon’s children. Le sieur Anselme knows le sieur Harpagon.

Le Ciel, mes enfants, ne me redonne point à vous, pour être contraire à vos vœux. Seigneur Harpagon, vous jugez bien que le choix d’une jeune personne tombera sur le fils plutôt que sur le père. Allons, ne vous faites point dire ce qu’il n’est point nécessaire d’entendre, et consentez ainsi que moi à ce double hyménée. (V. v)

[Heaven, my dear children, has not restored you to me that I might oppose your wishes. Mr. Harpagon, you must be aware that the choice of a young girl is more likely to fall upon the son than upon the father. Come, now, do not force people to say to you what is unnecessary, and consent, as I do, to this double marriage.] [V. 5] [eBook #6923]

Doublings

Molière’s L’Avare has an intrigue which resembles the intrigue of most comedies. A young couple wishes to marry, but a blocking character, or alazṓnprevents their marriage. However, Molière has doubled the young couple who are a brother and sister wishing to marry a brother and a sister, so Molière has therefore doubled the father figure which happens during the anagnorisis. As Dom Thomas d’Alburcy, Anselme is the eirôn who allows the young couples to marry.

The anagnorisis, the recognition scene, does not take place unannounced. As mentioned earlier, as he despairs,Valère tells Élise that he hopes to find his father who may still be alive. Act one (I. i) [I. 1] has prepared the reader or spectator:

Mais enfin, si je puis comme je l’espère, retrouver mes parents, nous n’aurons pas beaucoup de peine à nous le rendre favorable. (Valère à Élise, I. i)
[However, if I can find my parents, as I fully hope I shall, they will soon be favourable to us.] [I. 1] [eBook #6923]

der_geizige-1810

Der Geizigue, Harpagon & La Flèche by August Wilhelm Iffland, 1810 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Comments

In L’Avare, Molière does not use a deus ex machina. He simply introduces a second father figure who will allow the young couples to marry and will pay all costs. L’Avare‘s young couple are in fact very resourceful, but one cannot marry without money. Mariane (Dom Thomas) recoils at wishing Harpagon’s death, feelings that are reciprocated by Cléante (Harpagon).

Mon Dieu, Frosine, c’est une étrange affaire, lorsque pour être heureuse, il faut souhaiter ou attendre le trépas de quelqu’un, et la mort ne suit pas tous les projets que nous faisons. (Mariane à Frosine, III. iv)
[Oh, Frosine! What a strange state of things that, in order to be happy, we must look forward to the death of another. Yet death will not fall in with all the projects we make.] [III. 8] [eBook #6923]

Que veux-tu que j’y fasse ? Voilà où les jeunes gens sont réduits par la maudite avarice des pères ; et on s’étonne après cela que les fils souhaitent qu’ils meurent. (II. i)
[What would you have me do? It is to this that young men are reduced by the accursed avarice of their fathers; and people are astonished after that, that sons long for their death.] [II. 1] [eBook #6923]

When his father falls, accidentally, Cléante is worried:

Qu’est-ce, mon père, vous êtes-vous fait mal ? (III. ix)
[What’s the matter, father? Have you hurt yourself?] [III. 14] [eBook #6923]

Critic Northrop Frye states that “[t]he tendency of comedy is to include as many people as possible in its final society: the blocking characters are more often reconciled or converted than simply repudiated.”[3]

As for Harpagon, although he may he has been tyrannical, when Dom Thomas and the young couples leave to bring good news to Dom Thomas’ wife, Harpagon is off to see his dear cassette. His cassette, a casket, his vital to Harpagon.

Et moi, voir ma chère cassette. (I. vi)
[And I to see my dear casket.][1. 6] [eBook #6923]

Conclusion

I have already suggested that Molière uses doubling and fusion of functions.[4] Harpagon is a miser and will remain a miser ready to sacrifice his children. It is a sad reflection on humanity but perhaps less sad than the intervention of a deus ex machina. Dom Thomas d’Alburcy is a  major member of the play’s society, the intervention of a second father figure allows the happy ending the play demands. An anagnorisis may not be as dazzling a dénouement as the intervention of a deus ex machina, the prince in Tartuffe and a godlike figure in Dom Juan, but all’s well that ends well. 

Love to everyone

RELATED ARTICLES

Molière

Commedia dell’arte

Farce

Sources and Resources

The Miser is a Wikisource eBook (Charles Heron Wall, translator)
The Miser is an Internet Archive publication EN
The Miser is a Project Gutenberg publication [eBook #6923] EN
The Miser, Henri Fielding is an eText EN
L’Avare is a toutmoliere.net publication FR
Molière21 is a research group
Le Salon littéraire FR
The Miser is a LibriVox text publication (YouTube)
Laughter, Henri Bergson is an Internet Archive publication EN

____________________
[1] L’Avare in Maurice Rat, Œuvres complètes de Molière (Paris : Éditions Gallimard, coll. La Pléiade, 1956), p. 968.
[2] Will  G. Moore, Molière, a New Criticism (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1968 [1949], pp. 69-70.
[3] Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973 [1957]), p. 165.
[4] Micheline Bourbeau-Walker, « Le Misanthrope, ou la comédie éclatée, » in David Trott & Nicole Boursier, eds. L’Âge du théâtre en France (Edmonton, Alberta: Academic Printing and Publishing, 1988 ), 53 – 63. (papers from a conference held in Toronto, May 14 – 16, 1987) ISBN 0-920980-30-9 — PQ527.A33 1988

The Miser

21313562_1_x

L’Avare by Jean Degrassi, 1955 (liveauctioneers.com)

© Micheline Walker
1 December 2016
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To WordPress: Seniors and the Forgetful Count

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In the Street: Woman with Muff,
par Félix Vallotton, 1892 (WikiArt.org)

—ooo—

I have noticed that one can no longer “show likes.” It may be a temporary problem and a problem intended at progress. If I cannot see who liked at post, I will lose my community of readers.

Moreover, I cannot be interrupted when I write a post because I lose my train of thought. In fact, after writing a post, I am tired and must rest a little. So, I have writing days and reading days. I am growing old.

It may therefore be a good policy to re-enter the “like shows,” if a permanent change is contemplated. It would also be very convenient of all gravatars led to a page of a pose. One would click on the page. It is extremely usually. Remember proverbs: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it (Wikipedia). The French say « Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien » (The best is the ennemy of the good.) This proverb has been anglicized, but it is not necessarily understood.

I have also notice that I lost 1000 readers overnight. The number was 3000 +.

I thank you very much for keeping posting on one’s blog possible.

—ooo—

Love to everyone 💕

Félix Vallotton (1865-1925)
Au Marché (1895), Félix Vallotton (Wikiart.org)

© Micheline Walker
16 October 2021
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Nonsense, said the Editorial Board

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In Richard Westall‘s Sword of Damocles, 1812, the boys of Cicero‘s anecdote have been changed to maidens for a neoclassical patron, Thomas Hope. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I hope this post is my last post on the perennial debt ceiling impasse in American politics. The decision to raise the debt limit cannot be entrusted to feuding, vindictive, and, at times, uninformed politicians. Too much is at stake. One does not jeopardize intentionally the welfare of a nation and the world, which seems to be the case.


Had the debt ceiling not been raised, albeit temporarily, seniors would not have received their Social Security cheque. Veterans, the disabled, the unemployed, and other citizens would not have received the benefits to which they are entitled. Affordable health care would have been suspended. People who have contracted Covid-19’s Delta variant would not have received the care they need, the Military would not have the resources it requires, nor would law-enforcement agencies…

A Game of Chicken

Yet, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas calls the deal a “defeat” for the Republicans. Senators would be playing a “game of chicken.”

“We were on the verge of victory, but we turned that victory into defeat,” Mr. Cruz said in a lengthy speech on the Senate floor, calling it a “strategic mistake by our leadership.” But, he added, “Chuck Schumer won this game of chicken.”
Debt Ceiling Bill Approved by Senate – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

The deal is temporary. It ends on 3 December 2021. By then, the deal may be repeated, which invites a comparison with the Myth of Sisyphus. The deal is not a solution, it is a stopgap and will remain a stopgap until reforms place the decision concerning raising the debt ceiling out of the hands of vindictive politicians. Meanwhile, the financial safety of Americans and the world will seem and be precarious. It will be a predicament inviting a comparison to the anecdote of the Sword of Damocles.

The Sword of Damocles

“Damocles, is a legendary courtier who extravagantly praised the happiness of Dionysius I, ruler of Syracuse. To show him how precarious this happiness was, Dionysius seated him at a table with a sword hung by a single hair over his head. The sword of Damocles is now used to refer to a precarious situation.”

(See Damocles, The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, Oxford University Press, 2000)

“The anecdote apparently figured in the lost history of Sicily by Timaeus of Tauromenium (c. 356–260 BCE). The Roman orator Cicero (c. 106-43 BCE) may have read it in the texts of Greek historian Diodorus Siculus. Cicero used it in his Tusculanae Disputationes, 5. 61, by which means it passed into the European cultural mainstream.”
(See Damocles, Wikipedia)

This comparison is helpful. Although Dionysius I ruled, in his quest for power, he had offended others and made errors. He may even have committed crimes. So, he feared revenge.

Americans and the world are in a precarious position because of frightful partisanship. The United States has never defaulted, but it could. The Republicans are threatening the Democrats and former President Donald Trump is on the campaign trail. Stability is essential. Therefore, as noted above, the matter of the debt ceiling could be handled by economists employed by the United States. Moreover, the public pot of gold could be deeper. Certain reforms are necessary, and the wealthy should pay their fair share of taxes. If one pays his or her taxes, honest governments use the money to provide services. Let me tell a short story.

A Story

Last week, acute chest pain and feeling unwell forced me to go to a Hospital’s Emergency Room. I thought that everyone would be busy looking after Covid patients, but doctors and staff were available. The information they needed was in their computer, including proof of vaccination. I was wheeled to a small room, and after several tests, a doctor and health workers diagnosed pericarditis and medicated me. They phoned my pharmacy so medication would be delivered to my home. In the evening, a young man helped me get into a cab, so I could return home. The next morning, the pharmacy delivered the medication I required, and I have started to feel better.

So, paying my taxes afforded me the care which, in my eyes, only royalty receives. But that care is available to everyone and it is not jeopardized by a “game of chicken.” Shame on Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and perish vindictiveness. This kind of behaviour is dangerously irresponsible. My neighbours to the south deserve the care I am receiving.

3 December 2021

The debt ceiling had to be raised by 18 October 2021 and the deal is enabling Americans to stay afloat until 3 December 2021. The United States has excellent economists and there is an élite among Democrats. Chuck Schumer is an élite Senator. Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, knows Washington inside out.

Moreover, although there may be a degree of dissent among members of a party, when the country needs them, the citizens of the United States usually rally. President Biden has a good team. The debt ceiling issue has been misused by both parties. It must be eliminated. The next dreaded deadline is 3 December 2021.

Conclusion

I hope that reforms will put the decision to raise the debt ceiling into the hands of experts who will be called upon to help an administration manage the economy. It may be best to remain as optimistic as possible. Motivation and solidarity are needed. First, Republicans must agree to raise the debt ceiling, for their own good, which they do not seem to know. Afterwards, one re-examines certain fiscal policies and updates priorities. The planet is endangered. 

What everyone must remember is that Republicans would be the first to suffer from refusing to raise the debt ceiling. They have seated themselves in Damocles’ chair and should know they have. If the ship sinks, they too will sink and they will be blamed. This is nonsense. Therefore, “stop the nonsense.” 

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Love to everyone 💕

A scene from Joseph Keppler‘s Puck showing Damocles, wearing a crown labeled “Industry,” stands beneath a large sword, labeled “Coal Strikes,” which hangs above him by a thread, suggesting that the coal strikes at the beginning of the 20th century were the modern day sword of Damocles (1903) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

© Micheline Walker
14 October 2021
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The Deal: not a “Long-term Solution”

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Persephone supervising Sisyphus in the Underworld, Attic black-figure amphora, c. 530 BC, Staatliche Antikensammlungen
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

—ooo—

“Republicans played a dangerous and risky partisan game, and I am glad that their brinkmanship did not work,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader. “What is needed now is a long-term solution so we don’t go through this risky drama every few months.”

The New York Times, published on 8 October 2021 and updated on 9 October 2021

Debt Ceiling Bill Approved by Senate – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

The Deal: a Stopgap

  • the “risky drama”
  • partisanship
  • 6 January 2021

The “risky drama:” Sisyphus

The above quotation is an excerpt from an address by Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer of New York. What could happen in early December is a repetition of last week’s refusal, on the part of the Republicans, to raise the debt limit. What could also happen in December is a repetition of the tempoary stopgap Republicans agreed to. It is a “risky drama” happening “every few months.” Such an endeavour would be Sisyphean, i.e. both futile and absurb (see Absurdism, Wikipedia). Sisyphus would carry the boulder up the hill, but it would fall downhill over and over again. Therefore, the goal is “a long-term solution” to prevent not only a default, the first ever, which would be calamitous, but also to end the perpetuation of debt ceiling crises.

Partisanship

Partisanship has grown to such an extreme that it has blinded certain Republicans. Die-hard Republicans do not view their refusal to raise the debt ceiling as potentially calimitous. They do not see default as harm inflicted on themselves, the citizens of the United States, and a global economy. It seems that all they see is a target they must eliminate: President Joe Biden and his administration. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has stated that they, the Republicans, nearly “defeated” their opponent, but that their leadership, which would be Senator Mitch McConnell and others, failed them. No, Senator Mitch McConnell did not fail Republicans. Senator Mitch McConnell did what he had to do as a representative of the people of the United States. We may suspect that the temporary deal was reluctant governance, but it was governance. The ship was sinking.

“We were on the verge of victory, but we turned that victory into defeat,” Mr. Cruz said in a lengthy speech on the Senate floor, calling it a “strategic mistake by our leadership.” But, he added, “Chuck Schumer won this game of chicken.”

Debt Ceiling Bill Approved by Senate – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

6 January 2021

The deal was a blessing, but it is Sisyphean. It would threaten a currently fragile American democracy. In Mr Trump’s eyes, his defeat was “fake news.” It was news so fake that he is still planning to take over the Presidency of the United States, an attack on democracy. Mr Trump has denied that he incited rowdy supporters to assault the Capitol, but he did invite rowdy supporters to walk down “Pennsylvania Avenue,” which seems Unamerican. Moreover, he “savaged” Senator Mitch McConnell warning that the stopgap was a “terrible deal.”

“Making matters trickier for Republicans, former President Donald J. Trump chimed in on Wednesday to savage Mr. McConnell for “folding to the Democrats,” suggesting that Republicans should instead force a showdown on the debt limit, which economists, business leaders and government officials have said would be disastrous. Less than an hour before a scheduled vote, Mr. Trump again urged Republicans not to vote for ‘this terrible deal.’”

Debt Ceiling Bill Approved by Senate – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

Pennsylvania Avenue
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday shared a letter addressed to President Joe Biden that recalled three times the Democrat objected to GOP-driven debt ceiling increases during his time in the U.S. Senate. Above, McConnell walks from the U.S. Senate chamber to his office at the U.S. Capitol on September 30, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (MSN News)

—ooo—

The Debt Ceiling Crisis of 2006

As Senator, Joe Biden Opposed GOP Debt Ceiling Votes and Mitch McConnell Hasn’t Forgotten (msn.com)

  • the management of the American economy
  • a fiscal impediment
  • flaws in the system

In 2006, the Republicans, Senator Mitch McConnell was No. 2 in George W. Bush‘s administration. The Republicans lacked the two votes that would enable a rise in the debt ceiling. So the United States was engaged in the Iraq War (2003-2011). Future President Obama and senator Joe Biden opposed a rise and have since faced criticism for doing so. If a country cannot pay its debt, one suspects a degree of carelessness. Americans, however, are confronted with a fiscal problem arguably rooted in the Confederates‘ defeat in the American Civil War (1861-1865). President Abraham Lincoln emancipated the slaves (Proclamation 95) and the North (the Union) won the Civil War, not the Confederates. There was a time when slavery was acceptable, but now, the rich often look for tax havens and they oppose social programmes. Therefore, the national pot of gold is not as replete as it could be. Would that the perennial debt ceiling crises always reflected a bad year but, to a certain extent, they also reflect fiscal impediments and flaws in the system.

As Senator, Joe Biden Opposed GOP Debt Ceiling Votes and Mitch McConnell Hasn’t Forgotten (msn.com)

The Debt Ceiling Crisis in 2021

But the year 2021 was a bad year. Twenty years after the United States entered Iraq, the Taliban took over the government of Afghanistan, which led to the rapid and costly evacuation of Afghanistan. Covid-19 and the evacuation of Afghanistan proved extremely costly. So will the debt ceiling crisis: self-inflicted harm.

Finance Executives Say Risk of Default Is Already Damaging the Economy – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

Conclusion

I will close by saying that, in the year 2021, there were several assaults on democracy. Last week debtceiling crisis was the epitome of futility and absurdism, but it may not happen again. “What is needed now is a long-term solution…” (Chuck Schumer)

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Love to everyone 💕

Arnold Shoenberg: Die Eisener Brigade
File:Lady Liberty under a blue sky (cropped).jpg
The Statue of Liberty, NY

© Micheline Walker
11 October 2021
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The Debt Ceiling Mythified: Sisyphus

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Persephone supervising Sisyphus in the Underworld, Attic black-figure amphora, c. 530 BCE, Staatliche Antikensammlungen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

—ooo—

U.S. default this fall would cost 6 million jobs, wipe out $15 trillion in wealth, study says.
(30 September 2021, The Washington Post)

After last Thursday’s vote, a refusal to raise the American debt limit, I wondered to what extent the Republicans could be considered a legitimate political party. In other words, I wondered how much the Republicans (=½) serving the government (=1) could differ from the Democrats when the goal is to pay a government’s debt? Members of a political party represent the people (=1) whose welfare it normally seeks. So, can they jeopardize the economy (=1) of the country (=1) they represent?

Voters do not give their representatives (=½) the right nor license to harm their government (=1). Representatives discuss an issue, such as their joint economy, which is an essential process in a healthy democracy. However, although the government of the United States is bi-cameral (=½ + ½), Republicans and Democrats, its two houses, are the two sides (=½ + ½) of the same medal (=1) and, by extension, the two sides (=½ + ½) of their nation’s economy (=1). There is only one medal, the government (=1), and one shared economy (=1).

Therefore, although the government is a forum, a place where a discussion occurs, it seems to me that it cannot be an arena. When all is said and done, representatives of the people usually reach a consensus or make a decision following a vote. The majority wins. The government may otherwise be rather lame or seem lame. Remember the myth of Sisyphus.

The Myth of Sisyphus

“He [Sisyphus] was punished for cheating death twice by being forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill only for it to roll down every time it neared the top, repeating this action for eternity.” 
(See Sisyphus, Wikipedia.)

The figure of Sisyphus was used by Albert Camus in Le Mythe de Sisyphe to represent absurdism. I have mentioned Sisyphus in at least one previous post to portray futility. It is in this regard that the metaphor remains useful, but Sisyphus’ fate is also absurb. Given that the Republicans are one side of the same medal, they must agree to raise the debt ceiling or face an economic debacle. Another stopgap could lower the United States’ credit rating and inflation may follow. In other words, a second stopgap could lower the purchasing power of the poorer half of the middle-class and the poor in the United States (=1). Moreover, the credit rating of the United States may be lowered, unless flexibility can be attained otherwise. In 2011, as a result of turmoil, the United States losts its AAA credit rating.

United States federal government credit-rating downgrades – Wikipedia

Current US Inflation Rate August 2021 (thebalance.com)

Last week’s failure [on the part of the United States (+1)] to raise a debt ceiling it must raise was an exercise in futility. The boulder may stumble down to the bottom of the hill only to be pushed to the top once again. All years are not equal. So, the United States must give its economy a degree of flexibility, which raising the debt limit currently provides. The United States is grappling with a deadly and financially ruinous pandemic. More than 700,000 Americans have died and some have little if any income. Moreover, in the second half of August 2021, the United States’ government had to pull its troops and its supporters out of Afghanistan after the unexpected takeover of Afghanistan by the Talibans, a fundamentalist group. The war had lasted twenty years, a Sisyphian scenario.

Americans pay their taxes. It has been reported that avoidance of taxes is frequent among the very rich, but most middle-class Americans pay their taxes in full. So one wonders whether Republicans are honest representatives of the citizens of the United States. They threaten the economy of a nation.

I am not an economist, but it would be my opinion that the Republicans had nothing to gain by postponing raising the debt ceiling. They cannot laugh for very long. Responsible representatives of a nation are not expected to misuse a citizen’s tax dollar by threatening their constituents at the best of times. Republicans did so at the worst of times. Obstructionism has seldom been so flagrant and so wrong.

By and large, the victims of Covid-19, in both Canada and the United States, have not been not been vaccinated. This disaster must be addressed by the government (=1).

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—ooo—

Love to everyone 💕

Sisyphus as a symbol for continuing a senseless war. Johan Vogel: Meditationes emblematicae de restaurata pace Germaniae, 1649. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Sisyphus (1548–49) by TitianPrado MuseumMadridSpain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

© Micheline Walker
6 October 2021
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A Government Shutdown has been averted, but the Debt Ceiling has not been raised

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© Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer walks to the Senate floor following Senate passage of a stopgap funding bill to prevent a government shutdown in the U.S. Capitol Washington, D.C., Sept. 30, 2021.
© Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell walks into the U.S. Capitol ahead of a vote on a continuing budget resolution in Washington, D.C., Sept. 30, 2021.

—ooo—

Opinion by Jennifer Rubin (The Washington Post)

“We are supposed to avoid questioning our political opponents’ motives. We are supposed to credit them with loving the United States as much as we do. We are supposed to assume they are patriotic and rational. But what if a high percentage of Republicans care more about destroying a Democratic president than avoiding a debt debacle? What if they care more about conjuring up fear of “tyranny” than protecting the lives of children? What if they care more about returning their cult leader to power than they do preserving the sanctity of elections?”

The above is an excerpt from an article written by journalist Jennifer Rubin and published in the Washington Post on 29 September 2021.

A Funding Stopgap

The Republicans have agreed to fund the government until December.

“The funding stopgap sustains federal agencies’ existing spending until December 3, at which point Congress must adopt another short-term fix, called a continuing resolution, or pass a dozen appropriations bills that fund federal agencies through the 2022 fiscal year.”(The Washington Post)

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stated that lawmakers should abolish legislation that constitutes a “potential threat of a U.S. default.”

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Thursday said lawmakers should abolish the legal limit on how much treasury can borrow to meet the federal government’s payment obligations, pushing lawmakers to eliminate the potential threat of a U.S. default.” (The Washington Post)

U.S. default this fall would cost 6 million jobs, wipe out $15 trillion in wealth, study says. (Washington Post)

Lawmakers should indeed eliminate legislation that can be used to jeopardize the economy of the United States and divide an administration, Republican or Democrat. The Republican Party’s opposal to a rise in the debt ceiling allows a profound erosion of a President’s ability to protect the people of the United States. The campaign is over. Joe Biden is the duly-elected President of the United States, but the Republicans are tying his hands.

The United States cannot default on its debt. So, yesterday’s events seem a game.

Republicans oppose debt limit hike after supporting increases under Trump (washingtonpost.com)←video

What is the debt ceiling and why is Congress arguing over it again? (washingtonpost.com)←video

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© Micheline Walker
1 October 2021
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Politicking the Welfare of a Nation

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The Capitol
© J. Scott Applewhite/AP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell returns to the Senate chamber for a vote after attending a bipartisan barbecue luncheon, at the Capitol, Sept. 23, 2021.
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen testifies before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services about the FY22 Treasury budget request on Capitol Hill, in Washington, DC, U.S., June 23, 2021. Shawn Thew/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo (Pool/Reuters)

—ooo—


Republicans in Congress are opposing a rise in the debt ceiling, which they cannot do if they care for the citizens of the United States. It has been a terrible year. The Pandemic is costing a fortune; storms have bedevilled the United States and, after the Taliban takeover, the United States chose to leave Afghanistan. The debt has grown.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/09/23/government-shutdown/

Americans do not seem too frightened. In my opinion, they are used to the government rescuing itself. Based on experience, they perhaps feel that Democrats and Republicans will raise the debt ceiling. What if they don’t? They would be acting against their best interest, but it appears that polictiking brings immense pleasure. So, they will do it at the expense of Americans, and at their own expense. Their behaviour ressembles that of anti-vaxxers. Anti-vaxxers are, albeit unknowingly, in the process of destroying themselves.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a Tuesday letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that if the debt ceiling is not raised, “it is uncertain whether we could continue to meet all the nation’s commitments after that date.” (The New York Times, 28 September 2021.)

In the sorry days of Covid-19, glitches are possible. It seems that Republicans want to make United States President Joe Biden look as though he is destroying the United States. Everything he does is criticized. All Presidents make mistakes. They are human beings. If they make mistakes, good presidents apologize and go on to rectify matters, if that is possible.

But not raising the debt ceiling would be a big and largely “intentional” mistake that could affect an entire generation or two and spread abroad. Among Republicans, many have not recovered from the United States’ Civil War. The North won the Civil War (12 April 1861 – 9 May 1865), depriving the South (the Confederacy) of free labour, its slaves. But slavery had to be abolished. Republicans know this. The Civil War, however, happened a relatively short time ago and the past lingers in the mind of those who lost. Plantation owners were royalty. However, although the Civil War divided Americans, there is more to the United States’ mindset than the Civil War. Politicking is a source of pleasure, but the pleasure Republicans seek is greater power, and greater power alone. If they do not allow the government of the United States to raise its debt ceiling, there will ensue a financial debacle that will spare no one, which is nonsensical.

Politicking

In the days of Covid-19, one can expect a death. As well, climate changes are leading to major storms. Hurricanes, floods, and other calamities have plagued the United States. But it is clear that a game is being played aimed to make United States President Joe Biden look as though he is at fault in every instance. All Presidents make mistakes, some more consequential than others. They are human beings. If good presidents make mistakes, they apologize and go on to correct matters, if that is possible. But Joe Biden is not the source of all evil. Republicans use him as scapegoat, revealing a wish to replace him. That is politicking and an offence to the nation.

Great Days

Americans should remember that on 6 June 1944, they landed on the beaches and cliffs of Normandy to liberate Europe. They then marched North and ended the War and thus the persecution of millions of Jews and other “undesirable” populations. Canadians were part of that operation.

Remembering “great days” is inspirational. Republicans have a memory. They and all Americans are proud of Roosevelt‘s gift to an occupied Europe. After the war, Americans also set about rebuilding Europe. Today, the world is being tested by a catastrophic pandemic, climate changes, natural disasters, and other catastrophes. Better years will come, if we promote them. Americans must help themselves. They can and they will.

Love to everyone 💕
Congress must raise the debt ceiling.

Samuel Barber‘s Agnus Dei
web3-st-raphael-the-archangel-suffering-tobias-god-heals-remedy-of-god-pd
The Archangel Raphael (Photo credit: Aleteia)

© Micheline Walker
28 September 2021
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Mostly Covid-19: the Sleep of Reason

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FRANCISCO GOYAEL SUEÑO DE LA RAZÓN PRODUCE MONSTRUOS (THE SLEEP OF REASON PRODUCES MONSTERS), 1799, PRINT N°43 OF THE CAPRICHOS SERIES (MUSEO NACIONAL DEL PRADO, MADRID). (PHOTO CREDIT: WIKIPEDIA)

I have used the above image several times. It is Goya’s 43rd print in his series of 80 prints entitled Los Caprichos. It is a fine illustration of cultism and extremism.

—ooo—

The Debt Ceiling

I will be writing about Covid-19. Cases are numerous and given the number of individuals who are contracting Covid-19, we are looking at the harm anti-vaxxers are causing, including self-harm. Reason has fallen asleep. Let us first look at the need to raise the US debt ceiling.

Some of my readers may not have understood a reference to the debt ceiling. It applies to the economy of the United States. This subject is both difficult and easy to understand. Superficially, it goes as follows. If the United States does not raise its debt ceiling, it is proving that it hasn’t enough money to pay its debts. If it does not raise the debt ceiling, it can no longer borrow money and it loses the confidence of investors, the stock market. If investors do not invest, and the United States cannot borrow money, a recession, if not a “crash,” is unavoidable. The pandemic has been very costly, which means that the debt is high, and that the debt ceiling must be raised. A nation cannot put aside its economy. The following article contains a little drawing that may be helpful.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/09/22/debt-ceiling-explained/

At this point, the Republicans (Mr Trump’s party) are suggesting that they may not allow the Biden administration to raise the debt ceiling. It’s a nasty game. If the Republican party prevents the United States from raising its debt ceiling, everyone would be hurt, including the Republicans and our global economy. Therefore, in a comment, I used the expression “to cut your nose off to spite your face,” which means that Republicans would hurt themselves in an attempt to hurt the Democrats. Therefore, sanity and plain common sense dictate a rise in the debt ceiling. One must cultivate a conciliatory spirit.

Covid-19

© Fournis par La Presse Canadienne

—ooo—

Loi 105

Manifestations antivaccins: Québec adopte à toute vapeur le projet de loi 105 (msn.com)

MSN Actualités | Actualité du Québec, actualité de Montréal, MSN Canada

Quebec rapidly passes ban on COVID-19-related protests near schools, hospitals (msn.com

Quebec records 795 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths (msn.com)

Similarly, sanity dictates vaccination. People who are not vaccinated are at risk and these unvaccinated individuals are probably cultists. Tens of thousands will die and the dead will soon be anti-vaccination militants. We are no longer looking at unvaccinated individuals who were neglectful. If they have lost a dear-one in the Pandemic, these persons may be convinced to be vaccinated. Cultists will not. They do not believe in Covid-19 and think the vaccine will poison them. If one tries to persuade them that Covid kills and that the vaccine is “adequate” protection, cultists will dig in their heels. Cultists do not think. They do not use “reason.”

There is plentiful evidence that millions have died globally. Moreover, there is plentiful evidence that following sanitary rules and vaccination provide “adequate” protection. President Biden and Dr Fauci have not died. Nor have the people living in this building. They have followed the rules and most, if not all, have been vaccinated.

So, yesterday, Quebec passed a law prohibiting demonstrations by anti-vaxxers and by Covid related activists near schools or near institutions where persons have not been vaccinated. They must keep 50 meters away. Initially, children did not contract the coronavirus. They are, therefore, the last to be vaccinated, hence Bill 105. If one cannot reason with someone else, a law is passed. Governments protect their endangered population. A person who sues the government for violating his or her freedom will lose. Yet, anti-vaxxers may sue. Under Bill 105, protestors will pay a fine, but they are not facing imprisonment. Not yet.

Covid-19 and its Variants: an alarming number of cases

After hearing that we were required to obtain a vaccine passport and that healthcare workers who were not vaccinated before 15 October 2021 would be replaced, I could see light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, but I now see darkness. Governments know how many have died of Covid-19, and they know that the vaccine is “adequate” protection. So, cultists are like Republicans contemplating not raising the debt ceiling. They may and will die to avoid death. Extremism is very dangerous.

Would that their defiance and plain arrogance did not boil down to anti-social behaviour. Cultists are not mere Doubting Thomases. As inferred above, doubting Thomases will be vaccinated if they lose a wife or a husband. I agree, some medications, including the vaccine, are potentially harmful. But the vaccine is all we have.

Once again, humans are proving that they are their own worst enemy. Not only are the unvaccinated cutting off their nose to spite their face, but they are causing others to contract the coronavirus, thereby making themselves agents of the virus, and worse… They themselves will suffer the death they wished to avoid: their own death.

Cultist | Definition of Cultist by Merriam-Webster

Everything you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Wednesday, Sept. 22 | CBC NewsAlberta doctor under fire for spreading ‘completely false’ COVID-19 claims | CBC News

N.S. top doc says anti-vaxx video claiming girl’s heart stopped after vaccine is false | CBC News

Hospital protests pushing already exhausted staff to the brink, says Vancouver doctor | CBC Radio

Manque d’infirmières : Legault défend sa « petite révolution » (msn.com)

—ooo—

Love to everyone 💕

Gnossienne N°1 Alexandre Tharaud (Erik Satie : Gnossiennes)

© Micheline Walker
24 September 2021
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The Day After …

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with his wife, Sophie Grégoire, and their children in Montreal the day after the election Credit… Christinne Muschi/Reuters

—ooo—

Justin Trudeau remains Canada’s Prime Minister, but the Liberals failed to attain the majority he wished for. According to many Canadians, this was an election we could have done without. It was a brief campaign, but all campaigns are expensive. Moreover, the campaign took place during a pandemic. When I went to cast my ballot, I had to disinfect my hands three times and I was given a new mask. Masks, clean hands, and keeping at a distance from others remain mandatory in Quebec and, I should think, everywhere else in Canada.

The Liberal Party

I have voted for the Liberal Party for a long time. Canada owes Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson its social programs, official bilingualism, the decriminalization of abortion and homosexuality, etc. I do not think this legislation would be repealed under a more conservative government, but I remember… He was charitable.

More attention could have been paid to the fate of our indigenous population, but Marie May Simon is Canada’s Governor General and it was a “snap” election. Other needs must be addressed.

For instance, this citizen has her little dreams. Under Quebec’s “parochial” system, each parish was a small neighborhood, a community. Sherbrooke had a downtown, but going downtown was not essential. My mother took a bus to go downtown. The four surviving children also took a bus to their various lessons: speech, drama, piano, organ… I would appreciate a rebirth of neighborhoods.

Needs …

Times have changed. Cars are a source of noise and pollution, but they have become a necessity. We therefore require inexpensive and efficient public transportation. I still have a driver’s license, so I am officially allowed to drive, but Myalgic Encephalomyelitis damaged my brain. It attacked my memory, which is a more serious problem as one ages. I also have nosebleeds that can turn into a hemorrhage, and my balance is poor. So, my doctor does not want me to drive. I miss my car. I’m always indoors.

Fortunately, the building where I live is located near a neighborhood shopping center, which made buying an apartment at this address a good choice. The apartment does not have many rooms, but it is very spacious and air-conditioned. The loss of one’s car and Covid-19 are more easily managed in a relatively spacious apartment with its own laundry-room. Still, I could not escape depression and will therefore be returning to my friend’s apartment. I will have two homes.

Climate changes: Comfort and Safety

However, given climate changes, fewer cars should be on the road. As well, heatwaves kill and may lead to domestic violence. We therefore require air conditioning. We also require solid walls. If apartments are inside concrete walls and floors and have fireproof doors, they can contain noise and fires. The door to this apartment is not sound- and fire-proof. So, the door will be replaced by a safer door.   

As an amateur “urbanist,” “architect” and “designer.” I also feel the time has come to put various wires underground. We have ice storms that can be paralyzing. Our cities would also look better if wires were buried. The poles could be replaced by trees.

Finally, housing is too expensive and living in a tiny place creates a series of problems. I see lovely little houses on wheels, but they are on wheels and one can look in every direction.

Covid-19: the Delta variant

Children and the vaccinated are contracting Covid’s Delta variant. Vaccinated people are less likely to die, but the Delta variant is deadly. Consequently, as of tomorrow, anti-vaccine demonstrations will be illegal in Quebec, near schools. Demonstrators will pay a fine and some may be jailed. On 20 September 2021, the day we voted, I congratulated leaders in both English and French, but too late to have an influence. Politicians need our support. They must oppose people who do not believe that Covid-19 is real and look upon vaccination as an infringement of their freedom. Children and the vaccinated are contracting Covid’s Delta variant. Vaccinated people are less likely to die, but the Delta variant is deadly. Consequently, as of tomorrow, anti-vaccine demonstrations will be illegal in Quebec, near schools. Demonstrators will pay a fine and some may be jailed. On 20 September 2021, the day we voted, I congratulated leaders in both English and French, but too late to have an influence. Politicians need our support. They must oppose people who do not believe that Covid-19 is real and look upon vaccination as an infringement of their freedom. The province of Alberta has just asked the Federal government for help.

The Debt Ceiling: will Republicans cause a Recession

  • Anti-vaxxers: a Cult
  • Impeach President Biden
  • and now a recession

I read various newspapers, so I know that in some areas of the United States and, I suspect, Canada, opposing vaccination has become a cult. Covid-19 is not a religion, nor is the vaccine. Moreover, there are Covid-19 victims who oppose the vaccine all the way to their grave. Well, they are dying, and it has been their choice. Yet, this is individualism carried to an extreme. No one is free to kill. Killing is a crime.

Covid-19 and other matters, such as the evacuation of Afghanistan, have also been politicized. If Republicans wish to impeach President Joe Biden, they should look at former President Donald Trump’s record. Donald Trump failed to prevent the spread of Covid-19. He thought that Spring would chase it away. The former President also incited Americans to riot. They assaulted the Capitol and people died.

2021 United States Capitol attack – Wikipedia

We are nearing a recession and it appears that Republicans would be at fault. If the debt ceiling is not raised, a recession may follow. A political party is not a cult in search of martyrs. Republicans themselves would suffer. Such is also the fate of anti-vaxxers.

—ooo—

Love to everyone 💕

My post got lost. So I had to rewrite it. I had a copy, but it fell short of the published post.

Europa

© Micheline Walker
22 September 2021
WordPress

Covid-19: the battle is not over but …

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Exposition virtuelle Antoine-Augustin Parmentier (1737-1813)
La vaccine ou L’inoculation à la mode

—ooo—

Today, Canadians vote. So, this is an appropriate time to congratulate Canada’s Premiers and our Prime Minister. They were not afraid when the very worst occurred: a pandemic! They followed the advice of medical experts and quickly initiated public health policies aimed at protecting Canadians.

I am grateful to members of parliament who would not desist. Naysayers and timid Canadians slowed down efforts on the part of elected leaders. However, they and foremost authorities in epidemiology stood together from the very first outbreak.

Many Canadians have their vaccine passport. This tool is like magic.

The battle is not over, but we’re on the go

Le masculin inclut le féminin.

Aujourd’hui, les Canadiens votent. Le moment est donc propice de féliciter les Premiers Ministres de toutes les provinces canadiennes et le Premier Ministre du Canada. Ils n’ont pas eu froid aux yeux quand le pire est survenu: une pandémie ! Ils ont suivi les conseils de médecins-chefs et ils ont vite mis en place des mesures visant à protéger les Canadiens.

Je voudrais donc exprimer ma reconnaissance aux élus qui ont tenu bon. Des récalcitrants et des timides ont parfois ralenti l’effort fourni par nos hommes politiques. Toutefois, ceux-ci ont fait front commun avec les grandes autorités en matière d’épidémiologie dès la première éclosion.

Plusieurs Canadiens détiennent un passeport vaccinal. Cet outil est une petite merveille.

La lutte n’est pas finie, mais c’est parti …

—ooo—

Love to everyone 💕

Rossini‘s William Tell Overture: Finale
The Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra 100th Anniversary Special Concert Myung-Whun Chung

© Micheline Walker
20 Septembre 2021
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The Incredulity of Saint Thomas

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The Incredulity of Saint Thomas by Caravaggio, c. 1602

—ooo—

Doubting Thomas

The Bible, both the Old and the New Testaments, provides unforgettable depictions of human behaviour. In this respect, the Bible is extremely rich.  Wikipedia provides a description of a doubting Thomas, now an archetype:

“A doubting Thomas is a skeptic who refuses to believe without direct personal experience — a reference to the Gospel of John‘s depiction of the Apostle Thomas, who, in John’s account, refused to believe the resurrected Jesus had appeared to the ten other apostles until he could see and feel Jesus’ crucifixion wounds.”

(See Doubting Thomas, Wikipedia)

Since 1st September 2021, the citizens of Quebec must carry proof that they have been vaccinated. However, given variants such as the Delta variant, vaccinated individuals must continue to wear a mask, disinfect their hands, and keep at a distance from others. Unvaccinated persons are shunned and have no way of defending themselves. Employers need not keep employees who are not vaccinated. The government of Quebec had excellent reasons to impose vaccination. On 7 July, 95% of new Covid-19 infections were persons who had not been vaccinated.

https://www.tvanouvelles.ca/2021/07/07/95-des-cas-de-covid-19-netaient-pas-adequatement-vaccines

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The Vaccine Passport

https://www.quebec.ca/sante/problemes-de-sante/a-z/coronavirus-2019/deroulement-vaccination-contre-la-covid-19/passeport-de-vaccination-covid-19

https://www.quebec.ca/en/health/health-issues/a-z/2019-coronavirus

https://www.quebec.ca/en/health/health-issues/a-z/2019-coronavirus/situation-coronavirus-in-quebec/

https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1947082307592?cmp=newsletter_Coronavirus%20Brief_4720_313512

Conclusion

I doubt that persons who do not think Covid-19 is real would accept to go near an infected person. In my opinion, they would be afraid. So many people have contracted the virus and died that an anti-vaxxer may fear infection. Besides, if one fears “big government” and “big pharma,” one is likely to fear compulsory self-isolation. What one says and what one does may be two different things.

In Quebec, Covid-19 was devastating. It has to end. Hence the pass sanitaire. I have read that other provinces will make vaccination mandatory. As things stand, an employer can refuse to keep an unvaccinated employee. The vaccine is proving “adequately” protective.

There is very little room left for a “doubting Thomas.”

A large number of Quebec health workers remain unvaccinated. They must be vaccinated by 15th October. Health workers who are not vaccinated will lose their position.

Pénurie criante d’infirmières: Dubé promet d’annoncer des propositions audacieuses (msn.com)

Christian Dubé, Ministre de la Santé (Québec)

© Micheline Walker
17 September 2021
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