As for Chris Christie, I wrote a blog in praise of him a few months ago. He’s a good, reliable person. I saw him shake hands with President Obama a few days ago. Both were visibly very concerned for United States citizens whose homes were destroyed by Sandy. As we used to say, they seemed “on the save wavelength,” i.e. the people, shattered people.
Henri Fantin-Latour (14 January 1836 – 25 August 1904) was born in Grenoble (Isère). He studied at l’École de Dessin (from 1850) under Lecoq de Boisbaudran and at l’École des Beaux-Arts, in Paris, beginning in 1854. As did many students registered at l’École des Beaux-Arts, he copied the masters in the Louvre.
Fantin-Latour befriended many artists, some of whom became prominent Impressionists or transitional figures, such as Édouard Manet. For his part, Fantin-Latour chose to paint in a more conservative and crisper manner and worked with Gustave Courbet. But Fantin-Latour also met American-born British artist James MacNeill Whistler who very much admired Fantin-Latour still-lifes and introduced Fantin-Latour to a British public. Fantin-Latour was so successful in Britain that he became better known in England than in France.
Fantin-Latour married Victoria Dubourg, an artist, and spent his summers at her family’s country estate near Orne, Normandy. So, by and large, he lived a very stable life which is reflected in his art. He never reached stardom, but his art has endured and will no doubt continue to endure.
In 1875, aged 68, Fantin-Latour died of lyme disease, a tick-borne disease that was almost impossible to treat before antibiotics became available.
Yesterday’s Blog: Tough Leadership
Yesterday’s blog depicted what I would call “tough leadership.” The October Crisisof 1970 was a major event in Canadian history. Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau implemented the War Measures Act which had never been done in peacetime. His “Just watch me” has remained as famous as his “There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation,” a statement he made at the time the Omnibus Bill (Bill C-150) or the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1968-69, designed when Pierre Trudeau was Minister of Justice and the Right Honourable Lester B. Pearson (23 April 1897 – 27 December 1972), Canada’s Prime Minister and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate for his role in defusing the Suez Crisis.
These words are uttered by the philosopher or person who uses reason only. He always sleeps peacefully. He is not endowed with the pity/compassion that moderates self-love (l’amour-propre or l’amour de soi-même) in the savage. (Part One, more than two paragraphs after Note 15)
The Romney-Ryan Team
Allow me to place in the proper mouths, the mouths of extremists in the Republican Party, Rousseau’s “Perish if you wish; I am safe.” I may be wrong, but I suspect that the reason these Republicans can speak like choir-boys on the subject of planned parenthood is that they are sufficiently wealthy to fly to countries where birth-control is available and inexpensive as well as to countries where abortions are not criminalized. They can also pay a doctor the “right” fee. In other words, I suspect a substantial degree of hypocrisy: “Perish if you wish: I am safe.” (On rape, see The Washington Post). On the “Gag Rule,” see The Huffington Post).
In fact, hypocrisy may not be the only sin. We are also looking at inequality and at an unjust society. The rich and wealthy will have a freedom that will be denied the poor. As I have indicated in earlier blogs, the rich and the wealthy do not need health-insurance. They can pay for medical treatment and medication. Well, let’s raise that curtain again: the wealthy, wealthy women, need not give up controlling how many children they will have and when these children will be born. This is again something they can buy. In fact, they can also afford several children and help galore, in which they are very fortunate (no pun intended). They are therefore saying: “Perish if you wish; I am safe.”
So it could be that the debate is not about morality
In other words, if Republicans are against planned parenthood and abortion, I am inclined to think it has little to do with morality. I hope I’m wrong, but the debate about abortions seems such a convenient front. Extremists among Republicans will attract the votes of persons who are against abortion and who think naively that because a party does not criminalize abortion, members of that party are for abortion. This is not the case and there are very real drawbacks to criminalizing abortion. For instance, what are doctors to do when an abortion is an imperative?
Tying up the hands of doctors: unfit women
An abortion may indeed be an imperative. What does a doctor do—assuming a woman can afford to see a doctor—if a woman’s life is at risk, if the fetus is abnormal, if she is taking medication that can harm the child, if she is taking drugs or is an alcoholic, if the pregnant patient is much too young to bear a child or if a women cannot otherwise face a pregnancy, etc. Under privatized health-insurance, it may again be privatized, not only will these unfit women be told that they are suffering from a pre-existing condition, but if an unfit woman consents to an abortion and a doctor intervenes, he or she, i.e. the doctor, and the unfit patient will face criminal charges. “Perish if you wish; I am safe.”
A few years ago, I met a woman who had not slept since giving birth. Her son was three years old but she could not look after him. Nor could she work. Fortunately, she lived in Canada so all that could be done, medically-speaking, was done at no cost to her. However, I doubt that a doctor would have allowed a second pregnancy. She was sick: severe postpartum depression. Doctors need a little leeway.
Would that matters had been as they are now when my mother was having her babies. My poor mother carried a child every year knowing that the child would probably die in infancy of a congenital blood disease. Her first children survived. But she buried all the others. I will spare you the number. To make matters worse, in those days, a good Catholic woman could not say “no” to her husband. Sexual intercourse was a duty (un devoir). It was called: le devoir conjugal. I fail to see what was good in having babies that would die. This was cruelty. And I also fail to see what was good in our attending a funeral or two every year.
Saying “no” as the only recourse
If Mr Romney is elected to the office of President of the United States, the only recourse women who are poor and “women of humble means” will have is the word, “no” both outside and inside marriage. There are husbands, such as Charles de Gaulle (rumor has it), who will not ask their spouse to engage in sexual intercourse if she is not prepared to carry a child and give birth to this child.
That is rather noble, but it isn’t very realistic in the case of most couples. After a fine meal and, perhaps, one or two glasses of wine, hormones tend to take over, crippling intellectual resolve, particularly in younger people. In fact, even we, older folks, snuggle up from time to time and just may be induced to “play doctor.”
The above poster: reality
The above poster goes a long way into describing the situation poor and raped women will face (there is no “legitimate rape”) if planned parenthood is criminalized. Before abortion was decriminalized in Canada, women, particularly unmarried women, who could not face a pregnancy, sometimes used tools that killed (metallic coat hangers) or went to charlatans and, in many cases, they committed suicide. In the Quebec of my childhood, to avoid bringing shame on their family, young girls who got pregnant were sent to special institutions and when the baby was born, it was taken from them. The babies were raised in an orphanage or adopted. It would appear that some were sold.
So allow me to say that when it comes to a woman’s right to choose when and if she will have a child and her right to undergo an abortion when an abortion is necessary, I take matters very seriously. It would be my view that a woman
should not be forced into a pregnancy, especially if she has been raped (there are no “legitimate rape”), including rape within marriage;
that she should act responsibly when she engages in sexual intercourse, as should her husband or partner. Pregnancies can usually be avoided. And I would like to point out
that there are cases when a doctor, with the consent of his or her patient, should be allowed to end a pregnancy.
On Day One: shackling women
However, if Republicans get into office, “On Day One,” not only will Mitt Romney call the Chinese “currency manipulators” and end the health-care reforms introduced by President Obama, but he will also shackle women who are poor and women of “humble means.” Poor women and women of “humble means” will not have access to what is available to the rich.
So scratch out most of the paragraph preceding the “On Day One,” because the conclusion is that “On Day One” women who are poor and women of humble means will be denied what will be accessible to the rich. It will again be all about money and appearing virtuous when virtue is not part of the equation, but a convenient means to an end: being elected People who are against abortions will be fooled into thinking that are voting for the morally superior party.
Such is not the case. If members of that party are elected they will impose on the poor repressive measures that seem virtuous, yet they will be hiding millions and billions, if not more, and demand tax cuts thus acting criminally. So how can these persons talk about morality? So wake up; it’s a smokescreen. What they are saying is “Perish if you wish; I am safe.”
Make sure everyone knows that if the President does not criminalize abortions, it does not mean that he is for abortion.
Canadians were lucky. In 1967, future Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau got the Omnibus Bill passed. One can access the details, including videos by clicking on Omnibus Bill, or CBC Digital Archives.
As you know, I watch the US. Canadians share a long border with the United States and our economies are too closely linked for me not to put in a word or two regarding the forthcoming presidential election.
What I have been hearing from members of the Republican party is alarming as it could further divide the country into two groups: the rich and the poor. Allow me, therefore to take you back to the presidency of Lyndon Baines Johnson (August 27, 1908 – January 22, 1973), in office from 1963 to 1969.
Top left: The Tennessee Valley Authority, part of the New Deal, being signed into law in 1933. Top right: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was responsible for initiatives and programs collectively known as the New Deal. Bottom: A public mural from one of the artists employed by the New Deal.
Matters have improved. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed segregation and the Voting Rights Act 1965 made it clear that African-Americans could vote. However, legislation does not necessarily reach the subconscious. Discrimination has survived, particularly among members of the Republican Party.
For instance, voter suppression was/is discrimination against people of colour. It is a recent event, carried out by members of the Republican party. I hope it is over, but given so objectionable a breach of both the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, one has reason to suspect that, come November 4th, we could be witnesses to vigorous efforts to keep people of colour away from the voting polls. Moreover, two attendees at the Republican Convention in Tampa, a recent event, threw nuts at a colored CNN camerawoman saying “This is how we feed the animals.” (The Huffington Post)
Where health care is concerned, as you already know, the privatization scenario unfolds as follows. Individuals pay an enormous amount of money to a private company whose goal is profit, big profit, not to mention the huge bonus the CEO takes home at Christmas.
Now, as the narrative continues, having paid his or her premiums, an insured individual is suddenly diagnosed with cancer and told that he or she is suffering from a pre-existing condition. Cancer is not a pre-existing condition. He or she is therefore denied benefits. That individual will either lose everything in order to pay astronomical medical bills or he or she will simply die in pain.
The same applies to pharmaceutical companies. They are businesses and therefore want to make a profit, a bigprofit. Although one is told that the company has to pay for the research that led to the development of the medication one has to take, such as insulin for the diabetics, just how long does it take to pay for such research: thirty years?
It is altogether objectionable to deny a person the medication he or she needs. For example, people suffering from diabetes need their insulin. In fact, even if a person suffers from mere migraines, these can be the source of excruciating and ultimately debilitating pain. Patients should therefore be provided with the necessary medication at a reasonable cost.
Privatization works for the rich only. They need not fear they will be denied benefits because their illness is considered a pre-existing condition. In fact, they do not even need health insurance as they can afford the appropriate treatment and medication.
Everyone should pay their fair share of taxes, including and especially the rich. Taxes provide the money the government requires to provide social programs, defend the nation, etc. Allow me to quote jurist Oliver Wendel Holmes, Jr. (8 March 1841 – 6 March, 1935) whom I have quoted elsewhere: “Taxes are what we pay for civilized society” in Compañia General de Tabacos de Flipinas vs. Collector of Internal Revenue, 275 U.S. 87, 100 (1927). (Wikipedia)
Lyndon Baines Johnson’s “Great Society” may not be my best example of nationhood, but it is nationhood. It may have been better for me to look further back to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “New Deal,” enacted between 1933 and 1936. But the New Deal was a beginning. “Historians argue that Johnson’s presidency marked the peak of modern liberalism in the United States after the New Deal era.” (LBJ, Wikipedia).
However, there can be no doubt that electing into the office of President of the United States a person who does not think in terms of such a concept as the “Great Society” is extremely dangerous. Seeking the presidency so the rich get tax cuts does not translate into a sense of nationhood.
This is where I stop. Americans are the voters. But I have written the few words I wanted to write and have expressed what I believe to be the truth.
Mitt Romney may be an anti-birth-controlextremist and an anti-pro-choice extremist and would force the victim of a rape to carry the child of her rapist and give birth to his child, but US voters have a choice. They need not elect into the office of President of the United States of America a person who would deny an abortion to a woman who got pregnant as a result of rape. Exercise the privilege democracy affords everyone: the right to vote for the candidate who, without advocating abortion, will at least make it available promptly when circumstances call for this kind of intervention.
Get organized, donate if you can, make sure your neighbour gets to the election polls, and re-elect President Obama. If President Obama is not re-elected, the world will stand in complete disbelief as it will no longer be dealing with a person who respects all human beings, whatever their ethnicity, and promotes peace. The world remembers that the former President brought the US and its partners to the brink of bankruptcy. And these same Republicans would now make women carry the child of a rapist.
Sandra Fluke, I have received your email and fully agree with you that a woman whose pregnancy was caused by rape should not be forced to carry her rapist‘s child and give birth to that child. I therefore oppose the above-mentioned extremist discourse which are:
And I oppose these extremist positions because what Republicans are proposing violates the dignity of a human being and because raped and pregnant woman are likely to commit suicide. For hundreds of years, women have used clothes hangers and other contraptions to free their body from a cruel form of intrusion and have died. For a very long time, women have also sought the services of backstreet abortionists who have caused their death.
Moreover, as strange as this may seem, the insensitive and intolerant legislation Republicans are contemplating regarding women may reveal a thwarted view of human sexuality. I believe that such individuals as Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan look upon sexual intercourse as dirty. Why else would they be anti-birth-control extremists and anti-pro-choice extremists. The problem is, however, that women pay the price.
Again, as strange as this may seem, morality the Republican way appears to begin and end with denying women access to birth-control or to an abortion, if an abortion is necessary. We cannot limit morality to this one criterion.
But the citizens of the United States have a choice. They can choose to defeat the Republicans come 6 November 2012. They can say “no.”
Why is Rush Hudson Limbaugh III entering “the bedrooms of the nation” (Pierre Trudeau) [ii] and using foul language to vilify a young woman on the air? Obviously, Mr Limbaugh, should be returned to a kindergarten in order to receive an appropriate education. And why should President Obama be required to phone a young woman to reassure her on behalf of the nation?
With all due respect, Mr Limbaugh should by now know the difference between plain human decency and a lack thereof.
Well, I also feel a great deal of sympathy for the young woman Mr Limbaugh attacked publicly, because it must have been a crushing experience to be so treated. Mr Limbaugh called Miss Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute.” Had I been in President Obama’s place, I would also have phoned Miss Fluke. A State apology was in order.
Moreover, were I a prominent member of the Republican Party, I would remove you from whatever role you have given yourself within the party. You have defamed yourself. In fact, I would also have you permanently taken off the air. Let’s have a little decorum. Why should the children of America be exposed to inappropriate behaviour and foul language?
Yes, the children. What will become of the children of the United States if we allow you and people like you to be seen and heard? They need good examples, examples of persons who belong in elegant living-rooms and dining-rooms, whether rich or poor and whatever their race.
The World is Watching
I hope you know that the whole world is watching. At the moment, the US has a good name abroad because President Obama’s administration is made up of people who are capable of governing a country that was drowning when Obama was elected into office.
Given that you have stated Miss Fluke should put “an aspirin between her knees” to avoid an unwanted pregnancy, I would suggest you do the same and that, in your kind of United States, neither men nor women should seek sexual intimacy unless they want a baby. You see Mr Limbaugh, men make women pregnant. So, let us have a new form of Prohibition: abstinence for all unless a couple wants a child.
Mr Limbaugh, by your own standards, you can never again approach a woman who is not prepared to carry your child, give birth to your child and raise your child. If you have a wife, you cannot even approach her unless she wants to get pregnant. If you force yourself on her, you could and should be charged with rape.
So my suggestion is that all men and women now keep their legs crossed. If abstinence is the only way a woman can earn respect and avoid an unwanted pregnancy, abstinence it will be and it will be for all, as in Aristophanes‘s Lysistrata (411 BC). The play is online.
To the right of the screen there is a picture of Aristophanes “as imagined by a nineteenth-century illustrator. It may be inferred from jests in the plays […] that the real Aristophanes was prematurely bald.”[iii]