Happy 4th of July to all my American readers and friends. These are not our most okay days: pandemic, inflation and war in Ukraine, but better days are just around the corner.
Much love to everyone 💕
© Micheline Walker
4th July 2022
“I expected this to be an uneventful few weeks,” Sally Yates said, of her role as the acting Attorney General. Instead, she was embroiled in two of the biggest controversies of Trump’s early Presidency. PHOTOGRAPH BY CHIP SOMODEVILLA / GETTY
On 26 January 2017, the acting Attorney General of the United States, Sally Yates, expected an “uneventful few weeks.” President Trump had just been inaugurated and usually Presidents of the United States do not infringe upon the laws of the land. By and large, human beings expect what I will call “normal” circumstances. However, Ms Yates soon informed the President that United States Army Lieutenant-General Michael Flynn “was vulnerable to blackmail by Russia.”
Our Interview with Sally Yates on the Russia Investigation – The New Yorker
“I expected this to be an uneventful few weeks,” Yates said, of her role minding the Justice Department until Jeff Sessions was confirmed by the Senate. Instead, she was embroiled in two of the biggest controversies of Trump’s early Presidency. On January 26th, Yates informed the White House that Michael Flynn, then the national-security adviser, was vulnerable to blackmail by Russia. Four days later, she wrote in a letter to Justice Department lawyers that she was not convinced the travel ban was lawful.
In the photograph below, taken in 2015, Lieutenant-General Michael Flynn is sitting next to Russian President Vladimir Putin. That Russia had interfered with the United States Presidential election, held on 8 November 2016, was common knowledge almost as soon as the votes were counted, but talks began earlier. (See Michael T. Flynn, Wikipedia.)
President Trump failed to take seriously Sally Yates’ findings seriously. In fact, on 27 January 2017, he complicated his relationship with the acting Attorney General by issuing Executive Order 13769, a travel ban affecting seven Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, but not Saudi Arabia, where President Trump just travelled. Executive Order 13769 provoked anger and indignation among Muslims and the more tolerant citizens of the United States, but it was a violation of the American Constitution. As a result, a temporary restraining order saved the day. More consequential, however, was the Russian connection: heads fell, so to speak.
Sally Yates was dismissed on 30 January 2017. Yet, she was the acting Attorney General of the United States. As for Michael T. Flynn’s tenure as national security advisor, it lasted 24 days. Mr Flynn was in office from 20 January 2017 until 13 February 2017 (see Michael T. Flynn, Wikipedia), which takes us to James Comey, the Federal Bureau of Investigation who broke with protocol by reöpening the investigation into Mrs Clinton’s emails on the eve of the November 2016 United States Presidential election and may still have been examining Mrs Clinton’s email when he was fired, on 9 May 2017. It is as though President Donald Trump were dismissing the ‘judges.’
Dismissing the judges? Not quite. Mr Comey was merely investigating possible collusion between Michael Flynn and Russia. At any rate, there was a private dinner at which President Trump asked for James Comey’s “loyalty.” President Trump wanted Mr Comey to “let this go,” ‘this’ being his investigation into Michael T. Flynn and Russia. Not only did Mr Comey continue investigating the Russian connection, but he also kept notes of his conversations with Mr Trump and prepared thoroughly for his meetings with the President.
Given allegations of meddling in the 8 November 2016 United States Presidential election; given also that the President fired Mr Comey on 9 May 2017, why did President Trump meet behind closed doors with Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergei Lavrov, and Russian ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak on 10 May 2017?
The Justice Department has therefore appointed former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, Mr James Comey’s predecessor as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Mr Mueller has been asked to conduct a thorough inquiry into the Russian connection, including possible interference in the 8 November 2016 American Presidential elections. Will President Trump also dismiss former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller? There is a pattern. President Trump dismisses the judges.
For instance, President Trump has given his daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, too important a role. There has not been a significant public outcry, at least not in the United States. She is the first daughter. However, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has used the word “nepotism” with respect to Ivanka’s prominence in President Trump’s administration. Moreover, during President Trump’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia, Jared Kushner negotiated a $110B Saudi arms deal.
So one wonders. Will Mr Mueller be the judge of President Trump, or President Trump, the judge of Mr Mueller? I think Mr Mueller will be the investigator and ‘judge,’ and that no one will manipulate his findings.
It has all been so strange that I must close and return to Reynard the Fox after a long, unavoidable and unintentional interruption. I apologize.
Love to everyone ♥
Bach – “G Minor” (Luo Ni)
© Micheline Walker
22 May 2017
A dear friend, John, tells me Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and his government have studied the matter of exporting crude oil to the United States. It appears advantages outweigh the risks by far. Most of the Keystone Pipeline is in the United States and Canada’s economy is ailing, so Canada is exporting.
« Quelques arpents de neige »
I therefore stand corrected. Prudence is essential, but Canada’s economy dictates measured risks. Voltaire (21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778) called Nouvelle-France a “few acres of snow” (« quelques arpents de neige ») (Candide, Chapter 23). He may have been criticizing the French government. Nouvelle-France had lost its Huguenots, Calvinist Protestants, its merchant class, when Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes, an edict of tolerance towards Protestants.
My Bourbeau ancestors were well-to-do citizens of New France. They were not farmers, but Huguenot businessmen. Huguenots fled to the United States when the Édit de Nantes was revoked, in 1685. They feared persecution and death. Some converted to Roman Catholicism and stayed in New France. They were good businessmen and prospered.
When François-Xavier Garneau (15 June 1809 – 2 or 3 February 1866) wrote his Histoire du Canada, he bemoaned the departure of Huguenots. His book was censored by the Church in Quebec and he had to remove his statement regarding French Huguenots. New France was an expensive venture, but there is wealth beneath our “few acres of snow.”
It may that the Prime Minister and his cabinet took a leap of faith to protect the economy.
Canada is committed to protecting its environment, but I am told Monsieur Trudeau needs to export some of its natural resources or take us the poorhouse. Precautions must be taken, but families should be fed. Poverty is one of the great ills of the world.
In short, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is working for the people and he and his cabinet must protect Canadians. We have taken in a large number of refugees and more may arrive. In fact, a number of Americans are buying real estate in Canada. We may be their refuge. There are no foreigners in Canada, just plain Canadians of every ethnicity and creed.
Environmentalists are concerned and I am one of them. There are oil spills. Recently, on 23 January 2017, a pipeline leaked 50,000 gallons (200,000 liters) of oil on land belonging to the First Nations, Canada’s Amerindians.
Bernie Sanders used his Twitter account to comment on the oil spill:
Pipelines leak occasionally. A small crack may cause a catastrophe. One worries. It could be that pipelines are affected by very cold weather. If such is the case, we need better pipelines.
I once lived in Saskatchewan and loved it. I worked in public relations for a year, but teaching was my profession. I accepted a teaching position at St Francis Xavier University, in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Yet, the accident happened in a place I called home.
My apologies to Prime Minister Trudeau. I hope sincerely that President Trump will respect Canadian policies. They differ from American policies.
I fear President Trump.
Love to everyone ♥
Buffy Sainte-Marie sings Universal Soldier
© Micheline Walker
27 January 2017
I am using this light-hearted “pochoir” to wish my faithful readers a very Happy New Year.
Let us hope 2015 will be a better year. There were sad events in 2014: terrorism, racism… Moreover, on 4 November 2014, money made room in Congress for Republican candidates who may not otherwise have been elected into office. Money should not buy aspiring politicians a seat in Congress or, in the case of Canada, a seat in Parliament.
The date I want to remember is 4 November 2008. On that day, Americans elected to the presidency of the United States an exceptionally gifted and accomplished gentleman who cares for his people and has earned considerable respect for his country wherever he has travelled.
You have become very dear to me so I hope health issues will not prevent me from reading your posts and writing mine in 2015.
A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF YOU.
The Alma Mater Redemptoris is the Marian Antiphon of the season. I have therefore inserted a lovely interpretation of Palestrina’s Alma Mater Redemptoris at the foot of this post. On 2 February 2015, formerly Candlemas but now groundhog day, we will switch to the second of four Marian antiphons, the Ave Regina Cælorum.
My sincere apologies to anyone who found my last post offensive.
My post was not offensive, nor was it subversive. However, this new event invites serious reflection on a number of issues. Among these, the numerous attacks on the President of the United States. These point to behaviour that cannot be considered reasonable and acceptable. There are rules of conduct that preclude harassment.
I hope sincerely President Obama did not abuse the power vested in him. I doubt that he has. He is the Commander-in-Chief of the United States’ military, but he is not belligerent.
My post entitled “Suing President Obama” contained a list of related articles. This list disappeared. My computer is no longer stable. It sometimes erases part of what I have written. I think I need a birthday.
“Suite bergamasque, four-movement suite for piano by French composer Claude Debussy, begun in 1890, when the composer was a student, and revised and published in 1905. Its most readily recognizable segment is the third movement, the ever-popular Clair de lune (“Moonlight”).
The work’s title derives from Bergamo, a city with ancient origins that is located in the foothills of the Italian Alps. It is traditionally considered the home of Harlequin, a standard figure of the commedia dell’arte. The first movement, Prélude, has open and flowing phrases with much use of legato phrases. The second movement, Menuet, and the fourth movement, Passepied, are quick and light-footed, more staccato in mood than the first. The gentle and familiar Clair de lune in its original context provides an elegant contrast to the sprightly second and fourth movements.”
My kindest regards to all of you.
[I] “Suite bergamasque.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2014. Web. 04 Aug. 2014. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1944683/Suite-bergamasque>.Debussy‘s “Clair de lune” (Suite bergamasque) Angela Hewitt Angela Hewitt performs a live concert for the Royal Conservatory of Music at Toronto’s Koerner Hall.
© Micheline Walker
4 November 2014
The fall chapters of Trente Arpents start with he a praise of life on one’s thirty acres. It is a “un chemin paisible et long,” (a lengthy and peaceful road) despite various difficulties: storms, winter.
(And underneath, the soil forever faithful, eternally new and each year maternal.)
[l]à-dessous, toujours, la terre constante, éternellement virginale et chaque année maternelle. (p. 149)
The land has a persistent face: “un visage (a face) persistant,” (p. 149) but as he praises the land’s persistence and fertility, Euchariste is confronted with a series of unfortunate events, some of which he has helped create…
Oguinase becomes a priest, but he does not live in a lovely parish and he works too hard. When Euchariste visits him, he is coughing and weak. He will soon die of tuberculosis. During Oguinase’s last visit home, he tells his sister Lucinda that she should not be sleeveless in the presence of an ordained priest. She feels offended and is not seen again.
Then comes conscription: World War I. Suddenly, these farmers remember pre-Revolutionary France: Christ and the King: “la France du Christ et du Roi.” (p. 158) They remember a somewhat revisionist Rebellion of 1837, called ’37. Would that they had a leader and were their own masters! The past is mythified.
Euchariste had hoped his son Éphrem would settle of his own thirty acres. There is money at the notary to buy “la terre des Picard,” the Picard’s farm, and Euchariste has even thought of a possible bride. There is no room for him on Euchariste’s thirty acres. The land cannot accommodate several sons. Yet Éphrem is not ready to become a farmer.
(It’s true, our land is good, but it isn’t very large.)
C’est vrai que not’ terre elle est bonne, mais elle n’est pas ben grande! (p.163)
Éphrem eventually decides to leave for the United States. His uncle, Alphée Larivière (Walter Rivers), who visited during the summer, has found work for him in Lowell, Massachusetts. Later, Éphrem marries an Irish woman and moves to White Falls.
Oguinase dies, which saddens Euchariste immensely, and he then gets embroiled in an expensive legal battle with his neighbour Phydime Raymond. Decades ago, Euchariste sold a small piece of his thirty acres to Phydime, but Phydime is now taking more land that he bought.
Matters do not improve. Having been burdened with legal fees Eucharist never thought would be astronomical, misfortune does not relent. One night Eucharist’s barn burns to the ground and he suspects that Phydime set fire to it. There are losses but the farm animals are safe. They had been removed immediately and a new barn is built but not according to Euchariste’s wishes. It is built according to Étienne’s standards. Étienne loves the land. Each year, it grows more and more into “a spouse and a lover:”
épouse et maîtresse, sa suzeraine [like a feudal lord] et sa servante, à lui Étienne Moisan. (p. 165)
An arrangement is made. Étienne will run the farm with Napoléon, called Pitou. A new house will be built for Pitou and his family. All is arranged, except that Euchariste is in the way. It would now be convenient for him to live elsewhere. However, the notary leaves town taking with him Euchariste’s savings. He is dispossessed.
When the winter of his life begins, an impoverished Euchariste gives his land and his possessions to Étienne. In exchange, he will receive an allowance, a rente (a pension). But he is nevertheless again dispossessed, “land and beasts, gains and debts.” He is blinded by tradition: from father to son.
Il se ‘donna’, terre et bestiaux, avoir et dettes. (p. 219-20)
(He ‘gave’ himself, land, beasts, assets and debts.)
Euchariste has therefore lost his home. Étienne is now the only master: “seul maître.” (p. 220) He has already moved into the large house, which he hopes his father will soon leave. After all, Étienne is the new owner.
Euchariste is therefore sent on a “holiday” to the United States to visit Éphrem who works in a factory and lives in White Falls. Euchariste is completely disoriented. Moreover, his daughter-in-law does not speak French, nor do his two grandchildren. Not once does his daughter-in-law express pleasure at his being in their household. In fact, Sunday mass becomes Euchariste’s only respite.
Sunday is the only day Euchariste meets a few persons who do not feel at home in the United States. It has been a long and disappointing holiday, all the more since Étienne has not been sending the monthly allowance, la rente (the pension), he had promised he would give his father in return for ownership of Euchariste’s lost thirty acres.
Going home has therefore become difficult. In fact, Euchariste has no home and, suddenly, the market crashes and he is “needed” in the United States. The factory where Éphrem has been working for six years is letting people go or making them work on a part-time basis.
Therefore, an older and sadder Euchariste wants to work again, possibly for a farmer. Éphrem finds a job for his father, that of night watch in a garage. But, Euchariste hesitates to accept this position, not because he will not work on a farm, but for fear of falling asleep for a moment and being remiss in his duties. Times have changed!
(What terrified him at first, was fear that he would fall asleep and fail for a moment to be vigilant, which was his duty [devoir]).
Ce qui le terrifiait au début, c’était la crainte de s’endormir, de manquer un instant à son devoir de surveillance. (p. 268)
He earns fifteen dollars a week, but Éphrem takes ten of the fifteen dollars. Moreover, Étienne also wants money. It is as though there had been no arrangement between Étienne and Pitou. Euchariste is therefore needed not only in the US but also in Canada. His daughter Marie-Louise is sick. She is dying of tuberculosis and needs medical care, which is expensive. She soon dies.
* * *
At the end of the novel, Euchariste is depicted as a very frail old man huddling near a little stove in the garage where he works.
Yet, although it is sad, the end is also poetical. Ringuet takes us away from the plight of one man to the plight and joy of mankind, or from the particular to the general. He writes that every year spring returns and that, every year, the land is generous. The land is always the same, toujours la même, not to the same men, men pass, but to different men:…à des hommes différents… …une terre toujours la même. Suggested reading: The Canadian Encyclopedia Ringuet (Athabaska University)
—ooo—Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (7 May 1840 – 6 November 1893) Andante Cantabile Yo-Yo Ma, Cello © Micheline Walker July 28, 2012 WordPress revised January 12, 2014 After the Breakup
Sans l’homme la terre n’est point féconde c’est ce besoin qu’elle de lui qui le lie à la terre, qui le fait prisonnier de trente arpents de glèbe. (p. 65)
[Without man, the land is arid. It is because the land needs him that man is tied to it and becomes the prisoner of thirty acres of soil.]
Trente Arpents is considered the last of the regionalist novels. It is a gem of a novel and won its author, Ringuet, a pseudonym for Dr Phillippe Panneton (30 April 1895 [Trois-Rivières] – 28 December 1960 [Lisbon]), a medical doctor who went on to write more novels and became a diplomat.
However, among his other novels, none is so moving as the story of the rise and fall of Euchariste Moisan who is wedded to the trente arpents he has inherited from his uncle Éphrem. L’oncle Éphrem and his wife never had children, but they brought Euchariste whose entire family perished in a fire when he was still a tiny child.
At the very beginning of the novel not only does Euchariste learn that he will inherit his uncle’s land, but arrangements are being made for Euchariste to marry a neighbour’s daughter a neigbours’s daughter who will dutifully have “son nombre,” or the number of children she is destined to bear, as though her numerous and draining pregnancies had nothing to do with sexual intercourse.
Soon after Éphrem tells Euchariste that when he dies he will inherit the thirty acres, he dies and Euchariste finds himself the owner of the thirty acres farmers, the habitants of New France, rented from their SEIGNEUR. Because Éphrem dies, Euchariste and Alphonsine may marry a little earlier than anticipated and occupy the large room: “la grande chambre” The household also includes “la vieille Mélie,” an unmarried elderly woman who simply arrived at Éphrem’s door and never left. Mélie helps Alphonsine until she is very old and dies almost imperceptibly in her chair. As for Alphonsine, she gives birth first to a son, Oguinase, then to a daughter who dies shortly after the birth of the couple’s third child.
Il [Euchariste] les accueillait ces naissances, sans plaisir comme aussi sans regret…. Il fallait qu’Alphonsine eût ‘son nombre’. (p.67)
[He welcomed these births, without pleasure, yet without regret. Alphonsine simply had to have ‘her number’.]
In the second part of the novel, appropriately divided into the four seasons, Euchariste is more of an owner, but tilling the land and looking after the farm animals is onerous. Despite years of draught, Eucharists prospers. He puts money in the notary’s safe regularly. As for Alphonsine, she is raising her children and still “féconde” (fertile). At this point, Éphrem is asked to see the curé, the parish priest. Oguinase is old enough and sufficiently gifted to be recruited for the priesthood by the curé. He will not have to pay tuition fees.
So Oguinase leaves for the petit séminaire, the private school, now abolished, that allowed graduates to enter the priesthood, le grand séminaire, or university (law or medicine). Euchariste talks about his projetcs. On their way home, they visit a cousin living in a village. The house is more humble than Euchariste had expected. Euchariste talks about his projects: raising hens. Two events now mark the year: Oguinase’s departure for the college and his return.
Euchariste hopes his son Éphrem will now help more and more, but Éphrem is growing into rebel. Moreover, the world is changing. Machines are being used by farmers, machines that can cut fingers off, and cars the kill Euchariste’s hens. The parist has grown to such an extent that a new parish is founded. All around him, Euchariste’s world is changing and his new circumstances cause him to stiffen.
Moreover, it seems Alphonsine is again pregnant, but she feels that something is amiss. She sees her reflection in a mirror and the woman looking at her is no longer Alphonsine. In the mirror she sees an old and sick woman. A doctor is called who tells her to stay in bed, her death-bed.
Alphonsine raises her family; there are good years and years of draught. Euchariste saves his money. Oguinase is sent to the petit séminaire. On their way to the séminaire Euchariste stops in a village to visit with a cousin and says he will be raising hens. Machines, cars, enter the picture and they are very destructive. Machines, cars, enter the picture and they are very destructive. Euchariste will be raising hens. Éphrem turns into a bit of a rebel. Alphonsine dies. An American cousin and his wife visit. We suspect Éphrem will leave for the United States.(Allow me to pause at this point as this blog is now too long. I am posting a sequel.) Suggested reading: The Canadian Encyclopedia Ringuet (Athabaska University) _________________________ [i] Ringuet, Trente Arpents (Paris: Flammarion, collection bis 1991). © Micheline Walker 27 July 2012 WordPress revised 12 January 2014 Winter Landscape
No one is perfect. But President Obama has been keeping his nation afloat and growing. Given the burden he inherited, he has in fact done very well. Were it not for President Obama and members of his administration, it would be extremely difficult for the international community to trust the US. At the moment, the credibility of the US within the world community is based almost entirely on the intellectual and moral principles of its President.
This is cutting one’s nose to spite one’s face and it is petty, in the utmost.
A lot of people are like the cock of the fable told below, by Jean de La Fontaine (8 July 1621 – 13 April 1695). They cannot tell quality.
Post on the United States
Here are two lists of posts and two posts. The second list is not complete.
◊◊◊Giuseppe Tartini (8 April 1692 – 26 February 1770) ”Devil’s Trill Sonata” Itzhak Perlman, violin © Micheline Walker October 2, 2013 WordPress
Lilacs in a Window by Mary Cassatt, 1880 (Photo credit: Wikipaintings)
WordPress is still making my life difficult. My last post was dated 12 July. I had then written a draft of the post on 12 July. However, I did not complete the post until 15 July. I have republished it. In order to read, it is no longer necessary to go back to July 12. It’s a long post; yet it is not really complete. It required at least one more comment on motherhood in Cassatt. I must also point out that Cassatt Japoniste prints cannot be associated, except by date, with Impressionism. These two elements have been included in the post dated 16 July 2013.
I am still unable to access my Reader and look at your posts. If necessary, I will beg WordPress’s Happiness Engineer.
Allow me to wish you an excellent day.
Love to all.
The Fitting, by Mary Cassatt (1891)( Photo credit: Wikipaintings)Gabriel Fauré (12 May 1845 – 4 November 1924
Gabriel Fauré – Élégie for cello and orchestra Op. 24
WordPress The Boating Party, 1893-1894 (Please click on the image to enlarge it.)
William Merritt Chase was born in Indiana, but after moving to New York, he started travelling abroad and, among other activities, bought art for American clients. In France, he studied painting with Lemuel Wilmarth, (see Athenaeum), a student of Jean-Léon Gérôme (11 May 1824 – 10 January 1904), an academicist, and then enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts, in Munich, where he was a student of Alexander Von Wagner and Karl von Piloty. As a student in Munich, he befriended Walter Shirlaw, Frank Duveneck, and Joseph Frank Currier, whose artwork, Currier’s, he collected. He travelled to Venice, Italy before returning to the United States in the summer of 1878. On his return to North-America, he showed Ready for the Ride with the newly formed Society of American Artists, of which he would later serve as president. He also opened a studio in New York in the Tenth Street Studio Building, where he moved into Albert Bierstadt‘s former studio which he furnished in a rather “flamboyant” manner.
“Chase filled the studio with lavish furniture, decorative objects, stuffed birds, oriental carpets, and exotic musical instruments. The studio served as a focal point for the sophisticated and fashionable members of the New York City art world of the late 19th century.” (The Complete Works)
Chase became an almost unrivalled teacher. In 1891, he opened the Shinnecock Hills Summer School. In 1896, he founded the Chase School of Art which became the New York School of Art two years later with Chase staying on as instructor until 1907, but he also taught at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Among his students was famed artist Georgia O’Keefe, Charles Demuth, and Marsden Hartley. In his later years, he travelled to various European countries to give summer classes.
Chase married Alice Gerson, his former model, in 1886, and the couple had eight children. His eldest daughters, Dieudonnée and Dorothy, often posed for their father. The family owned a townhouse in New York and another property on Long Island. Chase had a happy family life and died in his New York townhouse.
Japanese art spread to several European countries and crossed the Atlantic. For instance, it had an influence on Americans James Abbott McNeill Whistler, William Merritt Chase, and Mary Cassatt. We will look at Japonisme in the art of Mary Cassatt. I believe she is our best example.
Moreover, a few comments are needed. Japonisme played a major role in the development of Western art in the second half of the nineteenth century.
However, for the time being, I pause.
* * *
Rachmaninoff‘s Piano Concerto N° 2 in C Minor, Opus 18The Complete Works) (Please click on the image to enlarge it.) © Micheline Walker 6 July 2013 WordPress