In these most troubling times, with among other things the world’s first and greatest modern democracy in grave peril, I look daily to my garden for relief and consolation, and hope. I trust I’m not alone. Others, I know are doing what they can in their own way to keep their spirits up.
Every annual garden season in this little part of the world has its challenges; and the 2022 season has been no exception: unseasonably cool weather and drought in spring held held back the growth of plants started indoors then transplanted outdoors in late May. Seeds planted were slow to germinate. Many hours spent pumping and hauling water from two dug wells helped keep the garden in survival mode. When the rains finally came, it was never enough. A good soaking rain a week or so ago for a couple of days finally did wonders for the ‘three sisters,’ corn, squash and beans, and the prospect of Roma-type tomatoes for homemade pasta sauce.
But most of all I am again reminded of the determination of plants, and the strength of the life-force to overcome hardships, not the least of which is the heavy, clay-loam soil in these parts. Before the recent rain, when I set about to dig the first row of Yukon gem potatoes, I had trouble getting the digging fork into soil that seemed to have turned into virtual cement. And yet, there they were, good-sized plentiful tubers, showing only slightly the struggle it must have been for them to form. My habit of mulching with a generous depth of straw surely kept some moisture in the ground. But I give the potatoes most of the credit for their fortitude. Then came that soaking rain and the digging became easier.
Before the rain I was wondering how the sweet corn – the original, Ontario Seed Company, ‘peaches and cream’ bicolor – was ever going to fully develop and ripen. But within a few days, the development of the cobs was remarkable. And now I fully expect to have lots of corn ready for harvest by the end of the week, and on into the Labor Day weekend, and beyond, with a good, old fashioned corn roast to celebrate.
Likewise, the Roma tomatoes looked good alongside a bumper crop of Genovese basil, and another called ‘Sacred.’ That name reached out. I had to have it.
And so I am reminded again that hope, the appreciation of life’s rejuvenating powers, is the spiritual harvest of gardening and life. Good things can still and surely must happen. We must not give up.
By the way, for further context, I submit the following link that appeared on Youtube again a couple of days ago, with interesting timing regarding the recent Search Warrant that retrieved certain documents from Donald Trump’s home in Florida. The question has been asked what he might have done with them, or done already.
Donald Trump (DT), the well-known pathological liar and former President of the U.S.A. who tried but failed to overthrow its democracy has blamed President Joe Biden for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s ongoing military invasion of Ukraine. But the well-documented record of the last six years shows DT has done more to weaken the U.S. than anyone in its history, while constantly acting as Putin’s ‘useful fool’ puppet, with the help of so-called ‘conservatives’ in the U.S.
I say ‘so-called’ because since when is enabling and supporting social-political disruption and hateful division in one’s own country conservative. In fact, it is knowing or unknowing traitorous behavior that has enabled Putin’s plan to restore the Russian/Soviet empire and emboldened him to attack Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the self-centered DT stands on a public stage before a rapturous audience of several thousand useful-fools, so-called conservatives, and millions of gullible members of his cult, and calls Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, a world-class “tyrant.” And for what? For being patient for weeks? For repeatedly asking protestors occupying the nation’s capital to go home, before defending our country against the imported cult of disruption and chaos trying to destroy democracy in the name of ‘Freedom?’
It boggles the mind that this is what the world has come to: the continuing human tragedy of millions of people being taken in by the lies and hypocrisy of two madmen drunk on power. And as a result, the existential future of the world is at stake; especially now that Putin has raised Russia’s immense nuclear power to a state of imminent readiness.
It is utter madness in a world in which most people simply want their children and grandchildren to have the hope of a peaceful and secure future in which to live.
One morning in the spring of 2016, I was out in my garden hilling rows of recently emerged potato plants. The sun was shining, a few clouds were drifting by in the sky above. I was full of thoughts about why DT, still not formally chosen the Republican Party candidate for the U.S. presidential election that year, would suggest the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NAT0) was obsolete. And, besides, he said, most NATO members don’t pay their fair share of NATO funding, unlike the U.S..
I asked myself, why would he say that now, just two years after Putin’s Russia had invaded and annexed the Crimea, then part of Ukraine, and with Russia conducting a clandestine war in eastern Ukraine in support of separatist rebels. The former Soviet republics that joined NATO after the fall of the Soviet Union were understandably alarmed by those signs of renewed Russian aggression. Wasn’t the U.S. supposed to be their allies?
As a political move aimed at gaining support from members of the Republican Party, what DT said also didn’t make sense. The party had long been a staunch opponent of the former Soviet Union, and prior to the 2016, of Putin’s Russia. So, what was he thinking?
I put down my hoe, looked up at the sky and suddenly saw the light. “He’s got a deal with the Russians,” I said to myself. Call it a hunch: at the time that’s what it was, based on what I knew.
I comforted myself by thinking that, if it was true, the truth would surely come more to light, one way or another, and the ‘smoking gun’ found.
Nothing that happened leading up to the 2016 election and after has done anything to change my mind about my thoughts then. On the contrary, I believe now more than ever DT had a ‘deal with the Russians,’ and maybe still has. Certain things that happened over the past almost six years continue to stand out amid BT’s generally fawning attitude toward, and praise of Putin: the Helsinki summit with Putin, for example, whereby DT dismissed the conclusions of the U.S. official Intelligence community that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election. After a secretive close-door session with Putin, the then-President of the United States said Putin had ‘strongly’ denied anything of the sort had happened. Commentators in the U.S., many of them former high-ranking government officials and military officers, were astounded, “I never thought I’d see the day” when a President of the United States would ever say such a thing, said one.
Throughout his one-term tenure, DT continued to say time after time, and still does, that the whole “Russia thing” was a “hoax.” It was not.
The investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller only happened because former U.S. Attorney-General, the late Jeff Sessions, recused himself from the probe into the possibility of Russian interference in the 2016 election, and the possible collusion of DT’s 2016 election campaign. Rod Rosenstein, Session’s deputy A-G at the time appointed Mueller to head up the investigation in May, 2017.
The final Mueller Report found plenty of evidence of interference by Russian government agents and operatives. A Grand Jury for the District of Columbia (D.C.) charged a dozen Russians with criminal offences, including Conspiracy to Commit an Offense Against the United States. They have never been arrested and are likely hiding in plain sight in Russia.
Mueller himself said the reason DT was not charged with Obstruction of Justice was because of a Department of Justice policy against charging a sitting president with a criminal offence.
Bill Barr, who was Attorney-General when the Mueller report was about to be made public, took pre-emptive action by writing and releasing a summary that appeared to exonerate DT, who quickly seized on the moment to claim again that it was all a “hoax.” Partly as a result, 75 million Americans voted for DT in the 2020 presidential election. He still lost by seven million in the popular vote, and also by a wide margin in the electoral college, as confirmed by Congress on January 6, 2021. That was despite a riot by DT supporters who breached the capital in hopes of disrupting the process. To this day DT still claims the election was “stolen” from him.
To his credit, Attorney-General Barr, after ordering a DOJ investigation, said no serious evidence of election fraud was found. And then he resigned after DT’s angry reaction to that.
The Guardian published an interesting articlelast summer that I recently re-read. The Guardian is widely respected as one of the best news venues in the world. The carefully worded article cites “what are assessed to be leaked Kremlin documents” that indicate Putin personally approved a secret Russian plan in January, 2016 to support what the leaked papers describe as a “mentally unstable” DT in the 2016 US presidential election
The leaked document speaks of it being “acutely necessary” to take strong measures to facilitate DT’s election as U.S. president. That would help bring about Russia’s favoured “political scenario” because a Trump win “will definitely lead to the destabilisation of the US’s sociopolitical system, and see hidden discontent burst into the open.”
Some of the measures Russia might take to infect American public life with media viruses” would become self-sustaining as they mess with the “mass consciousness” of certain groups of Americans, the Kremlin paper says, as quoted by the Guardian.
Spokespersons for both Putin and Trump strongly denied at the time there was any truth to what the Guardian article said.
It is worth mentioning here though, that if there was indeed such a plan, that it certainly succeeded, beyond Putin’s wildest dreams. The fate of U.S. democracy is still in jeopardy.
A dark-cloud overcast was building up on the western horizon. It held promise of rain after a month-long drought in our little corner of the world on the Bruce Peninsula, Canada where I’m trying to earn a bit of supplementary income by growing pesticide-free potatoes, among other things. Continue reading →
October, 11, 2017 U.S. Donald Trump meets Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the White House. Interesting hand gesture, in retrospect. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
There’s an “elephant in the room” regarding the Government of Canada’s controversial decision to buy the Trans Mountain pipelines, existing and planned, from Kinder Morgan Canada, a subsidiary of a much bigger company based in Texas, for $4.5 Billion.
I admit it: I’ve lately been getting pretty down about the state of the world, mostly on account of the messy situation south of the border with the continuing tragedy of gun violence, and the descent of a once-great democracy into something dark, divided, and decidedly undemocratic.
And it just keeps getting worse, or so it seemed, even in the immediate aftermath of the Feb. 14 shooting rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old former student at the school, allegedly killed 17 students and wounded 14 others with an AR-15 assault rifle he had purchased a year ago. The usual prayers, platitudes and condolences were offered, but no sign lawmakers were likely to take any common-sense, gun-control action. Too many have been bought off with hefty campaign donations from the powerful gun lobby, the National Rifle Association (NRA). Continue reading →
Phil, your’s truly, “teeing off” in the driveway on Groundhog Day morning, in the spirit of an early spring.
I notice this morning a still modest, but unusual number of people especially in the U.S. have hit on this post. I take it that’s got something to do with the current, unfolding, Constitutional crisis wherein the incumbent president is refusing to concede the results so far of the recent and apparently ongoing election. That’s despite clear indications he has lost the popular vote nationally by a sizable margin, as well as the unofficial electoral college vote. Yes, I understand everything at this stage is still unofficial. That’s even though he himself — I can’t bring myself to say his name — declared himself the winner on election night and called for the vote-counting to cease; as if that’s not trying to ‘steal’ the election. Now he claims the increasing results in favor of Biden are rigged, plays golf, and lets his faithful enablers do the dirty work of committing a virtual coup to keep him in power for another four years, and more. (He’s on the record as saying he deserves a third term because he’s been treated so badly. It’s always somebody else’s fault, you see.) Anyway, I think this post is worthy of re-publishing at a time like this. So here it is:
I’m not a groundhog, so I guess it doesn’t count, according to the rules of Groundhog Day, if I saw my shadow or not a few mornings ago.
I could cheat though. I could say I did not see my shadow on my usual, early-morning walk in hopes of catching some precious vitamin D light from the rising sun breaking through the mid-winter clouds. A shadow is a shadow, after all, so what difference does it make?
Not a good habit to get into, cheating, in big and little things. Like its brother, lying, cheating is a disease that will corrupt the mind and soul completely, ultimately leaving no internal sense at all of moral rightness or truth. The victim is left floundering and sinking in his self-destructive morass of chaos and ignorance with no guiding principle of self-awareness and salvation. Instead, there is an increasingly desperate delusion of quasi-sanity that depends on yet more lies and more cheating to maintain a semblance of control and believability. This is the liar/cheater’s most dangerous, destructive period because many foolish and vulnerable people – perhaps millions – will be taken in by the final and worst, potentially world-ending, big lie.
If that reminds you of anyone, congratulations on your insight.
“This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.” — Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol.
(Author’s note, May 12, 2020: More than two years have gone since this post was published. I trust Charles would agree events since then have proved his words are more remarkably and tragically prophetic than ever. I also trust he would tell us not to despair, but to shine a light of hope in the world, wherever we are, and however we can.)
(Author’s note, December 8, 2020: Whatever happens between now and Inauguration Day, or even after, regarding the results of the U.S. presidential election — and I shudder to think what could still happen — the last four years have exposed deep-seated, long-simmering problems at the heart of American democracy, and therefore by extension democracy as a world-wide movement. The needs of ‘the people,’ many millions of whom live in a state of ‘quiet desperation,’ or loud and angry, can no longer be ignored or denied.)
(Author’s note, October 10, 2021: “I shudder to think what could still happen,” I wrote above. Well, what happened in the U.S. after Dec. 8, 2020 was, and is still, surely bad enough. But I could say the same thing now, with people in ‘Trump country’ openly calling for civil war if he doesn’t get his way. Are we watching the destruction of the world’s first and once-greatest modern democracy; with consequences for democracy world-wide? So it appears. And if so, who does it benefit? The answer to those questions holds the key to understanding why and how this historic tragedy is happening, and who is the mastermind.)
(Another modest ‘author’s update’ note, December 18, 2021: Slowly, but surely, the truth comes out, with some indication it will be heard and taken to heart where it’s needed most: in the hearts and minds of ordinary people whose needs have been neglected and betrayed far too long, including by themselves. Is there time enough? Of course. The next moment is time enough if you want it to be.)
I was talking a few evenings ago to my young friends, a well-read, pleasant couple with hope in their hearts, about the state of the world. We settled for a while into a discussion about the troubling, political situation in the U.S. where exploitation of a significant portion of the population by a populist demagogue with dangerous dictatorial tendencies is leading that great country, and the world, down a dangerous path.
Suddenly, as often happens, a recollection of a memory that seemed relevant to the discussion came to my mind. In this case, it was a scene from the 1951, British-made movie A Christmas Carol, based on the short story of that title by the great 19th Century English writer, Charles Dickens. Continue reading →
I look out my second-floor office window here at Cathedral Drive Farm in Hope Ness and all is calm: the morning sun is shining on the second-growth of tender, young buckwheat still managing to survive the cooling nights. There is little wind, though 100 km/hr winds are forecast for this weekend. And I wonder if I will get a chance today to start putting plastic on the windows to help keep out the winter cold.
But, I confess, the state of the world has got me down: the increasingly destabilized, insecure, dangerous world and the threat that poses for ordinary people like me who just want to get on with their lives, do right by their children – and the human family – yes, that too, because we are all in this together, whether you live down the road and around the corner, or on the other side of the planet. Continue reading →
There’s nothing like a wall, real or virtual, to make a point about the promise to “Make America Great Again” even if it means offending an entire nation on its southern border, or hitting your best friend and ally to the north with a sucker punch.
Even the giant U.S. aircraft maker, Boeing, was surprised by the 220 percent “anti-dumping” tariff the U.S. Commerce department recently inflicted on the prospective sale of Bombardier’s new C-Series passenger jets to Delta Airlines.
Bombardier is a Canadian company that has signed a deal with Delta Airlines in the U.S. for the sale of 75 of Bombardier’s new C-series, 100-passenger jets. Delivery was supposed to begin in 2018. But Boeing said the jets were being sold below cost with the help of Canadian and Quebec government subsidies, and asked the U.S. Commerce department to investigate. The protectionist administration of President Donald Trump was only too happy to oblige, and then some. Continue reading →