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© Mike Crossling
IN ONTARIO: WILDISH BACK YARD BUNNY COMES A-CALLING

SINGLE-PARENTING, EARLY EDUCATION
Posted 6.17.21
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QC | We are learning more than expected from the pandemic -- from scientific insights to generalizations about well-being and good mental health. As we slog through levels of lockdown, mental health problems seem only to grow. Our kids, for example, feel isolated and stressed, struggling to focus on their on-line lessons.

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CORONA NUMBERS UPDATED
WORLD: OVER 177.8 MILLION.
DEATHS - OVER 3,849,768.
U.S.: 34.36 MILLION.
DEATHS - 616,150.
CANADA: CASES - OVER 1.4 MILLION.
DEATHS - OVER 26,001.

HCR LATEST REPORT
Posted 6.17.21

JOE AND VLAD IN SWISS MEET ~ NO BLOWS EXCHANGED

The big story today is the meeting between President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva, Switzerland.

The event was carefully choreographed and left neither of them humiliated the way former president Trump was on July 16, 2018 in Helsinki, Finland, where he took Putin's word over that of U.S. intelligence about Russian interference in the 2016 election (Trump's Russia advisor Fiona Hill said recently she was so appalled during the joint press conference with Trump and Putin she thought about faking a medical emergency to interrupt it).

Biden refused a joint press conference, unwilling to give Putin a platform next to the U.S. president. (Critics note that even shaking Putin's hand was a public relations victory for the Russian president before his country's September elections.)

Biden's goal was not to try to push Putin into that ubiquitous "reset" we've heard about since the administration of President George W. Bush; it was about establishing some rules of the road to promote stability going forward. "This is not about trust. This is about self-interest," Biden said.

He warned Putin that the U.S. will no longer permit cyberattacks on critical infrastructure from either the Russian government or the hackers it shelters, and that it will respond to any further attacks on our democracy.

"I made it clear that we will not tolerate attempts to violate our democratic sovereignty or destabilize our democratic elections, and we would respond," Biden said. He also made it clear that the U.S. will defend human rights. The two men began to talk about the issues involved as climate change opens sea lanes through the previously frozen Arctic Ocean.

Neither side expected any agreements to come from the meeting, but it was more productive than the initial low bar predicted.

The two sides agreed to return their ambassadors to each other's country and agreed to resume talks on nuclear weapons. "There has been no hostility," Putin told reporters. "On the contrary, our meeting took place in a constructive spirit."

"We don't have to look each other in the eye and soul and make pledges of eternal love and friendship," Putin said. "We defend the interests of our countries and peoples, and our relations always have [a] primarily pragmatic character."

"I told President Putin my agenda is not against Russia or anyone else, it's for the American people," Biden said. "I made it clear to President Putin that we'll continue to raise issues of fundamental human rights because that's who we are."

Skeptics note that this meeting took place while Putin holds his chief political opponent, Alexei Navalny, in prison on trumped-up charges and just after his government outlawed Navalny's three political organizations.

Since hackers based in Russia just recently shut down a major U.S. oil pipeline, Putin's people might interpret Biden's willingness to meet with him as acceptance of that behavior. But Biden thought a face to face meeting would be productive. "We'll find out within the next six months to a year whether or not we actually have a strategic dialogue that matters," Biden said. "I did what I came to do."

What Biden accomplished in the past ten days was crucial.

He reestablished friendly footing and cooperation between the U.S. and our allies at the G7 meeting and shored up the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, bringing the U.S. back into a leadership role there. He worked with the European Union on trade, extending the suspension of some of Trump's tariffs and resolving a 17-year-old dispute over aircraft subsidies.

The U.S. and its allies pledged to supply vaccines to countries that don't have them, combat climate change, create good jobs, empower women and girls, stand together against Russian aggression, and cooperate in the face of Chinese growth. Each public statement they released used Biden's motto: "Build Back Better."

What President Biden really did was to rally our allies behind a defense of democracy.

Yesterday, the U.S. and the E.U. issued a statement saying that they are "an anchor for democracy, peace, and security around the world," and declared their commitment to protecting democratic governments. "We reject authoritarianism in all its forms around the globe, resisting autocrats' efforts to create an environment that protects their rule and serves their interests, while undermining liberal democracies."

Here at home, there was news, today too.

The House passed legislation making a federal holiday of June 19th, known as Juneteenth, the day in 1865 that enslaved Americans in Galveston, Texas, heard an army officer confirm that they were free.

Forty-eight states currently celebrate the day in some form.

Fourteen Republicans voted against the measure; one suggested he feared it would introduce Critical Race Theory into schools. The Senate passed the bill unanimously on Tuesday. It will now go to President Biden for his signature.

©Heather Cox Richardson
Letter from an American


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THE TROUBLE WITH DEMOCRA$Y
Posted 6.9.21
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QC | Lend me your attention for a moment. This is not about local -- only issues, not about Covid, hockey, nor low moisture in our crops. This is about money, and money is the Trouble with Democracy.

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PSST! LOOKING FOR A QUICKIE?
5.6.21
THOUGHT FOR TODAY
Posted 5.3.21

THIS SUCKS
Posted 5.3.21
I WISH I'D SAIDTHAT
Posted 5.3.21

I WISH I'D SAID THIS TOO
Posted 5.3.21

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LOOSE TONGUES ENDANGER LIVES
Posted 5.30.21
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QC | The two world wars past gave us plenty of public messaging about "idle talk" which might reveal secrets to under-cover enemy agents. Every subject, from call-up notices to departure times -- anything which might give our enemies an edge -- was included. "Loose tongues endanger lives" was a common public message.
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Posted 5.25.21
Just Outside Washington

FRANK BERNHEISEL

THE FRENCH HAVE FIGURED OUT A BETTER MED WAY

As one gets older, it seems like we spend more time at the doctor's offices. Even when there is nothing specifically wrong, there are visits, periodic general practitioner checkups, lab visits for blood extraction, dental cleanings, dermatologist examinations, and more.

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MEMORIAL FOR THE VICTIMS OF . . . WHAT?
Posted 4.30.21
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QC | Among the surprises of this month's federal budget was a doubling of funds for Harper's "victims of communism" 2010 memorial in Ottawa. With a total of near $7 million, this should be one heck of a memorial.

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LCC WRITER: HI-5! TO COVID VAX TEAM IN VIRGINIA
Posted 2.18.21
FRANK BERNHEISEL

This morning Kathy and I received our second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Hooray!

PROTEST ... WHERE IT COUNTS!
Posted 2.1.21
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QC | Two street protests against pandemic restrictions in Quebec, in Fort Coulonge and Shawville, have stimulated public comment. And criticism -- many participants, generally, were not following the health rules (masks and a two-metre distance). The SQ were careful to warn protestors of the rules, without aggravating emotions and stimulating further disturbance.
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STOPPING COVID-19 ~ WITH VALIUM?
Posted 1.12.21
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QC | One of the lesser-noted effects of Covid-19 and its lockdown is the sudden and widespread proliferation of scientific expertise. There's a touch of sarcasm here.

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10 POST-PANDEMIC LESSONS
Posted 1.1.21
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Zakaria celebrates America's resilience, which he says gains strength through chaos and crises. He also downplays the idea that despots like China's Xi Jinping do better than democratic leaders pointing out covid-19's leap around the world was due to China's suppression of lifesaving data. Also, that authoritarian regimes including Khamenei's Iran, Erdogan's Turkey, and Bolsonaro's Brazil, ruled did badly.

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OUR 30TH ANNIVERSARY
Posted 12.28.20
ROSS MURRAY

I'm writing this on the day of our 30th wedding anniversary. Deb and I were married on December 15, 1990 in Sherbrooke. That wasn't the original plan.
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ON KEEPING WITS ABOUT US
Posted 12.23.20
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QC | Lesson number one: The pandemic's lockdown may be teaching us a thing or two, despite it's costs. One lesson is obvious: how deeply we all depend upon contact and communication with others. The opposite side of that coin may be that we also are learning to live with our own selves, without the contact we took for granted in the past.
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WHY ENVIRONMENTAL REGS ARE NEEDED
Posted 12.17.20
FRANK BERNHEISEL

As many as 12,000 children were exposed to drinking water with high levels of lead, which cause long-term health problems. The water supply change also caused an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease that killed 12 people.

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WHAT'S WRONG WITH "SOCIALISM"?
Posted 11.15.20
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QC | American friends are certainly now on the road to a healing presidential term. The Republicans may rant about individual counts, but we can also be certain that they are busy studying their playbook, "How to Sabotage a Democrat President."
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JANE DOES THE LAUNDRY

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This is one of 30 short poems in the chapbook Placing No Markers by Jason Krpan. You can download the book for free at Bookfellows.