Posted in Uncategorized

Surviving the Pandemic – Mixed Feelings Today

I went back on Facebook this week, after being off for a year, and I admit I have mixed feelings. I use Facebook primarily to keep in touch with people who do not live nearby. So it is great to see all my old “friends” again. The welcome I received was heart-warming.

My friend list is whittled down a lot and that’s OK. People move on.

I have mixed feelings because it is very apparent what Facebook approves of and what it censures. This means we all have to watch what we say. Somebody is policing us. The question is who is doing this and under what influence or duress? Why is it important to monitor, censor and control the conversation? To what end is this being done?

I admit it really shocked me when I saw innocent people censored on Facebook, including myself. Dissenting views are not tolerated. You go to Facebook “jail” or your “distribution” is limited, and “other things” are done affecting your Facebook experience.

This reminds me of what we have seen in the U.S. where the media has taken control of the conversation. The news is skewed. Anything that might reflect negatively on Democrats is concealed while the exact opposite applies to Republican news. A survey revealed that over 90% of reporting on Trump was negative. In four years the American elites never even acknowledged him as a legitimate president. Strangely all of this hasn’t had the dampening effect intended, since half the country still stands behind the president. The only explanation that fits, in my view, is that someone is playing heavy handedly with the press.

It is extremely dangerous to discredit the thinking of half of society. Hollywood and our institutions of higher learning have been used, with a great level of success, as platforms for social conditioning for the past century. They have succeeded in changing the way we think and behave. What Hollywood and our university professors scoff at, we scoff at.

I am under no illusion that only the interests of North America are being served by the social engineering experiment taking place right before our eyes. Or, to put it another way, the demise of America, along with its democracy and family values and trust in God, would suit certain entities very well.

We need to take a careful look. We may not like what we see. We may find that we have only been pawns when we have thought we were so very clever. The question is whether it is possible to disentangle ourselves.

There was a time when life was, oh, so simple.

Posted in family, God, Love, Tolerance

Loving Others When Issues Divide Us

A person in my family will not entertain any conversation about Donald Trump and they have made it clear how they despise even the mention of his name. They, “Can’t stand him.”

This person has not observed any good in Trump. They have not conceded that he has done good for America on any level. Their mind is completely closed.

There is no point in talking to someone of this persuasion as they are not open to any possible insights. We continue to love one another, and do not allow this to cause dissension in our family. We simply don’t go there. There are plenty of other things to talk about.

In other words, we show mutual respect for difference of opinion. Although they know others don’t see things their way, they too are tolerant of differences, if not of discussion.

Mask wearing is another area where our family members’ opinions differ. There is a little more tolerance for discussion with these members so we have talked about the subject. But, once again, there is a line we don’t want to cross. We don’t want to allow a difference of viewpoint to destroy our relationship, so we let the subject drop before it does that. We stop trying to persuade.

Trump is not all bad. He has made some positive changes in America. Masks provide some protection, depending on the material and construction. A challenging exercise is trying to hold two opposing views at the same time, balancing them against each other.

Another topic of dissension is religion. Religion is not all bad. Jewish law teaches us not to lie, steal, kill and commit adultery. Christ taught us what is considered as the Golden Rule, to love our neighbours as ourselves. Members of our family are not accepting of the religion of others, but they still continue to love one another.

When we love others we give them a lot of room. We have to allow them to make mistakes, to be wrong. We might try to help them, but even with good intentions, we will not always do the right thing. It takes humility to admit this.

Love genuinely wants the best for the other person. Unfortunately, there are a few among us who care little about others, but even in these cases, we must be careful not to jump to conclusions. I recently came across this, “Do not assume malice when ignorance could explain the situation.”

Some people shut you out when your views differ from theirs. You become the detestable “other.” I favor Christianity because it does not leave room for this attitude. In fact, it teaches people to “love your enemies” and to “pray for those who persecute you.”

I had a vision this week. I saw the love of God encompassing the world. I can’t really explain it. It was like giant arms, like a cloud, or a vapor, encompassing the earth. I was in prayer and I asked God if he wasn’t angry with the world and all the evil in it. In the Bible I read that God is often angry with the wicked, so I wanted to know. The vision zoomed in to those individual, private moments when people are most vulnerable and I was impressed with the thought that this is what God sees. This is what he does not forget, even when evil tries to obscure it. He looks beyond. This is who he loves.

We need to be a little more like God, loving beyond those things that annoy us. Loving beyond our differences.

We can allow evil to tear us apart or we can choose to love.

There are evil forces at work seeking to destroy what is precious and what is truly precious is our relationships. We must watch that our views do not become the most important thing. What matters is the other person, their needs, their dreams and desires. We can love, even with differences. But it may take some help from the example of Christ, who laid down his life, rather than persisting against resistance. At this special Christmas season, let’s remember, “For God so loved the world….”

I think the source of tolerance is the family. It is where we learn to care deeply. It is where we learn to be tolerant of differences. It is where we learn it is safe to make mistakes and where we learn to forgive. It is so important to guard these early relationships that will follow us all of our lives.

Posted in Democracy, Election, Journalism

When Did Journalists Become Judge and Jury?

Remarkably, opinion pieces of journalists, passing as news, flowed off the press and refuted claims of election fraud before any evidence was formally presented, much less investigated. In the absence of the kind of reflection and insight that might serve as a caution, journalists remained oblivious to their diminishing reputation and public credibility. Ratings for public news channels have never been so low.

Journalism has become a sad reflection of an element of society that cares less about investigative reporting and more about controlling the narrative. The currant narrative is clearly that there is no election fraud. Period. Even though, prior to the election, both Democrats and Republicans repeatedly questioned the integrity of election processes.

I’ve watched several hearings that presented claims of misdemeanours in elections— sending/receiving ballots from dead voters, voters with parking lot mailing addresses, voters who don’t exist. Whether this was intentional, is virtually impossible to prove. Intention would imply fraud. This is called “rigging” the election.

Of course, we want to believe that nobody would stoop to undermine the American election process by endorsing non-existent voters, or duplicate voters, or voting in place of others, or incentivized voting, or voting of non-citizens. If it happened, and these turned out to be predominantly Democrat voters, we are assured, by the same journalists who insisted there was no voter fraud, that it was on a small scale of only a few thousand, not enough to change the election outcome.

At the close of an article that vehemently denies evidence of election fraud, a journalist concedes that the level of fraud is at best insignificant. There were not enough irregularities to change the election result.

And so, with the consolation that the fraud that happened was insignificant, because it didn’t affect the outcome, public attention is steered away from the glaring truth of a compromised electoral system. The same journalists who declared there was no fraud a few weeks earlier, have moved us to the acceptance of “irrelevant” fraud.

As the hearings progressed, with their “irrelevant” allegations, the opinions of journalists progressed as well. When testimonies came forward presenting more substantial evidence, the witnesses themselves became “irrelevant” and the story was not about the allegations but about Giuliani’s hair dye running down his face. Lawyers who shied away from participating in the hearings were touted as evidence of a sinking ship, with no hint at other possibilities, like their livelihoods being threatened.

If I were in charge of Republican allegations of election fraud I would have gone about this differently. But of course it is too late now. I would have focused only on evidence that does not require witness corroboration and only on such evidence as would change the election outcome. Too much time has been wasted on proving that the election process can be manipulated. There was never a need to be prove this at all. The real question is, was the level of manipulation able to change the outcome? In other words, did the American vote count?

There is still another equally disturbing problem with journalism surrounding the election, besides misrepresentation and manipulation. This is silence. Silence when there is a real issue to report. Like the lawsuits filed by Sidney Powell. Silence when voters rally by tens or hundreds of thousands in support of the president. Silence about the actual significance of only Republican watchers not being allowed to observe ballot counting.

Remarkably, opinion pieces of journalists, passing as news, flowed off the press and refuted claims of election fraud before any evidence was formally presented, much less investigated. In the absence of the kind of reflection and insight that might serve as a caution, journalists remained oblivious to their diminishing reputation and public credibility. Ratings for public news channels have never been so low.

Journalism has become a sad reflection of an element of society that cares less about investigative reporting and more about controlling the narrative. The currant narrative is clearly that there is no election fraud. Period. Even though, prior to the election, both Democrats and Republicans repeatedly questioned the integrity of election processes.

I’ve watched several hearings that presented claims of misdemeanours in elections— sending/receiving ballots from dead voters, voters with parking lot mailing addresses, voters who don’t exist. Whether this was intentional, is virtually impossible to prove. Intention would imply fraud. This is called “rigging” the election.

Of course, we want to believe that nobody would stoop to undermine the American election process by endorsing non-existent voters, or duplicate voters, or voting in place of others, or incentivized voting, or voting of non-citizens. If it happened, and these turned out to be predominantly Democrat voters, we are assured, by the same journalists who insisted there was no voter fraud, that it was on a small scale of only a few thousand, not enough to change the election outcome.

At the close of an article that vehemently denies evidence of election fraud, a journalist concedes that the level of fraud is at best insignificant. There were not enough irregularities to change the election result.

And so, with the consolation that the fraud that happened was insignificant, because it didn’t affect the outcome, public attention is steered away from the glaring truth of a compromised electoral system. The same journalists who declared there was no fraud a few weeks earlier, have moved us to the acceptance of “irrelevant” fraud.

As the hearings progressed, with their “irrelevant” allegations, the opinions of journalists progressed as well. When testimonies came forward presenting more substantial evidence, the witnesses themselves became “irrelevant” and the story was not about the allegations but about Giuliani’s hair dye running down his face. Lawyers who shied away from participating in the hearings were touted as evidence of a sinking ship, with no hint at other possibilities, like their livelihoods being threatened.

If I were in charge of Republican allegations of election fraud I would have gone about this differently. But of course it is too late now. I would have focused only on evidence that does not require witness corroboration and only on such evidence as would change the election outcome. Too much time has been wasted on proving that the election process can be manipulated. There was never a need to be prove this at all. The real question is, was the level of manipulation able to change the outcome? In other words, did the American vote count?

There is still another equally disturbing problem with journalism surrounding the election, besides misrepresentation and manipulation. This is silence. Silence when there is a real issue to report. Like the lawsuits filed by Sidney Powell. Silence when voters rally by tens or hundreds of thousands in support of the president. Silence about the actual significance of only Republican watchers not being allowed to observe ballot counting.

One can’t help but speculate that journalists who are willing to suppress the voices of half the population of America might also be willing to cooperate to suppress the votes of these same American citizens. Meaning, of course, the loss of a democratic election process. It will require a level of fearlessness journalism, and integrity we have not seen up to this point, to uncover what actually happened in the American election.

Posted in dealing with stress, violence

Surviving the Pandemic – Early Morning Shooting

The noise I heard this morning around 5:30 a.m. turned out to be a fatal shooting in our back laneway where a 30 year old woman crashed her car into a fence and succumbed to gunshot wounds. It appears to be a targeted shooting.

This is the day after my sister’s mother-in-law passed away in hospital in the early morning and my sister-in-law’s mother died of covid later the same day. I also learned that evening of a woman in my mother’s complex dying and her daughter passing within the week. We knew the family well.

This follows my sister’s ex’s father, a close friend of the family, passing in hospital last week and another good friend of my mother’s passing the week before, as well as four people we know who have succumbed to covid in the past month.

These Manitoba families faced severe hospital visiting restrictions, funeral restrictions and a total ban on family gatherings during this extremely painful time of loss.

Surviving the pandemic has definitely taken on a new meaning.