Wednesday Night #1823

Written by  //  February 15, 2017  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

1823 had its share of memorable moments, particularly for Latin America,  notably the award of a grant of land in Texas to  Stephen F. Austin  by the government of Mexico (the beginning of all the problems?); Simon Bolivar became the President of Peru; and James Monroe promulgated the Monroe Doctrine. And who knew that in 1823, Charles Macintosh of Scotland began selling raincoats (Macs) in the same year that roller skates were patented?

These days, it is impossible to  read or view any media, have a long conversation, or even a period of quiet reflection without the intrusion of the tumult and shouting emanating from or aimed at the occupant of the White House. We are consumed by our  fascination/obsession with the latest news, which  is neither good for our social interactions, nor our collective blood pressure.

The New York Times and the Washington Post, accompanied by the  LA Times, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The Guardian and other ‘elitist’ (read progressive or liberal)  publications are  leading  a crusade – dare we say a jihad? – such as we cannot remember seeing even in Watergate times. If mention is made of other world events, all is framed by events and personalities of the new Administration.

Last week, the Immigration ban (but that is about to come back into the headlines Ninth Circuit May Rehear Trump’s Travel-Ban Case); this week, Michael Flynn and disarray in the National Security Council,

Even the normally reserved Project Syndicate now has an entire section reserved for Trump: An American Horror Story with more than 100 articles exploring the implications of the Trump presidency for politics, the economy, and world peace and security. And the New Yorker  shakes its editorial head  “In the past, the nation has had do-nothing Presidencies, and scandal-ridden Presidencies, and failed Presidencies, but until Donald J. Trump came along there hasn’t been a truly embarrassing Presidency.”

Of course, PM Trudeau’s Monday visit to Washington made this the big week for Canada-U.S. headlines and stories. Aside from the exorbitant amount of words (some of them really funny) devoted to The Handshake,   Justin Trudeau Scores a Stunning Draw in Handshake Domination Battle With Donald Trump , the best outcome of the trip was probably, as Evan Solomon put it “simply avoiding the Trump Twitter hit list.” In any event, it seems to have been a success and The Don has (for now) indicated that Canada will not bear the brunt of the revisit  of NAFTA. Will Trudeau throw Mexico under the wheels of the Trumpmobile? Remains to be seen.
Two days before the meeting, The Metropolitain published  David T. Jones’ “(slightly) tongue-in-cheek” comment  on what the PM and President could discuss  THE DONALD MEETS THE JUSTIN—NO “BROMANCE
Yes, he does mention the possible nomination of Sarah Palin as ambassador to Ottawa. As far as we know that was not raised, but judging by the adoring looks Ivanka cast Justin’s way (to the amusement of the Twittersphere), maybe she will ask Daddy for that honor.

One topic that was likely not addressed is the issue of the  Pre-clearance bill that would give U.S. border agents in Canada new powers to question, search and even detain Canadian citizens on Canadian soil

Legal experts say Bill C-23, introduced by Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, and likely to pass in the current sitting of Parliament, could also erode the standing of Canadian permanent residents by threatening their automatic right to enter Canada. This was negotiated by the Harper government  back in the kinder, gentler days of President Obama. However, in view of  the actions by the American CBP that we have witnessed recently, and this chilling article from Quartz  The only way to get into America is through this 60,000 strong, pro-Trump armed force, we believe that  this is a very flawed agreement. Please study it and if you agree, contact your MP.

Next in the parade of world leaders to pay homage is Benjamin Netanyahu, whose meeting on Wednesday, the NYT points out  may be somewhat complicated by the turmoil over the resignation of Michael Flynn, which “deprives Mr. Netanyahu of his strongest ally inside the White House for raising pressure on Iran. And the emergence of Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, as an aspiring Middle East peacemaker has increased the president’s appetite for a peace initiative between the Israelis and Palestinians — something Mr. Netanyahu is not especially eager to discuss.”
The Guardian reports that he had warned fractious members of his right-wing coalition of the need to tread lightly with Trump.

According to Israel’s Channel 2 Netanyahu cautioned ministers pushing for an increase in settlement building – and even partial annexation of the occupied territories – to take Trump’s “personality into account”. Given the shift in Trump’s tone in his  interview with the Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom  Bibi’s advice to his ministers may be very wise.

The condemnation of the very public  handling of reaction to North Korea’s missile launch (From Trump’s Mar-a-Lago to Facebook, a National Security Crisis in the Open ) dominated the news – and implications – of the launch itself. Nonetheless, there was generally praise for the calm response from the U.S. – possibly due to the influence of PM Abe. The event also served to highlight the lamentable state of staffing of the U.S. State Department – Secretary  Tillerson does not even have a deputy, much less a full team of trusted advisers, in place.

While almost everything that we read about France these days is focused on the forthcoming elections and the rise of populism, Cleo Paskal chronicles  the country’s return as a maritime power in the South Pacific. “After a relatively quiet period, Paris is re-energizing its maritime empire, particularly in the Pacific. In the past year alone, there have been huge military sales, paradigm-shifting diplomatic initiatives, and unusual visits by French political leaders to far-flung islands. The first question is why? The second question is: what does that mean in the context of China’s growing role as a Pacific maritime power? “

Bless The Atlantic for changing the subject. On Monday it reminded us that “The last original Peanuts cartoon appeared in newspapers on this day [Feb. 13] in 2000, hours after the death of its creator Charles Schulz. In our November 2015 issue, Sarah Boxer looked back at the characters:

Peanuts was a drama of social coping, outwardly simple but actually quite complex. … The Charlie Brown way was to keep on keeping on, standing with a tangled kite or a losing baseball team day after day. … Lucy, dishing out bad and unsympathetic advice from her “Psychiatric Help” booth, was the picture of bluster. … Schroeder at his piano represented artistic retreat—ignoring the world to pursue one’s dream. And Snoopy’s coping philosophy was, in a sense, even more antisocial than Schroeder’s. Snoopy figured that since no one will ever see you the way you see yourself, you might as well build your world around fantasy, create the person you want to be, and live it out, live it up. Part of Snoopy’s Walter Mitty–esque charm lay in his implicit rejection of society’s view of him. Most of the kids saw him as just a dog, but he knew he was way more than that.”

You might also enjoy An economic theory developed in 1817 can help you cut your to-do list in halfby applying David Ricardo’s theory of comparative advantage to one’s personal productivity.  Do let us know if it improves your productivity and/or your life.

Hoping that you are no longer snow-bound and that you may even have enjoyed the benefits of what Céline Cooper defines as  the Law of the North – a Canadian value.

canada-snow-bound-car

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