Wednesday Night #1825
Before getting to the major and unavoidable topic, a few other items for your consideration.
As the crisis in North Korea‘s relations with China, the U.S. and the rest of the world escalates, Dr. Shepherd Iverson, foreign professor in the Institute for Korean Studies at Inha University in South Korea lays out How To Stop North Korea: A Geoeconomic Approach. Following a rather grim assessment, he concludes “However, as decades of globalization have changed the geostrategic landscape, and growing economic integration and prosperity discourages the use of raw military power to settle disputes, the atavistic policies of old-school Chinese (and U.S.) hardliners may be overruled by a new generation of geopolitical pragmatists who see an opportunity for cooperative positive-sum geoeconomic diplomacy.”
Germain Bourgeois gleefully forwarded this market commentary Why Emerging Markets Are Booming Again! By Mike Burnick “emerging markets have been the biggest winners among global stock-market performance in recent years. … And this may be just the beginning of a profitable long-term trend.
The gaggle of Conservative leadership candidates continued their quest with a debate in Edmonton promising low taxes, immigration reform and growth – note the impeccable timing as they go head-to-head with Donald Trump’s Message to Congress. Who were the schedulers? Kevin O’Leary skipped the debate and we must agree with his reason for doing so.
Meanwhile, the FedLibs have barred Alan DeSousa from running for the Saint-Laurent nomination to replace Stéphane Dion in the district DeSousa has represented in municipal politics for close to three decades. No reason given, but it may be assumed that 39 year-old Yolande James, the first black female MNA and the youngest, and the first black cabinet minister in Quebec history is better suited to the LPC profile under Justin Trudeau.
Early in his leadership of the party, Trudeau pledged to have open nomination races in all 338 ridings in the country, putting an end to the practice of allowing star candidates to skirt local nomination battles. Sadly, that promise has often been more honored in its breach.
In case you missed it, there was the Grand opening of Vancouver’s Trump Tower complete with Eric & Donald Jr. Seems that it isn’t as tall as the company claims in its marketing materials. Interesting tidbit: The developer skipped floor 13, and each floor ending in four (4, 14, 24 …), following a practice that was not uncommon in Vancouver. Apparently the word four in Cantonese sounds like words and phrases involving death.
For any who are concerned by U.S. foreign policy, we recommend the long, analytical piece in The New Yorker Trump, Putin, and the New Cold War – What lay behind Russia’s interference in the 2016 election—and what lies ahead?
As we anticipated the President’s Message to Congress, we wondered how he would remedy what he identified as (the only?) weakness of his first weeks in office. He told Fox & Friends he’d give himself an “A” on his achievements so far, but would give himself a “C or C-plus” for messaging. “I think I’ve done great things, but I don’t think I have—I and my people—I don’t think we’ve explained it well enough to the American public,” he said. Maybe if he gave up tweeting and learned to speak and write coherently, he could explain what he has accomplished?*
In fact, the Message was well crafted and delivered in measured tones. It is hard to believe that it was written by Stephens Bannon and Miller, the authors of the dark Inaugural Address and the sloppy Executive Orders. As Quartz summed it up:
“In a speech remarkably free of the usual hectoring, the president appealed for political unity. But investors eager for details on tax reform, infrastructure spending, or the repeal of Obamacare were unimpressed by his broad generalizations.”
Repeal of Obamacare will no doubt be the most contentious issue for the Republicans, certainly more so than immigration and illegals (though there are sharp intra-party divisions there) and the Democratic leaders are determined to make health care — particularly Medicare and the Affordable Care Act — the centerpiece of their attacks against Republicans leading into next year’s midterms. This was made very clear in former Kentucky Governor Steven Beshear’s response to the President’s Message (Health Care Is Front and Center in Democrats’ Response to Trump Address), which incidentally, we found to be a very interesting and original presentation of the response.
The Metropolitain has published the latest opinion piece from prolific Wednesday Night commentator David T. Jones: WHAT DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND ABOUT “ILLEGAL”?. As always, David presents a coherent argument for applying harsh measures.
Scientists predict there could be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.
… in 2015, a study estimated that the ocean contained 5.25 trillion pieces of garbage and counting. Some even estimate there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.
There have been reports from around the globe about the impact plastic pollution is having on both coastal marine environments and the wildlife that inhabits these regions. Recently, a whale off the Norwegian coast was found with more than 30 plastic bags in its stomach. In Canada, researchers have warned that plastic is affecting birds and smaller marine life. For a country with the largest coastline, it’s a problem that’s not getting better.
King Salman of Saudi Arabia is reportedly bringing at least 1,500 people and over 450 metric tons (500 tons) of luggage on a nine-day trip to Indonesia. Has he left anyone behind to talk to Sam Stein?
*On the topic of writing coherently – and in this case, no doubt elegantly – The Obamas are getting a record-setting book deal worth at least $60 million – we cannot imagine this will be greeted with cheers by the current administration.