Wednesday Night #1880

Written by  //  March 21, 2018  //  Special Wednesdays  //  No comments

First and foremost, a shout-out to Marc Nicholson and Singapore’s 1880 Members Club.
We had hoped to link 1880 with WN #1880 through the miracles of Skype and/or other technologies, but in the continuing absence of Chairman David, we must content ourselves with this lovely tribute from Marc:

1880’s Marc Nicholson On Building A Community
When he was 14 years old, Marc Nicholson’s parents started a new tradition—a salon discussion on the trending topics of the day, which became known as Wednesday Night. Every Wednesday, he would take his seat at the dinner table along with his sister, tussling with the diplomats, journalists, artists and many others from all walks of life that his parents had invited to join the conversation that week. They talked about politics, religion, finance, war, human rights, “all the big issues in the world”, as Marc puts it. The next morning, he would reflect on what he had heard. It sounds like an intense education, but he wasn’t always a big believer in Wednesday Nights.
“I didn’t get it,” he recalls with a laugh. “What I came to understand is that these evenings were more about community than anything else. It’s about building strong relationships, and that’s what makes us happiest.”
“You could even say, in a way, that Wednesday Nights influenced the course of his life. Having been exposed to so many big ideas, “I became very interested in finding out how the world worked”.
This latest endeavour is directly inspired by his parents’ salon sessions. Housed on the third floor of [email protected] Quay, 1880 is a club founded to spark authentic conversations, and naturally comes with its own spirited Wednesday night discussions.”

Need we add that any and all Wednesday Nighters would be Marc’s welcome guests at 1880?

WELCOME SPRING, or more correctly, the vernal equinox! By now you should have more or less adjusted to Daylight Saving, even if, like many others, you are not a fan. Fans  of DST will note that Marco Rubio will introduce legislation to standardize daylight saving time for the entire calendar year. It is reported that Rubio will sponsor the “Sunshine Protection Act” and the “Sunshine State Act” to make the change nationwide, following Florida’s decision this week to pass similar legislation. There is a bit of a snag, however. the provision, which has not yet been signed by Florida’s governor, would shift the state into a different time zone permanently. That requires an act of Congress or a federal regulatory action, according to NPR.

Above, we noted Chairman David’s absence: after more than 4 weeks at the Jewish General, where he received superb care, he has moved  to the Centre d’hébergement de Saint-Henri
(5205, rue Notre-Dame Ouest) where he will receive the more intense physio and occupational therapy that he needs. We were very pleased to hear good things about the Centre from Gail Grant and encourage those of you who are in the neighborhood to drop in and see him. There  will  be more news for all in the next days.

Meanwhile, as David would insist, the show (WN) must go on and certainly there is more than enough fodder or, more appropriately, kindling.

And what could be more fun than to welcome Alan Hustak for a discussion of his most recent book Magnetic North: The Unauthorised Biography of Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Selfie PM. A timely visit in the wake of the costume-party trip to India and continuing examination of the government’s policy vis à vis Khalistan, not to mention tepid reaction to Monday’s announcement regarding Canada’s ‘peace-keeping mission to Mali.

David Jones helpfully sent along the link to Justin Trudeau is less popular than Stephen Harper was at this point in his tenure as prime minister. Stuart Thomson continues “It’s not all bad news for the Liberals, though. The Angus Reid poll also finds that young people are still solidly in Trudeau’s corner and that his electoral base is still relatively strong.”Perhaps related – and perhaps not: Smartphones and our memories: Don’t take a picture. It’ll last longer​ The author argues convincingly that “if you record events as you experience them, then how can you say you’re actually experiencing them?”

In the annual St Patrick’s Day frenzy, you probably missed this long and excellent interview with  Environment minister Catherine McKenna on the contradiction at the heart of Canada’s energy policy

Cambridge Analytica (not to mention Facebook) is the subject of lots of scrutiny.
The absolute must-read and cornerstone of almost all recent reporting is the very long and worthwhile Guardian piece: The Cambridge Analytica Files — ‘I made Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare tool’: meet the data war whistleblower . The Guardian’s Cambridge Analytica Files are the go-to source these days. CBC has a number of stories linked from Canadian whistleblower on why he exposed ‘problematic’ Facebook data misuse by Trump consulting firm
Other suggested reading:  Anne Applebaum in the WaPost: Does Cambridge Analytica have my data? I have no idea. That’s the problem.
The Financial Times reported that Cambridge Analytica scrambles to halt Channel 4 exposé after Channel 4 reporters posed as prospective clients and had a series of meetings with Cambridge Analytica that they secretly filmed — including at least one with Alexander Nix, its chief executive. As of Tuesday, Mr. Nix has been suspended by CA [Cambridge Analytica suspends CEO Alexander Nix after undercover recordings air]

Mitch Joel writing in Maclean’s: Facebook and Cambridge Analytica have just confirmed it: online privacy is dead
Welcome to the age of ‘surveillance capitalism’ where highly personalized information and psychological models are leveraged to change consumers’ behaviour and sway their opinions

On Monday, CNBC reported  Bad news for Facebook may have been a catalyst for Monday’s market meltdown, ” but added that “analysts say there are plenty of reasons for selling to continue, not the least of which is an atmosphere of uncertainty being created by the White House. Fear of a global trade war tops the list of worries sparked by the Trump administration, but analysts also say the personnel shakeups and concern over the ongoing Russia investigation, including whether President Donald Trump will fire the special prosecutor, are also hanging over the market.” No mention of North Korea or the Middle East?

Otherwise, it’s Trump all the time – or at least 90% of it and the steel & aluminum tariffs are one issue (although relegated to a junior headline position these days). However, on that topic,  William Watson is always entertaining and a worthwhile read: Ten out of 10 disagreeable economists finally agree — Trump is wrong. Economists also seem to agree that the selection of Lawrence Kudlow is not a great idea [Trump’s New Economic Adviser Lawrence Kudlow Has Been Wrong About Everything for Decades] although he does seem to be in favor of NAFTA.The revolving doors at the White House and cabinet are now the subject of derision, but also trepidation.

President Putin won the election with a surprisingly modest 76.7% of the vote. The six more years in office make him the longest-serving ruler since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. Donald Trump telephoned his congratulations, of course.
Agnia Grigas writes that his next big goal is rebranding Russia – the development of a post-Soviet ideology for his country.” He needs this rebranding “not only as a distraction from Russia’s stagnating economy, but also to provide a legacy that offers an alternative to the Western model of liberal democracy.” Most reports of the victory in western media alluded to tensions over the Sergei Skripal poisoning

Something to look forward to: Sauvé Fellow Marie-Marguerite Sabongui and her partner Benedict Moran have created a sitcom about the UN – From awkward diplomacy to duty-free cocaine, the creators of “The Mission” expose the absurdity of the U.N. It sounds delightful!

For your calendars (or not)
4 April
Wednesday Night #1881 with Peter Berezin

26 April
The Montreal Press Club is holding its inaugural Freedom Award honouring Raif Badawi
The keynote speaker will be Jordan Peterson – you might want to read this first:
The Intellectual We Deserve by Nathan Robinson
Jordan Peterson’s popularity is the sign of a deeply impoverished political and intellectual landscape…

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