Wednesday Night #1910

Written by  //  October 17, 2018  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments


Cannabis is legal in Canada — here’s what you need to know
Rules around legal weed vary from province to province What you need to know about legalized cannabis in Quebec
Perhaps this is the best antidote for the current state of world affairs?

What a week!
Saudi Arabia
The horrendous story of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi that is emerging and the Saudi attempts to deflect blame from Crown Prince MBS are quite beyond anything imagined by less subtle imitators of John le Carré
Jeremy Kinsman’s commentary is well worth a listen
So many pundits, so much to say/conjecture  – Why the U.S. Can’t Quit Saudi Arabia – The suspected murder of a Saudi journalist has exposed cracks in a long-standing partnership.
Will Jared survive? Two princes: Kushner now faces a reckoning for Trump’s bet on the heir to the Saudi throne and what about MBS? Will Khashoggi case bring down Saudi’s crown prince?. The answer is probably, yes, to both. After all, family counts.
Speaking of family, we have been wondering whether Jamal was related to Adnan, the arms dealer. Thanks to Bloomberg’s Onur Ant we have a our answer and more than we bargained for… including this tidbit: when Adnan’s fortunes soured, he was forced to sell his yacht. “It was eventually bought by none other than a New York real estate investor called Donald Trump and renamed the Trump Princess.” Khashoggi’s Name Runs Through Middle East History AND, there’ also a connection to Dodi Fayed.

Which brings us in a round-about way to Britain and Brexit. Not much good news there. Brookings offers a helpful guide to the current impasse:  Explaining Brexit and the Northern Ireland question
The British government’s stated aims—leaving the EU single market and customs union, preventing a hard border with Ireland, and ensuring a countrywide approach to Brexit—have proven impossible to reconcile Wednesday’s quite cheerful headline in The Guardian ‘Very good progress’ on Brexit, May says at Brussels summit is perhaps overly optimistic in light of what is reported further down in the same article: Senior EU diplomats said that given the impasse in the talks there would be a “major call” by a number of leaders over dinner for a no-deal summit to be pencilled into the calendar.
If you have not been paying attention, you may be suddenly aware of the term “backstop” bandied about. The Guardian explains: “Once more commonly heard in talk about baseball than politics, the backstop has become one of the most discussed and contentious elements of the Brexit negotiations. … Variously described as an insurance policy or safety net, the backstop is a device intended to ensure that there will not be a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, even if no formal deal can be reached on trade and security arrangements.” The explanation continues to cover the ‘backstop to the backstop’, but this all may be moot as Germany and France start to draw up no-deal Brexit contingency plans

Increasingly deteriorating China-U.S. relations continue to be of concern. Writing for Politico, William Pesek is  gloomy.  “Xi reverting to the stimulus-at-all-costs playbook that got China into financial hot water is a worrisome bookend for the Deng revolution. Xi is ensuring that when China’s debt-excess reckoning comes, what economists call a “Minsky moment,” it will be bigger, more spectacular and more globally impactful. If you thought the “Lehman shock” of 2008 was scary, wait until the No. 2 economy with $14 trillion of annual output goes off the rails.”

On 24 October, Canada is hosting a meeting of like-minded countries to brainstorm ways to reform the World Trade Organization. The U.S. is not invited. A Bloomberg article suggests that Trump’s Threat to Leave the WTO Could Be a Saving Grace, spurring the first efforts to address what major members concede is a need for change. To be continued.

Not enough to worry about? Try watching the daily ups and downs of predicting the mid-terms’ outcome. Here is the latest from DJT:
Trump’s latest absurdity about the elections hints at much worse to come
In a new interview with the Associated Press that went live on Tuesday night, President Trump claimed that it won’t be his fault if Republicans lose control of the House. As Trump put it, in a reference to Republican House incumbents and candidates: “No, I think I’m helping people.”
This assertion isn’t just another one of Trump’s the-buck-stops-anywhere-else absurdities. It’s also a dry run for something much worse — that is, his coming effort to escape personal accountability if Democrats do win the House.
That effort will unfold on multiple fronts. New reporting on the timing of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation, and on deliberations among Democrats over how to pursue Trump’s tax returns, suggests that a Democratic takeover will set up massive clashes between the Democratic-controlled House and the White House. These battles will turn in part on the meaning of the Democratic victory.

Paul Allen has died
Paul Allen Shows It’s Hard to Give Away $10 Billion
The Microsoft co-founder was one of the most prolific philanthropists in the world—but he still died with $20 billion.
Bill Gates: What I Loved About Paul Allen
The Microsoft co-founder pays tribute to his first business partner.

Mark your calendar: The Warren Allmand Lecture Series is an annual event intended to celebrate the Honourable Warren Alllmand’s life and achievements and to sustain public, institutional and academic interest in causes that he espoused throughout his adult life. On October 18th, 2018, renowned writer and public intellectual John Ralston Saul will deliver the inaugural lecture of the series entitled “The Fight for Freedom of Expression Around the World: A Personal Account.” Free, but you need to reserve through eventbrite

News you need to know:
Women for Trump Founder Says GOP in Danger Because Witches Put a Hex on Brett Kavanaugh

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