Wednesday Night #1739

Written by  //  July 1, 2015  //  Wednesday Nights  //  Comments Off on Wednesday Night #1739

Happy Canada Day!
Every year we wonder why we have to call it Canada Day – imagine July 4th being US-of-A Day, or July 14 being France Day. Couldn’t we please grow up and simply call it July 1st, with the implication that we all know what that means?
Mother Canada monumentAnd before we go on to more profound topics, let us enjoin all to put a stop to Stephen Harper’s latest vainglorious extravaganza of really awful taste: the Mother Canada statue for Cape Breton’s Green Cove.
Heather Mallick says it all in her gloriously snarky piece Mother Canada? This is Stephen Harper’s most un-Canadian gift to the nationThis election year has seen the erection of gloomy, reactionary monuments that reflect the character of an angry, awkward PM, rather than that of the people, and The Guardian is enjoying a loud snicker at our expense. What does Mr. Harper have against the beautiful Cape Breton shoreline?
Staying with things Canadian for a moment … kudos to Justin Trudeau for the comprehensive environmental policy announced in Vancouver on Monday [Trudeau vows Liberal environment plan will ‘be putting a price on carbon’] that includes an investment of $200 million each year to create strategies that support innovation and clean technologies in the forestry, energy and agricultural sectors, and another $100 million to support clean technology companies. Really happy that his statement included “it’s important we keep our most pristine and important coastal areas protected” and that “everyone here in B.C. knows that the Great Bear Rainforest is not a place for an oil pipeline.” [Justin Trudeau says B.C.’s pristine north coast no place for oil tankers] Of course, once announced, it becomes the target for all his opponents, but we are happy to finally see some concrete proposals rather than the vacuous statements we have become used to.
Being equal opportunity snipers, we must also raise the Maclean’s story of Thomas Mulcair‘s 2007 negotiations to join the Conservative party as a senior adviser to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. We are surprised that Maclean’s gives any credence to the version offered by Dimitri Soudas. As Jennifer Ditchburn points out, “Now, as was the case three years ago, the story of Mulcair’s flirtation with the Conservatives seems to come up just as he’s beginning to pose a political threat.”
On to other issues.
The Good
What an amazing week for President Obama and the Supreme Court. Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), same-sex marriage, gerrymandering … even the ruling against the EPA wasn’t that unfavorable.

The Bad
The Greek crisis  has held us in thrall for months and over the past weeks it has become increasingly difficult to keep up with the twists and turns of events and opinions, even with the aid of Wednesday Night’s passionate Greek caucus. While we have attempted to monitor events [Greece in 2015], we highly recommend the learned opinion pieces published on Project Syndicate, one of most probing being Joseph Stiglitz on Europe’s Attack on Greek Democracy. As many of you know, Kimon believes the most reliable source of information is the taxi driver, thus we would be remiss in not citing The Economic Crisis In Greece –- As Told By An Athens Taxi Driver. We also thank David Mitchell for forwarding Greece’s proposals to end the crisis: my intervention at the Eurogroup by Yanis Varoufakis, who says in his introductory paragraph: “After so much disinformation on my presentation at the Eurogroup of the Greek government’s position, the only response is to post the precise words uttered within. Read them and judge for yourselves whether the Greek government’s proposals constitute a basis for agreement”.

The Ugly While there are many candidates, we nominate Donald Trump’s outrageous Mexico remarks for which he has not only not apologized, but has compounded. And Ted Cruz has come to his aid. The quality of these two – and other – GOP candidates is so appalling, we are increasingly depressed by the state of the nation. Meanwhile a seventh black church has burned in the wake of the Charleston massacre and the Ku Klux Klan plans a rally at the South Carolina statehouse to protest the removal of the Confederate flag. It could be a long hot summer.

And for your store of miscellaneous information: The Spice Trade’s Forgotten Island
(National Geographic) The island of Run was once an important trade lynchpin in the 17th century because of its valuable nutmeg production. Surprising fact: In 1667 the Treaty of Breda determined that the English would cede control of Run island to the Dutch in return for Manhattan—yes, that Manhattan.
Sam Stein adds: When I was in Suriname a few years ago, the locals claimed that Manhattan had been exchanged by the Dutch for what was then the English sugar plantation colony of Suriname on the coast of South America. Upon looking up the Treaty of Breda (1667) it seems that both claims are true and that the treaty was a grab-bag of exchanges of territory and recognition of “facts on the ground” among the English, Dutch and French. Incidentally, it also involved the return of the territory of Acadia to the French (presumably after an English raid), although we all know that this was reversed a century later.

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