Wednesday Night #1762

Written by  //  December 9, 2015  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

We are compelled to lead with the most outrageous story of the week: Donald Trump’s call for a ban on Muslims entering United States which has, of course, attracted international attention.
We are not in the habit of quoting Arianna, but this time, she is right on the mark.
A Note On Trump: We Are No Longer Entertained
“Earlier today, the candidate currently leading in the polls for the Republican presidential nomination called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” That was, of course, Donald Trump. On the heels of Trump’s proposed change for America, we will be changing how we cover him at The Huffington Post. Back in July, we announced our decision to put our coverage of Trump’s presidential campaign in our Entertainment section instead of our Politics section. Since then Trump’s campaign has certainly lived up to that billing. But as today’s vicious pronouncement makes abundantly clear, it’s also morphed into something else: an ugly and dangerous force in American politics.”
Most important in our opinion is that Donald Trump is a danger to US security. His anti-Muslim rhetoric “bolsters ISIL’s narrative,” says the Pentagon.
The Deutsch Welle interview with Trump biographer Gwenda Blair gives some fascinating insights: What Donald Trump learned from his German grandpa Friedrich Drumpf — Want to understand the phenomenon called Donald Trump? Then you’d better check out his German roots
The question is, how much support does he really have?

The San Bernardino shooting rapidly changed from story of a tragic domestic mass shooting to one of radicalization of an American-born citizen and ideological -if not operational- links to ISIL San Bernardino shooters were radicalized for “quite some time”: FBI. In a parallel story, the identity of the third attacker at the Bataclan music hall.  The latest information means that all of the assailants identified so far were French or Belgian, all native French speakers, and the attacks increasingly appear to have been part of a homegrown terror plot. The Threat Is Already Inside is blunt: “Occasional terrorist attacks in the West are virtually inevitable, and odds are, we’ll see more attacks in the coming decades, not fewer. If we want to reduce the long-term risk of terrorism — and reduce its ability to twist Western societies into unrecognizable caricatures of themselves — we need to stop viewing terrorism as shocking and aberrational, and instead recognize it as an ongoing problem to be managed, rather than “defeated.”
The author then reminds us that the 2005 terrorist attacks in London were carried out by British citizens, the Boston Marathon attack was perpetrated by a U.S. citizen and a U.S. permanent resident, and the Paris attacks appear to have been carried out mainly by French citizens. Every country on earth has its angry young men, and the Internet offers a dozen convenient ideologies to justify every kind of resentment. Adding more border guards — or keeping out refugees fleeing war and misery, as too many members of Congress seem eager to do — won’t help when the threat is already inside.”
Amidst questions about how the San Bernardino couple managed to amass the trove of weapons that was found at their home, The Current interviewed three gun owners to explain why they need their weapons. One of the most chilling and disturbing conversations we have heard.

Climate change and the COP21 Paris meeting.
Media coverage is intensive and additionally, several Wednesday Nighters have added their voices. Kimon writes “in Paris for the Climate Conference where I am delivering a paper linking COP-21 with everything else that is happening in the world.” He has also written an article for a special issue of the business magazine PRESIDENCY KEY BRIEF, addressing the climate change challenges “through the prisms of what we called in strategic planning a ‘relevance tree’. Essentially it is a question of (1) asking the right questions (2) In the right order. Unfortunately many of the climate questions, discussed with passion by opposing parties, are either not relevant or in the wrong order.” The Epoch Times carries the David Jones/David Kilgour debate. Ever the sceptic, in Global Warming, Cooling, Whatever, David Jones argues that“global warming,” now  “climate change” as currently being intensely discussed and negotiated in Paris remains a theory, a concept, a position to be argued but not blindly accepted. He adds “What is perhaps most malignant is the intensity with which climate change acolytes attack those who say the equivalent of “wait a minute; this concept lacks proof.” The reality remains that there have been global cycles of warming and cooling with no connection to human activity (dinosaurs in Antarctica). And there have been centuries-long cooling periods within warming cycles. The statistics and evidence are ambiguous; the resulting models dubious.” Cautiously optimistic about the potential for agreement emerging from the Paris negotiations, David Kilgour maintains that “the Paris accord can be a significant forward step in a long battle. What’s needed beyond Paris is renewed political will by governments of all levels. They should determine where they want to be by 2050 and then work back to plan the needed technological route. Entire economies need to be electrified through car batteries, hydrogen, and wind turbines. Strict building codes to reduce energy demand in new buildings need to be enacted and enforced. We citizens all have a role and must make smarter environmental choices in our daily lives.”
Our many friends who are part-time Florida residents (and residents of a bunch of coastal cities) should find the December Vanity Fair article Can Miami Beach Survive Global Warming? an interesting and pretty scary read.

Following the Throne Speech, comes a flurry of Liberal initiatives. The inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women was announced by the impressive trio of Indigenous Affairs minister Dr. Carolyn Bennett, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Status of Women Minister Patty Hajdu. Less universally acclaimed was Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s array of new tax adjustments that will have an annual net drain on the federal treasury of about $1.2 billion in each of the next five years, starting in 2016-17. The headliner of the new measures is the one to lower the income-tax rate to 20.5 per cent, from 22 per cent, on Canadians earning between $45,282 and $90,563 per year. To help offset that change, the Liberals have added a 33 per cent tax rate on income earned by Canadians in the top one per cent — those who make more than $200,000 per year.
There’s also criticism of the Liberal government’s reduction of the annual contribution to TFSAs, however Tyler Meredith argues that while TFSA is a good addition to mix of savings options, and is well designed for low income earners, doubling the contribution limit would only worsen wealth and income inequality, do little to help the key under-saving population (mid income middle aged workers), erode tax bases both federally and provincially when that revenue is most needed as we face an aging population, and disproportionately benefit upper-income earners.
The brief honeymoon with the media has ended. Critics have emerged from their self-imposed 5 minutes of being relatively pleasant with the National Post’s John Ivison gleefully leading the pack. While there is and always will be ample room for constructive criticism, the pundits who have reproached Mr. Trudeau for ruining Canada’s relationship with the U.S. have been confounded by the White House announcement (Trudeau to get red carpet treatment during White House visit)  that President Obama will host a state dinner in the PM’s honor – a rare occasion at the Obama White House enjoyed by only a small, select group of world leaders.
Lest we be too cocky, read Kyle Matthews’ Is Canada ‘back’? Not quite, but here’s how it can get there — Though change is already palpable, here are seven steps the Trudeau government can take to re-engage Canada in the world.

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