Wednesday Night #1770

Written by  //  February 3, 2016  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

Delighted to have Peter Berezin with us this week to share his views on the world economy, along with any insights he may have regarding Putin’s Russia.

WELL, The Iowa caucuses certainly introduced drama into a generally mystifying process (see this delightful explanation: Confused About the Iowa Caucuses? Watch Legos Explain the Process). The neck-and-neck finish for Clinton and Sanders is being interpreted as a Clinton loss by pundits and one can only imagine the mood in the Clinton camp. The Republican results generate mixed emotions — while it’s good to see The Donald defeated, Ted Cruz is a very scary front runner, posing an interesting dilemma for Republican primary voters: do you support Trump or anyone who is not Trump?   That would be further complicated by the answer to the question Is Ted Cruz Really an Awful, Terrible Jerk?  which, it seems, is a resounding YES.
The PBS Newshour coverage  of the evening was particularly good especially the segment with David Brooks and Michelle Cottle, contributing editor to The Atlantic.
The NYT First Draft newsletter of Tuesday morning pretty well sums up the current situation.On to New Hampshire!

Canada Will Sign TPP Thursday, but questions still abound over whether it will be ratified and take effect.
While the Liberal government has been cautious about expressing its support — International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland has been consistent in calling for consultation not conclusions — the decision to sign the TPP was never much in doubt. As Freeland emphasized in her Open Letter to Canadians on the Trans-Pacific Partnership from the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of International Trade last week, signing a treaty does not create binding legal obligations.

As the first anniversary of the assassination of Boris Nemtsov approaches, you may have missed the announcement from Russia’s Chief Investigator that Boris Nemtsov’s Murder is Solved and it was Chechens who did it. Thus this long piece Putin’s Dragon – Is the ruler of Chechnya out of control? in The New Yorker makes for very interesting reading. Russia could be headed for social disruption according to Alexander J. Motyl in  Lights Out for the Putin Regime – The Coming Russian Collapse, while the New York Times informs that the U.S. is fortifying Europe’s East to deter Putin

China continues to struggle with corruption and scandals China strengthens anti-graft efforts for clean governance , and now the story that Nearly one million investors may have been fleeced in China’s latest Ponzi scheme. Is the latest flap over Taiwan an attempt to deflect attention?

Aung San Suu Kyi leads party into historic Burma parliament
Despite the landslide, Burma’s constitution reserves 25 % of seats to the military
Establishing democracy is only one hurdle the country faces. The new government will also have to contend with various ethnic rebellions in several parts of the country. The military-backed government signed a peace pact with more than dozen smaller ethnic armies before the elections but major groups have stayed away, and fighting continues in many states. Most are fighting for autonomy and rights over their resource-rich land.

While a number of Wednesday Nighters are locked in verbal electronic combat (no light sabres allowed) over Climate Change: The Burden of Proof, we prefer to celebrate the historic final agreement on B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest where there is no doubt of extensive anthropomorphic damage (suggest a Google search for great bear rainforest logging images). It has taken a long time, but the efforts of all have paid off.

German Forest Ranger Finds That Trees Have Social Networks, Too
(NYT) PRESENTING scientific research and his own observations in highly anthropomorphic terms, the matter-of-fact Mr. Wohlleben has delighted readers and talk-show audiences alike with the news — long known to biologists — that trees in the forest are social beings. They can count, learn and remember; nurse sick neighbors; warn each other of danger by sending electrical signals across a fungal network known as the “Wood Wide Web”; and, for reasons unknown, keep the ancient stumps of long-felled companions alive for centuries by feeding them a sugar solution through their roots.

Canadians interview the prime minister about issues that matter to them
Did you watch? What did you think? Is the new government over-emphasizing the empathy angle? Is this type of PR appropriate when there is such a huge agenda to be addressed?

An enthusiastic personal account of the experience of one of the young people who is Teaching for Canada
Alisha Hill: Kindergarten in Kejick Bay: Reading buddies, sledding, and fire safety

Always in search of good information on parenting, even though our own days are long past, we found How to Raise a Creative Child. Step One: Back Off to be exceptionally commonsensical.

Items for your agenda
11-12 February
McGill Institute for the Study of Canada 2016 Annual Meeting Canada on the Global Stage: Exploring Canada’s Image and Role in the World, offers an impressive line-up of speakers for a very reasonable price.
12-13 February
John and Matthew Buchanan encourage you to attend the world premiere of Eva Kolarova’s Fragmented Mind
Cinquième salle, Place des Arts
To buy your tickets
http://placedesarts.com/spectacles/17400/esprit-fragmente.fr.html
16 February
The Montreal Press Club Political Speakers’ Series Cocktail features Jonathan Kay, Editor-in-Chief of The Walrus (5 à 7, University Club)

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