Wednesday Night #1855

Written by  //  September 27, 2017  //  Wednesday Nights  //  Comments Off on Wednesday Night #1855

Many thanks to all who participated in last Wednesday’s gathering with Mark Roper, Peter Trent and Helen Fotopulos – it was particularly  encouraging to hear Mark’s positive views on a number of developments in Quebec’s healthcare battles and reassuring that Mark is able to work with Minister Barrette – not an easy task from all reports.

What is on our minds this week?
Natural disasters and climate change – Mexico hit with yet another earthquake, Puerto Rico in tatters, volcano Monaro eruption on Vanuatu  island.
Grumbling over disaster response in Mexico is not unexpected, but the churlish reaction of Donald Trump to the Puerto Rico disaster has elicited widespread condemnation, especially following the generous spirit of response to the damage inflicted by Harvey & Irma to the continental U.S.

Most of the U.S. territory is without power and running water after Hurricanes Irma and Maria knocked out large portions of its infrastructure, leaving hospitals struggling to care for patients and families on the mainland waiting for news about their loved ones. Although the  island’s wildlife are also in trouble, there’s a relatively good news story about efforts to save a unique colony of rhesus macaques after the storms destroyed much of Puerto Rico’s vegetation.
We understand that it may be unsafe, if not unfeasible, to bring  ships into the damaged ports, but why not mobilize a USN aircraft carrier offshore?

Myanmar/Burma. After years of ignoring the on-going problems of the Rohingya, the mass migration to Bangladesh has finally attracted the world’s attention. Criticism of  Aung San Suu Kyi abound. A more measured appraisal was offered by The Atlantic: The Misunderstood Roots of Burma’s Rohingya Crisis
Wednesday Night’s two Davids also address the topic this week: Aung San Suu Kyi Shows Feet of Clay by David T. Jones and Democracy Under Gunpoint in Burma by David Kilgour.

The Kurds held their referendum on establishing an independent nation, but sadly, ““For statehood to arise, a people’s right to self-determination and their desire to exercise it must be matched with possibility.” What Did the Kurds Get Out of the Referendum?

Events South of the border continue to fascinate and frustrate. It would seem that The Donald has not had a great week.
His candidate in the Alabama Republican primary was defeated – Luther Strange, who was appointed to replace Jeff Sessions when he became attorney general, is the first incumbent to lose a primary in five years. The equally unsavory winner, Roy Moore, who brandished a revolver during a rally on the eve of the runoff, has promised that he will never compromise. He has twice been suspended as the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
Meanwhile there are other signs that Republican senators are nervously disenchanted. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) announced Tuesday that he will not seek re-election next year, another blow to the Republican establishment on the same day the latest GOP effort to revamp the Affordable Care Act failed.
He is again feuding with Jeff Sessions and has added Tom Price to his list of potential firees.
The Russia probe advances on all fronts and ever closer to the White House  and Paul Manafort according to reports.

The world worries as Trump continues unpresidential exchanges over North Korea and seems to delight in encouraging escalation  Trump warns of ‘devastating’ military option as North Korea moves jets but he assures the world that he will “fix the mess”.
Not content with that hornets’ nest, he continues to attack the Iran nuclear deal, including tweets about a missile test that didn’t happen, despite contradictions from the US military

All of which makes Canadian politics very dull, but we at least have the local mayoralty races to watch and things appear to be heating up. Some believe that Denis Coderre is in no danger of defeat, others are not so sure. At the very least, he may well receive a serious rebuke from voters. Doug Sweet informs us that Valérie Plante may be interested in dropping in on a WN. We will keep you informed.

Also, mark your calendars for Peter Berezin’s next visit on 11 October.

Lots more to think about and discuss, but we do want to call your attention to a fascinating development in the decades-old mystery surrounding the death of UN secretary-general Dag Hammarskjold, a story largely ignored by the world media, but tenaciously followed by The Guardian. Plane crash that killed UN boss ‘may have been caused by aircraft attack’ Exclusive: US and UK intercepts could hold answer to 1961 accident in Africa that killed Dag Hammarskjöld and 15 others Long-time Wednesday Nighters will remember that his nephew, Knut, had an abiding and deeply personal interest in the matter.


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